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Old 01-26-2006, 07:34 PM   #46
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Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite!

System: Game Boy Color
Release date: 2002
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Shogakukan
Players: 1
Game length: <10 hours
Difficulty: Somewhat easy

Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! is a simple adventure game based on the popular Hamtaro anime. You play as Hamtaro, who uses a combination of English and a language called Ham-Chat, which consists of a plethora of English words modified to Ham-Chat language. It is a game that appeals to both children and adults - the concept for the children mostly, and the gameplay for all. Ham-Hams Unite! is a very cute and appealing game (they're hamsters, after all).

The plot follows Hamtaro, the main character of the anime. Boss, the leader of the Clubhouse, realizes that all of the Ham-Hams (with the exception of himself, Hamtaro and Snoozer), and tasks Hamtaro with finding all twelve of the missing Ham-Hams and return them to the Clubhouse. However, finding them is only half of the battle. Convincing them to return is the other half. Most Ham-Hams have a trouble that needs to be resolved before they can return, such as Oxnard's missing Sunflower Seed, Penelope having gone missing or Dexter and Howdy competing to win Pashmina's love. There is not much else to the storyline, but it stays true to the storyline that you would find in the anime.

There is no fighting involved in this game. Instead, the game is largely composed of Hamtaro exploring various areas, and selecting the appropriate task for the appropriate moment. The four basic techniques are Hamha ("Greeting"), Hif-Hif ("Sniff"), Tack-Q ("Roll") and Digdig ("Dig"), and the techniques that are used most often. Hamha is used to initiate conversation with Ham-Hams and other animals, Hif-Hif is to pick up items, Tack-Q is to tackle objects, people and environments and Digdig is to dig into holes or into the ground. There is a variety of other Ham Chats that you use, such as Stickie (used to poke things with a stick) and Scoochie (used for climbing). There are a great deal more Ham-Chats, some which are used on several occasions, and others that are only used at certain intervals. Nintendo really succeeded with this Ham-Chat system; there are many areas, objects and characters that will react in unique ways to your Ham-Chats. The core gameplay is quite polished as well; there are no glitches, and there is a steady framerate.

The objective of Hamtaro is to find every Ham-Ham throughout the variety of areas. There are twelve Ham-Hams found throughout six areas, each requiring you to complete one or more tasks in order for them to return to the Clubhouse. For example, one of the first missing Ham-Hams that you will encounter is Oxnard, who has lost his favorite Sunflower Seed. In order to help him find it, you must complete a series of tasks to learn special Ham-Chat words, and eventually, when you learn the Ham-Chat "Chukchuk" and use it on him, he will get angry and roll around, revealing that he was sitting on it the whole time. Afterwards, you and Oxnard will return to the Clubhouse. The three main collectibles in the game are Sunflower Seeds, Rocks and Music Notes. Sunflower Seeds are used as currency to buy other items and clothing, Rocks are used to acquire a secret and Music Notes are used for adding to the list of music at the Ham-Jam area in the Clubhouse.

However, Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! is not without its flaws. While there is some difficulty in completing the tasks to get special items or return the Ham-Hams to the Clubhouse, there are no consequences or a Game Over. While this is not all that bad, a little bit of extra challenge would be nice. The worst aspect of the game is that it's far too short. What could have been a ten, became a nine because of the <10 hour game length. Even the extras do little to add game length.

Hamtaro's visuals are very polished for a Game Boy Color game. While there is not a lot of activity going on or detail, the graphics are very clean, without glitch and smooth. The best aspect of the graphics are the impressive sprites; every Ham-Ham has a discernable difference to them, be it the color of the fur or the pattern of the fur.

However, not all of this game survived the Game Boy Color's technical limits. The audio of the game leaves a lot to be desired; thanks to the GBC's single speaker, the otherwise quality music is... well, not quality. Other than the quality of the speaker and musical quality, the sound effects are very simple. They are normally limited to running, noises made by Ham-Hams during Ham-Chats and text progression.

Replay value is pretty minimal. Unless you plan on listening to the music over and over, there is little more to do once you have collected 100g of rocks, all of the clothing and all of the Music Notes, and since it's still fresh in your memory and you understand exactly what to do to bring back all of the Ham-Hams to the Clubhouse, there is little point in replaying it immediately. However, waiting for it to slip from your memory allows for the game to feel somewhat fresh.

Overall, this is an excellent usage of the Hamtaro license. While there is little difficulty for most, even the most hardcore of fans will be unable to resist the adorable visuals and compelling gameplay. Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! is pure gaming bliss, ultimately flawless, and a testament to what many games should be like. If you avoid this game based on the series attached, then you are no gamer in my eyes.

Ratings:

Gameplay: 10
Storyline: 8
Visuals: 9
Audio: 6
Replay value: 7
Overall: 9
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Old 01-28-2006, 06:18 PM   #47
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Hamtaro is 9 but Mario Is Missing is 1?

You're dead to me.
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Old 01-28-2006, 07:07 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nindalf
Hamtaro is 9 but Mario Is Missing is 1?

You're dead to me.
You're dead to me for not having taste.
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Old 01-31-2006, 11:53 AM   #49
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Taboo: The Sixth Sense

System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Release date: 1988
Publisher: Tradewest
Developer: Rare
Players: 1
Game length: <1 minute
Difficulty: Nonexistant

Taboo: The Sixth Sense is a game developed by Rare, Ltd. for the Nintendo Entertainment System. What we now know as a great company that releases a couple game every four years once released a slue of okay to terrible video games on the NES. It involved asking a question of a Tarot card reader, and then reading ten cards that give you ten different messages. It may be a stupid concept, but however, the stupidity of the concept is only half of the problem found with this awful game.

Before you can begin to "play" the "game", you must enter your name, date of birth and gender. Afterwards, you type in a question of the Tarot reader. A deck of cards are then shuffled (with your help, through the means of randomly pushing buttons), and ten cards are laid out in front of you (with your card indicated beforehand). There are ten types of cards - Significator, Crossing Card, Crowning Card, Base Of The Matter, Past Influences, Forthcoming Influences, Where One Finds Oneself, Views of Others, Hopes and Fears and Final Outcome. The cards are shown in the order shown, and told its meaning.

However, like I stated earlier, the concept was half of the problem. The other half is that they made a bad concept worse. The English is so broken, by the time you get through all of the cards, you won't get any real answer to your original question. For example, here is the text found on a Significator card - "Your present position is a conclusion, resolution or healing". Yeah, okay. If that makes sense to anyone, be sure to tell me.

The visuals are the best part of the game - but that does not make them good, not in the least. There is very little going on at any given time, although they did succeed in making the images on the cards look like what they intended to make them look like. As for the audio, there's very little to speak of. Just a "spooky" song that seems to go on forever (and just seems to make the stupid concept and broken English even more unbearable). And the replay value? Once you experience this game, you will never want to play it. Ever.

Overall, this is, by far, the worst game that I have ever played. Perhaps E.T. is bad, or Heroes of the Lance, or the Zelda CD-i games, but I've never played them. Just this game. Taboo: The Sixth Sense gets brushed under the carpet, and you rarely see it on any of those nifty worst games ever list, even though it really deserves a spot. It's just astounding how a video gamed developer can go from making a game like this, to making such a great game as GoldenEye 007. If you absolutely, positively have to play this game, go for it. It's always entertaining seeing how low games can go.

Gameplay: 1
Storyline: N/A
Visuals: 4
Audio: 1
Replay value: Nonexistant
Overall: 1
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Old 02-01-2006, 08:52 AM   #50
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Rare, a great company? They've yet to prove that to myself, but to each his own. That said, I've never played Taboo so I'll check it out when I have free time.
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Old 02-25-2006, 10:50 PM   #51
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Wario Land 3 is a platforming game developed by Nintendo for the Game Boy Color. It is the fourth installment in the Wario Land franchise (counting the unnumbered Virtual Boy Wario Land), and is arguably the most polished Wario Land game on the market. Staying true to its preceding game, Wario Land II, it maintains the status effect system and the invincibility. With the invincibility, the Wario Land franchise successfully sets it apart from other platformers. Instead of being heavily action oriented like Mario, Kirby and Sonic are, it focuses on solving puzzles and completing objectives, collecting treasure along the way.

In Wario Land 3, Wario is flying in the Wario Flyer, and all of a sudden, crashes it into a dark forest. After some searching, Wario came upon a fancy looking music box. However, when he approached it, he was sucked into it! When he awakens, he meets a disembodied voice. This voice turns out to be the voice of the king of the music box world, which has been taken over by six monsters. He requests Wario to help defeat them and bring the six music boxes to him, and Wario only complies when he promises to allow Wario to keep all of the treasure he finds.

Wario Land 3 plays like your typical platformer, with the running and the jumping. A twist that the Wario Land franchise brings is invincibility and status effects. Wario has a plethora of basic moves. At first, the only things that Wario can do are walk and jump. As you advance through the game, you will find certain treasures that give him new abilities, such as an onion for the shoulder bash technique or a pair of overalls for the butt stomp technique. At many points in the levels, Wario will be inflicted with ?status effects?. These status effects are when an enemy, object or hazard attacks or touches Wario, which will change his "form". For example, when Wario comes in contact with fire, he will be set on fire, causing him to run uncontrollably in one direction, and won't stop running until he falls into water or burst into flames. Once he has burst into flames, this allows him to get past certain blocks that can only be destroyed by a flame. Another common status effect is the flat status effect. While in this flat form, Wario can fit into tight spaces, and can also float through the air like a feather.

The invincibility is the most entertaining aspect of the game, although the status effects really helped to build it up to what it is. The invincibility is exactly what it sounds like ? Wario cannot die, under any circumstances. He has no health meter or shrinking (ala Mario).While he can be ?harmed? by enemies, the only harm done is that Wario will be knocked back ? usually by a great distance. Because of the invincibility, Wario Land 3 sounds deceptively easy. Don?t be fooled; Wario Land 3 can be quite hard. Unlike Mario games, which focus on avoiding/defeating enemies while trying to get from point A to point B, Wario Land 3 could be best described as a ?puzzle platformer?. Wario must use a combination of the status effects, his surroundings and his basic techniques to accomplish tasks and collect treasure.

The basic end-of-level collectible are the Treasure Chests. In each level, there are four Treasure Chests, with four Keys. These Treasure Chests and Keys are all color-coded, with the four colors being grey, red, green and blue. What these Treasure Chests contains can vary; it can either be a useless trinket that adds to your completion percentage, to a powerup item, or to an item that effects the world map. Some items found in Treasure Chests can alter the world map or a level on it - it could be a new level that comes about because an item had destroyed a large rock blocking it, or a vine that was planted in a level. Many Treasure Chests cannot be acquired until a later point in the game, demanding that you backtrack at that point in the game to get it. An interesting element of gameplay is the day/night system - when Wario either completes or leaves a level, the time of day will change. The happenings of the level differ depending on the time of day, and many treasure chests cannot be acquired unless it's a certain time of day.

The visuals are quite simplistic - while they are a major step up from Wario Land II's visuals, they're still not the pinnacle of Game Boy Color games. Backgrounds and environments weren't quite detailed, but the silver lining are the characters and enemies. All of the sprites were very well designed, and some, especially Wario, are well animated. As for audio, there are several songs, but none of them are noteworthy. The sound effects are tinny, and because of the Game Boy Color's simplistic audio chip, there were no voices.

Wario Land 3, unfortunately, does not have much reason to replay it. It seems to sacrifice replay value for longevity, what with the linearity and the 100 Treasure Chests. Once you have completed the game, there is little incentive to go back in and complete it again.

Overall, Wario Land 3 is an excellent platformer, and solidified Wario Land as its own game series apart from the Mario franchise, just like how Donkey Kong Country did it for Donkey Kong. While it is from the same basic mold that Wario Land II came out of, Wario Land 3 came out more polished - the visuals are improved, the level designs tower over II's, and the nonlinearity made the game very fun; you were not tasked to do it in order, with the exception of bosses and essential treasures. Game Boy Color games, even those released late in its life, have become somewhat uncommon, so if you see a copy, I suggest you pick it up - you won't regret it.

Gameplay - 10
Storyline - 8
Visuals - 8
Audio - 7
Replay value - 6
Overall: 10 (not based on an average)
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Old 04-17-2006, 06:06 PM   #52
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Decided to do some more reviews, anyone wanna make a request?
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Old 04-17-2006, 06:50 PM   #53
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And how!!

Metroid Prime hunters

Chop chop, *clap clap*


Edit: good reviews BTW!
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:15 AM   #54
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Strider for Genesis. It only takes about 15 minutes or so to complete.
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Old 04-18-2006, 02:30 PM   #55
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No, I don't want to waste time with lame-o FPS and games that start with S.

Games I've played recently that I can review:

Metroid Prime Pinball
Tony Hawk's American Sk8land
Astro Boy: Omega Factor
ActRaiser
Banjo Pilot
Ristar
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Old 04-18-2006, 05:25 PM   #56
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review act raiser... man, what a fabulous game!
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Old 06-06-2006, 07:54 PM   #57
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Sorry folks, I'm gonna be doing less console reviews, since I now do portable reviews for a "living".

New Super Mario Bros. is a Nintendo DS game developed by Nintendo EAD. New Super Mario Bros. is another notch in the platforming belt for the Mario franchise, and it's bringing Mario back to his roots. Instead of having the player control Mario in three dimensions like all original Mario games lately have done, New Super Mario Bros. is a side-scroller, the first original side-scrolling Mario game since Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992) for the Game Boy.

The storyline of New Super Mario Bros. starts out with Mario and Princess Peach on a stroll during Valentine?s Day. However, in the distance, Mario notices a storm cloud attacking Princess Peach?s castle with lightning. Mario goes to check it out, but while he is doing so, Bowser Jr. kidnaps Peach and runs off, injuring Mario when he attempts to thwart his attempts. Mario must now travel through eight worlds and battle Bowser Jr. and other bosses in order to save Princess Peach.

New Super Mario Bros. truly feels like Super Mario Bros. It is a successful throwback to the original, focusing more on the power ups and gameplay styling of it instead of on a major evolution or revolution of the franchise. While I would enjoy a major evolution in New Super Mario Bros., it expands upon the gameplay and concept of the original while, at the same time, feeling like a new game. While New Super Mario Bros. is a throwback to the original, it still borrows content from Bros. 3 and World, and introduces new content as well. There is a highly linear map that Mario traverses, but many levels in the game feature alternate exits that bring Mario to Warp Cannons, hidden levels and Toad Houses.

New Super Mario Bros. chooses to use a sparse amount of power ups, limiting itself to little more than the original three ? Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and Starman. There are new, somewhat rare power ups, namely the Mega Mushroom, the Mini Mushroom and the Blue Shell. However, these items are only necessary on occasion and never for anything mandatory to the completion of the game. They are not very interesting to use in the levels, with the exception of charging through some levels as Mega Mario, and the Mini Mushroom and Blue Shell are mostly used to get into secret areas of levels. However, the latter two power ups do have their perks; the Mini Mushroom allows Mario to jump higher and run across the surface of water, while the Blue Shell makes Mario invincible while ducked into it (with the exception of pits and being crushed), destroys any enemies while gliding in it, and lets him move more swiftly in water.

The game manages to make up for the lack of new, interesting power ups with a large amount of natural abilities of Mario. One welcome addition to the gameplay is the wall jump, introduced in Super Mario 64. It allows Mario to reach areas by jumping towards a wall and pushing A to bounce off of it. Another useful technique is the butt stomp, where you push down while in the air to perform the technique. These techniques proved useful enough that whenever I play an older Mario sidescroller, I get the urge to butt stomp or wall jump. Mario's third technique is the Double/Triple Jump, where Mario can get good jumps if he does one jump right after the other while running. However, this is rarely doable, and is rarely of any use.

The level design is excellent, demanding that you use the butt stomp and wall jump often. For example, in one of the dungeons, Mario has to wall jump on a moving machine with two walls, requiring that Mario constantly wall jump back and forth between them to stay up long enough to get to the Star Coin. And while it?s a fairly linear game, there is still some freedom in how to complete it. For instance, I chose to skip World 6 and 7, choosing instead to take a Warp Cannon to World 8, completing the previous two worlds afterwards.

While the game is for the most part excellent, it has numerous flaws, one of them being that it can be a bit too linear. Many of the alternate paths lead to Toad Houses instead of secret levels. Another flaw is the boss battles; most are uninteresting and require little skill. The only boss battles I enjoyed were World 5's and the final boss. Quite possibly the biggest disappointment with this game is how many good ideas the game impliments, but how little they are used. For instance, I really liked the dungeons that used the climbing cages from Super Mario World, but the problem was that they were barely ever used. It's the same with enemies - the most common enemies are Koopa Troopas, Dry Bones, Goombas and Piranha Plants, while you barely ever see Paragoombas, Inflating Boos, Boxing Ghosts or Bob-ombs. I believe that this game could have been so much better if they used more of the good ideas and enemies regularly.

In addition to the main game, there are two other modes for you to enjoy ? Mario vs. Luigi mode and Minigames. Mario vs. Luigi mode involves two players playing as Mario and Luigi competing against each other to collect the most Power Stars. This mode was done in Super Mario 64 DS, where four players would compete against each other to collect the most Power Stars. However, it was far too widespread. In New SMB, it being a side-scroller makes it much easier for both players to find each other. Mario vs. Luigi mode is highly entertaining, and I found that I spent hours playing Mario vs. Luigi mode with my friend. The other mode is Minigame mode, which takes minigames from Super Mario 64 DS, and adds multiplayer. While this is a great addition, it is unfortunate that they didn?t think to include some of the better minigames from 64 DS, such as Shell Smash and Bingo Ball. However, the multiplayer aspect helps to make up for that.

The visuals have many fans and many haters, due to characters, enemies and items being in 3D, and I must say that I am a fan of the visuals. Using 3D to animate characters, enemies and items allows for more fluid animation and detail, so the presentation really thrives when compared to a solid 2D architecture. New Super Mario Bros. manages to be one of the better looking DS games as well, although this fact often goes unnoticed due to the side-scrolling style. The audio is great as well - The game features a wide variety of songs. My personal favorites are the World 1-1 (Super Mario Bros.) remix, the Dungeon them, the Ghost House theme and the Desert theme. The sound effects are nice, and they thankfully limited Mario's voice, using it for the double/triple jumps and the end of a level.

The game has a great amount of replay value. While the main game holds some replay value (not as much as older Mario titles, unfortunately), the replay value lies in the multiplayer and minigames. Playing Mario vs. Luigi mode and minigames with friends can go on for hours, and it never manages to get old. One of the best features in New Super Mario Bros. is Mario vs. Luigi mode, and they created some fun new minigames, such as the multiplayer-exclusive snowball fight minigame.

Overall, this is an excellent game that any platformer and/or Mario fan should own. They could have done much to improve it, such as using many of the gimmicks more often, and making it less linear, but the good far outweighs the bad. Here?s hoping that we see a New Super Mario Bros. 2 that fixes the flaws of this game.

Gameplay: 10
Visuals: 10
Audio: 9.5
Lasting value: 9.5
Overall: 9.5
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Old 10-02-2006, 10:13 PM   #58
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Just wanted to say, I'm gonna be doing all of my reviews on a website. Anyone who's interested, PM me for the link.
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