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.)

Monday, 28 December 2015

Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad (Amiga) - Guest Post

Hello everyone!

It's a cold and windy winter night here in mecha-neko-land, so I'm back with a Christmas present of sorts to warm you all up. It's called Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad!

This is a 90s platformer which I'd thought had fallen through the cracks and never got a release. I saw a few previews of it in Amiga magazines, tons of adverts and then nothing at all. There were Mr. Nutzes for the SNES, Mega Drive and even the Game Boy, so I thought the Amiga had just been left behind. But in fact we did get Mr. Nutz right on time in 1994, well after everybody knew the Amiga was toast, as a small gift for the loyal or desperate few.

It's an Amiga 500 game though, so you might want to pack up whatever few expectations you have left right now.

That said, this is one swish title screen. Uncompromising. Nutz in your face, followed by a fist.

Boy, I could have described that better for sure.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy (PC)

Star Wars Jedi Academy menu screen
Developer:Raven|Release Date:2003|Systems:Windows, Xbox, Mac

This week on Super Adventures I'm talking about Star Wars! I saw everyone else doing it and I felt left out. If you're reading this in five years time, then I'm talking about everyone going crazy over the release of 'The Force Awakens' last week. I know it's weird to think back to 2015, when people were enthusiastic about Star Wars movies again and the series hadn't been utterly driven into the ground by a succession of annual sequels, but that's where I'm at right now.

But I'm not talking about a film, I'd need some kind of Super Adventures in Sci-Fi website for that... no I'm talking about Star Wars™: Jedi Knight™ - Jedi Academy™! I'd make a joke about it being Star Wars: Dark Forces 4: Jedi Knight 3: Jedi Outcast 2 - Jedi Academy, but for once they've resisted sticking a number in there and making things more confusing than they have to be.

Jedi Academy is the last game in this prestigious sci-fi shooter series, but to be honest it's always felt more like a stand alone expansion pack to me, like Mysteries of the Sith was to Jedi Knight. Honestly I doubt I'll be able to say much about I didn't already say in my Jedi Outcast article a few months back, but it's Christmas so I thought I'd treat myself!


Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Dropsy (PC)

Dropsy title screen
Developer:Tendershoot & A Jolly Corpse|Release Date:2015|Systems:Windows, Mac, Linux

This week the internet is going totally batshit Star Wars crazy due the upcoming release of 'The Force Awakens', so today I'm going to be playing.... another game about a clown. Didn't really think this one through did I? Next time I get ideas about planning ahead I'm going to look up some movie release dates first.

Anyway you've found your way to Super Adventures, where I'll be having a look at Dropsy, a self-proclaimed 'point and click hugventure game'. More like a drop and kick clownventure game...

It was a gift from a friend though (a friend who knows how much I like clowns), so I'll be nice and give it a fair chance. I'll even take some screenshots and write words under them so you can benefit from his cruel generosity!

I already knew beforehand that the game has something to do with folks on the Something Awful forums, but I've just done the bare minimum of research and it turns out that the character's first hugventure actually took place in a forum thread back in 2008. People would throw out suggestions for what Dropsy should do next and then the creator would pixel up the outcome in the form of a fake video game screenshot. Like a choose your own adventure story, in extreme slow motion. Three Kickstarter campaigns later and the clown's starring in his very own actual game, with clicking and animation and everything! So basically this is all the internet's fault.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Kid Klown in Crazy Chase (SNES)

Kid Klown in Crazy Chase title screen
Developer:Kemco|Release Date:1995 (EU) |Systems:Super Nintendo, Game Boy Advance

This week on Super Adventures I'm taking a quick look at Kid Klown in Crazy Chase, the second in Kemco's Kid Klown tetralogy. The name reminds me of cult classic 'Killer Klowns from Outer Space', which is interesting because I'd no idea I'd even heard of the film until now. How is this clown movie knowledge leaking into my brain? I'm fairly sure they're unrelated though.

I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of clowns, but I love that title screen. It's got to be some of the best title art on the Super Nintendo. It's a shame there's a Kid Klown standing right in the middle of it, but squint your eyes a bit and he could be Kid Santa. The music's a bit clowny as well, though I've heard worse. So far so good, but let's see what happens when I select 'Option'.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Chasm: The Rift (MS-DOS)

Developer:Action Forms|Release Date:1997|Systems:PC

Today on Super Adventures, I'm putting a few hours into Chasm: The Rift, a game in which you don't play as a zombie lizard jester with a circular power-saw hand. This isn't even the title screen, the game has no time for crap like that. It just dumps you straight to a typical 90s first person shooter menu screen floating above a typical 90s first person shooter gameplay demo.

Oh, I should mention that this is a typical 90s first person shooter. It's kind of an obscure one too, which is exactly what my site's been missing lately. I haven't had a DOS FPS on Super Adventures since Wolfenstein 3D back in March, and that's just terrible. The game I mean, not my FPS negligence (thought that's pretty bad too).

Anyway I had Chasm on a demo disc back in the olden days and remember thinking it had a surprisingly decent looking homemade 3D engine, but not much else. I pretty much forgot the demo entirely for a decade or two after the game disappeared off the face of the Earth. Or I assumed it'd disappeared anyway; turns out the game had actually been released the year after Quake and Duke Nukem 3D and I just hadn't heard about it. It wasn't exactly the next big thing, but it's the next thing on my site so I'm going to go into it with my best attempt at enthusiasm and see if I can get some fun out of it.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Ruff 'n' Tumble (Amiga)

Ruff 'n' Tumble title screen
Developer:Wunderkind|Release Date:1994|Systems:Amiga

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing the first (and last) game ever made by Wunderkind, run 'n' gun platformer Ruff 'n' Tumble! From what I can tell it's an Amiga exclusive released only in Europe during the end of the system's lifetime, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's probably fairly obscure to anyone who's never booted up an A500.

I used to play the crap out of this back in the day though. Well, I played the demo mostly, but I was young and that was enough for me... because I couldn't beat the damn thing. If I make it to the end of world 1 today I'll be shocked, and you should be too, but I'll give it my best shot.

Will it start with a forest level? Place your bets now! (PS. the game's also called Ruff 'n' Tumble in the Fantasy Forest).

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Ultima: Worlds of Adventure 2 - Martian Dreams (MS-DOS)

Developer:Origin|Release Date:1991|Systems:MS-DOS

This week on Super Adventures I'll be... looking for the quit option on this menu. I'm not giving up just yet, my attention span hasn't gotten that bad, but someday I will eventually want to turn the game off and I'm not seeing a way to do that. Do I just reboot my PC or something? See, this is what I don't get about classic DOS RPGs: how to do things in them. They baffle me. I realise that part/all of my problem is that I don’t read manuals, but have you seen those things? They’re nothing but words and pictures, cover to cover, and who can be bothered with that any more?

Anyway this week on Super Adventures I’m taking a quick look at Martian Dreams aka. Ultima: Worlds of Adventure 2 – Martian Dreams. You'd think this was the sequel to a game called Ultima: Worlds of Adventure, seeing as that's how titles typically work, but it actually follows on from Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire. I guess Origin got bored of the Worlds of Ultima brand after one game. On the bright side at least this is more alphabetically convenient.

Martian Dreams is one of the earliest Ultimas to be developed primarily for DOS PCs instead of Apple IIs, and the first to be exclusive to the system. More importantly it'll be the first of the Ultima games I've ever played... for more than 5 minutes. I was looking for an interesting space sci-fi RPG game to follow Mass Effect 3 and I found this in my GOG library, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I'm not deliberately picking out games with 'Adventure' in the title I promise.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Mass Effect 3 (PC) - Part 4: Extended Cut


Around four months after release, Mass Effect 3 received an alternate ending DLC, with a price of absolutely nothing. The Extended Cut replaces the original ending, but not by default; it needs to be downloaded and installed separately. Unless you’ve got the Wii U version that is, then you’re stuck with the new content.

I actually think it’s great that the original ending’s still there for people to experience first hand, as we should be preserving content like this. Plus developers shouldn’t be able to edit our copies of a game to change the story without permission anyway!

Is it a good thing that BioWare ‘caved’ to their fans at all though? Does it set the medium back as an art form when customers can demand changes when a story doesn’t match their expectations? And does it actually fix anything?


Mass Effect 3 (PC) - Part 3: The Original Ending


I've already talked about Mass Effect 3's gameplay, but now that it's three years later and emotions have calmed down I'm going to revisit the controversial conclusions to the Mass Effect Trilogy and finally answer the question "Is there actually anything left to say about this bloody ending that hasn't been said a thousand times before?"

And the answer is "nope".

Sorry, there just isn't. The game was so thoroughly torn apart back in 2012 that there's absolutely nothing new I can bring to the table.

Though I remember that reviewers at the time didn't really take issue with the game's ending, which is kind of bizarre considering how many of the fans did. My theory is that they were thrown off by the fact that you needed to play multiplayer to boost your War Assets for the best ending, and assumed that they must have gotten a crap outcome. Everyone else playing after release was able to check YouTube afterwards to learn that all endings are the crap outcome.

I don't usually like to call what I write for this site 'reviews' even though they can get a bit conclusiony down at the bottom, because most of the time I haven't finished the games I'm talking about and for some games that really matters. When a game's a story driven as this, that last 1% of plot can make all the difference, just ask a 'Lost' or 'Battlestar Galactica' fan.

So for once I actually am going to be finishing something. Twice over in fact; first with the original ending and then a second time with the reworked Extended Cut DLC installed. And I will have opinions to share.


Mass Effect 3 (PC) - Part 2

Welcome to part two of my epic four part review thing!

In part one I played through the prologue up to getting my ship back.
In part two I'll be going through a typical mission and talking about how the game progresses. I'll put my conclusion here along with the comment box.
In part three I'll be going one step further into madness and analysing that ending to figure out why people were so bothered by it.
In part four I'll be talking about the new ending, and whether BioWare did the right thing by retconning their art. Yes I realise that no one's going to still be reading by this point, but I'm putting a second comment box there anyway.

There'll likely be massive spoilers for the first two games, and I'll be talking about how some major storylines wrap up near the end. See, this is what happens when I actually finish a game for once, I feel like talking about all of it and end up ruining the whole story for people. You should be safe to skip to the conclusion though.

Mass Effect 3 (PC) - Part 1

Developer:BioWare|Release Date:2012|Systems:Windows, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U

This week on Super Adventures, I'm celebrating N7 day by replaying the first couple of missions in Mass Effect 3 and briefly... oh fuck it, I'm going to go and beat the whole game again. No sense in half-assing it after I finished the first two to get here.

Plus I remember there being a bit of controversy about how the game wraps up the (first) Mass Effect trilogy, so I'm going to go through the ending in excruciating detail and share my own thoughts on how it plays out, and whether people were freaking out about nothing. You're not going to get a 47 page let's play out of me, I haven't entirely lost my mind, but this shall be an epic four part article!

PART ONE is what you're reading now, where I'll talk about first couple of hours and show how the game plays. It'll likely spoil the last two games along with the start of this one but not much else.

PART TWO is where I'll talk about the game overall and give my thoughts about it. Likely to be more spoilery. I'll review the game at the end and give you a box to leave non-spoilery comments underneath.

PART THREE is going to reveal my SHOCKING opinions about the unloved original ending of the trilogy, as I go through the final act in the aforementioned excruciating detail. This will have all of the spoilers, maximum spoilers.

PART FOUR is going to quickly go over the changes made for the Extended Cut and whether altering the story was a good idea. It'll also have maximum spoilers, plus a second comments box for you to chat about the ending specifically. If you want.

I'm going to be playing the Windows version so some of my issues will be PC specific (like not being able to click on anything without disabling the Origin overlay first). Also I'm using a fix to enable ambient occlusion on my Nvidia card, following this guide I found on the BioWare forums, so my visuals will look slightly sweeter than the default. Or maybe slightly glitchy and screwed up, it could go either way!

(Click the screenshots to expand them to their original resolution.)

Saturday, 31 October 2015


Developer:SCE Japan Studio - project SIREN|Release Date:2006|Systems:PlayStation 2

This week on Super Adventures I'm having a look at FORBIDDEN Siren 2, or maybe Forbidden Siren 2 depending on whether you're going to trust the box spine or the manual. In North America it's known as... well, nothing actually as it was never released there. The first game was though, under the name of Siren.

I was going to start the article by dropping the bombshell that in five years of the site I have never once played a horror game for Halloween, not even accidentally. But I just checked and it turns out that I have, twice: DecapAttack and Blood. My memory betrays me again.

But the point I was leading to was that I'm not really all that interested in Halloween and never have been. Horror isn't really my thing and I find that horror games often involve way too much creeping around in the filthy darkness with awkward controls, looking for the door/cupboard/bookcase/piano you haven't examined yet. I'll still give the game a fair chance to win me over (I wouldn't have much to write about otherwise) but I can't help being predisposed to despise it.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Nubs' Adventure (PC)

Developer:IMakeGames|Release Date:2015|Systems:Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android

Last week on Super Adventures, I played a game with 'Super' in the title and this time fate has given me one with 'Adventure'. Haven't had one of these on my site since, hmm... Squirt's Adventure around this time last year. Fun fact: through absolutely no effort of my own, 'super' and 'adventure(s)' are actually the two most frequent words to show up in video game titles on my site (with 'final' and 'fantasy' right below them). 'Nubs' on the other hand is definitely down near the bottom.

Nubs' Adventure is the latest indie platformer by the guy who created Rico: A Tale of Two Brothers, which I apparently thought was very playable. I mean I can't actually remember playing it (I've gone through about 150 games in the meantime, my poor brain can only store so many platformers in it), but the article I wrote seems positive enough. This time around I'm playing with a Steam key sent to me from the developer so I'll be wearing my 'serious video game reviewer' hat. Well my 'serious quick look' hat anyway, as I'll only be showing off the first hour or two.

(You can click the screenshots to view them at their original resolution if you feel like, but you'll mostly just get chunkier pixels for your trouble.)

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Super Back to the Future, Part II (SNES)

Super Back to the Future Part 2 title screen
Developer:Daft|Release Date:1993|Systems:Super Nintendo

This week on Super Adventures, I've got a 'Back to the Future' game loaded up and it's playing the actual theme from the movie! It's funny how few of them do that.

It's Back to the Future Day today! We've finally reached Wednesday October 21th 2015, the day that Doc Brown and Marty McFly visit in the second movie, and that makes this the perfect time for me to take a look at Super Back to the Future, Part II for the SNES. Other good dates would’ve been November 12th 1955 and October 27th 1985, but I’ve already missed them, so I'm basically on my last chance here.

Weirdly there was never a Super Back to the Future or Super Back to the Future, Part III, despite the fact that SBTTF,PII came out long after the movie trilogy concluded in 1990. There were plenty of other 'Back to the Future' games released for other systems, but this is all the Super Nintendo ever got, and it got it 3 years late. Sorry I mean the Super Famicom, as the game was only ever released in Japan (presumably because it's not very good).

Oh right, I should put a warning here that the game's based on the film, so I'll be spoiling part of the movie's storyline along with the game's. Assuming that the game even has a storyline.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

South Park: The Stick of Truth (PC)

South Park The Stick of Truth main menu screen
Developer:Obsidian|Release Date:2014|Systems:Windows, PS3, Xbox 360

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing another game based on a cartoon series! It'd be fair to say that South Park: The Stick of Truth is a little better regarded than Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse though, as it's got over twice the score on metacritic.

In fact Stick of Truth gave Obsidian their highest metacritic score since Knights of the Old Republic II back in 2004, beating games like Fallout: New Vegas and Alpha Protocol. Which goes to show how broken metacritic is/how rubbish reviewers are, as Alpha Protocol's totally a better game than KotOR 2! It has an ending and everything.

I still can't believe that Obsidian of all developers were working on a 'South Park' RPG, though in retrospect I suppose I should be more surprised that they finished it, seeing as they have the worst luck with their licensed games. The original publisher for Stick of Truth went bankrupt a year before release, Aliens: Crucible and their 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves' prequel were both cancelled during development, and in a parallel universe they would've made a 'Wheel of Time' and a 'Star Trek' game as well. We're never going to get a proper single player 'Star Trek' RPG at this rate.

Though we did get a 'South Park' RPG and it's right in front of me, so I guess I should play it already.

(Click the screenshots to examine at their original resolution. It's not a great resolution, but it's bigger.)

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse (PC)

Family Guy Back to the multiverse title screen
Developer:Heavy Iron|Release Date:2012|Systems:Xbox 360, PS3, Windows

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing Family Guy™: Back to the Multiverse! Because suffering builds character.

Actually I'm genuinely curious about the game. I remember that reviewers thought it was terrible, but I don’t remember why. Do the jokes just not land or is the gameplay itself rubbish? I’ve a feeling the answer’s going to be ‘both’ but I’ll keep an open mind.

By the way did you know that 'Family Guy’ has been on air for 14 years at this point? It would’ve actually been 15 but the series took 2004 off due to being cancelled. The PC version of the game has taken a year off too, as it suddenly vanished from Steam back in December 2014. It's not alone though, as publisher Activision have pulled a bunch of licensed games over the years, including Deadpool and 007 Legends (it's like they don't even care about my plans to play every Bond game ever). But Deadpool eventually came back, so there’s still hope for Back to the Multiverse!

(Click the screenshots to view them in their original resolution.)

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Super Adventures in Face Editors

Today on Super Adventures I'm taking a quick break from taking quick looks at games to indulge in a bit of Snake cloning.

The more character creators and appearance editors I come across in games, the more of an urge I have to make them fight each other and see which comes out the winner. Plus I'm curious about how face graphics have evolved over time and I want to compare them. To do that though, I'll need to attempt to recreate the same character in each editor, and after giving it some thought... I couldn't think of anyone better for the job than iconic video game hero Solid Snake, star of the Metal Gear Solid series. No seriously I really tried to think of someone better, even asked a few people for suggestions, and this guy's the best choice we came up with.

My plan here is to pick a few of the games I remember featuring a face editor and try to recreate his face in them. And by 'a few' I mean 'basically all of them'. So if you've ever wanted to see 40 or so screenshots of Solid Snake's face in a row... I have a feeling you're going to be disappointed with my results. But I'll try my best!

(Click the images to view them at a more sensible resolution)

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Inspector Gadget (SNES)

Inspector Gadget SNES title screen
Developer:AIM|Release Date:1993|Systems:Super Nintendo

This week on Super Adventures I'm finally taking a look at this Inspector Gadget game like I was asked to.

It's obviously based on that famous 80s cartoon about the inspector who has gadgets. You know, the one where his dog and niece do all the work while he stumbles through danger like a cyborg version of Inspector Clouseau... I think. To be honest I haven't seen the series since I was in its target age demographic so I'm way fuzzy on the details, but I can at least remember that the girl's called Penny and his dog's Brian. Or is that 'Family Guy' I'm thinking of?

'Inspector Gadget' was actually the very first animated series to be presented in stereo and... oh hang on I'm looking at the cartoon's Wikipedia page here, just give me a second.

Okay here's some video game trivia for you: this is the third Inspector Gadget game released, it only came out on the SNES, and it doesn't start with the proper cartoon theme tune! Plus it was apparently developed by a company called AIM and published by Hudson Soft. AIM aren't very well known (to me anyway, I'm sure Iron Man's fought them a few times), but they've already had a couple of their games onto my site: SWAT Kats, which was based on another cartoon, and Fausseté Amour, which probably wasn't.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Tales of Monkey Island (PC)

Tales of Monkey Island logo
Developer:Telltale|Release Date:2009|Systems:Windows, OS X, iOS, Wii, PS3

This week on Super Adventures, I'm jumping from the oldest Monkey Island of ancient Lucasfilm times to the shiny new one from Telltale: Tales of Monkey Island. Well it's relatively new; it's still six years old now.

Telltale Games was actually formed due to LucasArts' belief that adventure games were over, but after they proved otherwise with games like Sam & Max: Save the World LucasArts' new president was willing to lend them the keys to their top pirate-related game franchise. And thus the world was blessed with a brand new Monkey Island adventure! LucasArts managed to release Special Editions of Monkey Island 1 and 2 around the same time as well, before their next change of management led to a renewed focus on Star Wars dance games or whatever. They're owned by Disney now though and they've let Double Fine remaster Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle, so who knows what's going to happen next with Monkey Island.

I'm going to be playing through the whole first episode today, so I'll likely end up spoiling all of it. I’m certain I've finished it before but I hardly remember a thing about it right now so I may struggle a bit. Oh hang on, there are two things I remember: I remember a doctor’s chair puzzle being good and a map puzzle being terrible.

(Click the screenshots to view them at a higher resolution.)

Monday, 7 September 2015

The Secret of Monkey Island (MS-DOS)

The Secret of Monkey Island title screen VGA PC
Developer:Lucasfilm|Release Date:1990 (1992 CD)|Systems:DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, FM Towns, Mac, Sega CD

Today on Super Adventures... I'm sitting here listening to the Monkey Island theme. It's one of the all time greatest video game themes in my opinion and the internet agrees with me on this one. Here now that I've hyped it up, have a YouTube link: Secret of Monkey Island CD - Opening Themes.

By the way, it's The Secret of Monkey Island's 25th birthday this month! Or maybe next month, even creator Ron Gilbert says he doesn't know for sure on his blog. Either way it definitely came out in late 1990, just at the point where Lucasfilm Games was being renamed to LucasArts (it has both logos on the box). I actually only found out today which makes this the second time my site's benefited from anniversary serendipity this year, after I accidentally celebrated the Amiga's 30th birthday a few months back. Fate's not often on my side but it does seem to like my website at least.

The Secret of Monkey Island is about as famous as adventure games get, designed by famous developers Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman, who also gave the world the famous Day of the Tentacle along with the also famous Monkey Island 2. It's so famous in fact that there's nothing I can tell you about it you don't already know, and nothing about it I don't already know, so me showing it off right now is utterly pointless on every level! But stick around anyway, it'll be nostalgic. Plus I made GIFs!

Monday, 31 August 2015

Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf (Amiga)

Desert Strike Amiga title screen
Developer:EA|Release Date:1993 (Amiga)|Systems:Genesis/Mega Drive, Amiga, DOS, Master System, Lynx, Game Gear, Game Boy, SNES, GBA, PSP

Today on Super Adventures I'm having a look at Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf, the first of EA's legendary Strike series and at the time their biggest selling game ever, beating titles like Road Rage, John Madden Football and, uh, Skate or Die 2: The Search for Double Trouble.

The subtitle's always made it sound like a sequel to me, but the game came out just a year after coalition forces liberated Kuwait from Iraq during the Persian Gulf War and it's actually following on from that. The problems in the Middle East had gotten a lot of news coverage at the time (if you can imagine that), so it was inevitable that a few fictional Saddam Hussain lookalikes would pop up in video games and start threatening the world.

Desert Strike was originally released on the Sega Genesis AKA. the Mega Drive but I'll be playing through the first level of the Amiga port instead because of its improved sound and enhanced visuals. You can see right now how they've enhanced the title screen with a digitised photo featuring trees (but then tinted them brown so we wouldn't notice.)

I can't exactly show the sound but I suppose I could link to a YouTube video of the Amiga title theme. It's almost but not quite entirely different to the rock theme the game has in most other versions: YouTube link of the Mega Drive theme, but I think we win either way.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Mass Effect 2 (PC) - Part 2

This is the second and final part of my Mass Effect 2 article. You can go to part one by clicking the text that says 'part one' here: Part one.


Mass Effect 2 (PC) - Part 1

Developer:BioWare|Release Date:2010|Systems:Windows, Xbox 360, PS3

Today on Super Adventures, I'll be going through the entirety of Mass Effect 2 in an epic 70 part Let's Play! Actually no I've got a better idea, I'll show off the start of it, skip through to the bits I have something to say about, then wrap it up in let's say... 2 parts. That'll mean much less writing for me, much less reading for you, and everyone's happy! Plus the last thing I want to do is spoil the whole game for people who haven't played it.

That said, this will have SPOILERS ALL OVER THE PLACE, including the identity of all recruitable characters, the outcome of Mass Effect 1, the events leading up to the ending of Mass Effect 2 and what's waiting for players at the end. But I'll put another warning before the really massive spoilers at the end so you can safely skip right past them.

If you find my spoiler warnings to be inadequate in any way, then please scream at me in the comments later so I can be depressed and guilty about ruining the game for you fix them.

(Click screenshots to open up a higher resolution version.)

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Skeleton Krew (Genesis/Mega Drive)

Skeleton Krew title screen
Developer:Core Design|Release Date:1995|Systems:Mega Drive/Genesis, Amiga (AGA), CD32

Today on Super Adventures I'm having a look at Skeleton Krew, which is something I vaguely remember playing off an Amiga demo disk! Apparently I subconsciously set an alarm in my head to go off exactly 20 years later, because I woke up today with a sudden inexplicable urge to see what the full game's like.

This is one of the final 16-bit games released by legendary UK developer Core Design before they embraced the PlayStation and Saturn and let Tomb Raider consume them. It's definitely the last game they made for Amigas, possibly the second last for the Mega Drive and Genesis, and it seems like they got bored of making SNES games way back in 1992 so it didn't even make it near Nintendo's system.

I'll be playing the Sega version of the game because I have a feeling it came first and will give me the better experience. Plus I've only put one other Mega Drive game on the site so far this year and that's kind of shameful.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (PS2) - Part 2

This is the second part of my Disgaea article. If you're looking for the first part it's over here: Part one.

It feels wrong to leave all this space under the picture empty, so I'll throw in some I'll throw in some pointless Disgaea trivia for you as a bonus: the game's so small that in Europe and Japan it comes on a dark blue CD instead of the typical PS2 DVD. The US version on the other hand comes on a regular boring DVD and uses the extra space to include both the English and Japanese voices.

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (PS2) - Part 1

Disgaea title screen
Developer:Nippon Ichi|Release Date:2004 (EU)|Systems:PS2, PSP, DS

Today on Super Adventures I’m taking a look at Nippon Ichi's infamous tactical RPG Disgaea: Hour of Darkness... and I've got no idea why they called it that. I mean I get the 'Disgaea' bit (dis + gaea = bad Earth, more or less), but Hour of Darkness? More like Month of Darkness looking at, for a completionist run anyway.

The Disgaea games have gotten a reputation for being a bit... grindy, to the point where people have their favourite grinding stages and advanced grinding strategies to maximise their grind. I'd hope that's not the only way to play this though, so for the sake of science I WILL NOT BE REPLAYING STAGES FOR EXTRA XP. For the first couple bosses anyway, assuming I can even get that far.

I should admit up front that I'm not the biggest fan of tactical RPG type games, mostly because they usually beat me up and kick sand in my face. I've enjoyed games with turn-based tactical combat like XCOM and Wasteland 2, but I find tactical RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics tend to be punishingly difficult. In fact I don’t even like the term 'tactical RPG', as the role-playing elements tend to be limited to 'your units' stats go up'.

On the other hand I should also admit that I've played Disgaea before and there's a good chance I'll remember how most of it works! So I might be a bit better informed than usual. Be prepared for words.

There'll be spoilers up to episode 2 I expect. I won't be ruining the ending(s) or anything. Except the fact that it has multiple endings, I just gave that away.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Hell Yeah!: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit (PC)

Developer:Arkedo|Release Date:2012|Systems:Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Today on Super Adventures I’m having a go of Hell Yeah!: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, a game with an exclamation mark in its title.

Yeah yeah, I know I’ve been playing too many modern titles lately, games that have a thousand reviews floating around the internet already, but my Steam backlog won’t clear itself! Also modern 2D platformers are interesting to me, because it’s kind of an undead genre at this point. Time and technology left this style of platformer behind, they were pretty much done (well, barely kept alive on GBA life support). But they’ve since risen from the grave and they’ve been doing pretty well for themselves for a few years now.

Some of them are made to replicate the style of classic 8-bit or 16-bit titles, with pixel graphics and retro gameplay built on the principle that the old platformers are still actually pretty awesome (and cheaper to make). Games like Shovel Knight, La Mulana and Super House of Dead Ninjas definitely fit into this category as they're designed to give gamers a rose-tinted trip back to the early 90s.

And then there's the other type: 21st Century platformers straight out of a parallel universe where the genre never fell out of popularity and carried on evolving. Games like Little Big Planet and Rayman Legends that would rather show off flashy visuals and new ideas than take you back to the past. I'm thinking Hell Yeah! likely fits into category B.

(Click any picture and it'll get bigger, but not as big as you want it to.)

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Breach & Clear (PC)

Developer:Mighty Rabbit|Release Date:2014 (PC)|Systems:Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, PSVita, Linux

Breach & Clear: DEADline is the exciting new zombie slaughter tactical thing released just a few days ago on Steam, and if I had any sense I'd be playing that instead and getting all those beautiful new game page views. But today on Super Adventures I'll be taking a look at the original old-school Breach & Clear.

I'm not actually 100% sure what kind of game Breach & Clear is yet, but I do know two important facts: it was originally developed for mobiles and my friend worked on it. I can live with the first thing, but the second is kind of an issue.

I always try to be honest and treat games fairly, but I can't help but lean toward being in Breach & Clear's corner from the start and it seems inevitable I'm going to pull some of my punches. If I were a proper reviewer I'd skip it entirely, but fortunately I'm not really. My site's as much about showing games off as it is about judging them and I can still do that while I'm being biased. Multitasking!

But yeah, ignore all my opinions here. If you're really bothered then ignore this article entirely, I don't mind.

(Click any screenshot to expand it to twice its current size!)

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Arabian Nights (Amiga)

Arabian Nights title screen amiga
Developer:Krisalis|Release Date:1993|Systems:Amiga, CD32

It's been exactly 30 years since the first Amigas hit stores, so today on Super Adventures I'll be celebrating by taking a look a classic Amiga exclusive! To be honest I only just learned about the Amiga's birthday from Twitter, so it's pure coincidence I'm playing this now (the game probably won't even run on an original A1000), but the timing worked out eerily well.

You can probably already tell from the title screen that Arabian Nights is all about managing your own 'One Thousand and One Nights' themed theme park! Actually no it's just another platformer from the golden age of running and jumping. That roller coaster is really a mine cart, the pirate ship ride is probably an actual pirate ship, and the guy floating around on a balloon likely didn't win it with his archery skill in a carnival game.

Despite the title, it's not an adaptation of any 'Arabian Nights' story in particular either, though if Scheherazade had gone on for a 1002nd night she might have gotten around to it. It's got that same kind of 'swords and flying carpet sorcery' fantasy setting. I know all this because I dug the game up from my hazy childhood memories, and I'm very familiar with it. Well, the first 20 minutes anyway (I didn't have much patience back then)... but I promise you I'll show you least three proper levels before I turn it off this time. Maybe more if it has continues!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Far Cry (PC)

Developer:Crytek|Release Date:2004|Systems:Windows

Today on Super Adventures I'm going to immerse myself in the ultimate next generation FPS, Far Cry! That's how they describe it on the box anyway. It's also clearly labelled FARCRY, you can see the logo right there, but it's always written out as "Far Cry" in text so that's what I'll be calling it.

2004 wasn't a bad year for first person shooters, with people finally getting their hands on massively hyped sequels like Doom 3, Half-Life 2 and Halo 2. Far Cry on the other hand was a new IP from a unknown developer and it came out of nowhere. I never saw it coming anyway, which is ironic really considering how damn flashy it was. But it's been a decade now and I'm curious to see how it holds up as a game now that it can't coast on its visuals any more.


The latest patch released for the game brings it up to version 1.4, but I'm not going to be installing that for two equally good reasons:
  1. I've heard that v1.4 is mostly a multiplayer upgrade and it screws up the single player game to the point where enemies can see and shoot you through walls. Not sure if that's true, but it kind of puts me off.
  2. There's an alternative v1.32 AMD64 patch I can install instead that improves performance on 64-bit systems, works on Intel processors too, comes with an optional Extra Content Pack to enhance the visuals, and even makes the game DRM free.
Apparently the Steam version comes with both patches already installed, with the v1.32 64-bit executable hiding in the game's Bin64 folder, but I only own the DVD version so I can't test that. Feel free to let me know if I'm wrong.

(Click screenshots to make them bigger! If you want to.)

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Sam & Max: Save the World (PC)

Developer:Telltale|Release Date:2006|Systems:Windows, Xbox 360, Wii

Today on Super Adventures I'll be having a go of Sam & Max: Season One, later retroactively relabelled Sam & Max: Save the World. Because I was asked to.

Save the World is the second of the Sam & Max games... or maybe games 2-7 depending on how you look at it, seeing as it's made up of 6 episodes, each released separately with their own executables. It's like a game entirely made up of standalone DLC. I'll be playing the first episode, Culture Shock, and I'm thinking that I might as well finish the thing if it's short. This means I'm going to end up SPOILING THE WHOLE FIRST EPISODE, puzzles and all, so don't actually read or glance at any part of this article.

Anyway, Save the World is/contains the second of the Sam & Max games released (after 1993's Hit the Road), but LucasArts had started work on an alternate sequel called Sam & Max: Freelance Police back in 2002. Production went well for 18 months or so, they'd gotten about two thirds through and everyone was happy, but then LucasArts was informed by an external marketing analysis group that adventure games were over and so they went and cancelled it. Couldn't be helped, the genre was dead and that was that.

A group of LucasArts developers who'd been working on Freelance Police decided that the best thing to do was to go off and start their own adventure game company called Telltale Games (not to be confused with Traveller's Tales, Tale of Tales or Tales of Game's). Actually their original plan was to buy the rights to Freelance Police itself and finish it off, but they couldn't make it happen. Fortunately for them LucasArts lost the rights to the crime fighting duo the following year and Telltale were able to get a damn Sam & Max game finished and released at last!

Save the World was a big enough success to get two sequel seasons so far, and Telltale are doing alright for themselves these days with games like The Walking Dead and A Wolf Among Us. I guess that means that one of the reasons adventure games weren't selling during the early 2000s is because LucasArts kept cancelling them all.

(Click on any screenshot to expand it to 1280x960 res.)

Monday, 6 July 2015

Sam & Max: Hit the Road (MS-DOS)

Developer:LucasArts|Release Date:1993|Systems:DOS, Mac

Today on Super Adventures, I'm finally getting a Sam & Max game onto my website! Took me long enough, though to be fair for the first few years of my site I was making more of an effort to stay clear of games I'd played before, and this I have definitely played before. It's probably the first PC game I ever owned in fact.

Sam & Max: Hit the Road is actually a licensed game, as the duo belong to former LucasArts artist Steve Purcell (he did the amazing box art for Monkey Islands both 1 and 2) and they had their own comic long before this. But you'd be forgiven for thinking they were owned by LucasArts, with the amount of sneaky appearances they've made in their earlier games; later games too, they're all over the damn place. I even teamed up with Max for a level in Jedi Knight. But Hit the Road was their very first starring role in a video game, and for a long while it seemed like it was going to be their last.

I'm going to be playing the CD version through ScummVM, which should be pretty much identical to what you'd find on these days. There actually was a floppy disk release too, which surprises me because I can't imagine the game without voices, and even more shockingly it only came on seven 3.5" disks! The PC version of Monkey Island 2 came on five and this has to have more than 3MB extra art and animation in it, surely.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City (SNES)

Michael Jordan Chaos in the Windy City title screen
Developer:EA|Release Date:1995 (EU)|Systems:Super Nintendo

Today on Super Adventures, I've found you something from the first half of the 90s and I didn't even need to glance at the copyright year to know that.

Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City has been on my list forever and I've no idea why it's taken me this long to get around to it. I mean look at that title screen; even if the game's bad it'll be good. I'm not sure you're even technically allowed to bring two elementally charged balls onto the court, but I wouldn't want be the one to tell him that.

I haven't looked too deep into how the game was reviewed so for all I know this is actually a well regarded piece of quality entertainment. But I have discovered that it was the first game designed by artist Amy Hennig, who ended up in the role after the first designer quit. She then transformed into 'head writer and creative director Amy Hennig', and went on to develop the Soul Reaver and Uncharted games. Still no sign of Chaos in the Windy City 2 though.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (PC) - Part 2

The chronicle of my epic prison break concludes!

Click this link to return to Riddick's cell: Part one.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (PC) - Part 1

Chronicles of Riddick Escape from Butcher Bay title
Developer:Starbreeze|Release Date:2004|Systems:Xbox, Windows

Today on Super Adventures I'll be taking a brief look at the first few hours of sci-fi movie spin-off The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay - Developer's Cut. I've played through the game before and I remember liking it well enough back then, but then I remember liking a lot of things and my fuzzy memories don't always match up to the truth.

The game was originally released for the Xbox (and later PC) back in 2004, but it received one of those HD makeover type of things three years later to port it across to the shiny new Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. They enhanced the visuals, tweaked the AI, added multiplayer, included a sequel campaign, and called it Assault on Dark Athena. But I'm not playing that one.  

The Dark Athena version may have the big advantage of having way more content and actually being sold online, but it seems to be built on the Xbox original, skipping the PC port's improvements like quicksaves and developer's commentary. Which is a bit of a deal breaker for me as I happen to like quicksaves and developer's commentary!

The original version does have one problem though and that's that it flat out refuses to start up on my PC. Well, it didn't until PC Gaming Wiki saved me yet again. It turns out that Nvidia owners can fix the game by "downloading Nvidia Inspector and setting the Extension Limit to 0x00001B58". This also reactivates Shader Mode 2.0++, so I can pretend I've got a GeForce 6800 Ultra in my case and push the graphics to max.

(Click the screenshots to view them at their original 1280x720 resolution.)

Monday, 15 June 2015

Ys Origin (PC) - Guest Post

Hi, I'm Ray Hardgrit and the following words are not written by me. They were put there by some guy called Jihaus who wants to show off the first hour or so of a game called Ys Origin and infect my site with his opinions.

I've never seen the point in asking guest posters to stick with my rating system though, as everyone's got very different taste and it seems like it'd be misleading somehow. You can only really trust a rating when you know the critic and can compare it against their other reviews. Basically what I'm saying is don't flip out if this doesn't get a 'gold star' badge at the end, as Jihaus doesn't hand the things out.

Ys Origin title screen
Developer:Nihon Falcom|Release Date:2012 (WW)|Systems:Windows

Today I'm finally playing Ys Origin on PC, an action RPG with platforming elements and fast-paced combat. I've played my share of Ys games so I'm no stranger to their brand of anime-style characters combined with rockin' music combined with crushing difficulty, and this one in particular uses the same engine as its last two predecessors so it should be relatively familiar territory. I always did find it extremely amusing that the correct pronunciation of "Ys" sounds a lot like "ease", because that is entirely the opposite of what these games tend to be.

Unlike the other games in this series which deal with the adventures of the red-haired swordsman, Adol, this game instead goes in a different direction - specifically, 700 years before the first Ys game in the chronology. Despite the the huge departure, it treads a lot of familiar territory, and fans of the first and second Ys games will see familiar people, places, and terminology. In particular, most of not all of the game takes place in the enormous demon tower of the first game, which has changed little on the outside but got a serious renovation on the inside. That's about the extent of what I know going in anyway, so I can't wait to see what we'll find.

I've heard horrifying things about the difficulty in this particular installment but I will proceed to flagrantly disregard such warnings and play on its hardest difficulty, nightmare. Without further ado, time to die!

(Click images to view them at their original weird-ass 1024 x 578 resolution)

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Resident Evil 5 (PC) - Part 2

Welcome to the epic finale of my two part Resident Evil 5 article. Usually I'll play a game for an hour or so before I turn it off; long enough to start forming an opinion without going crazy on spoilers. But this time I'll be jumping through all 10 hours of gameplay because there's no way I'm leaving out the boulder punch scene. It's truly a defining moment in video game history, as it's the moment Capcom defined Chris Redfield as being the Incredible Hulk.

Click this link if you want to return to where this all began: Part 1.

Resident Evil 5 (PC) - Part 1

Resident Evil 5 title
Developer:Capcom|Release Date:2009|Systems:Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

The PC version of Resident Evil 5 doesn't use the hated Games for Windows Live any more! Well okay it does if you want it to, but a few months ago it also made the transition to Steamworks. So to celebrate, today on Super Adventures I'm going to give the game a few hours and write down some of the things that come into my head while I'm playing.

I might have mentioned once or twice in my Resident Evil 2 article last week that I'm not a huge fan of classic survival horror games, and I may have mentioned a few reasons for it too. I think the core of it though is that I've got no interest in being scared, and when you strip out the tension there's little left to enjoy in the mediocre combat, awkward camera angles, and endless backtracking.

Resident Evil 5 on the other hand has very little to do with survival horror, so we've always gotten on pretty well... I think. It's been half a decade since I played the game though so it could be that my memory lying to me again. I can't even remember if the sinister announcer is going to say "Resident Evil... 5" when I press start. Though he better had.

(Click screenshots for a significantly higher resolution image, though still nothing to brag about.)

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Resident Evil 2 (PSX) - Part 2

Hello, this is the last page of my first impressions of the survival-horrifying Resident Evil 2 (aka. Biohazard 2).

Click this link to return to the streets of Raccoon City: Part one.

Resident Evil 2 (PSX) - Part 1

Developer:Capcom|Release Date:1998|Systems:PlayStation, Windows, N64, Dreamcast, GameCube

I don't like Resident Evil.

I mean I like the universe and the characters just fine, I just don't generally like the games. But it's been over two years since I last played one of them and the site's been survival horror free for almost as long, so today on Super Adventures I'm going to be taking a quick look at Hideki Kamiya's PlayStation masterpiece Resident Evil 2!

And there'll likely be whining under every screenshot. Whining and analysis.

To be honest, this just isn't really my genre. I get the theory behind using tank controls, limited saves, awkward camera angles and a tiny inventory to enhance the tension, but in all the games I've played it's mostly just increased my frustration. But I'm determined to at least pretend that I'm giving the game a fair shot, for as long as it takes for me to figure out if it's any different to the first game.

(This article contains screenshots of explicit violence and gore.)

Semi-Random Game Box