Thursday, 31 December 2015

Super AiG Screenshots of the Year: 2015

Welcome to the fifth annual Super Adventures Screenshots of the Year article, showcasing some of the most interesting screenshots and animated GIFs I discovered while sifting through the massive pile of them I've accumulated from playing 60-something games this year! I'm very tired now.

Clicking the highlighted game titles will take you to the original article so you can observe the screenshot in its natural environment. It'd be nice if they were some kind of affiliate link that earned me cash, but they're not.

(Every now and again you'll see a shot from a modern PC game, if you click them you should get a higher resolution picture to gaze at.)



~ JANUARY ~

First up it's Star Wars: Yoda Stories. Oh Yoda Stories... what are you even doing?

Here's a shot of Butt-Head from 'Beavis and Butt-Head' making a cameo in obscure open world shooter Boiling Point: Road to Hell... or something. I don't know, I wasn't the one who played it.

There's one thing I still don't get about the title screen for Mario Bros. on the Commodore 64: why is there a heart in the 'M'?

Deus Ex: The Fall is a disturbing glimpse into a dystopian future where cybernetic augmentation has turned humanity into puppets, all rocking from side to side and flapping their arms occasionally.

Here's Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension demonstrating what happened when the new model Amigas came out and developers wanted a way to 'upgrade' their games for the people who bought the more powerful hardware. Compare a NES game to a SNES game and you see a massive improvement, compare an A500 game to an A1200 game and you get guitars in the sky.

Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends is mostly a game about famous Chinese warriors facing off in historical battles inspired by the classic novel 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms'. Mostly.

Here's Link stuck in a time loop of eternal suffering in Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.

I'm a huge STAR WARS fan. The saga's sequel should be released soon, so I already reserved my seat in the movie theater!
I'm a little late on this one seeing as I played the game in 2013, but I just remembered this STAR WARS™ fan I met in Little Big Adventure who was hyped to see the saga's sequel. It's taken two decades but the elephant has finally gotten to sit in that seat he reserved. Hope he liked it.



~ FEBRUARY ~

Nothing funny about this GIF from Super Mario Bros. 3, it's just pure nostalgia. If you're wondering, no I didn't manage it on my first try.

Hey, it'sa Mario again. I played about a decade's worth of the plumber's games back in February so he'll be showing up a few times.

What you're looking at here is the officially licensed All Night Nippon version of Super Mario Bros. which replaced the deadly piranha plants with deadly DJs.

The success of Mario Maker has proven that Super Mario Bros's finely tuned mechanics and silky smooth scrolling make the gameplay just as fun in 2015 as it was in 1985.

Super Mario Special's gameplay on the other hand, not so much.

Agent Ethan Thomas is utterly shocked that Condemned: Criminal Origins made the list.

This tiny intro to Dark Seed is one of the greatest cutscenes in video game history. Shame about the game that comes after it though.



~ MARCH ~


I love it when I take a shot just when the lightning flashes. Wolfenstein: The New Order may be set in an ugly alternate timeline, but it usually manages to look beautiful anyway.

You don't actually have to look at Renny Blaster to beat the first few levels, which is a shame as it's not a bad looking PC Engine game.

Another classic video game intro, this time from platformer Mr Blobby. Which was secretly...

...Super Troll Islands in disguise!

Man those guys are so stoned right now, just look at their little bouncing heads and dull stares. Actually that's a bad idea, don't do that.

I said don't look at them!

Quick, scroll down! Close your eyes! Do something!

Blood Stone isn't the most well regarded of the James Bond games, but I have to admit it's actually my personal favourite. I got a lot of play out of GoldenEye back in the day, but it couldn't be #1 forever.

Okay I'm done with the Mario screenshots now, I promise. This is from Super Mario Land 2, and no they never do explain why Mario has a giant mechanical statue of himself with a crotch balcony, or why it's filled with LEGO bricks.



~ APRIL ~

Here's Batman working hard to strike fear into cowardly and superstitious criminals in the Sega port of Batman: Return of the Joker (renamed to Revenge of the Joker for whatever reason).

And this the Joker in the NES version, in disguise as a deck chair. First thing I noticed was how pointy his jaw is... but then I noticed the teeth. Damn man, he'd make sharks jealous.

I realise this isn't the most exciting shot in the world, but Alien: Isolation may well be the best looking game I've ever seen, and that earns it a place in my Screenshots of the Year list. It looks much better if you view it in higher resolution... while playing the game.




Yo gotta bomb in ya park!!
D.D. Crew wasn't all that great to play but I love the game's art.

It's enough to make you want to throw up, in a good way!

The good thing about writing underneath pictures instead of making YouTube videos is that I get to stitch scrolling images together and show giant composite screenshots like this one from Fausseté Amour.



~ JUNE ~

It also means I get to share my favourite 10 seconds of Resident Evil 2 in an endless looping GIF.

If you ever decide to put together a list of the best video game menus for whatever reason, don't forget Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. It should slot in nicely near the top.

The in-game graphics are pretty good too, considering the game predates Doom 3... by a few months.

Have another stitched together screenshot, from basketball platformer Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City. Can't believe it took me close to five years to get around to writing about this game.


Chaos in the Windy City Map screen
Here's a nice looking shot of the Windy City itself, with Michael Jordan's shiny head gazing down on it from above like a benevolent cyborg god. By the way I checked Google Maps, and yes Chicago does have its own giant rotating question mark.

I took a shot of Chris Redfield punching a boulder at the end of Resident Evil 5, but it looks a bit crap so I went with this one instead. It's flashy, it's dramatic, his eyes are glowing for some reason and his Beretta looks like a shotgun, so it's clearly the superior screenshot.



~ JULY ~

I still remember seeing Sam & Max: Hit the Road running for the first time on a friend's machine. It was right around this point in the intro that I realised I needed to get hold of a copy for myself.

I also remember lending my beautiful, mint condition copy out to someone else and it coming back with the box crushed, but that's not entirely relevant right now.

Far Cry was one of the prettiest games ever made back in its day, which isn't a big surprise now that Crytek are well known, but it kind of came from nowhere at the time. Still looks pretty good in 2015.

Here's some genuine princess kidnapping from Arabian Nights. Weirdly the guy watching it happen isn't using a telescope, so I don't know what the circle border's about.



~ AUGUST ~

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is an amazing looking game... when you're playing it, with the visuals filling up your giant widescreen monitor. Shrunk down like this it's a little harder to see, but I couldn't just leave the game out.

Speaking of games I wasn't going to leave out, here's that weird-ass star from Mass Effect 2. It's definitely an impressive office, but I'm thinking that those transparent monochrome screens floating around randomly in front of the sun demonstrate several design flaws

It's Rib, Joint and Spine from Skeleton Krew, a game which somehow manages to be more like a 2000 AD comic than all those Judge Dredd games I played a while back.

If anyone ever tells you that Desert Strike isn't a total dick of a game, you show them this. If they need more proof just click that link and go to my post.



~ SEPTEMBER ~

This one kind of feels like cheating as I didn't really play Midwinter II, I just played around with the face editor. But I included it in my Super Adventures in Face Editors post so I'm including it here too.

The Secret of Monkey Island turned out to have a lot more animation in it than I remembered it having, most of it showing Guybrush using his head to break his fall.

Hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat.

I'd explain why Inspector Gadget's running around the clown dimension in his roboboxers, but I don't actually know. My best guess is 'because the game was made by the same people who made Fausetté Amour'.

Another shot from my Super Adventures in Face Editors article. I was trying to make him look like Solid Snake!

This totally doesn't count as a Mario screenshot by the way, I haven't broken my promise. It was taken in The Sims, therefore it's technically a Sims screenshot.



~ OCTOBER ~

I still think that the weirdest thing about of Super Back to the Future, Part II is that they never released it in the West. I don't know, maybe they couldn't get the license outside of Japan or something.

Second weirdest thing is that they never made Part I or Part III.

I didn't enjoy FORBIDDEN Siren 2 all that much, survival horror isn't really my genre, but the game's digitised faces are always amazing.



~ NOVEMBER ~

Speaking of horror, here's a completely harmless shot of some trees in the snow from Mass Effect 3.

There's some proper sci-fi adventure going on here in Ultima: Worlds of Adventure 2 - Martian Dreams. Just imagine all the hats they had to wade through to get out of this thing when it landed.

Amiga platformers don't generally look as good as 16 bit console games in my experience. Ruff 'n' Tumble is one of the big exceptions. No parallax scrolling, but it's so so pretty! Have you ever seen such a beautiful metallic owl boss before?

I wouldn't say Chasm: The Rift is a particularly great looking first person shooter, but sometimes you just want to look outside and watch the rain come down. It's making me want to put a coat on though.



~ DECEMBER ~

This is basically every minute of Kid Klown in Crazy Chase pitifully short playtime, except with a different obstacle each time. Kid Klown's life is pain.

If you ever wanted to know what a traumatised childlike clown dreams about... then you're weird. Dropsy has you covered though.

Have a GIF of LucasArts Man showing off the true power of the dark side of the Force in Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy. Yeah, yeah I know he's actually called Gold Guy.

And finally, to finish off here's some useful advice about the credibility of bushes from Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad.




SUPER ADVENTURES 2015 REVIEW

I'll throw in some stats for you down here as well just because I feel like it (but mostly because I did it last year).

In 2015 I gave out 37 of my prestigious 'Not Crap' stars, meaning that 57% of the games I looked at this year turned out to be something I'd want to play again, compared to 62% in 2014, 52% in 2013, 32% in 2012 and 12% in 2011. That means I've broken the pattern: this is first year that the percentage has ended in something other than 2!

I put a Wins the Prize badge on just 17% of the games I wrote about, compared to 19% last year. So I'm learning to love games less.

Plus here's how well each family of game platforms was represented in the games I showed off in 2015:
PC: 57%
Commodore: 10%
Nintendo: 10%
Arcade: 4%
Sony: 4%
Sega: 3%
NEC: 3%
Sharp: 0%
Android 0%
Atari: 0%
ZX Spectrum 0%



It's no surprise to see PC at the top seeing as I have my Steam/GOG/itch.io/Origin/Uplay/Playfire etc. backlogs building up and it's the easiest system to get screenshots out of for multi-platform releases. But my resolution for this year was to focus more on 16 bit titles and maybe play some ZX Spectrum games, and you can see how well that worked out. Only 3% were Sega games? They had a bigger share of the market back when they were selling Dreamcasts! At least I gave Nintendo more attention this year with all those Mario games I played.

What I want to do for 2016 is find the weirder games, the interesting ones hiding on obscure systems. I want to find beautiful artwork, insane plots, amazing character design, ridiculous game design and I want to show it off to everyone!

I know I'll end up playing AAA shooters and indie platformers like always (plus I've got a pile of PC RPGs building up) but hey, it's nice to dream. Happy New Year! Check back in 2016, there'll be games.

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for a year of amazing articles! :)

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  2. Agreed with RL. I was also impressed with X Men Arcade and Marvel vs Capcom 2, oh wait, that is a future vision of SAG reviews.

    Love Darkseed. Best game of 92 besides Wolf 🐺 3D

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    1. Next time you get future visions of my site you should copy it down and save me some work.

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    2. Ray, without you, SAG would be SAD. Anyway I wouldn't mind being a guest reviewer but I'd still feel inferior to you (though I would cover all the games I've ever suggested you review. And then some).

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  3. Try Veil of Darkness for DOS .. it's a little gem which I think deserves an entry in your blog

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    1. It does have an entry in my blog! I wrote about it in October 2011, back when I was less patient and more... economical with my words.

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  4. An excellent year!

    Have you done the Mercenary series yet? If not, you should do them. You'll hate them but they are excellent games.

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    Replies
    1. "You'll hate them but they are excellent" - that's true for so many games.

      I haven't tried any of the Mercenaries yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. Plus I should play Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction too, now that I think about it.

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    2. If you do go for it, there are cloned versions of all three games here, as well as hints, should you need them. Which you won't. Honest.

      Delete

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