I am slowly making my way through the 30 days of video game topics I started…probably a few years ago, and today we have finally reached…number 12. I’m not even halfway done yet! Yikes! Well, this topic involves a game everyone should play, and I had to put careful consideration into which one I would pick. Not only do I have a lot of great games that I would definitely recommend to others, but I wanted to make sure my choice wouldn’t also be used in other 30-day topics in the future. After careful consideration, I ended up going with a game that is very special to me, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. Continue reading Day 12: A Game Everyone Should Play
Recently, I wrote a post about how I missed doing fan art, due to the fact that my comic was taking up much of my Photoshop time these past few months, and will continue to possibly for years. So I’ve been drawing pictures the old-timey way, on paper, then, scanning them into the computer. But, that hasn’t been quite enough, either. For some reason, I’ve been feeling quite a void in my tummy. Partly, I’m just hungry. But, I think it’s also being caused by something else.
I’ve been reading quite a lot of “Jak and Daxter” fan fiction lately. And I finally decided doing just fan art wasn’t enough. These stories are making me want to bring my favorite characters to life through more than just little doodles. And then I was suddenly struck with a big bolt of inspiration. I had an idea! In my soft, oozing brain meats! I had this idea of a story about the main villains from “The Precursor Legacy”, Gol and Maia. These two had likely once been good people, but they were twisted by prolonged exposure to Dark Eco and made into wicked people that wanted to open the Dark Eco silos to flood the world with the stuff and reshape it. They were then trapped in the silos by our hero, Jak (not assisted in any way whatsoever by Daxter). While the two have still not returned officially, it is still rumored that they survived and could eventually come back. This has caused many people to write stories about their return. As will I.
But, I don’t want to write just another story where they return, cause lots of trouble, then get killed, as entertaining as those are. I want to take a new direction and explore their past selves more and any chance that they can change and become the people they once were, if that is even possible and if they would ever do such a thing if given the opportunity.
So as is often the case, while bathing in the nearby duck pond, all these ideas floated around in my head, not unlike me. In that pond. The story began forming before I had a chance to get paper. And so as soon as I could, I started to write the prologue. And then I went on to write the first few chapters. So far, this chunk of the story isn’t too dreadful, either. I had learned not super long ago all kinds of skills for writing in a more literary style, and I think that helped me a lot. If I do say so myself, and I obviously do, I think it’s not bad. I found out when I asked my mom to take a look that my handwriting is indecipherable to all but me (it seems I have invented a new system of writing; I’ll call it the ducklabet), but once I read it aloud, she seemed entertained, despite the fact that I read largely in a monotone out of discomfort reading in front of others. Of course, she had to like it, as parents are compelled to like what their offspring create, but still.
So I recently started an account on fanficion.net (the greatest fan fiction site there ever was, is, or ever will be) under DuckofIndeed. And I know this would appeal to a very small audience, but I ask that anyone who likes “Jak and Daxter” fan fiction take a look at my story. It will be going up in bits and pieces. I have also posted below the beginning narration from my story, before the characters show up, where I described some stuff in the most marvelous manner I could muster. Mustard. Yum. Please take a look and tell me what you think. Fortunately, my typing is much better than my handwriting.
The first chunk of my prologue begins:
Far, far out in the Wasteland was a place few dared to go, even the Marauders and citizens of Spargus, who possessed spirits toughened to leather by the harsh life of the desert. This particular place had been forest once, centuries past, but the innumerable sands of the Wasteland had finally crept even here and swallowed up all the trees. Now, little stood there but dead pillars of wood, the remains of the trees whose roots had been choked with sand, and dunes that were gradually eroded away by the wind to only be built up elsewhere. And something else. Something else stood in this particular section of the desert and was the reason the people of the Wasteland did not tread here.
Several large pillars, once hundreds of feet high and now made considerably shorter as the sand built up around their bases. They were of varying sizes and of bronze Precursor metal, showing signs of wear, but less than expected from their treatment over the years, though with much of their original shine gone. The Dark Eco silos.
These pillars always filled all who saw them with dread, and who could blame them? These pillars, built possibly thousands of years ago by the Precursors, contained the majority of the planet’s Dark Eco. Such a substance needed to be contained. While it had existed as long as any other kind of Eco, this variation was dangerous. It twisted all it touched, turning all who were exposed to it to something no longer quite human. Or simply killed them. The dark bubbling ooze meant death or worse, and it couldn’t be allowed to coexist with the fragile life of this world. That was why the Precursors banished it away to the confines of the silos.
But, for some, it also meant power, and that was why, long, long ago, two people tried to open the silos. To take that Dark Eco and use it to reshape the world. They tried to play God, and they were punished for it.
And that brings us to the other reason why this was such a feared place. Centuries ago, those people had been locked away in those same pillars they had so desperately wanted to open. Some thought them dead. Some had their doubts. And the rest, well, they had forgotten the two had ever really existed. Their story had turned to legend for a time until so many years had gone by that no one believed any longer that it had ever happened. They were eventually reduced to monsters parents used to scare unruly children. In fact, few remembered anymore that they were even human. Even fewer knew what kind of people they had once been. Centuries ago.
I hope that encourages people to stop on by fanfiction.net and continue the story. Yes? Yeeeeesss? Please, it’s been a whopping 24 hours, and I have no reviews! Why must life be like this!
Not long ago, I had an unstoppable urge to play “Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy” again, even though it’s a game that I play way too often. But, this game brings back feelings of nostalgia like very few other games can, and I just never can seem to get enough of it. It is quite a treat to play this wonderful game, and just one part of this game that makes it great is the music. The music in this game is pleasant, and I admit, I often forget much of it, but I like that it doesn’t get in your face so much like music in some other games can. It complements the gameplay without distracting you from it. So, finally the duck shall announce the top songs from one of my favorite games of all time. With links to one of my favorite sites, Youtube.
5. “Volcanic Crater” has a song that is nice and peaceful. It’s quite soothing.
4. “Lost Precursor City” is a very annoying place beneath the water, but I like the music. It is peaceful and fairly slow and gives me the feeling I’m in a place no one’s been in a long time. But, not in a creepy way. More like a, I’m seeing stuff no one else alive has seen, kind of way. Because my thoughts get deep like that sometimes.
3. “Gol and Maia’s Citadel”, to be honest, has a very simple song. Usually, I don’t like songs that don’t have much to them. But, I’ve always liked this one for some reason.
2. The “Final Battle” music part 1 and part 4. This music is awesome, and I just found out recently that there are different versions of the song depending on what part of the battle you’re in, each version getting even more epic than the last. So I have links to the first part and the last, most epic part. This area is my favorite part of the game, perhaps because Gol and Maia are some of my favorite characters of the series, and I enjoy kicking the butts of my favorite characters, for whatever reason. It also has good music and one of the few songs in the game that is pretty darn epic. (There’s also a great view from the top of the Eco Silo. Not as good as Snowy Mountain, though. And with so much less time to enjoy it, with two lunatics trying to kill me.)
1. “Snowy Mountain” is not creatively named. It is…a mountain with snow on it. But, it is also beautiful. The most beautiful place in the game, in fact. I love to look at the fantastic views of all the places you’ve been previously and the ominous Eco Silos you have yet to reach, as the sky changes from sunset to night to dawn again. What makes this place even more beautiful is the music, a lovely tune that I feel has a touch of sadness and loneliness, as you trek alone through the snow with just your ottsel companion for company. Memories of your past trials are fresh in your mind, whilst the knowledge that your long journey is almost over brings sadness to your soul. Listen, friends, to this song of beauty. Especially since I wrote such a ridiculously long description for it.
Fairly recently, I played “Spyro: A Hero’s Tail”. After the steaming dung heap that was “Enter the Dragonfly”, I decided years ago to buy this game and give the “Spyro” series another chance, and it’s good to see the series took a turn for the better. The game’s not fantastic or anything, but it is fun, at least, and certainly better than “Enter the Dragonfly”. Because frankly, every game is better than “Enter the Dragonfly”. Anyway, when it comes to the story, apparently an evil dragon named Red (guess what color he is) scattered these Dark Gems (not to be confused with the Dark Crystal) all around, causing the land nearby to turn ugly and evil. So Spyro and his buddies must destroy the Dark Gems and stop Red from whatever his plot is. Because honestly, I forgot.
This game can be rather fun and improves greatly on the game that came before it. As I mentioned, “Enter the Dragonfly” was dreadful. I heard the “Spyro” series was supposed to be good, but my very first console “Spyro” game was a huge letdown. Fortunately, a lot more effort was put into this game. (To read about just how awful the previous game was, you can check out my “Enter the Dragonfly” post, just before this one. If you want. You don’t have to. But, I’ll be mildly sad if you don’t.) The character design is much better, for one thing, and the characters are no longer bouncing about like they’re made of sentient jell-o. The graphics look quite nice and clean, too. The voice acting is much better, as well. The goofiness is still there, but I expected that. (And you must admit Teena the Hyena is a funny name, though her plight saddened me.)
Now on to the game itself. This game has lots of big places to explore, which is fun. There are several large hub areas, from which you can get to various other worlds, such as the lovely Dragon Falls and the awesome Ice Citadel. There are also lots of things to collect. When you’re not breaking Dark Gems, you can collect Light Gems to power the Professor’s machines, which can do things like make Spyro invincible for a limited time or extra strong. There are also dragon eggs you can collect for extras like concept art and for playing as a few other dragon characters (that are identical to Spyro, pretty much, but slightly different looking). You also get different breath attacks as you play through the game, such as electric breath or ice. I like to zap people. Watch them convulse! Ba-ha-ha-ha-ha!!
And while most of the game is played as Spyro, you can sometimes play as other characters, too. Sparx the dragonfly has his own levels, where he flies through this long tunnel area, and you can shoot enemies, and you must survive to the end. Those are my least favorite and fill me with anti-joy because they’re hard. (The falling rocks are impossible to avoid. Impossible, I tell you, impossible!) There are also levels where you control Hunter the cheetah, who is fast and has a bow. He also thinks he’s awesome, and I guess he’s somewhat awesome. There are also two new characters, Blink the mole and Sgt. Byrd the flying penguin (he has a jetpack, kind of like Boba Fett, but less cool). Blink’s levels are underground, of course, and he must destroy Dark Gems. I don’t like Blink’s levels, either. His jumping is terrible and there are spiders and platforms and too much brown and they just make me sad. And they’re annoying. Sgt. Byrd’s levels are the best of the four extra characters, where you get to fly and shoot things and go through rings within a time limit, like some extra levels that “Enter the Dragonfly” had (the only decent parts of that game). These levels are quite fun.
I feel like I should say more about the game. But, I can’t think of anything. It’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot to do. But, it’s pretty much a typical platformer. I did have a silly glitch worth mentioning. I was taking the elevator down from the Cloudy Domain. You can see the ground below, and then it suddenly turns to this tan color. Hmm, weird. I wait and wait and wait, and finally some words tell me I’ve arrived at my destination, but the area has turned black. I can see something green in the distance. I think, perhaps if I jump into the blackness and head for the green thing, the area will get with it and load itself. I jump…and I fall into a light blue screen. Crap. I pause and press quit. The screen goes black and the music keeps playing. Finally, I reset the Cube and get back into my file, ending up back in Cloudy Domain. I found a different way out of there. That’s one of the reasons I hate elevators. And because they are vertically moving deathtraps.
Now I have one more issue to address. Maybe it’s just me, but this game seems to have some suspicious similarities to “Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy”, which came out two or three or four years earlier than “A Hero’s Tail”. I know it’s perfectly possible for two video games to have similar things without it being copying. Like in both games, in the swamp level, you must watch out for these wooden stakes in some places that come out of the ground to stab at your characters. And in both games, there are these pairs of platforms where you stand on one, and the other rotates around it. You wait for it to rotate where you want, and then jump to the next, and the platform you were just on rotates. Not only that, but the main villains, Gol from “Jak and Daxter” and Red from this game, share similarities, as well. Both were originally good (or at least, not evil), but turned bad. Both were known by some of the good characters (but not the main ones). Both had similar roles, one being an Eco Sage, the other, a Dragon Elder. (At least, I think sages and elders are similar.) Both are related to something “dark”, Dark Eco or Dark Gems. But, I suppose at first glance, these similarities may be mere coincidences. Or are they?
There are certain ideas, however, that seem very strange to appear in two unrelated games. Most notably, there’s this mini game that takes place in the swamp. There’s this character in the “Spyro” game named Fredneck the Frog (I kid you not), and his food keeps getting taken by swamp animals. So in this mini game, you have a stationary, first-person view of the swamp, and you shoot at the swamp animals to keep them away from the food. This is quite similar to a mini game in the first “Jak and Daxter”. In the swamp, there’s this dude named Boggy Billy, and he lost his pet HipHog, Farthy. He leaves out food to lure Farthy back, but swamp animals keep eating it. So in this mini game (I’ll just copy and past this part), you have a stationary, first-person view of the swamp, and you shoot at the swamp animals to keep them away from the food.
Anyone else see the similarities? Certainly, you must. Coincidence? I think not. I think the creators of “A Hero’s Tail” thought they could take a few ideas from the first “Jak and Daxter”, like a child sneaking a baked good from a cookie jar. Very naughty. Perhaps the creator of “Jak and Daxter”, Naughty Dog, is not the naughty one after all. It is you, Vivendi Universal! It is you that is naughty! Change your name to Naughty Vivendi, and Naughty Dog, change your name to just Dog. I have exposed your secret, Vivendi! I have exposed it to the world! You thought you could pull a fast one on us gamers, but you can’t get anything past this duck! Think again before you try to commit a crime in front of a duck. We are known for our sleuthing skills. And being adept at proper flossing. Now if I spot any ottsels or Dark Eco in your games, I’m telling Naughty Dog. That’s right. I’ll tattle.
Despite the hideous crimes I spotted in this game and the colorful glitch, it’s a fun game and much better than “Enter the Dragonfly”. It’s fun, a bit challenging, has variety, looks nice, sounds nice. Is nice. Just know, Vivendi, I’m watching you. With my peepers. One question, though. Am I to believe Spryo’s tail is the main character of this adventure? Very odd. It had no character development whatsoever. Now Spyro’s toes, on the other hand…
A Duck’s Tale, er, Tail