Archive for Thomas King

TigerTails Gaming Streams: Sonic Forces

A live stream that may or may not destroy any love you might have had for Sonic the Hedgehog. Seeing as TK and Hedgie played Sonic Mania on stream, it’s the turn of Xavier to tackle Sonic Forces, with TK in the background being “helpful”. Coming from the events of Sonic Adventure, will Xavier lose his mind, or find that Sonic’s latest 3D outing isn’t that bad afterall? Watch and see…



TigerTails Gaming plays: Tanglewood Rev 0.0.15

It’s not often you get a chance to see development of a new game for the long-dead Sega Megadrive (or Genesis in the US) so when the Kickstarter for Tanglewood from Big Evil Corporation went live, naturally, I was all over it like a dung beetle on poop. What is even better is not only is it a new Megadrive game but it is a puzzle-platformer with an anthro fox type creature as the playable character. To add even more icing onto the cake, the Kickstarter page has a link to a prototype version of the game’s first three levels, with earlier prototypes available on Big Evil Corp’s website. I love prototype games.

Since purchasing a flash cart for the Megadrive, this seemed like the perfect game to try out so the prototype was downloaded and thoroughly enjoyed.

Below is a video of Hedge playing through the game, but I thought I’d offer my thoughts on the game here. So keep reading if you want to know my thoughts, or if it’s TL;DR then skip to the bottom to watch myself and Hedgie give the game a run through on the TigerTails Gaming YouTube channel.

Tanglewood is a puzzle-platformer in the same veins as Flashback, Another World, and The Lion King. The demo offered shows us three levels in a forest and we get to control Nymn, a member of the fox-like Djunn race. Separated from his family and all alone in the forest, Nymn must journey through the terrain while avoiding the traps Tanglewood has to offer. In the demo we get the Djakk race as the main enemy. They are huge monsters who will quite happily hunt down and nom on Nymn so it is up to you to use your wits to outsmart and outpace these creatures. You are not alone in this, however, as friendly balls of fluff called Fuzzls can aid Nymn by lending their powers (in exchange for a little help getting to a nest) to allow our protagonist to glide and cloak/slow time. The full game will offer more powers but for the demo, these are the two we get to play with (that I’ve found so far).

Currently there are three available levels which all take place in the forest. The scenery is a little sparse presently but in this early stage of development that is to be expected. There is also very little in the way of sound effects and music, though with the recent addition of Freezedream to the team, the game is set to have rather good music in it. Music will be welcomed as there is a lot of time spent just listening to the running sound effect, which doesn’t really fill the space up and can make the empty forest seem even more barren. The sounds effects that are there are for the most part rather good. The aforementioned running effect is spot on and syncs up with the animation. Fuzzls have a nice bounce “paff” and the sound of being ejected from a flue is rather satisfying, if a little cartoony. I think the game would benefit from a more complete soundscape, though I’m sure that this is far from the mind of the creators currently as they’ll be wanting to concentrate on level design and things first.

Speaking of the level design, it’s functional in its current state. There are opportunities to backtrack to get missing collectables if you want to get them all (and the pause screen tells you how many you’ve collected so far) but there’s very little level that is there for the sake of being “there”. If you can see it, chances are you’ll need to use it at some point. The puzzles and encounters in the demo use what’s available very nicely though. You’ll need to keep a keen eye out for Fuzzl nests and part of the puzzles are based around you pushing one of these little fluffballs home. The other part of the puzzles are based around enemy encounters with the Djakk. You can run, but they can run faster. You can climb, but they will be down there, following your every move when they can. However the opening cutscenes do offer a clue as to how to defeat them. It was a subtle touch that I was very impressed with as the game had taught you all you needed to know, you just had to put the pieces together – and I’m normally clueless to these kind of things. There are chase sequences and here I found the controls to be tight and responsive. However, my aging Sega joypads were not having such a good time – but that’s not something I can blame the game for. Each time I died during a chase (that wasn’t my controller’s fault) I felt it was an honest death and not the game cheating me out of survival, though the Djakk’s hitbox is huge and can get you if you’re not well clear of him. There are no lives, much like Another World, and death means either restarting the level, or from an unmarked checkpoint.

Finally I’d like to quickly mention the animation. Nymn is as smooth as silk and has fluidity and grace. It’s clear that a lot of attention to detail has been paid here and it pays off royally. Nymn as a character is cute as all sin, from the way he glides, pushes Fuzzls around, to the way he goes to sleep at the end of each level. He’s adorable and I want him as a pet. The Fuzzls are also well made, even if they are just little balls of fluff. The Djakk is large, imposing, and fierce. However, I do think his art style is a little jarring next to Nymn’s. It’s a little less cartoony and a tad more realistic. The attention to detail remains, however, as his large fangs are dripping with the blood of his last kill. When he runs, his shoulder muscles move in a way that seems believable, and his whole body is in motion when he roars. Lots of little details that would normally be unnoticed unless they were missing, and it’s the little things that help immerse you into the world. So while the environment is quite sparse, there is a lot of depth to be found in the character animation.

So that’s Tanglewood. A promising looking game that’s currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. The game will be coming out for PC/Mac as well as the Sega Megadrive. The demo requires either a Megadrive emulator (I personally recommend Kega Fusion) or real hardware using a flash cart like the Everdrive. If you want to know more, check out the links below or give the video a watch.



Links:
Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/63454976/tanglewood-an-original-game-for-the-sega-genesis-m
Website: http://tanglewoodgame.com/index.html
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tanglewoodgame
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tanglewoodgame/

Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com)

Driveclub for Train Spotters

Having recently managed to save up enough to get myself a PlayStation 4 and one of the first thing I did was upgrade the PS Plus version of Evolution Studio’s racing game Driveclub I’d installed on Angel Darksong’s device to the full-fat version. I got quite hooked on the game before owning my own console and so taking advantage of a convenient sale and getting the game at half price was a no-brainer. Basking in the delights of the whole selection of tracks, I stumbled upon a point-to-point race in Scotland that featured a steam locomotive sitting in a station. I didn’t see it at first, as the station lies partially under a bridge, but the after-race track montage showed me where to look, and it didn’t take me long to hunt down the station and the train waiting at it.

The station in the montage

The station in the montage

From a distance the train looked simple enough. Typical “generic steam locomotive” design with three coaches in tow. Getting up close thanks to the replay feature and the photograph tools allowed me to take a much closer look. I was quite impressed at the level of detail I was to uncover for a simple background object that you can’t even see in the race unless you’re looking for it. The locomotive itself was the LMS Standard 5MT design, also known as the Black 5, albeit in red, and it was hooked up to three BR Mk1 coaches in red/cream livery. A fairly typical setup for a preserved railway, if a little short, even if the sight of a red Black 5 was a little out of the ordinary. Then I remembered this was Scotland and therefore probably a nod towards the Hogwarts Express. J.K.Rowling has a lot to answer for.
A look at the locomotive

A look at the locomotive

Once over the colour it was time to look into the details and size them up. First, I was impressed at just how complete it was. Loco, tender, train, with the correct basic shape and most of the bodywork for a Black 5, down to rivets where they would be expected. It wasn’t a perfect match to prototype, but certainly good enough. It was the little details that interested me. Things like the number being in the right font on the smokebox door, and a shed plate being included. The railway company, Northern Kinloch Railways – either a fictional preserved line or a nod to the Dundee and Perth Railway (hush, I can dream), proudly displayed on the tender. The coaches are nice too, featuring numbers of their own. The number of the locomotive is 44971 and she was actually a real member of the Black 5 clan, built on 30th April 1946 and designed by William Stanier. Starting her days in Crewe she didn’t have a long life due to the demise of British steam when she was withdrawn from service on 31/08/1968 and scrapped on 28/02/1969. Her sister, 44871, was preserved and potentially formed the base for this model.
The detailing on the smokebox door

The detailing on the smokebox door

For what it does right, however, there are a few glaring errors and odd artistic choices. First, as nice as the detailing is on the smokebox door, the shed code on the shed plate never existed. 89M is fictional, however 89A to 89C did exist. The codes were for sheds in Wales, not Scotland. 63A was the Perth shed code and is far more appropriate if the loco is to be stabled on this railway, especially in Northern Kinloch livery. 63F could have been created if they wanted to maintain it’s fictional base. There is the argument that a Welsh shed code could reflect the pre-preservation days, but as Wales was very much the turf of Great Western locomotives, with LMS locos rarely venturing into that part of the world let alone being based there.
Motion gear and close up on wheels

Motion gear and close up on wheels

The biggest let down comes when you look down towards the wheels. A lot of the motion gear is missing with bits of the gearing just hovering in mid-air, which seems an odd omission compared to the small details they have included. The largest cardinal sin though is the fact the whole train is derailed. Not a single wheel sits on the rails but instead has the wheel flange sitting on the sleepers on the outside of the rails. Chances are this was because the person who built the world objects was not the same person who built the ground-level scenery (the grounds, roads, and rails) and the scale wasn’t communicated so the train went out of gauge.
Other places the Black 5 can be seen

Other places the Black 5 can be seen

As I said at the start, though, for something that you drive past at over 100mph and not even see this is a very impressive effort overall and I can forgive the errors and shortcomings. To have a mostly correctly modelled Black 5 in the game at all is more than I expected, and the train pops up in the other Scottish courses for an added bonus. The question is, what other PS4 games can give us surprise steam locomotive cameos? Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, I’m kinda looking at you… And no, I will not be making a video about this. I’m not that sad.

Star Fox Zero – The Battle Begins

What’s this? TK making a post about Nintendo AND Animé? What is the world coming to? Well, worry not, the world isn’t going to end or anything like that, but for once Nintendo did a good thing. For the promotion of Star Fox Zero on the Wii-U, Nintendo teamed up with Production IG and WIT Studios to create a 15 minute long animé episode explaining the opening for the new game. Judging from the footage streamed on GT Live (MatPat’s Game Theory live stream channel) it seems the cartoon takes place during the first mission of Star Fox Zero, including setting up some plot foreshadowing for the game. Despite the art style not being my normal thing, I have to say I really enjoyed it so I thought I’d make a quick Gaming News post about it.

If you’ve not yet seen the short, you can watch it below. I advise you do so if you’re a Star Fox fan, and see just how many references and throwbacks to the games you can spot*.



* Yes, “Do a barrel roll” features. Of course it does.

TigerTails Gaming plays: A Mystery Game (Episode 2)

Join Xavier and Hedgie as they take on a second mystery game in this series of videos. This time it’s a classic game on the PC from many moons ago. Cut down to 44 minutes from over 4 and a half hours of footage as the duo actually take the game from start to finish in a single sitting, albeit with some help from the official guide book in places.

This game is also now responsible for getting the phrase “brainthrob” stuck in our heads. Blame Xavier.



Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com)

TigerTails Gaming plays: A Mystery Game (Episode 1)

Join Xavier and Hedgie as they take on the challenge of a mystery game provided by TK, because he is a dick (apparently). What is this game? Not going to spoil that in here, watch the video and find out. Will there be more of these videos? We don’t know, but TK certainly hopes so. It depends on how much Xavier and Hedgie will murder him in his sleep if he tries to make them play something worse than this game (if such a thing is out there)…



Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com)

TigerTails Gaming plays: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Part 10)

Join TK and Xavier as they ride the wave from the Sonic 1 completes series and tackles the beast that is Sonic 2. This is it, the final level and the last confrontation with the evil Doctor Robotnik. TK takes control for this level and works to see off his foe and complete the game. Will he succeed, or will he burn through the remaining couple of hundred lives in no time at all? Watch and find out.



Music used in the opening:
Boss Battle – Death Egg Robot by Jun Senoue
From the album Blue Blur
The Official Sonic Generations Soundtrack.

Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com)

TigerTails Gaming plays: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Part 9)

Join TK and Xavier as they ride the wave from the Sonic 1 completes series and tackles the beast that is Sonic 2. It’s a double billing episode with both Sky Chase Zone and Wing Fortress Zone. This might have been a mistake as neither TK nor Xavier have played very much of Wing Fortress and they end up getting totally lost. And all this is before facing the most evil boss in the entire franchise…



Music used in the opening:
Sky Chase Zone (Sonic Generations Classic Mix) by NicoCW
Link to song and download

Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com)

TigerTails Gaming plays: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Part 8)

Join TK and Xavier as they ride the wave from the Sonic 1 completes series and tackles the beast that is Sonic 2. We join Xavier facing 2 of the 3 acts of Metropolis Zone, including the boss level. Much to TK’s delight as he only has to cope with Act 2. How many times will the duo die during this zone? Will Xavier make TK play his stages, as he did with Scrap Brain Zone in Sonic 1? Will Xavier survive his first boss encounter as Sonic? Watch and find out…



Music used in the opening:
Metropolis Zone (Sonic Generations Classic Mix) by NicoCW
Link to song and download

Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com)

TigerTails Gaming plays: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Part 7)

Join TK and Xavier as they ride the wave from the Sonic 1 completes series and tackles the beast that is Sonic 2. We now venture into semi-uncharted territory as TK and Xavier leave the safety of Mystic Caves and head into Oil Ocean Zone. How quickly will Xavier kill Sonic? Sonic fans hate him for it!



Music used in the opening:
Oil Ocean Zone (Sonic Generations Classic Mix) by NicoCW
Link to the original and download

Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com)

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