Wednesday, 24 July 2019

StarTropics (NES)

StarTropics title screen
Developer:Locomotive, Nintendo R&D3|Release Date:1992 (1990 in NA)|Systems:NES

This week on Super Adventures, I'm thinking about how much StarTropics' title screen reminds me of the title screen of Metroid. They've got the same 'text floating in front of a twinkling starfield' look. Though Metroid has fewer palm trees.

StarTropics is fairly well known among people who aren't me, but I never played it myself. In fact I thought it was a SNES game until I looked it up. I'm still not sure how it plays, but if I had to guess I'd say it was probably going to be a little like that Secret of Evermore game I wrote about in January. The two games definitely share one thing in common: their titles both start with the letter 'S'. Also they were both developed with a Western audience in mind and never got a release in Japan. They even left it off the Nintendo Classic Mini Family Computer (aka the Famicom Mini) despite it being one of the 30 games that came with the NES Classic in other regions.

It was produced and written by a Japanese game designer though, Genyo Takeda, who was apparently also responsible for a: putting battery backed-up save RAM in the cartridge version of The Legend of Zelda and making that a thing, b: sticking an analogue thumbstick on the N64 controller and inspiring Sega and Sony to do it too, and c: holding the Wii back so that it was a generation behind the Xbox 360 and PS3. He became the manager of Nintendo's hardware development division in 1980 and didn't retire until 2017, so he was a fairly influential guy during the entire history of video games. Plus he produced Punch-Out.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Spirits of Xanadu (PC) - Guest Post

This week on Super Adventures, guest poster mecha-neko has gone to the trouble of redefining the word 'Friday' in order to write about a spooky first person shooter on a Wednesday without changing his old banner image. This is the level of commitment we both have to providing you with words about video games.

Feels like it's been a while since I've done an FPS Friday. Ray told me about a 'short' game that he'd recently finished, and if a game is so short and so good that Ray can finish it, it's gotta be worth having a look at.

So I'm going to play one of itch.io's Featured 'Action' games, Spirits of Xanadu.

Spirits Of Xanadu PC title screen
Developer:Good Morning, Commander|Release Date:2015|Systems:Windows, Mac, Linux

See, told ya!

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Breath of Fire (SNES)

Breath of Fire title screen SNES
Developer:Konami|Release Date:1994 (1993 in Japan)|Systems:SNES, GBA

This week on Super Adventures, I'm taking a look at classic Super Nintendo RPG Breath of Fire! It was originally known as Breath of Fire: Ryu no Senshi in Japan, which translates to 'Dragon Warrior'. Though they couldn't call it that in the US because Enix had already claimed the name five years earlier when they used it for Dragon Quest. JRPGs are confusing.

I've seen a lot of Capcom games and I've seen a lot of JRPGs, but I can't think of many times I've seen a Capcom JRPG before. In fact I half expected to see Squaresoft's name appear when I started it up... and then it did, because they were the ones who localised it for North America. They never quite got around to releasing it in Europe though.

In fact the game didn't reach Europe until the Game Boy Advance port made its way here in 2001. I guess they'd grown a little more confident that the game would find an audience by that point, seeing as we'd bought enough copies of Breath of Fire II, Breath of Fire III and Breath of Fire IV. I was fairly sure that the game had to exist somewhere, as you don't typically make sequels without first making an original, but it's obscure enough for me. I've never played it before and I don't know anything about it. I'm expecting dragons though.

The game's likely going to have a story as well, and I'm going to go through the first few hours of it, taking screenshots, and whining about things as I go, so this article will contain SPOILERS. I won't be playing any longer than that though, because RPGs are like really long and I've got other things to do today.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Keio Flying Squadron 2 (Saturn)

Keio Flying Squadron 2 Saturn title screen
Developer:Victor|Release Date:1996|Systems:Saturn

This week on Super Adventures, I'm writing about more Keio Flying Squadron! The alien bunny girl adventures continue.

The first Keio Flying Squadron is a shoot 'em up on the Sega Mega CD that by some miracle got a release in Europe and America. I already showed that one off last week. Then Keio Flying Squadron 2 came out three years later on the Sega Saturn and somehow also got translated to English, though I'm not sure it ever made it to the US. Finally there was a side-story party game on the PlayStation called 蘭未ちゃんの大江戸すごろく慶応遊撃隊外伝. That one never made it out of Japan.

Out of curiosity I checked the Japanese version of Keio 2 and it turns out that the title text completely obscures the background in the original game as well. Someone spent ages drawing that!

Here's some more exciting trivia for you: Victor Entertainment got out of game development in 1996 so this is one of the last games they ever made. I'd tell you about their other games, but I've never heard of most of them. Banana, ROM² Karaoke, UltraBox 5-gō... oh Legendary Axe, that sounds familiar. I have no idea what it is, but I recognise the name.

Semi-Random Game Box