Wednesday, December 8, 2010

World Ten: Duke Nukem Forever

Well...I never thought that I'd actually be saying this, but Duke Nukem Forever is on its way to a final release. After years and years of being vaporware, it has finally materialized into a form that works and has been shown to the public. I remember being excited for this game back when I was way younger...I think the year was 1998, or somewhere around there anyway. The first trailer had come out, and already the game looked amazing. It displayed the interactivity with the environment that Duke Nukem 3D had established, the action that had come to be a staple of the series, and the proper attitude with hilarious things like riding a camel and, of course, polygonal, scantily-clad women. How could it possibly go wrong?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In Retrospect: Journey to Silius

Journey to Silius is one of those hidden gems from some of the later days of the Nintendo Entertainment System. I don't mean a shitty gem that's good because of how bad it is...I mean like the purest, sparkling ruby you could possibly ever find in a...stack of rubies I suppose. It's one of those games I always go back to when I want to play a solid, classic action game, and I never regret my purchase.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Defense: Metroid: Other M (Cont'd)


This, unfortunately, is where a majority of people's opinions begin to diverge, and I'm gonna go ahead and talk about this a bit. There are a few issues that keep coming up about the game from what I can tell, and I shall divert from my review to tackle them a bit:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In Defense: Metroid: Other M

I'm pretty sure that just about anyone who knows me realizes how much I love the Metroid series. I've always preferred it over Mario, Kirby, DK, and the Legend of Zelda, likely due to its awesome science-fiction universe and the fact that the Metroid games were just damn good sidescrollers. So when a new Metroid game comes out, I've already had it pre-ordered for months and I waste no time in conquering it/drooling on the carpet.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Alphabet of Cronies: What's Left

Well, I'm not gonna lie, I got sick of doing the Alphabet of Cronies and it made me bored and uninspired to finish it, when there are so many other things I want to talk about. So I'm just gonna throw up a quick list of what I had left from it and proceed with other things. It started off kinda fun, but writing about the same general thing over and over again is just repetitive and not terribly interesting, so I won't do anymore Alphabet entries in the future...sorry if you happened to be a fan (from my clearly enormous fanbase :P)

These were the rest:

Quick enemies - Fast assholes that are relentless but usually weak. Often come in flocks and just piss you off.

Robots and Cyborgs - Because god knows that they're a consistent threat in a majority of sci-fi videogames.

Skeletons - Pretty much a mainstay of fantasy-based video games, can't go wrong with these guys.

Thieves - Enemies that steal your valuables? What a bunch of douches, but they're the enemies you love to hate.

Unbeatable foes - Often important bosses, such as the Guardian in FF3/6.

Vampiric enemies - Baddies that take your health and make it their own? Fuckhats.

Widdy bitty baddies - Tiny enemies that often swarm the player...usually the most irritating things to deal with, which makes them a good part of an ensemble baddie cast.

Xenomorphs (aliens) - Contra. Need I say more?

Your own nightmares - Any enemy formed from the protagonist's worst dreams.

Zombies - I don't need to write about zombies because we all know everyone loves them.

More interesting posts to come!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Alphabet of Cronies: O-P

O is for Octoroks

Another quite specific enemy entry...but the Octorok is just as deserving of its own placement as the classic Goomba is. In case you've been living under a ROK (HAR HAR HAR) for the last 24 years, Octoroks are one of the absolute mainstays of a terribly little-known game series called umm...the...Legend of...Zelda or something? In fact, there's only one Zelda game that HASN'T had Octoroks in it...I'll give you a cookie if you can name which one it is...(NO FUCKIN' CHEATING, ASS!)

Just think of what else it could do with that snout! :D

Anyway, Octoroks vary a little bit between entries in the series. They started off as land-dwelling octopus-like critters that fire rocks outta their snouts, but later became more water-based such as in Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker, where they just kinda...waited around for you to get close and then shot at you from time to time. Definitely a little bit lame compared to their more mobile counterparts from the earlier games and those with top-down perspectives. They also often come in two varieties (well, in the more classic games anyway)...a blue and a red type, where the blue Octoroks are a bit stronger and maybe a little quicker as well.

Octoroks serve as the classic underling from the Zelda series that is really the first enemy I think of when I hear "Zelda", which means you KNOW it has to be fuckin' important!


P is for Paranormal entities

This is a much more broad category, as it encompasses numerous types of baddies...but mainly I'm talking about spirits, ghosts, poltergeists and the like.

The first thing about these assholes is that there's usually a damn trick to getting rid of them. Attacking a paranormal bad guy usually means that your fist or projectile is gonna go right through the bastards, and there are numerous games where you just have to avoid them. Or they might just be completely invincible to conventional attacks, such as the Boos from Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. The other bad thing about these dorks is that they can often fly, much like goddamn birds...this means they're usually way more mobile than you would like them to be. Couple that with their potential invincibility and you have a real fuckin' issue!

They also come in a ridiculous array of types...and they can usually phase in and out of existence, making it tough to even track these jerks. Take the Covern from Super Metroid for example, which constantly tries to phase in on Samus as you make your way through the powerless Wrecked Ship...or even the ghosts from the second level of Super Ghouls N' Ghosts, which appear in the mist and relentlessly attack you in large numbers! And don't even get me started on Specters, Ghouls, Zombies and Geists from goddamned Final Fantasy 1...constantly paralyzing your fuckin' characters. What a bunch of dicks.

These 4 assholes look like an Andy Warhol piece

Paranormal enemies often are simply roadblocks that you need to get around, or slash your way through before they manage to fill up the screen again. In most cases they act as asshole obstacles...ever since those damn Boos from Mario 3...

Oh, and I guess they can be creepy sometimes as well. Only if you're a damn sissy though.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Alphabet of Cronies: M-N

M is for Monsters

Yeah, "monsters" is a pretty general term, as pretty much every enemy in most games can be considered to be some form of monster. However, I'm talking about actual scary movie-style critters.

And what better game series to start up a chat about such monsters than the Castlevanias? Castlevania is known for its ensemble of freaky creatures to battle through...many of them mythological, some derived from literature, and others just completely made up for the game. Such adversaries include skeletonized dragons, possessed suits of armor, plain ol' ghosts, haunted books, half-eviscerated bulls, and even Frankenstein's monster. Hell, the main enemy over the course of the series is Count Dracula himself, so even if you know only that fact alone you can pretty much think of what other shit you're gonna be whipping to death.

A Diplocephalus from the Castlevania indeed.

Another game series that dishes out classic monsters in spades is Ghosts N' Goblins (or Ghouls N' Ghosts in the later games). These games put you in the steel boots of a heroic knight named Arthur who simply needs to rescue a princess...but legions of monsters stand in the way. These can range from plain old zombies to sea monsters, and from axe-wielding ghouls to wall-mounted Cockatrices. It's very much a case of where Konami has Castlevania, Capcom has GnG for the same purpose, but they're both very different from each other and unique in their own awesome respects. Perhaps the best thing they both share though is that they're tough as hell.

And of course there are tons of other cool games with classic-style monsters in them. Final Fantasy has its fair share of scary critters, particularly in the older entries. There's a pretty cool game for the NES called Monster Party which isn't really the best game out there, but it's worth a play and has a bunch of cool monster enemies. The Resident Evil series has its fair share as well! I guess the best thing about these creatures is their recognizability, which in itself makes them iconic enemies to have a go at. Really, how often can you say "I slapped fuckin' Frankenstein's head with a garlic-drenched magical whip until he exploded and shit out potion bottles everywhere"? Not that often, man!

N is for Nazis

Ohhh, I shouldn't even have to write about these assholes, but I'M SURE AS HELL GOING TO! If I have to explain what a fuckin' Nazi is at this point, then you should probably just...go and drink a whole can of paint or something.

There's an equation that should be going through your head almost instantly at the moment. I am talking about Nazis on a blog about classic video games.

Video games + Nazis = Wolfenstein 3D

If you don't know what fuckin' Wolfenstein 3D is, please go and consume another can of paint this instant. One of the very first FPS games, Wolfenstein has you in control of a soldier named B.J. Blazkowicz who is pretty much a Nazi-killing machine. The entire point of the game is to shoot Nazis until they die, get bigger weapons, and then shoot more Nazis with your bigger weapons. Those assholes are trying to use their paranormal division to conjure up some undead and spiritual creatures for use in their army, so you'd better stop them! If you're asking yourself who the final boss is...I'm gonna ruin it for you right now:

Of course! The Fuhrer himself in a robotic killing suit!

That's right. Fuckin' Mecha Hitler. Nazis continue to be the main adversaries in the Wolfenstein series to this date.

Another game that used Nazis (although in North America it might not be as obvious) is Bionic Commando on the NES. If you haven't already read my entry about BC (for shame!), then I'll fill you in. The enemies of the game are called the Badds in North America, but in the original Japanese release they were blatantly Nazis and swastikas were all over the place, and the title was "The Resurrection of Hitler: Top Secret". So you kill Nazis and try to prevent them from doing two things:

a) Bringing Hitler (Master-D in the NA release) back from the dead

b) Making a flying tool of destruction called the Albatross

At the end of the game, you blow up Hitler's head at which point the game shows you the most fantastic pixelated art composition I have ever observed...but you'll have to go to my Bionic Commando review to see that!

So why are Nazis such good bad guys? You just don't fuckin' feel bad for killing them! They're fascist pricks that had a retarded and horrible agenda and they did horrible, horrible things to people for no good reason. As far as I'm concerned, pump their guts full of lead!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Defense: Hydorah

So you say you've played've played R-Type, you've played Darius, you've played Twinbee. You've played Ikaruga and Galaga, and Salamander and Life Force and Raptor and Mutant Space Bats of Doom. You've even played Zero Wing and Parodius, and maybe a little bit of Phalanx.

Well you probably haven't played Hydorah. That in itself is the biggest fucking shame in the whole world.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Alphabet of Cronies: K-L

K is for Koopa Kids

This is another more specific crony entry, but one that I'm certainly not about to back down about.

Somehow, Bowser managed to spawn 7 children as of Super Mario Bros. 3. I'm not quite sure how he did it...maybe he managed to bone Princess Toadstool one of the times he kidnapped her and she had her offspring in secret (God help her poor, tattered vagina, assuming Bowser's spiky, scaly skin is a constant...). Maybe the fucker's a giant fire-breathing hermaphrodite...or perhaps he even has a wife that he keeps locked in some fuckin' basement somewhere, sliding morsels of Blooper calamari with a side of fried Goombas under the door and only visiting solely for procreation. Either way, he wound up with 7 children.

More like being AWESOME!

Larry Koopa, Iggy Koopa, Wendy O. Koopa, Roy Koopa, Morton Koopa Jr., Lemmy Koopa, and Ludwig von Koopa are all of their names, and he gave each of them their own fucking airship AND a magic wand that disfigures old royalty into freaky monsters. How cool is that?? That's more than my damn parents've ever done for me! In Mario 3, each of these bastards has to be fought at the end of each world, excluding world 8, and they all have their own tactics. Wendy fires bouncing rings around the room, for example, while Roy and Ludwig both stun you when they land on the ground. And this is all after getting through their respective airship levels, which are some of the most epic creations of Mario Bros. history.

In Super Mario World, he gave each of them their own damn castle! Lucky bastards...they've made a few other appearances since then, such as in the recent New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga, but otherwise have been largely shunted to the side to accommodate a little prick called Bowser Jr. I dunno where this 8th idiot child came from, but the Koopa Kids are far, far cooler than Bowser Jr. as far as I'm concerned.

Oh, and apparently they're all named after famous people, such as Ludwig van Beethoven and Iggy Pop. Not to mention, if the one Koopa Kid's name is Morton Koopa Jr., then Bowser's full name may be Bowser Morton Koopa Sr. Pretty neat, huh?

L is for Lizards

Let's face it. Lizards make awesome enemies...a fact that can be argued alone by the existence of dragons in many, many video games. There's something about tackling a gigantic, flying, fire-breathing reptile that just screams "Awesome"...but there's a multitude of other lizard-like foes that certainly deserve mentions.

Lizalfos are a good one to start at...the reptilian knights from the Legend of Zelda series starting at Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link. These things walked on both legs and were able to wield weapons and armor, generally proving to be quite capable foes. Dodongos are another good little enemy to mention, which "dislike smoke" (that means you need to cram a bomb down their throats).

Lizard codpieces go for about 67 bucks on Ebay these days!

Dinosaurs are another obvious entry, such as in Joe and Mac. Sure, cavemen and dinosaurs didn't exist at the same time, but who gives a fuck when you're clubbing them to death and riding them through levels as if they were cattle? Not to mention the giant dinosaur bosses at the end of each level, which were certainly epic at the time.

Wyverns and dragons in the Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior series, as well as the terribly irritating Brachosaur in FF3/6...Kraid and Ridley, Mother Brain's henchmen from the Metroid series...Mermen and Orphic Vipers from Castlevania games...and the Mecha-Drago from Mother 3...there are tons of lizard enemies out there. They make good foes because they're scaly and awesome. 'Nuff said!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Alphabet of Cronies: I-J

I is for Insects

Let me get one thing out of the way: I love insects. I've taken a fair share of courses about insects, and currently work in an insect systematics lab. They've gotta be the coolest little organisms out there, as far as I'm concerned. Fact of the matter is though, that they creep people out a lot.

This alone makes them an excellent enemy to have around. Insects are freaky little things to most people, and when they see an insect on them it often results in a scream or a sudden brush of the clothing in order to get the damn thing off of you. If people don't like them all that much in Real Life (tm), then why the heck should they be fans of them in video games?

Insects are used in tons and tons of games as creepy enemies, or as swarming enemies that just irritate the crap out of you. Gigantic insects are also a frequent favourite of video game designers, such as the giant ants in the Fallout series. They're just so damn different from humans that they freak people out a lot...the way they skitter around on their multitude of legs, or screech through their piercing mandibles.

Contrary to popular belief, insects cannot survive in a vacuum.

Super C and Bionic Commando (in one particular stage) both have some irritating insectoid enemies that tend to swarm you and get in your way. Pretty much any underground stage in any game has some form of insect, including those damn irritating beetle things in Blaster Master that're too damn short for you to blast easily with SOPHIA's cannon. A plethora of insect enemies can be seen in Super Metroid, such as Geemers, Reos, Sidehoppers, and even the mantis-like Space Pirates themselves.

For some reason, insects appear to be a good spacefaring enemy as well...although I guess technically they would then be counted as aliens, but I'm gonna go ahead and mention Galaga's cast of foes. Insects that fly in patterns and swoop down to destroy or steal your ships are the main antagonists of Galaga, a game that I play in arcades whenever I get a chance. And don't forget the gigantic Mothula in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past...a giant moth that you fight in a small room lined with moving Spike Sliders. Sounds a lot harder than it is, though.

Anyway, insects are different enough from humans that they can be creepy and also frequently small enough that they can be used as aggravating adversaries that you just can't ever seem to reach unless you have a plan. Their appearance and agility makes them a good enemy to have around in any game, and don't even forget about the fact that they can often cause some shitty status ailment in RPGs, such as the infamous Poison. If you're creating a game and need some form of enemy, you always have insects as a reliable fallback!

(P.S. Centipedes and millipedes are not insects, and neither are spiders. If you thought they were...then...well, just run away from me quickly. RUN YOU FOOL!)

J is for Jelly enemies

Ahh, jellies.

You know what these are. You're playing a video game, such as a fantasy or sci-fi action adventure game, and suddenly you come across an enemy that is, at most, an amorphous blob with a face or something like that. You have encountered a jelly enemy.

These cronies are just good for bashing around, in most cases. Nothing is quite as satisfying as sending a Zol flying across the room with a sword slash in the original Legend of Zelda, only to watch it split into two smaller versions of itself (Gels). Jellies are oftentimes one of the first types of enemies you run into, and perhaps the best game to use as an example is Dragon Warrior.

In nearly every DW game, you leave the first town and prepare to level up. After wandering around for a short amount of time, you get into a battle. It's a blue Hershey's Kiss with a clown face on it. That's a Slime, and you're gonna be seeing a lot of them. They're pretty much the Goomba of the Dragon Warrior/Quest franchise, and people love the hell out of them.

Reminds me of my ex-wife!!

What about good old Earthbound? In this weird friggin' game, there's a point where you fight piles of puke with faces. I guess puke isn't really a jelly substance, but when the hell else am I gonna get to mention Master Belch? Difference is that these guys are actually quite tough and can use some brutal abilities to bring your party to its knees, including offensive magic and horrible gas that makes your characters start to cry, making them miss way too often to be useful. Harsh!

Most adventure games have some form of jelly enemy...Battle of Olympus, the Zelda series, the Metroid series, StarTropics I and II, the Final Fantasy series, Star Fox, Shadowgate...those're the ones off the top of my head. Give me more time and I can probably think of tons more...but right now it's late and I'm tired so how about you FUCK OFF instead!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Alphabet of Cronies: G-H

G is for Goombas

Rather than have a more general type of enemy class for this entry, I figured it would make sense to go for one of the most recognizable and popular video game cronies. A walking mushroom with a face and giant shoes...the Goomba from the Mario series.

Above: Not a goomba, no matter what the fuck anyone says otherwise.

You can't deny that when you think about enemies in video games, this is probably one of the first ones that come to mind. In the original Super Mario Bros. game, this was the very first enemy you encountered and promptly flattened like a disgusting mushroomy pancake for sweet, SWEET points. Goombas have been a staple of the series ever since, with very few games excepting them from their enemy lineup, such as Super Mario Bros. 2 (which we all know was just a slightly reskinned Doki Doki Panic anyway so it doesn't count.)

They're always the same...mushroom shaped enemies with big eyes and eyebrows and giant shoes that either wander back and forth until they hit something or fall off of a cliff in the 2D games, or patrol areas and chase mario down in 3D installations. Everyone loves them though...they're the enemy that you just love to beat around and stomp because flattening a mushroom is just damn satisfying.

Particularly one that's bent on killing you but is so, so terrible at it.

H is for Humans

Let's face it. We're assholes, and video games help to drive that point home by frequently having Homo sapiens as a menace in tons of video games. There are numerous examples I can think of, but obviously I'll only limit it to a few.

The Enclave in the Fallout series is a good example...government-minded soldiers patrolling the wasteland and hogging technology all to themselves. Clad in power armor and usually sporting Gauss and Plasma Rifles, these jerks are completely detestable both in terms of their stubborn, unwavering affinity toward Uncle Sam as well as the fact that they're damn hard to kill. They also have tons of vehicles and turrets at their disposal...a force to be reckoned with. At least you can usually find some sweet loot on them though, often resulting in you absolutely ravaging them with their own power armor.

Other examples I can think of are the oftentimes human adversaries of the Final Fantasy series. Pirates, soldiers, ninjas, strippers, weird cat women, giants, hunchbacked idiots, name it and Final Fantasy probably has it in some way, shape or form. In fact, pretty much any RPG has human enemies that get in your way, often commanded by some higher-ranking human person...they're all fuckin' assholes though!

Metal Gear is another good option for human enemies. Sure, there are the standard grunts and soldiers that you encounter and subsequently stab to death or blow holes through, but we all know that the human bosses are the real stars of the show. Grey Fox, whom you fistfight in a minefield in MG2, and Psycho Mantis who "reads your mind" in Metal Gear Solid are very memorable. Actually pretty much every boss is memorable in these games so what the hell am I even talking about!

Now I'll read more deeply into your memory ca...SOUL! I totally said soul!

Humans as enemies are almost always portrayed as:

a) power-hungry factions that are searching for some way to either get rich or to own the world in the palm of their hand

b) nearly feral groups of thieves that will beat your ass down when they get a chance

c) deceptive pricks who want something but eventually stab you in the back

d) all of the above

Makes them a pretty good enemy to have around, don't you think?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Alphabet of Cronies: E-F

E is for Elementals

So, you're playing through an RPG and things seem to be going along pretty well. Physical attacks are enough so least until you encounter a devious adversary known as an elemental.

Unfortunately, sometimes you have a weapon equipped that might have qualties that are of the same element as your find this out the hard way when you take a swipe at it and the damn thing heals. How fuckin' annoying is that? Elementals are tricky because not only do they force you to use your magic in most cases, but they also can deliver terribly destructive attacks of their own element upon your characters, wiping them out a lot faster than one would appreciate.

The Fire Emblem series is no exception from these types of enemy, with most magical characters attuned to a single element. Send in the wrong type of character and they're toast...or frozen...or blown away by wind, whatever the elemental happens to be.

What about Final Fantasy? The first asshole that comes to mind is FlameEater from Final Fantasy 3/6 in that burning building. What a dick...not only did he need ice to kill, but he was also able to cast Reflect so you couldn't attack him directly with your own magic.

Hai thar, I'm a total prick!

Eternal Darkness is based almost completely on properly attuned magical elements. Almost every single RPG has elemental enemies that require proper thinking to eliminate, and some action games even do as well.

Fact of the matter is that Elementals force you to think about your strategy and come up with something new, whether it be how you attack them or how you defend yourself from their attacks. This alone makes them a damn good enemy type to have on this list.

F is for Flyers

Yes, I already went over birds, but they piss me off enough to get their own goddamned entry.

Flyers can be anything, however...not just birdies. We're talking bats, mechanical enemies, aircraft...anything like that. Ever since video games've been around, flying enemies have been pretty much a mainstay. UFOs in Space Invaders, Koopa Paratroopas in the Mario series...pretty much name an action video game and there's likely going to be some form of flying enemy that pisses you off.

Bats are a frequent one, swooping down from high areas to knock you down pits or relentlessly attack you. I won't talk about birds again because you know how I feel about them. Flying drones will pester you constantly when you encounter them in games such as Bionic Commando or the Contra series. What about assholes that have jetpacks from the game Wild Guns? Neckies and Zingers from the Donkey Kong Country series? Metroid has its fair share as well, such as Wavers, Rippers, and Metroids themselves (friggin' jerks). Blaster Master is also loaded with them. And don't forget fucking Medusa Heads in Castlevania! If you can name a side scroller then there're probably flying enemies in it in some way, shape or form.

I'll whip you good, you flying asshole!

The ones that are the worst are ones that're also terribly quick and dodgy, such as the aforementioned Red Arremer in Ghouls N' Ghosts, or even Lost Souls in Doom. Pretty much any flying shoot 'em up obviously has tons of irritating airborne foes as well, with multiple and tricky patterns to make your life a living hell.

In fact, that's what flyers are all about...making your life a living hell. They're oftentimes more mobile than you and have a better range of movement making them difficult to hit, and a lot of them are also terribly quick so blowing them outta the sky isn't the easiest thing to do. A lot of them can even fire at you from above, meaning you've got bullets from the sky to worry about. For god's sakes, make sure they're your first target when you encounter them!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Alphabet of Cronies: C-D

C is for Chimeras

Chimeras are critters that are made up of the parts of other critters. The classical Chimera is obviously the terrifying creature you can read about in Greek mythology, which is a mishmash of 3 different animals: a lion, a goat, and a snake. The Chimera was able to breathe fire, and just being unfortunate enough to see the damn thing was a bad omen that apparently suggested you were gonna get fucked up by nature. What an asshole.

Well, that hasn't changed one bit. Chimeras in games are damn sweet enemies...and I'm not just talking about the rehashes of the creature from myth. There are also numerous games with cronies and enemies that are chimeras of other different animals or organisms. For example, Mother 3's Pigmask Army has the creation of chimeras from various animals in the wilderness as one of their main objectives. Super C's final boss is some weird mashup of...a human face, some fucked up alien, a spider, and a toad or something. A lot of Final Fantasy enemies resemble combinations of animals or monsters, as well as tons of disturbing bosses from various other video games.

Original Chimera art from Final Fantasy 1

Oftentimes, chimeras in games are disturbing to even look at or think of, which makse them a damn good cronie to begin with. Chalk up the fact that these things are usually pretty damn tough and will often have abilities attributed to each animal you can see in the organism, and you've got a fearsome, creepy, and irritating enemy that you really have to think about before you tackle.

D is for Demons

These guys are jerks, but the best thing about demons is that you never, ever feel bad about kicking their asses.

Perhaps the most iconic instance of demons in video games is in the Doom series. Demons start to invade UAC bases on Phobos and Deimos (the moons of Mars) via the use of portals that apparently link directly to hell. These guys come in all shapes and sizes, from the humanoid fire-hurling Imp, to the floating, one-eyed, basketball-shaped Cacodemon, to the towering Cyberdemon, which is a cybernetic goat...thing...that's about 20 feet tall and sports a rocket launcher for an arm. Do I need to say anything else?

You know you want to kill this.

Well I will.

Throw in terrible enemies like the Red Arremer from the Ghouls N' Ghosts games if you really want to cry. These assholes are some of the dodgiest, most persistent enemies you'll ever encounter and they frustrate me just thinking about them. The Devil May Cry series is loaded with demonic assholes to punish, as well as Ninja Gaiden for the NES which involves a demon king named Jaquio trying to create a DEMON ARMY. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I SAID THE WORD DEMON SO FAR?

Hellish brutes from Blood that you set alight with a flare gun...pretty much any major enemy from the Diablo series...

Yeah, demons are abundant in games. They can take many forms, have many different attacks, and are generally just one of those enemy types that no one has a beef about when it comes to putting them down in a bleeding mess on the floor. Load up your Plasma Rifle and get to it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Alphabet of Cronies: A-B

I'm gonna try something a bit different, and I'm gonna list of and write small blurbs about some of my most memorable types of cronies, underlings, and general enemies in my classic video gaming experiences. It's not necessarily a top 26 type of enemy list, but rather just enemies that come to mind...and I'm gonna have an example for each letter of the alphabet.

It won't necessarily be day I might hammer off 4 letters, while another day I might just write up 1...just a heads up. Hope you enjoy!

A is for Aquatic flora and fauna

When it comes to classic games, swimming levels occur very frequently during which you are often unable to attack (or at least not in your usual fashion). For example, Super Mario Bros. will plunge you into an underwater level every so often and pit you against numerous foes. Cheep cheeps and Bloopers are a prime example, and later on in the series even more deadly critters are added like Lava Lotuses and Jelectros. The problem with this is that you cannot jump and land on enemies in the water and therefore are unable to kill them unless you locate a fire flower or some other such item. Real fuckin' pain in the ass, learn to cope, I suppose.

However, when it comes to underwater flora...the hat must certainly be tipped toward the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game for the NES. The second level in the game starts off like the rest, but quickly becomes a race against time underwater to diffuse 7 bombs before they bust open a dam and flood the city. You have a time limit to do this, but that shouldn't be a problem because your characters are Turtles and obviously swimming is a pretty normal thing in that case.

Oh but wait. EVERYTHING IS OUT TO KILL YOU IN THIS GAME...and that unfortunately includes a gauntlet of electric plants that line the walls of the area and will zap the shit out of your ass if you touch them. Take these things into account:

1) You're in a fucking hurry, so taking your time to get by the plants is not really that much of an option

2) These plants line the NARROWEST OF POSSIBLE PASSAGEWAYS and getting through such locations is terribly, terribly difficult and will probably make you cry.

3) Why the fuck are there electric plants underwater anyway? Do those things actually exist? WHAT ABOUT EELS FOR GOD'S SAKES that like, SWIM AROUND or something! Then at least you could have an actual electric enemy that makes sense and also have it be an interesting enemy that you need to correctly dodge around, rather than just pray to god that you're not a single PIXEL off course between walls of electric plants!

And dare I mention the fucking Dopefish? That's right, I'm gonna call back to Commander Keen for this entry! The Dopefish was...well...pretty much a giant green swimming idiot that relentlessly chased you around underwater levels in the Commander Keen games. This fat bastard would swallow you up, ending your life in one fell swoop. What a stressful asshole.

Behold...the true face of evil

Torpedo Teds? Mermen? How about the Croctopi in Donkey Kong Country? Evirs in Super Metroid?? ANYTHING to do with underwater areas in the Sonic series? ALL ENEMIES IN ECCO THE DOLPHIN?!

The list goes on, and I could think of tons more, but you get the idea.

B is for Birds

If you happen to be anyone who somewhat knows me, then I'm pretty sure you know that I hate birds. A lot. I firmly maintain that the only thing they're good for is consumption (chicken, turkey, etc.), and shitting on my car. When it comes to video games...birds are even more irritating.

Ninja Gaiden, you cruel and horrible game. I may have conquered you, but if you didn't have birds that hunt you down mercilessly and knock you down cliffs more often and more frequently than a person can TAKE BREATHS, I could have had you beaten without yanking out all of my hair. And I do mean ALL of it, if you catch my drift.

Crows in Earthworm Jim are another good example...damn things are relentless and can grab you and wrench you around, draining your health from you. Also there's the fact that one of the main enemies, Psycrow, is just a giant crow in a space suit and constantly tries to shut you down in warp hole races that are stressful to begin with.

Castlevania series? Same damned thing as Ninja Gaiden. Tiny little bastards that are tough to hit and will knock poor Simon (or Chris, or Trevor, etc) off of their feet and into a bottomless pit are frequent and relentless.

The only good kind of bird is an extinct one

Robotic birds in Megaman that can spawn smaller ones that hunt you down? Lame. Guays in the Legend of Zelda series? Also lame. It's the fact that these damn creatures often have a completely free range of movement around the entire screen, and will very often blow you down a cliff to end your life that really makes them irritating. There's also the fact that they're damn hard to hit due to their small size and intense mobility, so killing them isn't always an option! Game developers know this, and therefore know exactly where to place birds in order to make the gamer's life a living hell.

Not to mention there are also birds that steal your shit in some games! What's that crap?!

Again, there are tons of examples of this, but I'm pretty sure that you likely know what I'm talking about. Fuckin' birds...unfortunately they're the type of enemy you love to hate. Their often unpredictable behaviour makes them one of those enemies that always has you on your toes, and so I guess it's somewhat good to have them around.

In pixelated form, anyway.

Friday, May 21, 2010

World Ten: Methods of Flight

I'm sitting here at Pearson International Airport, just about to head out to Regina from Toronto as YYZ by Rush constantly plays through my head. I've got about 40 minutes to kill before my flight, and then even more time to write stuff up while I'm on the plane, so I figured I'd write up a post. Inspired (or something) by the surroundings, I thought it would be a nifty World Ten entry to go through my personal ten favourite methods of flight from classic video games.

Obviously there are many. Ships in shoot 'em ups, power ups in adventure games, various other weird shit...and I can already think of a handful to list off. So without holding this up any further, I'm gonna dive right in:

Friday, May 7, 2010

In Retrospect: Bionic Commando

Recently I've really been stuck in some kind of rut when it comes to video games, in that I've really been going nuts playing Bionic Commando (and its remake for the XBLA, Bionic Commando: Rearmed). I remember playing this game when I was a next door neighbour had it, and I never really got around to playing it until we traded games at one point. He had some good games, but also some terrible ones, so I never really knew what to expect when it came to borrowing a cartridge from him...particularly one that we hadn't even checked out yet. However, it turned out that this game trade was certainly one of the good ones, because Bionic Commando had me hooked very, very quickly.

Friday, April 16, 2010

World Ten: Music Tracks

I figured that I'd write up another top 10 article regarding the pieces of music from classic gaming that get stuck in my head the absolute most. Only single songs, mind you...but later on I plan on throwing together another top 10 list of the best entire soundtracks. Not too soon or anything though, so don't hold your breath. Hopefully I can pull out a few surprises for you, rather than mostly traditional ones!

Geez, I'm listening to a bunch of music at the moment but obviously it'll make it a bit fuckin' difficult to think of other tunes at the same time.

Also these top 10 lists just really make life difficult for me. There're so many wicked songs in games that I absolutely love and it's damn tough to pick just TEN of them, but that's my own punishment that I will JUST HAVE TO ENDURE! I'm not gonna order these things, because I just can't bring myself to do it. I'll also try to link you guys to a sample of each entry, whenever I can manage to do so. So without further adieu:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

In Retrospect: StarTropics


Here's a game that really should have a lot more recognition than it does, because quite frankly, it's an under-appreciated gem in the NES library that always seems to be forgotten. I'm talking about StarTropics, a game released by Nintendo in 1990. I know very few people who've played through this damn game, which is a shame because I think it's gotta be one of the strongest and most well made franchises that ever came out of Nintendo's design teams. It has no representation in games that mix elements from numerous N-franchises, such as the Smash Bros. series, and it seems as if the big N has forgotten about it completely...but it seems to me that people who've played it love it, so I often wonder why it's been swept under the rug.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In Defense: Cave Story

Here's a game I've wanted to write about for a while, but I figured that I may as well wait until it was finally released on the Virtual Console of the Wii on March 22nd. This game was announced for the WiiWare service quite a while ago, and fans such as myself have been itching for it to finally come out on the system. This was easily a day 1 (actually, hour 1) purchase for me, as it hearkens back to the 16 bit era in colour and art, and takes pages out of the books of a few amazing classic games and amalgamates them into an amazing composition.

First, some history. Cave Story has actually been available for about 6 years now because, if I'm not mistaken, it was released as a freeware game downloadable from the Internet in the year of 2004. This game was created by exactly one guy, who goes by the name of Pixel to his fans, and it took him about 5 years to complete it...but Pixel made everything for it. He programmed it, created the art and sound effects, and wrote the story all by himself. This in itself is quite a feat, and shows that this guy likes games for the sake of games. It's not like he was expecting payment for his creation...he just wanted people to download it and enjoy it, and to experience video game design for himself. I don't expect that he figured it would ever become as popular of a cult hit as it did, but I'm damn glad it got the recognition it deserves because it's actually one of the best sidescrollers I've every played, period.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

World Ten: Top 10 weapons

Be aware that this list may contain mad ****SPOILERS****

My first top ten list is going to be a short list of the weapons that I still think of to this day. Basically, means of killing enemies that have made an impact on me, causing me to reflect and think "Okay, yeah, that was awesome." Sure, there are a ton of these lists floating around, and I'm sure that you're likely able to predict a few of them right off the bat...but I'm hoping there'll be a few surprises in here. Just bear in mind that this is my personal opinion, of course, and the selections I choose may not be as obvious as one might think.

The biggest problem is figuring out what order to put the damn things in, as a number one weapon of all time is extremely hard for a gamer who started back in the 80s to decide upon. A game with weapons is, in my opinion, defined by that weapon set, since they're clearly the tools that you're going to be using the most to get out of sticky situations. The right tool needs to be chosen properly...but then at the same time, maybe a game player establishes a soft spot for a weapon that's not entirely convenient but tries to make the best use of it. This is one of the tough parts of weapon selection...finding that balance between what's useful, and what you just plain enjoy using. For example, I don't want to go through a modern shooter using 76 different kinds of machine gun with different fire rates and recoil...that just becomes boring for me, but I know that certain gamers prefer to pick the most efficient weapons. Personally though, I tend to use the oddball ones just because they're fun...even though I might send myself to the grave with them more often than I likely should.

Anyway, on to the list.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In Comparison: Megaman 9 and Megaman 10

Alright, so a game came out on Monday that I've been waiting for ever since the last entry in the series. Megaman 10 was released on WiiWare, and I downloaded it as soon as I possibly could get my grubby little hands on it and managed to finish it that very same day. Clearly this fits in the whole retro revival theme that this blog's supposed to be it's fucking Megaman, so how could I even possibly resist writing about it! Rather than just cover MM10, however, I'm also going to go into Megaman 9 and compare the two. Although they are both Megaman games right down to their cores, they are clearly inspired by different entries in the series, which makes the dynamics of both games differ radically.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

In Defense: Blaster Master Overdrive

Alright, so let's kick this whole thing off with an insanely unexpected and spontaneous throwback to a spectacular NES game called Blaster Master, made by a company called Sunsoft. These guys were one of the pinnacle game-creating companies in the NES era (don't even get me started on Journey to Silius...*drool*), and Blaster Master was perhaps the perfect example as to why. Before I explain anything about BM: Overdrive, though...I'll dive a bit into the history of the original.

The story of the game is simple. You play as a dude named Jason who has a pet frog named Fred. This frog gets out of its cage and hops into Jason's backyard where he consumes radioactive material. Seems to me like Jason has a metric pisston of explaining to do as to how THAT came into his possession, but whatever, we'll roll with it. The frog then jumps in a hole...a really deep, abyssal Jason's backyard. Now, since Jason is a completely sensible individual, he of course jumps into the hole in pursuit of his frog, since clearly these organisms do not occur very frequently in pet stores or in the wild, and he certainly couldn't have just walked to the store or some nearby swamp and gotten another damn frog. This is where it gets good though. Jason finds a tank in this hole called SOPHIA the 3rd...a fully functional battle tank with means to fire, jump, hover, submerge, climb walls and ceilings, and in general just kick a lot of ass. This is the main reason why I jump into holes when I see them, cause I've learned from these games that there may in fact be a tank at the bottom of them. He also finds a suit which fits him perfectly (of course), so he puts the fucker on, gets in the fuckin' tank, and shoots off into the cavernous distance to find his pet frog.

His pet frog. Fred.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Intro post

So I finally gave in and decided to start a blog so I can shoot my mouth off and e-publish my opinions about something, and what better subject to cover than the one that I happen to have the most expertise in. That's right, I'm talking about vidja games, and not necessarily the new ones (although I do, in fact, play many of them).

However, my whole reasoning behind making this damn thing is not just video games in general...but rather the fact that it's not the new-fangled, state of the art, jaw dropping movie-quality games that I keep crawling back to on hands and knees to play over and over again. It's the classic ones...the simple ones...the punishing and excruciating ones.

Games have changed 'cause they're not a niche market anymore...they're big business, tried, tested and true. And I don't like it all that much, with some exceptions. However, as of late there's been a tendency towards taking the classic games that people like me appreciate so much for their timelessness, throw on a new coat of paint (or not, in some cases), and release them with the same gameplay that had me hooked since I was 4. Of course, a lot of gamers out there don't get it.

"Why does Mega Man 9 look like shit?"

"Why can't you double jump in this game?"


That's all I have to say for now, actually. But this is gonna be a blog dedicated to the classics and retro revivals that all seem to be overshadowed. Reviews, lists, and other various articles will be written here. I can already think of a few things that I want to write about, but who knows what'll come up.

First official post to come soon.

- Adam