Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rating Scale and Review Compilation

When you read one of my reviews, do you ever wonder what the number at the end really means? Well, whether you have or not, here is quick run down of how my rating system works. That way, next time you read a review I wrote, you will be able to know if the game is just good or if it is amazing.

My rating system:
1 - Unplayable
2 - Awful
3 - Bad
4 - A little below average
5 - Average
6 - A little above average
7 - Good
8 - Great
9 - Amazing
10 - Flawless

Now that you know what the numbers mean, you can go back and read some of my reviews. Here is a compilation of every review I have written since the opening of Nintenviews.

Note: Some of these reviews are older and are not the same quality as some of my more recent reviews. I will be going back eventually and rewriting some of these, so please don't let the bad quality of them scare you off.


The Little Mermaid (NES) Review
Yoshi's Cookie (NES) Review

Kirby's Dream Land 3 Review
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars Review
Super Metroid Review

Nintendo 64
Bomberman Hero Review
Harvest Moon 64 Review
Pokemon Snap Review
Star Fox 64 Review

Mario Power Tennis Review

Okami Review
Super Paper Mario Review

None so far.

Gameboy Color
None so far.

Gameboy Advance
DK: King of Swing Review
Mario vs. Donkey Kong Review
Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World Review

Nintendo DS
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks Review

Nintendo 3DS
None so far.

Also, don't forget to follow us on Twitter @Nintenviews!

Monday, May 28, 2012


I had a post written up for today, but after rereading it and editing it, I decided I didn't like it. There will be a new post tomorrow though, so keep checking in!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Can Lightning Strike Twice with the Wii U?

I'd like to add a quick disclaimer before delving into the topic at hand. I am by no means an industry analyst nor do I pretend to be one. This is just my view as a gamer and a fan of Nintendo.

Will the Wii U repeat the Wii's success?

In less than two weeks, Nintendo will re-reveal their upcoming next generation console: the Wii U. Later this year, said console will more than likely be on store shelves and in people's homes. As the successor to the extremely successful Wii, the Wii U has large shoes fill in the sales and money departments. The big question that people are asking is this: Can the Wii U repeat the success of the Wii? Of course we don't know all of the features the Wii U has or what games kind of games it will eventually be known for, but one can make an educated guess on the subject, and that's exactly what I'm going to be doing.

Before discussing whether or not I believe the Wii U will be as successful as the Wii was, I want to take some time to go over why the Wii was as big of a success as it was. Following the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube, it looked like Nintendo's days as the best selling hardware company were over. Both consoles were outsold by massive amounts by the Playstation and Playstation 2, and if things didn't change, the Playstation 3 would have dominated again. Enter the Wii. Although much of the industry was skeptical about the Wii at first due to its untraditional controls and focus on games that would bring in people who weren't traditional gamers, it ended up defying the industry's expectations and went on to become Nintendo's best selling home console.

The reason the Wii became so successful was because of the things that made the industry doubt it at first. Let's start with the motion controls. After over twenty years of consoles that revolved around traditional controls, Nintendo introduced a console whose main selling point was the fact that it didn't have normal controls. Not only was there novelty in a completely new way of controlling games, but there was also the fact that the many people who were scared off by the complicated looking PS2, Gamecube, and Xbox controllers weren't scared off by the simple looking Wii Remote.

The fact that the Wii wouldn't scare off less traditional gamers allowed Nintendo to create games catered toward that group of gamers. It saw games such as Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Play, Wii Fit, and Wii Fit Plus released, which all sold tens of millions of copies. Along with these less traditional games, games that relied on less complicated controls like Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Just Dance 1 and 2 also sold millions. Despite this angering the more traditional gamers and making them feel like Nintendo had forgotten about them, it made the Wii's sales skyrocket into record territories. Many of those more traditional gamers either didn't buy the Wii or ended up selling it in favor of the more traditional Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. Even though the Wii didn't have the support of the traditional gaming community, it still managed to become the best selling console of its generation because of less traditional, "casual" gamers.

The Wii was successful partially because of its
unique controller.

Now, can the Wii U repeat that success by either drawing in all of those casual gamers that bought the Wii or convincing the traditional gamers that the Wii U will have great, deep experiences? I have a feeling it's going to be difficult, but not impossible. Nintendo put themselves in a situation where a huge chunk of their sales now rely on the less reliable untraditional gamers, and it could possibly come back to bite them. A lot of these gamers now find their gaming fix on devices like the iPad and iPod, and the WiiU probably won't even be the only next generation console with an accessible controller and gaming selection. I can pretty much guarantee you that the next Xbox will have some kind of Kinect bundled in with it, giving Nintendo a worthy competitor when it comes to capturing the audience that bought the Wii.

There's also the issue that the Wii may have been a fad. Looking at sales, the new audience brought in with the Wii tended to only buy a few party games and fitness games and nothing else. Nintendo's president, Mr. Iwata, recently admitted that Nintendo couldn't get their new consumers to play games frequently and for long periods of time. This could be used as proof that the Wii was a fad to the casual gamers that bought it, and that specific audience won't buy its successor. However, Microsoft's Kinect proves that that still is an audience willing to buy home consoles as long as it has games and controls that interest them.

But does the Wii U have that kind of controller? I personally don't think so. Yes, the Wii U's controller is certainly unique and one of a kind, but it's nothing like the Wii Remote or Kinect. The Wii U's controller is basically a large DS touch screen or a less capable iPad with traditional controls thrown onto the side. While it's great for traditional gamers that felt abandoned by Nintendo this generation, I don't think it's something that will draw in the audience that loved the Wii Remote and Kinect. They'll see it as a traditional controller with a screen in the middle.

The Wii U's controller isn't as enticing as the Wii Remote was.

So if Nintendo can't rely on the audience the Wii attracted, what about bringing in the traditional gamers that felt Nintendo didn't cater to them with the Wii? Like I just mentioned, the more traditional controller is a good thing for this audience, but they also care about the games in general. If a console has a great controller, but it doesn't have games that interest them, they won't buy the console. I've talked about this in a previous article I wrote, but I'll touch on it again.

In order to sell the Wii U to the people who bought the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, Nintendo's going to need a satisfying online system and some great third party content alongside of their great first party content. With the information released about the Nintendo Network's Wii U functionalities, it seems like Nintendo is moving in the right direction with online. There is an issue with the third party games, though. Yes, the Wii U will be getting great third party games like Assassin's Creed 3 and Batman: Arkham City, but the problem with that is the fact that many of the gamers Nintendo is trying to attract with those games already have the aforementioned Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Even if the Wii U versions of these games are the best versions, gamers aren't going to spend a couple hundred dollars on a console to play games that they already have access to.

What Nintendo needs is exclusive third party content. It's going to be extremely difficuly in today's gaming environment where practically every major third party game is multiplatform, but I don't see any way Nintendo can attract traditional gamers without exclusive third party content. It could just be timed exclusive content or exclusive DLC, but Nintendo needs some form of third party content that can only be found on the Wii U.

Yet another adversity the Wii U may face comes in the form of the upcoming Playstation 4 and next Xbox. While we can't make an exact assumption of how powerful the Wii U will be right now considering reports have been varying wildly over the past few months, we can say that if the Wii U is underpowered compared to Sony and Microsoft's next home consoles, the Wii U could very well possibly end up in the same situation as the Wii. If the Wii U is indeed underpowered compared to its next generation competitors, I don't think it would be as big of a gap as it was this generation, but it would still be there. In this scenario, the Wii U either wouldn't get major third party games, just like the Wii, or it would get gimped ports of said third party games. If that does end up being the situation next generation, then traditional gamers surely won't be interested in the Wii U.

So, can the Wii U do a repeat performance of the Wii? It's possible, but I think Nintendo would have to be extremely lucky. The casual gamers that bought the Wii probably won't be there in the same numbers they were this generation, just because Nintendo will have competitors for that audience that they didn't have with the Wii. Likewise, Nintendo it's going be necessary for Nintendo to have amazing third party content that's exclusive to the Wii U to convince the more traditional gamers to buy it. Simply having games like Assassin's Creed 3 won't be enough, especially since those kinds of games are going to be on consoles that the traditional gamer already owns.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars Review

Sorry about this being about an hour late today!

Developer: Squaresoft
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: SNES (Also on Wii's Virtual Console)
Release Date: March 9, 1996 (JP), May 13, 1996 (NA)

As Mario's first RPG and being his last game released for the ever popular Super Nintendo console, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars holds a special place in the hearts of many Nintendo fans. Not only was it Mario's first venture in the realm of turn based battles, it also introduced lovable characters that fans would love to see again. The game was, and still is, loved by fans so much that it spawned two different series that act as spiritual successors: Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi. But the question is: is it remembered fondly because of nostalgia, or is it a good game that deserves all the praise it receives?

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars starts off like any other Mario game. Princess Toadstool is kidnapped by Bowser, and Mario heads off to Bowser's Keep to rescue her. However, things go awry when a giant sword named Exor crashes through Bowser's Keep, sending Toadstool, Mario, and Bowser flying off in three different directions. Mario sets off on yet another journey to save the princess, but as he progresses, he meets new friends, including a cloud like creature named Mallow and a doll named Geno, and discovers that Exor is part of a gang called the Smithy Gang, which is led by a man named Smithy. The Italian plumber soon learns that Smithy and his minions crashed into something called the Star Road, which grants wishes to people across the entire world, breaking it and causing it to split up into seven different pieces. Mario, along with his new friends, then set out on a journey to retrieve the seven pieces of the Star Road and defeat the Smithy Gang.

With this story, Squaresoft proved once again that it was one of the best story tellers in the industry at the time. It's a captivating and entertaining tale, complete with charming and humorous moments that will have you actually laughing out loud. The writing is great too, with each major character being memorable because of distinct and unique personalities. The only qualm with the writing is the fact that Princess Toadstool is kind of pathetic and annoying for the first portion of the game, which lasts quite awhile. The only thing she does is cry and beg Mario to save her, and that's not an exaggeration.

Along with the enthralling story is equally enthralling gameplaying mechanics. Super Mario RPG is obviously a roleplaying game, complete with the traditional aspects of the genre like turn based battle mechanics, special attacks, experience, and armor. As Mario journeys across the world, he meets up with friends that join his party and offer different abilities in battle. By the end of the game, you have a party of five characters, but only three can participate in battle. It would be a fine limitation if you could take Mario out of the party, but you can't. It is kind of frustrating when you want to have three specific characters other than Mario battle, only to be told that you can only pick two of the three.

You can only have three people in battle at once.

An interesting facet of the battle system is when it comes to magic attacks. Like many other RPGs, there are specific points allocated to using magic attacks, and it Super Mario RPG, they're called Flower Points. What makes it interesting is that each character shares the same pool of points. If there are only five Flower Points left, and Mallow uses all five points, then Mario can't use any special attacks. Likewise, if Mallow uses an item to restore all the Flower Points, then the pool is restored fore everyone.

Although it does use many tried and true gameplay mechanics, the game does set itself apart from other RPGs when it comes to a certain aspect of battling, which is timed battle mechanics. If you press A right before your attack hits an enemy, you'll actually do more damage than normal. Similarly, if you press B right before an enemy's attack lands on you, you actually defend and the attack does less damage than normal. While this concept has been seen in other Mario RPGs since, Super Mario RPG was the first game to do it, so it does deserve some props.

Another part of Super Mario RPG that allows it to differentiate itself from other traditional RPGs from its era is the fact that it doesn't have any random battles. Every enemy can be seen on screen, allowing you try to avoid them if you want. It's not that easy though, as some enemies will chase after you, and in tight corridors, it's harder to avoid enemies than it would be in large, open areas. Again, it's something that Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi have done, along with other modern RPGs, but back in the 90s when Super Mario RPG was released, it was a rarity, so it does deserve some credit.

There is one aspect of battles that hasn't been replicated by its spiritual successors. After killing an enemy, they may drop a flower that either heals the character that struck the final blow, or they may drop a flower that raises said character's defense or attack for the remainder of the battle. It's an interesting addition to the more traditional flow of battles, but they can make the game too easy sometimes. The drops aren't that rare, and you'll find yourself holding off on healing items in hopes that an enemy will fully heal a hurt character.

Enemies can be seen on the overworld before battles.

Every now and then, enemies may drop a fourth type of flower, which is labeled as lucky. The lucky flower doesn't have any immediate affects in battle, but once the battle is over, the game allows you to play a mini game to double either the experience you gained from battle or the amount of coins you gained from battle. There is a twist, though. If you lose the mini game, you lose all of the experience or coins you gained from that battle, so you have to decide if the gamble is worth it or not.

Despite a large amount of Super Mario RPG's gameplay being centered around battles, there are a few aspects of the game that exist outside of battle, the first of which being that there are two different kinds of coins. Coins are the currency used in the game, and normal gold coins are the main coins that you use throughout the game, but there is a second kind of coin called a frog coin. Frog coins are green and are used to buy rare items that are sold by frogs and tadpoles. Overall, the frog coins end up feeling kind of useless since they can only be used at two locations in the entire game, and you don't even really need the items the frogs and tadpoles sell you. It would have been nice if there were more stores that accepted frog coins as a currency.

Another part of the game that takes place in the overworld are minigames. There are only a few in the game overall, but they are nice additions to pass the time with if you ever get bored of playing the main story. Most of the prizes won in the minigames are only coins, but a few do have some nice prizes that are worth playing for.

One of the reasons you would want to play these minigames other than to win prizes or to pass time is to look at the various locales in the game. Super Mario RPG's graphics are still extremely pleasing to the eye, with colorful and diverse areas to look at. The game uses 3D models for everything, and they withstood the test of time brilliantly. The same goes for the music. Even though many aspects of the gameplay have been surpassed by other modern RPGs, the music in Super Mario RPG still stands out as some of the best in a Mario game. Many of the songs are addicting and catchy, and you'll find yourself humming them hours after the game has been turned off.

There are a few minigames to play to pass the time.

Concluding Thoughts
Super Mario RPG is a wonderful traditional roleplaying game. It didn't take many risks, but everything about it still holds up sixteen years later. The music and graphics are still top notch, and the gameplay is still exceptional. While it has been surpassed by its spiritual successors in many ways, it's still a great game to play if you have a Wii or SNES sitting around your house. It is the most traditional RPG out of all the Mario RPG games, meaning people who love and grew up with games like Final Fantasy would probably enjoy this game more than Paper Mario or Mario and Luigi.

Final Score

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mario Power Tennis Review

Developer: Camelot Software Planning
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Gamecube
Release Date: October 28, 2004 (JP), November 8, 2004 (NA), February 25, 2005 (EU)

In honor of the recently released Mario Tennis Open for the Nintendo 3DS, I decided to go back and play Mario Power Tennis on the Gamecube and review it. The 2004 Gamecube was a sequel to the popular Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64, and it was met with good reviews all around at the time. However, now it's just one game in the plethora of Mario sports titles that span across countless platforms, so does it have the gameplay to make it stand out even amongst the numerous other sports games starring Mario, or is an overall forgettable game?

Mario Power Tennis starts off with an opening sequence showing Wario and Waluigi losing to Mario and Luigi in a game of tennis. Of course the evil duo is disgruntled by this, and ends up getting trouble with the security at the stadium when they deface Mario and Luigi's pictures. It sets off an over the top series of events that's full of humor and charm, and it sets the stage for the rest of the game because that's exactly what Mario Power Tennis is -- an over the top and full of humor and charm.

Before getting into what makes the 2004 Gamecube game so over the top, though, it needs to be stated that Mario Power Tennis is a solid tennis game with tight controls and fun gameplay. There are eighteen different characters that you can control using the analog stick to move around along with using the A and B buttons to hit the ball. Each character has their own pros and cons, with some being slow but powerful, and others being fast but weak. On top of that, the game does offer both singles and doubles tennis, so you can pick whatever game of tennis you'd like to play. The combination of the controls and various and characters creates a nicely balanced game of tennis if that's all you want to play, but normal games of tennis isn't what makes Mario Power Tennis a unique sports game. It's the aforementioned over the top gameplay.

Along with the normal controls, there are special moves each character can perform called power shots. These special moves can be used for either defensive purposes to reach a ball that's out of your normal range of reach or for offensive purposes to add some extra power behind your shot. Power shots are accompanied by, you guessed it, over the top cutscenes that are full of charm and perfectly match a character's personality traits and special qualities. Shy Guy's offensive power shot, for example, will have him dance around in traditional Pacific Islander clothing before electrocuting his tennis racket with lightning, thus electrocuting the ball and shocking anyone that tries to return the ball. They are fun and they do add a nice twist to the gameplay, but they can get a little distracting at times. It is rare, but every now and then you will feel disoriented by the power shots just because your character is off screen during the cutscene.

Each character has an offensive and defensive power shot.

The over the top antics of Mario Power Tennis don't stop there, though. There are various courts in the game called gimmick courts, and they're exactly what they sound like -- tennis courts with a gimmick to make the game more hectic and fun. These courts do have a lot going on, having to keep track of power shots and whatever curve ball the court throws at you, but they do their job perfectly and they provide hectic gameplay that can be addicting with friends. If you want to play the gimmick courts without the gimmicks though, the game allows you to do that. It's an extremely nice addition considering the courts look great, but sometimes their gimmicks can get too distracting.

Also, if you don't want to play just a pure game of tennis with some twists thrown in, Mario Power Tennis offers two other games you can play on the courts, and they are ring shot and item battle. In ring shot, you have the additional goal of trying to hit the tennis ball through various rings that appear over the net. The rings vary in size, and you get points based on the size of the ring you hit the ball through. The first person to either 100, 200 or 500 points wins the game.

Item battle's goal is the same as normal tennis matches, but it has items thrown into the mix to make the gameplay even more hectic. Item boxes regularly appear over the net, and when you hit one, you're given a random item. The items available are items that you would normally find in Mario Kart games, such as the lightning bolt, red shell, and mushroom, and they do add a nice twist to the game. Some are overpowered though, and you can lose or win matches solely based on what item you or your opponent got.

If you don't feel like playing tennis at all, Mario Power Tennis has you covered there too. There's an extra mode called Special Games available where you can play various minigames, such as defeating a Mecha Bowser or painting a mural on a wall. There are eight different Special Games total, and each special game has three to four different challenges in and of themselves. Most of them are fun to play, but a few are so hard that they're more frustrating than fun.

There are various options in Mario Power Tennis, including
playing on gimmick courts.

Mario Power Tennis seems to have everything covered except for the music. While the gameplay has varying options that can be tweaked to suit anyone's needs, the music leaves something to be desired. There's nothing memorable about the music and you don't even notice it while you're playing through the game. It nothing major, but it would have been nice to have something decent to listen to. On the other hand, the graphics are vibrant and colorful, with each court having a unique vibe.

Concluding Thoughts
Mario Power Tennis is an over the top, fun and addicting game, especially if you're playing with friends. However, the game can get so over the top and hectic that it gets distracting and frustrating instead of fun. On the plus side, the game does allow you turn a lot of those features off, so you're left with a fun and balanced normal game of tennis. The numerous options and game modes keep the gameplay fresh and interesting no matter how long you've played, and the large roster of characters will keep competitive players coming back and trying to master each one.

Final Score

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Nintendo Fan's Thoughts on Sony's Playstation All Stars Battle Royale

I'm going to take a break from reviews today to discuss my thoughts on Sony's upcoming Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale. I know I'm extremely late to this, but I still have an opinion on it and I want to put it out there. There are numerous Nintendo fans that feel like Sony's fighter is a rip off or blatant copy of the Super Smash Bros. series, and that Sony doesn't have the characters to pull off a crossover fight like Nintendo. I'd like to address these fans.

First off, I'd like to say that I don't like saying that anything is a rip off or blatant copy of another product unless it's so obvious that you can barely tell the difference between the original and product being accused of copying, especially when it comes to games that aren't released yet. The reason being is because even though something may look similar on the surface, the gameplay and functions may be completely different.

And this is the case with Playstation All Stars Battle Royale. Yes, it certainly looks similar to Super Smash Bros. Brawl graphically, but all the information we've heard about the game proves that it doesn't play anything like Nintendo's crossover fighter. While in the Smash Bros. series you're racking up damage and trying to knock other characters off the stage, in Battle Royale, you can only kill other characters using specials. There's no falling off stages and no damage to rack up. Every journalist who's played the upcoming PS3 game has said that it doesn't feel like Super Smash Bros., and I think we should all take their word for it. It's not like any of us have played it.

If Battle Royale looked like Street Fighter or BlazBlue instead of Super Smash Bros., Nintendo fans probably wouldn't be screaming about Sony copying Nintendo. I find it ironic that the graphics of Battle Royale are causing these accusations considering Nintendo fans are always the one saying that graphics don't matter and it's the gameplay that counts. You guys need to take your own advice.

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is being accused of being
a blatant copy of Super Smash Bros.

Did Sony get the idea of a crossover fighter from Nintendo? Probably, but if no one in the gaming industry could take ideas from another company, then this industry would be a lot less interesting. Games like Metroid Prime and Halo probably wouldn't exist because Doom was the game that popularized the idea of first person gaming. Okami wouldn't exist because that took a lot of ideas from Zelda. BlazBlue and King of Fighters wouldn't exist because Street Fighter was the game that popularized the traditional 2D fighter. A lot of Rare's games from the 90s wouldn't exist because they took ideas from games that were well received. I could go on and on, but the point is, many of your favorite games took ideas from a similar game because they worked. Taking ideas from a concept that works is good for the industry, not bad like many Nintendo fans would have you believe.

Then I see the argument that Sony doesn't have any characters that anyone cares about, which is ridiculous to me. I think the main thing that people seem to not realize when saying Sony doesn't have memorable or iconic characters is the fact that there are people in their twenties today who started gaming with the Playstation. The original Playstation came out in 1994 or 1995 depending on where you lived, and the people who were turning 5 or 6 during that period and who were just starting to play games are now adults. Those people grew up with characters like Sweet Tooth, the Pipo Monkey, Jak, Daxter, Sly, Ratchet, Clank, and Parappa. And based on the sales of the Playstation 1 and 2 in relation to their competition, there are tens of millions of people out there who only owned the Playstation 1 and 2 as they grew up.

Sure, Sony may not have a Mario and Pikachu, who even people who don't play games can recognize, but they have characters that gamers recognize. Even if you've never played a game on a Playstation console, you probably recognize Sweet Tooth, Jak, Daxter, the Pipo Monkey, Ratchet, and Clank. You may not even know their names, but if you saw pictures of them, you'd say "Oh, I recognize them." Hell, there are people who don't even know what Link's name is, and he's one of Nintendo's most iconic and memorable characters.

You could argue that Sony only has a handful of memorable characters, and Sony already including Fat Princess and Radec proves that they're scraping the bottom of the barrel. But let me ask you this: Other than the hardcore Nintendo fans, who really recognized Ness, Lucas, Captain Falcon, Marth, Ike, Roy, Pit, ROB, Ice Climbers, and Mr. Game and Watch? Very few people. You could have even potentially thrown Samus into that mix of characters back during the first Super Smash Bros. The only reason people recognize them now is because they were in Smash Bros. In fact, North America and Europe didn't even see a Fire Emblem game until 2003/2004. That's a full two years after Melee was released. No one but hardcore Nintendo fans recognized Marth and Roy.

You could have argued back during Melee that Nintendo was scraping the bottom of the barrel with characters like Dr. Mario, Pichu, Marth, Roy, Ice Climbers, Young Link, Ness, and Game and Watch. They were either blatant clones of characters that looked exactly like them (Dr. Mario, Pichu, and Young Link), or random characters that the average person who bought Melee wouldn't recognize. That's eight characters out of 25, or one third of the entire cast. I guarantee you, if one third of Battle Royale's cast is made up of obscure characters like Dart and Sir Daniel Fortesque, you'll hear people saying how Sony had to scrape the bottom of the barrel just to get a roster of around twenty characters.

Sony does have memorable characters, such as
Jak and Daxter.

Sure, Pipo Monkey, Jak, Daxter, Ratchet, Clank, and Parappa may not hold a special place in your heart because you grew up with Donkey Kong, Mario, Link, and Kirby, but there are millions of people out there who couldn't care less about Donkey Kong but care deeply about the monkeys from Ape Escape. Does Sony have a Mario or Pikachu? No, but they do have loved characters.

Let's not forget that Sony also has a good relationship with third parties and they've already confirmed that third party characters will be in the game. While they aren't characters owned by Sony, Spyro, Crash, Snake, and numerous Final Fantasy characters are associated with the Playstation brand. They could easily get a few of those in to round out their roster, just like how Nintendo got Snake and Sonic in Brawl to round theirs out.

Overall, I guess I'd just like to say that while it may look similar on the outisde, Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale has been confirmed to play a lot differently from the Super Smash Bros. franchise. On top of that, it's a game that Sony fans have been asking for for years, so really, it's just Sony giving their fans what they want. And the argument that Sony doesn't have a good enough roster of characters to pull off a fighting game like Battle Royale is absurd because they do have nostalgic and memorable characters.

I honestly believe that if this game was being made by anyone other than Sony, Nintendo fans wouldn't be screaming about some company copying Nintendo. In fact, they would probably be excited about it. They didn't seem to care when Sega made their Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, which is just as much of a "rip off" of Mario Kart as Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale is of Super Smash Bros.

And in the end, is it really worth getting worked up over this game if you don't care for it? If it fails and doesn't make any money, then you'll probably never see another Sony crossover fighter again. If it succeeds on the other hand, the only affect it would have on Nintendo is it would potentially make Super Smash Bros. an even better series since it would actually give Nintendo's own crossover fighter a direct competitor for a change.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Something a Little Different Today

Instead of posting a review, I'm going to talk about something I'm doing in Minecraft that I'm tentatively calling Project Johto. I'll see how many views this gets compared to my reviews, and decide if I want to continue this along with the reviews, or go back to only doing reviews.

So, what is it I'm doing in Minecraft? Well, I'm currently building a replica of Goldenrod City from Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver. I'm thinking of posting my updates here at Nintenviews and then sharing the server with my readers once I've finished it. Currently, I'm working on Whitney's gym, and while it isn't the prettiest structure ever created, it is moving along just fine.

Here are the two images I'm willing to share so far:


I am doing this in a server that I created, so when I finish, I can share it with people if they want to play it.

But tell me by either viewing this or posting a comment, do you want to see updates every now and then, or do you want me to go back back to doing just reviews? If I do updates, I'll still be posting reviews, it's just I'll be posting updates on Goldenrod City on the days that I don't have a review ready. Thanks!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mario vs. Donkey Kong Review

Since I didn't have a review up the last two days, this review is going to go up over an hour early. Sorry about that!

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: GBA
Release Date: May 24, 2004 (NA), June 1, 2004 (JP), November 19, 2004 (EU)

The Gameboy Advance is an odd Nintendo platform in the sense that it never received an official entry into the Super Mario franchise that was unique to the platform. The games featuring Mario on the GBA were remakes and ports of old games or spin offs. In fact, the GBA didn't even have a Mario platformer until 2004, when Mario vs. Donkey Kong was released. However, the first and only platformer freaturing the plumber on the GBA got overshadowed by the release of the Nintendo DS, which came out only a few months after the 2004 game.

In Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong is flipping through the channels on his television when he comes across a commercial for the new Mini-Mario toy. He decides he wants them, and goes to the store only to discover that they're all sold out. Luckily for the ape, the factory that produces the toys is right across the street from the store, and he steals all the Mini-Mario toys from the factory. It's Mario's job to retrieve the stolen toys and return them to the factory.

I feel like a broken record saying this, but the story is good enough. It's okay for Nintendo standards and gives you a reason to play through the story mode. Mario games and Nintendo in general aren't really known for their elaborate stories, so to expect one in this game is ridiculous. And again, the meat of Mario vs. Donkey Kong is in the gameplay, not the story.

The 2004 Gameboy Advance game is broken up into six different worlds, with eight different levels within each world, all of which are timed. Six of the levels in each world play similarly and are basically platformers with puzzle elements. The six levels themselves are broken up into two different areas. In the first area, you have to navigate around enemies and obstacles while pressing different colored buttons that open up new paths in order reach a key that unlocks a door, which is your destination. The second area is similar to the first, but instead of finding a key that unlocks a door, you have to reach a Mini-Mario toy.

You have to collect a key and bring it to the door.

Within each of these six levels are three differently colored presents. If you collect all three, you play a bonus game at the end of the level where you play for extra lives. It's a nice idea, but you end up playing the same bonus game over and over again, and it ends up getting boring after the second world. There is a second bonus game, but it's much rarer and you won't come across it as often.

In addition to collecting presents in each level, you also want to gain points. You do that killing enemies and collecting the previously mentioned presents. Time remaining on your clock at the end of each level also adds to your point total, so you find yourself trying to beat the levels as fast as possible. If you collect enough points in each level, you can unlock an extra mode at the end of the game, which adds nice replay value.

The six main levels in each world are extremely fun to play due to their mixture of platforming and puzzles. The game also manages to keep things fresh too, introducing something new in almost every level. There is an issue with Mario's jumping though. It doesn't feel like he jumps that high, and it feels like gravity is extremely strong in Mario vs. Donkey Kong. It takes some getting used to just because the jumping isn't anything like the other games in the Mario series.

The other two levels in each world are extremely different from the other six. In the first of the two other levels, you have to guide all six Mini-Mario toys through an obstacle course to a box at the end. Along the way, you have to collect three letters that spell out the word "Toy" before you can open the box. These levels can be fun, but every now and then a Mini-Mario toy will get stuck off screen and you'll find yourself hurrying back to retrieve it. These levels have less time on the clock than the other six, so it does get a little annoying having to go back to get a toy.

You have to guide the six Mini-Mario toys to a box.

The second level of the remaining two is a boss fight against Donkey Kong. They are fun and they do get progressively more difficult, but they aren't hard enough that you actually die or get close to dying. It would have been nice if Donkey Kong were able to get you within a couple hits of killing you or actually able to kill you.

Each of the eight levels in each world don't take that long to complete, and as a result, the game is on the short side. You can beat the main game in a couple of hours, and the extra modes you unlock won't last you that much longer. You can always go back and try to beat each level faster than your previous attempt, but once you unlock the extra modes at the end, there's little incentive to go back to each level.

The graphics in Mario vs. Donkey are great for the GBA. Mario, Donkey Kong, the enemies, and the Mini-Mario toys are prerendered 3D models, very similar to the Donkey Kong Country series. They look great, and they fit nicely with the colorful and varying backgrounds. The music on the other hand is extremely bland and forgettable. When you finish a level, you won't even remember what song had just played over the previous few minutes. It is kind of disappointing considering even Mario spinoffs have nice music.

Concluding Thoughts
Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a fun puzzle platformer to waste a weekend on, but it's nothing substantial that will last you a long time. You can extend the length of the game by going back and trying to collect as many points as possible in order to unlock additional modes, but even that won't last you more than one weekend. The game is nice to look at though, even though the music isn't nice to listen to.

Final Score

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Minecraft's distracting me

I know it's not a very good excuse, but it's true. I promise I'll have a new review tomorrow though, and then maybe I'll write an article about what Nintendo could learn from Minecraft. Who knows. Just wanted to tell you guys that I haven't forgotten about you, I've just been playing a lot of Minecraft.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Star Fox 64 Review

Sorry I didn't have this up on Saturday! Like I said in Friday, it's been a busy week. Hope you guys can forgive me! I'm going to be back to my regular schedule starting this week, though.

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 64 (Also on the Wii's Virtual Console)
Release date: April 27, 1997 (JP), June 30, 1997 (NA), October 20, 1997 (EU)

When Star Fox 64 released on the Nintendo 64 back in 1997, it was loved by new and old fans of the series alike. It took the best elements of the original Star Fox from the SNES and combined them with aspects of the cancelled Star Fox 2 along with new and original elements. It was praised by critics, and many fans to this day consider Star Fox 64 the best game in the series. Does the best game in the series stand the test of time, or has it aged horribly over the years?

In Star Fox 64, you play as an anthropomorphic fox fittingly named Fox McCloud. Fox, along with three of his friends, Slippy Toad, Peppy Hare, and Falco Lombardi, make up a team called Star Fox. The four of them together, with the help of others along the way, must stop the evil scientist Andross from taking over the Lylat System, the solar system in which they live. You travel to different planets and areas within with the Lylat System, defeating Andross' minions and slowly making your way to the evil scientist's based on the planet Venom.

Like most stories in Nintendo games, it takes a back seat and you don't really notice or pay attention to it as you play through the game. The main reason people praise the Nintendo 64 game is because of its gameplay, not because of its story.

The gameplay in the Nintendo 64 Star Fox game is pretty simple. Most of the levels are on rails, with you always being forced to move forward, but you can still move Fox's Arwing, or whatever vehicle he's in at the time, around the screen to dodge attacks. Your main attack is to shoot lasers at the enemies, which can be upgraded twice from the basic stage throughout the levels. You're also given a limited number of bombs, which practically wipe out all the enemies on screen. There are also gold and silver rings scattered around each level. Both of these rings heal some of your health, but the gold rings increase your life bar by a significant amount if you collect three of them.

Star Fox 64 is on rails and you're always moving forward.

The best thing about the gameplay is that it's perfectly paced. There are very few moments of downtime where you're waiting for something to happen, but you never feel overwhelmed by the number of enemies. The difficulty is perfect too. Star Fox 64 basically has difficulty settings, but in the form of branching paths. Most levels have more than one exit, with the standard, normal exit leading to an easier level, while the hidden exit leads to a harder level. If you take the path that leads to the harder levels, you'll find yourself getting damaged and even dying multiple times, but it's all fair. You never feel like the game is cheap and causing you to die due to faulty controls or being ambushed out of nowhere.

The only issue with the main game is that it is on the short side. You only have to go through seven levels to reach the end of the game, and each level is relatively short. You can even go back and find the paths to all the levels in one afternoon. It would have been nice if there were a few more levels thrown into the mix just to lengthen the game some.

However, if you are finding Star Fox 64 on the short side, you can always go into the multiplayer mode with up to four players. There are three different modes for you to play in: Point match, battle royal, and a time trial. Each mode has their own set of rules and are nice and varied to keep multiplayer interesting. There also multiple arenas you can play in, and you can even unlock multiple vehicles to use in the single player mode.

The presentation in Star Fox 64 is great. Although the Nintendo 64's draw distances are the greatest, you can still see far enough off in the distance to react in a timely fashion. Each level is also extremely unique, without a single world blending in with another. Even the levels that take place in space are able to differentiate themselves from one another, such as Sector X, Sector Y, and Sector Z. Although they sound the same on paper, they're each memorable in their own way. However, the textures are bad even for the Nintendo 64.

There are multiple paths to take in the Lylat System.

Along with the graphics, the music is among the best on the Nintendo 64. It's full of memorable tunes that are still stuck in people's heads fifteen years later, ranging from the intense Star Wolf battle theme to the epic Venom theme. It's also notable that Star Fox 64 has voice acting. While some of the lines are cheesy, the voice acting overall is on the better side and gets the job done. It's hard to imagine playing the game without the voice acting.

Concluding Thoughts
Star Fox 64 is one of the best games on the Nintendo 64 due to its fast paced gameplay, great music, and fun multiplayer mode. It would have been even better if there were a few extra levels thrown into the mix to increase the length of the game, but the short length doesn't take away from how fun it is. If you own a Nintendo 64 or a Wii and don't know Star Fox 64, you should go buy it this instant. It's a must own for any gamer.

Final Score

Friday, May 11, 2012


Sorry about not having any new reviews up yesterday or today. It's been a busy week, so I haven't had time to sit down and play and write a review. There will be a review up tomorrow, though! Sorry about that.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bomberman Hero Review

Sorry this is so late. My internet was down all day.

Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 64 (Also on the Wii's Virtual Console)
Release Date: April 30, 1998 (JP), September 1, 1998 (NA), October 1, 1999 (EU)

The Nintendo 64 saw three Bomberman games during its run, Bomberman 64, Bomberman Hero, and Bomberman 64: The Second Attack. Of the three, most fans and critics agreed that Bomberman Hero was probably the worst. Were they just angry that the second N64 Bomberman game didn't have a multiplayer mode, or was Bomberman Hero truly a mediocre game?

Bomberman Hero's story is quite simple. Princess Millian of Primus Star gets kidnapped by the Garaden Empire, and she sends her robot, Pibot, to go inform Bomberman of what's happened. When Pibot reaches Bomberman, the two start traveling together to save the princess. Even though it's simple and nothing that bad, I do have a problem with it. It feels like Hudson tried to make the story more dramatic and epic than it really was. Cutscenes are common throughout the game, but nothing happens in them. The writing is pretty bad and cheesey too, which makes the cutscenes even worse to sit through.

But the meat of Bomberman Hero isn't its story; it's in its gameplay. The second Nintendo 64 Bomberman is a 3D platformer like many other platformers during the era, but it isn't an open world platformer like Banjo-Kazooie or Super Mario 64. Instead, it's like old 2D platformers. You're put on a very narrow and linear path and you have to get from point A to point B by making your way over obstacles and through enemies. Although the main objective is to get to the end of the level, there are also other objectives. You rack up points as you kill enemies and collect gems, and when you finish a level, you're given a rating of one through five, with five being perfect. When you finish a world, it adds up all the ratings you got and gives you a medal based on how well you did in that world.

Other than getting a good rating, there are reasons to go back and play through some levels. There are two or so levels in each world that have more than one exit. Taking only one exit and never going back to find the second exit will cause you to never play a level. However, the game doesn't tell you what levels have multiple exits until you finish the level and you notice you've skipped a different level.

Bomberman Hero's levels are linear and basically get from Point
A to Point B.

Not all the levels are getting from point A to point B, though. There are a few levels where you have to explore and collect four golden key like items to unlock the door leading out of the level. The only problem with these levels is that fact that they're not very large and it doesn't take long at all to find all four gold keys. They all end up being just as linear as the other levels, you just have to make sure you pick up the gold keys as you go along.

You only have one attack in Bomberman Hero, and that's to throw bombs. There are variations to the bomb attack, though. You can throw bombs normally by pressing B, throw multiple bombs at once by holding and then releasing B, or set bombs on the ground and then kick them at enemies by pressing R. You can also upgrade your bomb attack by collecting gold plates with bomb images and fire images in each level. The gold plates with the bomb images allow you to throw more than one bomb in a row, while the gold plates with fire images makes the explosion bigger.

Although it doesn't sound like much, fighting enemies never gets boring and it stays fun throughout the entire game. The enemies never really get difficult, though, with most of them going down in one hit even in the later levels. A lot of them are even stationary and don't attack you. They just sit around and wait for you to throw a bomb at them. Luckily, some of the bosses are difficult and do give provide a nice challenge.

If you think the enemies are too difficult for whatever reason, Hudson allows you to improve your life bar. Gems aren't only there to get you a good rating at the end of a level. If you collect a certain number of blue gems, you can take one more hit than normal. There is a maximum of eight for your life bar, though. Even though it's a nice idea, it doesn't work too well. Every time you quit playing, your life bar goes back to default and the game erases the number of blue gems you've collected. You could spend hours collecting hundreds of blue gems to get your life bar up to eight, only to find that progress erased when you start playing again. You end up not even worrying about collecting blue gems for life because you know it will just reset when you turn the N64 off.

The graphics in Bomberman Hero are okay. Not the best, but
not the worst either.

Bomberman Hero does have good replayability because of the rating system in each level, but there is one glaring omission. The Bomberman series has been known for its multiplayer, and Bomberman Hero doesn't have any. It doesn't really make sense as to why Hudson would leave it out, considering Bomberman 64, which came out before Hero, had multiplayer.

The graphics are nice and colorful, but it's nothing special at all. It's not the best looking game on the N64, nor is it the worst. In terms of visuals, the backgrounds stand out the most, and not for the right reasons. They look like they were blown up a couple of times, so they're all out of focus and pixelated. The music on the other hand is nice and the game has some stand out tracks. It's nothing that will top "Best N64 music" lists, but it's something.

Concluding thoughts
Bomberman Hero is a mediocre game. It has some good ideas, but they never really amount to anything. The game overall is on the easy side, and the levels don't stand out from one another. The game has some nice replay value, but it lacks one of Bomberman's most notable aspects - multiplayer. On top of that, the story tries way too hard to be epic or better than it really is, causing it to be more annoying than anything. All this while the graphics are nothing special, and the backgrounds look bad even for a Nintendo 64 game.

Final Score

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yoshi's Cookie (NES) Review

I feel like I'm apologizing with every review I post. I thought I would have this up yesterday, but I didn't. Sorry!

Developer: Bullet Proof Software
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: NES (Also on the Wii's Virtual Console)
Release Date: November 21, 1992 (JP), April 1993 (NA), April 28, 1993 (EU)

After the SNES was released, Nintendo shifted a lot of their focus from the original Nintendo Entertainment System to its successor. That doesn't mean they stopped developing games for the NES completely, though. Nearly two years after the Super Nintendo hit store shelves, Nintendo released a puzzle game for the NES called Yoshi's Cookie. Over the years, it's seen multiple re-releases on the SNES, Gamecube, and Wii.

Like I previously mentioned, Yoshi's cookie is a puzzle game. You have five different kinds of cookies, and they're all lined up in a grid. You have to create an entire row or column of one cookie. Once you do that, that entire row or column disappears. The objective is to clear all the rows and columns so you're left with nothing. It's not as easy as it sounds, though, as other cookies are constantly being added to the set of cookies you're working with. The more cookies there are, the harder it is to form an entire row or column of one specific type of cookie. There is a maximum of 8 rows and 8 columns in the game, and if your gird of cookies reaches one of those maximums, you lose.

There is a sixth cookie in the game, called a Yoshi's Cookie. It acts a wild card, and can be part of any row or column if you need an extra cookie. Don't rely on them though, because they're rare. You have to clear a certain number of rows or columns of the same type of cookie before a Yoshi's Cookie will appear.

Yoshi's Cookie allows you to change the speed of the game if you find it too hard or too easy. Altering the speed changes how fast extra cookies will be added to your grid. It's nice to have difficulty settings, and it does kind of make you wonder why Nintendo doesn't use them today. But we're not going to get into that. The game also gives you the option to change the background music, which is nice, but there are only three tracks to choose from. All three tracks are pleasant and will get stuck in your head, but that may just be because you listen to it over and over again as you play through the game. There is the option to turn the background music off completely if you want, so there is that.

You have to make rows and and columns of the same cookie.

If you find yourself getting bored of the single player mode, there is a Vs. mode where you can play against one other person. In this mode, the objective is the same: Make rows or columns of the same cookies. However, when you clear a row or column of cookies in Vs., that row or column doesn't disappear. Instead, it's instantly replaced by another row or column of cookies. You win in Vs. mode by filling a meter. Each time you clear a row or column, the meter fills up a little bit more. The first person to fill their meter up completely wins that round.

There is a time limit in Vs. mode too. If you or the person you're playing against doesn't make a move in a certain amount of time, you automatically win the round. Each time you clear a row or column, the timer resets. The first person to win three rounds in Vs. mode wins the game.

It's a nice addition to the game and it's a lot of fun to play competitively against someone in a puzzle game. It can get hectic trying to find the right kinds of cookies when you're in a rush trying to fill up your meter, and that's always a good thing.

If you enjoy puzzle games, you will find yourself going back to Yoshi's Cookie and upping the speed to see how good you are. If you have a friend that enjoys puzzle games too, you'll find yourself going into Vs. Mode over and over again, trying to best your opponent. The game basically has infinite replay value. It all depends on how much you enjoy puzzle games.

There's is a Vs. Mode for you and a friend to play.

Concluding thoughts
Yoshi's Cookie is a fun puzzle game that can get quite difficult. The addition of the Vs. mode and the option to change the speed allows for a ton of replayability, on top of just going back to just see how good you are. The music is nice, but there are only three songs in the entire game, which is a little disappointing. It's nothing amazing, but it's still a good game to play with a friend or to pass the time with.

Final Score

Sunday, May 6, 2012

No Reviews on Sundays

Hopefully this is my last non review post for a long time. Just wanted to say that there probably won't be any reviews on Sundays, just so I can spend a day relaxing and working on other reviews.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pokemon Snap Review

I know I said I'd be reviewing NES games, but Pokemon Snap is as short as an NES game. I think the reviews up until I finish the game I'm currently reviewing will be a bit on the short side, since there's not a lot of content to talk about. Sorry about that.

Developer: HAL Laboratories and Pax Softnica
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 64 (Also on the Wii's Virtual Console)
Release Date: March 21, 1999 (JP), June 30, 1999 (NA), September 15, 1999 (EU)

Pokemon Snap is probably one of the most loved Pokemon spin off games, up there with Pokemon Stadium. Fans have clamored for a sequel on the Wii U or 3DS since their announcements, imagining the countless possibilities the platforms would provide. Are these fans blinded by nostalgia, or his Pokemon Snap a legitimately fun game?

In Pokemon Snap, you play as a Pokemon photographer named Todd Snap. Professor Oak has invited you to his lab on Pokemon Island to explain to you that he needs you to take pictures of Pokemon for a Pokemon report. He lends you a vehicle he created, called the ZERO-ONE, and sends you off to take pictures of Pokemon that call the island home.

The N64 Pokemon spin off has six courses for you to take pictures on, and they are all on rails. Your movement is extremely limited, and you are constantly moving forward. As you move along a course, Pokemon will run or fly past you, and it's your job to take pictures of them. When you finish a course, Professor Oak will judge the pictures you took based on the size of the Pokemon, the Pokemon's pose, how centered the Pokemon is, and other special scenarios like a Pokemon in a special pose or if there's more than one of the same Pokemon in the shot. As you progress through the game, Professor Oak gives you more items that allow for better pictures and more Pokemon, such as an apple that lures Pokemon closer to you.

It sounds like a simple formula that could get boring after awhile, but it's surprisingly fun and addicting to run through each course trying to get the best picture of a Pokemon. You'll find yourself going back to each course just to make sure you took a picture of each Pokemon and to improve upon the pictures you've already taken. There also hidden and secret Pokemon that are harder to get pictures of. For example, in one course, you can force three Magnemite to combine and evolve into a Magneton.

Professor Oak gives you items like apples to help you take
better pictures.

However, the game is extremely short. As mentioned before, there are only six courses in the entire game, and they only last a couple minutes at most. On top of that, there are only 63 Pokemon in the game to take pictures of, and once you find all of them, there's little to no reason to go back into each course and take pictures again.

Pokemon Snap is also on the easy side. The game tries to add some difficulty by limiting the amount of pictures you can take on each course to sixty, but you never find yourself getting close to that total. The only way you can get close to the maximum is if you take pictures of everything on the course, including the rocks and blades of grass. There are also some Pokemon that are harder to pictures of than others, like Pokemon off in the distance or fast moving Pokemon, but you end up getting good enough pictures of them by second or third time you run through a course.

Because Pokemon Snap is a game based on taking pictures of Pokemon in their natural environments, graphics play an important role in the game. While it's not the best looking game on the Nintendo 64, they do get the job done. Pokemon look like how they're supposed to look and the environments and nice and diverse.

Although the music doesn't play as big of a role as graphics do in Pokemon Snap, it's still present in the game. The tunes you hear while traveling through each course are nice enough, but nothing ends up standing out. It's not something you end up caring about, though, as the only thing you find yourself focusing on throughout the game is getting the best picture of each Pokemon.

Pictures are judged based on size, pose, how centered the
Pokemon is, and special scenarios.

Concluding Thoughts
Pokemon Snap is the perfect example of a game where gameplay trumps everything else. On paper, it sounds like the Pokemon spinoff would be a mediocre game at best due to the short length, easy difficulty, okay graphics, and decent music. But when you actually play the game, you find yourself having a ton of fun and not even caring about the negative aspects of the game. Although it will only last you one afternoon, Pokemon Snap is a fun and addicting game that will leave you begging for a sequel.

Final Score

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Little Mermaid (NES) Review

I know this review is shorter than normal, but there's not a whole lot to say about this game. Sorry!

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: NES
Release Date: July, 1991

After the immense popularity of The Little Mermaid in theaters, Capcom decided to make a make a game based on the movie. It would only be the first in a long line of games based on the 1989 film, spanning from consoles like the NES and Gameboy all the way to the Nintendo DS, developed by companies ranging from Sega to Buena Vista to Left Field Productions. Does this original Little Mermaid game manage to capture the magic and excitement of the movie, or does it fall flat like countless other games based on movies?

The Little Mermaid for the NES starts out just like the movie. Ariel has fallen in love with Eric, and Ursula turns her into a human. However, Ursula doesn't steal Ariel's voice, and one day, Flounder, Sebastian, and Scuttle inform her that Ursula has taken over the sea. Ariel tells Eric that she's a mermaid before transforming back into one, and sets off on her journey to save the sea.

It's a simple storyline that follows the movie pretty well, but with a twist. If you're a huge fan of the movie and you wanted to see the plot followed exactly, you probably won't be a fan of it, but for those who are just fans of the movie and looking for a game based off of it, it's enjoyable enough.

You experience the story through cutscenes with large pieces of spritework accompanying the text, and it is very pretty to look at. The characters look like themselves, and the environments in each cutscene stand out and are pleasing to the eye. Eric looks a little weird in the cutscenes he's in, but not weird enough to detract from each scene.

The story is told through cutscenes.

The graphics during the game are extremely well done too. Each area looks unqiue, and there's a level of detail that very few NES have. Even though it only uses a few colors total, Capcom made it seem like there was a large variety of colors used throughout the game. It's definitely one of the best looking games on the NES.

The game itself is a 2D sidescroller, like many other NES games. The main thing that sets The Little Mermaid apart from other games is how you attack. Ariel can't attack by herself, and instead must trap enemies in bubbles created by her fin and then toss the enemies trapped in bubbles at other enemies. When you first start out the game, your bubble attack is weak, and it takes two swipes of the fin to trap an enemy in a bubble. As you progress through the game, though, you'll come across treasure chests with pearls inside them. If you collect the pearls, your bubble attack will get stronger along with having a longer range of attack, allowing you to trap enemies in one hit.

It's a nice gameplay mechanic that makes the game unique, but the game never gets difficult. You'll find yourself breezing through the levels, barely getting hit, only to be greeted by a boss that won't even lay a finger on you. There are hearts hidden throughout each of the levels so you can heal yourself, but you probably won't even need to try and find them.

The game is incredibly short too, even for NES standards. There are only five levels in the entire game, and you can beat each of them in around three minutes, and that's if you're looking for every item and pearl in the game. You can beat the game in under twenty minutes with cheats or skipping anything, and you'll find yourself saying, "Is that it?"

Despite being on the NES, Capcom does a good job of making
the game colorful.

There isn't much incentive to go back and play through the game either. There are hidden items along with the pearls in treasure chests, but they only give you points, and points don't do anything other than give you an extra life. You could go back and try to get the highest score, but that's the only reason to replay the game.

Despite all its flaws in difficulty and length, the game is kind of fun to play through. It never feels like a chore to play through the levels like other games can and the controls are nice and tight. The music is high quality and it's nice to listen to, but it's all forgettable. Nothing will stick with you after you turned the game off.

Concluding Thoughts
The Little Mermaid for the NES is an exceptionally average game. While the graphics are some of the best on the NES, the game is extremely easy and short, and the music accompanying it is forgettable. There's nothing that stands out about the game other than how you attack enemies, and after you play it once, you won't have the desire to replay it again for at least a few years.

Final Score

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Review Tomorrow

I'm currently reviewing a game that will take a few days to fully play and write a review for, so I don't have anything for today. For the next few days, I'll be posting reviews of NES games, so stay tuned for those!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

DK: King of Swing Review

Sorry, I know I said I'd have this up yesterday, but it took me longer than I thought. Because of that, you get this review before the scheduled 2:30 update!

Developer: Paon
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: GBA
Release Date: February 4, 2005 (EU), May 19, 2005 (JP), September 19, 2005 (NA)

After Rareware and Nintendo split up in the early part of the 2000s, Donkey Kong and his friends starred in a number of experimental and gimmicky games for nearly a decade. The ape went from a party games, to rhythm games, to racing games, to platformers with a twist. It felt like Nintendo didn't know what to do with the franchise, and just tossed it from developer to developer, hoping to find something that would stick. DK: King of Swing was one of the games released during that period of time, and it stands out even among the other Donkey Kong games released in the first decade of the 2000s just for its unique gameplay.

In DK: King of Swing, the Kongs are preparing for the Jungle Jam tournament, and the winner of the tournament would be proclaimed the Jungle Hero. Unfortunately, King K. Rool shows up and steals all the medals that were going to be used in the tournament and says that he's the Jungle Hero. Donkey Kong must set off and retrieve the medals so the Kongs can hold their Jungle Jam tournament.

It's not the most interesting story of all time, and it comes off as extremely childish and cheesey, even for Nintendo standards. The writing isn't the greatest either, which is a disappointment after Rareware's funny and snarky writing they included in their Donkey Kong games. Though, at the very least, it does give you reason to play through the game. But the story isn't what makes DK: King of Swing stand out from the rest of franchise; it's the gameplay and controls.

King of Swing's entire premise revolves around pressing two buttons: the R and L buttons. In this game, you only control Donkey Kong's hands. The right shoulder button controls Donkey Kong's right hand, while the left shoulder button controls Donkey Kong's left hand. You traverse the levels by grabbing onto and swinging from walls of pegs. Holding one of the shoulder buttons will make Donkey Kong hold onto a peg, while letting go of a shoulder button will make him let go of a peg. If you press both shoulder buttons at the same time while on the ground, it causes Donkey Kong to jump. Holding both L and R for a few seconds will cause Donkey Kong to charge up, and when you release the buttons, he'll go flying through the air, damaging anything in his path. It's that simple.

DK: King of Swing's unique gameplay sets it apart from
other games.

The simple yet unique controls allow for some interesting level designs. Instead of having levels that go from left to right or right to left, the levels in DK: King of Swing are mainly vertical, making Donkey Kong travel from the bottom of the screen to the top of the screen. There are also a few simple puzzles that revolve the mechanic, like spinning on a valve to open up a new path.

Just like previous Donkey Kong games, you collect bananas as you go through each level. Unlike King of Swing's predecessors, bananas are used to heal and make yourself invincible. Pressing B will remove ten bananas from your total and heal one heart of Donkey Kong's life, while pressing B will remove twenty bananas from your total to make Donkey Kong invincible for a few seconds.

Paon also does a nice job of keeping the levels nice and fresh. With the entire game revolving around a simple gameplay mechanic, the game could have possibly turned repetitive after the first few levels, but the developers added new and interesting twists throughout the game, such as wind throwing you off, underwater levels making the jumps more unpredictable, and ice pegs making Donkey Kong slip as he tried to grab them. The difficulty curve is nice too, with the later levels causing you to get hit and fall off ledges over and over again. However, the levels are also a little on the short side, though. They don't take very long at all to get from beginning to end, even if you tried to collect everything in the level.

The game itself is short too. There are only five worlds in the entire game, and each world only has four levels, bringing the total number of levels to twenty. Luckily, there are extras to collect that extend the length of the game. In each level, there's a crystal coconut and a medal hidden. Collecting all of them unlocks additional content for you to enjoy after the main game is finished, including a few multiplayer modes.

There are medals and crystal coconuts for you to collect.

The multiplayer modes range from races to battles, and they're a fun way to pass the time when you're finished playing the main game. In multiplayer, you have the option of playing as various characters, including Diddy, Dixie, and Funky Kong. Each character has their own pros and cons, and you can even unlock more characters in the multiplayer by playing a mixture of the multiplayer mode and the single player mode. And if you don't have anyone to play with, then you can play the multiplayer games by yourself against the computer.

Although the gameplay itself is memorable, the music sadly isn't. It's pleasant to listen to while you're playing the game, but nothing will stick out and you won't find yourself humming anything along with the game. By the time you turn the game off, every song you heard in the game will be an obscure memory, and you won't be able to recall the beat.

Unlike the music, the graphics of DK: King of Swing are memorable, but they aren't exactly fantastic. Instead of the more realistic style that Donkey Kong had become known for, King of Swing opted for a more cartoony style. It looks nice, but it feels generic and not like Donkey Kong at all. Everything is colorful and vibrant, though, so one can't knock it too much.

Concluding Thoughts
Overall, DK: King of Swing is a good game with unique gameplay that sets it apart from the rest of the games in the Donkey Kong series, but that's about it. The game is short, the story isn't that great, the music isn't memorable, and the art style chosen feels generic and un-Donkey Kong like. The inclusion of a multiplayer mode and extras does boost the game a bit, but it's nothing substantial to make the game better than just good.

Final Score