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Old 09-18-2003, 09:09 AM   #286
Icarus4578
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Joe Redifer, that's the way it goes with my opinions. Fact is, I enjoy both games equally. It doesn't make any difference to me whether the screen moves in Alien Crush or not because I'm only playing it for the funfactor. I actually like some of the tunes in the game.

Bad1, it depends. If they left it 2D and did it right it could very well be as good as the SNES version. I can run through the game without losing a match as well, because it rewards the player's skill, timing, and technique. I believe it is one of the most fun games i've ever played.

Next review, Legend of Heroes ~ Dragon Slayer (TurboDuo). I need to add more reviews for games that many people haven't played (or heard of).

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Old 09-20-2003, 04:50 AM   #287
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A Shattered Land...

The Legend of Heroes ~ Dragon Slayer - TurboGrafx16 CD - Rating 7
If you play any new RPG that comes through the gates, you'll notice how much time is spent wading through cinematics and text. That's because pretty much every RPG company has adopted the 'more is better' attitude, even if 'more' doesn't actually involve such things as substance, fascinating characters, and holding interest. The result is often dozens of hours sitting through character development and plot twists which don't mean Jack because the characters are often incredibly dull and any attempt to drag out their 'development' is a waste of time. I cannot think of an RPG this generation with characters and a story that I actually cared about.
Instead of pretending to be some epic RPG, Falcom/Hudson Soft simply took a working formula and harnessed the CD format for voice acting and CD-quality audio. I'm all for it. Falcom does everything from a gamer's point-of-view; everything's brief and to the point - fast paced role playing gaming goodness, because Falcom cares. My kind of RPG company. The kind that won't force me to sit through an hour of dialogue but instead wants to tell a story and not sacrifice the gameplay at its expense.
Let me break down the story up to the near-end of Chapter 1 so that I don't ruin the whole thing (Dragon Slayer is divided into six Chapters as is always shown at the top of the screen).
In the center of the world of Isrenasa lies the kingdom of Farlayne, ruled by King Corwin, who was honest and compassionate to all of his happy, free subjects. On the night of the seventh moon, the once tranquil capital of Farlayne, Castle Sylvan, fell under attack by monsters. What seemed like a hopeless situation was conquered by dawn, for the people of Sylvan were victorious. However, King Corwin was dead, and a dark age would soon overcome the kingdom...
The King's trusted adviser Baron Drax told the people that with his departing words King Corwin had handed the leadership to him. He was supposed to rule until the true heir to the throne Prince Logan's sixteenth birthday had expired. Logan spent those ten years in the town of Exile on the secluded Isle of Glen where he was being raised by a good man named Elias.
"A fine morning to you m'lord!" Elias spoke to the not-fully-awake Logan. "Good morning Elias." countered the groggy Logan. Elias begins to preach, "Aaah my dear Prince Logan. I understand from the gate guards that you're still indulging in slime-bashing. I hardly think that such a childish pastime befits one who is destined to inherit the throne in just two mar months. Now, as I've said time and time again, the future is shaped by knowledge!..."
After Elias finishes his reprimanding (all done with voice acting), you take control of Logan for the first time. The screen is laid out similar to Ultima games in that there is the main screen which takes up most of the screen and on the right side are slots for every character's name, HP, MP, LV and EXP. The first thing you'll notice is how tiny all the characters are. Needless to say, Falcom wasn't counting on graphics to sell this game. Certainly, this game is the anti-thesis of the more recent RPGs in that it favors substance over style, though that's not to say it doesn't have any style. In fact, the characters and story have something clearly lacking from all the newer RPGs - personality. You can pull up an options window by pressing II which includes spells, items, equipment, options, etc. You'll be pleased to know that you can save anywhere, anytime. You have a ton of options all for the purpose of your convenience such as the ability to turn narration on/off, turn on or off a point distributor (when you level-up you can distribute the points automatically or manually), alter character and message speed, etc. Despite its graphical shortcomings, the gameplay structure is very well furbished to suit the gamer's needs. I like the fast pace to everything; you can run around and talk to everybody in the town of Exile in a minute or less.
Eventually, your friend helps you make a quiet escape out of town so you can wander the field and--what else?-- indulge in slime bashing! You can select at anytime whether you want the battle music to be CD quality which takes an extra second to load or PSG (Program Sound Generated) which is system generated music but loads battles up without the second interruption. Take your pick. Battling is EXTREMELY fast and pretty fun. In fact, aside from in a few other RPGs like Final Fantasy VII, I've rarely had so much fun beating the crap out of enemies! For the beginning fights all I had to do was put button I on rapid fire and hold down the button. Viola! I win easy! A battle with four slimes takes about 7-8 seconds, no joke. The battles are done from a first-person perspective a-la Dragon Quest games only there's no animation. Then again, if there was animation it would only slow down the pace of the game. In many other RPGs when you gain level you don't really notice too much of a difference, but in this game you notice it, believe me. :bigsmile: Don't think the game is going to remain easy, though. You'll find out sooner rather than later that this game presents some big challenges. I should also mention the magic system. Magic is equipped by obtaining scrolls, of which each character can hold a maximum of seven spells at any given time.
Back to the story. Eventually, Exile falls under attack by monsters. Coincidence? Elias and the rest stay behind to fend off the monsters while Logan escapes for Sylvan to ask Baron Drax for his aid in the matter. "I'll be back Elias.... I'll be back."
When Logan arrives at Sylvan he winds up being captured by the guards and brought before Drax who proceeds to tell him about how he staged the attack on Exile just like he staged the attack on Sylvan all those years ago so that he could kill King Corwin and install himself as ruler. Drax informs Logan that soon he will join the dearly departed! Drax speaking to Logan (voice acting) - "Departed. Expired. Passed away. Take your pick." But first Logan must become a prisoner so that Drax can force Logan's mother Sylvia to marry him and thus be coronated king.
Help arrives in Ethan, a monk and member of the resistance which is comprised of those that want to rid the land of Baron Drax's tyranny. He helps Logan to safety and they both agree to head towards the town of Revere to meet up with Aryn, the leader of the resistance, so they can come up with a plan to counterattack the redoubtable Drax and his army. To quote Ethan, "We've gotta kick his darkness 'til it turns daylight." Once you arrive at Revere, you meet Aryn and Sonia, who've got a plan worked out. Drax has prisoners working The Pits, forced into slave labor. The plan is to free them so the resistance is strong enough for a full scale attack on Drax and his army. (To the uninformed, if this section of the plot sounds familiar, it should... Final Fantasy III ripped it off.)
I could go on and give a detailed account of everything else that happens in Chapter 1, let alone the game, but I won't ruin it. Wanna know the kicker? All the cinemas, leveling-up, voice acting, wandering around, etc. I've explained up to this point... equates to the first hour of the game. "No way!" you're probably thinking, "All of that in just one hour!?" I know how just that opening sequence would easily take up three to four hours in any newer RPG because they've gotta try and be all dramatic and cinematic but just wind up wasting time.
The music is outstanding and even though the amount of music tracks is somewhat limited at around 20 what's there is certain to please. This is Falcom y'know, makers of Ys games. And anybody that is into their RPG soundtracks should know Ys by now. That's their reputation. The sound effects are weak, 8-bit-ish stuff, but you won't care. The music is composed by Sound Team JDK.
In its entirety, Dragon Slayer lasts a good 20 or so hours. There's quite a bit of humor in the game, such as the parts where one of the party members is being a pick pocket. The voice acting is great because of how cheesy it is. This game doesn't take itself too seriously, but is dramatic wherever needed be. If you own a TurboGrafx CD system or TurboDuo please buy this game. It's kinda short and a bit linear, but RPGs like this are a rarity these days. I've also got The Legend of Heroes II ~ Dragon Slayer, which is an import title (also available on Super Famicom and other import platforms), but I've never been through it. I think I'll give it a shot. Dragon Slayer is 1990 all the way which means you get to play it whilce you pay attention to it. You're not paying to watch a movie.
The Legend of Heroes ~ Dragon Slayer was also released on the Super Famicom/Mega Drive in Japan, 1991. The third and fourth in the series also came out for multiple platforms/PC in Japan.

Here's a gallery of photos from the opening cinema ~ http://www.pcenginefx.com/TS/gallery...layer_gam.html
The US box cover artwork (front/back) ~ http://www.workingdesigns.com/museum...gon_slayer.htm
The Falcom homepage in Japan/Dragon Slayer section ~ http://www.falcom.co.jp/title/heroes.html
Great RPG site with lots of rare import-only titles (and no, there are no ROMs here) ~ http://hyrulec.cherryroms.com/rpgs.html
The Falcom CD catalog ~ http://www.gmronline.com/falcom/albums/series_loh.html
Wanna listen to samples of great RPG soundtracks for virtually every game you can think of (including reviews)? This is for you ~ http://www.rpgfan.com/soundtracks1.html
Screenshots and artwork of Legend of Heroes ~ Dragon Slayer III which looks quite a bit better than part one. Then again, it's shown on PC here ~ http://www.rpgamer.com/games/other/pc/loh3/loh3.html

:cool guy:

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Old 09-20-2003, 06:39 AM   #288
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When are they gonna make a RPG based on a Kevin Costner flick? I know just the company to do it: it begins with an N and ends with an O.
Nintendo?
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Old 09-20-2003, 06:40 AM   #289
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Ha! More like Namco!
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Old 09-29-2003, 09:19 AM   #290
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Dude, where's my car?

Grand Theft Auto 3 - PlayStation 2 - Rating 5
And the award for most replayable PS2 game goes to.... GTA3. That's probably the truth. I have yet to purchase a game for PS2 or either the GC or X-Box with the replayability of this game. Rockstar have created one of the most brilliant 'real worlds' ever to be seen in a game with Liberty City, GTA3's parody of NYC if I'm not mistaken.
If you don't know the premise of GTA games by now I'll sum it up for you. Basically, you play a criminal who goes around looking for work under mob bosses, drug lords, etc. You are given assignments which you must carry out such as setting up a car-bomb to go off when somebody starts it up, knocking off specific people, helping people rob a bank, and so on. You get rewarded with more money and harder work as you progress, and you can bet that there will be betrayl and backstabbing going on (usually it's you who winds up getting stabbed in the back). All of the cinematics are in-game with voice actors, and the game is open ended in that you can choose to do seperate assignments for different people at random times, though there are certain assignments which must be carried out in order for the game to progress.
You begin in Portland which is the industrial area of Liberty City. The Callahan Bridge which connects Portland with Staunton Island has been shut down for repairs until you've done what needs to be done in Portland. And there's a suburban area called Shoreside Vale which comes into play near the end of the game. What makes GTA3 an accomplishment is the sheer size of the game and scope of what you can do. You can derail from the main course anytime you want and just go on a crime spree. You're able to attack/kill anybody and steal any vehicle you wish. You can gain access to such weapons as bats, grenades, uzis, shotguns, a sniper rifle, and even a rocket launcher which can blow up cars, trucks, and helicopters with just one hit! Though the game doesn't use real cars, it matters not. When you get in a car, you can change the radio stations, run over people, make a getaway from cops in pursuit, etc. [Protip - you can pick up a hooker, go find a secluded spot to 'do it' (getting health back in the process), she'll take the money and get out of the car, and then you just back over her with the car, get out and take your money back! ] And, of course, you can walk anywhere you want to except into most buildings and such. That's one of this game's faults; GTA3 takes place predominately outdoors and it would've been amazing to actually be able to enter any place you want. Of course, that sounds like adverse criticism when you consider how much effort Rockstar put into this game.
Graphically, GTA3 delivers with solid textures and crisp detail on most everything. It is quite a feat. Day turns to night, sunny skies turn to hazy evenings leading into the pouring rain of the afterhours. The city is bustling with activities according to time and place. Though there are some clipping problems and some pop-up, I simply don't care because the game rocks. Why a 5? Because after everything has been exhausted, the game doesn't seem to go anywhere. Sure, you can go around causing trouble, and it's fun at times, but after a certain point everything is deja vu and typical. Besides, I'm quite certain most of you reading this have already played the game and have your own opinion of it anyways; this is just mine.
The game sounds very much like in real life. People that you pass by say things like the amusing "You can sail the seven seas!" for no apparent reason. The cars and weapons sound good, and the music on the radio stations is done by actual groups, though you've probably never heard of most all of them before. It sounds pretty good. I enjoy Game FM and Chatterbox FM the most.
Though GTA ~ Vice City has been out for quite a bit of time and offers some improvements, GTA3 was and is a fun game which offers a great time. I've invested upwards of 50 hours into it and will go back to it occasionally. You can pick it up and enjoy it anytime you feel like it. The PS2 gained superiority in the market mostly due to this game. I think some PS2 games are better (Onimusha 2 and Devil May Cry for starters) but ultimately you'll make that decision yourself.

One thing GTA3 has better than most every other game is codes ~ http://www.gamewinners.com/playstati...TheftAuto3.htm

And I run! I run so far a-way!

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Old 09-29-2003, 12:40 PM   #291
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There's no place like River City

River City Ransom - NES - Rating 10




River City Ransom EX is coming to GBA. Oh joy!

Yeah, funny how technos always uses the same characters in their games! Anyway, the Super Nes version was also a blast... But never could pass that damn subway... Anyway I completed the Nes version and it sure was fun!! Hey Icarus, why not a review of the Technos Dodge Ball game??? Not the Red headed "new" version! I played that game for years!!! Even got it on my Pc engine GT!!!
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Old 10-01-2003, 10:42 AM   #292
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Meet the challenge!

Super Dodge Ball - NES - Rating 7
Variety. That's the word to best describe the NES library. There's a little bit of everything on Nintendo. Some things are great, some not so great. Looking at my library of NES titles, it's clear to me that developers had a great time creating many of these games. And it's true that there was more ingenuity and creativity involved than most of the ho-hum me-too games of today. You could find things on NES you'll never see again on another platform, and that's due in no small part to the fact that design concepts were acceptable on the part of the creative minds behind the development of such games rather than the suits which basically tell the developers what they must develop today.
Allow me to derail from the SDB review and take a moment of your time. Imagine if you got a job in today's gaming industry as a developer or even concept planner. What do you think? Do you think you would have a chance to come up with whatever you'd like? Concepts to be included in the game? If your name isn't Shigeru Miyamoto, Yu Suzuki, or another big name, chances are the answer would be NO, underlined and in capitals. While it is true that you're paid to do the job expected of you, it's also true that in former times there was less of a sense of discretion (if you were a developer/programmer). You'd be a part of a team whose job it was to create a great video game and there must've been a great sense of satisfaction in that work. That is a fact reflected in the games themselves which are wide in scope, variety, and--most importantly--fun. I personally had believed that to get a job in the game industry was a dream job, as did many other avid gamers with a genuine afflatus. Imagine being able to come up with your own ideas and see that dream made into reality? Imagine coming up with a Double Dragon, a Track & Field, a Ghosts N' Goblins for the first time. Imagine what a great feeling that must be. But now--and I'm sorry, I know you've all heard this before--it's just not the same anymore. People's imaginations are not given the time and finances they should. So instead, we're handed 100 FPS and other 'graphic killers' and told that these are 'new games' which offer you more, and to be content. Oh, and on occasion you'll get a game you won't complain too much about.
It's safe to say that Technos had many idioms of their own, many traits unique to their specific style of design. That's because when you look at a Technos game you usually know it's a Technos game. Super Dodge Ball was and still is a blast to play. It has all the necessary ingredients: functional gameplay, interesting ideas (like the special power shots unique to each individual), a developing difficulty, and the synergy of nice visuals and music. All of these factors add up to create a total game package worth your investment. The mere fact that it's a game of dodge ball isn't what makes this game stand out. Rather, it's how well Technos married the concept of dodge ball with their OWN concepts.
Firstly, the gameplay is great and doesn't require a long time to get down, though it may take awhile before you master it. I'm speaking in reference to the World Cup Play and Versus Play modes. Bean Ball is ok but chances are you'll be playing the former two modes the most. You play as U.S.A. (in the American version) and your first opponent is Pro All-Stars, also from the U.S.A. in order to determine which team will represent the country. Before the actual game of dodge ball begins, you can set the positions where your teammates will be: three in the inner court and three on the outer court. Your six team players are Sam, Mike, Steve, Randy, Bill, and John. You can press select to check out character stats. Every player in the game has a unique set of stats, including the length of the life bar. I personally use Sam, Bill, and Steve the most in the inner court as their power shots are perhaps the best. Once this is all set, it's time to play! When a player is in possession of the ball that is the one you control. You can pass between your teammates with B button at will, even the ones on the outer court which is situated around the opposing team (just as the opponent has players set around you). Watch that the enemy doesn't jump and catch the ball whenever you pass across the court. The object is to defeat all three of the inner court opponents. As all of you Technos fans suspect, each character is an individual with a head as big as the body which works very well as it allows you to identify characters easily. You'll need to know who's who because some players you have to watch out for, like Hans from the Iceland team. Speaking of teams, there are eight opposing teams ~ Pro All-Stars, England, India, Iceland, China, Japan, Kenya, the USSR, and a final team you'll have to play through to see.
The controls work like this: double-tap forward with the player you want to attack with and he'll begin running. Keep tapping forward near the time you hit A and your character might use a power shot. Each player's power shot requires a specific timing to get down. You can also jump by pressing A+B simultaneously, and if you run and jump you can use a power attack from midair, which differs from the usual running power shots. When the opponent is on the offensive, you can switch between players at will. Whomever you are by the time the opponent attacks is (almost always) who will be getting attacked. Time your B button press to catch the ball properly or else you'll sustain damage. You can also duck with A and jump with A+B. When you deplete an opponent's life bar he gets 'knocked out', becomes an angel and flies north. Once you've defeated all three opponents you win the match and move on to the next country. Some countries have harder ground to move around, such as the rough terrain of Kenya or the slippery ice of Iceland, which is actually peculiar because in reality Greenland is cold and Iceland is warm. Go figure. Power shots, like I said, are unique to each individual, though some players share them. For example, Sam's power shot is called the blaster and it travels like a missle directly at your opponent, and can even hit multiple opponents. Whenever somebody gets hit, you actually see the number of hit points depleted. Etc. Etc. It sure is a lot more fun than Dead or Alive ~ Xtreme Beach Volleyball. That I assure you.
The game does have a few flaws. There's some slowdown issues and the later teams have a revolting amount of life. It gets challenging, to say the least (though that in and of itself should not be misinterpreted as being a fault). I also wish the game wasn't as short as it is, but what can you do? Thankfully, the replay value is high and Versus Play should add an extra incetive to put in more hours.
The music is very cool and ethnic to each country but in a funny sort of way. It's rather memorable and that's a definite plus. ;) Sound effects are good and I like the sound made when an opponent is defeated. It's an NES game, sure, but it sounds pretty good.
Here's a simple equation: You + NES + Super Dodge Ball = Fun. That's all there is to it. When you come back around from the mundaneness, manipulation, and low standard of excellence of most of today's product, make an effort to return to when the only purpose of a game was to be fun, not just look great. Technos has made various versions of Dodge Ball, including one on GBA (which isn't as good as the NES version) and one on Neo Geo. Stay cool.

Have a good look (three pages of photos) ~ http://screenmania.retrogames.com/nes/01/nes_0002.html

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Old 10-05-2003, 12:07 AM   #293
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Now you're painting with power... Super Power!

Mario Paint - SNES - Rating 7
The back of the box says "Mario Paint lets you draw, paint, animate, and compose music!" For its time it offered a lot of fun things to do for a considerably low cost ($60). You got the game, mouse, and a plastic mouse pad. Although there are programs for the PC which allow for far greater potential, what Nintendo did was special; they offered gamers the chance to do something creative and productive with their time, the chance to be an artist.
Do game companies offer you this type of self-created enjoyment anymore? No, and I don't know why. To think what Nintendo could do with the GameCube yet won't because they're too stuck up with making the thousandth Pokemon. Somebody please help Nintendo to get a clue. And to think people are actually willing to invest $30-40 for every new Pokemon.... THEY'RE ALL THE SAME! :annoyed: Maybe I've got it all wrong; maybe it's all those millions of brainwashed people that need a clue.
Like the back of the box says, your "Imagination is the limit!" with Mario Paint. Well, sort of. Actually, Mario Paint is limited to a 15 color pallete. You can only animate something to a maximum of nine frames - and if you animate something at about 1/4th of the size of the screen then you're reduced to FOUR frames. You can only store one song, background, and animation at a time (and it takes quite awhile for it to save everything - about a minute). If you're composing a piece of music, be forewarned that you cannot use any accidentals (#'s or b's), and therefore you'll either have to settle for C Major or its relative minor A, that is unless you figure out a way to use notes in a clever way and emphasize the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th scale degrees of the D Major scale or 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th of the natural B Minor. That's right, you cannot use the harmonic or melodic versions with no accidentals. That's just an example. G Major/E Minor, F Major/D Minor, and G Minor are somewhat possible. (There is no Bb, therefore, you cannot use the tonic of G Minor's relative major Bb Major.) So whatever set backs Mario Paint has you can find a way to work around--to a certain extent--if you're smart enough.
Nintendo does give you a lot of fun stuff to do. You have three pen sizes, so that's rather limiting. However, you can always create a stamp of just a speck of whatever color(s) you'd like to 'draw' with, save it, and go draw with a tip 1/4th the size of the smallest pen, so that you can draw finer lines. See how far you can go if you've got smarts? Nintendo made many stamps for you to use, such as Mario in his Super Mario World incarnation (head and body are seperate). The colors sit on top of the screen and you can click on whichever one you desire. Also, you can toggle the upper color pallete by clicking the little 'thing' that is moving around on the top-right edge of the screen for more accessible textures and stuff. There's erasers, an airbrush, shapes, paint brush (fills in stuff), an undo button, use stamps, erase the entire screen (in pretty cool ways too such as watching the screen get chopped up, blur away, wash out, and more), etc. There's a small arrow button on the bottom-right which will bring up different options, including a frame you can click to remove the exteriors and just look at your drawing, play Gnat Attack (where you swat flies with a fly swatter to keep your mouse skills agile), go into the composing and animation section, use letters, create or edit stamps, change the background music, a coloring book, change the mouse speed, and load/save your work.
Animating stuff is cool because, although you're limited to 9, 6, or 4 frames depending on size, you can choose the speed of the animation and move it in whichever way you want around the entire screen. As you can imagine, this can be serious fun. Whatever you do, you're sure to have lots of fun.
You can choose between three songs for background music while you work, and they're all good. You can shut off all the music entirely if you want. The composing section has three songs accessible for use (including the original Super Mario Bros theme), and you can, obviously, create your own. There are 15 sounds available, such as a horn, percussive beat, twinkle, etc. You can choose 3/4 and 4/4 time. However, in actuality, you can compose in pretty much any time/beat you wish. Triple Compound, Double Composite, etc. Do whatever you wish. Unfortunately, you're limited to three notes of polyphony (harmony) sounding at one time. You can also change the tempo, use a repeat sign, erase unwanted notes, an undo button, or erase the entire song completely. (BTW, if you completely erase something by accident or not, you can click undo and everything will be back so long as you didn't do anything else in the meantime; it only stores your very last action). Composing music is fun and easy to do.
When you're ready, put everything together (background, animation, and music) and enjoy your creation! Then, if you like it, save everything or simply record it on a VCR/recordable DVD player. You can even animate something over your background and play real music to it. I did a rock concert and put Pantera through my surround sound system and found it quite satisfying to say the least. "RE.... SPECT.... WALK!... WHAT DID YOU SAAAAAY!?"
So there you have it. Mario Paint is timeless fun for anybody, any age. Despite the limits MP has it more than makes up for with the sheer amount of stuff you can do. The greater your imagination, the greater the fun. You should make an effort to own it if you don't already. Sadly, it looks like this will forever remain the only Mario Paint.
Sega tried to compete with Art Alive, which isn't half as good as Mario Paint is.

Are you talking to me!? No way punk!

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Old 10-05-2003, 02:55 AM   #294
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You gave such a positive review for GTA3, yet you only gave it a 5, whats up with that. It deservers more than 5.
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Old 10-05-2003, 04:11 AM   #295
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Sure, it's fun and all, but once the novelty of everything wears off you're not left with much else. The actual game missions aren't fun at all. Instead, wandering around causing havoc is.
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Old 10-05-2003, 10:50 PM   #296
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Mario Paint was fun. It?s probably one of the reasons I got into computer graphics. I had fun just playing that mini-game where you need to swat all the bugs in time.

I total agree with your GTA3 review. I would just play the game to mess around the city. I wasn?t really interested in the missions, I?d rather blow stuff up.
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Old 10-06-2003, 08:35 AM   #297
Icarus4578
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Upcoming reviews - Castlevania ~ Lament of Innocence (PS2), Cotton 2 (Saturn Import), Dungeon Explorer II (PC Engine Super CD), and much more. Stay cool.
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Old 10-06-2003, 08:20 PM   #298
Joe Redifer
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Can't wait to see what you though of Cotton 2. I have it and played it just a few days ago. I thought it was kind of "floaty".
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Old 10-07-2003, 03:06 PM   #299
Icarus4578
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Willows.... Yum.

Cotton 2 ~ Magical Night Dreams - Sega Saturn (Import) - Rating 6
TurboDuo owners may be familiar with Cotton as it was released as a Super CD in 1991. Created by Success and brought to the US by Hudson Soft, it featured a cute red-headed witch named Cotton with her sidekick willow Silk featured in a rather unorthodox side-scrolling shooter experience. Speaking from experience, it was quite a challenging game. Here's the US Jewelcase (front/back) ~ http://www.workingdesigns.com/museum...ams_cotton.htm There was also Panorama Cotton released in 1994 for the Mega Drive, of which only around 5,000 copies were made. In that semi-sequel Cotton flew into the screen a-la Space Harrier and featured rather impressive use of the Mega Drive's system capabilities. Oh, and it was pretty fun, too. Take a look at it here ~ http://www.retrobase.net/html/show.p...anorama+Cotton Here are a few more shots ~ http://www.16bit.emuita.it/reviews/genesis/panorama.htm If you want to play it you'll either have to pay several hundred for it on eBay or find it emulated somewhere. Marchen Adventure Cotton 100% was released for the Super Famicom and was very similar to the TurboCD version, except it had more colorful visuals as seen here ~ http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~uw7g-bwr...ton/cotton.htm There is also Rainbow Cotton for Dreamcast, but, as this GameSpot reviewer clearly lets you know, it isn't all that good (includes screenshots) ~ http://www.gamespot.com/dreamcast/ac...on/review.html There are more, but I'll spare you.
Onto the review. The first thing I liked about this game was the packaging. With the jewelcase came a color calendar with artwork. Bonus! Fortunately, the actual game is very nice too. Cotton 2 allows you to use either a 1-MEG RAM cart or a 4-MEG RAM cart to enhance the graphics. Super Bonus!! Obviously, I opted for the 4-MEG as I naturally prefer the full experience Success intended. Indeed, Cotton 2 is quite an experience. The first thing you'll inevitably notice is the visuals which are resplendent and can challenge even the best looking 2D has to offer. After a brief opening the title screen appears. In the options screen, you can select either Saturn or Arcade mode (each one features different graphics, enemy placement, etc.), select difficulty, how many lives you have in reserve, etc. And then you get on with the actual game.
The story goes like this: the Kingdom of Pumpkin has lost the Bluewater Willow which was stolen by Appli, another witch that resided in the kingdom. She wanted to use its magical power for her own use. However, mysteriously, a tornado flung Appli into the neighboring forest and she loses the Bluewater Willow. Shortly after Appli comes to, Cotton happens to run into her. Appli tells Cotton about the Bluewater Willow she is searching for. Bad idea. You see, Cotton is always thinking about one thing: FOOD. And her favorite food happens to be, yup, Willows! The search begins.
What is interesting about this game's story is that both Cotton and Appli play the part of the protagonist yet neither one is in actuality good. Not only that, there's friction between the two right off the bat. Cotton 2 is 2-players with the first player in control of Cotton and her sidekick Silk, and the second player controlling Appli and her sidekick, a talking hat called Needle. The visuals are excellent, albeit slightly pixelated. The game is littered with every 2D effect possible on Saturn: scailing, rotating, zooming, tons o' parallax scrolls, transparencies (though some look faked), multi-jointed creatures, tons of sprites on-screen at once, etc. Simply put, it is a feat. Enemy designs are clever and imaginative, and there's quite a lot of different foes. Floating reapers and ghoul heads, white wolves, volcanic plants and pumpkin heads, angels and devils, and so on. There's a mid-boss in every stage as well as the main boss. A flying plant, a squid, an armored upper-torso of a knight; these are a few of the bosses you'll face. They're all multi-jointed and mostly large in size, except for the final boss. Between stages are cinemas to progress the story, though nothing much develops until the ending. It is pretty cool to be able to defeat a boss, grab it, and fling it away as it explodes. Or, if you're taking too long to beat a boss it will escape...
I've never played a shooting game that controls like this. It's part shooter, part action/platformer, a little RPG, and even a bit of fighting game. You have your firing button, a capture/throw button, and a magic button. As you defeat enemies they'll leave jewels which you collect. If you collect yellow it raises your experience which you build in order to have a more powerful shot (you also build by destroying enemies). If you shoot at the jewels they change colors, yielding red, blue, green, and silver colors. Red is fire, blue is ice, green is wind, and silver is a light ray. You can store up to three shot types at one time, which are in the lower-left corner of the screen. If you have no power up, you just use your standard shot. The game has interesting control features which seperate it from the rest of the shooter pack. By imputting fighting game commands such as back, forward+shot, down, down-forward, forward+shot, forward, back+shot, etc. you can do different shots like a spread and a charged shot which, if it connects with an enemy, seals it into a ball you can capture and throw at other enemies for chain combo attacks, or hold onto as a shield. You can grab virtually every enemy and even some bosses (with or without it being sealed up). For example, the first boss holds weapons you can grab out of his hands and throw at him, dealing serious damage! Is an enemy taking too many hits to kill? Simply grab it and fling it away! When an enemy has been sealed, you can shoot at it for more points or throw it at enemies until it leaves the screen. When it does leave, it becomes a colorful bubble that you can touch for points and experience. Sometimes, red balls appear which give back life. Your magic attacks are super powerful versions of the shots you're using but will remove your current shot power up when used. Luckily, finding more power ups is easy.
The game isn't that long at about a half hour from start to finish. Thankfully, the replay value is pretty good. As you win on different difficulties you gain more options, such as the ability to switch which player controls which girl, turn on/off visuals (cinemas), turn on/off rapid fire, and, if you can win the game without continuing on hardest, a sound test.
The soundtrack is done quite well and is littered with cute and catchy stuff, even including the second stage song from Cotton on Turbo SuperCD (stage 5), as well as some other familiar tunes from previous installments. Stage 3 is perhaps the best song. The voices, while cute, sound distant. And I wish that the cinemas used voice acting, but oh well. The sound effects are pretty good.
Cotton 2 is seven stages of fantasy-based shooting mayhem that gets a little repetitious after awhile but does not fail to charm. It is a bit short, yeah, but a worthwhile effort. Please do not buy this game if you're looking for a hardcore shooter along the lines of Gradius or Thunder Force as this game does not require too much skill to beat and is short in length. However, if you're looking for something that breaks from the norm and isn't ashamed to be a little cute at the same time then by all means buy Cotton 2. There's also another available for Saturn called Boomerang Cotton which I haven't played. I hear it's quite enjoyable.
I'd say Cotton 2 is alot like eating cotton candy; it's sweet for as long as it lasts.

Screenshots ~ http://home.netvigator.com/~tarot/Games/CottonPI.html
Codes ~ http://home.netvigator.com/~tarot/Games/CottonUW.html
A great site ~ http://home.netvigator.com/~tarot/Games/Cotton0.html
Plus, be sure to check it out here ~ http://www.geocities.com/opcfg2/c2review.html

And a good day to you too, sir.

Last edited by Icarus4578; 04-02-2004 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 10-07-2003, 08:36 PM   #300
Joe Redifer
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Excellent review! But Cotton does not require any RAM carts to play. I just played it without a RAM cart and could not tell the difference between that and using it with the 4 Meg RAM cart. What are the differences?
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