Cave Story was originally released back in 2004 as a freeware platform adventure game for the PC. The creator, Daisuke Pixel Amaya, took over five years to develop his game concept which plays homage to such classic games like Metroid. Cave Story has gone through many changes and been released on many systems with the Wiiware and DSiware versions released in 2010, then an enhanced version of the game released on steam in 2011 called Cave Story+ which was followed by the DSi version released in October 2012.
Now we see the classic Cave Story come back to life for the 3DS, and it’s possibly the best version so far. The game has been developed by Nicalis and published by NIS America. We can personally tell you now that this game is very hard to get hold of in Europe and you will either pay way over the top for the game or just simply not find it at all; but there is light at the end of the tunnel as Cave Story should be coming to the Nintendo eShop at some point in the future, hopefully.
How to explain Cave Story? It’s fun, engaging, irritating if you forget to save, with lots of twists and turns added for good measure. You play as a nameless character (who I named Bob) that awakens in a strange cave with no memory of who he is or why he is there. Who he really is, is stitched into a great story with plenty of memorable and cute characters. Now fans of the original will be happy to hear that nothing much has changed really, except for the whole design to be made 3D, which has been re-built from scratch using 3D models, a new dynamic camera, an additional level added and finally a remixed soundtrack brought to us by Danny Baranowsky (Founder of dB Soundworks). Your goal? Well it’s simple, progress the main character from one area to the next with a whole host of weapons, and unravel the mystery of who you are and why you’re there as you go along.
For those who manage to get hold of the game there is plenty of replay value as well, as there multiple ways to unravel the story. Some choices you make you won’t even realise that they affected the story before it’s way too late to go back and alter. Now I am not a huge fan of the original version, I hold my hands up, so I decided to give it another shot and compare them both, for me personally I much prefer the 3DS version , it just looks and feels a lot better than its 2D predecessor.
Now there are a variety of different caves to explore, and compared to any cave I have ever been in which is dark damp and depressing these caves are a break from the norm, like grass-covered caves with pretty flowers, science laboratories and even deserts. Now you might wonder how all this came to be, and although I don’t have the answer I do have an idea. An Evil Genius created an underground layer for Pinky and the Brain and as the famous quote goes; Brain: “we must prepare for tomorrow night” Pinky: “Why what are we going to do tomorrow night” Brain: “The same thing we do every night – try to take over the world!”, but as we know it never worked. Now each zone is also populated by many foes to kill from Blobs, Ghosts and Cockroaches just to name a few, don’t worry though there are plenty of safe rooms to hide in if you feel a little skittish.
One particular thing that I loved was how the game allowed you to upgrade your weapons, for example the shitty standard machine gun can be upgraded at level three to an overpowered version, which has one hell of a kick back. While shooting down you are able to hover, this helps you obtain higher platforms and avoid spiked filled pits. Levelling up your weapons is very simple, just collect energy crystals that get dropped from the enemies you kill, and I’ll warn you, levelling your bad boys seem to come rather fast, but losing them can happen even faster because if you get hit you don’t just lose health you also lose weapon points.
Now a game is never great without some hard nut bosses to get your teeth into and Cave Story has a fair few; and trust me when I say you need to be fast to defeat them. So if you don’t have lightening fast reflexes or the reactions of a cat, then you’ll need the patience of a saint as you will most likely be retrying over and over again to get past the bosses.
This game is a PC game at its heart, so how do the controls feel on a screen that is a lot smaller screen than your average size monitor? Well simply put it can be annoying at times as jumping from ledge to ledge has changed from the ¾ inch images on the big PC screen to maybe a ¼ inch on the 3DS Screen. It’s not the games fault it’s just the screens fault; as for the lower screen on the 3DS, it only acts as your inventory and nothing more so not a lot to comment on there. Another issue I found as well but only in the darker levels, was trying to distinguish platforms and what is supposed to be the background or the foreground, not at all a game breaker, just a little annoyance as in 3D depth perception should be a lot better. Now if you aren’t a fan of the new 3D sprites there is an option to alter the 3D model to the original 2D model, however to me this just looks totally out-of-place.
Overall this is another great version of a game originally developed by one man with the addition of some new areas, an unlockable time-attack mode, new 3D environments and a remixed soundtrack. If you are old to the franchise then there is not much more to see apart from the additional level, if you are new then you’ll enjoy all the aspects of the game as it offers plenty of hours of game time. But one question still needs to be answered; is this game truly better than the original? I get told all the time that graphics do not make a good game, and I have to agree to some respect. But personally for me I prefer the 3DS version over the original PC version; however the PC version is brighter and easier to control, the let down for me though was the 8Bit graphics which personally I feel belong on the Retro machines of the past.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.