Cave Story – Doukoutsu Monogatari (PC)
Doukoutsu Monogatari aka. Cave Story
Cave Story is , in my humble option, one of the greatest works of freeware that I have ever encountered.
Designed, programmed and scored by a one man developer “Pixel”, Cave Story is a game that bleeds nostalgia. From the first scenes, up to one of several alternate endings – you may find yourself saying “I have played this before”. Many people consider Cave Story a loving ode to classics like Metroid, Castlevania, and Mega Man – and I have a hard time disagreeing…and that’s a GOOD thing.
Cave Story is a hand drawn, sprite based 2-D platformer. The gameplay is non-linear, weapons are upgradeable, there are several power-ups to be found – but one COULD complete the game without upgrading a single weapon. The fact that the game is designed in a way that 100% completion is completely an option. I won’t delve into too much detail, but at a few junctions in the game, you have the option to end it right there….or press on for more challenge and a completely different ending.
Gameplay aside, Cave Story is a feast for the eyes. The hand drawn sprites are beautiful, cute even. Some may disagree but Cave Story is the best looking NES game that was never made. Looking at it, one may assume that the game is a product of the early 1990s…not the mid 2000s. Colorful, diverse, and lush, the game’s several environments stirred up in me the wonder that I experienced as a young child playing Mega Man or Metroid. The game really struck a nerve. Although the game is 2-D and sprite based, the animation is smooth – there is ZERO glitching, and it runs flawlessly – even on older PCs.
The story is very Japanese – not a bad thing either. Avoiding spoilers here, I’m going to be very general. The main character is an android who wakes up inside a cave. Right away we meet a race of rabbit-like creatures – one of whom has gone missing. In order to escape the caves, you must help the rabbit-things…..and then all hell breaks loose. There is a mad scientist who’s brain is in a jar, there is what appears to be an anthropomorphic refrigerator who you will battle several times, there is an evil magician girl, there are reluctant heroes, dragons, guns and HUGE BOSSES. Trust me…play this game.
To top off the awesomeness that is Cave Story, throughout the entire journey the layer is treated to a wonderfully scored soundtrack. The theme itself is awesome, and as the game unfolds you will hear variations on that original theme. The sound is very well put together, and adds icing to the cave-cake.
I urge everyone to download and play Cave Story. A few hours of play will net you a basic ending, another hour and you’ll be rewarded with a better ending, and in roughly 4.5 hours I managed to get the REAL ending – fighting through several more bosses (and getting to witness the SPLENDOR of the FINAL boss). This game is a joy to play – every minute of it.
I wanted to get this review in before the Wii version is released and everyone and their sister exclaim that Cave Story is the best new game ever. Pixel needs serious recognition for his labor of love, so get out there and play it so you can still claim street cred that you played Cave Story before your 6 year old cousin. BUT, before you go…check out the screens and video below.