Fishing some new slices of life…

Archive for January, 2011

G&NTFG : Umihara Kawase

Hello again, dear wanderers!

For today, I shall tell you about another forgotten video game treasure that left me a very good impression. I am aware that, of course, some people won’t agree with me about this, saying that this game’s problems are too obvious to be eluded… but after all, this is quite a subjective post, so it’s about some positive sides of a game that was forgotten for too long…

This game I will shortly introduce you is called “Umihara Kawase”. It was released first in 1994 on the SNES (Super Nintendo), and a sequel called “Umihara Kawase Syun” appeared on PlayStation some years later.

The story: a girl got lost in a strange world populated by giant fishes, seaweeds, lobsters and other overgrown, earth-trodding versions of various seafood species, and she has to find her way back home through several warping doors found all across the country. Don’t ask me how she arrived in this place, there isn’t any kind of introduction/explanation/plotline in the game, so everything is a blind guess from your humble servant.

Basically, it is an almost-classic platforming game, where you control this little girl. As soon as you start playing, you notice that she doesn’t have anything with her… but a mere fishing rod – that works exactly like a grappling hook. And here the game shows its whole interest. The whole gameplay revolves around your ability to control the girl’s movement as she hooks on to various surfaces. The range of possible moves is quite impressive, and as you chain levels you’ll quickly realize that the traditional “monkey-like swinging” move is just a little part of all the possible uses of a hook. You’ll have to do some “bungee jumping”, to cling to a moving platform to pass some places, to use your speed smartly to reach places that couldn’t be reached otherwise… All the levels are well designed, and the gameplay is really wonderful (I would even say she’s as reactive as Mario or Yoshi are in their SNES appearances). As for foes, you’ll have to fish them using your fishing rod (logical, eh?).

As for graphics… They are amazing, I think. However, I’m probably influenced by my fishing obsession. Yet, they make it easy for you to actually believe you’re in this strange world. Everything is well drawn and well animated, and the worlds are really colourful and pretty to look, although you’ll want to eat seafood and vegetable meals after a while (plenty of them everywhere). The music is cute, not as legendary as in a Starfox game, but it’s enough to make you dream.

Foes are all sort of fishes… A living dream for any fisherman! (Or is this All-Blue?)

Yeah! Finally caught a fish! I won’t be starving for today!

As for the game’s negative points… If you try it, you’ll notice soon enough : the game is HARD. Not hard as in “oh well, it’s okay, I’ll be stuck on this for a dozen times, and then I’ll make it!” or as in “I’ll have to level up to get stronger and pass this boss”, but hard as in “Oh my God, how the hell can you pass this part!?”. Okay, the easiest path can be humanly done, after having spent some time playing. But holy cows, the hardest path… It took me more than a hundred lives to finish it. And that was very lucky. Add to this that you only have 10 lives and scarce 1-ups through the whole game, and that you die after one single hit…

Finally, when you play the game… of course, you’ll get tired, because it’s really hard… And yeah, it’ll be annoying after some time, and you’d better not play the game all the time, or you’ll get mad… Still, it’s not a reason not to try it, since it will give you this dream-like feeling that you can only experience with such poetic opus, and the gameplay and the way it is exploited definitely worth the trip. Hope you’ll enjoy it (a bit, not too much)!

And if you still don’t want to try it… at least, view this amazing speedrun!

MHFU : the Gunlance path

Hello fellow hunters!

Today, I’ll talk about my favourite weapon, the Gunlance. Pretty exotic weapon, eh?

First, why a Gunlance? The answer is pretty simple, it’s because the first time I saw this weapon, I found it so awesome, I just had to use it! I must say it’s not such an easy weapon to use, though…

One of my very first gunlances.

How to use a Gunlance? Most hunters will say “Just like a Lance, of course!”. Well, this is partly true. At least for its very basic commands and battle technics. Just guard as much as you can, and as soon as you notice an opening, take advantage of it. That’s for basic stuff.

On a more technical side, it’s quite different though. Different reasons for that :

  • Shelling. It’s prolly the main difference with the classic Lance. First, it can pass any monster’s defence, so it’s really handy against monsters like Basarios/Gravios and such. Also, it has a better hitting range, which can be pretty valuable against charging monsters, like Rathian or Basarios (you know, always being out of range when they have finished charging, you know how annoying this can be, right?).
  • Wyvern Fire. Basically a stronger version of Shelling. Only use it when you’re sure to have 4s to charge the shot, or you’ll prolly get a bad surprise (and you know how bad are bad surprises in MHFU) For instance, a good timing to start chaging it would be when a monster is roaring, or when it’s being distracted. If you’re very good, you could check charge it just after having dodged a wyvern’s breathing attack, ironically (it works pretty well on Gravios after having dodged his energy ray). It also takes 2 min to recharge, so watch your timing.

  • The forward thrust. Don’t be fooled, this is an escape move. It has sufficient speed to make you able to escape a breathing/charge attack. It’s quite a nice advantage compared to the Lance, since you can virtually dodge an attack going to any direction. This is a life-saving move, so don’t be scared to abuse it!

  • Side steps. Be careful, you can only make 1 side step, instead of 2 with the traditionnal lance.
  • Upwards shelling. After an upwards thrust, you can shoot some shelling ammo to the sky, or to some higher-located enemy (flying Rathian/Rathalos? Lao Shan Lung/Shen Gaoren?). Pretty nice to reach unreacheable foes.

I hope this convinced you! Merry hunting with your new weapon!

Another lost comic : Copper


So today, I’m going to tell you a bit about a webcomic I discovered some years ago. It’s quite different from all the other ones you might know, though, since it’s not updated much…

This is about a boy, Copper, and his dog, Fred, who experience various adventures in various brightly-coloured, gorgeous worlds. The atmosphere is really wonderful : colours are everywhere, it’s very well drawn and you quickly get absorbed by the whole universe. The characters are nice, and are original enough for you to get to like them. As for the story…

The story is what makes Copper different from any other comic. Here, there’s no monster to kill/bad guy to defeat/romantic love story to follow… Every comic strip is individual, so you can read any of these in any order, it doesn’t matter that much. However… Each one is some kind of little life lesson. There is always something to learn and remember, and the wonderful way it is presented makes it even easier. No complicated plot at all, but instead amazing places full of poetry and dreams…

The comic isn’t perfect, though. It really lacks updates, so once you’re done with all the released comics, you can get ready to wait for a while before having to check again. But considering the amount of work behind each strip and its gorgeous results, I think it is easily forgivable…

Finally, despite its scarce updates, Copper is definitely a nice webcomic to check, not only for philosophers, but also for experienced web drifters questing for a some quiet place to space out…

Enter the world of Copper, and get ready for some enjoyable webdreaming !

PS : the author has also made some other nice pieces of artwork… You should have a glance at his place.

Hello world!

Hello dear (potential and still non-existing) readers!

I guess this is my blog, just randomly started. I don’t know yet what I’m planning to put in here, but I already have some clues. You’ll prolly hear about :

  • Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, and quite a lot, since I’m a big fan of it (almost addicted)
  • Interesting news about our beloved PSP (well, interesting at least from my point of view)
  • My point of view regarding some forgotten games that didn’t deserve to be forgotten, and perhaps my opinion about well-known games as well
  • Some random philosophy about life in general, or other topics
  • I could be posting here some ideas about potential scientific breakthrough
  • Possibly some drawings of mine, but I’m not sure about it yet…
  • With some luck, perhaps some programming stuff, but I don’t know if I’ll post about it yet…

I’ll prolly improve the design when I have time (I’m running out of it this weekend…).

Let’s hope this blog will last long!