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March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:34 pm
by marurun
March is here, and so is another round of Together Retro fun! You all voted for this month's theme over the others, and so I am honored to present, "Arthur, Monkeys!" The theme was based on a misquote from an episode of the animated Tick series.

This month we will be playing games which are about monkeys (or apes), monkey- (or ape-) themed, or prominently feature monkeys (or apes). Humans, lemurs, and other primates need not apply.

Rather than highlighting a particular style of game or specific company, this is an opportunity to see the range of roles monkeys play in games. Some might include exhaustive game lists in their postings, but I think this theme won't be too hard to crack, and I think we should rely on each other to help with individualized recommendations where needed.

A few guiding notes: Incidental monkeys do not qualify for inclusion without constraints. For example, one of the Pokemon games has a monkey starter, and all of them have monkey-inspired Pokemon in them, but unless you're playing a run where you decide to keep a monkey mon in your team through most of the game, that monkey is effectively incidental. But I'm also happy to be convinced otherwise through use of brilliant logic and reasoning.

So grab a banana and learn sign language, and don't forget your space suit.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:36 pm
by Ack

This month will drive you all ape.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:35 pm
by BoneSnapDeez
I'm not going to finish Super Monkey Daibouken. When people say it's one of the worst Famicom games ever they mean it. It's not an intentionally trollish "anti-game" like Takeshi no Chousenjou. It feels more like an "attempt" at an ARPG (loosely speaking) programmed by people with no prior experience or good ideas.

The graphics are mutilated. The party of heroes moves one "square" on the overworld per second. Navigation around the overworld is dependent on finding interconnected and totally invisible warps.

The battles are randomly triggered 2D side-scrolling arenas, sorta like Zelda II. But shitty. Combat defies logic. Mash buttons, sometimes you win, sometimes not. A simple tap of the jump button sends your monkey hero directly to the top of the screen.

The game is lengthy, but there are passwords. They appear suddenly onscreen once certain points in the game are reached. Like this: A + B, A, A + B, A. You may notice that A and B are also buttons on a Famicom controller. See, passwords are entered like cheat codes on the title screen. It's so bizarre.

Super Monkey Daibouken has load times. This is a cartridge game.

I can hobble my way through a kusoge platformer. But a kusoge RPG? I'm out.

Oh, and I didn't stumble upon it (and I don't think it's accessible without hacking) but there's a sexually explicit message hidden in the game's code. Noice.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:34 pm
by prfsnl_gmr
I started Mario vs. Donkey Kong (GBA) last night. It’s pretty fun, and it’s definitely a sequel to Donkey Kong (GB). I’m really enjoying it - and it plays wonderfully - but it does have a few things holding it back, IMO. First, the graphics are muddy pre-rendered sprites (like Donkey Kong Country). I’m not a huge fan of those. Second, there is a lot of wasted time between stages. Every time you start a level, you have to watch a short cinematic of Donkey Kong. This would be fine, but you have to play stages repeatedly to get high scores, and watching the unskippable little show gets old pretty fast. There’s also an unskippable mini-game after each level too. Also, there’s just a lot to do in each level...and the design is pretty weird. First, you have to find a key and bring it to a door to get you the second part of the level, then you have to find a toy mini-Mario to end the level. There are also three presents to pick up, and you have to race to the end to get a high score...which earns you a star...which, when accumulated, probably unlock something, if I had to guess. The penultimate level in each world is a Lemmings-inspired puzzler, followed by a boss fight with Donkey Kong...which has its own set of rules. It’s all pretty fun, but I miss the simplicity and less-is-more approach of Donkey Kong (GB).

Also...Bone...if you’re set on a Famicom Saiyuki World or Saiyuki World 2 a/k/a Whomp ‘Em. Both are very solid.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 8:51 pm
by BoneSnapDeez
I am cursed to play nothing but Famicom games this year.

I will hit up at least one more monkey game. Next time I order Famicom carts I will get King Kong 2 and/or SonSon and/or Crazy Climber and/or Saiyuuki World.

Someone should play Kangaroo this month.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:44 pm
by Tanooki
This is a fun experiment in finding something monkey related. Kind of makes me wish I ever got around to snapping up Ape Escape. I guess there's Donkey Kong 1-3 NES or SuperGB, the country games on SNES, or even a Basic Fun mini arcade cabinet of Rampage if you use George.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:24 am
by noiseredux
I started playing Donkey Kong Country over the weekend via the Wii U Virtual Console. I did play this game quite a bit back when it originally came out, but haven't touched it since. Unless you count the Donkey Kong Land version on Game Boy, which I played in the late 2000's. I remember back then thinking that this game (and Killer Instinct) looked so incredible on the SNES back in the day. Now I find that the pseudo-3D looks so much more dated than a sprite based game from the same era. That said, it's still an impressive trick to pull off on SNES hardware. I just don't find it particularly pleasing to look at.

The one thing that has always stayed in my head about Donkey Kong Country is the music. And it still sounds excellent. The music in the first swimming level is phenomenal and I'd put it on par with the "Moon Theme" from Ducktales as the sort of pretty and atmospheric thing that I'd actually listen to outside of a game.

The controls still feel solid, which of course is what's going to make or break a platformer out of the gate. The early levels feel super easy, but by the time I got to the mine cars level I found myself getting annoyed. I pushed through, though. I'm not a big fan of needing to memorize levels to get through, and that's what that level feels like to me. But it wasn't excessive so I'm cool. So far, I'm enjoying replaying this one. When I was a kid I loved DKC. Right now I just like it. But we'll see.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:23 pm
by BoneSnapDeez
One of the best platformers ever. I rank it right up there with Super Mario Bros. 3 and World. The sequels didn't wow me as much. They felt bloated and arbitrarily challenging, I appreciate the taut brevity of the first DKS. It just "flows" beautifully. And the soundtrack is downright ferocious.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:51 am
by noiseredux
I feel like when it was released, I felt the same way. But playing it now (and having replayed both SMB3 and SMW in the past few months), I'd put it in a tier beneath those. It's still very, very good. But SMW is in a league of its own for me.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:00 am
by prfsnl_gmr
Mario vs. Donkey Kong continues to be a game that baffles me with some of its design decisions. They aren’t necessarily bad, just very weird. It is still pretty fun, though, and I’m enjoying it. Moreover, getting a high score in each level is a legitimate challenge, which I appreciate. I’m about 2/3 of the way through the primary campaign, and I anticipate wrapping this one up pretty soon.