Cus these moves don’t quit.
Cus these moves don’t quit.
It’s hard to recommend Deathsmiles to the average gamer, let alone the average western gamer. Probably best reserved for the more narcissistic of you, Deathsmiles Deluxe Edition is a wonderfully packaged vignette of Japanese otaku culture wrapped in so many layers of cultural differences that it is nigh on impossible to decipher.
The core gameplay of Deathsmiles is a familiar concept to those schooled on R-Type or Defender. A simple enough horizontal scrolling shmup with some height control that will let you see above and below the borders first presented within a level. Deathsmiles is a little more in the ‘bullet hell’ camp than the aforementioned however, owing more to Batsugun and DoDonPachi than Gradius. While playing the game on its standard modes produces a challenge, ramping the difficulty up full will prove a frustrating and often mind boggling adversity. Seriously the final level and the extra stage are unbelievable. This gameplay is often fun and frantic with the player demanded to dodge and weave with little in the way of power ups save for a few bombs when the screen is a little too full of bullets. This game is fun to play with memorization being key in recognizing enemy attack patterns. In this aspect the bosses are especially good fun.
For however simple that premise may be the game is wrapped up in one of the most visually striking and culturally confusing graphic designs of recent times. For those of us not well rehearsed in anime and manga the Gothic Lolita style is certainly interesting if not befuddling. Here a variety of teen girls take the lead in a halloween styled game where graveyards and dark swamps take the place of the usual spaceports or techno-mechas found in shmups. The girls themselves inexplicably shoot bullets from their bodies while a hovering assistant (owl, bat etc.) shoots from beside. Enemies pop up in front and behind you and will shoot different patterns of bullets depending on difficulty. The graphics themselves are not fantastic but rather functional with style making most of the ground for where fidelity falls flat.
The story is complete WTFerry, with none of the girls dialogue or details making much sense. The final boss also has some of the more choice lines of laughable dialogue. These elements I am willing to forgo because I feel that so much has been lost in translation. The UK package, which is exclusive to the Xbox 360 also includes a great CD soundtrack and CD-Rom. The 3 disc collection is great fan service and at its current Amazon price point of under £15 is well worth a look for shmup fans.
Here story is clearly playing second fiddle here to a game which focuses on gameplay, difficulty and high score chasing and for that matter alone there is much reason to come back for another spin.
It’s difficult to collate all of my feelings in regard to the absolutely phenomenal Rayman Origins but I am going to try and give it a go.
It’s hard to really put this into words but Rayman Origins is a beautiful game. It is certainly not the same kind of beauty you may find in the stunning vistas of Skyrim or the lush backdrops of Uncharted but a kind of beauty that usually only exists in animated film. The hand drawn aesthetic is pleasing but it is the creative scope and bright palette that bring this game into its own. Hilariously conceived chili pepper enemies pop out in the foreground while lava flows deep within the backdrop. A spiky segment of orange bounces along a bright blue ice cap. A swarm of flies approach a set of aboriginal style instruments. These moments stick in my mind as they made me gasp and shriek with the giddy excitement of a child on Christmas day. The animations of the different enemies, the protagonist and his various cohorts are marvelous and add comedy and delight in equal measures.
While the backdrops, assets and animations are all expertly crafted they would be a miss without the simply outstanding level design. The platforming in Rayman Origins is equal parts Mario, Sonic and Mega Man. The earlier stages tend to deal with standard Mario-esque fare. Offering up the basics of the game to you, while introducing the collectables that make up a large part of the extended gameplay. Throughout the game there are lightning quick, twitch reflex levels that require a lot of repetition and practice. This never gets dull however with many of the ‘chest’ levels being so much fun that after the 27th death you are still smiling from ear to ear. Finally the Mega Man style action occurs late in the game where some levels open up that require great platforming accuracy and precise attack techniques. These three styles of gameplay merge with some brilliantly worked horizontal shooter segments that are tremendous fun.
There is bags of replay value in all of the levels with time trials and countless collectables to consume you for days. That’s all without mentioning the frantic fun of four way multiplayer no doubt influenced by New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
Rayman Origins is a wonderful, hilarious acid trip platformer thats as much Van Gogh as it is Spongebob. Even the water levels are fun…
Track of the day: Wild Nothing - Nowhere
Man alive, I have waited for fresh material from Wild Nothing and here it is finally. Slightly more upbeat and jangly than 2010’s Gemini LP this track was recorded in a REAL studio and it shows. Gone are the dark, moody and occasionally amateurish productions found on the aforementioned album. However, I feel that without some of that haze this track may get lost in the well of indie-pop. Hopefully this one is a grower as Gemini is an album I fell in love with because of it’s great personality. A sophomore record is expected this year and I can’t wait to hear it.
This made me laugh an uncontrollable amount.
For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me… it was Tuesday.
Raul Julia (as M. Bison), Street Fighter: The Movie (via raydere)
Gonna watch Street Fighter: The Movie tonight. Why do I do this to myself?
Track of the Day: SBTRKT - Atomic Peace
UK producer SBTRKT had arguably one of my favourite albums of 2011 with his self titled LP. Today he posted this previously unreleased track on his soundcloud and it apparently dates back to ‘09. Where has he been hiding this stuff?
Not All Is As It Seems - by Hatm0nster
So excited for Bioshock Infinite this year.
Demon’s Souls. I realise that I may be a little behind everyone else but I am hoping that with a fairly empty release schedule in the next few months I can play a fair bit of it and hopefully move onto Dark Souls afterwards. After playing it for 3 hours in a fairly dreary state after spending most of the night draining blood from my finger (don’t ask) i’m feeling all gloomy and full of death. It’s like being a 16 year old philosophy student all over again. Oh and for those keeping score I died 6 times in the first 3 hours and didnt manage to finish the first level. I did however complete the tutorial with flying colours (pats self on back).