Franchise features, gaming

A Timeless Top 5

Gaming is a progressive medium. Kids raised on Call of Duty and Uncharted would easily thumb their noses at the likes of Pac Man or Rad Racer. But some games are truly timeless. Some just simply don’t age. They looked charming then and they look charming now. They were fun to play then and they’re still fun to play now. Here is the Chuchu’s personal top 5 list of awesome games that never get old. Each of these badboys are dusted down and replayed regularly. If you haven’t played these titles, then you really owe it to yourself to give them a try!

5. Duck Tails (NES)

Low Blow! Kick that spider in his icicles!

Low Blow! Kick that spider in his icicles!

The original DuckTales was a short, sharp masterpiece. It had perfect controls, an uncomplicated graphical style that still charms to this day and an unforgettable soundtrack. Capcom made all the right moves in this Disney licensed game. Even the brevity of the game (only 5 stages) kept it from getting repetitious. Full of memorable enemies and hidden secrets, DuckTales was one of the true gems of the NES library. Testament to the original’s greatness was Way Forward’s remake from a couple years back. Whilst a fine attempt (superior boss fights), it still came up short against the charm of the 8-bit original (enforced exploration and… well… that undefinable ‘x’ element). Oh… and I know I’m repeating myself here but… That soundtrack!

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)

Foot soldiers really rack up their frequent flyer mileage in this game.

Foot soldiers really rack up their frequent flyer mileage in this game.

Turtles in Time on the SNES is the best TMNT game ever made. It is also probably the best 2D scrolling beat ’em up ever made. Certainly on the 16bit consoles, anyway. It was bright and colorful, full of memorable stages, had a great difficulty balance and was sooooooooo much fun to play. Then there was the TMNT fan service that saw a great array of bosses and enemies taken from the 1980’s cartoon. The SNES even scored points over the arcade original by having an extra stage and replacing a generic rock boss with the more recognizable Slash from the cartoon (even though he became the most difficult boss in the game). I still go back and play this title about once a year with my daughter in tow. And again… The modern day ‘Reshelled’ remake isn’t fit to lick it’s boots.

3. Metroid Zero Mission (GBA)

Riddle me this, riddle me that... Who's being a bit of a twat?

Riddle me this, riddle me that… Who’s being a bit of a twat?

Onto an amazing remake this time round. Metroid Zero Mission is the best 2D Metroid title out there. Super Metroid was phenomenal and may have redefined action-adventure games, but Zero Mission truly perfected the formula. Better controls, graphics and pacing make Zero Mission the number one ‘go-to’ 2D Metroid title in my opinion. It is, of course, a remake of the original NES Metroid title but it’s just so much better that it renders the original completely redundant. For me, Zero Mission is 2D perfection and the bar for which all other 2D action platformers must be measured against.

2. Dragon Force (Sega Saturn)

NOT to be confused with high pitched metal bands...

NOT to be confused with high pitched metal bands…

Dragon Force is the greatest ever JRPG that no one ever got to play. Seriously… No one knows about this game. And that’s a shame because it was AWESOME! Those who did play it will tell you of it’s 8 playable nations, spectacular soundtrack, relaxing cathartic gameplay and beautiful anime story scenes. Not to mention the fact that it’s as addictive as crack cocaine! Put this game in and whole days will slip by in the blink of an eye. This game is eater of time and the warmer of souls. Each play session leaves you feeling relaxed and refreshed. It was the best game on the Sega Saturn and also the best reason to get yourself an emulator pronto. I replayed it last year and it hasn’t lost a single beat. RPG perfection!

1. Doom (Every device ever made in the history of forever)

And it still looks more convincing than the Hollywood movie...

And it still looks more convincing than the Hollywood movie…

Onto the game I have re-bought more times than any other. Seriously. I have bought doom on (deep breath) SNES, Atari Jaguar, Sega Saturn, Playstation, Playstation 3 (twice) and PC (twice). Phew… The reason being is that I just can’t get enough of this amazing game! When I first played Doom as a boy, it blew my 15 year old mind out of my skull. It was so much fun back then. And that aspect simply hasn’t diminished for me. The way the weapons feel, the overwhelming number of enemies that come at you, the way it still delivers jump scares after all these years. Modern FPS titles look better and have more interesting stories or emotional beats, but few are as flat-out fun as Doom. And that is why I’m still playing the game to this very day (this morning in fact)!

8-Bit, gaming, NES

Tokyochuchu on: Duck Tales (NES)

Does anyone remember Duck Tales on the NES? Of course you do, especially with the remastered version on the way this summer. What better time to step back and have a nostalgic reminiscence about one of the best titles for Nintendo’s 8-bit box.

Developed by Capcom, Duck Tales had a magical spark to it. The graphics were cute, crisp and clean. The controls were precise, the concept uncluttered and the music unforgettable. Lest we forget that ‘The Moon’ theme has become a standard for any gamer in a metal band.

Duck Tales is split up into five stages; the Moon, the Amazon, Transylvania, the African Mines and the Himalayas. Each stage has it’s own graphical style, enemies and gimmicks. This creates a decent bit of variety in a pretty simple game.

Adding to the variety and replayabillity is the fact that the levels aren’t linear. You are free to explore, with multiple paths leading off to hidden goodies, secrets and bosses. Not only that, but the stages could even be tackled in any order! I know that seems like nothing these days but back then it was a pretty awesome feature.

The bosses were pretty memorable, too. They (and the entire game in general) had just the right balance of difficulty. They weren’t too challenging but were tricky enough not to be a total cakewalk. And you had to be somewhat careful because you only had a small amount of lives to finish the game with. With no save function or continue option (unless earned), ‘game over’ meant that it was back to the title screen to start over again.

Duck Tales was truly one of the best games on the NES. In fact, it was actually my personal favorite and a game I still boot up the old grey box to play from time to time (when I can get the bloody thing to work). Success inevitably brings sequels and towards the end of the NES’s lifespan, Duck Tales 2 was delivered. And was played by… absolutely no-one. Why was Duck Tales 2 such an abysmal flop? I don’t know. The game was a very solid platformer that expanded nicely upon the ideas of the original. Sure, it was more difficult and lacked the defining X element that made it’s predecessor a timeless classic, but it was in no way a bad game. It’s definitely worth checking out if you didn’t know about it and are hungry for a bit more 8-bit pogo action.

Now, the remastered edition… Hmmmm. As a real fan of the original, this is one of the most anticipated titles of the year for me. That said, I am a bit cautious. I was a huge fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtle in Time on the SNES… And the ‘Reshelled’ version of that was fucking horrendous! Disturbingly, the new Duck Tales remaster features the same type of graphical overhaul. Yes, yes, I know. They’re not the same game and nor are they from the same developer… But it still puts a knot in my stomach.

Especially dangerous is the fact that the original Duck Tales is, as I’ve said before, utterly timeless. It still looks great, has fantastic charm and plays tight as a drum. So the new remastered version had better be good, because to be outplayed by a game that’s around twenty years old would be really embarrassing… And a very distinct possibility. If I was the devs, I would be pissing in my pants!

So, kudos to the new developer for having the balls to tackle such a classic. We’re all waiting with baited breath. Please don’t cock it up. And for all those of you who haven’t tried the original… Go do that immediately. Seriously, it’s more than worth the price of a used NES.