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Important Importables: Cave Story

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For an indie, Japanese computer game that’s seven years old, Cave Story has carved quite a place for itself in the hearts of gamers. If you try it, it’s easy to see why. The solid story, gameplay and quality of even the original release are what makes it such a memorable adventure. While the basic fundamentals are relatively simple, there are plenty of secrets that make the original worth playing. Meanwhile, the more modern adaptations also have their own little hallmarks that have helped endear this surprising game to a new audience.

Cave Story WiiWare

What’s Cave Story?

Cave Story, Doukutsu Monogatari in Japan, doesn’t really fit comfortably into just one genre. If you want to be general and narrow it down, it’s an action game created by an independent, Japanese developer named Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya. (Yes, the entire, original Windows game was created by a single man. It took him five years.) If you want to get technical, Cave Story encorporates elements from a number of genres and different games. There are definite RPG and adventure elements, since the main character, Quote, collects items, weapons (which can be leveled up) and sometimes has to solve problems and situations by completing simple puzzles or through non-violent means. It can also be compared to run-and-gun games like Mega Man, or considered a Metroidvania style game due to all the exploration that can be done on the floating island.

All of Cave Story takes part on a floating island. Players start off as an amnesiac boy who wakes up in a cave. He doesn’t know why he’s there, who he is or what he’s supposed to do. (His name is actually Quote, so we’ll go ahead and refer to him as that.) He walks out and sees some Mimiga, rabbit like creatures, in their village talking about how Sue is getting all the Mimiga in trouble because the Doctor is searching for her. Since Sue was transformed into a Mimiga, the Doctor keeps sending his minions Misery and Balrog to capture Mimigas hoping he’ll eventually grab her. This has lead to a drastic decrease in the Mimiga population and the head of the village wants to just turn Sue over. While Quote tries to meet Sue, Sue’s lone Mimiga friend Toriko is kidnapped. Quote then get involved in the situation, trying to help Sue, Sue’s family and the Mimiga.

Cave Story 3D 3DS

Cave Story iterations

Cave Story was originally released in Japan in 2004 as a free, indie, Windows PC game. Which meant that it was initially pretty difficult for people who didn’t read Japanese to play, since you need to understand at least some of the text to understand how to proceed through the game. The fan-translation group Aeon Genesis stepped in to help out and, a year later released an English translation. Chinese, French, German, Portugeuse and Spanish translations were released later. In addition, Cave Story was eventually ported to Macs by Nakiwo and Linux by Simon Parzer and Peter Mackay.

Then, in 2010, Cave Story received it’s first two ports. Nicalis and Pixel worked together to create enhanced WiiWare and DSiWare remakes. Both added an additional game modes, which included a Boss Rush, a Curly Brace mode and a time attack mode. The ports also featured enhanced graphics, rearranged music and an official English translation. There are even special surprises, should player decide to play Cave Story on their DSi or Wii on Halloween, Christmas Eve and Christmas.

There’s also one more version of Cave Story still to come. Pixel and NIS America have teamed up to bring Cave Story 3D to the 3DS on August 9, 2011. NIS America and Pixel still haven’t revealed what will be in this incarnation, but it will feature 3DS graphics. Also, the promotional materials for the game showed a Prinny, the NIS mascot and Disgaea star, wearing Quote’s outfit. I guess we’ll have to be patient and wait three more months to see how this version turns out!

COMING NEXT WEEK: Important Importables reviews the DS game Kurayami no Hate de Kimi o Matsu.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables talked about 5pb.

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