Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I now have three stars, having just beaten Punchinello, and I just got Bowser on my team. Apparently, Peach is at the top of Booster Tower, where I'm heading next. I haven't gone inside yet, because I've decided to level up my characters so they are all around the same level, which at this moment happens to be 10.
I had stopped playing at the Forest Maze, because that area is bullshit. Easily my least favorite part of the game so far. I had no problem with it until the Lost Woods-ish part at the end, where you supposedly have to go left, left, straight, right. But you also have to follow Geno, then make some other weird turns, and I eventually had to look up where to go online because I was frustrated as hell, and even THAT didn't help because the people who wrote the FAQs on GameFAQs are fucking idiots who don't know how to write directions for an isometric perspective!
Let me spell that out for you. If a game is set up like Mario RPG, and you walk diagonally up, left, right, and down almost all the time, then guess what? When you are denoting turns (or exits), you say upper-right or lower-left! Not left, right, up, or down! When you say up, what the fuck does that mean?! Upper right, or upper left? So, suffice it to say, I eventually figured out where to go, but I don't remember what I did. But once I beat that fucking level, I resolved to never go back.
And what is it with the Lost Woods thing? It always seemed like lazy design to me (yes, even in the Zelda games). All the areas look the same, and I don't care if they are intended that way or not, it's not fun. It's annoying. I've seen it in multiple Zelda games, a couple Mario games (this one included), and probably a bunch of other ones too (Crystalis comes to mind). Developers: stop it. Nobody likes playing this; I hated wandering around for like an hour fighting annoying enemies (including Donkey Kong! Er, I mean, Guerrilla...). So fucking quit it.
Anyway, after I beat that area and got the second star, I went to Moleville and played through the mines there, and had a blast doing it. I actually enjoyed the fights, really with no complaints, even the boss was fun. And the mine cart ride afterwards using the Super Nintendo's Mode 7 was pretty sweet as well. I always love seeing Mode 7 stuff - it feels so outdated, it's awesome.
I'm still really enjoying the game, though. Very well done, and extremely playable, perhaps even as much as the later Mario RPG games - Forest Maze aside, of course.
(Click here for Part 1 of my Mario RPG Impressions)
(Click here for my first Mario RPG article)
Usually, it's the same old shit. A bunch of card games, perhaps a Tetris clone, maybe a Mario Land.
I got lucky, though. "Holy shit! They have Wario Land II!" It was listed as $9.99 as well, so I ended up paying about $7.50 because of the sale, which is about 5 dollars less than what was being asked at the eBay auction I was looking at.
So, I picked the game up and brought it home. I intend on playing through it, but there is a slight problem: it appears as though whoever previously owned this game didn't take proper care of it, because a tiny, tiny part of where the cartridge connects to the system appears to be slightly corroded. From what I've played so far, the game works, but I have had it delete my save once already (possibly due to my using an old Super Game Boy). Luckily, that file was deleted only about 5 levels in, so I started over on my Game Boy Player and have had pretty good luck so far. If I get far, though, and my save gets deleted, I probably will put the game down for a while - I can't stand replaying the same levels over and over again because the fucking game decided to delete itself.
Anyway, Wario Land II is a pretty cool game. It is like a combination of Wario Land 1 and Wario Land 3, and it is succulent. The invincibility and powers of Wario Land 3 combined with the linear level progression and the importance of coins of Wario Land 1 - seems like a pretty good combo so far.
I will say this, though: the minigames leave a lot to be desired. Ooh, guess the number! And try to figure out where this picture is if we show you for a split second! I may not have liked the golf minigame very much in Wario Land 3, but it beats the pants off these two.
Oh, and Zombie Wario can't jump in this one. Apparently, Zombie Wario got an upgrade for Wario Land 3.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I just got all 100 treasures in Wario Land 3, so I'm pretty much effectively done with it. I doubt I'll be getting all 8 coins in every level, because, well, I have other shit to play (namely, Super Mario RPG, which will now probably get my full attention unless I buy Mario Kart Wii soon).
Just a few closing thoughts on Wario Land 3:
- Above the Clouds is an annoying fucking level. In fact, its the most annoying level in the game.
- The last boss, to me, seems like an easier version of Donkey Kong GB's last boss, which I thought was odd. And somewhat lame. Granted, Wario Land 3 came out six years after that game, so I guess they assumed most people hadn't played both? Or it was just a coincidence? I don't know.
- The music is very well done, which is something I don't think I've said before. I haven't played much of Wario Land II, but the Wario Land series overall has fantastic music, even though most of them are on the Game Boy.
- The puzzles are great, as well, because they aren't super easy nor do they become incredibly frustrating (aside from climbing the clouds in Above the Clouds, as mentioned before).
- The golf minigame is okay, but to me it seems tacked on. Sometimes, it seems as though the designed the holes merely to drain your coins (but I think thats just me - I tend to try to always hit the "ball" as hard as possible rather than aim my shot).
(Click here to read my second Wario Land 3 article)
(Click here to read my first Wario Land 3 article)
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I can see how Mario RPG influenced those games, though. As different as Mario RPG is from the others, the roots are there. The timed button presses, the witty dialogue, goofy situations, wierd minigames, and Mario character staples are all there.
But, Square's interpretation of the Mario RPG is much harder than the later games. I mean, this game is not too difficult (well, at least so far... I guess I'm only one star in), whereas the other games were pretty much a cakewalk. And as far as the humor so far goes, Superstar Saga is still the winner (really, for me, that's one of the funniest games of all time, all because of this guy. I can't get enough of him).
But I am still very happy with my purchase. Yes, it is partly because I own a game I've wanted for a while and it is one of the more moderately expensive SNES games, but it's also because I love the Mario RPG games and I want to play through the original.
I think I'm about to get Geno, which is cool, because people on the internet seem to love him, and I know nothing about him. I guess we'll see.
(Click here to read my first Mario RPG article)
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
It's been a good day so far.
I'll be writing about these games as time goes on, as well. I've never played Mario RPG, so that one will be interesting.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Okay, let me be more specific. What I would like is for when you start a new game in Pokemon, the game randomizes which Pokemon will appear where throughout your journey. Obviously, there would have to be some restrictions. I mean, if you were to run into, say, nothing but Pidgeys and Rattatas for three gyms, that would be unfair. But, if I started a new game in Pokemon Pearl, and after I obtain my first set of Pokeballs, would it not be sweet if I encountered a Gible? Sure, it'd mean I'd get a chance at some fantastic Pokemon right off the bat, but that would certainly encourage replay value, at least for me.
Plus, it would encourage trading, I think. I mean, if my friend and I are only two gyms in and I have a couple Gibles and he has a few Riolus, I would most certainly trade with him as soon as possible.
But this will never happen. It'd be too difficult, and really, how would you catch them all? All the FAQs online for finding Pokemon on specific routes would be useless. Still, it'd be great to have different Pokemon at the beginning to start out with...
One of my favorite things about it is that it obeys all of my laws of good handheld games. Which are these:
1. Let me save anywhere, anytime. (Preferably letting me resume at the exact spot I left off, which Wario Land 3 does do)
2. Give me hints on where to go next if I want them, and make them easily accessible(i.e. don't make me slog through tons of text on the main menu - let me get the hints in-game).
3. Use bright and/or contrasting colors so I can tell the difference between enemies, walls, floors, etc.
Wario Land 3 fulfills all of these requirements fully. I have no problems playing it. I have no problems seeing it even on a Game Boy Color, which if you recall did not have a backlight. So, essentially, it is the perfect handheld game.
Sadly, it's one of the best games I've played in a while. I'm not saying recent games like Smash Bros. Brawl or New Super Mario Bros. are bad, but they don't pull themselves together so coherently like Wario Land 3 does. Wario Land 3 just seems to do everything right.
I'll have to get a hold of a copy of Wario Land II - it's the one game in the series I've only played briefly, and I've heard that's pretty good as well.
(Click here to read my first Wario Land 3 article)
However, this blog isn't about my personal life, so I won't discuss it anymore than that.
Anyway, it's been six days since I posted here, and a couple things have happened as far as video games go. One, a coworker of mine has been unloading some of her old videogames on me (free of charge!), and she gave me a particularly interesting load last Saturday. It consisted of a Gamecube, two Gamecube controllers, a clear purple Game Boy Color, a semi-broken original Game Boy, Animal Crossing, 2 Memory Card 59s, Harvest Moon GBC, Pokemon Pinball, and Wario Land 3. The last game in particular I've been looking for lately, and it's not that I've had a problem finding it, I just didn't want to pay more than 15 bucks.
Regardless, I was happy to receive it. I've been playing it since I got it, and for a Game Boy Color game, it is surprisingly playable. In fact, it's fantastic.
It is (obviously) the third game in the Wario Land series for the Game Boy, and it has a peculiar feature: It is a sidescrolling game, and the player's character cannot be killed. The game makes up for this by allowing the player to traverse levels in such a way that when they reach a boss and get hit by the boss, they are turned into something that floats and they float out of the boss's lair and have to find their way back.
At times, yes, this can be annoying. Usually, however, the game only sets you back to the previous room, right before you enter the boss room. This way, you really only have to start the (usually always short) boss fights over.
Anyway, the point of the game is not to fight your way through levels to get to the end, like in a sidescrolling Mario game. This game is all about solving puzzles in order to find treasures to further explore the rest of the levels in the game.
Honestly, that's all I want to say about the game itself at this point - I'm sure I'll post more in the upcoming days about it. However, I will say this: Since Wario Land 1 was titled Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, it is implied that the Wario series was an offshoot of the Mario series, and that seems odd to me. The first two Mario Game Boy games were great and sold well, and then Nintendo went and made a game all about Wario, the bad guy from the second game.
What the hell made Nintendo do that? I'm certainly thankful, because Wario Land is a fantastic game, but wow, what an odd choice. You'd think Nintendo would only continue to pump out Mario games. Oh well, perhaps they were sick of them back then. It doesn't matter now, anyway; the Game Boy Advance's Wario Land 4 wasn't as good as the first three games, and the less said about Wario: Master of Disguise, the better.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
But the lack of hopping with the R button. Wow, that really ruined the game for me. I could never master the powerslide; I'm sure I could've had I gave it enough time and effort, but I never really cared about it because I didn't like the controls too much. Which is sad, because I love the controller (Let it be said: the Nintendo Gamecube controller is the most comfortable video game controller ever made, and I mean ever), but without hopping the game seemed wonky to me.
And then there's Baby Park. Which is really the shittiest Mario Kart track ever. First of all, its a short track, consisting of just two turns. There is a lot of item boxes, and so it seems the whole point of the level is for it to be a big battle.
I don't care what anyone says; they are wrong. Baby Park sucks. If you have ever bitched about Blue Shells taking "skilled" play away from Mario Kart and adding to its "random" winners, then you cannot, CANNOT like Baby Park because the whole level is one giant fucking blue shell. Bullet Bills, Blue Shells, Red Shells, and all of them all combine to form the most annoying level known to Mario Kart. Are you really good at racing? Powersliding? Anything like that? Well, you might as well forget leading the pack on Baby Park, then, because the winner is always completely random. It really is whoever gets the star on the last lap, or the Blue Shell two laps before the end.
And the worst thing about Mario Kart DS is the fact they included this bullshit level.
Anyway, to sum up: Mario Kart Double Dash is an okay game, but the lack of R hopping and fucking Baby Park are two abortions of ideas that I hope Nintendo never revisits again.
A couple things worth mentioning: I've never done this before. All my previous playthroughs of Pokemon have been with Pokemon I catch myself, mostly because I never had any means of trading. So, I've also never had to deal with a Pokemon that won't obey.
So: Fuck you, Leafeon. Just fucking use any move. You don't have to use the one I tell you, but quit "loafing around." Once I beat the second gym, Pokemon up to level 30 will obey me. By the time I beat the gym, Leafeon will probably be around level 22. Woo-hoo, 8 levels of obedience. Then I have to wait until I beat another 2 gyms so Pokemon up to level 50 will obey me, at which point I'm pretty much set until endgame. Anyway, it's a minor point - I just found it annoying, is all.
Quick thought: I wish Nintendo would implement a way for me to use Pokemon that aren't available at the start of the game without imposing this stupid "disobey" crap on me. I would love to have my Elite Four team consist of all Eeveelutions or something cool like that.
- Story: Meh, Phantom Hourglass probably takes this one since even though it doesn't really advance the storyline of Wind Waker, it involves characters from it. And Minish Cap has Vaati, so as mentioned before, it is shit.
- Items: The final nod has to go to Minish Cap here. Although I liked the controls of the old items in Phantom Hourglass, they ultimately weren't used outside of the dungeon you got them in, whereas Minish Cap forced you to use them to get around - and also in puzzles throughout the world! Wow!
- Graphics: Good thing graphics usually don't bother me, because I can't decide which I like better. Minish Cap is weird looking to me; it looks like some other game at times. Phantom Hourglass, on the other hand, uses a dumbed down version of Wind Waker's graphics - and when you see Link up close, you'll see the DS doesn't do a great job of it. So I guess in the end, Minish Cap wins, because at least with that game I don't notice shitty looking graphics as I'm playing.
- Bosses: Phantom Hourglass wins. While Minish Cap wins for difficulty, Phantom Hourglass has incredibly fun bosses, and the use of the items in the boss fights is really the only place they shine.
- Dungeons: Minish Cap wins. Phantom Hourglass has the Temple of the Ocean King, which is the worst Zelda dungeon ever(because of sheer annoyance). Also, besides the fact the dungeons never really pose a challenge physically or mentally, Minish Cap's somewhat easy puzzles beat out Phantom Hourglasses ridiculously easy puzzles.
- Controls: Ah, the controversial one. I'm going to take Phantom Hourglass here, not because I necessarily prefer the stylus controls, but because Minish Cap forces me to use the R button way more than I should have to. And shoulder buttons have always sucked.
(Click here for my second Minish Cap article)
(Click here for my first Minish Cap article)
Snaking, though. I can do it, but I can see why people don't like it. It really limits the fun you can have while playing Mario Kart. Having a match between people who do nothing but snake is exhilarating, but tiring. At my Mario Kart DS peak, I could only play 5 or 6 matches before my hands cramped into a gnarled mass of fingers. And snaking against people who either couldn't or refused to wasn't any fun either, and I actually felt bad about it, so I tried not to do it. It really did break the game.
But that's not to say it sucked, though. Mario Kart DS introduced missions, which were excellent single player diversions for people like me who had no one nearby who wanted to play the game. There were plenty of missions, and some of them were balls hard.
I never really got into Battle Mode in any of the Mario Kart's, though, so my opinion of Mario Kart DS's version of it is pretty much the same as the other Mario Kart games: fairly boring.
Overall, Mario Kart DS is a fantastic game and if you missed it, you really missed out on the best version of Mario Kart to date.
To celebrate Mario Kart Wii's upcoming release, I will periodically be posting about various other games in the Mario Kart series. This is the first such post.
Monday, April 14, 2008
WHAT HAPPENED TO STORING ITEMS ON THE PC?!
Seriously, I'm sick of having to scroll through 200 items to get to the bottom (where the game automatically places any item you newly obtain or unequip from your Pokemon). Can I store my 17 Fire Stones? How about all of this shit you can only get once that I don't need right now, but would like to keep? How could they leave that out of the fourth generation? What an annoying fucking omission.
Before Pokemon Diamond and Pearl were released, I really didn't care too much about them. I didn't follow previews, I didn't know exactly when they were going to be released save for mere chance about a week before they were released (hell, probably about a year ago today), and I didn't really care. I had been burnt out from Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald in 2003, and more Pokemon didn't really sound too much fun to me, even four years after those games.
I don't know what made me do it, but I picked up Pokemon Diamond the day the game came out last year. I started the game up, picked Chimchar, and began. I'm not sure if it was the graphics, the music, or the overall presentation that kept me hooked, but boy, was I hooked. I played and played and played and played and a year later, I now have all 493 Pokemon (I caught all of them legit, except for the stupid ones that you can only get when Nintendo supposedly "gives them away" at specific events - hey Nintendo, want to give any of those Pokemon away to someone who doesn't live in New York City or Tokyo?), three stars on my silver Trainer's Card, and around 12 Pokemon at level 100, all raised legit by me with the help of a Lucky Egg(that I obtained legit!). I realize 12 Pokemon at level 100 isn't really all that many compared to some of the people that play this game "competitively", but for me that's huge. You see, I was never into raising Pokemon to level 100. The only other time I've done it is in Pokemon Red and Blue, while abusing the item duplicator cheat to obtain Rare Candies, of course. So for me to willingly raise some of my favorite Pokemon to level 100 is a pretty impressive feat...for me.
It really is hard for me to say why the fourth generation Pokemon games hooked me so hard. Really, aside from a few points, the games are just graphically updated and roster updated versions of Red and Blue, with few new features. Granted, the online trading and battling is goddamn fantastic, so perhaps that is part of it. Lately, I've even been fantasizing about picking up a copy of Pearl to play through the main story mode again, which is something I haven't yearned for since Red and Blue. And there really wouldn't be a point to that, because I've caught all of them. Oh well. I tip my hat to you, Pokemon Company. Pokemon Diamond is excellent, for some reason I'm having trouble articulating.
Which is why Super Smash Bros. Brawl's "Subspace Emissary" mode is so much of a letdown. First of all (and this is the worst offender), the levels, other than just a few exceptions (literally like two or three exceptions) are all generic and are not throwbacks to various levels found in old Nintendo games like Star Fox or Pokemon, or anything like that. (I realize there are levels designed around this for battling in multiplayer, but those don't count - again, this is about the one player mode) HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?! Why would Nintendo (or Sakurai, or whoever) design generic, stupid levels? I understand they need to have new design to support Smash's gameplay, but for Christsakes, use graphics from the old games (whether ripped right from them or redone)! Why did I have to play through Generic Desert Level as Ike from Fire Emblem? What was the fucking point? The whole point of Smash Bros. is to bring back waves of nostalgia while fighting, and they missed that completely with generic level designs that have very little, if any, resemblance to the old games.
And that brings me to my next point. Why are the enemy designs generic as well? Why are they weird, stupid little puppet-looking things that aren't culled from any previous Nintendo game? Now, there are a few levels with Goombas and Koopas, but not many, and that is it. Why can't I fight against the Eggplant Wizards from Kid Icarus? Where are the enemies from Donkey Kong Country? As mentioned above, bring back the ReDeads! How about fighting against Kirby enemies (besides the one King DeDeDe can throw)?
I even have complaints about some of the bosses. It's really cool that Ridley is in there - but twice? In a Metroid game, that's perfectly acceptable, but since this is Smash Bros, there should have been fights from other games. How about fighting Twinrova from Ocarina of Time? Or, perhaps something from Twilight Princess? Instead, we get two Ridley fights, Rayquaza, a stupid big Piranha Plant from Mario, and a bunch of stupid generic, boring bosses. Nintendo has had some truly epic bosses in their games - why waste all of their potential? And really, that's what Subspace Emissary ended up being - a goddamn waste. I doubt I'll ever play it again unless I have to play it to get trophies I missed. (Stupid fucking boss trophies.)
(Click here for Brawl Thoughts #2)
(Click here for Brawl Thoughts #1)
First of all, the heart pieces. In Minish Cap, you collect four of these to form a new heart container. In Phantom Hourglass, you collect one. That is pure, unfiltered, uncut horseshit. Did you just beat a minigame? Here, have a Heart Container! Did you just catch all the fish? Have a fuckin' Heart Container! Also, other than the ones you get in dungeons and the ones you start out with, there are only six fucking Heart Containers to collect! Horse. Shit.
(Okay, I guess that was more of an attack on Phantom Hourglass than a comparison between it and Minish Cap. Oh well.)
Secondly, the items. Sure, Phantom Hourglass puts new spins on old items (such as the Boomerang, where you literally draw the path it flies - had all the other items been as fun as this one to use, I wouldn't be complaining about the items so much, but the other items certainly are not as good as this), but goddammit, most of them have been in the series since day one! Even Twilight Princess had great new items(as well as its fair share of shitty ones), but Phantom Hourglass has relatively few new items! And the most important new "item" is only used for the worst part of the fucking game! And guess what! You don't actually use the item - it's just a timer for that annoying fucking temple! Delightful!
But yeah, Minish Cap's items. Many old items return (like the Bow and Arrows or Bombs) but some fairly interesting new ones appear as well. And, unlike in Phantom Hourglass, most of the items need to be used throughout the entire game in order to successfully traverse the countryside! Tell me, how many times did you use the Hammer outside of the temple it is found in? Pretty goddammed rarely, if at all.
Basically, as I play through more and more Minish Cap, I realize how much better it is than Phantom Hourglass. Both of them are entertaining games, but wow, is Minish Cap better.
(Click here for my first Minish Cap article)
Friday, April 11, 2008
What happened to the Target Test levels tailored to specific characters? Some of the Target Test levels in Melee were amazing. Now its the same five levels for everyone. What the fuck?
Perhaps these should be in another post, but screw it: I also miss the "Board the Platforms" mode, and what happened to the "Race to the Finish!" mode?
Imagine being Sonic and running as fast as you can to the end... hell, it'd be like a Sonic game...
Speaking of which, one of these days I'm going to post about how shitty the Subspace Emissary is. Which is to say, really fucking shitty.
(Click here for Brawl Thoughts #1)
Seriously. It's a small complaint, I know, but it's been bugging me. In Melee, there was even an entire multiplayer mode devoted to these little bonuses, and not only is that mode gone in Brawl, but the bonuses are also completely gone.
It's certainly not the most annoying part about Brawl, which overall is still a fantastic game. But it does bug me...
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Just kidding. I did start playing it again, though, after beating it once three years ago then never touching it again. I must say something: so far, I think it is better than Phantom Hourglass.
Ooh, there's a segue for ya.
Now, I'm not saying Phantom Hourglass is bad. But the main dungeon, the one where you have to trek through the same parts over and over and over again until you beat the game is absolutely fucking terrible. For a game that (to me) is supposed to appeal to casual gamers as well as traditional Zelda fans, that dungeon is absolutely ridiculous.
I'm not saying its too hard; I'm saying it's too fucking repetitive.
The rest of the game is brilliant, if not a little easy. Now, Minish Cap is no difficult game, either; it's certainly not the hardest Zelda game ever. Hell, it is certainly one of the easier Zeldas. But, there are some great puzzles to be had in Minish Cap: switch from regular size to small, then try to traverse Hyrule Castle Town. Not easy, is it? You have to weave in and out of buildings, go over rooftops, avoid puddles (which are basically bottomless pools to you in that form), and watch out for Cuccos along the way.
What's your average puzzle like in Phantom Hourglass? "Five rooms ahead, you must hit the switches in this order: 3, 1, 2, 4. Um, you should probably write that down." And then you write that down, and then guess what? Five rooms later, you hit the switches in that order.
Holy shit. That was unexpected.
Yes, the controls are pretty good (although rolling is a bitch) and yes, the boss battles, while easy, are fun as fucking hell, but come on. The puzzles were fucking lame in Phantom Hourglass.
And what is it with me and thinking that all the portable Zelda's since Link's Awakening are forgettable as hell? It's probably just nostalgia talking (Link's Awakening was my first Zelda and all), but the other portable Zelda's just haven't been that good, I don't think.
And as far as consoles go, we absolutely need another Majora's Mask. Jesus that game was good.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
For that price, you might as well buy your own fucking band and have them play all the fucking songs for you on their own instruments, which are probably cheaper than the game anyway.
1. As I'm sure you can imagine, my first complaint is the lack of characters from previous games.
2. If you want to introduce new characters and story arcs, Capcom, then focus more on the new characters. Apollo Justice? Who? I felt as though I was playing as
(Anyone see There's Something About Mary?)
4. Four cases? Four cases?! This was bad enough in Justice for All, but after Trials & Tribulations you go back to four, Capcom?! What the fuck gives?!
5. Another mob case. Because you know, that wasn't done already in the same goddamn series.
Thus ends my abbreviated list. Although the game was enjoyable overall, these problems really made the game lack the quality of the last games in the series(Justice for All excluded - that game is the worst in the series by far - perhaps I should save that topic for another post).