(Wait, didn't I already do this game?) Yea, I did, and it's only been a few months. Is that really enough time for my opinion on the game to change? But still, I do have a "two games per blog" rule I have to uphold. You know what? Let's just ignore this game for now and face that problem later. Right now, I'm gonna do what I do best:
Densetsu no Stafy 2
(Blog about obscure Japan-only video games!) That in mind, I should be fucking thrilled to be writing this, right? Oddly enough, no. I know that this isn't going to be a pleasurable experience, even though the game kinda was (more on that in the actual blog part). Why is that? Well, this is one of those games. The type of game that's pretty fun to play, but gives you absolutely no material for a blog. I'll try, though. Oh god, will I try.
Now remember my very first sentence in this part of the blog? You don't? It's the golden set of words yelling Fire Emblem music at your face; pay attention. Now then, remember that? Well, I said that this was a Japan only game, meaning it's all in Japanese and I have no clue what's going on. Regardless, I'll try. One day, in the magical kingdom of I Couldn't Tell, a snail breaks out of prison. Upon gaining freedom, he decides to pick his nose, thus summoning (what I assume to be) his accomplices throughout the land. Then some bad stuff happens, and it's up to star-posing-as-a-starfish Starfy to Majora's Mask the situation along with his trusty sidekick Who Gives a Fuck. So clearly, this is a game that's perfect for children. I mean that: give this shit to your kids. If you don't have kids, find somebody to have sex with and give this game to whatever spews forth from their crotch, because this is the best thing that could happen to that crotch creature. It's got a squeaky clean, super-saturated look to it, and there are some other things about it that I'll mention later. The only real problem I have with it is its choice of underwater theme. I don't know; it just comes off as a strange choice. Much of the game ignores the aquatic stuff, and a lot of the characters don't have much to do with the water (Starfy's from space, and I don't know how to feel about that), so what'st he point? Besides, all the more interesting levels are above water, anyway, so w-
Oh. Right. This is a platformer. I forgot to say that. Now, as I said, a significant portion of the game takes place underwater, meaning you can move anywhere you want in these portions. That's kind of where it fucks up, since to prevent the game from being a complete breeze, they made a lot of these areas boring, linear corridors. But that's OK, though, because a lot of the game isn't that. Instead, it's crazy-ass platforming. What makes it crazy? Well, how about Stafy gaining a new ability every two levels? That's not even a joke; you'll play a level, and for some reason, Stafy can now glide. Why is this? How the hell should I know? Yea, I know, Japanese, but I doubt that any language could encapsulate how this guy manages to learn a new skill nineteen times a day. Not that this is something to be angry about. It simply means that every level introduces something completely new. Actually, now that I think about it, variety's the one thing that Stafy does really well. It's amazing how many ideas it manages to jam in while still managing to do quite a bit with each one. One level will let you take revenge on ice by setting it on fire (even underwater, something I'd like to see the game explain away), while the next may see you stealthing your way through a castle because...actually, I'm not clear on why I had to stealth my way through a castle. Sure, it doesn't always get it right (there are only, like, two mounts (I don't know why (or how) this game has mounts) that actually contribute something to the overall game), but for the most part, it's more hit than miss. Combine that with some solid platforming that I probably mentioned earlier, and you have a game I should be pretty damn enthusiastic about, right?
Well, not really. There's still one thing I forgot to tell you about Densetsu no Stafy 2: this game is ridiculously easy. This game does not want you to die. Running low on health? Well, don't worry, because there's a checkpoint two feet from the last checkpoint. Even if that's not enough, though, you know those collectibles? Collect five, and you get some life back. That may not sound important, but keep in mind that any given part of a level will feature more collectibles than frames that could ever hold them. Stafy may want the sweet release of death, but he's never gonna get it. He will forever be doomed to
walk the earth swim the oceans, unable to die. Should he come across an aquatic boss of some type (I want to make a giant enemy crab joke, but I genuinely can't remember the crabs in this game and their potential sizes), they will be of no help; the dumb bastards will simply announce "I AM ABOUT TO HIT YOU WITH AN ATTACK" immediately before they attack, followed up with "I AM NOW VULNERABLE. THIS IS A GOOD TIME TO HIT ME". But even if we were to ignore the combat, the game's still super easy. I know that I've mentioned how linear the levels can be, but to be fair, the developers made up for this by introducing some basic puzzles to the game. How basic? Pattern recognition and memory games. It's almost like the game was made for kids or something..........Damn it. You got me, Stafy.
- I imagine I could comment on the game more efficiently if I understood any of it.
- Hate to say it, but this is a pretty damn solid platformer.
- You know, aside from it being a total breeze. (Can you have breezes underwater? I guess now, you can.)
And I continue doing what I do. Look, give me a minute. I still have to figure all this out.
(How about a revisit?) That seems to be the thing I do when I find myself with one game I can't comment on. (Then why don't I do it more often?) But remember: I'm a man who's firmly rooted in the past, so I chose the most 90s goddamn thing I could possibly find: X-Kaliber 2097. (The totally sick ollie and "yeaaaaaaaa" were lost in translation.) With a title that totally radical, I'd be kinda surprised about how little of a shit people give about this game. Why the conditional? Because I played the game, silly, and found out how justified people were, for a change.
Still, there are some notable things about this game, like how utterly sci-fi it is. In fact, you could probably replace "90s" with "sci-fi" in the previous paragraph and it would make about as much sense. The year is....I don't remember. New York (Neo New York now, because you can't rip off Futurama if it hasn't come out yet) is under the rule of a cyborg mob. Or maybe it's an alien mob. You can see where this is going: our hero (named Slash, because THIS IS THE 90s) must traverse the cyberpunk landscape and beat up Helghast (again, this came out first) until the story kinda ends. Yea, that's kind of the main problem I have with the story: how little work was put into it. There really isn't a lot to the story beyond Slash trying to rescue his girlfriend or whatever, and the atmosphere doesn't really make up for it. Why? Well, remember the part where I said it was really sci-fi? Again, not much beyond it. It's just a bland cyberpunk world and...no, wait, that's all there is. I know I should be less harsh on this, since tons of games manage to have little to no story and get away with it, but it's just that given how much focus the story gets (each level ends with a detailed animated cutscene), it feels like a wasted opportunity for something that might have been kinda cool. Man, I sure have run into a lot of games like that, recently: Alcahest, Valis III, and now this.
Of course, the word "that" could also refer to pretty simple action games, because this is totally that, too. (That "that" refers to the previous "that" in the sentence, in case any of you were confused.) Hell, go back to my previous blogs and see if they don't apply here: walk through levels and cut robots in half (OK, that's the only difference). Looking at that alone, the game gets the job done; yea, there are a few minor control quirks, but nothing too bad. But is there anything beyond that? Well...actually...how do I put this? Sort of? It oscillates between being pretty damn good and being too damn simple. Take a look at the levels: half of them actually do something, like jumping or some form of navigation, while others don't. They're just straight lines that occasionally require you to push a button to kill things. Speaking of, the combat! Your options are "slash", "more powerful slash", "ranged slash", and.....yea, that's pretty much it. I guess the protagonist is such an egotistical fuck that he won't bother learning moves that don't involve his name. That probably explains why all the enemies are same-y, too: he only cares about things that are him. Except wait, there are bosses, and he's all over the place on these guys. Some provide a decent challenge and are pretty cool, while others might as well have been ripped from Stafy (man, what a game that would have been). Spread all this out over about six levels, loop the same music the whole time, and that's pretty much all there is to this game. Pretty simple gameplay without a lot of personality. You know, just like this particular blog.
- Try to imagine a less memorable version of Blade Runner. I'd say that that's X-Kaliber 2097, but chances are you've already forgotten what I asked you to do.
- I'd put an actual bullet here, but I'm pretty sure my last two sentences in the blog itself could count as one.