It's no secret that I'm a really big fan of the Resident Evil franchise. I have been since that first game dropped on PS1 back in the day and blew my little teenage mind. I've been fairly obsessed with the series ever since. Sure, the main series is huge. And I love 1 and 4 so, so much like everyone else. But I'm also a big fan of the oddball side games. For instance Code Veronica and the Revelations games. Heck, I've even been known to praise the PT Anderson movies. Seriously.
Back in my really hardcore GB collection days, I also highly praised Resident Evil Gaiden - a GBC color game that nobody really had much to say about at the time. The story goes that Capcom wanted to actually port the original RE to GBC and it wasn't working out, so they instead hired an outside developer to do so. Apparently, (and according to Unseen64), M4 was working on a Dino Crisis game at the time, and Capcom had them shift the project over to be a new RE game.
The resulting, Resident Evil Gaiden has gone on to gain a bit of a reputation as a bad RE game. And even Capcom themselves have called it non-canon, which - why? I mean, even as a huge fan, who can really keep track of the canon stuff? And how important is the story REALLY? I say this as a guy who bought Umbrella Corps day one, too.
If you're not aware, RE Gaiden is a very, very different RE experience. You walk in an overhead perspective, sort of like classic Metal Gear (the NES game). And when you confront zombies, you switch to a first person perspective where attacks are based on a timed gauge not unlike your average retro golf game. It's... unique. To say the least.
That said, I just dumped two hours into it again after more than a decade, and I'm pleased to say that my memory isn't completely rose tinted. Gamers tend to crap on this one, but honestly, I think it's pretty cool.
First of all, you're playing as Barry. Cool. Second of all, it takes entirely on a boat. Also a cool setting. Third of all, feeling akin to Metal Gear is fine with me. Now, in fairness, evading zombies - which I think is the goal - doesn't work all that well. And frankly, it's hard to know if it really IS the best route anyway, since sometimes they drop important items like keys you need to progress.
The battle system is... not perfect. I'll admit that. But it works. It adds a bit of tension anyway.
But there's cool stuff here. You have three characters to play as (eventually). And the visuals are solid for a GBC game. Truthfully, I find myself leaning into GBC more than ever lately. GB games are great - no doubt. But also very basic visually, which can hurt when I'm playing on my Retron 5. GBA games are also great, as they feel like an extension of the SNES, but - I don't know. GBC games feel like souped up NES games that were still getting released into the year 2000.
Like, in some ways, RE Gaiden feels like a NES Resident Evil game. It's far from perfect, but it's interesting. If anything, this game is the closest the RE series ever got to playing proper tribute to Sweet Home.
Also, the cut scenes are fantastic. Not the dialogue, mind. But the visuals are great. The weird biological zombie mutant weapon thing you're hunting? He's got this crazy Lovecraft thing going on, and it's all presented in glorious NES inspired cut scenes. I like it.
Currently, I've gained Lucia as a second character, and I'm trying to find Leon. And I'm having a good time. So I still stand by recommendation that this is a slept on RE game. Not perfect, but slept on.
In that way, it reminds me a lot of the Revelations games. Not AS GOOD - so don't misquote me. But I do feel like the two Revelations were released with little fanfare and kind of slid under the radar, even though they were excellent games. Also, the first Revelations takes place on a boat, which makes it feel like a throwback to this one.
After putting in another hour or so, I've made more progress here. I have Leon in my party, which is cool since, y'know, he's the dude actually on the box art.
But here's the tricky part - this is an old school RE game in heart. Meaning, while it is certainly more linear that your early numbered RE's, it is still very limited on both ammo and healing items. This can be a real problem given that it seems like zombies keep regenerating, and they're tough to avoid often.
So now I've put myself in a tough spot. Or, I've put my save in a tough spot. I've picked up some decent weapons and all, but I'm just straight up outnumbered. It's hard to get to where I need to go next while avoiding confrontation. "Running" away from a battle is also achieved via the rhythm mini game thing as shooting is, only it seems harder to pull off. And no matter what doors I peer through, I seem to find that I've already picked up the ammo/herbs in each room, though there ARE more zombies to attack me.
I still hold by all my defenses of this game. I think it's unfairly maligned. Or at least I think it's way better and more intersting than it's given credit for. That said, I think it also kind of needs to be played with a walkthrough so you at least know which rooms can be avoided because there's nothing worth finding in them, thus, the zombie attack inside isn't worth it.
Over a decade ago now, I was huge into Game Boy collecting. Like, the sole focus of my video game collection was GB, GBC, and GBA. I bought some Gamecube games, too - sure. But GB was what I really cared about. At a time - I was insane - and was attempting to collect a full set of GB, GBC, and GBA games. The caveat being, I was going for loose cart US copies, to help the financial blow. But still. This was an insane endeavor that amounted to thousands of cartridges and who knows what percentage of them were really worth playing. Around the time I finally got rid of the collecting bug, I had amassed HUNDREDS of little carts. Not that I regret a thing. I played and discovered so many unique games during that time. And really, I learned a heck of a lot. I dare say that my GB knowledge is way way up there, even if it's not really my focus today.
Having said all that - outside of the stupid US full set collecting, there were plenty of imports I was interested in. And even way back then, Magical Chase was on my radar. If anything, it was a bit of a GB holy grail. If you don't know, Magical Chase was a highly regarded Turbo Grafix 16 shmup. One about a little witch. It was cute and colorful. It was a highlight of the system. It was also released in small batches - both in Japan where the PCE did well, and in the US where the TG16 did not. Thus, it was a high priced item on the afermarket. The game was later ported to the GBC in 2000, but only in Japan. And it was a technoligical marvel. Yep, it was an honest to goodness SOLID port of a TG16 on GBC. And it was a solid shmup on GBC. So you should know that it was always pricey for GBC collectors.
For many years, I resigned myself to the idea that I'd never own this one. But I'll be honest here. I'm no longer a video game "collector." I'm a guy that strongly appreciates VG history, but I don't care about having this amazing collection to show off. I don't care about CIB, or sealed, or graded games. I only care about getting a chance to play some games that interest me. Which is why when I stumbled upon a CLEARLY bootleg copy of Magical Chase for less than $20 I didn't even think twice. Yup, it's on a gaudy yellow cartridge to make sure you know it's not the real deal. And yeah, the PCB is a little wobbly in there, so I had to re-insert the cart numerous times before my Retron 5 console even recognized it. But dudes. I "own" a copy of Magical Chase. I don't care about the authenticy on a prohibitively priced import ($360 for a legit used cart on eBay as I type this), I'm just hyped that I'm playing a cartridge of it at all.
The "witch shmup" sub-genre is something that seems to intrigue me. I was a fan of Cotton and Castle Of Shikigami and Deathsmiles. So I mean, Magical Chase is a no brainer. If nothing else, Magical Chase seems like a Cotton rip-off. But not in a bad way. Maybe it's more of a tribute. Just more candy colored.
Anyway, I've been playing it tonight on a nice big screen and with a SNES controller, and I'm into it. It looks good. It plays good. It sounds good. The neat thing is that shops pop up and you can purchase weapon upgrades, or replenish health or whatever. I've been experimeting with different weapons, and it's cool and seems to add depth.
The levels are disarming. They look so bright and fun, yet this game is actually pretty challenging. Part of it comes from the size of your sprite, though, making it tough to dodge some projectiles. Plus, your shots can blend in with enemy fire. Not really uncommon for a GB shmup.
But yeah, this is a cool game. I made it up to the boss of Stage 4 (out of 6?) so far. And the boss battles are cool and well animated. Look, I'm impressed by this one. It's such a cool collectible. Even if I don't have the real deal, I feel like I added a cool title to my own little rag tag collection.
I've had such a weird history with the Megami Tensei series. I know they're uber popular games - both in Japan as a whole, and in the USA in a more cultish way. But the way I've dipped my toe into the series over the past decade plus has been odd, I guess.
The first game I played was actually Demikids. This was a GBA spin-off game that took the demon fusing and made it into a kind of darker Pokemon. This was back when I was heavily into collecting GB/GBC/GBA games around 2009-2011. Around that same time I picked up Revelations: The Demon Slayer on GBC as well, though to be honest, I really don't even remember it much outside of being a kind of Dragon Quest knock-off.
Then I remember that not long after that we got some huge storm, and we lost power for a day or two, and for some reason I had downloaded a fan translation of Persona 2 (the half that wasn't localized) and played that on my PSP for a while. Then - and I know this isn't TECHNICALLY an SMT game - I got obsessed with Catherine, and played that one on 360. I was kind of all over the place back then.
And then finally, my totally real-deal introduction to SMT proper would have been the release of Shin Megami Tensei IV. I don't know what it was about this game, but I was so intrigued by it that it's what finally tipped me into buying a 3DS. I bought the game, along with the system right after we bought our first home. And I have some VERY fond memories of sitting on our new front porch, drinking coffee on the weekend, while playing SMT IV. I loved that game a lot. It's one of my top 3DS games.
Since then, I've gone thru many phases. Be it Sega stuff or PC gaming or Xbox... but for the past 3 years or so now I've kind of full-circled, and been in a place where every console I own is Nintendo. As such, I've missed out on stuff like the last few mainline Persona games. I guess that's why I thought it was so interesting when it was announced that Shin Megami Tensei III was being ported to Switch. This was a game last seen on PS2.
Oh, and SMT V is coming to Switch, too. Plus there was a hack-n-slash sequel to Persona 5. So I guess Atlas is seeing the virtues of the Switch platform.
Anyway, I'm just a couple hours into SMT III right now, but man, it's kind of great. In my short time playing I've seen a (predictable) apocalypse; had a giant demon manta ray tell me to F off; met a demon with what looked like a chili pepper for genitals; explored an underground shopping mall; recruited a demon that looks like a squid; and so on.
The PS2 (and GCN/XB) era can be kind of rough to revisit at times. My recent throwback to Super Mario Sunshine is a good example. But wow. SMT III is solid, still, all these years later. It's unique and kind of messed up and has great visuals and great music. More importantly, it shows that the tone of the SMT games has been a thing for a long time. Long before I was hooked on SMT IV.
So yeah. I'm having a good time here.
I'm several hours into SMT3 now, and my thoughts are a bit conflicted. They lean towards the good, for sure. But...
Look, the game is pretty awesome. As far as SMT games (that I've played go), this is certainly solid. I do think I enjoyed IV more, but it's close-ish. The tone, the setting, the visuals, the music - all of this draws me in. The talking to demons is cool. The fusion of demons is cool. The battle system is great. By all accounts, this is a top notch RPG.
My issue is MY issue. And it's one I've repeated numerous times over the past couple years. I'm a dad. My child is a toddler. My gaming time is not what it used to be. So an RPG that does SO LITTLE hand-holding is daunting to me. Which is to say, I keep thinking about Dragon Quest XI. That's a perfect RPG in my mind. It does a great job of mixing a story, a battle system, and a motivation. On the flip, SMT3 constantly has me wondering WHERE I'm supposed to go next.
I'm getting a little tired of cruising around an overwold map wondering where my step should be. A little tired of traversing the same cities because I'm not sure if I missed something important. It's all kind of frustrating. Like, the core elements of this game are so good, but the flow of the journey is at times baffling to me.
I guess I could use a walkthrough. Maybe I will. But I'm not sure I feel like it right now. I think maybe I'm gonna play something else. Something a little less intense. And then maybe circle back to this one. I do like it - I really do - it's just flawed in its game design, which - to be fair - is also a bit of a flaw of its time. But also, SMT games aren't really for the casual. And sadly, right now, I'm a bit casual.
I actually wrote a big long thing about Pokemon Unite - the game I've been playing a lot of this week - but somehow I lost that post. Ugh. I don't feel like re-typing everything again. So I'll get to that one later. But moving on...
Castlevania 64 has always been a divisive one, no doubt. In fact, it's not even titled "64," it's just called "Castlevania" but that's dumb. The same way that every reboot movie now just retains the original title. Sometimes multiple times.
So let's get a few things out of the way here. For one thing, I'm a huge Castlevania fan. Like that's one of my all time favorite series - and this dates way back to the late 80's when I got hooked on the original trilogy on NES. So I suppose it's safe to say that I'm a bit forgiving on the series.
Another thing I need to remind you of is that I was NOT really a fan of the N64 until just a couple years ago. And I mean, I've done a legit 180 on this one. After owning and loving a NES, GB, and SNES back in the day, the N64 was the first Nintendo console I straight up skipped. My buddy Garrett had one, and exposed me to some big hitters, but Mario Kart 64 was the only one I really enjoyed.
That said, I missed MANY games on that platform, and a prime one was Castlevania 64 (along with its psuedo-sequel/expansion, Legacy Of Darkness). This meant that when I finally picked up a N64, Castlevania was one of the first games I grabbed for it. Yet, for some reason it's taken me a couple of years to actually pop the damn cart in and check it out. Huh.
So here we are. I'm FINALLY checking out this divisive game. A game that SOME Castlevania fans despise, while others claim is a hidden gem that's unfairly derided. And so what do I think? I guess I think it's somewhere between those two extremes. Or a little bit of both.
Look, these early 3D games are always going to be clunky if you're experiencing for the first time now. The camera sucks. The z-targetting feels weird. Doing simple things like lining up a ranged attack or platforming is a crap shoot. It is what it is.
Also, Castlevania as a series has never done that well in 3D in my mind. I did play one of those PS2/Xbox era games and, meh. I also played one of the Lords Of Shadow games, and while it was better, it wasn't a great CASTLEVANIA game. So I don't know.
Castlevania 64 has some good stuff going for it. It does have a pretty good atmosphere to it actually. Like, it retains a very quality gothic feel. In that way, it works as a decent throwback to the NES games. Granted, it's kind of ugly for a 1999 N64 game. I wish it had taken advantage of the expansion pak - which I don't think it does. Wait, I'm gonna actually google that cuz I actually care enough to know for sure. Hang on... NOPE. Turns out that Legacy Of Darkness DOES use it to up the resolution, but at the expense of the framerate. So eh.
Anyway, I tried playing as both characters. Reinhardt is your basic BELMONT. He's got a whip. He's fine. Carrie on the other hand is way cooler. She has a homing ranged attack, and cool razor hoop thingy melee attack. I like her. Though, of course, she feels less classic-vania.
The controls ARE clunky, though. And part of that is probably due to my lack of N64 nostalgia. I've been using a classic stock wired controller, and it feels rough on this one. I need to pick up one of those Brawler 64 pads, I think. I feel like that would help modernize the feel of N64 games for me. I do have a Hyperkin wireless pad, but I don't know. It feels a bit cheap/light, and it's always in need of a recharge.
I'm so so rambling here. But it's probably because I can't figure out quite how I feel on this one. I played for like two hours and... well, I was impressed at certain things. The tone of the game is good. And I like that it uses actual levels - again a bit of a classic NES throwback. But my big issue here is that the game heavily relies on platforming and N64 3D platforming is just not great for me. It feels very much like this game is a failure for me, as a gamer. And yet, I WANT to like it and see the good things in it. I'm just dying so much because of stupid platforming issues and it's frustrating me and making it hard for me to push on.
So that's where I'm at. I kind of don't like it enough to keep going. Yet, as a Castlevania fan there's things here that I like and feel like I want to hang on to the cart. I guess I'd put it in the sort of mediocre tier of CV games. For whatever that's worth, because I still think a just-okay CV game is better than something else. Or whatever.
For every game like Slay The Spire or Mini Metro (both brilliant games) that I find thru Metacritic, there's another Fez and Gunman Clive. Which is to say, games that I understand why they might appeal to someone - but such high praises? Eh, they just don't really click with me. At all.
I downloaded Gunman Clive while perusing Metacritic last week and realizing the HD collection was only like $2 on the Switch eShop. But after playing for an hour or so, I just... stopped. Do you ever feel like you're playing a game because it's well regarded, but not because you actually want to play it? Maybe you don't. Maybe you're not insane like me. But that's where I was at.
Look, Gunman Clive is a good looking game and has some neat ambient music. It pulls from its inspirations for sure. But I don't know. Sometimes I get to a point where I'm like, how many of these kinds of retro throwbacks can I play before I stop enjoying them?
A good example is Shovel Knight. Or Shantae even. These are games that I KNOW where they came from. I get the DNA. And I do enjoy them. This one, though? I don't know. It's got that neat sepia tone thing going on. And it looks legit hand-drawn. I like that. But I started to feel like okay, here's the Mega Man part, here's the VVVVVV part, here's the Super Meat Boy part, and so on.
Nothing felt particularly unique to me. Just bits and pieces of games I already like. Mixed with bits and pieces of games I already don't like.
This is the chain of events as I remember them...
1987, Christmas - I receive a NES at my dad's house.
1989, Christmas - I receive a Game Boy at my dad's house.
1989, Summer - We get a NES at my mom's house.
I'm almost certain that my mom got me a NES for her house because I had showed her Tetris on my GB and she was hooked. The NES meant she could play Tetris. Plus, my Nintendo Power subscription came with a free copy of Dragon Quest, so now we had two games. Plus, the console came with Super Mario Bros, so three really. And our fourth game? Vegas Dreams.
I have no idea where that one came from or why we had it. But if I had to guess - my stepfather a the time probably wanted it. I mean, a casino simulator? In a house with three kids under 10? Maybe not the wisest choice. But whatever. It was the late 80's. Things were different back then.
At any rate, we all played Vegas Dreams. A lot. It was neat. There was gambling and bits of what we'd now call visual novel stuff thrown in. I mean, brief. It boiled down to making quick decisions to lend money or not, but it was an interesting game.
Developed by HAL Labs, Vegas Dreams was a bit more than your standard table game simulator. It had an actual plot. And a goal - like a legit win condition. It was cool.
Vegas Stakes is the sequel on SNES, and it feels more like a deluxe revision of the original game rather than a true sequel. All the original stuff is there, but it feels bigger. There's more casinos. There's friends that hang out with you. It's not super deep, but it's fun as heck.
I've spent most of the past week losing money in Vegas Stakes. I've restarted my game five or six times because I'm not good. The one night I spent in a real casino (my brother's bachelor party - so yeah, I guess Vegas Dreams totally debased him), I spent the ENTIRE night at the blackjack table. Well, Vegas Stakes is the same deal mostly.
I don't like pure games of chance. So craps, roulette and slots mean nothing to me. But blackjack? I'm in. I once played Red Dead Redemption, and the majority of my time with that game was playing blackjack.
This week I've been dabbling with poker, too. Which meant finally learning how to play poker. I'm 40 years old. This is embarrassing . But I think I get it, and I'm horrible. At any rate, it's been fun spending a week at a virtual casino. I'm going home broke - I've lost the $1,000 I came in with. But I had a good time. Oh, and the actual SNES cart only cost me $2. Not bad.
If I were to try and make a list of Top 10 NES games of all time... I'd probably agonize over it for weeks, then finally proclaim said list, only to immediately feel like I botched it. BUT, my point is this - if I were to hypothetically make such a list, Maniac Mansion would without doubt be on that list. This game just means so much to me. It was my introduction to the point-n-click adventure game genre. An introduction I had a pretty young age. And as such, it remains my measuring stick for any game in the genre.
Over the years, I've played the PC game and its fan remake. I've played Day Of The Tentacle. And I've played MANY other adventure games (including my beloved Secret Of Monkey Island, which... why isn't that on Switch yet?). I'm definitely a fan of the genre.
There were definitely concessions made to get Maniac Mansion on the NES. I'm talking hardware restrictions; input restrictions; and well, Nintendo of America's strict content guidelines back in the day. Yet, FOR ME, this is the definitive version for no other reason than it's the version I first played and fell in love with.
After a tough week at work, and while dealing with some pretty big home projects, I really needed some kind of comfort food game to plop down with. So... here we are. Revisiting the Edison mansion for the umpteenth time. I fired the game up not with the intention of like BEATING it so much as to just have the comfort of messing around in a game world I adore.
So I just kind of did that - messed around for a couple of hours. Reminding myself of all the cool little details. Watching the "Mark Eteer" TV commercial, chatting up the tentacles, and so on. Everything about this game remains brilliant. Though it didn't hit the NES until 1990, it was first released on PC's in 1987. And it's just so ahead of its time with the various cut-scenes and interesting characters and all the fun little things you can discover.
I don't need to beat this game right now. I've done that before - many times. All I needed was to relax and remind myself why this game rules so much. And I've done that.
I've never really been interested in the Saints Row games. To me, they always looked like GTA knock-offs. Not that that's a bad thing. I mean, I absolutely loved GTA5 on Xbox One. I played so many hours of that game. I explored and screwed around with it for weeks, eventually playing through the campaign when I was finally ready to stick to the story. It was great.
But alas, I no longer have my Xbox One. And we don't have GTA5 on Switch. Of course Rockstar and Nintendo haven't had the best relationship. They did port LA Noire to Switch, though I don't think it sold like hotcakes. And GTA5 and MGSV are left to be my two big Switch wish-list ports.
But I recently read through the book Wrestling With Pixels, which brought up an interesting story about Hulk Hogan playing a key role in Saints Row: The Third. Apparently, he plays a wrestler of bygone years - not unlike himself in real life. It sounded intriguing. And to be honest, this one was always on my back-back-burner, given that CheapyD is in it, and I've been a faithful listener of the CAGcast for well over decade now.
I've had a busy work week, though. I was on vacation last week, so now I'm playing catch-up, which means working after my daughter goes to bed, and cramming in some gaming before bed. Or rather, staying up later than I should so that I'm dragging the next day. But whatever.
So anyway, I'm only a couple hours into Saints Row: The Third, but I'm having a good time.
The opening mission was manic. It involved a bank heist gone wrong, lots of shooting, and dangling from a helicopter. Then I made my character, which I basically just modeled after my wife, because I'd prefer to look at a cute redhead when I'm mindlessly jacking cars and shooting waves of dudes.
The next mission was insane with literally free-falling from airplane to airplane. I can't even explain.
Then I went off and explored this city. And... it's good. It's not GTA5 good. It feels like a more budget version of Rockstar's world. But as the only option I have on Switch... I'm good with it. I've done a few missions, robbed some cars, went aimlessly driving, participated in a Hunger Games style gameshow, upgraded my skills, called CheapyD and just overall screwed around. Not unlike my time with GTA5.
So far, this game shows promise.
I've done a lot of weird stuff in this game. I've used tanks to rack up as much damage as I could in this city. I've fought along side a giant naked man. I've broken into an S&M club. It's like... grand thefting autos is pretty small potatoes here.
Look, Saints Row pretty much is a parody of GTA. It doesn't take itself even remotely seriously. It's dumb, sure. But it's dumb FUN for sure. It's like, even if this game is one big joke, the player is certainly in on the joke. Heck, you don't even name your charter. Instead, she's just referred to as Playa (or sometimes, "the boss"). It's all pretty self-aware, and I can dig that.
I realize this is broken record stuff, but if GTA5 was on Switch, I'd be playing that and probably wouldn't bother with Saints Row. But given that Saints Row is my only outlet for this kind of stupid open world on Switch, I have to say, it's a perfectly fine alternative. It's well made, idiotic, and completely insane. I'm treating it like a gaming sorbet, which is sometimes necessary. We don't always have the mental ability to play classic after classic. And as long as the sorbet is fun, then why not?
For a pretty long time I've been a defender of the Wii in the realm of "hardcore gaming." I mean, yeah, it was full of low quality shovel wear and waggle crap. But it also housed some incredidlbe games like Castle Of Shikigami III and Tatsunoko Vs Capcom. It was the first console of that generation that I bought. And though I had many fun memories with my PS3 and 360 later, it's the Wii that's remained THEE most played console for co-op in my household.
My wife and I bought it as our anniversary gift for our anniversary in 2009. And in 2021, it's the only console I can say has been continually plugged in for over a decade now. My wife and I STILL play House Of The Dead 2 on it from time to time, which is notable only because it was part of the original batch of games that we bought with the system. Insane.
That said - and as big a Zelda fan as I am - I completely skipped Skyward Sword because I had no interest in playing a motion controlled Zelda game. Too gimmicky. It's the same reason I skipped the two DS stylus Zelda games. Ugh.
So when it was announced that Skyward Sword was coming to the Switch with new "button controls," I was interested. Here's a new (to me) Zelda game. And the reviews were through the roof. I was on summer vacation last week, so I grabbed SS at Best Buy and I was legit excited to give it a go.
After four or five hours I regret to report that I think my original hunch was right. I don't care what the reviews all say, this is a low-tier Zelda game to me. And honestly, it's a series I love SO much, that I'm probably harsher on it than most series.
Let's talk about these new button controls. They're not quite that. At all. Instead, the right stick is your sword. So you're still doing motions. And now you have to hold the left trigger to get the camera to work. It's all so clumsy. That and this game was made for Wii remotes, so even emulating the motions on an analog stick just isn't right. I've bumbled around for hours hoping that combat would feel good, but all I keep thinking is that if I could just hit A BUTTON it'd be so much simpler than this.
Then there's the flow of the game. People say these are the best dungeons in the series, but I don't see it. I've only done one - granted. But I feel like the time I spent just getting there was just a snore-fest of slowwwwwww crap that equates to like a three hour tutorial. If you like fetch quests, have I got a game for you!
Listen, I understand why this game was re-released. At least I think so. It was hinted that BOTW2 takes place "above Hyrule," so I think this game will fill in some gaps for players who missed it. But I mean, we had BOTW, and the amazing remake of Link's Awakening on Switch. Even Age Of Calamity was interesting - story-wise. But this? No.
The other thing is that the game is straight ugly. I HATE the look of this game. The gross uncanny valley of kinda realistic 3D models but with weird cell-shaded faces with lumpy noses and missing features. It just looks so jarring to me.
Try as I might, I'm struggling to find good things to say about this one. And I mean, I DID try. I was excited. I wanted to like this. I wanted to finally play through it with a Pro Controller. But it's just bad to me.
And take all this with a grain of salt. I'm also not a fan of Ocarina Of Time, or even Okami, so probably I have bad taste in the general view of most gamers. So whatever.
1993. I was twelve years old, and my family had a fancy Windows based 386 computer in our house. Which seems weird thinking back, because my mom wasn't the wealthiest. But here we were with AOL. It was incredible. And trying to retrace the steps, I think it's because my step-dad worked at Circuit City at the time and probably had an awesome discount.
In 1993, shareware was a big deal if you had a PC. I played all kinds of stuff because of these cheap/free disks. (Who remembers Jazz Jackrabbit?) But Doom wasn't even the first FPS I got into. Nope. That would have been Wolfenstein 3D. And yet Doom is the one that hangs on as super important in gamer history. And for good reason.
I vividly remember staying over my friend Phil's house one time in 1994 and him showing me Doom deathmatches. It was crazy. He was playing a game ONLINE. Like, against friends at their houses. On the internet! THE FUTURE WAS HERE!
In the many years since - god, I'm old - Doom has remained a true classic. Yes, the FPS has been refined over the years in many ways. Namely, vertical aiming. And better maps. And stories. And so on. But yet, NOTHING needs to be fixed in Doom. It is perfect the way it is the same way you couldn't really improve upon Super Mario Bros or Tetris. Even if you can refine it (Super Mario World, Tetris 99), the original is still perfectly crystalized the way it is.
Doom was ported to Switch via the eShop a while back - which is part of a long, LONG lineage of ports. Doom has literally been on EVERYTHING from SNES to GBA to smartphones and smart-thermostats. And at this point - outside of my family's old Dell 386 - I don't know if there's even a preferred way to play Doom anymore. But this Switch port is solid.
One thing I'm really impressed with is the inclusion of (official) WADs. If you didn't grow up on the cutting edge, or didn't read Masters Of Doom, or live under a rock, WADs are user made levels/campaigns. Some are their own new legit fan-games. But the ones offered here - for free in a $5 downloadable game - are totally welcome. Like, there's Sigil which is an honest go goodness Episode 5 just finally released in 2019, which is insane and awesome.
Anyway, I played through Episode 1 this week, which is really important to me. Episode 1 is the original shareware release. IE, it's the game as I knew it 1993. I've played it many times on many platforms in the years since, and those opening levels are just really iconic to me (and millions). This game is still brilliant all these years later.
The level design is well thought out. The sound design in insane. Those sound effects are the stuff of legend and can still creep me out and make me feel anxious. The speed is intense. The guns are satisfying. Doom is an unmistakable classic with a kind of crazy history of sequels - both good and bad.
But I love that Doom exists on Switch. I love that all the levels are here in their insane glory. This is the better way to play on a Nintendo system - sorry SNES and GBA. The included WADs add so much value to an already overly cheap point of purchase.
I'd say that Doom is recommended, but you really don't need me to recommend it.