What can be said about Cave Story that hasn't been said before? In 2004, a freeware game was released after 5 years of production by Studio Pixel (Daisuke Amaya) that would forever raise the bar for the retro indie game scene. Considered a masterpiece amongst gaming aficionados, Cave Story is a completely wonderful, immersive experience that tugs at your heartstrings and gives you that "new gameboy game on Xmas morning" feel. The. Whole. Way. Through.
A genius combination of games like Pokemon (Red and Blue), Zelda II, Contra, Megaman, and a touch of Castlevania, this game will hook you from the start. Filled with cute yet dangerous enemies, puzzle-like maps, and challenging bosses, Cave Story seems to take on that delightful middle ground between a casual everyman game and a Megaman style, "throw the controller across the room because the boss kicked your ass 3 times in a row" game. Luckily, save spots are frequent though, so if you ARE throwing a fit, deep down you know it's because YOU fucked up. This game is extremely fair to the player.
[Both versions of "Quote" the robo-boy]
In the game, you play the character, "Quote"(above), who is a robot boy from the "surface world", flung into an underground cave-like world, filled with rabbits (called Mimigas) and more robots who have been either damaged, powered down, or just kinda depressed.
[The mighty "Balrog"]
It becomes apparent over time that something called the Demon Crown was used along with hallucinogenic Red Flowers to take over the "above world" years before, that the Mimigas can be transformed into giant beasts with the flowers, and "Quote" has no recollection of this. Players uncover mysteries about Quote's past, make friends with various characters for item upgrades and attempt to stop the current antagonist from acquiring the Demon Crown again, taking over the world, etc. I am being a bit of a reductionist here but the story is actually very dense and interwoven with the NPC's that players meet along the way, good and bad. One of my favorite characters, Balrog (photo above) is that classic "Bad dude before, but has a heart of gold and ends up helping the ol' team o' good guys" character, who provides some fun learning-type boss battles and some comic relief throughout the game. A quick tip: Remember to talk to EVERYONE during your adventure. Certain bosses, stage changes and progressions are really contingent on having dialogue with the locals. Even if it is something as mundane as "Yeah, I'm sick so I can't help you out."
Doukutsu Monogatari, Cave story, Awesome game I cannot put down, whatever you would like to call it has since come out for WiiWare and the 3DS with positive reception. However, the original game itself is STILL free and STILL available with an English Plug in. How kick ass can it get, right? Realizing Wicked Basement is a litttttle bit late on the fandom, we still wanted to throw a review and a download up on the site because this game is WORTH the hate mail we will get for having JUST played it ourselves. This game is like a wonderful dream created by someone who truly understands WHY the golden age of gaming was so golden. The character design, the music, the story, all of it works perfectly together to create a really fun game that ends WAY too soon.
Available for Mac and PC!
I would say play this game YOUR way, then maybe the second time check out a walkthrough. The only time I needed any assistance is for those god damn puppies, which the one I was looking for was literally right in front of me. Enjoy the game!