By Video_Game_King 5 Comments
Samorost 2( Wait, didn't I just beat another Humble Indie Bundle game?) Actually, yes, I did; two blogs ago, I conquered Aquaria, the secret lovechild of Samus Aran and Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Also, cheetahs, somehow. Anyway, excluding Penumbra (I think we all know why), I only have three games left before I'm done with the package. Don't expect the next three blogs to come quickly, though, because Revenge of the Titans is kicking my ass. To make up for it, I beat Samorost 2 in just over an hour.
If you can't tell whether it's my awesomeness that made it short or if it was just that short to begin with, it's both. But mostly the latter, since I've seen completions under an hour. Logically, I'd be mad at the game for doing this, but I completely understand why it's so damn short: it's a Flash sequel to a Flash game. How can you fit things like an inventory system, a save system, and a windowed mode (given that the game doesn't freak out when I open the start menu, I'm willing to overlook that) into your game while maintaining the Newgrounds file limit? That said, expect a blog that's equally short. Anyway, the story: aliens decide to steal some of your shit. Your dog objects, only to realize that you are its owner. As such, it gets captured. Now it is up to y-why am I saying "you"? I should be saying "the little man in white", because oddly enough, you don't control your character. Instead, you play the role of God (I guess), guiding what looks like the protagonist of a European kid's book through the world, shocking him as tea pots magically fly to nearby fires to brew some coffee. I know that this sounds like a minor point, but if you've played other adventure games, it comes off as a bit weird. Little do you know that this is merely setting the stage for the weirdness that's to come. I wish I could describe it to you, but I don't think I have the words for it. There are no words to capture the oddity that is Samorost 2.
Obviously, this weirdness carries over into every puzzle in the game. For example, you see that picture I took? You know, of...that? Well, the guy in the picture wants a pipe and a bag (I'd say that it's full of drugs and that he's the designer, but that makes way too much sense). The pipe's easy enough to get, but a badger in a hole is guarding the bag. Logically, you'd send your dog down there, drive the badger out, and then grab the bag while it isn't looking. Logically. However, the actual solution is to drink some water, pee on a plant a few times (I think the dog's urethra is a straw connected to its esophagus), grab a bone, and give it to the badger as a distraction. Now imagine an entire game based off such logic. You'd think that it would be hard, since most people don't use LSD to clean their contact lenses, but most of them are incredibly easy (probably explaining how I beat it in about an hour). This is the one thing I love about Amanita Design (the guys who also made Machinarium): they can make puzzles that actually make sense, even if they don't. That is how good they are at making adventure games: they can defy logic just by how they defy logic. They've even managed to make the pixel hunting parts....OK, those still suck. Who the hell enjoys wildly bouncing their mouse around, hoping it turns into a hand pointing you to other parts of the game? To make things worse, the pixel hunt-y parts are usually coupled with the "press this, THEN THIS RIGHT NOW" parts. I guess they wanted to negate any bonuses that exploiting the Flash parts would allow. Kind of a dickish way to approach that problem, but whatever, I'll let it slide. Why? The rest of the game is decent enough, so why the hell not?
- Essentially, Steam installed a Flash game on my computer. I'm mostly cool with this.
- Samorost 2 employs some weird meta logic assassination. It must be played to be understood.
- Other than that, it's an oddly normal adventure game. WHY DO YOU TORTURE LOGIC SO HORRIBLY, SAMOROST 2?!
This would have been very appropriate four blogs ago. Now, it's just a good video.
The Last Blade 2 ( Huzzah!) Do you guys know why I'm saying that odd word? You don't? Look at this blog. For the fist time in forever, I'm talking about two very obscure video games, and one of them is old school and Japan only! Let us praise a return to form. No more modern games that attract more flames than kerosene, or non-obscure games where I sound like a dumbass pointing out things people already know. For once, I'm back to my roots, and with a sequel to a fighting game I loved, no less. Only one problem: The Last Blade 1 was better than the sequel. And the enthusiasm suddenly died a terrible death.
Except in one place, kinda: the graphics. Holy hell, this game looks amazing. Like Garou: Mark of the Wolves, this game stretches the limits of the Neo Geo so you forget that it's running on hardware made in 1990. Also like Garou, this game's oddly cinematic. (Expect me to say "Garou" more than I did when I actually blogged about Garou.) Expect to see quite a few conversations and well animated anime cutscenes about how somebody's trying to summon Hades and the only way to stop them is with swords. Wow, I really should have elaborated a bit more on that, because again, there's a lot of effort put into the story. Hell, one of the endings is interactive, another that transitions into Idiocracy (the hell?), and the rest...are pretty much the same thing, only with minor variations. Crap. But at least the actual characters are interesting, right? Oddly enough, yes, the characters here are pretty cool. There's even a blatant rip off of Fei Long thrown in, for some reason. This game wasn't made in 1994, so I have no idea why that is. There's just one problem with the cast: balance. There's not a lot of it. At the top, you have Mukuro, a zombie who will ironically never see death. That's not a story thing, mind you; it's just that he'll chip damage you from every possible direction until you stop blocking (more on that later) and accept your fate. Then you have SNK's version of Akuma, most of the other cast (which oddly includes Skips from Regular Show), and finally, at the very bottom, Nicotine with a Turtle Basket. Good luck figuring out the range on that guy.
I'd say that all of this depends on whether you specialize in power or speed, but....maybe I should actually explain what that means first. You know how in most fighting games, you can choose what color your fighter is? The Last Blade 2 took a bold and innovative approach to this by making the colors kind of mean something. Speed means that you specialize in combos, which is something this game specializes in quite a bit. Go look up the combo trees in a FAQ or something, because they can get pretty complex. But what does power do? It makes you more powerful without really affecting your ability to build up combos, making speed less useful than the Internet features. (Yes, The Last Blade 2 has Internet features, but they no longer work.) So what use does speed have, again? I'd mutter something about special moves, but again, power is clearly better, since it actually has special moves. Try that crap when you're in speed, and you just glow blue for a short amount of time. I imagine it's supposed to make your combos more powerful, but I never really noticed any effect.
Then again, I think I know why I never really noticed it doing anything: those two forms aren't really the focus of the game. Instead, it's all about blocking. Like Garou (SEE!?) (and a bunch of fighters immediately following Street Fighter III), you have both a regular block (more on that in a bit) and a super awesome one that stops your opponent dead in their tracks. Or just plain dead, if you so choose. Hooray! Something I liked from the first game makes another appearance. Now battles turn into a game of insanely quick reflexes and blue flashes! You know, assuming that you're blocking physical attacks. Projectiles don't work like that, since it would be kind of odd seeing somebody reel back after their turtle didn't hit. Unfortunately, this leaves you with regular blocking, which doesn't work exactly as you'd think. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. In fact, now that I think about it, the fighting in this game isn't very smooth. I've seen moves go through opponents and some weird scenarios where I simultaneously stopped a move and got hit by it (I don't mean that in a good (Samorost 2) way). *sigh* You know what? Just play the first one.
- It's probably the best looking Neo Geo game since the last The Last Blade.
- Unfortunately, it's not as refined as the last The Last Blade.
- Garou-like blocking? Awesome! Regular blocking? Not so awesome!