Thursday, January 31, 2008
I went looking through Kotaku.com to see articles and came up to one from Cnet.com (who checks the facts, checks them again, fires editors and put together what is best for the company) and they say that the SNES is the greatest console ever via a pole. I have problems with that because for its time, I believe the Playstation is the greatest. Anyway, I started to think that the Playstation also has a distinction with the Sega Saturn and the Nintendo 64. The Playstation, the Sega Saturn, and the Nintendo 64 are the ugliest generation in gaming. Before those three, we had the SNES and the Genesis (TG16 and the Neo-Geo doesn't count because no one cares). Those consoles and the ones before that used sprites for their characters and static 2-D backgrounds. The consoles after the 3 were able to model 3-D characters and environments very well. Do not get me wrong, there are some games for those three that did it well (Gran Turismo comes to mind); but it just seems like most of that generation just looks horrible.
Tell me what you think. Leave a comment. Don't forget to check us out on Stickam.com, Sundays at 4:30 EST.
P.S. Found a game to play through and that would be Indigo Prophecy on the original Xbox.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Around two weeks ago, Rob and I went over to Gamestop and he brought in 5 games to trade in towards Burnout Paradise. He didn't have an Edge card, so I let him use mine. He got an extra $27 in trade-in value. With that, I went and grabbed X-Squad for the PS2. It was the first game that I ever played for the PS2 and really wanted to go through it again to see the ending (and to put it up on You Tube). I got home and played it for about 1 hour. Let's just say that I did not have that good of a time. It definitely proved that is was a first gen title. So, disappointed, I decided to bring out the Wii and play a Virtual Console game, and it turned out to be A Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Here is my review:
At the beginning of A Link to the Past, a young boy named Link is awakened by a telepathic message from Princess Zelda, who says that she is locked in the dungeon of Hyrule Castle. As the message closes, Link finds his uncle ready for battle, telling Link to remain in bed. After his uncle leaves, however, Link ignores his uncle's command and follows him to Hyrule Castle. When he arrives, he finds his uncle seriously wounded. Link's uncle tells Link to rescue Princess Zelda from her prison, giving him a sword and shield. Link navigates the castle and rescues Zelda from her cell, and the two escape into a secret passage through the sewers that leads to a sanctuary.
Link is told by a man in the sanctuary that Ahganim, a wizard who has usurped the throne, is planning to break a seal made hundreds of years ago by seven wise men. The seal was placed to imprison a dark wizard named Ganon in the Dark World, which was once the Sacred Realm before Ganon invaded, obtained the legendary Triforce and used its power to turn the realm into a land of darkness. And the rest is only known once you play it.
Graphics – The SNES graphics for ALttP is pretty good. The view is from a top down view. Every part of this game screams of beauty. The problem with many games that have dungeons is that they all look the same and the 10 or so dungeons here are very well done. One stage was filled with water while another was mostly covered in ice. The two different worlds were definitely different (say that three times fast). While the light world was full of bright colors and many people (though you don't get to talk to many people), the dark world was...dark. Rocks were replaced with skulls and the enemies were more difficult on the other side. The enemies looked and acted like they have always had. Most any Zelda enemy that was known is in this game and you can tell right away who they are. Overall, pleasing to the eye.
Grade – No grade given (too long ago to be fair)
Controls – A good thing about playing games on the Virtual Console is that you have a choice between the Classic Controller or the Gamecube controller. I tried to play first with the Classic controller and that just did not feel that good in my hands. I tried it with the Wavebird Gamecube controller and it was actually really responsive. You can move with the analog stick or the directional pad. You swipe with the sword using the B button while the A button is used to do odds and ends, such as picking up rocks, running using the Pegasus boots, or others. You use the Y button to use a secondary item, like the ice rod, etc. The Z button is used as a pause button. It brings up the the “Continue Game” and the “Save & Quit” option. The Start button is used to bring up the menu to set which item to use in the Y slot. The L, R, and X buttons are not used. The buttons do feel really responsive. The only times that the buttons would not work was because my genius did not allow me to remember that the batteries were actually dying in the Wavebird. Like I always say, “If you don't remember anything bad about the controls, they did their job.
Grade – A
Sound – The sound of ALttP is very good as well. When you are outside in the Light and Dark Worlds, the sound is very suitable to both. Dungeon music is what you would expect in dungeons very dark and depressing. Animal noises and sword thrusts are very true to what you would expect. The music does set the mood for everything well, but it has been 3 days since I completed AlttP and I can't remember a single note from it, which is disappointing. You would like to remember a tune from it at least.
Grade – B
Challenge – Of course I used a strategy guide for it and it took me around 11 hours to complete it. Challenges were all around you. There were challenges such as finding a heart piece by digging up a field and you only had 30 second and 80 rupees each to do it or you would pay 80 more rupees. There puzzles that you had to be quick on to get through a door and it was challenging, but not impossible. There were enemies that you needed to find the right weapon to use against. There were times when a fairy in a bottle was very helpful. I died 8 times total and that was actually pretty good. Without that and it would have been double easily. All of the enemies were good, if not challenging. The bosses, on the other hand, needed some work. All of the bosses, minus one, had patterns that were learned very quickly. The weapon that you got in the dungeon was used to weaken, if not kill, the boss. That is something that I did not really like about Zelda games. I wish that there were times when you could go to one dungeon and grab and item, but could not finish that portion until you defeated the next dungeon's boss. Just a thought. Ganon took about 2 minutes to figure out and about 2 minutes beat. The only time I had a problem with a boss was with one that requires two different weapons that require magic and I was out and had to be killed.
Grade – A-
Overall, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a prime example of what should be released for the Virtual Console. Solid graphics with a playable game. Not memorable, but competent music, and a good challenge makes this game definitely worth 800 points. Now where the fuck is Majora's Mask?
Final Grade - A-
Phil-N Rob'd moment: I completely forgot to do this when writing my review and I started slapping myself (mentally). My moment had to easily be in the dark world, there is a place where you can dig for 30 seconds. It cost 80 rupees and there was a heart container in the area. I spent 2 hours trying to dig a small area and I finally gave up. Further along in the game, that was the last heart piece that I did not have. I went back to it and started to dig. The last dig in the first attempt gave me the final heart piece. Bastards.
Monday, January 14, 2008
I love my local Gamestop. I do not know why people hate gamestop honestly. Maybe a few bad experiences or whatever. I am one of those people that preorder a game. Why? Because I like getting a game day one. And the only place around here that it is a guarantee is Gamestop.
And you know what. I also trade games in at Gamestop. Sure I will not get what I paid, or sometimes even half. But I get something. And lets break it down. You wanna know why you buy a used game for $55. Simple.
Do you realize that every new game sold nets the average store, $8 after shipping, purchasing, salary, so on and so forth. So when you sell it to them, people seem to forget that it is not "Pure Profit" They just gave you money (sometimes as much as half, and more if you have an Edge card, hell I traded in Mass effect Yesterday and got $42.00) Right there is cutting into the "pure Profit" and in the end they may make at the most $20 But think about all those games you see when you go in there. How many of those games they are selling for $5-$10 do you think they paid $20-$30 and never sold off. I bet alot.
And people want to say the developers do not get there cut. Well honestly I can see that. But they get first time sales. Sure they get nothing from round two. But really how many times do you walk into a gamestop and see the hot game that just came out Tuesday. Rarely, and if you do see it half the time its because the developer did not do there job.
The reason games like Heavenly Sword and Conan are not selling is mostly due to length. I would not buy either game because I could rent those and finish them in a weekend. And without multiplayer whats the point to play through them again.
If developers want to nip this problem, they need to make games cheaper out the gate. If they are cheaper, people buy them earlier, and the more copies you sell out the gate is games that probably wont get a used sale later. Most of the friends I know that are gamers, wont touch a game until it $30 or less. Make your game $40 and watch it fly off the shelf.
I guess it is easy for me to say things like this, but then again I am the gaming community. And we are the ones who buy the games. Just think how many more I would buy if they were cheaper
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Conan for the most part on the Xbox 360 was an enjoyable experience. You play the role of Conan. I know big shock right. And you are befriended by a Sexy Queen Early in the game. She needs your help and so starts a fantasy adventure full of Pirates, Dragons, and perilous ledges.
The game plays like a Devil May Cry or God of War clone. You walk around swinging a sword, picking up more swords, throwing swords, axes, rocks, people, barrels. You name it, it is probably a weapon.
You earn more moves by collecting red runes, which you spend like experience points. Moves in the game are dependent on what you are wielding as a weapon at the time. You do to have the same moves available when carrying a sword as you do when carrying a 2 handed sword.
The graphics in the game are only decent. I think they tried to match the art of Boris Vallejo. So it looks more like a painting than a graphic heavy game. But the animation is decent. There are clipping problems, and the camera gets annoying.
It is a fun game. Its mindless hack and slash. You save topless women, who looked like they walked off a Boris Vallejo painting themselves. And they say some of the funniest lines ever in video game history. (“Crush me with your love”, “My clothes, where are my clothes”) I was having a blast until the last level of the game.
Throughout the game. The enemies get really tough. Most carry shields that eject spikes. When you strike them you take damage. Well this is fine, a lot of times in games you have to wait to hit an enemy. Well these soldiers are psychic. I mid swing they let those spikes loose, and you have no choice but to follow through. And this happens over and over.
The last level and boss are just a aggravation simulator. The enemies sole purpose seems to be not hacking you to death, but pushing you off a ledge, because you can not block when they follow through with a combo. So when they come flying at you like a windmill, and you are too close to a ledge...
Thank goodness the last boss is fought in parts, I would not have had the patients to finish the game otherwise. My controller coward in fear every time I would die. I wish they would have fixed some of these problems. But it is a licensed game and therefore not considered game of the year material.
I really enjoyed the game up until the last level. If I were grading it I would have given it a 7.5, but the last level really is not much fun and causes the whole game to drop in quality. 6.5 is what I give it. It has a few technical hiccups and a harsh difficulty level at the end, that kept me from wanting to go through the game a second time for the achievement points.
I would give it a rental. Or if you see it for $20 pick it up.
Phil-n Rob'd Moment: Being on top off a platform that starts to fall away, try to jump but the game's camera system switches, causing me to jump off to a weird angle, and into the dark oblivion below.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
I was looking through an after Christmas ad from Game Crazy and it had TMNT for the Xbox 360 on sale for only $9.99. I picked it up, but I got interested in Castlevania: SotN on the Live Arcade. After I completed the game, I thought I would go through this game.
TMNT is the game based on the movie of the same name. You follow Donatello, Raphael, Michaelangelo, and Leonardo on their quest for unity; as well as their quest to stop a man from unleashing monsters from another planet onto Earth. While I have not seen the movie, at least I know what goes on. Here is what I think of the game:
Graphics – The cut scenes in TMNT takes the look from comic books, with still shots in paneling, mixed in with small clips from the show. The in-game graphics look very good. The environments do differ, only that most of the time in the game you will traversing the roofs of NYC and that can get very boring after a while. Sometimes, you will be going through a scene that is in the past and it will be in black and white, which is a nice feature. There are some instances where you will go through the sewers (DUH), you will also go through the subway system, buildings, and an ancient temple. The turtles are designed very well. Each of the turtles motions are different. Each turtles has a different finishing motion that does show off their different attitudes. There are several different enemies that you will fight, such as the Foot Clan, The Black Gators, and the Militia. It is good that there are so many different groups, but there are only 4 different models for each and you mainly fight the Foot and the Purple Dragons. This can bring down the fun of fighting, as you will get bored seeing the same enemies time and time again.
Grade – B
Controls – The fighting controls for the turtles are pretty much the same for all. The A button is used to jump, to jump from side-to-side on close together walls, and to grab onto poles. The B button is used to attack. Hold onto it and you will do a more powerful attack. The Y button is used to do a jumping spin kick. The X button is used to switch the four turtles and holding will perform a special attack between two different turtles (Michaelangelo will hold Donatello's feet and spin him like a propeller). Each turtle has a different special ability to perform by pressing any of the shoulder buttons. Raph can climb special red-colored walls, Don can traverse large gaps, Mikey can use his 'chucks as propellers, and Leo can mysteriously go through gates with meditation (WTF?). The fighting with enemies is relatively easy, it is the environments that deal the most damage. While outside, you mainly jump from building to building. You can grab onto ledges and quickly run across them. You also can also use the X button to call in a fellow turtle and he will throw you farther. You can also run along the sides of walls Prince of Persia style. That would be good and fine with you, but, THERE IS A HORRIBLE FUCKING CAMERA IN THIS GAME. There are times when you will jump, thinking there is a building to land on and, instead, will plummet to your death. There are times when you must make a leap of faith to land on a bridge that you CAN'T SEE. There are times when you are running along a ledge when a sudden and unscene puff of steam will send you to your death. When fighting, you will not see all of the enemies because the camera does not change. I “died” 116 times and EVERY ONE of them was from the camera not helping. There will be times when you need to jump to a pole, and because you are close to a wall, you will wall run instead and fall to your death. These problems are unexcuseable. The right analog stick could have easily been used to control the camera, but there is not camera control to speak of. This is a fun killer.
Grade – F (If I could grade it lower, I would have)
Sound – Give me a second, I need to calm down from the controls portion of this review...Okay, I'm back. The sound in this game is good, but not really audible. The cut scene are voiced by the actors in the game, and are enjoyable to watch. The in game sounds, are a different story. During the game, you will get a little snippet of speech from the turtles to further the story. The problem is you can barely hear it. The lines that the turtles say that you can hear is actually pretty funny, with a bunch of one liners. The environmental sounds mire the voice overs. The background music is even less noticeable. You will actually need to stop doing anything and pay attention to the sound to hear it. It wouldn't be bad if you could adjust the sound, but oh wait, you can't. You can up the brightness, but the sound was just too difficult to fuck with. But, this is a good sounding game, if you could just hear it.
Grade – B-
Challenge – Okay, let me first say that this game is most definitely designed for 10-13 year old boys who like the Turtles. With that saying, the 17 levels in this game took me 4 ½ hours to beat. I am not joking. There is absolutely no challenge to this game. The enemy A.I. Is stupid. Most enemies will just look around when you are fighting each and every enemy. When you are overrun with enemies, perform a team attack and the enemies are pretty well gone. If you do lose all of your energy, you won't die. Just press the A button constantly will bring you back to full health if your solo. If you have other turtles with you, then the next on in line will come and pick you back up, which is very, very sweet. The bosses have very predictable moves that you will be able to exploit. The turtles will also tell you what to do (such as luring a loose gorilla to beams to knock it silly)...if you can hear it. The final boss is the easiest boss to defeat in any game that I have played, if you know how to. The only thing that makes this game challenging is making sure the camera doesn't fuck with you. There were times when I would jump and the camera would screw with you so bad that you would fall to your death. At the end of the stage, you are ranked on speed, coin collecting, fighting style, and teamwork (if applicable). If you get an overall A grade (which is not hard to get) you are rewarded with Challenge Stage which last only about 20-30 seconds. These stages are hard to see because they are red and blue colored see-through blocks. Some reviews are irked by the fact that there is no ability to have multiplayer. This game is too easy not to have multiplayer. It is not needed. When I go through a game, I do not want to be done with it so soon. The only challenge in it is not to fall to your death because of the fucking camera.
Grade – F
Extras – Finally, the bright spot to the game. There are several unlockable items with this game. The proverbial Big Head Mode is available, Weekend Weapons (Donatello fights with a broom, Raph fights with spatulas), and Gassius Turtle (take a guess) are available. There are also clips of the movie, still drawing, and goofy spoofs available to unlock. Very enjoyable. The only downside is that the movie clips are already the ones you see in the game. But still a good thing.
Grade – B+
Achievements – This is the part where I usually tell you the secret achievements that you can get or all the achievements you get on a Live Arcade game. Well, I don't need to tell you any of them because...when (not if) you beat the game, you should have earned all 1000 achievement points. Every stage you complete nabs you points, every time you use each turtles special solo move, you earn points and you have to do these through the game. You cannot progress without doing it. You must perform a group move to get points and you must do it to progress in the game. The only time you can get achievements away from the main story is to get a gold coin by going back into a previously beaten stage. 20 second into the first level you can get it. This game is the second known game that truly deserves the Achievement Whore award for giving you a ton of points without much effort (Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Burning Earth being the first).
Overall this game is like Paris Hilton. She may look beautiful on the outside, but there is absolutely nothing inside it that is any good. The worst camera ever mires this piece of shit. If you want points, get this game. If you don't, stay far away.
Overall – D+
Phil-N Rob'd Moment: I have been dogging this game the entire time and I am going to use this for something good. When with other turtles and you lose all of your health, a spotlight drops on you and another turtle jumps down and picks you up. One of the most beautiful parts of most games, it just feels so damn good.
We have a new feature for Phil-N Rob'd, were now on You Tube (sort of). Just type in “Phil-N Rob'd” to watch ending to several games (including TMNT) for free. There is also a video showing you how to get 1000 achievement points in 2 minutes. Also, don't forget to watch us on operator11.com every Sunday at 4:30 Eastern. Peace bitches.
I also included this little snippet from gametrailers.com. This is their review of TMNT so that you can have two different opinions.
Personal note: The only reason why I'm doing this is to make sure that I don't get fired. Hold on, I don't get paid for this shit. Well hell, screw this. I wonder if EGM is hiring?