Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones

Name: Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones

Genre: Strategy RPG

Developer: Intelligent Systems

Plot: 9.0/10

Very good, but very cliche. If you have ever played Fire Emblem: The Sealed Sword, which is currently Japanese only, it has a very similar plot, except with an addition of "Magical Stones" that give great power to anyone who owns them. The characters are very good and are very unique, which helps the plot. I've always loved how Fire Emblem has chosen to do the plot through its unique cutscenes.

Sound: 10/10

Brilliant music. There are over 60 tracks in this game, and every one is great. Though the beeps from the cutscenes do get pretty annoying, the great music in this game more than makes up for it. I love how Intelligent Systems always includes a Sound Room, where you can listen to your favorite tunes over and over again.

Graphics: 8.5/10

Best graphics for a GBA Fire Emblem yet, though just the smallest improvement to the first American Fire Emblem. I doubt graphics can get any better than this on the GBA. The graphics are very unique to the Fire Emblem series, and I love them. No other game series use so detailed battle sprites or face sprites.

Controls/Gameplay: 10/10

This is where the game truly shines. You have up to 20 units plus enemies on a grid with terrain, and move in to achieve a goal given to you, most likley to kill all enemies or sieze a throne. When you go next to an enemy, you may choose to attack, and a screen will come up picturing you and your enemy, dmg, hit and crit rates, as well as a battle animation for each of you. The controls are so easy to get used to, even if you havn't played a Fire Emblem game before. Even if you don't get the controls, theres a few tutorial levels to help you out.

Replay Value: 10/10

This part of the game shines aswell. With so many choices of who to train and not, theres hundreds of hours of replay value. In this game, you can choice which of the main characters path you can go down, so right theres atleast 2 play throughs. And being extremely fun helps aswell

Originaliy: 8.5/10

Just like any other Fire Emblem game. Very fun. This Fire Emblem also adds many new ideas and choices throughout the game, which adds for more originality. Not much more to add on the subject of originality.

Overall: 9.3

In my opinion, the best game on the GBA, besides mabye the original Fire Emblem. Its a must have for any GBA owner. With its nice graphics, beutiful sound, great gameplay and awesome replay value, it is a extremley good game.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Dakkar II

Dakkar II is an excellent game, but I am not sure how much better it is than the original, since I never played the original. However, here are my thoughts on the second installation.

Sounds: 10/10

I really can't think of anything bad about the sounds, and they fit well with the theme of the game.

Graphics: 7/10

The graphics are at a "good enough" standard. They aren't exceptional, but they do the job. I also liked to rain effect on some of the tracks. The models were moderately good as well.

Level design: 7/10

The learning curve was a little steep. I think the tracks got too hard too fast. But that's just me. Other than that, I thought the detail was great. I also liked the variety of types of tracks; you can do normal ones or "checkpoint" tracks (drive all over the map hitting checkpoints). This made it a little more interesting.

Gameplay: 8/10

It was a little hard to steer sometimes, and too often you go shooting off the track and have to reset. I did like the different kinds of damage though, and how pressing and holding the respot button (z on the GameCube) "healed" your car, but you couldn't drive while that happened. Very nice implementation of the "locked" ideas for vehicles. I loved trying to unlock the next truck, car, or motorbike.

Overall: 8/10

A nice game, but definitely not a must-have. I will be looking forward to Dakkar III, but for now MarioKart: Double Dash still has my audience.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

WarioWare: Touched!

Wario’s finally come to the DS!! The WarioWare series has always been known for its short, simple, yet addicting microgames, and Touched! is no exception! With 180 new games, based primarily of the DS’s new abilities (touch screen and microphone), touching has never been better! New characters added to the familiar cast makes for some great fun. A large batch of random unlockables adds to the already high replay value. Touched! makes phenomenal use to the DS, from rubbing to poking, to blowing into the mic. All in all, there’s something for everyone! The humor will have the gamer laughing from the start! Though the games can get a little repetitive at times, they are still good for hours upon hours of fun! Touched! has very little weakness, and should be considered among the best DS games to date. Our big mustached friend has done it again!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Super Mario 64 DS Review

Super Mario 64 DS

Story: 7/10

There isn't really a story line with lots of cut scenes to follow, but you do get the occasional note from the princess saying how you're progressing. Plus, it's a complete remake with added bonuses. You can Play as either Mario, Luigi, Wario, or Yoshi! You start off at the beginning as Yoshi, and he cant find Mario or the rest of the gang. Your camera guy tells you that they have been in the castle for a long time. Yoshi sets off to find them...so your story begins. Also, it would appear that bosses have this thing about mustaches.

Graphics 10/10

Everyone loves graphics these days. Let me tell you...SM64DS has superb graphics! Running at 15 FPS (frames per second) it has better graphics than its original N64 counter part! Mario and the gang are smooth, and are really well detailed. They even have their mustaches silky smooth.

Efficiency: 10/10

The top screen is where most of the action takes place. This is where you see Mario and the gang kicking butt and taking numbers. The bottom screen is your map, which is VERY helpful for finding that star that you can't seem to locate. You can also use the bottom screen to move Mario around and stuff using your stylus or thumb strap.

Sound: 5/10

Eh, same music as the original, but with a few new tunes. Nothing worth noting here.

Replay Value: 10/10

Once you unlock all 150 stars, you open up a cannon that can shoot you to the top of the castle, where you can dawn a wing cap and fly around the castle grounds! Its fun to crash into the wall and stuff...in my opinion anyway. Also, Nintendo has added in a HUGE collection of brand new mini games that are specially designed for you to use your stylus and gain the high
score! They've kept me entertained for who knows how long!

Over All: 8.5/10

A must have game for any DS owners, but most of ya'll probably got that as your first game to begin with. I got mine three days after Thanksgiving, and I collected my last power star on Christmas Eve. It's alot easier than the original, but its great to have such a huge success of a classic on the DS!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Game Design Book

The best game design book I have found that is not written by a hard-bore gamer (also conveniently the only game design book I have found that is not written by a hard-bore gamer) is called Chris Crawford on Game Design. The way this guy thinks is amazing. Every paragraph has some golden nugget that takes a good five minutes to fully digest (unless you are in the habit of digesting gold).

Here is an excerpt from chapter 8: Common Mistakes:

"Design is not an accretive process! Piling on more features does not necessarily make the game any better-it just makes it more complicated. Some designers seem to revel in features, shoveling more and more gew-gaws into the game, as if the size of the pile of features is a measure of the quality of the game. Incorrectissimo! Making a game bigger doesn't make it better; it just makes it...bigger."

As you can probably tell, this book is a very good read with lots of good concepts and ideas. A must-own book for game designers; I have read it many times through and I still find things I never noticed before.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Accepting Applications

It has come to my attention that some of my readers would like more than one article a week, and that I am unable under present circumstances to fulfill this request. In order to keep my readers and attract new ones, I am now accepting applications for people who would like to become writers for TechTrek. The requirements are as follows.

When writing, you must:
  • Think and write rationally and logically
  • Know how to use a spell checker
  • NOT use abbreviations (e.g. "u" instead of "you")
  • NOT talk like a n00b (e.g. "teh" instead of "the")
  • NOT be overly offensive in your articles
When applying:
  • Show me the first paragraph of a sample article
  • Send me any web addresses to blogs or websites maintained by you
Please send your applications to:

Please allow a week for a response. Thank you.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Rally Time

Ever wished you could make your own racing game, quick and painless? Now you almost can, with GeneRally. A track editor, multiple car types, and lost of possibilities will keep you playing for hours. Best of all, it feels like you are playing with R/C cars, because the game uses a 3/4 view instead of first person.

And that isn't all. The graphics are fun, and you can create your own enemies with different difficulties. You can have as many players as you want playing hotseat thanks to the multiple player keymapping capabilities. And it's loads of fun to create and share your own 3D tracks with other people online. The editor is very intuitive, and both the game and the editor are pretty much idiot proof. Not a single bug I could find.

By far one of the biggest leaps in new concepts in racing games. Unlimited selectable tracks make tournament creation easy, and up to 6 players/opponents can play. You can even put some opponents out on the track by themselves and watch them battle it out! Pit stops with real pit crews make repair quick and fun (and when was the last time you saw a racing game with pit crews?)

Downloaded the game? Try out my two best tracks: Hazard and ZipZap. And not only can you make your own tracks, with a little 3D modeling experience you can create your own cars! This will be your favorite PC racing game; it's definitely in my "Favorite Games" folder! Replay value is unbeatable; I'll never stop playing.

Good job to the GeneRally Dev team.