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Meet the winner of Nintendo Power's The Mask II contest

Feb 04 // Tony Ponce
The contest page with the Nathan's entry form cut out. Meet Nathan Ryan Runk from Arbutus, MD. He entered and won that The Mask II contest, and despite never getting the chance to share the screen with Mr. Ace Ventura, he's pleased with how the whole matter was resolved. It was pure luck that brought Nathan, then 12 years old, into the winner's circle. "I actually rarely entered any contests in Nintendo Power," he explains. "I entered maybe about a dozen in the seven or so years of having a subscription. I only entered ones that really appealed to me, and, being a preteen in the mid-'90s, anything Jim Carrey OBVIOUSLY was appealing." Nathan was notified of his victory within a month or two, and afterwards, Nintendo would call him up every few months to keep him informed of new developments. Fun fact: The lady who kept in contact with him was Leslie Swan, former managing editor for Nintendo Power and current localization director for Nintendo of America, though she is better known to most of you as the voice of Princess Peach in Super Mario 64. Nathan's notification letter from THQ. When it was clear that the movie wasn't happening, Nathan was properly taken care of. Above is a letter sent to him on November 4, 1996, from product marketing manager John Ardell of THQ, which published The Mask SNES videogame under the Black Pearl Software label and partnered with Nintendo for this contest. The letter reads: I am sorry that the filming of The Mask II has been postponed and that we were not able to send you to the set. Enclosed please find an official crew jacket from The Mask II that was supplied by New Line Cinema. Additionally, I have included a few of our new Super Nintendo games for your collection. Thank you for your patience with this promotion. On top of the jacket, which Nathan sadly can't find anymore, and the box of games, which of course included the original The Mask, Nathan also emerged from the deal with a cool $5,000 (the estimated value of the prize package, according to the official contest rules). As he remembers, "They gave me the option to wait indefinitely or take the cash... I took the cash. Absolutely the right call! Also, when I was on the phone with the people from Nintendo, they asked me if there was anything else that I really wanted. I said that I had just recently gotten an N64 and really wanted Pilotwings 64 (loved the original). In less than a week, I received that with the check." As we are well aware, a pseudo-sequel called Son of the Mask eventually released in 2005. There's no telling if all involved parties would have honored the contest had Nathan not taken the check that day, but it's all for the best. "I would have likely been okay with doing a walk-on in Son of the Mask because, at the time, I didn't know how bad it was going to be. Knowing what I do now and even if that were an option, I'm glad I went with the money." The printed apology on page 39 of Vol. 285. So if everything turned out rosy, why did Nintendo keep quiet about the fate of the contest this whole time? No one knows for certain, but as Nathan theorizes, "[T]hey don't want to be viewed as having ever let their fan base down, which I completely understand. Printing that shows that they failed one of their subscribers (even though they didn't) and it might erode the validity of their contest, even though that would be undeserved. Nintendo has earned the reputation of being a 'good' company, something that I feel is nearly impossible to do." These days, Nathan lives with his wife a short drive away from his childhood home. He's not as huge a gamer as he once was -- he used to be extremely into the XBAND modem and used the handle "King Gorth" -- but he still makes a time for rounds of Mario Kart 8 and the like. And with that, we finally have closure on one of the weirder events in Nintendo Power history. Nathan didn't get his big Hollywood break, but he did make out like a bandit, and that ought to put a smile on everyone's faces. Nathan's smile is probably a bit bigger than most, what with his being treated like a king for the better part of a year. The Player's Poll Contest on pages 82 and 83 of Vol. 77. I'll leave you with Nathan's thoughts regarding Nintendo Power's closure: "It's a bit sad whenever something from your childhood goes away. It was like that store that you really used to like but hadn't been to in years that 'suddenly' closes down. It's a bit of nostalgia that kids nowadays will know nothing about, and that, I think, is the worst part. "My subscription ended in 1999 (still have all my back issues), so when it all ended, I wasn't surprised. I had stopped caring as much, as had most people around me. I was the last of my friends to have a subscription. I really don't think my situation was an isolated incident. But for those of us who had a subscription, it was a magical experience. Every month, you had the inside edge on all the newest games. You could get your friends through any level, find all the secrets and know all the codes. There was no YouTube, no Wiki, no walkthrough. You had to have the Power. "And then, one day, the Power went out."
The Mask II Mystery photo
Consider this mystery... SSSMOKED!
In my heart of hearts, Nintendo Power will never die. If you were an American Nintendo gamer in the late '80s to early '90s, this monthly rag granted you unfettered access to a world of insider news and gossip that made you t...

Promoted blog photo
Promoted blog

Mega Man 2's OST spiced up with Castlevania III's audio chip


Some tasty music news promoted from our Community Blogs!
Dec 09
// Tony Ponce
[Dtoid alumn megaStryke likes Mega Man more than anyone else in the world. Shh, don't tell Chris Carter! --Mr Andy Dixon] Come back in time with me for a minute! Almost two years ago to the day, I shared a fan arrange album ...
Goodbye photo
Goodbye

Take care, Destructoid, for everlasting peace


Nothing is over... you just don't turn it off
Oct 07
// Tony Ponce
You know that sudden feeling, that you have to make an important decision that will affect your future in significant ways, but you don't quite know what the decision is going to be or when you are going to make it? You simpl...
Sonic in Smash photo
The sky with stars so briiight! The colors feel so riiight!
Sorry, I got a little carried away earlier today. Let's try again, shall we? *AHEM* Sonic is returning to the Smash series and will be trading blows with Mario as well as the other blue boy, Mega Man. Sonic vs. Mega Man... f...

Wii photo
Selling 100 million is a good stopping point, right?
The Wii may have secured a solid lead ahead of the Xbox 360 and PS3 with a tidy 100 million units under its belt, but let's face facts: its time in the sun is over. With the 3DS dominating in Japan and the US and the Wii U ne...

StreetPass photo
StreetPass

StreetPass relay system will now allow six tags at once


That's much better
Oct 01
// Tony Ponce
Remember when Nintendo announced that the 3DS' StreetPass function would be improved so that you would get tagged whenever you passed through a Nintendo Zone location? The way the system works, two 3DS owners don't have to be...
Wii Party U photo
Wii Party U

Wii Party U lets you knit and scoop water


So exciting
Oct 01
// Tony Ponce
Man, the four-player fun in Wii Party U just doesn't let up! You can play "Water Runners," in which you scoop up water from a river... then pour it into a bottle! Then there is a game where you lay the GamePad and all Wii Re...
Bravely Default photo
Bravely Default

Another Bravely Default trailer to slobber over


Slightly default from the last English trailer
Oct 01
// Tony Ponce
Another English trailer for the Square Enix 3DS RPG Bravely Default? Yes, please! Some of the voices are a bit grating, but at least we'll have the option of switching to Japanese when the game comes out next year. By the wa...
A Link Between Worlds photo
A Link Between Worlds

A Link Between Worlds will allow you to sequence break


You'll be able to rent items before entering dungeons
Oct 01
// Tony Ponce
For the longest time now, the common Zelda formula has been (1) enter dungeon, (2) get item from dungeon, (3) use that item to beat that dungeon, and (4) go to new dungeon and get new item. A Link Between Worlds is going to b...
Ace Attorney 5 photo
Ace Attorney 5

Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies demo on eShop today


I have no objections
Oct 01
// Tony Ponce
Getting ready for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies on October 24? Pump yourself with a demo on the 3DS eShop today. Get your finger pointing on as soon as you can.
Smash Bros. photo
Smash Bros.

Sonic vs. Mega Man in Smash Bros. 4!!!


MY DREEEEEEAAAAAAM!
Oct 01
// Tony Ponce
IN THIS WOOOOOOOORLD, WHERE LIFE IS STROOOOOOOONG!IN THIS WOOOOOOOORLD, LIFE'S AN OPEN BOOK!IN THIS WOOOOOOOORLD, WHERE COMPROMISE DOES NOT EXIST!IN THIS WORLD OF WORLDS, EVERY STEP MEETS THE REST! Sonic in Smash 4, everyone! My dream of Sonic vs. Mega Man will happen!
Super Mario 3D World photo
Super Mario 3D World

Super Mario 3D World lets you clone yourself


And Bowser has a pimp ride
Oct 01
// Tony Ponce
In this morning's Nintendo Direct, CEO Satoru Iwata revealed a whole bunch of new abilities for Mario and crew in the upcoming Wii U platformer. By picking up a cherry, you can clone your character several times. Kuribo's Sh...
Mighty No. 9 photo
Mighty No. 9

Mighty No. 9 will rock the PS4 and Xbox One


Make it RAIN!
Oct 01
// Tony Ponce
THREE. POINT. THREE. MILLION. DOLLARS. GOD. DAMN. I was honestly worried for a while there, but the PS4 / Xbox One stretch goals were met with just a day left to go! The Unreal Engine-powered Mighty No. 9 is making people hap...

Wii U 4.0.0 update allows Wii Mode off-TV play

Sep 30 // Tony Ponce
Version 4.0.0 U, available via an Internet connection, includes the following improvements: New Features: A feature to output video and sound to the Wii U GamePad when using Wii Mode Users can choose to output to the TV and GamePad, or just the TV A feature to automatically receive recommended software and demo titles from Nintendo using SpotPass Support for USB keyboards An option to disable use of a Nintendo Network ID on non-Nintendo hardware, such as PCs and smartphones Support for Dolby® Pro Logic® II Surround Sound when playing Wii software Changes to Wii U Menu: Added a friend list icon to the Wii U Menu for easier access to the Friend List Changes to System Settings: An option to automatically receive recommended software is now available under "Internet" A setting to select which cable outputs sound is available through "TV" Users can choose to output sound through an HDMI cable, non-HDMI cable, or both cables at the same time. Click here for instructions A setting to adjust the hourly interval in which standby functions are performed is available under "Power Settings" when Standby Functions are enabled Changes to Wii U Chat: Added the option to view a friend's profile on Miiverse when sending or receiving a chat request Users can now chat using a headset connected to the Wii U GamePad Changes to Internet Browser: Pressing the R or L Buttons on the Wii U GamePad will skip video playback forward/back a small amount of time Holding the R Button will speed up video playback Ability to save username and passwords for websites that require login Ability to launch the Internet Browser during gameplay and upload screenshots Added support for viewing PDF files Added features intended for website developers that allow the user to enable developer tools and set user agent Improvements to system stability and usability: Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience
Wii U 4.0.0 photo
But still no unified account system
Alright! The long-awaited summer fall Wii U firmware has arrived! We've been patient, and now we finally have our unified account system! Thank you for answering our cries, Nintendo! ... Wait... where's our unified account sy...

Pokemon photo
Pokemon

Pokemon grave stone fills me with all the feels


Catching shinies in the afterlife
Sep 30
// Tony Ponce
Among the readers here, I'm sure there are a few who are so engaged in videogames that they've effectively become your identity. Will your game-playing habits be what you are remembered for long after you've passed on? A man ...
Mighty No. 9 photo
Mighty No. 9

Here's a test video of Mighty No. 9 on Unreal Engine


Inafune's latest is getting the Guilty Gear Xrd treatment
Sep 30
// Tony Ponce
No time to rest! The Mighty No. 9 train keeps right on rolling through the final day! Choo choo! The Monday update brings word that Mighty will take a page out of the Guilty Gear Xrd playbook and run on the Unreal Engine. A ...
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero photo
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

Playable Risky Boots is a go for Shantae: Half-Genie Hero


And $1.3 million for animated cutscenes!? Not gonna happen...
Sep 30
// Tony Ponce
It's been slow goings ever since the Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Kickstarter met its base goal last week, but no need to lose hope just yet! The $500K Risky Mode has been funded! As the sexy pirate villainess Risky Boots, you'll...
The Adventures of DnB photo
The Adventures of DnB

Duane & BrandO's remastered LP is ready for yo' bawls


NES all up in this beast with LP of Devastation [Remastered]
Sep 30
// Tony Ponce
It's been almost a year since the comedy rock-rap duo of "8-Bit Duane " Zuwala and "The Amazing BrandO" Lackey made peace with each other following a very intense falling out. Back in the studio as The Adventures of Duane &a...
The Weekend Hotness photo
The Weekend Hotness

The Weekend Hotness: I'm reading the sh*t outta One Piece


Check out everything Destructoid did today
Sep 29
// Tony Ponce
Despite its being the best-selling manga in Japan, I never jumped aboard One Piece. The weird, noodly art style had always turned me off, so I never bothered giving it a chance. Then one day I said to myself, "Stop being a li...
Mighty No. 9 photo
Mighty No. 9

Mega Man 2 composer joins the Mighty No. 9 team


Manami Matsumae and Takashi Tateishi unite!
Sep 29
// Tony Ponce
With just two days left before donations close, the Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter is exploding with all kinds of tasty treats. I hope you remembered to vote on your favorite Call design! Here's another bit of wonderful news: We we...
Mighty No. 9 photo
Mighty No. 9

Vote on Mighty No. 9 support character Call's design


What do you want Beck's online co-op partner to look like?
Sep 28
// Tony Ponce
Good news, everyone! The Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter received a sudden boost in its donation rate. We've cleared $2.75 million, which means we are getting online co-op! Yay! Now that we'll be able to play as Beck's partner Call,...
Mega Man X photo
Mega Man X

Mega Man X series to get a 12-disc music collection


It's like we're paying for life support coverage
Sep 28
// Tony Ponce
*sigh* Let's skip the piss party this time and jump right to the nitty gritty. A listing on Japanese online shop Rakuten has appeared for Rockman X Sound Box, set to arrive on December 18, 2013. The 12-disc set is likely a so...
The Daily Hotness photo
The Daily Hotness

The Daily Hotness: Steam Controller 5 is alive!


Check out everything Destructoid did today
Sep 27
// Tony Ponce
How about that new Steam controller, eh? Boy, it sure is something! Can you play Volgarr properly with it? If not, it can f*ck off. Today, Conrad and Jordan become mighty viking deities, Joshua Derocher gets wet thinking abou...

Review: Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures

Sep 26 // Tony Ponce
Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures (3DS, PC [reviewed], Wii U)Developer: FreakZone GamesPublisher: ScrewAttack GamesReleased: September 20, 2013 (PC) / 2014 (3DS, Wii U)MSRP: $14.99Rig: Intel Core i3-380M, 6GB of RAM, GeForce GT 425M, Windows 7 64-bit The games that the Nerd typically plays fall under one of three categories: otherwise decent games that feature relentless difficulty, average games with a number of very curious or backwards design choices, and outright festering ass. The last group is his main claim to fame, but for an official Nerd game to work, it would have to draw inspiration from all three categories while at the same time being enjoyable enough to play over prolonged periods. In other words, FreakZone had to take shit and simultaneously make it not shit. Quite the paradox, but one that FreakZone achieved quite handily. On the surface, Adventures is both an homage to and parody of the AVGN web series. The Nerd and his friends are sucked into the television and transported to Game Land, divided into eight levels inspired by the show's many themes. There is "Assholevania," a send-up of James Rolfe's own love for the Castlevania franchsie; "Beat It & Eat It," a puerile domain filled with the sights and sounds of Atari porn software like Custer's Revenge; "Blizzard of Balls," a wintry hell born out of the AVGN Christmas specials; and others. [embed]262392:50644:0[/embed] Long-time Nerd fans will note many nods and Easter eggs to the show's history in everything from the enemies and items to the obstacles and backgrounds. You consume Rolling Rock to refill health and acquire tokens to summon the Glitch Gremlin or Super Mecha Death Christ. You fly atop the board from Silver Surfer, go toe-to-toe with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and find Shit Pickle hiding in various locations. Then there's the final stage, a foul monument to one of the Nerd's most despised game companies. Several classic Nintendo games are also paid tribute. In the introductory level, you get instructed by Naggi, the green-hued cousin of Ocarina of Time's Navi, much to the Nerd's displeasure. The disappearing blocks from Mega Man and the giant goblin heads from Air Man's stage in Mega Man 2 feature prominently, as does Doom's Cacodemon, remade out of feces and appropriately dubbed "Cacademon." Even FreakZone's own MANOS is acknowledged with a boss battle pulled straight from that title. But what really gives Adventures the AVGN touch is the running commentary. Every so often, the Nerd will make some kind of rant or observation, although the fact that it's text-based makes it difficult to read during particularly harrowing platforming segments. Whenever you die, the Nerd will spout one of his famous curse-laden analogies (e.g. "This game is rotten fungus coming out of a badger's sphincter!") with keywords randomly generated from a pool of submissions from the game's Facebook page. The current pool isn't all that big, thus many phrases are repeated; perhaps ScrewAttack will continue to update the game with expanded word banks. All the references and potty humor in the world wouldn't be enough if the core game wasn't compelling. Thankfully, there is a solid quest beneath the surface dressing that even those completely unfamiliar with the Nerd's exploits would be able to enjoy. If you happened to have played MANOS, you'll notice that Adventures feels like an extension of that, with many shared elements and environmental hazards -- I wouldn't consider that a knock against this game, though. There's a classic "Nintendo hard" degree of challenge, but it's tempered by very solid controls and enough checkpoints and beer bottles to carry you towards the boss. Oh, and it's got a pretty bangin' soundtrack to keep your fighting spirit high! You begin the game as the Nerd with a multi-directional NES Zapper for a weapon, and careful searching will lead you to three additional party members -- Guitar Guy, who can run fast and shoot wave beams through walls; Mike, with a super high jump and the ability to spot destructible walls and invisible platforms; and Bullshit Man, who can double jump and lob extra powerful lumps of poo. Only by swapping characters on the fly and using their abilities can you reach formerly inaccessible areas filled with 1-ups, health, and weapon upgrades. You may even spot a few NPC cameos, like brentalfloss, Egoraptor, and our very own Jim Sterling and Mr. Destructoid! Every obstacle in the game operates on very simple patterns that can be observed from a distance before being approached. Spikes that emerge from the floor? Fire pillars or laser turrets that trigger at regular intervals? Maces that circle the bricks they are chained to? Just count the seconds and time your progress. Your mistakes are entirely your own. Naturally, the last level throws everything plus the kitchen sink at you at once, but that's what last levels are supposed to do. However, there is one persistent obstacle -- a skull-faced block that causes instant death upon touching -- that caused me great grief. Such blocks appear in clusters and typically blink in and out with the same rhythm as the disappearing blocks. They are everywhere, in every single level without fail, yet they always feel completely out of place. I mean, death blocks that kill you with a mere graze? What's up with that? In a way, death blocks are a quick and easy way to bump up a stage's difficulty without the need to create unique environmental hazards. Sounds rather creatively bereft, no? But if you were the Nerd, wouldn't such an obstacle become the focus of your rage and frustration, the breaking point after which righteous obscenities start flowing like wine? If the designers' goal was to put you in the Nerd's shoes, such an evil element would be necessary to trigger that transformation. Adventures is no insurmountable wall, but neither is it a welcome wagon. On Normal mode, you are given 30 lives and unlimited continues, which should allow anyone with enough drive to at least make it to the final boss within a couple of hours -- whether you can actually beat the final boss is another matter, the god-modding bastard. Beyond that are even tougher difficulty modes that prevent saving between levels and reduce your amount or health and retries. As a pseudo NES-era throwback, it nails the careful balance between cruel and inviting. As a tribute to the Nerd, it does a decent job covering his entire career, although repetitive dialog lessens the humorous impact on repeated playthroughs. As an authentic Nerd "experience"... well... your mileage may vary, but I'd like to think it is. Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is not a cowa-fucking-piece-of-dog-shit, that's for certain!
AVGN Adventures review photo
He's gonna take you back to the past...
For years, James "Angry Video Game Nerd" Rolfe has suffered the worst that retro gaming could toss at him for the sake of your amusement. Why does he do it? Is he a masochist? Does the rage that burns inside with every sudden...

JonTron photo
JonTron

JonTron died and on the third day rose again


He also plays some Hercules games
Sep 25
// Tony Ponce
In the climactic war between Grump and Not So Grump, the mighty Jafari fell to the cunning Raptor. Tears were shed for the fallen, seemingly lost to the ether for eternity. Lo, Jafari was merely bidding his time, that he may...
Chrono Trigger Symphony photo
Chrono Trigger Symphony

Chrono Trigger Symphony Vol. 2 is hot and ready


Blake Robinson's second Chrono album takes the fight to Magus
Sep 24
// Tony Ponce
Blake Robinson is in the process of reproducing the entire Chrono Trigger soundtrack into synthesized orchestral form, and the project started bearing fruit last month. For such a massive game with an equally massive score, ...

Review: Volgarr the Viking

Sep 23 // Tony Ponce
Volgarr the Viking (PC)Developer: Crazy Viking StudiosPublisher: Adult Swim GamesReleased: September 13, 2013MSRP: $11.99Rig: Intel Core i3-380M, 6GB of RAM, GeForce GT 425M, Windows 7 64-bit You've played Volgarr the Viking before. It is Contra. It is Battletoads. It is Ghosts 'n Goblins. Most appropriately, it is Rastan, a 1987 Taito arcade game infamous for its unrelenting nature. From the types of hazards and enemies to the general play style and progression, the parallels are so numerous that it wouldn't be wrong to call Volgarr a spiritual sequel with a Nordic flavor. Even the stage layout on the first few screens of the first level mirrors that of Rastan's opening moments. Like its forebears, the greatest achievement in Volgarr is survival. Even if you never come close to completion, being able to squeeze out a few extra seconds of life is its own reward. Volgarr was designed with the mind that just because a game isn't immediately accessible to all players doesn't mean that it can't be enjoyable. The trick is to balance the sheer brutality with a simple control scheme and obstacles that can be overcome with enough patient observation. Knowing what needs to be done doesn't guarantee victory, but it goes a long way towards keeping hope alive, even if barely. [embed]262298:50578:0[/embed] This is why I hate it when people call a difficult game "cheap" or "unfair" when such terms aren't warranted. They imply that the developers didn't know what they were doing, leading to a haphazard assembly that misleads the player into unavoidable situations. Crazy Viking Studios knew exactly what it was doing -- Volgarr is constructed in such a way that the greatest obstruction to victory is your own mediocre skills. What's refreshing is how Crazy Viking Studios did away with seemingly all modern game trappings for a true old-school experience. There are no cutscenes, no dialog, no save files (more on that later), and no hint bubbles. Hell, there isn't even a proper main menu -- after the game loads, the title flashes for a brief moment, Odin commands you to rise from the dead, and you immediately start marching. The lone allowance is a series of brief text prompts in the first few seconds that tell you how to perform the basic moves. You begin with a weak wooden shield that only absorbs two projectile impacts before breaking. You can upgrade your gear by opening treasure chests -- first you'll acquire an indestructible shield that also allows you to throw charged spears, then a helmet that grants an extra hit point, and finally a flame sword with double strength. As you receive damage, you'll lose your equipment piece by piece until you're reduced to an explosion of bloody bones. There is no progress without risk; you'll often find yourself in situations that demand more unconventional strategies. For instance, Volgarr's jump trajectory is locked once he leaves the ground, not unlike in Castlevania, but you can change your trajectory in midair by performing a double jump. This technique comes in handy later, such as when jumping to an adjacent platform means overshooting the ground then doubling back. Perhaps you'll be climbing a rope and can't reach a platform overhead. You can leap away from the rope, toss a spear at the nearby wall to create a makeshift platform, then quickly double jump back onto the rope lest you fall to your death. Now you'll be able to jump onto the spear then hop up from there to the target platform. Your only hope for success is to discover such advanced techniques on your own and master them in controlled environments so that they can effectively be employed in more dangerous territory. As tough as your enemies may be, foolish platforming mishaps will be your greatest adversary. There's nothing to do but try again until your talents are honed to a brilliant sheen. The secret weapon in your arsenal is the zoom function, performed by tapping L on your controller or the space bar on the keyboard, which pulls the camera back and gives you a greater view of the terrain and enemy placement. What makes this so invaluable is that enemies remain motionless while off-screen in the normal camera view. That means you'll almost always have the first-strike advantage if you can hit them with your spear before they have a chance to react. Even with the zoom, Volgarr is a frustrating experience that taxes your spirit like few others. In particular, there is only a single checkpoint in the middle of each level. Even if you fall to the boss, you'll be tossed way back to that checkpoint instead of outside the boss chamber. This setup infuriated me at first, but I later realized that by making you replay half the stage, you have the opportunity to max out your equipment and greet the boss at full strength. In its own way, the game is offering the smallest of mercies. The exception to this is the final stage, which is divided into multiple rooms each with checkpoints at the entrance, including one just before the boss. It's ironic that after enduring five stages of cutthroat brutality, the last stage would be the most forgiving of all. It almost seems like a letdown... until you realize that the game is only half complete. There may not be any save files, but it is possible to skip levels that you've already completed. However, doing so will prevent you from getting the game's best ending. If you manage not to lose your equipment in a level and continue to open treasure chests, you'll eventually start collecting life orbs. Upon beating the boss, you'll unlock the Path of the Valkyrie, an alternate and more challenging route through the following stage. And only by clearing all the alternate routes will you be able to enter the true final stage. The Path of the Valkyrie plays by a different set of rules compared to the main game. Those life orbs you collect indicate how many times you'll be allowed to respawn. Exhaust all your lives and you will be shunted back onto the main path, unable to reenter that level's alternate route without replaying the previous level again. In other words, there isn't much room for practice and experimentation on the Path of Valkyrie -- you are expected to be a master already. I don't mind hardcore difficulty, but the requirements to reach Volgarr's finale strike me as just a tad too restrictive. Essentially, you're being asked to 1CC (one credit clear) the game, or close enough to it, all without ever getting touched once. I've never been one to attempt "perfectionist" runs in anything, which require a level of patience and perseverance far beyond that required to enjoy the base game. If I had to draw the line dividing what I'm willing to endure for the sake of enjoyment, that would be it. That aside, the rest of Volgarr exemplifies the type of experience few games dare to attempt these days. It will humble you, make you feel weak and inadequate. I started playing with great confidence, and within minutes I was reduced to a whimpering mess. I even considered giving up a couple of times, resigning myself to writing a scoreless review. But somehow, in some way, I mustered enough energy to go on. My journey may technically have only just begun, but seeing even a single ending has given me a deep sense of accomplishment. I understand that not everyone is looking to put their pride on the line with every game they play, but sometimes we need a reminder that games can be a test of skill. What kind of test would it be if the average person could coast along merely by doing the extra credit? By guessing the multiple choice? What kind of hollow victory is that? Like a drill sergeant, Volgarr the Viking is here to yank us out of our comfort zone and put us through hell unending. If you survive, you'll feel like the biggest badass of all time.
Volgarr the Viking review photo
RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE!
Can I talk about DuckTales Remastered for a minute? I'm not going to cite any specific examples, but I've read more than a handful of reviews that knocked Remastered down for being a bit too "classic" in the difficulty depart...

Hip Tanaka photo
Hip Tanaka

Composer Hip Tanaka honors Yamauchi with Nintendo remixes


Famed Nintendo musician pays respect to his old boss
Sep 23
// Tony Ponce
Hiroshi Yamauchi, the man who made Nintendo a gaming empire, passed away last week. Though he may have been a cutthroat codger while at the company's helm, his influence cannot be denied. His former employees have no doubt fo...
The Weekend Hotness photo
The Weekend Hotness

The Weekend Hotness: Eating with Dale around the world


Check out everything Destructoid did today
Sep 22
// Tony Ponce
Games at TGS? I don't give a toss. Dale, please post more photos of the wonderful food you've been enjoying. Do an entire post just on that. My inner foodie hungers. Elsewhere this weekend, Jim Sterling starts Doorways on Now...
The Daily Hotness photo
The Daily Hotness

The Daily Hotness: Bohemian Gravity


Check out everything Destructoid did today
Sep 20
// Tony Ponce
You could spend many years in grad school accruing massive amounts of debt to earn a master's degree in quantum physics. Or you could watch an a cappella parody of "Bohemian Rhapsody" that condenses all the material in six m...

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