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Flashpenny Invites His Fellow g1s to Help Him Review the Games That He's Played So Far This Year

9/27/12 4:52pm

Partly because I'm bored, partly because I'm unoriginal, partly because I'm lazy and partly because this is probably one of the few surefire ways I can get views on my blogs, I've decided to invite several g1s to join me in a collage of co-reviews of the games that I've played so far in the year 2012. Basically, here, I'm just going to invite a multitude various g1s (with a different one helping me review each game) who are all going to review these games with me (which will be ordered in the order of how I beat them BTW).

So, with all that said and done, we have my first guest who made his journey all the way from the Gerudo Desert to help me with this review, darkhyrulelord.

 MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!! Indeed I have, for a glorious conquest/review for a flash game that is worthy of my presence.

Indeed, today we are reviewing the flash game that, to me anyway, is really a mark of just how good a flash game can get. We are, of course, talking about Abobo's Big Adventure!

 

Quick Man~Mega Man 2

This game is definitely a must-play for those that enjoy those 8 bit games. ....Plus it stands out among the flash game crowd.

The best way to describe this game is pretty much a spoof of the entire Nintendo console. You basically play as Abobo, the first-level boss from the Double Dragon games, and his son has been kidnapped from him. So Abobo journeys through the World of Nintendo to rescue Aboboy.

It's a pretty good plot that allows for a lot of good jokes. I also always found it amusing how they managed to tie all the different games from the NES together. For example, the first level is reminiscent of the opening stage of Double Dragon. After beating it, Abobo flushes himself down a toilet and emerges in the ocean which is a stage similar to the water levels from the original Super Mario Bros.

There are other levels that are similar to other classic NES games, although I do wish that they could have sneaked in Castlevania in.... Each level also has it's different playstyle as well. Although the most interesting part is that all of the enemies from this game are taken from multiple random NES games. You might be fighting Jason Vorhees one moment and then some guys from Pro Wrestling...it's absolute insanity!

Yeah, that's probably the thing we should mention about Abobo's Big Adventure first: it has a very sick, twisted and perverted sense of humor. And I freaking love it.

This is one of the funniest games I've played in a long time as they take the happy, upbeat world of the NES and turn it into a hedonistic orgy of violence and debauchery. Scenes like the bit where Abobo intrudes upon a "private party" (really a BDSM dungeon) just kills me with laughter.

This game really doesn't have much boundaries. In fact, there are some secret places and plenty of easter eggs to discover in the game. It would certainly help to actually play the games that the levels are based off of so that not only will you have an idea of what to do, but that you can test to see if the secrets or glitches that were found in those games will be purposely placed into this one. You might be surprised if you test the boundaries of this game. This game is certainly very unpredictable.

This one picture sums up the game so much more perfectly than words ever could.

And then there's bits like them constantly surprising you with the bosses and mini-bosses. As darkhyrulelord noted, they often take characters from other games and put them into the one you're playing. For example, in the Double Dragon level, one of the mini-bosses is actually Donkey Kong and in the Super Mario Bros. level you duke it out with Bubble Man.

Sometimes, they play with your expectations so much that it winds up hilarious. Seriously, you will not guess who the boss of the Contra level is. No, really, I want you to guess, you'll never figure it out.

Yeah....you'll never figure it out in your wildest dreams. Arguably I'd say that that's the best one.

I do wish that there could have been a few remixes to the tunes or something, but I guess they wanted to make you feel that you were in the game or something.

Eh, I never had a problem with that. It's always nice being serenaded by the old school theme songs, especially when you get to the Mega Man level.

Honestly, the only problem I did have is with the controls. Don't get me wrong, they're generally pretty good. However, the problem comes in that the buttons you use for the game are the A and S keys on your keyboard with the S button being used for the B and the A being used for the A. This is problematic because on the original Nintendo controller the B is the on the left while the A is on the right while on your average keyboard, it's reversed.

While it didn't cause too much of a problem, it got annoying at certain parts and caused a few deaths that could have otherwise been avoided.

It might have indeed been better if the Up, Down, Left, and Right controls were swapped with ASWD and the A and B buttons were for something else (or maybe not, now that I try it out) but it would be better if you found some way to play with a controller of some sort.

Speaking of difficulty, you WILL probably die more than a few times in this game. It's not the most difficult flash game out there for sure, but there are lots of places that call for instant-death if something touches you....which is something I actually somewhat miss in games these days, but oh well.

I'm not too involved with the majority of flash games but compared to some of the NES games that Abobo's Big Adventure was based off of (e.g. Contra, Mega Man 2), it's not too difficult.

Don't let this fool you, though, as it can still get really pretty damn hard at a lot of points. I can't really remember any incredibly hard points off-hand but it will certainly require some skill at a lot of point.

My only other issue that I kinda wish that they cut out the Urban Champs and Balloon Fight levels for Castlevania (as darkhyrulelord said) and something else (maybe Gradius). I dunno, maybe it's because I didn't grow up with either of them but I really did not like these two levels.

Funny, I never played Urban Champs or Balloon Fight before either.

I should also mention that there are some extras in this game as well. For instance, this game has achievements (which I used as a point system in last time's TMoFG, I might add). There's also a few minigames you can unlock (although, admittedly, they aren't nearly as great compared to the game). Still, having extras is the little stuff that counts.

That it does, that it does. The last thing we should mention are the boss fights (although we did briefly touch on them before). While not universally good across the board (like I said before, the Urban Champ boss is really sub-par), Abobo's Big Adventure consistently delivers some really awesome boss battles. Unfortunately, I can't really go down the list of the great ones since what makes a lot of them so great are the unexpected nature of who the bosses are, with the final boss in particular being a huge lol-worthy moment as to who the main villain of the game is.

The final boss did surprise me....then again the whole game did so...

Well....I don't know what else to comment on about this game other than that it's definitely worth a look and that it can be found on newgrounds.com anything you have to add?

Well, like I said, it's a freaking hilarious game that, honestly, if you grew up with the NES, you have to play it.

Unlike the other games in this blog, however, you have no excuse to not play this game, dear reader, as it is completely free and easy-to-find. Vamoose!

Thank you for being with us darkhyrulelord.

Your welcome. *warlock punches for no reason*

Man, that warlock punch hurt. Anyway, for our next review, it's a cult classic. And by cult classic, I mean overrated piece of crap. Since I genuinely hate this game (even though it does have some redeeming qualities, more on that later), I hired the most mild-mannered person I could think of to help me review it.

Hey, Elmo 3000, I need someone to do a co-review with me. Since you've played it would you be inclined to do so?

I should warn you as a pre-emptive heads-up, I actually don't like this game.

Then I'm all the more inclined to join you in the review, since I liked it! Should be interesting.

We're reviewing Beyond Good & Evil everyone.

 

Race Song 2~Beyond Good & Evil

I can best describe Beyond Good and Evil as a very hard game to define. It's one of few games out there which could fit a number of genres - there's action, adventure, stealth, racing, and platforming thrown in for good measure. It's not on my list of Top 10 GameCube games, but it's still a wholesome game with a lot to offer, and I can understand why it's regarded by many as a cult classic.

Personally, Beyond Good and Evil is part of a small group of games like Donkey Kong 64 and Resident Evil that I started, got far in, and just stopped playing. However, unlike those games, and like Chrono Trigger and Golden Sun, I remembered enjoying it a lot, went back to it later, restarted it and completed it in full. It's definitely one of the best games in its genre, I'm just not entirely sure what that genre is.

I would qualify it as a sort of stealth/puzzle game. Some qualify it as action-adventure game but, honestly, there's not a whole lot of action or adventure in it.

I probably should mention that I played this game after it was hyped up to me to no end. Suffice to say, I'm going to come straight out and say that I hate this game and find it incredibly overrated. This is part of why I recruited Elmo to help me review it to see if he can make me "see the light."

Honestly, let's start with the most baffling part of the game for me: the story. For some strange reason everyone praises this game as having a top-notch story but I honestly fail to see what makes it so great. It's not bad but it's pretty damn straightforward: there aren't any unexpected twists or anything like that (except for one really big one at the end of the game and, even then, it's not like it's a life changing alteration).

Ah, hype can be the best friend and worst enemy of games. I had definitely heard positive things about Beyond Good and Evil, but it was nothing more than the odd compliment.

It's hard to talk too much about the plot, but I think the set-up was pretty good. It takes place in the year 2435, and you play as Jade, a green-haired and green-lipped photojournalist who also runs an orphanage for little kids who have been made orphans by terrorist attacks by 'the DomZ'. She's helped by her chubby pig friend Pey'j, and gets caught up in a world of conspiracies and resistance when she finds out that the local protection force, the Alpha Sections, aren't doing much to protect the community.

The story of the game is... well, you've either played it and you understood everything I just wrote as a brief synopsis and introduction of the game, or you haven't played it and you probably think I'm on some quite powerful drugs. I don't think that the plot is exceptional - like you said, it doesn't do anything that unexpected, but at no point does the story fall beneath 'satisfactory' for me. The characters, or at least the main ones, are interesting and likeable enough without being too cliched, and it's not un-entertaining to see how things play out.

I dunno, I heard a lot of "the story and characters are great" and I don't really remember the story too much and the characters, while likable, are kind of generic. I keep hearing about what a great character Jade was and, honestly, she seemed like your everyday hero to me. I mean, yeah, it's nice to see a female main character who can be strong and independent without being sexualized but, I'm sorry, she's not incredibly interesting.

The only two characters I'll admit I actually did really like were the DomZ Priest, who was actually a pretty cool villain despite appearing only once in the whole game, and HH. HH is pretty much like a dog, he's so simple-minded but so loyal that it's hard not to really like the guy.

HH reminds me of Detective Gumshoe for some reason, and Detective Gumshoe is one of my favourite characters in the Ace Attorney series, so I can see why you'd like him. Simple-minded but loyal is a good way to describe him.

I honestly didn't find Jade too interesting either, but after 20 years of games being made, I can't really call that a fault. She's no paragon of uniqueness, but she's not unoriginal enough for me to find anything negative about her character. I wouldn't demand that everyone find the story great, but I definitely found it... good. More than satisfactory. As stories go, it was above average, although I definitely have the feeling that this may have to do with me going into the game without nearly as much hype as you did.

Meh, I'll just chock it up as average personally but, hey, to each its own. I think part of my fault with it also lies with the ending. It's not bad, it's just weird (also admittedly kind of unsatisfying).

Other gripe with the story that I forgot to mention: the game doesn't have any sort of the moral ambiguity implied by the title. You'd think there'd be a lot more depth to it based on the title alone but for a game called Beyond Good & Evil, it seems like a pretty straightforward battle between good and evil.

But, hey, story ain't everything so let's look at the gameplay. While I think this game might have been mis-advertised as being more action-packed than it actually is, it really is more of a stealth game. Nothing really wrong with that so long as it's done well.

That's true - I haven't played Sly Cooper yet, but I imagine it might be kind of like that. Some platforming with some stealth and some brief action scenes. I will say that due to the weirdness of the plot, then... well, when I was playing Splinter Cell, sometimes, you're crouching barely a metre behind the big bad guy you're following, nobody knows you're there, it gets so tense that you're actually holding your breath in anticipation, completely immersed in the game. I don't honestly remember ever doing that in Beyond Good and Evil.

But that's not to say it's not satisfying to play, and the kind of goofy scenario is what makes it hard to take seriously, and that scenario brings many more positive things to the game than negative. Oh, right, the gameplay. Well, to be blunt, it doesn't add anything new, but it does combine a large number of gameplay elements from other games. There are optional races for your hovercraft, and you use racing in a number of sidequests. You're tasked with taking photos of any life-forms you come across, and there's the aforementioned stealth and platforming. I don't think that the game uses any of these gameplay elements well enough for them to have each stood alone in a separate game, but combined, they make it feel like a complete experience. It's one of those games which does have flaws, but I honestly can't think of anything they could've added to make it better.

Honestly, the part that made me hate the game (a lot) were the stealth parts. Just for the record, the game has only about four actual levels which doesn't make it particularly long. I did enjoy the first and last level but the middle two were where I quickly lost patience.

Now, I can handle stealth parts in games but this was not done well. Why? Well, let's just compare and contrast with the stealth areas in, say, Ocarina of Time. In OoT (and just about every stealth game/stealth part of other games) that I've played, you're ideally supposed to avoid the guards. Same rules apply here. The problem is that in Ocarina of Time, if you want to get rid of a guard, you just have to shoot them with your bow and arrow and that's it.

The problem here is that if you want to get rid of the Alpha Sections guards, the only way to do so is to hit the oxygen tank on their backs and then run up to them and kick it (just for the record, there really isn't a whole lot of satisfaction to killing them either; they just fly away nonsensically). For starters, these guys are unbelievably overpowered compared to you, including one attack that's essentially a one-hit KO. Not only that but the area you have to hit with your laser disc is actually pretty damn tiny and easy to miss. And on top of that, they rarely come alone so as soon as you hit one guy, his buddies come in and repair his breathing apparatus and start becoming aware of your presence.

Seriously, these parts of the game are so frustrating that it's unbelievable. Considering how I played this game while in the midst of my junior year of high school, it's suffice to say that I really didn't need it but honestly, it blows my mind because there's so many things they could've done differently. For example: WHY CAN'T THEY DIE IN ONE HIT?! Or, barring that, why can't I just use the laser disc to hit their oxygen tank again?! Seriously, as soon as you walk up to try to kill one guy, another guy comes up to kick your ass. And, believe me, it's not fun having to constantly kill one guy, avoid his buddies by running 5 miles away and then repeating the process all over again.

I agree with you to an extent - there are areas where you're definitely supposed to kill the guards, or at least, it's easier too, but it's more difficult than it should be. I too was hoping that the guards could be killed with two hits to the oxygen tank with the gyro-disk-thingy, but I don't think it's terrible that they needed at least one kick to finish them off. I also ended up using the technique of 'kill one guy, run away, come back, kill another guy, run away, repeat until area is clear' a lot of the time, but I can't recall any areas of the game that honestly gave me trouble. If there was a problem with the controls, or there weren't many places to hide, then I would've gotten more frustrated than I did.

A lot of things they could've done different wouldn't have worked - for example, if they died in one hit, they'd be really, really bad guards, and much too easy. I also learned where you tend to restart from if you die, so if another guard was coming, I'd usually still find time to kick the guard I was attacking a second time to finish him off. Getting spotted in the game wasn't that bad, the guards have the memory span of a carpet, and I can remember a few areas where it's much, much easier to just sneak past and leave them alive.

Regarding the levels, I think four levels suits the game pretty well, although five wouldn't have hurt anyone. The overworld may well count as another level as there's a fairly large number of sidequests and optional areas to find. The third level is the weakest, because it drags on a bit and there's not a whole lot new, but it's still not bad, and if I had to pick a level in a four-level game to be not-so-hot, I'd rather it was third more than first, second or fourth. Also, I believe the third level doesn't have much stealth. For that matter, I can only recall it being present in the second level, and a bunch of optional levels after that to earn pearls.

I actually really do despise the third level. But, honestly, it's just how overpowered the guards are that pisses me off and a lot of these areas felt like cheap insta-kill zones. I remember there being one instance in the third level where there were literally five guards you had to kill (like, there was no way to sneak around them, you had to kill them). And the whole hit-and-run strategy really ends up making it feel like a chore for me.

Also, I've complained about this before for some games but I've always said that making ambient settings for levels with really hard puzzles just make it that much more frustrating. This game really suffers from that as I actually went online to look up how to do a few things that either were way too difficult or too tedious for me to bother (I also tend to make it a personal rule to look stuff up on line just for the record). There's especially one really big puzzle in the third level where, upon finding out what you had to do, I literally actually shouted, "HOW THE HELL ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO FIGURE THAT OUT ON YOUR OWN?!"

I do like the overworld and the first and last level but the middle two levels are really what killed the game for me, big-time (it's a shame, because one sub-level in the overworld actually was also a stealth stage that was done amazingly well, making me wonder where they went wrong with the rest of it).

Again, I can see your point, but I see the power levels differently. Calling the guards overpowered to me is like calling a bottomless pit overpowered. They are definitely powerful, but if they die in 2 hits, and the first hit can come from a distance, they're not difficult unless in groups, which happens rarely enough for it not to be annoying.

I think I know which sub-level you're talking about, and if it's (I think) the last optional sub-level in the game, then that was my favourite part as well. The stealth wasn't easy, but it was straightforward and you could see what you needed to do at a glance. I liked the game, but if the whole thing had been like that, I may have liked it more.

I'm not sure which puzzle you're talking about, since the puzzles are honestly some of the least memorable parts of the game, but I'm intrigued. I can remember a few which revolved around switches and shooting them with the gyro-disk-thingy (I really need to look up what they were called) but the only others I can remember were quite simple. That being said, I also remember consulting a walkthrough at one point, although that was mainly because I wanted photos of all the creatures, a goal I missed by 1 anyway. Which puzzle was it that gave you trouble?

There were some more annoying than others but the one that just caused me to lose my temper is in the Slaughterhouses level (which we already established sucks as a whole) where you have to raise a gate and hop on the gate so it'll take you to a higher platform.

Seriously, who's supposed to figure that out?!

Also, yes, the Alpha Sections HQ was the sub-level I'm talking about.

I cannot remember if I figured that out or not. I think I did, but only because a fairly similar puzzle is used to get the golden statue in the first level of Tomb Raider: Legend.

I know that this is a trivial thing to complain about, but the Slaughterhouses level was graphically quite... accurate, which made it dull. I think it was the biggest level in the game, but it all looked very similar, and the colour scheme was very dull and dreary. Repetitive grey and dark brown colours aren't just limited to FPS games, methinks. The second level was a bit dull too, but it was set in a factory and it was your first proper plot-related mission, so it worked well to give it a sinister and foreboding ambience. I think the Slaughterhouses are universally considered the games weakest part.

But the Alpha Sections HQ alone shows how great Beyond Good and Evil can be at its best. Stealth, action, and an exciting chase-scene... for me, the game's biggest strength and weakness is that some of the best parts are optional. The fast-paced racing in the Looter's Caverns, the odd air-hockey-like minigame at Akuda Bar, and the Alpha Sections HQ, all of these were some of the best bits of the game, but given their optional-ness, it was possible for people to miss out on them.

I probably should mention that I did enjoy the side stuff in the game. The mini-games in the bar and the races were all a blast to play and I loved it. It's just, again, the main bit that I really hate.

Just talking about something else, another thing that sort of isn't very good about this game are the bosses although I don't mind it too much. As mentioned before, BG&E is primarily a stealth-based game so the combat is pretty simple really. Consequentially, the bosses are also really straightforward and pretty damn easy, almost to a fault really.

However, I don't mind this too much because however weak the actual bosses are (which, in all honesty, none of them are bad, they're just all pathetically easy), the final boss makes up for them in spades. Honestly, the final battle against the DomZ Priest is almost worth all the rest of the pain the game put me through to get there. It's just an epic final boss battle that's incredibly challenging.

I can't remember many of the bosses, which probably says something about the boss fights. I remember the first, second, and last. Was there actually one in the Slaughterhouses level at all?

I liked the bosses quite a bit, but they had flaws. For one thing, the first boss is a creature, meaning you should take a picture of it, which is difficult since it's attacking you. The second boss is not a creature, but it is a moving thing, so I thought it was and wasted a good deal of time trying to get a shot before realising that it wasn't necessary. I did like the final boss battle overall, but I still have a complaint about it - near the end of the fight, you have to memorize which side the boss is going to attack you from. It's surprisingly non-annoying, considering how bad that sounds.

My problem is that one of the directions you can be attacked in is... from above. Now, you can still attack above you, but only with a charged attack. The time it takes for the boss to attack you after appearing is about 2 seconds. The time it takes for you to charge an attack is about 2 seconds. Can you guess the problem I was having?

Nevertheless, you are right, it was an amazing final boss fight. Even though the game was short, the entire final area was pretty dramatic and made you feel like you'd come a long way from hitting a couple of aliens with a stick.

While the Slaughterhouses proper didn't have an end-of-stage boss, you do fight one of those giant caterpillar things as soon as you exit the area so I sort of count that as the level's boss fight.

Admittedly, the whole "attacking from the air" thing I didn't mind too much since I just thought you had to dodge out of the way, I didn't know you could actually attack it from the air (Hell, I didn't even know you had a charge attack, that's news to me). This actually makes the boss battle incredibly difficult in the latter half of the fight when he actually inverts your controls.

Oh yeah, that's one of those things that only a final boss fight can get away with, because you're so close to the end. Still, regardless of the challenge, I did enjoy the final battle, even if the plot kind of twisted a bit too much near the end. Having heard that there's a sequel coming, I have to admit that I'm very curious about what the plot is going to be. I mean, Beyond Good and Evil doesn't have the greatest ending ever seen in a video game, but it's pretty conclusive and definitely wraps up the loose ends.

As someone who didn't like the game as much, if you could give advice to Ubisoft for the sequel, what would you ask them to do?

Make the stealth more like the Alpha Sections HQ sub-level because, again, the rest of the stealth I absolutely despised. Which is a shame too because while this one thing killed the game for me, a lot of the other stuff such as the final boss, the overworld, the sub-levels, the mini-games and the soundtrack actually were really enjoyable.

In fact, we still haven't talked about the music yet. It's really zany and unique while still fitting the dark atmosphere the game tries to go for. I really liked a lot of the songs in this game, particularly that weird music that plays during the races (which you're listening to right now).

Oh yeah, the music for this game was definitely one of its strong points. The most memorable trio in the game would be the music in the bar, which is some bizarre hip-hop thing from which I can only make the word 'propaganda', but even though it's not on my iPod (mainly because I don't have an iPod) then it's still very fitting, especially considering that early in the game you find out that there's a secret base in the bar. Basically, it's like the songs in Knuckles stages of Sonic Adventure 2, except not hilarious terrible.

There's also the music that plays during battles in the first area of the game, some underground caverns. It's one of the... most quirky tunes I've ever heard (and I've played Earthbound and Killer 7) but it's also very suitable, considering it gets the blood pumping, but not in a 'AH ENEMIES EVERYWHERE PANIC PANIC!' way, just a goofy 'You better start whacking those things, Jade!' way.

And of course the music from the final boss fight. Not much needs to be said, just that in the world of gaming, where final boss tunes are already some of the highest-quality compositions out there, Beyond Good and Evil's final boss music is memorable. It's definitely not the top of anyone's list, but it gets credit for growing more dramatic as the battle goes on, and dropping the previously-silly nature of the game's music in order to build a dramatic climax.

That does seem to cover a lot of bases so I guess we should move onto closing thoughts then.

And yes, I still don't like this game. I mean, yeah, it has a lot of good things like some sweet tunes, an awesome final boss battle and some really fun mini-games. But you want to know something? There are other, better games that also have all of those things and don't have two horrible levels. I'm sorry but the middle two levels still kill the game for me. Not only was I not having fun but I was actually getting stressed which is NOT a good thing for a game to do.

I do still like most of the rest of the package but it's just too annoying for me to really recommend it.

I think I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum, given that I do like the game a lot, but I also ackowledge it as flawed. Some parts are definitely slower than others, but at the same time, at its very worst, I think the game falls no lower than 'occasionally boring and repetitive', and that doesn't sound great, but that's the game at its very worst. Some of my favourite games are, at their very worst, bad. I don't think Beyond Good and Evil is ever bad.

I'd give this game a 7/10. Not perfect, or even exceptional, but very fun. With the stealth levels, charming characters, funky music, numerous and fun-tastic sidequests, and original plot, the game is flawed, but it's just too good for me to not recommend it.

Eh, to each its own I guess. Again, I do like most of it but the stuff I don't like I just downright despise so whatever. The beginning, ending and side-stuff is good, the middle of the game can go to Hell for all I care. From our two opinions, I guess you, dear reader, can decide whether or not it's worth checking out.

Thank you for being with us, Elmo.

Thanks for inviting me, Flashpenny. And as always...

Thanks for reading!

That's Elmo, our favorite British g1, everyone. Hahaha, now for our next review, let's introduce our second-favorite British g1.

Yo, itsa me, The Stickman, blog maker, heart breaker, life taker and all around sexy Lizard Gimp here to review the highly controversial Metroid : Other M...

Sector 1~Metroid: Other M

...again, but that was a long time ago so it's okay.

Also, said review got erased when the new site was launched so it's cool. And yes, Stickman is here helping moi review the notoriously controversial Other M. I would like to go on record saying that this was the first Metroid game I ever actually played (sort of, I played the original Metroid on the NES for about 5 minutes when I was little so I dunno if you'd count that). Sticky here, on the other hand, is a veteran of the series so I figured that these two separate perspectives should allow you to decide whether or not it's worth checking out.

With that said, shall we tackle the notoriously and legendarily shitty story now or later Stickman?

Oh boy...well...we might as well get it out of the way, hmm?

As some of you may know, Other M originated as a Metroid movie that got stuck in development Hell so they decided to incorporate the storyline into a new game. Needless to say, you're going to be glad that the movie never saw the light of day.

The premise is decent. Samus Aran, professional bounty hunter and part-time badass, comes to a deserted outpost in outer space known as the Bottle Ship after blowing up the Metroid planet at the end of Super Metroid. Here she finds her former superior officer from the Galactic Federation, General Adam Malkovich (who unfortunately is not related to John Malkovich), who is investigating the fact that the whole ship went to Hell when the various creatures on board got out-of-control.

Decent premise but they somehow managed to gather the most whiny, pretentious, annoying, cliched cast of characters ever. Well, I probably should clarify. Ridley is awesome, even if he's not in the game that long (spoilers be damned, if the story ain't good, it's not a bad thing I'm spoiling it) . Adam is pretty cool, always keeping calm and in control while leaving you guessing whether he's a good guy or a bad guy. The Deleter is decent I guess.

Aside from that, GAH! The main villain has one of the most pretentiously stupid backstories I've ever heard for a villain (not to mention a complete lack of menace whatsoever). Anthony Briggs is the most stereotypical, generic "wise-cracking best friend" character ever. But the grand award of shitty writing has got to go to Samus herself.

Firstly, I'm not entirely sure that Movie story is true, if it is I've never heard it. You'd hope that a movie wouldn't have a plot this corny and stupid.

The story is by far the worst aspect of this game, mainly due to the terrible characterization of Samus which doesn't fit into the series at all despite attempting to tell a story fans have been eager to hear since Metroid Fusion. In Fusion, Samus talks about a character called Adam Malkovich and the relationship that she and he had. Unfortunately this long awaited story was spoiled by the whiny cast of cliché characters, a boring story, a lame twist and an overall sense that not much effort was put into keeping this game in the spirit of the Metroid franchise.

The movie story is sort of a half-truth. Like, I think it's true but I'm not 100% so don't quote me on it but I'm pretty sure it did start out as a movie.

Honestly, the biggest issue is Samus' bottomless amount of monologues. SHE! NEVER! FUCKING! SHUTS! UP! EVER! Going back to the movie point, generally, in a good movie there's subtlety to various scenes and character movements. All that is sucked out as Samus' unbelievably bland voice actress feels the need to explain every little plot point. They insult your intelligence so much that even Fi from Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword would be offended.

Hell, I actually remember there being one cut-scene that actually felt like it had some real emotional power to it. It was a really good scene. And then at the end, Samus has to come in and explain all the various emotions that everyone was feeling at the time rather than leaving the player to work it out on their own.

If I hear a bland, American actress say "baby" one more time, I'm going to go batshit crazy! The endless and irritating monologues are a pain in the ass, as is the characterization of Samus as a helpless, fragile little girl, despite the fact that Samus was once one of the few female game characters who was strong and confident without having her tits bulging out of a skimpy outfit. This game takes place after Metroid, Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2, Metroid Prime Hunters, Metroid Prime 3, Metroid II and Super Metroid, all in which Samus is a strong, cold character. What the hell happened to her between Super Metroid and Other M? Nothing, it's just poorly made.

It's funny too, because if you removed the monologues from the game altogether, I think it might have worked. I don't really recall Samus ever being incredibly whiny outside of her head. Or maybe just explain the bare details but what they did is just so stupid, boring and pretentious that it really ruined the game for a lot of people.

This of course wouldn't be too bad if not for one really, really, really big issue: YOU CAN'T FUCKING SKIP THE CUT-SCENES!

I hate it in general when video games do this but here it's especially inexcusable because of how bad the cut-scenes are. Seriously, there's nothing more annoying than dying on a boss and having to sit through the same arduous, painfully badly-written five minutes again and again and again.

I find it amusing that once you've finished the game you unlock the option to watch the game as a movie, so purely just cut-scenes and no gameplay at all. Who, in their right fucking mind would do that? WHO!? WHOOOOOO!? FUCK THEM!

Hmm... yes.

Now that we've got that shitstorm out of the way, let's talk about the good stuff because boy is there quite a bit of it. The best part about the game is probably also the most important part of any game: the gameplay.

I think the thing a lot of people fail to grasp about Other M is that whilst the story is atrocious, if you can look beyond that the gameplay is actually very fun, if not again, deeply flawed at times.

The basic gameplay style is the same 2D shooting and platforming that most Metroid games are known and loved for, but with an additional, 3rd dimension added to proceedings. It's both unique and familiar at the same time, and is easily the highlight of the game. It's attempts at including the FPS style gameplay are...not as effective.

Again, coming off as someone who's never played a Metroid game before, I have no standards to meet or anything but I had a total blast playing Other M. For starters, the game doesn't actually fall victim to the same trap as most adventure games by making the character painfully slow; Samus actually moves incredibly fast. It's also fun blowing your enemies to holy Hell and you do get some nice power-ups as the game progresses (not to mention it also being fun to search for missile and health power-ups hidden away in the game's levels).

I never found the FPS parts that annoying except for one or two instances. They're both in the first third or so of the game so it does get better as the game goes on. Still, I only found the first-person parts annoying when they required you to zoom around the place and focus in on one particular, out-of-focus object or something like that.

The First Person mode, whilst an interesting addition was annoying to me, mainly because it took a lot of the weapons and things you'd expect from a Metroid game and made them only usable in this mode. Those, I could deal with though, even if I found them unnecessary, the find the tiny spec of pixels in the picture sections were UNBEARABLY ANNOYING. Who thought that was a good idea? Seriously? It's a bad idea anyway, but then they have the balls to make them stupidly hard to complete? Fuck you Team Ninja! HMMPH!

Yeah, I hated those parts too. Oddly enough, they seemed to get easier and eventually disappear as the game went on. I dunno if it was just that they realized it was a bad idea and forgot to erase it from the earlier stages or whatever but the part right before the second boss in the game where you have to zoom around the entire room... GOD that was annoying, I spent twenty minutes zooming around the room as my brain steadily turned into puddy.

I don't know what puddy is, but it sounds dirty. Anyhoo, yes, that was pretty damn annoying. Thank god there was only a few of them in the game.

One last annoying gameplay detail I'd like to have a moan about is the "Final" boss, not the final FINAL and awesome boss, but the main, proper, final boss that is again, entirely in First Person and basically is a one-shot and you're done boss. For a franchise known for epic and challenging boss fights, and for a game with some damn fine bosses in it, it's extremely disappointing that this is their big finale.

Eh, the whole last couple bosses of the game were really disappointing. First you have the penultimate boss which is one of the cheapest and most unfair bosses that I've fought against in recent memory. Then you have the final boss who I didn't even realize was a boss at first and then dies in one hit. And, honestly, I don't get the big hype behind the hidden final boss. Sure, it's kinda epic but it's actually still pretty damn easy. This is mainly because he fires a limitless onslaught of lasers (or something like that) at you. In case this sounds hard, one of Samus' main attack moves in the game is that if you dodge and press the attack button at just the right time, Samus will blast a large bolt of energy at her enemy, causing a lot of damage. This move winds up making up him pretty damn easy.

It's strange too because as shitty as these last couple bosses are, this game has a great boss gallery. The highlight of the game, in my opinion, is the battle against Ridley but there's a lot of other enjoyable ones too. Between sliding on the arms of an overgrown lava monster to duking it out with a gravity-changing robotic mutant monstrosity, the bosses in this game are by far the highlight.

Most of the bosses are pretty damn great, and I thought the secret final boss was quite tricky, but still fun and not so hard it was frustrating. Ridley's boss fight was marred by what is probably the most controversial cut-scene in the game that takes place moments before....it's rightfully detested because it's diabolical to assume after so many fights with Ridley without any issue, Samus was suddenly terrified of him. DA FUCK!?

Well he DID murder her parents and IS a twenty-foot-tall fire-breathing murderous pterodactyl who can coat himself in metal who was apparently disintegrated before her very eyes and has now come back from the dead so she can understandably be a little shaken. Meh, it's far from the worse cut-scene in the video game (that would be her explanation of what her thumbs up symbolizes).

That aside boss fight is rightfully awesome. Out of curiosity, what's your favorite Sticky?

Also, to answer you earlier question, this is what puddy is. It's a children's toy.

I think to truly understand how awful the cut-scene is, you need to have played past Metroid games, it just makes no sense for her to breakdown.

Anyway, my favourite boss-fight...either the Lava dude or the Secret Boss actually, the Lava dude one is just epic and the Secret Boss is just so chaotic and mental it's awesome.

Yeah, the lava dude was pretty awesome. The music in that fight stands out in my mind as being INSANE!

The levels themselves are also pretty awesome. While it only numbers in at about 3 sections of the Bottle Ship that you consistently visit (one is forest-themed, one is fire-themed and one is ice-themed) they're all pretty damn well-designed. In fact, none of them actually do stand out as even remotely shitty. The levels are all really fun to play through with a nice amount of puzzle-solving and combat as well as exploring to find those extra goodies hidden in obscure tunnels.

As we said before, the core gameplay is pretty damn good and a lot of fun. One problem with the game is the graphics which, in my opinion are pretty damn poor particularly when you look at the visuals of Metroid Prime 3, which wasn't as big a deal for Nintendo as Other M was. It all comes off as a big too colourful and cartoony for a game that's trying to deal with mature concepts. This was the first title in the Metroid series to get a 16 in Europe, past games were either a 7, or 12. So it strikes me as odd that everything is so bright and dare I say it? Comical looking. Whilst the CGI cut-scenes are very nice and the facial animations are surprisingly good for a Wii game, the overal presentation was lacking, at least in my opinion. As was the audio, which, whilst good can't hold a candle to past titles.

Eh, again, I've never played a Metroid game before so I don't know how it'll compare but the game does have some nice visuals. Ignoring Samus' lady parts (and, honestly, I'm surprised to say that for a game designed by Team Ninja I'm surprised by how little fanservice there was), the look of the Pyrosphere inside the scenic bridge was awesome.

The soundtrack isn't memorable but it does go for more atmosphere than catchiness so whatever. Only song I really remember is, as mentioned before, the music that plays during the boss battle with the lava guy (also Nightmare I think). Ridley's battle music is also pretty cool I guess.

If Team Ninja had made Samus into a jiggly breasted sex-icon, I'm pretty sure both them and Nintendo would lose all their credibility (What little is left of Team Ninja's) and rightfully so.

Ehh, the visuals look better at times then they do at others, all in all it just feels like a very unpolished game where more time was spent on certain locations then it was on others. Again, you look at Prime 3 and so much time and effort was put into each world and sub-world on them, each felt unique and exciting to explore. As a follow-up on the same console, visually and audibly this was a big letdown.

Well, there you have it folks. For a veteran of the series, the graphics ain't that good, for a newcomer, they look pretty damn good. Not fantastic, certainly not the best on the system but it still looks good.

Then again, I tend to not give a flying fuck about graphics overall so this is mainly Sticky's schtick in the review.

Graphics aren't the be all and end all of a game, but they add so much to a title, particularly one that's trying to be cinematic and mature. The game has a cheap look to it most of the time, and I know some people like the look because the creatures are reminiscent of the original designs for the NES game but I don't think it works.

Also, don't try and distance yourself from my opinions, bitch! You invited me here, you gotta deal with the hate! Flashpenny told me before we started that you guys are morons by the way. *Nods*

Don't listen to him, it was Stickman who said that!

And, hey, how do you want me to respond? I'm not in love with the graphics but I think they did their job nicely.

Pfft, WHAT. EVER. They're passable, and impressive at times, but more times average than good.

Well, I think we touched on all bases. Is there anything left to add?

Well, the American Commercial was fucking awesome, whilst the British Advert was fucking terrible. Other than that, I'm all good.

Well, onto closing thoughts then!

Considering how there are rumors circulating that Nintendo has temporarily killed the Metroid franchise because of this game, I really don't think it's that bad or even really that bad of a game in general. It just has a few things about it that really really suck but the most important part of any game (the gameplay) is got down pretty damn well. So I'd probably recommend it. Yeah, I hate sitting through the abysmal story as much as everyone else but I personally think the payoff is just too good to truly damn it.

I do think people hate on it a bit too much, the story, acting and characterization of Samus can burn in hell for eternity for all I care, but the gameplay is a ton of fun, the bosses are great and it's a reasonable length with plenty to do so you're probably getting your moneys worth out of it.

When ranked with past Metroid games, it's easily one of the worst (But not the worst) but then the Metroid saga contains so many incredible titles it didn't stand much of a chance anyway. If Nintendo truly have axed or shelved the franchise over this game, which, frankly is only unpopular because they made it that way by adding a terrible story and giving the whole thing a rather toony visual style that will put off "hardcore" gamers, if Nintendo have axed it...then that's a damn shame. Every franchise has its ups and downs, they should take it as a chance to improve on things rather than end them entirely.

So, I think we can both agree on the fact that as a game on its own, it's pretty damn good but if you're a Metroid fan (or non-Metroid fan), you just have to toughen through the shitty story because there's a lot of good fun to be had. I personally really enjoyed it and I can see myself playing it again sometime in the near-future.

Well, that appears to be a wrap. Thank you for being with us The Stickman.

We're done? FREE AT LAST! FREEEE AATT LAAASST! *Skips away merrily*

Yes, well, moving onto our next game, my next guest took time away from leaving riddles for Batman to help me review a PS2 classic. While I have technically played it before, it was years and years ago and I reobtained it recently so I decided to count it on this blog.

Hello g1's! I'm JohnnyFarrar. Today, myself and Flashpenny are reviewing Naughty Dog's final hurrah in PS2 platforming, Jak III.

 

Leaper Race~Jak 3

Oh, Jak 3. The entire trilogy is one magnum opus of platforming greatness and Jak 3 is no exception. While I personally still prefer II (although it is somewhat of a close call), 3 is still a must-have for any owner of a PS2... or Hell, even if you don't own a PS2 it's still worth going out and buying one just so you can own Jak 3 (as well as 1 and 2).

I actually own both for my PS2, and I still went out and bought the HD collection for my PS3. Just for an excuse to play through it again.

So yes, dear reader, as you can probably guess, Jak 3 is a magnificent game. But what makes it work? Well, let's start with the gameplay because boy, oh boy, is it awesome.

Jak 3's gameplay is the product of several quality games' worth of polish from Naughty Dog. Tight platforming controls that the company had been working on since Crash Bandicoot, great and diverse gunplay with an even bigger arsenal than Jak II, many open world maps to explore (some with vehicles available, whether they be old or new), and my personal favorite feature: The Jetboard. Everything about this game was built for fun and adventure.

Perhaps we should start with the story. While I still prefer Jak II's story over this game, it's still a pretty good tale. Leaving where the last game went off, Haven City is still in the midst of civil war as Jak, Daxter and Pecker are banished to the desert Wasteland for being manipulated into helping the Metal Head Leader enter the city in the last game. From here, they discover and are accepted into the Thunderdome-esque city of Spargus.

Of course, "accepted" doesn't really fit their welcome. Jak & Daxter awaken from sunstroke to find that they must fight in a Gladiator-like arena in order to gain full citizenship to Spargus, and by extension a safe haven from the burning sands outside the city walls.

And ruling over it is the awesome King of Spargus, and one of the best characters in the game, Damas.

After earning his citizenship over time through the arena, Jak soon becomes part of an adventure that ultimately brings him back into Haven City to fight off the Metal Heads as well as an army of robots and the evil Count Veger (who got Jak kicked out in the first place) as well as saving the world from a doomsday prophecy.

Like I said, not as good as Jak II, but still a fairly well-done story all the same. I don't want to say anymore dear reader, for fear of spoiling some pretty clever plot twists (particularly the last one towards the end of the game with the final revelation of the almighty Precursors).

Indeed, the twists are great. (There are a few).

Anyways, let's talk about what makes Jak 3 a good sequel. There are a few new elements to this game along with many improvements to old mechanics that make it one of the best feeling games on the PS2.

The first and most obvious new feature are the dune buggy-like vehicles that Jak acquires throughout the game that he uses to traverse the humongous desert that surrounds Spargus and borders Haven City. The variety among these vehicles is astounding when compared to the hovercars found in Haven City (In both Jak II and Jak 3). There are buggies like the Heat Seeker, which are tiny, fast, and not very powerful; Or if you're a monster truck kind of guy, the Slam Dozer is a huge buggy that barely has any speed, but packs a huge punch.

I never bothered to learn the names but my personal favorite is the one that jumps really high which you need to get to go to the Monk Temple. To me, some of the most fun parts of the game were jumping high over the attacking Marauders and raining grenades upon them from above.

Your guns also gain an upgrade. All four of the guns from Jak II are upgraded so that they each become heavily damaging (albeit more ammo-draining) as the game goes on. For example, your scatter gun (which has a wide radius but low attack power) can be upgraded to a shockwave creator and, ultimately, an grenade shooter.

While you'll find yourself using the Blaster and its varieties the most often, they're all pretty kickass. My personal favorite is the Super Nova (although it's extremely rare to come by since it requires a lot of Peace Maker ammo which is rare) as by shooting, you pretty much create a nuclear explosion that annihilates everything on-screen.

The guns really are amazing. The weaponset for Jak 3 is TRIPLE that of Jak II. My own favorite was the grenade launcher attachment for the scattergun, cuz I like 'splosions.

BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ACCESSORIES, let's talk powers. Jak II introduced Dark Jak, a powerful berserker form that Jak took on when he had gathered enough Dark Eco. Not to be outdone, Jak 3 shows us the return of Dark Jak, while giving us a look at another form - Light Jak! This form is less focused on wanton destruction and mayhem, and more on the cool junk that Light Eco lets you do. Once enough Light Eco is gathered, Jak can now do things like slow down time, heal himself, and SPROUT GOD DAMN WINGS. Is there anything this pointy eared man can't do?

Dark Jak, seen here doing what Dark Jak does best (namely kicking ass). 

Indeed. Admittedly, I can see this being a gripe for some people in that by the end of the game you can become so overpowered that the game feels like a cakewalk when it should be getting harder. I can kind of see that argument (I actually remember there being one area that seems like it should have been difficult that was actually piss-easy), it never became too bothersome.

Honestly, you're going to wind up having too much fun kicking ass to really notice or care about that.

Speaking of overpowered, the unlockables in this game are ridiculously cool. Progressing in the game, you gather precursor orbs. When you have enough, you can literally just buy the unlockable you want in the pause menu and it immediately takes effect. The available unlockables include new vehicles, upgrades to vehicle health, upgrades to weapons (both ammo and performance), and my personal favorites: Unlimited Ammo and Health. When a game offers you the option of NOT dying, you know it's confident about its gameplay.

And that's the crux of it. This game has so much fun around every corner with each new mechanic, new weapon, new unlockable, and new character that any complaints you have just sort of melt away.

Indeed. Before we finish up, I guess there are two last things I want to mention. First off, is that, upon replaying it recently, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the soundtrack. While it's not one of the great video game soundtracks, the music has a lot more awesome and intense songs than the last two Jak games. While they all have a sort of "deserty" feel to it (which fits considering how the game does take place in the desert), they all do fit their respective situations perfectly.

From the intense "Incoming Blast Bots" to the more quieter yet still fast-paced "Leaper Race" there's a lot of songs to enjoy here.

The other thing that I think bears mentioning is the game's final boss battle. While the bosses overall in this game are decent (not good, not bad, just decent), the final boss is just one of the most epic final bosses yours truly has ever encountered in a video game.

It really is. And it encompasses many of the features that only Jak 3 had to offer while, at the same time, hearkening back to the final boss from Jak & Daxter. It was a great way to end the trilogy on a bang, and, once again, incredibly fun to play.

Well, that seems to be about it. Any closing thoughts on the game, Johnny?

Well obviously I love this game (Was that not clear?). If you haven't played it, go grab it from a store or a friend, and play it. It's worth the time. I honestly couldn't think of any complaints about it as I was writing my half of this piece. That may be a little nostalgia talking, but I don't think so. SO GO PLAY IT AND LOVE IT.

Indeed. Jak 3, as we've mentioned many times, is a wonderful game that's definitely a proud addition to any gamer's collection (Hell, you can see that about the whole freaking trilogy).

Thank you for being with us, JohnnyFarrar.

My pleasure. Thanks for including me!

What a nice fellow. For our next review, I've recruited the assistance of good pal and g1 daddy, this bloke.

Hey g1s! Thanks to Flashpenny, you've got your friendly neighbourhood Atsinganoi here to talk about Mega Man 6 (the one with Woodma...I mean, Plant Man) the last game from the series for the NES.

 

Knight Man~Mega Man 6

Man, oh man, wherever do we begin with this one? Hell, I don't even know whether or not I should like it. Out of the inferior trilogy of Mega Man games on the NES, this is certainly the best one and I did have fun playing it but the only reason for that is that it ripped off half of its Robot Masters from the far superior Mega Man 2 (no, seriously, I'm not making that up; Hell, Wind Man actually occupies the same space on the stage select screen as Air Man because they're so bad at hiding this fact).

I never played this game as a kid, so it has zero nostalgia value for me. When I did play it, I had pretty much the same impression you did: a vague sense I'd done all this before. Wind Man/Air Man, Plant Man/Wood Man, the list goes on. It really seems like Capcom was happy to just keep making the same game over and over again.

While this is a problem, the game is still fun and, out of the inferior trilogy of Mega Man games on the NES, I would probably consider this the best.

The story, you all know inside and out. The game's villain this time around is Mr. X who summons eight Robot Masters to take over the world. And just to be perfectly clear, Mr. X is in NO WAY Dr. Wily in disguise. Absolutely not, not in a million years, two completely different people. I mean the fact that they have the exact same hair style and facial structure means nothing, they're totally different people. right?

I completely agree. I mean, the fact that he looks like Dr. Wily, has the exact same motives, and Dr. Wily has been known to use disguises before should in no way imply that it's actually Dr. Wily, mostly because it's totally not. Seriously though, it would be totally lame and a huge cop out, so I'm glad Capcom came out with a totally original plot for this one.

I actually preferred 4 out of the 2nd trilogy, but only because of Gemini Man's level, but that's beside the point. Every Mega Man is "fun", but after a while, I still just felt like the level design was just previous levels with different colours, the music didn't have the same energy, and the Robot Masters became more and more derisive and bordered on parodying itself. That being said, take 6 and 3 and switch them places in the series, and we'd be saying the exact same things in reverse. In other words, Mega Man 6 is as good as the others when taken out of its historical context.

I thought Gemini Man was in the third game.

With that said, while we did complain previously about how half of the Robot Masters are just rehashes from Mega Man 2, when you look at the other half, they just become downright laughable. I see Knight Man fitting in but the rest of them... Yamato Man, really? Hell, what the Hell is a Yamato anyway?!

Seriously, what the Hell is this guy?

Sorry, you're right. Gemini is in 3, not 4. Also, seriously?! You don't know what Yamato Man is supposed to be. *Checks Wikipedia and other places* He's a country! Wait, he might also be a boat. He hates the English language and is bad with money. No, that isn't even a thing he could represent visually. Anyway, at least Tomahawk Man is in now way racist. Right?

...I actually just realized that the four other Robot Masters tend to represent a cultural stereotype of some kind (knights being European and centaur being Roman). Man, they really were running out of ideas when they came to this game.

As for the game itself, it's straight-up Mega Man. It's still those fun levels although I felt that this one did have a pretty fair difficulty streak for the most part. Although, I've talked about this before but, again, by the sixth game in the franchise, you'd expect that you the spikes wouldn't create one-hit kills and that your item meter would regenerate after you die. Again, SIXTH GAME AND THEY STILL HAVEN'T RESOLVED THESE ISSUES?!

I've never played beyond 6: did they EVER fix these issues? But yeah, like I said, this game is totally some classic Mega Man action. Put it as the 2nd or 3rd game in the series and it wouldn't seem out of place; however, that is part of the problem. Some innovation, a little bit of mixing up the formula, anything different would have helped, but they played it safe.

One thing I don't feel stands up to the first three, nostalgia aside, is the music. It isn't necessarily bad, but it's not up to snuff. I expect more in the music department when it comes to Mega Man, and this one did not deliver.

I remember some music themes so it is better than 5 in that regard. Not as many awesome songs as the first four games but there's still some good songs in there.

Honestly, the thing that I really felt was not very good in this game was the final level. Maybe it's just that I've gotten really good at Mega Man but this was, hands down, the easiest final level I have ever played in a video game. Seriously, the only even remotely hard part was the final boss. To me, that is simply inexcusable, especially for a Mega Man game.

What do you mean? You didn't enjoy two mildly difficult but short levels with easy bosses, followed by two more levels that feature pitiful excuses for platforming and end with a boss rush (with no new bosses) and a Wily battle, respectively?

That being said, have we shit on the game too much? It wasn't exactly terrible, was it? The "Energy Balancer" was a nice addition. I always hated having to constantly hit start, choose a weapon, grab the container, hit start again, and switch back to the Mega Buster....over, and over, and over.

Rush adaptors, as opposed to having to call out Rush only to have the idiot dog appear at the least convenient location and then have to jump on him, were also a nice, new touch.

There, I think I'm done praising :)

I'm not really too big of a fan of the Rush Adaptor Jetpack, simply because of all the pain it caused me when trying to scale the first area of Mr. X's Tower (it does not work at all like you think).

In retrospect, we probably have shit on the game a bit too much since the game is good. It's still fun to play and the music is still bouncy. It just has a few too many issues that make it pale in comparison to the first three Mega Man games (seriously, why the Hell didn't they just leave it as a trilogy; I mean Dr. Wily FREAKING DIED at the end of the third game and they never explain how he managed to survive).

Hey, there are two kinds of companies when it comes to franchises that make money: some that wait for you to anticipate the next game and deliver a game that has evolved beyond the last, and then there are companies who will milk the fuck out of any game as long as they keep making a profit. I think we all know which category Capcom falls into, especially when the Blue Bomber is concerned.

Well, that seems to about sum up the game, really. Don't get out of your way to play it but if you see it on sale one day for dirt cheap, check it out, you might like it.

Agreed. It's not terrible, but it's no way near the best in the series.

And on that note, I'd dare say we're done. I'd like to thank Flashpenny for inviting me to participate in this series of reviews. It was fun :)

No problem, Atsinganoi. Thank you for being with us. :)

Anyway, we've now reached the midway point of the blog. At this time I would like to take a short break for a different review. Now, just to be clear, this next game wasn't a game that I was introduced to in 2012 but rather last year. I did originally intend on reviewing as part of another idea that was unfortunately shelved so it never did see the light of day. However, my friend who conducted the co-review with me really wanted to see it get posted so, hey, no time like the present, right? Here's your interlude on this mother of a blog.

 

Hey g1s, Woodyman here. If you don't know who I am then SHAME on you. I'm here today to co-review my favorite NES game and the inspiration for my username, Mega Man 2.

 

Metal Man~Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2 is currently in the running for the title of "Flashpenny's Favorite NES Game" and for good reason. It's a fun, fun game.

Like all NES games, the story doesn't matter so here's the quick run-down: Dr. Wily has created eight evil robot masters and it's your job to put their head on pikes.

Ahh... NES plot, you were so simple and yet so fantastic. As FlashPenny said Dr. Wily was mad after getting his butt kicked in MM1 so he created Metal Man, Air Man, Bubble Man, Quick Man, Crash Man, Flash Man, Heat Man, and Wood Man (my favorite) to exact his revenge... but there's a bit more.

Now this isn't essential knowledge for playing Megaman 2 but I feel like it's necessary to understand why all this shit is going on. In Mega Man 1 Dr. Light and Dr. Wily work together to create Mega Man and all the robot masters from that game. However, eventually Wily grows distrustful of Dr. Light and reprograms the 6 robot masters to assist him in taking over the world! Dr. Light sends Mega Man to kick butt and save the day... which he does, now Wily's back in MM2.

Now, the basic outline of the game is simple: you go through a level, kill a Robot Master, absorb their powers and use it to dominate the next one. Half of the fun of the game, however, is just trying to figure out which Robot Master dominates which. Some are simple to figure out (Water beats Fire) some might take a few levels to figure out but still, they're not nearly as impossible to figure out as the later installments.

That's one of the things I enjoy best about Mega Man 2. Some of the boss weaknesses are quite easy to figure out. An example of this is that Heat Man is stronger than Wood Man. Fire burns wood. DUH! But what beats a Flash Man or a Crash Man? I have no idea! And neither do you unless you play through the game multiple times.

The worst thing about this set-up is that sometimes you KNOW without any doubt which robot master's power you need next. However, you keep getting your butt kicked over and over again and can't proceed any farther.

Actually, I learned how to beat Flash Man with little pain from the one of the Top 10s on the main site. Thank you Craig!

Also that last thing kept on happening to me whenever I went to Heat Man's stage. I grew to hate that level so much that, inevitably, it wound up being the last stage I visited before moving onto Dr. Wily's castle.

Yes, Flashpenny described one of the pro-tactics for beating Mega Man 2. While Heat Man is strong against Wood Man, it's much simpler to tackle Heat Man's stage last because A) you'll have Bubble Man's power by then, and B) There are a lot of disappearing blocks in Heat Man's stage and they're easy to pass once you acquire a special jet-like item from Dr. Light. Then you just fly past all those damn disappearing blocks!

*slaps face* Holy crap, I cannot believe I didn't think of using the jet in that level. Jesus Christ, those blocks caused me so much pain and misery...

On that note, the power-ups! Every time you kill a Robot Master you get his power-up. To date, they're the best in the franchise (then again I've only played 1-6).

They are the best in the franchise! I've played 1-10... and Megaman X but that's a whole different story!

You think we should describe em all Flashpenny?

Let's just give a brief description on them. While none of them are quite as useless as, say, the Top Spin in Mega Man 3, some of the powers, like the Bubble Lead and Heat Blast, are borderline useless outside their respective boss fights.

Others, such as the Wood Shield and Quick Boomerang, are total blasts to use. But the real star of the show are the Metal Blades which have got to be one of the most badass weapons in video game history.

The metal blades are great! They fire in all 8 directions and use next to no energy. With the Metal Blades Mega Man is nearly unstoppable... except against those damn Ostriches in Wood Man's stage. Any vet Mega Man 2 player knows to take down Metal Man first and then just abuse those Metal Blades for the rest of the game.

What I can't believe is that you forgot two of the other best weapons in the game. You got Flash Man's Time Stopper that freezes all enemies in time... I wonder if it works with those Insta-kill-lasers in Quick Man's stage and the other weapon is Crash Man's Crash Bombs that stick to a surface and then BOOM

Eh, I never liked Flash Man's Flash Stopper. It works well enough when dodging obstacles (I think it's physically impossible to beat Quick Man's stage without it) but I didn't like how you actually can't disable it at any given time, unlike some of the other weapons, and it's also kinda useless against enemies since it just freezes time but doesn't allow you to continue firing your weapon.

The Crash Bombs are awesome though. That has got to be one of the most brutal ways to kill your enemy in video game history: you impale them with a spike and then the spike blows them up. (I want to see that gadget in the next James Bond movie.)

I actually never used the Flash Stopper in Quick Man's stage.... It is possible to avoid those damn lasers but you must think ahead. And for some reasons the Crash Bombs always remind me of Sticky Grenades, except instead of being stuck... you get stabbed.

Alright, we got the plot, robot masters/gameplay what next? The music perhaps? Some of the best 8-bit music I have ever heard, second only to Power Blade (I love me some Power Blade).

The music in Mega Man 2 is definitely my favorite in the series. If I had to choose my three favorites it would hafta be 3.) Woodman 2.)Crash Man 1.) And of course Dr. Wily Castle 2... but one of the best things is all the remixes made of these themes. My favorite is Mega Ran - Grow Up

What about you Flash?

I think I can second that top three with relative ease. Although I'd probably replace Crash Man with Bubble Man.

OMG! No way is Bubble Man's theme better than Crash Man's. Every time I hear it I sing the lines from Duane and Brand0's song. "I will throw a bomb, and then I'll jump around."

Bubble Man's song just sounds so soothing. It really should have though because of those damn spikes.

Actually, that brings me to my biggest flaw with the Mega Man games in general (even though I've played only half of the main series, I doubt they fixed it): the fucking spikes. This has always bothered me since if you touch the spikes in any stage in any Mega Man you die. I can get making a powerful hazard but couldn't they just make it so that it takes off like a third of health or something? That always was such a cruel punishment for what was, more often than not, a simple mistake.

The spikes always bothered me too, especially the ones in Bubble Man's stage. You had to press that jump button quite carefully and not hit the ceiling. My hatred of the Mega Man series was because of the damn disappearing blocks. I used any trick and power-up I could avoid those things, and avoid falling to my death.

Well, to be fair, after 2 they spruced up the disappearing blocks for the most part. They still had them but never did you have to go through such an arduous stretch of time ever again. The spikes were never fixed which is just flat-out annoying.

I also found it kinda annoying that, when you die, your power-up meter doesn't refill. Granted, this isn't as big of an issue here as it is in, say, 5 but it got really annoying in some of the Dr. Wily stages.

Ahh... yes. That was my biggest gripe for Mega Man 2. I hated the fact that for that one boss in Wily's Castle that's protected behind all those walls you have to use Crash Bombs on. I never got the pattern right when I was a kid, or didn't have my Crash Bombs fully juiced. So when I got to that boss I had to die, and then grind or I guess "farm" until I could replenish my Crash Bombs... It was so tedious and annoying.

Yeah, like I said it's not as bad as it gets in some of the later games (where, more often than not, a lot of the bosses can only be defeated with ONE weapon whereas the ones in this game often have several weapons they're vulnerable to) but it did get annoying during that boss fight.

I think that about covers it. Anything else you want to add Woody?

I just want to share one gripe I have real quick. If you wanna play Mega Man 2 the best way is to get out a NES and get the game, however if you can't do that download the virtual console version. For the love of GOD, whatever you do, do not play Mega Man on the anniversary collection. They changed the music and the gameplay so much, that it doesn't even feel like Mega Man anymore to me. Besides that I've got nothing to say but thanks for having me on Flashpenny.

No prob. Thank you for being with us.

And so we move onto our next game. This is another game that's also somewhat controversial. And by controversial I mean widely-hated. I mean, seriously, I'm pretty sure that I'm literally the only person on this entire site who actually does really like it. Unfortunately, my next guest doesn't share my opinions in that regard.

*sigh*

Hello g1s, tis I Flapperdoodle. I hate to sound slightly upset or out of it, but my good friend Flashpenny has asked me to review something... I do not like talking about. But, for my great friend Flashpenny, I will help you. This is the bad egg. The black sheep. The sore thumb. And... the newest addition to the Mario Party franchise... Mario Party 9...

Toad Road~Mario Party 9

Sorry for sounding so sad Flashpenny... but, you asked for it.

This should be a very interesting review since I actually really do enjoy this game. A lot.

Now let me clarify that I don't have a whole lot of experience with the Mario Party franchise: I only played the first two and the last two (in other words 1, 2, 8 & 9). With that said, 1 I only played when I rented it from the local video store when I was really little, 2 was the one I grew up with.

Is 9 as good as 2? Oh God no, they don't compare. But, to its credit it does try to break the Mario Party formula that has been rehashed time and time again and try something new. Hey, at least it's better than 8.

I wouldn't go that far. I personally think 8 is fine. Sure, the boards aren't as memorable, and luck factor was huge. And yes, I recognize the silly Wii controls. But at least Mario Party 8 kept up the fun element of competitive play, and still was fun to play with friends. Mario Party 9... just... oh god.

Yeah, I guess we can give it credit for TRYING, but in the end, this was a poor attempt at trying to differentiate Mario Party as a concept. I can understand changing one or two things, but the game literally changes some of the key pivotal elements that made Mario Party... well... FRICKEN MARIO PARTY! Seriously, I can go on, and on, and on naming differences that don't help the game at all, in fact, they only hinder it.

Well, perhaps, we should analyze what the game did change. For those of you not in the know and have never had the joy of playing a Mario Party game (or, alternatively, watching Mario Party After Dark), the game plays like a board game meets a video game. You roll dice blocks and move that number of spaces. You have to buy stars from whoever it is in that game and then whoever has the most stars and coins at the end of the game wins.

9 all but scrapped it completely. For starters the games are much shorter. While your average Mario Party game lasted about an hour-and-a-half (at least), your average game of Mario Party 9 will clock in at about 45 minutes, give or take. This time you all ride together in the same cart, collecting mini-stars along the way. Whoever has the most at the end wins. However you all move together and it's ultimately everyone who decides which direction to go in. Mini-games especially are given a makeover as it's no longer cyclic as to when they show up, there's just spaces for them.

Now, I just want to get something off my chest right now (sorry for the long comment by the way). Contrary to popular belief, MP9 is NOT a team game: you're all still competing for the win and, rest assured, there are a lot of THOSE moments here too. You know those moments I'm talking about, right? Those moments when you're best buddy is dominating then you manipulate events just enough to completely crush their hopes and dreams. Yeah, they're still around and they're GLORIOUS!

Yes, I will admit the game does keep competitive gameplay with the things you can do in the car... but re-read what you just wrote Flash. THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS WRONG WITH IT! I feel Mario Party 9... just doesn't get it. With so many things changed from the originals, playing this game (after have played EVERY SINGLE OTHER MARIO PARTY at least once), it felt odd to get into. In fact, I couldn't get into it. It was just way too odd. We're all in a car? Mini-games aren't every turn? There are no stars to collect? BOSS BATTLES ON BOARDS? WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO? *runs around in fear*

Well, like I said, the series was very stale by now, they needed to change it. With that said, the lack of mini-games did feel odd and I kinda wish we all moved alone but, eh, I still liked it. I had fun with it, that's gotta be accounting for something, right?

I will say that the one thing that surprised me were the boss battles. Like, I wasn't expecting anything from the bosses and for them to be as fun as they are was unbelievable to me. They really are more or less glorified mini-games when you get down to them and there are a few that certainly do suck (protip: never choose Cheep Cheep or Dry Bones), some of the other ones really are fun with everyone trying to get into a mad rush to hit the boss first.

As much as I would love to rant, I do agree. I do like the idea of boss battles as a kind of final minigame to end the game off with a bang, and the game does it pretty well here. There are plenty of recognizable characters from the series, and some of them can be a lot of fun. The problem is that some of them can just be a little bit too simplistic. Boss battles usually keep you on your toes. But sadly, some of the bosses have tasks that are just so damn simple, I was taken out of the moment. But besides for that, they are pretty well done. They are one of the only areas of this game I did enjoy.

The boss battles are a welcome addition to the Mario Party franchise.

Well, what about the music? Granted, Mario Party generally has some pretty catchy tunes so this game isn't any real exception in that regard. From the happy melody on Toad Road to the kickass beats that play during the battle against the Bob-Omb King, there's some pretty damn good songs in here.

The more and more I play Mario games, the less and less I judge the music, cause you all know Mario games are awesome when it comes to music. There isn't a single Mario game where every tune sucks or something like that. Sure, the music here isn't the strongest, but I can't help but hum some of the tunes on the OST. Also, before we even say it, yes the graphics are good. The graphics are colorful, fun, and just what the doctor ordered.

I don't do graphics that much but, yeah, they're pretty cool.

Hey, some of the mini-games are also good, no? While the game still occasionally has the crappy motion control game, a lot of them actually just rely on plain ol' button controls and, actually, some of the ones involving motion controls are kinda fun. You have the occasional sucky one but, hey, every Mario Party has the occasional sucky mini-game.

No, no, no Flash, every Mario Party has the VERY ABUNDANT suckish mini-gameS, and this game is no exception. Countless minigames rely on luck, simplistic button controls, and many of them have lame concepts and even lamer execution. I honestly cannot think of one minigame that truly stood out, except for that one where you throw the toppings on the pizza (even I thought that was cool). But besides for that, the more and more I use the motion controls with this game, the more and more it feels stale and boring. Honestly, this is one of the weaker mini-game collections. Not as bad as 7 though... damn Mic Minigames...

Well, 2, for the most part, had a pretty well-rounded amount of good mini-games, although, as mentioned before, my Mario Party experience is pretty much limited to 2, 8 and this one.

With that said, there are some games that stood out to me. At the same time, this game also had a somewhat smaller amount than average (due to the shorter nature of the actual games) but take that as you will, I still think the sucky mini-games are in the minority (although, admittedly, I really do miss the roulette).

Oh yeah, that reminds me... what were they smoking when designed the boards?

Here's the beauty about Mario Party boards, they are meant to never end. That was the beauty of playing a game of Mario Party, you could just start the board over. This game, for some odd reason, decided to make the boards have a beginning, and a DEFINITE end. Why did they do that? It kinda makes the game boring to a few degrees... This is one of the many design flaws this game happens to have...

Well, as mentioned before, they were trying to change the game since, let's face it, by the 9th game in the franchise, they couldn't really do anything new. Also, generally speaking, your average board game does have a definite beginning and end. As long as it's done well, I have no issue with it and, honestly, I thought it was done well for the most part as the game still can be intense when it wants to.

One thing that I will admit did piss me off is how few boards there are. I find it amusing how, as the Mario Party games have gone on, they have inflated the roster of characters yet never inflated the amount of boards. This game has 7, the same number that the original Mario Party on the NINTENDO 64 had. Again, this is the Wii, it has much higher processing power. I remember in Mario Party 2, I used to use a different character for each board, there is no excuse why that can't happen here! There should be at least 20 boards, especially with how short they are! I'm not being too grandiose or something, this is a big deal that should have happened by now!

That's a problem I've been dealing with, but with this game... yeah, you're right. With the boards so little and the set up much more linear... they should've made more boards. And I mean, the concepts were so simple. You're right Flash. Add some more boards dammit!

In my opinion, the main problem with this game is that it feels like too much is trying to go on. On one hand, you have minigames, on the other, you have these stupid board events, on the other, you have a boss battle, and on the other, you have various mini-stars and mini-zstars being lost and gained. I will say that this does add some intrigue towards the game, and it does allow everyone to be involved 24/7, which I do respect. The problem is, it feels clunky and convoluted at times. It makes Mario Party a little bit... too much. I dunno, it's good and bad all at time same time, ya know?

Honestly, I think this is one of those games where you take out of it whatever you were expecting. For those of you expecting it to be standard Mario Party, odds are you'll probably hate it. Personally, I went into it expecting it to suck and just hate it and came out pleasantly surprised. I don't love the game and there are some better multiplayer games for the Wii that I'd recommend first but, as is, you and your friends can still have fun playing the game so long as you just take it for what it's worth.

I walked in wanting a good Mario Party, and I was disappointed. I will admit, for their first time, these newbies did a pretty decent job at making their own Mario Party. There are things I can respect. I can respect the balls to do something different, I can respect the boss battles, the graphics, the music, and I can respect some of the ideas thrown in.

What I CAN'T respect is completely changing up a formula that was working for years and years, quite well in my opinion. Sure, it was getting slightly stale, but it wasn't such a bad case. You could've added a new mechanic or something. But you didn't have to change this much...

I'm sorry if I come off fanboyish here, but I love Mario Party, and it's a shame to see them change up the formula I hold so near and dear to my heart... *sad face*

So, yeah, I guess I could kinda recommend this game as a rental (if you can find any video stores that still let you rent games anymore), just go in with an open mind, don't judge it as part of the main series which is what I think the trap that a lot of people who hate this game fell into. It's meant to be judged as its own creation and, in that respect, I think it's a good game. Not a masterpiece but good nonetheless.

I can't truly recommend this game to any Mario Party fan who enjoyed the early games. The formula is just too changed up, let alone NOT necessarily for the better. If you want a fun party game, not necessarily a Mario Party game, MP9 may be a decent game for you. It's got enough for a normal family or normal group of friends to enjoy. But... it's just so hard to judge this game not as a Mario Party... I dunno...

Well, that appears to wrap this review up. Thank you for being with us, Flapperdoodle.

No problem Flash. I guess we can consider us even then.

That we can, that we can.

And so now, for our next game, I’m reviewing one of the best games that the Nintendo Wii has to offer. However, sort of like how you need Elmo 3000 in order to properly co-review any GameCube game, I had to hunt down our site’s Wii expert. So, what do you say, Whitly? Do you want to help me review this wonderful RPG?

I’ll pass.

Mkay. Here’s my one-man review of Muramasa: The Demon Blade.

 

Dusky~Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Now, just for the record, I’ve only ever played two Atlus/Vanillaware games: this and Odin Sphere. Interestingly, upon comparing the two, I actually find this to be quite the opposite of Odin Sphere. What do I mean by this? Well, in Odin Sphere, the story is one of the very best I’ve encountered in a game but the gameplay really needed work (it wasn’t bad but it really wasn’t user-friendly and could get to be really, really fucking cheap).

Muramasa, on the other hand, has some of the absolute best gameplay I have ever had the pleasure of encountering but the story needs some work. It’s not bad per se but it’s just… eh. Let me explain. There are two main characters in this game, the Princess, Momohime, who is possessed by an undead evil swordsman named Jinkuro and an amnesiac ninja named Kisuke.

While Jinkuro and Kisuke are both enjoyable characters, it just feels more like you’re playing two separate games rather than one big one. I say this because in Odin Sphere where you had five playable characters, they all intertwined with each other and ultimately climaxed in one big epic final story. You don’t get that here and another big issue is that a lot of the in-game mythology really isn’t explained all that well which is a problem because you really have no idea what’s going on half the time. (e.g. The main villain in Kisuke’s story is apparently lusting after an all-powerful sword but it’s really left hazy as to whether he’s the bad guy or if the sword is possessing him or if something else is going on.) Hell, Momohime’s story doesn’t even feel like it comes to a climax; if it wasn’t for the fact that the game actually labeled it as such, I would never have guessed that the final level was the final level.

To be fair, the story isn’t bad per se but it’s just really confusing and winds up being a cluttered mess. Like I said, the only really enjoyable parts are the main characters: Jinkuro is a great villain and Kisuke is a great hero. Everything else just falls flat.

Well there’s the stuff that the game got wrong, let’s move onto the stuff that the game got right which is more or less everything else. The soundtrack? Freaking awesome. It goes for a very Japanese-esque music which fits given the game’s setting. While I don’t consider it nearly as good as Okami (which has a similar-sounding soundtrack), let’s be fair here, how many games do have a soundtrack that’s as good as Okami’s? Yeah, exactly, the game’s music sounds freaking awesome nonetheless. Special mentions go to Dusky (which you’re listening to right now) and the game’s epic (hidden) final boss music, Tacit Understanding.

Also, although I am aware that I have said time and again that I don’t really care too much about graphics unless they’re really, really good, I still think they deserve mentioning here, mostly on account of the fact that they are really, really good. Personally I always find games like this a marvel as to what graphics can do as rather than going for making the game look realistic, it aims more for looking like an actual anime.

Personally, games like this and Wario Land: Shake It stand out to me as to what graphics can be capable of these days. Like if you just removed all the status items and health bars and what-not from the screen and kept it completely out of context, you would probably think this game was an actual anime at first glance, I’m not kidding. Whether you’re scaling a snow-encrusted mountain or running through a field of grain as the sun sets, this game looks freaking awesome.

*drools*

And then, of course, we have the gameplay which is, as mentioned before, some of the best I’ve ever experienced. Pretty much the way that this game works, you ever see a movie where some badass with a sword manages to take on an army of enemies while doing spiraling flips off the walls and murdering all those in his way? Yeah, that’s sort of what the game is like. It’s a bit complicated when I describe it but it’s actually really easy to get the hang of.

Basically you can equip three swords at any given time although the swords will eventually break if you use them too many times, requiring you to switch to your next one. By killing enemies with your swords, you gain their soul energy which will refurbish your sword’s soul power (the meter that causes your sword to break when it runs out) and will also help you level up. Think of it as sort of a beat-‘em-up crossed with an RPG but even that doesn’t really do it justice.

You really do have to try it out to really understand what it’s like although one thing that I am pleased about this game in comparison to Odin Sphere is its difficulty streak. Like I said, Odin Sphere placed way too much of an emphasis on grinding and turned certain areas into instantaneous cheap deaths at the drop of a hat. You never got that in Muramasa as the game relies on genuine fair challenge. The emphasis on grinding is not present as you can really get to where you need to be without actively looking for enemies (though it does help) and while the game can get hard, it never really feels unfair. Even the most annoying boss battles in the game don’t feel cheap so much as just mildly annoying.

The last thing that bears mentioning is, again, those boss battles. Holy crap, are they awesome. While you do have the occasional weak one here and there, they’re few and far between. Whether you’re fighting a gigantic ogre, a steel-encrusted dragon or an oversized demon, the boss battles are certainly epic and hard enough to tickle anyone’s fancy. Only gripe with the bosses is that both stories do have a hidden final boss and they are laughable in difficulty. Considering how both proper final bosses are freaking hard as Hell, this is admittedly kind of a let-down but, eh, whatever, can’t win ‘em all.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade is one of the most accomplished titles on the Wii and is actually in my personal top 5 games for the system. While, like I said, the story really is kind “eh” the gameplay more than makes up for it. Like, seriously, it’s just fun. Murdering the Hell out of enemies has rarely ever been this fun. While I will admit it’s not like it’s really tailored to the system (in other words, the game uses no motion controls whatsoever and could have very easily been ported to the PS3 or 360), that’s not really a gripe and it’s still a fantastic game regardless. If you own a Wii and you don’t own this game, you should fix that right now. Like right now. Go down to your nearest game store and buy a copy right now. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Good? Anyway, now we’re moving onto our next game.

 

OBJECTION!

Oh, hey, it’s Tren’s old joke from v3 that I won’t let die for some strange reason.

That’s Captain Blog Justice to you!

Whatever. What brings you back to the internetz anyway?

I have come here to inform you that you failed to reach your quota when you were trying to make this blog.

Huh?

You see, in your intro, you promised to keep a variety and have a different g1 co-review each game. Well, for three of the games on here, you failed to find someone to aid you.

Yeah, life sucks sometimes like that. Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered.

Correction: you got two of them covered. One of them is a solo review and you managed to fox your way out of the other way but that leaves this game untouched. This means that you must now abort this blog since you have absolutely no one at all to help you review it.

No one at all, you say? Are you sure about that?

I’m posit- what’s with that evil smile you’re giving me?

You’re helping me review this game, Captain Blog Justice.

What?! No! How dare you! I am a fair and unbiased official; I cannot be forced into cooperating with g1s in official blog-making matters.

Do it or else I’ll throw an axe into your head again.

Oh… but… um… God dammit…

Fine! This is Captain Blog Justice helping Flashpenny review Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando.

 

Planet Oozla~Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando

There, that wasn’t so hard, now was it?

I’m going to kill you someday.

Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando is one of the most accomplished games for the PlayStation 2 and is one of the absolute best sequels ever. This is one of those sequels that radically improved upon its predecessor beyond belief, enough so to the point of fixing flaws that you didn’t even know were there in the first place.

That is probably the best way to describe this game. I don’t know if EVERYTHING was improved but almost everything definitely is.

We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it but let’s talk about the game as is. The story takes place after the first game as Ratchet and Clank are summoned to another galaxy to help the interplanetary company, Megacorp, re-obtain their stolen product, the Protopet.

Unfortunately, they soon find out that the Protopet is actually a bio-weapon and soon Ratchet and Clank begin to wonder just who the villain really is.

While I have to admit that this game’s story doesn’t really have the same epic scale that the first game’s had, it’s still entertaining nonetheless. It’s much more played up for laughs and it does get some good laughs, particularly from the dynamic duo, Ratchet and Clank themselves. I mean Ratchet is no more an annoying prick at certain points in the game so clearly it’s a step in the right direction.

I actually personally had a lot more fun with the villains. The Leader of Thugs-4-Less (a crew of mercenaries hired to kill Ratchet and Clank) is always entertaining to watch and I really liked the final plot twist as to who the mastermind of the whole scheme was.

Even the side-characters are a lot of fun and lead to some pretty funny exchanges. Moving from there, I don’t even know what to begin to talk about as, like I said, it was all improved upon from the first game that it just blows my mind.

Keep in mind that “better than the first game” doesn’t mean “amazing” in certain cases. These cases include the game’s boss gallery and soundtrack. Both of these things were decent in the first game and were given a slight upgrade here. Despite this most of the music is still forgettable and the bosses, while fun, aren’t great.

I guess you do have a point there. The weapons (which are what drive the R&C games), while different, aren’t better. More or less on the same line of quality but this game still has some pretty sweet weapons. My personal favorite was the Lava Gun.

What about the hoverbike races? Remember those abysmal races from the first Ratchet & Clank game? Well fear not that they’d appear here because they don’t. Instead you get some pretty fun racing mini-games.

In only one stage but still, the point remains.

But, yeah, there really is a lot of stuff improved for the better. Like the level design. Now don’t get me wrong, the level design in the first R&C isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination but most of the levels do feel the same. Here, just about every level feels unique, creative and incredibly fun.

Hell, there’s even stuff, like I said before, that I didn’t even think were problems in the first R&C that are actually changed for the better here. Like the way you level up your health. In the first game, you just bought more health spheres at a vending machine on one planet. I didn’t have a problem with it.

In Going Commando, they go for more of an RPG style when it comes to health. Basically the more enemies you kill, the higher the meter beneath your health bar climbs. When that meter goes full, Ratchet unleashes an electrical explosion that kills all enemies in sight and adds one more segment of health to your health bar.

This actually winds up taking a lot less time than you may think as by the end of the game, I think I had upwards of seventy segments of health and you start the game with four.

In case you think this might make the game too easy, don’t. Honestly, when you get down to it, after a certain point, it doesn’t even seem like it really matters that your health is upgradable since your enemies’ power grows in proportion to it.

That is actually true although I don’t mind, personally.

We should probably also mention those uber-fun gladiator games that made their first appearance here. After all, isn’t the most of fun of Ratchet & Clank getting to kill the shit out of your enemies? Well, you get your chance to do that here as on two levels, you can perform certain challenges in a gladiatorial arena with certain enemies.

These challenges range from kill boss to kill boss in a certain amount of time to kill enemies with only a certain weapon. Some of these can be pretty simple but a lot of them actually do require some serious practice in order to complete them. Regardless of whatever the challenge is, they are always a pleasure to play.

That they are, that they are.

Now, despite our constant praising of the game, it is not without its flaws. Care to shed some light on a few of them, Captain?

Well, one of my personal bigger issues is that steep difficulty streak from the first game that is still present in this one. When it hits, it hits hard. Not only that but it actually hits even earlier than it did in the first game. As soon as you get to the third or fourth level, the game gets way too hard way too fast.

Agreed on that point. Not only that but while Going Commando did improve on most of the things present in the first game, it didn’t improve on all of them. Two areas in particular are the spaceship and Giant Clank sections.

In the first game, neither of these were the highlights of the game but they were still fun areas to play in. Here, they’re downgraded beyond belief. Every time you get to a spaceship or Giant Clank section in Going Commando, you just roll your eyes and sigh at the punishment that you’re going to have to toughen through in order to get back to the good parts of the game.

Seriously, fuck whoever designed these boss fights.

Yeah, those two areas needed some serious work. I think it’s more the stages that you play on in these sections that need work rather than the control scheme or anything like that.

I personally find it amusing how the space missions are sort of like the Gladiator Coliseum in that after beating the one that’s mandatory to advance in the game, you do have a variety of missions to choose from to earn more bolts. Now, riddle me this, who would want to go back and play it again?! They’re not fun!

Despite this, however, these flaws do not get in the way of an otherwise stellar performance. Considering how easy to obtain PlayStation 2 games are these days, there is no reason to pass on this game.

Well, if you don’t have a PS2, I guess you do have an excuse but I digress.

Oh, PlayStation 2, how I love you and the dirt-cheap value of both you and your games in the market these days and how you allowed me to buy me a copy of Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando for only $5.

Is that all?

Yes, I suppose so. Thank you for being with us Captain Blog Justice.

Captain Blog Justice away!

What a fine fellow. Moving onto our next game, I've hired some person to review this game with me (no, really, that's his actual name).

Well, hi hi hi there! This is G1 someperson and I'm here to assist Flashpenny in reviewing Infamous (or how it's presented on the box: inFAMOUS.)

 

Stampton Bridge~inFamous

I always thought it was inFamous... I have no idea why the game never spelled it with proper capitalization.

Anyway, this is a game that comes from the same minds that brought us the Sly Cooper trilogy and, predictably, this is pretty damn good too. Basically, this is a game about a guy who becomes a superhero... or a supervillain (*wink wink nudge nudge*).

I....actually never played it as a super-villain. I've played through this game to completion twice, and both times I was a good guy.

Personally, I played it once as a good guy although I'm planning on a second playthrough as a bad guy.

For you, our dear reader, what we're referring to is that inFamous is, well, infamous for its karma system. Basically a huge explosion rocked Empire City, causing it to be quarantined and leaving it as a veritable Hellhole (think the second half of The Dark Knight Rises only way, way worse). You play as Cole McGrath who learns of the evil gangs that are trying to re-create the explosion via something called a Ray Sphere. Thus, depending on how you choose to play the game, Cole is either a brave soul trying to save the city and people he loves or an evil gang lord trying to take the city for his own.

But how, you may ask, is he going to accomplish this? With superpowers, obviously. You see, said huge explosion seemed to give Cole the powers to manipulate electricity, allowing him to shoot it out of hands at enemies, among a vast array of powers, mostly used for killing (electricity bombs! sonic waves! thunder storms!) or traversing the city (hovering! grinding really fast on metal railings! Parkour that doesn't actually have anything to do with electricity!)

The most basic and oft-used one is the lightning strike which your default attack. Of course, like just about every video game ever, you don't get the better superpowers until later in the game. On the other hand, actually getting these superpowers is oftentimes some of the best parts of the whole game.

Seriously, the feeling when you get when you destroy a group of enemies with a gigantic thunder bolt is one of the most awesome feelings in the world.

Not to mention sticking a lightning grenade to an enemy, or using shockwave to knock an enemy back and shooting him to death with your regular lightning shots. In terms of making you feel like an absolute badass, this game has few rivals. Or at least it would, if death wasn't such a constant.

Admittedly, that is one really big issue of the game and kind of the only real big flaw I have with it. The enemies in this game tend to just absolutely rape you with certain missions just feeling like cheap "insta-kill" zones. They just shoot at you whenever you appear, oftentimes from the top of buildings and refuse to stop.

However, this sort of thing is leveled out in that by doing side-missions you gain more turf and enemies will leave said turf. It's actually nice system that plays out quite well.

It does play out well, until you've taken back all of the areas from the gangs controlling them, and are then left with a mostly empty city. It's that ultimate gaming catch-22: the goal you are working toward ends up making the game less fun. Still, that doesn't really come into play until near the end of the game, and therefore isn't too big a deal (unless you're trying to upgrade all of your powers to full, then it's kinda annoying.)

Well, the gangs do make sporadic returns although not nearly as much as before. With that said, I always did leave a little sliver open here or there since there's a few side-missions that I simply couldn't care less about (particularly the Hidden Package missions).

I guess we should get to explaining it a bit more. The world of Infamous is divided into three different islands (with two blocked off until later in the game), and these islands are divided into smaller districts. When you get to an island, you must a.) do some story missions to restore power to large chunks of the island, and b.) complete side quests in order to keep enemies from appearing in a certain district. While the main quests almost always have you doing something new, only a handful of side missions are unique. Many of the side quests will have you doing things such as escorting prisoners (which sounds annoying, but is quite easy), performing certain stunts for a photographer to take pictures of (how does that help anyone?), killing a certain number of enemies, to yes, finding hidden packages containing blast shards, the name for the shrapnel from the bomb that destroyed the city and the collectibles used to increase the amount of electricity you store in order to use special moves (it should be noted that not even close to all of the blast shards are collected through the hidden packages; most are found stuck to the sides of buildings or on rooftops, and it's near impossible to collect them all, even with online help). The side quests aren't the most the greatest, but they do help you level up your powers and make the game easier by giving areas where enemies aren't CONSTANTLY SHOOTING AT YOU!

Cole's so badass that he can call down the wrath of Zeus upon the non-believers.

Y'know, some of these really do raise the question as to how they scare rival gangs away. I can get escorting some guys to prison or destroying surveillance cameras could decrease their power but, as you noted, how can taking pictures and finding hidden duffle bags full of blast shards scare them away. I'm not complaining really.

But yes, the fact that enemies are constantly shooting at you once you leave your turf is more or less the game's chief flaw. This gets especially annoying when you enter the third and last island and there's actual LAND MINES on the rooftops that blow you to holy Hell if you get near them.

I actually don't remember the land mines. What I do remember is the specific reason why I never actually bought this game: wrist pains. The game has no auto-fire for the lightning bolt attack (mapped to the R1 button, making combat in this game play out like a third-person shooter, and also your main mode of attack) and so the amount of time you spend firing at enemies puts a hell of a strain on your wrist. This was sort of solved in the sequel, but if Infamous weren't so compelling I might not have finished it. Even so, this remains the only game I've played that actually caused me physical pain. Did you have that problem, or is this something that's unique to me?

A lot of people have complained about this but I never really encountered it. On the other hand, I'm also the kind of guy who, when there's only one or two enemies left, I'll just go right up to the guy and beat the shit out of him.

Melee combat was never this games strong suit, I feel. (I'm trying to make a good segue out of this and failing; help me out here, would ya?)

SEGUE TIME!

The soundtrack is eh. It's not really memorable but I don't know if it's supposed to be, it just goes for ambiance more than anything else. Admittedly this feels like kind of a let-down since the Sly Cooper trilogy had some pretty cool songs but it's not a big complaint, the music does its job. The only song I really remember fondly is the music that plays during the credits (which is really awesome).

I don't remember the music at all, really. I remember that was pretty standard industrial stuff, which I guess fits the tone of the game as well as fits within the near dead city.

That it does, it fits, nothing really more or less.

I guess we covered just about all bases except the story and, suffice to say, it's great. That's sort of the thing about Sucker Punch, the stories themselves are generally pretty straightforward but they just create such great characters to tie it all together that it gets you all the more invested and make you want to see the good guys win and the bad guys lose.

Yeah. Infamous, while not possessing an amazing story, is populated with enough interesting characters to be compelling. It sucks that the moral choice system in this game left the protagonist sort-of a blank slate. I agree with what Yahtzee said about this game: it really should have let you just decide at the beginning whether you wanted to be good or evil, seeing as how the game in no way rewards neutrality.

Oh, and since we have to bring it up: I don't hate the ending as much as everyone else, but it feels like it came out of thin air, and all in all it was more ridiculous than this game had even hinted at being before that point. What are your thoughts on it?

People hate the ending? I LOVED the ending. It really just blew my mind as it absolutely played with your expectations and then delivered in one big "holy shit" moment. I don't really get the ridiculousness gripe considering how this is a game where being caught at a nuclear explosion at point-blank range gives someone the ability to create and control electricity. Granted, it ended a bit openly but, well, that's sort of the idea of a cliffhanger. I thought it closed up Cole's relationship with Kessler and Zeke's character arc well enough.

Also, while Cole is sort of a blank slate, he does have a very moody and dry sense of humor that I actually personally enjoy. I also like how they portray his "inner turmoils" whenever a karma moment occurs.

On the other characters, most of them are, again, pretty dang good with the highlights being the aforementioned Kessler and Zeke. Kessler is such an awesome villain that pretty much plays the Joker to Cole's Batman: always fucking with him, always manipulating him, always making him choose what to do. I don't even want to spoil some of the evil stuff he does, he's just a cool villain.

Zeke, Cole's best friend, is also great. He at first seems like the annoying best friend stereotype (although he's pretty funny) but they actually give him a really good character arc that takes a few surprising turns, especially one really big one shortly before you enter the third island.

Zeke ends up being one of the better characters in the series, definitely. You think he's just going to be the crude comic relief character, and he is for a while. Then he does something rather few characters in games do: he gains self-awareness.

Yeah, he really does possess a surprisingly in-depth and interesting character arc. I really don't want to spoil anything for you, dear reader, but he's definitely pretty entertaining.

Hell, even just the bits when he calls Cole on the cell phone is always entertaining. Or even when it's Moya or John (Cole's bosses in the game who give him missions) are also entertaining as it's amusing watching Cole match wits with these two who have ulterior motives.

I hate to bring this up, but it's kinda hard for me to discuss the story of this game without thinking about where it goes. So tell me Flash, have you played Infamous 2?

No, I plan on doing so but we probably should keep it on the down-low. If it makes you feel better, I'll recruit you for a co-review when I do play inFamous 2 and we can talk about it then.

I apologize, but I will take you up on that offer when you finally get around to it.

Anyway, I'm kinda at a loss of what to discuss now. I suppose we could talk about the art direction, which I like well enough. It's color pallet isn't too original, but it fits the games tone while allowing for the game to follow either the good or evil path without one of the options seeming out of place.

That's actually something interesting about inFamous that sort of fits the karma system (again, I haven't played evil system so this is just going off from what I heard). As you advance through the game, the city either becomes more and more rebuilt (ultimately looking like downtown Manhattan in some areas) or becoming more and more disheveled. It's a nice trick.

That seems about to sum it up. Anything else you want to add or should we move onto closing thoughts?

About the thing with the karma system: again, I wouldn't know, seeing as I'm too much of a bleeding heart to play evil. But it is making me want to replay the game.

And that's it for me, you want to start with the closing thoughts or should I?

You can go first.

Alright then.

In conclusion, Infamous is one of the more accomplished games available for the PS3. It's flawed, yes; the controls can be sticky, the enemies can be too relentless, and constant firing of the main lightning attack will cause unbearable wrist pain, probably for a few days. But beyond those flaws lies a rather amazing experience, filled with awesome set pieces, great world design and atmosphere both bleak and beautiful. It's definitely a must play, even with the wrist pain (that fucking wrist pain, though. Every time.)

I never really encountered this wrist pain but, yes, inFamous is definitely a must-have for any owner of a PlayStation 3. While the enemies can be a bit too annoyingly cheap at times, it's not often enough to kill the game. There's still a very fun experience to be had here and, honestly, the game lasts you a while. Not only that but the karma system ensures at least one playthrough so you're definitely getting a good value for your money. If you own a PS3 and for some strange reason, you don't own this game, what are you waiting for?

Thank you for being with us, someperson.

Thanks for having me.

And now, it’s time for the final review. So, for the grand finale, I’m going to call in the one man on planet Earth who could ever defeat me in a debate: myself.

Hello, this is Flashpenny, here to help my good friend, Flashpenny, review I-Spy Spooky Mansion for the Wii.

 

Grim Grinning Ghosts

Thank God for Internet anonymity since I don’t could ever speak that sentence to my real-life friends with any shred of shame.

Say, what’s with that song you have playing right now? I’m pretty sure that’s not in the game.

It’s a “spooky song” that’s not even remotely scary. I think it fits the game since the game is obviously not even remotely spooky. Besides, Halloween season's coming around the corner and there isn’t any music in the game.

Well, actually there is a catchy sinister tune that plays during the game’s scavenger hunts that I actually really like. It’s really atmospheric and gets you pumped to beat the game.

Correction, there isn’t any music in the game that I can find on Youtube.

Anyway, I always was a fan of the Scholastic I-Spy video games. They test your puzzle-solving knowledge and could always be a lot of fun trying to deduce where all the objects are.

Personally, the one I grew up on was I-Spy Treasure Hunt on the PC but not too long ago, the series was revitalized with Ultimate I-Spy on the Wii which I still consider an underrated Wii classic that perfectly uses the Wii’s motion controls and the potential that I-Spy’s premise has to create a truly fun experience.

But we’re not here to talk about Ultimate I-Spy, we’re here to talk about I-Spy Spooky Mansion, the other I-Spy game you can get on the Wii.

And… I’m not going to lie, compared to Ultimate I-Spy, this game really falls flat.

Perhaps we should explain I-Spy. Pretty much you control some off-screen cursor and have a certain number of puzzles spread throughout a world map of sorts. Upon finding these puzzles, you now have to find the objects spread throughout the puzzle and click on them.

I think we should explain the game’s story proper first as that’s the best part of any review (even though, really, if you’re going to judge this game’s story, you’re the world’s most impossible-to-please reviewer). Basically, when this game starts up, you get a certain number of files to name your own file, sort of like Zelda, and then your name will pop up at certain points in the game. Other than that, it really has no bearing whatsoever on the game proper so call it whatever you want, I named mine Mr. T.

The game takes place shortly after Mr. T got his Champion Belt taken away from him by Rocky Balboa, much to his chagrin. So on his way to join up his crew of friends who got framed for a crime they didn’t commit, he comes across a spooky mansion and decides to go inside. Unfortunately, upon entering, it’s locked behind him and so he now must solve puzzles so as to find his way out.

Again, the first-person POV seems to imply that your character is a reasonably-sized adult so even if he’s not someone like Mr. T, common sense dictates that he should still be able to get his way out simply by smashing the windows open but, whatever, we’re not here to critique the story, just explain it.

Your companion in the mansion is a pint-sized undead skeleton named Skelly who gives you a variety of misleading instructions to find your way out. Oh and he speaks entirely in rhymes too.

Or does he?

Yeah, isn’t that weird, sometimes he speaks in rhyme and sometimes he doesn’t. What the Hell is up with that, either keep it like that all the time or don’t.

"Excuse me if I seem a bit upset, but that fucking skeleton stole my bit!"

I know we’ve gone on time and again about how graphics aren’t our thing but there is something really, really half-assed about Skelly’s character model. He looks like something that came out of the N64 era and his JAW DOESN’T EVEN MOVE WHEN HE TALKS!

I mean, seriously, I know he’s a skeleton and all but how the Hell does he speak if his mouth is glued shut all the time?!

On the game itself, it is fun I guess. Granted, I do actually think this game is still too easy. I-Spy games have always given me trouble before and I didn’t really ever encounter any truly difficult moments in this game. Part of the fun of I-Spy is just looking at the puzzle for literally a half-hour with only one more item remaining before finally finding it completely by accident and experiencing a pure rush of ecstasy.

You still find some of those moments in this game but they’re pretty infrequent.

You are aware that this is a game made for a fairly young audience and you’re seventeen, right? I’m pretty sure it would be difficult for its target age group.

Well, yeah, but going back to Ultimate I-Spy, that was a pretty hard game no matter how old you are. I don’t think it’s unfair to compare the two considering how they are sort of the same game on the same system. I think this also has to do with the fact that Ultimate I-Spy’s worlds were MASSIVE so it’s much harder to find stuff and requires much more brainwork on your end.

Here, the worlds are much more scaled-down so it’s easier to find stuff if you give it enough time. Again, the Wii has proven it has the processing power to run something much bigger so why not utilize that chance?

You’re also aware that this game is really just a remake of the PC game of the same name, right? Literally, they just brought the game over to the Wii, improved the graphics and added some motion control schtick and that’s about it.

Really? Holy crap, that explains a lot.

Why the Hell did they remake it though? Were there really just people petitioning to Scholastic saying that they wanted a remake of I-Spy Spooky Mansion? Especially since, again, this remake came out AFTER Ultimate I-Spy which makes the whole thing seem like one massive step backwards.

Admittedly, this wouldn’t be such a big issue if the game was a must-play or if it added new features but the game really isn’t a must-play and those new features amount to motion-control mini-games.

Oh God, those motion control mini-games. Spooky Mansion took a page out of Ultimate I-Spy’s book and added motion control mini-games. Now in Ultimate I-Spy these were a ton of fun and a blast to play. The mini-games in this game, on the other hand, are admissible as forms of torture. They’re not fun, destroy your arms and most of them just amount to waving your arms around like a fucking idiot.

Well, didn’t you like that one mini-game with the submarine? You know, the one in the photo gallery level?

Well yeah but it really is just a shorter and not-as-fun version of the rocket mini-game of Ultimate I-Spy and just reminded me how much fun I had playing that.

You know, how many times have we mentioned Ultimate I-Spy during this review? But really, that’s all it’s coming down to. For both kids and adults, Ultimate I-Spy is a much better game and a much better experience that’s great fun for the whole family. Spooky Mansion is pretty much exclusive to kids. Again, nothing wrong with that, it’s just that you’d probably be expecting something more considering how its immediate predecessor was fucking awesome.

Yeah, as much as it seems like we’re ranting on the game, it is still fun at the end of the day and it’s a good game to play when you’re bored and just need a way to kill time. It’s just that there’s a much better game from the same series on the same system that’s a much better investment of your time and money.

That seems to about sum it up. Again, I-Spy Spooky Mansion: decent game, there’s just a much better alternative out there.

Pretty much. Thank you for being with us, Flashpenny.

Any time, Flashpenny.

Well that seems to be it. In case you didn't catch the order of preference:

Muramasa: The Demon Blade>Jak 3>inFamous>Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando>Metroid: Other M>Abobo's Big Adventure>Mario Party 9>Mega Man 6>I-Spy Spooky Mansion>Beyond Good & Evil

So, now that's all said and done, see you around folks!

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