I’ve been spending way too much time lately with The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. This game is seriously addictive, and it’s doubly so now that I’ve got it on my Vita and can take it with me wherever I go.
I played a bit of The Binding of Isaac in its original PC form, though my laptop tends to overheat or lag when I play even the most basic of games on it. (My roommates will tell you how much of a nightmare it is playing Civilization V with me.) This kept me from truly enjoying the game. However, with The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth now on PlayStation Vita, I’ve been able to carry it around with me everywhere I go (it doesn’t lag or overheat either), so I’ve been investing some serious time into it.
The guardian of the twin labyrinths in La Mulana is a fitting one, mythologically speaking. The twin labyrinths area is one of the more challenging sections in the game. Direction has no meaning. Marble statues leer at you from above. And at Baphomet waits for you in the center.
This was Baphomet. This diced and divided thing. Seeing its face, she screamed. No story or movie screen, no desolation, no bliss, had prepared her for the maker of Midian.
– from Cabal by Clive Barker
Historically speaking, Baphomet’s various fan clubs have always had lousy reputations, but one club in particular was even more infamous. In the early 14th century, a group of temple guardians and former participants of the crusades known as the Knights Templar were in a tricky situation. King Philip IV of France thought that the Knights Templar didn’t like the church very much. This wouldn’t be a problem normally, except that it happened in 1307 when the punishment for disagreeing with the church was one hell of a slap on the wrist.
Image Source: Wikipedia
The main reason that the king was rounding up the knights had to do with a recently uncovered Templar correspondence. It mentioned praying to something called “Bathometh.” The knights were accused of worshiping the wrong diety and nearly every single other form of heresy he could think of.
Understandably, noone spoke at length about Baphomet for a while until an occultist in 1856, Eliphas Levi, drew an image of a sabbatic goat. The goat was meant to embody good and evil, male and female, human and monster, and a generalized kind of black and white duality.
This is the version of Baphomet that was used in La Mulana, The Devil in most tarot card decks, and the cover of your favorite death metal album.
Image Source: Wikipedia
I hope you’ve enjoyed our look into the mythology behind the bosses of La Mulana. Nobody has serviced mythology nerds as well as La Mulana. And there’s a sequel on the horizon. Let’s hope that it references more ancient and esoteric things so we can do this again sometime.
La Mulana is, in my opinion, either the best Metroidvania-style platformer you’ve ever played or the best Metroidvania you’ve never played. Why do I hold it in such a high regard? Its attention to detail and universe building is amazing. Backgrounds, enemies, puzzles, and most notably the bosses – everything is drawn from a real archaeological or mythological precedent. As a mythology nerd who loves difficult games, La Mulana is my perfect storm.
Just like the countdown of Dead Rising 3 bosses, we will consider each one separately and assess how well they adapt their central idea or myth. You should expect humor, speculation, and graphic descriptions of death and dismemberment; this is ancient mythology after all.
Articles are below. Enter what is truly behind La Mulana:
Image Source: The La Mulana Remake Wiki
One thing that pleases me to no end in this latest generation of consoles is the continued resurgence of retro-style gaming. Whether it’s a design that hearkens back to the pixelated sprites we once adored or couch multiplayer games triggering fistfights among friends (or both!), there is plenty of nostalgia and fun to be had these days.
In Space We Brawl, unfortunately, includes two “features” of old-school games that have no business in the 21st century: a user interface so clunky and outdated you’ll likely spend more time brawling game menus than you do other players, and a brevity of gameplay that is much more suited to sucking up quarters than delivering much in the way of competitive satisfaction.
Every match (emphasis will make sense later) begins with a player selecting from a large variety of ship and special weapon combinations that can fit just about any desired play-style. So far, so good, right? However, our first problems arise immediately afterwards when you enter the level select screen.
There are eight levels to choose from and you HAVE to choose one of them, regardless of your familiarity, because there is no random option. This did not bode well, and I find it weird that the developers omitted such a simple feature. After selecting a level, you must make another choice: which of the three map sizes you’d like to battle on. Perhaps it’s this additional option that precludes the lack of a random option somehow, but I’m not seeing it. Still, finally, it’s time to get brawlin’!
Blink and you may miss said brawl, though. A frustrating combination of over-saturated level obstacles, ponderous controls, and a lack of good visual cues will have you dying as much to the environment as to another player. And it will usually happen very fast. Afterwards, when a single player is left standing, the match is ended. Remember that emphasis?
Ah yes, now we’ve come to the worst affront of all: you will have to go through this entire match process at least three times (the minimum number of matches you can participate in) before a tournament winner is ultimately declared.
The end result is a game that often spends more time getting to the appointed space than brawling, and I don’t have the time or space to waste on it.
Then I saw a link to a review for Transistor, the most recent title from Supergiant Games. That made me recall the gem that is their first release: Bastion. And that memory gave me an epiphany — Bastion is ridiculously awesome. [Read more…]
In Space We Brawl offers an interesting take on the tutorial in that it doesn’t actually have one. What you do get is the “Challenges” section, a series of 21 missions meant to simultaneously introduce you to the game and frustrate the crap out of you. Not the ideal combination! [Read more…]
I’ve been playing a bit of Hyrule Warriors lately, which means I’ve spent an unusual amount of time over the past few days looking at Gorons. Which makes me wonder how I’ve never noticed this before: Castle Story‘s Bricktrons are basically Gorons.
It’s hard not to compare The Vanishing of Ethan Carter to The Chinese Room’s Dear Esther. They’re both first-person games that revolve around exploration. Both games are visually stunning, and both place a heavy focus on storytelling. Both titles have an engrossing-yet-somber atmosphere, and both games feature supernatural elements.
Ethan Carter seems to improve upon Dear Esther in every conceivable way. While Dear Esther‘s story was fragmented and obscure, Ethan Carter presents a narrative that’s both coherent and unconventional. Dear Esther had no gameplay to speak of, but Ethan Carter is full of interesting puzzles. It’s exactly the sort of game I always wished Dear Esther could be.
But for reasons I don’t quite understand, I like Dear Esther more. [Read more…]
A while back, I watched a documentary that asked the question, “Why do we dream?” Essentially, the guys who made it were trying to figure out what the evolutionary benefit of dreaming was, and they attempted to figure this out through a process that vaguely resembled science.