He-Man: Power of Grayskull Review Stats and Records

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He-Man: Power of Grayskull Review


It’s time for a classic He Man game! It’s been a long while since this one came out so you could say that it’s about time I got to play it. The franchise has so much potential for video games so it’s a shame that it doesn’t have more. This one’s fairly short and I wouldn’t say that it’s the highest budget GBA game out there but it still does the trick. I had a good time with it at least. You may finish it at turbo speeds but you’ll have a good time and there are no slow parts in the game.

The basic plot is that Skeletor is up to no good and He Man has to stop him. I mean that may be oversimplifying a bit but that’s what is boils down too. Different characters like Cringer and Teela get captured so you have to save them. Along the way you get to face off with all of the classic He Man villains as our hero takes them down one at a time. Nobody is ready to handle the Man of Might as He Man just keeps going to town on everyone. There is a reason why he is known as the strongest in the 9 realms after all. His power just never stopped rising and with the sword he is unbeatable.

It is nice that they got some voice acting here for the iconic “I have the power!!” moment. That was really cool and I’d like to see them keep that up. That is the only real voice acting here but it started the game on the right note. Now when it comes to sound effects the game is a bit lazy because there is only a single damage effect used for every minion and it’s not the most flattering one. It’s not a deep growl or anything but more of a whimper. Surely they could have switched that up a bit.

The graphics are pretty solid though. I thought they looked good for the GBA era. Each character is clearly defined and you won’t have any issues navigating through the levels. The soundtrack may not be very memorable but it’s not bad either. It’s just a little limited which is what holds it back here. I’d like to throw in some more songs, maybe even the opening to the TV show for the final level but I realize that is pretty much unheard of so it’s not something you’d expect.

The game has 13 levels and they are split between normal platforming levels and racing ones. Racing levels are extremely easy so you shouldn’t have any trouble there. Just keep on moving and you’ll make it to the end eventually. It’s an overhead racer so you’re just moving side to side and jumping. You don’t need to worry about going fast since you’re automatically moving as it is.

As for the platforming levels, usually you have to get somewhere which means beating up a bunch of villains. The villains are limited and don’t respawn so don’t worry about fighting them. Sometimes it’s nice to get them out of the way so you can concentrate but other times you can just keep it moving. Each level lets you know the full stats and what you may have missed there. There isn’t a lot to each level so you could 100% complete it if you want to. The game shouldn’t take you longer than 2 hours and you’ll probably beat it well before that.

The only really tricky boss would be the final one I’d say. Skeletor hits hard and he can also heal himself by using the green orbs in the room. Each orb restores your full health and does the same for Skeletor. So the trick here is to position yourself in front of the orb. When you are going low on health, just use it first so that he can’t. Then run to the other orb and repeat the process. You can win this with pure button mashing as a result and it only gets tricky if you let him get to the max health. That’s when it’s all a bit dicey. So long as you keep outsmarting Skeletor then you should be in good position.

Of course the length is the main drawback against the game so that’s the only thing to consider here. If the game is a lot of money then you may want to wait since 1-2 hours is all you’ll be playing this for. There aren’t any unlockable levels or post game to extend the timer for either so the main story is it. Once you’re done with that then you are done with the game. Also there are no save files so you actually do need to put in a password when you turn the system off. Fortunately someone wrote down the passwords for each level online so you can do that if you forgot to write it down. People are definitely dedicated with writing things down which is always appreciated. Trying to write it on your own would be possible of course but it’s nice to not have to worry about that.

Overall, He Man is a fun game. It may not last long but the fundamentals are there. With more of a budget I’d like some more attacking options and more sound effects but it does well enough. There are no parts that dragged on and of course I like the He Man franchise so that part was definitely a plus. If you’ve still got a GBA or a DS lying around then I’d recommend picking this one up. You can probably get it for a fairly decent price and it’s unlikely that we’re getting a big He Man game anytime soon so you have to enjoy it now while you can. It’s also got that retro GBA overhead fighting game feel that’s hard to replicate.

Overall 7/10

Driv3r Review


The Driver series seems to have peaked with the first one so far because it has been wayyyyy better than the two sequels. You can’t even compare them but granted, the first I played on Playstation while the next two have been on GBA. These editions leave a lot to be desired and this game in particular was a lot weaker than I had expected. Personally I just thought that it was going to be a lot better than the final product. It’s not a game I would really be recommending to people.

Tanner is back and this time he has to go undercover in Miami to grab some bad guys and find out about car transactions. The plot has a very Fast and the Furious feel to it but the abridged version. It feels like the game grabs screenshots from the home console games and then picks some text to go with it. As a result you get a very fragmented version of the story. Additionally there is nothing to show who is talking so half the time they keep changing the person who is talking in the cutscene but you have no idea who is saying what.

The story ends up being a bit bland as a result. It doesn’t help that the game only has one musical theme that plays for every cutscene. The game is definitely on the low budget side that’s for sure. I was never really able to get all that invested into the story so then the gameplay has to hold its own. There are good and bad things about the gameplay though so that’s why it wasn’t up to the task of carrying the whole game on its back. First off the game can’t process most of the background items.

What that means is you’ll be driving when suddenly a car appears in front of you and knocks the wind right out. A single crash can often mean that you will lose a level, particularly if it’s a head to head collision. There are a lot of high speed chases and such but with this it makes the game a little tougher than it would be otherwise. Particularly when it’s a long level then replaying the whole thing is a hassle. The final level in the game involves 3 checkpoint races in a row and yes if you lose any of them then you start all 3 again.

There is a new mechanic in this game which is that you can actually fight on foot. You get out of your car and start firing shots but there is a big catch to this. See, it was actually going to be a really fun mode but what ruins it is how quickly you can run out of bullets. If you run out of bullets then you have no way to fight back so you just have to lose to the opponent. An additional penalty is that dying takes you back to before the mission and often means that you will have to drive halfway across the city to get back to where you were. Every time you die it’s a huge time delay. I appreciate that the game’s hub world is so big but there should be a quick travel option somewhere. That would have helped out a great deal.

Then getting more ammo is a hassle. (You lose any ammo you used even if you die by the way) You have to find some packs scattered across the massive hub world which is difficult or you have to beat all sub missions of a color which will get you a new weapon. This will come with some ammo. It’s worth unlocking the weapons anyway though because they are considerably more powerful than the starting weapon that you get. Always keep your most powerful weapon equipped as well since ammo you pick up will then go to that one.

Completing the game without the latter weapons will be nearly impossible so make sure you complete the missions. Most of the missions can be a lot of fun at least and they’re short. I didn’t feel bothered at playing them and they would often beat some of the story missions. In the story I mostly don’t like when you have to tail someone, just let me go full blast in a race or something instead.

I do like the combat though and driving can be fun when you’re allowed to go all lout. You can move at really high speeds and while this often causes the game to lag a whole lot, it still feels nice. Surprisingly there is no police mechanic here so you can bump into everyone with no problem. I missed that a bit since it was such a big part of the original Driver game. Maybe they just couldn’t figure it out for GBA or something like that.

The graphics are okay but I would say below average. It didn’t seem like a whole lot of effort was put into this one compared to the bigger titles. It almost looks and feels like some kind of cash-in. I already noted how the soundtrack is basically nonexistent as well so don’t expect any really big tunes there. This is definitely not that kind of title. At least the main theme isn’t bad. That’s good because you’ll be hearing it a whole lot.

Ultimately at its core this game just needed a lot of quality of life upgrades. For starts you should get some ammo when you revive and you need a better way of getting more. Whether that means buying ammo or spawning it in more places, it shouldn’t take forever to get it. I nearly died against the final boss who was a real bullet sponge and if I lost there that would have been disheartening because it took so long to get those bullets in the first place. Then we need quick travel and losing a mission should give you the option to retry it rather than having to drive all the way there again. That would have at least given the game a fighting chance instead of making the levels needlessly exhausting at times.

Overall, Driv3r is not a very good game. I thought it would be better than it was. The gameplay is just good enough to keep me from calling it a bad title but there is almost no reason to get it. There are much better car games to buy as well as shooters. If you have the original Playstation or a PS2 then I would say to just buy the original and play it again. It’s way better and really executes on the potential and possibilities of the franchise. This one isn’t trying nearly as hard. I do still have high hopes for the PS3 title though because we’ll be back on the home consoles and it should have a good budget. If that one is no good then I don’t know what to say at that point. It would be a bit odd.

Overall 5/10

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance Review


Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has to be one of the oldest games that I’ve had on the back burner for many years. It’s been patiently waiting it’d turn and now it was time to see what this game was all about. It definitely goes all in on the tactical gameplay and there’s a lot of customization here but other parts of the game have not aged well which ends up holding the experience back.

The game starts with our hero Marche having a snowball fight with all of the other kids at the school. At first glance it seems to be going okay but everyone is actually dealing with something. The kids are actually targeting his friend Mewt a lot. Marche’s brother can’t walk so he isn’t able to have fun with the gang and the main heroine Riza is very self conscious about her hair being white so she dyes it every day. There’s quite a lot of unhappiness in the air and for Marche the main point is that he’s a pushover and doesn’t stick up for himself.

Well, one day Marche wakes up only to find himself in a fantastic kingdom ruled by Mewt. It’s effectively a palace like in Persona as it is created by his wishes. Marche figures it isn’t healthy to life in a made up reality like this and he decides he has to destroy the world. The other kids are not in agreement though and will do everything they can to stop him. Can Marche finally find his inner confidence and take the win here?

Interestingly Marche can almost feel like the main villain here in some respects. Think about it, to the creatures living in this world, the place is very real. All of a sudden you have this guy showing up to try and destroy the world because he says its fake. You’d assume this guy is insane and I can see why they were all fighting against him. You also have to ask yourself on whether these guys have become sentient and in a way is Marche actually destroying everyone? If all of the monsters will revert to townfolk similar to how everyone here is a distortion then that helps with making it okay in the end but it’s definitely an interesting concept.

Not really one that the game goes into all that much but it does make you double think what you are doing the whole time. The main focus on the story though is Marche trying to convince everyone that this world isn’t better. Sure they have super powers and live a life of wealth and prosperity here but Marche says that since they know it isn’t real, it’s like they’re running away from the real thing. I thought the game did a good job of not having all of the kids suddenly agree with him or anything like that. It was handled as more of a slow burn which was good so the kids had a chance to explain their side. All in all it may not have been constant end of the world stakes or anything like that but things do get cosmic in the end and the story was fun.

As for the gameplay, it’s your classic tactics style with a few changes here. So if you know tactics gameplay then you remember that it’s all about getting the right angles. You want to attack from the sides of behind an enemy for better damage as well as a better percentage chance of hitting the opponent. You can attack, guard, use a special move, or an item. You can control up to 6 fighters here and the enemy team will typically have around as many. It’s fun to think out your moves and try to get to the win as efficiently as possible. If this was played straight with no gimmicks then there would be no issue.

The gameplay can be a little slow with all of the animations and everything being unskippable but it would still work pretty well. The main issue comes with the law system that is unique to this game. Basically when you start a level there will be a random law that says you cannot do something during the battle. Sometimes it will be that you can’t attack, can’t heal, can’t use fire, etc. As the game goes on there will be 2 laws at once and then three. The big issue with adding RNG into the mix like this is that you can’t just make a plan and stick to it. You have to adjust your combat based on the law for the battle and there is no way to see it before starting the level. What that means is that if it’s a law you can’t hope to overcome then you have to reset the game.

After that you can walk around a bit (Since each step counts as a day and switches the law) and then head back. It’s quite a few extra steps that aren’t needed. Additionally there are random minions running around all the time and if you bump into one then you have to start another long fight. The level up system is also a bit different than the others as each action gets you some XP rather than a total at the end of a level. This is fairly unique for RPG titles but for tactical fighters I’ve seen this in the past so it makes sense. It’s not my favorite style but it is what it is.

There’s also perma death which is active on any desert level. If any of your members dies here and you don’t revive them before the match is up, the member is lost forever. There goes your equipment and level ups. I’m not a fan of perma death in any game. It’s way too harsh and just serves as a big punishment if you end up losing. There’s also a jail system here in case you break the laws in a level. Two strikes takes you to jail while one acts a a fine and your character suffers a penalty. To remove the card you have to play a few battles without the character but at the speed in which the battles are, that’s a fairly long commitment so it’s often better to just reset the game whenever you do that by mistake.

Then you’ve got some quality of life features that aren’t present. One of the big ones is that it’s very difficult to see which equipment is the best one to attach to your character. You can only see the stats for one piece at a time and can’t compare it so you have to remember the numbers as you check each piece one by one. That just seems like something which should have been easier. It’s also odd that you have to actually set the items to your character’s ability slots or you can’t use any at all. I think that’s a bit much and there’s no indication of when they have learned a new ability so you have to manually check everyone every time there’s a level up. Same with ability mastery to learn new classes.

So what I’m saying is the gameplay is held back by a whole ton of features ranging from just about every area you can think of. It’s definitely a problem. The graphics are good though. I thought the character designs were on point and the levels were good. Meanwhile the soundtrack was more on the unimpressive side as none of the tunes were all that good. It was going for a rather calm feel to it but give me rock or metal any day so I can really feel the tunes at all times.

As for the replay value here, there are a ton of missions to complete so that’ll help on that end. There are 300 missions in the game and you’ll probably end up beating around 100 before you finish the game. The missions have several categories including combat and dispatch. Dispatch missions are ones your allies will complete on their own and either take a few days or just some extra battles without you. So choose who you send out on a mission wisely since you never want to be without your best fighter for very long.

Overall, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance would be one of the weaker Final Fantasy games. It has some pretty good ideas and so the story ends up being the strong point here but the gameplay mechanics are what ended up bringing it down. If anything the game’s just trying to be too intricate and having way too many things going on at once. We’ll see if the sequel can dial things back a notch, removing laws entirely would definitely be a great start. If not, maybe there’s a way to just make them better. This is a really long game so make sure you really enjoy the tactics style before picking it up.

Overall 5/10

Driver 2 Advance Review


I don’t recall how old I was when I was first told that I was the Wheelman but it was definitely a while ago. The original Driver game was a blast as you drove around town in the huge open world environment. It was fun to work on the story but it was also neat to just have fun in free roam. I’d spend hours following the law there and then hours running from the police. It was really an ambitious game with a really intense final level involving the president. This game is a lot more low key and a step down in all areas but still a good title in the end.

Tanner is still as involved in the underworld and mafia business as ever. It’s definitely not the safest job and you’ll see a lot of people getting shot all the time. Well, some big gangsters have run off with more money than their fair share so Tanner is going to take them down. It won’t be easy since these guys have a lot of connections but that isn’t scaring the lead here. He’ll still jump right into action and take down anyone who stands in his way. He has the skills to back it up so the villains better be worried.

There are around 30 levels here and most of them are pretty short. You can easily beat this game in around 2 hours if you don’t lose but I think it’s safe to expect that you will lose sometimes. I wouldn’t say the game is super hard or anything like that but it’s not a cake walk either. You will occasionally get defeated by RNG a few times as well.

See, the gameplay initially starts off like your average driving game. You have to get to the destination located on your map to beat the level. Other levels will have you trying to take down an enemy car instead of running to a different car. The levels where you have to go out on foot are few but they do happen. It’s a mechanic that doesn’t seem to have had any point being here by the end though. You could take it out and things wouldn’t really change.

Now where does the RNG come into play? Well, the police cars will randomly appear at times to get in your way. If they happen to teleport right in front of you then you’re doomed from the jump. Sometimes they would appear as soon as the level started and I had to quickly restart because there was no chance of making it through. I wouldn’t say this is an issue too often but you always feel a little fear when turning the corner because a car may suddenly be there. It’s clear that this one did not have a whole lot of processing power. Things would disappear right when they are out of sight and a lot of times what you see isn’t really there. There are countless times you will see the ocean ahead before the buildings load.

The game is also quite glitchy in general. I lost 2-3 levels because of glitches. One involved the computer being unable to move and since it was one of those “Tail the villain” missions, that meant I couldn’t win. In another one the enemy fell into the ocean which counted as a loss for me since I was supposed to take down all of the health points myself. Those glitches would always be quite unfortunate. The game’s fairly short so at least even with all of that I didn’t have to replay too much of the game but there should have been more polish here.

On a technical level the game just isn’t very impressive. The GBA graphics are some of the weakest ones I’ve seen in quite some time. Definitely on the weaker side for the console, no doubt about that. The way the story cutscenes go is also not very inspired. The text is very slow as it auto scrolls and it just follows still images which aren’t stylized at all. The story isn’t super engaging but the way they put this in did not help matters at all. The only thing I could say that’s really good about the game from a production perspective is the soundtrack. I actually thought that was really catchy the whole time. I had a good time with it at the very least and while they tend to replay the same tunes a lot, they still really get to you.

The gameplay is also pretty good. It’s nowhere near the level of the first game but it does still manage to capture the essence of what this is all about. The game is short so you won’t get to enjoy this for long but while you’re playing you will have a good time. So in the end what does this really mean? Well, Driver 2 is a game that I can recommend if you really like driving around but there’s no real good reason to pick this one up in particular. There are countless amounts of better titles in the genre to pick up after all so no reason to stick it through here. In a vacuum it can hold its own but it won’t be winning any awards.

Overall, I think Driver 2 could and should have been a little better. At the very least the story should have been more engaging since the first game had its fun moments. There is absolutely no replay value in this game which is unfortunate. That could have at least been a way to spice things up and keep you here for the long-haul. Instead that also shows how this game will be one that you complete and then forget forever. I’m hoping Driver 3 will be the game that really takes things up to the next level because I know the potential is here for the franchise. It just needs to live up to it and soon.

Overall 6/10

Tales of Phantasia Review


I haven’t played a lot of Tales of titles yet but I’m working on it. Over the last year or two I played the two Symphonias and Legendia. Now with Phantasia I’m one step closer to getting the full Tales experience. This one’s definitely a lot of fun and feels old in all the right ways. The turn based combat is simple yet effective. Now, I would still have to put it under both Symphonia titles but I dare say this one actually does beat Legendia.

The game follows a guy named Cress who has to go through a rather sad origin story as all Tales of characters do. Cress’ village is attacked by an evil mastermind who murders his family as well as his best friend Chester’s family. The whole village is burned to the ground and the main characters want vengeance. This won’t be quite so easy though. For starters, this is a battle that has been going on for generations. The villain is reviving an evil threat from 1000 years ago, Dhaos. Dhaos has mastery over time and space. The heroes will need to find a way to traverse time as well or they will ultimately be left behind to continue holding those Ls. Let me tell you, the Ls weigh a whole lot after a while.

For the gameplay, it’s not strictly speaking turn based combat. You do take turns when using spells but otherwise you can all move at the same time. The game is in 2D which is an interesting twist since you have to cram all of the characters together as you attack the villains. Since it’s not as close to 3D as the others, it can get a little tricky at times with your A.I. partners getting in the way. The game seems to intentionally get these guys to sabotage you as they’ll use the worst possible spells against the bosses.

No worries though you can keep pausing the game to give them manual commands. It’s a little extra work but it is worth it most of the time. You can see the areas where the series was still finding its footing with the gameplay mechanics. The game has to freeze whenever someone uses a spell which is pretty much every few seconds so that extends the length of each battle. That’s something future games stopped doing which is for the best.

So those are the weak points of the gameplay but the positives definitely outweigh those. For starters it’s always fun to learn new spells and try them out. The EXP system is very straightforward and the level ups make a difference. The most crucial part of the game is making sure you have the right equipment though. You want the pendent that cuts the spell time in half. It’s the most valuable item in the game by far and it would have been difficult to beat some of the bosses without it. You can effectively spam magical spells at your opponent which is incredibly handy.

As for the graphics, it looks pretty good. Some of the sprites may not be as descriptive as in other games like the Mana titles but you can still tell what is going on. The character illustrations may look a little different than the sprites but that’s hard to get around. The game does like to show off its graphics at times though like with the cutscene where we blow up a lot of monsters. That was definitely impressive.

As for the soundtrack, it’s a little less memorable than some of the others but the final boss theme is definitely fun. I liked the castle in general and the game does have a lot of energy. This one uses a style where the music will completely cut out a lot of the time. That’s something that I think the game should have changed. The situation getting dramatically quiet can be effective but not when you use it constantly. Then it doesn’t quite work.

If you like time travel then you will definitely enjoy the story quite a lot. As with most RPGs the story is very satisfying and a lot happens. Jumping from the past to the future is always fun and there are a lot of moments where it seems like the game is ending and then you jump back into it. Additionally The campaign took me close to 30 hours and after that there is still a lot of replay value to be had. You can try to complete side quests, get more level ups, and things like that. I don’t know of any significant post game though so it’s not quite as much of a post game as many RPGs. Still, with the base game being so long you shouldn’t have any issues there.

As a main character Cress is pretty reasonable. He’s a nice guy who does what he can to save the world. He may have a little less character than some of the other big RPG heroes but I wouldn’t say he has any real faults. Chester makes for a good friend but he misses out on a considerable portion of the game. By the time he rejoins the party you may not feel like putting him back in the rotation since your team is already set.

Mint also tends to miss a lot of the game. Unlike Chester she is around the whole time but doesn’t get to talk a lot. She’s a nice enough mage though. Claus gets more and more broken as the game goes on since he is able to summon all of the elemental spirits in the game. A large chunk of the adventure is supplying him with these creatures so he can fight off anyone who gets in his way. Then you have Arche who is a spell expert and can deal out a ton of damage. In most battles you just need her and Claus to take out the enemies since the other characters can barely even contribute in comparison. Arche has a lot of fun trolling the cast which is always good for the dynamic.

Finally you have the villain Dhaos. At times it’s hard to say if the game was really trying to make him sympathetic or not. Either way I wouldn’t say it succeeded as we needed to see more about his goal. No matter how he may have acted at the very end, it’s hard to get the feeling that this guy was ever in it for anything but himself. He makes for a great villain, no doubt about that. I just wouldn’t consider him anything but a full fledged villain.

Overall, Tales of Phantasia is another great RPG to add to the pile. It’s easy to see how this would help kickstart the Tales of series into becoming the huge title that it is today. I’m not sure when I’ll be checking out my next Tales of title but there are certainly a lot of other options to choose from. If you want to check out a very retro version of the franchise this is the one to pick up.

Overall 8/10