Showing posts with label action. Show all posts
Showing posts with label action. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The World's Biggest Pac-Man

I'm not quite old enough to have experienced the whole Pac-Man phase - was born three years after it first came out? - but I'm no stranger to the game. I played it many, many times in arcades growing up, and I've since played it plenty of times online. Pac-Man's one of those games you're going to experience eventually no matter what you do or where you go.

There was always one problem, though: you always had to play the same damn levels over and over. Time to remedy that problem? Yooooou betcha, and that's just what World's Biggest Pac-Man does.


Predictably enough, World's Biggest Pac-Man is still Pac-Man. You need to gather all the little pellet thingers while avoiding the ghosts. Easy peasy.

The name change comes with one rather massive addition, however: World's Biggest Pac-Man is a sort of Pac-Man MMO, in that players can create and submit their own Pac-Man maps. What's more, every map is sewn together in a massive web, each new map accessible at the sides of the previous map, so you can conceivably play Pac-Man all day long and not see the same map twice. It's a really neat idea - though the quality of your experience is often dependent on whomever's map you've found.


Like the original Pac-Man, World's Biggest Pac-Man features controls that aren't as tight as you'd probably like. Pac-Man is in constant motion unless he hits a wall, and though you'll usually make corners, there are odd occasions where Pac-Man will refuse to obey. All part of the fun, I guess.


It's Pac-Man. Hasn't changed, probably shouldn't change. (I don't like the attempts to modernize Pac-Man and the ghosts in newer incarnations. They just don't look right.)


Wakka wakka wakka!

Challenge Rating

On average, World's Biggest Pac-Man is a teensy bit easier than a normal game of Pac-Man, simply because you have four escape routes to use if the ghosts are incoming. You could pass from one side of the screen to the other in the classic game, true, but the ghosts could always follow. Less problematic here.

That said, World's Biggest Pac-Man's difficulty really depends on the map. Most, like the one I did of Dragomir above, are on par with the old game. (Actually, I'd say Dragomir's a bit tougher than average. I didn't put any power dots near the center. Give it a try here.) Some, on the other hand, are disgustingly hard...

... while others are stupidly easy.

Poor trapped ghosts.

You still need to be good at Pac-Man to survive in World's Biggest Pac-Man, of course, and you'll get lots of practice to that effect - just don't expect to beat every map. It's probably grown hopelessly huge by now.


World's Biggest Pac-Man is, in the end, just a new version of Pac-Man. If you like Pac-Man, you'll like this website. If not, there are plenty of other ghosts in the sea.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Abobo's Big Adventure

I have been dimly aware of Abobo's Big Adventure for several months, despite the fact that it's apparently been in production for a decade or so - and as soon as I discovered the concept, I knew I had to play the thing. Consequently, I've been checking the Newgrounds 'Countdown to Abobo' almost every day.

Today is the day. Today is Abobo. And Abobo... dear god, Abobo is awesome. Awesome enough that I'm doing two reviews in one day, just because I couldn't resist.


Unless you know your Nintendo lore, you probably don't even know Abobo. He was, originally, a beefy boss from Double Dragon who had the distinction of appearing in several games, even managing to go up against the Battletoads at one point. His unusual appearance, coupled by his debatable handlebar mustache, made him a noteworthy, if minor, NES character.

What you DON'T know is that Abobo actually has a son, Aboboy, who for reasons unknown - probably because this is based on an NES game, and NES games love this stuff - has been kidnapped. Abobo needs to get him back, and he'll do it in the only way he understands: trashing anybody who gets between him and his progeny. On with the adventure!

The story for Abobo's Big Adventure is silly as hell. It's MEANT to be silly as hell, because this is a game that crosses genre boundaries between levels. Literally. You're playing a different NES game in each new venture, whether you're roaming the streets old school Abobo-style, swimming the seas like Mario, plundering the lasery depths of Quick Man's stage ala Mega Man or engaging in a good 'ol Balloon Fight. The game play changes with each stage, so being good at one does not mean you'll be so hot at the next - a challenge that most retro gamers should relish.


As mentioned above, each level has Abobo trying something new. You'll walk, you'll punch, you'll swim, you'll fly... consequently, the controls change all the time, even though you're still using the old Nintendo scheme of directional arrows coupled with two buttons (not A and B, in this one, but A and S).

Overall, the controls in Abobo's Big Adventure are pretty solid, though in many cases they're only as good as the game from which they come. For example, most players will probably find Balloon Fight to be a big pain in the ass, because the original game worked that way as well. Can't blame the programmers for sticking to the classics. I only had issues in the Mega Man stage when it came to controls, in that they weren't as responsive as the original game.

So I died. A lot. In one particular spot. You'll know which.


Oh. Good. Lord. Abobo's Big Adventure is more NES games sewn together than I care to consider, and so the package in its entirety is a giant, glorious, pixelated orgy. The visuals are so wonderfully creative - especially in the bosses and the cut scenes - that you'll want to replay Abobo's Big Adventure several times, just to catch all of the references.

What really dragged me into the game, however, was the attention paid to Abobo himself. He's already damn cool on his own, but the game goes to great lengths to make him even cooler, giving him a series of little transformations to suit each level while remaining staple Abobo. I can't show you every change, 'cause that would spoil much of the game's ending, but they're all awesome - especially when Abobo uses his crazy Rage moves to wipe out every enemy on the screen.


Abobo's Big Adventure, as far as I can tell, relies almost entirely on the soundtracks of other games. If you liked the original NES titles, you'll enjoy Abobo's soundtrack. I also liked the attention to the little sounds beyond the background music, right down to the digitized cheering during cage matches. Bravo.

Challenge Rating

Hard, but not terribly hard. Abobo's Big Adventure is made for NES gamers; everyone else will have a little difficulty getting into the game play, especially since it changes all the time. Some levels are a lot harder than others, and even reshuffling the order wouldn't change this very much.

That said, Abobo's Big Adventure doesn't go out of its way to be too difficult. The game is relatively forgiving in the amount of extra lives, and when you die you can restart at the beginning of the level rather than having to start the entire game over. Abobo's lengthy health meter (fitting for a boss character) and his Rage moves will help pull you through the beefier challenges.

Just, uh, limber up your hands before you start. There's a lot of button tapping in this sucker.


Before I finish off, I will mention one recurring bug: the game froze on me twice. This isn't a huge issue since, cache allowing, you can refresh the page and still have all the unlocked levels at the ready, but the freezing is frustrating as hell if you're almost at the end of a difficult section and have to start over.

Right. Rare negative side over. Ready for the explosion?

YOU. MUST. PLAY. THIS. GAME. If you harbour any sort of love for the NES, you have no choice but to play Abobo's Big Adventure. Sure, you might not give a damn about Abobo himself, but there are so many references jammed into this game that anyone who's so much as touched a Nintendo system will get a few chuckles.

And the ending? Epic. Worth the long wait.

Ready? Then it's time to go. Saddle up, Abobo.

Damn right.


Don't Catch The Herp!

Up until this point I've been fairly stringent on reviewing only, y'know, 'proper' browser games. Games that are more interested in game play than, say, comedy... particularly ribald comedy.

No more. I will wear these shackles NO MORE! And so, today, we review something that, despite its insensitivity to those with STDs, has made the front page of Newgrounds: Don't Catch The Herp!


The, uh, 'story' of Don't Catch The Herp is half the fun, so I won't spoil what happens, but I can, at least, state the objective: get the hell away from someone who has herpes. Politically correct? No. Funny? I don't think the concept is that hilarious, but the execution is pretty damn clever.

Sitting behind this terrifying drapery is an actual game, and it's similar to, oh, WarioWare in its execution: you need to plow your way through a series of mini-games, all different genres sewn together to make a bizarre whole. Expect a high-speed car chase, a dash through a night club, button mashing that should take you back a few years, and even a Frogger-esque escape through oncoming vehicles. All this is capped off by a trial with multiple possible endings.

Don't Catch The Herpes! strikes me as more of an interactive Flash movie than a game. You have things to accomplish, yes, but the experience is neither lengthy nor difficult enough to stand as a tried-and-true browser game. And don't think for a second that this statement is meant to put the accomplishment down, 'cause I think Don't Catch The Herp! is lots of fun.


Since Don't Catch The Herp! hops between control schemes, how you move your character varies from scenario to scenario. Overall, however, the arrow keys will move you from place to place, and the Space bar acts as an escape mechanism. (Be careful not to break your keyboard.)

The quality of the controls also varies between mini games. It's quite smooth when driving, for example, but the harsh hit detection in the Frogger game left a bad taste in my mouth when it came to using the controls. The controls are never bad enough that the game is impossible, however.


Don't Catch The Herp starts off as a stickman extravaganza gone bad. It's not attractive - and understandably so, since the herpes-bearer looks horrifying:

That said the game gets progressively more impressive as you move on to other sections, and I personally think the graphics during the car chase scene are worthy of an SNES game.

Overall? Mish-mash. Some good, some bad, all suitable.


Don't Catch The Herp! pays a surprising amount of attention to its sound. Where the creators could simply have tossed in some generic horror music and called it a day, they actually composed a few short songs WITH LYRICS to grace the end of the game, and everything leading up to that dramatic finale suits the game quite well. There's also some decent voice work, which, while not professional-level, is just fine for the subject. Big thumbs up on the sound.

Challenge Rating

Piece of cake. Only the Frogger scenario was at all difficult, and even then it was more frustrating than outright hard. Again, as much a movie you're meant to watch to its conclusion as a browser game. I especially liked that you could restart the final sequence after beating Don't Catch The Herp! rather than going all the way back to the beginning to try for a different ending, as your life hinges on your final decisions.


Don't catch The Herp! is a stupid-yet-terribly-clever piece of Flash that neatly encapsulates Internet humour. Don't play this one if you're easily offended... but jump all over it if you frequent, say, Reddit.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Anybody who haunts Newgrounds on a regular basis (so, like, me) has probably seen the Dad series at least once. I first discovered Dad back in college, and I've enjoyed the series ever since.

So I can't believe that I hadn't noticed that it had a game. And that said game was two years old! I must be slipping.

For the uninitiated, Dad is a crazy bugger who, ah, busts stuff up. For no real reason. He can fire lasers from his eyes, pull a sword from his throat, run at super speeds, fly, rock out on a guitar so well that the police forgive him for his misdeeds... that sorta thing. The second movie took him into his work, however, and here he faced off against his boss...

... who, it turns out, is EVIL. Here enters Dadgame, Dad's struggle against the Evil Boss and his hordes of minions, all for no discernible reason. The guy's evil, that's probably good enough.


As mentioned, Dad likes to bust stuff up, and though there is a plot to this game - crazed though it may be - the main goal here is to ravage the landscape. Destroy everything you see. (Dad might be the actual villain of the game.) Simple concept, and quite fun: mash your surroundings. If you happen to catch some enemies in the process, all the better.

Or is it? Admittedly, a game based on the Dad series couldn't be anything other than wanton destruction. Problem here is, there's little else to the game - all you do is punch, slash, zap or otherwise destroy everything in your path. A little slim, even if you do have lots of options for mangling your foes.


Dadgame's pretty basic in the controls department, which makes it rather easy to pick up and play even for novices. You'll spend most of the game jumping and punching (or smashing stuff with a weapon), to the point that you might not even know what's going on at a given time. Controlling Dad is a little loose, but not to the point that you'll suffer too many cheap deaths.

The main issue with controlling Dad comes back to the game's concept: all you do is attack. You'll probably break your finger tapping the Z key, because that's almost all you do the entire game.


Dadgame is virtually identical to the other Dad installments in terms of aesthetics: semi-crude cartoon characters in chaotic situations. The art probably wouldn't pass muster if not for the way in which it's employed, using smooth animations to depict scenes of wanton (yet surprisingly bloodless) violence. Of particular note are the bosses, who are in some cases much more complex than the normal characters and really neat to watch in action.

Of course you also fight a monkey, so... don't expect every boss to be a feast for the eyes.

Told you.

The only thing that disappointed me about the graphics were the cut scenes. They seemed... sloppier than the original videos. Not as well drawn. This is a small quibble since these scenes don't last very long, but, there you go.


Dadgame has a fairly solid soundtrack, typical of a Dad production. Good, high-enegery tunes that fit in with the mayhem. Not much else to say. (You can buy the soundtrack, as well, if you really enjoy the music - I don't think I'll go quite that far.)

Challenge Rating

The level of challenge fluctuates radically in this game. The majority of the levels are really easy - you could probably sit in one spot, jumping occasionally and swinging a weapon, and do just fine. Then you get to the bosses, and the difficulty jumps through the roof. They're not impossible, but... well, needless to say, you might get too annoyed at the last boss to bother beating him. There is, fortunately, a challenge setting, so if you find the game too hard by the end you can restart somewhere easier (or vice versa if you're a gaming god and you find it too easy).

One of my biggest concerns challenge-wise is the ease with which you can gain invincibility. Every time you trash something on-screen, you build on an invincibility meter, and once you get that meter high enough Dad will go into a whirlwind frenzy:

And then most enemies don't stand a chance against you. This wouldn't be so bad if you couldn't prolong this state of invincibility, but you can. Way too easy to blaze through levels as a dervish of indestructibility.


Dadgame is fun. It's not the best Flash title in the ever-growing compendium of browser-based games, but it will give every Dad fan a chance to share in the carnage, especially given the sheer number of references to Dad's other adventures.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kit and the Octopod

Y'know, it just ain't right when somebody tries to separate a pair of loving octopods. (Octopids?) So when mean ol' Bad Mood Bear tries to ruin the fun, Kit comes to the rescue and aids Octopod in saving his girlfriend.
Yep. That's Kit and the Octopod. Beat the crap out of a douchebag polar bear. Doesn't get much better than that.

Kit and the Octopod is your standard side-scrolling, running-jumping-hitting-stuff kinda game. The polar bear somehow has an army of flunkies, and Kit and the Octopod need to plow through them on their way to the bear's lair. To do so you must employ Kit's crazy ninja skills (whether or not he's actually a ninja is up in the air) and the sticky might of Octopod, both of whom are clearly very serious about their mission.



Clean-cut brainless fun. There's no story grander than what you'd find in a Super Mario Bros. game: the bear's a jerk, you take him out with ninja moves. That said, the game's ability to tell a story with no dialogue whatsoever is surprisingly brilliant, and combining cheery fun with lots of bloodshed (the enemies fly into chunks when you kill 'em) works nicely.

There's also the side missions of gathering coins, freeing inexplicably trapped old men and knocking chickens around with your wrench, but, eh, they're not as fun as assaulting legions of soldiers with a tiny invertebrate.



A side-scroller is only so good as its control scheme, and Kit and the Octopod is smooth sailing on this front... after some practice anyway. The default button layout is A-S-D for attacking, jumping and tossing Octopod, which can cramp your fingers a bit and cause some confusion - but only at first. Once the game picks up the pace, after the tutorial section (which is much appreciated, especially given my occasional confusion between jumping and wall-climbing), you shouldn't have much trouble getting around.

It should also be noted that you can fling Octopod at enemies,

which never gets old.


Bright, bold, beautiful. Kit and the Octopod looks great. The animations are smooth and engaging, and the character designs, while simple, are a lot of fun to watch in action. There's personality to be had in this game. Of particular note is the layered effect of the levels, where you can see other areas in the background - very neat.


Though the soundtrack on Kit and the Octopod isn't incredibly robust, it's solid enough to keep you grooving throughout the game. A little techno for my tastes, but most players should go unoffended.

Challenge Rating

Kit and the Octopod is not TERRIBLY difficult. There are multiple difficulty levels, true, but it's hardly impossible at any of them. It's also a little short, though for a free browser game it's robust enough to waste an hour or two of your time. Fortunately, this makes it a more accessible experience overall, rather than one that hands victory to you on a silver platter.

Just, y'know, avoid the worms.


If you like side-scrollers and you can appreciate cartoony graphics, Kit and the Octopod is a great game. It's got enough polish that it could, with enough expansion (kinda short as it is), make a decent download on a console system.

Oh, and did I mention that you can access a pirate mode if you beat the game? Yeah. You even get a parrot.