A great thing made better.
Posted by Captain K
Cave Story is amazing. For those uninitiated this is an independently developed game that’s been available for a few years for free on PC. Eventually the powers that be decided to create a remixed version for the Wii, bringing better graphics and music. The final product, while outstanding in its own right, was less than the creator wanted it to be. But in a move that is all too rare for the Wii, all has been corrected. If you haven’t ventured into this cave of wonders, the time has never been better.
I had heard for quite a while about how Cave Story was this totally awesome indie game and was very excited to hear that it was coming to WiiWare. I saw videos and was sold straight away. The day finally arrived when it became available for download and with controller in hand, I took the plunge.
I must admit I wasn’t overly impressed at first. You begin the game with no weapon and very little in the way of direction. Then you find yourself in a cave and this cute little diddy plays. It’s alright, but it didn’t really grab me. I continued through the cave, found my first gun, got a grip on the controls and headed towards the exit. It was then that I started to get it.
As you go through the door you’re shown a cut scene where these 2 cute little rabbit people are arguing about something. Your character falls from the sky landing between the two of them and one scurries away while the other is knocked down.
Then the music kicks in.
Right there, I was in for good. Simple, elegant, and absolutely beautiful. This moment has to be one of my favorite moments of game/music lining up to truly capture a mood. This moment sets the tone for the rest of the adventure and it is that tone that is this game’s brilliance. At first glance it seems like this cute little adventure, and in a lot of ways it is. But just under the surface there is this uneasy feeling of melancholy that never goes away. The story is a very sad tale of survival and death. It took some time to dawn on me just how much I was enjoying the game but by the time I was done I couldn’t get it out of my mind. It’s just a great game.
And that’s not even mentioning the gameplay. There are tons of secret weapons, pitch perfect controls, and multiple endings/modes of play that give it a ton of replay value. There’s also the option of playing the original version with original graphics and sound as well. Shortly after finishing the game I went online to look into all the content I was sure I missed on my first playthrough and I came across an article that caught my attention. In an interview with the director in charge of porting the game to Wii, it was said that he was unhappy with the finished product. Seems that something had gone wrong in the final uploading process and the music was distorted. The drum tracks had completely vanished, and the songs looped in strange places. Also all the options that were supposed to be unlockables were available at the start of the game. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem. On any other platform one could just release a patch and fix everything straight away, but this game was on the Wii and no matter how much I may love Nintendo, there’s no denying that their online policies leave a lot to be desired. One of these policies is their notoriously difficult to utilize patch system.
Well thank the heavens, good has prevailed. Today a patch for Cave Story has gone live on the WiiWare channel and the game can now be played the way it was intended. I have to say that I was a little weary at first to download it as the music was one of my favorite things about the game the first time around, but my fears were quickly put to rest. The music is exponentially better, the menu system has been intelligently redesigned, and the overall feeling is even better than it was before.
If you are a fan of traditional gaming you need to try this game. Sure, you can probably download it for free online somewhere, but the WiiWare version is the definitive version. Plus, this is an indie game and the programmers can use all the support they can get so they can keep making great games. So do yourself a favor and download Cave Story. I promise you won’t regret it.
Cave Story is published by NICALIS and is available now on WiiWare for 1200 points.