Wednesday, June 15, 2005


A Really Long Post

Realizing that I don’t write about video games enough, this installment will focus on some recent video games that I have played.

Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes are two seriously long video games. They are so long that it could be harmful to your physical and mental health to play them back-to-back. To be sure, they are not Dragon Warrior VII long or Final Fantasy long, but your grandchildren will be finishing the levels you started.

Samus Aran is one sexy bitch. I’m sure you’d agree once you’ve seen her out of the suit in MP: 2. You don’t see much of her in the first Metroid Prime , but you get more in Echoes . Not much more, and you have to beat the entire game just to get to that 2-second shot of her human flesh, but it’s kinda worth it.

Graphics are extraordinary, with the exception of a couple circumstances. Bosses are difficult, with the exception of a couple circumstances. Puzzles are confusing, but that’s par for the course with any Metroid game. And yes, to unlock some worthy bonus features you have to scan items like no tomorrow. There are lots of scannable items in the game.

In case if you’re wondering which console I’m playing this game on, it’s the GameCube. Not the Game Boy Advance or even the Nintendo DS. The GameCube. I write this because several people asked me what console I play on the most. It used to be the PlayStation 2, but I wanted to give the GameCube a chance. I’ve stuck with it ever since.

Anybody agree that Sonic Heroes is too juvenile for older gamers? If I’m in a league of my own with this one, then so be it. I’m just put off with the cheesy 80’s conservative rock and the kung fu voiceovers and the PBS after school feel of some parts of the game. The only reason why I played (and beat, to some extent) Sonic Heroes is tradition. I grew up with the Sonic character, watched the Saturday morning cartoon and of course played the Sega games. I bought the Dreamcast solely because of the appeal of Sonic. Sonic was done much, much better on the Dreamcast; on his new home, the GameCube, he looks slightly blocky. You know, that early 90’s polygon feel.

I don’t understand the appeal of the Prince of Persia series of games. The protagonist is a fag. I mean, he looks so gay that not for a minute can I buy the concept of him being this Neo/Matrix-like asskicker. I don’t have anything against gay people, so please, no flame e-mails; however, in an action game that intends to make us believe that the character has massive and copious amounts of testosterone and not (I repeat, not) estrogen, the appearance of an effete protagonist looks jarringly out-of-place and serves to alienate us. But then, I’m wasting words on a series which has (arguably) limited appeal.

Played Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Battle Nexus II. Most major game websites bashed the game for its antiquated visuals, problematic control and uninspired gameplay. Okay, so the Turtles move like someone kicked them in the balls--I won’t argue that point. I also won’t argue that at some point in the game, if you readers ever get around to playing it, that you might feel like throwing your controller at the TV screen. Because you will die many unnecessary times. If you persevere though, you will find that there’s much fun to be had in this game. The wacky voiceovers are a hoot and a half, as well.

One of the things that I like about TMNT: Battle Nexus is the opportunity to play as Casey Jones. True, after a while I went back to playing as one of the Turtles, but having Casey Jones as an unlockable character (one of about three or four) is a nice touch.

There are many unlockable features on the game, such as a photo gallery, multiplayer games (not recommended if you want to keep your friends), character profiles, a wacky far-out antique shop and much more. However, the coolest unlockable feature (which you must at first access through April’s wacky antique shop) is the original 1989 Turtles arcade classic game (and here, the use of the word “classic” is fully warranted). The arcade game makes all the frustration worthwhile, in my honest opinion.

Finally, Viewtiful Joe shines. Viewtiful Joe 2 looks even better. VJ 1 & 2 is available on all platforms (I believe). It’s a bit corny, but the game is near-unforgiving. You’ll die any number of times before you get to Level Two. Add to the fact that you have several different more challenging modes to play after you’ve beat the game and you have a lengthy fragfest that will keep you slaughtering “flaties” and big dinosaurs until retirement age.

Changing gears to a different topic: voice actors. A strike between SAG and the video game industry was narrowly averted when the VG industry agreed to pay a 36% raise over three and ½ years, from an average $556 per session to $695 plus double overtime for actors who perform more than three voices and work longer than the normal six-hour session. Read about it here. Read about someone who said, “[Gamers] don’t buy games because of the actors in it.” This quote applies only in some situations. Personally, I have never bought a game because I liked the voice actors; earlier in this article, I was complaining about how corny-sounding some of the voices are. It has always been, in the following order, these factors that led to purchase--1.) gameplay; 2.) graphics; 3.) familiarity with brand or genre (Street Fighter, Car Racing, Platform). Nowhere here do you see actor. If this was the case, my game library would consist of two, maybe three games. Maybe. I guess then I would be classified as an old-school video gamer by today’s gamers. Know what I think about today’s gamers? They are the ones with much to learn about real gaming.

For those of you who have heard about Loonatics, the WB’s latest plan to s**t all over their classic properties (future posts will be uncensored), I wouldn’t get my panties in a bunch just yet over the show. I’ll watch it. I just hope it won’t insult my intelligence, like Baby Looney Tunes did. The roster of voice actors for the show (Jason Marsden, Kevin Michael Richardson, Rob Paulsen) indicate that Loonatics will be a prestige affair. So, at the very least we might presume that Loonatics will not contain any craptastic voice work.

Much more to come . . .


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