Category Archives: 2018

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse: What a Lovely Day to Have a Curse

There’s something really satisfying about the title “Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse”. It sounds like the sort of thing I’d have had on my bookshelf as a kid — part of a series I’d have almost certainly wanted to collect an entire set of. Remember books? They were pretty all right.

Anyway, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is the third installment in the Shantae series, marking a few fundamental shake-ups to the game structure we’ve come to expect by this point, an interesting new narrative, absolutely beautiful pixel art and some of Jake Kaufman’s finest soundtrack work.

Oh, and it’s also one of the slickest, most satisfying titles in the series in terms of gameplay, too. If you only play one Shantae game, play this one… although I hope I’ve made it abundantly clear by now that you should probably actually play all of them. In order. One after the other. As soon as possible.

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Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Jumping Generations

An interesting aspect of the Shantae series is how its presentation and execution has evolved over time.

While the first game, being released in the twilight years of the 8-bit Game Boy Color, represented the diminutive handheld being pushed to its absolute limits, the two subsequent installments in particular made a specific effort to be “modern retro” titles — games that emulated experiences from systems of the past while providing modern-day conveniences.

Risky’s Revenge, which we’re concerned with today, very much has its sights set on the 16-bit era. And it explores this concept with a clear knowledge and understanding of not only the classic 16-bit consoles, but also the earlier 16-bit home computers.

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Shantae: You Stay

The Shantae series as a whole is a wonderful symbol of endurance, and of holding on to the things you believe in.

I’m not talking about the narratives of the games themselves — though for sure this theme certainly makes an appearance numerous times throughout Shantae’s career to date — but rather the fact that series creator Matt Bozon and the team at WayForward have always believed in the quality of these games, even during difficult times.

It’s gratifying to see that, at the time of writing, the Shantae series as a whole is finally coming to see some mainstream acceptance and appreciation with its latest installment 1/2 Genie Hero. But this doesn’t mean the earlier games aren’t worth checking out. Quite the opposite, in fact… so let’s go right back to the beginning.

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Gal*Gun 2: A Fond Farewell

It’s almost time to say goodbye to Sakurazaki Academy — at least until our next visit — but I couldn’t leave without showing at least a bit of appreciation for some more of the extended cast.

As you’ll hopefully recallGal*Gun 2 includes a feature known as “Rendezvous”, where once you’ve acquired the phone numbers of any of the secondary cast (and, under certain conditions, the main cast of heroines) you can invite them to several places, chat with them, fill them with sugar, look up their skirts and stand uncomfortably close to them in an attempt to indicate that you might want a kiss. Wholesome!

Today I thought I’d focus specifically on the third-years of Sakurazaki Academy, as I feel they were a little under-represented last time around. So let’s contemplate further the age-old question of Who Is Best Girl?

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Gal*Gun 2: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

Much like its predecessor, Gal*Gun 2 has a surprising amount going on its story — much more so than its seemingly fanservice-laden premise might lead you to believe.

While the previous game Gal*Gun Double Peace explored the idea of fallibility, and the fact that no two people cope with the knowledge that they are not and can never be “perfect” in quite the same way, Gal*Gun 2 takes something of a sidestep into a related, but slightly different theme: the idea of understanding oneself, and being honest about that “self” with others.

The various characters involved in the narrative all embody this theme in one form or another. So let’s go ahead and take a look at what’s going on in more detail!

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Gal*Gun 2: Asking the Important Questions

In any creative work involving a cast of more than one female character — particularly if said work is of Japanese origin — there is one question that is, to some people, seemingly of greater importance than any other.

I am, of course, talking about Who Is Best Girl, an eternally raging debate that no-one can ever agree on, and which you’re probably some sort of despicable idiot if you ever declare your opinion on as being some sort of universal truth.

With that in mind, then, I thought it a good time to look at Gal*Gun 2’s extended cast outside of its main heroines, and pick a few favourites from the mix! Join me! STANDARD DISCLAIMER: If you have different personal Best Girls… well, that’s great. Let me know who they are! This is not a definitive list by any means.

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Gal*Gun 2: A Strange and Sexy Little World

A game where you blast cute girls to quasi-orgasmic ecstasy while attempting to fend off the mischief of a cheeky young demon might not sound like the sort of experience that would have good worldbuilding, but the Gal*Gun series as a whole is full of surprises.

It’s clear that developer Inti Creates has taken a great amount of care over the course of the Japan-only Gal*Gun, its sequel Double Peace and Gal*Gun 2 to make the series something more than a throwaway joke game. Yes, it’s amusing; yes, it’s silly; yes, it’s cheeky, fun and sexy; but none of those things mean that it can’t have some depth or be well-crafted.

So today, then, we’re going to take a closer look at how the series as a whole builds that sense of a coherent world, and where Gal*Gun 2 fits in with all that.

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