August in Review

3pmegamanstyle

Hey folks! I’m a few days late, but it’s been a hectic beginning to September so I hope you’ll all forgive me.

So far as life is concerned, it’s mostly been work and trying to be social where I can. A lot of that involves gaming, which is nice, but I’ve also been working on getting back into reading. I’ve pretty much careened through the first book of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, The Gunslinger, in an effort to read through some of his connected mythos. It’s been nice having a book reel me back in again, and I’m hoping the reading bug catches me this time around. There are a lot of great works out that I’ve been meaning to get to.

I also featured on a co-stream with my best friend, Sparkhive (who’s stream can be caught here!) and introduced her to the game, ObsCure (which I also reviewed here). It was a blast to not only collaborate with a good friend live and in front of a bunch of fun folks, but it reminded me that I enjoyed streaming when I could for the most part before. It may be something I look into doing every so often once I have an apartment or a place to live where I can do it in peace.

Gaming itself has also been pretty erratic, though I’ve tended toward the spooky over the past month. I managed my way through the original Fatal Frame and have started up with Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly. I’ve also worked through three or four run-throughs of The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan, Supermassive’s follow-up effort to one of my favorite games, Until Dawn, which I’ll have some impressions of up on here shortly for. My co-op playthrough of Dead Rising 2 is coming to a close soon, too. Not to be outdone, though, my Switch has gotten quite a bit of playtime with a second run-through in Fire Emblem: Three Houses and the Final Fantasy VIII Remastered release a few days ago.

Needless to say, it’s a great time to be a gamer!

20190811112101_1

Reviews and Posts

Keeping on my horror slant, most of the games I wrote about this month had some hand in the macabre. Exploring Castlevania 64 after all of these years was a fun romp into one of my favorite series, even if the experience is a bit lacking. The original Dead Rising left the same kind of taste but as the origin point of the series, it kind of makes sense that there were some bumps in the road. Surprisingly, DreadOut: Keepers of the Dark was a solid sequel that followed the original DreadOut (review) faithfully and kept most of what worked so well in the original.

The one deviation was A Boy and His Blob which I had wanted to revisit since I first owned it on the NES years ago. It’s an interesting little title that’s worth a peek and has made me interested in the remake that came out on the Wii some time ago.

Castlevania (N64)
Dead Rising (360)
A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia (NES)
DreadOut: Keepers of the Dark (PC)

The only editorial piece I did this month came from the “Adventures in Collecting” series I’ve attempted to keep up- though this one was a bit of a warning to budding collectors more than anything. From my advice pile to you: “make sure you read the fine print”.

(Mis)Adventures in Collecting – Fire Emblem

Looking Ahead

Aside from write-ups on Fatal Frame and some impression on Man of Medan, I’m hoping to continue on with my Dead Rising write-ups and finally put the finishing touches on my overview of Left 4 Dead. I have a few other games that I’m looking forward to but I hesitate to chat about which ones I’ll actually get to jot my impressions of down in here before the end of the month. It’s actually feeling like there might be quite a few editorial pieces upcoming for some reason.

Really, the sky’s the limit and I’m not totally sure what will be coming up in the blog for September- especially since we’re heading into the Halloween season, my favorite season of all. If my gaming habits are any indication, though, you’ll be seeing some fun horror and RPG titles over the next few weeks.

Hope you’re all having a fantastic start to your month- and I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading, watching, gaming, or just generally doing that you’d like to share!

– Matt (a.k.a. The3rdPlayer)

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

Top 5 – Video Game Villains

3pmegamanstyle

Welcome, fellow gamers!  It’s been a little while since I posted up a Top 5 list, and I spoke with a couple of folks to ask ‘what kind of list would you like to see?’  While I’m working on some reviews on some pretty killer games, I really wanted to do some more fun and subjective pieces to keep my creative factory running.

The first list I had pitched was by my good friend (and wife to my co-contributor) who asked about my favorite villains.  My top pick was easy; honestly, anyone who has ever talked to me about video games and knows the game they are from has heard me go on and on about them.  To fill in the other four spots, though, I had to do a little more thinking on a few different levels.

I got to wondering about what made a good villain to me.  There’s something about the feeling when you think of a good villain and specifically how they stand out to you.  Asking on Twitter warranted a lot of different responses including being drawn to comical villains or sympathetic villains that you can relate to.  A lot of great names came up- Bowser, GLaDOS, Ganondorf and one particularly well suggested James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2.  Seriously, if you like dark storytelling, you need to play that game.

But I digress.

Listed after the jump is my personal list of Top 5 Villains.  Your opinions may differ, and I gladly welcome you to chat about them in the comments or on Twitter with me.  You’ve been warned, though.  There are spoilers in here since you can’t really explain the villainy of characters without at least describing some of their actions, though they aren’t necessarily game ruining tidbits.  Also, this list is entirely subjective.  Did I mention that yet?  It also changes just about everytime I think about it so without rambling on too much more-

Lights.  Camera.  Villainy!

Continue reading

Step Into The Darkness – Nintendo Entertainment System – Castlevania – 1986

castlevania

CASTLEVANIA
Nintendo Entertainment System
Konami
(c) 1986
Genre: Horror Platformer

Every so often, a game spawns an entire legacy, inspiring a number of works ranging over various systems and revamps to cement their role in video game history. A number of popular properties started on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Super Mario Brothers, Metroid, Final Fantasy– the list goes on. Among those titles, though, is a little horror game called Castlevania.

Given the amount of entries in the Castlevania series at this point, it very well rivals and surpasses most of the above titles by quantity alone.  Whatever the deviations or however many times a game may re-imagine its origins, every series has its humble beginning, and while Castlevania graced nearly every television set I grew up around, I could have never imagined how much this title would have spawned going forward and how addicted I would still be to those future titles.

Going to the beginning of the legacy of Castlevania, though, how does it hold up, and what groundwork did it lay for the rest of the series?

Continue reading

Something Old, Something New – Nintendo Entertainment System – Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse – 1990

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
Nintendo Entertainment System
Konami
1990
Genre: Horror Platformer

Trilogies are not unheard of in the video game world nowadays. Good things come in threes, so it’s said, and the Castlevania series did their best to prove that adage right back when they were hot and heavy in the Nintendo days. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse came along after the original creeped audiences out, and the second one probably confused the fans just as much so.  Figuring out how the third one would fare was probably an adventure when it came out, but how does it stand up to the rest of the series? Even more important, how does it stand up as a game in general with over twenty years under its belt?

Continue reading