LGR – Giana Sisters Christmas – DOS PC Game Review

LGR – Giana Sisters Christmas – DOS PC Game Review

[electronic “Little Drummer Boy” plays] [fizz] [sip] Ahhh… [typing] Take a trip back in time to 1987 and 8-bit platform games ruled the day. And the night… But there was one
plump Italian plumber and his palette-swapped
sidekick leading the pack. The Super Mario Bros. on the
Nintendo Entertainment System. Then came a game from Time Warp
Productions and Rainbow Arts starring exact opposites of Mario and Luigi, the Great Giana Sisters. “The Brothers Are History.” Wow. So for whatever reason,
Nintendo did not approve and the game was quickly
pulled from store shelves. But the thing is, it was actually
an awesome game on its own, and the word was already out there, so it didn’t just die. The cat was out of the bag and there was nothing Nintendo could do to stop the spread of the game through… less-than-legal methods. But that’s a video for another day, because on this December day, we’re looking at the Great Giana Sisters
Christmas Special Edition for MS-DOS. And if you’ve got an eyebrow raised wondering why you’ve never heard of it, well, just put that eyebrow back down and let’s take a look at
what the balls this really is. In 1998, a German programmer
by the name of Rainer Sinsch was working on a game with his group Myth. Their plan was to enter it into the Mekka and Symposium
demo scene party of 1998 in the 32K game competition. The most important
requirement was that the game only take no more than 32 KB of space. The game Myth chose to make was based on the mythical Great
Giana Sisters game from 1987 for the Commodore 64. While the game wasn’t a
complete Giana Sisters remake, it was still an amazing result for 32K and ended up winning them
the competition that year. The game ended up being successful
outside of the competition as well, and the team released it as
freeware and continued to work on it, expanding it much further
than 32K over time. Later that year, a special Christmas
version of the game was released which included new music,
levels, artwork and more. Not less, more. The game imitates the sound of
the SID chip and the Amiga chipset, but it uses either the Gravis
Ultrasound, Pro Audio Spectrum, Windows Sound System
or Sound Blaster cards to achieve this effect. Once you select the appropriate
sound device for your system, the game starts up with the classic
Giana Sisters scrolling text and graphics along with some catchy mod music. [mod music plays] You have the option to play single-player or play single-player by pressing either 1 or 2. A very thoughtful feature for those of us with an illogical aversion
to pressing the number 1 in order to start single-player games. You’re then dropped into the first level, and let loose into a Christmasy variation of the Dream World of
previous Giana Sisters games, with an Amiga-like version of
Jingle Bells playing in the background and snow cluttering up
the screen at random. That’s okay, though, because the refresh rate of
85Hz that’s used in the game makes the snow and smooth scrolling look absolutely smooth and snowy, especially on a nice CRT monitor. This also means that
the game is a bit of a pain to emulate in programs like DOSBox, and it’s also quite
difficult to record properly from a capture device. What you’re watching in this video
was the best I could come up with, running it on a Pentium II
system with VGA output and S-video conversion,
blah blah blah, stuff. And it unfortunately does
not do it justice at all. The controls are as simple as it gets, you use the arrow keys for everything, including pressing up to jump. I am not a big fan of the
jump button placement and you can’t remap it
in-game that I know of, so you just gotta deal with it. The gameplay is what you’d
expect from the Giana Sisters. That is, it shamelessly
rips off Super Mario Bros. in nearly every way. You move from left to right with no option to go
back through the level once it’s been scrolled off the screen, and avoid anything that’s deadly. Which, of course, is everything! You can jump on certain parts
of enemies that look squishy, like these eyeball things and bee things and owl things. But not the friendly-looking bouncy balls. So don’t even try to get the Giana Sisters to touch any balls because they will just die. And scream in the most
horribly grating way possible. [girl screams] [gravelly-voiced]
I hate that scream! You can also smash into these
blocks to collect diamonds which you know are good for you because they’re in an
old-school platform game and they don’t result in your death. This all sounds well and good, but then I realized that the controls take some serious getting used to. So much so that I never
got used to them at all. Although there are no controls for
running like in Super Mario Bros., it often feels like you are running, and you’ll still have that
inertia thing to deal with when stopping or changing directions. Even with this, it plays very
differently from Super Mario Bros. and I was never able
to get a grip on it at all, constantly struggling to find my footing on even the simplest of platforms when it just shouldn’t be this difficult. It’s just too freakin’ touchy and strange and the hit detection is rarely spot-on. I just felt like I was walking
on eggshells the entire time. If you happen to make it
through the first level, you continue on to the biggest
surprise in gaming history: the second level! Holy crap. This is actually the first time I’ve ever seen this in a platform game, and I’ve gotta say, this right here is what
games need nowadays. Second levels. But do these sarcastic remarks
mean I recommend playing this? Sadly, it does not. Besides the terrible controls and infuriating enemy
and platform hit boxes, there is one major thing missing
from this Christmas version, and the other DOS
versions by these guys, and that is power-ups. Normally in Great Giana Sisters,
you’d be able to jump into certain blocks that would provide you with a power-up that transforms you into Courtney Love. While in real life, I would never
wish this fate on my worst enemy, in Giana Sisters it was extremely useful, since it allowed you to
be a stronger Mario ripoff and shoot projectiles and stuff. But in these versions by Myth– nope, none of that. And that kind of sucks because it’s kind of lame and you may as well just play the
original Giana Sisters games in this case. Here, you’re just stuck with a
pretty straightforward platformer with Giana Sisters elements, some out of place yet
rockin’ Christmas music, floaty controls and
floaty animated snowflakes. There really is no reason to play this other than for the curiosity because it’s just a watered-down
version of the original Giana Sisters on the Commodore 64 and Amiga. And it makes a pretty
weak Christmas game, too, when you think about the content. But I guess calling it “Giana Sisters
Animated Snowflake Special Edition” doesn’t really have the same ring to it. Ah, I respect what the developers did when they made the 32K demo, and it’s cool that they released
a freeware game like this. But sadly, the actual gameplay just never finds its footing. [girl screams] In more ways than one. [chiptune music plays]

100 thoughts on “LGR – Giana Sisters Christmas – DOS PC Game Review

  1. @DoctorKarnage Never said it wasn't fun, as I said in the video I think it's brilliant! But the guy was implying Nintendo seemed to be just as at fault at copying games, when in fact, I think Time Warp was much more the copier in this case.

  2. That big oddworld box at the beginning is beautiful! Must be the PC version. Is it exactly the same as the ps1 game in every way or did they make changes for the PC version? Also great review! I never knew that giana sisters was on the DOS too. I'll just stick with my copied amiga version.

  3. @sonicpelaaja It's almost exactly the same as the PS1 version, yes. Just quicker load times, sharper graphics, etc. I'll be reviewing it sooner rather than later, so you'll see!

  4. @DiePixelspieler It is too bad… but there are still some like Revision 2012 that would be awesome to attend, but unfortunately for me they all seem to be in Germany or elsewhere in Europe.

  5. @KrazyKupo I'm curious about that one as well. I'm very interested in it after seeing some videos showing footage. It doesn't look too bad, but one can rarely tell just from videos when it comes to platform games.

  6. @reggiardito Thanks! I'm not sure if I'll keep it after Christmas or not, it was just meant as sort of a throwback for the holidays. But we'll see.

  7. @mushroomjay Aw man, what a downer! No, I hadn't heard yet… that really sucks, I loved STALKER and was looking forward to the sequel! At this point it's only a rumor, not official that I can see, so I'm hoping for the best.

  8. It still fascinates me that the creators of the original Gianna Sisters thought they would get away with it, when the first level is an almost exact clone of Super Mario Bros.

    Great video…hadn't heard of this one.

  9. You probably know this already, or maybe not, but there was a new Giana Sisters game released in 2009 for the Nintendo DS in Europe. I actually played it with an emulator and it's pretty good. Of course, it doesn't have much to do with the original C64 Giana Sisters. That one was, and still is, a masterpiece of its own!

  10. This is completley unrelated to the (good and thoroughly researched) review, but are you ever gonna review American McGee's Alice? I got curious after your Alice: Madness Returns review and never bothered to write it down. :v

  11. @9esferas1 Super Mario Bros is similar in some ways to Pac-Land, an arcade sidescroller from the previous year. Also, Nintendo's Balloon Fight is clearly patterned after Joust.

  12. @Raggikomm Well, it's December, and that means Christmas games here. So if you know of any that actually fit your subjective opinion of "good" then by all means, recommend one!

  13. @BubbaTiger1495 Hmm, I've never run across any that use Hanukkah as a main theme, but if you know of any I wouldn't mind taking a look at them!

  14. @1300l Well, the problem with programs like Xpadder is that they're made for Windows XP and later. And since this is a DOS game, well, that's that. There may be some kind of keyboard mapper program for DOS, but I don't have one.

  15. @johannbock Actually, I'd think that Super Mario Bros. had at least as much in common with Mario Bros., released a year before Pac-Land. Or Pitfall!, released two years before that. Or Donkey Kong, released a year before that. Hehe yeah, in other words, games build on each other and iterate over time, no news flashes here! But sometimes they're "clones", like Great Giana Sisters. That's a whole different ballgame.

  16. @phreakindee Awesome…I've put a few hours in, seems like they really listened to the criticism Oblivion received and maybe even took a page or two out of Morrowind's book. I hope you do a review of it sometime 🙂

  17. I love the lazy game christmas reviews, you should review the cannon fodder christmas edition. keep up the awesome work phreakindee!

  18. @phreakindee Funny thing is, they probably could have gotten away with it had they toned down the immediate resemblances (title, mushroom bg tiles, alter some block patterns). I'm pretty sure they actually did make another game with the engine, but it was cyborg-themed or something.

  19. Nice video! I actually picked up the Nintendo DS version of the game last month; it's actually quite fun, if a bit short.

  20. Anybody else notice how it says "the great giana sisters" on the cover, but in the game it says "the great gianna sisters"?

  21. The Giana Sisters look like characters from the British comic "Viz". That's fucking wierd, if you don't know what the Viz is, look it up.

  22. Jsut a friendly request but seeing as your reviewing Xmas games, why not review one of the best ones ever: Jazz Jackrabbit 2: The Christmas Chronicles

  23. @HPZeta I reviewed Holiday Hare two years ago now, check my channel. It was mainly focused on '95, but I mention '94 in the video as well. And I actually showed HH'94 in my Jazz Jackrabbit review a few months back.

  24. at 0:52 I can't help noting that my modern 2011 PC doesn't show a pre-rendered sidescrolling "movie" as smoothly as it was generated realtime on a 1MHz C64.

  25. @phreakindee Will take a look at it , I really need to look trough peoples playlists more often, especially before commenting LoL XD

  26. Had no idea there was DOS remakes of Giana Sisters! This Christmas one looks challenging as hell, and I like that. I'm curious enough to give these games a shot, thanks a bunch for providing a download link!

  27. @killgruz No problem! And it is ridiculously challenging, mainly due to the awkward controls and collision detection. May you fare better than me if you happen to try your hand at it!

  28. Was that a cherry Pepsi I spotted in the intro? What, no Cheerwine in your part of NC?

    I guess if the demo scene were to do Christmas, this is it in all its MOD soundtrack glory. The game is pretty crappy and the controls likely a legacy of the 32k programming constraints, they really should have been improved. Christmas themed games were big in the 90s though, remember Xmas Lemmings?

  29. @NJRoadfan Oh there's certainly Cheerwine here, but I'd had so much of it recently I moved on Cherry Pepsi at the time of this intro.

    This really does feel like it was held back by the initial programming constraints, but really, I don't blame them. They improved on it a lot with Giana Worlds later on. And yeah, I certainly remember Christmas Lemmings! I reviewed the game a couple years back now.

  30. Awesome, very interesting to hear the history! And interesting to see the game. Too bad that it is bad or not good. Is pressing the up arrow to jump a throwback to the original? Maybe you had to do stuff like that when joysticks only had one action button but…grrr. Don't like pressing up to jump. Or pressing up on the joystick for acceleration in a driving game. Just thought I should mention that too. lol

  31. @niceandgames Now that I think about it, it probably was a throwback to the original C64 game. You only had a single joystick button, and that was normally used for firing when you had the Courtney Love power-up. But seeing as you have no power-ups in this version, not mention an entire freaking keyboard of keys, I have no idea why jump is still the up arrow! Consider my gears thoroughly ground.

  32. Yes, I've played original Giana Sisters on Amiga and while it was never my favorite game, the music was and still is awesome. Chris Huelsbeck created some amazing tunes on c64 and amiga….

  33. Looks like, its the rip out version of super mario bros.
    Anyway, being a sega genesis guy i always disliked mario and then i got the SNES from my friend and playing with it for couple of hours made me a Nintendo guy!

  34. @techn0FTW Well, I posted a video about it not too long ago… but in short, it's freaking great! Leagues better than Oblivion for sure, at least to me; judging by the fact that I struggled to get into IV but V I've put 130 hours into no problem.

  35. @johannbock Yes. An obscure little Cyborg-themed game absolutely no one has ever heard of 😉
    However, directly after Giana Sisters they made Katakis, which was once again a ripoff, this time of R-Type. Ironicaly enough though, Activision (who held the rights for home computers) was so impressed with the game that they actually hired Rainbow Arts to change Katakis into the official C64 port of R-Type.
    Aah, those were the days… 🙂

  36. Giana Sisters was teh sheet back in the early 90s. I had the 8bit nintendo, my cousins had an amiga. We switched over the holidays. THings were never quite the same.

  37. I remeber sitting on the toilet taking a crap with a laptop first time viewing this review of yours. Just thought i should share that useful information with you mr. Clint. Have a nice day! 🙂

  38. It is a bizarre experience. It's like you've entered an alternate reality and this is the most famous game of the 80s.

  39. The up arrow jump is not that bad, though one would prefer another one for that (while with tac-2 it works great arrow keys are very different animal) but I can't believe they left power ups out :p

  40. Oh, and have you got a review of the original c-64 (or amiga at least) version? I couldn't find one searching for "LGR giana" (and with "gianna" too).

  41. Giana sisters is better than mario imho. The originial C64 version was awesome. You can get in on android and that version stays true to the original :-).

  42. LOL I'm running out of your videos to watch! And knowing how you dudes on youtube, who actually produce something, hate "requests"(well, maybe not you, particularly, Clint), so let me throw this out as a SUGGESTION heh: since you like old, retro, obscure games and such I got a couple for ya-"Livingston, I presume?" and "Goody", developed by a spanish(!)…errr…developer "Opera Soft". Used to play 'em as a kid on a monochrome Zenith LCD Laptop in the early 90s-good times! ^^

  43. "Owls"? I thought they were Goombas with devil horns. Nice job reviewing a game that at first glance appears to be nothing more than a shitty super mario brothers ripoff because the programmers couldn't come up with an original concept for a game themselves and then other people went on to remake the game years later.

    Oh wait…that's what it is.

  44. Wasn't there a DS port of this game? I think I recall playing it. Much more of a challenge than Mario Bros, that's for sure.

  45. there's a FIXED DS port of this game with improved graphics, which unfortunately went unnoticed for most parts!
    it was actually quite good. it was the closest thing to the originals without most of their annoyances and problems…

  46. DAMN!!! the artwork on the box is a bit "Titillating" to say the least. Power ups weren't missing, they were on the box art…LOL

  47. I played original Gianna from 1987 on commodore 64 a lot but never do it finish 32 level…..This PC version is a really crap and i played only twice ! :-((( I really missed good old times and original commodore gianna !!!!

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