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WiiWare: Cave Story Review Box Art
Action Adventure

WiiWare: Cave Story Review

It was 2008 when Nintendo announced that Cave Story would be making its way to WiiWare. With the time mounting and multiple release windows announced and then missed, the hype for this once-PC-only game just kept growing. The question is, then, did Cave Story live up to the hype surrounding it. The short answer is a resounding YES!

What Wii owners are getting in this $12 package is the original platformer/shooter game with upgraded graphics and re-scored music. Cave Story purists can rest at ease with the fact that both the original graphics and music are selectable. While it may be tempting to stick with the old favorites, the new music in the game captures the feel of the original compositions but also expands them significantly. The tracks feature much more subtlety now. They may not change up the gameplay any, but the sound upgrade is an appreciated touch. While there may be some problems with a missing rhythm track, the music is still top-notch no matter which setting players go with.

The original game would be well worth the price of admission alone. Hearkening back to SNES classics like Super Metroid, Cave Story is a masterpiece of game design. Players control a robot who has lost his memory who wakes up alone and weak. While this sounds like a trite and cliche start to a video game story, the game is anything but. Several plot twists occur throughout the course of the adventure, leading to a satisfying conclusion that feels fresh. Players progress at a constant tempo, getting more powerful weapons while the story crescendos at the same speed. The pace of upgrading the character is flawless, as new weapons will continue to be the most effective up until the next weapon is found. While the game can be tough, deaths never feel cheap, and even after the third time of dying against a boss, players will still want to take another run.

If the game is a little too hard, though, players can play the original version on easy mode, in which all enemies and hazards do half damage. Hardcore masochists, however, can play hard mode, which removes all life upgrades, essentially forcing players to complete the game with 3 HP-- a daunting task for even the most hardcore. Nothing has been taken out of the original game. Players can find all the secrets if they know where to look, from Curly Brace's unmentionables to a reference to Pixel's earlier game, Ikachan. But new difficulty modes are not the only addition to the Wii package.

To add more value to the purchase price, Nicalis included three additional modes for free. Originally planned as DLC, Sanctuary Time-Attack, Boss Attack, and Curly Story all add extra reasons to go back and enjoy the game. In Sanctuary Time-Attack Mode, speed runners who want a customizable journey through Hell (that's an in-game level, not a metaphor) can pick what weapons and how much health they have before rushing headlong into a fight against final boss Ballos. It's not a mode for the faint of heart. Unfortunately, players cannot pick up the Snake, Nemesis, or Missiles in this mode, but otherwise it's a great option if players just want to see how hardcore they can be. In Boss Attack players don't have to worry about navigating the various maps as they can go straight for the pattern-memorizing goodness of boss battles. This mode is also greatly customizable as players can choose which items and weapons to pick up as they would be available in the actual story. Players are also timed in this made. Curly Story is probably the least ambitious of the extras, as all it offers the player is the ability to sprite swap Curly Brace for the normal hero. There are some tiny alterations to the dialogue, but it feels the least robust of the modes and could have been more interesting to play the game from Curly Brace's perspective simultaneous to the events of the actual story.

There's really not much more to say about the game. Nicalis did a fantastic job of turning one of the best indie games of all time into something Wii owners could be proud to download. The game is a blast to play and should not be missed by anyone who owns a Wii.

final score 9.8/10

Staff Avatar Matthew Tidman
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"It's dangerous to go alone! Take this."

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