The Rob Blanc Trilogy – In space, I don’t know where to go…

space squid

I’ve always been fascinated with space in general, since probably the early age of Me being two or three years old. It was around that time for sure, as I remember that it was then, when I learned how to read properly. It all started with old encyclopedias, which I can still eye across my desk right now – All in fairly decent condition. If anything, my family was very caring towards books in general. Then, my love for space carried over to educational magazines and comic books. I was really having a blast in the 90s with all the reading material that I acquired, but truly, a huge step towards my total space- fantasy satisfaction, love-love, was the time when my brother rented the forth episode of the “Star Wars” saga. Afterwards, I fell hard for the franchise, what with watching the episodes when they aired on TV after midnight or with the various video games that I was later introduced to. Darth Vader seemed so awesome and cool to young Me back then…

Of course, other franchises made their way into my heart as well, like “Alien” and not “Star Trek”. I’ve never seen any movie, episode, Christmas special or whatever of it. “Star Trek” will probably remain an unexplored territory for Me, as honestly, I’m not really feeling it as a whole. At least not from the bits that I have seen or have been told about by my English teacher at university. Ugh…

I will always remember the time when they aired “Alien: Resurrection” and I was curious to watch it, despite my grandma’s warnings. Look, I loved space and the idea of existing aliens, but honestly, that was probably the scariest thing seven years old Me has watched, up until then!

I also played a lot of “Star Craft”, which seemed to me like the most complex game at the time. That’s how games usually feel like when you are new to them and lack proper experience.

Rob Blanc I DONE!

“The Rob Blanc Trilogy” is a composition of THREE, old adventure games, created by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw, that take on the whole space science- fantasy, exploration nation, aliens and heroes of all kind, vortex comedy night stand genre. The three games were made on an early version of the AGS engine, which was based on the MS-DOS system… I was not aware that something like that was a thing, until now, I’ve gotta say! Thanks to the power of MS-DOS emulation though, running these games on a modern operating system is quite the easy task. Thank god! Thank god for people with functional brains!

Each one of the three “Rob Blanc” games is fairly short in length and easy regarding difficulty. The plot follows a guy named Rob Blanc, who is picked by god- like beings [?] to become defender of the universe and fight evil that might pose a threat to it. The story escalates pretty quickly towards a climax or more like, anti- climax, leading towards the ultimate end where I ask myself: “Is it just me or the second and the third game feel rushed towards the later parts?” The first game and the early parts of the other two titles feel decently designed, but after that it’s just the obvious – You are in one small room, here’s this one item, use it on the one possible object in the room. Maybe that’s just me, maybe I’m being harsh for no real reason on these games! I enjoyed them for what they are though. They are not “Monkey Island”, but if anything, they feel like a good first pick for someone who might want to get into adventure games. “The Rob Blanc Trilogy” might not live up to modern standards, but honestly, even the MS- Pain graphics ain’t as bad as the author himself states it during the gameplay of the second title and that silly, main theme [?] tune is still suck in my head. How odd…

My honest score for the whole trilogy is 4.7 out of 10. It was decently amusing.

Advertisements

Snow Bros. – [Extra levels edition]

snow bros

Initially, I was planning for this to be “All the Snow Bros.” special event for the holiday season. Sadly, the idea was dropped off around few days before Christmas. There are various reasons behind that, one of them being that I could not run properly two of the games on my PC machine – Those were the Amiga version of “Snow Bros.” and that one awful- looking, fan- made, arcade sequel under the name of “Snow Brothers 3 – Magical Adventure”. I would not say that it was impossible for me to make them work, rather, I felt quite lazy towards the end of the project. I did play through the rest of the games. However, with the arcade games, I felt like I needed to explore them additionally, mainly regarding regional differences and difficulty settings. I did 1CC the original Arcade game and the sequel, which I really, really enjoyed for its variety, what with the new characters and a new takes to some of the level design. I also played that one Spectrum homebrew, which I liked as an idea a lot, but the execution was just… well… The game wasn’t all that fun for me, honestly…

So I decided to write about the Genesis and Game Boy versions for a time being. Also, a bit about the NES one, which I completed around the time I made this site. At some point in the future, I’ll probably get back to the other titles and try to finish and post about them as well.

There are enough unfinished volumes in the vault anyways…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Snow Bros. is your typical floors- type of game. Similar to the “Bubble Bobble”, “Don Doko Don” and “Rod Land” games, along with many others that wanted to bathe in the glory of the hyped genre of the late 80s/early 90s. By “floors”, I refer to games, where your objective is to clear various one- screen rooms full of enemies, one after another, up until a potential boss battle, which usually marks the end of the game. Also, collecting letters and spelling out words for extra lives! Some of those games have boss battles on every tenth floor or so. “Snow Bros.” is one of those games. The bosses in it are quite easy compared to the bosses of other games from the genre. The “Snow Bros.” games as a whole are quite easy to get into. You control a dude made out of snow, who shoots , believe it or not, SNOW, that can turn enemies into snowballs. Then you push them and magic happens! Power- ups are in the form of differently- colored potions that improve your movement speed/shot range/shot power.There are also FOOD pick ups that just give you points. Usually, the plot revolves around saving a princess or two from the clutches of a demon or something. As a snow person, the main character has an affinity for SUSHI! Now you know how good the “Snow Bros.” games are! If you kill all enemies in one go with a snowball, cash rains upon the land. Sumo men might try to harm you, but if you get them, they will try to bribe you for the sake of their own safety. Bunch of cowards!!! No wonder the occupy the highest, hard to reach [?] platforms!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I had Snow Bros. for my Famiclone when I was a kid. Me and my brother loved the game for its fun, innovative idea of turning baddies into snowballs and pushing them around for laughs. Maybe we laughed, I don’t remember. We never knew why sometimes we would get one of the two different endings. Punishment for using continues was a factor we would have never guessed. We weren’t really trying to, in first place. Another thing that I remember was that the game would unlock automatically “time trail” mode after we beat the game. You cannot select which difficulty level you want to play though. Rather, it would randomly choose from one, each time you start a new game. How weird… The Famiclone was a freak of gaming nature indeed! Famiclone controllers were pretty bad and would break constantly. That’s why we didn’t play all that much “Snow Bros.” together with my brother. Same goes for other games as well. At some point, when I was visiting one of my billion cousins in another town, she showed me her Famiclone, which had a “Snow Bros.” cartridge as well. Heh, she thought I was new to video games… WHAT A SILLY GIRL SHE WAS! Her second controller was also damaged, but I beat the game for her solo, regardless. GOOD TIMES!

The NES version of “Snow Bros.” is one of the easiest in the series! The long invulnerability time at the start of each stage lets you position pretty much wherever you want. This lets you clear floors pretty quickly and set up some good combos. The NES version does not provide you with extra lives for scoring high amount of points. Instead, you get to gamble on a slot machine, after each boss, for them or for letters to spell that 1- life awarding “SNOW” word. The pick- up that spawns the dudes that give you letters is also as rare as chicken tooth. Additionally, there are various spots on some floors, where if you shoot constantly, a thing might appear in the form of a food item that gives you a lot of points or a money bag that sends you to the slot machines again. However, those slot machines are different! They award you with skipping floors, instead of lives  and letters.

Bosses are pretty weak! They don’t spawn enemies as much as in the other versions of “Snow Bros.” Apart from that, they also have fewer hit points, which makes them easier to bring down. The devil duo boss battle has only one of the guys and you use the flames which he spawn to turn into snowballs and push at him.

Enemies as a whole are not all that vicious in the NES version, like they are in the others. This version lets you easily pick up a momentum and the learning curve is really generous. As a first “Snow Bros.” game, it’s a pretty solid choice! I didn’t had a choice though, but I like how things turned out for me!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Snow Bros Jr. DONE!

The Game Boy version is titled “Snow Bros. Jr.”! It’s a bit of a downgrade in terms of gameplay, what with worse momentum, controls and the lower number of enemies on some floors. Bosses that you fight in pairs are following a solo career in this version, making things significantly easier. This is the only game where the plot is not about rescuing princesses, but fighting and restoring the sun which was corrupted by forces unknown. [?] That’s right! There is a special, extra boss fight in this version, along with the addition of a whole new and unique world- set of 10 levels! New enemies too! This version lacks a 2- player mode, but it has its own unique mini- game after each boss fight, which is similar to the one in “Super Mario Land”.

It’s not the best version ever, but it’s not something completely awful either. It’s a good pick for that one afternoon, where your boyfriend or girlfriend choose to go to a book club, instead of asking you out for some sweet “Atlantis no Nazo” , BDSM- gaming session with nachos.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Snow Bros. Genesis DONE!

Here we are with the Sega Genesis version of “Snow Bros.”, which I honestly think is the best one in the series. First of all, it has a sweet anime opening sequence, which might not seem all that great, but that’s just you being picky, really! I love that intro! It’s silly and I love it!

In all honesty, this version is like the original Arcade one, BUT polished in many, many aspects. There is the difficulty level select option, along with one being able to adjust the setting of a certain number of starting initial lives to their preferences. The gap in the difficulty between NORMAL and HARD mode is not all that big, but it’s certainly noticeable. Bosses have more hits on HARD and some enemies have a longer range on their projectiles, along with the tendency of spamming them to a potentially annoying level on certain floors.

The last boss from the original Arcade game has been adjusted a bit, wherein the rate of spawned bubbles has been reduced. I really like this change! That boss was such a hate in the arcade version, it was truly my one and only complain about the game – The billion spawned bubbles were really not- fun to deal with, I’m glad that the Genesis version was not ruined by this factor!

Another cool thing about the Genesis version is the fact that they made snowball looping easier to achieve! In the Arcade games and in the Genesis version, [Also in that awful homebrew [?] ] when you push a snowball towards the bottom of the level and there is no flooring, just like with the main characters and the enemies, it will loop from the top to the bottom again, potentially annihilating everything in it’s path, like all enemies on the floor for example! Not only does that makes some level more easier to be dealt with, it also makes cash rain more often, which helps with obtaining additional lives and overall, it’s fun to do and watch! The NES lacks this feature. I can’t remember about the Game Boy version though, I think it lacks that as well!

That’s not all though! The Genesis version also contains two additional set of worlds, that’s 20 more levels, with two unique boss battles! The story continues! Once you rescue the princesses, the snow bros. get kidnapped instead! NOW YOU ARE THE PRINCESS/ES and you are ’bout to whoop some ass! These additional levels do not feel all that tough, they are actually fairly balanced in terms of difficulty. If anything, getting points on them is pretty easy, given that some are designed to be cleared with a single snowball loop right from the start! The levels are fun! The additional boss battles are pretty challenging, especially the final one, where you have to pull off your best princess moves ever! Best of all, the game rewards you with more silly and sweet animated cutscenes! How can you not love this version???

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

But Flare, what about the music?

Well, maybe I’m deaf! I don’t tend to talk to music in video games, unless it’s a complete turtle poop. I liked the music in each of these three versions. “Snow Bros.” series have some good tracks that play well on each system, really!

I had fun!

Nezumi Man – In quest for obtaining “Perfect Fashion” or whatever

Nezumi Man

Super fighting robot for everlasting breeze?Screw that noise!You are now a rat on a quest for a radical outfit and not much else!Fight a dragon,fight a puff of smoke,heck,you even get to fight a fridge,maybe even a kangaroo TOO!And Dr. Gyoniku.Yes, everyone knows of big,bad ol’ Dr. Gyoniku! WELL he is bound to become part of your “PERFECT FASHION”, right after you go through the billion landscapes of hell, reaching the final destination – The Dog House.OH THE TRUE HORROR!

For a Mega Man clone, Nezumi man sure hangs towards the easy side of difficulty, thank god!I somehow managed to handle it in one hour, with some help from a non-existent gameFAQ guide and lots of item grinding.I tend to not proceed any further in my Mega Man games unless I have at least 65 lives or more!That goes for my E-tanks, W-tanks, S-tanks, G-tanks, F-tanks and the rest of the alphabet as well.Nezumi Man is pretty creative when it comes to bosses and casual enemies, not taking itself all that seriously overall.Honestly, if you wish to get yourself started on the Mega Man genre or you just want to play some relaxing,short,easy Mega Man clone,with some fresh bits of humor,then this title fits right in!

Nezumi Man 1.1

We can talk about the neat music or the clean,well-structured level design that will shower you with variety,but it’s pretty much gonna be for nothing.It all eventually leads to that one special summer day when I kissed another girl for the first time in my life.I am a boy.Somehow, this is how you explain the idea behind the Ghosts ‘n Goblins games – You kiss another girl, but you are a boy. This is your reward for beating the game.This is your reward for dressing up nicely.

Life is but a daily struggle for cheese.

MoneySeize – …and the 1010 golden coins!

money

You know what they say!Even if you seize the money, you won’t be able to buy love with them!That’s why you buy yourself a top hat, the most symbolistic of all items when it comes to portraying love-depression, hate for the rain and gentle invitation towards the birds,offering a potential nesting spot.Then you are free to ramble about how the game “MoneySeize” should have been a “Jumper 2” sequel, since you have a secret hate for the third “Jumper” game of the series.Sadly,this is not the place or the time for that rambling to take on or roll into some stupid conclusion,as this is the post where I express my honest opinion about the game “MoneySeize”.

THIS IS JUST LIKE JUMPER!I mean,you have your jump,double jump,wall jump,skid jump,jump jump and duckling.The most classic of all the “Jumper’s” jumps and ducks.Sadly,you are not Ogmo,but a simple/rich/ man with a costume and a top hat, who craves for coins and building tall structures.You got the platforming levels with platforming gimmicks and collectables and there you go!You have a game with 50 levels that you can play for days!Maybe even a month!Year as well!It all depends on your own experience and mindset,what of the learning curve of this game being able to escalate decently?WHAT ABOUT IT?——————-

The main thing that I really like about this game is the level select hub.As you collect more and more coins, [The main objective of the game/] a building in the center of the hub will erect. providing you with access to further levels the higher it goes.Coins are usually scattered through the levels, either flyin’ in once place on thin’ air or hiding in blocks or creatures,which you will need to eradicate in order for the coins to be obtained.There are also nesting birds in three different colors, which pretty much represent a set challenges for the levels.Time trail,no double jump or don’t kill an enemy – Completing the task will let you kill the bird,which usually rewards you with lots of coins.Apart from that,the levels are usually set with different gimmicks, like crumbly blocks,trampolinininies,cannons and other whatnot classy Matt Thorson implements.Now,given all the resources that the game has,I think that the level design is really well done!Each level has a different feeling to it than the rest.As far as the difficulty of the game goes, I would say that it’s moderately hard.While most levels might seem really hard or even impossible from first glance,there is usually a set path that you need to go through,which involves mastering the various kinds of jumps in the game.The difficulty curve of the game is quite pleasant.The game starts out with a set of levels, which gives the player enough time to prepare for what lies ahead and get used to the controls.

MoneySeize DONE!

This game lacks quite a lot in terms of level theme.For it’s entirety,you’ll be stuck in grass land-grass land,blue sky zone.The ending for getting all the coins in the game also felt a bit unsatisfying.Honestly,I would have preffered a dance from the main character rather than the butter statue of him on top of the building,but that’s just Me.I don’t think there were any frustrating parts in the game.Maybe I got used to the Matt’s formula,I don’t know.The secret levels were fun to search to and play.There isn’t an actual plot in the game.Honestly, the gameplay and the level design adds enough flavor to this game.I had legit fun and I am willing to give “MoneySeize” a well earned 7.6 out of 10.

I actually tried to beat the game years ago,but I gave up due to the simple fact that I was interested in other titles.Turns out I missed on quite the fun.Oh well!

Maldita Castilla – The lab’s vault needs all the games with knights that it can get!

maldita

So this little game has been just lying around on my hard drive for a while,until recently,when I decided that I got tired of seeing its name when I browse through my files.If I have games I should play them,not just treat them as some sort of collectables for a display!Take that into consideration STEAM users!

The first obvious impression that this game gives is pretty much “OMG,IT’S GHOSTS ‘N GOBLINGS!”A pretty natural one,considering the fact that even the author of the game confirms it and states that it’s one of the main inspirations for the creation of Maldita Castilla.Add some Spanish Mythology and the fact that you can attack upward and there you go!We have ourselves a game!

With the main idea behind this game,visually and in terms of gameplay,I think it managed to achieve a pretty great results.The soundtracks are quite fitting for each stage and the sprites are really well made and animated.It really feels like you are playing an old arcade game,but there are just some aspects to it where you can see a flat out solid improvments.Toss in some easy-to-follow,silly plot and we can all be happy!The game has a good varietiy of content and it manages to stick to its main theme pretty well.

Gameplay wise,”Trial and error” have quite a big influence in Maldita Castilla,at least for new players,especially for those who are not used to these type of games.I had a total of four playthroughs of the game,where the frist two felt like pure hell under the sea.Again,it was all due to my lack of knowedge on what to expect and how to deal with it.I felt like I had way more trouble at the room where you have to climb up,while stone faces on the wall shoot stuff at you.Same goes for the room where you descend and you have to deal with the magical,demonic cauldrons.The different weapons that you can aquire through the game can have a huge impact on some areas and bosses.However,that doesn’t seem to be the case once you get used to the game.Third playthrough ended up being my best one,where I got the best ending,much to my own disbelief that I can actually accomplish that.It felt weird how from “I suck at this game.” I went to “This game is pretty easy”… I was honestly expecting to have to replay the game at least a few more times.Now it will leave me with a weird impression that it has a good replay value.Hm.I don’t know… Also, finding the hidden treasures and invulnerability potions seemed like a pretty important thing for a potential good playthrough.

MalditaDONE!

Decent controls,frustrating early playthroughs,which are replaced by pleasant ones,later on, good variety of enemies,bosses and different themed levels,all in all makes up for some good experience.I’ll give it my 7.8 out of 10 with the “A game well done” silver cup.

I am still questioning my own learning curve though…