What's up with the Orson Scott Card controversy? Am I spending 1200 Allards on a crazy right-wing power fantasy?
I wouldn't get my knickers twisted over the story. Like a wise man said, for all of the hooplah about OSC being on board, the plot of the game boils down to:
Is it true I can screw myself out of 100 percent items? So where's the point of no return?
Nathan Drake is camping in the woods with his girlfriend when she gets kidnapped by Cobra. So then Nathan Drake turns into Iron Man.
Yes, sadly. AFAIK, there's only one single item that's missable, though it's really late in the game. For a general gameplay hint about this point:
When collecting the key components of the armor suit, one of them is slightly above and to the left of where you first started the game. You'll probably get this as one of the last two components, but make sure you acquire this before leaving that area; there's an event that happens that destroys the area, preventing you access back in.
For a very specific description of this point:
The missable item is the Interial Element, aka the Bad-Ass Shotty, marked as S on this map:
Make sure to grab it before going through the Metroid-ish escape sequence below it.
This point also triggers the event setting up the final boss encounter, which makes getting around the map a pain, so if you want all of the items go do that before finishing up this area.
WTF, how do you get XXXX?
Got the blue line blues? Here's a spoilerrific guide to every single power-up on the map:
So what's up with the question mark right next to the spot where you get the first pistol?
Just get everything else first. Trust me on this.
Does the following picture arouse you?
If so, you might want to keep an eye on Shadow Complex
, which drops on XBLA on Aug. 19 for the princely sum of $15, or 1,200 Allards. It's a 2.5D side-scrolling game that lovingly borrows from the Metroidvania formula of nonlinear exploration and adventure. Promises about 10-12 hours of play on the first playthrough (not including New Game+) and focuses heavily on exploration and uncovering new abilities that let you access new parts of the map ... or you can just sequence-break to your heart's content.
Videos are available here (E3 developer walkthrough)
(E3 Trailer)[/vidurl]. Here are snippets from a great preview by Stephen Totilo, which got me even more excited about the game:
[Developer Donald] Mustard said he always wanted to make a so-called Metroidvania game, the kind of side-scrolling exploration-heavy, empowerment adventure rendered by Nintendo and Konami back during the NES to PlayStation eras.
Now he's got one close to completion, a spiritual successor to Super Metroid that runs on Unreal graphics technology. He describes it as a game of exploration punctuated by combat. It's a mostly side-scrolling game of military bases, robots, forests and caves, rich in earth tones and energized by explosions and energy blasts, 120 power-ups â€” many of them hidden â€” and a bunch of core power upgrades. A flashlight reveals which boulders can be obliterated only once the hero has missiles, which hatches need a different gadget. A distant corner can only be grabbed once the player's earned a grappling hook.
The game has a "Jason Bailey" Achievement for speed-runners who clear the adventure in two hours â€” 10 hours fewer than Chair's testers are clearing it their first time through. And, get this Metroid sequence-breakers, it's got an Achievement called Insurgent that rewards players who can figure out how to clear the game while only obtaining 4% of Shadow Complex's items.
And the most Metoidvania thing of all... the map. It's drawn over grid squares. Seven-hundred eighty squares, not counting the skyline. Mustard's team of Metroid-lovers counted squares on the Super Metroid map. That total? Two-hundred fifty five.
Mustard was showing Kotaku some exciting stuff. This included stuff his publicist (who is also his wife and was seated nearby) hadn't seen yet. He couldn't resist. He wanted to show the dark caverns of the game to demonstrate what real 3D lighting effects can do for the dark exploration of a Metroid-style game. He wanted to show battles with medium-sized mechs and screen-tall mechs who are far taller than the height of his hero's generous jumping height. He wanted to show the hidden power-ups he knows how to find, the secret crannies where an extra grenade-capacity icon is sitting.
He showed that his game's got an ability for its hero to run, momentum-based at super-speed... dashing across water, up walls, on ceilings. His hero shoots a foam gun that generates cover, gums joints of enemy mechs or provides the materials that will make, on impact, a missile detonate in a bigger explosion.
The gameplay is a throwback. The graphics are a throw forward. This is modern material: Shadow Complex is one of the rare 2D side-scrollers that takes advantage of being rendered in a 3D graphics engine. It's a The 3D-ness is shown off when Mustard has the game's hero Jason Fleming, man a turret and the sideways perspective switches to what could be a behind-the-back turret-shooting view from a Gears of War game. There's no parallax faking depth effects in these graphics. They're real 3D.
When displayed in the manner of a 2D adventure, as they are in most of the game, the graphics have a depth not seen in this kind of game. The catwalks in the background. That guy shooting from back near the waterfall. They're back there and they can be shot, they can ragdoll over a balcony or fall into the front plane of action.
Players will earn experience points for their hero in this game, leveling up some of his core abilities and granting, every 10 levels, a special power-up. More XP is earned for defeating enemies in creative ways. But Mustard said that players won't earn all their levels the first time through. The game's designed for an increasingly empowered playthrough each time players re-visit it.
In addition, a Proving Grounds set of 21 unlocked challenges which present puzzles harder than many found in the main game are available from the start. Imagine having to grapple-hook and grenade-toss one's way around a hanging vertical wall suspended over a pit of fire. Or imagine a microcosm of a Metroidvania game with hidden power-ups that's just a few rooms large.
Shadow Complex probably could have used a little more development time to iron out a few glitches and nail down the sometimes awkward aiming system. Even so, it stands as one of the best games yet in 2009. And I'm not just talking about the Xbox Live Arcade. The classic, exploration-heavy gameplay is a winner. Go buy this game.
Shadow Complex is an incredibly well-made game that finally grabs the "Metroidvania" subgenre and drags it into the modern era instead of relegating it to a land of remakes or portable games. Players that obsess over speed runs and 100 percent completion will certainly find a lot of replayability, but even players who just want to play a game start to finish and move on will find that the quality of Shadow Complex makes it well worth its $15 price tag.
For once the Super Metroid reference isn't a lazy critic's crutch. Epic Games has always declared its intention to resurrect the classic 2D side-scrolling exploration game, once popularized by Nintendo's seminal space adventure, later perfected by Konami's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. So while Shadow Complex's story and setting may be popcorn nonsense, the mechanics they clothe are golden.
The result is a glorious 3D reimagining of the Metroidvania style of game, at once reverent of its references, yet also eager to better their achievements. In some areas it meets this tall order, in others it falls a little short. Nevertheless, it's a game that will delight gamers old enough to recognise the classics it celebrates, while captivating those oblivious to its inspirations. Its inevitable success in the coming weeks and months could even kick-start the genre. Drop a stone into this game and the splash may never echo back. Its significance might just be unfathomable.