Remembering my old favourite games

Everyone has those games that they used to play all the time, and yet have now been completely forgotten for several years. It happens to the best of us. But sometimes, going back to the old games can be really fun. Sure, the graphics aren’t as fancy and the characters or stories may have since progressed, or it is even slightly young for you now, but still, for the few hours you’re back on them it is so worth it.

One of my old favourites has to be Sonic Adventure DX.

I got hours out of this game and although it was quite short, unlocking of different characters with different abilities was cool and it did follow a story. I also liked the amount of free-roaming, so you could just chill out between levels. My favourite thing about this game (and any sonic game for that matter) admittedly is the chao garden. The ability to find new eggs while free-roaming for your garden and to collect animals from killing enemies that can be used to customise the chao was just great for me.

I used to love making my chao get gradually more and more evil by feeding them certain fruits and they had to have some form of animal ears. For some, I would imagine looking after chao is quite tedious, but I loved it.

It wasn’t nearly as advanced, but this isn’t my most played chao garden. I spent ages on this garden, from Sonic Advance for the Gameboy advance:

Ah, what a game…

Don’t get me wrong, the levels of Sonic Adventure were good too. Well, most of them anyway. I always hated the level where Amy is being chased by that green robot. Playing Sonic in 3D was also quite new to me when I played this game as I’d only ever known it as a side-scrolling 2D platformer. All this talk about it is making me want to play again now. Arghhhh!

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Another game I loved playing was Ape Escape 3 for the Playstation 2. I first discovered Ape Escape when I rented number 2 from the video shop (yes, videos still existed back then). It was really good and at times quite challenging, but I could never beat the final boss. When number 3 came out, I decided I wanted that too, and it intrigued me seeing all the cute and colourful outfits the new personas offered. I have to say, although the use of personas made this game a lot easier than its predecessor, it was far better in so many ways.

I always played as the girl, partly because I am a girl but also because her outfits were cuter, and she had an extra ability which meant some monkeys would fall in love when seeing her, making them easy catches. My favourite persona had to be the miracle ninja. It was fast, dynamic and just totally awesome.

I liked lots of the personas for various reasons, like the cowboy/girl’s ability to use ranged attacks, although it was hard to get your aim right. The levels all had their unique story to tell and each monkey even had its own personality. Many were dressed in various costumes. For example, in the second level, you explore a forest with a Red Riding Hood theme, in which you can catch Red and the Wolf in ape form. If you managed to capture video footage of various monkeys in every stage, you unlocked the simian cinema, where you could use any caught monkeys and direct your own video with them in it!

The only downside was that each video took up quite a bit of memory space, so I only ever had a few saved at one given time. Still, a solid game for some chilled out action fun.

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The list could go on and on so I’ll finish with one final game that took hours of my life away from me, and that game is Spyro, Year of the Dragon. Of all the Spyro games, this is still my favourite to this very day.

The worlds were imaginative, the characters vibrant and the gameplay still as classic as that of its predecessors. This one  had the best stories, the best levels and more outstanding features. One big time consumer in this game was in the form of skateboarding. I don’t know about anyone else, but completing the skate challenge for the second time – near impossible.

Those pesky things just would not let you catch them! I remember spending hours in total trying to do this task, but with many a break in between as I would just get stressed after a while and rage quit. However, it was fun going off those ramps and such. Sports and Spyro actually went well together. Another cool feature was always the controlling of different characters. Spyro saw you on most of your way, but odd levels would require you to play as someone different with different abilities.

These were often levels within levels and earned you a few extra dragon eggs. It just added some variety really and different challenges.

The moral of the story is, don’t forget your old classics, as even if you’re a bit past them now, they’ll always have that special place in your heart.

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Back to Basics – The World of Pokemon

With the release of Pokemon Black and White 2 on the horizon, I wanted to take a look back at how it became what it is today…

In the Beginning – The Glory Days

And so it begins…

All remember that all important decision, agonising over which pokemon to choose to travel with? Without trying to sound like an old fogey, those were the days. That first battle with Gary is probably one every player remembers, as it is the first ever pokemon battle you take part in ever.

Red, Blue and eventually Yellow, must have been some of the biggest games of my generation when they came out back in the ’90s. The TV series was also great at this point, and back then, the games relied on the programme, where now they create more episodes to compliment a game. Most people my age would probably say this was the best generation, and while it was an absolutely outstanding success for the Gameboy, there were great things to come…

Moving to the Johto Region

I think the concept of there being new pokemon was an exciting one back then, where now we veterans seem to think that enough is enough. Although I agree that it is going on too long, I don’t know what I’d do if I were to find out they weren’t bringing out any more games. I’d be absolutely gutted to say the least. Anyway, we’re back in the past here and this generation also took off like a storm.

Personally, I always used to love Chikorita for its cuteness, but would nearly always pick Totadile. I had a habit over the years of going for the water type, especially in the original games so I could easily beat Brock. Gold and Silver were another great set of games with more vibrancy and more exploring to do, with the added bonus of being able to return to Kanto upon completion of the game. It also brought about new legendaries, new rivals and new things to do, even very small changes such as collecting berries and headbutting trees.

Generation 3 – Hoenn

Many despise this era as it saw Misty leave for good in the anime. The game, however, was really fun. It doesn’t quite fit into that classic bracket that the previous games do, but despite everything that annoyed people (e.g. no more team rocket), it has a really good story and honestly is probably my personal favourite. The pokemon themselves weren’t quite as good, but everything else was. Now you  could dive into the sea and explore the world underwater, now you could play as a girl or a boy. The developments here are possibly the most notable, with plenty of upgraded features to make gameplay that bit different again. Ruby and Sapphire also saw a huge leap in terms of graphics and its accompanying game, Emerald, had the added area that was the Battle Frontier. A true gem of a game, this one.

Other notable ways it defined pokemon gaming:

The Double Battle

The Secret Base

Diamond and Pearl

Generation 4 wasn’t as good as the rest, but I still thoroughly enjoyed playing it. We were faced again with yet another new band of enemies, Team Galactic, and we had yet another set of new pokemon. Still, a new story always means something different. I don’t have a lot to say about this one really. As bad as it sounds, I can’t particularly remember much of it without going back on it or looking it up. Nothing really seems to have stuck in my brain, although I seem to remember getting hours out of it and even going so far as to buy Platinum when it came out, so it must be pretty decent.

The Latest Installment

Not counting the remakes of the red/blue saga and gold/silver, this is the last generation of game to date, Pokemon Black and White. It is unique in that it does not have a third, supporting game that combines the elements and pokemon of the two others. I’m on my second play-through of this game now and I still don’t know what types certain pokemon are and finding a good strategy to beat them is tough as they tend to have stupid types like flying/electric so the ground type is pretty useless. However, the visuals are a huge step up and although the pokemon themselves are a downside and I was disappointed I couldn’t catch and train any old pokemon from any other pokedex, this generation is the biggest challenge yet in terms of tactics and still very fun with plenty of new elements and side attractions. Thankfully, as the series have gone on, the levels needed for the elite four have decreased. It always took me sooooo long to beat those guys back in the old days where this lot is pretty easy. I wrote a first thoughts review of Pokemon White when it first came out on another blog. Here it is for if you never got to playing this far on. http://toripops.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/pokemon-white-version/

The Future?

What is to come is still unknown, but I’m sure looking forward to find out what’s going to happen next in Black and White 2 in the Autumn, and wouldn’t it be even cooler if we got a European release of Pokemon Conquest too, as some of the spin-offs from the main series haven’t been bad, one of my personal favourites being the original Pokemon Ranger. Well, only time will tell…

Which generation is your favourite and what do you hope to see in Black and White 2?