Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Years Special: DLC Domination part 4: Costume Quest for the PSN and Xboxlive review



Hey, gamers, and welcome to my New Year’s Special here on Cam’s Eye View. I am not going to do something elaborate, like my back-to-back Batman Christmas Special, but I do have something for you boys and girls to get on the PSN and XboxLive that, well, isn’t holiday-based. I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but I kind of ran out of time, and I decided to do a special DLC Domination that was released in October, decided to keep it locked up for New Years. Don’t ask me why, but here is Costume Quest! The first downloadable title by Double Fine Productions is definitely ambitious. Yes, these are the creators of two of my favorite games of all time, Brutal Legend and Psychonaughts. It definitely has the Double Fine feel with a creative premise and smart humor, but does it fully deliver as their first downloadable title? Get your noisemakers out and put in your favorite holiday movie and get ready for my New Year’s Special of Costume Quest.

DLC Domination part 3: Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue for PSN and Xboxlive review







Hey, everyone! Welcome back to another episode of DLC DOMINATION! [Enter death metal song here]. Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the previous episode of DLC Domination to Deathspank, and it kicked [insert bad word here]! I mean, wow. Ron Gilbert made a great gem for the PS3 and 360 downloadable market, with awesome characters, great graphics, mindlessly fun gameplay, oh, and some of the best humor I have ever heard in a game. So, when I heard that there was a sequel coming out two months later, I was excited, but a little skeptical. I mean, I thought it was like, “ oh, umm so soon?” After doing some research, I found out that this game was being worked on during the same time as the first game, and now, we get one of the weirdest, but most awesome names of a sequel of all time. First off, it doesn’t have crazy ninja monkey pirates with jet packs, though that would have been awesome. Instead, we get a title simply called Deathspank Thongs of Virtue! Again, we have our vigilant silly-named hero Deathspank going after the mystical Thongs of Virtues that have made the land corrupt, and somehow Deathspank is pushed multiple centuries into the future. Then again, this is Ron Gilbert we are talking about so don’t be surprised, but oh my gosh, this game is awesome! It’s more on the line of Deathspank 2.0 with some added gameplay elements and more diverse quests, but we still get all the top tier humor and wit, like the last game. So, how much does this sequel rock?  Well then, you will have to read on, fellow readers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Magic Pengel and the Quest for Color for the PS2




Okay, everyone. I’ve got a mathematical equation for you all to solve with this next review. What is Pokemon plus the drawing ability from Okami plus rock paper scissors equal? If you said Graffiti Kingdom, then you would be somewhat right, but mostly wrong! I am actually talking about a very little known game from the PS2 library of games known as Magic Pengel: the Quest for Color for the PS2. Granted, Graffiti Kingdom is the sequel to this game, but I have actually seen that game, and while I don’t remember much, I heard a lot of people didn’t like it. However, I wanted to talk about this game first, since I just recently found out about it and wanted to give it a quick look. While it isn’t really a masterpiece of a game, and doesn’t really go in the underrated section of games, Magic Pengel is a worthwhile game to check out even with its small faults, though I can’t say what they are since you guys need to read the rest of this review to see for yourself. So, let’s dive into the colorful world of Magic Pengel. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ratchet and Clank series part 2: Ratchet and Clank Going Commando for the PS2





As you all can see, I do a lot and I mean A LOT of reviews. I passed the 150 mark and I still have more to review. Sadly, I recently realized that I have deserted one retrospective that I wanted to do. The series I wanted to do a review on besides the Yakuza and Prince of Persia series is the Ratchet and Clank series, since a Crack in Time might have been the last game in this series. I decided to get back on the ride with this retrospective and review the next game in the series, Ratchet and Clank Going Commando. Released a year after the first game, Going Commando continues the franchise that’s held on the back of a humanoid lombax and a small sophisticated robot. I thought I would never say that, ever. Anyway, let’s dive into Ratchet and Clank Going Commando and see how this sequel does.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Spiderman Shattered Dimensions for the PS3 and 360 review



Batman Arkham Asylum was a huge step up for games based on super heroes, since it wasn’t getting any better for Superman or other super hero games. It’s a shame since there is a lot of potential for making a good game based on a super hero. It works for Batman, so why doesn’t it work for Iron Man or Superman? A good example of at least having two good games to their name is Spider-Man. He has a game that was released on the Playstation and N64, which was good, and the movie-to-game adaptation of Spider-Man 2 was good too, but then he went back to sucking. Why can’t people use super heroes right? However, we now have a game that has potential, and is not that bad. The game I am speaking of is Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. I mean, when I saw this, I was instantly hooked, since what could go wrong by playing with four different Spider-Mans or would that be Spider-Men? Oh, whatever. Either way, this idea definitely works, but how well does it work? Well, let’s swing our way into the review and take a look.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chulip for the PS2 review


Here is a story that probably everyone has gone through one time or more. You go to rental stores like Gamefly.com or Blockbuster to rent a game that has recently come out, like for me, when I was writing this opening paragraph I was wanting to rent Metroid: Other M. It looked good, it sounded good, and it looked amazingly action-packed with action coming from all around you on each side and what not. It was the first thing on your list to rent, but you never got it. You know what happens next, especially if you use Gamefly.com? They send you a game that isn’t on the top and is actually 6 games down your list, and you know what game I got? Instead of getting the action-packed Metroid: Other M, I got an unknown PS2 game called Chulip! I know I have said that I have played a lot of weird games, but I seriously think this takes the cake! Think of Harvest Moon, combined with some adventure game elements, and put the main character in the most hormone-rushed mood ever. No, this isn’t an erotic title by any means, but there is a lot of kissing. However, this could be a hidden gem, or just a waste of time, but you have to read on to see what I think. Before I continue with this review, let me make this clear. NATSUME PUBLISHED THE GAME! They didn’t make it, they published it. A company called Punchline made the game and they also made a horrible horror survival game called Rule of Rose. I apologize for my little rant, but this just makes me mad since people always say that Natsume made the game. They published it. Now, let’s move on to the story.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Soul Blade for the PS1




I love the Soul Calibur franchise. To me it’s like the best fighting series since it’s easier to pick up and play than Virtua Fighter and Street Fighter. A lot of people really know Soul Calibur more from its port on the Sega Dreamcast, where it was made an official franchise, than the arcade version. However, it seems like people always think of Soul Calibur as the first game in the series, but it isn’t! That’s right, people, Soul Calibur isn’t the first game in the franchise! It is actually the second game in the franchise, coming after a game called Soul Edge or as it is called here in America, Soul Blade. Yes, that’s right the first game in the series came out on the Playstation and was called Soul Blade. I can see why a lot of people overlooked this, since a lot of the characters don’t even look like the ones of today, though they did miss out on a great fighting system for its time and a great opening FMV intro to the game. Let’s slice our way through, and review Soul Blade.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sin and Punishment: Star Sucessor for the Wii review



Over the two years I have been running this blog, I have seen games come and go. Some were great and/or amazing, some merely hit the bottom of the bargain bin for me, and some got on my black list of games to ban and destroy. Some games don’t even come under my radar until I read about them. One of those games I learned about is called Sin and Punishment. A lot of people consider this N64 game underrated, until I’ve looked into the game myself, I don’t know whether it’s true or not. I swear that I have never heard or read about one game that has been considered so underrated. To me though, I will download it when I can, but I don’t think it’s underrated. There are reasons why it never came here to America until the Virtual Console on the Wii. The first game came out in 2000. I basically think that’s the time we were getting ready for the Gamecube and Playstation 2. It probably wouldn’t have sold well anyway, so that is why it didn’t get an official release. However, Sin and Punishment is considered a cult classic, so I decided to try out the 2nd game in the series, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor for the Wii. It is a sequel that basically everyone in the retro community has wanted, and has so far gotten positive reviews. Critics say it’s filled with non-stop action and crazy-bullet-hell-style-game play. So let’s shoot our way through this Wii game and see what all the ruckus is about.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

DLC Domination part 2: Deathspank for the PSN and Xboxlive





I have recently fallen in love with downloadable games. I think it all started with Shank, and now I have wanted to play only the best of downloadable games. I saved up for a couple PSN cards and downloaded a few games, with enough left over for two games in the future to download. I was thinking of what game to follow up Shank with that was amazing and fun to play. It had to have a great sense of humor and was epically silly. Then it came to me, DEATHSPANK! Now, at first I wasn’t that excited, but when I heard that it was made by the guy who worked on the Monkey Island series of computer games, my interest was raised a little. It’s a fun and creative game that is just a blast, but I need to say why it rocks so much. It is one of those perfect examples of how to make a great downloadable game. So, let’s vanquish evil with the power of Deathspank.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

just a quick thank you to someone on facebook

I just wanted to quickly thank Bryan Aguilar for helping me with the name of DLC Domination. Thank you!

DLC Domination part 1: Shank for the PSN and XBoxLive



To be honest, I am not that much into downloadable games. I don’t know how to explain it since I love to download old video games through PSN and the VC, but for some reason, I don’t download a lot of downloadable games. Maybe it’s because the price can be a little odd and intimidating to me. However, I have warmed up to them recently with stuff like Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo HD and Splosion Man. I do plan on reviewing more downloadable games since there are actually a good handful of great games to download. So, to kick these downloadable games off, I decided to do a game that I have actually been waiting to download and play. So, what could this game be? What game could possibly start a new section of my blog simply known as Download Domination? Shank! Now, this is what you get if you combine Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez films into a video game, and mix it with 2 barrels of blood and violence. Since we also have the new film Machete to go see, I decided to do this game first. Over the top violence, a great grindhouse story, amazing 2D graphics, and fun gameplay. Let’s cut our way through, and review Shank!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thoughts On Episode 1: Marvel vs Capcom 3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtP6nZKOmYo

There is a link to my first video in a video series i am doing. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2 year aniversary special: Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Wii!



Well, here I am again. It’s been 2 years since I started this blog, and I am very proud of it. A lot of hard work went into retyping some reviews, and I am actually still retyping some reviews as of now, but this isn’t about retyping reviews. This is my 2-year anniversary review special. At first, I wanted to do a bad game, but I decided not to torture myself with a bad game on this special occasion. I decided to review my favorite game of all time. I am not saying it just because it’s a good game. It is literally my number 1 favorite game of all time. There is no way around it, no game has gotten this spot in awhile. Final Fantasy 9 and God of War 3 were very close competitors, but this game just took that spot like no other game could. So, let’s dive into my favorite game of all time, Super Mario Galaxy 2

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Transformers: War for Cybertron for the PS3 and 360 review




Hello, Internet, this is Cam’s Eye View speaking, or well, typing, to be more exact. Now, if any one of you knows me in real life you know that I just love and I mean LOVE Transformers. I mean, what boy growing up wouldn’t? Giant robots turning into cars and such were just so awesome. Here is a better question though, why do Transformer games suck? I mean, it doesn’t help that half of them are based off of Michael Bay’s version of Transformers. Granted, they are movie game tie-in products, but it shouldn’t be so hard to make a good Transformers game. However, they don’t put any effort whatsoever into the games and they end up bombing. If they did put any effort into making a good Transformers game, they would have come up with Transformers: War for Cybertron. Seen as the best of the games based off these giant robots, I decided to try this game out since I was a little skeptical at first when I saw this. Don’t get me wrong, the trailers for it were awesome and the graphics looked nice, but with Michael Bay screwing us over with both film-to-game tie-ins, you can see why I was a little hesitant to review this game. However, it turned out to be a success, and now I can get into the gears and cogs of why this game is good.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Prince of Persia Retrospective part 1: Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time for the ps2, GC, xbox, and pc review



So yeah, game-to-movie adaptations still don’t work out very well today. It sucks since there are some decent ones like the Tomb Raider and the Silent Hill movie. Yeah they still aren’t great, but they are fun to watch. Well, the ones that aren’t made by Uwe Bowell are not fun and are just horrible, though, some light has shined though since Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time came out and has gotten somewhat positive reviews. Of course, it won’t be as good as the games, but it looks fun and I’ll go see it with a friend or rent it. I decided in this honor and since a new Prince of Persia game came out, I would to do a special three-part review special of the Prince of Persia franchise. Now, I am going to look at three of the 3D Prince of Persia games and have no intention on looking for the original PC or the 3D version of the first PC game. I am going to look at the three that I think are worth reviewing. The first will be Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time, the 2008 version of Prince of Persia, and the most recent of the series, Prince of Persia: the Forgotten Sands. So, let’s get started with the first game I mentioned and winner of multiple awards from 2003, Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time.
          

Monday, September 13, 2010

Final Fantasy 10 for the PS2 review





As you all may know, Final Fantasy 6 and 9 happen to be two of my personal favorite games of all time, right up there with Brutal Legend, Psychonauts, Heavy Rain, God of War 3, and Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2. I really love the characters, the story, and the design of both games. You will all also know that I HATE how the fighting system has changed in the more recent games like Final Fantasy 12 and 13. I just don’t see the point, when the entire series has based itself on the turn-by-turn active time battle system. I don’t understand them making the game look like Engrave or Demon’s Soul. When I play a Final Fantasy game, I want active time battles with turns. I don’t want this Kingdom Hearts-style game play that requires a lot of multi-tasking. It all seems like it went downhill right after the release of what I think was and is the last great Final Fantasy game, Final Fantasy 10. The first official Final Fantasy title to hit the PS2, it was considered to be one of the greatest RPG games of all time. I still stand by that, even though some things didn’t age well throughout the game, but I still consider it better than Final Fantasy 7. So, let’s dive right into what I think is the last great title in the Final Fantasy franchise.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Final Fantasy 6 for the SNES, PS, and GBA review




As you all know, one of my favorite games of all time is Final Fantasy 9. I have even admitted that Final Fantasy 9 was better than 7 as the best game in the franchise. However, it’s not that I don’t like any other Final Fantasy, it’s just that 9 was very close to my heart when I was growing up. Back then, I didn’t even know where to find the other games in the series. This was when I was just a guy trying out different games. I wanted to become an artist, but now that I am into games, I have been trying to find the Final Fantasy games that I want to play for myself. One of them, which I have been looking for, was Final Fantasy 6, which was one of the last great SNES games. I have recently picked it up, but not in cart form. I picked up the game with Final Fantasy 5 that were both part of the Final Fantasy Anthology for the Playstation. I have been playing this game for a while, and it is now my second favorite Final Fantasy game.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Uncharted 2: Among Theives for the PS3 review

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Pictures, Images and Photos

2009, while having a lot of great games, wasn’t as big as 2007, with releases like Super Mario Galaxy and Bioshock to name a few that defined 2007. However, we did get a lot of A-list titles like Infamous, Prototype, Punch Out!!, Ratchet and Clank Future: a Crack in Time, Muramasa: the Demon Blade, New Super Mario Brothers Wii, Left 4 Dead 2, Brutal Legend, Assassin’s Creed 2, and of course, Batman Arkham Asylum. While those are all great games in their respective genre, one game kind of took over the spotlight for the title for Game of the Year. What is this game that took the world and critics by storm as the best game of 2009? Well, this title is just simply known as Sonic and the Black Knight. No, I’m kidding. That game sucked. The actual name of the game is called Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. I have never seen such critical acclaim for a third person shooter. I mean, I enjoyed the first Uncharted even with its small faults that held it back, but check these awards out that this game has won. Best PS3 game of E3 2009 by 1UP.com, Best Third Person Shooter, Best Graphics, Best Story, and Best Single Player Campaign by Gametrailers.com, and multiple Game of the Year awards from other sites and magazines. Gosh dang, this game better be as amazing as everyone says it is. Let’s dive right into what people consider one of the single best PS3 games of all time.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thoughts on Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom and The Last Guardian

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Now, a lot of great games have come out in 2010 and many of them are really good! I mean, we have hits like Bayonetta, Darksiders, No More Heroes 2, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Heavy Rain, God of War 3, Red Dead Redemption, 3D Dot Game Heroes, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 as some of great games we have gotten. However, two games have caught my attention since some criticism has come towards these two games because of some similarities to each other. While I don’t want to point fingers at people, thinking they are too harsh, here are my thoughts and argument for Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom and The Last Guardian.

The main criticism I have heard is that the two games have similar stories. However, let’s take a look at each of the stories from each game. The first one we will talk about is The Last Guardian. The main story revolves around the relationship of a young boy and a giant griffin-like beast named Trico or Toriko in Japan. The young boy releases the creature, and they both must escape a ruined kingdom that is guarded by some soldiers of some kingdom. We don’t know a lot about the story, and we all probably know what’s going to happen to the cute little, well, large creature. I want to talk more about it, but for some reason they are not showing us a lot. It kind of sucks, but it makes the anticipation that much better. Now, the story of Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is a little more revealed than The Last Guardian. A thief has wandered into a forsaken kingdom, hence the title. He then finds that a large creature called a Majin is trapped, and the thief releases him from his slumber. First of all, this creature looks like he needs to be in Where The Wild Things Are. He has a very simple mind and does have a name, but I forgot what his name was, sorry! They find out that the Majin doesn’t remember a lot, and many of his powers were taken away. They also find out that a slimy tar-like creature that looks like some of the villains in Nier are all over the kingdom. They both must escape and make it out alive. While they both have stories very similar to each other, they are going to be unique in their own way, which brings me up to the game play or what everyone’s thoughts are about it.

Tatsunoko vs Capcom for the Wii review

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So yeah, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was announced. You know, it’s no big deal. Just a sequel to one of the most critically acclaimed fighting games of all time. You know, a little over 50 characters and so many super moves to try out. It’s definitely not one of the most important things in the news of 2010. OH MY GOD! This is going to be the greatest fighting game of all time! I mean, I am so freaking happy that it has gotten announced. I am so flying off the wall excited since I LOVED playing Marvel vs. Capcom 2 in the arcades with my friends, and I plan on downloading and reviewing it on my PS3 from the PSN. Sadly, I have to wait till Spring 2011, which is stupid. I say that since it’s one of my favorite games of all time right next to Final Fantasy 9, Rival Schools, and Super Mario Galaxy. I guess for the time being, I can review another Capcom fighting game. I know there was a fighting game released this year. I know it’s a new entry to a franchise they like to do. It’s very popular and I know a lot of people love the game. Hmm, what was it? If I can just put my finger on it. Oh yeah! Tatsunoko vs. Capcom! Seen as the second best fighting game on the Wii next to Super Smash Brothers Brawl, this was an interesting case since it wasn’t originally supposed to come here, like Namco vs. Capcom. America would have to deal with the whole licensing issues for the entire Tatsunoko side of the game. However, in the sacrifice of one Tatsunoko character and animated endings, we get new characters for each side, a multi-player 2D shooter, and the fighting system got fixed so it won’t be as cheap as the Japanese version. Let’s get our fighting spirit up and running. and blast through Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.

While there is no need to explain a story for a fighting game that is just crazy like Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, I am going to give my own thought of the story. The dark lord Yami just got so tired from waiting for the next Okami game not counting the one coming out for the DS, he decided to screw around with dimensions. He decided to mess around with the Capcom universe, thrusting it into the Tatsunoko universe. Now the two universes must stop whoever decided to screw with them and get back to their dimensions. I know it’s a stupid sounding story, but hey, it’s a fighting game. Do we actually care? No, we don’t. Just a quick thought, I find it funny how both universes want to stop Yami and they just beat each other up to get to him, instead of just joining up together. That is just my thought.

The game play featured in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is a two-on-two team fighting game, kind of like the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise. You basically choose two characters from the two respective universes, unless you’re using either of the two large characters where you can only choose to be one character. The game play is classic vs. Capcom fighting, where you don’t need to be strategic with your moves like Samurai Shodown or the Street Fighter series. You do have your assortment of super moves and crazy ultra super moves that are pretty fun to watch. Some of my favorite finishers are Frank West and Tekkaman Blade’s finisher since it just looks painful to get hit by some of them. There are some new additions, like a move called the “crossover Air Raid” where you can summon your second character during a mid-air combo, which becomes useful for characters that are best with mid-air combos. The second new move is the “Baroque Cancel” where you can sacrifice the red part of your recovering health bar to extend your combos and increase your damage from your moves. They can also do a “Mega Crash” move where it takes away a bit of your health and energy bar to defect the lengthy super combos. I actually fell victim to some of these, and it gets annoying when you have very little health. When you read the credits, you can play a mini-game, where you play as Doronjo and her henchmen to get special letters to spell out “Thank You For Playing” to get a special top-down shooter mini-game. You can even play online with different people, which the Japanese version doesn’t have. In a way, the Americans got the better game.

The graphics, while not as good looking as Super Street Fighter 4, are pretty impressive-looking graphics. All the Tatsunoko characters have great designs and are really fun to play as. Some of my favorite characters are Yataman-1, Casshan, Tekkaman Blade, Tekkaman, and Hurricane Polimar. Some of my favorite characters to play as in the Capcom side are Frank West, Zero, Batsu, Ryu, and the robot from Lost Planet. Overall, they have a great cast of characters, and I hope some of the Capcom characters appear in the newly announced Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The music is standard fighting fare. It’s mostly pop music where it’s very hyper and energetic. Overall, it’s a great fighting package for the Wii.

Now it’s time to punch our way through the bad parts of the game. While playing this game, I never once played online, knowing that people are going to resort to using the baroque thing over and over, and I heard it gets annoying since that’s what a lot of players online do. I also think the final boss, Yami is very cheap in his third form. It just seems like he can pull off much more tedious and stronger moves that you can’t do a single thing about it. It’s even worse if you are playing as one of the two giant fighters since they are just big walking punching bags. While playing as Gold Lightan from the Tatsunoko side, I had to go through multiple continues right before, by some pure luck, got out alive during the final part. Coming back to Gold Lightan, I wish he had more moves. I can understand that he is using moves he used in the show, but they are more tedious to use against fighters like Yami. It just makes the last boss fight more annoying than a good fight. I also find the mini-game in the credit sequence overly irritating. It just seems more annoying since if you miss ONE letter you don’t get the mini-game. Why can’t I just get it after unlocking all the characters? It would make it easier, but I still haven’t been able to get it and it makes me mad since it always seems like there is that one letter that you need, but for some reason, you can’t get it. Man, is it ever so annoying.

Overall though, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is probably the second best fighting game next to Super Smash Brothers Brawl on the Wii. If you can get this game for a good price, I say pick it up. I would pick Super Smash Brothers Brawl since you can play with four people and not just two people and have to worry about Internet connections for Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. And before you guys email me, I know that Super Smash Brothers Brawl has bad connections also. Hopefully, in the future, Capcom can make another Tatsunoko vs. Capcom game. Go get it and have a blast.

This game gets a 9.5 out of 10

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Super Mario Brothers Wii for the umm Wii review

New super Mario Brothers Wii Pictures, Images and Photos

With the recent release of Super Mario Galaxy 2, which has gotten universally praised ratings like perfect 10s and 9 out of 10s. I decided to review one of the other recent Mario games for the Wii. Now I know this game has already come out, but due to other games taking up my time, I haven’t been able to fully enjoy this game. Of course this game I’m talking about is the well received and multiple time winner of Best Wii Game of 2009, New Super Mario Brothers Wii. A lot of people including me were very excited to finally see a 2.5D Mario game that was coming out for a console since it brings back Mario to his old roots as a 2D platforming genius. I might be bias, but a lot of games of today kind of owe it to Mario for bringing in the genre. Sonic wouldn’t be around, Splosion Man wouldn’t be around, and even Wario wouldn’t be around. So lets go down the green pipe and find out why this game is so awesome. I easily could have used one of the horrible jokes from the Mario cartoon show of the 80’s, but I think that would have killed the review.

The main story of this Mario game is to no surprise of any Mario fan. Princess Peach is celebrating her birthday, as she is about to enjoy her cake, Bowser Jr. then appears and is not alone. He is joined by Bowser’s other kids…wait WHAT?! The children of Bowser who haven’t appeared in a video game since Super Mario Brothers 3 on the NES are finally back?! Holy cow that is awesome! I mean you could count that they were in a pile of crap third party made CDI game, Hotel Mario, but who cares! They are in an actual Mario game and it’s been like a zillion years! Now that I got that out of my system. I know Mario games don’t have a strong story, but its Mario. Don’t get me wrong, I love games like Heavy Rain or Batman: Arkham Asylum or any game with a strong story, but there is a certain charm with Mario games since they don’t have long winded stories and stupid easy to see plot twists. Then again why would you need an epic tale of a princess getting kidnapped by some evil beast? I mean its not like Nintendo doesn’t have an epic adventure game where you are sent to save the princess. Oh wait that’s Nintendo’s other big franchise Zelda.

The game play is classic 8-bit and 16-bit Mario, a 2.5D platformer. The whole game takes place on a map like Super Mario Brothers 3 and Super Mario World. There are about 8 maps including a secret 9th world if you get all the star coins. You basically can go through this game alone and get through the game fine. You can do something better and go through the game with a second player, but not like the old games on the NES and SNES. This time you can play with up to 4 people at the same time! This has never been done before and I thought it was a good idea. You will hear more of what I think later in the review. Of course with every Mario game, there are power ups. You get the basic mushroom and fire flower. This time though you get a lot of cool ones like the propeller mushroom that gives you a propeller suit and can give you an extra boost of flight. You can also dive bomb enemies. You also get the tiny mushroom that turns Mario tiny and can get through special areas and can run on water and jump pretty high in the air. This happens to be my new favorite mushroom since me and my cousin played through a level with it and it was fun as it can be being tiny. There is also an ice flower form the Galaxy games, but its more like the fire flower suit wise where you can throw ice balls to freeze enemies and use them as projectiles or plat forms. The final new power up is the penguin suit where you can also throw ice balls, but you can swim easier and slide on your belly on ice. It’s really fun when you get it down. There are other things like invincibility stars, POW blocks, and a propeller block that can be a substitute propeller mushroom. The main motion controls is basically limited to where you can shake the remote to make you spin in the air, guide a flash light, and move platforms. You basically do stuff like collect coins and special star coins that unlock special videos of certain levels.

The graphics and the look of the game is very outstanding. The 2D look of the game has been locked in a safe for a decade or so and it hasn’t looked better. The music is also very enjoyable with remix of favorite tunes of the Mario library. The difficulty of the game is just right. It isn’t too easy, but it is somewhat hard. Though it kind of cancels itself out because it’s mimicking the difficulty form the old Mario side-scroller games. A special thing that was implemented into the game is a guide called the Super Guide. It unlocks if you die about 8 times on one level. If you activate it, the computer plays through the game as Luigi. Yeah you lose a little of your pride, but it helps when you need to get through the game.

Sadly, I wish this was a perfect game, but it isn’t. There are a few things I just
don’t like. First off are the playable characters. Why Toad? Why not Donkey Kong or Wario? No one wants to play as a freaking Toad. They should have added unlockable characters or somehow got Wario and Donkey Kong through the story or something. My next complaint comes from the difficulty of some levels. Sometimes it’s just tedious to get through a level from time to time, but like I said earlier, it kind of cancels itself out. my final complaint comes from playing with 4 people. it gets a little chaotic. I can understand where Nintendo was coming from with this idea, but it gets annoying since someone can be a total jerk and get the rest killed.

All and all, New Super Mario Brothers Wii is one of the best if not the 3rd best wii game of all time. I say go buy it! It’s a fun game to play with two people and three people. I think they should make a sequel to this game. Please Nintendo do this and I will be a happy reviewer/gamer. Thanks for reading and make sure to send me an email of a game you want me to review or recommend at moonstone140@gmail.com. See you all next time!

This game gets a 9.4 out of 10

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thinking about going to magfest in 2011

has anyone gone and do they think its fun and such?

If i do go, would you all like to see me and ask me questions.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Retro Saga part 30: Kirby's Dreamland 3 for the SNES

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Kirby seems to have been forgotten for some reason. I mean, he has some of the best platforming games of all time on the Gameboy and on the SNES and N64. I just wonder what happened after that. I know there were a few games on the DS, Gameboy Advance, and Gamecube, but it’s like they don’t care about him anymore. Maybe it was because the creator of Kirby, Masashiro Sakurai just wanted to move on with his company, Sora, to do some new things. I won’t pan him for moving onto something different, but I wish they could have just finished the Kirby game that was canceled. I mean, I know there is proof that the new 3D Kirby game is going to be released, but it seems like it’s taking forever. For now though, let’s review Kirby’s last game on the SNES and literally the last first party game on the SNES, Kirby’s Dreamland 3. Often seen as a game that is not up to par with some of the other Kirby games, I think this game has a lot of great fun, and stands up to the rest of the best Kirby games, so let’s swallow up some enemies and take a look at Kirby’s Dreamland 3

The main story of Kirby’s Dreamland 3 is kind of like Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, but a little simpler. Kirby is hanging out with his weird Licorice gumdrop friend when they see an evil shadowy creature fly over their planet. It starts to spread its evil across his planet, and it is up to Kirby and his animal friends from Kirby’s Dreamland 2 to stop this evil force and save their planet. I don’t know why, but the look of the villain reminds me of the villain from Kirby 64. However, it’s a Kirby game and they both have similarities.

The game play in the first Kirby game was just Kirby sucking up enemies and spitting them out. As the games evolved, Kirby gained certain abilities from certain enemies. In his third game, Kirby Dreamland 2, he can use the help of animals, and use your swallowed ability with the animals with some interesting results. The game play in this game is basically no different than Kirby Dreamland 2, but in super amazing color. You swallow certain enemies and gain their power, then basically a quarter of the way through the level, you can gain the help of two different animals. You also have to do certain tasks in the game, like lick a caterpillar-like thing or find three shapes and such to get a special star heart thing. Kind of like in Kirby 64, if you get all of the tasks done in the game, you get a special ending that is different from the normal ending. It’s interesting, since most plat formers were either like Castlevania or Mario or Sonic knock-offs. It gives the game replay value since you want to see the different endings and such.

The graphics in the game are amazing. While not pushing the limit like Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Trigger, or Super Mario RPG, the game looks nice overall. It kind of has a watercolor look and it has a certain charm to it that few games had in that time. Ganbare Goemon had its weird and Japanese-looking character designs, Mario and Donkey Kong games had their unique charm, and now this game’s water-colored-looking graphics. Just like DoReMi Fantasy, it has a calming soundtrack that is really fun to listen to. I think that sometimes games don’t need a lot of music, but they do need environmental sounds and music from making the game designers look lazy.

However, there are some small, but noticeable flaws with this game that keep it from a perfect score. While I like the idea of tasks in the game that give the game replay value, it’s very vague as to what you need to do. Unless you have a guide or a walkthrough with you, you won’t know what to do. I think one of the tasks though, where you need to do a memory game-like thing is somewhat tedious because of the speed it can go at when you play through that task. The pattern of the tasks also seems to get repetitious since it’s the same kind of task, but with different characters for every world. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to do the tasks, but from what I have seen, it’s the same for every world. Though it’s the same thing in Kirby 64 where you need to find three crystal shards in each level to get the real boss and real ending, I don’t really mind that, but modern gamers who want to get into retro games might find that a fault.

All and all though, I don’t see why people badmouthed this game so much. I don’t see why it was so bad for the very last first party game for the SNES. Yeah, you can say it’s a 16-bit remake of Kirby Dreamland 2, but I don’t think so, and that is my honest opinion. You could spend a lot of cash to find a solid copy of this game, but you can do the easier thing and go to the Virtual Console on the Wii and get it in the SNES section. Overall, I still like the Kirby games, and I hope they bring out a new Kirby game for the Wii since it NEEDS one.

This game gets a solid 9 out of 10

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hanheld Adventure part 7: Juka and the Monophonic Menace for the GBA

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The Gameboy Advance, in my opinion, had a pretty good run. It had its share of good and bad games, but there were a lot of good ones like the ports of the Final Fantasy and Super Mario series. It did have its own share of original titles, but from what I saw, they were mostly ports or remakes of games that were on older consoles. I decided to try an original GBA game that was made here in America that got somewhat positive reviews back in 2006. This game is called Juka and the Monophonic Menace. Now, if it doesn’t have Mario, Metroid or Zelda on the title, it usually means one of two things. The first thing is that it could be good. The other thing is that it could be bad. Let’s dive right into this game and see what we can find.

The main story of this game centers on this young boy name Juka, who is an alchemist in training and no, he isn’t anything like Fullmetal Alchemist or the wonderful book, The Alchemist. He returns after a mission-in-training to head to town to get some supplies for his frog-like sidekick. Sadly, he finds out something is wrong and people are disappearing and soldiers are appearing everywhere. He then goes off on a journey to save his land from someone who looks like Lex Luthor from Justice League. It’s an okay story, but it won’t set your socks on fire. If you want a good story, just play Heavy Rain or Darksiders.

The game play is rather odd, in my opinion. It’s an adventure game like Zelda or the first SNES Mystical Ninja game, but it also has stealth elements. It’s seen from a bird’s eye view, like Legend of the Mystical Ninja or Legend of Zelda, and you go through the levels using potions to take out organic enemies like soldiers and weird Dr Seuss rejects. Your other main weapon is a sound staff that absorbs colorful shapes that you can shoot back at the mechanical enemies. For most of the beginning potions, you mix different elements like yellow, green and blue elements that you learn from people, and ‘ruin stone’ things. It’s a weird world, let’s just put it that way. This does mean though that you have no other form of attack besides potions and returning fire. This kind of gives the game a certain difficulty. It isn’t hard, but it isn’t easy. There are some other elements, like climbing on vines and such, but it isn’t that important to talk about.

The graphics are surprisingly colorful and well done. While nothing special, they get the job done. I also like the design for some of the characters and creatures. It definitely reminds me of something from Dr Seuss and his weirdly entertaining books. The music isn’t half bad either. It’s very well done, going from calming and peaceful to somewhat threatening when you encounter mechanical enemies. Overall, the presentation is really well done. I mean, I know Orbital Media’s other game Scurge: Hive is, from what I have heard, another great game, but I will have to save that game for another review.

Now, I am going to mix the chemicals to find the bad parts of the game. I HATE how slow Juka is. Couldn’t they put in a run button on the L button? I mean, the other enemies mostly have shots that can home in on your position and you can’t move fast enough. I know you get musical instruments to make elements appear, but for the beginning of the game you have to keep shaking plants to get the elements. It gets annoying and tedious after an hour or so of just shaking plants for elements. The pace of this game feels somewhat sluggish, since you can’t move any faster than a snail on top of a crawling catfish. Another thing I have a beef with is the design of the main character of the game. He looks like one of those two-flavored Popsicles had a baby with Waldo. Plus, he looks nothing like he does in the cover art on the box. It’s more cartoonish in game. The worst part though is that after you play through the game for a bit, you kind of don’t want to pick it up again. It’s kind of sad. It’s like Dark Void in a way. I know I keep bashing Dark Void, but it was rather disappointing, kind of like this game. I know this game has gotten some popular reviews, but I don’t like it personally.

Overall, Juka is not a fully enjoyable ride to go on, but it is worth checking out for only a day or so. It’s disappointing to see the GBA have remakes or ports on the system with only a few special exclusives like the Castlevania Double Pack, Metroid Fusion, and the Goldensun RPG games. I don’t mean to offend anyone who does like this game, but I just don’t like it. I would rather play Advance Guardian Heroes again than play this game, and playing Advance Guardian Heroes was hard enough to play through. Don’t forget to leave comments of my reviews or send me an email of a game you want me to review.

This game gets a 6.9 out of 10

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Darksiders for the PS3 and 360 review




January was definitely a great month of games, wasn’t it? I mean, we got some big name titles like Bayonetta, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. Of course, with any month of the year when games were released, we had some of the average games like Army of Two: the 40th Day. Then, we have the utter stupidity of stuff like Dark Void, which shouldn’t have been released during this year. However, there is one game I wanted to play in January that I wanted to play before Bayonetta, but couldn’t since I run by the laws of Gamefly.com. So, what game could have been on the top of my list of games to play this year? I mean besides No More Heroes 2 and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom? Give up? Well, it was made by a company here in my town of Austin, Texas. It was a very well written and well-created game simply known as Darksiders. Now, it’s funny since I know this company because they have made the Warhammer 40k RTS games, and this is the only action game they have made. So, how do I see it through my eyes? Let’s doom the whole world and find out!

The story takes place when the earth is thrown into the grasp of the apocalypse. When this is all happening though, one of the four horsemen, named War, comes down to Earth. He then goes and kills some demons and angels, and then gets to a giant monster that he almost kills. Sadly, he was doing all this on a false alarm. This high council that sets the rules for Heaven, Hell, and Earth then pulls War down to them and punishes him. War is stripped of his powers and is given the task of finding out who caused the whole thing. He gets his sword, is attached to a character called the Watcher, and sets off to destroy the evil that has destroyed the land. It’s nice to see God has a sense of humor calling in War on a false alarm. You won’t believe how many times I have done that, myself.

The game play featured in Darksiders is a mix between God of War’s combat combo system, Zelda’s adventure and weapon themes, and Zelda’s targeting. At the beginning, you basically get a huge sword that War can of course wield with one hand and that’s it. During the game, you gain multiple weapons like a huge horn that can send back enemies, a large pistol, a boomerang cross blade, a scythe, a large gauntlet, and other very interesting weapons that can be used like normal, but here is what I think. If you think cleverly enough, you can use these weapons to get through enemies faster. For example, during the Twilight Cathedral run-through, I was using the horn to blow enemies into the lava-filled floors, which cut down on time that this game demands. Then again, if you ever played a Zelda game, you know how long it can take to get through the entire game. There are some unique areas, like when you get to ride on a griffin, and summon your horse that you once rode when you were the mighty horseman. You can also use enemy weapons and some of your own weapons in a third person view, which works pretty well and is much easier when you have a chain gun to shoot down angels…never thought I see myself type that. You can also find multiple things like shards to combine into extra “heart tanks” or to increase your wrath meter, or to make new armor items that you can wear when you replay through the game again. There are a few quick-time events thrown into the game, but don’t expect anything like God of War 3 or Resident Evil 4 and 5.There is a lot to do, and it’s going to take hours to beat this game if you’re one of those completist. The boss fights are huge and are set up just like the Zelda bosses, where the first boss Tiamat requires the use of the throwing inert bombs at the giant bat, then making them explode with your cross blade. They are all very creative and are fun to go through. There are some simple dungeon-crawling areas like in Zelda, so don’t expect anything different than games like Zelda of God of War 3, where you have to backtrack to certain areas to solve one puzzle. The puzzles however, are mostly easy, with some of them taking some time to get used to, which varies from level to level. I like this since it gives me a good familiar feel for the levels and environments around me.

The graphics for the game are outstanding. I mean, they won’t push the PS3’s or 360’s limit, but they are nice-looking overall. It helps that famous comic book artist, Joe Madureira who is famous for his own comic series, Battle Chasers and his work on the Uncanny X-Men comics, is the creative guy behind the whole look of the game. Though is it just me, or could a majority of these enemies and bosses fit right into the Warhammer universe? I mean, War could be part of the Chaos Space Marines, and some of the demons could be Tyranids and such, but that is just my own opinion. The music is also very well executed with tracks fitting in just right. This is due to the help of Cris Velasco, who worked on games like God of War 3, and games based off of TV shows and such. The second composer, Mike Reagen, worked on stuff like Rise of Kasai, Darkwatch, and Bruteforce. The third composer is Scott Morton, but I couldn’t find anything about him. By far though, the best part of the game is the incredible voice acting. War is voiced by Liam O’ Brien who is known for his works in Devil May Cry 4 as Sanctus, Eternal Sonata as Lord Waltz, and other video game, anime, and documentary roles that you can find on Wikipedia. Though my favorite voice actor so far in the game is the person who does the Watcher, Mark Hamill. Now, if you all know me, I am just a huge fan of Mark Hamill’s voice talent, and think he is one of the best voice actors in the industry. We also get the talents of Phil LaMarr as Vulgrim the merchant, Fred Tatsciore as the charred council, and the rest of the voice talent is very well done.

However, this game does have a few bumps that I feel like I need to address as a reviewer. If there is one major gripe that I have with this game, it would be when you travel through the desert area. There is this one specific area where you need to travel from platform to platform without getting caught by the giant worm that travels through the sand. It’s just tedious, and took me a good two hours or so to get it right, since you can’t double jump or move any faster than a snail riding on top of a sloth. It just wasn’t fun to go through this specific section of the game. It is hard to fault this game for this one section though, since every action game has that area where it is just not fun to go through. I would complain that there is no multi-player, but I don’t think THIS game needs it. You get a lengthy adventure that takes days or even weeks to get every single little thing. Besides, there weren’t enough characters to have a multi-player component. I do like the level designs, but sometimes it isn’t clear enough where you need to go and what you need to do. I was actually stumped a few times until I looked up a walkthrough on some of the areas, but it doesn’t happen often. My final complaint comes from the tedious currency system. It always seems like the first game in an action series has that issue, God of War, Dante’s Inferno, you get the idea. This one is no different since it’s like “oh boy, I can buy this scythe!” then you can’t buy anything else.

In my opinion, Darksiders was a fun game to play through, and I would recommend checking it out. I might pick up a copy of the game when the price drops, but I think it was a fun game to play through, and it was smart for Vigil Games to start making a sequel for this game. Overall, check out Darksiders and lose yourself in a world of chaos. Make sure to send an email to moonstone140@gmail.com if you have any comments or recommendations of games to review.

This game gets an 8.9 out of 10

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Import Surprise part 3: Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa for the Famicom





I love Japan. I love their weird way of pop culture and their old traditions, which are just fun to learn about. One thing, though, that I can’t deny is that I love the video games they make. They are just fun. I mean, we’ve got Mario, Zelda, Shadow of the Colossus, and so many other great games, but weirdly enough, a good chunk of the games have not been able to come out in America. Some reasons could be that they aren’t good, they are too difficult, just something that America wouldn’t like, or they are just plain weird. I can understand that because some import games I have seen I don’t think I would like, though I would love to see the Ganbare Goemon series come on the VC or something. I think one import game I have recently enjoyed came out on the VC back in 2008. It might not be the most well-known import game on the VC, but I think it’s a fun game, and if you like the old Mario and Megaman games on the NES, then I think people would like this game. It’s called Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa. In English, it’s called Bio Miracle Hey I’m Upa. It was released on the Famicom Disc system and was also released on the Famicom. It did come out here in America, but in pirated form. Luckily. you can be cheap and get it off the VC on the Wii.

Now. it took me awhile to find the story for this game since it’s not even explained in the game. You can’t really blame it for not having a good story on the Famicom. I mean it was a Famicom game. After a bit of research, I actually found the story for the game. From what I understand, Upa is a prince of some weird magical land that is made of food. I guess people liked to eat in the kingdom…anyways. One day, he accidentally breaks open a vase that contains an evil spirit named Zai. who kidnaps the souls of the adults and babies. Why baby souls I do not know. Upa is the only survivor and is given a magical rattle to fight against the evil and save his kingdom. Now. I don’t mind the story for a retro game, but why a rattle? That’s like giving Rambo a rubber knife and a small plastic squirt gun. Oh well. I guess I need to see if I can find one of these magical rattles for my kids if I ever have any. By the way, Konami made this game. You know the company that only makes Metal Gear and Silent Hill games? Yeah, they actually made something else during their time. Okay, I’m joking, they also made stuff like the Contra, Mystical Ninja, Castlevania, Gradius, DDR, and other little games like Jackal. I just wish Konami would focus on other things besides what will make them the most money. I actually found some people who want a new Mystical Ninja game, and I am one of them! Oh well, let’s get back to the review.

The game play in Bio Miracle is an action platformer like Super Mario or Megaman. This was back in the day when platforming took pixel-perfect landing or else you would die a horrible death. Like I said, and what I will say again, if you like platforming styles like Mario and Megaman where the longer you press the jump button the higher and farther you jump, then Bio Miracle has the same mechanics. The main gimmick in my opinion is the magical rattle. If you hit an enemy with the rattle, they expand into silly looking balloons. The main gimmick that I mentioned is that you can hit an enemy and turn them into a floating platform. Sometimes, this is required, and it has helped me to get through some of the platforming segments. During boss fights where you fight pigs who have huge mouths, they will shoot out enemies that you need to turn into balloons, bump into them, and ricochet them back at the boss. You can, of course, do the same thing to hit other enemies, but I think you should just hit enemies and turn them into floating platforms. You do get power-ups, like bottles of milk that will heal your health bar, hearts that increase your health bar, and a box with your face on it where you can get up and run around like a baby on speed and be invincible.

The 8-bit graphics look nice for a 1988 game. I know a lot of people would rather play games like Gears of War 2 or Modern Warfare, but here is what I think, forget those games. Retro games can be just as fun. I think Dark Void Zero and Megaman 10 have proven that. I could possibly add the Bionic Commando Rearmed and the new Rocket Knight game, but they are 3D and not 8-bit like Dark Void Zero and Megaman 10. The music is also very fun to listen to. It’s very cheerful and fun. It does get a little annoying, but I will explain later. The difficulty is just right. It isn’t hard, but it isn’t easy. Just perfect difficulty.

I do have a few things wrong with this game, but it’s only because it’s a retro game and I am a gamer of today. The platforming can be very tricky since you basically need to jump perfectly or fail trying. While I enjoy the music, it can get repetitious. I’m not asking for a soundtrack like God of War 3 or Final Fantasy 6, where you have multiple different songs, but it would have been nice to make the soundtrack bigger.

Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa is just a fun, little 8-bit game that should be enjoyed by new and old gamers alike. Of course, you could get the Famicom Disc or cartridge of the game, but it’s very expensive, but hooray to cheapness, and get it on the Virtual Console on the Wii. I wondered why this never came to America, and someone at Nintendo said it wasn’t good enough for the American market. Well, I think it is, and I say, go check it out. Thanks for reading and email me at moonstone140@gmail.com if you have any comments or suggestions of games you would like to see me review.

This game gets an 8.9 out of 10

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Goin to retype some more reviews

I will be retyping my reviews from March 2009 to May 2009

Sorry

150th review special: Psychonauts for the PS2 and Xbox review




Just like the Tomba games, it’s a shame when a great game that was produced or designed by someone famous doesn’t do so well. Let’s take famous game designer, Tim Schafer. He is famous for his unique games like the PC cult classic, Grim Fandango and a recent favorite of mine, Brutal Legend. However, there was a game in-between these two that had a lot of great reviews and is considered one of the best games of all time. Sadly, it didn’t do so well in the sales department and caused the publisher, Majesco some financial difficulties, though it is still considered a great game and an underrated gem. The game I am talking about is Psychonauts for the PS2, Xbox, and PC. It’s been 5 years since this game came out and I remember very little advertising for it, but what I saw looked really cool. Too be honest though, the reason I am playing this game now is that well…how do I put it…I forgot it existed. It’s not that I lost interest, but with how little advertising there was for the game, I just forgot about it as bigger games were put on display. This game, along with Ico and Beyond Good and Evil, were sadly overlooked. Now, you all can hate me and send comments like “ YOU HAVENT PLAYED THIS?!” or “ Fail”, but like I said, I forgot it was around until people in my game classes talked about it and the small memory I had about the game came back, and I just had to play it. So let’s dive right in and see why many people call this one of the best games of all time.

The story takes place in a summer camp called Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp, which is actually a government-funded training facility that is disguised as a summer camp. Coach Morceau Oleander voiced by Nick Jameson is briefing the new recruits about the human mind, and their ability to become Psychonauts or they can just die. However, it results in scaring the living daylights of the recruits who end up being kids. If I were scared to death by an army general at a summer camp for kids, I would sue. While debriefing though, they hear rustling in the trees as something falls from them, scaring the kids thinking that it was a lake monster. The two other teachers of the camp, Mr. Sasha Nein, voiced by Stephen Stanton, and Mrs. Milla Vodello, voiced by Alexis Lezin, using their psychic abilities, help General Oleander to bring forth what caused the chaos. They find out that it was a young boy with a pair of red goggles. The name of the boy is Razputin or as he calls himself Raz. He ended up running away from the circus to join the camp so he can become a powerful Psychonaut. While on his stay at the camp, Raz observes that something rather odd is happening to all the students, but seeing how odd the other campers are I can’t see how much weirder it can get. He then decides to train himself and find out what is going on and save the camp from whoever is causing the ruckus. I like the setting because what’s scarier than a summer camp? A summer camp filled with campers and adults who are insanely crazy with psychic powers.

Let’s talk a little about the history of Psychonauts. Psychonauts was designed and created by Tim Schaeffer. I LOVE this guy. He is like the Gennedy Tartakovsky of video games in my opinion. The idea started as a scene from one of his games, Full Throttle, where the main character goes through a psychedelic trance brought up by a cactus known as peyote. Originally, it was only going to be released on Windows and the Xbox, but Microsoft pulled out of the deal. Later, Tim Schaeffer and his company, Double Fine teamed up with Majesco to release it on the Xbox and Windows. In 2004, it was announced it would be released on the Playstation 2 also, which is good for me, since I don’t really need to get an Xbox right now, unless they make a second Conker’s Bad Furday. It was released in 2005 in April for the Xbox and Windows and June for the PS2 version. Sadly, it didn’t do well, only selling 400,000 as of 2007. As a result, this caused Majesco some financial difficulties, but it wasn’t all Psychonauts’ fault that they had a net loss of 18 million dollars that year. Another game they published called Advent Rising was over hyped, and was then panned by critics for being bug-filled and not well made. As a game tester, that is just annoying to me. However, Psychonauts was critically acclaimed and has been nominated for a multitude of awards from best story, best original game, best writing, to game of the year. People have been interested in seeing a sequel for this game, and Tim Schaeffer has shown interest in making one.

The game play featured in Psychonauts is of a free-roaming action adventure game with plat-forming elements. The main gimmick of the game is, of course, the psychic abilities you can learn by getting merit badges. There are multiple abilities that Raz can use. They are pyrokinesis, telekinesis, invisibility, levitation, clairvoyance, psi shield, psi blast, and confusion. The whole campsite is open to exploration and there is a lot to find in the game. There are arrowheads that are the game’s currency, psi cards to form psi challenge markers, and scavenger hunt items that help you level up. The way you level up in the game is to collect a few things. One way to level up is to collect psi challenge markers, which make you go up a rank. The other way is to collect things called figments as different sizes gives you different points. If the points reach 100, you go up a rank. You usually have to go up 10 ranks to gain a new psychic ability, but sometimes, you can gain them by completing different tasks, like getting to Mrs. Vodello in her funkadelic 70’s mind or helping Mr. Nein block out all the censor enemies in his mind. However, you mostly just want to level up to gain more psychic powers. There are multiple different scenarios like where Raz is a giant monster and has to fight what seems to be a parody of Ultraman, having to help put on a play, buying paintings, and wrestling Mexican wrestlers and a huge pink bull. Don’t ask why the bull is pink, you need to find out for yourself. Overall, this game gives you a lot to do.

The graphics in the game are outstanding. It helps that the unique art and character designs are by artist, Scott Campbell, who did artwork for Brutal Legend. The whole world is just mind-bendingly twisted, but not scary twisted like Silent Hill. The whole world is like if Tim Burton founded a summer school and took some form of acidic drug or just bit into a peyote. The music is very chill and calm, kind of like if Neverhood mixed with Mushroom Men and added a bit of ambiance camp sounds. This is helped by composer, Peter McConnell. This music composer is known for other games like Brutal Legend, The Bard’s Tale, Escape from Monkey Island, Herc’s Adventure, Full Throttle, Afterlife, and a lot of Star Wars games. It really fits, and I think it works for the game. It’s like Brutal Legend having a whole list of metal songs. The humor is actually really well done. It is kind of like the humor you find in King of the Hill, very subtle, but funny. There are even some jokes that seem a little odd for kids to say. Let’s talk about the kids one more time. These kids are not normal. Not because they have psychic abilities, but just how odd they are. It is like they ate a big bowl of peyote, which is a certain kind of cactus that can cause some hallucinogenic moments if you bite into it. The voice work, while not as good as Brutal Legend, is very good. You get the talents of Richard Steven Horovitz who did the voice for Zim from the cult classic cartoon, Invader Zim and Orthopox 13 from Destroy All Humans. You also get the voices of Stephen Stanton, Alexis Lezin, Nick Jameson, David Kaye, Steve Blum, David Boat, and probably my favorite female voice actor, Tara Strong. She only plays a minor role in this game, but she is very famous for her talents on shows like Powerpuff Girls and Drawn Together. Overall though, you have a good package of talent in this game.

Sadly, there are a few things that hold this game back. I remember in my game design class, people saying that the game moved slowly. Since I hadn’t been able to play it at the time, I didn’t know what to think. After playing it though, it isn’t sluggish, but it’s slow since you have to walk to everywhere, and each level can take some time to beat. Sometimes, the game gets a little repetitious during some areas like the Mexican art-themed world where you fight four wrestlers who are basically the same besides some different masks and moves, but overall they are the same. The technical issues I mentioned were not defects, but I got a defective disc that crashed on me and I couldn’t get it to run again. I wonder why some versions of games do this and some don’t. It just boggles the mind that of the 400,000 versions of this game that were sold, I got the one that crashed and had to be returned the next day. However, that is just a small gripe.

There is no excuse to not play this game. You can get it on the ps2, Xbox, and Windows, but it’s better if you get either the PS2 version or Xbox version since you don’t have to worry about lagging. This is definitely a well-made game. This game has more heart and soul than most games. I would think it has more heart and hard work put into it than most games. Let’s all hope for a sequel. It is definitely time for one since it has been 5 years. They could do a lot with this game, and I hope Tim Schaeffer does with this great title.

This game gets a 9.6 out of 10

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo anime review




Giant Robots are awesome, aren’t they? Some of them are really creative and fun to watch fight giant monsters and what not. The best part of this is that we can thank Japan for the onslaught of awesome giant robot shows that we have seen over the past couple of decades. Sadly, we don’t seem to get a lot of the cooler Super Robot animes that are shown everywhere else in the world. Most of the time, We get stuff like Gundam, which can get a little more tedious since politics take a front seat to the action, but giant robot shows need to be more action-oriented. We do have some good ones, like The Big-O and Daiguard, but there is one that I have wanted to see for some time now, the Getter Robo series. It’s a really popular robot anime and manga series that is still around today in Japan. Today, I decided to take a look at one of the more recent anime adaptations of the series, Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo. This series, which was made in 2001 and ran for only 4 episodes, was a pretty epic show in my opinion. So, let’s get right down to it, and see what makes this series so awesome. Just a heads up though, I plan to do a review of some of the other anime adaptations later this year, and I do plan on doing a review of Shin Getter Robo: Armageddon.

The main plot takes place in an alternate universe where this anime acts as a sequel to Getter Robo. This time though, it starts with an invasion by the Dinosaur Empire. They are dinosaurs that have lived underground and evolved into humanoid form. While two of the original Getter Robo pilots try to charge up Shin Getter Robo, a stronger version of Getter Robo, the other original pilot takes the original Getter Robo, and tries to single-handedly defeat and prevent the invasion from the Dinosaur Empire in Manhattan. Sadly, they can’t get Shin Getter Robo up and running, and the third pilot of the original Getter Robo realizes he can’t hold them all off for long, and instead uses a self-destruct device using the core of the robot. In the end, the explosion kills the Dinosaur Empire and wipes out Manhattan. Years later, one of the original pilots, Hayato, is trying to find a third member for a new team to pilot Neo Getter, a newly-made robot that runs on Neo energy, due to Getter energy getting banned from the Japanese Government. However, the Dinosaur Empire somehow survived the blast from the explosion and is trying to kidnap people and turn them into its soldiers. Hayato finally finds a third pilot named Gou who must team up with the two other pilots, Shou and Gai, and save the world with Neo Getter Robo.

Shin Getter Robo Vs. Neo Getter Robo is like other Super Robot shows, in that there is an evil force trying to take over the world and the giant robot needs to stop the invasion and save the world. However, this series starts off dark, with one of the original Getter Robo characters dying. I mean, Shin Getter Robo is probably the darkest of the anime series based on of the Getter series, but this one is a little more lighthearted, but still serious. For most of the episodes, the three main pilots use Neo Getter Robo until episode 3, where Neo Getter is destroyed and they are forced to use Shin Getter Robo. Like other Getter Robos, it has three forms. The first one is basically the ground-based default robot, which is usually the titular character of the series. I mean, he IS on the title. The second one is usually the fastest of the three forms and always uses a drill attack. The final form is usually more ground-based, but depending on what series you watch, has two different styles of attacks. The Neo Getter version has a powerful wind engine-like weapon around his head, and uses it to make a strong tornado-like blast at the enemy. The other version has extendable arms, and basically has tank-wheel caterpillar legs, but uses missiles in most of its powerful attacks. There is usually a second robot on hand, like in Shin Getter Robo, and in this show also. Here we have the American robo, Texas Mach that is themed like a cowboy and uses revolvers, a lasso, rides a robotic horse, and has a huge rail gun hidden in the US and Japan, if things go bad. Let’s get down to the villains now. There is not a lot of the original Dinosaur Empire left, so it works, since this series is only 4 episodes long. They do use robots, like humans, but they usually have some form of lizard or reptile thing attached to them. The exception is the ruler of the Empire who doesn’t need his own robot since he is as big as one.

The animation looks nice. The art style of Go Nagai and Ken Ishikawa still holds up well, and I like the designs of the enemies and the robots used in the series. Sadly, Ken Ishikawa is no longer with us, dying in 2006. It’s always sad to see people who made things you watched or read in your childhood or life pass away. The music is typical Getter Robo stuff, but it helps that Ichiro Mizuki, who you all know I love, sings the opening for the anime. The anime opening is actually well done, filled with intense action music and action scenes. Don’t believe me? Then check it out for your self.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03YnHf5pGAU&feature=related

Now, it’s time to talk about the bad parts of this little series. I just don’t like the whole 4-episode thing. I think it’s too short, and it forces the creators or whoever to rush the whole story line. It seems even pointless to have Neo Getter Robo since it gets destroyed in episode 3, and then they use Shin Getter Robo to finish off the villains. We also don’t get a lot of character development. You get the basic idea of what they are all like, but still, they could have made this series at least 26 episodes. I also kind of find it weird how Americans are portrayed in the Getter Robo series. In Shin Getter Robo, they are portrayed as arrogant and brutish. In Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo, they are portrayed as cowboys and are cocky as they can be. It kind of makes you wonder how Japan actually sees us. Some of the designs of the dinosaurs are really weird, and only a few seem sloppy. That seems like a theme in some of the monsters in Go Nagai and Ken Ishikawa’s work, but they have a charm to them. They might seem weirdly simple looking, but they hold a charm.

Overall, this was a fun, but short 4-episode anime. I say, if you can find the DVD for this show, pick it up or just watch it on Youtube with English subtitles. I will always have a part of my heart dedicated to this series for the inspiration for a group of my giant robot drawings. Let’s just see where Go Nagai goes next with the Getter Robo series.

This show gets a solid 9 out of 10

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle for the Wii






The Wii. What can we say about it? It’s a great system with a great list of games. The Wii even brought us two games that were rated as two of the best games of the past decade. We’ve got a lot of games for this system, like Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, New Super Mario Brothers Wii, Madworld, Zack and Wiki, Metroid: Other M, Sin and Punishment 2, Monster Hunter 3, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, and you get the idea. It has a lot of great games, though it does has the reputation for having way too many casual-player games that are just broken and not even worth the price they sell them for. I think the cause of this is that when an M-rated game gets released, it gets overlooked since the Wii is supposed to be “family friendly”. Well, to that I say BULL! I mean, if you haven’t played Madworld, then I don’t know what you guys are looking at. This brings me up to one of the better M-rated games on the Wii, No More Heroes 2 Desperate Struggle! The sequel to one of the best games on the Wii from 2008, No More Heroes 2 still holds up the charm it has from the last game with its creative art style, interesting bosses and characters, and very very lewd, but funny humor. So, what makes this one of the best games from January? Let’s find out!

The main story of this sequel is well…weird to say the least. The large Pizza Hut parody company, Pizza Bat, decides to be jerks that they are, and do what they do on their days off, go kill people. They decide to take out their lust for death on Travis’s best friend, Bishop, who ran the video store from the last game. As for Travis Touchdown, he has been out of the whole assassin’s game for 3 years, and has moved down to the rank of number 51. After killing some emo Cloud Strife wannabe (who, weirdly enough, is the brother of the guy he killed in the first game to be rank 11), he then finds out that his friend Bishop was killed. The disturbing way he finds out is that the thugs who killed Bishop, chopped off his head, put it in a bag, and threw it into Travis’ apartment. Now, Travis is out for revenge and has to fight through the 50 other ranked killers to get to number 1. I wouldn’t really hold No More Heroes up for a groundbreaking story, and this one isn’t, but it doesn’t matter. Just give any guy a beam saber and he will do anything,

The game play featured in No More Heroes 2 is more of the same stuff you do in the past game. You basically hack and slash your way through goons who don’t get paid enough to get sliced in half, fight the next ranked assassin, and more or less do it again after that fight. This time however, the empty overworld is replaced with a map which allows you to teleport to different places on the map. Now, I don’t mind this since I did get lost in the first game, and frankly, I honestly didn’t know what to do for the first part of the first game. Now that I think back, I actually liked the open world concept, since it was fun to walk around and find random stuff to collect. However, it does make getting from place to place easier when you can just choose where you need to go, kind of like how you can teleport to different places in Twilight Princess. I think the collecting has been simplified in the second game. You basically collect extra stuff for the cloth shop, Area 51. You do get different beam sabers though from the foxy scientist Doctor Naomi. This time she will sell you two different beam sabers that you had to buy upgrades for in the last game. You, of course, get your main beam saber that is the default saber. You then can buy a shorter beam saber that I think does quicker attacks, and is probably is the beam saber I used most besides the last one you can get, but I will get to that in a second. The third one, which is crazily expensive, is a two-handed large beam saber, which does great amounts of damage, but is really slow and is probably best used on groups of enemies rather than some of the quicker boss enemies. The final weapon you get turns into two beam sabers that are probably the strongest and fastest of the weapons Travis has, but the battery runs out more quickly, from what I have seen. It is the weapon I used the most after I got it. In this game though, you don’t just play as Travis. This time, you get to play as past 7th ranked assassin, Shinobu, for two boss fights, and you get to play as Travis’s Brother Henry for one boss fight. I don’t mind that you can play as them, but I will show my complaints in the later part of this review. Like in the last game, you can do side jobs to earn some cash. The side jobs this time differ from the ones in the last game. The easiest one you can do is collect coconuts in an 8-bit style mini-game. A lot of the side jobs are designed like old Nintendo Entertainment System games. The second one is a steak-cooking mini-game, where you need to cook steaks a specific way for the customers to fill a bar to get to the next level. The third mini-game is like old retro games like Rad Racer or Mach Rider. You basically get to the finish line before the timer runs out, and you gain boosts by hitting nitro cans on the road. Another one is basically set up in the style of Gauntlet, but the gameplay isn’t the same. You go through 4 rooms, exterminating bugs and sucking them up like the Ghostbusters. There are others games like picking up trash from space, going through a non 8-bit mini game picking up scorpions, and filling a square up with Tetris blocks. There is a lot more variety in mini-games, and the coconut game is a lot easier than the one in the first game. In fact, I think some of these games could pass as downloadable DSI games. There are also revenge missions, 10 in total, where you cut down mindless grunts, and gain a small amount of cash. Only twice in the game do you ever ride your motorcycle, and it is for two different boss fights. The only other thing I need to say is that there is one boss fight that takes place in a giant robot to fight another assassin who can form a giant robot. It’s pretty cool, but sadly it only happens once. The slot machine gimmick is back from the first game, and it goes off each time you kill people. Sometimes, the result is nothing, but if it does hit three of a certain symbol, it can either make a huge slash, destroying everything, making Travis faster, to even make Travis turn into a tiger, and maul fleeing enemies. It’s like a bloody version of Pacman.

The graphics still are as charming as the last game. It has a punk anime-style look that is still fun to look at, but sometimes it looks blocky. It passes with the unique characters, that play very little parts in the story, but are still fun to like as characters. Some of my favorite boss fights are with Dr. Letz Shake, the second part of the Ryuji fight, and against the mighty astronaut, Captain Vladimir. Sometimes, the boss fights can be a little sad, like the Ryuji and Captain Vladimir fight. The soundtrack is just as awesome, and still has the amazing battle music that will never leave your head. The 8-bit songs are also fun to listen to, and, dare I say, better than some of the Megaman songs that I have heard. The voice acting is also very well done with some pretty talented people like Travis, who is voiced by Robin Atkins Downes, who did the voices for the Prophet of Regret from the Halo series, Lorenzo from Haunting Grounds, Luxord from the Kingdom Hearts series, and the Prince of Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within, just to name a few. We also have Paula Tiso who did Lulu from Final Fantasy 10, Odette from Odin Sphere, and Ohka from .Hack///Legend of Twilight. The other talented people we have are Quinton Flynn as Henry, Yuri Lowenthal, Khary Payton, Jennifer Hale, Fred Tatasciore, Josh Keaton, Tara Strong, and Paul Eiding. It’s definitely a great cast of voicework to have in a game like No More Heroes 2. The humor is actually pretty funny, but raunchy at times. Let’s just say that in the first game, the perverse part of the human mind was explored. In the second game however, it was stroked and massaged till ready to burst, no pun or sexual joke intended. There are some things that you will ONLY hear from a game like this. I think two of my favorite segments of lines are when you fight the football player boss, and when you fight Dr. Letz Shake. It’s just funny, and I bet everyone will find a part in the dialogue enjoyable.

Sadly, this so-called “No More Hero” has a lot of holes, which are just annoying, and just weren’t implemented right. Why the heck do the football player and his cheerleader groupies take 25 of the ranks in the game? I mean, the cheerleaders alone are not a threat! It’s only when they combine into the giant robot that they are a threat. It’s just stupid, and mostly used it to fill space. They should have just had all 25 characters in one rank so it wouldn’t waste space. The first part of the Ryuji fight is just a pain in my back to get through. It’s so hard to control your motorcycle and it’s like one of the only two times you actually use it! It’s annoying since it’s so hard to steer and control the motorcycle, and I usually ended up falling off the side because of it. The platforming sections of Shinobu’s stage are just an annoyance to get through, as well. With the camera so close to you, it’s hard to through the jumping to see where you need to jump. I can’t count how many times it took me to just get to New Destroyman because I, accidentally, flew off the roof or jumped incorrectly to a platform because of Shinobu’s awkward movements. Why do you only control Henry once? I mean, you get to at least play as Shinobu twice, but Henry’s boss fight isn’t even a ranked fight, and then he goes off-screen to kill 3 unknown assassins. Why couldn’t they have just put those assassins in?! I mean, yeah, it would have pushed the Wii’s power to its limit, but come on!

Overall, this is a case of which one you would like better? No More Heroes was a sign of quantity over quality. The case with No More Heroes 2 is quality over quantity. I say pick up both games though. They are both really solid and are extremely fun to play, even with minor flaws. I am curious to see the revamped version of the first game for the PS3 and 360 and see how it plays. I will be reviewing it when I can get my hands on it, but I wonder what No More Heroes 3 will be like on the next Nintendo console. All and all, Goichi Suda, the creator of these two games and Killer 7, did a really good job and I would like to meet him someday and talk with him.

This game gets a 9.1 out of 10

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Import Surprise part 2: DoReMi Fantasy: Milon's Doki Doki Adventure for the Super Famicom





It’s a shame that a lot of franchises are popular in Japan, but not popular here in America. A very good example is one of my favorite franchises, the Mystical Ninja series, or how it is known in Japan, the Ganbare Goemon series. Another series that a lot of people seem to like is the series of games a character known as Milon is from. I mean a lot of people do hate the first game, but there happens to be a few games in the series that are from Japan that are liked here in America by import collectors. This little sequel title is called DoReMi Fantasy: Milon’s Doki Doki Adventure, or as it is translated in America, DoReMi Fantasy: Milon’s Heart Pounding Great Adventure for the Super Famicom. Of course, if people don’t know for some reason, the Super Famicom is the Japanese name of the Super Nintendo.

The main story of this game is rather cute, but it fits the whole feel of the game. Milon is running through the forest with his brother as they go meet his friend, a fairy named Alis. Suddenly out of nowhere, an evil wizard named Amon captures her, and takes the music of the world away also. It is up to Milon to find the fairy and save the land! Yeah, it’s a light story and if you’re not Japanese, you won’t get the text in the game, but it’s very simple and easy to pick up and play the game.

The game play featured in DoReMi Fantasy is a 2D side-scrolling plat forming game, where you play as Milon as you go through 7 worlds with sublevels within those worlds, kind of like Super Mario World, Wario World, and Kirby’s Dreamland 3. Your main form of attack is shooting bubbles at enemies, trapping them inside the bubble. Sadly, that won’t kill them. Instead, you have to trap them inside the bubble, and then push the bubble making them go flying. A cool thing is that if you push an enemy that is inside a bubble and they hit another enemy, they get launched inside a bubble also. There are several power-ups that you can get during the game. You can get stuff like bubble gum, which will let you float out of a pit if you ever fall into one, wing shoes that allow you to float downwards slower, and power-ups for your bubbles. The main gimmick in the game is exploration, since there are power-ups and bonus levels within each level, and since you don’t have a timer to go by, you can get to them if you just explore around a bit. Another gimmick after world 1 is that you need to find stars with a musical note inside them. You need to do this to get to the bosses, and they are mostly hidden easily in the levels, but it gets trickier when you go through the later levels.

The graphics in the game are top-notch for a game that came out in 1994. The colors are bright and beautiful, and the areas and enemies are well detailed and designed. The thing with music back then is that it would loop over and over again and would basically want to make you smash your brain in. However, they fix this in DoReMi Fantasy by making music subtler, and sometimes just using environmental sounds like the wind blowing in the forest levels or sparkling noise in the church levels. All I have to say is that it is one of the best soundtracks on the SNES or Famicom. The challenge is well-rounded with it steadily getting more difficult as you progress through the game, but most new gamers or old gamers shouldn’t be having trouble playing through this game. I also like the little cut scene in the beginning, and another one where you talk to the musicians. They are very well animated, and are fun to watch. I like the cover art for the game, too. It gives it a cartoon/anime feel and I like it.

Sadly, though, this game does have a few things that are annoying. During the swimming areas when you want to use a powered-up version of your bubble and you shoot bubbles everywhere, you float, which ends up with you taking damage. I find that annoying since I should be on the ground when I do this. Another thing that annoys me is that health system. I don’t mind it as much as most health bars in games, but it takes the Super Mario route, and you have to upgrade with different colored outfits. What is wrong with a health bar and the enemies taking one bar off? I also do not and I mean DO NOT like the blue birds in the fourth world. In some areas of the level, you can’t see them coming, and it ends up with you getting hit.

Overall, DoReMi Fantasy: Milon’s Doki Doki Adventure is a very fun platformer that should have come out in the states. If you are a collector of import games, I see no better game that would fit you collection. It will cost you some coin, but you can get it off the Wii’s Virtual Console, where it is a little cheaper. I don’t know of anything else to say except to go check this game out!

This game gets a 9.6 out of 10.