Thursday, December 1, 2011

Super Meat Boy (PC, XBLA)

Super Meat Boy is the upgraded version of the well received flash game, Meat Boy, which was originally created in 2008.  Super Meat Boy was released for the Xbox Live Arcade in October of 2010 and then later that year for PC.  This game is a fast paced platformer that harks back to and playfully exaggerates retro games that forced countless children to stay up all night screaming at their televisions.  The solid controls are a cruel reminder that failure is never the games fault; however, levels are extremely short and you are instantly brought back to life making death easy to tolerate.  I personally ranked up over 11k deaths (yeap it keeps track) with about 76% game completion.


You play as Meat Boy, a person who was unfortunately born without skin.  One day, Dr. Fetus, a fetus in a jar wearing a monocle and a top hat, beat up Meat Boy and kidnapped his girlfriend, Bandage Girl.  Meat Boy picks himself up and begins his journey to rescue her through pitfalls, saw blades, lasers, spikes, lava, salt, razor blades, used hospital equipment, demon heads, zombie Meat Boys, maggots, and many more hazards.

Ending Spoiler

Dr. Fetus's fortress starts to collapse as you are rescued from falling rubble by Meat Boy's counter part, Brownie.  He sacrifices himself to save you.  In a Fight Club-esque manner, Meat Boy and Bandage Girl manage to escape and watch the explosion that ultimately destroys Dr. Fetus's floating island fortress.  As they embrace we find out that, OOOOHH NOES!!! Dr. Fetus survived his fall and begins a relentless assault on Bandage Girl.  If you beat Dr. Fetus in the Dark World (I am up to him in however, I haven't attempted him yet), you get a little more of the outcome.  Bandage Girl knocks Dr. Fetus off of her head and looks as if she is willing to forgive him, seeing an innocence, of sorts, in him for the first time.  This is short lived as she then screams in absolute, bloodcurdling rage and proceeds to stomp Dr. Fetus to a bloody mess to her delight.  Meat Boy awkwardly stares eventually showing approval.  We then find out that Dr. Fetus still lives.  He is apparently reincarnated in the womb of Bandage Girl.  THE END!

Does the game hold up today?

Much like VVVVVV, this doesn't really apply.  However, it does show that even though we hated dying so much during the glory days of the older consoles, we still enjoyed the challenge and the satisfaction of overcoming the seemingly near impossible.  This game is great, it is so great, it reminds us of how great it was playing great games back when games were really great.  GREAT!!!

Other Info

The Good:  This game is challenging enough to be exciting when you finally beat it but so fast paced that you'll keep coming back for more punishment in order to do so.  The controls are unbelievably tight.  Being told this is really an understatement, you have to play it to understand.  Edward McMillin's (creator) art style is so simple, and yet he able to bring so much individual personality to his characters anyway through it without the use of any spoken dialogue.  The music is masterfully enthralling.  I think the reason I had such an easy time in the "Hell" stage is because I couldn't stop listening to the background music.  There is also a free map designer kit to make your own maps and a means to play other peoples maps in "Super Meat World" on the PC, which would provide infinite Super Meat Fun for as long as your willing to put up with the torture.  Plus a plethora of amazing indie game secret characters.  Not enough great things could be said about this game.

The Bad:  The unforgivingness of the stages for "The Kid" and the entire world "Cotton Alley" (its pink and ridiculously hard).  Other than that, there is really nothing to complain about unless you really hate platform games.

Today's going rate:  $15 download on Steam (however, its usually either on sale or bundled for great prices), $12 on XBLA.

Difficulty:  The game eases you into the controls for the first two worlds.  Once you hit "Hell," you'll be quick to understand why its so awesome that there is no loading time in between deaths.

Time invested in beating the game:  It took me a solid week of casual gameplay to beat Super Meat Boy, perhaps 10 hours, maybe less.  You could beat the game with somewhere around 30% game completion on normal so you don't always have to tackle each worlds hardest challenges.  I'll get back to you when I get to 100%.

Re-makes:  I haven't heard of anymore releases on any other platform.  Team Meat said that it will never come to release on the PSN and the original release for the Wii VC was ultimately scraped due to technical issues.  Apparently, they planned on a commercial release for the Wii instead, however, the Wii had been out for so long in 2010 that they felt it was too close to the end of its life cycle to be profitable.  We could only hope they are considering a release for the Wii U.

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