Retro Game Friday: Shantae

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a really obscure classic. It’s Shantae!

Plot Synopsis: A gang of pirates, the Tinkerbats, led by Risky Boots, attacks Scuttle Town and steals a prototype steam engine from Mimic, the town’s resident treasure hunter. Mimic tells Shantae, the guardian of Scuttle Town, that if Risky retrieves four magical “elemental stones”, she could power up the steam engine and create an unstoppable weapon out of it. Shantae travels across Sequin Land, determined to retrieve the steam engine and the elemental stones and stop Risky.

Plot: Look this isn’t a game that has an amazing plot, but it was fun to play.

Gameplay: Shantae was reminiscent of Banjo-Kazooie for me. Though not quite as good as Banjo-Kazooie, it allowed Shantae to transform into various forms like an Elephant or Monkey. This was a platformer through and through and while it wasn’t especially amazing, it was enough to gain a following, albeit a bit of a cult following. The game was obscured by the launch of the GameBoy Advance and since this was on the GameBoy Color it didn’t receive quite enough attention.

Art: The art is fully 2D, which is good because it’s aged pretty well since 2002.

Music: Don’t remember a whit, if I ever even listened to it. Remember that I played my portable games while traveled when I was younger so having the music on wasn’t really looked on kindly.

Overall: This was a fun game, if somewhat lacking in plot.

For those who like: Platformers, Transformations, Middle Eastern Mythologies, Great Gameplay, Good Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Retro Game Friday: Rogue Squadron II

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering the sequel to Rogue Squadron. It’s Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader!

Plot: The plot is pretty decent, it follows the exploits of Rogue Squadron during the time of the original trilogy. So we have Luke and Wedge as our player characters.

Gameplay: This is one of my favorite games because of how simple it was to fly the various ships in this game. Lots of games try to make it hard to fly in them, and frankly I find that to be frustrating and shortsighted if it’s purely a single player game. My favorite ship to fly was the A-Wing, I always preferred speed over anything else, but it was quite fun to play all the various ships, including the Buick.

Music: Classic Star Wars, which is great.

Art: The only thing about this game that hasn’t withstood the test of time is the artwork, I’m sure there are mods out there to update the game to make it more palatable in today’s market, but back in the day this was really quite amazing. I remember seeing the E3 Reveal of this game and thinking that I could barely tell if it was a scene from the movie or game footage at first.

Overall: If you love Star Wars, or Combat Flight Sims, you need to play Rogue Squadron II!

Retro Game Friday: Mario and Luigi Partners in Time

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering the sequel to Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga! It’s Mario and Luigi Partners in Time!

Plot Synopsis: During Mario and Luigi’s infancies, Shroobs from a withering distant planet find the Mushroom Kingdom and invade it. The invasion forces Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Baby Peach, Toadsworth the Younger, and Baby Bowser (who had been attempting to capture Baby Peach at the time) to flee in the Koopa Cruiser. In the future, Princess Peach, Toadiko, and Toadbert travel to the past via Professor E. Gadd’s time machine, which is powered by the Cobalt Star. But when the device returns, it is occupied by a hostile alien, forcing Mario and Luigi to use a newly-formed time hole in the castle gardens to go to the past and find Peach.

Plot: The plot  was okay, but it wasn’t super spectacular like a Final Fantasy Game. It was humorous though, like most Mario RPGs are.

Gameplay: Like other Mario RPGs this game is turn based, but if you input certain commands at the correct time you would be able to do more damage. It’s decent gameplay, but looking back on it I really don’t find it super amazing either. I guess the Tales of games have influenced my taste in RPGs a bit too much.

Characters: It’s a Mario game, so expecting incredibly deep characters would be kind of silly. The cast was fun though.

Art: Thankfully this game is like it’s predecessor in that it’s 2D so it’s aged much better than 3D games from the time.

Music: It’s Mario, through and through.

Overall: A decent sequel, it added enough new features that it didn’t feel like a repeat of the prior game with new paint.

Retro Game Friday: Bloody Roar

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a game that very few people remember now a days. It’s Bloody Roar!

Plot Synopsis: The game’s story centers on a group of warriors known as “zoanthropes”, who have the power to transform into half-human half-animal “Beasts”, and the Tylon Corporation, an underground organization that seeks to use zoanthropes as mind-controlled weapons.

Plot: The plot was decent enough for a fighting game, but it wasn’t anything amazing either. Average would be the best word for it. I’ve played games with worse stories though, so at least this has a semi decent premise.

Gameplay: The gameplay was pretty fun, even if I only button mashed at the time, I was a kid, bite me. The main draw of the game was to morph into each character’s animalistic forms to deal more damage, allow more moves, and be even more of a badass in general. The cast was pretty fun, although this being the first game in the series the character list to select from was fairly small.

Art: The art was great for the time, but it’s aged poorly like most 3D games do.

Overall: This is a great game, if you get the chance to play it do so. It’ll give you an hour or two of good fun.

For those who like: Weres, Fighting Games, Action.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Retro Game Friday: Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance II

This week for Retro game Friday I’m covering the sequel to Dark Alliance. It’s Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II!

Plot Synopsis: The game begins by revealing the fate of the three protagonists from the first game; after jumping through the portal at the top of the Onyx Tower, Vahn, Kromlech and Adrianna are taken prisoner by the vampire Mordoc SeLanmere. Meanwhile, outside Baldur’s Gate, fate brings Dorn, Vhaidra, Ysuran, Borador and Allessia together. Upon meeting on the Trade Way, they learn that since the collapse of Xantam’s Guild, the route has become increasingly dangerous due to the rise of the Red Fang Marauders, a goblin army who prey on travelers. After infiltrating a nearby Marauders cave, and freeing the caravan guard Randalla, the heroes head to Wayfork Village, a nearby fiefdom. There, they rescue the village from the Marauders and kill their hobgoblin leader, Harnak.

Plot: The plot was okay, but due to certain circumstances I can’t really count it as being good. I won’t mention what they are, but play through the game and you’ll understand.

Characters: We get 5 new characters to play as initially, personally I played as Vhaidra, the Drow Monk. There are also two secret characters, Drizzt and Artemis Entreri, but those are unlocked after beating the game and Extreme mode respectively.

Gameplay: It played a lot like the first game, and was fun to play co-op with a second person with. I think my brother was the Human Barbarian Dorn when we played together. There were some additions, but really it’s not that much different from the first game.

Art: It’s aged poorly, but was pretty amazing back in the day.

Music: Don’t remember a whit, sorry.

Overall: A great sequel if somewhat lackluster in the plot department.

Retro Game Friday: Star Wars Obi-Wan

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a relatively obscure Star Wars game. It’s Star Wars: Obi-Wan!

Plot Synopsis: It takes place in around 32 years before the Battle of Yavin, in the weeks prior to and during the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

Plot: Yes it was a prequel to the first prequel movie. Frankly I don’t remember the story being all that great, but at the time I was obsessed with all thing Star Wars, and was only a kid, so cut me some slack.

Gameplay: The gameplay was pretty interesting in that you used the Xbox’s two thumbsticks to control both Obi-Wan and his lightsaber. It was a pretty bold move, although it really didn’t save the game, which if you haven’t ever heard of it isn’t surprising since it got a fairly low score from critics back when it released.

Art: The art is really aged, but that’s pretty expected given that it’s 3D.

Music: I remember it being classic Star Wars music, other than that I don’t remember anything.

Overall: An easily skippable game, unless one is incredibly bored don’t bother with it even if you get the chance.

For those who like: Star Wars, Lightsabers, Action

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Retro Game Friday: Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a spin off of the Baldur’s Gate series. It’s Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance!

Plot Synopsis: The game begins with Vahn, Adrianna and Kromlech arriving in Baldur’s Gate, whereupon they are attacked by a group of thieves led by Karne. The thieves are about to kill the trio when they are interrupted by the city watch, who take the newcomers to the nearby Elfsong Tavern to recover. There, the bartender, Alyth Elendara, assists them in earning some money by giving them the job of clearing the tavern’s cellar of rats.

Plot: The plot is pretty decent, not the most amazing story, but definitely not the worst either.

Characters: The characters are pretty interesting and while they aren’t super deep, there is enough to them to keep them from being dull.

Gameplay: The game plays a lot like Gauntlet in that it’s very linear,and while there are some sidequests they are few and far between. It’s a hack and slash style game, so don’t expect to be entering intricate combos to rain destruction on your enemies. It can get repetitive, although with each of the characters playing very differently it doesn’t mean you can’t switch it up by starting a new file. You do have the option of playing local co-op however which was pretty fun.

Art: It’s definitely aged poorly, but was pretty decent back when it was first released.

Music: I honestly don’t remember any of it, sorry.

Overall: If you want a game that you can play pretty mindlessly, this isn’t a bad choice. That being said there are better choices like Diablo.

For those who like: Hack and Slash Games, Linear Gameplay, Okay Plot, Co-Op Gameplay.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.