Sunday, September 29, 2013

GoldenEye: Legend & Legacy

Last year, when I took a break from editing the GoldenEye missions, I got somewhat sidetracked by the incredibly addictive GoldenEye X. (The Perfect Dark Mod that incorporates all the GoldenEye weapons, characters, and levels, which has enabled players to re-live an enhanced experience of GoldenEye 007).

With a bit of time to kill, I downloaded the latest GoldenEye X patch, and went hunting for thrills. Coming up with twisted combinations of opponents & weapons, I've found myself playing Random arenas just for kicks...  Which led to a brief update of my GoldenEye Tribute Page to include a brief introduction to GoldenEye X, which includes a "Simulant Reference Chart"...

GoldenEye is more than just a game to me... It was a big cornerstone of my ill-spent youth, with fond memories of blasting friends to death for endless hours of harmless fun. Even guys who were "too cool" for video games were obsessing over this game, planning weekend deathmatches, or raving over the previous weekend's GoldenEye session.

Multiplayer mode of the original GoldenEye 007 contained weapon sets were frozen, a handful of single player maps, with no CPU opponents available. Despite these shortcomings, the game's Multiplayer mode was still incredible...

The things that have been done with the GoldenEye X project are simply unreal. But perhaps what's even more intriguing and awe-inspiring, is how GoldenEye X has been crafted so tastefully and elegantly. In the latest releases of  GoldenEye X, (especially with the new intro and music, displays and sound effects), the Perfect Dark atmosphere has been replaced by the classic Bond aura that we all know and love.

I definitely hope to see the Cradle and Frigate remain in future releases of the GoldenEye X patch. Even if they're imperfect, it's a thrill to have them available in the menu.

Congrats to Wreck, SubDrag, and the other skilled individuals that made GoldenEye X possible. The never-ending enjoyment of my favorite game has taken me back to a better time... A simpler time.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Super Mario Bros 3: All Star Form

Obsessed with the Differences in the Super Mario Bros 3 Re-make...

Graphical makeovers were given to the classic Super Mario games when the original "trilogy" was remade for the Super Mario All-Stars version on the SNES. Characters, surfaces and background were all re-textured, along with a few other changes.

 Just like when "enhancements" are made to the original Star Wars films, people often get annoyed when certain things are changed in a re-release. I grew up with the original classics, and I've since played every level of Super Mario Bros 3 in the Super Mario All Stars version... Which of course, inspired me to go back and play through the original NES classic...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Super Mario Bros 3: Interesting Stuff

Tidbits of Super Mario Bros 3 Trivia...

Examining a few of the intriguing little details that help keep me fascinated with Super Mario Bros 3... Some of them I've known about forever, some of them I'm just learning about now...

Monday, September 9, 2013

SMB3: Letters from the Princess

A Second Glance at Ye Olde Messages...

Upon rescuing the King of each world in Super Mario Bros 3, his Royal Majesty will present you with a message from the Princess.

The Dame speaks in code... Apparently, it's common knowledge that the messages seem to be out of order... Some clues are obvious, except for the strange hint at the end of World 3.

World 1:

"If you see any ghosts, be careful. They will give chase if you turn away."
(Enclosed Jewel: P-Wing)

One of the few messages that doesn't seem out of order... Boo ghosts tend to show up in the 2nd World, and that's where Mario is headed next.

World 2:
"You can stomp on your enemies using Kuribo's shoe."
(Enclosed Jewel: Jugem's Cloud)

Premature Information...? From a beginner's perspective, they might wonder what the hell she's talking about. Kuribo's shoe isn't found until world 5, yet Mario receives this message after completing World 2... So it's not a useless hint...

But as for help, inspiration, or encouragement after his battles...
Mario might have preferred to see a Princess Peach's pinup photo instead...
(Miss Peach Pinup Poster by Don't Blink Tees )

World 3:
"The White Block contains magic powers that will enable you to defeat your enemies."
(Enclosed Jewel: Music Box)

"White Block... Magic Powers... Defeat Enemies" I haven't been able to find a definitive answer on this one... A popular belief is that it refers to the Ice Blocks, a favorite weapon of Buster Beetle... I've heard others claim it could be the bouncing note blocks, Jugems Cloud, or even the Music Box that puts the Hammer Brothers to sleep...

I tend to believe that "white block" refers to the odd white blocks that appear in various worlds... There are 5 or 6 of these unusual white blocks in the game, and one of them conveniently leads to a Whistle.

Getting the Warp Whistle in World 1-3.
In addition to this clue about the magic white block in this letter, the Princess also offers another hint to the Warp whistle in her World 6 letter. It seems odd that they would "Double Up" on the clues... Unless it's to ensure the player is pointed in the right direction, in a time before the Internet, when secrets had to be shared mouth to mouth... Perhaps it was decided that a couple mentions were needed to ensure the player would be able discover the first Warp Whistle.

 World 4:
"The thief who stole the Whistle has escaped to the east side of the sand dunes."
(Enclosed Jewel: P-Wing)

A little late for this hint, princess... We can't easily go back to the dessert at this point of the game. Unless it's encouragement to play the game again to see what we may have missed. I know that among friends, the Whistles in World 1 were found relatively soon, while the Desert Whistle was "discovered" later on...

World 5:
"Be careful in the Ice World. The creatures trapped in the ice will come to life if warmed."
(Enclosed Jewel: Jugem's Cloud)

This message from the Princess actually falls into place. Mario has just completed world 5, and he's on his way to World 6, which is Ice Land.

World 6:
"I am well. Please retrieve the magic Whistle hidden in the darkness at the end of the Third world."
(Enclosed Jewel: P-Wing)

Some people misinterpreted the clue to literally mean the game's third world, the Island World. But there's nothing hidden there, so the clue must pertain to World 1-3, which is the third stage in the game. Still, this message arrives rather late... Perhaps we need to shoot the messenger for his tardiness in bringing in the message to the castle...

World 7: We all know why there's no Princess letter here... If you're scratching you're head, then you definitely need to go back and play this awesome game again... I don't care if it's more than 20 years old! Super Mario Bros 3 is a classic, a bestseller, and easily better than half the stuff they're coming out with now...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Back to Mario 3...

Kicking a Koopa Shell to kill the sun...
I never questioned how truly bizarre this is until now.
Super Mario Bros 3 is one of the best Mario games ever made. Deciding to go back to play the game all the way through the 8th world to explore it all again more than 20 years later was definitely well worth it.

So many hidden little secrets, especially in the 1st world alone. All this was first experienced back in the days before the Internet, when secrets were learned firsthand, and then shared among friends. Some secrets were deliberate cause and effect in a level, while other things like the magical Coin Ship seemed to appear completely at random (until The Players Guide revealed the specifics).

I played a bit of the original classic, but opted for the Super Mario All-Stars version so I could actually save my progress, all the while collecting random screenshots here and there.

As a sidenote, I also just happened to find an article called "Mario in Japan", which explains the meanings behind the names of "Kuribo's Shoe" and "Jugem's Cloud", as well as a bunch of other neat stuff:

It's Rocky Wrench...
Man, how I hated Rocky Wrench!

Time for a fair fight against those Hammer Brother pricks...


Little Castle of Horrors!
I guess all that fire and lava really gets the Piranha Plants in the mood...

I've always thought that Stretch looks like Boo Diddly...

I always thought that the King in World 3 looks like Mario...
Upon researching it, I found an article that shows something interesting about the final islands in World 3...
The way the four islands are sized and positioned, it actually resembles Japan! No joke...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Evolutionary Power...

I've lost touch with a lot of things I enjoyed when I was younger. (Thanks largely to all the pesky trials that "life" keeps throwing at me)... So it comes as no surprise that I'm just learning that Nintendo Power published its' final issue in December of 2012.

All the coolest games were from the 1990s anyway, which is the main reason I elected not to renew my Nintendo Power subscription in 2001... Which incidentally, was right before the Detstar Gaming Network came to be.

Why am I, an antiquated, ex-gamer ranting on about this? I don't know. Why are you still reading this far? That's a question for both of us. I guess I had a revelation that I felt like typing out.

Truth is, there likely never would have been a Detstar if there hadn't been Nintendo Power...

Let's start back in 1990. Super Mario Bros 3 was the most amazing game that most of us had ever seen. The Nintendo Power Strategy Guide for Super Mario Bros 3 was like a bible. I still have my copy of the book, all worn, taped, and barely together... (But all the pages are there!) Countless secrets and full color maps stuffed in there...

But that book basically set the standard for me on what a guide should be... Ever since, I feel as if many strategy guides just show you all the basic stuff, but don't get into the real secrets. The guides will help anyone complete a game... But there never seemed to be any substance to satisfy a seasoned player...

Fast forward to 1997, and GoldenEye 007. I was immediately hooked. As a fan, I bought the players guide. I wasn't expecting anything special, and therefore wasn't surprised to find a standard guide. Fine for beginners, but definitely not enough to satisfy an avid player who'd already beaten the game before owning it.

Hence the creation of detailed strategy pages and maps that eventually became the GoldenEye website, which evolved into Detstar. The goal of creating a "guide" for players who had completed the game, but weren't ready to put it down, still craving more secrets, tricks, glitches, mysteries, things to find, and fun things to try...

I'll always cherish the value of a good book or magazine... But the advantage to online publishing is that new pages and updates can be added indefinitely... The never-ending content seemed to essentially feed itself, with contributions from thousands of readers, which led me to create countless pages... Eventually creating what, at the time, was the most comprehensive GoldenEye 007 guide in existence. At times, I really wanted to go back and re-write half of what I had written... After the game had been out for a decade, half of the pages seemed like they were written by a teenager...

It's amazing to see that so many people have taken it to the next step, documenting and photographing every single in-game item and character, and modifying my favorite game in ways I never dreamed possible.

I've since considered that my young mind may have imagined the Super Mario Bros 3 players guide to be more amazing then it actually was... But I've played Super Mario Bros 3 as recently as this winter, and I still maintain that it's got to be one of the most complete guides ever published.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Picked Up Some Ammo...

Blast from the past:
Photo of an ammo crate similar to one I found
In the process of cleaning out an old workshop, I just happened to uncover several metal ammunition boxes from World War II. The shells are long gone, and none of them are in great condition mind you, but there's definitely some historic value.

Not only do they match the retro look of ammunition boxes found in GoldenEye, but they're a chilling reminder of the war against Hitler and Nazi Germany.

Green "metal" ammo boxes from GoldenEye.
The wooden textured crates were likely designed first,
with some of them rendered green for a military look.

Most of the metal ammo boxes are dark and square, but one of them just happens to be a wide green rectangular box. That very style of munitions crate was also the inspiration behind the green ammo boxes from GoldenEye 007.

(The purple and yellow ammo crates used in Perfect Dark looked horrible. Futuristic? Maybe... Cool looking? Definitely not.)

 Collectors will sometimes buy them for a few hundred bucks, but I just like having 'em because they're freakin' cool.

Maybe I'll clean one of them  up and keep some of my ammo in there...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bits & Pieces of Eight...

Little Mario, All Fired Up!
After all these years, it's hard to believe I never even knew
about all the hidden glitches in the first Super Mario adventure.
Exploring Lesser Known Secrets of Super Mario Bros.
 After completing every level in the original Super Mario Bros, I went on a little sidequest to explore some of the lesser known secrets and glitches that have been discovered over the years. Much like listening to an old CD and finding some bonus tracks you never knew existed, it's hard to believe that this stuff has been on my game cartridge for years, waiting to be discovered.

Read full article: Bits & Pieces of Eight
Exploring The Lesser Known Secrets of Super Mario Bros

See also: Super Mario Bros Revisted.
Re-living the game's most memorable moments.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Super Mario Madness...

NES - Super Mario Bros.  (2nd Quest) World 8
by DarkEvil87
While playing Super Mario All-Stars, after completing the second quest in the original Super Mario Bros, I was curious to see if the revised ending was anything like the original NES game...

(Countless years of experiencing with mind-enhancing video games has left anything played in the 80's to be pretty hazy)

I was lucky enough to find footage of possibly one of the best NES Mario players out there, finishing the game in style, and conquering the entire 8th world in 4.46.

The sickest footage of the clip is at 1.49, where he performs delicate hops to avoid criss-crossing Bullet Bills and a Buzzy Beetle, while alternately nabbing coins from a multi-coin block between jumps. You gotta see it to believe it! If you're an oldschool Mario fan, take 5 minutes to re-live the Mario adventure that started it all.

Super Mario Bros (2nd Quest) World 8
by DarkEvil87

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Preoccupied with 1985...

Super Mario Bros:
Only Fire Mario can unmask King Koopa!
Using fireballs will reveal various foes posing as Bowser...
 Oldschool Mario kicks ass! Sure, new Mario games are epic adventures... But the original games are classic. I was playing Super Mario All-Stars for fun, and somehow got hooked on the original Super Mario Bros, and ended up playing through the entire game.

(View Screenshots Photo Album)

I recently discovered that even on the original NES, defeating any of the Bowsers in the first 7 castles with fireballs will turn them into various enemies before they fall into the lava pit... The very first Bowser turns into a Goomba, while Lakitu is the real boss behind castle #5. I can't believe I never knew this...

The backgrounds and graphics were also updated in Super Mario All-Stars, with a fortified castle wall serving as an appropriate backdrop for World 8-3, right before Bowser's castle.

Complete Super Mario Bros, and the Princess sends you on a "Second Quest". (Basically the same adventure all over again, the game has replaced all Goombas with Buzzy Beetles, and Koopa Troopas now move quicker.) In the Super Mario All-Stars ending of the first Super Mario Bros game, after defeating Bowser Koopa, a Super Mushroom falls from the sky so that full-sized Mario can share a dignified kiss with the Princess... (Kinda like the Mushroom Kindgom equivalent of Viagra...)

Super Mario All-Stars ending has the Princess is dangling from a cage over a lava pit, with a slight update in text. It's about time we got a room, Princess..

(View Super Mario Bros: Screenshots Photo Album)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Wii Bit of GoldenEye Testing...

Though I don't recommend modifying your Nintendo Wii software, the system can be used to play SNES and N64 ROMS...

After loading up a modded GoldenEye 007 on the big screen, I got to see my favorite N64 game, fully customized, played using a GameCube controller on the Nintendo Wii. It's like evolution had gone full circle.

Completely customized missions/multiplayer maps, even the ones that other people have made... Including Goldeneye X, shown here.

It's not difficult, just involves multiple of steps. GoldenEye ROMS can be edited using the GoldenEye/Perfect Dark Setup Editor from After new levels are added, the ROM file is saved to an SD card. The game is accessed via the Homebrew Channel, and played on an N64 emulator like Wii64.

Of course, my excitement dwindled as I approached a guard... The framerate starts to lag bigtime, followed by loud, metallic "vinyl tunnel" grinding sound effects that make me want to keep the game on mute. But hell, I didn't even expect it to load. At least I can walk around and explore levels I've modified, or new ones that I've downloaded. So close, yet so far!

There could be some potential... I'd like to play fully customized Multiplayer GoldenEye on the couch, just like the good old days... I gotta wonder if anyone's actually gotten it to work without the horrible lag or grinding sound effects...