The Sega Mega Drive was, to most of the rest of the world, the Sega Genesis. I had one of these excellent consoles growing up and I often end up looking up videos, remembering the great games the console had. Oh sure, there’s Sonic, for sure, but that’s not all the console had. Today I’m just going to chat about four different games from the Sega Mega Drive that I absolutely adored as a kid. For obvious reasons, I am not going to count Sonic, because I think that’s a given. Nevertheless, check out some of these more obscure games and one that everyone should know.
Now you see me, now you don’t! Well you do, only I look like I’m someone completely different now. Hush, I can be exactly what you’re looking for, or become your worst nightmare. Yes, I’m a whole different type of beast; the kind who would rather walk right up to you and change before your very eye than to stalk you and take you out from the shadows.
I can only be talking about shapeshifters, those tricky little blighters who know how to get in the skin of their opposition: Literally! They manage to change forms, sometimes becoming entirely different creatures in the process, but fear not! This week we’re going to give you a run down of our Top 10 Shapeshifters, so you know what and who to look out for. (more…)
Do you yearn for yesteryear, whilst still promoting the uses of today’s technologies? If you answered yes to any of the previous sentence, or even if you made a muffled “I ‘unno” sound, then you will love our review of Golden Axe – A classic SEGA game, which is filled with nostalgia – and is available on Steam! (more…)
Sometimes you just have to sit back and cuddle into a sweet fluff ball called a cat and say “N’aww, come here kitty kitty” whilst it rolls around and claws your hands and arms off. With its sharp, needle like teeth and its piercing eyes, it’s no wonder we’re obsessed with cats all over the world.
However, these games look to expose the truth and show you that cats are to be taken seriously in some way shape or form. This then is our special feline edition of Top 10. Don’t go anywhere, yarn-lovers, here comes the fuzzy list of the best cats in gaming!
10. Big the Cat – Sonic
Big almost didn’t make the cut.
See, the problem with Big is that it’s quite hard to recognise as a cat, which sadly I find to be true of a lot of the characters in the Sonic franchise. Please don’t hate me for saying that, Sonic lovers, as some of the characters make sense aesthetically, such as Sonic himself.
Never the less, Big the Cat is a relatively popular character within the Sonic multi-verse and heck: He was voiced by two legends in voice acting. He was first voiced by Jon St. John, also known as Duke Nukem (Amongst others). But to sweeten the deal further, he has also been voiced by Kyle Hebert, also known as Dragonball Z Narrator! “Will Sonic and his friends ever be reacquainted with the awesome vocals of Big the Cat? Find out next time…”, you get the picture.
9. Cait Sith – Final Fantasy VII
Make no bones about it, Cait Sith is a memorable character from the legendary Final Fantasy 7.
Be it that he’s a remote controlled plush-toy cat, or be it that in combat he rides a giant “fat Moogle” into battle, who cares? Honestly, the combination is both hilarious and amazing to see. Controlling the Moogle through the megaphone in its hand, but all the while being controlled by a man who’s not on the battlefield with you, the point is: this is a killer teddy cat!
We didn’t play Cait higher as he doesn’t do things for himself. He’s unfortunately remote controlled and as such, he doesn’t quite get there. At least he’s a playable character who added quite a bit of variety to the typical moody teenager roles that are customary for JRPG’s of its time!
8. Catfish – Castle Crashers
The flash sidescrolling hack and slash was filled with comedic moments, from the highly-strung trolls to the perpetually kidnapped princesses, but nothing beats a good pun. And just such a pun rises from the rapids in the form of the mighty Catfish!
As you pursue the enemies of the King and his abducted daughters along the river, a bear on the back of a freshwater-feline attacks with massive claws, frothing fangs and massive floating hairballs. It’s a tough baddie to beat, and a pretty disgusting one at that, but you get to enjoy it’s death-meows as it sinks back, and leaves you to go on your way.
7. Bubsy – Bubsy the Bobcat
Sega and SNES fans rejoice, as we couldn’t leave the furred kind out of this list!
From his snarky personality to his trademark exclamation point t-shirt, Bubsy resonates exactly what we’d expect of an anthropomorphic cat. To fight his enemies, he pounces on them and claws at them. He then talks with a very catty tongue and he really doesn’t like getting wet.
He puffs up when he shakes himself off, he can fall some heights but not too high a height (naturally). He can glide and he collects yarn balls. Ultimately then, Bubsy is a one of a kind feline. After all – cats aren’t supposed to fly, are they? At least Bubsy always lands on his feet!
6. Meowth – Pokemon
Meowth is an old favourite. In the anime, a unique talking Meowth was sidekick to the bungling Team Rocket agents Jessie and James, and delivered most of the comedy content that was worth a damn. But why was a Meowth picked for the life of crime?
Those who’ve played the games may be aware that the oval shape on Meowth’s head is actually a stolen coin, and that the pokemon itself has a magpie-like obsession with shiny objects, and gained powers like payday that allowed it to steal money from trainers that attacked it.
No cat pokemon has ever been all that powerful, but Meowth will go down forever as the best of a bad bunch, and a brilliantly memorable character.
5. Displacer Beast – Dungeons & Dragons
Yet another D&D staple creature makes the list. The Displacer Beast is an intelligent extra-planar panther with six legs and a pair of writhing tentacles emerging from its’ back. It’s a weird image for sure, but why does a mutant cat make the list?
Trying to look directly at a Displacer Beast is no small feat, as it possesses the simple magical ability to appear to be roughly a few feet from its’ actual location, making it impossible to land a hit against it. That annoying little feature has seen it appear in every edition in the first Monster Manual of each, including the next one (out in two weeks time, check back for my review).
4. Khajiit – The Elder Scrolls
Throughout the Elder Scrolls series there have been the pervasive, nomadic, and untrustworthy cat people, the Khajiit. Broadly known as pickpockets, skooma addicts and liars, the Khajiit, from the country of Elsweyr are actually fighting hard to find a place in a world that treats them with suspicion and hatred. They are, however, a crowd favourite, for their philosophies, distinctive accents, and the fact that they’re walking cat people.
To get a really good idea of what the Khajiit are all about, read the in-game book Ahziir Trajijazeri. It portrays the struggle of their rebellion against the empire, and shows exactly how cat-like these people are to their very core, but the book also features my favourite thing written about the Khajiit:
We confidently smile because we know our victory in the end is assured. And we know our smiles drive our enemies insane.
3. You – Catlateral Damage
So you basically are playing this game through the eyes of a cat. You are a cat and the whole purpose of this game is to be a cat… and cause as much destruction and mayhem in the house as possible.
With points to score for the best destruction, you’d better be quick and efficient as a clawed champion. Need to get through that door? No problem, just pounce at the handle. Need to strike a box down? That’s why you have paws! Swat, claw, scratch, pounce: Go mad! Destroy the house! Enjoy those satisfying swat sounds as your paw swishes away objects – just because you can.
2. Ajani Goldmane – Magic: The Gathering
The mighty lion, lord of the planes of the multiverse, and embodiment of the purifying power of white mana, Ajani is a planeswalker who has proven to be the strongest ally to many other planeswalkers, and holds a prominent place in MTG’s immense storyline. He holds many titles, The Vengeant, The Steadfast, Caller of the Pride and Mentor of Heroes, fighting to shed the title he was given as a cub, the White Death.
And Ajani just looks awesome. A massive white-furred lion capable of walking between worlds, wielding a massive double-axe, and his cards are a must-have for most white decks.
1. Cheshire Cat – American McGee’s Alice
Just listen to it!
The Cheshire Cat is one of the most important characters in American McGee’s Alice games. Sporting one of the creepiest voices in video gaming, Cheshire Cat acts as your narrator and guide throughout the game. He teaches you the ropes in your twisted, warped wonderland and he edges you on to do better.
You feel like you have to follow what this cat says, plus with his disease-like looks, it’s no wonder this Cheshire Cat gets the number 1 spot. We take this cat very seriously. His voice might be familiar to you, that’s because he voiced Mojo Jojo from the PowerPuff Girls!
You meet him very early in the games and you take him through to the end of the games. You become emotionally invested in this character, hoping to see his… Friendly/Fiendly face once more. Let’s not lie about it: This is a cat of nightmares that we’d not want to wake up from. No wonder Alice envisioned him to help her through her wonderland.
These cats were cool, but no matter how cool they are, they just couldn’t hang with the hippest cats around. We still like them though, so check our our two honourable mentions for cats in gaming. Let’s be honest: They deserve the mention!
Catz – Petz series
Yes, this is basically as “cat” as you can get in a video game. You literally are simulating looking after your very own pet cat. It doesn’t seem reasonable to put them in the Top 10 itself as there’s nothing particularly special about these pets of yours.
The problem the Petz series have is that it’s quite a serious pet simulator. Whilst Catlateral Damage came in at number 3 for its outright zany-ness, Catz is too serious and too normal. At least with Catz you can have your very own fuzz ball on screen. I will happily admit: It’s cute and it is a great time waster if you’re not looking to be a serious gamer!
Catwoman – Arkham City
Selina Kyle is certainly deserving of an honourable mention in this list. Her appearances in Arkham City make for a real change of pace and are some of the more entertaining moments in game. Although you really feel for her comparative lack of speed and combat prowess, set against playing as the man himself: she plays like a cat! Stealthy, nimble, capable of getting into unexpected places, there are even subtle cat noises when she pulls off certain combos and finds items in-game.
Many kudos to her voice-actor, Grey deLisle, her voice actually purrs. Her dialogue perfectly complements the sultry movements of the classic batman villainess.
Now that the cat’s out of the bag about who our favourite cats in gaming, why don’t you join in the fun and discussion?
Let us know what your favourite cats in gaming are! Did you agree with our choices, or do you feel we ordered them differently to how you’d order them? As always, come join in the conversation and join us again next time for another awesome edition of Top 10.
We thought we’d stick to the theme of atmosphere in gaming, as it’s such a broad subject.
What turns me off of a game the most is that feeling that I cannot be in that world; that I cannot sympathise with that world in any way, shape or form. For this, I have one game in particular that I will be picking on and I apologise in advance as this is a popular game and I’m sure many people won’t agree with me.
Before this though, let’s talk some more about good atmosphere in games that you might not necessarily think had any form of atmosphere. How about a game like The Sims? I’m talking about the original game of The Sims, the first in the franchise.
The Sims in concept is pretty bland. You basically have these characters that you create who needs you to hold their hands lest they turn into little slobs and finds life to be pretty tough. The Sims is one of these games that splits the audience somewhat, due to some gamers believing that a game should have some form of action. The Sims does have action for the record, but it depends how you play it.
When you start, you’re looking down at your little Sims and you’re trying to make sense of who and what they are. These guys are near clueless as to what to do and you have to help improve their home, their social lives, their careers and yes, their finances. You can have the walls of the house up, or the walls down so you can look in the house easier. The standard view alone gives you the impression that you are in control of what you’re looking down at. In fact; Compare the view to children playing with their doll set. That is basically the premise of this game: You are playing with some dolls. They’re your dolls, made to your specification. You are in control, not them!
To add to this, you feel like you’re in the world of the Sims. You watch them while they watch TV. You listen to their conversations which is seemingly a language devoid of any true reasoning; Simlish. The scariest thing is: That language is “proper”, it has an actual meaning behind each weird word they say. Check out this blog that I found dedicated to Simlish and tell me that isn’t cool?!
So whilst in The Sims, the world tries to make you believe it’s a real world, there are other games that have atmosphere without trying to make you “believe in the world”. They want to give you that amount of disbelief to where you just happen to think it is indeed a “real world”.
Toe Jam & Earl was a really simple game, where you literally go around and get pieces of your rocket ship together. The game the whole time is ridiculously silly and over the top. This is why this game has a perfect atmosphere. Your characters are aliens who have crash landed on this bizarre world called Earth.
The game was satirical and yet you could completely believe the world these aliens landed on. See, these aliens were really far fetched, I mean just look at them both in the above picture. It was silly, it was “radical” and all in all – It was fun. These were funky aliens who landed on this strange world that you and I see as normal. It was really well done and the whole point was for you to explore this weirdly different world.Whilst the aliens were different to you and I, they found our world alien and strange. It looked strange to them too – Which is why this game worked so well. It was just a simple, easy to relate to story of an outsider looking in at our (okay now outdated) culture.
So then, those are two games with great atmosphere for the world they built. So what is that popular game that I mentioned that didn’t have such a good atmosphere? I’m very sorry:
Take this not as an insult to those who enjoy Doom 3 as it is a super game. It’s well done and it’s very, hmm, scary? I’m not really too big on jump scares in games as it never feels like it worked for me, however that was exactly my point.
Each moment the game felt like it was going to open up more and become a bigger, scarier game – Well that was all it did. it just got scarier and didn’t leave me “included” in the game. I couldn’t get behind the characters and it didn’t feel like it was going anywhere any time soon.
Instead all I had was random jump scares and incredibly bland, stale characters. I am afraid to say that the voices of the characters felt like they were done by one man only. It didn’t matter what the character looked like, they were just different octaves of one guy and on top of that: The characters didn’t really react to things or talk in “human ways”. To me, this killed the suspense through the dialogue alone.
For all of its accomplishments and how great fun the game itself is (I’d recommend playing it!), it’s not particularly “absorbing”. You don’t feel connected to Mars and you don’t want to really get involved with the world: Because you can’t.
So, what did you all think? Can you give us any more examples of popular games that aren’t particularly atmospheric? What about older games that are incredibly atmospheric? Alternatively, what games are atmospheric?