(But more about that at the end of this blog.) Like it says in the title. Warning: the results are shocking. Now then, onto the main event of the blog, and holy hell is it awesome! And by awesome, I mean big. First up is Einhander, a late 90's shooter made by Square. Square, the guys behind Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy Adventure, Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, and Final Fantasy Tactics? Yep, the very same. And since it was on the PS1, they managed to sneak in a few CGI cutscenes. Honestly, did we really need them? There are only a few, and the graphics are already good as it is (lots of detail, decent animations, unique enemy design, etc.). Maybe for the story, but that's a big maybe. You play as Einhander, a ship caught in a war between the Moon and Earth. I liked the plot, given that you're a Moon shooter fighting the evil forces of the Earthicans, but the big plot twist that the moon men are evil pisses me off. I'd dismiss it as spreading horrible and untrue propaganda, but then I remembered something: NOBODY CARES ABOUT STORY IN SHOOTERS. All that really matters is the shooting, hence the title of the genre. So how is the shooting? Good, but the full potential is not realized. You can choose between three ships, each with their own distinct advantages. I chose the one that could hold a few weapons, but was stuck with a piece of crap peashooter. On the actual weapons, you can hold several at a time, depending on your ship. You have the vulcan, the wasp, the riot, and a bunch of other useless names (the only good one being cannon). None of them have any power-ups, but they do run out of ammo over time. Yea, you pick them up with more frequency than...something with high frequency, but keep in mind that you don't get any in boss battles, leaving you with a pea-shooter against Zog, Destroyer of Worlds. The only major change from other shooters is your arm, with very conspicuous Fruedian undertones. However, this doesn't really add much to the game; in theory you're supposed to shoot things above, behind, in front, below, slightly to your side, slightly not to your side, but only about two weapons actually change their behavior when you flip them with the arm. All others are EXACTLY THE SAME. If you think I hate the game, you're wrong. I like it, but it could've been sooooo much more. There was potential for a much better shooter, but the lack of power-ups really, really hurts the game. Sure, the graphics rock, but you only see it all within a few hours, and there's not much reason to go back. All that in mind, I give it the Mein Kampf Schadenfreude Herzog Zwei Award for Excellence in Randomly Choosing German Words for Your Own Purposes. That's what I do, I give games awards and things.
But very rarely do they actually deserve the awards, given that none of my awards ever make sense ever. However, the next game actually deserves an award because of how good it is (I'll devote a section to that later). The game is, of course, Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals. Now we all have best games ever and worst games ever, but not really most average games ever. I have one, and it is called Lufia & the Fortress of Doom. Absolutely nothing about this game stood out other than how amazingly average it was. Natsume discovered this, and decided to create a sequel that fixed everythiing. Thus was born Lufia Syndrome, a disorder that would later strike series such as Killzone and Breath of Fire. However, it also had a twin called Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, as I have already told you. The game starts off with the hero, Maxim, fighting monsters for pay. Lucky for him, there's an utter **** of them swarming throughout the world of Estopolis. Rather than make enough money to earn the envy of local pimps, Maxim wants to figure out why there are so many of them, roping the hero into a world saving quest. The story itself is good, but not great; I feel like it could've gone into greater detail with all the events and locations and such. However, it does have many extremely memorable moments, like the big mid-game plot twist. I could spoil it, but I'll use an analogy. Imagine the ending to FF9. Now imagine the scene where Zidane is in the play and he casts off his robe. Now imagine him calling out Freya's name, running to her and embracing her in his arms instead of the Princess (now Queen). That's pretty much the huge Lufia II plot twist. Only with Lyn instead of Freya. Plus there's a fantastic ending, giving you reason to play past what you can tolerate (I don't know that, because I don't know you). Wow, look at all the space without mentioning gameplay. The battle system is more than the turn based exterior would lead you to believe. First, you have capsule monsters, little Pokemon-esque beings that evolve to higher levels when fed weapons and the lint in your pocket. Fine, they don't add much, given how they have the bravery of dogs, but the gesture is nice. There's also an IP system, and this works much better than the capsule monsters. They're like Limit Breaks, except you get more moves. One per piece of equipment, in fact. It's very interesting to screw around with new attacks and keep those that work. Besides, if you hate the move you're stuck with, just jam the weapon down a capsule monster's throat, they'll love it. However, the major part of this game is the dungeons. Each one contains about four or five puzzles to solve, and trust me when I tell you that they can be HARD. Don't be surprised if you run to an FAQ to find out how to solve that one puzzle you're stuck on. You'll have a few tools with you to solve each puzzle, and all of them (fire arrow excluded) are put to great and creative use. In addition, there's also a reset spell that costs nothing, meaning you can try over and over until you solve the puzzle. Add in the fact that you don't fight dungeon monsters until you touch them, and I think the game is in love with me, like that needy spouse who serves you breakfast in bed on your day off. This game is the very definition of a ****c: it shows its age, but who gives a crap? That doesn't hinder it in any way, nor does it stop it from aging well. So I give it the Lower Top 20 Award. But wait, Dragon Quest IV is also there. Oh no, which gets the top spot? I know I haven't done this in a long time, but RPG BATTLE!!! First up, protagonists:
Maxim, a hardened soldier
Noname, a silent cliche
OK, Lufia wins the first round. How about most embarrassing moments, huh?
Ripping off FF5
Ouch. Again, gotta hand it to Lufia. This is getting huge. How about one DQ can win, hm? Biggest flaws:
Incredibly hard final boss.
Lufia wins, 2-1! It gets the coveted #11 spot on my list. DW4, you go to 12. Now this is not the end of the blog! Oh, no, I have a bit more for you guys. You're probably wondering why I look different, don't you? Well, another makeover. Let's go into detail about each and every little change, shall we?
I'll admit, I was lazy on this one. However, it turned out really well. The center image of me is basically what I'd look like in an old school JRPG, and I have the Chaos Emeralds revolving around me for no reason :P. Moving on...
Now this one is weird. I've begun the policy of basing my sitework on stories I've told you before, but those were only the serious/original stories. Here's a demostration of a more jocular/ripped off story. The story of Final Fantasy that I have yet to tell. This is my party (me, Queen, Writey Guy & Shiki (dead, right)) fighting Tiamat. Obviously, we're getting Killed. Expect to see this in the future, maybe.
Ah, my favorite dialogue sequence saga of them all. This is the final battle against Thompson Claus, Satan Claus finally absorbing Jack Thompson's body. The crown hangs above him, suspended in light...of darkness! It was originally intended to be a picture of Thompson Claus killing me, but I stumbled upon the "pyramid" and immediately started this. Then I started this one later:
Funny story: this was originally my avatar, but I liked the other one better. Now this one is just me on my throne. Remember that for later.
Keeping in line with the parody thing, this is the end of my Dragon Quest IV parody. I'm in the corner doing nothing. The party consists of myself, Writey Guy, the Queen (she cast Bedragon), and Burger Fox. Wondering why Necrosaro is stained blood red? Keep in mind that in the original, Psaro took the form of Estruk after he became the Ruler of Evil, eventually becoming a warped version of his former ruler. So I did that here, but with Satan Claus. So i-Oh crap! I haven't finished the Dragon Quest thing!
Greetings, mortals. I am God. It is your destiny to fight Satanroth in the depths of Hell. I h-Master Dragon
Yea, yea, got it: go down to Hell, beat up Satanroth.
Maybe we should listen to more of what he has to say. I mean, this is God.Queen
We'll be fine. *group goes down to Hell, finds Satanroth*
GWAAAAHHHH!!!!!! Fear me, for I am Satanroth, the Ruler of Monsterkind! I know now what I must do: destroy all humanity!Satanroth
Be on your guard, he's gained dark p-Queen
OK, whatever. *slashes at Satanroth, arm falls off* What the...*laughs ass off*
Your hubris will eventually be your downfall.Burger Fox
*slashes another arm off, laughs ass off, does so after slashing off head* Oh my God...his freaki....what the hell is going on with his stomach?
You don't remember? There's more to him after the head plops off.Queen
Oh, right. Still, pretty damn easy. *fights some more, sees arms and legs grow back* This is getting a bit weird.
I warned you. *Satanroth grows other head, becomes eviler*Burger Fox
*gets scared* RUN AWAY!!!! *tries to run away, fails* Oh no, we wasted a turn, we're so scr-
Relax, we beat him.Queen
(silence) Huh? Really? Yay, we win! And no stupid alternate endings! *story ends*
Well, I ended the Dragon Quest dialogue sequence multiparter. Might as well start something else. No, not THAT. I was thinking two more video game reviews. After all, I just beat two more games. The first is Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness, because Konami thought they could make their previous N64 Castlevania better by adding werewolves. Thanks for missing the point, Konami! However, there are other changes, like being able to PLAY as a werewolf. You play as Cornell, who ties with Sephiroth for the most prominent homosexual game character in video game history. Why? Well, besides looking at him, the guy skips. I automatically win that argument. Another argument: this game is unoriginal. It rips off both Zelda and Resident Evil, taking place in a medieval mansion filled with horror movie cliches AND a stupid female character who needs to be save from an old fart who never dies. The game even goes so far as to rip off the hallway in the original RE where you saw your first Crimson Head. But this is kinda beside the point (which, as I alluded to earlier, Konami missed). How does it play? Well, there's a good game here, but it's buried under several problems. For example, the combat sucks. Unlike the Belmonts, Cornell throws energy...spikes at his foes. It works better than a whip, but perhaps a bit too well. He doesn't need his claw attack (yes, he has a claw attack) or the traditional sub-weapons, since everything dies with a few whacks of your energy spikes. And it's not even normal enemies who die that easily, as most of the bosses are pathetic. Jump around like an idiot and throw spikes at them until they die. Dracula has a bit more strategy, but he's the final boss, so why should I give a crap at this point? Speaking of enemies, why are there skeletons on motorcycles, the game is set in 1844! Back to the game, control is also a bit of an issue. In order to pick things up, you have to press a button, rather than just walk over it. Any game that commits this crime automatically gets 3 points knocked off its score, and things don't get better from there. The graphics aren't that good (as you've already seen) and the combat is imperfect (as I've already mentioned), but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Too bad you can never reach it. The point I'm trying to make is that there's a good game to be had underneath all the flaws. I can imagine having fun with this game's mechanics if not for the myriad of flaws. So I give it the Whatever the Hell the Opposite of a Polished Turd is Award.
Unfortunately, the next game does not have the benefit of being good beneath the flaws. The next game? Final Fight 2. I had a lot for this, but character limits force me to give it the Unfortunately Short Review Award and leave it to this: the game is really, really repetitive. You can see it at....you know what? Read on, you'll figure it out.
And now, the big surprise I promised you. It may come as shocking: I'm leaving GameSpot. It had to happen sometime. I mean, we all get banned, and I came close. Because of this. But that's not important. The important thing is my departue. "But wait, Vincent!", you might say, "Where are you going?" Well, I have an account set up at Giant Bomb. Besides the benefit of uncensored swearing, I also get a decent user review system, an in-depth game encyclopedia, and a create-your-own-list feature. In the face of all this, how can I possibly stay here, knowing my inevitable fate? Don't try to stop me, I've already started packing. S-
No, wait! Don't leave GameSpot!Queen
Wait, why are you opposed to this?
Yea, you're coming with us.Writey Guy
Oh. OK, then, let's send our stuff there.Queen
Now then, seeing as how I have no more attatchments to this place, l-
You know, you still have one more race in my Rigged Cup.Don Mario
Don't worry, I'll finish that up once we're settled in. I promise you, I'll find a way.
But how are you going to fit in the whole Nazi Patrick thing?Queen
You know, I really don't care about him. I don't know, I don't feel the same zest and zeal writing for this villain as I did for Satan Claus.Writey Guy
Yea...yea, that was a great series.
Eh, I could've do better.Writey Guy
...........So.......I guess this is goodbye.....
No, you can't leave! You have so many friends here! You can't leave me here all alone.Shiki
.......Yea, I'll manage.