Friday, March 30, 2007
Ah, Barney's Hide and Seek. A true cult classic that, as I'm sure you're well aware, slipped under the radar of many Sega Genesis owners back in the early '90s. How could you not love Barney the dinosaur? He's purple, he sings, he loves. And he's in a video game where you get to play hide and seek! What's hide and seek, you ask? Well, that's a game us old timers used to play back before you bastard kids had your fancy "virtual reality" machines like the R-Zone and the Virtual Boy.
I'm in a loving mood today, and I'm willing to give this game a fair shot. Who knows, it might actually be fun!
Sunday, March 25, 2007
So imagine the look on my face when I found out that the two would combine into some ultra-orgamic nostalgia thingy. Just picture that scene from every episode of Happy Days when Henry Winkler does something amazing, and there stands Richie Cunningham, in mouth agape Fonzie mark out mode. That was me.
So with that, I travelled to the local McDonald's and somehow managed the nerve to order a Mighty Kid's Meal, which is basically a Happy Meal with more food.
Who could it be now? NAH NAH NAH NAAAAAH! To be honest, I was hoping for Raphael, who has always been my favorite, let's see who I got.
It's Mikey! I'm going to be brutally honest, Michaelangelo was never my favorite turtle as a kid, due to the way he was kind of forced on us, but I kind of warmed up to him in later years. As you can see, Mike is pretty much what you can expect from a fast food premium. He has articulation at the shoulders and head, can turn at the waist, but that's pretty much it.
Look at that picture long enough, and you'll notice a pretty big oversight, no nunchucks. Yes, 60% of Mike's gimmick has been left out. It wouldn't have been a big deal, if I hadn't seen the insert that came with him:
What the hell? Leo and Don get their respective kitana sword and bo staff, but Michaelangelo and Raphael get shafted out of both of their weapons? This kind of short range weapon bias dates back to the orginal TMNT game for the NES, where if you picked anyone other than Leonardo or Donatello, you were pretty much dog shit. Bad form, golden arches, bad form.
Also, based on the picture above, it would appear your odds of getting a decent toy are pretty much left up to fate. You either get an action figure, or a shitty squirt thingy. Since Mike had a big number '1' on his package, I'm assuming the action figure turtles will all come out first, followed by the squirters.
Added bonus on Mike though, if you were wise enough to pick up the Toddler Turtles pack from Playmates, they appear to fit together nicely:
Friday, March 16, 2007
Anyhoo, it's no doubt that Where's Waldo is one of the greatest works in the history of literature. At least, it was to me. The only "books" I "read" in my youth were High Heel Magazine and Where's Waldo.
Sure, Waldo was a fucking wuss, and his girlfriend Wenda was probably his sister, but Waldo showed kids that not all books are fucking boring. Screw reading about that Huck fag. I'm gonna look for Waldo!
We watched the Where's Waldo cartoon on CBS every Saturday morning. We ate the Where's Waldo pasta. Waldo soon became a sell-out pop culture phenomenon. And like all sell-out pop culture phenomenons, Waldo got his very own NES game! Two, as a matter of fact! I'm only going to review the second one because you get to play a bonus level where a dog with glasses rides a carpet.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Back in the late 90's, pro wrestling underwent a surge in popularity, and this was reflected in various forms of merchandise. Unfortunately for fans of video games and wrestling itself, most wrestling games sucked during this era. Sure, we got Raw is War for the PS and N64 from Acclaim, but if you're holding that one up as an example of a passable wrestling game, your standards are amazingly low, which is why you only date women in wheelchairs, you sick fuck you.
Thankfully THQ and AKI decided to bring the Virtual Pro Wrestling series over to the states, slap a couple WCW logos on it, and make us forget the horror that was In Your House. The first game was WCW vs. the World for the PS. It was crude but functional, though good luck finding anyone that remembers it. In late 1997, the N64 got a shot in the form of WCW vs. NWO: World Tour, and the rest was history.
Once again we're dealing with an OFFICIAL strategy guide. The Giant is conveying it's officialness with gritted teeth, and bags under his eyes that suggested he was in the middle stages of a drug problem. And as you can see, this guide is written by Brian Boyle. Remember that name for the remainder of your days.
Before you actually play the game, Brian Boyle feels he should throw some wrestling terminology at you. I said some, and I meant a lot. Brian obviously views himself as a wrestling historian, so he felt the need to list a page and a half of actual wrestling terms, and some shit he just made up.
Oh Brian Boyle, you're such a number 3.
3. A fucking asshole
Keep in mind, THIS GAME IS NOT A KAYFABE. So everything is like 100% legit. My cousin's friend from two towns over told me so. You've never heard of him, and he doesn't have a phone.
Once Brian feels he's wasted enough paper, we take a look at some of the wrestlers featured in the game.
Oh boy, Ric Flair! With his charismatic interviews *21, his breathtaking entrances *22, and his glittering robes! *23
- 21 The only speech in the game is in the intro, with the Giant screaming about being tired of Eggo waffles
- 22 There are no entrances, just guys adjusting their balls in the corner
- 23 The robe budget was spent on adding Glacier to the game
It's the Hulkster! The Immortal Hulk Hogan! Complete with his patended finishing move, the Top Rope Stinky Leg Drop! I totally remember when he dropped the Stinky Top Rope Leg on Andre! Truely, Brian Boyle is a wrestling encyclopedia*24
- 24 Suffers from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
In addition to the WCW roster, there were other wrestlers in the game. Many of these were NJP wrestlers, with different names, and a little Brian Boyle fictional bio magic added.
Rejected Brian Boyle Saladin bios:
- What if he's like a child molestor AND a cobra?
- Dusty Rhodes in sweat pants, covered in shoe polish
If you were willing to devote 6 weeks of your life to the game, you'd eventually reach the final boss, Joe Bruiser.
So depite his BIG FUCKING RIGHT UPPERCUT TO THE CHIN OH MY GOD I'M COMING, Brian opted to include numerous pictures of Joe getting fucked up by a polygon Hot Topic customer.
After reading this guide, I decided to find out more about the man behind the player's guide, and emailed Prima to get in touch with Mr. Boyle. To my delight, I not only got a response, but an autographed photo from Brian himself:
Thursday, March 08, 2007
"Just watch us now... please?"
Oh, how I cherish my sweet, yet cloudy memories of the 1980s. Michael Jackson could be trusted in a McDonald's Playplace. Nancy Reagan taught us all to just say no. Huey Lewis and the News showed us the power of love. We lived to find out the secret word of the day. We fell in love with a spunky girl called Punky. We played with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys, we slept on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sheets, we ate Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pudding Pies, and were most likely conceived because our parents used Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles condoms.
These were the days that we could buy a licensed video game, and no matter how bad it was, our love was so blind for Robocop, Ghostbusters, or even the Noid, that we could play the biggest piece of shit, without any complaint. As long as I got to steer Kermit the Frog in an innertube, all was right with the world.
My very earliest memories are of me watching ALF. I was absolutely fascinated by the character. ALF was unlike anything I had ever seen before. He ate cats, he was fluffy, and that nose... just, wow. Oh, and those one liners... what a guy, that ALF was.
The bitch that babysat me in the late '80s had a Sega Master System. What the fuck is a Sega? We only had a Nintendo, and goddammit, it was good enough for me. But one game really caught my eye: ALF. That's right, this bitch had an ALF VIDEO GAME. I only remember snippets of the game; ALF jumping around in the kitchen, ALF running away from child molesters, and ALF getting run over by a kid on a motorcycle.
As the years went by, I had pretty much forgotten about the ALF game, but not ALF in general. I was heartbroken when NBC cancelled my beloved sitcom. Fast forward to 1996. ALF IS BACK WITH A NEW TV MOVIE ON ABC! And so my love affair with ALF began yet again. I pulled my talking ALF doll out of the closet, and watched my reruns of ALF on the old Betamax.
Of course, 1996 came and went. ALF was gone yet again, and I had since moved on. UNTIL NOW.
Let's be clear though, there were "Unauthorized " guide, and "Official" guides. What's the difference you ask? Unauthorized simply meant that an independent company released a player's guide without clearing it with the game's maker, and couldn't use the logos on the cover. So if you had any plans to play the bad boy card, and impress Susan Bigtits next door with your unauthorized guide, she'd headbutt you into a coma with her face, and laugh at you.
Today we take a look an official guide, to NBA JAM TE, or Tournament Edition if you're a pretensious asshole.
You may think that NBA Jam is just a game where you mash three button, but you're so totally wrong dude. The official player's guide laughs at how fucking wrong you are, with your perceived grasp on NBA Jam TE.
See? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out a player with a lower dunk rating will have less spectacular dunks. What an asshole you are for thinking differently. The official player's guide thinks so little of your pre-conceived notions on dunking, it decided to make a superfluous rocket scientist reference to remind you where your bread was buttered.
We're skipping several pages here, because I felt like it.
Next up is the player bios, which were interesting. The official player's guide is alternately full of praise, and scorn for some players. Like your alcoholic father that told you you'd never amount to shit, until 30 years later on his deathbed, he tells you how proud he was when you used to beat up handicapped kids in high school.
Horace Grant was clearly the favorite of the player's guide. Aside from a snide remark about his three point shooting, the guide feels you should be more like Horace Grant, and will compare your lackluster life to his at every Thanksgiving.
Next up is Charles Oakley. Oak is clearly inferior to Horace, but the player's guide keeps going back to Oak, despite his violent temper, and tendency to pie face people.
Finally, we end things with Terry Mills. The player's guide secretly resents Terry for having to drop out of high school to raise him, so every Christmas the guide likes to show the picture of Terry getting his shot blocked, while being punched in the sack.
If there's anything you take from this, remember that you'll never be as good as Horace, you fucking disgrace you.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
The crap shoot here is, as you can see, there is no markers on the box to tell you which one you'll be getting. It's random, which means you have about a 1-in-10 chance of total disappointment.
LOOK! DONKEY KONG! SUPER MARIO! LINK! BALLOON FIGHT! How can any of this go wrong? Total awesomeness in every box!
... Except for mine. It god damn figures. I get the perhaps least exciting one in the group. That's not to say that I dislike the game, but Jesus H. Christ, there isn't anything exciting about a guy in a blue parka. Except for the fact that he is beating a bird to death with a hammer. These are still REALLY awesome for any Nintendophile like myself.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IN38_Qo3YA <--- YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE THING! COMPLETE WITH SOUND!
Thursday, March 01, 2007
10. Final Fantasy XII (PS2)
Final Fantasy games are a big deal. When one hits, you know it. FFXII was of little exception. Although there was a different kind of calamity about this one. Square-Enix must have decided a change was in order. Instead of the tried and true method of the RPG standard turn based action, it happens in this weird, semi-real time kind of battle. Hell, if you really want to, you could even damn near have the game play itself for you. FFXII is a beautiful game, with a very well written story. But to say it was simply disappointing is only scratching the surface. It's still great though, for what it is. But as a Final Fantasy game? It will never rank in the top 5.
9. NEW Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo DS)
Nerds everywhere have waited years for this game. Take Super Mario Bros. 3, throw in some Super Mario Bros. 1 and Super Mario 64, and you've got NEW Super Mario Bros. There is a problem though. Yeah, it's a Mario game. Run, jump, don't fall, and squish the Goomba. But it has little heart. The quirkiness of the Mario genre almost feels force fed. It doesn't have that feel as you would expect from a Mario game. It's great, but the levels are fairly tame and lack any REAL design. They are almost like levels some guy on the internet created for his online Mario knockoff. With all that said, this is still an amazingly fun game that can really leave you reaching out for a fix of Mario. Let's hope we get a sequel.
8. Dragon Quest Heroes:Rocket Slime (Nintendo DS)
A game that I never thought of playing. I like RPGs, but it wouldn't have surprised me if I had passed up this game all together. Honestly, and I don't like to admit this, but I decided on playing this game based on hearing them talk about it on an IGN Game Scoop Podcast. This game is adorable. It's a quirky RPG adventure that is in vain of The Legend of Zelda series. It's cute, it's funny (especially the shocked expression Rocket gives quite often...), and it's just fun. Plus it has tank battles. Using yourself or your friends as tank ammunition is hilarious enough on it's own. The tank battles are some of the most intense battles I've had in a handheld RPG ever.
7. Bully (PS2)
Jack Thompson is rolling over in his grave. Well, at least I wish he was. This game will apparently lead to thousands of deaths in America alone. I mean, as we speak, some kid is plotting on training with a Hobo to kick some guys ass right now. This game is Grand Theft Auto Lite. It's an open playing field where the main area of attraction is your school campus. I guess you play as a bully, even though there are pricks in the school worse than you. It's just good, juvenile fun without hooker holes.
6. Elite Beat Agents (DS)
Music. I genre I love apparently. I mean, for whatever reason there seems to be a music game that is always topping lists these days. Including my own. Frequency, Guitar Hero, hell, I'm even a fan of those Karaoke Revolution games. This is an interesting take on the genre. You are basically male cheerleaders that help people get through difficult times in their lives by dancing and singing an EXTREMELY eclectic group of songs, from Deep Purple to Madonna, they've got the bases covered here.
5. Tetris DS (Nintendo DS)
It's Tetris. It has an NES theme. It's Online. That is all.
4. Wii Sports (Wii)
Holy Jesus H. Christ. I figured Wii Sports would be a fun game. Just look at screen shots, how bad could it really be? I find this game funny for one particular reason. It doesn’t take much movement to play the games, but when Tennis comes up, you’re on your feet chasing the ball down like you are really on a court. Thusly making you look like a total jackass. Wii Sports has a funny way of making everyone want to get in on the action. My dad hasn’t played a video since the original Gran Turismo on the Playstation, and yet he asks me to hook the thing up so he can play some golf and bowling. Good job Nintendo.
3. Okami (PS2)
Clover Studios is/was/is going to be again a great game company. They stay sort of under the radar. People don’t recognize the name, they made some great games too. Viewtiful Joe is an amazing game. But their true masterpiece is Okami. Stripped down, without the wacky premise, the game is a strikingly similar to an N64/Cube/Wii Legend of Zelda game. It’s an action adventure RPG. You are a wolf god, and you defeat your enemies with the power of a paint brush. Okay, that sounds gay, but you don’t know if you haven’t played it. There is something disturbingly beautiful about painting a line on the screen that cuts your enemies in half.
2. Guitar Hero 2 (PS2)
Guitar Hero was my Number 1 game of 2005. It had a lot going for it. Awesome tracks, and an awesome controller to go with it. Guitar Hero 2 would have been the single most anticipated game of the year if it weren’t for the fact that Nintendo and Sony were launching consoles the following month of it’s release, and Nintendo was bring Zelda with them. Guitar Hero 2 improved upon some of the mechanics, making some of the more hand warping moves easier to pull off. Plus the soundtrack is right on par with the previous release, featuring some of my all time favorite songs like Free Bird and Carry On Our Wayward Son. It’s just as awesome now as it was a year ago.
1. Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess (Wii)
The Gamecube failed to launch with a legit Mario game. And it never even really got one either. Sure, it launched with Luigi’s Mansion, but that just doesn’t cut it. The Nintendo failed again without a Mario title at launch, but they made up for it big time. Nintendo’s newest console, the Wii, hit shelves with a game that had long since been considered a Gamecube game, but Nintendo stepped it up a bit, added some fantastic Wii Remote capabilities, and made the best game of the year. Period. I don’t want to be on of “those guys”, but Twilight Princess may actually be on of the best games in almost ten years, only being beat out by Ocarina of Time. Seriously. This game is worth price of admission alone. Already have a Gamecube and can get the game for that? Fuck you. Buy the Wii anyways. You’re an asshole thinking the ‘Cube version is an acceptable substitution.
Honorable Mentions: Brain Age/Big Brain Academy, Dead Rising, Lost Planet, Metroid Prime Hunters, Clubhouse Games, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, Black, Star Fox Command, Final Fantasy III. There are plenty others that I'm probably forgetting, but you get the point.