Category Archives: Retro Review

Retro Reviewer’s Thoughts: Legend of Zelda series

While I am sick from god knows what, I decided to finally post something so anybody who likes to read my stuff doesn’t feel angry or anything.

If some of you are curious, this segment is a newer section whenever I just feel the need to rant or talk about something gaming related. The topics can vary greatly and modern topics are also considered, it’s just my opportunity to rant and I do not count them as full reviews so my opinions in these posts can be taken with a grain of salt and may be overrexaggerated or underexaggerated as I see fit. Now today’s topic is a fairly controversial one: The Legend of Zelda franchise. I will just put some opinions on how I enjoy the series and how I feel about certain things related to the series.

Do I like the series?
Yes and No. To answer that question, I need to tell a tad bit of backstory about my history with Zelda. I received my first Zelda game in 2006, The Wind Waker. At the time I never knew that there were previous games before until I searched a bit on Wikipedia when I was sitting at home bored. After I had found out that I missed a lot of previous games, I set out to get them and by 2012, I had almost every main Zelda game up to Skyward Sword. Does that mean I played all of them. No. The games to me are fun and exciting but at the same time, I just feel that it’s hard to get into a lot of them due to the heavy emphasis on exploration. You’ll understand my reasoning as I continue on here.

How many games in the series have I played to completion?
One. The only game I completed by myself was Wind Waker because it was the game in the series I was most familiar with. I still can name most of the islands of the overworld and I can actually get through the Forbidden Fortress in the beginning of the game without no guides. Wind Waker is considered one of the easiest Zelda games but I guess to me I consider it one of the more challenging games I own. Puzzle solving and thinking skills don’t mix well with me but I guess playing other Zelda games that are generally considered more difficult like Ocarina of Time, or Twilight Princess, I find it even more difficult to play them.

Which of the classic Zelda games do I like the most/want to play?
Out of the original on NES, through Link to The Past, Zelda 2 is actually the one I want to play. I have a knack for platformers and they have always been my favorite genre and from what I’ve seen of Zelda 2, it looks like a game I would love to play through and work to complete. Call me crazy, but it’s just how I feel.

Out of all the Zelda games I own, which one do I hate/dislike the most?
I have to say Twilight Princess. While I appreciate the darker design for a newer direction in the series, I find it to be the most depressing of all the games. I’m about halfway through and so far I haven’t seen the appeal of it. Sure Link has one of his best designs to date, but everything else to me falls short. I want to like Twilight Princess because I sold my Gamecube copy cause I hated it but more recently I bought a Wii copy just so I can try to get back into it. I have to say out of all the memorable things that people talk about in the Zelda franchise, not too much comes from Twilight Princess except Midna. (which I do like ūüôā¬† )

Link to the Past?
I recently got Link to the Past through the Club Nintendo service so I’m barely into the game. I would give an opinion but I don’t believe I’m far enough into the game to give my full opinion.

What is my main reason I can’t get into Zelda games?
I always get stuck. For some reason I always get stuck in a dungeon due to a puzzle I can’t solve or I get overwhelmed in certain dungeons due to their length and size. Sometimes I get stuck in between dungeons and I find out I have to restart Wind Waker cause I missed the Grapphling Hook cause I couldn’t go back to retrieve it. This may also come from my dislike of stat intensive rpgs like Final Fantasy, or Chrono Trigger that have so much crap to keep track of that I can’t even get into them and I consider the two mentioned game or series to be highly overrated. People may say I’m not trying, I’m not perfect and can’t always help I can’t think as clearly as others. Most dungeons in Zelda games according to most players take them between 30 minutes for the quick players, and about an hour and a half for normal players. I take anywhere between 2-6 hours. It took me 3 hours to get through the Great Deku Tree in Ocarina of Time! It’s pathetic I know.

Do I have a favorite Zelda game?
Wind Waker is my favorite because it’s the only one I can figure out so far. I love the game to death and I’ll give it all the praise it deserves but looking back, in today’s scene, it is a bit overrated. I know recently they did a HD re-release of Wind Waker. While it’s fine and dandy, they did fix some errors and added nice new content, I feel it wasn’t totally necessary as the Gamecube version still looks crisp by today’s standards and has aged quite well if you ask me. But since it’s the second Zelda game to get the HD treatment after Ocarina of Time, maybe it’s a sign other Zelda games may get the treatment soon. (Majora’s Mask because it’s awesome).

Final Thoughts:
The Zelda franchise earned it’s spot as Nintendo’s second flagship series behind Mario. The series has created such a following that it has influenced so many other popular games that use similar mechanics and gameplay as the Zelda games. The series has brought many memorable characters and the impact is very easy to see. While I have trouble getting into the games themselves, this does not mean I hate the games and disown them. I still own them and play them. As Zelda approaches a 30 year anniversary in the next years, let it be a reminder of how amazing such a simple game on the NES could evolve into such a famous series. It’s mind boggling but hey, that’s the magic.

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Luigi vs. Tails: Who is the best sidekick??

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(credit goes to FaisalAiden of Deviantart)

Hello people of Florida gamers. After a lot of hiatus and a failed attempt at a FAQ, I come back with something I had promised and now I’m going to do it. I’ve decided to throw aside biases for a few to do a second character vs. character debate to find out who is the best. Today I have two of the best well known sidekicks in gaming. Luigi, the shy, ghostbusting brother of Mario and Miles Tails Prower, the super smart fox with a knack for airplanes in the shadow of his friend Sonic the Hedgehog. This will be decided similar to the first one from before, let’s get started.

Backgrounds

Luigi:
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Luigi is one of the first main characters in the Mario series. While Mario got his start on the Donkey Kong Arcade games and led on to having about 3 to 4 of them made, Luigi was first mentioned in the arcade game Mario Bros as the brother to the plumber and was playable by a second player. Now at this time, he was just a pallete swap of Mario’s sprite in the game. Luigi did not get his green color until 1985 in the critical acclaimed Super Mario Bros where he was clothed in green and white and still available as a second player. Luigi got his first playable experience in the brutal Lost Levels game where you could go a single game with Luigi. Luigi would not get his modern green and blue look until the american version of Super Mario Bros 2 and since then he has kept the same look. Luigi has followed Mario through nearly adventure, always having his brother’s back but not every adventure included Luigi. Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, 2 of Mario’s biggest adventures did not have Luigi at all. Why???
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(Luigi getting a Power Star)

Luigi is known for being in the shadow of his brother and has mostly been seen as a support character but in the past years, he has been seen enjoying much larger roles such as traveling the universe in the Galaxy games, and even getting some DLC of his own on New Super Mario Luigi U. Luigi has been shown to be able to fight but he isn’t that great at it. Through all the years, Luigi has always faced his fears and his list of accomplishments is quite remarkable for a plumber who flinches at the site of goombas.
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Miles Tails Prower:
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Our little friend Tails here started out as Sonic’s new best buddy in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 for the Master System but his true first appearance to the world was in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Genesis/Mega Drive. He was the silent type, following Sonic through every level, collecting rings and even helping fighting the bosses. Tails is obviously a fox with his two tails to which he could fly with them although this ability was not used until Sonic The Hedgehog 3 a few years later. He has a deep admiration for Sonic ever since they met and sees Sonic as his older brother and a mentor with a dream of being as cool as he is someday. Tails has played the support role through all of Sonic’s adventures from the start but not all of them just saw him in the background. In Sonic 3/Knuckles, Tails was fully playable and had his own gameplay, Sonic Adventure 1 had him flying through stages and in Sonic 2 he was shooting badnicks in a walking tank. Tails has a high IQ for a fox his age and uses his knowledge to build all sorts of machinery. His most notable creations are his Tornado planes.
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(Look at that thing, don’t want to be on the receiving end of that do you?)

Tails can be shy at times and is not always confident in his abilities. He has shown to hold his own but tries to use other means to solve a problem. In recent years, Tails has taken the back seat once again in Sonic’s adventures but he is still loved by the Sonic fanbase and is not going anywhere anytime soon.
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(Look at those cute eyes)

Who has the better Abilities/Skills?:

Luigi:
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Luigi has a lot of abilities closely related to his brother. Like Mario, Luigi has access to many different powerups. He can use items like Mushrooms to grow larger or Fire and Ice flowers to throw balls of Fire and Ice. He can use many items like the Starman to gain invincibility or use Boo Mushrooms to turn invisible for a short time. Cape Feathers give him the ability to fly and he has been shown to be able to ride Yoshi as well as Mario can. It is unknown if he can use the Metal Cap or Invisibility cap from Super Mario 64 although it is sorta implied through the Smash Bros series that he can use the Metal Cap. He can also jump much higher than Mario but he also has poor traction, causing him to slip.
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Luigi is a capable ghost hunter. Using the Poltergust 3000, Luigi can clean house of ghosts with ease by using his flashlight and vacuum to take care of whatever is in his way. Luigi has been shown he can be the capable fighter time to time. He has been in all the Smash Bros games and holds his own quite well using moves similar to Mario but with his own original moves tossed in. He has shown to have an even wider array of moves from the Mario and Luigi series of games ranging from shell attacks, hammers, meteors, and so on. He can also throw special green fireballs while racing in Mario Kart Double Dash but in future games most noticeably in Super Smash Bros games he shoots green fire. Hell, he can even fire himself like a missile across long distances. That is a neat attack if you ask me.
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Tails:
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Tails has been shown to have similar abilities to Sonic. He can spindash and roll into a ball to gain speed to hit enemies. He can push himself to a decent speed by using his tails as propellers but he tires quickly. By using these tails to fly, he can hover short distances in the air or cross large gaps, but by using the special Jet Anklet, he can increase his flying speed, enabling him to cover more distances with ease. He can do a spin attack using his tails as well. Tails can use the power of the Super Emeralds to obtain his own Super Form where he leads a Flicky army of death that is basically a huge game breaker in Sonic and Knuckles.

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(Credit to unknown artist)

Tails’ main abilities come from his knowledge of machinery, most notably airplanes. He can build airplanes that run on the power of the Chaos emeralds, hoverboards to race with, a walking tank that can fire off deadly ammo and then transform into a working car, and much much more. Tails can build communicators and even watercraft if needed. Tails is also a very skilled driver who can avoid pretty much any rush hour traffic as noted in Sonic Adventure 2. Tails has some fighting ability but his skills are more long range as seen in the Sonic Riders, Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing series of games, Sonic Battle, and Sonic Chronicles. He prefers not to fight unless it’s absolutely necessary.
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(Tornado 1 and Tornado 2, a few among Tails’ vast amount of machines that he’s built)

Overall:
I think Tails has the advantage over Luigi in skills and abilities. Tails is smarter and can think critically and make decisions to outsmart Luigi. While Luigi has a lot of powerups, without them, he doesn’t have much to bring to a fight while Tails could easily bring out his planes, or his mech or just beat Luigi in a math competition. But I think both Luigi and Tails have really cool abilities and skills that suit them well in their respective universes.

Who had the better solo game(s)?

Luigi:
(Note: Mario is Missing is not going on here). When the gamecube first came out, fans wanted a new Mario game but instead they got Luigi. Luigi was not saving a princess or anything, but he was exploring a haunted house in search of his famous brother. Luigi’s Mansion as we all know is an adventure game in which Luigi finds out he won a mansion in a contest he didn’t enter and arrives at the mansion and realizes the place is haunted after wetting himself. Armed with a vacuum cleaner from a guy named Professor E. Gadd, Luigi sets off to rescue Mario.
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Luigi’s Mansion focuses on Luigi as he travels through the mansion’s 4 areas searching for clues to find Mario, catching ghosts, and keeping his cool. Throughout the game Luigi encounters portrait ghosts, ghosts that E.Gadd had kept in a gallery and a giant Boo named Boolossous came and freed all the ghosts. At the end of each area is a boss ghost until you reach the final area of the game where King Boo has Mario captive in a painting. Luigi’s Mansion is a fun game to pass time and has a charm to it to which adds to the game’s personality. With catchy music, memorable ghosts, and a lot of quirky humor, Luigi’s Mansion is a fun game for any fan of the Mario series.
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Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon had our green hero returning to the ghostbusting scene. I have personally not played it but the story evolves around this place called Evershade Valley where E.Gadd is studying friendly ghosts but when the Dark Moon shatters and the pieces scatter, the ghosts become hostile. It looks very decent to me and I can’t wait to play it.

Luigi also had this past year some of his one spotlight as DLC for New Super Mario Bros Wii U as part of Nintendo’s Year of Luigi. This extra package focuses on Luigi alone as he traverses through 80 plus new levels by himself and is available as download or you now buy it as a separate game entirely.
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Tails:
Tails has had a few titles to which he was the main star. In Tail’s Skypatrol for the Game Gear, Tails finds himself on a mysterious island and gets into conflict with an old woman named Wendy who threatens to turn any dissidents on the island into crystals. The gameplay is similar to the style in the normal Sonic series but Tails is suspended in flight mode and the screen auto scrolls with the goal just to complete each stage. Tails has a stamina meter and the player has to watch it constantly so he doesn’t fall to the ground, causing him to lose a life. The game itself is fun but a lot of fans looked past it due to it being really easy and having issues and the Game Gear itself was hard to deal with due to it’s screen.
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Tails and the Music Maker was an educational game for the Sega Pico in which Tails taught children about music through mini games. Not much else to say here.

Tails Adventure for the Game Gear is different depending on if you have the Japanese version or the Western version. The Japanese story is much more detailed but basically in both, Tails finds an island which he claims for himself but a Flicky tells him the island is being invaded. In this game, you backtrack and solve puzzles, giving the game an RPG like style of gameplay. Out of all of Tail’s games, this one is liked the most.
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Overall: Luigi takes this one easily. While I love Tails’ solo adventures, Luigi’s games are just bigger and easier to play them. To play Tails’ games, you either need a Game Gear with the games or a Pico, or Sonic Adventure DX and unlock Tails’ Adventure and Skypatrol.

Who has fared better in recent years?:

Luigi:
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In the days since the Gamecube, Luigi has been in the spotlight quite a bit taking bigger and more prominent roles. He helped Mario collect power stars through the universe in the Galaxy games, travel through new lands in all the New Super Mario Bros games including his New Super Luigi U. He has been inside Bowser’s body and helped Mario go through a dreamworld in Bowser’s Inside Story and Dream Team respectfully. His solo game got a sequel Dark Moon and he is scheduled to be in a Dr. Mario remake as the main character. Luigi is more popular now than he ever has been.

Tails:
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Since the days of Adventure 1,2, and Heroes, Tails has been in the backseat a lot through Sonic’s more recent adventures. In Sonic Rush Adventure, he helped Sonic by building a bunch of watercraft. His backseat roles have included but not limited to: Ali Baba in Sonic and the Secret Rings, Blacksmith in Sonic and The Black Knight, a translator in Sonic Colors, and others to name as well. Tails was in Generations along with his younger self. Tails’ last real playable appearance was in Sonic 2006 without counting the racing games or the Olympic Crossover games. With the newly announced Sonic Boom, Tails appears to be returning to a playable status which is welcoming.

Overall:
Luigi is my choice for this once again. Luigi has been brought out of his shadow and because of it, he is a lot more popular now and it works in Nintendo’s favor as they were happy to give Luigi his own year of stuff. I know Sonic Team will never do that with Tails and while Tails is a staple of the series, he is in my opinion starting to lose his popularity. So that’s why Luigi is picked for this spot.

Accomplishments as many as I can name (Spinoff game accomplishments count too):

Luigi:
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  • Helped save the Princess in Super Mario Bros if you were playing a two player game
  • Helped defeat Wart in Super Mario Bros 2 (USA) despite it being a dream
  • Tagged along in Super Mario Bros 3 if a two player game
  • Tagged along in Super Mario World
  • Saved Mario from a Boo infested mansion and faced his greatest fears and prevailed
  • Helped Mario earn Power Stars in both Galaxy games and even got a whole new game just made for him (for those going for total completion of the first Galaxy game)
  • Was a main character in all New Super Mario Bros games, Super Mario 3D World, Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon, and New Super Luigi U
  • Saved the world with Mario in all¬† Mario and Luigi RPG games
  • Has participated in every sport possible with his brother
  • Competed in 4 different Olympics
  • Survived Smash Bros 3 times, soon to be fourth
  • Survived Mario Party

Tails:
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  • Saved the world from Eggman with Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for both Master System and Genesis/Mega Drive
  • Saved the world by himself in Sonic 3/Knuckles if player chose him by himself
  • Kamikazied his Tornado 2 into the Egg Carrier like a boss in Sonic Adventure
  • Faced his fears and saved Station Square in Sonic Adventure from destruction
  • Armed with his mech, Tails helped stop Space Colony Ark from falling in Sonic Adventure 2
  • Created a fake emerald with near the same properties as real ones
  • Fought Eggman to avenge Sonic after his apparent death and won in Sonic Adventure 2
  • Carried his teammates through 10 plus stages in Heroes without complaining and fought Metal Overlord with Sonic and Knuckles
  • Stopped Eggman in all Sonic Advance games
  • Was a blacksmith for Sonic in Sonic and The Black Knight
  • Starred in 3 of his own games and ended up a hero
  • Built a working translator in Sonic Colors to talk to Wisps
  • Teamed up with his past self in Sonic Generations to solve the Time Eater mystery
  • Teamed up with Sonic in Sonic 4 Episode 2
  • Survived a near end of friendship in Sonic Lost World
  • Helped to stop Eggman gain control of Babylon Garden in Sonic Riders and Sonic Riders Zero Gravity
  • Participated in 4 Olympics
  • Survived Sonic Shuffle

Overall: I give both of them this point. There’s so many more minor things I could put but I put the most well known accomplishments these two sidekicks have under their belts. Both of them have done so much that I can’t say one or the other. I’m giving it to both of them.

My Final Thoughts: Both Luigi and Tails are two of the best well known sidekicks around. No matter the hardships they always come back ready to fight harder with determination and perseverance. I believe I have covered all that is needed to make a decision and I promise I kept it as equal as possible. As I said with Mario vs. Sonic, I love both Luigi and Tails and without them, their respective universes would suffer without them. Enough of all this banter, time for the final results!

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My answer:
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Luigi. This was so close, it took me 15 minutes of self debate of who to put on this spot. I couldn’t very well make it a tie cause then the purpose of this would be invalid. I believe that Luigi trumps Tails by so little margin I don’t have much to say because I’m not really sure why I like Luigi more. Tails dies multiple times while running behind Sonic but he never quits, Mario always gets Peach and Luigi is either forgotten about if Daisy isn’t around but he comes back every game ready to go again. I believe these two represent the best of sidekicks and the best of friends. Luigi is Mario’s brother, Sonic is like a brother to Tails, it’s strong bonds like that keep these two going. Luigi is my choice but only by 0.00000001 percent over Miles Tails Prower

Afterword:
All right, up next is a special co review with my good friend Jon Pittenger. We’re covering an SNES classic, Tiny Toons Adventures: Buster Busts Loose.

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The Good and Bad of Super Smash Bros Brawl

Happy New Year to everyone. It’s me Andrew Hatcher.
Super+Smash+Bros+Brawl+OST+supersmashbrosbrawl1

This is just my thoughts on the 3rd installment in the Smash series, Super Smash Bros Brawl. I’m sure some of you have noticed I don’t really like this game as much as I probably should. To pass some time and clear a few things up, I’m going to discuss my praises, issues, and what it could have been from my point of view. Note before I go into this game, I don’t hate it to the point of getting rid of it and never playing it. I get the urge to play Brawl time to time and I’m happy to pull it out. My school hosts tournaments for it so i feel a need to keep myself in practice on it.

Praises:
What do I like about Super Smash Bros Brawl over Melee? Let’s first talk about the single player mode. Melee had a decent section for single player options. Classic mode, Adventure, and All Star. Event matches and side games to spare. Ok so that was decent. Brawl comes around and adds co-op to some of these modes and expanded them. All Star has now 6 hearts for both you and your buddy to rely on. Event Matches can now be played by two people. Ever wanted to hit Sandbag in Home Run Contest with your buddy. You can do that too! Brawl had a very interesting single player experience that seemed endless with as many characters as possible, the game changed every time you played it.

Now let’s talk multiplayer. Brawl added more modes such as their crazy Special mode Brawl designer. You can throw together crazy combinations. Metal Large battle with bunnies and high gravity, Tiny, invisible, curry, and slow gravity. This would account to some seriously hilarious battles that you cannot help but to laugh at. My personal favorite is Large, Metal, low gravity. Brawl added more items to the mix like the special Smash Ball and the Assist Trophies. These were there to give newer players a chance to even their odds or for a veteran player to increase his lead considerably. With some of the stages being the best in the series so far, you know a fun time was waiting when you started the game.
I think Brawl has a very decent soundtrack of remixes and original pieces. I think Brawl’s had a more darker tone on instruments than Melee’s remixes. Just a small little thing i like.
Oh and I almost forgot. The stage builder. While it’s the first time we ever saw a stage builder, it worked pretty dang well. I’ve seen some really awesome designs from others and I’ve created some wacky designs myself. It’s primitive and needs polishing if it ever returns but for being in Brawl, it was worth the space on the disk if you ask me.

Complaints:
Now here is why i don’t call Brawl the best of the series. Before I tackle the big complaints, I’ll cover nitpicks. First, the Target Test mode was botched. In Melee every character had their own stage designed to their own movesets. In order to unlock Mr. Game and Watch, you had to conquer all 20 plus stages. In Brawl you get 5……for those achievement things they required you to complete certain levels in a specific time or with X amount of characters. While it isn’t too bad, I just missed having character specific target tests. Oh well. Next is some of the character choices, this is just my opinion, I think Olimar was an awful choice. I kinda don’t like how Fox, Falco, and Wolf play way too similar to each other. Now Wolf is all right, they gave him slower speed and such but i feel they could have added more to him. Wolf is a bad-ass but maybe Brawl is something he doesn’t want to discuss. Sonic was a great choice to represent Sega, but his moveset was terrible. Half of his special moves were spindashes. Cmon! Did the developers take notice from all of Sonic’s fighting games, Fighters, Chronicles Dark Brother Hood, Battle, etc?

All right, now it’s the real deep stuff. Let me tackle Subspace Emissary cause I feel it needs to be mentioned. Now while the setup for it is promising, I feel the execution was just…awful. The transitions between each main event felt really boring to me and almost unnecessary, add to that some not so great hoardes of enemies to fight and I was just not having a good time at all. While I praise the developers for making a long story mode, it kinda is just there….The bosses were ok but most of them felt the same to me. The only good ones I felt were Rayquaza, Both Ridley fights, and Porky. Tabuu was just a last minute thing with no backstory or build up. The only reason to play this mess is to unlock all the characters cause you meet them throughout the story. And my god, that maze place at the end was just frustrating as shit. Was it necessary to go back through almost all the stages to locate the character trophies?! Another thing, the tripping. It’s minor but ruins the pace of fights considerably. I’ll cover the fighting in a minute though. Lucario I think trips more than any other character, and he’s my main and I hate it.

The nail of the coffin. Why Brawl lost to Melee:
The fighting system was destroyed and shit upon. The framerate of fights is questionable at times. I’ve experienced slowdown on many different Wii consoles. My friend’s Wii plays even slower than mine on Brawl and it’s annoying. Maybe it’s Brawl’s dual layered disk but I’m not convinced. My main issue in the fighting is how slow it is compared to Melee and even the original. I feel the original is faster at times and that game is way older than Brawl! That’s saying something. Now most people complain it was for newer fighters to get into the series. I know plenty of my friends who got in to Melee as newbies and within a few fights were doing fine. The characters are so dang floaty as if gravity was changed considerably. In Melee the characters had weight and they moved as they should have. Brawl feels like you’re on the moon sometimes. This hinders any new players and the players who grew fancy to Melee’s style. If this was their idea of making a new Smash for newer generations, I think they missed that goal. This odd and bouncy fighting style makes it hard for competitive play cause its trickier to do the advance stuff that we all found we can do in Melee. Why do you think Melee gets the big tourneys each year and Brawl is left for school tournaments? Sure the graphics look clearer and the tone and lighting is darker for a different feeling but it doesn’t help when the fighting style is garbage.

In the end:
Brawl had so much potential to be the Smash game that would top Melee and welcome new generations to a fun party game. While I still will pull out Brawl with my friends, it’s with a semi heavy heart cause I have to sometimes force myself to enjoy it. Now I have had some really fun matches on this game and I always laugh when bringing them up but to see what Brawl could have been with everything it did new but to see it fall is kinda saddening to me. This is why Project M exists but it shouldn’t have to but it does. The developers made errors, but they did good things as well. I will always call Brawl a good addition to the Wii’s library. It’s not exactly the same caliber as it’s two predecessors but I will never say it doesn’t deserve the Smash Bros title. It’s a black sheep game. You love it or hate it. It’s not my favorite, but it definitely isn’t the worst game I ever played.

Final Score: 7.222/10

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Retro Review: Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions

A Daffy Duck game on SNES. Not much else to say
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The game gives us no real title screen so this is the best I can do

Hello Florida gamers. I have decided there is no longer a set schedule on these reviews cause I was having trouble keeping up with it. For now on I will post these when I can so expect some delays but they are minor. All right today we have a game that I don’t like! Yes, I have a few games I don’t like in my collection, but i keep them for various reasons. Expect this review to be short, there isn’t much to say about this game from what I’ve seen and played.

Story:
From what little the game tells us, our friend Daffy Duck is traveling through the 24 and a half century with his space cadet Porky Pig under the persona Duck Dodgers. (There is an N64 Duck Dodgers game, not to be confused with this game). Marvin the Martian steals a politician and it’s up to Daffy to go rescue him around 19 different levels on different planets. Daffy has to use his trusty blaster and jetpack to get through the levels.
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Great story huh? I don’t expect much on an SNES game but still.

Gameplay:
This is where I talk about one reason I can’t get into this game. The game looks fine on it’s own but the gameplay suffers so badly! Ok so Daffy can jump and fire his gun, kinda like a Megaman game almost. You get one gun at the beginning of the game that is pretty much useless but has infinite ammo so it shouldn’t be too bad right? Well the problem is the bullets do very minimal damage. On the plus side you can fire it in multiple directions. But to get through the game, you will need stronger weapons. This is another thing that doesn’t seem right in this game.
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Daffy or Duck Dodgers with his jetpack on and his starting blaster showing infinite ammo in the top left

In order to use more guns, you have to purchase them from a store at the beginning of each level. Throughout the levels you pick up cash bags from Marvin’s Instant Martians (old fans of Looney Tunes will catch this reference) that can be used to buy new guns. You get 5 types of guns to pick from each with limited ammo and good luck finding more once you run out, you will be left with your starting gun.
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The shop before each level

Next is the jetpack, Daffy gets a cool jetpack he can use to fly around but the thing reminds me of a truck with a V8 engine. The jet-pack has a fuel gauge and trust me when I say it drains pretty quickly and usually every stage only has one or two extra cans hidden around, once it’s gone you’re pretty much done for.
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The fuel gauge in the bottom right and the health meter in the bottom left

Now let me get into the reason this game is not fun at all, the physics…..oh my god! This game is trying to use gravity physics to resemble each of the planets. Daffy jumps around like he is on the moon. This makes it very difficult to get a decent footing and makes platforming a hassle due to Daffy being slippy when he lands. Trying to kill enemies with his blaster is awful, he bounces back with so much recoil, killing enemies with any blaster could bounce you back into a pit or lava or something else that’s deadly. Keeping Daffy alive is so frustrating and you lose all your lives very quickly. There is a fifty lives code. Taken from the only thing about this game on the site Gamewinners.com: “Begin a new game. Press Left(2), Right(2), Up, Down, Y, A, B, X at the screen with the phrase “where there’s duck, there’s fire”. The word “mother” will be spoken to confirm correct code entry.” It’s hard to explain these physics, I am not bad at games with gravity physics, it doesn’t work with this game and it shows.
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Daffy bouncing back from his blaster. It’s insane how much he bounces back after multiple shots, if they’re trying to replicate what would happen in lower gravity, maybe I get it but for a videogame, it doesn’t work too well.

Soundtrack:
Besides the intro theme so common in Sunsoft Looney Tune games on the SNES, there is nothing I can say about this soundtrack at all.

My personal take:
This game is just….bad. Sunsoft seems to have made themselves famous for a plethora of cheap Looney Tunes games during the 90’s. I have about 5 other Looney Tunes games made by Sunsoft and they all seem to follow a similar pattern of slippery controls and blandish appearance. This game got fairly good reviews but I don’t see the appeal. Now I like the non-linear approach and a map kinda like Metroid but when the game plays so poorly it’s hard to appreciate the few good things this game offers. The graphics are great for SNES standards but in all honesty, I haven’t got past the first level on the Lava level. I’ve had to look everywhere for the few LPs of this game in order to take notes. From what I’ve seen, I’m not missing anything. It’s good for Looney Tunes fans but only cause Daffy and Porky and Marvin are in it. Stay away from it if you can.

Final Verdict:
Story: 3/10.
Difficulty: 9/10 due to horrible physics and the recoil on the guns
Gameplay: 2/10
Final Score: 3/10 A dud in the SNES library, mostly just for collectors who never plan on actually completing it.

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Retro Review: Yoshi’s Island (SNES)

Mario before he was in diapers. It’s Yoshi’s Island.

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Hello Florida gamers. Apologies on this delay thing, I may stretch each of these out to once every two weeks if necessary. Tonight I take a look at one game so very dear to me that I can’t say my biases will not be in the content of this game. Let’s get started on the story.

Story
As the game opens to a wonderful music box theme, we learn a stork is carrying a bundle of twins, the famous Mario Bros, on a long and tiring journey to their parents. With the moon and stars to guide, the stork makes his way through the sky, everything looking well. But all is not well on these nights, far away in a castle with an odd resemblance to a Bowser castle, a mysterious Magikoopa known as Kamek sends out his “Baddies” to steal babies from around the world. This includes the twins. The poor stork is attacked viciously by a baddie and Luigi is captured but luckily Mario avoids capture by falling through the clouds. (Mario and Luigi, videogames’ first victims of child abuse).

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The scene in the opening right before the stork is attacked

Somehow Mario fell for so long, night becomes day and we see our hero, a green Yoshi taking a stroll in a land known as Yoshi’s Island. He is enjoying himself when all the sudden, Baby Mario falls right onto his back. Yoshi is confused by this but the baby seems to know Yoshi and Yoshi decides to help Mario find Luigi. The green Yoshi takes Mario to his friends and they decide to team up and face Kamek head on. The game gives you a quick tutorial level before you head off on your quest.
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All the colored Yoshi in the game that team up to help Mario

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The tutorial level “Welcome to Yoshi’s Island!”. Not too common in Mario games to have something like this

Gameplay
Yoshi’s Island is a unique platforming game. While it shares some similarity to previous Mario games, this game adds its own things to the formula. First are some similarities and how this game changed them.:

World Maps: Yoshi’s Island features a World Map similar as seen in Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, and Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. These world maps are strictly for moving on after each level and also feature the ability to go back to any previous world and attempt a better score. Every fourth level is a boss. Every Yoshi holds a number, meaning at the end of every stage, you literally throw Mario on to the back of the next colored Yoshi. This game contains 6 worlds with about 8 levels each (not including special stages) and you must complete every stage in order to complete the game and defeat the final boss.
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World 1 Map. Every Yoshi has a number on them.

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Please excuse me for this. I could not find a good picture of the goal ring. But this gives you an idea. The Black and White Yoshies seen here are not present in this game. I apologize

Defeating Enemies: Defeating enemies in this game can be done in a plethora of ways. You can still jump on enemies but some need a different way of defeating them. This is where our pal Yoshi comes into play. He can defeat enemies by ground pounding, or just jump over them with a flutter jump that makes for some easy platforming at times but at other times, isn’t as helpful as you think. The main method of attack in this game, is eggs. Yes, Yoshi literally eats his foes and spits them out as eggs in a horrific way to die. This egg throwing system is simple to use and is required for most of the game. Yoshi is allowed to hold 6 eggs at once and also the occasional key or two. Egg blocks are scattered through each level to help you refill. Consider them this game’s version of Air Bubbles in Sonic water levels. Pick them up whenever you see them before moving on. You lock onto an enemy with an egg and fire it using the controls. The game is nice enough to explain it and once you get it down, use it!!!
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Yoshi throwing an egg at a Piranha plant. These guys got an upgrade.

Powerups/Abilities: Yoshi himself doesn’t really have any powerups. He has no mushrooms because his health bar is indicated by a timer. When Mario is thrown off Yoshi’s back, this timer starts to count down until 0 and Yoshi loses a life. There are ways to increase this number that I will talk about in the next section.
From time to time Yoshi can transform into different vehicles in order to help him pass certain areas. Some of these last a stage or two but they are so cool to use and are qood times to pick up goodies. How they work is that you find a bubble and when Yoshi breaks it, he becomes the machine or vehicle inside and he is on a time limit. If he does not make it to the end of the section and hit a giant block with his face on it, he goes back to a bubble. In some areas, you can do this to collect a bunch of goodies, this game rewards you for being an explorer and going off the main path. Baby Mario also has a powerup ability with a star but it’s only used like twice, bummer.
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Helicopter Yoshi. The first transformation you run into. Baby Mario is all safe and sound ūüôā

Secrets: Yoshi’s Island contains a few hidden goodies for those players willing to go after them. While in my first Retro Review I left out Megaman X’s Hadouken Fireball, I feel nice today and I will go into detail about some of the secrets this game has. When you reach the end of a stage, you get a number. Throughout each stage, are Stars, Red Coins, and Flowers. To score a 100 on a stage, you must collect 30 Stars, 20 Red Coins, and 5 Flowers. This will ensure you a perfect on that level. If you get a 100 on all the stages in a World you unlock a secret stage. These secret stages are tough and good luck. When you 100 percent the game, you get the title screen to turn to a night setting.
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The score screen for someone who got a 96

Characters:
Yoshi’s Island focuses mostly on the duo of Mario as a baby and his army of Yoshi’s. Quoted from Boomstick of Death Battle: “When you have an army of dinosaurs following you before you can even speak, you know you’re going to do great things”.
Yoshi– These colorful dinosaurs appear in red, blue, pink and so on but this game infers that the green Yoshi is the main leader of the group. Yoshi is a very nimble character with his flutter jump and his egg abilities make him quite a fun character and a staple in the Mario series.
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Yoshi and Mario

Kamek: This fiesty Magikoopa has a horrible job, babysitting Bowser himself. I can’t help but feel bad for the guy but he was so memorable for his sounds.
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Kamek in a panic because Bowser is cranky. This game’s humor is awesome.

Soundtrack:
Yoshi’s Island contains a simple soundtrack composed of so many memorable tracks. The castle theme here is actually pretty scary in my opinion. The athletic theme is catchy and upbeat, the overworld theme is catchy. The whole soundtrack is catchy but it takes the cake for it’s special tracks. The intro theme with the stork is a beautiful music box theme, and the final boss theme is still one of the most epic final boss battle themes on any SNES game. It’s my second favorite soundtrack in any videogame. I’ll post a link to some of the songs at the end.

Difficulty:
We’re here finally. Yoshi’s Island I feel smooths out it’s difficulty curve very well. The game doesn’t throw any major curveballs in random levels. World 1 is easy, World 6 is where it’s do and die. I appreciate the game for doing it this way. You feel when you get better. Now a lot of people say they can beat this game no problem. I call BS cause this game is not that easy and I’d like to see those people go for a 100 percent file. That achievement is meant for the real fans of the game. My opinion, the game is a good challenge but a good one for younger gamers who are looking for platformers to play.

Personal Story Time!!:
Now before I close the review and give my scores, I have a story to tell you. This involves one of the bosses of the game. Yoshi’s Island has some of the cutest bosses and their battles are just as rewarding…..well except one. World 4-4 Mini Boss fight features a water palace that ends up a boss battle with a Frog. This battle takes place….inside his stomach. Now as an adult, it’s no problem….but as a kid….I couldn’t take it. To me as a kid, it was the most nightmare causing and I couldn’t even finish the boss. The thought of being inside a stomach of a creepy frog was very unsettling for me. My mom had to put up the game cause I was so scared. Looking back, I was dumb but for a kid’s game, it is a fairly dark battle. Especially how the ending of it is.
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You may laugh at this but for a kid, it can be kinda creepy.

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The infamous scene where Yoshi does not wanna talk about how he got out of that frog. I don’t need to say how I think Yoshi came out, it’s pretty obvious.

This game is my favorite game of all time and here is why:
Yoshi’s Island is a very special game to me in so many ways. For one, the game came out in 1995, my birth year so I feel as I have grown up, so has this game. Yoshi’s Island has a charm no other videogame of my childhood could match. I grew up on Super Mario World, Turtles in Time, and the Donkey Kong Country games but I still hold this game as the best. With so many different ways to approach a level, all the hidden secrets, the memorable boss fights from the Flower Pot boss to the epic conclusion with Baby Bowser, this game was a huge success. The graphics just speak upbeat and the Yoshi’s are so dang cute even when they fire eggs or get hit, the expressions are just spot on. Yoshi’s Island has some of the best humor in a platforming game, all thanks to Kamek and Bowser. The game still makes me laugh and I have no problem pulling this game out time to time to beat it. Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time or Super Mario Bros 3 cannot match my opinion on this game. Some say this game is the most innovative platforming of all time…..oh I forgot one last one little bit of humor!!!!
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Yoshi getting high off a Fuzzy…best thing ever! It’s so hilarious

Final Score: 10/10: This is my bias speaking. It’s my review and I love this game. It’s perfect to me. Yeah there was a DS sequel that wasn’t bad but not needed. Now a new one is coming out for the 3DS. I’m looking forward to it as it looks more like Yoshi’s Story. But this game is still the best Yoshi game to date and one of my top 3 favorite Mario games of all time. The game turned 18 as well as I did. This game is SNES gold and it deserves all the praise.

 

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The definition of OH SHIT. Admit it, you did in your pants when you played this boss for the first time.

Next time: I take a break from all these amazing titles to look at some in my library that might be better left unplayed……

Music box theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78ljfawOKLc
Final Bowser battle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1Ose7A8P94
Map theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xZUISErsxg

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Mario Vs. Sonic from a Retro Gamer Point of View

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. This is me Andrew Hatcher, the Retro Reviewer. I’ve decided to put my two cents on a topic that has been debated on since 1991. Who is truly better? Mario or Sonic? I have been a fan of both of these characters for as long as I can remember so I will do my best to keep any biases out of this topic. Let’s get started.

Backgrounds

Mario:

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Mario. The plumber we all know and love got his start after starring in the classic Donkey Kong Arcade and then in the game Mario Bros. Nintendo decided that they wanted to further explore the possibilities with their new character by releasing Super Mario Bros, a launch title that came with the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985 also with Duck Hunt. By the time the Super Nintendo had come out, Mario was well established as a strong character in the new industry of videogaming. With 3 other platforming titles, things looked up for the plumber on the release of Super Mario World and the many other Super Mario related games that would follow all the way until today.  Since 1985, Mario has been in more videogames as the main character, a side character, and numerous cameo appearances. His fame is unmatched by few. Mario recently celebrated 25 years of glory. At the rate he is going, the old plumber will soon celebrate 30 years.  This is an accomplishment almost no other character can match.

Sonic:

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Sonic. The speed defying hedgehog got his start after the company Sega decided they needed a mascot that could match Mario’s fame and success. With their last character, Alex the Kidd not cutting it, Sega threw around ideas for what would become Sonic. Once his first game debuted, it became a hit and the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) soon gained much popularity and the 16 bit wars were on. Over the whole decade of the 90’s Sonic would dominate on the Genesis and Game Gear with his platformers that focused on speed and a lot of it. This wouldn’t go without a few hiccups in between. Before the new millennium, Sonic seemed to be hit or miss with questionable titles. But once 2000 came and went, he bounced back with a vengeance and regained so much popularity that a subsidiary of Sega was named for him, Sonic Team. Sonic has had a roller coaster history but he continues to be a major player in the videogame industry. He shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Who had the better jump to 3D?

Mario:

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Mario saw his jump into the 3D world in 1996 with the release of Super Mario 64, a launch title for Nintendo’s new hardware. Everything from his previous adventures was brought over into a massive game where you had to collect 120 stars to rescue Peach from Bowser. These stars were scattered in over 18 different massive levels. The stars did not require you to collect them in any specific order so the game had many different routes the player could take through the game.¬† The game was a massive success with it’s free roaming camera and accurate controls for the day. This game stood as the formula for 3D games even to this day. With a DS remake and releases onto Wii’s Virtual Console, this game’s popularity still stands and the game has aged well.

Sonic:

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Sonic fared differently in his jump to 3D. While Sonic 3D blast was a 3D game, it wasn’t true 3D roaming and the game wasn’t very good to begin with. Sonic wouldn’t get his first true 3D game until 1998, 2 years after Mario got his jump. Sonic Adventure was released on Sega’s Dreamcast as a launch title.¬† As with Mario, all of Sonic’s gameplay was brought into the 3rd dimension pretty well. Sonic Adventure follows 6 characters and the story told from their point of views: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big, and Gamma. So you could say that this game has only about 1/5th of it focused on Sonic unlike Super Mario 64 with all the focus on Mario. However, this does not mean Sonic Adventure is bad. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles control the best like they did in their 2D games.¬† The stages in this game are less than Mario 64 but I think it works better because the levels are much more detailed and Sonic controls beautifully in this game. While Big the Cat is not welcomed, the rest of the game stands on it’s on with no problems. Sonic Adventure saw 2 re-releases, one on Gamecube and then that port was brought to Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation network. The Dreamcast version hasn’t aged too well with it’s voice acting. The Gamecube port has aged better though.

Overall: Mario got the better 3D game. While Sonic Adventure had it’s rocking soundtrack and 6 different characters and the Chao gardens,¬†Super Mario 64 did more and the Nintendo 64 lasted while the Dreamcast failed, not cause of Sonic though. Super Mario 64 may have lacked in graphics but graphics does not define a game and between the two games, Mario wins this round, but not by much.

Who has better abilities/powerups?

Mario:

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Mario has had a lot of powerups over his adventures.¬† From the beginning he had the Mushroom which allowed him to take more damage and more recently, the mushrooms have expanded to allow him to turn into a Bee, a Boo, a Spring just to name a few. He also had a Fire Flower that would allow him to take more damage than just the Mushroom (Super Mario Bros 3 and onwards) that would screennuke most minor enemies and make bosses complete wusses. In the more recent games, the Ice flower has also been brought on. This flower allows Mario to throw Ice balls and skate along water. The Starman allowed for invincibility. Since then he has added many more powerups to his arsenal that you would think he would unstoppable. There are some even I don’t even know what they are for. In terms of abilities, Mario is no average plumber. He is a Star Child, he has a ton of strength, endurance. He breaks bricks with his bare hands and just moves on, no pain. He is strong enough to swing Bowser around without a sweat.¬† His fighting skills are pretty impressive as well. He’s gone toe to toe with Bowser multiple times and always comes out on top. He can hold his own against other Nintendo powerhouses as seen in the Super Smash Bros games.¬† He has been burned multiple times, trapped in paintings, swallowed multiple times but always comes out on top ready to kick major ass.

Sonic:

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Sonic has fared less favorable in terms of powerups. During his 2D years, he had shields. The fire shield would protect him from fire projectiles and gave him a double jump. The bubble shield would give him a bouncy kind of jump and provided some extra protection. The electric shield would protect him from electrical hazards. In his more recent years, he has a normal shield and a reformed electric shield that would draw rings towards him. Rings are what mushrooms are to Mario. As long as Sonic has one ring, he won’t die.¬†His¬†speed is his greatest ability. He can hit speed boosts and reach speeds that Mario can not obtain although this wasn’t really¬†noticeable on he jumped to 3D. ¬†In his more recent adventure, Sonic Colors, Sonic has added little alien guys known as Wisps. Each one giving him different abilities. The Cyan one would allow him to move like a laser, Orange would propel him high into the sky, Yellow acted as a Drill, Frenzy would allow him to eat anything in sight, and so on. His greatest powerup are the Chaos Emeralds. With one he has learned Chaos Control in his recent games from his rival Shadow, allowing him to slow down time temporarily but he doesn’t use it much in his travelling. When he has all 7 together, he goes Super Sonic, ripped from Dragonball, and he is a force not to mess with, unless he runs out of rings then becomes his normal self again but in top physical condition almost healing all his injuries if he had any before transforming. In terms of fighting ability, Sonic has learned hand to hand combat and developed his own style using his speed. In his game Sonic the Fighters, he goes against every character that was in his series so far up to that point and comes out on top to stop Eggman.¬† He would once again go back into a fighting game in 2006 with Sonic Battle. Then he would finally go against Mario for real in Super Smash Bros Brawl. And next year, he returns for the next Smash Bros game for Wii U and 3DS.¬† Sonic has a high endurance, able to run for long periods of time. He has been crushed and burned as much as Mario, but he comes out on top every time.

Overall: Both Mario and Sonic are near equal in terms of fighting ability and main powerups. The fan show Death Battle from Screwattack took a look into this topic as well to determine who would win in a true fight to the death. They concluded¬†that both are near dead equal in terms of powerups. Mario’s Metal Cap can deflect Super Sonic. Sonic’s speed can outmatch Mario. In terms of this in my point of view….I think Sonic takes it by just a hair. Mario has nothing like the Chaos Emeralds in his arsenal.

Who has fared better in recent years?

Mario:

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In recent years, Mario’s appearances in games has near doubled. Every year at least 2 new Mario related titles come out, racing, tennis, Olympic games, baseball, soccer. Mario has been in recent critical hit games such as his Galaxy games. But his New Super Mario Bros games have overstayed their welcome as a lot of gamers will agree. (No offense to those who really like them!).¬† A lot of people argue that he is being treated similar to the Call of Duty games, the same thing every year without much changes. For years this did not apply to the plumber…but now it seems more likely. Mario has almost taken over in terms of first party Nintendo characters besides Link and Pok√©mon.¬† Nintendo loves their plumber but maybe they’re using him too much…..I don’t remember ever being a year without a Mario game somewhere……

Sonic:

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Unlike Mario, Sonic has not appeared in as many games as he used to. Back in his earlier years, a lot of games with him in it existed. Over the years, the amount of Sonic games per year dropped to about 1 or 2 or none.¬† Since the fall of Sega’s console dreams, Sonic Team has played it a little more safe with the blue hedgehog. With games to keep games busy like Sonic Adventure 2, Heroes, Colors, and Generations, gamers did not need a new Sonic game all the time to keep their interests. 2006 was almost the end for Sonic as his famous game that year nearly ended the series. While his future looked unsure, he bounced back strong¬†and has rebuilt his image 75 percent. Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom before you can change for the better, something Mario has yet to experience. Also, Sonic’s voicing has changed a lot. Mario has kept the same voice actor for years. Sonic’s changes about every 5 years.

Overall: Sonic has fared better these past 4 years. Mario is suffering from game overload and his fans are starting to notice it.¬† I haven’t bought any new Mario games myself cause the last one, Super Mario 3D Land wasn’t very enjoyable. Sonic Team’s decision to keep Sonic out of the spotlight has led him to have more of a chance to be successful. He also had a better anniversary game. While Mario had a Super Mario All Stars re-release.¬†Sonic had a whole new game designed for his 20th Anniversary.

Which character has had better attention outside of videogames?:

Both characters have had so much merchandise based off them from toys, board games, plush dolls. The one aspect I’m talking about is media attention. Both Mario and Sonic have had their share of tv shows. Sonic has had 4, Mario 3. Mario’s tv shows became subject to the Youtube Poop fad as well as content from his subpar game Hotel Mario. Sonic’s tv shows have fared slightly better but have been tainted by r34 artists all over the internet. Because both of them have had similar media appearances, I will say Sonic has done better cause his tv shows were much more memorable and some of them had pretty decent storylines. News is he is also getting a new tv show next year. Can’t wait for that.

My overall opinion:

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I could spend hours talking about each character and compare them on plenty of other different topics such as accomplishments but at the end of the day, these two characters are so similar that it would be hard to keep going from here. I’ve discussed the main topics used in arguments to determine who really is better. Both of them are videogame giants of their own companies. Without these two characters, videogames were not able to move forward. Mario and Sonic allowed competition, Sega and Nintendo got their names engraved in videogaming for these two characters alone. While I love them to death, I have to come up with my final opinion on who truly is better overall, Mario or Sonic.

My answer: 

sonic_the_hedgehog_snowboarding_wallpaper_by_sonicthehedgehogbg-d5yhklc

(credit goes to SonicTheHedgehgogBG)

Sonic the Hedgehog.¬†Yes, I believe Sonic the Hedgehog is the better character. While I grew up on Mario first and never played Sonic games until 2004, I feel Sonic is a more relatable character to his fans and we can all agree we all have acted like Sonic at one time or another.¬† I also feel that sometimes his games are more fun and I have more memories with Sonic games a little more than Mario games.¬† Sonic Adventure is one of my favorite games of all time, so is Super Mario World. I also love the Chaos Emeralds and how they affect the plots of his games more than Mario. I can’t say I love Sonic a hundred times more than Mario because that is not right at all. The two characters for me are so close that even saying this feels like a disservice to the other.¬† Oh and please make Sonic easier to use on the next Smash Bros.

Alright guys, I gave my best opinions and none of my biases were brought into this. Hope you all enjoy my next Retro Review this weekend and once again, have a Happy Thanksgiving. To those going Black Friday shopping, good luck and not get killed.  Oh and I hope in the future, we get a real crossover between these two legendary characters in the future.

 

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Retro Review: Super Mario All Stars

4 Mario games in one?! It was a kid’s dream!!
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Change of plans here. This week’s review was going to be Starfox 64 but I’ve decided to hold back on it in favor of something different. Oddly enough today I completed Super Mario Bros today for the first time but instead of reviewing that game, I’m going with Super Mario All Stars, the compilation in which I played Super Mario Bros. For this review I will give each game a mini review and an overview of the whole game itself.

Backstory
Released in 1993, Super Mario All Stars was released on the Super Nintendo. This game contained 4 games on it, not something common during that time. The games included the first 3 Mario titles we all knew and loved. The fourth game was a mystery to people at the time: Super Mario The Lost Levels? Gamers were eager to check it out. The game took all the previous Mario games and gave them a complete 16 bit graphics update and fixed some minor problems. Also new is savestates, all the games give you the option to save your game and come back to it, welcoming newer players to the series by giving them some insurance.
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The game selection screen from the North America and European version

1st: Super Mario Bros
The game I beat today is the first one I will be talking about.
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The title screen has a new look to it. See the colorful background?

Gameplay:
Super Mario Bros as most any gamer should know brought the formula of platforming games and has influenced hundreds of later games even to this very day. The gameplay is very simple and since being re released on All Stars, the gameplay formula has not been tampered with. Mario controls pretty much the same but the animations on his running and jumping have been improved. The goal of the game is simple. You complete the stage by sliding down a flag pole at the end of the stage. Enemies are all around you wanting you dead.
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World 1-1. Left is original 8 bit. Right is Super Mario All Stars version of World 1-1.

You can use powerups that every Mario fan knows now. The Mushroom, Fire Flower, and the Starman are your life insurance. Pick them up and if you complete a stage with a Mushroom and a Fireflower, you keep them with you in the next stage until you get hit. A simple formula but it has worked so well.

Difficulty:
To put it lightly, for being the first Mario platformer, this game is not a cakewalk. We’re not talking Castlevania hard but this game will require you to have a good sense of the controls and know how to avoid enemies and get through some of the obstacles. Once you hit World 4, things get dicey real quick. From castles that require you to go through it certain ways, to Hammer Bros and the tricky jumps required to conquer World 8. I would say a lot of the famous difficult NES games took notes from this game. In terms of All Stars, the game is not any easier. It took me all these years to finish it, so that says something.

Soundtrack
One word: Overworld theme.

2nd: Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels
The mystery game in the bunch. It’s no longer a secret though
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Gameplay:
I’m sure everyone and their grandma has heard the story that this game is the true sequel to the original so I won’t bore you with that story. The Lost Levels took everything from the original and added a huge difficulty spike. This game is hard as crap, it takes no prisoner. When making Lost Levels for All Stars, the developers knew how hard the game is so when you use a continue, you restart at the level you died at instead of the beginning of the world from the previous game.
In terms of gameplay, the game plays exactly like the first game. The only new addition are Poison Mushrooms. Thanks to the graphical update, these mushrooms are much easier to distinguish. You can also play as Luigi in a single player game now, because this game lacks a multiplayer mode. Luigi can jump higher but his traction is not as good. He is considered the hard mode.
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The poison mushroom is now much easier to see. But that doesn’t mean it’s any safer!

Difficulty:
What can I say, this game is harder than the first by miles. You know the castles from the first game that have the repeating hallways unless you go through them a certain way? This game has more of them beginning in World 2. The difficulty comes from the level design and enemy placement. A lot of people call this game one of those infamous hacks where it seems the people who develop them are gods at Mario games. This is a lot like that. The farthest I got is World 6. That was after using 80 plus lives and continues. All Stars does not make this game anymore bearable.

Soundtrack:
All the tracks I know of are all ripped from the first game. So nothing to say here. Sorry.

3rd: Super Mario Bros 2 (Doki Doki Panic)
The game that fooled us all until we all found out about it.
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Gameplay:
The gameplay here was really different from the previous games as it was a completely different game to begin with. However, the game did give us many of the enemies we see now in the series so I guess it isn’t all that bad. Instead of jumping on enemies to defeat them, you can now pick them up and toss them to defeat other enemies. This also applies to items as well. The health system is totally different as well. 3 hits now and you’re dead but you can increase it by using these potions you find to open doors to an alternate dimension where you find mushrooms.
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Notice Mario picking up the item. This is how you defeat enemies.

Powerups are scarce and hard to come by. To get a starman you have to collect 5 cherries scattered throughout the stages and then wait on the dang thing to show up. All Stars has not changed the gameplay very much and kept it the same.

Characters:
Super Mario Bros 2 offers 4 different players for you to choose from:
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Mario: The balanced character. He has good speed, jumping, and can pick up things fairly quickly.
Luigi: The jumpy character. His speed suffers but his jumping is insane. He can jump much higher than Mario but is a little slippery in his traction.
Toad: The speed character. He can move fast as heck and can pick up items very quickly. Use him in the desert stages
Peach: Making her first playable debut. She is the broken character, sorta. She can float for a short time, making bottomless pits a breeze as she can go over them. If you’re a new player, probably pick her.

Difficulty:
Because Nintendo of America did not want the Lost Levels, they toned the difficulty down for this game. It is not easy but I find it easier than the first Super Mario Bros. If I’m playing as Mario or Toad, I can beat the game fairly easily without too much hassle. If you’re new to All Stars, try beating this game first.

Soundtrack:
This soundtrack is not one of my personal favorites. Some of the music got into Super Smash Bros Melee though.

Final game: Super Mario Bros 3
The grand daddy of the bunch.
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Gameplay:
What can I say about Mario 3 that hasn’t been said to death all ready. The gameplay has been massively expanded upon from the previous games. New powerups, a map system, more levels, bigger levels, some of the best level designs in the Mario series even to this day, anything I say is nothing new but I will give it my best shot.
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I think Mario 3 got the best graphic improvement

Mario 3 brings a new element that has now become standard in recent 2D Mario games, maps. Mario 3 has a map that you move along as you progress through each stage. These maps offer hidden secrets and in some cases, warp zones. You can skip certain levels on the maps by breaking rocks on the map or by beating certain levels out of order. As you move through all the worlds, these maps become very complex.
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World 1 map. Notice the way it is laid out.

Mario 3 has expanded on the powerups. Besides your mushroom and fireflower, you get the Raccoon suit. It allows you to fly for short periods of time. A P feather allows for infinite flight. The infamous Tanooki Suit in which PETA bitched about allows all the benefits of the P feather and Raccoon suit but allows you to turn into a statue for a short period. The Hammer Bros suit is rare but it is the powerhouse. You can throw hammers and dodge projectiles. It can instakill most ground enemies in one hit. There’s also a Frog Suit that allows you to swim faster and jump much higher on land.
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Mario rocking the Raccoon suit

You also have an inventory to hold items for you in between levels. By visiting Toad Houses, you can receive powerups that you can keep in the inventory.

Difficulty:
Super Mario Bros 3 is a step up from the USA Super Mario Bros 2. With the added levels, the developers made the game a little more challenging but not to the point of being downright cheap. I have not completed the game entirely because I have been busy working on other games on a list that i keep. Im at World 8 if any of you are curious. I’d say if you want a challenging Mario game, try Mario 3. You won’t be disappointed.

Soundtrack:
This game’s soundtrack is considered by many to be one of the best soundtracks of any Mario game. Many of the tracks here have made their way into so many more recent Mario games. The Galaxy games, Super Mario 3D Land, just to name a few. I think it’s pretty nice but my favorite soundtrack is in another game.

Is this my favorite Mario game? Do I consider it one of the best games in the series? Is it the best game ever made?
1. Nope! Sorry everyone, Mario 3 is like my 6th or 7th favorite Mario game.

2. While I see the glory of it, I think one or two other games deserve that particular title

3. It is definitely in the running but to really answer that question……I don’t think that answer will ever be found to be honest.

Overall:
All 4 games stand on their own as good games in their own right. Super Mario All Stars as a whole is a wonderful collection. While today collections like this are nothing new, back then in 1993, it was kind of a new thing. The game sold very well and people loved it for all the graphical enhancements. The SNES really added a new atmosphere that the NES just could not produce. I prefer playing all the classic Mario titles on Super Mario All Stars. The added enhancements, the save state function and continues in my opinion make for a much more interesting experience but i can always get them on Virtual Console if i want a little extra difficulty without the save states.
There was another release containing Super Mario World a year later as Super Mario World came out as a launch title. I do not own that cartridge and Super Mario World deserves it own review anyway. That’s for another day. The Wii also saw a release of All Stars to celebrate Mario’s 25th anniversary but it was literally carbon copied. If you own a SNES, get this collection. It’s easy to find. If you do not, get the Wii version.
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The title screen for Super Mario All Stars plus Super Mario World. It is not that easy to find and I do not have it.

 

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The re-release of Super Mario All Stars on Wii.

Final Scores:
Super Mario Bros: 7.9/10

Super Mario Bros: Lost Levels 5/10

Super Mario Bros 2 7/10

Super Mario Bros 3 8.2/10

Next Week:
Killer Instinct (SNES) or Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose. Vote for which one you want me to do via here or Facebook. (This is something new I want to try)

 

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