Posts Tagged ‘Online’

Just saw this and it made me chuckle:

Gaming’s influence continues…


As a regular gamer, how often do you find yourself disillusioned with the industry, jaded by the torrent of remakes that all shatter the beautifully-crafted originals?

Unfortunately, this happens far too often, to the detriment of many a gaming franchise. For reference, examine Starfox, damaged irrevocably by the less-than-impressive third-person manifestation on the Gamecube, Conflict Denied Ops which absolutely crippled the Conflict franchise by transforming it into a FPS, or the hotly debated Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast. Maybe I’m being a little harsh, and at very least I respect the decision to move forward, experimenting with a title in an attempt to enhance it rather than let it stagnate – it’s just a shame when it horribly fails. Thankfully, there are some titles that are able to update and create incredible sequels. Fine examples of this can be seen in both the Legend of Zelda and Metroid franchises, taking simple 2D classics and rendering them in 3D with new worlds, enemies and narratives. The latter is what I shall focus on within this post…

Glorious nostalgia

With various adaptations in the series, some less well-received than others (Metroid – the Other M, mentioning no names), it is no surprise that fans have turned to their own ingenuity to create fresh sequels. And my God, have they been working hard! Check them all out here:

The most recent creation is a glorious tribute to retro 2D gaming, harking back to Metroid’s finest format. Minitroid, so far just a tech demo, has been put together by a three person team: Construct Programmer Tokinsom, an artist Betatronic, and music composer Jamie Billings. They’ve been working on it for about a year, uploading updates via Tokinsom’s youtube account, but it’s no surprise that the game is still only in demo form when you see how comprehensive it is! The game takes everything that was right about Metroid – the simple side-scrolling shooting system, the expansive 2D environments, the in-depth exploration and strategy application – and throws in a new protagonist, a mini, chibi-style Metroid. Despite wearing the classic orange spacesuit, she is almost cute!

Mind the gap!

At its core, Minitroid is classic Metroid gameplay, with all the familiar commands and power-ups. Moves are limited to ducking, jumping (with a double jump) and shooting (including a charge shot with your default weapon, and added missiles), with additional moves unlocked as you discover new ups (the Speedcore, allowing Minitroid to dash also enables her to long jump). And don’t forget the Morph Ball and Bombs! Enemies are varied, requiring alternating tactics in order to kill them efficiently, as is the gameworld, a mass of adjoining levels formed from many different colours and textures. For a game so simple in design, it is remarkably detailed. Adding to the classic feel is Billings’ beautiful chiptune soundtrack, transporting you right back to your gaming childhood. It’s highly reminiscent of the original game music, creating an audible sense of fantasy and sci-fi to complete the sublime environments that surround you.

Open Sesame!

The game has a good learning curve, essential for enjoyable but rewarding gameplay. Enemies are fairly easy to combat, especially when you’ve discovered their path of movement and attack, and they often drop missile and health refills. Save points are located throughout the game, at challenging intervals – you’re very grateful when you find them, but won’t have to work too hard in order to do so. The greatest difficulty isn’t survival, it’s working out how in God’s name you progress from one area to another, but with a little time you’ll manage it! (And if you can’t, unlucky because there are no walkthroughs!)

Minitroid is the perfect combination of shoot-em-up action and puzzle/strategy; you must use initiative to uncover new areas, whilst experimenting with the power-ups you’ve earned in inventive ways to progress. Despite being only a demo, the game is solid and detailed, and well deserves a few hours of your time. Show your support for a growing indie game industry and check it out!

Nostalgia city. Population you.

Today I have discovered possibly the best game ever invented…

This is for all you 80’s kids that reminisce fondly about the days when you used to whittle away your time brushing the hair of your My Little Pony whilst bopping your head to Erasure (Ok, so this really is a minuscule percentage of the world’s population). You must play Robot Unicorn Attack by AdultSwim – It’s an 80’s adventure!

The game is refreshingly simple: It’s a scrolling 2d platformer, with just 2 buttons; Z makes you jump, X allows you to dash. That’s it. You control a lovely white robot unicorn, who must race her way towards an endless goal, armed only with steady legs and a magical rainbow mane. On the way, you must jump over holes in the classic gaming fashion – you can double jump by tapping Z twice – and avoid large glass stars that attempt to obstruct you. Dashing through these stars provides you with a score bonus which is multiplied for every one you destroy in a row. Your score is also increased as you manage to catch floating butterfly fairies as you sprint through the gameworld. The game is pure simplicity, and that is why it is so fun! You don’t even need two hands to play, leaving you a spare hand to eat, drink, or clench a fist in excitement!

The greatest triumph of this game has got to be the soundtrack. I really don’t think I’ve ever played a flashgame that hasn’t got a horrendously repetitive musical accompaniment, especially games that have only one song on an endless loop. But in this instance, it is so far from the case. Ok, so it’s Erasure; not something you’ll ever find on my ipod (although I seek to rectify this now…). But somehow, in some way, this song is perfect. Maybe it’s the unapologetically cheesy lyrics; maybe it’s the heavenly combination of unicorns, fairies and the enchanting vocals of Andy Bell. Whatever the reason, I love this song. And I’m not alone! Check out all the covers that can be found on Youtube… I swear Erasure should pay AdultSwim for the renewed interest in their music that this game has undoubtedly generated.

Somehow I managed to achieve a score of 33170, with one particular single run of 21,770 (the overal score is calculated through a combination of 3 runs, or ‘3 wishes’). I was particularly proud but have little idea of how this happened. I’m pretty sure I spaced out and let my fingers do the thinking. Strategy at it’s finest.

The game consists of 45% magic, 25% joy and 30% whimsy. Just give it a go. You won’t stop playing. You won’t stop smiling. Do ittttt.

No, I’m not gay.

Originally written in April 12th 2010, for a gaming content writer competition

When it was announced that the N64 classic Perfect Dark was coming to Xbox Live Arcade, frequent demands were heard across the gaming community for the release of its predecessor, the nostalgia-filling Brosnan-Basher Goldeneye. However, it soon became very clear that Rare made the right decision.

Despite PD drawing very heavily from Goldeneye, it is patently a much more developed title. Graphically it was much sharper, with a greater attention to detail and palette of colours used, especially visible in some of the darker levels like Chicago Stealth, looking especially beautiful when rendered in full HD.

See the difference for yourself!

PD also had more sophisticated gameplay and importantly much more replay value, lending itself perfectly to XBLA. Not only is there an entertaining solo campaign – a captivating sci-fi story, free from the chains of cinematic realism – but a vast multiplayer system also. This includes standard co-op mode and a highly inventive ‘counter-op’ scenario in which one player assumes the role of enemy forces, constantly respawning as a different enemy attempting to foil Joanna Dark’s objectives.  Additionally, there are crowns to collect by completing a specific task in each level and 29 challenges to conquer, which can be played solo or multiplayer, pitting the players against AI simulants in various scenarios like the classic capture the flag (briefcase) or king of the hill.

Greasy Monsieur Brosnan

Obviously when compared to a successful contemporary FPS like MW2 the AI often appears illogical and outdated. However, this is completely forgivable when accepting  that PD was originally released 10 long years ago, coupled with the incredibly thorough multiplayer simulant AI list. The list is perhaps one of the most creative and memorable elements of the game, including 18 massively differing sim types, from standard difficulty alternatives to specialised bots that prey on the winning player or that will only attack using explosives.

All this, bundled up for a measly 1200 points? And never having to look at Mr Brosnan’s greasy mirkin hair? Yes please.