Monday, December 24, 2012

Die Hard (NES)

Buy yourself a copy or add your name to be notified here!

Here we go again: the holiday season! You've only got a few days left to wrap those gifts, gang! In order to take your mind off of the holiday doldrums, here's a game that is very peripherally related to Christmas. For some reason that I can't fathom, there really aren't that many games appropriate for the holidays. Aside from the bible games on the Nintendo and the occasional PC game hack or add-on that adds Santa hats to everything from Lemmings to Team Fortress snipers - there really isn't much in the Christmas game department. So here I am plumbing the limited well of Die Hard games to celebrate our snowy season!

So when we last left our grizzled hero John McClane: he was trudging through the original trilogy of Die Hard flicks in 1996's "Die Hard Trilogy" for the Playstation. A game that I recommended only based on the relatively low price point and the fact that you get 3 different games in 1 which was a novel idea and you could tell that the programmers really tried with that game. That game didn't hold up over the years but the NES is timeless, right? Surely this game should hold up much better than the pixelly, polygonal mess of sludgy Playstation-era gaming.

It's no mystery that movie licensed games are hit-or-miss and perhaps no system has more misses than the NES. Lethal Weapon, Total Recall, Terminator, Jaws, Rambo, Platoon, Friday the 13th: these are all games that I hold some quirky nostalgia for, but are ultimately terrible cash-ins. That being said, any of the Capcom Disney games were usually a success and Taito did a decent job with the Hannah Barbera stuff. Hell, even Willow was decently executed. So the question is: can Activision do what LJN, Bandai, or Sony Imagesoft were unable to do? Can they actually make a true-to-cinema representation of Die Hard?


and No.

...and figure out what this buffoon is actually trying to say!
Ok, let's get this right out of the way because it's necessary to put this game into context. This game is hard. I'm not just talking "Nintendo hard," this game is an unrelenting hail of bullets coming straight at your face. When I do these reviews I usually either tackle games that I've already beaten or gotten far enough along that I could easily give you guys and gals the gist of the entire experience. This game is so taxing that I have to admit - I had no choice but to call in the Genie. That's right: I'm a cheap, tawdry, tart in a pink tu-tu. A filthy, no good, down-and-out cheater. You may not respect me in the morning, but at least I got past the first floor. Let's continue.
So many objects on the screen that my NES is having a seizure!
Stylistically speaking, this game is very reminiscent of Alien Syndrome meets Gauntlet. A top-down perspective shooter where it's you versus 40 terrorists. The objectives are such: defeat all of the 40 terrorists, free the hostages on the thirtieth floor, knock out the security computer on floor 5 and defeat Hans the mastermind. So far, so good. The game takes many elements from the film and doesn't add a lot of useless, nonsensical fluff like most movie and tv tie-in games. There aren't pacman ghosts, spiders, dragons or anything that John McClane wouldn't have reasonably faced in the movie. Broken glass is one of the only main obstacles outside of gun-toting thugs and even that has a connection to the film.

                                              God Bless Youtube. Video by user ccnipper

So overall, one could argue that the game is a decent film tie-in based on the relative accuracy, the decently rendered cutscene graphics, and the fast action. However, the difficulty level of the game really mars the enjoyment level. Enemies pop out of dark corners from seemingly nowhere and will fire off bullets in all directions like a "bullet hell" style Shmup. They have a seemingly endless supply of bullets and have no trouble hitting you with most of them. YOU on the other hand are saddled with being able to shoot in awkward 90 or 45 degree angles with no real fluidity or finesse. This is predictable and expected of an NES game, but why can't the enemies be saddled with similar restraints. Or better yet, why can't the easy mode be easier? One of the only main differences between the two modes of easy or difficult is the randomization of floors. There are plenty of powerups in the game that can heal your hitpoints or foot power, but getting past the enemies and to a vending machine or medkit can be a struggle in and of itself - coupled with the fact that any corner that isn't in your immediate periphery is blacked out until you reach it.

Monkey statues = awesome
Another main downfall of the game is that the replayability level is relatively low. Unlike similarly oriented action games such as Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Alien Syndrome, Smash TV, or The Immortal: there's just not much variety waiting around the next corner. One relatively stale office room or boardroom after another, filled with tough to kill, generic bad guys, and no real room traps aside from the ability to accidentally plummet out of the windows or run into some broken glass and cut your tootsies up. In all of the other aforementioned games, there's danger, excitement, surprises around the corner. Here, there's a bearded bad guy movie cliche' on a two-way radio that gives you the heads up that more nondescript goons are coming to drain the last of your limited ammo and health.

But all of the gauze in the world won't cure his athlete's foot!
Overall, Die Hard is a reasonably successful game. If a challenge is what you're looking for, you will get that in spades. It doesn't have the deepest plot in the world, but neither did the movie. As Todd Snider once said in his song "Tension," "After the bad guy killed off all of the underdeveloped characters, the good guy put a bullet right through his head." The graphics are definitely serviceable, the music is a little grating at times but not a tragedy of Color Dreams proportions, and the fact that the game sticks relatively close to the film without veering off into the no man's land of nonsense game developer fantasies (I'm looking at YOU Nightmare on Elm Street) all add up to a licensed game that isn't perfect but definitely has promise. It's better than Dick Tracy, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Gilligan's Island, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Karate Kid, Best of the Best, and Platoon, so that's saying something. It's a bit on the pricier side (being an uncommon title) but would be a good action game to have for any NES collector. Happy Holidays and Yippie Ki Yay, Lukie Gamers!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Friday the 13th (NES)

Friday_the_13th_NESSPOILER: You can’t destroy him because he’ll always come back in the sequel.

In the spirit of the season I decided that I would try out playing some licensed horror games. I thought to myself, “Hey Friday the 13th was a pretty good movie I’m sure they probably made some halfway decent games!” Well I was wrong, horribly… horribly… wrong. I played Friday the 13th for the Nintendo Entertainment System which was published by LJN studios which apparently is a pretty loathed publishing company. I can definitely see merit in disliking games published by LJN as I can safely say that Friday the 13th is an objectively bad game just like a vast majority of other titles put out by LJN. I personally am a big fan of the horror genre and I like to try and play as many games in that genre as possible everything from Alone in the Dark to Amnesia the Dark Descent but this game is something completely different. Very rarely do I find video games bad in the same sense as bad movies but just like how the movie Insidious was an awful sham of a horror film Friday the 13th for the NES is a terrible sham of a horror game.

And live with the memory of having played some of the worst games to ever exist.
In Friday the 13th you play as one of six possible Camp Counselors George, Mark, Paul, Laura, Debbie, and Crissy. Any of those names ring a bell? No? That’s because none of them are characters from the movie this game is supposedly based off. The objective of the game is to succeed at not dying for three entire days and nights all the while having to prevent Jason from killing the counselors and the children residing in the camp. In total you have access to six counselors to play as who effectively act as your lives as anytime you die you can just switch to another counselor. After all six are gone you lose the game. There are multiple areas you can travel through each with its own gimmick like how left is right when traveling on the main road, the interiors of cabins are third person dungeon crawlers and how the forest is a ridiculous maze that you should never even consider entering. In order to "win" the game you will have to enter the cabins at some point and you will have to travel along the road throwing rocks at zombies the entire way, but the forest you can totally avoid and I recommend this highly. In several attempts at play-throughs the main reason I lost was because I tried to use the forest as a short cut to get to another area but wound up getting lost  every time as each area looks identical which is a pretty big problem considering the entire thing is broken up into many sub areas that link into one another.

Friday the 13th_009

Honestly the kids in the cabins the woods were as good as dead anyway.

I'll give the game credit in that the controls are fairly responsive but the gameplay itself is horrendous. The player has two different ways of avoiding being horribly murdered by the hordes of undead, a jump, and the ability to throw rocks these would be great if they were useful. Now bear with me for a moment. One would assume that its hard to flub something as simple as giving the player the ability to jump and attack enemies but LJN messed that up. The starting weapon is a rock that does barely any damage and makes fighting zombies let alone Jason an impossibility as it does so little damage and lacks any sort of stun ability that it might as well be the cane in Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde. The jumping despite being fairly responsive is pretty useless as the zombies operate on Ghosts and Ghouls logic where they will pop-up underneath you and in proximity of wherever you land after jumping. Once you get inside a house everything changes into a round of dungeon crawling ala Wizardry where you navigate cabins and pick up and use items in order to further objectives and prevent Jason from killing you.


George + Knife = Happy Face? Maybe he’s the real killer.

I’m going to level with you. This game is so god awful I wouldn’t recommend it by any stretch of the imagination to anyone but a collector or the hardiest of retro gamers. It is likely that there are some features that I may not have discovered during my playtime of Friday the 13th despite having played the game to completion once and having played to failure a plethora of times having admitted this I want to assure you all that I found this game to be terrible in all regards, but it is playable. If you try hard enough and you make sure you draw out a map as you travel through the forest or the cabins then your chances of beating the game grow exponentially. I’d recommend that if Jason pops up as you are traveling from cabin to cabin that you run as the likelihood of you beating him without having picked up the knife is pretty low. Remember kids, LJN is bad and they should feel bad.


Especially because they apparently can’t comprehend that animals aren’t blue.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Normy's Beach Babe-O-Rama (Genesis)

Buy it NOW! If you're man enough...

Anyone who's been following my game reviews up until this point would notice that I really dig the obscure, oddball, under-the-radar, so-bad-they're-awesome types of games. After all, I even recommended Power Piggs of The Dark Age, which by all accounts is a less than perfect platformer with a ridiculously oddball premise. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that I have rented and owned some very goofy games in my time and the Sega Genesis kept me busy with plenty of strange games with off-the-wall plots. So if I tell you that there's actually a Sega Genesis game called "Normy's Beach Babe-O-Rama"; it should not only come as little surprise, but that I've certainly played it before.

Back in 1994, Electronic Arts released Normy's Beach Babe-O-Rama. The premise is this: you play as Normy the beach bum who has to travel through space and time (with the help of your trusty magic suntan lotion - don't ask...) to save all of the hot beach babes from space aliens. Oh, and your beach is going to get turned into a Toxic Waste Dump. In the immortal words of Duke Nukem: "Nobody steals our chicks...and lives!" The game is a standard platformer (that plays much like Bubsy) where you can run, jump, and attack with wacky weapons like a boxing glove mallet, a chicken (I kid you not,) a beaver,  and other crazy items. You travel to different time periods/locales such as BC-era Jersey, Medieval London, and even travel through Hell (with the cutsier, less offensive title of "Heck.")
Get Away From Her, You...err...Mean ol' Aliens.
For a relatively unknown game by small-ish developer Realtime Associates, the graphics are surprisingly good. They fall somewhere between the aforementioned Power Piggs of the Dark Ages (mostly in style,) Awesome Possum, and the Beavis and Butthead games (of which Realtime Associates made the Super NES version!) Funny and fluid animations, colorful characters and great use of shading - this game does a good job of representing the cartoonier graphics the Sega Genesis was known for. The music and sound effects, however, is just a little more lackluster. The intro music is actually well done, but the level songs are a little less developed - just chirpy synth music that kind of gets grating after a while along with the distorted sound effects. Sonic the Hedgehog this ain't. That being said, I've heard a lot worse sound from games with bigger budgets so I'll give it a C+ for effort.
We are the Knights that go - meh?
One of the only main complaints I have with the game outside of the sound is the controls. Sadly, they are a little stiff. The game is far from unplayable, but the controls feel a little slippery/imprecise (ie: Taito's Flintstones/Jetsons games for the NES, the aforementioned Bubsy, etc.) Sometimes you'll swear that you cleared a jump but find yourself just shy of it. The run mechanic sometimes got me into more trouble than it helped, but overall the game is very playable. I actually want to hand it to the developers for their clever weapon choices and the effectiveness of the attack. I often didn't expect my hit to connect against an enemy and it did: which is more than I can say for a lot of other obscure, lower-budget platformers.
Power Pigg? Wrong game, buddy!
This game is basically one part Leisure Suit Larry, two parts Bubsy and a sprinkling of Power Piggs and Green Dog for good measure. The graphics and humor are the high points of this game and I recommend it to anyone who likes slightly obscure and totally bonkers games for the Genesis. The controls and sound are passable but wont wow you - but if you're looking for a fun platformer that doesn't require a lot of upper-level thinking, this is the game for you.
"Come Sail Away! Come Sail Away! Come Sail Away With Me!"

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Terrifying Terrible Terrors: Ren & Stimpy: Buckaroo$ (NES)

It was a Halloween night, much like this one.
A horrible night for a curse.
But that's exactly what it had in store for me.

I was around 13 years old. I'll be the first to admit - I was starting to get "a little old" for trick-or-treating. However, my little brother really wanted to get his sugar fix and my folks wanted me to take him around a couple of blocks in our neighborhood. Most of my friends ditched me to go to Jeff Davis' Halloween party anyway. His folks were loaded and they always threw these ridiculous Halloween parties with a make-shift haunted house in the backyard, bobbing for apples, games, pizza and more. He also happened to be the knob who made out with my ex-girlfriend after second period P.E. I hate Jeff Davis.

So instead, I'm hauling my little brother (dressed as Felix the Cat) around my neighborhood.

Oh well, I guess I could steal a few of his Reese's peanut butter cups while he's sleeping anyway.

Sadly, it was beginning to look like a bust. We got out a little late and the first two attack squadrons of kids picked the flesh off of the rotting carcass of candy and we were stuck with the tootsie rolls, smarties and dum dums. Oh, and those ridiculous Mexican honey wafer candies that get stuck in your cavities. I could read the disappointment on my brother's greasepaint smeared face and figured it was time to cut our 5 block neighborhood tour down to 3. That meant a couple more houses and we were going to head back from the battle, tail between our legs and head down in defeat. Cryin' to mama through cloudy, black and white cat tears.

Suddenly, there we were. Right smack dab in front of Jeff Davis' house.

Aside from the aforementioned treasure trove of Halloween goodness within and behind his house, his front yard was decked out like a Party City on steroids. Animatronic zombies spring to life from shallow graves, Bats hanging from strings that would make "Squeeeeeeeek Squeeeeeeek" noises when you stepped close enough, his dad; dressed like Leatherface, would run around the yard with a chainless chainsaw, revving it up and scaring the sweet baby Jesus out of any unlucky kids who happened to get to close to the front porch and reach into the plastic pumpkin labeled "Take One and Leave!"

My brother was a petrified stone that I had to roll up the driveway, knowing damn good and well that the Davis' had King Size Snickers and Reese's 4 packs in that plastic pumpkin. I was NOT going to go home empty handed from this otherwise depressing jaunt around our neighborhood. Even if it WAS candy that had been in the grubby, filthy, evil hands of the Davis family. Screw it. I'm gonna take FIVE and bolt.

However, no sooner did I get past the bats, the cobwebs, the cackling witch in the rocking chair and daddy beef jerky face with his functionless yard utensil than did Jeff himself show up at the front door, dressed in a vampire cape and a Bill Clinton mask.

"Hey - 'Sup?"
"err - my little brother is going around trick or treating and..."
"So do you wanna come in?" He asked.
"Nah - he's getting tired and..."
"Hey, wait a minute..."

Jeff stepped away and left me to my odd, awkward, teenage shame.
There I was, at the house of my nemesis and my friends were clearly having more fun than I was. To top it off, I'm waiting at his stoop begging for candy for my brother. God, I hate Jeff Davis.

"Here ya go!"
He plops a handful of candy into my brother's bag and something square and made of hard plastic into mine.
"Happy Halloween, Chris!"
"Yeah...Happy....Happy." I muttered.
We headed home and the entire time I was completely and absolutely confused. "What the hell did Jeff stick in my bag anyway?" I wondered. My brother was certainly in a much better mood as he thumbed through the bottom of his bag, doing a rough count on his spoils of war.

"Wow, Chris! THREE Snicka's Baas!"
"Yeah, that's great Joe..."
I couldn't help but be eaten up by curiosity...what was it? What could it be?

When we got home I ran upstairs to my room without so much as giving my parents a cursory "hey...sup."
I dumped my bag on my bed and out plopped a small mountain of various crap candy and the mystery item that Jeff handed me.

It was a Nintendo game!

"Wahhhh! Man, that's!"

Not just any game, mind you - a game based on one of my favorite cartoons of all time: Ren and Stimpy! It was Ren and Stimpy: Buckaroos! Maybe that Jeff Davis wasn't such a jerk after all. I mean, sure he kissed my girlfriend but girls come and go - Nintendo games are forever!

I pushed it into my console and started it up with pride.

"Ehh...ok. That KINDA sounds like the theme to Ren and Stimpy."

It did too. Sort of. Only it was garbled up and half of the notes were in the wrong key. It was kind of like when someone is paid to do a "sound-a-like" for a commercial. Sure it's not ACTUALLY that U2 song you've heard all summer, but pretty close. That sort of thing.

"Hey! A cutscene - cool!"

Yup, this game made you a bunch of money,THQ. But at what cost?!

It was sort of, kind of, not at all like the cartoon. The characters were vague representations of Ren and Stimpy, but almost looked too clean in their lines. It's kind of odd saying that they look "too good" and that's a complaint - but it kind of is. They weren't edgy or wacky at all. Where's the oddball close-ups? I know that Nintendo games are capable of this sort of thing. And why is the dialogue so stilted? You can always tell when a team of programmers are writing a licensed video game instead of the original writing team because it always sounds like an alien's approximation of what a character would say. Just putting in the line "You eediot!" doesn't quite capture the Je ne sais quoi of Ren - it just sounds like your moronic cubical-mate at work doing a poor Billy West impression.

"Oh....Oh no!"

Now the horror commences.  The game has started. My mission is to play as Stimpy and to somehow launch Ren over the warp machine and to the end of the level. The room is very small, so this should be a piece of cake, right? I mean, they give you practically all of the items you need right at the jump.

"Jump...oh that jump!"

That's right. Neither white men nor Stimpys can jump. Stimpy turns into a slimy wet noodle every time you hit the jump button and he spastically falls short of wherever you want him to land. Sometimes you can get him to vault up to the power-ups and items above him, but mostly you'll just watch him flop around the room like a dying fish. Like a fuzzy red, bloated, white bellied, dead-eyed bass. Ren just keeps pacing back and forth, stopping only occasionally to have a Tourettes fit and start pounding his head.

Wait - wait...What's happening here? That's not right.

And then one of two things happens:
A.) You have a pickle of a time figuring out what to do and accidentally wind up in and out of the teleportation machine yourself without getting Ren to move anywhere.
B.) You launch Ren over the teleportation machine, enter it - then eventually come out to accidentally launch his Chihuahua butt back OVER the machine once you reach the other side.

Either way, you're going to have to endure the space minigame more than once. This is about where I shut the game off every single time.

"Sweet mother of Mario - what is going on?! Why does everything control like it was underwater and I had my hands chopped off for stealing an apple in Saudi Arabia?"

It's like playing Gradius blind. And with no thumbs.
The space minigame is nothing short of an atrocity. Do you want to know why that Jerry Lewis movie "The Day the Clown Cried" has never been released? It's just an endless loop of this crappy space shooter. I kid you not, I have played Color Dreams/Bunch games that were better programmed, with sharper controls than this. The stage is pedestrian, the graphics are ugly (but not in that kitchy, Ren and Stimpy way - just gross,) it's repetitive and I've honestly played D-level Atari games with 100% more replay value than this monstrosity. If you ever want to replicate this experience without having to subject yourself to eye-strain, huff a bag of paint and bash your head with a brick - then chase squirrels into oncoming traffic.

On second thought, don't do that.

Just that moment, I ripped the game from the console and flung it against the wall. The plastic cover split into two pieces and it lay defeated on my floor. I made sure to stomp on it a few times and then fling it out of my second story window just to make sure it was dead.

"I hate you Jeff Davis" were the last words I said that whole evening. I went to bed without even stealing a single candy bar from my brother's bag...

...Ok, so none of that actually happened. But I could only imagine that would have been my reaction to receiving Ren and Stimpy if I had not been properly warned before that it's more than a little awful. That being said, if you're a hardcore collector like me, it belongs somewhere in your collection. Preferably stacked behind a bunch of far better games where you can't really reach it unless you had to pull a handful of much better titles out first to get to it. You'll be so tired and frustrated that you'll settle for Castlevania III or Mystery Quest instead of this game. That being said, if you want to add it to your collection: just add it to your wanted list on Lukie Games here!

The SNES game is different, and while I won't call it a masterpiece either - it's at least better than this one!

Happy Halloween!

Of Ghostly Ghasts, and Video Gaming Specters

Full disclosure, I was very uncertain whether or not I would post this as it doesn’t directly involve video games. This is a true story as I did experience the following events and my parents and friends definitely know I complained about at least one of them while keeping the other one to myself for obvious reasons that involve staying out of the nut house. So in the spirit of it being Halloween I present to you the story of a potential ghost thing I encounter when I was young.

Growing up the game room in my household was always the basement and to this day the game consoles are still placed in the basement at my parents homes. When I was nine my father brought home a PlayStation that had been given to him by my Uncle who never managed to hold onto games or game systems for very long. After bringing it home my dad and I went to the nearest Funcoland and picked up Gex and a few other games. That night we both sat down and played it but from then on it would just be me spending several hours a day in the basement playing the PlayStation or the NES that we had setup.
One day my parents had gone out taking my sister with them and I decided the best possible way of spending this time would be by huddling up near the TV and spending the entire time playing Rayman. One of the few things I remember most vividly from my childhood is this moment, in the middle of playing Rayman I began to hear my name whispered, “Michael… Michael… Michael…” It was a female voice that I didn’t particularly recognize. My first reaction was to look around the room to see if anyone was hiding like if my parents had come home and were trying to trick me (that’s a normal thing for parents to do, right?) I also knew the neighbors at the time and none of them were named Michael or any variation of that. For the record the way my house is setup in order to get from the basement to the first floor you have to pass the laundry room which you can see into from the hallway leading to the staircase. When I became fed up with searching for who may be hiding in the room I got up and began to make my way to the stairs as I looked in the direction of the laundry room for about a split-second I saw what appeared to be a person (but I didn’t get a good enough look to catch any discerning features), just staring at me, then as soon as I saw it it disappeared. I ran back into the basement and refused to go near the stairs until my mom came down to force me to eat dinner and for the first time in my young life I was more then happy to eat my damn vegetables.
When I was eleven a similar instance happened, I was spending time playing video games in the Basement and got so into my gaming session that I decided I’d sleep on the couch in order to maximize my gaming time. Around 11PM I passed out until I was awoken by the light of the TV’s static as somehow it had managed to turn itself on. So I tried shutting it off using the remote to no avail, I presumed the batteries were dead and went and tried repeatedly to use the power button on the television to turn it off this tactic failed just as much as the previous and I chose the most drastic option and unplugged the TV from the wall. It remained on. It was at this point I began to get a bit unnerved, as I backed away from the TV and went to gather my blanket and pillow under the impression that I would just get the hell out of there and hope everything went back to normal at a later date I heard it. I heard “Michael” whispered ever so softly. I just resigned myself at that point and buried myself under my blanket and in the cushions of the couch trying to fortify myself from whatever was doing this. I eventually fell asleep and when I woke up everything was back to the normal, the TV was off and unplugged and I was very much alive. I considered it a victory at the time.
Fast forward to when I’m sixteen, by this point I was forced to move into the basement armed with a with a PlayStation 2, GameCube, and NES and I made the best of a fairly shitty situation. One day during the summer the basement grew suddenly cold or more specifically the area around where my game systems and TV were. Even though every other part of the house was being kept at a nice 70-80 degrees that one spot far away from any vent but right next to a window which should have been oozing in heat into the house. I attempted to rectify the situation by opening the window and the backyard door but the spot remained quite cold while the rest of the room slowly grew warmer. This wouldn’t be an isolated incident and it would occur randomly throughout that summer, which led me to believe that it wasn’t just a place where all the cold air from the house was collecting. One night during early September this occurred and I initially thought nothing of it as I slowly grew accustomed to it over the summer but that night I heard something that sounded familiar. I heard my name whispered ever so softly, “Michael” only this time it was accompanied by a full sentence, “Michael where are you?”. I panicked and wondered if there was some sort of stalker in my house so I grabbed my crowbar that I kept under my bed (seemed like a pretty normal thing at the time to have at the time) then I heard it again only it sounded closer but I could make out that it was a woman's voice, one that I had never heard before. I was sitting on the couch facing the television and I thought I noticed movement behind the couch through the reflection of the television. I leapt up and looked behind the couch brandishing my crowbar ready to attack. There was nothing. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw something white move towards the laundry room, I rushed towards the laundry room and just before I reached it I saw what looked like a womans’ head poke out from the side and stare at me then duck back in. I rushed into the room to face whomever was trying to scare me and was greeted with nothing but an some dirty laundry and cleaning supplies. At that point I abandoned all hope of understanding what had happened and simply moved on while remaining wary of any subtle changes in the basement.
I have never encountered these phenomenon since then. Once I graduated High School I moved out and never looked back until recently when I was forced to return due to financial reasons (read: I’m bad with money). It wasn’t until a week ago while I was sitting in the basement of the house I grew up in and just remembered all of the weirdness that occurred down here. As I’m writing this I feel slightly unnerved having experienced things that I can’t quite explain, I’d like to chalk it all up to psychosis but that doesn’t explain the physical situations like the TV or the cold spots. Maybe this is all in my head or maybe I’m just a pretty unlucky guy who happens to live in a room with an undead roommate who doesn’t understand common courtesy. I could probably market that idea.

Hypno's Lullaby


Safe and happy you will be
Away from your homes, now let us run
With Hypno, you'll have so much fun

Oh, little children, please don't cry
Hypno wouldn't hurt a fly
Be free, be free be free to play
Come down in my cave with me to stay

Oh, little children, please don't squirm
Those ropes, I know, will hold you firm
Hypno tells you this is true
But sadly, Hypno lied to you

Oh, little children, you mustn't leave
Your families for you will grieve
Their minds will unravel at the seams
Allowing me to haunt their dreams

But surely, all of you must know
That it is time for you to go
Oh, little children, you weren't clever

N̏ͥ̉͝ͅo͙͖̞͇̬͓̖ͪ̾ͦ̈̔̓̎ͪw̲͗̋̈̚͡͡ ̶̡̖͇̦̮̜̻̳̣͉̔̊͑͒̀ȳ̢̱̪̝̪̮͙̪̆͑ͭͩ̚o̮̰ͯ̂͂ͮ̌͊̆͞ŭ̖̻͙̯̯̩̺͍̹̊̈̋̑ͤ͠ ̵̶̤͕̜̅͂͗̓͐͛̋́ͅś̥̙̲̻̘ͫ̿ͮ̋h̪͚̦ͫ̒͌ͥ͑̐ä̤̩̰͓̘́ͯl̸̤͉̖̣͕͔͎͆̅͐̍͗̇̃ͦ́l̡̲̤͉͕̯͚̟̝͗͂ͩ̉̇ͨ͛ͤͮ ̯̞̺͍̱̫̂̊̌̑̇͂ͬ́͞s̺̱̼̳̳̯̠̟̻ͥ̏̅ͨt̔ͨ͗̐̇͆̎̎̿͏̴̘͎a̸̼̅̈̒̈́ͩͬ̿ẙ̹͚͓̭͈͉͕̽̓̀̎͒͂̊ ͎͖̙ͧ̈́̓͑ͤͥw̴̖͚͍̥̥̥̫̄͌̔͟͟i̶̮͓̙̜̓̂ͦͬͬ͑͘ͅt͗̔̎ͨ͏̴̝͚̮̬̹ḩ̢̻̝͕̌̋̆͋̆̓̍̚ ̷̱̖̘͓͈̠͈̥͙̀͊͌ͦͥ̕͘m̖̫̹̮̻̣̯͇͑ͦ͒̎̊̾ͦͪ͗ͅe͒ͥ͐͑͛͗̂̚͏̤̟͓͕͎̳̝͕̯̕ ͕̞͔̥̦̮͖̌͒͊̐̓ͬ̕͞͠f̼̪̞̲͉̼͇̣͚͒ͭ̎͛̉o̎͐̊̅͋ͭͯ̾͛҉̱͈̼͚͚̲͖r̂̀͗ͨ̔̌ͬ̏͢҉͈͟ẽ̸̸̳͙͈̖͖ͭ͆̒̎͊̅v̖̩̳͕͓̩̝͐̿̓̂͋̊ͮ̀͘e̦͔̱̘̤̮͆r̵ͮ̑ͨ̍ͥ͒̚ͅ ̺̻̫̪͋͊̚


picture sources.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rock 'N Roll Racing (SNES, Sega Genesis)

World's worst Gwar cover band. Buy the game HERE or HERE!

When I was a kid, the combination of "rock 'n roll" and "video games" seemed like such a novel and awesome combination! Like peanut butter-and-jelly (and the even more awesome peanut butter-and-chocolate,) it would seem like the ultimate mash-up on paper. Keep in mind,  I was roughly 8 years old in 1993 - which made me too young to know about the mediocre Journey game for the Atari and it would be roughly a year before the horrific Aerosmith game Revolution X would puke all over my Super NES.  Naturally, a young Chris should have been worry-free in renting a game called "Rock 'n Roll Racing" for his Super Nintendo. Sure, racing games that don't feature either motorcyclists hitting each other with chains or Mario chucking shells at his brother don't tend to appeal to me - but this game has rock music and a groovy sci-fi backdrop. So the question remains: was it a great game and does it hold up now?

A tiny bit of history first (...and I get all of my historical information from Google and Wikipedia!) Rock 'n Roll Racing was developed by Silicon and Synapse. Ya know - that tiny upstart that became Blizzard frickin' Entertainment - one of the biggest game studios today. Published by Interplay in 1993, it is actually the spiritual successor (or perhaps follow-up) to the SNES game RPM Racing from 91-92. RPM racing in itself was a reboot of Racing Destruction Set from EA for the Commodore 64. So that makes Rock 'N Roll Racing actually "RPM Racing II." Err...or "Racing Destruction Set III." I prefer to call it "RC Pro Am III: This Time With More Space Mutants!"

Early 90's Battle-Racing games are so unique!
I would love to break down the excellent plot to you guys & gals, but there isn't one. The gist is this: you control one of six main racers (with two additional hidden ones) around racetracks in a top-down, isometric view, and proceed to blow up, trap, smash, outrun and bump your competition off the road.  Oh, and it has something to do with intergalactic racing. And Rock 'n Roll. You control racers such as Tarquinn, Katarina, Snake...wait, Snake? I'm sorry sir - there is only one Snake and that's Snake Plissken. And yeah, Solid Snake - but he's just modeled after Mr. Badass Kurt Russell himself.

no caption necessary

I digress...

One of the hidden characters in this game is none other than Olaf from the Lost Vikings! You can find my review for that wonderful Silicon and Synapse game here. Each of the characters differ by having a particular bonus strength in different aspects of racing, such as cornering or top acceleration, etc. I have to admit - they look an awful lot like characters from the later Might and Magic games. Not exactly hardened, alien, rock 'n rollin', race car drivin' material. Nonetheless, the game's presentation should look familiar to anyone who has played RPM, or the R.C. Pro Am games for the NES.

Apparently, my space-hardened battle racer has +7 Agility!

One of the most important aspects of any racing game is how it controls - and I can safely report that it controls fairly well. The caveat being that you need to upgrade your car to get the full potential of your vehicle (which only makes sense.) At the beginning of the game (depending on who you pick) your car can sometimes slide off of the track easily or have a little difficulty staying straight. Sometimes you will find yourself picking a character who is more balanced on the road but has less acceleration: in the end though - the differences in characters are small enough that after you win a few matches and upgrade your car, it all sort of levels out. As a racing game, R&RR is successful. The excitement of racing is also helped by the frequent outbursts of the announcer. The game features voicework ala NBA Jam and it helps the atmosphere of the game. It's a little crude by today's standards, but back during its release - having voiceover work in games that weren't on the Sega CD was always a pretty impressive feat.

Joe Camel's new gig after corrupting our youth - sell them cars in a game!

So now that we know the "racing" portion of R&RR is pretty solid, how is the Rock 'n Roll? Admittedly, it's not the best selling point of the game.  Don't get me wrong, you've got great songs for racing, such as: "Radar Love" (on the Genesis version,) "Bad to the Bone, ""Paranoid," and "Highway Star." However, you would almost hope that since the game was being pitched with licensed Rock music as the key feature, that there would be a few more songs. I know that the Super NES and Genesis had a finite amount of space to hold all of that data, but you had NES games that all had unique and interesting songs for each and every level (such as Mega Man 1-6.) You can't tell me that 5-6 midi versions of rock songs was the most you could fit on a cart! What about some Motorhead, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio, Stooges, Ramones, or Van Halen? I know licensing can be a beast, but a few more songs wouldn't have killed us. I remember even when I was a kid that eventually I turned the sound off - lest I have to hear a chiptune version of Paranoid for the 400th time. It's amazing that the one selling feature of this game turned out to be its one Achilles' Heel.

I'll drive off this bridge if I have to hear "Highway Star" again...

Final thoughts? Rock 'n Roll Racing is an above average racing game for the Super NES and Sega Genesis. Being a fan of the RC Pro Am series and other racing games where shenanigans and violence are equally important to skill, this is another fun entry into the battle racing genre. Are there more accurate and overall better racing games on the Super NES? Sure. Try Top Gear 1 & 2 on for size. However, for a fun, fast way to kill a weekend, I recommend Rock 'N Roll Racing.

You may have gotten first place, but you're still no Snake Plissken!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinel of the Starry Skies (DS)

Dragon Quest IX Sentinel of the Starry Skies is, or rather was, incredibly revolutionary when it came out a few years ago as it was the first game for the Nintendo DS to have a sort of proto-spotpass mechanic where you could leave your game on and wander around your town or city “Canvassing for Guests” which can net you treasure maps, friend codes, and even rare items! In Japan this feature was so popular and so widely used it set a world record for the most amount of people playing a game over local wireless; despite the obvious success of the feature in Japan it apparently hasn’t been nearly as successful in the west due to lower population densities and the fact that the Dragon Warrior series has always been fairly niche in west. Gamestop, Bestbuy, and several other retailers setup events to remedy the problem which yielded mild success. Dragon Quest IX isn’t a one trick pony it not only boasts one unique feature it also has local and online multiplayer where you and up to three other people can wander around the entire world completely separate from one another or all together, to wrap it all up in a nice big bow the game also boasts enough features to keep you satisfied for up to 700+ hours going through the story, the post-story, exploring the world, getting all the items, and getting to know all the people of the world.
That shit be crazy.
The story of Dragon Quest IX Sentinel of the Starry Skies goes like this: You are a sentinel who’s job it is to protect a small town named Angel Falls in the Protectorate (the place where all the humans live). One day after returning the Observatory after looking after the protectorate tradgy strikes upon offering your prayers to Yggdrasil the Observatory is assaulted by many beams of light causing you and many other Sentinels to fall to the Protectorate. You come to in Angel Falls and realize that your wings are missing from there you travel the breadth of the world making friends, battling evil, and rekindling an ancient love all in order to protect the people of the protectorate.
And hanging out in inns!
Full disclosure, this game did nothing but impress me. The writing for the game is hilarious with a great use of puns and nods to existing things (like when you need to find the Encyclopedia Gittanica). As you travel the world you’ll find that not every person speaks the same as there are regional dialects and colloquialisms which makes speaking to NPC’s much more interesting then in most games. The games story is loads of fun as I found myself enjoying the many characters and twists (spoilers?) once you’ve beaten the story some of the story characters can be recruited as actual party members for exploring the post game world. I’ve mentioned the word "Post” affixed to a few words and that’s because after you beat the story the game still has hundreds of in-depth quests you can pursue which expand on history of the world, character backgrounds, or yield awesome loot.
Spikes are heroic right?
Anyone who is familiar with the Dragon Warrior franchise probably knows it best as that series where turn-based battles are all done from a first person view with enemies that have very silly names. Well Dragon Quest IX has all the silly names but none of that first person nonsense, now battles are all happen in the third dimension but retain the turn-based system. Another dropped feature was the archaic random battle feature most RPG’s still cling to as all enemies are visible in the overworld and dungeons when you are exploring and can be avoided (assuming they don’t spot you) by going around them or using a skill or item to make you temporarily invisible. In multiplayer each individual player can engage in and end battles on their own separate of other players they can also each explore different parts of the world and towns at whim which is a pretty great feature.

I mentioned earlier that the game has over 700 hours of content, the main story is about 40+ hours and the rest is side quests, post-game story quests, and item quests. If anything when you play Dragon Quest IX you at no point will be wanting for something to do as quests and adventure almost literarily ooze out of the cartridge itself. Not only is there much adventure to be had but the world is fairly open-ended, once you get past the first couple of missions you’ll be free to explore the world at your leisure and the world opens up even more over time as you get spells and items that will help you explore.
And there are King Slimes!
One key feature that I have neglected to mention was the character creation. Its fairly varied and the designs are done by Akira Toriyama who you may know from his work on DragonBall, Chrono Trigger, and Blue Dragon so the designs will look fairly similar to things you may have seen if you have played any game he’s watched or watched the animes he’s worked on.
Obviously the protagonists are Saiyans, or Sun Wukong…
You can mess around with your characters height, gender, hair and face to make the hero you’ve always wished you could be, you can also do this with your companions as you can completely design them to look however you want them to and you get to even pick their starting class. Although these aren’t Bethesda level customization features they are good enough that you can create for yourself a unique set of heroes to save the world with. All equipment also appears on the characters which means you can also alter all of a characters equipment to change their appearance to look however goofy or cool you want them to be and with the large quantities of clothing and armor options then are tons of potential looks.
Or you can leave them in pleb gear and make them all pack mules while real heroes adventure.
Dragon Quest IX is by far one of the best multiplayer RPG’s I’ve played in a while and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants not only a game with loads of story and content but for those looking for a game to play with friends (they’ll need copies of the game too). At no point in my time playing this game was a disappointed the difficulty scaling, the humor, and the story all kept me engaged straight to the end and then some.  Pick yourself up a copy, you won’t regret it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Marvel Land (Genesis)

Buy it now!

I'll be the first to admit, among the reviews that Mike and I have done here - the Sega Genesis has gone pretty unloved. Believe me when I say; it's not for lack of interesting games. The Genesis has a whole slew of lost gems and hidden treasures that need to get dug back up from obscurity and collected. My trouble often is this: "Where do I start?" Sega has had a unique (and often frustrating) knack for repackaging and re-releasing their "greatest hits" in various forms on various systems. For those of you who are younger and fairly unfamiliar with the console, a good place to start is Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the best "bang for your buck." I'll probably feature a few of those gems from the glory days of Sega in a future blog - but right now, I want to focus on another obscure title that has the look and feel of Sega's former console, the Sega Master System. The game in question? Namco's 1991 port of their 1989 arcade title: Marvel Land.

I have to admit, when I first read the title "Marvel Land" the first thing that popped in my head was that this was another lackluster superhero mash-up game ala Spiderman & X-men. After all, in the early 90's; comic book fever was still rampant and there were plenty of weaksauce superhero games. However, after seeing the cover art and finally diving into the game - I realize the makers meant "Marvel Land" to mean a place that causes awe and amazement.  In this case: the plot revolves around an amusement park called Marvel Land that is being overrun by bad guys since the evil Mole has become king. You (Prince Talmit) have to save the princess (as well as some fairies you meet along the way) and defeat the evil Mole King. Logical? No. Quirky enough to be interesting? Yes.

Plot: Save the princess. Gosh, what a novel plot device!
The gameplay is pretty standard fare if you're used to most platformers. You run around jumping from blocks to Swiss Cake Rolls (or logs...I'm not sure) and try to duck, dodge, jump on, or smash various wacky enemies in a quest to reach the end of the level and smash through a gigantic, impractically placed target. There are warp areas, special items, and various food stuffs that give you points (and enough points will rack you up an extra life or two.) There are four main levels divvied up into stages such as a rollercoaster stage, haunted house, and generic outdoor carnival stages. The enemies in this game are equal parts quirky hallucinations and psychotic fever dreams. You have pigs flying on rockets, geckos with weaponized tongues, and - I kid you not - a dominatrix rose monster.

I really wish I had a wittier caption for this...
The graphics, music, level design, and gameplay are all reminiscent of games made for the Sega Master System. I hypothesize that there might even be a good reason for this. It was originally released as an arcade game in 1989, the same year that the Sega Genesis hit our shores (and only a year or less since the Japanese got the Mega Drive.) Could this port have been originally developed with the Master System in mind, but instead ported over to the Genesis a few years later? After all, a lot of the first few Genesis games were arcade ports such as Altered Beast and Wonder Boy in Monster Land, that had already hit the Master System. That's just my little theory - but it's hard to deny that the look and feel of the game is reminiscent to other arcade ports that had previously hit the Master System. The music is cute (albeit a bit repetitive,) the graphics are colorful and surprisingly faithful to the arcade version, and it is really a blast to play.
Rollercoaster...on drugs! SAY WHAT?!
The only major downsides I can think of are the controls and the difficulty. Overall, the controls are passable enough - but at times can feel a little stiff or clunky. One of the key elements of a platformer depends on precise jumps and well timed maneuvers. In this game, there is too little "wiggle room" for some of the less than stellar controls. Also, while most of the game is fairly easy - there are times when you will get stuck (particularly at boss battles.) For some reason, Japanese programmers seem to LOVE minigames - particularly rock, paper, scissor. I say this only because I have only a few Super Famicom games - and I'll be darned and dipped in chocolate if at least two of them don't feature rock, paper, scissor in some aspect of the game. I know they invented the game - but seriously; it's not fun to anyone over the age of 8. Furthermore, boss battles should not be determined by elements of "chance" such as musical chairs and rock, paper, scissor. It artificially inflates the difficulty by taking all of the battle elements out of the game and replacing them with reflexes and luck.

"Yeah mom - I'll do my homework....when pigs fly."
But I digress...

Overall, Marvel Land is a cutesy, quirky platformer that (while not without its faults) has a great arcade feel and brings you back to the early days of Sega. I highly recommend picking up a copy from Lukie Games!

Big pimpin'

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Soul Blazer (SNES)

Click here to pick up your copy!

Full disclosure: when I was younger - I didn't care much for standard role playing games. Growing up, my only real experience with RPGs was playing over at my friends' houses. Typically, they would have another buddy already over there and they both would be huddled around the Super NES with controllers in-hand trying to blast through Final Fantasy II or III (or Final Fantasy IV and VI in Japan.) Which usually meant I had to patiently wait around near-silent for a few hours while they leveled up, combined magic, and screamed at the screen. Meanwhile, all I wanted to do was rip into Mortal Kombat a few times before I had to go home again. Outside of Faxanadu and Castlevania II - I didn't really own games with more than mild RPG elements. Naturally, this left me with a bad taste in my mouth for RPGs that lasted until a buddy of mine leant me a game that completely changed my view on RPGs forever. It was way outside of the realm of "typical" RPGs and played more like an action/adventure game (which I would later find out was similar in nature to Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, one of the greatest Super NES games of all time.) It was called Soul Blazer and would prove to be one of my favorite games for the SNES. I recently bought my own copy from Lukie Games to see if it still holds up to the nostalgia I've held onto since 1992. So the question is: does it live up to my memories?

Typically one of the most important elements in an RPG is the story. However, for the uninitiated - Rpgs can be an incredibly long time-sink that require paying attention to minute details and dialogue trees. "Where did the king tell me to travel to again?" "How am I supposed to free the mighty blade from the ground?" In Action/RPG games such as Soul Blazer, the story is still important in the overall enjoyment of the game; however, it is not nearly as lengthy or crucial as in games such as the Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior, or Ultima series. In this game, you control a hero sent from "the master" to resurrect a series of towns held captive by the evil Deathtoll. Along the way you meet a cast of characters who give you items to progress through the story and to bring these dead cities back to life. It is a classic tale of good versus evil and is similar in tone to other Enix games with spiritual/religious undertones such as EVO, Illusion of Gaia, and the Actraiser series. The story and dialogue are decent enough, but might not satisfy the hardcore RPG crowd. For everyone else, this is a good primer for the RPG genre and the story moves along quick enough to not hinder the action.

"Paging Craig. Clean up on Aisle 5!"

Speaking of the action - it is quick, exciting, and effective. You have a sword attack and magic (both of which you will find upgrades for as you progress through the game.) Different swords, armor, and magic will be useful in different situations. IE: in the underwater city, it is crucial to have your bubble armor equipped - lest you take damage and drown. Some swords and magic are tailored against certain enemies, such as rock monsters or flying enemies. For the most part, you can progress through the game with your most powerful equipment on at all times - but in order to unlock all secret items and get through to the final stage - it is important to know what tools to use where. Battles are uncomplicated and flow in a swift pace (ala Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.) Instead of typical turn-based battles - you are free to hack, slash and even run past enemies if you wish. There are boss battles at the end of each level and thankfully three warp zones per level to return to the safe room - where you can save, load, and travel at your will.

BAH! What the heck is THAT thing?!
One of the main highlights of Soul blazer may also be my biggest criticism: at times, the game is perhaps a little too accessible. The challenge level is perfect for people who do not have much RPG experience under their belts, and for an 8 year old Chris - it was a perfect primer for the genre. However, I have now taken down several RPGs since, and what once was a cute, engaging action game has become a breeze to play. Most bosses have easy to master attack patterns and with the right technique can be killed without taking much damage. Most enemies can be struck down with one or two sword blows if you're properly equipped. Finally, aside from having to hop back and forth between levels in order to track down all of the hidden booty that you missed while you were a weakling - the game is linear enough that you're never going to get lost. When I stopped playing Chrono Trigger for a year and came back to the game - I had literally no idea what my last move was, so there was a lot of backtracking in order to figure out what to do next. In this game - I could leave it 90% finished, come back in three years, and know exactly what is left to finish the game. That is a terrific feature for beginners, but as a somewhat seasoned gamer it makes the game easy enough to beat over a long weekend.

That little green donut unlocks a bird...or a mermaid...or a...
So the question needs to be answered - is Soul Blazer as awesome as I remember it? Absolutely. It's fun, addictive, quick, and action-packed. It's also ridiculously easy now that I've clobbered more complex RPGs and admittedly - the story is a little thin. However, it is still well worth your time and investment for a relatively underrated Action/RPG classic. It's a bit on the collectible side these days so it may run you a bit more than your average SNES cart - but it's worth it. Pick up a copy for yourself!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mike’s Gameboy Game of the Week: Yu-Gi-Oh!! Eternal Duelist Soul


Yu-Gi-Oh!! Eternal Duelist Soul is the first Yu-Gi-Oh!! game released on the Gameboy Advance platform (in the United States at least). Eternal Duelist Soul is a huge and competent step-up from Dark Duel Stories for the Gameboy Color as it not only follows the TCG’s rules the game contains all the cards that existed in the actual TCG back in 2002 (About 819 different cards). Since the game was made during the early stages of the card games development there is no forbidden or limited list meaning you can use any cards you want sans god cards because the  legal versions of them hadn’t been made yet.


For good reason I suppose. 

Eternal Duelist Soul was one of the first games I bought for my Gameboy Advance way back in the early 2000’s and I remember pouring in around a hundred hours unlocking all the cards and all the other duelists. Even after I had purchased Pokemon Ruby and Legend of Zelda I still poured countless hours into this game as because getting everything in the game wasn’t as clear cut as just beating duelists to unlock all the cards. Eternal Duelist Soul could essentially be an completionists nightmare as there is a strong luck element to getting the cards and you can’t even get some until you’ve beaten all the duelists about five times but to unlock the a couple of the duelists several duelists like Simon or the Dueling Robot you have a set random chance that they will become unlocked while you are playing so the game can take quite a while to “beat”.

gfs_51483_1_6Which can feel pretty trying as all the duelists sound so condescending.

Card games are generally very complex and Yu-Gi-Oh!! is no exception to this (the lack of tutorial doesn’t help) as there are plethora of rules and card types that need to be learned in order to play the game. Even after learning all the facets of the game you still have to find a play style that suits you best, be it a super aggressive style where you use equip cards to augment the strength of your monster cards, or you could try to deplete your opponents deck by making them discard all their cards. For the sake of keeping this review somewhat concise I’ll avoid trying to explain how you play the actual game as that alone couple be a stand alone article due to its length. So here's a link to a website that can teach you the basics.

I’m serious this stuff can get insane!

Eternal Duelist Soul is a pretty straight forward game. It has several main features that can broken into two sections, Campaign mode, and Deck Building Mode.


The Campaign Mode consists of the Campaign feature which is a single player mode where you duel computer opponents to unlock cards and other stronger duelists to battle, tying into that is the calendar and record modes the calendar  mode shows you what day of the week it is (game time) and on certain days you will receive some free cards or be challenged by a random duelist. The way time works in the game is that after the conclusion of any given duel the game will advance one day instead of running on an in-game clock or some sort of real time clock it follows an archaic “Perform and action, time passes” setup. Record mode record your total win loss ration and the individual win loss ratios against any duelists you have faced or unlocked. Lastly is link battles which is the mode you and a friend enter in order to duel each other with whatever decks you have thrown together, in order to do this a link cable is required and two copies of Yu-Gi-Oh!! Eternal Duelist Soul.


When you start the game you enter your birthday and the game will even wish you a happy birthday.

The Deck Building mode is split up between the Deck Editor and the Password and Trading features. The Deck Editor is where you can swap cards into and out of your deck and side deck for use in link battles and the Campaign mode. The Password mode is where you can enter the codes from the bottom of the cards you already own in order to add them to the game. Unfortunately you can only receive one copy of any card whose code  you enter (i.e. If you enter the code for the Blue Eyes White Dragon you will only ever receive one copy of the card no matter how many times you enter the code.) If you have a hard time unlocking or finding certain cards you can use the trading mode to help you get them by trading for them with your friends, so long as you don’t try shorting them in the trade its a fairly reliable way of getting rarer cards.


Sometimes its the only legit way of getting the alt versions of some cards.

Eternal Duelist Soul has few flaws so long as you buy the game knowing that it’s nothing but an emulator for a card game. It has many features all of which work as they are intended and a campaign mode that has a perfect difficulty scale so that you are made to always try improving your ability and your deck. Of all the Yu-Gi-Oh!! games on the Gameboy Advance this is the one I most highly recommend because it doesn’t try to force itself to be something that it should never be. Eternal Duelist Soul is a fairly common game that you should be able to nab for anywhere from $5 to $20 and for any fan of the series this should be a priority if you are looking into experiencing either some semblance of nostalgia or want to see how much the card game has evolved since it first started well over a decade ago.


Normal Monsters, Normal Monsters as far as the eye can see!