Posts tagged “DS

Madder Than A Mountain Full of Madness

Every now and again as you wander through your Friendly Local Games Store, you see something that makes you go “Eh?” quickly followed by “Noooo, they can’t have done” and “How in the blue blazes is that going to work?” (Or, you know, something along those lines). I had that very experience last weekend, when a tootle round Grainger Games revealed this intriguing oddity:

Yes, that is H.P. Lovecraft’s Mountains of Madness. And yes, that is a jewel puzzle game. My one previous attempt at a jewel puzzle game ended badly, but this was something I just had to see…

At its heart, Mountains of Madness (well, this version anyway) is a hidden object and match-3 puzzle, with a bit of “figure out how to get the jewels out of ice/hideous statues of Elder Gods” action thrown in for good measure. It must be said, carrying out a hidden object search through the frozen corpses of hideously murdered Antarctic explorers isn’t something you’d want to do every day, but its certainly a new twist on the format (particularly when, if you click on said corpses, there are some pithy statements made about the poor person involved). One particular comment about a person trapped under an overturned sled looking a bit distressed made me laugh somewhat inappropriately (and he, at least, was still alive).

Some of the match-3 games are tricky, but not in a “throw your DS across the room in a fit of pique” way. Plus you earn tools that, once you figure out how to use them, can be tremendously useful in beating some of the harder puzzles. Although be warned: one of the tools lets you switch the colour of every stone on the board, which can actually put you in a worse position than the one you started in. You also earn trophies as you progress through the game, although it’s a bit idiosyncratic as to when it hands them out. I received the one for playing for three hours before I got the one for playing for two and I’m still waiting for the one you get for achieving 12 other trophies.

The story, as you would imagine, has been massively abridged and monkeyed with to make it fit the game format. Some of the translation leaves a lot to be desired, both in what some of the objects in the puzzles are called (I’m sorry, but a glass beer stein is not the same thing as a jar) and also in terms of the passages of narrative text, particularly at the end of the game where it all gets very confusing.

One of the main ways the game shines, though, is in the artwork. The backdrops for the puzzles are beautifully painted and very atmospheric. You’ll again get comedy comments if you click on certain items (“I wouldn’t want to meet the thing that posed for that statue!” etc) which shows that although their translation skills may be a bit duff, the designers have a very good eye and a sense of humour.

It’s a truly oddball thing, this game. I suspect hard-core devotees of Lovecraft will hate it because of what it’s done to the story, but it actually gives a little more interest to the proceedings. After all, if I hadn’t been bamboozled by the concept in the first place, I never would have bought it. And that would have been a real shame; it neither drove me mad nor reached new peaks of gaming experience, but it was fun and compelling and that’s pretty much all of what I ask for in a game.

~FuschiaBegonia


See You In Salem

Still on the search for a cracking puzzle game to tide me over until the next Professor Layton dramafest, I picked up a pre-owned copy of “Hidden Mysteries: Salem Secrets – Witch Trials of 1692” by GSP. It had good reviews elsewhere (when will I ever learn?) and it looked sufficiently different plot-wise to pique my interest.

You arrive in Salem to investigate the disappearances of four girls, only to find that the entire town has shut itself up and there’s no-one to help you. And this is where the major problem with the game arises: in any other puzzler like this, you’d go and talk to people to try and get an idea of where you have to go next and what you need to do. Not here; there are no clues, which tends to leave you blundering about rather a lot. The little booklet that comes with the game doesn’t explain much either, to such an extent that towards the end of the game I discovered a hints option hidden on a menu screen that isn’t even mentioned in the guide. It might have made things easier earlier on, but long before then I’d resorted to a walkthrough (something I usually avoid using at all costs because it always feels like cheating).

In terms of the puzzles, you have reasonably standard hidden object games, some logic puzzles and some that I have absolutely no idea how you’re meant to solve without the walkthrough (unless you’ve psychically discovered the hints menu right at the beginning and even then, I’m not so sure). Puzzle games are great if you know what the rules of the puzzle are, but far too often in this game you’re left dangling as none of them are explained. I’m still not sure how, as a character with no knowledge of witchcraft, I was supposed to figure out what to do to release the second girl from her ensorcellment, or know what the components of a spell recipe are. But then, I’m not sure how I should know which way the town’s apothecary likes their shelves arranging, either. Part of this isn’t helped by the tiny graphics on the DS’ upper screen, but this isn’t true in all cases. If you do get utterly fed up, there is a skip button which allows you to bypass the puzzles, which on one occasion I did actually use because even with the walkthrough and the hints menu, I still had no idea what I was supposed to do.

Other platforms’ version of this game apparently have a map, which would have been really useful, given that until I caved in and found the walkthrough, I was convinced there were only two streets in the town. There are no arrows to show you possible directions for investigation, leaving you randomly tapping bits of the screen just to see if there’s a hidden footpath somewhere. On top of that, the game does a stunning Michael Crichton and just stops all of a sudden, even though the on-screen dialogue suggests there should be something more.

All in all, it’s a bit of a wasted opportunity, this game. The atmosphere is spooky and the storyline not that bad, but a few suspicious townsfolk to guide you on your way would have given it a huge boost in terms of both tone and playability. Maybe if I’d found the hint menu earlier, I wouldn’t have felt so flummoxed. But because of that frustration, I’m not willing to go back and give it another go just to see.

And so, the hunt for the perfect puzzle game continues…

~fuschiabegonia


Mayan Mayan Mayan

You don’t get a great deal for trade-in games for the DS at the moment; I suppose that’s because its old-hat now, what with all this shiny 3D malarkey. Still, the shops don’t do too badly out of the deal and it must be said that if I’m not sure about a game, I’ll pick it up second hand rather than fork out for the brand-spanking new version. Sorry, should really say “pre-owned”, shouldn’t I? I wonder why they do that?

Having had a bit of a bad day (long story, involves handbags and shoes), the Prof (also one with an eye for a bargain) arrived home with a pressie for me in the shape of “Amazing Adventures: The Forgotten Ruins”, a puzzle game from Ubisoft set on a South American archaeological dig. Its your task to rootle around in the jungle in search of a missing Mayan Temple, all the while thwarting your arch-nemesis, a rather pudgy, beardy and rather naughty Indiana Jones type. Actually, if you think Indy versus Belloq, you won’t go far wrong. Except the special effects aren’t as good. There’s no giant rolling boulders, for a start. Or Nazis. But other than that…

Predominantly a hidden object game (there’s a lot of ‘em about), you do get to play mahjong, spot the difference and do jigsaw puzzles for a bit of light relief. It’s also a surprisingly long game. You have to find 17 specific items to unlock the various mini-games and I assumed that after you’d found those, the game would end; but no, on you go for another ten chapters. And you can win trophies too, which is all very nice.

The plot is wafer-thin with a fairly predictable twist, but the music is jolly and there’s a lot of play in it. It does get a bit wearing
as you go back to the same locations over and over again (just how many times do you need to search an aircraft to prove there isn’t an ancient religious site hidden somewhere in the onboard loo?) but at least you can see the objects clearly and unlike some other games I could mention, you’ve really got to be going some to trigger the random tap penalty.

There are other games available in the Amazing Adventures series, but they all appear to be for the PC, which is actually a bit of a shame. Despite the repetition, I wouldn’t have minded learning a bit more about our hero’s adventures. Fingers crossed they get their act together and bring out a new one soon, or at the very least, translate the existing ones to hand-held.

~FuschiaBegonia


Lone Wolf Cub (Okamiden – Nintendo DS)

It’s a bit weird when Deities have kids. Take the Greeks: they either leap out of their parents’ heads, or discarded testicles end up morphing into grown women. Then if they’re not eating each other, they’re breeding with each other.

Thankfully Okamiden‘s tale of the prodigal son is not quite as decadent. The main protagonist is Chibiterasu, son of wolf-Goddess Amaterasu of Okami fame. As the cute and excitable Chibi, you must follow the path set by your mother with the guidance of chirping bug-guide Issun.

I’d like to point out that despite my best intentions, I never sat down and played Okami properly. However, I did manage to wrangle myself a quick demo thanks to a Game store manager friend. Maybe I’m a little under-qualified, but the main differences between both games are pretty obvious.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to guess what the main differences will be: just look at the platforms. You could never hope to recapture the visuals of the Wii on the handheld DS – at least not at the moment. Look at Mariokart DS versus Mariokart Wii: there’s no comparison. So perhaps it isn’t fair of me to say that if Okami is akin to Hokusai, Okamiden is a crayon replica.  Brush strokes aren’t quite as smooth, and scenery didn’t quite ‘blend’: Chibi stood out as a completely separate object from the background, reminding me of a time when polygons ruled supreme and everything looked like a virtual Mount Rushmore. It made me feel a tiny bit like Okamiden was a step back a few generations rather than the bright young thing it promised to be.

For all my (possibly unjustified) picking at the visuals, the gameplay is as fun and frisky as Chibiterasu himself. Your circle pads unleash a bundle of smooth melee attacks so Chibi can bash and crash his way through enemies, bushes and crockery like there’s no tomorrow. Chibi can now leap and even vine whip his way across the landscapes, but beware of lag between sections of the game: sometimes you can find yourself having to wait (admittedly only a few seconds) for the game to catch up. The stylus lends itself elegantly to sweeping brushstrokes, and it’s a lot of fun to swirl and sweep your way through battles (although you do have to watch your ink pot level, running out mid-flow is a bit of a downer).

We all know how much kids hate being compared to their parents, but you can’t help but notice that Okamiden feels like a big game stuffed into a small console when stood beside Okami. Play on and you’ll be rewarded with Chibi’s new abilities, innovative boss fights and lush dungeons.

With its dynamic battle system and dungeon-style route map, it’s easy to compare Okamiden to the Zelda franchise – in fact, reviews from ONM to IGN have recommended Okamiden to fans of Link’s adventures. If you’re not a fan of Zelda, I say pick up Okamiden anyway. The puzzles are more likely to raise a chuckle than a furrowed brow, but the game itself is just like Chibi himself: cute, charming, and easy to follow.

~NeetyNeet


Tearing Up

Never believe everything you read in a review. That’s probably not how you would expect another review to start, now is it? But it’s true. Hunting round for a puzzle game to tide me over until the next drama-fest that is Professor Layton, I looked up a few reviews on Amazon to see what was lurking out there in the shadows. And I do mean shadows; the good Professor casts quite a long one, making it very difficult for a lot of games to gain any purchase in a market that has been well and truly spoilt rotten with lovely animation and devilish conundrums. Most of the reviews I read said that GSP’s “Jewel Quest: Curse of the Emerald Tear” was a goody, so I picked up a pre-owned copy, just in case. Which was just as well, as it turned out.

It doesn’t start off promisingly; a very shady character bwahahas his way through the briefest of introductions and it soon becomes horribly apparent that this game is one of a series. A series that the writers have no intention of bringing you up to speed with, should you not have had the misfortune to play any of the earlier ones. Okay, you could overlook that; I mean, it’s not desperately complicated. Basically, two bright young things travel all over the world looking for prophetic jewel boards and other exotic treasures by way of hidden object puzzles and the most piggingly awful and frustrating Connect-4 type game (helpfully called “Match 3”) I’ve ever played.

I didn’t finish this game. I don’t care if I never see it again; it makes the frustrations of “Flower, Sun and Rain” pale into insignificance. And the reason is this: each chapter has a series of quests leading up to a final puzzle on the jewel board, where you must turn all of the squares gold within a set time limit by matching 3 jewels in either a vertical or horizontal row. Should you fail, not only will you have to do that particular puzzle again, you’ll have to repeat the entire sodding chapter from scratch. Even if you quit out part way through that chapter, saving your progress as you do so (or so you thought, sucker).

The rules for how the end-game works are never really made clear, changing every now and again as they do with the introduction of some new random factor to the equation. After several hours of being bunted right back to the beginning of a chapter, my mind started to blank every time the jewel screen came on and it became, in the end, a truly vicious circle of panic and shouting. Maybe my mind just isn’t programmed that way and maybe this really is a good game for those who’ve followed it from its first incarnation, but nothing will make me go back to find out what happens in the end. “Curse of the Emerald Tear” has just joined “The Hobbit” as one of the most traumatic gaming experiences I’ve ever had.

~FuschiaBegonia


Go West!

On my last visit to our FLGS, I picked up two DS puzzle games: James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club and Cate West: The Vanishing Files. After our not exactly positive experience with a certain DS game a few weeks ago, my good husband (the Prof) had kindly checked out other reviews for Cate West before I bought it. Basically, they recommended getting it either on the PC or the Wii but we couldn’t find those versions, so plumped for the DS one instead.

The game format is hidden object, where you must find X number of named objects across Y different locations. To spice things up a bit, you also have spot the difference puzzles, whodunits and, quite bizarrely, putting things back where you found them puzzles as well. Our heroine is Cate, erstwhile author and budding psychic, whose father was murdered many years ago. Suddenly she finds herself embroiled in a spate of weird and wonderful cases revolving around religious iconography, all linked to the church where her father was killed. She is accompanied by two rather dishy policemen who help her solve the crimes and present the evidence in court.

Having played the game, I can see now why the other formats are recommended over this one; the density of objects and relatively low level quality of the graphics do make it difficult in some locations to spot the hidden objects in amongst the background fuzz. There’s also a random screen tapping penalty, which is fair enough in some cases, but it does get annoying when you get penalised for tapping something that really looks like the thing you thought it was, only to find it isn’t. With fifteen chapters, the game also starts to get really repetitive, particularly as after a certain stage there are few new locations added. This is definitely a game to play one mystery at a time with a good break in between; played over two days it has a tendency to turn your brain to mush.

Despite that, the game does pull you in; the story is madder than several sacks of ferrets but is sufficiently intriguing to keep you fighting your way through the far too numerous junkyards of Arcadia. Mind you, the police here are a bit thick; if they really wanted to cut the crime rate, it would have been far more expedient to just leave a detachment at each of the locations, seeing how often the bad guys return to the same place. Still, that might have made the game a bit short. There’s also some great comedy mileage in the links Cate comes up with between the hidden objects and crucial pieces of evidence (that for some reason someone has cut up into bits and scattered here, there and everywhere). I still can’t quite work out how you get from a chilli and a map of Portugal to a set of false teeth and some roller skates, but there you go…

It’s fairly obvious who the bad guy is from very early on, using the standard mystery solving technique of the least yet therefore most obvious person has to be guilty, but that’s really all by-the-by; its why he’s doing it that’s important in the end. If you like your puzzle games a bit left of centre, then The Vanishing Files is worth the effort but unless you have Action Man’s eagle-eyes, get it on the Wii or PC, or you’ll probably go blind.

~FuschiaBegonia


Ladies Who (Murder) Lunch

Having had my appetite for murder mysteries whetted (and most definitely not satisfied) by “Flower, Sun & Rain”, I wandered into our FLGS to see what else might be available. The first game I picked up was “James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club: Games of Passion” from THQ. Of course I’d heard of Patterson, even if I was only really familiar with his work through his guest appearances on Castle with Captain Tightpants, Nathan Fillion. Other than that, this was going to be a bit of a leap of faith.

Interestingly, the game runs not in the standard DS orientation but in a more traditional book format; I actually found this far more comfortable to hold, particularly during extended play sessions. The music is suitably US cop show, the female protagonists suitably glam, the men suitably slobby and/or gruff. The language is also right out of your average glossy crime drama, which may make it a bit rumpty-tumpty but also strangely endearing. This is safe, comfortable gaming; you know exactly what you’re going to get, with no nasty surprises.

Our feisty, gorgeous female detective and her feisty, gorgeous friends (a lawyer, a reporter and a police coroner) meet up at the end of each day to discuss the current case over the best food San Francisco has to offer. Equally gorgeous young women (and a fat bloke) are being dumped in the Bay (amongst other places) and it’s your job to solve the crimes and discover the link between them. The game is predominantly a hidden object mystery, where you must identify key clues scattered about various locations in order to answer prompt questions on the left-hand screen. But there’s also an LA Noire style bit during the over dinner case summary where you must remember what bits of evidence support your case (even if in some cases working out what these are is sheer guesswork because of the somewhat obscure wording of the prompts).

Patterson cheats in the same way that many crime authors cheat, by not giving you enough information to really solve the crime until he wants you to (although it is actually quite obvious who the criminal mastermind is very early on). In fact, I still have no real idea why the fat bloke gets it or how our feisty, gorgeous and really smart female protagonist doesn’t spot the bad guy right off, but it remains a perfect example of its genre: mildly diverting, gently entertaining and ultimately, utterly disposable. It’s a very short game, so if you have an evening where mildly diverting is about all you can cope with, then you could do worse than organise a dinner date with Mr Patterson and friends.

~FuschiaBegonia


Flower, Sun and What the…?

I do enjoy a good puzzle game; sadly, “Flower, Sun and Rain” (Nintendo DS, 2008) is not one of them. I should have realised something was a bit off when Game were flogging it for a fiver second hand and the previous owner hadn’t bothered to save any progress. But no, I thought, it’s by Rising Star Games (who include in their back catalogue Harvest Moon, possibly one of the most effective time vampires going) and Suda51 (who I’m reliably informed is an “innovative game designer”). Must be okay, right?

Wrong. It starts off well enough; slick investigator Sumio Mondo arrives on the leisure island of Lospass, where he’s been employed by the local hotel proprietor to solve a mystery. The introductory film is very existential and pretty, but it goes downhill from there on in. Your first game encounter is very confusing, seeing as neither the characters on the screen nor the handbook see fit to really explain what’s going on and the translation from Japanese into English is distinctly iffy. Part of the game involves you looking for “hidden” mysteries, but I didn’t manage to figure out how to do that until after leaving the first area, only to discover that I couldn’t get back again. Some early hidden mysteries require items found later in the game, but for the life of me I can’t work out how you get back to solve them.

And that is a major problem with this game; you think you’re in an open world that you can explore at will, but it soon becomes apparent that you are going to be railroaded in a single, predetermined direction. Deviate from the designer’s chosen path in any way and the game grinds to a painful halt, leaving you running backwards and forwards trying to work out what to do next. And if the designer doesn’t want you to go somewhere, he’s not above sticking giant purple crocodiles in the way. Seriously, I kid you not. Giant. Purple. Crocodiles.

On top of this, nearly all of the characters are desperately unsympathetic, making it very difficult for you to actually care what happens to them. Awful as it sounds, when the main character starts beating up a kid, I actually found myself cheering him on because the little toad was so vile. There’re even attempts to knowingly break the fourth wall which are supposed to be humorous, but come off as deeply pretentious (particularly as some of them are delivered by said brat).

There are several other major irritations: the memo pad, the graphics and the off-screen explanations, to name but a few. The memo pad allows you to make notes on how to solve the hidden and story mysteries. Only problem, you can’t actually access the memo pad when you’re solving the mysteries as they both use the bottom screen. In fact, most of the time the bottom screen is wasted, showing a less than useful map of the island. The game has been adapted from a much earlier Play Station 2 version and has pretty much failed to make good use of the change of platform, with almost all of the action taking place on the top screen in a very pixellated manner. And when the plot gets too impenetrable for the writer, the screen fades out on the protagonists explaining it to each other and fades back in on a “so you see, it makes much more sense now you know” type comment. And yes, the game sees fit to make jokes about how crap the animation is and how weak the plot is, which just smacks of laziness all round.

In the end, this game became a war of attrition. I was determined to finish it, not because I was particularly enjoying it or gave a stuff about what was going on, but because I didn’t want to be beaten by it. I have no clue what was actually going on in the end, other than it seemed to involve talking pink crocodiles, clones, hyenas and exploding planes; it’s utter tosh from start to finish. Oh, and don’t fall for all the “Groundhog Day” comparisons, its not even close. I only paid £2.50 for it thanks to the credit on my husband’s Game card and I still feel like I’ve been ripped off. Best avoid unless you enjoy inflicting mental anguish on yourself in the name of gaming.

~FuschiaBegonia


Wild Blogger Appears!

As I traipse around my modest two-bed flat, I am tripping over games. I mean, literally tripping. This morning I fell prey to a copy of Spindizzy Worlds and slid almost gracefully across the living room. This is my life: surrounded by plastic boxes, tripping over console wires and perpetually running out of shelf space. Welcome to my world.

My name (or gamertag) is Neety and my game is…well, just about anything really. I’m as happy filling zombies full of lead on Resident Evil as I am spread-eagled on the sofa with Pokemon Silver (what this says about my personality I dread to think). In addition to my growing console collection, I have my own blog that covers everything from games to music to hot topics. In my spare time, I’m either playing or cleaning up games or chilling with my turtles, who are neither teenage, mutant or ninja.

So I’ve been around a little bit, doing reviews and articles in odd places and now thanks to Donna and the wonders of Twitter I am here, a newbie; my hands hovering over the laptop as if I were Solid Snake trying to pull off the ultimate headshot. From me, you can expect to catch reviews of games from Animal Crossing to Zero Wing as well as my views on what’s right (or wrong) with the gaming world.

It was my birthday recently, so imagine my utter delight when in amongst my presents nestled a copy of Pokemon White.

Since Pokemon has been around since the Year Dot, I don’t feel the need to explain the gameplay basic – and oddly enough, White feels the same way too, starting you right off with your first Pokemon and leaving you to meander off on your path to victory. Come on, it purrs in your ear. I’ve been around, baby, but I’m back to take you on a riiiiide.

As you would expect from an older franchise, there are new features to the game. Following straight on from dual battling in Diamond and Pearl versions, there is now three-way battling. Another prominent innovation is the advent of your ‘lifelong friends’, a boy and girl pair who join you on your trip, popping in and touching base with you every so often. I was quite pleased about this – they’ll friendly battle you occasionally and drop by with gifts, saving you the tedium of running all the way back to the starting town that previous games made you do. There’s even a new enemy – gone are the flaky Rockets and maniacal Galactics to make way for a new threat – in this early stage of play, I can only describe them as PETA with fancy costumes.

Thankfully the game concept itself remains uncomplicated (your basic Adventure/Strategy RPG), making it accessible to Pokemon stalwarts and newbies alike, and it still has the charm of the older games thanks to the gorgeous display on the DS that the Game Boy Colour could sadly never hope to replicate. Controlling is pretty easy; the touchscreen turns into your battle control panel allowing for a cleaner layout during fights, and when you’re exploring it turns into your communications device, allowing you to connect with both NPCs and your friends. Here is my word of warning: if you don’t have DS Wi-fi enabled, do it before you get started. If you’re like me and plunge into the game without reading the manual first (cough cough), you will find that you get to a critical point and have to stop and fiddle about with your router until you can go any further in the game.

Despite this initial hiccup, this is a game I would thoroughly recommend: particularly to newer games who would find themselves less impressed by the aesthetic of the older games.

To cap off my thoughts for the day, I was thinking about how great it is to be a girl gamer. From getting invited to your boyfriend’s mates place and trouncing them all at COD, to walking into a game shop and surprising the staff by going gooey over Batman: Arkham Asylum. The world may pretend to be a big modern man, but there’s no hiding its surprise when a lightgun-toting girl pops up out of nowhere. That’s where I’m in my element. Viva games. Viva girls. Viva girl gamers!


How Phoenix Wright Stole My Heart

I have to admit, I never thought that Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney would be my sort of game. I spend a lot of my gaming time on FPS’s and RPG’s and I haven’t played a point and click adventure in a long while. Also, it’s about lawyers…which didn’t seem like the most exciting premise. However, Capcom were offering the first Phoenix Wright game on the iPhone for 59p so I thought I would give it a go. I now find myself having completed the game, it’s sequel and am now well into the 3rd game in the series.

I have been completely won over by Ace Attorney.

The game is divided into 2 sections; Investigations, where you explore crime scenes and question witnesses and Trials, where you cross-examine and navigate through conversations in order to find contradictions. Once you’ve found a contradiction you can present evidence by yelling “Objection!” None of this remotely resembles a sane legal system. But the game does demand you to think critically from time to time about how the case fits together and is pretty engaging.

But, it wasn’t just the gameplay that endeared me to this game, although the twists and turnabouts and ridiculously dramatic moments as witnesses unravel on the stand are a joy to behold. Mainly, I fell in love with the writing. It can be pretty cheesy at times but each character is a very original creation written with depth and humour. Some you may only meet the once and others recur in the sequels but it’s quite hard to forget any of them. The originality of the characters also holds true for their appearance and animations. Each character has only a few expressions but I can’t help but be impressed with how much personality and emotion was infused into these few sprites.

This game made me laugh out loud more times than any other game I can remember playing since Secret of Monkey Island. It made me wonder why I spend so much time playing as silent, grim heroes. Phoenix Wright’s colourful world of flashy blackmailers, Steel Samurais, haughty prosecutors with tragic pasts, spirit channeling teenagers and old ladies who will just not stop yelling at you was like a breath of fresh air.

I should take this as a lesson and expand my gaming horizons more often. I’ve been guilty of sticking to my preferred genres too long and I wonder what other gaming delights I might have let slip me by.

JenJenRobot


Battle Scares and Sore Hands

I went and bought Super Street Fighter IV when it came out last Tuesday, and playing it I am having a lot more fun than I expected to! All the characters have lots of nice upgrades, the 2 new characters (Juri and Hakan) are great, and you don’t have to unlock ANY of them. As I play different characters (or rather, friends come over and play them), new costume colors and victory speeches are unlocked. Great for me, because I always like to dress my toons in green.

Now to the “but…” ….My thumb is all blistered (gonna be a callus soon, I just know it) from playing this with a PlayStation controller. I’ve never played this game outside of the arcade setup, so I’ve had a really difficult time adjusting to making all the combinations on the PS3, since I don’t have the arcade pad. My boyfriend has also been trying to help me learn how to play the game with a controller versus joystick (I’m so happy we can play this together). When I first started playing the game, it was a blast, until I got into some of the harder levels and simply didn’t stand a chance against the CPU toons due to my inability to string combinations with the PS3 controller. I definitely don’t have fun playing games where it isn’t even a challenge any more, it’s literally having NO CHANCE at beating the stage. I’ve gotten better at it now, though, and the game has become MUCH more enjoyable again! The new challenge: beating people online! So far I’ve gotten my butt kicked 11 times. It’s okay, though. I’ll get better, then kick all their butts.

In other news, I’m playing that Super Mario 64 game for the Nintendo DS. There’s another game with odd controls, my hands are sore from adjusting to that one as well. The game is fun, I like that I can play as different characters throughout the adventure, and back when I played that game on the Nintendo 64, I can’t even count the amount of times I played it through. I remember when people would compete over how little time it took to finish the game; just a couple hours. I remember people competing over Zelda: Ocarina of Time playtime as well. Oh, those days…

Lesson learned: Grow Calluses or tape up your thumb to play Super Street Fighter IV. I also heard some people tape quarters to the joystick. I’m not trying that, though!


I feel no life ahead of me…

So game-wise, I’ve got a lot piling up on me. For one thing, I still need to finish playing the last 2 parts of the Monkey Island 5-part finale. The game is a total riot, but I stopped playing it because it was holiday season and I  simply didn’t have time any more. Then, of course, the usual. You get out of the groove and it’s hard to get back. I’m concerned now because I’ve started playing a few games recently that I want to finish as soon as I can. That way, I will have my time free’d up for other stuff in the next month or so. The games I’m playing now? Final Fantasy XIII (PS3), Borderlands (Steam), Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS). I must say, so far FFXIII has been very disappointing. It’s beautiful, but I was hoping for more. Maybe later on in the game I’ll enjoy myself, but I hate that I have to play upto a certain point in the game (15+ hours, I’m told) before it actually gets interesting. It’s ~15 hours I feel like I got ripped off when I purchased the game.

Borderlands continues to be fun for me, but I’m trying  not to play it to death. If I sit in front of that game for hours, chances are I’ll just lose interest. I’m at a phase where it’s still pretty challenging, because I’m still low level and haven’t enough EXP to just blow through the missions. I’m also still really enjoying the artwork. As for Phantom Hourglass….holy epically long game, Batman! WILL IT EVER END?! Geeze… on the one hand, it’s great that it’s taking me so long to beat it, I’m saving money that I’d be spending on more DS games. On the other hand..I’m so ready to just finish the game and move on already. Apparently, there is such a thing as too long of a game (when it has an end, of course).

What I’m dying to play when it comes out: Doctor Who! I’ve been watching the new series with friends, and they got me hooked. Now we found out there’s a free game for PC coming out in June! The other game I’m anticipating is Super Street Fighter IV. I’m usually not one to buy those fighting games, but I was sold on one of the new characters, Hakan. Hakan is an oil wrestler from Turkey, who from what I know is looking to make the best olive oil on the planet, and he loves his daughters, “They are so pretty!”. I highly recommend all of you readers to look up his trailer if you haven’t seen it. If anything is going to sell you on that game, it’s him (if you share my sense of humor, anyway). His special attacks are ridiculous and hilarious! I’ll even go a step further and provide a link to you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mK3oMkNvQrI No excuses!

So, I have a lot to look forward to. SSFIV comes out next week, and I want to have time to play it. At least I only work 2-4 days a week…


Broken Computer and gaming awards

My computer has been having “issues” this last couple weeks so that’s my excuse for no content. It’s still broken though so I’m posting this from work when I should actually be working.

In lieu of content though I suggest you go visit Ready Up and vote on the Game Awards