Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Legend of Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets [Satellaview] - Chapter 3/4: Lawnmower Simulator

This is where the longplay unravels ever so slightly. Screw re-records, because failure is always funny... well, almost always. This part contains the killer Desert Palace, which is every bit as annoying as its Link to the Past counterpart, and then some. Undeterred, we trek on and are rewarded by a brush with royalty. Splendid, this is pleasant!

By this point I'd already played through the whole game, which afforded me some Mystic Meg-style foresight into Chapter 4. Hopefully I didn't give too much away in saying we have to defeat Ganon, because I don't believe I've played a Zelda game that doesn't cast him as the main antagonist.

Also in this part: feeling sorry for thieves; the magic bee returns; reminiscing upon past inglories; flaunting our rusty sword; desert survival tips; our weekly puzzle failure; harassing the fortune teller; swimming pool health and safety and Sakayama the Mole. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Well believe me, as with most Harry Yack uploads, it really ain't. :P

Actually, I quite like this part and think it's the best yet. Chapter 4 is also pretty good, but you can't have any pudding if you don't eat your meat. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Legend of Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets [Satellaview] - Chapter 2/4: Piracy is bad, mmkay?

The adventure continues with week two of the Ancient Stone Tablets Satellaview broadcast. Except, of course, this isn't being played on Satellaview, but an emulator. Unless Nintendo ever decide to release a Satellaview Classics disc (go on and do it Ninty, you know you want to), we are highly unlikely to see a release of the game outside of Japan, so the only way to play is using a Super Famicom (SNES) emulator.

After the mayhem of part 1, we pay a visit to the serene surroundings of Kakariko Village. More dungeoneering is the order of the day, and it isn't long before we start making up our own little challenges to (marginally) increase the difficulty of the bosses. After discussing the pros and cons of Hyrule's public transport system, we move on to the village and its... somewhat odd inhabitants. We also clean up a few scraps left over from Chapter One and chill out with some samples of the game's original musical tracks.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Legend of Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets [Satellaview] - Chapter 1/4: Research is for wimps

Almost one year after his last playthrough, Harry Yack announces his untriumphant return to the longplay fraternity with Zelda: The Ancient Stone Tablets, a somewhat obscure spinoff of Link to the Past. All will be explained in the video, but this curiously overlooked addition to the Zelda series is probably best described as an 'enhanced' version of LTTP, heavily modified to fit the Satellaview specifications. For this reason, it isn't all that hard if you've played a Zelda game before, even though it does contain a selection of brand-new puzzles.

Strap yourself onto your favourite heavy thing, because this truly is a marathon, an uncut, full length longplay covering all four parts of the original broadcast. You might decide to watch it in 10-15 minute chunks, but I wanted all the chapters to be self-contained in an attempt to mimic the St. GIGA broadcasts. To this end, one part will be uploaded here each week, and each will attempt to discuss various aspects of the game as they crop up.

In this first part, we take our first steps in the game and explain the basic gameplay differences from the Super Nintendo's Link to the Past. We also demonstrate tremendous laziness in our various poorly-researched comments (corrected via subtitles). AST veterans, please feel free to point out any other inaccuracies and I'll stick up some annotations or something, but I assure you things get slightly better (read: chaotic) in this regard as I attempt to correct errors in later parts.

Friday, 3 February 2012

John Madden Football [Mega Drive] - Johnson, you idiot!

Grab the pretzels and nachos because it's that time of year again, the one weekend all Americans shove pillows up their shirts, wear colanders on their heads and pretend to be Joe Montana.

Apologies to actual American Football players, at New York or any other team, called 'Johnson'. And yup, I did indeed miss the opportunity to pit New York against New England but the footage was recorded before I even knew who was taking part in the 2012 Superbowl, or even that it was happening this weekend. In fact I decided to turn it into a Superbowl special last Thursday because, well, I'm a massive current events bandwagon-jumper like that.

Madden was one of the first games I played for the Mega Drive and holds a special place in my memory, even though I can't bring myself to sit and watch a whole game of (real life) American football. Admittedly, however, this is mostly because the majority of NFL matches take place at 3AM GMT, meaning I'd have to adjust my sleeping patterns to such an extent I'd be forced to take a pillow to work. Somehow I don't think my boss would put up with my snoring all the way through our Tuesday meeting. I mean, he'd probably tolerate me sitting there, face planted on the desk, drool pouring all over his freshly-printed copy of last week's accounts, but he draws the line at 10 minutes of snorting bull terrier impersonations.

When creating this 'review', I realised I was going to sound like a complete idiot to all you football-literate Yack watchers, but it's a risk I was willing to take. Having recently played the game again upon the suggestion of Lakepalmer (yes, he of Games I Am Aren't Playing), I found one or two things I never noticed all those years ago. I was interested to discover that our old friend Rob Hubbard is responsible the menu music, and what a superb soundscape he has created; I don't think the Hubster is capable of composing anything other than sonic gold. (Not to be confused with Gold Sonic.)

Other intriguing and humorous little programming titbits, which are addressed in the video, make this a noteworthy addition to the Abomination series (out on Blu Ray Christmas 2028). So, Mr Lakepalmer, you're the proud beneficiary of Harry Yack's first request video.

Enscribed proudly on the front of Sega's Mega Drive is the 'high definition graphics' logo, though we haven't been able to experience the system's true visual capabilities until now, some 20-odd years later, in an age where HD television is more widespread. Perhaps playing Madden '90 on my 38 inch Toshiba LCD HD screen has artificially inflated my opinion of the game's graphics, but they are more than adequately clear, crisp and colourful. I was impressed by the scrolling, which is smooth even when taking into account any slowdown caused during the game's conversion from NTSC (US) to PAL (Europe). Though we had to endure such problems this side of the Atlantic, we weren't to know any different; it was only recently that I discovered how much faster the game runs on the North American Sega Genesis. Just check out how quickly the game runs in this video:

I guess the ultimate testament to Madden's enjoyability is that I'm not a fan of American football. Or perhaps it's because of my lack of familiarity with the sport that I like this game: I'm not picking apart its knowledge of offsides and time outs because I know so little of the rules anyway. Maybe such innocence is the best way to approach any game to avoid getting wrapped up in the cynical nit-picking that characterises my own videos. Not that I will stop making them or anything, but it does make one stop and think.