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Old 03-04-2005, 08:20 AM   #1141
Icarus4578
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Meticulous, I will review The Minish Cap by Monday.

Joe, :cool guy:, while that's useful info, it's isn't really necessary in the context of the review (unless, of course, you've gotta have all the details). It doesn't hurt to have it, though.

SavedFromSin, I cannot say for sure what Quintet has been doing because I've heard next to nothing about them in recent days. You've just gotta be patient and wait to see if anything pops out of the woodwork. Don't worry about Quintet becoming 'commercialized' because that's very doubtful.

blueskied, ever since I first saw it, I've been dying to play it. Of course, the moment it hits US shores I'm going to be the first in line at my store (err, well, the people around here wouldn't make a line for a good game, so it will just me myself). DWVII was fantastic; I logged in 120+ hours. Of course, I own every DW soundtrack. :cool guy: But I'll wait until I've heard VIII for myself before committing to purchasing the soundtrack.

Sorry gearhound, no 9 for Tekken 5.

Sinful Sam, they should release it here during summer. That's not official or nothing -- that's just the way I'd like for it to be. Then, we could be playing both DW and Zelda right around the same time!
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Old 03-05-2005, 12:55 AM   #1142
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Originally Posted by Icarus4578
Sorry gearhound, no 9 for Tekken 5.
:yikes: you're biased!!! :yikes:
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Old 03-07-2005, 09:47 AM   #1143
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A free lesson to all those mainstream game reviewers in how to write a good review (sorry, awesome gameplay skills not included).

The Legend of Zelda ~ The Minish Cap - GBA - Rating 8
Can this be...? Why yes, it could. ANOTHER 2D Zelda! And it's not really a Nintendo game?? Funny to think about the fact that what I'm playing is, essentially, a Capcom game. Go figure. And, to make matters all the MORE strange, it's a good, solid Zelda to boot. This is Capcom's handiwork, a company which has seemingly been off in a coma for the past several years, destroying old franchises by serving up cut & paste compilations. What's up with their affinity for ports and poorly composed compilations, you ask? I really can't answer that question but I'm sure the answer lies somewhere between laziness and greed. Or perhaps stupidity.

Capcom did pull off two GameBoy outings way back when with Oracle of Seasons/Oracle of Ages. But that was then and this is now. Let's not waste any time with formalities: Zelda picks up where the other 2D outings left off and keeps the ball rolling with plenty of new, zany additions to remix the gameplay. Our hero Link must square off against a new threat by the name of Vatti, a mysterious figure who is behind Hyrule's recent troubles. It is not long before Link rescues a hapless cap from certain doom. This isn't your ordinary cap, nuh uh. This is a Minish Cap with a real personality, one which can talk up a storm and throw in an obligatory wisecrack every now and then. He even has a name ~ Ezlo. As you are probably aware, Link spends the remainder of his quest with Ezlo situated upon his head. After all, not only is Ezlo wise but he also makes a great match for Link's attire. Yes, Link is both fashionable and fatal.

Graphically, prepare to be razzle dazzled. How far does Capcom push the GBA hardware? Very far. It's as if they know the hardware inside out.... and they oughta, given the amount of years spent developing on the SNES. The Minish Cap delivers rock solid 2D goodness with smooth animation (especially on Link), blazing color, awesome effects (check a certain "room" which tilts and turns a-la the fourth stage in Super Castlevania IV). And then there are the smaller details that say "We care," because Nintendo and Capcom certainly do care, at least as far as this joint venture is concerned. Adjustable levels of lighting (selectable), and there are even rooms in which the level of lighting fluctuates depending on how many pedestals are lit. Fog and darkness caress certain areas, and Link can hold his lantern to light the way while fighting with his sword in the other hand -- a first for the series.

I hate to break up the party so soon but The Minish Cap fails in two very key areas of action/adventure game design: Namely, dungeons and bosses. Don't get me wrong, I love the dungeons present in this installment. But there are too few of them. Furthermore, the bosses leave something to be desired -- most all of them are larger versions of standard foes (for reasons given later on in this review). Needless to say, this isn't what I've come to expect from a Zelda. Yes, the game rocks with skill, yet I'd have to be a fool to overlook these flaws. It's as if I'm playing through a drawn out Light World in similitude to A Link to the Past's... only there isn't that Dark World to help keep things fresh and ever-changing. Not that I'm displeased with the results but Zelda should be so much more. It's a pedigree Nintendo series for a definite reason, and not just pretty pictures and precise, seemingly lubricated controls are enough to live up to its namesake.

What Zelda does offer, though, is a well-rounded, albeit shorter, adventure with new gizmos and secrets galore. Link earns new abilities in both the combat and equipment spheres. Among the new additions are the Gust Jar which can suck in enemies and objects, some of which help to catapult Link onto ledges afar. Then there's the Cane of Pacci which is used to flip things and help Link spring up to higher ledges. Since the new stuff is so cool to mess around with (ah, the Roc's Cape :bigsmile: ), it makes me wish there was more ground to cover. I don't understand why but the game designers decided to tack on an absurd amount of backtracking: you'll easily enter certain areas several dozen times before the end screen manifests itself. The biggest reason for all this backtracking has to do with the Kinstones which you must find/purchase and then trade with various people, creatures and even inanimate objects such as walls, doors and statues. While it's a good concept, it's a little overdone. Whenever you trade a Kinstone something good happens, such as unveiling a hidden treasure chest, revealing a secret passageway, etc. You get the idea.

The major difference between this Zelda and the others lies in Link's ability to shrink down to 'Minish size'. The Minish are a race of small creatures which live all about the world, coexisting along the regular Hyrulians in relative secrecy. Because of his Minish size, if Link were to run into a larger enemy.... you'd have a boss fight. Keep in mind this isn't just used as a poor gimmick -- transforming between sizes is an integral aspect of the game design and helps add more depth to puzzle solving. There's more, but I'll leave the rest for you to discover.

If you're looking for a great soundtrack, you won't be disappointed with the end result. There are some very good tunes here, eerily reminiscent of older Zelda tunes -- like how you'd imagine a true SNES sequel to LttP to sound like. One only needs to hear the Palace of the Winds dungeon theme once to hear the clear influence of the Kid Icarus dungeon tune. There are so many good tracks, I'd consider purchasing the soundtrack ....if there was one. I guess I'll settle for the sound test hidden within a certain house. The sound quality is among the best you've ever heard coming from your GBA, and the sound effects are all top-notch.

If you own a GBA and/or GBA player for your GameCube, you'd be wise to snatch up a copy if you haven't already done so. The Minish Cap is an especially fun, though rather short-lived, rompathon with just enough substance to classify it as a true Zelda adventure. You've played better than this I'm sure, but it will do. I definitely like it. Hey Nintendo/Capcom! Please include more in the way of dungeons, cooler bosses and less random backtracking next time. A solid effort.... and slight disappointment. But hey, I'll take a merely great Zelda over NO Zelda, anytime. :cool guy:

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Old 03-07-2005, 02:59 PM   #1144
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I hope the next Zelda installment isn't as short. Both Wind Waker and The Minish Cap didn't have that many dungeons.
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Old 03-07-2005, 03:35 PM   #1145
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well, there is a rumor going around that it only has 2 dungeons.
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Old 03-08-2005, 07:53 AM   #1146
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If Nintendo ever did that, they'd ruin the series. Besides, the next Zelda is supposed to feature more in the way of puzzles, and the best place for puzzles is, of course, in a dungeon.

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Old 03-09-2005, 01:55 AM   #1147
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i was joking.
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Old 03-10-2005, 01:14 PM   #1148
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Wow@ the growing number of users who are confident enough to submit their reviews. Might as well post this opinion here.

If I get around to it, I might even start myself.
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Old 03-11-2005, 08:53 AM   #1149
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That would be interesting, especially seeing as you're new here and we don't know much anything about your personal tastes. The more review threads, the better (provided they're good). :cool guy:
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Old 03-11-2005, 09:59 PM   #1150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarus4578
That would be interesting, especially seeing as you're new here and we don't know much anything about your personal tastes. The more review threads, the better (provided they're good). :cool guy:
My tastes, eh? I won't try to sound too generic with the same feed that's given about games time and time again, I suppose. You could say I wear different masks. In one area, I've been playing titles, or games, since I was an infant - now. The other mask could be the love of music, or anything with a great guitar. And the last mask could be writing in itself. I've been working on a story for about five years now, and it isn't quite done, .

But I suppose my strongest "Mask" would be games, in general. I won't try to sound too corney, but then again that would be my opinion to state I PREFER titles from the era of '92, or before. Old RPGs such as Wizardry, D&D, Dragon Quest, and yes, Final Fantasy. Etc, Etc, Etc, I believe I've said enough. :bigsmile:
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Old 03-12-2005, 09:45 AM   #1151
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You'll never know until you try, Meticulous. When I started reviewing games, I wanted to achieve the highest possible quality writing possible, especially seeing as I had no webspace for putting up pictures. Simply put, the writing had to have strong substance. I compensated for the lack of photos by adding useful links to my reviews. You're right that back in the 80's and early 90's was the best time to be a gamer (I'd say up until about 1995-97 or so). Once Sony entered the foray, commercialism and hype became commonplace -- the mainstream crowd won against the hardcore gamers. But let's not turn this into a long-winded debate.

I do hope that, when and if you're ready, you'll make a contribution to the MagicBox Forums.

I'll be re-reviewing a game and adding another review soon. Plus, I have something else in the pipeline. Stay tuned.
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Old 03-14-2005, 08:15 AM   #1152
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Overview for March

★NiGHTS ~ Into Dreams/Saturn/re-review/3-15
--With more in-depth comments about Christmas NiGHTS.

★Nightwarriors/Saturn/review/3-19
--Still one of the best fighters around!

★New editorial ~ That New Feeling -- Games which transcend time/3-21
--Some new material for your reading pleasure.

★Future titles TBA

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Old 03-15-2005, 10:10 AM   #1153
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Prepare to fly

NiGHTS ~ Into Dreams... - Saturn - Rating 9 (Rating 10 if you include Christmas NiGHTS )
Saturn owners everywhere were dropping their jaws in amazement when first venturing into the brave new world of Yuji Naka's masterpiece, the now-classic NiGHTS. It breathed new life into the Saturn hardware, providing gamers with countless hours of fun, intuitive, never-seen-before play mechanics. Up until its release and not since then has there been a game even remotely similar in aspect and design. I cannot recall to mind how very frequently I would stick NiGHTS into the Saturn and just let the world pass me by. But I can fondly recall to mind the very first time playing it. It's one of those 'once in a lifetime' experiences, when you know you're about to embark on something extraordinary. I felt it with Sonic, felt it with Street Fighter II, felt it with Zelda....

Everywhere, Saturn owners sat in confusion. "Where's Sonic?", they wondered. We thought that, maybe, Sonic Team was perfecting their creation, getting all the little details right for the blue blur's big debut on the Saturn. As it turns out, there was a genuine Sonic in development at that time. But, alas, it was scrapped because SOJ didn't have confidence in it. My only question is why didn't Sega just make another 2D Sonic if they weren't confident in the Saturn's 3D capabilities? Oh, what am I babbling about?

The bottom line is that NiGHTS encompasses everything that's great about Sega. You get astounding colors, interesting characters, phantasmagoric bosses, effortless controls, incredible music and sound quality.... and replay! Tons of replay! Just like with the original Sonic, you'll find yourself constantly going back through the stages (called dreams, appropriately enough), exploring, looking for secrets, besting your high score records, and just having a great time. Describing NiGHTS is near impossible because there is no accurate way to describe how it feels. The instant you pick up the controller, you're flying, creating loops which cause a vacuum to suck in anything within its circumference, darting through a few rings, performing air stunts by using the L and R triggers.... It's so effortless, a neanderthal could do it.

Neanderthal ~ "Not cool!"

Why am I re-reviewing NiGHTS, you may ask? Because I am not satisfied with my original review and want to give you a better impression of the sheer thrill that comes from playing this game and this game alone. No other game on the planet can be compared to it. It's that simple. I'm not going to make this a long-winded review, so I'm going to skip over the plot about the world of Nightopia, how NiGHTS is a dream creature created by the sinister Wizeman to become one of his 'Nightopians' which causes nightmares, how NiGHTS turns on Wizeman, how NiGHTS finds two children named Claris Sinclair and Elliot Edwards to help rid Nightopia of Wizeman, how Wizeman wants to capture their Ideya. But I'm not going to delve into the plot.

Each of the two child protagonists has several different dreams in which they must merge with NiGHTS and then fly around collecting 20 spheres in order to regain the stolen Ideya and then return to the starting point. You are on a set path (you cannot fly into the screen, though there are some sections in which you can) and each dream sequence has four sections to it before you can fight against the Nightopian of the dream. Everything is lovingly rendered in 3D, and even though the textures become rather grainy upon closer inspection, it matters not because you're almost always focused on achieving something, whether it be collecting the spheres or taking out a foe, trying to create a huge chained link for bonus points and a better grade or exploring a hidden underground area. There is some noticeable pop-up and flicker but, once again, it matters not. I defy you to show me another 3D game that looks similar to this.

The Nightmaren boss encounters are truly encounters, ones which you will not soon forget. Whether it's throwing the overgrown Puffy through breakable walls in a huge contorted passageway or gliding past huge cards being thrown in NiGHTS' direction by Jackle, you will appreciate Sonic Team's penchant for fantastical creations set against serene backdrops overflowing with lush imagery and warped colors. There are a couple of challenging Nightmarens but most of them should be undone your first time fighting them.

To say that NiGHTS' soundtrack is good would be the understatement of the year. If I were to call it beyond exceptional, well, that's more like it. The music is as imaginative as the visuals and representative of Sonic Team at their very best. Not only does every dream have its own song but each phrase (of which there is anywhere from five to seven per song) can be altered completely depending on the mood of the Nightopians which live in them. You affect their disposition towards NiGHTS by either helping them, such as hatching their eggs and such, or harming them -- even killing them! Your actions during one play session through a dream will come to fruition by the next time you enter the dream; the song will be changed in some way. The music is PCM generated during dreams and CD audio tracks during bosses. All of it is exceptional quality. Well, aside from the staff roll theme 'Dreams Dreams'. Mute your sound system or be prepared to suffer aural hernia. :annoyed:

If you love Sega, buy this game. If you hate Sega, buy this game. You need this game. I haven't even gone into the different perspectives, the sledding, NiGHTS' ability to magnetically attract everything, the freestyle bonuses.... NiGHTS ~ Into Dreams... is a magical game, one which everybody on the face of the planet can enjoy and appreciate, even those who don't care one whit about games in general. To sum it up, NiGHTS can best be described with one word: Masterpiece.

-------------------------------------------------------

For those of you fortunate enough to have gotten yourself a copy of Christmas NiGHTS, you already know how awesome an addition it is to the regular game. To recap, it was a free(!) gift from Sega/Sonic Team to Saturn owners which was included with Christmas/December issues of Famitsu, Next Generation and a couple of other publications. If you were unfortunate and didn't manage to procure a copy, some import game sellers were selling the import version (which I own).

Christmas NiGHTS is an excellent addition to the original game and adds that much more value to it by giving you a new Christmas version of Spring Valley, complete with Christmas trees, sleigh bells, reefs, snow, etc. And now Elliot can also play in Claire's dream. There are extra options galore to be unlocked in the Presents section. There's a karaoke (to which you can sing along with 'Nights Nights' -- stay away :annoyed: ), time attack, link attack, various galleries, a melody box which, if you've got the original NiGHTS in your system RAM, allows you to customize each of the dreams' songs to your liking (YESSSS!!!), the ability to play through as Reala (NiGHTS' rival) or even Sonic! If you finish the stage as Sonic, you fight against Dr. Robotnik (well, it's still Puffy, just made to look like Sonic's nemesis) and owners of the original Mega CD version of Sonic CD ought to recognize the song as the final boss theme! Too cool! If you fight against the Christmas version of Gillwing, everything is done up with Christmas decor and the song has been redone! Bonus!!!

There's more but I'll leave it at that. Chirstmas NiGHTS is an amazing show of generosity on the part of Sega. If you own NiGHTS, you'd be most wise to ascertain a copy, if possible. You can even adjust the title screen and game by changing the system clock, for crying out loud! Who else thinks of such cool details? This was well before Nintendo went on to BLATANTLY STEAL Sega's idea with that turd Animal Crossing. See that? Sega is innovative, too! :cool guy:

Here is a review of NiGHTS, with screenshots ~ http://member.telpacific.com.au/trat2422/nights.html
Here's some stuff on Christmas NiGHTS ~ http://ghz.emulationzone.org/nights/xmas/x-mas.html

Where's the sequel?

--------------------------------
High Scores

Spring Valley - 236150
Mystic Forest - 314290
Soft Museum - 233220
Twin Seeds - 116760
Stick Canyon - 198590
Frozen Bell - 253500
Splash Garden - 348000

Spring Valley (Christmas version) - 179700
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Old 03-15-2005, 03:14 PM   #1154
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Great review. If I recall, Christmas Nights will even display special graphics on certain days. Obviously if you turn the game on at Christmas, you get a Christmas title screen. I think there was a Halloween title screen and some others. Chritmas Nights was AMAZING, especially for a free game. Nowadays we're asked to pay $5 to download an extra track or a car for a lousy game like Project Gotham 2 or whatnot. Geez!

The guy who sings the Nights song... his name is Curtis. I don't remember what the bitchwhore's name is. But anyway since his name is Curtis, he simply must be mega-awesome.
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Old 03-16-2005, 06:38 AM   #1155
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Yes Joe, you can get plenty of different title screen variations depending on the system's time setting. Also, it affects the weather in-game, though I haven't experimented too much with it, it's a cool concept. Sega gave it to us for free because, unlike most every other company, they truly do care about their fans and will listen when people want something (unlike, say, Nintendo which acts of its own accord and practically ignores their fanbase).

Whenever you get around to it, I'd love to read your review of this game. But I'm still waiting for Ys VI. Are you going to review it?
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