Saturday, 2 February 2013

Hurricanes (SNES) - Replay

Super Adventures in Gaming Replay 2013 - Game 4

Hurricanes SNES title screen
I said some words about SNES platformer Hurricanes way back in March 2011, but they weren't particularly good words and the sentences were even worse, so I'm giving it a rematch.

The game is based on a cartoon from the mid nineties that I've never actually seen, but that hasn't stopped the theme tune from getting permanently lodged into my brain anyway. So I'll have no clue how closely the game sticks to the series or who any the characters are, but I can at least say with absolute certainty that it doesn't have the right music.

Wow, his teeth are like a perfect grid shape, that's amazing. This smudgy villainous type is apparently an evil football team manager, who has decided to challenge to heroic Hurricanes to... a charity soccer match on the island of Garkos. That bastard.

Though as he's issuing the challenge, he gets to throw in a catch that a team arriving late will forfeit the match, and then presumably he'll sabotage every attempt the Hurricanes make to reach the island on time so his own team wins by default! Honestly, I'm starting to wish I was playing as this guy.

I guess the Hurricanes already suspect something's up, as they're calling "storm time!" before they even get on the pitch. They haven't even gotten on the plane to go to island with the stadium on it yet.

Oh man, that's... that's not right. The ball is attached to his foot like an elastic yo-yo. The longer I hold the button down the further out it goes, then it snaps right back when I let go. There's also an arcing kick that does the same thing.

There's no Soccer Kid/Marko style tricks though, so I can't bounce on the ball to jump higher, or pull off interesting shots. It's basically just functions as a long, slow, whip.

Crap, I tried kicking the ball at this scorpion, but I accidentally pressed the 'charge kick' button instead, so he started bouncing it on his foot instead as the thing casually walked up and stung me. Fortunately I've got a health bar so it wasn't an instant fail. Footballers have a natural resistance to scorpion venom.

Hey that crate up there seems to have the Hurricane's logo on it. If I was originally out on this beach to do some training, then that probably has some equipment or supplies for me inside.

Oh, it's a... medal, I guess. We must have brought it to practice being awarded medals. Doesn't seem to serve any actual purpose though, like I dunno, giving me heat-seeking explosive homing balls.

Well there goes my ball, flying around the screen with a hole in it. I forgot that these spiky cactus plants were actually in my way, not safely in the background with the rest of nature. It's fine though, they'll send me a new ball in a second or two.

Huh, is this monkey immune to my ball? It just flies right past him, while he has no problem throwing coconuts back at me. I mean he was throwing the coconuts first, I didn't just pick on the creature for no reason.

Aha, it seems that I just wasn't getting my shots lined up exactly on target. Hitting him with the ball still doesn't kill him, but it at least knocks him down the tree a little. So if I get enough shots to connect I'll be able to bring him down to my level and away from his ammo supply

Well this didn't actually help me at all. Now he just knocks the coconuts down and kicks them at me!

Alright, lesson learned. Don't fuck with the monkey.

Is that one of the players from team evil? Or at least a miniature version of one.

I think he's eyeing that delicious health restoring slice of lemon. Fortunately he forgot to bring a ball so I can just kick him to death with mine from over here. It's okay, it's totally justifiable, he had the means and intent to make me slightly late to a charity football match!

Hang on, I've come across one of these boxes with the enemy team's logo on before and they're not tricking me with it this time.They tend to explode into shrapnel when I get close I've noticed, and if I'm really lucky I'll get a scorpion jumping out of it at me as well.

My charge kick should have enough range to take it out from a safe distance I reckon.

Huh, it had a trophy inside? Team evil shipped a gold trophy to Hispanola Island, sealed it inside a crate rigged with a proximity explosive, and then put it directly in my way? Why?

Actually there's no time to question the motives of the opposition now, this water's burning through my skin like acid! You know, this island may be hostile to human life at its most elemental level, but it sure looks pretty. This really isn't a bad looking SNES game so far.

Oh for fuck's sake! The monkey got me with a coconut just before I reached the next checkpoint flag. Now I have to go all the way back to the start of the level, and I don't even get a time refill. At least the enemies won't come back either.

None but the immortal monkey, who will taunt me even in the next life.

Okay, what the fuck? I'm sure I was right at the edge when I jumped. Don't tell me I need a pixel perfect leap to clear this gap.

What? Just because I dropped one of our players to his death doesn't mean the rest of the team is necessarily going to be late. Unless they need a full team to start a match, I don't know how the rules work.

And that's it. Three lives to last the game, no continues, saves or passwords. You know, I think I'm starting to remember why I didn't write much about this game the first time around. But I ain't gonna give up that easy this time.


AND SO.


Take THAT ya dumb ape! Kicked the little git right out of the tree with one hit that time. This metal ball upgrade I picked up definitely has it's uses. Shame it's only temporary, as I'd be curious to see how well it works again goalkeepers.

Alright now I need to get a good run up for this jump this time and make sure to leap at the last possible moment. There's no run button though, instead the character automatically speeds up after a second or two of walking, which ends up making the game more awkward to control than it needs to be. Our footballer ain't Sonic the Hedgehog, that's for sure.

Shit, I left it a half second too late this time. And then he just hung there in midair for a second waving his legs, like Wile E. Coyote with a mullet. It's surprisingly frustrating to see him pause like this a moment before falling, because it means I can't do a damn thing about it.

He hesitates for a moment every time he lands as well now that I think about it, and that annoys me almost as much. It's interfering with my flow!

After throwing him down that chasm a few more times, I finally figured out I could make the jump if I leaped from the next ledge up instead. And then managed to get myself knocked into the very next  bottomless pit when this asshole curled up into a ball and rolled into me.

GAME OVER HURRICANES.

Eventually I made it all the way through the level and found myself facing this boss. And... I have no complaints, it seems like a perfectly reasonable boss fight. Kicking the ball at him head on just ends with it bursting against his spiky Viking helmet, but giving him a kick in the rear gets the job done fine. Though it does make him immediately turn around to charge me.

But even that suits me fine because it means I can keep jumping over his head and giving him another kick in the ass without waiting for him to run off the side and go through his full boss routine.


SOON, AFTER MY GLORIOUS TRIUMPH.


But then after the fight I ended up back at the start of level one for some reason. Oh wait, no I can see some slight differences now. Yeah I'm reasonably sure this a new level.

This time I have a new challenge: getting across this acid lake without getting nibbled to death by piranhas. It's made more tricky because this turtle's a bastard and will drop into the acid water if I stand on him too long. So I have to keep jumping, which means I'm too high up to see or dodge the piranhas leaping out of the water at me.

It's funny how if you took out the charity match plotline, none of this would play out any different. This footballer put himself in this situation for his own reasons and this is the route he'd take to get back to civilization anyway. Basically, the Hurricanes chose a really shitty beach to visit.


MUCH LATER.


And then I ended up back at the end of level one for some reason. Actually they just reused the same boss fight, maybe because it's been the most enjoyable part of the game so far, I dunno.

Oh, you might be wondering why my character's hair has changed. The game gives you a choice of two characters to pick from and after drowning the blonde guy at the piranha lake 15,000 times I figured I'd torment the other bloke for a change. As far as I can tell it's made no difference at all to the gameplay. He still has no run button and yo-yo ball issues.

On stage three I finally reached the airport and now I have to get past this crap. This chase goes on up and down the corridor and I'm consistently failing to jump over them. Though you know, getting hit here takes off so little health that I may as well just ignore them from now on.

Shockingly I survived the cleaning trucks and even found a few health pick-ups along the way, but now I'm struggling a little to make this tiny little jump. I need to leap from that hazard striped platform across to the floor on the left, but he hit his head on the ceiling mid-jump and slipped through the tiny gap back down to the ground.

The thing is, I made it to this place by riding a series of moving platforms and they haven't reset. There's no way to get back up.

Okay I walked back down the corridor for a bit and that managed to reset the platforms, but I still can't do this jump. Look at him, doing that bloody Wile E Coyote pause in mid-air crap again. Like he doesn't even care that I have a time limit here.

Man, I can't stand it when video game characters struggle to do something that even I, stuck in the real world and bound by the laws of physics and human limitation, could manage effortlessly. The gap's less than a meter across, just step over it you dumb bastard!

Plus what's even more annoying is that the moving platforms actually take a bit of time to move to where need them to be. I've got 21 seconds left to finish the level and I'm wasting it waiting for this thing to hover into place again.

Why does a modern day airport even have floating moving platforms anyway? Why can't they have escalators or something like a sensible airport?

Well I finally managed the jump with mere seconds to spare! The trouble is that I needed WAY more time than mere seconds to reach the level exit. TIME OVER. GAME OVER. Back to the very start of the game then. Or I suppose could just turn it off.


MUCH LATER.


Right, okay I really am turning this off now. I was so busy struggling to hold the button down long enough to get my shots to reach the boss with this bloody yo-yo ball that I totally failed to dodge his... goop. Complete failure.


I'm not a big fan of Hurricanes on the SNES and not just because it made me replay everything from the start every three lives, though that certainly helped me build up a good hate for it. Even if it had infinite continues, a world map, heat-seeking explosive homing balls, and a mullet editor, I still wouldn't enjoy it much. I mean it's not a terrible game at all and it's actually pretty slick and well put together at times; there's definitely stuff to like here. But the character movement isn't quite right (the way he keeps pausing and speeding up into a run doesn't help), the level design can be unnecessarily cruel, and I just didn't find the gameplay to be interesting enough to put up with it.

The other football platformers I've played, Soccer Kid and Marko's Magic Football, often managed to be a pain in the ass themselves, with their item hunting levels and bullshit enemies. But they at least made me want to like them and I managed to enjoy them despite the flaws, for a while anyway. But when a game based around a football gimmick can't even capture the simple joy of kicking a football, it's got problems.


NEXT TIME ON SUPER ADVENTURES: I take a second look at Genesis/Mega Drive game General Chaos. Can I get past the first level this time? Will I even be able to figure out the basic gameplay? Don't miss Replay Week 2013's shocking conclusion!


Thank you for putting up with all my whining, as a reward you can now leave a comment and share your own opinions! Or not, it's up to you.

2 comments:

  1. Will you also give second look to Mercs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That one hadn't even crossed my mind to be honest.

      You know, it probably should have occurred to me to ask people what games THEY thought deserved a replay before wasting a week on things like Hurricanes and Sabre Team.

      I'll add it to my list of games I should be playing.

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