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

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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

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

F1 2002 Review


It’s time to look at a more modern video game in the form of F1. I tried out this game a bit a very long time ago but I quickly fell behind the curve. I believe this is because of the gameplay and after playing it again I am more confident of this fact. It just doesn’t play like a racing game really should. The controls are way too stiff and without the core racing aspect of this title it just feels rather empty.

So when you start the game you have to run to the training room. That’s because most of the other modes such as Tournament mode are locked until you get a lot of medals in training. The more medals you get, the more proficiency points you obtain. If you try to go for a perfect 100 you will certainly be here for a while. The good news though is that if you do this you will definitely have mastered the game since the training is incredibly thorough. It does do a good job of prepping you for the tournies but the irony is that by then you may not even see that point and you will put the game down. It’s like having to play a 5 hour tutorial before playing Sonic Racing. After 5 hours you’ll be burned out and ready to leave. Especially if the training is an accurate showing of what the gameplay will be like.

In F1 if you touch the outside of the track at all then you take a hard loss and have to repeat the level. If you accidentally drive on the right side during a certain portion of the map then you will be taken to the pit where you will lose almost a minute of time and it will effectively be impossible to win the race. I also think the gimmick of having to stop in for repairs is going way too far in trying to be realistic. This game does cross the line into being a race car simulator which I was not a fan of.

Simulators can be fun but they aren’t generally my cup of tea. I want to play a simplified version of the activity, not perform all of the steps. Another example of this mechanic is that as you drive through the stage your turning abilities will gradually get worse and worse until you can no longer pull off these maneuvers. This also makes it hard to learn the game because the gameplay won’t stay the same. If even that is constantly shifting then it’s yet another thing that you are going to have to worry about in the end. The game was too technical for its own good.

The graphics aren’t bad at least. EA has always been consistent in that area and so I’m not particularly surprised. The levels pop out at you and when blasting through the course at 100 miles an hour you are reminded that sometimes you need to just embrace the speed and head for the goal. Unfortunately the soundtrack is far less impressive and you will forget it almost immediately after hearing it. This is the opposite of the graphics as EA rarely has a good soundtrack going. The only one that is typically solid is Madden’s and that’s only because it uses iconic themes from the outside world for the games. I could go for a good Madden game right now, but lets stay focused.

There is a lot of replay value here technically since there is so much extra content. After doing all of the tutorials and beating the tournaments you’ll likely have spent over 10-20 hours in the game easily. The only question is really if you want to do that or if it’s time to take a step back. I do think you’ll be heavily burned out by this game very quickly but maybe I’m underestimating how many sport car fans there are. If you really like these extra mechanics to appear in the game then by all means you should try this game. Perhaps it will end up being your cup of tea.

Overall, F1 2002 is definitely not a game that I would recommend. It simply isn’t particularly good as a racer and I just don’t need a car simulator at the moment. I can see why the game series died while others like FIFA, NBA, and Madden are still going. That’s definitely a sign that something went wrong here. It’s a shame because the game has potential. If you want a good race car game that is built similarly to this one just look at Speed for the Wii. That game tries to have a similar approach but you don’t lose the race for going off the track and there certainly isn’t a pit where you can perform repairs. To this day I will still go on record to say that Speed did the best job of illustrating how fast you can go. No other racing game has ever matched that or even come close to be honest. It’s just a fun feeling when you’re playing Speed so go check that one out.

Overall 5/10

Metal Arms Glitch in the System Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 9h 48m
Total Chips 38

Level Stats Secret Chips Best Time
Level 1 0/2 5m 35s
Level 2 0/3 17m 49s
Level 3 0/3 10m 13s
Level 4 2/4 21m 6s
Level 5 0/0 4m 19s
Level 6 0/4 8m 45s
Level 7 0/3 10m 19s
Level 8 0/0 1m 44s
Level 9 0/1 9m 49s
Level 10 1/5 18m 16s
Level 11 1/2 14m 37s
Level 12 1/3 9m 45s
Level 13 0/0 10m 14s
Level 14 2/5 11m 37s
Level 15 1/3 40m 16s
Level 16 0/0 7m 45s
Level 17 1/6 34m 48s
Level 18 0/1 5m 12s
Level 19 1/3 11m 27s
Level 20 0/2 10m 10s
Level 21 1/4 9m 28s
Level 22 0/0 11m 17s
Level 23 0/4 43m 50s
Level 24 0/3 11m 32s
Level 25 0/1 12m 4s
Level 26 0/4 13m 51s
Level 27 1/4 10m
Level 28 2/4 20m 49s
Level 29 0/4 31m
Level 30 0/3 22m 54s
Level 31 0/4 28m 2s
Level 32 1/2 14m 2s
Level 33 0/1 5m 17s
Level 34 1/2 3m 48s
Level 35 0/1 4m 15s
Level 36 0/0 5m 6s
Level 37 0/2 4m 16s
Level 38 3/5 21m 20s
Level 39 1/2 13m 7s
Level 40 0/0 16m 41s
Level 41 0/0 19m 17s
Level 12 0/4 3m 56s

Metal Arms Glitch in the System Review


It’s time to look at a third person sci-fi shooter. That likely sounds pretty good, but I’m afraid that the game was certainly more on the underwhelming side. The levels were poorly designed and the game isn’t always clear on what the objective is. Throw in the game’s crazy difficulty level and you have a title that is best left on the shelf. The 10 hours it takes you to complete the game will feel like forever, but at least you will get some satisfaction out of this achievement.

The story focuses on a robot named Glitch. All of his friends and family have been taken down by the Mills. This is a different robot faction that wants to conquer the whole universe. So far their plan has gone over quite well, but Glitch will fight to the last man. To do that he must find the leader of the enemies and also destroy as many bases and factories along the way as possible. It won’t be easy, but this guy has spunk and the will to make it happen.

First off, I have to say that the story is quite bad. One of the game’s big selling points is the strong language where almost everything has to get beeped out in certain cutscenes because of how intense everyone is. It’s certainly not a joke that works well and it’s stretched out so long that it simply never had a chance. It’s rare for me to say that the writing in a video game was bad, but this was definitely one of those times. You couldn’t wait for the cutscenes to end in these instances. I guess the only good part would be the stinger that sets up the sequel. The odds of us getting a sequel are virtually 0 at this point, but a person can dream right? A sequel could be good if the game was fixed from the ground up and I have a feeling that it would be. The plot and characters are another story of course, but there’s always a chance.

The main villain is wrecked by the end as well. For the whole game you are convinced that he is a very cunning and powerful leader. He had a secret agent infiltrate our ranks and considering his large army the guy must know what he is doing right? Well, we find out by the end that the guy can’t talk and just likes to beat his chest like King Kong. He has no real character and can’t think too well. It turns out that the right hand man was the real brains behind the operation but the game could have done that without wrecking the final boss. Meanwhile none of the heroes are any good except for Glitch. I’ll say that he was a reasonable lead. The game lightly tries to make him a Hal Jordan/Han Solo kind of guy except he rarely gets to talk so it’s hard to see that. With more of a presence in the story I think he would have worked quite well.

As for the gameplay, as I mentioned it’s a TPS. When you first start you only have Glitch’s main arm cannon. As the game goes on you get a variety of weapons including the 3 best ones, a Gatling Gun, Rockets, and a Sniper Explosive. There’s also the Shotgun, but it’s basically useless until you upgrade it to level 3. At that point it becomes the best weapon in the game, but the ammo runs out almost instantly. I highly recommend upgrading all of your weapons, but getting the parts to do it can be tricky. You also always want to keep some money on hand in case you need to buy some health during a level. The levels are typically platformer style so you have to get to the end while fulfilling some kind of objectives. Keep blasting and the way will be known to you. If you pause the game you will also see a vague mission outline as well which can help you if you’re stuck. The game’s pretty dark so make sure your TV screen has a nice brightness level or you’ll really be in a pickle.

There are 42 levels in the game and it should take you around 10 hours to complete them. After that you can go back and find all of the secret chips to unlock extra multiplayer levels. Naturally as this game has such a multiplayer mode the replay value here is basically limitless. I’m sure it’ll be a blast too since the only thing holding the single player mode back was really the insane difficulty and glitches so the title could live up to its name. If you leave your vehicle behind be prepared to restart the level. Same thing happens if you leave an explosive behind. Also watch out for making it to a checkpoint with low health because you may end up dying quite a lot as you try to survive. Sometimes it’s better to just re-start the whole level. I actually had to replay the first 5 levels again because I initially played the game on normal mode before having to go back to Easy. This game simply didn’t play.

Making matters worse is the fact that 1-2 levels can’t be completed if you go in swinging. You had to play the levels with no guns equipped so the robots wouldn’t shoot at you. There’s almost no way to know that in advance so it feels a little cheap. I cheesed a few levels by just making a beeline for the goal. I had quite a few close shaves there. Now, this isn’t to say that difficulty is a bad thing. Games should be hard and you want a good challenge. However, this difficulty just feels cheap as you die to a few hits or the enemies infinitely respawn. If you don’t have the right grenade to mind control the robots then you’ll be stuck there for a while. I think this game just wasn’t nearly as polished as it should have been and will ultimately go down as one of the worst shooters that I’ve played. The gameplay could possibly be overlooked a little more if the story was any good, but it’s not.

The soundtrack is pretty solid at least. When you hear the main menu theme playing near the climax you know that things are finally getting serious. It was a pretty emotional moment and the other sci-fi themes aren’t bad. The graphics I won’t really fault either. It’s hard for me to say one way or the other if the game is too dark because my TV is always pretty iffy there, but it definitely could have been brighter. The destruction effects are pretty solid. Technically the controls are fairly good as well. You won’t miss a shot that you don’t want too.

Overall, Metal Arms is a bit of a missed opportunity. The game could and should have been amazing. The story of a robot rebellion rising up against its oppressors should be a classic. At the same time, it just missed every easy opportunity that it possibly could and by the end of this game it’ll be hard to remember the good times. The developers were slick by having the best levels be the final ones, but it’s simply too little too late. Unless you’re a huge fan of shooters and want to test your skills here, I would recommend avoiding this game. It’s simply not worth the pain and effort of trying to clear it since the story won’t even act as a reward.

Overall 4/10

James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing Stats and Records

Stats time!

Total Score 5356389

Stage Stats (Rank and Score)

Level 1 Bronze 64385
Level 2 Gold 147600
Level 3 Gold 240288
Level 4 Bronze 121563
Level 5 Gold 241500
Level 6 Gold 226152
Level 7 Bronze 114674
Level 8 Bronze 118401
Level 9 Bronze 146825
Level 10 Gold 257222
Level 11 Bronze 174926
Level 12 Bronze 181136
Level 13 Bronze 168551
Level 14 Gold 283413
Level 15 Bronze 145079
Level 16 Bronze 151110
Level 17 Bronze 297345
Level 18 Bronze 304713
Level 19 Bronze 279000
Level 20 Bronze 259544
Level 21 Bronze 236874
Level 22 Bronze 258732
Level 23 Bronze 319938
Level 24 Bronze 178175
Level 25 Bronze 131075
Level 26 Bronze 125240
Level 27 Bronze 182928

James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing Review


It’s time to look at the final James Bond game that I own. It’s been a good run, but even this agent has to run out of games eventually right? The games have all been fairly solid thus far though. I may not be the biggest fan of FPS titles, but I’ve warmed up to them over the years. Then we have this game which is a third person shooter so you really can’t go wrong there at all. It’s a fun game even if some parts feel a little cheesy when it comes to the gameplay mechanics.

The plot involves a rogue scientist deciding to team up with Jaws so they can destroy the world. He has a spy working for him who gets behind Bond’s defenses and helps to advance the villain’s plans. Bond must put aside his love for being a terrible agent so that he can finally become the fighter that he always dreamed of being. Can Bond actually pull this off or is it time for him to finally call it quits and take a step back?

Yeah, there’s really not much to the plot to be honest. Although while it is a little on the generic side, I do appreciate the fact that it is an ongoing story that continues throughout the game. That helps it feel more like a proper movie adventure than just having snippets of plot here and there. We have full cutscenes and voice acting so honestly it was actually quite high budget. The graphics are on point, but you’d expect nothing less since this is on the Nintendo Gamecube. Then we’ve also got the soundtrack which may not be the most inspired out there, but it’s not terrible. On a technical level this game succeeded.

Then we’ve got the gameplay which is also solid. For most levels you’ll be running with your guns at the ready. At first you can get away with just running into a room and initiating the fight, but as you get closer to the end of the game you’ll have to switch to a far more tactical approach like hiding behind objects. You can temporarily slow time while looking across the room to spot a path through the villains as well. Then you’ve also got a bunch of tech at your disposal like an invisibility suit, grenades, spider bots, and more. I rarely used them since the villains would be on you in a heart beat, but the thermo suit turned out to be very useful in the final level. Seriously, winning without that would have been almost impossible.

Then you have other gameplay styles like when you have to drive a motorcycle, car, or a tank. The driving levels (Aside from the tank) were a blast and a nice break from the shooting. Of course, adding in alternate forms of gameplay like this can be risky since it can take away from the experience, but the gameplay was just as polished and it was just fun so I can’t say that I had any problem with it. When it comes to the gameplay the only thing I really did have an issue with was the final level. That one was just not executed well.

I’m fine with it being super difficult and riddled with enemies of course. As the final level in the game I’d expect nothing less. What wasn’t good though was the fact that the level was incredibly long without any checkpoints until the actual boss fight. I spent nearly 2 hours on this level. I’d make it so far only for something cheesy to happen or an enemy would get a lucky hit. If every level had been like that things could have gotten dicey for the game. Fortunately that was the only level to not have well placed checkpoints.

As far as the game’s content goes, it’s at a good length. The main story has around 27 levels in it and after that you can feel free to have fun in multiplayer mode for a while. It’s 4 player so that will give you a lot to have fun with. The replay value never really has to end and even without it the main campaign is sufficiently long. I’m not sure what the going price for it is nowadays, but I can’t imagine that it would be all that pricey. It’s so old…unless it’s out of print of course, but I’ll hope that this is not the case.

Overall, Everything or Nothing is a solid James Bond game. It focuses less on the Bond aspects of the franchise and more on the fun action scenes. It’s certainly not perfect, but as far as shooters go it can hold its own against any other realistic TPS. If you haven’t played a Bond game before then this is definitely one that I would recommend checking out. It’s a good way to start off and it’ll allow you to get used to the shooting aspect. Since you don’t have any cool super powers to back you up, you’ll have to train yourself on the fundamentals. Once you’ve gotten those down, this skill will help you for future games.

Overall 7/10