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Posts with tag platforming

N+ boxart wall-jumps out, collects gold

A rather final-looking boxart has shown up on Amazon for N+, Atari's upgraded remake of Metanet Software's brilliant freeware platformer N. It lacks the final ESRB rating, and contains some kind of "FPO" code, but it looks otherwise ready for stores. It features the two most important elements of N+: jumping and gold, and keeps it simple otherwise. The image also appears on Atari's page for the game, so it's probably safe to look for that picture when you go to buy it.

But when can you do that? Amazon and Atari both say March 18th, while Gamestop says February 26th. We're guessing that the later date is the real one, because that's pretty much how it works. That gives us just ... not nearly enough time to finish all the official single-player levels in N.

A very easy investigation turns up more Insecticide screens

Yesterday, we remarked on the relative lack of coverage of the investigative aspect of Insecticide. We see a lot of screens and video of action, but relatively few of the adventure-game portions. And so we decided to hit the streets and put our detective skills to the test, hunting for new screens of this portion of the game.

Then before we started, we got six new screens in our e-mail. We're such awesome investigators that all we have to do is want to investigate. Look! The game has a story! And, yes, conversation trees! There is truly an adventure game hidden in the platformer. That is wonderful. Not only that, but the game's personality is evident from even the tiny snippets of dialogue found in these screens.

Gallery: Insecticide

[Via press release]

The Legend of Kage 2 still looks amazing

If you think that our hunger for side-scrolling action sequels on the DS is sated this week, then you are underestimating our desire to run from left and right and shoot/slash things. In fact, Contra 4 has just made us want more. And The Legend of Kage 2 looks like the same kind of thing: a gorgeous fully 2D update of a NES-era classic. Even if the original is only a classic to us. If the development team behind Kage 2 learns anything from the last 20 years or so of gaming, we hope it's how to make a better Legend of Kage game.

From the screens, it looks like they may achieve that. It already looks like they've turned to Ninja Spirit for inspiration. That can only mean good things for the world.

DS Fanboy Review: Drawn to Life

5th Cell's Drawn to Life is one of the best games for kids on the Nintendo DS. Don't misinterpret that as a dismissal: there's plenty to like here, especially for anyone for whom the idea of an Actraiser/Animal Crossing mashup with totally customizable characters sounds appealing (which should be everyone). Children, especially, may find an infinitely entertaining toy in the game's drawing tool, which engages the imagination in a way that most linear video games cannot.

The game casts you as both an unseen deity called the Creator, with the power to draw elements of the world (given possession of the appropriate page of the "Book of Life"), and a sort of golem sent down by the Creator to protect the town (which you name). Of course, your first task as Creator is to define the appearance of your hero; multiple designs can be saved and switched at any time, and you can edit your hero's appearance at any point in the game.

The town is covered in shadowy black clouds; most of the (adorable, big-eared) Raposa inhabitants have gone missing, and it's up to the Creator and its avatar to clear the darkness and rescue the Raposa. The Mayor and the few remaining Raposa coordinate your efforts to regain Book of Life pages, sending the golem into action stages after a certain page, in order to regain the item desired (everything from the sun to the sign on the town restaurant).

Continue reading DS Fanboy Review: Drawn to Life

The Legend of Kage 2 details emerge from the shadows

Looks like The Legend of Kage 2 is going for just a little more depth than its predecessor. Not that that's hard, considering that The Legend of Kage had five (brutal) stages that repeated three times. We loved the game, however, and that's why we're as happy about this sequel as 22 of you are.

The new game has 12 stages for Kage and 12 stages for his kunoichi counterpart, Chihiro. Though these stages will probably use the same environments, we are hoping for different enemy and item layouts, or Taito's cheating by calling them different stages.

There will be over 30 equippable abilities, which are gained by picking up and equipping elemental spheres. According to the GAME Watch article, these abilities will allow players to customize their play style. The NES game only had one style that we were aware of: jam on the attack buttons while jumping randomly and hoping that you'll kill all the bad ninja before getting hit by an unavoidable shuriken.

Gallery: The Legend of Kage 2

Drawn to Life: a bittersweet trailer

While at PAX, we saw someone sitting behind us at a panel discussion playing Drawn to Life. We engaged them in conversation, and probably accused them of witchcraft, learning that a downloadable demo was available somewhere on the show floor. We went to THQ's booth to find it, and the representatives didn't know anything about it. We were in panels most of the day, and it was the last day of the show, so we never did find that Drawn to Life demo. We found out later that 5th Cell employees were wandering the convention center with a handful of DS units, sending out demos to fans.

Those hands drawing stuff in artificially high speed could have been our hands. Those doodled characters could have been our doodles.

[Via GoNintendo]

Online level sharing in N+

In a 1up interview, Atari's Tavit Geudelekian described the level-sharing capabilities of the DS and PSP versions of N+: "the DS and PSP [versions] will support a full level editor that will allow players to build their own stages and share them locally via ad hoc connection or upload them through an infrastructure connection to a database of user-created levels online."

Unfortunately, because the DS lacks any kind of permanent storage, you'll only be able to download a few levels at a time, and they'll be lost when you turn the system off. We'd love to see the interface for designing levels, but none of the three new screens of the DS version highlight that feature.

N+ features a Pure mode, which is a direct port of the PC version, and a Plus mode, with new graphics and enemies. Also new to the handheld remakes: multiplayer, in both cooperative and competitive modes!

[Via GoNintendo]

Flash game N+ getting official DS release

Metanet's N is a physics-based platformer in which players run and jump around a big room collecting coins. It's a simple concept that is executed so well that it earned the game an Independent Games Festival Audience Award. Next on the list of honors: an official retail release on the DS and PSP from Atari, to be called N+.

We don't know how the game will be changed, other than the addition of, as Metanet puts it, "pretty cool new features and graphics." Really, we hope it isn't changed much at all-- especially the level-editing feature. Atari, we've never asked you for anything before-- let us make and trade N+ levels online.

You can download the Flash version of N here. Try it out and see how you'd feel about a DS version!

Drawn to Life previewed

1UP's Jeremy Parish was lucky enough to get to play 5th Cell's Drawn to Life, a game whose hype train we have already boarded, even before we knew anything about the gameplay. Parish's preview has gotten us even more hyped, because the drawing element, rather than being gimmicky window dressing, is integral to the gameplay in really unique ways.

One example given in the preview: players are asked to draw a clam to be used as a springboard. We don't know if the player's drawing affects the performance of the springboard (if, for example, the angle of the thing affects its power) but it seems logical.

The actual platforming, according to Parish, was just okay-- inoffensive, but not exceptional. We could chalk that impression up to its lack of novelty compared to the editing functions; and as long as the game isn't bad, we think the drawing will carry it.

New Drawn to Life details paint an appealing picture

A few more screens of 5th Cell's Drawn to Life have popped up, and we're glad they did. We're getting a warm, happy morning feeling from them, because in addition to being generally pleasant, they're also pleasantly surprising.

It turns out that not only do you draw your own (jointed) characters, but you are also tasked with drawing many other of the game's assets: background details, weapons, vehicles, and platforms. Opportunities to draw these items come up during the game as obstacles: you come across a blank area and are asked to fill it in.

As evidenced by the many hours we've spent in Fighter Maker, we perk up at the sight of user-created content. With the potential to draw this much stuff, Drawn to Life has just suddenly shot to the top of our want list. We've posted some screens-- feel free to save them and doodle on them in MS Paint.

Continue reading New Drawn to Life details paint an appealing picture

Modern society under attack from Mario Bros.

Shortly after celebrating Mario's rampant popularity in Japan, we now learn through Joe Larson's blog, Exploding Unicorn, that the portly plumber is nothing more than an instrument of societal destruction, wrecking young minds as the worst kind of role model. Larson points out that Mario's career is dubious at best, asking "if he can jump fifteen feet in the air, why doesn't he play basketball? One can only conclude that Mario had the worst high school guidance counselor on the planet – if he graduated from high school at all."

The rogues that populate the Mushroom Kingdom are just as guilty of polluting young minds, it seems, with Shy Guy teaching kids that "
the best way to treat social anxiety disorder is by jumping on it with an overweight Italian plumber. Maybe Shy Guy would fit in and make some friends if he stopped dressing like a serial killer."

Read the rest and become aware of the overalls being yanked over your eyes. And please, take it seriously.

[Thanks Joe!]

New Super Mario: Big in Japan

It's easy when you're big in Japan. Nintendo recently announced at a Japanese retailer meeting that New Super Mario Bros. sold through over 900,000 copies in its first 4 days of availability. Not a huge surprise, but another indicator that even Nintendo benefits from everything old being new again.

Other successes in Japan, where the Eastern seas so blue, were Tetris DS which sold 800,000 in 4 weeks and of course, the DS Lite itself. In the month of April alone, Nintendo shifted 950,000 Lites. It looks like this whole "double screen" thing is going to work out for them after all.

[Apologies for the Alphaville lyrics used throughout this post. Thanks Feek!]

Kojima's DS game touts vampirism and meteorology

If you spend a good deal of your time watching classic Dracula movies or, uh, the Weather Channel, you would no doubt be interested in Hideo Kojima's new DS game, Lunar Knights. Featuring loads of snarling vampires and weather effects, Gamespot notes that the game follows the adventures of two warriors looking to spill the blood of some blood-suckers. The stylus is used for plenty of actions in the game, just as you'd expect, but the interesting part comes in with the use of the DS' top screen. As your characters traverse the bottom screen, the weather above them (so to speak) will change and affect their abilities to successfully fend off the vampires plaguing the planet. If the thought of umbrella-wielding heroes slaying in the rain doesn't appeal to you, you are most likely dead inside.

New video up at Super Mario Bros. site

Watch the acrobatically inclined Italian plumber perform amazing leaps and powerful butt-stomps in this video that, if anything, reminds us that this game simply can't come out soon enough. Sure, the game shamelessly profits from nostalgia and fails to provide much in the way of innovation, but it seems to radiate pure, unbridled fun from every shell-kicking, block-busting orifice.

New Super Mario Bros. releases 15 May.

New Castlevania, awful art style confirmed


That's what comes to mind when I look at the art style for the now confirmed Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. The title seems awfully appropriate now, what with the series' stunning gothic art heritage being ruined in the wake of something more along the lines of "Yu-Gi-Oh" and "garbage". Is this some sort of reverse Prince of Persia phenomenon, where a beloved franchise is actually lightened up in order to appeal to a broader group of gamers?

I'm sure it'll still play wonderfully, but I have trouble believing that an androgynous, saucer-eyed blondie wielding half a jump rope will be able to convey the atmosphere of melancholy that permeates the rest of the series. Poor Dracula - imagine getting bested by someone like that.

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