Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Video Game of the Month:
Azure Striker Gunvolt
The creators of the Mega Man X series of video games really wanted to make another Mega Man X game… but since they don’t actually have the rights to do that they made Azure Striker Gunvolt instead! This is very much in the vein of Mega Man X‘s 16-bit side-scrolling platformer action. The big hook of this game is the combat system. You use your gun not to damage enemies (it does very little damage), but to “tag” them so that you can unleash your main weapon, a psychic discharge of lightning that automatically seeks out any enemy that you’ve tagged. You also create a field of electricity around you when you do this that damages enemies (a little) and blocks physical projectiles—but not energy-based projectiles. You’re also way more vulnerable to damage when you’re using the lightning. So combat controls is a fascinating game of know when to hold ‘em, know when to unleash ‘em.
The game isn’t without its faults. The random enemies that appear during the levels are shockingly uninspired, and except for a couple of instances don’t vary from level to level; it seems like you’re always fighting the same four baddies over and over. There’s an item crafting system, but to truly take advantage of it you have to play already-completed levels over again while activating “challenges” in order to obtain bonus parts. I’m at the final level and I haven’t been able to craft anything remotely useful—not to mention the fact that you already start the game with the best item in the game, the awesomely powerful Prevasion Pendant that lets you automatically avoid damage (as long as you aren’t actively using your lightning) in exchange for using up some of your psychic power (which you can replenish anytime by tapping down on the control pad twice).
But the levels are well-designed, all the boss fights are extremely excellent and surprisingly difficult, and the mini-bosses are pretty good, too. It’s a very fun throwback title, and it only costs about $15 bucks and comes with the “Mighty Gunvolt” 8-bit little game as a bonus.
TV Show of the Month:
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Joining the ranks of John Stewart and Steven Colbert in savagely savaging the news media, this new show from John Oliver (Professor Ian Duncan from Community) does a weekly roundup of the events from the previous week. And it holds no punches while being uproariously funny.
I don’t post about politics on this website (much), but damn this show is some good stuff. Biting and insightful. Just watch this segment on Ferguson:
It’s an HBO show, but thankfully its YouTube channel updates pretty regularly.
Kickstarter of the Month:
The Players’ Score
I would LOVE for this documentary to get made. Video game music (especially classic, 8-bit video game music) is one of my favorite types of music (so much so that I make my own), and this proposed documentary is all about it. If they reach their goal, artists on board to participate in the project include:
- Hiroki Kikuta – Composer, Secret of Mana Series
- Manami Matsumae – Composer, Mega Man, Shovel Knight
- Danny Baranowsky – Composer, Super Meat Boy, Binding of Isaac
- Random AKA Megaran – Chip Hop Rapper
SO GOOD! Do what you can, chip in (get it) a few bucks and let’s honor these un-sung heroes of pop culture who have influenced me so much.
Categories: Of the Month.