Thursday, 5 March 2015

Wolfenstein 3D (MS-DOS)

Wolfenstein 3D title screen
Developer:id |Release Date:1992|Systems:DOS, SNES, Mac, Jaguar, 3DO, GBA, Apple IIGS, PC-98, Archimedes, etc.

Today on Super Adventures I have another requested game for you: Wolfenstein 3D, or (Wolfenstein 3-D according to the title screen). And it's got the Nazi Party's theme tune playing right now as its title song, that's just... great.

This of course is the earliest first person shooter ever made, except for all those other ones that came before it. Even if you don't want to count things like 1974's Maze War, 1980's Battlezone, or even 1987's MIDI Maze, you've got id Software's own Hovertank 3D and Catacomb 3D released a year earlier. Granted they don't have assault rifles, but they're so similar in style and gameplay to Wolfenstein 3D that it's hard for me to look at them and say they're not the same genre.

Either way this is definitely the first of the Wolfenstein series; except it kinda isn’t as it was inspired by a 1981 stealthy action-adventure called Castle Wolfenstein and its sequel Beyond Castle Wolfenstein. When id Software realised the trademark had lapsed and was up for the taking, they took it and made their own series out of it. And I don't blame them, as it's a cool title.

Is it the first World War II themed first person shooter at least? I've no idea, but let's say yes. Medal of Honor, Call of Duty... they're all this game's fault. Anyway, I have played Wolfenstein 3D before, but not recently and not for long. In fact I've never even finished a single episode, so that's what I'm planning to do now.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (GB)

Super Mario Land 2 title screen
Developer:Nintendo|Release Date:1992 (JP)|Systems:Game Boy

Today on Super Adventures I'm playing the final game of my Mario Marathon Month, finishing off the first decade (or so) of Mario's big platformer games. So if you were hoping to see Hotel Mario or Mario is Missing show up then I'm afraid your princess is in another castle, so to speak.

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is also the final game in the Mario Land series before the villain hijacked it and turned it into the Wario Land series (like how Yoshi stole the Super Mario Bros. series and turned it into Yoshi's Island after the fourth game). Don't feel bad for Mario though, he had things like Super Mario Kart, Super Mario RPG and Super Mario 64 to keep him busy through the mid-nineties (when he wasn't playing Go Fish in Mario's Game Gallery.)

Most of the other Mario games I've played so far I've been very familiar with, but this one's a big question mark (block) for me. I've only seen about 10 seconds of gameplay and I don't even know how others rate it, so I get to go in entirely blind for once! As usual I'll give it an hour or two, share my first impressions, maybe a few second impressions, then find something about it to nitpick afterwards.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Super Mario World (SNES)

Developer:Nintendo|Release Date:1990 (JP)|Systems:SNES

Today on Super Adventures I'm taking a brief look at Super Mario World (AKA. Super Mario Bros. 4: Super Mario World in Japan). After this the numbering gets a bit crazy though, as you've got Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, which presumably counts as Super Mario Bros. 5, and then it jumps right up to Super Mario 64! No 'Bros.' for that game though, as Mario decided to go solo that time.

Every Nintendo console but the Wii has had a Mario (or Luigi) game as a launch title, and this is the game that was relied upon to kick off the era of the Super Famicom in November 1990. This and Mode 7 racing game F-Zero, but don't expect to see that on the site any time soon as I am astoundingly terrible at it.

Amazingly for a series with such highly regarded soundtracks, in Japan this was the first of the Super Mario games to have music on the title screen (though the Western version of Super Mario Bros. 2 does have a tune.) Even more amazingly... I don't really like it all that much. It's twee and grating and sounds like it belongs more in a nursery rhyme than a Mario game. Here have a youtube link, listen for yourself.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Dark Seed (MS-DOS)

Dark Seed Title screen
Developer:Cyberdreams|Release Date:1992|Systems:PC, Amiga, PSX, Saturn, CD32

Today on Super Adventures, I'm taking a quick look at the long awaited, repeatedly requested, HR Giger illustrated, horror adventure Darkseed!

This was released on more systems than you'd think, even making it across to the PlayStation and Saturn in Japan, but I'll be playing the original PC version released back in...

Actually no, I can't do this. There's a reason I put this off for so long, and that's because I really can't stand this game folks. I can't really remember why exactly, but my brain's telling me I want none of this and it's usually right about this kind of thing. Life's too short to play terrible adventure games, and you don't want to sit there sifting through 30 screenshots worth of complaints and whining anyway. So instead I'm skipping ahead to something else, something less dark...

Monday, 16 February 2015

Super Mario Land (GB)

Developer:Nintendo|Release Date:1989|Systems:Game Boy

Today on Super Adventures, Mario Marathon Month drags on even longer with Super Mario Land, for the Game Boy! There's our heroic plumber up there on the top of the sign in fact, shaking his fist at the sky and yelling at strangers to get off his Marioland.

This was the fourth Super Mario game in Japan and Europe, but the third to come out in America. It doesn't count as part of the main Super Mario Bros. series though because Luigi hasn't bothered to turn up this time. Can't give it the Bros. label without Mario's bro around.

Though if it was a Bros. game it would've been the first Mario Bros. produced by Gunpei Yokoi since Mario Bros., and the first created without the involvement of Shigeru Miyamoto. It's also the first developed for a proper cartridge-based handheld system, and if you're wondering where you've heard the name Gunpei Yokoi before, it's possible that you remember him as being the designer of the Game Boy itself. Super Mario Land was a launch title for the system and was originally intended to be the first pack-in title until Nintendo were persuaded that Tetris would more universal appeal... because it's Tetris.

Can't really disagree with that logic, especially as 25 years later I still haven't even really played Super Mario Land yet, but it says that it's "his best adventure yet" on the box, so I'm pretty hyped.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

Developer:Nintendo|Release Date:1988 (JP)|Systems:NES, SNES

Today on Super Adventures my Mario Marathon Month continues with Super Mario Bros. 3, the final Super Mario for the NES! It's not the last game he showed up in on the console though, as he got his medical degree just before the SNES was released. Sadly his career as Dr. Mario lasted just four months and then it was all Yoshi games and edutainment after that.

I've timed this one better than most, as today is the game's 25th anniversary... in the US. It's not a particularly special date to me seeing as it came out 18 months later in Britain and a year or so earlier in Japan, but I'm being impatient considerate of my American readers. Whoa, I just did the math there: that's three years that we were left waiting for this, while Americans were already playing Super Mario World! I say 'we'... I didn't get a NES until something like 2001, so it's not like I was personally inconvenienced by any of this.

Super Mario Bros. 3 has actually appeared on Super Adventures before, about four years ago now, but I wasn't the person who played it and the guy who did absolutely hated it. Seriously, I found someone who dislikes Super Mario 3, how amazing is that? Uh, not that I'm implying that I like it, I'm not giving that away until the end, but I have definitely played it before and I have... opinions.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)

Today on Super Adventures, my Mario Marathon Month continues with a tale of two Super Mario Bros. 2s.

Back on the Famicom and NES in the late 80s there was a bit of a trend for sequels to be radically different to the original. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link added RPG elements and swapped genres to become a platformer, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest evolved into more of an open world RPG with NPCs and a day/night cycle, Final Fantasy II encouraged players to beat up their own team-mates to level up skills etc. But Super Mario Bros. 2 managed to be both more of the same and a reinvention of the formula at the same time, by cheating and being two separate games:

The Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 (AKA. Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels in the West) is the next step on from Super Mario Bros. and arcade game VS. Super Mario Bros., with even more challenging levels and a badge on the box saying "For super players" to make sure that regular players realise that it's going to kick their ass.

The American Super Mario Bros. 2 (AKA. Super Mario USA in Japan) is a localisation of an entirely unrelated platformer, repurposed as a replacement Mario sequel due to the Japanese Mario 2's dated visuals and punishing difficulty level making it more likely to scare players away from the unproven NES than win the undying love that the Famicom was currently enjoying in Japan.

At least that's how I think it goes. I'll give each an hour or two and see how they play.

Semi-Random Game Box