Episode 249: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

Here’s a sentence that only makes sense in the year 2002. “Wouldn’t it be better if the NSA had highly trained stealth operatives they could dispatch with little oversight”? If they did, only the best aging military veterans would be selected. They’d have to climb on pipes, and no when they’re in light, and have thigh muscles so strong they could support their entire body weight with them. If you think you have what it takes, give this episode a listen.

Episode 136: かげふみ (Kagefumi) [Thief]

A far better thief than our hapless Windfish hero, Garrett finds his way through the shadows with peerless skill. Somehow, though, zombies can still hear you. Thankfully, standard zombie avoidance strategies apply. Those Hammerites still manage to muck things up, but the power of quicksave shall see you through!

Now featuring infinitely more Kevins.

You can douse the download with water arrows.

Show Notes

(01:30) Introducing Kevin.

(09:30) Geremy recounts a heroic snack trip while waiting to see Lazer Team.

(14:40) Freedom Planet is pretty fun and fixes a few of the problems old Sonic games had.

(15:20) Pony Island is... weird.  We highly recommend that you go in blind.  Not the weirdest game ever, but it defies some expectations.  Games like that are starting to get popular again, it seems.

(21:00) Andre Felipe Felipe's novel boxing strategy.

(25:00) If you like atmospheric platformers, try Ori.  If you like punching stuff while exploring, Guacamelee!

(30:00) Need more TBS?  Consider Pox Nora; just don't play online without practice.

(41:00) Shadows and water.  9/10.

(52:00) A better light/dark side mechanic.

(1:02:00) Speaking of steampunk fantasy.  Also, Mark of the Ninja is still great, guys!

(1:04:30) Which spot will this game steal?

Next time on Last Time, Kirby Super Star!

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Last Rant on Videogames: Mark of the Ninja

It is time, once again, for my ruminations about a videogame.  As I sat and pondered what to say about this game, I found that, while I intend to gush about it, there wasn't a whole lot.  The good news for you is that this will likely be shorter than my previous ramblings.

Mark of the Ninja is an action stealth platformer implemented in a manner I find truly wonderful.  I have had several encounters with games of this variety, where the mechanics do all the talking, engaging you by making you wait.  Such a seeming contradiction and the truly enjoyable rewards to be reaped by waiting perfectly have left me with something of an infatuation with this type of game.  I've played some Metal Gear and some Splinter Cell, but something about them have always seemed lacking.

This game, however, is most certainly not lacking, except for leaving me wanting more of it.  The developers of this game have, to me, perfected this type of game.  Every action you take is accompanied by a visible radius of the sound you'll make, so you know exactly how to manipulate your environment.  Enemies have convenient, but not obtrusive, timers to let you know how they're behaving and for how long they will continue to do so.  You can lay intricate traps and lure one guard at a time or go ninja through their ranks, taking down an entire room before the last guy notices.  You can use your environment and fallen foes to manipulate the ones still standing in your way, run up walls, fly across landscapes... It's really a thing of beauty.

This is all packaged rather nicely with what, at first, appears to be an excuse plot that turns out to be a fairly enjoyable, though not terribly complex, series of events.  The ending may seem surprising at first, though I suspect most could see it come with the fairly heavy foreshadowing.  With the elegance of a ninja, each level is tied neatly to a mostly coherent plot and gradually increasing powers that let you be even more ninja.

To top all of the wonderment off, you can play through the game, after unlocking certain medals that are outlined as bonus objectives on each level, with different outfits and gear.  The outfits, specifically, affect gameplay in several ways.  My favorite allows you to more effectively terrorize your foes by using the bodies of their comrades as set pieces.  Additionally, you can choose one that bars use of your sword, but allows you to run without causing noise.  That one's a lot of fun.  Another grants additional bonuses when enemies are slain.

I don't know what else to say about this game other than that it is a pure joy for me to play.  I would highly encourage anyone who likes the idea of a fairly action heavy stealth platformer to play this game.  It's only $15 dollars on Steam right now, so... you know... get out there.  ^_^