Retro Game Friday: Sonic Adventure

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering one of the Sega Dreamcasts bigger games. It’s Sonic Adventure!

Plot Synopsis:  Knuckles the Echidna is guarding the Master Emerald on the floating Angel Island.  However Doctor Eggman arrives and shatters the Emerald, freeing a being that was trapped inside.  Angel Island falls into the sea, scattering the Master Emerald’s shards…

Plot: The plot isn’t super amazing, I’ll be the first to admit that. It’s pretty standard, but still the gameplay for the most part made up for it.

Gameplay: The gameplay is all in 3D and at the time was pretty damn advanced. Sure it wasn’t quite as fast as the blistering pace previous games had, but there was always going to be a loss with the transition to 3D. The biggest issue with the game was one of the 6 characters that were playable, namely Big the Cat. Big’s parts were all about fishing and were considerably slow compared to the rest of the game. It was also fairly boring to play.

Art: The art was pretty good, and while not as amazing as the sequel it was pretty amazing nonetheless. It has aged poorly, but it and the sequel both received ports to the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Music: The music was pretty different from previous Sonic games, but it was definitely fun for most of the game. That said some of it was less than spectacular like during Big’s levels.

Overall: This isn’t a must play, but it’s one of the few good 3D Sonic games from the 2000’s.

For those who like: Sonic Games, Platformers, Action.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Anime Sunday: PSO2 Episode 01 Impressions

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This week for Anime Sunday I’m covering a series I didn’t have lots of hope for coming into the season. It’s the Phantasy Star Online, or PSO2 Episode 01 Impressions!

Plot Synopsis: Itsuki is a student at Seiga Academy, a place where everywhere you look everyone is playing this game called PSO2. But one day he get’s called to the Student Council room by the president unexpectedly. An event occurs that changes his outlook on life.

Plot: I don’t even know where to begin with how bad this is. It’s possibly one of the worst Anime I’ve ever watched, and that’s saying something. The premise of the series is so terrible that even I can’t suspend disbelief to believe it. The student council submits reports to the school board via PSO2? Seriously no one in that position gives a rat’s ass about what the students do in their free time as long as it’s not illegal, regardless of how popular this game is. Include all the various nods to Sega, there’s a Sonic head shaped water feature in the freaking school grounds, and Seiga (drop the “I”) Academy, and it looks like Sega just spent a bunch of money on something completely unnecessary considering how freaking popular the game is in Japan.

Characters: Bland, dull and I can’t stand writing about it anymore! The characters are terrible. I’ve seen better characters in tasteless trashy romance novels in the Elder Scrolls games or World of Warcraft.

Art: Nothing even decent here either, it uses a blend of 3DCG and traditional Anime art, and I can’t say I’m a fan of the 3D portion. I’ve never liked series that choose to use it in a way that is inherently obvious compared to the rest of the series.

Music: Needless to say it’s pretty bad.

Overall: Please don’t watch this piece of crap, and save your eyeballs from watching the Anime equivalent of Twilight in terms of biohazard danger.

For those who like: …, you know what there is nothing good to note about this series. So skip to the next line.

For those who don’t like: Having their brain cells tortured by watching such a piece of crap that it permanently damages them.

Retro Game Friday: Skies of Arcadia

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a true classic! It’s Skies of Arcadia!

Plot Synopsis: Thousands of years before the events of Skies of Arcadia, six civilizations coexisted on floating continents in the titular skies of Arcadia, a world with no apparent surface that is orbited by six moons of different colors. The civilizations, one of which existed for each moon, developed technologically to the point where each created a Gigas, a colossal living weapon of mass destruction, as well as the Moon Crystals that could be used to control them. Using the Gigas, the civilizations warred with one another, which caused enormous environmental harm and threatened the extinction of all six. The most advanced, the Silver Civilization, used their Gigas to summon the Rains of Destruction, which pulled meteors from the orbiting moons and crashed them down onto the planet’s surface. The catastrophic destruction stopped the rampage of the Gigas, as well as nearly destroyed the other five civilizations, thus ending the war. A seal was placed on the Silver Gigas to prevent the Rains from being used again, and the Moon Crystals were hidden away.

In present time, the militant and tyrannical Valuan Empire, led by Empress Teodora, seeks the Moon Crystals to awaken the Gigas and take over the world.

Plot: So not the most original of plot hooks, but who cares! The gameplay was excellent and the plot got better. I won’t spoil it at all, I hate doing that for RPGs in particular.

Gameplay: It’s a classic JRPG with turn based gameplay, but the big thing about this game was the fact that you didn’t just fight with your party characters. You fought with your ship, which was awesome. I liked it quite a bit.

Characters: I loved it, Vyse was great, but the entire cast was excellent. Probably one of the better JRPG casts not in a Tales of or Final Fantasy game, and even better than a few of the entries in those series.

Art: Amazing for it’s time, it now looks pretty bad, but I wouldn’t care. The gameplay was excellent.

Music: Awesome.

Overall: If you’ve never played this, you need to.

For those who like: JRPGs, Action, Adventure, Steampunk, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters, Great Gameplay, Awesome Music.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, but how can you hate that?!

Retro Game Friday: Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a game that didn’t do amazingly well, but was still pretty fun. It’s Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg!

Plot Synopsis: The story begins with a peaceful fantasy world by the name of “Morning Land”, where the Chicken inhabitants live in peace and harmony. But all that is shattered as Dark Raven and his army of Crows assault Morning Land, catching the inhabitants by surprise and shrouding Morning Land in a blanket of unnatural, eternal night.

Meanwhile, being late to meet with his friends due to oversleeping, the slightly mischievous Billy Hatcher races out of his house to go meet them. Upon arrival, Bantam tells Billy he is late, showing him a pocket watch in the shape of an egg. And, being some sort of tradition among the four friends, Bantam Scrambled, Chick Poacher, and Rolly Roll prepare to dish out a consequence on Billy, but they’re stopped by the weak chirping of a chick.

Plot: Yea this game isn’t really all that great in terms of plot, but hey what do you expect from a game that was rated E for Everyone and isn’t an RPG?

Gameplay: The game ran on a modified Sonic Adventure 2 Engine and was pretty fun to play, although it was hard for me at least to control Billy sometimes. That being said it wasn’t too bad, and the premise was pretty interesting.

Art: Being that it ran on the SA2 Engine it wasn’t that great, and it doesn’t look amazing by today’s standards, but it was pretty good for it’s day and age.

Music: The music wasn’t bad, but I don’t remember it being as good as any of the Sonic Adventure games.

Overall: You can skip this unless you are feeling really interested in the game.

For those who like: Platforming, Chickens, Sega Games, Games by Sonic Team.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.