Posts Tagged ‘Platformer

29
Sep
09

Metroid: The Past

Most people have more than likely heard the name Metroid at some point – being one of Nintendo’s longer running series’, although perhaps not as successful as their other major titles, such as Mario and The Legend of Zelda. However, Metroid was possibly one of the most influential titles of it’s time, introducing a more free roaming, more mature style of platformer. It also introduced one of the world’s first gaming heroines – Samus Aran, a well respected bounty hunter that stormed the gaming world a full decade before Lara Croft appeared on the Playstation in 1996. As the first of a three part look at the series, today I will tell you a little about the roots of Metroid.

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The original Metroid was released on the NES in 1986, the same year as the first Zelda title. As well as the platforming and open world style common to Metroid, many other aspects of the title were introduced in the very first title, and carried on to the later games – concepts such as upgrades that improved Samus’ power as she progressed, but also allowed access to new areas in order to give the open world some restrictions and would guide the player around in a certain way without feeling linear or restrictive.

The original title also introduced enemies and bosses that remain consistent throughout the series, namely the Space Pirates, an alien band of miscreants, and their Commander, the dragon-like Ridley. Last but not least, the original of course introduced the series’ first Metroids – the most dangerous beings of them all. Somewhere between a jellyfish, a brain and a leech, the Metroid is a rather disturbing creature – hovering emotionlessly, the Metroid wants nothing more than to drain the life of it’s victim, has a nasty habit of multiplying, and is incredibly hard to kill.

a metroid

Metroid’s story, and its quality, has improved in stages over the years. Five years after Metroid came Metroid II: Return of Samus. Released on the Nintendo Game Boy, Metroid II was the first handheld title of the series, and was one of the most impressive handheld titles of it’s time – sporting graphics superior to the original home console version, and fluid controls, Metroid II found Samus hunting Metroids on a lonely planet called SR388.

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 This title was the first Metroid I ever played, and was what got me into Metroid in the first place. Metroid II kept most of the major functions from the original, and also introduced some new weapons, however it is one of the few games to focus solely on Metroids as bosses, in various evolutionary phases, as no Space Pirates or other aliens are involved. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, as it only helped enhance the cavernous feel to the empty depths of SR388.

In 1994, Metroid reached a new level with the coming of Super Metroid on the Super Nintendo. This title was the first to feature full colour graphics and improved on every aspect of the game – particularly the plot. Although the game continued to feel vast and open, Super Metroid saw the return of Ridley, and introduced perhaps one of the most useful features of all, a map. Whereas the older titles could feel confusing and hard to navigate, Super Metroid included a map that could be viewed on the fly, detailing not only the layout of the area, but save rooms and other places of interest. This feature would be implemented into all future titles, and was even mirrored in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night three years later, which was the first to implement a more Metroid style of gameplay and progression that would create the term “Metroidvania” which can be heard nowadays.

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Sadly, Super Metroid wasn’t really appreciated fully at the time of it’s initial release. Although considered one of Nintendo’s biggest classic titles, the initial trilogy sold fairly poorly and production was cancelled.

However, all that changed in 2002. Alongside the new GameCube title, Metroid Prime (more about this in my next post), the team that developed Super Metroid released an all new 2D Metroid for the Gameboy Advance. Entitled Metroid Fusion, the fourth Metroid title pitted Samus against a new threat, a parasitic lifeform known as X. After coming into contact with the viral lifeform, Samus becomes surgically bound to some of the core components of her Power Suit, creating the Fusion Suit.

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Fighting against both Metroids and this new threat, hunted by a powerful doppelganger known as SA-X, Metroid Fusion yet again improved upon the game’s design in almost every way. Fusion did incredibly well, being named Handheld Game of the Year at the 2002 Interactive Achievement Awards, and recieving high praise from many gaming sites, and sold over 1 million copies worldwide. This success saw the rebirth of the series and Metroid continued to develop.

In 2004, Nintendo released Metroid: Zero Mission, a remake of the original Metroid on the GBA with graphics that perhaps surpassed even that of Metroid Fusion, and incorporating features and abilities from the more recent titles, such as saving capability and a selection of different abilities such as crouching, hanging, speed-boost running and much more.

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They also expanded upon the game’s original plot, and even added an entirely new area to the game, including a section which, for the first time ever, allows you to play as Samus without her Power Suit for a more stealth-based chapter, dubbed “Zero Suit Samus” by Super Smash Bros Brawl, which incorporated this ‘naked’ version of the heroine as an alternate mode for her in the fighter series, which also turned a few heads in the process.  

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And thats as far as the 2D saga of Metroid has come to this date – I personally hope to see at least one more 2D Metroid in the future. But that’s not to say that Metroid ends there, oh no – the present has seen a change in Metroid’s style…

Stay tuned for Metroid: The Present, in the second of this three-part look at the series!

-Leon

17
Mar
09

Prince Of Persia (X360)

Should of done this review a while ago now. But hey ho as they say better late than never!

First off for the past couple of years I have to say the 3rd person game type has grown on me. The only thing that make me not love the game type from the start was a crappy ps1 3rd person shooter i played. It was part of the die hard trilogy and thats exactly what i did. I died HARD! Anyway so ever since my Leon introduce me to Devil may cry i have loved the genre ever since. (but will not go near that die hard game ever again)

So when  got Prince of persia for my birthday last month i was very pleased. The graphic style looked out standing (from the videos I’ve seen on various sites) and  the platforming look really good. Jumping into the game I could not help but look at the cell shaded graphics and go ‘wow’ I’m not a big cell shaded fan as it goes but POP does it fantastically. So I got stuck into the game, the game play I thought when i played was very simple. It was just about timing and stringing button taps together to get across the level. This i didn’t have a problem with. The combat though its not the key focus of the game is pretty decent. Each enemy has a health bar which you have to deplete with a flurry of attacks. Pretty standard really. Again all about timing and quite easy to get the hang of.

There are puzzles in the game. some were good noodle scratchers for me and i enjoyed them. Things like getting things into a certain sequence, etc defiantly varies the game play and were very enjoyable.

Back to the platforming, which is the main focus of the game. As i said before its all about stringing button taps and timing your moves so you don’t die. Well I say die and this is where POP kind of fails in game play in my opinion. If you unfortunately get your timing wrong or like me sometimes panic hit the wrong button and mess up what you are doing, you will most defiantly fall. But you will get saved by Elika. Who follows you around as you play aiding you. Now i could understand if the saving you took you back to a check point or a start of a room. But the saving just takes you back to the start of the jump or wall run you were doing, to me it just feels like i am cheating the game and makes it far to easy. She even saves you during combat so you can’t die there either. Other than that big bomb shell the game flows beautifully i find it very satisfying mixing all these platforming moves together without stopping. Makes me feel, well….awesome :p

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The story is simple but effective. You the prince have stumbled into the middle of a escape by a princess (Elika) toy save her just because you can then you learn that her father  is controlling a dark power and is taking over the kingdom of light. As i say simple but effective. The aim of the game is to turn all the dark sectors in the kingdom into light therefore restoring the kingdom. The story between elika and the prince is about as surprising as ice cream melting in the sun. They don’t know each other then they do know each other and oh look they love each other aww. Basically it typical Star Wars love line. “you are a woman, i am a man, are we in love now? yes!” but hey its not exactly a bad thing its just predictable.

Well all in all prince of ersia is a good game. Its a real damn shame about the constant saving my elika otherwise this could be an awesome game. It has potencial but i still feel like i am cheating the game everytime i supposidly fail.

score: 7 out of 10

07
Jan
09

Mirrors Edge (X360)

For me the First perspective in games is one of my favourites. From a young age I was playing First person shooters with my dad on the pc. So I have grown up with and experienced my fair share of first person games.

Mirrors Edge takes the first person perspective to a new level in gaming. A first person platformer I think is an awesome concept, this game has taken the concept and made it into an exciting and fresh gaming experience.

The second you set your eyes on the flawless city landscape your breath is taken away. The metropolis you are going to be running through looks flawless and clean. The use of bright colours and slight visual effects when you are running makes the visual side of this game a fresh new and breath taking experience. Dice have nailed the visuals in this game. So if you have a nasty fear of heights, be warned.

If you have not experienced vertigo, then play mirrors edge.

If you have not experienced vertigo, then play mirrors edge.

The game play it self is straight forward with the use of only four buttons. One for jumping/high movement, one for crouching/low movements one for interacting with switches etc and the all important attack button (and of course not to mention the analogue sticks for movement and looking). This straight forward control system is good for anybody to pick up and play, but the real skill is when it comes to the timing of your movements and keeping the flow of play going.

The game plays well, once you have the momentum going you feel unstoppable but it doesn’t last long and is stopped by either not knowing where to go next or an enemy with a gun hailing you with bullets. Which can be frustrating, many times I have had to start a section again because I have been over run by the enemy, or have had to take the trial and error approach when it came down to figuring out where to go next. But with all that said by the time you want to go through the game again (and believe me you will) you will have a greater chance of getting your momentum going and experiencing the true feel of the game.

The use of weapons in the game is fairly spaced and simple, which is good because this is no way by any means a shooting game but the inclusion of guns do help when you want to get out of sticky situations.

The story is simple and solid, you do feel compassion for the main character. But what this game does lack is good cut scenes. The cut scenes are cartoon based and feel very out of place with the graphical genius of the game play. The cut scenes and the game play don’t merge together well. But don’t let that change your mind because what the game lacks in cut scenes it makes up for in game play.

The online race and time trial modes are a great way for you to show off your moves and keep the game flowing well. With you racing against the clock it brings a great element to the game when you are done with the campaign mode.

So to sum up. Mirrors edge combines plat forming and the first person perspective well, making a great gaming experience. Even though the enemies feel cheap from time to time and the cut scenes aren’t that hot. It is defiantly worth playing.

Score: 7.5 out of 10