Play Time 38h 16m
Missions Cleared 135
Guild Level 38
Play Time 38h 16m
Missions Cleared 135
Guild Level 38
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.
Secrets unlocked 5%
Play Time 4h 55m
Curio Bags 18/147
Max Life Items 0/7
Mini Game Max Life 0
Hearts Lost 106
Frogger has returned and it’s time to head back to the GBA era on this one. The core gameplay of Frogger is something that should always be fun. You have to use a lot of tactical awareness to hop from square to square while memorizing enemy patterns. That’s something this game understood a whole lot more than the previous ones. We actually got to focus on this gameplay without throwing in a bunch of unrelated styles and it all worked out rather well.
The game starts with Frogger being called into action once more as someone has broken a legendary wand into 8 pieces. Frogger must now find these pieces before they end up destroying the entire planet. It won’t be easy to stop them but he has the help of a local wizard. Together they will have to go to various planets where the pieces have been absorbed into various life forms and take them down. This will certainly not be easy but it must be done either way.
I’ve already talked about the gameplay but I’ll reiterate that it’s just a lot of fun. The controls are as basic as can be. You can move in any direction by one space or jump which crosses 2 spaces. You have to try and reach the end of the level without being touched. Any contact with an enemy will result in an immediate death but fortunately there are a lot of checkpoints throughout the level so you can use those to regroup. Often times patience is rewarded here so take a minute to memorize the attack patterns without overthinking things.
Meanwhile the boss battles try a lot of different ideas. For example, one of them is a Simon Says kind of game where you have to copy whatever the boss does to injure him. Another is a duck duck goose kind of game where you have to run around the boss in a circle to trap him in a light prison. The final boss may have been my favorite one as you play a memory game where you lift up a bunch of cards as you try to find various matches. Continue doing this until you have flipped the cards over.
This keeps the levels fresh without actually messing up the gameplay. Now on the negative side, this game is incredibly short. You’ll probably have it knocked out in around 3 hours or so. Maybe even shorter as I see someone online beat it in an hour and a half. The game isn’t particularly hard but I do suspect some areas should take you more than one try. I definitely died on a fair share of attempts although the game is quite generous with throwing extra lives throughout the game so you will rarely see a game over.
Even the final boss has an infinite amount of one ups next to him so make sure you keep grabbing them to keep your life points up. There are no true collectibles here outside of little cards that are only used in the levels so there is no real replay value here. When you beat the game it will really be over. With that in mind, you don’t want to spend too much on these games. I managed to score each one for a very cheap price since they came in a bundle. When you buy it like that, you won’t mind the length quite as much.
This one’s the definition of a fun game that is over in a flash. It probably would have been a good Blockbuster rental back in the day. As for the graphics, I liked the art style here. It’s got that nice hand drawn feel with some decent illustrations. There’s even a line with voice acting at the beginning and the level designs are good. The soundtrack is a little more on the forgettable side though. The themes are good and all but are about as standard as you can get.
A little replay value could have gone a long way but maybe next time I guess. The character roster in this one’s pretty small. The magician is okay at best but also not too memorable. Frogger is fairly selfish and nervous for a hero but at this point that really is his true personality so I suppose it won’t be leaving anytime soon. He tends to grumble about things a lot but deep down you know he’s in it for the team. Frogger just doesn’t know how to show this. He didn’t deserve that ending though, lets just say that some characters are really not that grateful at all which is a shame considering everything Frogger did here.
Overall, The Lost Wand is a good way to continue the Frogger mythos. It doesn’t get to try anything new and you may not remember it so well by the end of your adventure but it did capture the true essence of Frogger. Finally, you could play the game and just have fun hopping around without having to learn a new set of controls. It may be short, but as of now I would call it the definitive Frogger game. I have another one that I’ll be starting later today though so we’ll see how long this title can keep that crown. If you still have a GBA or DS then I would definitely recommend giving it a go.
No stats this time!
Looks like it’s time for another Crash adventure. The last two games were both pretty short and the same is true of this one. You can beat it in under 90 minutes so I wonder how you would be feeling about that if you bought it on launch day. Granted, if you paid full price then perhaps you would go ahead and grab all of the collectibles to get the true ending. As it stands, this one is very similar to the last Crash game. It’s a pretty fun adventure that may be brief, but the gameplay is quite sound. It also has more of a plot than the last one so I was all for that.
The game starts with the Mask finally deciding that Cortex has failed him for the last time. He turns to one of the other members of the Cabal, a Time Master. The Master is pretty confident that he can stop Crash so he hires a mind control villain to kidnap everyone. The guy succeeds except for Crash who gets lucky thanks to his own Mask protecting him. The villains now have all of Crash’s friends + an evil version of Crash. Can Crash really save all of his friends and defeat someone who manipulates time with such ease? One thing’s for sure, this is not going to be an easy win for our young Bandicoot. Crash is going to need some kind of plan here.
It’s a pretty epic plot and unlike the last one we do get more cutscenes throughout each world. You get that sense of danger after clearing each world and I do like the idea of fighting all of Crash’s allies. I was a little surprised to see Crash among them though. I guess he was actually a good guy? Based on his dialogue it seems like he was mind controlled the whole time so he’s always been a hero. You can certainly color me surprised on that twist but it was good to see him again. As with last time the bosses are pretty well varied. The final boss even has two phases this time which makes him a true threat. You’ll want to really memorize his movement patterns or you’re in for a tough time. I would recommend sliding under him after every two jumps and then in phase two if he starts shooting the fast energy blasts go directly under him. He can’t shoot at that angle so you’ll be safe and then you can just hope he doesn’t fire off the homing energy blast instead. At that point you’re pretty much just plain ole doomed.
As for the levels, they’re mainly your usual Crash 2D Platforming levels. The actual levels feel a little shorter than the last game’s, but it’s pretty close so that could just be placebo. Either way the controls are smooth and one thing that I liked was how you have all of the power ups from the start this time. It does make the game as a whole considerably easier than the last one, but I really enjoy the double jump. It’s just hard not to play with it so I’m fine with the game being a little easier if that’s what it takes. Just go through the level cautiously and you should be fine. If you’ve made it this far in the series you’ll definitely be okay and if not the game actually has a pretty helpful tutorial at the beginning.
One of the alternate gameplay styles that made a return here is the Monkey Ball style. It’s my least favorite style in this game though. The levels have too many obstacles so you end up having to go really slow the whole time. As a result you don’t get to really capture that fun Monkey Ball spirit. Another gameplay style is the space missions where you have to boost through the levels and blast alien ships. I don’t think the boost mechanic was necessary here but I’m always up for some space blasting. There are only 2-3 of these levels in the game so make them count. Finally you also have the boat levels where you have to try and escape Jaws. These levels are a bit random but pretty fun. I consider them to be an upgrade over the running towards the screen levels from the earlier games.
So I don’t really have any complaints with this game except for one. Naturally that’s the length. 1 hour is pretty short for any console, but especially for one as modern as the GBA. Clearly the goal is to get you to replay it a few times until you collect everything, but I think the main campaign still could have been longer. If it was between the game being short or padding it out though then they made the right move. Collectibles should always be optional so I’m glad that the game made them that way. Forcing you to grab everything has always been a risky gamble and not one that I was a fan of.
As for the soundtrack, I’m finally starting to recognize the tunes after hearing them so much. The music in the game is pretty fun. It may not be the most dynamic, but the tunes are easy to listen to and help capture that Adventure spirit. You feel like you’re on a fun quest with Crash and the gang. Who can ask for more than that right? The graphics are also pretty good. They’re about the same as the last installment, but if it isn’t broken don’t fix it right? The character models are still on point and the whole thing looks pretty good.
Overall, Crash Bandicoot strikes again with another quality game that is just held back by the length. At around an hour to an hour and 20 minutes this game won’t really last you for very long. You could go and grab the collectibles to extend the game though. The levels are quick so playing them all 2-3 times isn’t a big deal if you’re interested in seeing how it ends. It’s always a tempting offer once I have less games on my backlog but at the moment I mainly just play the games to their original completion and just go from there. If you’re a big platforming fan or just want to relive the good ole days of the GBA then this is a solid adventure to check out. The fundamentals are all here so you should have a good time.
It’s time to look at another Crash title. This one is the first portable Crash title I’ve played so I was ready to see what it was like. I did see him briefly in the Spyro crossover but I bought the Spyro version so I don’t recall if you actually played as Crash at all. Well, this game is solid and keeps in most of the gameplay from the console games. You can’t help but feel like it’s a pale imitation though. The Gamecube version was already short and this one’s even shorter which is a bit tricky to get around. I beat the game in a little over an hour which is pretty crazy. I guess there is a bit of replay value to work with here, but that’s still pretty crazy.
So the plot is that Cortex has come up with his latest invention to defeat Crash. It’s a device that shrinks the planet to the size of a grapefruit which sounds like a pretty sophisticated piece of equipment. I was certainly impressed at any rate. There’s a lot of pressure on Cortex because the Mask has warned him that he isn’t allowed any more failures. Cortex does tend to fail the guy a lot so you can understand where he’s coming from, but I personally think it’s a bluff to get Cortex working. Crash doesn’t have time to worry about that though. His goal now is to find a way to restore the planet back to its original size and save the entire planet. Can he do it?
The main gameplay here is that of a 2D platformer. You jump over obstacles and smash enemies as you head to the end of the level. At first you only have a few abilities like rolling, slide, jump, and spin. After each world you unlock new abilities though including the really handy double jump. The game becomes infinitely easier once you obtain this skill. That’s because almost the whole game is built around trying to get through it with 1 jump even to the final world so you’re in a pretty good position as a result. Just be warned that the second jump destroys your momentum in the air so be prepared to not cover as much distance as you might think with the jump.
The gameplay is definitely pretty fun. I think the Crash style is good at bringing in some difficult levels that will test your fundamentals without going overboard. Even the toughest of sections will be cleared before long. The game also has some other gameplay styles here like swimming. The underwater levels are greatly improved here from the Gamecube game so I’ll give the title some props there. It’s still not quite as fun as the traditional levels though. Then you’ve got the running to the screen levels. Those still seem to be a bit luck based if you ask me since you can’t see where you’re going. They’re fun enough though.
Finally you have the aerial levels which are definitely a lot of fun. You fly through the air and blast away at all of the objects that stand in your way. It can be hard to dodge the obstacles while still landing hits on the opponents. To that my best advice is to just stay in place while blasting. You can actually deal far more damage than they can so this works in all levels until the final aerial one. There you need to move a bit. So keep in mind that you still dodge minions but for the checkpoint bosses just stand still and blast away at them. It works pretty well. There is one world boss which is in this style and that one’s pretty fun. I recommend knocking out the machine gun on the bottom first since that makes the boss a whole lot more manageable.
When it comes to the graphics Crash looks pretty good. The character models are solid and the illustrations look nice as well. They make Cortex look even sadder than usual but that’s pretty much in character so I can’t really say that there are any issues there. The level designs don’t have a lot of variety though and it feels like the game re-uses the backgrounds quite a bit. Unlike the other Crash games where each world has a theme, pretty much every world in this game is either a forest or a science lab. I think more levels would have been nice.
When it comes to the soundtrack, it’s pretty fun. I wouldn’t say that any of the themes are all that memorable though. If anything the sound effects are really the memorable part of this game and you probably won’t be forgetting those anytime soon. As I mentioned, the length of the game is under 2 hours though so keep that in mind when buying this game. You can extend your playtime a bit though by going back to all of the levels and getting all of the collectibles. It sounds like that would trigger a bonus level or some kind of extra cutscene I suppose. Hopefully it’s something good because collecting everything seems like it would be pretty difficult and take a while.
There isn’t a whole lot of plot here outside of the opening although that isn’t really unheard of on the GBA. You’re in it purely for the gameplay after all. Hopefully the next game will have a bit more story though. As for the boss fights, they were all different so that was one of the best parts of the game. The most enjoyable boss fight would have to be taking on the giant fox as he jumped from platform to platform. It was a fun idea for a boss fight and I don’t believe I’ve fought one quite like it before. I always like seeing a creative new approach to a battle.
Overall, Crash The Huge Adventure is a pretty solid Crash game. It definitely could have benefited from a few more hours of runtime but what we do get is solid. It really just holds the game back a star, but that’s all. At the end of the day if a game is fun then it’ll still earn itself more of a decent star. Maybe if it was something even more excessive like 10 minutes that’d be another story like some of the NES games, but at around 1 hour it could be worse. I look forward to seeing how N’Tranced fares. It’s listed as being a little longer than the Huge Adventure so we’ll see if that is true as my Crash marathon continues.
Game: 33% Complete
It’s time to take a look at a Mario game that I’ve had on the backburner for many years. Golf is already not one of my favorite sport games to play so even with the Mario factor I wasn’t sure this would be a hype one. I would play a few rounds here and there but the game just didn’t click. Well, now that I’ve played through the whole game I can say that it is better than the average Golf game. I think Nintendo did a reasonable job of making this as accessible as possible. That being said, it still wasn’t quite ready for the big leagues.
There isn’t much of a story beyond the intro. You’re playing as a kid who is trying to get into the game of golf. It’s tough though because you are in a world where everyone is really good for some reason. You’ll have to improve your skills before you can even challenge the top tournaments. There are 4-5 tournaments in the game and every time you clear one you unlock another. Once you’ve beaten all of the human tournaments you will finally be given the opportunity to take on Mario and friends. It’s the ultimate goal and a one in a life time opportunity. You can’t let this chance pass you by.
I’ve got to give the game credit for the amount of content in this game. There is really a lot to do at all times. Aside from the tournaments there are a bunch of mini games in each area. You can work on landing your shots next to the pole in one hit or exploring different tracks. Additionally you can upgrade your racket although I’m not sure how you get the guy to build you more after the first one. The game seems like it’s going for an RPG angle so talking to everyone is a good idea. There’s just a lot going on and this will also help you get more of a story out of the game. If that’s not your thing then no worries, you can just enter the tournaments and ignore everything else. Each tournament has a singles mode and a doubles option. I just did all of the Singles but I wonder how Doubles works in this context.
Each tournament has 18 holes. Your score is tallied over the course of these shots and the goal is to have the lowest amount of points at the end. The quicker you get the ball into the hole, the lower your score will be. When you finish a tournament you gain EXP which you can use to improve your stats. I always improved my maximum shooting distance. The others are things like control and spin. Just be careful because as you increase your skills it can be harder to control yourself. This is rarely an issue in anything beyond racing games but it is something you will want to keep in mind for this game. Especially since learning the controls isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
The graphics are pretty nice and I dare say that they are one of the game’s highlights. Everything is bright and colorful which is always good. The presentation is really nice and if you lose a match you definitely can’t blame the graphics. Then the soundtrack may not be the most memorable but it works pretty well if you ask me. It’s all just got a very calm/peaceful feel to it.
In terms of replay value the game also has a lot to offer. The main tournaments probably won’t take you much longer than an hour, but then you’ve still got the minigames and doubles tournaments to play through. You’ve also got the post game tournament which is sure to be pretty difficult. Finally you can max out your character’s level. I’m sure this will still be around 10 hours or less, but it’s a pretty good deal. I don’t think you can really ask for much more in the end. It took Golf about as far as you could on the GBA.
If I have any complaints with this game it is that the Mario characters should appear more. I’d say that the Mario Tennis for GBA game did a better job with this. They felt like end boss characters and had a presence. That isn’t really the case here largely due to the fact that the story really doesn’t get to happen. If we had gotten Bowser to show up or another villain I think that would have done a lot to make the game a little more memorable.
Overall, Mario Golf Advance Tour is impressive. The gameplay is pretty smooth and the loading times are virtually nonexistent. That being said, it is still Golf so there is a hard limit on how far it can go. In the end it’s just not my thing. It’s fun enough in short doses but I can’t see myself going back to this one. If you like Golf then this is a must buy. If you’re not really into Golf then the only reason to get this title would be to see Mario and the others, but you don’t see them much at all so I don’t think that would be the best option. With Mario Golf you should know what you’re getting yourself into. It delivers on everything it is trying to be.