Sunday, August 18, 2013

August of Games: Day 18 - Cave Story

This guy's upload is pretty lame, it has this weird gusty drone in the background, but Meltdown 2 (aka Sand Zone's theme) in the Cave Story 3D soundtrack is great. I'm a big fan of most Cave Story soundtracks, and there are a great many excellent remix efforts.
Here's a link to the Cave Story Remix Project, home to many of the very best mixes, such as Takedown, Never Die, Labyrinth Skirmish, and Beatbox Toaster.

Cave Story
Developer: Pixel
Genre (Setting): Fantasy
Genre (Gameplay): 2d Platformer/Shooter
What is this game: In this game you play Quote, a little guy who woke up and can't remember a thing. You pick up a gun and start exploring and soon find a town of animal-like people called Mimigas who have slowly been being wiped out by a baddie searching for a girl named Sue. You soon find Sue yourself and get caught into the plot of defying the baddie (along with his minions). In your travels you learn more about Sue, about yourself, and about the history of this fantasy world.
Game-wise it's quite simple, a side-scrolling platformer where you have to jump and shoot your way through obstacles. There's several boss fights, many weapons, and a huge number of secrets. Replay value is very very high.
What's great about it: Well, let's start from the top. To begin with, this is arguably the best-known indie game in the world. Part of that comes from its age: it's from 2004 originally, making it among the oldest notable indie games, a whole 4 years before Audiosurf and Castle Crashers triggered the indie revolution (thanks to Xbox Live Arcade and Steam). It's also freeware, which means there's never been a cost barrier to trying it; the basic version is still free, although there are many new or upgraded versions that have prices attached to them. By now it's been ported like a dozen times thanks to Nicalis' help (and CS triggered Nicalis's fame, which has led to their publishing of the 3DS VVVVVV port, multiple versions of Nightsky, and soon the console and handheld ports of Binding of Isaac: Rebirth), meaning pretty much everyone has had an opportunity to play it.
Another reason it's famous is because it is an incredible feat. Pixel, aka Daisuke Amaya, is the sole name behind Cave Story. He is responsible for everything, from the character sprites to the backgrounds to the sound effects to the music to the programming and plot and dialogue. And each of those is simply excellent. The very charming retro graphics are crafted very. A common complaint I see leveled at many recent indie games is that so many of them are "retro" or "8-bit" just because it's easier or cheaper, when the fact of the matter is that just because a sprite uses a small number of colors doesn't mean it doesn't require a lot of skill or allow for any incredible amount of mastery to be displayed.

Helm's "The Spartan" is extraordinary proof of the capabilities of just three hex codes.
The last reason, and the most important of all that has allowed Cave Story to not only become famous but reamin famous is that it is simply an incredible amount of fun. You need to play through several times to see all of the things the game has to offer, and lots of little secrets are there to find (Chaco's Lipstick, Curly's Panties, the Booster 2.0, the Mimiga Mask, and many, many, MANY more). It gets tough, but rarely frustratingly so. The story is not only enjoyable, but suprising, and longer than you would expect.
I'm sure you've heard of the game. If you haven't played it though, you're depriving yourself.
How do I get it: Cave Story, the basic version is available on this site: It is on Windows, Linux, and Mac, though it comes originally for Windows. It's available on PSP, Xbox, Dreamcast, even TI graphing calculators (yeah, seriously). All of those are free. Nicalis ported it to WiiWare and DSiWare and on the 3DS eShop, and those aren't free. Nicalis made a full 3D version of the game for the 3DS as a complete retail release, with a Danny Baranowsky-remixed soundtrack. Cave Story+ is the version released on Steam, and is $10. I play either Cave Story+ or the original basic version, but many of the others are excellent as well.
Nicalis has done an excellent job marketing Cave Story and making sure it stays relevant in the modern day, 9 years and an entire indie revolution after release.

End Recording,

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