Author Archives: Alex De-Gruchy

My First Metroid – Super Metroid


Ignite the fireworks, hurl the confetti into the air, sound the trumpets and sacrifice in my honour whatever animal you have to hand, because it’s time for the final article (for the foreseeable future, at least) in my My First feature series, in which I’ve already covered Castlevania, The Legend of Zelda and Mega Man. For this final feature I decided to look at another long-running and beloved videogame series: Metroid. Specifically, Super Metroid, which I had easy access to via the magic of the Wii U Virtual Console.

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Can You Dig It? In Praise of Shovel Knight


Shovel Knight owes a great deal to the early Mega Man games on the Nintendo Entertainment System, yet it’s ironic that while my experiences to date with those Mega Man games were about as much fun as undergoing dental surgery performed by Pennywise the clown, Shovel Knight is a game I adore. Why is this? Well, seeing as you asked, I’ll tell you.

The debut title – thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign – from developer and publisher Yacht Club Games, Shovel Knight is a 2D side-scrolling platform game available for PC, 3DS and Wii U, and it’s the Wii U version I’ll be discussing in this feature.

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My First Mega Man – Mega Man 2 (and 3)


I recently wrote a two-part feature chronicling my Soul Level 1 playthrough of action-RPG Demon’s Souls (see it here and here). Needless to say, it was a tense, challenging and sometimes very difficult experience. “That was probably the toughest gaming experience I’ll have for a while,” I thought to myself afterwards.

Oh, past-Alex, you poor, naive fool…

Because not long after that, I played 2D platformers Mega Man 2 and 3. And while my Demon’s Souls Soul Level 1 playthrough was challenging, it never made me want to chew my own face off in frustration and rage the way these two Mega Man games did. Continue reading

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Overlooked Gem – Siren: Blood Curse


Horror is a genre that has existed within the videogame medium for the majority of its history and as a fan of horror games myself, it’s been good to see the recent high-profile resurgence of the genre in these still fairly early days of the latest console generation, as found in titles such as The Evil Within and Alien: Isolation. (Although publishers Bethesda and Sega should be ashamed of their greed in shoehorning season passes into these single-player, narrative-focused titles).

This resurgence has been good to see because although horror was certainly never a dead genre on seventh-generation consoles as some people have ignorantly and hyperbolically claimed, its presence did diminish during this generation. This was largely thanks to a number of publishers suddenly deciding that no one wanted to play horror games anymore, even though there was no real evidence to suggest that this was the case. For example, Resident Evil 4 was one of the most acclaimed games of the previous console generation while later on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the original Dead Space would expertly carry the survival horror torch, being both a critical and commercial success.

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A Journey Through Demon’s Souls at SL1 – Part 2


* Note: Spoilers ahead regarding some of the characters, locations, enemies, and events of Demon’s Souls.

* Part 1 of this 2-part article can be found here.


When last we left our valiant hero Lord Thrusticus, he was being murdered on a regular basis in my Soul Level 1 playthrough of Demon’s Souls. There must have been some kind of head injury involved at some point as I decided that it was a good idea to continue spending hour after hour throwing myself at the numerous harsh and deadly obstacles in my way, becoming frustrated and dying over and over again as I made progress at a pace that was often slow and gruelling. Videogames are fun, kids!

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A Journey Through Demon’s Souls At SL1 – Part 1


* Note: Spoilers ahead regarding some of the characters, locations, enemies, and events of Demon’s Souls.


The difficulty of the games in From Software’s Souls series is often exaggerated, with too great an emphasis placed on it by some of the lazier videogame “journalists” and others who can’t be bothered to acknowledge the numerous other facets besides difficulty that make up these games.

Because the fact is that Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls – not so much the sometimes cheap and lazy Dark Souls II, in all honesty – are challenging, sure, but on the whole they’re also fair. If you’re patient, if you concentrate, if you learn, it’s possible to overcome any obstacle these games can throw at you and emerge triumphant.

That’s what I told myself through gritted teeth as my character took a pickaxe to the face and died – again – while I attempted a Soul Level 1 playthrough of Demon’s Souls, anyway.

But let’s rewind a little.

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My First Legend of Zelda – The Wind Waker HD


Last month I wrote a feature (see it here for more context on this “My First” article series) on my first ever purchase and full playthrough of a Castlevania game with the fantastic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. But Castlevania wasn’t the only beloved and long-running videogame series which had largely passed me by over my many years of playing videogames, so I didn’t want to stop there. And with my Wii U being the first Nintendo console I’ve owned, this has finally given me the opportunity to properly experience some of these other series, one of which is Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda.

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Retrospective: ToeJam & Earl


Duh-duh-duh-duh-DUH duh-duh-duh-DUH duh-duh-duh DUH-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-DUH…


There probably aren’t too many pieces of videogame music catchy enough to stick in a player’s mind for over twenty years, but for me, ToeJam & Earl’s main theme is such a track. At the time of writing, I haven’t played the game in many years, but still that main theme remains clear as a bell in my head, as does much of the rest of the game. ToeJam & Earl became one of my favourite Sega Mega Drive titles when I first played it as a kid in the early 1990s, a hugely enjoyable and highly original game that received a great deal of much-deserved praise from many Mega Drive / Genesis owners.

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