Day 155 - twisted, but in a good way

by PaulEMoz in , , , , , , , ,

I fancied a bit of old-school gaming this weekend, but then I remembered an e-mail I'd had earlier in the week from my Kickstarter account.  Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams had been released!

I quite enjoyed the original Great Giana Sisters back in the day.  It was as close to Super Mario Bros. as I was ever going to get, and it helped usher in a new breed of platform game.  It was epic, it was fun, and it kept you playing in an attempt to find all the hidden secrets.  It still annoys me that my parents threw my copy away after I moved out of their house!

Poor cute Giana, having to get through this horrible land!
Anyway, I wrote about all this on Day 76, so I doubt you want to hear it again.  You probably want to know whether the new game lives up to its origins.  I'll give you my first impressions...

The first thing you notice is that Giana is beautiful.  Platform games aren't generally renowned for making your jaw drop with their looks, but this game is gorgeous.  In fact, it's doubly gorgeous, because each level has a completely different background, depending on which sister you're playing as.

Musically, it's also a bit of a treat, with both Chris Huelsbeck and Machinae Supremacy providing twists on the original's tunes, and again, these segue seamlessly between one or the other, depending on which sister you happen to be.

Aargh! What a nightmare for punky Giana!
This is exactly the same place as in the screenshot above. What a difference!
The gameplay is a little harder for me to comment on at this point.  It's still early days for me, for one thing... I still have a lot of ground to explore, and many features to discover.  Also, with the game looking as good as it does, it's not running all that quickly on the laptop I played it on.  I'll be putting it on my new laptop soon, though, and I expect that one to cope substantially better.  I expect I'll comment further then.

That said, it's good fun, and retains the tradition of the original Great Giana Sisters while taking it in a different direction.  As you'd expect, collecting diamonds is a large part of each level, although there are now three colours of the gems: blue, which either sister can collect; yellow, which only cute Giana can collect; and red, which only punky Giana can collect (wasn't she called Maria in the original?).

He's a big fella! Bet I'll have to beat him, somewhere down the line.
There are hidden areas to find, as you'd expect, and these are also found through twists on the original's gameplay.  For instance, in the first game, if you stood on bridges for too long, they dissolved away.  In this game, the bridges morph between broken and complete, depending on which persona's world you inhabit, and this helps you find your way to otherwise unreachable areas.

All the hard work and the stress of the Kickstarter appears to have paid off, with Black Forest Games having produced something which is more than worthy of the original's name, and which wears its old-school heart on its sleeve whilst having a really refreshing look and feel to it.  There's a lot of game here, which might eventually pale through lack of variety, but I'm very happy with the outcome and look forward to getting stuck into it properly.

Day 76 - that's Great, Sister!

by PaulEMoz in , , , , , , , , , ,

Right, then.  It's been a tough few days... I have a promotion opportunity at work and I've had to drop everything fun to concentrate on that.  It's meant writing and editing and proof-reading and re-writing, etc., etc...  But it's submitted now, and I've taken some online tests this evening that I also had to complete, so I can forget about that for a few weeks until I hear the outcome.

That means I can get back to writing and editing and proof-reading and re-writing, etc., etc... but for fun, this time!

If you've followed me for any length of time, either here, in my other blog A Gamer Forever Voyaging, or on various message boards, you might know I'm quite a big advocate of Kickstarter.  There have been some fantastic video games projects on there, and all the ones I've been interested in have obtained funding, so far.

There's another one up there now... it's called Project Giana.

Hey, you can run on top of those bricks above the level! What a great idea!
There are those amongst you for whom this will strike an immediate chord.  Yes, it's a new version of a game that only just managed to see the light of day... Great Giana Sisters.

If you haven't heard of it before, then you can probably guess from the name that it's based on Super Mario Bros.  So much so, in fact, that Nintendo's legal team had it yanked from the shelves after less than a week on sale, the swines!  I managed to get a copy, though, being at the computer shop the day it was released.  And I really enjoyed the game.

The differences between levels are like night and day.
It really is a lot like Super Mario Bros.  The level design, enemy design and game design are all pretty close to Nintendo's classic, even to the point of there being secret bonus rooms and warps.  For computer owners with no chance of an official port, it was a pretty damn good substitute... for those that managed to get hold of it.

Its undignified removal from the shops means that copies have always been hard to come by, making them pretty valuable.  Pity, then, that my parents chucked mine out, along with all my other Commodore stuff, when I moved out.  Gaaahhhhh!!!

Mmmm, hope that was done in butter.
That's not a problem in this day and age, where emulators are preserving the classics (and the not-so-classics) for posterity.  You can just load up your system of choice and be transported back in time in an instant.  Doesn't make up for the loss of a potentially valuable item, but at least the game itself is there.

I'm interested to see how this new version turns out (if it does, in fact, turn out).  It's being produced by people from the original team, with Chris Huelsbeck contributing on the music front. He's been busy lately, and still is, having just had a successful Kickstarter project of his own come to a conclusion.  He's working on an epic multi-disc box set of the Turrican soundtrack, which I'm happy to say I'll be getting when it's finished.  I'm hoping to talk to Chris a little for this book, if he has the time.  And although its creator, Armin Gessert, is sadly no longer with us, there will be a place for him in this book too.