Friday, November 25, 2011
I take a look at the latest issue of GamesTM, which includes a 6 page feature on Metroidvania games.
This month’s issue of GamesTM features the following (copied from NTSC-uk, courtesy of PrinnySquad).
Skyrim - 9
Battlefield 3 - 7
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - 8
Uncharted 3 - 9
Assassin's Creed Revelations - 8
Batman: Arkham City - 9
Dance Central - 360 - 8
Shinobi - 3DS - 4
Kinect Sports: Season 2 - 360 - 5
Modern Warfare 3 - 8
Saints Row: The Third - 7
Rayman Origins - 7
Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 - 7
Kirby Mass Attack - DS - 8
Sonic Generations - 7
Real Steel - 360 - 6
The Adventures of TinTin - 6
Raving Rabbids Alive and Kicking - 6
King of Fighters XIII - 8
Disney Universe - 3
2012 Preview Special
Chat With Naughty Dog about the past, present and future
A Look at the new SSX
A look at the trend for remakes, reboots and rebirths
Operation Raccoon City
Backstage with the people behind Zelda's 25th Anniversary Concerts.
Chat with Tood McFarlane about work on Kingdoms of Amalur
Tim Schafer on his new thing and the merit of Kinect
thatgamecompany talk about Journey.
Behind the Scenes: Legacy of Kain Soul Reaver
Year In Review 1985
Conversion Catastrophe - Kung Fu Master on Speccy
The History of Metroidvania - the forerunners to the genre.
My main reason for posting though is my 6 page article on Metroidvania games. No credit as usual for the writer of said piece – though I was technically asked to write it as a favour, so I don’t begrudge this too much. The first dps is hi-res enough to read, though seeing as I’m getting paid for the article (at least I hope I get paid!) I don’t think I can get away with making the entire article free to read online – at least not until they put it on their website or the next issue is out. Of course if someone else, somewhere, has put hi-res scans up, by all means read it and pass the links around.
With it being the 25th anniversaries of Metroid and Castlevania, it seemed time to cover the portmanteau they went on to create later with Super Metroid and Symphony of the Night. Ironically most entries predate these two titles, showing that the genre classification is erroneous. But it’s still fun. There’s 24 entries, one for each year of the anniversary, with the 25th title to be voted for on GamesTM’s forum, or discussed here. I also quote Jeremy Parish, which I’m sure he is not pleased about! Sorry Jez, but at least you got credit whereas I did not. I also included interview quotes from several key people.
The list (year of release, then alphabetically):
Pharaoh’s Curse (Atari 8-bit, C64)
Below the Root (C64, DOS, Apple)
Brain Breaker (Sharp X1)
Sacred Armour of Antiriad (Spectrum, C64, Amstrad)
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (NES)
Codename: Droid (BBC)
Legacy of the Wizard (NES)
Zeliard (DOS, PC88)
Blaster Master (NES)
Euphory (Sharp X1)
The Scheme (PC88)
Wonderyboy III: DT (SMS)
TMNTIII: RR (GB)
Takahashi Meijin Boukenjima IV (Famicom)
The Divide: Enemies Within (PS1)
Vigilance on Talos V (DOS)
Cave Story (PC)
La Mulana (PC)
Treasure Adventure Game (PC)
It’s not perfect, but I had around 80 titles on a rough list covering anything even remotely similar, which I whittled down to about 50 series entries, then 40, then 35, and then it got tricky requiring many redrafts.
My goal: differentiate the list from everyone else’s.
That’s why I’ve got silly stuff like the MSX release of Predator, and lots of obscure games. The trend? Metroidvania style games are predominantly on computers, followed by the NES. A reflection on the perception that console titles need to be simpler? Could be why console Metroidvanias are so well loved – they filled a desperately empty gap. Because admit it – how many other games like Super Metroid are on the SNES? Very few.
As for omissions, I left out some popular titles because I just can’t stand them. I absolutely hate Tombi for example – the jumping, where your guy flails forward in an uncontrollable belly flop, is unbearable. How can anyone stand playing that? It feels broken and uncomfortable. Metroidvanias are all about the jumping, and with Tombi every time I press the jump button I want to break the controller. Another omission was Shantae. I don’t care what anyone says, it looks great but the level design is dull, linear and really not much fun. Shadow Complex was on the list, but then I thought: that’s a little obvious. Why waste space on something people know and are enjoying, when something like Treasure Adventure Game can do with the publicity instead?
My big regret?
I never included Link: Faces of Evil, or Zelda: Wand of Gamelon, for the CDi. They just slipped my mind, but they actually follow the Metroidvania template quite nicely. And I love them dearly. For starters, for all the complaints about the controls, when using a wired controller (as opposed to the crappy infra-red remote) the jumping is more comfortable than the jumping in Tombi. I can actually dictate the direction for Link and Zelda, and they don’t lunge forwards with that moronic belly flop.
The rest of the world continues to spout vitriolic hatred for the Link/Zelda games, and people on various Zelda forum boards openly state that they 1) absolutely hate the games for existing and 2) will never, ever play them because they’re not true Zelda games. Their kind of passionate, blinkered, refusal to accept any other-point-of-view mentality, is something I’ve mainly seen with religious extremists. You know, the kind who claim dinosaur bones were put in the earth by the devil to deceive humanity.
How can you claim to hate something, and then refuse to examine it on the grounds that it’s inauthentic, when in that same sentence you admit that you have no idea what it’s even like? That’s like me saying: I hate apples, I’ve never eaten apples and I never will eat apples or even think about what apples are because I know that apples aren’t really fruit and so don’t even need to know what they are because I already know what they are not (ie: not fruit).
Bottom line: obsessive Zelda fans who claim to hate the CDi titles while simultaneously refusing to play them are retarded. To form an educated opinion on something you need to understand it first. Otherwise it’s just a mob mentality, no better than those crowds who wanted to burn women for witchcraft.
I suppose I would have removed Below the Root to fit Link/Zelda in. Interestingly, they were both by the same man, the late great Dale DeSharone. May he rest in peace.