Friday, January 27, 2012

Game On!

My Backloggery is calling to me's time to make a decision about where to focus my free time next.

Where I've Been:

Last week I completed Kirby & the Amazing Mirror with 100% item completion. Easily my least favorite Kirby game of the few I've played thanks to the mostly unnecessary gimmick of summoning brain-deficient AI clones to "help" you, and the confusing level design that could commit to being neither Kirby nor Metroid long enough to be consistently satisfying.

This week I finished Sparkster, which followed the same trend as Legacy of the Wizard: the more sincerely I tried to beat it, the less I enjoyed it. It was great fun to rocket around the screen and try out all my fancy moves on all the cartoony baddies, but the fun began to give way as anything fancier than walking and basic sword slashing started getting me killed, and as boss battles became more and more based on excessive patience and luck. I feel bad for disliking this game because, like Legacy of the Wizard (and Mighty Bomb Jack after that), a friend of mine put a lot of effort into handpicking this gift featuring some interesting mechanics that should be right up my alley. Really, in all three cases, I've liked the mechanics--but in all three cases, something about the execution has fallen short, and it's not something you'd guess until playing it for yourself.

A few days ago I decided to give Mega Man Soccer a shot, having picked it up over Christmas vacation after being curious about it for some time. I ran around in circles for maybe 15-20 minutes, had more fun with the concept than the actual gameplay, and decided I'd need to look at an instruction manual if I was to stand any chance of beating the thing.

Wanting to fill out the remaining gaps in my Mega Man education, I went poking around last night for other obscure and forgotten games that I could get my hands on. I finally settled on Rockman & Forte: Challenger from the Future, the grayscale WonderSwan game that is exactly what you'd get if you mixed Mega Man & Bass with Mega Man II for Game Boy and never bothered to translate it into English. Despite its flaws, I was hooked; I finished the whole game in a single sitting.

Where I Am Now:

I'm gradually making progress through The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, having recently returned to the main quest after heading off in random directions to explore more of the world map. It's a huge game that's discouraging me from starting anything else remotely as lengthy or deep, but the truth is that I'm cutting all sorts of corners and barely scratching the surface of the story in order to keep things moving. While I like the game, there is simply too much to do if I ever want to play any other games this year. I find that skipping entire obvious sidequests helps to keep my completionist tendencies in check.

Everything else I'm playing is with my wife, when she feels up to it--Space Quest II (VGA) and Half-Life are the two she's watching me play, which are both a little too gross or creepy in parts than we might like (though still great fun); we've got Episode 6 of Sam & Max: Season One to start up; and we're cleaning up the last 7% or so of LEGO Batman.

Where I'm Going Next:

Well, that's really up to you. Here's what I'm considering as my next personal gaming project:

- Mega Man Soccer: If I don't attempt to play it now, while the curiosity's still a little warm, I might never work up the motivation to come back to it.

- Mega Man Network Transmission: The interquel between Mega Man Battle Network and MMBN2 would continue to expose me to an entire branch of the Mega Man family I've never bothered with, simultaneously giving me the platforming fix I perpetually crave.

- Nightshade: Another gift from the friend who gave me Sparkster, which I know absolutely nothing about other than what's on the box. I've been trying to get to this one for a while, and I'd love for this to be the game that breaks the trend I discussed.

- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: I've been in a Zelda mindset ever since starting work on an upcoming Zelda-themed post for GameCola, and the fact that I've been tempted to start playing in spite of already having an involving RPG going in the form of Morrowind should be some sort of sign.

- Scurge: Hive: Because I'm still anxiously waiting for my wife to beat the original Metroid on her own so that I can show her the rest of the series, and this is the closest new thing to Metroid I've got.

So there you have it. Five games I've never played for five different systems. Any recommendations?


JoeReviewer said...

Hmmm, it might not be the best idea to start Network Transistion unless you have played the 2nd BN game. There may be references to causes of events in BN2 in NT.

Honestly I am biased towards Mega Man Soccer just because I am sooooo curios to your opinion on it.

Flashman85 said...

Really? I read that MM:NT fell between MMBN 1 and 2, and it made sense to play through the series chronologically. But, if you say so, then we can switch out that option for MMBN2.

JoeReviewer said...

While the plot of MM:NT would take place between 1 and 2, BN2 was released before NT. That being said, there may be plot points in NT that allude to BN2's events. It might have some kind of spoilers hidden in there.

I can compare it to Star Wars (warning spoilers). The reveal that Darth Vadar is Luke's father is pretty out of the blue... if you started with movie 4. But if you had watched them in chronological order you already knew these relationships. While there certainly no grand issue with watching them from 1 forward, some of the plot points lose their original intention. Another example is the line "Someday you're going to be the death of me" from Obi Wan which alludes to that particular scene in the later movies. It loses meaning however if you haven't seen it.

Even with that though, I haven't played enough battle network to know if these issues do arise. It's just the way I think about it.

A Philosophical Nerd said...

I've never played Mega Man Soccer, myself. I'd be interested to hear about it. And it also might be worth playing now or you might never get back around to it.

Rivers McCown said...

Mega Man Soccer has an amazing glitch that completely breaks it.

If you can make it to the wall on the near side of the screen below the goalie, and shoot, your shot will actually go through the wall and into the net. The AI Goalkeeper never stops it.

Flashman85 said...

Well, I suppose that does it, then. Mega Man Soccer it is. So far I've scored three points in my career, and lost every game...