Super Nintendo, NES & GameBoy tomfoolery;

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During the last three years, I've undergone a few shifts in my Super Nintendo Game-buying habits. Right after I bought a Super Nintendo system (or a reasonable hardware-facsimile thereof), I got some of my old favorites (Zombies Ate My Neighbors, A Link to the Past) , then started picking up other games:
Some of the games that I bought in the first year were classics, some overlooked but playable, while others are mainly remembered as punchlines.
And every now and then, I'd buy a game I'd heard positive things about, but I only gave it a try or two, and then it's just collected dust. (This was part of the learning process where I discovered that I have a lot more fun with the bad games).
I've already discussed this phenomenon for Breath of Fire II -- when I unfavorably compared it to Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball -- but here's three other cartridges that I haven't played more than twice:
Killer Instinct
Problem: Quarter-Circle?...riiiiight
I don't know if it's my shoddy controllers or my lazy thumbs, but I can almost never pull off the "half circle" or "quarter circle" motion. This means that my Ryu-s, Sub-Zero-s and Shaquille O'Neal-s show up to a fireball fight with only their fists and feet.
This fighting-game illiteracy means that I don't enjoy games with "depth" -- which I think meant "memorizing special moves."
But then Killer Instinct and its colleagues started milking the "combo" system, and then even the ordering of REGULAR moves let you spam away to cheap victory if you memorized the right sequences (or more importantly, let the COMPUTER effortlessly win while you struggled to land a jump-kick).
What does all this mean? Well, I bought both Killer Instinct and Street Combat at the same time. I've spent hours and hours guiding Street Clothes Steven and Cosplay Robocop Steven to the end of their tournament, but Killer Instinct?
The Lost Vikings
Problem: I have to navigate each level THREE TIMES?
Another game of good repute, another coaster in my collection. I wasn't really interested in it to begin with, but I'd heard such good things that, when I thought I saw a copy for $10, I was happy to check it out. Of course it was actually $20 -- but when I removed it from my pile of games over the price difference, the guy decided to throw it in at my assumed price, and I was still able to give it a try.
More's the pity.
The Lost Vikings features three beefy norsemen, repleat with beards and pointy-horned helmets, who star in an adorable "intro" level where we meet their wives and children, and their three separate powers are explained. Then that night, they are abducted by aliens.
Sadly, I'm not joking
You then have to go through a number of puzzle-y action-y levels on board the alien space ship, using each character's different abilities to overcome various obstacles.
And what are these viking's amazing abilities?
  1. One viking can Attack
  2. One viking can Jump
  3. One viking can do miscellanous goofy things (Block, Glide, act as a platform)
Leaving aside the 3rd guy for the moment -- you'll notice that they've divided the two central elements of "platformer games" amongst two different characters.
These limitations certainly make the level design "different", because they have to allow for the fact that you can only do very basic things 1/3rd of the time, and one character's "attacking" or "jumping" has to be able to unlock the way for other less functional characters,
But your three vikings are each controlled separately, one at a time, and you can switch between any one of them at any time -- basically Maniac Mansion-style. This makes sense: if all the characters were in the same place, with the ones you weren't using in some magical "submenu" that allowed you to switch them out, then the separation of abilities would just be cosmetic.
But because each character is controlled separately, this means that you have to walk them all through each level. Granted, it's not always as redundant as it seems -- Viking X may unlock a path that allows Viking Y and Z to take a shortcut to the exit -- but just the idea that I have to navigate three separate dudes to the same Exit point was more than I was willing to deal with.
Yeah, good luck with that.
Uncharted Waters
Problem: Yay, a pirate game! Oh, wait...a pirate game by KOEI.
Is there any pirate game better than Sid Meier's Pirates!? Even its NES port is great quick-play arcade-y swashbuckling fun.
I'd heard of the SNES's two high-seas games, with strong RPG elements and open world/exploration when I saw one on the shelf, I plunked down a hefty pile of dubloons to go sailing through some Uncharted Waters.
I should have looked more closely: it's made by KOEI.
I believe KOEI is the Japanese word for "mind-numbingly detailed game, designed for people who think memorizing level design is stupid, and instead prefer to memorize game manuals the size of the Guiness Book of World Records before they even consider turning on the game."
Also, in an incredibly odd decision, whenever you're asked "Yes" or "No", pressing the D-Pad to the Left answers "Yes", while pushing the D-Pad to the Right means you've answered "No". I imagine you could get used to it...but in the beginning, you'll unintentionally commit to answers while you were just trying to move a non-existant cursor.
In an amazing break in the fourth wall, Uncharted Waters begins with a description of what it's like to play it without a manual.
Well, that's enough dumping on widely-respected games for now
I guess every game can't be a classic!
— carlmarksguy, 2014-05-23
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