Thursday, 25 August 2011

NES-Bit.com



For my latest post I want to give a shout out to NES-Bit.com and heap some praise on it's owner/admin Lorfarius.

For those not in the know NES-Bit is a UK site dedicated to anything and everything related to the Nintendo Entertainment System and the PAL games and peripherials that were released for the system over the years.

Lorfarius has put a lot of love and care into the site and you can read here (http://www.nes-bit.com/?p=3223) as to why he has a passion for the NES and why he set up the site.

Going through the site you will find the following:
  • Database
  • Articles
  • Reviews
  • Magazines
  • NES Maintenance
  • Forum
The maintenance section is good for beginners to the NES as it covers cartridge cleaning (which is a lot more technical than blowing into the cartridge) and how to replace 72 pin adaptor which is a very useful guide.

The magazine section is a particular favourite of mine as it covers a few magazines that I used to read when growing up all those years ago including the likes of Nintendo Magazine System, N-Force and coming soon one of my all time favourite magazines, Total! It also features the Nintendo Official Sticker Album which I had completely forgotten about until reminded by the site.


Finally NES-Bit is about to launch a magazine and is currently looking for writers. The previews look gorgeous and if you are interested in writing for them take a look here (http://www.nes-bit.com/NesBitForum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=343) and drop them a line.

So let's here it for NES-Bit.com and three cheers for Lorfarius.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

What I've finished - July 2011

Peter Jackson's King Kong - GameCube
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga - DS

Just the two games completed this month, one of them never played before and the other played numerous times previously.

King Kong I picked up cheap on a whim from a charity shop and turns out that it's actually quite an enjoyable game. It's an FPS game and whilst on the surface you go around blasting dinosaurs you have to be very careful with your ammo as you can find it running out quite quickly, especially with the stronger weapons. As you go through the levels there are a lot of sticks/spears and bones that can be picked up and used as weapons and you spend a lot of the game deciding when would be best to use the spears and when would be best to use ammo.

As for Lego Star Wars, this is a game that I've now completed three or four times and each time I go for 100%. I just find it really enjoyable and it's a game that can be played in short bursts so you can dedicate as much or as little time you want to completing it.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The end of celebrating

So yesterdays post was the last one to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Metroid series.

Hope you enjoyed.

Friday, 12 August 2011

The games of Metroid

Back in 1986 the world was first introduced to Samus Aran in the first Metroid game released on the NES. Along with Samus characters introduced that are still known and used today included Kraid, Ridley, Mother Brain and the Space Pirates with the game being set on the Planet Zebes.

Also introduced were the Morph Ball (allowing Samus to curl into a moving ball), the bomb attack and the screw attack, all still used in the series today.

The game was a 2D scroller but with a difference being that you could move either left or right to allow for backtracking to collect upgrades for weapons and the suit that Samus wore. This allowed for deep exploration for gamers who wanted to find everything but the game also allowed for people to run through and even encouraged this by giving different endings based on the speed in which the game was completed.

It would be another five years before a sequel was released and in 1991 Metroid II: Return of Samus was released for the Game Boy. Similar in style and plot as the first Metroid game the sequel was set on SR388 and introduced the Spazer Laser Beam and the Plasma Beam and also the Space Jump, again all still used to this day.

There was one slight change to the game play in that fact that to progress down through the planet you had a set number of Metroids that needed to be killed in each section. This allowed for lava levels to decrease allowing for Samus to proceed.

The ending of Metroid II continued into the storyline of Super Metroid which was released on the Super Nintendo in 1994. Again similar in game play to the first two games Super Metroid did introduce for the first time the ability to walk backwards whilst firing and also the ability to combine weapons.

Set again on the planet Zebes, Samus again encounters Ridley and Mother Brain in the search for the Metroid that was hatched at the end of the second game.

Despite being a critical success it was another eight years before the next Metroid game was released when not one but two games were released. In 2002 Metroid Fusion was released on the Game Boy Advance and Metroid Prime was released on the GameCube.

Metroid Fusion was slightly different to it's predecessors in that the game was more linear due to a concentration on story. The game was set on SR388 and introduced the X parasite which infects Samus's suit to transform into the SA-X that is a mimic of Samus.

Metroid Prime was the first game to appear in 3D and bar when in Morph Ball mode was entirely set in first-person mode. The view was through Samus's visor which could be changed to allow for scanning mode (a very important part of the game), thermal imaging mode and X-ray vision mode.

This time round the game was set on Tallon IV and involved and despite the change from 2D to 3D the style and game play remained the same with appearances from Ridley and the Space Pirates. New elements were introduced including the Phazon and the introduction of Dark Samus who would return in the second and third parts of the Prime trilogy.

Both games had extra features that could be unlocked if linked together via the Cube-GBA cable. In Fusion the original Metroid game could be unlocked to play and after completing Prime the suit from Fusion could be used.

Fusion and Zero Mission could also be linked to unlock a Fusion picture gallery.

Just two years later in 2004 the Game Boy Advance and the GameCube again both had games released for the systems, this time in the form of Metroid: Zero Mission and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

Metroid: Zero Mission was an enhanced remake of the very first game, this time adding a new story for the development for Samus and also adding new items, areas and bosses that were not included in the original. It was also the first Metroid game to introduce the ability to select a difficulty at the beginning of the game.

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes was the middle part of the Prime trilogy and completely overhauled the story and characters from previous games. This time round the game was set around two parallel dimensions, the Light Aether and the Dark Aether. The Dark Aether caused damage to Samus's suit requiring for the player to find safe zones for health to be regained.

The game was also the first and to introduce a multiplayer mode where up to four players to engage in combat.

Just a year later in 2005 the Nintendo DS received it's first Metroid game in the form on Metroid Prime Pinball which condensed the storyline of Metroid Prime into a pinball game. The game had six pinball tables inspired by areas from the original game and each table had a boss that needed to be defeated to be able to progress.

Like Echoes the game had a multiplayer mode where up to eight players to compete against each other in a race to reach a target score.

In 2006 the DS received it's second Metroid game in the form of Metroid Prime Hunters which like the GameCube games was set in the first-person mode. Again like Echoes the story was changed to introduced new areas and enemies and included six other Bounty Hunters that would team up with Samus near the end of the game.

These Bounty Hunters could also be controlled in the multiplayer mode with each one having unique weapons and forms.

In 2007 the final game in the Prime trilogy was released for the Wii. Titled Metroid Prime 3: Corruption the story continued from Echoes with the main protagonist again being Dark Samus who has corrupeted Samus with dark Phazon. This allows for Samus to enter into hypermode which allows for temprary invincibility and powerful attacks with the downside that health is very quickly drained with the end result being death if not switched off quickly enough.

In 2009 the Prime trilogy was released all on one disc for the Wii. This allowed for tweaks to be made for each game including loading times, upgraded textures, altered visual effects and for Echoes difficulty for bossed to be lowered allowing for beginners to enjoy the game.

One year later in 2010 the latest Metroid game to be released came out on the Wii. Metroid: Other M was the first game to involve Samus having speech and delved very deeply into her background with Adam Malkovich. Other M was also the first Metroid game where enemies do not drop ammo or health, the player has to shake the Wii remote or enter a navigation booth to replenish both items.

The game also features a switch from first-person mode to third-person mode by alternating the way the remote was held, both modes are required to be used to complete the game with some areas requring to switch between the two to be able to progress.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The missing Metroid game

Throughout 2005 and 2006 there were announcements, rumours, release dates, denials and reports of cancellations regarding a new 2D side-scroller Metroid game released for the Nintendo DS titled Metroid Dread. A game still yet to appear, if it ever will.

That was all it was though, rumours. Magazines and websites would release announcements regarding the mysterious game with no substantial evidence to back up the fact that the game even existed in any shape or form. The game allegedly was to be shown at E3 2005, 2006 and 2007 but obviously never appeared at any of the events.

After the game failed to materialise yet again at E3 2007 the game seemed dead and buried, that was until Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was released on the Wii. When in scan mode a terminal could be scanned that brought up the message; Experiment status report update. Metroid Project "Dread" is nearing the final stages of completion.

Due to this Nintendo denied that the game was in existence in any shape or form and that they were not making a 2D Metroid game at that time.

Since then Yoshio Sakamoto (one of the original games character designers and Director of all internally produced Metroid games) has been asked numerous times about information regarding the game and has always said that there were no plans to release the game soon, giving small indications that Metroid Dread did indeed exist.


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

A great moment from the Metroid series

Normally I would go for game play when selecting great moments but this time round I've gone for a cut scene and a recent one at that.

The moment is the Other M version of the ending of Super Metroid as it took a great battle and pulled it stunningly into this generation of consoles.

Even though the pictures don't really do it justice you can get the gist of the differences.



Seeing the ending of one of my all time favourite games re-done sixteen years later, three generations of consoles later was absolutley briliant which is why it was chosen as a great moment.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Why I love the Metroid series

Atmosphere, a key word when people talk about the Metroid series, but the game offer so much more than that.

My first experience with the Metroid series was my favourite game Super Metroid and what a great experience it was. It had the aforementioned atmosphere, great graphics and sound and the most important thing, great game play. The really great thing about the game was the fact that anyone could pick up and play it, not really a gamer and just want to run through it? Fair enough. An experience gamer who wants to hunt down everything? Go for it. The backtracking to collect items to upgrade your missiles and suit was absolutely brilliant and instead of feeling boring and repetitive really added depth to the game and the bosses, the bosses were just great and each one was so different to the other.

But enough about Super Metroid, although it did get me into the series one game doesn't make a franchise and luckily the rest of the games that I have managed to sit down and finish have been just as enjoyable. The two GBA games Zero Mission and Fusion are brilliant additions to the series and are held in high esteem by fans and non-fans alike. If you can find copies at cheap/reasonable prices they are definitely worth buying. One really good thing about them is that though the basic formula is the same as Super Metroid the games are quite different and a lot easier in difficulty which is good for when you just want to play the handheld for short bursts.

Like the Zelda series the move into 3D added whole new layers to the Metroid games with the Prime trilogy and Other M adding new depths to the games with scanning your environment and a new control scheme to allow swapping between 2D and 3D. Other M even added speech for Samus and a background to the hardened Bounty Hunter.

Like the Zelda series the main reason that I love the Metroid series so much is because I just want to go back and play the games over and over, that and the atmosphere.


Monday, 8 August 2011

Why you should play....


So, Metroid Other M, a bit of an odd choice for why you should play, what with it only being released last year. I suppose really I should have gone for Zero Mission or Fuison or Prime but I feel that Other M gets a bit of an unfair kicking which is why I selected it for this post.

Yes, by all means Other M is not a perfect game and it does has its faults but it's far from the bad game that people make it out to be.

I'll get what I would consider the faults out of the way first which for me are not that many. I'll start with what tends to get the biggest criticism which is the story. The graphics are gorgeous for the cut scenes but unfortunately the majority of the back story in which the cut scenes are based around are to put to it bluntly a bit ridiculous. It's one thing to give Samus a back story but to give her one that basically turns her into a petulant whiny love struck teenager is a step too far. This is the mysterious, lonesome, hard-hitting bounty hunter that we have known for nine games previously. It's like if someone made a back story to Darth Vader that showed hime to be a whiny, petulant love struck teenager.......

Another 'fault' for me is also related to the story which is that Samus switches off all of her weapons at the beginning of the game as one of the characters deems them to be too dangerous and will only allow her to activate them if she obeys every command. Again it just seems to go against everything that Samus is and unlike Prime which had an explosion to knock out her suit and weapons just seems like a very lame way to go about it.

The final thing I have to say about the 'faults' and this one will be on more of a personal level is that the game is a bit too easy for my liking, partly due to the fact that there are a lot more save points then previous games and also you don't need to kill enemies to collect missiles and energy as shaking the Wii remote will refill both. This however is rectified if you collect all 100% of the missiles etc as you open up a harder version of the game which is a lot harder as the collectables are removed meaning that you pretty much play the entire game with what you started with, fine by me.

But enough about that, the post is called why you should play, not why you shouldn't play and the main reason is because once you look past all of the above Other M is actually a really good game and is definitely worth playing.

Lots of people criticise the game for the control scheme as to switch between first-person and third-person mode you need to swap the way that you hold the Wii remote and also in first-person mode Samus does not move meaning that you are more vunerable to being hit. Well in all honesty this didn't cause any problem at all for me and for people to criticise and talk negatively about the game because of it is just absolutely ridiculous in my opinion. It's defnitely not a reason to not play the game.

If you can handle the control scheme what you will find is a fast paced, enjoyable and fun game that is worth taking the time to play. The graphics in both the game play and cut scenes are brilliant, the sound is great, the melee attacks add a new element to the series as does the switching between first and third-person mode which is great when fighting the bosses (which as per usual are interesting and great to fight.

Metroid: Other M whilst not the best game in the series is definitely a worthy entry so ignore the criticisms, pick it up for cheap and be prepared for a thoroughly enjoyable game. Any game that recreates the ending of Super Metroid is definitely worth a play.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

My favourite Metroid game


Super Metroid


The Metroid games are great, but for me Super Metroid has just never been beaten. There is no single reason why it's a superb game, it's atmospheric, has great music and graphics and most importantly excellent game play. It just has everything that adds up to make it a great gaming experience.