Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Old School Gaming Bliss with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game

I can't tell you how great this game is, especially for all those NES gamers out there who miss classics like Double Dragon and River City Ransom. Actually, I CAN tell you: Head on over to Gaming Life and read my review!

Or, if you're too lazy to click the link, here's the full text:

If you’re old enough or cool enough to remember the hard punching, tire throwing, gut busting NES cult classic River City Ransom, there’s seriously no reason to keep reading this review. Log into PSN and start downloading Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game right now, or barricade yourself in your house until Aug. 25 and get it from Xbox Live. Either way, you’re in for the best 2D arcade experience since Megaman 9 and Super Street Fighter II HD Remix.

Based on a comic I never read and a movie I haven’t seen yet, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is equal parts side-scrolling fighter and gushy love letter to the 8-bit era. After selecting one of four heroes (and getting flashbacks to Super Mario Bros. 2), it’s the player’s job to pound wave after wave of bad guys into the pavement, a la Final Fight or Streets of Rage, with the ultimate goal of defeating all seven of Scott’s lover’s ex-boyfriends. Up to four people can join the fight at once, watching each other’s backs simultaneously.

There are two attack buttons: The square button initiates a quick flurry of attacks and the triangle button produces a slower and stronger “heavy attack” combo. Special attacks are learned along the way and range from highly useful to barely sufficient. In addition, everything the player finds lying around can be used as a weapon, from baseball bats to plastic buckets, and they can either be thrown at or used to bludgeon nearby baddies. Even enemies themselves can be picked up and used in the same fashion, just the River City Ransom.

And speaking of River City Ransom, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World clearly owes much of its existence to this and many other old school NES games. It may look like a well-drawn PlayStation 1 title, but this download sounds and plays like something straight out of the ‘80s. There’s a secret shop in the first stage in EXACTLY the same area as in River City Ransom, a hit point system reminiscent of Final Fantasy 1 and even a reference to Clash at Demonhead, a bizarre NES platformer lost to the annals of time. The music is half chip tune, half punk rock, with guitar solos and awesome drum riffs that sneak up on you as you progress through the well-designed stages. As a seasoned gamer (read: old man), the title screen music nearly made me cry. I knew the game I was about to play encompasses everything great we’ve had to sacrifice in the name of progress over the last two decades of gaming evolution.

You don’t even have to appreciate old school gaming to enjoy Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game and it’s a steal at the $10 price of admission. With the exception of somewhat slow moving player characters and the occasional control problem, it’s no wonder this game snagged a nod for the “Best Downloadable Game of E3.” There’s no clearer way to say this: I want to have this game’s babies.

Take THAT, the world!

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