GenreQuest: 3D Platformers – Part 12

Welcome back, my friends, to yet another “GenreQuest”. We make the return to our normal line up, now we are done wrecking people’s childhoods by playing the Crash series all the way through. This week we have a little nostalgia and a little Wii hating (sorry, Wii fans), although maybe not for the reasons that you’d think. Share and Enjoy.

 

 

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Croc: Legend of the Gobbos

It feels nice to be taking a break from Crash this week, although some part of me does miss the nostalgic tingle that I got from hanging around that little orange marsupial. So, to ease myself back into it I’m glad to be playing another game that gives me at least a little hint of that same nostalgia: Croc: Legend of the Gobbos.gfs_11169_2_3_mid

Croc is an odd game, in that it really does exist in the ‘cult classic’ space of PlayStation One titles. Although it was never really that well known, a lot of kids who played decent amounts of PlayStation One have fond memories of the title. The game has very bright, colourful visuals and the sounds made by the main character can only really be described as ‘cute’.

The game follows the story of Croc, who is one day found floating down a river in a basket by the friendly, furry Gobbos. They raise him as their own and he grows to be a comparatively huge, but friendly, crocodile. One day the Gobbos are attacked and kidnapped by the evil Baron Dante, and it is up to Croc to save his adopted family from his evil nemesis’ clutches.

The controls are relatively good, although there are a few constant little niggles that make it feel less than fantastic at times. On the PSOne version of the game you can only control Croc with the analogue sticks, no D-pad allowed. While this wouldn’t normally be a problem, it becomes one because Croc has Resident Evil-style tank controls, something that doesn’t always work very well on an analogue stick, however, the controls are somewhat saved by the fact that you can move forward and turn at the same time without the issues of a fixed camera that games like Resident Evil had.

gfs_11169_2_2_midThe main goal of the game is to rescue 6 Gobbos in each level to save them from the aforementioned Baron Dante, as well as colleting keys, gems, and lives to help you navigate around the world. The coloured gems that you can collect in each level unlock a door at the end of the level where you can usually find the final Gobbo, but occasionally they contain extra lives or other power-ups.

As mentioned before, the game looks very bright and colourful, and has a very vibrant feeling to it. The obvious limitations of the hardware are very apparent in the graphics, but the bright colours do distract beautifully from the graphical infidelity. Sound-wise, everything sounds very cute, even the enemies for the most part. The main character makes some strange noises every time he performs a jump or attack, and the enemies’ ‘evil’ giggles come across as something trying too hard to be the bad guy.

The music of the game is completely stunning, and at least for me goes into one of the top 10 video game soundtracks of my childhood. Each level has music that perfectly fits the level itself and yet still manages to fit with the game’s bright and colourful themes.

However, there is a bit of a glaring issue with the game, and it’s one that can completely ruin it for you, if you let it. The Gobbos aren’t worth saving. I know it sounds strange, but in the end it’s not worth saving almost any of the Gobbos, despite how cute they might appear to be. The truth is that the only thing that you get for saving the Gobbos is the ability to play the secret levels and defeat the secret boss, both of which are at best completely mediocre and not different enough to be worth trying to play through. Finally, the only thing you get for beating said secret boss is an 8 second cutscene and a congratulations screen; I’ve seen better rewards from NES games.

Overall: A cute style and wonderful music make this game worth trying out at least once. Just do yourself a favour and stop when you get to the ‘fake’ end boss. 

Score: 75/100

 

 

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Croc 2

Croc 2 takes a bit of an interesting turn from the first game in the series. Although it is still bright and colourful, it takes a more adventure approach where there is a large world to explore and interact with, as opposed to the linear style map system from the first game.croc 2 (2)

The story this time concerns Croc more centrally, as he discovers a note from someone saying they’re looking for their missing child, and the letter has a crocodile paw at the bottom right of the page. After talking to his Gobbo friends, he decides to go to a distant land in search of his family and is launched towards the mainland via the ancient method of seesaw + boulder.

The first thing that is obviously noticeable is the fact that you can actually talk to the Gobbos this time around, who will give you different missions. These missions can range from saving Gobbos from Dante (same old, same old) to winning races against monsters or finding some missing object or another. It’s a nice change of pace from the old style of game that had nothing different going on in each level.

The graphics are just as bright and colourful as before, and Croc still manages to endear himself onto you with his cute attack and jumping noises. A nice touch is that the game has gotten a lot smoother, also the graphics have been improved despite the fact that the game is still on the same console, something not a lot of games could have managed to do. Musically, the game still sounds nice, playstation-47280-11346693794but the fact is that it will never quite compare to the music from the first game.

The controls are also quite different this time around, they’ve managed to almost entirely eliminate the issue of the ‘tank’ style of controls, this time giving Croc more instantaneous response to switching directions. This does manage to cut down quite a lot on issues with small and fiddly platforming sections, it is certainly easier to manoeuvre on very small platforms when there’s a pit to fall down below it.

Once again there is a secret ending boss that you have to collect everything to get to, but this time around it feels a lot better to actually aim for that boss. A large part of that comes from the improved controls and the additions to the gameplay that keep the main game actually interesting to play through.

Overall: A surprising improvement over the first game, considering that this title seems to get less attention than the first one. I could easily see myself 100% completing this game and can say that I’d recommend that any other completionists also give it a go.

 Score: 85/100

 

 

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De Blob

This game is something I’ve been meaning to try for quite some time. I used to be subscribed to ONM (Official Nintendo Magazine), andde-blob-screenshot-3 they talked at length about this game and how interesting and fun it was, so after many years of forgetting that it even existed (along with many titles from those magazines), I finally get around to playing it and how was it?…meh.

De Blob follows the story of the underground colour resistance, a group of Blob (heh) like, brightly coloured creatures who fight back against the grey loving INKT Corporation who try to make everything bland and colourless. The game has a pretty interesting style to it and uses the music to its advantage; at the beginning of each level you get to choose the style of music that goes along with the gameplay which is a very nice touch.

However, the main issue is the gameplay. Your main mission is to paint the world in bright colours and restore the citizens to their happy, colourfully de_blob_029diverse selves. You do this by smashing colour stealing robots to steal back their paint and using it to cover everything in sight. The primary issue with this is the Wii remote controls. You jump and attack things by swinging the Wii remote around a little, however, this is incredibly imprecise, and half the time I found myself rubbing up against walls instead of managing to jump over them.

The world you explore is quite big, but unsurprisingly a bit dull looking. However, that isn’t exactly a bad point as it’s sort of integral to the gameplay that things don’t look colourful until after you’ve been through each area. Although there is a decent variety to the gameplay, it does mainly consist of timed challenges where you have to paint a certain number of things in a certain amount of time, and honestly the platforming challenges aren’t fun at all when you’ve got to use the Wii remote controls.

Overall: A fun idea ruined by the token Wii remote controls. The music and graphics will probably keep you entertained to a certain degree, but you’ll likely have to overcompensate for the lack of much doable platforming.

 Score 60/100

 

 

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De Blob 2

Forgive me if you’re a fan of these games because this one is going to be a short one. Honestly, everything I said about the first game goes double for this game, excluding one massive, massive bonus that the sequel has. You can buy it for a normal console.large

Yes, it’s true that after the success (maybe?) of the first title, the devs/publishers decided to release the sequel across the board. This is very good news because my main gripe with the first game was the inclusion of token Wii remote controls that just felt imprecise and fiddly, however, my issue is that I only own the Wii version of this game…oh dear.

So, once I again I say that the game’s style and music are both enjoyable and well produced, but the controls have once again managed to let it down. I understand that this wouldn’t necessarily be the case for the other version, but as I only have the one version to play I cannot review this game any other way. However, I will replay this game once I have a version available to me on a console with normal controls and will adjust this review occordingly at that time.

Overall: Once again, a game with great visuals and sound that falls down under bad controls. If you can get a copy on Xbox 360 or PS3, then it might be worth giving it a go, failing that just give this one a miss.

 Score: 60/100