Sunday, February 17, 2008

Doukutsu Monogatari: Cave Story

Cave Story is the tale of an silent, amnesiac robot fighting, discovering, and ultimately overcoming his past. I just discovered the game about a month ago, but apparently I was late to the game. Cave Story was released in 2004, with an English translation patch released in 2005.

The game plays like Metroid, with different controls. You explore non-linear areas, look for treasure, fight bad guys, discover secrets, etc. What sets Cave Story apart, however, is arguably the story (which I won't spoil, I'll just say the plot is detailed, makes perfect sense, and really does a great job of creating realistic characters).

Plus, Cave Story has some of the most inspired 8-Bit music I've ever heard. The music inspired a group of remixers to remix the entire soundtrack: find the remix album here. Which is pretty impressive because this game is freeware. You heard me, freeware. One guy (artist name "Pixel") programmed and designed the entire project, by himself, over 5 years. I'm completely impressed that someone would have the dedication to make something this inspired, and then just give it away to the world. Squirming in your computer chair with excitement? Fine, here's the Cave Story English Fan Page. You'll find the game and the English translation patch.

I said the story was what set Cave Story apart from other video games... but that's not quite right. It's not the story, it's the combination of story, beautiful 8-Bit Graphics (with the kick ass PC pallet), unique weapons, perfect controls, atmosphere, and music. Cave Story just does so many things right.

I'm always hesitant to call a game perfect... but it's hard to say how Cave Story could conceivably be improved (other than an expanded map, but that could be said of any adventure game, so it isn't really a valid criticism).

Quote (the little guy from the screen shots), will certainly have a permanent place in my memory. I've already started my second Cave Story game. Cave Story surpasses most commercial games. It's a testament to truly brilliant game design.


Anonymous said...

I lurves the game too, and you and I definitely do not agree on all games. As soon as you reach your first town, you are hooked on the story. My only regret is that I did not get to see the best ending :(


Benjamin Fennell said...

Great game. I definitely need to get back to and finish it one of these days so I can do runs for the other weapons and the storylines they bring. There's a great remix project out there too, that turned out some even more memorable reworkings of the game's already-great soundtrack.

8bitcity said...


You'll get to see the good ending soon enough, lol.

Also, I completely agree that the remix music is awesome (I linked to it from my post).