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Downloadables: The Marvelous Super Meat Boy


Like many other gamers my age, my personal video game journey started with the original Super Mario Bros on the NES. Though nostalgia may have grossly exaggerated my memories of those early days, thereís no question that they served as the catalyst for what can only be described as a passionate 25 year video game obsession.

Games have changed a lot since then. As they strive to become more complex, the controls have also become more complicated. Graphics and sound are reaching new levels of realism every year and the machines we play them on have skyrocketed in complexity and power. While this rationale serves first-person shooters and action/adventure games very well, I still believe that the best platformers are the ones that stay true to their forefathers.

Super Meat Boy is a brilliant example of this and stands as a testament to the virtues of classic simplicity.

In the spirit of accessibility, the controls are deceptively easy to grasp. Running and jumping are your only two means of traversal, but by no means is that a limitation. Meat Boy can sprint and leap around with insane momentum, often covering what seems like impossible distances in a very short amount of time. Once in the air, he can change direction at your command and weave between various hazards with relative ease. Thanks to a generous vertical wall slide, he can also travel straight up just as easily.

Those pinpoint controls quickly become a necessity considering the sheer amount of traps that stand between our skinless hero and his princess, Bandage Girl. Mounds of broken glass, saw blades, turrets, spikes, rocket launchers and lasers can all end your run instantly if even so much as a pixel touches them. Itís important to remember that each death in Super Meat Boy teaches you an invaluable lesson - never ever do that again. Iíve personally suffered over 25,000 lessons, and Iím still learning.

To combat the demented level of difficulty, Meat Boy has a respawn time of approximately one second and an infinite pool of lives to back it up. With no time to mourn your own death, there is no choice but to get out there and try again. And again. Each mistake brings you that much closer to victory. With the tools to complete each stage right there in front of you, the only traits required to succeed are patience and bravery. In my case, an absurd amount of stubborn confidence and poor posture can eventually work as well.

Though the superb controls provide a sturdy foundation, Super Meat Boy doesnít just get by on them alone. The graphics are reminiscent of the 16-bit era, with bold colors and hard edges accented by some lovely lighting and particle effects. The trail of blood Meat Boy leaves on any surface he comes in contact with is an especially nice touch. To top it all off, the whole package is complimented by an amazing soundtrack composed by (the now famous) Danny Baranowsky. Itís a powerful, energetic mix that continues to motivate well after the thousandth time it repeats. Hell, youíd think Iíd be sick of it by now but I still canít get enough of it.

Itís a good thing the soundtrack is wonderful because the game has an absolutely ridiculous amount of content for being a downloadable title. Over 300 stages make up the main game, each of which can take anywhere from a few seconds to a minute or more to complete. The environments range from forests and rooftops to hospitals and fiery hell caves. Xbox 360 players have access to an exclusive chapter called ďTeh InternetsĒ which delivers even more stages every couple months, all completely free of charge! With leaderboard support for each individual stage, a competitive person like myself can spend a lot of time painstakingly shaving off those precious milliseconds.

In essence, Super Meat Boy is a heartfelt love letter to platforming enthusiasts. Itís fast, intense, difficult and magnificent. A modern classic and my favorite downloadable title of all time, hands down.

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About Phoustone of us since 2:05 AM on 02.11.2010

(Banner crafted by the amazing COM 01)

My name is Eric. I'm 34.
Here are some random things I'm into:

The Buy it/Avoid it Report - back issues
#001 - Ilomilo, Uncharted 2, Infinity Blade, Pac-Man CE DX, Battlefield BC2: Vietnam, PixelJunk Shooter
#002 - Batman: Brave & Bold, DJ Hero 2, Dead Space 2, Bionic Commando Rearmed, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Bulletstorm
#003 - Pokemon Black/White, PixelJunk Shooter 2, Monster Tale, God of War III, BIT.TRIP RUNNER, Torchlight
#004 - Portal 2, Steel Diver, Sin & Punishment Star Successor, Pilotwings Resort, Crysis 2, Blocks That Matter
#005 - L.A. Noire, Alice Madness Returns, Resident Evil Mercenaries 3D, Shadows of the Damned
#006 - GoldenEye 007, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, AC: Brotherhood, Sword & Sworcery EP, Trenched
#007 - Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Jetpack Joyride, Gears of War 3, The Binding of Isaac, Renegade Ops
#008 - Dark Souls, League of Evil, Uncharted 3, Batman: Arkham City, Super Mario 3D Land
#009 - The Buy it/Avoid it Report's Awards - 2011
#010 - Spelunky, Max Payne 3, Trials Evolution, Mario Kart 7, Escape Goat
#011 - Super Hexagon, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Lollipop Chainsaw, Mark of the Ninja

The Play it/Avoid it Report - back issues
#001 - Bioshock Infinite, Darksiders II, Dead Space 3, Far Cry 3, Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider
#002 - Dishonored, DKC: Tropical Freeze, Grand Theft Auto V, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Rogue Legacy
#003 - The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Mario Kart 8, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Sunset Overdrive

Secret Moon Base - episodes
Subscribe on iTunes - a podcast about video games and other stuff with my pals knutaf and Occam

Spelunky HD - blogs
Mega Guide - part one
Mega Guide - part two

The Binding of Isaac - blogs
Blood, Shit and Tears - a love letter
Instruction Manual - w/ tips and tricks for beginners
Unlocking Godhead - tips for playing as The Lost

Social Network(s) - ugh
Twitter - @corduroyturtle
Xbox LIVE:Corduroy Turtle
PSN ID:Corduroy_Turtle
Steam ID:17wizards
3DS Code:4639-8962-6190


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