Just a Short Trip Back for More – PC – DreadOut: Keepers of the Dark – 2016

20190811102407_1.jpgDreadOut: Keepers of the Dark
PC
Digital Happiness
Genre: Survival Action Horror
2016

Certain games lend themselves to a convoluted and drawn-out mythos. Taking into account some certain popular horror games, you could easily find essays about Silent Hill’s background and characters. Personally, I’ve poured through a number of analyses about Rule of Rose and the symbolism within the world drawn up over the game’s events. While a lot of that is in the eye and explanations of the analyst behind the keyboard, most franchises are not foreign to the idea of adding more to an already existing mythos to explain mysteries or flesh out their universe. It’s what endears people to their work, after all.

The original DreadOut (which I reviewed a while back here) took its inspiration from some already existing mythology, sending a group of trapped teenagers and their teacher up against some of the specters and demons in Indonesian stories. The game didn’t just rest on this, as it had its own plot and story to tell, but the combination of existing and specifically created histories made for an interesting plot to watch unfold as the horrors played out.

Keepers of the Dark is not a straight sequel to DreadOut as one might be led to believe from the title and timeline. I say this not only informationally but as a bit of a warning for the discussion to follow since there is almost no way to discuss the game without referring to elements from the original DreadOut and possibly giving some spoilers. Acting more like a “missing chapter”, according to the game’s page on Steam, it sort of takes a quick sidestep from the plot of the original and has events that relate to it. If you haven’t played the original game and don’t want it ruined for you, feel free to turn away now. No hard feelings here, I promise!

Otherwise, take a peek at what I thought of this extra chapter from the DreadOut universe and how effective it may or may not have been as a standalone piece. Continue reading

Two of Us Against the World – Nintendo Entertainment System – A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia – 1990

Title.jpgA Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia
Nintendo Entertainment System
Imagineering / Absolute Entertainment
Genre: Puzzle Platformer
1990

The introduction of the NES to the video gaming market felt like it was a time where a lot of chances were taken. Not to belittle the consoles that had come before it. There were plenty of games that tried something new, but it felt like there was a marked shift in capabilities for the system and the approach to video game mechanics began to spread to a larger variety that was accessible to more developers. With that, some companies attempted to step outside of the box a bit, jumping from their work on earlier consoles to embrace the growth of technology in the field.

Such was the case with Imagineering and Absolute Entertainment who had produced and published games for the Atari and Commodore 64 before making the jump onto the Nintendo Entertainment System. With a bit of innovation and some high aspirations, their first attempt to break into the NES market in conjunction with one another was with a little game that has seen a few entries in its legacy called A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia.

Attempting to put a spin on the classic adventure platformers that were so plentiful in the system’s library, the idea was to create a game that did away with tedious inventory management and would be another step forward in the genre given the influence designer and programmer David Crane had already with his work on Pitfall!, a classic in its own right that pushed the adventure scene in a promising direction.

Having played this game as a kid, I had never finished it and remembered it being a bit too challenging when I had attempted it last. One morning, with my renewed resolved and a few more years of gaming under my belt, I decided to take a swing through the game and take a journey with A Boy and His Blob. Continue reading

All’s Fair in Love and Covering Wars – XBox 360 – Dead Rising – 2006

20190706233207_1.jpgDead Rising
XBox 360
Capcom
Genre: Action Horror
2006

Zombie games are everywhere. Like the creeping undead they promote, they seem to have vastly grown in number and even when you don’t think they have made their way in, games suddenly have a new mode that has you facing off against the hellish creatures. As someone who swears by Zombie Ate My Neighbors being one of my favorite games of all time, even I have to admit that there’s a lot to look through and not much to be done to make the zombie pseudo-genre feel fresh.

Looking back a bit, though, it didn’t feel like the wave of zombie-centric gaming started to swell until popular games like Resident Evil 4 and Dead Rising hit the scene, bringing a more action-oriented approach to slaying the already slain than many of their predecessors of the era. Plenty of ground had been struck within the Resident Evil series and other one-off titles here and there to give credit where it’s due. At the time of its release, though, Dead Rising felt like a revival of a sort. It was shiny and new while calling back to similar works from film and gaming.

There’s also been about thirteen years of efforts to replicate those shiny and new feelings in a number of ways since. Some have been successful while others have paled in comparison. It only feels right to look back into Capcom’s Dead Rising series, one of the original members of the new wave, and see how it stands up now that so many other games have come around. Plenty of games make a splash and get lost in an ocean of titles and efforts to be the best.

After all of this time, does Dead Rising still hold its own in the arena?
Continue reading

Enter If You Dare – Nintendo 64 – Castlevania – 1999

TitleCastlevania
Nintendo 64
Konami/KCEK
Genre: Action Adventure
1999

Since the earlier days of console gaming, Castlevania has been a standout series alongside esteemed first-party brethren like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. Over the course of the 8 and 16-bit days, the series managed to produce just under 10 or so unique games for itself, and the popularity it gained after the night-untouchable Symphony of the Night released on Playstation made it a force to be reckoned with. While keeping true to its core mechanics, for the most part, Castlevania rode the waves of evolution over generations in a way that many series with they could have, whether by quantity or quality.

Inevitably, this would mean that when the jump to 3D gaming started to rise with Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Castlevania would surely take the leap with them. With a strongly established mythos and plenty of recognizable elements, the series brought a dark tone to the otherwise colorful and fantastical offerings plenty of other powerhouses had been for years to the Nintendo world.

Looking back now, there are some horrors aside from the creatures of the night the Belmont Clan had been used to that many games entering the 3D arena had to compete with. Notoriously, Castlevania 64 tripped into some of these pitfalls, but so did plenty of the heavy hitters during that time. Why, then, have we seen so much love for Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time but not for Konami’s attempt at making a more immersive trip to the Count’s castle abode? Continue reading

July in Review

3pmegamanstyleHey, folks! Welcome to my quick wrap-up of July and what I’ve been up to and writing about over the past 31 or so days.

So what’s been going on in my neck of the woods this month?

Well, in life, it’s been incredibly warm in my area so I’ve spent a lot of time outside and looking for some life improvement while searching for an apartment and generally finding my next direction to travel in. I’ve also entered into year two of the tabletop game that I’ve been running, which has been a bit of an accomplishment for me given the fact that I was terrified of running something like that for friends at all. I’ve also set myself up to try to get more reading done in the future regarding both blogs and literature I’ve been meaning to get to or revisit.

It sounds like a tall order and, to be honest, it is. I suppose working in a direction that I want to be heading toward slowly but surely is better than just expecting everything will fall into place right away, right?

So far as gaming is concerned, I started out the month on a bit of a spree across a bunch of systems, though I’m always working through my Steam backlog and collecting so the pile of games grows ever larger. Before I became hopelessly obsessed with Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I started in on Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;birth 1, a remake of the original game (which I also never played but have heard great things about). I’ve also been looking at some fun platformers and horror games coming up- especially with Man of Medan on the horizon for next month.

It’s been a great time for games, hasn’t it?

20190629155923_1Posts in Review
This month was a pretty horror heavy month, though not without my having finished some games I’ve been meaning to for a while:

Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song (PS2)
Huntsman: The Orphanage – Halloween Edition (PC)
The Ring: Terror’s Realm (Dreamcast)

I also managed to write up a blog post on how games handle protagonists that the player probably shouldn’t empathize with but they should enjoy playing as:

The Frank West Conundrum – Analyzing a Non-Traditional Protagonist

I really enjoy analyzing and discussing these kinds of topics. They’re usually based on conversations I’ve had in passing with gaming friends in person, so bringing them to folks who I get to talk to in the comments here and on Twitter always results in some night insights.

20190706235039_1What’s to Come?
Over the next month, I’m looking forward to updating the couple of overviews I’ve started to include more of the Atelier games and to cover Fire Emblem entries that have released since like Fire Emblem Warriors, Fire Emblem Heroes, and my current obsession, Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I’ve also been working on playing through to do a review and overview of the Left 4 Dead series. I don’t think I’ve played enough first-person shooters or cooperative games lately, so I’d like to branch into that a bit more.

Of course, I’ve also got a review for Dead Rising coming up, along with another game I had been meaning to get through, Castlevania 64. I have a whole host of other games to play through, and I’ve been pretty happy with my balance of PC and console coverage as well as retro and current generation focus, so you can most likely expect more of the same from me upcoming.

Preferably a higher volume of writing, as well- once I finish up with Three Houses, of course.

There are also a lot of you that I would love to support more, and I want to make another post soon showing some love for the folks who have been actively chatting and interacting and some blogs that I’ve been appreciating and frequenting.  I want to stress that there are a lot of folks on here that I appreciate, admire, and support, despite my inability to keep up with all of the amazing content you all produce!

Have a great rest of the week and here’s to a fantastic August!

– Matt (a.k.a. The3rdPlayer)