Shantae & the Pirate's Curse - My Playthrough and Review (SPOILERS expected)

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Shantae & the Pirate's Curse - My Playthrough and Review (SPOILERS expected)

Post by Maetch on Thu Oct 23, 2014 11:49 am

As I post this, it is just over an hour before the 3DS Store updates and the game we've been waiting for finally arrives. I will be the one who gives the game a run and chronicles it for this board. I will be giving away every detail as I comment on them, so don't look if you want to be surprised

I'm no BrickRoad, but after being burned by Risky's Revenge being so short and watered-down compared to the first game, I will likely be more critical than him and not be so easily swayed by the pixelated boobies.

I will (hopefully) have my first part up by tonight.

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Re: Shantae & the Pirate's Curse - My Playthrough and Review (SPOILERS expected)

Post by Maetch on Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:13 pm

Okay, I got up to the first two dungeons before I had to stop on account of low battery. Here's what I've got so far while I'm waiting for a recharge. Each segment (running from dungeon to dungeon) will be divided into a post for ease of sorting.

Opening
Like the first game, PC opens up with Scuttle Town under attack... again. This time, it's the new mayor Ammo Baron attacking. A few cute touches like the Contra-esque soldiers crawling below exploding bridges, but a simple intro stage regardless. After dealing with the Baron, Shantae gets in trouble with the law for attacking the town's legal owner (Mayor Scuttlebutt sold the town to Ammo Baron for a box of chocolates... and not even good ones).

Shantae is confined to house arrest until her punishment (a haircut) can be delivered. Risky meets her and demands to know where all her gear and Tinkerbats are. Shantae shows her to Mimic's lab where one of the Tinkerbats is caged up. It turns into a Cacklebat and attacks until killed, after which Shantae is given the magic lamp from RR and told to absorb the leftover dark magic. After some cryptic talk about the Pirate Master's return, Shantae is sent on an errand to the Sequin Land Palace to obtain a map from the library (because Risky will get arrested on sight). Fortunately, the librarian is on her side and gives it to her, and Risky convinces Shantae to journey with her ("Would I lie to you?" she asks. Is that a trick question?).

Thoughts
*Shantae has a voice now, and... I think it actually makes her sound like a vapid dope. The girl from Risky's Revenge only did grunts, but sounded a little more mature for an experienced fighter and adventurer like Shantae.

*It seems like Shantae is back to being landlocked. Any contact with deep water constitutes a health penalty.

*All inventory items are stock-consumable (no magic meter), and there's plenty of healing items in-game to make sure that you never drop dead. The store also sells permanent upgrades for the hair-whip and some Fighter's Gear skills like the backdash.

*So apparently, the idea of Shantae getting her fragmented powers from the Tinkerbats has been dropped. Instead, she's hunting down Cacklebats and sucking up the dark magic they leave behind. There's 20 in all and they're hidden through the game. No clue how this will affect anything in gameplay yet.

*Heart Squids replace the Heart Holders. Once Shantae gets 4 (naturally), she can take them to Scuttle Town and trade them for another Heart. There's 32 squids, again all scattered throughout the game.

*Outside the palace is where the side-quests are. They're not much more than fetch-jobs, though some will obviously not be completed on the first visit.

*Squid Baron is back... as an NPC who's looking for a vacation. Riiiiight... In any case, when you find a travel brochure, MAKE SURE YOU GIVE IT TO HIM AND NOBODY ELSE! There's reports of a glitch that makes the game unwinnable by giving the brochure to someone who's not supposed to get it.


Last edited by Maetch on Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:33 pm; edited 4 times in total

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Re: Shantae & the Pirate's Curse - My Playthrough and Review (SPOILERS expected)

Post by Maetch on Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:45 pm

Saliva Island
Risky, naturally, won't lift a finger to help, so Shantae does all the island exploring in order to find the hidden source of dark magic and shut it down. She endures an unfair jumping puzzle, helps a couple of girls enjoy their vacation by making a giant monster drool until it fills their pool (ew), and helps a lovelorn man reunite with his petrified wife... kind of. Inside the dungeon, there's a lot of switch platforms involved, which becomes easier once Shantae finds Risky's lost pistol. After a bit of giant carnivorous weed-whacking, Shantae gets a map to the next island.

Back in Scuttle Town (which is rapidly being built up into the Ammo Baron's new base), the librarian manages to convince the royal guards to drop the prior charges on Shantae, so her hair stays safe... for now. However, the actual ruler of Sequin Land, the Sultana, is out exploring, though. Foreshadowing...

Thoughts
*The talk about Shantae being a pirate in this game seems grossly overexaggerated. So far, she's being treated as nothing more than Risky's tag-along in the adventure. The one time Shantae puts on the pirate costume seen in the promo images, Risky demands that she take it off and stay out of her visual effects.

*The music for this island reminds me of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood.

*You barely have enough time to hop up all the statues before they fall down, which I feel is not a good kind of puzzle for such an early part of the game.

*The pistol is upgradable in the shop. Good thing, because the bullets are weak as heck.

*I see WayForward is still as cheeky and immature as ever when it comes to the ladies, such as in the scene with the two bikini girls using the incredible radiance of their scantly-clad bodies to activate the pillar. Not that it's a bad thing. Wink


Last edited by Maetch on Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:29 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Shantae & the Pirate's Curse - My Playthrough and Review (SPOILERS expected)

Post by Maetch on Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:02 pm

Spiderweb Island
Dark, stormy, crawling with zombies... not a good neighborhood, yet in Shantae must go. Her meeting with RottyTops does not go well, given how she and her brothers had previously sold out our heroine to Risky, and Shantae gets tricked into carrying Rotty home through a trap-infested cavern. Rotty's brother Abner tries to apologize for being a traitor last game, and Shantae helps Poe get his cart moving again (after a side-trip back to Scuttle to get some oil from Squid Baron) in exchange for the "key" to the next dungeon.

Inside is the return of the first game's "barrel cannons" (except they're plants now), and Shantae finds Risky's hat, which makes for a great parachute. One giant spider stomped later, it's back to Risky with the next map, who admits that she used to be first mate with the Pirate Master until he was sealed away by Genies and she inherited everything he had. Risky suspects that her gear is being used to lure her to her death, so naturally she's sending Shantae to fetch them.

In Scuttle Town, we get to meet Sky's parents as they fawn over her new boyfriend, Barracuda Joe. Papa is also a Relic Hunter, and his latest discovery ends up killing Joe's chances... literally. Looks like it's to the desert next.

Thoughts
*The "Run RottyTops Run" segment... ugh, pain in the rear to navigate since any wrong move sends you back to the room's start. Still, it gets points for adding a Mega Man death effect and the spiked pillars from Super Mario World along the way.

*Geez, Shantae, you're only looking at the zombies whose greed cost you your powers. I wouldn't be so forgiving so quickly.

*Do I hear an 8-bit reprise of the first game in the dungeon music? Kaufman, you sly dog you...


Last edited by Maetch on Wed Oct 29, 2014 5:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Shantae & the Pirate's Curse - My Playthrough and Review (SPOILERS expected)

Post by Maetch on Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:48 pm

Tan Line Island
So much fleshy fanservice in this one. Shantae's first goal is to open the island's palace, which requires some X-Ray Glasses and a bit of island-hopping in order to find the coffins that hold the clues. Once inside, Shantae is declared to be the princess and put in a room... except they've mistaken her, Rotty, Sky, and Risky for said princess. What follows is a stealth sequence where Shantae must find her friends and get their help to pull a door open without getting spotted by guards, all while wearing skimpy costumes.

After this mistaken identity gets cleared up and the real (and fat) princess comes back, Shantae gets to proceed forward and reaches the next dungeon. She finds Risky's sword, which lets her pogo off of bricks and enemies Scrooge McDuck-style. For the boss... It's Squid Baron again. Apparently, he is ticked about that travel brochure lying to him and has decided to fulfill his destiny as the game's filler boss. Heading back to Scuttle, Ammo Baron's renovations proceed further while Bolo is given the X-Ray Glasses to help him with his new job at Mimic's workshop.

Thoughts
*The Dancer's Outfit (from Risky's Revenge iOS) is worn during the stealth sequence, but it has no powers and is given back once the stealth sequence is done. The other girls get them, too.

*Sky makes a crack at the weight of Risky's bust.

*The actual princess... I think the palace's staff is suffering though heatstroke or something, because you'd have to be quite delirious to mistake any sexy girl for the tub of lard they serve.

*Squid Baron sure takes his role as filler boss seriously.

*Glasses make all the difference for Bolo's IQ, apparently.

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Re: Shantae & the Pirate's Curse - My Playthrough and Review (SPOILERS expected)

Post by .Luke on Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:08 am

This looks like an in-depth review so far. Awesome Face I'm seeing lots of press reviews, but nothing going into depth yet to avoid spoilers. (Especially since the game just released, or was days from it.) Don't feel like nobody's reading, Maetch, some users might withhold posting thoughts until after your done.
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Re: Shantae & the Pirate's Curse - My Playthrough and Review (SPOILERS expected)

Post by Maetch on Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:27 am

Mud Bog Island
Now we're getting some development here. Apparently, the Pirate Master took Shantae's shattered power after the whole Nega-Shantae debacle and used it to jump-start his curse. This will probably mean something later, but for now, it's on with the quest. A bit of backtracking with Shantae's new sword reveals a fossil that Bolo and his newfound "smarts" reveals as an ancient death mask. Arriving on Mud Bog Island, we have the return of the slime monsters from the first game, and the mask gets used to gain access into Sequin Land's answer to the afterlife, the Village of Lost Souls.

A lot of juicy character details here, not the least of which being the strange girl who bears heavy resemblance to everybody's favorite zombie. More curious is the large and manly warrior that she meets along the way, but I really don't want to reveal too much just yet. The fiery dungeon at the end is full of long straightaways that allows Shantae to play with her new Speed Booster... I mean, boots. We get to slay a dagron, too (and that's not a typo).

Thoughts
*Bullet-storm is the best way to describe the first part of the island. There's just so many enemies and bullets attacking constantly that it's hard to push forward.

*I had complained in the past that the enemies in Shantae's past games were not doing enough damage to make them worth their presence. Well, it seems like somebody in WayForward figured that out, because this island is where enemies can start taking off entire hearts' worth of life with each hit.

*Dig that wild music in the Village area.

*So that's why the Gecko Chamber closed... its regular customers went and died.

*Without going too deep into full-on spoilers, what gets revealed about the Rotty lookalike is a bit sad when you think deeply about it.

*"You got Risky's... Boots". How long was WayForward waiting to make that joke?

*The warrior's affinity towards his lost daughter and his choice of hair-style makes me suspect that he may be closer to Shantae than either of them think.

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Re: Shantae & the Pirate's Curse - My Playthrough and Review (SPOILERS expected)

Post by Maetch on Wed Oct 29, 2014 5:03 pm

Frostbite Island
Best part of the game, right here. In order to reach the last dungeon, Shantae must go through a long chain of events on multiple islands that involves a quest to revive Barracuda Joe, dealing with a not-at-all-subtle He-Man parody, and exploring a flying island. Each part of it is funny on its own, but culminates in a hilarious moment of karmic irony (or is it coincidence) that opens the way.

The dungeon itself is a factory-type area with conveyor belts and moving platforms everywhere. Once Shantae gets the cannon, she can quadruple-jump over the danger by firing it (because double-jumps are so last decade). The cannon also helps in attacking enemies and especially this dungeon boss, which has a bit of a puzzle to it in that you have to hit the switches on its back in the right order before you can damage it.

The last dungeon is done, and Shantae and Risky are ready to wrap it up. All that's left is to find the Pirate Master's grave and blow it to rubble.

Thoughts
*Turns out, there's more than three Barons in Sequin Land. We are introduced to the Techno Baron who, like Ammo Baron last game, is unfought as a boss. Don't worry, Techno Baron... you'll likely get your chance in Half-Genie Hero.

*I never liked Abner and Poe for their selling out to Risky in RR, but the scenes with them and Rotty in this game has somewhat softened my feelings towards them. At the very least, they knows that they screwed up and are trying to make it up to Shantae, and they appreciate how much of a friend she is to Rotty.

*Joe's soul has a mustache.

*WayForward... give Bran-Son a spin-off, or at least a bigger role in HGH.

*Bolo saves the day! Kind of... his so-called "smarts" ends up contributing to Shantae's advantage.

*Propeller Town uses a remix of the first game's daytime theme.


Last edited by Maetch on Wed Oct 29, 2014 5:16 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Shantae & the Pirate's Curse - My Playthrough and Review (SPOILERS expected)

Post by Maetch on Wed Oct 29, 2014 5:14 pm

EndGame

This is the biggest spoiler yet. Anybody who has not played needs to leave now.

It's too late to stop the revival of the Pirate Master, and he is not at all happy to meet Risky again (she stole everything he had when he got sealed away, including his face, which Risky wears as her bra and belt). Naturally, he starts his new reign of terror at Scuttle Town and the palace. When Shantae comes back, it's very dark and very stormy. Also, all the Mud Bog monsters are lurking about. The palace itself has gotten a cruel makeover. In order to reach the roof, Shantae must survive six long hallways filled with some of the nastiest spike-filled jumping puzzles in the series.

Once there, Shantae and the Pirate Master duke it out. In true final boss fashion, he takes on a larger second form after the first round by taking away all of Shantae's Pirate Gear and using it against her. Eventually, he demands that Shantae give him all the dark magic from the lamp in exchange for Risky's life (this is literally non-negotiable). Instead, it gets turned to light magic and Shantae absorbs it all the restore her powers. The grand finale concludes with Shantae and Risky working together to destroy the Pirate Master with a combination of magic-enhanced hair-whips and giant cannon blasts. Now THAT'S an ending!

Thoughts
*If you didn't kill all the Cacklebats and take their dark magic, you don't get to fight the whole final battle. Instead, the Pirate Master retreats, Risky runs off swearing that she'll destroy him herself, and Shantae is still powerless. What a miserable way to end the story...

*The first game's Nighttime theme never sounded any more wicked than in this part of the game.

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Re: Shantae & the Pirate's Curse - My Playthrough and Review (SPOILERS expected)

Post by Maetch on Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:03 pm

Final Thoughts
So, can I say that after two years of delays and being stalled by Nintendo, Pirate's Curse is the best Shantae yet? Well...

First of all, the pace is a lot better than the past two games, especially since the time-consuming dance mechanics aren't in this game. In all honesty... Shantae doesn't really need them here, as the Pirate Gear just feels much more natural to use. In fact, after beating the game, you can start a new file and have all the Pirate Gear from the beginning, allowing for shortcuts and speed-runs (and like RR, there are rewards for beating the game quickly, with all items, or both).

Writing-wise, I feel the point of this game's plot was to emphasize that genie powers or no, Shantae is still a fighter and a hero, and she will do all she can to keep everybody safe. Heck, she'll even try to extend a hand of friendship towards Risky Boots despite everybody telling her that it's a bad idea. Risky gets some significant development, too. She's still a rank troublemaker who won't be changing anytime soon, but this game proves that she does have her moments of being the reluctant anti-hero, much like Bowser or King Dedede, ad she comes off as somewhat more likable as a character that way. We get to meet some new faces and learn some interesting new tidbits about the old crew, and even the zombies get some redemption after the jerk move they pulled in RR. And above all, the writing never loses its tongue-in-cheek tone, and I pray the series never does.

So in the end... it's $20 well spent for a game that is a little short, but has enough content and charm to make it worth the price-tag. Now, it's on to Half-Genie Hero.

Also, one last thing...
Spoiler:
Shantae's mother is still alive, and Mimic hints that she and Shantae will meet someday. HGH teaser, perhaps?

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Re: Shantae & the Pirate's Curse - My Playthrough and Review (SPOILERS expected)

Post by Maetch on Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:51 am

Seriously? I figured someone would actually spark a conversation here by now. Tell me I'm not the only one who played this so far.

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Re: Shantae & the Pirate's Curse - My Playthrough and Review (SPOILERS expected)

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