Recently I have been aching to play Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and the latest Doom. I was able to buy Doom for the PS4 through Redbox for 5$ (What a steal!) and found a PC version of the old Doom called ‘Brutal Doom’, which I haven’t played yet but can’t wait because it looks amazing! As far as Wolfenstein goes, however, I am still waiting, but was able to pick up the much, much older ‘Return to Castle Wolfenstein’ from GOG.com a couple of weeks ago and, I must say, it really is a fantastic game! I’m sure any gamer here has heard of, seen or purchased games from GOG, but if your not familiar with the site go check it out. They sell old, old PC games us old timers remember from back in the days when you were lucky to have a video card that displayed 256 colors, a 14.4k modem and a Sound Blaster audio card.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein, PC/Windows, Activision (2001)
Over the thanksgiving weekend my son and I finally finished the fantastic game, Cuphead. If you haven’t read over my review of the game, take a look at it if you find the time. I cannot think of a game in my recent history that has been such a joy to finish. I mean, we literally screamed and jumped when that final hit to satan’s face resulted in the much anticipated “KNOCKOUT” flashing across the screen! Though I think some of the earlier levels were much more brutal, the final boss, ol’ Beelzebub himself, did not disappoint in its difficulty and weirdness!
Now that the game is done (with the exception of replays on….gulp, expert mode) I look back on it, along with my recent play through of Return to Castle Wolfenstein.
The year was 1998, the year after Square Enix released the critically acclaimed Final Fantasy 7 on the PlayStation (PS1). During our adventures with Cloud, Tifa, Barret and the rest a mystery was presented. While sitting in a wheelchair, suffering from mako poisoning, speaking to Cloud would result in a single word answer through his mako-induced haze:
Though not known at the time, the word was a mistranslation and was intended to read: “Xenogears”, but even if the translation had been correct no one would have known what the word meant until information about the next big game from SE started to make rounds. Originally dubbed “Project Noah”, rumors around the mill said the game would never see the light of day in the U.S. due to its heavy religious subject matter, something SE thought would be unacceptable in the West.
Fortunately, however, it DID make it to the West, and gamers were graced with what has become one of the most compelling and visually spectacular games SE has ever released.
I have always been a big fan of Nintendo’s Mii concept. Unless you have been living under a rock or are just not a gamer in any way, shape or form, allow me to explain:
Nintendo Mii’s are digital representations of people. Real, imagined, alive or dead. Using a simple, yet exceeding effective system of combining a range of eye, nose, mouth, hair, body and face shapes, gamers can recreate nearly any family member, actor, actress, musician or friend as a Mii. Originally released as part of the Wii software, the Mii studio became an overnight sensation, with millions of people creating the seemingly impossible!
A little more video from my son and I playing Cuphead. I cannot stress enough how difficult the game is when you consider everything that happens on the screen at once. Overall the game is not really DIFFICULT compared to other games of its type, there’s just so much happening at once that it is very easy to get distracted! Enjoy! (BTW: I’m the red ‘Cuphead’ that keeps dying while my son is the blue ‘Mugman’. Younger eyes and fingers are a boon in this game!)
Back in the day my friend and I used to play a little game named Contra on the SNES. You may have heard of it before. It is probably one of the most well known of the ‘run-n-gun’ style games in which you (and occasionally a second player) move across a map, machine guns blazing, while taking out a constant stream of bad guys. Super C, the iteration of Contra on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System upped the ante with bigger explosions, large bosses and new play mechanics (double guns).
That was many, many years ago.
Enter Cuphead, a unique run-n-gun style game along the same lines as Contra, but with the unique distinction of completely hand drawn animation that reflects the style of old cartoons. Not just any cartoons, but Fleisher cartoons, which you may have heard of if your my age (42) and have every seen old Betty Boop or Superman cartoons, amongst others. The thing is the game really, REALLY does an absolutely fantastic job of emulating the original cartoon style, right down to the odd black, scratchy screen between scenes. For someone of my age it seriously takes me back to being five or six years old, sitting in my grandma’s TV room (yeah, old people used to have a specific room for TV watching), after church on Sunday, tuned in to KTLA Channel 5 Los Angeles watching Colonel Tom Parker host Fleisher cartoons.
Recently I have been keeping tabs on the game ‘Cuphead’. A run-n-gun style shooter, it stands out from other games in the genre by being comprised entirely of hand drawn, cartoony animation in the style of Max Fleisher. Being a bit of a fan of old Fleisher cartoons and such great games as Contra and others, I decided I was going to pick it up as soon as I could (got to use those Bing points for something). If you haven’t seen it, here’s the trailer:
The game follows our protagonist, Cuphead, and his brother, Mugman who apparently enjoy gambling a bit too much. Whilst rolling at the craps table, Satan himself walks in and challenges the boys to a single toss. A win means they get then entire casinos wealth, while a lose means they give up their soul. As expected they lose and upon preparing to lose their souls they strike a deal with the devil (literally). The two will keep their souls if they can gather the souls of the others on Satans collections list. Gather the all by the next day and they are free to go. Fail and, well, you know….
This turns our two boys into bounty-hunters for the damned as they traverse interesting locales in search of coins for purchasing upgrades and fight boss battles to reap the souls of those who owe.
Ill likely do a better review at weeks end, but at first blush the game is a great run-n-gun that is not overly complicated but can be devilishly tricky at times. Having not played any games in the genre for some time I found myself losing track of Cuphead while looking at the rest of the screen, which is beautifully animated with great backgrounds and weird bad guys.