For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:
"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.
After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:
I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."
We finished with the legacy reviews, so we are beginning with the reviews after my hiatus. Please feel free to give me advise on my reviews, as I always look for improvement.
Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.
Without further ado, here is:
93- Super Turrican 2
Genre: Side-Scrolling Shooter.
Developer: Factor 5.
First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.
Side-scrolling shooters are perhaps one of the easiest genres to measure. In theory, all its games are similar enough that there is no need to bother with the bottom sitters for a different experience, since there wouldn't be anything majorly different to begin with.
What that leaves games that are not Contra or Metal Slug (by far the genre's A list), is attempting unique twists on the formula and semi-innovations. In it's day, Super Turrican 2 gained a reputation for their revolutionary 3D cut-scenes and sharp graphics. Both didn't age as well as the more graceful works of the SNES. What is left is a game that you wish was something else by the time you finish its first half.
"In a small planet in a star system floating in the arms of a black hole"
This small planet is the setting at the start of ST2, with you, the Turrican suit (hence the name) clad hero going into a mission to rid someone somewhere from the evil "Machine". Story is never important in side-scrolling shooters, and besides, star system's "floating" in the edge of a black hole would get sucked in.
For these types of games, the setting is much more important than the story. You could tell us we are in an alien planet, but you must show us that as well. In the beginning, we find this dessert planet in total war with the evil machine, and proceed forward to shoot aliens and stuff. I would suggest relocation for the people living in this planet, but perhaps they enjoy their view off the abyss.
Regardless of its initial promise, the game then devolves into regular locations with little to no imagination, and we are left singularly unimpressed with the game's setting. The enemies are boring and without a personality, and all the bosses except one are devoid of any unique characteristic. Even the final boss acts like a rip-off of Cutman from the first Megaman game.
Of course, it doesn't help that your main hero doesn't have any defining trait, and looks more like a low-res Fischer-Price Master Chief than the hero he is supposed to be.
Boring Setting: -2 "Inside the mouth of despair"
ST2 does not manage to be more than a passable side-scrolling shooter, but that is not because of a lack of trying in its side. There are many sound concepts in the game, but many are either woefully underused, woefully overused, or simply terribly executed.
An example of the first category would be one of your regular abilities, which allows you to roll into a ball ala Samus and charge ahead. Yet, it is not used in a useful matter in a single instance in the game, and is consequently relegated to the part of a glorified dodge button. In the other hand, the grapple arm mechanic you have access to is used in nearly every level, and it is simply a not well done platforming mechanic.
Finally, the game sometimes have brilliant ideas, or generally good one, yet it blows them apart with terrible execution. For example, the labyrinthine stages are a first time where you can lose your place in what should be a massive world. However, with a timer in your back; you are of course forced to abandon exploration in order to finish in time. Why build these labyrinths without giving us the time to explore them adequately?
The most obvious of the great ideas gone bad is in the first major boss of the game, where what should have been an awesome fight inside the mouth of the beast, becomes a vertigo inducing battle of attrition.
Some Terrible Idea Execution: -3 "Truly trying to innovate"
Admittedly, not all of ST2' attempts at innovation falls flat. Take for instance the CGI scenes, which were among the first of their kind. It is true that they are not as impressive now as they looked 18 years ago. But that is the case with most early CGI tech.
Other areas where ST2 excelled in is the introduction of vehicle sequences. I am not talking about riding some vehicle in the 2D stages, but a complete bike level that resembles Sonic ring stages. Those stages where fun and tight when played, and were a neat distraction from the regular gamplay.
Also, the game didn't feel comfortable giving us the same stages again and again, and instead peppered a number of smaller "concept" stages to keep things fresh. Ultimately, it is these innovations that stand out most after playing ST2.
Innovative Choices: +3 "It drags on"
For a game that is essentially a high-score run game, it is a capital flaw for it to drag on as much. Whether it felt as long as it was due to its length, or its boring gameplay I am not sure. By the end of the second chapter, I was ready for it to end, and apparently the developers thought so as well as the game just seemed to throw random stuff at you in hopes of exhausting itself.
From the onset of the game, the game did not grab me much. The weapons felt generic and weak, and the enemies took more time than necessary to kill. By the end, I was thoroughly bored with the game and had no intention whatsoever of getting a better score.
If it happened that I died enough for a gameover, I would have been surprised to see I had to start at the beginning. Also, without playing in an emulator, you wouldn't be able to save the game, and hence will need to beat it in one setting. The thought of having to repeat the game from the beginning just to finish it sends shivers down my spine.
Unmercifully Boring: -5 "The music is mostly great"
Well, this is one part of the game that consistently holds to scrutiny. Aside from a few mundane tracks, the game's soundtrack is both intense and unique. The opening track and the ending credits song are both in my opinion off the best pieces of music in the SNES.
The prospect of listening to new music kept me going at the game. Even though, like the rest of the game the music started getting samey and boring by the end.
Two Great Tracks: +2 In Conclusion:
Super Turrican 2 may have been at some point in history a highly innovative title. Now, it is more a novelty than a serious game to play for enjoyment. It is however a statement that above all else, it is gamedesign that ages best.
1- Don't try and explore in labyrinth stages.
2- Not all laser shots are useful.
3- Practice the grapple techniques..
The game I am going to play next was one that I skipped before because it was too tough playing it in the keyboard. Now, that I have synced a PS3 controller to my lap top, I am going to try it again. It is #88 Sunset Riders.
For Previous SNES game Reviews: The List