If you’ve ever played Chu-Chu Rocket! then you might have a very slight advantage into getting to grips with Finstere Flüre (or Fearsome Floorsin English). In this board game you try to get your group of characters to escape a dungeon, but there’s a monster on the loose who will home in on the nearest hapless escapee for dinner. And it’s this aspect that allows you to somewhat influence where the monster will strike next.
“This is not the greatest Metroid in the world. This is just a tribute.”
Shadow Complex for Xbox Live Arcade couldn’t be more of a love-letter to Nintendo’s venerable action-adventure even if it tried. From the moment you are handed the reins, it’s like you’re back in Super Metroid‘s Crateria area descending into a hidden base of unknown technology again. And for the most part, the game manages to keep that vibe strung throughout itself.
At the same time, it does become very apparent that developer Chair isn’t exactly the same team as Nintendo’s R&D1. As a matter of fact, my recent observations of Metroid Prime, seem to have found their logical conclusion in Shadow Complex. Start on normal and the amount of hand-holding becomes almost ridiculous, robbing the game of its maze-like intestine-structure. Instead, it becomes a game of trace-the-dots rather than connect-the-dots.
I just downright love WipEout HD. Yet, it suffered some serious neglect after other games were released right after its launch last year. Small wonder then, that when the Fury expansion was announced, I used it a springboard to return to its clean utopian anti-gravity racing tracks. There are multiple reasons why I like the game and oddly enough one of them received quite some flak the last couple of days:advertisements.
Wait, hold on, did I just say I liked advertisements in WipEout?
I sure did! When the PlayStation was launched, it did so with the firstWipEout alongside it. Infuriatingly hard to play, the 3D and modern aesthetics still kept me interested. Back then The Designer’s Republic was already in charge of the game’s visual identity. But when its sequel WipEout 2097 (XL in the US) hit the market, it was something else entirely.
Last week a friend of mine started playing Metroid Prime for the first time. While he enjoyed the game immensely, to me it was a bit of revelation to watch him play.
I never experienced Metroid Prime as Metroid Prime. I always experienced it as “that game that came after Super Metroid“. As a result I blazed through the game. I never really stopped and thought about things. Well, I did think about how the game was structured and why certain choices were made. But I didn’t realise how uninviting the game is. While watching my friend play the game, it hit me square in the face as he explored the ice country of Phendrana Drifts for the first time. As he picked up the Boost Ball upgrade, I remembered the next upgrade: the Space Jump Boots.
Which can be found at the very start of the game…