Sunday, November 30, 2014

Now Playing: Gran Turismo

 IT WAS A FREE GAME
 I'm not the biggest Racing game nut out there, and the few racing games I like are of the Arcadey or Mascot-Racer variety, not the simulator style. But I kinda liked Gran Turismo 2 back when I was younger, which is why I wanted to buy it at some point in time later down the road. That time came last week, when I set out to purchase Fighting Force and Gran Turismo 2, after handing me down the games he says "Hmmm, Gran Turismo 2? Y'sure? I think I prefer GT 1.... Know what? here, it's yours" and he put GT on top of the other two, for free! So yeah, Racing isn't my favorite genre and what not... but FREE GAME. FREE GAME!

 For my first, and short, session(Since I've to study, dammit) I finished the first License challenge and finished the first cup(First place, baby!). It's alright. I admit I found myself more engrossed in the race than I'd care to admit, and a couple of the songs were badass. I also tried my luck at one of the Event Races... turns out the other racers aren't necessarily rounded up to your stats, these cars just took off and I didn't have a single chance to catch up to them, guess I gotta buy some new wheels. And that is a pun, because you can buy both cars and parts, so I could be talking about cars or wheels. I'm hilarious, I know.

 Bottom line: It is a quality game, but it ain't my kind of game. Still, Free game, baby!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Month Overview: November

Games finished in November:
 Crash - Mind over Mutant                                                   4.0
 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles                                             6.5
 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 - Battle Nexus                  6.5
 Diablo 3 - Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition               9.0
 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 - Mutant Nightmare         8.0
 TMNT - Mutant Melee                                                        5.0
 Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations                          6.0
 Rampage 2 - Universal Tour                                               3.0
 Nightmare Creatures                                                           5.5
 Sonic Battle                                                                         6.0
 Dragon's Crown                                                                  5.5
 One Piece - Grand Adventure                                             8.0
 Fighting Force                                                                     6.0
 Dragon Ball Evolution                                                        3.5  
 Crimson Gem Saga                                                             1.5
 Saint Seiya Omega - Ultimate Cosmos                              1.0

 Holy mother of... over 10 games in ONE moth, and it was one of the most taxing months of the year, when the last tests and assignments took place. Hot damn. Sadly, there were a ton of blunders this month: Crash - Mind over Mutant was such a huge let down, I genuinely enjoyed Crash of the Titans, I was aching to give it a whirl... and it wound taking away CotT's best parts and building upon the worst ones, Rampage 2 was another I was wanting to play... for over 10 years, and it took away elements from the first one, what the hell!? Dragon Ball Evolution wasn't SO bad, but it pales in comparison to all the other Dragon Ball games and great fighters on the system. Crimson Gem Saga was another disappointment, the art looked so good, it was localized by Atlus and it was going up in price, it had to be good! And then there's SS Omega that has such a bad CPU that makes playing through the game a chore. It seems I finished the month on a low note, Crimson Gem Saga, Dragon Ball Evolution and Saint Seiya Omega in a row, dammit, I've no luck with PSP games! I also want to mention Dragon's Crown, for some reason it seems to have gotten mostly high scores, so it seems I'm part of the minority that didn't like it, oh well! Also, four TMNT games in one Month? November is now, officially, Turtle month.

Game of November:
 I've heard that a lot of people had issues with Diablo 3, but I don't see'em. Sure, it's not Diablo 2, the story and characters are pretty lame, personalized stat spreads are also gone... but I had a blast with the game. It also happens to have... INFINITE REPLAY VALUE. I loved this one, I liked the variety in the skills, and how they looked. The Crusader also happened to have some very badass pieces of equipment, and being able to change the look of my equipment for a small fee was a little touch that made me enjoy the game much, much more.

 Runner-up:
 Know what makes a licensed game a great game? When you could take away all the licensed stuff from it and it'd still remain entertaining. That's the case with Grand Adventure, the gameplay is spot-on, tight controls, simple but fun mechanics, great graphics, surprisingly engaging Single Player Mode... other licensed games wish they could be this good.

Review #176: Saint Seiya Omega - Ultimate Cosmos

 Lemme tell you the definition of insanity.... expecting this game's AI to change.
 Saint Seiya Omega is the highly polarizing anime-only sequel to Saint Seiya, and like any popular Shonen focused on fights between powerful characters, it got itself its very own videogame.  This is an arena-based 1-on-1 fighting game, featuring 24(Technically 18) characters from the show, and an all-new storyline.

 The game is pretty light on modes: Story, Arcade, VS and Training. Story Mode is divided in 7 different chapters, each one following the storyline of one of the six main heroes and one featuring Seiya. I... I don't understand Japanese, so I had no idea of what was going on, besides the fact that they are trying to collect 7 gems in order to get the Triton Scale(An 'armor'), and each scenario is fully voiced... and you can't fast-forward the dialogue, or skip it, so... you are in for the long haul. Something pretty neat is that they actually created an all new storyline for the game, and it features a Triton Scale armor for each of the six main characters. Sadly, the new armor is the same for all characters(The girl gets an skirt, but it's otherwise the same armor), but it looks cool and it's a neat gimmick. Arcade is your typical Arcade ladder, and the other two modes are pretty self explanatory.
 Gameplay is pretty barebones, there's an strong and a weak attack, while circle performs special moves that consume a bit of the Cosmos Gauge. Holding the L button and pressing Square or Triangle produces a Super move, but spending the three levels of the gauge allows you to enter a 'super mode' by pressing L+Circle that grants you super armor, and pressing L+Circle again lets you use an Ultimate attack. R is used to throw your opponent, and if you plan of playing this by your lonesome, you are going to be using that button a whole lot....

 Here's the deal, I had no one to play this game with, and the AI is terrible, so I have no proper way of gauging how good the combat is, lemme elaborate... The AI's sole purpose in 'life' is to block. Doesn't matter which difficulty you choose, they will block, and block, and block. Oh, I'm not saying the AI is hard to battle, not at all! Y'see, there's no way to break guards, there's no guard meter and you can only do chip damage with Super moves... or Throw them. So you have two choices when dealing with the CPU, either try to attack them and win by time out, because they will only block, or Throw them over and over and over again, doesn't matter which difficulty you are in, the Throw is always your best tool. ALWAYS. There's no way to win with this game, either get bored by time outs, or get bored by repeating the strategy all the time. The harder difficulties makes them more aggressive, which lets you score more hits, but it's still not enough. And even if I had other players to play with, the only way to unlock the characters is through Arcade and Story Modes, so you HAVE to play against the CPU. I spent 80% of my time with the game pressing the R button. I had absolutely no fun with this game at all.
 The graphics are pretty neat, the game is very colorful, the environments are pretty and the character models... are alright. For some reason, the heights are a bit off, y'see, the Wolf guy(Harute?) has a crouched-like position by default, but even while standing, he looks tiny when compared to his friends, it's very jarring. Gembu, the Libra Saint, also looks huge, while he should be closer to Seiya's height. And I've a bone to pick with the animations, there's only like three different throws in the entire game, spread out through all 24 characters, and three females out of four share the same walking animation, with their hand resting on their hips... but then again, while the fourth one(Shaina) walks a tiny bit different, she also rests her hand on her hip. Is that how women walk in Japan or something? I mean, really. At least the soundtrack is really good, and the voice acting is excellent as well.

 I'm gonna be honest here, the score I'm gonna rate it ain't how good the game was, but how much I enjoyed it. Who knows, maybe with other people to play with, this game wouldn't be such a bust. But as it stands, even if you are a die-hard fan of the show, this game is a terrible pick to play by yourself.
 1.0 out of 10

Friday, November 28, 2014

Now Playing: Saint Seiya Omega Ultimate Cosmos

 'tseems I'm on a roll with bad PSP games.
 So.. Saint Seiya is one of my most hated series ever. It's sexist, it's dumb and it lacks any semblance of logic, but love the concept. I haven't seen Saint Seiya Omega yet, but what little I've seen, it seems to top the old series. Females no longer need the mask, which probably means that they did away with that sexist "if a man sees me, I must love him or kill him", or the fact that while females had to discard their femininity, most of the male Saints were HUGE ladyboys, women without breasts, if you will. Also, it seems that they are finally applying some kind of thought into battles, like when... Gembu or Kiki berated the bronzies for having their Cloths tank all the damage. Regardless, it seems that fans of the older show hate it, but the old show was terrible, so what do they know? I mean, really. And I'm not hating on them for liking it, I LOVE Hokuto no Ken, and it's equally sexist and dumb, plus, it has a ton of plot holes, just because I love something, doesn't mean I can't criticize it.

 As for the game... it's terrible. I mean... Playing against the CPU is infuriating, they block everything, and I mean everything. So there's two ways to win: Either mash attacks and win by timeout, which is boring, or spam the R button and win by repetitious boredome, your choice. It isn't even hard, since all they do is block, all you have, and can, do is block. Because there's not way to break guards, or any kind of guard meter. You can up the difficulty, which is a good idea as it will make them more aggressive, thus making them block less. They still block a lot though, and the Throws(R button) will get net you victories all the time. So... yeah, I can't properly gauge the gameplay since the CPU is so damnedly annoying, but I can at least attest that if you don't have anybody else to play this with, you are gonna have a baaaaad time.

Review #175: Crimson Gem Saga

 Oh, this game. Man, this game. I... This game. Words falter me.
 I love JRPGs, they are my jam, my thing, mah thang. Crimson Gem Saga is one of the worst JRPGs I've played in a long, long time, getting to finish this game was a struggle in and of itself, I even had to take a 3-4 month break since it got so repetitive, so dull, so boring. But y'know me, I just have to finish games, Rune Factory and Demon's Souls not withstanding, they are happening. Sometime.

 The story puts you in the role of Killian, a Chevalier who is late to his own graduation. Killian has a habit of oversleeping, playing on the "waking up late" trope that Crono popularized, and has a bit of a complex about second places, since that's where he usually lands. Eventually he wounds up with a rag-tag group and a quest to gather all the token McGuffins, the "wicked stones", before the token bad guy does. While the story does have its moments, particularly near the end of the game, overall it was pretty boring. It tries to make fun of common JRPG tropes, but at the end of the day, it ends up swimming in them. Terms are poorly explained, characters don't get much development, and you don't even get to fight your Rival(And Killian even makes a small joke about it)... I didn't feel motivated to see the quest through due to the story... nor due the gameplay, but more on that later. Even worse, the developers, or the publishers, were so arrogant as to think that this would be a part of a franchise, which means it ends on a cliffhanger with multiple plot threads hanging loose, and questions unanswered, and the game was so bad that they will never be answered. Probably.
 The game plays like any other turn based RPG, you have items or spells, and can choose to attack, defend or try to escape from battle. The game also has spells that require other party members to cast, which for some reason they thought that it was a selling point, which it isn't, that work as any other technique, except that it costs Mana from all the characters involved. Now then, where should I start tearing this game apart? Let's see, firstly, at the beginning of the game, Killian is VERY slow, and if an enemy sees you, you are basically screwed. Y'see, there's three ways to start the battle: Initiative, Enemy initiative or normally depending on when you touch the enemy goblin sprite(All battles are represented by a goblin, go figure). You gain the initiative by touching an enemy from behind before it sees you. A battle starts out normally if you touch an enemy after it sees you. But an enemy gets the initiative if it touches you a little while after seeing you. Y'see, Killian is so slow, and the range at which an enemy can see you is so large, that you'll start most battles getting hit, and ALL your characters get hit. It's not fun, it's annoying. Later in the game you can buy Mercury Boots that make you faster and allow you to get to the goblins more efficiently, but they are really expensive, and they might as well be a necessity.

 The game is a grindfest. Really. You need to grind for Experience, Skill Points, Money, Medallions and Gems. The game even lets you explore the first floors of the game's last dungeon since the start of Chapter 2, they want you to grind, they expect you to grind. First of all, Experience points, enemies are really strong. As in really, really strong. Enemies love to gang up on one of your characters, one single critical hit can mean the death of one of your character, since it allows them to hit you more times. On the flip-side, this also works for you, if you score a Critical hit, a button prompt appears on screen, and if you press X on time, you will score 1 or 2 more hits. That's nice. Regardless, random encounters will always be a threat, the game expects you to grind up to level 40(Starting at around 20) on chapter 2 before you can, more or less, comfortably finish it. On the other hand, bosses are really, really easy. I've said this time and time again, but if the random encounters are harder than a boss, you are doing something wrong.
 Then comes Skill Points, these are shared between characters, and are used to learn spells for each character. I never really had trouble with SP, but you might need to grind for these. Then comes Money, at the start of the game, it isn't really an issue, but in Chapter 2 you get your first chance to buy the Mercury Boots, and you need these, so you are gonna have to grind for money. The last chapter also gets incredibly expensive, it will take hundreds of fights to be able to buy equipment for all six characters. Oh, and you want to buy equipment for everyone, as characters leave your party at a moment's notice, and this even applies for the last dungeon. Medallions are used to level up your individual skills, and they come in four varieties: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. You need a bronze to level up a skill from level 1 to 2, a Silver to level them from 2 to 3. No skipping. Medallions are rare drops, and you need to level up your skills if you want to stand a chance during random encounters, so... yeah, get grinding. Lastly, gems are used to change the affinity of your weapons, I never really needed them, and since you are gonna be switching equipment, I never really felt the need to change the affinity of most of my weapons, only on rare occasions when they weren't dealing any damage due to resistances.

 Now then, I'm gonna tell you the secret to playing this game. First of all, these are the only skills that you need: Everyone must learn Grace of God, Killian, Gelt and Acelora must learn their Ultimate attack that hits all enemies, Spinel and Lahduk must learn their ultimate attacks that hits one enemy for massive damage, Spinel and Killian learn to need their dual technique, and Henson needs his mutli-hitting wind spells before he leaves the party, and once he returns... you don't really need him anymore. All the other skills, which there are many, you won't ever need. Except maybe the healing spells for Gelt and Killian. Now then, Spinel and Killian's dual technique deals 15-20% of the enemies current HP in damage, which you will abuse during bosses. Grace of God you will only need on the bonus bosses that have attacks that can wipe your whole party in one turn. Killian, Gelt and Acelora will spam their ultimate Attacks on random encounters so that you can grind fast, easily and safely, while Spinel and Ladhuk will be your boss killers. You can't buy mana potions, but your health and mana get refilled after each level up, and the enemies drop mana potions all the time. THIS is how they expect you to play the game. It's repetitive, it's boring, it's a waste of time. It's hilarious, because the game starts obnoxiously hard, but by the end of the game you get such strong equipment that the last bosses will have a hard time killing you. Seriously.
 Oh, I'm not done yet. Dungeons are very mazelike, with many forks that take you to different places, while at the same time having multiple exits that lead to the same places, seriously. A lot of the time they will have you going around hitting levers, switches or the such, going from one end of the dungeon to another. They aren't fun to explore, and the corridors are designed in such a way that they all look the same. And if you thought the dungeons were the only blunder, think again, during the story you will have to go from place to place for arbitrary reasons, you'll end up doing something like: Go to A, then go to B, then go to A, then go to C, then back to A and finally back to B. It's not fun, it's boring, it's repetitive, just like the battle system.

 The graphics are nice, kinda. Sprites are very colorful, and look good... sometimes. Some animations are clearly lacking frames, while others, like the Zombies, look downright beautiful. Most of the time they are pretty bad though. The music was very forgettable, and it doesn't even loop, when in dungeons or towns, the music will just stop for a few seconds before starting up again, it's hilarious, in a bad way. The voice acting is really good though, shame that the dialogue is so asinine.
 Crimson Gem Saga was a game I hated, I despised. It bored me to no end, and it'll be a day too soon if I never see this game again. I've heard that this was a massively improved sequel to 'Astonishia Story', which makes me wonder just how can a game be worse than this. This is a game that doesn't respect the player, it doesn't value their time. This is not a good game, avoid it like the plague.
 1.5 out of 10

Review #174: Dragon Ball Evolution

 Just what was I expecting?
 I'm a firm believer that if the gameplay is great, it doesn't matter how bad the game looks or sounds. Dragon Ball Evolution wants to puts that belief to the test, as it takes the gameplay from the Shin Budokai series but applies a new coat of paint based on the terrible, terrible movie. Dragon Ball Evolution is... quite a piece of work.

 Cutting to the chase, the game offers a Story Mode, Arcade Mode, Network Battling, Training, Mission and Survival. Right here, huge pet peeve of mine: No offline VS CPU mode, if you wanna battle specific CPU opponents, you gonna have to resort to the training mode. The Story Mode goes through the Movie's story, told via some very ugly traced character cut-outs that look nothing like the actors, I didn't stomach the entire movie, so I'm not sure just how faithful it is to the movie, but the script is terrible, turning Dragon Ball into an stereotypical American highschool soap opera. Getting an A or better rank on each "act" will unlock two bonus acts featuring a new storyline in which 'Neo Piccolo'(He introduces himself that way, but he is just Piccolo wearing a red cloak) comes to stir up some trouble, but is quickly offed by Goku. Again. Mission Mode works just like it did in Shin Budokai, it's a neat idea, but it doesn't explain you HOW to do what it asks you, "perform 4 dodges", but the only way to learn how to dodge is the instruction booklet. Survival is pretty self explanatory, but the roster is so small that just on my first 10 opponents I fought 5 Chi Chis and 3 Bulmas, while the next ten featured 3 Fu Lums, 2 Gokus and 2 Yamchas. Fun.
 Just as stated above, the game borrows Shin Budokai's engine, which means Aura, Aura Smash, Aura Shield, Pursuit Attacks are back and work just as well. Likewise, each character has a bunch of combos involving weak and strong attacks, alongside 3 Special moves that consume Ki and a Super Move that requires 5 Ki gauges. Gameplaywise it's just as good as Shin Budokai, the entire combo system is intact, as well as every nuance and technique. Which would be a good thing, if only the game wasn't so shamefully lazy. There's only 11 characters, and that's counting Neo Piccolo, and they had the gall to reuse animations. Off the top of my hat I can remember: Piccolo, Roshi and Gohan share one Special Move, Gohan and Roshi have the same walk animations, Piccolo and Gohan share the same square combos, Piccolo and Neo Piccolo only have a few different combos, mostly the ones that start with Square. They also pulled a Ubisoft, as it seems animating women was too expensive, which is why the three females(Mai, Chi Chi and Bulma) share the same walking animations. And did I mention they borrowed the Shin Budokai engine? This means it also borrows the long loading times.

 Graphics are... good, when looking at screenshots. I mean, character models are detailed, and they look sorta OKish when still, but every new animation, meaning not taken from Shin Budokai, is probably gonna look awkward. The female walk cycle, Yamcha's walk cycle, Goku's win pose, they all look very, very awkward. Music is alright, there wasn't a whole lot of though put behind it, but it works. As for the voices, I don't know if they got the cast from the movie, but it doesn't matter, voices can't save this game.
 Know what the saddest part about it is? They had 90% of the legwork done. All they had to do was reskin it, seriously, that was ALL they had to do to make an alright game. What, some of the original animations were too outlandish for the game? Didn't stop them from using the same dashes and Smash attacks. I understand that Shin Budokai Another Road has sorta gone up in price, but this, this isn't a good substitute. And even then, the PSP has so many other great fighting games(Darkstalkers 3, Dissidia, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Tekken, Soul Calibur, etc), why settle for this? I paid 4 bucks for game, so I don't really regret it, and technically, at its core, it ain't a terrible game, the Shin Budokai engine is really good, but when compared with the game that spawned it... it falls short in every single way.
 3.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Now Playing: .... erm.... Dragon Ball...... evolution... yeah...

 I HAVE MY REASONS, OK?
 I swear I'm a dignified human being, which is why I have a perfectly fine, valid and truthful reason as to why I own this game, four of them in fact... The game was four bucks. FOUR. BUCKS. And I had heard that it borrowed its gameplay from the Shin Budokai series, so I said what the hell.

 I played a bit, finished all 'Easy' Missions and fought against Gohan in the Story Mode, and... it's a poor man's, soulless version of Shin Budokai. The gameplay is here, and there's some new Special moves, which is kinda OK, but everything else is gone. The graphics are very... inconsistent, models are passable, but some animations are really, really bad, like Bulma and Yamcha's walk cycles, they are just... eugh. Then there's also the fact that these characters are very... 'real' looking, with very common clothes, and they are pulling off these off-the-wall attacks(Seriously, Yamcha has a drill-like weapon), it just looks... weird. The music is ... alright, I expected way worse.

 The only reason I started this one was to help me get through the dullness of Crimson Gem Saga, I will finish that damned game and then shelve it... never to be touched again. Probably the worst game I've played this year, not even the 3-4 month break I took was enough to aid me with the grindfest.

 Right now, I can say that even, even if Shin Budokai is outside your price range, this game isn't worth it. As good as the gameplay is, if you want a Dragon Ball game this is a poor substitute, and the PSP has so many other great fighters that blow it completely out of the water. However, at four bucks, if you know what you are getting into, is an alright purchase.... so far, I think.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review #173: Fighting Force

 I liked it more than Dragon's Crown. Just sayin'.
 If one genre hasn't aged well, it's the beat'em up genre. To be honest, I can't exactly pin-point the reason, probably because I still like the genre. The genre bloomed in the Arcades, and then the SNES received its fair share of beat'em ups, but during the next generation of consoles it started dying down, and now a days it's mostly extinct. Fighting Force was one of the first 3D beat'em ups to be developed for the PS1, and it's a decent effort that could've used a bit more fleshing out.

 The game actually has a story, not that you'd know from playing the game, which offers no insight, cut-scene, flavor text or even hints at it. The game is set "years past the millennium"(I'm quoting the instruction booklet!), and this one guy named "Dr. Dex Zeng", a supposed former Government Agent, was really confident about the world ending in the year 2000. It didn't, and now he is so angry that he brings it upon himself to bring the world to an end. I couldn't be making this up if I tried. This private investigator named Mace(Female), contacts this vigilante named Hawke and Alana, a "raver" who likes to dance but was experiment upon by Zeng(What?) and then Hawk contacts Smasher, a prisoner of sorts, and they set out to stop Zeng. Best. Story. Ever. No game will ever top this story, and it's a shame none of it permeated the game itself.
 Notice how I named four characters? They are the playable heroes of the game, with up to two players at the same time. And it's better if you do get a partner-in-arms, as these games are at their best in co-op. All four characters are basically the same, they have a two kick combo, a three(four for Alana) punch combo, a jumping kick, a 360 degree attack that costs a bit of health, a slide and a running kick(Body slam for Smasher), a back punch, and they each get three different throws when grabbing an enemy. Yes, all four characters are pretty samey, even though Hawk and Mace are the "balanced" guys, Alana is the speedster and Smasher is the slow power-house. You, and your enemies, can also pick up various items, knives, pipes, barrels, guns and shotguns for added destructive power. Overall, it's pretty simple and brain dead, but I had fun plowing down enemy after enemy. While the game is rather short, you could probably clear it in under an hour if you know what you are doing, there are different routes that you can take, with different stages, and while all stages are basically the same: Punch/Kick all enemies to death, at least they provide different backdrops, and some routes have exclusive enemies... even if they are just reskins.

 As much as I liked it, the game has a couple of problems. The punch button doubles as the pick up button. I tend to favor punching, which means that I relied mostly on punches... when you are near items and you try to punch, your character will try to pick up whatever is next to him. Particularly annoying when you are mashing the X button, out of habit, and when they hit you out of the "pick up" animation... your character instantly tries to pick it back up. So, yeah, if you are near items, resort to Kicks. The Camera isn't the greatest either, they tried to alleviate it by giving you a "zoom out" button, but it still isn't enough to give you a clear view of where enemies can and are coming from. Lastly, the game is a bit of a liar... it prompts a Save Screen after each level, and you can save your game, and it names the file like "Hawk at Bridge Level", however, you can't continue from where you left off. You are supposed to beat the game in one sitting, and it's kinda short so it isn't such a big deal, but why let you save your game after every stage if it does NOTHING?!
 Graphics are pretty darn good, characters and environments alike are very detailed and look pretty nice. I also liked the variety in the stages, it's not the most colorful of games, but it has many different backdrops, from the Park, Zeng's Building, The Bronx, the Subway... all of the genre's must-have levels are accounted for in this one. Some animations are a bit rigid though, and you can tell since the animations for attacking with the pipe doen't even get close to the smoothness of Alana's flying kick. Music is fairly good as well, and the sound effects are fairly appropriate. Overall, it looks great and sound really good.

 Fighting Force doesn't reinvent the wheel, it's just another beat'em up to add to the pile, however, what it does, it does fairly well. It is what it is, which is why it's hard to recommend to anyone but fans of the genre. Plus, I liked it more than Dragon's Crown. Just putting it out there.
 6.0 out of 10.

Now Playing: Fighting Force

 I didn't remember it being this good.
 So, I remembered Fighting Force as a somewhat... bad game. I still wanted to get it since it was one of the games I used to play when I was younger. Funny story, I actually learnt about it thanks to the N64 port and Nintendo-based magazines, but I didn't get to play it until I got a PS2.

 As for the game, it's really fun, it's decent, looks pretty nice and the soundtrack is good. I love the amount of breakables on each stage, like the time I punched next to some handles on the elevator stage... and Hawk just pulled the handle and wielded it as a Club. Badass. The combat is pretty much brain dead, with little in the way of combos, but I think it's fine, I like this kind of games after all.

 On other news, today I was planning on buying FF and Gran Turismo 2, but the dude that gave me Gran Turismo 1 for free. Today... was a good day.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Review #172: One Piece - Grand Adventure

 I'd cross the Grand Line for this game. Just sayin'
 One Piece: Grand Adventure is a 1 on 1 arena-based fighter based on the hit franchise One Piece. While Japan had the "Rumble Arena" series, westerners had to settle with Grand Battle and Grand Adventure. Grand Battle was a decent game... but had stuff taken out, Grand Adventure sets out to correct that, and it manages to be a Western-Exclusive One Piece game that is almost on par with the last Rumble Arena game.

 The game has two main modes: Adventure and Battle, the latter that houses VS Player/Cpu, Tournament and Arena(A "choose your next opponent" ladder). The adventure mode actually has five different adventures, Luffy's story that loosely tells Luffy's story up to Skypeia's arc, and then there's four what ifs: Buggy's, Crocodile's, Chaser's(Smoker) and Usopp's. What's fun about Adventure mode is that you actually level up your characters as you fight battles, and get to spread their stat points! Each character also has unlockables(Luffy unlocks costumes for the Mugiwaras and Robin, Usopp unlocks costumes for the Mugiwaras, Smoker, Crocodile and Buggy unlock characters). Surprisingly, it's a very fun and lengthy mode, however, Smoker's Adventure is a bit of a chore. Y'see, for some reason they decided that in order to unlock Smoker's characters you need to level them up to 15, that's fine, but Kuina and Zeff come with terrible stat spreads that make even the easiest of fights in Chaser's mode hard, it just wasn't fun having to grind experience with these two characters.
 Controls are responsive and well set-up, but there's a bunch of functions that may take a while to properly get a grasp of. X and Square are your two basic attacks that can be combined to produce various three hit combos, pressing them together performs a strong attack that breaks guards. Circle is used to grab boxes, barrels, chests or items around the arenas, and triangle is the jump. So far, so good. R1 is a block, but holding R1 and pressing any of the face buttons allows for Special attacks! Then there's L1, which is used to enter Accel Heat Mode when pressed with the triangle button(There's three levels of Accel Heat, depending on how many energy gauges you spend, and they provide various bonuses like unblockable attacks and faster speed), but if you press square twice while holding L1 you can call a character to assist you(There's many types of Assist Characters, which you chose before each battle). L1+X plus another button performs Super attacks, but L1+Circle+Circle plus another button produces the Secret Attack that consumes three gauges, and if it hits, engages a rock-paper-scissors minigame, which I really, really could've done without. I also disliked how Super Attack and Secret Attack's inputs are different between characters, it doesn't add depth to the game or differentiate characters, it just makes it confusing!

 Regardless, 22 out of the 24 characters are completely unique between each other, they even have unique "hold" animations. Take Buggy, when he holds an item, he crosses his arms while his hands hover above his head holding the item, while Crocodile just holds his hand over his head nonchalantly, and Zeff just lays the item over his head. There's only two clones, Kuina and Zeff, who are Tashigi and Sanji clones respectively, and even then, they have some unique attributes to themselves. Stages are very colorful and varied, with different geographies and obstacles, some even contain hazards that must be avoided. On the flip side, it seems they tried to bite more than they could chew with some stages, the framerate can get pretty bad on some of the more intense environments. As far as usable weapons go, they are pretty dull, there's a bat, a laser sword, bombs, oil canisters, poisonous shrooms among others, but I didn't really care for them. There's also some unlockable mini-games, like a 1-on-1 race or one in which you have to break all the boxes in a time-limit, they're pretty forgettable, but I didn't mind them.
 The game is absolutely beautiful, a lot of care went into the game's graphics. While the game employs a slightly deformed look for the characters, they are pretty detailed, and the animations are pretty smooth(When the framerate isn't taking a dive that is!). Not to mention the amount of unique animations per character, like the previously mentioned "holding" animations. Particularly impressive is how cloth moves, just look at how Luffy's jacket waves. The music is alright, it fits the game and it suits the fighting, the same can't be said about the voice acting sadly. The game employs the terrible, terrible 4Kids dub, so expect to see some changes on some personalities. This also means that Smoker is now named Chaser and he is missing the cigars from his mouth, and Ace was renamed Trace, for some reason. I really didn't mind it to be honest, the game is great, and most of what made the characters who they are was left intact.

 One Piece Grand Adventure is almost a perfect example on how to make a licensed game. You could take away all the One Piece imagery and it would still be a great game. There's a couple of annoyances, like how the frame-rate can go to hell on some stages, or how Secret and Super moves inputs are different from characters for no reason at all, or the edits done to the characters due to the dub, however, Grand Adventure is so good that it's easy to look past that.
 8.0 out of 10.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review #171: Dragon's Crown

 Only took me... what, like.. a year?
 I... I really wanted to like this one. Made by Vanillaware, developers of Murasama(A game which I adored) I had nothing but high hopes for this game, even though it kinda took a while to come out. Dragon's Crown tries to mix the Beat'em up genre with some RPG elements, but the end result is... odd. Capcom did it first, and got it right, with their Dungeon and Dragons beat'em up games, but Dragon's Crown didn't get it just quite right.

 The game puts the story at the forefront, for some reason, concerning the titular Dragon's Crown and various political powers after it. You are tasked to find this crown, but it isn't as simple as it sounds, eventually getting roped into finding 9 different talismans and slaying an ancient evil. The good? I like how there's a narrator telling you what characters said, makes it seem like you are playing a tabletop game. The bad? There's TOO much story, and it isn't particularly interesting. This game prides itself in its four player couch co-op, it prides itself on being a Beat'em up, so why the hell are they making me go from point A to point B, on the town, just to advance the story? Why is the Narrator repeating the same line, telling me what to do, every time I leave a building? Seriously, the Narrator quickly wears out his welcome, I don't need to be reminded that I'm still missing X amount of Talismans every time I return to town, or enter a building to repair my weapons. He NEVER shuts ups.
 The game plays, mostly, like a traditional beat'em up game. I appreciate how they managed to cram many actions into a very few amount of buttons. Square is used to attack, and inputting different directions on the analog stick produces different attacks, however, holding square also allows you to block, and holding it while walking lets you run! It sounds like a lot, but it works fairly well. What doesn't is that picking up weapons or bones sometimes doesn't feel responsive, I think that you actually have to wait for the prompt to appear on screen, but I'm not sure, either way, it's not very responsive. Before each stage, you can also bring potions, which are used with the directional pad. Lastly, when you get hit, there's a slight chance that your weapon might drop, which is interesting, but for some reason, you can't pick it up for a few seconds, which I don't really mind, but it doesn't make sense as to why you can't pick it up! There's no rhyme or reason, the developers just chose that you can't. All in all, it works fairly well, combat is fast and frantic, even though when playing with four other players, it's easy to lose track of where you are. One of the patches added a colored circle around your characters, but it's so thin that it barely helps.

 As good as the combat mechanics are, the developers also opted to add a Rogue following the party, which you control with the right analog stick. Pointing at chests or doors and then pressing the right analog stick(R3) makes him pick their locks. My question is... Why? The Rogue adds NOTHING to the game, sending him to pick locks doesn't count as a 'puzzle', it's just something to make you think like you are doing something else, but it doesn't work, heck, it brings the game to a halt. You can also press R3 over glimmering lights to produce gold, which is... something that you'll do a couple of times before realizing that it's a waste of time. R3 is also how you activate runes, by pressing runes in the background and then coupling it with some of yours. It's a decent idea, and there's many different rune combinations for various effects, but as a whole I really disliked the whole right analog stick mechanic.
 The game has six different classes, and they all have different skills. It may be due to the fact that the Knight, the class I played, was a bit boring, but I felt most skills were pretty... dull. Sure, investing in the 'mash square to win' skill was fun, but at the end of every boss fight my hand would be in pain. My partner played with the Dwarf, and the Dwarf-exclusive skills were fairly dull as well, but at least it could grab enemies and boulders and then throw them! If you don't have friends available, you can also play online, or by finding bones and resurrecting them(for a fee) play with CPU allies. The CPUs are fairly dumb, as expected, but at least you get some diversions. The thing about the CPU allies is that they don't level up, so you have to resurrect as many as you can to keep your allies updated. The game also has a very weird difficulty curve, every now and then the boss level will just jump a couple of levels ahead of you, so you will have to sidequest a bunch in order to stand a chance. Frankly, it feels like fat, it forces you to replay levels over and over again so that you can increase your level and stand a chance.

 Ah, yes, Sidequests, you can only accept five at a time, and they all consist of playing and replaying levels. Most of the time, Sidequests are unlocked AFTER finishing a level, so they are there for replaying purposes. Later in the game you'll unlock alternate"Route B" on all 9 stages, which take you to an alternate boss, but as soon as you unlock this feature, you lose the ability to pick a stage... for free. So now you are left with two choices: Go to the gate and warp to a random level, or pay money at the stables to pick a stage. What. The. Hell? No, really, why? Why make you pay even more? You need money to: Resurrect Bones(And you need to if you are playing by yourself, as CPUs don't level up), maintain your equipment(It breaks!), used as continues(If you or your allies lose their lives during a stage), to appraise loot(Every item you find has to be appraised, and Equipment can only be FOUND not bought, and even then, you can't see the stats besides "it's a level X weapon" so it could potentially suck) and to buy items... and they also want to charge you for picking a stage? If you could at least accept all quests at all times, at least then getting warped to a random location wouldn't be SO bad, since you could have a available quest to clear. And after finishing a level, you can chose to continue adventuring... except that you get warped into a random level. Why? Just.... why?
 The graphics are beautiful. Kinda. Y'see, as I have stated many times throughout this blog, I hate fanservice. 80% of this game's art direction is fanservice. Your rewards for doing sidequests(Besides money and experience points)? Art pieces, mostly of naked or semi naked women. Women that you find in dungeons? If they are not almost naked they are on pandering positions. Two of the three playable females in the game are exploited as much as they could. Yeah, the game is pretty tasteless. However, the animation and how the sprites look is really, really good, probably some of Vanillaware's finest. The music has some outstanding pieces, but the rest of the soundtrack was pretty forgettable. And as much as I liked the Narrator, at first, eventually his voice just started annoying me to no end, if only he would shut up.

 Dragon's Crown, when it's at its finest, is really, really good. The rest of the time, it will leave you perplexed at some of the questionable design choices it employs. As a whole, I can't say I liked too much, and I love, LOVE beat'em ups. It's just that they could've done things so much better, but I guess they thought the fanservice would make up for them. It didn't.
 5.5 out of 10.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I once wrote a FAQ...

 Yup. I wanted to try writing one, I dunno why, maybe a young kid's whim or sumthin'. The game I chose? Naruto Ninja Council 2. It was pretty straightforward, which made it easy to cover, and it was also a game I enjoyed playing back in the day, so it was my poor victim. Also, think I snuck a jab at one of my friends, heh, but I might've deleted it in one of the many revisions I made. Actually, it's still there! The very last line "Juan JD Chimpy Se la come.", I was such a prick! Oh well, keep in mind I wrote this when I was younger, it has a lot of mistakes, and I do mean a lot. As a matter of fact, a couple of years ago I skimmed through it and came across many, many typos, which I fixed, but there's probably a lot more hidden throughout.

This is the link: http://www.gamefaqs.com/gba/920937-naruto-ninja-council-2/faqs/46924 .
And here it is in it's entirety(Man, this is so embarrassing):
Naruto Ninja Council 2

----------------------Intro INTR00--------------------------------------
This is the Archile's(Or Archale, 'tis the same) FAQ, it is my favorite FAQ,
because it is my FAQ. Can only be hosted on http://www.gamefaqs.com, 
http://www.supercheats.com, http://www.cheatcc.com and http://www.neoseeker.com.
Can't be reproduced on another web site without my consent.
So....what's the game all about? You play as the three main characters(Uzumaki
Naruto, Uchiha Sasuke, Haruno Sakura) and have to beat the crap out of everyone
that crosses your path. Fun!
 Each character sports some of the jutsus used on the manga(They should have
added Rasengan instead of sexy jutsu for Naruto, and the Big fireball for
Sasuke instead of the Lion combo..., those attacks ARE part of the
characters...).
Anyways, the graphics are great, but the music sucks. Also the game is very
easy and very short, yet it's incredibly fun.

-----------------------------INDEX----------------------------------------
1- Intro (INT00)
2- Updates (UPTO00)Basics (BASI00)
3- Basics (BASI00)
4- Starting Up (STUP00)
5- Pick Ups (PIUP00)
6- Playable Character (CHAR00)
7- Enemies (ENEM00)
8- Traps (TRAP00)
9- Bosses (BOSS00)
10- Walkthrough (to come) (WLKT00)
11- Secrets (SECR00)
12- FAQ (FAQ000)
13- Review (REVI00)
14- Closing (CLUP00)
******************************************************************
--------------------Updates-----------------------------
-22/1/07: Corrected most grammatical errors.
          Fixed things here and there
          Added Updates section ^_^
-8/2/07: Corrected some damage values and whatnot, small things.
-26/1/1: Fixed some small typos I couldn't stand e_e.
--------------Basics ------------------------------(BASI00)
U- UP on the Dpad
D- DOWN on the Dpad
L- LEFT on the Dpad
R- RIGHT on the Dpad
A- A button
B- B button
R- Right shoulder button
L- Left shoulder button
ST- Start
S- Select

B- "Basic Attack", press it multiple times to make combos.

U+B- "Uppercut", press it to send an enemy flying overhead, useful to
distance yourself from enemies.

B- "Throw", when carrying a weapon, press B to shoot it.

A- "Jump", as the action implies, your character jumps, all characters Can
double jump.

L & R- "Walk", press the left arrow to move left, likewise with the right
arrow.

2xL&R- 1-"Dash", press an arrow twice to run in said direction
       2-"Dodge" press the opposite arrow to where you are facing twice to hop
       back

D- "Duck", when you duck, you can't attack or move, but lets you dodge
some projectiles(According to the booklet), but you can blow through the game
without ducking even once.

R- "Block" Use it to block incoming attacks, some attacks are
unblockable(Usually from bosses. You can Block while in the air.

L- Change character

S- Select scrolls(Can carry three at a time)

R+A- Use Scroll, you can use scrolls while lying in the floor(Not ducking), but
not while jumping.

ST - Pause game

Hold L or R and move the Dpad to check your surroundings

Combos:
B,B,B,B is the combo you'll be doing the most throughout the game, quite
useful too.

B,B,B,U+B to send the enemy upwards

B,B,B,A,B according to the booklet is a jump attack, I couldn't perform it
not even once.

Smoke Screen: Press D+A to teleport to the enemies behind(Useful in boss
fights).
It can also be used to evade some projectiles if you time it right.
Smoke Screen 2: Press U+A to teleport upwards

Jutsus: Jutsus are special attacks that drain some HP when used
Each character had four different Jutsus
1- Usually the weakest and the one that consumes the least HP, D,D,B
2- Usually the jutsu you'll be doing the most, U,U,B
3- The strongest, usually, D,U;B
-------------------------Starting up-----------------------------(STUP00)
On the main menu there are four options:
TOP LEFT: New Game- Begin a new game
BOTTOM LEFT: Continue Saved file
TOP RIGHT: Co-Op: play a cooperative game
BOTTOM TIGHT: VS- Play against someone.
---------------------Game Screen--------------------------------
At the top left corner, you'll se the face of the character you are using.
The bar, to the right of said face is the health bar (goes from green-blue-
yellow-red-DEAD). Below the health bar are the scrolls,
the one that is being selected is highlighted. When you hit an enemy, his
health bar will appear on the top right corner.Press Start to access the
Pause Menu, with two options : "Return", to the game, or "End Game" to return
to the main menu.

Pick Ups PIUP00
There are 4 different types of pick ups

 Health kits- Two kinds, Heal little to medium damage for all the characters.

 Leaves- They don't do anything, but you need them to up your score.

 Knives- Basic Throwing Weapons:
Can't hold more than one, and Can only be used once ( until you get another)
on the bottom left corner on the screen you Can see if you are holding
something. Can be used in the air, and you can't use normal attacks until you
throw them.
Kunai - Medium damage
Shuriken - Medium damage
Needle - Little Damage
Big Shuriken(It had a name....Kaze Shuriken or something of the like)
Instant kill on common enemies.

 Scrolls: Can carry up to three, if you get another one, the new one will
disappear.
The enemy must be on the screen(You must be seeing them) and not lying in the
floor or in the air. Press select to change the highlighted scroll and press
R+A to use them.(Can be used while you are lying in the floor)

Kakashi- It has electricity around- The best scroll, deals a lot of damage,
by having Kakashi execute Chidori, it can be used when an enemy is jumping.
Save it for bosses.

Kiba and Akamaru- It has a dog- A somewhat good scroll, Kiba and Akamaru
use their signature move and hit an enemy, if another enemy is in the way,
they will hit him too. Medium Damage

Chouji- The round scroll- Not really a favorite of mine, Chouji uses his
signature move to hit an enemy, if another enemy is close, he may or may
not get attacked too. Kiba and Akamaru are better
than him.

Shikamaru- The scroll covered in darkness- In my opinion the worst scroll.
Shikamaru uses the kage bind jutsu, stopping the enemies for some time
allowing you to hurt them. Hitting one enemy will damage all of them.It also
freezes the screen, and you can't grab items while it is in use.

Shino- The Scroll covered with bugs- When fighting bosses, it really won't 
make a difference, but when fighting common enemies, it's really useful.
He hits all enemies on screen, usually killing them.Also it deals a LOT of
damage to the sound ninjas.

SECRET-----SECRET----SECRET
Stop reading if you wanna figure it out for yourself.

Sandaime- The big scroll with a symbol and leaves falling around- Takes the
place of Kakashi's scroll(A shame, since Kakashi looks bad ass) The monkey and
the old guy team up to attack the enemy. Instant kill on most bosses too(Works
on everyone but the last Orochimaru(Chap 6) but leaves him in red healh. It
also won´t work on Gaara and Neji, since Sandaime doesn´t appear on those 
stages.

DONE-----DONE----DONE

Playable Characters CHAR00
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
Naruto: In my opinion, the best character, he is strong, has good Jutsus, a
lot of health and deals a lot of damage. Oh, and he looks bad ass while
doing so.
 Naruto (G)reatness (P)oints: 5/5

Jutsus:
D-D-B: "U-ZU-MA-KI NARUTO RENDAN!" One of the best looking Jutsus, Naruto
uses Kage bunshin to summon clones, and use the combo on the enemy
(The attack is based on one of Sasuke's attack, which in turn is based on
Rock Lee's attack). Deals plenty of damage and you don't lose much
health(Around one health bar).
5/5 GPs

U-U-B: "Oiroke no Jutsu": Naruto transforms into a scantily clad woman to
seduce enemies. CRAPPY JUTSU. Makes the enemies stop moving for some time,
doesn't work on all bosses, and you don't lose much health.
0.5/5 GPs

D-U-B: Summons the chief Toad, great attack, deals a LOT of damage, but you
lose medium health. Great on normal enemies, but it works wonders on bosses. If
it fails(Sometimes it does) you don't lose health, however if it works and
there is no enemy on the screen, it WILL take life from you.
4.5/5 GPs, if only it didn't fail sometimes.....(Which rarely does)

Knives:
He sucks with all of them, he deals little damage, though it's instant kill
with the Big Shuriken.
GPs with knives: 2/5

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
Sasuke: Good all-around, with the best Jutsus, not to mention he is great with
knives. Most people will rather use him over Naruto, but Naruto deals more
damage and has more health, thus making him better than Sasuke.
You may want to use Sasuke for boss fights, due to his great Jutsus.
Sasuke's GPs 4/5

Jutsus:
D-D-B: Chidori: Hatake Kakashi's attack, good looking and deals a lot of
damage, costs one health bar to use. The enemy Can be jumping when it's used.
4/5 GPs

U-U-B: Shishi Rendan: The best looking attack in the game, deals a decent
amount of damage and costs little health.The enemy can be jumping when you use
it
5/5 GPs

D-U-B: Sharingan: Makes enemies take more time to decide what to do. Crappy
attack, but takes little health, much better than Oiroke no jutsu, though
2/5 Gps

Knives: He throws two of each weapon, and deals medium damage.
When he throws the Big Shuriken, it goes back to him, thus making two
trips.
 4/5 GPs
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
Sakura: She may seem useless...well, she, for the most part is useless. Her
strength lies in the knives, she deals the most damage with them. In the manga,
she doesn't have any signature jutsu or trait, but on Naruto part 2 she gains
super strength and healing abilities.
She´s useful for the Time Challenge stages, because you only need to run, and
she has a speed enhancing jutsu.
Sakura's GPs 3/5

Jutsus:
D-D-B: "Inner Sakura" Inner Sakura somehow materializes and hit the enemy
for 20+hits. deals a medium amount of damage.
3/5 GPs

U-U-B: "Chakra Control" She gets faster, and doesn't do combos with "B",
instead she chains the basic attack, until the enemy finally falls. Only lasts
about 20 seconds, but takes little health.
3/5 GPs

D-U-B: "Inner Sakura barrage" makes all the attacks you do a "Inner
Sakura", for a limited time. On Bosses you Can chain them(Hit the enemy again
before he falls) into a 50+combo that deals a LOT of damage.
4/5 GPs

Knives:
She deals a lot of damage with all of them, throws two of all the weapons
but the Big shuriken and the kunai.
5/5 GPs
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
SECRET----SECRET----SECRET
Stop reading if you don't want to get a spoiler of what you may get

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

Rock Lee: Fuzzy Brows, he's the second best Character next to Naruto. He is a
bit stronger than him, has a bit less health, his Jutsus are REALLY expensive
and he is worse than Naruto with Knives.
Why do you wanna use him? His jutsus are STRONG. and he deals a lot of
damage.
Fuzzy Brows' GPs 4/5

D-D-B- Rendan- Rock Lee Combos the  enemy into the air. Lots of damage,
takes a medium amount of health
4/5 GPs

U-U-B- Weights- Lee Remove his Weight becoming faster an stronger for a
short time. Similar to Sakura's "Chakra Control", takes little health(1/5 ofthe
health bar).
3/5 GPs

D-U-B: The strongest jutsus in the game, I recommend only using it twice,
otherwise you'll be with little health left.
5/5 GPs

Knives: Don't....simply don't, Lee Throws them diagonally wherever he
wants, they deal little damage. Don't, switch to Sakura or something....but for
the love of god don't.
1/5 GPs
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

---------------------------Enemies-----------------------------(ENEM00)
Common Ninja: They are on ALL stages and most sub stages. They can throw
Kunais and teleport, they also have a running attack and a jumping attack.
Normally, a 4hit combo is all you need to kill them.

Big Ninja: Slow, they like to block a lot. They only have one attack, but
it deals a LOT of damages and knocks you back.

Clawed Ninja: They are REALLY weak, you can kill them in one combo. Their
attacks deal small damage.

Purple Ninja: Not a real threat, can be killed with one hit.

Brute: I call the guy with the iron ball the "Brute", he looks like one,
and acts like one so..... Their attacks need momentum, so you can kill them
before they actually attack. IF they do attack, they'll hurt you for medium
damage.

Sand Ninja: I'm not sure if this guys are ninjas....but they must be. They
are relatively weak, but like to corner you with their attacks, Don't LET THEM
CORNER YOU!, they like to spam their attacks, they REALLY do.

Scythe Ninja: Has two kinds of attacks, by either throwing it in a straight
line, for little damage, or throwing it upward for medium damage and knock back.

Masked Ninja: Not a real threat, creates crystal walls that push you back.
Simply teleport behind them and kill them. The crystals can be destroyed, but
he makes a new one in a matter of seconds.
-------------------------------Traps-------------------------------(TRAP00)
Bamboo Spikes: They are the green spiky things. Easily to avoid, just jump
over them. If you DO touch them, they will do light damage.

Red Seal: They are the papers with red fire, if you touch them, they'll
explode after some time.

Green Seal: Like the red one, but with green fire, they explode on contact
for light damage

Rolling logs: They appear on the Time Challenges, just jump over them.

Concrete Block: They appear in Time Challenges, just hit them to break them.
Use a jumping attack, since if you make a running attack(DOuble tap an arrow
and press B) your character will stop running, yet if you jump attack, he'll
keep running.

Fire Columns: They are Red funnel-like things from which a fire column
sprouts up. If you see a bit of fire on the tip, it means it has just ended or
is beginning to spit fire. If the fire gets you, you'll most likely get hit
twice.

Chained Blocks: Are blocks with a chain that holds them up. They go up and
down, you have to use them as platforms, and if you are below one when they
fall down, it will hurt you.

Chained Spike Balls: They are big balls full of spikes describing half a
circle, hurts a bit and throws you down.

Spikes: A different design of the Bamboo Spikes, the damage they deal is the
same.
-------------------------------Bosses------------------------------(BOSS00)
Strategy: This works for most bosses, except maybe Gaara and Kabuto. Teleport
behind the boss, combo him, and when he gets up(Usually teleports), wait till
he is on the screen, and teleport behind them, then do a three or two hit combo
followed by a damaging jutsu(Shishi Rendan and U-ZU-MA-KI NARUTO rendan! are
great choices). and keep doing that. Make sure that the enemy has less health
than you when you use a jutsu.

Rock Lee: Haha, he's really weak, just spam the normal attacks.

Orochimaru: The first time you see him, he has three attacks:
1) Three hit combo
2) He puts his hand to his mouth and does a big projectile, with small radium
3) He puts his hands together and summons a snake below you.

Like all bosses, teleport behind him, hit him with  combo and get away from
his body. When he gets up, wait for him to get close to you, teleport, hit him
twice and use a jutsu(Shishi Rendan, Summon, Chidori, or  Uzumaki Naruto Rendan
work wonders on him)(this way you ensure he has less health than you when he
use a jutsu, so he loses more health than you). If you hit him AFTER he had his
hands together, the snake will still bite you.In case you didn't notice, your
best bet is to use Naruto or Sasuke(or the Secret Character).

You'll meet him again numerous times, and on the second one he'll be able
to summon a sword that will slash at you, EVEN when Orochimaru is lying in the
floor. He will pull the sword once he gets to the yellow health bar.
It is possible to beat him before he pulls the sword from his throat.(Looks
awesome).
The third time, when you fight him and he reaches the yellow health bar, he'll
summon the two past hokages. They will try to trap you in ivy and shoot energy
at you.
Like with the sword, you can kill him before he summons the hokages.
Kakkashi and *SECRET* work wonders on this fool.

Sound Ninja 1: AKA Spiky haired Ninja. Get used to his face, as you'll see
it many more times.
 He has three attacks:
1) Shoots in three direction small sound waves, if only one hits you, light
damage.
2) Shoots a BIG sound wave, with short radium, for medium damage
3) Shoots a sound wave from below you, for medium damage
He's an easy kill, like most bosses.
The first time you fight him ,You'll be using Sakura, it is recommended
that you use the "Inner Sakura Barrage" and hit him, and before he touches the
floor hit him again, for a 52+ combo attack.
Each time you meet him, he'll get slightly stronger and faster.
Shino, Chouji, Kakkashi and *SECRET* work wonders on this fool.

Sound Ninja 2: AKA the one with the fur cape. If you meet the Sound Ninja
1, You'll see the Sound Ninja 2.
He has three attacks:
1) 4 hit combo, medium damage(you can evade most of them even if you get
hit by one)
2)Grab, he stays put, his arm shines, and he dashes forward, easy to evade,
if he does catch you(Very unlikely) he'll do medium damage
3) Jump Attack, light damage.
Each time you meet him, he'll get slightly stronger and faster.
Shino, Chouji, Kakkashi and *SECRET* work wonders on this fool.


(Next Update: Kabuto,Gaara, Etc)
-----------------------------Walkthrough---------------------------(WLKT00)
Basics of the game:
You will get a grade(A,B or C) on four areas : Time, Characters, Enemies
defeated and Leaves collected.
-You must finish each stage quickly to gain an A rank
-You must gather a certain amount of leaves or more to get an A(Example, if you
get 9/10 you get a B, if you get 10/10 or 20/10 you get an A.
- To get an A, all characters must survive(If the secret character dies you
get a B)
- To get an A you need to beat a certain amount of enemies. The ranking is
like the one of the leaves, you must kill ATLEAST X number of enemies

In total, you get 4 ranks, if you get, for example,
A,A,B,A---->Total RANK=A
C,A,A,A---->Total RANK=B
A,A,B,B---->Total RANK=B
Beat the game with an A to get the "HOKAGE" rank
Beat the game with a  B, having collected more As than Bs to get "S.Jounin"
Beat the game with a  B, having collected more Bs than As or Cs to get
the "Jounin" rank.

*********************Events***********************************
Time Challenge(TM): You get a speed boost, and need to reach the end in a
certain amount of time.

Defeat All Enemies!(DAE): You need to kill all the enemies on screen to
continue, usually they come in waves of three.

Chief Toad VS The Sand Demon; A Event which only occurs on the last chapters if
you do....something...
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
*START...!*
Goals:
Leaves: Gather 10 or more
Enemies: Beat 01 enemy
Characters: All Characters must survive

This is a one on three battle against Rock Lee, Jump around to grab the
scroll and the leaves. Rock isn't hard at all, just pummel him to death.

Tip:
Unlike most bosses, Rock won't teleport as soon as he gets up, so you can
get close to him and hit him as he gets back on his feet.

---------------Chapter 02-----------
*The Second Exam*
Sub-Stages: 5
Enemies:  Ninja
          Big Ninja
          Clawed Ninja
          Liquid Ninja
Traps:    Rolling Logs
          Bamboo Spikes
          Red and green Seals
Boss/es: Orochimaru, Sound Ninja 1, Sound Ninja 2
Tasks: Get more than 55 leaves, slay more than 90 enemies
TMs: 1
DAEs: 7

Sub Stage 1:

Here you just have to press forward, the screen will get locked thrice
until you defeat all enemies.
There are logs scattered around that may carry knives or leaves.
You will find Clawed Ninjas, Common Ninjas and Big Ninjas.
Remember to avoid the seals, specially the green one as it explodes upon
touching

Sub Stage 2:
Defeat Orochimaru- Fairly easy, just teleport behind him and
pummel him, you don't need to deplete his whole life bar.

Defeat the Sound Village Ninjas: Handicap: Only Sakura.
If you unlocked the Secret character, he'll be selectable too.
First You'll face the Spiky haired Ninja, he has three types of attacks,
and all are easily avoidable. Don't stray to far, as he may attack you from
below.If you linger for too long, Sasuke will be playable too.
After defeating him, the one with the fur behind will be next. Sometimes he
won't teleport upon getting up, so you may want to wait near him to pummel him.
Remember to get the two scrolls located on the top of the left and right
corners. They Are Chouji and Shikamaru.

Sub Stage 3:
Your first time challenge, you have 280 seconds to reach the
end. All characters get a speed boost. Here you will have to avoid the Bamboo
Spikes, and the seals, and near the end, some rolling logs.
Remember to try to grab all leaves, and if you miss some, you CAN'T go back,
so time your jumps.

Sub Stage 4:
Don't USE SCROLLS, as the timer keeps ticking, and the scrolls
take to long(YES IM LOOKING AT YOU,CHOUJI!). The characters lose the speed
boost, and you'll meet a new enemy, Purple Ninjas, they die with one hit, so no
biggie. Theres one "Defeat all enemies".

Sub Stage 5:
Now, this is more like the Sub Stage 1, as you don't have speed
boost, and the screen WILL get locked thrice(again). The enemies, yet again,
are the Purple,Clawed,Common and Big Ninjas.
On the second lock, if you go far to the left, you'll see a log, break it
to reveal a healing kit.
Throw the enemies to the spikes to kill the easilier.

You just Beated Stage 2!.
----------------------------Chapter 3--------------------------------
(To be continued)
-----------------------------------SECRETS------------------------(SECR00)

-Beat the game once to get ROCK LEE as an extra, fourth character(It makes
the game EVEN easier).
-Beat the game with all As to get the 3rd Hokage Scroll(Instant Kill on ANY
enemy and bosses) it makes the game EVEN easier.
-Beat the game with all As to make the words in the save screen purple.

----------------------------------FAQ-----------------------------(FAQ000)
Q: If I have the secret character on my team, do I need to get him killed to, in
order to play the Chief Toad mini-game?
R: Yes, otherwise you have to do the long way with SECRET and Naruto

Q: Aaaah! The Kakashi Scroll dissapeared!
R: You proably won the game with the A rank, so Kakashi is gone, forever(On
that save file), but a much better scroll took his place.

Q: The Jutsus won't work! What's going on?
R: You have to press them nice and slowly, otherwise they won't work.

Q: Can I play as Neji?, I saw a video of someone playing as him
R: Nope, you probably saw a video of MUGEN...
---------------------------REVIEW---------------------------(REVI00)
Graphics: (8/10) I´m being generous, so what, the animation is great, the
sprites are big and it all looks awesome, don't expect fancy special effects
like Golden Sun though.

Sound (3/10) It sound like a Gameboy Color game, I kid you not!

Control(5/10) It ain't good, the Jutsus are hard to perform and the characters
move kinda...clunky(But are Excellently animated)

Gameplay(5/10) It's your run of the mill Beat em up, nothing too special

Extras (5/10) Will you be replaying the game? Yes, but not to get anything
new. The two unlockables make the game even easier than it was before, not to
mention that it's so short that it Can be beaten in under 2 hours.

Fun(10/10)Basically I talked bad of everything, yet I find the game
incredibly fun, I simply can't put the game down :P

Total:
"Honest" : 4/10, most people would be better off without playing it, unless
they like Naruto
"Narutard" 10/10 AWESOME ITS A MUST PLAY!!!!!111
"Based on Fun" 8/10, this is MY opinion, I really loved the game, but I
doubt anyone will like it as much as I did.....

---------------------------Closing Up-------------------(CLUP00)
Everything written here belongs to me, Ignacio "Archile" Puppo.
Besides Archile, I may(if Archile happens to be taken)
be called Archale....
Don't steal, pleasy please.
Contact info: cronocrosser@hotmail.com
Juan JD Chimpy Se la come.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review #170: Sonic Battle

 The GBA ain't dead. It ain't dead!
 Back in the PS2 era, when Sega abandoned ship with the Dreamcast and became a third party developer/publisher, Sonic's games had hit an all-time low. I mean, Shadow the Hedgehog driving a bike and wielding guns. However, the GBA was graced with some phenomenal Sonic games. It also received Sonic Battle, a 4 player fighting game based on the Sonic franchise.

 There's four main modes in the game, Story, Battle, Challenge and Mini-games. Sadly, Mini-games require three other players, so I couldn't try them. Battle mode is self explanatory, you and up to three other players duke it out in any of the game's arenas, and you can tweak the rules. Challenge Mode is an Arcade-like ladder, but it's actually a real bore, as you have to score 10 points on every stage, it gets pretty boring really fast. Then there's Story Mode, which has Emerl, a Gizoid(A sort of robot) fall on Sonic's town, and Sonic and friends make it their job to raise them... and eventually collect all 8 Chaos Emeralds. The story is pretty dumb, characters are badly written as well, but at least it has a story mode, and it's pretty lengthy. Sometimes it suffers from the same fate as the Challenge Mode, this mode can get long in the tooth, particularly when they make you fight the same enemy more two times in a row.
 The game offers some neat twists to the arena fighting, for starters, each character has access to 6 different special moves, however, you can only equip 2 before starting a match, and every time you die, you are allowed to switch them up before respawning. You fight by using the A button to land your basic combo, although you can use the directional pad for strong attacks or uppercuts, B allows you to jump, L is used for your special moves, and R is used to block/parry or heal if held. Receiving enough damage, parrying hits or healing also charges a green bar above the health bar, once filled, it will make your next Special move a 1-hit kill, if it isn't blocked or parried. The developers managed to make a pretty solid system despite the GBA's lack of buttons, that's not to speak of the game itself, which is fast and pretty fun, however, the game doesn't feel very balanced, Shadow and Chaos are incredibly strong, Gamma can be a pain in the neck, and Cream's only saving grace is her heal.

 One thing that did bother me was the camera, fights take place on rather large 3D arenas witch multiple objects, usually in the form of walls, and characters can be completely covered by these walls. The game allows you to turn the camera while blocking, but in the heat of battle it can be hard to pull off, and the camera will revert to its default position whenever you respawn. The obstacles, walls and platform in the arenas are appreciated, but they shouldn't have made the walls so damn high!
 The previously named Emerl is unique among the other characters due to the fact that you can customize him, which sounds really cool, but it's a bit of a chore. Firstly, getting moves from the other characters is completely random, fighting a particular character ensures that you'll get one of their moves, but here's the kicker... you can get repeat move cards. It actually makes a bit of sense, since you could, if you have friends that own the game, trade moves with your friends, but seeing how I couldn't, it made it fairly annoying on my end. Another issue I had, is that grinding for skill points, the ones that allow you to equip different moves, takes a long time. You can only earn them in story mode, and in 1, 2, 5 and 10 increments, and moves can take up anywhere from 5 to 30 skill points. It also makes Story mode a bit of a pain when you get to the forced Emerl fights, a poorly equipped Emerl(Be it due to luck, since you couldn't find good cards or lack of skill points to equip them) can have a hard time on some fights. So... yes, it's a good idea, you can make a Emerl with the best moves from every character, even switch up his battle pose and colors! But making a custom-tailored Emerl takes a while.

 The game looks beautiful, not only do the sprites look very stylish and vibrant, the animations are, mostly, really good. Stages are fully rendered in 3D, and I think it's one of the best uses of 3D I've seen on the system. The music is pretty forgettable, and the sound effects lack a certain oomph, truth be told, I found myself playing with the system muted and my own background music... except when fighting the cheap, cheap Gamma, who likes to self-destruct, but he's at least nice enough to tell you when he's gonna explode.

 I think my biggest issue with Sonic Battle is the point in time I chose to play it in. Now a days, nobody uses their GBAs or Link Cables anymore, so since I didn't have other people to play the Battle mode with or to trade my repeated cards, it wasn't as fun as it could've been. Regardless, it is pretty fun when brawling just for the sake of battling, all 10 characters are pretty unique, and the fighting system is pretty solid.
 6.0 out of 10.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Now Playing: One Piece - Grand Adventure

 WHY DIDN'T I LEARN OF THIS GAME BEFORE?!
 I think I've written about this game before, yadda yadda I discovered One Piece through Rumble Arena 3, fell in love with the game, yadda yadda, learned of Grand Battle but discovered it lacked Eneru, my favorite villain in One Piece, so I decided to skip it, yadda yadda heard about Grand Adventure and promptly bought it.

 What can I say? The game is awesome, it's incredibly fun, even without Eneru it would've been a worthy purchase. There's only two big things I can complain about, firstly, the game only has the dub voices, which are terrible. I'm not one of those "JAPANESE IS THE TRUE WAY OF LIFE" people, but this dub is really atrocious. And the second one is that the game seems to be a tad too ambitious, some of the larger, more intricate stages tend to make the game suffer from slow down, and it can get really annoying. Heck, the racing mini-game is full of slowdown, making it fairly unfun.

 Regardless, gameplay's where it's at, and boy is it good! The controls seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it's pretty easy to grasp them. Moving around the arenas feels very good, and when the game is running smoothly, it's very enjoyable. Graphics are deserving of a special mention, they use a "slightly" deformed look, which isn't bad, and the character models are fairly detailed and look pretty good in motion, the way clothes move, like Luffy's jacket, looks very nice.

 Basically, One Piece Grand Adventure is all kinds of awesome.

Top 10 Dynasty Warriors.... Warriors

 I love Dynasty Warriors, as I have stated numerous times throughout this blog's history. The gameplay has always been the main attraction, but one of the series' strongest points is the character roster. Every numbered iteration brings along redesigns for the entire cast, which is why I'm gonna note which version of which character is my favorite, however, regardless of which version I prefer, if a character makes it here, I must like them as a whole.


10: Ma Chao
 Ok, I admit, I admit, I like him purely due to his looks and color scheme. He's always been associated with Dragons, which is really badass, and most of his designs have been nothing short of amazing... except maybe his DW 6 looks. Ma Chao wields a spear, and flies with the traditional green colors of Shu, usually complimented with yellow armor and highlights and fights for justice. My favorite design was his DW 7 incarnation.

9: Dian Wei
 While I liked Ma Chao for his looks, I like Dian Wei for his personality. Really, I'm not a fan of bald beefcakes, but this guy is all kinds of badass. Dian Wei isn't particularly smart, and thinks he can solve anything by force, and surprisingly, he is a very nice guy. He admires Cao Cao to a fault, becoming his bodyguard and eventually giving up his life for him in one of the most memorable scenes in the series... Even after dying from the numerous volleys of arrows, his body continues to stand in place, protecting his lord's retreat. Dian Wei usually wields an axe, although he did use the ball and chain in DW 6. My favorite version of Dian Wei is the one in DW 8.

8: Cao Cao
 Early games portrayed Cao Cao as the most evil of the Kingdoms, in lieu with the somewhat biased novel, but as of.. 6? They've been showing that there was more to Cao Cao than a bloodthirsty demon. Which makes it hard not to somewhat sympathize with Cao Cao's views. Another pivotal moment that completely sold me on the character was Dian Wei's death in DW 7, in which he lamented Dian Wei's death as he promised: "I will not apologize, but I will make your dream a reality". That's Cao Cao, relentless on his pursue of his own vision of peace. Cao Cao has always fought with a Sword, and lately, he's been given some Ice attacks. My favorite rendition of the Lord of Chaos was in Dynasty Warriors 6.

7: Cao Pi
 Cao Pi takes after his father, Cao Cao, and succeeds him after his death. Cao Pi is a very no-nonsense individual, and while he respects his father, he actually wants to surpass him. Proof of Cao Pi's worth is that Sima Yi respected him and worked with him... his successors weren't as apt as him, but Cao Pi gave Sima Yi his blessing should they not meet his expectations, further solidifying the mutual respect both men had for each other. Cao Pi has fought with two swords as well as a dual blade, and usually wears a ton of white alongside Wei's blue. My favorite version has to be the one in 8.

6: Zhou Yu
 Zhou Yu used to be my favorite character, but my, how the mighty have fallen. His very first appearance, in DW 1 had him wearing a rather simple white attire. For DW2 he wore red and yellow, and as the games kept coming, he started adding more and more white to his colors. The first misstep was in DW 6, where they redesigned him from the ground up, and the result was hideous, they also took away his Jian for a bo staff. I can respect what they were going for with his DW7 version, but it was still a far cry from his badassery in previous installments. DW 8 is certainly a step in the right direction, but he is still wielding that damned staff. Zhou Yu was Wei's strategist, almost on par with Zhang Liao, he bore a rivalry with him until the ends of his days. One rather cute detail, is that Zhou Yu and his best friend Sun Ce married sisters. My favorite version was the one in Dynasty Warriors 5.

5: Lu Bu
 You cannot make one of these lists without mentioning Lu Bu, you simply can't. While Zhao Yun is the guy that gets to appear in most covers, Lu Bu is the guy everyone remembers. Most games warn you not to pursue Lu Bu, and you'd best heed them until you've higher levels, else you might end up on the receiving end of his Halberd Boomerang-thing. As Cao Cao once put it, Lu Bu is stronger than anybody... and dumber than anybody else, his downfall is usually brought down upon himself by his own arrogance. Still, when you are this strong, you get bragging rights. My favorite costume of the mightiest warrior in the Three Kingdoms is his alternate costume in DW6, the gold version of the costume pictured above.

4: Sun Ce
 Sun Ce, the 'Little Conqueror', is a very energetic, brash, charismatic and loud mouthed individual. He's prowess for battle isn't matched by his poor tactical insight, which is why he relies on his best friend and strategist Zhou Yu. His life is cut tragically short, but he leaves a lasting impression on his brother Sun Quan. Sun Ce is one of the many reasons Wu is my favorite Kingdom, he is an all-around nice guy, and is very straightforward in his approaches: If he can punch it, he will punch it. Sun Ce usually fights with Tonfas, but in DW 6 he used a Spear. My favorite version of the Little Conqueror was the one in 6, he had a very... Romeish attire, though I could do without the spear.

3: Wang Yuanji
 Wang Yuanji is awesome. She's one of the few people that are not afraid to push Sima Zhao into getting stuff done. While she's Sima Zhao's future wife, in the game she seems to admire his brother, Sima Shi, and while she does have high hopes for Sima Zhao, she spends most of her time with him nagging. What makes Yuanji different from the rest of the rather plain female cast, is that she's very aloof and serious, and is more than "somebody's daughter" or "somebody's wife". Wang Yuanji isn't very strong, which is why her weapons are throwing knives, while weak, they cover a huge area and is ideal for raking up kills on common grunts. She's also cute like a button. My favorite version of her is.... tied. Both DW 7 and DW8 have great renditions of her!

2: Sun Quan
 I admit I didn't like Sun Quan until Dynasty Warriors 7. He simply looked so... plain and forgettable. And then came Dynasty Warriors 7, and it delved deeply into Sun Quan, and my, was he an interesting character. He is what made, for me, Wu one of the most interesting Kingdoms in DW 7, and it's hard not to root for him. And, for the record, Shu totally had it coming, Liu Bei should've returned Jing as promised. He doesn't have the most badass look, he doesn't have the most badass personality, and the fact that he accomplishes so much while lacking in the badassery, is what makes him so engaging, you root for this guy, you want him to unify the Three Kingdoms. He's always used swords, and my favorite version of him is the one in Dynasty Warriors 8

1: Sima Zhao
 Sima Zhao is the unlikeliest of heroes. At a glance, he looks and acts dumb, but that's only because he is lazy. Few people, like Want Yuanji and his brother, Sima Shi, can see beyond his laziness and the greatness that hides inside him. Sadly, it takes a while for his resolve to blossom, which makes enemies of some of his allies, but once he gets serious, he gets stuff done. He is the man that unified the three kingdoms, even if it didn't last long after his death. I really liked his story and personality in DW 7, but he looked... dumb, like a jock of sorts. But in DW 8 they changed him up, and he now looks like a proper hero. All in all, Sima Zhao is my favorite Dynasty Warriors character as of DW 8, hopefully his DW 9 redesign takes after his more heroic appearance.