NES Remix Pack Review

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It’s time to look at an interesting video game collection known as the NES Remix Pack. It brings both NES Remix 1 and 2 which is a pretty good deal since both of those titles had quite a lot of content in it. The price isn’t bad for the collection as I got it for 20-30 as well and it’s roughly triple the length of Sonic Forces. It’s definitely fun to see them mashup the games in Remix mode or even the mini challenges from the classic games. It’ll really test your knowledge of the older Nintendo titles.

The main mode is pretty self explanatory in these games. You’ll start off with a few options like Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, and Mario 2 for example. Each of these games will have 7-20 levels depending on which game it is. You try to beat each level where your result will range from 1-3 stars. The more stars you get, the more games you unlock. The main mode in each game is known as Remix and there are around 45-50 of these levels in each Remix. (1 and 2) Once you complete those you will have completed the game but you can keep on playing to clear the bonus world and any leftover game levels that you haven’t beaten yet. Obtain enough points and you will also get all of the stickers in each game which will really prove that you have come far. The simplicity of the game’s menu is certainly something to take note of as it makes navigating through the games rather enjoyable. More games should strive for a similar menu.

An average challenge will range from 7 seconds to around 1 minute. You may find an occasional challenge that is around 2 minutes or so, but I can’t stress enough just how rare these are. The average challenge is around 20 seconds I’d say. For example, “Grab 8 coins in a Mario level” may be a challenge. Some challenges have multiple phases and if you get a game over during it you can continue but the price is that you will only get 1 star for your efforts. The game is rather lenient on stars so you can unlock the final level even if you lose during a bunch of the stages but naturally your goal will be to grab as many of them as possible.

Of course with so many games not all of them will be a hit. From the first game the weak links were Golf and Donkey Kong Jr. I just never liked Golf in any video game format as it always seems to really be luck based. I know there is skill involved here and I just need to learn the mechanics, but it’s just no fun. Donkey Kong Jr. is just a little slow for me and I can see why it never became much of a hit. On the other side of the equation I thought that Excitebike was even more fun than I expected it to be and Clu Clu Land was really unique. I definitely enjoyed that one quite a bit. The only challenge in the first game that was quite grating was the Donkey Kong level where you played as Link. I must have died 100 times there before I finally found an opening. There must be a trick that I don’t know about for that one.

In the second game, Wario’s Woods was the game that I couldn’t get behind. The controls were a little convoluted for my liking and the levels did tend to drag on quite a bit. It was like playing a really twisted version of Dr. Mario and I don’t really know what Nintendo was thinking on this one. All I can say is that I’m not surprised how the game isn’t very well known. I don’t see how it would catch on. The other game would be NES Golf, but I don’t believe I actually got enough stars to unlock that one. I’ll probably have it unlocked by the time I have my Stats page up, but I certainly won’t play it much.

Meanwhile it was cool to have Metroid included this time around and Link II was also pretty interesting. It’s a shame that it didn’t do well since a 2D Link series would have been fun to compete with the others. It was rather rough around the edges of course, but they could have ironed that out with sequels. It’s like how the original Mario games were a little slippery, but they’re a lot easier to handle in the modern day.

It’s important to clarify that the good games outnumbered the annoying ones quite easily. Also from the games that I didn’t care for, only the Golf games were truly bad. Donkey Kong Jr and Wario’s Woods may not have been my style, but it’s not like I actively disliked playing them. There is enough content here for everyone as even if you don’t like a game you can have fun with the rest.

As I mentioned, the length of the game is pretty good. The first Remix took around 6-7 hours and the sequel was only a little shorter than that. Couple those two together and you have a reasonably long title. Then there is quite a lot of replay value here as getting 3 stars on every level will take a lot of practice and you will likely get all of the stickers on the way to accomplishing this feat. I do think it would have been cool if there was some kind of two player mode though. I think that’s the only thing that this game is lacking. Competing in these challenges would be an absolute blast and would certainly increase the replay value of the title. Still, as a single player experience it is not lacking. There is also the Super Luigi Bros where you see how far you can get in the Super Mario game while backwards and the Championship Mode where you are given 3 random tasks and have to see how well you complete them. They won’t keep you for very long, but each bit helps.

Naturally the graphics are kept true to the original game counterparts so this isn’t exactly Madden. The main menu looks fairly crisp though which will remind you that this is a modern title. The games all look pretty good as well. The soundtrack is quite solid as well since the individual game themes have always held up well against the test of time. Then the remix levels add a little extra pop by distorting the stages and zooming in on the map. I loved the gimmicks they would add here to make the games a little more unique. One Mario level for example had a bright blue background which is a cool “What If” scenario. I think that would make a good idea for a future Mario level even if it’s just for a level or two.

Overall, NES Remix Pack is a great homage/tribute to longtime Nintendo fans. It’s a great way to experience their older titles in a convenient minigame format. It’s the perfect kind of game for on the go or to play here and there. The challenges are fun and exciting without being tedious. This is where the short duration comes in handy as even if you die a bunch of times it is not as if you have lost a bunch of time. It never feels like a waste either since most of the challenges revolve around skill instead of RnG so you know that with enough practice you’ll get it. It’s also not too difficult so it’s fine for kids as well as they may have some trouble but will be able to crack the level eventually. There was certainly a lot of heart and effort put into this game to really make it a finished product.

Overall 8/10

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Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Review

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If there was ever such a thing as a low budget Mario and Sonic game then this is it. We no longer have the intense campaign mode from the first game and we don’t even get to keep the tournaments. With all of the characters and games already unlocked as well you just have to wonder what the developers were thinking. It’s not a bad game but it doesn’t do anything to help the Olympics legacy. It would have gone over better if this had been the first title in the series.

We do have a new mode though and that is essentially Mario Party mode. Here you run around a board trying to get items and bump into one of the characters who is running around. This will trigger a mini game. You want to win the mini games to get cards that you can put in your sticker album. Once you’ve obtained 16 stickers (or more depending on the length you choose) you will have won the game. Inside your sticker board you have two random items as well which may steal stickers from other players or just give you extras. They’re pretty handy so use them wisely. If you want to blast through the party then simply seek out the NPCs as soon as possible. I’m not sure if there is even a point to delaying it to be honest since grabbing the items didn’t actually seem to be doing anything. There’s probably something that I’m missing though.

I also have to point out that the mini games are starting to randomly get convoluted here. You should always be able to get a basic understanding of the game from the rules section before it starts. That wasn’t the case for the Dream Bike mini game. This one is a team game of 4 vs 4. You have to try and stay in a perfect line and shake your way to the goal. The problem is that you have to switch places during the race and the controls for being in the back were not clear. I struggled as best as I could but I just couldn’t form a line and I ended up losing the mini game and nearly the whole party map. I actually did lose the first time I played the mode, but I got them the second time.

Even the really solid games suffer from dicey instructions. Take the Nintendo/Sega trivia. The questions were solid and with prep time I could probably even get them right. However the game tells you to hold the Wii Remote horizontally when in fact you are supposed to hold it vertically. This cost me the very first question which I knew I would have gotten right. So the main point here is to read the rules carefully and be warned that you may not be able to win some of these games on the first try because you will have to figure out how it works.

One of the new games that is pretty solid is the throwing darts one. You essentially have to hit the bullseye as quickly as possible and try to get others. Essentially I don’t know if you go for all of the bullseyes but that would make sense. I hit 2 and won the mini game so just aim for the center and you will be all set.

We’ve also got some games that I believe are old like Table Tennis and Soccer. Table Tennis is the same old same old so I wouldn’t expect too much more out of that one. It’s a fun game as always but it didn’t take much effort to port it over. I forgot if soccer already existed or not but it doesn’t look good for this game either way since the soccer gameplay is probably the weakest I’ve ever seen in the genre. I know low budget Wii games with better soccer gameplay. Your passes always go too high so it is usually safest to take the bell through the whole field yourself before shooting. That’s just not good gameplay and teamwork is supposed to be the name of the game here. I just don’t know how you can possibly mess up a game like soccer this way.

100mm Swinming is another mini game that doesn’t even try to hide how recycled it is. It’s the exact same controls as always in what appears to be the same background. It’s a good mini game so I’m fine with it coming back of course, but we just should have had more games. Reusing minigames is like bringing back old fighters in a classic fighting game. It’s a great move and one that I stand by 100%. However, if the cast is unchanged then there is no point in upgrading as in the case of Godzilla Save The Earth to Godzilla Unleashed on the PS2.

What this Olympics should have done was have close to 40-50 events. They could easily have brought back events from the previous games in addition to a bunch of new ones. The only reason why I could see this being a bad thing is if they are trying to perfectly emulate the games that will be at each Olympics. If that is the case then I suppose they will need to find another solution (have the old mini games be unlockable) but either way we definitely needed more games than the rather limited amount that we got.

The graphics look nice as always at least. It’s about the same as the last game only without the cinematic cutscenes so maybe it is actually a downgrade. Those cutscenes strike me as being the hard part after all but maybe the gameplay is just as difficult. Either way the last game did manage to do both so I’d give it the edge. When it comes to the soundtrack there is no contest that the last one was better. It blended together a bunch of brilliant themes from both Mario and Sonic which made the games even more fun. While this game has a lot of those songs in the music player, don’t expect to hear them very often.

As far as the replay value goes I suppose that there is a lot to buy here. You can use your money to buy clothes which boost your stats and you can try to earn medals for all of the various mini games. That could take a little while and then you also have a lot of challenges to complete for the bragging rights. Complete all of the challenges and you will really be an Olympics champ. Considering that the game is pretty cheap I’d say that this is already enough value to justify the cost.

Overall, This is one of those games that may have been more acceptable if it had been the first in the series. However it is the third and after seeing what this series could really do with the second game it feels like a total downgrade. The game just lost all of its heart and it felt like the developers just cashed it in this time. There wasn’t much effort put behind this game as far as I could see and even though this is a decent game I would recommend going back to buy the Winter Olympics instead.

Overall 6/10

Mario Tennis Open Stats and Records

Stats Time!

Play Time 1h 59m
Rackets 2/48
Shirts 1/40
Sweat Bands 0/40
Shoes 0/40

Tournaments

Mario 8/8
Everyone Else 0/8
Doubles for Everyone 0/8

Special Game Records

Ring Shot
Bronze 218
Silver –
Gold –

Super Mario Tennis
Bronze 564
Silver –
Gold –
Platinum –

Galaxy Rally
Bronze 191
Silver 228
Gold –

Ink Showdown
Bronze 350
Silver –
Gold –

Mario Tennis Open Review

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It’s time to take a look at a Mario Tennis game that was pretty much overshadowed the instant it came out. That’s because it’s basically the same as playing the Gamecube game except with no cutscenes and less games. As a result, there is little reason to buy this game unless you desperately want to play it on the go. Nonetheless, it was only 10 dollars so I figured..why not? It was basically free thanks to a coupon and I’m glad I got it. The game doesn’t do anything unique, but it still has good tennis fundamentals.

There is no story mode of course and so the closest thing is the traditional Tournaments. There are 8 tournaments and each tournament has 3 rounds. Complete the first 4 to unlock the star version of the character you are playing. The battles never actually get too tough. One thing I noticed about the AI is that if you let them get to the ball then you are unlikely to win a rally against them. Fortunately they can’t seem to handle your serve on any level so you can easily score with your return. If you don’t then you will most likely have lost the point. That adds a little extra tension to the rounds I would say.

You can complete all of the tournaments in a little under 2 hours. To help with the replay value, you can do that with every character in order to get all of their Star Forms and some more items for the shop. Every time you win a match a random item is unlocked for purchase. The annoying thing is that the tournaments don’t get you any money though. To earn money you have to play the minigames. They are surprisingly difficult though so clearing all of them could take some time. This way at least you are earning money and accomplishing at the same time. That’s a plus right? Before talking about the minigames, I suppose I should mention that we also have Doubles tournaments. I was never the biggest fan of doubles and didn’t really go into that mode, but it’s sure to add more length to the game. As per always with sport games, the true replay value occurs if you have someone to play with. Otherwise you likely won’t end up sticking with the game for very long. I find it telling that the game is only 10 dollars when Nintendo games rarely go down in price until a very long time has passed.

There are 4 minigames. One has you relive some of the old 2D Mario levels as you try to keep a rally going while going through the level. It’s a fun concept, but a little too slow for my liking. The level goes by incredibly slowly so it’s more tedious than difficult. Ideally you want to have a good mix of both. It’s probably my least favorite minigame. Then we have Coin Mode. You have to shoot through the rings and gain as many coins as possible. This one is probably the most rigged as it will largely depend on your opponent. As a result I actually lost the Silver version of this game. It’s a decent concept, but I don’t care for the execution.

Time for the 2 best minigames. One is a Rally where you have to keep returning the ball without letting the computer touch it. This one’s actually pretty fun and it’ll definitely test your reaction times as the plants fire the ball at you. You won’t know which one is shooting until the very end. Finally, the best minigame is the rally one. You have to keep hitting a ball back and forth as parts of the stage vanish. This game is taken directly from the Gamecube one and so you can probably see why it is the best. It was just thought through very well and is the right blend of challenging and length. The time goes by slowly at first, but by the end you’ll barely notice. These minigames may not be much, but at least they give the game a little more content.

I haven’t talked much about the actual gameplay, but that’s mainly because there isn’t a lot to be said. It’s a very standard tennis game. You feel the power behind each hit and have different options on how to strike the ball. You fire off a high one, a low one, or a standard shot. You do seem to have special attacks, but I couldn’t figure out how to use them and didn’t even need them in the end so that’s why I didn’t try very hard. Perhaps I would have needed it against Ace level opponents at some point. The game has a dynamic camera view option, but I recommend turning it off. It’s distracting to suddenly have the game zoom in when you head to the net. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea, but it was probably the same person who doesn’t give the game the option to remember your choice. As such, you have to turn it off again after each match. It seemed really random though so at least you don’t have to worry about it happening after every match. Otherwise, I have no qualms with the actual gameplay, it’s what you would expect from a Tennis title.

The graphics look really good. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the effort went here although perhaps the character models were just grabbed from somewhere. As there aren’t any real cutscenes it probably wasn’t too hard to just focus on the models. Every character looks to be on point and the stages look sharp as well. The game delivers on this front. When it comes to the soundtrack, it’s fairly decent but forgettable as far as Mario games go. You likely won’t remember it all that well by the time you finish the game.

Overall, Mario Tennis Open is a good game. The Tennis gameplay is solid and that’s really what counts. There just isn’t any extra content to keep you busy. Your attention will only stay on this game for as long as you enjoy playing tennis. I suppose collecting all of the items could help if you’re really a serious collector, but there isn’t a whole lot of point to getting it all otherwise. If you see it in stores for a fair price then I recommend checking it out. I can’t imagine grabbing it at full price though. No matter how fun Tennis is, it just wouldn’t have been worth it.

Overall 7/10

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Review

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Whenever someone yells “MARIO AND SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES” you can’t help but get very nostalgic. I rented this game a long time ago and had quite a lot of fun with it. While the games are more limited than in the first one, it has improved in every other area. This title feels like the high budget Olympics game that we had been waiting for and the soundtrack is certainly one of the all time greats. My main character that I use in this game is Shadow of course but there is a solid roster of other characters to use as well.

Unlike the last one, this Olympics actually has a story mode of sorts. Essentially you have to play in the Olympics to try and secure the gold trophy. To do this you will have to prove that you are a well rounded athlete who can excel in many different events. You play the Olympics one day at a time. At first there are 2 events per day and then 3 for the second half. You also get 2 break days to relax and go to the shop. It would be pretty sad to play the whole thing and then lose so the A.I isn’t too crazy. Not to mention that many of the events are training so you can’t actually lose. It’s a way to get free points and move up the ranks of you were beginning to lose. You still need to win most of them if you are going to succeed though. As I hinted at earlier though, most of the mini games are rather similar so you shouldn’t have a problem after you’ve gotten used to them.

The best mini game is probably the Snowboard one. It’s very simple and straight to the point. You have to drive down a slope as fast as you possibly can. No gimmicks or anything like that, it’s just a pure bout of skill. You just can’t top it. There is a similar mini game where you are on Skis, but you have to utilize the motion controls more. It’s really the same thing but slower and with more stuff going on to distract you. Nothing wrong with that, but it just can’t compare to the style of the board.

We’ve also got Ice Hockey which would usually be in first place but it’s really hard to move much at all without getting slammed by the other team. That part makes it tough to enjoy the game because you don’t actually get to be playing it much. Good concept though. The game that seems to be the main attraction in this game is the figure skating. You have to pull off moves with the utmost precision at just the right time of you want to get the maximum score. While defeating the computers can be pretty easy you will want to do your best if you’re fighting a human opponent. It’s not my favorite game since it’s very slow paced, but it’s not the worst either.

The worst mini game is the one where you have to slide the discs across the floor. Many party games have this and I can never get any since it has never been good. The very concept ensures that it won’t be good if you ask me since it is a very slow paced game by nature. I’m sure it has its fans, but I am not one of them.

There are also some mini games called dream events which have items included and can get quite chaotic. The Snowball fight game is probably the most memorable one and it’s definitely a lot of fun. Your teammates may actively sabotage you as they get blasted, but it’s a pretty balanced game in that respect. Who doesn’t like a good snowball fight right? Another monk game has a glider where you have to fly and catch rings as you make it to the end. Naturally you’ll want to aim for small rings for maximum rings, but your opponents may have the same idea which will make things tricky.

After a while you will probably grow bored of the snow theme, but at least you can basically say that the game tries out every possible idea. Some mini games may seem like slight rehashes of each other but at least do have things that make them unique. Other party titles just make all of the games the same and don’t even attempt to hide it.

The presentation of the game as a whole is quite impressive. From the main menus to the shops and the levels, this game looks quite great. They spared no expense on the visuals. All of the character models are on point and the level designs are great as well. We even have a Challenger Approaching icon that is sort of like Super Smash which is pretty neat. It shows up before each boss battle and feels quite thematic. Then there is the soundtrack. It’s quite impressive as it takes many of the best Mario and Sonic themes and then throws them into the games/bosses. Listening to the Sonic Adventure themes is always nostalgic and naturally the Mario ones are good as well. I haven’t played the next Olympic installments yet, but I think it’s fair to say that they are going to have a very tough time surpassing this one.

There’s a lot to do in this game so length is certainly not an issue. The main campaign isn’t very long but that’s only the tip of the iceberg as you try to earn enough money to buy everything. You can also go for new records in individual events as well as challenge friends in multiplayer. Multiplayer mode certainly adds a lot of replay value to the game. You really need this in any sport game and in particular, offline multiplayer is a must.

Overall, it’s impressive just how much the series stepped it up with this installment. The game is just a lot nicer to play, listen, and look at. Boss battles was a real good addition and I like having a ceremonial story mode even if it is relatively small. It’s certainly better than nothing. The game’s only weakness is its limited amount of games, but at least the one that we do get are really fun which is certainly the important thing. I’d definitely recommend getting this game. While it may not be as unheard of as it used to be, a crossover with Sonic and Mario is always worth noting.

Overall 7/10

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 19h 12m
Gold 26731
Boos: 18
Ghost Container 5672W
Gloomy Manor Gems 12/13
Haunted Tower Gems 6/13
Old Clockworks Gems 4/13
Secret Mine Gems 1/13
Treacherous Mansion Gems 3/13

Level Stats Clear Time, Ghosts Captured, Rank

A1 9m 25s 6 2Star
A2 13m 37s 17 2Star
A3 11m 36s 10 2Star
A4 26m 48s 15 1Star
A5 16m 15s 14 2Star
AB 4m 6s 1 2Star
A6 10m 36s 18 2Star
B1 19m 25s 11 1Star
B2 47m 4s 20 1Star
B3 10m 2s 9 2Star
B4 12m 51s 16 2Star
B5 9m 19s 13 2Star
BB 11m 37s 14 3Star
B6 –
C1 11m 11s 10 1Star
C2 11m 21s 16 1Star
C3 15m 12 2Star
C4 10m 35s 6 2Star
C5 31m 59s 22 1Star
CB 13m 20s 31 2Star
C6 –
D1 38m 31s 9 1Star
D2 11m 12s 8 2Star
D3 22m 28s 12 1Star
DB 4m 43s 1 2Star
D4 –
E1 9m 30s 11 2Star
E2 21m 47s 17 1Star
E3 16m 46s 13 2Star
E4 7m 30s 0 1Star
E5 12m 8s 52 2Star
EB 2m 15s 1 3Star
E6 –

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon Review

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Luigi’s Mansion was one of the first video games that I ever played. It came along with the Gamecube and while I did play on the Super Nintendo/N64/Game Boy, this was one of the first games that I really remember playing with my full gamer skills intact. It was a tough game and had a lot of replay value as I went through it many times. This sequel can’t fully match the original’s true greatness in part because of the nostalgia and also the fact that the Gamecube really made the most of the game. The original had more features and took greater advantage of the concept. That being said, this is still a great sequel and everyone’s favorite Mario villain finally gets to take center stage once again after a rather disappointing appearance in Super Mario Sunshine. (The one time Mario really took it to the guy)

The game starts off with Mr. Luigi “I do it” Luigi resting at his summer cottage. Unfortunately, E Gadd kidnaps him and tells Luigi that he has to liberate the city since all of the ghosts have turned evil after King Boo blasted it into multiple pieces. Luigi barely got away with his life the last time so he isn’t thrilled about getting a rematch, but he doesn’t really have any way of getting out of this. Luigi grabs his flashlight and prepares himself, but King Boo isn’t playing around this time. He has already kidnapped Mario and a bunch of the toads…Luigi may be next!

One thing you’ll notice straight away in the game is that the format is a little different. It’s not the free roam environment that you may be used to from the first game. Instead it is divided into linear levels among the various worlds. Each level will tell you to do something and then you’re beamed home afterwards. It’s different, but I’ll take it since we’ve been getting a lot of big free roam games lately like Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey lately so it’s good to keep things varied. The game is still reasonably long as some levels can take upwards of 40 minutes. Others are finished in under 10 though so it varies quite intensely. You should expect the game to last you at least around 10-13 hours.

The game’s difficulty is pretty low so you shouldn’t have much trouble against the actual ghosts. The power ups that you get during the game make this even easier. I only lost twice if I recall correctly. Once was to the Giant suit of armor and I also lost to the boss where you had to slide a few times. Beyond that, it didn’t feel like a cakewalk or anything, but you won’t feel too threatened. You are given a lot of health and it’s always easy to find more hearts.

There is some replay value here as you can go back to all of the old levels and grab all of the Boos/Gems. It may not be a whole lot, but it’s something to do and it won’t take an insane amount of time to do it. Hopefully you get something cool like an extra ending or picture. I think the first game let you upgrade your mansions based on how much money you had so that was a nice incentive. I thought there would be more power ups so I could list that under the replay value, but we maxed out before the final chapter even started. Between the solid length of the story and getting all of the collectibles, there is certainly a lot of content here.

The graphics are pretty good. Some elements are pretty stunning like the energy blasts, King Boo’s design, and one of the final cinematics as Luigi’s destination is forcibly changed. The game really put in a lot of effort towards the final levels with all of the cool designs. The soundtrack is mostly forgettable to be honest, but I did enjoy the final boss theme for King Boo. That one sounded really good and worked quite well to build up the tension. One good theme can always go a long way.

I do have to call the game out for being a little lazy with the sound effects and cutscenes though. We get the same recycled scene of Luigi being transported, landing, using his vacuum, and picking up the DS throughout the game. Adding insult to injury is the fact that we also get the same sound effects in the same order. Luigi grunts 4-5 times every time he lands which starts out as rather painful gasps to tired ones. After a while you sort of hope that Luigi will just get his game on and save the world. He also randomly utters one of the phrases that they recorded once in a while like “I do it” even if they aren’t totally relevant at the moment. I think Nintendo did phone it in to an extent in this department and could have certainly recorded more lines. That or they could use text like with what they did for King Boo. It just felt like someone was always talking throughout the game, but not in a fun Spider-Man kind of way, but in a forced “Lets play another grunt” way.

I was a little surprised that we didn’t get back some classic features like shooting fire or ice in this one, but we got a black light flashlight so that was neat. It lets you see invisible things and is immensely useful once you obtain it. The controls are simple so you’ll get used to them right away. You have your flashlight and your Vacuum Cleaner. Those are really the main 2 weapons that you’ll be using during the game.

Naturally we can’t end the game without talking about King Boo. He’s easily one of the strongest Mario villains even if he isn’t talked about quite as often as you’d expect. He defeated Mario even when the hero was aided by the Power Star and in this game he has done it again. He seems to have some reasonable reality warping abilities or at the very least advanced telekinetic abilities. His power lasers are great as well and he’s just a pretty intimidating villain. I actually feel kind of bad for him since his arch nemesis isn’t quite as intense. It was nice to see King Boo and I’m glad that the first game was mentioned so as to keep the continuity straight. It does kind of hint further that the Sunshine King Boo was different since he went straight from the first game’s painting to here, but I still think the Sunshine appearance needs to be looked into a little further.

The game really doesn’t have many negatives to talk about. The actual gameplay is simple, but well constructed. You won’t be running into random glitches here or poor level designs. One thing about the various mansions is it allows the game to give each one a different design which is nice. My one complaint is probably that Luigi’s a little too scared the whole time even if that is the point. I always imagine a game where Luigi is actually really hardcore and eagerly fights the villains, but maybe you could make the case that it wouldn’t be the same character. I still think it’s worth the risk and maybe it’s about time they announce a Luigi’s Mansion 3. Honestly, I’ve love to see a big budget one with a long campaign. (Think equivalent length to a big Mario platformer) It could have an array of side characters, maybe even a level or two where you play as Mario and physically try to fight King Boo. Of course, King Boo would need to be in it or the fans would riot.

Overall, I put off getting this game for many years as it kept sinking below other games that would come out. Well, I finally got to nab it and it was certainly a really fun game. I’d definitely recommend buying it, especially since it goes for only about 15-20 dollars now. That’s a really great deal and it’s why the Nintendo Selects tag is always a welcome addition to any game. Be prepared though as the game may be more intense than you’d expect and you’ll have to make some tough calls.

Overall 8/10

Mario Party Advance Review

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I’ve wanted to play a portable Mario Party game for a long time. I don’t know when exactly I first started to think about this, but it was probably back during the days where I played Mario Party 4 regularly. Advance is a good enough spinoff and the minigames are enjoyable although the story mode holds it down a bit. It wasn’t really constructed well so I’d advise you to focus on Minigame Mode. I do think Mario Party DS and 3DS will likely end up being better.

The plot of the series is that Big Bad Bowser has stolen all of the gadgets in the world and now Mario must steal them back. The townsfolk have taken them all, but they are willing to give them back if you solve their quests. Sometimes the quests involve going back and forth to find something or 1 on 1 challenges. Regardless, you must complete all 50 quests in order to save everything, but Bowser won’t make this easy on you. He plays for keeps!

Naturally, the plot isn’t really the key thing here. The game board is rather large as you would expect from Mario Party and you roll the dice to see how far you can move on the board. Each turn costs a mushroom and once you are out of them, it is game over and you’re sent home. Your progress is saved though as the only thing that resets is your current quest. You can earn 3 more mushrooms every 3 turns if you win a minigame and there are also spots on the board that have the same effect. Watch out for Bowser Jr though as running into him can have you lose a mushroom or be warped somewhere else. Unfortunately, there is no way to dodge him as it is luck based.

This is where the story mode flops a little. Towards the end of the game Bowser Jr starts to appear everywhere. It’s just not very fair as you can be super close to ending the quest, but suddenly find yourself back at the start. It’s not cool to have to retread the ground that you’ve already covered. The last mission that I did before the final Bowser battle was also a little cheesy and I head to check with Gamefaqs to see what the game wanted from me. The characters kept stating that King Bob Omb was hiding in the Condo, but it only had 3 floors. Apparently you had to hit an invisible option and then you can enter the basement. That’s a bit of a low blow if you ask me.

The majority of the missions were fine though. The trek could just be a bit tedious so I am actually glad that there were only 50 missions. Any more would have been a little excessive. The minigame selection was designed well though as you would typically get a new minigame every time you played. Collecting them all was actually pretty easy for a change so that was a pleasant surprise. Most of the minigames are pretty easy to understand, but some of them will likely take you 2 shots to fully understand.

They’re not made to be overly difficult or anything like that so you should breeze through them. My DS has a weak L button so the Chain Chomp game in particular took a little longer than I would have liked to complete, but the actual game was fair. I didn’t care much for the luck ones, but since when do I ever like those? Mario Party does succeed with its minigame selection and while people have mentioned that the games have gotten worse over the years, I have always liked them. The old games certainly had the best selection, but so long as the newer ones still have that classic fun factor, I’m satisfied. Mario Party’s made to be the kind of game that you can just boot up and play. This one fits the bill although I don’t see why I’d ever choose it over one of the big titles like Party 4.

I enjoyed the retro sprites here. The victory celebration after every minigame was a little annoying after a while though. Once you’ve seen it 50 times, you don’t want to see it anymore. Other running gags were more fun though. I liked Bowser’s little laughing sprite that he’d play whenever you’d go to his lair. It made the whole cutscene a little more enjoyable. His line “*sniff* I really liked that gadget too!” was also pretty endearing. You couldn’t help but feel bad for Bowser as he comes across as a kid who just wants some friends, but doesn’t know how to express himself. In the end, he turned out to be a pretty honorable guy and at least he admitted that he had fun. It was a nice ending for the whole cast. I liked the soundtrack as well. The main Bowser theme was a lot of fun and the rest of the tunes also aged well. There’s just not much to dislike here. It’s a standard Nintendo soundtrack, which means that it is well above average.

There isn’t really any replay value to speak of once you complete the game, but as I mentioned before, the 50 quests should be more than sufficient. It’s certainly a long enough game for the low price that you will have gotten it for. It’s just a fun game overall and a good way to spend a few afternoons. I do hope that the story mode is redone for the sequels though. It should just be a little more fluid and less time consuming to get from mission to mission. I don’t even think that a mission mode is completely necessary as a normal Party Mode would be cool although I guess it’d be hard for the GBA to process. Perhaps by the 3DS game as that one certainly has the specs for it.

Overall, Mario Party Advance is another good party game to add to the collection. I’ve played a lot of party games over the years so trust me when I say that the games here are a lot more varied and entertaining than most. If you haven’t played the game yet, then you should check it out. It’s aged pretty well and just take care not to let yourself get burned out on the story. Play it in batches and you should be just fine. As for the Mushroom Condo, just make sure to look at the invisible option and you’ll also be okay. The Christmas batch of games is roughly at an end now. The only two games left are Buu’s Fury and Kirby’s Mirror, but it could be a little while before I finish those two as I’m working on the New Year’s batch and other games may pop up on the side. Regardless, they will be completed though and that means that the GBA era lives on!

Overall 7/10