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8:38 PM on 07.19.2012

Awesome Zelda Themed Birthday Card I Gots

Hey DToid, I know its been awhile since I posted here and I really should finish off my SNES stuff one of these days but I really want to share something awesome that happened to me yesterday. Yesterday was my 30th Birthday and my Girlfriend decided she wanted to make something very special for me. She makes cards, just a little hobby or hers but she is very good at it. Her and her mum usually make them and donate them to be used by soldiers serving away from their families to use. She'd made an awesome one for my mums Birthday a few weeks back and I knew she was working on something for me but I never ever knew it was going to be as amazing as it turned out. I think I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Sorry about the large pics btw, I'll try and get around to resizing later but if you view images on their own you get to see the full thing.

I was just floored at how amazing this is, its easily the greatest thing I've ever been given and I'm just over the moon with it all at the moment. The whole thing barring the Zelda figures is hand made and it just looks fantastic. Also happy I lucked up by landing a girlfriend how is as in love with the Zelda games as I am :)   read

9:58 PM on 11.20.2010

20 SNES games in 20 Days: Super Mario Allstars

*days may or may not be concurrent

So whatís the best game to get someone who never had a NES, missed out on the classic Mario games when they first came out and had just gotten a brand spanking new Super Nintendo and needed some games to play on it? That game is of course one of the best compilations of all time Super Mario Allstars

Even though I had never owned a NES I had played Super Mario Bros a few times and Super Mario Bros 3 once or twice, but alas never the number 2. I enjoyed what little I had played on them, but they werenít something that really caught my interest. I really started becoming interested with the games once I got my Game Boy and started buying NMS and became the Nintendo fanboy I am today. There was a huge review for Super Mario Allstars one issue, it was a huge deal, I wanted this game. Fast Forward to Christmas 1993 after much debate between a SNES and a Mega Drive (I wanted a SNES, he wanted a Mega Drive) we asked our parents for a SNES. Iím not sure if we knew before hand that we were getting it or not, but my god was that Christmas morning one of god damn win. We got the Super Mario Allstars SNES pack, honestly what better way to start your Super Nintendo Collection.

I guess the best way to go through these would be in order, so letís start with Super Mario Bros 1. Secret admission time, Iíve never finished Super Mario Bros, I get up to the last world and I just crash and burn. I donít know what it is about that world but I just canít get past it. So I guess as a result of that Iím not as fond of this game as a lot of other games are, I think that might also be in part due to the fact I didnít have a NES and I sort of missed the boat on it. I had played it before I got my SNES but never really fell in love with it. Having said that I do enjoy the remake for Allstars, it looks amazing, the soundtrack is great and I think it plays a little bit better. Plus I think its a little more forgiving part in thanks to being able to save between levels. All in all the Allstars version is my fav version of Super Mario Bros, one that I know I shall someday finish.

Super Mario Bros the Lost Levels, where the hell do I start with this, how about the fact that I god damn hate this vile piece of crap. I really donít get why people go so gaga over this game. I think a lot of it has to do with the Japan only factor, some people seem to treasure it as some secret lost game and hate on Super Mario Bros. 2 because we got that instead of this. I say thank god and I really wish Lost Levels had of stayed in Japan. To me it plays more like a badly made ROM hack of the original with stupid invisible blocks that you wonít know about till you bump you head on them, flying bloopers, poison mushrooms, gusts of winds and all this stupid crap that just makes it a mean and spiteful game. You can really tell it wasn't made by Shiggy, it just lacks a lot of the good game designs you can usually see in his games.

Super Mario Bros 2 to me was the lost chapter of Mario games, Iíd not played it before I got Allstars. I had read about it, but didnít really know a lot about it, barring that you could choose between 4 different characters, one of whom was my main man Toad (I was a fan of the Super Mario Bros cartoon and loved Toad). So because it was the one I knew the least about it was the first one to play and to be honest I really really enjoyed it. Itís always bemused me when I see people trash on this game for not being the real Super Mario Bros 2. This game is a hundred times better in every single way then Lost Levels. True it plays different to any other Mario game made since, however it is just soo much fun to play even to this day. Even though the game is heaps easier then the first it just feels like a much bigger and better game. Most levels have multiple ways you can get to the end, a boss fight at the end of each stage. Boss fights that are more then just running underneath Bowser, secret hidden worlds, the magic potions I can go on, its just such an amazing game. Plus in one scene you pull up a turnip and out comes a rocket ship, how freaken awesome is that.

So that brings us to the last title in the collection, Super Mario Bros 3. What more can be said about this game that hasnít already been stated. Itís to this day one the finest example of 2d platforming the NES ever produced. Everything about the game is amazing, who cannot forget about the first time you got the raccoon tail and flew, or the first time were in Giant World and saw a Giant Goomba coming towards you. If I had to sum up the game in one word, that word would be Epic. There were just soo many god damn stages and soo much variety in those stages from battles on flying ships to levels in the desert with the sun trying to kill, itís just such an amazing game and easily in the top 5 NES games ever games. Also the little Multiplayer add in for the original Mario bros in Super Mario Bros 3 was greatly appreciated, the SNES was a present to both my little brother and myself, the first thing we did after we got the SNES on that fateful Christmas day was bug our parents for another controller, just so we could play it against each other. We would of killed hours playing that against each other, I would kill for Nintendo to make a modern day version of that.

I loved Mario Allstars, it really was the perfect way to start my life as a Super Nintendo gamer. Its an amazing little collection and Nintendo really did an amazing job bringing the games into the 16bit era. They sound amazing, the look fantastic and they play just as fun as they always had. And as a true testament to just how perfect these versions are they are getting re-released as you all know on the Wii for Super Mario Bros 25th anniversary, if youíve never played them before go and hunt them down. I will say on that note as awesome as they are its alittle annoying Nintendo didn't do anything new to them, I mean what about all the extra stuff from the GBA remakes of 2 and 3 they could of brought in, oh well can't have everything I guess. See ya next time, I got a rocket ship to catch.


9:46 PM on 11.19.2010

20 SNES games in 20 Days: Day 0 Prelude

Last year I did a series of blogs celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the Game Boy being released in Japan. In it I looked back on 20 games Iíd owned/played during the original run of a system that had defined who I am as a gamer. In no way would I consider that list to be the 20 best games ever to grace the system, but it was a look back on my history as a gamer. Well tomorrow (Japan time) as some of you may know is the 20th anniversary of the Super Famicon (just incase Chad is reading and he forgot, that stands for Family Computer :P) more well know to us as the Super Nintendo being unleashed on the world so in keeping with the spirit Iím gonna do it all again with 20 Super Nintendo games in 20 days.

Its going to be the same deal as last year 20 games I owned/played growing up, the ones that I have the most fond memories of. Iíll probably disappoint people right off the bat and just go ahead and say it, there will be no Final Fantasy IIIís or Chrono Triggers or Earthbounds or Super Metroids for the one reason that I never played them when I was growing up (for the aforementioned RPGís they never came out in Australia and as for Super Metroid I just honestly never had an interest in it to be hones which looking back on was a bad idea). So yeah in no way is this the 20 best games the system had, just the 20 that mean the most to me.

Same as last time I make no guarantee that these will be concurrent, would love to but realistically Iím not that quick of a writer, but weíll see what happens. Also want to take a quick break around Christmas for something else I want to do. So I hope youíll all be looking forward to joining me in my trip down memory lane and have a look at some of the best the greatest 16bit system ever (suck it Mega Drive fans) ever had to offer and Iíll see you all tomorrow.


5:43 AM on 05.15.2010

Handheld Hotel: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

Itís kind of hard to pin down why I become such a Squaesoft fanboy back in the day. True Secret of Mana still remains to this day as my all time favorite gaming experience, but apart from that the only other Square game I had played on the SNES was Final Fantasy Mystic Quest which letís face it is not a true Final Fantasy (didnít stop me enjoying the hell out of that game though, might add that to the Games I like that you donít club). So despite not playing a true Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger I had decided I loved Square. And then the Nintendo 64 happened, Square left Nintendo and I was heartbroken my new favorite Developer had left Nintendo for Sony, I was bitter and angry. I tried to make do with what the N64 and Game Boy had, but it wasnít the same, I needed something Square related to feed my Nintendo fanboy RPG loving soul. And that game came in 2003 with the handheld masterpiece Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.

Even though I was a hardcore Nintendo fanboy back in the day I had still played Square whenever I could, my brother had a Playstation so I played some of Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 8 and I was very close to buying a Playstation at one stage. But I decided at the end of the day I would stay loyal to Nintendo, I didnít need Final Fantasies or Tomb Raiders or Metal Gears, I had my Banjo Kazooies, No Mercyís and Legend of Zeldaís. Looking back now I missed out on a lot, mainly the RPGs but I would still stick by the choice I made. And to be fair my dreams of having a Nintendo system with many great RPGs was just around the corner with the Game Boy Advance and with that came back Squaresoft albeit now known as Square-Enix. It had been near 7 years since a new Square game had hit a Nintendo system and if youíre going to come back you do it with style and thatís just Square did.

As much as Iím in love with the DS, itís an amazing system, I donít think it wowed me as much as the GBA did. When I first plugged in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 into the GBA, I was amazed at just how close to the console version it was. And you had stuff like Advance Wars, Golden Sun and so on, just light years ahead of what the GBC had been putting out. And then I played FFTA and I was freaken blown away. I honestly could not get my head around how they could have fitted something so big into such a teeny tiny cartridge. Finally Final Fantasy had come home to Nintendo and my beloved Square Enix and I could be together once more. It had everything I could want, an amazing soundtrack, some breath taking sprite work, a great storyline and some of the most in depth SRPG gameplay I had ever played.

One of the most amazing things about the game is the way it sets everything up. You play as Marche a young boy who just moved to the town of St Ivalice with his brother Doned, as with any new kid moving to a new school he has a hard time fitting in and the school bullies start picking on him, it is at this point we get introduced to the games battle system via a Snowball fight. I thought that was amazing way to introduce to the basic concepts of the game with how important positioning is and trying to attack via the flanks and rear. After that we then get a scene where Mache, Doned and his 2 new friends Mewt and Ritz are looking over a new book Mewt found called The Gran Grimoire and they all decide it would be great if the world in the book was real. As they all fall asleep the Town of St Ivalice transforms into the world of Ivalice, a land full of Moogles, Magic & Mystery. Marche awakes to find his friends and his brother missing, scattered across the land. He soon bumps into the Moogle Montblanc whose clan you join and thus your mission to find your friends and restore the world begins.

When you start the game itís just yourself and Montblanc in your party but as you go on new characters will join your party. New characters will join at random and come from one of 5 races, each of the 5 main races have access to different jobs. Firstly you have Humans, they are the most versatile of the races and have access to a lot of good variety of Jobs ranging from melee to magic to missile. Nu Mouís are magic users with access to some great jobs like Sageís and Morphers. Bangaa are your combat guys having access to classes like Dragoon, Defender and so on. Vieraís are your race to go to if you need something with speed, they are kind of like Humans in that they have access to a wide variety of jobs both Combat and Magic and their Snipers are amazing. And of course lastly it wouldnít be a Final Fantasy game without them are Moogles who Iím still not really sure where they fit in, they are able to use I guess the odd job classes like Jugglers, Gunners and so on.

Iíve always had a great fondness for the Final Fantasy Job System, I enjoyed FFIII and I adore FFV so itís no surprise that I love the job system in FFTA, it just allows for so much customization in the game. You can train a Human up as a White Mage, learn all you want to and then switch him to a Ninja having a great all round fighter who can heal if you need. Or you could train a Nu Mou up in Black Magic and then make him into a White Mage before you train him in Time Magic, there is just so much you can do with your characters. As they learn new skills in each Job they will be able to unlock other more powerful Jobs such as Summoners, Ninjas, Mog Knights and so on. Each class has access to certain weapons/items/armor, itís from these that you learn your skills. So learn the basic Fire/Thunder/Blizzard spells a Black Mage needs to equip a certain magic staff or for a Ranger to learn the Block Arrows skill they need to equip a certain item of headgear. More powerful skills take longer to learn but once youíve learnt them you know them forever even when you unequip an item. If you change class you can take some of the skills along with you so say with the above example with a Nu Mou who changes to a Time Mage he can take still use all his White Mage skills while learning Time Magic. Its soo god damn in depth and so much you do with it, you can have a character who can be you main melee fighter but also have healing spells as a back up or you can make an unstoppable magic dealing death machine. As I said I love to death the Job system, itís one of my fav things from the classic FF games and this is by far my fav implementation of it, you can spend hundreds of hours playing this game and still find new awesome combinations of classes to do. And the whole ability to change skills is vital to the next new twist in the game, the Law System.

I see the Law system get a lot of hate and to be fair I can see why, the whole idea of it is to put restrictions on what you can and cannot do in a battle. However I find it makes things even more challenging, and changes the way you have to think from battle to battle plus it forces you to change the way your party works on the fly. For a good part of the game I was swaying heavily towards lots of Rangers and Hunters, I loved using the Aim: Arm skill which would disable your opponent so they could not fight back, was a great way for picking guys off. However I came up to a mission and one of the Laws at the time was no Missiles so I had to change my team around, use some of my more magic heavy guys to plus a few melee fighters. You get laws ranging from the above no missile weapons to things like a ban on all magic, using the Fight command, using items, using target area attacks and so on. Breaking a law in a mission will result in you getting issued a warning from the Judge who is present at each battle, youíll either be Yellow Carded in which case youíll suffer stat penalties or red carded in that the character who committed the breach will have to spend some time in Jail for a few missions. You can get Law cards which allow you to overrule or change the laws for a battle, I tend not to use these as much, mainly because I forget they are there. So yes while the Law system does stop what you can and canít do I find it more makes they battles more unique and different, changing the way you play the game on the fly.

Man this is getting long but there is just soo much I love about this game, I could go on for ageís hell I havenít even gotten really in depth on the actual gameplay, or the mission structure or the map gah. I love the amazing 2d sprites they just look soo good on the screen. I love the soundtrack by Hitoshi Sakimoto and the main theme done by Nobuo Uematsu is fantastic. I love the way in battles that you can check the outcomes of each move and attack before you commit to doing them. The storyline is light hearted while still being amazing and making me want to play more of it just to find out what happens next.. I feel like I havenít even scratched the surface talking about how great this game is. Even to this day I still canít get over how god damn big this is, sure Iíd played Advance Wars and Golden Sun on the GBA prior to this and they are huge games, but FFTA is just I mean damn its massive. I was stunned that they were able to squeeze that much win into such a small GBA cart. This truly was worth the wait for Square and Nintendo to stop their petty fight and bring us Die Hard Nintendo loyalists some more love. Itís a great game, I donít feel Iíve given the game the love it deserves with this but this will have to do for now. All I can really say from here is if youíve not ventured into the land of Ivalice with Marche and his friends in tow I suggest you do, you wonít be disappointed. Hopefully wonít be too long before next addition to the Handheld Hotel, I think a somewhat simpler game may be required, thinking along the lines of a port of one of my fav arcade games to the small screen might be a good idea.


4:49 AM on 03.08.2010

Games I like that you most likely donít: Holy Magic Century (aka Quest 64)

During the SNES era like many of you out there I discovered just how awesome RPGs, after playing Secret of Mana and Illusion of Time (Gaia for you lot in the USA), I decided I liked RPGs and I need more of them and then along came the N64. As Iím sure Iíve said before Iím a hardcore Nintendo fanboy, up until this year Iíd owned nothing but Nintendo consoles. So I was gutted when Square Jumped ship to Sony, I can understand why they did it, but it really did not help me then when I watched from afar as people played their Wild Arms and Final Fantasy 7ís. So when I heard that there was a game of the RPG variety coming to the N64 I was excited and that game was Holy Magic Century.

So yeah the N64 unlike the Super Nintendo is not really a system known for its RPGs, itís better known for its early Console FPSís, Platformers and awesome Wrestling games. I think I could count all the RPGs that appeared on the system on one hand. When I first saw Holy Magic Century I was soo happy, finally I would have a game that would satisfy my RPG needs. I would be able to laugh at those fools playing their Wild Arms and FFVIIís and laugh, now the N64 would be a complete console. Shame it didnít really work out like that. First things first when talking about Holy Magic Century, itís not a great game, itís a very average game at the end of the day. The storyline was ummm, I honestly canít remember, so yeah not that great. Iím sure it was the usual lone warrior takes off to fight big evil thing and bring peace to the world. You play a young boy name Ayron (or if you lived in the US he had the awesome name of Brian) who can wield the forces of nature and is on a quest to save his father (yay for Wiki).

So yeah the storyline is barely there at all, think something more or less on the same level as the first Dragon Quest game and thatís kinda what you get. For any post 16bit era console RPGs the storyline is usually the driving factor of the game, so with that in mind how does one enjoy a RPG where the Storyline is really nothing to write home about. Well it helps if you have a really fun battle system. Itís kinda odd to explain so Iíll do my best. Battles are random, when you encounter an enemy youíll be in the same spot you were before but now you will be surrounded by 2 octagons, the larger one will have both yourself and whatever monsters youíve encountered. Then around you is a smaller one, you are free to move around in the smaller one until the end of you turn, this allows you to get into a better position to cast spells or move up close to be able to hit an enemy with your staff. You take your turn either cast a spell , attack with said staff use an item or try and escape. Come the enemies turn to attack you still have that little octagon around you and you have the option to try and dodge out of the way of one of their attacks. It was great in that you could get yourself in a position where the enemies could not hit you providing they had no long range missile attacks.

Pretty much all the magic in the game is area based, so if you can move out of the way youíll be able to dodge the attack and suffer no damage. Also when you are casting your spells you can try and get yourself in a position to hit multiple enemies at once. Magic works off 4 elements which are shock horror Earth, Fire, Wind & Water (but no Heart sorry Ma-Ti). When you start you get 4 very basic spells, for Earth you get a large stone appear above whatever youíre targeting and comes crashing down on them. Fire gives you the always popular fireball attack, wind grants you the ability to shoot out a crescent moon shaped wind attack that also homes in on things and water gives you a Water Pillar. As you progress through the game you can level up your magic, either evenly distribute points into all the elements or just target one or 2. As you level up your magics you get access to bigger and better spells.

I tried to play the game by evenly levelling up all my magic, the main problem I seem to have encountered was that in the later stages on the game my magic was so god damn under powered it was better for me to just walk up to an enemy and whack them on the head with my staff. So I ended up in a situation where I was doing hardly any damage and it would just drag battles on and on and on and on and on. The whole pace of the game was rather slow truth be told, the battles took awhile and being random there was no way to avoid them. The storyline was no real motivation to move forward, and a lot of the game was just spent walking from one area to the next battling monsters here and there, it was just one massive grind. As I said the combat was fun and the game looked and sounded nice, I remember being really happy that I had finally finished it, I honestly canít remember anything of the ending, there was some dude, I killed him everyone was happy.

Itís sad that Holy Magic Century did not live up to its potential. I mean itís not a bad game by any means. Itís an Average game and itís a shame they could not have fleshed out the story and made the whole experience a lot more engrossing. The game has a nice little battle system, it looks good, sounds good and plays well. But the world just feels empty and sterile. All it needed to lift it from an Average game to a good game was a reason to play the game. Holy Magic Century harkens back to the early days of console RPGs, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, if you go into the game expecting a story on those lines youíll be fine. I played through this game and I enjoyed it, I donít know if it was that I was that desperate for an RPG on the N64. I guess Holy Magic is lucky that the N64 was soo starved of RPGs, had we had Final Fantasy or the like I would not have looked at it at all. Iím sure many people looked over this and I donít blame them, itís not a life changing game and there are certainly better games on the N64, but as I said I liked it and who knows you may too.

Also credit to for these awesome screenshots, heaps better then the crap IGN had up. Also fingures crossed new Handheld hotel sooner or later.   read

11:30 AM on 09.13.2009

Handheld Hotel: Donkey Kong

The Super Game Boy came out in 1994 and finally the world of Game Boy was opened up from its black and white monochrome prison, into a world of colour, well kinda. With the Super Game Boy, you were still limited to only 4 different colours on screen at once, still it was better then nothing. So why am I talking about the Super Game Boy when I should be talking about what is the most amazing Game Boy platformer ever made? Well the 2 seem to stick in my mind together. I think thatís because when the Super Game Boy came out, this game was pushed as a killer app for it. At least thatís how I recall it being in issues of NMS. Another thing I recall about this game is that I had no interest in it at all. When I looked at the pictures of it, I scoffed at it for being nothing more then just a portable version of the original arcade Donkey Kong. So I never got the game I had more important things to play like Secret of Mana, Illusion of Time, Ghostbusters 2 and so on. I had no time for some boring old remake of an old game. Man I so want to go back and hit the 12 year old me on the back of the head, I was a stupid kid sometimes.

I could review this game in 8 words. This Game is amazing, go buy it now. And that would be that, there isnít honestly anything else I need to say, its as simple as that. Its an amazing game and everyone needs to play this just to understand why it is. I donít know why it took me 15 years to finally get around to playing. Maybe it has part to do with the fact that Donkey Kong is not one of my fav Nintendo characters. I was never too big on the Donkey Kong Country games, and I dunno barring the Game & Watch games I had never played a lot of games with the Big Ape. This game got a pretty big spread in NMS when it came out, its not like I didnít know this game was good, I just didnít think it was for me (again I was a stupid kid). Fast Forward a few years and I was looking online for information regarding a PC game I had played once called VGA Trek. It was an awesome little Star Trek Sim I had played when I got a PC and I enjoyed it, was trying to find any info on it. I found a Youtube review of it by a guy called Frankomatic, I liked his style so I subscribed to him. And thought nothing of it. A few months later he started doing a Long Play series for Donkey Kong, I watched one and was hooked from there, I had to get the game.

I picked the game up a few months back when the Game Boyís 20th birthday was upon us. From the first moment I put this in my Game Boy I was not able to take it out or put it down. I was transfixed by this little gem of a game. So enough about me and unto the game. The game itself takes the core elements of what made the original Donkey Kong an amazing game and builds upon it. In the original you had only 4 levels to move Mario around in, this time you have over 101 levels spread over 9 different worlds. Each world has its own themes ranging from in the City, on a Mountain, Ice level to even a level set on the outside of a Jumbo Jet (which is amazing). Each new set of stages brings in a new element into the game to make things fresh. The Ice stages as you would assume make things all slippery. The stages on the Jet are awesome in that now you have to deal with wind which moves you around and really makes you think hard about your jumps (think about Tornado Mans stage in Mega Man 9).

Each area is broken up into a block of 4 levels at the end of the 4th level you have a quick showdown with DK which will usually see you just trying to reach the top of the screen with Pauline almost in your reach only to have DK grab her and go off to the next level. After every 4 stages youíll be greeted with a nice little animation that will be introducing a new gameplay element, such as the above mentioned windy stages or a new enemy who will try and impede your progress across the stage such as Donkey Kong Jnr or that you can do a handstand to do a really high jump and so on. As the game goes on it will keep mixing up the various elements making it so each stage feels fresh and new. At the end of every area you have a battle against DK which involves you using the Barrels he hurls at you as a weapon to be thrown back to him after youíve hit him the required 3 times off he goes with Pauline and the chase continues.

The goal to pass each stage is to grab a key located somewhere in the stage and then carry the key to a door on screen that will give you access to the next stage. Once you pick up the key its yours to carry around and you can throw it as a weapon should any of DKís minions try and stop you. However when you let go of the key you will only have a few seconds to go and pick it up again before it vanishes back to where it came from. This brings about some very interesting puzzles such as ones that require you to throw the key onto a conveyor belt where it will go under some spikes that will kill you if you touch it, so you have to hurry from one side of the screen to the other and grab the key on the other side of the screen before it vanishes. The level design in the game† is without a doubt the best I have seen in any 2d platformer, every level is well thought out and feels unique while not feeling repetitive at all. But its not just all good level design thats makes a good platformer, oh no the controls are incredibly tight and just what you expect from something from the house of Mario. Mario feels like a cross between the way he played in Super Mario Bros 2 and Donkey Kong. Not too stiff but just fluid enough. The game looks amazing on the original Game Boy, but honestly if you want the best effect you need to play it on one of the later Game Boy systems or even the Super Game Boy. Its one of those original Game Boy games that if you plugged into a Super Game Boy it would get colourized, to a degree anyway. Man if only this had gotten a GBC remake, all the more colours to flesh out the game, wow. This is Shigeru Miyamoto at his god damn finest. Donkey Kong on the Game Boy is 2d platforming puzzle solving action at its finest, there is simply put no better game in the genre then this.

Part of me is annoyed I overlooked this when it came out, its an amazing little game. Looking back now I think I would of not picked this up due to maybe paying more attention to Donkey Kong Country and at the time this looked like a step back. But this game holds up a lot more now over its Super Nintendo counter part. Sometimes its good to miss out on the great games when they come out. Had I played this when it came out I donít think I would have had the joy of discovering it now. And to be honest I donít think at the age of 12 I would have been ready to play this game, I was not the more calmer gamer I am now days. I needed action and adventure and excitement, I need games like Street Fighter, Zelda, Wolfenstien and so on. But Iím older now and my tastes have matured and I can truly enjoy this game for what it, one of the greatest handheld games ever made. If youíve not played this game before, check it out, you can pick up a copy rather cheaply on ebay, you will be in for a truly amazing experience. I dunno what Iím gonna do for the next game, maybe something RPG related, oh well see ya next time.


12:04 AM on 09.02.2009

Handheld Hotel: Samuari Shodown! 2

There is no hiding the fact that I'm a Nintendo fanboy. The first ever Non Nintendo video game console I ever owned was an Atari 2600 and I only got that about 5 years ago. Up until getting my 360 earlier this year I never had a new Non Nintendo console or handheld. And in my youth I was a die hard fanboy. I despised the Mega Drive, looked down on the Game Gear, I would refuse to buy game mags that had anything non Nintendo in them. So I've not had a lot of contact with non Nintendo systems, hence I guess why most of the posts in this series are going to be about Game Boy games. But a few weeks back I finally got around to getting my hands on one handheld system I've always wanted, that being the Neo Geo Pocket Color. An amazing little system that even though it seemed to do everything right, just couldn't survive against the juggernaut that was the Game Boy.†

So when I got my NGPC I was aware of a lot of games for it, such as the SNK vs Capcom games, Metal Slug, Fatal Fury and so on. But the first game I had to have was also part of one of my all time fav fighting series, Samurai Shodown! 2. I dunno what it is about the Sam Sho games but I just love them. Itís not like I'm any good at them, still that could go for any fighting game series I guess. So yeah I've always had a fondness for the Sam Sho games, ever since I saw the original in the arcades way back in the early 90's (*sigh* arcades :( ). I played the arcade one a few times I was amazed at the large sprites and stunned by the animation. Plus the fact one of the characters had a dog that he used to attack with was great. So years went by I eventually picked up the SNES version of the game and loved that. Got both 1 & 2 when they came out on the Wii VC loved them. So yeah when I got a Neo Geo Pocket Color it was a very easy choice as to what game to get first.

One of the things that amazed when I first got my hands on a NGPC I was immediately impressed by the little clicky d-pad stick, right away I could understand why this system was soo renowned for its 2d fighters. I got Samurai Shodown! 2 thinking it was nothing more then a port of Sam Sho 2 from the arcade albeit simplified for a handheld system, yay for being wrong I guess. The game is more a conversion of Sam Sho 64 Warriors Rage from the arcade and the gameplay was far from simplified.† The game is amazingly deep for a handheld fighter and feels like a full on Sam Sho game that fits right in your pocket. Like most of the Sam Sho games the gameplay is more about getting single strikes in over button mashing (I guess thatís why I suck at them then :P) The controls are fluid and as I said before that damn clicky stick is just designed for fighting games, SNK really knew what they were doing when they made the system.

The game looks amazing, granted the colour pallet is abit lacking with most characters only consisting of one shade of colour and then black and white. But the animations are so fluid looking, well ahead of anything Iíve seen on the GBC barring maybe Shantae (do want). The backgrounds however look awesome so rich and full of colour. Music seems a little below par of what the Game Boy was pumping out at the time and sound effects are what you would expect from an 8bit fighting game. However as any fighting game fan knows the main strength of any fighting game comes down to how well the thing plays.

As I said prior to this the only Sam Sho games I had played were 1 & 2. In those I would usually stick with playing either Galford or Nakoruru main reason being they have their little animal helpers and I just think its awesome being able to have them attack for you. So I chuck in the game into my NGPC and head straight for Nakoruru and then proceed to get my arse kicked by the first guy. Yay for sucking. OK restart head to options and put the difficulty down to easy and still get my arsed handed to me, maybe its time for a different strategy. Looking at the new characters I see one who takes my fancy, that being Rimururu (who I swear I had no idea she was Nakorurís sister) who after playing around with for a little grew to my liking. Plus she has like Ice powers and thatís just awesome. I wouldnít say I owned the game with her but I sure as hell did a lot better then with her sister. The controls for the game are amazing. That little clicky stick makes it soo easy to pull off moves and combos, plus it also makes an oh so satisfying sound when ever you move, just like a proper arcade stick. Iíd love to say Iíve played a lot of this game as I do love the Sam Sho games, or maybe itís more that I want to love them just cause I love the setting and the feel. But alas me being me, I get way to frustrated, give up and go play some Fatal Fury cause itís nice and easy.

I think Iím really gonna need to play this a lot to get my head around it, this is an awesome game and I donít think Iíve given it enough time to give it justice. It just sucks that Iím the kind of gamer who gets frustrated easily and will stop playing if I hit a brick wall and go pick up something else. I guess like the rest of the Samurai Shodown games this is not a game your gonna be able to just pick up and play and be the best player in the world. You need to take your time with it and learn its ins and outs. At this point I would say if youíve got a Neo Geo Pocket Color and donít have this game get it, but Iím guessing most people with a Neo Geo Pocket Color have it already so I donít have to. Itís an awesome game and hopefully later down the road Iíll be able to post more about it and do the game some justice. Anyway thatís it for now next time checking into the Hotel is not only the best 2d platformer on the Game Boy, but maybe the best 2d platformer ever made.


11:30 AM on 08.30.2009

Games that I love that you most likely donít: Star Wars Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith DS

For the most part Iíve always enjoyed Star Wars games, Iíd be hard pushed to find one that I have played that I didnít enjoy (well maybe the Rebel Assault games), hell I even loved Shadows of the Empire on N64 which seems to get an unfair amount of hate these days. But there is one Star Wars game that I love more then any of the others (well any of the others that arenít called X-Wing or Tie Fighter that is) and that game is a little game that came out very early on in the DSís life a game that Iím sure most people looked over for 2 reasons, 1 being it was a movie tie in and the other being that the game looked like nothing more then a quick and dirty port of the Game Boy Advance game, however in this case thatís not a bad thing, let me explain.

Iím sure a lot of you will recall back when the DS came out a lot of developers did not know what to do with it so what they would do was make a quick port of a GBA game that they had just released and add in a few touch based mini games (for more information see The Urbz, Robotz [god Iím other games with Z at the end] among others), it was stupid and lazy as hell & was not the right way to showcase the DS to the world, for the most part that is, enter Star Wars Episode 3 for the DS. The main game itself was presented as a 2d side scrolling beat Ďem up much in the same vein as say a Turtles in Time (The good one, not that abomination that came out on XBLA a few weeks back). Instead of playing as one of four Pre Adult Mutant Turtles with Ninja powers and weapons, you could play as one of two Young Adult Jedi Masters with Lightsabers and Force Powers, and that my friends alone would be worth the price of entry.

Iíd say Iíve played my fair share of 2d brawlers over the years, from Spider-Man & Venom to the aforementioned Turtles in Time on the SNES or some Double Dragon or Battletoads on the Game Boy and of course the amazing Castle Crashers on XBLA. As awesome as all of those games are they still donít hold a candle to Star Wars Ep 3 on DS, itís a freaken amazing little brawler. The controls are so tight and you have complete control of your Jedi you can attack in front of you, behind you (which looks amazing as you see your Jedi thrusting his Lightsaber behind him into whatever was sneaking up behind) or you can use your Lightsaber to block oncoming fire and shot it back at whatever was shooting you in the first place. On top of that you also have the Force powers which include things like being able to move enemies around, stun them, choke them and so on. And the game is by no means a short one; you have 2 choices of characters being Anakin and Obi Wan each with 9 levels that branch of into their own distinct levels ultimately leading to a final showdown between the 2 ala the movie. The game more or less stays true to the movie albeit the usual liberties most movie based games take (oh the end of level boss is a giant Droid Tank). The main mission is the same on the DS and GBA, just as amazing on each, however it was the addition of one awesome feature that really made the DS game oh so much more then just a GBA port.

As I said at the begging barring the amazing X-Wing games this is my fav Star Wars game. There is just something about Space flight sims set in the Star Wars Universe I love. Be it the Rogue Squadron games, X-Wing games, hell even the short levels in the old 8bit/16bit Star Wars games that put you in the cockpit and shot down a few Ties I loved. So guess how over the moon I was when I heard that this game on DS would have a full Space Flight battle mode somewhat reminiscent of the Rogue Squadron games. Hell not just somewhat reminiscent, if they had made Rogue Squadron for the DS, this is exactly what it would of looked like. They could of gone down the road Star Fox had gone down a year or so later and had the touch screen do all the control as youíd think flying would require a hell of a lot more precise controls then what a D-Pad and a few face buttons could offer but you, thank god they did not. It controls like magic and feels just right and if you get the controls right everything else will fall into place. When I first saw the screen shots of the Flight mode, I was not impressed and to be honest they look like ass, but my god when you see them in motion your jaw will just drop, soo fluid, so smooth, it was just looked well damn.

Itís a shame they did not build the whole game around this. You can tell itís only really been added in to make this something more for the DS over the GBA version. That doesnít make it bad or half arsed though. Youíre getting a full experience with this. When you select multiplayer mode you can either do WiFi play or Skirmish (no online play alas). Skirmish is fun but itís just playing against bots still that can keep you busy for hours. Multiplayer is single card play which meant I had to get a friend of mine to pick up a copy of the game so we could duel it out. When I got this game, the DS had only been out a few months and a friend and I were really looking forward to the system, every time a new game with Multiplayer would come out, weíd get it and just spend ages playing together. The amount of time we poured into playing this and Polarium against each other in those early days was awesome. It got to a point were we would do 10 min dog fights and not even get a single kill on each other, man we loved playing this game against each other. Itís a real shame that there was no WiFi connection when this came out, man I think that even to this day I would be playing people online with it if I could. Why no one has gone back to this and made a fully fledged game out of it with online play is well beyond me.

I guess this game was very lucky that it came out very early on in the DSís lifespan. It would have been in the first 2 or so months of the systems launch down here and there wasnít a hell of a lot else to get for it. I was just hungry for new games to get so I would get any I could. Had this come out 6 months later I would not of picked up, itís a rather under the radar game and I guess most people didnít even give it a look in due to it being a movie tie in. But Iím glad I did, its still to this day one of my fav games on the system. Heck I still chuck it in from time and again trying to beat Anakins mode on Master difficulty (Iíll beat you yet Mace Windu). I will still remember those times when my friend and myself would just spend hours playing multi against each other, locked in epic dog fights and ending in a draw after 10 mins of trying to out fly each other. Iíll agree that this is not a game that really shows off the DSís potential, but at the time thatís not what I needed, I had Pac Pix, Polarium and Wario Ware, this was a good and fun game and sometimes thatís all you need. If you see this around lying unwanted and unloved in some bargain bin, pick it up, give it a look, I can assure you, you wonít be disappointed.

Pictures Source:IGN   read

10:34 PM on 08.23.2009

Games that I love that you most likely donít: Godzilla DAMM

You know how there are those games you love a hell of a lot but are just baffled when you see people hating on them or are surprised that a game is just not getting the love it deserves. And no Iím not talking about the Okamiís, Pyshconauts or Beyond Good & Evils of the world. I mean the other games, the ones you love but it seems no one else in the world seems to. Thatís what Iím like with this game, Godzilla Destroy All Monster Melee..

Iím abit of a Godzilla nut, true I havenít seen all of his films but for the most part the ones Iíve seen Iíve loved plus I have several Godzilla plushies guarding my video game horde from all oncomers. Its only been in the last few years thatís Iíve gotten into the G-Man. Up until the early 2000ís the only Godzilla film Iíd seen was that abomination that was made in the US (though I do recall liking the cartoon series it spawned). In Australia we have a multi-culture TV station called SBS, it used to be the channel that would show all the random Japanese movies like Weatherwoman, The Killer Condom, Guitar Wolf, Gamera and Godzilla as well as your frenchie artsy crap (well its not all crap, City of Lost Children is amazing). Anyway I was up late one night and low and behold what movie was showing but Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla, I was hooked and then saw that next week they were showing Godzilla vs Destroyah and from there I was hooked on Godzilla.

Fast forward a year or 2 later, Iíd just gotten my Gamecube and some friends were coming over to crash at my place after a Warhammer tourney, we stopped by the local video store to pick up some DVDs and I spied sitting in the rental area for Cube games Godzilla Destroy All Monster Melee. Yeah I had to get that out for the night. Instead of getting a good night sleep getting us ready for the next day of Warhammer action we stayed up just playing Godzilla. Iíll be the first to admit this game is kinda stupid, but its soo stupid its awesome. The whole idea of the game is to choose one of† 12 monsters and start duking it out across a sprawling city. Youíll have buildings to destroy or just pick up and hurl at the other monsters. Add in the fact that this game is up to 4 players and absolute bedlam can ensure sometimes.

Iíll admit its not the greatest game in the world. There is a lot wrong with it, the controls are kinda sluggish, walking around the city can be a pain sometimes cause your trapped behind a building or one of those stupid little tanks will freeze you. But my lord there is nothing more fun then picking up a building and hurling it at another monster just as he is about to give you a face full of atomic breath. Oh how about playing as Rhodan and picking up your rival monster and then spinning them around several times before throwing them to the other side of the arena. Or how about the fact that one of the power ups in the game calls in an Air strike, but no its not some sort of aircraft doing the attacking, its god damn freaken Mothra, that my friends is awesome. And its just made all the more better when playing with friends.

It kinda annoys me I've not had a chance to play the follow up games, Godzilla Saves the Earth never made its way to Gamecube and the stuff I've heard about Unleashed don't make me too interested in the game. Then again I heard a lot of bad stuff about this game so who knows it may be worth a look in. Next to the likes of Smash Bros Melee and Soul Calibur 2 this is one of my fav fighting games on the Game Cube. Sure its not the best fighting game in the world, its broken as all hell and no way are the characters balanced but I still love it. Its over the top, its ridiculous and its just simply put amazing. Granted I very much doubt I would see this on anyones top 10 list, but that still doesn't stop it from being an amazing game. If you've got a Wii and a few Gamecube controllers check it out, invite some friends over, turn your brains off for the evening and just have some fun.

Go my army, attack   read

4:41 AM on 08.15.2009

Handheld Hotel: Grand Theft Auto

Iím not a huge fan of the GTA games, up until the amazing GTA Chinatown Wars on DS the only other one I had really played was the first one on PC which I thought that was a fantastic little game, so much fun just mucking around smashing into cars and so on. Just due to not really having that good of a PC or a Playstation I never really kept up with the series until the recent GTA Chinatown Wars. So I guess Iím not the worlds foremost expert on all things GTA but as I said I did really enjoy the first one and maybe thatís why I enjoyed the DS one so much due to it being a return to the series roots. Chinatown Wars was not the first portable GTA , that honor goes to GTA on the Game Boy Color.

I was really really looking forward to this game, yay for high expectations being crushed. Honestly out of all the games Iíve got on Game Boy this would def have to be up there as the one I hate the most. As I said I really enjoyed the first game on PC, it was an amazingly fun a new title unlike anything I had played at that stage. The Game Boy version while it looks like they were trying to do the right thing and just give us the same experience as the PC they have fallen way way short. The game is pretty much a complete port of the PC experience and in that lies the problem. Instead of trying to custom make the game for the Game Boy they've just crammed the whole of Liberty City from the PC original into the game which sounds awesome, what sucks is the fact that the city is almost deserted. I swear Iíve gone for 5 mins sometimes walking around just trying to find a car to steal so I can drive around city. I think its great that they managed to bring the full cities into the game and its an amazing effort on Rockstars behalf. But just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

The key with bringing any game from the console or PC to a handheld system is that you need to play to the systems strengths. Its kind of the same problem a lot of developers faced when the PSP came out. Hell even when the DS came out Nintendo did it with Super Mario 64 DS, sure Super Mario 64 was and is an amazing game, but its not suited to the handheld format that well unlike say New Super Mario Bros. With GTA what they should of done is instead of giving us the full city to play around in is maybe make things smaller, divide the city up into small chunks. With a smaller city you can have the same amount of stuff going on in the game world but as there is less space for it all to be happening in the world seems busier with more people and cars around and not looking like the city has been deserted. Hell even when you get your wanted rating up you can still drive around for a few mins without even seeing a police car. And half the fun of GTA games and I guess most sandbox games is just mucking around and try to cause as much mayhem as possible, not really possible in this game when it takes forever just to find a car to steal or people to kill.

Despite the lack of a people and cars in the game its pretty faithful to the original, all the missions are there, Liberty City is just like they are in the original so if you know the maps you'll know where to go and how to get there. The graphics are nice and it does look good. Music flat out sucks, if anyone ever whines about the music in Chinatown Wars being bad, I dare you to play this without ripping off your ears. Thats the one good thing about it being soo hard to find a car is that you can set it so the music on plays when your driving around. As soon as you get in a car be prepared to listen to some awful tune just play over and over and over again. At least each car has its own music unfortunately they all suck just as much. Controls aren't that great either. A button moves you forward be it on foot or in a car. I can understand that being the case while driving around, but its just retarded when your on foot. And yes I know it was the same for movement in the original PC version. Stealing cars is annoying as well in that to do so when you finally find a car you need to walk up to it, and then press A & Select at the same time. Sometimes you'll get the car, sometimes you'll just stand in front of it look like a twat. All up the controls feel clunky and outdated.

Its a shame that this game seems to have fallen well short. Its a great effort on Rockstars behalf that they managed to do what they did with the game and that is to cram all of Liberty City almost tile for tile into the a Game Boy cart. But its just not worth the cost of the game world being almost barren of life. I would of rather had a small world with lots going on over a large game world with very little happening. Thats just me though. I was really disappointed when I got this game, as I said I was really looking forward to it as I loved the original on PC and the idea of playing a GTA game on the go just made me so happy, its just a shame I had to wait 10 years until the amazing GTA Chinatown Wars for my dreams to finally come true. Oh well enough of that, next week time for something finally Non Game Boy, so I'll see you then, peace out.


8:26 AM on 08.07.2009

Handheld Hotel: Aerostar

In my early years as a gamer I was not into SHMUPs at all, its not that I did not like them, its just they did not interest me. The only ones I can remember playing was Xenon II on Game Boy (more on that later), Apadyia on my Nan's Amiga (awesome little SHMUP btw) & Parodius on the SNES and that was god damn awesome (I heart Parodius). It wasn't really until this gen that I started getting into them when I decided to get myself a Hori stick for my Wii. I don't know why I got myself a Hori stick for my Wii, at the time I didn't have any fighters unlike now where I've got heaps thanks to the Virtual Console and Tatsunoko vs Capcom, Anyway so I have this thing and I think well I had better use it and for some reason it just seems right in my mind to be playing SHMUPs with a stick so I got a few off the VC and from there my interest was piqued. I stumbled across while I was looking for new SHMUPs to check out. Had a look in their review section and found a little game called Aerostar for the Game Boy. I was in an ebaying Game Boy games mode so I tracked it down and picked it up.

Aerostar is an interesting little SHMUP, quiet unlike any Iíve played before. As in many SHMUPs you play a little ship taking on the whole might of whomever you are fighting against, nothing ground breaking there. What it does thatís different is in the way you move around the screen. See with most aircraft in SHMUPs you have full movement of the screen, not in Aerostarr. No in Aerostarr it seems when they built your little star fighter they forgot to make it actually you know fly. It seems you can only move along the road, maybe your trying to build up speed to take off but just canít get enough, I dunno. You can ďJumpĒ your little ship up so you can land on other parts of the road, its also good for dodging oncoming ships but other then that your limited to the road.

I guess being stuck on a certain path in a SHMUP is not a big deal, I mean Dino Riki did it on the NES, the main difference is that it made sense in that game, youíre a little caveman dude hurling bones at oncoming enemies. But in Aerostar, youíre a Starship it makes no sense at all for you to be stuck on the road. Still as stupid as that game mechanic is, it does make for a rather fun little game that sets it out from the pack. It means you have less room to move in and can get yourself in trouble rather easily if you dodge in the wrong direction. Also in some of the later levels jump from platform to platform becomes tricky as the road becomes smaller and you have stuff flying at your from all sides. Other then that little twist most of the game plays out as you would expect a SHMUP to play, one little ship vs hordes of oncoming foes, a range of power up of which the spread is the most useful (when is it not) screen filling end of level bosses, bullets flying everywhere what more could you want in a SHMUP.

Overall, this isn't a bad little game. It controls well, the graphics are what you would expect of a 1991 Game Boy game, there is a little slow down when too much is going on, but I wouldn't have a SHMUP any other way, the music is awesome (I'm really starting to love these Game Boy tunes as of late) I wish I had of played this when I was younger, its a good little game, nothing overly special about it, but its not like it does anything wrong and I certainly got a kick out of playing it now. Since I got this I've gotten a lot more into SHMUPs with stuff like Ikaruga, more Parodius games (Gokujyou Parodius is like my fav SHMUP of all time right now), Space Invaders Extreme and so on. I wouldn't say I'm a SHMUP nut but its a genre I've come to enjoy and if you enjoy good SHMUPs, I say check this little gem out, you won't be disappointed. Next week its time to have a look at one of the worlds largest gaming franchises making its Game Boy debut, see you then.


1:04 AM on 08.06.2009

10 Years of Neo Geo Pocket Color

2009 seems to be the year of Handheld system anniversaries , we've had the 20 year birthday of the Game Boy, Wonderswan turned 10 back in March, the Atari Lynx is gonna be 20 in September and this week marks the 10 year birthday of the most awesome little Handheld system not made by Nintendo coming to the US, the Neo Geo Pocket Color.

So I'm in Australia, we never had the Neo Geo Pocket released down here, it was one of those systems like the Turbo that we only heard about in foreign Video Game mags. I never got a chance to enjoy one and I'm not sure if I would of, I was and guess I am a rather hardcore Nintendo fanboy and would not have a slice of anything non Nintendo related back then. At least I have matured enough of the last few years where I am fine with playing other stuff, anyway I digress. So yeah all I knew about the Neo Geo Pocket was that it had a crap load of Fighting games on it as well as Sonic (another reason me being the Nintendo fanboy I was to look down on it).

Years went by and I never really paid much attention to the Neo Geo Pocket, I did kind of always want one as it looked really cool, but as time went on it faded into the background. Fast forward to a few months back when the Game Boy had its 20th birthday and I really started getting back into all things Handheld gaming (well I've always been a Handheld gamer but it was only really a few months back I realised it and embraced it), I was buying Game Boy games left and right and then I got a sudden urge to buy a Neo Geo Pocket off ebay. Found a really nice looking clear one got it off ebay 2 weeks later it arrived.

The system feels awesome, just the right weight, I'm in love with the little dpad nub feels soo good I can see why Fighters work so well for it. I've only got Samurai Showdown 2 for it so far and I haven't played that much of it only due to the fact that I need to replace the internal battery for the system, but I've been told thats not a hard thing to do. I'm waiting on the Metal Slug games to arrive and I also just bought a massive stack of 11 games for 40 bucks US so I'm looking forward to my future of discovering all the great things about the Neo Geo Pocket. Its such an awesome little system and it would of been interesting to see how things would of played out had it been noticed for the awesome little system it is.

Its such a shame the way everything ended up for it with SNK getting bought out and then the Pocket getting killed off in the States. So heres to you Neo Geo Pocket Color, you are a fantastic little system and really deserved more then what you got. Granted your time on this world was short but damn what a hell of a time it was.   read

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