RPGs of the Famicom: Earthbound Beginnings

Earthbound Beginnings | Title

With the release of Earthbound Beginnings on the Wii U e-shop, Nintendo of America has corrected a 26 year old mistake on their part. Earthbound Beginnings is the prequel to Earthbound on the SNES that was not originally released in Japan. The game was originally intended to be localized but was canceled despite the localization having already been fully completed. Until now the translated version of Earthbound Beginnings (which was otherwise known as Earthbound Zero) could only be played via emulation or a reproduction cart. Nintendo just now released the translated version for the Wii U e-shop making it available more easily and and legally.

Earthbound Beginnings is different from its successor in plenty of ways and is mostly an inferior game, but this is usually to be expected in terms of sequels. Even if one were to hold Earthbound Beginnings to the standards of a lot of modern day games it still handles things far more competently than most and is an amazing game on its own. Read more

Standard Review: Ghosts ‘n Goblins (Arcade/C64/ZX/NES/Amiga/GBC/WS/GBA/PC/IOS/Android)

Ghosts 'n Goblins | Level 1

Ghosts ‘n Goblins was always infamous for being one of the hardest games ever made. That statement is pretty much 100% accurate, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is so difficult that it is only on the border of how difficult a game can be while still being playable. One should note that I am using the word “difficult” and not “challenging.” The reason I say this is because being challenging is generally a good thing as it implies that a game brings you up to its own level by being demanding and through its design.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins, on the other hand, is just difficult in the sense that it is very patience trying and unfun. Before I hear the parade of apologists proclaiming “git gud” I should make it clear that I did beat this game twice, and yes I am counting it as twice regardless of that stunt they pulled the first time. Ghosts ‘n Goblins may be beatable, but it isn’t exactly an enjoyable game to play. Most players will be having far more frustration than fun and beating it serves no purpose other than bragging rights. Read more

How I’d Remake Deadly Towers

Deadly Towers | US Boxart

Ah Deadly Towers, I just posted my review of it last month. While I may enjoy it, it’s clear that most people don’t. It’s not hard to see why given the myriad of problems with it but that’s not what we’re here to talk about. I am pretty sure that most gamers have likely thought of how they would make their own game if they had the resources available, ideas are much more common than action after all. I’ve certainly had plenty of projects in mind and have even began writing the script for some, but it’s unlikely you’ll get to actually see me developing a game any time soon. I have way too little resources or experience to do so at this point in my life so I’ll just bounce off ideas like anyone else.

The point of this article is to imagine what a remastered version of Deadly Towers would look like if it were made today. I’m going to at least keep it within the realm of what an indie studio could create today and not imagine it with AAA production values because that’s far less likely to happen. Read more

Deadly Towers (NES): Deathly Underrated (Detailed Review)

Deadly Towers | jp box

Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! it’s a plane! It’s….

CAPTAIN CONTRARIAN!!!!!

And she’s here to say that one of the most reviled NES games of all time is… actually pretty damn good. Yes, I fucking said it! Seanbaby is a fucking hack! Do you wanna fight about it? Well I hope not because I’m not willing to pay travel expenses to challenge random strangers to fights over video games. Also I have weak girly HRT muscles.

Anyway yes, I not only enjoyed this game but I think it is among one of the most underrated games on the system AND showed a lot of innovation and creativity for its time. I just want to remind everyone that this game was originally released in 1986, only about 9 months after Zelda 1.

That is not to say that Deadly Towers does not have some terrible design decisions or oversights, but I have yet to see many who give credit to many of the game’s stronger points in favor of placing it on the same tier of trash as licensed LJN shit. There is no reason for this to have been rated as the worst NES game above shit like Action 52, The Uncanny X-Men, or just about any licensed movie tie in. At the very least, Deadly Towers is overhated. Read more

Seanbaby’s Worst NES Games Countdown is Garbage. Here’s Why.

Seanbaby | Top 20 worst NES games

Seanbaby is fairly well known in online gaming communities. I believe it is accurate to say that his style of writing was what later influenced that of many game reviewers, including that of AVGN. The subject of this article is one of his most well known works, and one that likely influenced a lot of later video game critique, or possibly media critique in general. I am deciding to make a piece about this article precisely because this piece has largely gone unchallenged over the years and everyone assumes video game critique has gotten bad only recently.

The key issue behind Seanbaby’s countdown is the lack of research or substance involved in its creation. It’s all just an excuse to hear Sean’s stand up routine while using these games as a base. While I do find the quality of the humor debatable, I wouldn’t take issue with it if game reviewers were not under the impression that this was the ONLY way to review games. I have nothing personal against Sean or anything; this article is merely a work of criticism towards not just this piece, but how a lot of people review games in general. It is of course expected that Sean would be better at it as a professional than some random forum troll that thinks he’s smarter than everyone else because he thinks games made by Nintendo are shit, but that’s not setting the bar very high. Read more

Castlevania Retrospective #1: The Classicvanias (Part 1)

Castlevania Retrospective Part 1

So there is this video game series called “Castlevania.” I’m sure you never heard of it as it’s quite obscure like everything else I cover. In all seriousness though there was a time when Koonami actually made good games and wasn’t obsessed with Pachinko machines and Soccer games. They had many influential and beloved series such as Gradius, Ganbare Goemon, Metal Gear, Contra, Suikoden, and Silent Hill, and not to mention plenty of other cult hits like Shadow of Destiny, Azure Dreams, Zone of the Enders, and other series that I never actually played but will still get weebs riled up by mentioning since no one else knows they exist.

The last time I did a retrospective, it was on Namco’s Splatterhouse series where I reviewed each game individually. I only needed to cover five games so that was more manageable, but the Castlevania series has over 40 of the bastards to cover and I kinda want to do other shit. As a compromise I decided I would start by covering multiple games per article so I don’t need to write a full review for games most of you already have played or know you should play. This does still allow me to touch upon the more obscure and lesser known entries in the series and compare them to the ones everyone likes and mock how inferior they are or make you feel bad about having not played them (mostly the former in this piece). Read more

Amazing VGM: Monster Dance (Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest)

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest | What a horrible night to have a curse

Simon’s Quest was an interesting game. There were a lot of unique ideas present at the time and it laid the groundwork for what Koonami would later perfect with Symphony of the Night. Yet there are also a lot of shortcoming present. I’m not here to talk about those though, we’ve all seen the AVGN video after all. Instead I would like to focus on its presentation, and by that I mean the track listed in the title of this article… you did notice that right? Read more

Splatterhouse Retrospective #2 – Splatterhouse: Wanpaku grafitti (NES)

Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti | Box

Now it is time for part two of the Splatterhouse retrospective, but that does not mean that I am reviewing Splatterhouse 2, although I just finished it on the day I am writing this. There is instead this strange chibi spinoff called Splatterhouse Wanpaku Grafitti that was only released in Japan on the Famicom. Seems like a strange direction to take the series in considering the only game released prior was the arcade original. Yes I know plenty of games have chibi spinoffs, but they usually wait until there is more than one title. The gameplay of Wanpaku Grafitti is also noticeably different from the original, so I don’t even know why it’s a Splatterhouse game. And no, there’s no gore either. The game was alright but nothing particularly special, and can be recommended if you liked Monster Party but kinda wish it made a little more sense and didn’t have game breaking bugs.

I could not quite understand what the plot was about from what little was provided. The original game ended with Jenny dead after Rick escaped from the mansion, and hear you have them as kids. Even more strange is that Rick starts out dead in a coffin with Jenny nearby… even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. Rick randomly comes back to life and is reunited with his girlfriend… for about two seconds until a giant pumpkin comes and takes her. Yeah I know, makes perfect sense.

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RPGs of the Famicom: Sweet Home

Sweet Home | Title Screen

If you live outside of Japan, you likely don’t know of many JRPGs prior to the 16 bit era. Hell, you may not even know of many DURING the 16 bit era either. Until Final Fantasy VII popularized the genre with its cinematic CG cutscenes and enormous marketing budget (not that the game had no merits in story or gameplay, but plenty of other games did to), even the most popular JRPGs in Japan were a niche attraction in the west. JRPGs retailed for up to $80 at the time without adjusting for inflation, and publishers often could not afford quality localization teams. A majority of games localized by Ted Woolsey, for instance, were handled within a month and had to cut several sentences down. The fact that games like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IV & VI, and Super Mario RPG had such strong scripts regardless really shows a testament to his ability, which allows me to cut him some slack for how bad Breath of Fire’s was (and also because Capcom themselves did a much worse with Breath of Fire II). Oh, and if you were in Europe then you likely never got ANY of these games.

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The Top 25 Most Disturbing Video Game Songs (25-13)

Top 25 Most disturbing video game songs

Music has always been a very integral part of almost any media. The idea of musical accompaniment to plays dates back thousands of years. In video games, the interactivity means players will precede at their own pace, so the music is often more “full” than in movies. Tracks are often used to signify places, events, or characters in games to set certain tones.

Naturally, one of these tones set is the element of fear. Most of the time, we don’t stop to think about the music used for these sequences. There are some tracks that people will listen to in their spare time for their own enjoyment; these are not those tracks. These are instead songs that, upon hearing them, will leave the listener uneasy and jarred through both their sound and their in game use.

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