This post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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While in many respects the Arland games had brought the Atelier series back to its roots, they also very much had their own distinctive sense of identity. In order to move on to a new subseries, there would need to be some sort of noticeable “shift”.
That was the challenge Gust was faced with after the success of Ateliers Rorona, Totori and Meruru; how to follow that up with something that still felt like Atelier, but which also distinguished itself from the pastel-coloured, distinctly “comfy” games that had come before? And with the new generation of fans who might have joined the series in the HD era, how to ensure that no-one went away feeling like the series had dropped something important to its core identity?
We got our answer in 2012 with the release of Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk — which ended up being the first installment in one of the most fondly regarded Atelier subseries of all time. So I guess they did something right. Let’s take a first look!
Continue reading Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Chromatic Shift
Yars’ Revenge is, it’s fair to say, one of the most well-known and respected Atari 2600 games out there.
Indeed, back in the day it was one of the platform’s best-selling games, being one of several examples from the 1981-1982 period that actually broke a million copies sold. This was, as you might imagine, a pretty big deal back in the early days of video gaming.
It’s enjoyed enduring popularity over the years for good reason. So with it being part of the Atari Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system, let’s take a closer look at what it’s all about.
Continue reading Yars’ Revenge: This Game Has Bugs
The Oliver Twins are an important part of British gaming history, and Super Robin Hood is a particularly noteworthy title — its original incarnation on the Amstrad CPC was the duo’s first commercially successful game, and the first of many games Codemasters would publish for them.
The version of Super Robin Hood we find on the Oliver Twins Collection cartridge for Blaze’s Evercade retro gaming system is a substantial reimagining of this game rather than a note-for-note remake. The original Amstrad CPC version came out in 1986 while the twins were still at school, whereas the NES incarnation found on the Evercade cart hit the market in 1992. This was after the boys had decided to do this programming thing full time — and after they’d really figured out a few things about what makes a solid game from a design perspective. At least their poor old CPC didn’t have to work 23-hour days any more!
While the twins’ myriad Dizzy titles are their more well-known work, there’s a lot to like about Super Robin Hood — particularly this later reimagining. So let’s take a closer look!
Continue reading Super Robin Hood: Feared By the Bad, Loved By the Good
The Arland series, as we’ve already discussed, saw Atelier returning to a lot of conventions from its past.
One of the most notable of these was each new mainline installment being named after and focused on the life of a single main character who was inevitably attempting to make use of alchemy under somewhat challenging and time-sensitive circumstances.
The second Arland game, Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland, gave us a widely beloved protagonist who, in many ways, encapsulates what modern Atelier is all about. Bring on our charming Totori!
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Totooria Helmold
We talk quite a lot about “video game auteurs” these days, and how modern technology allows game designers to realise their visions like never before.
This sort of thing has been going on for quite some time, however — and in some respects, it’s even more impressive when a developer clearly expresses their creativity through a work from the earlier days of gaming.
Such is the case with The Adventures of Rad Gravity, a 1990 release for NES developed by Interplay, designed by Brian Fargo (of Bard’s Tale and Wasteland fame) and published by Activision. Oh, and no need to brave the second-hand market to find a copy any more, either — it’s part of the Interplay Collection 2 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system.
Continue reading The Adventures of Rad Gravity: Creative Vision
It’s that time of the week again, and there’s no way I could let my coverage of Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis slip by without celebrating Jessica Philomele, arguably the most prominent female character in the game.
Jessica is the one who appears alongside main protagonist Vayne in the promotional artwork. Jessica is the first playable character that you meet once the game proper gets underway. And Jessica… was named something different in Japan?
We have a lot to talk about here — some of which may involve some mild spoilers — so hit the jump and let’s get started!
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Jessica Philomele
Speak to pretty much anyone familiar with the Streets of Rage series, and chances are their favourite installment is probably the second.
While the first game may have set the template for the series to follow by being a beat ’em up designed for the home rather than the arcade, the second is where it well and truly hit its stride. Streets of Rage 2 demonstrates what the humble Mega Drive is truly capable of in the hands of real masters of their craft.
And it’s a game that is still relevant, enormously playable and impressive to look at, even to this day. So let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Streets of Rage 2: Everyone’s Favourite
With Viese having such an important role in Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, it’s only fitting that we give her a bit of time in the spotlight.
While she may not get out and about quite as much as male protagonist Felt does, she’s the only one who can do “proper” alchemy with actual ingredients; she’s the only one who can make pacts with the Mana spirits; and, ultimately, it’s her alchemy skills that allow Felt and company to stand a fighting chance in the game’s final battle.
And, this being a Gust game, she is, of course, cute. Let’s take a closer look at this charming young alchemist.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Viese Blanchimont
Gust has always been good at beautiful girls — one might argue the Atelier series has made it its primary selling point over the years. And, of course, Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny is full of them.
A personal highlight for me on my journey through the game was Noin, one of the first characters that male protagonist Felt encounters upon his arrival in the strange “other world” of Belkhyde, and pretty much a fixture in the party for the entire game’s duration.
There’s a shocking lack of fanart of her on the Internet — even Rule 34 let me down — so I feel obliged to show her some love right here, right now. Let’s do it!
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Noin
At the time of writing, everyone and their dog (no, uh, no pun intended) is playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Switch.
I am not, because I’ve never really “got” Animal Crossing for one reason or another. I tried both Wild World on DS and New Leaf on 3DS and found myself tiring of both quite quickly… though I must confess I’ve always liked the gentle, relaxed atmosphere — and the creative aspects of New Horizons are rather appealing, so I’m not ruling out giving it a shot at some point in the future!
In the meantime, however, despite my general ambivalence towards the series from a gameplay perspective, I do understand the widespread love for Isabelle. So let’s give her some time in the spotlight!
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Isabelle