Two big pieces of Sonic the Hedgehog news have emerged this week from Sega, but not both were explicitly detailed.
The weather in my state more closely resembles the symptoms of the flu than anything else. The last couple weeks have been rapid fluctuations between freezing temperatures to mid 90′s have certainly taken their toll on me. Granted I stay in my cold dark room and play video games regardless of the weather but people who DO venture out into the wilderness post about it constantly on Facebook and if theres one thing we love around here its complaining about the weather, and the sports teams, and the government, and road construction, and pretty much everything when you really think about it, we are an unhappy bunch. So while the local climate was falling victim to multiple personality disorder I chugged my way through the story mode of Injustice: Gods Among Us. Having trained enough for me to feel confident I felt it was time to venture forth into story mode. That, and I was trying to avoid too many story mode spoilers online and that was getting more difficult as time went on.
In the grand tradition of comic books the story is terrible from a literary standpoint but enjoyable enough as is. The game seems to have you fight everyone through the course of the story which sometimes feels a bit contrived and forced. The story was still amusing enough though, plenty of fan service moments and twists that are to be expected from DC at this point. And since it takes place on an alternate Earth thanks to DC’s Infinite Earth concept they are free to kill whomever they want. Really though the biggest problem with the story is that you change character every 4 matches or so, meaning that just by the time you are used to someone its time to change. You don’t play as EVERY character though and of course you are made to play as Batman most of the time as Batman is the most popular and most profitable character for DC currently. I’m not trying to sound annoyed and while I love Kevin Conroy and Batmans character gallery DC is risking overexposure. I don’t care if it makes me the hippest of hipsters but the popularity is starting to wear on Batman, also Doctor Who. One possible downside for the more hardcore people is that in the later half of the story when the computer starts to pull out the ultra-cheap moves and promptly stomps you into the ground, each successive loss will tone down the computer. On the cheaper fights, particularly the final one, I was able to win by the third or fourth rematch when the computer was practically inert. I’m glad I got through it since There were some story characters who I was just not able to figure out how to be effective, but its a more hollow victory than with someone I liked using. The fights in the home stretch were not the time to learn how to use Wonder Woman.
But Overall I enjoyed the story and got to try out some new characters and learn some things along the way. That and as the computer dialed up the difficulty they initiated the Clash’s more so you get to experience some great one-liner exchanges between characters which are pure gold. Once you join the online fights you will be immediately saddned because nobody clash’s online. It took me six fights to finally win a match online as my noobishness was truly blood in the water. I was frequently kept pinned down by people exploiting spammable moves as well as my own imcompetence and fumbling of powers. Aquaman however was a lot of fun still to play as and had a nice range of powers that finally helped me squeek out that victory. The entry level for this and most other fighting games is pretty high, even with Injustice’s easy to use Dial-A-Combo fighting setup, as opposed to Marvel Vs Capcom 3′s lengthy combos that resemble Linux code. The only fighting game I can think of that had a low entry level was Smash Bros, but even that is heavily dominated by the pros so be prepared to get beaten for a while.
After Story and Online mode all thats really left is the S.T.A.R. Labs missions which theoretically are there to make you better by making you play in gimmicky ways, or let you replay the mini-games from the story mode. The mini games aren’t that fun to begin with and the gimmick levels are more mysterious and annoying than helpful in learning new ways to play. I’ve said it before how games need more dynamic training modes and this game could really have used one. But of course such a demand really just means im the noobiest scrublord to ever casual up a good game by disapproving of pain. I will not argue with that point I do suck at fighting games, and many others! However I don’t want to see any genre disappear. Most won’t and will just decline in budget and production value as they stick with their niche, but I’d like to see big budget games have some more variety and the only way to keep something big budget it for it to be profitable and therefore accessible. Not everything needs to be Call of Duty and have their sized audience, but I feel some changes here and there to the fighting genre to bring in some new blood would do it some good and breathe some new life into it.
Injustice is still an enjoyable experience that I’d recommend to DC comic fans and people who are semi-new to the fighting game genre. It’s not as technical or demanding as some of the others so its definitely something you could learn with some time and effort. Also they just added Lobo to the roster and hes a joy to play, but tragically he is not voiced by Brad Garrett like he was in the cartoons.
The 1980s to 1990s was undoubtedly the era of the platformer. Bearing witness, as it did, to the spiritual birth of the console era proper, the period can boast many of the best examples of the genre. In those heady days of discovery, the games industry had something of a wild west feel to it; a feeling of a new frontier with fantastic new discoveries being unveiled seemingly every week.
From this brave new world came some of the true luminaries of the industry. The stomping ground of titans like Sonic and Mario, the final decades of the 20th century set the tone for what could be argued to be platforming perfection, refining the genre to the point of virtual perfection.
Naturally, in the fine tradition of media industries, this success led to a wave of titles which, at best can be described as drawing inspiration from these stalwarts and, at worst, lazily copied from them.
Seemed every developer wanted to grab a slice of Sonic and Mario’s massive pie around that time. From inspired but flawed ‘homages’ such as Bugsy the cat, through merchandised emulations like Zool, to amateurish rip-offs like the original Giana Sisters; there was a swathe of titles inspired by the genre-de-jour, with mixed results, quality wise.
Today’s subject was one of those titles, a by-product of the platformer gold rush. At its heart a solid, though uninspiring platformer, Cool Spot still retains a place in the heart of many of those who played it way back when it hit the scene in 1993. But the puzzling thing is trying to put your finger on just why that is.
Really, we should hate Cool Spot. He’s a corporate mascot, the very definition of a sell-out you’re ever likely to see. For those who have not run across our erstwhile leading-man; Cool Spot was/is the mascot for 7-up, the lemon & lime fizzy tooth-killing beverage beloved by many. He originally started life as a part of the 7-up logo; the red spot connecting the two parts of the name. A humbler beginning you’re unlikely to find, I think we can all agree. However, over time, the once inauspicious red circle developed, eventually becoming anthropomorphically personified as the embodiment of the 7-up brand, sporting arms, legs and a bitching pair of shades daddio!
He became fairly omnipresent, featuring in advertising and merchandising globally as the poster boy of carbonated citrus goodness everywhere. I mean, it was only natural that eventually the guy was given his own game eventually.
As the more observant among you will have surmised, the game, Cool Spot, arrived on Sega Megadrive and SNES in 1993. As alluded to before, the game itself is, gameplay wise, nothing special. The player is tasked with traversing the game world by jumping and running, collecting items (in this case red spots in place of coins or rings) while avoiding a menagerie of enemies. Pretty standard stuff all told. Really, when it comes to the actual mechanics, there was nothing to differentiate it from any of the other also-rans in the genre.
So what really makes the game stand out?
Short and simple; its Cool Spot himself. The character himself, despite being voiceless and, when you get down to it, faceless, somehow manages to have far more character than the vast majority of his peers. To play the game is to fall in love with the claret-coloured little bugger. From the aforementioned bitching shades, to the funky trainers to the swaggering walk, Cool Spot exuded just that: cool. More than any 2-d character model I’ve come across from that era, Cool Spot moves in an incredibly dynamic way. He’s always moving, his body flexing and contorting athletically in a cocksure manner.
That the thing, really. Cool Spot worked so well because he was pretty much the embodiment of his time. I defy anyone to find a more 90s character than Cool Spot; it’s not possible! Everything about the character is unequivocally, as the saying of the time goes, ‘Awesome!’ (said while throwing the horns of course!). Hell, the game starts with our protagonist surfing in on a bottle of 7-Up to a pumping soundtrack, much like the later Sonic games. In an era when extreme sports were king, Cool Spot was the Crown Prince of cool.
Cool Spot defied everything he should have been to become more than just a marketing gambit. In any other scenario he’d have been loathed; seen as just another cynical corporate play: consigned to the bargain bin of obscurity. Not just a sell-out, but worse: something that was never even in a position to sell out from.
Really, the forgotten franchise here is not Cool Spot the game, not really. The title itself deserves no real acknowledgement. No, the real noteworthy thing of merit here is Cool Spot the character himself. A living, breathing example of what good character design and care can achieve, Cool Spot managed to rise above expectations an actually be kickass. And for that, he deserves to be remembered.
The year was 1999. The survival horror genre would never be the same again. The scary but silly antics of the Resident Evil series were well at the forefront of the horror genre when Konami threw their shadowy, profoundly confusing hat into the ring with the game-changing Silent Hill. However, in 1999 I was five years old and still happily ploughing through Crash Bandicoot 2. It was years later that I first came into contact with the terrifying series for me, and it led to a hideous, malformed romance to last a lifetime. With this article, I’d like to take things back to the source, with a look at the game that started it all.
In a move that will no doubt delight fans of the series here in the western world, Capcom announced yesterday that they plan to launch Ace Attorney 5 outside of Japan.
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