Cave Story is one of those games you've may have heard about at some point, but dismissed because it happened to be on PC and was (and still is) free. What it is, is a blend of classic side-scrolling platforming and exploration, mixed with a story that's implementation is far heavier than one might expect. It's as if Super Mario Bros, Super Metroid and Zelda we're thrown into a blender, with the end result living up to your immediate expectations. It even has that retro gameplay feel in which the mechanics are simple, but the game remains challenging.
There's not a lot I can say about the story without ruining it completely, but you take control of a character who awakens inside a cave and has lost his memory. The story revolves around trying to regain your memory and identity, whilst trying to help the inhabitants of the cave you've found yourself in. The development of the story is well paced and you always have a goal in mind. You're never left wondering around aimlessly, trying to figure out what to do next. That's not to say you can't go off for a wonder, though! One of the most rewarding aspects of this game, much like in Super Metroid, is when you're rewarded for fully exploring your environments. Whether you meet new characters or find secret power-ups, they all seem to make your journey through the game that little bit easier.
In all, this game has taken me 7 1/2 hours to complete on the 'Normal' difficulty. The game was quite challenging at times, but there is the option of a harder difficulty for players with enough patience and confidence. There are also multiple endings for those who are concerned about replay value. Personally, I enjoyed every minute of what i've played so far and I know i'll be coming back to this game time and again.
It must be pointed out that this game is available to download on PC (for free) and on Wiiware (1000 points?), but what makes the 3DS version stand out is that the environments have been given a 3D make over. Whilst some may argue that the game has lost some of its visual charm as a result, I found the new look to be very pleasing on the eye. Especially in 3D. Each of the environments are accompanied by some brilliant and memorable music and i'd love to get my hands on a soundtrack.
I had heard great things about this game for many years, but let it pass me by for too long. It seemed to be a game i'd enjoy, but I was too interested in other games. Fortunately, the 3DS gave me the opportunity to check this game out and i'm very, very happy with my purchase. Much like Mario, Metroid and Zelda, I know i'll be playing this one for years to come. A true classic.