Pikmin (2001) Review

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Pikmin is the first of Nintendo’s cute but rather dramatic strategy adventure series, as much as I do love the Pikmin series, I have only really introduced myself to the games over the past couple of years.

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The plot is fairly simple here but it works really well for a game such as Pikmin. In the game you play as Captain Olimar a small alien creature who crash lands on an unnamed planet. The captains ship the S.S. Dolphin has separated into 30 parts which have spread to various areas of the planet, the captain needs to find at least 25 out of the 30 parts within 30 days otherwise he will die due to a lack of oxygen on the planet, however the captain is in luck as small plant like creatures called Pikmin are more than happy to help the captain on his mission.

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The idea of the game is to use the Pikmin that you collect in order to carry the scattered parts back to the S.S. Dolphin, there are three types of Pikmin in the game, the Red Pikmin are invulnerable to fire damage, the Yellow Pikmin can be thrown higher and can also pick up bombs to throw and finally the blue Pikmin can breathe underwater.

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There is one way to get more Pikmin in the game once you have discovered an onion (a Pikmin Nest), If you defeat an enemy or collect nectar from plants you can bring your spoils to one of the coloured onions in order to release more seeds which will grow more of the chosen type of Pikmin.

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As previously mentioned you can use Pikmin in order to attack enemies, there are many ways to do this it can be done by simply throwing your Pikmin onto an enemy or by using an army of Pikmin in order to surround an enemy giving it no chance of survival. Strategy will need to be used through out the game in order to collect the ship parts however strategy should be used when fighting enemies as well so that you are well prepared for the dangers ahead and not to mention that you will most likely have a lot of of your Pikmin die in some situations.

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The boss fights are all very creative and can also be very difficult for new players, however practice makes perfect for a lot of these and the game can be reloaded without you losing a day if you want to try out different ideas. I love all of the bosses in the game but if I was to choose three apart from the final boss I would say that the Burrowing Snarglax a bird creature that hides itself underground is my favourite, followed closely by Beady Long Legs, a large spider creature (pictured above) and the PuffStool a Mushroom boss that releases a gas which turns your Pikmin against you.

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I wouldn’t say that the graphics have aged well since the game first came out however back in the day they were quite impressive, you have to keep in mind that this was one of the first games to be released on the GameCube, the visuals definitely improved in the later games however they are still nice here.

The Soundtrack is again very simple here but it really works, a lot of it is small tracks which are looped but while small and catchy some of the music is beautiful, listen to Distant Spring and tell me that isn’t beautiful music.

Pikmin is a good game I personally would not say its a masterpiece by any means as the series does improve a lot as more games are coming out.

Pikmin is a charming game that managed to grow a loving fan base, I really enjoy this game and the only real issue I have with it is the time limit, I really do no enjoy games which give players a short amount of time to finish them and because Pikmin is a game that requires a little bit of grinding now and again in order to re stock on Pikmin due to this the time limit can become quite stressful, you could look at it as adding an additional challenge to the game and I am sure that is how most people see this element of the game.

Pikmin is a short but very fun game, it has tight controls, a short but beautiful soundtrack and an interesting premise however a short time limit takes away from the experience for me. 7.4/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Pikmin for the Nintendo GameCube

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Ecco the Dolphin (Megadrive) Review

Halloween 2014 is really close now and since it is already October its time for the traditional Raggle fraggle Halloween blogs.

This years theme is games and movies that you would not expect to be scary but in reality they are.

Lets begin with the first game of the season with the adorable Ecco the Dolphin for the Sega Mega Drive

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Released in 1993 Ecco the Dolphin is in my opinion Sega’s response to Nintendo’s popular game series Metroid

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The plot of Ecco the Dolphin is that your family mysteriously disappears in a storm and Ecco travels through the many dangers of the ocean to reunite with his family, while on on his travels Ecco is told to travel to the Artic to speak to a blue whale called Big Blue. Big Blue explains that these storms appear every 500 years and Ecco is directed to the oldest creature on earth the Asterite.

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The Asterite agrees to help Ecco as long as he travels back in time to an ancient atlantian city so he can retrieve one of the Asterite’s globes that is missing (Globes are those multicoloured circles that the Asterite is made of) After receiving the globe Ecco is told that the storm was a harvest of Earths waters and this is a tradition committed every 500 years by an alien species called the Vortex. After learning this, Ecco travels 55 thousands years into the past and finds the Asterite and is forced to battle, after defeating the Asterite, Ecco is granted a power which turns his Sonar into a deadly weapon which he can use against the Vortex, Ecco is then sent foward in time to the hour of the harvest and this time he also gets sucked into the storm and ends up in the Alien space ship, Ecco then fights his way to the queen to save his family.

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Thats right Ecco is a time travelling Dolphin who fights Aliens, That is freaking awesome

Ecco the Dolphin has really awesome game play, The game is level based, each level gives the player a new objective to complete but unlike traditional level based games Ecco the Dolphin feels a lot like Metroid, the player is going to get lost at certain points of the game. This is due to all of the different paths you can take to help you find your your objective and sometimes you need to solve puzzles in order to move forward for example you may need to push a rock to block of a strong water current in order to take a new path or you may need to use clever strategy to sneak past an angry octopus.

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Ecco the Dolphin is surprisingly a really difficult game, this is due to the fact that just like a real dolphin Ecco can’t fully breath underwater and while playing through the game the player will need to find air holes in order to keep Ecco alive, Personally this was the most difficult aspect of the game for me, because finding air is not easy and Ecco runs out of breath really fast.

Also Ecco can easily take damage from enemies as well as taking damage from bumping in cave walls, luckily eating fish replenishes your health so this aspect of gamplay is not something that people will have too much trouble with.

What is an issue is the games controls, due to Ecco being able to move in a 360 degrees pattern the D-PAD on the Mega Drive controller became a big issue as I found controlling Ecco to be very clunky and awkward. I believe the game could really benefit from the use of an analog controller.

Ecco the Dolphin has a really awesome soundtrack, the music really makes the player feel like they are in ocean and the music changes depending on the scenario of the stage, at first the music feels really relaxing but as the games plot unfolds the soundtrack evolves into something more hardcore and dark. I love this soundtrack, it really helps the player feel the atmosphere of the game.

it is one of my favourite game soundtracks on the Mega Drive and I love every minute of it.

Here is a link to a playlist of every track in the game

Ecco the Dolphin is a really awesome game, apart from the  not so great controls it is definitely a game I reccomend to retro gamers but I do feel that it would not be popular with the modern gamers of today.

I also feel that the game would be a turn off to male demographic simply because you play as a dolphin which is most likely why the game did not do as well as the developers hoped it would back when it released.

I may not have enjoyed Ecco the Dolphin as much as I have enjoyed a lot of other Mega Drive titles but I do feel that is an underrated gem on the system and I recommend it to all retro gamers .

A cute little game which is surprisingly a little bit terrifying 7/10.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Ecco the Dolphin

if you respect my opinion I will respect yours

By Padawan