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[Comments] (1) Unfree Japanese Game Roundup: Recently I got addicted to two Japanese games with very similar graphics: Doukutsu (aka "Cave Story") for Windows (and now Linux) and Mother 2 (aka "Earthbound") for the SNES. Cave Story was fun mostly for the large and varied environments and the Metroidesque variety of weapons; the plot I could take or leave. It was pretty generic-Japanese-RPG. One thing that bothered me was how the machine gun's recoil could be used to propel you upwards, but not to propel you in any other direction.

Earthbound (totally spoileriffic and erudite review) is not very fun as a game—I got enough of this kind of gameplay with Dragon Warrior, which I don't think I ever beat despite many Saturdays spent getting up at 5AM to grind through mid-level enemies. But Earthbound has great music, even larger and more varied environments than Cave Story, eccentrically-written NPCs, and a totally insane ZZT-like plot that manages to hit all the RPG cliches (town area, desert area, snow area, water area, jungle area, graveyard, alternate universe) while violating many of the conventions of RPGs. Plus, designed by the guy who voiced the father in My Neighbor Totoro. Recommended.


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