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Old 10-08-2003, 08:28 AM   #301
Icarus4578
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Actually, that's the only way I've played it, so I don't know. Hmmm.

I've altered the review considerably to make it better. Go figure.

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Old 10-11-2003, 12:29 PM   #302
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Spellbinding

Dungeon Explorer II - TurboDuo/PC Engine Super CD - Rating 7
I don't understand people, particularly people that work at game magazines. When TurboGrafx came out alongside Sega Genesis it got comprehensive coverage and some great reviews. And then along came Super NES and from thereon it was rocky mountain climbing for NEC. Not that they didn't have it coming to them; aside from Hudson Soft and Working Designs, few companies had faith in the system, and so you would've at least expected NEC to peruse the MASSIVE catalog of software available for PC Engine in Japan for possible US release consideration. And, to be honest, I expected game magazines to also be more vocal about the maltreatment of NEC towards a loyal fanbase, much of whom knew full well what great software they were missing out on. NEC/Hudson Soft seemed to care very little about that thing we call 'presentation'. Have you ever seen the US box cover art for the original Dungeon Explorer? Take a good hard look at it ~ http://www.workingdesigns.com/museum...orer_front.jpg Just one question: Who drew that? Or, more appropriately, who looked at that and gave it their approval? If there was ever a prize for crappiest box cover artwork, Dungeon Explorer would have to be included in the top ten. I can't imagine kids in a store seeing that and going "Wow! That game looks really awesome! Buy it for me mom!" And it's not just this game that suffers from this dreaded curse. Many other TurboGrafx games look just as terrible.
Why make such a fuss about something so seemingly trivial? Because with crap box cover art like that it's no suprise that NEC wasn't exactly giving Sega/Nintendo a run for their money. It DOES make a difference. Now, take a look at the cover art for Dungeon Explorer II (it's an ad but that's still the cover art) ~ http://www.pcenginefx.com/TS/ad_7.html Tell me that's not a full 180 degree turnaround. If NEC had advertised their games like this during their first couple of years in the US market (and brought over more of the great Japanese PC Engine games) they could've really given Sega and Nintendo a hard time. But they didn't.
Dungeon Explorer II is a great game that was overlooked by the sellouts at the game magazines at that time. In fact, because of their consistent habit of ranking on Turbo softs NEC felt reluctant to bring more great games over here. Now you know why I get on these idiots' asses for how they almost single-handedly RUINED NEC's chances in our market. Had games like DEII got the recognition it deserved, NEC would've pulled in more sales, and the system would've flourished. When you talk about games like Fatal Fury II, Street Fighter II Championship Edition, Dracula X, Ys IV, and just floods of RPGs, shooters, action titles and the like you're sure to turn more than a few heads your way. I suppose the point is open to debate since it never happened here. So, to all of you that are responsible for the eradication of NEC from our shores (and you know who you are) I'd just like to take a moment to thank you. Thank you for making those years all the less enjoyable. Thank you for practically ignoring the Japanese software. Thank you for all those supposedly intelligent essays on how gaming should be done, only to marginalize NEC while you would frolick around with all the glitzy new software which, mysteriously, was apparently only coming out for Sega and Nintendo consoles.
Thank you for making the gaming world a better place. You losers.
And so, onto the review. Dungeon Explorer II may not be the most graphically impressive feat nor offer the most complex gameplay, but it does have something lacking from even the most sophisticated software -- personality. It bears more than a passive resemblance to Gauntlet, but I'll go on record as saying that DEII is five times more enjoyable than any Gauntlet game I've ever played.
If you wait at the title screen, a cinema comes up showcasing all eight of the initially selectable characters: Liot the bard, Aldan the hunter, Sepia the thief, Sorn the priest, Dooze the dwarf, Feena the elf, Elfaim the wizard, and Alex the fighter. It also shows Natas going after the Ora Stone which contains enough power to destroy the world (why oh why does almost every villain seek to destroy the world!? ). The opening sequence is quite lengthy for a TurboCD game and is impressive not the least bit due to the fact that most every game's cinematics on those 16-bit CD systems were all done pixel-by-agonizing pixel. Afterwards, you start up the game, select your starting character (you and up to four friends can play together), and then the prologue continues with more to the cinema, including showing the final battle from DE. After that, it's off you go.
The first thing DE veterans will notice is that you can talk to anybody you want, unlike the original. The towns have a more RPG feel to them than before. But wait. The first DE only had one town with occassional housing scattered about the land. This one has actual towns (though they all look similar). You have four stats to your character: Agility, Attack, Power, and Intelligence, and all of them can be built up by obtaining the proper item or by obtaining the proper stones. Button II shoots your projectile weapon and with button I you can use either White Magic which puts a protective barrier around you for a limited time, or Black Magic which increases strength for a limited time (press select to switch between magics). You can choose to display your character's stats, level and HP, the 25 character password, or save at any time. That's pretty much all there is to game controls. Simple, yeah? That's what makes this game so enjoyable. There's a grim reaper in towns who you can play blackjack with to gain lives. You'll need them later on, trust me. There's also a bar in which you can restore your health and switch which character you want to control.
There's plenty of caverns, dungeons, and everything in-between throughout the game. Enemies act like they did in the original DE. They'll usually travel directly towards you, some throwing projectiles, some more sturdy than others, etc. The enemies mostly come from portals which can be destroyed. There's also booby traps and such scattered about such as spikes which shoot out of the ground and walls. There are various items scattered about the locations, such as boots of agility, ring of resistance, seed of life, and a reflector. There is no inventory per se, but when you acquire a stat-building power up it remains until you've lost. Bosses are plentiful and include a tree with a face on its bark that shoots leaves like boomerangs, a half-woman/half-lizard that shoots at you and teleports around the screen, a huge crab that charges towards you, and many more. There are cinemas which help add some spice to the story, which isn't anything too noteworthy. Whenever you make it to a new town you can always ask the strange robed character that resides in every town to warp you to any town you've previously encountered. Sometimes you'll rescue people who act as hidden characters you can play as (they each give you a password). There's even a robot as a hidden character!
The music is done by the JKD Sound Team which also worked on Ys and Dragon Slayer games. The music is varied and befitting, ranging from rocking dungeon themes to more ambient, serious stuff like you'd expect in a good RPG. Some of the music is done by the system's sound processor rather than CD and while it's decent stuff, it just isn't as good as the original DE music. At least the CD tracks rock. If you were one of the fortunate ones then you, like myself, own a copy of Hudson Game Music Collection as seen here ~ http://www.altpop.com/stc/reviews/hud93.htm It contains various tracks from several Hudson Soft releases such as Dragon Slayer II, Riot City, and of course Dungeon Explorer II. It's quite good.
Overall, I recommend DEII to all of you that already have a TurboDuo/PC Engine Super CD. By its own merits it is a fun game and you as well as some friends can have some fun with the multi-player mode. Just don't go hogging all the items, ok? I don't recommend you rush out and purchase a TurboDuo just for this game though. Only buy one if you're interested in RPGs (mostly in Japanese), shooters, and old-school gaming that got overlooked in the US market.
I'll let you in on a personal observation. Most of the reviews I read are dissolute and try to sport savvy and hip rhetoric in order to brainwash you into buying this and that. They're always taking the offensive whenever somebody else makes a point fitted with some truth that they can't stand to face, such as "Why justify purchasing FFX-2 when it sucks and is the same game as FFX?" They'll usually come up with some stupid quip like "Because it's Final Fantasy, duh!" Is that right...? Is that why I should pay my money for a game (for its name)? Instead of actually telling you what, if anything, has actually been improved/added (in FFX-2's case, NOTHING) they act like the name and graphics are more than sufficient enough reasoning to justify the purchase. I'll tell you why they really do that; because they're all paid off. I'm making a plea to the few who'll hear me ~ don't support SquareEnix. Show them that they have to actually earn your money by making a good product rather than shelling out the same old bullsh*t every year just so they can cash in. Am I bitter? Why should'nt I be? I'm sick of constantly being told what to do by a bunch of nobody sell-outs that don't give a damn anymore about content and quality. Besides, they deserve something in return for helping to ruin NEC.
Perhaps Dungeon Explorer II doesn't have the glitz and the flash of a game like FFX-2, but at least when I play DEII I know that Hudson Soft worked hard to try and provide us with a good product. It's a more than worthy sequel to the original and that's far more than deserves to be said about FFX-2.

Last edited by Icarus4578; 04-02-2004 at 05:09 AM.
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Old 10-11-2003, 09:37 PM   #303
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The day Square/Enix makes a good game is the day I grow a 4th nut. I have never liked any one of their games. They bore me to tears.

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Old 10-13-2003, 05:16 PM   #304
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The end of the future

Super Metroid - SNES - Rating 10
A decade has elapsed since the release of one of gaming's most cherished creations. It is therefore a fitting time for a re-review and see what (if anything) has matched it.
There's probably never going to be another Metroid as unflawed as this one. Released in 1994, Super Metroid exceeded everyone's highest expectations with the most immaculate action/adventure gaming experience of a lifetime. Featuring breathtaking visuals, perfected gameplay, an eerie, moody soundtrack, astounding boss battles, and some of the absolute best game structure and level design to be found to this day. I cannot begin to accurately describe the feeling of playing this game for the first time; it was a once in a lifetime encounter, one which gave definition to a then-unpopulated genre. Because of Metroid's influence, we were treated to another of gaming's greatest achievements with Castlevania ~ Symphony of the Night, which is a condensation of the well trained core elements of the Castlevania series combined with the structure of Metroid. It is, in a word, excellence.
If you haven't yet experienced the sci-fi thriller that is Super Metroid, drop whatever it is you're doing (in this case, reading my review), go find a copy and experience it. That should prove a better description than I could ever design. I don't often give a perfect rating but this game, ten years later, still deserves it and more.
The direct sequel to Metroid II ~ Samus Returns for GameBoy, Samus Aran returns to the planet Zebes to do battle with Mother Brain and relocate and recover the baby Metroid which was captured from the research facility by Ridley. The opening sequence is still creepy and majestic in its own personal way.
Planet Zebes is just as mysterious as in the original and the all too familiar sub-locations on Zebes' surface and within her interior such as Norfair, Brinstar, Maridia, Crateria, etc. The graphics are polished to perfection and look phenomenal and help create an atmosphere that is foreign, unnerving, and inspirational all at the same time. Samus herself animates wonderfully, and all of the enemies and bosses are designed with equal attention to detail. Super Metroid has no weak spots to it; everything leaves an impression and nothing feels forced or cheap about any of it.
As with every Metroid, you find various weaponry and ability-boosting equipment. There's an inventory menu where everything is accessible so you're never at a loss. A big improvement over the original is that when you collect a weapon such as the ice beam or wave shot you keep it forever, whereas in the original you could only hold one weapon at once. There's also comprehensive maps for you to fill in and search through. Searching is half the fun. You'll find health and missle power ups galore, hidden pockets in walls and floors, and locations which aren't accessible until you've acquired the proper equipment. Everything you want in an action/platform title is to be found here in spades. Nothing disappoints.
With Super Metroid comes one of the most accomplished soundtracks not just in comparison to other Nintendo/SuperNES softs but gaming in general. Weird, foreboding, nerve wrenching, scary, dominating, quiet, mysteroius.... that is an accurate description of the music. It's not that any of the stuff is gonna make you want to blast it on your stereo for listening pleasure, but it enforces the moods and feelings of the locations and events that occur. All of the sound effects are, of course, perfect.
Super Metroid outshines every other installment and proves that time cannot defeat beautiful design, only compliment it. Will there ever be another action/adventure game as flawless? I don't know, but I'll be the last one to complain if another game (presumably another Metroid) comes along and equals this. That should prove to be nothing short of a monumental task.
Here's yet another perfect game for us to embrace and admire for the decades. Thank you Nintendo for such passionate effort.

Here's one of the best game sites that I have ever seen. It features amazing stuff on Super Metroid, Secret of Mana, Zelda ~ A Link to the Past, Chrono Trigger, and more. Check it out now ~ http://mmxz.zophar.net/rpg/metroid3/bosses.html

As I'm nearing a year of reviewing here, I'd like to give a special thanks to Magic Box and all of its members for an amazing year of gaming discussions and ideas shared, even though it hasn't been that great a year in gaming. Thank you all.

I'll be back...

Last edited by Icarus4578; 10-16-2004 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 10-18-2003, 09:00 PM   #305
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Please be patient. The Castlevania review is coming this week, as well as others.
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Old 10-19-2003, 05:03 PM   #306
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Quote:
Originally posted by Icarus4578
Please be patient.
*looks around*

Sure... We will try to hold back the excitement.
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Old 10-19-2003, 06:31 PM   #307
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You're gonna review Castlevania right away? Why not play through it first for a more accurate review?
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Old 10-19-2003, 10:17 PM   #308
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Icarus, it is quite interesting that you don't even refer GC's Metroid Prime... I would like to know why you did that. Do you NOT consider prime a Metroid game? I have my own opinion on the matter, and I would like to see your views...

Anyway, excelent review.
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Old 10-20-2003, 08:34 AM   #309
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Nin-In-Eilph, are you being sarcastic just because you're still bitter about my reviews (my opinions) of Mario 64 and Mario Golf?

Joe Redifier, trust me that I'll play the life out of it before I review it. I'm also gonna do Tiger Woods PGA Tour for X-Box because everybody said it's so great (and because I want to cover the X-Box more).

Kojiro Hyuga, I did refer to Metroid Prime when I compared Super Metroid to no less than every other Metroid game and said SM is the best in the series. MP offered me one of the best 3D worlds I've ever played in a video game, and was perhaps the most realized sequel of a Nintendo series to date on GC; a great Metroid game that I want to play through again. SM is still far and away the better of the two in my opinion. It's just flawless. That experience was one of the best I've ever had in gaming, as I said in the review.
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Old 10-20-2003, 08:37 AM   #310
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Yes. :(
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Old 10-20-2003, 06:42 PM   #311
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Well I'm sorry to say this but my opinion of those games is final. That doesn't mean I don't love Nintendo. Just look at my ratings for games like Super Metroid, Yoshi's Island, Zelda ~ Link's Awakening and the like (all 10's). Nintendo has scored more perfect ratings from me so far than any other company for a very good reason; they make games with unrivaled quality and value. I don't dislike Mario 64 but I feel that it is far from the best Nintendo can do with Mario in 3D, like in the way Super Mario Bros. (NES) is compared to Super Mario World (SNES) or even Mario 3 (NES). The two latter games are far better, though that doesn't mean I don't like SMB.

It's just an opinion and I cannot force you to feel the same way. Just take it for what it is and keep blazing. :cool guy:
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Old 10-20-2003, 07:26 PM   #312
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I?m disagree with your FFX rating...

for me:

FFX = 8.9/10
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Old 10-21-2003, 09:49 AM   #313
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Let's dance

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 - X-Box - Rating 7
Let me say right off the bat that I don't particularly enjoy golf games, and I don't much care for the actual sport. Once in awhile something comes along and changes your preconceptions. In my case, TWPT2003 did just that. Oh sure, there have been enjoyable/semi-enjoyable golf games I've played in the past: Arnold Palmer Golf (Genesis), Hot Shots Golf series (Playstation), Top Player's Golf (Neo Geo), and how about the original Golf (NES)? But oh have there been some painful experiences that I shall not forget: Jack Nicklaus Turbo Golf (TurboGrafx 16) and Mario Golf (GameCube). All I can say is Tiger Woods is not just one of the most fun golf games that I've ever played, but one of the best sports games in general, and that covers a lot of ground.
There's a plethora of modes and options for you to utilize, including create a player and keep building the stats by earning money from winning tournaments and such. There's a wide selection of real and fake male/female golfers you can select from, some of which are far out there like a sumo golfer who does a squat before he swings the club. Though it's somewhat gimmicky it is nevertheless pretty funny to see in a golf game. (And no, Bob Barker isn't to be found anywhere in this game, so all you ladies can rest easy.) When I first heard the background music for the menu screens I went straight into audio options and shut it all off (it's real bad, trust me). C'mon, EA Sports Trax which includes the likes of Saliva, Boy Sets Fire, 12 Stones, Ash, etc.? Who wants to listen to this crap? When you first play the game you're giving a tutorial of how to play the game properly with Tiger demonstrating how to do everything. The announcer immediately catches your attention with some pretty clever analogies, such as calling the green the "dance floor". After you've completed the tutorial you can play pretty much any mode you want, and the Play Now mode becomes just that. You're given several predicaments with which you must succeed in doing a half-decent job with. Success equals more money and trophies. The money is used to build stats such as power, accuracy, spin, approach, recovery, putting and luck. The other modes include Stroke Play, Match Play, Skins, Tournaments, Online Events (until January 2004), Practice, Speed Golf and Skill Zone. I won't waste time describing each mode in detail. If you're interested in this game then just go buy it and check them out for yourself. I take that back; even if you're not interested in this game buy it anyways. There's a good chance you'll enjoy it.
The game controls are deviously easy to understand yet difficult to master. You pull back on either analog stick to prepare the swing and then press it in the opposite direction to swing. In-between the preparation and the actual swing you can press the white button rapidly to build the power of the shot. If it builds to an extreme point the shot will be super-powered and the ball will shoot off like a cannon shot complete with a blasting sound. It will cut to a small cinematic when you do certain things such as this. For example, it will show Tiger back up and get a small running start before his swing (just like Adam Sandler in the comedy Happy Gilmore), and as the ball travels through the air the camera switches to a closeup of his face, eyes focusing steadily on the trajectory of the ball in midair, and then you see it come down, followed by either a victory pose or a severely upset Tiger (if that's who you're playing as). Usually, tough shots and close calls are shown in seeming slow motion with a heartbeat thumping away. If you want to, you can speed up the action by holding the A button down so you don't have to wait as long for the ball to get to wherever it is you've hit it. If you hold the B button down before you shoot the camera will zoom up to wherever you're aiming, and if you're on the green it will travel to the hole and then to an overhead position from which you can make fine adjustments. Very useful. You switch clubs with L and R and the D-pad is used to aim and change the desired range of the shot. If your backwing shows a yellow arc then you're setting up for a slice, and if it's a blue arc then it will be a hook shot. There's more, but you'll have to play it to find out.
The graphics are fantastic and every character model is extremely detailed. The animation is lifelike as it should be with motion capture. Every course is done to extreme detail and the weather effects are also very impressive, especially when there's rain and lightning. If you have a surround sound system, the thunder sounds real, so real in fact, I actually was fooled into thinking that it was actually happening outside! I've never been fooled like that in a game (or even a movie) so that should tell you something. All the sound effects are perfect and the voices are done especially well. "That'll play Billy." Just remember to shut the music off completely.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 is one of the better X-Box games which I've played. I don't tend to enjoy golf games but this one hooked me and won't let go. EA Sports has outdone themselves and I don't see how they (or anybody else) can do much better. Buy it! Buy it! Buy it!

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Old 10-21-2003, 11:48 AM   #314
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Good review. Why only a 7 though? The review seemed very positive, like the score should have been in the 8.0 to 9.0 range. Ever try Neo Turf Masters(NGPC) and Awesome Golf(Lynx)? Those are some good golf games.

Are you going to try Links 2004? Dave Halverson of Play just reviewed it and he gave it a A and said it was better than Tiger Woods 2004. He even called it the best golf game ever, better than Arnold Palmer Golf and Top Players. Plus it is made only for the Xbox, which means online play, online tournaments, custom soundtracks, enhanced lighting and particle effects, advanced bump mapping and texture mapping for awesome looking courses.
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Old 10-21-2003, 02:16 PM   #315
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Dave Halverson rates everything extremely high.

Is this a review of Tiger Woods 2003 or 2004? 2004 just came out a few weeks back. I don't think Billy is in 2004, but what the hell do I know?
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