_hojo:Woody’s Roundup.03August 14, 2009
_another birthday has come and gone, and as my age becomes more and more advanced, i find myself acquiring fewer and fewer presents. it comes with the territory, so don’t be surprised when it happens to you. but the one good thing about acquiescing less presents is that the backlog gets fed less every year. this years haul saw only 1 addition to the collection, Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise. it’s a souped up version of the original, with somehow even cuter new pinatas. how they managed that is beyond me, the first one was so adorable. anyways, rounding out my gifts were season 5 of Ranma 1/2 and American Dad season 4 on DVD, and issues 1-23 of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic collected in various graphic novels. overall, very high quality gifts, i must say. good work, family. anyways…somebody’s poisoned the waterhole. time for another installment of Woody’s Roundup.
_ChuChu Rocket_this was one of my favorite puzzlers on the Dreamcast. i recently found out that i had an old Game Boy Advance lying around, and then realized, “Oh shit…that means i can buy games for it!” so i looked around at my local game store at GBA games…and handheld ChuChu Rocket caught my eye. “Oh fuck.” bought. so…compared to the Dreamcast version, it fares considerably well. the controls aren’t as simple, due to there not being 4 face buttons, meaning that if i had a way to play multiplayer with anybody, it wouldn’t be as good. but the single player Puzzle mode is greatly expanded, having the original 75 puzzles from the DC version, along with 2500 user originals…not a typo, 2500. yeah. overkill, much? anyways, having the GBA version is great. sure, it comes at the expense of multiplayer because i don’t know anybody else that owns it, but i love puzzle games, even single player, so i’ve been loving the handheld version.
_if you need a gameplay synopsis…arrows guide mice towards rockets. avoid the cats. the end.
_Blaster Master_you know, this game was really good. excellent even. but the only thing i can remember is the fucking vehicle clinging to the ground when i tried to jump at the end of the game. that’s it. if there was a remake of this game, the only thing that needs to be changed is the ability to go into the pause menu and turn off upgrades like Wall Climb. that’s it. with that single feature, this is easily one of the best games on the NES. top 5. easy. but as it stands…it’s merely top 10 or top 20.
_Destiny of an Emperor_it’s like JRPG Romance of the Three Kingdoms. wait…isn’t Romance of the Three Kingdoms a JRPG anyways? or is that SRPG? i’ve never played one. also, when did “JRPG” become an actual genre? ok, how about this…it’s like JRPG Dynasty Warriors. there. better. so, the game starts off as you take control of…3 chinese guys…and then you unify all the chinese kingdoms by making sweet, sweet love to them. on the way you fight Lu Bu and a bunch of other chinese guys whose names aren’t as easy to remember and a guy that uses teleportation magic. all in all, a fairly enjoyable NES RPG, although the endgame is horseshit. i’m so glad we’ve gotten through those early rough patches of RPG design, where developers just kind of threw bad ideas into games to see if they worked. like, “there should be a move where you can prevent your entire party from taking physical damage for a random amount of turns. and the computer should also be able to use it too.” god…what a bad idea…
_Gradius IV_i played this as part of the Gradius 3&4 compilation on the PS2, and i will tell the story of Gradius 3 to try and convey my feelings for Gradius 4. after playing through Gradius 3, i asked a lot of people “have you played Gradius 3?” i usually got a response along the lines of “oh yeah, i loved Gradius 3. it was a little tough, but very enjoyable.” i would then respond “what the fuck game did you play? Gradius 3 was hard as shit. too hard to even be enjoyable at all. fuck that game.” i eventually found out that most people were talking about the SNES Gradius 3, which was a toned down version of the arcade Gradius 3, and Gradius 3 on the 3&4 PS2 game was an arcade perfect port. now, keeping in mind that arcade games are designed to keep people pumping quarters/yen/tokens into the machine…i can sum up my feelings on both Gradius 3 and 4 in a single sentence: “arcade perfect ports are not always a good thing.”
_Shinobi III_speaking of arcade ports, here’s a game from the Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection. only the arcade port was actually Shinobi 1, which was a total asshole game. Shinobi 3 was actually a fantastic side-scroller. sure, like most classic side-scrollers, the design got pretty brutal near the end, but this is definitely a classic Genesis title that any self respecting Genesis/Mega Drive owner should have. i didn’t until SUGC. what does that say about me and my Genesis collection? yeah…
_i think the only complaint i have on this game is the double jump mechanic. it can only be done at the peak of a high jump, and only when jumping at an angle. yeah, pretty strict double jump for a 16-bit generation side-scroller. and of course, double jumping is required in the later stages. so take a wild guess as to what will be the most common method of death? yeah…not double jumping over a pit because you didn’t jump high enough, or you tried it before you hit the apex of your jump. fucker. fuck you Shinobi.
_Comix Zone_another good SEGA side scroller, only this falls closer to “beat ’em up” than platformer. i mean, there are platforming aspects, but they’re all really dickheaded platforming parts. the first stage ends with a barely make-able jump over a pit. yup, first stage. everyone dies here at least once, due to not really thinking the first jump over a pit in the game can only be done by the skin of your teeth. anyways, this game is rather notorious for being short and brutal. only 6 stages, and a beginning-to-end clear will take about 30-40 minutes your first time through. but due to some brutal game mechanics, such as your health decreasing from hitting enemies and destroying barricades, you can see why the game would be difficult. however, thanks to watching Try4ce suffer through it a bunch beforehand, the game was relatively painless for me. relatively.
_Half-Life 2: Episode 2_lookit that. i ended the last Roundup with Ep.1. this one ends with Ep.2. what else is there to say except “more HL2 goodness?” well…unfortunately, the thing i liked least about HL2 has returned in semi-full force in Ep.2, that being driving sections. at least here they come in small doses, and it’s usually “drive a little bit, then get out and First Person Shoot things.” overall, Ep.2 was meatier and better than Ep.1 in most aspects. more sexy Alyx, new annoying enemies to kill, new methods of killing things…a very yummy expansion pack, only on Orange Box, not an expansion because it’s a part of the game. and of course, it has another traditional HL uplifting ending. also, unless something insane happens, i doubt my next Roundup will end with Ep.3 ;-D speaking of Episode 3, it’s been almost 2 years since Episode 2 came out…and here we are, not knowing shit about it. come on Valve…Left 4 Dead is nice, but give us Episode Fucking 3. i have some advisors to “advise.” wait, that was the worst sounding clever threat ever. i have some advisors who need their shit fucked up. yeeeeeeeeeah.
_well, that wraps up another edition of Woody’s Roundup. don’t worry…the space toy fad is over…we’re not going anywhere.