User Profile



United Kingdom

Mon 26th Apr 2010

Recent Comments



jamesslater commented on Review: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Pas...:

Forget its place in gaming history, or its ability to evoke childhood memories (wonderful as those things are); ultimately only one question matters here: if this game (or one basically identical to it) were being newly released today (say as a WiiWare download), would it be worth paying the money for? In this case the answer's obvious: this is a remarkably accomplished game that holds up practically flawlessly.

Unlike more recent Zelda games, which have tended to play it safe for accessibility's sake, LTTP feels like a real adventure. There's no "easing into the role" here: in the first minutes you've received a telepathic distress call, stolen a lantern, snuck outdoors at midnight during a thunderstorm, infiltrated a heavily-guarded castle, watched your only guardian die, rescued a princess...and only then does your quest begin. Indeed, the full scale of your adventure does not become apparent until about halfway through.

Talk to a villager, and they may give you helpful (if cryptic) advice...or they may call a guard upon you. Swiping at a bush may reveal a vital heart piece...or a stinging insect. Questing is risky business, especially without a Navi or Midna to guide you.

Is it better than OOT? To me, Link's first 3D adventure trumps it in scope, depth, and cinematic immersiveness. But it would be pointless to ignore the huge debt the former owes to the latter (even if, forgive me, saying that "OOT is nothing but LTTP in 3D" is as accurate and original as saying "the Wii is nothing but GameCube plus waggle").

There are two concrete ways that LTTP is better: firstly, the overworld has less wasted space; secondly, the more "abstract" 2D graphics have aged better.

Obviously there are some very very minor allowances to be made for the game's age: for me the biggest gripe is that enemies respawn when you revisit a "screen", but it's an adjustment rather than a frustration.

To end this on a high note, the game's musical score is possibly the best in a Zelda game (and that's saying something!), testified to by the fact that many of the tracks have found their way virtually intact into subsequent games.



jamesslater commented on Review: Super Mario Bros. (NES):

I had some Nintendo points so I decided to buy this on a whim (it's only about £3.50), having never played it before in my life. I was very pleased to find out that it was released in 1985, which was the year I was born.

This is (still) a very entertaining game, even by today's standards. Mario controls like a dream; the difficulty progression is excellent; there are new tricks and secrets to discover in every level. One of the joys of this game is discovering the origins of common plaforming tropes.

Some of the art direction falls flat, particularly in the background (those hills look iffy). If I'm going to nitpick, the inability to move left and the inability to save your progress might also count against it. But these are small potatoes.

Two things testify to this game's greatness: firstly, that it is still entertaining people over 20 years later; secondly, that later Mario games only really managed to refine the formula.