By Video_Game_King 6 Comments
Lugaru HD( Alright, what the fuck?) This is the third blog in a row where I've beaten a somewhat obscure PC game. What the hell's going on? Is my next blog going to be like this, too? (Actually, I know for a fact that it won't.) Might as well embrace it, I guess. So, I beat yet another game in the Humble Indie Bundle. Counting the ones I can actually play, that leaves these two. Although I have yet to beat either one (I don't think a lot of my readers), I can tell you that they have nothing on this game, at least in terms of how...off? Would that word work? Yeah, this game is pretty off.
Hell, you need look no further than the title. First, the HD. The game looks decent, but I never really noticed any HD features or whatever. Granted, I never messed with the resolution or anything like that, but I was running this thing on the highest possible settings (I'm not sure how, given this (warning: PC gamers may feel the urge to yell at me in disgust should they click that link)), and it still defaulted to a 640x480 resolution (after I forced it into windowed mode, since an oddly high amount of games refuse to work otherwise). That's not even 16:9. But what about the Lugaru part? What the shit does that mean? I looked it up, and it's a reference to werewolves. OK, there are wolves in this game (more on that later), and they play a somewhat important role, but two things: first, they aren't werewolves. In fact, there are no humans to be found in this game, making the wolves just regular-ass wolves. Second, they aren't the focus of the game. Instead, the game focuses on Turner, a random bunny warrior (what the fuck?). One day, he's going out for a stroll, but when he returns to his village, he finds everybody has died. Now he must find out who killed his family...by killing everybody he encounters. Imagine The Punisher, but with less guns and more rabbits. I'd have made a Watership Down reference, but I've never watched the movie (I would have for the blog, but that's a bad idea). Besides, if I'm making vaguely political references, I'd go for Metal Gear Solid. Why?
Because this game is all about stealth. I'd explain stealth to you, but I have limits....fine. You sneak up on dudes, which, in some instances, can be pretty damn hard. Enemy paths can be so erratic that you'd think they were drawn by a Richter scale (I'm above Parkinson's jokes), and your sneaking speed is oddly slow for a rabbit. Granted, you can run, jump nine feet into the air and somehow survive (I know that this game has an OK modding community, so where's my Bunny Basketball mod?), and do whatever rabbits do, but we all know that's a good way to summon more exclamation marks than any forumite could ever muster. Trust me, you don't want to do that (for reasons I'll explain in the next paragraph). Instead, here's what you do: ignore the mini-map because of how damn small it is (odd(ly minor) screw-up for a stealth game), slowly sneak up behind somebody, using the camera to turn because it's somehow faster, until you reach your target. Then you slit their throat, like Altaïr with a fluffy tail. Do I need to tell you how satisfying it is to stab a bunny in the back? No, especially if you're Australian. Of course, there is one caveat I forgot to mention: Lugaru punishes failure hard. What's that? A rabbit (or, god forbid, a wolf) spotted you? You better hope it was one rabbit (or wolf), and you better take them out quickly, because you don't want to deal with a billion rabbits trying to kill you. That's the easiest way to get laughed at in the animal afterlife. Also, the wolves are there, so it's like you're telling them which rabbit soul to eat first. Yes, you can still die in the animal afterlife, because fuck you for dying at the hands of goddamn rabbits, you extra in the only memorable Monty Python movie.
Actually, now that I think about it (and get back on track after whatever the shit I was just talking about), you don't really want to go the stealth route at all, since the score system doesn't support it at all. Allow me to explain: for whatever reason, there's a scoring system in a game that's not at all about scores. It's about stealth, but fucking up stealth will get you more points, or at least more opportunities for points. The system rewards variety by exponentially reducing scores for the same actions...limited stealth options included. Combat has more options, and combos introduce multipliers, so stealth gets to sit in the corner while I talk more about the combat. Long story short: it's a confusing mess. The score suggests rewarding skill, what with the combos and everything, but it's really hard to tell if a punch is going to connect. More often than not, you're just gonna hit the ground pretty quickly, especially if you were stupid enough to alert every bunny guard in the level of your presence. That's why I eventually resorted to mashing left mouse and shift like somebody was trying to interrupt a tea-bagging session. That way, I'd at least have a chance of Last Blade 2ing a guy straight into the ground, or better yet, disarming him of his weapon. Yes, there are weapons in this game, and they're actually cooler than I remember, somehow. You have a knife you can throw into somebody's neck (at this point, I'd call it a rip-off of Assassin's Creed, but this came out two years before it), a staff more powerful than any gun, and a sword because at some point, this became the love child of Elder Scrolls IV and Metal Gear Solid. As all of that implied, they add a ton to the game, like improved stealth kills and more complex combat. Also, tons of weapon dropping, leading to you hastily rushing toward your weapon mid-combat before your enemies decide to stick a knife in your neck.
And that's just the rabbits; once the wolves (remember what I said about too many enemies being a problem? Now imagine wolves) enter the picture, prepare to have your bunny guts splayed across the ground for miles. Fortunately, there is one weird exploit I discovered to make the wolves slightly easier to handle. Just barrel roll right in front of them (I am not fucking making this up). Apparently, the stupidity of the meme will leave them in a confused stupor for a little bit, allowing to barrel roll closer to them until you're within backstabbing range. I know that it's common for games to transition from stealth to combat suddenly, but stealth to combat? How? How is that even possible? I want to like this game, but I just can't. Did you read about all the unrefined stuff I presented? But at the same time, the "what the fuck" nature is right up my alley (keep in mind that I'm into stuff like Evil Zone and Earthbound (for no alphabetical reasons, of course)). I feel so conflicted. What do I do? Oh, I know: take an indifferent attitude to the game, learn how to mod, and get to work on a Cheetahmen mod for this game. If you've played it, you'd know how well these two things could go together.
- Remember the pilot for Superjail? Imagine if somebody made a game from that.
- Bunnies aren't very good at sneaking up on other bunnies, apparently.
- Ever see a rabbit fight? It's just as clumsy as it sounds.
I'd make a Louis Armstrong joke, but I don't know any lyrics to any of his songs. Sad, because I don't have a lot to say about this video.
Super Mario Bros. 2 (The Lost Levels one, not the Doki Doki Panic one)( Man, I am getting lazy with the formatting in these last few blogs.) Remember how my last blog began with an obscure PC game, and then moved into a Japan only NES game? Well, that's pretty much this, only for the Famicom Disk System, instead. Again, I plan to stop all that with my next blog. But now is not the time to talk about my next blog; it is the time for Super Mario Bros. 2 discussion. If I was a smarter person, I'd leave it at "it's a harder version of Mario", but I'm not a smarter person. Instead, I'll stretch that statement into about four paragraphs.
Let's practice with the story. You know how people always either leave it at "Bowser captures Peach, Mario must rescue her", or, worse, turn it into a dumb joke (fuck that guy)? I don't see things like that; instead, I see the entire cast locked in a complex love triangle of some kind. You see, despite what Nintendo says about these guys, Mario and Bowser are actually pretty good friends. So why the conflict, you ask? Well, Mario and Bowser differ in their approaches to dating. Mario's the chivalrous type, wanting to hold doors open for ladies and stuff like that; Bowser, on the other hand, will have none of that shit, and goes for the direct approach of just assuming that all women he loves are already his girlfriend. Turns out that they both met Peach at the local coffee shop, and Bowser wanted to invite her back to his place for some coffee (I'm not sure why he thinks she won't drink the coffee at the coffee shop; perhaps he's fucking stupid). Now it's up to Mario to go rescue his love, slap Bowser in the back of the head, and try to hit things off with the hot blond he met in line at Starbucks. Of course, Peach wants none of this, instead eying Mario's Tom-Selleck-looking brother (you'll never look at Luigi the same way again). Luigi's fond of Peach, but he's not confident enough to let his feelings be heard because of this. Also, something about a dickhead in a diaper. What was I talking about? The graphics? Why the hell not? Oddly enough, they've improved a bit, actually stuffing more detail into everything...except the characters. Mario pretty much looks the same, as do Bowser and Peach, even though even the Koopas seem to have a little more detail.
Actually, now that I think about it, that's a perfect way to describe this game: like the first Mario, but slightly better. You still jump on Goombas and Koopas and get killed by those fucking Hammer Bros. (I can't be alone in my hatred, right?) and stuff, and it still controls really well. Hell, the only complaint I could find was that the physics can be a bit of a bitch (is it too much to ask for ledge grabbing mechanics? (Yes.)), but that's actually pretty minor compared to what's to come. And just to get it out of the way, so is the power-up system. Again, exactly the same; you still collect mushrooms and fire flowers, but one hit still knocks you down to tiny Mario. Odd that this took five or six years and three or four games to fix. Anyway, did I say "exactly the same" in the previous line? Well, it's not; The Lost Levels introduces the Poison Mushroom, a mushroom that kills you, most likely with poison. In theory, it's supposed to look like a regular mushroom, tricking you into killing yourself; in practice, the color depends on the palette of the current level, meaning you can ignore the obviously poison, gray mushroom, plow through the levels in about thirty seconds, and run right under Bowser to put an axe in his brain.
Or not. Because somewhere between the first Mario and the second, Nintendo became self aware. They realized that almost everybody playing Super Mario Bros. 1 just went to the same two warps before making a mad dash to Bowser, and they decided that the best way to solve this problem would be to fuck with players big time. Try that shit in The Lost Levels, and you'll find yourself in a loop of failure as you warp to previous levels again and again. You don't even have to warp to see the level designers get angry; sometimes, you'll crawl into a dead end, try to get out, and then realize that you can't go backwards because fuck you for thinking otherwise. It's like the level designers were far more aware of Mario than they were the first time around (hello, bonus glitch level), and it makes the game so much more enjoyable. And more difficult. There's no getting around that: this game is probably going to kick your ass. A lot of the levels (not just the castle ones) require some weird, esoteric solution, like bouncing off Koopas into pipes or revealing invisible blocks...that suspiciously aren't intangible. What I mean is that you can make what seems like a perfect jump, only to plow headfirst into an invisible brick and plummet into the infinite abyss. I'm pretty sure that even shitty ROM hacks wouldn't go to such lengths. Then again, shitty ROM hacks are shitty; The Lost Levels finds an OK balance between Devil Survivor "fuck you for being so difficult" hard and Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts "might as well blame myself" hard. You know, like Ninja Gaiden, but with Mario.....Somebody needs to get on that. Maybe after they're done with that Cheetahmen/Lugaru mod.
- I just found out that the game didn't come out stateside because of Nintendo of America. Turns out they were pissing off their fans long before Operation Rainfall. I'm not sure how this is relevant to anything.
- Like the previous Mario game, but it is the previous Mario game...
- ...only with level designers hired from any random ROM hacking site.