Saturday, 8 December 2012

Rayman - Episode I - Dream Forest (Pink Plant Woods)

Let's see if I still remember how to do this.

Well, I gotta HAND it to you, Rayman... sure know how to take good care of your body...

...just don't try too hard or you'll face deFEET.

Where's your head at?

Sure, smile now, because let's face it, you won't be for long in...

RAYMAN! Let's get right to it.

Some faraway stranger with binoculars is looking at us pick what level we are going to play. This is the map screen, and right now we can only go to one place 'Pink Plant Woods' in The Dream Forest.

It's pretty nice. The blue things are called 'Tings'. They act as your coins/rings for the game. Collect 100 and you get a life. You can also use them to play a mini-game, but that's something that has avoided me so far.

Right now we can only run and jump, so let's do just that.

These vines can be climbed on. This one allows us to get to a little easy to find secret...

Rayman statues are the games 1-ups. If I learned anything from playing the Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog games is that I love hoarding as many lives as possible. The red dot there (should have a 'P' in the middle, but it's in the middle of sparkling), grants you two extra hit points. See the dots underneath the life meter? Rayman can take that many hits before dying.

This handy plant will lean down when you stand on it, allowing you to move on in the level. However, it will spring back up and if you can time your jump right, you will get a nice boost into the air.

Water in this game in instant death. This was before they introduced free swimming lessons in "Video Game Character School".

Some statues will lend a helping hand to Rayman, allowing him to use them as a platform to get to high places.

These signs mark the end of the level as we know it. And Rayman feels fine.

I say 'end of the level'. that's not strictly true. Each screen of a level ends in this way, but an actual level, i.e. 'Pink Plant Woods' is made up of a few of these. Think of them more like checkpoints.

Speaking of checkpoints, some of them have a photo-op. This is a checkpoint within the level.

For future reference, most updates will feature a mash-up of playthroughs, because like I say, I love hoarding lives, I wanted to make sure I got as many as possible by the end of The Dream Forest.

After the second section of the level, we get introduced to this lady.

I like her! She makes me more powerful! So, what is this power Miss Fairy-Lady?

...apparently there was some supernatural force stopping Rayman from punching things in the face. But now we punch everything in the face. I don't care if you're an enemy, a helpful fairy, a robotic pirate or a giant plum...


You can punch plums off of their vines and they will continuously bounce, turns out being a useful platform. You can also punch them into nearby enemies and it will land on their head. Still useful as a platform as well.

The golden boxing glove is what we want, it makes our punches go further. There is also a glove that makes our punches faster. These are permanent power-ups until you die.

To 100% the game you have to open up all of these cages. The PC version doesn't have the story from the PS1 version, but apparently the main villain of the game locked up these things called 'Electoons'. It's not mandatory to free them all, but if you want to then you will have to come back after getting some more powers.

This level actually the first with a ton of enemies at once. Too many to try and get screenshots of them all.

This is from the next level, but this is a Short Livingstone. They are good at ducking under your punches. The idea is to wait for them to turn their back to you and then punch him. The one with the plum on his head a few images back? That's a Tall Livingstone. They attack by running into you and trying to grab you. This knocks you back. Usually into water. Instant-death water. I hate these guys and will punch them all.

Taken From: The Rayman Wiki
This is actually taken from the GBA version of Rayman, but these are Hunters. Or as I like to call them "Rayman's Evil Uncles". They are very similar to our hero, except they are older and have a moustache which clearly means they are evil. They shoot bullets at you. Bullets...that look like this:

Hammer bullets. Obviously. They're actually really bloody annoying when you're me trying to get used to the controls. All you need to do is duck under the ones about to fly into your face, or jump over the ones aiming for your feets. 

And that is Pink Plant Woods over and done with. There's still two more levels in The Dream Forest, but this is long enough. Until next time, folks!

Next Time on Rayman: Let's just say I'm...buzzing...for the next episode...

Monday, 26 November 2012

Rayman Forever - Introduction

Alternate Title: What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Rayman Forever
Released: 1997 (Original Game: 1995)

I have two confessions to make: the first, I'm not really a big PC gamer. I was basically born with a controller in my hands and I find it rather awkward playing games with a keyboard and mouse. The second, I'm not a fan of hard games. I've never been a big fan of the whole "practise and eventually you'll get it" gameplay. Now, with Peace Walker on hold indefinitely while I replace the wires of my external hard-drive my cat chewed through, the next game I've been given to play is a hard PC game. Rayman Forever. It's the only version of Rayman I own, via Good Old Games, thus sadly I did not get a free fridge magnet.

It is a collection of Rayman Gold (the updated version of the original PC Rayman), with a level editor and a separate pack of levels made by fans. I will play through some of these, unless I get very good at Rayman, in which case I may try and show them all off. I will be honest, I played a little a couple of days ago and it was not pretty.

Rayman is a series that I have a little experience with, despite owning three different ports of it, I've never finished Rayman 2, but I have played enough to know I really like it. The only other Rayman game I own is the racing/multiplayer game 'Rayman M', another game I have yet to finish. Before two days ago I had no experience with the first game whatsoever. This is probably going to hurt.

If you'd rather play it yourself, you can download Rayman on the Playstation Network for £3.99, or buy the whole Forever package (minus fridge magnet. Seriously, I want the fridge magnet dammit!) from Good Old Games for $5.99 (or whatever the equivalent cost is in your local currency).

So, let's delay the pain no longer. Rayman may have no limbs, but by the end of this game, I may have no soul. See you for part one!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Indie Game Review - 'Frog Fractions'

Indie Game Reviews will be a semi-regular feature here. Highlighting some of the best, or at least, interesting indie games I come across. If you have any suggestions for future games in this series, please drop me a message at either my Twitter, @SuperGameFight, or my Tumblr.

Hi. Would you like to learn all about fractions? No!? What kind of a person are you? Get outta here, we don't want your kind here!

Frog Fractions is an educational game all about fractions. You start off in a pond, using your very long tongue to catch flies and eat them before they eat your fruit. Your points are in fractions, hence the title of the game. You can use your fruit and 'zorkmids' to buy power-ups, such as changing the lillypad to a turtle so you can move, static electricity to let you catch more than one bug at a time, changing the score to standard deviations and a dragon. 

Top tip: if you want extra fruit, press "down" when you get the turtle and you'll get a handful of fruit!

At one point you even have to type the words on screen to catch the flies. Truly this is the most educational of games. Eventually, you'll have enough fruit to unlock the warp drive...and the game goes bloody insane. 

And I cannot say anymore. Seriously, you HAVE to play this for yourself. My words alone cannot do it enough justice. It looks like an innocent educational game...but it's not. It's an adventure of discovery. And it's hilarious. It's available for playing here:

It's browser-based and completely free (though you have the option to buy the soundtrack for $5, or more if you want). I heartily recommend playing this game, it's certainly a hell of an experience.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Crash Bandicoot - Finale!

It's time. We've battled a fat man, a deranged kangaroo, a 'roided up koala, a gangster potoroo and an intellectually challenged mad scientist to get this far, but finally we are here. The end game. The last two months of Sonic and Crash has made me very angry towards mad scientists, and honestly I cannot wait to get my hands on Cortex...but first we have two more levels!

The Lab is a short level, which seems longer than it is because it is quite difficult for beginners like myself.

The main gimmick to the level are those metal crate switches, they either make a bridge or open a door, but usually only for a short amount of time. Too many times I've thought I was safe to go ahead, only for a bridge to come apart as I landed on it and fell indefinitely in the nothingness below.

These electrical pillars shoot out a number of charges in a row, not too difficult to get the timing down though. If you get hit by too many of these, it truly would be 'shocking'. I'm sorry, that was a terrible joke, for crimes against humour I should be 'charged'. Oh ho ho ho.

The blob from the N. Brio boss fight has a sister, and she wants to kick your ass. Same technique as before, jump on its head and it was dissolve.

Here is an evil trick. All throughout the game, you see a cluster of crates and your first inclination is to spin into it. However, if you do that here...

You blow up the hidden TNT. There's no Aku Aku here, it is instant death no matter what.

This is actually one of my favourite enemies in the game. Don't get me wrong, he's annoying as hell. He conjures up an electrical charge in his hands, you touch him (or vice versa) and you will die...but when he's not charging up you can knock him back with a spin attack. The only way to kill him is to knock him off the platform. And they do a Howie Scream on the way down. It's awesome and that's the only reason why I like them so much.

Since it is the last proper level, there are some tricky sections. Like here, where you have to jump over the retracting bridge, set off the TNT, get away from it (which either involves getting back on the bridge or just jumping to the side sections) and then jumping back to where the now-exposed switch is.

However, I never felt it was THAT difficult. I mean, I Game Over'd...but only because I had three lives going into the level and I've never played it before. I like to choose it's because I have grown as a gamer over the week I played this game and now possess, for the first time in my life, some actual gaming skill.

Then I remember Slippery Climb and I cry myself to sleep.

One last tricky jump (hit the furthest away TNT block and it should bounce you to the far platform) and we've done it. Just one level separates us and Cortex.

The Great Hall? Well, after all this platforming I sure hope Dumbledore gives Gryffindor the House Cup, otherwise all this will be for naught!

Are we ready for the last level of Crash Bandicoot? My body certainly is, so let's go!

Now, I should warn you all, this level does not turn out well. I lost so many lives. I tried to keep count, but I lost it at around 121.'s the end? Maybe I should hang up the controller once and for all? I mean, it's wireless so I'm not sure how I'd hang it up without it falling. MY GAMER CRED IS DOWN THE TOILET, and with it goes my sense of JUST KIDDING.

It's one jump and you win. NEXT!

...okay, I'll explain. In the first picture, do you see the gem? Well, this level is actually just a bonus level. Collect all the gems and this will take you to the alternate ending. However, I looked it up and it honestly, for all the work you have to put in, not worth it. You fly off with Tawna, and it has a slightly amusing "Where are they now?" bit for all the villains. and that's it. No fight with Cortex or anything. That's not how we do things here, this is Super Game FIGHTER, not Super Game Fly-Off-With-Oddly-Sexualised-Bandicoot-Women! TO THE FIGHT!

So this is the final boss and I like it. It's an easy boss, at least I only died the once due to me being an idiot, but otherwise I had no problem. Cortex has a laser gun which will shoot out laser balls. Each colour does something different...

See the middle of the screen? That's the purple attack, which is just a straight shot.

The blue balls (...sorry) he will shoot to the side of the screen, and a second later it will scroll across it. It's a case of either jumping over it or remembering not to jump into it. Easy 'nuff. Later on when it gets a little more crazy, the blue ones will zig zag across the arena but they move slow enough that it's easy to dodge.

Green ones you spin into it and it will hurt Cortex. Sometimes it will launch itself above Cortex, but by spinning into another green laser ball it will then attack Cortex.

It does get hectic towards the end, but get him down to one hit and you've practically won. He'll desperately start shooting green balls all over the place and all it takes is one...

...and we've won!

We've beaten the main bad dude, saved the girl and scored ourself a sweet new ride...

Thus setting the backdrop for the credits.

Final Thoughts

Crash Bandicoot is a hell of a lot of fun. The controls get a little getting used to but that might just be because we live in the age of analogue controls. The gameplay still holds up well, it's simplistic but in a good way. There's some annoying levels, but on the flip side, the satisfaction of actually beating them is a great feeling.

One thing to note: Crash Bandicoot looks bloody amazing when you compare it to other Playstation games. A lot of Playstation games that looked cutting-edge at the time, look like an hideous soup these days. Crash proves that a simple cartoonish art style tends to age better than what is "cutting edge". 

Should you play it? I'm going to say yeah! It's pretty cheap on the Playstation Network, and I'm sure there's plenty of copies on ebay if you want a physical one.

Now, it's time to reveal the next game. I could write about it...but instead, I made a crappy video!! Here it is:

Here is a link to it, it does feature a copyrighted song because I'm silly...