Crap I'm playing
July 07, 2011

No, I'm not admitting to fecalphelia. I just started my ten day vacation ("staycation" they call it, since I'm not going anywhere special) and I want to celebrate by braying about the mostly ho-hum titles I'm picking at.

1. Scarface: The World is Yours (PS2)- My opinion on this game changes every time I play it. It's an open-world game that's light on gimmicky side games, but features more of a money-making aspect. I've decided I don't like a few things about it:

-Not obeying some traffic laws = cops come after you.

-Pissing off the cops = very bad. The only way to get them off your ass is to pay them. If you don't, then you have to lose them, and if you fail that, you will be 100% for sure arrested. The game will literally say that you're fucked. No joke. I failed to outrun the cops yesterday and, in big words, YOU'RE FUCKED! appeared on the screen.

I hate how this game tries too hard to be realistic, yet it still has a magical car wash that fully repairs your vehicle.

2. 40 Winks- Until recently, I had never played this game. So far, I'm on the fence about it. It's far too combat-based, and the combat isn't anything special. I do like transforming into different dream characters, though. But most of all I abhor the camera.

3. Bayonetta (X360)- Oh, Bayonetta, where have you been all my life? You're totally the type of girl I would hit on, and if you didn't break my ribs and shoot me in the crotch, I would be sorely disappointed. I know, it's a "Devil May Cry clone", so to speak, but it's sooooo awesome!

4. Ninja Gaiden II (NES)- I'm playing this intermittently. I like it, but it's crushing my skull. Brutal!

Most recent blog posts from Joseph Shaffer...

honestgamer honestgamer - July 07, 2011 (11:50 AM)
It sounds like the crap you're playing is not all that bad. I look forward to your full reviews. The one you just posted for Zapper was terrific, by the way. I was curious about that game and you told me what I needed to know in polished and amusing form. One of the better of your recent reviews.
CoarseDragon CoarseDragon - July 07, 2011 (11:54 AM)
I didn't care much for Bayonetta. Oh sure she is hot and all but the game play did nothing for me. I put it away after a few hours.

Never played 40 winks but it looks interesting. Be sure to tell us what you think of it. The graphic style is interesting.
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - July 07, 2011 (11:59 AM)
Thanks, Jason. I suppose I come off a bit harshly on these games, but that's mostly because the last few games I completed were pretty meh (mostly WiiWare titles), and I think it's beginning to rub off on my expectations for other games. Scarface isn't bad, but my opinion on it has fluxuated in the last couple weeks. I still do like Bayonetta and NG2.

Yeah, Bayonetta's not for everyone.

40 Winks does have surprisingly good graphics for its age. Even without my PS2 on smooth texture mapping, the textures don't look like a mess of pixels. The main things killing it for me are the combat and the camera. I had hoped there would be more platforming, but there really isn't much. I do, though, like the level designs.
S-Cynic S-Cynic - July 07, 2011 (02:17 PM)
I didn't care much for Bayonetta. Oh sure she is hot and all but the game play did nothing for me. I put it away after a few hours.

Not much of a step up from Devil May Cry, then?
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - July 07, 2011 (02:51 PM)
Out of curiosity, Cynic, is there a game you do like?
S-Cynic S-Cynic - July 07, 2011 (04:15 PM)
I do enjoy La-Mulanna, even though I'll almost certainly never finish it.

I Wanna Be the Guy is a favorite of mine as well, oddly enough. It's just so absolutely terrible on every conceivable level that I just can't help but love it. That the creator is a hardcore David Sirlin fanboy only adds to the joke, really.

Let's see, what else... I've got a weakness for Pac-Man and Tetris, I enjoy the occasional game of Space Invaders, and I would be playing Forgotten Worlds right now if I only had a proper joystick-and-dial setup.

Of course, that's just for starters.
Masters Masters - July 07, 2011 (08:08 PM)
The good news is that Ninja Gaiden II is way easier than the first game.
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - July 07, 2011 (11:54 PM)
I've wanted to play La-Mulana for a while. It's supposed to hit WiiWare in the future, so I might wait until then. Never played I Want to be the Guy, but after looking at it I may have to check it out. Same goes for Forgotten Worlds. Tetris and Pac-Man, on the other hand, I still love. Although I'm none too keen on the 2600 version of Pac-Man.

I love the first two NGs a lot. I am thankful the second one is easier than the first. I never did beat the first one. In fact, after dying at the last boss and seeing that I start back at 6-1, I stared at the screen for probably half a minute in disbelief before turning the game off. I still refuse to give the game a failing grade for it, because everything leading up to that was awesome. Even 6-2, cheap though it was, was still tolerable.
honestgamer honestgamer - July 07, 2011 (11:57 PM)
I got through a few screens of IWBTG and decided that I didn't want to be the guy.
bloomer bloomer - July 08, 2011 (12:43 AM)
I definitely enjoyed 40 Winks. I remember buying it at Kmart back in the PSX age.
Masters Masters - July 08, 2011 (05:51 AM)
Joe: Ironically enough, NG3 corrected a lot of issues with the first two games--being bumped back constantly by stupid birds, not knowing which power up you're cutting down, etc--but still managed to be a crappy sequel somehow.

In regards to NG1, the good news is, after you beat one of Jaquio's forms and die and have to go back to 6-1 or whatever it is, when you arrive back at Jaquio's doorstep, you pick up where you left off... which is at least, merciful.

What I remember most about those two games is how awesome the music is, and how badass Ryu "no one can beat me" is. NG1 made me want to try out for ninja training camp or something.
overdrive overdrive - July 08, 2011 (08:11 AM)
One of these days, I'll have to play the NES Ninja Gaidens. On my computer, I have the SNES compilation (which I believe fixed a few annoying things in at least 3...according to a FAQ, the NES version had what is called an "overdamage problem" where everything took off more health than in the previous two games, which was fixed for the SNES version). So far in my life, I've fiddled with the first, but no more than maybe the first couple levels. Like up to 3-1 or so.
Masters Masters - July 08, 2011 (09:25 AM)
I've heard nothing but bad things about the SNES trilogy, not the least of which is that they supposedly fucked with the brilliant music, making it suck.
overdrive overdrive - July 08, 2011 (10:30 AM)
That adds complications. I don't remember the NES games enough to remember the music, which means I'd have to play them and Trilogy. And I'm not big on extra work...

Maybe I'll just do the NES ones and say to hell with that one whenever I decide I feel like playing them in 2028 or so (since I'm a year behind with Street Fighter 2010, who knows when I'll get to those).

Oh well, as least the SNES didn't screw up (as far as I've noticed) with Super Mario All-Stars. Hell, they even showed the desire to even graphically upgrade them, as opposed to not doing so like Tecmo did with NG Trilogy.
Masters Masters - July 08, 2011 (12:34 PM)
Some purists complain that the SNES Super Mario All-Stars have slippery controls, but I didn't notice. I love the enhanced sights and sounds. If compilations counted, SMA would be one of the best packages ever produced in gaming.
overdrive overdrive - July 08, 2011 (12:58 PM)
I agree. Its four games (one not released in American previously) that are all graphically enhanced in one cartridge. And it really doesn't hurt that the three that were released in America were among the best and/or most significant NES platformers.

And, yes, I put SMB 2 in that category. I loved that game growing up. I think a big part of why I'm digging Yoshi's Island so much is because it's basically a spiritual successor to it with no time limits and a bit of exploration tossed into the mix to find the goodies (coins for the slot machine and hearts in SMB 2; flowers and red coins in Yoshi's).
Masters Masters - July 08, 2011 (01:25 PM)
I'm with you. I'd go so far as to say that the first 3 Mario games are 3 of the best 2D platformers (especially mascot platformers) ever on any system. Hard to name many that are on par or better. Yoshi's Island? Super Mario World? Ristar?
overdrive overdrive - July 11, 2011 (09:35 AM)
That's a good question, Marc. My opinions:

1. Super Mario World: probably the closest of the three. Very SMB 3-ish in spirit. Might not have had its awesome highs, but didn't have the hair-pulling platform hell of some of those airship jumping levels in Bowser's world. If SMB 3 is a definite 10 (and I've yet to hear a good argument that it isn't), SMW probably would be a 9. I'll have to play both again to really compare them.

2. Ristar: I really liked it, but really have never felt the desire to play it again like I have with the Mario games. Sometimes, I wonder if my 10 review came partly from expecting to love it because of what I'd heard about it here (or technically at GFs, but same review community) combined with really liking it. As in it was a very good game, but not a top-of-the-line one.

3. Yoshi's Island: Yes and no. Yes because it really does seem to be an improvement on the formula in many ways, particularly visually. No because it really deviates from the simple addictive formula in others. SMB 2 did to a degree with the lack of time limits and using Sub-Con to increase your health and get slot machine coins, but Yoshi's takes it to a new level with levels that get larger and larger and becoming the beginning of the scavenger hunt platformers, with the goal being to collect a bunch of stuff to unlock more levels. That kind of makes it more of a "play to beat" game instead of a "play for the love of playing" one where it could be easy to get overwhelmed because you've beaten a level five times but you still haven't got all 20 damn red coins (which happened to me the last time I made an effort at it). That was the best thing about All-Stars -- how it enhanced the "love of playing" thing because you could save between worlds, so you wouldn't be running for warps if you only had an hour or so free time.

As for others, I really need to play Donkey Kong Country 2 again. As I recall, it's the best of that trilogy and I remember really liking it. I liked 3, but it added some unnecessary stuff like the bear family quests, so it might be a step behind. Sonic was close, but there's just something missing. I think it's how his Genesis classics tended to have fewer levels than Mario games that were divided into groups of very similar levels that had the bizarre combination of a SMB3 time limit and a SMB2 exploration aspect.
Masters Masters - July 11, 2011 (10:16 AM)
Good breakdown, Rob.

I think that SMW IS a 10 (hence my 10 review), and feel that it can be, even though I like SMB3 more. It's just got so much going for it, its universe is so much larger, there's so much to see and do.

With Ristar, the issue I have is that it's too long to comfortably beat at one sitting, but it's too short to make use of a save system. That in and of itself can make a fun game seem tedious when playing it actually isn't.

I rather liked Sonic 2, as did most Sonic fans, because it's easy and breezy and fast. Sonic 1 has some slow bits that derail the speed angle, and I never got into Sonic 3. I do like S&K quite a bit--it might be my favourite of the series, and I'm pretty sure I'm alone in this. But Knuckles rocks.

There are a lot of other mascot based platformers that I loved back in the day: Quackshot, Castle of Illusion, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Bonk's Adventure, DKC2--but replaying them now, they've lost a little something. The Mario games never do.
S-Cynic S-Cynic - July 11, 2011 (10:53 AM)
I've wanted to play La-Mulana for a while. It's supposed to hit WiiWare in the future, so I might wait until then.

Not like it's any of my business, but I'd encourage you to go ahead and try the PC version; it's not only free, but it will almost certainly look and sound better than the Wiimake.

On that note- I'm one of those purists who didn't care for Super Mario All-Stars. Physics were subtly screwed-up and the new graphics and music were just all kinds of awful.
zigfried zigfried - July 11, 2011 (03:43 PM)
Ristar's just a stupid star with arms!

Halon Halon - July 11, 2011 (06:32 PM)
Haha that Ristar save problem was my issue with Super Mario Bros 3, but Ristar was shorter so it never really bothered. It also helped that the first time through I played it on Gens so I could quicksave whenever.

Ristar was amazing though, probably my second favorite platformer ever after SMW.

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