Tuesday, 31 January 2017

2017 Is The Year Of Punching People In The Face (Double Dragon 4)

Sometimes, the best way to solve your problems is to punch a whole bunch of people in the face. That's the motto of Billy and Jimmy Lee, at least. For 30 years now these two karate masters have been beating the everloving stuffing out of street punks, ninjas, and Shadow Warriors in the Double Dragon series. While not the first belt scrolling beat-em-up game out there, the original Double Dragon in 1987 was a revelation and one hell of a quarter muncher. Throughout the 80's and 90's the series would go in all sorts of directions; arcade games, a myriad of home ports of said arcade games, console-only sequels and spinoffs, and a crossover with the Battletoads of all things. The wane of the radical 90's meant the end of Double Dragon, but there were some glimmers here and there. A remake or two popped up, and then there was Wayforward's sublime Double Dragon Neon. As the name suggests, it took the series and left it positively dripping with a neon 80's retrowave aesthetic. It was quite good! The series has had its ups and downs, but one subsection that brings a lot of nostalgia to many are the NES ports of the first three arcade games. Whether they hold up or not, the NES trilogy is beloved by many who grew up with the console. Beloved enough, even, to warrant this old-new entry in the series... as opposed to the new-old of Double Dragon Neon. Whatever the faults of Double Dragon, here's a new one to bank on the nostalgia of punching folks in 8-bit. Wrap your hands up and do some warmup stretches, because it's time to go a few rounds with this bad boy of a retro revival; Double Dragon 4.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Don't You Mess With A Little Girl's Dream, Or She's Liable To Grow Up Mean (Metroid: Rogue Dawn)

(Hello! As you'll soon find out when you get past the preamble buildup bullshit, Metroid: Rogue Dawn is a total conversion ROM hack of the original NES Metroid. It can be found right here. That's also where I'll be getting the screenshots for this, so credit where credit is due there. In the interest of playing nice with capitalism, I should advise you to give Nintendo five dollars for the original Metroid on one of its digital services before seeking out some sort of under-the-table version of it to modify. Also I'm going to talk about the tricks it does and the ending and shit, so if you're going to play it and care about that, there are spoilers!)

For Metroid fans, it's been a bleak ten years. 2007, in retrospect, was the last really great grasp of the series. Metroid Prime 3 was a pretty great Metroid game in a series of pretty great Metroid games from Retro Studios, but it was also the capstone to that particular trilogy. A little bit of a wait for the next new Metroid experience wouldn't hurt; we waited eight years after Super Metroid to get to this new golden age of Metroid being a profitable and popular thing that got regular new games. What would be next? E3 2009, that was what was next. I can remember sitting there, live watching the Nintendo show and reacting with my gang of pals. The Chat For Non-Losers and I sat there viewing, wondering what this strange space game that Team Ninja was making had to offer. Then came those words. "Any objections, Lady?". OH SWEET SHIT THAT'S ADAM MALKOVICH IT'S A NEW METROID GAME OH MY GOD YOU FLIP AROUND AND SHIT THIS LOOKS SO COOL! I was beyond hyped. We all were. Then the game came out. Oh. Oh my god. In that moment, the Metroid fanbase had its Phantom Menace moment. The creators went back in time to tell an untold story in the Metroid universe and it was garbage. For years we would get our bats and bludgeon the space where a horse had once laid, trying to understand just what had gone wrong and unable to let go of just how let down we'd all been (or maybe that's just me). To be fair, though, it was all we had. After Other M, things got quiet for Metroid again. Slowly the realization dawned. We were living in the embers of what had once been the golden age of Metroid. The peace and prosperity we'd fought for, wiped clean by the wagging no-no finger denying you a climactic final level or a true last boss fight. Oh sweet Jesus.