Last Window: The Secret of Cape West (DS): COMPLETED!

tumblr_n2eb63btb11svmpf2o1_1280Obviously, I’m going to have to stick some spoilers in here, otherwise I’m not going to be able to say anything about the game. Because, oh boy, were there a few reveals in the latter half of Last Window. Like in the first game, hardly anyone was quite who they appeared to be, and everyone had at least one secret to hide.

The main “what?!” moment was when Dylan – as in, bumbling clumsy sticky-beak handyman Dylan – is revealed to not just be “a bit curious” or even “somewhat creepy”, but in fact is spying on behalf of Nile – the mysterious crime organisation that operates outside the law (and, as it happens, within the law itself). Sure, I thought there was something a bit odd with him, but he’s essentially the main bad guy!

tumblr_n2eb4ugybr1svmpf2o1_1280Then there’s the full backstory of Mags and her involvement in the past events, leading to her almost killing Kyle and Tony (seriously – old woman got mad ninja knockout skillz) when Kyle’s just about to make the final breakthrough. Where the hell did she get “police-strength sleep spray” from? It’s never explained.

And Will White not being Will White? And Marie nearly jumping off the roof to her death? Drama!

Anyway, as in Hotel Dusk, the last few hours play is mostly about tying up the ends of each character’s story. Most of them have a past issue that needs resolving, or they need convincing to leave Cape West, and once that’s done Kyle moves onto the getting the final answers to all the remaining questions. In this game, that meant finding a hidden poker room, which revealed in a very Raiders of the Lost Ark way, a secret stash containing the very gem Kyle’s dad died stealing 25 years ago.

As with Last Window, there’s a lot of million-to-one chance coincidences. Some are explained, some are left as mere unlikely chances. This does make the story feel a little contrived, but thankfully – again, like the first title – the story is strong enough to carry it. It felt like a proper detective novel, played out with a stylus.

tumblr_n2eb5owsdm1svmpf2o1_1280There weren’t many puzzles, and most were quite easy, but it made (as did Cing’s other works) great, and unusual, use of the DS too. In one part of the game you have to retrieve a key from a musical box. It’s inside a rotating drum in the box, and the DS itself acts as the box and lid. Open the DS, the music plays and the drum rotates. Close the DS and the music stops. To get the key out, you have to mostly close the DS when a gap in the drum lines up with the key, then press R to lever the key out a little, then squeeze the stylus inside the mostly-shut DS to “grab” the key and pull it free. Awkward, just like the actual task would be really. Brilliant!

At a little over 15 hours I’d finished the game. I’d say that was a pretty much perfect length to spread the story out without wishing for it to just wrap up quickly. My only complaint is that there aren’t any more Cing games to play, as they disbanded years ago. Shame.

Last Window: The Secret of Cape West (DS)

tumblr_n26u4tssfx1svmpf2o1_1280Super Backlog Fighter! I’ve had this for almost a year now, but, like many things, it’s sat on the Pile of Shame (TM). But now I have saved it from that pile, and am playing it! On an actual DS Lite too, for added retro authenticity. Not that the game, or the DS Lite is actually that old, but you know what I mean.

Many moons ago, I played Hotel Dusk: Room 101. It was a point-and-click interactive story adventure puzzle detective novel noir game. This is also a point-and-click interactive story adventure puzzle detective novel noir game. Not surprisingly as it’s the sequel.

Now, I recall many of the events in the first game, and the basic plot and so on, but everything else has long since fallen out of my head. Through playing Last Window, some has returned, but I feel I really should re-read the novel that came with the original to refamiliarise myself with what went down.

Last Window is plainly a continuation of the original game in more than just plot. The controls and graphical styles are the same, the sort of dialogue and puzzles wouldn’t be out of place in Hotel Dusk, and you’re even (essentially) in another hotel – only this time in Room 202 rather than 101. If only developers Cing were still around so we could find out what mystery surrounds Room 303. Sadly, 404 is not found. Oho.

Are_you_offeringLike the first game, there are some boggling coincidences in the characters and locations, almost as if the Hotel Cape West is the receiving area for some sort of alien kidnapping where people who have linked pasts (not all knowingly) are plucked out of their lives and made to stay in the hotel until they figure out what they all have in common. And not just links to each other, but also links to the events of 13 years before the game takes place (which is 1980), and a further 12 years before that. And murder. Or possibly murders.

Currently, I’ve played up to part way through Chapter 5. I’ve gained access to the out-of-bounds (probably due to said murder) fourth floor of the Cape West, found more questions than answers, and poor lonely Kyle Hyde (the protagonist) has completely failed to score with, or, in fact, even notice the rampant flirting of the resident Filthy Minxes (TM) Claire and Betty.  He’s too busy being down about the death of his dad, being evicted from his apartment, and losing his job. Poor guy.

Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call (DS): COMPLETED!

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The ending of this was much less dramatic than at least the last two Layton games. It didn’t matter, especially since this is a prequel, but I kept expecting something… more. That didn’t happen. Never mind though.

Something else odd was how much easier the puzzles were in this one. I’ve not done them all yet (I think I’ve completed about 105 out of the 155 main ones), but I’m sure that the final few puzzles in the other games have been worth 80 and 99 picarats. Highest here was just 60, and I don’t think I’ve seen any over that yet either – not even the (usually harder) hidden puzzles. I might be wrong, but I certainly didn’t struggle on any.

Aside from two side puzzle ones. Oh my do I hate those. I’m still stuck on the UFO SOS one, but one involving pipes, which could supposedly be completed in about 30 moves, took me over SIX THOUSAND. Urgh. Hate them.

I’ve a few more train and fish (um, that makes sense if you’ve played the game) puzzles left, about half the weekly puzzles, and of course the remaining 50 or so main game puzzles, but as usual I’ll leave them for a while and come back another time.

Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call (DS)

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I was so torn about getting this. I nearly bought the US version simply because it has Professor Layton’s London Life included (the UK version doesn’t), but then I’d have to put up with “Last Specter” (shudder) on the box, and Luke’s US voice, which may cause me to snap something. The obvious solution would be to buy both versions – this for the main game, and the US one for London Life. This may yet happen.

I’m not very far in yet. Just 5 puzzles, in fact (6 if you include the puzzle with the ropes that isn’t a puzzle), but it’s all very familiar so far. Which is good, because I like Professor Layton games 🙂

Super Scribblenauts (DS): COMPLETED!

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Despite enjoying the original Scribblenauts, I didn’t buy the sequel (until I saw it for a fiver in Morrisons this week) for several reasons. Firstly, the later levels on the original were too hard. Not hard to find the items you have to draw, but more hard because of the fiddly controls (mainly moving Maxwell) and trying not to knock stuff over or position things slightly wrongly. There were also a lot of platforming sections, or “peril” situations where it was all too easy for you or someone else to die inadvertently, even when you were doing things “the right way”. Not to mention that 90% of the levels could be completed using the same 4 or 5 items – usually a rope, a ladder, a helicopter, a gun and/or some meat.

This fixes pretty much all of that. The levels are now more about creating the right items, rather than how or where you use them, and there is very little in the way of platforming. Since you now have adjectives to work with as well as nouns, there’s a lot more variety too, and I spent a good half an hour or more just on the title screen, creating “giant scary radioactive zombie dinosaur” and “tiny evil dead pink cat” and stuff like that.

It’s easier than the original (although I’ve completed it there are still a third or more levels left to do so it might get harder), but importantly it was more fun, and varied, and clever and funny. The fact you can choose to now control Maxwell directly with the d-pad rather than tap-to-move improves things exponentially too.

Stuff wot I are bin playing

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I’ve not posted in a while, aside from to mention Yakuza 3 and Old World Blues, but I have still been playing games. Here’s a round-up of what’s been going down over the last few weeks:

Professor Layton and the Lost Future (DS)

I actually completed this at the start of the year, but as I did with the previous two games once the story was done I left the remaining puzzles until near the release of the following game. So, with that due in November, I went back to Lost Future. I’ve already mopped up all the story puzzles, the sticker book, the parrot delivery puzzles, and the toy car, and have done most of the bonus extra puzzles too.

As usual, the puzzles I struggle with are the slide-a-block-through-other-blocks ones, one of which (having checked online afterwards to see how poorly I did) can be completed in just 9 moves. Took me almost 3500. Yes.

Urban Champion 3D (3DS)

It’s a weak title, sure. It’s certainly not a “NES classic”, but somehow, it’s addictive. I’ve made it up to (I think) Area Champion, but then died. You don’t seem to lose your rank when you die though – you just have to start from the first round again.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (3DS)

The only 2D Zelda game I’ve not completed. In fact, I’ve barely played it. But I put some time in and once you forget it’s a Zelda game and look at it as a Metroidvania game with an overworld and semi-random, realtime battles, it makes a lot more sense. It’s brutally hard though!

Metroid (3DS)

Another one of the NES games us 3DS “ambassadors” got for free. It’s hard. Like, really hard. And there’s no map. I sort of like it, but the difficulty is really putting me off.

Balloon Fight / Mario & Yoshi / NES Open / Wrecking Crew (3DS)

Other NES games that I’ve played for an hour or so each, but not really invested too much time in yet. Wrecking Crew is ace, and NES Open is still a pretty competent golf game.

Let’s Golf 3D (3DS)

Enjoying this. The 3D is pointless (as in, it barely has any effect at all), but it doesn’t really matter. I’m about 35% through Career Mode now, and am starting to get used to the courses. The arctic and aztec ones are particularly difficult! I like the different game modes too, like Closest To The Pin and such.

10 Second Run (3DS)

It’s actually DSiWare, but I don’t have a DSi so it falls under 3DS. So there. Loved it at first, with its super-quick runny-jumpiness, but sadly – just like other games of its ilk (N+, Super Meat Boy) – it became far too hard to be enjoyable. I’ve completed about 38 of the 50 levels, and although I know there are 5 or 6 more I could probably manage with perseverance, some just seem completely beyond me. Boo!

Bomberman Live! (360)

I was online this evening at the same time as some ugvm/BETEO people who were playing this, and I thought I’d join in hoping my useless “broadband” connection could take the pace. It held up for the first few rounds, but by the end of the first tournament the lag was causing me to blow myself up far too frequently, and by the end of the second tournament I was been told over the headset that I’d died before I actually noticed on-screen. Rubbish.

And I’d have beaten all-comers if it wasn’t for Sky! *shakes fist*

Kirby’s Fun Pak (Wii)

The SNES game on the Wii, to be more accurate. Mainly played because my daughter sometimes tells me to play Kirby games, and so this appeases her, but it is good anyway. Only one game mode left to complete, I think, though.

Is that everything I’ve played recently? Probably. Except for stuff I’ve played briefly. Like, but not limited to: Outrun Online Arcade (360), Sonic the Hedgehog (360), Super Mario All-Stars (Wii), Muscle March (Wii), and various iPad “room escape” games. And the usual Words With Friends, Hanging With Friends and Carcassonne matches too, of course.

Trackmania DS (DS)

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I bought this a while ago from a car boot sale having remembered that I enjoyed it on the PC way-back-when, and knowing that it didn’t rely on amazing graphics so the DS version (which I didn’t know existed) would probably be quite good. Especially if it had the platform and puzzle levels I liked most, and it did.

Things started out well enough, with me rattling through the first time trial tracks in racing, off-road and rally cars (all of which handle differently), and although the camera could do with being a bit higher and there really needs to be a map of the track somewhere on the screens, it was certainly fun.

Then I got stuck on a platform track. And by stuck I don’t mean I don’t know how to do it – I do – I mean I can’t complete it. I can get to the final checkpoint, upon passing which… Nothing happens. I fall off the track, and don’t complete it. Rubbish.

Again and again, I tried, hoping it was a bug that randomly occurred, but no. Every single time, I reach the end, and it doesn’t trigger.

Now, since I can’t progress onto the next tracks until I’ve completed this one, I’m stuck. Forever. Because the game is broken.

Sonic the Hedgehog (DS): COMPLETED!

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With all the Chaos Emeralds, of course. Only lost a couple of lives (Scrap Brain Zone 2 *shakes fist*) but somehow didn’t collect many along the way. I suppose it’s just because I didn’t bother trying for them, and after getting the Chaos Emeralds, didn’t bother with collecting many rings either.

The end of game boss is laughably easy these days. I remember him being nails back in the day, but Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 both have much harder final bosses so I suppose it’s all relative.

For a change, I’ll do Sonic 2 next, but as Knuckles.

Sonic the Hedgehog (DS)

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T’other day I found myself in HMV and happened upon Sonic Classics Collection (Sonic 1-3 and Sonic & Knuckles) for the DS. I’d heard about it ages ago, but don’t remember it actually coming out. As is the way with Sonic games of old (and sadly, often of new), I had to buy it. So I did!

And it’s the most faithful version of Sonic I’ve played on a handheld. OK, so it seems the screen resolution is slightly too low, so there are a few horizontal interlacing artifacts, but it has no slowdown or anything. In fact, since it’s the US version, it technically has a speed up. Woo!

It also has a (single) save slot for the original Sonic, so I don’t have to play it in one sitting. So far, I’ve reached Labyrinth Zone, and already have all 6 Chaos Emeralds. It’s really good, as ever, and shows Sonic 4 up as a pile of steaming droppings. But then, you knew that.

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure (DS)

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OK, I’m starting to flag now. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the size of the levels – which are HUGE. Probably too huge, actually. When was the last time you played a 2D platformer where some levels were almost an hour long? Yes, some of the time is spent puzzling not run-and-jumping, but still – it’s ages. Especially since you can’t save mid-level.

It’s getting harder too. I’ve lost a few lives now, but still have over 20 in reserve so I’m not worried yet. My save file says I’m 50% done, but I don’t know if that includes secrets and hidden exits and stuff.

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure (DS)

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I’m having a bit of a DS kick at the moment. Perhaps it’s the soon-to-be-released 3DS that’s reminded me about it? Or maybe the fun I had at the ugvm meet playing Mario Kart? Who knows!

Henry Hatsworth is a game I’ve had on my shelf, unplayed, for some time now. Much like many games I own. When it came out, many people bought it thinking it was going to be like Professor Layton, but I was not one of those because I’d actually seen at least one screenshot 🙂

It’s a platformer. And a pretty basic one at that. Except there’s a massive twist – every time you kill baddie, they don’t die. Instead, they move to the bottom screen and become blocks in a sort of Bejewelled type puzzle game. You can switch to this puzzle (and back) by pressing X, and then eradicate the baddies once and for all by matching them up in a row of three or more. If you don’t, they reach the top of the bottom screen and return to the platformy bit to kill you.

It’s pretty good, too, although the swapping does get a bit annoying – especially if you forget to keep an eye on the puzzle and the screen fills up with baddies almost ready to pounce back on you. It is very easy (so far) though. I’m half way through the second world (about 20% complete, according to the save file) and haven’t died yet. In fact, I’ve now got 20 or more lives, and the only time I even came close to pegging it was on the end of world boss.

Fun though, so I’ll stick with it.

Professor Layton and the Lost Future (DS)

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I’m actually feeling more and more intelligent with each puzzle completed. I’m finding I get a sense of smugness when I spot the “trick” on the trick question puzzles instantly. Then I get stuck on a hard one that is completely and utterly impossible. Bah.

Story-wise, I’ve just reached Chinatown, but the guy I’m looking for has done a runner. Puzzle-wise, I’m just over 60 puzzles in. Time-wise, that’s about 6 hours. Chapter-wise, I’m on Chapter 8 (I think). No idea how far in that means I am, but from the previous two games I’m guessing just over half-way? Of course, I’ve loads of bonus puzzles left, and most of the car, parrot and sticker book minigames left to do too.

Professor Layton and the Lost Future (DS)

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With the previous game completely completed, I was able to move on to this one, which I got for Christmas. Unsurprisingly, it’s more of the same, only (obviously) with a different story.

I’ve only done 8 very simple puzzles so far, and not really opened the story much (I’ve only just got to the clock shop), so there’s not much there to comment on yet. However, one massive improvement to the game is how the memo function works – in the first game, you could just write over the top of some puzzles, but not all. In the second, you could bring up a memo overlay on every puzzle, and write on that. In this game, you can do the same but now have pen size and colour options, as well as an eraser – very, very useful and I’ve used all these features already. The eraser in particular was frequently missed in Pandora’s Box so I’m impressed they’ve added it here.