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Catching Up to the Industry: Part 1

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As I have mentioned numerous times in my writing, I'm pretty far behind with the video game world. I've followed a very set path through this industry, and it is time for me to venture out and spread my realm of knowledge around a little bit. I need to catch up on the classic franchises I've completely missed out on and play through the landmark titles that I've yet to touch. Feel free to read along as I do. This time, I'll be covering Metroid: Zero Mission, Portal, and Flower.


Metroid: Zero Mission

Despite having an NES, we never had any of the games you might consider as classics. Metroid is probably the one Nintendo franchise that I never even touched, so I thought it was about time I remedied that. Plus, I want to try to play most of the games immediately surrounding the story of Other M before it comes out, but I might as well start from the beginning.

I was actually pretty blown away with the depth of this game, given that it is a remake of a game that is almost a quarter of a century old. Sure, I'm not entirely sure how much has been added, given that I've never played the original, but I'm fairly certain the world that you explore is somewhat unchanged.

An entire genre of sorts — Metroidvania, a way to describe a kind of open world for 2D in which you cannot access certain areas until you find items from other parts of the world —  has been built around that mechanic, yet I didn't quite realize that Metroid has had it from the beginning. While I came into the Castlevania series pretty late as well, I had at least played the old NES games a couple times before, and they definitely didn't have the Metroidvania formula yet. It wasn't until Symphony of the Night for the original Playstation that the Castlevania genre branched out into that level of complexity, yet we give it equal billing in the Metroidvania name.

Metroid was clearly well ahead of it's time, and I'm looking forward to getting into the other installments of the series. Oh, and that zero suit mission they added to the end of Zero Mission is the most frustrating piece of junk I've ever played.


Portal

A spoiler isn't really a spoiler when you have no context for what it means. Trust me when I say, I was pretty surprised when I finally learned the context behind that whole, "The cake is a lie" thing you people have been quoting forever. Actually, Daniel Feit could probably tell you about my surprise since he was watching me play it on Livestream and I was clearly panicking about how to escape the situation I was in.

And upon beating the game, I now have context for why everyone is so worried about the length of Portal 2. Portal survives by it's length. It is pretty empty, and drives forward almost entirely from your curiosity. Even clocking in at about four and a half hours of playtime, I was kind of bored by some of the longer levels. I'm also going to venture to say that I think they killed the adrenaline they'd successfully filled me with after the "cake is a lie" moment, by making the subsequent trip to GLaDOS much too long.

So, how are they going to maintain the same feel for a sequel that is reported to be twice as long? At the very least, I'll be looking forward to more of the humor that was throughout the original.


Flower

The perfect started game, indeed! At least, it sure seems like that. I'd think that this would be a much better game to showcase to someone like Roger Ebert instead of my normal go-to game, Shadow of the Colossus.

On about the third level, I was starting to worry that I was going to be ultimately disappointed. I was getting annoyed with being stopped every 30 seconds for the camera to pan out and show a scene of the world changing and then blatantly zooming into where I would have to go next, but suddenly there was a change in the… plot (I guess?), of the game and I quickly became much more invested in that than I did the actual gameplay.

That is when Flower began to shine, was when I wasn't even thinking about how I was doing something, but just about what I was doing. By the last level, I was just grinning and enjoying as I cruised through to the end.


Well, there you go. Hopefully I'll finally catch that wily video game industry. Next on the docket are Half-Life 2, Super Metroid, and possibly more. Stay tuned if my extremely late to the party opinions are somehow interesting to you. Also, I could never say thank you enough times to everyone on Twitter and Bitmob that chipped in and bought me a PS3, but I'm certainly going to try. This write-up of Flower definitely won't be the last thing that comes from my new system, and I'll pay back the favor to all of you in some way.


If you've been behind on Cerebral Pop, you better go catch-up. There has been a regular stream of content from all of our great writers about everything from music, to movies, to video games.


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