Yes, I do love movies. But what do I like just as much as that.
NO. No. No no no.
It's music... ya dummy.
Music is a very important part of my life. Hell, I plan on majoring in music composition and theory. I love making music, listening to music, and even analyzing music if need be. There's so many levels to it, and there is so much music out there period. There are so many different genres, so many different artists, its baffling.
I've always wanted to start a series where I talk about songs I like, or even albums. I don't really want to format it too much though, because I honestly just want to talk about why I love music. Is that so much to ask?
So, with that being said, welcome to "Let's Talk Music", with Flapperdoodle.
I know. The title is exquisite.
So, what better way to begin my special, new musical show by talking about my favorite (well… currently my favorite, cause it could always change) artist, Ben Folds.
Despite the fact that he does have a solid, devoted fanbase, I wish more people knew who Ben Folds was. I'm pretty sure the mass majority of my community has no idea who he is, and while it's a shame, it's understandable. He only had one major chart-topping hit in the US, and the only other major hit he's had was in the UK. Both of those tracks were from the 90s when he was doing work with his trio Ben Folds Five. Any recent work Folds has done in his solo career has only gotten to the 70s of the Hot 100. Thankfully, the Ben Folds Five reunion album did get some traction, getting 10 on the Billboard 200. So, he's had his name thrown around.
His biggest break has been being a judge on The Sing-Off on NBC, which is a show you all should be watching. It's essentially an acapella version of American Idol, but in teams. Folds is a great musician, and knows his way around acapella music, so it's a great fit for him.
I don't have nearly enough time to go through all of my favorite songs from Folds, but if you haven't given a listen to them, I suggest you do. Today's episode is going to deal with some of his more slightly abstract work, but still, go listen to some of his first few albums. You won't be disappointed.
Today, I'm going to be discussing a song off of his last album with Ben Folds Five before their reunion, entitled The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.
When interviewed about the album, Mr. Folds essentially remembers it as an over-ambitious experiment. They tried something a little different, mostly keeping it more somber than their past two albums, and it ultimately ended up not pleasing the record label. It wasn't really too successful of an album, and eventually, Ben Folds Five broke up not too long after its initial release due to being overworked.
To be fair, the album can be considered the "black sheep" of the trilogy of original BFF albums. A lot of the songs are nowhere near as fun or silly as half of the songs on BFF's past albums, and really, a lot of the songs are a lot more meaningful lyrically. Still though, I'd go as far to say that Reinhold Messner is an interesting album, with several great BFF tracks. The one I specifically want to talk about is one of the last songs on the album, entitled Jane.
Jane is probably one of the album's more simpler tunes to understand, as well as one of its more somber ones. I like its subtlety not only in its message, but also in its composition. The song stays very jazzy, and never really becomes overly complicated; Ben Folds usually likes to go nuts on a piano solo with riffs you could never believe. Here though, Ben keeps it simple, and it really works with the songs overall tone.
Jane discusses a girl, obviously named Jane, who is struggling to gain self-confidence in her own image. She's constantly trying to be what other people find more interesting, despite the song's speaker attempting to convince her that it's not worth going to all the trouble of being something you're not.
The first two paragraphs are easy to look into, as the lyrics pretty much speak for themselves:
"Jane, be Jane
You're better that way
Not when your trying
You think you saw
So Jane, be Jane
And if sometimes that might
Drive them away
Let them stay there, you don't
Need them anyway."
Obviously here, he's saying that Jane should just be herself, despite what others may want from her, or what she feels she needs to do to be liked or appreciated. She's "better that way".
The chorus becomes a bit more interesting, as the narrator hints that there really is likability in the character's traits. The song doesn't really go into much detail about the speaker's relationship with Jane, nor his opinion of her. Either way though, it still sticks to the songs theme.
"You're worried there might not be
Anything at all inside
But that you're worried
Should tell you that's not right
Don't try to see yourself
The way that others do
It's no use."
After that, we get another typical Ben Folds Five instrumental break. It's nowhere near as long as some other Ben Folds Five songs, but it's still a nice little piano/synth duo. I'm pretty sure that's some kind of synthesized piano. It adds a nice ambiance either way, and the synths overall in the song keep the sound fuller.
After that, we get the chorus again, but some lines are changed. Look closely.
"You're worried there might not be
Anything at all inside
But that you're worried
Should tell you that's not right
You've had it harder than
Anyone could know
So hard to let it go."
Here, we get a slight hint at perhaps the hardships that Jane may have gone through with this image crisis. Perhaps she's become so encapsulated by her obsession with how people see her, that she finds it hard to "let it go".
NO. NO NO NO NO NO. SHUT UP.
The last verse in the song gives us a good idea of the speaker and how he could possibly be more aloof than we thought.
"But it's your life
You can decorate it
As you like
Beneath the pain and armor
In your eyes
The truth still shines
Jane, be Jane."
So, perhaps the narrator doesn't really know Jane that well at all. Perhaps he just sees her as a truthful girl with potential. This verse has him letting go of his persuasion, and he leaves her future up to her, as he should. But he knows between a rough exterior, there lies a true soul. It's interesting to consider.
At first, I always thought this song was missing a lot of layers. The song keeps a very simple story behind it, and this leads to plenty of questions being asked with no definite answers to speak of. Just a few examples:
"How does the speaker know Jane?"
"Who is Jane trying to impress?"
"What is Jane like?"
"Does Jane decide to let herself be who she wants to be?"
They are all very important questions, and while some subtle allusion to them would've been nice, I have a good feeling that answering every question was not what Ben Folds was ever aiming for.
A great song is like a great book, or a great music in the sense that is can be up to the listener's interpretation. I'm sure plenty of people can listen to Jane, with each one seeing a different character at play. We've all had different personal experiences, so it's obvious Jane could be anybody. Hell, Jane may be specifically more personal to some people; perhaps they've met a Jane… perhaps they've been the speaker. That's the beauty behind any song, that someone can see it and image the events differently. I can probably assume some events, but really, I'm sure some people may interpret the song completely differently… and I'm perfectly fine with that.
Musically, the song is very relaxed for the most part. It's just a great drum beat leading it along, with some wonderful synths as well. Reinhold Messner is filled to the brim with deeper additional sounds that BFF barely ever used this consistently, and the synths is one of them. It adds a nice touch. I also like Ben Folds vocals on the track, as it stays simple yet effective. Folds does actually sound like the character I imagine being the speaker.
The song really hits home because its tone suits its theme so well. This song's structure goes perfectly with the subject at hand: confidence and someone's perception of their own image. Dealing with that takes time, and eloquence. In that regard, the song sounds a bit more mellow than most other BFF songs, so it gets that job done perfectly. I know a song has captured tone when I can imagine the song playing in a movie scene of the actual narrative within the song. This is a perfect example.
Overall, Jane keeps things simple, mostly to its benefit. It would've been nice for some subtle closure, but honestly, in the end, the song is only better for not having it. It's a mellow, well structured song that is a good example of a simple theme being executed in a simple way.
At the end of each episode, I'll point you in the direction of another song similar in fashion to the one I just discussed, preferably from the main artist. Keeping in theme with the entire of idea of accepting who you are, On Being Frank from BFF's reunion album, The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind, works well.
It's about an assistant to Frank Sinatra, who is struggling to learn of his purpose in life after his passing. It's an interesting tune, and it's lyrics are really well thought out. It does have a bit more complexity when it comes to musical composition, but it does keep a good beat, allowing the song to truck along. I suggest you give it a listen.
And that about does it for this episode of "Let's Talk Music". Next time, I'll dive into some of the newer songs I've recently added to my iTunes collection.
So… Spring Break just so happened to be this past week. Surprisingly enough, I actually had… free time, and considering I'm in High School, that's not easy to come by. So, I might as well spend some time writing a blog, something I haven't done in a very long while.
With that being said, it's time to continue the series in which we discuss the best of the best examples of aspects from the best of the best platformers. I should probably get a new introductory slogan, but I don't care! It's time for…
So, a while back, for the 20th episode, I had another huge g1 collaboration in which we discussed water level themes. That was a ton of fun, but I feel it's important to not only talk about water levels… but water in gaming itself. So, that's exactly what I'm going to do today.
Everyone loves to talk about water levels and how they stink, but what about the role of water itself in gaming, platformers especially? Water is used as so many different things, and can be applied to several different aspects of gameplay. It can be used as a mode of travel, it can be used as an item, it can be used as an aesthetic choice, it can even be used as a character's physical embodiment. I feel some people don't realize the possible complexity water can have as an element in a video game. These next four levels take water, and use it in ways that actually move the game experience forward; it's not just there as an excuse for the level to be called "a water level", rather the water plays a role in the level's execution itself. Let's begin.
Down with Petey Piranha! (Super Mario Sunshine)
Super Mario Sunshine is practically a water level as a whole. It's main attraction is the very use of a machine that squirts this said substance, most of (and arguably every) level features the use of water in some way, and for god sakes, the whole entire setting of the game is surrounded by water… IT'S AN ISLAND.
Sorry… just tried to prove a point. Anyway, so yeah, Super Mario Sunshine perfectly fits this episode's motif, but one level really sticks out in my memory every single time I remember my experience with Sunshine. The boss battle with Petey Piranha in Bianco Hills, entitled "Down with Petey Piranha", was one of the first levels I ever played in Sunshine, despite my friend's 100% save file when I tried it. He said this one would do a good job of introducing F.L.U.D.D. to me, and boy was he right. The battle has you shooting water into the mouth of Petey until he's too fat to stand. You then ground pound his stomach to damage him (probably internally, let's be frank) until he finally dissolves into the infamous goop… ya know, like you normally do on a bad day.
Granted, this boss battle isn't challenging… at all actually. It was easy to get through it once I got the hang of the controls. What fascinated me though was the idea of using F.L.U.D.D. as a weapon. Sure, there are plenty of small instances throughout Bianco Hills where you'll use F.L.U.D.D. to attack a small enemy, but most of the time in the beginning, we use the trusty hose as more of a cleaning tool to get rid of goop. Now, we actually use it as a weapon, and not necessarily one that hurts something, but one that assists us in making it easier to put on the pain. To me, as a younger gaming enthusiast at the time, that was a pretty damn cool idea, and essentially opened my eyes to how different, yet interesting, Super Mario Sunshine really was in comparison to the rest of the Super Mario series. To this day, as far as the series is concerned, I'd consider Sunshine to be one of the more innovative Mario games.
Water Bug Run (Sly 2: Band of Thieves)
In so many water levels, water is either painted in a negative light, or it's implemented in the game as a hazard (we'll get to that in a moment). Some games go the opposite route and actually have water used as a tool, in fact, we just discussed one of these cases with Sunshine. However, unlike Sunshine, Sly 2 uses water more so as a "safe zone"; in other words, water is assisting you in getting the job done. With a game like Sly Cooper, in which the main character is a master of espionage, "safe zones" are a nice thing to have.
Enter the job "Water Bug Run", a mission in which Sly is tasked with transporting a rare Indian insect into Rajan's office in order for Bentley to monitor the sound waves created from the insects chirping. Unfortunately, the bug is reliant on water for survival, and can only survive out of water for a very short amount of time. Guards are all around the entrance to Rajan's office, so the bug's chirping could get their attention, but thankfully, there are pools on the way to the entrance. As you might have guessed, these are your said "safe zones"; by dropping the bug in the water, you essentially give yourself a deserved breather. Not only are they safe zones in that regard, but if you're careful, you can also hide in the water. Guards won't see you if you hide in just the right spots, and honestly, Sly 2 is full of sneaky ways you can use the environment to your advantage to hide from people, even in ways that aren't so clear. The level can honestly be a little nerve-wracking at first. Combine the bugs obnoxious chirping as a timer, and the guards as near immediate game overs, and you have a challenging level. But, if you keep your cool, you have nothing to worry about. Either way, it's a nice breath of fresh air to see water used as a tool or a goal rather than a menace.
Speaking of which…
Scrap Brain Zone, specifically Act 3 (Sonic the Hedgehog)
There are quite a few reasons water is looked upon so negatively in video games as a level design tool: it can slow a character's movements, it can create a repetitive environment, and some games implement a breathing system in which it forces you to possibly find your way to the surface. Mario does this, Zelda does this, but one of the most criticized series is Sonic. It's already a divided fanbase as a whole, and yet the water levels seem to be one of the only aspects of the series to bring them together… people HATE the Sonic water levels. Honestly though, who could blame 'em?
The first water level I experienced in a Sonic game was Scrap Brain Zone from the very installment. I played other Sonic games before the very first, but never a water level. My friends, while showing me levels, would always skip the water ones, because they felt those levels weren't fun to play. Granted, they were right. Getting through Act 3 in Scrap Brain Zone was an absolute chore for me. The original Sonic game was already hard on its own, forcing me to replay it several times just to make it to Scrap Brain Zone, but the water levels can be extra challenging for multiple reasons. For one, the speed concept is nearly nonexistent, as you're slower underwater. Also, the jumps become… what you'd call, floaty; it takes a while for you to go from up in the air to down and grounded. But the main reason Sonic's water levels are difficult lies within the constant fear of drowning. Any Sonic fan knows that Sonic's biggest weakness is staying underwater for too long. Doing so will suffocate him, leading to an instant KO when the clock strikes zero. However, there is a saving grace in the form of bubbles… it's just to bad they aren't the easiest to come by.
All in all, water levels in Sonic are annoying, but if I have to give them credit for anything, it would certainly be for the mood they set. In this game, the water works as a threat, or an obstacle; it legitimately threatens your survival in the game, so you are constantly on your toes. I love it when a video game really gets me nervous and makes me sweat a little bit. It only allows me to become encapsulated even deeper into the game. So… I guess I should thank the water levels from the Sonic franchise… huh, that's a new one.
The Water Temple (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
Call me old-fashioned, but I still like talking about the Water Temple and my sheer duality towards it. On one hand, it's a thoroughly intricate piece of the adventurous puzzle that is Ocarina of Time and its world. Then again, it's also a frustratingly confusing dungeon that can lead to several hours of you throwing your controller against a wall. It's easily half the reason I let OoT sit on my Wii SD card (and even my 3DS game slot) for several weeks, untouched.
Despite alternate thoughts when I actually play the game, when I sit back and let my mind think clearly, I have to respect the dungeon's design. It does a good job of introducing another classic Zelda tool, it requires legitimate thought and time to make it through, and it still has the awesome appearance of the classic doppelganger, Dark Link. It's a very memorable local in the Zelda universe, but it's also a prime example of how Water is used as a puzzle technique. To make his way through the actual temple, Link must raise and lower the water levels in order to find the keys and such. Changing the water levels allows Link to make his way through smaller enemy hoards and various puzzles and what not. It really doesn't get much more complicated than that, but the challenge is really the scale and scope of the temple. Sometimes, it's really easy to get utterly lost within the temple, constantly second-guessing your last move, especially during your first attempts. Despite the frustration you may face, The Water Temple is definitely a very respectable level on its own. It's aesthetically interesting, it's well designed, and it forces you to use that brain of yours, which the Zelda series does a good job with usually.
Thus, it looks to be end of this installment. I'm glad I decided to get back into writing. Hey, hopefully I can find some time to write some more blogs if I play my scheduling cards right. I'm not gonna make any promises, but writing this blog definitely reminded me of how much fun it was to write for the g1 Nation.
Hopefully you'll be seeing more of my work around these parts, but if you're thirsty for more, I always have my website "Rule Thirds", in which I make content on a weekly basis. Sean, Max, and I would be highly appreciative if you gave the site and our videos a look.
Catch you all on the… "flap" side.
I honestly don't know why I never made that joke previously. It felt like a wasted opportunity.
So, I had a fun time writing the first episode of "Let's Talk Music", so I think I'm gonna write another one before I start evening out what shows I write. I like having a gaming show, a music show, and a movie website. It keeps my interests varied. Anyway, welcome back to the show everyone!
I think that the combination of Spotify and iTunes is quite possibly one of the greatest yet most dangerous combinations of all time.
I have always used iTunes as my personal collection of music, and I probably always will until the eventual worldwide armageddon everyone keeps blabbering about. The only problem was that it was hard to discover new music. When I'd watch a show or a movie, and hear a song I liked, I'd have to look up the soundtrack online and search YouTube, which can be a bit of a hassle seeing as how YouTube is having some website issues lately. Then, I heard about Spotify, and I was immediately hooked. I had tried things like Grooveshark and Beats Music before, but none of them felt too user-friendly. When I tried Spotify for the first time, I immediately fell in love. Never before had music accessibility become so easy.
Even without a Premium account, I still find myself listening to tons of new artists and discovering new music each and every day. As I continued using the program, I essentially began using it as a "Wish List", which is working wonders for me now. I listen to songs, put them in a certain playlist, and see if they are worth buying for my phone. Sometimes, I'll keep songs there for weeks, constantly replaying them. Finally, when I get iTunes cards and things like that, I buy the songs on iTunes, and I officially have them at a much more instant-rate. It's awesome.
With that said, recently I bought a few cool songs that I've really gotten into, and I felt that it would be cool to share my thoughts with you all. So, on that note, let's get started with the first ever recommendations portion of Let's Talk Music! Woot!
I actually discovered this song through a Target commercial. Not even kidding.
Ever since I started playing in my school jazz band, I have fallen in love with the genre. There are so many interesting layers to the craft, and as someone who taken part in said craft, I feel more of a connection to it. Jazz can be soft and meaningful, yet also fun and fast-paced. In fact, some of jazz's biggest icons (Buddy Rich, Louie Armstrong, John Coltrane) are actually some of my heroes.
Louis Prima, an upbeat trumpet player akin to the likes of Louie Armstrong, was actually married to Keely Smith, a smooth and sensual vocalist, for a number of years. This explains why the song works so seamlessly as a tongue and cheek timeline of a couple's affection towards one another. The lyrics are nothing more than just the constant back and forth flirting between a couple.
I like your touch (AH-HAH!)
You're much too much (AH-HAH!)
So let's get together baby, let me come and see you some time (AH HAH!)"
Interestingly, it starts from humble beginnings, and moves its way along to marriage. It almost makes you wonder if this is almost autobiographical on the relationship between Prima and Smith, at least before it ended out of repeated infidelity, seeing as their chemistry was very euphemistic.
I love the constant back and forth idea it does with it's simple vowel-spattering around the beginning, as it adds to Prima's upbeat sense of humor that the song evokes. It also helps the song keeps us musically entertained, with a great saxophone breakdown two-thirds in; that sax player is not afraid to hit those low notes, and it is simply divine. By the end, we get a wonderful final note. The only shame is that I wish it ended on a cymbal crash rather than a simple end to a snare roll… it just would've offered more closure.
Utter nitpicks aside, Louis Prima is a really interesting guy. Did you know that he was actually the one who wrote the original melody to the classic jazz anthem Sing, Sing, Sing? Yeah, Benny Goodman's version is actually just an instrumental. Did you also know Hey, Boy! Hey, Girl! is actually the title song to a 1959 movie of the same name, starring both Prima and Smith? Yeah, and here's the best thing, if you've ever seen The Jungle Book from Disney… you've heard more of Prima's work. The song I Wanna Be Like You is sung by King Louie in the film, which is the voice of Louis Prima. This guy is awesome, right?
Oh… and he also apparently had five wives and was known to be quite the cheater. Then again… he wrote Sing, Sing, Sing. All is forgiven.
Death Cab for Cutie seems to be one of those bands that I should be more familiar with, but I'm just not. It's like how despite the fact I love Ben Folds Five, I have barely heard a single song from either Cake or Barenaked Ladies. Another example would be how I love Earth, Wind, and Fire, yet can barely recognize anything from either Tower of Power or Al Jarreau. Yet one day, this song appeared on my Spotify radio…
I don't know that much about Death Cab for Cutie, despite the fact that it's essentially your picture perfect indie rock success story, but if any of their work is like this, I am thoroughly impressed. Besides for the rockin' beat that kicks the song into high gear immediately, the concept of the song is actually brilliant. The song uses the math concept of "long division" to describe your typical relationship that goes downhill. That seems kinda weird, but as you listen to the lyrics… the concept is implemented perfectly as a metaphor.
"He was always distracted
By the very mention
Of an open door, (oh hoh hoh)
'Cause he had sworn
Not to be what he'd been before
To be a remain, remain, remain, remainder…"
The connections to being a remainder and being carried on allude to the concept of long division, but the song doesn't rely on it to still tell your usual story of a relationship that falls through due to one half of the pair failing to fix their own personal issues. It's a good concept as a nice little analogy, but simply as a springboard, which is respectable, seeing as it may have felt forced if they pushed the theme too strongly.
Another reason I really like the song was the beginning of it. As I mentioned earlier, it begins with a fast-paced usual drum beat with bass playing along, Soon afterwards, the real hook, line, and sinker comes in the form of a simple, yet effective guitar riff. It's not musically intricate, but I just love the way it plays with the notes. Something about it draws me to it, it's hard to describe really. When the song takes off with its chorus, you simply cannot escape the chords. I especially love how they change up the structure a little bit by the second chorus.
Hopefully this song will spark a drive deep within me to listen to more Death Cab for Cutie. If their work is as entertaining and thoughtful as this, there's a good chance they could become one of my new favorites. Maybe.
One day, I sat down to finally finish my Netflix binge of the popular NBC show Chuck, a task that I had been avoiding for a while for some odd reason. As I reached the end of the finale, I heard this song play in the background, and I actually really liked it, so much so that I went online to figure out what the song was actually called. After that, I disregarded it for a while… until I heard it play during another one of my weekly How I Met Your Mother re-run sessions. That was when I knew it was time to keep it under consideration.
The beautiful harmonies immediately drew me in, as Chuck decided to do a montage over the most powerful part of the song, towards the end. I heard the passion behind the actual song and its meaning, and it really stuck with me. I love the drum beat that is very simple yet filling, and the way every instrument works together is simply seamless. The song ends on a simple repetition of the wonderful harmonies, with a simple bass beat keeping it in time. It's a wonderful way to close a very genuine song.
That's really the best word to describe it: genuine. It feels like someone put effort into the songs creation, and how each instrument played a role. Something about the song feels very home-grown: maybe the simple yet lovely guitar-strumming at the beginning, maybe the way it perfectly builds up into a powerful anthem, maybe it's the lyrical meaning. It just feels like this group really cared about making this song work. There's passion in it, musically and lyrically. In fact, a perfect example of this is the song's most prominent phrase:
"Rivers and roads,
Rivers and roads,
Rivers 'till I reach you."
This phrase is repeated nine times, each time more powerful. The first two times, it's more mellow with just a guitar, with a simple drum beat added behind it. Then, the next few times, the song begins blasting it's piano and bass with a near marching band reminiscent beat. They add a tambourine later, and the singers display more and more passion as the lyrics are repeated. The last three times, the instruments are taken out, and only a drum beat keeps the lyrical flow moving. This structure works so well in displaying the song's tone and emotion through the message; it's simply about a man's refusal to deal with change and strives to re-enter the past. The lyrics make the speaker feel passionate about the subject, and so does the music. It's simply wonderful.
I haven't heard any other track by this band in full, but hot damn, their passion for music is clear. I was actually walking through the music section at my local Barnes & Noble, and I saw their album… I think I'll just have to give it a listen.
So, those are the main three I wanted to talk about, but just for fun, here are some other songs I just recently added to my collection. Consider them "runners-up", I guess.
So… I've been doing a lot of movie stuff recently haven't I? Well, why stop now?
So, 2013 has come and gone, and it was quite a year. My life became a lot more stressful with my junior year of high year school beginning, and my movie review show CinemAttack slowly becoming Rule Thirds. That was huge. But with every year that comes by, another onslaught of movies hits theaters.
This is normally around the time when people post up their top ten best lists of 2013, whether it be songs, television shows, video games, people, men, women, controversies, internet shows, technology, or whatever it is your specialize in ya pansy! Well, besides for gaming, I also happen to specialize in film. Having been part of a show about film, I went out to see quite a few of 'em. So, it's still pretty early into 2014 (mid-January is still considered early in Internet time, right?), so consider this my yearly cinematic wrap up!
Before we begin the official list, I just wanna remind you all of some things.
First of all, the rules;
1. The guideline for this list is simple; the film has to be a film that was released in 2013 to theaters (no matter the number or the location), and I had to have watched it in 2013 (not necessarily in theaters mind you). Plain and simple.
2. This list is based off of enjoyment, plain and simple. Sure, some films on this list may be better than others on a purely cinematic level. But the top films on this list are the ones I remember enjoying the most, respecting the most, and most importantly, remembering the most. They are the ones I will remember whenever I look back on 2013 as a whole.
3. I am extremely confident many of your lists are different, and I'm happy about that. It's good to embrace different opinions for what they are: different. There are countless reasons why some films you really liked may not be on my list. For one, I didn't see every movie I wanted to see this year, sadly. Sometimes, films have to fall under the cracks. Even films I was highly looking forward to (Dallas Buyers Club, The Fifth Estate, Wolf of Wall Street) sadly didn't make it into my schedule. Plus, some films you like, I may not like. It just happens man, opinions differ. But hopefully you can respect this list for what it is; it's a personal reflection on this year in film.
HONORABLE MENTIONS TIME!
I'm gonna keep this as quick as possible, seeing as I have quite a few. These are four films that I highly enjoyed, but sadly didn't make the final cut.
Jackie Robinson has always been one of my favorite African American historical figures. He has a life story that I always admired and respected. He's been through quite a lot, and 42 really brought all of that to life for me. Sure, it can be pretty cheesy at times, and the short-shop of an ending (pun kinda intended, I'm still not so sure) left me wanting a little more, but as a whole, 42 does a great job of portraying a very interesting life in a very professional way. It felt like the filmmakers really wanted to tell this story right, and thankfully, they succeeded in that regard in a funny, heartfelt way.
It's becoming increasingly unnecessary for me to explain that I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because it seems like nearly the rest of the world does to, and I feel Iron Man 3 was the true test to see if the MCU could still keep the franchises going after all the steam Avengers let off. Thankfully, a lot of the elements in Iron Man 3 show that the MCU still has strong minds at work, and hopefully Shane Black will become a prominent writer/director, because he clearly knows what he's doing. I dunno if the big decisions he made for the Iron Man series were ones I would've chosen, but at least Black can make you understand and respect those big decisions. Plus, the Iron Men scene. OH THE IRON MEN SCENE.
This is one of the only films I actually didn't see in theaters before I did my December movie catch-up. I saw this with some of my coworkers at a camp I worked at over the summer, and I was actually pretty damn taken aback. I didn't really know what to expect going in to The Place Beyond the Pines, but my word did I get a pretty damn good movie. With cast members like Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in a good majority of the film, you can't really go wrong. The script just perfectly portrays a rather real, heartbreaking story, one that could've been cliche and repetitive if not for the insane places it goes and steps it takes. It probably goes on a little too long, and perhaps loses some emotional steam towards the end, but The Place Beyond The Pines is definitely worth finding and watching, no matter how difficult.
Man, I was so glad Enough Said was James Gandolfini's cinematic swan song, because he probably couldn't have picked a better final project… well, technically he didn't pick it… well, whatever. Enough Said is no earth-shattering epic by any means, but clearly it was not supposed to be. It was supposed to be a simple, cute, funny love story, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't accomplish this task one hundred percent. 2013 was full of crazy, over the top, explosive movies (Pacific Rim, This is the End, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters), and sure, I love a good over the top movie, but sometimes a simple comedy is a nice change of pace. The chemistry between Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini is the perfect mix of awkward and humble hilarity, and seeing as they are the glue holding this movie together, I can easily say Enough Said was one of my favorite comedies of the year.
Alright, enough stalling, it's time to begin the final list, and you know what that means? Not revealing the movie right away and keeping up the suspense by introducing each movie even though you all could just scroll down but I like to be kinda creative this is becoming a run on sentence ALRIGHT LET'S GO.
When you decide to start a movie franchise based off of a famous book or book series, it's obviously gonna become incredibly popular incredibly quickly, despite it being risky when it comes to the sheer level of orthodox fandom. However, it's even more risky when you decide to switch directors for the franchise; you're risking potential drastic change. Thankfully, for my #10 pick, it paid off.
To me at least, the Hunger Games series of films have always been an anomaly when it comes to novel to film adaptations. It's so far the only one of its type where I can sincerely argue that it's probably better for the moviegoer to experience the film without having read the books. I still, to this day, refuse to read the books. Say what you will, but the sheer suspense of these films are worth not reading the books.
By the end of Catching Fire, I was certain Francis Lawrence was a welcome change change to the series. Sure, I did enjoy the first film, which was directed by Gary Ross, but Francis Lawrence definitely has more of a style to… well, everything he does. Gary Ross' only true stylistic choice was a crazily shaking camera, and I think we all remember how that turned out. Lawrence just does more. There's colorization, there's camera technique, there's symbolism, and that's more than enough to easily differentiate yourself ahead of the pack.
Lawrence doesn't only add his own touches though; he builds upon previous elements as well. The relationship between Katniss and Peeta feels a lot more polished and seamless, and that's mainly due to a script that shares those same attributes, but the script is also a lot smarter. Catching Fire is definitely a darker take on the series' overall messages, including underlying political corruption, and the risks and perils of rebellion against said corruption; Lawrence puts these controversies at the forefront in the writing, and the moments of political intrigue are probably some of the best scenes in the film, period.
Add all of this to another fantastic performance from the utterly talented Jennifer Lawrence, and you have a very different but possibly even better sequel that foreshadows great things in store for the next half of this wonderful series.
Every December, since I began discussing film more critically, I've been doing what I call a "December Catch-Up", where I try to catch up on some of the film I missed out on from the last other eleven months. Turns out I was an idiot on how many pretty good movies I missed out on throughout the year.
Man, Matthew Mc-fricken-Conaughey. What a year it has been for him. Ever since The Lincoln Lawyer, he's clearly been trying to up his game and expand his skill set. This year was a triple threat for him, with Dallas Buyers Club being an Oscar darling, and everyone praising his appearance in The Wolf of Wall Street. Before those two success stories though, there was a small little indie film that kinda fell through the cracks. That would be Mud.
Most of you probably have never heard of this movie, similar to The Place Beyond The Pines, and that's understandable. Still, despite this, I implore you to give it a watch, as it has one of the best performances that McConaughey has given in quite a long time. Sure, The Lincoln Lawyer and Magic Mike were solid at best, but Mud was the perfect opportunity for McConaughey to shine, as the film essentially revolves around his character. Without a strong lead, the film would've crumbled quickly, but thankfully, McConaughey is near perfect for the role. The character clearly lacks a strong moral compass, but you still find the character strangely charming, likable, and understanding.
The entire cast of Mud work well together as an ensemble. Reese Witherspoon co-stars in this as the… "love interest", if she can even be called that. I say this because the romance in the film isn't so cut and dry. It takes a couple of twists and turns, and even by the end, you still don't really know how to define it. I first thought this was a flaw with Mud, but after thinking about it a little more, I actually think this is a strength. It works hand in hand with the idea that not everything is as it seems, a theme that is very prominent in Mud. Because you're looking at this story through the eyes of a young child, the movie works off of that aspect intelligently by revealing the story as a child would learn it; sure, you hear one thing, but honestly, it's far from the full explanation.
Yes, the ending does go against a lot of what the film was truly good at, but it's still a fine ending overall. Honestly though, when do you ever go see a film for its ending? You go to be enveloped in a story, and Mud excels at this greatly. It tells a simple story, with a realistic foundation. That's all I could've asked for in the end, really.
Comedy always seems to be the genre every year where I honestly am not truly impressed with the year as a whole, but every so often a diamond in the rough shows its head. I got a few of those this year, and I'm glad to say this is quite the comedy diamond!
Yes... I know that this is from a foreign poster... go ahead and be all snarky about it in the comments... go on, I'm waiting.
If you are ever looking for a perfect mixture of comedy and action in a film, look no further than the talents of Edgar Wright. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, the first two films of his Cornetto trilogy, are definitely movies all their own, and The World's End, the trilogy's thrilling conclusion, might just be his best one yet.
The World's End had nearly everything in its favor right from the get go. You have a creative concept: a pub crawl meets the apocalypse. Only someone like Edgar Wright could come up with that. Then you have a fantastic cast, with comedic golden boys Nick Frost and Simon Pegg at the helm, with other British talents like Rosamund Pike and Martin Freeman assisting. The film looked to have lots of laughs, lots of kick-ass action, and a much deeper, more profound message buried underneath. The World's End is about the people who refuse to let go; who go to any lengths to hold on, while the rest of the world is already miles ahead of them. It's about a near alcoholic man-child who hasn't done much with his life, and his plight to feel like a kid again.
Again though, the best part of these movies, and this one specifically, is the seamless mix of action and comedy. There are plenty of movies that like to mix these two genres together, but not many movies integrate them so equally that the film can be considered a true action comedy. I mean, sure, it helps Mr. Wright is quite the British bloke, and for some reason the quick wit of the Brit seams to always win when writing a great screenplay, but it also helps that Wright has a style to both his writing and his directing that is so genuine and enjoyable. The combination of his personality on paper and on camera helps to create a truly engaging experience.
As the third act rears its head, things start to get a little messy, and the overall plot angle towards the end is still one that I have yet to fully understand despite the fact I do like it, but as a whole, The World's End is a bloody good time from near beginning to end. With more on the horizon, I look forward to see more of Wright's work outside of the trilogy; likewise to Mr. Pegg and Mr. Frost.
Remember how I said there are those diamond in the rough comedies that thankfully show themselves every once in a while? Well…
When I first made mention of my desire to see Don Jon, my father was immediately against the action. He said that I was too young for the film's subject matter, and to that, I strongly disagree. After finally getting a chance to see it, I actually was more than glad I did, because it legitimately taught me a lot about love, sex, relationships, and just life in general. Furthermore, if I want anybody teaching me about any of those things, it's humble everyman Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
...that sounded so wrong... sorry, moving on.
There's something about this movie that feels… new. It's not necessarily the concept, while that is pretty unique; it's more so just the overall knowledge it has. It has personality, it has confidence, it has this panache that entices you. There's a soul to it; It has spunk, it has flavor, it has style. It has its own persona that helps it stand out. It clearly shows that Mr. Gordon-Levitt has the mind and the eye to direct a film like this, because similarly to Lawrence's Catching Fire, Gordon-Levitt clearly put a stamp on this project, despite that being a tad obvious due to his adjacent starring role. This style is ubiquitous throughout the film; it has a likable script, interesting techniques, a believable cast, an interesting plot, and most importantly, a smart message.
It's easy to overlook Don Jon because of its pornographic content, and as you can guess, there is abundant nudity. Clearly though, those who look at it that way don't really understand the story Don Jon is trying to tell. It's about more than just a man who has a denied addiction to porn; it's about a man who yearns for the excitement of porn in sex, and is failing to find it, mainly because he never took the time to actually look for it. It goes much deeper than that, but the point I'm trying to make here is that Don Jon is more than what it looks to be. It's not just some sloppy romantic comedy that throws cliches, plot conveniences, unrealistic love stories, and a strange pinch of porn in your face expecting your heart to melt. It's a true love story that looks beyond love's conventions and takes a look at what it really means to be in love and why that meaning matters.
Will this movie matter a little more to me when I start searching for someone to spend the rest of my life with? Perhaps. But as for right now, Don Jon was a fun, raunchy, realistic life-lesson of a movie. I'm glad I learned the lesson through this movie, because it sure as hell beats "The Birds and the Bees" talk.
Steven Soderbergh has definitely left his mark on the film industry, with projects that vary from the sexually explicit Sex, Lies, and Videotape, to the star-studded suave Ocean's Eleven, to the comedic yet fun-loving stripper tale Magic Mike. You all probably know what movie I'm talking about already, so let's just cut the small-talk and save you the unnecessary anticipation.
When I heard that this would be Soderbergh's final directorial outing, I was upset at first, but after seeing Side Effects, I was nearly devastated. This movie is another perfect example of just how awesome Soderbergh really is as a director. His films can be a bit of a stretch, sure, but if you pay attention and really hone in on the finer, inner details… you'll find an smart, unpredictable medical thriller. Imagine Contagion if you made it monumentally smaller.
Soderbergh choose his actors wisely, and it's them that make this film truly shine. I'm specifically spotlighting Jude Law, an extremely talented man who really knows how to fully execute a script. His character in this movie goes through a lot, and it's clear that he means it through his portrayal. It's a smart, strong performance for Jude Law, proving he has the skill to pull off a near leading role. At first, Rooney Mara's role doesn't seem too interactive with the actual events being told, but as the film's plot becomes more clear, she begins to really become her own character in the film, and it's another home run in that department.
Even after the first thirty minutes, it's hard to see where Side Effects is going to go. Things are revealed at the perfect rate, allowing the audience to put two and two together with just enough time to keep the rest of the plot details in check. This is even more of an accomplishment because, quite frankly, how boring this subject sounds on paper? A film about a patient suffering from medical side effects... it sounds quite lackluster when thinking about it with some average director at the helm… but thankfully we have Soderbergh, and he definitely makes it his own.
This is another film that I saw during my December catch-up, and while its grip only truly tightens around the third act, I feel Soderbergh's directorial farewell is one to be admired. It's a smart thriller from beginning to end that knows how to pace itself and flip a concept on its head. Mr. Soderbergh should be proud.
Is there anything Tom Hanks can't do? I mean, like… honestly.
Here I thought Side Effects was a thrill. If there is one movie from 2013 that almost perfectly creates a consistently suspenseful tone, it's Captain Phillips. With an event like this, it probably wasn't hard to formulate some thrilling, unpredictable moments. Thankfully, Paul Greengrass (known for the final two installments of the Bourne trilogy) is very skilled in this department, but clearly Mr. Greengrass was having a field day.
Captain Phillips has a good mentality to all of the suspense: it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. Of course, based off of historical events, we know that the real Captain Phillips is alive and fine. However, the less obvious events are unknown to me. Mr. Greengrass takes advantage of this by never really losing the suspenseful tone underlying the film's events, so once one event ends, it doesn't take long for another threat to arrive, creating even more suspense. I was legitimately clueless as to what could happen, and it led to me being taken aback at quite a few moments. It's this that makes Captain Phillips one of the best movies of the year; it's fantastically ubiquitous suspense keeps the viewer on their toes.
But it's not just the suspense that kept me invested; it was also the film's two… "main" performances: Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi. Their relationship throughout the film is truly hard to define; it's nowhere close to a camaraderie, but it's not really a true-blue rivalry. The conversations they have are so interesting, because you have no idea how it's going to play out (again, the suspense is amazing). It could be civil, or it could lead to disaster. By the end of the film, as you watch Hanks' character come to terms with the films' events, it's almost like that feeling you get after you're finished with a roller coaster; you begin to relax, take a breath or two, and remember how invigorated you just were for the past minute… except with Captain Phillips, it was over two hours.
Occasional, yet still awkward shaky cam aside, there's no doubt that Greengrass knows his way around a suspenseful thriller, and with a man like Tom Hanks leading the way, you could never really go wrong. If you want to get you're heart pumping, and you have two hours to kill, Captain Phillips is easily the best bang for your buck.
As much as I love watching a good ol' trailer, sometimes it's better to walk in to a movie knowing little to nothing. This can easily pay off, for example…
I barely knew this movie even existed until I was looking up films to cover for CinemAttack, and I saw that this was gaining traction due to strong critical praise. I didn't really know what to expect going in, but was expecting something good. Hoh boy, was I absolutely blown away.
Prisoners is one of those rare movie going experiences where after just a measly half hour, you have absolutely zero clue about what's going to happen next. Plenty of movie mysteries establish key elements early on, like characters, tone, and a large chunk of the story. Prisoners, however, doesn't really give much story. It gives the bare essentials, and essentially continues to form itself as the events unfold. Thanks to Prisoners' dark and mysterious tone, the audience is kept on their toes. This, alongside beautiful use of character ambiguity, is a perfect formula for a brilliant mystery, and that is obviously a massive strength for Prisoners.
Can we just take a second to mention how amazing Jake Gyllenhaal really is. Like, honestly, let's take a second to realize just how great of an actor he is. Similarly to McConaughey, he really has taken a lot of steps to make his career mean something. This role was so well done; he really just threw himself into all of the emotion and turmoil the character drags along with him. He clearly is displaying raw emotion, and he really comes off as a believably stressed detective. Paul Dano also does a surprisingly really good job. Sure, he barely has any lines, but my word, his silence and subtlety just work so well in giving the character this utter emptiness. He doesn't do anything to truly sway us to whether he was or wasn't responsible. It's a silent character, but a deadly one.
Sadly, as the days turned into months, I did begin to see some flaws within Prisoners, like how the story didn't really add up as clearly as I thought it did in retrospect, and how Jackman's acting was pretty hammy. Even so, the sheer brilliance that Prisoners has is undeniable, being the biggest and best surprise of the year.
When I began to think of this list, there were only a few movies I instantly thought of. My top two choices fall in this category, but for some odd reason, my third choice was always the first one that came to my mind... I would say I didn't know why, but that's all rubbish, isn't it?
Every time I think of Into Darkness, the term "cohesive" comes to mind immediately; everything about Into Darkness works together so well to create a truly well-made final product. In my opinion at least, no one aspect of Into Darkness is monumentally better than the other. Sure, some are more prominent, and some do have a bit more of a lasting effect on me as far as their individual quality is concerned. But honestly, Into Darkness is a wonderfully balanced film.
Into Darkness is essentially the equivalent of taking its predecessor, and raising the stakes to its near maximum degree, and the movie's tone complements this. When watching the last film in contrast to the sequel, everything feels more weighted with the latter. The villain is grander, the action is crazier, the plot is deeper, and the pacing is faster. I had a lot more fun watching Into Darkness, simply because it felt a lot bigger. The action, specifically in this regard, is so visceral and engaging. The visuals themselves are very well done like the first film (despite an unnecessary overabundance of lens flares), but the action itself is better in nearly every department.
Thankfully though, Abrams still gives us time to relax and feel for our favorite timeless characters. The relationship between Kirk and Spock especially kept me invested, as Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are on top of their game as Kirk and Spock. The way they bounce off of one another comedically, yet still share a brotherly chemistry dramatically is one that future interpretations should aspire to replicate. But truthfully, it is Cumberbatch that steals the show as the fantastic Khan. His sheer presence on screen is so deep and confident that you simply have to marvel and respect it. It's one that you will not find in many other actors working for Hollywood. When you mix all of this into a plot that never ceases to twist, turn, or play tricks on you, you get a final product that is both dramatically encapsulating, and emotionally entertaining.
As I mentioned before, I am nearly forced to see it as a sign when a film instantly hits your best list during its conception. Star Trek: Into Darkness was easily some of the most fun I had in a theater seat suring 2013. It wasn't anything truly deep, or immensely awe-inspiring, but it definitely was a hell of a ride… and sometimes, those are the most memorable film experiences.
The top spots on my personal lists are for things that truly achieved something. It made a mark on me nothing else possible could have before. To get on my top ten list (not that anybody should put effort into doing that, I mean… who the hell am I in the grand scope of things, really?), you need to truly be brilliant. No, not just brilliant… I'd say monumental. No film betters defines this word than my #2 spot.
Unforgiving. Relentless. Painful. Inspiring. Emotional. Incredible. These words are just some of the ways I'd describe 12 Years a Slave, a groundbreaking achievement in film. I'm not even joking, I LOVED 12 Years a Slave. I consider it to be one of the most impressive movies I've ever seen… period. Hell, even though this is technically "second-best" on my list, I'd unabashedly go far enough to call it the best film of the year on a quality standpoint.
I was watching a video by Kyle Kallgren, otherwise known as "Oancitizen" on ThatGuyWithTheGlasses, where he runs a show entitled "Brows Held High". He was discussing his favorite films of the year, and he brought this film up. He made a very interesting point; 12 Years a Slave is one of the only films about slavery where the story is told through the perspective of the actual African-American slave during the years of the Civil War. It's been explored before, obviously, but I bet you that no other film truly shows you just how awful it was like 12 Years a Slave does. I may not be in favor of every decision director Steve McQueen makes in his films, as sometimes he comes off a little too pretentious with his methods, but I do love how he shows the truth behind things. I'm a very big advocator of being honest and truthful, even if it means coming off a tad arrogant or snobby, or even offensive. But I refuse to let life constantly be sprinkled with lollipops and rainbows. The truth needs to be shown, and McQueen doesn't hold back in any way, shape, or form. Plenty of scenes in this movie are just brutal, and they just go on, and on. It gets you really uncomfortable, and makes you truly hate yourself. And you know what, sometimes we need movies like that.
My Dad always says that this movie really reminded him about how terrible and awful we were back in the times of slavery. I honestly can't blame him for finding it gut-wrenchingly appalling, even if a majority of us didn't even know better. Plenty of films show slavery in a blackened spotlight, yes, but fail to truly capture why slavery was so gosh darn bad. it wasn't just because people deserve freedom, it was because what we were doing to them was absolutely god awful and shameful, not to mention violent. This movie shows the nitty-gritty about slave life: the violence, the mistreatment, the abuse (physically, sexually, and mentally). It's inherently not for the faint of heart, but if you can sit through it, 12 Years a Slave paints a bloody, yet beautiful picture about how much we've truly overcome. Sure, we haven't really progressed completely past violence or racism, but thank god we aren't doing anything terrible like this as often as before. The film's an eye-opener, one that I probably needed.
Of course, we can talk about how perfect the cast is, or how beautiful the cinematography is, or how heartbreaking the music is, or how funny it can be and how tear-jerking it can be, or how brilliant Steve McQueen is in general. Yes, all of that is true, but that is not what makes 12 Years a Slave the best 2013 has to offer. It's the best because it tackles a big subject, with a big heart, and a big soul, with a big payoff. And that is something I say sparingly. 12 Years a Slave is a monumental achievement in period piece filmmaking, and deserves to be for many years to come.
I knew this film would be my number one, right when the trailer came out, and after I saw it, I once again ingrained in my mind that this film is my favorite film of 2013. Sure, is 12 Years a Slave better than it on a level of overall quality? Definitely. But I still loved this movie more. It's creative, it's sweet, it's clever, it's profound, and it was the ONLY movie this year to nearly make me cry… nearly. God bless you Spike Jonze.
Admittedly, Her does have some flaws, ones that are quite easy to admit. Its script can be tonally inconsistent at times, and sometimes it can become a little bit too cheesy, despite its obvious cheese factor. Hell, even the ending lacks that truly deep panache it probably thought it had. But honestly, to say this movie wasn't truly amazing would be a crime against nature. Her is definitely a profound film, one that brings up so many questions within it's bizarre concept. That's why I love Spike Jonze; he always takes concepts that are definitely out there, and yet he asks so many thought-provoking questions.
Joaquin Phoenix is a gem, and the fact that he wasn't nominated for an Oscar still bewilders me. He handles this performance with such subtlety, such nuance, and such class. Phoenix takes on some pretty crazy roles, but out of all of the films I've seen him in, I think none of them challenged him more than this one. This one requires vulnerability, and honesty, and almost this sort of patience. He's a soft-spoken guy appreciating life, and that is very hard to portray without being too lax or too stupid. Phoenix pulls it off though. But what makes me even more annoyed is the Academy being their usual selves and not permitting Scarlett Johansson to even be CONSIDERED for a nomination. It's the Andy Serkis situation all over. She isn't physically in the movie, so she can't be nominated according to their rules. That, is absolute bullcrap, plain and simple. Ms. Johansson deserves this award more than ANYBODY ELSE in the category this year. Why? Because she did something barely ANY other actress can do: she made a character with a voice and no body. And don't mistaken it for a body and no voice, because they are not the same thing, and one is exponentially harder than the other. If anyone deserves an award this year, it's Ms. Johansson.
I can fanboy all day long, but here's my main point: Her is an excellent, near perfectly realized film that takes an intricate topic, and treats it like one. The movie has so many different viewpoints and so many different angles on the situation. It's so complex and interesting, just as we've come to expect from Mr. Jonze. Sure, the writing could use a little… tweaking, but granted, this was Jonze' first solo outing as a writer. And for a first timer… I gotta say, I'm thoroughly impressed.
And there you have it, my favorite films of 2013. Here's to a fantastic 2014, where hopefully we'll see more 12 Years a Slave's and less Movie 43's. Cheers.
Stay tuned for a Jack Ryan review, coming up soon enough. Catch you on the flip side!
No pop. No stupid medleys. In celebration of this finally being here, it's time to bring up one of my favorite songs… PERIOD.
So yeah… I know it's been way too long… like… a month at least. But I've been extremely busy with schoolwork and after school related things. Let's not forget Judaism obligations and what not.
Also, please note, I've been writing this blog for over a month now. So if some things sound out of date, please note that I wrote some of this a very long time ago.
So yeah, but on the bright side, IT'S FINALLY GOING TO END RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!
No time left to waste right? Let's do it! BRING ON THE TITLE CARD!
Savor it folks, and don't worry, there's plenty of time to savor it. Because this is the last time you'll see any of this… until a few months. Aw well. Let us begin.
Ah yes, we all remember how that turned out. Hurricane Sandy began to kick in, and we lost power, and Halloween got postponed, and everything soon would go to hell. But for now, let's have some fun and discuss some awesome games. Lots of games. Yup.
Resident Evil 6
Is it bad that I kinda liked this game? According to most video game critics, yes. A ton of them, too many in fact, disliked the game. Some of them called it some of the worst the series had to offer. Now, most of you would probably see that statement as a bit much. And I do to, a bit, but I can see where their coming from; that is, from a different angle. When looked at the game as a whole, I think it's entertaining. I mean, it's got some problems. The camera can be cumbersome, many of the story elements are utter bull, and enemies eventually become absorption material. But I think the characters in the game are still as likable as they normally are… if they are. I still love Leon as a character, even if he is placed in a ton of crappy plots, and I also like Chris a lot as well. I just think their characters are really interesting. True, most of my love for them are from past games, but I think Capcom consistently keeps their personalities intact. Not only that, but the game can be pretty exciting. And that leads into the action and the thrills of the game. And this also brings me to my counterpoint. As a game normally, RE6 is entertaining. As a Resident Evil game, it's definitely not a very good one. Resident Evil games are more about the suspense and scares. RE6 isn't very scary, nor unpredictable. So, yeah, it may be some of the worst the SERIES has to offer in regards to the SERIES. But as a game… it's solid.
Dance Central 3
I'll be the first to admit that Dance Central is starting to get old. And it doesn't seem like Harmonix wants to admit it, despite the fact it secretly knows. However, they are definitely trying their best to add some new ideas to the mix, and for the most part, they've still done a good job. I still stand by the opinion that Dance Central is by far the most impressive thing… period, that the Kinect has ever produced out of its existence. It's one of the only games that shows the accuracy of the Kinect, and more importantly, it's the only game that helped revolutionize a genre. Yup, I said it, the Kinect helped the dance genre truly evolve. With this technology, all dance games deserve to be this accurate with the moves. When I play Dance Central, I feel like I am really dancing. Games like Just Dance annoy me so much because they are nothing but waggle, but Dance Central feels like dance. And the game has personality to. It doesn't rely on cheap pop songs to be cool, it actually exudes style. The character models, the dialogue, the menus and the choreography. There's this charisma to this series that just makes you wanna get up and shake some kind of body part. With all of this said, I am not recommending they make a Dance Central 4. But as long as they add some new features (like this game and four player battles)… I'd be absolutely fine with that.
The Unfinished Swan
AN INDIE GA-- alright, I'm done with this joke. This is one of the final indie games (if not the only indie game left), so let's just discuss this one, which is probably one of the more creative indies we are discussing. Now, I was first introduced to this game when SourceFed crew member Meg Turney discussed the game in a video. It looked incredibly interesting right from the get go. The game starts you off in an ominous white room as the character of Monroe, and the only thing you can do from the start is throw black gobs of paint. But these black gobs of paint allow you to see what's going on around your venue, and thus the adventure begins. You begin to learn of your surroundings, travel throughout the stage, and even learn these black gobs can cause doors to open or objects to appear. It's not much at first, but as the game continues and plot becomes more and more intricate, the game becomes a very different experience. To me personally, it's not anything near how visceral Journey is, but it definitely does it's best to be something new, and to that I say it succeeds. I mean, the entire concept of "you're in a room that's completely empty, what do you do?" is hard to pull off. But I say brava to GIant Sparrow for making it interesting. Short, yet sweet.
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
Similar to franchises like Phoenix Wright and Monster Hunter, Professor Layton is one of those franchises that seems to have this huge "cult" following… if they can even be called that. I had never gotten into the series previous to this installment. I dunno why per say. It looked rather interesting, but I kinda let it roll of my back. But I must say, I was pleasantly surprised with Miracle Mask. It's funny, it had an interesting story, likable characters, and yet it still kept a solid challenge going with its puzzles. Speaking of which, the puzzles were probably my favorite element of the game. Sure, some of them are kinda lazily created, but others of them are actually really intricate. Puzzles like "Spinning Maize", "Where's Mother?", and "Fix the Fossil" are simple when looked at. But other's like "Emperor's Throne 3" or "A Duck of Tiles" are truly difficult. Plus, with all of the different downloadable puzzles, there's a ton of diversity. If you want a game to truly test your puzzle solving skills, Professor Layton gives you this and so much more. It gives you a well thought out mystery as well. WIth an interesting antagonist, Miracle Mask truly captivated me with how it let the story unravel. Layton fans, you have yourself another possible member, as I plan on keeping up with this franchise from now on.
Assassin's Creed III
Does anyone know why a game about the American Revolution was released on October 31st and not July 4th? I dunno, either way, this was definitely one of the big hitters of last year. Seeing ass Assassin's Creed has become quite the franchise for Ubisoft, it was definitely awesome to see the reveal for this game. I especially loved its setting, during the Revolutionary times. But how did the game actually turn out? Well, I personally thought it was a pretty fun game. It got some mixed reviews, and I can see why, but I think it was a pretty interesting way to continue the series. Connor as a character isn't the most likable, sure, but he at least has this personality that you can believe. I had an enjoyable time following this character's journey through this time period. I also highly enjoyed meeting characters from the Revolutionary time period, such as George Washington and Ben Franklin (ESPECIALLY Ben Franklin, cause that guy's hilarious). The dialogue thrown between these characters can at times be truly engaging. I am always interesting in seeing history from a different perspective or in new mediums, and this was no exception. The game also has other gameplay elements I enjoy. The combat is always fun in these games, as it's stealthy and satisfying, and the naval battles are AWESOME. Seriously, thank god Black Flag is gonna elaborate on those. And I also think the environments are well designed, snowy or not. So, it is flawed, but I think it's worth spending a few hours on, definitely.
Just Dance 4
As a gamer, there tend to be franchises that you hate, but some franchises just go above and beyond hate. They are so annoyingly bad in your opinion, you begin to loathe them, with a burning passion. Some of those franchises for me include Angry Birds, Call of Duty, and Just Dance. My god, I truly hate this franchise. Many people see this as innocent, or just another dumb dancing game. But ya know what I see? I see a lack of innovation in it's, for lack of a better term, "purest" form. I mean, is this game more offensive than any of the other Just Dance games? Not really, even if it sports another partially obnoxious song list. But the fact this game is essentially waggle and nothing more bugs me. As I mentioned several paragraphs ago, Dance Central has revolutionized the genre of dance games… despite how silly it sounds. The Kinect technology allows for the game to truly make you feel like you are dancing. There's no laziness allowed here, you gotta get up and dance. With Just Dance I don't have to dance to much so for the game to get my motions. If I mess up a motion horribly, the game won't penalize me as much as Dance Central would. It just feels waggly, and the dancing itself doesn't feel cool or hip. Ya know why all the commercials for this game look embarrassing? Because playing it is embarrassing. Dance Central has some cool hip dances. You feel like a true dance once you master it. Here, I feel like an idiot. And if your dance game is THAT kinda dance game… screw you.
Dragon Ball Z for Kinect
There are times when you look at a game, know it's going to be bad, and decide to roll with the punches for a laugh or two. Then there are times when you think you are about to play a laughably "so bad it's good" game, and you end up playing a "so bad, it's awful" game. And that is the sad diagnosis of Dragon Ball Z Kinect. It's a game that had to potential to be fun, but due to awful motion controls, it turned out to be two hours of my life completely waisted. Besides for the obvious satisfaction of pulling off a "Kamehameha", the game just perfectly portrays laziness. I mean, it's sad how little somebody can do with such a huge label. There are so many opportunities with something like Dragon Ball Z; the characters, the plot, the comedy, EVERYTHING! For god sakes, dubs on YouTube get more out of the license. There are two modes. TWO. MODES. Story Mode and Score Attack. Both of them get old after maybe 10 minutes of flailing around, like an idiot no less. Oh, and I timed it. It literally took 10 minutes for me to get bored of both. Did I also mention there's no multiplayer. There is no multiplayer to speak of, which is one of the dumbest moves on a developer's part I have ever seen. Nice job… Spike… ChunShoft. Who the hell names their company that? Sorry, tangent. Plus, the game barely detects your motions half the time, because the Kinect fails to detect any motion that is to intricate. Wanna crouch AND move your arms. NOPE. Kinect isn't good enough for that. Add that to a character roster that is smaller than most DBZ PlayStation fighters, and you have yourself a disappointing crapload. I swear to god, if Kinect ruins another franchise as massive as DBZ, I'm gonna flip.
Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth
NO! NO NO NO NO NO! NOOOOOOOOOO! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE KINECT! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE! HOW DARE YOU TAINT MY BELOVED AVENGERS! MAY GOD SMITE THEE IN THE MOST BRUTAL OF WAYS!
*breathes and calms down*
Words cannot describe how betrayed I was when I played this crap-fest on wheels. I love the Avengers… I really do. And of course, the Kinect has to ruin even THIS franchise with a god awful fighting game. Once again, the Kinect is the main problem here, as it all comes down to extremely crappy motion controls. As I tried playing this game, I continuously got frustrated with just how bad the Kinect is at getting my motions. Sometimes it works, sure. But other times, the Kinect just completely fizzes out and the delay kicks in. The game isn't very original either, with the typical campaign and versus modes, along with some "race to the top" and "challenge" sections. Yawn. It also doesn't help that the Challenges Mode is really the only fleshed out mode. The main campaign was clearly thrown together with no effort, and the character diversity is nowhere to be seen. Sure, they've got a nice roster of Marvel characters, but their movesets don't feel very original. It's clear they took obvious cues from Marvel vs Capcom, and not in a way where they were "inspired". It feels more like they blatantly ripped off some of the specials. Ya know, funny story, when I saw the trailer for this game, I thought this was gonna be a platforming game or a beat-em-up. But no… instead we get a crappy game. Ya know how much better this game would've been as a beat-em-up? It could've been Marvel Ultimate Alliance but way more polished, if in the right hands. But alas, clearly this fighter was in the wrong hands, as the game I played felt as if it was in shambles. Not to developers: unless you are gonna do justice to the license, LEAVE MY AVENGERS ALONE.
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare
I had never heard of this game at all until ProJared was showing gameplay of it on his channel. Hell, he even put it on his favorite games list, so I immediately gained interest. When I watched how fun the game truly was with the laughter of other gameplay videos ringing through my head, I had to do some research. So this game is essentially a sword fighting game in which you are in a first person view. It's hands on slashing your opponent. And let's be honest, it looks fricken awesome. I am just so intrigued by the combat. Is there anything NOT awesome about becoming a samurai and swinging a sword around and slashing some peeps. Now I can't really say anything on the effect of the game because I never ended up playing it. But what I can say is that the weapon variety and the teamwork efforts I've seen in gameplay videos show that this game is perfect for just a solid night of video games with your buddies. I also hear there are glitches and stuff, but I kinda expect that seeing as it's a $25 game on Steam. Plus, you can use a catapult. I am seriously doubting my sense as to why I haven't played this game yet. It's continuing to kill me more and more. Gah. Why must I have no direct access to Steam? WHY?
Silent Hill: Book of Memories
It's sad really. Silent Hill just can't catch a break in my book. Shattered Memories wasn't very impressive in my book, Downpour was incredibly disappointing, so it doesn't help that Book of Memories also looks kinda lame. So lame that it has to be as the Vita. ZING. Anyway, the thing about this game that annoys me is that it looks like just another Silent Hill game. Typical, melodramatic, dark, and average at best. So why is this game in this section, as it doesn't really sound like I want to play this game. Well, let me put it this way. I may not love Silent Hill 2, but I will be the first to admit that it truly is one of the most intense, suspenseful, dark, and mysterious games out there. Plus, it balances a well done plot and pretty well fleshed out characters. So, I have a lot of respect for the Silent Hill series. So to see many of the most recent games being very below par gets me a little upset. I know that if you put the series into the right hands, there are a ton of possibilities to how fantastic the game could be. Instead, I have a bad feeling that there's been some slacking. If some true thought was put into a gripping story, some truly dramatic characters, and an environment that truly is dark and pretty creepy, I'm sure Silent Hill could have another massive hit. But until then, I must wait. But hopefully Book of Memories is better than Downpour. If it is, let me know. But for now, I can only hope Book of Memories is a solid entry. *sigh*
Microsoft should truthfully be ashamed that their console sales in comparison to their competitors when it comes to console exclusives. Both Sony and Nintendo trump them ten fold. What's worse is that the only two exclusives that are worth mentioning in sales: Halo and Gears of War, are first person shooters. This only shows that the XBOX is incredibly dependent on FPS games. But there is that silver lining to every unfortunate situation, and that is the Forza series. I love Racing games, and Forza is actually a very well-polished racing game, feeling very realistic and very fun. It's got nice car designs and an overall good graphical capacity. I am only praying that it eventually becomes more fleshed out. But I was honestly underwhelmed when I saw the trailer for this game. The trailer didn't really treat me to anything truly new. I saw some nice cutscene-esque footage, with some annoying pop or dubstep music. But I never got the feeling this Forza game was doing something truly new with the franchise. No in depth car models. No new racing physics. It's just… normal fare. And that upsets me a little bit seeing as other series like Burnout and Need for Speed either not trying hard enough or trying too hard. Yeah… figure that one out. Anyway, I am saddened that trailer impression kept me away, but hopefully I get a chance to play this soon. There is probably more too it. But let's hope Forza begins to strive a little more for innovation.
Yeah, remember this existed? Yeah, we heard about it… like… once in a trailer. And then it immediately faded into obscurity. This may have been to how surprisingly fast ACIII kinda faded out. Or it most likely the near immediate decline of the Vita. When looked at though, this game looked to be a very interesting turn for the franchise. The first ever female main assassin character, a new time period, and a new race too. It's pretty awesome how Ubisoft was able to innovate here. Too bad they put it on… the Vita… heh. I mean, gameplay wise it didn't look too different, but for me, that isn't a complaint. I love jumping across trees and knifing some evil dudes in the chest. And as a new character, with a new story, and possibly some interesting development, I was even more interested in the game. But I honestly don't know. I was gonna try it out, but the rush of how little the Vita did for me kinda kept away. I mean, I just highly dislike the Vita honestly. I don't like the design, I think it has a weak roster of games, and people automatically praise it for being a Sony device. So, if this went on the 3DS or something, I would've possibly bought it. But for now, it will sit in my possibility bin. Aw well… so much for innovation. Another less hostile note to developers: when you have a game that truly changes up your franchise… put it on a new console that'll sell...
LEGO Lord of the Rings: The Video Game
Studs… so… many… studs. Sorry, getting off the rails from my main thought. LEGO has always had a place in my heart from when I was very young. LEGO should truly be thanked for helping me evolve my creative mindset. But when going into the video games, it's a bit of a different story. I like the LEGO video games overall, no doubt, but recently they've been a bit disappointing. I love LEGO Star Wars and of course LEGO Batman. But games like LEGO Indiana Jones and LEGO Harry Potter haven't been quite as good. Thankfully though, LEGO seems to be coming back with a lot more originality with LEGO City Undercover, but for some odd reason this showed up. Look, I'm not that much of an LOTR fan, but this kinda looked… silly. I dunno why, but this just didn't look good to me. I guess maybe because LOTR is much more serious, I would prefer it to stay this way I guess. I mean, I know that sounds kinda dumb seeing as LEGO is meant to be kinda silly. But, LOTR is just better off taken seriously as an epic. Sure, we can riff, but the source material is still there. Harry Potter is kinda silly at points, so is Indiana Jones, and so is Star Wars. But Lord of the Rings is just such an epic saga. It's silly SOMETIMES, but it's overwhelmingly dark and mysterious. It just… doesn't fit LEGO to me. I want to play this game to be proven wrong (hopefully…) but let's hope LEGO can hook onto another solid franchise that is more suited for the silliness of the franchise.
Oh boy, here it is. This is the motherload of all of gaming. This is where a ton of games came out, both good and bad. And don't worry, many passed my radar. So, let us explore friends!
I think I make it too vocal sometimes that I am not a huge fan of the Halo series. I just see it as a franchise lacking creativity. I don't hate it, and I don't feel it's worth arguing about sometimes, because Halo fans can be incredibly blind sometimes. I dunno, not really an FPS fan, so that makes sense. But even I have to give respect where respect is due. I had a huge doubt that 343 Studios would not be able to truly do what Bungie was able to do. And while I still they think they are essentially Bungie.2 and may never really escape the Halo shadow, I think they made a pretty good representation of the franchise. It continues the trends it upholds, and it still has polish. There are even some new creative ideas thrown in. I've heard some wonderful new tracks the game has to offer, there are new modes, and new story, and it all feels like a natural fit. These new ideas are integral for a franchise this massive. I'm glad to see that Halo has not really been changed, but added upon. I think that is really impressive. When you can add to a franchise, but still leave it unaltered at it's core, there must be respect given. Again, I am not a fan of the gameplay, but I can admit when gameplay works and when it doesn't for others, even if it doesn't for me. Master Chief, good luck on your next two adventures. I probably won't play 'em, but I'm sure I'll be seeing them shine to others. And if other gamers are playing games that they love (and that are of quality), I'm most likely gonna be happy.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Aw hell yeah, here's a game I can really sink my teeth into! This was the game that sold me the 3DS practically. As a huge fan of Paper Mario, I was super excited to see an installment that went back to the good ol' PREFERRED days of turn based battling. Plus, the concept looked like one of the most creative ideas Mario has had in a very long time. And guys, I highly enjoyed Sticker Star. It's definitely one of the most creative games Nintendo has created in a very long time. It just nearly makes up for all of the annoying rehashes New Super Mario Bros. has been creating. Sure, it has a pretty weak story arc, and the replay value borderlines on cheap, but I think the sticker concept is just so well handled. It has a ton of creative elements implemented to it, it's user-friendly, and it's fun to see the stickers come to life. There's variety in the stickers used, whether it's jumping, hammering, dodging, or shooting fireballs. There's ton of different methods to madness, especially with the larger "thing" stickers. There are 64 of them, and each one is fun to use in battles. Don't tell me it's NOT fun to see a giant goat chomp down on enemies, because if you do, you are ultimately wrong. The world is scattered with stickers, so it's definitely hard to run out of them if you know what you are doing. Seriously guys, shut up about that. People keep telling me "I run out of stickers…", which is code for you don't take strategy into account. You need to truly think about the stickers you take. Either way, I think the game is fantastic just in execution alone, and if one person complains about no leveling up system, I swear I'll flip.
Wow. Just… just wow. Talk about a flat-out surprise. When I saw this game premiere at E3, I was slightly disappointed not to see a major first party release from a major character or something. I saw this and immediately saw the words "MINIGAME COMPILATION" in front of me. It was sad to underestimate them so quickly, but Nintendo isn't exactly the best at creating these said compilations (see Wii Play). But once again, Nintendo proves me wrong, as Nintendo Land is easily one of the most fun games I've played on any console this year. It is the ultimate multiplayer bonanza, perfect for a group of friends who just want to have fun. The mini-games vary from incredibly simple, to slightly more challenging to grasp onto. But each one is incredibly fleshed out in its look, design, user-friendliness, and overall execution. Each franchise is thoroughly represented with a minigame that perfectly exemplifies the series itself. And plus… they are just so damn fun. I know I am tossing that word around, but seriously, my friends and I have had oodles and oodles of fun playing all of these games. They are so simple, yet they open themselves up to multiplayer experiences so well. But what really impresses me about this game is just how good it is at simply incorporating the new Wii U GamePad. Each game includes a certain element that must be controlled by the GamePad, and for nearly every minigame, it works splendidly. I truly was able to fully realize what the GamePad can do and how comfortable using it really is. At first, it seemed a bit bulky and hard to grasp, but the controller is really well done and incorporated masterfully. I was just so thoroughly surprised with how polished this game really was. Let's hope tech demos for Nintendo consoles are this fleshed-out in the future.
PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale
Nintendo has always held the crown for franchise crossover brawlers. Super Smash Bros. has been so successful, and its cast quite a shadow. So, even though it's been a dream of many to see a Sony cross-franchise brawler, it would have to be fantastic to be even close to as awesome as Brawl was. And sadly, PSASBR didn't come quite close enough to Brawl's greatness level, but I still think SuperBot did a good job with all of the opportunity they had. I mean, Sony has a large amount of characters at their disposal, and while some were missing (and quite obviously), they still created a wonderful roster. That's probably my favorite part of the game; simply the idea of controlling the characters I love and letting them woop ass against other characters I love. Ratchet fighting Sackboy? YES. Kratos and Sly? YUP. Spike and Raiden? Um… sure, I guess. The execution of the characters were top notch, with killer movesets, awesome catch phrases, and taunts well-suited to the characters. SuperBot just had problems with the gameplay when it came to fighting format. I personally didn't like the idea of a super move being the only way to kill an opponent. Sure, it leant itself to longer battles… but sometimes that would lead to a battle being too long. Some people like that more than others, but I like good timing in my battles, and sometimes the fighting would get monotonous. But at least the fighting was fun admittedly. And there are a ton of cool stages involved… even if the combinations are a little off. In conclusion, the game has some flaws at its inner core, but as a whole the game is a nice, polished realization of a pretty awesome idea to begin with. With more DLC characters to come, there can only be more awesomeness to share.
The Walking Dead (TellTale)
Now, I've been avoiding this game for a while, mainly because I wanted to wait until when part five was released so that way i didn't have to comment on each part. It would just be too much. Anyway, I really like TellTale and their style of animation and game design. They are one of the only studios I know that take a license, or a brand, and they do it justice with the character and mythos while also balancing their own creative plot. Love 'em, so it comes as no surprise that I do respect The Walking Dead: The Game. I personally don't love it, as I feel the plot takes some odd turns, and some characters I out-right despise (I'm looking at you Larry… I can't believe I share a name with you), but I think the story is easily one of the most impressively dramatic experiences from this year in gaming. I felt for these characters and what they were going through, in a truly cinematic way. The characters have these backstories you believe, and events transpire that you get lost in. And I love it when games become cinematic and truly gripping. I have to respect that in a game, even if the franchise is not a franchise I love. I mean, honestly, I never fell in love with The Walking Dead. Yeah, it's got good production value, and it's got good acting, but I just never fell into the trap. Maybe it's because I am tired of zombies, or because the first episode drew me away. But even with that said, the game is just masterfully handled with pacing, and writing, and characters. Sure, some characters suck, but some are just brilliant. Add all of this to obviously beautiful animation, and you have another TellTale success story to a tee.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Ok, I am not gonna rant very long, but I am gonna spend a little time discussing this. My hatred for Call of Duty, honestly, is just a record player skipping. I am getting tired of ranting about how Call of Duty is just the same crap over and over again, because thankfully, more people are realizing this. But I just have to say this. I am fine with a game coming out that inspires so many other people to create a similar game. Mario did that in the 80s, and we got some genuinely great games. However… there's need to be a point where the saturation of the market stops. How is this done? Simply change up the game. When this is done, the games will follow suit. Just change… ANY. DAMN. CHANGE. Seriously, for god sakes, just be creative ONCE and you can take a break. But no. Call of Duty follows the same damn formula every damn year, and it pisses me off. It's causing an over-saturation in the market, and it's annoying. For god sakes… just change it up! Take some time to god damn think, a change up your game! Maybe we'll get some better shooters if we do… geez. Okay, rant over, moving on.
Wonderbook: Book of Spells
Did anybody seriously have faith in this game? After the travesty it went through during Sony's E3 2012 press conference, I lost hope for this game the moment that presentation began. And after my friend idiotically decided to buy it, I saw full on why this whole concept was a failure to begin with. If there's one thing you should take away from it, it's that the controls suck. Plain and simple, no stupid padding or fluff, no nothing. The controls are terrible, as the Move is terrible. The fact Sony still has faith in this piece of tomfoolery technology astounds me, because in it's worse case scenario, it simply doesn't work. I'm serious, at many times, the Move will not pick up your motions at all. If it did pick up the motions, it would most likely lose the tracking half way through the spell. It would rarely track the entire spell, and when it did, you can assume it wasn't worth any sort of payoff. The spells in the game, or at least the ones I experienced, are just… lame. Sure, they have some flare, but most of the graphics are just a little underdone. For a game that is a meant to be a simulation of true magic wonderment, the game just feels like it had potential to be so much more than what I actually got. It doesn't feel like a J. K. Rowling product honestly. Any other name could've been placed on this game, and an celebrity would've made just the same amount of money, yet just the same amount of effort would've been put in. I mean, I like magic. All the whimsy with the wand movements and the spell sayings, it's fun! But if a game can't get into the source material… how can we? Seriously, this is just a load of crap. Forget it exists.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
As if the original Epic Mickey wasn't "eh" enough, we get this even mixture of "meh", "eh", "good", and "bad". I'm serious guys, this is so odd to me. There are so many things this game had going for it. Oswald is finally playable, and the world in the first game (which was essentially that game's best element) only got bigger. Plus… geez guys, IT WAS A MUSICAL. A MUSICAL. But there are so many issues in this game brought from the first game. The camera? Oh yeah, it's still there. I honestly don't understand why this issue never got fixed, because it was the most prominent issue beforehand. The game also has some poorly handled control tracking when it comes to attacking. I feel like the game doesn't truly go through every motion. I press buttons, and it just doesn't really register. When I am fighting a boss (which sometimes do reach some epic levels), I have trouble truly getting into it because the controls at times just plainly do not work. It also doesn't help the gameplay doesn't make up for the controls, as it feels a little tired at this point. The concept is nice and peachy and all, but when push comes to shove, it's just not enough to sustain a sequel without a second piece of gameplay to offer, and there's nothing else substantial to back it up. It's sad, because I love Mickey, and I felt the first game had some very unique areas. But I felt Junction just kinda dropped the ball. If the game has any saving grace, it's just the element of multiplayer. Multiplayer always makes a game more fun out of friendship. But besides for that, the game is lacking. I can't hate it, but I can be disappointed for sure.
I've always had a love for LittleBigPlanet, as it is definitely one of the definitive platformers for the PS3. So, it made me smile a little bit when I heard of there being a karting game in development. I like racing games, as it is one of my favorite genres. And with the world of LittleBigPlanet being so lively and so cutesy and open to a solid racing game. Sadly, it never came into my grasp… and this is odd for me, mainly because it was caused by "eh" reviews. I was surprised when I heard some of the mediocre (at best) reviews. Sure, there were some very positive reviews, but I was honestly surprised. I was looking for Media Molecule to truly create something to compete with Mario Kart knock-offs. Sure, it was a bit of a cash grab on the Mario Kart formula, but the franchise of LittleBigPlanet is so PERFECT for a series to compete with Mario Kart. It has so much potential with the characters, the environment, the atmosphere, and just… the feel. I don't know how much more I can describe this. If you've ever played LBP, you know what I mean. The feeling you get when playing LBP, that sense of glee and enjoyment out of innocence, is perfect for a kart racer. Thankfully, the game didn't show signs of utterly sucking, but there was just potential unreached. At least that's what I noticed. And that sucks… honestly. I was just hoping for this to be a contender, and it never ended up being one. This was also due to poor marketing… which is something Sony needs to work on a little bit. Seriously… I don't think I saw any advertisements for this game. Ok, I saw like… two or three on the internet. That's it. Lame.
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
So… I think we all know my disappointment with the REAL Epic Mickey 2… if not, just look above dummy. So, when I heard there was a handheld counterpart, I was interested, to say the least. It looked to be drastically different. There was some 2D platforming, with stages based on different Disney tales. Plus, the paint thinner concept was still a major focal point. And yes, I do think that the concept is now getting stale, but I haven't played Power of Illusion yet… so maybe this game does it better. And that is possible. There's a different developer here: DreamRift. They haven't done much, but it's nice to see another new developer get a chance at a seemingly bigger project. I mean… this is Mickey Mouse. If you screw this guy up… you're toast. Anyway, a good reason I never bought the game is because it is on the 3DS, and I never have the money. I only have enough money intake to get a solid one game every 8 months or so. And since I already spent that on Sticker Star, Epic Mickey was kinda out of the question. Plus, no offense Epic Mickey, but there are others games I would've rather bought. I am still thinking about LEGO Batman 2 and Professor Layton… and Dream Team is coming out soon! Man… money is hard to keep when you love video games. There just wasn't enough for Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion. Sure, it looked different and new… in a sense. But I just never bought their sell. And the possibilities were even more so ruined by the utter catastrophe of Epic Mickey 2. Sorry Power of Illusion… maybe our paths will cross again someday. Just not today.
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Transformed
Now, funny thing, I've played a little bit of this. Probably enough to place it in a category. But my experiences are so damn mixed, I still couldn't decide which category it deserves to be in. But I still wanted to share my experiences. So, I liked the original game, overall. I liked the characters, and the game is very colorful and fun. The multiplayer has a lot of replay value with the different modes available as well. But playing this sequel, it looks like some of the problems from the original have seeped through to this new installment. The game is very fun, as usual. There's a great character selection, and the multiplayer definitely can keep SEGA fans coming back time and time again. There's a lot of creativity shown as well, as the placement and design behind the varied vehicle sections are interesting, to say the least. But sadly, there are times when the game just becomes a little too… colorful. I know that kinda negates the idea that the colors are great, but I feel that some courses have too much going on. For this reason, it makes it hard to follow your characters through various courses in split screen multiplayer. They can just get so zany and crazily designed, it's hard to get through it. Also, the boat controls, and sometimes even the plane controls, just get really cumbersome and clunky. I see myself having way too much trouble with the boat controls… seriously, it's like they took DIRECT inspiration from Super Mario Kart's turning controls. Ick. Look, it's not terrible at all, but it has problems. But I still don't feel I've dug deep enough. I'll get back to you on what I think of the game after I've played it more.
What does the mainstream love? Zombies, for one. Shooting games as well. New stuff, definitely. And of course, a solid game. So, that is what I assume Nintendo was trying to give the public with ZombiU, and very non-subtle step into third party FPS competition. I never got to play the game straight up, but I hear it got some solid reviews. What is sad though, is that this game never really broke through. I can see why, as this game wasn't advertised much and there are many other WiiU games that deserve better, but I still feel like this wasn't exactly good for Nintendo. Sure, it's nothing Nintendo was going to rely on in the end, but it showed slight potential. I loved that zombie creator thing that they showed at E3. Sure, it shows some holes, but in the end it's quite a good time if you use it right… I assume. Remember, haven't played… just speculating. Another awesome thing? It looks like they were using the GamePad as much as they possibly could. Seriously. It has so many elements and mechanics involved in it that it seems a little overwhelming at first. But it looks to be that they balanced it extremely well. Plus, the whole concept of dying as a character, and then waking up as another needing to find your inventory is MAD genius. It honestly looked like Ubisoft was hitting something of true ingenuity with this game. It sucks it didn't get too much limelight from consumers outside of E3. Because maybe… JUST maybe, it could've changed the genre we all know and… hate. At least those of us with minds. OH.
Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault
I love Ratchet and Clank, honestly. I've played them all, some more than others, but nevertheless, all of them. The franchise just has so many interesting qualities. I love the weapon variety in "Up Your Arsenal". I love the the multiplayer gameplay in "All 4 One", even if it was a bit glitchy at times. I especially love the gameplay of "Size Matters", with the shrink ray implementation. So it caught me REALLY off guard when I saw that, mere months before release, a new Ratchet and Clank game was coming out. Like… where did it come from? I had never heard of it. Ever. Sadly, the game didn't look to have anything too special. Doing some research, it looks to be a combination of "Up Your Arsenal", "A Crack in Time", and "Ratchet and Clank". I appreciate bringing some awesome gameplay elements together, but honestly, nothing truly drew me in as new or creative. Well, now thinking about it, Ratchet and Clank always seems to keep this constant streak of creative ideas in areas like weapon and level design. However, Full Frontal Assault was just missing this one concept. Usually, Ratchet and Clank games have a very easily identifiable selling point. "Size Matters", "Up Your Arsenal", and "A Crack in Time" immediately show off this new concept. Shrinking, weapon adversity, and time travel. Even "All 4 One" got the multiplayer thrown in, something Ratchet and Clank never usually does in too grand of a scale. But Full Frontal Assault did nothing for me, and thus it will be left alone most likely. If you have played it, let me know how it is. I'd be glad to hear about it.
Eh… Christmas time. Well, at least it's also Chanukah time. That at least balances it out. Let's see what games we got to play last holiday season, shall we? And guess what? NO GAMES I MISSED! WOOT!
Far Cry 3
I was never truly following the Far Cry series. I hear the series is very well done and is entertaining for sure. So, after seeing all of these videos at E3, I actually got really hyped for this game. It looked to have intriguing characters, as well as an intriguing plot line, and it looked to have a truly expansive environment. It just looked better and better as the months went by, and after playing it, I have to say that I had a damn good time with this game. Unlike games like Saint's Row (yup), Far Cry 3 is able to keep a central storyline that's very interesting, while also allowing for crazy moments with guns, knives, and fire. The game has a fantastic central villain with Voss. He's a truly interesting character, with some brilliant execution of writing on the game's part. He's such a joy to interact with, despite the fact he's incredibly sick and twisted. That really can be said for the entire game as a whole. The game has some really freaky and creepy moments. At the same time however, you just want to continue playing through the game. It's that kind of scare that sucks you in. Sure, you'll be afraid of it at first, but it's all worth it once you get into the nitty gritty. The game is bursting with content from all sides, not just the story, but with the islands to explore and the side missions. Speaking of which, unlike many other role-playing games, the side missions in Far Cry 3 are actually really fun. Because the environment is fun to explore and experiment with, it's great to go on these quests and see what the game has to offer. Now matter how you splice it, Far Cry 3 is a fully developed experience, and I look forward to returning to this franchise in the future.
Street Fighter X Mega Man
Now this is what I'm talking about. Two franchises I love coming together to have one major crossover event. As I played this game, the fact that Mega Man hasn't had his own game in a long time was something completely forgotten. Like, completely. I just fell in love right from the first minute. As some of you may know, Mega Man 2 is one of my favorite NES games. I love it's gameplay style, the level design, and the great pixelated art style. So it's even better to see this same style used in combination with the characters from Street Fighter. I think the idea of having Street Fighter characters as bosses is one of the most creative and brilliant ideas in the history of ever. Seriously… Mega Man Universe got close with Mega Man and Ryu in the same game, but this game got there and perfected it. Plus, Blanka is a boss. THANK YOU GUY WHO MADE THIS GAME. Yeah, this is a fan made game. I honestly am amazed that a simple fan can create a Mega Man game so damn faithful, that Capcom is willing to pick it up and publish it. Seriously, Capcom, you struck gold with this idea. Why not try doing more ideas like this? Mega Man X Mortal Kombat? Mega Man X Injustice? Mega Man X Marvel? For god sakes guys, THIS IS PURE GENIUS. Levels practically make themselves with some of the concepts these characters have from past movesets and past story arcs. Stop canceling announcements, and just give what the people want man! It's these games that made us fall in love with Mega Man in the first place. For god sakes, keep doing this. God, I felt like I just wrote a damn PSA.
The War Z
This disgusts me. To be totally honest, the game itself is only truly awful because it's plagued with glitches, and it's just a blatant cash grab of Day Z. It's lazy, and overall a waisted opportunity. But that's not the MAIN reason I despise this game, rather I despise the developers. Seriously, I hate things like false advertising. I'm not an avid Steam user, so forgive me if I'm wrong, but I heard the game falsely mentioned features in the game on Steam. People thus bought the game, and were shocked not to see what they were promised. This annoys me to all hell, and then I heard Sergey Titov called campers the other F word pertaining to a stereotype that I hate saying because I don't like to offend people of said stereotype. This game was just full of controversy from the ground up. I've never seen so many people I know want a refund for a game, ever. I thought they would get them from Steam or something, but I guess not. I honestly didn't know how to feel about this at first… but then I saw all the terrible things the game has to offer, and I am so mad at Hammerpoint. They took a beloved mod from ARMA 2, and they ruined it by basically painting it a new color and reselling it to valued buyers. It seems like they were just trying to take advantage of a cult fanbase. Then again, maybe I could be wrong. Maybe this whole sha-bang has worn off, some people have gotten refunds, and have simply forgotten about The War Z. But as the game stands, it's simply broken. I can't really excuse that, despite controversies not being cared for.
Games Worth Mentioning:
Pokemon Black and White 2
Joe Danger 2: The Movie
Fable: The Journey
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Zone of the Enders HD Collection
Angry Birds: Star Wars
Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
Jet Set Radio HD
New Super Mario Bros. U
First off, I wanna thank everyone who's been reading this blog series. I know it took a REALLY LONG TIME for me to get this one out to you, but it's finally done, and I'm glad some of you stuck around. As for blogs I'll write later, I have some Perfect Platformer episodes I'm working on, and some movie review catch-ups I'm gonna write… despite not having seen too many movies yet this year. But I'm working on it! I am!
For now… expect a special blog coming soon. It has to do with a little feud going on… hm…
(PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL EPISODE OF FLAPPERDOODLE'S GAMING BLOG. THIS IS ON THIS CHANNEL FOR ANOTHER PURPOSE. THIS IS NOT COUNTED AS AN EPISODE. OK, GLAD WE ALL KNOW THIS.)
Ladies and gentlemen…
LET'S GET READY TO RUMMMMMMMMBLLLLLLLLLLE!
IT'S TIME FOR THE BRAWL OF THE CENTURY TO TAKE PLACE! IT'S THE ULTIMATE G1 LIST-OFF LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! THIS HAS BARELY EVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE!
In this corner, weighing a crap ton of points being a robot made of wood, it's 2011's g1 of the year and g1 spotlight creator...
And in this corner, weighing probably a lot less, it's the adorable cat-enthusiast host of "Top 10 Generator"...
I, Flapperdoodle, am your official referee for this duel of listing wits, and I'm here to help you guys get a slightly better understanding of what exactly is going down throughout the next week or so.
Earlier this month, Woodyman's blog was forcefully intruded by BigJoe91, calling him a copycat for reusing his list idea for his own blog. BigJoe91 doubted Woodyman's listing skills, but Woodyman refused to be underestimated. When all was said and done, BigJoe91 demanded a list-off to see who could write the better list. Woodyman agreed, and the battle was set.
Woody and Joe allowed the g1s to give suggestions for lists the two should compete with, and there were a slew of ideas given. Woodyman sorted them all out, and gave me special access to voting polls. We'll get to how you can help with this soon.
Why am I here then? Well, I am here to make sure everything stays fair and equal, and that the rules are abided by. Believe or not, Woody and Joe get pretty easily riled up. So, I'm here to keep things… well, as civil as they can be.
Here are the rules Woody and Joe must follow for the battle to be fair:
Rule 1: They both must write a Top TEN on the given subject, and nothing else. Of course.
Rule 2: There can only be ONE slot on the list per game. A game cannot appear twice on one list. Franchise doubles are acceptable, as long as they aren't too similar in choice.
Rule 3: Entries on the list must be from games they have played before. No personal experience? No admittance.
Rule 4: Both lists are due on MAY SIXTH or MAY 6TH. If the list isn't given in on time, it will be considered a forfeit, and the other challenger will win. If both give it in late, it all comes down to who gets it in first.
So, those are what THEY need to know. But here's what YOU, the g1s, need to know.
When you decide on what list you wanna see, vote for it, simple as that. But, the poll ends on Saturday, April 27th. So you guys need to get your votes in PRONTO. Also, try to vote for a different subject than the one you brought up. Also, let's be fair here, and only allow one vote per g1. The poll won't allow multiple votes anyway.
Seriously though, Woody and Joe need your votes. They are imperative to choosing the list, because whether there's 3 votes, or 30 votes, the one that gets the most will be written about.
So, you vote. Awesome! Then, you'll have to wait until the lists are published, and you have to vote on which list you think is better. You will do this by commenting on the blogs about your opinion.
And… that's pretty much all the information given. Look guys, there's a lot of potential here for a badass competition, so do your best to follow all three of us on twitter.
After the poll was closed and the votes were tallied, the final conclusion was that Woody and Joe would each write....
The Top Ten Games You Love But Everyone Else Hates
Interesting choice around 20% of you made, heh?
So, that's the decree, and thankfully for Woody and Joe got their lists in at around the last second. Sadly though, I got pretty swamped with schoolwork, so the publishing of this blog got delayed a bit. But to that, I say NO MORE! It is here, so let's do this!
Here's how this is gonna go: I'm gonna leave Woody's and Joe's lists for you to just parooze (slang term, look it up). My suggestion is that you read them both completely. Once you are done, leave a comment down below this blog clearly stating which list you think should win: Woody's or Joe's.
I'm gonna say that again...
No beating around the bush! Tells us which list wins!
Also, if you are going to leave a comment without a vote, you may do so, but clearly state you wish not to vote. It's perfectly fine, if not regrettable, but just let us know you don't wanna vote.A
Also note, besides for some spacing, these lists are completely un-edited (grammer issues included, hee hee), so this is straight from the horse's mouth.
You have until May 20th to vote, or one week. Have fun, enjoy, and good luck to Woody and Joe.
LET THE LIST-OFF SHOWDOWN... COMMENCE!
Well it’s finally time for the epic Top 10 Battle between BigJoe91 and myself. It’s time to decide who the better list-writer is… after just examining one list, chosen by someone else, with no real basis of voting… SEEMS LEGIT! Before I begin my introduction, I really just want to say good luck to BigJoe91 and that no matter who wins, I had fun writing this list.
The topic was chosen by popular g1 vote and it is the Top 10 Games I Like, But Everyone Else Seems to Hate. I’m not going to lie and say that this list was easy because it wasn’t. It’s much easier to find flaws in good games, than good features in bad games. For my Top 10 I wanted to choose games that are generally loathed by gamers. However, gamers don’t just hate games for no reason. They have legitimate gripes with the game that are difficult to overlook. For this list, I picked 10 games that have flaws and are detested, but also games that I still have fun playing despite the blemishes. For this list I’ll do my best to explain the game, why it’s hated, and why I like it.
Without further ado, here are some music and the rules I followed for this list.
Shaquille O’Neil – Strait Playin’
Snow – Informer
Iago – I’m looking out for me
· For this list I tried to pick games that the majority of the gaming community doesn’t like. However there will be a few if you who enjoy the games as well.
· All games are games I have played.
· I had to pick one game per franchise otherwise this list would be saturated with one franchise.
· I’m going to TRY to avoid games talked about by the Angry Video Game Nerd, but that will be tough because he talked about a lot of bad games.
· Games are ordered based on how hated they are and how much I enjoy them.
10.) Batman Forever
As if Batman Forever didn’t live in enough infamy, they made a game to go along with it. If you don’t remember, Batman Forever was the atrocious film with Jim Carrey as the Riddler, do I really need to say more? Like many 8-bit and 16-bit Batman games, Batman Forever was an arcade style beat-em-up. It was developed by Probe Entertainment and Acclaim in 1995 for the Super Nintendo and SEGA Genesis, there’s a Gameboy version too, but even I’ll admit that game sucked. The game loosely follows the movie it is named after, with some scenes added or deleted to give the game more flow. However, the game was panned by nearly everyone.
If you’ve seen the AVGN review of this game then you know why Batman Forever is infamous. Long story short, it’s the controls. Now, Batman Forever tried something different for the beat-em-up genre. First off they used digitized graphics, which are the same fancy-shmancy graphics from the Mortal Kombat series, but they also stole Mortal Kombat controls. You can leg sweep, roundhouse, and even uppercut your opponents. Although I really wish they’d add Alfred saying “Toasty! Sir” whenever an uppercut connected. Numerous gamers complain that this makes each fight last forever especially if you knock the enemy down because you have to wait for them to get back up again, but you’re never gonna keep them down. (References are funny because you’ve heard of them :D) Luckily, you can use gadgets! However, these gadgets are even trickier to use and you’ll often find yourself mashing the buttons just to get the grappling hook to work. People also often knock Batman Forever for its boring gameplay. You walk and punch over and over and over.
So riddle me this! If there are so many flaws, why do I like Batman Forever? Well because it fits the theme of the game and the co-op gameplay is fun. I never found the controls to be annoying because for me they seemed to fit the game. With the Mortal Kombat controls you couldn’t blow past each enemy like you can in most beat-em-ups. You have to fight strategically, and plan out your attacks. This is especially true if you are fighting more than one opponent at a time. Each opponent also has similar Mortal Kombat moves and if you’re not careful they can take away half of your health with ease. The strategic fighting makes you feel more like Batman. When it comes to the confusion of the gadgets and where to go, I thought that fit the game as well. You had to pay attention to the riddles left around by The Riddler to figure out what to do next, and some of them were quite tricky. Then the gadgets were similar to special moves in Mortal Kombat. You didn’t know how to do them right away, but figuring them out was part of the fun. Also, Batman Forever had a great co-op and versus mode where you could play as Batman, Robin, or any of the villains you fought throughout the game. I liked to play as Sugar and Spice because they were sexy. I know my friend Joe (who is not a cat) and I spent hours in this mode alone. For Batman Forever, I’d say look past the controls, slow down, and try it again. You may be surprised.
9.) Earthworm Jim 3D
Sometimes, I feel like I’m the only one who remembers Earthworm Jim 3D. It’s perfectly understandable because the game is forgettable. I even hated Earthworm Jim 3D at one point, but as time went on; I’ve grown to appreciate this game. If you don’t already know, Earthworm Jim 3D was developed by VIS Entertainment and released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64. The game suffered from what I’m going to call “Duke Nukem Forever-osis”. It was delayed and pushed back so many times that it could never live up to the hype.
Most criticisms of Earthworm Jim 3D are based on comparisons to the original 16-bit games. These games were quirky and awfully fun to play. Earthworm Jim 3D is criticized to be a complete departure from the series. Even the original series designers felt like Earthworm Jim 3D ruined the franchise. Two major criticisms of the game are similar to many games that made the jump from 2D to 3D. For one, the camera was atrocious. It jerked around so often that you’d think it was having a seizure. This ruined many of the platforming segments of the game. The second criticism was the overall design of the game. Character models and levels didn’t seem to translate well into the third dimension.
While, I will agree that the camera in this game is deplorable, I would like to assume the position that Earthworm Jim 3D is a perfectly fine game, with all the same quirkiness of the originals. First off, the game takes place all inside of Jim’s mind because he was knocked unconscious by a flying cow, yup… a flying cow. Jim must battle through his mind facing off against foes from his past. The game borrows much from other N64 platformers such as Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64 in that Jim must collect golden udders and his own marbles to move on to other sections of his mind. Doesn’t all this sound like a typical Earthworm Jim game? Just pure insanity! Then, the final boss of the game is Earthworm Kim who is Jim’s feminine side personified. Also she’s a terrifying example of what Jim would look like if he was a cross dresser. Kim wants to take over Jim’s body and leave Jim’s mind trapped in the subconscious, but luckily you hop on your trusty pig and kick her ass. Earthworm Jim 3D isn’t a bad game it’s just got a bad cover. People were biased because of their love and devotion to the original games and the fact that the Earthworm Jim 3D graphics are ugly. However, bad appearance does not make a bad game.
8.) Kasumi Ninja
Yes, I have actually played Kasumi Ninja for the Atari Jaguar, and I really enjoyed it. If you don’t already know, Kasumi Ninja was a fighting game developed by Hand Made Games for the Atari Jaguar in 1994. The game followed two twin brothers Habaki and Senzo who competed in a tournament to see who the better fighter is. At the end of the tournament, the final challenge is a demon named Gyaku. It’s as cliché as could be, but back in this era, no one really cared about the plot of a fighting game anyway, I know I didn’t. As I said before it was a fighting game made for the Atari Jaguar so it was doomed from the start, but gamers had much more criticisms than the gameplay and the unoriginal design.
The game was a complete Mortal Kombat rip-off. It had digitized graphics and featured a lot of blood. Wow… as I’m writing this, I’ve come to realize that I like a lot of Mortal Kombat style games that mostly everyone else seems to hate. I guess I have a Mortal Kombat bias. Well, back to the criticisms of the game. Since the game was released on the Atari Jaguar the game was tough to play. The Jaguar’s controller was huge. It looked like a SEGA Genesis controller combined with a telephone because it had a numeric keyboard on it as well. Since there were only 3 buttons, you could punch, kick, or do a special move with your character and these were tough to pull off at first. In reality, all you had to do was hold down the special move button and do the input.
My cousin owned a Jaguar and we played Kasumi Ninja all the time. Sure the controls took a bit to get used to but the same thing could be said of Primal Rage, Clayfighters, or Eternal Champions and those are still fantastic fighters. You just had to invest some time. Also, sure it was a Mortal Kombat rip-off but is that really such a bad thing? Kasumi Ninja had an interesting array of characters such as a District Attorney/Vigilante, a Native American Chief, and even a Scottish man who shot fireballs from under his kilt. TAINT FIREBALL! There were death moves similar to the bloody fatalities of Mortal Kombat, and even a blood code. In my opinion there are worse fighters, and Kasumi Ninja gets an unfair judgment because of the system it was on.
7.) Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing is a NES game, that I wasn’t even sure existed. I remember playing it when I was child, but haven’t heard anyone mention this game since then. Swamp Thing was a game developed for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was made by Imagineering and published by THQ. It was released in 1992, and since then I’ve heard no one mention this game. Swamp Thing follows the DC comics character Dr. Alec Holland who due to a chemical explosion in his lab is turned into Swamp Thing! Ain’t chemicals wonderful? They can do ANYTHING! Now he must fight against the evil Dr. Arcane who plans on ruling the world with his army of mutants called the “Un-Men”.
The game is bad; I’ll admit that right away. It uses the same engine as Bart vs. The Space Mutants so there is strike one… or is it? FORESHADOWING! Next, the game is tough. Swamp Thing walks very slowly; it’s actually faster and safer to jump throughout the entire level. Swamp Thing can only punch his enemies, and his reach is quite short. You can get these green balls to throw at enemies but they don’t last long, and you cannot duck and throw. It’s one of those NES games where it’s easier to avoid enemies than to actually attack them. Not to mention, the obstacles and enemies come out of nowhere. In one section of the first level tin cans are just falling from the sky, and in another section knives shoot out of a cabin… knives SHOOT out of a CABIN… I got no words to describe how stupid that is. It’s also one of those games that can be beaten in 30 minutes if you know what you’re doing, unfortunately you’ll die in the first 10 seconds if you don’t.
So why do I like this game so much? Well mainly because video games can be bad, but still loved by the gamer due to personal reasons. I started gaming at a very early age, but really only played two or three games. My parents weren’t the kind of people who really got into the gaming scene and didn’t see the need to buy more games. When I was 5 years old, a video game rental store named Trinkets and Treasures opened up in my town and I was able to rent my first game. I didn’t care about gameplay or graphics back then, I just picked a game with the coolest looking box-art and that was Swamp Thing. The box-art showed a giant seaweed monster fighting robots. I knew nothing about the comic character, and I didn’t care. For my child-like mind there was nothing better than monsters and robots. Swamp Thing combined the two. It may have been a bad game, but it was my first rental and one of my first games ever.
6.) Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero
Okay, I promise this is the last Mortal Kombat or Mortal Kombat style game that will appear on this list. What can I say? I have a soft spot for the series. Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero was made by Midway and published in 1997 for the Nintendo 64 and the Playstation 1. For this list I’ll be focusing on the Playstation 1 version because it was vastly superior. THERE WERE CUTSCENES! The game was a break from the traditional Mortal Kombat style in that it was not a fighting game. Instead, Mythologies was an action/platforming game with the classic Mortal Kombat control scheme. In many ways it was similar to Batman Forever. It’s a beat-em-up that controls like a fighter.
The game is disliked by gamers for two reasons. The first reason is that gamers wanted and expected a fighting game, and instead they got a beat-em-up. The second reason is the controls. I still think they work. The beat-em-up genre with fighting game controls is fun. I feel like with this style of control every fight is more critical and each is like a mini-fight in a typical Mortal Kombat game. Personally, I’d love to see a beat-em-up with Street Fighter style controls just to see how it would turn out.
The main reason I like this game, while mostly everyone else doesn’t is the story itself. As I mentioned numerous times, I’m a huge Mortal Kombat fan. While others liked Scorpion, my favorite character was always Sub-Zero. So when I heard there was going to be a Mortal Kombat game where you play just as Sub-Zero and learn his backstory, I was instantly interested. In all honesty, I barely remember anything about the gameplay of Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero but I can tell you the story with ease. It’s an origins story about Sub-Zero that’s supposed to take place prior to the first Mortal Kombat tournament. Sub-Zero’s clan is hired by Quan Chi to retrieve a map, and later on hired to retrieve an amulet. However, along the way you’ll learn about Sub-Zero and Scorpions rivalry, Quan-Chi’s true motivations, who are the Elder Gods and just how the events of Mortal Kombat 4 came to pass. If you’re into the Mortal Kombat lore at all, give this game another go, just don’t play the Nintendo 64 version. I mean, Mythologies was just like Konquest mode in Mortal Kombat Armageddon but better, and everyone loved Konquest mode.
Sure it’s a joke now, but when Ballz 3D aka Ballz came out it was one of my favorite games. If you don’t already know Ballz 3D is a fighting game developed by PF Magic for the Super Nintendo and SEGA Genesis. The game’s gimmick was that all the characters were made up of balls. This gave the game a three-dimensional look without actually being a three-dimensional game. The game itself is nothing special, just another 16-bit fighting game, with a few quirks.
The game is detested among gamers because it just makes no sense. The game features characters made of balls, fighting to pornographic sounding music, in odd levels with sayings flashing in the background. That’s about it, nothing else really memorable about the game. It’s entirely forgettable except for the double-entendres. Gamers saw the title of this game and the marketing slogans such as "Tell your mom you want Ballz for Christmas." And "To be the champion, you gotta have Ballz!" and they saw right through the scheme and avoided balls at all costs.
The one thing you can say about Ballz is that it isn’t a rip-off of another popular fighting franchise. If you look past the music, and ballsy advertising campaign then you’ll find a fun fighter underneath it all. The characters are interesting including a rhino, a clown, and a farting monkey, there are boss characters that are fun/tough to fight, and the fighting engine is highly competitive. I feel if Ballz didn’t rely on being edgy and disturbing and maybe changed its soundtrack it’d be a fighting game classic rather than a fighting game flop.
4.) South Park
A first-person shooter game based on the first few seasons of South Park sounds like a really dumb idea, but that is exactly what South Park the game is. The game was developed for the PC, Playstation 1, and Nintendo 64 by Iguana Entertainment and Appaloosa Entertainment. The game is an FPS and was made using the same engine as Turok 2. Now it’s obvious this game was made to try and capitalize on the South Park franchise. The single player game is divided into a series of levels called “episodes” and the game even had a multiplayer mode where you got to kill your friends with snowballs.
The main criticism with South Park is its gameplay and presentation. You pick one of the four main boys from the show and then kill turkeys with snowballs, and then you kill more turkeys with snowballs, and then you kill more turkeys with snowballs. The game was repetitive beyond belief. You’re goal in every episode was to kill things, make it to the end, and then face a boss. After a few levels the enemies changed from turkeys to aliens, to cows, to killer toys but it was basically just a re-skinning. You were still just walking and killing. If there was just a little more variety in the gameplay or missions then South Park might have been good, but it’s not. Unfortunate to say, the multiplayer is not much better, as it gets repetitive fast.
So why do I keep playing this game when it’s so stale… well mainly for the multiplayer. You have your Perfect Dark and your Goldeneye, but sometimes you just want to play a nonsensical game with your friends for the hell of it. That’s where South Park comes in with my friends and I. We know it’s a bad game, we know we won’t play for more than 30 minutes at most, but those 30 minutes are fun due to their insanity. In what other game can you turn your enemy into an animal, or fire a homing cow at him? There is none. Sure it’s dumb, but sometimes you need a little dumb to help you unwind.
3.) Bartman Meets Radioactive Man
Oh god I’m sorry…
I just don’t see what the big deal is with the NES Simpsons Games. I might be blinded by nostalgia and love for The Simpsons in general, but I really do like this game. Bartman Meets Radioactive Man was developed by Imagineering, the same company that made Swamp Thing. It was published for the NES in 1992. The game is a sidescrolling platformer similar to the other NES Simpsons games, but the big difference is that this is the only one I played ^_^. In reality, the game starts with Bart reading a Radioactive Man comic book in his treehouse when suddenly Radioactive Man’s sidekick, Fallout Boy, jumps out of the book and recruits Bart to help save Radioactive Man. So the two return to the comic book and now it’s up to Bartman to save Radioactive Man. Think of it like Comix Zone but with The Simpsons.
The main reason most people despise this game is the same reason most people dislike the other Simpsons games. The game is average in quality and poor in control. I’ll admit that anyone who doesn’t like this game has a valid reason. When the Simpsons NES games were released, The Simpsons were at the height of their popularity and they sold out more than any franchise could possible sell out. Simpsons merchandise was everywhere, the show even made fun of itself because of all the merchandise but who could blame them? The Simpsons were selling like crazy. I believe that’s how the NES games were made, especially this one. A quick was to cash in on a licensed franchise. Who honestly thought Bartman, and Radioactive Man were popular enough to get their own game? Well nevertheless they did and if you didn’t like the other NES Simpsons games you won’t like this one either. The controls are the same and the jumping is still a bit off, precision jumps and slippery controls will get you frustrated.
However, I think something is different in Bartman Meets Radioactive Man that’s not in the other Simpsons video games and as lame as it sounds that something is passion. I feel like some of the people who made Bartman Meets Radioactive Man really cared about the project. Maybe not everyone on the team, but enough to show. The game is only four levels long, but the levels and characters are uniquely designed. This is especially true of the bosses. I wonder if the boss, Dr. Crab was the inspiration for Zoidberg? The colors stand out as well, I mean even the background of the first level is trash and it looks interesting. I don’t know how to explain it, but I just believe that someone treasured this project when they were working on it. The final product didn’t work out so well, and the controls are atrocious but I just can’t see this game as a complete cash-in. The small attentions to detail and Simpsons/comic references make it something more in my eyes. It’s easy to call a game bad, and this game is bad, but someone tried their damndest and they’ll never get respect for it… or maybe I’m wrong and it was just a cash-in, but either way I like this game.
2.) Street Fighter EX3
Here we go, down into the depths of bad games.
Street Fighter EX3 is the third game in the Street Fighter EX series and a game with mixed reviews. Critics and even some gamers like Street Fighter EX3 while Street Fighter enthusiasts and many ScrewAttack g1s detest this game and don’t consider it to be a true Street Fighter game. Street Fighter EX3 was developed by Arika and published by Capcom for the Playstation 2 in 2000.
Gamers and ScrewAttack especially hate Street Fighter EX3, but why? Because it’s a somewhat 3D Street Fighter game full of odd characters and seemed to stray from the Street Fighter franchise? That’s really it? They claim the gameplay is slower and that the graphics are terrible, but that’s all I’ve heard. If anyone can tell me a legitimate reason why they don’t like this game I’d be happy to hear it. I’m not saying you’re wrong for disliking this game, I just can’t see how it’s considered a bad game.
I personally love Street Fighter EX3. First off it was the very first Street Fighter game I’ve played since Street Fighter 2 on the Genesis, so while I had a Street Fighter background, I wasn’t the obsessive Street Fighter fan you often find hating on the game. I actually thought Street Fighter EX3 was better than the Street Fighter Alpha series as well. Why? Well some of the characters look clunky when rendered in 3D, but some of the characters they made up are awesome. I’m personally a huge fan of Nanase, Jack, Doctrine Dark, Darun Mister, and Vulcano Rosso and would love to see these characters return in later games. Seriously, Capcom…bring these characters back! Sure it strays from the classic Street Fighter gameplay but the things Street Fighter EX3 adds are great, such as team battles, handicapped battles, tag battles, and rewards for completing certain objectives during a fight. The characters still play the way they did in the older games, and the new characters fit right in with their own special and super moves. Sure the game is easy, but so what? It’s a great beginner’s guide to how to play Street Fighter. If you want more of a challenge you can complete the gold and silver challenges or even tackle the character creation mode. So look past the fact that it’s a Street Fighter game, and actually play it before you judge it, because Street Fighter EX3 is a game hated, but it’s not a bad game.
1.) Sonic R
So which game do I really like but EVERYONE else seems to hate? Well if you know me, then you know it’s Zelda II… wait, people like Zelda II? Whoo! That’s good. Well then I need to talk about something, how about the notorious Sonic R? Sonic R was a racing game produced for the PC and SEGA Saturn by the Sonic Team and Traveller’s Tails. The game was a racing game starring characters from the Sonic series. The purpose of the game is to win the World Grand Prix and collect all seven Chaos Emeralds to prevent Doctor Robotnik from collecting them.
Sonic R is one of the most hated games in all nerd-dom. It’s up there with Superman 64 and E.T. (Trust me, I hate those games too.) Do I really need to explain why people hate this game? First off the characters control like they are in karts, while the majority of them are on foot for the entire race. They slide around the track and drift like normal karts do. This takes a long time to get used to and many players get frustrated because you’ll spend half the match bouncing off the walls or going off track. This is tricky because each race has numerous paths that come up quickly so your control has to be precise. The other major criticism of this game is the music, but I’ll get into that in the next paragraph.
Yes, the music is hated in this game but I actually enjoy it. Not in an ironic way, but I truly enjoy every single track from the Sonic R OST. I can sing every track, and even have them on a mix CD in my car. If you don’t already know, the music in Sonic R sounds like pop music with lyrics. This is such a drastic change from the techno beats and rock that is in most racing games, but it’s a welcome change. The songs in Sonic R are a little slower, but still get you pumped up to race and if you don’t like the lyrics you can always turn them off. Now let’s get to the controls, yes they’re clunky but each character’s special ability make up for it. Sonic can double jump, Tails can fly, Knuckles can glide and climb and there is much more. These abilities help because even though Sonic R is a racing game there’s a huge emphasis on exploration and collecting hidden items and emeralds.
So is everyone else wrong about Sonic R, is it a good game? Absolutely, not! Sonic R is bad, but when I played it I didn’t have the bias that everyone else has now. In this golden age of the internet, nearly any game old or new has been reviewed. You can find other people’s opinions on games with ease. However, when I played Sonic R, I went in dry. By that I mean I played Sonic R because I had Sonic R. I knew nothing about the game but tried it for myself, and you know what? I had fun! I spent hours collecting emeralds and unlocking all of the secret characters because I had a fun time doing so. It’s a bad game, but who cares? I liked it and if you like a bad game you shouldn’t feel ashamed at all. Games are fun, and no game is without flaws. Some games we can look past the flaws in the name of fun, but some games we can’t but at the end of it all we all have different opinions and no opinion is 100% correct.
Well g1s, that’s the end of my list. I really hope you enjoyed it and that I was able to explain my opinion fully. No matter who wins this contest, I demand a rematch!
I misjudged the complexity of this subject. It’s not hard to think of games with low scores or that receive general hate, but you can ALWAYS find a large group of fanboys defending most games. Zelda II : eliminated since so many people have this as their favorite Zelda on my Twitter. FF8? It is often bashed, but too many people either acknowledge it’s a good game or put it in their top 3 FF games. So what to do? Well, in the end, the only choices are notoriously bad games where the fans are an obvious minority or grossly overlooked games. Of course, I’ll have to slip in some under appreciated games (in my opinion) also.
10. New Super Mario Brothers 2 (3DS) - Easy cash-in?
I know Flaps expected this one. I gave him such a speech about it. New Super Mario Bros 2 has gotten pretty good reviews. Most people acknowledge the fun factor of the game, but it still received a lot of hate and has been called a lazy cash-in multiple times.
Cash-in? I don't know what they're talking about.
I can’t wrap my head around the “lazy” and “quick” labels. Sure, it borrows the style of New Super Mario Bros Wii and a couple of old favorite power-ups, but a lot of other games reused power-ups. As I said in my review, the raccoon leaf not only works better than the NES version, it works better than any other power up I’ve used since Mario 64 (Metal Mario). I keep reiterating that if NSMB2 came out before Super Mario Land 3D, the leaf wouldn’t even have bothered anyone.
Best raccoon mechanic ever.
I’ve seen some complaints about the unoriginal level-design. I wouldn’t say it’s that original, but it’s familiar since the game is developed to be a single player game, not a simultaneous multiplayer like the Wii and Wii U versions. These last two need to be original with their level design to create difficulty for co-op gameplay. In the end, NSMB2 creates a throwback style that I really enjoyed.
It's a good mix and match of old games.
Now, for the coin mechanic. I completely understand how disappointing the 1 million coins reward was, but the mechanic itself holds its own. If you keep the gold collecting in mind, you add a lot more challenge to the game. There’s a lot of incentive for taking the “Hard” path. In fact, coming back to the level-design, one thing the developers did well is designing the same level with multiple ways to complete it with and without massively collecting stuff.
The low road has a lot of stuff, will you risk it?
In the end, I love that Nintendo made the effort of making an exclusive 3DS 2D Mario and not just a port with some bonuses (DKC Returns anyone?). I love that they still train their developers and newcomers to make 2D Mario games. I love that kids will love this game since THEY are the target audience, not Mario veterans. The game is still low on the list because people did admit having a lot of fun with it. Critics weren’t too harsh as far as the grading went. They just hated the concept of NSMB2. I didn’t mind so I guess it counts for this list.
9. Yoshi (GB) - The Other Mario Puzzle Game
Apart from Tetris, Yoshi is my favorite puzzle game. I said it! No Dr. Robotnik Mean Bean Machine, no Dr. Mario, no Bejeweled or Bust-A-Move, only Yoshi. However, I’m not the only fan of Yoshi and that’s why it’s not higher on the list. The Game Boy version got the most use out of me back in the days, but I enjoy the NES version nonetheless.
Aw! It's a baby Yoshi!
Why do I love this game so much? I wonder myself. The music holds its own against other games of the genre, even if it’s not as good. There’s not as much room for gameplay, but since the next block appear so fast, it makes the player really responsible for his mistakes. I feel the pace is faster than the other games of the genre at lower difficulties and that helps engage the player even more.
And a little competition never hurt anyone
Apart from basic gameplay and presentation, the game rewards the player fairly often. As you hatch Yoshi eggs, you will notice that Yoshi grows with every enemy “eaten” by the egg shells. From baby to adult Yoshi with wings, it introduces a challenge to accumulate bogus enemies for points. When you complete a section of a stage, there’s a little animation of Mario on Yoshi eating a power-up corresponding to the current level. I love the cuteness of it all. Furthermore, it gives the player a well deserved break from action. While this prevents experienced player from staying in a “trance” state, it allows average players to regain focus and not make an absent-minded mistake.
The animation is at 0:37.
Then again, it’s Yoshi. Who doesn’t love Yoshi? You look at Yoshi in his eyes and tell him you don't love him.
8. Nintendogs (DS) - Primitive Species Need Directions
I know. This game was critically acclaimed, but most of you wouldn’t say they enjoy it. It’s pretty much on the radical spectrum of the casual console gaming. In the end, it’s a mix between the Sims and a Tamagotchi. Who knew this would be rated so high?
Kneel down before me, inferior species!
Now, I haven’t played that much Nintendogs, but I can tell you this: There are few flaws in that game. It may not be your cup of tea, but it certainly accomplishes what it set out to do. Every detail is thoroughly polished, from what I could see. You start off choosing a dog. There is an impressive choice of breeds in every cartridge and one thing I love is that you cannot customize the pet as you wish. It teaches the child playing it that he can’t have exactly what he wants and how to make choices. The tutorial following it is very simple and detailed. The microphone works perfectly when interacting with your new pet and it allows you to use any word you want as a command. This may seem weird, but, apart from the English text that a parent can help with, this game can be played in all languages. As for myself, I can control dogs with a "meow". How cool is that?
Brushing? Can't you wash yourself like I do?
To this day, it remains my niece’s most played game behind New Super Mario Bros. and I’m loving that. If there’s one this the DS did well, it’s give multiple options of subtle educational games and Nintendogs is one of them. Scribblenauts is one, but that’s for another time.
7. Mario is Missing (SNES) - Retro Year of the Luigi
Yep, a Mario game again. Well technically, it's a Luigi game. It’s the Year of the Luigi! Seriously, I absolutely love that game. Some people might hate it, but I think we can agree that, of all the cheap Mario educational game rip-offs, this one is the best.
It's Einstein! You're in Germany!
You travel around the whole world, in places you know. They can even come to your region! It’s notfilled with the best animations nor sound, but the presentation is nice. The sprites movement when changing streets charms the first few times even if it does get old fast. The cities, in my opinion, do reflect their respective styles and architecture. You can find all the info you need from a passersby and learn a bit of geography. The gameplay can’t really be defended that much as its so basic. You run around in a city and collect the artifacts from the region. When you retrieve the artifacts from the Koopas, you bring them back to the correct kiosk and answer some questions about the monument you saved. Then be thanked by Peach's clones (which the Pokémon Anime completely ripped off). Once you guessed which city you’re visiting, you call Yoshi and escape back to Bowser’s Keep. Each city has a detailed map with all the artifact carrying Koopas which prevents you from getting lost. It’s simple and it works. Don't bring that map to the actual city, though.
You see everything on the map, no reason to get lost.
In the end, if you pop in Mario is Missing to play a Mario game, you’re doing it wrong. It’s a basic geography educational game that managed to paint itself with Mario sprites. For me, that’s a good thing since it avoids the crappy inexperienced presentation most amateur educational game designers fall into. It’s a nostalgic pick, but, when you know what to expect from it, it’s not a bad game at all.
Why is there so little interest and so low scores for Koei’s repetitive button mashing series? It’s not that different from traditional beat em’ ups. Sure, it doesn’t have the control mechanics depth of God of War, Devil May Cry or God Hand, but you can still feel like an overpowered killing machine. The game even teaches you life lessons like: Do not pursue Lu Bu! In this case, Lu Bu being a metaphor for... um... something you can’t pursue! But honestly, I can’t find many ways to defend the game above the other games of the genre. When compared against itself, it's a pretty strong game.
Well he killed his father... Twice.
The first redeeming quality of this game resides in the story. Even if it can be confusing at times, this interpretation of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ story draws the player in. The classic Chinese tale doesn’t need much to showcase all of its battles, betrayals and ambitions. If you don’t have the time to read a 20 000 pages book, the games are a good alternative. Personally, I think Dynasty Warriors 7 nailed the story the best, but 5 remains the second best.
It followed a lot of different battles not in previous games.
The gameplay, while not the most original around, is simple and easy to learn for anyone. It’s also hard to master which is pretty obvious when attempting the harder difficulty settings. The co-op gameplay adds a little incentive and competition to the mix. In fact, the most addictive feature of the gameplay cannot be something other than the kill count. It’s a freaking counter, nothing special, but you are out to get all the kills you can. Something just clicks when you hit the 4 digits. Again, while 3 had the most simple, challenging and balanced gameplay, 5 was second to that and that’s why I chose it. Overall, it’s the best game of the series in my opinion. Unlike 3 and 4, when you chose a campaign, the chosen character had some individuality into it. Not as much personality as 7, but still the greater overall game. There’s also a lot of focus on collecting items, weapons, stat-boosts and points. The RPG elements enrich the gameplay and, if you want more, there’s an expansion pack (Dynasty Warriors 5 Extreme Legends). How cool is that for a PS2 game? In any case, you can kill 1000 people with a girl holding a flute or a chef throwing green lasers with his war fan.
There are gonna be a lot of corpses in a couple of seconds...
Although it’s often ignored, I personally love the Dynasty Warriors franchise for its addicting gameplay, great stats-boosting and item collecting mechanics and an intriguing overall story.
5. Street Racer (SNES) - Common Name, Uncommon Game
God... I barely remember this game. Even as a kid I had a hard time remembering the name, but I know I loved it. A Mario Kart style racing game with it’s own Battle mode (Rumble) and even a soccer mini-game. This game remains a true hidden gem for me and I can’t wait to get it. It was released on multiple platforms, but I played the SNES version. Surprising fact? Ubisoft developed this game.
Don't look too far, the stereotypes are on the box.
If there’s one thing that I learned with my year of dwelling, it’s that however overlooked, rare or obscure a game is, there will always be a fan-base or tons of reviews. I could barely find some info on this game. It took me an hour just to finally remember the name. In internet time, that’s like a full year!
Move over Mega Man Soccer!
What was so special about this game? Pop-culture reference cars whacking each other with special attacks is one thing. Frankeinstein’s monster, surfer chick, sumo, cannibal, magic carpets, anything goes here. From what I remember, the game’s consistency suffers from the eccentric variety. They might’ve tried too hard with the soccer mode also, but my favorite mode was the rumble. Think King of the hill with karts. This mode plays like the best Mario Party mini-games in one. With all the weapons at your disposal and the extremely wide spectrum of player abilities, this can get pretty hectic. The normal races have some pretty chaotic maps and, although it’s not perfect, the soccer game can be fun. Considering some versions of the game allow for 8 player multiplayer, I really want to get it as a party game.
1 down, 7 to go
It’s a nostalgic pick and not THAT good of a game, but I feel it should’ve built a cult fanbase, I just haven’t seen it yet. And when I see the games people "fangasm" on twitter, I'm confused...
4. Looney Tunes’ B-Ball (SNES) - The Hipster Space Jam
Just like Street Racer, this was another frequent rental back in the days. The difference is that I never forgot about this one. Looney Tunes’ B-Ball was my NBA Jam. An utterly chaotic arcade style 2-on-2 basketball game with 4 player capabilities.
Who said white short bald men can't jump?
You could choose from a decent pool of Looney Tunes characters ranging from Bugs to Elmer Fudd. As the game progressed, you collected gems on the field giving you money which could then be used for power ups. It really felt like NBA Jam meets Super Mario Kart. These items include a babe costume for Bugs, good old fashion cream pies, Wile E Coyote’s ACME cannon, etc.
Hey! Hey! No fair!
The game flows pretty fast and the controls are simple enough for kids of any age to understand. In the end, Looney Tunes’ B-Ball shines as arcade quirky style basketball game that’s quite unique. I’ve never actually seen anything quite like it and that’s why I love it. The license and Space Jam proximity helps a lot.
3. Chip’s Challenge (PC) - Bummer!
I don’t even know where this game comes from... I think it was installed on an old computer of mine along with some other games such as Jezzball and SkiFree, but I’m a puzzle game addict. I played this game extensively despite the horrible controls.
Tanks, fire, spiders, what more do you want?
There was a ton of stages and seemingly unlimited gameplay ideas. It was often frustrating, but the end of every stage brought forth a wave of satisfaction. The sound effects went from cheesy to plain bad, especially the death effect of “bummer”. Through the stages, you had to collect keys, move blocks and, ultimately, get to the exit. Simple you say? Probably, but the time limits were pretty harsh.
Well, it's not linear. Look!
The game resembles Adventure of Lolo, but for the PC. I didn’t even realize how old it was. I just thought someone made a free game and had downloaded it on my PC. Strangely, it's a mess of a game. I have many good memories of this game and unfortunately, I seem to be alone to.
2. Resonance of Fate (Xbox360) - Warning, this Game has Guns
Why have I heard so little about this game? Resonance of Fate is like an overlooked game in an overlooked category. When people talk about good RPGs this generation, they mention Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, Xenoblade Chronicles, but I have heard very little praises for Resonance of Fate after its release.
JRPG characters that seemed normal, for once.
This particular RPG, developed by Tri-Ace who also worked on the very overlooked Star Ocean series, really drew me in for multiple reasons. First off, although the story itself is not phenomenal, I rarely grew this attached to protagonists in video games. Something about them felt so genuine. You can even play dress-up with them, take them shopping and dye their hair! If you're into that sort of stuff.... *cough* The world Tri-Ace created, although falling in the steampunk cliche, remained deep, intriguing and engaging. The NPCs seemed livelier than usual with the help of great graphics and sound overall.
Really, this is an actual fight scene and you control all of this.
However, the gameplay takes the cake. First off, it merges a material collecting mechanic that almost makes this a rogue-like game. The depth of the weapon customization is impressive, but also easy to understand. It’s fairly open-ended and encourages exploration and dialog with NPCs. It’s also the best implementation of a gun mechanic in a turn-based RPG. From basic fighting to absolutely meticulous management of inventory, movement and actions of characters, this battle system punishes the player perfectly. To this day, I can say that the only RPG where I needed as much strategy as I did in Resonance of Fate would probably be the Fire Emblem series. However, the feelings you get when fighting are incomparable. Any RPG fan needs to feel the thrill of gunning an enemy and making him float in midair only to jump over him and blast him in the ground.
1. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (SNES) - The Bad Touch
I completely understand the reputation of Mystic Quest. In fact, I agree completely. However, FFUSA might be one of the rarest game to exist in the world.
See? It's like a game-drug!
Why rare? It’s not expensive or a collector’s pick, but one of the most playable, notoriously bad games ever. A lot of people have the guilty pleasure of watching horrible movies, books, shows, etc. It’s a harder concept in video games since most bad games are considered so because the faulty design renders them unplayable. Since Mystic Quest’s gameplay boils down to a simplified RPG, it’s easily playable.
In fact, I don't know how this guy could be losing...
This allows you to bathe in the atrociously sloppy dialogs in a confused story. You can fully enjoy the inconsistent gameplay and e
2012 was an odd year for us. A superhero movie had the largest opening weekend of all time. An african american won a second term as a president, something that has never been done before. The "zombie apocalypse" has become more and more of a legitimate term with all of the strange occurrences. People believed we were all going to die a few days ago, which we did not. Games are continuously being considered art by a mainstream medium as 14 video games were put into the collection of art in the Museum of Modern Art. Weirdest of all though, is that gaming is still being frowned upon with people blaming games like Mass Effect over the Newtown tragedy in Connecticut… my god.
But ya know what, we still love gaming. Gaming gives us experiences that nothing else can. We can enter worlds and get invested into landscapes that are so vivid and expansive. We can enter dungeons and fight off various creatures. We can journey through a pixelated world where you can turn the world 2D… and 3D. We can climb monsters to kill them. We can run at the speed of sound. We can play tennis with dinosaurs and monkeys. We can slow down time and shoot some bastards in the chest. In the same month, we can alter gravity, slay zombies as a cheerleader, play as THE BATMAN, change dimensions, and live through a war story. It's awesome to be a gamer… isn't it?
Well, all of this and more are the subject of Part 2 of this retrospective on 2012 in gaming. Let's get a move-on now.
Ah, Spring. A time to anticipate Spring Break, and get some games to pass the time. Nobody cares about awards yet, and people are just gaming to game. People are having fun and enjoying some sun. See what I did there?
Yeah… it was pretty lame.
I'll be honest, I never expected Project Rainfall to be a success. I assumed it was just some dumb cause for people to complain about localization not happening. But then, it actually succeeded, and I was legitimately impressed. I admit it, I was wrong. I felt even worse about my previous opinion when I played Xenoblade Chronicles… it was awesome. Legit, I felt terrible. Why was I not supportive of this? Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the most enjoyable experiences playing an RPG I've ever had. It's fun, it keeps you on your toes, and the concept is a lot of fun… I mean… there are people who LIVE… ON TITANS… it's pretty awesome. The game is about these two huge robot-esque titans that were in combat and just… were left there to be stuck… I guess. Now, people live on 'em! One day, three friends Shulk, Reyn, and Fiora go out on an errand and see their colony captured. I would go into more detail, but that would ruin the game for you if you haven't already played it. The combat is a ton of fun, as it is real time. Remember the "on your toes" thing I said before? Well… yeah. Because it's real time, things are constantly happening. So you need to focus. Plus, the game's weapons you use are awesome. The swords are seriously badass. The Monado's design captivates me, and then when you see it in action, you truly are impressed. The characters are fun, even if the voice acting can be annoying, and the plot is very well handled. If you want a new, yet satisfying JRPG, Xenoblade Chronicles is your best bet.
Get ready, cause we are about to hit indie game city right now. Three indie games, all awesome. We'll start with Skullgirls. I actually talked about this on Indie Shack a while back, so I'll just do some slight restating. Back… quite a few months ago, I said that the game was a lot of fun, with good fighting and very responsive controls. Sadly, I found it to have a few flaws. For one, it had to small of a character roster. I learned there were some planned DLC characters, but I have yet to see them. I've seen the character ideas, and I think they are open to interesting designs. Other problems included a lack of bulk and over-sexuality. Neither of those have been fixed either. So sadly, this fun fighter is still plagued. But as I mentioned last part, if a fighter has good fighting, I consider it solid. And I am honestly very happy to see a new IP like Skullgirls up and running and fun. Let's hope Lab Zero continues this franchise. I highly enjoy the artistic design of these characters, and all the environments. I think if they expand upon the world they have created, it can be a fun romp. Maybe a bit more of a story, maybe add some different characters that work off of the concept. Ya know… like a male. Maybe. I know that goes against the title, and I think it's really awesome that a game has the guts to have an all female cast. But still… it just seems like an interesting contrast to put a male in there. But hey, I'm just a gamer. What do I know? Either way, Skullgirls is worth the low price you'll be paying for it, but it's still average. Average isn't bad, and I recommend it. But a game needs more than good fighting to be GREAT.
Legend of Grimrock
The next stop on our indie gaming road is Legend of Grimrock, the old school dungeon crawler. If you've seen ProJared's Top 10 Games of 2012, you'll know this made his list, and for good reason. He said he loved it because it brought him back to the good ol' days when first person dungeon crawlers were a lot more common. This is a living example of how successful this game is at captivating its audience. I still don't think this is getting enough exposure, but I'm glad there is a good few who know the greatness. Now that it's part of the Humble Indie Bundle (for more than average price), it could reach a larger audience. The story isn't too complicated, four random prisoners get locked up in Mount Grimrock and must escape. Simple, huh? Well the game gets a lot more complicated, as skill sets must be used to solve puzzles, search the land, and kill off enemies. The combat was a little off to me, but as I've played the game more, I've gotten more used to it. The graphics are really awesome, as the art design is detailed. The dungeon just feels like a dungeon. The colors are dark, yet the various flames and torches light up your way. The creatures are also well designed. They can range from just regularly annoying, to insanely twisted and dark. It's a great contrast, and can cause some awesome shock factor. The game, from the beginning on, is a mystery. You get to explore and truly feel the surprises when they occur. It's a lot of fun, and I fully recommend it. It's a fun way to either return or begin interest in the first person grid-based dungeon crawler.
Oh Fez… oh man. I love this game. I really love this game. After thinking about it even more… I still don't know whether I like this more than Journey. Fez is amazing, and it shows just how amazing a concept can truly be executed. Remember Super Paper Mario? Yeah… I do too unfortunately. One of my major gripes with the game is that the new 2D to 3D concept they used was never fully realized. I feel they could've done more with it, yet didn't do anything extraordinary with it. Now we have Fez, a game Super Paper Mario should be looking up to. Fez takes a really fun and cute title character, named Fez, and takes the awesome concept of 2D to 3D changes in gameplay and totally uses it to it's full potential. Not only that, but it adds platforming and puzzle elements to the gameplay that makes it feel fresh, new, challenging, and interesting. It's also helps that the graphics are so vivid and colorful. Unlike Super Paper Mario, Fez takes its time to rotate its world. It wants to keep you entranced by it's epic pixelated homage of a look. Seriously, it's so beautiful. All of the colors, and how the environments keep colors changing. The day to night element works great as well. Everything just meshes together, and the game is so much fun. The music is somber so you can stay relaxed and appreciate everything. It's just amazing that something this awesome and beautiful can come from an indie developer. I salute you Polytron.
Kinect Star Wars
Oh boy… time to begin the crapping on of the Kinect. This year gave us a ton of really crappy Kinect games. And here's the first one that came out this year that I played. Kinect Star Wars isn't awful per say. There are some upsides to the game. It has some modes which can be fun, and I won't lie, I love seeing Star Wars come to life in any medium. Sadly, Kinect Star Wars isn't very good, and not just because it injustices Star Wars. It's overall a crappy game. Half the time the Kinect does not respond to you, causing you to ultimately fail at whatever you're doing. This is a perfect example of how the Kinect is just not polished enough as a console peripheral. Not only that, but most of the modes are very one-dimensional and are fun for maybe… the first 20 minutes. But then, eventually, you get bored… fast. And that's due to a lack of depth in all of it. It expects you to stay due to the Star Wars license. But what they don't realize is that you can't just plaster a franchise on something and expect people to like it. It needs to be creative. As for the dancing thing… look, I didn't hate it. In fact, it's one of the only parts of the game where the Kinect was responsive… why is dance so good with Kinect. Anyway, I just think it's silly is all. Not crappy… silly. There's a difference. Either way, Kinect Star Wars is nothing more than a cash grab at a popular franchise. It has no depth and no originality in its modes and mechanics. It's overall a wasted opportunity.
Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir
A horror game… on the 3DS? You honestly must be joking. That was me legit first thought on the game. Of course the reviews came in and it was mostly mixed with some negative ones thrown in there. It's what I expected, but why do I regret not playing this game? Well, as I said… it's a horror game on the 3DS. It's either going to scare me (which I HIGHLY doubt), or it's going to make me crap my pants in pure laughter. Despite what people may think, I love playing crappy games if they are bad in a fun way, and this one looks to be that way. I mean, if a horror game fails, it can really fall flat on its face. I love watching that honestly. It's like a train wreck, it's really bad… but you just can't look away. Other than that, I would also be curious to see how they used the 3D effects. The box art is a hand coming out of a book. It is bound to use some of the 3D on the 3DS, and I'm curious to see how they use it. Sure, it might fail miserably, but it's not necessarily the product I'm looking for. Something may be creative but fall flat. Who knows? Some of they things that occur in 3D could be cool in theory. I dunno, maybe I'm looking on the bright side a little too much. Once again, it's a HORROR game on 3DS. It gives itself away. It's probably kinda sucky, but hey, sometimes sucky can be a ton of fun. Then again… curiosity killed the cat… damn. This is hard.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
As I've been saying, this was a BIG year for indie games, and this game was said to be really good. Some of my g1 friends like Smoke108 were saying it was a very good game. And with this year in indie games being so good, that has to be saying something. Sadly, it never came across my radar because none of my friends owned it and I never found time to make for it. That's really it. I'm sure it was awesome. Maybe if I dabbled in research I'd be more invested. Sorry. Don't worry… I really regret not trying it.
One week, I did the Digital Forecast for g1 HybridRain, and I came across a trailer for this game. I have to say, I was impressed. It looked like another place for g1s to express their creative talent and run wild, similar to Minecraft or LittleBigPlanet. It seemed a tad bit simplistic, but I was willing to give it a shot if I found the time. Sadly, I never did. This is because the game didn't have major importance to me, because games that have you riding motorcycles and jumping and stuff remind me of crappy flash games. I've tried so many flash games where you ride a car or motorcycle and do exactly what the trailer showed, and they've all been so one-dimensional. No depth, just plain ol' tricks. It bugs me a little bit honestly. Even so, the creative outlet intrigued me. I'm sure that it's good. The game just looked to be a slight one-trick pony. Just jumping and spinning for momentum and stuff. I probably underestimated it, seeing as I hear it has a good community and a huge fanbase. I will admit, the game looks promising. The graphics are colorful, they look responsive, and the options for the creativity look quite expansive and quite open. But alas, another outlet escapes me. But then again… I always have Minecraft and LBP for that… so yeah. Either way, looks like fun.
I usually dislike any FPS I come across at first glance, but not this. Why? Because I knew the name behind it. Hi-Rez Studios. Before I learned of this game's existence, I had knew of Smite, the game Hi-Rez is working on right now. That game is one of the games I have to play in 2012. It's in closed beta at the moment, and I never got in on it, but my god does it look amazing. You can take control of mythological gods in a MOBA environment, and I love it to death as of now, trailer-wise. So, when I heard first-hand that Hi-Rez was responsible for this game, I was willing to give this game a chance immediately. They are great developers as I see it. I'm sure Tribes has something about it that is unique for sure, I just don't know it. But what I do know is this: it's supposed to be a ton of fun, it's supposed to be easy to find a match full of people, and it's supposed to have a good weapons and leveling system… I think. Honestly, I haven't done much research, but I know a few g1s play it, and they love it. This is just a perfect example of a game that I highly recommend without having played it. I can assure you anything from Hi-Rez is of quality enough that is worth full game price. Plus… the graphics looks pretty awesome too, so that's a plus. I love the character design associated with the logo. So. Badass. Main conclusion… this is probably awesome. Yup.
The year is coming to the middle, and the flowers from April's showers are starting to show their buds. As summer approaches, people begin to get ready for summer vacations. And every gamer knows the best way to spend summer vacation is trying out some new games! What was here to hold us over until Summer? Hm...
Flying mechs? YES. PLEASE. Warhawk was a game I never got into, simply because eventually, it got tiring just playing multiplayer. I wanted a story mode to see this world in an actual narrative. Now, Starhawk comes in, and I think it is a massive improvement over Warhawk. It adds stakes and it adds characters. And while the story is not the most creative, it gets the job done. Emmett and Sydney are a good duo of friends in the game, and I was happy to have two characters like this present. It's better than nothing in my opinion. Now, did I mention the mechs? Are you sure? Positive? No, I'll say it again, FLYING MECHS. HELL YEAH. I love vehicular combat games, and Starhawk constantly feels upbeat with its combat. The battling in the game is fun thanks to the inner details of the combat, as well as the previously mentioned narrative and characters. Unlike Warhawk, I highly enjoyed looking into the world of Starhawk. The environments are well-detailed and fun. The characters are pretty fun, and allow the narrative to be executed very well. The 32 player online is also a ton of fun. I don't think people realize that massive multiplayer games may seem daunting due to a large scope of people… but the thing here is, that's not true in the slightest. As Battlefield showed us last year, large multiplayer games are awesome! Don't be afraid developers! We love them! We truly do! So, in the end, Starhawk is easily a massive improvement over Warhawk thanks to the narrative and characters. It made me enjoy the game a lot more. I got into it and I appreciated the game's creative turns. Adding these elements allowed for a more creative and a more refined game in general.
Max Payne 3
I had not much experience with Max Payne at the time this game came out. In fact, I had played none of the games. At all. So I heard this game was coming out, and I decided to step out of my comfort zone… sorta, and try the game. I'm not one for first person shooting gameplay, nor violence, but everyone was saying it was fun. So, did I like it? Yeah, I enjoyed my time with it. Is it one of the greatest of the year? No… not really. It's just not my thing. But is there stuff I like? Definitely. The things I liked the most are the story and characters. Max Payne was a very intriguing character for me. His depression and overall personality was interesting to watch come to life. He obviously has been through a ton of crap, so seeing him interact with various characters is… in a way, fun. You wanna know how he'll respond. The rest of the characters are also good on their own, and they compliment Max as well. Rodrigo, Raul, and even Fabiana do alright as side characters. Now of course, the gameplay is fun mostly, and of course, bullet time rocks. Seriously, I loved using the bullet time. It reminds me of Dead-Eye from Red Dead Redemption, which was one of my favorite parts of the entire game. The bullet time mechanic was very well incorporated into gameplay. It didn't feel like a gimmick, it felt like the something that enhanced the gameplay as a whole. As usual, the combat was fine, as first person shooting is never perfectly comfortable for me. The multiplayer is good. It's pretty much the gameplay with other real people! Yay! So, in conclusion, Max Payne 3 is probably a game most of you will enjoy more than me. But for now, it is ok with me. Good characters, good story, good mechanics… good game.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II
I was very impressed with Sonic's return to 2D form with Sonic Team's "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1". It was a fun 2D platformer that definitely felt like good ol' Sonic again. Sure, it had some physics problems, but I personally felt they were easy to overlook to realize how successful Sonic Team was at recapturing 2D Sonic. So, I was stoked for the eventual second episode. I kept hearing all of these awesome things, and boy did they deliver. Sonic 4 Episode II is pretty much Episode I but improved. Episode II gets rid of the crappy physics errors, as playing through levels feels as seamless as the older 2D games. You can go fast, and stay fast. Not only that, but level design is very creative and a lot of fun. The colors and the cool backgrounds are a lot of fun to look at, when you actually take the time to see them. The stages are in beautiful, crisp 3D, and they couldn't look better. The levels themselves are fun, with elements that feel very reminiscent of older Sonic games. And of course, Tails is a great addition to the gameplay mechanics. Instead of being annoying, having another player control him actually can be fun and can make gameplay feel fun. Tails is no longer somebody who just dies on a whim, he's a way to make multiplayer awesome. Let's hope for Episode III in the VERY near future.
Mario Tennis Open
Oh, it has problems. It is for sure plagued. For one, the annoying camera gets in the way a lot. I hate how I need to set a feature to have a simple overhead view. It's also a little bare bones in the modes department. But there's a lot for me to personally love. The Mario Tennis series does a very good job of simplifying the sport of tennis down to a science of buttons. It's the simple hitting of some buttons and letting the ball go across the court. It's simple fun gameplay, and I love that. It's a lot of fun to just play an either simply fun, or a crazily intense game. I have a ton of fun with my friends no matter what game we're playing, so a crazy game of tennis is no exception. Also, despite what nay-sayers say, I think the customizable aspects are pretty cool. The costumes are, to say the least, adorable. I can't resist having my Mii clothe himself in the epic red hat and blue overalls. I like the character roster selected, as Nintendo barely ever disappoints on that front. The graphics are colorful and clear, as always, and the game is overall fun. It's simple, sure, but that's really the best part about it. I wasn't going into Mario Tennis Open looking for a masterpiece of a sports game. What I got is what I wanted: a fun installment in the Mario sports series. And I enjoyed it as that and that alone.
Capcom has been… going through some trouble lately. With all of their poorly made decisions over the last year or so, they've left some very tart tastes in people's pieholes, and I say that in this way because people never shut up about it. I was waiting for Capcom to give me something I could take in and enjoy, a new IP perhaps. They've been relying on Resident Evil and Street Fighter for too long. So what did we get? Dragon's Dogma, a new IP for Capcom that succeeded in making me have faith that there is creativity in Capcom… somewhere. Dragon's Dogma was a truly fun, and a truly new feeling from Capcom. Sure… it's kinda like Monster Hunter, but I like Dragon's Dogma more exciting… mostly. It was an open world adventure, full of mighty dragons, dungeon crawling, and annoying AI pawns! YAY! My favorite part of the game is the boss gameplay. I love Shadow of the Colossus, so seeing more awesome boss climbing is something I extremely admire. Sure, the bosses aren't really as big of SotC, but I really like it still. The world is very expansive. It feels like Capcom imagined the world first, and then thought long and hard to bring it to life. It's great to look at the world and explore what it has to offer, but sadly, the game's main drawback is that there's no easy access to a system where you can travel around fast. You have to run… everywhere, and considering the running speed isn't so fast… this doesn't help. You can have fast transportation, but it's incredibly expensive. There's some other annoying flaws in there, like the annoying bad AI or the lack of multiplayer. That's a big flaw to some, but the single player experience is so expansive that it makes up for the lack of multiplayer. Either way, Capcom did good with Dragon's Dogma. I am very happy a sequel is being planned, and I hope Capcom uses this IP to its fullest potential… but don't push the envelope…
Ah… more indie games. How can you not bask in the glory… This one may sound familiar to you, considering ScrewAttack promoted the hell out of it around its launch date. They played it on Screwin' Around, and many g1s found it awesome… for the time being. I have not seen many g1s buy the game, and hey, neither have I. But I have spent many hours playing the game with my friends, and if I did have Steam, I would buy this game at the tip of a hat. Combine epic characters, a fun story, and some hilariously fun online gameplay. I'm not used to 2D side-scrolling run and guns, and I haven't played many of them. But this game just got me, for real. The characters in this game are just so amazingly creative and fun. From crazy kickass characters like Sheriff Lonestar and Yuri, to some new additions like Derpl Zork or Skolldir, the cast of characters is all around a lot of fun. With new additions coming all the time, the cast is just gonna get better. Not only that, but the skill sets and items are awesome as well, as the title is very accurate. The combat is very open to multiplayer, and the online works wonders. My friends and I have spent hours… yes, HOURS playing a ton of games. Trying out plenty of characters allows a lot of variety, as you feel the need to master them all. And that's a lot of movesets, and a lot of strategy. With some awesome stages and graphics that are just so colorful and so quirky, Awesomenauts is just one of those games that needs to be played. It is a ton of fun, and it is a MUST-PLAY multiplayer experience. Your friends will love it, whether they are one for competition or cooperating. There shouldn't be an ounce of hesitation, for the love of god, buy Awesomenauts. Not an ounce of regret included.
HONORABLE MENTION: Wrath of the Lamb
I won't spend too much time on this seeing as it is an honorable mention, but I would love to mention how awesome Wrath of the Lamb is as a DLC pack. The Binding of Issac is a fantastic game all on its own, and it's expansive already. It's very random, it's got lots of enemies, items, and worlds, and it can be replayed over and over and over. The replay value is through the roof. Then, Wrath of the Lamb came along. Now the replay value is through the space-time continuum. So many more bosses, items, and various stuff to unlock. Also, did I mention another ending? ANOTHER ENDING. Hell to the yes. If you love games with a ton of stuff… like… a ton of stuff, Wrath of the Lamb is the perfect example of an expansion that does… in fact, expand. It's like a bag of candy, that is triple the size the next morning. A lot. Buy it. Now.
Oh man… so bad. No wonder it won a SAGY. My god… I am not getting any of that hour back. I was furious after playing this game, mainly because there was so much laziness seeping underneath it. The gameplay is repetitive, the graphics are glitchy and awful, the entire concept has holes poked all over, and the game does nothing to be creative or stimulatingly different. For one, the game is too short for its own good, being four hours. That is nowhere near an acceptable time limit for a first person shooter campaign. Straight-up disrespectful to the $60 people have to pay. There is boring gameplay, with nothing special involved. It's basically mission after mission with stupid tacked on RTS segments, which also aren't good either. It's also so contentless. There's barely any levels, there are barely any weapons to use, and there's NO MULTIPLAYER. That is an insult to the genre of FPS. Nothing more, nothing less. It's a bare bones game that feels like nothing more than a cash grab. It's controls are a perfect mixture of jerky and wobbly. I had so much trouble getting into the game with such crappy controls. The graphics are boring, with bland colors and no effort put into textures of any kinda. The story is lazy and shallow, with no depth in the slightest. I was never interested in seeing the movie, because I knew it would be a simply lazy cash grab. But to see a game come out of the movie just makes the existence of the movie even more painful. Why couldn't Battleship just be left alone? WHY? This game is a perfect example of a modern day cash grab. You can tell certain sanctions of the gaming industry are running low on brain juices, because this game is so mindlessly dull and generic, it might as well not be called Battleship. It should be called "Call of Halo of War 5". Bleh.
I'll admit to it, because I am not afraid to. Sorcery looked like a very interesting game. When it was revealed at E3 two or three years back, it looked like the only game that the Move could actually be used with for justice! Yeah, nope. Honestly, I was so upset that this game wasn't good. I didn't hear that it sucked hard, but I didn't hear it was good. So, I played the game, and overall left disappointed. This is mainly due to three things. First of all, the game at times can be very boring. It's all waggling, and the exploring is not always fun due to various landscapes being graphically repetitive and not that creative. The second thing is the lack of replay value and unlockables. After I played through the rather medium campaign, I never felt a need to try it again. It always felt like a one time thing, and I barely ever see that as a good thing. The third thing is that it overall didn't feel like a truthfully good game. It just felt average and nothing more. Sure, the graphics are pretty cool, but besides for that awesomeness factor, there's not much to love. I will give the game credit where credit is due, and say that the Move is used pretty well here. You are not going to find a much better game where the Move is used. You wouldn't think a game lending itself to waggle would be the best choice, but surprisingly enough, the spells are incorporated well into the gameplay, and it works. Was it a game I would call a true success? Not really. It's fun, and it gets the job done, but the game is a bit of a disappointment more so than fulfilling. It's not THAT bad. If you were interested in the game around E3, trying it out wouldn't be too harmful. It's nothing of a masterpiece, but if you need a rental to pass the time, look no further. It's alright for what it's worth. But I still think it's a bit of a letdown.
Fable has been a very on and off series. Fable 1 was good, and Fable 2 is also very good. But Fable 3 is undeniably bad. Awful even. No, god awful. No, so god awful that… sorry, off topic. Anyway, so I heard that Fable Heroes was coming out… and it confused me to all help. Apparently, it decided to go in a hack and slash direction combining the cute graphical style of LittleBigPlanet. Ok, sounds like am interesting idea. It sorta looks like the Zelda minigame in Nintendo Land, to a tee of course. There's costumes to get and items to find. Plus, I hear there are a ton of characters to play as, which is something I always appreciate no matter what game. This game is one I just never passed by. I heard about it a month or two ago… and yeah. That's it. I mean… there's not much more to say actually. I know this seems kinda bare bones, but I honestly didn't care to find time to play the game. It looked like fun, but apparently it doesn't have a lot of good reviews. It got a 3.5 out of 10 on Destructoid. Yeah… apparently it sucks. Well… that dream just died. If any of you have played it, please let me know how it is. I legitimately am curious. It looks like fun, and it looks like something I would be very interested in. I love hack and slash games. I love adventure games. I love cute graphics. The stitching is so awesome. But… it's gotten such crappy reviews. Maybe it's a bad game. Maybe the gameplay is repetitive. Maybe it has crappy controls. Maybe it is a very bland game. Oh man… this is so confusing. Ok, let me wrap this up. Is it good? Tell me, honestly. I am gonna do my best to play Fable Heroes in 2013. Give me some expectations now while I still am pure.
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
This is a good example of a movie that lost me due to it being delayed so much. At E3, I saw the Kinect demo for the game, and I got pumped. The game looked kinda alright to me at first, but the Kinect feature looked so awesome. A fully customizable gun? Hell yeah! But eventually, the game got pushed back… and pushed back… and pushed back again. The gaming scene had me all up in the rush that this game fell to the wayside. As I went to write this article, I finally remembered I missed this game, and it sucks. It looked to be a fun FPS game with some true bulk to it. Sadly, it kinda slipped by me. I guess the indie game phenomenon was so huge and so impacting, I must've forgotten. Wow. Another reference to that. Anyway, I will admit, the more I think about it, the "greatness" of the game continuously faded the more and more the Kinect was failing. Truthfully, I came to the realization that the game was probably more of an FPS than I wanted it to be. True, the Kinect thing was cool, but it was probably nothing more than a gimmick. It just didn't work out. Even after good reviews… it still didn't seem right for me to play the game. It's weird though, it seems like the game I should be into. Apparently is took a new approach at cover based shooting. That sounds pretty awesome. It also is supposed to have lengthy campaign. That also sounds awesome. There's also invisibility camouflage. AWESOME. You can control drones. AWESOME… ER. So, while it does surprise me I'm not more into the game, there are reasons the interest falter. Release dates being pushed, less knowledge being seen about the game overtime, and my overall disdain for the FPS genre. But nevertheless, the game is probably good. So have fun with it if you have it.
Ah June… it's my favorite month… mainly because that's the month of my birthday! So, this is where I consider games I wanna get for my special day. Plus, it's the final month of school! The wait for Summer couldn't feel any longer. So, what did the gods of gaming give us to get our hands on before Summer? Well... no terrible ones. Seriously, NO WORST GAMES! WOOT!
Depth? No… Fun? Yes. Those four words can perfectly describe the experience I had with Lollipop Chainsaw. Now, as deep and emotional as a game about you playing as a cheerleader and using a chainsaw to defeat an army of zombies with your boyfriend who is solely a head sounds… it actually can be a very fun game. There are some things that the game needs work on. The comedy can be very hit or miss, and it misses A LOT when it deals with cheese and annoying cuteness. The combat can feel sluggish at times and needs to be more slick, and most importantly, the combat needs to be more varied with attacks and enemies. A lot of times we just get a very typical horde of zombies over and over, and the game begins to feel more button-mashy than ever. At the same time though, Lollipop Chainsaw is full of lovable characters. Juliet, while at times a bit too girly, comes off as a likable heroine. Her and her head of a boyfriend Nick work well of off each other, and the whole family in the game also work well. The voice actors are obviously in their element, and the cutscenes are well animated and fun to watch. Now, I do think the combat is cumbersome at times, and it needed to be more varied… but dammit, wielding a chainsaw and whooping zombie ass is just so much fun. Sure, it's a bit dumb after so long, but I just love using a weapon as deadly as a chainsaw. It's just a lot of fun. It feels awesome to kill a large group of zombies man. There's not much depth in it, sure. But it's fun. It can be silly, but that's where the fun lies. There's also some shopping elements of upgrading, and that works well too. It gets repetitive, but these are just one of those games where you need to grab a friend. With a friend, the game becomes more fun. Dem chainsaws man… dem chainsaws…
Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes
I seemed to be the only one that liked the first LEGO Batman. I thought the incorporation of all the villains was awesome, and I think for no spoken word, the narrative came across quite nicely. So, when I heard they were coming out with a sequel, I was excited. I personally hated how LEGO Indiana Jones got a sequel before this, so I was glad this finally got a sequel. Not only that, but this sequel would actually incorporate a ton of the other DC superheroes like Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and more. And the game succeeds on pretty much what the last game did. This huge roster of characters allows for a lot of varied gameplay, as each one has special powers that allow for gameplay to be enhanced. And with plenty of the levels having places only specifically accessible by other heroes, there's a lot of replay ability involved. You'll have to unlock the characters and revisit levels. I've already went on a rant about how awesome the collectibles system is in LEGO games, and LEGO Batman 2 continues the awesomeness here, with an open world to explore and collect. A big thing, that I think works at times and doesn't at others, is the voice acting. This was a new edition to the franchise, and while some voices don't really work perfectly with some heroes, the most important voices are perfectly placed. The voices for Batman, Joker, and some other villains like Penguin and Two-Face are great voices. The voice acting obvious helps the narrative move along a bit more smoothly, and this is needed seeing how they are juggling even more characters than the last game. I liked the voice acting, but sometimes it could get grading. Look, this game is mainly loved by me because I am an utter… utter fanboy when it comes to superheroes. I love them so much, to see all of my favorite Justice League members in a LEGO game with all new designs and stuff was awesome. This is easily better than the original LEGO Batman, due to sheer characters. Also, the vehicle gameplay is really. Really. Good.
Indie games, indie games, indie games!!! I can't get enough of em, and I never will. As a huge fan of Portal, I love myself a puzzle based platformer. And when I heard one of the people behind Portal was making this game, I was immediately signed on to play this. i kept learning more about the game, how it had multiple dimensions and you had to swap them out as you platformed your way through stages. Literally, as you are moving around a stage, you need to switch to various dimensions… on the fly. That's actually really awesome. There's a fluffy dimension, a slow-down dimension, a heavy dimension, and reverse gravity dimension. The levels looked deep, the comedic aspect looked spot on, and everything just oozed polish. After finally playing it, Quantum Conundrum is easily one of the movie underrated games of the year, straight up. The levels and the platforming in the game are really good. You'd think it would be impossible to switch dimensions as you platform. But the truth is, it's actually very fun. Yes, it gets very difficult, but that just adds to the challenge. Sometimes the platforming aiming is a bit too precise, but I think mot of the jumping is good. You gotta, for example, throw a fluffy box out in the open gap, and then go to the slow down dimension to slow down the fall of the box so you can jump on the box and get past the gap. It's very interesting real-time puzzling. It pretty much feels like Portal, but you need to keep an eye on it more. Speaking of Portal, the game feels like it A LOT, and there's no complaining there. A big element here is the comedy, which is classic Portal-esque subtle, chuckle-worthy, and fun comedy. Dr. Fitz Quadrangle, while not as laugh-out-loud funny as GLaDOS or Cave Johnson, Quadrangle is funny in that "this old man is so damn cute and adorable" sorta way. Plus, the cat and the fish were mastered when it comes to subtle image humor. Their looks when they switch dimensions… aw man… that's great. If you like Portal, this is all the way up your alley man. And even if you don't love Portal, I still suggest trying it out. It's a lot of fun in my book.
Spec Ops: The Line
As I've mentioned a lot, FPS games are not for me. And the war shooters are even worse, as many of them feel very generic, boring, and repetitive. What I've always hoped for is a game that is truly a war experience, and not some blatant reenactment. What I got this month was Spec Ops: The Line. Why is this game so special? Because it easily has one of the best stories in any shooter I've ever seen. You can tell the people in the game were doing their best to put you in the wartime experience. And they did, marvelously I might add. The characters act like they are in a war setting. Things happen that feel like they belong… in a war setting. But most importantly, YOU FEEL like you are in a war setting. It's hard to imagine war shooters being so bad at this, but Spec Ops: The Line is one of the only ones who have done this successfully in my eyes. There aren't many other honorable ones I can think of. Spec Ops: The Line does everything right plot-wise. The characters are interesting, and the story is very gripping. The gameplay is also awesome, with a true feeling of thrills and being on your toes that only a TRUE wartime shooter can give you. Various Gears of War and Call of Duty campaigns give nothing of the sort. The graphics are realistic, as well as the world, and I think the sounds fit too. Everything about it has polish oozing out of it. It's just a very realistic shooter. I can't believe it took THIS long, but it has finally come to us. This is definitely a must play for FPS fans. If you are tired of Call of Duty and Gears of War, hell, even Halo, Spec Ops: The Line gives you a true feeling of war and drama. The graphics are also really good. I may not be in personal love with the game as a whole, just because there are some design choices I would've altered, but I can easily respect when someone truthfully puts time and effort into a chilling story, and by george does it show here. People should be taking notes. It's an emotional experience unlike any other war shooters, and it deserves to be played by all.
Pokemon is very stagnant, or at least is has been very stagnant for the last few years. Even though Pokemon has had a lot side games over the years, none have come close to the popularity of the main handheld RPGs. Not even the highly underrated Pokemon M4ystery Dungeon. So, when I heard there would be a tactical role-playing game, I was excited. A change to the gameplay, including new graphics, a new story, and some interesting mechanics? Sign me up! So… apparently I missed the interesting meeting or the induction, because I didn't play this game at all. And it's a shame really. I don't have much else of an excuse besides for… well, laziness. It's sad, but oh so true. Here's the thing about life… the thing that makes the world go round is money. At the time this game came out, I had no money. Now that I do actually have money, I would be willing to buy the game, if it was for a lower price. I'm pretty sure it will be, as games like this that are, in a way, obscure usually are. Maybe for like… $30 or $35. $45 is a bit of a stretch. I mean, the game looked very interesting. The characters looked new, and very interesting in design. There's a ton of fun and cute Pokemon sprites designed specifically for the turn based gameplay. Speaking of which, the turn based gameplay looks very intriguing. Not only is it different, but it actually feels like it could carry some weight. I really hope this game gets some more exposure so there can be a sequel. With Pokemon X and Y being announced and looking to be a new turn for the series in a very bright spotlight, a more exposed Pokemon Conquest sounds good for Pokemon. Maybe let Game Freak add their creative touch. It looked to be another new genre for Pokemon to experiment with. And trust me, there are plenty of those. I am still waiting on a GOOD Pokemon platforming adventure game that has 3D and 2D platforming. Maybe it will happen someday, but for now, I gotta get my hands on this one, and fast.
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor
I know, it sucks. I've seen the Angry Joe review. I watched ProJared's top ten worst games list. I saw all the horrible gameplay, I saw the Kinect barely functioning, I saw it all. But did I experience it? No, and I regret it. Look, I know that they say not to go play these games. But here's the thing about games that are this bad, they need to be experienced. I need to know how bad they are. Seriously, I NEED to see them. Ya see, I wanna go into gaming in some form, whether it be design or journalism. So, I need to know how bad these games are so that way I can learn of how bad they are, take it in, and learn. I need to know how bad it is. I HAVE TO KNOW. And look, I'm probably never gonna own the game… bless my soul. I'll probably only play it, maybe twice. Just to know. Ya see, I never like judging something concretely until I actually experience it. Even if I can so easily jump on a bandwagon, I need to play it fully. Who knows, maybe I'll appreciate something nobody notices… I'm kinda like that… a lot. I will say though, I've begun to despise the Kinect more and more every day of the week. It's begun to show less and less promise, and it is annoying me to the high heavens. Sometimes, I just wanna take copies of games lIke Dragon Ball Z: Kinect and throw them into a fiery cesspool. But I need to play them first, making that justified. Anyway, back to Steel Battalion, the game just looks awful from head to toe. Even the characters who have gotten some praise look bad to me. Although smacking them in the face looks fun. Plus, is it just me, or is the idea of combining a controller with Kinect really stupid. I never got the draw-in from that. The graphics looked smudgy, the mechanics and buttons/levers looked confusing, and everything just looks… oh god, so awful. In the end, would I regret playing it? Yes, most likely on a mental level. But on an emotional level… I have to play this game… just to feel the rush of awful.
As the Vita has been an anomaly for me, I can't help but be curious as to how this game would've turned out. I dunno why, but this one looks interesting to me. I actually never was interested in the game at all, I saw it, and I let it be. But, it seems like I just may have missed out on something. People seem to be impartial on it, but now that Sony has put it on the roster for Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, the game must have… "significance". Well, then again… many of the roster's characters don't have much of that said quality. OK, so maybe that isn't the best example of why I should play the game, but hey, there are other things. I like manipulating gravity in any game, and Gravity Rush looks to actually do this in a fun and exciting way. You get to fly and stuff. The way the flying works kinda reminds me of Nights on the Wii. I dunno, it's all mystical and fast. There's also combat in her gravity kicks, which look like a lot of fun to kick ass with. There's also walking up walls, which always a plus in any game… ever. But there's also some role-playing elements like side quests and leveling up. I actually didn't know that. I guess research really does help with a game purchase. Plus, there's an open world to discover! Hell yeah! And of course, there's the Vita's incorporation with the game. The Vita's gyroscope is the biggest feature, as it has a huge incorporation with the moving and flying around. I don't like the Vita's design, so I can only hope I'd like the game despite all these VIta gimmicks. It honestly looks like a fun game. A new IP too, which is always appreciated. I sorta feel bad for not playing it, as I always try to give new IPs a chance and try it. Of course… it's on the Vita. A bit of a downside for me. I'm just afraid that the game will let me down due to the Vita. Well, you can't knock something until you try it, right? Let's hope Gravity Rush and a Vita comes into my hands soon. Cause I wanna fly and manipulate some gravity, b*tches!
Games Worth Mentioning
Risen 2: Dark Waters
Game of Thrones
Resistance: Burning Skies
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
So guys, this list is only gonna get bigger, So sadly, this list is gonna go throughout the month of January. Plus, with various other blogs I wanna post later on, these list entries will be few and far between, sadly. But hey, enjoy 'em while they last. Lots of pictures. Lots. Anyway, see you all on the flip side!
Whenever a holiday comes up, I always try to celebrate it with a special thing on my blog. Whether it simply be another blog about the holiday, or some other special event, I try my best to do something.
Well, with a very special holiday coming up, I arranged a little something, and pulled a few strings.
That's right, for Halloween this year, I got two blogs to give you all, both of which could not have been possible without the g1 community. On Halloween, I always hang out with friends, it's a must do for me. Holidays are nothing without family and friends. So, to… in a way, mirror that, I made two blogs with my g1 friends to commemorate this day of spooks!
The one that has to do with Halloween will come a little later. Right now though, it's time to give you all a blog that has been MONTHS in the making. Ever since March, I've been trying to orchestrate this whole sha-bang, but with limited luck. It took a while to get all the gears turning, but after some strokes of greatness from my g1 friends, I finally was able to complete it…
And with that… I welcome you to everyone's favorite show where we talk about an element of a platforming game, and choose the best of the best platformers to exemplify them. THIS IS…
Wait… wait, this is the 20th episode… we need a change of pace. Sorry Jetz…
Yup, I made this logo by myself. I felt we needed a new look to it. Hopefully you all find it to your liking.
Anyway, as I mentioned before, this is the 20th episode of the series, and I couldn't be more happy that the show was able to make it this far. So, to celebrate, I wanted to discuss a topic we haven't covered on this show for a while. Music. But I wanted to combine it with another common element in platformers. So, I took possibly one of the most infamous elements of any game ever: the water level. Today's topic is Water Level Themes!
WATER LEVEL THEMES
Love 'em or hate 'em, water levels are an essential level in any platformer. They are the level to switch things up, the level to put you in a new environment, the level to add a whole new experience to the game. Seeing as underwater physics are different than on land, water levels force you to slow down a bit, and take a nice swim. Granted, the slowing down of gameplay is probably the most common complaint with these levels. In some cases, it works, in some others, it doesn't. But one thing that seems to stay consistently awesome with Water Levels is the music that plays in the background. Water levels bring in a more somber melody in many cases, allowing you to relax. But some of them aren't somber as they are simply soothing. That's the key here: soothing. I love me a soothing water level song.
So, instead of me blabbing about water level themes, I decided to call upon 17 of my closest g1 friends to discuss their favorites. So, please, enjoy reading your fellow g1s' thoughts. I'll meet you all towards the end. Have fun!
Avid g1, Overall Nice Guy, Creator of "Miscellaneous"
Dire, Dire Docks (Super Mario 64)
The greatest theme from any water level in a platformer is without a doubt, “Another Winter” from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game. This is obviously...
....I’m sorry, what? Not a water level? Well, I assure you, my friends, this is most certainly a water level. Have you seen all of the snow lying around? As we all know, snow is just frozen precipitation, and a form of water....
....What? Not a platformer? It is too! You jump on things. Sometimes. Sometimes you jump on things. I AM TOTALLY RIGHT AND ALL OF YOU ARE WRONG. SCOTT PILGRIM IS THE BEST THING EVER. SO WHAT IF I BEND THE RULES. AHHHHHHHHH-----
*Guru was then sent on a long wilderness sabbatical to think about the severity and wrongness of his actions. He returns to you now to give you his actual answer.*
Okay...okay. We’re cool. So. Greatest theme. From a water level. In a platformer. Got it. Well, under THOSE conditions, I guess I would have to say that my favorite theme would have to be Dire Dire Docks from Super Mario 64.
It’s hard to say why I like this theme the best. I’m going to try to use my words carefully, and try to tell you exactly what it is I like about this song.
Dire, Dire Docks is a very mellow song that perfectly fits the levels that it was engineered to play along with. As you dive into the deep blue depths of both Jolly Roger Bay and, well, it’s namesake. And while water levels are usually frustrating to me, this song helps you to keep your cool as you make your way through the level and try to get that one star at the bottom of the cyclone that’s SO FREAKING HARD TO GET UNNNNNNNNHHHHHHHHH----
But, I digress. It’s not the level, we’re talking about. It’s all about the music, man. Like I was saying, the song has a very mellow, somewhat slow tempo. And as it goes on, it slowly picks up and adds more to it, adding more parts to the whole and increasing the bombasity of it. I’m trying to choose my words carefully, since I’m only kinda sorta not really a musical person, and it’s hard to describe it without worry of someone telling me I used a musical word or phrase wrong. So. Um. One thing’s for sure. It’s not Wagerian. There. There’s some music lingo.
But does it have to be? Joking aside, Dire, Dire Docks is my favorite water theme from any platformer because it’s just a mellow little tune that resides deep within my nostalgia caked heart. This is one of those songs that you tap your fingers to while waiting for the bus, or hum while sitting in class. And those are the best kind of songs. I think so, anyways. So there's my favorite song from every water level in every platformer ever. Hope you enjoyed.
Creator of "Epic Game Music", Musician and Performer
Aquatic Ambience (Donkey Kong Country)
Let me first start by thanking Flapperdoodle for correcting my spelling, grammar and blatant disregard of the English language.
I’m sure we can all agree there’s nothing more frustrating than water levels. The mark of a good platformer is tight controls and levels that gradually develop your skills. There’s nothing that slows down this forward momentum more than water levels by giving you floaty physics and gameplay that breaks with consistency. The only saving grace is the excellent music they counter balance this with. No game has a better example of this than Donkey Kong Country. Aquatic Ambience’s submariner melodies soothe that player’s urge to rage quit by enveloping them into the very context and surrounding that they wish to escape. A title has never quite captured the a song so perfectly as the tranquil progressions sonically wash over you to make you feel as if you are drifting between Croctopi. When all is said and done I want to play Donkey Kong Country’s few water levels just to sit and listen to thing amazing song.
At first I thought my terrible memory wouldn’t allow me to remember where I could find the kind of water level theme I was looking for, even though I did consider classics like Mario’s water theme, I really wanted something a bit different, and that’s when Sega’s often forgotten gem, Ristar, came to mind and saved the day.
Opening perfectly with... “watery” sounds, Splash Down!! starts trading the whacky and completely cheerful tunes of the introductory levels of Ristar for something a bit more mysterious-sounding, but without losing the overall light-hearted tone. It serves as a perfect bridge between the sounds of the first levels and the second water level theme of Ristar (which completes the previously mentioned trade). Speaking of which, Break Silence would’ve been a good pick too, however I chose Splash Down!! over it because I just prefer how it sounds a bit happier, but also because this one, unlike many water-themed songs, didn’t need to slow down too much to sound, well... “watery” (which makes sense when you consider Ristar swims faster than he walks).
Avid g1, Creator of "The g1 Freelancers", TF2 Maniac
Abbysal Glougluo (Rayman Origins)
Hello everyone! FrankHaggar here, helping out my pal Flapperdoodle with his blog. My favorite water theme from a platformer has to be Abbysal Glougluo from Rayman Origins. This theme just screams scary right into it. First of all it's very simple at the start but already starting out with a creepy atmosphere. The piano being the main instrument to the melody works great and the bowed string instruments adds a lot of background to it. Around the 1 minute mark things get a bit more hectic when a couple of drum sounding background noises starts to kick in. I believe it's some kind of xylophone being used here. The way the song captures the feeling of being underwater and lonely is fantastic and it feels very open. Listening to this late at night
is one hell of an experience. The melody itself is pretty catchy I might add, but the main reason I
chose this song is the atmosphere and the way it makes you feel while listening to it. When a song can get even The Mayor to be frightened then you know it's something special.
Yes, I know it's the same exact picture and the same exact video. But let's be honest... you would've done the EXACT... SAME. ~ Flaps
So the water theme that I picked had to be Aquatic Ambiance from Donkey Kong Country as it’s great mix of soothing and creating a sense of wonder all within one theme. The one thing that I did notice was how most water theme levels with platformers for the most part are relatively upbeat in tone such as the Mario platformers, and Donkey Kong Country is no exception to that. Aquatic Ambiance is a great water theme as it’s somewhat upbeat, but it’s more relaxing than anything as when I hear it in-game it does manage to just create a tone in which I really do feel like I can complete the level at whatever pace I want. What I really enjoy about this theme has to be the sense of wonder that it creates as it to me it did make me want to explore the level as much as possible. So in the end while many water themes are upbeat in tone none of theme to me is as great as Aquatic Ambiance from Donkey Kong Country for the SNES.
YouTuber, Voice Actor, Creator of "Courtroom Reviews" and "Through the Flash Portal"
Underwater Trench (Spider-Man [PS1])
Favorite water level theme? Well I hope being at the bottom of the ocean and surrounded by water (but not actually touching water through the whole level) counts as a water level theme! Because I'm choosing the underwater trench theme from the PS1 Spider-Man game. The song itself doesn't have much of a tune and actually just kind of repeats, but it has a really good badass vibe to it, and makes it a lot more fun destroying deadly lazers.
This tune just has a special place in my heart. Launch Octopus’ theme creates the perfect hybrid of water level and robot master. It’s a mix of watery goodness and electric robots: a forbidden combination. When you hear it you don’t immediately think “Oh, this is the water level!” (Although, you should considering the boss is Launch Octopus). This level starts off kind of calm, but it picks up very quickly. Now, yeah, I’m biased. I love Mega Man X; in fact, it’s my favorite game ever. But the way the underwater controls work with the music give a very fluid feel for a water level. Heheh.
But in all seriousness, the Launch Octopus theme is the pinnacle of water level themes. Normally water levels feel floaty and strange, and normally they feel like they go on forever. That sucks though, am I right? With this theme, there’s a nice juxtaposition, because I’d wager it’s one of the quicker-paced themes of the game. Not to mention you fly across the entire stage by dash-jumping all over the damn place. The high notes of the song give that crystally watery sound you’d expect from say, a Donkey Kong Country game. God, this level theme is just awesome, and it really makes this level and game awesome. Rock on, Rockman X.
My favorite water level theme for me is the Underwater Theme from Super Mario Bros. for the NES. Super Mario Bros. is my very first game and its water levels can be fun and not too stressful like must other water levels in games. This theme is the what I always hear in my head when I think of a video game water level. There is a lot of things to talk about it.
When you hear it, this 8-bit song makes it sound like you're under water. It really fits and captures the feel of water. It may repeat after a few notes but still great to listen to. There you go, this is my favorite and like to hear other g1s favorite water themes!
Out of all the water levels I’ve played, my personal favorite ones had a tropical theme to them. Some examples that spring to mind are the 2 water levels from Ty the Tasmanian Tiger-Ship Rex & Rex Marks the Spot- and Noki Noki Bay from Super Mario Sunshine. In Rex Marks the Spot, I would spend hours just swimming around the large open level, exploring the tropical Australian world. From taking pirate treasure to exploring an active volcano, the design team really did a great job of creating a vast, immersive, tropical level.
Here's a different style of water theme that you haven't heard before. It's a bit of a slight shame too, for I think it's one of my favorite tunes created from Konami, but I digress. Unlike most other water level themes that are usually slow, dreamy, and peaceful--such as Mario 64's Dire Dire Docks theme, for instance--this tune is highly upbeat, energetic, and catchy. It reflects the style of play for the level as well, for this is one water level to be played that's very high action and fast-paced. Even when you're swimming around in the water segments, it still seems very fast-paced for projectiles are being thrown out every which-way underwater like there's no tomorrow. It also helps that, for a water level, there is very little actual swimming involved, and the game is very arcadey in the truest Konami sense, so the song certainly fits. I do enjoy how this song also fits extremely well with the Japanese style of level with its interesting in-game sound chips to give it that feel, and it works out very well with one of the best soundtracks ever made for a game. Easily one of my favorite water level themes of all time since it's so different yet it works so perfectly well.
Actor, Filmmaker, Content Producer, Overall Nice Guy
"The Dam Level" (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Water levels suck. They’re really bad. And for some reason, most games have them, especially among platformers. But that doesn’t mean the music for water levels can’t rock. There are a lot of good tracks out there to accompany the relatively well designed levels, such as 2-2 from Mario or some of the water levels from the earlier Sonic games. Those tracks are great, and those levels are fun, but my choice for the best ever water level theme has to go to the music from the Dam level in TMNT on NES.
It’s an odd choice, considering that level is not particularly well designed, nor is it fun or entertaining. In fact, that game is pretty bad in general. I recommend getting the sequel or Turtles in Time. But I digress. I picked the theme from the Dam level as the best water level theme because it’s engrossing, and it really serves as an example of classical conditioning in video games. Here, allow me to explain.
Classical conditioning is when two unrelated things are made related through the mind. The most popular example is Pavlov’s dog. Pavlov rings the bell that signifies dinner and the dogs drool at the sound because it means they get to eat. If I rang a bell at a dog just randomly, I’m sure it wouldn’t drool simply because of the bell’s sound. If I gave it delicious food independently of the bell, it wouldn’t perk its ears up in excited suspense for the sound of the bell. But if I rang the bell and then gave it delicious food every single time, then the bell and food become a conditioned stimulus and conditioned response, respectively. That means that the dog associates the sound of the bell with the delicious taste of food, and then drools in anticipation. That is classical conditioning. So how does that relate to TMNT’s Dam music?
Well, if you’ve played the level, then you know the music. And if you hear the music, then you will remember the level instantly. With the memory of the level comes the memory of playing the level, meaning you also recount all the trials and tribulations that you went through when playing that level. When you remember those moments, you’ll also remember how frustrated and anxious you were while playing the level. When all of that comes together, it’s a small window into a moment of your childhood. And it was all triggered by a few notes in a song. It’s quite scary.
I think the Dam level’s music is the perfect water level theme because it is so deeply, so wholely, so completely and utterly ingrained within the experience of playing the level itself. Where Mario and Sonic have water level themes, they’re shared among levels of their respective games, meaning the same song can be associated with a couple of different levels. The Dam level’s music is simply that: the DAM LEVEL’s music. Any theme that can bring back a flood of memories like that, any theme that can instantly be associated with the level that carries it, and any theme that can immediately resonate with players and become entrenched in their minds for years to come - lying in wait like a repressed memory only to spring forth later like a long forgotten jack in the box - has to be good. It has to be great.
Okay, so favorite water level theme in a platformer, eh? Well, I know I’m not alone when I say I'm not a big fan of water levels in general, as I typically find myself frustrated with their typically slow gameplay. But, recently a game I can’t seem to put down is Rayman Origins, largely due to its amazing soundtrack. However, there is one piece in particular that is played throughout the game’s water levels that I find really stands out from the rest, and is titled Lums of the Water.
Now, if you don’t enjoy high-pitched voices then you’ll probably want to stay away from this one. But, if you can manage to get by that, then you can see why this is one of my favorite pieces of videogame music to date. It’s cute, happy, and fit’s the game’s overall personality very well. Accompanied with a great orchestral score, this tune actually makes me want to return to the water level, something I don’t find myself saying too often no matter how good the music is.
g1 of the Year 2011, Coordinator of the g1 Spotlight, and the Titanium Man of Flash Gaming
Gloo Gloo (Rayman Legends)
In my opinion there are three types of water level themes. The first type represents the dark and uneasy feeling that’s associated with deep water. The second type represents the calming effect of water. While the third type is tropical or island sounding. My pick for the favorite water theme was almost Aquatic Ambience from Donkey Kong Country, but I’m sure everyone picked that. Then my second favorite pick was going to be Hydrocity Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 but that doesn’t really sound like a water theme. That’s why I picked Gloo Gloo from Rayman Legends, the third type of water theme.
Gloo Gloo is one of the many music levels from Rayman Legends. In these levels every jump, slide, or attack goes to the beat of a song. In Gloo Gloo you’ll swim, slide, and jump to a familiar song. If you saw Kill Bill, you might remember the song Woo Hoo from The 5 6 7 8’s which in turn is a cover of Woo Hoo from The Rock-A-Teens. Either version of this song is a rockabilly/surfer music song, so when Rayman Legends did a cover it fit perfectly. It’s a fun loving song that fits the level, and will make you want to play again and again.
The idea of the perfect platformer is hard to define. Everyone has their own opinions and personal tastes. So when Flapperdoodle asked me to write this little thing I was quite surprised that he would ask me about water levels of all things. Water levels, along with ice levels, are some of the most notorious for being difficult and frustrating when it comes to platformers. But what strikes me as interesting is that the themes of these levels are often extremely memorable. A personal favorite of mine comes from Rayman Origins, which also happens to be my favorite platformer. The theme I am referring to comes from the Sea of Serendipity level. It is the first of two water levels in the game. This level stands out to me for two reasons. The first is the level itself. It strikes a good balance between challenge and enjoyment that makes it an absolute joy to play. The second thing is the music of the level. The theme, like the rest of the soundtrack, sets the mood for the level perfectly. It is cheerful, and upbeat, but relaxing at the same time. It manages to keep the level fun despite the multiple deaths that you will suffer. The soft a capella tunes are a pleasure to the ears while the visuals are a feast for the eyes. In short, the Sea of Serendipity is my favorite theme of any water level tune because it's incredibly soothing and makes me genuinely happy when I listen to it.
Forum Mod, Coordinator of the Signature Request Forum, Photoshop Wiz
Water Land (Super Mario Bros. 3)
Not sure if it is my absolute favorite, but it has the most nostalgia tied to it above any other possible Water-related game music, as well as a little story about myself.
Back when I was a wee lad in the early years of elementary school, I would only have half-days. Every day by noonish I would get home to my dad getting ready to go to work. In the mean time I would sit in front of the TV and play SMB3 until we had to leave and he would drop me off at my Grandma's. Generally I could make it to World 3 without to much hassle, and there it would sit until I returned (yes I would leave the Nintendo on for 4-5+ hours while we left the house... don't judge me~). When I would get back I would pick up from where I left off, somewhere in World 3, and attempt to finish the game. This went on for quite a few months until My siblings and mom got sick of me playing SMB3.
That random story aside, Water Land theme is still one of my favorite themes from any Mario game, so much so I could listen to it for hours and never get bored. It's catchy and up-beat, invokes images of hanging out on the beach on a nice summer day. It doesn't really get better then that!
Slightly off topic, after listening to that you should listen to this classic bit of music from the Legend of Zelda, and prepare to have your mind blown...
Wow, there are lots of great choices here. Hopefully after listening and hearing about these tunes, you'll begin to enjoy them too!
Thus, the 20th episode comes to a close. Thanks to everyone who has helped this show continue by reading and commenting. Thanks to JETZ for that sick logo I used for quite a few episodes. Thanks to ScrewAttack for sometimes frontpaging my work, I really appreciate.
But the fun has only just begun. Stay tuned for my second Halloween blog, coming tomorrow.
Speaking of which, I hope you all had a happy Halloween. I sure did, so I hope you did too. Tell me how it was in the comments down below, as well your favorite water level theme!
So… I was gonna make a stupid little "fooled ya" blog about how I was gonna stop blogging but then I would admit I still like writing and I would just make a dumb change to the blog series to make up for the sad moment, like Doug Walker did with the Nostalgia Critic.
But then it was sitting on my computer for the longest time, and I realized I had never posted the blog because I wasn't proud of it. It didn't feel like a genuinely good idea, or a genuinely well-written blog. So, I'm gonna take a more direct approach with this.
So, this is my 150th blog, and I actually am very happy that I was able to make it this fa with Flapperdoodle's Gaming Blog. Before I go on, I just wanna thank everyone who helped me get this far. Thanks to ScrewAttack for creating a fun website with a great community. Thanks to everyone I've collabed with, and everyone who's commented on my blogs, and all that jazz. I truly do appreciate it, even if it seems like I'm skimming it over here. Without all of you guys, I would never even be writing this blog. I write with you all in mind, and to see you all happy about my work makes me happy too.
Now… why am I writing a blog that seems a little too nonchalant for a 150th blog? Well, here's the thing.
I've been writing "Flapperdoodle's Gaming Blog" for quite a bit of time, at least or a year or two at this point. But… here's the thing. It's barely a gaming blog. I guarantee at least HALF of my blogs are NOT about gaming. It's either about music, television, film, or anything else NOT gaming. This has been annoying the hell out of me for a very long time, but I could never really work out a solution to this.
And then I realized something… why don't I just get rid of that obnoxiously long and unnecessary title? Would it change anything really? No. I'd still blog, and the Flapperdoodle staple would still be imprinted. So why not?
I really should've taken a hint when ScrewAttack decided to delete the "Flapperdoodle's Gaming Blog" part. Seriously.
So, from now on, it's done. I'm done using that long title. From now on, it's just me blogging about what I want, when I want.
Now, with that being said, I am still keeping the series that I've established. Flapper's Five and The Perfect Platformer aren't going anywhere. In fact, I'm probably gonna make some more series about things like music or just overall analysis. Hell, I've been considering going back to making YouTube videos again. Never thought I'd be saying that, honest.
So, I guess technically, this means that Flapperdoodle's Gaming Blog, as a name to a series, had reached its end. And I guess all those banners are gonna leave us all soon too... So, I guess I'll just treat this as an end.
Thanks to everyone who read all of my long-ass blogs. I appreciate the support. But for now, I shall move on to less restrictive blogs, and even more diversity to my channel.
Stay tuned, as I already have a collab to post as my 151st blog to celebrate this necessary change. It's a good one, trust me.