Search Results for: wii

Annoying Scientology with Battletoads

Do you remember the game Battletoads? It is one of the most difficult games I ever played in my life, and like Contra, you need a second player if you want to get through it without cheating or dying excessively.

The reason why I am mentioning it is because there has been a sudden explosion of rumors regarding a new Battletoads game for the Wii. The second I saw the YouTube trailer, I immediately suspected it was false. At first, I noticed that their fake trailer is simply composed of other Wii-related video clips and stolen 3D videos slapped together, with a announcer talking as if he was a monster truck derby. Also, they took clips from a Red Steel trailer, so a player is slashing the Wii remote like a sword, then they show a clip of one of the Battletoads jumping in the air. This makes no sense. They even mentioned that Battletoads would be on Virtual Console soon, which also made it seem more like a scam.battletoads1.gif

Battletoads was developed by Rare, who has left Nintendo, and is now making games for Microsoft! There was talk of having GoldenEye 007 on Virtual Console some time ago, however there are many legal rights between Microsoft owning Rare, Nintendo owning the game made by Rare, and Activision now owning the James Bond franchise itself. So in order for Nintendo to get GoldenEye 007 on Virtual Console, Microsoft, Rare, Nintendo and Activision must come to an agreement which they must all abide to. This is no different than if it was the Battletoads game, or even Banjo-Kazooie or Perfect Dark. They even made Perfect Dark Zero and currently working on a new Banjo-Kazooie game for Xbox 360 with no legal issues since Rare owns all the characters and they are both new games and not remakes or ports.

battletoads2.gifOn the fake preorder website, there is a phone number that changes randomly every time it is refreshed. Each number is a Church of Scientology in multiple cities. The idea is that the unsuspecting person calls their church, and when they say "Thank you for calling the Church of Scientology", the person would say "Scientology? I thought this is the number for preordering Battletoads" Can Scientology still operate if they get all these calls about Battletoads? Yes they can! survived a wave of Denial of Service attacks and they'll survive this wave of annoying calls.

I decided to write about this because this actually brought back good memories of when I used to play Battletoads & Double Dragon on SNES. I loved the soundtrack and it was cool to have more players to choose in this one. The giant toad fist that finishes off an enemy is always entertaining and never gets boring. The beat-em-up style and weird punk-style characters made the game stand out very well in an already-crowded video game market.

In summary, I don't believe a single word until Nintendo or Rare makes a statement proving otherwise.

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Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars

Thumbnail image for mushroommen.pngI remembered Mushroom Men since its first teaser trailer released in February 2007. They never really released any information other than the fact that it's a third-person action/adventure, it will be for the Wii and DS and it involves mushrooms.

The basic plot is that a green comet flew above Earth, raining green radioactive dust. While the radiation was rendered harmless to humans, nobody noticed the mushrooms and other plants gaining sentience and starting an all-out war! What caught my attention to this game was the first trailer. It didn't show any type of gameplay or cinematics. It was a high-resolution video with a kickass heavy metal riff in the background, showing very high-quality colorful artwork of backgrounds, houses, and the toughest mutant mushrooms I have ever seen in my life. The trailer proved that this game is in fact, an IP game: Intellectual Property. Red Fly Studio came up with this concept by themselves, it is original and not a rip-off of a franchise on TV or movies.

After a few months, they released another trailer, explaining the storyline a bit more, and showed some in-development gameplay videos. A nice feature is the ability to collect objects such as toothpicks, bolts, dental floss, razor blades and even corncob holders which can be combined together to create weapons to fight against enemies. For the DS version, they revealed that it would be a 2.5D sidescroller that will be a prequel to the Wii version.

What made me think about this game was the talk about Super Smash Bros. Melee being released next month. I thought about other good Wii games that are worth buying and I realized that I completely forgot about Mushroom Men. It's been so long since I've heard about anything else, because their website didn't reveal anything new. No videos, articles, or any information about the different types of mushrooms. I thought about Battalion Wars 2 for a moment, yet I like the idea of Mushroom Men better because it doesn't seem to have those thick over-exaggerated voices that Battalion Wars 2 has. Unfortunately, Mushroom Men doesn't seem like a game that will have any online play of any kind. I really wish that more games would make more use of Nintendo WiFi Connection, I still play Picross online and its always fun. There hasn't been any new puzzles released yet for Professor Layton either. I also suck at Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass online, so it's just an offline adventure for me.

I like Intellectual Property games. It's hard to describe what makes a game an IP title. When a developer creates a game, the publishers own the rights to the name, characters and plot; there are game publishers out there who will allow the developers to keep the rights to the game that they have made, meaning that they have full control over what they can do with their game, and if they work with another publisher, they still keep the rights to that game, and can basically do whatever they want with their title. The people who will publish Mushroom Men, Gamecock Media Group, have also published Dementium: The Ward for the DS, a scary game with lots of dark shadows and annoying regenerating monsters. It was described as "Doom meets Silent Hill".

Mushroom Men is scheduled to be released some time in 2008. The Wii really needs some good games that are original, and not based on any movie licenses or mini-games. The idea of combining small household items to build weapons, the deep storyline behind the botanical war, colorful visuals and different characters will make this game stand out, and looks like a war worth taking part in. There's a lot of stuff behind this game that haven't been revealed yet, with a lot of potential of becoming a fast-paced and extremely fun game. With the freedom that Gamecock Media Group has been known for, what Mushroom Men becomes is completely up to the developers, Red Fly Studio.

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Super Mario Galaxy

It's fun, and I recommend it. It fails to reach the conceptual heights of last decade's Super Mario 64, but the games it plays with gravity and perspective and make it a unique and worthwhile platformer.

Galaxy's levels are surprisingly linear. For the most part, you start at point A, and bounce along a unidirectional graph - the tiny planetoids being nodes, and the fixed flight-routes between them the edges - until you hit the flagpole star at the end.

Several levels feature branchpoints in their routes where you can go grab a "hidden" star instead of the main one, encouraging you to play that level twice. Nice, but adding an extra arm to the graph doesn't make it less graphy.

It is not an exploration game like Mario 64. Your interaction with the environment is more like a tourist than an adventurer: land somewhere, admire the scenery, do whatever's on the itinerary for this location, and then move on to the next destination. There's no need to figure out what to do or where to go next, and almost never any backtracking.

The scenery, however, is beautiful, and those itinerary tasks are all perfectly fun, usually involving nosing around a little planet collecting things and exploiting the various crazy new power-ups this game introduces.

Small gripe: the game continues the Mario-game tradition of keeping track of lives, and awarding you with extra lives for clever exploration, valiant deeds, or just collecting lots of stuff. The trouble is that lives are meaningless to a modern platformer. You start out every Galaxy play session with five lives, and playing almost any level results in a net gain of two or three more. I typically had 15 or so lives every time I was done playing. I seldom bothered to go fetch 1up mushrooms placed in tantalizing locations. It would have been nice to replace these with something more appreciable.

You should still play it (especially if you can borrow a copy like me, ha ha). Wii owners who find themselves enjoying this game owe it to themselves to also check out the orginal Super Mario 64, which can be purchased and downloaded for $10 from the Wii Shop channel.

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Selling my Medal of Honor

I am eBaying my copy of Medal of Honor Heroes 2 for Wii. An impulse buy, mostly due to the allure of 32-person multiplayer (via Internet play). Mechanically, though, it's a full-on no-frills first-person shooter, and as such it's just not my cup of tea. I think I expected it to be more like Resident Evil 4, because it shares the mechanic of using the wiimote to aim, but now I see all the ways that RE4 is not a FPS.

It may be worth checking out if you do like FPS games and you want to see how they can work on Wii. Here is its MetaCritic page.

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Rolling Thunder 2

Though I haven't played it to the end yet, I highly recommend the 1991 Sega Genesis title Rolling Thunder 2 to all action-game fans. It just became available as an $8.00 download via Wii's Virtual Console. Someone on a Virtual Console message board said that this game is like a 2D Gears of War in the way it forces you to balance attacking with diving for cover. I thought that was great.

Not a straight-up port of the arcade game, it's an effective home-console adaptation, tweaked to encourage longer play sessions. There are lots of hidden power-ups that extend your dude's life bar past its usual amount. Its level design is pleasantly varied; while most of it is pure twitchy action, it pauses now and again to get surprisingly puzzley.

While your character can leap around in a typical video-gamey way, he's quite fragile (usually dying if shot once) and can only fire his gun while standing still. This lets the game present you with situations where the particular terrain forces you to stop and think about the best way to approach an enemy before he gets a chance to blast you, since charging them head-on won't work. (Note this when you're fighting those ridiculous blue bastards who roll bombs Donkey Kong-style down the stairs at you.) For a side-scrolling jump-n-shoot game, this is very good level design.

It's also got a two-player mode, and I have no idea how well that works yet. The single-player game alone is worth the price of admission.

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Zack & Wiki review

Zack & Wiki is the first Wii game on my "I really want to like this" pile. It's a puzzley adventure game, light on the adventure and heavy on the puzzles. (I would call it a "puzzle game" but, annoyingly, that is a loaded term referring to games like Tetris, which this is not.) It has pretty good puzzles, actually, but its attempts to use the Wii controllers makes it clumsier than it ought to be, and then the game further hobbles itself with unfortunate design decisions.

The controls aren't terrible, but they fall short of what they aim to be. Most of the time, the wiimote controls a cursor that you can use to make the hero run around, pick things up (if they're pick-uppble) or examine them (if they're not). The latter activity switches the camera to a static close-up view of the contraption under examination, where you can use the cursor to interact with specific parts of it, such as poking buttons on it.

So far, so good, but it leads into one the game's let-downs. Much of the game's selling point is its claim that discovering how things work means moving the wiimote in gestures that mimic using the items. This is technically true, but there's very little discovery involved in the process. Your character can carry one object at a time, and the option to use any object in any way at all only appears during the zoomed-in detail view of an immobile object. And even then, the held object only becomes interactive if the game has a these-two-objects-interacting animation queued up.

Once it's established that you're in a position to use the item you're holding on something else, the game stops to tell you (with an enormous screen-covering graphic) exactly how you should hold the wiimote in order to perform the object-using gesture. When it hands control back to you, a little animated caricature of the player, holding a little wiimote, shows you the one way to use the item. You either perform that one gesture to let 'er rip, or you hit B to back out.

While making a sawing motion in order to saw a tree down is kind of fun, going through this whole process quickly proves less fun than it would be to walk up to the tree and press a generic action button. Through this cumbersome hand-holding, the game makes itself seem like it would work just as well, perhaps better, with a traditional game controller. Sometimes things are slightly more interactive, such as requiring you to rotate an object before applying it, but it doesn't happen enough, or with enough net Wii-ness, to make it feel worthwhile.

It would have been significantly cooler if, while holding that saw, you could make sawing gestures with the wiimote at any time, and the hero would lay into the nearest target (which would usually be un-sawable and result in a "You can't use a saw on that, you dummy" animation, and that'd be just fine). I would bet a dollar that that was what the designers wanted, but they just couldn't get it to work right, and deadlines were looming, so they punted.

Now, I would willing to play the game through anyway, because the puzzles are cute and the characters are charming, but here we get to another problem: the as adventure games go, it can be cruel, a bit more than it really has any right to be.

Once you're more than a couple of levels in, it becomes pretty easy to either die or put the world into an unwinnable state (dropping a key item into the lava before you get a chance to use it, for example). Now, that's perfectly fine in the world of interactive fiction, where you can typically save the game anywhere you like. In Zack & Wiki, death means either starting the level over or spending some in-game gold to buy another life. That's harsher than letting you just jump back in, but it's not totally unacceptable. However, making the level unwinnable in a way that doesn't kill you always means that you have to start it all over from the beginning.

And that sucks. What you get is a chilling effect that makes you, the player, too timid to try dangerousthings. But you will anyway, because that's how these games work. And when you discover that you once again failed to catch the babel fish, and off it goes flying into the void, then you need to blow about ten minutes setting the level back up to that point again. This is not fun, and I really don't know what the heck they were thinking, especially since the puzzles themselves are often pretty good.

It's bad enough that I wonder if I'm missing something, amid all this game's generally positive reviews. I have to conclude that the reviewers either played only the first few levels, or they love doing the same things over and over again.

I hope the sequel will be better. It has lots of potential, and I love to see true puzzle games, but sadly I cannot recommend this title.

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Merry Heavily Qualified Xmas

Found unexpected unlocked WiFi, accessible only from the corner of my parents' room. As usual, Xmas here is a soup of frustration with cold chunks of grace floating in. The current crisis is Ricky refusing to eat any dinner because he caught dad spooning extra butter into the food before it went in the oven. Dad denied it (while holding the buttery spoon) and then went outside to sulk. When I went upstairs some minutes later to investigate better WiFi spots, mom triumphantly proclaimed to Ricky that his awful behavior had driven me away.

Every day is like this, with them; the only thing that makes Xmas special is that I'm here, too.

This year everyone hates the Chinese. Mom wrote "From China" on all the presents she gave, as a way of grumbling over perceived trade imbalance, and speculating on the gifts' lead content. And this has potential for actual biting humor, but then she goes and rails in all sincerity about how everything is made in China now and how we clearly lost the Cold War and I remind you this is a woman who buys everything in Marden's or Wal-Mart. I am refraining from having any conversation with her on this topic.

But my dad liked Wii Sports bowling so much he wanted to play twice, so that was pretty good. Talked to Peter and Aunt Jan on the phone.

I'll be returning tonight.

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