Now Playing: Wario Master of Disguise

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I’ve recently played and finished Wario: Master of Disguise.  There’s a certain kind of humor in the game, which I really like as it’s hilarious!

#??:  Wario: Master of Disguise

It’s a somewhat unusual but yet similar game in the franchise that makes use of the Nintendo DS stylus to control and to give Wario new and interesting Powerups. The story is quite simple: You’re Wario that’s watching TV, and growing envious of the main hero of the show you build a helmet, called Telmet, which allows you to warp inside the TV. Man is Wario a scientific genious when he wants to!!  You admire the main hero, a gentleman thief (the same one at the right in the image in the link above) named the Silver Zephyr and you proceed to barge in and steal his magic wand Goodstyle (who I imagine has a stereotypical British accent). And that’s where your new quest for riches and the search for the pieces of Wishstone begins. The story does seem as if it was developed by a 3rd party developer, which is the case…

WMOD_ArtyWarioGraphics: 7/10 This is a cartoonish game that unfortunately ended up with a bit too detailed sprites, probably since the Nintendo DS was capable of it. Probably it’s to allow for a bigger in-game screen and for a style that shows that this isn’t just another Gameboy Advance game, but it’s a shame that the colorful fantasy world of Wario’s franchise is replaced by something more “realistic”. Maybe this is because of Wario entering a TV show, but the stages look a bit bland. Also, the digitized 3D still images make this game look cheap by today’s standards (though I’d understand how they could have been considered very appealing at the time), especially when you’re introduced to each level with a generic- looking text that describes the episode title. Other than that Wario and his transformations look great, as do the antagonists in the game. Generally speaking, the small- fry enemies and most of the bosses don’t impress me that much, and the game seems as if various fans in different locations made it with all the different art styles that are seen meshed together. At least the drawn concept art shows how much force Wario uses in each strike, as his veins are outlined on his bulky arms in each transformation picture!

Wario_for_dsSounds & Music: 5/10 The music isn’t that remarkable and memorable really, but the boss music really gets you pumped up. The sound effects seem to be sampled from various games but fit together quite well, but aren’t that original (compare them to the iconic sounds used in the Mario franchise and even the Metroid ones and you’ll get what I mean). There’s not much else to say, as this department is really bland.

Space_WarioGameplay:  5/10 There are a lot of concepts in this game that were implemented wrong. The use of the touchscreen for movements wasn’t necessary at all, as the use of the D-pad and the four standard X, Y, A and B buttons would suffice enough and give a firm and responsive control-setup all along. Also, it’s widely bothersome to have to draw everything on the touchscreen, and while a nice gimmick at first to showcase the serie’s leap from the 32-bit Gameboy Advance into the 64- bit Nintendo DS, this soon shows to be superfluous and clunky. I can’t tell you how many times I drew hearts just to be presented with turds who ran on legs with bright and big eyes. I realized I’d get a heart 6 out of 10 times if I drew a circle instead, as opposed to 4 out of 10 times when I drew a downwards triangle and 2 out of 10 times when I drew a heart shape exactly as they wanted me to when I got the upgrade. And since you have to use the stylus to tackle with standard Thief Wario, you’d accidentally end up pressing too close to him which made the game think you were trying to transform him, and this made the fight against the Dolphin King really tedious. You should be able to switch between powerups using the L and R buttons and cycle through them all, or maybe even press start to do so, not through an imprecise stylus system. There are so many ways that are better than this borderline childish way of switching costumes, though I admire the courage of trying to implement something new. If this was more precise it’d have rocked istead of being a nuisance during gameplay, though I’m aware of that it must be very difficult to program code something like this into such a small touchscreen.

Otherwise the level designs are pretty straightforward with certain parts not accessible unless you acquire a certain powerup, and the puzzles are decent enough for everyone to figure out. The bosses are way harder than the levels themselves, but you’re presented with generous tips on what tranformation to use throughout them which lowers their difficult greatly. The transformations are fun to use and are all very useful bar the Electric Wario one which unfortunately doesn’t attack the enemies at all and he moves really slowly too, which is a shame since that’s by far my favorite Wario transformation design in the game. I really dislike the ruins level though as I wandered about for 50 frickin’ minutes before I found a concealed doorway that allowed me to advance!

Then there’s the treasure chest hunting, which much like in previous Wario Land games all are collected to take you towards a certain goal. While this used to be to get the biggest castle possible (with the worst scenario being that you get a hut of some kind) now they give you Disguise levels, with the goal of becoming the Master of Disguise. The mini-games that are played to open these chests take away from the main game as they break the previously built up pace and slow everything down. They vary in difficuly and increase in difficulty with each stage, and certain chests can’t be aquired unless you go back to a stage with a new transformation from a later stage. The minigames are really simple, and pretty easy to master, but the one where you have to guide the Wario head to the bottom of the net-like structure never works. I always just give up on it and wait for the next mini game to load the next time I open up the chest.

WariozillaReplay value: 4/10 Unless you want to become the Master of Disguise and revisit old levels to get all the treasure chests you couldn’t get before, this game hasn’t any replay value to speak of. I didn’t even bother to defeat the last boss. I don’t even care if there’s a completion bonus or not for doing so, and I won’t even Google about it.

 

 

Trivia: What I described above might be because Suzak, a Japan-based 3rd party developer, developed this game. They later filed for bankruptcy in 2012… yeah. That’s sad.

 

First image from: meristation.com and the rest from mariowiki.com

 

Review: Super Scribblenauts

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#??:  Super Scribblenauts

This is the sequel to Scribblenauts, a game that promised to bring something revolutionary to the Nintendo DS system, and that was a game where you could “scribble” any word in you wanted in Maxwell’s notepad, and voilá! You’d see it on the screen. Whilst most common words are available, some producing specific creatures/items, and some produce the same character (such as God or Zeus, who produce the same lighting-bolt tossing diety) but far from all words were included. Whilst that’s a logical result whilst producing such a game for the first time, the imaginative gamer in me got a bit frustrated when they wouldn’t produce some of the creatures or items I desired. This has gotten improved though in this game, so let’s get on with the review.

Graphics: 7/10 It really feels some kind of  Macromedia Flash-based game, though I’d think implementing such a game into the DS would result in failure (I’m saying this not having any kind of expertise whatsoever in that area, so take it with a grain of salt). It does look good though, with paper-cut out monsters (or is it wooden cutouts?) held together with buttons (or is it nails?) in their joints. Charming, and while not the best in graphics that the DS has to offer, it looks great for what it’s supposed to be. When compared to the first game it looks the same though, as most sprites have been recycled, probably to save time and to add more time working on adding new items, monsters and words into the game.

scribble3  The game isn’t glitch-free, though it’ll take a lot of tweaking to make one occur!

Sounds & Music: 7/10 The same few songs keep on looping in all the stages, some kind of Yoshi’s Island- esque cutesy theme which gets old quite fast. The sound effects are good though, but don’t expect much variety here either, after all, this isn’t where this title’s forte lies. Read further to find out where it lies… LIES!! It’s ALL LIES! Just kidding. Just spazzin’ out a little is all.

Gameplay:  10/10 They’ve improved quite a lot in this department, while the visuals, sounds, music and controls are pretty much the same, the word bank and the new function of adding adjectives before the nouns gives a lot of new possibilities to finish the levels. While the challenge isn’t that huge (bar that level where you have to sneak past the dragon to get the key to save the damsel in distress) there’s a lot of ways to get creative with words, such as when I defeated the last boss easily using my imagination. And that’s where the forte is of the game, you have to use your imagination to get past the obstacles. There’s little that requires you to use your brain until you pollute your environmental air with ear smoke. I managed to beat the puzzles by bypassing them with items and such. The key word is IMAGINATION. And this game gives a lot of room for using that. Forget reflexes, skills and wits, you have to revert into a small kid to beat this game.

Replay value: 9/10 There are so many ways to beat each level, and the entire game, if you’d like to that is. Replayability if also an area where the game stands strong- and with a lot of new and imaginative levels to beat you’ll get a lot of juice out of this game.

Trivia: I didn’t notice this as much, having played the first game 3-4 years prior to this one, but apparently 5th Cell, the developers of the game, tuned up the responsiveness of the game’s controls.

 

First image from: Wired.com Second Image from: Destructoid.com Third Image from: (C) MartianOddity

Review: Aliens Infestation

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#??:  Aliens Infestation

There was this little bell ringint at the back of my head when I saw this game… I don’t know if it was intuition or if I’d heard someone recommend this game in the past, in any case that bell and a price tag of 10 $  made me buy this one. And man didn’t I know what awesomeness the game had in store for me!

The game is some kind of sequel to the Alien movies starring Sigourney Weaver (or Ripley as she’s portraying in the movie), only this time your team find the same ship they find in the first movie sending a distress signal, if I recall correctly. There are guard bots and soldiers guarding the compund, and you know you’re walking into some organization’s plot to exploit the Xenomorphs once more, and it doesn’t take too long to be acquainted to your crew, and to confront your first Alien.

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You remember that alien from the first movie, the one with an elephant trunk that creeps the heck out of me? You’ll revisit it in the background, on that one same ship as in the 1st movie, and brace yourself, ’cause there’s something even more vile waiting for you ahead…

Graphics: 10/10

There aren’t many games that look this gorgeous, and I’m not only talkning about the 2D elements of the game but also the artwork featured of the cast. The style is definitely adding to the gritty and dark atmosphere of horror whilst regaining some humor when the hard-necked soldiers are speaking amongst themselves or the commander. All of these elements blend together giving a very enjoyable visual experience indeed.

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 This is one of the lighter areas of the game, a cold and sterile environment without much detail…

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Though there are more detailed facilites and millieus, such as this one detailing how the human-based Xenomorphs are produced. Feels like Biology Class all over again!

Sounds & Music: 8/10

The music, if even present at times, matches the horror and adrenaline-pumping elements of the game very well.  It’s an army inspired soundtrack with lots of classic horror-esque elements in the music, well, just think adrenaline rushing beats. The sound effects are of high quality and do complement the game very well. I remember several tunes, though not all  of them since I was too focused surviving mostly, but the one especially worth mentioning is the boss theme, just listen to this:

Gameplay: 7/10

The gameplay is really good, and the controls are perfect. You have a total of three soldiers at your disposal /marines, to be correct!) and they all look kind of the same (but not identical) and play  pretty much the same. What’s different is their personalities, if you’re interested in them, and it’s fun to encounter all of them, even though you can’t add them to your team unless you’ve got a spot for them you still can read their biographies before starting the game. You can also see which ones you’ve lost that way… They pretty much work as “Extra Lives”, but when you add their personalities to the mix it’ inevitable to get favorites. While all of the marines in my original team perished to the hands of boss aliens I only lost 8 of them. It’s not too many unless compared to those experts who have no deaths in their rosters at all (!) and have mastered this game that’s tough-as-doornails.

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They even have that knife trick minigame that they’re playing in the movies!

Its a difficult game that plays very much like the Metroid games for the Gameboy Advance, but you can see that it has been inspired by that franchise’s great gameplay and not just copied off everything. Aliens Infestation is definitely a game that, in my opinion, rivals those games in all aspects. So, if you itch for a new Metroid sidescroller and don’t know what to stratch it with, just grab a copy of this game and use its rough edges for that purpose! You’ll have to explore the facilities meticilously to be able to upgrade your weapons, which is of essence in this game, and to progress in the story. One mistake will lose youa marine though, so even if i feels good to run all over the place it’s better at times to take your time.

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An example of the dark humor of the game, gotta love this!

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 And here’s my favorite marine, he’s a dude that talks to his gun.

One thing the game has over the Metroid franchise is that it lacks diarrhea inducing coundown sequences!

Replay value: 9/10

Replaying the game I’d reckon is as much fun as playing it for the first time, as you’ll be able to kick Alien arse the second time around as you know the game mechanics and layout of the levels much better, so all in all the replay value is very high.

Trivia:

There are a total of 15 marines in addition to the ones you start off with, and each of them has unique dialogue!

 

First image from: capsulecomputers.com – Second image from: wingdamage,com  -The rest of the images taken by MartianOddity

Review: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

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#??:  The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

This game stands out in two ways. It’s not only a continuation in the same spirit of Wind Waker, adopting the same style and humor evident in that game, but also the only fully stylus controlled game in the franchise. You can control Link using the stylus to perform all kinds of tasks, like some kind of PC Mouse Light, and that adds a lot of fun and new elements into the game.

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Linebeck to the right is my favorite character in the game, he’s awesome!

Graphics: 9/10

While not exactly looking crystal sharp when comparing to modern day graphics, the small sprites and 3D elements of the game look good when compared to other Nintendo DS titles. The design is colorful and bright most of the time, though the mood and lighting changes at times to demarcate the seriousness of boss battles and such. The evil Pirate Ship looks awesome, by the way!

Sounds & Music: 10/10

As in most Legend of Zelda games (bar the Philips CDI abominations) the music and sound effects are very good. You get that Zelda feel when playing the game, and since one expects greatness one will not be surprised when that’s what one finds in this franchise (bar the CDI abominations, of course, but mentioning them might be a bit redundant right?).

Gameplay:  8/10

The game has a moderate difficulty I’d say, while I only died against the later bosses, and a fewtimes in the Phantom Hourglass segments of the temple (which I didn’t dig, by the way, as time-limited story parts always stress me out) where you not only did race against time but also had to evade those guard knights. Time limits and covert missions combined makes for a stressed and irritated MartianOddity!

The stylus controls took some time to get used to, and a few mistakes were punishing enough to make me groan a few times, but all in all it worked fairly well, but not perfectly in all settings, mind you. All in all the gameplay was very enjoyable indeed.

Replay value: 6/10

I’m a little bit torn about the replay value of this game. While a lot of fun I can’t see why you’d replay the game immediately as most items and unlockables aren’t that hard to acquire, unless you want to get all the treasure lying at the bottom of the sea and all those coveted ship parts who’ll make your vessel one that’ll fit amongst the greatest of water-borne carriages, like Titanic. For those who couldn’t care less there’s little value, well, other than trying to best one’s clear times in the temple- but I can’t fathom who’d want to do that!

Trivia:

The game was initially based on the Four Swords game and later took it’s own course.

Images from: Zelda.wikia.com

Review: Yoshi’s Island DS

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#?:  Yoshi’s Island DS

I got this game as a gift from my brother. I was genuinely surprised as I hadn’t told him I wanted this game, and then I suddenly got it for my birthday.  I was delighted! That was really delicious, truly it was.

This is a sequel to Yoshi’s Island for the SNES. as most of you already probably know, and is meant to be an improvement on all parts. The story is pretty much the same, Kamek kidnaps the… uh… kids, babies… yeah. They’re a bit too intelligent for being babies though. Anyhow, this time he manages to take Donkey Kong Jr., Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach (and so it begins), Wario and at some point you even let Baby Bowser ride you. And you will also meet Future Bowser who will betray his younger self! Exciting stuff, exciting!

Graphics: 10/10

If you thought they couldn’t update the cutesy graphics of the first game, well, you were wrong. They look better, sharper and more detailed. The levels are bigger and you get more of an overview over the levels. All in all a pretty game that isn’t for those weak to all things cutesy, who will show their weakness to that kind of stuff through projectile vomiting. Once again they left the Donkey Kong Country esque graphics out of the game, meaning we didnt get pre-rendered 3D sprites in this game either. That’s fantastic as we don’t need another game looking like that, or Bug! either. By the way, Bug! controls really bad… and it makes me slightly nauseous. Anyhow, let’s get on with the rest of the review!

Sounds & Music: 6/10

yoshis_island_ds_conceptart_v8KwBThough adorable in nature, the music quality and the tunes have gotten better, though I wouldn’t say it’s that much better than in the last game. With that many visuals to catch your attention I guess music isn’t the highest priority in production, though I’d reckon they tried. The sound effects are very good though (bar the crying and stuff, but that’s self-explanatory). I wouldn’t say the crying itself is irritating as a sound effect alone… but coupled with the stress, that having to quickly get that baby back accounts for, that makes for a great source of frustration.  Needless to say, playing the game with little to no volume won’t hurt it.

 

Gameplay: 8/10

largeBeing able to switch between more than one baby and utilizing their respective skills is really what makes this game stand apart from its predecessor. Not only do they use their “powers” but also affect Yoshi in different ways, such as making him swifter or slower. This affects a lot of segments of the game, mixing things up and keeping them interesting. The only con is that Wario usually is less than useful, and also not available throughout the whole game. He checks in early and then checks in pretty soon after that, probably in search for stealing treasure and other glittering things. Another con is that the challenge bar can be set quite high at some segments, such as those when you’e chased by some kind of living boulder thingy, and I felt that I passed them using a combination of luck and skill, luck making up the most of them. The aiming has gotten better and the bosses are much easier this time around. All in all a solid 8.

 

Replay value: 6/10

Once again, unless you’re really anal about scores there really not much in the replay value compartment. You can collect all hidden items if you’d like to.

Trivia:

BabyWarioIGN felt that Baby Wario was a last minute addition that wasn’t tested properly and call his magnet “wonky,” and says it “misses items that are right next to him.” They’re correct in the magnet’s inferior quality, but I’m just glad they added Wario into the game! I mean, Peach is a princess with a high-end umbrella that can withstand the strongest of gusts while Wario probably has a fixation for treasure due to being born to a poor family.

 

Images from, in chronological order:  Splondinator.com, ggvogue.blogspot.se, nintendolife.com and mariowiki.com

Game Review: Contra/Probotector

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Alright, this isn’t a Contra Vs. Probotector post. This is basically just a review of Probotector, which is a censored version of Contra. Europe got Probotector and the rest got Contra.

#??:  Probotector/Contra

I remember that the first time I played Probotector was at a friend’s place. I never used to own the game myself. Then I remember playing Contra on a Famicom clone at my aunt’s place as well, which was badass. But I have to say that hardcore robots fighting other robots and aliens is a much more badass concept than shirtless dudes fighting other dudes, aliens and ‘bots.

Graphics: 8/10

The game looks very good but doesn’t exactly sport the best graphics on the NES, but being an action shoot-em-up game that really doesn’t mean as much. It delivers just what’s needed and there isn’t any lag when hell breaks loose on the screen. Also I think those psuedo 3D segments just before the level boss’ are pretty rad.

Sounds & Music: 10/10

The music is catchy as fudge and the sound effects are very good, they really manage to bring satisfaction in the destruction of everything moving on the screen. I really enjoy listening to the iconic tunes of the first stage and the ones of the boss battles.

Gameplay:  10/10

The challenge bar is set quite high. While not impossible to beat without the Konami code it’s really hard to survive on 4 lives when every single thing takes one puny hit to take ye down. We needed the Konami code and 2 continues to beat the game, while for the average gamer that’d maybe be a bit too much it turned out to be what we needed. That said we found the game easier than when we were kids, and were really surprised when we realized we’d reached the last level.

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The last level of the game, amongst an aliens innards and organs.

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Surprised we realized we’d reached the last boss… a giant pulsating heart.

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This was our reward for beating the game. We couldn’t believe we did it!

All in all a very satisfying and entertaining experience. I actually think we did good!

Replay value: 10/10

In 2 Player mode I’d consider the game to be very replayable indeed, and it’ll keep being challenging even then. I’d never grow tired of this game. Shooting things up is just too fun.

Trivia:

From Wikipedia:  Several computer versions were done outside Japan, by Ocean in Europe for the C64, CPC and ZX, and by Banana Software in North America for DOS based PCs.

Hah!

Banana Software.

First image from: http://www.falselogic.net

Review: Pokémon Puzzle League

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#??:  Pokémon Puzzle League

Most gamers know what Tetris Attack is, and maybe even what Panel De Pon is. They’re the same puzzle game which truly was innovative when it was released, and feature an array of different characters from the original cast of the Japanese games to Yoshi and even Pokémon.

Graphics: 7/10

The game looks cheap when it comes to the menus and such, but that might be because they wanted to makeit look kiddish and to follow the art style of the 99’s -early  00’s. The images are of good quality and the movies in the cart are of decent quality. Nothing spectacular in other words but your eyes will refrain from bleeding.

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Sounds & Music: 7/10

The music is of MIDI quality which isn’t that good, but are versions of familiar tunes to the Pokémon anime fan which is a huge plus. I guess they couldn’t add instrumental music because of space limitations, I mean they did have movies in the game after all and that’s grand for being on the N64.

Gameplay:  10/10

There’s a lot to do in the game, whether is the “League” or other modes of Tetris Attack, and there is honestly little new in this game when compared to others. As usual there’s Puzzle, Marathon and Line Clear in Easy mode onwards as well an unlockable Very Hard. Super Hard and Insane mode. I’ve gotten pretty far on Super Hard, mainly due to luck and 60 continues, but had only trouble with Gary and Mewtwo in Very Hard mode. So there’s space for improvement for the gamer and lots of puzzle fun.

You can use Pikachu, Bulbasaur and Squirtle but there is no Charmander to be seen in the game.

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Replay value: 10/10

I really like the Tetris Attack series, and for fans and non-fans alike there’s much to the replay value of the game as the game itself is easy to learn but difficult to master.

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Trivia:

Hidden inside the code of the game are two unused voice clips, presumably from staff saying  “Yumi-chan, I love you” in Japanese and the other saying “I love you Liz.” in English. (from vgfacts.com). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVteF8wxqEY


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And as y’alls can see, I gots myself the Master Trophy. I’m a Pokémon (Puzzle League) Master!

First image from: http://www.giantbomb.com