Sunday, 31 December 2017

Super AiG Screenshots of the Year: 2017

It's been a while, but I'm back with a brand new post for you, filled with old content you've already seen! It's the seventh annual Super Adventures Screenshots Animated GIFs of the Year, featuring some of the very best images from the last 12 10 or so months of my site.

I have to be honest, this is going to be a much shorter post than it's been in years past because I just didn't have many games to pick from. I've only made 32 posts this year and one of them was a message reassuring people that the site wasn't dead, followed by a list of games I promised I was going to write about and then never did. Well, to be fair I did manage to get around to half of them.

Speaking of things I'm not going to be writing about in the future, there'll be an important announcement at the end of this article and it's not good news. So be sure to stick around for that... or just scroll down and read it now and then scroll back for the screenshots afterwards, either's fine. All game links will take you back to the original Super Adventures game article, so don't worry about ending up on Amazon or something. Wait... I could've had Amazon affiliate links all over my site this whole time and made 3% on every sale! Oh no!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror - Remastered (PC)

Broken Sword The Smoking Mirror Remastered logoBroken Sword The Smoking Mirror Remastered logo
Developer:Revolution|Release Date:1997|Systems:Win, OS X, iOS, Android

Looking back over the games I've played for my site over the last seven years, I've noticed a pattern forming: I've played a horror game for Halloween on every odd-numbered year, while even-numbered years have gotten games like Snake's Revenge and Saints Row IV at the end of October instead. Seems to me that I've got a bit of a tradition forming here... but I despise pointless traditions, so this year on Super Adventures I'm breaking the pattern by playing Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror - Remastered! I don't think I'll be seeing any ghosts or zombies in this one.

I'm torn here, because I really want to call it Broken Sword II, but there's clearly no 'II' in that logo up there. There was in the original game's logo, but they've taken it away for the Remastered version, because I guess knowing what order things go in only confuses modern audiences. Personally, I'm more confused by the subtitle. Is it referring to a mirror that's recently been used as a murder weapon? A mirror people that go out to when they fancy a quick smoke?

Wait, I forgot to mention that I'm playing the game on Halloween because it was released on October 31st, 1997, the same day as Curse of Monkey Island and the Blade Runner adventure game, so all three are twenty years old today! Well okay, technically this is only seven years old because I'm playing the Remastered version on Steam. I would've played my original CD version but I've lost it. I’ve checked shelves, I've checked boxes, I’ve checked other boxes buried underneath boxes, and it seems like the bloody game’s just vanished.

Funny thing is, when I bought the game the discs were already damaged and some of the video files wouldn’t copy when I installed it. Fortunately, when ScummVM came out there was a compatibility problem with the video codec so Revolution put revised cutscene files up for free and I could finally play this game I'd owned for years! I actually still have that install on my hard drive ready to go, but I lost half the files in a hard drive failure and now ScummVM won’t even recognise it.

It’s like fate doesn’t want me to play this game, and it doesn't care how much physical storage media it has to break to keep me from it.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Zool 2 (Amiga)

Developer:The Warp Factory|Release Date:1994 (A500 1993)|Systems:Amiga, DOS, CD32, Jaguar

Today Super Adventures has been struck by extreme serendipity. I've been playing Amiga games this month to celebrate the Amiga 500's 30th anniversary, but today is also the Amiga 1200's 25th anniversary! Also, and I didn't even realise this until someone else pointed it out to me the other day, this is my 1200th post on the site.

Seems like this is the perfect time for me to go back and replay one of the very first A1200 games I ever owned: Zool 2: AGA Version. I found it packed inside the same box as the machine itself, as it was one of the three games included in the 'Computer Combat' bundle. Shame I couldn't find the bloody code wheel that came with it ever again, after I took it out and left it somewhere. I had to play Brian the Lion instead, which kind of took some of the shine off my brand new computer.

Well that, and the fact that the A1200 turned out to only be a slight upgrade from the A500, with games that were typically the same except with obnoxious backgrounds added. It wasn't exactly the leap from NES to SNES. But I'm writing this to celebrate my beloved computer, the first I ever owned, not point out its numerous flaws, so I should get to pointing out Zool 2's flaws already.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Sensible Soccer (Amiga)

Sensible Soccer title screenSensible Soccer title screen
Developer:Sensible Software|Release Date:1992|Systems:Amiga, Atari ST, DOS

Hey I've got a terrible idea, how about I play Sensible Soccer?

I haven't written about a sports game on Super Adventures for about five years now because I realised early on that they weren't working out for all kinds of reasons. These reasons include: I'm terrible at them, I usually don't know the rules, they don't give me much to write about, I often end up with a lot of empty green screenshots with tiny people standing around, and I hate them.

But I'm making a special exception for Sensible Soccer, on account of it being perhaps the most beloved Amiga game ever. It seems to have a spot reserved in every top 100 list right up near the top (unless they've chosen its sequel Sensible World of Soccer instead). Plus the spiritual successor, Sociable Soccer, is coming out soon, so it seemed like a good time for it.

Okay, I'll try to get this over with quickly, with as little whining as possible. I'll show a few screenshots of bland looking menus, a few of me losing a match, then we can both get on with our day.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Bob's Bad Day (Amiga)

Bob's Bad Day title screenBob's Bad Day title screen
Developer:The Dome|Release Date:1993|Systems:Amiga

Super Adventures Amiga Game Month continues with Bob's Bad Day! For some reason, this is the first game that jumped into my head after playing Bill's Tomato Game, funny that.

I have to level with you folks, this is not going to be a pixel art showcase and there won't be much going on in it for me to talk about. I'm pretty much only playing it as an excuse to show off the intro... though now that I think about it, the intro won't even work without the voices. Damn.

The important thing is that I'll be done with playing the game quickly and I'll not have much to write about afterwards, so I'll be able to move on to the next Amiga game and get that published before I run out of October. Theoretically.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Bill's Tomato Game (Amiga)

BIll's Tomato Game title screenBIll's Tomato Game title screen
Developer:Bill|Release Date:1992|Systems:Amiga, Atari ST

It's the 30th anniversary of the Commodore Amiga 500 home computer! I mean not today specifically, it seems like it hit the Netherlands in April 1987 and the rest of Europe shortly after. But it was released in the US at some point during October, and that's all the excuse I need to make this month on Super Adventures all about AMIGA GAMES!

For the next few weeks it's all Amiga titles, nothing else. Wall to wall Amiga. Though don't worry if you're not keen on that idea; at the rate I've been writing about games lately you're likely to only see two at best.

I started by checking top 100 lists to put together a set of classic titles that really define what the system is, the most Amigary of Amiga games... but then I realised that they'd have me playing things like Sensible Soccer. So I scrapped that plan and decided to play a few of the games that have stuck in my head for whatever reason. Like Bill's Tomato Game for instance! It's a game about tomatoes made by a guy called Bill Pullan. Though it definitely isn't named after him, at least according to the manual, which I definitely didn't check just now out of curiosity.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Secret of Mana (SNES)

Secret of Mana europe pal title screen snesSecret of Mana europe pal title screen snes
Developer:Square|Release Date:1994 (1993 JP/NA)|Systems:SNES

This month on Super Adventures, I'm finally getting around to the legendary Secret of Mana!

I'm running a few weeks late here so I'll get my internet-sourced trivia introduction text out of the way quickly so I can get to the game.

• That 'Nasir' you see on the title screen is Nasir Gebelli, the programmer of Final Fantasy I, II and III.
• Trying to figure out the game's exact relation to Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger could drive you nuts.
• It started out as a project codenamed "Maru Island" before becoming a Seiken Densetsu sequel.
• It was planned for the SNES CD addon, but was drastically revised and cut down for a cartridge release.
• Many of the unused ideas from the CD version ended up in Chrono Trigger.
• The dialogue was cut back even further for the English translation due to space limitations.
• It's getting a 3D remake next year!
• It's one of the games on the Super NES Classic!
• I've never played it.
• Well actually I have, but it wasn't for long and I don't think I liked it much.
• All I remember is walking down a river and maybe visiting a town before getting bored.

Also, it's one of the most popular and critically acclaimed SNES games, so I'm going to have to try not to hate on it too much.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Fallout 4 (PC)

Fallout 4 title screen logoFallout 4 title screen logo
Developer:Bethesda|Release Date:2015|Systems:Win, PS4, Xbox One

This week month on Super Adventures I'm spoiling the first couple of hours of Fallout 4!

You might be wondering why I'm writing about a complicated modern RPG again when I should know better by now. There's already a hundred reviews, streams and YouTube videos out there about it, so it seems a bit redundant. I have a good reason though: I already played all the others (aside from Fallout Shelter and Brotherhood of Steel) and it seemed wrong to leave it out.

Plus it means I get to mention the drama going on in late 2013 when there were competing teaser sites like and all appearing to be revealing the game's existence, and people were trying to figure out which of them was legit and which were fake (they were all fake).

Thankfully the game actually was being developed in secret, because that's typically what you do when your last game was a huge hit (unless you're Valve). Though it seems weird to me that after all this time this was only Bethesda's second attempt at a Fallout RPG. Obsidian were the ones that made Fallout: New Vegas and I'm curious to see if Bethesda decided to take anything from it. Or take anything away from their last game.

I'll be playing it without any mods, by the way, because I'm not really keen on tweaking my game. I feel like opening the box like that lets some of the magic escape (plus I'd be too tempted to give myself an infinite ammo rocket launcher and fly around on a fire-breathing unicorn or something). Also this means I get to ignore the Creation Club entirely and all of the bullshit that goes along with that!

(Click the screenshots if you want to make them very slightly bigger.)

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Vixen (Amiga)

Vixen Amiga title screenVixen Amiga title screen
Developer:Intelligent Design|Release Date:1988|Systems:C64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Amiga, DOS

This week on Super Adventures I'm writing about another obscure Amiga platformer. And I'm going to keep on doing it until you're all suitably grateful for the modern games we have now.

This one's called Vixen, unless you're in Germany, then it's known as She-Fox instead. According to Wikipedia, the reason for the change is that in German "vixen" is pronounced like wichsen, an obscene word meaning "to jerk off", and judging by the title screen I guess was a little too on the nose for them. Surely there's an actual German word for 'female fox' they could've used though?

Some people took issue with the game's cover as well due to the fact it has dancer and tabloid 'Page 3' model Corinne Russell wearing a skimpy leopard-skin bikini on it. The publisher apparently had to reissue the game with 'a less provocative cover'. Then Your Sinclair magazine went and put her on its cover and they got complaints as well. I'd show you a picture of it, but it's the same image as the title screen, except without the flesh-coloured hair and painted on clothes.

This was all happening in 1988 by the way, so the game's from the NES/Master System era, which I haven't visited in ages. It never came out for the consoles though, only home computers, and I'll be mostly playing the Amiga port. Not because I'm nostalgic for it exactly, but it is the version I remember playing as a kid... briefly.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Ganpuru: Gunman's Proof (SNES)

Ganpuru Gunman's Proof title screen logoGanpuru Gunman's Proof title screen logo
Developer:Lenar|Release Date:1997|Systems:SNES

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing a game definitely absolutely did not ever get ported to the Commodore Amiga, for a change. In fact this one wasn't even released in English, though it did eventually get a fan translation.

I like fan translations, I think they're a fantastic idea and that everyone who's put their time and effort into making games accessible to more people for absolute zero financial reward is awesome. But I don't play fan translations on my site (it's one of the rules written in the box on the right), so I'm going to be struggling through the original Japanese version of the game for an hour or two. Well, unless it's got a lot of dialogue in it, then I'll be struggling a lot longer than that.

The katakana in the title says Ganpuru, so some people call it Gunple and others say it's probably a compound word formed from 'gunman' and 'proof' (like how Pokémon comes from the words 'pocket' and 'monsters'). Man, if the very first word in the game's giving me this much trouble then that's not a good sign. Google Translate tells me that my two choices beneath it are “From the beginning” and “From the rest”, so at least I don't have an options screen to interpret.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Teenagent (MS-DOS)

Teenagent title screenTeenagent title screen
Developer:Metropolis Software House|Release Date:1995|Systems:DOS, Amiga

This month on Super Adventures I'm playing another point and click adventure game! But this time there's a twist: I have absolutely zero idea what this is. All I know is that gave it to me for free when I signed up and the graphics looked a bit amateurish in the screenshots.

One thing I'm sure of though is that it's got nothing to do with the 1991 Teen Agent movie (called If Looks Could Kill in the US). This is Teenagent, one word; totally different thing. I'm guessing that it's probably a play on the word 'teenager'. It might also be a play on the word 'newsagent' but I'm kinda hoping it isn't as I'd rather jet around the world immersing myself in international intrigue than sell crisps. In fact I'd better check Wikipedia to make sure...

...oh that's interesting, it turns out that Teenagent was the first Polish game to be released on CD, though it seems GOG's given me the floppy disk version without the voice acting because those voices were all in Polish. I'm not considering that to be a problem. Plus it's running through ScummVM, but that's not a problem for me either.

Wikipedia also tells me that developer Metropolis Software isn't quite as obscure as I thought, as they made games like Gorky 17 and Infernal. In fact it was one of the longest operating game development studios in Poland before getting bought by CD Projekt in 2008 and shut down in 2009. Another fun fact: it was founded by opinionated video games bloke Adrian Chmielarz, who did programming and writing for Teenagent, before going off to make Painkiller and Bulletstorm for his new company People Can Fly, and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter for his newer company The Astronauts. So that's interesting.

Okay I'm going to take screenshots of the first hour or so and write words under them now.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Unreal II: The Awakening (PC)

Developer:Legend Entertainment|Release Date:2003|Systems:Windows, Xbox

Today on Super Adventures I thought I'd do something wild and play a video game for once. Unreal II: The Awakening to be specific, a first person shooter from the Xbox era, when PC games often came on multiple CDs stacked up on the same spindle to maximise the chances of one of them getting scratched. That's what my copy's like anyway, so I hope it still works.

Actually I'm not sure it ever really worked properly for me, as all I can remember about the game is that I stopped playing it early on when it crashed to desktop a couple of times. But I get the feeling I probably could've gotten further in it if I'd wanted to, and now that I'm writing about it I'll endeavour to be more persistent (whether I like the game or not).

The original Unreal was co-developed by Epic and Digital Extremes, but they were busy with the Unreal Tournament side of the franchise, so Unreal II: Unnecessary Subtitle was developed by the folks who made the Return to Na Pali expansion pack instead, Legend Entertainment. This was Legend's last ever game before being shut down by their owners, but they'd been around a while and were mostly known for making adventure games. So there's a non-zero chance that the writing might be better than the first person shooting here. I'm not getting my hopes too high for either though to be honest.

(Clicking the pictures will make them bigger, but not much bigger.)

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Tearaway Thomas (Amiga)

Tearaway Thomas title screenTearaway Thomas title screen
Developer:Global Software|Release Date:1993|Systems:Amiga

This week on Super Adventures I'm having a quick look at obscure platformer Tearaway Thomas.

It might seem a bit weird that I'm playing an Amiga game called Tearaway Thomas right after playing an Amiga game called Rolling Ronny last week, but that's because they're both filed away into the same folder in my brain. I'm finally making an effort here to learn which is which and more importantly what they even are.

As far as I can tell this is the first and last commercial video game these folks ever made, presumably because it's such an incredible work of art that they decided that trying to follow it up would be pointless and it was best to quit while they were ahead. Or maybe it's real bad and it shamed them into exile. I can't remember, that's why I'm replaying it now.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Rolling Ronny: The Errand-Boy (Amiga)

Rolling Ronny title screen amiga OrlandoRolling Ronny title screen amiga Orlando
Developer:Starbyte and/or Touch of Magic|Release Date:1991|Systems:Amiga, Atari ST, C64, DOS

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing an Amiga game about a clown on roller skates!

Why? Because the title Rolling Ronny popped into my head the other day for no reason and decided it was going to sit in my brain for a while. So I went looking through my memory for clues to why I remembered this name all of a sudden and realised that I have no idea what the game is. I'm sure I must have played it back in the day but what I saw on my flicking CRT TV screen was apparently so horrifying that my mind blanked it out to protect my sanity. Either that or it's just not very memorable. So now I'm playing it again so that I'll know one way or the other, for my records.

I'll give it an hour or two, take some screenshots and write what's going on underneath them as I go. Because that's what my site's about.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (MS-DOS)

Monkey Island 2 title screen logoMonkey Island 2 title screen logo
Developer:LucasArts|Release Date:1991|Systems:DOS, Mac, Amiga, FM Towns

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing LucasArts' legendary point-and-click adventure game Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge! Or LeChuck's Revenge: Monkey Island according to that logo up there. Either way around it's still going to screw up your meticulously organised alphabetically ordered game library.

Monkey Island 2 is a game that needs no introduction and to be honest it doesn't need any commentary or reviews either. The game's so famous and has been so thoroughly examined that anything I write about it here will be entirely redundant; I might as well just show off some screenshots and call it a day. But I just managed to find a few thousand words to type about bloody Star Wars the other day for my sci-fi site so now I feel like I can take on anything Lucasfilm can throw at me! Though the game development group had firmly switched over to the name 'LucasArts' by this point, making this the first in the series to have the iconic Golden Guy logo (there's no skit though).

I dug out my old Monkey Island Madness compilation CD for this and I'll be playing the game using ScummVM, because it's awesome. The disc also has a version of Monkey Island 1 on it that's been updated with CD quality music, but Monkey 2 only has the original MIDI soundtrack. Which is good, because it'd only screw up the dynamic iMUSE effect. Who'd even want to explore a pirate town without the music seamlessly shifting to give each area its own theme?

Alright, this is an adventure game, so by writing about the first hour or so of gameplay I'm going to inevitably end up giving SPOILERS for the early puzzles. I won't be ruining that ending for anyone who hasn't beaten it yet though... unless you've read my Curse of Monkey Island post, then I already have. Sorry.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Zillion (Master System) - Guest Post

Today on Super Adventures I've got good news! Mecha-neko's come back after a seven month absence to write another guest post, so I get to take the week off.

Hey stranger-folk. I'm mecha-neko and today I'm playing a Master System game I found called Zillion. Or perhaps it's ZLLON!

Developer:Sega|Release Date:1987|Systems:Sega Master System

Hmm, what to make of this? From the look of the pulsating ray-gun on the title screen, it's probably a light-gun game. But don't be fooled: the cat from Interpose (my very first Obscure-As-All-Hell Animated Cat Game August post!) twiddles ray-guns all over the place on his title screen, and that one turned out to be a side scrolling shooter. Yeah, that sounds right. "Zillion." It's like it fell right off the bottom of the periodic table or something. Gotta be a shooter.

In fact, the 27th of May is the thirtieth anniversary of Zillion! It was released in Japan on 27th May 1987. Happy birthday, Zillion! This post's going up a couple days late, 'cause cats work to their own calendar. (And I'm not making a new banner!)
But even so, why would I ever post another side-scrolling shoot-'em-up? You're just going to have to read on and find out!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Star Wars: Rebel Assault II - The Hidden Empire (MS-DOS)

Developer:LucasArts|Release Date:1995|Systems:PC, Mac, PlayStation

It's Star Wars' 40th birthday today and I'm celebrating by playing a Star Wars video game! I was tempted to play the game for Star Wars Day a few weeks ago on May the 4th, but the 40th seems like a bigger deal (plus I'm fond of putting things off as late as I can).

So this week on Super Adventures I'm playing Star Wars: Rebel Assault II - The Hidden Empire, by Vincent Lee. I didn't really notice at the time, but LucasArts were really fond of putting the creator's name on the box back in the 90s.

To give you an idea of where this fits on the Star Wars video game timeline, it came out the same year as Dark Forces, a year after TIE Fighter and Super Return of the Jedi, and two years after the original Rebel Assault. So it was made in the finale years of the pre-Special Edition, pre-Phantom Menace era. I didn't get to play it for a long while though due to my PC being ass. In fact I still remember the shame I felt having to take it back to the shop and buy the first game instead. But hey how I was I supposed to know what the difference between a 486SX and 486DX was before the internet!

You might be wondering why it just says "Rebel Assault" up there without a "II" on it. There is a good explanation for that which I'll reveal if you scroll down to the next picture. Though before you do, I should warn you that there'll be SPOILERS for the original trilogy of Star Wars films down there too.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Phantom Brave PC (PC)

Developer:Nippon Ichi|Release Date:2016 (2004 on PS2)|Systems:PS2, Wii, PSP, Win

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing the relatively new PC port of classic PlayStation 2 game Phantom Brave! Because trying to figure out and then explain a complicated turn-based tactics game from 2004 seemed like a smart use of my free time.

The trouble with these 'Phantom' games like Phantom Brave, Phantom Crash, Phantom Dust etc. is that it always takes me a few seconds to remember which is the tactical RPG, which has the mechs and which is the one with the cards. In fact I ended up playing The Phantom Pain for 142 hours before I realised I'd put the wrong game on. (That's totally the right game to put on by the way). To make things more confusing, the next year Nippon Ichi released a similar game with the Japanese title Phantom Kingdom, which then got renamed to Makai Kingdom in the West, despite 'phantom' being an English word already and 'makai' being a Japanese word. A word that just happens to show up in the title of their earlier game Makai Senki Disugaia, aka. Disgaea.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, there's a game that gets it right; no one's going to mix that one up with Phantom 2040. But someone might mix this game up with Disgaea, so I intend to mention the game constantly to point out the differences, and similarities.

Alright I'm going to play Phantom Brave's main story for a couple of hours or until I beat a proper boss, whatever happens first. I've played it before on PS2 so I'm sure I'll all come back to me... though I've never seen that mysterious 'Another Marona' button before. It's tempting, but I'll leave it for now.

(Click the pictures to view them in an incredible 1280x720 resolution, though I'm sure it can do better).

Monday, 8 May 2017

Wolfchild (Amiga)

Developer:Core Design|Release:1992|Systems:Amiga, Atari ST, Mega Drive, Sega CD, SNES, Master System, Game Gear

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing an Amiga platformer about a werewolf!

Wolfchild is one of those games Core Design came up in their pre-Tomb Raider era when the staff were still allowed to have ideas. I'm sure I must have played this before but it couldn't have been for long and it didn't leave much of an impression. I've been searching through the corner of my brain reserved for Amiga games and all I've dug up are some fuzzy screenshots of a wolf man on a boat... with jet engines.

One thing I know about it is that it's supposed to be a bit like Switchblade II (maybe because it was designed by Switchblade creator Simon Phipps), but that doesn't help me much as I don't remember playing that either. I do remember playing another Core Design title by Simon Phipps though... that bastard of a game Rick Dangerous. But Wolfchild was made in a more modern era, coming out halfway between Rick Dangerous and Tomb Raider, so I'm hopeful that he'd gotten bored of dart traps by then.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Doom (PC)

doom 2016 logo
Developer:id Software|Release Date:2016|Systems:Windows, Xbox One, PS4

This week on Super Adventures I'm spending an hour or so playing last year's Doom! I know it's a new game and there's already a million reviews out there to read, but I played the other three so it seemed cruel to leave this one out.

Plus this gives me a chance to go on a rant about them pulling a 'Tomb Raider' with the title, meaning that we have to call the first game 'the original Doom' from now on to avoid confusion. This problem generally wears off over time for movies (no one can even remember that they remade RoboCop or Total Recall) but the trouble with games is that the reboots are often good and you have to acknowledge they exist.

There was actually a Doom 4 in development, which was to take place during the demonic invasion of Earth, but it was cancelled on account of it being soulless, heavily scripted and more like the Call of Duty games than Doom. That was in development from 2007 to 2011, then this game sprang from its ashes in 2016. So henceforth it shall be known as Doom 2016.

I'm very familiar with the earlier Doom games, but all I've seen of this one so far is the demo. I've been deliberately avoiding reading too much about it just in case it had an actual plot to spoil. Hey if Wolfenstein: The New Order of all sequels can have an emotional thought-provoking story then there's hope for every game series!

(Click the pictures to view screenshots at a slightly less pitiful 1280x720 resolution).

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Day of the Tentacle: Remastered (PC)

Day of the Tentacle Remastered Title ScreenDay of the Tentacle Remastered Title Screen
Remastered - Developer:Double Fine|Release Date:2016|Systems:Win, Linux, OS X, PS4, PS Vita, iOS
Original Game - Developer:LucasArts|Release Date:1993|Systems:MS-DOS & Mac OS

This week on Super Adventures I'm having a quick look at LucasArts' 1993 point and click masterpiece Day of the Tentacle! Though I'm actually playing the 2016 HD remaster by Double Fine, partly because it's the only version you can digitally download, but mostly because I want to.

I played Tim Schafer's latest adventure game the other day, Broken Age, and now I'm going back 20 years to his very first game as project lead! Well, co-project lead, with Dave Grossman. I wish I could say this is all to tie-in with the release of Full Throttle: Remastered today, but honestly I had no idea that'd come out until five minutes ago. The timing's pure serendipity.

Day of the Tentacle is the third of a trilogy of sequels released during the early 90s, back when LucasArts were the gods of adventure games. After a game inspired by a pirate novel and a theme park ride and another inspired by 30s movie serials, this time they went back to 50s sci-fi horror movies with a sequel to 1987's Maniac Mansion. Though you'd have to really squint to spot the name on the box and it's not written at all on the title screen. I'm not sure I even realised that this was a sequel back when I first played it. Well, until I found the original game hidden inside it in its entirety anyway. Hey I wonder if they remastered that Easter egg too.

(Click the screenshots to view them in a slightly more impressive 1280x692 resolution. Which incidentally is the aspect ratio of the original game, minus the box with verbs in it).

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

James Pond 3: Operation Starfish (SNES)

James Pond 3 Operation Starfish title screen snesJames Pond 3 Operation Starfish title screen snes
Developer:Vectordean & Millennium Interactive|Release Date:1993|Systems:Mega Drive, SNES, Amiga, CD32, Game Gear

Today's the 25th anniversary of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System! Except it isn't, because the Super Nintendo came out in North America on August 23rd 1991 and the Super Famicom was released in Japan a year earlier on November 21st 1990. But in the UK we got the system in April 1992, so I'm playing a SNES game to celebrate.

This week on Super Adventures I'm taking a quick look at James Pond³: Operation Starfish! Because what better game is there to celebrate the Super Nintendo than a port of a Mega Drive game that's a sequel to a series strongly associated with the Amiga? There is sense behind my selection though: it's one of the few PAL exclusive titles for the SNES.

James Pond 3 is the third of the James Pond games, obviously. Except it isn't, because The Aquatic Games came out before it, which had the aquatic agent competing in various sports. It is the third game developed by creator Chris Sorrell though, and the last, as crappy iPhone game James Pond in the Deathly Shallows was allegedly crafted by a finite number of evil monkeys.

Alright I'm going to play it for a few hours without reading the manual, quit when it gets difficult, and then write a review at the end like my brief experience with the game makes me an expert. Same deal as usual.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Demolition Man (Mega Drive/SNES)

Demolition Man title screen genesis mega driveDemolition Man title screen genesis mega drive
Developer:Alexandria|Release Date:1995|Systems:Mega Drive/Genesis, Mega CD, SNES

This week on Super Adventures I'm taking a quick look at another movie tie-in! I hope it's better than that Stargate platformer I played a while ago. Though it will be a platformer, there's no doubt of that.

Demolition Man is a apparently one of just three games developed by Alexandria before they vanished in late 1995, with the others being Sylvester and Tweety in Cagey Capers... and Izzy's Quest for the Olympic Rings, which I wrote about way back in the days when I didn't write much. In fact I kind of sucked and so did that game.

Speaking of 1995, that's also the year that the game was released, which is pretty late for a 16-bit console game, especially one that's based on a 1993 movie. They weren't exactly striking when the iron was hot there. In fact if it'd come out any later then the dystopian future levels would actually be set in the past.

By the way I'm playing the Mega Drive/SNES Demolition Man not the 3DO game, which is one of those variety pack licensed film tie-ins that keep switching genre and are invariably terrible. Though it does have the genuine movie soundtrack and includes FMV clips of Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes and Jesse Ventura filmed exclusively for the game! The Mega Drive and SNES versions, on the other hand, don't. But what they do have is a title that literally explodes onto the screen letter by letter in little bursts of flame before a synthy guitar riff plays, and that's cool too.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Serious Sam: The First Encounter (PC)

Serious Sam the first encounter title screen logoSerious Sam the first encounter title screen logo
Developer:Croteam|Release Date:2001|Systems:PC, Xbox

This week on Super Adventures I'm taking a quick look at a classic first person shooter from the dawn of the 21st century: Serious Sam: The First Encounter! I always assumed that 'The First Encounter' was something they slapped on after The Second Encounter came out, but I just checked and nope it was there on my box cover all along. So I've learned something today.

I've also learned that it was the game's 15th anniversary on March 21st... last year. So I was just a little late on that one.

Serious Sam started life in the mid 90s as a game called In the Flesh, which would've had you fighting through nightmares and Hell and suchlike, but a couple of years into development they decided to switch to bright sunny open levels instead and rename it Serious Sam, after its protagonist. It worked for Duke Nukem after all, and it's possibly not a coincidence that two heroes shame the same dress sense. Sam's more of an affectionate clone than a parody, seeing as Duke's already a parody, but it's not like 3D Realms held the patent on smart-assed muscle-bound 80s action movie heroes in jeans, so whatever. They get to complain just as soon as they give Bruce Campbell his lines back.

The game was given a shiny Serious Engine 3 makeover back in 2009 and released for PC and Xbox 360 as Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter, but I'm playing the original right off the CD (with all appropriate patches). There's also an Xbox port which has smaller levels and lives, and even a version for PDAs running Palm OS. Except not really, as the PDA version is more like Wolfenstein 3D and looks like a 3DO game.

(Click the screenshots to view the original sized images).

Monday, 20 March 2017

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSX)

Castlevania Symphony of the Night title screenCastlevania Symphony of the Night title screen
Developer:Konami|Release Date:1997|Systems:PSX, PSP, PSN, Saturn, Xbox 360

Today on Super Adventures I'm celebrating the 20th anniversary of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night! It was the 20th anniversary of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series a few days back and it'll be the movie Blade's 20th birthday next year too, so in retrospect the late 90s was a terrible time to be a vampire.

Speaking of things that happened in ages past, man it's been while since my epic marathon of all the traditional Castlevania platformers. "This is going to be the final Castlevania game I'll be playing for a long long time," I wrote at the end of my Castlevania Legends article, but I had no idea it'd take me 6 years to get around to the next one! You could make a third of a Duke Nukem game in that time.  Though in my defence I used to avoid writing about games I'd played before and I've actually beaten this one on the Xbox 360.

If playing all those classic Castlevanias taught me anything, it's that Konami were determined to get those Belmonts onto every system they could, and that each console had to get its own exclusive game. Seriously, to play the whole series up to this point you would've needed access to a NES, an MSX2, a Game Boy, a PC Engine with a CD drive, an X68000, a Mega Drive, a SNES and an arcade with the Haunted Castle cabinet. In this case though they skipped the Sega 32X due to it being dead and put their new 2D Castlevania on two consoles, the PlayStation and Saturn (with the Game Boy getting Legends instead and the N64 getting both Castlevania 64 and Legacy of Darkness two years later).

It was a bit strange though that Konami released this for the PlayStation, at least in the West, partly because Sony of America had a real hate on for 2D and partly because it's the direct sequel to a game that didn't get an English release until a decade later! In Japan the game’s called Akumajō Dracula X: Gekka no Yasōkyoku (Nocturne in the Moonlight), because it follows on from PC Engine game Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo (Rondo of Blood). This 'music term of the vampire-related thing' theme carried on through a couple of the GBA games until they started throwing in words like 'Dawn' and 'Portrait' and ruined the pattern.

Anyway I've waited long enough to give this a replay so I should get on with it. I hope I don't hate it now!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Broken Age (PC)

Developer:Double Fine|Release Date:2015|Systems:Win, OS X, Linux, Ouya, iOS, Android, PS4, PSVita

This month on Super Adventures I'm playing Broken Age, formerly known as Double Fine Adventure back in its Kickstarter days.

Though this isn't one of them Kickstarter success stories like Giana Sisters, FTL, Pillars of Eternity and the rest, this is THE Kickstarter success story, the one that kickstarted all the others by proving that game developers could actually crowd-fund niche video game projects that publishers would never touch. In this case Tim Schafer wanted to make an old school point-and-click adventure game like the ones he worked on at LucasArts during the 90s.

They asked for $400,000 ($300,000 for the game, $100,000 for a documentary), which seemed like they were pushing their luck a little, but soon people were lining up to take a risk in the hopes of getting another Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle or Grim Fandango. They ended up raising a massive $3,336,371 in the end, which is clearly $3,038 too much. Except not really, as even after getting over 8 times the amount they wanted they still ran out of cash and had to split the game up into two parts, with their plan being to fund the second half with their earnings from the first half.

Broken Age: Act 1 came out in 2014 (just 2 years later than planned), but I've written 2015 up there as the release date because I'm playing the complete product here, with both acts welded together into one seamless whole. I remember that its second act wasn't all that well received, on account of it being bastard hard due to overcompensation after criticism of Act 1, but that's about where my knowledge of the game ends, so I'm not really sure what to expect from this. Though I'm hoping it's like a cross between Broken Sword and Dragon Age, or maybe Brain Age and... damn I can't think of another game with 'Broken' in the title.

By the way, the game supports widescreen just fine, but it's making me rescale the window manually by dragging the edges around and every time I start it up it resets to defaults, so I'm leaving the title screen how I found it to teach Double Fine a lesson. Also I think I like it better in 4:3 anyway, as there's more clouds.

(Click the screenshots to view them slightly bigger than they are here but not as big as they'd be for most players.)

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Super Adventures Update, March 2017

Today on Super Adventures, I'm still playing nothing. Sorry, I've been busy.

But there'll be new content soon, I promise! Two new games before the end of the month with any luck, and it's possible that they both donated letters to that picture above. In fact it's likely that quite a few games coming up have donated letters, but seeing I haven't managed to get the site updated in a month I wouldn't put too much faith in my ability to stick to a plan.

Further update: check below if you want to know where the letters all came from. Just... try not to be too disappointed when you find out that I've been in an adventure game mood lately. This isn't an exhaustive list of what's coming up this year.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Psycho Fox (Master System)

Developer:Vic Tokai|Release Date:1989|Systems:Master System

This week on Super Adventures I'm not even going to acknowledge the fact that I didn't post a new game last week. I'm just going to act as if I wasn't too busy/lazy to give you your weekly screenshots and move right on to talking about whatever this is.

Psycho Fox is basically what you get if you put Metal Gear Solid characters Psycho Mantis and Gray Fox into one of those teleporter pods from The Fly. But it's also a platformer released for the Master System during Sega's Alex Kidd era by Vic Tokai, creators of Clash at Demonhead and Magical Hat no Buttobi Tabo! Daibōken (aka. that DecapAttack game I played in 2011). In fact Wikipedia claims that DecapAttack is meant to be Psycho Fox's spiritual successor, which means I should have some idea what to expect. But I don't, because it's been six years since I played it.

I've only just turned this game on and already I have so many questions! Why is that monkey sticking a metal rod into Psycho Fox's ear? Is Psycho Fox related to Spy Fox? What's the 'F' supposed to be made out of? Why is the sun so bloody happy? Why magenta? Also this has to be the first time I've seen a fox that looks like he's about ready to fuck up a tiger. I'm getting a real Clockwork Orange vibe from these guys, like it's Psycho Fox and his Droogs.

Alright I'm going to give it an hour or so and see what it's like.

Semi-Random Game Box