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Live Blogs Let's Watch: Select Episodes of Cinematech (The Original Series)
BearyScary2013-09-15 20:59:06

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Sidekicks to the Forefront

Cinematech Episode 184: “Sidekicks”

Games with co-op and/or notable sidekicks and/or a teamwork theme.

Timecode: 1:49: A Boy and His Blob: Trouble in Blobolonia for the NES. In this game, the boy's sidekick is a blob that can assume the form and function of various tools depending on what flavor of jellybean the boy feeds him. For example: Tangerine jellybeans turn the blob into a trampoline; Vanilla ones turn him into an umbrella that the boy can use to safely float down; and Cola ones turn the blob into a floating bubble that the boy can stand in.

2:35: Here's a weird one based on one of the most popular franchises of all time: Batman: The Rise of Sin Tzu (multiplatform, 2003). This was a co-op brawler based on Batman: The Animated Series and introduced Sin Tzu, a character designed by Jim Lee, who was penciling the commercially successful “Hush” storyline in Batman comics at the time. The game itself was criticized for being Nintendo Hard and we all know how much of an impact Sin Tzu left on the DC Comics universe, but X-Play didn't think it was that bad, much to their own surprise.

3:48: The Adventures of Cookie and Cream, (PS2, Agetec, 2001), a very cute co-op game starring two bunnies named Cookie and Cream. One of the bosses included a giant monster made out of musical instruments called Cymborine. The Final Boss was the Moon itself, which I think has to do with the strange Japanese myth that bunnies make cheese on the moon.

Reminds me of the bunny-themed gang early on in Dragon Ball that Son Goku “defeated”by using his Power Pole to stretch all the way up to the Moon and leaving them there, where they probably died eventually. Bunch of bunny gangsters, send them to the moon!

TAoC&C was remade as Cookie & Cream for the Nintendo DS in 2007.

12:07: Secret of Evermore, the strange SNES action RPG by Square's American division that was supposed to be a spiritual successor to Secret of Mana. Instead of the fantasy trio of Mana, Evermore starred a modern-day American boy and his dog as they get swept into Evermore, a world consisting of many other culturally and technologically diverse worlds. In each world, the boy's dog gets a new look and the boy gets access to new weapons and spells. Honestly, one of the cooler things about the game was the moody title screen.

The game is a curiosity to be sure, but more games like Mana are never a bad thing, even if Evermore arguably isn't as good as Mana. The game's script was written by someone who later went on to write for Nintendo Power in happier times.

15:22: Whiplash (multiplatform, 2003), a platformer with a strange, sardonic theme: the game starred two animal test subjects of the Genron Corporation lab, who seek to escape the facility and to help as many of their fellow test subjects as possible. The main character is a weasel named Spanx and he uses a manic, indestructible bunny named Redmond to which he is handcuffed as a makeshift bludgeon against Genron scientists and Genron equipment. You go, animals! Stick it to The Man!

As it turned out, before the game was released, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Research Defence Society, the Chairman of the British House of Commons, and the Police Federation of England and Wales took the game seriously and thought it promoted animal cruelty.

18:47: Clips from Kingdom Hearts 1 showing royal guard captain Goofy and court wizard Donald Duck, the two mainstay sidekicks of Sora. Kingdom Hearts lets Sora team up with a variety of Disney and Final Fantasy characters. In Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, he also encounters characters from The World Ends with You, so that's pretty cool. KH as a whole works far better than most assumed it would when it was first announced.

Reader Participation: Who are the best sidekicks/duos in gaming? I'm partial to majorly bromantic pairs, such as Frank West and Chuck Greene from Dead Rising and Niko and Roman Bellic from Grand Theft Auto IV. Vitriolic Best Buds are the best.

As for co-op games, I like Left 4 Dead, Army of Two, and Resident Evil 5 (Blasphemy! Burn the Witch!!). Tales Series games are much more fun with up to three other people to assume the roles of the other characters in your party. This is what separates the Tales Series from other RPGs more than anything else to me.

Bonus Fun: A Boy and His Blob on The Cutting Room Floor wiki

Hardcore Gaming 101's review of SoE

Link to a video Let's Play of SoE

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