Run ‘n’ gun history, part 1: Gunstar Heroes (Megadrive) vs Contra III (SNES)

Cuphead has inspired me to reflect on my personal history with this wonderful genre. We’ll be covering heavyhitters like Contra, Gunstar Heroes, Metal Slug, as well as some more obscure entries. Introducing the classic sidescrolling run ‘n’ gun:

I grew up in the 32-bit era with only limited exposure to the 16- and 8-bit systems. As a result my first encounters with traditional run ‘n’ gun games were via the Wii’s Virtual Console. Here, I played two of the most iconic run ‘n’ guns ever made – Contra III and Gunstar Heroes. Let’s kick off this trip down memory lane with a by now classic debate, a mainstay of 16-bit console warring. Contra III vs Gunstar Heroes: which is better? Continue reading

N64 Nostalgia: Rayman 2: The Great Escape

Rayman’s a bit of an underappreciated figure these days. Notwithstanding his acclaimed comebacks in Rayman Origins and Legends, he seems to have dropped off the map again now, with a dearth of new content starring the limbless hero.

I would like to take a bit of time to praise the Rayman series, particularly the entry I spent the most time with in my youth. (I should like to return again to the Rayman series to look at my favourite as an adult, but that will have to wait.) My first Rayman game was the first sequel, Rayman 2: The Great Escape for N64. Continue reading

Cuphead (Switch): We’re all mugs now

This is one I’ve been waiting for, for many years it turns out. Not specifically for Cuphead per se, but for a follow up to my beloved Gunstar Heroes. Continue reading

RIVE: Ultimate Edition (Switch) is a blast

The developer of this game, Two Tribes, are best known for their gently paced Toki Tori games about a chicken who can neither jump nor fly. RIVE is a world away by comparison. This is undoubtedly one of the more accomplished indie titles I’ve played. It feels tight and well put together in a way that few games do, including independently made ones. The campaign has been highly enjoyable in co-op mode, and I’ve found that competing for high scores solo is both heart poundingly tense and highly addictive. Continue reading

From Dark Souls (PS3) to Remastered (Switch)

Dark Souls is a gaming icon. The words “You Died” (and the collective audible response of “No Shit”) are carved into the collective consciousness that is gaming culture.

Its reputation proceeds it, and I was primed to enjoy Dark Souls. On the surface this series has “me” written all over it, with its reputation for sadism. Ultimately on my first playthrough I came away pretty disappointed. “I liked [Dark Souls] but didn’t love it” was my ultra-brief summary in my Hollow Knight recap. I returned to Dark Souls in the form of the Remastered edition for Switch on a whim. An intended quick blast on my brother’s Switch turned into a full-blown playthrough from start to end. Now with my expectations set to reasonable levels, I can say I enjoyed it more second go around. It’s a very good game, with some strong reservations.

The second time through I came to appreciate the world of Dark Souls more. It’s dark and despairing, sure, but a lot of time and thought has clearly gone into it. Continue reading