Tag Archives: action adventure

The MoeGamer Awards 2018: Most Satisfying Sequel

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more and leave a suggestion here!

This award was suggested by Riobravo79.

While it’s nice to get brand-new, all-original games when we can, sometimes it’s a pleasure to see an old friend again… perhaps in a slightly different form.

The sequel has been part of video game culture pretty much since the beginning, and the fine art of recycling, refining and/or reimagining is way more prevalent in gaming than in pretty much any other creative medium. Developers have experimented with a lot of different ways of putting together follow-ups for well-received titles over the years… but what makes for the most satisfying successors?

Do you provide more of the same with minor refinements? Do you provide some sort of obvious “upgrade” while remaining true to the original game’s format? Or do you completely reinvent the formula, potentially bringing new players on board but also possibly alienating your original fanbase?

And the winner is…

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Atari A to Z: Quasimodo

Dem bells, dem bells, dem… blue bells… wait, I think I’m confusing at least two unrelated things there, aren’t I?

Ahem. Anyway. This is Quasimodo by Synapse Software, brought West by U.S. Gold’s early imprint Synsoft. It’s an unusual platform-action game that involves flinging rocks at Bad People climbing ladders, swinging from bell-ropes, swearing at bats and collecting crystals.

And despite its hunchbacked hero, it most certainly is not a clone of the arcade game Hunchback. Give poor old Quasi the respect he deserves!

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Atari A to Z: Pharaoh’s Curse

Pharaoh’s Curse is legitimately one of my favourite games on the Atari 8-bit, and one I frequently revisit to unironically enjoy every so often.

Developed by Steve Coleman, who we last saw at the helm of Mastertronic’s NinjaPharaoh’s Curse is an early example of an open-world 2D action adventure, allowing players to explore 16 screens arranged in a 4×4 grid in an attempt to recover all the awkwardly positioned treasures before escaping.

16 rooms doesn’t sound like much, does it? Well, you clearly haven’t counted on the intervention of the mummy. And the pharaoh. And all the traps. And that stupid bastard absolute penis of a flying thing that always shows up at the worst possible moment. Not that I’m bitter at all, no no no.

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Atari ST A to Z: James Pond

Back in the ’90s, there was a bit of a rivalry between people who played games on home computers and those who played games on consoles.

What am I talking about, “back in the ’90s”, this is still a thing! Well, the difference is that back then, the home computer players were secretly envious of the console players, since during that period, consoles were the more powerful, specialised games machines.

As such, we saw a fair few computer games that attempted to emulate the success of “mascot games” on consoles. One such example that saw some success — and a couple of sequels — was James Pond, a rather British underwater agent with a penchant for environmental do-gooding…

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Atari ST A to Z: Interphase

Today’s Atari ST game is one of my favourites from my childhood… and a cool example of a developer thinking creatively.

Interphase, developed by The Assembly Line and published by Image Works and Mirrorsoft, is a game about infiltrating a building. The twist is, you don’t control the one doing the infiltrating; instead, you are hooked into the building’s electrical systems, manipulating them from an abstract 3D representation of “cyberspace”, while your off-screen companion is doing the difficult bit of actually getting through the building.

It’s a really cool game, and one that had a decently long lifespan too, thanks to its original commercial release being followed up by the complete game being given away as a freebie on an ST magazine’s cover-mounted floppy disk — ST Format, if I remember correctly. It remains solidly playable today, and well worth a look.

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Atari A to Z: Ninja

Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind! Pushing diagonally backwards and up while holding the fire button to swing your sword, however? Somewhat less intuitive…

Enter Mastertronic’s Ninja from 1986. This was a game developed by Steve Coleman (who was previously responsible for Pharaoh’s Curse, which we’ll be coming to in a few weeks) that combines open-world 2D adventuring with a fusion of one-on-one fighting and beat ’em up mechanics to produce something altogether unique.

Ninja was a game of “firsts” for me growing up. It was the first time I saw a ninja and learned what it was. It was the first time I saw (and learned the name of) a lot of pieces of traditional Japanese architecture such as torii gates. And it was one of the first games I played where fighting mechanics were a little more complex than simply mashing the fire button to do a single type of attack. It’s still pretty fun, too… though it puts up a lot more of a fight than I remember!

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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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