Thursday, December 25, 2008

sorry for the no updates and such

been busy with family and holiday and such. dont worry though you will see new reviews, top 10 list, and a new set called "thoughts on" where I give alittle though paragraph on a game. I'll explain with one of my updates.

happy holidays everyone!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thoughts on Sonic Unleashed

Basically, when fans see a new Mario game, we welcome it with open arms, but when we see a Sonic game, we pretty much try to keep it at arm’s length. Sadly, Sonic was once a huge icon, but is now falling on hard times since they keep experimenting with Sonic, and keep failing. The latest game they have come up with is Sonic Unleashed. This time, Sonic has become as fast as he was during the 16-bit era of video gaming, but with an added twist. During the nighttime, he becomes a were-hog. During the night phase, it turns into more of a plat former game like Legend of Zelda, and then into a ‘run as fast as you can’ game like the old Sonic games. Now, this game kind of reminds me of Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess where Link turns into a wolf during parts of the game. This bugs me in a way since it’s like Sega is copying a Nintendo idea.
Overall, it looks fun and interesting, but I don’t think I want to buy it even if it is good. I think Sega should bring back their old icons like Ristar and Vectorman and put them on the 3D map of gaming.

My final conclusion is that it deserves at least an 8 out of 10 because of their almost complete attempt to bring back the old Sonic.

Thoughts on Left 4 dead

When I buy an Xbox360, this game is going to be one of the first on my list to rent. Yes, I said rent, but there is a very good reason why I’ll rent instead of buying this game. First reason is because of how simple it is. There aren’t massive storylines and 10 different levels, unlike games like Resident Evil and Dead Rising. My second reason is that you can’t play this game alone. The reason behind that statement is because in most games, zombies limp towards you and you can easily just walk past them, but in Left 4 Dead, they run at you like lambs to a slaughter. In this game, you can’t make your own character. Instead, you choose from 4 different characters: an unemployed African- American businessman, a Vietnam veteran, a college girl, and a typical awesome video game action hero. My final reason to rent this game is because the game doesn’t have boss fights or puzzle solving, and relies on the players to mow down hordes of zombies. Another reason why you shouldn’t play this alone is because alone, you could get easily taken down.

So basically, I wouldn’t give this game a perfect score but I would give it about 7 or 8 out of 10, since that’s what zombie games are all about, but I would like some uniqueness like boss fights and such, and to be able to create your own character

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Ninja Review

Ninjas are pretty cool. They have cool weapons, and can shoot fireballs and run up walls, like the Matrix. Counting out the stupid ninjas from Naruto, they are pretty much cool. Though personally, I like pirates. Though we aren’t really talking about pirates here, we are talking about ninjas. Besides Ninja Gaiden and the Shinobi games for the Genesis, there hasn’t really been a good series of ninja games. Though there have been a lot of ninja-like games, for example, I-Ninja for the Gamecube, PS2, and Xbox. I played the Gamecube version, but I think they are basically the same. So, is this ninja as stealthy as he could be? Or is he just as visible as Kanye West’s large ego?

The story is that the main character named Ninja is on a mission to rescue his sensei named Sensei, who has been kidnapped by the evil O-dor. During this process, however, Ninja absorbed the power of a rage stone and goes on a blind rage and accidentally takes out his master by taking off his head. He doesn’t remember this however, and when he wakes up, he goes off on to take revenge to take down O-dor and his evil ninja army. So, yeah, basic ninja revenge story. It’s nothing new, but it’s nothing special. I will explain near the end of this review why I say that.

The game play is in the form of a hack-and-slash plat-forming game, where you control ninja, and go through a couple hub worlds with about 5 or 6 levels each. There are also different missions in each level, and you can go through them again to get that mission done. Your basic form of attack is your katana. You slash and dice up enemy robot ninjas. There are also secondary weapons, like shurikens, blow darts, and a grappling hook. Some of the missions in the game consist of you either rolling a barrel to the end of the level or just getting from point A to point B. Of course, in each hub world there is a boss fight which ranges from taking control of a giant robot to attacking another robot, kind of like the boss fights from Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon, to boss fights that look like prototype boss fights for Starfox. The basic goal in each hub world is to get a rage stone and then move onto the next hub world.

The graphics in the game are okay. They get the job done, but they could have done better for each of the consoles it was on. The music is also fitting since it feels like you’re in a cheesy ninja movie. The voice acting is good enough, but it’s just like watching a cheesy ninja movie with bad voice-overs. It’s really hard to say something good about this game, so I’m going to move onto the bad parts of the game.

Like I said above, let’s get into the bad parts, and boy, is there a lot of bad things about it. The missions and game play gets super repetitive. It also gets super boring since you have no cool moves to show off. Ninja just slashes his sword wildly, looking like a ten year old that ate two bags of sugar. You also can’t keep your projectiles, which annoys the heck out of me since you get to keep all your weapons in Ninja Gaiden. The music is cheesy and just downright terrible. From what I can see, they didn’t have a big budget for this game. There is even a cheat code that can make you finish the level without doing anything. It just makes this game ever shorter and more boring. The game as a whole is just terrible. They should have made some modifications to the game, like more weapons, more enemies, more moves, and just a better game overall. Speaking of enemy variety, there isn’t much of one. There are just robot ninjas and that’s it. The biggest gripe I have is that your sword, when it upgrades, doesn’t do anything! It just looks different and that’s it.

All and all, this is just a terrible game. I wouldn’t recommend picking this one up for any reason. I mean, I kind of expected this from the people who made this, Argonaut Games. Admittedly, they did make some good games like King Arthur’s World and Buck Bumble. I would say stay away from this game. No wonder Argonaut Games went out of business. It’s maybe because they can’t make a decent game anymore. At least, Mini Ninjas will be better

This game gets a 3 out of 10.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Retro Saga part 5: Midway Arcade Treasures

Here is yet another compilation of old arcade games, but this time from Midway. Now, I have played only my favorites, and some I have been recommended to play. To my disapointment, some of my favorites became not my favorites very quickly, because of a reason coming from the controller, but I’s too early to talk about that. Now then, let’s get to my favorites from this list.

Smash TV!: this is probally one of the more reconizable arcade games from this collection since a lot of people love this game. You’re basically a contendor in a game of survival, since everything you see is trying to knock you down and beat you silly. Don’t worry. You do get power ups that can make wiping out the goons a lot easier. The only problem I had was with the controls. It was VERY akward to use when you press a different button to shoot in a different direction. The other problem is it’s a VERY hard game. I wouldn’t recommend letting your kids who are short-tempered play this game. Expect to die a lot in this game.

Spy Hunter: this is a total classic because everyone knows about this game. You drive on the highway, taking out police cars and many others, using upgrades that come with your spy car. This is a very simple and fun game. I would recommend playing this first before moving onto the harder ones.

Road Blasters: this is another more reconizable game from this collection, since a lot people also know this game. You drive around shooting other cars and stuff that’s in your way. You do get multiple weapon upgrades but you don’t get to keep them for long, so use them when you can. The only problem I have with this game is that you lose fuel too quickly. Yes, you can pick up fuel orbs to refill your fuel gauge, but it is still very hard to get through the first level without losing fuel at least once.

Rampage: an instant classic, why? Just because it is. You get to pick between three different mutated monsters, and your job is to destory all the buildings on the screen. Now, there will be challenges in this game. Military people will be using any means necessary to kick you off their building. It gets rather annoying when they keep hitting you and you don’t get any defensive moves to block or dodge the stuff they throw at you. Another problem with this game is that you move rather slowly, slower than the sequels on the Nintendo 64 and Wii.

There are many more, but those are my favorites on the disc. The real problem comes from the controls. It’s very difficult to get used to the game’s controls, using either a PS2 or GameCube controller. Whichever one you use, it’s going to be hard to play the games. Basically, it’s a ‘rent first before buying’ to see if you like it.

This whole disc gets a 6 out of 10
Rated E for everyone

Retro Saga part 4; Ristar

It’s kind of sad to see some mascots who had a bright future die off. There were so many that I had high hopes for, like Goemon, the angel guy from Act Raiser, Kid Chameleon, and many more mascots that we all know and loved that are now in the dust. There is one mascot I don’t think a lot of people know about. Well, a lot of new gamers might not know about him, but if you are a retro gamer of any kind, then you might recognize the character known as Ristar. So, is this character as good as he was years back? Or is there a reason he isn’t around anymore?

The plot of the game is that the Valdi system is under control of the evil space pirate, Kaiser Greedy. Before the people of the planets were snatched by his mind control device, they prayed for a hero from the goddess they worship. The goddess then awakens the hero known as Ristar. It is up to him to save the galaxy from the evil grasp of the evil Kaiser Greedy. So, yeah, it isn’t some 5-star plot, but it was a 16-bit game so there doesn’t really need to be a plot that you should care about. The only time you should care about a plot is in games like Odin Sphere or Final Fantasy 10.

The game play is very similar to those like Sonic 3, Super Mario World, or any other 16-bit plat former at the time. It’s no surprise it is like the Sonic games since it was also made by the same people who made the old Sonic games before they started to make horrible games. You basically walk through a linear path where you can use your arms to stretch out and grab things. The only way to attack someone is to use your arms to stretch out and grab someone or something and smash it with your face. You can also use it to pick up items to throw, to trigger some of the traps in the game, like flames coming up from the floor and etc. There are also areas that you need to swim through, which in my opinion, are set up like areas in Rocket Knight Adventures.

The graphics were some of the best for when the 16-bit age was dying down. They look just as good as Sonic 3 and Rocket Knight Adventures, which are supposed to be some of the best Genesis games of all time. The Genesis is really infamous for being poor in the sound department since the Genesis was more of a Graphics console than sound, but I think the sound and music in Ristar isn’t bad. I also like how Ristar does different idle animation on each level, which gives the game some creative factor. In the first Sonic game, he only taps his feet if you don’t play for a while. I also like the whole level design of the game. It’s very fun to see what challenge will be in the next level.

However, I do have some gripes about this game. I feel badly that not a lot of people know about this game. I mean, yeah, a good chunk of the community might know who Ristar is, but the game didn’t sell well due to the Playstation and Nintendo 64 coming out. I don’t quite understand sometimes when developers and publishers release a game that they think will sell well when it’s going to be overlooked by something bigger. Game-wise I don’t like the attack system. While I enjoy grabbing onto things and hitting them with my face, I wish there was like a jump attack or something since other than the face attack, you have no other form of defense. Other than that, there isn’t much wrong with this game.

Overall, this is really a hidden gem on the Genesis game library. I say if you can find a copy of this game in cartridge form or download form then pick it up. I wonder what will happen with Ristar? I say Sega should give Ristar another try even if not a lot of people know about Ristar.

This game gets an 8 out of 10

Retro Saga part 3: Magician Lord Review

SNK has always come out with some classic arcade games, like Metal Slug and King of Fighters, though one thing I haven’t seen them do is a plat-forming game for the arcade. They usually do just beat ‘em ups, shoot ‘em ups, and fighting games. It isn’t a bad thing, but I don’t think I would want to stick to it all the time. One day however, I learned about a game that SNK made, called Magician Lord. So, is this a fun game? Or is this magician all out of tricks?

Basically, there is an evil wizard named Gal Agiese, who is taking over the land, and ruling it with an iron fist. It is up to the last of the magician lords, Elta, to travel across the land and stop all of Gal Agiese’s forces and get the 8 magical tomes to stop him. First of all, I’m surprised that the main hero is a wizard. Usually in games like this, they are usually swordsmen of some kind, so I like how he is a magician and not some buff swordsman with long blonde hair.

The game play is of an arcade side scrolling plat-former where you control Elta and go through multiple dungeons to fight the mini boss and the main boss at the end. Your basic form of attack is a blue energy wave. You can also find power-ups, which can transform Elta into something else. The first one you will find will turn you into a dragon-like warrior that can breath fire. The others include a samurai with a strong attack but low range, a water warrior that can shoot tidal waves, and a ninja that shoots fire balls,, just to name a few of the forms. This game reminds me of Castlevania, since it’s much more of an action plat-former, and not as much on puzzle solving.

Graphics-wise, this game looks amazing, though I am not surprised, since SNK does a great job on making a terrific-looking 2D side-scroller. The design for Elta is really cool looking. It looks like a 16-bit version of the black mage from Final Fantasy. The monsters are also cool looking, and look like they were ripped right from Super Castlevania 4 or something. The music is nice to hear, and it pumps you up when you are getting ready to fight the monsters and bosses inside the dungeon or castle. Overall, it’s just SNK doing their job at making a good-looking video game.

Though this magician is strong, there are a couple rough edges to his talent that I feel like I should address. The difficulty is just mind blowing! I mean it’s so random, like in most areas, you are going to be fine, and then they throw you to some stupidly difficult area, and it just frustrates me. It isn’t fair, and it ruins the pace of the game. You also can’t move and shoot at the same, which bugs me since the enemies can do that while you can’t. You also can’t shoot through the walls, and of course the enemies can. You take too much damage quickly, which sucks, since you can have up to 5 health bars and they can be quickly drained if you’re not careful. Sometimes, the boss fights are just too tedious. For example, the first couple of bosses are hard as heck, and then the next boss is stupidly easy. It’s like they accidentally mixed up the bosses while programming the game. The final gripe I have is with Elta’s pacing. He is too slow, and he feels like a tank. He should be able to run and duck if he has to.

Okay, so this won’t be on someone’s favorite game of all time, but it is a fun game. I would check it out for yourself if you are trying to find NeoGeo games, or you can get it off the Wii’s virtual console, though I would recommend playing it on SNK Classics Volume 1. Let’s just hope they can make a sequel to this game. It should have potential since it seems like SNK won’t stop making King of Fighters games.

This game gets a 7 out of 10.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Super Smash Brothers Brawl Review for the Wii

Fighting games are pretty much the same these days. You have your favorite fighter, like Nightmare or Iori Yagami, you have your long list of moves you have to memorize, and you just beat the person until they cant get up anymore. Things kind of got changed up when Nintendo sent out their newest franchise, Super Smash Brothers. There have been three games in the Smash Brothers series. The one in this review will be the third in the series, Super Smash Brothers Brawl. So, is it starting to get old? Or does it still have what it takes to be awesome?

Well, for plot there isn’t much of one since this is a fighting game. Though this time there is a story mode this time, so I guess I’ll exploit that for the plot. During a tournament where Mario and Kirby were fighting in a match, dark clouds loom over the tournament and an evil organization known as the Subspace Emissary starts invading the land. They want to get rid of every possible challenge that could get in their way, meaning Mario and the gang. It is up to the heroes of Super Smash to stop the Emissary from destroying the universe. So yeah, it is your basic bad guys getting rid of any challenge that gets in their way story, but it gets the job done. Then again we don’t play Super Smash Brothers for the story.

The game play is mostly a four player fighting game where you choose from a huge cast of characters and fight others. The unique thing about this game is that you don’t knock their health down to zero, you instead try to blast them off the stage by hitting them with all your character’s special moves. The cast of characters is huge, consisting of those from most of Nintendo’s franchises like Mario, Pokemon, Zelda, Metroid, and others. New characters have also been introduced like Wario, Pit, Meta Knight, and two third-party characters who are Snake and Sonic the hedgehog. The cast is bigger than ever and I like it! While fighting on the many stages, you can use different items like pokeballs, mines, bombs, baseball bats, and my personal favorite, the assist trophies where you can summon secondary Nintendo characters like Little Mac, Knuckle Joe, and others. If you get bored with all the stages, you can make your own which is a cool feature.

Even though the Wii isn’t a powerhouse, the graphics don’t disappoint. They are maybe some of the best on the system, and I would like to be proven wrong. The music is also a great point in the game, which has redone versions of the classic songs from most of the games. The controls are another high point in the game. They are responsive and the combos are easy to pull off. That’s why I hate games like Street Fighter, where I have to learn a whole list of combos, and I just hate that. I say, make a simple fighting system that everyone can play.

Now, it’s time to talk about the bad parts of the game. In the level creator, you are not as free as you would think and that’s a little bit of a turn-off for me. Another thing I don’t like about the game is Sonic’s appearance. He isn’t a bad fighter, not at all, but his place in the story mode is just stupid. He basically has no plot in the story at all. Then again, maybe Nintendo didn’t give him one since they screwed Mario over in that Olympics game he teamed up with Sonic. Heck, I would be mad since not a lot of people liked the game.

All and all, I can’t say a lot of bad things about this game. It’s a fun game and I would highly recommend buying this game for the Wii. This has to be one of the best fighting series ever. It has characters we all know and love, and it’s just fun to play with four people. Hopefully, we can see a better game in the future, though it’s going to be tough to top such a fun game.

This game gets a 9 out of 10

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Retro Saga Part 2: Atari Anthology

Many old gamers would probably remember the Atari systems that had simple yet fun games like Asteroid or Centipede. Atari has come out with a single disc that has multiple games from the old Atari consoles that were around in the 80’s, and this game was called Atari Anthology. Now, I can’t really review all of the games since it would take too long to review all of them, but I am going to do a couple of my favorite Atari titles on this disc.

Asteroids: When my family first got a computer in the 90’s, there were multiple games on it, which were from the Atari systems, and this was the first on the list. You’re basically a ship in the middle of the screen, and your goal is to destroy all the asteroids on the screen. Occasionally, there will be a flying saucer, which if you shoot it, you get a bonus. The only thing I don’t like about this game is how the music speeds up and annoys or distracts me from playing, and then a smaller asteroid smacks me.

Crystal Castle: This was new to me since I have never played this game before. You basically play as someone, I don’t really know who, as you collect crystals around a castle in a somewhat 3D area. You do have things to avoid, like unknown little creatures (I don’t really know what they are). This is a cute game and I love it. The only thing that bugs me is that you have to plan where to go as you play, since some parts of the area might be a little tricky to pass, if a monster is in front of the last crystals.

Centipede: Now this was another game I had on my computer and enjoyed playing. You are basically a small ship, and you try to shoot down a whole centipede to gain points, and to get to the next level. Occasionally, an annoying spider comes across and floats around the screen. It will give you bonus points if you shoot it. Now, a heads up for new gamers, the spider gets faster and the centipedes multiply each level you play through. That spider is really the only thing that bugs me.

Missile Command: Again, this was another game I played on the computer. You basically try to save the buildings on the bottom of the screen by shooting down the missiles in the sky. There’s not much to it, and the thing that bugs me about this game is that once you shoot up a certain amount of missiles, you have to wait for them to reload, which will pretty much annoy new gamers. Also, you have to be very exact in your aim.

Battle Zone: You play as a tank in a semi-like 3D environment, and your goal is to shoot down other tanks. The controls on anthology are pretty tricky and you have to be on your feet. This isn’t a game for newcomers to the video game world.

Red Baron: This is another game where you play in the same kind of 3D environment, just like in Battle Zone. You shoot down planes, blimps and other things that are on the ground. The one bad thing I can say is that you can’t see the bullets you shoot, so it might get tricky when you are aiming at the enemy planes.

Now, there are multiple other classics I could talk about on this disc but I rather save it for you guys to play. The only bad thing is that I think Atari should have done was to package the game with a single joystick and one button controller like on the old Atari consoles. The controls with the Playstation 2 are jerky and hard to move. Overall, Nintendo and Sega wouldn’t be around if Atari wasn’t here. A heads-up to the parents and such, this disc isn’t a first-to-buy game for your kids (I’d start with Kingdom Hearts or something.

This game luckily doesn’t get a score since because there are multiple games on the console, you could easily give each game a score and be done with it. But, if I had to, I would give all the games an average score of 6 out of 10.

Friday, November 14, 2008

No More Heroes for the Wii

Violence doesn’t seem to be the Wii’s biggest strength. I agree that it’s supposed to be a fun family console that everyone can play, though they should think about expanding their library of games and stop making crummy third party games. I think they finally got it with No More Heroes, a M-rated action game that’s filled to the brim with violence. So, is there enough to keep fans happy? Or is it actually toned down more than we think?

You start off as Travis Touchdown. He is the most odd and unusual hero I have ever seen for a game. He is basically a 20-something-year-old anime-loving, Mexican wrestling fanatic, who has gotten himself into the Top 11 assassins in the world. It is his job to take down the other 10 to become Number 1, so basically, it isn’t as much revenge as it is just about being the best of the best.

This game was made by Grasshopper Manufacturer, which is mostly known for creative cel-shaded comic book-like games like Killer 7. They are also known for games such as The Silver Case, Shining Soul 1 and 2, Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked, and Blood+ One Night Kiss. They have always had a certain art style, which makes the game unique and nice-looking. Everyone seems to be out of a comic book of some sorts.

Let’s get into the game play though, shall we?
The game play is of a free roaming action game where you control Travis, who wields a beam saber-like weapon and uses it to cut down on his competition. You basically go through the game in this procedure.

1. Find out who your target is
2. Sign up for a match with him.
3. Get the cash to pay for the sign-up.
4. Go to where he or she is.
5. Beat the ever-loving snot out of the goons.
6. Fight the main boss and go up a rank

Since Travis has a hole in his pocket, you have to take up small-time jobs, like cutting grass, filling up gas, and taking scorpion off some property. It gives you multiple jobs to do that don’t last long, but it helps you out in more ways than one. After killing one of the assassin, you can always train more and learn new moves. You can also buy upgrades for your beam weapon. You can also cruise around the city that the whole game takes place in, on a cool anime-looking motorcycle-like vehicle. It kind of reminds me of that R-rated anime movie, Akira. So, basically think of the vehicle you drive as one of the motorcycles the characters ride in Akira.

The graphics have a certain charm to them. It’s kind of a cel-shaded comic book-look, combined with characters that seem to be from some anime, like Trigun or Outlaw Star. Travis himself is just a complete oddball. He seems like a normal person and not some trained assassin, but the bosses are no slack. They range from British giant sword-wielding metal artist, a white afro samurai schoolgirl, an American-looking superhero, and even a Texan-like sharp shooter. I think it helps when the whole cast of characters have great voice actors. For example, Travis is voiced by Robin Atkin Downes who has done voices for characters like Luxord from Kingdom Hearts 2, the Gentlemen Ghost from Justice League Unlimited, and Moon Knight in Spiderman: Web of Shadows to name a few. You also get voice actors like Richard McGonagle, who did Grevious from the Star Wars: Clone Wars mini series, Josh Keaton who did young Ocelot from Metal Gear Solid 3, and Kim Mai who does Mei Ling’s voice for the Metal Gear Solid series, just to name a few of the talented actors that are in the game. I wouldn’t have been surprised if there was some sort of anime being made after this game or something. The music is also fitting to the odd and interesting world. Everything in this game doesn’t go by any logic whatsoever. It’s simple, fun, and interesting to play.

There are some faults that I think could have been corrected that would have made this a better game. The small mini-jobs are just repetitive and boring. I mean, yeah, it’s fun chopping people up into bits, but I wish there were more varieties in the jobs you accomplish. The camera could have been better, also. Sometimes, I got my butt kicked because I couldn’t see where the attack was coming from.

Overall, I really enjoyed this game. At first, I as a little annoyed since it reminded me of Grand Theft Auto, but after playing it, I think it’s better than that. It’s a simple game that I would highly recommend buying. Hopefully, we get more awesomely funny stuff for the sequel, No More Heroes Desperate Struggle.

This game gets an 8 out of 10

Thursday, November 13, 2008

De Blob for the Wii

Good or decently good third-party games are fairly scarce amongst the Wii’s game library. It’s not the Wii’s fault. It’s the people who think that the Wii needs more broken controlled mini-game-filled discs. We don’t want that, people! We want good games for the Wii. However, I think we finally got one. It’s called De Blob for the Wii. Is this bright and colorful game good enough to be on par with Metroid and Zack and Wiki? Or are its colors not bright enough?

The whole plot of the game starts in the colorful Chroma City, where the colorful civilians are taken, under force, by the evil INKT army. Out of the sad and depressed black-inked colored city comes a hero that is somewhat odd. His name is De Blob. It is up to him to take command, along with the revolutionary group, and take back the colorful streets of Chroma City.

The game play has taken a more colorful form of a plat-forming puzzle game, where you go across different parts of the city to recolor and destroy INKT soldiers along the way. You basically absorb color, and roll and jump around on buildings. You take on missions where you need to be a specific color and paint certain areas of the town that color. You do have the extra challenge of watching out to not touch the black ink, or else it drains you of your life energy and only washes off in water. The main enemies are the INKT soldiers who will stop at nothing to ink you dry. There isn’t much to talk about the game play since it’s very simple, and it’s basically the same thing in every level, though they do mix it up from time to time with jumping and plat-forming sections in games like Super Mario Galaxy or something like that.

The graphics are just beautiful. I love the whole pop culture look. They went with bright and simple colors like red, blue, and yellow, and other colors when you combine them all together. It’s really fun just to sit down and roll around your newly colored city. Another great high point of the game is the pop and hip-hop music tracks that play during the game. It fits the game about 100%. The cut scenes and humor in the game are just fun to watch, and they will make you laugh. If you liked the humor in Raving Rabbids, then I think you will like the humor in this game a lot more.

Now, it is time to talk about the bad parts of the game. The game play itself is fun, but repetitive. It kind of gets boring, and it isn’t meant to be played in one sitting unless you want to get it done in one day. As for the replay value, there isn’t much. There’s stuff to unlock, like music and art galleries and such, but nothing to really keep you playing twice in a row, though that isn’t a bad thing. I think people would get annoyed after playing through the same thing twice. I would.
All and all, this is definitely one of the better Wii games. It’s fun, creative, and a blast to play. I would highly recommend buying this game or renting it if you want a fun game to play. Hopefully, we can see more of this blob, since his future looks promising.

This game gets an 8 out of 10

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mystical Ninja starring Goemon

Konami has been around for 40 years. That’s quite a commitment to stay in business for that long. From a jukebox repair/rental company to making video games, they have made some quite popular franchises. Castlevania, Metal Gear, Gradius, and Silent Hill are some of the great franchises they have. There is one franchise I always have always enjoyed, but have always wondered what has happened to it. This franchise is called Mystical Ninja, and the game I will be talking about today is the wonderful Nintendo 64 game, Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon. Before I start this review, I want to thank my mother for getting me this game for an Easter gift.

The setting of this story sets us up with the blue spiky-haired hero, Goemon, with his best friend Ebisimaru. They are shopping on a beautiful day in Oedo Town. A few minutes later, they feel the earth shake as a giant peach-shaped spaceship appears out of the sky and go towards Oedo Castle, shooting a laser at it, turning it into a huge theatre stage-like castle, in the style of an European castle. They turn out to be the Peach Mountain Shoguns who want to turn the whole world into a huge theatre stag, and it is up to Goemon and his friends to save Japan from this evil, yet odd group of villains. The first thing you would realize is that there is a high tech space ship in old time Oedo Japan. I kind of question the timeline in which this game takes place, but who cares, right?

The game play is in the form of an action adventure plat-forming game. It’s kind of like one of Konami’s answer to Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series. You can play as four different characters in the series. The first character is, of course, Goemon who uses a Japanese Pipe as a weapon, Ebisimaru who can shrink and wields a mallet, Sasuke who is a robot ninja with freezing kunai and bombs, and finally the only female character, Yae who can use a katana and can transform into a mermaid. During the game, you basically go from place to place helping people out and stopping robot-like bosses through most of the game. In only three times in the game, you can pilot Goemon’s giant robot, Impact, and fight in a rail-shooting-like boss fight where you can use punches and such to fight the boss. It’s hard to explain, but once you play it, it’s really fun. You also collect those little cat statues to gain heart pieces, and you can gain secondary weapons, and upgrade your default weapons.

The graphics are just awesome. They are detailed, and have shading and light detail, and that is pretty hard for most Nintendo 64 games. The only other games that push the limit of the console is Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Banjo Kazooie, and Conker’s Bad Furday. The music is also very impressive. The Mystical Ninja series always has a great soundtrack to come with it. The best thing about one of the songs is that it is sung by Ichiro Mizuki who is famous for doing most of the giant robot anime series, like Getter Robo. The humor in the game is quite hilarious. It ranges from stupid humor to the game making jokes of itself. What I mean by that is that the game knows it is a game. Everyone in the villages always has something different to say and it’s just fun to listen to what they have to say.

I love this game and there is nothing but great things to say about it, though there are some things with it that didn’t age well. The boss fights with the giant robot are very scarce. There are only three times you fight with Impact, and I just think that’s wrong. There should have been more giant robot boss battles. Though the small robot boss fights are just as fun, so there isn’t much to complain about. From a graphics standpoint, you can kind of tell the game hasn’t aged well. The enemy roster could have been increased, since you only fight a certain number of enemies. The camera can be a little awkward since you can control it to a point, but when you stop and the camera is in front of you, it just revolves around you until it’s behind you, and it’s just awkward sometimes when it doesn’t spin all the way around.

Like I said above, I just love this game, and I love the franchise. I just wish there were more games being made from this series, and coming over here in the states. The only Mystical Ninja games that have made it over here are a Super Nintendo game, two Nintendo 64 games, and one Gameboy game. I highly recommend you pick this game up. Make sure it’s the right price though. I saw a copy at my local game store for about 15 bucks. So yeah go get it already!

This game gets an 8 out of 10

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hydro Thunder Review

Racing games have really been typical amongst the racing genre. You drive a car, you race 12 other people, and you win first place. Though nowadays, people have been getting more creative like Nintendo and their Mario Kart franchise. Still, nothing was really different until Midway came out with one of the best arcade games ever! This masterpiece of a game is called Hydro Thunder. I am playing and reviewing the Nintendo 64 version since I prefer that version. The only differences between the Dreamcast and Playstation version is that the Dreamcast version is closer to the arcade version, and the Playstation version has a career mode that the other versions didn’t have.

The whole plot of Hydro Thunder is to pick your boat, and race across some very creative and original levels, and, well, get first place. There really doesn’t need to be a plot for racing games, and when they do have a plot, they just take the fun out of playing the game.

The game play is in the form of a racing game, but it’s more like Wave Race 64 than stuff like Mario Kart or Grand Turismo or other racing games in that fashion. You get multiple kinds of boats to use, and you race across some pretty creative tracks. They aren’t F-Zero crazy, but it’s amazing for something as simple as a boat racing game. I also like how all the boats are different and they have a cool design to them. During the game, you can gain speed boosts and it’s not just speed difference, your boat also transforms a little and brings out a stronger engine. You can also glide in the air if you hit a ramp or something. and it’s just fun to race through all the levels.

The graphics are purely awesome. They are fun to look at and most of the versions look the same as the arcade version. The music is also amazing to listen to. It isn’t like F-Zero and I don’t know why I’m comparing this game to that game. I guess I’ve got racing on my mind, but for Hydro Thunder, you get a kind of intense action music you would hear in a James Bond film. The controls are spot on. Though some boats might be trickier to control, it doesn’t mean that the controls are broken. It just shows that specific boat is more challenging. Then again, this was made by Midway before they started to do poorly in the industry.

Now, it is time to talk about the bad parts of the game. Well, there isn’t much to say that is bad about it. One of the few things I don’t like about it is that in the later levels you are forced to find all the boost if you want to get through the race in first. After unlocking everything, there isn’t much else to do. There isn’t a “create your own boat or level” which I find odd since games like Tony Hawk Pro Skater has a “create your own skate park” feature.

This is truly one of the best games of all time, and stands as one of the best racing games ever. I would say go find yourself a copy of this game for whichever console of your choice. I am trying to find one for the N64. Hopefully, the spiritual sequel that is coming will be better, or just as good as Hydro Thunder.

This game gets an 8 out of 10

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kingdom Hearts 2 for the Playstation 2

Personally, Kingdom Hearts is one of my favorite franchises of all time. I enjoyed the first game, but then I was keeping my distance from the sequel that’s on the Gameboy Advance, Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories. In early 2006 though, I got excited finding out that a true sequel to the first game was coming out, and I just had to have it. The game is called Kingdom Hearts 2. So, is this sequel as good or better than the first? Or does it still have some growing up to do?

The story picks up from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. It’s been at least two years since Sora was on his last adventure. Since then, he has been in a hibernated state. Instead, the player starts off with a character called Roxas in a town called Twilight Town. During the 6 in-game days that last about 20 minutes or so each, Roxas realizes he can wield the Keyblade and is somehow related to Sora, who also can wield the same weapon. After the 6 days you play as Roxas, you finally get to play as Sora, when you wake up from his slumber. After waking up, he learns quickly about the new enemies called the Nobodies, who Roxas had to fight during his last six days of life. Sora then ventures out to find the King’s old master, learning that not only have the Heartless returned, but there is also a new enemy in the form of Organization 13. It is up to Sora, with his friends Donald and Goofy, to save the many worlds from the evil clutches from the Heartless and the Nobodies. The story is complex, but don’t worry, the game play is simple. Speaking of game play, let’s talk about that next.

The game play is very similar to the last game, though there are some newly added elements, which make the action RPG element more interesting. You again take control of Sora as you use the Keyblade. You gain your magic and multiple different Keyblades, but you get a new power to change forms. The first form makes you wield two Keyblades. The second form gives you an increased magic ability. The final form makes you stronger in all areas. There is one more, but you will have to find out for yourself. You can also pull off combo movies with your teammate that can cause massive damage to multiple enemies, or take a good chunk out of the boss’s health bar. You do have summoning powers where you can summon a Disney friend to help out, but I won’t say whom you can summon so I don’t spoil it for people who haven’t played it. There are some quick time events to also help with some boss fights.

The graphics I think are a little bit better then the last one, but I can’t really tell. They used a very clever art style for the Playstation 2’s processing power. It’s one of the better-looking games on the system. The music is also the second best high point next to the amazing graphics. Utada Hikaru again does the theme song for the game. and I happen to love the song. One of the more surprising things is that the actors who played some of the Disney characters come back and do the voices for their respective character like Ming-Na as Fa Mulan and Tate Donovan as Hercules. I think that’s a cool little touch. like James Wood does his role as Hades and Zack Braff as Chicken Little. We also get some new voice actors like Jesse McCartney voices Roxas and Christopher Lee voices the character Diz.

his is a truly great game that Square Enix has created, but it isn’t without its faults. The beginning of the game where you play as Roxas is sluggish, and it takes too long just to get to Sora. They could have made it only two days instead of 6. The last game was difficult and annoying at times, but Square Enix made this one a little too easy. You will rarely die. Even though it’s fun going through the same levels twice to fight two different bosses, I wish there were more worlds to explore. I mean, what about the Pixar films or one of the Hayao Miyazaki films? It just kind of gets repetitious going through the same levels. Again, as you travel from world to world, you go through those rail-shooting Gummy ship levels, but I would have liked the addition of not having to go through it if I don’t want to. Also, the graphics on the Gummy seem a little outdated. It just looks like a bunch of polygons.

All and all, this is a great game even with its little faults. I would say, get both Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2. I would maybe hold off on getting Chain of Memories since a lot of people consider it the black sheep of the Kingdom Hearts games. Basically, go out and buy Kingdom Hearts 2 and the other game for the Playstation 2. Let’s hope we get a new Kingdom Hearts game for the Playstation 3, though I think I can be happy with the prequel game coming out for the PSP.

This game gets a 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bomberman Hero for the Nintendo 64

Bomberman has always had a little place in my heart for being one of the first characters to use bombs as a weapon. Even though he hasn’t been doing that well right now, he will still have a special place in my heart for his Nintendo 64 games. My favorite has to be Bomberman Hero for the Nintendo 64. Is Bomberman still up to snuff? Or should he just retire all together?

The plot is kind of like the beginning of Star Wars Episode 4. A princess and her robot have escaped from this death star-like planet, and is then kidnapped as the robot escapes. The robot lands on Bomberman’s home planet and asks him for help. Of course, Bomberman accepts and goes out to save the princess from the grasp of evil. So, yeah, it’s nothing special, but then again, you don’t play Bomberman for the story.

The game play is an adventure plat-former where you control Bomberman and go through four worlds filled with multiple levels and a major boss fight at the end. This time, instead of just lying bombs around, you get to throw them. I like this because I thought the last game was made too tedious, having to lay the bombs around. You can also jump and charge up enough to throw four bombs. The biggest surprise was that you had a health bar. In the last game, if you got hit once, you would die. There were also levels that gave special power-ups, like a snowboard, jetpack, propeller, and a helicopter power-up, which gives the levels in the game some variety.

The difficulty is basically in the middle. It isn’t too hard, but it isn’t easy either. The graphics are impressive for the time, but they are just as good as Beetle Adventure Racing. What I am trying to say is, they are no Perfect Dark. The music fits Bomberman. It’s lively and full of techno beats. The boss fights are also fun and challenging.

Even though this is a fun game, there are some faults with it. One is that the music soundtrack isn’t that big. Most levels have the same song and it just gets boring. There isn’t much challenge in the game until the final level, meaning you can beat most of the game in one sitting. There is not much in replay value. I think it would have been cool to unlock the first Bomberman game or something.

All and all, this is a good game, and I would recommend looking for it. Just don’t pay too much for it. I say 20 dollars or less. Even though he isn’t as good as he used to be, Bomberman still remains as one of the oldest icons that is still kicking. So, yeah, I would recommend this one over the first Bomberman.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

Kingdom Hearts for the Playstation 2

Have you ever had a crazy idea for a game and then you actually see it put into motion and it turns out to be a success? Let’s take a few games for example, like Mario, Castle Crashers, Banjo Kazooie, and other games that are just too famous for how unique they are. I think one of the craziest ideas that was ever come up with was Kingdom Hearts for the Playstation 2. Tying in Disney and Final Fantasy? Who knew this was going to work? Well, it was a great idea and it’s a great game, but how great is it?

The story starts off with our main hero, Sora, who had a weird, but ominous dream of something bad happening. He then hangs with his two friends who want to get off the island and explore other worlds. In the Disney Castle, which is on a different world however, another story goes on where the king has gone off on an adventure to solve some issue that is happening in the worlds. Back on the island however, it gets infested with creatures called Heartless, and Sora ends up with a weapon known as the Keyblade. It is up to Sora to stop the Heartless from taking over the world and to find his friends. There is a lot going on, and I would rather not spoil it for people who haven’t played it yet. It’s a good story though, so I recommend looking it up.

The game play is rather unique, since it’s a role-playing action game where you control Sora, who is accompanied by Donald, who uses magic, and Goofy, who uses a shield. You basically go through some original worlds and a lot of Disney-themed worlds. When you go to some worlds, you get to team up with someone there like Tarzan, Beast, and my personal favorite, Jack Skellington. You also gain magical powers like fire and ice, but you can also summon some Disney characters to help you, like in Final Fantasy. Since this is an action role-playing game, all the battles are in real time, meaning you need to stay on your feet so you don’t die. Between levels however, you go into a rail shooting-like section and it’s quite fun to play through them. Though I could have done without them, they are a nice change of game play.

The graphics are impressive. They are way better than Final Fantasy fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon by far. It’s maybe one of the best games for the Playstation 2, and it shows that Square Enix can make a great title when they want to. The music is also a strong note to the game. Square Enix always put in so much care for their Final Fantasy games. For example, some people say the soundtrack to Final Fantasy 6 is the best soundtrack of a Final Fantasy game. I admit, I wish I had bought the soundtrack to Kingdom Hearts. The famous Utada Hikaru sings the theme song used in the game. It also helps that Yoko Shimoura, who is famous for games like Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga, Legend of Mana, Super Mario RPG, Little King Story, and many other games, does the soundtrack. The enemies are very creative and it is interesting to see what kind of Heartless you will find in each level.

Now, it is time to talk about the heartless parts of the game. The game is pretty difficult. It took me awhile to get past the first town I ended up in. You will get your butt kicked in some of the tougher fights, and you will get lost from time to time, like I did. They did fix that in the second game, which I’ll talk about later. Even though the voice actors are great in what they do, there are some areas, like when they do text-talking that brings the game to a halt. It just seems like they were lazy, though that is just a small gripe.

All and all, this is just a wonderful game for the Playstation 2, and I would highly recommend buying it for your collection. This idea is so interesting, and it’s just fun to see where you will end up next. I can’t wait for when they announce a Kingdom Hearts 3. Before we can get into that though, we need to talk about its sequel.

The game gets a 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon for the Wii

What is there to say about the name Final Fantasy? It’s one of the biggest franchises in the gaming universe. They seem to make some pretty good-looking games and ones that are pretty deep in story. They seem to have 100’s of games at their disposal, but only a few seem to be pretty much buyable. This kind of issue comes into play with some of their spin-offs. The one I will be reviewing today is Final Fantasy Fable: Chocobo’s Dungeon for the Nintendo Wii. So, is this famous fantasy bird a good idea? Or should he just be fried up and thrown into a bucket of chicken?

The main story settles around our yellow bird the Chocobo and his friend the treasure hunter Cid. While looking for a certain treasure hunt, they get warped into a mysterious town where people have lost their memories each time the tower bell goes off. A little bit after you get to the town, you meet a green-haired boy who has the ability to go into the person’s mind and find their memories. It is up to you as Chocobo to team up with the kid and get everyone’s memories back.

The game play is in the form of a rpg dungeon crawler-like game. The town itself is very small, with only four areas to explore, with the exception of the minds of the people you explore. The main game play takes place in the person’s mind in multi-floored dungeons, filled with monsters, and a boss at the end of each dungeon. The fighting comes in the form of a turn-based fighting system, where you move to a square, and then it’s the enemy’s turn and etc. You also have the ability to change job classes, like a knight, white mage, dragoon, black mage, and etc. You also can go into the forging store and make new items and weapons.

The music is definitely one of the high points. They always make great music for the Final Fantasy games. Even if you don’t like their game, you’ve got to admit that the music is very enjoyable to listen to. The other high point is the character designs. I especially like Cid’s looks since he actually looks like a treasure hunter. For the Wii, the movie cut scenes are impressive and nice to look at.

Let’s put on our talons and track down the bad parts. The dungeon levels themselves are bland and boring-looking. They also get really repetitious. The voice acting is over the top and horrible. The memories you return to the villagers are just boring and uninteresting. The game play is overly tedious since you also have to keep Chocobo energized. and it’s stupid how they put this in. the overall difficulty is all over the place. The monsters are hard, but the bosses are pushovers. I just think they could have spent more time on this game and actually made some smart moves.

All and all, Square Enix could have done a way better job. Without the graphics that are just decent enough to be on the Wii, repetitious game play, boring dungeon layout, and unneeded difficulty, they could have made this one of the best games for the Wii. Sadly, it’s just a decent game that won’t keep you interested long. I only played it for like a day and a half, and I got bored with it. I would say don’t even bother with this game, and go out and get Zack and Wiki instead. It would be more worth your time than this game.

This game gets a 5 out of 10

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wario Land Shake it! for the Wii

Wario seems to have put away his plat-forming days for mini-games and weird characters. Gladly, his old plat-forming games are still fun. Good news though, we have a new side-scrolling game from Wario in the form of Wario Land: Shake it! Or The Shake Dimension for the Wii. So, is this game as good as the games on the Gameboy? Or is it just a failed attempt to put on Wario’s plat-forming shoes?

The story is kind of simple, but it fits the Wario series. Basically, there is this other world called the Shake Dimension. The evil Shake king has taken the princess and their prized possession, a bag that has unlimited amount of money in it. Sadly, this world is only found in this ancient globe inside a museum. Thankfully, you get Wario’s old rival, Captain Syrup, to give the globe to none other than Wario. After Wario gets introduced to one of the Shake Dimension’s residents, he then sets off on another adventure for money and to kick some bad guy butt. I always liked how the old Wario games would put in a sort of challenge so you can get the best out of the specific Wario Land game you have. For example, most of the Wario Land games gives you a challenge to get the best ending or the best castle or whatever and such.

The game play is in a side-scrolling plat-former where you control Wario as you go across multiple levels, getting money and treasure, and fighting the boss at the end of each map. You have your basic Wario moves in the form of his shoulder ram, jumping on top of enemies, and shaking the Wii remote makes Wario hit the ground to cause a small shake. You can also use vehicles like a submarine, a one-wheeled bucket, a rocket bucket, and a racecar with a punching glove. Sadly, you don’t get the cool hat power-ups, like in previous games, but I’m glad that Wario still looks like himself and not how he looks in his Warioware games.

The graphics are in a cartoonish cel-shaded look, which really fits Wario’s art style. It really doesn’t match the Mario series, but it does fit Wario and his quirky world. I also like the music, which fits in a lot of the stages. Wario’s music has always had some kind of charm where it’s really quirky and odd. The boss fights are also fun to play through, and each fight will throw you a different challenge. One of the more interesting facts about Wario Land: Shake it! isn’t its cool look, but who developed it. The developers are a company by the name of Good-Feel. They are more known for making educational games for the Nintendo DS. I was amazed, since this makes this their first actually fun video game. I think they did a good job though, and I personally love this game.

Okay, let’s put on our Wario hats and find out the bad parts of the game. The game is on the easy side. I mean, yeah, the boss fights will bring on the pain, but you can maybe get through the levels in about 5 minutes or so. Another thing is that since the game is pretty easy, it makes it short. Yeah, there are secret maps and such, but you can get through this game in about a dedicated weekend, maybe.

All and all, this is a truly fun game. I have always loved the Wario games, and this one is maybe almost as good as the old ones. I would say if you’re looking for a fun plat-former for the Wii, then Wario Land: Shake it! is the one for you. So, yeah, go out and buy it. I wish for another Wario game though. They just don’t make enough of them.

This game gets a 9 out of 10.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pikmin 2 for the GameCube

Pikmin was a fun little game for the Gamecube. It was one of the best launch titles I have ever seen alongside Star Wars Rogue Squadron 2. Like I said in my last review though, I found the second game in the series to be more enjoyable. The title of this game is none other then Pikmin 2. So, is this sequel as good as it can be or am I exaggerating?

The story picks up from the first game. After a few days of leaving the planet full of Pikmin, he returns to his home planet. When he comes back though, he finds out his company has gone bankrupt due to a failed shipment by Olimar’s friend. Sadly, Olimar’s ship was sold to the bank. A second later though, they find a bottle cap that Olimar picked up from his adventure and they find out that it has value. It is up to Olimar and his friend to go back to the Pikmin planet and get back the money they owe to the company. It’s an interesting take on a sequel, but I like it.
The game play is more on the same line as the last game, so there isn’t much reason to go deep into the topic. It’s your basic adventure strategy game in a way, since you still control an army of Pikmin as Olimar, but you can also control your friend. I don’t know if it’s a two-player co-op game since I never tried it out. I know there is a multiplayer game, but that’s all I know. This time however, you get two new kinds of Pikmin. The first ones you get are purple Pikmin. They are the strongest and heaviest of the Pikmin, and you get them by throwing the other Pikmin into purple flowers. The other kind of Pikmin you get are white Pikmin, which are poisonous, and enemies will get poisoned if they eat them. You get the white Pikmin by throwing Pikmin into white flowers. So, the total kinds of Pikmin you gain are 5. You still get your red, blue, and yellow Pikmin. The best thing they did was that they took out the whole 30 days of air thing. This means you can take your time with finding stuff to use as currency.

The graphics are a little bit better, basically the same as the last game, but they are still really fun to look at. The music for the game is much better then the last game, but I can’t choose one over the other. They basically made a better game than the first one by making it friendlier than the last game. I mean, yeah, some areas are going to stump you, and you won’t know how to beat one kind of enemy, but it’s a more beatable game on the Gamecube unlike the brutally hard Ikaruga. This game has loads of charm from its complex style of game play, simple character designs, amazing music, and it is just a wonderful game to play.

Let’s pluck out the bad parts of the game. Let’s hope we can find some. There isn’t much to say except some areas are tedious and annoying. I guess one gripe I have is that not all Pikmin can still go in the water. I mean it’s funny back then, but like I said in the Pikmin review, it gets old really fast.

All and all, I just adore this game. I am actually thinking about picking up a copy for keeps and such. I would highly recommend getting this game over the first one since it’s just better in every way. Why can’t all sequels be this good? It’s because Nintendo knows how to make a great series. I think the Sonic Team could learn a thing or two from Nintendo on how to make a good sequel.

This game gets a 9 out of 10

Pikmin for the GameCube

Let’s be honest about Nintendo. It has been awhile since they have come up with a new franchise. Yeah, they still have Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, but why not make a new franchise that we can all know and love? What about Wave Race or something like that? Good news though, they have come up with a new franchise that seems to be pretty popular. This new series is called Pikmin for the Gamecube. So, is this new series worth looking at? Or is it really time for Nintendo to stick with Mario? Let’s find out.

The basic story is that a space deliveryman named Olimar accidentally gets hit by a meteor and crash-lands onto a mysterious planet. He then wakes up, and finds out pieces of his space ship are scattered across the land. He only has enough air for 30 days, and he needs to get the pieces back. He then finds these mysterious little creatures known as Pikmin, and finds out they can really be useful. So, it is up to Olimar with the help of the Pikmin to get the pieces of his ship back before he runs out of air.

The game play is of an adventure strategy game, kind of like the new Overlord series. Well, I shouldn’t say that since this game was way before the Overlord series, which is for another time. You play as Olimar as you control an army of little Pikmin, traversing huge areas to find items to repair your ship, get more Pikmin, and etc. You get three different Pikmin at your command. You’ve got red Pikmin, which can withstand fire, yellow Pikmin that can pick up projectiles to throw at enemies, and of course, the blue Pikmin that can swim through water. Sadly, you will basically be using the red Pikmin more than the others, but that’s what it was like for me. The game play is very similar in a way to a real-time strategy game, since you control a small army of Pikmin.

The graphics in this game are very impressive. The Pikmin series seems to have some of the best-looking graphics on a Nintendo console. Everything is just beautiful to look at. I will go as far as to say they look almost as good as Resident Evil 4’s graphics. The music is also a major highlight of the game. It’s just wonderful to listen to, and it’s catchy. The enemy variety is also big and it’s fun to see what is trying to kill you next. The difficulty is kind of in the middle to varied. Some areas are going to be stupid easy, but some areas can be a little more difficult since Olimar himself is very weak and relies on the Pikmin to do anything. The game just has an undeniable charm that just pulls you in and keeps you playing.

Even though this is a great game, there are some things that make it not as good as the sequel in the next review. The first part is that you are under pressure, since every day lasts about 25 minutes, and it forces you to choose every move wisely and not to dilly-dally. I think this game is on the difficult side, but it is beatable. I wish I could explore more, instead of not having the 30-day limit at all, since I would like to see everything in the levels. The final thing I have against this game is that only one kind of Pikmin can swim, and if you bring the two other kinds with you they just drown and die, which can be funny at first, but then it gets annoying since if you are low on Pikmin, you will end up using more time getting more Pikmin.

All and all, this is a wonderful game, and there are a lot of things going for it. I would say to buy this one if you are into a challenge, but to be honest, I would rent it since I think its sequel is a lot better. I’m not saying this is a bad game; just it shouldn’t be this tedious from time to time. So yeah, go check it out.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Super Mario Sunshine for the GameCube

Most big franchises usually have a great number of games, but there is always that one game that people call the black sheep of the bunch. Even though I hate that term, I happen to use it myself. Sadly, one of those franchises that have a black sheep is Mario. Yeah, people say that Super Mario Brothers 2 is a black sheep, but I don’t really count it as one. However, there is one game I think is the black sheep of the 3D Mario games, Super Mario Sunshine for the Gamecube. So, is it the black sheep? Or is it a cute cuddly white sheep?

The main story for Mario games isn’t big, but this one is different in a lot of ways. This time Mario is going on vacation with Peach on Isle Delfino, which is cleverly shaped like a dolphin. However, when he reaches the island, it has been covered by some paint-like substance, and after cleaning up the landing pad and meeting up with a nozzle-like machine, he is taken to jail for the reason of him getting framed for all the stuff that has covered the island, though we all know he didn’t do it. After getting released, he has been given the task to clean up the entire island and stop whoever is actually making all the gunk on the island.

Basically, the game play is the same in every Mario game. You jump from platform to platform. This time however, you have the added ability of the contraption on your back. You can use it to shoot a stream of water to clean up things, and use it to hover around. You can gain the added special effects through different nozzles, like a super jump using the jet nozzle, a motor nozzle that can make you run faster, and there are others that you will have to find out. Later in the game, you can find Yoshi eggs by feeding them different fruits depending on the colored egg. Yoshis’ can shoot a special liquid to get rid of certain gunk covering pipes and other things. In each stage, there are about 10 shine sprites to unlock later levels. There are certain challenges like there are some areas where you can’t use the contraption on your back, and the gunk can slow Mario down.

Graphically, I think it’s really good. I know some people harped on that point, but I see nothing wrong with them. They are a LOT better than the ones in Super Mario 64. I like the design of all the characters, and I always enjoy seeing new characters getting introduced, like the island inhabitants and the enemies. The music is also very good since Koji Kondo, who we all know for composing music for Mario and Zelda titles, and Shinobu Tanaka, who has also done multiple Mario titles, composed it. I like the whole set of levels that are set around the water and etc. I always wanted to live by the water, but if I want to work on video games, I will have to find a company near the ocean.

However, there are some things I didn’t really like about it. The difficulty was
raised since the contraption needs water, and it won’t work unless it is filled with the blue liquid. Some of the challenges are a little too tedious, and I just don’t find myself enjoying the ones I hate. Then again, I’m not a completist, so I don’t care if I get them all. The camera is also a little awkward, and sometimes I fail because of it. Some challenges seemed a little repetitive, but not all of them are.
Personally, I enjoy this game and I would say it’s the second best Gamecube game of all time.

all time. I don’t see why people give this game such a bum rap. So yeah, you use a water cannon-like device. So what? You still go through multiple levels filled with plat-forming. I would say to pick this game up for your Gamecube, or if you have a Wii since you can play Gamecube games on the Wii.

This game gets a 9 out of 10

Monday, October 27, 2008

Final Fantasy 7: Dirge of Cerberus for the Playstation 2

Final Fantasy 7 seems to be the only thing that Square Enix is thinking about these days. They are always coming up with some way to make fill in the already long and overcooked story. They have made sequels, prequels, prequels to prequels, and etc. It's getting boring. Though one game of the Final Fantasy 7 universe did catch my eye. It was the sequel to the FF7 movie, which was a sequel to the FF7 game. It’s called Final Fantasy 7: Dirge of Cerberus. So, is it worth being a sequel or is it just milking off the success of the game?

The story takes place a year after the movie, which takes place two years after the original game. The main hero in this game is the emo Vincent Valentine while he is just relaxing in his town as a festival is going on. Sadly, however, an evil organization ruins the event and starts kidnapping people and killing others. Of course, Vincent somehow gets pulled into the situation, and it is up to him to save the people and take down the evil organization. I have always been curious as to why the main hero in a game always takes up the job of being the main hero instead of just sitting down in his chair and eating chips. I know the game wouldn’t go anywhere, but it just puzzles me sometimes.

The game play is in the form of a third person shooter game, kind of like Gungrave, where you control Vincent and attack with his awesome 3-barreled gun. You can use punches and kicks, but since you are Vincent, why would you want to use any other weapon besides your gun? You can also pick up a limit breaker item and turn into one of two forms of demonic Vincent, and kick some butt for a minute or so, unless you cancel it. One of the best features of the game is the customization of your gun. You have three guns of which you can turn them into a normal pistol, a rifle, and a machine gun. It’s very fun since I prefer to use the rifle not only as a way to snipe enemies off roofs, but as a close range shot gun-like weapon, which is much more effective. During some parts of the game, you control the ever-lovable Cait Seith in a sneaking around-like mission. At the end of each level, you get points so that you can level Vincent up, or parts of his guns, or even turn them into cash so you can buy more stuff.

The overall charm comes from who it’s a spin off of, a Final Fantasy game, since it’s long and kind of boring, but it does a really good job at branching out its characters while you play the game. This kind of style reminds me of the anime Dot Hack Sign where it’s focused on branching out the characters. The graphics are good, but they won’t impress you like Shadow of the Colossus’s graphics. The pre-rendered cut scenes are also really impressive, as they look like they were right out of the FF7 movie. The voice acting is also what you would expect from the movie. It’s nice to see all the voice actors from the movie come back for their roles in the game no matter how small their cameo is. One of my favorite aspects is the theme song for the game. It is done by one of my favorite Japanese bands of all time, Gackt. Fans of anime or of Japan shows might recognize his music or his acting in areas like Kamen Rider Decade, New Fist of the North Star, Moon Child, and etc. If you are a fan of his, you will maybe know where you have seen him or heard his band’s music.

Let’s just sit down now and find the bad parts of the game. Let’s start off with the whole design of the game. Before getting released here in America, it had some changes so it could be more appealing to the American player. While this was a good idea, it was also one of its biggest downfalls. They didn’t restart from scratch, and instead just customized the Japanese version with the added editions for the American Market. One of those examples is the double jump, which is handy, but it still prevented us from getting to plat forms easier. The new additions like that feels like it was made to be like Devil May Cry or the upcoming Bayonetta. The enemy variety is also very lacking, since there aren’t that many enemy varieties. In the Final Fantasy universe, there are multiple monsters and enemies that they could have easily added. Sadly, they didn’t, and they give us only the enemy soldiers and the occasional giant bug and lizard men. The camera is kind of awkward since it’s just stuck in one area, and that just doesn’t suit Vincent or this game. I say, they should have just restarted from the bottom, and then reworked it. Or they could have just easily not release it here in America if it wasn’t doing well in the Japanese market.

All and all, it’s a fun game, but I would say they could have done better. This is why I think it’s time for them to put away Final Fantasy 7 for awhile, and get to work on making Final Fantasy, well, Final Fantasy, with no real-time action and stuff that was in Final Fantasy 12. Make it turn-based and fun. Though not an instant buy, I would say it’s a perfect rental game. If you are a fan of the Final Fantasy 7 universe, then I say buy it. It’s been awhile since it first came out, and you can tell it’s finally starting to age. Let’s hope they put it away for good, some time in the future.

This game gets a 7 out of 10.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64

2D side-scrolling plat-forms are classic gaming. Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, and even Shatterhand are hallmarks on how plat-forming should be done on the second dimension. However, when the Nintendo 64 and Playstation came out with its ability to form 3D characters and levels, what would happen to characters that made fame being two-dimensional? Some made the jump very horribly, like Earthworm Jim and Bubsy. Then again, Bubsy wasn’t that great to begin with. The only game that comes to people’s minds on how to jump to the 3D is Super Mario 64. So, is this a hallmark in gaming history? Or is it just a joke?

The story is basic Mario. The princess invites Mario over to her castle to eat some cake that she made. After getting to the castle, Mario sadly finds out that Bowser has taken over the castle, and has taken all the stars and hid them in the paintings inside the castle. It is up to Mario to go through the paintings, get all the stars, and beat Bowser to save Peach. It’s basic storytelling where the heroic knight needs to save the princess who is captured by the dragon. So, a knight wears blue overalls?

The game is in the form of what else, a 3D plat-forming game, where you control the plump and short Mario as you go across huge lands and get the golden stars back from Bowser. The challenges are always different, and are just a blast to play through, though some of them might enrage you for a bit. You do get multiple things to help you out, like cannons, a sea monster, and power-ups in the form of hats. The first power-up is maybe the most memorable, the flying cap, where you can fly around the level for a limited amount of time after jumping 3 times. The second power-up is the metal cap, where you can turn into Metal Mario and become super heavy to get into deep abysses and be invincible. The final power-up is the invisible cap, where you can go through certain walls and, well, be invisible.

The levels in the game are tremendous, even though you only collect ten stars in each level, and they are all in one level. It keeps it interesting and fun to play, to see if you can get all 10 stars. There are also secret levels to find, which are also tricky, yet fun to play. For the time, the graphics were amazing, and they still hold a charm that can never be taken away. I know some people in my class say it’s a bad game because the graphics were bad, and they just doesn’t know what they are talking about. The music is also fun to listen to, and is full of calming themes, but there are also its lively themes, which are heard through most of the levels. Let’s just say Mario 64 has a great soundtrack. This whole game has the charm of the old 8-bit Super Mario Brothers game, where it has a timeless look and will never get old.

Even though this is just a game that rules all around, there are some edges that just aren’t that smooth. Now, this is just a small gripe, but for most 3D plat-formers of today and old, they seem to suffer from awkward camera control. It’s not horrible, but it does get a little weird in some places. The next thing is how hard the wall-jumping can be. It seems like with the camera control, it’s always hard to wall-jump up to large areas, or jump from a high plat form to a plat form, which is lower down.

All and all, this is just a super wonderful game. There isn’t much you can say about what’s bad about it. It’s almost a flawless game, and is always highly recommended for a purchase for the Wii Virtual Console, or if you are getting a Nintendo 64. Mario will always be one of the best franchises in history.

This game gets a 9 out of 10.

Mario Kart for the Nintendo 64

What other game in the Mario franchise screams multiplayer on the Nintendo 64 besides Mario Party? How about the other well-known multiplayer game known as Mario Kart 64? I just want to say that this is going to be a special review since this was the first video game I ever got with my Nintendo 64. This review will also be a little shorter since, well, why would Mario Kart 64 need a plot?

If there were any story in this simple game it would probably be like this. Mario and friend got together and wanted to race so they set up all these wacky race tracks, to see who would win first place. So, yeah, sorry, but that’s the best I can do for a summary of the reason why they are all racing.

The game play is in the form of, what else, a racing game. You get to choose from 8 characters to choose to race as, and the racing cup you want to compete in. The characters you can choose are Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Yoshi, Wario, Donkey Kong, and Bowser. The character roster is quite small, but it works since I wouldn’t want to dump all of the ideas for the next game in one game and not have any new ideas for the next game. You also get an armory of unique items, which range from shells, banana peels, lightning bolt, mushrooms, and etc.

The graphics are pretty impressive for the time, but I will talk more about them later in the review. The music is also fun to listen and never get annoying or anything of the sort. The tracks themselves seem fun and crazy to play on. Some of them even have secret ways of getting in front of the player. The reason why I love this game is that you can take this game to college, and this would be one of the only games you would need to bring with you to have fun with multiple people.
Let’s get into your go-kart and get to the bad parts. The biggest gripe I have is that there isn’t much to unlock. I take that back. There isn’t ANY thing to unlock, which is annoying since the Mario Kart series now has multiple things to unlock. The biggest gripe I hear from fans are the rubber banding AI opponents. This is where no matter how far you are from the other racers, they will find a way to get right behind you if you mess up once. The graphics are nice, but they won’t impress you since there are more games on the console that have 3D graphics. The graphics for this game are more of a 32-bit style look.

All and all, this is almost a perfect game. It’s one of the few games you could play over and over again, no matter how old it is. I would highly recommend buying this game if you have a Nintendo 64 or getting it off the Wii’s Virtual Store.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

NightMare Before Christmas Oogie's Revenge for the Playstation 2

Nightmare Before Christmas has to be one of my top 10 movies of all time. It has a charm that no other animated film has a grip on. It has so much charm from all of its creative characters and creepy atmosphere. A lot of the charm also comes from the music made by the famous Danny Elfman. Though it seems like they haven’t made a lot of games for the film, they did show the world in the Kingdom Hearts series, but it wasn’t an official game or anything like that. Though the Nightmare Before Christmas levels are some of my favorite levels in the Kingdom Hearts games, we finally got our hands on a game based off the famous film called Nightmare Before Christmas Oogie’s Revenge. Before I start this review, I know there is another Nightmare Before Christmas game for the Gameboy Advance, but I haven’t played it yet, so that game is for another time. So is this game as good as the film? Or is it just a throwaway game?

The story of the game actually takes place after the film, which in a way makes this a sequel to the film. It’s weird since Tim Burton didn’t want to make a film sequel to the original to keep its purity, so it doesn’t have the same fate as a lot of films that Disney kills. Basically, Jack goes off on another adventure to find something unique for the town of Halloween. During his absence however, Oogie Boogie decides to take over the town and rule it as his own. It is up to Jack to get back his town and defeat Oogie Boogie so he doesn’t destroy the other holiday towns. I admit I’m glad this is just a game and not a movie since a sequel wouldn’t work for the first movie.

The game play is like games like God of War and Devil May Cry, though this game has more in common with Devil May Cry since Capcom made it also. You control Jack, our hero of Halloween Town, as you travel across huge levels to help get back your town and take down Oogie’s forces. Your main weapon of choice is the soul grabber, which is kind of like a green gooey version of the blades of chaos from God of War or Rygar’s Discarmor. During the game, you get to wear two different costumes. The first one is Jack’s Pumpkin King outfit where he gets to use fire attacks, but not much else. The final outfit is Jack’s Santa Claus outfit where he uses different presents to attack your enemy with. Overall, it’s pretty cool since it stays faithful to the movie in spirit. A cool thing that can happen during the boss fights is you get into a DDR or Dance Dance Revolution kind of battle where you need to press the button at the right time, and in the end, if you did it all correctly, you can take a huge chunk out of the boss’s health.

The graphics are quite impressive I would say that they are almost as good as Devil May Cry 3’s graphics. Though the Nightmare Before Christmas art style has always seemed like a good idea for games, the music is eerie, but it fits every level. You also get redone versions of old songs and some new songs that are sung by the cast of the movie. The enemies and boss fights are always fun to play through, and bring up a challenge every time.

It’s time to talk about the bad parts. Pacing between levels can be pretty long since you can’t just go through a cut scene and get to the area. You need to walk to every point in the game, which can get pretty boring. Since we are talking about the levels, I have personally gotten lost in the later levels because I didn’t know where to go and it just gets tedious when I don’t know where I’m going. The lighting is fine in most places except for one area in the game where I can’t tell if I can make it to that platform or not.

So, is this a good game? I personally think it is. It’s whimsical and charming, which caused me to buy it. I would say I recommend it for Nightmare Before Christmas fans, but rent it if you’re not. I love this game and I love the movie. Nightmare Before Christmas will always have a huge place in my heart as one of the best movies of all time.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

Star Fox for the NIntendo 64 (or Wii store)

Nintendo has a lot of franchises at their disposal. They have Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Wario Land, Donkey Kong, and even cute Kirby, though there is one series, Starfox, which has been kind of under the weather since its release on the Gamecube and DS. Let’s hope they come up with a sequel for the Wii. For the time being, let’s talk about one of the best Nintendo 64 games of all time, Starfox 64 for the Nintendo 64.

The plot of the game revolves around the Lylat System, which is under the rule of the evil emperor Andross. The first team tried to stop him, but ended up with the team leader dying, one member going on the evil side, and the last member surviving and telling the leader’s son that he died. A few years later, Fox is now the leader of the new Starfox team, and he is up for taking down Andross’s evil army and saving the whole system from Andross’s evil grasp. So, yeah, it’s your basic revenge plot, but I don’t think a lot of people really care about that since this happens to be one of the best games on the Nintendo 64 and one of the best games of all time.

The game play style is in the form of a 3D shooter where you control Fox and his ship as you shoot down multiple enemies in a fixed 3rd person rail-shooting game. kind of like Vanark on the Playstation. You have your basic laser weapon, and you can hold it to charge it into a homing laser, but you can also power it up twice which turns your weak gun into a stronger one. You also have the famous bomb that takes out everything on the screen and can cause massive damage to a boss. Your main ship has a lot of abilities, like it can do a barrel roll that can deflect shots, you can shake off enemies that are behind, you, and go into an all range mode and fly around in a 360 environment in certain boss fights. In some missions, you can go into the Landmaster, which is a tank, and go on the ground and shoot guys from below and above.

The graphics are impressive for the time. The best part of the game was how much voice acting was in the game. The Nintendo wasn’t really famous for having voice acting in its games, but some, like this game, Conker’s Bad Furday, and Turok have some fluid and clear voice acting. It wasn’t digitized or anything, and it’s just amazing that a cartridge could do this much. The music is also very nice, and fun to listen to. It puts you right in the setting of the planet and the situation. This game, even though it’s old, still holds up to today’s standards as one of the best 3D games of all time.

Let’s get into our ships and shoot down the bad parts. The whole game is linear. You go from planet to planet and you can’t go back to old planets if you wanted to try other routes. I kind of find that annoying. Sometimes, your allies can get really irritating, especially Slippy Toad. since he doesn’t do anything except show the boss’s life bar. It’s like they all rely on you to take care of them, and in the final fight against Wolf and his team, it gets really maddening, really fast.

All and all, this happens to be one of my most favorite games of all time. It also happened to be the second game I owned. It’s a really fun title and has some replay value. I would highly recommend buying it for the Nintendo 64 or off the Virtual Console. So, yeah, you heard what I said. Go out and buy it! Let’s just hope they can come up with another Star Fox game for the Wii.

This game gets a 9 out of 10.