Well, it's finally here.The stretch run of this blog to the finish line. One full year of playing a new game every day, a different game each day, and then writing about my experience with each game. I have tried over the past year to branch out and write about wide range and broad spectrum of games, because while the dedication and commitment to this blog project has been for myself, the journey and the content I have provided the entire way has always been for you, the readers.
Because of my dedication to provide interesting and non-repetitive content on a daily basis, I have done my very best to not just play and write about games that I like, or my favorites. This has meant I have held back on flooding this blog with Mario games, because while the Super Mario franchise might be my all time favorite of all things video game related, I know they aren't for everyone. Sure, I have sprinkled in Mario games throughout the year, but never more extensively than needed.
But that's all about to change. For the final 12 days of this blog project, I am going to do what I want to do, for me and my own sanity. I am going to present to you, the readers, the gift of Mario for 12 straight days. If you're sitting there grumbling to yourself about this notion, allow me to point out that at one point a few months ago, I was actually considering making the entire month of December a month long celebration of Mario. Unfortunately (but maybe thankfully for you), my favorite pizza guy, Bill aka @Slaterific, talked me out of my Mario insanity, and so, I made some adjustments to the plan.
Given there were plenty of Mario games to fill an entire month, I still felt like Mario should be given his just due. So a few months back, I did a Week Of Mario spin-off titles, to get them out of the way, because I felt Mario did deserve the respect to have his various, multiple spin-off titles recognized for their not only success, but quality as well. And with them out of the way, this paved the path to allow me to spend the final 12 days of My Year of Gaming playing and writing about the Super Mario platformers, and all their glory.
With that, let's start out with the only Mario platformer to grace the Super Nintendo platformer, which easily helped sell the system right off the bat as an included game with the system at launch, and truly showed off how expansive and unique a Mario game could be. It also introduced the lovable green dinosaur, Yoshi, as a companion to Mario, while bringing the entire franchise many new ideas and mechanics that are still found in Mario games today.
Of course I'm talking about Super Mario World, which is still regarded as the favorite Mario game for many people after all these years. Quite a remarkable feat for 16-bit platformer, I should point out.
I remember getting this game when I first got my Super Nintendo system, which was about year or so after it first came out. My cousin first had, so I was familiar with it, so the by the time I got it, I knew what it was all about. Regardless of when I got it, though, I still played Super Mario World like it was my first time. As much as I loved Super Mario Bros. 3, which was and still is one of my favorite games of all time, Super Mario World took my imagination, and Mario himself, into places I didn't know existed.
The established set pieces for the franchise were already well in place, but Super Mario World took the blueprints and made them its own. They created an entirely new map, and essentially a new world called Dinosaur Land, they added new enemies to stomp and lands to explore, new power-ups like the cape feather, and a new companion, Yoshi.
Using the cape feather is trickier than I remember, but once you get the hang of it, it can be quite useful. Regardless of how useful it is, though, I still can't say I'm fond of it. On one hand, it's almost game breaking, as you could essentially fly unharmed through an entire level. On the other hand, it's tricky and cumbersome to use, and while the noise it makes is iconic, I find it quite annoying after a while. Sure, I used the feather when necessary, but only because I had to, not because I wanted to.
Yoshi, however, is a blast to use. Running around and gobbling up both enemies and fruits hanging in the bushes in the background is as enjoyable as you might think, and while he is extremely useful in-game, I really enjoy the challenge of trying to keep him with me, as once hit, you fall off and it takes off running in the opposite direction. Half the time you're doing everything you can to avoid being hit, and the rest of the time is spent chasing the errant-running green dinosaur.
Overall, this game is an absolute classic, and firmly put Mario on top of the mountain for the video game industry. Unfortunately, his reign would be short lived as he would be knocked off his perch for a moment or two in time, thanks in part to not having a true game of his own on a home consoles for several years. Fortunately, however, his next game would revolutionize the entire industry.
Metroid was an incredibly revolutionary game for it's time. With that being said, Metroid II took the formula already laid out before it, and added to it, with the inclusion of a save system, finally. In the original game, players couldn't save their game, instead using the infamous NES style of save points: passwords. Typing in passwords before you started the game would take you to specific points in the game, allowing you to actually turn off your system every now and then.
Looking back on it, it's remarkable so many of the old NES systems still work, and work well, especially considering how long those consoles were usually left on in the middle of game play sessions, you know, when us kids had to go to school and bed and all that not-so-fun stuff. Sure, I guess those machines weren't running anything very heavy duty or heat-producing parts, but still, electronics are pretty sensitive as a whole. Constant power, spit and saliva blown into the machines and the game cartridges and overall misuse and abuse of them should have destroyed way more of them then actually did.
Anyway, so the save system of passwords sucked in Metroid, but was refined in Metroid II to a more normal, sufficiently adequate save system. Of course, this eliminated the possibility of the "JUSTIN BAILEY" code, which I honestly knew nothing about until a couple of months ago, thanks to my buddy Tanner, who apparently thought that every human on the planet knew of the JUSTIN BAILEY code. Despite Metroid II being a nice step up in the franchise, however, I decided to skip it in favor of one of the most highly regarded video games of all time, Super Metroid, on the SNES.
The game continued the same Metroid-style of gameplay as before, but with the upgraded visual graphics of the new console, the game felt fresher and more awesome than ever before. Sorry for the "awesome" reference, but I just couldn't think of another word to describe the game and experience as I was typing other than "awesome." There's a little fourth wall, behind the curtain writing for you also.
Sure, Super Metroid looked great, and Samus was now donning the suit everyone associates with her (which was established in II, but not fully appreciated until this game), but this game was far more important and interesting than just the graphics. They story itself was fascinating, as it captivated the minds and imaginations of gamers of all ages. The previous stories were suitable, and did a decent job establishing a new character and universe, but Super Metroid went above and beyond to ensure that this character and her story would be around for as long as possible. It cemented its place among the Nintendo franchises as one of the best and most memorable, and for everyone who loves the series, it usually always points back to Super Metroid.
Being a bounty hunter is cool, and always has been since Boba Fett. Fighting space pirates, especially when the boss of them is a pterodactyl-dragon hybrid creature. Harnessing the power of an alien larva that thinks you are its mom is a little weird, sure. But then you get to the final battle and ending of the game, and suddenly, gaming memories that will last forever happen.
You encounter Mother Brain, a biomechanical creature that is, of course, in control of base. It's not called Mother Brain for nothing, you know. Anyway, Mother Brain pushes Samus to the brink of death, only to be attacked by the Metroid you shared a connection with. After destroying almost the entire population of Metroids in the last game, the fact the last of the species that you committed genocide against is helping you was a plot twist like none other. After draining Mother Brain of its energy and transferring it to Samus, Mother Brain recovers just enough to kill the last Metroid. Samus, of course, uses the harnessed energy she was just given to finally destroy Mother Brain, and then narrowly escapes the self destruction of the entire planet.
Just sitting there playing and watching this all play out was incredible back then, and even now, is still as powerful as ever. Oh crap, and I forgot to mention something:
******************* SPOILER ALERT!!! *******************
Whoops, sorry about that. But honestly, if you haven't played this game yet and experienced one of the best endings of a video game ever, what is wrong with you? Go find a way to play it now. Even if you already know what happened, it's just one of those gaming moments you will want to keep with you in your memory bank, trust me.
I know I've talked about it before, but sometimes, I just want to be apart of the conversation, whatever the conversation is regarding video games. I may not have a lot of interest in whatever topic or game is being talked about, but I still like to know the ins and outs, the details and the points/counterpoints of the conversation.
I live my life like this on a daily basis, not just in regards to video games. I'm an information sponge, and want to know all I can about whatever I can. Sure, sometimes I feel like I absorb too much information, but that's just the nature of the beast. I blame my journalistic background, although one could argue that my natural inquisitive thirst for knowledge led me to journalism in the first place.
Tomatoes, tomatoes, I say.
Anyway, EarthBound is one of those games I have always heard of, but never knew anything about. When playing Smash Bros, I seemed to figure out that Ness (and later Lucas, also) was from the EarthBound series,but that's as far as my knowledge took me. I didn't get the moves, the level based around the game, or anything about anything, really. But I knew of it, and that's all that mattered. Because EarthBound is incredibly hard to find in it's original SNES form these days, and I never had the chance to play it as a kid, my desire to know anything about the game never turned into anything more. Why care about something or invest time into researching something that meant nothing to me? No one was talking about the game, other than hopeful fans clamoring for it's US re-release on a Virtual Console, so without a discussion to be apart of, I had no business worrying about it.
That is, until Nintendo shockingly and unexpectedly announced that they would be releasing EarthBound on the Virtual Console for the Wii U. And naturally, the Internet blew up. Finally, after an eternity of waiting, fans would be getting a true version of the game they probably missed out on in the first place. And because the Internet blew up, I had to know exactly what all the commotion was all about.
So when the game was released, I downloaded it immediately. It was only ten bucks, but according to the Internet, it was well worth the money for one of the most highly regarded and almost unanimously best RPG games for the Super Nintendo, ever. After I downloaded it, there it say. Because in all honesty, RPGs are not my cup of tea, especially in this crazy year of gaming. My game time is at a premium, and being able to invest serious time into an RPG - despite how good it is - just isn't something I could conceivably do. Especially for such an old game. You know, the new hotness in video games always seems to take precedent in time investment, for me.
Well, I finally got around to playing it, mainly because I wanted to make absolutely sure I got it into this year of gaming blog, because of the crazy whirlwind of conversation the release of this game caused. And while I enjoyed what I played, I just didn't get far enough into it to see all the charm that supposedly makes this game amazing. Sure, the writing was great, and how they set up the whole game and storyline was fantastic, but I just didn't sink enough time into EarthBound to fully gauge how much I will eventually like this game.
So far, it's okay as it sounds now, and I would like to eventually get through it. I know I've said that many times before over the course of this year, but I really would like to. I want to experience the admiration the Internet seems to have for this game in the same light. Thankfully, now I can. I can finally be apart of the conversation. It's just a matter of doing it of course.
I don't think I have done this yet on the blog this year, although I have wanted to for quite some time now. It's a shame that it took this long to give it a shot, because if it's something that you, the readers, seem to enjoy, I would have loved to do it more often. I didn't play just one game for the blog, but instead two, as a way to get a couple different perspectives on a franchise for two really different games, both of which I enjoy playing for different reasons. I don't want to do a comparison and try to determine which game is better or more fun to play, as I did with the two baseball games that came out this year, but just hold both games up and put them under their own spotlights. I just want to do it in a one-day span, to drive home the point I am making about both of them.
This all came about because I finally sat down and planned out the rest of the year for this blog. That's right, you heard me correctly. I actually decided to put some planning in to this stupid thing and stop winging it like I have done for the better portion of ten months now. With the end of the year approaching quickly, and two new game systems coming out in a mere weeks, I wanted to make a battle plan for how I could finish off this year of gaming strong. I didn't want to limp to the finish line, as good as that sounds, but really drive home the fact that I am less than two months away from this once seemingly impossible goal.
Because of my planning and scheduling, I realized that I have way more games to write about than I do days left in the year. This isn't a bad problem to have, as I once worried about finding enough to fill the year. However, since I am not ready to reveal what will happen to TheNoyse.com after December 31st, 2013, I don't want to just allude to the possibility of something, if anything, continuing after this year is over. And because of that, I want to try and get all the games in that I want to write about, if possible, while still keeping to my schedule that I have planned out as of now. Again, if you know me or anything about this blog, you will know that I'm quite likely to change things on a whim, go against the master plan and throw you all curve balls when I feel necessary.
So with that, I present to a double feature, as I write about both X-Men Arcade, and X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse.
First up is X-Men Arcade, which I played on the PSN for this blog, but am far more familiar with it as being an actual arcade game. I picked up the game on sale from the PSN store several months back, for a couple of bucks, hoping to recapture the nostalgic feeling and fond memories of button mashing next to strangers and friends alike in the arcade, all huddled around this game.
Thankfully, the digital version didn't disappoint on the good feelings aspect, as they didn't really change anything about the game. They didn't add new enemies or stages or characters, they just left it alone for all the fans to enjoy. Sure, they put some poilish on it, but not enough to ever confuse you into thinking you were playing an updated or remastered version of the game. Everything you remember loving about the game is still fully in effect on this version.
For me, playing this game in arcades was an absolute must. If the arcade I was in had it, I would be playing it, whether that meant waiting in line with friends or jumping in to an already started game with complete strangers, I was playing it. As you know, I'm usually not a multiplayer type of gamer, but once you step foot into an arcade, all gaming habits you may have fall to the wayside, as you just get lost in the musty smell, the sounds of machines racking up high scores and quarter machines spitting out change, and the sights of people just like you, all there for the same reason. To play games and have fun.
This game is meant to be just played and enjoyed. It's the truest form of button mashing imaginable, and because strategy takes a back seat to simplistic game play, you don't have to know, or even get along with, the people you are playing with to conquer the game. The X-Men characters to choose from offer a nice variety of choices to a broad range of fans, so everyone fighting for one character isn't common, as most people are just happy to play, regardless of who they are controlling.
There is a video game arcade and bar that I have been to a few times, and wrote about a time or two on this very blog, and every time I am there, the crowd around the X-Men Arcade machine is one of the biggest in the building. It's even comparable to the line at the bar and the restrooms, which says a lot. I always try to get in on a game when I go, and never hesitate about joining in on someone else's game.
Playing X-Men Arcade on the PS3 was fun, but lonely, It made me want to run down to the arcade and drop in a few quarters. I guess it's nice to have on hand whenever I feel like beating a game in about a half of an hour, but for the most part, it's just an awesome reminder of how far video games have come in society. We used to game with friends by our side, now we do it across the ocean via the Internet. It isn't a bad thing, it's just a thing.
I also played X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse for this X-Men double header. I chose this game because playing Arcade made me think of how well single-player X-Men games can be. Honestly, I don't know how critically acclaimed Mutant Apocalypse is or was, but for me, it's always the first or second game I think of when talking about the X-Men franchise. So I hooked up my Super Nintendo and fired up this game, taking me back to a different part of my life as a gamer.
As a kid, I didn't have many friends. Sure, I had lots of buddies at school and people I referred to as friends then, but looking back, they were more acquaintances than anything. I had a couple of good friends though, but unfortunately, circumstances pushed them both out of my life. Before all that happened though, I mainly hung out wiht my cousins and their friends when I felt like being around people. When I was craving me time, I would bunker down in my room and game. One of the games I dumped several hours into was X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse.
It was a great single player game, as you would pick from one of five characters, play their level, and then go on to the next character and stage. Eventually you'd beat the game, playing all the different characters and mastering all of their abilities and play styles. It felt like teamwork, playing all of them individually, but without all the social awkwardness of my childhood.
Sure, Wolverine was by far the best character, as it was so fun to just run through and slash your way past everyone. But personally, my favorite was Gambit, with his staff for melee combat, kinetic energy and card throwing capabilities. He just seemed like the outcast in the group, resembling how I felt a lot of my childhood. It was because of his appearance in this game that I decided he was one of my favorite X-Men characters, if not my overall favorite.
Unfortunately, Marvel hasn't done much with the character as far as mainstream media is concerned, but I'mm holding out hope that one day he will step out of the shadows as being a secondary, often forgot about character and actually develop a wider fan base. A lonely kid could hope, right?
Anyway, playing this game again drummed up some unexpected memories and feelings from my childhood, but there was a silver lining. It made me realize that just because I choose not game very often online with other people, doesn't make me less of a gamer. I'm just a different kind of gamer. One who appreciates the solitude and quietness of enjoying games solo, and getting lost in them, sometimes even escaping from whatever ales me in this world and enjoying the world I'm playing in, where I've been given the ability to be who I want.
Death is one of the most emotional things to deal with for human race, as our conscious thoughts and our ability to love, care for and admire others in our species sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. It effects everyone in different ways as well, and depending on different beliefs or faiths, can have very different impacts. There can be an entire gamete of emotions ran, ranging from sadness and grief, to guilt, stress, relief and everything in between. It marks the finality of life, giving those affected a chance to look back and reflect on the life that was lived.
I really didn't want to get too sappy or emotional with this blog post, as it is an unique one to write, but one I feel is still important, considering how close it hit to home, not just for this blog, but myself as well. There was a death, and while it wasn't anyone I knew personally, it was still some who had a major impact in my life indirectly. I feel like it is the only appropriate thing to do, as an expression of respect and admiration I have.
Hiroshi Yamauchi, former President of Nintendo and majority owner of the Seattle Mariners baseball organization, passed away at the age of 85. He took the position of President of Nintendo back in 1949, and was responsible for taking the company into electronics market and eventually to the top of the mountain in the video game legacy. Also, when became majority owner of the Mariners, the team was dangerously close to moving to Florida, but with his backing and support, they stayed in the great city of Seattle.
My childhood, among other things, revolved around Nintendo (as you should know by now) and the Mariners, as Ken Griffey, Jr. was my all-time favorite athlete ever, despite living in Southern California most of my childhood. With that, I figured the only appropriate game to play for this blog entry was Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball, for the Super Nintendo. It was easily one of my most-played games as a kid, as I dumped in countless hours to it, playing season after season. Next to Tecmo Bowl, I can't think of a sports game that I put more time into, ever. That's how much I liked this game.
Aside from the fact it feature my favorite athlete of all time in the game, it was actually a really fun game. Because they didn't have a licensing agreement with the players, they couldn't use anyone's real name other than Griffey, so the rest of the league was made up of rosters featuring fictitious characters. I always sensed that the developers had a little bit of fun when coming up with the names, but looking at the Wikipedia page for the game, I realize that they had a lot more fun than I could have ever imagined. This made going back and playing a few games all that much more entertaining.
The game itself is a classic, at least in my eyes. But far more than that, it represents a couple different severely important aspects of my childhood. I was just one of millions and millions of kids that Mr. Yamauchi affected in the best possible way over the years. And I couldn't thank him more for that.
For more on the life and legacy of Hiroshi Yamauchi, IGN.com did a great feature piece. Check it out here.
Well, first thing's first. This game isn't exactly depicting Mario in one of his many other careers, but I still feel that it was such a drastic turn in the Mario universe that it was worth finding a spot here in this Curious Week Of Mario. For the most part, standard Mario games all followed the same formula. Sure, as I have already documented this week, Mario has been involved with other genres of games, but as far as "Mario games," this one was unique in almost every aspect.
Before the big, dramatic rise to the top for RPGs, Square Enix took a stab at creating an original RPG for Nintendo, using Mario and his friends from the Mushroom Kingdom in a way that no one had ever played, or thought about playing as Mario before. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars truly showed off how universal Mario, the character, really was.
While there was never any direct sequels to this game, many regard it as being directly responsible for the the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi franchises, which is flat out awesome. It's not that this game wasn't good or wasn't a success, but with Square Enix (just Square back then) choosing to go elsewhere, Nintendo was handcuffed and not able to move this game into a franchise. Oh well, at least we got one awesome game out of it, right?
And yes, this game is awesome. Look, I'm not an RPG kind of guy. I don't hate them, I just never found much time to get really deep and committed to them. But, if you couldn't tell, I am a sucker for all things Mario, and as a kid, this game used that angle to welcome me to the realm of RPGs. Having a team of characters that you were already familiar with was awesome, and finally having a different enemy for Mario and company to battle was a refreshing twist to the franchise.
Playing this again, I really enjoyed the story telling the most. Sure, the game play is good and works just like it should, and having the cross-over between RPG and platforming worked well. But having a legit storyline in a Mario game was fascinating, as it seemed to open up the mysterious world of the Mushroom Kingdom a lot more than ever before. And that's what a real RPG is all about - telling a great story. ALl too often this seems to be forgotten, but thankfully, this game did it well.
I wish I still had this on Super Nintendo, but playing it on the Wii Virtual Console worked well enough. Actually, if you want a fun fact that might come up in a trivia question one day,
Well, count this as another weird form of inspiration. I didn't plan on playing this game at all. In fact, it wasn't even close to being on my radar. But then I saw a buddy of mine on Twitter talking about playing Mario Kart 64 with his young son, and well, I got that itch to play an old Mario Kart game. That, combined with thinking about how I hate most racing games with the exception of the Mario Kart series thanks to my playing of Need for Speed Carbon the other day, equaled this game having to happen now.
I simply adore Super Mario Kart. I have sunk more hours into this game than any other game in the series, easily. It's not like it was a super deep game, or had tons of unlockables or anything like newer games have, but back then, as a kid, it was the end all to be all for racing games. My friends and I would play relentlessly, usually focusing on being the absolute king of the kart, which would involved placing first in the entire cup of our choice. Back then, before the threat of blue turtle shells, one could easily dominate the game with patience, practice and a lot of skills. Of course, I say "easily" tongue-and-cheek.
Who remembers the feeling of timing the start-light just perfectly, so that you get that immediate boost of speed and power from the start line? Figuring out that cool little trick was the equivalent of finding a warp whistle in Super Mario Bros. 3, or discovering the "Rock the Turtle" technique in the original Super Mario Bros. game. Little tricks that Nintendo put in their games to make the players feel awesome upon discovery of them. Nintendo always knows how to make their gamers smile.
Also, the battle mode in this game is ridiculously fun, especially considering how simple the mode is. Drive around and try to pop each others' balloons - no more, nothing less. But for some reason, no matter how simplistic and straight forward it may appear on paper, once you start playing it with friends you realize how awesome it is. That mode alone is responsible for probably a third of the game time I've had with this game over the years, easily.
Overall, this game is an all-time classic and a timeless display of gaming at its best. Apparently I'm not the only one to think that, as this game went on to sell more copies than any other game for the Super Nintendo. Over the years, it is the golden example of the kart-racing genre, as many games have tried to emulate what Nintendo created over the years, so mild success. Yet no one has come close to duplicating what Super Mario Kart exactly - not even Nintendo, all these years later.
Today was kind of a big deal in the video game industry. A little thing happened you might have heard of, that seemed fairly popular on the internet, from what I could tell. Day one of the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo happened today, headlined by major press conferences by Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft and EA, just to name a few. While the headlines were dominated by the new consoles (Xbox One and PS4), there was one company that remained quiet all day.
But that's pretty par for the course when it comes to Nintendo.
Nintendo marches to the beat of their own drummer, as they say. They don't ever do anything out of pressure from the industry, but always because it is what they want to do. Every year, they always do their press conference on Tuesday of E3, but this year, they are going a different route. Instead of the normal big production press conference, they are simply releasing a Nintendo Direct video first thing in the morning, which is something they have gotten very good at over the last year or so. They haven't really said why they are trying this new form of E3 announcements, but if I were a betting man, I would guess that they just realized that it wasn't going to be as efficient in driving whatever point they have to make home - and that a scripted, edited Nintendo Direct video would be more successful.
Why am I bringing all this up, you ask? And what does this have to do with the game I played today, which as you can see, is Mario Paint for the Super Nintendo? Well, it's simple, really. If I could have one wish as to what Nintendo will announce in their Nintendo Direct video, it would be a new addition to the Mario Paint franchise. Ideally, I would love to see it on the Wii U, but a 3DS version would work fantastically as well. A Wii U Mario Paint game seems almost more obvious than it should be, but then again, we are talking about Nintendo. They don't ever do the obvious things when it comes to business models.
Playing Mario Paint tonight made me realize how far ahead of the curve Nintendo was with this game - and usually is with most games and ideas they have. Thanks to smartphones and tablets and everything else out on the market now, the concept of Mario Paint seems simplistic, basic and uninspiring in today's marketplace. But seriously, a eShop version of Mario Paint on the Wii U would sell gangbusters, plus it would be the type of game to finally show off properly how great the GamePad is, and what kind of potential it has.
The painting in the game is pretty straight forward, but throw in the stamps and textures and patterns, the video recorder and the fly swatting mini-game, and you actually have a well designed Paint game. Also, it's amazing that Nintendo can shameless push out plastic peripheral after peripheral without any qualms from the consumers.
Good news with a Wii U version of this game is that everything you would need to make the game work, you would already have. So at least you won't have more plastic Nintendo licensed products sitting around collecting dust ... since that's what your Wii U is doing anyway.
So we will see, Nintendo fans!
Look, here is a quick peak behind the curtains. I wanted to play Donkey Kong 64 for this week of Donkey Kong, and if I was able to, tonight would have been the night. Unfortunately, I don't have the game, and since it is the only Donkey Kong game not to be on the Wii Virtual Console, I'm kind of out of luck.
Some things are just out of my control. Fortunately, for whatever goes wrong while i'm not in control, I always have back up plans. Always. Tonight was no different at all.
Besides, I kind of teased playing this game on last night's blog, so I guess I owed it to you all to follow up on that tease, right? Either way, it is what it is, and all you have to know is tonight, I played Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble.
Now, this isn't a bad game by any means. It is a formidable game, developed on the same engine as the last two. Only this time, it doesn't feature either one of our now familiar characters, instead using the sidekick from the previous game (Dixie) and a baby. Oddly enough, it plays almost identical to DKC2, which is a good thing for the game. The bad thing for this game, and why it isn't remembered fondly, is because people forgot it existed. They do now, and even worse, they did when it was released.
You see, DKC3 suffered from the unfortunate timing mishap of being released for the Super Nintendo after the new, hot, exciting console known as the Nintendo 64 was released. Sure, there were still people that picked up this game because they hadn't bought into the N64 yet, but the sales numbers are quite clear that they lost sales, most likely because it came out on a last-gen system. If N64 had been backwards compatible, this wouldn't have been a problem I'm sure, but we all are aware of the lack of interest in that feature that the big console companies have currently, and obviously back then as well.
The game is fun, don't get me wrong. It feels like the last two. For some reason, however, playing as these two characters just don't do it for me. They didn't back when I was kid, and they still don't tonight. I would much rather play as Donkey and Diddy Kong than what this game offers. Maybe they were trying to target an unreached market? I don't know if that's the reason for the decision, or if it was strictly to keep the franchise fresh, but either way, I had already invested in the previous characters, and wasn't ready to move on from them.
The original Donkey Kong Country was a classic game. I established that in the last blog. It was revolutionary for the genre, the franchise and the character of Donkey Kong. But also, it established his partner-in-crime more soundly, that being Diddy Kong.
In the original arcade games, there was a character named Donkey Kong Junior, but somehow, when the "Country" trilogy was created, Junior vanished from memory and was replaced on screen by Diddy Kong, mysteriously.
For whatever reason, the first Donkey Kong Country game established Diddy Kong as a formidable character himself, although in the first game, he was just a secondary helper character. He was basically the Luigi to Donkey Kong's Mario for as long as Luigi had been around. But much like Luigi eventually got his own game (Luigi's mansion on the GameCube), Diddy was granted his own adventure to set himself apart from his secondary role. Unlike Luigi, however, his coming out party came much sooner into the franchise than the brother of Mario had to wait.
In this game, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, the little monkey is put in charge of rescuing Donkey Kong, naturally. He isn't alone, however, as he is partnered up with Dixie Kong, who plays the role that Diddy had played in the previous game. The game itself plays much like the first version, with a few minor tweaks to pretty much perfect the wheel, as they say. The graphics are phenomenal, as the colors pop and the backgrounds are lively. It's almost hard to tell this is a SNES game at some points.
They did something very creative too, which I hadn't remember until I popped it in this evening. The game picks up on the same pirate ship from the final battle scene of the first game, which is an awesome tip of the cap to those who enjoyed the first game. Sure, to everyone new to the series with 2, this didn't mean a thing to them. But for everyone who fondly remembers the final battle because they beat it over and over again, this was the perfect way to start the second game. It was clever, not forced and to this day, not done often enough in gaming. That's the sad truth.
This game is awesome. I forgot how much I loved this game, mainly because of the nostalgia of the first one. But this is literally the Mario Galaxy 2 to the first one. It's far superior in every way, but because of the impact the first of these games had, the sequels are cherished but often overlooked.
Unfortunately, unlike the Galaxy series(so far), the Donkey Kong Country series became a trilogy. The third one wasn't necessarily a bad game, but it suffered from another setback that developers hate. But more on that tomorrow night...
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Games played for project : 365