Sunsoft was one of the major third-party developers of the NES era, and Blaster Master was arguably the company’s most enduring hit, spawning quite a series of spin-offs, sequels, and remakes, very certainly including the much-maligned Fester’s Quest. Sunsoft declined rapidly after the third generation came to a close, however, and, while the company still exists today, its last release of any significance was 2003’s Clock Tower 3. Blaster Master Zero, a comprehensive reimagining of the 1988 original, was licensed out to the Japanese action-platformer specialists at Inti Creates, who have attempted to recreate the magic of the NES original while simultaneously bringing the gameplay into the modern era. Well, that was the plan, anyhow; so did it work?
Posts tagged 3DS
Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight is the poster boy for overpromising in one’s Kickstarter campaign. Due to Yacht Club’s exuberance, they were left on the hook to produce three free DLC campaigns for the game, of which number Specter of Torment is the second. Indeed, it’s mostly free: all owners of Shovel Knight get Specter of Torment at no additional charge, though the price has increased for those who don’t already own it.
What should one expect from a free DLC campaign? Yacht Club, to its credit, is not phoning this in; Specter of Torment features ten entirely new levels, completely new play mechanics, boss fights that have changed in substantial (and sometimes surprising) ways, and an all-new tale of shovelry. Unlike Plague of Shadows, which was set contemporaneously with the original game, Specter of Torment is a prequel, telling the tale of how Specter Knight came to serve the Enchantress, and why he recruited the Order of No Quarter. There is a rather darker tone to the story this time around, full of melancholy and angst and all those other things you kids like, but not so dreary and lifeless as it could be. The main storyline is pretty bleak, but the supporting cast is still colorful and fun, and the incidental dialogue is lively. Worth noting is that Specter of Torment is not a good jumping-off point into the world of Shovel Knight; it definitely assumes that the player is familiar with the characters and events of the original game, and isn’t going to make much sense otherwise.
Spirit of Justice is the sixth main-series entry in Capcom’s venerable Ace Attorney franchise, and it’s immediately apparent that Capcom is trying to shake up the formula a bit. Whether or not this is wise is questionable; the Ace Attorney games are adventure / visual novel hybrids, and, as such, are not really dependent on gameplay innovations, as the heart of the game is going to be learning the situations and then making the correct decisions. To the extent that Spirit of Justice’s more novel elements interfere with this, they seem more like irritating gimmicks than anything.