3D Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master

3D Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master

Developer/Publisher: Sega

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Released (North America/PAL Regions): December 19, 2013

Released (Japan): August 7, 2013

Originally Played from: October 17, 2015—October 20, 2015

You know who everyone loves? Ninjas.

This game has a decently cool intro. Not as cool as Streets of Rage 2, but still cool.

In this game, Joe Musashi has to put a stop to the return of the evil organization Neo-Zeed. The weapons at this disposal: his trusty katana, a limited number of shurikens, a downward diagonal kick, and some ninjutsu spells.

Continue reading 3D Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse

Developer/Publisher: Konami

Platform: Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console (originally Nintendo Entertainment System)

Originally Released (North America): September 1, 1990

Originally Released (Japan): December 22, 1989

Originally Released (PAL Regions): December 10, 1992

Originally Played From: September 10, 2016—January 11, 2017

The intro shows a place framed by film strip borders before transitioning to a frankly adorable narration:

During 15th Century Europe, there lived a person named Dracula.

He practiced sorcery in order to create a bad world filled with evil.

He began taking over the Continent of Europe, changing centuries from good to bad.

The good people of Europe tried to fight Dracula, but no one was able to survive.”

The townspeople were afraid of the Belmonts’ superhuman strength, but they needed one to fight Dracula. They found Trevor Belmont for the task.

Continue reading Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest

Publisher/Developer: Konami

Platform: Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console (originally Famicom Disk System)

Released (North America, NES Version): December 1, 1988

Released (PAL Regions): April 27, 1990

Originally Played from: September 18, 2015—September 9, 2016

After the cancellation of Silent Hills and the subsequent deletion of P.T. (the “playable teaser”) from the PlayStation Store, I became paranoid that Konami would delete other games from its library. So I finally bought CII and Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. It would appear that my paranoia wasn’t justified, but it was a good excuse to finally experience these games.

The premise of CII is that Simon became cursed by Dracula after slaying him in Castlevania. Simon must embark on a quest to rid himself of the curse by collecting Dracula’s scattered body parts, reforming his body, and slaying him once again.

Continue reading Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest

Castlevania/Castlevania: The Adventure

Castlevania

Publisher/Developer: Konami

Platform: Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console (originally released on the Famicom Disk System)

Originally Released (North America, NES): May 1, 1987

Originally Released (PAL Regions): December 19, 1988

Originally Released (Japan): February 5, 1993

Originally Played From: July 1, 2013—September 2, 2014

Originally released for the Famicom Disk System in Japan on September 26, 1986, Castlevania achieved mainstream success with its NES port. You play as Simon, a member of the Belmont family locked in eternal battle with Dracula. Armed with a magical whip, Simon invades Dracula’s castle to slay him.

So. How was my first official impression of the very first Castlevania?

Continue reading Castlevania/Castlevania: The Adventure

Friday (Least) Favorites #2: Worst Ads and PR Campaigns

Content Warning: This post describes and discusses vomit. So. Much. Vomit.

Ads. Just like death and taxes, they’re some of the annoyances that you have to deal with in life. But some ads go above (below?) the call of duty in making viewers glad that they didn’t click on them, or bolted from the couch to raid the fridge or go for a bathroom break, or put the magazine down to go do something else. This list is all about those.

Masterclass.”

Mighty No. 9 was already burning through a lot of its initial goodwill by the time the “Masterclass” trailer dropped, with several notable delays, feature creep (which caused further delays), and a controversial Kickstarter for another project from Keiji Inafune (Red Ash, which already had a publisher, and was planned to come out no matter how much funding they raised, and stretch goals that the developers were unwilling to give details on, which actually breaches one of Kickstarter’s rules). But “Masterclass” may have been the final straw for many, or at least the reason for further resignation.

This trailer created by publisher Deep Silver is noted for its cheesy, middle-aged narrator (described as “dad-voiced” by Polygon) violating the rule of “show, don’t tell” to promote the game, which is a bold move considering how the game actually looked. The explosion effects were quickly compared to “extremely cheap-looking pizza”, for example. The script tries to sound too hip, with lines asking if the audience likes “awesome things that are awesome”.

But that wasn’t the worst line in the script.

Continue reading Friday (Least) Favorites #2: Worst Ads and PR Campaigns

Kirby’s Return to Dreamland

Kirby’s Return to Dreamland

Developer: HAL Laboratory

Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: Nintendo Wii

Released (North America): October 24, 2011

Released (Japan): October 27, 2011

Released (Europe): November 25, 2011

Released (Australia): December 1, 2011

Originally Played From: December 21, 2011 – March 16, 2012

Kirby is back with all-new Super Abilities!”

Return to Dream Land is a more traditional Kirby game than Kirby’s Epic Yarn. Kirby’s trademark ability to copy powers from certain enemies and objects returns.

The premise of the game is simple. A starship flies out of a wormhole when King Dedede and Waddle Dee try to steal a cake from Kirby as Meta Knight reads a book. When they see the ship, the investigate and meet Magolor, an alien who lost five pieces of his ship, the Lor Starcutter, and 120 Energy Spheres. These items serve as MacGuffins for the player to collect.

Magolor offers the gang a trip to his homeworld, Halcandra (eh? Ehh?), if they help him fix his ship.

Continue reading Kirby’s Return to Dreamland

Kirby’s Epic Yarn Part Two

Mushroom Run in Treat Land is full of tricky platforming!

Sweets Park is the cutest level EVER. Graham crackers, cookies drizzled with chocolate, tufts of frosting, strawberries, cake… and none of it is a lie!

Melody Town? The level that comes right after? Best. In. Forever.

It’s simply wonderful to integrate audiovisual stimuli into platforming. It’s compelling and rewarding.

The boss of Treat Land is Squashini. His stage is very inventive as well!

Continue reading Kirby’s Epic Yarn Part Two

Kirby’s Epic Yarn Part One

Kirby’s Epic Yarn

Developer: Good-Feel and HAL Laboratory

Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: Nintendo Wii

Released (North America): October 17, 2010

Released (Japan): October 14, 2010

Released (Australia): February 24, 2011

Released (Europe): February 25, 2011

Originally Played From: July 20, 2011 – September 24, 2011

Go behind the seams with Kirby!”

Continue reading Kirby’s Epic Yarn Part One

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Part Eight: The Legacy

The Legacy of Symphony of the Night

SotN is a highly influential game, both within its franchise and gaming as a whole, but the immediate follow-ups to it were not fellow Metroidvanias.

Continue reading Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Part Eight: The Legacy

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Part Seven: Item Spotlight

The Inventory

SotN has a great inventory of relics, weapons, armor, shields, and healing items. The following is a list of some of my favorite items along with whatever trivia I could dig up about them. As with the Beastiary in Part Six, the names in the original Japanese version are in parentheses. Some item descriptions changed between the original PS1 version and later ports to other systems. Continue reading Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Part Seven: Item Spotlight