Tag Archives: retro studios

Top Songs from Metroid Prime

I recently had the great pleasure of replaying Metroid Prime, a masterpiece on the GameCube that is considered to be one of the greatest games ever made. Metroid Prime has a lot going for it, including a focus on exploration over fighting and detailed, immersive environments, the latter of which is greatly helped thanks to the game’s atmospheric soundtrack.

Today’s post will list my top five songs from the game, with the exception that this list is not going to include the music that plays during the credits, as that is easily one of my favorite songs of all time, making its inclusion in the list a bit unfair…and a bit redundant. Continue reading Top Songs from Metroid Prime

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Top Songs from DKC: Tropical Freeze

I had trouble getting into the first Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii, but with the release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, I decided to give the series one, final chance, and I take it all back.  Retro Studios has done a wonderful job bringing Donkey Kong back, and the music is just one of the many areas they have succeeded.  So below, I have listed my top five songs from the newest Donkey Kong Country on the Wii U. Continue reading Top Songs from DKC: Tropical Freeze

The Duck Apologizes to Retro Studios

As you may very well be aware of, I have complained a good deal about the fairly recent Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii.  It’s way too hard, I feel silly shaking the controller around (though, I do with all Wii games, so that’s nothing new), and it lacks the feel and the charm of the original Super Nintendo games.  Due to all this unhappiness I felt towards the game, I had my doubts about getting the sequel on the Wii U, Tropical Freeze, but I had some money to spare and decided to give it a chance.  And I am now forced to eat my words.

Now, I don’t really need to get into tons of detail about this game.  It’s a simple concept, as it’s a platformer.  We know what those are.  And many of us have played Donkey Kong.  It’s a platformer involving lots of apes and a monkey (Diddy is the only monkey I know of).  And so I’d just like to focus this post on what this game does so right and why I finally believe Retro Studios has done a commendable job bringing back a series from 20 years ago that I used to adore.  I will always have a special place in my heart for the original games on the SNES and will always feel they are far better, but any gamer that has been playing for more than a few years knows how strong nostalgia can be.  And I accept that I can’t always compare games to those I loved many years ago. Continue reading The Duck Apologizes to Retro Studios

Day 5: Game Character I Feel I’m Most Like (Or Wish I Was)

It is now day 5 (or topic 5, as I am way beyond day 5) of my 30 day video game posts, which focuses on a game character I think I am most like (or wish I was), though this may or may not already be pretty clear from the title.  This is a rather hard one.  There are a lot of characters out there, and there are some I share similarities with and some I don’t.  But, I am really not sure who I am most like, and it’s a strangely embarrassing question, I think.  I’d sound like a weirdo if I said, I don’t know, I was like Samus.  What a conceited jerk I’d seem like to everyone.  I think I’m similar to the super awesome bounty hunter from the “Metroid” series?  Yeah, right.  No one compares to Samus because she is awesome.  Well, no, I wouldn’t choose her anyway, as I am nothing like Samus.  Perhaps that counts as a character I wish I was like, but still.  That’s not a good topic, either, as there are a lot of characters I wish I was like.  I wish I was cool and brave like Samus.  I wish I was as sweet and kind as Sora from “Kingdom Hearts”.  I mean, who doesn’t have a dozen characters they wish they were like?

            So that brings me back to which character I think I’m most like.  Well, none of the heroes, that’s for sure.  None of the villains, either, fortunately.  I’m neither heroic nor villainous.  So I guess I’d have to go with a minor character.  After thinking long and hard, for much longer and much harder than I really should have been, I decided on one particular character I may share the most similarities with.  This character would be the not-so-well-known Vin from “Jak II”.

            You may remember the post I wrote on this guy.  Vin is this nervous, nerdy character that manages the Power Station of Haven City.  While I certainly don’t do anything important like he does, I believe our personalities have some unfortunate similarities.  For one thing, I am super nervous like Vin is.  I’m sick to my stomach right now.  Why?  I don’t know.  Maybe because there are a million things out there to be sick to your stomach about.  Where to begin?  I may not fear Metal Heads as Vin does (if they existed, I’m sure I would), but I do fear all manner of illnesses, clowns, natural disasters, bears, crime, bear-clown hybrids, and that fateful day I just know is coming when a large spider is going to end up in my house or the smoke detector will go off due to low batteries, and I will not currently possess the necessary skills to stop it.  I also dread the day my computer finally dies.  Or gets so dang old, it simply isn’t compatible with anything anymore.  Heck, I was nervous enough when Youtube was acting up on my computer (I love Youtube).

            I am also paranoid.  While Vin thinks everyone, including Baron Praxis, is out to get him, I have suspected others were out to get me, too.  There were multiple occasions where I was alone with someone, and the thought suddenly went through my head that, if they decided to kill me, what would I do?  How would I fight back?  And if I failed, would anyone ever find my body?  (Well, I’m not going into the middle of nowhere with people, but a duck body may be pretty easy to hide due to our small and compact size, and my corpse may spend years in the ventilation ducts in the ceiling, which is surprisingly fitting, as the word ducts sounds like ducks.)  I started to panic inside, thinking this is a prime murder location.  If I was a murderer, surely I would murder myself here.  If they wanted to do it here, they would probably succeed.  Oh, if I just hadn’t made the decision to go here with them, I would have lived a long and happy life.  Or I worry that when we’re driving somewhere, someone is going to take a detour to drive me out into the middle of nowhere and butcher me rather than continue on to our planned destination (I’ll drive to the comicon alone next time, thank you very much!).  That’s the reason why I do the driving.  Plus, people drive like maniacs, with their lane-changing and their lack of turn signals.  You always know when I’m going to change lanes.  Always.  No surprises driving behind this duck.  You’ll just be stuck driving the speed limit.  Sorry.

            Also, it is not part of the game itself, but “Jak 3” has these goofy interviews with the characters, and while it is not canon, the characters are still, well, in-character.  Anyway, in this interview, Vin is also bothered by “people getting too close” and germs, which is why he doesn’t shake hands.  I don’t like people getting near me, either.  I don’t hug.  I also don’t see the appeal of kissing (get your face away from my face; I’m not food!) or holding hands (I don’t want to touch your clammy mitts, either!).  I also usually don’t like people sitting next to me.  I know I’m on a full-sized couch, but sit on the other couch.  My bubble of solitude needs a good ten-foot radius.  I also don’t like shaking hands.  It’s filthy.  We’re going to have an epidemic that will spread like wildfire because of this bizarre ritual to grasp the hands of everyone you meet.  You don’t know what disease they have.  If they have leprosy or some other affliction of the epidermis.  If they wiped their nose or coughed or sneezed on their hand.  You don’t know if they washed their hands or not after they went to the bathroom.  You can’t know these things, and it would be rude to ask, and yet you are expected to touch other people and get their germs on you.  Why?  I say we do away with the whole thing.

            So there you have it.  I share the unappealing characteristics of a guy described as “pathetic” and “a bit crazy” by other characters in the game.  Which are words possibly bouncing around the minds of my readers right now.  …Hey, you guys aren’t, perchance, considering to murder me, are you?  Oh, what’s wrong with me, now you know I’m on to you, which will only make my assailants all the more sneaky.  Must lock doors and keep Keyblade close by…  Not that I don’t always do that anyway…

The Duck is Keeping a Close Eye on You….

Egregious Things Part 3

Come on over for another list of things worthy of hate and disappointment.  Yes, the duck decided to do another one of these things.  It’s…egregious things…cubed!

            I don’t like when names of stores or whatever use ‘n’ in place of and.  It just bugs me.  Put an’ if you’re going to be goofy, but not ‘n’.  No one says ‘n’.  It’s not natural.  They’d say and or an’.  It’s not even that easy to say ‘n’.  Which is easier to say: Ducks an’ Geese or Ducks ‘n’ Geese?  Normal sentient beings do not say ‘n’!  I don’t like ‘n’!  That’s a big N for NO!  I have also always hated the phrases “for him”, “for her”, or “his and hers”.  They’re just creepy.  I can’t explain how.  It’s like they’re implying they know the person you’re giving something to or whatever, and a simple “him” or “her” is sufficient.  I don’t know.  It’s just weird.

            I hated PE in school.  I don’t really need to get into detail since it is a deep disdain felt by nearly every living being in the galaxy, and possibly by some inanimate objects as well, but I will anyway.  I hated every bit of it.  For one thing, getting into your undies in front of your classmates.  Or anyone for that matter.  Why are a bunch of children expected to get nearly naked in front of each other?  What sick mind thought that up?

            And of course, I was the type to get picked last, though that’s not completely true.  The second to last person is picked last.  The last person isn’t picked at all.  So more accurately, I was never picked.  I’m sure a bunch of you know how that is.  And why are a bunch of children put in a situation where they get verbally abused by other children?  They took their darn volleyball so seriously.  I’m sorry I missed the ball, okay!  Maybe I’m just distracted by the fact that I’ll have to get naked in front of you guys yet again in about a half hour.

            And I have to throw in math class, of course.  And what the darn is a logarithm?  And try naming one instance where you need it.  Just one.  I dare you.

            Also, people in art class could be brutal.  So what, I didn’t draw nostrils just right.  Sue me.

            Another thing I absolutely hate is when video games are hard just because they’re not made right.  I have no problem with video games being hard.  I want something that challenges me.  I love when it actually takes effort to beat a boss.  When I have to spend quite a bit of thinking to solve a puzzle.  When I get quite lost in a dungeon, and then I finally figure out what to do next.  (I have “The Legend of Zelda” on my mind right now because this is a series that treats its players right.  That’s one of the many reasons I love it.  Thank you, “TLoZ”.  Try pronouncing that.)

            But, I can’t stand when a game is hard for stupid reasons.  When I was playing “Sonic Heroes”, I would die so many times, and it wasn’t even my fault.  I would press one button, and the character would go speeding off a ledge.  Or they would fall off things they never usually fell off of.  I hate when games are super persnickety, like “Okami”.  I love “Okami”, but sometimes you had to draw things just right.  I drew a circle a zillion times, and they just didn’t like it.  I don’t know what I did wrong.  It had to be just close enough to the object, I guess, but not too close.  And I also hate when game controls are absurd.  Rocket barrel levels of “Donkey Kong Country Returns”, yeah, I’m talking to you.  Those levels were bad enough to make you pull out your hair (or feathers) until you’re bald.  I die because I hold the button down a fraction of a second too long or not long enough.  What kind of a world do we live in when such things can happen to good people?  This should be a punishment in prison.

            And there’s another list of things I hate.  What kind of things do you hate?

The Duck Who Was a Loser in P.E. Because P.E. Stands For Pure Evil

The Return

I recently finished “Donkey Kong Country Returns”.  It took about a week, but I kind of rushed so I could get to some new Playstation 2 games I recently got.  So naughty.

            Anyway, I was very excited that they finally made a Donkey Kong Country game again.  Poor Donkey Kong hasn’t had many good games ever since Rareware stopped making them about 10 years ago or so.  What I believe to be the last decent Donkey Kong game before this one is “Donkey Kong 64”, but the very best are “DK Country 1” and “DKC2” (3 was not quite as great), made around 1994 and 1995, I believe.  But, as I said, after “DK64”, Rareware started working for Microsoft rather than Nintendo and could no longer make Donkey Kong games.  Oh, what a dark day that was.

            But, enough of that, even though this important information will no doubt end up in history textbooks someday.  You’re welcome for the lesson.  Finally, along came “DKC Returns”, made by Retro Studios, who used to make Metroid (I don’t know if they still do).  I wondered if they could make a game to rival the originals, and alas, they did!  Oh, happy day!  DK fans rejoice!

            So as you can tell, this game was a delight.  It is very fun, with lovely graphics.  The backgrounds are so detailed.  The game is side-scrolling like the originals, and Donkey can now do a ground pound to stun enemies, break things, etc. and blow on things like dandelion fluff and candles to get items and put out the fire on flaming enemies.  When you get Diddy, he rides on DK’s back and uses his jetpack to help you jump farther.  You can also collect puzzle pieces to unlock things like concept art, which is fun.  I unlocked very few so far.  And instead of one hit per Kong, it’s two hits each before you die.  Despite this, the game was still quite a challenge, but you can use Super Guide to get you through areas you simply can’t do.  (I only used it for small bits twice, never a whole level.)

            There are also some songs from the original games, which filled me with much glee.  My favorite song is the factory music from “DKC 1”.  There are still mine cart levels, too,TreeTopTown, a factory, the jungle.  Two of the animal friends returned, as well, Rambi the rhino and Squawks the parrot.  You can still ride Rambi and go on a destructive rampage, but Squawks just helps you find puzzle pieces now.  He used to carry you around, which didn’t make sense how a large parrot could tote around a gorilla and a chimp and shoot yellow things that looked like cheetohs but weren’t from his mouth, but still.

            The Kremlings, Donkey’s banana-stealing crocodile enemies throughout all of the original DKC games and DK64, plus a few newer ones, did not return, but were replaced by banana-stealing tikis.  I would’ve preferred the Kremlings, but the tikis are actually a fine replacement.  They can also apparently hypnotize people (well, animals), except not Donkey for some reason.  How convenient.

            Still no mini sheep.  What’s going on?!  The tikis are cute, though.  My favorite is the one that you see in the first cut scene in the game and is on the right side of the cover.

            Now I have some questions about Donkey Kong and his bananas.  He lives in a jungle where you would think banana trees must be quite abundant, so why do people keep stealing his bananas and not just pick their own?  And why does Donkey go on these dangerous quests just to get back his bananas when he, too, could just pick his own again and start a new hoard?  Why does he even need a banana hoard?  It’s more than he can eat.  Is he greedy?  Does he have a mental disorder?  Is he someday going to end up on that “Buried Alive” TV show about hoarders?  Does his disorder stress out DK’s friends and family like it does to people in real life?  Are they enablers or do they, too, think that hoarding bananas in a jungle is a normal thing to do?  Last of all, is it normal for me to attempt a deep psychological analysis of a fictional ape?  We may never know.

            By the way, my picture of Xigbar is done.  He’s on the Fan Art page, if you want to check it out….

            Edit: Forget to mention, Mr. Game makes a small appearance in this game.  I won’t tell you where, but watch out for him….

Donkey Duck