Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two Review

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Epic Mickey was definitely not my favorite platformer game. I thought that the story was very uninspired and the levels certainly didn’t have a very good design to them. There just wasn’t too much to it but I figured that a sequel would help with all of that. Unfortunately I can’t say that this was the case as this game is still rather glitchy and has poor motion controls to back it up. It’s not a bad game but certainly not the most enjoyable one out there.

The story starts with Mickey returning to Oswald’s world because something isn’t right. The Phantom Blot may have been destroyed but citizens of the kingdom are now being kidnapped. Moreover, someone has destroyed all of the warp gates in town so they are no longer accessible. If they don’t find the villain soon, then the whole world is at stake.

Thing is, you never really feel that sense of urgency while playing the game. The heroes barely seem to care about what is happening so why should we? Even the citizens feel no sense of loyalty as one turns evil for no reason and the rest flock to be Mad Doctor since he has promised to help out from now on. The town just isn’t very smart and this makes it a little difficult to really want to save them.

That brings me to the fact that this game’s cast of characters certainly isn’t great. Mickey is probably the most reasonable member of the group here as he does at least show some passion and nearly gets into a fight when one of the splatters looks at him the wrong way. Mickey wasn’t playing around in this game and also made the heroic call to not put the hostages at risk.

Then we have Oswald…I’m not sure how heroic I can say this guy is. For starters he is one of the characters who believes that the Mad Doctor has turned over a new leaf. I can’t fault him for being optimistic and that is a heroic quality but it’s annoying because we then have to hear the villain sing constantly. What hurts him more is that Oswald quickly gets jealous when the townspeople start liking the Mad Doctor. He also encourages Mickey to finish the villain off at the end even at the expense of his friends/hostages. Granted, the hostages are robots but that’s an ethical debate that Oswald probably loses since they seem sentient and Mickey did want to save them. Oswald’s just not a very heroic guy at the end of the day.

The gameplay is that of a 3D platformer where you run and jump to the goal. Typically you have to fulfill some kind of objective before making it to the end like destroying a machine or something of that nature. You have a paint brush which gives you access to two abilities, shooting normal paint and also shooting acid which really trips opponents up. It’s a handy ability to have but one that you will wish was not in the game since the motion controls make it a disaster. In general this is a perfect example of why I’m not really a fan of the motion era. It’s all just so rigid and not very intuitive. When you’re trying to aim at someone the brush will go crazy and you have to recalibrate your Wii sensor again.

The objectives aren’t always straight forward either as you will wonder what needs to be done while you are going around blasting everything. The objectives on the map aren’t helpful either because it will show you the locations of the bonus missions but not for the main one. As a result expect to take a little longer than expected to beat the game.

The game did do a pretty good job with the boss fights at least. The final boss is pretty theatrical and uses gameplay elements from the final Sonic DX boss (In Sonic mode) like the floor giving way and even mixing in a bit of Mario there as the floor becomes lava. These fights did take a little time to figure out how to fight the opponent but the Mystery wasn’t confusing and the characters would shout-out some clues which were actually helpful for a change.

You also have to give the game credit for throwing in quite a lot of bonus content in the game. It’s story isnalreadybreasonably long at about 6 hours and with the bonus content you’ll probably be here for another 4-6. I can’t say that it is something even remotely tempting to me to be honest but it’s always a good option to have regardless as it prevents your game from being known as barebones.

The graphics are reasonably good. The final big cutscene actually looks really good so I’m thinking that they spent the vast majority of their budget on this rather than on the whole game. I can understand the case for this since gameplay isn’t quite as important visually but getting it all to look smooth is important. The actual gameplay doesn’t even look as good as some N64 games. Forget the soundtrack as well since there really isn’t much there.

There is a cliffhanger at the end which is either resolved in the extra content at the end of in a third game which will likely never come out. Ideally it’s the former I suppose. So the game did a lot of things wrong, but as I mentioned it at least had some positives to back it up as well like the boss fights. While the gameplay certainly wasn’t polished and made you feel like it was the true enemy at times, I do still generally like platformers like this one.

Overall, Epic Mickey 2 is not exactly game of the year material but it does try hard to be the big success that we all knew it could be. It just doesn’t pick up until the final boss of the game and was ultimately a missed opportunity. I’d probably still get the third game but I really wouldn’t have very high hopes for it. When you make the same mistakes twice, that is usually a bad sign. At least a sequel wouldn’t need to deal with the Wii motion controls.

Overall 5/10

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Kirby Fighters Deluxe Review

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It’s time to look at a rather obscure Kirby game. Between Kirby Star Allies, Battle Royale, and Robo Kirby who had time to remember to pick up this title? If not for My Nintendo giving a pretty big discount for this game I probably would have ended up passing on it as well. Still, it’s a quality game with good gameplay, it’s just a shame that it isn’t longer or that it doesn’t have more content. I realize that you can’t ask for much when a game is only about 2-3 dollars, but I’d still expect something a bit longer.

There are 2 game modes to choose from here. Single Player or Multiplayer. In Multiplayer you fight against other people who own copies of the game. In Single Player you go through a gauntlet of 9 battles which is in a format very similar to Super Smash Bros. Once you complete that you will have effectively completed the game. On average I would complete a Single Player mode in about 5 minutes. There are 10 characters total so if you play with all of them then the game is about 50 minutes long which isn’t half bad. I managed to squeeze in about 2 hours, but you will ultimately struggle to play this game for very much longer. After all, there is almost literally nothing to do once you have beaten the game 10 times. I suppose you can just keep trying to beat the single player mode over and over again…but why?

Lets take a step back for a moment and look at the gameplay. It is your classic 2D fighter. Each Kirby has a different moveset which relates to their weapon of choice. Some items will drop on the stage as well which you can use to try and seize the advantage against your opponents. It’s a pretty sound gameplay style and one that works well. It’s one of the reasons why I was able to complete the game 10 times over without getting bored. I probably wouldn’t have done so if there were too many more characters but 10 is certainly reasonable. My favorite character was probably beam Kirby. That guy felt pretty OP. Most of them are fairly good except Ninja Kirby which is probably the worst one in the game.

The graphics are fairly solid. It does look like a modern Kirby game so I’ll give the title some credit there. The character designs are on point and the stages look lovely. It’s really everything that you could ask for in a Kirby game and then some. I also enjoyed the soundtrack which has all of the classic Kirby tunes that you would expect to see. There is really nothing wrong on a technical level and I suspect that this is where most of the game’s budget went. After all, it certainly wasn’t put into the content.

Again, it’s not as if this is a bad Kirby game. After all, the gameplay is good and I just explained how the technicals are solid as well. I don’t need a game to be super long to be enjoyable but asking for more than an hour’s worth of content isn’t a big request. At least throwing in some more incentives to keep on playing would be nice. I’ve played free games that had a lot more content than this one and they weren’t by AAA companies like Nintendo. There is really no excuse not to have made the game a little longer.

Overall, It’s a fun Kirby game. I would only hesitantly recommend it though as you will have more fun just popping in Super Smash and fighting each other there. There’s not really a whole lot of reason to play this game aside from the novelty of a Kirby fighter. It’s only a few dollars though so honestly you aren’t losing much if you choose to get it. If you are a true Kirby fan then you may be honor bound to purchase it, but if not then I recommend buying the Kirby Dream Collection. Now that game had a lot of content.

Overall 7/10

Ninja Gaiden Review

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It’s time to look at another classic NES game thanks to the MyNintendo Rewards. This one is a clear step up from City Connection and actually feels like a real game. Right away I can tell you that this is a good thing. The game has a plot, solid gameplay, and could be mistaken for a more modern game. It wouldn’t be out of place on the Super Nintendo. I won’t say that the game was amazing, but I would call it one of the better games on the console. The game’s difficulty also lives up to its reputation as you will have a very difficult time trying to beat it without a good save option.

The game starts with Ryu getting knocked out by a mysterious lady. She explains that he has to fight and survive while dodging the enemies. He is understandably confused, but has no time to ponder this as the CIA arrives and they also knock him out. They task him with finding two statues and saving the world or they will destroy him. Ryu will do that, but along the way he also has to find his father as well as rescue the agent who knocked him out in the beginning. It’s going to be a long day, but that’s nothing new for the warrior known as Ryu.

The gameplay is that of your typical 2D platformer. It’s almost like a beat em up as well, but the game technically doesn’t force you to fight the enemies. I would recommend it though as otherwise they will get sneak attacks on you. A single fall means doom and there are a bunch of places where you can fall. Some enemies will respawn infinitely though and keep in mind that if you turn back for whatever reason any enemies in front of you will reappear as well. That’s why you must never backtrack. You can run, jump, and swing your sword. Additionally by holding up and pressing the slash button you can use whatever super attack you have at the ready. The fire balls are really good as well as the boomerang ninja star.

There are 20 levels but you only get 3 lives. If you don’t use the super save feature then I imagine that you will die around world 2. The game is super challenging, but rarely does it feel unfair. At most some of the enemies could seem a little like they are luck based in regard to hitting them before they hit you, but I think with perfect timing you can probably get around that. I can’t really say one way or the other there, but it seems possible. There isn’t any replay value after beating the game, but that along should take you quite a while.

The graphics are pretty solid and have aged very well. The character designs are good and the game even has images and text like a more modern game. The illustrations are quite good and we even get a number of solid plot twists. It really makes the whole game a lot more personal for Ryu. There is a soundtrack as well even if I can’t recall any of the themes. They all sound a little similar plus you will be far too busy trying to survive to actually listen to what the music sounds like.

Overall, This game was actually fun. Ninja Gaiden is a title that I would certainly recommend to others. It gets the fundamentals right so then everything after that is a nice bonus. This game is just the complete package and it might have the best plot for any NES game. That could be a stretch, but at the moment I can’t think of any that are better. If you’re looking for a good game on the E-shop then look no further. This is the kind of game that you want to check out and you will also be able to appreciate a part of gaming history!

Overall 7/10

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse Review

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It’s time to take a look at one of the portable Shantae games. This one takes place after Risky Boots took away all of her powers so our protagonist is a little weaker than usual. She’s still as determined as ever though which is a good thing since the world is in peril once more. While the game isn’t quite as amazing as the PS4 one, it’s still a really fun game and proves once more that Shantae is one of the better side scrolling adventure games. Maybe she’ll be announced as dlc for the new Super Smash Bros at some point.

The game starts out with Shantae still feeling the fallout from not having her powers, but she doesn’t have time to dwell on it as the Pirate King has awoken. He plans to conquer the world. Risky Boots has made it her mission to stop him and Shantae agrees to aid her. After all, Risky may not be her favorite person in the world, but she is still the lesser of the two evils. Shantae can worry about her after saving the world. To stop the King, Shantae must find his 5 Dens of Evil and destroy him, thereby weakening him enough for Risky to vanquish him. Does she have what it takes?

The gameplay is a 2D platformer just like her last game. You try to get from the beginning of a level to the end to fight the boss. You can jump and swing your hair like a sword. A new power up can be obtained in each world like a gun, super speed, a sword that can stab through the ground, and much more. The game isn’t simply a matter of going from world to world though. Every time you get a power up you will want to go hack to the old worlds to see which new rooms can now be opened. There will also be old characters that you can talk to who are interested in items that you have obtained and will help you get through an obstacle. As such, remembering the story is certainly important for when the fans throws hints at you. It’s not as if the game is massive though so if you are unsure just go around and talk to everyone.

I wonder if Risky Boots is officially going to be more of a rival than a villain going forward. While she may have been the main villain at one point, it’s rare to start helping the main character and then revert back. She seems like a pretty cool character so I’d be okay with that.

Shantae is always a quality character herself and that doesn’t change here. She forgives Risky pretty quickly and doesn’t mind doing most of the work in stopping the villains. She has a lot of confidence and always gets the job done. While her trusting nature doesn’t always work out too well for her, Shantae keeps at it.

Her supporting cast is definitely not quite as solid when it comes to the heroes. Shantae’s uncle is on the annoying side while her friend Bolo is too clumsy to be of help. The bird owner is a decent enough character and I actually thought her plot would have a sad ending with how suddenly the guy she was with got turned to stone. Well, it was still a sad ending for her but in a different way. Shantae’s zombie friend is definitely a big troll but she’s a fun enough character. Shantae definitely shouldn’t trust her all that much though.

As always the game is very bright and colorful. The level designs really stand out and it’s usually pretty clear what you have to do. The attack animations are simple but very distinct. It just feels like a very modern portable game with a solid budget behind it. You’d be forgiven for thinking that it is a AAA title as the only thing hinting against this is the short length and to be fair, that’s something that happens to many big games as well. While the soundtrack isn’t quite as dynamic as the PS4 entry it is still quite solid. The themes have a quick tempo and really get you ready to tackle the level.

There are multiple endings in the game which are determined by how many collectibles you obtain. There are 20 Dark Minions wandering the world and by destroying all of them and absorbing their darkness into your lamp, you can get the hero ending. I got most of them but clearly not enough so the game actually ends on a rather sad note. It even leaves room for a sequel if the true ending did not exist. The game makes it easy to find these collectibles though and it’s not like there are too many of them so grabbing all the pieces of evil would be a simple matter. There are also heart containers to obtain and even more upgrades to buy for your attack power and speed. Obtaining money in this game is certainly a slow process but a steady one nonetheless. With the replay value and main campaign the game will probably be about 8-10 hours which is reasonable. It’s a little short but still not that bad.

Overall, Shantae has brought out another winner. The game is certainly very polished and the story is fun. The characters are very distinct and the game doesn’t reuse any bosses. There’s a lot to like here and I would definitely recommend the game. It was fairly close to scoring an 8 and an extra level probably would have sealed the deal. Regardless you will be missing out if you don’t get this one.

Overall 7/10

MotorStorm Review

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It’s time to look at a racing game that I have had on the backburner for a very long time. I’ve always been a big fan of racing games although admittedly the one drawback to the genre is that the CPU racers can seem a little cheesy at times. On the other hand, it’s a little hard to see how to nerf that. It’s very hard to make the computers appear to be fair or they may seem too weak. Still, this one doesn’t do a bad job of it. I do think that the star requirements to unlock the various worlds are a little steep though so don’t count on unlocking all of the different tickets (worlds) unless you are prepared to play this game’s levels over quite a few times.

The gameplay is probably obvious from the cover but it’s a racing game. You try to drive to the goal as quickly as you can and lead the pack. Each race is 3 laps and the duration varies, but most levels are roughly 4-5 minutes. You have a boost which you can use quite regularly but give it a little time to recharge or it’ll overhear and effectively blow up. That’s really the only gimmick here as it’s a normal driving game otherwise. That definitely works for me. I don’t mind the boost and if anything it can be fun to have. Racing games with items have their place as well considering that Mario Kart Double Dash is probably still the best racing game. At the same time, sometimes it’s great to just hop in the car and use nothing but your skills to reach the end.

The main mode here is the campaign. There are a series of tickets which grant you access to a group of races ranging from 1-4. Winning each race will give you some points depending on if you placed in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Gain enough points and you unlock the next ticket. There are 21 tickets, but to unlock all of them you will need a significant amount of 1st place finishes. Most likely you may get around 10 tickets unlocked, but of course if you are willing to put in the time you can go farther. There are also free races and the like to play through.

Conquering all of the races will take a significant amount of time so the game has a lot of replay value. In general, I feel like racing games are often very good at this. You really get the value that you’d expect from a game like this one. The sequel looks pretty interesting as well, but at the same time I do think that the racing genre is often one that you don’t want to overstay your welcome in. Best to take it slow and simply enjoy the races that you’re in.

One thing that the game does to make itself stand out among the crowd is by having a full soundtrack. It has a wide range of lyrical songs and they are all loud, fast paced titles that really make you feel the intensity of the race. I can’t vouch for the lyrics of the songs, but at the very least the beats are pretty solid. The developers understood what kind of music would be really fitting for this genre. The graphics also look pretty good although there isn’t much to say about them. They look like what you would expect, but aren’t any better or worse than that. They are simply standard and I’d say that this is good enough.

Another area where the game did a good job was with making each vehicle feel different. You can play as a car, buggy, motorcycle, or a large truck. My favorite one is easily the motorcycle as you really zoom by there and the turns are really smooth. Of course it is sad to get completely knocked over if another vehicle so much as touches you. That’s the price for being light though and I’m used to it from playing Sheik in Super Smash Bros. It does make the campaign a little harder though since every other race has you switch styles so it is hard to get used to any one version. It’d be nice if they had separated them from the start so you could take your time and master each one.

The crashes are definitely a lot of fun in this game. Some racing titles certainly give more emphasis to the crashes than others and this is definitely one that had a lot of fun with the animations. You crash in slow motion and seeing the driver get slammed out of the car never gets old. Occasionally you do have to wonder why the cars are so weak though. Just going too fast on a muddy surface will cause you to tip over. The worst situations are where you don’t blow up though. At the very least you want to be eliminated right away so you can respawn. Sometimes you will simply be stuck upside down so then you have to try boosting to blow the car up intentionally. However, this takes so much time that you may as well give up the match at that point since you won’t really have a chance at first.

Finally, I enjoyed the level designs quite a bit. You have a lot of freedom to explore here. The levels are huge and there are many different paths to take. Part of the fun is picking a path and hoping that it is the optimal one. There is no way to find out except for trial and error so it encourages multiple playthroughs. I ultimately prefer linear tracks, but this makes it feel a lot more like a real outside race. I can certainly appreciate the attempt here since MotorStorm doesn’t exactly feel like a friendly Mario Kart kind of exhibition here based on how violently everyone crashes. It’s a bunch of races to the death for sure.

Overall, MotorStorm is pretty fun. The gameplay is really good and it’s just fundamentally a good game. There is nothing weak about it and there is a lot of content to stay busy with. A story mode would be nice, but I can’t say that it was expected. If you are a fan of the racing genre then there is certainly no good reason not to buy this game. It just has everything that you could possibly want with it. The game isn’t very forgiving though so prepare for a lot of tough competition from the computers. You may not win the races in one try, but find the fastest route and eventually you will be acing the competition. It’s all about practice, practice, and more practice.

Overall 7/10

Miraculous Ladybug & Cat Noir Review

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It’s time to look at the latest stop in the App game tour. This one certainly wasn’t quite as long lived as Lollipop and Fruits Mania as there are only 80 levels. I was able to complete them all in the course of around 4-5 days. It’s a really fun game though and while it may be lacking in content it does leave me more time for other titles so that’s not such a bad thing. The game does have more of a focus than the other Free Runner that I’ve played (Sonic Forces Speed Battle) since it does have a loose plot and a sense of progression as you try to get to the end.

Again, when I say “plot” it’s in the loosest sense of the word. Each batch of 5 levels has a black and white set of photos. Each time you complete a level the photo is changed into one that is full color until the set of 5 is over and you move on. Every time you complete 10 levels the villains change so if I had to hazard a guess I would say that the game covers 8 episodes of the show. I haven’t seen the show so I can’t confirm this and maybe the game is making its own plot up. Either way, you are here for the gameplay first and foremost.

The gameplay is a 3D style as you run forward. The levels don’t end until you fulfill the objective. The goal is always to grab a certain amount of collectibles in the level. 500 ladybugs, 20 power ups, etc. There are 3 levels to each goal. Obtaining at least a bronze will allow you to progress further in the game, but obtaining the gold rank will put you in the safest spot. After all, you need a certain amount of stars to progress so not getting them now will only add more things to do when you reach the end game. I had to go back and get more stars twice, but for the most part I made sure to get 3 stars on all of the levels. The stats for this game will be published in a post right after this one. You can jump and slide under objects to get the harder to reach objects. Running on walls is a fairly unique mechanic to this game and is fun as it gives you more options.

Now, what kind of free runner would this be without special abilities? You can fire energy blasts if you get the Yo Yo power up or even survive a single hit if you get the shield. The best power up is the magnet as it drags the ladybugs over to you and the 2X power is nearly as good as it doubles the ladybugs that you can collect. You can use the ladybugs to upgrade your abilities later on and trust me, you’ll most certainly appreciate maxing those powers out. It makes the levels a lot easier and also shortens the time it takes to max out your abilities. Odds are that you will beat the game before you are able to max out your abilities though.

Ladybugs are your main currency but then you’ve also got the butterflies. You can spend 5 of them in order to revive once in a level. Honestly, it’s usually not worth it though and I would save the butterflies to use in the shop for more ladybugs and such. A revive doesn’t go a long way and ultimately it’s best to just hone your skills so that you won’t need it. If it’s important that you beat a certain level then by all means you should go for it. Still, it’s not too urgent since you get unlimited retries and don’t have to worry about an energy meter like in Fire Emblem Heroes.

The graphics are definitely pretty nice. The character models are definitely on point and the screens are clear. Occasionally it can be hard to see an obstacle until the last second, but that’s really just because of how fast you are moving. The game even squeezed in a few quick cutscenes each time you defeat a boss at the end of a 10 level set and whenever you get enough ladybugs to transform. These cutscenes are pretty solid, but I’m glad that they are skippable as you wouldn’t want to see them every time. It’s the same cinematic for all levels so feel free to skip them after the first time.

The soundtrack is rather bland though. It only has 1 tune and unfortunately it’s one of those games that disables your audio for other apps. This means that I can’t be listening to Pandora while playing it like with the other games and that’s unfortunate. It’s not a bad tune for this game, but hearing it nonstop can certainly get a little old. I like to have my musical freedom as a fast paced song will likely just help my skills even more.

There isn’t much for replay value here. I suppose you can aim to grab all of the pictures though. To do that you will have to obtain chests and wait a few hours to unlock them. Waiting is easy as you can just turn off the app, but to get the chests in the first place you need some ladybugs to unlock them or to find one in a level. The latter only seems to happen when you don’t already have one. I don’t think the grind would be all that bad though so I’d say to go for it. You can also just boost your trophy count by playing some of the Infinite Levels.

Overall, This is a pretty fun game. I wouldn’t say that it does anything special, but it’s fun and that’s the important thing. It’s a game that is very easy to get into and just start playing. The levels are fairly short so it’s not a big investment in time and it just looks very crisp. The lack of content would hurt if you paid money for this game, but since it is free I don’t think I would consider that to be a problem. I’d recommend checking this game out and seeing what you think of it.

Overall 7/10

Dark Angel Review

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It’s time to look at a PS2 movie tie-in to a TV series that I never actually got around to watching. It seems like a cool premise though. It’s basically Maximum Ride but taking place in a futuristic setting. I can get behind that. The actual game mixes stealth with the beat em up genre for interesting results. Honestly I think it would have certainly been sufficient to have just been a beat em up, but I suppose the stealth aspects make sense with the actual plot of the game.

So the story follows Max (You won’t be able to forget her name since it is mentioned a few times for every single level) as she wants to rescue the other people who was kidnapped by the I-Corporation and experimented on. Among those were her sisters. Max broke out (In the show I’m guessing) but now she must head back to face her fears once more. Logan helps her from the sidelines as he tries to shut off some security cameras here and there. He’s basically tech support and I suppose he does go into the field once in a while. Can Max really save her family?

One thing to note here is that in the future the government fell apart thanks to some kind of nuclear situation so now corporations run the world. I-Corp is one of those along with a second one that I’m forgetting. Both sides are evil and do experimentation so you have to decide who to root for. In this case we are going after I-Corp, but apparently Max destroyed a good chunk of the other side prior to the game so she has done a good job of taking out any corporation that stands against her.

The gameplay is very straight forward when it comes to combat. You can punch, kick, and throw. Jumping is also useful even if the jump isn’t very high. You can run and then jump+kick to unleash a devastating tackle that will knock any opponent over. This is really useful for when a bunch of enemies are after you as they have no real counter to this. If you don’t mind taking a little while you can bear all of the enemies this way. To prevent you from cheesing the game for each level though, some will have a time limit for which you can beat the enemies. Just keep mixing up your punches and kicks to resist enemy throws and you’ll be okay. Whenever possible I would ignore the stealth option and just barrel into groups of enemies. Some groups I just barely beat with 1 second left, but that’s the kind of intensity that you want to see. Also, I didn’t quite understand the stealth part for a little while since the game never explains it.

Basically if you crouch from behind an enemy and attempt to throw them it will result in a one hit KO. This is really useful if there are a bunch of enemies. You can take them all out one at a time this way. Otherwise if you just attack one then every enemy in the room will rush at you which can be around 6 and they can take a lot of health out of you if you aren’t careful. 2 of the last levels mix this formula up a bit though as stealth isn’t optional. If you are spotted then you are sent back to the very beginning. These levels can be a little on the long side so I can definitely confirm that it’s in your best interest to proceed with caution. A good technique for mixing the enemies up is just randomly jumping and then running off to hide. It will change their current pattern into one that may be easier. Of course it could get harder so proceed with caution.

To help in your stealth missions you are given some stealth gun ammo. This is a one hit KO to any opponent so it’s a good way to cheese these stealth missions. It is a tactical gamble though as you don’t get a whole lot of ammo. I believe you get around 20 shots for the duration of the game or something like that. Use your ammo wisely. I had already spent all of mine before the last big stealth mission, but I’d say that I did a good job of making it last when you consider how many levels there are. You also have other gadgets like a walkie talkie to lure the enemies closer and health packs which are self explanatory. As with many stealth games you just want to make these items really count.

As far as the characters go, we have a good cast here. Max is definitely a great main character. All of her dialogue is basically mocking all of the minions as she beats them up. She certainly isn’t above hitting someone who’s down as we even see that in a cutscene near the end so it isn’t just gameplay mechanics. She’s had a tough past but has definitely gotten past it and turned into a good hero. Logan is all right. I’m not a fan, but I guess he is useful. I can’t say much about the sisters as they don’t appear until near the end, but Beka was cool. She’s probably the best character after Max. She can certainly fight pretty well too.

The graphics look pretty sharp. A good amount of budget probably went into the cutscenes as they are full cinematics so no text cop outs. I mean, you get a text cutscene at the beginning of each level as well, but so long as you get both that isn’t an issue. The visuals are quite nice and I just wish we could have gotten more outdoor levels as towards the end they all feel a little cramped. The game had reasonable variety though. The soundtrack is definitely pretty solid. A little on the generic side, but nonetheless the combat themes were quite fast and really suck you into the moment. It makes the battles more fun.

There is no real replay value here though. There’s no level select and no collectibles to acquire. Basically once you complete the game that is it for your adventure. You have no more reason to play at all. With 22 levels I’d say that this game should last you around 4-5 hours. It will depend on how long some of the tougher levels take you as one took me around an hour before I finally had it beat. It’s no walk in the park and the game’s difficulty is pretty fair. It’s just enough to make you try but not too crazy either.

Overall, Dark Angel is definitely a fun game. The TV show definitely sounds pretty interesting if it’s like that. Max is basically a super soldier after all so that should make for some good action scenes. Hopefully the special effects were on point for that. Considering that I got the game for a few bucks I would say that this was a bargain. If you are looking for a quality action game to get for cheap then this is definitely the one for you. It’s just such a solid action game. Who knows, maybe it’ll get a sequel someday.

Overall 7/10

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Review

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It’s time to look at the Terminator game. This one is based on the 3rd film and also acts as a prequel. It’s a story that naturally takes place in a rather dark environment since Skynet broke the lights. I was a little worried since my tv can’t handle the darkness all that well. Level 2 was incredibly difficult for that reason but after fiddling with the settings for a while the levels were finally bright enough to see. It’s a fun game that may not do everything right but succeeds in enough areas to be called a success.

The game starts off with you playing as the Terminator and blowing up a bunch of robots. The humans have reprogrammed you to be on their side. Then they learn that Skynet is sending their best assassin to the past to eliminate John Conner and his wife. They send the Terminator in pursuit but can he really defeat what is essentially a more upgraded version or himself?

As you might assume this is a 3D shooter. You grab various weapons over the course of a level and blow up all enemy robots on your way to victory. Each level will have a series of objectives and upon completing them you will move on to the next level. It’s important to realize that the mission is the priority so you never have to worry about defeating all of the enemies. If you are supposed to destroy a building and are about to die then quickly destroy it anyway as the success will sometimes override your death. That helped me out once or twice.

If you ever run out of ammo you can swing the base of your gun or throw some punches but that shouldn’t happen with how much ammo is usually going thrown around. Just remember to pick it up every time you defeat an enemy and you should be fine. My favorite weapons are the ones that leave a nice explosion as even if they don’t defeat the enemies they will knock them over which gives you time to finish the job. What you don’t want is to be put in a situation where all of the robots are blasting at you since your health bar will be torn to shreds. One of the weapons allows you to equip two at once which is handy since you knock them down with one while you blast them with the other. Finally, if you’re about to die anyway I recommend using the missile launcher since it will beat any enemy in a single hit and even a lot of the large robots will go down in 2. The catch is that it only has 3 ammo and fires really slowly so don’t use it if you are surrounded.

The gameplay changes into a 2D brawler for boss fights and that was a real highlight. The levels are few, but you can tell that some effort was put into them. You can toss the enemy around and can mix up your punches and kicks for various combos. It definitely got me thinking that a Terminator fighting game would be really good. There is just so much that you can do with the concept and I’m sure it would be a success. The boss fights aren’t particularly tough for the most part, but I did come close to dying in the last fight.

The graphics are pretty solid. The energy effects are nice and vibrant while the levels are nice recreations of the movie. The character models are a little more on the humorous side to be honest but they still at least resemble who they are supposed to be. Assuming your TV is on point you will definitely be able to appreciate the effort here. Unfortunately there isn’t much of a soundtrack but what was there was pretty sound. It works pretty well for the action scenes.

The main campaign should take you a few hours. There are 22 levels in the game and their length varies significantly. Some levels can be around 10 minutes or longer while others are barely a minute. In some cases a level will just take longer than it should because you might end up getting lost as the compass isn’t always 100% reliable. The toughest level in the game is certainly the escort mission where you have to protect John. He has the A.I. of a level one computer as he will walk into the line of fire without a gun and will die to a pair of bullets. That stage must have taken me at least 20 tries. Another aspect that makes this level tough is how you aren’t allowed to destroy any of the humans firing at you. This means you can only shoot each human once which is tougher than it sounds as it isn’t always obvious that you have already hit them once. The best advice I could give here is just to take it slow.

There isn’t a great deal of replay value after beating the story. All that I can think of is trying to find the second mini game to unlock. I don’t know about you but that isn’t a huge incentive for me to be honest. Still you can probably get this game for a cheap price and if so I would definitely recommend it. Yeah, the game is basically a cash in but it’s a fun one that put in some effort. You won’t regret the purchase.

Overall, Terminator has always been a really fun franchise. You don’t have to stretch your imagination to see how it would lend itself well to a video game. Hopefully a new Terminator game comes out soon because now there is only one modern title that I am missing. Ah well, I still have that one to look forward to at least. That was likely my last mech game for a while so at least the genre ended on a high note.

Overall 7/10

Phalanx Review

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It’s time to look at an old GBA game that decided it would be a good idea to get rid of the continue option. It tries to go for a very authentic arcade feel as you have to try and go through the whole game with one shot of lives. Granted, it does autosave your progress so if you die on level 6 with and used up 2 lives in the attempt, that’s how you’ll spawn. Ideally you will get so good at the game that eventually you would clear the game and reach the ending. That would be impressive because I can assure you that this game is no walk in the park. It will take quick reaction times and a whole lot of heart.

The plot is rather vague and you only get about 3 cutscenes in the whole game. It seems that alien machines are trying to destroy the worlds and you have to stop them. Fortunately that won’t be too much of an issue for our hot shot pilot Rick. He is willing to risk his life to save his planet and that’s what it takes to be a real hero. You have to appreciate the guy’s passion through and through. Still, it’s as cookie cutter a plot as you can get so you will be playing this game for the gameplay.

It’s a traditional 2D shooter. You are always in the air and the screen is constantly moving so you can’t take your time. On the other hand, this also means you can’t go too fast as you wait for the screen to catch up. The only time it will typically stop is for a boss fight. Then you maneuver as you please to dodge the attacks. There is usually a good amount of room so you don’t have to worry about bumping into things. The average level is around 5-7 minutes long and there are 8 levels total. The game will last you about an hour if you’re a whiz at the gameplay and a little longer if you die a lot. It’s not a long time, but you don’t expect much more length out of this genre.

You have your primary weapon which is a typical energy gun, but you will pick up a bunch of other weapons along the way. Rockets, Energy Balls, etc. When you get hit by an enemy you lose one of your 4 health points along with your current weapons. You can stock up to 3 weapons I believe so choose them carefully. You will likely think that some weapons are better than others so if you see an enemy drop a bad one sometimes it is best to just leave it. You also get bombs which wipe the screen of weak enemies and weaken the tough ones. Your 3 bombs are refilled whenever you get a health item so quickly spam them before making contact with it. I also recommend stocking up on lives during the earlier part of the game since you will need them for the end.

Another thing to watch out for is the ceiling. The game’s lighting can be quite deceptive so it’s possible to be ramming into a cliff and not know it. You’ll quickly be tipped off as you take damage and die though. I think the visual effect is intentional because the cliffs shouldn’t camouflage so well. That’s just mean to the player if you ask me. The gameplay is quite sound all things considered though. I enjoyed playing through the game. It’s the kind of title that I wouldn’t stick around to try and complete without being able to use a continue, but still a good arcade title nonetheless. I probably would give it a try at one of the ole machines.

There isn’t much replay value as you can probably expect. After all, Story Mode is the only thing to do and it’s simply an hour. Fortunately I got this game for about a dollar so that’s a good bargain. I did think that the soundtrack was far better than I had ever expected it to be. The fast paced rock theme really gets you into the levels. The visuals are on point as well and on a technical level the game even looks worthy of the DS. I’d say that they spared no expense here. While there are no bonus features, you can’t say that the developers didn’t treat this game with a whole lot of care and grace.

Overall, Phalanx is a fun shooter. It is not the best in the market nor will it ever be, but it doesn’t make any real mistakes. It is a fun experience for however long it lasts you and I’d recommend picking it up if the price is right. It’s not a game I will forget very soon even if it was one of the shortest games I’ve played in ages. If it ever gets a big sequel/remake I would be interested in seeing how they enhance the plot. Adding in a continue feature would also help the game considerably.

Overall 7/10

Little League World Series Baseball 2010 Review

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It’s time to look at a Little League game! Typically you expect to be playing with the pros so this was certainly a change of pace. As a result the gameplay is a little less realistic and aims to just be a lot of fun. I had a good time with the game even if it feels like there is a lot of luck at play when you are up to bat. There is an actual campaign so that is fun even if there isn’t much of a story. The goal is what you would expect, conquer the season and win the World Series. There are around 26 matches to go through so do your best to go all the way.

As I mentioned the gameplay can be a little suspect. It got better by the end though and I couldn’t tell if it was because I spent a lot of upgrades on batting or if I was doing a better job of aiming where I wanted to hit. From what I gathered, you typically want to aim up and start charging at the last second to hit the ball when the bat is blue. This still isn’t full proof but it seems to be your best bet. Aiming low never worked at all for me and I don’t recommend bunting either. When it comes to fielding you don’t need to worry because it’s basically automatic. The fielders will run and retrieve the ball for you. All you have to do is throw to the bases if it’s a clean hit. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is the kind of game you can play while reading a book. Of course you will want to take the last few games a little more seriously since if you lose it is all over.

One thing to make a note of is your original character has a special ability. Each team has one player called the Star Player. By using all 3 sections of his Talent Gauge the bat will turn blue and just hitting the ball will make it a home run. I recommend saving your gauge for this moment every time because the normal gauge hits barely change anything. At least this way you’ve got a guaranteed run which could be the difference between victory and defeat. There are also items in the game known as cards but I played without them so I can’t say that I know too much about how they work. Based on the card summaries they seem like they will certainly make the game more explosive.

There are also a few other modes like multiplayer exhibitions and even a training mode thrown in. The multiplayer mode helps the replay value at least along with all of the trophies you need to collect. They aren’t all that hard but they certainly are time consuming so I can’t say that I plan to grab all of them anytime soon. The main story is around 6 hours long which is fairly decent. All in all, there is a good amount of content to keep you busy here.

There are also a lot of advanced techniques you can use in the game which are sure to make you a better player. I played through all of the tutorials at the very end for the trophies and I definitely didn’t know about 80% of the techniques there. If you utilize them all then it’ll make the game feel even more complete and well rounded. Good luck pulling it all off against some of the trickier opponents, but it’s still nice to have.

Then we have the graphics. The game looks pretty good. The character designs are on point and I like how my original character Terry came out. The visual effects for the hits were solid as well and in general the game was just very clear. I can’t say that I had any complaints here. As with most sport games, the soundtrack was fairly bland. Aside from a catchy main menu theme, you won’t hear much music during the actual games. I do understand this as it probably would overshadow the commentary and the grunts, but more music is rarely ever a bad thing.

Overall, Little League will take a little while to grow on you. It may have a slow start, but once your team is upgraded you will be hitting like a champ. As always pitching is really the stressful part as sometimes the opposing team will suddenly go on a roll. I found it helpful to already do a low charged pitch to the side where the player is holding the bat. They seem to have a lot of trouble with that. If I get 2 strikes in a row like that, then I would throw a slow pitch which usually trips them up. Use my sips wisely and you too can be a champ. If you don’t own a whole lot of Baseball games or you simply want a change of pace then this is a good one to check out. Little League does a good job of differentiating itself from most others in the genre.

Overall 7/10