Home > Chronological Challenge, Clearing The Backlog > Clearing The Backlog: Chronological Game Challenge Pt 4

Clearing The Backlog: Chronological Game Challenge Pt 4

And so the game challenge continues! So, last week I didn’t post an update, but that’s simply because I was still playing through the next game on the list, ie. the first game we’re talking about today.

For those of you who missed the first parts, I am currently attempting to play every single game in my collection in order of original release, from Super Mario Bros to Splatoon. I’m doing it to try and finally finish games I’ve not got round to playing yet, and also I’m clearly insane.

Last time, we were going through much of 1991’s games, and in this part we finally finish that year! It’s a little shorter than previous updates, but I’m onto another long game and I’ve been on that for a few days. For now, let’s take a look at the last three games I played!

The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past

Publisher: Nintendo | Developer: Nintendo | Year: 1991 (Super Famicom release, Japan)
Played on: Wii Virtual Console (originally released for SNES)

Goal: Defeat Ganon

Actual Outcome: Ganon defeated!

Opinion: Now, this is more like it. Remember when I said I struggled to like The Legend of Zelda on the NES? This is more what I expect from a Zelda game. It’s Link’s first and only outing on the SNES, and it bridges the gap nicely between the original NES title and the 3D titles I’m more familiar with. And it does it so well!

A Link To The Past corrects every problem I had with the first game expertly. You’re no longer set adrift in a large, sparsely-populated land with no landmarks, nor are you expected to rub up against every wall in hopes it achieves something. Instead, you’re given clear directions on your purpose and, most importantly, decent in-game maps. Having the dungeons clearly numbered once you enter the Dark World was also pretty handy.

It was also a decent challenge. Items followed a logical progression, and Link became noticeably stronger as the enemies did, so while the game got gradually harder over time, it never became a frustrating chore. Even some of the trickier puzzles and maze-like dungeon layouts felt more navigable than the first game. The first game led me to wonder how the hell I was supposed to figure things out half the time, while A Link To The Past made me slap myself when I found out solutions since the answers suddenly seemed so obvious.

It also felt nice to have a world that actually felt alive. Kakariko Village and the various shops dotted around were a welcome change after the gibberish-spewing old men in caves from the first game, especially as these NPCs gave actual help and advice. “There’s an item in a cave east of Lake Hylia” is more useful to me than “EASTMOST PENNINSULA IS THE SECRET”.

There were still some moments of frustration in certain dungeons with confusing layouts (Ice Palace, I’m looking at you) and some bosses felt like bullet hells (Blind The Thief), and there were a handful of semi-required items that you could only obtain in sidequests (e.g. the Ether Medallion required for the Misery Mire) that got a little annoying, but overall these things were minor annoyances in a game that was a vast improvement over its NES counterpart.

And seriously, it felt so good to defeat Ganon at the end of the game. I highly approve.

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge

Publisher: LucasArts | Developer: LucasArts | Year: 1991 (DOS release)
Played on: Steam (special edition re-release)

Goal: Defeat LeChuck again!

Actual Outcome: LeChuck defeated!

Opinion: Monkey Island games are funny and entertaining, as we established with the mini-review of the first game. Monkey Island 2 is no exception, although it’s not much of a change from the first.

This is where things are difficult. Reviewing this, especially in comparison to the first game, is really hard because they’re so similar. They’re both very funny, they’re both standard point and clicks of the Golden Age of LucasArts and Sierra point and clicks. It’s pretty much everything you’d expect and it does everything right, and everything I said in the first game’s review holds true for this one.

I do have a couple of issues with this game, however. Sometimes the obtuse puzzles got a little too obtuse, and some of the endless references to other George Lucas properties became a little tiresome, especially a complete word-for-word line reading of the Empire Strikes Back twist towards the end. So for those small niggles, I’d say the first game was the better game and this second one seemed to be trying too hard to repeat the success of the first.

But it was still funny and that’s what’s important.

Golden Axe II

Publisher: Sega | Developer: Sega | Year: 1991 (Genesis release, USA)
Played on: PS3 (part of the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection)

Goal: Defeat Dark Guild

Actual Outcome: Died on stage 4

Opinion: Just like Monkey Island 2, this is a sequel that is basically a rehash of the game it follows. The problem is, while Monkey Island was able to be identical mechanically while introducing new puzzles and jokes, Golden Axe really needed to advance mechanically, but it didn’t.

And there’s the problem. This is literally Golden Axe with a minor graphical update. So…uh…yeah. That’s all I can say about it. I didn’t do very well at it. It was largely the same as the first game but had bosses at the end of levels. And…yeah. Next game?

Well, talking about the next game will have to wait because it’s Shining Force and I’m not finished with it yet. But when that’s done, I’ll be back with more! Woooo!

Until then, check out my YouTube channel where I do Let’s Plays of games I think are cool. I’m currently finishing up my LP of Fatal Frame 2 (aka Project Zero 2). You can also follow me on Twitter and donate to my Patreon to help me produce more awesome gaming-related stuff! 😀

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