Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hand drawn Metroid map

I finally decided to play through Metroid and make my own map while doing so. I thought I'd share it in case anyone wants to play though it as well.

Well, here is my hand drawn NES Metroid map. The area where you find the Wave Beam is not included since I didn't find it in my first playthrough and I didn't want to cheat and look it up. If I'll ever find it I'll update the map, don't worry.


...and here's the scribble I made while playing...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Silent Hill 1-3

No video game franchise had such an impact on my taste in video games (and my counter) as the Silent Hill series by Konami.

Foggy alleyways, rust, deformed monsters and a brilliant soundtrack are what define the Silent Hill series by Konami.

I had quite a hard time getting into it though. I had seen the 2006 movie (underrated) on an England vacation before ever picking up one of the games and I instantly fell in love with the atmosphere and especially the music.

I had my expectations, when I picked up Silent Hill 1 for the PS1 a few months later.

First impression? Horrible.

Confusing camera angles, terrible voice acting (in retrospect it had its charm though), ANNOYING enemies (yes, I'm looking at you, flying dinosaurs) and since I played it in 2006, let's say the graphics didn't age too well. Another point that bugged me was the map system. I didn't always get where to go and why some doors wouldn't open. (Someone should have explained me that there's a difference between "locked" and "broken")

I stopped playing after 2 tries.

I occasionally listened to the music and looked up wikia entries on Silent Hill, even though I had never played the games. That's how much of an impact the movie had on me.

It took me about 8 months before I picked up Silent Hill 1 again. This time I knew what to expect and completed the game within 3 or 4 days. This time the camera angles didn't seem so confusing anymore, and the muddy graphics added to the atmosphere.
It was a great experience.

Right after completing Silent Hill 1 I bought Silent Hill 2. I knew people treated this game as the best of all Silent Hill games and so were my expectations.

I got bored pretty quickly (in the first section of the game, the apartments) and I stopped playing AGAIN. I sat down and played Silent Hill 3 before actually playing Silent Hill 2. Worked pretty well since they're non-canon anyway.

I always had to force myself to play the Silent Hill games. I knew I would enjoy them if I only tried, but I always ended up playing something else and just listening to the music.

Well, about the actual gameplay (of the first 3 games, series went down the drain with 4) there isn't much to say.
You enter buildings, door are shut and you try to find keys and special items to solve puzzles. And since this is a survival horror game à la Resident Evil you encounter monsters along your way.

The game itself is pretty linear but the games all offer different endings, depending on your reactions in certain situations. It's pretty subtle though, you probably won't realize that you are in one of those key situations when you play the game.

If you never played a Silent Hill game start with either 1 or 2.

1 and 3 are canon, but if you don't feel like picking up a PS1 game just start with 2 since it's a standalone game. If you plan on picking up Silent Hill 2, don't read up anything about its story online. There's a huge spoiler you don't want to know before playing the game.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda the classic Nintendo franchise next to Mario produced by Shigeru Miyamoto. 

The first Zelda game, "The Legend of Zelda" originally came out 1986 on the NES. This was the game that brought console gaming to a whole new level of complexity. Up until that point people were used to play simple games such as jump and runs on their consoles, and usually having to beat them in one sitting. 

Just by taking note of the fact that "The Legend of Zelda", being sold in a golden cartridge, was the first (and only?) NES game to include a battery for saving your progress you can get a sense of the amount of hours of gameplay you can get out of this game.

It's huge. 

The player takes control of Link, a young boy in a green robe.
The game gives you no tutorial whatsoever, you start in a valley without any goal or instructions. Soon you will get your first sword handed to you, giving you the tool to progress further and onto the first dungeon you will eventually come by.

In each dungeon you'll find one new weapon or tool and heart container, guarded by the dungeon's boss. You don't necessarily need to beat the dungeon's bosses, but the extra heart containers will come in handy the further you progress in the game.

You do however need the weapon/tool to make your way to the next dungeon. It may bombs that let you destroy a rock blocking a passage or a raft, helping you to get over a lake.

This mechanic (which was later copied in the Metroid series, also by Nintendo) allows each player to play at his own pace. The game doesn't rely on scripted events to let him continue and it brings up a great open world feeling.

This formula was kept in every game of the franchise to be released since then (except for Zelda 2), no matter if it was a 2D or 3D game.

If you haven't already played a Zelda game (I bet by now everybody and their grandma has) you should crawl out from under your rock and give the franchise a try.

You don't have to start with the first one (which is also by far the hardest (except for maybe Zelda 2)) as the franchise offers  no continuos story anyway. 

If you want to start with a 2D Zelda try either "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past" on the NES or "The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening" on the Game Boy (which was by the way my first Zelda game).

If you'd rather try a 3D Zelda go give "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" or "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker" a try. 

I don't think the other installments are bad, but it's just my personal recommendation.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Not gonna lie, I haven't played Doom back when it was released. My father always told me stories about how he used to play Doom with his friends back in 1994. He told me about factory halls and abandoned space stations. It really creeped me out as a kid.

I never got these pictures out my mind until I finally decided to pick up Ultimate Doom about 3 years ago. It really blew my mind. 
You can still play this game today, and this is no fake nostalgia speaking here. 
It's quite a simple and easy shooter compared to todays games, but that doesn't mean it's a bad game. By no means at all. 
The soundtrack is my favorite from any game or movie up to this day. The game also offers fair amount of different enemies and environments.
The stages are recognizable and you'll know them by heart pretty quickly. They never get boring though. One reason for that are the many secrets (such as hidden rooms with guns you normally have at that point in the game) the developers put into the levels. 

One thing I really like about the game is the huge number of difficulty levels to choose from. 
You decide wether you want to do a quick easy run through the stages on "Hurt me plenty" or a challenging experience on "Ultra-Violence".

Today there are thousands of custom maps and mods available on the internet, in case you ever get bored with the original stages.

I never really got into Doom 2 but for all I know it seems like a pretty good follow-up for the great game that is Doom.

If you never tried Doom I'd recommend playing it using the Doomsday engine or zDoom if you want try the multiplayer mode.

By the way, I made the 800x800 cover for the soundtrack up there a few months ago. Feel free to use it in case you want to add it to iTunes.

P.S.: I know Doom's not really a S/NES game but technically I think there was a SNES version of it

EDIT: 1000 views, yay

Friday, May 20, 2011

50 Subscribers, woo!

Thank you guys so much, I really appreciate it :)

Here's to you

The Castlevania Series

Another classic series by Konami that originates on the NES.
In the early Castlevania games you're playing as the whip swinging, demon slaying Simon Belmond.
As you towards the end of the stage you fight monsters not by shooting or jumping on them, but by hitting them with your whip. 

Unlocks are found in torches spread throughout the stages. 
The main difference between Castlevania and other games from its time you'll notice is the setting. 

Unlike in games like Mario or Contra (Probotector in Europe) you won't find yourself walking through colorful mushroom worlds or futuristic cities, but rather old, european castles and forests with a creepy atmosphere.

The music is once again excellent.
Everyone should try a Castlevania game once, 'cause this ain't your run of the mill jump and run.

If you've never played a Castlevania game I'd recommend to start with one of these (in that order)

1) Castlevania (NES)
2) Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
3) Castlevania 3 - Dracula's Curse (NES)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Mega Man series

The Mega Man series by Capcom has always been one of my favorites when it comes to 8 bit games.
They offer a good level of challenge and that special arcade feeling.
And by "arcade feeling" I don't mean the gameplay, but the difficulty level.

The Mega Man games have always been some of the most challenging ones on the system. It's impossible to beat them without dying dozens of times, even for experienced "gamers" (hate that expression). 
After getting though each stage you get to fight an endboss. After each boss you unlock a new weapon or skill.
There are only 9 Stages (and 9 bosses) in each game. They're that difficult.

The soundtrack is one of the most recognizable ones on the NES.

The series kinda went downhill on the SNES but it's not like there aren't enough games on the NES alone.

If you've got a few hours go try them. I'd recommend to start with Megaman 1, 2 or 3 on the NES.