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10:10 PM on 03.26.2014

NVGR - Review: Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine

This one goes out to Max Scoville because he is right, we should also talk about comics.

For the life of me I don't understand why no one has recommended this to me before. Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine is in all likelihood is my favorite comic of all time. It takes two of my favorite Marvel heroes Spider-Man and Wolverine, mixes time travel and an epic adventure all in one perfect sized graphic novel. Really I'm surprised they were able to fit it all in.

I like having this and Deadpool Vol. 2 Dark Reign because I've come to call them the "Meat Suit collection". Also, both are fun and are my top choices whenever I recommend a comic.

There is a robbery taking place and somehow it attracts Wolverine and Spider-Man in a way that just flows together. Before they know it the both of them are stranded in a place and time embarking on a journey that will stay with them forever. All they have is each other in acknowledging where they both came from. There will be some serious soul searching as well as humorous happenstances that will leave you chuckling like you're reading some good Deadpool. Neither of them knows really what is happening, but it will be a crazy ride finding out. So how long can the broody "snikt" and the whip smart "web head" last together?

It is taking a lot of restraint to hold back my fanboyism on this one. Mainly because I feel it has everything you need in a comic. And the fact that it is not super bulky like a text book makes me love it even more. If you love having range in your comic plots, a steady flow of content mixed perfectly with great art then you'll want in on this as soon as possible.

SCORE 9.5/10
The only reason I don't give it a perfect score is because I wish there were a bit more info on the villains. Otherwise it is perfect.

Also recommended:
Deadpool Vol. 2 Dark Reign
& Dark Reign Deadpool/Thunderbolts (it basically goes in the middle of Vol.2)

Conan Vol. 1-7 (nice stories and depiction of world, for original stuff Complete Chronicles of Conan is a nice long read)
Madame Mirage
Deadpool Vs. the Marvel Universe (Also, Merc with a Mouth, Daniel Way's run of Deadpool (he gets a little lazy with the humor, but I still prefer his over Joe Kelly's run, Deadpool Corps was okay for me and recently started reading Priest and others)
The Path: Crisis of Faith
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11:37 PM on 03.25.2014

Review: Space Invaders

For some reason this game never ceases to get my adrenaline going, especially when I am trying to beat my old score. It is a simple matter of shooting waves of aliens, and my excitement for this game has never gone away whether it is something closer to the original or Space Invaders Extreme.

I don't see many nods to older games other than mainly Pac-Man, occasionally Asteroids and maybe Missile Command (Think this was on an episode of the TV series Chuck). I loved the one Futurama episode where Fry uses his Space Invaders skills.

[justify][size=2][font=Arial]It is hard to see myself owning a $200 handheld, but if I have this game on my smartphone I am hard pressed to move away to any other handheld game anyway. I've played a few handhelds, but I think I have had my fill, besides I get the same amount of enjoyment from app games. I prefer Space Invaders over the still popular Tetris because when I lose a life in Space Invaders I just seem to take it more personally. Also, it makes me laugh thinking at how revolutionary it was to blast at enemies through your own shield.

The hardest part for me is when I've completely used up my shields then I'm just zigging left and right, trying to mow down the rows and not get taken out by a first row alien. I have some facepalm moments when I'm peeking behind a shield and then get hit upside the face.[/font][/size][size=2][font=Arial][b]

SCORE: 10/10[/b]
For me it is a perfect game because of its simple mechanics, but surprisingly it's not my all time favorite. There is still significant value in this game because to me it's like listening to Rapper's Delight over and over in my car and memorizing lyrics. Or you can do both at the same time and feel like you're on the bow the Titanic. If you're fancy pants like me might have a slurpee or icee to top it off.[/font][/size][/justify]   read

9:27 PM on 03.22.2014

Review: Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom - 360

The concept reminds me somewhat of a mix of Shadow of the Colossus' environment and a bit of Pokemon Yellow. Everything felt a little menacing at times because you are pretty much alone, but looking back at your partner the Majin who is a innocent looking you are immediately put at ease. A younger crowd will probably sense the contrast more so than adults who may be annoyed by the soft giant. I feel a lot of people who played this game do not get that the Majin is a great contrast to the fascinating dark creepy looking enemies you have to face. The game is a perfectly fun puzzle as well as an action adventure game. Jim Sterling also had a good review for Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom.

The combat has less variety than something like Darksiders, but there is enough to do in a battle that I would play through again. After a certain amount of hits you and the Majin can perform a combo with a simple button press. Make sure to use one of the Majin's abilities from early on, it is a satisfying tactic against group enemies. The enemies and the bosses can also be puzzles because only certain tactics will get you through otherwise you will be stuck in a loop. You might get stuck for a bit in a boss loop because there are certain steps, again puzzle solving to defeat each one and not just hack-slash.

The enemies are some of the best I have ever seen because very few pull off the ooze factor. They are literally black as oil and constantly dripping. The "evil" that has overtaken the world is mainly composed of this substance making it a unique source of evil. You have your obvious humanoid looking ones, but then you also have dog like versions, ghost like and large golem like ones. Along with the other more advanced enemies and bosses we can see that a lot of thought has gone into the opposition in the game. All enemies have distinguishable "masks", a factor that is utilized very well throughout the world.

There are environment challenges which comprise most of the puzzle solving, so in order to progress† all you need to do is pay attention. Sometimes it takes a bit of exploring and experimenting. You must make use of the Majin's size and elemental abilities not to mention your character's own abilities. Exploring you will find armor, but more importantly giant berries that restore the Majin's powers. The way the game introduces the elemental factor reflects in the environments is extremely welcome.

The two main characters have a lion-mouse relationship, and I like that the game plays with it. Your character is a thief whose interest in treasure draws him into the fray. The Majin is a hulking figure whose appearance gradually changes as he gains more experience. It was interesting seeing the two of the characters work together. You have control of the Majin (like a more active giant Pikachu from Pokemon Yellow) and at times you have to use his abilities alongside with yours to progress.

This is definitely one of the more interesting games to have come out. If this game received more attention I would look forward and pre-order the sequel. It is highly unlikely, but I can always revisit this. Boss battles require some thought, some environment passes and levers are not apparent, but otherwise it is a enjoyable ride. The point is, take in the sights and enjoy the puzzle solving. For sightseeing I feel this is a step up from Shadow of the Colossus which I feel inspired this game somewhat. Both games however, could use a better teleport/travel mechanism (SOTC more so) because after a point, traveling around and backtracking just seems a bit tedious.

SCORE 9/10
It is unique, has a decent variety of gameplay and so is perfect for what it is. The only other games (from pure speculation) that might have similar mechanics is Dead to Rights, Enslaved or other games with an AI partner. Few solutions take a bit of trial and error, but that encourages you to wander, experiment and explore. After I finished I felt like taking a break and wanted to start something else, but when Iím in the mood Iíll come back and explore all the other achievements. If you donít mind the lonely atmosphere, it is great sightseeing between battles, definitely more stimulating than SOTC. The Majin is a nice big teddy for you to look at as well as a handy partner that is essential to the gameplay.[/font][/size][/justify]   read

7:23 AM on 03.21.2014

Review: Jade Cocoon - PS1

Some reviews get buried after enough have come out or "never was". I feel strongly enough to recommend this game instead of getting lost in a rating system elsewhere. For those looking for something old to get into or just a small reminder to go back and replay it.

Something about this game just brings out the romantic in me whenever I think about it. Somehow I felt like I was getting more of Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke Anime film. The controls needed a little getting used to, but is negligible compared to everything that made it up as a whole. Jade Cocoon treats monsters like a Pokemon game except your character is a bit more involved. It feels inspired strongly by Pokemon, but took the pokeflute idea a step further and along with a completely different cultural vibe.† It was so worth playing that I can't help reminiscing about it fondly for the most part. If you want to read more, Colette Bennett wrote something about Jade Cocoon too.

The monsters are stirring with a force that has unbalanced the nature of things. The village sees the change and their only hope is a new Cocoon Master to restore balance by venturing into the different forests.

The monsters or "minions" can be captured and mixed into new breeds. The elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire are all key in successful combat. The mixing of minions is what makes this game unique from others because I know of few other examples that makes use of combining creatures like a transporter accident. It is really nice that you can see the outcome before committing to a combination.

The graphics for gameplay still hold for me to this day even though I would like a little higher definition. I kind of wish they had stuck to animated scenes (like the intro), but the CGI does alright. There's a bit of repetition as you enter each forest. The experience was on the short side, but still brought out the adventurer in me. The bosses you fight are pretty decent, so make sure to level up and experiment with mixing minions.

The player can also fight doing a half-decent amount of physical-spell damage. Often times the player can level up on his own, however the game play it is set up so leveling up your minions and catching them is the main goal. It was a cultural experience for me even if it is a completely fictional one. The soundtrack is also very soothing and appropriate. Character development is pretty solid as you learn about yourself and the world from the other characters. After finishing the story you unlock a mode I won't spoil, but it was an interesting concept for me back in the day. To this day I'm not sure if anyone has conquered it.

SCORE 9/10
When playing I could see how some might find certain aspects tedious if they aren't Pokemon Masters. I personally felt there was enough to do between exploring, making money, catching and battling. However, Jade Cocoon is still on the short side in terms of length.

Minion variety also might let people down a little because only the skin colors and abilities are different. There are maybe a handful as far as minion design is concerned. The mix of elements, coloring and names help give a better sense of variety.

This is probably one of many PS1 Classics Sony is going to leave completely behind. Even Jade Cocoon 2 is not even on the PSPs, sad stuff. Would've been Sony's half decent rival to new Pokemon games on the 3DS, from Nintendo in general. I really loved the environment design because I'm never going to experience this much nature on my own time. This game just had a lot of great atmosphere for me. There is a sequel, though the first game was a world I wish I could explore more of. I'd have really loved if they had an animated film or just y'know, more anything even swag. Swear, I'm going to have to print my own poster one of these days.[/font][/size][/justify]   read

7:16 PM on 03.20.2014

Review: Custom Robo Arena - DS

[/font][/size][size=2][font=Arial][i]Haven't blogged forever, not sure if I need a intro blog, but my info is in my "About Me".

Some reviews get buried after enough have come out or "never was". I feel strongly enough to recommend this game instead of getting lost in a rating system elsewhere. For those looking for something old to get into or just a small reminder to go back and replay it.[/i]

The game every Medabots attempt should have been, but several times better. Custom Robo Arena is also starting to look like it is hard to find a physical copy. This game should have been promoted much more and held up as a standard for other DS games. People have moved onto the 3DS and that is fine, but those who still have a DS (not sure if it's in the Nintendo library), should check it out.

To start, it has the 2D world of a Pokemon game, but has bigger battles and customization which drives the game play. There are many bots, guns and parts to choose from which do affect your robot. Fight styles can vary as players can get up close and personal, fight at a distance or switch between both depending on their parts. The arenas are spectacular because you have so much freedom to run, jump and do pretty much whatever tickles your fancy. They are not too small, not too big, they are just right and original (from fire, tracks and blackout fights).

One aspect I really loved were the "pods". They're an interchangeable part which are basically bombs with different abilities. Some explode big, small, homing, random movement and others.

The story and talking is original enough and not that time consuming between battles. After all, the main interest is to fight in the variety of arenas against a variety of robots. You think you can get away with mashing and in some cases this is true, but there is skill in getting at opponents that get more difficult. One drawback is I wish I could select arenas and battle AI opponents like an arcade.

Favorite arena is the blackout arenas where the lights go off for a while. You can see your opponent, but the obstacles still get in the way so you have to figure a way to kill your opponent in the dark. Also I enjoyed fighting without using the "Rebirth Mode" (invincibility few seconds). You can probably raise the difficulty by picking a really low end robot and beat the game with it.

SCORE 9.5/10
Iíd throw money at this game. Really wish there was an arcade mode, but running around picking fights is still decent. Not sure how this compares to the N64 version, but for a portable it was great stuff.[/font][/size][/justify]   read

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