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Old 06-18-2004, 09:59 PM   #706
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2-d isn't necessarily better than 3-d. we have some really amazing games on our current consoles. maybe your reaction is partly based on your personal experience with the older titles? nostalgia plays a big part for you, me aswell, but you have to admit that ninja gaiden was an amazing transition to 3-d.

but for the most part, i do agree with you.
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Old 06-19-2004, 05:21 AM   #707
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Joe, that's why I said that "...it's not justifiable to presume that just because a game is done up in 3D means that it cannot match 2D efforts." Indeed, great 3D games do exist. But as of late the trend is setting in -- tired formulas work if presented with movie-like quality FMV and cinematic graphics. This is exactly what we used to condemn in the game industry because we didn't want it to subside into becoming 'interactive movies'. We wanted games, plain and simple. Ninja Gaiden is a good example of 3D gaming done right, but that's just one title out of a cesspool of crap. Racing games are splendid in 3D. But my main beef is with the genres of action, platformer, RPG, etc. wherein there hasn't really been any significant improvement over the 32-bit days. In fact, I'd argue that the 32-bit games far outperform the current generation titles.... by several miles!

Gearhound, there have only been a small handful of noteworthy titles in my opinion, far less than what used to be the norm for the older systems (even 32-bit). It's true that I have the nostalgia element still lingering strong, but that's for self-defense as it allows me to more readily perceive what is currently right and wrong with gaming in general. If I just forget the past then I'll have learned nothing from it, and old mistakes would probably be acceptable, but I'll never accept that.
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Old 06-19-2004, 05:34 AM   #708
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Yeah, I enjoyed Grandia for the Saturn way more than any current RPG.
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Old 06-19-2004, 06:34 PM   #709
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I enjoyed reading your reviews Icarus. Well done. Could u please do a review for my all time favorite mega man game, mega man 3?
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Old 06-20-2004, 03:13 AM   #710
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I think that If both a 2D and a 3D game are done to the best that is possible, that 3D games are much better. Its just that alot of developers just make 3D games just so they are 3D, not caring about the gameplay, so we get a bunch of lame, but good looking 3D games. The older 2D games were 2D because they had to be, but developers made the best 2D games possible.
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Old 06-20-2004, 03:51 PM   #711
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SpaceManSpiff, excellent point, although I disagree about the 3D being better. I think they can both be of equal value, and I want them to be. But gaming budgets are on the rise, so I hope the emphasis alters to fun gameplay and great ideas instead of trying to have the fanciest, most cinematic titles available.

Omnislash005, I'll certainly do that after my next batch of reviews. The reason I'm running slightly late is because of Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse. Jumping Flash! 2 is a breeze, as is King of Fighters R2. But CoI gave me a suprise beating on the Hard difficulty (the appropriate difficulty to get the best ending and see everything), and I wasn't expecting the necessity of as much time as needed to beat it. Rest assured, I'll have up my reviews within the next couple of days. Then I'll get to Mega Man, with one twist ~ I'll be reviewing them ALL because I'll be getting Mega Man Anniversary Collection this week.
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Old 06-20-2004, 06:19 PM   #712
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Well games that are 3D are more complicated to make then 2D games. One of the biggest problems that keep arising is camera issues. Many games seem to have this problem and it can deeply affect the game play. 3D hack and slashing have problems because they need to start having 360 degree attacks or you have a hard time progressing. Some 3D games now require a targeting feature or you?ll have problem fallowing your opponent. Games now need to have a good hit detection or we would have a lousy game. 3D levels need to be better planned out then before. There hasn?t been a 2D game that has been planned out with Legos like in Metal Gear Solid for PS1. It?s sort of unfair to compare 2D vs. 3D because of the level of complicity. Back then developers didn?t have to deal with these problems and others that I didn't mentioned.

But I agree that a 2D games can be as enjoyable or better then a 3D game.
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Old 06-20-2004, 07:56 PM   #713
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Trivia: Castle of Illusion's music was done by the same guy who did Phantasy Star 1, 2, and Alex Kidd in Miracle Whip.
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Old 06-20-2004, 08:09 PM   #714
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sinful Sam

But I agree that a 2D games can be as enjoyable or better then a 3D game.
I agree too, just look at Viewtiful Joe! It wastes most of my 3D games. But, say they took a single game and made it the best it could possibly be in both 2D and 3D. I think that 3D just has more to offer than 2D if done right.
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Old 06-21-2004, 09:16 AM   #715
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Joe ~ http://www.algol-star-system.net/lib...ko_uwabo.shtml

I'll have up both JF!2 and CoI tommorrow. Then KoFR2 Wednesday.
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Old 06-22-2004, 11:24 AM   #716
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Well guess what? I had actually finished this review yesterday, but shortly before I was set to post it I dropped my keyboard by mistake and everything was erased. As you probably already know, I write my reviews on-the-spot with no backup copy prepared because, I feel, this allows me to truly say what I feel and not be influenced from outside sources. This wasn't the first time I've lost reviews: Mega Man, Dragon Warrior VII and a couple of other originals are lost forever (though of course I wrote up the reviews). Suffice to say, I was very upset over what had transpired. Here is my 'second' review for CoI, copied about 20 times in the process of being written.

Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse - Genesis - Rating 4
One of my favorite games of the Genesis era was this little gem right here. I used to play through this game frequently on Hard difficulty--I had the entire game completely memorized and mastered, and now I've done it all again, only this time I've got far more experience under my belt. I've had tons of platformers thrown my way and I've conquered them all. CoI, as I recall, was a 4-MEG wonder treat courtesy of Sega on the Genesis, a system I used to consider to be like owning a small arcade at home. After all, the games looked almost as good as the stuff that I was playing in my local arcades at that time, and I was entranced by what was then the best in graphics and audio, the most arcade-like experience that could be afforded. Thank you Sega for those happy memories.
I am actually saddened that CoI hasn't conquered the rigors of time better than it did. Released in 1990, it sat amongst the most impressive software released on either the Genesis or TurboGrafx 16. Featuring impressive stage design, lots of colorful backgrounds and foes, and multi-sectioned stages (often with completely unique backgrounds), CoI set new standards as far as appeal is concerned. Gameplay-wise, the game is good but nothing really special. Mickey Mouse can run along, jump, duck, and if he has acquired apples, marbles or candles, can throw these at enemies. Sega tried to make the stages have distinction by incorporating several different gameplay mechanics, such as swinging on vines (The Enchanted Forest), ascending a stage and then changing it all into slopes once a key is acquired (Toyland), swimming (the last three stages), etc. Indeed, if CoI has one thing going for it then it would have to be variety. All five stages are made up of several sections, and all except Toyland feature several backgrounds. Stage 4 (The Library) is perhaps the most dramatic example of this: Mickey begins by running on a huge shelf, defeating some baddies, then he jumps into an open milk container and winds up in a candy world replete with huge cakes, a pool of what I'm guessing is milk (or is that cream?) and he must keep jumping along while avoiding getting hurt by candy (gummy?) dolphins which keep hopping around. That section features the best parallax in the game. Afterwards, he collects a gem and heads back into the library, this time ascending the shelves while battling several hopping letter A's (I kid you not), caterpillars, and the toy planes from Toyland. Eventually, he'll come across tea cups which he can jump into and swim around in, trying to avoid sugar cubes while collecting items. After all of this comes the boss fight. You get the picture.
Here are my problems with this game. First of all, most of the enemies, while designed quite well, simply move left and right, offering zero challenge. There are some cheap hits which you'd be hard-pressed to avoid your first time through, most of which are caused by either the bats or toy planes. You'll bounce off of an enemy or simply jump up and collide with one of these flying obstacles, and what could you do? You cannot look up so you'll have to play it very cautious until you've memorized where the enemies are gonna pop out from and how to deal with them. This game defines trial-and-error gaming. :annoyed: Some of the other enemies include clowns riding around on unicycles, armored knights, jack-in-the-boxes, mushrooms, and bonefish. The bosses present no real challenge whatsoever and are there just to look stupid. I mean c'mon ~ A log with a face? A hopping, boxing present box? A fat sumo-like dude who jumps around and swings at Mickey whenever he gets close? Maybe these were impressive battles back in the day but they're downright humble by today's standards.
The soundtrack is interesting and varied. I like how the music changes in certain areas, like the fourth section of Stage 1 when it gets dark and the woods become haunted, or when rapidly descending in the first section of Stage 2. I'm not sure which game came first--the Strider arcade or this--but I'm guessing that one of these was the first to incorporate a soundtrack that changes for different sections and circumstances, well before Mario 64. the music itself suits every area and exploits the Genesis sound architecture reasonably well. The sound effects are pretty good and hold up to most other Genesis titles.
Overall, I'd say CoI is a decent platformer title with some glaring flaws here and there. This is simply a case of a title that was at one time impressive and fun to play but has been far outperformed over time. FYI, the only way to actually win the game and see everything is by completing it on the Hard difficulty setting, and you get no continues. It was more frustrating than fun, and that cannot be remedied by good stage design or anything else. Too bad.

CoI is also available on Sega Master System.

Here's a nice feature ~ http://homepage.mac.com/greggillis/1991_02.html
Here's a couple of screenshots ~ http://www.vgmuseum.com/genesis2.htm

By the way, see if you can find an exact similarity between this and Rocket Knight Adventures in the soundtracks. :cool guy:
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Old 06-22-2004, 12:57 PM   #717
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Robo bunny action.... times Muu!

Jumping Flash! 2 ~ Big Trouble in Little Moo/Two Faces of Baron Aloha - PlayStation - Rating 4
There was a tidal wave of 32-bit platformers vying for top honors (and top sales). Bug!, Bubsy 3D, and several others were all trying to set the 3D trend. There was just one slight problem with most of these titles -- they sucked. Well Bubsy 3D definitely did anyway. The original Jumping Flash! was received respectably well and did a fine job presenting large 3D areas for Robbit to hop around in. The sequel takes everything a step further, improving the texture quality, increasing the size of stages, and adding some extra depth to the package by incorporating a psuedo-sequel which opens up once you've completed the first trek.
The story is so abysmal, so epic that I am dumbfounded trying to describe it in detail. After his utter defeat at the rabbit feet of Robbit, Baron Aloha has taken refuge on Little Muu. Just when all is thought to be peaceful, a strange cone/egg-headed being called Captain Kabuki shows up and steals the planets for himself. Baron Aloha escapes just in the nick of time. However, Kabuki has captured most of the MuuMuus. So Baron is left with no choice but to rely on Robbit to save the day.

I told you the story was epic, but you just wouldn't believe me, as usual....

Basically, it plays like the previous JF! only there's more of everything. Although the textures looked great back in the day, they are a pixel nightmare by today's technical standards. I recommend turning on the texture smoothen feature using your PS2 for the best effect. Once again, Robbit hops around while shooting at enemies, except this time instead of collecting the Jetpods he must rescue MuuMuus. Everything is done from a first-person perspective. Whenever you come in close vicinity to a MuuMuu you'll hear it crying out "MuuMuu!". The radar allows you to more-readily track down the little white critters, as well as locate the exit. Robbit can hop several times in midair (and an added time in Extra), look around (even while mid-jump), shoot and use special weapons like Twisters, Rockets and other goodies. Of course, our robo hare has a health meter, and should he lose some energy he can find carrots which will replenish his health.
Each stage requires that you collect all four MuuMuus in the area and then jump on the exit platform. Stages are designed extremely well and cover an often gargantuan amount of space in every direction, save for a few in-door areas. You'll have to land on some extremely narrow platforms and objects, even enemies at times. Thankfully, this is relatively painless thanks to near-perfect controls and Robbit's shadow always placed beneath him. The sense of height could've made some gamers Acrophobic if not for the restrictive distance in which you can see things before they fade away into mist due to the PSone's polygon limitations (though I certainly believe the PS can do a bit better than this). The enemies are rather plain and don't present any real threat until much later on when they are more agressive and fire at you more often. The bosses are perhaps the weakest part of the game. Robbit will face a robotic shark, a big robot with two little helpers floating alongside it, a robot spider, etc. And most all of them are easily defeated the first try. I'd say that JF!2 is about as traditional as you could ever find a 3D platformer, and that's not a bad thing. It's just a tad too easy, even the quasi-sequel. For those of you looking for an added challenge, there's the Extra versions of the stages.
Audio-wise, there are some good pieces of music scattered about. As you'd expect, there are Japanese motifs used while fighting inside of the dojo temple, bouncy stuff for the brighter areas, and the more up-tempo songs for boss battles. Overall the soundtrack is rather forgettable, save for Stage 1-2's song which features a bouncy reggae background harmony with an ultra-catchy (cute?) melody leaping about; it has drilled itself inside of my head for a couple hours. Sound effects are very good and atmospheric, and the voice acting during cinemas is Saturday morning cartoon-esque stuff. Captain Kabuki steals the show with his flamboyant, fruity mannerisms. "Naughty, naughty, naughty little robo-bunny!"
Overall, JF!2 is a fairly enjoyable 3D platformer with some nice touches and good imagination. I'll never forget jumping on a large toaster. Time to condense this review into one word ~ "Average." That's essentially what JF!2 is. I'd like to see it appear on the PS2 (or PS3), but Sony appears to have abandoned the series, opting instead to compete head-to-head with games like Mario 64. I could say more, but I'll leave it at that.

"Oh pooh!"
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Old 06-23-2004, 11:47 AM   #718
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Burn pure

King of Fighters R2 - Neo Geo Pocket - Rating 4
Sadly, SNK just couldn't make the cut in portable gaming. Virtually no support from third-parties was what really broke their handheld, and that's a shame. But at least SNK tried their best. SNK probably entered the portable business with the expectation that there lied potential for them to recover some financial status. Incidentially, Capcom, perhaps their biggest rival, would help them out by allowing them to feature some of Capcom's brightest fighting game stars in what many consider the NGP's finest hour: The Match of The Millenium ~ SNK vs Capcom. Unfortunately, this relationship never escalated into Capcom releasing software purely for the NGP (which would've certainly helped). But even if Capcom did support the NGP, I doubt it would've salvaged it from inevitable destruction in the face of Nintendo's GBA, much like how Capcom's steadfast support for Sega's Dreamcast aggrandized it in the minds of most gamers, yet couldn't rescue it from the wrath of the non-pure gaming machine that is the PS2.
That's not to say that NGP was a great gaming machine along the likes of Dreamcast---not a chance. SNK pulled their usual routine of producing a ton of fighting games and little else, offering no real incentive for the non-fighting game crowd to consider purchasing it as an alternative. (Gee, why didn't I just write another system Review & Analysis for the NGP? Oh yeah... because I own a scant TWO GAMES for it. )

King of Fighters R2 is trapped in a world of mediocrity. You see, it's just not very fun. It's just another weak attempt by SNK to reproduce their console repertoire of fighting games on their portable; simply bring what already exists out in a portable format. It's an ill-advised maneuver because, like I said before, there's a certain level of capability which is required to present such a demanding genre. All of the characters are Super Deformed (though they animate good and control well). The reason why MOTM~SvC gets a Rating 5 and this gets one point reduced is because I don't consider this KoF roster to be anything that special, and there are far less features than in SvC, resulting in less playability and, hence, replay value. I can pick up my SvC and enjoy it on a short trip, but KoFR2's only saving grace is the addition of Making Mode -- one of the best additions to a fighting game that I've ever encountered. In this mode you select one of the characters and then basically customize them to your liking. That means everything from the name, win quotes (must be earned) and equipping skills (e.g. 'Hard 3' increases both normal and special attacks, 'Hot Blo' makes all attacks have burning properties and increses special, 'Hero' will increase your HP and DEF, etc. etc.). What you do is fight with your custom character in order to gain even more skills, including rare ones which are hard to acquire. Get this ~ there's 21 pages worth of skills to be found! Talk about depth!

If I need to explain the gameplay to you, take up a new hobby.

As is par the course, SNK saw it fit to include the standard KoF Tag Team mode, Singles mode, a Sparring mode, etc. The graphics are very good for the NGP, and although the backgrounds lack animation they more than compensate with more unique settings than is to be found in SvC. Characters include the usual suspects like Kyo, Iori, Kyo, Terry, etc. and they're divided into teams, as expected. Here is a list of the teams: Team Kusanagi, Super Babe Team, New S.T. Team, Orochi Team, Edit Member, and several Special Member teams in which you can open up different characters such as Mai and Rugal (the boss). SvC looks a tad better and has more glitzy presentation value. Big whoop.
It's no small wonder that the soundtrack is perfectly suited and includes many familiar tunes. The sound capabilities of the NGP are weak as it is, but at least SNK knows how to push it to full capacity. Sound effects are kinda wishy-washy and weak, but then so is SvC.
Ask yourself a question ~ "I've played many/all of the KoF titles before. Do I or do I not need to carry around a portable version with SD characters?" If the answer is "Yes" then, by all means, go snatch up a copy if you can find it. If the answer is "No", take my word for it - you're not missing anything special.

Perhaps you can acquire some NGP stuff on eBay. If not, Toys N Joys might have it.
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Old 07-08-2004, 05:48 PM   #719
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where are the reviews, icarus?
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Old 07-08-2004, 05:49 PM   #720
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I think he's reviewing every megaman game in MM:AC next so he's taking his time...
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