Tag Archive: snes


Still in World 6, we hit up Misty Mine.  Again, I’m filled with trepidation that it’s a mine cart level, but it to be just another platforming run, and it falls with ease.  The next level however, Loopy Lights, almost gives me an aneurysm.  It’s using the lights-out gimmick again, but this time you have to hit switches to turn the lights back on.  With switch placement, deliberate stretches with no light, and enemies ready to kill you the first misstep, I lose more lives to this level than any before it.  Such rage…  Platform Perils isn’t bad, a level using moving platforms that fade out after a short period.  A few tight spots, but nothing that we can’t get through.  Necky’s Revenge is the boss, and it’s just an amped up re-hash of the earlier Necky boss.

DKCLightswitch

Loopy Lights, you are infuriating. Thank god levels like you exist.

The final world, Gang Plank Galleon, is… oh, wait.  It’s just King K. Rool?  But he’s the last boss!  I thought there was a world to go with him!  Huh.  Well, I guess not!  He’s actually not that difficult either, and after sitting through his fake ending, designed to lure us into a false sense of security, we beat the last few hits out of him and clear the game.  That was… anti-climactic?  Oh whatever, it’s a 1994 platform game.  What am I expecting, Shakespeare?

DKCKRool

GET SOME DONKEY KONG!!

24-03-13

Advertisements

Continuing into the snow-covered fourth world, we hit Slipslide Ride, which proved the first genuine challenge of the game.  Quite a few lives were lost to the slippery slopes and self-climbing ropes of the second level, which served as a reminder of how the difficulty in the game ratchets up as you hit the fourth world.  Ice Age Alley proved less of a challenge as a more traditional platform level, populated by tight jumping challenges and carefully placed enemies.  Croctopus Chase! ended up being an underwater chase level, and the slightly slower pace helped me blaze through it in one go, despite a few rough spots.  Torchlight Trouble, despite being the introduction of Animal Buddy Squarks the Parrot, was a piece of cake, so it was off to Rope Bridge Rumble.  It turned out to be a treetop level populated by jumping tires and BuzzBees, with a few Kremlings thrown in to mess you up.  A life or two claimed to jumping puzzles, but not as bad as the first level.  The boss, Really Gnawty Rampage, ended up being an amped-up version of the first world boss, and despite his new moves, his predictable patterns led to his downfall.

DKCIce

Those ropes proved tricker than most of the bosses in this game.

The fifth world, Kremkroc Industries Inc., fills me with fear.  I have a slight memory of this place being balls-difficult compared to earlier levels, but I guess we’ll jump in and see what’s happening.  Oil Drum Alley introduces it’s namesake, a flaming oil drum, with a fiendish series of jumping puzzles which end up getting the better of me a couple times.  Trick Track Trek ended up being a moving platform level, with a number of obstacles and enemies being dumped onto the platform with you.  Elevator Antics, despite it’s name, was only hanging rope puzzles for the first half of the level before the elevators came in.  I’m noticing an ongoing trend with vertical platforming in this world as well, which I’m not as good at.  Poison Pond was a step forward for the underwater levels as well, a tip-toe careful maze of enemies and buzzing blades ready to kill you the second you stray off-course.  Mine Cart Madness, the name of which sends a slight shiver of terror down my spine, surprisingly falls in one attempt!  I even accidentally jumped and missed the Checkpoint Barrel, so the last half of the level was sheer luck and nerves getting me through it.  Blackout Basement would be a fairly generic level, if it didn’t black out the screen for two seconds every two seconds.  The addition of limited visibility again turns this level into a creep-forward piece, filled with tight jumps and platforming guesswork.  Boss Dumb Drum was super-easy, just a gauntlet of regular enemies to kill with no twists.

DKCBlackout

Y’see that level? Neither can I. Welcome to Blackout Basement.

World six is Chimp Caverns.  I have a distinct memory in my head of a mine cart level that almost drove me to drink during this game.  I’m not sure if I’ve already passed it, but every time I see a ‘cave’ name level, I tense up.  Maybe it was Mine Cart Madness, and I already beat it through fluke?  The first level, Tanked Up Trouble, was a moving platform level with a twist, needing me to collect fuel power-ups to keep the platform moving.  The power-ups, of course, are in highly dangerous areas, but I manage to get through on my second time.  I’m seriously running low on lives now, too.  Manic Mincers uses more buzzsaws to create some tricky jumps, and they give you Rambi right at the beginning of the level.  He’s pretty useful in keeping ground enemies from killing you while you’re avoiding saws.

23-03-13

Chrono Trigger (1-4) [SNES]

CTTitle

Need I say more?

Holy fuck we’re playing Chrono Trigger!  We kinda picked this one up the other day, and have been burning through it whenever we get the time.  As a result, I haven’t been very good at blogging our progress.  I considered skipping it entirely, but hey, why wouldn’t I want the chance to quickly chat up one of the greatest games of all time?

Ed’s never played Chrono Cross, my favourite game of all time, even though he hears me rave about it all the time.  I’d like him to play Chrono Trigger first, to get a sense for the series and enough backstory that he understands some of the subtler plot points of Cross.  I gave him the DS re-release some time ago, but he never got past the first time-jump.  He said it just didn’t appeal to him, and I say that’s because he didn’t even make it to the beginning of the game.  After cracking off Lunar: Silver Star, his favourite RPG of all time, I decided to press for turnabout, and we started playing Chrono Trigger together.  I was hoping we could play the DS verison, but I couldn’t get an emulator to look good enough to play together.  I grabbed the PSX version too, but had completely forgotten about the horrendous loading times for everything.  After a few minutes it was more than I could stand, so we whipped out a SNES emulator and decided to go for the classic version.  It’s superior to the PSX version, in any case.

Oh, and Ed’s addicted now.  We’re both loving it, and we’re using every spare minute to rip through it, so we’re… pretty far.  Apologies for the lack of screenshots, I just figured out how to use the function effectively today, so most of this is just me summarizing Chrono Trigger in a wall of text, for reasons I myself don’t entirely understand.

Recap time!

DKCTitle

This blew up the eyeballs of every kid who booted it up in their SNES

Because I don’t know what’s good for me, I’m picking up Donkey Kong Country to play as a time-killer.  I just love me some platforming, and I’ve been getting this urge to play a DKC game.  I’ve beaten the first two with friends, but come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever actually beaten them by myself.  Now’s as good a time as any, I suppose.  Also, as the first 32-bit game for the SNES, it’s a little piece of history, and proved that the system still had some kick left in her.  Other 32-bit games would follow suit, and they were just one of the several technical marvels of it’s time the SNES was host to: true 3D implementation in StarFox, 32-bit games in Donkey Kong Country, and even fully voiced sections in later SA-1 chip games.

I’m always a little blown away by the graphics on this one.  I mean, this was Super Nintendo!  It didn’t have 3D graphics!  Those are sprites?  But they look like models!  This game was such an awesome technical achievement for it’s time, and the fact that it’s a kick-ass platformer with excellent level design only makes it better.  Also, the slightly irreverent sense of humour and attitude towards video gaming and the Donkey Kong franchise as a whole is a cherry on top, and Rare proves for the first time that they’re capable of taking a franchise, populating it with rich, fun characters, and pushing it out to a new generation.

DKCNinjaKong

3D sprites, weather effects, awesome level design… what’s not to love?

The first world, Kongo Jungle, falls with no problem at all.  That’s probably because I’ve started this game a dozen times only to have it fall by the wayside before the third world.  Still, it’s fun to play through, and see how many of the secrets I remember from previous runs.  The colors and sprites remain lush and fluid, and the soundtrack continues to kick ass, so the first bunch of levels are a romping jive of speedrun as I whip through them.  No deaths though, and I took the opportunity to stock up on lives for later areas.  We also meet Rambi and Enguarde for the first time, and do an Expresso bonus level for a bunch of lives.

DKCUnderwater

Some of the best underwater levels EVER

The second world, Monkey Mines, starts to offer a few challenges, pushing some minecart levels that basically require memorization.  I died once on Mine Cart Carnage!, but recovered handily and finished the rest of the level without issue.  The next level went down easy, but it’s the Stop & Go Station that always throws me.  Like the Eel in Jolly Roger Bay in Mario 64, I seem to have a deep-seated fear of this level.  I don’t know what it is, maybe the mindless rampage of the enemies, or their indestructible nature, but this level gives me the willies.  We burn through it, but I’m screaming inside the whole time.  Millstone Mayhem is much easier, and we manage to pick up a third Enguarde token and grab another 10 lives from his bonus stage.  The world boss, Necky, is a giant buzzard that spits nuts at us.  He kills us once before I cotton to his pattern, but the next time we burn him without getting hit.

DKCMillstone

Millstone Mayhem gets a little hairy towards the end, but Winky’s there to help us!

The third world, Vine Valley, is where the difficult starts to ratchet up.  Now that we’re getting into the meat of the game, it’s fair to start throwing some tricky levels at us, and force us to think our way around them.  Vulture Culture chucks a bunch of blast barrel puzzles our way, but we manage to get around them and even score the KONG letters, some of which are hidden in secret areas.  Tree Top Town gives more blast barrels, but we miss getting both the complete KONG letters and Winky!  How did we miss Winky?  Forest Frenzy uses rope as it’s primary mechanic, making us scoot up and down a rope that’s constantly moving forward to avoid various flying enemies, and Diddy, being faster, is way better at it then DK.  Temple Tempest brings us back to Millstone Mayhem from World 2, but these millstones are after you!  We burn through the level, losing a life, but making it to the end without too much trouble.  Orang-utan Gang heads back to the treetops, and introduces some mean barrel-throwing monkeys, but not before it gives us the keys to the Ostrich!  Expresso rules this level, and once on his back it’s a quick run to the end of the level.  Clam City! is a typical water level, but with a lot more focus on avoiding attacks from enemies.  We managed to score a third Winky token, though, and grab a bunch of lives in his bonus stage.  The world’s boss, Bumble B Rumble, is a giant bee that we have take out.  Luckily, the level provides us with barrels to throw, but we still have to avoid it’s erratic attack patterns long enough to kill it.  We manage it one go, though, so it’s off to the next world!

DKCRope

Please don’t cut this rope…

Gorilla Glacier is the fourth world, and surprise surprise, it’s all snow and ice.  Despite the whole mechanic of ice messing with mobility being a little bit tired, it trains your platforming to be more precise by necessity  getting you ready for the later worlds.  Snow Barrel Blast starts us off on the wrong foot immediately, killing us three times with between sliding on ice and barrel blasting into enemies.  Guess we’ve gotta take this one a bit slower… what was I saying about precision platforming?  It takes a few tries to get through the blast barrel section at the end, with the fast barrel rotation and quick enemies heightening the tension, but we manage to make it through in the end.

21-03-13

 

DreamLand3Box

 

As the very last first-party Nintendo game released on the SNES, Kirby’s Dream Land 3 has a lot to live up to.  Besides being the third (numbered) entry in a venerable series, the Nintendo 64 was already showing itself as a graphical force to be reckoned with and was facing ever-growing competition from both Sony’s Playstation and Sega’s Saturn (but not really, y’know?).  The SNES was on it’s way out, but the developers at HAL decided to give it one last hurrah.  While it’s not a genre-bending as Kirby Super Star, Dream Land 3 does a number of things right and cements itself as a solid entry in the series.

It’s Review Time!

Time to finish this one up!

We started with our two missed objectives in World 3, and decided that we were just going to keep hitting a level until we got it, no skipping and coming back allowed.  Three of the Heart Stars we were missing were of the mini-game variety, so we took a few runs through the mini-game option that showed up in the File Select screen at some point.  With a much better understanding of our objectives in said mini-games, we headed in.

Now that we knew the objective of each level, and didn’t have to look around for it, we pretty much poured on the speed and blasted through the levels themselves.  Ed managed to get us through two separate mini-game levels with his memory (’cause mine is crap), and we never took more then two attempts on any level.  Then we found out that we had to beat the bosses in those worlds again.  Grr….

Kirby3DarkMatterOkay, we beat bosses 3-5 again.  Are we there yet?  As we cleanse Dedede with the Heart Starts, DarkMatter shows up and answers our questions.  One more boss fight left, and in classic Kirby style, it’s a side-scrolling shoot-’em-up.  I’m not really that good at SHMUPs, but I understand that when you have infinite time you can just pour on the attack button and avoid the bad guy’s fire.  You don’t take any damage, and he’s gotta stumble into your stream occasionally.  Also, having Ed with me made the whole thing way easier.  Towards the end of this game we’ve start utilizing the fact that bosses will always aim for Kirby, so Gooey can rush in and do all the damage while Kirby’s staying out of the way.  Same story here, not a lick of difference.  I barely attacked the final form, just kept dragging him into Ed’s line of fire.

Anyways, we beat the last boss, cleared up the darkness, and saved Dream Land!  Woo-hoo!  Still not 100%, ’cause of Boss Rush, but whatever.  I’m calling this one complete!

01-12-12-2

Holy sharp-uptick-on-the-difficulty-curve-as-it-pertains-to-obtaining-optional-objectives, Batman!

Hey, wake up! We have Heart Stars to collect!

So, still clinging to the idea that we’re going to blow through the game proper, then clean up loose ends afterwards, we journeyed on to World 4, and promptly realized that getting the Heart Stars was suddenly going to be a real chore.  Objectives kept getting more obscure, puzzles harder, and the length of time we had to hold on to a specific Animal Helper or Copy ability just kept on increasing.  While we cleared out Heart Stars in Worlds 1 and 2 without issue, and just missed a couple in World 3, World 4 brought us crashing down.  We managed to collect 3 out of the 6 levels, which isn’t great, but the real joy was knowing we were going to go back and keep on trying until we got it. Ya hear that?  Joy.

World 4 takes us to Cloudy Park, which means the recurring cloud motif from previous games.  This time there were a bunch of ‘windy’ levels, pushing in in various directions, and several more self-moving levels, so overall this world felt a little rushed.  Then again, I guess that’s part of the point.  Lost a few lives, had a bunch of laughs, and did pretty well overall.  The boss, in particular, was a real gauntlet.  They’ve brought back the Painter (again), and he spun out 4 or 5 mini-bosses from previous games to beat, including a Kracko (the eye-ball cloud from previous games), but it was actually pretty fun to have to adjust new strategies a bunch of times during the fight.  We took him down with one tiny little sliver of life left, big sigh of relief.  And the Painter himself attacks you after you take down all the bosses!  If he had hit me for one point of damage, there would have been RAGE!  But no, we puffed a cloud at him and sent him flying.  I guess it brings new meaning to “knock him over with a breath”.

Onto World 5, Iceberg.  Unsurprisingly, this world was mostly ice-based and had some great platforming sequences.  Despite the relative ‘cheapness’ of throwing ice onto the ground to make a jumping section tougher, I’ve like it when games mess with your mobility a little as it forces you to rapidly adapt.  I’m better at it then Ed is, so I was mostly in charge of those sequences (although we’re still swapping off for levels and lives). Again, we missed half or more of the Heart Stars on the initial journey through the world, including a fairly cool objective where you have to beat Metroids by freezing them first, and then sending them into lava (just like in the Metroid series!).  We were unprepared for the third assault and the Metroids killed us.  Of course, when we respawned we had lost Ice power, so we’ll have to give that one another shot later.  We eventually made it to Dedede and took him out in a regular fashion, built on fighting him in each of the four previous games.  Dude needs to mix it up a little.

This again? C’mon…

Anyways, we beat the ‘last boss’, but didn’t get all the Heart Stars, so we were treated to the sub-ending.  Credits scrolled, but it was more of a cast list for the characters and sprites in the game as opposed to the development team, and were left with a big question mark at the end to let us know there was still more to do.

We’ll tackle the Heart Stars on a later date, but this one can be switched to ‘Beaten’, if not Completed.  But we’re coming for you, Dark Matter!  Just you wait!

KSSBox

IT’S 8 GAMES IN ONE!!

Kirby Super Star was released on the Super Nintendo in 1996, right towards the end of the console’s lifespan.  1996 was also the year the N64 stormed onto the market, and despite having the misfortune of being released in the same month as the iconic console, Kirby Super Star went on to sell a million copies in Japan alone and became heralded as one of the best games in the franchise.  Not bad for a latecomer to the party, right?  After it’s original release on the SNES, it saw an excellent enhanced remake (Kirby Super Star Ultra) on DS in 2008 , a Virtual Console re-release in 2009, and a re-re-release of the Virtual Console port as part of Kirby’s Dream Collection (which is how we’ve played it).  And regardless of the endless re-hashing, it remains one of the premier games on the SNES and one of the best Kirby adventures out there.

It’s Review Time!

SO MUCH CUTE!

SO MUCH CUTE!

Dream Land 3!  I’ve played the first couple worlds of this one a few times before, but never got around to beating it, so this should be fun! Again, we need to 100% this one in order to get the real last boss and real ending, so we’ll be completing the optional objectives in each level to get the Heart Stars.  Another big change in this one from previous Kirby games is the addition of 3 new Animal Helpers: Pitch the Bird, Nago the Kitty(!!!), and ChuChu the pink blobby thing, add to the Dream Land 2 roster of Rick the Hamster, Kine the Fish, and Coo the Owl.  Whereas in Kirby Super Star there were a multitude of moves and ways to use each of the powers, in Dream Land 3 we’re back to one use for each power, with Animal Helpers filling in the blanks for different types of attacks of abilities.

Of course. Metroid. What could be simpler?

We begin with World 1, a fairly average assortment of levels.  I’m seriously impressed by the look of this game, though.  The art direction is so great, and all the smooth animations and storybook colors creating this gorgeous look.  It’s not hard to see where Epic Yarn got some of it’s inspiration from.  Anyway, each of the levels has some sort of secret objective which can be just about anything, from using a special ability on a certain NPC, or making sure you don’t touch flowers in the level, or winning a mini-game.  It just gives you a vague hint in the level select screen in the form of a picture, and damned if some of them aren’t obtuse.  Ah well.  Again, we’ve decided to plow through and come back to clean up leftovers once we’re at the end of the game, so let’s get started!

World 1 is pretty basic.  Levels are straightforward, intros to all basic powers, and lets us play around with a number of Helpers to make sure we get a feel for the game.  We even managed to get all the Heart Stars on the first try through this one (mostly because I’ve played the first world a few times, and know this stuff).  Flew through the first 6 levels, all Heart Stars acquired, and went after the first boss… Wispy Woods!  ‘Cause it wouldn’t be a Kirby game if the first boss wasn’t a tree.  The tree has a couple new tricks this time, and although it caught us a bit off-guard to see it deviate from the standard Wispy Woods attack pattern, it certainly didn’t give us any trouble.

World 2 was a similar story.  This one we had to be a bit creative on a few of the Heart Stars, trying to deduce exactly what we were supposed to be accomplishing, but we got it figured.  Same story here, got all of them on the first playthrough, headed to the boss.  During this world, we also learned that when you can’t take your Animal Helper with you, just have Player 2 take it.  Once Kirby moves the screen far enough, P2  and the Animal they’re will will warp to him, allowing us to tow Helpers into places they’re not supposed to be (easily).  At least we haven’t run into any of those damned Animal seekers from Dream Land 2, who are indestructible and only attack you if you’re with a Helper.  Now that made you get rid of your Animals.  Anyway, World 2 taken care of, and off to World 3!

KI-TEHHH!!!

World 3 is where stuff started to get tough.  This time we weren’t able to get all of the Heart Stars, missing two out of the six levels.  Although we managed to pick up one of the longer ones, the two that we missed were due to losing Animal Buddies or powers before hitting the right part of the level.  Oh well, we’ll go back and do-over once this is all done.  In any case, we still had a good time, although the difficulty is starting to head up.  Giving the second player full control is a nice touch too.  Unlike Super Star, where your Buddy’s ability is controlled exclusively by Kirby (excluding Milky Way Wishes), Dream Land 3 lets you drop and pick up any power you want as Gooey, the buddy.  His main disadvantage is that he lacks Kirby’s somewhat multi-directional inhale, and instead just gets a Yoshi-like tongue attack that goes straight out.  It can make timing a much bigger deal when there’s a lot going on, too.  Anyways, took out the Boss for World 3, and we’ll pick this up on World 4 another day!

Today is the day we beat The Great Cave Offensive!  We’d filled all our gaps previously, and had just taken a mine cart ride into the next area.  It’s all smooth sailing from here.

This time, we had our Treasure Screen up as we got new treasures to keep an eye on where we were and where to go next, making sure that we hung around in an area and continued to look if there were still gaps.  We still needed to backtrack a few times, and a few of those chests were pretty well hidden.  I’ve beaten this game numerous times, but not enough that I have it all memorized, right?  We ran through the first area, and got to another 3-way split on doors.  This is where we messed up last time, continuing onwards when we should have stayed to explore.  Not this time!  This time we’re checking the list, and backtracking as necessary.  The large cloud-filled area was pretty fun, racing with Ed to see who could find the passageways first.  Also, I love the random Nintendo references that pop up in Great Cave Offensive, collecting Mario Muchrooms, Kong Barrels, and Zelda Triforces.  Like HAL doesn’t have a big enough back catalogue to pull from as a developer, they’re also a first-party Dev, so Nintendo lets them do stuff like this. Took us a little while but we picked up the last item, and after finding the exit, we popped out of the game.  60/60, full credits for all treasures.  Woot!  All games completely capped out so far.  I guess this means we’ll take the time and finish Milky Way Wishes all the way as well, since Meta-Knight isn’t a collecting game.

Revenge of Meta-Knight next!  Meta-Knight’s Halberd ship is wreaking havoc on Dream Land, and it’s up to us to put him down!  It’s basically a rush through a series of levels, with no secrets or collectables. I forgot that the whole run was timed though, so after all that careful looking in Great Cave Offensive, we had to pour on the juice for Meta-Knight.  It’s so frantic with a helper in tow, and both of us were racing to the exits (although only player one can go through them).  There was a lot of “Go go go go go go!” and we just barely squeaked through a couple of areas.  The best one was definietley Meta Knight himself, who we took down in under 14 seconds.  ‘Cause that’s all we had left.  Squeeeeeeeak.  I suppose the final ride out is also usually pretty frantic, but more so with each of us not being sure who was actually controlling the bike, so we both just played and button mashed and got out of there, and had a great time!

Milky Way Wishes, the final segment.  This one’s series of levels where the object is to collect individual powers from special collection points.  Each level has one (or more) powers in it, and once you collect a power you can select and active that power indefinitely for the rest of the game.  Having a second-player partner makes this segment so easy it hurts.  No more worrying about finding the right power, or holding onto it.  You can just pull any power you have at any time, and can even generate buddies from it (Buddies also can change powers at will).  But we’re going for 100%, so we can cap out the game completely.

Hell, we did less backtracking in this one than in The Great Cave Offensive.  We decided to blow through the planets and clean up powers we missed afterwards, so we weren’t spending needless time examining every nook and cranny.  Of course, Great Cave Offensive’s treasure list also acts as a placement guide of sorts, but no such luck here!  And no indicators of levels you’ve maxed out.  In prior sessions, it’s been quite the journey to get all of them, but this time, not so much.  So we’re not looking, but we’re not not looking, and by the end of the run we’re only missing three powers.  That’s not bad.  Went back and grabbed the three we missed, and headed to the last boss.  I remember this guy being pretty hard in single-player, but again, a second-player buddy makes it a cakewalk.  Cue credits, and our nice shiny 100%… we have to do the Arena, too?  Nah, we’ve still got two whole games left.  Off to Dream Land 3!