Posts Tagged ‘Nintendo’

EarthBound

Posted: January 26, 2018 in Video Games
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EarthBound hit the Super Nintendo in 1995 (in North America) and to put it in simple terms it is a role playing game. You a fan of 90’s era Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest? Okay, well if you are, you will appreciate and probably end up loving this charming game. As a kid I had heard of EarthBound through Nintendo Magzine and such. It never got a PAL release, sadly, and although I had a NTSC converter for my SNES EarthBound passed me by. I came to the game late in it’s life. Thanks to the SNES Classic I got to experience it and it’s brilliant.

The game was designed by Shigesato Itoi. I didn’t know who he was before EarthBound but from what I can gather he is known for developing all of the games to date in this series. This game is in fact the second entry in what is known as the Mother series. Not that I feel you have to play the games in any order, from what I understand the sole cross over between them is the villian and other easter eggs. Don’t quote me on that mind! The game celebrates American culture in a cute way. Set in a world that mirrored the USA of the 90’s. An interesting take being that it’s America from the POV of an eastern developer who I guess had a fondness for western culture.

EarthBound’s plot is standard RPG stuff. Giygas, an evil force, begins to influence people and threaten the planet by potentially unleashing chaos. So it falls to four kids to come together, strangers to begin with, to bring down this corruption. The way the game is presented to the player is more unique than it’s story. For example during battles the player’s HP rolls down when dealt powerful blows. In other games that would mean defeat but in EarthBound, if you’re quick enough, you can bounce back from defeat if you heal your party quick enough. This lends battles a feeling of excitement! How you explore towns and (literally) go shopping for items feels funny because normally these games lean on the fantasy element. In EarthBound you need to go to an ATM machine to withdraw/deposit your cash! You shop in actual stores and shopping malls! It’s so cool and the ‘real world’ setting was, at that time, not as present as it is today in games.

EarthBound looks fun and colourful but it has some deep themes and wants the player to think about life. The writing is quirky and at times a little nuts but it a good way. For example if you stop to talk to a dog on the street it tells you how great you are for taking the time to chat to a dog!? Brilliant! There’s certainly a healthy dose of weird in this game and things do go trippy. It’d be a crime to ruin some of those scenes though! Another ambitious thing this game did at the time was the open world design. There’s no load screens, you literally just travel continusely throughout your journey. For 1995 and the SNES this was incredible. Oh and the soundtrack is ace.

EarthBound is a game RPG fans should check out. I think. If you’re not into role playing games or ones which require a time investment then EarthBound probably won’t be your cup of tea. For me, well I’m delighted I got to play this (better late than never) and days after finishing it I’m still thinking about it. Great game, wonderful world and one I hope I can explore more of if it’s sequel ever gets a western release.

NOTE: When you finish the final boss in the game be aware you can freely explore. I didn’t know this. I don’t think you can save a end game state after defeating the boss so if you want the world to explore at your lesiure then make sure you got some free time to give to it once you finish the boss.

 

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a classic from the SNES era. It was released in 1991 and like a lot of SNES games it is thought as, by many, to be one of the greatest games ever made. As a stupid kid I knew the game was good but outside the opening few hours I had no patience for it. I gave up pretty quick. I was content to simply cut down bushes and run through tall grass and bang into trees. In fact I don’t think I actually owned A Link to the Past. How bad is that, for a so called Nintendo fan? I must have either rented it or borrowed it from a friend. I knew the game was special. Even back then. Thanks to the SNES Classic Mini I was able to go back to this great game and finally finish it.

A Link to the Past, feels like it needs little introduction at this stage, is a top down action/ role playing game. You control Link, a young guy who embarks upon a epic journey to save the realm of Hyrule from a dark wizard and rescue the princess Zelda! At the time A Link to the Past looked and felt like a gigantic game. A world map allows the player to see, from the begining, the entire realm of Hyrule and the various locations you will be able to visit. Back in the early 90’s A Link to the Past, with the likes of Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI, was pretty much the Grand Theft Auto’s/ Red Dead Redemptions of their generation. These were living and breathing game worlds.

The true aim of A Link to the Past is to progress and you do that by exploration. Although the map shows off the world you may not be allowed to access all of it until you have obtained the tools to do so. The way you achieve that is by entering and conquring dungeons. Each one is unique in layout, difficulty and with a boss to be defeated at the end of each. Doing so grants Link with a special item that grants him new abilities and therefore lets you access more of Hyrule and get closer to rescuing Zelda and the world! It’s not as straightforward as it seems though.

The game makes you work for your rewards and despite looking like a 16-bit Disney realm Hyrule is one tough and dangerous place. Add to that the maze like structure of some of the dungeons and you are left with a totally rewarding yet challenging game. I used a YouTube guide to finish this. I don’t know how you could do it wihtout some hints so if you have congratulations to you! The game has a classic soundtrack. Many of the tracks that debuted in A Link to the Past would go on to become classics that are still present in the Zelda series. The graphics are great. The game, thanks to the rise in popularity of indipendent retro-like games, doesn’t look dated in the slightest and naturally the gameplay is timeless. Classic Nintendo quality.

A Link to the Past more than earned it’s status as one of the greatest video games ever made. It is a joy to play and to look at. Yes it is a video game first and foremost but really, espechially in the context of history, this game is an experience. Heard of the Zelda series but never really tried it out? Waste no more time. As a gamer you’re missing out. A Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a classic game and fantastic entry point to the world of Zelda.

 

 

 

Super Metroid

Posted: November 24, 2017 in Video Games
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When I started Hella Movies it was always my intention to cover 90’s video games along with movies. Although I own an original SNES I found the cartridge price for classic games to be beyond a joke and so my hands were tied in relation to what I had available to review. Thanks to Nintendo and the SNES Mini that is no longer the case and what better game to kick start this passion once more than Super Metroid!

It’s funny. I owned Super Metroid back in the 90’s. I had the BIG box version that came with the game and the guide. I loved it. Back then you could tell it was special and it was destined for greatness. Cut to the release of the PlaySation in ’96 and this idiot trading in his SNES and all his classic games. Like I said I was an idiot.

What I did not realise then but I do now is how late into the SNES life cycle Super Metroid came out. It was ’94. For some reason I always remembered it being an earlier game on the system but it was more like just over halfway through the system’s life cycle. That may have played a role in the series and it’s stop/start sense of delviery over the years. Only now have Nintendo saw fit to revisit the franchise as it has never sold as well, despite being adored as much, as Mario and Zelda.

Super Metroid is side scrolling action game. The player takes on the role of Samus Aran who is a kick ass female bounty hunter. Space pirates have stolen a metroid (which is bad) and it’s up to you to follow them to a distant planet and track them down! The begining of the game is boss, like something out of an 80’s horror movie, it seemingly starts where the last game left off and you think your mission is over and then BAM! There’s this attack at the base, all fully playable for the most part, and the new game kicks off. At this stage in my releationship with videogames I had never seen anything like this. My young dumb mind was blown.

The aim of the game is simple and there in lies it’s true power. The player must navigate several large maze like areas that make up the world with next to no clues on where to go first and what to do. Such is the beauty of Super Metroid. The more you explore the more of the world map is revealed to you via the mini map displayed on the screen. Ever heard of a game nick named “Metroidvania” ? Well you have this game to thank for that.

Each envrionment, while different from one another and offering visual variety, is jam packed with deadly enemies and hazards for the player to overcome. The way in which that is achived is through finding power ups which allow Samus access to more weapons, abilities and health. Exploration leads to rewards, as do boss encounters which always prove a challange without becoming ridiculous. The game controls beautifully for the most part (hang your head in shame wall jump mechanics) and it’s real handy being able to run and shoot in any direction a threat should arise.

The atmosphere of the game is incredible, packed with detail (the game being one of the biggest on the SNES at the time) and it has an amazing soundtrack. It’s a beautiful game that still looks and plays great today, more than twenty years after it’s release. Most people have played this game and fallen head over heels in love with it. So to those folks I need not champion it, but let’s say you haven’t played this but have heard of it’s legacy? If that is the case then do yourself a favour and seek it out. Either via the SNES mini or the Nintendo Virtual Console service, should you happen to own a compatable machine. Super Metroid really is one of the best video games ever made and one which a lot of developers could only hope to re-create today.

 

 

 

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This September Nintendo will launch the latest model in their Nintendo Classic Mini line and this time it is based on the much loved 90’s console the Super Nintendo. Pre-orders went up yesterday on Amazon UK and today on the official Nintendo UK store but as of writing it appears to have sold out. Keep an eye on outlets such as Smyths Toy Store, Toys R Us and Game because you may still be able to pre-order from those sites. Nintendo have the right idea and are limiting pre-orders to one per customer on their official site and that is the right call. As with the NES Mini, the stock on the Super Nintendo Mini will be limited but Nintendo have said they plan to make more units than the NES Mini.

The Super Nintendo is an amazing games console and it’s library to this day could very well be the best collection of games on a home system. The mini edition of the console is more than worth the asking price, more so when you factor in that many of the games that come with the mini machine go for crazy prices on Ebay for the original cartridges. Hopefully you have managed to grab one but if not keep an eye on the sites mentioned above or check with local stores and see if they are accepting pre-orders!

Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, F-Zero, Super Metroid, Final Fantasy III and Secret of Mana are just several out of the 21 games that come with the machine. The most notable addition being the completed but never released Star Fox 2!! The full list of games can be found below.

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Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo launches in Europe on September 29th and will cost £69.99

Having a bad day? Well allow Nintendo to make you feel better with this brand new look at Mario’s big Switch debut Super Mario Odyssey. I think the game looks incredible and from the looks of things it seems like Mario’s hat allows you to actually possess other characters, objects and vehicles in the game world. Wow. I want this game but man I need to get myself a Switch first! I best start saving. Nintendo are having what is probably one of their best E3’s in quite some time with a array of brand new game announcements that included the reveal that Metroid Prime 4 is currently in development.

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(Note: just like to say a big Thank You to my friend who let me borrow his copy of this game so I could review it.)

Yoshi’s Island was released in the summer of 1995 for the Snes and it’s one of the best games on the classic console. This gem of a game is the sequel to Super Mario World and instead of following suit from what came before Yoshi’s Island presents a fresh take on the Mario platformer. What strikes the gamer first is the games beautiful and unique art style. The game looks like a painting come to life. It has this unique art style that helps it stand out and stand the test of time visually even now in 2017. The hand-drawn looking sprites animate wonderfully and go a long way to giving Yoshi’s Island it’s own identity outside of the earlier Super Mario games.

Gameplay wise this is classic Mario platforming gold. As Yoshi (well technically several Yoshis) your task is to take/protect baby Mario to Bowser’s castle and rescue baby Luigi. The adventure spans 6 worlds and many levels of expertly designed stages. As Yoshi you’re granted the ability of being able to use his tongue to swallow enemies and you then choose to either spit them out as weapons or swallow them and use the resulting egg as a projectile than can be shot at not just enemies but also boxes that play a role in puzzle solving and level progression. There are other power ups available that allow Yoshi to transform into a hybrid Yoshi/vehicle that grants access to unreachable areas of stages and mixes up the gameplay. Be careful not to take a hit though otherwise baby Mario will be carried away in a bubble and you’ll only have seconds to get him back! Man that constant crying can be annoying but it gets you to focus as you rush to grab him back!

The music is not as memorable as in Super Mario World but by no means am I trying to say it’s bad. It’s not. The game has a great soundtrack that makes you feel at ease and relaxed throughout the whole game, even when you should be crying out in stress at missing a timed jump or hard to reach platform, the game keeps you all calm and happy! Haha.

It’s hard to stop praising this game and honestly I feel whatever I write won’t be able to do this game justice. I am just beyond grateful I owned this classic game back in the day and got the opportunity to revisit it once more. If you can hunt down a copy of Yoshi’s Island I can’t stress enough that you’d be doing yourself a favour by picking it up. A true classic.

 

 

After months and months of anticipation Nintendo have pulled the curtain and revealed their brand new games console Nintendo Switch (aka Nintendo NX).

What we see in the footage is pretty much what we already knew based on leaks and rumours. The system is a hybrid that will act as a console dock for when you’re playing at home and a hand held device for when you’re on the move. The trailer explains is really well, much better than me! Take a look. Are you excited? I can’t wait to get my hands on it when it launches next March.

I think this is a logical next step for Nintendo. Their handheld systems are a massive hit so it makes sense for them to blend the home console and the handheld. Time will tell if this move will pay off.

Nintendo NX launches March 2017

Posted: April 27, 2016 in Video Games
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Nintendo confirmed today that their new console the NX will launch next March. No other details are available at this time except the console will have a global launch and the new Zelda game that is currently in development for the Wii U will be an NX launch game. Nintendo has pointed out the Wii U version will still launch alongside the NX port.

Is this make or break for Nintendo? I hope not. Ideally I hope they blow us all away. The best way to do this will be an incredible launch line up and starting with Zelda is a great way to kick that off. Reports state that a Smash Bros. game is slated to launch on the console but whether or not that will be an upgraded port of the Wii U game is not known. If it was up to me I would launch strong with a new Metroid & F Zero. Constant first party support is key for the NX.

Nintendo have said the NX will not be shown at E3 this year. Instead the focus will be on Zelda. I hope the console isn’t revealed during their own streams. Why they have decided to ignore E3 is confusing. Surely they’d want the biggest audience possible to know their new machine is on the way?

Are you excited for the NX? I am.

 

Killer Instinct

Posted: March 28, 2016 in Video Games
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Dublin. 1994. Killer Instinct knocked me out! The incredible music!The insane commentator was booming around the arcade! What the hell was this game? Looking back I had the best introduction to it you could hope for. No idea it was coming. Just in the arcade one day and BOOM! There it was. I’d never seen anything like it. Even those 3D fighters from that era (Virtua Fighter/Tekken) did not look or sound as good as Killer Instinct.

Rare, the makers of the excellent Snes series Donkey Kong Country were the master minds behind this brand new beat-em-up. In parnership with Nintendo the game was let loose on an unsuspecting public. It’s amazing graphics and booming soundtrack (along with it’s killer roster) won gamers over right away. What worked in the games favour most though were the totally nuts Ultra Combos players could pull off. I couldn’t wait to own this game and I do. But it’s not on the Ultra 64 (the early name for the still in development N64), no it’s on my Snes.

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Somehow Rare and Nintendo were able to bring this arcade classic to the 16 bit Super Nintendo. The graphics and soundtrack took some hits, that goes without saying but the gameplay is brilliant and each character was able to carry over from the arcade along with their stages and move lists. What a cast too. Rather than a dozen guys and one or two gals Killer Instinct allowed players to pick from a unusual but solid cast. My faves are the werewolf Saberwulf, the velociraptor Riptor and Orchid ( who isn’t a plant, although that would have been awesome haha). Each character is highly playable so you never feel like there is one weak link amongst the roster which makes the games constantly playable.

It is a wonder that Nintendo and Rare were able to bring the game to the Snes. Most assumed it would become a launch title for the N64 (which arguably it should have been if only to have as close to a faithul arcade conversion as possible at that time) but the Snes release was a standout at the time. It still plays great, sounds wonderful and the graphics still impress despite having to be scaled back for the Snes. Yet due to the game being on the home console Rare were able to put in a training mode and allow players to adjust the difficulty which made it a lot easier to work on those Ultra Combos. It even encouraged Tournament Play with friends beyond a simple Vs mode.

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I remember when I got the game back in 1995. I had to choose between this and Mortal Kombat 3. It was a tough choice but I’m glad I went with Killer Instinct. Back in the day you were lucky if you got more than two video games a year! Haha. Never mind one whenever you felt like it!

It was boss too that you got a CD soundtrack free with the game. The soundtrack is incredbile and if you can track down a copy of the Snes version with the Killer Cuts CD it’s well worth it. A brilliant fighter and indeed a solid series that is still going strong today. Shame it’s an X-Box exclusive these days. It just doesn’t seem right. One day maybe Killer Instinct can come home to Nintendo along with Rare.

 

Super Mario World

Posted: March 18, 2016 in Video Games
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As Nintendo moved into the 90’s one game paved the way for the company and it’s new Super Nintendo 16 bit console. That game was Super Mario World and twenty five years later and with all due respect and applause to Nintendo, the game is still as fun and playable as day one.

Recently I was lucky enough to get a Snes (Super Nintendo). I lost mine. Rather I gave it away because I was young, the Playsation had just been released and I was very foolish. I needed that new console so I traded my Snes and 27 EPIC games for a PSOne and Battle Arena Toshinden 2. I won’t even tell you what games I had (okay…one of them was Secret of Mana 3!!) for the Snes because it will only highlight further how stupid of me it was to just trade them all away. One of the biggest regreats of my life.

In a weird twist of fate I recently gave my Playsation 2 to my old friend and without asking (he knows me well) he basically pushed a Snes onto me. I was beyond happy to take it off his hands and with it came a copy of Super Mario World. The flagship title of the console when it launched. Mario has to protect Dinosaur Land from Bowser and rescue Princess Peach. Helped out by his bro Luigi and Yoshi.

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The gameplay is king in Super Mario World. Platforming done to perfection. The addition of Yoshi and new power ups (the feather grants Mario the ability to fly for a short time) add new mechanics to the series. The game just feels like magic and it’s an absolute pleasure to play. Filled with secrets (several courses/levels have different exits that have to be located which unlock new areas) and a healthy but never unatainable challenge.

Now Super Mario World, in my useless opinion, isn’t quite as good as good as Super Mario Bros.3 but it’s almost there Haha. The variety of levels and design are second to none and it’s a riot accumilating 1Up mushrooms and storing those lives so you can keep going at those more demanding stages!

Sigh. Games. They’re meant to be fun? Right? I don’t know. I’m not THAT old. So I don’t think this is age talking but the games today….there’s just somthing missing. That ‘magic’ that was so present throughout the 16 bit era. Super Mario World is one of the best examples of this era in game history and if you missed it …well then with the likes of Ebay, Nintendo’s Virtual Console or as in my case awesome friends, there’s no excuse for you not to play this gem.

Now I have the Snes there’s going to be a lot more content dedicated to the era on here which is somthing I’ve wanted to focus on for some time now as most new releases (save those with links to 90’s series) just don’t interest me. Hopefully you can dig it.