Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan Review

It’s been a while since I played a Ninja Turtles game. Platinum has been doing a good job with their titles and they are well known for their combat mechanics so this definitely looked like a fun adventure. Reviews have not been kind to it, but this is definitely a solid game. It may not be quite as polished as their Transformers title or Bayonetta, but it’s definitely still a solid game. Platinum leaves their signature combat mechanics and level of difficulty on this title so don’t expect it to be a walk in the park.

The Turtles are called back into action when their old villains start to make some moves. Alien Invasions, Bank Robberies, and more things occur as the villains continue their onslaught of attacks. What is their goal and are these just distractions? The turtles will have to stay on their toes if they don’t want to be caught off guard, but can they really hope to defeat the Shredder? The plot is fairly standard for the TMNT and it doesn’t go for anything grand, but it’s possible that it’s meant to feel like a normal episode. To an extent, that’s what Platinum seems to do for their retro games.

While the gameplay is fairly intricate, I don’t think it’s all that good. The way that the buttons are configured does take quite a bit of time to get used to. You may have beaten the game by then so I suppose it could be useful for the second run through. R2 is to block and evade while attacking is with the SQ button. You can also throw shruiken with L1 although that is really never necessary. It is good for getting some trophies like blowing up cameras though. It’s just very difficult to utilize the blocking button on instinct with how quick the villains strike and how odd of a button it is. I’d prefer for blocking to be R1, but you can possibly switch that somewhere.

You do have quite a few options for attacking though and a lot of ninjutsu can be purchased. I personally liked Stealth Mode, Combo Attack, Super Shruiken, and Healing Circle for my set. You can have 4 at a time. Charms can also be equipped, but they didn’t make much of a noticeable difference. I may just need to buy better ones. You can switch between turtles at any time and you only lose a level if all 4 of them are defeated at once. In that case, you are taken back to the lair to eat some pizza and recharge your strength before going back to the level. For most levels, you are taken back to the exact point of time in which you died, but some bosses regain their full health. It seems to depend on the level.

There are a lot of collectibles and trophies so obtain so there is a solid amount of replay value here. That’s definitely a good thing because the campaign isn’t all that long. It’s around 4 hours, which is quickly becoming the average for games nowadays. That, or maybe games were always that short and I never noticed. Maybe that’s why people love RPGs so much. If nothing else, they’re always long, but I gotta admit that turn based gameplay can also be a real blast as well. Seriously, I love grinding those level ups. There are over 50 trophies so it should take you a while to collect them all. I only got 11 of them while beating the game. Most of them aren’t hard though, but simply rely on repetition. Play the levels again and again enough times and you’ll earn most of them. For example, one of them is saving 10 pizza trucks. I maybe saved one during the whole game. It’s partially chance that you end up getting that mission which is what makes it a little tricky. I’m not a huge fan of that and some trophies are tricky and may require online help from other players. It’s a doable Platinum, but not an easy one by any means.

As per usual, Platinum hits us with a great soundtrack. The rock themes are always a blast to have even if it seemed like the game started to reuse them a little after a while. It’s fine, I’ll still take this over 70% of boss fights in the average games. A good theme can go a long way. That being said, the actual boss fights could be a little annoying at times. I feel like the bosses had too much health and our attacks didn’t deal enough damage. It could take quite a while to take some bosses down and I can only imagine what it’s like on Hard Mode since they gain even more health on that difficulty. Each level isn’t all that long with the boss taking the most time, but it does hurt the replay value of the level a little. Especially with the annoying bosses like Wingnut.

Graphically the game looks good. There is only 1-2 day-time levels though so the graphics usually have it a little easy in the dark. It’s not as impressive as Transformers Devastation by any means, but it certainly doesn’t look bad. The graphics will suffice. Whether it was a glitch or not, a funny thing occurred during the final level though. The game actually replayed an old cutscene in its entirety. For a second there I thought I had clicked on the wrong level, but nope, it still ended up being in the right place. So…what’s up with that? It wasn’t a particularly good cutscene either which was unfortunate.

They reuse a lot of gags in the story mode even though it’s fairly short. For example, Michelangelo always wanting pizza. The turtles should be used to it, but they still act a little surprised and reprimand him each time. I mean, the Turtles are known for this and it’s supposed to be nostalgic I suppose, but this definitely wasn’t my favorite portrayal of them. Leonardo definitely looked the best as he was down to business and had a plan each time. Splinter isn’t quite as good as he seems rather nervous the whole time and subtly recommends retreating for a little while. Seeing Shredder actually be a lackey for once was also rather interesting. Krang’s the boss this time eh? He’s certainly moving up the ranks and if he also calls the shots in the new live action film, maybe he will eventually replace Shredder in that role completely.

I tried going to the online mode, but nobody was online. That’s not a good sign considering how new the game is, but I may have just missed everyone. The online mode is basically a way to play the game co-op, so I imagine there is not a whole lot of incentive for people to do that besides the trophies. Local Co-Op should have been a thing. This isn’t bad if you have a friend who is far away, but it’s definitely not optimal. I suppose TMNT fans will still be thrilled that the series finally has a new game. Granted, it wasn’t amazing, but this game is still a big improvement from games like De Blob and maybe it’ll get a sequel at some point. Platinum doesn’t really do sequels very often, but you never know.

Honestly, I’d probably say that this game does lose to the rest of the TMNT games that I’ve played except for the PSP title. They’re all fairly close, but the Gamecube game was just a little more fun and the plot was certainly a lot more intense. Being related to the 2003 show helped quite a bit as well. It just shows that the series sets the bar rather high though. Transformers is also held at a high level, but each game tends to be roughly equivalent to the rest. Likewise with TMNT, but in the end its weak plot and less likable characters hurt it a bit.

Overall, This is a solid TMNT game, but not one that I’d really recommend for 60 dollars. There’s not enough content here to justify the price, but once it goes down then I’d definitely recommend snagging it. It’s essentially a beat em up with today’s graphics and that’s always fun. In the end, the plot may not have been great, but the most important part is still the gameplay and that’s solid. There are a lot of attacks to mess around with and for those who like difficult games, you’ll get a kick out of this. I lost quite a few times, but luckily the other turtles would revive me. I only had my full team lose twice, but if you don’t adapt and block a lot, prepare for that total to go up quite a bit.

Overall 7/10

AquaPazza Review

AquaPazza is a game that I really decided to buy on a whim. It is a 2D fighting game with random anime characters, how could this not be epic? Well, the story mode is unfortunately very bland and the gameplay is rather lackluster which makes this one a bit of a miss. It is still a good game purely thanks to multiplayer, but there is so much lost potential here that it is quite scary. Seriously, the series that the characters are coming from are either the most bland ones ever or the writers just didn’t understand them. I can say with confidence that even if I did not know who the characters from Dengeki Bunko were, I would have still enjoyed the story quite a bit more.

As for the gameplay, it is your average 2D fighter, but it is simply not as smooth. The gameplay can be very choppy. This seems to be due to how slow the gameplay can be at times. After working on some trophies for a while in vs. mode and score attack, I grew a little more fond of the game. Not enough to say that it beats any other big anime fighting game, but I suppose it will still be a positive in the end. It is cool to see that every character has a fully animated super attack. That is a solid amount of dedication and work from the game.

Unfortunately, this game is also a prime example of cheating A.I. programs. The semi final boss/ final boss both have incredibly high attack power. This means that you can be winning the whole match only for you to die in one super attack. The opponent also gets to rewind time and get a full health bar back. It took me many tries to beat the semi final boss and I didn’t want to burn another hour or two on the next one so I just left by that point. The trophy was all that I needed, but I do think that the attack power was too high. If I had been playing the mode for fun, I would have definitely been more upset.

The story is as bland as you can imagine. A comic relief witch unleashed a spell that merged all of the worlds somehow. As a result, the heroes have to join forces and stop her. Unfortunately, the characters are not interesting. For some reason, none of them are intense characters. None of them are overconfident, tough talking heroes like I would have wanted. It is possible that a different story would be more interesting, but after the first one I knew that I was done with it. I even tried out the second story for the initial character, but it was not any better. Story isn’t too crucial in a fighting game but every pebble ends up hurting the final product a little more.

There is a decent amount of replay value to be found here. You can probably forget about getting the Platinum since nobody really plays online anymore, but you can still get a lot of the other trophies in the game by learning how to pull off some rather advanced combos. I grabbed quite a lot of them and someday I’ll go back to get a few more. It is definitely rewarding to pull them off. You can also work on clearing score attack and both stories with each character. That should definitely take quite a while and vs. Mode itself should add quite a bit of time to the overall length.

I didn’t really go into the specifics of the gameplay earlier, but each character has around 5 super attacks and one ultimate move. They all take up meter so you can choose to wait for the ultimate or go for a lot of supers. You also have an assist character at the ready who will jump in to help when you summon him/her. Some are better than others since they are vulnerable to attack so you probably want long ranged assist. As mentioned earlier, it is a little slower than most other fighting games. Getting close to the opponent can be tricky as a result since neither side will really want to approach as a result.

At the end of the day, I am still surprised that the character models are so bland. Most anime games are hype because the characters look really cool. Only a few of the characters have interesting designs in this game and most of the movesets could use some work as well. It is a PS3 game, but it is not even close to being as polished as Dengeki. I don’t see this one getting a sequel, but I’m sure that it would be able to improve most of the complaints that I had with this one.

Graphically the game holds up rather well. The animated attacks look sharp. The character models aren’t bad either and the stages are all right, although they can be a bit bland. The soundtrack is also on the generic side. I believe that I only particularly liked one theme and it was for the final boss or the semi final boss. The rest of them weren’t bad, but I certainly forgot them. I could use the time to compare this to Dengeki again, but by now you can the general idea. Anything AquaPazza can do, Dengeki can do better.

Overall, AquaPazza is a decently good fighting game, but that is where the buck stops. The story and characters aren’t all that great. Some of the designs aren’t bad, but the personalities just aren’t there. That being said, it is not all that strange for this to be the case in a fighting game. To an extent, this was the situation in Virtua Fighter and King of Fighters. That being said, Virtua Fighter had the clearly superior graphics and gameplay on its side. It was also more interesting due to how you would rise in rank as you fought stronger and stronger opponents. I’m very early in the King of Fighters series so that title still has time to improve as well. If you’re looking for a solid action title to last over the weekend and play with some friends, this could be a good purchase. Otherwise, you are better off….just buying Dengeki Bunko.

Overall 7/10

Tom & Jerry in Infurnal Escape Review

All right, it’s time for the 1st Game Boy Advance review in a very long time. I won this one over at a Super Smash Bros tournament at a Friendly’s restaurant. I can’t believe nobody wanted the prize earlier. As a major video game collector and a fan of the Tom & Jerry franchise, I knew that this was my big moment. It’s a fairly short game and tends to feel like a cash in for part of the adventure, but once you get going the adventure starts to get more fun. It’s just a shame that the game really leaves you in the dark to figure things out for yourself.

The plot is fairly dramatic as Tom finds himself in Hell. To escape, he’ll have to save some souls and defeat the King of Evil. This will be tricky, but Tom’s no stranger to facing overwhelming odds. Unfortunately, Jerry is also here to get in his way, but Tom will not falter until the day is saved. This title is fairly short at 6 levels and it can be completed in around an hour. That’s part of what hurts this game’s chances of getting a 7. I can’t imagine buying this game for its full retail price. There’s no replay value either as there are no collectibles to be found. There isn’t even a continue as it is all password based. I recommend taking a picture of the password or writing it down after each level just in case.

The difficulty tends to fluctuate quite a bit and typically it can only be difficult because enemies escape your punches at times. You only have 3 health points at a time and once they are gone you have 2 minutes to find some souls. If you can’t do that then you get the game over screen. Typically it shouldn’t come to that though since souls are very easy to find. The game can get a little annoying when you have been searching for a while only to not actually find anything. The level won’t end until you’ve found most of the objective. (Typically a prisoner or a Dog Bone) The problem is that you don’t know most of the controls at first. For example, I didn’t know that you could climb the flagpoles until about 20 minutes had passed and you can’t complete the early levels without doing that.

Tom & Jerry is your average 2D side scroller game. It is also part puzzle as you have to go back and forth as you press switches since previously inaccessible areas become open as you go on. The game won’t tell you this, but you can throw your baseball bat and you can climb various objects. Make sure you fight carefully since getting hit by an opponent is typically very dangerous. You can also light your stick on fire by holding the R button which is also necessary to complete some levels. I learned that one through trial and error as well. The gameplay’s nothing special, but it’s not bad either. It serves its purpose as a side scroller.

The graphics are fairly decent for the GBA. I was also impressed with the cutscenes as I was not expecting a whole lot of those here. The cutscenes are shown through illustrations which is always a good way to go about this for the GBA. They all look sharp as a result. In game, the character models are fairly solid as well. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a soundtrack to speak of. There is really just one theme which keeps on repeating over and over again. It’s not a particularly catchy tune either so the game loses out in this area. The developers certainly could have put in some more effort and thrown in more tunes.

There is only one boss in this game, which you fight at the very end. He is extremely easy so you should have no trouble with him. You simply punch him twice to make the boss fall down and then you go for another punch. Rinse and repeat around 5-6 times. It’s a lot quicker than it sounds and the whole thing will likely just take you a handful of minutes. The final boss design is quite good as well and it makes sense that a dog would be the final foe to stand in Tom’s way.

The ending is not surprising, but still rather odd. Tom is given a choice as he can spend eternity with a cat friend that he is always chasing around or going back to his life of getting beaten up by Jerry. Tom oddly chooses the latter. I’m not sure what the rationale there was. Maybe deep down he simply wants to catch Jerry more than he wants to hang out with the other cat. Tom can be quite competitive so I suppose that this decision isn’t completely out of the question. Still odd though.

Overall, This is a game that I certainly didn’t expect to be playing, but I’m glad that I got the chance too. It may not be revolutionary or even all that good, but it’s a decent way to spend an hour. I can add it to my game collection and that’s bragging rights enough. It definitely could have been longer and that’s really the main complaint that I have with it. Along with the fact that the game doesn’t bother to mention most of the controls either. If you’re looking for a fun little side scrolling adventure, then this game is for you. That being said, you’re better off getting the legendary Super Mario World. Now That was a very fulfilling video game and it has a lot more replay value as well.

Overall 6/10

Digimon Cyber Sleuth Review

Digimon has always set the bar very high for its games. I’ve played quite a few of them and they have all ranged from good to amazing. Digimon Data Squad was an all star title for the PS2. I actually only gave it a score of 7 back in the day, but now (With the power of nostalgia goggles I suppose) it’s easily a 9. Looking back at it, that was really the first big Digimon RPG that I played. Digimon World DS followed suit and that one was a lot of fun thanks to the fast paced turn based style. That one’s easily at least an 8. Digimon Racing was more on the mediocre side, but we had Digimon Rumble Arena 2 and World 4 to compensate. (I’ve still got to go back to World 4 at some point) I wasn’t a huge fan of Digimon Dawn back in the day and ended up selling it because I didn’t like the concept of having to devolve my Digimon before Digivolving them. I still don’t like that mechanic, but I’m mostly over it since I do enjoy grinding up the levels nowadays. Cyber Sleuth is another excellent installment in the franchise and you can make a solid case for it possibly being the best Digimon game.

Part of what helps Cyber Sleuth really rise up the video game charts is how long it is. The story mode took me around 48 hours to complete although I did spend a good amount of time leveling up and finding new Digimon evolution routes. Through the course of that time, it’s easy to get used to all of the characters and become more invested in the plot. It’s an advantage over shorter games like Knack. I’d like a sequel to this game although the next Digimon title seems like it’ll be a stand alone story once again. I’ m sure that I’ll grow to like the new characters by the time I beat that game, but I will miss these guys for a while. I still don’t have the Platinum trophy yet, but I’ve got my sights on it and I’m definitely getting closer. The toughest one is definitely going to be the 30 online wins trophy since I don’t have PS+. I’ll have to wait for the next free weekend, but that should happen soon.

Cyber Sleuth fully embraces the futuristic sci-fi feel that comes with the concept of Digital Monsters and it greatly enhances the overall experience. The soundtrack is easily the best one that I’ve seen in Digimon and ranks as one of the best video game soundtracks ever. Prelude to a Bloody Battle, Royal Knights theme, and Eater theme are three in particular that I recommend looking up. They really steal the show. There are also several themes that play during the mystery moments to help build up the hype. As I’ve always mentioned in the past, a good soundtrack can always help a game make it to the next level of quality.

Meanwhile, the graphics are solid. I wouldn’t say that they are amazing of groundbreaking this time, but everything looks fairly sharp. There is a noticeable lack of animated cutscenes though and I would have liked to have seen more. We never really got to see a fight in the middle of a cutscene and that would have certainly been a blast. Ah well, I suppose that’s something that can be improved in the next game that’s coming up.

As for replay value, there is certainly a lot of it. Not to mention that the game also has a lot of initial value considering how long the main campaign is. Once you finish that, you can work on grabbing all medals and trophies for the PSN. There are also many bonus missions that you can grab from your Digimon or a few more side missions where you help people out. There’s also the 8 part DLC mission pack where you help a girl save the world from the 7 Deadly Sin Digimon and also find out a twist about your computer correspondent. There’s even a Colosseum cup challenge where you can fight many characters that you’ve met through the game in very challenging matches. Yes, a lack of value is something that you’ll never hear regarding Cyber Sleuth. It’s a game that will last you quite a while.

As you’d expect, the gameplay is your traditional turn based title. You get to have 3 Digimon on the field at once, but you can command up to 11 in your party. When 3 die, you throw in three more, but you can also substitute mat any time. You’ll want to have some fast Digimon on your side since having extra turns is crucial to winning. You can have the strongest Digimon in the world, but it won’t mean a thing if you can’t get a single turn. Towards the end, the computer may have 7 turns before you get one and that can get very dangerous. I had to completely re tool my team. One trick that you’ll want to be familiar with is the Tactician USB with Gold PlatinumNumemon. You can get hundreds of level ups in minutes with that strategy which greatly reduces the amount of time that you’ll need to spend leveling up. It’s a must.

I’ll basically skip Terry in the characters section since he doesn’t have much of a personality. To clarify, he doesn’t talk much, but you can tell that he is a hero. He tries to save the villains while risking his life and always comes across as a team player. He can act a little oddly at times like pointing out that someone was drooling over a good food item, but otherwise he is solid. Kyoko is Terry’s boss and she is the one who gets him into the detective gig. She has a lot of connections and likes to throw out some real world knowledge in the game. She’s a charismatic character and her coffee gimmick works well. An important thing is that she can also fight when necessary.

Arata is Terry’s friend and he is very similar to Sasuke. He starts off as the tough and aloof rival who has a tragic past. He helps out the team quite a lot and really want to get to the bottom of the mystery involving the Eaters. He wants to save his friends, but slowly he realizes that more power is necessary. He is being left in the dust of Terry and Nokia so he sets off and slowly starts to be corrupted. He goes as far as to eat one of Terry’s Digimon friends and it’s hard to see how he’ll go back to the side of good. Terry gives him some hero speeches and everything, but it is hard to forget what he did to the Digimon. Arata’s a solid character, but he really didn’t get a whole lot of responsibility for his actions. He got off a little too easy.
Nokia is another one of Terry’s close friends and she wants to be friends with as many Digimon as possible. When she finds out about the Digi Eaters and the Digi World going into ruins, she decides to amass an army to protect them. She gets a very large role in the plot as a result and even gets a Mega level Digimon before Terry and Arata. She becomes the heavy hitter for a while and that was unexpected. She’s actually a better character than Terry and Arata by the end. Her plan’s a good one even if it is a little naive since you certainly can’t trust everyone. Her one downside is that she can be way too overconfident about how attractive she believes herself to be and constantly rubs it in when talking to her two friends. Aside from that, she’s always eager to fight (When she has the upper hand) and sticks up for Digimon through to the very end.

Yuuko is another one of Terry’s friends although she joins in a little later. She starts off as a mysterious figure with another tragic past, but gradually she becomes one of the main characters. She is rich and has connections to the shady organization which helps the group out quite a lot. She’s more reserved than the others (Even Arata) so it takes her a while to get used to how everyone acts. By the end she starts to embrace her emotions a lot more, which makes things a little tricky for Terry at times since she threatens him quite a bit. Her character arc is a good one even if she sometimes has to slow her pace down to let the main characters keep up.

Matayoshi and Date are a Detective and Cop who help out from time to time. They can both be quite annoying though and usually their appearances are the signal for filler to come so you just want them to go away. They do nothing, but slow down the plot. Another problem is that they both have to obey orders so they put Arata in a bad spot and really set him up to turn into a villain. None of them have any Digimon either so they end up just being liabilities in the long run.

Kishibe is one of the main villains and she certainly gets a huge role. Whenever someone has a huge role, they typically get a big plot twist. Nokia, Arata, Terry, Kyoko, Kishibe, and Yuuko all have very big plot twists by the end. The twist certainly helped me take Kishibe a lot more seriously than I had. Post twist, Kishibe is a cool villain. Before that I couldn’t take her very seriously, but her plans certainly were well thought out. Suedouis the other big antagonist. He wants to remake the world so that there is no sadness, but to do that he has to erase free will and force humanity to evolve. He’s certainly a villain even if his motives aren’t the usual “Destroy the world.” goals. He’s an annoying villain since he is extremely weak, but the heroes never try to stop him and just tolerate his existence the whole time. He does help them unravel some mysteries after all, but it would have been nice to have seen the heroes try to arrest him or something. He gives out a lot of meta speeches by the end and explains the Digi Eaters origin. See, they are multi dimensional beings who have limitless power and even Digimon can’t stop them. It’s all decently interesting, but in the end it’s not as if it matters all that much aside from wiki purposes.

Zaxon is one of the big hacker groups who stand in the way of the heroes at times. Their leader, Yugo is reasonable, but most of the Zaxon members are corrupt anyway. Zaxon tries to stop the main villains on their own though, which makes for a very epic level since you had several groups fighting at once. Kishibe’s group, Zaxon, Terry, Arata’s group, and Nokia’s posse. It was certainly one of the best parts of the game and I always like to see multiple groups duking it out at once. It adds in an extra dynamic since it’s not just a classic 1 vs 1.

Jimmy Ken is an annoying villain. He speaks with a lot of slang which must come across very oddly in the original Japanese version. His theme is catchy, but he’s mostly just a thorn in the hero’s side. He never actually contributes to the plot either so you can think of him as a pre arc boss. The game is so long that it can afford to have a bit of a long pre arc while the plot slowly starts developing in the background. Even so, I was glad when he completely disappeared as the plot really started going.

We can’t forget about the Royal Knights either. Seeing as how the humans sent the Eaters into the Digital World where they started eating all of the inhabitants, it makes sense that the Digimon King would send out a counter attack. The Royal Knights mission is simple, they must destroy the Human World to stop the source of the Eaters. Let’s face it, the human world isn’t ready to repel this invasion so it is up to the main characters now. Once this plot started, the game had reached its Apex of hype. We got a lot of really cool themes and also some epic cutscenes. Naturally, I had already enjoyed the game quite a bit before they showed up as this was at around Chapter 11 I believe, but the game’s second half really took off. The Royal Knights are great characters and even if they always end up being on the antagonist side, they are quite the epic group. If they ever attacked as one, they would be nearly unstoppable. Plus, it’s hard to blame them being so upset with the humans after so many Digimon were massacred by the Eaters. The humans are always causing trouble on other planets.

Finally, we have the Eaters. They eat data so they are very dangerous for Digimon to battle. One hit can be fatal and their sheer numbers are impressive as well. The big Eater Queen is even more deadly than the rest and made for an epic final boss. I remember the boss being super easy though thanks to the super grinding and some of the earlier bosses had been trickier. Ignoring that though, it was a climactic way to end it all. The humans will be glad to have the Eater threat gone as well. A big of a running gag is that humans kept on dying throughout the game. Terry was always to slow to save anyone so the body count by the end is incredibly high. It was actually pretty funny at certain points, but the humans should have really ran a little more. The Eaters are incredibly slow after all.

Then we’ve also got the crossover characters. Mirei is actually a main supporting character as she gives out quests from time to time and is in charge of the Digi area where you can train your Digimon. She even gets some character development in the final DLC quest as she lets the power get to her head and temporarily turns evil. The power was simply too much for her. She doesn’t have much of a personality though so you may not have much of an opinion on her by the end. Sayo joins the cast thanks to the DLC missions as well. She’s the main rival in the Digimon Dusk/Dawn game (I still need to go back and complete that one!) and she gets a lot of hype as being very powerful. Her Dianamon did beat all of the Legendary Sin Digimon on her own after all. The fact that she wasn’t supposed to defeat those Digimon is still pretty baffling and I don’t buy it. Sayo seems like a good character even if she may be overconfident, after all..that’s a good quality to have.

Rina is the final big crossover character and she’s from one of the big Digimon titles that never made it to the U.S. She’s definitely very scatterbrained and overly cheerful, but that doesn’t mean that she can’t fight. Rina can hold her own against any of the big fighters in Cyber Sleuth and she is the only reason that the heroes were able to take down the fastest member of the Royal Knights. Her Ultra VForcemon (Close enough) proved to be the strongest Digimon of them all. Her world doesn’t look as interesting as Cyber Sleuth’s though, but it was cool to have her as part of the cast. The game went all out with the crossover effect.
Overall, Digimon Cyber Sleuth is a great way to spend 50 hours. The plot is very engaging and the game feels like a lot of effort was put into it. (Unlike Star Fox Zero) If you want even more of a challenge then you can always try out Hard Mode. I’m not sure that I would recommend it unless you have a lot of time to burn though. The game gets significantly harder and the opponent’s health bars go up as well. Boss fights can take around an hour and if you don’t have the best possible team with you, it could be game over. I’ve heard quite a few stories about how insane hard mode is, but you would definitely have some serious bragging rights if you can pull it off. I now await the next Digimon game and in the meantime, maybe I’ll finally get around to getting Digimon Championship!

Overall 9/10

Knack Review

It’s time to review one of the big PS4 launch titles. Knack was meant to be the next Mario, Crash, or Spyro. He was going to change the gaming world and become a whole franchise. Unfortunately, just like PS All Stars Battle Royale, it was not meant to be. People were not overly thrilled with Knack and a lot of them said that it was repetitive and simply not as engaging as it could have been. Both are complaints that I can agree with to an extent, but Knack’s a fun enough game. I’d buy a sequel at some point although I admit that it wouldn’t be the most interesting series out there.

The Professor builds Knack (Mostly anyway. He doesn’t seem to fully comprehend Knack’s abilities and sentience so maybe he had some help and that’ll be a plot twist. I forgot if he ever gets a name either, but the Professor works just fine. Human cities have been attacked by Goblins and the army has started to get overwhelmed. The Professor decides to step in along with Knack. Together they crush the Goblins easily and decide to go to their home base to put an end to this. The situation gets more complicated than that when Vicktor and his army of robots decide that they want Knack. They need Knack to open up a tomb that leads to powerful Relics (Source of energy and power in this world) that could last them a life time. They also may have The Professor’s wife held hostage and if that’s the case….The Professor’s agenda may have just changed!

After playing a game like De Blob 2, I really can’t call Knack boring in the slightest. For the most part, it is a fun adventure. However, there are times where the plot will slow to a stand still as you rummage through a forest to grab relics or just walk around for a while. There are 13 chapters and each chapter has 3-5 levels in it. The game’s is of decent length. It isn’t too short, but I wouldn’t call it a long game either. If you play it for 2-3 hours a day then you’ll have it beat in about 3 shots. The plot does start right away so that’s good, but it keeps on changing direction because the Professor’s a little confused about what to do. He has to stop the Goblins, but he also has to stop the Robot army and he needs to free his wife as well. Plus, he wants the Relics for himself. As a result, the characters are constantly running from area to area without actually accomplishing their missions for a while. As an example, we decided to go stop the goblins in Chapter 3, but don’t get around to doing so until around Chapter 11.

I almost forgot to mention the Gameplay! It’s a 3D beat em up although it plays more like an action platformer. You can use standard punches to attack enemies or a jumping homing attack/dashing attack. Those are your only options so prepare to see the same punches thrown for the whole game. Once you’ve built up enough sun meter, you can also turn into a whirlwind or make a mini earthquake to startle the villains. Gaining relics in a level will fill up your health and Sunstone Crystals will fill up your energy. The minions can be a little tricky at times so just make sure that you wait and weigh your options before deciding to fight them.

The levels will have treasure chests scattered throughout them. They are always behind a fake wall so if you see something with cracks in it, give it a good punch. These chests have rare stones or parts in them. Once you collect them all (And there are quite a lot) you can unlock new forms for Knack and gadgets that will help you play through the game like a combo meter that increases your power and a secret radar. This is where the Knack’s Quest app will come in handy as it can at least earn you a few parts to save some time. Unfortunately, I don’t like how the Treasure Chests system is handled. For starters, you cannot find them through Chapter Select. The only way to grab the chests is to play the game over again and unfortunately, it seems like you can get old jewels after a while. This means that you may have to play the game several times until you finally get all of the pieces. Not a very appealing thought is it?

Despite that, the trophies seem fairly reasonable. There are a few speed challenges in there, but mostly it is about collecting everything and completing the game on all difficulties. It’s nothing that should be too difficult so much as it is just a little tedious. This does help the replay value though as it wouldn’t otherwise have any. There’s no multiplayer so the replay value is still a little sub-standard, but trophy hunters will still have their money’s worth. Not to mention that the price has gone down quite a bit since it first came out and that makes a big difference.

The soundtrack is not all that noticeable. It doesn’t really stick out I’m afraid and comes across as generic. As for the graphics, I don’t think that they did a great job of showing off the PS4’s power. The character designs are comically bad to the point where the cutscenes are more humorous than anything else. The characters keep walking towards each other only for the tables to turn so they all keep walking in circles. The character proportions are really off for some and for others the designs are just really cartoony. The in game graphics are solid though. It may have just been the artistic style that didn’t work very well for Knack.

The Professor was an okay lead and I actually agreed with his decision to go grab the relics. Sure it would be dangerous for the rest of the world, but unlimited energy is also a great positive. I typically sided with him over Lucas in their various debates. Lucas was very annoying from start to finish. He was always blowing up at the Professor and just being an ingrate in general. Seriously, the Professor could do no right as far as Lucas was concerned. Everything had to be done his way or the highway. Lucas always feels like he is right even when he isn’t. He never develops into a good character. As the main villain Vicktor is all right, but you have to like the more political villains. He does seem a little more emotional as he actually gets visibly upset when Katrina is seemingly destroyed. The way that he goes out was pretty great even if it is a little anti climactic for his fans. Katrina was a good rival for Knack although I still have to question how they were rivals in the first place. It’s seriously a mismatch no matter how you look at it. It was impressive to see her dodging his blows though and getting a robot suit towards the end was a good idea.

Ryder is an Indiana Jones parody and easily the best character in the game. He makes the hero call and never leaves a man or woman behind even when the stakes are high. The Professor and Lucas couldn’t care less about saving the villains, but Ryder makes the right calls. I’d definitely want him to be in the sequel. Gundahar is the leader of the goblins so you’d think that he has a big role, but he actually doesn’t do all that much in the game. I also can’t take him seriously thanks to his design. Charlotte’s The Professor’s wife and she is a very bad character. She is nursing a grudge with the Professor for not finding her soon enough and she builds the weapons for the goblins, yet doesn’t show a lot of remorse for it. Her character arc is incredibly rushed and aside from the Professor, nobody should be thrilled about having her back at this point.

As for Knack himself, he’s an okay character, but he’s not that engaging or charismatic like most leads. He even admits that he doesn’t do the thinking, just the execution. Main characters don’t have to be smart, but the classic “Strong, but not smart” character is typically the side character for a reason. It’ll get old if the character is in the lead since you can expect the same jokes time after time. Knack doesn’t really make jokes, but the game constantly goes in slow motion to dramatically show how hard he hits the ground every time he jumps. We get it..Knack’s strong! His design also isn’t all that great. He reminds me of Hellboy if Hellboy was made of rock and had an evil looking grin. Knack shows signs of potential like when he gets overconfident or brags, but the sequel will have to give him a lot of development to say the least.

Overall, Knack’s a fun enough game, but it does start to be affected by repetition towards the end of its run. After all, you’ll be using the same attacks on the same enemies for quite a while by the end. Luckily, I did enjoy the gameplay quite a bit, but that’s why it is important to have a lot of different attacks so you can defeat enemies in various ways. The story is decent and it was funny at least so that’s good. The heroes did make a lot of questionable calls throughout though so hopefully they’ll be better in a possible sequel. I recommend this game. Even if you’re not a huge fan of it by the end, it’ll be fun for you to compare it to other titles like Crash and Mario. I haven’t played Crash yet so I can’t really comment on whether or not it beats that title at the moment.

Overall 7/10

Knack’s Quest Review

I’m still working on completing the PS4 Knack game, but in the meantime I decided to go ahead and try out the mobile version. This little app game allows you to gather pieces for the gadgets in the PS4 game so you can send them along and save yourself some time…in theory. This is helpful since the gem system in the PS4 game is rather tedious. You only get one part per treasure chest and you can only find them in story mode. Even Level Select doesn’t have them. It’s impossible to get all of the pieces in one playthrough and you could end up playing the game over several times without getting everything. That’s essentially why this game was made. If you play it long enough, you can eliminate around 80% of the grind. It’s a great concept and unlike other free to play games, there is no waiting period to tempt you into buying stuff. It actually plays out like a real game and has a ton of replay value. I could play it for hours easily since it’s like Pokemon Shuffle, but without the “Play 10 times and then wait an hour” rule. Unfortunately, no free game can be perfect at this rate as this one runs into some rather large issues.

Before I get into that, I’ll explain the gameplay. It’s your average mix and match title. You have to connect 3 or more gems of a certain color to get points. You rinse and repeat until you clear the level. You have to work fast or you’ll lose and you won’t keep any of the gems. Also, once you’ve charged enough energy to fill up 3 Sun Stones, you can use a super attack that destroys all of the gems of a certain color. (You choose the color) The game doesn’t tell you this so it’s a good heads up although you’d eventually find out about it while playing the game. The Stones charge very rapidly so you’ll be tempted to give them a whirl at some point. Each level has 3 phases and once you’ve beaten them all you move on to the next round. I believe that there are around 6 chapters so it is a fairly short game. I beat it in 2-3 hours I’d say.

After you beat the game, you unlock Unlimited Mode where you keep on earning points until you lose. It’s great for racking them up as I actually got over 999999 during one run, but I teamed up with my Mom to get that. It’d be incredibly hard to do that on your own. To earn a piece for the PS4 game, you only need 20000 at first, but eventually it’ll get to be 300000 or more. To get around that, you can delete the app and then reinstall it. You’ll keep your parts, but the requirement for a piece will go back down to the 20000. The only downside is that you’ll lose unlimited mode until you re unlock it, but I’d say that it’s definitely worth it. After all, Unlimited Mode’s one drawback is that it has a lot of load times every minute, which can get very annoying after a while.

This sounds like a positive review right? The gameplay is a blast and it’s why I look up to Free to Play games a little. The gameplay is always simple, but addictive. The problem is that this is all nullified by the game’s main problem, which literally breaks the game and destroys the score. It is simply a broken game. The app will constantly crash after almost every level and forget about looking at your pieces. Just clicking on any one of them will crash the game and a lot of times this means that the app won’t send them to the PS4 game…defeating the entire purpose. It will also crash during a game at times so you’ll lose whatever gems you may have just acquired. This would be fine if it was once in a while, but it’s constant. The game crashed on me dozens of times. I’m happy to say that I still got my time’s worth as I got around 2 dozen pieces, which has helped me quite a bit, but after a while it is simply not worth it. I don’t understand how this game can be so broken. Maybe it’s just a mobile problem. I read somewhere that IOS games that were ported to mobile are typically not very good. It explains why Madden Mobile had the same problem, albeit it was to a far lesser extent.

That’s really the only negative that I’ve got, but it’s a doozy. The most annoying part is naturally the fact that the crashing will prevent you from transporting your pieces half of the time. It’s also a waste of time to have to constantly open the app once again after it crashes. There is really no excuse for having such a broken product on the market and I’m certainly glad that it is free. It may look very useful on the outside, but it will ultimately start to get on your nerves by the end. At least the graphics are fairly good. The game is nice and bright. There is a lot of recycled footage of course, but it seems like some effort was put into this section. The soundtrack is basically nonexistent though.

Overall, I’d recommend taking a pass on this game. It’s simply not worth the time and patience that the game crashing will cost you. The gameplay is excellent and would have guaranteed the title a 7, but I can’t give it anything above a 5 since it is completely broken and glitched. I highly doubt that any patch will be coming to fix this issue so the game will likely stay in this state forever. If you want to play a free to play title, you’re better off with Pokemon Shuffle or Madden Mobile. Whatever you do, just don’t buy Knack’s Quest unless you really need the parts. If you are in that situation, then just play it for a little to get the quick parts and then get out of there!

Overall 4/10

Street Fighter Alpha Anthology Review

I remember seeing this game in Gamestop many years ago. I tried to buy the game, but the store told me that they couldn’t find the disc which ended the dream before it could even begin. When I won a contest I knew that this game would have to be one of my purchases. You can’t call yourself a fighting game fan if you have not played the legendary Street Fighter Alpha series. This way you get to play them all in one shot. The collection brings all of the Alpha games plus special versions of each title and even a little chibi crossover title. This is a must buy collection.

There isn’t much of a plot in the games since they came out so long ago. The characters do get openings and endings in their Arcade stories so you don’t need to worry about that. Of course, it is always a very basic plot and you have to connect the dots on your own. The wiki is good for learning about the extended versions of each story though. If you are puzzled about anything, just quickly head on over and be illuminated as to what actually happened. I definitely give the games props for actually having a story. Some games like King of Fighters don’t even try to give you an actual plot. Moreover, the plots in Alpha are actually engaging unlike titles like AquaPazza.

After playing Street Fighter V, it is very odd to play the Alpha games. The gameplay is dramatically different and it will take some getting used too. Once you get into it though, it really starts to be a blast. The gameplay is the real draw of this game so you’ll want a friend to play it with. If not, just fighting the computer for a few hours should be very nostalgic for long time Street Fighter fans. It is especially appropriate right now since the Alpha games basically serve as prequels to the Street Fighter V title.

Birdie, Rainbow Mika, and Karin are among the other characters from Street Fighter V who originated in these games. It’s certainly fun to see these classic versions of the characters and even favorite characters like Ryu and Ken certainly look a lot younger here. It is fun to see how the characters have actually aged along during the years. It gives the series a sense of realism…the good kind. Of course, I will be upset if it ever goes too far and whole characters are taken out because of the time gap like in Soul Calibur. After a certain point, the characters should definitely stop aging.

Graphically, Alpha 1 hasn’t aged all that well. The sprites look ancient and a lot older than I would have expected. By Alpha 3, the game looks a lot more polished like I had expected from the start. The attacks are all fun and the game is very bright so the stages really stand out. The soundtrack for this collection is excellent as well. You’ll be hearing a lot of iconic themes that have become famous over the years and this was before all of the big remixes so these are the themes are they were meant to be. Of course, a good remix can go a long way. Ryu’s theme in Street Fighter V is actually the best one that he has ever had.

Super Gem Fighter is the bonus game that came along with the Alpha titles. Unfortunately, I have to say that it is really not that good. The game tries to go for a party/fighting game mix that doesn’t go over well. If you want a game that is able to achieve both goals, just head on to Super Smash Bros Brawl. The gameplay just doesn’t make any sense and you’ll be struggling to do anything for quite a while. Seriously, button mashing won’t cut it this time and even when you stop to learn the controls it will still be hazy. I can safely say that I won’t be revisiting Gem Fighter anytime soon. It’s just not worth it, but no matter, the Alpha games are ultimately why you are here.

There is a lot of replay value to be found in this collection as you might expect. The multiplayer modes alone can last you an unlimited amount of time in theory. Beating the game with every character in every game should also take you a while. If you try to unlock all of the bonus games, that will help extend the replay value as well. There are even complex methods that you can use to unlock many other fighters. That may be worth a look if you’re a really big Akuma fan. I haven’t really messed around with it yet, but one of the secret games is Hyper Street Fighter Alpha which is like a crossover of the various Alpha games. You can have Alpha 1 Ryu fight Alpha 3 Ryu for example. I love the concept behind this and I would love to see something similar for Super Smash someday. Imagine having Melee Fox face off against Brawl Meta Knight or something like that. The gameplay mechanics may make this tricky, but I’m sure that it must be achievable. Surely such a thing could not be impossible right?

Even though this is a collection there is not much else to say about this title since there isn’t really a plot. In the end, the only way you won’t like this game is if you just aren’t a big Street Fighter fan. If you like how the series plays, then you’ll definitely like this game. Naturally, I recommend Alpha 3 the most. It’s the most modern so you can really get into the swing of things there. I can proudly say that I basically own every big console Street Fighter game at this point so that’s a nice milestone. It is definitely the best (non Super Smash) fighting game series and it is easy to see why it became a household name. I don’t see the Street Fighter franchise dying out anytime soon.

Overall, If you like fighting games then this should be like a dream come true for you. You’re getting 3 complete games along with extra versions and a nice little minigame that isn’t fun, but it’s still something I suppose. The price isn’t even that bad anymore. You’ll probably be able to buy it for like 15-20 at this point or maybe even less depending on where you look. I’ll admit that it is old though so I have more fun playing on the newer titles like Street Fighter V, but I’m always up for a round here. Good gameplay can never age badly. It’s also quite cool how Ryu basically hasn’t changed at all. His moves are still the same in SF V as in Alpha and it’s probably been at least a decade between these titles.

Overall 8/10

Sword Art Online Lost Song Review

Yes, I’ve finally taken down another long RPG! I’ve probably played video games more in these last 2 months than I did for almost 6 months prior to that. It’s been the perfect time to play some RPGs and getting through Sword Art Online was good. I wish the game had kept track of the play time though because I feel like I easily put in 50+ hours on this one. If not, then at least 30+. Ah well, it is what it is I suppose. Unfortunately, elements of the story really hold this game back quite a lot, taking down at least 3 stars with it. So, if you want the maximum amount of enjoyment from this title, focus on the gameplay!

This game takes place after another game which loosely adapted the first arc of Sword Art Online where Kirito and his friends were stranded in a dangerous video game world. They managed to escape so this time Kirito wants to hang out with his friends in the virtual world for fun. Instead of worrying about dying, they can worry about whether or not they will be the first team to beat the game. On their way to the top, they learn of the famous Seven. A little girl who is one of the world’s greatest researchers and also happens to be the number 1 pop idol. That’s a lot of talent for a little kid wouldn’t you say? (We get a big cinematic of her singing and I am not convinced that a little girl could sound like that. Maybe I have simply never heard a prodigy before) Her guild is rapidly making its way to the top and is the only group besides Kirito’s that is doing so well. Obviously something must be up.

Meanwhile, a mysterious girl keeps shadowing Kirito’s group. He quickly finds out about this (He found out instantly because Kirito is perfect at literally everything that he tries. It’s why he is the ultimate main character) She just wants to hang around the main characters to get close to Seven and Kirito’s fine with that. He just wants to have fun after all, but if Seven’s group is going to do anything to jeopardize that enjoyment…well…he may have to take a stand here!

The gameplay is your classic 3D beat em up in a sense. It plays out a lot more like .Hack than Dynasty Warriors for example, but there are still enough monsters for you to not just call this your average Legend of Zelda platformer. One of the coolest parts of this spin is that you can fly indefinitely. That’s a nice spin on the classic beat em up formula. You can choose to attack normally with sword skills and combos or you can opt to use some of your magical abilities from afar. I didn’t use any magic skills at all during the game except for when I was trophy grinding. It is so much more satisfying to go in and take enemies down from up close. That’s how the beat em up genre was meant to be played in my eyes.

When you’re not fighting, you can explore the hub world for all sorts of things. You can enter the Colosseum to have fun in 1 on 1 duels against various opponents and you can also buy items/upgrade your equipment. Upgrading your equipment is very handy and I highly recommend it, but you should certainly be aware of the cost and materials needed. If you’re going to buy a new sword soon anyway, then you shouldn’t upgrade your current weapon. There are also quite a lot of extra story events that you can start while at home. Some lead to actual quests, trophies, and boss levels while others just lead to a series of cinematics so you can learn more about the characters.

The main theme that plays in the opening cinematic for the game is very good and is definitely catchy. This lyrical song also appears at one point in the game. The final boss theme is also very grand and reminds you that the stakes have finally risen a little. Most of the other themes are fairly unmemorable, but two really good themes is already quite solid and the others aren’t bad so I definitely give the game a passing grade here.

As for the graphics, I’d say that they’re pretty good. The cinematics can maybe look a little funny at times compared to the rest of the game. Maybe everyone’s a little too big or something. The sword fight with Kirito and Sumeragi was cool though. I just wish they would have upped the speed a little to make the fight more impressive. From the anime, we know that Kirito’s immensely powerful after all and he’s always fighting at a high level.

There are also a lot of trophies to collect in this game and they’re all fairly reasonable. Keep in mind that while none of them are really all that difficult, they will require a long grind. This game unfortunately does not keep track of your playtime. I’m confident that I’ve spent anywhere between 30-60 hours on this title, but I’ll never know for sure. Either way, some trophies you’ll need include “Reach Level 500, Get a sword spell to level 500, Get a magic spell to level 500 (Or 400) Get someone to a combined skill level of 1600, etc. The grinds are certainly very real in this game and that’s why I always prefer when RPGs have the standard 100 levels system. This one doesn’t even go by EXP and works by damage dealt. I’ve never cared for that style. Still grinding is fun enough. It’s nowhere near as enjoyable as Cyber Sleuth in that respect, but it was good. I did get the Platinum after all and I certainly wouldn’t have done that if I found the grind to be really bad.

I definitely had no problems with the length. You can’t complete Sword Art Online Lost Song in 3 hours You’d be hardpressed to beat the game in 10 hours either. It took me quite a while to beat. Without the extra grinding I’m not sure how long it’d take, but I’d expect that number to easily be in the 20’s to 30’s. (hours) There is also a whole lot of replay value through the trophies, quests, and extra cutscenes that you can activate by talking to people around town. The full experience of this game will last you just as long as any really big RPG.

Great gameplay, lasting replay value, solid soundtrack and graphics…this game must be getting an 8 right? It would have no problem, but the story is unfortunately where things got dicey. I don’t even mind the whole “no stakes” part to be honest. Kirito and friends can hold their own game even if they’re just playing levels for the lolz with no end plot. That being said, the game goes way too far in trying to go for its harem undertones. The TV show (Arc 1 anyway) actually handled the situation pretty well. Kirito doesn’t care for all that stuff anyway and always pulls the friend zone card. That doesn’t change here, but the game does make sure to put him in as many awkward and embarrassing positions as possible.

We’re talking the classic, “walk in while his friends are changing” “grabbing someone’s ears because he couldn’t resist” “getting flirted with by literally every single one of his female partners” “hot springs, festivals, (You have to do the festival with every one of the heroines for a trophy by the way) etc. It goes wayyyyy overboard by the end and it doesn’t help that the only male friend in the group (Klein) is always sure to point out just how crazy these scenarios are. You never get a break from this for the entire game…the entire thing. These plots are always happening and some characters seem invented just for this purpose like an original character who is always hugging Kirito. There’s also the fact that just about all of your partners have a swimsuit costume that you can equip so they’ll be wearing it during the entirety of the game’s gameplay. There are dozens and dozens of other examples that I could give, but you get the general gist. The game is shooting for that angle to appease one segment of the Sword Art Online fans while alienating the rest. Well, I can safely say that this cost the game 3 stars and hopefully the sequel dials this down.

Overall, Sword Art Online Lost Song is technically a great game. Maybe not incredible, but it had all of the tools to be one of the best PS4 games on the block. Instead, the story really played up the harem elements and lowered the quality of the story. As it is, you’ll want to skip all of the bonus quests that you can so you can avoid these scenarios. You can still play this RPG for the gameplay and ignore the story I suppose, but for that you may as well play a better RPG and have fun with both. Final Fantasy XIII-2, Final Fantasy VII, Digimon Cyber Sleuth, and White Knight Chronicles are all far better games than this one when it comes to the plot and have the classic RPG gameplay that I love so much. As much as I love real time, I also reeeeeally like turn based as well. Still, the potential is here so here’s to hoping that the next Sword Art Online game lives up to its potential!

Overall 5/10

King of Fighters Maximum Impact Review

King of Fighters has always lagged way behind Tekken and Street Fighter for me. None of the characters are particularly interesting and it has always felt like a Street Fighter game, but with all of the iconic characters replaced with randoms. I’m sure that later games have helped to give all of them some personality and backstory, but this game definitely doesn’t help their case. I still have a lot of catching up to do with this series though so hopefully the price goes down on some of the originals soon. I went on my big fighting game kick for Christmas, but there will probably be a different theme this year so it could be a while. Well, let’s dive into this title.

First off, one disappointing thing here is the fact that the Arcade Mode is even more bare bones than usual. Characters don’t even get an opening or an ending anymore. That’s essentially the definition of lazy if you ask me. You are only incentivized to play through the game once since every character has the same opening and ending. There is as slight plot at least, but it is still lazy to now give each character something unique. They are all invited to a tournament that is being held by some gangsters. Once you defeat everyone who stands in your way, you defeat the main villain in front of a large crowd and he says that you’ll both meet again…in hell! It’s a pretty hardcore line even if we completely wrecked this guy.

In a way it is good that the characters don’t get a real story though. That’s because your game option settings don’t apply to Arcade Mode so you have to do a best of 3 the entire time. The final level is also very difficult to the point where button mashing simply won’t be effective anymore. You’ll have to end up actually learning the game a bit and even then it should take several tries to finally beat the final boss unless you’re already a pro. I’d rather not imagine myself doing it with every character and I only ended up completing the game with the first two.

The gameplay is your average 2D fighter like with Street Fighter and the other similar games. It does seem like it is very hard to get up in this game though because attacks seem to have very high priority. In the final level of Arcade Mode, forget about even trying to rise. Your opponent will simply slam you back into the turf every single time and his combos can take out half of your life bar or more with a single combo. Something seems off with this and I could see the competitive scene dying instantly for this game. It reminds me of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game for Gamecube. Of course, that game was a blast and had excellent graphics and a solid soundtrack to back it up. It clobbers this game, but that’s another story.

This is still a solid fighting game. It’s why fighters are so much fun. Even if the characters are not all that likable and there is no real story mode to speak of, the vs mode is what really counts here. A good multiplayer mode means instant replay value and this is the kind of game that is perfect for playing at any random time. You can just turn on the PS2 and prepare yourself for some fun games. Of course, it has less replay value if you’re on your own of course. Still, I guess you could have fun fighting the computers for a while.

I’ll give the game some more props for the fact that it actually has a big opening. Back in the day a lot of games skipped this step or barely did anything with it so that was pretty neat. It unfortunately could not get past the trap of including a little fanservice though so that was pretty regrettable. The dialogue and writing is still as clunky as ever, but at this point King of Fighters is known for that so maybe it was partially intentional at the time. Beyond that, the graphics are pretty good. I’d say that they’re certainly above average for this time period and actually look better than the Street Fighter Alpha games. Granted, that may not be saying a whole lot since those games were quite a bit older.

The soundtrack is very solid as well. There is a solid opera esque theme for one of the stages and there are quite a few tunes. The game did a good job of adding in a lot of variety and this really puts Capcom Fighting Evolution to shame surprisingly. This is definitely one of the highlights for King of Fighters so hopefully the future installments will follow suit in this regard. Just give me some more hype music and we’re good.

Overall, Maximum Impact is a worthy spinoff to the main series. I still think that the games could do a better job of making the character likable and motivated. There’s no real reason to pick someone over another character aside from the all important tiers because none of them have any real personality yet. They all seem like tough guys and gals. Everyone seems to share that trait, but they don’t really have anything else to show for it. Terry’s my favorite character, but that’s really because of the name so I’m not totally sure if that counts. There’s not a whole lot to do here besides multiplayer mode, but that should be enough to tide you over. After all, if you’re buying the game, I assume that multiplayer is the reason for your purchase. Hopefully the series will have more of a real arcade mode in the main titles.

Overall 7/10

Capcom Fighting Evolution Review

Capcom Fighting Evolution is definitely an obscure Capcom crossover. I may have seen the cover once or twice back in the day, but only briefly and I instantly forgot about it. Some of the roster decisions for this game were very odd, but I’m still surprised that it is not more popular. It’s a fun enough game although there is nothing really unique about this title. It just fills the bill as a fighting game and doesn’t try to do anything more with itself.

There is no story mode of course although every character does have an ending which is great. That’s something I used to take for granted in a fighting game, but with some titles not bothering with it anymore, it is fun to see. There are no openings for the characters, but I’ll settle for the endings. This game uses a tag team system so the beauty of this is that you unlock both endings for every time you do Arcade Mode. It allows you to see all of the endings a lot quicker than you would have otherwise.

Normally this is the part where I’d say that there is pretty much no replay value, but Arcade Mode is typically the only thing you expect from a fighting game. That’s still not a great excuse, but multiplayer mode is where you’ll find the replay value at. Find someone to play this with and you’ll have a blast picking from the various characters. The series that are represented here are Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter II, Street Fighter III, Red Earth, and Darkstalkers. I have to say that it is a little iffy to have Street Fighter represented three times. Especially when there is one big Capcom franchise left out here. Need I mention which one? The Mega Man franchise!

Capcom has a very bad track record of leaving this franchise out to dry whenever they come out with a big crossover. Mega Man’s absence in Marvel vs Capcom 3 speaks volumes and the fact that Mega Man Volnutt/Trigger made it into Tatsunoko vs Capcom over the other Megamen is also odd. It’s a shame because a Mega Man rep being in the game would have guaranteed 3 more since each franchise got a full block of fighters. Yes, this is definitely a pretty big missed opportunity if you ask me. Another odd character exclusion is Morrigan from Darkstalkers. She’s the face of the franchise and yet she was skipped over. It’s very strange to say the least. I can’t say that I’m a fan of hers at all, but she still beats Felicia, who somehow got to be playable in this one. Also, what about Ken from Street Fighter? Surely he deserved a spot here given his iconic status.

There is also an original character for this game. The mysterious Ingrid, whose abilities are quite lethal. She seems to be a cosmic being who may be above all of these street level fighters, but we’ll need some more appearances to prove that she’s not just all talk. This character does have a lot of potential though and her powers are a lot of fun. We can always use more magical fighters even if they can be a little hard to control at times.

This is a retro fighting game that uses sprites so it is hard to really say how the graphics are. The character models are essentially ripped straight from the respective titles. The models all look pretty good, but they aren’t exactly new either. You won’t really be looking at the sprites much while you’re fighting either since you’ll need your full concentration. Regardless, the graphics definitely aren’t bad. I’d say that they’re totally standard and are up to snuff for this fighting game.

As for the soundtrack, it is good. It’s always fun to hear the Street Fighter themes although the Darktalker/Red Earth ones were very forgettable. In a way, it’s probably good that Street Fighter counted as three different series since it meant that we got more themes from those series although, once again…Mega Man themes would have been beyond hype. Those are the themes that we deserved. Still, the music works for the fighting.

I totally skipped over the actual gameplay angle, but I assume that everyone knows how this plays when I mention the words “Street Fighter” This is a 2D fighting game that is very bread and butter. You can kick, punch, and mix those attacks for various combos and super attacks. Yeah, that’s really all there is too it. This game uses the 2 vs 2 system, which is a blast since I always liked that way to play. My personal favorite is when you don’t die until both of your fighters are gone like Marvel vs Capcom, but any kind of tag team play is still pretty neat. I’m waiting for Super Smash Bros to implement something like that. Now that would be really awesome! Seriously, Super Smash needs to get on that!

Overall, Capcom Fighting Evolution is a fun fighting game. If I was a more dedicated Street Fighter fan then I may be upset at the wasted potential that is here. The character roster is very small and there wasn’t a whole lot of effort put behind the gameplay. The American cover is also pretty sketchy, but that’s more of a nitpick than anything else. It’s really just your standard Street Fighter game with a few broken guest stars. The big dinosaur feels so out of place, but I suppose that’s part of the appeal. It’s like having Sentinel in Marvel vs Capcom 3. It’s hilarious just how big he is. If you like Capcom then I definitely recommend getting it. It may not be fancy, but this is still a crossover. You’re bound to have some fun with it.

Overall 7/10