Posts Tagged ‘platformer’

Awakening from my container I found myself looking for a way out. However, I realized that I wasn’t alone. There were others. Surprisingly, they all looked just like me. Slightly pudgy body with big green Sam Fisher style goggles that all of a sudden turned red when I was in the light. At this point I began to wonder if I was me, or if I was just another fabricated clone. Well I can’t think too much about that now, because I need to find a way out of the madness. Is there an exit, or is this just another test? Will there be…cake?

Featuring 80 levels of brain melting puzzle madness that tested both my mind, and my patience, Stealth Inc.: A Clone In The Dark, from Curve Studios, charged me with the mission to find a way out. What really jumped into my mind was that while I was playing Stealth Inc. I couldn’t help but compare the game’s similarities to another puzzle masterpiece simply known as Portal.  Let’s do a quick head count shall we. Unknown protagonist, companion cube like moveable blocks, turrets, portal style teleporter pads, and a silent AI antagonist similar to the evil sarcastic style of GLaDOS. Yes, Stealth Inc. has a lot in common with Valve’s juggernaut. However, before I call this game a 2-D Portal clone there is something that separates this indie gem from the mega-hit retail game. Stealth.

Not to be confused with the likes of the Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell series, Stealth Inc. had me working in the shadows of darkness to achieve my goals. Each stage is well lit up, but also features items where I could create shadows so that the cameras couldn’t see me while I was hacking consoles to keep progressing through the levels. The key to safety and success depended all on the color of my goggles. While the goggles are green I was somewhat safe. Once they turned red it became run and hide, because death was imminent especially if there’s a camera around. Getting spotted by these would activate various death traps including lasers or closing walls which would leave me as nothing more than a blood stain on the wall.

Stealth Inc. basically boils down to the type of game where trial and error plays a huge role upon success. Death is a commonality as I found my blood splattered everywhere. While death sucks, and doing it multiple times can lead to frustration, the good news is that I get unlimited lives (hence the term clones) along with a checkpoint with each terminal I hack in to. Death no longer becomes a moment of rage. Instead it becomes a learning experience which will also help in future levels so that I don’t get vaporized by a laser or torn to shreds from a buzzsaw. Along with my successes came unlocked equipment allowing me to retackle levels with a bit of an added advantage including enabling a limited camouflage when I was in the light to summoning extra clones to cause a distraction while achieving my goals.

While Stealth Inc. kept me busy with it’s challenging puzzles, I did eventually stumble upon another unique feature. A level creator. Yes, now I can create my own frustrating puzzles to really challenge my brain as well as my reflexes. Every tool that was in the game is also at my fingertips as I worked my own cleverness and devious mischief into making levels all with the goal of frustrating others. Sadly, I then found out that I can’t share my evil genius with the online community. What the fuck! Are you kidding me? Why did the developers not consider this when games like Little Big Planet and Trials Evolution allow players to share their custom levels with the world? Might I suggest a future patch to make this happen.

Challenging gameplay, mind bending puzzles, and a fun level creator. Stealth Inc. has it all. Replay value is high with stars and ranks to obtain, unlockables to earn, and leaderboards to show skill and superiority. Sure the trial and error style gameplay will have some players throwing their controllers and yelling tons of obscenities at their television screens, but there is still fun to be had as well as the eventual sigh of relief when making it through a tough level. Remember that key word “fun” while constantly dying yet still learning at the same time, because that’s what games are really all about.

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Developer: Curve Studios
Platform: PlayStation 3, PSN
Players: 1
Price: $9.99

GAME STATUS: Made my last stand against the Shadows
ACHIEVEMENTS EARNED: 23 OUT OF 30 (255 Gamerscore)

For my original review on Deadlight click HERE.

The Shadows, The New Law, The Ratman. These are just a few of my encounters that took place in the streets of Seattle in 1986. A city filled with the undead and a select few trying to survive against all odds. The New Law however had other plans and Randall Wayne wanted no part of it. Everyday was a battle for survival and the hope to find his family only to find out that Randall killed his wife and daughter a while back so that they wouldn’t join the ranks of the undead. I think I’ll file this as one of those M. Night Shyamalan plot twists.

Deadlight was a game that reminded me a lot of Limbo. There was plenty of platforming that sometimes drove me batshit crazy when I died…a lot. The jumping mechanics were not completely solid as I would miss the spot to jump to by just a hair and die. That sucked, but then again Deadlight classifies itself as one of those trial and error games so I stuck with it no matter how frustrated I got especially during the Ratman act where your doing tons of jumps, avoiding wall saws, and solving puzzles using a slingshot just so he can tell you to find his son.

As for the weapons, well I have to say that they’re somewhat useful. The fire axe is very trusty when your in a grind, but the guns on the other hand are only as good as when ammo is nearby. Clearing a horde of zombies may not work so well either, because Deadlight is not a game about killing. It’s more about survival or lack thereof at the end when I made my last stand helping my final survivor escape.

WELL I MADE MY FINAL STAND. IS THERE RESURRECTION IN MY IMMEDIATE FUTURE?

Other than the handheld games, serial killer IDs, and diary entries to collect I don’t see another playthrough at all. Deadlight was a fun game while it lasted, but the plot won’t surprise me anymore. The Rat levels drove me crazy enough in that Limbo sort of sense. Plus there were times where I would fall through the ground and run through the air in a game crashing glitch. With all that said I’ll let Randall Wayne’s final stand be known as heroic, and let Deadlight rest in peace deleted from my hard drive.

Developer: Tequila Works
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15.00)

Seattle. July 4, 1986. 185 days after the infection. The zombie apocalypse is well underway. Every day becomes a battle for survival against insurmountable odds. Do I continue on with my search for hope, or just put a bullet in my head and end the misery? Wait a minute! How many of these apocalyptic nightmare games have I been a part of? Way too many I suppose, but who cares. Bring on the zombies! Now where was I? Oh yeah, I’m struggling to survive to hopefully one day reunite with my family.

With no cure for the infection and no hope in sight, Randall Wayne goes on his endless search for hope. His urge to find his family is his only motivation for survival against the “shadows.” That’s the term used for the dark, red eyed menace that populate the streets of Seattle and are ready to ravage my corpse if I fail. The shadows are everywhere. Just when I think that the rotted mound of flesh on the ground is just another dead body it will end up being the one coming after me. The shadows aren’t the only problem in town. There’s also a faction called “The New Law” that seems to have their own agenda as well.

Deadlight, from Tequila Works, brings me back to a rather familiar territory…zombies. Sure it’s another apocalypse, but this time things feel a little different than what I’ve went through many times before. Most of the time it’s me putting round after round into the heads of the undead leaving them in a bloody mess. Deadlight is a little different as it’s more about surviving. There is the occasional weapon here and there which allow me to dish out some zombie justice, but ammo is limited and stamina becomes an issue. Sometimes it’s better to run from the danger rather than face it head on.

Playing as a 2D/3D side scrolling platformer, Deadlight channels memories of when I played the trial and error nightmare of Limbo especially when I reached the second act featuring a character known as “The Rat.” Running and jumping was more important than shooting and melee attacks as I reached for new heights. Sometimes I failed a jump or twos which led me to my death as I was impaled by spikes, but after a while I got the mechanics down making the game a tad easier while still dying here and there. At least when I died I would revive at the last checkpoint due to my ability of the unlimited continue.

The zombified shadows reminded me of walkers in The Walking Dead which is quite creepy. I never knew if a person was alive or undead as I walked past them. Then the chill set in as they got up and started to chase me down. Good thing these shadows are rather dumb as I would solve a random puzzle here and there to do things like electrify them, cause them to fall to their deaths from a deep hole in the ground, and even drop a heavy object or two on them. Watching the shadows die was pretty satisfying and even drew a chuckle from me. As for The New Law? Well that’s a challenge in itself especially when they have a chopper and they’re shooting at me.

Unique visuals reminiscent of Shadow Complex, graphic novel presentation, tough as hell platforming, plenty of collectibles to find, easy to earn achievements based on popular ’80s songs, and a few plot twists that had me saying “What the fuck!” Deadlight clearly is a game that is far from perfect, but it does have just enough to keep me interested in the 2-3 hours that it takes to beat the game.

Developer: Tequila Works
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15.00)

Let’s see. How many Sonic games do I have now on my Xbox 360? Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic and Knuckles, Sonic Spinball, Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic CD, Sonic Adventure, Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, Sonic Generations, and Sonic 4: Episode 1 (I also have it on my iPad). Man that’s a lot of Sonic games. It’s safe to assume that I’m a big Sonic the Hedgehog fan. I’ve only been playing the games since Sonic 1’s original release on the Sega Genesis. The blue blur sure is fun to have around. Now Sonic is back with a whole new adventure and this time he’s not alone.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, from Sega, brings back a familiar face (other than Sonic) to the 2D platformer. That’s right…it’s Tails. In a way, Episode 2 feels like I’m playing Sonic 2 all over again except without the cool Chemical Plant Zone (I still can’t get that tune out of my head. It’s catchy). Four brand new yet familiar zones to blast process my way through and it’s fun. Sega even brought back the special stages reminiscent of Sonic 2 which held both excitement (getting the Chaos Emerald) and frustration (when Tails hit those damn bombs causing me to lose rings and lose a chance at a Chaos Emerald) at the same time. The one thing I really got a kick out of is the team up moves where Sonic and Tails would do a mid air high five and then work together to get out of a tough situation that could possibly involve dying. Let’s also not forget the bonus Episode Metal content starring Metal Sonic (you must have Episode 1 for that to work).


After playing the game last night, as well as acquiring a few achievements, the big question I had was “Why are all the reviewers trashing this game?” Sure it’s not perfect in any way, but it is a big improvement over Episode 1. I felt like Sonic was a bit faster in this version, the graphics are well improved, and the Tails team up moves bring a fresh change of pace to the game as well. However, I will agree with some of the reviewers in terms of how the invincibility power-ups are in locations where there are not any enemies to take down. I also agree about the boss battle music that seems to be on an endless loop every few seconds which gets quite annoying. Where’s Amy’s hammer when you need it most? Speaking of boss battles, these were some tough fights that require a bit of trial and error to get through on the first time, but become much easier each time you play it.

Clearly Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 is no Sonic Generations, but it is better than the Sonic the Hedgehog game released on the Xbox 360 in 2006. I’m still trying to forget that one. It’s a blast from the past, and it allows us to enjoy playing a Sonic game the way it was meant to be played…in 2D! What more can you ask for? Well, maybe Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 3 with Knuckles?

Publisher: Sega
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1 to 2 (Local or Xbox Live co-op)
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15.00)

Pros:
A fun platforming game with multiplayer in mind
Everything you love about the television show is well represented
Coon and Friends

Cons:
Playing in single player could lead to some frustration
Character selcetion mid-level would be nice
Where’s Butters as a playable character?

Previously on South Park:

Eric Cartman buys Scott Tenorman’s pubes. Cartman gets screwed. Cartman tries to get his money back only to get humilated by Scott. cartman then exacts his revenge by having Scott’s parents killed and placed in chili. Scott eats said chili only to later find out that he ate his parents. Scott cries in front of his favorite band Radiohead who eventually calls him a pussy. Cartman then enjoys the simple pleasure of Scott’s tears. (Season 5, Episode 4 “Scott Tenorman Must Die)

With his teenage life now in shambles, life for Stan, Kyle, Eric, and Kenny eventually went on in South Park. Scott however had different plans in mind. It’s obvious that he knew the ancient Klingon proverb of “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” He starts out by stealing the hard drive from Eric Cartman’s Xbox 360 containing the gang’s game saves, and the travels to the future. There he creates a ginger robot army to keep Eric and company from getting it the orecious hard drive back. This begins our adventure.

South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge, from Microsoft Studios and Other Ocean Interactive, takes you on a platforming adventure spanning some of the memorable moments of the last fifteen years of the television series. From the opening cinema to the end credits, the game gives you everything you love about the show and holds nothing back. It’s action packed, funny and uncensored. However, the game is not without it’s faults which may turn off some, but fans of the show are not going to care because it’s quite fun to play.

Playing as a side scrolling platform game, South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge is well executed with plenty of jumping, weapon usage and special abilities for each of the four characters you get to play as. At first, I felt like I was playing Super Mario Bros. as I would jump on Ginger kid robots to destroy them. Along the way you’ll come across other enemies that will need something other than a jump or two to defeat them. Weapons also come into play as you’ll wield baseball bats, crowbars, etc. to swing away at enemy characters. Each character also has a special ability like Cartman busting through walls with his belly and Stan throwing footballs. Another interesting feature is the time system where you collect time orbs to keep the game clock down to a minimum. Besides you only get ten minutes to finish each level. Boss battles also take place on each level allowing you to take on Scott Tenorman and his creations and dare I say the return of ManBearPig!

Each of the game’s levels are themed to some of the popular episodes of the series. Levels include the future world based on the two part epic “Go God Go” to places like Peru from the two part episode “Pandemic” complete with wind flutes. Everywhere you look on each level has the authentic South Park look and feel filled with plenty of humor that you would expect. The boys also can transform into their superhero alter egos from “Coon and Friends” allowing them to access areas of each level that the other characters cannot reach adding for some fun moments. Cartman as The Coon can climb walls, Stan as Toolshed can dig holes on the ground, Kyle as The Human Kite can fly, and Kenny as Mysterion can die and access hidden areas unaccesible to other characters.

With all the fun you may be having, there is one major drawback. This fault is the fact that Tenorman’s Revenge is more of a multiplayer game which could impact some who prefer single player. Let me just state that multiplayer is great featuring drop in drop out co-op for up to four players locally or on Xbox Live. This is clearly fun with friends. Single player is a different story which at times could lead to frustrating moments when it comes to timing jumps, taking on hordes of enemies with little life to spare and dying a lot. It’s almost enough to drive you crazy. I’m not saying that it can’t be done, but there will be times where you wish you had a friend helping out in the three to five hour adventure.

I do have another beef with Tenorman’s Revenge and that has to do with character selection. A good idea would be to allow the player a chance to select another character in case they die or possibly try to reach another area as their superhero form. Sadly, once you choose your character before the start of the stage that’s who your stuck with for the duration. I also wish there was more characters to select from to play the game. The previous South Park tower defense game had multiple characters to play as. This is the type of game that I wish I had fan favorite Butters to play as along with his alter ego Professor Chaos. That would be fun.

South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge is clearly a game dedicated to fans of the series. The game is not perfect, but it’s still fun to play with friends even if you throw your controller down and yell obscenities at your television in fits of rage. The game is like it’s own episode which is a nice addition. Platform game fans should also give it a shot. I suggest downloading the demo first and see for yourself. Oh, and to Other Ocean Interactive, let’s work on bringing in Butters as DLC.