La-Mulana – Coming Winter 2009

By: Xander

On: July 27th, 2009

Did it just get awesome in here?

  • Sigvatr_

    I’m really disliking this graphics update.

  • Smallfry

    Seriously? It looks totally rad to me!

    Looks like there may be slight gameplay changes (like the coins bouncing out of the pots).

  • ZeppMan217

    AWESOMATIC! On the other hand, Wii. Damn these consoles…

  • cactus

    The old graphics had more charm, but I think the updated look is quite nice as well.

  • Once

    La-Mulana and Cave Story coming soon… awesome :)

  • Eclipse

    looks A LOT better than the Cave Story remake. This updates resolution and colors, Cave Story still uses the original palette and looks ugly :

  • Gutter


    Oh, and the haters can suck it. Really.

  • Dominic White

    I’m surprised/impressed. This looks like a full-on remake, rather than just an update. For those who want to play the MSX-styled original, just putting it out there that it’s still free.

    The only worry I have is that they’re going to have to change a lot of the puzzles. There was quite a bit of typing of letters and pressing numbers that went on, playing into the running gag of Lemeza carrying around a portable MSX with him.

    Now, the best/most awesome way of doing this on the Wii would be to have a button on the pad bring up a virtual MSX keyboard, complete with nice clicky sound when you press the buttons. I wonder if they’re going that way, or whether they’ll just be simplifying the more fiddly bits.

  • General Valter

    Holy shit!

    I never thought it would be a remake of a freeware game I had already beaten that would convince me to buy a Wii! That looks fantastic!

    Man, if all the music is remixed, I will be so psyched.

  • pkt-zer0

    Console-exclusivity is a bummer, considering this was originally on PC. Would’ve loved to support them otherwise.

  • Skofo

    That trailer is decent for showing off the new graphics/music to turn on the veterans, but for someone who hasn’t played much of La Mulana and doesn’t understand its charm, the trailer was pretty sub par. It didn’t show any of the gameplay except (slowly) walking around places and breaking vases for a couple coins.

    Also, the ultra-vague subtitles, while common for Japanese game trailers/intros, are really annoying and need to die out ASAP.

  • Gutter

    @Dominic White : “Now, the best/most awesome way of doing this on the Wii would be to have a button on the pad bring up a virtual MSX keyboard,”

    Why is that the best/most awesome. It might be “most awesome”, but the best? Far from it.

    The best way to make a console game is always to use the easiest controls possible for a given console. Having to type with the freaking Wiimote isn’t fun and will never be, inside jokes or not.

    I consider this as a remake more than a port. Mario All Star didn’t have a “retro graphic mode” and no one wanted one either.

    Purist can have the PC version if they want, with keypress galore, but I’ll bet my pants that they aren’t the target demographics for the developers. You can only go so far pandering to “hardcore” fans.

  • Rad

    @Skofo: What was so cryptic about the messages presented? Some entity is trapped in the Mulana temple and it is your goal to free her.

    Also to anyone compaining about the graphics update. go back to 1990 and play your crappy arcade games designed to suck money out of you. No one cares how much “charm” the graphics had back then.

  • Dominic White

    @Gutter – you’ve never played La-Mulana before, have you? It’s a Myst-like puzzle game disguised as a platformer, and a lot of the puzzles are inherently based around the core concept that the main character is using a portable computer.

    There’s no real ‘typing’ needed – it’s usually just a couple of buttons at most – but it’s the cornerstone of a lot of the gameplay.

  • guest

    I think it is a decent trailer with good transitions and an epic feel, although the action showed was a bit bland, but I haven’t played the original so I’m unaware if there are any intense moments of action. In my opinion the new graphics look great. Am I the only one who thought the hud and maybe even some of the graphics were similar to Castlevania Symphony of the Night?

  • Optrirominiluikus

    Yes. Yes, it did get awesome in here.

  • Toadsanime

    Seeing as that it’s going to be a Nicalis game, it’s likely that they’ll let you play the game with the original or renewed graphics. That’s what they’re doing with their Cave Story WiiWare remake, so I can only guess that’s what they plan on doing here, too.

  • Al3xand3r

    You can always look up videos of the original if you want to see the gameplay and the trailer doesn’t serve you…

    Try this series.

    Then imagine it in the updated engine. Which clearly isn’t just graphics, the whole game’s getting a little more modernised going by the trailer.

  • Tye The Czar

    The midi rendition of the music sounds pretty good.

  • Bob

    I waited until the countdown ended…and was trolled for it :p
    Guess it was some sort of planning error, because the video’s up now.

    Anyway, this is looks like it was aimed at the fans of La-Mulana, just to showcase the updated graphics and music. Later trailers will probably show more gameplay.

    Speaking of gameplay, I wonder if they’ll take out the some of the artificial difficulty parts (AKA, unfair tricks)? I normally hate artificial difficulty, but it fits in a game like La-Mulana. I know that they probably plan on widening their audience (nothing wrong with letting more people experience La-Mulana, even if it might be watered down), but I imagine there will probably be old graphics and music (with the removal of MSX references) and possibly a normal difficulty and “classic” difficulty (normal mode with new graphics/stuff and classic mode with old graphics/stuff would actually be more probable).

    The graphics look gorgeous, and the music is just awesome sounding (wonder if they’ll have two sound chips as well). Definitely saving some points for this!

  • You

    Dear Higher Power of the Reader’s Choosing,

    Please, please, PLEASE don’t let this turn into some super-easy abomination in the hopes of getting casuals to buy a copy. Sure, the updated graphics are nice enough that I’m not terribly bothered by the change (even though La-Mulana is one of the better examples of retro-on-purpose that I can think of), but I’m going to be disappointed if it becomes hand-holding and easy puzzles.

    A reasonable opinion, considering that La-Mulana was intended to be one of those games that laughs in the face of all that.

  • Malasdair

    I think a super-easy La-Mulana (which the video kind of looks like, at least gauging by how many coins came flyin’ out of that one pot) would still be super-fun, and at the very least it’d still be an easy-mode version, like the two FF4s. Still have my fingers crossed that they include the original as a bonus, because how dope would that be on a widescreen TV?

    (The answer: mega-dope.)

  • falsion

    I really wish people would just enjoy the two versions as two different versions and not demand that the new one play exactly like the old one. If you want the old game, play the old game.

    This kind of behavior is what I’d expect from crazed hardcore Fallout fans who blame Bethesda for everything wrong in their lives. Just treat it as a whole new experience, don’t compare it to the old game and say its ruined because it’s not the old game. Instead enjoy it for what it is, like you enjoy the previous game for what it is.

  • Al3xand3r

    Also, I don’t think the walking is so slow, it’s probably the fact there’s no scrolling that makes it appear so. You have to cover the whole room like this before you see it scroll to the next one.

    Which is kind of a bummer as I see a few parallax layers that aren’t shown off fully because of this. Perhaps they should change it to constantly scrolling?

    As for the super easy casual crap just because they saw a couple coins fly off a vase, eh, lol, like you know how the new game’s balance is in order to be able to tell anything. Maybe you need more coins in this one, and that is why more coins popped (only 2 anyway). Or maybe they’re rarer. Whatever. Don’t know. Can’t tell.

  • kikia

    “Oh my gosh, TWO coins came flying out of that pot. I haven’t seen much of anything in the way of enemies or puzzles, but clearly La-Mulana is going to drastically change from what it was made to be and the end-result is going to be like Pac-Man with no ghosts.”

    Anyone who thinks this: that’s how dumb you sound.

  • FrankieSmileShow

    I don’t think anyone can really judge the difficulty of the game from that video honestly guys.

    I think I like everything about that trailer except the music heh
    I dunno, that brass sounds terrible… I’m hoping that song was just for the trailer and not the final wii version Fearless Challenger…

    Also I’m hoping they will change the MSX theme entirely for a treasure hunter theme. The MSX jokes and theme felt right when all of the visuals fitted it, and with the cartidges to find etc, but now its better off gone entirely! I’d embrace finding mysterious treasure and artifacts and gold idols rather than the lawsuit-pending Castlevania(tm) MSX cartidge. It brings questions about what many items would be changed for however.

  • Dusty Spur

    kikia: Actually, 15 coins came flying out of the pot. It helps if you pay attention.

    The new graphics look pretty bad, honestly. But I’m not worried, since it’s Nicalis, and they’ll likely have the original graphics available. As long as the puzzles aren’t too terribly altered, just enough so that they’re actually accomplishable with the controls.

    Oh and whoever mentioned Cave Story’s palette being the same and it looking ugly; it still looks a hell of a lot better than this washed-out crap.

  • Al3xand3r

    No u, and that’s a fact, and this is the best game grafix ever!!!11

  • Rockvillian

    No thanks I’d rather play Spelunky.

  • Agent_Koopa

    There’s a larger version of the video on the old countdown page, just so you know. Go to NIGORO’s site and click their logo and you’ll be brought there.

    Seeing the larger version brought my attention to just how nicely pixellated the graphics still are. When blown up on a TV, it won’t look modern. It won’t look MSX, but it’ll still be charmingly retro.

    I’m not sure I like the new graphic style, though. The Giant’s Mausoleum doesn’t have quite the same unified theme to it that the original did: the giants feel a bit out of place when they don’t stand in giant niches. Also, the moustache on the sun is hilarious.

  • Nemo07

    I like the new graphics, they’re new but still old-school.

    A funny sidenote… the new graphics reminded me of a tileset you could use for the PC remake of Maze of Galious. Why is that funny? Naramura was the one who made that particular tileset.

    The same people that made the original La Mulana are working on this remake. “The updated graphics aren’t in the spirit of the game” is utter bullshit when you consider that fact.

  • Gutter

    @ Dominic White : I didn’t play much of La Mulana because I was alienated by the MSX theme, which I didn’t care for (never having used a MSX, most of the funny went over my head)

    I did play it though, just not as much as some (crazy fanboys) around here.

    Plus, maybe it’s just me, but Myst isn’t the best analogy to convince me of a need for a keyboard… If Nicalis can’t find a way to port it to the Wii without resorting to a keyboard, they want to concentrate or other offering IMHO.

  • Outlier

    (First to answer the original question!)

    I think the new version looks (and sounds) great, but maybe that’s just me.

  • Sparky

    There are what appear to be some native resolution screenshots here:

    Judging by these, I’m still liking the way the game looks, though a have a few reservations. If anyone involved in production reads this, I hope it’s apparent that this is an effort to improve the game’s look, not an effort to thoughtlessly criticize it.

    Some of the backgrounds, particularly the Temple of the Sun background, use a dramatic perspective which really clashes with the flat foreground in an awkward way. In contrast, some of the backgrounds fit with the foreground quite well, like the one in the lower right (which seems like the entrance to the Mausoleum of the Giants?).

    There’s also an inconsistent mix of softer looking fully antialiased art and pixel art. That looks pretty iffy in my opinion, and I really hope they team will reconsider and set down some cleaner style rules before releasing this. I’m not saying that the new style is bad- far from it. It just isn’t very self consistent. For instance the chests, pedestals, and tablets are very soft and use non-pixelly shading, while the tiled parts of the environment have very sharp edges and high contrast details.

    There are also some weird inconsistencies in the background palette- take a look at this screenshot:

    At its best the art is pixel sharp without palette restrictions, and looks very crisp. Even in its current state it’s pretty atmospheric. But the original was one of the tightest, most visually self consistent games I’ve ever seen and it would be a shame not to do it justice. I hope that as the game nears completion it is on the list of priorities to tighten up the style a bit. I wish the team all the best, this looks very promising so far.

  • blueskirt

    I am deceived for two reasons:
    The first is there is no words on a PC version. IMO, PC is the best system when it come to indie games because everyone own a PC, to browse the internet, to draw, for school homeworks or for work… I keep hearing the same “thousand dollars computer” argument when it come to PC vs consoles but do you honestly need a thousand dollars cutting edge gaming PC to play most indie games out there?

    The second thing that bother me is some of the charm is lost with the new graphical style. I’m not saying it should have remained pixely and in 16 colors, far from it, what bother me is the new graphics somewhat lack the dark and gritty, sometimes tormenting atmosphere of the original version. Maybe my imagination filled the blank wrongly, but many places in the game had this cool and spooky atmosphere, the many corpses in the backgrounds of the Corridor of Extinction spring to my mind here, I fear that this will unfortunately be lost with the new graphical style. But we have yet to see backgrounds beyond the 3 first dungeons, it could be different later on.

    Anyway, if this can lead to the creation of a sequel to the original game (one that will hopefully not be just for Wiiware), I’m all for it.

    To the many people saying “If you don’t like remakes, play the original and stop whining.”: We are not opposed to the idea of a remake, we simply want this remake to be well done.

  • geist

    And how the hell can you tell if it’s well done based on a short teaser trailer?

  • geist

    “tormenting atmosphere of the original version.”

    Also, guess what? A trailer isn’t going to have that. It’s meant to be exciting and generate hype for the game.

  • Bob

    Kind of late, but after spending some more time with La-Mulana, I take back what I said about artificial difficulty. There is some genuine old school challenge, and nothing too cheap either (besides something occasional, and having to grind a bit and searching for cash).

    And “tormenting atmosphere”? Sure…whatever you say. Comments like this, exaggerating it’s depth and difficulty, are why I stayed away from La-Mulana for so long – a shame because I really like it. I agree that it’s definitely a fun old school style game though. I emphasize “fun” and “game”.

    And here’s two real good reasons why it would be a pretty bad idea to sell the remake on the PC – people can play the free version and people are cheap.

  • Sparky

    Part of what I like about low fidelity art is that allows people some freedom in imagining what the game looks like. It’s somewhere between seeing a photo and reading a text description.

    High fidelity art tends to be more explicit. This isn’t a bad thing, really. It is rather different, though.

  • tomelin

    “Did it just get awesome in here?”


  • Dominic White

    @Bob – just how far have you played? The first hour is difficult, until you get the hang of the platforming and find the Holy Grail. Once you’re past that, it’s plain sailing for a while, until you start to realise just how gigantic the game is.

    It’s no exaggeration that a first playthrough will easily take 20+ hours, and a lot of that time will be spent tearing your hair out over the puzzles, which get absolutely EVIL later on.

  • notext

    It is pretty cheap, although I didn’t really have any gripes until the confusion gate, which was full of trial and error (put the weight on the skeleton!) From there it does get bad. The game makes a point early on of punishing the player for thoughtlessly whipping at random walls; then it requires you to whip through a random wall to proceed in the back fire temple.

    It’s definitely fun for the first 4 bosses though. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone who didn’t have both a manual and a walkthrough though; having it on wiiware seems a little weird. I expect some pretty major changes.

  • MasterShake

    Why are fans being demonized for wanting a faithful port again? Isn’t the success of a port determined by how well it emulates the original version? I don’t care about the graphics and all that jazz (as long as it’s not a complete downgrade ala Megaman 9 with their shitty solid black BGs) but what I DO care is that the original experience is retained. If you’re going to take a game and change its core gameplay, haven’t you change what defines that game?

    If you’re going to remove core parts of La-Mulana like the MSX system, then don’t call it “La-Mulana”. Call it a fk’n Indiana Jones game and sell it as a standalone. But as long as you’re using the name of La-Mulana, fans will look for the same experience because that’s what’s being promised.

    Sounds completely reasonable to me.

  • lol

    Just like how Fallout 3 isn’t a Fallout game right? Oh wait, yeah it is. Overzealous fanboys ftl. Doesn’t matter what game it is, they’ll always use the same argument and not enjoy it for what it is.

  • Nemo07

    @MasterShake – I guess it depends on your definition of “success.” A completely faithful port is likely to have poorer sales in comparison to a less faithful port due to it alienating all of the non-fans not accustomed to La Mulana’s sometimes psychotic difficulty.

    As stated earlier, the typing parts would be an absolute bitch to do on the Wii (not to mention exceptionally jarring if you all of a sudden have to stop everything and bring up a keyboard that’s likely to take up the entire screen). That mechanic only works smoothly on a PC and would *have* to be changed on the Wiiware version.

    (Indie) Games are becoming more mainstream… Bawwwwwww….

  • Rad

    No wonder it’s probably not coming out on the PC. Indie fans appear second only to comic book fans in terms of whining

  • geist

    This goes for any hardcore fanbase. They are always resistant to even change. Even changing a single minute thing is enough to brew an entire shitstorm.

  • geist

    *even the smallest

  • Anthony Flack

    What gets me is the way that people seem to feel like it’s their god-given right to have a Windows version of every single game that gets made. OR ELSE.

    Maybe we should start releasing games on two platforms: Xbox 360 and Mac OS.

  • blueskirt

    Since when wishing for games to get released on as many consoles and systems as possible and reach more players is a bad thing? You’re free to wish for an Xbox/Mac/iphone/PSN version too if you want one.