Play Time 3h 38m
Mega Rally 175 rallies
Survival Record 15 wins
Play Time 3h 38m
Mega Rally 175 rallies
Survival Record 15 wins
Mr Duck Steps Out focuses on how it can be tough to babysit while hanging out with a friend. Donald has to face off against his nephews while impressing Daisy at the same time. Can it be done? Well, this might not be such a hard feat if the nephews weren’t actively trying to sabotage him. I have to say that I was rooting for Donald here since the kids were just being unreasonable the whole time.
The only questionable thing Donald did was take away their present to give to Daisy but he gave each of them an ice cream in exchange which is a really fair price if you ask me. I’m sure Donald would make it up to them at a later date as well. At the very least they shouldn’t have decided to take revenge over something like that. I’ve never been a big fan of the nephews and this appearance certainly did not help their case in the slightest.
Daisy doesn’t really have much in the way of character here so it’s hard to say much here. She is oblivious to everything around her which is part of the humor for the special but it also means that she is barely a character here. I suppose she seems nice enough so maybe she will get more to do in a future special.
Donald is certainly the MVP here as he does his best to get past the traps of his nephews. He gets them out of the way whenever possible and even seamlessly gets back into the dance or whatever other activity was going on. Donald is always ready to go with the flow and even intentional sabotage is rarely enough to stop him.
The animation is pretty solid as always. The Living Popcorn routine with Donald was certainly animated pretty well. The scene where you see the initial Corn in the Cob transforming into popcorn is definitely solid. It is very detailed and shows the step by step process the animators went through back in the day. It’s a Disney special so I certainly expected as much from them.
Overall, This was a pretty fun special. It’s not nearly as good as most of the other ones as the plot is a bit thin and the nephews are too annoying but it’s solid nonetheless. I’d recommend checking it out if you like the Disney specials or if you just want to watch a high energy special for a few minutes. Something is always happening on screen and typically it involves a lot of running and smashing. We’ll see if the next specials can top this one.
Play Time 1h 59m
Sweat Bands 0/40
Everyone Else 0/8
Doubles for Everyone 0/8
Special Game Records
Super Mario Tennis
It’s time to take a look at a Mario Tennis game that was pretty much overshadowed the instant it came out. That’s because it’s basically the same as playing the Gamecube game except with no cutscenes and less games. As a result, there is little reason to buy this game unless you desperately want to play it on the go. Nonetheless, it was only 10 dollars so I figured..why not? It was basically free thanks to a coupon and I’m glad I got it. The game doesn’t do anything unique, but it still has good tennis fundamentals.
There is no story mode of course and so the closest thing is the traditional Tournaments. There are 8 tournaments and each tournament has 3 rounds. Complete the first 4 to unlock the star version of the character you are playing. The battles never actually get too tough. One thing I noticed about the AI is that if you let them get to the ball then you are unlikely to win a rally against them. Fortunately they can’t seem to handle your serve on any level so you can easily score with your return. If you don’t then you will most likely have lost the point. That adds a little extra tension to the rounds I would say.
You can complete all of the tournaments in a little under 2 hours. To help with the replay value, you can do that with every character in order to get all of their Star Forms and some more items for the shop. Every time you win a match a random item is unlocked for purchase. The annoying thing is that the tournaments don’t get you any money though. To earn money you have to play the minigames. They are surprisingly difficult though so clearing all of them could take some time. This way at least you are earning money and accomplishing at the same time. That’s a plus right? Before talking about the minigames, I suppose I should mention that we also have Doubles tournaments. I was never the biggest fan of doubles and didn’t really go into that mode, but it’s sure to add more length to the game. As per always with sport games, the true replay value occurs if you have someone to play with. Otherwise you likely won’t end up sticking with the game for very long. I find it telling that the game is only 10 dollars when Nintendo games rarely go down in price until a very long time has passed.
There are 4 minigames. One has you relive some of the old 2D Mario levels as you try to keep a rally going while going through the level. It’s a fun concept, but a little too slow for my liking. The level goes by incredibly slowly so it’s more tedious than difficult. Ideally you want to have a good mix of both. It’s probably my least favorite minigame. Then we have Coin Mode. You have to shoot through the rings and gain as many coins as possible. This one is probably the most rigged as it will largely depend on your opponent. As a result I actually lost the Silver version of this game. It’s a decent concept, but I don’t care for the execution.
Time for the 2 best minigames. One is a Rally where you have to keep returning the ball without letting the computer touch it. This one’s actually pretty fun and it’ll definitely test your reaction times as the plants fire the ball at you. You won’t know which one is shooting until the very end. Finally, the best minigame is the rally one. You have to keep hitting a ball back and forth as parts of the stage vanish. This game is taken directly from the Gamecube one and so you can probably see why it is the best. It was just thought through very well and is the right blend of challenging and length. The time goes by slowly at first, but by the end you’ll barely notice. These minigames may not be much, but at least they give the game a little more content.
I haven’t talked much about the actual gameplay, but that’s mainly because there isn’t a lot to be said. It’s a very standard tennis game. You feel the power behind each hit and have different options on how to strike the ball. You fire off a high one, a low one, or a standard shot. You do seem to have special attacks, but I couldn’t figure out how to use them and didn’t even need them in the end so that’s why I didn’t try very hard. Perhaps I would have needed it against Ace level opponents at some point. The game has a dynamic camera view option, but I recommend turning it off. It’s distracting to suddenly have the game zoom in when you head to the net. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea, but it was probably the same person who doesn’t give the game the option to remember your choice. As such, you have to turn it off again after each match. It seemed really random though so at least you don’t have to worry about it happening after every match. Otherwise, I have no qualms with the actual gameplay, it’s what you would expect from a Tennis title.
The graphics look really good. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the effort went here although perhaps the character models were just grabbed from somewhere. As there aren’t any real cutscenes it probably wasn’t too hard to just focus on the models. Every character looks to be on point and the stages look sharp as well. The game delivers on this front. When it comes to the soundtrack, it’s fairly decent but forgettable as far as Mario games go. You likely won’t remember it all that well by the time you finish the game.
Overall, Mario Tennis Open is a good game. The Tennis gameplay is solid and that’s really what counts. There just isn’t any extra content to keep you busy. Your attention will only stay on this game for as long as you enjoy playing tennis. I suppose collecting all of the items could help if you’re really a serious collector, but there isn’t a whole lot of point to getting it all otherwise. If you see it in stores for a fair price then I recommend checking it out. I can’t imagine grabbing it at full price though. No matter how fun Tennis is, it just wouldn’t have been worth it.
Whenever someone yells “MARIO AND SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES” you can’t help but get very nostalgic. I rented this game a long time ago and had quite a lot of fun with it. While the games are more limited than in the first one, it has improved in every other area. This title feels like the high budget Olympics game that we had been waiting for and the soundtrack is certainly one of the all time greats. My main character that I use in this game is Shadow of course but there is a solid roster of other characters to use as well.
Unlike the last one, this Olympics actually has a story mode of sorts. Essentially you have to play in the Olympics to try and secure the gold trophy. To do this you will have to prove that you are a well rounded athlete who can excel in many different events. You play the Olympics one day at a time. At first there are 2 events per day and then 3 for the second half. You also get 2 break days to relax and go to the shop. It would be pretty sad to play the whole thing and then lose so the A.I isn’t too crazy. Not to mention that many of the events are training so you can’t actually lose. It’s a way to get free points and move up the ranks of you were beginning to lose. You still need to win most of them if you are going to succeed though. As I hinted at earlier though, most of the mini games are rather similar so you shouldn’t have a problem after you’ve gotten used to them.
The best mini game is probably the Snowboard one. It’s very simple and straight to the point. You have to drive down a slope as fast as you possibly can. No gimmicks or anything like that, it’s just a pure bout of skill. You just can’t top it. There is a similar mini game where you are on Skis, but you have to utilize the motion controls more. It’s really the same thing but slower and with more stuff going on to distract you. Nothing wrong with that, but it just can’t compare to the style of the board.
We’ve also got Ice Hockey which would usually be in first place but it’s really hard to move much at all without getting slammed by the other team. That part makes it tough to enjoy the game because you don’t actually get to be playing it much. Good concept though. The game that seems to be the main attraction in this game is the figure skating. You have to pull off moves with the utmost precision at just the right time of you want to get the maximum score. While defeating the computers can be pretty easy you will want to do your best if you’re fighting a human opponent. It’s not my favorite game since it’s very slow paced, but it’s not the worst either.
The worst mini game is the one where you have to slide the discs across the floor. Many party games have this and I can never get any since it has never been good. The very concept ensures that it won’t be good if you ask me since it is a very slow paced game by nature. I’m sure it has its fans, but I am not one of them.
There are also some mini games called dream events which have items included and can get quite chaotic. The Snowball fight game is probably the most memorable one and it’s definitely a lot of fun. Your teammates may actively sabotage you as they get blasted, but it’s a pretty balanced game in that respect. Who doesn’t like a good snowball fight right? Another monk game has a glider where you have to fly and catch rings as you make it to the end. Naturally you’ll want to aim for small rings for maximum rings, but your opponents may have the same idea which will make things tricky.
After a while you will probably grow bored of the snow theme, but at least you can basically say that the game tries out every possible idea. Some mini games may seem like slight rehashes of each other but at least do have things that make them unique. Other party titles just make all of the games the same and don’t even attempt to hide it.
The presentation of the game as a whole is quite impressive. From the main menus to the shops and the levels, this game looks quite great. They spared no expense on the visuals. All of the character models are on point and the level designs are great as well. We even have a Challenger Approaching icon that is sort of like Super Smash which is pretty neat. It shows up before each boss battle and feels quite thematic. Then there is the soundtrack. It’s quite impressive as it takes many of the best Mario and Sonic themes and then throws them into the games/bosses. Listening to the Sonic Adventure themes is always nostalgic and naturally the Mario ones are good as well. I haven’t played the next Olympic installments yet, but I think it’s fair to say that they are going to have a very tough time surpassing this one.
There’s a lot to do in this game so length is certainly not an issue. The main campaign isn’t very long but that’s only the tip of the iceberg as you try to earn enough money to buy everything. You can also go for new records in individual events as well as challenge friends in multiplayer. Multiplayer mode certainly adds a lot of replay value to the game. You really need this in any sport game and in particular, offline multiplayer is a must.
Overall, it’s impressive just how much the series stepped it up with this installment. The game is just a lot nicer to play, listen, and look at. Boss battles was a real good addition and I like having a ceremonial story mode even if it is relatively small. It’s certainly better than nothing. The game’s only weakness is its limited amount of games, but at least the one that we do get are really fun which is certainly the important thing. I’d definitely recommend getting this game. While it may not be as unheard of as it used to be, a crossover with Sonic and Mario is always worth noting.
This shouldn’t be confused with the other Secret Avengers comic that I reviewed as this is a completely different run. While there isn’t a lot of action this time around, the plot is interesting and the comic series certainly has a lot of promise. As expected, Shield (Not going to bother with the periods) is very shady and does things that do make them villains in a sense. Batman certainly wouldn’t put up with their shenanigans!
Daisy (AKA, the main character of the current Shield TV series) is the director of Shield and she led the Secret Avengers on an attack to destroy an AIM Agent. Maria Hill did not like this so she forcibly took control of Shield away from Daisy and shut down the whole project. This was simply crossing the line and tarnishing Shield’s reputation. Hill has a point here although things wouldn’t have gone so smoothly if Daisy had decided to actually fight back. It’s a little convenient for Hill that Daisy was so cooperative this time. This switcheroo in terms of leadership did leave the Avengers in a tough spot though, namely Mockingbird.
The concept of the Secret Avengers here is that they don’t even know that they’re on a mission. Their minds are hijacked by Shield before going into each mission and their memories are erased once the battle is over. Once Maria Hill goes back to being in charge, she scrubs their memories and forces them to evacuate the mission. The problem is that this also forced the heroes to leave Mockingbird stranded in the villain base ruled by Taskmaster and stuck in the body (or appearance) of an AIM agent. Getting out of that pickle is certainly going to be quite the feat for her.
As you can imagine, I definitely disagree with Shield’s methods here. Controlling the minds of these heroes (Hawkeye, Black Widow, Mockingbird, Hulk etc) is definitely crossing the lines. The end doesn’t justify the means, but Shield never seemed to really understand that. In Shield’s slight defense, the Hulk shouldn’t be able to be mind controlled at this point, but it certainly doesn’t change the fact that Shield should not have attempted this. I do love to see what Shield’s been reduced to though. Nick Fury is now just an average field agent and likewise with Coulson while Maria Hill and Daisy call the shots. (Until Daisy was fired) Things are just so loopy right now.
There isn’t a whole lot of action like I said earlier, but we do get to see the Hulk take down Graviton with a quick shot. I actually thought the villain was Hyperion for a second since the costume was so similar, but it was more realistic this way. Hyperion would not go down after a single punch! Taskmaster is actually one of the Secret Avengers and spends his time acting sort of like Deadpool. He can be serious one second and then total comic relief the next. He’s a fun character even if he’s totally ripped off from Prometheus. (Now he was an epic villain!) We didn’t get to see Taskmaster fight all that much, but he’s a valuable asset to have on the team.
This volume was mainly for the origin of the Secret Avengers as we saw Daisy and Maria Hill discuss the operation. The main plot with the AIM assassination was really just an excuse to have a little plot going. It was entertaining enough, but nothing really happened since the mission was scrubbed aside from Mockingbird’s plot. I’m looking forward to seeing the team go on an actual mission to see what they’ve got. I also look forward to seeing the rest of the heroes find out about their comrades being used like this. I definitely don’t think that it will be taken very well at all.
The art is solid. It has a darker backdrop than the average Marvel comic which did give me some trouble distinguishing Daisy and Maria Hill a few times, but it looks good for the most part. It looks professional and that’s always a good thing. It’s hard to describe the fight scenes, but they seemed to be good from what I saw. I believe that the writing was also good and the plot was interesting from start to finish. When a comic lacks action, you definitely want the plot to be engaging.
A missed opportunity here for me would be that we didn’t see Bruce Banner much. Since this is essentially the Indestructible Hulk, that would have been a lot of fun since his personality during this time period was really cool. With the Avengers all being mind controlled, we didn’t get to see them talk that much at all. At least they were loyal though and weren’t going to abandon the mission until forced too. Although, since the mission involved destroying someone….it may come at the expense of their heroics. You can see why they didn’t grab Iron Man or Captain America for this team. They’d probably ask a whole lot of questions. (Plus, Extremis should be able to protect Iron Man if you ask me. That was years ago, but the effects should linger)
There really weren’t any unlikable characters. Even though I disagreed with Daisy’s decisions, I could see her (unfortunate) train of thought. None of the characters were over the top or had pointless lines for the chuckles. The comic was serious, but without being over the top and handled itself well. This is a comic series that I could see being very good. With the origin of the team out of the way, the plot can really start and some of the seeds were sown here. Two of the villains (One of them being Graviton and the other being a lady with super strength and/or lasers) have decided to team up because things may get rocky in the future and Mockingbird’s going to have to escape from the big meeting that she was thrown into. The chips have been set and the ball is in the comic’s corner.
Overall, If you like to see your favorite (B) heroes taking on secret stealth missions, this is the comic for you. There is a lot of dialogue, but that shouldn’t be a problem for you because it’s all pretty interesting and you’ll get to learn about the history of the team. It’s also an interesting way to tie into the Shield TV show since Daisy gets a big role. I would have liked to have seen her use some sonic powers though, but maybe in the next volume. I don’t know if I’ll be reading that one anytime soon, but that’s another matter. Seriously though, with the plot out of the way, I’m ready for some action!