The Anatomy of The Goonies II | 6 | Farewell, Astoria

Like so many video games, The Goonies II presents some strong ideas and solid moments… and it ends pretty terribly. The game sort of peters out, losing its momentum in the final stretch. Quite possibly the strangest portion of the game comes in this final zone, a completely unique tile and palette set that comprises all […]

The Anatomy of Games: The Game: The Sequel

When the original NES Remix came out, back in December or so, I referred to it as Anatomy of a Game: The Game. It almost felt like Nintendo took all those game design ideas I’d been writing about and turned analysis itself into a game. By breaking down old NES titles into their constituent components and […]

The Anatomy of The Goonies | 4 | But I’m not a Goonie

After a short interlude stage crammed full of hidden diamonds and skeletons – or else after leaping over a giant cliff with Data’s spring shoes – Mikey Walsh reaches the fifth stage. The game continues to do a nice job of taking key story moments and scenes from the film and turning them into action […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man | 3 | Color my world

Why, hello! Let’s talk some more about Mega Man. And its weapons. Ice Slasher Easily the most misleading weapon name in the game, the Ice Slasher does not in fact slash. Unless you use it against Fire Man, who is weak to its icy stylings, the Ice Slasher inflicts no damage whatsoever on foes. Instead, […]

The Anatomy of Mega Man | 2 | Any color you like

Even more important in the equation of how to play Mega Man than the cues provided by the level design are the workings of the titular hero himself. While Mega Man does indeed emerge into this world with a terribly minimal move set, that alone doesn’t define the limit of his abilities. The entire premise […]

The Anatomy of The Goonies | 1 | Good enuff?

Having spent the past few months exploring one of the most intricately crafted video games of all time, I figured it might be nice to have a break from the serious stuff and look at something much less substantial. So let’s explore Konami’s The Goonies (for the Japanese Famicom) and its sequel (which came to the […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 19 | The secrets of Super Metroid

Like any good game, Super Metroid contains plenty of secrets. Some intentional, some less so. The sheer number of working parts in the game that collide as you put the programming code through permutations the developers couldn’t have predicted or accounted for inevitably make for some surprising interactions. Some of the details are simply there […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 18 | Zebessinia, Henry

The defeat of Mother Brain doesn’t mean it’s game over, of course. It wouldn’t be Metroid if you didn’t have to run desperately to the exit before the enemy base explodes. You have three minutes to reach your gunship before Mother Brain’s lair detonates. While the notion of an escape sequence should feel like old […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 17 | Family reunion

The game uncharacteristically wrests control aways from the player as the super metroid chows down on the sidehopper, and as soon as it’s completed its snack you regain power over Samus again. There’s just a split-second before it swoops down and latches onto Samus and begins depleting her health many times faster than any other […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 16 | Reprise

With Ridley down, there’s just one place left to explore. Unless you’ve not explored all the other places you couldn’t get to before you acquired all your cool gear, in which case there are many places left to explore. Go on, explore them. I’ll wait. No, really, take your time. OK, done? Great. So now […]

The Anatomy of Super Metroid | 15 | A dish best served cold

With the Screw Attack, Samus Aran’s essential arsenal is now complete (barring one final power-up that you experience so briefly and use in such a limited capacity that it amounts to a set piece). You can go anywhere. Do anything. Acquire any item. The entirety of Zebes is now at your fingertips, and a 100% […]

Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 2-01 to 2-06

The second block of Dracula’s Curse introduces a few new elements to theCastlevania franchise. For starters, it’s a wholly optional stage; at the end of Block 1, you’re given a choice of paths to pursue. The lower path offers a roundabout path along the outskirts of the lake surrounding the castle, while the upper path — which leads […]