Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Cave Story 3D

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Electronic Theatre ImageFrom its humble beginnings as a freeware PC title back released back in 2004, Cave Story has grown dramatically in terms of both audience and appreciation. Wearing its adventure videogame inspiration on its sleeve, for many Cave Story is considered an equal to the genre instigators, Metroid and CastleVania. And rightfully so, as Cave Story has proven it’s worth as a downloadable title on Wii and Nintendo DS, and now finally arrives at retail on Nintendo 3DS under the guise of Cave Story 3D.

Cave Story 3D takes place within the cavernous interior of a floating island. The island is populated by Mimigas, a race of sentient, rabbit-like humanoids. The player character, Quote, a robot, awakens in a cave with no Electronic Theatre Imagememory of how he came to be there. He finds a village of Mimigas, who are being persecuted by the Doctor. Two of the Doctor’sservants, Misery and Balrog, are looking for Sue Sakamoto, a girl who had been transformed into a Mimiga, but mistakenly abduct Toroko, another Mimiga, instead. It’s up to Quote to find Sue, rescue Toroko and defeat the Doctor.

While that premise is all well and good, you’ll find it difficult to accept as a jumping-off point in the videogame as the introduction is do malnourished. It’s almost as if players are expected to have read up on the story so far before even beginning to play. Thankfully the plot development beyond this point benefits from much better exposition, being tied to the gameplay in the same fashion as the 2D Metroid titles. Of course, as stated above, it’s Nintendo’s earliest adventures for the science-fiction bounty hunter that have had the greatest influence on Cave Story 3D, with many of the mechanics borrowed directly from Samus Aran’s unique mix of exploration, improvement and combat.

Cave Story 3D doesn’t feature a levelling system like most adventure games, nor a series of time-specific power ups like platform titles. Instead, progress is charted through the collection if upgrades to health and weapons, creating a hybrid of the two genres in exactly the same way as Metroid did more than twenty years ago. However, at present Cave Story 3D is without a Metroid title to compete againstElectronic Theatre Image on Nintendo 3DS, and as such is an incredibly enticing addition to the console’s software catalogue. It remains a simple remake of the original Cave Story however, though of course with added stereoscopic 3D capabilities.

Over the years since the original Cave Story saw release, the many new iterations have pushed the aesthetic design into new territories, so much so that Quote is now a familiar and recognisable videogame icon. Here on Nintendo 3DS, Cave Story 3D does have a new character all of its own, but many of the locations still resemble the humble pixelated beginnings. For those who have already invested in the title on another format, it’ll certainly be a tough decision whether Cave Story 3D is worth purchasing purely for its spruced-up visual quality.

Cave Story 3D is a remarkably engrossing adventure videogame, and one that at present is without equal on Nintendo 3DS. It’s a videogame made by fans out of love for 2D adventures, and with that has come to be considered a title responsible for breaking new ground in the genre. The top tier of Metroid and CastleVania titles are still considered to be their early 2D outings, and while fans will surely be hankering for a true sequel to Cave Story, with Cave Story 3D Nicalis has created a videogame that deserves to be credited with pioneering the genre on Nintendo 3DS.

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