Random Game of the Day #1 – Curious George (GBA)

Since I’ve had trouble finding enough time to dedicate to this blog, I feel like it would be a good idea if I could find something that was both somewhat interesting and easy to fit into my schedule. Every couple of days, I am going to pick out a random game, play it for about an hour, and write a brief review/write up for it. I hope that doing this exposes me to new gaming experiences (both surprisingly good and hilariously bad), and also allows me to write about things that not very many people have written about before.

Since these games are being chosen at random, I’m going to have to hold them to a lower standard than I would a normal game. Given the huge amount of crap the video game industry churns out every year, most of these games probably won’t be very good.  I am going to be doing this with an open mind, knowing full well that pretty much none of these games are going to actually be good. That being said, let’s get to Random Game of the Day #1: Curious George for the Gameboy Advance!

First of all, I should apologize for my general lack of knowledge of the epic Curious George saga. From my point of view, this game is about a little monkey named George who is stalking some dude who has a hat that looks like a banana. George is also obsessed with fireflies, and possesses some sort of magical ability that allows him to spawn bottles of them by simply poking random objects. Pretty frickin’ cool if you ask me.

My ignorance about the premise aside, let’s discuss how Curious George functions as a game. Curious George is….. actually kind of fun. It’s a fairly simple run-and-jump platformer, just like any other “cartoony” licensed video game adaptation. Nothing really stands out about Curious George’s gameplay, but the controls surprisingly work pretty well. I’s even say that it is somewhat fun trying to run through a stage as fast as you can. A lot of licensed platforming games I used to play when I was younger had control schemes that at times didn’t work in the way that they were supposed to. Curious George’s controls may be simple, but if you’re going to be making a cheap game on the GBA, that is exactly what they should be.

However, Curious George is not without it’s flaws. The biggest complaint I had was that the enemies in the game were absolutely horrible. George has no way to defend himself, and therefore cannot defeat any of the enemies in the game. The enemies in the game are  other animals that run back and forth between a single area, and at times they can be extremely frustrating. There is one level in particular in which you must enter windows of an apartment building. However, you cannot see what is in the building until you enter it. Basically, if there was an enemy who just so happened to be near the entrance at the time you entered the window, there would be no way to avoid getting hit. While this doesn’t necessarily make the game hard, it is this kind of artificial difficulty that can really hold a game back.

Overall, I was actually surprised by Curious George. By no means is it a good game, but it is a lot better than most other licensed platformers. Let’s recap:

PROS:

  • The controls work surprisingly well, which makes running through levels quickly fun
  • Simple gameplay fits perfectly on the GBA

CONS:

  • The game’s enemies cannot be killed…Seriously?
  • Lots of artificial difficulty that only exists because of the game’s own limitations

FINAL VERDICT:

6 Derpy Monkeys out of 10

My Favorite Video Game Series – #13

#13 on my list of my favorite video game series is the youngest (by 3 days) of the fifteen entries on the list. Even though this series is only about four years old, it has made a mark on the industry unlike any other new series this generation. Even though there are only three games in the series at this point, every last one of them has been absolutely amazing.

#13 – Uncharted

Favorite Game in the Series: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Least Favorite Game: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (although it is still a damn good game)

I can’t say enough nice things about this series. The Uncharted series manages to put a very unique and memorable twist onto a genre that has become increasingly stale over the last couple of years. It is one of the few series this generation that doesn’t sacrifice quality single player campaigns in order to appeal to the multiplayer-hungry masses. Boasting exceptional writing, characters, graphics, and gameplay, the Uncharted series has made a name for itself as one of the best new series to be released this generation.

The characters are what really make the Uncharted series so memorable. You play as Nathan Drake, a young fortune seeker trying to score big by hunting down treasure and valuable artifacts. He is joined by Victor Sullivan, his mentor/father figure, and Elena Fisher, a news reporter who eventually becomes Drake’s main love interest. This core cast of characters work so well together because they bring out each others’ personalities so well. By no means are any of these characters incredibly well developed, but they are still extremely likable and relatable. Their dialog is always top-notch, and they will have you feeling all kinds of different emotions up until each game comes to an end.

In terms of gameplay, the Uncharted series is one of the best I’ve seen in a very long time. Uncharted contains platforming elements similar to that of the Prince of Persia and Assassin’s Creed series’ and combines them with traditional cover-based third person shooter elements. The controls work almost flawlessly despite the numerous ways you can actually go about playing the game. Uncharted’s gameplay has done for me what Resident Evil 4 did a few years before it: it made third person shooters fun again.

And I haven’t even talked about the game’s visuals. The graphics of all three Uncharted games are easily the best we have ever seen in the history of gaming. Unlike most of today’s games, Uncharted’s landscapes aren’t just gross-looking blends of grey and brown. Instead, Naughty Dog developed gorgeous environments ranging from lush forests and jungles, snow covered mountains, abandoned temples, and many more. They are so amazing, that I really can’t see how a video game’s graphics could possibly exceed them.

It’s certainly possible that the Uncharted series can climb up even higher on my list as it grows in age, but as of right now, it’s too soon rank it any higher. While every game is amazing, it just doesn’t have the nostalgic factor that the other games on my list have. That being said, every series must start somewhere, and I believe that when it’s all said and done, I expect the Uncharted series to be much higher on my list. Sic Parvis Magna – Greatness from Small Beginnings.