Sunday, November 8, 2009

Punch Out!! for the Wii Review

There are a lot of retro games these days that are getting a face-lift, and are introduced to the new generation of gaming. These include Bionic Commando, A Boy and his Blob, Rygar, Contra, and the list goes on. While most of the retro games that are getting a face-lift might suck, like Rygar, there was always one franchise I wanted to see get a face-lift. This franchise is known as Punch Out. A few months back, they released a new game in the franchise for the Wii, and after waiting for a while, I finally got to play it. So, is this game worth your time? Or does this game need a few more minutes in the gym?

The story is basically just like how it played back in the days of the Nintendo and Super Nintendo days. You play as the underdog character, Little Mac, as you train to the max to fight the current champion. However, to get to that fight, you must battle against 13 fighters who are in your way to stop you from getting that belt. So yeah, the dramatic element of story is missing here, but with a game like this, does there really need to be a story? Before I move on, I would like to say that this game was made by Next Level games, which made the Mario Slugger series. Other than that, there isn’t much to say about the company.

The game play is kind of hard to describe. It’s a boxing game, but it isn’t based on realistic fighting which really works, since the whole look of the game is, well, cartoonish. The themes of the game are as listed, memorization and timing. Each boxer has a specific fighting pattern, and you must learn the specific fighter’s pattern and then land a couple blows. You can also gain stars if you hit the boxer a certain way, or when they are doing something like knocking the soda bottle out of Popinski’s hand, or punching the boxer when they weren’t prepared. If you hold down the A button while throwing a punch, you can do a super punch and cause more damage, depending on how many stars you have. There is also a heart meter that keeps Little Mac active. If the heart meter runs out he gets tired and can only refill it if he dodges the opponent’s punch. There are two different control schemes you can use in the game. You can either use the Wii-mote and nunchuk, or hold the Wii-mote sideways like an NES controller, like with the old Punch Out games. You can use the motion board from the Wii fit game, but I don’t count it as a control scheme since it’s silly to dodge moves with a board. You can play through the career mode where you tackle all the contenders to win the battle. After you beat that mod, you will go through title defense, where you fight all the boxers again, but they will either be stronger. or need another strategy to take them down. The final mode is where if you lose 3 times, you lose the title belt and that profile is locked.

Graphically, I like the look of the game. Just like Madworld, you can show off a game’s look with a unique art style. It always seems like, today, people want to see super uber graphics, but to be honest, I rather play Punch Out!! or Super Paper Mario over Halo 3 ODST, or any other game sporting uber graphics. The characters are just awesome. We finally get to see a little more of the characters’ traits and personalities through a series first, voice acting. Everyone does their each respective boxer just perfect, though they do speak in their native language, which begs for captions or subtitles. I also like the music of the game since every boxer has his own theme music. I personally love the theme song to the whole game. It’s maybe one of the only few songs that is always stuck in my head. The game’s difficulty is just right. It doesn’t really need to be placed as easy medium or hard. It’s also worth noting that the hit detection is perfect, and if you lose, you can’t blame anyone, but your own self.

Let’s put on some boxing gloves and spar with the bad parts of the game. First off, is that the entire roster of characters is only 14, and it just puzzles me since this is the first Punch Out game we have ever seen in about 15 or so years. It’s kind of annoying. Even though there is a multiplayer mode, I would like to see more stuff besides a tug of war between two Little Macs. I mean, if we have 14 or so characters, I would kill to play as Great Tiger or Piston Hondo. This game would also benefit from online playability, along with playing with other boxers.

All and all, this is a great game for the Wii. I would recommend buying this game along with other good third party Wii games like Madworld, or A Boy and his Blob. I’m also excited since Next Level is interested in making a sequel. There is also that special Wiiware Doc Louis Punch Out!!, which looks cool. Overall I say give this game a try and see if you like it.

This game gets an 8.5 out of 10

Prototype for the PS3 and Xbox360 Review

Let’s see here…I have reviewed a couple of games based off of super heroes, like The Darkness, which rocked a lot of awesomeness, even though it was a small package. I have also done bad ones, like Superman Shadow of the Apokolips, which sucked like heck! However, what happens when you take a game that was based off a comic book that wasn’t released yet? Well, the child of that question is Prototype. Let’s see if this prototype is actually complete, or if it still is a prototype…sorry for the bad joke.

It would suck to lose your memory of who you are. It would suck more if you were Alex Mercer who was killed, then brought back to life and has no memory of who he is or what has happened. While all this is happening however, a deadly virus has been put into the city of Manhattan, and it is up to Alex who has powers from the virus to stop the virus, and find out what is going on, and who is behind the whole fiasco and save Manhattan.

Prototype was developed by Radical Entertainment, which made one of the best comic book games ever, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. They also made other games like Simpsons Hit and Run, Jackie Chan Stunt Master, and the overly documented crud fest, Mario is Missing! However, that was made in 1992 and the other games I listed were made in the 2000’s.

The game play is a sandbox action game where you control Alex Mercer as you take on the military and the infected people of Manhattan. This game does borrow from a few elements of Hulk Ultimate Destruction, by making Manhattan a sandbox environment, meaning the game doesn’t march by a linear drumbeat. This means you can cause massive carnage, and then head to your next mission. Alex has a pretty good array of powers. He can morph his hands into claws, giant gauntlet-like fists, a whip, and a blade-like weapon. He also has other abilities, like morphing his arm into a shield, and having a somewhat heat sensor in his body, so he could find out who is infected but physically don’t show it. There are some intense enemies, like the hunters who can follow you unlike normal soldiers, which means the game keeps you on your feet and keep you moving. There are also super soldiers later in the game that can do the same thing, which is annoying somewhat, since when I’m low on health, I don’t feel like fighting and just healing, but then three super soldiers or whatever appear, and I have to keep moving until they don’t give a hoot. You can also hijack tanks and helicopters, but I never found a good time or the right move to hijack a copter, unless I was using an un-piloted one that was on the ground. In most parts of the game, you are there to absorb people who are behind the whole virus, and you gain their memories to see what they knew. You can also absorb people and enemies to regain health.

Graphically, this game does look great. The graphics are well detailed, and when you’re using Alex’s powers, it just looks awesome. It’s really amazing to see how many npc’s can be on screen without the game slowing down or freezing, which is shocking since some games slow down when the action on screen gets too crazy. I like how the hunter enemies look like the lickers from Resident Evil, and how the infected citizens look like zombies you would see in Left 4 Dead. The music also fits the action on screen, like when you are spotted and you’re trying to run away, or when you’re fighting a boss. The voice acting is pretty decent. I mean, you do get some of the lame acting from these kinds of games, but it gets the job done. The game is also nice and bloody, unlike Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. You get to see limbs fly off and blood fly everywhere, which is just awesome.

Now, it’s time to morph and hunt down the bad parts of the games. The controls are pretty good throughout most of the game, but some of the moves that you have to pull off are just insane. I don’t even use them all, and just stick to a few combos or just button mash. Heck, an even bigger problem is that it’s hard to read the text because it’s red on dark red so it’s really awkward to see what they say to do for a mission or combo. It’s just like Dead Rising, where it’s hard as heck to read the text on screen unless you have a HD television. The characters should have been given more emotions, because it seems like every single character has a motionless face slapped right onto them. I can understand that it’s supposed to be one of those dark-themed comic books, but I know they have more emotions. I feel like near the end of the game, it kind of drags on a little, and I just felt like it overstayed its welcome just a tiny bit. The ending is pretty standard for these kind of video games. Alex gets blown to bits, but is saved by a crow that he absorbs to regenerate his body, and he is still trying to taking down the virus, but I think that should have been left for the sequel. Instead, we are still offered to take down the rest of the virus in the city to gain extras. This game can get a little stressful, since you’re on no one’s side, and you can be constantly attacked, which means you really have no time to rest and catch your breath. I just feel like they should have just given us some time to rest and such. The biggest problem I have overall with this game is how much memory the game needs to play it. I had to delete a good chunk of game memory from my Playstation 3 just to play this single game. What a freaking hog!

Overall, Prototype is a pretty good game, and I had a lot of fun playing it. I would recommend playing it and giving it a try. I wouldn’t say buy it just yet, since it takes up so much memory just to play the game. Now, there has been some talk since this game came out a little bit after Sucker Punch’s Infamous. I guess I will have to try that game to see which is the better of free roaming action.

This game gets an 8.2 out of 10.

Ratchet and Clank series part 1: Ratchet and Clank

Now that Ratchet and Clank Future: a Crack in Time is out, I decided to do another series of reviews based on a franchise like I am doing with the Overlord franchise. The second one I will be doing is the Ratchet and Clank series, which is one of the most popular Playstation franchises. Let’s start with the first game, shall we?

For the first game, the story starts out with Ratchet, a humanoid Lombax, repairing a ship he is working on one day, when he sees another ship crash onto his planet. He finds a small robot in the wreckage named Clank. Together, they discover that an evil villain named Chairman Drek is trying to make a new planet out of parts from other planets for his people to live on. It is up to find them to stop his plans of destroying the universe.

Ratchet and Clank is a basic run-and-gun plat-former, where you go through multiple planets, blowing up enemies and solving some minor puzzles. Your basic form of attack at the beginning is Ratchet’s wrench. Throughout the game, you get a huge variety of weapons, like the bomb glove, the blaster, a rocket launcher, and multiple others that you will have to find throughout the game. The one thing I can tell you, though, is that they are fun to use. You also get cool little gadgets, like the trespasser or the grappling hook to solve puzzles. Your wrench can also turn bolts into the ground that can make platforms rise and lower, depending on which level you are on. You also get multiple side quests to get more gadgets and weapons, which is cool, meaning you’re given a lot to do in one game, which is nice.

Graphically, the game is impressive, since Insomniac, which is known for their Resistance franchise and the first three Spyro plat-formers, made this game. The voice acting is pretty good also, with people like Mikey Kelly Kelley, who did the voice of Blade Master Alastor from Viewtiful Joe, doing the voice for Ratchet, David Kaye, who is known for his voice acting as Sesshomaru from Inuyasha, doing the voice for Clank, and Jim Ward as Captain Quark. I think one of my favorite voice actors has to be the one for Chairman Drek, who is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, who is known for his roles as Black Manta and B’Wana Beast from Batman The Brave and the Bold, Omega Supreme from Transformers Animated, Tartarus from Halo 2, Joker from The Batman, and Cleveland Junior from The Cleveland Show. The script for most of the cast is very good, the music is also good, and the controls are spot-on.

However, there are some things about this game I don’t like that much. The characters of Ratchet and Clank, at least for this game, are just not that likeable. Ratchet is that stereotypical teen that wants nothing more than fun and excitement, and Clank is the intelligent and snobbish robot. You just don’t grow attached to them, which makes Jak and Daxter more likeable then the two main heroes in this game. The plot isn’t that well put-together, and you really don’t need to turn your brain on through most of the game. Everything becomes too predictable and it just gets boring. The camera is also a horrible issue during boss fights, since it focuses more on the boss than on the main character. I hate having to buy all my weapons, since when you get the currency for the weapons, you end up spending it for ammo for your other weapons, and it seems like you just don’t get enough of them. Even though you get a lot to do, it’s just tedious going from one planet to another, just to do one thing. Why can’t I just do all the missions on that one planet so I don’t have to go back and forward to do some quest to get a certain item I might not even use?!

Overall, it’s a good game, but it hasn’t aged well. If I had played it back in 2002, I bet I would have liked it better, but seeing it now, compared to other games of its genre, like Gungrave or the later Jak and Daxter games, they could have done better. I do recommend checking it out, but I think I need to check out the other games in the series. So, this concludes the first part of the Ratchet and Clank series of reviews. Stay tuned for more of these and other reviews on my blog.

This game gets a 7.8 out of 10

One Piece Unlimited Adventure for the Wii Review

I remember in my Zack and Wiki review saying I love pirates. I also mentioned another good pirate game in the form of the famous anime, One Piece. Along with pirates, I also love the anime One Piece. All the characters, powers, villains, and just the whole world of One Piece is just insane. Of course, with any popular show, they have a game made for it even if the game itself is just horrible. In my opinion, however, I think this certain One Piece game is better then the rest of the One Piece games released to the world. This game is called One Piece Unlimited Adventures. Let’s get some shovels, and dig into this pirate treasure shall we?

The whole plot of the game is basically following the events of the Japanese dub version of One Piece, so if you don’t follow the Japanese version with fan-made English subtitles, then I would recommend not reading this review until you get all caught up and such. It follows the Straw Hat pirates who are led by Monkey D. Luffy as they sail on their new ship the Thousand Sunny, which was made by their new crewmate, the steam punkesque Franky. While fishing for food one day, Luffy hooks something in the water, and accidentally pulls up an ocean-blue orb, because he and two other crewmates have eaten all the food in an eating contest. Sadly, no one is interested in the jewel Luffy found until Luffy launches himself into the air to see if there is an island to land and restock. After launching himself in the air however, the jewel finally reacts, and a strange island appears out of the ocean and causes the whole ship to go nutty and everyone tossed off and separated on the island. It is up to Luffy to find his friends and find out what the heck is going on.

The game play is in the form of a huge action adventure game, where you control each of the 8 Straw Hat Pirates to find out the mystery of the jewel and the island. Each pirate has his own special moves and special abilities, like Luffy’s body is made of rubber from a cursed fruit he ate, Zoro uses a 3-sword fighting style, Sanji has powerful leg attacks, and etc. You will only know what they do if you watch the show. If you haven’t seen the show however, I say look up the separate characters and find out what they are, so you aren’t caught blindsided with a character. There is also some rpg elements, like finding multiple items to open up a new area, making new weapons, leveling up, learning new moves, and other stuff like fishing and bug catching. The fishing and bug catching however sound like it’s supposed to be in the Harvest Moon franchise…but whatever.

Graphically, it’s very impressive. I like the whole look and design of the One Piece universe. The whole cel shade art style works very well, and the animation on the characters looks nice. The boss fights are also cool since you fight most of the One Piece villains from the past and even some that haven’t been shown in the American-dubbed version of the show. The music is also colorful and fun to listen to. The voice acting is also very good. My guess is that they got the team from the Funmation version of One Piece, which was a great idea since the 4KIDS version just sucked.

Let’s talk about the bad parts of this pirate story. The story itself is interesting, but ultimately forgettable. When I was typing this, I had to remember what happened in the story, since I forgot about 85% of it. The enemy variety is very annoying and repetitive. In the whole universe of the show, there are multiple varieties of enemies and they should have used more bad-guy variety. The only variety comes from the bosses and the main heroes. Now, a lot of people complain that the backtracking is a little much, but I think they need to shut it! How many games have you seen where you need to backtrack? You backtrack in Castlevania. You backtrack in the dungeons in Legend of Zelda. What I’m trying to say is that backtracking can be an issue, but I think it isn’t that bad in the game. I would say though that they could have used a teleporter so you don’t have to use all the energy in the running bar. Other than that, I don’t really think the backtracking is that bad.

Overall, it isn’t the best thing on the Wii, but I think it is a fun game. If you are a fan of the show or like good anime games, then I say, pick this one up. If you aren’t a fan of the show however, I would say that renting it might give you a good entertaining weekend. Let’s just hope that the new One Piece games coming for the Wii are going to be better, but just as awesome as this one.

This game gets a 7.7 out of 10

Handheld Adventures Part 5: Advance Guardian Heroes for the Gameboy Advance Review

Treasure, Treasure, and more Treasure. It seems like I have been talking about the company Treasure for some time now, with Wario World and Astroboy Omega Factor. I admit, though, they do have a couple of bad games, but which company doesn’t? This game I am reviewing isn’t all bad, but they could have done better for a sequel to a great Sega Saturn game. The game is named Advance Guardian Heroes for the Gameboy Advance. Like I said above, this game is a sequel to the first Guardian Heroes for the short-lived Sega Saturn Console. Make sure you read about the first game, or else you will get confused with this one. So, is this sequel as good as it could be? Or is this only half complete?

Basically, the story takes place after the events of the first Guardian Heroes where half of the heroes went, to become the sky’s perfect warriors as the others declined the offer. Now, an evil force is using the powers of the Guardian Heroes to rule the land once again, and revive the undead warrior to use for his army. However, a small resistance force is trying to revive the undead warrior to help fight against evil. As is the case, the good guys find the undead warrior first and revive it. It is up to the powerful undead warrior to stop the evil forces that want to rule the land. So, yeah, the story can get confusing if you don’t know anything about the first game.

The game play style is like a lot of games Treasure makes, a side-scrolling beat ‘em up. This beat ‘em up style has more in common with Final Fight and Street of Rage, where you’re not stuck in one row like in Splatterhouse 2. You get to choose from 3 different main heroes who don’t look any different, besides stats and what magic powers they have, like the one I chose has multiple fire attacks. You basically have your punches and kicks and mid air attacks. You also have a range of magic attacks. They range from rapid-fire attacks to a ground-to-air attack to even a giant laser beam. Well, that’s the one I got, but there are others like one of the characters uses lightning. You also have the power to jump to target plat forms if they have a target sign on them. The only thing you don’t have is a block attack. You also have a small rpg element where at the end of each stage you get to upgrade your characters stats with jewels. An interesting fact is that when you die, a shadowy figure tells you he can bring you back with an invincible body if you give him your soul. If you accept, you will be invincible throughout the rest of the game, but you won’t be able to collect crystals or save your progress.

The graphics, like all of Treasure’s games, are really nice-looking, but they could have done a better design for the characters. They are not all bad, but they could have done better. It is kind of cool though to see the heroes from their last game make an appearance along with other little secrets. The music is also fun to listen to, but it won’t blow your mind like Astroboy: Omega Factor or Gunstar Super Heroes. It is also cool to know that you can hook up with a second player and fight alongside each other. Beside, is there any other way to play a beat ‘em up? I don’t think so.

Now, it is time to pick up your undead warrior and fight the bad parts of the game. Like I said above, the graphics are nice, but they could have done better. The game play can very repetitious and boring from time to time, because you don’t really fight new enemies, and since you fight different colored and sized enemies. The difficulty can be changed to fit your liking, but medium just seems impossible to get through without dying. After dying, if you accept an invincible body, you can’t save your progress, meaning if you don’t want to go through the same levels over and over again, then you need to not die, which is hard unless you’re on the easy mode. The final boss fight is tedious and disappointing, also, since you have to be specific with the last attack and it’s very annoying. The magic attacks are cool and all, but since you can’t use a sword or a shield, you will be using the magic attacks a lot more than your fists of fury, which kind of gives the game no challenge.

All and all, this game is hard to recommend for people wanting to buy a good Gameboy Advance game. It has its good parts, but there are bad parts that almost overshadow the good parts. All I can say is, rent it and try it out for yourself. Let’s just hope Treasure can make some great games in the future, like another Wario title or maybe a Gunstar Heroes for the Wii or something.

This game gets a 6.5 out of 10.

Flying Dragon for the Nintendo 64 Review

I like a lot of fighting games like Soul Calibur, King of Fighters, Super Smash Brothers, and etc., though there are some that I don’t like as much, like Street Fighter 2. I’m not saying it’s a bad game, but I don’t think it’s that great of a game, for the only reason of its complex controls and difficult AI. I understand it goes under the “easy to play, but hard to master” category, but when I pick up a game, I want to easily be able to play it, and make all the moves look cool. Recently, I picked up two games when I went to send a job application to my local game store. The first game was Goemon’s Great Adventure, and the other is the one I will be reviewing, Flying Dragon for the Nintendo 64.

Before I talk about the story of this game, I want to talk about who made it, since it is kind of interesting. Culture Brain developed this game, which is famous for a couple of different games like Kung-Fu Heroes for the Nintendo in 1988, the Super Chinese series, and some baseball games. It’s interesting that Flying Dragon is part of the Hiryu No Ken series, and is the 5th game in that series. Well, I think it’s interesting. Now, for the story of the game…well, I‘ll admit the game doesn’t have that much of a story. Don’t blame me! It’s not my fault that fighting games don’t need stories.

Basically, Flying Dragon is a 1-on-1 fighter, where you select your fighter and fight against the opponent. Like all fighters, you have your stereotypes, like the main hero who wears a martial arts uniform, a ninja, a main female character, and you get the idea. There are super moves like other fighters, but there is one thing this game has going for it that most fighters don’t have, another game inside this game. Let me explain if you are confused. Take Virtua Fighter 2 and Virtua Fighter Kids. Some say that Virtua Fighter Kids is a separate game, and yet some say it’s the exactly the same as Virtua Fighter 2 only in chibi form. Well, take those two games and put them into one, except there are different characters in the chibi version of Flying Dragon. This game also has a RPG element to it in the form of different clothes that can be upgraded by fighting. There are also other modes like versus and tournament.

Graphically, I think it’s impressive. It won’t blow your mind, but think of the looks of the graphics as Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon or Beetles Adventure Racing. I also like the music of the game. It’s typical fighting music, but I like it. I also like how this is one of the ONLY fighting games for the Nintendo 64. I wish there was more of them, but at least we have Super Smash Brothers and Fighting Destiny.

Now, let’s talk about the bad parts of the game. One of the few things I want to say that I don’t like about the game is that the characters’ movements seem stiff. I felt like a slug moving around. I also don’t like how the fighting engine is like Street Fighter where the super moves are hard to pull off. There isn’t that much to complain about though, which is odd since I usually like to find a few things to rant about. Oh well…

Overall, I think it’s a fun game. When I first picked this up, my friend and I just laughed and laughed, because of how much random fun we were having with this game. I would say if you can find a copy of this game, then I would recommend picking it up. Yeah, it won’t top anyone’s number 1 N64 or top fighting game list, but that’s okay. It’s a fun game that should be enjoyed by fighting game enthusiasts.

This game gets a 7.9 out of 10

Donkey Kong Jungle Beats for the Gamecube Review

While Mario has been driving Nintendo’s consoles into triple digits and beyond, I remember when Donkey Kong and his franchise would do just the same. He had three amazing arcade games and three amazing Super Nintendo games, though seeing how he is slowly having fewer and fewer games, his future seems bleak. In 2004, one of my favorite Gamecube games ever was released to us Americans, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. So, how does Donkey’s new adventure play out?

The basic plot of Donkey Kong Jungle Beats is, well, just like any other game, which any reviewer can tell you. Donkey Kong got his bananas stolen again by an evil group of Kongs, and it is up to Donkey Kong to get those bananas back! Yeah, it’s nothing special, but think about it. Donkey Kong is a monkey with a red tie…what else would he want to do? It’s not like we will see him going through Hell, like in the upcoming Dante’s Inferno, or seeing him whip werewolves or something.

The game play is a 2.5D side-scrolling plat-forming game like Goemon’s Great adventure, Yoshi Story, and other great 2.5D Nintendo games. You basically go through the levels using the special DK Bongos to make Donkey Kong move. He can punch, jump on enemies, clap, and other stuff that you can find in a classic awesome plat-former. You basically get your array of furry jungle enemies, along with other stuff. At the end of each level, you fight an epic boss at the end, like a giant bird or pig, or even one of the evil Kongs. The levels are also full of plat-forming challenge, which will test you to see how good of a retro plat-former you are.

I think one of the best highlights of the game is the graphics. I mean, these have to be the best graphics on the Gamecube, or it has to be the best looking game on the system besides Resident Evil 4. DK’s fur never looked so real, and everything else just looked so detailed and colorful. A lot of games today could learn a few things about color from this game. The music is also entertaining to listen to, and reflects the action and level on the screen. The controls on the bongos are perfect because this is the only plat-former that you can use the bongos on. It might not be Donkey Kong Country famous, but this game is right up there along with Super Mario Galaxy, New Super Mario Brothers, and other Nintendo plat-formers. The boss fights are some of the best in the history of Nintendo! Each is fun and challenging.

Even though this is one of the best Gamecube games, there are some minor complaints I have with it. First off, the main complaint I have is with the boss fights. Yes, they are awesome and intense, but they seem to repeat with the same four bosses in just different colors in each of the kingdoms. The only boss fights that are different are the ones with the evil Kongs. The game can be short if you’re an old retro plat-former kind of guy. Other than that, I don’t have a lot of things to say that are bad.

Overall, this is a great videogame. If you can find the Gamecube version and bongos, then I say pick it up. If you can’t, you can get the re-released version on the Wii, with controls that are almost the same, but you control Donkey Kong with the control stick on the nunchuk part of the controller. All and al, even though it isn’t Donkey Kong Country 4, it deserves as much or even more credit than those games. So yeah, go check it out!

This game gets a 9.6 out of 10.