Popular games are released all the time - Call of Duty has a new title annually, for instance. But sometimes they aren't released quickly enough. So developers who want to show their love and support of titles get to work in Adobe Flash and recreate them. Here are my favourites.
I came across this gem long before I even played Portal. I was aware of it, but not big on spending money on puzzle games - past experience taught me I'd get annoyed at the fifth puzzle and shelf it forever. Luckily The Orange Box allowed me to later play it guilt free.
Portal: The Flash Version got me thinking in portals in a way I never imagined. I played it twice through in the first day, I enjoyed it so much. The simple 2D graphics were fun and functional, it did anything but take itself seriously and the controls were so easy to use. Each level takes place in one screen and it doesn't need more than that. It's simple, but well worth replaying over and over.
I first played the original Sonic The Hedgehog at a friend’s house. Thankfully my parents were friends with their parents and spent one night every week there. Which meant I spent time after school and in the evenings playing Sonic - and wondering why it seemed like I lost when I reached END in the Special Zone… I was eight, give me a break.
Although there are only four levels and two bosses (and no Special Zone thankfully), this is one of the best Sonic games ever made in Flash. The title isn’t bluster, as it really does play like a very good port of Sonic Advance. Which is fitting as the sprites are from those games. But where this differs, apart from length, is replayability. It doesn’t believe in save games, instead giving you Passwords. It also gives you not just Sonic and Tails, but Knuckles, Cream, Amy and even Shadow. Each plays differently - but all are susceptible to the deadly spikes.
There isn’t a gamer alive who hasn’t played one Mario title. Super Mario Bros. 3 was my first entry into the franchise and I’ve been missing the flying racoon (Tanooki) suit ever since. Whilst not featuring a Tanooki suit, Super Mario 64 did bring a load of goodies with it. The first time seeing Mario in 3D on the Nintendo 64 was fascinating.
Although you couldn’t call it 3D without lying completely, the game does use the gorgeous Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Yoshi’s Island sprites. There is the usual running and jumping, but there is also triple-jumping, spinning and even the FLUDD from Super Mario Sunshine. In true Mario fashion, it features a storyline where Bowser kidnaps Peach, but it is well written and the cutscenes are very well animated - be warned though it is quite buggy. It features a level designer, meaning you can do more than just play everyone else’s Mario. Like Ultimate Flash Sonic, this is truly the ultimate 2D Super Mario game.
I didn’t play the Mega Man X series until long after it had begun, but I had played Mega Man 2: Dr. Wily’s Revenge on the Game Boy years prior. It beat me like a dirty rug. Sadly, even with years of gaming experience - Mega Man X beat me too. Thankfully I got quite good at RPGs whilst I was getting somehow worse at platformers.
While the other entries in this have been the exact same type of game, this one takes a departure. The sprites are from the Mega Man franchise and you still run and jump - but you don’t have enemies to avoid shoot: until you get into the turn-based battles! The storyline comes out as you progress and although it follows from Chapter 0, you don’t need to have played that first. As with Super Mario 63, it is well written and animated smoothly and the fights are decent.
I still haven’t played Super Smash Bros., but I played the hell out of Super Smash Bros. Melee when it was released. Being able to pause and move the camera around was a great source of fun, as well as the masses of replay value both with friends and redoing the single player with every character.
Although Super Smash Flash doesn’t have a story mode, the Stadium makes a return as well as events a-plenty and even a training mode. There is a Group play option, but the game is still technically a demo and in beta, so playing against others online will come in the next update. The most staggering thing about this is the amount of stages it has. Casino Night Zone, Planet Namek, Dracula’s Castle, even on top of a Nintendo 3DS. There are eleven “Past Stages” which are classic levels from the official games, and a further thirty-three levels created especially. There are 24 characters including several old favourites - Mario, Samus, Zelda - as well as a lot of newcomers such as Goku from Dragon Ball Z and Sora from Kingdom Hearts! The game is downloadable as well as playable in your browser, with online play coming in the next couple of months, so whereas the others are fun to play, this is definitely one to keep an eye on.