Tag Archives: telltale games

Xbox Live Arcade is also a hotbed of retro game sequels and remakes

I recently wrote about the Wii Ware retro sequels that appeal to me but there are even more on Xbox Live. Unlike goddamn Wii Ware, Xbox Live has DEMOS so I’ve actually played all of the games on this list that have been released. This list ONLY contains games that I have determined to be good and possibly worthwhile. This means that Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix will not be listed – it’s a good game but barely an update and probably worth $7, not $15. At the bottom of the list are some upcoming releases that interest me.

PRE-ARTICLE CLARIFICATION
On several, previous occasions I claimed that one must have a paid membership to Xbox Live to buy download games.  NOT TRUE.  A free account membership gives one access to both paid games AND demos.

RELEASED GAMES

Prince of Persia Classic
$10, Gameloft/Ubisoft

I bought the full game and it’s great.  It’s a remake (in the true sense) of the original PoP.  The story is the same, the levels are similar but everything’s been made from scratch, with very different control mechanics.  The graphics are full 3D and based on the designs from the 2003-2005 PoP games.  I really recommend this one and it’s definitely worth the $10.

Bionic Commando Rearmed
$10, GRIN/Capcom

Another one that I bought – it’s sort of a remake of the NES Bionic Commando, but the levels are (mostly) different, there are many new features, bonus areas, the bosses are really wild, and the dialogue is hilarious.  The price is nice!

Pac-Man Championship Edition
$10, Namco Bandai

This game kinda started the recent trend of taking an old-ass game, keeping the old, pixellated sprites and enveloping it in neon effects and techno music.  This game is highly recommended for fans of the old Pac-Man games.  It has the same gameplay but somewhat more complicated and with many different modes.  A worthy release but at $10 it’s definitely overpriced.

Mega Man 9
$10, Inti Creates/Capcom

Just like the Wii version (which I’ve been playing lately).  It’s just like the NES Mega Mans but with some new – but not drastic – elements.  At $10 it’s a bit overpriced but it is long and challenging.

1942 Joint Strike
$10, Backbone/Capcom

I’ve only played the demo, which is fairly long, but it seems to be pretty tight.  It has a lot more variety than the original 1942 and has great boss fight action and a chase sequence.  I might buy it someday.

Space Invaders Extreme
$10, Backbone/Taito

This is actually a conversion of a DS and PSP release from 2008.  The Xbox Live version has improved visuals that might give you a seizure.  This game shows how effectively a really old formula can become fresh.  The action is much more intense than in the original with waves appearing right after the other and crazy boss fights.  Compared to $30 for the DS version, $10 isn’t too bad.

Galaga Legions
$10, Namco Bandai

Every Galaga sequel has some twist to bring the old fans back in and this is no exception.  Now you have 2 auto turrets that you can position and reposition to your heart’s delight all over the play field.  The action is non-stop.  Another one I may get someday.

FORTHCOMING GAMES

The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition
LucasArts

Announced at E3, this game is a remake-from-scratch of the original Monkey Island.  It will have brand new graphics and full voiceover work with a complete overhaul of the command system.

Tales of Monkey Island
Telltale Games/LucasArts

On the heels of the Monkey Island remake comes a new episodic release developed by a team of former LucasArts adventure game folks.  It sounds interesting but I’m only tentatively excited mainly due to Telltale’s modus operandi: 1) they seem to be really hit or miss and 2) the game will be released in 5 installments, likely at $10 apiece.  God!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled
Ubisoft

And now we have a 3D remake of the 1991 arcade hit, originally by Konami.  Not much is known but it seems interesting.

Metal Slug 7
SNK Playmore

Wow, I’m glad I didn’t waste $30 to buy this on DS last year!  It’ll probably only be $10 from Xbox Live.  Sweet.

-AM- LucasArts adventure games

In the 1980s, the adventure genre was dominated by Sierra On-Line. In 1986 they earned a competitor: LucasArts. Forget what you know about the current company that is LucasArts – there was a time when they were actually a very innovative and respected developer. Unlike Sierra, which cranked out adventure games by the dozens on a series/franchise basis, LucasArts averaged about one a year.  AdventureGamers.com maintains a “Top 20 Adventure Games” list and 8 of them are by LucasArts.  That’s pretty dominant considering they only made 15 of them.  I’m just getting into these games myself so I’m not an expert at all but here they are!

Part 1: The Labyrinth Era (1986)
LucasArts, then known as Lucasfilm Games, entered the adventure gaming market with an adaptation of the Jim Henson film, Labyrinth. In a Wizard of Oz move, the game begins strictly as a text-based game but when the main character enters the labyrinth it becomes a graphical adventure.

Part 2: The SCUMM Era (1987-1997)
This era makes up most of LucasArts’ adventuring career. SCUMM was the name of a very flexible game engine that allowed for other engines: audio, graphical, text, etc. to be inserted. LucasArts would use this engine for a decade. This era comprised a few short series and several stand-alone games.  It began with Maniac Mansion and was soon followed by Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders.  These games established the LucasArts style of using quirky characters and cheesy (bad?) humor.  Mansion was followed years later by Maniac Mansion: Day of the TentacleSam and Max Hit the Road, based on the comic of the same name by LucasArts artist Steve Purcell, continued in this vein in the early 90s.

LucasArts made more serious games, as well, starting with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a very well-received game that closely follows the plot of the movie.  A few years later it was followed by Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.  An original game, Loom, used an apocalyptic, fantasy setting and used music for all of its commands.  In the mid-90s, The Dig feature a pan-planetary sci-fi adventure.  Full Throttle featured MOTORCYCLEZ.


In 1990, the company released their biggest hit and the beginning of their only long-running adventure series with The Secret of Monkey Island, followed only a year later by Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge.  Several years later, the SCUMM engine was retired with the 3rd game, The Curse of Monkey Island.


Part 3: The GrimE Era (1998-2000)
In 1998, LucasArts decided to modernize and created a brand new, 3D engine, debuting with Grim Fandango, which has gone on to become perhaps the most critically acclaimed adventure game from LucasArts.  It featured the “humor” they were best known for and dealth with themes of the AFTERLIFE.  The imagery is heavily inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead.  The entire adventuring journey came to an end with the release of Escape From Monkey Island.  After that LucasArts began a new Sam and Max game but eventually cancelled it and fired all their employees and took a bath in Star Wars money.

Part 4: Legacy
Several LucasArts adventure developers eventually started a new company, Telltale Games. They have had surprising success, utilizing online distribution. Unfortunately, all of their games have used licenses, a couple of which are HORRIBLE licenses. For example, they have made two CSI games and have an upcoming Strongbad game in the works.  Thankfully, they’ve also worked with a genuinely cool license: Jeff Smith’s Bone.  They made games based on the first two books but have decided their current focus is on “episodic” content, which Bone is apparently not compatible with.  In other words, they’re sellouts.  Yes, I hope someone searches in Google for “Telltale are sellouts” or “Telltale Games are sellouts” so they can see this and cry over the horrid truth.  Telltale is best known for their current revival of the Sam and Max series, which is released in “episodes”.  Jeez.

LucasArts stalwart Tim Schaeffer went on to create the lauded and beloved platformer Psychonauts and he has a very cool-looking new game in the works featuring bikers and roadies, much like the LucasArts game Full Throttle.

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