Star Wars Trilogy: Apprentice of The Force Stats and Records

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Star Wars Trilogy: Apprentice of The Force Review


It’s time to look at another retro Star Wars game. This one is also for the Game Boy Advance, but do not be alarmed. It is significantly better than the last one and feels like a true Star Wars title. This brings us back to the level of quality that you would expect from such an esteemed franchise. This one can proudly call itself a Star Wars game and nobody would bat an eye. It’s got good gameplay and while the game is admittedly pretty short, it’s at least no a chore to get through. No password save system this time.

The plot follows the original 3 movies. You play as Luke Skywalker in all of the levels as you recount the events. While most of the levels take place on the ground you do get a pair of space levels. These may have been thrown together a little quicker than the ground ones, but they’re pretty reasonable. The constant checkpoints make up for the gameplay not being too refined here. As a result it flows together pretty well and makes for a wholesome experience. The real meat of the game is the ground combat though and I liked it. It’ll remind you of the old school beat em ups like Streets of Rage or the Ninja Turtle games.

For the first half of the levels you fight enemies with your blaster. As the game progresses you eventually switch to a Lightsaber and slash away at everyone. Both styles of combat have their positives of course, but the lightsaber does pack more of a wallop, but you have to get up close which makes it a little more risky. The levels typically end as you make it to the end like a traditional platformer but sometimes you have to find a card key to make it past a door. The levels are fairly short but you will be stopped at times to take down all of the enemies. In that sense this one is definitely part beat em up.

It’s not particularly tough and when you die there is always a checkpoint so you will at most lose like 2 minutes of gameplay. The quickest way to deal with the enemies in my experience is to jump at them and use aerial attacks. They seem to do more damage than the ones on the ground and you can take out quite a few enemies this way. You also have a lot of options on how to take them down so really there is no reason why you would be stuck here. The only one I can think of is if you encounter a glitch. I encountered one glitch where I made it to an area that I wasn’t supposed to. As a result there were enemies under me but I couldn’t get to them to get out of the area. I eventually had to let them just shoot me so I could re-spawn and let them finish the job. At the end of the day that’s a pretty minor glitch though, could have been a lot worse.

There are actual boss fights here which was definitely nice. The battle against Darth Vader is definitely the highlight. He does a lot of blocking so don’t expect to just walk all over the guy. He’s a Sith Lord for a reason after all. As with the minions I found that the best thing to do here was to throw in aerial attacks. Mix them in with ground moves and eventually you will hit him. I’d also say to throw in some force push moves. They never hurt him, but while he is blocking those he is wide open to a strike. Just throw in all the mix-ups and you’ll be out of that boss fight in no time.

The graphics have definitely aged pretty well if you ask me. It’s the classic sprite look so the character models are on point and all of the effects look nice. It’s always surreal to see these games since it looks like something you could probably make into a sprite video. Once you’ve done that then you’re really set. The soundtrack is pretty forgettable, but we do get another retro remix of the movie intros which was nice to see. By the time this marathon is over I definitely won’t be forgetting the jingle for the opening credits.

There isn’t much, if any replay value here though. After you’ve beaten the levels there really isn’t anything to collect. The main story will only take you around 3 hours so you’ll be out of content in no time. You can get the game for cheap though so I wouldn’t say this is much of an issue. Better to have 3 hours of quality than 10 of a dragged out story right? It’s just the kind of game where you know beforehand that it’s going to be a one time experience.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this game. It’s got that nice Star Wars feel to it and the gameplay is solid. I always did like these retro beat em up games. The only time they can be annoying is when there are no save points and you have to start the whole thing from scratch, but otherwise it works pretty well I’d say. There is now only one more game left on my Star Wars marathon, but that game will have to wait as I work on Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. I don’t have much experience in the XCom Gameplay, but I definitely like it on principal. It reminds me of the Fire Emblem style and I always like adding a little strategy into the gameplay. It just spices things up quite a bit. You can expect that review to be coming up soon.

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Flight of The Falcon Review


It’s rare that I play a game that falls under a 5. For the most part there are usually fun things to enjoy in a game so I won’t be giving it a downright negative score. That being said, Flight of The Falcon is definitely one of those. It’s limited by a lot of things including poor level designs and the lack of a continue feature. Mix em all together and you’ve easily got the worst Star Wars games and it ranks as one of the worst titles that I’ve played. I don’t know what this game was thinking.

The game very vaguely follows the plot of the original trilogy. The levels have you flying around in the Falcon as you blast away at enemies or try to make it to the end goal in the time allotted. There are 14 levels but good luck seeing all of them. They are divided into 3 chapters. Once you’ve lost all your lives and continues you’re taken to a game over screen and start back from level 1. You can put in a password so that you can continue but it only takes you to the beginning of a chapter. So for example, if you lose on level 6 then your only options are to start over at level 1 or skip to level 7 which starts chapter 2. There is no way to return to where you started.

Even for password save games this is a bit much. I can’t think of any other game which is so restrictive with the continue feature. If you ask me there wasn’t a whole lot of quality control done on this game. It seems like they really slapped it together. Aside from this, the level designs aren’t any fun either. They all drag on for too long and there are glitches everywhere. The only real way to beat level 2 is to fly straight through the buildings. If you zoom straight ahead and start to turn then it’s like the building won’t exist anymore. You can just go through it and save some seconds. On the other hand, sometimes the building will appear and you’ll end up dying. One hit to the terrain is instant death of course.

You can expect to die a lot of times here. This game is super difficult, but not in a legit way. Throw in some good levels and it would be a pretty reasonable game. The objectives aren’t even clearly defined as you can easily get stuck in a level because you aren’t sure what to do. Some levels have you taking down enemies while others have you rushing towards the goal. Apparently you can determine this by looking at a small indicator near the bottom of the screen. Good luck looking for that one!

The graphics aren’t anything to write home about either. The sprites are very blurry and the camera literally can’t keep up when there are too many objects on the field. As a result you’ll die to invisible things in some of the later levels. A meteorite didn’t properly load so you bump into it and then it appears. Whenever you die like that it definitely does not feel legit. The soundtrack is also pretty bland. There’s nothing to it and I’m sure you’ll forget it within minutes of completing the level. It’s a shame, but the game had no soul to it.

Naturally that also means there isn’t a whole lot of replay value. If you can ace the levels you can beat this game in under 2 hours. Otherwise, you can also be here forever if you don’t conquer all of the levels. I beat the first 5 and then beat levels 7-8, but I’m not about to start from scratch every time I get a game over. I called it a day here, but call me back when the game gets an HD remake with a save feature that works. The password system just hasn’t aged well and this game takes it as low as possible.

I tried to think about any positive aspects of the game, but I’m running on empty here. I suppose the loading screens are pretty quick. You don’t have to worry about getting bored there because the levels do come up fast. Maybe that’s because the game doesn’t have to bother loading much since the game isn’t saving anything anyway, if so that’s a silver lining I suppose. Most of the cutscenes start out with 10-20 seconds of nothing happening though so I think the budget for the animations was probably pretty slim. There’s nothing exciting about seeing a ship move in slow motion for ages until the cutscene ends.

Overall, Flight of the Falcon is a game I’d recommend avoiding. Unfortunately it snaps Star Wars’ streak of solid games all around. I suppose when you get enough games you’re bound to run into a bad one at some point. The concept isn’t bad and at least it’s a unique style, but the execution was just really weak. I can’t say that I’ll be missing this game and hopefully the next GBA title in the series is a lot better. I can’t see how it would be worse to be honest so it should be uphill from here on out.

Overall 3/10

Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge Review


I’m not too familiar with Banjo-Kazooie despite hearing the name a whole lot. The problem is that most of the games never came out for a console that I’ve owned. This is the first installment that I get to play. The lead duo seem fun enough and I’m always up for more platformers. I may have joined this franchise late, but better late than never right? It’s a fun title and one that you won’t want to miss on for the GBA. You don’t have to worry about playing previous games to understand what is going on here.

The plot starts with Gruntilda escaping her rocky grave to enact her revenge on Banjo and Kazooie. She succeeds in kidnapping Kazooie so now Banjo must do whatever he can to get his pal back. Fortunately his friends are around to give him useful tips and transformation techniques so he can succeed at this goal. Once the duo is together again, they vow to put an end to Gruntilda’s plans once and for all. Let the villains try to stop them, nobody can mess with their teamwork!!

The plot is fairly direct as you’d expect. There are 6 worlds and each one has a certain amount of objects to obtain. Grab enough and you can head to the next world. You’ll need 50/60 of them in order to fight the final boss so you can effectively skip a world if you collected them all. I don’t think it is possible to skip the entire world since some orbs can’t be obtained until after you get some other power ups but you can skip a reasonable chunk of them. Each world is connected through a door so by the end of the game the hub world is quite huge. You’ll probably get lost a few times, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it and then it’ll all be cake for you.

The levels use an overhead camera and you move as you would expect. You start the game only being able to jump and roll but by the end you can glide, use super jumps, and have an array of other abilities at your disposal. You better make sure your L and R buttons work well because if they’re damaged like mine then the latter levels could be a little tougher than you might expect. Always keep your guard up. None of the levels feel cheesy and there aren’t any bugs that I came across so the game is designed well.

Graphically the game has aged quite well. The character models are on point and the level layouts are nice. There isn’t much to say about the soundtrack, but the themes aren’t bad. On a technical level the game succeeds. I also naturally have to mention that the sound effects used for whenever a character would talk are naturally a blast as well. It reminds me of Yooka Laylee which is likely a homage to this title. Everyone sounds like they’re gargling under water and over the top effects like that are always fun. The only area where the game does get a bit iffy with the replay value though. You’ll be able to easily 100% the game in under 10 hours. At that point there won’t be anything more to do. Still, it’s a fun play through and if anyone ever asks you what a platformer is you can redirect them to this game. It contains everything you would expect to be in a title of this genre. It’s a solid all around title.

I also appreciate how Banjo and Kazzoie both have unique personalities. It feels like some platforming protagonists don’t have a whole lot to say or express during the game. These guys are not like that. Kazooie is the kind of guy who is constantly throwing insults around and he keeps everyone on edge. While getting kidnapped may prevent you from taking his tough talk seriously, it’s always good to have a character like that. Without him the villains would probably walk all over Banjo. In comparison, Banjo’s a very nice guy who is always doing his best. He stays polite through it all and I suppose that this is admirable although he isn’t nearly as much fun as Kazooie.

Aside from the main platforming levels you also have a few minigames which are always fun. One of them is a fishing game where you have to reel in some fish. The timing of it can definitely get tricky and you’ll need to grab a lot of them but it’s a satisfying side mission to grab your attention. Then you also have the slides, there seems to be 1 per world. These are easy but also a nice detour as you try to grab a lot of energy pieces. I’d be game for more little side events like that.

As for the villains, we have two of them in this title. The main villain is Gruntilda who is a witch with a lot of hype. She seems reasonably tough and I do like her confidence. She is a lot better than her sidekick who is a very smart King K Rool type foe, but one who doesn’t command her level of respect. I can see them returning for most if not all of the games in the series.

Overall, Banjo-Kazooie is a fun game. I can see why the series was well liked in the past. The levels are well designed and the gameplay is pretty smooth. It has some unique gimmicks to complement the adventure and you’ll get to use all of your skills as the game goes on. It’s a little on the short side, but I imagine that the main games would have had a lot more content to wrap things up. If you get this game for a good price then it’s certainly worth it. I don’t think this series will be ready for the big hitters quite yet, but I look forward to a modern remake some day.

Overall 7/10

Rayman 10th Anniversary Review


It’s time to take a quick look at the Rayman collection I recently beat for the GBA. This one made the interesting decision of merging the first and third games in the series. I don’t really understand why they would skip the 2nd game. Maybe it just wasn’t formatted in a way that would be easy to port to the GBA the way that the others were. Either way, it’s no big loss since I’m guessing it should be rather similar to the others. This is my first real venture into the Rayman series so that was neat. I’d say that it holds up pretty well though the third game definitely more so than the first. If you are a sidescroller fan then you need to check Rayman out.

The first game is pretty intense with how difficult it is. You get 10 continues and you have to be sure to not lse a life too easily. If you died too much on a level consider restarting your system right away so you can win without that hapening. I just barely made it as I finished the game with no continues left. Of course, if I was going for the secret ending by finding all cages then that would have been another matter entirely. The controls are good, but I can’t say as much for the level designs. There are a lot of blind jumps and cheesy sections where the game just stacks the deck against you. That’s fine, but then we should get unlimited continues like in most games. I never like when the game has a limit and then you just have to start over. That doesn’t seem very fair and will just become tedious after a while.

The plot of the game is a little weak though and that’s one thing that seems true for both titles so far. It’s just that Rayman himself isn’t nearly as interesting as most of the other colorful protagonists in these kind of games. I’m assuming he will get more personality soon but right now the cast doesn’t really jump off the page so to speak. They’re all just going through the motions so to speak. Since you don’t even get to see the ending without getting the 100+ cages then it’s not even much of a satisfying end. This game is fortunately supported by the next one.

Rayman 3 is a noticeable improvement in just about every way. For starters the gameplay is a lot faster and smoother. You really feel like you are in control this time around. None of the enemies scare you and if they ever start to get a little rowdy you can quickly take them out. Your lives are quite abundant and there is no limit on retries so no worries there. There is also more of an actual story this time as we get text boxes and the villains have more of a goal. The story still isn’t at the point where it could actually be considered as a selling point, but it’s getting closer which is the important thing. Just a few more steps and it will be ready for the big leagues. Regardless, this is a title that I could recommend a lot sooner than the other one. It’s just a solid side scroller and one that holds up well as it isn’t clunky.

The graphics for both games look pretty good. Naturally the 3rd game is a little brighter and more detailed, but it’s not a huge difference. Both games are quite clear and you can tell that effort was put behind them. Likewise the soundtracks for both games are pretty similar. There are some memorable tunes in there, but nothing super intense. Either way you’ll probably be too absorbed into the levels to notice much. The levels require a lot of concentration or you will be doomed to lose quite a lot.

As far as replay value goes I’d say there is quite a bit here. In the third game I was able to get most of the collectibles naturally so the bulk of your play time will be in the first game. The third one is also shorter in general, but every bit helps. It should last you a few hours. Then the first game will definitely last a few hours and obtaining everything will extend the time even more. Just keep a look out for those lives and continues since they are very previous. Once lost they will not be returned. That’s why the stakes are so high in the first Rayman.

Overall, The Rayman 10th Anniversary game is pretty solid. Since it brings 2 games for the price of one it is already a pretty good bargain. If you haven’t played the series before then it’s the perfect way to start I’d say. It may be tough goings for a little while but you’ll certainly get a lot of experience in how to handle a platformer by the end of this. It’s why I would be a little hesitant to recommend this to a kid but given enough time I’m sure anyone would be able to clear these levels. It’s just all about repetition and trying to learn some strategies. Now I can finally go and play some of the newer Rayman games. I’ll definitely snag them at some point and we’ll see if they can possibly match these two or if they are doomed from the start. No guarantees on just how soon “at some point” means though.

Overall 7/10

Kirby & The Amazing Mirror Review


I have wanted this Kirby game for a very long time. It always looked like a lot of fun since the cover was so exciting and that’s how I judged games back in the day. Alas, the title was 25 dollars and that’s not exactly chump change when you’re a kid. Still, I saved up and over 20 years later I was finally able to snag it. Unfortunately this game does not live up to the hype. Nintendo messed around with the gimmicks a little too much once again and as a result this game is rather messy. There’s a great final boss as always, but the game is just lacking that wholesome feel to it.

The plot of the game is that Kirby has been thrown into the Mirror World and split into 4. He must now team up with himself to save the planet and stop the darkness from consuming it. I do like the plot as teaming up with yourself is always the smartest possible move. You just can’t go wrong there. Of course, you have to take the plot at face value as there will be no more cutscenes at all until the climax of the game. Clearly you are supposed to be playing this game for the gameplay and not the riveting story. Certainly not a bad thing, but worth pointing out.

The gameplay is your typical Kirby experience as you run and jump while going through the levels. You can absorb all of the enemies and most of them will give you super powers. You can only use one ability at a time though so don’t try and overdo it with absorbing everybody or you’ll end up with a weaker move than the one you already had. If you are playing on single player mode then you can use the R button to call in the other 3 at the expense of 1 Wifi Bar. They are extremely OP in this game so if you want to beat a boss really quickly just call them in. Typically they will restore you to full health and also beat the boss in under a minute. Even the final boss is no match for the Kirby crew. Meanwhile you can use the L button to leave a level. Why would you possibly want to leave a level? Well, that’s where things get a little interesting.

This game doesn’t have typical start to finish levels like most Nintendo games. Instead it went the Metroid route (Why would you do that?) and the level just segways into a bunch of others, but they are also connected. Unlike Metroid you do get a bunch of different teleport areas which will take you from place to place so that’s a start. At first the game will be a rather tough experience as there are dozens of entryways to explore. Once you find a portal and activate it you can use it from the hub world. Naturally this does mean that the game will get a lot easier as you go through it. The first 2-3 world keys took me forever to get, but the last 3 were done in a snap because there just weren’t many paths left. It’s not really my cup of tea though. The intro would have certainly been a lot easier if I had realized the perks of each special ability though. Fire Comet lets you break metal blocks in front of you while stomp handled the ones beneath. Most abilities have some kind of purpose to them so just remember where you can find the enemy with the ability that you need. If not, each teleport chamber has 2 abilities so the more that you find, the easier access you have to them. I spent a ton of time just running around without a clear direction because I couldn’t find out how to get past the blocks. If you know which abilities to use from the start that should help considerably.

The graphics are pretty solid and do the Kirby characters justice. The sprites have aged really well and the colors are very easy to look at. You won’t have to squint at the screen and wonder what is happening at any point in the adventure. Likewise the soundtrack is also pretty solid as we get some nice boss themes and level music. It’s really no surprise as Nintendo excels in these two categories, but always nice to see nonetheless. Of course, since the game was so light on cutscenes that probably did free up the budget for everything else.

As far as the length is concerned, I was certainly satisfied. Thanks to the maze like structure of the game I doubt you will be speed blitzing through this title. A lot of the levels involve trial and error as you choose one way the first time and a different one on the second try. Once you get the maps for each world that eliminates such an approach but the irony is that you probably won’t find them until you are nearly at the end anyway. I ended up beating the game while still missing 4-5 of the maps so ultimately they weren’t a huge factor. As far as replay value goes, collecting the rest of the collectibles is naturally the main incentive. That should take a reasonably long amount of time.

Overall, Kirby & The Amazing Mirror is probably the weakest Kirby game. It’s very close between this one and the Rainbow title, but the latter did have a better story. Still, the game holds up decently. It’s just one of those titles that has a really dicey start so you just have to endure it until you’re in the second half. It’s the same situation as Digimon World Next Order for example as your Digimon have to constantly use the bathroom and everything at first, but by the end it’s better. Still, you can certainly find better platformers so buy this Kirby game only if you’ve already played all of the others.

Overall 6/10

Phalanx Stats and Records

Stats time!

Well, unfortunately this is the kind of game that has no stats. Out of the 8 levels, I did complete 5 of them though and died in the 6th so that’s sort of a stat. If only this game has a Continue feature. Even if it took some arcade points away I would have liked to have gotten to the ending firsthand. Ah well, I guess this game was as tough as it looks.

Phalanx Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10