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Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.2

Cave Story: Doukutsu Monogatari
December 13, 2006 | Michael Scarpelli

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Humble Beginnings
Doukutsu Monogatari is a rarer thing in the gaming world than one may think. It is a true underground phenomenon. There are games that have become cult classics and been absorbed into the gaming culture. Titles like Marathon that continue to haunt the minds of Mac gamers, years after the original was released. Doukutsu is rarer. It is not a commercial release in any way, shape, or form. To the best of my knowledge, the creators have never seen a dime from its creation, but did it for the sheer joy of creating a gaming experience.

Doukutsu Monogatari, Cave Story in English, is a labor of love by Japanese company StudioPixel and by an artist typically known only as Pixel. The game, completed over a five-year period is, I can say without blinking, possibly the finest side-scrolling experience Iíve ever had, assuredly it's the best Iíve had in the last decade. It is an homage to the classic days of gaming yore and is infused with the years of side-scrolling culture and experience that emerged in the days post-NES.

I first encountered Cave Story (this is the truth), one year ago to the day, as of this writing. The timing is purely coincidence. Alert InsideMacGames reader Lucas sent me an e-mail in response to my review of Battle of Wesnoth and prompted me to check out another piece of freeware gaming, Doukutsu Monogatari. Suspicious, not from the source, but because of the freeware nature of things, I checked the title out and was instantly sucked in.

Weighing in at a supremely modest 5.5 MB, Cave Story tells the tale of a group of rabbit-like creatures known as the Mimiga. The Mimiga are a peaceful race of creatures that have a dark history. Living on a floating island, one day the Mimigas were assaulted by robots from the surface world, who killed them without mercy (Why? Oh, dear reader, for this you must unlock the gameís many secrets). The Mimigas, fearing annihilation turned to a species of red flower that grows on their island that transforms the peaceful creatures into deadly killing machines. However, things are not quite so simple. Some power from the world below has been manipulating events on the island for some time, and has special plans for both the Mimigas and the world below. The game begins as you, a robot from the surface world, awaken after apparently having been unconscious for some time on the island. From there, your adventure to save the Mimigas begins.

To say that the entire story is complex is an understatement, but it is also one of the gameís strongest points. There is a very full-fledged story in this game and the way it is told is well managed. The gamer finds out what has been occurring in bits and pieces of information handed out by denizens of the island and it will take some serious work and some very skillful gaming to unlock the full story. Even the name of the main character is a jealously guarded secret.


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