Show Some Love

Posted on Sep 1st 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (Crabmaster2000)
Posted under Super Mario Sunshine, Nintendo, Mario, Gamecube, Platformer, Delfino, Bowser Jr



Lately I've been digging deep into the world of Super Mario, from the 1985 NES release and working my way towards Odyssey, leaving no Goomba unstomped. Many of these games I've played many times, but there are several I hadn't played before and I got to experience them for the first time. Currently I'm 15 games into my project and got to revisit the GameCube staple, Super Mario Sunshine. This game has always stuck out in the series to me, but I haven't quite been able to articulate why. Having so many Mario experiences in such a short time I feel has finally given me the perspective I've always lacked and may allow me to better discuss why I think Super Mario Sunshine feels so out of place as a Super Mario title.


Continue reading We Need To Talk About Super Mario Sunshine



Posted on Sep 27th 2009 at 01:57:24 PM by (Crabmaster2000)
Posted under Wario World, Unloved, Review, Wario World, Gamecube

It seems weird highlighting a game that had a Player's Choice release and is based off of a hugely popular Nintendo character, but many people seem to look past this game. While Wario World definitely doesn't live up to the high standards of the 3D Mario Platforming games (which it would no doubt be compared to), it rightly deserves its own spotlight.



The graphics really aren't anything to write home about, but the overall art style makes up for that. The levels and characters are all brightly colored and vibrant (Carnival theme, jungle theme) or dark and gloomy (Ancient Egypt theme) when appropriate. Everything has a rounded slightly cartoonish look to it which suits Wario as a character. Sure he is a villain, but his reputation is as a comical villain so it works nicely.

The game is played almost in a 2D fashion. The camera is fixed on the side so it has a side-scroller feel to it, but at the same time you have some 3D depth to move around in. And the level design it really great! Along with your standard "reach the finish" goal of most platformers there is an excellent mix of fighting, exploring and puzzle solving. And it wouldn't be a true Wario title with out a little treasure hunting and mini-gaming thrown in for good measure. If you're one that finds typical platformers too repetitive you may enjoy this title more as it breaks up the platforming with the other styles of gameplay, although they are still very platforming based.

Now my (and many others) main gripe with this game is the length. Even if you're going for the perfect file with all treasures you probably won't spend more than 10-12 hours on this game. Just a straight ol' run through will probably net you around 7 hours of game time for a first playthrough.



If you're looking for a slightly unusual platformer with many little quirks thrown in this is probably the title for you. Or if you're just looking for a fun, cheap game to kill an afternoon or two with this would definitely do the trick. Looking for something with a lot of depth that you can really sink your teeth into... keep looking. For everything Wario World is it is wonderful.

6/10



Posted on Sep 20th 2009 at 12:01:49 PM by (Crabmaster2000)
Posted under PN03, Gamecube, Review, P.N.03, Unloved, Modern Gaming

This was the first release of the infamous Capcom Five (4 in reality and 1 if you want to be even pickier) for the Nintendo Gamecube. For myself PN03 really captured that old 2D Arcadish feeling but with a 3D environment. I cant really think of any other game that has done that for me.




First of all as far as 3D games go this one is quite short. This is remedied by having multiple difficulties and a large amount of unlockables. Even though this game can be finished within 2-3 hours on your first playthough I logged about 15hours into it in the first week I started playing. To unlock new suits and weapons you use the points you receive from destroying enemy robots. These same points are used to keep track of your highscore. I found that to be a very addictive combination. The ability to unlock loads of goodies is a great incentive to really push that highscore.

As for controls its really a matter of taste. It uses "tank controls" similar to the first few Resident Evil games. I just happened to have played a lot of RE2 as a kid and am a huge fan of the play style so I found it very comfortable to jump into. I understand most peoples reservations about them though. With that said its much more stylish and fluid than RE's tank controls. First of all there is very little back tracking. Your always pushing forward quickly to get a good time (which translates to good score) so you don't have to move around a lot. The shoulder buttons act as quick dodges to either side and your character runs at a nice speed when moving forward. This helps keep it seem much faster paced than the RE controls.

The art style and play style complement each other amazingly. The game mostly takes place inside futuristic, huge, white, strangely clean buildings. Your human/robotic character has all very charismatic movements that resemble dancing at times. With a neat techno style music it really ties your characters movements together with the atmosphere somehow.

The enemies in the game are quite boring and repetitive, but fit in well with the style of the game. The bosses on the other hand are enormous and interesting. The last few boss fights are intense, difficult but fair, and just all out fun.

The only real flaw I saw in this game was the story. Its really not a long enough game to develop a story properly yet they attempt to. It just makes the ending twist seem anti climactic. Add this to the fact that there are only 2 characters that ever interact and it just seemed pointless. It also disrupts the fast paced gameplay a few times which is annoying in a game like this.



Its really hard to describe the unique style this game has to it so I highly recommend checking out some youtube videos to see just what I mean. Heres  a link to one to start you off:



It seems to be a very underrated game that falls under a lot of peoples radar. It is definitely one of my favorite Gamecube titles and can be found for very cheap though so grab it if you come across it. Easily worth the few bucks it costs!!

Final Score - 8.5/10



Posted on Feb 19th 2009 at 11:24:07 AM by (Crabmaster2000)
Posted under Gamecube, Unloved, Review, Baten Kaitos, RPG

The Gamecube was definately not known for its robust RPG library last generation. The PS2 did a good job of blowing both other systems (combined) out of the water in that category (I don't know enough about the Dreamcast to confindently add it to that remark). That said the Gamecube still has a surprisingly strong showing in the RPG arena if you look closely. Games like: Fire Emblem, Tales of Symphonia, Skies of Arcadia Legends, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, Phantasy Star Online, X-Men Legends and Harvest Moon lead the pack. There are still a few other Cube RPGs that fell under the radar of most gamers.



Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean (henceforth known as BK) deserves a lot more attention then it gets. Lets take a closer look at its strengths and weaknesses, shall we?

STRENGHTS:

Story

This is "THE" most important factor of any RPG in my opinion. In most genres I'd say gameplay is key, but RPGs are the exception. If your going to be investing 20-40 hours of your life into a game it had better be darn interesting.

The game starts off with Kalas waking up in a small town after getting beaten up in the woods. After he regains his composure and figures out where he is he remembers his goal. Kill Giacomo the man who killed his family and burned his home down.

As you progress you find that the Empire is trying to ressurect the power of an ancient god that swalled the entire ocean leaving only a few islands left on the planet. Kalas eventually meets some others that join his party that are out to stop the emperor from suceeding in his plan. Kalas is reluctant to join, but because Giacomo is a higher up in the Empire he joins because their mission because it may eventually lead him to get the revenge he desires.

Visuals



This is by far my favorite looking game on the Cube. While some games may be more graphically impressive such as Resident Evil 4 the art sytle of BK game really shines above. The entire world and all the characters in it are very bright and vibrant and full of life. The world really seems to be alive as you explore it. Simple things such as running through some bushes and spooking some birds to see them take off in a large group gives an extra amount of depth to the islands you explore.

Each Island you explore in this game has its own unique visual identity, wheather it be a lush green forest like enviroment or a hazy mountain top covered in clouds each place you visit is vastly different from the last.

Battle

This is another area in which this game really shines. At first the game just throws you into battle without much explanation and you slowly learn some tricks to help increase your skills over the next couple hours of game play through both experimentation and NPC tutorials.

You fight using a card based battle system. Each card belongs to an element and has at least 1 spirit number assigned to it. At first you can only attack with a couple cards, but as you level up and progress throughout the game the amount of cards you can lay down during battle increases.

Each Element type obviously damages enemies of opposite types more than those of the same time (such as Water hurts Fire based Enemies more than Dark would). But if you use a water based attack and a fire based attack in the same turn they partially cancel each other out (attack for 10 water and 6 fire in the same turn would result in a final attack of 4 water). This keeps you on your toes and quite aware of what cards to use and when to use them. It also involves quick thinking on your part because after you use your first card you have a very limited time to use your next few cards.



As I mentioned above each card also has a spirit number. These numbers range from 1 to 8 and cards can have multiple numbers on them. If you manage to attack an enemy with a straight sequence of cards (such as 5-6-7) then a bonus percentage of damage is added to you final attack. As you become capable of playing more cards during battle later in the game you find more and more combinations become available to you (such as 2-2-2-3-3 or a full house) that will add more depth to your fights as you may choose to play less cards than you are capable of in order to receive a prize bonus to your final attack.

One more interesting note about battle combinations is that you can combine seemingly useless items (or useful items too) by using them together to create more helpful items. For example you can attack with a pot, some uncooked rice and charcoal to create a healing item of cooked rice.

Overworld Exploration

This is pretty standard as far as RPGs go, but if its not broken dont fix it right?

You explore the world as your main character Kalas (other party members only appear during non-playable areas such as cut sceens or NPC interactions). To enter a battle you simply touch an on screen enemy to initiate the battle.

Lots of items are hidden in ordinary scenery so make sure to check everything you come accross during your journey to collect a lot of helpful items and cards.

Puzzling

This is another one of my favorite parts of the game. Most of the puzzles in this game are not necessary to further the story so if you not all that into puzzling just skip most of them. You'll be out a few items that may help, but you can always grind your levels up a bit to make up for it if you prefer.

Throughout the game you get a limited number of Blank Magnus (Magnus is just a fancy name for cards). With these you can turn items, such as fire, into a card so that you can carry it to another location. So while your in town and you see someone has a roaring fire in their home you can take some of that flame with you into the forest and burn down a tree to gain access to a treasure chest.

Time Mechanic

This is something that is really cool to play around with and also a little frusterating at times. Lots of items change with time in BK.

For instance if you originally find a bunch of Bananas they might be Green Bananas. These are not good to eat yet and will function more as a weak weapon than anything else. After some time though they will ripen and become a useful healing item. After more time has passed then will rot and once again become a weapon.

This same mechanic has a few other functions such as puzzle solving. If an NPC is looking for a specific item such as yogurt or cheese and you only have access to milk, you simply have to wait until your milk has aged enough to turn into either item, just dont wait to long or it may not be they wanted when you get it to them!

One last fucntion the time mechanic plays is in gaining money. Instead of selling items in BK you take pictures of enemies during battle and sell those pictures to card shops. The pictures develop like a polaroid would. To get the most money for your picture you need to wait long enough for it to delevop properly, but dont wait to long or they will become damaged from your travels and the price you'll fetch will fall considerably.

Levelling up

Nothing ground breaking just something that I found quite unique and interesting.

Instead of simply gaining a level for a certain amount of experience, you hold onto that experience until you are able to visit a special "church". Once you are there you must pray in order to refect upon your past battles and only then can you increase in strength.

Along with this is the class increase which is treated much the same way as the level increase with the exception that a speical item is given to your character that you must pray with to unlock its potential. By increasing your class you are able to have more cards in your deck and increases the amount of cards you can use for each attack.

WEAKNESSES:

Characters

With the exception of Kalas I find the playable characters in this game quite annoying and stereotypical. Fortunately Kalas is the main character so it does oddly enough balance out. The reason for my annoyance isnt so much the characters themselves as it is the dialouge and voice acting.

I do however find Kalas interesting, as unlike most main characters, he isnt interested in doing any good. He just wants his revenge and could care less who dies or what nation falls in the process. He often voices his objection to joining his teammates and is reluctantly dragged along for a large portion of the story.

Dialouge/Voice Acting

Some of the worst I've heard. The old characters (70 years +) sound like a 13 year old is trying to make their voice raspy. The main characters that speak the most (Kalas and Xelha) both have shrill annoying voices and poorly written dialouge that often just sounds weird.



FINAL THOUGHTS:

BK is a great game for any RPG fan. The battles are a lot less boring than your typical grindfest because of the random element and depth added by the card based battle system. This game can also appeal to someone who loves puzzles/side quests or to someone who just loves an interesting story. It is also (in my opinion) one of the best looking Gamecube games. This game can easily be found for under $15 and I would highly recommend anyone interested in a new adventure to check it out if possible.

FINAL SCORE - 6.5/10



Posted on Feb 19th 2009 at 11:22:16 AM by (Crabmaster2000)
Posted under Chaos Field Review, Chaos Field, Review, Unloved, Gamecube, Shmup

The Gamecube is sorely lacking in arcade style games and more specifically vertical scrolling shootem'ups. The two that it does have (in North America) are both quite well done. Ikaruga gets a lot of attention, and rightfully so. So I'm going to spend some time talking about Chaos Field, your only other choice for this style of game in the Americas.


Continue reading Unloved #1: Chaos Field



Posted on Jan 6th 2009 at 10:00:00 PM by (Crabmaster2000)
Posted under Game Review, Wii, Gamecube, Crabmaster2000, Review

There are many games out there for many systems that fall under the radar of the average consumer. Most of them deserve the lack of attention that befalls them, but there are always a few gems that dont truly get the attention that they deserve.

Because of that I've decided to start this blog to showcase some of the games that I think deserve better. The focus will be on Wii and Gamecube games that I have personally finished and enjoyed. There is no real criteria as to what I will classify as an underated game, but I will try not to include any games that have acheived over 1,000,000 units in sales, or that have a rather large (or at least vocal) cult following.

Heres a little bit about my gaming history just to give you a sense of my gaming habits.

I've been gaming since I was a young child and grew up with a NES, SNES and Genesis. Most played games on those systems were as follows:
NES - Totally Rad, Megaman 2 &3, Hydlide, Contra, McKids
SNES - Adventures of Batman & Robin, Uniracers, Rock n' Roll Racing, Street Fighter II
Genesis - Earthworm Jim 1&2, Boogerman, Vectorman
Since then I've mostly stuck to Nintendo systems and only grabbed other systems at the end of there life cycle at bargain prices. I own and play most Nintendo, SEGA, Sony & Microsoft systems with the notable execptions of the 360 and PS3. I dont dislike any company or system, but recognize that I have a personal bias in favor of Nintendo systems. I also dont dislike any particular genre, but tend to stray from any "realistic" style games such as: War like games, sports games and racing games. There are of course games in all those categories that I enjoy very much, but they will be a minority and most likely vastly under-represented in this blog.

With that said I would also like to point out that I've never written anything for pleasure before. Only required school papers, and never a blog. Because of my inexperience I would greatly appreciate any feedback from as many people as possible in order to refine my writting skills. Hopefully in the next week I'll have my first blog up for critism which will be for the Gamecube game Chaos Field.

I'm looking forward to your responses!!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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