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Mega Man X Collection is one of those games that I have always wanted to get. Who wouldn’t want to play a collection of 6 titles all packed into one mega experience? The X Collection is a treasure trove of important moments in Capcom’s history and it’s fairly out of print so I had to pay a bit of a premium to grab it. It was worth the trouble though and ended up being a pretty masterful game. The titles are all about as hard as I remember as well. Good luck taking them down.
As I had already played X1 and X4 previously I didn’t replay those. The collection brings all of the games up through X6 and I already got X7-X8 on the PS2 a while back. It’s pretty fun to see how the games have improved over the years. There is a noticeable jump in the graphics as you go through. I would say the biggest jump was from X3-X5 in that it now looked like a fully modern experience. You could release that game today and nobody would bat an eye because it would not feel out of place. The core gameplay for each of these titles is largely unchanged though. They are 2D shooters with some platforming involved.
The goal of each level is to make it to the end and then destroy the robot master who is in your way. This won’t be an easy task of course but it is one that you will need to complete. Once you’ve beaten the 8 bosses of the game then you always head to the final stages is around 3-4 back to back levels of taking on new opponents as well as beating up the 8 masters once again. For each game I would focus on beating the 8 masters initially as my completion and didn’t go for the gold with the climax levels this time around. It was nostalgic enough going through those moments so I didn’t think I needed to go further.
Sigma tends to make an appearance in every game but the plots are very different. One of them has the Sigma virus going around and mutating everyone while another one has the Nightmare virus which even affects Zero. Sometimes you have Zero available to play with from the start and other times he is presumed dead so you don’t see him for a while. The various plots are always a lot of fun. X definitely goes all in with the stories compared to the classic Mega Man games. This is why we need an anime to adapt them at some point but in the meanwhile the manga has done a good job of this.
The game gives you the ability to customize the controls which is handy. I always switch the boost to R instead of X. I don’t see how you can boost efficiently with it there. You can also toggle the difficulty level and even start off with a super armor if you want. I like these little tweaks. They are good quality of life upgrades that you want to see in these games. Even with this the games are suitably hard so you don’t need to worry about that.
Naturally the graphics are really good here. The character models are on point and the stage designs are good as well. The soundtrack is also excellent. The X series has so many winning themes that you will lose track by the end. It’s just another reason why the X series is so good. It knows exactly how to deliver on its strengths. As for replay value, each game has some since you can look for power ups and new armors. Additionally each game is difficult enough where it should last you a good amount of time anyway. You won’t be finishing this game very quickly at all so content is the least of your worries. That said, the price is definitely excessively high right now so good luck finding it at a value price. Most likely you will have to shell out a lot for this one. It’s definitely worth it if you are a big fan of the series though.
It’s crazy to think that Capcom has completely ditched this series and yet they really have. I dare say Mega Man could still be a household name if Capcom had kept going instead of ditching it for other things. The storylines alone are enough to make this super engaging for future gamers. Just show them X and the other reploids who helped him out through the years like Zero and you’re set. Keep in the fully animated cutscenes for the games as well since they also helped to establish this as a very big game series with high stakes.
The collection also brings Battle and Chase but to get this you have to complete the first three games completely which is definitely difficult. I didn’t go back to the first one at all anyway but it is a really cool reward for the fans who managed to pull this off. What could be better than getting another complete game for your troubles right? Battle and Chase is also pretty obscure so this would likely be your first time playing it. The X Collection certainly didn’t go cheap with the content and it’s one of the reasons this became an eternal classic. It may not have as many games as the Mega Man Anniversary collection but that one has less story and cutscenes so I imagine it was easier to fit them all there.
Overall, Mega Man X Collection is a great collection of games. Each title here is a complete game from the original Mega Man X days and they all hold up well. Naturally the most polished ones are the final two but they were all developed well and without shortcuts. I don’t see you having any issue with any of the titles presented here. They will absolutely test your gameplay fundamentals though. With the exception of one moving spike level, I thought all of the levels were pretty fair as well. If you learn and memorize the villain’s fighting pattern then you should be all good to go here.
Suggested by iKnowledge Yoko is a talented spellcaster. She can fire off multiple blasts at once and has some solid agility. Meanwhile Testament is mainly more of a close quarters fighter but he can use his blood to solidify and extend his range as well. This makes him a difficult opponent to plan against. What is really the deal breaker here is that I don’t believe she would be able to keep up with his speed. Testament will make the most of his attacks and end things decisively. Testament wins.
Suggested by iKnowledge This was definitely a pretty tough battle. Palutena has a ton of powerful energy options at her disposal and even a mini black hole to slow opponents down with. This is all to help counter the fact that her speed isn’t all that great. Meanwhile Ky has the speed on point but his attacks don’t have the same punch that Palu’s do. So at the end of the day this is a question of power vs speed. Speed doesn’t always win in these cases but it certainly helps to have this. Ultimately I would give it to Ky. I think he would be able to overwhelm Palutena with his lightning fast blows and he has enough attack power to deal serious damage. Ky Kiske wins.
It’s always fun when the Nintendo Switch Online adds some more games to the service. It’s at a pretty slow feed at the moment but each new game tells a story. This one is apparently a prequel/sequel (Seems to be debates on this) to Solomon’s Key which is neat. I’m not sure why the name was changed for the American version. Needless to say the gameplay is pretty much the same as the original only this time there is an emphasis on a fire vs ice theme. This was pretty nice to see as those two elements are naturally polar opposites and work well against each other.
The game starts with the kingdom calling you in need of some services. Every capable warrior in the kingdom answers the summons but ultimately they choose a magician in training as their chosen fighter. You will have to use your magic scepter to conjure up ice blocks and vanquish the fire monsters in your path. Doing so will allow you to ascend to the next limit of your abilities. More importantly, it will keep the kingdom safe. That’s the general formula of the game. There are 9-10 worlds which each have 10 levels in them. Clearing them all will result in your clearing the game.
The controls are very simple. You can move from left to right and conjure up ice blocks that are one square down and to the left/right of you. You can also cause them to vanish. Additionally you can push individual ice cubes into the enemies in order to take them down. The goal of each level is to take down all of the fireballs. The initial levels are a walk in the park of course but then the difficulty really expands. I was able to beat all of the levels to the first two worlds with ease but world 3 got tricky. I beat around half of those levels and then settled for beating the first level of the remaining worlds. I didn’t go any farther than that.
The difficulty is certainly real and that means if you decide to play this game to the end you will really have to think each puzzle through. There are no easy answers here. You must have a great amount of determination and fire to get to the end. If you can pull this off then my hat’s definitely off to you. The fact that the controls are so simple is also what makes the game impressive because these puzzles are crafted really well in spite of this. It never feels unfair because you know the full extent of the controls from the start. There are no hidden secrets or anything. You just have to think things through rationally in order to proceed.
Graphically the game holds up well. I was happy to see that we had some real cutscenes here. I don’t believe the original game had anything like that so this was cool. Additionally the hub world is great. You have the tree from the Kirby games and the Power Star from Mario. It made you feel like this game was actually part of some secret crossover. The main villain also has a pretty decent design. Ultimately this game looks a whole lot more like a SNES title than a NES one so major kudos to the developers on this. The soundtrack is more on the bland side though. You may even forget it is there while playing through the game because of how subtle it is. That may be intentional but I’d like for the game to have had a little more pop personally.
It’s hard to say how long the game is since it heavily depends on how well you do at the puzzles. With roughly 100 puzzles in the game I went to say this should take you around 3-4 hors to clear the whole thing. If you do 1 world an hour then I guess it would be 10 which would also be very impressive to be sure. Most NES games can’t even come close to touching that level of time. I’m not always a big fan of puzzle games as I tend to have my qualms with the execution but I have nothing bad to say about this one’s. My only thing is it can be a bit repetitive and without a stronger plot it would be hard to incentivize me to play through the whole thing.
Overall, Fire n Ice is definitely a good game. With the entire game being focused on the puzzles it is possible that you could grow bored at some points through. It’s impassive the way the game was developed and the difficulty is legitimate, however you may find yourself just wanting something more by the end. Keeping yourself to 1 world a batch would probably be the easiest way to get through this. If you already have the Switch Online then this is a good title to add to your collection. You’ll be one step closer to having played all of the games on the collection. Hopefully soon we get either some bigger games (If there are any left) or we finally enter the next console. I think it’s about time Game Boy and Gamecube get to jump in.
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Time to continue the Tales of Series with Legendia as my next stop. It doesn’t exactly seem to be one of the more popular titles in the series but it’s a great title in its own right. It doesn’t quite match up to the Symphonia titles but then again what does right? The gameplay is on point and we have a good story here so at the end of the day that’s all you need. This is definitely not a game that you can try to just knock out real quickly.
The game starts with Senel and Shirley crash landing on the Legacy. The Legacy is a huge boat that is so big it serves as the hub world of the entire game. See, this ship is bigger than most countries combined to the point where it is practically the planet. It’s an interesting concept. Well, Shirley and Senel are on the run from a powerful group of villains led by Vaclav. Naturally the reasons for this are rather secret and Senel doesn’t intend on telling anyone. Unfortunately Shirley ends up getting kidnapped by the group. Senel meets up with a local authority figure named Will and a self proclaimed hero named Chloe. Eventually they also team up with a cheerful girl named Norma, a bandit named Moses, and a scholar named Jay. Together perhaps they can take this villain group down for the count.
In a 30+ hour RPG like this you can expect a whole lot of twists and turns. This is just the basic premise. Every character is keeping at least a few secrets in the back pocket for later on. The climax is a lot of fun and there are even a few loose ends which are likely either handled in the post game or left for a sequel. I didn’t really go into the postgame so I wouldn’t know if anything big occurred there. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case for at least some though.
Senel’s a good character. He is quick to get into fights which is always a quality you want to see in a hero. He has his own character arc of course so he will change a bit as the game goes on. Naturally one thing that will make his life a little tricky is that 4 of the heroines seem to like him so there will be a bit of tension there. Mainly his goal is to help Shirley out though and everything else is secondary. As long as he saves her then the rest will all come into place eventually.
Shirley’s a solid heroine as well although things definitely get a little dicey with her. She starts to weaken in the second half due to a lot of dicey decisions that she made. It almost turns into a bit of a guilt trip against Senel with the paths she ultimately went on. It makes her not always appear as selfless as you would think. I preferred her sister Stella although her role is a lot smaller than Shirley’s. Stella is more powerful and also just seems more heroic in general.
Then we have Will who may have the biggest role from all of the side characters. My main issue with him is that he seems to think he’s better than the other characters a lot of the time. He spends a lot of time lecturing the other characters and if they don’t agree with him then he will just smack them. Not exactly the kind of leadership you want to see from one of your allies right? He never quite got into my good graces by the end. Chloe’s a much more developed character. Her goals of being a true hero as well as her revenge plot are handled well. She definitely gets a ton of development as well and is really a key player in all of this. The fact that Chloe is a good warrior from the start is also important.
Then you have Norma who is mainly here to throw a bit of levity into the scenes. She is always having a good time and doesn’t take things as seriously as the other members. I thought her character was handled really well and she was consistent in being the voice of hope in the game. Whenever things were dire she would think of something to do. Norma also likes trolling the rest of the characters quite a lot which I can definitely appreciate. Moses is another member of the group but he’s a little more forgettable. The characters always give him a hard time and yell at the poor guy but at the end of the day he is a loyal ally. He’ll help out as much as needed.
Next up is Jay but I didn’t care for this guy. He’s not loyal in the slightest as he plays the field and tried to keep on grabbing more and more intel to stay ahead of the pack. Someone like that isn’t someone you can trust to have your back. Additionally by the end of the game he is quick to decide that he is cool being on his own. This guy was usually more trouble than he’s worth. Finally you have Grune but I’m still not sure what the point of her character is. She shows up near the end of the game as a playable character and then proceeds to do nothing for the rest of the game. If you ask me she could and should have been cut out. It feels like there must have been a big plot for her that was cut out or something because otherwise her whole role here just doesn’t make any kind of real sense.
Then we have the villains such as Vaclav and his 3 generals. They make for a solid villain group. Definitely not the most memorable ones around but the armor was fun. They had better designs than character personalities but they did manage to be a real threat when they arrived. There are a number of villains and factions here as well so the heroes always have to watch their back or risk being attacked while they’re busy. The soundtrack is pretty good. It may not be Symphonia level but the tunes we get are reasonable. There’s enough of an assortment where you are bound to enjoy at least one or two of them. It could be better but I’m satisfied with what we got.
Naturally there is a lot of replay value here. The base game is already around 30 hours and then after that you have the post game which involves character stories for each member of your party. I don’t know exactly how long this is but coupled with what you already have you are going to have a lot of content to play through here. It’s always one of the big advantages of being an RPG, the fun never really has to end. The graphics are also solid of course. We get a few fully animated cutscenes and for the rest there is a good amount of voice acting as well as details to the backgrounds.
Oh yeah I almost didn’t talk about the gameplay. It’s fairly standard for Tales of. You play as the heroes in a 3D or at least 2.5D gameplay style. You can hit the opponents in real time and use basic attacks as well as items and super attacks. The gameplay flows pretty smoothly and there’s a decent strategy element here as you have to decide which enemy to attack and how to go about it. There are numerous options for each scenario so it’s not as simple as just deciding to run and gun it. That may work for a while but eventually you will need to do some level grinding to keep that sustainable.
Overall, Tales of Legendia is a great game with a lot of emotional moments. You should be pretty well attached to all of the characters by the time you end things off. The gameplay is smooth and the graphics are on point. The game is just a strong experience that I could recommend to any gamer. Whether you’re a fan of RPG titles or action games, you should enjoy this one. I’d definitely be down with a sequel coming out someday to revisit the cast.
Whenever you think of guys fighting in colorful suits you’re probably going to be thinking of Power Rangers or Kamen Rider. They have really done a whole lot to make this trend stick and in particular Power Rangers is one of those franchises that is just so huge at this point. It makes sense that there would be a lot of other competitors in the genre. Dharuriser is a one shot movie so you don’t need to watch anything else to get into it. It’s a little more down to Earth than some of the other titles I mentioned but we get quality action scenes and a good plot. This is a film I would be able to recommend to anyone who wants to watch a solid action film with a good story behind it.
The movie starts off by showing us how Akihiro’s dream of being an actor isn’t paying off all that well. His wife Mio is now pregnant so he needs a way to find some steady income. He reluctantly moves back into his father’s house but does not want to assist in the family business. He gets a job as a security guard instead and also enters a “create a suit” contest in his free time. He submits the Dharuman costume which later gets renamed to Dharuriser. The issue is that there is a very real villain group called DICE. They intend to purify the county by eliminating all those who they deem impure. They seem to be connected to the mystery discs embedded into everyone’s wrist. Can Akihiro find out what they are doing and stop them or will he ultimately not rise to the occasion?
At the end of the day Akihiro isn’t a hero when this all starts off. He doesn’t know how to fight and is just an ordinary guy. During the course of the film he works to change this as he gets more and more serious about being in the hero business. He’s a solid main character who is definitely determined and ends up helping out quite a lot when the going gets tough. He’s the kind of guy that you want in your corner when things get tough.
That said, I did agree with his father in some respects. Akihiro absolutely did not want to help in the hotel business but he’s got a family to think about. He was rather unreasonable about this from the start. If he didn’t want to go straight to work then he is taking advantage of his father’s house. It’s something he had to think about before having a kid. That’s why you wait to have children until you have a stable income and living situation. Akihiro didn’t really think any of this through and then he nearly loses his job by oversleeping. So he had his moments where he was taking things for granted to be sure but once he turned into Dharuriser he became a lot more reliable.
Akihiro’s wife Mio is definitely a quality character as well. She’s a very loyal character who takes his side at all times. Whenever he is in trouble she doesn’t throw extra blame on him either. There’s a scene where he is getting ready to fight again and you think she might guilt trip him, but instead she just helps him get back out there again. It’s always a nice change of pace to have a character who isn’t quick to change sides. Mio was someone he could count on.
The movie’s close to 2 hours so it’s able to capture quite a lot of story in that time. DICE gets a full backstory to the group and we gradually learn about their goals. The leader ended up using his goal of keeping someone alive more as an excuse though to be honest. He definitely went way overboard with the whole thing and cracked up. Akihiro’s friend from work would probably be the worst character though as he was corrupted really easily and never tried to fight it. He just went off the deep end rather quickly and never looked back. You probably won’t be able to trust him again after all that.
Akihiro’s parents were good. As mentioned, the father was pretty reasonable with why he was upset with the lead the whole time. The Mom always tried to calm things down between the two of them as well. Then you have Akihiro’s best friend who was pretty solid. He definitely came in handy quite a lot as he assisted Akihiro in pretty much every task. He could have been a little less nervous at the end since he has a one hit KO gun but I guess even with that he felt like the danger was too much.
As expected the fight scenes are pretty good here. We get a lot of quality hand to hand action. Akihiro certainly improved in hand to hand a lot over this period of time. The costume for Dharuriser also looks really good. A particular standout here would be the soundtrack though. There are a lot of great themes with a quick tempo that feel very fitting for the battle scenes. Sometimes even when there was no battle present the music would ramp up. It helps enhance the chase scenes and adds a bit of stakes to the fights. A good soundtrack can definitely go a long way.
Throughout the film someone is trying to contact Akihiro using a bit of telepathy and a lot of direct mental images. You can’t help but feel like the sender could have made the message more specific though. Akihiro wanted to help the whole time but without any hints as to where the villains are or how to recognize them, it’s not like he could have done much about it anyway. It’s not until the very end of the fil that he is given any real instructions. I feel like the sender could have done a better job with that and who knows, Akihiro may have ended things a lot sooner.
Overall, Dharuriser is a good movie that manages to stick the landing. Things almost get a bit dicey in the climax but Akhiro makes the right call. At times the film may seem a bit cheesy with the hero being able to dispatch tons and tons of opponents even though he just learned how to fight but when you consider that his opponents are often pretty old and don’t know how to fight then this adds up rather nicely. If the enemies had guns then that would have been tricky but it might be hard to acquire those in this small town. The film has no real weaknesses so it’s definitely one that you should have a lot of fun with.
This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.
I can’t say the premise for this film filled me with any real hope after the disaster that was Black Christmas but maybe it would actually be good right? Unfortunately that was not the case. When A Stranger Calls is another film that you will want to absolutely avoid at all costs. It’s got a pretty bad villain and the main characters can be annoying. The main character from the opening segment certainly could have explained more on the phone but lets go back to that in a minute.
So the film starts with a babysitter, Jill, looking after two kids. She then starts getting a ton of calls from someone telling her to go check on the kids but 1. she isn’t getting paid enough for that and 2. this seems a little sketchy. So she calls the cops and when they ask her if anyone is threatening her, she says no. She’ll probably say that the caller is threatening the kids next right? Unfortunately she does not. She basically denies everything and just wants the cops to look into it. They tap the line at least but either way they’re too late to save the kids. The kids are murdered and the crook escapes into the wild.
I still can’t get past Jill not actually saying that the caller was making threats. Ah well, I suppose it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway at that point. Duncan is the guy we now know to be the murderer. He’s on the run in the streets after escaping an asylum so Clifford has made it his personal mission to take the guy down even if it costs him his career as a cop. He searches around the city for clues but of course this won’t exactly be easy. Tracking one guy down in such a huge crowd will not be easy. Meanwhile Duncan has found his next victim, a lady named Tracy. Will she be able to escape before he makes his move?
This film’s going for a different approach than most horror films like this. Usually you either don’t see the antagonist until the very end of the film or he only pops up when bumping off the main cast. Duncan is a bit different as the film actively follows him around a lot of the time. We see him attack other characters who have nothing to do with the main plot. So that’s a fresh take on the genre. It may not have even remotely saved the film but I will give it props for trying something different. Of course the downside of this approach is that Duncan’s an awful character so having to follow him around like that is pretty brutal.
At least in the bar someone stands up to him which prevents things from potentially escalating. Unfortunately he was still able to follow Tracy to her home. Duncan’s basically one of those obsessive serial killers who is completely insane but plays the victim card all the time. There’s nothing remotely redeemable about him and he’s not even a mysterious figure because of this since we see him constantly. On the whole the cast isn’t great. Tracy’s certainly a brave heroine at least. She is out at night a lot and all by herself but manages to keep her head held high and keeps on going. A lot of the other characters wouldn’t have been able to pull that off.
As for Jill, if you take away her messing up on the call I guess she was decent. As for Clifford, his drive was solid. He did keep his word on sticking around which helped Tracy out at the end. It would have been nice if at least someone would have tried to stop Duncan when he was running away though. Clifford was super close to catching him there but ultimately he just needed another step or two to actually make it. Close but no dice that time.
While the film isn’t all that violent for the most part, it goes out of its way for grit later on as we’re given a very descriptive account of what happened to the kids. Needless to say the film wants you to know that these murders were quite gruesome with a lot of unnecessary detail. We also get a flashback showing the aftermath of this later on which really comes out of the blue since I thought we were going to at least avoid the visual. I don’t see why we needed the extra shock value at that late stage in the game but it’s how it goes I suppose.
There aren’t really any fun scenes in the film. Even some of the more intense horror films like the ones with Jason or Alien usually try to squeeze in either a party scene or some character competition moments but you don’t really have any of that here. You have the first murder, then a brutal bar fight, then nearly a second murder, a final struggle and then the climax. The film really keeps a tight grip on the plot which does make sense to an extent but it means that the film keeps up a very dreary atmosphere throughout. There’s just no time for you to enjoy a scene before shaking your head at whatever fatal moment is next.
Overall, When a Stranger Calls is definitely a film I would recommend avoiding. The film is going for too much of a shock value vibe and the main villain’s pretty terrible. The idea of following him and the cop in random locations is interesting but following a villain around almost never works either. So at the end of the day what you have is a pretty unwinnable situation where the film has planted itself in the corner. It’s doomed to come out on the losing side there almost as soon as the first 20 minutes are up with what happens to the kids. If you want to watch a good film with some scary moments then I would recommend watching Dragon Ball Z: Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan instead. Now that’s a film that will probably get you a little scared while watching because of how intense Broly is.