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Showing posts from June, 2023

Banjo-Kazooie: 25th anniversary

Banjo-Kazooie is a first-rate 3D platformer put out by Rare on the N64. The name comes from the titular duo, Banjo, a banjo-playing bear, and Kazooie, a rude and sarcastic bird who rides in Banjo's backpack. At first it feels like a Super Mario 64 clone, but the game has wonderful depth and creativity. Although I'd never played the game before, I got hooked quickly and wanted to find all 100 jiggies. These are jigsaw puzzle pieces that function like stars in Super Mario 64. Unlocking each new stage requires placing a certain number of jiggies into a painting-like puzzle. Jiggies are found by solving each stage's centerpiece puzzles and tasks, such as rescuing a dolphin caught under an anchor, climbing to the the top of an area, or smashing a hut, door, or window. Some involve timed activities, such as solving a maze or puzzle in 60 seconds. There is a wide and fun variety of activities, and most are intuitive. One nice improvement compared to Mario 64 is that you aren'

Bubble Bobble: Let us journey again to the cave of monsters!

Bubble Bobble is one of my favorite NES games, which I enjoy playing today as much as ever. It almost perfectly reproduces the 1986 arcade game. The game was and is very popular, and has been ported to practically every video-game system ever made. Bubble Bobble is a single-screen arcade game with 100 levels. It emphasizes two players, though it's also fun solo. The premise is that you control little dragons (named Bub and Bob) that shoot bubbles that can envelop enemies. Popping a bubble with an enemy in it destroys that enemy. If you take too long, however, the bubble eventually pops and releases the enemy. Each screen has a unique layout of platforms and walls. The enemies are cute, like little clockwork guys (Bubble Buster) and ghosts (Stoner). Most are easily beaten, but a few have projectiles. The hardest enemies are Invaders, who shoot downward like in Space Invaders, and Willie Whistle, who throws a bottle that boomerangs. If you don't finish a stage within a certain ti

Metroid Prime: A timeless masterpiece

Thanks to the Switch release of Metroid Prime Remastered, I've finally played Metroid Prime. I remember watching my college roommate playing it (and Super Mario Sunshine ), back when I was skeptical of 3D games. It takes everything great about Metroid games and translates that flawlessly into the 3D space. It feels almost like a modern game, depite being 20 years old. In Metroid Prime, you once again assume control of the power-suit-clad, Mandalorian-esque "Hunter," Samus Aran. Set after the events of Metroid  (prior to the Game Boy game Metroid II ), she boards a Space Pirate ship, where she encounters a cybernetically-enhanced clone of Ridley called Meta Ridley. As the ship is destroyed, Samus's suit is damaged, and Meta Ridley flees to the planet Tallon IV. There, across seven regions connected by elevators, Samus must re-acquire her abilities, uncover secret paths, solve puzzles, unlock doors, and vaporize alien creatures while searching for twelve ancient artifac