Tag Archives: action adventure

Sonic the Hedgehog: Dare to be Different

With how positively Sonic Adventure had been received on its original release — and many subsequent Sonic releases being compared unfavourably to it — it’s surprising that Sonic Team didn’t return to the concept sooner.

Return they did, however, with an ambitious multiplatform title that was originally intended to be the third official Sonic Adventure game. Initially developed under the working title of Sonic World Adventure — a title it would keep in Japan — Sonic Unleashed was intended to shake up the series in a few fundamental ways.

These days, in retrospect, Sonic Unleashed is seen as one of the earliest examples of what some people describe as “Boost Sonic“, but it’s an interesting game in its own right. Let’s take a closer look.

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Sonic the Hedgehog: The Dark Age

Declaring anything the “best thing ever” or the “worst thing ever” is a dangerous game, for a variety of reasons.

Tastes change over time. Preferences vary between individuals. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all that. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned since starting MoeGamer — well, quite a bit before that, to be honest — it’s that something getting critically panned doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth checking out.

It was with this in mind that I was greatly looking forward to investigating the much-maligned 2006 reboot of Sonic the Hedgehog for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 — a game that Wikipedia claims (without citation) to be “among the worst games not only in the Sonic series but also in the video game medium.” That sounds like a challenge to me.

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Sonic the Hedgehog: The Age of Adventure

Sonic’s earliest forays into 3D are, today, popularly regarded as where things started going “wrong” for the blue blur.

But this is one of those viewpoints that has become so ingrained in popular gaming culture that many people simply take it for granted without actually checking the games out for themselves to determine whether those claims have any veracity to them.

That, as you know, is not what we’re all about here on MoeGamer, so let us make that jump into the third dimension and see exactly what’s up.

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Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero – Beyond the Pixel

When I was growing up with computers and consoles in the early days of gaming, my dream of “what graphics will be like in the future” was not one of photorealism.

Okay, I’ll admit, attempts at photorealism — particularly in games that tackled this challenge early on, such as flight simulators — impressed me a great deal. But what I really, really wanted more than anything was that elusive thing: a game that truly looked like a cartoon; a true interactive animated movie.

Today, I have that. And it’s wonderful.

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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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Mega Drive Essentials: ToeJam and Earl

Ah, the ’90s. The era of attitude. Or, more specifically, the era of everyone spontaneously and inexplicably wishing they were Californian.

Video games certainly weren’t exempt from this trend at all, though various different titles from the era took their attitude towards, uh, “‘tude” more seriously than others.

One noteworthy game from the early ’90s that simultaneously acknowledged the popularity of California-style attitude as well as poking fun at the inherent absurdity of it all — particularly the disconnect between your stereotypical video game nerd and what one would think of as a “cool dude” — was Johnson Voorsanger Productions’ ToeJam & Earl, published by Sega for the Mega Drive in 1991.

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PS2 Essentials: Crimson Tears

Once upon a time, there was a funny little fighting game on PlayStation called Ehrgeiz.

Ehrgeiz was noteworthy for a number of reasons: its high-resolution graphics; its beautifully slick framerate; its inclusion of Final Fantasy VII characters in its roster… and the bizarre inclusion of a full-on dungeon-delving action RPG mode.

If you have fond memories of that particular aspect of Ehrgeiz, then you’re most certainly going to want to check out Crimson Tears, since it’s by the same developer (DreamFactory) and expands that concept into its own distinct experience. And, given the apparently enduring popularity of games with roguelike elements, it’s a game that remains impressively relevant even today.

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