Game Records

Need For Speed Carbon Stats and Records

Stats time!

Game Completion 45%
Career Completion 69%
Races Won 60
Races Lost 2
Cash Earned 876,600
Best Jump Air Time 1.65
Cars Unlocked 27
Cars Purchased 9
Tracks Unlocked 86
Safe Houses Found 4
Crew Members Hired 5
Pursuits Evaded 11
Times Busted 2
Longest Pursuit 5m 4s
Shortest Pursuit 15s
Spike Strips Dodged in one pursuit 5
Cars Rammed in a single pursuit 14
Total Cars Rammed 40
Total Cops Disabled 43
Total Cost to State 371,975
Total Infractions 25
Total Roadblocks Dodged 7
Highest Clocked Speedtrap 134mph
Bounty Total 81,000
Highest Heat Level 4

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Need For Speed Carbon Review


After a long break it is now time to go back into the world of Need For Speed. Carbon brings in a lot of familiar elements from Underground 2 and Most Wanted while also adding its own spin on things. I would consider this to be the best NFS in a lot of ways with the only thing I don’t like being the whole territory system. On the whole it’s also tough between this one and Most Wanted, but I would probably give this one the slight edge. It definitely does have the best story although the gameplay is naturally the deciding factor.

So you’re playing as an underground racer who was nearly caught by the police but managed to escape. Of course, the issue with this is that he had to desert everyone else to do it. Now the rest of the racers and even his old friend are pretty upset at him. It’s a rough time for our nameless lead and he gets sloppy enough to even let a bounty hunter catch him. Fortunately a “nice” gangster frees the hero and tells him that the only way to restore his rep is to go and take over all the various gangster territories in the city. I don’t know exactly how that makes sense…if anything that would make him seem even more like a jerk right? He comes back just in time to beat everyone up and get the cops back on the trail? Ah well, the hero likes the plan so that’s what we’re going with. As the game goes on it turns out that there may have been something more to this incident. Were the cops really just coincidentally in the area?

I liked the story because there are quite a few cutscenes and I do think it did a pretty good job of setting the stage. Each of the main mob bosses gets a very exaggerated cutscene where they yell a lot with crazy colors in the background. It’s got a very 90’s-early 2000s vibe which works really well with the Need For Speed franchise in general. You really just can’t go wrong with the story here. Most of the levels are at night which is cool, but you will find yourself missing the day time by the end. It’s always good to have a mix of both. When there are only day levels I miss the night themed ones and vice versa. I think the game would have done well to have included a nice mix. As for the soundtrack, you’ve got an array of EA songs as always. They’re pretty fast paced even if the lyrics aren’t anything to write home about.

As for the gameplay it is pretty standard. The driving is pretty good and you’ll get the hang of the turns as the game goes on. Personally I always found it easiest to quickly let go of the pedal and turn before slamming it again. Alternately you’ve got the hand brake by pressing A, but I always found the turns to be a bit too wide using that method. You can also brake to turn which I would use at times if I really had to make a sharp curve in time. They’ve all got pros and cons of course so you’ll just want to try everything and see what sticks. You can also buy turbo which will permanently give you the option to use boosts. One warning for that is once you activate it then the computers will obtain it as well. I’d say that it’s worth it though because the boost really comes in handy.

You start out with a pretty average car, but as the game goes on you will be able to buy new ones. I actually used the same car for most of the game before eventually buying 3 more by the end. It’s worth staying with one car for as long as possible since your new ones will get outdated very quickly and you’ll run out of money. As it stands I only got 3 cars and I was out of money at the end. Of course, the third car I got was the best one money could buy in the game by the end so it was well worth the price. It effectively is impossible to win the last races with a weak car since it is simply too slow. Even if you don’t make any mistakes you simply won’t be able to keep up with the opponent.

Then there are also the cops to worry about. If they catch you too many times then they’ll take your car away for good. If they take all of your cars then you go all the way back to the beginning of the game. I don’t know exactly how that works since I didn’t let them take away 1 car, let alone all of them. Hopefully you’d be able to quickly reset the Gamecube so you wouldn’t actually have to go back. That would be pretty devastating. Speaking of the cops, the game does have an open world as always so you can have fun getting into police chases. I didn’t play around with them much compared to the last games because this time you aren’t forced to stay in the city the whole time. Instead of finding races through free roam you can just warp to them from the safe house. This saves an incredible amount of time and is a great change. You also don’t have to worry about increasing your reputation or anything like that. This game finally gives you the ability to just focus on the races and claim them all.

Now, this wouldn’t be a Need for Speed game without some kind of pointless gimmick though. For Carbon it is the territory system. The way you advance past each world is to win a lot of races and then challenge the boss. When you beat him then you claim the area. The problem here is the fact that other teams can challenge you for the territories you took earlier. If you refuse to fight them then they take your area automatically. So get ready to have to fight these guys quite a bit in races that you’ve already won. I dunno, maybe it’s not all that bad but it felt like a quick way to extend the game a bit. It’s also not needed since the game is actually pretty long I’d say.

The main story should take you around 10 hours or more. For replay value you can go around and beat all of the levels that you had not conquered yet. Since you’re able to skip about 1/3 of the levels that should add on another 3-4 hours under your belt. In general free roam is also limitless fun as long as you just like driving which is the whole point anyway. I can’t say that I’ll be sticking around with this game, but maybe some day I’ll come back to do those extra races. I basically skipped all of the drift challenges since the controls for those are pretty wonky.

Finally, I should mention that in the story mode there are a few different kinds of events. The general gameplay is the same of course, but the objectives are different. First you’ve got normal races which are self explanatory. Then you’ve got Canyon Races which are usually 1 vs 1 races (it can be 4 way though) and they take place at night on a canyon. In these stages you can actually fall off the track which is an instant loss. I really liked how they handled these levels. You’ve also got check points where you’re doing a time trial, speed bumps where you want to go your fastest as the scanner steps in, etc. The only pretty iffy one is Drift and I avoided every single one of those. By the end of the game I hadn’t completed any of them and I’m glad that I didn’t. It would have taken forever for me to force myself to learn the controls which wouldn’t have been super efficient.

Also, you’ve got a partner for some of these races and he really comes in handy. There are a few different kinds of helpers like people who show you short cuts, help you boost, etc. I went for a guy who can ram into other cars to help you get a lead. It went over really well since the guy was great at his job. It’s part of why I got away with using a terrible car for so long. The blocker could buy you up to 20 seconds at a time which is huge in a race. I owe him a lot.

Overall, Need For Speed Carbon is definitely a solid title. The story ends a little too abruptly if you ask me. There’s really no payoff to the long detective journey and by the end you will definitely wonder what the point of the villain’s plan was. He would have been doing good if he didn’t bring the hero in to mess things up. I suppose it’ll just be a mystery. I actually don’t have the next Need For Speed so that’ll probably be a while, but in the meanwhile I do have another video game review coming out so keep an eye out for it. Meanwhile you should definitely check this title out. You’ll have a hard time trying to find a better racing game than this one.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike Review


All right guys, this is a milestone game. It’s my final entry in the Star Wars series! There’s still one or two games I need to get someday, but now I have at least beaten all of the ones that I own. Rebel Strike is definitely a good one to ends things off with. It’s not the best Star Wars game by a longshot, but it’s definitely a quality title all the same. It’s a classic aerial shooter title with some ground elements thrown in as well. While those parts feel more button spammy than the rest it does help make the game feel more complete.

The game’s plot roughly covers the trilogy as per usual. It seems to start with the second movie rather than the first though, I’m guessing Rogue Squadron II probably covered that one. The Rebels are losing ground against the Empire so their only chance is for a young jedi named Luke and another aerial fighter to take back their home and win the war. During the game you get to pick your path as you progress through the story. Depending on which level you pick will determine which character you play as. It’s a pretty interesting way to go forward for sure.

There are around 10-12 levels in the game although if you pay through all of the routes then you can add a few more levels. (Only 2 routes and 4 levels are shared) Most of the levels have the normal aerial combat gameplay. It’s pretty fun as usual although definitely a lot less polished than the others ones I played which is almost odd. Good luck trying to lock on to anyone as the enemies move too quickly. There was a long tutorial level to start the game off so maybe I missed a few things, but it seems to be like there may not even be a traditional lock on. The enemies also camouflage into the space sky really quick. It’s hard to get a read on them so at times the best thing to do is to just blast wildly. You can also turn infra red on which helps but it doesn’t look quite as fun when used for long periods of time. That said, I’d give a thumbs up to the gameplay overall.

The next gameplay style in the game is the human combat. This is the best part of the whole game so it’s a shame that it only shows up 2-3 times. You basically play as Luke or Han and go around blasting people. It’s definitely a style where spamming the A button is enough to get you through, but it’s very satisfying. It’s extremely simple and feels like you’re back in the arcade. Just run around blasting everyone until you get to the end of the level. There’s nothing more that you need to get to the end and if you ask me that’s exactly how it should be.

Finally you have one level where you’re on a scooter. This is the worst level in the game so I’m glad it only popped up once. The goal is to ride to the end of the level and take out all of the scouts along the way. There are about 11 and then one that you can’t beat until the cutscene plays. The level is annoying for a bunch of reasons, but one of those is the fact that the level explicitly tells you to eliminate all of the enemies. It even gives you an attack to help with that. So what’s the scam? Well, if you attack them then they start attacking back and they’re a lot stronger than you. The best way to win this one is to actually not even try ramming into them. If you just fly peacefully to the end you can just turn right and left and the guys will fall into trees. It feels cheesy and I doubt it is really the intended option. This level just wasn’t made all that well.

The graphics here are pretty good. We actually get some scenes from the movie as well which is always pretty fun. The space levels are a little hard because of how everything is covered by the shadows. I don’t really think this was intended so I will say that this does hold the graphics back a bit though. As for the soundtrack, it’s all themes that you’ve already heard a few hundred times before. They’re still good, but there’s nothing really new to talk about here. Star Wars uses the old themes as a crutch so I look forward to hearing some new tunes once that EA game comes out in the near future.

There isn’t much replay value here, but it’s still a little better than some of the other games. You can go back and play the other paths to experience the full story. There are also some unlockables and you can try to earn a gold medal. Ultimately this may not be a whole lot so I would say to keep that in mind. The main campaign is only a few hours long as well so this is the kind of game that won’t really last very long. That means that the gameplay has to be tight and I thought it was. As long as you like aerial fighter games then you’ll be fine.

Overall, Star Wars Rebel Strike is definitely a good one to get. It’s to be expected though since it did come out for Gamecube. That console is still the ultimate gaming machine and I don’t expect that will ever change. It was really a pivotal moment in gaming history. Star Wars Rebel Strike may ultimately be lacking a little polish in some areas, but its core fundamentals are strong and that’s what counts. If you haven’t played this game yet then it’s worth buying, especially if you can find it for a good price. If it’s overpriced and out of print then I would just suggest getting a different Star Wars title. Most of them have a similar feel to this one so the price is key.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

American Chopper 2: Full Throttle Stats and Records

Stats time!

Paul SR Levels
Level 1 Bronze
Level 2 Bronze
Level 3 Bronze
Level 4 Bronze
Level 5 Bronze
Level 6 Bronze

Paul JR Levels
Level 1 Bronze
Level 2 Bronze
Level 3 Silver
Level 4 Gold
Level 5 Bronze
Level 6 Silver

Mikey Levels
Level 1 Gold
Level 2 Bronze
Level 3 Gold
Level 4 Bronze
Level 5 Bronze
Level 6 Bronze

Vinnie Levels
Level 1 Silver
Level 2 Bronze
Level 3 Bronze
Level 4 Bronze
Level 5 Silver
Level 6 Bronze

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Reviews

American Chopper 2: Full Throttle Review


It’s time to look at a driving game that I’ve had on the backlog for a long time. I’ve tried playing through it several times in the past but I could never get past the first level. I’m not really sure why since when I played it this time I didn’t find the level to be challenging. Ah well, I’m guessing I just didn’t understand the objective of the game. It’s a pretty decent title, but one with no real replay value and the lack of content holds it back a star.

There is a basic plot in the game. There is a big motorcycle contest coming up and the 4 main characters each want to build a bike to win the contest. Naturally none of them get along which leads to a lot of bickering among them. This contest is the way to prove who has the best plan and strategy towards winning. Will it really be that simple though? There are little cutscenes before most of the levels which is pretty fun. I like the voice acting here as all of the characters are a bit over the top with their monotone voice, but it’s really what stitches everything together quite nicely.

One thing that will take you out of the plot a bit is the fact that the final contest is apparently a team one. So this means that everyone gets to win and team up together. That kind of defeats the purpose right? At least to me it felt that way. I guess it gives us the happy ending this way though as now they all get along and look forward to the next season. I do admit that I probably wouldn’t watch this kind of show, but maybe I would pick up a sequel game if the price was right.

So for the gameplay it’s your classic driving title. You’re on a motorcycle and you either have to win a race, collect objects, or make it to a specific destination in time. You don’t have to worry about falling off the bike unlike most other game of this genre so that is appreciated. It lets you focus a little more on the actual driving and just having fun. That’s always the preferred option if you ask me. The driving is very simplistic so you should have it mastered pretty easily. The levels are never all that difficult and the only times you will have trouble is when the directions are vague.

One point against the game is the fact that you can never look at a full map. This will result in you taking the wrong path sometimes in the level and then you’ll lose. One annoying thing about how the levels are set up is that if you lose a mission in the level you have to start the whole thing from scratch. Some levels are fairly short so it’s not really an issue but others can be up to 10 minutes. You never want to have to restart such a large portion. It would have been a lot more annoying if I had actually been losing. Since I only lost a few times it wasn’t too bad, but it’s one of those design choices that I can’t say I’m a big fan of.

The graphics are definitely pretty good. It’s got that classic Gamecube feel to it which has always aged well. The character designs are on point and I like how the bikes look. Once in a while you’ll get a character model that doesn’t load in time so you have to count on your reaction times to dodge. That’s to be expected I suppose. The soundtrack is definitely not great though and the songs aren’t even properly set up to last for the whole level. As a result you’ll come across parts of a level that are completely silent which is always a bit iffy. Music should always last for as long as it needs to.

There are 24 levels in the game as each of the 4 characters gets 6. After that you will end up playing the “Final” level where you have to play as all 4 characters in the game. I’m thinking this story will take you around 2-3 hours tops so that’s not very long. After that there really isn’t anything to do. Sure, you can go back to replay the old levels again and have fun doing that, but is it really what you want to do? It’s not like you’ll be unlocking any more stages or any of that so there isn’t much point. That’s what hurts the game, there is 0 replay value so the question is simply whether you even want to buy this one when you can get Need For Speed.

Again, I do have to stress that the gameplay is pretty good. The racing controls are on point and even if the game may seem a little too easy, I do think some good work was put into the controls. The story is pretty entertaining and you’ll like all of the characters pretty well before long. It’s a quite solid game, but I just wish there was a little more to it. Throw in a map and more specific instructions and then you’d have really had a winner here.

Overall, American Chopper is definitely a pretty wholesome experience. It’s better than some of the other motorcycle games that I’ve played and I am glad that it does actually have a story. Some of the missions are so outlandish that it makes them work even more than you’d expect. You never really know what the main characters are going to do next and maybe that is how it should be. They keep you guessing all the way through even if you ultimately might end up rooting for someone else instead. Can’t root for the heroes every time right? With this game done I don’t think I’ll be playing another racing game for a bit. Then it’s probably time to delve back into the world of Need For Speed!

Overall 6/10

Game Records

Need For Speed Underground 2 Stats and Records

Stats time!

Game Complete 70%
Bank 221,031
Race record 155-3
Circuit Wins 35
Sprint Wins 28
Drift Wins 25
Drag Wins 17
Street X Wins 26
URL Wins 24
Magazines Won 6/20
DVD Covers Won 10/10
Hidden Shops Found 18/18
Parts Unlocked 100%
Stage 1 Reputation 1,600
Stage 2 Reputation 5,100
Stage 3 Reputation 7,700
Stage 4 Reputation 12,500
Stage 5 Reputation 13,900

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Need For Speed Underground 2 Review


It’s time to look at a Need For Speed game that I’ve been working on buying for many years. I beat the first Underground a while back, but I just hadn’t gotten around to buying this one. Well, recently I bought around 6-7 games in the series so now I can go on a little roll. This game was incredibly long so clearing the story was a daunting task, but one that I was prepared for. It’s definitely a great racing game with content that will last you a long time.

The story starts out with a bang as your character is ambushed by someone and your car as well as all of your money is stolen. People don’t remember you without the car so now you’ll have to start from scratch. Fortunately, a rich lady appears and agrees to help you out in exchange for conquering the Underground circuit. You decide to do so with one motive at hand, you want to crush Caleb, the guy who stole your stuff. Can you make it to the top or will he sabotage you before then?

I do like how the game continues from the first with this intro. It’s even a good in universe reason to explain why you’re back at the bottom even if people forgetting your name is a bit of a stretch. Still, the actual premise beats the execution. There aren’t a whole lot of cutscenes in this game and it’s not like the main character ever even appears. The cutscenes are done in comic book format and use moving stills rather than animation. So, the games have some room for improvement in the story, but at least this one did have a real story. I’ll give the title some credit there.

The gameplay is certainly on point. It brings you back to the simpler days of racing as you just drive to the goal using your skills. Eventually you are given the option to add a booster, but that’s as far out as it’ll go. As I’ve mentioned in the past, having a booster isn’t bad. It’s still pure racing and there’s a reason why Need for Speed is so well known. The franchise is just really good at doing what it does best, getting you into the zone. You’ll be dominating the rest of the cars by the end of the game as you master the controls and keep on improving your car.

You better make sure your car is on point because there are over 200 races in the game and if you have to replay all of them a few times to win…then you’re going to be here for a long while. You can clear the game after around 150 races at least, but that’s still a lot. The game is around 20 hours long and 100% completing it will take significantly longer than that. To help ease the repetition you can also go to shops and spruce up your ride a bit. Switching up how it looks should help quite a bit in the long run since it’ll feel like you’re racing an entirely different vehicle.

One thing to watch out for is the game’s visual reputation gimmick. There are 5 stages in the game and to get to the next one you always have to increase your car’s star value. The max is 10 and you typically need to increase it by 2 for every stage. So if you have run out of levels on a stage that is probably why you haven’t been able to go forward yet. Speaking of which, there are several kinds of races. First are the standard Circuit ones. Just drive to the goal to win. Then you have the best ones which are Drift. Just keep on turning to wrack up points and you’ll usually win the races by a rather huge margin to be honest. Street X races are sort of like mini races. You have to out drive the other cars on a very narrow track. Drag races are the toughest ones as you have to manually switch gears at the perfect time to win. The best thing to do is leave these til the end where you can cheese them with your booster.

The races that advance the plot are the URL ones which are typically a series of 2-3 races. Once you beat them then you move on. I do think it’s a little annoying how the game makes the races so long by the end though. Some races can go on for 6-10 minutes straight so when you lose them you’ve just lost a lot of time. I think a good race should always be 3-4 minutes tops. If you get beyond that then the race is too long. It’s almost a case of having too much content, but it’s under the same logic of how save points should be frequent and easy to access.

The graphics definitely look very solid here. It was definitely an interesting move to have the whole game take place at night. Honestly by the end I was hoping for some daylight levels, but the screens still look good. The cars are quite sharp and I always like the boost effect. It’s safe to say that these areas hold up. Unfortunately the soundtrack does not. I ended up having to turn off most of the music themes in the game and the ones that I left on aren’t exactly great. It’s a very weak soundtrack which isn’t all that surprising as EA in general tends to overdo it with their selection. Still, you don’t hear the tunes quite as much when you’re playing Madden and in general I think that series was better at it.

Overall, Need For Speed Underground 2 is a great racing game. You really can’t ask for much more out of the genre. It’s got a story and over 200 races. There is also a multiplayer mode to have fun with. I see this as being the definitive Need For Speed title, but we’ll see if it can hold on to that. Next up is Most Wanted which seems to have a better story and it finally brings in the pursuit mechanics, but it may come at the expense of a multiplayer mode. Either way I’ll start on that one soon, but with Kingdom Hearts III coming out it may take a little longer to complete than I would have expected otherwise. If you haven’t played this game yet then you should change that. It’s definitely a title that you will want up your sleeve.

Overall 8/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Disney’s Magical Mirror Starring Mickey Mouse Review


It’s time to look at a retro Mickey Mouse game. The moment you boot it
up the game has a nostalgic feeling to it as the graphics are the kind
that you could only find on GameCube. It just looks really hype, alas
there isn’t much gameplay to support that.

The game starts with Mickey going to sleep but then his ghost wakes up
before his body does. Seizing the opportunity, Mickey jumps out of bed
and heads to the world of the ghosts. Unfortunately, the mirror that
he used to leave his human world had been broken by some tricky
ghosts. He will now have to find all of the pieces before he can
leave…or will he?

This game actually had two endings which is pretty interesting. There
are 12 mirror fragments scattered throughout the mansion. Your
mission, should you choose to accept it is to find them all. That will
unlock the good ending. Alternatively you can find most of them,
enough to piece the part of the mirror together with a gap big enough
to jump through. Then you unlock the “bad” ending.

Naturally when I saw that the portal was open after getting most of
the pieces I jumped through. Keep in mind of course that at this point
you aren’t given any indication that the game will end if you do this.
The cutscene starts and you quickly realize that there is no turning
back. The ending is actually a little tragic, almost dark. As you head
through the portal, the ghost begs you not to go but you decide to
leave anyway, all the while wondering if maybe the ghost wasn’t so bad
and just wanted a friend. Either way it’s too late now as there is no
way back.

There isn’t much of a story but what we do get is pretty emotional I
suppose. The whole world is definitely creative as the house has a lot
personality. Think of any classic room you’d expect to have in a
mansion and this place has got it. The levels are fairly large. The
game is very short but the time can be extended a bit if you try to
100% the title. There isn’t much replay value though as beating the
game locks you out of it as a lot of older games used to do.

As I mentioned earlier the graphics are very solid. The art style is
on point and the game just pops out at you. It’s the kind of title
that you just can’t forget. There isn’t much of a soundtrack though so
the graphics have to hold the game up on its own but it is more than
ready to do so.

So this is all well and good, but what about the gameplay? Well,
that’s the part that sinks the game. It’s effectively an I-Spy game.
As a result you aren’t doing a whole lot of actual playing here. In
fact you can’t even move. You click on parts of the screen to try and
move there. Then you click on objects to interact with them. You get
trick points for scaring Mickey which you can then use to attack the
ghost and get a fragment. There are a few issues with this. The first
is that while at the start you will be able to remember which objects
you’ve already tried out, that will be very difficult by the end of
the game where there are a ton of them. This is a problem because the
object interactions never go away so each time is treated as the
first. Some objects have more than one resolution as well. Some need
specific items to activate but you don’t know which item or how to
find them.

The game has a lot of rooms to explore which is good as it shows that
the developers put some effort into making the game as big as
possible. On the other hand, this makes the game feel a lot slower
than it should have been. There is no way to quickly go from room to
room and you better memorize where each of the rooms are because if
you go through the wrong one there is a chance that you won’t be able
to turn back. Some doors only work one way which is definitely not
what you want to see.

I think ultimately what this game was lacking was quality of life
enhancements. 2 simple things that would have increased the game quite
a lot would have been to have added a map so you know where you’re
going and to remove interactions from items you’ve already done. That
way you know which items you’ve done already because they won’t give
you an option to click them. Put these two in and I think I’d give the
game another star. It’d be a lot easier to complete the game that’s
for sure. Difficulty isn’t a problem, but this is really more of a
developmental flaw than a difficulty issue. After all, you can
eventually beat the game, it’ll just take longer. Even if you have to
see the sad ending you’ll probably think it’s worth it to escape the
house of mirrors.

Overall, Mickey’s Mirrors is a pretty nice game. It’s definitely
something that would be easy to have a kid pick up and play. The
concept of I-Spy isn’t that hard after all. I do think kids would get
lost after a while though. I-Spy type gameplay can work pretty well,
but typically it would need to be for a horror esque game or something
like that. Likewise, visual novels work because it’s like you’re going
through a movie. However, you can’t go with this strategy if there
isn’t much of a story to follow. It’s not a bad game, but you can
barely call this a “game” because there is no movement or actions to
take. All you do is click a button and hope for the occasional mini
game to show up. If you can get a good price then go for it, but
otherwise this isn’t the platformer that you might have been
expecting.

Overall 5/10