Like Hydorah before it, Locomalito’s Maldita Castilla stays very close to its inspirations, in this case the venerated platformer series Ghosts n’ Goblins. From the overall look to the invariable jump, you’ll feel very much like you’ve stepped into the greaves of Arthur’s Spanish cousin.
So how does it stack up to its forebears? I’ve played through the game once and I think that it’s a mixed bag, although one worth trying if you enjoyed the GnG games. Compared to the best of that series (Ghouls n’ Ghosts, Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts, and Ultimate Ghosts n’ Goblins), Maldita Castilla lacks variety and charm. The rather dreary mythological theme doesn’t quite compare to Capcom’s colorful fantasy world, and while many of the levels will have you cursing like you’re playing a Ghosts game, they’re also more one-dimensional.
None of this is to say that Maldita Castilla is a bad game, only that it sticks so closely to its source material and falls a bit short in comparison. As I said, it’s still worth your time… but perhaps more as a highly-polished fan game than something that stands alone. As reminiscent of Gradius as Hydorah was, it was still enough of a mélange as to feel unique (the branching stage design and limited save concept also helped separate it).
Endless Forms Most Beautiful is a Locomalito remake of a fairly recent (February 2012) ZX Spectrum game by David Hughes. Spanning 15 levels, the goal of the game is to collect all the imps on each level while avoiding various monsters. Moving around takes a bit of getting used to as it defies convention – you can travel up and down on teleport pads but only if you’re standing on top of a pad. Also, by leaving the screen you’ll end up either on the row above (if you went left) or the row below (if you went right).
Once you get a hang of the controls, though, EFMB becomes a fun little “coffee break” action game that offers a relatively large amount of variety from level to level. Two-player co-op and versus modes round out another polished gem from Locomalito and the guys at RGCD (and David Hughes, of course).
TIGdb: Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Classic 80′s arcade games like Galaga and Centipede were the inspiration for Verminest, the latest release from the prolific Spanish developer Locomalito. The game features a simple scoring system that offers bonuses for killing enemies up close or taking out wave leaders early on. Large bosses and scrolling sections are also welcome additions to the Galaga formula.
The original release in February was black and white (with an optional “3d mode” for viewing with 3d glasses), but recently Locomalito put up a colored version called Verminest ’83 (pictured above). The gameplay remains exactly the same as before.
Also, now you can receive boxed versions of the Locomalito games for donating over a certain amount (~30 euros for each game or ~90 euros for all five). It’s not clear from the website whether the boxes include a printed version of the games’ PDF instruction manuals, however.
TIGdb: Entry for Verminest
Spanish developer Locomalito has released a short demo for its upcoming platformer Maldita Castilla, a tribute to old arcade games like Capcom’s Ghosts ‘n Goblins.
TIGdb: Entry for Locomalito
In Locomalito’s Viriax your goal is to swim up through the organs of human beings and infect their cores before your energy runs out. You start with one attack – press down or X to drop onto enemies and destroy them, obtaining combos for destroying multiple enemies within a small timeframe. Attacking serves a couple of other purposes – it renders you invincible temporarily and you can use it to reveal power-ups (or power-downs).
Each time you jump in mid-air or attack in Viriax your energy level goes down slightly, so you have to conserve your movements and use power-ups wisely. You can replenish your energy with red globules, which are also released occasionally by destroyed enemies and can also be found floating around the levels. It’s a smart system that creates a lot of exciting moments as you carefully wind your way up the bloodstream.
The levels are randomly-generated and the power-ups vary pretty wildly in usefulness, so there’s a degree of luck involved. In terms of scoring, the keys are extremely overpowered, so the main purpose of high scores seems to be for unlocking the later levels. In general, though, the challenge ramps up nicely and I had a great time attempting to infect each of the organs, from the lightly defended Heart all the way up to the N.A.S. itself.
TIGdb: Entry for Viriax
[Note: Paul covered this game in his Weekly Report #2, but I had already written my review. Anyway, it's worth another mention!]
Locomalito and his companion Gryzor87 have released L’Abbaye des Morts (download mirror), a Jet Set Willy-inspired platformer based on the persecution of the Cathars by the Catholic Church (read the Wikipedia entry – it’s pretty horrible stuff). Despite being labeled “a minor game” by its creator, L’Abbaye is well-made and very fun, with great challenge and lots of secrets packed into a small package. The limited graphics and audio actually do a lot to bolster the creepiness of the game’s occult theme.
Hydorah is here! If you’ve been following the game’s development, I think that’s all you need to hear. It’s great – go download it.
If you’ve never heard of Locomalito, they’re a Spanish indie game crew that has a very well-defined philosophy of creating freeware games that try to redefine arcade gaming for today. Their influences are very clear. In Hydorah’s case, it’s a horizontal shoot ‘em up that, at first glance, seems most inspired by Konami’s 1985 arcade hit Gradius.
Aside from some superficial similarities, however, Hydorah is actually fairly different. The game employs three types of weapons: primary, secondary, and “bomb”. The primary and secondary weapons can be upgraded by separate power-ups (red and green). However, a red power-up will turn into green and back if you leave it, giving you some choice about how you want to upgrade. Bomb weapons (yellow) and speed power-ups (blue) are similarly flipped during the game. There’s one other power-up, a purple shield that allows you to take one hit.
I hope everyone’s enjoying the holidays! Here are some videos for you:
Here’s a great “making of” video for Anthony Flack’s Cletus Clay. The development looks like it’s going strong – check out the website for more updates, including a new action-packed trailer.
I was definitely surprised and excited to hear that Andy Schatz is working on Monaco, a 4-player co-op stealth game! Andy, who’s best known for his “Venture” series of educational wildlife games, discusses his creative shift on his blog.
Here’s a new La Mulana Wii video from NIGORO.
I check out Michal Marcinkowski’s blog pretty regularly. If you’re wondering how Link Dead is going – Michal and Sigvatr parted ways and Michal is using procedural graphics now. And actually, I think it looks pretty great!
Here are a couple of good-looking old-school 2d games coming from teams known for FPS’s:
Capsized is a platform game that’s reminiscent of Exile. Coming in 2010 to Steam and XBLA, from the creators of the multiplayer FPS Nexuiz.
Locomalito, best known for their chunky FPS 8-bit Killer, are working on Hydorah, a Gradius-style shmup. It will be released as freeware at some indeterminate date.
Thanks to Pixel Prospector for the news!