By Video_Game_King 6 Comments
Cave Story( I feel conflicted about this game.) Why? Well, first, look at it: it's an old school Metroidvania game that allows you to feed bunny creatures a steady diet of bullets. The only way this could appeal to me more would be if there was an unlockable "automatic blog writer" feature at the end of it all! But of course, there was no such feature, as the game was lacking in that department. Along with about 9 other departments. In short, don't visit this mall, especially in this economy.
In long, this entire blog. First off, that Metroidvania thing? It's an outright lie. It's not the first time the game community has misled me, but damn it, it doesn't hurt any less! I was expecting the ability to explore large environments, brimming with power-ups and opportunities to sequence-break; what I got was a series of tiny environments where exploration was limited to "explore your way to this part of the level." Causing this problem is the teleporter system, which means the game dictates when you get to explore (or are even exposed to) brand new areas. Exacerbating said problem is the weapon system. (Note: I am only insulting the system from an exploration perspective.) You get about 5-6 weapons throughout the course of the game, but only 1-2 actually allow you to explore places. The first just lets you shoot blocks, and the second, when fully leveled up, allows you to fly through the levels on the wings of the Angel of Death. It's almost as awesome as it sounds.
Notice how I mentioned something about levels. Weapons level up a la the Fable II system: enemies crap out a bunch of triangle turds after death. Depending on the size of said turd, your weapon levels up. I'd say that monkeys must have designed this, but given the story, I'm leaning towards bunnies. (More on that later.) Nothing wrong with that system, it works well and gives the weapons a decent amount of variety. Unfortunately, it's not enough variety, since there are only 3 levels for each weapon. "But it takes forever to reach that third level, right?", you say to me, having never played Cave Story. I have, however, and can tell you that each weapon maxes out in less time than it takes to beat the game, a joke that would've made sense if I told you how short the game is. (It's a few days long.) Artificially lengthening this is that it still follows the Fable II experience system; get hit, and you lose experience, eventually going back to level 1. I'd complain about it, but again, you level up exactly like this.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, this game is kinda easy. Levels don't present much challenge, weapons level up quickly, bosses are very submissive when you're Swiss cheesifying their face, the usual problems. What strikes me as odd, though, is that it's supposed to be an old school game. Not the usual NES old school, but the slightly better MSX old school. This means the graphics and music have made vast improvements, but not much else. OK, the story is actually pretty decent, if we're going by the old school motif. There's an island floating in the sky (not THAT island), and this doctor guy wants to make the bunnies there more badass. You are a robot who must kill the doctor for daring to do something so awesome. If you would like to know more, play the game. No, seriously, play it, as Cave Story is kinda insistent about the story. The cutscenes aren't too long, but they are frequent, to the point where they drive the entire game forward. Kind of explains why the game is so stringent with the exploration.
Wait, wait wait wait wait wait wait wait, I just realized something: who said this game was a Metroidvania game? Was it that guy who made the game? No? Then why was I expecting this to be said game? I'm blaming it on you guys, but that's not the point: the point is that this is a perfect example of why forming expectations of a game is a stupid idea. Strip away said expectations, and you see that Cave Story has some passable tits. Then again, you'll also see the outie belly button (water physics), the c-section scar (crap save system), and that she's part bunny. Christ, what the hell happened to this maiden? The sexual side of me is completely confused about this whole thing! I give this game the Funny Feeling Award, and am currently debating whether or not I should take out a restraining order on it.
- Who the hell was calling this a Metroidvania game, and why haven't they been turned into a boot by whoever kicked their ass?
- Other than that, it's functional, if in need of refinement.
- This game can't decide whether old-school is a good thing or bad.
Just pretend that this is me, OK?
Gradius Galaxies( Alright, I'm tired of saying this again and again and again.) We all know that I'm generally not a fan of the shooter genre. (DAMN IT, THAT IS NOT WHAT I MEAN!!!) I find most of the games to be OK, but lacking in variety. I've said this so many times that I only say it here to stretch out the opening paragraph. If I had to say anything about Gradius Galaxies on its own merits, well, I'd be rightly fucked. Wait, I have to write an entire blog about this? D-......F-........Damn it.
Let's see, where to begin...how about the beginning of this game? Eh, it'll work. Like Mega Man 10 and the Winter Olympics before it (that last one has no video, so please enjoy The Ass Master), Gradius Galaxies wants you to know the entire Gradius history before you begin. It's a rich history, beginning with a game called Salamander, eventually culminating in this game's release. Then you go about your business, shooting Easter Island heads to death until a brain explodes. But not before you choose your power-ups! Yes, like Gradius III before it, you can customize how exactly your little spaceship powers up; unlike Gradius III (if I remember correctly), you can only choose from pre-decided packages of power-ups, rather than assemble them yourself into a metal death container. Not too much of a problem, though, since there's enough variety between each one to serve whatever needs you may have.
Wait, what am I saying, "needs?" You only have one need: shoot the crap out of anything that moves. Shoot specific things, and you get...an opportunity to power-up. You see, Gradius is not the straightforward shooter affair, where you collect a blue power-up and you get a blue screen filler; collect a blue power-up here, and the screen blows up. OK, I fucked up. I should've said that should you collect a red power-up, your little power-up bar moves forward a bit, allowing you the opportunity either to select that power-up, or wait for another to come by. It's a well-crafted system that forces you to think strategically about what you want powered up first....or it would be if the pacing wasn't screwed up. You collect power-ups about every 3 frames of animation, meaning you can just spam one power-up before moving onto the next one. The only strategy to be found is "should I use Double or Laser?" (Hint: USE DOUBLE. Bosses see that laser as a massage.)
Of course, I can see why they decided to fill the screen with more power-ups than enemies: because the death system is just plain unfair. Die once, and that Droid voice tells you to restart, taking away all your hard-earned power-ups. You then go back to a given checkpoint (why couldn't I just start right there?) to collect a billion power-ups. Flaws to cover flaws! Quite the scandal! Are they trying to stay true to their roots, or were they just too lazy to fix any of the problems with this concept? Or did they think that Gradius had enough awesome to cover up the flaws? Na, that couldn't be it, as it would be very stupid to think that awesome things like weapon systems and level design could cover up crap like weapon systems and level design. Confusing, isn't it? That's why I give this game the Powerfully Misapplied Award. Try figuring that out.
- Collect 900 power-ups in 4 seconds, lose them all in 1.
- Why won't you end? Just....just stop being.
- This game knows that old-school is a bad thing. At least for it.