Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Indie Survival-Horror: Darkwood

Holy mackerel! I just watched the pre-alpha gameplay trailer for Darkwood and I am soooo pumped for it! Acid Wizard Studio have been developing a top-down, roguelike game for the PC which is set to be put out through Steam... provided it's Greenlight'd. Which I hope it is!

I think this will be a game worth playing, given its unique game play. Despite it being top-down, the atmosphere is dark and creepy, which is helped in part by the ambient weather sounds and the lighting that I think looks great.
The game play itself is also noteworthy as the world is procedurally generated, the ability to craft items, construct and reinforce barriers, a skills system, exploration! It almost feels like as if a proper game were made of Evil Dead, with some RPG components thrown in. And it holds no punches either, with its permadeath and lack of "hand holding", as they put it. Just throws you in to a survival-horro type situation in which you have learn and adapt for yourself. I think that will potentially be great, especially for this sort of thing they're going for.
I think this game has real potential, so be sure to check out their website below, watch the trailer (also below), give it a vote in Steam's Greenlight section, and so forth.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Retro: Full Moon Rising!

First off, I'd like to start by saying thank you!
It's been an absolute privilege to interact and speak with all of you video game enthusiasts and fellow bloggers about gaming, and just random things in general through Google+, Youtube, and also by email. Writing this blog and the Youtube'ing has turned out to be a very enjoyable opportunity and I have you all to thank for making it that much better, so again, thank you!

But enough of that... It is my great privilege today to tell you all about Full Moon Rising! :D
And this sums up your mission in the game.

This has to be one of the most excellent, albeit short, throw-back titles I've gotten to play of late. Really top-notch. Developed by the Drunken Devs group, whose site is linked via the above picture, Full Moon Rising is definitely a well-crafted game. It's free, pretty basic, and short, but what makes it truly excellent is the charming, retro-style graphics and the goal of the game itself.

That goal, as you might have deducted from the above picture is to "baste the notch" of your in-game girlfriend, as they put it. In order to get laid, you must satisfy your girlfriend's weird furry fetish by acquiring a "moon piece" and becoming a werewolf. This is done by traversing to the other side of town while avoiding dangerous hobos and electric eels, stealing the moon piece from a vampire hunter (which probably isn't the best idea), and making it back to your dear Victoria. It ends with an awesome boss fight and an even more awesome ending, which I won't spoil. It won't quite be what you expect, though. ;]

The game itself is pretty standard old-school platforming. As a human, you have no attack and must avoid all baddies. As the werewolf, you get a rushing-forward attack where you eat your enemies that get in your way which I admit, feels pretty good given the hard time they give you as a human.
Another Drunk Dev game. :]

Aside from this, the Drunken Devs have other games which are definitely worth trying, which are a bit of a riot. I also really liked their Destroy The Porn game, and they have others. Also worth mentioning is that they actually have a section for giving them ideas for games, which I think is a pretty neat idea. These guys definitely deserve some kudos!

Anyway, thanks for reading, all!
It's been a real pleasure so far. ;]

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Retro Odyssey - Jikkyo Oshaberi Parodius

Now this is a particularly interesting title.. Jikkyo Oshaberi Parodius is a side-scrolling shooter type game for the Super Famicom, much like the famous title Gradius. It plays very similarly, but Jikkyo is a bit more... unique? That doesn't even properly describe it. Jikkyo is downright strange, and absurd, but in a very excellent way. I wish I knew more Japanese so that I'd know some of what is going on, but then I have my doubts if that'd even help. It's just so off the wall! What were you all smoking, Konami?
My first major "WTF"-moment in the game...

This odd-ball game certainly has its charm, being a parody of other arcade shooters, most notably of Gradius. Its cast of characters as well are equally charming, but strange. From the selection screen, you have your choice of sixteen characters, ranging from baseball cap-wearing octopi, to penguins, paper planes, fairies and so forth, and they all each are given their own style of attacks and techniques. I personally like being the cat and bombing space-chickens with my mousey-bombs.
The Colorful Cast
As I said before, the game plays fairly well, much like a number of old-school arcade shooters from back in the day. The impressive size of the cast makes for differing play through experiences as they all get their own abilities and upgrades. The upgrades are picked up from shot-down enemies, which is a standard feature, and also from the bells that come onto the screen which give you varying effects.
In addition to the strange cast, there is also a large amount of equally strange and random baddies, ranging from dancing, wig-wearing penguins, to chicken leg-throwing Santas, hula-hooping monkeys, and the list continues. And the bosses are no different in their bizarreness.
Uhm... er... Shall I come back later, ma'am?
One last final thing I should warn you about is the sound and music. Keeping to the running motif, it too is rather "off the beaten path". Throughout this particular title, there is a running in-game commentary in Japanese, much like you'd hear in a Japanese game show, which I've read is where the game gets it's name-sake. The music itself are parodied remixes of more popular songs, ranging from 70s disco to more popular tunes, and even classical.
The characters, the baddies, the settings themselves, and the sound all work together to make a really excellent, albeit, an odd Super Famicom title. Overall, I liked it and I recommend it to anyone in a funny mood. Aside from this one, there are more of these games, a popular one being made for the PSX by the name of Jikkyo Oshaberi Parodius: Forever With Me.

Below you can see me be decimated by drum sticks and penguins. Think you can do better? Let's see it, Starbuck! :P

Friday, April 5, 2013

Lucas Arts - The End of an Age

Now I'm sure most of you have already heard by now, but Disney has closed the doors to Lucas Arts and laid 150 people off at the studio. I didn't believe it at first when I found out. I happened across an article at Business Insider, looking for an article to supplement an economics assignment. Essentially, it wasn't something I was looking for and certainly not expecting. And my fears were only further confirmed after seeing all the Google+ and Facebook posts about it.
End-game screen that gets me right in the nostalgia.

Honestly, it kinda depressed me. Game companies rise and fall all the time, but this is different. I mean, I know that they'll still exist as a licensing entity, but it won't ever be the same. Especially if Disney decides to whore out to some less desirable gaming companies. (A new Full Throttle with micro-transactions is the stuff of nightmares, my friends...) Regardless, it's like Mickey Mouse himself has taken a giant-ass, mouse turd over a very dear part of my childhood.
Why! Why!?!
Something that didn't make sense to me though, is both the cancellation of Star Wars 1313 and also the underlying reason given by Disney's conversion to a licensing format for Lucas Arts. They said in their statement that, "we've decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company's risk." Risk? Risk!? Anything "Star Wars" sells. Of all things, what was the risk in Star Wars 1313? It was my understanding it was coming near to fruition, and everyone I knew was so hyped for it, myself included!

Even though it's been quite some time since Lucas Arts' golden age, the closure of the studio hits me right in the childhood. I grew up with all the classics, with my particular favorites probably being the Monkey Island series. Day of the Tentacle and Sam and Max: Hit the Road too are both ones that I enjoy replaying on occasion. And also Full Throttle. And The Dig. And Indiana Jones. Screw it, they were all good back in the day!
Guybrush to honor the lactose-intolerant volcano-god.
I encourage you all, in honor of Lucas Arts' contributions to gaming society, to pop in maybe Grim Fandango or something. As a sort of "moment of silence", memorial-type of thing. And then go give Mickey Mouse a big ol' middle finger for taking Star Wars 1313 from us, and canning all those good people at Lucas Arts. It's a sad thing to see happen, to be sure.

I made a short little good-bye video to Lucas Arts, so be sure to check it out.
Peace out guys, and stay strong! Don't let Disney see you cry.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Final Fantasy 7... for the NES?

(Article originally posted at FPSX Games as a guest piece, so be sure to check them out.)

That's right, I said it. Final Fantasy 7 for the NES. Or the Chinese-made, knock-off system, the SUBOR rather. It's none-the-less playable on the NES through an adapter, but I digress..

We all know and love this monumentally epic gaming experience, first released on the Playstation by Square (back when they were just Square, as opposed to the Square Enix of today). It had everything; gorgeously beautiful polygons, an epic story with all the feels, and a fantastic battle-system and game play. It was and is to this day a great addition to anyone's gaming library. Since its release, more than 10 million copies have been sold, and it has been elevated to a high status as a paragon of games.

I'd laugh and say you were lying if you've never heard of Final Fantasy 7, assuming you the reader are at least minimally a gamer or just slightly nerdy. I dare say no game has had nearly as long lasting and significant an influence on all of Nerd-dom. You can see it in the games that succeeded it, in our conventions and cosplaying, in comics and mangas (and by extension, hentai.... (rule 34! :O)), the merch still comes in droves, and there have even been a number of spin-off movies and games!
Geez, what a bad-ass!
What is little known though, is that there was the unlicensed port of Final Fantasy 7 that I mentioned previously. Developed in the early 2000's, this was developed for the Chinese's SUBOR which was essentially an NES or Famicom gaming system. After this, an English patch was developed for this which is how I played and was able to follow along. But anyways, unlicensed or no, this was a huge feat for the team of developers.

Some liberties had to be taken, however, given the restrictions of the hardware involved. One of these liberties taken was the shedding of some of the optional missions and characters. Also, the battle system was changed to be more like the Final Fantasy's of old. Aside that, this was pretty much the whole kit and kaboodle, with the original story very faithfully followed.
You're so pretty, Miss Cloud!

I thoroughly enjoyed this and my criticisms are few. The biggest problem I had were with the battles themselves. I'm not sure if it was just me, but they seemed a lot longer and drawn out than say a typical old-school Final Fantasy battle, or also a battle in the Playstation Final Fantasy 7. I usually get some amount of satisfaction out of the battles provided I'm not just in grind-mode, but the battles got to be almost horrendous. Just trying to get to the next area, I wanted to pull out my hair!

The only other major problem I had was the mishaps that occurred translating the original Final Fantasy 7 story with all the cut-scenes and luscious visuals, over to the NES-esque format which had cut-scenes reduced to pure dialogue and sprites moving minimally. This is particularly apparent and egregious once you meet up with Aeris in the church. It was hard to follow what exactly was going on without the full visuals and the action of the original cut-scene. Especially if it's been literally years since picking up and playing the original game.

Aside from that, it was a pretty enjoyable experience, and it was really neat and impressive. I recommend tracking it down for yourself to at least try it out. If anything, it's quite a marvel of skill on the part of the Chinese development team, and deserves some pretty hefty kudos.
Below is a short video I made to complement this article visually and give you a brief look at the "NES Final Fantasy 7".

Happy Zombie-Jesus Day!!
Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Retro Challenge: Ghouls 'n Ghosts (#1)

So I'm sure a fair few of you are familiar with the classic Ghosts 'n Goblins series. This blisteringly difficult set of games has confounded and frustrated many a gamer in its day. I have been one of those many gamers never able to see the ending.
Now if you missed this (did you never set foot in an arcade?) or those too young, the original arcade Ghosts 'n Goblins featured Sir Arthur, a knight, in his quest to reclaim his princess from the clutches of the Demon King. With your trusty lance, you have to make your way six punishing levels, defeat the Demon King, and then play through the entire game on a harder difficulty in order to get to the real final battle and get the true ending. What makes all this even harder, you can only be hit twice and then you die, easy as that. THIS was one of a number of classic games that will forever be a true achievement in gaming, if completed. Think you're such a hot-shot with your easily obtained XBOX "achievements"? Play this game, I dare you!
Flying-ass, monkey-dude! I curse you!
Ghouls 'n Ghosts is much the same affair, not surprisingly as it's the direct sequel, but with gorgeous SNES-era visuals and effects, there's more weapons and items, and has some great tracks. Much like the previous one, you don't simply beat the game by going through the six levels. Once you get to the end of stage five, you're informed you need a specific weapon to defeat the Demon King, so you're sent back to level one and during your way back up to level five you are supposed to find the specified item which will be a random drop, then once you have that, you defeat the stage five boss and proceed to the end stage.
Those damned dogs!
Many years later, I've picked up Ghouls 'n Ghosts with the intentions of finally wiping that smirk off the Demon King's face. So far, I've seen lots of deaths and game overs, but I will persevere!
I challenge you readers to do this for yourselves as well, but remember! Pics or it didn't happen! Good luck! :]
Wish me luck too...? :S
You'll see that I in fact need it......

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Retro Classic: Ghost Chaser Densei

This particular title is probably one of the more obscure beat-em'-up titles released for the Super Famicom, but a worthy addition to its library of games. Though I cannot read Japanese or find anything at all about the plot, it really isn't all that necessary. It's a beat-em'-up after all. Story isn't all that necessary. I just wish I knew why the name? Playing through, there is an obvious and utter lack of ghosts, specters, and phantoms. But I digress...

As I said, it's a Japanese, "beat the tar out of everything" type affair that is a solid, competent title. In the game, you have your choice of three characters. The first I tried out was the robot character, Belva. He plays pretty decently, and packs a punch. The trade-off is that he's kind of sluggish as a character. Makai, the human male martial artist, is the middle ground character while Iyo, the cat-lady, is fast and agile. As you would expect a feline-esque character to be. They also all have their own special sets of moves and special techniques, blocks, and a power bar system that comes into play as well.
You play through some pretty typical sets of stages, with crates and semi-destructible environs, an end-stage boss, yada yada yada. The kind of stuff you'd expect from a brawler. There's also quite the cast of baddies to beat down, ranging from mermen, to obese cyborgs and robots, failed experiments, and so forth. While this wasn't a trend-setter, off-the-beaten path game, it was an enjoyable experience. Certainly with a try. :]
Below can be found some game play, so you can see its excellence. :P