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I always wrestle with myself when it comes to my podcast. I always feel like I shouldn't post it on here because no one cares. But then I remember "Hey, my fellow DToiders don't care, and maybe some of them will like it." So here it is. I'll try to be more dedicated to post them in the future.
Anyway, you can download the latest episode here.
If you want to be a pal, you can subscribe on iTunes here.
And before I go any further, we're recording a new episode tonight, and every week we have a topic discussion and try to keep it relevant to things going on in the industry today. Due to the recently announce "New 3DS", we're going to be discussing console iterations. We'll discuss things like the top-loading NES, the Game Boy/Game Boy Color, the GBA/GBA SP, and so on. Feel free to leave a question for us in the comments. It doesn't have to be relevant to the topic, or even about videogames at all, we just like questions.
On this week's episode, Dustin, Heather, and Luke discuss important social issues, like:
the new RoboCop film
Heather rediscovers her love of Swedish Fish
Jungle Jim's International Food Market.
Games of the week:
Dustin - Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Heather - SteamWorld Dig
Luke - Azure Striker Gunvolt
In this week's topic, we count down our top 5 gaming shames. We talk about games that are widely considered to be great classics, but we either haven't played or haven't finished. Which one of us has never played a Castlevania game? Which one never completed a Mega Man game? Who has a scathing hate for R-Type? You'll find out in this very episode.
We're participating in the Extra-Life.org 24-hour gaming marathon for the Children's Miracle Network on October 25th. We're only $75 from reaching our goal. If you're interested in donating to this awesome cause. click this link. http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=92599
Follow us on Twitter @TheDustinThomas @HeathaSonYo @BygJuce @FakeChrisCramer
Thanks for reading/listening.
Every fighting game series has those certain characters that no one likes. Let's take the top dog of fighting games, Street Fighter, for example. Everyone hates Akuma, and in the interest of not being torn to shreds, I'll clarify now that that was just a joke. Outside of Mortal Kombat, I've never been much of a fighting game fan, and after MK: Armageddon wound up being spectacularly dreadful, I swore them off for good. But Mortal Kombat was instrumental in growing me as a gamer in the early and mid-90s. I spent more nights in 1995 playing MK2 and 3 with my friends than not, and I've written before about why the series as a whole has a very sentimental place in my heart. So for the next two weeks, the Weekly Top 5 will be Mortal Kombat related, this week being the worst characters, and next week being the best. And no, I will not be that guy who spells everything with a 'K' in case you were wondering.
Jax - Mortal Kombat 2 version
Jax has never been a favorite of mine. With every MK, I feel the need to beat the game with everyone so I can see their endings, and in every new entry in the franchise, Jax is always one of the last ones I pick. The one thing that stands out about Jax are his cybernetic arm enhancements, but if you're new to the franchise, or started playing at or past MK3, you may have forgotten that when he was introduced in MK2, he didn't have them. He was just a generic black guy with a mustache and a muscle-gut. His one redeeming quality is that he does have the sweet "arm rip" fatality.
Once Jax got the arm enhancements and they started making him look more like the U.S. Special Forces that he was meant to be, he became incredibly less boring. He's still not one of my favorites, though.
First Appearance - Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
Apparently Drahmin's magic power is that he doesn't bathe? I mean, that's how it seems when you consider that one of his major attacks is that he shoots a giant ball of houseflies at you. The sad part, though, is that Drahmin actually has an interesting backstory: He wears the mask to control his murderous insanity, as he at one point was a cruel warlord in Outworld. He was later exiled to Netherrealm to be punished for his atrocities. He was then hired by Shang Tsung and Quan Chi, along with his fellow Oni, Moloch, as bodyguards. Without going into greater details, Drahmin is one more or less responsible for the plot of Deadly Alliance.
Here's the problem with Drahmin: he's uninteresting and no fun to play. With Deadly Alliance, every character was given two fighting styles and a weapon. Drahmin's weapon is the metal club that acts as his right arm. I mean, I guess it is technically a weapon, but when it's attached to you, and you use it during your other fighting styles, what's the point of still having the option to use a weapon like every other character does? Seems rather pointless to me.
First Appearance - Mortal Kombat 3
If you're the type of person who says things like "Actually, I like Stryker" then you're saying it to be confrontational and I hate you for it. That was mean. I'm sorry, I don't hate you. But seriously, stop it. No one likes Styker, not even in an ironic way. I was told that he is actually pretty powerful, but I never found out if that were true or not, because again, no one likes Stryker.
In a game full of awesome new characters like Sektor, Cyrax, Sindel, and Kabal, it's a shame that Stryker was introduced alongside them. So we get matching robot Predators, the resurrected queen of Edenia, a dude with a weird breathing machine and awesome hookswords, a female Shokan (Sheeva), and then we get a human cop with no powers. Let's play a game, it's called "One of these things is not like the others." The only interesting fact about him is that the name "Kurtis Stryker" was originally the name they were going to give Jax in MK2, and then they sat on it and gave it to this loser.
First Appearance - Mortal Kombat: Deception
The one big negative that the Mortal Kombat franchise has working against it is that they've created very few good new characters since Mortal Kombat 3. It seems that when the series made the jump from 2D to 3D that they lost their creativity, and their roster is the thing that suffered the most. WithMK:D, they jam-packed the game with all kinds of diversions from the main fighting game. There was a Puzzle Fighter clone, there was Chess Kombat, and the new Konquest Mode (which I actually found to be the funnest part of the entire game) was more or less an open-world adventure game. With all of those things going on during development, it's no wonder the new characters suffered.
The only new character in Deception worthy of being a Mortal Kombat character is Havik. Here, let me show you all the new playable characters:
Havik: the least worst.
Darrius: aka Shaft.
Hotaru: He has flags.
Kira: MK needed a redhead.
Kobra: better in Street Fighter.
Shujinko: main character of this game's story, also, old.
Yup, that sure is Dairou. I know I haven't spoken much about the character himself, but that's because there really isn't a whole lot to say about him. He's a mercenary, his parents were killed by Darrius, Dairou has no idea, and then Darrius hired Dairou to kill Hotaru. Got that?
However, much like MK2 Jax, Dairou's single high point is his rib-ripping fatality.
First Appearance - Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
If you're looking at that picture and thinking "Who?", you're probably not the only one. Taven is the most bland character in MK history, only Stryker even comes close, I think he uses fire as his main element of attack, so that should be another indicator of his uselessness. The only notable thing about Taven is that he's the one you control in MK: Armageddon's "Konquest" mode, which isn't saying much, because the Konquest mode in Armageddon is far inferior to the one in MK: Deception. They basically took the premise of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, which is an absolutely fantastic game, dumbed it down, tacked it on, and pooped it out.
Perhaps the reason he doesn't stand out is because he was introduced in the worst MK fighting game, or maybe it's because he was introduced in an entry that featured literally every other Mortal Kombat character ever. How do you expect to be noticed on a character select when everyone is specifically looking for characters that don't suck?
1. Hsu Hao
First Appearance - Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
Hsu Hao is so bad that even the creators of Mortal Kombat hate his guts, which makes you wonder why they even bothered to include him in the first place. There's literally nothing positive to say about him. He was introduced in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, and in a game that was littered with lackluster new additions, he was without a doubt the runt of that litter. I'm not kidding, either, I could have made this entire list be nothing but characters introduced in MK:DA.
Hsu Hao (pronounced Soo-How) is basically just a pawn for the Red Dragon crime syndicate under the orders of Mavado, another dumb DA character. Hsu Hao was actually acting as a secret agent for the Red Dragon and infiltrated the ranks of the Chinese sect of the Special Forces (Jax's organization). Then he was ordered by Mavado, who was being ordered by Quan Chi, to kill Shang Tsung. On his way to do so, Jax catches up with him to get revenge and rips his cybernetic heart out.
He has a terrible design, is no fun to play, and is universally despised by the MK community. Most characters in the franchise have at least one redeeming quality, but with Hsu Hao, he could have been taken out of the game in the 11th hour and literally nothing would have been affected by it. Hsu Hao is the worst of the worst.
Cue the sweet Mortal Kombat theme song here, because that's the end of this week's top 5. This list was hard, because there are a surprising number of bad characters in the MK franchise, but I have a feeling it's not going to be nearly as hard as trying to rank the top 5 best. See you next week.
Thanks for reading.
I know, I know. You young bucks are probably sitting there thinking "Dustin, of course Super Mario World is your favorite game. I can tell from the gray hair in your beard that it was probably the only game that existed when you were a kid."
First of all. Rude.
Second, I'm only twenty-nine.
Third, I'll have you know the gray in my beard makes me look wise...
...and metal as EFF!
All joking aside, it is kind of cliche to say that your favorite game is an early Mario title. Ask my dad what his favorite videogame is and he'll probably tell you King's Quest VI because it was the last videogame he played and was the best thing he had played up to that point. My dad stopped gaming shortly after King's Quest VI, but I, on the other hand, didn't follow in his footsteps in this regard and continued gaming up to the current day, and nothing has come close to comparing to the feeling I get every time I play Super Mario World.
One of the oldest (and silliest) arguments in the gaming community is whether Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World is the superior game. While SMB3 is without question an all-time classic, to me, there's no debate--Super Mario World wins the battle, hands down. The reason I think so is because it took everything that was great about SMB3, cranked it to 11, and made it bigger and better.
The only way to play Super Mario World is cranked to 11.
Bigger and better enemies (I nearly pooped my jeans the first time I encountered Banzai Bill), bigger levels, more secrets, better level variety, a greater challenge, and even though they scaled back the amount of new suits, I prefer the cape to the raccoon tail/Tanooki suit. Lastly, let us not forget the greatest addition to the game: Yoshi.
That bipedal dinosaur companion became one of the most cherished characters in the franchise. Between Yoshi and the cape, I felt like I could literally go anywhere and do anything, no challenge was too great. With Yoshi next to me--or rather, under me--I no longer feared treading into uncharted territory. I now laughed at the Valley of Bowser; no amount of lightning crashes could deter me from seeing my mission of saving the princess to the very end.
I have a handful of games that I wind up replaying every year. Games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Resident Evil 4, and Metal Gear Solid, but there's never a time in my life where I don't have an active game going on my SMW cartridge. I'm basically in a constant state of playing Super Mario World.
There's no such thing as a perfect game. Gaming is a subjective medium, and everyone is going to have their own opinions on every game they play. It's the reason I don't consider Devil May Cry 2 to be a bad game, despite constant community outcry to the contrary. A lot of it is circumstantial, too. I received DMC2 as a Christmas gift from my brother, and it was the first DMC game I played. So, considering I had no history with the series, and that it didn't cost me any money, it's somewhat easier to understand my feelings toward the game. So where am I going with this? Well, I'm basically just trying to say that there's no such thing as a perfect game, but to me, Super Mario World is as close as we're ever going to get, and I don't think it's because of circumstances or a case where it was the right game at the right time.
A few paragraphs ago I rattled off reasons why I preferred SMW to its predecessor, and now I'd like to take a few moments just to break them down a little bit.
I mentioned Banzai Bill when talking about enemies, which is what happens when you take a Bullet Bill and crank it up to 11 (see what I'm saying), and then you have enemies like Torpedo Ted that only appear in one level--a level you can only access by discovering a secret and committing an act of betrayal. You have the varying colors of Koopa Troopas which give Yoshi different powers and attacks depending on which one he swallows. And let's not forget just how great the final battle was with Bowser riding in his clown-face copter...stomper...thing. Whatever it is, it's awesome. Also, Blargg.
I repeat, Blargg.
The levels were much larger than anything we had seen in a Mario game up to this point, which is why this game threw in the addition of mid-level checkpoints. Not only did these checkpoints save your progress should you happen to die, but they also gave you a much needed boost from Mario to Super Mario if you needed it. Gone was the hoarding inventory system of SMB3, and in was the ability to carry an additional item into the level with you.
There are 96 exits in this game. Not 96 levels, but 96 exits. Any time you came upon a new level and it was colored red instead of yellow, that was your signal that there was a secret exit. And some levels didn't even give you that luxury, like the ghost house in Donut Plains, or the secret exit you needed to discover to find your way out of the Forest of Illusion, or to find Star Road.
I know what you did to find that secret. You're worse than 1,000 Hitlers.
Speaking of the levels, let's talk about the variety within each world. Unlike SMB3, where you had 6-10 similar levels in a row, here you may have an underground level, followed by a ghost house, followed by an ice world, you never knew what was coming next, but you knew it would be different and exciting. Instead of navigating your way across an airship, here you went after the Koopa Kids in traditional castles, but each castle was unique and added a different challenge, whereas each airship was similarly laid out.
Did I say challenge? Yes, I would say that this game is challenging, but what I really mean is screw the Star Road Special World. While there were definitely other levels in the game that offered a great deal of trouble to a six year old Dustin Thomas, Star Road Special was where Nintendo took off the kiddie gloves and started punching me in the face with their bare fists.
Screw this level, in particular.
But then, when it's all said and done, after you've left Yoshi's Island, made your way past the Donut Plains, traversed the Vanilla Dome, crossed the Butter Bridge, solved the Forest of Illusion, chomped your way through Chocolate Island, braved your way out of the Sunken Ghost Ship, brute forced your way through the Valley of Bowser, you hit your mortal enemy with that final Mechakoopa, and you see the very person who made all of your struggles worth the prices you've paid, worth the sacrificing of friends, worth the struggles of Star Road. You lay your eyes on your fair maiden, Princess Toadstool.
She kisses you, and you blush both in the game and in real life (because you're six year old Dustin, remember). Time to sit back and reflect on your journey. But wait, there's no time for that, the final treat is still to come!
Without question, this game has the greatest ending credit sequence in history. You get to meet all the enemies you've encountered, as well as listening to one of the greatest pieces of gaming music ever made. I love the ending theme song of Super Mario World so much that when I got married, I kissed my lovely bride, and we left the sanctuary while this song played. Let us enjoy it together.
Is it boring to say Super Mario World is my all-time favorite game? Maybe a little, at least according to some people. It's not that I didn't branch out, I've been playing videogames for a quarter of a century now, and I've run the gamut of genres, but Super Mario World is where my heart lies. I'm completely open to a new game coming out and just completely blowing my mind and usurping the throne away from the portly plumber, it just hasn't happened yet.
Thanks for reading.