Archive for the ‘Gameboy Advance’ Category
As I said in a previous article regarding Wolfenstein 3D, “Wolfenstein 3D did it first and Doom did it best.” The same team, id Software, created both games so it’s less of a competition and more of an evolution. While I agree that all games are a team effort, the technology that runs these games can sometimes be credited to one person. In the case of Doom that one person is none other than John D. Carmack. By this point most of us are aware of John Carmack and what he’s contributed to video games as a whole, but back in 1992 he was the guy creating a new engine for a new game. That engine was called the Doom Engine. Carmack claims the name Doom came from the movie The Color of Money in which Tom Cruise describes a custom pool cue as “doom” when questioned as to what’s in his case. It was created to enhance the first person shooter to include different heights, distances, and even sound effects in stereo for a more realistic type of game. In truth the hardware of the time couldn’t handle rendering a 3D world so the game is actually all on a flat plane in the code, which is why rooms never overlap and you can shoot a guy on a ledge by just aiming at the wall beneath him. I don’t know about the rest of you, but in 1993 I hardly noticed. Doom had positional breathing of mutant men, lighting effects (including dark rooms), a hybrid cyberpunk and distopian Hell setting, and a ton of violence. It was the rock star of the video game world.
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.
Switching It Up
A lot happened both in the talent pool of Mortal Kombat players and in the game design overall between the release of Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3 (MK3). For starters there was a mass exodus of on screen talent due to royalty disputes, so almost no one from the original two games returned for the third release. In addition, Boon and his team were trying to turn Mortal Kombat into a viable fighting game with things no one had ever seen before and mechanics that could compete with the massive rush of fighters in arcades. The game was completely Americanized, with all hints of Eastern influence including symbols, locales, and the soundtrack completely absent without a trace and instead replaced by urban stages, 90s hip-hop soundtracks, and cyborgs replaced the signature ninjas. These locations were now composed of pre-rendered 3D backgrounds and the character sprites were almost totally digitized as opposed to the digitized/hand drawn hybrid of the previous games. Along with it came an overhaul of the controls, including combos and a “run” button to address rightful claims that defensive players ruled the previous title. It’s all one giant 90s metaphor but that doesn’t change the fact that MK3 (and it’s update Ultimate MK3 or UMK3) stands as the moment I felt the series went into the mainstream fighter territory. Couple this with the fact that it was on just about every console that existed at the time, still dominated arcades, and had more content than rival Street Fighter II could ever dream to do with its iterations and I see why it’s creator Ed Boon’s favorite. Mortal Kombat 3 definitely upped the ante.
This week Fred and Jam are discussing the Capcom series Ghosts’N Goblins (or Makaimura if you prefer). Easily one of the most punishing franchises ever created, the boys tackle the trials and tribulations of Sir Arthur on a never ending quest to save his girlfriend. Along the path he will traverse to various worlds, see terrible beings, and of course battle the many derivatives of the Devil.
And just for fun, have a video of me cussing out the original for two hours:
I was gonna write a retrospective on this, but honestly in podcast form we’ve covered Doom not once, but twice! From those episodes came a project that has taken six months and over six hours to put together in one near 15 minute video. I compare the PC, 32x, Jaguar, SNES, PS1, 3DO, Saturn, and GBA versions of Doom so you don’t have to, complete with bad language and snarky remarks (sorry parents). Check out this version of Versions for Doom, but fair warning: there is some adult language.
This week the boys are talking all about the Gameboy Advance. Nintendo’s successor to the extremely popular Gameboy was touted by many as the SNES in your hands. Well it was a lot more than that and we’re talking all about the crazy library of games that reminded us how fond we were of the 16 bit era.
This week we tackle the “MetroidVania” titles in the Castlevania franchise to follow up our initial episode (Devil’s Castle Dracula). Fred and Jam briefly define MetroidVania as a genre, discuss some titles that originated it, and discuss Symphony of the Night – the most prolific of the series – as well as the multiple portable titles that followed.