Monday, 30 March 2015

Mr Blobby (Amiga)

Mr Blobby Title screen AmigaMr Blobby Title screen Amiga
Developer:Freestyle|Release Date:1994|Systems:Amiga

Blobby blobby Blobby Blobby, Blobby blobby blobby blobby blobby Blobby Blobby blobby blobby Blobby! Holy shit I hate this character and everything related to him.

If you're one of the lucky ones who've gone through your whole life blissfully unaware of this guy's existence, Mr Blobby started out as part of a segment called 'Gotcha' on 90s British light entertainment program 'Noel's House Party', where celebrities would get punk'd in a manner not unlike American hidden camera show 'Punk'd'. Mr Blobby was one of the practical jokes, designed to deliberately wind up a celebrity who thought they were interacting with a legitimate established character for an episode of a kid's TV show. Blobby would drive the unwitting guest to the very edge of homicide with his antics, then take off his head to reveal that it was famous TV host Noel Edmunds in the suit the whole time!

Obviously the series couldn't keep up the joke past the first airing as everyone would know Blobby was a fake... but the character kept turning up anyway! Then he started turning up in other shows too; he had become a celebrity in his own right. Mr Blobby merchandise filled the shops. By 1995 he had TWO top 40 songs in the UK charts, the first so bad that one critic accused him of trying to "kill music". He had no less than THREE failed theme parks! And he also had a video game, which I've been asked to play for you.

Friday, 27 March 2015

James Bond 007: Blood Stone (PC)

Blood Stone logoBlood Stone logo
Developer:Bizarre Creations|Release Date:2010|Systems:Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Today on Super Adventures, I'll be playing some Blood Stone 007, or perhaps James Bond 007: Blood Stone if you want to believe the manual.

This came out in 2010, so chronologically it slots right in the middle of the four year gap between the movies 'Quantum of Solace' and 'Skyfall' caused by MGM's bankruptcy issues. In fact Skyfall spent so long in production that this may have actually started out as a movie tie-in, so lucky escape there perhaps. Sure GoldenEye 007 is the exception that proves that movie licences don't have to be terrible, but it's also exceptional in that it stayed in development until two years after the film came out. It wasn't as rushed as they usually are.

It's been years since did my 'Every Old James Bond Game' marathon, but I remember that when I got past Goldeneye and moved onto the EA era, I started seeing the same few developer logos show up over and over: EA Redwood Shores (AKA Visceral), Black Ops Entertainment and Eurocom. But EA passed the licence to Activision in 2006, Black Ops vanished that same year, and Eurocom were busy making three other games (and got shut down two years later), so this has a whole new logo at the start. Blood Stone is the first Bond game created by Wiz 'n' Liz, Project Gotham Racing and Blur developer Bizarre Creations, and also the last as they went and closed down four months later as well! I guess that's why there hasn't been any Bond games since 2012, as every developer the franchise touches ends up dying.

Activision only put out one more Bond game before getting bored with the licence, which incidentally is probably why we haven't been able to find Blood Stone on Steam since 2013. Fortunately I was able to find it on eBay, so I won't have to draw sketches of the game from memory. Oh right, should probably mention that I played this before a few years back, so I'll be slightly less ignorant than usual and will be able to mention stuff from later in the game. Like how it plays the Bond theme about 700 times in a row on the end credits.

(Click images to view them in a slightly higher resolution.)

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Renny Blaster (TurboGrafx-CD)

Developer:J-Force|Release Date:1995|Systems:PC Engine CD

Today on Super Adventures I'm ticking another title off my inexhaustible request list. It claims to be called Renny Blaster and I don't see any reason to doubt it. Maybe Lenny Blaster would've been a better way of reading the katakana on the box, but the title screen is pretty adamant it starts with an R.

It says 'TurboGrafx-CD' in my post title and labels for the sake of consistency (I strive for the highest standards of presentation for my jokey video game blog), but it'd make more sense to call this one a PC Engine game, as it never made it out of Japan. Just out of curiosity I did a quick calculation with the limited info I could find online in 3 minutes of half-assed searching, and it seems that less than a third of the console's library got a release on its American cousin. European fans of the console got it even worse, or to be more precise they got absolutely nothing. We may never solve the mystery of how the SNES and Mega Drive managed to outsell it four or five times over worldwide.

Oh right, I'm supposed to be writing about Renny Blaster. Uh...  it came out in 1995, so that's pretty late for a PC Engine game, even a CD one. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood pre-dates this by a whole two years, and I always assumed that was one of the last of them. The game's also likely to be entirely in Japanese, being a Japanese game and all, but I'm hoping there won't be much text to wade through this time.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Shovel Knight (PC)

Shovel Knight title screenShovel Knight title screen
Developer:Yacht Club|Release Date:2014|Systems:PC, 3DS, Wii U (soon PS3, PS4, PSVita and Xbox One)

Today on Super Adventures, I'm playing Shovel Knight's theme tune, over and over again. I'm kind of torn here because the music's saying "Go forth brave knight and hit evil with your shovel!" while on the other hand my head's saying "Hang on mate, just leave the tune playing for another minute first, okay?" Here have a YouTube link so you've got something heroic to listen to while you read: Shovel Knight Main Theme.

The soundtrack was actually created using a NES chiptune editor so that it could be as authentic as possible, give or take a few sound channels. The philosophy behind the whole game was that it should be absolutely dead-on accurate in look, sound and gameplay... to the player's fuzzy memories of their favourite NES games. It's an 8-bit game enhanced with rose-tinting technology.

Before I continue, first I have to apologise for the quality of these screenshots. Usually I try to capture pixel art in its purest unfiltered form, but the game seems determined to scale it up and ruin the clean edges. Then on top of that I needed to scale my screenshots back down again so that they fit my site, which left them so fuzzy that I figured I might as well just save them as JPEGs and save a few kilobytes.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Gargoyles (Genesis/Mega Drive)

Gargoyles Genesis title screenGargoyles Genesis title screen
Developer:Disney Interactive|Release Date:1995|Systems:Genesis

Today on Super Adventures, I'm taking a look at Genesis/Mega Drive platformer Gargoyles, because everyone keeps asking me to. Apparently it's got some fans. Actually thinking about it, this is really just a Genesis game, as it was only released in the US and never made it to the Mega Drive regions.

It's based on the Disney cartoon of the same name that started in 1994, which ran for three seasons but somehow passed me by every time. I only caught the one episode and I don't remember it, so my knowledge of it is kind of limited. I do remember that it stars Keith David and half the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation... but that's entirely irrelevant as it's a 16-bit cartridge platformer so I'm likely to get 4 words of dialogue out of this at best.

Well I'm only assuming it's a platformer to be honest, I haven't actually checked, but it's an early-mid 90s cartoon tie-in so what else is it going to be? Look on my Game Series page, click 'Disney' and see how many of them aren't platformers. And that ain't because I've been deliberately avoiding all the 'Animaniacs' first person shooters.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Wolfenstein: The New Order (PC)

Wolfenstein: The New Order logoWolfenstein: The New Order logo
Developer:MachineGames|Release Date:2014|Systems:PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Today’s game on Super Adventures is recent first person shooter Wolfenstein: The New Order, which is the something like the seventh game in the series, and the fifth single player first person shooter. Who even knew there were so many of the things?

That's not even counting the original pair of Castle Wolfenstein stealth games by Muse software that inspired the id Software franchise. Not that The New Order was made by id, nope they haven’t developed a Wolfenstein game themselves since 1992’s Spear of Destiny. This is actually the debut release by MachineGames, formed in 2009 by seven key members of Escape from Butcher Bay developer Starbreeze. I try to come into games with an open mind, without studying reviews and bringing too many expectations, but I have to be honest with you here: I'm expecting to love the shit out of this one. A sequel to Return to Castle Wolfenstein by the people who made an actual good game out of Chronicles of Riddick? Fuck yeah, sign me up for that.

I'll be playing the PC version due to the system's convenient mouse and keyboard full of potential screenshot keys (and because it's the one I own), but it should work out well because I believe that all formats got pretty much the same game here. As usual I plan to stick with the game long enough to reach the regular gameplay and get a decent impression of how it plays, so be aware that I'll likely end up spoiling huge chunks of the first hour or so. No seriously, I get the impression that this actually has some kind of worthwhile plot to it.

(Click screenshots to view them slightly bigger, but not by much. Let's not go crazy here.)

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Wolfenstein 3D (MS-DOS)

Wolfenstein 3D title screenWolfenstein 3D title screen
Developer:id |Release Date:1992|Systems:DOS, SNES, Mac, Jaguar, 3DO, GBA, Apple IIGS, PC-98, Archimedes, etc.

Today on Super Adventures I have another requested game for you: Wolfenstein 3D, or (Wolfenstein 3-D according to the title screen). And it's got the Nazi Party's theme tune playing right now as its title song, that's just... great.

This of course is the earliest first person shooter ever made, except for all those other ones that came before it. Even if you don't want to count things like 1974's Maze War, 1980's Battlezone, or even 1987's MIDI Maze, you've got id Software's own Hovertank 3D and Catacomb 3D released a year earlier. Granted they don't have assault rifles, but they're so similar in style and gameplay to Wolfenstein 3D that it's hard for me to look at them and say they're not the same genre.

Either way this is definitely the first of the Wolfenstein series; except it kinda isn’t as it was inspired by a 1981 stealthy action-adventure called Castle Wolfenstein and its sequel Beyond Castle Wolfenstein. When id Software realised the trademark had lapsed and was up for the taking, they took it and made their own series out of it. And I don't blame them, as it's a cool title.

Is it the first World War II themed first person shooter at least? I've no idea, but let's say yes. Medal of Honor, Call of Duty... they're all this game's fault. Anyway, I have played Wolfenstein 3D before, but not recently and not for long. In fact I've never even finished a single episode, so that's what I'm planning to do now.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (GB)

Super Mario Land 2 title screenSuper Mario Land 2 title screen
Developer:Nintendo|Release Date:1992 (JP)|Systems:Game Boy

Today on Super Adventures I'm playing the final game of my Mario Marathon Month, finishing off the first decade (or so) of Mario's big platformer games. So if you were hoping to see Hotel Mario or Mario is Missing show up then I'm afraid your princess is in another castle, so to speak.

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is also the final game in the Mario Land series before the villain hijacked it and turned it into the Wario Land series (like how Yoshi stole the Super Mario Bros. series and turned it into Yoshi's Island after the fourth game). Don't feel bad for Mario though, he had things like Super Mario Kart, Super Mario RPG and Super Mario 64 to keep him busy through the mid-nineties (when he wasn't playing Go Fish in Mario's Game Gallery.)

Most of the other Mario games I've played so far I've been very familiar with, but this one's a big question mark (block) for me. I've only seen about 10 seconds of gameplay and I don't even know how others rate it, so I get to go in entirely blind for once! As usual I'll give it an hour or two, share my first impressions, maybe a few second impressions, then find something about it to nitpick afterwards.

Semi-Random Game Box