The original Castlevania on the NES: 6 stages, 5 subweapons, 11 music tracks, and one slayer of non-glittery vampires that laid the gothic groundwork for a series that has been resurrected into almost 40 incarnations — so far. The roots of all entries in this iconic series can be traced back to this one action-laden creep-fest, and for that we owe it a debt of homage.
Let’s be critical, though. What made Castlevania so great back in the early days of the NES? How does it hold up by today’s standards? Should it still be played, or is it better left in the timeless realm of our nostalgia?
Back before Final Fantasy 9 came out, it was heralded as the return to epic greatness that the series had experienced with 4, 5, 6, and 7. It was — for the most part — but battle animations were slow and the story devolved into some bizarre nonsensery near the end. Early buzz around Final Fantasy 12 promised the same redemption, but the title was marred by the Gambit system, which may as well have been called “autopilot”, and a generally weak soundtrack.
Now, there’s not any indication that Final Fantasy 15 is going to be the moogle’s teats — hell, there’s not even any official word that it’s in development (the logo above is just a fan concept), but come on, of course it is — however, that doesn’t mean I can’t fantasize about what it would be like in a perfect world. I sometimes yearn to have an experience like I did the first time I played Final Fantasy 4, 5, 6, and 7, each of which gave me a unique and profound sensation. I can’t put a value on what it would be like to have such an experience again with a Final Fantasy game, and though I doubt 15 will provide me with that special sense of adventure, here’s my vision of what it might be like if it did.
Legend of Dragoon was a pretty mediocre RPG. Like most first-gen polygonal RPGs, its battles were slow, and it had low-polygon-count models over pre-rendered backgrounds. (Those backgrounds actually looked great, but just made the ugly models look even worse by contrast.) The battle system also had a timed-hit system with an annoyingly small window for success, making the action stop-and-go as you waited for overly lengthy animations and then had to rapidly hit specific buttons for better attack damage. To make matters worse, the story was generic, and you didn’t get attached to the characters at all.
Amidst this sea of lukewarmness, one of the battle tunes stands out as something really enjoyable. It’s not amazing compared to the best music that gaming has to offer, but it’s certainly just about the only worthwhile thing in Legend of Dragoon.
BTW, the section from ~1:08 to ~1:16 is actually the victory fanfare.
Have you heard about Blizzard’s Collectable Card Game “Hearthstone”? It is a Free-to-play game that will be available on Windows/Mac and the iPad, with an Android tablet version in the works. People familiar with Blizzard Intellectual Properties will recognize from the title that it is set in the Warcraft universe. Check this out:
Of course, when I hear “Free to Play” and “Collectable Card Game” together, I instantly smell something amiss. The business model for traditional CCGs are all about buying packs of cards with the hopes of getting some better cards for your customizable deck. So what is the gimmick?
The worst thing about Ridiculous Fishing: A Tale of Redemption is the name. Of course it’s about fishing; we get that. But “ridiculous”? A work of art (yeah, I just called Ridiculous Fishing art) isn’t ridiculous just because it says so right there on the can.
This game could have also been called Radical Fishing, or LOL-out-loud Fishing. An even better title would have been The Three (3) Habits of Highly Effective Fishermen.
The Three (3) Habits of Highly Effective Fishermen
(01: Height phase.) Cast your rod, or descend your lure, or whatever it’s called. It will descend DOWN into the water, and continue to sink until it hooks a fish.
(02: Motion phase.) At this happy time, the lure will begin to rise UP. During this phase, you may hook as many fish as possible. There is no catch limit.
(03: Gravity phase.) When the lure breaches UP from the water’s surface, your many, many fishes will also spurt UP into the sky. You will tap, press, and grub at the screen to SHOOT THE BEJEEZUS out of the fish before Newton’s harsh mistress brings them back DOWN.
ATLUS’s upcoming 4th entry in the Etrian Odyssey series has a demo available now on the 3DS’s eShop. The brilliant aspect to this demo is that your progress will carry over to the full game, which comes out on 2/26.
So how does the demo measure up? Is it worth your time? If you’ve never played the series, should you give it a shot? If you’re thinking of returning to relive past glory, is it fresh enough to once again invest dozens of hours? Let’s explore.
On a whim, I recently took a trip in the wayback machine to finally finish the DOS game that dominated a sizable chunk of my childhood. I’m speaking, of course, of Might & Magic II: Gates to Another World.
Unsurprisingly, the game has aged rather hard (as most IBM compatible games from the late 80s tend to do), but the one thing that stands out as pretty awesome, even by today’s standards, is the game’s map; a beautiful work of art that captures the imagination just as much now as it did then.