Ideas and Thoughts: Viva Variety

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29-Jul-98

And I'm not referring to that psycho Comedy Central show, either.  I'm talking about in games...

Let me begin by talking about Crash, the most famous bandicoot in gaming, by default.  It's mainly a 3D game... or is it?  Well, it's played in a 3D environment, but is usually in a narrow corridor, so you just go forward as you would in a 2D game, as opposed to the open areas of SM64 or B-K.  Is this bad?  No, just different.  But need it all be this way?  I don't think so.  Why not have a couple large, open stages in a future Crash game?  Or inversely, why not have a couple of more straightforward levels in a future Nintendo/Rare 3D platformer.  How would it be explained?  Well, there are some spots in B-K where you swim/walk through a narrow corridor, they're just very short.  I'm sure a level of narrow pathways in, say, a cave would be believable.  There could be multiple pathways and stuff, but still... A game that I think handles open and restricting well?  StarFox 64.  Most of the stages have you going straight forward the whole time, but there are a few stages where you can fly around in full 3D.  Viva variety!

But why stick with only levels?  Why not go for characters as well!  First of all, let me say I think a choice of multiple characters is good in pretty much any game.  OK, let's say Rare wants some Sonic-ish character for a game to help it go against the Dreamcast Sonic game.  Banjo-Tooie, let's say.  I'll just take the Banjo-Kazooie controllable character we know, and speak of modifications... OK, let's first remove the bird.  Now let's say he runs faster, more akin to how you run with those speed shoes or whatever they're called in the original, though he could still get the speed shoes to go extra fast.  Now, as replacements for Kazooie's moves... Well, instead of jumping up and attacking with the beak, he could have an attack in the air... oh, I dunno, as long as we're obviously copying Sonic for this example, let's say a spin, though not necessarily a Sonic-like one... I mean more like what Zangief does in the Street Fighter games.  How could he fly?  Well, I don't know... maybe he couldn't... there have to be pros and cons for each character anyway, right?  Maybe that would be his.

Another example of a game with variety of level design I've now remembered is Final Fantasy III.  Throughout most of the game you have your normal random battles, but there are 2 parts of the game where it switches to a semi-strategy bit, where you move around 3 groups of people and can see the groups of enemies, and must stop them from getting through, and fight the boss at the other end.  Now, games where there are multiple characters that are significantly different... well, again, Final Fantasy III (and most RPGs, for that matter).  The characters can only equip certain items and each have special abilities that are only their own... now if only more genres could be like that... whaddya think, sirs?

Joshua Slone stays inside to keep up his untan.