I've been away from Chrontendo for the last couple days, but now I'm back with a decent sized update. First things first: I've bought a new, larger SSD and have installed it. As you might recall, I was having some issues with my SSD, and based on what I had been reading in the manufacturer's forum, my problems weren't that uncommon. I ended up getting a larger SSD, a 256 GB OCZ Vertex 4, since I could use a little extra space. The thing arrived on Saturday, and, I'll admit, the packaging impressed me quite a bit.
The box was dark gray with a nice matte finish. Inside, the drive was kept in place by a thick cardboard holder with this super-sturdy foam padding. The back of the holder contained a metal mounting bracket for the drive. I didn't need this, but it was a nice touch to include mounting hardware, and it made the package feel much more substantial. There was even a little sticker included. I know it's silly to put so much stock into the packaging
of a piece of hardware, but when I bought my original SDD, I was surprised how boring and crappy the box was. When you buy a fancy new piece of cutting edge technology, you want the box to suggest the wonders contained within. I actually made a short film about building the new computer, in order to get some footage to test potential new editing software on. Maybe I'll post it someday, and you can see the other SSD's lame box.
Anyhoo... Chronsega 8 is going to be a pretty big episode, with several large, "important," games, and very little that could be considered to be total crap. There are, however, several games that I personally don't care for. One game that I do
like a lot, is the one I mentioned last time, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap
AKA Monster Land II
(which would have been the Japanese title, had it been released in Japan.) To make matters more confusing, there was also an arcade game called Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
, which received a TG-16 and Mega-Drive port. The Dragon's Trap
also received a TG-16 port, but I don't want to make the issue any more muddled than it already is. The virtues of The Dragon's Trap
have been detailed elsewhere, but I'll chip in my 50 cents as well.
The prior game in the series, Wonder Boy in Monster Land
, introduced RPG elements - money, shops, armor, etc - to the series. But it still had a completely linear, SMB
-like structure to the game world. WBiML
also had a timer feature that greatly discouraged exploration and looking for hidden items. Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap
ditches the timer, and requires you to do quite a bit of poking around for secrets. Instead of having a series of self-contained linear stages, WBIII:TDT
uses a simple Metroidvania style structure. The game is invariably compared to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
due to its opening sequence. Much like SOTN
, you begin WBIII:TDT
in the last level of the previous game, Wonder Boy in Monster Land
. Your character is fully leveled up with the best weapons and armor, and you replay the final boss of Monster Land
, the Meka Dragon. After defeating him, you not only lose your equipment, but your stats and lifebar get downgraded to almost nothing. It's a surprisingly familiar moment to anyone who's played SOTN
. Likewise, Metroid
games usually start a similar prologue in which Samus loses all her abilities.
|In Mouse Man form you can walk on walls and through tiny passages.|
Fans of SOTN
and the GBA/DS Castlevania
games will experience a bit of deja vu when playing WBIII:TDT
. While traveling though the game world you'll often encounter platforms that are just a little too high
for you to reach and you requently spy areas that are unreachable from your current location. Later in the game, you gain the power to climb certain walls and eventually you'll obtain the power of flight. Another very Castlevania
like area is an underground waterway. You can travel though the waterway but certain areas are off-limits until you gain enhanced swimming abilities later. Once you've obtained these new powers, you'll not only be able to advance into new areas, but also you can revisit old areas and find hidden caches of money, special weapons, lifebar extensions and so on. It's certainly the most advanced example of a Metroidvania type game we've seen so far. It's not perfect by any means - the controls are a bit wonky, and platforms are unnecessarily slippery, but I'd place it alongside the likes of Phantasy Star
and Alex Kidd
on the top tier of SMS games.
|The bird form will allow you to fly to secret areas and obtain the best equipment.|
Also: regarding the chili I mentioned last time. There isn't really a recipe; it's more of a "put in what you like" kind of deal. But generally, it involves browning some meat - I used bacon (a lot!), chorizo and flat iron steak - then adding it to a liquid base. In this case the liquid was tomato sauce, tomato paste, beer and tequilla. From there add onions, garlic, diced tomatos and peppers. Obviously, the peppers depend on your personal taste and what you can find, but I used habaneros, jalapeños, Anaheims, a fancy heirloom style of pepper called a Jimmy Nardello, and some other type of locally grown pepper that I can't remember. You should also throw in a can of chopped chipotle peppers. Add any additional spices you want - I did chili powder, black pepper and fresh basil and oregano. Then add beans and simmer for a few hours. A really good trick is to add a bit of chocolate, since chocolate and chili naturally go together. This works the other way around, too: trying adding some chili power to your cafe mocha or hot chocolate!
Fianlly, as a bonus this post, I'm throwing in a bit of music. If you are a fan of Chrontendo, you must be pretty weird, so perhaps you enjoy music from off the beaten path. This is not Krautrock, but keeping with the Axis theme, here's a classic Japanese psychedelic/progressive obscurity, Flied Egg.
This is the title track from their 1972 ablum, Dr. Siegel's Flied Egg Shooting Machine
, a mini epic of sorts, complete with a sing along chorus, groovy organ riffs, Zappa-esque goofiness, and sudden change in tempo and mood halfway through the song. A stone cold classic in my opinion, though some, such as Julian Cope, disagree. Enjoy!