Save Point

Money can buy everything except “love”, “friendship” and “exp points”.

The 108 Calvinists of Destiny March 24, 2009

Filed under: New releases,Retro games,Specific games — haounomiko @ 11:03 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’ve spent most of my gaming time in Second Life recently, so I haven’t had much to blog about, but I did try the SNES game Castlevania IV for the first time. Are this game and Super Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts completely ripped off from each other? I’m not sure how two games that seem to have come out at approximately the same time can be so similar. Granted, I don’t know how much of this was set up by their respective precursors, as these are the earliest ones of their type I’ve played– but little things like the level advancement screen and even the rotating level are, no pun intended, eerily alike.

I also picked up Suikoden Tierkreis for the DS last week. So far, I’ve been unhappy with the clumsy way that it’s handled predestination; I expected better out of a Suikoden game. The game seems to want to blame every social ill upon the ruling society’s abstract philosophy instead of the corrupt rulers themselves, and that strikes me as being unlikely as well as out of line with the rest of the series. I don’t like the idea of fate any more than the next person, but historical societies that have believed in predestination were aware that it doesn’t work like that. Even if it turns out that the young naive heroes were all wrong, it’s still a strawman.

Well, we’ll see how it goes– hopefully it’ll improve. I do have high standards for the series that cause me to complain whenever it drops the ball, but in fact, the game is fun so far.

Last but not least, a friend and I are slugging through Donkey Kong Country 2 (SNES) bit by bit. Giant hives of bees, oh my.


Flashback: The Quest For Believable Physics December 1, 2008

Filed under: Genres,Retro games,Specific games — haounomiko @ 4:20 pm
Tags: , ,

I finished Flashback: The Quest For Identity, and I have to say it’s actually quite good. The game mechanics– the graphics and scale, and the motions and puzzles– reminded me a bit of Prince of Persia for the SNES, and that makes me very happy. I loved Prince of Persia, and when they came out with the modern sequels, I was so excited– until I discovered that it involved a lot more fighting, and the series has only gone further in that direction since then. I enjoyed the original for the puzzles, and the focus on fighting made it seem rather mundane and rehashed, rather than the unique thing it was. However, I digress.

Flashback seemed, from the credits, to be mostly the brainchild of the director, who had input in many different areas of the game, and my guess is that said director was a big fan of 80’s sci-fi movies in a certain vein. Visually as well as plotwise and thematically, the game seemed like a mashup of some familiar films. Which was a good thing in my estimation, since I think that kind of sci-fi was quite creative. The one thing that didn’t quite match the image was that some parts of the game were actually prettier and less pessimistic than the stories it was probably lifted from, and honestly I liked that too, since the gritty cynical depressiveness of those stories is the only thing I don’t like about them. In sum, the Flashback world and atmosphere was nice for me; however, I can see other players objecting to the fact that the game is neither this classic tone nor that one, so my praise here should be taken as conditional based on one’s own preferences.

I won’t explain the ending in great detail so as not to spoil it, but I was left thinking it was a little awkward in plausibility– the protagonist is in big trouble unless he has a much better idea of how to pilot and program an alien spacecraft than of how to read their star charts, which seems a little unlikely. Still, it was bittersweet, exciting, and not bad at all.

There is one giant hole in the plot that I can’t quite fill, and that is the Bad Sci-Fi Physics. We are told that the aliens disguise themselves as humans, and the way to tell who they are is that the aliens’ molecular density is a thousand times ours. Therefore, they weigh a thousand times as much for their size. If they were actually a thousand times as heavy as humans, they would crash through the floors of all the elevators, subways, and even second floors of the human buildings, which doesn’t support the premise that their disguise works. Therefore they must be very small– probably no more than 1/2500th the size of a human, unless the architects of the future are designing lifts to a much higher specification than presently– with their disguise being mostly a hologram constructed around them. In this case, why are all the buildings in their homeworld, their spacecraft, and so on constructed for creatures that are roughly human-sized? Inquiring minds want to know.