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Old 09-30-2009, 10:34 PM   #1542
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,149
Here are some more random Quick Takes™ provided for your enjoyment. I hope they help make your day an outstanding one and improve the overall quality of your life.

Nintendo DS

Figure out creative ways to use random objects you type!

Scribblenauts is a game where you can write or type any physical object you can think of (more or less) as long as it is not a branded item (like PSP) and not a proper name (like CokeŽ). You also can't type things like "dildo" and whatnot. Believe me, I tried. Anyway, the goal of the game is to get a star. You use various objects to get the star. If the star is in a tree, you can type "football" and trow it at the star, knock it down and get the star to win the level. Or type "ladder" and climb your ass up and get it. Or chainsaw the tree down. It's up to you. Be careful what you type, though. On one of the first levels you are required to give several people standing in the scene items that they would use with their hands. The people are a policeman, a fireman, a chef and someone else I can't remember. I gave the chef a frying pan and typed "gun" to give to the policeman, but I guess I didn't do it right and I accidentally shot and killed 2 of the people with one bullet. I was forced to try again. The game is actually quite difficult and not as enjoyable as you might think. It is OK, but gets boring fairly fast. There are "puzzle" modes and "action" modes. The action mode just requires you to get the star. The puzzle mode requires you to find it and figure things out, etc. The puzzle mode is MUCH easier to me. I do not recommend this game to those who are prone to writer's block.

Muramasa - The Demon Blade
Nintendo Wii

Hand-drawn artwork FTW (that means "for the win", not "fuck the world", by the way). Pick this one up!

This game probably has some of the best graphics for this generation, bar none. Yes, I think it looks better than Halo 3, Metal Gear Solid 4, Gears of War et al. Way better, in fact. Yup, this game is 2D through and through, but those luscious graphics are real paintings… layers and layers of them. They are only hindered by their repetition. The gameplay seems like it was made by Atlus (Odin Sphere, Princess Crown) because of the fact that it has an extensive inventory system that is a bit too convoluted for my taste (there has to be about 3,000 different swords) and also the fact that you cook and the game gives a lot of attention to the presentation of eating food. Also, the screens are extremely short before it goes into the next one, just like Odin Sphere. Don't expect long levels like games from the 16-bit era, you won't find that in 2D these days. Maybe current generation hardware can't handle much more than short screens of 2D? Still, the game is very fun and allows you to use the Gamecube controller (highly recommended). Unfortunately you must press UP to jump even though the B button is completely used in the game. The B could be used for attack and the A for jump. But what the hell do I know about 2D game design?

The game lets you play as a chick or some dude. I have only played as the chick and I haven't even completed her quest yet, but I have gotten fairly far. It can be a touch repetitive since you just wander around and get attacked with random battles, but never to the point of becoming disinterested in progressing further. The story is completely nonsensical Japanese gibberish. I pay it no mind and hammer through the text scenes as fast as I can. They matter not to the gameplay. The music is very fitting, though I doubt I would buy a copy of the soundtrack. Overall a great game that is wasted on the Wii. It should really be on the PS3 or even the Xbox 360 in high definition.

Cotton 2
Sega Saturn

A few short clips from Cotton 2, recorded by me from real hardware.

Cotton 2 is available only in Japan for the Sega Saturn game system, which everyone loves (or at least they should). Cotton 2 is a cute-em-up, or a shooter that is cute. And by "shooter" I do not mean a military or space marine-based first person frag-fest where you capture a flag. This game can make use of the 1MB RAM cartridge available for the Japanese Saturn, but it can also be played without it. I honestly cannot tell the difference with and without, so can someone please enlighten me what those differences might be? Suffice it to say, the game is only a touch above average. It is very easy and fairly fun, but once you've beaten it, you really have no desire to play it gain, just like most games these days. The graphics are really cool featuring a lot of scaling and rotation, and the music is OK, not as good as Panorama Cotton on the Genesis/Mega Drive. Not sure if this one is rare or not, but I am guessing not.

Valkyria Chronicles
Playstation 3

This guy sure seems very familiar to me. Could he be from…? Nah. Can't be. This game takes place on the ground.

I like good strategy games like Shining Force, etc. I was excited when I downloaded the demo for Valkyria Chronicles. The graphics were great, but I just didn't want to spend the time learning all of the commands and the like just for a short demo. I didn't pay attention to the game for many months until I bought it on the cheap. I think the tutorial spans the ENTIRE game because I have gotten pretty far and the game still pops up with information about certain commands, strategies or whatnot before most battles or even individual turns, even though I have been using them in the past. Regardless, I really like the game. The story is fairly run-of-the-mill, but good enough to keep you interested. The characters are great. I like both the "action" and the strategy. The way this game was designed was brilliant, though far from realistic. Think of it as a chess game of sorts. However sometimes I think it might be too deep in regards to its attention to detail. The graphics are fantastic for the most part with the exception of some the flickery shadows that plague this generation of gaming. The music is just "there". There isn't anything more to say about the music, it is very generic. Be sure to switch the voices to Japanese when you first get the chance as the English voices sound like a Saturday morning cartoon. Just awful. The Japanese voices sound like a typical anime, but you can't understand it so you can't determine how bad the acting truly is.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
Playstation 3

I can't believe I actually like a Ninja Gaiden game. And a current one, at that!

Wow. I never thought that I would like the demo this much! Granted, I am not blown away or anything, but I am definitely pleasantly surprised. For one, it is easier than the original Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox and I appreciate that. Harder difficulty levels exist for those who want more of a challenge or who think that somehow their masculinity reflects through the level of difficulty that they play. After you beat the demo with Ryo, you get to play as Ayane. I must say that playing as her is MUCH more fun than playing as Ryu. I couldn't get the boob jiggle feature to work, though. Ryu is you average videogame hero. He is a ninja with lots of bling. Boring bling. When you play as him, he blends in with all of the other enemies so that it is hard to make out which one you are playing. With Ayane, you always stand out. Ayane is also much more fun to control as she is quicker and much more responsive. I might consider buying this if Ayane is playable from the very beginning. The camera is still god-awful and brings the entire game down quite a few notches, unfortunately.

The graphics are decent, though not tremendously impressive. The boss I saw looked pretty good. Overall this game is not as impressive graphically today as the original was on the Xbox when it first came out. I noticed quite a bit of screen tearing during the camera pans and such. The sound is average and so is the music. Nothing really worth listening to here, as is the case with most games these days. Just throw in random theme music, score it like it was a movie, etc. Yawn.

I really like this game, but I doubt I'd complete it. I don't think that I will buy it new for $60. But if Ayane is playable from the very beginning or easily unlocked and the price is good, I'll definitely pick it up. I highly recommend the demo!

Hyper Duel
Sega Saturn

A few short clips from Hyper Duel, recorded by me from real hardware.

Hyper Duel is another Japan-only horizontal shooter based on a Japan-only arcade game. It is ridiculously rare and expensive. This game is by TechnoSoft, makers of the Thunder Force series (and Herzog Zwei). Unfortunately this game does not come close to living up to TechnoSoft's usual quality, but it isn't horrible. It's just rather bland. What is nice is that the arcade mode is included as well as a Saturn mode which is a slightly gussied-up version of the same game with a few new things to look at and listen to. That gives you good reason to play through the full game at least twice. The graphics are alright and the music is a touch above average. I don't know why it and Blast Wind command such a high price… maybe they only printed 100 copies? I'll never know.
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