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...

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Crash Bandicoot - Progress Report V

We're almost there, folks. Just seven levels and two bosses before we can strike Crash Bandicoot off of our list. So let's delay no longer!

Hey, who got the road stoned?

Yeah, it's this level. They're kind enough to give you two extra lives immediately, and you know I'd need them. However I did much better on this level than I did on the first. It's almost pretty much identical to the first, except for one thing:

So much more turtle shells to bounce on. I actually found bouncing on these much easier than a series of precise jumps. I still lost too many lives, but that wasn't purely because of the level, no, it's because I wanted to show something off...

Ignore the VLC "Pause" and "Play" signs, I wasn't thinking straight when I took these screenshots apparently. But yeah, if you're skilled enough you can just jump on the ropes and skip most of the level that way. It's a very precise jump and it does like to slide you off to your doom. I don't like using it, but it's always an option!

Now, the next level I ended up with nearly an hour of footage for. The amount of images I have does not reflect this, because I tried watching this back properly and I just suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To get back to sanity will be a...

This level beat me. It beat me. Sure, I eventually finished it, but it won. It left me crushed, lying in a pool of my own blood to die. I HATE THIS LEVEL.

These arms will try and swipe at you, but rarely will they actually get you. Just spin or jump on them to put them away.

There are times you'll have to jump on an enemy in order to get to another platform, but again that's not really a challenge especially if you've played the likes of Donkey Kong Country and what not where this thing is common.

This is what gives the level its name, right now it's just a ramp that you will immediately slip off. But wait a couple of seconds and...

TA-DAH, it is stairs. These can get tricky later on, but this one it's just a case of get to that elevator before it retracts.

This one did give me problems when I wasn't being patient, just wait for it to become stairs as you're at the top of your elevator journey and you should get to the stone steps with enough time.

That is followed by another elevator, jumping on a bird to get on another elevator, then a series of retracting platforms. This is where the level starts saying mean stuff about my mother as it kicks me in the gut. Still, after so long I do finally get that saving grace...

Oh, Checkpoint, I will never stop loving you for the remainder of my life.

These platforms have slightly weird timing (unless that's just me), just make sure you jump where it's going to go or else you'll hit those spikes.

So, a new enemy here. He just throws test tubes at you that explode on contact. Just wait for one to land, run and spin him.

...there are still a few minutes of gameplay I've not shown but I was actually getting a little frustrated watching myself play this. I died for some stupid reasons, I died for reasons that barely look like my fault (but probably was). I even got to an N. Brio bonus stage and failed it almost immediately. By the time I got here, I was ready to punch Crash in the face and hearing the noise of the warp gate was like a soothing lullaby in the end. For the level I missed, just imagine everything I've talked about, but increasingly getting harder. I've not shown a lot of where I died either, but I died close to 40 times in total throughout three separate playthroughs. Hopefully you can forgive me for not really wanting to revisit this. It's the low point of the game for me...luckily it's all uphill from here.

Are you afraid of the dark?

Nope, because Aku Aku will light the way! And he will! Aku Aku is a little different in this level...

He lights up the room for a fair amount of time, usually enough time to get to the next Aku x2 mask. It does also act as an extra hit, but get hit and you lose the mask.

While it is theoretically possible to complete this without Aku Squared, stuff like this is why you don't want to, one wrong jump and it's death. Being able to see the platform and differentiate between ground and bottomless pit is rather useful.

And it is really hard to see much ahead of you. If you consider yourself a Crash expert, try a "blind" run to add a more challenging flavour!

I've made the picture bigger so you can see those red eyes. Those are rats, they act in the same way as the skunks from the first level, in that they come groups of three and are really to kill.

Pendulums make an appearance in this level, and luckily nowhere else for the rest of the game. Take a few seconds to study them and proceed when you think you can.

I did die a few times, but compared to the Slippery Climb it was a damn breeze.

Hey, it's one of these! It's a nice enough level, though there's not much new I can talk about. I mean...

...the cobra's back...

...the spider's still just hanging out...

...everything is back! Even the bats! (who the hell invited the bats to our reunion?). I like the level though, it's a nice stroll in the park compared to the previous two.

I hate you Checkpoint. I will never stop hating you. (if you can't tell, I jumped onto the checkpoint and it bounced me off into the pit of never ending doom).

Still, after some crushers and bats, we finish the level. I have to apologise if this doesn't seem thorough, but that's the problem with 'sibling levels', there's just not much new to talk about.

The same applies here.

Huh? That was hideously easy. Well I'm sure glad that's over, 'cause I have nothing to say about..

Oh, dammit. You got me Naughty Dog! There is plenty of level to do before we can get back.

These bastards are back. Not as bad as there were in the Generator Room however, just a timed jump through the gap will get you past them.

Here is something quite new, if you stay on these elevators for too long they will take you right to a hot pipe. I guess the platforms are sick of us just walking all over them all the time?


NO! I thought we had something special? Ugh, I feel so...used.'re forgiven!

The pipes are more commonplace in this level, but they still move in a set pattern so they pose little actual danger.

Just another 'dodge the obstacles platform ride' later and we reach the end.

N. Brio. Get it? Though I'm going to name my first child Nitrus! It's probably one of many many reasons why I'll never ever have kids.

So, for most of the battle this is what he does, he'll just pour the liquid from one tube to the next. However, at the start of each 'round' he'll throw a number of green tubes (1, then 2, then 3 tubes) and each contains one of these...

It took me a while (and two lives) to realise how to beat the goo. For some reason I had it in my head I had to spin it into Brio, but nope, just bounce on top of it and it will take off some of Brio's health. After that he'll throw some purple tubes to try and get you blown up. If you get too close to him though...


He'll smash the tubes together if you try to physically attack him, causing an explosion in your face.

After the third round, he'll drink his potions and...

Become really easy (ignore the fact I died here...please?).

All you need to do is jump on the stone block that falls from the ceiling, and then jump on his head. The hitbox is rather forgiving and after hitting him three times...

N. Hulkrio is down. Just Cortex to go now...

Next time on Crash Bandicoot: The Main Event - Crash vs Cortex.