These are the new game offers that are available for Club Nintendo members based in the US until June 30:
SEGA recently stole the thunder in a Nintendo Direct be revealing not one, not two, but three exclusive Sonic games for the 3DS and Wii U. During this same direct it was revealed that the first title would be Mario & Sonic at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and secondly the next main-series plat forming Sonic title, Sonic Lost World. The third title was suspiciously absent, but has since been rumoured to me and Mario & Sonic karting cross-over title.
It has now emerged from Nintendo of Germany’s website that all three of these titles will be released this year! Surely the reveal of this secret third title is only a week or so away? Cough Cough
Neko Entertainment have just released their second Wii U eShop titlle, Kung Fu Rabbit, and have also announced their third game is in development…
Today’s Kickstarter game that could be heading to the Wii U is a spiritual successor to Road Rash…
The Pokemon Company has today announced a new free app to stream Pokemon TV episodes and movies to your iOS and Android devices…
Nintendo didn’t just talk about games in today’s Nintendo Direct. The first details about the consoles virtual surface where finally announced…
Some gamers out there may have been rather surprised that Nintendo didn’t offer Wii U functionality via the 3DS from day one. A recent rumour suggests they may be working on a peripheral to offer this…
by Ryan C.
With Halloween rapidly approaching and October almost coming to an end, people should be perfectly in the mood for this time of year. But lets say you have no decorations up or any candy to eat, well, have no fear for I am going to share the perfect games to play on each Nintendo console, starting with the classic NES.
I had a difficult time trying to pick which NES Castlevania game to put on the list. The first one is a classic, Simon’s Quest was different, but I still love it, and 3 is arguably the best, but most difficult. When it came down to it, I had to pick the first, as it was the first of its kind and my personal favorite on the system.
As Simon Belmont, it is your job to hunt down and destroy the evil Count Dracula. As far as story goes, it is pretty bare bones. The game features no dialogue or any cutscenes. Now that there is a huge Castlevania timeline, the game is important in regards to the big picture, but as a stand-alone title, a story is not the main selling point. Here, it is all about whipping monsters while listening to kick ass tunes. In my opinion, Castlevania has some of the best songs of all time, and is up there with other classics such as Mega Man.
What separated Castlevania apart from any other game at the time was how it honours all the classic Universal movie monsters. Dracula is the main villain, and under his commands include Frankenstein’s monster, the hunchback, mummies, a giant bat, the grim reaper, and merman similar to the Creature From the Black Lagoon, medusa, and more. It uses a more serious tone then other games at the time and offers a stiff challenge.
One of the hardest games in existence, Ghosts n’ Goblins is a classic gem that is not afraid to make you beg for mercy.
Why is it so hard? The biggest reason is that you can only take two hits, but it is not like Super Mario Bros, it is more like they made a Mega Man game and the life bar depleted with two hits. The game is six stages long, but they will put your skills to the ultimate test, and just when you think you are done, the game gives you a false ending and you are forced to play through a second time. This is remedied (somewhat…not really) by having unlimited continues and even if (read: when) you get a game over, you will start at the same checkpoint as before.
Ghosts n’ Goblines feature a wide variety of enemies such as zombies, devils, dragons, ghosts, among other traditional horror-type enemies. The game also includes numerous weapons such as the lance, knife, fire, and a shield. Each has their advantage, but the knife is the weapon you would want to stick with.
With a brutal difficulty curve and enemies straight out of any Halloween special, this game is worth a playthrough, pending you can risk some controllers breaking.
Similar to how Castlevania honoured classic Gothic horror, Zombies Ate My Neighbours celebrates all the campy ‘B’ films. Back when Lucas Arts made games other then Star Wars, they were known for creating games that dealt with off beat humour and ridiculous scenarios.
This game can be played solo, but I strongly recommend finding a buddy to sit down with for some two-player co-op (no online needed). Players can take control of two stereotypical 90’s kids, Zeke and Julie. The goal of each level is to rescue at least one neighbour from all sorts of monsters. It may sound easy, and at first it is, but the difficulty quickly ramps up when the game introduces chainsaw wielding maniacs, or giant babies. If that sounds quirky, that is only because it is.
Weapons are not of the typical zombie massacre variety, as the default weapon is a water gun. Of course, this would not be a SNES game unless there were some weapon pickups, and this game features plenty such as a fire extinguisher that freezes monsters, soda cans that act as grenades, tomatoes that can be thrown through walls, dishes and silverware, weed whackers, and more. Essentially, it is the Dead Rising of the 16-bit era.
It is simple quirky fun that is best enjoyed with a friend, and while it may be rare and expensive, just hop on that Virtual Console and spend 800 points for this radical cult classic.
I know I already put the first Castlevania on the list, but there was no way I was leaving this one out. Super Castlevania 4 is the perfect Castlevania game in my opinion. While I do enjoy the Metroidvania style ones, to me, nothing beats Super 4. The whipping in eight directions, moon walking, level design, and bosses all howl perfection.
Super Castlevania 4 is more of a remake of the NES original, as players once again take control of Simon Belmont going through Dracula’s castle to destroy the evil. Although a remake, it features more levels and bosses along with the updated graphics and improved controls. This game is a beauty, with loads of little details to pull you into its atmosphere. The soundtrack is classic, with both new tracks and remakes of beloved songs from the NES era. The enemies and bosses are again lifted from old mythology such as the Gorgons, Wolfman and Mummies, but with new additions to keep things fresh.
While all that is great, the controls steal the show. Whipping in eight directions ensures that enemies cannot run to unreachable locations, nor can they attack from cheap positioning. As a result, the difficulty is not controlling snapping-ly frustrating, but it is not a walk in the park either. If players hold the attack button, the whip goes limp, and by playing around with the d-pad, Simon can swing around the Vampire Killer in irregular patterns. It may not be as powerful, but it sure is fun.
I cannot recommend this game enough, I always wanted to talk about it but could never find an excuse, but now that it is Halloween, I can finally tell everyone to play this gem.
Resident Evil 2 has a special place in my heart. Sure it aged pretty poorly in the presentation department, and the tank controls is a love it or hate it control scheme, but I cannot deny the brilliance of this game, no matter how old it gets.
Similar to how the first game took place in a mansion, Resident Evil 2 is set primarily in the Raccoon City Police Station, and what an area it is. As Leon or Claire, the player explores the police station solving head scratching puzzles, fending off legions of the undead, and finding notes that flesh out this disturbing world. The actual game may be scary, but some of these notes can be flat out disturbing. One memorable moment is when you find a journal of a person who has been recently bitten, and as the dates become more recent, you can tell the person’s mind is starting to deteriorate. Once finish reading you can check the closet behind you and find the writer of these journals.
I am impressed with the atmosphere and that it does put some emotional weight behind the characters and scenarios, with the aforementioned journals, or a police officer on the verge of turning that offers you help.
On the gameplay side, it is very similar to the other pre-Resident Evil 4 days, but it is executed perfectly in 2, offering a healthy balance of puzzles, mystery, fighting, and scavenging health and ammo. As far as I am concerned, this is one of the best Survival Horror games before the genre (sadly) became focused more on cheap scares and third person shooting.
Not everything about Halloween has to be scary, case in point: Luigi’s Mansion. After all these years of playing second fiddle, Nintendo finally let the lovable loser have his own game. Unfortunately for some, it was not a traditional Mario game in any sense of the word; Luigi could not even jump. The focus was instead shifted to exploring a haunted mansion and solving puzzles (think more Resident Evil then Super Mario).
Similar to the first Resident Evil, Luigi explores a mansion that are infested with the undead at every turn, except this time the player uses a vacuum to suck up the ghouls Ghostbusters style. On its own merits, it is a solid game with a few quirks, such as its short length and relatively non-existent difficulty curve.
Most of the time, progression boils down to find a key and open the specific door, solve a puzzle to capture the boss to get another key, repeat. Later in the game the players have more room to explore, even with some side attractions that reward the player handsomely.
With those few issues aside, Luigi’s Mansion is insanely fun no matter the age or skill level, definitely worth a play through this time of year.
When it comes to the horror genre, there are generally three types: survival (Resident Evil 2), action (Resident Evil 6) and psychological horror that focuses on getting into the mind of the player to cause an uneasiness and sense for foreboding doom. One of the best examples I can think of for this type is Eternal Darkness, a game that literally messes with you as much as the character you control.
Players take control of Alexandra, who visits her grandfather’s mansion to investigate his mysterious death, and in the mansion she finds a book called “The Tomb of Eternal Darkness”. Each chapter in the book is the story of a different person in history, and each time you read it, the player takes control of that person. With 12 chapters spread across the mansion, it makes for an intriguing plot with plenty of suspense and character development.
However, one of the most unique and memorable aspects of this game was the Sanity Meter. While commonplace in games these days such as Amnesia, Eternal Darkness started it all and even broke the fourth wall sometimes. Some examples are random noises such as women screaming as they are being murdered or doors slamming; bleeding walls, your characters head randomly being decapitated, and the infamous memory card glitch that informs you that all your save files have been erased. It is effective in creating a dreadful atmosphere, and one that is not afraid of making the player feel stressed out as well.
While rare and expensive, it is a gem of a game that was sadly overlooked by many. However, with the upcoming release of the Wii U and the promise of Gamecube Virtual Console games, I would not be surprised to see this title be available for download in the near future.
For those who want their Halloween kicks to be of the more psychological variety, Konami and British developer Climax deliver the goods in the form of their 2009 Silent Hill installment.
Its story begins with Harry Mason waking up behind the wheel of his recently crashed car, unable to find his young daughter, Cheryl. Armed only with a flashlight, Harry sets off into the snow covered, abandoned streets of Silent Hill, desperately looking for any trace of his child. While the initial premise is instantly recognizable to anyone who played Silent Hill on the PlayStation, the plot actually turns out to be quite a different beast, and one of the most intriguing storylines out there, with absolute world class pacing and top-notch acting.
As good as the story itself is, it’s the immersive gameplay and tense atmosphere that truly sell it. Having been developed ground-up for the Wii, Shattered Memories features pixel-perfect flashlight controls by way of IR, motion controlled puzzles, and some of the most impressive visuals on the system, with high resolution texture work letting you gather information from the environments seamlessly – all in the name of immersion. For the same reason, the developer has completely eliminated the HUD, and placed all vital information and menus inside Harry’s smartphone. This game was made to make you think of it more as a nightmare than a game, which brings us to one of the most controversial design decisions: getting rid of combat.
As the world freezes over, and faceless monstrosities start to well out of the darkness, all you can do is run for your life, and pray that they won’t catch up. You can slow your stalkers down by tossing flares, or toppling furniture behind you, but there is no killing them. And as if that wasn’t enough, the game is watching your every move. Analyzing you.
An ambitious profiling system registers your behaviour, and adjusts plot elements to fit your personality. The psychological profiling system may not be able to do all – or even most – personality types out there justice, but those who find their personalities reflected in it will have a horrible time. In the very best way possible.
With Halloween only one more sleep away, what better way to celebrate then by playing or re-playing any of these classics? So dress up, grab some candy, turn off the lights and immerse yourself in this wonderful holiday.
Man I love some of the stuff on Kickstarter, none more so than ones which tug at my Nintendo heartstrings. Take this latest project for example…
Remember how PETA made a faux-Pokemon game insinuating that Nintendo promotes animal cruelty through Pokemon? Well Nintendo has issued a statement.
No one deducts points from a Mario game for having a poor storyline. It’s already something that’s expected – Princess Peach gets kidnapped by Bowser. Sometimes it has to do with some cake she’s baking or party she’s planning. End of story. No one comes into a Mario game hoping to be wowed and dazzled by a complex, ten-layers-deep story with a surprise plot twist at the end. They know that when it comes to Mario games it’s all about the gameplay and having fun.
However it’s time to start rethinking this whole concept. Mario games used to be rare releases, coming out once or twice every generation. From the NES release in 1985 until the end of the GCN’s lifespan, there were nine core Mario platformers: seven console games and two original Gameboy games. From the release of the Wii and DS until the end of this year, we will have seen eight core Mario platformers. Some would say the formula is beginning to lose its freshness. There’s no question that the gameplay has been refined and tightened to an unmatched level of precision. But, it’s clear that in terms of the 2D Mario games, Nintendo is looking for a new angle to provide a fresh experience. For example, with the recent New Super Mario Bros 2, the core gameplay was nothing new. But, there was a new “spin” added to the game, by way of the addiction to collecting tons of coins.
A new focus to keep things fresh
It could be Nintendo should look towards evolving other aspects of the game, as well, such as the storyline and gameplay. But, the storyline is what I’d really like to examine.
Some gamers would feel disgusted by the thought of having a more complex story in a Mario game. It just wouldn’t feel “right”. It wouldn’t feel like a Mario game if the story began to take more of a focus than it has in the past. It’s similar to why some gamers don’t want voice-acting in the Zelda games. They want to preserve the tradition and feel of Zelda. But, the problem is that our brains are just too used to the Mario formula. It may help us retain the “image” we’ve developed over the years, but we will lose the excitement and passion we once had for a new 2D platforming Mario game. We need something that will surprise our brain and make it say, ‘Oh, this is something I’m not familiar with! I’m excited to see what’s going to happen!’
The story shouldn't get too philosophical
So, the question is how a Mario game should approach its storyline in a way that would actually benefit the game. I don’t think anyone would be happy if Nintendo brought in some well-known writer to work on a sophisticated and complex plot involving parallel universes and a philosophical subtext of Man’s fight against religion. Nor do we need a treatise on the psychological side effects of the jealousy Luigi feels towards being the lesser of the two brothers, as Luigi slowly joins the dark side. And we definitely would pass on a story focusing on Peach’s romantic feelings towards Bowser interfering with Mario’s attempt to save her.
The story would obviously have to be kept light, humorous, and whimsical; enjoyable for all ages. But, light-hearted doesn’t have to mean boring or repetitious. It could even be predicated on the age-old tradition of Peach being kidnapped. But, do we honestly think Peach falls into the same trap every time? How many times will they fall for the same thing. Here’s an example of a slightly altered storyline: The Princess throws a party and Bowser shows up to kidnap her. Mario saw it coming, though, and made sure to be the Princess’ personal bodyguard. He thwarts Bowser and saves the day. Bowser comes up with a new plan. While Mario is at the party, Luigi is back at home, in bed. Bowser and his minions kidnap Luigi while Mario is off with his gal. The first four worlds in the game could involve Mario chasing after Bowser in order to save Luigi. At the last castle, Mario encounters the Koopalings. He has to all seven of them, one after another. While he’s all tied up dealing with the Koopalings, saving Luigi, Bowser and an army of dry bones break into the Princess’ castle and kidnap her. After saving his bro, you can play as either Mario or Luigi as you make your way to the final confrontation with Bowser.
It’s simple and lightweight; it doesn’t require that much more of a focus on the story, but it’s enough to add a bit more of a compelling nature to the story. The conflict adds a bit more tension and motivation. It’s simple enough that a six year old who watches cartoons can understand it, but it’s enough that you don’t feel like Nintendo is being lazy about the storyline.
In Paper Mario his plans are goofy but a lot more fun
The truth is that Nintendo has always had Mario storylines in their Mario RPGs. Paper Mario has a light and positive feel to it the whole way through. The characters, villains, and side-characters are loads of fun. The Mario & Luigi RPGs are always humorous and silly. A simpler version of those plots or characterizations would work just fine for a Mario platformer.
So, what do you think? Would Mario games benefit or lose from a better storyline?
Welcome again to Let’s Make a Sequel, where I take a game that deserves to have another shot in the spotlight. Today’s topic is going to be on Quest 64, a game that receives mixed reception even to this day. Being noticeable as the first RPG released for the N64, a console whose predecessor was known for having an amazing line-up of the genre, Quest had a lot to live up too.
Upon release, it received mostly negative reviews, as people felt it was too simple, deprived exploration and lackluster storytelling. One area that was generally praised was the magic system, as Brain (the main character) could level up four different areas based on the four elements: fire, earth, water and wind. From defeating monsters and finding hidden spirits throughout the world, players had the freedom to level up whatever they wanted, fitting to their play style. Want powerful attacks? Earth or wind will satisfy. Want to have healing magic or status boosts? Water and fire respectively should do the trick. Players could balance all four or be the most powerful wind mage in the land.
I also liked how the other status mechanics operated. HP, MP, defense and agility could all be leveled up, but not in the traditional sense. If Brain receives damage, points will pour into defense and HP. If Brain avoids enemy attacks, his agility will raise, which has three advantages. It determines who attacks first, how often you will avoid attacks, and finally how often you will successfully land hits on your enemies. Finally, using magic attacks will raise your maximum MP level. It is a unique system that works extremely well.
Another aspect of the game I enjoyed was the atmosphere. Caves and dark forests had scary music, entering towns for the first time felt heroic, and enemies were sometimes downright terrifying. The amount of detail some enemies have is impressive, and no two humans look alike (with few exceptions). The story was intriguing, and had tons of mystery, but for the majority of the game, storytelling was non-existent. The payoff at the end was merely satisfactory, but featured a twisted end level and hellish final boss.
I am not going to do a full review on it, but if I did I would probably give it a six or seven. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, despite its multiple flaws. My biggest issue is how lazy it sometimes felt. A few hours into the game you come to a town where the wind is out of balanced, causing havoc in some areas or being stopped in a town that needs windmills. One particular fellow tells you a bridge has been destroyed, but upon inspection, the bridge is perfectly fine, minus the locked gate. All the towns indicate a particular problem, but no one seems to be suffering or having any trouble at all. Games on the SNES were able to create a sense of dread, so I guess this game ran out of time or budget.
My biggest hope for a sequel, if one were to happen, is that the world would feel more organic. I want the game to make me genuinely sorry for the NPC’s and their villages; it is hard to care when everything seems so happy-go-lucky throughout the game. With that said, the end game village does have a sense of dread due to the dictatorship of their king. Another area that would help is the storytelling. Before the game starts, your master informs you that your father disappeared while looking for the legendary Eletale Book, and before long you discover that the world is thrown into chaos due to the four elements being out of balance. Once the initial premise is known, the story just disappears until the last few hours. It is a shame because what is here is interesting and well realized. History is also thrown in sometimes with the Great War that took place thousands of years ago. In short, the story is intriguing and mysterious, but gets pushed to the side for the majority of the game.
In RPG’s and adventure games, it can be expected that side quests will be available to earn treasure, experience points or learn something interesting from the NPC’s, but Quest does not have a single side quest or activity to distract from the main goal. With a world full of characters with problems it would have been nice to be able to help out some villagers. One village early on in the game is in panic because of a brutal robber in the woods, blocking the path to another nearby city. One particular man needs materials to make pottery, so why not help him by collecting the required supplies in and around the forest? In addition to side quests, exploring could be better with rare items or secret villages throughout the land. Quest 64 is not a very open game.
What I talked about so far was mostly to do with story and making the world feel more natural and alive, but the gameplay needs to be expanded and tweaked to make a better flowing and replayable game. First of all, the way death is handled should be reworked. It is common practice for RPG’s to have some sort of penalty after death, i.e. losing money or experience. However, in Quest, death simply means going back to the last save point with no penalty whatsoever. Even experience points you gained from the fight that defeated you are kept. What this means is there is little to worry about, as battles will be eventually won if your defense and health increase regardless. It would be more of a challenge and hectic if something was lost. On the other hand, there is no money system in place as all your potions and items are found in treasure chests. If something happened where you have no Honey Bread left, someone in the village will give you one for free. With a system like this, why bother healing in a fight if you can return to the area in a few minutes? You will level up all the same and your items will be saved for a boss fight.
As previously said, I enjoyed the leveling system as it lets you choose if you want to specialize in a particular element, balance all four, or choose from increasing agility or defense. Regardless, I feel this can be expanded greatly to help replay value and really changing how each individual would experience the game. Brain is a magician first and foremost, but the way he uses his magic could be altered. The system could be a magician based fighter, thief, or healer. For a fighter, his magic could increase his attack power, or add an elemental affect on his staff for a powerful fire strike. For a thief, he could learn an invisibility spell, or make a duplicate shell of himself to distract people or enemies. A healer would specialize in curing many status aliments or recovery. If the player chooses to become a thief, then experience will be gained from stealing and not necessarily fighting monsters. If you want to be a specific class, level up by being that class.
This could also come in place to side quests. Imagine a poor sick villager who requires a certain herb; players could steal it, heal him himself, or defeat a monster that holds it. Depending on what the player does could affect how they are rewarded and seen through the eyes of everyone around him. Healing the sick person could result in other people requesting aid, and stealing would make people more distant from you. This mechanic alone would perfectly solve my issues with the world and side quests.
The controls were serviceable, but had one recurring issue. While in battle, the B button re-centered the camera, and both A and Z buttons were confirm and cancel. I often found when going in for a melee attack that the enemy could sway out of the way right as I press the confirm attack, making me skip my turn entirely. A simple way out of this is spreading the three actions across the three buttons. Z would control the camera, B would cancel a spell selection or skip a turn, and A would confirm the attack of spell. One last thing is the camera itself. The default positions around the battlefield could sometimes be horrendous, as it could go behind a door or tree. Being an early N64 title, these problems were probably to be expected so I have faith a sequel on a current generation system would fix these issues with little hassle.
Quest 64 was a moderate success, with enough sales for the developers to think about doing a sequel. Instead, we got a port for the Game Boy Color before this franchise died. Open world RPG’s seem to be all the rage these days with both reinventions like Fallout 3 and new IP’s like Dragon’s Dogma, so it seems like the time is right to give this forgotten game another shot. Unfortunately, I highly doubt we will ever hear from Quest again, but maybe Brain has one last spell up his sleeve.
You can also read more about Quest 64 on our feature the 100 Best N64 Games
by Menashe and CitizenOfVerona
SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t came across some of these Nintendo villains yet, then there will obviously be some spoilers. So, if, for example, you don’t know who the final boss in Skyward Sword is, you should probably avoid the last villain in this article.
Everyone already knows about Bowser, so we won’t speak much about him. If you want to know more about him, pick up almost any Mario game. Instead we’ll talk about a younger version of Bowser: Baby Bowser.
Baby Bowser was an iconic fight at the end of Yoshi’s Island. The “little Master” turned out to be a spoiled brat, being taken care of by his babysitter, Kamek. When you defeat him in his nursery, Kamek does a little magic and turns the little Baby into a towering Godzilla who shoots fireballs and sends massive boulders raining down on you. Of course, baby Bowser proves no match for baby Mario. That recurring dynamic follows both Mario and Bowser throughout the rest of their lives. I guess it started as a childhood rivalry.
You cannot grasp what makes Giygas so memorable without actually experiencing it for yourself. Be it the twisted dialogue or the fact he lost of body and sanity because of his heart break, Giygas will forever be in the minds of Earthbound fans for how dark and depressing he really is. But, the most gruesome aspect of Giygas is that in order to beat him you must defeat him while he is still a fetus.
The King of Evil needs to be on any list including the best villains. He is a brutal, ruthless leader that will stop at nothing to obtain the sacred triforce. Even being banished to another dimension and transformed into a Pig Monster did not hold this particular badass back.
We do not know if Mother Brain has been taken over by the Space Pirates or joined them by her own will, but we do know that she controls Metroids using telepathy. While she was a straightforward boss in the NES Metroid, she got an upgrade in Super Metroid making her an unforgettable boss fight to one of the best games ever; this scene had to give you chills.
This boss is mostly carefree and just wants to eat all the food in Dream Land. Greedy for sure, and ever since the first Kirby game he has mostly been on Kirby’s side, but whenever you do fight him you are treated to one of the best tunes in gaming and a quirky fight that is sure to put a smile on your face.
While only a final boss in Zero Mission, we here at NE consider him the main villain of the franchise for being Samus’ main rival. Often down but never out, Ridley has taken multiple forms including Meta, Omega and Neo. Plus, he is a dragon, and everyone loves dragons.
Pirates have not had much of the spotlight in gaming as of late, but they were amazing in the old Donkey Kong Country games. King K Rool is menacing while still being comical at the same time. He has a musket, but shoots out pink and blue clouds; he has the perfect blend of all things right with villains.
Master Hand may not have any characteristics; he is a staple to the Smash Bros series. What I do like about Master Hand is that it is just a kid playing with his Nintendo toys, then promptly gets beaten up by his toys in a Toy Soldiers (look it up) like plot device.
While not a boss in the traditional sense, the smug rival from Pokemon Blue and Red has to be here. Throughout the game, he is always gloating about how superior he is to you, and nothing is as satisfying as beating him to take the crown as Pokemon Master from him while his very own Uncle says how disappointed he is in him.
Going from a secondary villain in Earthbound to headcheese in Mother 3, Pokey is a unique boss in which his motivations are outlandish. He thinks of the world as his personal toybox, mixing nature and technology as he sees fit and shaping the world to his perfect vision.
Throughout Golden Sun 2: The Lost Age, Agatio and Karst are always getting in your way and always achieve the upper hand. You grow to hate them over the course of the game, until the end when you learn their motivations was to simply save their hometown. Sure, their methods were brutal, but they did it to protect their homeland, making the heroes have a change of heart.
What sets Skull Kid apart is that he is not trying to kidnap Zelda or destroy the world; he simply wants to be loved by his friends. As an outcast who played pranks, his inner depression led him to be consumed by the cursed mask, using him as a puppet to carry out his evil tasks on Termina.
The Pikmin franchise does not focus on who or what the final boss is, but in Pikmin 2 we learn that Louie is missing somewhere on the planet. The player can guess that he is captured by something, but other then that we are left clueless. After venturing through a dangerous cave, we find him surrounded by treasure, which becomes a part of a massive spider looking for blood. With multiple elemental attacks and a fantastic musical score, this boss fight lays on the intense atmosphere thick.
Metroid 2 was partially inspired by the classic Aliens, where Samus goes to the home world of these extra terrestrials to wipe them out for good. Also like Aliens, the climax is a confrontation with the Queen. The arena is claustrophobic and her attacks are brutal, making it an achievement when you triumph this final challenge.
Star Fox on SNES made use of polygons, including on the face its villain, Andross. Star Fox 64 is a classic gem that started a plethora of internet memes including barrel rolls and Star Wolf. Andross is once again the villain, and his presence is constantly felt, with characters constantly mentioning him, plus the fact that he killed Fox’s father. Depending on which route you take throughout the galaxy will change his final form, ranging from easy to insanely difficult, unless you are a champion like me.
Metroid Prime 2 features some of the most spectacular boss fights in any game, but Emperor Ing takes the cake. He resides deep within the alternate dimension and is isolated from the rest of the world, which makes this one of the most atmospheric bosses in any Metroid game, which is an accomplishment in itself. With multiple forms and a stiff challenge, the sense of accomplishment you get from this boss fight is off the charts.
Bowser’s eccentric gaggle of kids prove that even dysfunctional homes can produce loyal kids. And these seven are loyal to a tee. Larry likes sports, Morton is the fat one, Wendy is the spoiled brat with a bad temper, Iggy is the demented, mechanical genius, Roy is the bully, Lemmy is the clown, and Ludwig is the most similar to his father in cruelty and intelligence.
Fawful is a villain in the Mario & Luigi series, and he’s considered to be on the funniest in the entire Mario universe. Some of his quirks are his weird usage of the English language and his constant obscure food metaphors. Some of his classic quotes are:
- “Fawful is on the cozy couch, sipping tea that laughs at you!”
- “All who resist will be beat like naughty little eggs!”
- “You inhaled like a hungry syrup pig at the free pancake buffet.”
- “And this battle shall be the delicious mustard on that bread! The mustard of your doom!”
Smithy looks like a diabolical Santa Claus. He hails from another dimension, a dimension that is accessible only by the gateway Exor. In his dimension, he resides in his Factory where, day and night, Smithy creates mechanical monsters to be unleashed against the peaceful people of other worlds. In Super Mario RPG, he leads his evil organization, The Smithy Gang, in an attempt to rule over the Mushroom World.
Metroids aren’t easy to deal with in the first place. That difficulty is amplified tenfold when it’s a highly-mutated Metroid, infused with huge quantities of phazon. Even after Samus defeats the Metroid Prime’s exoskeleton and its core essence, it still manages to recreate itself as Dark Samus using some of Samus’ DNA and phazon.
Nintendo often takes their villains and turns them into protagonists of their own games. It happened to Donkey Kong. It happened to Bowser. And it happened to Wario. Wario started off as Mario’s nemesis in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. As the instruction manual says, Wario is an overgrown man-child who has been jealous of Mario since they were children. Although Wario stars in the sequel, Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land, he retains his greed and selfishness, which actually becomes a recurring plot and gameplay theme for the rest of the series.
Samurai Goroh is the nuisance, trouble-maker of the F-Zero series. Black Shadow is the evil emperor. But Black Shadow is a mere pawn who shudders in fear of his master, Deathborn, the ultimate villain of the F-Zero franchise. Deathborn has died three times, but was brought back to life each time by sacrificing his real body parts for mechanical ones. Through these “procedures” he has become essentially immortal. One of the devices “installed” within his body allows him to travel freely through space, making it possible for him to mysteriously appear anywhere at any time. He banishes those he dislikes to the outer limits of space, where they become drifting vagabonds for all eternity. So, how does Captain Falcon defeat him? Through racing, of course. (He should have used his Falcon Punch!)
Medusa certainly has changed appearances drastically from the original game to the recent Kid Icarus Uprising. But don’t blame Medusa for the way she looks. Palutena, in a fit of anger, changed Medusa into a cyclopic, snake-haired monster and banished her to the Underworld. It’s no wonder Medusa decided to gather an army from the Underworld and take revenge on Palutena. Lucky for Palutena, she had locked up her old personal assistant, Pit, in the Underworld. Pit is in the perfect position to take on Medusa and her army.
The only issue we had with the original Medusa fight was that if you knew how to do it correctly, you could remain hovering in one spot and never get hit.
The Mushroom World has different regions. Two of them are Mushroom Kingdom, headed by Princess Peach, and Sarasaland, ruled over by Princess Daisy. In Super Mario Land, Princess Daisy is kidnapped by Tatanga, an invading purple alien. Tatanga faces off against Mario in a air duel- Mario in his airplane, the Sky Pop and Tatanga in his spaceship, the Pogasu. After defeating Tatanga and saving Sarasaland, Mario takes the fight to Tatanga. In Super Mario Land 2, one of the six golden coins is found in Space Zone, guarded by Tatanga, who is defeated a lot easier this time around.
What is Mario’s biggest nightmare? It’s Wart, apparently. Super Mario Bros 2 takes place in Mario’s dreams and the antagonist is the old, but evil Frog King, Wart. The instruction manual to the game says, “He is the most mischievous of all in the world of dreams. He created monsters by playing with the dream machine.” I think Wart has been gone for long enough. It’s time for Nintendo to bring back this old anthropomorphic frog to a new generation.
Yin Yarn is the main villain and final boss of Kirby’s Epic Yarn. He can manipulate most things made of yarn with his pair of wooden knitting needles, which are held in each of his hands. Yin-Yarn’s true origins and motives are never revealed throughout the course of the game, and he comes across as a land-hungry villain ultimately seeking control of Dream Land, although he confesses himself that he is not sure what to do with it.
Here’s a bit of Fire Emblem history for you. Although the Fire Emblem series has featured many different villains, probably the most iconic one is Medeus. He was the antagonist of the first Fire Emblem and its remake Shadow Dragon. He also made a return for the Fire Emblem’s first outing on the SNES. He is a product of racial tensions.
Medeus was furious over how the humans looked down on his race, the Earth Dragons, so he joined with the Doluna Empire and made the humans his slaves. The hero, Anri eventually kills him. Centuries later, the evil priest, Gharnef, resurrects Medeus. Marth, a descendant of Anri, slays him but Gharnef is still able to revive Medeus in the transformed state of the Dark Dragon. Marth vs Dark Dragon is something like David vs Goliath, and somehow Marth comes out victorious.
Count Bleck is possibly the most complex villain in all of Nintendo’s legendary franchises. (Menashe: My colleagues don’t agree with me on this.) Super Paper Mario’s gameplay appealed to some fans and turned off others. But, anyone willing to stay the while, was treated to a great storyline. Nintendo villains are always motivated by a lust for control or power. Count Bleck is the only villain motivated by sadness and regret. His is the story of Lord Blumiere and Lady Timpani. It’s too long to go into detail here so I’ll just summarize it:
Blumiere is a member of the Tribe of Darkness. After falling off a cliff, and being nursed back to health by a human named Timpani, he is shocked that a human would help him. After falling in love, Lord Blumiere’s disapproving and abusive father abducts Timpani and performs a curse on her that will doom her to wander the dimensions forever. Overcome with grief and rage, Lord Blumiere steals a magical artifact which enables him to perform dark magic. His spirit and personality are soon corrupted and he changes into Count Bleck. In revenge, Bleck murders his own father and wipes out his entire tribe. His goal is that no one should ever be happy since he can’t, and he tries to wipe all of the dimensions out of existence. When Mario faces him he discovers Lady Timpani is still alive, and he regrets his actions. Unfortunately for him, Dimentio has been planning to betray him all along. Combining Luigi, the Chaos Heart, and himself, he becomes Super Dimentio, the true antagonist of the game. I won’t tell you the rest of the story, because the tragic figure of Count Bleck has a powerful ending in the conclusion of Super Paper Mario. You should check it out yourself.
Demise and Ghirahim are a terrifying pair. Demise is the lord of the demons and Ghirahim is his sword, who can take human-like form. They make for a formidable opponent, and it is Demise’s curse of the incarnation of hatred which causes Link to constantly be caught up in the cycle of of the rebirth of evil in each generation.
Brendan Lautissier: SA-X from Metroid Fusion.
Great Mighty Poo
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This “Best Mario Game Ever” tournament went on hiatus during the E3 season, but now that that ordeal is over and done with we can get back to more important things. (Kidding, kidding.) For those who have a hard time remembering back to last round, we knocked out the 3D-gaming patriarch Super Mario 64, the visually and stylistically excellent Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, this past gen’s seminal Super Mario Galaxy, and the tropical vacation crisis of Super Mario Sunshine. Those are all such masterpieces that one may wonder, what kind of games could possibly knock them out of a tournament? But, we aren’t talking about a bunch of “commoner-folk” games here. We’re talking about video gaming’s biggest series. A franchise that taught the world (including game developers) just what a video game is.
So, to determine the best Mario game ever is almost like saying which one of your children is your favorite? You adore them all and you would never forget any of them. But, everyone has a personal favorite, one that “speaks” to them in a whole different way that the others. The same applies with Mario games. Everyone has their personal favorite. The one that meant something to them on a whole different level. So, help us determine which Mario game is the most beloved by the fans by voting in this semi-final round. Which one is the Best Mario Game Ever?
Click here to view Round 1
Click here to view Round 2
composed by Josh Smith
This medley is the finale to our Wacky Week. One week ago, I approached our forum manager, Josh Smith (Running_in_Jam), and asked him if he would like to whip up a quick Nintendo remix for the Wacky Week theme. Josh, being a talented musician, had already partnered with a few of the staff members on games they were developing. In fact, he created the music for a game I submitted to FlashGameLicense to be auctioned off less than two weeks ago. Just as I expected, he said yes to the project right away. Still, we only gave him one week to work on it, so we knew it would be down to the wire.
The idea of this new project was to take an eclectic grab-bag of classic Nintendo tunes and see if they can all be thrown together into one remix. The idea of it was a bit wacky. The tunes would have to be tunes that spanned many different styles and themes and Josh’s challenge was to find a way to make each tune coherently transition into the subsequent tune. A hard challenge to say the least. We tried to stump him. The tunes are from all over the place. We even threw in some Mega Man and Castlevania. But, not only did he find a way to make it all work, he even managed to play some of them at the same time, in one theme! That Zelda Overworld Theme/Pokemon Theme duet he finishes with at the end? Wow. I was impressed. Josh wins this round. We’ll have to try harder next time around.
Here’s the complete list of tunes we threw at him, in the order they show up in the remix:
NOTE: Do yourself a favor. As soon as the video starts playing, click on the settings icon and switch the quality to 720p. It sounds much better.
by Mia-Beth Honey
Zombies have been the highlight of gaming for generations, more than ever now. With the ability to make us, laugh, jump, and cry (and bust some serious headshots) is it any surprise they’ve been such a success and that so many zombie games have been produced? So, let’s take a look back and trace the lineage of zombie games that have appeared on Nintendo systems throughout the generations.
The zombie gaming timeline really started for Nintendo in 1994, with the release of Zombies Ate My Neighbours (SNES) , which became a cult classic just a few years after its release, January 27th 1994. The game was based on the classic concept of zombie horror movies and pushed in some real “scary” characters (for their time). The zombie concept is what sold the game and is still selling the game – with a total of 48 bone-crushing levels, the game still sells boldly – since it’s re-release on WiiWare in late October 2009.
But the real game began when Capcom jumped on the Nintendo boat, releasing Resident Evil 2 on the Nintendo 64 with better perks than any other platform the game was sold on, including bonus costumes and giving the gamer a chance to choose the level of violence they deemed appropriate. Although it’s graphics are primitive in relation to today’s modern take on things, its ability to induce nostalgia makes it a collector’s item. Capcom stayed on the boat, between 2000 and present, and still manage to dominate the world of zombies, Nintendo or otherwise.
In 2001, Resident Evil Gaiden (GBC) was released, a true collector’s item in anyone’s eyes, most only lucky to have played a less enjoyable emulation of the original game, which, again has a wonderful nostalgia inducing affect.
Later on Capcom further produced a large amount of the previously successful series on GameCube – Resident Evil Remake surfaced on the console around 2002 – it held immense superiority in the graphics department in comparison to the rest of the games available on the console at the time. This was then followed up by the re-release of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 (2003), all of which are still being played, even with the technology available today, and also sell for a reasonably high price (anywhere between £10 and £100 dependant on the condition of the game and packaging.)
This is more than likely due to the fact that Gamecube games can be played on the modern Nintendo Wii, with the help of a Gamecube memory card and a classic controller. The more recent RE’s have been mash-ups of those previously successful, such as The Darkside Chronicles, developed exclusively for Nintendo Wii , which desperately tries to cling on to the nostalgic players – but releasing this in 2009 was a big mistake. So many successful zombie games were produced in 2009 that Capcom’s bold attempt to cling on to their classic players lost them.
All is not lost, though! 2009 was one of the best years for Nintendo based zombie fun – including games that are based on childhood fantasies and fear in the simplest way, such as: Zombie Panic in Wonderland (Released on Wiiware), which you may have guessed was fueled by the childhood classic, Alice in Wonderland. And, Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ (released on DS), and once again – as you may have surmised- based on the childhood classic Little Red Riding Hood . Not only that but the remake of the classic Zombies Ate My Neighbours was also released on WiiWare, selling as well as you’d expect a cult classic to sell. Dead Rising and House of the Dead, were also stars of that year – House of the Dead Overkill (released for Nintendo Wii) pushing the boundries of violence, sexuality, and inappropriate language, and guess what? We loved it! It created a real humorous atmosphere, that made Sony just want to join in too – which they did, but two years too late! Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop, was also released – also pushing a humorous fun atmosphere, but keeping the 72 hour ticking pressure bomb on us, to make sure things aren’t too funny and the fear is still inevitable for those that just don’t have the slicing skill to survive.
2011 held one of the most well known (non-Capcom) zombie games released, Plants vs Zombies, which was popular with the majority of age-groups because it managed to strike the balance between appropriate and fun, even with zombies – I know, it seems impossible! Fighting zombies… with plants? Who’d had ever thought it would catch on? Still, Plants vs Zombies is Nintendo’s Angry Birds, solid, easy to get into, and addicting. You have to try it, and once that happens – its only a matter of 6 levels away until you hit tired eyes and the fact you haven’t moved out of your seat for 12 hours.
Capcom attempted to jump back on the boat this year, with Resident Evil Revelations (Nintendo 3DS) which is definitely gaining mixed opinions from everyone, some claim it’s the best they’ve ever played – others claim Capcom pushed way too hard to get back into their old habits. From my observations? They’ve combined two things that all zombie fans love, survival horror and action, and from what I see, you can’t go wrong, especially with a resume like Capcom has!
If Resident Evil Revelations is anything to go by, the zombie future is definitely looking up – with improved graphics, feistier violence and more blood-wrenching fun being acceptable…But if you do feel like looking back for a second, and catching some of that nostalgia I mentioned, several times – Here’s the top five Zombie games I recommend;
1. Zombies Ate My Neighbours (SNES)
2. Resident Evil 2 (N64)
3. House of the Dead Overkill (Wii)
4. Plants Vs Zombies (DS)
5. Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ (DS)
by Stavros Kokkineas
Many times when I discuss with my friends what videogame company is the best, there are a lot of interesting and creative arguments thrown at each other. The final goal is to be able to get that other guy in our camp so we will have another ally on the way to a better world.
Sony friends bring up the fact that the Japanese (ex-)giant successfully introduced the digital medium in the industry, with their Playstation console, and that they revolutionized how videogames were marketed, expanding the medium’s audience as a result. Also they point out the cleverness of how Sony was able to create a fertile ground on their camp so third parties can be creative and come up with some amazing and huge franchises. The likes of Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Tekken and many more IPs that essentially launched on the system, never cease to amaze. Not to mention other franchises like Castlevania and Final Fantasy that sky rocketed in celebrity, and sales, because of the expanded audience and the amazing way Sony used to market their products.
Microsoft fans on the other hand never stop bringing up the way the Xbox revolutionized online-multiplayer, how Halo redefined the FPS genre with its double-analog control scheme and how Microsoft even today is one step ahead of the competition with their Kinect add-on for the Xbox 360.
Of course all these trying-so-hard-to-be-but-I-just-can’t-make-it opponents of Nintendo cannot deal with the facts. And the main fact is that without Nintendo the industry would probably not exist in the first place, and even if it did, it would be a much more different place than it is today.
So for the sake of putting all these trying wannabes in their place I am gonna mention how Nintendo with each new system they released, managed to revolutionize gaming and bring the industry to the point it is today. So, without further ado let’s begin our analysis on how Nintendo is the Mother of us all:
Many can argue that the cross is the symbol of Jesus’s sacrifice and resurection.
Nothing less can be said for the same cross shaped D-Pad the NES introduced in accordance to the game industry at the time.
Invented by the master himself, Gunpei Yokoi, in 1982 for the Donkey Kong Game & Watch version it was meant to be the main way of moving your character on the NES and also the main reason why videogames still exist today.
An amazing showcase of simplicity and genius design, the D-Pad provides the highly accurate control that is needed for games like Super Mario Bros, Metroid, Mega Man, Castlevania and so many other NES titles to truly shine. Also, it is one of the simplest control schemes that you understand instantly and can use it to navigate through inventory screens and in – game choices.
Still apparent on all videogame controllers the D-Pad was the Jesus Christ of videogames back in the crash of 1983 and is still the guardian angel that secretely makes sure any complicated in-game tasks can be made simple by the use of a cross.
Praise the lord, Gunpei Yokoi, for coming up with the most essential element of videogame controllers up to this day.
As time moved on Nintendo had new competitors to take care off.
Sega released their Mega Drive system in 1988 and as the years went by and with some very bold marketing campaigns they started getting serious momentum.
Nintendo was ahead of the game and they had already planned one of the best videogame systems ever in existence up to the time this article is being written.
Nintendo introduced the SNES and along with it a radically new controller. With two shoulder buttons and four buttons for action the SNES template is used on every major system since then.
The plethora of movements, actions and combinations than are possible by this design is what essentially has defined videogames for the last 22 years. No designer could have made great games if he didn’t have a solid control scheme to rely upon and one that can support his creations. The SNES controller was a radical introduction in the videogame industry that changed the way we play games as time and again has shown.
So next time you use a DualShock or Sixaxis or Xbox 360 controller be reminded where it all began.
Up to now, we have seen how Nintendo was able to master mainly the 2D gaming design and create the best ways of interacting with what is going on on the screen. But as time passes on and new dimensions are found and explored so must a controller also change itself to be in accordance with its time.
So the way to best interact with a 3D world is none other that a simple stick moving 360 degrees around. As simple in the idea as the D-Pad, the analog stick, also existing on all videogame controllers since it was introduced, is a master display of superior design and provides one of the most efficient ways to interact with anything that comes up on screen in a 3D environment. It is also instantaneously understandable which is what promotes something from being good to being extraordinary.
The analog stick itself could be reason enough to constitute the N64 as one of the most important releases in videogame history but there was also another major breakthrough made in the days of the N64. Probably Nintendo didn’t realize the true potential of a little peripheral called the “Rumble Pack”.
The feeling of a simple vibration when an explosion happens on screen, or when you get hit by an enemy in a fighting game, or when you get shot in an FPS, is of unmentionable value as it is a minor consequence of what you would feel if such an event happened in real life. The major point here is that it is something that you feel, you don’t see it on the screen but it vibrates your both hands, making you feel the physical change and in the process providing you with that much more of a realistic experience.
And this completes the puzzle of how all modern videogame controllers are designed, or at least how they were designed until 2006.
Up to now, we have seen the essentials that make videogames what they are today and how Nintendo actually introduced and made famous these elements that still today define a huge percentage of how videogames are created and played.
As the Gamecube controller had but a few minor tweaks, most notably how the action buttons are placed around each other, and the introduction of a second analog stick and a third shoulder button, I will focus on two innovations in Game Design that still to this day very select and few companies were able to master on the level Nintendo did.
The first one is known as the First – Person Adventure genre, and for all of you who may say that such a genre doesn’t exist Retro Studios themselves have defined the Metroid Prime Trilogy as FPAs.
I will never forget the first time I played Metroid Prime. It was in a department store and you could only play the first section of the game, on the Space Pirate’s station. I was so instantly and absolutely amazed and sucked into this world, just by seeing it, I think I had decided to buy a Gamecube and the game before I even touched the controller. The feeling of total isolation, the constant feeling of danger and the fact that you know that the only thing that can help you is a scan visor. The fixed amount of shots needed to take out most of the enemies, the geniously designed new species, the incredible lore and storyline behind the Chozos, Tallon IV and the Phazon. All indications of one of the best games ever in existence.
But apart from an amazing game Metroid Prime is also something more, or at least it is not something less. It is not a brainless FPS where there is absolutely no ultimate goal but just to kill a virtual enemy. No thought, no discovery, no creativty, just pure violence for the sake of it. Metroid Prime was able to harmoniously combine combat, exploration, puzzle-solving, story telling and supreme controls and an unsurpassed visor system that created a whole new world of gaming posssibilities. Possibilities that unfortunately, up to this day no other company has even touched upon and it’s a real shame as the FPA genre is the good cousin of FPS. A cousin that deserves attention, love and a place in the spotlight to show its true potential.
Secondly, the Gamecube was the home of another great title and even though many Zelda fans will argue that the Wind Waker is but a mere average Zelda title there is one element noone can deny TWW did right. That is cel-shading. Whoever played the game can guarantee you of its smooth animation, vibrant coulors, beautiful effects and lighting and overall an unreached level of cartoon-like visuals and atmosphere to this day.
The only other game to have achieved something as beatiful as that is Okami on the PS2 and the Wii. But that game probably would never happen if it wasn’t for a very persistent choice Miyamoto – san and Aonuma – san made to introduce the cel-shading technique in a series so important and big as the The Legend of Zelda is. It caused the steer necessary to make an impact on the whole industry and gave the trigger to other companies to use another form of expression in their games.
So after the Gamecube and a little break from paradigm shifts Nintendo decided to get back in the game and in a rather extraordinary way. They decided that almost any form of conventional control they had introduced in the first place was getting too old and boring and decided to turn the tables upside down.
Thus, the Wii was born and along with it Wii Sports, Wii Play, Wii Music, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Party and all those casual titles that managed to expand the market once more and make videogames accessible and fun to an even larger audience.
As the biggest revolution in gaming since the NES days Wii changed the face of the industry even before its lifecycle was over as the Playstation Move and Microsoft Kinect prove.
And with a good reason too, there are few things more intuitive than having to actually swing the racket so you can hit the ball in a tennis title or swing your sword in the right way so you can defeat enemies in the ancient land of Hyrule.
Also, another very important breakthrough made in this generation was the release of a literally ground breaking title named as “Super Mario Galaxy”. The radical new design of planetoids packed with challenges, the subtle way of motion controls integration as part of getting star bits, the magnificent use of gravity. All these elements revolutionized the platform genre and can have an impact on almost all other types of games if the elements found in Super Mario Galaxy are analyzed, studied and implemented correctly by Game Designers.
All in all, Wii is a prime example of how old school gaming can be reinvented and of how completely new ways of interaction can improve how we experience our favorite medium.
Looking into the future and with the Wii U hopefully out before the end of this year, we cannot wait to see how the world will change and how Nintendo will be on the forefront of radical change and fun new ways to play once more.
And this is my answer to all Sony and Microsoft fans that cannot realize why Nintendo is the videogame industry of today. I believe one day you will understand. Salutations.