Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Super AiG Screenshots of the Year: 2013

Welcome to the third annual Super Adventures Screenshots of the Year article, showcasing the 52 greatest screenshots featured on the site this year in semi-chronological order! Well, mostly just ones that made me smile really.

WARNING: certain screenshots may display scenes of a disturbing and graphic nature, though I can at least promise no ZX Spectrum screens this year.

Oh by the way, every time you see a highlighted game title, it's a link to the original article. It's not going to take you off to mobygames.com or something. Not that there's anything wrong with mobygames, not now that it's been put back to its old layout again. Those were a dark couple of months though.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Doom 3 (PC)

doom 3 logodoom 3 logo
Today I present to you the final Super Adventures article of the year and yes it's another bloody first person shooter. I figured that I should probably get this one out of the way now while the original Doom games are still fresh in my mind.

I get the impression that Doom 3 (or is that Doom³) isn't the most beloved of the franchise, possibly due (in part) to the fact that very little pisses gamers off more than when a developer tries to turn their franchise into something new to bring in a different audience. I mean when you go out to buy a loaf of bread you wouldn't likely be impressed to find that the baker has suddenly reimagined it all into... ice cream or something to better appeal to the teen demographic would you? Though unlike the XCOM, Syndicate, Resident Evil and Shadowrun franchises etc. with this game id software tried to turn their mindless mainstream shooter series into something slower paced and a bit more intelligent.

Doom 3 isn't entirely new to me, as I actually finished it back when it first came out, but I'm interested in seeing what I think about it now that it's a decade behind the curve and the shine's all worn off.

(Click the images to see them at twice the resolution!)

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Final Fantasy XII (PS2)

Final Fantasy XII PAL title screen
Today on Super Adventures I'm playing classic PlayStation 2 JRPG Final Fantasy XII, sometimes also referred to as Final Fantasy 12 by people who want to maximise the chances of their site showing up in search results.

I've been playing through the first few hours of all the main series Final Fantasy games in order this year, but I'm going to have to jump from 10 to 12 here, skipping 11 entirely, as it appears that Square accidentally gave the name to their multiplayer spinoff. They could've called it Final Fantasy Online, Final World of Fantasy, or Final Fantasy: MMO Gaiden, but nope they slapped the name Final Fantasy XI on it and waited for the fans to come to them as they always do, eager to get them all signed up for that monthly fee.

So no, I'm not playing that one.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Star Trek: 25th Anniversary (NES)

Star Trek 25th Anniversary NES title screenStar Trek 25th Anniversary NES title screen
This year is the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest and most enduring science fiction television series ever made... but there's no bloody way I'm playing another Doctor Who game, so instead I'm taking a look at Star Trek 25th Anniversary on the NES.

You might be wondering what this has to do with Christmas and honestly I can't think of a single thing. Well the stars in the background here do look a bit like snowflakes I suppose... also it's the 25th of December today.

I've already played the PC/Amiga game, but this is supposed to be something entirely different; more of an action game than a point and click adventure I'd expect.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Quake II (PC)

Quake II is the sequel to id software's 1996 smash hit dimension-shifting Lovecraft-inspired fantasy first person shooter Quake.

Actually it's not, that statement was in fact a CUNNING LIE. Quake II is in fact an entirely unrelated sci-fi game about an entirely different lone marine fighting an improbable struggle against another hostile alien race on their own soil. The developers couldn't think of a decent title for it that wasn't already taken, so they stuck their established brand name on it instead. A good thing they did too, as it meant that they had to adapt the Quake 1 logo and come up with this ingenious logo design.

I'll admit up-front that I've played this one before many years ago, but I'm giving it another go as part of my ongoing mission to get every first person shooter ever made onto this site of mine (and every game in every other genre while I'm at it.) No mods or source ports were used in the making of this post.

(Click the gameplay pictures for a slightly higher resolution.)

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Parodius (Arcade)

Today I'm taking a short look at Parodius, the second game in the Parodius series, confusingly. They call it パロディウスだ! -神話からお笑いへ- in Japan, which translates to It's Parodius! From Myth to Laughter, a play on Gradius III's subtitle 'From Legend To Myth'. Because Parodius is a parody of Gradius you see! You'd think it'd be impossible to make a comedy spoof of a side scrolling shoot 'em up, but they went and did it anyway.

The game originally hit Japanese arcades in April 1990 and was happy enough to stay there for whatever reason, though most of its various console ports eventually made it over to the West. Well they were released in Europe anyway; poor America was left out entirely for whatever reason.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Fallout 2 (PC)

Fallout 2 title textFallout 2 title text
Hello, I'm Ray Hardgrit and you've somehow found yourself reading Super Adventures in Gaming, the site where I play a game from my backlog for a couple of hours while taking screenshots and whining that it's too hard.

Today I'm having a quick go of classic PC RPG Fallout 2 by Black Isle Studios, the sequel to Interplay's Fallout. Though Black Isle was actually just a division of Interplay (and still is actually, although it's really an entirely different Black Isle now as the original Black Isle died back in 2003 and was reborn as an entirely new company called Obsidian Entertainment... kind of. Not that Interplay or this new division known as Black Isle have anything to do with the Fallout franchise anymore as the rights were sold to Bethesda during 2007 who then released Fallout 3 and tasked Obsidian (the original Black Isle staff) with making a sequel called Fallout: New Vegas..

My copy of the original Fallout from GOG.com ran like a dream on Windows 7 with no messing around, but I got this one from Steam instead and my attempts to get it to run haven't been entirely plain sailing. Fortunately a quick ini file edit was enough to fix the screwed up colours and get the gameplay working fine... though that then ended up breaking all the videos. But with the fan base the game has I'm sure there's an amazing mod out there that fixes everything!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (PC)

Medal of Honor Allied Assault logo
Fans of murky faded screenshots rejoice, as today I'm taking a quick look at a classic World War 2 first person shooter (again).

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault is the third game in the franchise after PlayStation exclusives Medal of Honor and Medal of Honor: Underground. Weirdly though, this never got a console release; instead the Xbox, PS2 and Game Cube got their own game a few months later called Medal of Honor: Frontline which was never released on PC. Maybe they just wanted to make sure each system got a game tailored to the machine's strengths, or maybe it was a deliberate scheme to confuse and annoy me, I don't know.

But what I do know is that 22 of Allied Assault's developers (including the lead designers) went on to form a new company called Infinity Ward after this and spent the next seven years building up a rival WW2 FPS franchise of their own that went on to achieve a certain measure of success. So I suppose you could say that this is Call of Duty 0.

(Click the pics to view in x-treme 1280x1024 resolution. I'm sorry folks, I've got a retro monitor so all I can get are retro screenshots.)

Monday, 2 December 2013

La-Mulana (PC)

La-Mulana remake 2012 title screenLa-Mulana remake 2012 title screen
Here's another requested game for y'all. Today I thought I'd play an hour or so of retro platformer La-Mulana which, despite how the title screen may look, isn't actually a late 90s PlayStation game by Konami.

By the way, if you're curious the Japanese text under the logo just says 'La-Mulana' again. I wouldn't want every game title to go bi-lingual, but I've always though English and Japanese text goes well together like that; they compliment each other without making it look messy.

Like Cave Story and Spelunky this started out as a free PC indie game (back in 2005) before getting a more expensive enhanced remake for consoles and Steam a few years later, and it's this new version I'll be looking at. The Windows port I mean; far easier to get screenshots out of a PC than a Wii.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Fallout (PC)

Fallout PC title card logoFallout PC title card logo
Today I'll be having a quick go of Fallout, the first game in the long running post-apocalyptic RPG series and the spiritual successor to Wasteland (which I totally failed to get anywhere in earlier this year).

In fact the game probably would've ended up released as Wasteland 2 if Interplay had been able to get hold of the rights from EA. But I think it worked out better that they didn't, seeing as now we've got both the next Fallout game and the reborn Wasteland sequel to look forward to. It's like the franchise has undergone mitosis and split into two separate organisms that have mutated in their own vastly different ways. Well okay it's more like three organisms if you count Fountain of Dreams, but I don't foresee a sequel to that one being kickstarted any time soon.

There are unofficial mods for this to increase the resolution and fix issues, but I'll be playing the GOG.com version entirely unmodded in glorious 640x480 res, just as it was in ye olden days.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Doom II: Hell on Earth (MS-DOS)

Doom 2 title screen dosDoom 2 title screen dos
Oh crap what have they done to Doomguy's hair? It looks like some demonic head-crab has attached itself to the back of his head.

It might seem like a strange choice to play Doom II when I already have Doom I on the site, as the games are fairly identical. But if I remember right this second game actually has a number of refinements over the original, such as... uh... well they give you an extra gun! Also there's a few new monsters I believe, a couple of extra pickups... plus they've turned off most (but not all) of those little red lights that used to be scattered across the blue region of the logo text.

I'll give it an hour or so anyway; long enough for me to find out first hand whether it's a true sequel or an expansion pack in disguise.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Yo! Joe! (Amiga)

Yo! Joe! Amiga title screenYo! Joe! Amiga title screen
Has that guy stuck a pair of fake eyebrows over his bandana?

Today on Super Adventures I'm taking a look at semi-obscure platformer Yo! Joe! Beat the Ghosts by Scipio, creators of... well, Yo! Joe! I guess. I did a quick google search and it doesn't seem like they ever made anything else, at least not under that name. I played this game a while back on my humble Amiga and I know it got a PC DOS release, but I don't think it was ported to anything else in the end. Poor console owners apparently missed out on this one entirely.

One thing I'm absolutely sure of is that it has very little to do with G.I. Joe.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Hostile Waters (PC)

Hostile Waters title screenHostile Waters title screen
Today I'm taking a brief look at real-time action strategy shooter hybrid Hostile Waters, released in the first half of 2001 for the sole benefit of PC gamers. Sadly this one didn't get a console release, which is a shame because it really could've used the extra exposure. Critics seemed to love it, but it just didn't sell all that well for whatever reason and so it sunk into semi-obscurity.

But hey, I bought a copy! I did my part! I have vague memories of enjoying this one in my youth, but it's possible they've been warped by the dark corrupting influence of nostalgia. So I'm going to give it an hour or so to show me if it's got what it takes to win me over all over again.

I can say right now that the theme music won me over in about 20 seconds: youtube link.

(Click the pics to view the screenshots at resolutions unimaginable to those in the ancient times of the early 21st century.)

Friday, 15 November 2013

F.E.A.R. (PC)

F.E.A.R. logo
Here's a game that nobody requested, but I'm going to play it anyway as I'm tired of it staring at me from my Steam library. "Why did you buy me if you're never going to play me?" it whispers inside my mind, because it's a creepy horror game and they can do that.

F.E.A.R. - First Encounter Assault Recon is a game by Monolith*, the people who made Blood, NOLF2: A Spy in H.A.R.M's Way and Contract J.A.C.K.. And yet somehow even after names like that, I honestly still can't believe that 'F.E.A.R.' was their first choice for the title.

*Not to be confused with Japanese developer Monolith Soft who made Baiten Kaitos, Xenosaga, Xenoblade and many other games with an X in their name.

(Click the images to supersize them to an epic 1280x960 res!)

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Batman: Arkham City (PC)

Batman Arkham City PC title screen
Today on Super Adventures I'm taking a quick look at Batman: Arkham City, the second game in the universally beloved Arkham trilogy. Can't promise it'll be a quick read though.

Okay maybe the series isn't universally beloved, as a few people seem less than enamoured with the latest game, Arkham Origins. But this one's by the original team at Rocksteady, so I fully expect it'll turn out to be basically the same thing as 2009's Arkham Asylum, which I already played just a few months ago. In fact with any luck I'll be able to copy/paste most of the text over from that post and save myself some work.

I actually bought this a while back, way before the pay what you want Humble Bundle deal going on this fortnight, but I'm only just getting around to it now. Because I'm an idiot. The moral of the story: always always always wait for a sale. Or, you know, play your games when you buy the things.

(Click the screenshots to expand them to immense proportions. Well, they'll be twice the size anyway. Plus I'm running it in DirectX 9 mode with no tessellation or PhysX enhancements so it's not really going to be looking its best I'm afraid.)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Sonic Adventure 2 (PC)

Sonic Adventure 2 title screen logo PC
Today I've been forced (well, asked nicely) to take a look at Sonic Adventure 2, which is something like the 30th of the Sonic games if you count the spin-offs, but the very last to be released on a Sega console. Not that I'll be playing the Dreamcast version; I'm actually going to be checking out the Windows port released a mere 11 years later.

Even before its started it's already proven to be a massive disappointment to me: it didn't have the 'say-gah' jingle at the start.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES)

Super Mario RPG super nintendo title screenSuper Mario RPG super nintendo title screen
Here's another requested game for y'all: Super Mario RPG, known in Japan as 'Super Mario RPG'. Good name that I reckon, let's you know exactly what you're in for. Plus it's always nice to get another game with 'Super' in the title onto the site.

Mario's been jumping around in video games since Donkey Kong back in 1981 so it's pretty amazing to me that it took him this long to get his own RPG. I mean by this point he'd already started his racing career in Super Mario Kart, played Yahtzee in Mario's Game Gallery, practised medicine in Dr. Mario and shown off his artistic side in Mario Paint; the guy's a real renaissance man.

He wouldn't get around to trying his hand at street fighting or, uh, partying until the N64 era though, which was actually just months away at the time this was released. As far as I know, this is the final Mario game on the Super Nintendo. It may well be Square's final game released on the console as well, in North America at least.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Blood (MS-DOS)

Blood video game title screenBlood video game title screen
In 1996 a video game called Quake was released that changed first person shooters forever, inspiring the genre's evolution to true texture-mapped polygon 3D graphics.... though it didn't happen right away.

You see, there was another game released in 1996 called Duke Nukem 3D and it sold a whole lot of copies, so developers were keen on getting their own Build Engine powered games onto shelves before 2.5D sprite-based first person shooters disappeared forever. Blood actually began development at Q Studios, an independent developer funded by 3D Realms, but the studio and rights were bought by Monolith, who finished the game themselves after 3D Realms let it go to focus on Shadow Warrior and their big fully 3D super project... Duke Nukem Forever.

I've already played both Duke 3D and Shadow Warrior, but it didn't seem right somehow to leave out the other famous Build Engine game, so I'm giving this quick look as well.

I wouldn't hold your breath waiting to see me play Redneck Rampage though.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Battlefield 3 (PC)

Today I'm taking a quick look at relatively recent Modern Warfare clone Battlefield 3, though considering the length of military shooters these days I may accidentally finish the whole thing. So there's a non-zero chance that I'll end up spoiling the entire game's plot here, consider yourself warned.

I've heard a few rumours around that the game's multiplayer mode is fantastic, far better than the single player campaign, so I'm of course going to ignore it entirely. Not that I've got anything against multiplayer, it's just not really what I do here.

(Click the images to view them at 1280x720 res. Not exactly mindblowing I know but it's the best I can do with my ancient relic of a PC).

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Lufia / Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals (SNES)

Lufia II Europe title screenLufia II Europe title screen
Ignore what the title screen says; today's game is actually Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals for the Super Nintendo. They dropped the number for the European version as the first game wasn't released over here and they didn't want consumers to have the unnecessary distraction. To be fair, the game's a prequel so it probably stands on its own just fine.

People have been asking me to take a look at this one forever; so of course I ignored them all and played the original Lufia instead. But today I'm finally playing the one that everyone's been recommending to me. This is the good Lufia (apparently).

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Return to Castle Wolfenstein (PC)

Now that's the kind of picture I like to see when I put a video game on.

Today I'm playing Return to Castle Wolfenstein, third in id Software's Wolfenstein franchise, though it was developed by Gray Matter and Nerve. This was actually Grey Matter's only game before they were absorbed by CODBlops devs Treyarch, though they'd made games like Redneck Rampage and Kingpin: Life of Crime in their previous life as Xatrix Entertainment. Perhaps not a very interesting fact, but I just wanted an excuse to type CODBlops.

Here's another potentially underwhelming fact: I've played and finished this game before, so I'm not coming into it even slightly unaware of what to expect. Though I'll make every effort to pretend to be surprised.

(Click the gameplay pictures to expand them into exciting new resolutions.)

Monday, 7 October 2013

Top Banana (Amiga)

Top Banana Amiga title screenTop Banana Amiga title screen
Today I'm taking a quick look at obscure Amiga platformer Top Banana, because I must. I played this once when I was really young you see and it's haunted it me ever since. I can't actually remember anything about the game though, like I've formed a mental block in my head to protect myself from going entirely mad by thinking about it. But the time's come to confront the game one final time and hopefully get some closure on it.

Warning some/all of the screenshots in this post could likely give anyone a seizure, especially the image coming up next.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Don't Starve (PC)

First up, I want to apologise to the guy who was kind enough to gift this game to me as I've taken forever to get around to playing it. For a while I at least had the excuse of it not actually being finished yet, but that hasn't been true since it was released back in April, so I'm sorry about that. I done fucked up.

Today I'm taking a short look at Don't Starve, an "uncompromising wilderness survival game" by Klei, the makers of Shank and Mark of the Ninja... both of which I haven't played yet either. Man I really am bad at this.

Anyway, the developers say that part of the fun of the game is trying new stuff out and learning things for yourself. So if you've got any interest in playing the game and haven't already, by reading this you'll apparently be depriving yourself of fun. Just thought I'd warn you.

(Click the images to expand them to 1280x720 resolution.)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Mega Man X4 (PSX)

Mega Man X4 PlayStation title screenMega Man X4 PlayStation title screen
Today on Super Adventures, because YOU demanded it, I'm taking a quick look at another Mega Man game! Last year I played the original Mega Man on the NES (plus a game claiming to be Mega Man for DOS), but I thought I'd skip the others and jump right ahead to the PlayStation era and the fourth of the Mega Man X spin-off series, mostly because I was asked to.

The first three Mega Man X games had been developed for the Super Nintendo, though X3 eventually found its way to PC and the shiny new PlayStation and Saturn systems. But by '97 the SNES had retired, so the series jumped to the fifth gen machines exclusively.

I was kind of surprised to see that Sony America let another childish low-tech antiquated 2D platformer slip out onto their edgy mature 3D game system, so I looked it up and it seems they weren't overly happy about it. It apparently took sustained pestering from Capcom before they relented and allowed the game to get a US release.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Mirror's Edge (PC)

Mirror's Edge logo
Today's game shall be first person parkour platformer Mirror's Edge on the PC, though I imagine it's much the same game on PS3 and Xbox 360. It's not my first run through the game so I can't say I'll be playing it blind, but that's probably for the best because (spoilers) it looks totally fuckin' sweet.

In fact this may end up having a few more images than I'd normally use because, well it's Mirror's Edge; it's my moral duty to show it off.

(Click the images to view them at a practically exorbitant 1280x720 resolution.)

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Spelunky (PC)

Spelunky HD PC title screen logoSpelunky HD PC title screen logo
I can't tell if that's Indiana Jones wearing a clown nose or a clown doing cosplay.

Today I'm having a quick go of the PC port of the Xbox Live Arcade port of PC platformer Spelunky, as it was requested of me. I think I even heard the guy cackling manically as I accepted the gift on Steam, his laughter echoing through my mind. Not that I'm not grateful, it's just... well, that's a bit creepy.

Spelunky has a bit of a reputation for being soul crushingly difficult and unrelenting in its cruelness, and I have a bit of reputation for being crap at games, so I'm expecting this post to end with me whining about it being too challenging and not having saves, but accepting that other people look for different experiences from their games than I do and that I should be celebrating variety rather than complaining when things don't entertain me personally.

Actually now I've said all that I guess I won't even need to write a conclusion, so that'll save me a job later.

(Click on the pics if you want to see the original sized screenshot. Unless they've obviously been cropped, in which case you're out of luck.)

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Shadow Warrior (MS-DOS)

Today I am finally taking a look at Shadow Warrior or (Shadow Warrior Classic as its now been rechristened), 3D Realms' second game after the legendary Duke Nukem 3D and also the last they ever finished. Though to be fair they'd already spent a decade making games as Apogee.

This came out in the wake of Duke Nukem's epic success, when games based on the Build engine were coming out every two weeks or so. No seriously, Redneck Rampage hit shops a fortnight before this and Blood came out 18 days later. After Quake these 2.5D sprite based shooters had been made obsolete overnight, so they had a limited window of opportunity I guess.

I've played this one before and though I can't remember how it plays or even if it's any good, I promise you that I will be 100% biased towards it due to nostalgia. But I'll certainly do my best to criticise it anyway.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Apocalypse (PSX)

Apocalypse PlayStation title screenApocalypse PlayStation title screen
I guess the symbol for the apocalypse is the anarchy symbol with a cross on top then.

Today I'm finally getting around to another requested game: Apocalypse on the PlayStation, starring digital Bruce Willis. In fact they're so proud of their Bruce Willis model they've even shown off its wireframe mesh on the title screen.

This was the second game developed by Neversoft, made just before they hit fame and acclaim with their Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series. They actually made nine Tony Hawk games before switching over to make seven Guitar Hero games and a Band Hero. Apocalypse on the other hand got exactly zero sequels, but I'm sure that's no reflection on its quality. Probably.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Doom (MS-DOS)

Doom PC original title screenDoom PC original title screen
The Doom franchise is 20 years old this year so I thought it'd be a good time to take a brief look at the original Doom, id software's fifth first person shooter (but their first to have four letters in its title and end with 'm'). The anniversary is actually 10 days into December but I'm impatient so you're getting this early.

I'll admit right now that I'm not going into this one even slightly blind and I doubt I'll be able to think of anything worthwhile to say about the game that you haven't heard a thousand times already, but it's not like I've ever let that stop me before. There's a Doom shaped hole in my website and that needs fixing.

To be accurate I'll actually be playing Ultimate Doom, not the ORIGINAL version of original Doom, despite the fact I've used the original title screen here. I apologise for the unnecessary confusion. Basically Ultimate Doom is Doom with the latest patch installed and a fourth episode bolted on, but there's at least one sneaky change to an earlier level.

Semi-Random Game Box