Sonic has had a rough time over the years. Being a Sonic fan myself, and having grown up with those games, it's sad to see what has happened to him over the years.
Sonic started out as a blue hedgehog, rescuing fellow animals trapped inside robots and foiling the plans of Dr. Robotnik. If you've never played the original Sonic games, I'd highly encourage you to do so. Sonic 1, 2, and 3, as well as the addition of Sonic and Knuckles, are still among my favorite titles today. They were well done, and even had some storyline even if silent. The sound was great, and most importantly, it was a game for all ages.
Then came the next generation...Sonic's decline. There are a number of unintelligably terrible games that came to the series, such as Sonic Spinball. I never owned a Saturn, so I can't say anything about that, but the dreamcast came soon after...
It started as Sonic Adventure. An overall enjoyable experience, I suppose. There's just a few problems that have plagued it ever since: Some of the sound track is terrible (music-wise, at least; see the character theme songs. The sound effects are pretty good.), but is still for the most part enjoyable. The different characters provided some interesting variety to the story as well; their different power-ups and things made each fun to play as, for the most part. But still, Sonic kept to his stuff with some storyline twists unseen in the past, such as the introduction of Chaos. It was still an ok addition to the Sonic genre, if a little "kiddy". Super Sonic was in there as well, which was cool, but I wanted to be able to use him in the real game.
Then came Sonic adventure 2...Now, it wasn't the gameplay that I had a problem with. Overall, it was as fun as the original Sonic Adventure. But the introduction of Rouge made me want to stab the character development team at Sonic Team. Then I turned my attention to the music department and decided to stab them instead because every level that Knuckles plays in has really stupid, annoying, cheesy rap music. Not only that, but he's stuck doing highly repetitive "treasure hunt" levels. They ruined him as a character for me for good. I was a little disappointed to see Tails as always inside his little walker gizmo thing, but to be honest, it wasn't a bad change at all. It added some variety and fun to the levels. But again, the game was good, just even more kiddy.
Sonic Heroes I will say I never spent much time with. I can't say I heard it was any good from anyone, though, with further declining music, etc. But Sonic and the Secret Rings (Or whatever that title was) took Sonic to an all-time low. You didn't get to control your movement other than side-to-side, which got old extremely fast. The attempt they made at a storyline was vomit-inducing.
But all in all, Sonic games have been in a decline. They're becoming too cheesy and kiddy for most people to stomach without turning the volume to mute and looking over your shoulder to make sure no one is watching you play. Sonic has tried to branch out and explore new territory, but I don't think they're doing it correctly.
But where does all this lead to Sonic: Unleashed? Simple. The game has to return to its roots, or quite simply, I'm not sure the series will ever have a recovery. Based on what I've seen from the videos and screenshots, it could be a bright future for our emerald-gathering superspeedy hedgehog friend. The Werehog looks like a certainly interesting addition as well. The graphics and levels look fast-paced more akin to the originals, and all of this is what I think is a good way to experiment with Sonic while still keeping to its roots. I don't even mind all the tag-along characters if they don't get on your nerves too often and if they don't make the game seem far more kid-oriented.
On the chance that the game flops, however, I can't say I'll have any faith left to spare for Sonic's new developments. As far as I'm concerned, his greatest games are still Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knucles. I dearly hope that this upcoming release can change that!
I've never posted a rant before. I suppose it's about time. My fellow gamers, we are facing a dire crisis. Namely, the fact that Nintendo is re-releasing many titles that we've already played and selling them back to us at inflated prices!
Take Chrono Trigger. That was perhaps the best SNES game that Square managed to pump out in the early days. It's still one of my personal favorites. What happens? Nintendo is preying on the popularity of those games, adding some new features and fixing this and that, and charging us the price of a full new game!
The same goes for Mega Man 9. That was the worst. Paying for an old classic game, and then having to pay AGAIN for different difficulty levels? Come on! Where has all the creativity going to? I thought thee Wii was supposed to be a REVOLUTION, not a REVIVAL. Sheesh! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy many old games. But when the most promising and highest-rated games are ones that are re-releases, that's just disgusting.
Fire Emblem is just a translation of a Japanese game brought to America. Sure, they're going to make it look all nice and shiny, but who cares? It's the same thing all over again!
The only one that I can really say that is acceptable is Cave Story. Having played that game on the PC and beaten it (all three endings), I will say that it is an awesome game. However, not many people have heard of it...Putting it on the Wii at a price as well as adding some new features to that might be worth buying if you've never actually played the game before, and the achievements system is a plus as well. I still think it's kind of cheap, re-ripping games and posting them for personal game. It's almost like giving the same status report to your boss over and over again and seeing when he'll actually care enough to bust you for it.
By the way, if any of you actually read my reviews, I'd just like to say that Cave Story, to me, is a 9/10. It's similar to a Metroid game, but with many cool new twists and an undeniable charm to it. You'll just have to try it for yourself, though, perhaps on the PC!
Now, recently, you have noticed that I have been making jokes about gaming companies and their quirks. Well, I've come to you now with a few thoughts about Super Smash Bros. Brawl and some of the quirks that make it funny as well. Don't believe me? Just think of, or if you haven't experienced, try, the things below!
1. For some reason, it's uncannily funny to take screenshots of Lucas getting killed by something. Some of my favorite examples for you to try: Have Ness use a grab (but don't attack or throw) on him. Make sure that you can get both of their faces in the screenshot. Similarly, use the upwards throw with R.O.B., and pause at the right moment, and you can get a funny picture of Lucas being held upside down by a leg and doing what looks like screaming for his life. Also, a correctly-timed side throw with Charizard made it look like he was about to get eaten. My personal favorite, however, is to have Lucas on the ground after beating him down. Have Ganondorf stand over him and use his down taunt. Priceless...
2. Ever notice how missiles, fully charged laser beams, bombs, arrows, being hacked by a sword, and being crushed or lit on fire don't do half as much as throwing a bumper at your foes?
3. Captain Falcon "hugs" his opponent with his Up + Special attack, and lets out a creepy "YES!" after extending his hips and flinging them away. Anyony else detect something ambiguous and creepy?
4. There's a map based on Animal Crossing. Enough said.
5. Snake, no matter how many times he tries, should not be able to snap the neck of a pink fluffball. Yet, somehow, he manages to do this to both Jigglypuff AND Kirby, not to mention Meta Knight who's wearing armor.
6. A little kid with a stick is capable of annihilating Samus, who is wearing a metal combat suit designed to withstand the attacks of a fully grown Metroid.
7. Solid Snake just...doesn't fit in with the rest of the Brawl characters...
8. Ironically, Squirtle has better defensive capabilities than Charizard OR Ivysaur with his side special attack. Also, the pokemon "weakness" system doesn't seem to hold true in any case whatsoever.
9. Jigglypuff is the best character to beat Cruel Brawl accomplishments with, if you know what to do. And no, I don't mean using Rest. Be creative. If you want me to tell you why and can't figure it out yourself, leave me a message.
10. Wario is almost as poorly animated as Game & Watch.
11. The final smashes of some characters are decidedly better than others.
12. Ness' baseball bat just hurts a bit. Yet, anyone holding a different type of bat is capable of killing anyone else in one swing.
13. Do a special brawl. Try playing as Sonic during a fast forward, mini, bunny hooded brawl. Add invisibility for more fun. Try using his spin dash and jumping. You'll almost go off the stage.
14. Characters in brawl are decidedly suicidal. There are multiple characters who have a way of killing themselves along with an enemy, and many characters who have attacks that, when used incorrectly, are fatal to the user as well.
15. Olimar and Samus can eat food even while wearing a helmet.
16. Sudden death is a fancy term for "The game will kill whoever it hates most by spawning a bomb-omb on their face".
17. Sonic's most potent weapon is his terrible voiceovers. Try spamming his side taunt. Your opponents will break their T.V.s because of the annoying sounds, and you'll gain the advantage.
In Part 1 of "problems", I discussed the very real and very scary problem that we were slowly being turned into Michael Jackson lovers by Square-Enix. As promised, in this episode, I shall inform you all of how to prevent this from coming to pass.
I hope you've been writing letters. Because that's only the first step. We've fired off the warning shots with the accusing letters. Sadly, that will not be enough. It will never be enough. No, we need a plan of action.
So far, the best idea I've come up with is to train a small group of people dedicated to the cause to form a small unit that will head a rebellion against the great evil that is being brought into the gaming world. You see, there are reactors all around the Square-Enix HQ. These generators, though great in the idea that they generate the great games that Square-Enix publishes, suck the creativity out of the planet. Some American authors, in fact, have really been struck hard by this drainage. Soon afterwards, one wrote the Harry Potter series, and the other wrote Eragon.
Now then, in order to stop the drainage of any creativity with main characters, we must destroy these generators. The preferred method is to use a bomb, but dropping it from a plane just wouldn't cut it. Everyone knows you have to do it on foot, killing guards along the way with a sword (or other weapon) that's at least 1.5x your hieght. It should only take a few years to become trained to lift the thing above your head. Once you finish training, you must find a group of equally strange and quirky friends (A silent female, a male who is overly zealous about going in and accomplishing a mission, and some random creature in the woods or a lab experiment are the preferred groups). Someone must die in the process of getting out of the reactor. Preferably, the lab experiment guy. He's probably gone goth or emo anyways because no one understands who he is or what he's going through. Just...whatever you do, DON'T read his poetry journal.
Once creativity flow has been restored, you must understand that the damage will only be undone for that company. The aftershock will be enormous, and other companies will be scarred for eternity (See the makers of the Dynasty Warriors series). This is not good; if things have already turned ugly, it may take several years for the gaming industry to recover.
If you don't believe that things are in a downwards spiral, just look at recent Wii games. Honestly; Samba de Amigo? How is a dancing, Spanish monkey entertaining? More importantly, what were the creators smoking when they made that game? Which brings me to my next point: Game makers should be completely sober and drug-free.
Why? Take a look at any game. Notice that very few get perfect 10's these days? Do you know why that is? Obviously, some moron in the development thought that it would funny if the camera, controls, or gameplay was terrible. It would also be funny, they thought, for them to add in frustrating features or mini-games that make the user want to take an axe to their entertainment console. That's why the console producing companies don't complain; console sales spike when so many are getting axed. The warranty doesn't cover going psycho with an axe. Even the testers are in on making the games lame. Think about it; if you've made a game that's insanely boring or obnoxious, and you sent it to the testers, they're obviously going to encounter the same frustrations as everyone else. Funny how the flagrant flaws don't get pointed out by the testers, but the reviewers at sites like these instantly groan and say, "Not again..."
But back to the plan of prevention. If we are to stop this from ever occuring, then we must be ruthless. This means spamming them with telemarketing calls until they give into our demands. More letters. And if all else fails, we call back the strike team that planted the bombs on the reactors. They'll come in on an F-16 (since they're farther in their life's storyline by then), fully equipped to blow the entire facility to smithereens, but since the pilot doesn't believe in using that weaponry, they will land conveniently (for them) outside the HQ in their one weak point in the defenses. The plan will be viewed with extreme skepticism until it "miraculously" works. The party, angered by their loss of their friend in the tragic reactor incident, will slaughter all their opponents using some new awakened ability.
I think that about sums it up. I can't say I can think of anything else to stop us all from having main characters that look like Michael Jackson, but hey - at least I've done my part. Now all that's left is for someone to execute my plan.
Please note, before you read the blow entry and try to stone me: This is written for humorous purposes only. I don't actually believe all of these things myself, but I thought I'd try my hand at writing something funny.
So...without further ado...
It has come to my attention that Square-Enix has had an unfortunate streak of bad character designs for main characters. This is not official, but I must say that ever since Final Fantasy VII, they've really been struggling for original ideas. Don't believe me? hink about it. Final Fantasy VII had Cloud, a spiky-haired person with a "I'm-too-cool-for-everything" attitude and a large sword. Final Fantasy VIII had the same character with a new name and a different outfit. Final Fantasy IX had a somewhat creepy pervert of a monkey boy (I guess it's original, but it's certainly not great). FFX? A whiny, spiky-haired loser. FFXI doesn't count, but I'm sure that most of you are unoriginal with your characters (no offense), and FFXII had someone equally as annoying as Tidus, but with looks shockingly similar to Meg Ryan.
Now, after very real calculations, it has come to my conclusion that the main character of FFXV will, at this rate, decline into someone shockingly like something you'd see in cheesy Saturday morning cartoons. By FFXX, the main character will be a copy of Michael Jackson.
This does not bode well for those of us who like flashy explosions and the like with large numbers to tell how much pain we've inflicted (or recovered). But there is little we can do, save for replace the jobs of those at Square-Enix that are in charge of character development. This is unlikely. I suggest that for every time we purchase a game where the main character is a copy of another game in the same series (or other series, for that matter), we send them an angry letter as to why they're trying to gradually turn the American population into Michael Jackson fans. Don't let your standards become lowered. If we do, the infection will be spread throughout other game series as well. Here are some frightening examples:
Solid Snake will continually grow older until instead of a life bar, you have a bar that dictates his sanity. The game will revolve around stealthily taking naps, avoiding jobs, and hiding from a nagging wife. You will recieve weapons such as a cane to beat off annoying relatives and neighborhood children.
Mario will actually turn into a plumber. "Super Mario Toilet Plunging" just doesn't have a good ring to it.
Sonic will be degraded further than he already is as of now, with an even worse cast of characters (Yes, it's actually possible).
Zelda will make an infinite number of copies of "A link to the past" in 3D. The only difference will be camera rotation.
And so the list goes on. Some people think this is an exaggeration. But I'm warning you...it will become worse over time. Much worse.
There is still hope, however. A new Sonic game is being made (hopefully with a lack of annoying side-characters). Zelda deviated from the "A link to the past" storyline a good ways (there were still connections). Mario hasn't been seen with a plunger yet. Final Fantasy XIII looks like it will be pretty cool, too.
That's all I have for now. This concludes part one of "Problems". Part two, written approximately whenever I feel like it, will cover how to prevent this from coming to be. Until then, make sure to have those pens handy. You never know what those producers will throw in there.
Well, since I'm not really much of a forum-dweller, I guess I'll just post a blog for all to read...if they really want to.
I reviewed FFXII tonight, and I planned to review a lot more, but I was quickly overwhelmed with my giant stack of games. Therefore, I shall, in this blog, simply list some of my favorite of the stack and my likes / dislikes. They will not get near as much attention as an idividual review, but at least I won't be swamped with trivial tasks that I feel obligated to complete.
FFX - A great game overall (about a 9/10). Not a bad storyline, flashy graphics, and a somewhat decent storyline, if more than a little cheesy at times.
Kingdom Hearts 2 - Also a great Action RPG, this game is perhaps one of my favorites for the PS2. If you can get past the fact that it was made by Disney and that some of the cutscenes and/or characters make you want to scream at the stupidity (after all, it is geared towards kids as well), it's actually a very enjoyable game. The storyline actually picks up and becomes pretty cool in the end. Square-Enix did their job well in making their mark, even in a kid-oriented title. 9.5/10.
Suikoden III - Though it's ancient by now, it's still an awesome game. Perhaps the best storyline I've seen in a VERY long time. It has it's quirks, and it's also the hardest game I've EVER played. and I mean, EVER. Strategy battles, some humor, and the giant list of characters make this a very enjoyable game. Difficulty, for once, brings it down for me. 9/10.
Dark Cloud 2 - A very cheesy, but fun, dungeon crawling / city building game. Has quite a few neat features. Not a whole lot else to say. 8.5/10.
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time - Not so great. Though it starts off fun and easy, a sudden difficulty jump makes this game perhaps have the harshest mid-game transition ever. Not a BAD game, but it's not particularly outsanding, except for a fairly neat battle system and some puzzles. 8/10.
Disgaea 2 - Though I never played the original much, I had played enough to see that this was just the same old thing - awful voice overs, aggravating "must-level-up-like-crazy" gameplay, and lots of recycled humor from the first game. Just about all their "new" jokes were lame. Buy the first one instead. 4/10.
Xenosaga - An Awesome RPG with a very original storyline that's on the same level as Suikoden's, with the exception that it's in space. Part one in the series of three. Lots of interesting side quests and things to do as well, and a neat and fluent combat system. 9/10.
Xenosaga 2 - As original as the first game. However, the storyline doesn't really progress as much as you'd hope for an excruciatingly long and difficult game. They made some risks, but I don't think they paid off. 6/10.
Armored Core: Nexus - If you've never tried the armored core series, and like making your own custom war machine of death and using it to do freelance work, then you need to buy this game. A very fun and challenging game with the arena, brought back from the previous Armored Core games, and plenty of missions for you to go on. A very satisfying game. 9.5/10.
Jak and Daxter - A fairly solid platformer with plenty of humor and epic boss battles. An enjoyable experience for any platformer. 8.5/10
Jak 2 - Woah. Is this the same game series? A huge twist from the lighthearted first game, the second features a huge array of awesome things you can do, an entire city to explore, and tons of things to mess around with, including floating cars, hoverboards, and guns. Still kept in plenty of humor, too. 9.5/10
Jak 3 - Again, an awesome game. Rather than in the city, you're in the wastelands. With plot twists and familiar faces, you'll be laughing as well as raising eyebrows at the plot twists in this game. If you enjoyed Jak 2, this game is a must-have. 9.5/10.
Now, that's all I'm going to say in terms of PS2 games, but I will say that there's some PS1 games still worth mentioning, ancient as they are. They are games that are both old, and yet still outclass many of today's games.
Einhander - The best game you've never played. It was a side-scrolling, arcade-style shoot-em-up (the kind where you're in a ship / plane and get new weapons, etc.) made by Squaresoft. It was an awesome game, but I've never managed to beat it because I couldn't find anywhere to buy it. For this kind of game, and bringing age into consideration, 10/10.
Legend of Mana - Also a game for the PS1, I was indignant after seeing the Gamespot review of 6/10. This was perhaps the greatest RPG that was ever on that system (that's right, screw FFVII!) in my experience, with three separate, definate storyline paths to follow through a long series of quests. You could follow all three, if you really wanted. There's a large cast of characters, and the game has both a lot of humor and seriousness. There was an excellent forging system to create weapons, armor, and even your own mechanical robot to take along with you on quests. Add in monster breeding (to take along with you as well), A variety of cool special techniques, an ability-learning system, and even Vs. and co-op mode, this is an rpg that I still play today over many current ones. That's something worthy of a 10/10.
Now that I'm finished with that, it's time for me to sleep. If anyone wants me to do a full review on any of these games, then I'd be more than happy to...as long as I don't get a request for every single one. Anyways, it's getting late here. Time to give my fingers a break. Keep checking back periodically. Eventually, I'll get around to other games in my stack as well.