Thursday, 21 March 2019

SiN Episodes: Emergence (PC)

Developer:Ritual|Release Date:2006|Systems:PC

This week on Super Adventures, I am finally getting around to playing SiN Episodes: Emergence! To be honest the only reason it took me this long is because I decided to hold off buying it until it was really cheap on Steam, and then that never happened. Until it finally did. I even got a free copy of SiN with it, which I fully approve of. More sequels should include the first game as a bonus... even if it is a little bit censored and doesn't include the expansion (unlike the version sold on GOG).

The first thing I noticed when I put the game on, aside from how cheap that menu text looks, is how good the opening theme is. It's like they swiped it from a Bond movie; it has vocals and everything! It's a bit disappointing that they didn't awkwardly work the word 'Emergence' into the chorus, but they found a place to include 'sin' at least. Here, have a YouTube link so you can listen to it yourself: What's the World Come To?

SiN Episodes also managed to disappoint console owners by never being ported, and PC owners by only ever getting the one episode. The mid-2000s episodic gaming experiment really didn't work out so great for first person shooter sequels built on the Source engine. That said, I'm sure Valve's Half-Life episodes sold a hell of a lot better than this did.

The original SiN had the misfortune of being released just two weeks before before the groundbreaking Half-Life and being entirely overshadowed by it, then the exact same thing happened with Emergence when it came out three weeks before the massively hyped Half-Life 2: Episode One! The game launched on Steam back when the store was practically empty and still didn't sell enough for even one more of its nine planned episodes to enter development. But the SiN series truly died when developer Ritual was acquired by MumboJumbo shortly afterwards and sent to casual game development hell for eternity instead.

Content warning: this article contains a screenshot of a model in lingerie. A 2006-era real-time 3D model.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Super Panda Adventures (PC) - Guest Post

This week on Super Adventures, guest poster mecha-neko has returned to write about a game with the best title. It's literally 'Super Adventures', except with a panda in it! Now I just need to find a science fiction movie called Ray Hardgrit's Sci-Fi Cat Adventures so I can manipulate him into to writing my other site for me as well.

Also I realise that this was published on a Wednesday, not a Monday, but mecha-neko has a fondness for his banner and I didn't have the heart to tell him he couldn't use it. I guess you could read it on a Monday if that works better for you.

Hello everyone! I hope the new year is treating you well!

Hmm... hands up who'd like to see a brightly coloured platform game about a loveable panda!

Developer:Paul Schneider, BlueEagle Productions|Release Date:23rd April 2013|Systems:Windows

With a title like that, how could I possibly resist?

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Space Station Silicon Valley (N64)

Space Station Silicon Valley title screen n64
Developer:DMA Design|Release Date:1998|Systems:Nintendo 64, PlayStation

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing Spacestation Silicon Valley! Or Space Station: Silicon Valley, as it's written in the manual. The PlayStation version claims that it's called Evo's Space Adventures but I think it's lying.

The first thing I've noticed about the game is that there's an inflatable spaceship on the title screen, not a space station, and I don't appreciate this blatant attempt to mislead me. Plus it keeps orbiting the letters and I couldn't decide on the best time to take the screenshot. I tried to catch it in good place but I'm not sure I managed it.

I feel like I should pad this intro out with some interesting trivia taken straight from Wikipedia, so here's a couple of Space Station Silicon Valley facts for you:

First, the game's by Scottish developers DMA Design (now called Rockstar North), who are famous for the Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto series. In fact a lot of the people who worked on the game went on to create Grand Theft Auto III and kick off the 3D sandbox mayhem genre, so I guess it was a good thing this didn't sell enough to get a sequel. We could've ended up in the bad even worse timeline where we didn't get Sleeping Dogs, The Saboteur or Saints Row.

Second, it's no surprise it didn't sell well considering it came out in 1998: The Year of Good Games. Sure the N64 didn't get ports of Resident Evil 2, Unreal, Half-Life, Thief, Baldur's Gate, Fallout 2, Pokémon Red/Blue, Starcraft, Grim Fandango, Sonic Adventure, Metal Gear Solid etc. that year, but Nintendo fans did have Banjo-Kazooie, Body Harvest, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Turok 2 and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time competing for their pennies (and Nintendo's marketing budget).

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Darkwing Duck (Demo) (PC)

Darkwing Duck title screen PC
Developer:Headcannon|Release Date:2019 (or never I suppose)|Systems:Windows, Mac, Linux

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing Darkwing Duck! Not the NES game, I played that already way back in the first year of my site. In fact it was so long ago that I'm scared to check what I wrote about it. Probably best to forget I told you about it actually. (It's not the Game Boy or Turbografx game either by the way.)

What this is, is a 1 level prototype demo thing inspired by the NES game, developed as a pitch to Capcom and then released to the world for free last month when that didn't work out. There's so many amazing AAA games in my Steam backlog, so many indie games fighting for exposure on Steam and Itch.io, and yet I'm spending my time playing a game that won't ever exist.

The demo was developed by at least one of the people who worked on the similar Sonic Mania, though it uses the Headcannon Game Engine instead of the Retro Engine. Incidentally the original Darkwing Dark on the NES was basically built on Mega Man's engine, so there's some Wikipedia trivia for you I expect my past self completely neglected to mention in his article back in 2011. In fact I bet that article is just him spending like 30 minutes failing to beat the first stage, whining a bit about it being too hard and then quitting.

Speaking of running into unexpected challenges, for classic platformers I usually display my screenshots at exactly double the resolution to keep them sharp, but the game has too wide a resolution for that so I had to decide whether I wanted to leave the screens tiny, make them a fuzzy mess, or crop them. Or make the site wider. I figured that cropping them would be the least painful of those options so I went with that, but if you click an image the original uncut screenshot will pop up.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Metroid Prime (GameCube)

Metroid Prime title screen Europe
Developer:Retro|Release Date:2003 (2002 NA)|Systems:GameCube, Wii

I'm trying to figure out what the game's moody title music reminds me of. I think it might actually be Deus Ex, but I feel like it could turn into Perfect Dark at any moment. Not a bad place for a theme to be.

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing Metroid Prime, the sequel to the legendary Super Metroid! Well, kind of. It came out the exact same day as Metroid Fusion and I think that's considered to be the older twin (it even claims to be "METROID 4" when it starts up.) So I guess this is Metroid 5 then?

It's definitely not the fifth game in the timeline as they've slotted it in between Metroid and Metroid II for whatever reason. I didn't realise the Metroid games had enough of a story to require making interquels, but that's probably because I rarely finish the things. Plus it's been six years since I've played any of them and my memory's pretty fuzzy. Though at the time this was released fans had actually been suffering through an eight year gap between games, as the series skipped the N64 era entirely. The series also skipped the Wii U afterwards, fading away again despite the run of continuous Metroid Prime sequels and spin-offs.

Developer Retro Studios were responsible for the three main Metroid Prime games but after putting out the non-HD remake compilation Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Wii in 2009 they've been keeping themselves busy making Donkey Kong Country sequels instead. Though it was announced last month that they're taking over development on Metroid Prime 4! Is that a good thing? I wouldn't know, I haven't even played this first one yet.

Okay I'm going to play Metroid Prime for an amount of time somewhere between 'barely giving it a fair shot' and 'enough to bore the hell out of everyone reading', and take screenshots along the way. There will also be writing under these screenshots because... I don't know. Maybe I like writing about video games? No, that doesn't seem right.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Populous (Amiga)

Populous Amiga title screen
Developer:Bullfrog|Release Date:1989|Systems:It's been on a few

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing the legendary god game genre pioneer Populous, by equally legendary developers Bullfrog!

It's one of Bullfrog's earliest games, only the third one they made, which you can tell from that old school frog logo in the bottom left. I don't remember ever seeing that before, but I've played this game so I must have. Unless it was Powermonger that I played... they're pretty similar looking and it's been a while.

One thing I'm sure about is that whatever it is I played, I couldn't figure out how to play it and I turned it off after 10 minutes of frustration. I guess I was too busy not seeing the cute little frog logo that I didn't notice that big 'Tutorial' button over on the right either. This time though things are going to be very different! I'm going to stick with it for at least 20 minutes before giving up in frustration.

Populous started out as an Amiga game and I've always assumed it didn't stray much further, as it seems like the kind of game that would be considered too mouse driven and weird to make it onto consoles. But nope, Populous was ported to absolutely bloody everything. Well, the Acorn Archimedes, Apple Mac, Atari ST, FM Towns, PC-98, MS-DOS PC, IBM PCjr, Sharp X68000, Master System, Mega Drive, SNES, Turbografx-16, Nintendo DS and Game Boy anyway. Makes me wonder what the NES did to be left out.

Just listing all those systems took long enough so please don't expect screenshots of each of them. Or screenshots showing off any actual gameplay either. I can promise you only a title screen and shots of all my little dudes getting wiped out for reasons I can't even comprehend.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Giant Machines 2017 (PC)

Giant Machines 2017 title screen
Developer:Code Horizon|Release Date:2016|Systems:PC

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing Giant Machines 2017! At least I hope that there's something in it I can play and it's not just a virtual museum dedicated to really big trucks. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it just wouldn't give me anything to write about (because I'd turn it off after two minutes).

Whatever it is, it seems to be the very first title by Polish developer Code Horizon, who are apparently better known for making Gold Rush: The Game (the first realistic gold-mining simulator, according to their website).

The game(?) was a Christmas present from a friend, and by that I mean he bought a mystery bundle and gave the contents away to anyone who wanted them. Sadly no one wanted Giant Machines, but I've adopted it and given it a home in my Steam library where I hope it'll be comfortable. Neglected, but comfortable.

Semi-Random Game Box