Currently reading: Gaming Gems: Platformers from My Childhood
Gaming Gems: Platformers from My Childhood
Posted on 30th December, 2017 - By Jonathan Hezzlewood
Now, for the purposes of this gaming gems list, I have limited myself to one entry per franchise.
This list wasn’t easy to put together, as I have sooo many favourites; that I will no-doubt come to mention in the future. But, I was asked to choose the 5 platforming games that have stuck with me; since playing them as a child.
So here goes…
Aladdin is my favourite Disney film of all time. An awesome story of a street-rat nobody who became a somebody, thanks to the discovery of the magical lamp, and help from the Genie within.
Rarely does such a great movie get a great video-game tie-in. But in this case, it does.
From exploring Agrabah Market, through the Cave of Wonders, to the venomous finale in Jafar’s Palace, Aladdin is an exciting 2D platforming game with an awesome soundtrack, and an aesthetic that is very loyal to the movie.
Having limited money and only a few games in my SEGA Mega-Drive collection, I completed this game many many time.
My favourite levels have to be the Agrabah Market with its colourful characters, and Sultan’s Palace; jumping on the back of the flamingos.
Another classic Disney game and next on my list of gaming gems, is none-other than QuackShot.
Utilising characters from the DuckTales cartoon series and clearly inspired by legendary fictional archaeologist; Indiana Jones, you play as Donald Duck as you traverse exotic locations across the globe, with help from his three plucky treasure-hunting nephews; Huey, Dewey and Louie. All the while, Big Bad Pete is on his trail.
I remember playing this game a lot as child. But, my very first experience of this game – before I owned my own copy – was when I played it with my Auntie Samantha, on her Mega-Drive.
We played for hours, but I always struggled to get past Ducky Gang Hideout.
#3. Super Mario 64
Where to begin with Super Mario 64.
The game is one of the finest 3D platforming games in existence, and although the graphics do look rather bland and crude – when compared to the likes of Super Mario Odyssey – the gameplay itself, still stands tall against the releases of today – over 20 years later.
With 15 worlds (stages) to explore, and 6 ‘Stars’ within each, this game kept me busy for many many hours. Plus, lets not forget the 3 brilliant Bowser battles too.
Overall, the game had a vast and varied selection of areas to explore, each with their own unique challenges and interesting characters to meet.
I still remember the first time I had collect all 120 Stars, and then jumped in the cannon and shot myself on top of Princess Peach’s Castle, to meet none-other than Yoshi himself. Just, brilliant!
#2. Sonic & Knuckles
Sonic & Knuckles has to be my favourite 2D Sonic game from the SEGA Mega-Drive era – don’t worry, I’m not counting Sonic Mania, I’m purely considering the games from the 90’s. This really is a gaming gem.
I played this game for the first time in October 1994, after my mum and dad handed me my very own copy of Sonic & Knuckles – which I didn’t even know existed.
I set my Mega-Drive up in the living room (or lounge, if you prefer), and played the game for what felt like hours.
On my first play-through, I remember getting to Act 2 of Lava Reef Zone (as Sonic of-course), before I had to turn it off and go to bed.
I love all the levels from Sonic & Knuckles, especially when you got to take an alternative route as Knuckles, when playing-through again.
If I had to pick a favourite, I’d probably say Death Egg Zone just about has it. Not only was the level challenging, but it had an amazingly cool soundtrack – making what happened on-screen; even more intense.
Here’s my No. 1. Banjo-Kazooie is without-doubt, my favourite platforming game of all time.
Released in July 1998 (almost 20 years ago), I came across this game purely by chance.
At the age of 14, I bought the game second-hand – cartridge only I might add – for £10. I was after a new game to play, as I had clocked the afore mentioned Super Mario 64 many times, and my friend’s uncle was secretly getting rid of the game, because he was sick of his own child playing it constantly.
Cruel I know, but I was grateful for the offer, as this became the game I played continuously on my N64.
Sure, I’ve no-doubt part of it is pure nostalgia, but you can’t deny the game had a level of charm as well as depth to the characters and worlds they lived within.
Collecting those elusive Jiggies to open-up and explore new worlds, to eventually rescue Banjo‘s sister; Tooty.
Not only did the detailed worlds and colourful, comical characters stick with me, but they also made me want to explore every nook-and-cranny to make sure I didn’t miss out on anything.
Exploring the evolving Hub World of Gruntilda’s Lair was an adventure in itself. The nearer you got to a new world, the aesthetics, music and creatures would change to suit.
Plus, Click Clock Wood world was the first time I’d seen a game incorporate the mentality of affecting your surroundings – taking a certain action in one season, would then have an impact on that same area in another season.
Lastly, there is no better video-game soundtrack out there. Thanks, Grant Kirkhope.
Thanks to the brilliant level design, awesome characters, strong story and stellar musical score, Banjo-Kazooie is my No.1 gaming gem – for platformers at least.
Do You have any Gaming Gems?
What platforming gems do you look-back-on with quiet admiration? Are any on the list above?
Let me know in the comments below.
Oh, and make sure you have Gone Full Geek for Gaming.