Thursday, March 15, 2018

Making time

Two games to catch up on before the podcast post.

Wonder Boy The  Dragon's Trap was added just because it was a neat looking platformer that I assumed  I would be able to knock out in around two days. I did not know that it was a remake of a Master System title. My first and last piece of Sega hardware was the Dreamcast so there are several generations of platform specific titles that I have never played.

Consort with the enemy? Never!

My first impression, still not knowing that the game was a remake, was that the character's momentum felt off, like he weighed far more than he appeared. There was also a strange delay to attacks which forced me to anticipate every sword swing. When I was digging through the menus looking for option I discovered that pressing R2 switches the visuals to the classic version.

Staring at the garish pixels of an early 8bit game cleared up the problems. The visuals had been updated but the feel of the game had not, mostly likely intentionally so. I was able to de-age my reflexes by twenty years and could then play the game. Also true to its 8bit roots it doesn't explain anything and hides mission critical items behind invisible doors. I got stuck trying to find the final boss and resorted to GameFaqs because I am old and a great big cheater.

Two days was the correct estimate on completion. Not bad but not worth a purchase, even if you are desperate for more things to play on the Switch.

After that I finally got around to Oxenfree. It would be a lie to say that I fully understood what was going on. Five impossibly witty teenagers are on an island for an overnight kegger. They explore a cave that, rumor had it, would do strange things if you tuned a radio to the correct frequency. The hero of the story does this and opens up a triangular portal, breaking time and releasing the ghosts of the crew of an experimental submarine that sunk prior to World War II.

There are time loops, body possession, teenage angst, visions of gruesome deaths, and then more teenage angst. There is also a lot of talking. It is near constant and inconsistently voice acted. The main two characters, Alex and her step brother Jonas, are fine but one of the other teenagers sounds like she recorded her lines while recovering from a Valium bender. She's bored and barely there.

It was a fun diversion that created tension more with sound than visuals. Alex will get stuck in a loop while exploring, something that only she is aware of, and the only way to fix it is to find reel to reel tape players and spin the right analog stick at the appropriate speed to play back the recorded music correctly. The music starting slow and low before going to fast is surprisingly creepy. I would have liked more actual scares but that is not the kind of game it is. More Twilight Zone episode with Buffy The Vampire Slayer characters than anything else.

Cleaning up the list feels good, even if some of the games were not. It makes space for all the more current games that I have yet to play.

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