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Monday, December 27, 2010

Religious References in The Legend of Zelda

This topic is is intended to be read and discussed in a mature and non offensive manner. If you cannot read this post without being offended, or cannot discuss the topic without behaving like a child, please click the back button.

Maybe it is because I am a follower of Christianity that these things are more obvious to me, but there are many references to Christian as well as Muslim and other Abrahamic religion symbolism in the Zelda series. I'm sure I'm far from the first person to pay attention to this, but I thought I would make an article to discuss such things.

First off, I'll talk about the original Legend of Zelda for NES. Link's shield has a cross on it. Quite possibly, this means nothing, and is more to be associated with the knights of the round more than anything. After all, many other media types such as anime also have things such as thin in them, but are not meant to be religious.
Then, also in the original, there is the Magic is the image.

Look like another book to you?

Next up is non other than the legendary triforce.
The triforce plays a huge role in the series, and is arguably, a religious symbol to the people of Hyrule. The three triangles of the triforce could be compared to the Holy Trinity. The Father(God), The Son(Jesus Christ), and The Holy Ghost(The Spirit thereof) could go hand in hand with the Triforce of power, the Triforce of Courage and the triforce of wisdom. Further more, newer Zelda games depict the Triforce with the form of a phoenix underneath it. How is this religious symbolism you ask? Think about it for a moment. in Christian religion, one is saved by Christ, and therefore "reborn" as a forgiven being. The phoenix dies, and is reborn from it's own ashes.

Next up is a symbol of Islam. The moon and star. It appears twice in Ocarina of Time, but was removed in reissued editions of the game at the request of many Islamic followers. Here is the image on the mirror shield. it also appeared on some movable blocks.

 At the request of many, Nintendo recalled all unsold copies of the game, and replaced the image with this.
While we're on the topic of OOT, the music in the Fire Temple in the version 1.0 cartridges such as mine contains Islamic chanting. Although it was actually just computer generated chanting not actually saying anything, many thought it sounded like "Allahu Akbar" which means "Allah is the Greatest!". this was also removes later.
*Please correct me if I am wrong about what the alleged words mean.

Also in OOT, Link gets eaten by a giant fish. Sound like a certain popular Bible story?

Furthermore, In Windwaker and all it's direct sequel on the DS, Phantom Hourglass, the entire world has been flooded, and in some timelines(please don't argue the timeline here. does it actually matter that much?), The Minish Cap is placed AFTER WW and said to take place in "New Hyrule"
***that is a fan theory, and not my own***

I will end my lengthy post with a link to a VERY interesting article. I'm sure you are familiar with the Tower of Babel. In the bible, men tried to build a tower to get to Heaven, and so God dispersed the people and made them all speak different languages so they could not communicate well enough to complete the project. This wasn't because it was actually possible to build a tower to Heaven, but rather to show them "You do NOT defy me!". anyway, I'm going a bit of course. Here is a link to an article called "The Message of Majora's Mask" by a Zelda fan under the alias "Hylian Dan". I think you'll find it an interesting read.

If you leave a reply or want to discuss this, PLEASE keep in mind the banner above my article.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Left 4 dead 2

What's more fun that loading a zombie with a buckshot? Loading a zombie with a buckshot while your friends cover you assault rifles, and bludgeon what you miss with a cricket bat!

When valve made Left 4 Dead, their intention was to make a true co op experience. You need your team mates to survive. When you pick up a med kit, you do so knowing you may very well have to use it on one of your partners rather than yourself. The game became very popular both on Xbox and PC, and fans wanted more. Apparently, they didn't want it so soon, though, because many boycotted this sequel.

Left 4 Dead 2 stars an entirely new cast of characters, and includes many updates such as melee weapons and new enemy types. Still, it is the same Left 4 Dead as before. If you loved the first one, you'll love this as well. The new enemy types include the spitter, who will vomit acid in your path and the charger, who will rush you and then proceed to beat you into the ground until you are rescued. Melee weapons range from a frying pan to a chainsaw, and are really satisfying to use.

Left 4 Dead has a governing AI called "The Director". this AI randomly spawns enemies in different areas and in different amounts. It "directs" the action. If things are quiet for too long, chances are, The director has placed a Witch in your path, or is about to bombard you with a wave or zombies. In one campaign called "Hard Rain", the AI can even control the weather, causing a raging thunderstorm at any given moment, blurring your vision an forcing you to seek shelter as the landscape floods. The Director also rewards team work. by sharing pills and healing your team mates, you may be rewarded with more health packs later. Playing selfishly will lead to less items and med kits later, and may lead to hard times.

The voice actors are very convincing, and though some argue the cast is less memorable that the first, I argue the opposite. As before, music and sounds are what warn you of what's ahead. When you hear the witch's crying along with her signature theme, you will instinctively turn your flash light off. When a crescendo event theme begins to play, you will instantly get pumped and huddle with your team mates in preparation for the horde. Other than these even themes, music is pretty much nonexistent.

The graphics are not a huge upgrade from the first L4D, though some environments are much brighter. They are by no means bad or lackluster, they just aren't as good as most games these days. This is a sacrifice that had to be made, however. When you see hundreds of zombies swarming you with little to no lag or slowdown, you will understand.

The game runs on Valve's Source engine, and most of the weapon models are straight from Counter Strike. If you have played any valve game recently, such as Portal or Half Life 2, then you should know what to basically expect in terms of how the game feels.

As stated, this is meant to be a co op experience. you can easily play alone with a computer controlling your partners, but the bots are programmed to do 3 things: follow, heal and kill. I highly recommend playing with other human players.

This game is about $20 new for Xbox 360 owners, or if you're a PC gamer you have truly lucked out as this wonderful game is only $5 on steam.

This is what a zombie game should feel like. You aren't Leon S. Kennedy. You aren't a government agent. you are an average Joe Schmo, and chances are, you're probably going to die. Plus, if you really feel like a challenge, you can turn on realism mode. In this mode, which can be played on any difficulty, head shots are crucial and team work is an absolute must.

The game is still being supported with DLC, and even the first L4D as well. If you own an Xbox 360, or you have Steam, you simply must own L4D or L4D2.

Looking for a name

So, Supergamecube64 Reviews and More isn't a very catchy title. I'm trying to come up with ideas for a name, so if you have any suggestions, please send them to me via a post here or an email. My email address can be found on the right of the page. Thanks in advance for any support.

Monday, December 13, 2010

2 Free XBL arcade games by Doritos

Doritos makes some tasty, addicting tortilla chips. Oh yeah, and from time to time they make xbox live arcade games. And they're free!

They have released 2 new free games. One, called harms way is a combat racing game. One player drives while the other uses turrets around the course to take out other racers.

The other game is called Dorito's Crash Course. It's basically American Gladiators/Ninja Warrior style courses using your xbl avatar as the character. When ti comes down to it, this is a platformer. It's no super Mario Bros. 3, but what do you want for free?

So, let's recap. Two new games. One racer, one platformer. they're FREE. You should go download them because they're FREE. even if you think you won't like them you should still try them because they're FREE. Keep buying Doritos so they make us more games for FREE!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Excite Bike: World Rally

To many of us, Excitebike is an NES classic. This classic has been given a face lift and released and WiiWare and released for 1000 wii points. If you are unsure rather or not you wish to purchase this title, I can only say that if you don't know or care for the original, you will probably not think much of World Rally. However, if you are nostalgic at all for the original, then it is definitely worth the $10.

The controls are laid out exactly like the original. Up and down changes lanes, 1 is gas instead of A, and 2 is boost instead of B. Pressing left causes a wheelie (this may also be assigned to a tilt motion), and left and right change your angle when airborne.

The graphics are nothing spectacular, but it is 3D, and very colorful. It is the perfect example of howto give an NES game a makeover, in my opinion.



Your goal in the single player mode is not to come in first, but just as in the original, get the time indicated. In the multiplayer, however your goal is indeed to beat the other racers. Speaking of multiplayer, the majority of bike colors must be unlocked by competing over Nintendo Wifi. The problem with this is the fact that many players will throw a hiss fit 10 seconds from the finish line and disconnect, a la Mario Kart.

One of the coolest things about the NES Excitebike was the ability to create your own tracks. This feature has returned, and this time you can share your creations over Nintendo Wifi!

The music mostly consists of redone versions of the original Excitebike tunes. The track music is new, however, since the original had none. Sound effects such as engine revving, and the overheat warning are ripped directly from Excitetruck.

Excitebike: World Rally is essentially download nostalgia. I suggest those of you who care not for retro gaming simply ignore this one. However, if you played the original as a child, or wish to introduce retro gaming to a child/brother/etc that thinks the NES is a dinosaur, give it a shot.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Metroid Other M

Metroid has come a long way in recent years. Though it has always been somewhat of a third wheel when it comes to Nintendo games, the Prime series brought in many new fans, and though it was quite different from the 2D counterparts, it still managed to bring that sense of isolation and loneliness we've come to expect from the series into a new realm. With the Prime trilogy completed, many gamers wondered what was next for the series. They didn't have to wonder for long.

At E3 2009, Reggie Fils-Aime unveiled Other M with a teaser trailer, and fans couldn't wait. Now that its finally here, the game has met with much criticism, and has received a very mixed response. Here is what I think.

Other M is an attempt to “return Metroid to its roots”. It utterly fails in this department, as it is nothing like any other Metroid I've played. You still have your exploration, and your item collection, but Metroid is far from the only game that has this. You can't slap energy tanks and missile packs in a game and say “There, now it's just like Metroid!”

The game tries to combine 2D and 3D elements, but ends up just being 3D in the end. This isn't really a problem, but considering they were attempting to return the series to it's roots and all, shouldn't they want it to feel 2D?

Then there is the combat. I'm torn on this one, myself. Although it is cool to see Samus dodge a charging beast, and then shove her arm canon down its throat, combat just feels too tacked on. The game has an auto aim system that is extremely flawed, and it is almost impossible to pick one enemy over another when in 3rd person. By aiming the controller at the screen, you switch into an first person view, letting you aim with the wii remote to pick certain enemies, and lock onto them. This is also the only way to fire missiles. While in first person view, you cannot move, and this can sometimes be extremely frustrating.

Which brings me to controls. The game is controlled using a single wii remote held on it's side like an NES controller. This would have been an excellent choice had they actually made the game as if it were 2D like they were supposed to. This game, as much as it doesn't want to be, is a 3D game. 3D games need analog control! As I mentioned, you can enter first person by aiming at the screen, and this is just a frustrating way to handle that.

The game also likes to throw in segments where you are forced in a first person view and must play a game of Where's waldo to find God knows what, because they never tell you what it is you're supposed to be looking for. This wouldn't have been so terrible if they weren't so vague 90% of the time, and if it weren't so game breaking. You could be thrown into one of these segments after a lot of combat, or immediately after an action packed cut scene, and it just doesn't work well.

Speaking of things that don't work, lets talk story. Samus has just woken up some unspecified time after defeating Mother Brain in Metroid III(Super Metroid). During her time in this facility, she had a dream or flashback, depicting the end of that battle, and how the baby metroid sacrificed it's life for her. After going through some training to make sure she was healthy enough to be let go, Samus hops into her ship and goes on her way. While traveling through space, she receives a distress signal from a vessel called the 'Bottle Ship”. Because of it's annoying high pitch, she names this signal “Baby's Cry” and zips down to help. After entering the vessel, she runs into her old father figure/love interest/who gives a crap what he is, Adam, as well as his crew. Now, Samus Aran is a pretty amazing person. She is strong, has a suit made by an ancient warrior race, and is allegedly one of the best bounty hunters in the galaxy. You actually start this game with EVERY ability in the game. This is true for most game sin the series, and every time, she loses them due to some sort of explosion or similar effect. Apparently, they were getting sick of that idea, and instead, she now simply refuses to use them until Adam authorizes them. This is stupid and goes completely against her established character. While somewhat understandable in some cases, I refuse to accept that while traveling through a high temperature, magma filled room, and effectively dying of heat stroke, Samus would not activate her varia suit defenses because she was not told to do so. As for the crew that was with Adam, we never really learn much about any of them, because most of them are there to serve no purpose aside from dying. Of course, no one cares that they are dead, because no one cares about them as characters. Except for Anthony Higgs. He deserves his own series.

The game isn't all bad though. The graphics are pretty, and it is in fact, one of the best looking wii games. Unfortunately, this has no bearing on the game play. The music is kind of nice, but there are hardly any of the classic Metroid songs or jingles, which is a real drag. Even the classic item noise is absent. In fact, the most recognizable song I heard was a remix of the Ridley battle song, and that was a little late to the party. It still brought back memories, though.

The voice actors are pretty flat and horrid, and the absence of an original Japanese voice option is disappointing. While this doesn't quite feel like a Metroid game, and certainly is not the Metroid you know and love, it is still a pretty enjoyable experience in the wii's library. I'm not sure why its still fun despite all of these complaints, but it is. Let's hope Samus has a better outing next time, but in the mean time, Other M is still worth a buy even given all it's problems.

I think Other M is destined to be the equivalent of Starfox Adventures. It would've been that much more passable had it not had the name “Metroid” on it. But it did. And those are some big shoes to fill.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

I don't care who you are, if you play games at all, even just a little bit, or even for some not at all, you know who Mario is. You know his hat, and you know his voice. My 84 year old Great Grandmother knows who Mario is!

Mario's career began in Arcade Cabinets, though at the time, he was known as "jump Man", saving his girl Pauline from the clutches of Donkey Kong. he went on to star in other arcade games, up until the release of Super Mario Bros. for the NES. This is the game that saved the gaming industry, established game consoles as household items as well as "Mario" as a household name. HE didn't stop there. Throughout his 2d career on the NES and SNES, mario starred in games that are considered to this day some of the best ever created.

When nintendo released the Nintendo 64, who else was headlining the show but Mario? In the game Mario 64, Mario took his first steps into the third dimension. This was not only Mario's first step into this territory, but one of the first 3d games ever made, utilizing the now universally common joystick.

This success of course spawned many modern day sequels on the Gamecube, remakes on the GBA, and even retro throwbacks like the new Super Mario Bros. series.

All this being said, super Mario Galaxy was no surprise when it was announced for the Wii. utilizing motion controls in a subtle way, Mario Galaxy used the powers of gravity, and the laws of physics in it's challenges. It was a game well loved by many, and, though in my personal opinion not as good as some of his endeavors, was one for the record books.

Nintendo has now released Super Mario Galaxy 2, the first time since the SNES days that Nintendo has released more than 1 main Mario title on a home console. So how does it fair?

The Wii, as we all know, has it's graphical limitations, but Nintendo knows how to use what they've got. This game is beautiful. The bright colors and smooth animations really make me wish the Wii could be displayed in full high definition instead of just 480i.

When it comes to Mario, you know what to expect in terms of story. Mario receives a letter from Peach, and upon going to visit her, finds that she has been...wait for it...wait for it... kidnapped by Bowser! And even more than that, he's also taken the stars and grand stars again. Such new and original content. Bur hey, it works.So, now Mario has to go throughout the galaxy (oh, I see what you did there!) in order to collect the stars and save the princess...for the second time.

You'll find the controls entirely unchanged from the first outing. If you played Mario Galaxy, then yo will have no problem learning the controls, because you already know them. Here is the problem, though. As you most likely know, the Galaxy games take place on different planets, which are, as planets should be, spherical. You can run around these plants entirety, going beneath them, and on their sides, gravity holding you to them. The problem is that when transitioning like this, sometimes the controls get confusing, and all of sudden, one direction on the control stick sends you in another. This was particularly a problem in a certain boss fight in which I had to fight a machine from a viewpoint that only allows movement on the sides of the planet. The controls should have been simple, left to make me go one way and right to make me go another. However, I would be running, and reach a certain point on this planet, and then all of a sudden Mario would cease to move. I thought there was a problem. i paused the game several times to unplug and plug in again, my nunchuk. I even assumed that my nunchuk was damaged, and made plans to buy a new one. But then I made an accidental discovery. Upon reaching a certain point on the planet, the controls would shift so that it was no longer left snd right that moved me, but up and down, or in some cases, up or down and either left or right. This was also an occasional problem in the first Galaxy, and Nintendo Has no excuse for having not fixed it.

Game play is pretty much unchanged from the first Galaxy, and, in fact, the entire 3d Mario series. Go to levels, get the stars, beat the bosses. One thing I liked is that navigation from one planet to another has been simplified. In the first game, the Comet Observatory served as your hub world, in which you would get from one level to another. In SMG2 however, this has been replaced by a ship in the shape of Mario's head. This ship can be explored like a small planet, but by stepping up to the wheel, Mario takes the helm. You will then be taken to a Super Mario World esque map in which you will select the planet, and then which star challenge you would like to play.

The only real new element here, is Yoshi. When you find a yoshi egg, you can beak it open, hope on it's back and then use his tongue(by pointing) to eat enemies, and other various things, like the dash pepper, which will send your yoshi flying at high speeds. This is really all that is new, though.

The music is, as always, absolutely fantastic. From the new tunes, from to the tunes recycled from the first Galaxy and especially the remixed and redone versions of the classic tunes, the games sound track is one to remember.

Shigeru Miyamoto compared this game to Majora's Mask in that, it is a direct sequel to his previous work that runs on the same engine, but builds upon it's foundations. the problem with this comparison is that Majora's Mask set itself apart from it's predecessor while SMG2 is basically the same game. The games name while in development was even "More Super Mario Galaxy" which was later changed to "super Mario Galaxy 1.5", which is quite honestly, a more suiting name. Each Mario game brings something new to the table, be it the basic formula of the games themselves in the original, yoshi in the SNES days, going 3D, or adding an element like Fludd in sunshine. Super Mario Galaxy did this by utilizing the laws of gravity and physics. Super Mario Galaxy 2 brings nothing new to the table at all.

All this being said, this is a great and highly enjoyable game, but it feels like DLC or an expansion pack. Id you have a Wii, i can find no reason not to add this one to your library. It is an fun, excellent, and delightful adventure that shines through despite it's faults.

+Graphics are charming
+Music is amazing
+Level design is interesting
+A few of the levels are surprisingly challenging, a nice treat after the breeze that was SMG

-pretty much the same thing as the first game
-Feels like and expansion pack or down loadable content
-Story is recycled

Pokemon Heartgold and Soulsilver

Pokemon has got to be one of Nintendo's most valuable franchises. They have proven time and time again that no matter how much we boo and hoo each time they create a new entry with 100 some odd new Pokemon, no matter how much we vow tor rage quit because they are making our hard work obsolete, no matter how much we said "that is IT!" we always end up buying the new game anyway, and playing it to death. Not only that, they have now proven twice, once with FireRed and LeafGreen, and now with HeartGold and SoulSilver that they can make us buy a game we already bought a few ears ago by making it shinier and including a new peripheral. I'm not sure rather to rejoice or complain about that, to be honest.

HeartGold and SoulSilver are DS remakes of the original Gameboy and Gameboy Color Pokemon gold and Silver games. The graphics have been totally redone, and it has been made compatible with the 4th generation games as well. Of course, all the Pokemon introduced since then have also been included. These are honestly the best graphics in a hand held Pokemon game to date. It uses the isometric viewpoint on generation 4, but there are a couple or rendered cut scenes that are pretty cool as well. The in battle graphics are the same as usual. Flat sprites with a short animation when they first enter the battle.

The story is the same as the original Gold and Silver. You are a trainer. You want to be the very best, like no one ever was. To catch them is your real test. To train them is your cause. You will travel across the land, searching far and wide. Teach Pokemon to understand the power that's inside. In the world of Pokemon, trainers battle their trained Pokemon for supremacy, and by defeating gym Leaders in officially sanctioned battles, trainers earn a badge. Badges serve as status symbols, and without all 8, trainers are not allowed to battle the elite 4 to claim the title of Champion. This is the main plot, but there is more however. Team Rocket is up to no good again, but they are just as dumb as always, equipping their recruits with such useful creatures as Zubats and Raticates.

Though the majority of the original remains intact, a few things have been added or changed, but they are small things. Some of them are cool, like using the newer generation's PC systems. The first Pokemon in your party now follows you ala Pikachu in Pokemon Yellow, and I think it is pretty neat.

When Nintendo remade the first generation for the Gameboy Advance, they included a small infrared wireless adapter, allowing players to battle and trade without a link cable. This remake, they included a new device called the Pokewalker. The Pokewalker is a small, pokeball shaped pedometer like device. using an infrared signal, you can transfer a Pokemon from your game onto it. as you walk, the you collect watts, which can be spent on various things within the device, which can then be transferred to the game with the Pokemon. The Pokemon also gains a bit of experience this way.

Although I feel Pokemon has been going down hill for some time, HeartGold and SoulSilver are nostalgic romps for those of us that grew up in the series' golden age (pun unintended). In fact, the only thing more nostalgic that playing these remakes is playing the originals. Even if you've been out of touch with Pokemon for a while, if you played Gold and Silver, you should give the remakes a go.


Darksiders would be considered by some to be very unoriginal. it borrows elements from multiple other game series and combines them. I have had people tell me they think that makes for a bad game, but i vastly disagree with that. Okami, for example, is one of the best games of both last generation and this generation, and it is a top seller. But what is Okami but a Zelda clone? But I digress.

Darksiders, like most games, has better CG graphics than in game graphics. The in game graphics are still great, though. We've explored a post apocalyptic Earth in many games, but never have you done it while the human race is extinct. Correct me if I'm wrong, there. If you've seen the movie "I am Legend", that should give you an idea of the world you will be exploring. Traffic has forever ceased, and where there once was industry, now nature is beginning to take over. Demons have inherited the earth, and there is something waiting to kill you around every corner. The textures are well done, and character models look pretty good, but are, in my opinion better done than the environments, and it makes them look like they don't quite belong. Enemies are also animated fairly well, but a lot of the enemies are copies. The graphics get the job done, but they could definitely be a little better. Also, if you are playing the 360 version, there is a screen tearing glitch that pops up now and then, but there will be a patch for that soon.

You are War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse from the book of Revelation. The seven seals have been broken prematurely, and War is blamed. In attempt to prove his innocence, and restore balance to the three kingdoms(Heaven, Hell and Earth), war must kill the 4 "chosen" to bring their hearts to Samael, a powerful demon who has been outcast. In return, Samael offers to open the doors to a tower in which Straga, the leader of the chosen dwells. along the way, War will encounter old allies, and new enemies. I really don't want to ruin the story, and though it may not interest everyone, I loved it.

Of course, the left stick moves War around. A/X is jump, as usual. X/square is used to attack with your sword, and y/triangle with your secondary weapon. Items may also be assigned to the directional pads, or the right trigger/R2 button. Pressing down on the right stick zooms in and gives you an aiming reticule for using items such as the boomerang, throwing picked up items or for better aim if you are using your secondary pistol weapon. The controls are a combination of God of War and Zelda, and it works quite well.

ou already know, I'm sure, that this game borrows from many other genre's, so I will lis what features it borrows from what games.

From Zelda

-Overworld with dungeons

-item collection and assignment

-lock on system similar to Z targeting

-upgrade system(4 pieces = more health/magic)

-dungeon puzzles

-A horse that has a system much like Epona's carrots

From God of War

-fluid combo based combat

-finishing moves

-an overdrive type ability

Devil May Cry

-killing enemies reqards you with souls to buy and upgrade new attacks.


Health system using multiple guages and "tanks"


-you basically get a portal gun near the end

All of these features come together a lot more nicely than you might think.

The music, while nothing really memorable, is very epic and really sets the backdrop for the apocalypse. As for voice acting, it's all quite well done. i don't think I heard a bad voice actor in the game.

One of my favorite games so far in 2010. I think you should definitely buy it, or at least rent it if you are skeptical. true, it borrows from other series, and true it doesn't pull off these features QUITE as well as those series, but it's still a fun,fresh adventure game. It's definitely a nice change of pace with all the shooters coming out lately. If you are worried about the religious undertones, and being offended by them, I am a Christian, and I was not offended by a single thing in this game, despite it's story being based on a "what if?" scenario based on Biblical events.

Dark Cloud 2

The original Dark Cloud was the second game I ever played on my PS2. my Mom got it for me on Christmas the same year I’d gotten the PS2. it was a fun, interesting game, although I found it too challenging at the time. I returned to it a couple of years later to find an enjoyable dungeon crawling experience. It was only about a year and a half ago that I got my hands on a copy of Dark Cloud 2(Dark Chronicle outside of the U.S.), and I’ve been planning a review for quite a while.

In Dark Cloud 2, you begin the game in control of Monica, a princess who is also a capable sorceress and swordsman. Running through the castle halls, you combat enemy soldiers. This section of the game teaches you the basic combat mechanics, and I found it quite hard the first time I did it, and even died. This game is definitely harder than the first one. Discovering her father murdered by a man named Gaspard, she sets out on a journey through time to fix it(sound like a certain popular Super Nintendo RPG?). You see, Monica is actually from 100 years in the future(or, Max is 100 years in the past depending on how you want to look at it.).

After this introduction, you take control of Max. Max is a young inventor who lives with his father in the town of palm Brinks. Max’s mother went missing when he was still just a child, and he has no idea what happened to her. While working in his friend and employer’s shop, he receives a ticket to a local carnival. While he is attending the carnival, an evil clown named Floatsam, who is also the circus ring leader attacks. Max’s mother gave him a necklace a long time ago, and though of great importance, Max has no idea – but Floatsam does, and he wants it. While running from the clown and his minions, a small boy named Donny tells Max he can escape through the sewer. This is where you will get a taste of the games dungeon crawler style gameplay.

A map is displayed in the lower right corner of the screen to help you navigate. As you move through the sewer tunnels, you will come across various enemies. The game flows in real time, even in combat. Each character has a close range weapon, and a long range weapon. You got a taste of Monica’s swords and magic in the games opening, and now, as max, you have a gun, and a wrench.

After working your way through the sewers, you come out on the other side and make way for town again, warning everyone of Floatsam. He, his father and his friends board a train out of palm Springs for safety, but Floatsam attacks the train while it is still in motion. This is when Monica shows up and saves them, informing Max that 100 years in the future, the stone his mother gave him is being used by an evil emperor to destroy the past(Maxes time) so he can rule the future(Monica’s time.). Honestly that doesn’t make any sense to me. If something is destroyed, how can you rule it? It’s like saying “We’re gonna take your ship!” and then sinking it. From here out, you can switch between Monica and Max whenever you want in the dungeons.

After a while, you will get a robot you can pilot around the dungeons. It is really powerful, but it runs on limited fuel. Remember earlier when I said the game was harder than the first one? It’s harder by a LOT. The first game had plenty of strong enemies, but some of the enemies in Dark Cloud 2 are ridiculous. And yeah, you could hop in your little robot and kill them with relative ease, but let’s say you are completely out of gas for your little rust bucket. You are on the next to last floor of a dungeon (more on dungeon flow later on), and you are trying to find the key to the boss. You have killed every single enemy on the floor save for one, and that is a giant, formidable opponent that you avoided from the start because you knew you couldn’t take it. Well, now you’re screwed. That jerk has the key, and if you take him without your rock-em-sock-em robot, you’re gonna die. But wait! Battle bot is all out of fuel! See where I’m going with this? They could have just put a recharge on him or something, and still not have made him over powered.

As for the flow of the game, the over world is basically void, due to the past being destroyed. Inside the dungeons, you find “Georama”. Georama can be a person, building, tree, body of water, etc. Using the Georama, you rebuild the game world however you like. A pretty neat feature that I loved about the original, and that I’m glad returned. Inside the dungeons, you spend your time killing monsters in search of the floor key. To get the most experience, it is of course best to kill all the monsters you come by, but if you want to hurry, or for any reason just go to the next floor after you’ve killed the monster holding the key, you can. Each dungeon has a different amount of floors, and different enemy types. All the dungeons are randomly generated, like the Mystery Dungeon series, meaning each time you go in a dungeon, it is different. Honestly, Dark Cloud 2 suffers from this, and would have been far more interesting with a more Zelda style approach of a preset dungeon filled with puzzles. Killing hordes of enemies gets old after a while, and a few puzzles here and there would’ve benefited the game greatly. There are the occasional “you need this time to proceed” quests, but they are as simple as beat the crap out of things until something drops it, or you find one in a treasure chest.

If you played the first dark cloud, you probably remember the duel battles. These fights, usually between one of the heroes and a main villain, were sort of like a cut scene; you had to hit buttons in time with things to keep it going. It was in a sense, DDR for your fingers. These fights were not only cool, and at the time fairly original (pretty much every other game has button sensitive scenes now). Well, Dark Cloud 2 has done away with them, and I really miss them. The fight between Toan and the giant snake is the one I remember most vividly. The fights were intense, and kept you involved. Getting rid of them was a bad move if you ask me.

Dark Cloud 2’s world is without a doubt influenced by steam punk. Technology mostly consists of gears and cogs, and steam (duh, can’t have steam punk without some steam.). The graphics are cell shaded, and have a nice anime feel to them. The original was also cell shaded, but in a different way, and had a more realistic look as opposed to DC2’s cartoony style. The main characters have a higher polygon count than the supporting characters, composed of 2500 to 3000 polygons as opposed to 1500 to 2000. This means that the main characters look better, and a lot more time and effort was put into them. This is understandable, and the supporting cast still looks fantastic.

I definitely like the music better than the first Dark Cloud. The sound track was composed by Tomohito Nishiura, and the music during events and cut scenes is very fitting and emotional. I found that the songs really made you feel that sense of anguish, or sorrow, whatever emotion was being conveyed. My only problem is the dungeon music. None of the dungeon music is really all that interesting, and it gets old listening to the same thing for several floors.

Overall, Dark cloud 2 is an action RPG that has some pretty glaring flaws. If you are willing to look past these flaws, you will find a charming, aesthetically pleasing game that has a lot of good points to make up for it’s bad points. It doesn’t look like
Level-5 isn't too interesting in a Dark Cloud 3, but if they do make one, I really hope they go the extra mile to fix the nuisances. In the end, it could’ve been great, but ends up being just a smidgen above average.

(originally written on 4-15-2010)

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum has received very high reviews on gaming web sites and in magazines, and has sold considerably well. It is a good game, but in my opinion does not deserve all the credit it is given. It is certainly better than most Batman games, but it's still just a decent beat em up adventure game in the end.

The graphics are very well done. Even the enemies are intricately detailed. Batman's cape looks amazing blowing about as you walk, and Arkham Island looks just as twisted as it should. The graphics, as good as they are, would have been even better if they were tailored to each console.

Da na na na na na na na CLOWN PUNCH!

Batman has captured the Joker and is on his way to Arkham Asylum with the criminal in tow...but something isn't quote right. Joker gave up the fight easier than ever before, as if he just surrendered to Batman. After a lengthy escort sequence involving Batman, some Arkham staff and the Joker in a strait jacket(which included some pretty funny dialogue, by the way.) Joker breaks free of his confines, and releases all of the other's locked up in the looney bin. It's now up to Batman to find out what the Joker is REALLY up to, and return the criminals to where they belong. It may some a little bland, but there are plenty of twists and turns along the way. The story finds a way to include many of Batman's enemies including Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Harley Quin and more.

Arkham Asylum takes a que from Resident Evil 4 and 5. Simply moving the stick causes you to walk along at a steady pace. Holding the A(X) will cause you to run. there is no jump button, as Batman will jump automatically when you reach an edge, like Link does in Zelda. However, if you hold a after jumping, you can spread your cape and glideThe X(square) button is used for your main melee attack, while Y(triangle) is counter. The B button(O) is a stun attack used to help control enemies in large number, or to temporarily lower and armed enemy's defenses. The Right Bumper(R1) is always mapped to the bat claw once you get it. An aiming reticle appears on surfaces you can use it on, and it's just 1 button click away from firing. The left Bumber(L1) enters detective mode(like Metroid Prime's Scan Visor) so that you can find hidden paths easier, though a trained eye can find them regardless. it is also used to scan certain things. Right Trigger(R2) is crouch. By crouched, you are more quiet when sneaking. Sneak up behind an enemy and press the counter button for a silent kill. The Left Trigger(L2) is automapped to the baterang when tapped. holding it while pull out your equipped item(selected with the D-pad) and, right trigger(R2) uses that item. The controls are pretty tight, and responsive.

Da na na na na na na na GLIDE KICK!

Batman borrows from quite a few genres, and keeps things interesting by mixing these playing styles. The game is, at it's heart, a beat em up adventure. However, you will be solving Metroid esque puzzles, taking out armed enemies Sam Fisher style and collecting items like you would in Zelda. The stealth kill missions have got to be my favorite. They are tense, strategic and exciting. When you are forced to do hand to hand combat, it flows very fluidly. You can change which enemy you're wailing on with the flick of a joystick, and getting your combo higher means mroe tactics at your disposal, such as throwing and instant kill moves. If you are beating up one enemy, or standing still, and another enemy assaults you, blue action icons with show above his head. a quick tap of the counter button, and Batman makes them squeel like a piggie! If you're in a thinking move, almost every room and area in the game has a riddle, set up by who else but the Riddler. The Riddler has also hidden trophies throughout Arkham Island, and there are even inmate interviews to find, which can be very interesting. Solving riddles gives you experience just like killing enemies does. after gaining enough experience, you will be able to select an upgrade of your choice from a list. Choices include health boosts, more combat options, and special stealth kill and upgrades for your equipment. While satisfying, the gameplay DOES borrow a lot, and has very little of it's own creation to offer.

                                             Da na na na na na na na STEALTH KILL!

The voice acting is well done, and character's sound just right. Joker sounds crazy, Harley Quinn has that annoying accent and Batman sounds like the chizzled manly man he is. The music fits, and is quite good. There isn't a lot of variation however. There's a "Run, they saw you" song a "I'm beating you up" song" and an "I'm sneaking around" song. You get the general idea. Also, the games script is, in my opinion, awesome.

Batman: Arham Asylum is a good game that is quite fun for a playthrough, however it doesn't have much lasting value. also, I have spoken to bigger Batman fans who hate this game. I don't know why, because I'm not a Bat Junkie. ask one of them. the game has it's downfalls, like borrowing a little too much from other games and some things that should be a little...more. For example, why doesn't my explosive spray kill enemies? it only knocks them down! IT EXPLODES, PEOPLE! when combined with a breakable wall, the debris can kill them, but the explosions alone can't. also, Baterangs. baterangs only knock enemies out temporarily. It is an edged weapon spinning at high speeds at his head. It should kill him. Picky things aside, the game is worth a play through, just don't pay full price for it. here's hoping for a Baman Pidaman game that is awesome!

                                                  Da na na na na na na na BEST FRIENDS!

(Originally written on 2-15-2010)

Here we go!

Finally decided to fix up this site and actually use it.  I currently have only a few articles, and game reviews, but I will also be reviewing game related things aside from games themselves, like controllers, and manga based on games, etc. thanks to anyone reading.


I first got Pikmin in 2002 for Christmas. I asked for it simply because I had called my friend on the phone, and he was playing it and said it was good, so I really had no idea at all what I was getting into when I asked. It turned out to be one of the best "Heck, why not" decisions ever.

Pikmin was inspired by Shigeru Miyamoto's own garden. He was watching some ants work together to carry food back to their den. Pikmin, in a sense, are like ants, but are also part plant. They are odd bu lovable creatures that aren't even the size of a quarter. Olimar, the game's protagonist, first encounters them when he crash lands on a mysterious planet. This planet(Earth) contains oxygen, which is poisonous to Olimar's people. He quickly learns that these creatures will help and obey him, and devises a plan t sue them to gather the missing pieces of his ship,the S.S. Dolphin. Olimar's life support will fail in 30 days, however, so he must hurry.

The game play as technically that of an RTS but Pikmin, in my opinion at least, strikes a balance between RTS and adventure. The goal is not to build a better army than some other army, or to try to make your base better than someone else's. Your goal is to explore, return pieces of Olimar's ship, and survive. Pikmin can be controlled with the C stick, and thrown with A, so you may direct the Pikmin, which follow behind Olimar to perform the task you wish. There is no convoluted menu system in giving a command. simple move your Pikmin towards the object you wish it to interact with, and it will begin to perform the task.

After killing enemies, you may collect their remains to generate more Pikmin. the more Pikmin you have in stock, the better, although no more than 100 can be out at once. Each color Pikmin have special attributes which you must learn to utilize correctly. Red Pikmin are the best fighters, and are also impervious to fire. Yellow Pikmin can pick up bomb rocks, and can be thrown the farthest. Blue Pikmin are the weakest Pikmin, but they are fast and can breathe in water. as you collect more parts, more areas are available for you to explore.

Of course, all exploration must be done in the daytime. When the day is over(15 minutes), Olimar must retreat to the planet's atmosphere with his Pikmin to avoid the dangerous night life. some people don't like this sense of being rushed, but I think it gives the game a unique urgency.

Pikmin was not an instant hit, but sold well enough that Nintendo produced a sequel, and Olimar is now in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. they're allegedly working on a 3rd title as well, and this version of Pikmin has also been ported to the Wii. It is one of Nintendo's newer, less popular franchises, but as the Pikmin themselves prove, just because it's a small package doesn't mean that it isn't something amazing.

Luigi's Mansion

Luigi's Mansion was a launch title for the Nintendo Gamecube. Though not a traditional Mario game, Luigi's Mansion is still a great, is not eccentric, entry in the series that has pretty much defined Luigi as a character.

When the Gamecube launched, Luigi's Mansion was 1 of 11 games available, and at the time, was the only first party Nintendo game available on the new system. Though the system was not without Mario at launch, this entry would prove the black sheep of the series, and may even be considered a spin off.

The game opens with Luigi walking through the woods on his way to the mansion he has just won(in a contest he didn't even enter) where Mario is supposed to meet him there for a house warming party. Upon reaching the mansion, he finds it isn't quite as it was shown. It is dark and foreboding and...screw it, it's just creepy. Upon entering the spooky mansion, Luigi soon learns through meeting a scientist named Professor E. Gadd that ghosts now inhabited the mansion, havign escaped from their confines he had once put them in his younger days. He also informs Luigi that his brother has been captured by the ghosts, and it is up to Luigi to save him.

Arming Luigi with the Poltergust 3000, a high powered vacuum cleaner capable of sucking up ghosts(When there's somethin' the neighborhood...who ya gonna call?...LUIGI?!), and a parody of the Gameboy Color named the Gameboy horror, which provides Luigi with useful information and acts as a communication device. the Professor sends Luigi on a quest to clean up the mansion of it's problem ghosts and save his brother. Capturing ghosts is rather simple. Luigi has a flashlight, which, when shined on a ghost will cause it to become temporarily stunned. In this split moment, Luigi must begin to suck the ghost into the vacuum cleaner, using the control stick to pull against the ghost in the opposite direction it is trying to fly. Once its health is depleted, it will be sucked inside. These small fry ghosts aren't the manor's only problem, however. Portrait ghosts are the lingering spirits of the family that once inhabited the mansion. There do not spook quite so easily, and you will have to work a little harder to figure them out. Find our a particular ghost likes to eat? Take away his food to anger him! Is someone enjoying a nice hot shower? How would you feel if someone iced the water!? At a certain point in the game, Luigi accidentally releases trapped boos into the mansion, which will inhabit rooms you've already figured out. Boos are unaffected by the pull of your vacuum, and can also go through walls, making them a real pain to capture, but the end result is worth it. The game has a pretty simple flow to it. You simply figure out a rooms puzzle/challenge to get the key to another room, rinse and repeat. sound like it gets old after a while It does, but the game has enough charm to keep you interested. throughout the mansion, Luigi will find money which he must collect. When you are hit, you lose some money with your health. The more money you have at the end of the game, the higher your rank!

Luigi's Mansion is a very aesthetically pleasing game, especially for the time it was released. Graphics are crisp, and shadow effects are pretty amazing. The mansion is filled to the brim with little details, from the texture of the carpet, to the particles of dust that float in the light. On top of this, almost everything you see can be interacted with in some way or another. The little things matter, and Luigi's Mansion is proof of this. There are a couple downside, however. the game has quite a few notable glitches, including a couple that can cause you to have to restart the game. The good news if this ever happens to you is that the game is so short, it can be easily beaten in 1-3 sittings.

Luigi's mansion is a wonderful little game. It is not perfect, and has definite flaws, but it's undeniable charm transcends it's problems. It is a wonderful entry into the Mario series, albeit a strange one. It should be fairly cheap now, and if you have a Gamecube, I highly recommend you give it a go. It is the game has defined Luigi as a character. Ever since it's release, he has been portrayed as introverted, and shy, but brave. The mansion is his home stage in super Smash Bros. Brawl, and appears as an area/court in many of the Mario spin off titles. Rather we ever get a direct sequel or not, Luigi's Mansion's influence is here to stay. Have a happy Halloween!

(Originally written on 10-09-2010)

Nintendo and Peripherals

Recently, because of things like the touch screen DS line,and the motion controlled Wii, people have been saying that Nintendo is now all gimmicks and peripherals. Well, the honest truth is that Nintendo has always been this way, even in the NES days.The NES came packed with a cartridge containing both Super Mario Bros, and Duck hunt, which requires a light gun called the NES Zapper. That's right, Nintendo's first console came with a gimmick peripheral right inside the box. It seemed so amazing at the time that this toy gun was actually picking up what was on your television screen, but in actuality, the lens only detected light sources.

Ever wanted the power to control your games with just your hand, controller free? While Microsoft seems to think so more recently, the NES Power Glove was the answer to this back in the day. Contrary to what most believe, Nintendo had no hand in desing or manufacturing of the Poer Glove. Nintendo only officially licensed it. the Power Glove is pretty dorky looking, and is an absolute mess to control pretty much any game with. To further complicate things, you have to set up multiple detectors on your TV to pick it up, and even worse, every game has a code that must be entered on the Power Glove so that it could be compatible. Ever programmed a universal remote, and gone through the book looking for your TVs code, only to find it has about 20 and you have to go down the list until you find the one that works? think that, but for games. It was a mess.

Have you ever wanted your own personal robot? Sure, now you can get those little interactive toys, but can Robosapien play your NES as a second player? Nintendo's Robotic Operating Buddy(a.k.a. R.O.B.) can! though only compatible with a couple of games, it was a pretty neat concept. More recently, R.O.B. has made a cameo appearance in F-Zero GX, and is a playable character in both Mario Kart DS and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Lots of people today have devices such as the iPhone that take care of almost everything. They don't need to carry a camera, because a single device already takes care of that. Though it's common in products today, the Nintendo Game Boy was quite possibly the first multimedia device, thanks to peripherals.

With the Game Boy camera, you could turn your Game Boy, a camera, albeit of low quality.

Now that you've taken a picture with your Game Boy Camera, you're probably not gonna wanna print it out! You can do just that with the handy dandy Game Boy Printer! The game boy Printer was...what else but a printer? It printed out the images on small scrolls of thermal paper with either a blue or red tint. The paper was about 1" x .875" and had a sticky backing so it could be placed on objects.

The SNES, successor of the NES, had a light gun like its predecessor. This gun was called the super Scope, and was more bazooka like in shape. though a bit more advanced than the zapper, it was still pretty simple technology. If you're a younger reader, and this sounds familiar, the super Scope also appears as a weapon in the Super smash Bros. Series.

A game was released for the SNES called Mario Paint. Though not much more that a mimicry of MS Paint with some extra features like a song maker added in, it was still fairly popular. And what does one need to operate what is basically a computer program? a mouse of course! the SNES Mouse came bundled with he game, and was just a simple ball mouse.

Playing Game boy games on the tiny unlit screen can be tiresome, and furthermore, the thing was a battery eating monster. Well, with the Super Game Boy, you can play your Game Boy games on your TV! The Super Game Boy is a large SNES cartridge with a port for the Gameboy game. Instead of displaying a black and white image, you may select from 3 limited color pallets. Some games even had features only available when playing on Super Game Boy!

The N64's peripherals were mostly "controller expansions". The Rumble Pack was a small cartridge that plugged into the controller's memory card port, and added rumble feedback. although now a standard in almost every controller, at the time, ti was something normally only found in arcades.

There are a couple of other honorable mentions, such as the Hey, you! Pikachu! Microphone, and the transfer pack, but the N64 actually has very few peripherals.

Before there was Guitar Hero or Rock Band, music games were normally found only in arcades. Well, the makers of Taiko Drum Master made a game called Donkey Konga for the Gamecube, and a sequel, donkey Konga 2. both of these games, as well as an adventure game called Donkey Kong Jungle beat used the DK Bongo controller. The controller was a replica of a set of bongos, and, just like real bongos, you hit them with your palm to, in the case of Donkey Konga, play the correct note, or, in the case of Jungle Beat, move and jump.

After the Game Boy Advance came along, and usurped the Game Boy and Game boy Color, the cartridges changed in shape. GBA games would not fit in a Super Game Boy, and nether would Game Boy Color only games. Nintendo's answer was the Game Boy Player. This device screwed into the bottom of your Gamecube, increasing its height by about an inch. All Game Boy games are compatible, and since it was only about $50 when it came out,it was a more affordable, albeit less portable alternative to owning a Game Boy Advance.

Speaking of the Game boy advance, the e-Reader was the only peripheral for said system. This catridge allowed you to scan collectible e-Reader cards to unlock NES emulations, extra levels in games, character profiles, and in the case of animal Crossing, it could be linked to the Gamecube via a link cable to unlock items.

In more recent years, things like the game Boy Camera come standard in systems like the DSi, and the Wii remote is basically a combination of a light gun and the Power Glove. So next time you want to ramble on about how Nintendo's problem is peripherals, keep in mind that they have always been this way. Recently, it is simply more obvious and prevalent.