In 2007, THQ reported it’s highest revenues ever. At over $1 Billion dollars, THQ now was on the same plane as mega-publishers like Activision Blizzard and EA, but it was not to last. Over the next couple of years THQ was hit hard financially. THQ’s financial woes will turn the company’s inevitable demise into one the highest-profile game company closures of our generation. I decided to give my tribute to THQ by saying my favorite THQ games.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom
Licensed games have a reputation. Lazy, unpolished, cash-ins thrown out to rake in money from confused grandparents and small children. THQ is one of the main culprits of this, often releasing really mediocre games in vast quantities. Every once in a while, however, there would be a great one. Battle for Bikini Bottom (BBB) is one of these diamonds in the rough. The 3D platforming is solid, I never felt that I died because of a controller mishap or the level design, and I was 7 when I played this! The characters were translated well into the game world. Even with the 3D graphics, all the characters still look like they should be in the cartoon.
The elements were translated from the game really well too. The layout of Bikini Bottom made sense even though the show purposely made the location of everything inconsistent and vague. Also the references to the show were fantastic, and seeing how this was made based on material prior to the movie, the humor is fantastic. Also, it has BUBBLE BUDDY.
Drawn to Life
Drawn to Life, like everything by 5th Cell, is an essential game for every DS library. Drawn to Life is essentially Harold and the Purple Crayon if it was video game, except not really. You can’t draw everything, but the game does give ample opportunity to design many of the art assets. If you’re not artistic, don’t fret, the game also lets you use the existing art assets if you want. I remember recoloring art assets and feeling so awesome, even though I wasn’t really being artistic at all. Aside from that angle, the game plays like a side-scrolling platformer. It’s relatively simple, but the solid controls and the intuitive level design make it enjoyable to play through. The story is fairly not complex, but still told well enough to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Also being a giant is fucking awesome. Great game, like I said, everyone with a DS should own a copy.
Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter
As my description says in the about page, I’m an indie games connoisseur. I believe heavily in the idea that Video Games are art. DtL2 was like a sucker punch to my face. I was expecting a fun platformer just like the last game, but what I got was more than that. The new locations, new characters, new weapons were all great, but what really got to me was the story.
DtL2 has a sad ending for everyone who played both games. The characters you meet form a connection with you through both games go on an epic adventure filled with intrigue, betrayal, and existential destruction. This was the first time a game’s narrative ever got to me like that. This game convinced me that video games could be art, something I’ll never forget.
I don’t really like GameSpot, it just never was a site I enjoyed going on. In 2008, GameSpot gave Lock’s Quest the award of Best Game No One Played of 2008, and I have to concur with them on that. Lock’s Quest is an underrated gem hidden among the mountains of shovelware and throwaway games that is the DS Library. As Usual, 5th Cell brings top notch game design to it’s IPs. Lock’s Quest is a steampunk isometric strategy game, with an intriguing and fantastic story. The clockwork enemies and designs of the characters are great to look at, and the battles are challenging and satisfying. If you don’t own Lock’s Quest, go fucking buy it. NOW!
Tak: The Great Juju Challenge
Not gonna lie, this one is entirely for nostalgia. Tak 3 is not a great game. It is not even a good game either. Tak 3 is, however, a game I played co-op with my friend a lot as a kid. That is all.