Frogger: The Great Quest Review

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Frogger is a character that we all grew up with, but I never got a chance to play his games. I probably got my hands on one at some point or other, but I didn’t have the privilege of owning any of them. Well, I finally took the plunge with this one. It’s a little underwhelming and doesn’t take full advantage of its gameplay style. It’s a decent game, but there were a number of issues which kept it from getting a solid 7. One thing’s for sure, this is definitely not your Dad’s Frogger. This is a whole new monster!

The game starts off with “Frogger” whining about how he wants to start a romance with a Princess. His mentor advises him to go find one then and “Frogger” takes him up on the offer. Unfortunately, “Frogger” keeps on getting “Your Princess is in another castle” messages. Villains are running rampant across the land and the young “hero” starts to get discouraged. Can he find his princess and satisfy his own ego or is it all over by now?

It’s really hard to sympathize with the main character at all. He’s very transparent about the fact that he just wants a kiss and doesn’t care about helping people or stopping villains. He really doesn’t care what happens to the rest of the world so long as he gets what he wants. “Frogger” is definitely annoying and the only really endearing thing about him is his catchphrase. “Whoa!” He yells that at every occasion and when he isn’t trembling in fear at the sight of the villains, he uses this to mask his terror. You’ll want to brace yourself for the big plot twist at the end of the game. It will fully show you that “Frogger” is not what he appears to be.

I do have to give the game some major props on the ending. Not the kiss part with the Princess recoiling in terror during the moment as that was just weird and the transformation was even wierder. I’m talking about the big cliffhanger that the game decided to end with. It’s unlikely to be mentioned in the sequel although I’ll give the next game some props if it does that, but it was great. All of the villains suddenly show up and start flying around the main characters. The flame head and the three stooges return and you realize that “Frogger” may be a little out of his depth here. It’s safe to say that they took him out and now rule the kingdom since the main character could barely handle them one at a time. It’s a rather somber ending, but the game can get away with it because of how few people know about it or bothered to purchase it back in the day. I’d like to see more games end on such a note. Naturally, it’d be great if they could actually acknowledge the endings and continue them in a sequel as well. It certainly beats the super safe Pizza Delivery Boy type endings…just saying.

The graphics aren’t that bad although they could certainly be better. It’s a very retro style with the mouths opening a lot like in the old Sonic DX game. Unfortunately, it hardly matters with the level designs since they are very bland. It doesn’t help that the levels are so large and you’ll easily get lost since each and every turn looks basically the same. That’s one of the big drawbacks to the game if you ask me. When it comes to the voice acting, Frogger is a lot worse than expected. It seems intentional just because of how bad it is. All of the characters have really fake exaggerated voices and just can’t stop themselves as they utter a lot of crazy lines. A lot of parodies of famous characters like Frankenstein are around and they don’t take themselves seriously so I assume that we are supposed to treat them likewise. If you’re looking for a good soundtrack, you can forget about all of that right now. You won’t remember a single tune by the end.

There isn’t much replay value to be found here and that’s an exaggeration. There is seriously no replay value here since there is no level select and you can’t go back to grab any of the lost jewels to complete your figure collection. There isn’t much point to the collection anyway though since it’s as bland as can be in this game. Considering that the game is also pretty short, this one is not worth a whole lot of money. It took me 3 hours to beat the game and that’s including the fact that I spent about 40-50 minutes getting lost in various levels. You should be able to purchase the game for about 3-4 dollars though so that should help considerably.

As for the gameplay, it’s your standard 3D platformer. You walk and jump through levels as you look for things or just aim to get to the end of a long tunnel. You can double jump, glide, and even shoot spitballs. You’ll want to use the latter quite a lot as engaging even with a minion in hand to hand combat will result in you losing a lot of health. It’s simply not worth it when you can spam them with projectiles the whole time. If you lose, no worries. You go back to the checkpoint, but the enemies don’t respawn or gain back any health so just keep going at it until you win. What is going to be trickier is dodging all of the numerous glitches.

Sometimes a door won’t open and you’ll have to restart the level. It’s usually not all that long since there are checkpoints everywhere, but it’s definitely not very fun to have to do so. The reason is that the door opening mechanics are very precise. You have to click O at just the right point and you cannot be moving at all or it won’t register it. One reset was all that I would need though and it only happened twice so I suppose it could have been quite a lot worse.

Another iffy part is how the camera angles are really bad. One level involves you running through a tower for a very long time with the camera constantly moving. It’s very easy to fall off the stairs and have to climb back up all over again. Slow and steady will win this race. I remember how it took me a few tries to jump on a tree in the tutorial. The controls could definitely use some work and it’s a little sad to say that some Wii platformers have done a better job of this. How bad do you have to be to lose to something like Flip’s Twisted World in pure gameplay?

Finally, Frogger is one of those games that doesn’t give you a lot of advice for when the puzzles show up. It’ll just say “Find a way out” and leave you to your own devices. Couple that with the iffy controls and you could be stuck at some of these puzzles for a very long time. Trust me, you’ll constantly be hoping that the next level is a linear one. The game had most of those towards the middle of the game and that was the best part. Each level only took about 3-5 minutes and it was great. Any level that was huge or had a puzzle would force you to brace yourself for what was to come.

Overall, Frogger: The Great Quest could have certainly been a lot better. It made the mistake of not being very polished and taking the easy way out at every opportunity. The level designs were sloppy and the glitches were annoying. Puzzles slowed down its momentum and “Frogger” was not a very good main character. I did enjoy the ending though and the actual story wasn’t half bad. It was entertaining because of how crazy the whole thing was. When it all boils down to it, the gameplay itself wasn’t too bad. It was imprecise and flawed, but I can’t say that I didn’t have any fun with it. It’s short, but if you find it for a dollar or two, then you may as well check it out. Otherwise, I’d recommend sticking to the old Frogger titles.

Overall 5/10

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Street Fighter Alpha Anthology Review

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I remember seeing this game in Gamestop many years ago. I tried to buy the game, but the store told me that they couldn’t find the disc which ended the dream before it could even begin. When I won a contest I knew that this game would have to be one of my purchases. You can’t call yourself a fighting game fan if you have not played the legendary Street Fighter Alpha series. This way you get to play them all in one shot. The collection brings all of the Alpha games plus special versions of each title and even a little chibi crossover title. This is a must buy collection.

There isn’t much of a plot in the games since they came out so long ago. The characters do get openings and endings in their Arcade stories so you don’t need to worry about that. Of course, it is always a very basic plot and you have to connect the dots on your own. The wiki is good for learning about the extended versions of each story though. If you are puzzled about anything, just quickly head on over and be illuminated as to what actually happened. I definitely give the games props for actually having a story. Some games like King of Fighters don’t even try to give you an actual plot. Moreover, the plots in Alpha are actually engaging unlike titles like AquaPazza.

After playing Street Fighter V, it is very odd to play the Alpha games. The gameplay is dramatically different and it will take some getting used too. Once you get into it though, it really starts to be a blast. The gameplay is the real draw of this game so you’ll want a friend to play it with. If not, just fighting the computer for a few hours should be very nostalgic for long time Street Fighter fans. It is especially appropriate right now since the Alpha games basically serve as prequels to the Street Fighter V title.

Birdie, Rainbow Mika, and Karin are among the other characters from Street Fighter V who originated in these games. It’s certainly fun to see these classic versions of the characters and even favorite characters like Ryu and Ken certainly look a lot younger here. It is fun to see how the characters have actually aged along during the years. It gives the series a sense of realism…the good kind. Of course, I will be upset if it ever goes too far and whole characters are taken out because of the time gap like in Soul Calibur. After a certain point, the characters should definitely stop aging.

Graphically, Alpha 1 hasn’t aged all that well. The sprites look ancient and a lot older than I would have expected. By Alpha 3, the game looks a lot more polished like I had expected from the start. The attacks are all fun and the game is very bright so the stages really stand out. The soundtrack for this collection is excellent as well. You’ll be hearing a lot of iconic themes that have become famous over the years and this was before all of the big remixes so these are the themes are they were meant to be. Of course, a good remix can go a long way. Ryu’s theme in Street Fighter V is actually the best one that he has ever had.

Super Gem Fighter is the bonus game that came along with the Alpha titles. Unfortunately, I have to say that it is really not that good. The game tries to go for a party/fighting game mix that doesn’t go over well. If you want a game that is able to achieve both goals, just head on to Super Smash Bros Brawl. The gameplay just doesn’t make any sense and you’ll be struggling to do anything for quite a while. Seriously, button mashing won’t cut it this time and even when you stop to learn the controls it will still be hazy. I can safely say that I won’t be revisiting Gem Fighter anytime soon. It’s just not worth it, but no matter, the Alpha games are ultimately why you are here.

There is a lot of replay value to be found in this collection as you might expect. The multiplayer modes alone can last you an unlimited amount of time in theory. Beating the game with every character in every game should also take you a while. If you try to unlock all of the bonus games, that will help extend the replay value as well. There are even complex methods that you can use to unlock many other fighters. That may be worth a look if you’re a really big Akuma fan. I haven’t really messed around with it yet, but one of the secret games is Hyper Street Fighter Alpha which is like a crossover of the various Alpha games. You can have Alpha 1 Ryu fight Alpha 3 Ryu for example. I love the concept behind this and I would love to see something similar for Super Smash someday. Imagine having Melee Fox face off against Brawl Meta Knight or something like that. The gameplay mechanics may make this tricky, but I’m sure that it must be achievable. Surely such a thing could not be impossible right?

Even though this is a collection there is not much else to say about this title since there isn’t really a plot. In the end, the only way you won’t like this game is if you just aren’t a big Street Fighter fan. If you like how the series plays, then you’ll definitely like this game. Naturally, I recommend Alpha 3 the most. It’s the most modern so you can really get into the swing of things there. I can proudly say that I basically own every big console Street Fighter game at this point so that’s a nice milestone. It is definitely the best (non Super Smash) fighting game series and it is easy to see why it became a household name. I don’t see the Street Fighter franchise dying out anytime soon.

Overall, If you like fighting games then this should be like a dream come true for you. You’re getting 3 complete games along with extra versions and a nice little minigame that isn’t fun, but it’s still something I suppose. The price isn’t even that bad anymore. You’ll probably be able to buy it for like 15-20 at this point or maybe even less depending on where you look. I’ll admit that it is old though so I have more fun playing on the newer titles like Street Fighter V, but I’m always up for a round here. Good gameplay can never age badly. It’s also quite cool how Ryu basically hasn’t changed at all. His moves are still the same in SF V as in Alpha and it’s probably been at least a decade between these titles.

Overall 8/10

King of Fighters Maximum Impact Review

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King of Fighters has always lagged way behind Tekken and Street Fighter for me. None of the characters are particularly interesting and it has always felt like a Street Fighter game, but with all of the iconic characters replaced with randoms. I’m sure that later games have helped to give all of them some personality and backstory, but this game definitely doesn’t help their case. I still have a lot of catching up to do with this series though so hopefully the price goes down on some of the originals soon. I went on my big fighting game kick for Christmas, but there will probably be a different theme this year so it could be a while. Well, let’s dive into this title.

First off, one disappointing thing here is the fact that the Arcade Mode is even more bare bones than usual. Characters don’t even get an opening or an ending anymore. That’s essentially the definition of lazy if you ask me. You are only incentivized to play through the game once since every character has the same opening and ending. There is as slight plot at least, but it is still lazy to now give each character something unique. They are all invited to a tournament that is being held by some gangsters. Once you defeat everyone who stands in your way, you defeat the main villain in front of a large crowd and he says that you’ll both meet again…in hell! It’s a pretty hardcore line even if we completely wrecked this guy.

In a way it is good that the characters don’t get a real story though. That’s because your game option settings don’t apply to Arcade Mode so you have to do a best of 3 the entire time. The final level is also very difficult to the point where button mashing simply won’t be effective anymore. You’ll have to end up actually learning the game a bit and even then it should take several tries to finally beat the final boss unless you’re already a pro. I’d rather not imagine myself doing it with every character and I only ended up completing the game with the first two.

The gameplay is your average 2D fighter like with Street Fighter and the other similar games. It does seem like it is very hard to get up in this game though because attacks seem to have very high priority. In the final level of Arcade Mode, forget about even trying to rise. Your opponent will simply slam you back into the turf every single time and his combos can take out half of your life bar or more with a single combo. Something seems off with this and I could see the competitive scene dying instantly for this game. It reminds me of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game for Gamecube. Of course, that game was a blast and had excellent graphics and a solid soundtrack to back it up. It clobbers this game, but that’s another story.

This is still a solid fighting game. It’s why fighters are so much fun. Even if the characters are not all that likable and there is no real story mode to speak of, the vs mode is what really counts here. A good multiplayer mode means instant replay value and this is the kind of game that is perfect for playing at any random time. You can just turn on the PS2 and prepare yourself for some fun games. Of course, it has less replay value if you’re on your own of course. Still, I guess you could have fun fighting the computers for a while.

I’ll give the game some more props for the fact that it actually has a big opening. Back in the day a lot of games skipped this step or barely did anything with it so that was pretty neat. It unfortunately could not get past the trap of including a little fanservice though so that was pretty regrettable. The dialogue and writing is still as clunky as ever, but at this point King of Fighters is known for that so maybe it was partially intentional at the time. Beyond that, the graphics are pretty good. I’d say that they’re certainly above average for this time period and actually look better than the Street Fighter Alpha games. Granted, that may not be saying a whole lot since those games were quite a bit older.

The soundtrack is very solid as well. There is a solid opera esque theme for one of the stages and there are quite a few tunes. The game did a good job of adding in a lot of variety and this really puts Capcom Fighting Evolution to shame surprisingly. This is definitely one of the highlights for King of Fighters so hopefully the future installments will follow suit in this regard. Just give me some more hype music and we’re good.

Overall, Maximum Impact is a worthy spinoff to the main series. I still think that the games could do a better job of making the character likable and motivated. There’s no real reason to pick someone over another character aside from the all important tiers because none of them have any real personality yet. They all seem like tough guys and gals. Everyone seems to share that trait, but they don’t really have anything else to show for it. Terry’s my favorite character, but that’s really because of the name so I’m not totally sure if that counts. There’s not a whole lot to do here besides multiplayer mode, but that should be enough to tide you over. After all, if you’re buying the game, I assume that multiplayer is the reason for your purchase. Hopefully the series will have more of a real arcade mode in the main titles.

Overall 7/10