Wow, this is my forth post about XBLA games that I've bought. I never thought I'd buy this many Live Arcade games, but I suppose I should known better, looking at the ridiculous number of Virtual Console games I bought on my Wii. Maybe I should make a post about those some time, too.....
Last time, I said I'd be doing another one of these after Rez AND Ikaruga come out, but that was mostly because I didn't think I'd buy any more XBLA games until then. Oh, how wrong I was. I've added six new games to my 360's hard drive since last time (along with a shit ton of Rock Band songs.....I knew the Elite was a good investment!), bringing the total up to 31. All of which are super special awesome. And by all, I mean most. And by most, I mean all the ones I paid for. There's one that I'm not too fond of, but I bet you can't guess which one! *coughundercoughtowcough*
Marble Blast Ultra
As you all know (or don't, I just like to pretend people actually read my blog), I am a complete and total sucker for sales. I will buy things that I have absolutely no use for whatsoever if I can get it for a good price. Apparently, Microsoft is aware of this and decided to take advantage by permanently marking down a few of their bestselling games. Unluckily for me, I already paid full price for Lumines Live and bought Zuma and Small Arms when they were marked down for Labor Day. However, I hadn't picked up Marble Blast Ultra or Bankshot Billiards 2 yet. To be honest, I do have a tiny bit of restraint when it comes to discounted games; just enough to avoid the latter (800pts is still too much; make it 400 and we'll talk). Of course, there's no possible way I could resist Marble Blast Ultra, especially for 400 points.
The gameplay is pretty basic stuff, roll a marble around and try to get to the goal. Sounds simple enough, but it gets tougher, trust me. Especially when you throw in a bunch of crazy power-ups that do all sorts of crazy things. The single player will suck a good chunk of your life away with its 60 levels that range from "piece of cake" easy to "the cake is a lie" hard. I'm currently stuck in the 40's and probably will be for a long time. Of course, the place where the game really shines is its multiplayer, which is fun as hell. Basically, you compete with a bunch of other marbles to collect the most red gems before time runs out. It sounds kind of simple and lame, but there's something about it that's so hectic and crazy that just makes it so damned enjoyable. It may well be the most fun I've had playing an XBLA game online and probably one of the best online multiplayer experiences I've ever had. There are still a good number of people playing despite the game's age; probably due to the game's halved price point.
Overall, Marble Blast Ultra is much cooler than I ever expected it to be. The trial was kinda "meh" when I first played it, but it was still fun enough to make me consider it for the longest time (at 800pts, mind you). At 400pts, it's a fucking steal.
Metal Slug 3
I loves me some Metal Slug. Honestly, I haven't had much experience with the series. My first experience with Metal Slug (not counting the time I NOT emulated them on my NOT emulator) was with the Wii's version of Metal Slug Anthology. Needless to say, it was totally fucking awesome and I fell in love with the series after playing it for only a few minutes. The Wii version had a bit too much waggle for my taste (you had to jerk the Wiimote up to throw grenades in every damn control scheme) and I couldn't remedy it with a Gamecube controller (they disappeared on me for a while; most likely hiding in the shadows and laughing at my ridiculous hand motions), so I didn't put much time into it. Lucky for me, Metal Slug 3 was nice enough to make itself available on a system that doesn't force you to masturbate your controller until you ejaculate grenades.
If by some miracle you haven't heard of the Metal Slug series, then you need to STOP SKIMMING MY FUCKING BLOG AND READ THE WHOLE THING. I mean, seriously, I just talked about it, like, a few sentences ago. I suppose I could elaborate, though. The Metal Slug series generally consists of side-scrollin' runnin' and gunnin'. You usually start out with a pistol, but there are a bunch of other sweet weapons that you'll pick up along the way, like the machine gun and the rocket lawnchair (it's not as pleasant to sit on as it sounds).
Metal Slug 3 kind of threw me for a loop when I started it. Rather than catching the usual incompetent enemy soldiers napping or chatting with each other, I was assulted by what could be best described as giant enemy crabs. After the intial shock of the experience, I questioned the historical accuracy of the game, wondering if this was based on famous battles that actually happened. My concern was short-lived, as I realized that I don't know shit about history and that this could have actually happened for all I know. I decided it would be best to grab a machine gun power-up (essentially switching my weapon in real-time) and shoot their weak points for massive damage. It's Metal Slug! Metaaaaaal Slug!
I apologize for that last paragraph, I got a little out of hand. Anyway, Metal Slug 3 is awesome, if not a bit weird. Crabs, zombies, aliens.....it's not what I expected, but it's still awesome. Online co-op is fun, too, especially when the guy you're partnered with actually knows what he's doing. I actually got to see past the second level thanks to some random guy online. The whole package is a good deal for 800pts, even if the enemies do bleed white.
It's Galaga, one of the best arcade shooters ever. It's awesome, so I bought it. Why else would I get it?
Well, I suppose the achievements are really easy and only took me an hour to get all of them. Not like I wanted them or anything. They forced themselves on me, I swear!
...don't judge me...
Pac-Man: Championship Edition
I didn't expect much from this game. The trial was neat, but I was concerned that it wouldn't be worth the full 800pts. I still feel a little cheated, but the game is still quite awesome.
After months of hesitation, I finally dropped the points and got Pac-Man: C.E. Why? Everybody says it's awesome! It seemed like the game got a lot of praise from people and even made it into a few GOTY lists. The final blow was when Chad Concelmo himself told me it was awesome when I asked about it in a comment somewhere a while back. How could I not believe him?
Pac-Man C.E. is basically the Pac-Man you know and love, but with some trippy colors and transforming mazes. Rather than collect a full maze's worth of pellets, you only have to collect smaller lines of them. After you collect all the pellets on one side, an item appears on the other. Once you get that, the side that you cleared will change shape and a new line will appear. Continue this for 5-10 minutes (depending on what mode you picked) and that's general idea of it.
It's not wildly different from the original, but it's different enough to be fresh. My only problem with it is that all the modes are pretty much the same thing, just with different time limits and pellet lines. It's still a lot of fun and everything, but couldn't they have changed it up just a bit more? Maybe an endless mode, where you go until you die? I just feel like I should have gotten a little bit more for $10. I like what's there, but I think it could have been cheaper.
I DO NOT LIKE THIS GAME. It's only on the list because I own it, not because I like it. Maybe I'm just pissed that Microsoft gave us this rather than something I'd actually want (Root Beer Tapper, plz), but I don't like this game. At all.
Normally I love freebies, but that's not always the case. Sometimes they're nice (Aegis Wing) and other times they're mean (Yaris). This one falls somewhere in the middle, but I think I saw it hanging out with Yaris, which is never a good sign. That Yaris is a bad role model.
If you own a 360, you probably already have this, so I'm not going to go into detail about it. If you don't own a 360, then I can't imagine why you're reading this. Maybe you just like reading my posts that much? :D
FINALLY. One of my favorite games of all time has finally come out on the Xbox Live Arcade. Rez is the same as I remember it, an awesome audio/visual experience that's pretty fun to play, too. I didn't really expect too much more from Rez HD when compared to the older DC/PS2 versions, but they somehow managed to make this edition even better.
The graphics were the first thing I noticed a difference in, which, to anyone else, probably doesn't mean much considering it is Rez HD. The reason that it's such a shock to me is because of the quality of my TV. It's an old big screen SDTV that's starting to die after 5+ years of playing video games on it while the instructions explicitly told me not to. The colors tend to fade depending on how light or dark things are in game (which really sucks during the flickery parts in Rock Band) and the picture generally just doesn't look as good as it used to. Rez HD, however, looked beautiful the whole time. The picture was smooth as could be (not jagged like the older versions were) and the colors looked great the whole time.
There are a couple other neat features that are new in Rez HD, also. You can save replays of Score Attack runs (though I haven't tried them yet), which is kind of cool. There's also a bunch of filters to make the game look even crazier (sepia, mosaic, bloom, etc) and some audio effects (cave, forest, underwater, etc) if that's your kinda thing. Of course, one of the most anticipated features (I'm sure) is the Trance Vibration. How is that you ask?
Well, it's entrancing......and vibratey. Honestly, I don't know what they were thinking with this, aside from masturbation. I haven't really done anything of the sort with it, mostly because I don't have any idea what I'd do with it. I can tell you one thing, though: I most certainly NOT "make a sammich out of the controllers with my bits in the middle" as ScottyG suggested. Even if I did have any desire to do such a thing, I would probably be too busy laughing uncontrollably about that to actually play the damn game.
I'll find other ways to pleasure my bits, thank you very much.