Friday, August 21, 2009

Behold! Enjoyable Sonic Games.

In recent years game reviewers and players have been smearing the Sonic the Hedgehog games stating that they seemed rush to production, game play is clumsy, and ultimately that Sega’s mascot is a shadow of his former self. True, not every Sonic game has matched up to the expectations Sonic fans have had, but they are not as putrid as some game reviews want you to believe. The following is a list of Sonic games that I have played, and believe to be the best Sega has to offer. Also I have added a prediction of what the future might hold for the feisty, blue hedgehog.
The first Sonic, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, and Sonic and Knuckles which came out in the early 90’s were undoubtedly the best Sonic games ever made. Personally I think that Sonic&Knuckles with Sonic 3 attached could not get better, at the time. It had the three key elements a great game needed; compelling story that drawed you in, bright colorful boards that set moods to Sonic’s journey, and a very high replay value, mostly due to the secret ring room, and collecting Chaos Emeralds to transform into Super Sonic. When the two were attached you also played all the levels in both games, had to get Chaos Emeralds and Super Emeralds, and you were given a secret last zone called Doomsday Zone.
In 1999 Sonic Adventure came out for the Sega Dreamcast featuring Sonic and friends receiving voices and interacting in a 3-D world. This also lead the way for the sequel Sonic Adventure Battle 2 which featured Shadow the Hedgehog, and Rogue the Bat. Both became very popular characters and served as great rivals for both Sonic and Knuckles respectively. In the game there are several boss battles where depending on who you choose you fight the rival.
In 2003 Sonic Heroes became the first game that was released for non Sega systems. Released for the PS2, Gamecube, and X-Box, the game matched up three team members on a total of four teams encompassing a speed, power, and flight character. The game quickly made the PS2’s greatest hits and is, I think, one of the best Sonic games ever to be made. It gave us the opportunity to play as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles on one team, changing between them to overcome obstacles and puzzles. The game also had power ups that leveled up your character to make their attack stronger. The teams and characters were as follows. Team Sonic: Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails. Team Rose: Amy, Big the cat, and Cream. Team Dark: Shadow, Rogue, and Omega. Team Chaotix: Espio, Victor, and Charmy Bee.
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood was the first Sonic RPG released for the Nintendo DS in 2008. Sonic and friends team up to battle beasts, robots, Eggman, and an evil Brotherhood bent on destroying the world. A clever thing done here was that aside from characters leveling up, the player could also hatch chaos which assisted in battle. For example a certain Chao when equipped to Sonic would add fire damage to his attacks. Another would shield him from water attacks.
Sonic Unleashed was close to matching what Sonic fans wanted out of a good Sonic game, it was half-done right, and half-done not so right. The day stages were done perfectly, with fast pace action, multiple paths to the goal, and old school robots, rings, and loop-de-loops that made us fall in love with the franchise. The only down side to this game is the Werehog levels, which every game reviewer agrees with. Though it is well worth playing a few night time boring levels to get to the bright, extremely re-playable day time levels.
Bottom line is that Sonic creators have to remember what made Sonic games so good. The fact that he fought Eggman, his quest for the chaos emeralds, him fighting bad robots, Tail, Knuckles, and some of his other friends who aided him on his way. The fact that he could transform to Super Sonic in the end. All made up a good sonic game, and all need to be in a Sonic game, with never little left out or added in.
There are more Sonic games out there not mentioned, and not every game reviewer has the time to play them. Each has their own opinion, there are definitely good Sonic game out there, you just need to find them. Shop around and see if a Sonic game has good or bad reviews, and even if they have bad ones and you want to play it, rent it. Better to lose a few bucks than fifty. Also remember the only opinion that matters to you is yours, so be your own reviewer and play what you want to play, even if the world thinks it sucks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Donkey Kong Country

Though I never owned a SNES growing up, I did have a good friend who owned one and frequently visited his house to play games and swim in his pool. I originally didn't want to play Donkey Kong Country, until I saw him playing it. Before I had seen it, I thought it was just like the original Donkey Kong where you play as Mario jumping over barrels, and swinging a hammer. When I first played it though I fell in love with it; the bright colors, the exciting game play that changed within each level, and that lovable oaf Donkey Kong along with little side kick, Diddy.
The game is deffinately a classic, and fans wanted more which led to Rare and Nintendo producing two sequels within a year after their releases. DKC 2 Diddy's Kongquest, and DKC3 Dixie's Double Trouble. Rare deffinately was the best producer of the DKC games with their imaginative puzzels, and hidden rooms scattered throughout the levels. It seems that every few steps you take in a game, there is a secret to unlock, or a DK Coin to receive. DKC is also one of the first for games where the characters we're 3-D set in a 2-D world, which helped make the game more visually pleasing.
I loved all three of them, but my favorite has to be the second one. You play as Diddy and Dixie Kong, two little monkey's who are out to save big Gorilla Donkey Kong from the Kremlings on Crododile Island. The game was ver pirate oriented having most of the Kremlings and Baddies wearing pirate clothes and accessories. It aslo took the puzzle and secret scheme one step closer by adding a lost world that the player could visit to unlock a bonus secret ending if all the levels were completed their. The tone and look of it was also alot darker. Probably because you were on the bad guys territory, and there is very little day time missions. Except for a few in the beginning and the bramble missions.
So share your thoughts on what you thought of Donkey Kong games? Do you think his newer games are as good or have they fallen?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dragon Ball Evolution

*Warning Spoiler Alert*

I never thought I would be writing about DBZ again, but here I am. I recently saw the DBZ Evolutions movie after my friend was telling me that it really isn't that bad. I'll admit I was skeptical, though I was a huge fan when it first came out, but the DBZ mania diea aroud 2004, when I was a sophmore in college. So I figured the movie came out way to late, even though they were discussing it in 2002, when it was still a big success on Cartoon Networks, Toonami.
The Dragon Ball Z movie came out in April 2009, and was in theatres for about 2 weeks and made only 2 million. Despite not doing well in America, DBZE had very positive critiques in Asia. Many Asians enjoyed seeing Chow Yung Fat act in a goofy over the top way rather than the always serious lone fighter.
TO my surprise, the movie wasn't bad at all, and stayed true to most of the cartoon it had Goku, Yamcha, Chichi, Bulma, Master Roshi, and Piccolo. All the actors really had a good grip on their characters, and there was no bad acting throughout the movie. Goku wasn't even as stupid as he usually was, there was a particular scene where he made a bridge over a pool of lava to get one of the dragonballs( he threw these Siabmen into the lava and jumped onto them). Master Roshi commented on his intelligence, and even smiled at the sight of it. Very different than the original. Piccolo, though he wasn't in it that much was still as evil as ever. The few moments we did see him he was only concerned about finding the dragonballs or stopping the heros from getting any farther. They didn't really dwell on him too much, but when he was screne, all attention wsa on him. Piccolo was played by James Marsters, who some of you might remember as Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel shows. Marster was a huge fan of Dragon Ball Z when it was big and when he was offered the role he jumped at the chance to do it.
Chichi, who wasn't a big character in the show got a bigger role in the movie as Goku's love interest and as a surprisingly good martial artist. She even gives Goku some advice and encouragement as he tries to master the Kamahamaha wave. They also had her dress up in some skin tight, sexy clothes, which is a very good reason alone to watch the movie :)
Bulma, the only one that had a flaw. She was armed with two guns and she couldn't hit anyone with them. She always missed. Even Yamcha who only shot a gun once in the movie, made a kill with it. They could have had her at least hit someone in the shoulder or arm, nto a death kill but still.

They had to water down Master Roshi alittle since he's mostly a girl chasing sex fiend. He did still live in a house, but it wasn't an island far away, rather a little island with a land bridge to it from the outskirts of a city. He trained Goku in the Kamahamaha wave, and helped him unlock his true potential by having him carry a heavy bag on his back, and doing a handstand while trying to grab an orange.
Yamcha wasn't really a fighter in the movie, sorry no Wolf Fang Fist. Instead he was a bandit who trapped them in a pit he dug and wanted money to throw down a ladder. Yamcha was played by Joon Park, a Korean pop singer in the band G.O.D.
The fighting was ok, not as much fighting in the air as I would have cared for, but not bad. The special effects were also not over the top, which was something I glad they didn't do. They focused more on the story and developing Goku as a hero. Though they could have made the Dragon alittle better, and ridiculously long like he was in the cartoon.
All in all Dragon Ball Evolution was not a bad movie at all, just too late to the party. If you are a closet DBZ fan, you should deffinately see it, it won't disappoint, and you'll catch up on some things. They do leave room for a sequel, but because of it's poor reception in America I doubt we'll be seeing one, too bad, it could have rejuvenated some of the anime fans that seem to have died when Toonami started to become lame. *cough* not showing all of Kenshin or Yu yu Hakusho "*cough*.

Batman The Animated Series

Batman the animated series has got be one of the best cartoons to come out of the 90's. I have not yet met anyone that grew up in that time that did not enjoy watching it, even my sister who did not enjoy Batman, loved it. Paul Dini and Bruce Timm did a superb job in creating it and, I believe, they did it because of their love for it. Not for money or ratings like so many other people in the business get wrapped up in. I also find it amusing that Bruce Timm has two Batman character names with his own. "Bruce" Wayne and "Tim" Drake, the second Robin in the series.
I forget which one of them said it, but they both agreed that with each Batman episode they mostly wanted them to stand alone as mini movies. So if each show is about 20 minutes long, that gives them 7 minutes per act. That shows alot of genius in how they used every minute to move the story they were telling. It's also interesting that in the opening scene there are no words. Just Batman racing down the road and fighting average thugs blowing up a bank. They did that so that no matter where you were from you would recognize The Dark Knight.
Aside from Dini and Tim, there is another man who worked on Batman that should be mentioned, Boyd Kirkland. Though Dini and Tim still work on D.C. comic cartoons, Kirkland moved to Marvel and became producer and director of X-men: Evolution, and Wolverine and the X-men. Kirkland directed many Batman episodes, with his pivotal work being the straight to video movie Subzero. He also worked on the big picture movie, Mask of the Phantasm.
Now that I've given the credit where it is due, and given you some pieces of information that you may not have known, Oh by the way Batman was the first cartoon that used a black backround instead of a white one.
He he he, So what was it about Batman that we all loved? Well lets think...we have a superhero. Hold the phone, superhero? Batman doesn't have any super powers,or does he! True many people argue that Batman has no super powers, yet after doing alittle research I discovered that he is rather gifted in a number of ways.
The first way is that Bruce Wayne is supposedly the perfect man, much like Steve Rogers when he became Captain America, only Bruce never took a super soldier serum. His mind, body, and spirit are greater than any normal humans. This is shown several times in the show as he refuses to give up, even when Joker hits him over the head with a wrench. Second is the most knownn trait about Bats, he is the worlds greatest detective. There is no clue the Riddler gives him he can't crack. No goose chase Ras'al Ghul throws him on that he can't follow. Ras even addressed him as Detective, not Batman. Batman's mind is probably his greatest weapon, with it he trained in the ways of Ninjitsu, learned from the greatest escape artists, and used his wealth to make him the perfect one man crime fighting machine. His second greatest weapon is probably his wallet. Being a billionare really help pay for all the cool things in his utility belt, along with the several other Batvehicles.
So those are Batman's true powers, and one of the reasons I think he's a really cool character. Since he doesn't actually have powers it's cool that you know if a bullet hit him he would really get hurt and that it would take alot out of him. Bullets don't hurt Superman, and if Flash got hit with one, well it might slow him down, but no to a degree a normal man could take him on. Thats another thing that made Batman cool, he was human, and he's a symbol of what we could be like if we train hard and never give up.
I could write about Batman all day, but I'm a busy blogger and have other things to do. So I'll leave it at that, though next week I'll write a bit about his villains, which is another huge reason the show did so well. I promise I'll try to discuss all of them equally, and not make it a piece all about Joker. That I'll do some other time :P

Monday, June 29, 2009