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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Flashback Friday: Nintendo Cereal

Double Jump Kris MiiWe’re doing things a little differently for this month’s Flashback Friday. In honor of the Super Mario cereal, I did a bit of research on some older cereal that had been made in honor of Nintendo and their work.

I wasn’t disappointed at what I found!

Did you know that there’s a Cereal Graveyard Wiki?

Aside from being fascinated by the dedication some people have to discontinued cereals, I found it interesting how there have been other Nintendo-branded cereals to grace supermarket shelves before the Super Mario cereal (not that the Super Mario cereal is being sold near us — darn it, Kellog’s, where’s our marshmallow one-ups and hidden blocks?).

donkykongThe first cereal I had found was simply called Donkey Kong. There really isn’t much information on it, other than the cereal pieces were barrel-shaped to correspond with the original Donkey Kong arcade game. This particular cereal was introduced in 1982, after Donkey Kong became more popular than Pac-Man (which, in turn, led to Pac-Man cereal in 1983), and was discontinued in 1989.

During the Donkey Kong cereal’s lifetime, there was another cereal called the Nintendo Cereal System. It had two cereals in the one box, one that represented the Super Mario series and the other representing the Legend of Zelda franchise. The cereal lasted from only from 1986 to 1989.

These cereal boxes have since become memorabilia for collectors, with them being sold on eBay for a couple of hundred dollars each. In 2010, the Nintendo Cereal System box was sold for $200!

Pretty sure my favorite thing about finding out these cereals were some of the commercials that I found for them on YouTube. Below is the commercial for Donkey Kong Jr. Cereal that came out in 1983:

Anyone remember these cereals? Any other Nintendo or video game related snacks that you remember?

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Flashback Friday: Yoshi’s Story

Double Jump Kris MiiYoshi is one of the most adorable characters in the Super Mario franchise, and with good reason. Ever since Yoshi’s first appearance in Super Mario World in 1990, the character has appeared in nearly 60 games!

This month’s Flashback Friday post is dedicated to one of those games, Yoshi’s Story.

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Yoshi’s Story was released for the Nintendo 64 in December 1997 in Japan and March 1998 in North America. A side-scroller platform, the game was released on the Wii’s Virtual Console ten years later and the Wii U’s virtual console almost ten years after that. Yoshi’s Story is actually the last main platform game starring the titular character until Yoshi’s Woolly World for the Wii U in 2015.

While it’s considered almost a sequel to the SNES’s Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, Yoshi’s Story is more puzzle-orientated with a cuter style in both graphics and music. It’s levels appear as a pop-up storybook, images resembling materials that one would use to make a scrapbook, such as fabric, cardboard, and paper.

The game had two modes, Story and Trial. Trial Mode enabled players to pick a course to go through as often as they wanted, but they were not unlocked until the player beat the course in Story Mode. Getting a high score was the main objective of each level, with the level ending when the Yoshi ate 30 pieces of fruit to complete the border around the screen. Considering the story of the game involved the Yoshis journeying across their island in search of Baby Bowser, who stole the Super Happy Tree. By eating the fruit, the Yoshis can stave off gloominess while trying to save their island.

Before each level loaded, a Lucky Fruit was chosen at random, which earns more points than any of the other fruit. Players could also get bonus points for eating the favorite fruit of whichever color Yoshi they happened to pick or for eating the same piece of fruit multiple times in a row. Players can go through each level as quickly as possible by eating every fruit they come across, but they can unlock secrets of the courses by biding their time and exploring every nook and cranny of the level.

Yoshi’s story got mixed to positive reviews, averaging only about 60% to 70% by most critics. It was, however, the second most downloaded title on the Wii U’s virtual console during the week of its release. With that said, the virtual console version received similar, if not worse, reviews than its Nintendo 64 counterpart.

I remember this game from ages ago. Rachel and I never owned it ourselves, but instead borrowed it from time to time from our aunt. We didn’t do too much in the Story Mode, being young enough to find it rather confusing, and amused ourselves with picking and choosing courses in the Trial Mode. We were always fans of Yoshi and had lots of fun with the game, its art style, and especially the music.

And, don’t lie, you all got the theme song stuck in your heads as much as we did:

Have you ever played Yoshi’s Story? What did you think of it?

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Flashback Friday: Sims 2

Double Jump Kris Mii It’s another Friday! Yay!

We’ve been going back and forth between playing our Switch Games and living out perfect lives on the Sims 4. This month I thought we’d go back to when Rachel and I had first gotten hooked onto the Sims series with Sims 2. 

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The Sims 2, first published in 2004, is the second installment of the Sims franchise published by EA Games and developed by Maxis. Like the original Sims, the Sims 2 is a real life simulator where the player controls the characters and aids them in living their lives day to day.

The game itself was released on a plethora of platforms, most notably the PC but also the Xbox, the Playstation 2, and Nintendo’s GameCube, Gameboy Advance, and DS. It was a commercial success, smashing records with its release, and sold over 13 million copies over all platforms by March 2012.

The Sims 2 allows the characters — the Sims — to age through life cycles, such as child, teen, and adult, with a 3D game engine. Players customize the Sims’ looks and personalities before throwing them into a world where they can get jobs, develop relationships, and grow old or die unfortunate premature deaths. The game allows the players to play the role of a god, choosing and manipulating every aspect of the Sims’ lives, or just letting the Sims choose their own fate however their personality dictates they would act.

Besides the base game, the Sims 2 had expansion packs to greatly expand the gameplay. For example, Pets included dogs and cats, Nightlife boasted clubs and a dating system, and Seasons brought weather to the Sims’ world. Expansions tended to bring new life forms for the Sims, such as PlantSims, Vampires, and Witches. Stuff Packs were also developed and sold separately, bringing new items to decorate the Sims’ world with.

Since then, the franchise has evolved to The Sims 3 and most recently The Sims 4, each bringing new content to the franchise. Despite initial glitches and problems with the games’ releases, the Sims franchise continues to be a success.

Have you ever played the Sims 2? What did you think of it?

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Flashback Friday: Pokemon Snap

Double Jump Kris Mii Happy Friday, everyone! Is everyone ready for April?

This week is all about one of my favorite Nintendo 64 games: Pokemon Snap! This game was everything that I wish Pokemon GO had been right off the bat. 

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Pokemon Snap was first released on the Nintendo 64 back in 1999, then on the Wii’s Virtual Console in 2007. Just last year in 2016, Pokemon Snap came to the Wii U’s Virtual Console. It’s developed a nearly cult following with its addictive game play.

The game’s premise itself is fairly simple. As the avatar, you travel around various areas on Pokemon Island in a special vehicle to take pictures of different Pokemon species. Your goal is to get the best shot to impress Professor Oak and gain the highest score. There are a few secrets around the island, such as landscapes that will resemble Pokemon when photographed from the right angle. Unlocking these secrets will reveal the final area where you can try to photograph a rare Pokemon.

 

The more photographs and the higher your overall score becomes, the more items you unlock to help your photographs improve. Apples and Pester Balls can make the Pokemon do various moves or pose differently as well as unlocking even more species to photograph, either by driving the species out of hiding or even making other Pokemon evolve.

Pokemon Snap, while simplistic in design and mechanics, is one of the most nostalgia inducing games that I remember playing. Pokemon is a fantastic franchise, and to have a side game that includes the adorable creatures in a relaxing setting was a good move on Nintendo’s part.

Have you ever played Pokemon Snap? What was your favorite aspect of the game?

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Flashback Friday: Super Mario Kart

Double Jump Kris Mii Thank God it’s Friday! I hope everyone else’s weeks have gone well!

The Nintendo Switch will be released in a mere week, and one of the upcoming games that Nintendo has boasted for the console is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This month we’ll be looking at the game that began the go-kart racing franchise, Super Mario Kart.

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Super Mario Kart was first released way back in 1992 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was the first in a string of related go-kart racing games, allowing the Super Mario franchise to touch other genres and gain even more popularity among gamers. It sold over nine million copies worldwide, cementing its spot as the third best selling SNES game ever.

The game allows players to select one of eight characters from the Super Mario franchise and race with said characters around themed courses. Item boxes grant characters power ups to gain advantage in the race and put their opponents momentarily out of commission. This basic premise has continued in the rest of the games in the series, albeit with new power ups and plenty of more characters and courses to choose from.

Super Mario Kart is credited with inventing the go-kart subgenre of video games, with other franchises following suit with their own racing games, including Sonic Drift from Sega, South Park Rally, and Diddy Kong Racing. The Mario Kart series itself has gained seven sequels along with a handful of arcade spin-offs over the last two and a half decades. The games have received mostly positive reception, and is one of the leading multiplayer gaming franchises.

The latest anticipated game in the series, at the time of this post, is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which has already caused some controversy despite not even being released yet. A revamp of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has added the DLC from its Wii U predecessor along with a battle mode for the Nintendo Switch console. Many longtime Mario Kart fans wonder if the price of the Deluxe game is worth it for the additions rather than a brand new Mario Kart game.

Despite the long road, Super Mario Kart has brought about a new gaming subgenre, allowing players to game as their favorite characters in a new light.

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Flashback Friday: Fire Emblem Sacred Stones

Double Jump Kris Mii Happy Friday, everyone! The first month of 2017 has come and gone… How’s everyone’s resolutions doing?

Considering the hype that’s been buzzing around for the new Fire Emblem games coming this year, I figured this month’s Flashback will be dedicated to my first Fire Emblem game, the Sacred Stones.

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Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones was localized in North America on May 23, 2005, the second in the Fire Emblem series to do so. In Japan, the Sacred Stones is the eighth game in the Fire Emblem series. While not the most popular game of the franchise, it received good reviews, receiving an average rating of 85 from Game Rankings.

Like the previous Fire Emblem games, the Sacred Stones is a tactical RPG, whereas the player controls an army of characters fighting against monsters and opposing soldiers alike. The stages are maps, generally having the condition to win be to rout out all of the opposition, with a few other conditions as well. The player must use strategy and be mindful of the magic and weapons triangles in order to perform the best attacks.

The Sacred Stones revolves around the royal twins Ephraim and Eirika, each going on their own journey to resolve the mystery surrounding the sudden appearance of monsters on their world as well as an invasion by a country they had believed to be their ally. The story progresses in chapters, with one battle map per chapter, and is split in the middle of the game between Ephraim and Eirika. The main protagonists eventually reunite with their armies to take down the final boss.

One of the best aspects of the Fire Emblem game is the perma-death for characters — if a unit’s HP falls to zero, that unit is dead for the rest of the game. There are no revives, and those units that you spent such care leveling up are easily lost with just one wrong move. It’s a great challenge to win each battle without losing any units.

If raising a character’s level and skills isn’t enough of a reason to keep them alive in battles, this game also has support conversations between characters. By supporting another, characters get stat boosts by being next to one another in a battle, as well as having conversations to further their development (and, possibly, relationship).

The Sacred Stones holds a special place in my heart for being my first Fire Emblem game. I can’t tell you how many times I used to reset stages just so I wouldn’t lose any units! It’s been a wonderful introduction to strategy games, and I’m looking forward to the new additions of the franchise later this year.

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