Saturday, 26 May 2012

SuperGameFighter News #1

Right, I've sort of lost my way a little bit. I had planned on marathon as much Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart Wii as possible over the weekend and try and get them finished for next week, but that plan has been ruined for reasons. So, instead, I'm planning for the future. Here's what I've come up with so far...

The first thing is that I'm putting all the future games on my list into three catagories: Primary, Secondary and Special.

  • Primary games are the main event. It will normally feature the big, long games of the list. Most of these will be more modern games, say 1995 onwards, though there maybe a case of me simply wanting to show off a game. Usually these will come with supplementary articles on subjects relating to the game.
  • Secondary games are the "other" games of the list. Not really worth talking about in great detail, but for completionist's sake will be showed off anyway. Usually will only last between 1-3 updates.
  • Special games I haven't quite decided what to do with yet. Certain games might not work well for either Primary or Secondary, either because they're too long or of an awkward genre to show off like this, i.e. RPGs. Once I've figured this out a bit more I'll explain.

In addition, at the start of the month I bought FRAPS in order to record anything I play off the PC (such as Star Wars: Dark Forces, which is the next "Primary" game), and at some point in the next week (pay day) I'll be investing in a capture device so I can record whatever I play on consoles. I also bought a decent headset, but I'm not sure if my voice is suitable (we'll soon find out).

I'll try to at least get the next Mario 64 and the first Mario Kart Wii updates up this week. Until then, peace!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Puzzle Quest Stats

So, I've been really busy at work this week and that has meant no time or energy to play much games at all. However, just five minutes ago at the time of writing I did finally finish Puzzle Quest. Here is some stats from my playthrough of this game:

Total Hours: TOO MANY (aka 45 hours. Of matching gems. This is what my life has been reduced to, folks)
Battles: 338
Victories: 248 (roughly 20 of those Battles were for the final cheapo boss. Whenever he'd get a good start I'd just quit the battle).
Level: 50 (you cannot get any higher than this)
How long it took to uninstall this game as soon as I beat it: 10 minutes...or in a minutes time.

Hopefully I'll some actual updates coming up next week.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Puzzle Quest - The Finale

And so it ends. Well, kinda, I'm struggling to beat the final boss but by the time next week rolls on that'll be a different story. I'm bloody stubborn. So, what's left to say?


Puzzle Quest isn't a terrible game by any means, in fact it's pretty good, but it should not be the length of an actual RPG. You'll see at the bottom of the page just how long it took to complete the game, and I'm pretty sure I may have missed a quest or two (mostly ones that required backtracking across the map). For first time players hoping to find everything you're closing in on around 40 hours. Imagine playing Bejewelled for 40 hours, and you've pretty much got Puzzle Quest. The game does have depth and it really does work as an RPG, it's easy to see why the game got popular, but for me personally I would have liked it to have ended a bit sooner. The final boss is a bit of an RPG trope... the big hard boss that requires luck more than anything to beat (at least in my experience. Screw that guy).

About half-way through the game I had to mute the sound and music. Not because the soundtrack is horrible but because their just isn't enough songs to last a 40 hour game. It does get a bit grating to hear the same songs over and over again. And sure, you may think "but all RPGs have battle songs you hear all the time!" and yeah you'd be right, but they usually get broken up by lots of different songs as you progress through the game. From what I heard, there was only one "map" music and that was it.

So, would I recommend this game? Maybe, if you want something you can just pick up and play, no one is going to play this for the story which is ignorable. It's pretty cheap, £5.99 on Steam, and you'll definitely get your moneys worth. 

Next Time...

I think one of the reasons I wasn't a fan of the length of the game was because I had expected it to be shorter, hence why I started it as a side-game with Vice City Stories, and now Super Mario 64. From now on I'll need to have a better clue on how long a game is before classing it as a "secondary" game. Speaking of, the next "Secondary" game on the list is Mario Kart Wii. This will only be a three-parter; one on the gameplay, one on the steering wheel that came with it and the last overall review of it. That will start next week!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Characters - Mario

From this point on, any big series will have a little section to themselves. It will be filled with the various games I'll be playing, as well as a brief history of the major characters, from both the heroes and the villains. And who better to start with than...

First Appearance: Donkey Kong (1981)
Famous For: Super Mario Bros/World/64/Galaxy and many, many other games
Special Abilities: Jumping. Can gain many other powers with a variety of power-ups.
Biggest Enemy: Bowser

He's Super. He's Mario! He's SUPER MARIO! Easily the most recognisable character in video gaming history, he is Nintendo's mascot and has featured in so many games to list. While he made his gaming debut in 1981's 'Donkey Kong', it was in 1985 that he was thrust into gaming history with the release of "Super Mario Bros". And so over 25 years of saving the Princess from Bowser followed, and it doesn't look like it is stopping any time soon.

Mario is a man of many different other talents though. Although he's a plumber by trade, he is also an accomplished Tennis player, Soccer player, Golfer, Olympian, Doctor, Brawler, Kart Racer, Party Host, Demolition Man and many more. In fact, I'm pretty sure the only thing we don't see him do is actually plumb!

No matter what game he is in, he is always supported by a colourful cast of heroes and villains. It's very rare that you'll see him without either his brother, Luigi, or Yoshi, his trusty steed. Not only that it seems Princess Peach needs saving at least once a year and it's always up to Mario to save her from Bowser's evil grasps. Not only that, but Mario's evil counterpart, Wario, is never too far behind, though they've been known to work together in the past (especially if there is treasure for Wario to grab).

As I play more games in the series, these characters (and more) will be introduced in more detail.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Super Mario 64 - Progress Report 4

So, after a short break to recharge me batteries it's time for some more Super Mario 64!

Song of the Day

Snow Mountain - Koji Kondo

Progress Report IV

(all the level images taken from

File:Snowman's Land.png

Snowman's Land
Stars - 5/7
(Missing Stars: Star #6 - Into the Igloo, 100 Coins)

Snowman's Land marks a return to a snowy level, but this time with a gimmick. Usually if you go into water and pop out, all your health is restored (as your health doubles as your "oxygen"). However, the water here is so cold it hurts you even if you're above water. There's even one pond that acts the same as lava. Yet the only star I really seemed to struggle with was the first one. You see that snowman there? Well, try to cross that bridge and the snowman will get pissed at someone climbing all over him, and he'll try to blow you off. In order to pass him you'll have to take cover from a penguin. However, since penguins in this game are bastards, he doesn't just walk in a straight line. About halfway he'll start walking backwards for a bit, and if you're not ready for this you'll get blown off. Lovely.

I was planning to get the 100 coins star along with the last one, but I had no actual clue where the igloo was. However, I'll get these two during my "clean-up" once I finish the main game. I've come this far, I may as well aim for 120!

File:Wet-Dry World 64.png

Wet-Dry World
Stars - 7/7

I definitely do not hate this level. In fact, I really liked it. No star really posed much of a problem for me (with the exception of "#2 Top O' the Town", I didn't realise that the height you jumped into the portrait changed the level of the water in the level). The elevator star also took a couple of attempts to get right, and it was slightly annoying going all the way back up. Plus it introduces an enemy that, while the game calls them "Heave-Ho", I can't help but see them as Max Payne.


Maybe I'm just going crazy though.


Tall, Tall Mountain
Stars - 3/7

I'm really not good at this level. I played it this morning, and I had hoped in getting at least five or six before I had to leave for work, but sadly I could only get three of them. It seems this level was designed with all of my gaming weaknesses in mind. I do have a terrible habit of panicking when jumping from platform to platform over a bottomless pit. Not so much in a "OH MY GOD, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO, NOOO!" kind of way, but I mean "Jump! Position myself! Jump! Jum, wait no position oh no I'm dead".

For that reason I made sure to get the red coin star first. And for some reason the log in this level gives me all the problems. There's a log you run across and it will move, however I seem only to be able to run straight off it. I'm probably just being stupid. Then there's the god damn monkey.

The second star requires you to go high up the mountain and catch a monkey. This legitimately took my ten minutes to do. I should really stop playing games at six in the morning when I've just woken up and I'm a bit cranky. You can't even corner the monkey since he'll just jump over you. And then I try to dive to catch him and I end up falling. Thankfully there's a pool at the bottom of the level that broke my fall, but that's little consolation when you've fallen all the way to the bottom of the mountain. When I finally caught him I almost did a little dance, but I did not since I was sitting down and it was too early in the morning.

File:Ukiki 64.png
What you are staring at right now is evil personified.
Then I fell off the log again on star 4 and I decided "screw this". I'll either get the other four stars with the next (last) update, or I'll just keep it for the clean-up.

Power Stars (from left to right) from Super Mario 64 and Super Mario 64 DS.Star Total - 89/120Power Stars (from left to right) from Super Mario 64 and Super Mario 64 DS.

So, the next report, hopefully up by Monday, will be the last regular one of the game. Three last levels; Tiny Huge Island, Tick Tock Clock and Rainbow Ride. Then one final battle with Bowser! See you then!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Puzzle Quest - Part 4 - Your Citadel

The Citadel

So, let's go back to the beginning. If we head to our original Kingdom (Bartonia) and click on it, we'll see the option to visit our Citadel. 

When you first visit here you can use your gold to improve it and add buildings that will help you learn new skills, improve stats and train mounts, among other things. The full list of buildings you can build are:

  • Dungeon - By building this you can get the option to capture enemies you've beaten at least three times. I've already gone through capturing in an older update. Capturing certain enemies also allows you to have a 'mount', allowing you to traverse the map quicker as well as adding another spell to your repertoire.
  • Mage Tower - (available after building the Dungeon) This allows you to learn spells off of your captured enemies.
  • Stable - (available after building the Dungeon) This allows you to train your mounts.
  • Forge - Building this gives us the option to make new items with the runes we have found. 
  • Siege Workshop - (available after building the Forge) Allows us to capture cities that will earn us gold.
  • Temple - The Temple allows us to increase our character's stats with our gold.
  • Towers - Every city that we capture has a chance of "rebelling". Building the towers will decrease the chance of that happening by 50%.
  • Vault - Increases the gold that we get from captured cities by 50%.
  • Statues - Increases our Morale by 5 points.
Each one from the Dungeon to the Siege Workshop has it's own mini-game attached to it. I've already talked about capturing enemies for the Dungeon, so let's move on to...

Mage Tower

So, every enemy that you capture gives you one or two spells that you can learn. However, in order to learn it you must complete a mini-game. For this example let's learn....oh, I don't know...

Wake the Dead! Why not? It's a spell that changes two random Skulls into +5 Skulls. Useful, but I probably won't be using it at all once I learn it. Once you've selected the spell you wish to learn you get taken to this screen...

It's a simple case of matching enough symbols to fill the meters at the side. However you may notice the Scroll. Yeah, that's a new one for this mode. In order to get it you must get at least a 4-of-a-kind. In order to get rid of scrolls you have to either match three of them, or the easier way...

By using the +5 Skulls to blow it the hell up! The chances of being able to get 3 scrolls in the same place are pretty slim, though not so much on the harder spells since you could end up with a heap on them.

Once you complete a category, all the matching gems on the board will wipe themselves out. This pretty much always creates a chain reaction of three of more gems matching each other. However, I got something a little bit perfect when I was playing this...

Completing one caused a hell of a chain reaction and in one fell swoop I got two others complete at the same time. The last scroll was matched not long after and the result was...


Now we're going to train one of our mounts. I use the Griffon because it's faster than the rest. It's time to level it up to level 3. To do this is a rather simple mini-game...

FIFTEEN SECONDS? They must be mad, I hear you say in my head. Well, I wouldn't worry too much about that. All it really does it make you think "OH NO, I MUST HURRY!" but from what I can tell it pretty much resets itself after each move. Just don't panic and hit as many skulls as possible and it's a cakewalk. Maybe at higher levels it gets harder, but I'm not worried enough about my mount to train much more. 

Note: Got friends? They will help you in these fights also. In this fight I was aided by one that helped against flyers and one that has a 25% chance of dealing 20 damage at the start of the fight.


Certain places on the map give you the chance to "look for runes". These are harder battles against enemies, but once you win you get a rune. I used to do this a lot early on, but as soon as I hit Act 3 I sort of stopped. The runes are for making new items, but I've found that the items I get via quests are better anyway (some are so good I pretty much haven't changed by inventory since the start of Act 2). So, for this example let's just choose random runes. You have to choose three of them, each one has a different effect.

The better runes you choose, the harder it will be to complete. Though there is no punishment for losing apart from wasting your time, you can repeat it as much as you want until you win. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the first rune affects the Character's stats when worn, the second rune can increase the effectiveness of the item and the third rune helps you in battle. I could be wrong in saying though. However, this combination will give us...

A pretty damn good item actually. This is pretty much the same as learning a new spell, except instead of scrolls, you have to destroy Hammer & Anvils. There is a slight gimmick to the Hammer & Anvils though...

Destroying at least one will completely wipe the board. Unlike Scrolls, H&As are random just like any other gem, so in a way this is easier, though I think they're a rarer drop than the rest. The best way to destroy them is to set them up to be in the same row or column as a potential 4-of-a-kind, which will complete destroy the row (if it's vertical) or column (if it's horizontal). After finally getting all eight H&As we get our item!

(I would have put the Victory! screen here...but apparently I decided that it was unimportant...)

Siege Workshop

It's almost over, I swear! The last mini-game attached to the Citadel is the Siege Workshop. However, once we build it we have to go to the city we want to attack, click on it and choose "Siege!"...

If you are to attack other Kingdoms, be sure to have Khalkus as a companion, he'll give you a boost to your Battle skill. Citadels can be tricky to fight, but Enmouth is one of the starter cities, so it shouldn't offer too much of a challenge. After this the battle carries on as normal until you win or lose. If you win...

Excellent. However, gold at this point is only useful to me for one thing...


Okay, this is the last one I have to talk about! Gods help those who help themselves...but even Gods and Goddesses can be bribed with money (as anyone who has played Half-Minute Hero would know).

Pay gold and increase your skills. By this point you don't need to buy items (in fact, you NEVER do) and as you can see I have seriously neglected some of my skills. I also neglected to show you the look of my skills after I did this, but I'm sure it doesn't matter that much to you.

Phew, that was a long 'un, sorry about that. Luckily I'm pretty sure I'm approaching the end of the game, meaning that the next update will be the "Conclusion" update. Hooray!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Games of my Teenage Years - 2011


And so we are finally here, the last full year of my teenagedom. And by the time this is posted I will have officially entered my third decade of living. So, what did 18/19 year old me love to play in 2011? Well, both games are hardly obscure, though the latter one is more of a cult classic then anything else...

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Of course. It was, in my opinion, the best game released last year. Between this game's release and New Year I managed to clock up over 70 hours of gameplay, and yet by the time I decided to take a break I still felt that I was barely halfway through the on-disc content. Skyrim, if you haven't played it (why?) is HUGE. And yet one of my favourite parts of the game? Going from one place to the next. It is a beautiful game. I'm not as familiar with the Elder Scrolls series as I'd like (100% Oblivion (not including expansions), played a little Morrowind and that's it), but I knew that this game would pretty much blow all other games I'd play in 2011 as soon as it was announced. I really don't need to say much more, most of you reading this should know all about it. So instead, I'll leave you with pretty much the best thing I've seen this year:

Macho Dragon Mod - YEAH!

Deadly Premonition

To call Deadly Premonition a good game would be lying. It's not. At least the combat stages aren't. Combat is long, it's boring and there's very little variation in it until you get to a boss. Which you don't get any until near the end of the game, where you get four or five. The other side of the game, the exploring and questing can be just a tedious, yet it's worth it. You see Deadly Premonition may not be a great game, but it is a hell of an experience. 

You play as FBI Agent Francis York Morgan (I'll just call him York. That's what everyone calls him) and you're investigating the murder of a teenage girl in the otherwise quiet town of Greenvale. Much like Alan Wake, this game is influenced by Twin Peaks. Unlike Alan Wake...this game IS basically Twin Peaks (from what I've heard). In fact at one point they had to change aspects of the game in fear of a lawsuit. The combat in the game is very survival horror, except you're never really in much danger of dying or running out of bullets (since no matter what you'll always have at least your starter gun, with it's infinite ammo). Some enemies get harder later on, but 'harder' in this game means 'takes more hits'. However, in between all that, you spend most of your game driving around Greenvale doing various side-missions of the eclectic inhabitants of the town. 

Of the best details of the open-world section of the game is that each character has their own daily routine, if you're just driving around you will see various characters driving place to place. In fact the in-game map let's you see where they are at all times. Their routine and dialogue also changes as you progress through the game. This game did not have a large budget, so it is impressive that they put in so many little details to really flesh out the town. "Swery", the game designer who judging by his Twitter account is the nicest person in the world, wrote a story that was charming, funny and at times pretty damn creepy. But if you let yourself be absorbed by the story and the characters then the game will provide a surprisingly great experience. The end-game in particular is where everything goes bonkers but by then I was completely hooked and emotionally invested in what was happening.

The game was very polarizing, but for me, it was pretty much close to perfection. Rubbish as an actual game but an amazing experience. Isn't that right, Zach?


So, for the past week I've rambled on and on about all of my favourite games I've played as a teenager. As I've gotten older though, I haven't quite had the same excitement about video games. I'd been stuck in a rut of sequels and 'safe purchases'. Sure, I already knew before I bought it that I was going to love it, but Deadly Premonition exceeded every expectation I had, purely by being an experience. This blog may have started as a way to amuse myself, as a way to whittle away at my games collection. But I hope that one day this will morph into a way where I can have more of those kinds of experiences, share them with other people and maybe play some damn fine games along way.

So sure, this is about justifying all the money I've spent on video games in the past by playing as many of them to completion before I stop, but more than that, I hope that this blog will be my little tribute to gaming. 

So long, and goodnight!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Games of my Teenage Years - 2010


We enter a new decade and I become an 18-year old. Alcohol and bitches become my life and I no longer have time to play video games.

Is what I'd want to say, but instead here's the three (!) most important games to me of this year...

Mass Effect 2

File:MassEffect2 cover.PNG

This series probably is my favourite game series of the past five years, I really cannot find much fault about any of the games (though after playing '2' I find it hard to play through the original now). This game came out near the start of the year and it was another case of a game I refused to put down until I had completed it. I never 100% it like the first game, but I was damn close. The "suicide mission" felt like a suitably epic way to end the game and I made it through with only one causality (Mordin, you will be missed. Well, until I played through the ending again to make sure he lived for Mass Effect 3...sigh).

I also absolutely loved the fact that decisions you made in the first game made a difference in this one, I'm not sure if any other series has done that so far but even for a feature mainly used for 'fluff' it was really nice. I love games that put a lot of time and effort in creating a world of characters and Bioware are pretty damn good at that.

I always say this game's in my top five games of all time, but it's been two and a half years since I last played it and honestly I cannot think of much to say. I do think it's better than ME3, though ME3 came close until the last couple of hours which let it down (though I'm not one of the people who absolutely hates the ending either). Personally, I'd like to see more games in the ME Universe. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if it would be the setting to any future Bioware MMO...

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle

Travis Touchdown is a nerd's fantasy of themselves in human form. Let's check the facts: he wields lightsabers? Check. He's obsessed with Anime? Check. Also obsessed with professional wrestling? Check. Lives home alone with a cat. Check. Yet he's completely bad-ass and awesome and he gets the chick. Yup, definitely a fantasy, but hey, it made for an absolute cracker of a game.

Suda 51 is one of my personal favourite game directors. His game's are usually rough around the edges, but they're usually original, fun and completely bonkers. I'm not going to lie, I kinda bought a Wii just to play this (and the Metroid Prime Trilogy...which I haven't finished...the first one...). You play as Travis as he attempts to become the number one Assassin in Santa Destroy yet again. This time it's personal...really, his best friend was killed by the No. 1 ranked Assassin. That's about as serious as this game gets.

In between fights there's a number of side-missions you can do including extra fights, buying clothes and exercising your cat whose gotten fat. You can also upgrade your stats by training in the gym and earn money by doing jobs. These 'jobs' take place in mini 8-bit games, and most of them are bloody awesome.

Most, if not all the Assassins you fight are unique and have more character in the short time you know them than some video game characters have in an entire game. Fighting with the Wiimote is also incredibly fun and I don't think I ever had much issue with it. In short, this game is pretty much excellent. Hell, take away the anime and Travis really is a more bad-ass awesome version of fantasy me...

Alan Wake

I was going to leave it at two, but then I remembered this game and I simply couldn't leave it out. It was a game with an unfortunate release date (same day as 'Red Dead Redemption'), and I got it pretty damn cheap just two months later. I played an episode a night until I finished it. This next part is probably a bit embarrassing to admit, so please don't judge me...

Every time I played this game, turned it off and went to bed I could not stand being in the dark. This game trains your mind that "dark = dangerous". In the dark, enemies will spawn and be invincible (or really strong, I can't remember which) until you shine a light on it, or lure it into a light spot. The game is very Stephen King/Twin Peaks inspired...apparently, I'm not overly familiar with either of them (though I want to be). You play an author, Alan Wake, who's suffering with Writer's Block. He and his wife go to a quiet little town called Bright Falls for a vacation. As you probably imagine it doesn't go too well, but I don't want to say any more. I want you, reader (yes, all one of you) to play this if you get the chance. Don't go in with a cynical mind, don't go in with any preconceptions and hopefully you'll enjoy this game as much as me. It was easily one of my top games of 2010.

Honourable Mention: Say what you will about Heavy Rain, but the "game" was a hell of an experience. Granted, I have had no temptation to go back to it ever again so it probably wasn't worth all £40 I spent on it.  

Next time: We celebrate the death of my teenage years! We'll go on a very epic journey and investigate a murder. Isn't that right... Zach?

Games of my Teenage Years - 2009


2009 was the first year I could pretty much start buying any game I wanted, as little Stu gets himself a job. And yet I really struggled to think of games I felt were important to me that I got in this year. But after a lot of soul-searching I finally decided on another game...


It was a complete impulse buy. Usually that means I play it once or twice then forget about it for about a year. Not with Bioshock. I bought it for about £8, popped it into my 360 and by the next evening I had finished it. BioShock is probably the last game I can think of that had that effect on me, usually I get distracted or self-aware of how long I spent playing a game at a time. But I was just so enthralled at the world of Bioshock, the story and character development, the music, the atmosphere and just everything about it was just great. Even as Mr. I-Don't-Like-FPS' (though that just applies to multiplayer ones...), I thought the gameplay was excellent with the 'plasmids' offering a nice variation.

Rapture remains one of my favourite settings for a video game, honestly I can't think of much more I like better. I was excited to re-visit Rapture for Bioshock 2, but alas, it didn't have the same effect. For me, that's just a testament to how good Irrational Games handled the first game. If you haven't played it, you can probably get it pre-owned for a few quid. I assure you, it's worth every penny.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

One of the most polarising games ever to be created. One person may think it's an over-written abomination of a game, while another person may think it's one of the best games available for the Playstation 3. I'm in the second camp, this is still my favourite PS3 game. Though I couldn't afford to not like it...I bought a PS3 just to play this game. Let me explain...

I was six years old when I got a demo of the original MGS along with a football game. I tried playing it and I just couldn't. I didn't know how to kill the baddies, I was running around like an idiot and I declared it to be impossible! This was the first room of the game. Eventually an older friend (by two years) showed me what to do, but I still didn't touch it. No, it wasn't until I was eleven when a friend of mine lent me MGS 2: Sons of Liberty. I probably played on Very Easy, but that was fine because I actually loved the game. Except near the end when the 'Colonel' goes mental...that part legitimately freaked younger me out. Eventually I braved through the rest and finished it.

I got Snake Eater not long after it came out in 2004, and it is still my favourite MGS game. Again, Very Easy, but I wasn't good at games then (I'm still not, but I can get away with Normal now!). Not long after this I FINALLY got the original and played through it. Metal Gear Solid was on it's way to replacing Final Fantasy as my all time favourite game series. And yet I had to wait two years after it's release to play MGS 4. In that time I managed to avoid 99% of the story spoilers (and I misread the other 1% anyway). And you know what? It's a great game. Yes, the cutscenes get a bit ridiculous and the story is Hideo Kojima at his most...uhh...Kojima-ish. But the actual game is loaded with features and little details that most players won't even notice. 

For all the crap the MGS, and Kojima's team, get, they do put a lot of effort and time into making the actual gameplay a rewarding experience. In this game they just throw weapons at you, meaning by the time you play 'New Game+' you'll have at least twenty ways to incapacitate your enemy. I'm going to stop here before this turns into a thesis on how good I think MGS 4 is.

Basically, fans of the previous games (including 2) should like it and people who don't like MGS won't be convinced otherwise.

Next: We save the galaxy, shine a light on some demons and put a ban on heroes again. Wait, that's three games, what the hell, Me?

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Games of my Teenage Years - 2008


Ah, this year was a great one. Good games, good times and good EVERYTHING. It makes sense that the following two games are probably in my top ten games of all time.

Rock Band (2)

Being a music fan who is musically inept, I obviously loved the Guitar Hero games. They were great games to just pick up now and again and have fun with. Eventually Activision gave their newly acquired Guitar Hero, due to their purchase of RedOctane, to Neversoft while Harmonix, who were bought over by MTV Games, would create a brand new music game. The result was 'Rock Band'. Instead of being limited by just playing with a guitar, you could now play drums (and annoy your neighbours) and sing (and annoy your neighbours). I bought the first game in the summer of 2008, though I only had the GHIII controller and a crappy headset. It quickly became my obsession for a few weeks. I even managed to almost complete Hard, which I wouldn't dare to do in GH due to my crapiness at fake-guitaring.

But that was the fun of Rock Band, you didn't need to practice the songs millions of time just to pass it. It understood that it was, before anything else, a party game. The game also had so many brilliant songs, from my favourite band Nine Inch Nails ("The Hand That Feeds") to Weezer ("Say It Ain't So"), Soundgarden, Nirvana, Faith No More, Pixies and a whole heap more.

But it was the second game, released late on in the year, that truly became an instant classic. With the option to export (most of the) songs from the first game, plus the select songs I downloaded, Rock Band 2 pretty much featured the greatest licensed soundtrack in video game history. The "endless setlist" (where you play all the songs from the disc in one go) provided a whole day worth of fun for me and my friends, though we had to stop at song 50 because we had to go home for tea. Hey, we were still sixteen at the time!

I would eventually blow £100+ on Beatles Rock Band for the PS3, but by then the music rhythm genre's momentum collapsed. Plastic instruments have ceased to be cool. But every time I see a cheap copy of Rock Band 3, I'm tempted. But for now, may the great memories that Rock Band provided for me, lay to rest.

Though, to be fair, I blame Guitar Hero for being crap.

Grand Theft Auto IV

I'm going to point out one thing; I absolutely adore this game. I don't care that people think it wasn't funny enough, it wasn't over the top enough or all that stuff. I've heard people say they preferred Saint's Row 2, but while that game was pretty fun, as a GAME, GTA IV blows it out of the water. 

Never was I more excited for a game to be released. Then it was released...and I had to wait two weeks to get it. Two weeks of pain and excitement, only made easier by one of my friends going through the same thing. And then, on my 16th birthday, my sister delivered it to me. I would then spend the rest of my birthday, in a room, playing this game, pausing only to taunt my friend that I got it.

When you are so excited for something, one of two things will happen...bitter disappointment or OH MY GOD THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER.

Obviously it was the second option with me. Sure, in retrospect, it could have used a bit more colour and fun ("The Ballad of Gay Tony" DLC provided exactly this). Do I care though? No. Every time I start a new game I get transported to four years ago. When this song plays as you take control for the very first time...

The magic hits me again. 

Multiplayer is extremely fun also, and I'm actually good at it which is a rarity. All in all, this game is probably the most important game of my teenage years. It came right in the middle of them, so in a way it's like a bridge from my childlike days to the more recent adultlike (and incredibly pretentious) days. Hopefully GTA V will bring back some of that childlike excitement when it comes out.

Next: We buy a console just to play the end-game of a story and then take a dive.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Games of my Teenage Years - 2007


Ah, 2007, a fantastic year. It is the year that I entered the current generation of consoles with the purchase of the Xbox 360. It was also in this year that my "music elitist prickness" was at it's peak. The next two games corresponds with both of those things happening.

Tony Hawk's American Wasteland

Yeah, it was released in 2005 but this was still before I could just buy any game I wanted. I've always been a fan of the Tony Hawk series (well...sadly I missed out on most of the 'Pro Skaters'...), but this one marked a slight change in me. For one; it still has one of my favourite licensed soundtracks of any game ever. I was heavily into my Punk at the time and there is plenty of that to enjoy. It even had some original covers by modern punk bands, such as Rise Against, Dropkick Murphys and Alkaline Trio taking on songs from old Punk bands like Black Flag, The Adolescents and many more. 

There's some absolute gems in the other 50 or so songs on the soundtrack though. Although I can't list all the one's I like, it would take too long, I will at least link to three of my personal favourites from the game:

Everyone is Someone in LA - Felix Da Housecat

California Über Alles - Dead Kennedys

Los Angeles - Frank Black

It is the last one that makes this game important. Los Angeles is probably one of my favourite songs ever, but it had a more important lead me to the Pixies, my second favourite band of all time. So thank you Tony Hawk and your kick-ass game soundtracks. 

Oh yeah, the game's okay too.

Halo 3

I'm not one for First Person Shooters. In fact, I'm pretty damn bad at them and I don't enjoy them enough to learn how to become a god at them either, unlike seemingly EVERYONE I PLAY AGAINST (grr). But Halo 3 is different, I can't hate it. I never had an Xbox, so I've never played any of the previous ones (and I never played any since this one), but it was the first game I ever played for the 360. Not only that, it remains the only FPS game I ever was good at online (mostly...if I was lucky to avoid any of the people who play it way too much). 

I even managed to complete the single player (twice!). It has been ignored for the past four years or so and I doubt I'll be picking up number 4, but I'll never forget the first time I played it. "LOOK AT THE WATER, LOOK HOW GOOD IT IS! OH MY GOD!". As far as introduction to the current gen goes, you can't get much better.

Next: We ROCK OUT with some buddies, and then shoot them in the head to get our money back.

The Games of my Teenage Years - 2006.


So, it's now 2006, the year I turn 14 years old. It was a year of discovery for young me. I rediscover a love of professional wrestling (don't judge me) that would never again go away, I find my favourite band of all time and my favourite movie. But what were the two most important games I played in this year? Well...

WWE Smackdown! vs RAW 2007

There are two reasons why this game was one of the most important games of 2006 for me. For one, it coincided with me getting back into wrestling (don't judge me). So, naturally, it became my most played wrestling game since 'Shut Your Mouth!'. Also it was the game I got when I bought a new PS2, after my old one died. After five glorious years, my original PS2's laser broke whilst doing what it loved...playing the 'Man With the Golden Gun' DVD. Not only that, it actually happened on Christmas Day. 

So this game was the first game I ever played in my new slim PS2 and honestly it was probably one of the best "Smackdown vs RAW!" games. At least it was the last WWE game I actually unlocked everything legitimately. So this entry pretty much sums up most of my teenage years: video games and wrestling. It also had a story where Candice's wand had legit magic powers and it was awesome and all that.

Kingdom Hearts

Yeah...this game. Four years after it was released I finally got this game (it was a sympathy present as I was off school with a pretty bad illness). I loved it, though that could be explained by me being completely out of it for most of my playthrough. For the one of you who don't know, this game combines Final Fantasy and Disney. The alternate title was "DeviantART's Wet Dream". 

I'm not going to lie, even now, I love travelling through Disney worlds, with Disney characters, and kicking ass with a...big key. It's a strange game, but it was successful enough to spawn a number of sequels. In fact I still have two KH games I've never finished...

So why is this game one of my most important games of 2006, considering it was released in 2002? Well, because...erm...' reminds me of...err...

Next: We enter the current generation! And we do it with a kick-ass soundtrack!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Smells Like Teen Gamer: The Games of my Teenage Years - Intro/2004


In five days I'll be twenty years old. No longer will I be able to blame my immaturity on being a teenager, now people will expect me to start acting a little bit older. HAHAHAHA, no chance. But since I've been busy video making instead of actually playing the games I said I would, I thought that in the week leading up to my birthday I shall talk about my most important games of the last seven years, two per year. I'll be going year-by-year, but that doesn't mean that the games are from that year. This is not a "favourite" game list either, it's all about the games that are most important to me. So without further ado...


Football Manager 2005

I may have bought this when I was twelve, but no other game series has taken away as many hours (no, days. No WEEKS.) of my life then this one. To non football (or Soccer) fans, it's just a glorified spreadsheet with silly little dots instead of players. But to actual football fans those dots have given us some of our favourite gaming moments. 

Like this little gem I found. Ah, the days when I'd insist on making Quinton Fortune a first team regular.
Over the years I have changed from a big nerdy child into a big nerdy almost-adult, but one thing hasn't changed and that is my love for those little dots (or faceless 3D players as they are now). It doesn't matter if I'm leading my local Aberdeen to the Champions League Semi-Finals, winning everything with Man Utd or challenging myself in the South African leagues, each instalment of this great series will provide many new memories and weeks of my life I'll never get back again. No regrets.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Slightly cheating with this one, my sister bought me this for Christmas 2004. BUT I was still playing it an ungodly amount by 2005. Also, it's probably my all time favourite game. Even now, nearly eight years after it's release, it's still fantastic to play. San Andreas has so much you can do and much potential for just causing mayhem. In fact the only things I can think that could make it better would be if it has GTA IV graphics and the ability to ride through the desert on a horse with no name.

OH THANK MOD, you can!
While Vice City maybe my favourite setting, it only just beats San Andreas. Even driving in the countryside or the desert feels good, as long as you've got the radio on. The soundtrack is on par with VC, and the fact that the radio shows change as you progress through the game blew my mind when I was twelv...I MEAN EIGHTEEN I WOULD NEVER CHEAT THE RATING SYSTEMS! But yes, in my mind the closest thing we've gotten to a perfect game (though I'd love to be proven wrong. Maybe GTA V?).

Next: 2006, where we revisit many worlds from my childhood and maybe incur the wrath of a chick with a magic wand. 

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Super Mario 64 - Ports & Remakes

Have you never played Super Mario 64 before? Never owned a Nintendo 64? Or maybe you'd just like to play it again. Either way Nintendo have you covered.

Super Mario 64 is, of course, on Wii's Virtual Console, in fact it is the second most popular purchase (behind Super Mario Bros), which is impressive since N64 games cost a fair bit more than the rest of them, but the cost isn't too bad, 1000 'Wii Points' (I think that's between 8-10 pounds, but I can't be 100% sure).

Maybe you've played the original Super Mario 64 to death, collected 120 stars numerous times and are looking for something new. Yet again Nintendo are there to help. In 2004 Nintendo released 'Super Mario 64 DS'. It's basically an enhanced version of the original game, with newer graphics and more stars (while changing some of the more horrible stars from the original). Not only this you can now play with three other characters; Luigi (who can jump higher and thus is probably the best character), Wario (who can break certain blocks other characters cannot) and Yoshi...who's practically useless.

File:Super Mario 64 DS Coverart.png

In Super Mario 64 DS there are 150 stars instead of 120. There is also a multiplayer mode available over 'Download Play'. The game was a commercial success, selling over six million copies and although the game was critically well received there was some criticisms. Although they felt the game did stay true to the original, the lack of analogue sticks on the DS meant that controlling was a problem. Another criticism at the time was the fact this was a launch title, and it was a little disappointing to have a remake launch Nintendo's new console. 

File:Super Mario 64 DS-Graphics comparison.jpg
Comparison: DS (left) - N64 (Right)
Now, I haven't actually played this game either, I don't own it at all and I doubt I ever will. But it's another alternative for those who want it.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Super Mario 64 - Progress Report 3

Song of the Day

Dire, Dire Docks - Koji Kondo

Progress Report III

(all level images taken from

File:SM64 LLL Entrance.jpg

Lethal Lava Land
Stars - 7/7

My biggest problem in this stage is the Bullies. One Bully can be beaten no problem, you just have to push it over the edge into the lava. But there's a small section with two of them in this level and for some reason I lost a couple of lives trying to beat them (before finding out I didn't need to...they were the wrong group). The only other star I had any issue with was the last one inside the volcano. All you really have to do is ride two elevators, jump from pole to pole and then jump to the star. However I'm really bad at precision jumps and I always press the wrong button when trying to 'butt stomp'. I don't mind this level, but it's not one of my favourites either.

File:Shifting Sand Land 64.png

Shifting Sand Land
Stars - 7/7

I'm not a fan of this level. I don't like how half the ground is an instant death trap and I don't like how half the stars require the use of the wing cap. I don't like that stupid bird that steals my hat, I don't like shy guys, I don't like anything about this level. Inside the pyramid is a bit better since I can't instant die as easily, but getting the "Pyramid Puzzle" star wasn't exactly fun since I fell. Three times. I know I'm a bit crap at this game, but I've learned that if I do something wrong it's not actually my fault. So I'm blaming the Lakitu Bros for being terrible cameramen.

The past two levels I've had to really battle the camera to see what I need to do next, and during the "Pyramid Puzzle" star I basically had to take a leap of faith. Going into 'Mario cam' or First-Person doesn't help much, especially since I can't move with the latter on. Och well, at least they weren't water levels...oh crap...

File:Dire, Dire Docks.png 

Dire, Dire Docks
Stars - 7/7

See that whirlpool? In that room you're almost always being pulled into it. If you do it's instant death. For the first star you have to open four chests in order. The one closest to the whirlpool is the last one. Twice I managed to get that chest open (which isn't that easy since you're being pulled away from it) only to be sucked into the whirlpool, at which point the game pauses to tell you "hey, you won the star!" but by this point you can't collect it and you have to start over again.

Also, the third star "Pole Jumping For Red Coins" took me too long to fact I thought it was impossible. Because it can't beat this star without first beating the second Bowser fight (which is unlocked from getting the first star "Board Bowser's Sub". Once you beat Bowser, the submarine goes away and the second room looks like this:


But I'm an idiot so I kept trying to long-jump to get all the red coins (I got four...) before giving up and looking it up. I felt stupid after that.

There's another trap in this room though. I thought it would take me to another part of the level but NO, it takes you to the moat. Outside the castle. You don't lose a life, but you have to do the whole level again. Dick move, Nintendo.

This level is terrible (I'm fighting with all my willpower to stop myself saying it's "dire"). It's boring, it's mostly underwater which is slow. The poles up there? They move slowly and it's just not fun. I liked the last star though, where you have to wear both the vanish cap and the metal cap at the same time. I like the idea of mixing different power-ups and I don't know many games that do that actually.

But it's not all bad...

Secret Stars

File:The Fire Sea.jpg

Bowser in the Fire Sea
Stars - 1/1

Collecting the red coins here is much easier than the first boss arena because you can't instant-die (just add water) here. In fact falling into the lava just gives you another chance to make certain jumps easier, and there are a couple of 'hearts' lying around (they heal you and are infinite). There's no really difficult coins either, just one that is kind of hidden by the geometry. 

Bowser has a couple of new tricks, he can teleport and stomp the the arena to cause you to fall, but he's still not difficult. Just keep running around him, eventually he'll stop keeping up with you to try and hit you with a fireball and from there just grab his tail and...

So long, King Bowser!
Star Total - 74/120

Basically I can skip the rest of the game and finish it now...but I've gotten 7/7 in all nine so far...why would I quit now?

Next: A look at the remake for the DS: Super Mario 64 DS!