The Legend of Zelda series has transcended time and now acts less as a genesis of the 80s and more as one of Nintendo’s long running trains through time. Like all trains, many have gotten on and gotten off over the decades and thus the original is no longer that paramount flagship title that gave way to action RPGs that it used to be. In fact, these days I can’t imagine how one not familiar with the game could get started without a guide. Where would you go? What would you do? How long until you eventually enter the first dungeon that read “level one” and would you know that it means first dungeon instead of top level of the dungeon? On the other hand there are that other half of the gaming populous that is acutely familiar with all of the intricacies of what was our first true digital adventure. I myself know exactly where every dungeon is (on the second quest too), know exactly where to bomb a wall or burn a bush, and could navigate the lost woods with my eyes closed. That’s because I’ve done it so many times that the very movements of my average run are more muscle memory than anything else. It was one of the first games I played and one of the best.
In honor of the release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, this week is dedicated to games that are either long experiences or that we spent a long amount of time with. Contrary to what you may be thinking, this is not a podcast about RPGs and MMOs as it turns out our hosts have spent a large amount of time with some of the shorter games of the past. Either way it’s an interesting conversation about some favorites and some relatively obscure titles.
It was bound to happen, if only because all the texture and sprite work from the Gamecube era was already done, but Capcom finally revealed it will be making an HD Remaster of Resident Evil Zero (Biohazard 0 in Japan). This comes on the cusp of the success of Resident Evil HD Remaster, which was developed also on the Gamecube using the same engine. Many had speculated it was coming and some even reported before the official word from Capcom, but we waited until that actually was announced today to report on it. Releasing in early 2016 on the same platforms as this year’s remaster (360/PS3/PC/PS4/XB1) we’re betting it will get the similar digital only treatment and $20 price tag but that has yet to be announced. The link above also provides a video from Koji Oda, the director of Resident Evil Zero, that’s a bit charming.
Not one, but two notable Japan only JRPGs from the SNES (Super Famicom) era received completed fan translation patches this weekend: Dark Half and Super Shell Monsters Story. Since you may be justified in having no idea what these games are, let us enlighten you.
Dark Half is most notable because it was developed by Westone aka the Wonder Boy developer. In proving its unique pedigree, this 1996 Enix published JRPG has you playing the hero and the villain in a dark and mature story and related game mechanics. It’s definitely worth checking out if you love Wonder Boy and want to try something new while the rest of us were getting caught up with the PS1 re-releases in the West. Thank you Aeon Genesis (AGTP) for the hard work.
Super Shell Monsters Story is a much more typical JRPG released on the Super Famicom in 1994 by Hudson Soft, this is a traditional turn-based title that like many others steals the Dragon Quest (Warrior) formula and gives it that super cute and bright colored spin Hudson was known for. It’s somewhat obscure, even to the Japanese, so playing through this title may be more for earning your otaku cred than anything else, but the team at Dynamic Designs worked hard and clearly love this game. Thanks for the hard work and I hope to someday give this title the love it deserves.
Clicking on the links in the opening line above will take you to the fan translation patch page.
Episode 3: Chaos Theory
The story of lead character Max, her best friend Chloe, and the various people that cross paths with these girls in the small Oregon town of Arcadia Bay continues. We are now on the third episode of five, which is the time where typically the twist of the season presents itself and the direction for the overall story arc begins to come into view. I don’t know where Life is Strange is headed – the twist at the end I never saw coming and it only furthered my intrigue – but I am pleased to say that the flaws I was detecting in the second episode are quite absent this time around. In fact, it feels like perhaps two different teams at Dontnod are programming episodes because Chaos Theory feels more like the first episode and might even be able to get by if episode 2 didn’t exist (save for a plot point or two). Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed this third iteration, although despite my gripes from episode 2 being resolved, all new ones have emerged that prove there’s still room for improvement on this project.
The ballots are in, the votes have been tallied, the insults to our N64 Top 10 have been ignored and now it’s time to find out what you all chose to be the Top 10 Games from the Nintendo 64.
You can find the actual top 10 list below:
It’s the 20th Anniversary of the Sega Saturn. Originally released in the late spring of 1995 the Saturn was unfortunately surrounded by bad circumstance all caused by Sega itself The oddity is that from a Japanese standpoint, Sega’s biggest failure in all other regions was its biggest success. Join Fred and Jam in discussing the early development, releases, and ultimate deaths of Sega’s most intricate home console.
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Many of you may know the story behind the original Halo, and for those that don’t we have this trusty podcast from a while back. It’s one thing to hear it and it’s quite another to see it. This documentary series shows off the initial MacWorld reveal of Halo in 1999 when Steve Jobs himself introduced what was to become a real-time strategy (RTS) title, the progression to a PC squad-based shooter in 2000 at E3, and the final reveal as a first person shooter on the Xbox in 2001. After seeing how it progresses we then get about half an hour of developer commentary on the various decisions made in the development process to result in the finished product you know as Halo: Combat Evolved. This video and the gameplay footage in it are owned by Microsoft and Bungie.
Episode 2: Out of Time
I was quite taken with my initial impressions of Life is Strange, the episodic game that’s part modern adventure and part Choose Your Own Adventure, but there’s a part of me that acknowledged many works have started with fantastic openings and fall short at the end. In fact, much of the first episode was probably how the game was pitched for development. Typically the second outing, especially in the case of episodic titles, give us a much better feeling of what the overall title is going to be like and allows us to gauge how effectively or ineffectively the unwinding story and gameplay goals are executing. It’s also important to note that almost universally the second episode is hit with the largest amount of criticism and negative feedback, if only because it’s a focused burst of reality on the high hopes of the first episode, but also because it’s an awkward in-between time for the plot. I wish I could say Life is Strange overcomes this potential hitch, but it does appear that like most of the others it just doesn’t quite pack the punch of the first.
This episode Fred and Heffe have a long show that starts out with technical issues and ends up being silky smooth till the very end. We discuss the business of HD remakes, financial plans, the good old days of Call of Duty, Fallout 4 leaks, and more.
Opening Song – Beautiful Disaster by 311
Closing Song – Gasoline by Audioslave