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ehsan8888 Blog

Yo...

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Haven't posted here much, have I?

 

Note: The ellipses at the end is because the title must have at least 5 characters.

Note 2: I ought to post a bit more. Missed some of you guys.

Note 3: I've been busy.

Yes, I'm Alive

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It's been a while, hasn't it? Sorry I haven't been around the site these past few months. It seems that my writing slump has been going on for quite a while and I haven't had the saem motivation and enjoyment I have had before. The same has been going to gaming. I haven't been playing or buying anything, except MvC 3, which I will get a refund of because of my extras not yet recieved. That money will probably go to Ultimate MvC 3, so I can finally get my hands on Phoenix Wright, Dr. Strange, Frank, Ghost Rider, Rocket Raccoon, and most importantly, Nemesis.

Anyways, I just want to make this blog to indicate that I am still around. I apologize for not being here, but I suppose that I kind of lost interest in blogging and kind of buried myself in my studies and other aspects in my life. Perhaps I may return to my old ways of writing, but right now I just need time off. Reviews are still coming in depending on what I'm playing, but as of now, I've been a bit off. Perhaps time will help, but as of now, I'm still not in full potential.

Again, I apologize for sounding a tad bit negative, but I just felt that I ought to hae some sort of an update.

Thanks for reading.

The Progressions and Issues of Resident Evil Part 2

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We are approaching the end as I get into the final elements of my problems, which are enemy types and atmosphere. The enemies in the Resident Evil series are very well made, starting with regular humans and animals being treated with strains of viruses (dominantly the T-Virus), all the way to different humans and creatures being spliced together to make even more horrifying creatures.

Resident Evil 4 started the introduction of Las Plagas, which was not a virus strain, but a parasite that is inherited by ingestion or injection of an embryo. Slowly, the parasite develops inside your body, and a la Alien, it uses your body to hatch the eggs and form the creature. Unlike Alien, the parasite needs a host to survive and eventually bursts the human head, revealing the parasite in full control. Unlike the T-Virus, the infected actually retain their intelligence that they had and can communicate and use tools at their disposable, kind of like the newer models of Tyrant. Uroburos had a similar concept, but instead of being forced into living inside a host, the parasite can break apart from the host or consume it and become its own being.

I'm sure "fighting giant fish" was not in Leon's job description

The concept is a rather interesting one and many of the foes are pretty fun fighting, but it kind of gets old. Don't get me wrong, Resident Evil 4 had amazing fights with awesome creatures and terrifying bosses like Chief Mendez and It. You fight the same type of people for plenty of chapters and there are rarely any breakout creatures that really induce fear into you. The really interesting ones are the giant insects and other animals found in the research facility, simply because of their horrifying looks and instant KOs. However, a few creatures like that are amazing, but nothing to make the cast of infected as cool as the T and G virus related creatures.

My idea is for the series to go back into the virus infected monsters, simply because of the creativity that can fall into these foes. With the viruses, Umbrella did not hold back on their cruelty towards their test subjects and made some gruesome, yet effective monsters. Some designs like the Chimera, a human given the T-Virus and the genes of a fly, were so terrifying that it would warrant a jump from you.

How about Lisa Trevor? She was an innocent girl, whose father designed Spencer the mansion. He was not aware of Umbrella, but he was going to be killed, while his wife and daughter were trapped and experimented on. She did not die from the many viruses she received, but only became stronger, while her father and mother tried escaping. Her mother died along her escape she was planning to do with her daughter, while her father tried to go through the mansion's traps and with his last match found an underground tomb made for him, marking his death. It's a tragic story, and the monster formed out of her is just amazing, making her only vulnerability the fact that she only wants to see her mother before being in peace. Creatures like Tyrant, Neptune, Chimera, various acid spitting insects, and many more would make the series amazing if Capcom went back to the virus strains. Las Plagas and Uroburos were pretty cool, but they extended their stay and the zombified being are what made Resident Evil what it is today.

Talk about terrifying designs

The final portion I will be looking at is the lack of atmosphere is Resident Evil 5. Resident Evil 4 had some really nice moments, such as the cemetery during the storm in the middle of the night, the fight with Chief Mendez inside a burning building, and when you are trapped in the prisons in the castle. The details are very nice and there are plenty of scary moments in those areas. Resident Evil 5 itself looks beautiful in the graphics department, but in some ways is a major disappointment, as there were no moments that made me fear what was ahead of me (you lied to me TV advertisements of Resident Evil 5 that I saw on the internet prior to the video I was going to watch). Lost in Nightmares was a pretty good game and actually had some atmosphere built into it, so Capcom's attempt at Resident Evil 5's atmosphere for the most part was poor.

The original Resident Evils had heart stopping moments as little as a Hunter just jumping and clawing at you. The placement was well done and the dark scenery and music had me very tense as I slowly walked through the many areas, hoping not to jump. Little touch ups such as an opening door loading screen made this game so much more haunting and the eerie feeling of running across the corners in the dark corners infuse fear in you, even though you haven't faced anything. The lack of atmosphere feels wrong, as the game series have been known for the atmosphere driven gameplay and breathtaking gameplay. To put it simple, it just doesn't feel right.

Looking at the series as a whole, I understand the change, but cannot rub off the feeling that I miss the old series and I'm not playing Resident Evil any more. Without Mikami in the head role, it felt as though the series is branching off into a new territory such as plowing through zombies with all the ammo you got and an idiot partner to tag along. Resident Evil 4 was a spectacular action game and Resident Evil 5 is fun, but both are bad Resident Evil games at best.

It just doesn't feel right....

Like the original series, 5 followed 4's formulas, but really felt like it was riding 4's success and I felt like I done this all, back in 2005 and without an annoying partner. Now there are plenty of solutions and one of them is to make a downloadable game on XBLA and PSN, bringing in the feeling of dread and cl@ssic gameplay the series is known for, while continuing their action games on the consoles. Bring back the old school gameplay and make it scary and atmospheric. Sure many people who have not experienced the old school gameplay may not like it, but it can be something that can cater to the fans, who were loyal since the first game, and bring back what made us fall in love with the series again.

If that doesn't work, then I demand that there be a game with only Barry and Jill and have Barry saying corny one-liners to Jill for hours. That would be amazing. Just as long as we witnessthe one redeeming feature of Resident Evil 5 that sets it apart from the other games again.Chris' vendetta against that boulder will never be forgotten. You will be avenged, boulder....You will be avenged....

Note: Remember how I was complaining about Jill's Resident Evil 3 attire and my banner has that attire? I couldn't find a good S.T.A.R.S. image, so I had to work with what I had. Ironic, really.

Note 2: I got this idea for a blog on a topic from the forums of the Game Heroes, overhere.

Have any thoughts that you want to share in regards to the evolution of the series? Did you like them, or did you miss the old formula too? Did you find any dislike towards the older formula? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

The Progression and Issues of Resident Evil Part 1

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Hey guys. As you all know, I really like the Resident Evil games, as they are very fun and have some very interesting puzzles in the mix. You may also know of my harsh comments against Resident Evil 5. Before I go into this blog, let me just clear this beforehand. I love Resident Evil 4 and I enjoyed Resident Evil 5 too. They are great action games that should warrant a purchase for anybody who wants to rampage through the undead. However, I need to get into the qualities into some of my bitterness towards Resident Evil 4 and 5 in anticipation of a series of blogs that are going to be Resident Evil related. It's coming soon, but not soon soon, but soon as in it'll eventually come. Also, there are story spoilers. So if you want to experience the story, do not read this blog and go play the games. So, enough of my rambling, let us begin.

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Ah, Resident Evil. You are one of my favorite series, mixing in a great horror atmosphere with excellent gameplay integrated in it. However, things kind of changed when Capcom decided to go into the next generation of the series, and completely overthrow the gameplay that I know and love. In some ways, I enjoyed the last 2 games, Resident Evil 4 and 5. Yet, in some ways, I could not shake the feeling that I missed the puzzles and less emphasis on action that Resident Evil 1 through 0 had. In this blog, I will be going through the elements of story, characters, gameplay, and atmosphere to say my problems that the series had faults in.

The story of the first game is very simple. There have been reports of grisly murders in the Arklay Mountains, just off of Raccoon City. Reports of cannibalism in this area prompted the Raccoon City Police Department to send in the S.T.A.R.S. Bravo team to go see what happened. After losing signal to the Bravo Team, S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team members, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Barry Burton, Brad Vickers, Joseph Frost, and Captain Albert Wesker get sent in to regain contact with Bravo and uncover the mystery themselves. Everything goes wrong as they discover the remains of Kenneth Sullivan, which also gets Joseph eaten alive by Cerberus (code name for zombie dogs) and cause Brad to flee in horror on the helicopter. This then forces the remaining members to run inside the seemingly empty mansion and embark on their horrifying quest.

In the PlayStation version of the game, the story is interesting, complemented by terrible voice acting and dialog. Looking at the nature of the game, it was meant to be a B movie horror game, while elements of the game's premise were lent by a previous game, Sweet Home. Capcom eventually fixed their problems on the fantastic GameCube remake, adding in CG cutscenes, rather than FMV, and fixed the dialog. Although I should be complaining about the terrible dialog, the haunting atmosphere and story made up for it and to be fair, Capcom probably wasn't expecting such a hit at their hands. Plus, I was too occupied laughing from the unforgettable lines such as, "Use this. It's a weapon. It's good for killing living things."

As the story ended, we discover through diaries and the mysterious behavior of Wesker that the S.T.A.R.S. were intentionally taken to the Spencer Estate as a test to see how the genetically engineered subjects, who were handled by various strains of viruses, can handle real combat. It turns out that Wesker was behind bringing in the STARS and acted as a pawn to Umbrella, all while threatening Barry that he will murder his family if he doesn't comply with his orders.

After various zombies are fought, including regular foes, reptilian Hunters, spiders, wasps, sharks, and dogs, the ultimate form of Umbrella's project is unfolded. Inside the lab, the monster, codenamed Tyrant T-002, is unleashed upon Chris, Jill, and Barry, who redeemed himself by knocking out Wesker as he held your character at gunpoint. Although the T-002 Tyrant model was a failure, as it could not have an intelligence to match a human's and various excessive mutations (including a bulging heart and overgrown hand), it was a hulking monster who demanded a lot of fire power to take down. A shot from an RPG later, Tyrant is defeated and the mansion is blown up. So, Jill, Chris, Barry, and Rebecca escape the mansion with Brad, as they finally escaped the nightmare…. until the sequels.

I'm going to use the story of the Resident Evil remake to contrast it to what happened to 5. I personally had no issues with 4 as a whole, which was basically Leon going through a giant horde of the infected, all while saving the President's daughter. There was nothing really damaging to Leon's character and Ada Wong (a revealed double agent in Resident Evil 2) keeps her mysterious traits intact. So no harm there. However, my biggest issue with the new generation of Resident Evil is how the story unfolds. Basically, it is just shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot, oh look plot twist, shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot, another plot twist, shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot, the end. There is no sense of horror unveiled in the story, which is ironic, considering how the original game was a pioneer in the genre. As you play through the games, you come across more and more gruesome discoveries and unravel the horrors of the survivors, as you see their reactions of fear and panic. All of this just felt missing, and is something that has to do with the characteristics of the characters.

Going into the characters, right off the bat, I really like Chris and Jill. However, something went wrong throughout the years with these characters and made the story of them tough to swallow. The first thing I have to get off of my chest is what the heck they did to Jill. No, not Resident Evil 5 Jill yet, but also Resident Evil 3. Her uniform and **** in Resident Evil 1 were pretty good. Despite the short-sleeved shirt, she had assault pants and shoulder pads, which can protect her shoulders from bites. This was all before she even discovered she was facing zombies. So through her genius mind, the best thing to do is to wear a tube top and a mini skirt. Genius move, Jill. She even has a sweater wrapped on her waist, so she could at least wear to protect her arms from getting bitten. She might as well have written "bite here" all over her arms and legs, as she can pretty much take a bite from anywhere. While she was parading in the city, she could have at least ran to her apartment and changed her clothes to something more appropriate. I get it that Capcom was trying to add this option as fan service (which I despise, I may add), but through the whole game I'm just thinking, "How is she not a zombie by now?!"

You should kinda cover those shoulders....

Surprisingly, Jill does get infected and gets a serum administered to her, which she survives and grows a resistance in her body against the virus. After the events of Resident Evil 3, she and Chris find the BSAA and try to bring down Umbrella. It all goes well until they decide to bring down Spencer. In the events of Lost in Nightmares, she and Chris go through Spencer's home and discover that Wesker murdered Spencer and wants to fight them. After noticing of Wesker's ridiculous fighting, Jill sacrifices herself and flings herself out of the window with Wesker in her arms. This prompts Chris to get depressed and leads into the soap drama known as Resident Evil 5.

We'll get back into the horrifying progression of Jill after we talk about Chris' progression. Chris is not that bad in terms of character design, but there are some sore spots that I have with him. First of all, the changes in him are not subtle. Originally, he looked like a regular person, then he kind of got a bit too muscular. Not that it's a huge problem, but Capcom needs to work on the muscle features on their characters, evidenced by the huge muscles in the Street Fighter IV characters. Chris seriously looks ridiculous when comparing him to his original self, but again, it's just me nitpicking.

Moving on from character designs, I want to get into Wesker a little bit. I personally liked Wesker a lot in the original games, being a quiet yet menacing foe. He originally started off as being raised under Umbrella and Spencer's control, along with other children Spencer gave the last names of Wesker. His level of intelligence was high and that got him a job at Umbrella in research and development. Over the years, Umbrella progressed and many advancements of the T-Virus and discovery of the G-Virus from Lisa Trevor led to the progression of the company.

Eventually, Wesker and Birkin were ordered by Spencer to have their mentor, James Marcus, assassinated and have all of his research stolen. The many changes makes Wesker wary of what will happen to him, which led him to ask for a transfer to Umbrella's Intelligence Bureau, which prompted him to join the S.T.A.R.S., giving away the plans and reports to Umbrella. He finally fulfilled his purpose by sending the Bravo and Alpha team to the mansion to test the engineered BOWs against test subjects who have excelled combat and skills in firearms.

Once Wesker revealed himself to Alpha team, he allowed Tyrant to seemingly "kill" him. Wesker's body was not found, because he injected himself with an experimental virus that Birkin gave to him. This reanimated his body and gave him excelled agility, skilled fighting, and immense strength. At the cost of his newfound powers was his humanity, while gaining cat like red eyes, which were cloaked by his glasses. Throughout the years, he joined a rival company and hid behind the shadows, taking information through his own pawns. When Resident Evil 5 occurred, everything turned weird in the characterization.

You used to be cool....

The first problem was that the premise of the villain was thrown out the window and Wesker became a full-blown comic book supervillain (Chirs ironically says the same line to Wesker). Knowing Wesker, he was a character that screwed people over to survive. His actions were for the sole purpose of surviving and somehow, Resident Evil 5 didn't follow that. What made this even worse was that in the game, Spencer revealed that Wesker was a clone that managed to exceed everybody's expectations, which again messes up the arc that was previously set. My largest issue with the story arc is what they did to the character himself.

At first, he worked out alright, being the cold and quiet figure who is quite dangerous. But the way that they ended him was pathetic and way off. As hilarious it is to see him fling missiles at you, his coolness kind of feels lost in the transition as he screams and yells at you that he will murder you. From a man making moves to survive, to a man who wants to take over the world, Capcom completely missed the point of the character.

Returning to my point of Chris and Jill, Resident Evil 5 was painful for the longtime fans of the series. Chris himself constantly whines about how Jill was his partner and how he could have stopped it and it's just boring to hear. I know he was obsessed with her (he had like 4 games to profess his obvious love to her. His fault), but I don't feel like hearing his constant whining and moaning throughout the game. Then the biggest twist in the game was a shocking reveal that the bird lady was actually Sherry Birkin from Resident Evil 2. No wait, that would have actually made sense.

It seems that Capcom just wanted to shut up the fans and throw Jill in the mix for a few missions and make this backstory that Wesker put this device on her and turned her blonde and another pawn of his, in the form of the bird lady. Again, Sherry would have been an ideal choice to be the bird lady. Thinking about it, she was taken by the government after Leon went his own way. Maybe they could have made a back-story that Umbrella abducted her and brainwashed her to do their bidding. Wesker then would take the advantage to take along the abducted Birkin in his departure and used her as a pawn. That would have worked instead of ruining one of my favorite characters in the series…. and turning her blonde. Why would you do that Capcom?!

Oh hey Sherry, it been a while. Wait, Jill?! WHAT DID HE DO TO YOU?! ;-;

All in all, the story of Resident Evil 5 was poorly constructed. Many of the characters' traits are completely missed, there were twists thrown for no reason, and it just feels like a terrible way to bring the demise of one of the coolest yet dangerous characters in gaming. Many elements of the series' past is used seldom, and it just was not that interesting. I liked the premise of the older games where the main characters were not expecting the horror that they were about to witness, and the betrayals and true intentions of the others were slowly revealed. It was a pretty interesting story, but I just didn't care about this game's story that much.

Next to the sudden change of story, the gameplay change is the most apparent, going from a puzzle-influenced survival horror series to a third person shoot-em up. This change was still pretty good and Resident Evil 4 was phenomenal and Resident Evil 5 was pretty good, but it just was not Resident Evil any more.

Looking at the basis of the original games, the point of the games were that the areas were locked out and you slowly have to find different pieces and accomplish certain tasks before facing the daunting infect with well placed shots and strategic maneuvering. Killing was an action you had to be careful with, simply because you need to manage your equipment to not waste any ammo. Saving 10 rounds of ammo by not killing a regular zombie comes a long way when you face a larger foe that requires more ammunition than your average infected. You had limited space, so you had to pick a weapon that can be efficient, yet have ammo to not take so much space. Grenade launchers are handy, but the different types of ammo take too much space and the drawing is pretty slow, making close encounters with Hunters (zombie lizard men) a stupid move. You also want space in your inventory to make sure that you can have room for items to get past the puzzles. This brings in the survival to survival horror and makes the game a task, with actions as little as saving, something you need to plan out, in order to have the ink ribbons and enough space to do your other work.

Along with the inventory system that set apart the old games apart from the new ones are the tank controls that are loved by fans and hated by most critics. To put it simple, you either love it or hate it. For me, it works just fine after you get used to it, and with the placed cameras, it brings a rushing feeling when you are dying and there is an enemy speeding towards you into a corner. Some of the best moments are the instances of fear you get as you are shooting at a corner, hoping that you have enough rounds to finish off your foe. The whole point of the original series is to solve puzzles and survive. It's not necessarily a pure action game, but has elements of action thrown with the puzzle solving. It's not a very hard system to get used to, but you will once you get used to it, it flows with the game well.

The tank controls are actually pretty solid

The newer games are slowly moving away from the formula and just focusing on the action. Resident Evil 4 kind of had puzzles in it, but weren't that much, but Resident Evil 5 threw it out the window. It's kind of sad, because it gets pretty repetitive to shoot zombies all of the time, especially when the zombie types don't change much. The controls are also something that I kind of wish that they would change up when they made the game, because if the game is not following the gameplay $tyle of the originals, why are they keeping you from moving in the game? It's a full-blown action game, so there should be options to make the controls to flow along with the $tyle of gameplay and enemies. There are some rapid enemies in the older games, but it was mostly composed of slower zombies, which make the precise shooting appropriate with the slow enemies. The newer ones do not have any slow enemies, so tank controls feel outdated when you shoot. Capcom, if you want to make a full-blown action game, don't use the controls of a survival horror game. It doesn't work as well as you think.

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Come back next time as I complain and moan more about enemy types and my approach to help progress, yet retain the fans who loved the older games so much. That and both parts took up too much space.

Thanks for reading.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: First Impressions

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Well, I got the game on Monday and was ridiculously disappointed. No, not at the game, but the fact that I didn't receive the DLC character voucher, the comic, nor the comic subscription. I called their hotline and they said they'll fix it in the next call. But no avail. Still no stuff that I paid for. I'll call them again to square things away.

Now let's get to the gameplay. Wow. Talk about polished. Everything that was lazy and broken in MvC 2 was abolished completely in the sequel. The way Capcom worked on the system is amazing, making it familiar to fans of the series, yet a completely new experience. And wow, are the fighters fun to play as. So far, my favorite is X-23, and in these days, I played as a little over 10 characters. Each of them feel completely different from each other and just are a blast to try out.

The graphics and music are also fantastic. Taking many of the themes of the previous games, Capcom remixed all of the themes for an updated feel, and yes, they brought back the character selection theme from MvC 2 that plagues our ears. The graphics also look quite amazing, with each of the fighters and stages looking amazing. Although the stages are a little on the light side, they are oozing with detail. In the Umbrella Facility, if you cause enough destruction, zombies start crawling around with the emergency signal blaring, The Ghosts N Goblins stage has you going on a moat and seeing all the enemies and bosses in the games.

One other things I love is the little references and exchanges specific characters make. Deadpool makes fun of Magneto's "Welcome to die" line from X-Men: The Arcade game, yells at you for not recording the match, and demands Capcom to put him in the next Street Fighter. Phoenix whispers Scott when she dies, Captain America says, "Avengers, assemble", if you play as him, Thor, and Iron Man, and Iron Man remarks how he should have used his Mark I Armor instead of the Extremis Model. And that's just the surface of it. I just love the attention to detail in the fighters Capcom made, and hearing these exchanges and references is just taking it one step beyond.

Now the gameplay is a mixture of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. It uses a light, medium, and heavy button system, and adds in a launch button to start air combos. When doing a proper air combo, you can press the launch button in midair, to switch to the next fighter. If done right, you can easily juggle opponents in midair. But to make it fair, Capcom added reversal options to make sure there's a chance for characters not to be destroyed by just one combo.

The regular fighting has the same chaotic nature the series is known for, but adds in some inspiration from Street Fighter IV. Like Ultra combos, there are Level 3 Hypers that use the cinematic approach Street Fighter IV did and deal a high amount of damage. Some like Iron Man's are ridiculously powerful, while some like Deadpool's are just hilarious to watch (he literally beats up people with his health and combo bar). There's also the X-Factor that powers up people and reduces damage. The less health and characters you have, the longer it lasts. It's a bit annoying to fight against, especially when you're winning and the opponent spams their hypers mixed with X-Factor.

Some people may be turned off by the lack of overall content (Capcom is releasing an event mode for free), but I personally love the core fighting so much that this doesn't bother me in the slightest. Though I hope a Spectator Mode is released, the overall fighting is ridiculous fun. If you're wary of the fighter genre, this is an overall good starting point, but it will take time getting used to. For fans of the series, this is a dream come true.

First Impression Score: 9.5

Game From The North Country: A Little Over 5 Sentences Update Edition

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Hey guys. I just oredered a certain game that I was ridiculously excited for for 10% off:

So I guess it's as if I only payed $3 for the DLC :P (seriously Capcom, I demand Phoenix Wright, Frank West, Psylocke, and Tyrant for DLC). Still, I'm really excited to play the game, and considering my love for the series since X-Men vs. Street Fighter, I'm sure I'll enjoy this game when it arrives by the end of the week.

Also, if you guys want to keep up with my editorial-esque blogs, they're right here. My profound sense of laziness refuses me of posting them here. I'll do it one of these days.

Anyways, thanks for reading.

Title being a reference to a Bob Dylan song counter: 4

4 Years Here

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I'll keep it concise and want to say that it's been 4 years since I joined here on February. Aside from that, I guess I'll bring in some game updates. Though I haven't played much these past few weeks, I finally finished Okami and it was quite the experience. One of my personal favorite RPGs, albeit starting slow. I loved the soundtrack, graphics, and Zelda-like gameplay. The only Clover console game I haven't played is God Hand and I can only hope for a PSN release. Speaking of games, I heard the pricing of the MvC 3 DLC characters, and I found it a bit too high. I understand 2 characters for $5, but just 1 is ridiculous. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for a discount for the Special Edition on Amazon. In regards to Doc Ock having a possibility as a fighter makes me really happy, but I'll wait for a discount. Even though I'm ridiculously excited for the game, I see no reason to spend extra money on DLC just yet, as there's over 30 characters to play as, and there are already a ton of characters that I'm excited for that aren't DLC. It may not be over 50 characters like in MvC 2, but it's quite a hefty number. To be fair, less than 10 characters weren't ripped from another fighting game and downgraded. Play Street Fighter Alpha 2, and any previous MvC game and you'll see what I mean. With only 2 games left in my backlog, I'll be going to Jet Force Gemini next month, and with my current schedule, it'll take me a good month or 2 to beat it. Then I'll finish off with Turok 2. That's about it. Thanks for reading.

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right: From Ninjas to Supers

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Hey guys. It's been quite a while since you have heard from me if you're not in the FAU. I've been pretty busy and such. I haven't played too many games, but I am almost done with Okami, which will only leave me with 2 backlog games on the N64 (they will be finished) and I am going through Kirby's Epic Yarn, which I haven't had a chance to play much, yet love. Also, Street Fighter IV is really awesome. My favorite characters right now are Ryu (duh), Ibuki (because of Third Strike), Rose (because of Alpha), Fei Long, Dan, and Akuma. I like Makoto, but she was way better in Third Strike, and Dudley is sort of lacking. It's a really fun fighter and though I played it for like 4 hours by myself since I got it in Christmas, it's a really solid game. Since it plays a lot like Street Fighter II, it took me about an hour or two to easily finish arcade mode on expert and beating Akuma without losing a life. The other 4 hours I spent on it were getting my butt kicked by my friend online who uses a ridiculous Juri and murders me with any of the fighters (I really suck at this game).

Those aside,I thought I would throw in 2 reviews of two of my favorite games. The first is Ninja Gaiden on the NES and the second is a re-review of Marvel vs. Capcom 2, in which I couldn't stand my original review.

And yes, I am getting Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Just not now, but in the coming months.

And yes, I'm such a fanboy that I'm shelling out 10 extra dollars to get the Special Edition, which I've never done for another game before.

And yes, I'll attempt to play the Jill DLC to be extremely disappointed to see the horrific changes done to my main from Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Oh well, there's Chris, who sort of plays similar. In case you're wondering, there are a ton of characters that I am excited for and I will be having a huge variety of teams. Now I can only hope for Frank West, Tyrant, Rose, Dr. Strange, and The Punisher DLC. Oh yeah, the reviews: MvC 2-

Capcom Just Loves Trolling Resident Evil Fans

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As you all know, I really am excited for Marvel vs Capcom 3. As you also all know, I really wanted Jill to be in this game and a few others that got denied like The Punisher, Phoenix Wright, Ghost Rider, and plenty more. But not to fear, Capcom has made the characters, but as DLC. That's right. Capcom is working on making these characters into DLC, even though they are still working on the game. But not to worry, with $70 you can pay for Jill Valentine and Shuma Gorath. But wait, it's not the STARS Jill, it's the RE 5 version. I'm sure that her STARS uniform will be available for another amount of nickel and diming. Seriously, why do you guys have to announce downloadable characters when your game isn't even done?

With the future downloadable characters, I'm just going to hold it out and wait for Super Marvel vs Capcom 3. Capcom should be banned from DLC. That and you couldn't even get the right version of Jill.

Slaying Your Vampires (Super Castlevania IV Review)

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You've probably been noticing that my blog writing has been quite lower, and writing blogs has been less fun and exciting as it used to be for me. I'm not sure, but I'm thinking of maybe calling it quits and leaving. I may change my mind, but it seems a whole lot less bleak for me. I apologize for sounding so negative, but to make this blog more positive, here's my Super Castlevania IV review.

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Super Castlevania IV

System: Super Nintendo

Developer: Konami

Genre: Action Adventure, Side-Scroller

Castlevania is a series of games that I have grown to love on the NES. From Simon Belmont's first clash with Dracula to Trevor and Alucard's quest to stop Dracula's evil conquest, the series have progressed significantly in terms of depth and fun gameplay. Now Konami has taken a back to basics approach to the series and it paid off significantly as the magnum opus of the series, Super Castlevania IV.

Every century, Dracula rises from his grave and spreads terror to the local population. However, a family of vampire killers, known as the Belmonts, possess a mystical whip called the Vampire Killer. Every century a Belmont goes through Dracula's castle to stop the unholy beast with the whip, ensuring the safety of the local population. Now Dracula has resurrected from his grave once more and it is up to Simon Belmont to possess the Vampire Killer to take him down once more. The story is not really emphasized on, but considering how the game plays, it is for the better.

The presentation of the game is rather amazing. Immediately you are presented with a dark and foreboding opening detailing Dracula's legend and resurrection. Throw in some amazing music to start off the menu and you are ready to go. Another thing that this game contains is a password feature in order to take breaks in between your progress of the 11 stages. Basically it is a grid, where you fill it in with different symbols of the items in the game. It looks nice and all, but I would have preferred if it was just a bit simpler, like a number system. But this problem is so small that it doesn't even count as a fault.

The attention to detail is amazing

The graphics in the game push the boundaries of the Super Nintendo with an amazing look. The haunting feel of the series are so varied and amazing that you will be just staring at the background in shock on how detailed it is. Looking, you can sometimes see bats coming out of caves, the clouds going over the moon, and mist rising from the ground as you are trying to dodge spirits of the dead. Everything that you have seen from the NES trilogy has been blown into proportions never seen. The models, the various new areas, familiar portions of the castle, and background all look spectacular and blew all of my expectations. Konami also added sections that rely on the Mode 7 graphics to give a very nice looking 3D room, exemplified through the rotating room. The graphics are one of the strongest points in this game.

Just when you think that the graphics are brilliant, the sound is also another groundbreaking point of this amazing game. Again, Konami's sound engineers knew what they were doing and delivered some of the most memorable music in the series with well composed and smooth flowing pieces. Starting with Stage 1's opening to music to Stage A and B's remixes of original Castlevania, these pieces are some of the strongest points of the game. I just am dumbfounded at the wonderful work done and how well it flows with the action of the game. This is clearly one of the best soundtracks on the Super Nintendo.

The controls of the game feel familiar with the earlier titles of the series but feel very refined. You press B to jump, R to throw your sub-weapon, and Y to whip. Konami improved the whip controls significantly, allowing an 8-way movement and twirling around. You can also use your whip to grapple and swing across areas, which comes into heavy use during the last levels. The jumping has also been refined, allowing you to make movements while in midair, just in case you make a bad jump and are landing near an enemy. Speaking of which, the falling back motion is much less drastic as you fall back for a small distance, rather than the huge ways you did back in the NES days. This makes the experience much less frustrating and a whole lot more fun for beginners.

Don't worry guys, I'm a certified vampire hunter

The gameplay is much improved over the original games on the NES. Instead of the RPG like gameplay like in Simon's Quest or the multiple path scenarios like in Darcula's Curse, you return back to a linear Stage-by-Stage approach like in the original Castlevania. Many people may consider it an over-simplification. I consider it a back to basics refinement. As you make it to the end of the stage, you reach a boss, which are based off of many famous figures that are associated with the horror culture and mythology. Some figures include Boris Karloff's interpretation of Frankenstein's monster, The Mummy, a Golem, and many other figures, even including Death (Antonius Block, eat your heart out).

Fighting through the enemies is very fun and they are very varied figures that each pose different threats. There are different forms of skeletons that lob their bones at you or use swords, zombies, pesky bats, and axe wielding knights in heavy armor. You can use many different sub weapons to take down these vile beast including axes, throwing knives, boomerang like crosses, and fire inducing Holy Water. These sub weapons are especially useful when you need to take down a boss or a large mass of enemies. Your currency in the game is marked by hearts, which are used to throw your subweapons. These can be found by breaking different objects in the house such as candles. Finding the proper combination of whipping and using your sub weapons is essential in getting through the different locations.

One thing that people always fear about when playing a Castlevania game is the difficulty, which often turns people down from playing the games. This is pretty much the easiest one out of the bunch, with most of the deaths you encounter coming out of your own mistakes rather than unfair circumstances. Medusa heads are used seldom, death traps are far less, and enemies are in smaller loads than they were in the NES games. To make up for the health you lose, Konami graciously made sure that there is enough chicken to eat to restore health (found in broken walls and other objects). This in some ways is great and when the games gets challenging, it still stays fair and makes you want to play again to fix your mistakes and getting past the boss. This is probably the easiest Castlevania game to get into so far.

The linear approach actually helped the game for the better

The game's length really depends on your experience in the prior Castlevania games. If you managed to get through the first or third game, then this game will be less of a challenge. Newcomers may have a more challenging time with the game, having to get use to the one hit death traps and many enemies found to kill. It's not really hard and the challenge only increases in the last areas. For veterans, expect to play for around 3 hours and for newcomers, add in a few hours. Of course the game has very high replayability due to the hard mode and the sheer fun of the gameplay.

There are some times when you finish a game and remark that it is one of the greatest games that you have played, and this is one of them. The mount of fun and improvements presented is astounding and just an absolute joy to play. This is a spectacular game that everybody has to play. This is one of the reasons you should own a Super Nintendo and a phenomenal game that is a landmark in the series and in action side-scrollers in general. Thank you Konami for this tremendous game. Your work was impeccable.

Thanks for reading.