A Sea Gull Company


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aseagullcompany.jpgzxoThe folks at splax.net who brought us FoolYoo and Friend Chase are back with what may be their best yet: a bizarre racing platformer they like to call A Sea Gull Company. So that's what we'll call it too! Bizarre!

At the start of a stage, you'll see a succession of little dudes in sailor caps popping out of thin air as if from an invisible clown car. Watch for the one dressed in white — that's you! Be ready to hit the ground running, because it's a mad race across a strange Nintendo-inspired world fraught with bottomless pits, spiked boxcars, moving platforms, and fireball-spewing, uhhh... whatever those things are. You may choose either the [arrow] keys or the mouse to control your guy, but be sure to specify which before you begin a stage. Touch each of the checkpoints in order, then use the final ramp to build up speed and leap across the chasm to the ridiculously gigantic finish bell. Collect flowers along the way to increase your score. You'll be competing against eleven other sailors who will show you how to get things done — and how to fail in hilarious ways. That's because each one is actually the "ghost" of someone who played the level before you. A Sea Gull Company saved their movements and recreated them as your opponents!

Because they cannot physically interact with you, these ghost opponents do not have any direct impact on your progress through the levels. However, by watching them, you can pick up on some survival tricks. You'll probably need them too, because these are not easy stages, and one wrong move will end your run like an airhorn to the ear ends your visions of sugar plums. Expect your frustrations to mount, especially during the later stages. If there's one solace you may take from your many deaths, it is that each will be commemorated in some future game by a box with your name in it marking the exact location of failure.

Analysis: The mechanic here is pretty standard for a platformer, but the added effect of replaying other players' attempts adds a new, faintly communal dimension to A Sea Gull Company. In fact, you can even leave messages for future players by pressing [enter] during play. Unless you exit to the menu, your fellow racers will remain the same with each retry, so you'll get to know them pretty well and will be able to judge how well or how poorly you are doing relative to your previous attempts. It adds a bit of artificially-enhanced replay value to the game; playing the same level with different opponents can make it feel like a new challenge, even if you're really just going through the same motions. Plus, it's kinda neat to recognize yourself from a past life, though perhaps a little depressing to see yourself die.

As for the music, I have never seen sound add so much to a game as in A Sea Gull Company. The minor-keyed trumpet fanfare in conjunction with the outpouring of sailors at the start evokes the madness of The Running of the Bulls, and the sense of urgency is maintained throughout the stage by the booming timpani. Like me, you may find yourself clenching your fist and shaking it in time with the dooming chord progression that signifies yet another premature death.

There are a couple of quirks worth mentioning, though none that drastically affect the gameplay. Occasionally, immediately after a jump, you are allowed an extra jump in midair, though I was never able to perfect the technique well enough to put it to regular use. However, the midair jump is also available just after your sailor pops into existence at the beginning of the stage, and if utilized correctly saves you a good number of seconds on at least one of the stages. Also, holding the jump button down while your sailor is off the top of the screen will give you another midair jump. It's hard to say whether these bonus jumps are bugs or features, though. Another thing I noticed is that occasionally you will change your spawn position on a restart, which can mess up your timing on certain stages.

Overall though, A Sea Gull Company makes for a real treat for platformer fans of all types, but feels enough like a free-for-all race that those who might normally pass on the platformers will find something to like.

Play A Sea Gull Company

51 Comments

What's with the weird permalink URL?

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It was a mistake. Thanks for pointing it out, Peter. It should be fixed now. :)

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That has got to be one of THE most annoying games in the world. Cute, though.

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I really, really want to like this game. But it's so annoying!

I actually think a lot if it is propagated by releasing a dozen little clones before you start, so you always feel like you're losing some kind of race, and then rush off to some untimely demise.

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Make sure Javascript is enabled or you won't see the applet.

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I love this idea so much, but the controls are so bad. Why are the controls so bad? Why!?

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Fun but maddingly difficult.

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You can switch to keyboard controls if you don't like the mouse controls (I didn't, heh).

I think the idea behind this is pretty neat. The implementation is a bit too difficult - I haven't really finished a single level yet, but it's fun to watch those little guys hopping around nonetheless. :)

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I agree with the rest of you. Neat little game, but not really something for me. I'm not a large fan of platformers besides. Perhaps to make this game suited to my tastes, I'd add some more hilariousness to the failing in hilarious ways. Some more enemies. Actually interacting with your cloned pastlife replays.

"Racing" against the other "clones" i managed to place 1st against this one really smart clone on Stage 2. Tips: Ignore most flowers, jump while climbing uphill to go faster, and start at the very top of a hill, and jump just before the end of the downward slope to go faster. Funny thing about the high scores - they see to be domminated by someone named Aby, and some other few people. Odd.

Hey, and I just saw Jay's sailor replay! Died right before the 3rd mini-bell on Stage 2! Well, it' coulda been a different Jay - normally I see the name as JayIsGames. Hey, there he is again!

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Jay! I saw you die!

:devilish laughter:

(here's hoping it wasn't some other "jay")

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I wanted to save you Jay, I really did... But that flower counter and that timer would have ridiculed me. Please forgive me! I don't want to lose you like that weighted companion cube!

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I might be the only one who doesn't find this game annoying.

If you didn't have to wait so long to restart the level, it'd be much better.

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Fun game, but got frustrating quickly. Lives would have been nice (didn't like restarting from scratch on higher levels), and also it would have been nice if the 'ghosts' were translucent (and didn't all start at once).

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Those are Fire-spewing Merlions. It is a national icon of Singapore. It's better known as a statue that spews water.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlion

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i am from singapore and im definitely surprise to see merlions used in a japanese game.

and why are the merlions spewing fire??!?!

keyboard control is way easier than mouse.

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Ok... how do I get over the chasm at the end? I've lost track of how many times I've died there, just on level 1.

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I agree with minch, keyboard is easier. I am from Singapore too! The merlion is situated in sentosa.

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I like being able to say things, and if I restart after going to the title screen sometimes I can see my own messages and then I reply to them and run along with my previous attempt as a little team. It's fun like that.

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This game is awesome! i was the only one of my "group" to finish level 2. muhahaha.
for those having trouble on some stages, you have to jomp as you get to the bottom of a hill, while you are still on the sloped part. you will get a whooshing noise and your sailor will flatten into a more heroic pose if you get it right.

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I think this game is fantastic :)
If you use the keyboard instead of the mouse the controls are allright.
The levels are challenging but doable (though, the first few could be a bit more easy, sure...).
Basically, my only real criticism is that there should be some keyboard shortcut for "Retry this level".

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This is cool! Like Gimmie Friction Baby - Its one of those games you write off when you first play it, but you keep end up coming back for more!

The levels are tricky; but not overly so you just have to give each one a few goes.

I bet if you didn't get into such a rush trying to keep up with all the others (or occasionally thinking they must know the way and following them to your death!) you could probably do it a lot more easily than you think!

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You have to master the sliding jump to play this game. When you are on a slope downwards, you slide very fast. If you jump while you are sliding at a certain speed, you turn into super sailor dude, and fly really far. Then you overshoot the entire next island, the entire next hole, the island after that, and fall into a pit and die.

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How To Overtake the Last BIG JUMP Chasm:

    1.Start at the very top of the hill. Do not jump to the middle and run down - you won't gain enough speed.

    2.Run, withought stopping, down the hill.

    3.Jump at the very tip of the the downward slope. It's very important to still be on the downward slope on the jump - NOT at the level bit at the end. Continuing to the flat bit will immediatly slow you down - and if it's for the big chasm at the end, cause you to miss that ending bell platform.

    4. Keep going. If you found that your jump wasn't good enough, repeatedly press the jump/mouse button to proform some midair jumps.

    5.Win by smacking into the large ball at the end. Yay!

Hmm... now that i've played this game a few times, i think I actually like it! So far only had time to compete 2 stages.I'm mostly concerned about racing against the replays. It help me to learn the path better, and set up my strategy on how to go fast without dying. Currently, i'm fine with mouse controls. I think lives may ruin the difficulty of the game, and pretty much turn me away from it.

Hey, Jay, aren't gonna say something to those wondering if it really was you who some (including me) have seen the death replay of?

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Hehehe, well, I'm note SURE that it was me, but I did play the game and left my name. I usually enter as "Jayisgames", though, so it might actually have been someone else named Jay. ^_^

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Ooh oh oh! Sorry for double post (triple post), but did you know that you can CHAT in the game? - If you press ENTER, a chat box will pop up and you can type something for whomever that may watch your replay may see, text that your little sailor dude says in a little chat box! O:

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Sheer_Cold February 5, 2008 6:32 PM

Beat all 9 stages. THEY NEED TO MAKE MORE!!!

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i will be Reece on that game.

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Hello, sailors.

Though I died about five times on the first stage, I still want to beat all of them. I'd rather stomp all the flowers than plunge to a faster death than anyone else, though. It's sort of cute, but I hope the game's premise doesn't turn out to be naval training... that involves catching fire or jumping over big spiky obstacles.

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I was so embarrassed at starting out a level by shouting "CHARG!" that I threw myself off the level. I'll probably pepper my attempts with things to say, mainly "Jump!" randomly and last words as I plummet to various deaths.

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For a game that features nameless sailors leaping to their death, this is incredibly cute. The mass (and mess) of clones adds a certain bumbling "Keystone Cops" quality that is hilarious.

I would like to see more games like this. :-)

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The sailors aren't exactly nameless. I keep eeing the death sign for someone name "fuzzy". Just so you know, I'm Oreo on this game, if anyne sees my death sign on level 3.

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Ooh, I have a bug report!

In Level 1, there's a cable car across the chasm before the goal bell. As usual, I ran down the hill, super-jumped the chasm, hit the very left edge of the goal bell...but instead of landing on the ground, I landed on the very right edge of a cable car.

The victory music played and my character froze (as usually happens at the end of a level)...but the cable car carried me back off to the left, and the level didn't end. Since I couldn't move, the game just sort of looped at that point, with my sailor haplessly stuck on the cable car.

(Trying to duplicate this bug by taking the cable car across the chasm didn't seem to work. Even if you stand on the rightmost edge of the cable car, you don't trigger the goal bell. Apparently I triggered the goal bell while in midair, then landed on the cable car instaed of the ground. I doubt I could duplicate that.)

Suggested fix: adjust the cable car's path so it doesn't get so close to the goal bell.

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Heh, I beat all the way through level 5 so far. I tell you, level 5 is the most annoying maze type thing EVER! I actually did find someone who knew what they were doing and got through a lot faster that way. At least until the fourth bell where he jumped into a spike mover for no particular reason, oh well. I tell you, it was hilarious to see all those little sailor dudes jumping around everywhere and know that he and I were the only ones going the right way.

Whatever, if you somehow figure out there's a sailor dude named xdrngy in level 5 follow it.

Also, I always take the cable cars on level 1, I find them more reliable than my ability to super jump.

I LOVE THIS GAME

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BTW, lvl 6 is a nasty sucker too. Still, great fun.
I tell you, there's something profoundly disturbing about watching as the one you call mentor die on a ridiculusly simple trap.

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if anyones wondering, the fifth bell in stage 5 is

in the portal next to the start and the ending bell is at the end of the chasm next to the fifth bell.

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On Level 8, can anyone beat...

44 seconds? :-D

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Does anybod know what the different coloured sailers mean???

I think the blues are the ones that make it to the end...

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I can't get past lvl 8! :( *tear*

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the orang guys are the ones wh kill themselves instantly

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okok this is weird... wats a merlion doing spitting fire!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?! ps: i'm frm sg too

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Radical! I said "Eek I can't get past" on my first window and died. And then I opened a 2nd one and played the same stage- and saw myself! Cool eh?

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Sorry for double posting! ^_^ I raced against myself in the truest sense of the word. On any level that you like (mine was level 5) you just need to race to the finish, and stop right before the bell and wait. Then you commit suicide. Repeat for around 6 rounds, and at the end you actually finish the level. Send it for ranking and replay the level. Tada! Your very own troop! Yay! ;) Oh and to avoid posting thrice, a very addictive game. I keep returning to it. One of my favourites! Keep up the good work zxo!
P.S. Jay I saw you die too :P

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I highly recommend this game. The levels are distinct and challenging. The different controls gives a good feel for it all. The sounds got annoying but fitted with the cartoon theme. I HATE the title screen. The wind blowing bores into my mind and the art just bewilders me there. Also the way the replaying worked made it feel like your actually going up against ten-fifteen people without the massive lag that would be done if you actually went head to head with them. It reminded me of that game reviewed a while ago where you would race someone around a planet.

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somebody tell me what about the charecter makes it's color? and blue dosen't mean they won, it means they survied for a while i think.

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Xylozex March 6, 2008 8:13 AM

This is a great game!!!! I am on level 9!!!!!!!! Oh, by the way, to leave text for other players, just ENTER. It is just MADDINGLY ANNOYING!!!!!!

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Almost NO orange guys win!!!!!!

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Possibly my favorite game here. I love it!

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I've only seen 1 orange guy survive so far.

Orange- usually dies pretty quickly

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My favorite game here. It would be great if they added more levels though.

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BlackWolfe Coyoten Author Profile Page September 5, 2008 10:10 AM

I've got the computer muted, and now, watching all these guys charge to their collective doom, all I can hear is Yacky Sax... (That's the Benny Hill theme, for those who don't know. :P )

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Something seems to have changed about the site, and none of the games seem to be working anymore. Instead two big talking heads keep appearing. Not being able to read what any of the text says, I've no idea what's happened. D:

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