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.

Nights Journey into Dreams for the Wii

There seems to be a lot of good games out there today that are getting skipped over for bigger titles. Let’s take games like Astal, the Wizards and Warrior series, Jetgrind Radio, and Kid Chameleon, for example. They were popular back then, but by today’s standards, unless you go to or, you won’t know anything about these titles. Though it seems like more games are making a come back like Bionic Commando, Street Fighter, Punch Out, and etc., one of the games I was surprised to see have a sequel was the Nights series. Now, only two games have been made, and this review will be based on the second game called Nights: Journey into Dreams for the Wii. So, is this long awaited sequel well worth the wait? Or is it just a dream after all? Oh, I forgot to mention that there is another game, but it’s for one of those old cruddy Tiger Electronic handheld games, so it’s not worth mentioning in the series as a whole.

The basic story takes place between two kids, who for some reason are dreaming the same dream. They each end up in this hub world-like area that is similar to the one seen in Wario World. The kid, whoever you choose, meets a mystical jester named Nights as you two team up and take down the evil force of Wizeman who is destroying the dream world. The story is kind of confusing, but if you play with both kids then you will understand.

The game play style is similar to the last game for the Sega Saturn. The style of game play is that you take control of the jester Nights to fly around in the levels as you go through rings and other acrobatic stuff to get through the level and finish. This kind of reminds me of the old Sonic games, since it’s fast, but fun, except the game play is still intact, unlike new 3D sonic games. The only way to defeat enemies is by circling around them and they pop. The boss fights are also challenging, but there is a certain flair to them, which is fun, in my opinion. There are also different kinds of levels, like where Nights can turn into a roller coaster or something else to get through the challenges. Nights also gets three persona masks. The first mask is the rocket mask where Nights turns into a rocket to go faster. The second is the dolphin mask where Nights can swim faster and better in the water. The final mask is the dragon mask where Nights can withstand powerful winds.

The graphics are impressive and fun to look at. The world of Nights is full of colors, shapes, and amazingly well designed characters. One of my favorites is the second boss on the boy’s side of the dream. The whole design of Nights and his rival are well made, and are unique to many game characters. I personally like the design since it inspired me to make a character similar to Nights for an art project I had to do. The music is just phenomenal. It was made by Tomoko Sasaki, who has help compose music for games like Ristar, Super Smash Brothers, and Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, to name a few. I wish there was a cd for the soundtrack of Nights Journey into Dreams because for the first few days I was playing it, I couldn’t get the song out of my head. The game definitely has a charm, and it is a game you would play again and again. The difficulty is right in the middle. For the most part, it’s easy, but it can get a little tedious during some boss fights.

I might have to take the statement back, because there are some things that hold this game back. The game itself is pretty short. I mean, it will take some time to get through certain levels, but it won’t take you long to beat this game. The levels throughout all the stages get really repetitious, and it gets boring after you realize it. The only differences in the levels are the boss fights, since they all take different strategies. The voice acting isn’t bad, but it could have used some work.

All and all, it’s more of a hit than miss title. There are a lot more good points than bad points. I would say rent this game and see if you would play it over and over again. Though this game has some flaws, I would say it’s one of the better Wii games out there. Hopefully, they can make another sequel since I personally had fun with this game.

This game gets a 7 out of 10.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wario World for the GameCube

Wario is an odd character. He is suppose to be the archrival of Mario, and as you can tell, he is a fatter and uglier version of the red plumber himself. Though he is a rather odd character, he has one of the best plat forming franchises of all time. Though the Gamecube’s lifespan, a Wario game was, in my opinion, overlooked. This little but great game is called Wario World for the Nintendo Gamecube. So does Wario prove he doesn’t need the next size overalls? Or does he need to go to the nearest Old Navy and grab a pair?

Basically, the plot of this game is that Wario is enjoying himself inside his new castle, which he could have gotten in either Wario Land 3 or 4. I really don’t know when he got it. Inside, the castle is filled with riches. A dark ruby-like gem that is inside one of his many money-filled rooms turns out to be a dark and powerful jewel. The ruby then wakes up after hundreds of years and destroys Wario’s castle and turns all his gold into monsters. Wario ends up in an overworld-like setting, and is on to another adventure to take down who ever did this and get his gold back.
Wario World was made by Treasure. Old school gamers mostly know this company to have made high class shooting games like Gunstar Heroes, Alien Soldier, Astro Boy: Omega Factor, and Ikaruga. They have also made a small side scrolling plat forming game for the Sega Genesis called Dynamite Headdy. This means if you recognize this company, you know you are going to get a great amount of entertainment out of any game they make.

The whole game play style of Wario World is in the form of a beat ‘em up plat forming game. You basically have your basic punch attacks, but Wario this time around doesn’t have the crazy power ups it had in the last couple of games. Though this doesn’t mean he isn’t a wuss by any means necessary. He still has his strong shoulder-ramming attack, and he has brought a few wrestling moves with him. He can pick up enemies and throw them, he could also simply spin around and become a twirling tornado of death, and he can simply just pile drive them right into the ground. I admit, I do miss the power ups, but this game is still fun without them.
The levels are amazingly well made and are a blast to go through. You basically go through the level and collect fairy-like creatures that give you slightly helpful hints. You also go through the levels, and find treasure and pieces for a golden statue of Wario. It just wouldn’t be a Wario game without him getting some cash on the sidelines. This is what made the Wario games awesome. You aren’t some goody two-shoe hero. Instead, you are a selfish greedy fat guy who goes through the whole ordeal just to get the cash. One of the more interesting facts about this game is when you fall off the edge by accident. Instead of dying when you fall off, you land in some underworld where rhino-like heads chase you around, and take your money if they hit you. The only way out is to find a spring, and to jump out of the darkness.
The graphics are amazing. These have to be some of the best graphics on the system. Besides the Mario, Zelda, Metroid Prime, and Resident Evil games, Wario World was one of the best looking games on the Gamecube. The music is no slouch either. It really sounds like a Wario game since the music is zany and just really fun to listen to. Still, I am not surprised about how good this game is. Treasure has been known to make some really great-looking console or handheld games.

Now, it is time to shoulder ram into the parts of the game that annoyed me, personally. The game itself isn’t that hard. The difficulty is right in the middle. It’s not easy, but it isn’t hard either. This leads up to the next issue I have, the length of the game. It’s a little short, but that’s just a small gripe.

All and all, this is one of the greatest plat forming games ever. Still, it’s no surprise that when you combine treasure and Wario you can get a really good game. I would highly recommend picking this up. If you are a fan of Wario and love plat formers then go out right now and pick it up.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yoshi's Story for the Nintendo 64

Ah, Yoshi, one of Nintendo’s most memorable characters of all time. He really only had one true game on the Super Nintendo called Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. It was a smash success, and is known as one of the Super Nintendo’s best games. That quickly changed as in 1998 they came out with a sequel for the game for the Nintendo 64 called Yoshi’s Story. Now, I know a lot of people were turned off by its cute and cuddly nature, but I will have to say that they are just overreacting and shouldn’t go that deep into a game like Yoshi’s Story.

The whole story though is kind of soft hearted. It starts out with the Yoshis’ surrounding their super happy tree, which makes them, well…super happy. One day Baby Bowser takes their tree and turns their world into a storybook, causing the bigger Yoshis to become unhappy. Even though Baby Bowser has taken over Yoshi’ world, he forgot 6 different colored Yoshi eggs. Those 6 Yoshi eggs then hatch and it is up to them to get their Super Happy Tree back and become even happier and find a happy ending to this storybook.

The game play style is in the form of a 2.5D side-scrolling plat forming game. It’s basically like the first Super Mario Brothers game. You go through 6 chapters, which have 4 levels each. You go through this game in a linear style. Your main goal is to collect 30 fruit, meaning if you get to the end of the level and you don’t have 30 fruits, you can easily just return to the beginning and find the rest of the fruit you missed. Your basic form of attack is shooting your tongue out and grabbing enemies to turn them into eggs. You can also pound the ground for certain effects, like finding hidden fruit, to making enemies paralyzed and change the colors of the Shy Guys.

The graphics are pretty impressive for 2.5D graphics. If you have played games like certain levels of Earthworm Jim 2 and Mischief Makers, then you will understand what I mean. They are pretty simple, even though back then people wanted to play with games like Goldeneye and Super Mario 64. Even though that’s what they wanted to play back then, I still enjoy playing Yoshi’s Story more then some of the newer more shiny titles of today. The music is also quite enjoyable since it’s soft and soothing. They even came up with a soundtrack for this game. The cd itself looks awesome. Basically, every song is the same beat, but it’s done multiple different ways. I personally like this game because of the cuteness. It’s creative, artistic, wise, and it’s just a simple game - nothing serious or complex. The difficulty of the game is right in the middle. Some levels are easy, but some of the others are pretty tough. A lot of people have said this game is too easy, but I think it gives some challenge and replay value.

Okay, it’s time to shoot your eggs at the bad parts of the game. The worst part of this game is that it is short. Yes, there are 24 levels, but you can only play through one each through each chapter. The only way to play through them all is to simply play the game 4 times. The cuteness factor is just a little weakness that this game carries. It might turn off gamers when they see and play the game.

Okay, overall it isn’t a 5 star game like Super Mario Galaxy and Metal Gear Solid, but it is a pretty fun game. I bet gamers would want to play this game more than others. I would recommend buying it for your Nintendo 64 or just get it off the virtual console store on the Wii. Yoshi’s Story is still one of the best games for the Nintendo 64.

This game gets a 7 out of 10

Zack and Wiki for the WII

When I pick up a game I usually either love, hate it, or have a mixed bag of both feelings for it. This is one of those games that I pick up and have mixed feelings about. It’s called Zack and Wiki Quest for Barbaros Treasure for the Wii. So, is this game great? Or does this pirate need to keep sailing? Let’s set sail and find out!

The story takes place in an airplane with our main heroes Zack and Wiki, who are on their way to the Sea Rabbit Pirate hideout. They then get surprise attacked by an evil pirate gang. They crash land on an island and find a treasure chest with a golden skull inside it named Barbaros. The skull tells Zack and Wiki if they can find the rest of his body, he will lead them to great amounts of treasure. It is up to Zack and Wiki to travel across the sea and find the rest of Barbaro’s body. It’s your typical pirate story, but it has charm more so than One Piece Unlimited Adventure, which is the only other pirate game on the Wii that I can think of.

The game play is an adventure puzzle game. You travel across levels, which are all set up to be one big puzzle, and you solve the problems that come your way in order to get the big treasure chest in the end. You use your monkey friend, Wiki, to transform animals into useful items like saws, gripping devices, bombs, and etc. You also use the Wii mote to pull off certain moves, like playing the flute, sawing the tree, cooking soup, and other uses which is fun to use. The boss fights are all also set up like puzzles, where like in a Zelda game, you have to solve a somewhat challenging puzzle to hurt the monster that is guarding the treasure.

I wouldn’t say this game is easy, but it isn’t a walk in the park either. Some areas you might get through easily in just a few minutes, but other areas will take a while to get over and beat. It revolves around a trial and error kind of system where you die and try again until you get past that one part. The graphics and the character designs really stand out in the library of Wii games. They are really impressive, and I like the whole cartoon cell shade look really fits the game. Everything just has a charm that will pull you in to play more and more.

Okay on to the bad parts. The only way to move Zack around is to point and click where to go. It kind of like this game was meant for the PC, but I can understand they want to use the Wiimote the way that they use it. Some of the puzzles can get really annoying, and you will need to be patient to get through the puzzles. It’s sad that you need to be patient to get through most of the puzzles, since most of the clues won’t be in plain sight.

All and all, after playing this game, I really enjoyed it. I would highly recommend picking up this title and adding it to your good Wii collection. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a sequel planned for it since in every pirate story, there is always another adventure waiting for you.

This game gets a 9 out of 10

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess for the Wii

Zelda. A name in the video game world that is world-renowned by everyone who is and is not a Nintendo fan. Nintendo has to be one of the most successful franchises ever! The games are usually better then the last Zelda game released in the last console. The latest Zelda game for the home consoles is Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Wii. You can also get this for the Gamecube, but I think the Wii version is better, and besides, the only difference between the two is that Link is left-handed in the Gamecube version. So, is this legend a true legend? Or is its spark just not as bright? Let’s find out.

From what I can understand, in the ever-so-confusing timeline of the Zelda series, this game takes place many years after the events of Majora’s Mask. Link is now a young adult and is living in Ordon Village. One day, after talking to one of his close friends, a bunch of goblin-like enemies ambushes them as the friend is kidnapped, leaving Link for dead. Link then realizes, after waking up, that his friend was kidnapped and he must go out to find her, only to realize that there is a different world right next to his called the Twilight Realm. He ventures into it, only to get turned into a wolf and get captured by one of the realm’s monsters. He then gets help from a twilit, called Minda, who wishes to help Link if he can help her. Link must now go across Hyrule and stop whoever is causing all this.

Twilight Princess is in the form of an action-adventure game of epic proportions. In every Zelda game, there are the main quests, but there are also multiple side quests to keep you busy and have extra replay value. Basically, though, Link must go through 8 massive temples and fight the boss in each dungeon, and get whatever they were guarding. Of course, Link can’t do it alone this time around. Link has multiple items that can help you along your quest, like a bow and arrow, a boomerang and the always-helpful Master Sword. This time though, he has new weapons and gear to help him. For armor, he has a new blue zoa suit where he can swim underwater better, and an armor that makes him invincible, depending on how many rupees he has. For weapons, he has a wide selection from the Dominion Rod that can bring certain statues to life, an iron ball-and-chain weapon, good for strong attacks and a good defense, and the always likeable clawshot weapon for getting to higher places, just to name a few. For every Zelda game there is some innovation that makes the game unique. Twilight Princess has the innovation of turning into a wolf to do certain objectives, like learning new sword moves, finding treasure, and killing the twilit monsters.

The graphics are just beautiful. You can always count on a Zelda game to look pretty good or better than a lot of games that are out. The details and lighting effects stand out and make Twilight Princess one of the best-looking games out there. The characters are also likable, ranging from odd to likable, which is odd since most games don’t really care about how secondary characters are built into the story. The music is amazing. Koji Kondo always makes great music for the Nintendo franchises. The difficulty is kind of in the middle. Some parts are easy, but some of the puzzles might be tedious to get through. The Zelda series has always had a charm with its characters and the world they live in. It seems like Nintendo always knows what to do for every Zelda title. The level design is just divine. There is always some mechanic to get through each dungeon, and it is fun to find out what the mechanic in the latest dungeon is all about.

Now, it is time for the bad parts. Well it’s kind of hard to find bad stuff about the Zelda games since they are all amazing. I guess things I find annoying are the wolf levels where you have to find the twilight beetles. They are just repetitious and boring. Another thing I don’t like about the wolf mode is that you can’t do as much with your weapons since you can’t hold them. I thought it would be cool if you can make wolf link into a tank-like monster with all the weapons Link has.

My final conclusion to this game is that it is purely amazing. I would highly recommend buying it the game, for it is one of the better Wii games you can get. Zelda will always be one of the better franchises out in the world, and they will always be a hallmark entry into the Nintendo history.

This game gets a 9 out of 10.

Kirby and the Crystal Shards for the N64

Kirby has been around what seems like forever. He has always had some pretty good plat forming games for whichever Nintendo console he is on. Kirby’s first game was actually one of my first handheld games I ever owned. There always seems to be some interesting game mechanic that makes every Kirby game unique. The one I will be reviewing today is Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards for the Nintendo 64. So, is Kirby still on his feet or should he just go on a diet?

The story in this game is like the story found in the first Superman movie. This shadowy darkness thing attacks a peaceful land of fairylike beings, and one fairy girl is sent away with the planet’s crystal. While traveling through space, however, she is attacked by the shadow beings, and is sent flying towards Kirby’s home. While Kirby is just minding his own business, the fairy girl lands right on top of Kirby and asks him for help. Just like any main hero in a game, Kirby accepts her request and then goes out on an epic adventure.

So, Hal Laboratory made Kirby 64. This company is known for making games like the Adventure of Lolo series, Kabuki Quantum Fighters, the Earthbound series, the ever-famous fighting franchise Super Smash Brothers, and the best Pokemon games on the Nintendo 64 game, Pokemon Stadium.

Kirby 64 is in the form of a 3D side-scroller where you take control of Kirby, and go from one side of the screen to the other like in any other Kirby game, but in 3D. Your basic forms of attacks are swallowing an enemy and spitting them back out. Though this time, you get to swallow the enemy and take its power, depending on what kind of enemy Kirby swallows. To add on to the pure awesomeness of this mechanic, you can throw one power at another enemy and combine it to make an even new power. I’ll explain how it works. You take an enemy who has a bomb power. After that, you throw it at an enemy who has a boomerang power, and combine those two to make exploding shurikens. There are about 35 combinations of powers, which mean that during the game you will explore and test out all these new powers. There are multiple kinds of powers that Kirby can use - ice skates, a giant flame sword, a double-sided light saber, and multiple other combinations that are fun to use.
The graphics are pretty impressive for the Nintendo 64. They aren’t pushing the limit like Banjo Kazooie or Conker’s Bad Furday, but they are better then a lot of games on the Nintendo 64. The music is also fun to listen to. The whole world of Kirby is cutesy and cartoon-like, which reminds me of Yoshi’s Story. Personally, I love this game and I would play it more then games like Resistance: Fall of Man. It’s such an awesome game to play, and it also has fun little multiplayer games which aren’t really that important, but they are fun to play with if you have 3 friends.

Now, it is time to swallow up the bad parts of the game. The game itself is pretty easy, if you are just going to blow through it. If you are trying to get every crystal in each level, then the game can get a little bit annoying. The crystal placing is pretty tough since it’s not in plain sight and you have to do something to find the crystal, like use a specific power or something. The final boss is just tedious. I mean, yes, it’s the final boss, and it is going to be tough, but it just seems like you can’t escape most of its attacks.

All and all, I love this game and it stands as one of the best Nintendo 64 games. I would say buy this if you have a Nintendo 64 or get it off the virtual console for a couple of bucks. So, yeah, Kirby has been mostly on the handheld systems now, but there is supposed to be a new one coming for the Wii. So, Nintendo, where is it? I want a new 3D Kirby game!

This game gets an 8 out of 10

Friday, October 17, 2008

Retro Saga Part 1: The Metal Slug series

Arcades are awesome! They just bring memories back of going to the arcades at a laser tag place or just going into the bowling alley area of the UT campus here in Austin, Texas with a pocket full of quarters. SNK seems to have had a good hold on the arcades, with games like Fatal Fury and Samurai Shodown. Though those are all good games, my personal favorite has to be the Metal Slug series. Today will be the first new section of my blog called, Retro Saga, where I review old retro games, and just old games overall from Atari to Super Nintendo. The first review of the retro Saga will be of the famous Metal Slug series in the form of Metal Slug Anthology.

Basically, the story isn’t that important, or even shown much in the whole Metal Slug series. You know there are bad guys trying to rule the world, and it’s up to you and about three other people to go out and save the day by hitting everything in front of you. Of course, there is the occasional mad scientist, aliens, and zombies, but it’s mainly you taking down hordes of nazi-like enemies.

The game play is just as classic as other games like Contra or Gunstar Heroes, in the form of a run-and-gun side-scrolling shoot ‘em up. You basically start out with a weak pistol for long-range attacks, and gain upgrades so you can hold stronger guns like the shotgun and rocket launcher. My personal favorite thing I like about Metal Slug is that you are not tied down to just long-range attacks. If you can get up to enemies in their face, you can use a knife that kills them instantly. Through-out the game, you can also save prisoners of war, which are for some reason all guys with long blonde hair and blonde beards that have power-ups in their pants. Yeah, let’s not dig deep into that… you can also use stronger weapons in the form of vehicles. Usually, they are all different within each Metal Slug game, from a tank, a machine gun wielding camel, and a mech suit to name a few. They really help out when it comes to the harder enemies and bosses.

The graphics in the game are amazing. For a side-scrolling franchise, they are much better than what the Genesis and Super Nintendo had to offer. SNK, like Treasure, has a history of making high quality-looking games. The animations of the sprites also are really nice and are fun to watch. The music is fun to listen to. The difficulty is right in the middle. Since this is a run-and-gun game, you will have to use fast reflexes to dodge bullets. If you are a seasoned fan of run-and-gun games, then you will do fine in this game.

Now, it is time to pick up your pistol and shoot down the bad soldiers of the game. The game itself isn’t that long, and you can either beat it in a dedicated 45 minutes or so. The game is fun in single-player mode, but the multi-player option is far better, since it’s fun to play with friends. So, this isn’t really a game to get if you don’t have friends to play it with. Even though the graphics are nice, it shows that they haven’t aged that well. Looking at games now, like the new King of Fighters, coming out for the Xbox360 and PS3, why couldn’t they have updated the graphics of the game when they released it in the Anthology collection? Oh well, that is just a minor gripe.

My final conclusion is that this has been a successful first Arcade Saga, and I would say, pick up the Playstation 2 version of the game. I say the Playstation 2 version since it is the best version out of three. So, go out and pick it up and invite some friends over. This game is just perfect for multiple people playing it.

This game series gets an 8 out of 10.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Banjo Tooie for the Nintendo 64 (or on Xboxlive)

Banjo Kazooie has recently come back in the form of a new game for the Xbox360 known as Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. Even though it has been well endowed with positive reviews, it has been under fire for the lone reason that it strays far away from the original formula of a typical Banjo Kazooie game. In my opinion, they should hold their arms wide open for something different. I mean, look at Shadow of the Colossus and how different it was, and it was a success. Let’s step back about 8 years before this game came out, and get down to the sequel to the hit N64 game, Banjo Tooie. Is this sequel just as good or better then the last? Or does it suffer from most sequels becoming bargain bin trash or just not as good? Let’s just sit down and pick up the game. Before I start though, I want to thank my parents for buying me this game when I was young.

The story of this game takes place about two years after the first game. Gruntilda is still in the same hole and is covered by the same rock as she was at the end of Banjo Kazooie. Banjo and his friends are enjoying a game of poker, since nothing bad has been happening. The witch is dead, and her henchman from the last game, Klungo, is still trying to remove the boulder from on top of her. A few minutes later, a giant drill machine appears, and it reveals that the two people who piloted it were Gruntilda’s two sisters, Mingella and Blobbelda. They decide to bring her back to life and remove the boulder that covered the hole. Gruntilda is now back, and is ready to get revenge on the bear and bird. Mumbo finds this out, and is then chased and shot at by Gruntilda. He tells Banjo about what’s happening, and three of the four characters leave Banjo’s house, leaving Bottles inside, who thinks it’s just a joke. The next morning, Banjo’s house is now destroyed, and Bottles is now dead. Banjo is now going to beat Gruntilda yet again, and save Spiral Mountain.

The gameplay is still the same. It’s an action adventure plat-former where you go to multiple worlds to find jigsaw pieces, and use them to unlock other worlds. Though this time it’s alittle different. First off, instead of collecting tokens for the shaman Mumbo, you collect two Yobos. You give one to Mumbo, and then you can play as him, and do other stuff that Banjo and Kazooie can’t do. The other one you give to a new character named Humba Wumba, a Native American shaman, who takes over Mumbo’s job to transform you into different things on each level, depending on which level you are on. Bottles’ job is also taken over by a new mole who is Bottle’s cousin. His name is Jamjar, and he takes over the job of giving you new abilities like a drill move, and even separating Banjo and Kazooie from each other. This time, the worlds are about ten times bigger then the worlds in the last game. Now, this game is a little more challenging since you won’t be able to get every single jigsaw piece in every level. This time, you will have to backtrack to the levels, kind of like a Castlevania game, though Castlevania didn’t make you feel like a rat in the maze. The characters are even zanier then the last game. You have stuff like aliens, mutated pigs, a weasel, and a rhino running food stands and the list goes on. It’s just so amazing! The boss fights are also interesting this time around, providing an extra challenge to fighting them, like flying to pop a giant balloon boss, destroying a giant coal monster, etc. The different forms you take are also funny, like you become a submarine, a bee, a washing machine, and even a security van. It’s full of hilarious humor, just like in the last game. They even admit that they are a video game, and I like that humor. The msuic is also nicely done, and I couldn’t choose between the two games as to which is better.

Now, it’s time to pick up the controller and find the bad parts of the game. The only complaints I have are just small gripes, like the camera is a little awkward, and sometimes the game slows down, but I’m just going to gripe about it for a paragraph.

My final conclusion is that this is the best N64 game ever! I already put it down as the number 1 Nintendo 64 game, and I just think it’s true. I would say, go out and buy it for the N64, or get it off of Xbox Live. Now, I think I am more tempted to get a Xbox360 and some games for it, and maybe get Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts, but that’s for another time.

This game gets a 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Banjo Kazooie for the Nintendo 64

Ah yes, Mario. He invented the plat-forming genre, which is still going on today, even though some are changed up a bit to be more interesting, but I digress. Still, there were some pretty interesting plat-forming games after Mario came out, like Sonic the Hedgehog, Kirby’s Adventure, and Wario Land. But, we are not here to talk about any of those guys. I am here to talk about one of my favorite games of all time in the plat-forming genre, and one of my favorites of all time, Banjo Kazooie for the Nintendo 64.

Now, let me just state that again, I just love this game. I also love the sequel, but that’s for another day. I might be a little biased with this game review, but it’s only because I believe this to be one of the best games not only for the Nintendo 64 but one of the best games of all time. So, is this game as good as I say it is, or am I being too biased? Pick up your banjo and umm, kazooie and let’s get started!

The setting of this game takes place in the Land of Spiral Mountain, where the game starts inside the mountain of the lair of the evil witch, Gruntilda. She asks her magic cauldron if she was the prettiest one of all, and you can guess what the cauldron said. She then finds out that a young female bear named Tooty is the prettiest one of all, and is filled with rage! Next, the game sets us up at the house of our main hero, Banjo, and his bird sidekick, Kazooie, where Tooty has walked there to hang out with her older brother. Before she could step inside however, she is kidnapped by Gruntilda and taken back into Spiral Mountain so she could take her prettiness from her. Not so far away, Bottles, the mole tells Banjo and Kazooie about what happens, and then our two heroes set out to Spiral Mountain to save Tooty from the evil witch.

The company Rare that made games like the Wizards and Warriors series, Goldeneye, Conker’s Bad Furday, the Donkey Kong Country series, Donkey Kong 64, and the ever-so-difficult Battle Toads also made Banjo Kazooie. Knowing it was Rare that made some of the best games of all time, I was excited, since the Donkey Kong Country series was one of my favorite series of games. Rare usually has the plan to push every game they make to the limit of the Console’s hardware limitations, and I commemorate them for that since not everyone does that, even today.

The game play style is of a non-linear plat-forming action adventure game. You control Banjo, while Kazooie sits in his backpack. As you travel across 9 huge worlds and complete multiple challenges in each world, you are required to collect what this game has in the form of golden jigsaw pieces. It’s like Mario collecting gold stars in Mario 64. You learn multiple different abilities during the game. like rolling into enemies, shooting eggs using kazooie, and multiple other moves you learn from Bottles the mole. If you are wondering, “how do I learn all these amazing moves?” well. how Mario has golden coins and Sonic has golden rings, Banjo must collect gold musical notes, which are required to open up new areas and learn new moves.

The worlds in the game are just awesome and fun to go through. Each level has about ten jigsaw pieces and you have to get them in multiple challenges, like going through mazes, fighting bosses, or just helping out fellow characters in each level. Since we are talking about all the awesome characters, I think I’ll list a few. There is Gobi the camel, Trunker the palm tree, Mumbo the shaman, Captain Blubber the Hippo, and multiple other quirky characters that are in the game.

The graphics are just amazing. I mean, not a lot of games look this good on the Nintendo 64. The only other games that look this good on the system are Orcarina of time, Conker’s Bad Furday, Mario 64, and Donkey Kong 64. The music is also one of the shining moments in this game. Grant Kirkhope, who did many Rare games like Donkey Kong Land 2, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and other Rare games composed the music.

Now, it’s time to shoot an egg and get the golden jigsaw pieces of the bad parts of the game. There isn’t a lot of bad things that I can say about this game. The only real things I don’t like about the game are the lives. I mean, I don’t mind them as much, but it seems pointless by today’s standards of plat-forming. Another thing is that some of the challenges are a little unforgiving, and they will screw you over if you are not careful. It has happened to me and it will happen to you, though these are just small gripes that I have with the game.

I just can’t say enough about how much I love this game. It’s fun, creative, and just great to play. I just wish Rare didn’t get bought by Microsoft. I wish they could make more great Banjo Kazooie games besides the ones they just made. I would highly recommend buying this game for your N64 or downloading it off Xbox Live.

This game gets a 9 out of 10

Iron man the video game

Movie games are really disappointing nowadays. E.T for the Atari 2600 made sure of that. What makes them even worse is if they are based on a hit movie. I mean, yes, there are some good ones, but in the ocean of movie-to-game adaptations, those few good ones are like the white-tipped reef sharks of the gaming universe. The example of a movie-to-game adaptation that went wrong is Iron Man for the Wii, DS, PS2, Xbox360 and the PS3. I will be reviewing the Wii version but all versions are basically the same.

This game follows the events in the movie, but with some added levels, like in the frozen parts of the world and other places that are only exclusive to the game. You are, of course, Tony Stark as you don the very first Iron Man suit and escape from his terrorist prison. Of course, later in the game, you can wear the Iron Man suit that is in the movie, but a unique thing I like about the game is that you get to wear different Iron Man suits from the comic books. They really don’t do much besides fulfilling your dream playing as the original Iron Man from the comic books and such. The game play is in the form of a strategy fighter, which is like other games like Star Wars Rogue Squadron and Robotech. You basically go from stage to stage, and beat down on enemies, and do specific jobs in order to complete the level. In your armory, you have your normal punches, though since this is Iron Man, you also have his weaponry-like shock waves, missiles, lasers, and repulser rays. You can also fly high into the air, and drop down, making a shock wave to wipe out enemies, hurting them a lot.

The voice acting is decent, I mean, yeah, you have the original cast, but it just isn’t as high class as the acting is in the movie. The music is also decent. This is the problem with movie games. They don’t have a big enough budget or time to make a really good movie game. It’s quite sad, since if they did get bigger budgets and more time, the games could be amazing. The only forgiving track is of course the Iron Man metal song. And it is kind of loyal to the movie since it starts you out with the first Iron Man suit Tony built in the movie and you fight Iron Monger in the end of the game.

It’s now time to wear your iron suit and blow up the bad parts of the game. The graphics are just horrible. I mean, it’s 2009 and this game should have had better graphics. Look at Super Mario Galaxy and Metal Gear Solid 4. Those graphics are really amazing, but this game just doesn’t look that well. It looks like it was for a Dreamcast game. The controls feel broken from time to time. It’s like they sometimes feel responsive, and then other times, they don’t feel responsive. This game just feels more broken than fixed. I even found a glitch in one level where the whole level texture and stuff just disappeared. Hit detection seems a bit off, like it seems as if half of the weapons you have don’t work on anyone. For example, I had to use all of my weapons to take out only half of the final bosses’s energy. It’s quite disappointing that movie games haven’t improved. Seriously, let’s take a look at a more recent movie game, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That game did pretty well, and I happen to have it waiting in my Gamefly list. Finally, the game play is just stupid and repetitive. It’s the same thing, level after level.

All and all, this is just another broken game that shouldn’t have been made. The movie was just amazing, but this game just doesn’t hold a candle. I take that back, there is no candle at all to speak off. Stay away from this game. Just stay the heck away from it. I never played such a horrible movie game in my life.

This game gets a poor 4 out of 10

Okami for the Wii

Japan has a very unique take on mythology. The demons and heroes are fun and interesting to read about. One of my favorite stories is the one where Susano the Samurai saved 7 princesses from an eight-headed dragon named Orochi. Nowadays, God of War is pretty much using the whole mythology thing to give the game an interesting story. Still, it’s a cool idea to use mythology to make enemies and a good story. So, what do you get when you combine Legend of Zelda, Japanese mythology, and a clever Japanese ink art style? You get one of the best-looking games ever made called Okami.

Before I start talking about the story, I just want to say this game was released for the Playstation 2 in 2006 and then ported to the Wii two years later. I will be talking about the Wii version since I own it. The story starts off in Japan of all places, in Kamiki Village, where an eight-headed dragon named Orochi has conquered the land and has placed fear amongst the village’s people. One day however, a white wolf called Shiranui becomes the guardian of the village. He joins up with the village’s strongest swordsman Nagi and defeats the demonic Dragon. Sadly, after the fight, the white wolf died, and was then commemorated with a statue for its bravery and pure heart of protecting the village. Fast-forward 100 years. Orochi has been sealed away for 100 years, and someone by accident, releases his evil force once again over the land. The goddess of the cherry blossom tree of Kamiki, Sakuya awakes and realizes the help the land needs. She then turns towards the statue of the white wolf and calls upon Amateratsu, the goddess of the sun, to come back in the form of the white wolf. It is up to Amateratsu, along with the wandering artist Issun to save the land, to return the darkness from which it came.

The game play is in the form of an action adventure game much like Shadow of the Colossus and Legend of Zelda. You travel across the vast land and take down demons and evil creatures that have brought fear across the land. Your basic form of attacks are mixed between three weapons. The first weapon is a disc-like weapon that you can toss at the enemy as the main weapon, and it also can be used as a shield as a secondary weapon. The next weapon is in the form of beads that hover around your neck and can be used as a rapid combo weapon like a whip, and its secondary form is a sword, which is for strong but slow attacks. The main game mechanic though is in the form of the celestial brush, which can do many things when you pick up different brush gods. Some of the stuff you can do is repair damaged bridges, bring out the sun, and control the wind. So basically, you are Rygar (disc), Simon Belmont (beads), or Nightmare (sword) in the form of a wolf with a magical paintbrush. The enemies and bosses are all unique and all require new strategies to beat them.
The graphics in the game are just beautiful. The art style is very clever and the character designs are really well done and use the art style very well. They did show a comparison picture of the current art style with a more realism look and I would have liked either, which is shown in this picture below.

The ink art style has a charm to it, which makes it different from duller colored games like Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess and Ico. The music is also very pleasing and I have always loved the Japanese music style of flutes and mandolins. Every character and area has a unique charm to it, and it is just fun to play through all the levels and see all the characters. You really can’t complain when Clover Studios, which made the Viewtiful Joe series, and God Hand made the whole game.

It is time now to pick up your paintbrush and paint the bad parts of the game. The most parts I see which could have used improvement are in using the celestial brush. Sometimes, it has trouble depicting which brush mark you are making and does a different brush stroke. Some of the side quests are rather annoying. For example, the side quest where you need to find specific enemies to kill and check off the list can be tedious. You need to be specific when you’re checking their name off the list or else it won’t accept it and you can’t skip that part either. This means to get out of it, you have to either shut down your console and have hopefully saved not far from when the side quest began, or you have to get the checking or crossing correct. I find it annoying that Amateratsu can’t swim well. I find it tedious in some areas when I don’t have enough ink magic to perform celestial brush strokes, and have to swim or else I drown in the water. It was find of funny back in the 80’s, but it isn’t that funny now.

All and all, this is an all-star game, which I think, ranks up with the Legend of Zelda series. I would highly recommend either the PS2 or the Wii version, though you have to be dedicated to play this game if you want to finish it. So, go pick your favorite console and get the version for that console. It’s a fun and magically charming game that will make you come back for more from time to time. Let’s hope they make a sequel for it. I would get it.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

Godzilla Unleashed for the Wii

I have to admit that I love Godzilla to death. If Godzilla were a woman, I would marry her. Sadly, Godzilla has made kind of a bumpy road onto the video game world, though I have to say there are two games I would push aside and say that they are awesome. The first game is Godzilla Save the Earth, and its sequel, Godzilla Unleashed. Now, there are three versions of this game. There is one for the Wii, PS2, and DS. I will be talking bout the Wii version since I think it’s the best out of the three.

The story takes place 20 years after the events of Godzilla Save the Earth, as mysterious crystals have fallen to earth and have torn the planet up with mixed, but devastating effects, like flooded cities, giant volcanoes, and other effects caused by the crystals. It’s causing all the monsters to go out of control. It is up to the Earth Defense Force and the monsters of earth to protect the land from villains, like the aliens and mutants from taking it over.

Basically, this is a typical monster brawling game, like SNK game King of Monsters. You get to choose from a huge set of monsters. There are four different teams of monsters. There is the Earth Defenders, which is led by none other than Godzilla, the Earth Defense Force, which is mainly the robot monsters, like Mechagodzilla 3, and the aliens who want to take over the world. They have aliens like Gigan and King Ghidorah and my personal favorite, Orga. The final group is the mutants. They consist of monsters like Biollante, Megaguirus, and two new monsters Obsideus and Krystalak. A cool thing about the mutants is that they take no sides, and do what they want to do. You use the Wii remote and nunchuk to control your monster to do strong and weak attacks. You can also use an energy attack, which this time doesn’t knock over the monster, but still hurts him. You basically play through 20 levels, beating down on monsters, destroying crystals, and taking down the enemy forces.

The graphics are pretty good, not the best, but not the worst. It kind of looks like Playstation 2 graphics just shined up a little more and with more polygons. The music is one of the best parts of the game. The music pretty much sounds like music in a Godzilla movie. The levels are huge and are full of destructive environments, like buildings and small military vehicles. This game is fun on its own, but it is much better with more people. When I first heard about this game, I was just excited as I could be. I found out about this game at They would usually update with some information, like which monsters were going to be in it and etc.

Now, it is time to shoot your radioactive fire breath at the bad parts of the game. The controls are a little wonky. It’s not like they don’t respond at all, It’s just that they don’t usually respond. They do, but not with every single fighting move. The sequences between levels could have been great. Sadly, they are just still pictures, which look like they are from a comic book version of the game. Like I said above, the graphics could have been better. Looking at games like Super Mario Galaxy and Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess’s graphics, they are far more superior than the graphics in this game.

The final question is, did I enjoy this game? I actually do enjoy this title very much. It could be just that I am a huge Godzilla fan, or that I just love giant monsters. I would recommend making this a buy if you are a Godzilla fan, or a rent if you’re looking for a fun party game for guys or something. Hopefully, when they make another Godzilla game, they can make it so you can play the game with a Gamecube remote or the classic controller.

This game gets a 7 out of 10

Monday, October 13, 2008

God of War 2 for Playstation 2

Greek mythology can be pretty epic, depending on what story you are reading. So for some reason, a game hasn’t been properly made to revolve around the Greek mythology, until 2003 when the almighty God of War came to the Playstation 2. It was such a huge success that it got a sequel, which was even more epic and more awesome then the last game. Let’s talk about God of War 2 for the Playstation 2.

The plot of God of War 2 follows the first God of War and the God of War game for the Mobile Phone. Kratos is now the new god of war and feels alone on Olympus since the other gods don’t trust him, and he is still haunted by his past. So, Kratos goes and does what every mad, lonely man does, and joins his Spartan army down at Rhodes to beat the enemy. Zeus, then betrays Kratos, and his powers are taken away and put into the Colossus of Rhodes. After the two fight, the hand of the colossus crushes him and almost kills him. He is then killed by Zeus himself with the blade of Olympus and is sent to Hell. As Kratos is being dragged into Hell, the mother of the titans, Gaia, tells Kratos he isn’t done yet, and brings him back from the dead. Kratos escapes from Hell. Kratos is now hell-bent on getting back at Zeus, and goes on another adventure.

The best thing about the God of War series is how they portray Greek mythology. They use actual Greek mythological characters, but they twist it up a little bit. This means that everyone and everything you fight is based on some part of Greek mythology. It’s creative, and the only other game I have seen use mythology is Okami for the Playstation 2 and Wii, but that’s another game and another time. I could take time to list all the Greek mythology references, but I’ll save that another time also.

The game play style of God of War 2 is mainly the same as it has been in most of the games in the series. It is a hybrid between hack and slash, plat forming, and puzzle solving. You take control of Kratos again as you go through huge levels fighting monsters and Greek icons like Theseus and Perseus. The monsters are mostly the same, like you get to fight cyclops, undead soldiers, minotaurs, and harpies. This time though, there are new ones like griffins, beast lords, new forms of satyrs, and these really annoying summoners who summon minotaurs. This time around, Kratos has a new armory with him. He has new powerful magic like Altas Rage, and Typhon bane. He also has new weapons like the Spear of Destiny and the Barbarian Hammer. The boss fights are epic! They range from huge monsters to Greek heroes. The puzzles are also really creative, but sometimes, they can be really frustrating later in the game. Of course, the main theme of fighting in the God of War series are the quick time death scenes where you press a button at a certain point in time to perform super deaths on the enemies.

The graphics are amazing for the Playstation 2. Even though there are some great graphics on some games for the Playstation 2 like Metal gear Solid 3 and Shadow of the Colossus, God of War 2 has to stand somewhere in between these two games. The music is also phenomenal. The music is really on an epic scale as you travel across the land and fight the bosses of the game.

I truly love this game and it is one of the best games on the Playstation 2, though there are some things I don’t like in the game. The first thing I’ll talk about is that if you haven’t upgraded your weapons or attacks, and you’re in a small room filled with enemies, it can get pretty rough and it’s almost brought me to death a couple times. The puzzles are pretty tedious at times, and I have died a couple of times on some puzzles because of how tedious they can be.

All and all, this is just a great game, and I can’t say enough about how much I like it. I would highly recommend buying it if you’re old enough, since it’s an M-rated game. Still, the only game that will be even more epic is its sequel coming out next year in March.

This game gets a 9 out of 10.

Super Mario Galaxy Review for the Wii

Nintendo knows how to make a pretty dang good Mario game. It’s like they know what the fans like to know how to make a Super Mario game even better then the last. His latest game is no different. Introducing one of my favorite games of all time, Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii. Before I start, I want to thank my parents for getting me this game for my birthday in 2007.

The plot of every Mario game is pretty much the same, but this one has a little jazz in it. The lovely Princess Peach has invited Mario to Star Festival, that is happening at the castle. As he gets to the castle Bowser then starts attacking the castle and as usual kidnaps Princess Peach and the castle. Mario tries to save her but to no avail. As the castle is being pulled into the reaches of space, Mario is blasted off the castle, but is then saved by a race of star people called Lumas and their “mother” Rosalina. It is up to Mario now to save Peach who is somewhere in the Galaxy.

I just never get tired of the story in a Mario game. I mean, yes, it’s the same thing every time but it just works. It shows that even though Nintendo doesn’t make the strongest looking games, they just know what to do. I think they go by a saying that goes like this, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. I think that’s why I love Nintendo so much. They keep to what works and what doesn’t.

The game play of this special Mario game is usually the same in every Mario game, an action plat forming game. Let’s just put things into perspective of Mario’s fame before we move on. He has made a living and games out of jumping from place to place. I mean he has been doing this for 20 freaking years! It just amazes me he hasn’t missed a beat with his style of game play in over 20 years. Let’s get back to the game now. The whole theme of the game is outer space. This means that you will be traveling from galaxy to galaxy, going to different planets, completing different tasks like beating a boss or getting from point A to point B and etc. The fun creativeness of the levels makes this game shine bright. You can also use a form of transportation called warp stars, where you spin into one of them and get launched to another part of the galaxy or planet. Just like in any Mario game, you get to have multiple fun power-ups. There are some old ones that come back like the fire flower, but there are also new ones. The first new one is the bee suit where you can hang on honey soaked walls and fly for a certain amount of time. There is a new boo mushroom which can turn Mario into a Boo and can go through walls, There is the ice flower where you can walk on top of water and freeze enemies, and one of my favorites is the red star, which gives you the ability to fly in the hub world and in another level. There are others, but you have to find out for yourself.

The graphics are just awesome. I know the Wii isn’t the strongest console out there, but when you need a really good Mario game, then it just delivers. The music is also very beautiful and fun to listen to. There are even some songs from old Mario games, like the first and third Super Mario Brother’s game. It just shows that Nintendo really cares what their fans want. There are a couple of secrets to keep you entertained like hidden galaxies, green stars, and multiple other things.

Even though this is maybe the best Wii game so far, there are a couple things that are wrong with it. The first is the camera control. It’s not horrible, but it gets awkward from time to time. One of the new power-ups is the Spring Mushroom, which gives Mario the ability to jump super high, and can be a little hard to control. Speaking of control, there are a certain amount of levels in the game where you have to move on top of a giant marble with a star inside. These levels are just so tedious and are really hard to pass. Though these are faults, they are just small gripes that I have with the game. I’m not saying it’s perfect, since I found some things that annoy me with the game.

All and all, this has to be one of the best Mario games ever made! If you have a Wii and you don’t have this game in your collection, go out and freaking buy the game! It’s a freaking Mario game! They are always pretty dang good. And the two new Mario games coming out for the Wii, New Super Mario Brothers Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2 will be the holy triangle of Mario awesomeness of the Wii

This game gets a 9 out of 10