For those reading one of my SNES review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:
"While the SNES was a constant presence in my childhood, I never had a large collection of games for it. In fact, many of the games I played I still don't know the names of. It wasn't until I say the uproar over Breath of Fire 6 that I knew I played Breath of Fire 1 in the SNES.
After reading the excellent top 100 SNES games list by IGN:
I decided to go back and play those 100 games and review them. Well, as I looked closer at the list, I realized that there are many genres that did not age well from the SNES (racing, sports) and many other genres that I am simply not good at (shmups, arcade shooters) and others that I need other players to play against for an accurate representation (fighters). Also, I played many of the more well known games such as Final Fantasy and Super Metroid."
We finished with the legacy reviews, so we are beginning with the reviews after my hiatus. Please feel free to give me advise on my reviews, as I always look for improvement.
Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the IGN list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.
Without further ado, here is:
73- Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics
Genre: Action Adventure.
Publisher: Data East.
Developer: Data East.
With both the action and the platforming being sub-par, J&M exposes itself its loose ends quickly by the time you reach the third stage. After repeatedly mashing the attack button to dispatch nonthreatening foes, and jumping over obstacles that are equivalent to mere puddles in the road, you realize that the game is not measuring up to its design.
True, the game tries to introduce some elements unique to the levels such as Ice and perma-death lava. However, these elements hardly change anything as neither would require much thinking from the player. Indeed, all of the game besides the final level (which is a completely different problem) can be completed on auto-pilot.
A perfect illustration of the fact is the dinosaurs you can ride in some levels. They are as if an afterthought of development. Unlike the animal companions in a game like Donkey Kong or Kirby 3, they disappear after the first hit. However, their most terrible offense is being ultimately terrible to play, as they offer nothing more than a free hit and a poor projectile attack which is both unneeded and less reliable than the upgraded club you find in some levels. In fact, the whole game seems to resent these moments as the worst (and only bad) music of the game plays when you ride one of those dinosaurs.
Sub-par Gameplay: -5 Terrible Dino Companions:-2[i/]
"Yaba daba done!!"
While some games can stake the claim of being done before the player gets bored from the game, J&M2 finishes before the player even realizes he is bored. So short is the game that it seems ridiculous not to find some secret after-world.
In a previous review, I said that the short length of terrible games is a blessing in disguise, but J&M2 is not such a terrible game, and its length is not at all forgivable. While some other games might have a challenging aspect to them that encourages experimentation and the search fro perfection, there is no such thrill to be found here.
Since the game offers mediocre gameplay, the best reason to play the game is seeing what outlandish Jurassic levels the design teams are going to do next. That it all boils down to 8 levels is fit for an Arcade coin sink, and not an SNES title at all.
What adds insult to injury is the final level in the game, which takes the Mega Man final level trope and butchers it. Despite starting with a brilliantly designed stage in the midst of a thunderstorm, the developers apparently run out of time and just threw all the bosses at you. Not only do you fight those uninteresting gigantic lizards again, but you do so without regaining health between fights. It is a complete contrast of the easygoing game, and actually forces you to readjust your whole gameplan to finish the game. Alas, when you think you are done with all the bosses, it turns out there is a final boss you need to fight as well. Guess what? You don't get any health before that as well.
Schizophrenic Final Level:-3
"Primeval beats extravaganza"
Taking a page from the design team, the game's composer goes to great length to give us a soundtrack that is at once fun and pre-historic. The synthesizer does a great job in producing several songs each exciting and fitting the stage.
In the ice level, the music contains hints of jingle sounds amidst primeval drums and horns, while the volcano level has more fast paced beats with a focus on the horns. One thing that is common between all the tracks is the energy they inspire, which is a direct contrast to the lethargic mechanics of the game itself.
A high note is the boss music, which makes the somewhat timid affairs the climax they are supposed to be. Yet, should be said that there are not many tracks in the game owing to its short length, which is a shame judging from what we hear in the game.
With the platformer genre and sub-genres being as strong as they are in the SNES, there is little reason to play games like J&M2. Which is a shame given the stellar design of the game. Yet, even its colorful well crafted facade cannot disguise the lackluster core of the game.
True, J&M2 is not an awful game, but when there are much better games and very little time, we realize that "not awful" is not a good indicator of what we choose to spend out time on.
1- Don't bother with the dino companions.
2- Look for the club upgrades, which are difficult to miss.
3- Don't get hit at all in the final level, not once, save it for the last fight.
4- Buying flowers at the shop lets you marry a girl if she likes the flowers.
5- Whether she does is completely random.
Back in the SNES era, there were games that were brutallu difficult even in those standards. Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts at #51 is the game I am reviewing next, and it is supposed to be one of those games.
As such, my next review might never come, at which case know that Ghouls 'n Ghosts is still torturing me as I shall try to finish it, comes what may come.
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