Retro Game Friday: Shantae

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a really obscure classic. It’s Shantae!

Plot Synopsis: A gang of pirates, the Tinkerbats, led by Risky Boots, attacks Scuttle Town and steals a prototype steam engine from Mimic, the town’s resident treasure hunter. Mimic tells Shantae, the guardian of Scuttle Town, that if Risky retrieves four magical “elemental stones”, she could power up the steam engine and create an unstoppable weapon out of it. Shantae travels across Sequin Land, determined to retrieve the steam engine and the elemental stones and stop Risky.

Plot: Look this isn’t a game that has an amazing plot, but it was fun to play.

Gameplay: Shantae was reminiscent of Banjo-Kazooie for me. Though not quite as good as Banjo-Kazooie, it allowed Shantae to transform into various forms like an Elephant or Monkey. This was a platformer through and through and while it wasn’t especially amazing, it was enough to gain a following, albeit a bit of a cult following. The game was obscured by the launch of the GameBoy Advance and since this was on the GameBoy Color it didn’t receive quite enough attention.

Art: The art is fully 2D, which is good because it’s aged pretty well since 2002.

Music: Don’t remember a whit, if I ever even listened to it. Remember that I played my portable games while traveled when I was younger so having the music on wasn’t really looked on kindly.

Overall: This was a fun game, if somewhat lacking in plot.

For those who like: Platformers, Transformations, Middle Eastern Mythologies, Great Gameplay, Good Artwork.

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

Video Game Tuesday: What other MMOs can learn from FFXIV

This week for Video Game Tuesday is I’m covering a topic that sets apart my favorite MMO from all others. It’s all about What other MMOs can learn from FFXIV!

What is the biggest difference?: Well it’s really simple, Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) makes you feel like the hero of the story, and not just some passenger to an NPC’s story. No in Final Fantasy almost every NPC knows about you. You’ve killed gods, brought end to wars and taken down dragons. The NPCs you work with always acknowledge that you are the key figure in these fights, that without you none of it could have been possible.

Really?: World of Warcraft has had issues for years where no matter how powerful your character became, you were always not the main participant of the story. You as the player were never the hero in the story. Sure you might have taken down Nefarian, stopped C’Thun in Ahn’Qhiraj, killed Illidan and beaten Kiljaedan through the Sunwell. You might have brought down the Lich King and killed a dragon gone mad with power that tore apart the world, but you never really were the main character.

This problem is highlighted most with the Lich King encounter at the end of Wrath of the Lich King. You bring down Arthas all the way to 10% and boom you and your entire raid die. But Tirion Fordring, breaks from the ice that kept him out of the entire fight, breaks Frostmourne and deals the fatal blow to Arthas.  You the player on the other hand are shoved to the side until you get resurrected and hurry him along to death. There’s no thanks other than maybe a statue of the races of your faction in Dalaran if you killed him first on your server and some shiny weapons. That’s it, you get no real recognition. You may get a few NPCs thanking you, but in general you aren’t proclaimed the hero and lauded throughout the world. You were just there, helping Tirion while he slept in a block of ice until he decided to get out of it and finish the fight you were dealing with.

Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t have that problem and lots of MMOs, including not MMOs like Destiny, could do with learning from how Final Fantasy treats the player. You are treated as a hero, and even other players aren’t treated like you are by NPCs. It makes you feel special and gives further immersion into the world of Hydaelyn.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. What are your thought son the subject? Do you feel like the main character in MMOs, or just a minor actor compared to some NPC hero. Leave your comments below.

Retro Game Friday: Rogue Squadron II

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering the sequel to Rogue Squadron. It’s Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader!

Plot: The plot is pretty decent, it follows the exploits of Rogue Squadron during the time of the original trilogy. So we have Luke and Wedge as our player characters.

Gameplay: This is one of my favorite games because of how simple it was to fly the various ships in this game. Lots of games try to make it hard to fly in them, and frankly I find that to be frustrating and shortsighted if it’s purely a single player game. My favorite ship to fly was the A-Wing, I always preferred speed over anything else, but it was quite fun to play all the various ships, including the Buick.

Music: Classic Star Wars, which is great.

Art: The only thing about this game that hasn’t withstood the test of time is the artwork, I’m sure there are mods out there to update the game to make it more palatable in today’s market, but back in the day this was really quite amazing. I remember seeing the E3 Reveal of this game and thinking that I could barely tell if it was a scene from the movie or game footage at first.

Overall: If you love Star Wars, or Combat Flight Sims, you need to play Rogue Squadron II!

Video Game Tuesday: E3 2017 Reactions

 

Hey all I’m back with my thoughts on this years Electronic Entertainment Expo! It’s my E3 2017 Reactions!

Nintendo: Holy crap they announced a new Metroid Prime and a remake of Metroid II! Not only that, but they announced a couple of DLCs for Zelda: Breath of the Wild and gave us a release date for Super Mario Odyssey. Honestly I’m just happy at the fact that new Metroid games are coming out, but everyone should take this with a grain of salt. The last Metroid game to be released was Other M and we all know how terrible of a game that was.

Sony: Nothing really major, but they are definitely doubling down on the PlayStation VR. They also told us that God of War’s next game is set to release in Early 2018. Not only that, but they showed off what might become the best Spider-Man game ever released. I’m actually excited to play that, and we’ve had official confirmation that we won’t be chasing balloons!

Microsoft: They formally announced Project Scorpio’s details, and gave it’s final name, Xbox One X. Frankly they should have just kept Xbox Scorpio, it’s not as ridiculous a name. You’d think they’d have learnt from Nintendo’s mistake with the WiiU.  Crackdown 3 is finally getting released though, so there’s that to look forward to.

Ubisoft: Showed off the now officially confirmed Assassin’s Creed: Origins that takes place in Egypt. I got burned badly by Unity so I’ll probably skip Origins unless I get a review copy. They also showed more of Far Cry 5, and announced Skulls and Bones, which takes AC4: Black Flag’s ship combat system and makes it a standalone game. As I actually enjoyed the ship battles in Black Flag, I might be interested in playing, but I also enjoyed going over and taking down the enemy crew after ramming them.

EA: More sports games of course, Star Wars Battlefront II (DICE) and a new IP from the people behind Mass Effect, Anthem that is pretty much Destiny. If you’ve read my past columns on Destiny you might be able to guess at how thrilled I am by the prospect of another “Destiny”. /run EndSarcasm.exe

Bethesda: Skyrim for the Switch, boring. Wolfenstein II is a real game and is releasing on October 27th though, so maybe Bethesda didn’t just go for obvious cash grabs for the year.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Retro Game Friday: Mario and Luigi Partners in Time

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering the sequel to Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga! It’s Mario and Luigi Partners in Time!

Plot Synopsis: During Mario and Luigi’s infancies, Shroobs from a withering distant planet find the Mushroom Kingdom and invade it. The invasion forces Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Baby Peach, Toadsworth the Younger, and Baby Bowser (who had been attempting to capture Baby Peach at the time) to flee in the Koopa Cruiser. In the future, Princess Peach, Toadiko, and Toadbert travel to the past via Professor E. Gadd’s time machine, which is powered by the Cobalt Star. But when the device returns, it is occupied by a hostile alien, forcing Mario and Luigi to use a newly-formed time hole in the castle gardens to go to the past and find Peach.

Plot: The plot  was okay, but it wasn’t super spectacular like a Final Fantasy Game. It was humorous though, like most Mario RPGs are.

Gameplay: Like other Mario RPGs this game is turn based, but if you input certain commands at the correct time you would be able to do more damage. It’s decent gameplay, but looking back on it I really don’t find it super amazing either. I guess the Tales of games have influenced my taste in RPGs a bit too much.

Characters: It’s a Mario game, so expecting incredibly deep characters would be kind of silly. The cast was fun though.

Art: Thankfully this game is like it’s predecessor in that it’s 2D so it’s aged much better than 3D games from the time.

Music: It’s Mario, through and through.

Overall: A decent sequel, it added enough new features that it didn’t feel like a repeat of the prior game with new paint.

Video Game Tuesday: What We Know About Destiny 2

Hey all I’m back with another post about Destiny 2 since the Gameplay Trailer was released last month. I’m covering What We Know About Destiny 2!

What we don’t know: If we are keeping cosmetic stuff like Ghost Shells, Ships, Emblems, and other Vanity items. Frankly I would want to know if we get to keep this stuff, since it would affect whether I, and I’m going to bet a huge number of other people, will both playing Destiny 1 any more. I haven’t played since a couple days after Rise of Iron was released, because frankly I knew Destiny 2 was going to get rid of all of our stuff for the most part. Why bother playing for gear that won’t even be around for even cosmetic value sake? I wouldn’t have even bothered with Rise of Iron if I wasn’t given the review code and the biggest Destiny “expert” at GiN. Whether all the Subclasses will transfer to Destiny 2 is also unknown at this time. My guess is we’ll be losing Defender Titans, Bladedancer Hunters, and Sunsinger Warlocks. All three had imbalanced Supers, although being able to skip jumping puzzles via blade dancing isn’t really that imbalanced Bungie…

What we do know: We know that you’ll be able to land in multiple spots on each planet and go to a new activity straight from the surface without going to Orbit (thank god), that there are four planets we can visit in Destiny 2, and that we’ll be keeping a couple of older Subclasses in the form of Striker Titans and Gunslinger Hunters. We also know about three new subclasses. The Arcstrider Hunter, which I’ll admit looks awesome with the new Arc Staff Super. The Sentinel Titan, a purple version of Captain America’s Shield being the Super for this subclass, and the Dawnblade Warlock, which has a giant flaming sword that can fire fiery sword beams at enemies from a distance.

The four planets are Earth in the European Dead Zone, Io, Titan and Nessus. We also know there will be lots of cinematics. Whether they’ll be able to give a decent story this time remains to be seen, but I’m not holding much hope at this point. Of final note is the fact that we are losing the ability to hold both a sniper rifle and heavy weapon at the same time. Frankly this seems to be a PvP driven decision, something I’ve always said is a bad idea in a PvE centric game. Frankly Bungie lacks the balls to actually seperate gameplay between PvP and PvE, and this looks like it’ll cause PvE content to become even more of a duck and hide fest. That’s a real shame considering that the gunplay with high movement was what made Destiny so fun.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

 

Retro Game Friday: Bloody Roar

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a game that very few people remember now a days. It’s Bloody Roar!

Plot Synopsis: The game’s story centers on a group of warriors known as “zoanthropes”, who have the power to transform into half-human half-animal “Beasts”, and the Tylon Corporation, an underground organization that seeks to use zoanthropes as mind-controlled weapons.

Plot: The plot was decent enough for a fighting game, but it wasn’t anything amazing either. Average would be the best word for it. I’ve played games with worse stories though, so at least this has a semi decent premise.

Gameplay: The gameplay was pretty fun, even if I only button mashed at the time, I was a kid, bite me. The main draw of the game was to morph into each character’s animalistic forms to deal more damage, allow more moves, and be even more of a badass in general. The cast was pretty fun, although this being the first game in the series the character list to select from was fairly small.

Art: The art was great for the time, but it’s aged poorly like most 3D games do.

Overall: This is a great game, if you get the chance to play it do so. It’ll give you an hour or two of good fun.

For those who like: Weres, Fighting Games, Action.

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