Friday, November 30, 2012

Claw Review

This is actually my first review, so... please go easy on me. ^ ^"
Claw... this game is a nostalgic game for many Israelis. At least with most of the ones I talked to. It was given as a present with some computer systems in Israel in the late 90's and early 2000's. In America... appearantly, this game is mostly unknown. (Although most Israelis won't know this game by its name, 'Claw,' it was known here as 'Captain Hook.' I... really don't know why)
This game was released by Monolith Productions during '97 in America, and '98 in Europe. To put it simply, it is a platformer game. One of the bests I've seen, if not the best. Why? Well, that is for the actual review.


Story - 8/10:

This game opens up with a short animation video, which was actually like the 90's cartoons, detailing how the captain of the cat pirates, Nathaniel Joseph Claw, got imprisoned by the Cocker-Spaniards, after a long fight. While in his cell, Captain Claw finds a note detailing about nine mystical gems that grant the one who collects them all near-immortality. And thus, Claw breaks out of his cell in order to collect all the gems.
The game already begins with Claw right outside his cell, and it is your job to help him escape and go through his journey as he collects each gem and a piece of the map to find the gems, across 18 levels.
After every two levels you get to watch another part of the story as a cartoon, which you can clearly see they put some efforts into these cartoons. You can watch each cartoon you unlock alone, or watch them all at once.
These cartoons are fully voiced, and even though the story is not that well thought-out, or really even that original, the story is presented in such a pleasant way that it's still enjoyable and fun to go through it along with the videos.

Graphics - 10/10:

Now, I am not one to be that interested in graphics, usually. I just play a game if I can just understand what is going on on the screen. Other than that, the way it looks does not matter.
But with this game, given the way games looked at the time, all I can say is 'wow.' Every two levels have the same general theme, but no level is the same, graphic-wise - inside the castle, outside the castle, forest at day and night, different parts of the city, different parts of the harbor, under-water, island, etc. Each level is different, and each level looks amazing - the amount of details is huge, the colors changing with each level and making each level feels like a game of their own.
The characters also share much details, visual characteristics fitting the levels theyre in - Robin Hood-like enemies in the forest and sailors for the harbor, for example.
The videos are quite short, except for the first one, that is, but they look exactly like a cartoon. Even today, I do not see many games that make drawn cartoons for the game, and at the time, you would not see such a thing at all.
Also, throughout the game there are treasures you can collect, and the checkpoint is a pirate flag. I like the pirate-y feel it gives the game.
Overall, the graphics is good in today's standards, amazing in the 90's' standards, and even when looking on the game today - it is hard to believe how much they put into this game.



Gameplay - 9/10:

As I said earlier, this game is a platformer, and quite simple at that. You go left or right. You jump. You fight enemies using either a sword, a gun, a TNT or a mystical power. The sword is the only weapon which is infinite, as a gun has bullets that may go to waste and you can pick up along the way, just like the TNT. The mystical power... I have never found how to regain it without cheat codes.
You can regain healt by food you find around the level. You pick up some objects or some enemies you can through later on.
There isn't much to explain about the gameplay of this game because of the fact that its gameplay is... well... just a regular platformer game.
One thing I can say about this game is - this game is really hard. I know no one who beat this game without using cheat codes. The scenery is, in some of the times, hard to cope with, with one jump killing you, enemies that are hard to beat, and bosses which are hard to even hit. Until I got to the fifth grade, I was never able beat the third stage. This doesn't say much, I know, but I still find this game extremely difficult without cheats, and there's only one difficulty mode.
This game is not that straight-forward, though. There are extra zones you can reach, which usually come with great reward, like an extra life or valuble treasure for your score, but these zones are not easy to get to. I haven't found all of them with cheat codes on. They usually also end up killing you if you make one little mistake, like one wrong jump, or waiting for just one second too long on a moving platform.
I honestly enjoyed playing this game, but if you are planning on playing this game... well... all I can say is good luck and I hope you will not end up breaking your computer.


Sound Effects - 10/10:

As a matter of fact, this game has plenty of sound effects. And I mean plenty. Every enemy has a voice, Claw comments on things while traveling or or fighting enemies. Gun sounds and sword sounds when needed. Explosions when needed. The videos has many sound effects. Cannons. Cannons moving. Lava and boiling oil. This game is full of sound effects and has many of them, varying from squeak sound of a mouse to a 'Ooh!' of a dog enemy in the first level.
Like the graphics, a lot of effort was put into the sound effects, and I think it deserves a 10/10 too.


Music - -/10:

I cannot believe that I am actually adding this one in, even though I practically can not. I never noticed this game's music aside from the first stage. Never once in the game could I be calm enough to enjoy the music while still playing the game. There is music in the game, but I do not think that unless you actually notice, so I can not say for sure whether or not I should actually rate it.
I do think, however, that if you decided to actually read this category, I just wasted 20 seconds of your valuble time.

Overall - 9/10:

If you love, or at least like, the platforming style, and would not mind a challenge - this is definitely the game for you. It is packed with challenge, and it is great to look it. Though... if you have anger management problems, I would advise you to make sure you are not near breakable things. This can really frustrate a person, and I have seen many who became frustrated with this game.
If you do not like hard games, and want to burn time in a nice way - this is not the game for you. It is not as hard as 'I Wanna be the Guy,' but it is a hard game.
Also, if you do not like platformers, this obviously not the game for you, seeing as this game is a platformer.
Other than that, I would say give this game a try. I really think it is a fun game over-all, and that it is a shame that not many heard of it in America.

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