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NES Challenge Continues!

Time for another NES game I never played. This time:

Felix the Cat by Hudson Soft.

Felix The Cat is a video game released in 1992 for the Nintendo Entertainment System and in 1993 for the Game Boy, published and developed by Hudson Soft. It is based on the cartoon character Felix the Cat.

The game involves the player controlling Felix the Cat as he sets out to defeat the evil mad Professor who has kidnapped Felix’s lovely girlfriend, Kitty. The Game Boy version plays virtually the same as the NES version, but features fewer levels. – Wikipedia Page 

A look at (some of) Felix the Cat – with Sharon!

 

The challenge continues all the time. Submit your pick for the NES challenge in the comments below.

Until next time be sure to check out some of my work over at www.fromthedpad.com

 

One Woman Wrecking Crew

The final days of 2011 included my dear fella, an old NES, and boxes of original NES titles. For him, a true test of all that has been locked away to memory, for me, a mix of nostalgia and ‘new’ excitement breathing the same air. As I’ve mentioned in previous NES Challenge , my continued goal is to explore all of the NES titles I glossed over in those days due, almost wholey, to my fascination with PC gaming. I’ve not updated in a while, but have been continuing on the path of rediscovery.

A recently discovered title, for me, was a little gem called Wrecking Crew.  This Yoshio Sakamoto designed Nintendo launch title had never been a part of my collection as a kid. A travesty I will learn to live with, in time.

We hunkered down for some two player good times and I sat in my familiar player 2 position (that is, cross legged on the floor in front of the tv). As player one began I watched the game and made an attempt to understand just how the game worked. Not too difficult to figure out. Mario and Luigi are faced with a vertical challenge of barrels, walls, ladders, bombs, pillars, and enemies.   Some objects are destructible, others are not, and the enemies should be avoided at all costs. The challenge, of course, is to avoid the enemies while destroying all of the destructible items on each level.

Player one did formidable and left me with the knowledge needed to get going. Mario and Luigi can not jump and so it is important to scan the level to have an understanding of where you need to be, and go, before you start wrecking up the place. If your only way to the top platform is by way of a ladder that you just destroyed… well my friend, you’re boned. You may as well make kissy with that enemy you’ve been avoiding for so long.

The levels become increasingly difficult (as they should) and just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of the game mechanics the sides of the screen start shooting fireballs at you, or a construction worker begins running around the background of the game knocking you down to the bottom of the screen.

In my haste I had a few fireball induced panic moments and found my eventual death but there is much more to the game than my brief encounter.  Destroying multiple objects in a row (usually with a chain of bombs) scores extra bonus points, and occasionally bonus items may appear that Mario and Luigi can collect,  the start screen allows selecting any level to start on, and best of all Wrecking Crew also features a level editor, which allows the player to design up to four levels.

It may have been a humble introduction to the greatness that is Wrecking Crew, but this original Nintendo launch title instantly earned a place in my heart. It is my understanding that as part of the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program, Nintendo 3DS ambassadors have been  able to enjoy a 3DS release since September of 2011.

My intentions to player one this game straight to the end are just a non cartridge blowing, finicky old NES, afternoon away.  Wherever there are things need to be wrecked, I will be there!

Think you know which title I should play? Be sure to let me know which game was your favorite of the platform! 

Is Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet the new Solar Jetman?

An ITSP review story by MyaSharona

Originally posted BY MYASHARONA at GamerFitNation

If you have kids, or ever spent time with one you already know how early our fascination with space can start. This is probably why any time I see an adorable spaceship (like the one found in Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet) I can’t help but sing the preschooler’s Zoom Zoom Zoom song and it may also be why I am fascinated with Nasa’s space stream on Roku. Regardless of the reasons, space is a beloved mysterious location that is perfect for the imagined dangers that can only take place in video games.

Just before I began my adventure with Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet I mentioned, in passing, to my boyfriend about my newest project. As I eluded to in the game preview (here), I was extremely excited to get my hands on the video game work of fellow Sheridan Alumni, renowned artist, Michel Gagne.  In typical retro gamer fashion my fella asked me if it was anything like Solar Jetman of NES fame. I of course had no recollection of the game (don’t worry kids, one day you too will complain of a memory that isn’t what it used to be) and decided to play the two side by side.

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Here’s where ITSP and Solar Jetman are similar:

  • Multi Directional Shooter
  • SpaceShip
  • Unearthly Planet
  • Exploration

But that is about as far as I conclude the similarities are rooted. You will of course find the metroidvania style play in ITSP that is sure to appeal to the older more experienced gamer.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is an exploratory, puzzle solving, testament to the ‘art as video games’ mentality. With both a single player campaign and online multiplayer modes the short but satisfying experience may draw you in for multiple visits.  ITSP includes smooth controls and a polished game play experience which means there is something for everyone in this Summer of Arcade gem.

Your journey through the ominous sounding Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet begins on a small platform with an adorable alien. The assembly of his/your spaceship occurs and ‘voila!’ you are ready to navigate out of your home hub and into the planet. Starting with the bare minimum it is up to you to locate and discover your next point of interest. Don’t worry you are not completely alone in this task; your trusty map will point you in the right direction. During your gameplay you will navigate through various areas of the planet (organic, mechanical, etc), fighting foes, collecting weapons tools upgrades and bonus assets, all while solving puzzles. In familiar fashion many paths and points within the specific area you are exploring will not be accessible to you until you acquire the next tool or upgrade. For this reason you had best be okay with backtracking to previously visited areas.


The beautifully rich and creative environments and creatures are nothing short of artistically inspiring. The silhouette style presentation of the graphics are perfectly suited for this style of gameplay. Each and any screenshot is a prime example of the saturating experience with ITSP graphics.

The controls of your spaceship in ITSP are very intuitive and was probably the biggest relief for me when switching from Solar Jetman. Navigate your ship and your tools using the analogue sticks and a quick hit of the bumper will reveal your wheel of weaponry. Use your weapon wheel to assign four quick access tools to the XYAB buttons. In some of your larger battles/puzzles you may wish that you could more easily switch out your four tools for faster reaction to the environments and enemies but the game is easy enough without giving you everything.

This brings me to my only real criticism of the game. ITSP is easy, short and easy. The length can be forgiven by the fact that the game also contains an online multiplayer experience (with up to 4 players) called ‘Lantern Run’. Lantern Run will add some replay value to your purchase and the chaos contained therein will guarantee loads of fun for you and your friends.  Aside from getting crazy with more players and more lanterns, though, ITSP is a pretty easy game. Achievement hungry players will have no trouble getting all of the ‘bwoop bweep’ they desire in one play through. Even though there are no verbal cues there are visual ones and it won’t take your hard earned BFA to pick up on them.


Even though your experience may be brief, and not at all like taking the SATs, it will be a satisfactory one. The audio and visual cinematics keep you wanting more. Upon discovering the final boss battle of this oh so twisted planet I found myself hoping that it wasn’t.

So is Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet the new Solar Jetman? My answer is no. ITSP is a new and visually delicious puzzle game with fluid controls, polished gameplay, featuring unique characters and environments.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is available NOW on Xbox Live Arcade.

Grab a lantern and let’s play!

Neglected but not Forgotten!

Some time ago I began my NES challenge. The challenge (a personal one) has me exploring all the great NES titles that I missed while I was occupied with computer games, gumdrops, and She-Ra.

While work, life, and other shiny objects have all been getting in the way of posting about the project, I assure you it is continuing. I hope to update with a retrospect (hehe, get it? RETRO) of Gauntlet and Life Force. So be sure to check back for those. All articles based on the challenge will be linked in the corresponding page (just in case you missed it).

Thank you to everyone who has been suggesting games to review and sharing with me some of your favorite games/genres. I’d love to hear about your favorite NES classics so be sure to comment or drop me a line. =)

Happy Gaming!

I am playing TOO MANY games!

…at the same time.

I like to believe that my use of interactive entertainment  is not all that different from how ‘mainstream’ masses use but the truth is I have no idea. What I do know is that I currently have a slew of games that are either half played, just started, or otherwise need my attention.

My immediate attentions are being diverged among:

Assassins’s Creed Brotherhood – 360

I LOVED the second game in this franchise and part of the reason, I suspect, is because over the course of a few months I played this game every night for approximately 1-2hrs.  This wildly enjoyable bedtime routine had me dreaming the world that was AC2 and changed the way I look at old church towers and haystacks. Currently in Brotherhood I am stalled. I have hit a challenging part in the game. I am at a mission that requires timing and stealth and for the life of me I can’t get past it. I play and die about 10-15 times and then walk away from the game only to return with fresh eyes a week or so later. Wash, rinse, repeat.  The only thing that keeps me from giving up all together is how great I am going to feel when i finally get past it (it’s still at an early part in the game) and this kick ass story that I know is waiting for me on the other side of this tricky spot.

Borderlands – 360

Now this game I love. Oddly enough I have not had the opportunity to play this game extensively despite my instant like of it (glitches and all). As of right now I am playing very casually with a friend (maybe once or twice a month)and I can’t wait to play with her again. Rarely do I ever want to participate in multiplayer games, as I prefer most single player campaigns, but for some reason this one really strikes with me. I probably should level up a new character so that I can jump in with others or just play on my own but part of the fun, I find, has been going through this game with a friend.

Mortal Kombat – PS3

For the record I am quite partial to the Mortal Kombat world; so much so that I am willing to deny the existence of some of the less stellar releases that have made their way into my hands over the years. I am slowly working my way through the story mode in an attempt to practice and become familiar with the mechanics once again. Let’s just say I am not ever going to compete professionally with my (lack of) skills in Mortal Kombat, but a deep rooted history and a strong desire to challenge some friends online, and this game is still in my so called regular rotation.

War 2 Victory – Mobile

I’m working on a review of this game so I won’t tell you too much about it other than the fact that I have been playing it for about 3.5 weeks now and I think I am about as far into it as I am going to get. This  MMO strategy mobile game is one that I have put to the test and will tell you all about in an upcoming article.

Trino -PC

This contest wining game indie game is so much better than I expected. So far I have only put in about an hour and twenty minutes of game time but it has a fantastic marriage of simplicity and complexity complimented with a really compelling soundscape. I am determined to find a way to use my USB gamepad to play this because I just know that I will have infinitely better success. With leader boards, achievements and all, I am looking forward to getting the controls mastered and kicking some butt with this one.

Pokemon White – DS

Yep, I am STILL working my way through my first ever adventure into the wacky world of Pokemon. When I first purchased this game I spent the better part of 3 or 4 days with my DS attached to my fingertips. Later I found myself catching pokemon before bed or with my morning tea, as one would with a good book, and now I find myself battling my way through the subway system about once a week. I have not given up yet. I have one more gym badge to obtain and then from there I hear the story really opens up.

Terraria – PC

This game did not catch my attentions at all when I first took a  peek at it. After doing a bit of research and reading some reviews I decided that the low price was about all my budget could currently afford me(actually beyond it, but I digress) and that it might keep me entertained for a while. Very quickly this game has become one of my favorites and I haven’t even begin to scratch the surface of it’s capabilities. Within the first 48 hours of owning this game I have played 18hrs (do you see a Sharon pattern emerging? I do!) and if I didn’t have other worldly obligations I would probably continue at that pace until I leveled up far enough to jump into some online play. YES multiplayer! I can not even wait to try that out.

Also in the works:

  • NES Challenge #2 & #3

  • Uncharted 3 Beta

  • Darkest Hour

Yeah… so I am playing too many games at once. It might be time to focus and bang these out one at a time or at least until the next shiny thing pulls me in a distracted new direction.

What are YOU playing these days?

The next Contender has been chosen!

I am really looking forward to doing some fan art related to my next venture.

Here’s a little, nay big, hint.

NES Challenge: Adventure Island II

The year was 1991. As a gleefully naive eleven year old,  I wonder what ‘war’ really means while I follow the news regarding turmoil in Iraq. The shortcuts on my computer take me to Lemmings, Hugo, and my favorite of that year, Duke Nukem. While the family nintendo enjoys a useful rotation between my brother, myself, and our friends, having a computer in my room at eleven years of age (and honestly even long before that) means uninterrupted game time. The result of my indifference to consoles at the time made for many missed hours of game play with popular NES titles.

In my NES challenge I intend to take a look back at the titles I missed. Some games good, others not, but all having a place as “a bit of gaming history that I missed”.

First Look: Adventure Island II



Adventure Island II was developed and published by Hudson Soft and made release on the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy in February of 1991. The story is aparantly one in which we find Master Higgins, a tropical villager who is trying to save his girlfriend from the aliens that are invading places surrounding Adventure Island; he is aided by skateboards, dinosaurs, and axes. Unsurprisingly very little of this story was apparent to me as I played the game.

What I loved:

The Characters: While Master Higgins himself is an endearingly chubby little fella, he can really book it when he needs to. The only thing that made me smile more than his era appropriate skateboarding was the dinosaur helpers he encounters along the way. Yes I may be somewhat guilty of already being partial to dinosaurs but these colorful dinos have the biggest eyes and goofiest grins and I just love it! After reflecting upon my time playing I found that I had inadvertently collected screen-grabs containing the friendly dinos almost exclusively.

Water levels: If you know me then it will come as no shock to you when I say that  nothing beats a great side scrolling water level. Adventure Island II has plenty! Seaweed, bombs, jellyfish, nor-whales (i think), and crazy encapsulating bubbles all proved to make my water levels that much more exciting!

The music: Yes, this challenge is, in part, an attempt to become more familiar with awesome game music that I may have missed from ‘the good old days’. Because my mind has now been opened to this element of game play I have become much more aware of when these funny little tunes get stuck in my head. Whether my enjoyment of the Adventure Island II melodies is because this game is my first in the challenge or not, I can’t say for sure, but I did find myself humming along. I am okay with this result.

What I didn’t  love:

The weapons: Don’t get me wrong, the axe is cute! What I wished for was a slightly larger variety of weaponry. Let’s face it, I am fighting against a myriad of jungle creatures all with different offense and unless I am able to utilize the tail whip of my adorable buggy eyed dino, the axe is all i have.

Level End Prize Egg: I have to assume that not all the eggs in the egg rotation that occurs at the end of each level contains a measly 100pts but no matter my strategy that is all I was ever able to obtain.

As I played through the game I approached each level with different strategies. At first I made an attempt to kill everything in sight. Later levels had me attempt avoidance at all costs. I took my time, I raced through, I considered all possible ways to play the game. And in the end my success rates were about the same.

My first venture into the vast pool of gaming experiences that I missed was an enjoyable one. While the game will never be one of my top ten I did truly enjoy my time with Master Higgins and knowing that there were more iterations to follow is a good thing. More Adventure Island means more chances for me to see how the franchise developed and whether or not it really is one of the more substantial pieces of game history that just happen to be clouded by my interest in other areas.

Now that the first game in The NES Challenge has wrapped up it is time to look forward. I wonder what will be next….


Quick Poll.

I am fairly certain that I am pretty much ready to begin a venture I have affectionately dubbed…

The NES Challenge

The parameters of said challenge are being fine tuned and will be revealed in the coming days.  Rest assured that while I undertake this challenge I will be keeping keen notes and sharing them via that little tab at the top.

In preparation for my project inauguration I have a quick question for the 5 or 6 of you who visit this top secret gaming blog of mine. Please feel free to answer in a reply to this post. Your response will first come to me so if you would like to remain anonymous or would rather it didn’t show up  please type ANONYMOUS in your response and it will stay just between you and me. 😉

Ready?

What was your favorite and/or most memorable NES game from your youth?

(meaning it was such when you were such)

Thank you in advance to all who participate! If you happen to be following me on twitter please feel free to answer there if you prefer!

Top Ten Goofy Grin Generating Game Weapons

Top Ten Goofy Grin Generating Game Weapons

As first posted on YourHealthisLow

#10 The Duck Hunt Gun/NES Zapper

Yes I realize that the mere presence of this on list which will inevitably miss some important life altering weaponry for the majority of gamers may cause a few jeers… for many the Duck Hunt gun was one of the coolest controllers…er… weapons to hit our living rooms. The zapper provided hours of fun shooting at not only ducks but clay pigeons, title screens and annoying siblings all over living rooms everywhere!

#9 Original Half life – Crowbar

Gordon’s arm holding this iconic weapon is an image that can be thought of fondly. From bashing open crates to clearing debris to bludgeoning enemies in close range combat; the crowbar is not the most elegant or sophisticated of weapons but dammit, it got the job done and without it what would you and Gordon have been able to achieve? The Half Life crowbar, for these reasons, remains a steadfast symbol of survival.

#8 The Duke Nukem Shrink Ray

The Shrink Ray Gun from Duke Nukem is one fabulous , effective weapon that creates absolutely zero damage. The ability to reduce your enemies to inches and then automatically trample them when near enough, is astoundingly fun. Just be sure to run like the wind once shrunken yourself, and plot your revenge while you wait for the effects to wear off.

#7 Soldier of Fortune Flame Gun

Soldier of Fortune brought gore to a controversy creating level. Being scrutinized heavily by both Canada and Germany for its violent content the game gave us many weapons to love. The ability to ‘remove’ appendages from enemies with carefully skilled shots coupled with goreiffic consequences made this game prime picking for all time weaponry. Despite the weapons of great technology and precision, the Flame Gun is one  heck of a fun way for creating a lot of damage very quickly!

#6 Metal Gear from Metal Gear

From the original begrudgingly created Metal Gear to Metal Gear REX, The ultimate wearing nuclear weapon is oft overlooked. Creating so much controversy among its creators, owners, and obtainers, this game weapon has me squeal with delight after all the anguish and overly complicated plot twists it takes to finally reach this ominous example of game weaponry.

#5 The Chainsaw – Doom, Resident Evil, others

No matter the game there is always room for chainsaw killing action. First winning my heart in Doom, and continuing the bloody love affair in Resident Evil and all that is in between, the chainsaw is a big disgusting mess of destruction. Guaranteed not to be clean a clean killing weapon; watching the splitter splatter of enemies’ innards is bound to create that big goofy grin, or sly smirk as only a chainsaw can do.

#4  Quake’s Rocket Launcher.

The sheer ability that the rocket launcher in Quake gives you is delightful.  in multiplayer death matches the rocket launcher is undisputable. If you aren’t sure why Quake’s rocket launcher can put a big goofy grin of weaponry destruction upon a gamer’s  face then you have neither hit with or been hit by one of these deadly weapons. I urge you to rectify this handicap post haste!

#3 Gears of War2 – Lancer

This weapon is a bayonet chainsaw and assault riffle and has become synonymous with the game. Whether releasing approximately 15 rounds per second into your enemies or tearing them to shreds during melee combat is your thing, the Lancer is for you! Hold down that B button and hear that thing rev up. Mmm.

#2 Unreal Tournament’s Redeemer

Though tricky with it’s POV use, the Redeemer is undoubtedly one of the most satisfying weapons to use well. The weapon is more effective at close range followed by a quick escape and though it may leave you vulnerable longer than desired you can not deny the wildly gratifying kill at the end of a challenging steer towards the ultimate demise of your enemy.

#1. BFG – Doom

No surprises here. No matter whether you agree or disagree Doom’s BFG is renowned for its immense level of destruction. The first time you fire the BFG you are awestruck and you may even release a whispered curse. As a 13 year old FPS explorer, at the time, I can tell you I did just that.   The colossal devastation that is the BFG is only questioned if you have yet to experience it; in this case, hello! And welcome to the wonderful world of video games 😀