Friday, September 30, 2005

Flight Sims

I'm back after a long while of no-internet-allowed, so here is a new post for you guys. I couldn't think of what to write about, so I am doing small reviews of all the flight sims I own.

Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator: WWII Europe Series

This flight sim is by far the most accurate I have ever played. Stunning graphics, historically accurate missions, and awesome multi-play make this a must buy.

9.5/10

Beyond Pearl Harbor: Pacific Warriors

This is a flight sim for people who can't fly flight sims. Instead of accurate physics, it more resembles arcade movement, making it fun and easy to play. Great graphics, awesome bosses, cheats, tons of powerups and more make this a terrific game.

9/10

Crimson Skies

I've linked the title to my review of that title.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 98

This isn't exactly a game, more of a toy, or a system for practicing flying, but it sure is fun to crash; the airplane defragments instantly :) . The graphics are poor, which can be expected from an old game, but they work, and their are many planes, locations and situations to be put in.

6/10

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Golden Eye: Rouge Agent

you wanna know something that ticks me off?

How transfers can never be complete duplicates of games they are supposed to be!
today we will use Rouge Agent for the Nintendo DS, and Rouge Agent for the Nintendo Gamecube.

GCN
  • voice acting
  • full cutscenes
  • level select
  • awsome multiplayer
  • unlockable weapons
DS
  • text acting
  • very short and lousy cutscenes
  • no level select
  • not-so-awsome multiplayer (but hey, wireless fps is a wireless fps)
  • weapons are near impossible to unlock
Now, both games are extremely awsome, so i'm not saying "OH dont get the DS version!! it sucks!" its well worth getting, but i'm just stating, dont go out of your way to get the DS version if you already have the GCN version.

Storyline-
You take on the role of a 007 Agent gone bad. You were kicked out of MI6 for brutality, and unnecessary tactics.
All of this brutality and such started when you lost your eye to an encounter with Dr. No
After being kicked from MI6, you recieve a letter from Goldfinger, who says you can join up with him, and he can fix your eye.
So, you join him, and he gives you an awsome golden eye with super powers...Hence the name "Golden Eye"
________________________

Now, the awsome thing about this game is how you can wield 2 weapons at once. (i mean, who can resist?)

On the DS version, you use the touchscreen to switch weapons.
While on the GCN version, you have to do a button combo (L+A or R+A)

now, while there are some pretty awsome weapons in this game, the one downfall i can find is how unlike in my favorite James Bond game (Golden Eye for the N64) you could carry a multitude of weapons at once. While in this new game, you cannot.

So that adds a bit to the downfall...
___________________________

But, all in all, this game is definitly worth getting on either systems (unless you already have it for the GCN...then i wouldnt bother with the DS version unless your looking for something to do in the car)
--
The Evil Ryan Von Levingston

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sonic Gems Collection

From the hayday of video games gaining popularity, there were about two brand names that people knew of. Nintendo and Sega. Along with these brands came two main characters. Mario, as we know, is the red-hatted plumber that took on the evil Bowser in many Nintendo systems. Sega, however, gave us a blue hedgehog known simply as: Sonic the Hedgehog.

Sonic was created around 1990 by Yuji Naka after brainstorming for a character that can curl into a ball and hit enemies while going at high-speed. In 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog was given to us on the Sega Genesis, giving us a new way to play. Fast, fast, fast. We know Sonic mostly by how fast the gameplay was for the player. Ever since then, Sega has released many Sonic games.

One in particular was considered one of the best. It was in 1993 that the ill-fated Sega CD was released. There was but one Sonic game on that console. This game was Sonic CD, considered by many to be the best dang Sonic game ever. With the unique ability to use Sonic's speed to go through time and change the past for the future, it offered unique gameplay, as well as the goodness we all expect from the Sonic francise. It's one of those rare games you need to buy on eBay nowadays to have.


How neat it was...in a way.


Around November 2002, Sonic was already a hit on the GCN, with Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, making it the first time a Sonic game was released on a Nintendo console. After the increasing popularity of Sonic on GCN, Sega and Sonic Team decide to release Sonic Mega Collection to the GCN. This anthology of Sonic classics include Sonic 1-3, Sonic and Knuckles, Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic Spinball, and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. However, Sonic fans were disappointed to see that Sonic CD was not a part of the collection. It still was incomplete, and many new Sonic fans were missing one of the best games in the Sonic franchise.

But now....Sega has come back to give us a Sonic collection that has 3 games we've wanted for a while...and lo and behold, Sonic CD is one of them. This game is Sonic Gems Collection. But are these games still shining gems, or are they just glittering pebbles? Let's find out.


Story

Alright, first off, I'll give you the storyline of the 3 main games in the collection.
  • Sonic CD: Dr. Robotnik has chained a strange planet onto the planet Mobius. This small planet contains the Time Stones, which allow the holder to control the flow of time. Robotnik decides to use the stones to help him conquer the world, but just in time for the party, Sonic appears to thwart the evil doctor's intentions. However, Sonic will have the toughest time yet, with an attack against Dr. Robotnik's latest creation...Metal Sonic!
  • Sonic the Fighters: BRAWL! Fight against many characters of the Sonic universe to gain the 8 emeralds needed to get to the Death Egg II and fight against Dr. Robotnik and Metal Sonic.
  • Sonic R: Sonic and company have to compete against Dr. Robotnik in the Grand Prix. Not much story in it, but....that's to be expected in a racing game.


I'd go through the Game Gear ones, but they're basically the same story...stop/compete against some evil force to save something. I'd also go into the secret games, but...hey, unless you read NP, I shouldn't spoil it for you.

Basically, the story of a lot of them are the same thing....Sonic must stop Dr. Robotnik before something bad happens. That kind of thing.

Storyline: 8/10

First one to the chili-dog stand chooses Sonic's next food craze! GO!


Gameplay


Sonic speed, HO! Heh....that's what I can tell you about the gameplay.

Sonic CD no longer lags, like how the original did. That means you can expect super-speed without interruptions [besides the occasional spike in the middle of the road.] A few graphical enhancements here and there to give a clean port of the game, and they succeeded. The gameplay is still the same as a regular Sonic game. Jump, Spin Dash, do that cool loop-de-loop that he does...the usual.

Sonic the Fighters has appeared for the first time on a console. The first time we saw this was in the arcade, and the game looks great. You can use A to punch, X to kick, and B to use a barrier. Like any fighting game, you can use different button combinations to perform different moves. You can use different moves for different characters, as well....Tails can fly up and slam enemies onto the ground, Knuckles can glide and hit enemies hard, and Sonic can make other fighters dizzy.

Sonic R is one of those Sonic games that some people can say "How could anyone like this game? It sucks!" and others can say "How could anyone hate this game? It doesn't suck!". It's definitely not a regular racer. You don't use a go-cart like in the Sonic Drift games on the Game Gear. It's just Sonic being Sonic, running around. Each character has different abilities. Sonic can double-jump in the air, Tails can fly, Knuckles can glide, Amy can float over water, and Dr. Robotnik can shoot missles. The game had a unique charm as far as racing games go, and that's what Sonic is....unique.

The Game Gear games had the same style of gameplay. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 had the original Sonic jumping and running gameplay, as did Sonic Triple Trouble. Sonic Spinball is the pinball Sonic game, but can't be confused with the console's edition. Sonic Drift 2 is a racing game, as well, but with karts and not as fun. Tail's Skypatrol is basically Tails flying around and Tails Adventure is also with the jumping charm...but not as fast gameplay as the regular Sonic games...more on items in this game.

Overall, the gameplay package they've given us is a very wide package....many forms of Sonic fans will be happy from this. Speed fans, 2D fans...even 3D fans will enjoy this package.

Gameplay: 9/10

Knocking the sense out of you....or in this case, rings.


Graphics


This game can't really be judged fully by graphics, because they're outdated. However, the look is great nonetheless, and it retains the true form of the games, which is good.

However, there's one ruining point on the graphics...and that's in the Game Gear games. When you play them, it automatically resizes the game screen to make it fit the TV. This ruins the look of the games. Think of a Game Boy game resized to fit a TV screen [without the use of the Game Boy Player], and you've got what I get. A bad-quality image.

You can resize the screen using the C Stick to fit the Game Gear proportions, but even then, it's not as good on TV.

Besides this, the game's graphics are still the same as before, with minor tweaks. As it should be....we don't want games to be completely redone. We want the original.

Graphics: 8/10

Corkin'!


Control


Control was run smoothly to the GCN controller. Sonic CD still has the regular controls we all know about from Mega Collection, Sonic the Fighters was also transistioned nicely, and Sonic R still, unfortunately, has the same bad controls.

It's not that Sonic R is BAD with controls....it's just hard to get used to controlling Sonic. However, you shouldn't have too many problems once you get the hang of it.

Overall, the controls were transitions rather nicely, and although I wished they gave a little better control to Sonic R, I don't want them to change it too much from the original.

Control: 9/10

Just wait...Sonic'll drop from that crane, and Robotnik will pay another dollar. That's how it always works.


Replay Value


It's a Sonic collection...the whole reason you buy it is because you want to play it again.

Okay, in all seriousness, the game is definitely worth playing over and over again. Sega knew this and has a special feature in the game.

One of the parts of the main menu is "Museum". In this, you can see a lot of images. The catch is, you have to play the game in a certain way to get something. For instance, playing Sonic CD 5 times may unlock something, and playing Sonic R for 120 minutes can unlock something else. You can find movies, images, and many other goodies in the museum. All you have to do is play a game a certain number of times.

And, of course, you get a few hidden games by completing objectives, too. The main thing here, though, is that this game DESERVES playing again. The games are just that fun.

Replay Value: 10/10

Euphoric....so many cool colors...



Overall


This game has so many "buy me" reasons, I can't count them all. I'll give you one cool thing about this game.

This is the game that can make a cool gift. The pricetag is $29.99, and Player's Choice Sonic Mega Collection is only $19.99. That makes it near $49.99 [plus tax], the same price as a regular game.

With this in mind, you can get a lot of Sonic's greatest hits for the price of one new game for GCN. A very cool thing. However, this isn't just for a gift idea...

This game takes you on a game-playing trip down memory lane. Sonic CD is the biggest reason why you definitely need to get this game. This collection fills the gap Mega Collection had. If you loved the 3D Sonic games, you should pick this up.

Final Scores
Story: 8/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 8/10
Control: 9/10
Replay: 10/10


The final score:
9/10

Gem Get!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Super Metroid

Even though Super Metroid isn’t what started the Metroid series, it was the first Metroid title to include a map of Planet Zebes and the second to use a battery save feature. With these two features and its astonishing gameplay, Super Metroid became one of the most innovative and refreshing titles on the Super Nintendo.

Super Metroid contains nearly all of the power-ups that were featured in previous Metroid titles. Samus still has the ability to go into morph ball form to enter narrow passageways and lay bombs to destroy walls and floors which may reveal hidden areas. As for new power-ups, swing from the ceiling by using the Grapple Beam or run at high speeds to destroy everything in Samus’s path while using the Speed Booster.

Players can explore the areas of Zebes to pick up energy tanks, missile tanks, super missile tanks and even power bomb tanks. Samus is more dangerous than she was previously, but old foes Ridley and the Space Pirates aren’t exactly a push-over either. After all, it’s up to Samus to take down the Mother Brain and her forces once more!

Super Metroid is a 16-bit beauty. This game took advantage of the 24-Meg cartridge and blew open the areas of Zebes like never before. The background scenery really sets the mood of this adventure by making the player feel like he or she is deep inside caves, tunnels and lava shafts.

Even after ten years and comparisons against the Metroid Prime series, Super Metroid still remains a favorite by many gamers. For those who missed out on this title or don’t own a Super Nintendo, definitely give Super Metroid a try on the Revolution.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Oracle of Seasons/Ages

The Legend of Zelda is a large franchise and each game hasn’t failed to impress fans. During the month of May in the year 2001 the series grew by two games with the release of Oracle of Ages/Seasons.

Although two separate games with different storylines, the similarities and characteristics between the two is reason enough for a person to refer to both as the “Oracles” and a single game.

Similar to Link’s Awakening (for the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color) the Oracle games stay true to their predecessor with plenty of challenging puzzles, colorful characters and amazing storylines.

One of three new features for the series is the Animal Partners obtainable within both cartridges. Each Animal Partner has a unique ability and will aid Link within his journey. Moosh is a flying bear who can cross huge abysses, Ricky is a boxing kangaroo who can scale great heights and Dimitri is a Dodongo who can swim in the fiercest of waters.

The second feature is the Magical Rings -- there are 64 varieties available between Ages and Seasons. Each ring possesses a unique ability and for a small price they can be appraised. After each appraisal the magic within the ring will be unlocked. Every Magical Ring offers something new, fun and useful to the gameplay.

The final feature is how each game is compatible with the other and the cartridges can link with each other for one huge epic adventure, which has an ending as big as the adventure itself!

If you are looking for a good time, pick up both cartridges. Having only one of them is like having half of a game.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Spongebob Squarepants

Are you ready, kids?

It's time for The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie game review. Those who have played Battle for Bikini Bottom will find some of the game play to be quite familiar. You take control of SpongeBob and Patrick and try to save the world from the evil Plankton. It's great fun, and will surely please any SpongeBob fan.



The manliness has landed.


Story – 8/10
Mr. Krabs has announced the grand opening of the Krusty Krabb 2. And with a new Krusty Krabb opening, SpongeBob's hopes of becoming manager rise. That doesn’t happen so SpongeBob goes and drowns his misery and sorrows at the Goofy Goober ice cream parlor. Meanwhile, Plankton has started “Plan Z” to take over Bikini Bottom and the rest of the world. First he frames Mr. Krabs for the disappearance of King Neptune’s crown. Now SpongeBob and Patrick have to retrieve the crown to save Mr. Krabs. While SpongeBob is out of the way, Plankton steals the Krabby Patty recipe and starts selling them at the Chum Bucket. And with every purchase of a Krabby Patty, you get a free mind control bucket helmet! Soon all of Bikini Bottom, which Plankton has decided to name “Planktopolis,” is now under the control of the tiny, yet evil, Plankton. It’s up to SpongeBob and Patrick to save the world. Are they manly enough to do so? No, not really.

The story is told between each level through still screenshots taken from the film. The quality of the screens are decent, but not perfect. It would have been nice if they redid a few scenes from the movie with the in-game graphics, but the screens and funny narration work alright.


This game is for only the manliest of men.

Game Play – 8.5/10
You play as either SpongeBob or Patrick, both with their own unique moves, and try to collect Goofy Goober tokens. With Goofy Goober tokens, you can purchase new skills that can help you progress through the game. And by collecting weights, you can upgrade your moves or increase your maximum health. Each level has several tasks where you can earn Goofy Goober tokens. These tasks range from stupidly easy to annoyingly hard, yet all are great fun. There are even a few tasks that are similar to the special stages in Super Mario Sunshine. There are also a few boss fights in the game which require you to use certain abilities you have gained to succeed.

Some of the best stages are the ones where you get to drive around in the Patty Wagon. The Patty Wagon is easy to control and makes it to be one of the funnest moments in the game. Each of these levels have tasks where you can beat your own time, or challenge a ring mode where you have to drive through each ring that appears on the course.

There are also many unlockables in the game. You can get a Mermaid Man outfit for SpongeBob, a disco suit for Patrick, and even unlock art galleries and movie trailers. Unlocking these features requires you to find hidden treasure chests throughout the level.

One complaint I had was the load times. They aren’t terribly long, but long enough to annoy you. Load times only occur between each level.


One over-sized Krabby Patty to go.

Graphics – 8/10
The graphics are pretty good, but nothing spectacular. The game features a pretty solid frame rate. The hairs on David Hasselhoff’s back were extra disturbing. They didn’t use his name in the game, as they just referred to him a “not a real lifeguard, but he played one on TV.” The game features some funny animations from the characters, like Patrick stretching out his tongue.

Sound – 8/10
The BGM is great and fits the style of the game very well, but it sometimes muffs out the character voices. SpongeBob and Patrick have some very funny things to say, but the BGM can make them hard to hear at times. Other than that, the game features the best end boss music I have heard in a while. The Goofy Goober Rock was just awesome to hear while fighting the final battle.


Goofy Goober Rock!

Controls 9/10
The controls for the game are great. The special moves really help you out in the game, and they get even better once you upgrade them to their “macho” status. The camera is always right on the character as well.

Replay Value 7/10
There are many Goofy Goober tokens to collect even after beating the game. Also, there are those treasure chests to get.

Overall 8/10
I really enjoyed this game and fans of SpongeBob will enjoy it as well. It’s one of the best SpongeBob games I have played so far, and if you are a fan of Battle for Bikini Bottom, you should definitely check this game out.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Bloody Skies

Microsoft released an awesome flight simulator called Crimson Skies recently. In this article I will examine the good & bad elements in this game.
 
First of all, the graphics could use a lot of work, as sometimes its very hard to see the terrain. The sound is excellent. The use of old nostalgia such as blimps, etc. was very cool and original. Unfortunately, it used a very linear mission system, so the players actions could not affect the story line. All together, I would give it a 7.5/10.
 
P.S. If this post seems kind of short, it is because I am using a cell phone and typing is very tedious!


Click here to donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Quest's Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber

RPGs on the N64 were rather few in number, and for the most part, left much to be desired. Quest’s Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber, however, was a different gameplay experience that proved itself to be quite lordly indeed among RPGs.

The game’s storyline focuses around Palatinean soldier Magnus Gallant, who witnesses injustices committed by his own kingdom, and later joins a rebellion against it. The story is gripping and full of political intrigue, and turns out better than most of what the N64 saw in that department.
The game plays like a real-time strategy RPG, wherein the player first organizes units out of up to 5 characters, and then commands the units on a map against enemy units in a mission-based campaign. Commanding the units is incredibly simple, using the control stick and A button to issue movement commands, with an advanced command menu accessible with the R button. The units themselves are customizable in several ways, from character classes, to equipped gear, right down to the very positions of the characters within the unit itself. The organization of the units in your army can be done in any number of imaginative ways, which adds loads of replay value to an otherwise 30-40 hour game.

While the game’s music remains mostly appropriate to the situation, none of it is particularly memorable, and the in-game sound effects aren’t exactly brimming with realism either. The graphical character and environment rendering is rather simplistic as well, but the aesthetics of the game are quite outweighed by the engaging gameplay and plot. Ogre Battle 64 would likely bore hardcore action fans to tears, but it’s most certainly a game that deserves the attention of RPG and strategy fans.
--
The Evil Ryan Von Levingston