Flashback Friday: The Legend of Zelda Minish Cap

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

One of the last posts for Zelda Month, this Friday we’re talking about a game that came out for the GameBoy Advance. The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap was a charming installment for the franchise.

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The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap was a game released for the GameBoy Advance back in 2005 for North America. Rather than traveling through time, morphing into a wolf, or sailing the seas, Link has a sarcastic hat that helps him shrink in size. It was a prequel, if you will, to Four Swords Adventures, wherein the main villain was Vaati the Wind Sorcerer. The Minish Cap helped to expand the backstory of that particular villain and the birth of the Four Sword.

The Minish — or Picori — are a race of bug-sized creatures that live in and around Hyrule. They are the ones who bestow green clothes and a sword to a boy to drive back the darkness. Vaati petrifies Zelda, and Link uses the aid of the Minish to collect the ancient artifacts to restore the Picori blade to its former glory to seal Vaati away.

I’ve played through this game back when it first came out and I found it enjoyable. The graphics were vivid and colorful, and the characters were amusing. Ezlo, the talking hat, was like a squawking, sarcastic bird, and poor Link just went along with it. The dungeons were fun and I don’t recall anything too frustrating. However, I never finished the game due to rage-quitting at the final boss.

The final boss battle is timed, and not by a ticking clock, but by the sound of bells. Vaati’s wizard-like form (not to be confused with his flying eyeball form in Four Swords Adventures) has three phases, and if you spend too much time beating him down, the final bell will chime and Zelda will be encased in stone forever.

Which is definitely what happened when I played the game.

Still, I remember the game being a fun time and it’s a game that I almost forgot existed until recently when Rachel and I started playing Four Swords Adventure on our Twitch channel. Perhaps one day I’ll return to it.

Have you played The Minish Cap? What did you think of it?

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Flashback Friday: Dogz II

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

If there’s anything else I’m passionate about beside video games, it’s animals. One of my earliest video game memories involves a certain computer game about virtual dogs.

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Dogz II was one of the very few — if there were any others — game programs on the solitary computer in my grandparents’ house when I was a kid. When I wasn’t trying my hand at the SNES (or bothering my uncle to play said console), I was probably playing with the virtual dogs on the desktop.

Dogz II was one of the many installments of the Petz franchise developed and published by P.F. Magic back in the mid-nineties. Since then, sequels have been published, up until Dogz 5 and Catz 5. The games were virtual pets that you take care of from puppies and kittens to adults and, in the later installments of the series, you could breed and raise their offspring from newborns.

This particular installment was one of the simplest. You were able to adopt one of a handful of breeds, name them, and then care for them. Toys and food were available to let you interact with the pet, and your mouse icon turns into a hand to pet, snap to call over, and pick up your pet. Aside from the playpen mode, where your dogs are in the windowed mode of the game, you can also let them run around on your desktop.

Supposedly, you were supposed to let them loose on the desktop while you’re working, but I’d be hard-pressed to get any work done while watching my virtual dog chase my cursor, dig holes into my background, or carry around the icons. Of course, I’d never get mad at the dog — it was too cute!

Despite the Petz games being for Windows 95 or so, rather than Windows 7 or 10, I still have my CDs of Dogz II and Petz 5. For kicks, I tried to install Dogz II on my Windows 7 laptop, and guess what?

It works:

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Now I’m trying to decide if I want to dive down this rabbit hole and adopt a virtual pup or two to have running amok while I work…

Have you played any of the Petz games? What did you think of them?

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Flashback Friday: SimCity

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

Rachel and I tend to really enjoy simulation games, a genre we’ve been exploring more outside of the Sims. On that note, this Flashback Friday is dedicated to another installment in that franchise, SimCity!

Double Jump | Video Games | Nintendo | SimCity

SimCity was originally released in 1989, and has since spawned on many different platforms, from consoles to the personal computers to portable and online versions to many spin-offs. It’s a city-building simulation, where the player starts with a piece of land and develops residential, commercial, and industrial buildings for the citizens to thrive. The player acts as the mayor and must provide services to the citizens — like hospitals, schools, and police stations — to keep them happy (low taxes also help).

While I’ve never played the original port on the SNES, I have played SimCity 4 for the PC. It’s not the best but, like many simulation games that I’ve played, strangely addicting. You’re in charge of districts that are part of one region. All the roads snap to a grid and all the zoning must be attached to the roads. Supposedly SimCity 4 has servers and you compete with others online for the highest score for your city, but the servers have never worked when I’ve played. Fortunately, the online competition isn’t too important to me, but I know for some it was a deal breaker.

Nevertheless, SimCity is a fun waste of time and just feeds into my love of simulation games, and the Cities: Skylines that just came out on the Nintendo Switch this month remind me of them. One day I’ll remember to download Cities: Skylines!

Have you played any of the SimCity games? What did you think of them?

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Flashback Friday: 101 Dalmatians Escape from DeVil Manor

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone! I hope your July has been wonderful!

July is nearly over and, with it, probably the dog days of summer. Considering what the topic of this post is, that pun was definitely intended. Today, we’re diving way back, over twenty years ago, for a PC game that I used to love as a kid.

Video Games | Double Jump | PC Games | Retro Games | Disney | 101 Dalmatians

A couple of weekends ago, I was dog- and house-sitting for our neighbors. While relaxing with the dogs one evening, I stuck on Disney’s animated 101 Dalmatians and was amused to realize that the goldendoodle was enraptured with the movie, especially during the Twilight Bark scene. Her poodle-beagle mix sister sang along with the Twilight Bark.

It reminded me of an old PC game, Escape from DeVil Manor, that came out in 1997, over twenty years ago. While the characters’ animations — Cruella, Horace and Jasper, and the puppies — were based off of the Disney cartoon, the plot was based on the live-action version of the movie that came out a year before.

I remember playing the game often enough. You controlled two of the dalmatian puppies, Patches and Whizzer, as you tried to do what it says on the title. It was a point-and-click puzzle adventure, with the cursor lighting up on items that are clickable. You’d have to avoid Jasper and Horace, or set up traps for them, as you navigated around the manor. If you got caught, you were thrown into the billiard room.

There were a couple of ways out of the mansion, one of which was from the billiard room, which tended to be my go-to escape route. After actually escaping the manor, the puppies were in a mine shaft and pursued by Cruella DeVil, just like the video game that Roger created in the live-action film. Using explosive barrels from the back of your cart, you had to blast the old mad lady from the mine shaft to be arrested by Scotland Yard.

It was a cute, quirky game, one that was perfect for a little Disney- and dog-loving kid like myself. It’s something that I definitely want to try finding again, probably through an emulator, just for the nostalgia!

Have you played Escape from DeVil Manor? What did you think?

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Flashback Friday: Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards

Double Jump Kris MiiThe year is halfway over! Panic in the streets!

Okay, not really, especially since we have so many good titles being released during the second half of the year, but it’s insane how quickly 2018 seems to be going.

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Pretty sure our copy of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards was accidentally stolen from a friend.

On that note, Kirby 64 was Kirby’s only appearance on the Nintendo 64 (unless one counts Kirby’s appearance in Super Smash Bros.), being released way back in 2000. The game was a side-scrolling platform like most of the Kirby games at that time, with Kirby strolling along and sucking up enemies for their powers to get through the level. Kirby travels through six planets this time while on a quest to defeat the big baddie named Dark Matter.

Dark Matter had invaded a planet that was populated by fairies for their powerful Crystal. One of the fairies escapes with the Crystal and finds Kirby, but the Crystal shatters. Kirby and the fairy team up to find the rest of the shards while gaining enough power to defeat Dark Matter. Other allies in the game include Waddle Dee, Adeleine, and even King Dedede as you go through the game.

The game was generally received favorably, with mostly good reviews. While Kirby looks kiddish with its bright graphics and cute characters, it allows the player to create power combos with Kirby’s copy ability, which most critics seemed to enjoy. The game was re-released on Nintendo’s Virtual Console about three years ago.

This was actually the first Kirby game that I ever got to play. I knew Kirby from Super Smash Bros., having played that game before The Crystal Shards, but borrowing and apparently keeping this game gave me a taste of the Kirby franchise. It wasn’t bad at all, but I was definitely more interested in the adventures of the Legend of Zelda games!

Have you played Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards? What did you think?

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Flashback Friday: Goof Troop

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone! I hope everyone’s May was good! This year is going by so quickly.

This month’s Flashback Friday is celebrating a game that Rachel used to ask me to play with her when we were both much younger. It wasn’t a game that held my attention too long, with me preferring Ocarina of Time or Super Mario RPG. However, we did have a good time with Goof Troop when we did play the game!

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Goof Troop was released in North America in July 1993 by Capcom on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was based off of the cartoon of the same name that aired around that time. An action-adventure game, it was capable of being multiplayer with one player controlling Goofy while the second player controlled his son Max. Goofy is slower than Max but can deal more damage.

The story is fairly simple, if a bit silly, but on par with the cartoon that the game is based on. While on a fishing trip, Goofy and Max witness their friends Pete and PJ get kidnapped by pirates. Figuring they should go and save them, Goofy and Max go through five areas on Spoonerville Island until they confront the pirates and free Pete and PJ. The game itself got average reviews, but it was agreed by most critics that the game was fun, even if it wasn’t very long or involved.

Rachel and I had fun with the game, mostly due to the game’s puzzles that were made for two players. In fact, the game’s few criticisms came from the single-player mode, when it was tedious from trying to complete puzzles that were meant to have more than one person solving them.

Of course, Rachel and I also had great fun sabotaging each other against the pirate enemies instead of working together! We were reminded of this game due to one of our favorite YouTubers making a video on it. If you’d like, check out Jirard the Completionist’s video of it:

Did you ever play Goof Troop? What did you think of it?

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Flashback Friday: Pokemon Red and Blue

Double Jump Kris MiiGuys… We’re a quarter of the way done with 2018. Isn’t that weird?

Tomorrow the 1000th episode of the Pokemon anime will air here in the US. Considering I was in elementary school when this whole Pokemon business first started, that’s an amazing feat! This month, we’re going to take a little look at the original games that started it all — Pokemon Red and Blue.

 

Pokemon Red and Blue were released in the US in September 1998, twenty years ago. In Japan, the Pokemon craze was already in full swing, as the games (with Pokemon Blue under the title Pokemon Green) had been released two years earlier in February. Pokemon Yellow, the special edition of the duo where the protagonist starts with a Pikachu just like Ash in the anime, was released roughly a year after Red and Blue in the US.

In case you’ve lived under a rock, the Pokemon games feature a protagonist who travels throughout the game’s region, catching and training Pokemon to become the very best. Pokemon Red and Blue were the original games, featuring the Kanto region and 150 Pokemon that the protagonist could obtain while trying to “catch ’em all.” The games have been on IGN’s Top 100 Games of All Time list multiple times, as well as being featured in the 2009 Guinness Book of World Records under “Best selling RPG on the GameBoy” and “Best Selling RPG of all time.”

Red and Blue have gotten remakes in the form of FireRed and LeafGreen, both for the GameBoy Advance in 2004. The original Red and Blue were also released on the 3DS family’s Virtual Console as a celebration for the franchise’s 20th anniversary in 2016.

Playing Red and Blue were not my first introduction to the Pokemon games. That honor goes to Pokemon Snap over at a friends’ house, twin girls that I was close with until they moved to another state back in elementary school. Pokemon Snap (and Mario Golf) on the Nintendo 64 were a couple of games that we enjoyed playing, and they introduced me to Red and Blue. I was lucky enough to receive a GameBoy Color and Red, Blue, and Yellow for the handheld from the “Easter Bunny,” later on.

Red and Blue were a couple of games that helped cement my life as a gamer. I have yet to miss a main series Pokemon game, and the franchise has stayed dear to my heart. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Generation 8 looks like on the Nintendo Switch!

Are you a fan of the Pokemon games? What’s your favorite aspect of the Pokemon franchise?

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