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overdrive Welcome to my blog. Here, you may read all of my reviews. That will take a good deal of time, as I have penned quite a large number of them. I advise you to start now. And don't forget, constantly offer me praise concerning how great I am at doing what I do!

Title: Good shit, here!
Posted: July 28, 2007 (10:51 PM)

Take a listen.
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Title: Urge to kill growing....growing....growing
Posted: July 16, 2007 (01:36 PM)
At the newspaper I work at, we have a very annoying advertising rep. She was on vacation last week. I was happy. She's back this week....and keeps talking....and talking....and talking. Not really to me, but just to anyone in general. Obviously, since this is a newspaper, people are going to communicate, but she never seems to shut up. She asks questions about things anyone with a bit of intelligence could figure out on their own with a few seconds of deliberation.....blabbers about meaningless things....and just generally wastes enough oxygen in any given day to make Mars a habitable planet.

I now understand the fascination of LARPing. I currently wish I was Urgoor the Barbarian so I could take my +2 Battleaxe of Infinite Smiting and slam that thing right through her skull. That'd be so fucking cool.
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Title: The difficulty of RPGs.....
Posted: June 11, 2007 (10:11 AM)
I remember a ways back (like a couple years) when the community was still at GFaqs, someone was talking about Chrono Trigger and mentioned that game's main flaw was its lack of difficulty — something I'd kind of agree with. I was killed a few times by Giga Gaia (due to being underleveled), had a few problems with Son of Sun (until figuring out that he couldn't touch me with fire-absorbing armor on) and struggled a bit with the end-game Lavos bosses (big robotic thing inside and the alien w/pods) and a couple other optional bosses like Mother Brain. Still, I cruised through much of the game and after replaying it with a bit more level-building, most of those tough battles became far easier.

Still, that seems to pale compared to how easy many RPGs of today's generation are. Yeah, there are a few tough ones. The Final Fantasy ones tend to always deliver a few brutal fights (although many seem to be in optional battles) and SMT: Nocturne's very unforgiving of tactical errors. But the two I've played the most in recent weeks seem more representative of the genre as a whole.

1. Tales of Legendia: In chapter 5.....haven't been killed off once. A couple bosses (Stingle, one of the Megant ones) made me scramble to resurrect a fallen character or two.....but I've not seen the game over screen yet.

2. Atelier Iris 3: In chapter 5.....only killed off once by the Magus mini-boss in Chapter 3, mainly because Edge's weapon build wasn't the right one for the job, as he was in the quick-but-weak attack mode, and I really needed him to be delivering more damage. I've been a good step or two ahead of every other boss and/or mini-boss in the game.

3. And when I think about it.....even though I loved it, Dragon Quest VIII only had a handful of truly tough battles. Star Ocean:TtEoT's a lot tougher because that game follows the SO:Second Story tradition of drastically boosting enemy difficulty when you enter a major new section of the game. Then again, one FAQ I saw on the game mentioned that you really aren't expected to fight most of the enemies on Levels 1-5 of the Sphere Corporation (or on the Styx region you're at beforehand) and the truth is that the RoboGunner enemies (big spider mechs) are tougher than the L1 boss and my pretty powerful party gets owned by battles against two of them. As for the actual storyline bosses, well, I got through about 7-10 of 'em before I didn't get a trophy for beating one in under "x" amount of time. Wild Arms 3 is kind of difficult until you realize most powerhouse enemies/bosses has a weakness and if you exploit that with the proper spells.....they're a piece of cake.

So, is it just me, or does it seem that, on average, the difficulty of these games is on the downslide? Some are still very difficult to master, but most of them seem easier than those old-school ones.
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Title: Overdrive and the Summer of RPGs
Posted: May 30, 2007 (10:28 AM)
So, during the summer, it looks like I'll be on a pure PS2 RPG binge (note to self: go through computer's ROM folders to find shooters and quickee action games in order to be a somewhat consistent contributer review-wise). On the docket are:

1. Tales of Legendia (currently in Chapter Four).

2. Star Ocean: TtEoT (currently at the Sphere Corp. building...just whomped Azazel or whatever the smarmy douche's name is).

3. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (currently getting ready to do the one sewer level with the four Oni bosses).

4. Atelier Isis 3 or whatever its name actually is....that new one (getting as a freebie....to soon be my one and only top project).

5. Final Fantasy XII (borrowing from my best friend, likely tomorrow).

6. On top of that, I've been sporadically replaying Dragon Quest VIII just to really get into it, as I'd been speed-rushing/ignoring certain aspects (alchemy pot, casinos, killing all the monsters to have a complete bestiary, that whole post-game bonus dungeon, etc). In ROMs, I have a couple Lufia games and Destiny of an Emperor II that I'm working on. And I have a few other projects to finish off in the non-RPG category. And, I know I'm forgetting something.....
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Title: That was an ordeal....
Posted: April 18, 2007 (12:43 PM)
Man.....that took a long time. I finally finished my review for Star Ocean: The Second Story.

About three weeks ago, I started it. I've mainly been just playing a couple of RPGs, so I had no reviews on the horizon, so I figured I'd review one of my old favorites from yesteryear. The game had left enough of an impression on me I figured it'd be no problem at all for me to crank out a review in one or two typing sessions.

Wrong! It took about one week to settle on an introduction I liked and I felt could segue into my review. It didn't help that while I remembered the feelings I had for the game, I couldn't remember minor details like character and place names, so I had to constantly reference a FAQ for that stuff. Since I'm usually pretty lazy, that would sap my desire to type.....which dragged this thing out for days and days.

Well, it's finally done! Read and enjoy! While I pray I didn't just submit a laundry list of inaccuracies due to the ravages of time on my memories.
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Title: Hi.
Posted: March 26, 2007 (12:13 PM)
Man, between work and watching college basketball with the aid of alcohol, I've been swamped the last few weeks, which has meant no real free time for much of anything else. As far as reviewing goes, things have been slow mainly because I'm still trying to work through some PS2 RPGs and considering that they tend to take 100 hours if you do the bonus dungeons and whatnot, that can take awhile.

Anyway, I'll have one or two reviews up this week, for those who've subscribed to my personal fan club and are interested.

Oh, here's a question for anyone who's played/is playing Final Fantasy XII. I got this friend who's playing it and has taken over 200 hours and still hasn't finished it. Now he has done a lot of marks/rare monster quests, so that would bump up the playtime, but 200 hours? So, anyway, my question is: "IS HE A TOTAL FUCKING RETARD??".

Catch ya on the flip side, amigos!
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Title: I'm a big stupid copycat!!!!!!!
Posted: January 02, 2007 (08:36 PM)
Anyway, here's my list of reviews taken directly from that link Venter put in his blog. That means you WON'T be getting the date I did them or the actual links to them (because I'm in my usual lazy mood), but out of the kindness of my heart, I shall bestow comments on them to you on ALL 43 of them!

Karnov (NES) — seems I might have been either struggling with or coming out of my writer's block of early '06 with this one.

GG Aleste (Game Gear) — I honestly can't remember anything about this review.

Final Fantasy III (NES) — fun review for a fun, hard-hitting RPG. I was proud of this one.

Legend of Hero Tonma (TurboGrafx-16) — I seem to recall getting some positive comments on my comparison of this Irem platform game to their shooters.

Addams Family Values (Super Nintendo) — One of those that just didn't live up to expectations. I was envisioning a great bash review, but it just didn't turn out that way.

Bonk's Adventure (TurboGrafx-16) — Fun, if generic, review of a great platformer.

Traysia (Genesis) — Zig knows how much I loved playing this game. I did good with my review, but probably could have done better, as with Addams Family Values. Unfortunately, my proposed 10/10 joke review I was planning to write for GFaqs didn't come out in 2006.....but this is a new year.....

Zunou Senkan Galg (NES) — Another game Zig had the pleasure of reading my AIM rants on. Venter did a good job of critiquing this one so my comedy bits didn't get too over-the-top and this turned out to be one of my better reviews of the year (IMO).

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Super Nintendo) — Pretty generic. Seems like the more familiar I am with a game, the more I struggle to write about it. I'm a lot better just picking up a new game, playing it and cranking out something than writing for a game I'd beaten a number of times before even contemplating writing about it.

Final Soldier (TurboGrafx-16) — Blah Brevity or Busts review. I just haven't gotten the knack of writing a good tiny review.

Fire Emblem (Game Boy Advance) — I loved writing this one. Gotta play a couple more FE games to try to out-do this one.

Suikoden III (PlayStation 2) — Another review I had fun writing. After figuring out my angle, it practically wrote itself.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (PlayStation 2) — Kind of unfocused, since I tried to mention all 100 extra things in this game.

Monster Party (NES) — Very fun gimmick review. Might not have been my best of the year, but it was a blast to write.

Medal of Honor (PlayStation) — One of my favorite intros I've done (talking about how useful Nazis are as movie villains because of how they're REAL-LIFE BAD GUYS!).

X-Multiply (Arcade) — Not too memorable.

Faxanadu (NES) — I seem to recall liking this one, but it didn't really stand out in my mind as a classic.

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out! (NES) — The better of my two sports game reviews for one of the KoR competitions.

Formula One: Built to Win (NES) — The lesser of the two — just didn't have the same zeal for this one.

Shining Force (Genesis) — Running out of generic comments to say....

Metal Saga (PlayStation 2) — I kinda liked this one. I thought I did a good job explaining how the game had promise, but was let down by a total lack of structure.

Sagaia (Genesis) — One of my reviews for a sectioned-review KoR competition. I think my headers were probably the only witty part of this one.

Plok (Super Nintendo) — One of those reviews where I tried my hardest to get something up for a game that didn't motivate me to write much of anything.

Totally Rad (NES) — This review bludgeoned EmP in a GFaqs bash review tournament. Go OD!

The 7th Saga (Super Nintendo) — This review won the KoR sectioned review competition. Go OD, again!

Task Force Harrier EX (Genesis) — Bland and short......just how I like them. Well, maybe it wasn't bland, but it didn't stick out in my mind.

Super C (NES) — Another one that didn't really stand out in my mind as one of my better ones.

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (NES) — And this is where I choked hard against Zig in the STT......

The Suffering (PlayStation 2) — I had fun with this one. This is the sort of game that always is capable of motivating me to write something.

Exile (Genesis) — This review beat EmP in the final regular season round of the STT, allowing me to salvage some dignity. Go OD!

Power Strike II (Game Gear) — Guhh.....at least I thought it was funny......

Wild Arms 3 (PlayStation 2) — One of my finest efforts. If not for chicanery behind the scenes by EmP (not proven yet, but it's only a matter of time), this would have won the ABCs. Instead, it only got second after the tiebreaker. CURSE YOU, YOU BASTARD!!!!!!!

Rule of Rose (PlayStation 2) — Could have been better, probably.

Tecmo Super Bowl (NES) — I really liked this one. I used a different tone/style than usual and thought it worked out well with this game.

Streets of Rage 2 (Genesis) — Decent.....not great, but it worked for me.

Parasite Eve (PlayStation) — Another review I really liked. I don't always succeed in putting a lot of personality in my reviews, but when I do, I really like the way things turn out.

Gokuraku Chuka Taisen (TurboGrafx-16) — I had a decent time of writing this. Bizarre, quirky-themed shooters tend to lead to fun reviews.

Silent Hill 2 (PlayStation 2) — Another fun review for a game I'd been wanting to write about for awhile.

God Medicine (Game Boy) — Could have turned out better. The game didn't give me much to work with, though, as it was really generic despite having a promising premise.

Silent Hill (PlayStation) — Like I said before, short reviews don't work for me, apparently. Here's another failure.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner (PlayStation 2) — As the ambitious three-part tournament went down in flames, so did this review. Not only did Jerec say it was boring as anything — but he didn't even have the COURTESY to make a clever PC-clock reference. It's like I sapped the life out of him....

Phelios (Genesis) — Overdrive continues to try keeping his shooter reviews somewhat fresh and entertaining!

Tiny Toon Adventures (NES) — Okayish review, I guess. Just another game that wasn't overly motivational. At least, over the years, I've gotten smart enough to keep those ones short instead of struggling through 1300 words about a game I don't really care about.
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Title: WTF! The ABC music game!
Posted: October 02, 2006 (08:03 PM)
All entries subject to change, since I honestly listen to so much music in so many genres that I know I'll be missing some great stuff because I'm kinda doing this spur-of-the-moment-like. I'll only include genres for groups I feel the majority of you don't listen to/care about/know about....although I do include commentary for all!

#: 311 (best number group I have anything by...by far).
A: Amorphis (Finnish folk/death/progressive metal/rock....depending on time period...they evolved greatly from their early pure death days)
B: Bob Dylan ('nuff said)
C: Cathedral (British stoner metal, influenced heavily by Sabbath, but with a heavier, sludgier sound)
D: Dream Theater (awesome progressive rock/metal)
E: Entombed (Swedish death/hardcore punkish stuff)
F: Faith No More (just when I was ready to give up on this letter for the night, a song by them I put on one of my "I'm bored" mix tapes played...thank you KARMA!)
G: Grateful Dead (awesome "catch a buzz" music there)
H: Hypocrisy (amazing Swedish death metal group that has succeeded in repeated altering their style without ever selling out....ie: becoming mainstream).
I: Iron Maiden (the first metal group I ever listened to and the greatest).
J: Johnny Cash (amazing library of material here)
K: KISS (at least their really old stuff from the 70s....I try to forget most of the rest exists).
L: Led Zeppelin (their versatility as far as musical styles was amazing)
M: Monster Magnet (stoner rock/metal)
N: Neil Young (lot of good stuff).
O: Obituary (the kings of American death metal....their crushingly heavy rhythm guitar sound is just amazing)
P: Paradise Lost (versatile group that's done slow-tempo death before moving on to more mainstream metal styles)
Q: Queensryche (has some great stuff spanning from Warning to Empire
R: Red Hot Chili Peppers (one of the best groups of recent times)
S: Suicidal Tendencies (punky, funky thrash)
T: Tom Petty (always been a fan of his music)
U: Later....
V: Velvet Underground (easily the best "V" group I can think of)
W: the Who (simply phenomenal stuff)

I'll fill in the holes and finish off the alphabet tomorrow or Wednesday....my brain's slowing down and I don't want to put blah groups in just 'cuz they're all I can think of.

EDIT 1: Added the Who as my "W" band!
EDIT 2: Changed my "N" pick!!
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Title: So there I was.....
Posted: September 22, 2006 (12:42 PM)
.....at home, alone and getting lifted. What was I to do for amusement? It hit me like a sledgehammer of justice to the hallowed halls of my resin-and-rum-soaked brain. Tecmo Super Bowl! So, I decided to play as the Jets for reasons unknown (possibly because the late Dennis Byrd is one kick-ass middle linebacker and I love teams with those) and rattled off five games before coming down and going to bed.

And, therefore, here you are with my review of said game. Since I'm really fucking lazy and only getting lazier as the days go by, I'm not providing you with a HTML link to it. The way I look at things, if you're too fucking lazy to find it the old-fashioned way, you aren't good enough to read my shit. Bastards.

Anyway......now that we've gotten that little bit of ugliness behind us, it's amazing how some of these old games are so cool they transcend the boundaries of time and technology to remain amazing even today. I've always felt that the best designers of the eras of old were able to compensate for what they couldn't bring to the plate technology-wise by simply making a kickass game. Now, too many companies are more interested in testing the limits of the technology.....and falter in crafting a truly great game.
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Title: Overdrive's State of the Self Address!
Posted: August 20, 2006 (04:55 PM)
So, anyhoo, when I was in the office today making up a couple of hours that I was behind for the week (by writing a review....I'm a good worker guy!), I realized I haven't done anything for or with the site in a couple of weeks beyond a drunk message board post or two.

It's not my fault, so don't blame me. The last couple of weeks have been interesting (in the Chinese curse, "may you live in interesting times" sort of way). Some ugly personal issues came to a head recently, forcing me to step into action to put an end to a lot of bullshit. Combine that with my work schedule being sort of rough over the last few days and I was pretty mentally exhausted, with no ambition to do much more with my free time than hang out with a couple co-workers I'm friends with and people one of them is friends with and get wasted.

Anyway, I still plan to be doing a lot of that. Now that I'm sorting through all the bullshit in my life and removing what wasn't working, I'm noticing I have a lot more fun being sociable with people, as opposed to just locking myself away in solitude. But, I'm also gradually refocusing on other things. I finally finished a review for Power Strike II (too lazy to html-link it at this time). That game didn't motivate me at all to write, so I put it off forever because I knew, especially with all the other shit I've been going through, under that circumstance, my review would suck ass. But, I finally came upon a weird gimmicky way to review it that, while it might still suck, at least is an original way of sucking as opposed to just mailing in boring shit to show I'm still alive.

Then I have my ABC game and my AWESOME UPCOMING review of Rule of Rose for Sept. 12 (and thank god I have 'til Sept 12 before I can get RoR up due to that being its release date for people not as cool as me), as that's the only reason I'll have the time to get my ABC game finished). As well as other stuff at random times between now and the end of time.

That is all.

PS: Genj, it's nice to see you listening to stuff like Iron Maiden and In Flames now. You're starting to take on manly interests (at least as far as music goes) and that pleases me.
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Title: A quartet more Alien Vendetta (Doom II wad) level reviews.
Posted: July 07, 2006 (07:31 AM)
I didn't write down the names of these levels and only actually remember one of them (the best of the bunch), but these are some great levels. Besides, I've gotten Blu hooked on AV now......especially when he found himself facing about eight Mancubi w/ 1% health.....with next to no cover.

LEVEL 4: Very nicely-designed level that gives you a hint of the larger-scale mayhem you'll be facing down the line. A very effective trap fairly early on put me on my toes and the hell knight/weak enemy ambush at the end was a very nice firefight. 8/10

LEVEL 5: Nice fort level. The beginning is very good, with you having to gun a few foes down while formulating a strategy to handle the HKs firing at you from a distance. After that, it gets more vanilla, but still has some fun. 6/10

LEVEL 6: Hillside Siege it's called and this level is utterly insane with hordes of HKs, Mancubi, Arachnotrons and Revenants....along with a couple effectively placed Archviles. The progression was phenomenal here as I found myself using strategy to get through most of the level with deceptive ease....then I entered the courtyard to get blitzed by HKs, Revenants, Cacos and Imps......with a Cyberdemon on top of a wall to police the situation. And things didn't get easier from there with hordes of tough enemies assaulting me every step of the way. 10/10

LEVEL 7: Very well-done take on Dead Simple. You fight the Mancubi in an enclosed area with no real cover before heading outside of the building (a tiny fort). Here there be Arachnotrons galore as well as a few Revenants and minor foes. After taking out the first couple Arachnos, the level's very simple, but those first few moments are insane (I was at 6% health after the Mancubi and spent the rest of the level building it back up). 7/10
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Posted: June 24, 2006 (01:11 PM)
I have reached not ONE, but TWO milestones this past week and decided to share my overwhelming joy with you other people. First, with my Sagaia review, I hit the 150 review mark on this site. Now, I've written more than that, but those 10-20 substandard ones from my early days are only on GameFAQs where stuff like that belongs. Also, during this week, I reached the 25000-hit mark. Yeah, I know....Zig was bragging about reaching 20000 for one review, so that takes a bit of the luster off that milestone, but....it's still kind of neat because when I first started submitting here, the thought that people would look at my stuff that many times hadn't even entered my mind.

Anyway, like I enjoy doing at any opportunity, here are my 10 most read reviews. Not necessarily my best as Athena (my sole contest champion) and Alundra (2-0 in summer team tournament play) are not on this list, but for whatever reasons, they are popular!

10. Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Never Ending Tomorrow (PS2) with 424 views
A review for a bad game based on an anime I don't care about. I was proud of it because this is the sort of game I fall into the trap of reviewing apathetically, but I put a good deal of effort into this one.

9. Final Fantasy VIII (PS1) with 441 views
Pretty mediocre review by my standards, if you ask me, but it gets its share of views....likely because of the game.

8. 1941: Counter Strike (SuperGrafx) with 536 views
One of my first reviews to get recognized here in some fashion (RotW), it's a bit clunky compared to later works, but has its charms.

7. Mega Man 6 (NES) with 651 views
Another old RotW winner, the thing I like most about this one is that I was binging on NES Mega Man games back at this time, but was able to avoid making this one sound like "just OD doing another MM review....we've read this one five times already....."

6. Bouken Danshaken Don San-Heart Hen (TG-16) with 681 views
Obscure Japanese game on a system full of them. The difference: as far as I know, mine was the first (and maybe still the only) English-written review of this game. Style points for me!

5. Bahamut Lagoon (SNES) with 685 views
One of my personal favorites, as I was always doing 1400-1600 word essays when it came to RPG reviews. This was a much more streamlined review that had far better flow than most of those reviews.

4. Final Fantasy VII (PS1) with 858 views
Speaking of those RPG essays, here's one of them. I said what I wanted to say, but depending on the viewpoint of the reader, may have taken way to long in getting there.

3. Final Fight 2 (SNES) with 1067 views
Bizarre. I never would have expected this review to be one of my first to hit 1000 hits. And it's still going strong, while (for example) my #2 review has somewhat stagnated. Maybe that's a sign I need to work on a couple more 2-D brawler reviews......where's Streets of Rage 2?

2. Final Fantasy III (SNES) with 1356 views
I really liked how this review came out. It might focus a bit too much on artistic stuff than the gameplay, but really.....this is one of the most covered games in history. If you can't take a new angle on it, there's no point in even trying. And, at the very least, this review's gotten its fair share of attention.

1. Dragon Quest VIII (PS2) with 1715 views
A review I had a blast writing for a game I had a blast playing. I'm glad it's become so popular, as it gains views on a daily basis, especially considering the way Metal Gear Solid: Subsistence (the other huge-name new release I've done since becoming staff) has been a flop view-wise (60+ views the first day.....barely 200+ in over two months since). Another personal favorite.

BUT! These reviews might not be your personal favorites by me, so this is my advice to each and every one of you. Start at the very top of my (currently) 151-review list and read each and every one of them. Figure out which are your favorites and tell me. Just think, you could influence the sort of game I review in the near future or you could have a say in the style I use in reviewing those games. But only by taking the time to painstakingly research my writing can this happen. I eagerly await your input!

Your friend
The big "O"
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Title: End of one megawad (for me), beginning of one of the best
Posted: June 16, 2006 (08:41 AM)
I got fed up with 30 Levels and threw in the towel on it last night, so here are my final comments on it.

Level 12: Finally! The style changes. This is a visually-cool level with lots of lava and an awesome sky with Hitler's face superimposed over it (from the Doom II Wolfenstein level sprites). In his read-me, Huff noted this episode was based on a hellish world overrun with Wolfenstein soldiers and wanted to design the levels to show a completely evil world full of atrocities. Good job in that aspect. He also mentioned wanting to primarily use small enemies, but in ways that made them a lot tougher. Success here, as well.....maybe too much success, as having Wolfies, former humans and chaingunners assaulting me from all angles was absolutely brutal. A couple soldier-infested side-levels were also pretty fun, with one very nice trap, although the multi-level base section has really gotten overdone in this wad. Rating 7/10

Level 13: It's not like this is a bad level, but it was so similar to those I've done before (except longer) that I've completely lost interest in this megawad. Most of it takes place indoors. The first major area is loaded with trap walls hiding soldiers. The second is a small, dark area full of specters and crushing ceilings. The third place is absolutely huge, but flawed. You start out in a courtyard and kill roughly one million Wolfie soldiers and a few lost souls and maybe some imps as you ascend to the top of the structure. From here, you go around the perimeter. A cyberdemon trap is on the far wall, but the trigger is poorly placed, so you can easily avoid it if you choose. From here, you don a radiation suit and fall down a shaft into the tunnels below another fricking multi-level base! And this is a large one, that's loaded with enemies behind fake walls (you can't see them, but they can shoot you and likely will get a free set of bullets in you before you figure out where they are). It's a decent level, but I'm sick of following the same template over and over again. Rating 4/10

Level 14: I only started this level before deciding I'd lost interest in this megawad, quitting and deleting it from my hard drive. Called "Hitler's Chessboard", you immediately take a teleporter to a large room with toxic waste and lava squares arranged like a chessboard. On the ground are a bunch of soldiers and imps. On the ledges above it are bigger foes like Barons and Reverents. Might have been a good large-scale fight, but I'd had enough. Rating: Incomplete

FINAL SYNOPSIS: It's not like this guy is an untalented programmer or anything, but he just didn't seem to have enough ideas to fill a full conversion, as a number of tricks and styles were repeated, some in most every level. The main offender was the base with more than one level. The reason for this, I assume, was because, as Huff said in his readme, he likes using lost souls. And having holes in the floor and ceiling to change levels is a great way to use them (you think an area is clear, start walking and immediately get hit from behind because a lost soul came up/down from a hole and charged you), but there is a line between effective use of a concept and overkill. Another problem I had was with some monster placements. At times, I got the idea he was more interested in creating a wad that challenged him, as opposed to one with logical, intelligent placements. There were too many instances of the "fake walls" and, let's face it, if you don't know ahead of time that a soldier is behind said wall, it will riddle you with bullets while you're wondering what's shooting you. That's not "challenging", that's "cheap". I didn't overly dislike many of the individual levels I played, but as a whole, they come off as a bunch of long levels that just blended into each other with little to seperate one from the next.

After that, I went to the next on my list, titled Alien Vendetta. Initially, this was to be another ultra-challenging game in the style of the Hell Revealeds, but as the many level-designers started to work, it became more of a regular Doom game that focuses more on creating great levels. This wad is tougher than the norm and has its share of brutal fights and very long levels, but it's not some "impossible challenge" sort of game. And after 30 Levels, the proficiency used in crafting these levels will be quite welcome to me!

LEVEL 1 (Sunset by Martin Allen Hungager):
A bit longer and tougher than the average intro level, this stage gives you a decent amount of good fighting. You only fight weak enemies and (hopefully) won't be too tested by anything, so this is more of a warm-up level than anything. As first levels go, though, it's effective.

LEVEL 2 (Rusty Rage by Anders Johnson):
Surprisingly tough, especially when you consider the only two tough enemies (one Baron and one Mancubus) are placed in a way they're most of a distraction than a real threat to all but the careless. However, there are some effective traps and very good use of the weaker enemies, making it hard to get through some areas unscathed. It's a small level, but it took a while to get through it, as I had to develop some good hit-and-run strategies in a couple of rooms.

LEVEL 3 (Cargo Depot by Matthias Berggren):
A fun level that puts you against a number of hordes of soldiers, imps, demons and spectres. For the most part, these fights simply involve you shotgunning fools down as they run straight at you, but I enjoyed myself, mainly due to the imaginative use of big enemies for a tiny handful of battles. You get enough health and ammo to accomplish your goal, but not so much that victory feels like a foregone conclusion. I had a couple moments where I was hoping I'd get another box of shells before triggering another battle....

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Title: Doom II and fan-made wads
Posted: June 14, 2006 (09:17 AM)
I've been celebrating a new beginning to my Doom playing over the last year or so when I discovered a few sites with fan-made levels and games using Doom II's awesome customization abilities. During my brief period of time on livejournal, I made a bunch of entries reviewing the work of these people. And now, despite the fact that Blu's likely the only person who will even have one iota of interest in any of this.....I'm now using this blog-thing for that.

This is one of those individually-designed megawad. According to the designer (Stephen Huff), the first 10 levels were released seperately as "arbedlam" or something like that, while he just added on with two other 10-level scenarios (and according to his read-me file, two secret levels, which would actually make it 32 levels, not 30....). Levels seem pretty nicely designed, although too many secrets and traps get revealed by the map for my tastes.

Level 1: Very nice, long opening level. A lot more challenging than one would expect for the first level of a Doom IIish game, as Huff shows a flair for creating sadistic "wall-collapsing" traps. Rating 7/10.

Level 2: Not much different from the first level. As Huff says in his text file, the first level was designed to give the player a ton of ammo and the next three were designed to take it all away and this is evident here as there are plenty more enemies that don't drop goodies and fewer boxes laying around. Second straight level with a crusher trap, which I look at as cheap things that should be used very sparingly. Blah. Very nice archvile placement makes up for that, though, as it took me some time to figure out where it was attacking me from until I looked at the map and immediately figured that out. Rating 5/10.

Level 3: Kind of a fun level with a couple cool things. First, it's a nice multi-layer base where you have to use elevators and fall into pits to go from one level to the next. Second, there's good use of spectres (in a dark room, the only area they're really an effective enemy....might as well simply use demons elsewhere). Overall, it's a bit dull, as the traps are a bit predictable, but nicely designed. Rating: 6/10.

Level 4: Yep. Ammo got tight here. Had to dishonor myself and cheat to recharge after getting stuck having to dodge lost souls and a baron with only five rockets left..... Decent level with a lava-filled sub-level below. No reason to go there other than for some kills and good armor/supercharge pick-ups, but in a cool twist, lost souls come up from there through holes in the floor ensuring the halls in the main part of the base are populated with something after you've cleaned out the enemies that start there. Rating 5/10.

Level 5: Much like the first level, with hordes of soldiers and ammo. Also a few crusher traps, which I didn't like. The ending hints that the game will be departing the base theme, as it puts you in more of a wide-open setting against arachnotrons (the first placed quite effectively, the other two are sitting ducks) and a couple other heavy-hitters with imps as back-up. Rating 6/10.

Level 6: Way too many teleporting enemies here, as they frequently leave their area to repopulate the hub that begins the level. The first main part is awesome, as you enter a courtyard in the center of a big building. A quartet of cacos is in the yard, while imps populate the building, pelting you with fire constantly. The rest.....meh. You have a short cave area with tight tunnels and a baron.....and little else. Rating 6/10.

Level 7: Nothing particularly amazing here. Just another base level with nothing to recommend it over the previous few. That's the big problem with these first 10 levels. They're well-made, but for the most part, none of them have much in the way of stand-out features (with the exception of the courtyard part of the previous level). Virtually all of them have been base levels and most of them have had multiple floors AND the bottom one often is made of a hazardous material (not to worry.....in these instances, Huff programs in a radiation suit every 10 steps, so you don't have to be concerned about dying due to lava/acid exposure). Rating 4/10.

Level 8: This level starts out as a great take on "Dead Simple", with you in a small courtyard. Tons of soldiers are on the wall above you, while the building in the center houses imps, a baron and maybe a few other baddies. Very intense fighting with you having to take out the biggies inside while remaining concealed enough to avoid being sniped from the outside foes. After that, it's more of a routine base level, but well done enough to keep me in a good mood. Rating 7/10

Level 9: I can tell I'm rusty....my second weapon cheat in under 10 levels. Overall, this was a solid and fun level, but just another tech-base with multiple levels. Rating 5/10

Level 10: The finale of the first episode, this could be better-designed. After getting a bunch of goodies and a megasphere, you open a door to get confronted by a cyberdemon on another ledge, reverants firing at you from across a chasm, specters taking an elevator up to you and lost souls floating up to say "hi". Take out the cyberdemon and whatever other stuff you can and descend into the chasm to find out you're in a long tunnel with reverants above you and both specters and lost souls constantly attacking. Too much of an "everything but the kitchen sink" mentality, as Huff just throws a bunch of enemies at you without really bothering to do so in a clever or memorable way. Rating 2/10

Level 11: The beginning of the second episode is identical to much of the first episode, except for being a bit longer. Boring theme of there being a hub room with four main doors. The first three doors each lead to a key, which is used to open another door. The final door leads to the exit. While there's no shortage of tough enemies (2 archviles, 1 cyberdemon), the level was just flat-out dull. None of the sub-areas were connected theme-wise in any way and the big fights seemed to just be there. Levels like this make me appreciate "Tricks and Traps" (Doom II, Level 8) more and more. That level had the same sort of hub, but had six or eight branches off it. You didn't know which way to go initially, as any path could lead to a key, ammo or a cacodemon death trap. It was up to the player to figure out the order to do things through trial and error.....not because of realizing there's four doors in a room and they can only open one, so that's the way to go. Rating 4/10, as I start to lose patience.
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Posted: May 10, 2006 (08:21 PM)
For whatever reason, I was looking at my contributer profile on GFs and noticed that my first ever review (Captain Commando) was sent in over three years ago (mid-March '03, to be a bit more exact).

Well, that's a reason to celebrate, if you ask me! So, here it is....so all of you can see that I did start out at the same level that it took so-called "seasoned vets" like Zig, Masters, Fact, etc. years to achieve! Without further ado....(my comments in italics)....

"Only if you really like Final Fight clones...."

I give my tagline a decent rating. Taglines tend to suck no matter what, but as Lord Alan proved a couple of years ago, if you make fun of them, people start crying. I could have just put "I eat my own feces!" as the tagline and it still would have been accepted there, so I give myself credit for making a vague statement semi-related to the game!

In 1990, Capcom had a big hit on the SNES with a port of their arcade game Final Fight. This opened the doors for several companies to flood the market with side-scrolling brawlers. Some were good, while others were just there. Sadly, this game falls in the second category.

One thing I tend to get praised for is the amount of research I put into my reviews, so it looks like I am an authoritative voice on whatever I was playing. As you can tell, that's always been a staple of my writing. There's no doubt I made incisive points and backed them all up. No vague statements about how one game inspired designers to make a bunch of copycats or anything like that here!

Ported from another Capcom arcade game, Captain Commando gives you four characters to travel through nine stages of fighting. Unfortunately, there really aren't many differences between the playable characters (as opposed to the average game in this genre, where you have the small, quick one; the big, strong one and the balanced one) and those stages (on average) are much shorter than the stages in most fighters.

The best thing about this paragraph is that I made the "aren't many differences" statement after playing through the game with one character and maybe doing the first screen with (at most) one or two more!

Graphics: 4
On the positive side, I liked the background graphics, which generally looked good. On the negative side, the foreground graphics were a different story. All characters are far smaller and less attractive than in Final Fight, Sonic Blast Man and other brawlers. While this does make the game different from the norm, it is not a change that I personally like.

Another of my peak moments in reviewing, as I make sure my readers know that I am not particularly fond of small, unattractive characters! I also compare Sonic Blast Man FAVORABLY to this game, which should give me Masochist Points or something.....

Music/Sound: 3
To be honest, even though I finished this game last night, I can't remember any of the music. It simply did not stand out as good or horrible. It was just .... there. As far as the sound goes, it was okay, but nothing exceptional. You have the grunts of fallen foes, the sounds of fists flying and all the other sounds of fighting games.

This entire paragraph could be summed up like this: "I can't really say much about the music because I muted my computer so I could listen to basketball on TV while I played. But since all generic reviews have a sound section, I have to pull something out me ass!!!"

Gameplay: 6
The enemies are pretty much comparable to those in the average Final Fight game (Capcom designers must not have been in a creative mood when they made this game). You have your generic, low-class thugs, your knife-wielders, your agile leapers your fat guys, etc. Even the legendary big, tough guy (Andore) is here as Musachi, the big samurai who's not shy about using his sword. Maybe it's not original, but it's a formula that works. Just don't expect many surprises.
Bosses are typically large and strong. Difficulty is uneven when fighting them, though. Some are extraordinarily easy, while others seemed to pound me no matter what I did. For example, to me, the Level 4 boss was tougher than all but the Level 7 and Level 9.
While there are more levels than the average fighting game, many of these levels are very short. One level, in which you pursue a scientist on a watercraft, is so tiny that it feels more like a mini-game than an actual level.
As far as the fighting goes, you punch, kick, throw, use weapons and have ''desperation'' attacks. Nothing new here, either.
In a nutshell, while this game offers nothing new, what it does offer is a good, fun diversion.

As you can see, my early reviews were superb in how they flowed smoothly while offering deep insight as to the nuts-and-bolts of games. I only wish I'd thought to include some comment about how I wish I was a big samurai who wasn't shy about using my "sword" on all the hot chicks who'd obviously be attracted to anyone able to write this great of a review. If I'd done that, this review would have likely changed my life forever!

Replay Value: 4
Depends. If you let this game stand on it's own, it offers a fun diversion for a while. However, if you compare it to other fighters, it just doesn't stack up. Personally, I'd rather put in a number of other games than this one. It's not bad, but it just doesn't stack up.

I give myself props for making sure the reader knows this game doesn't stack up to other fighters....even though I feel I probably should have used the "doesn't stack up" phrase a time or two more just to make sure it stuck in peoples' minds....

Overall: 4.5 (rounds up to 5 for the purposes of this site)
I was and am a huge fan of brawlers like this one, but I just didn't get into this one the same way I typically get into these games. Whether it was the small characters, the short levels, the generic enemies or some other aspect, my feeling was this game just didn't compare to the top games in this genre.
It's not a horrible game by any stretch of the imagination and I would call it better than a number of games I've played during my life, but it just didn't give me any reason to recommend it to anyone who is not a die-hard fan of this type of game. If you love brawlers, play it. If you don't love them, look somewhere else for your entertainment.

The amazing thing is that I not only recapped the main points of my review in two paragraphs, but the body of it had so little substance that all one would have to do is read that conclusion to know everything I had said previously....now that takes talent!

Reviewer's Score: 5/10, Originally Posted: 03/14/2003
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Title: A can't miss classic blast from the past.....
Posted: April 07, 2006 (10:36 PM)
I was bored at work today, so I went to my carefully hidden emulation files I buried on my computer's hard drive and played through a bit of the NES RPG Legend of the Ghost Lion.

Hoo-boy, that game.....has its share of issues.

1. It's slow-paced and fugly.

2. You gain HP and MP, not by killing monsters, but by opening certain treasure chests in dungeons.

3. Dungeons are simplistic and tiny, perhaps to compensate for your lack of healing magic, which means you have to buy items to restore HP.

4. There aren't many monsters (and each palette is repeated 3-4 times like most NES RPGS). I entered a completely new region and have encountered ONE new monster (the Werewolf, which is a differently-colored Kobald). That makes me bored.
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Title: Are you ready for the Overdrive Explosion?
Posted: February 28, 2006 (12:47 PM)
The last week or two have been hectic as hell at my job.....but that time has come and gone. Now....my attention is coming around to being fully placed on putting people here in place.

I will overwhelm and deluge you with the greatest reviews ever.....starting this week. I've started one for Bonk's Adventure shortly before getting enough work slammed on me to kill a whole tribe of ordinary people. But that is only the beginning.

I also will have one for Traysia up in the next couple of days. And then? Maybe Galg....maybe Fire Emblem....maybe 7th Saga....maybe all of them, one right after the next, each hitting your senses as hard as a sledgehammer to the groin.

I have seen tomorrow and it is beautiful......
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Title: I'll tell ya something.....
Posted: February 01, 2006 (07:39 PM)
.....I prefer my RPGs to be dungeon/battle oriented because I'm old-school.....but I have to admit Suikoden III exhibits the perfect way to take things in the opposite direction.

Plotwise, it's the best RPG I've ever played. Overall, it's prolly an 8 or so.....I love the story, but....sometimes, the getting from one plot point to the next is tedious....do we really have to fight so many spiders, beetles and wild boars on our way to.....you know....circumvent this major war about to go down....????
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Posted: January 30, 2006 (05:52 PM)
It's time for a bonafide treat for you people, as I, Overdrive, count down my (at the moment) TOP 10 MOST-VIEWED REVIEWS. Read with rapt attention as I beguile and bewitch you in ways you never knew possible. And here we go!!!!!!!!

10. Final Fantasy VIII (PS1) with 297 views

It all goes to show that if you bash a popular game, people want to read about it. It's not my best review. It's not really that well thought-out, organized or whatnot. Hell, I only finished around the mid-point of a frickin' GameFAQs contest with this thing. But the unwashed masses seem to get into reading it, so that's fine with me!

9. Pitfall II: Lost Caverns (A2600) with 309 views

This review's an interesting one. On one hand, it got RotW and I was all-but-ordered by Zig to use it in the 2004 Summer Team Tournament. On the other, it is a 1500ish-word review for an Atari 2600 game. Sure, it's well-written and all, but you can tell I hadn't learned the fine art of condensing thoughts when I'm spending that much time talking about this old of a game (even if it was complex for the time and system). Oh......yeah, Jihad's Red Dead Revolver crushed this one in that contest (yes, I do remember each and every one of my slights).

8. 1941: Counter Strike (SuperGrafx) with 412 views

My first RotW victory, I believe. Either this or Pitfall II was. I was still honing my skills, but obviously still was more than enough to catch the eye of people and get honored. Anyway, since only about four or six SuperGrafx games were ever made, it's cool to see my review for one of them get a lot of recognition and views.

7. Bahamut Lagoon (SNES) with 469 views

I'm especially proud of this review, as I'd been in a stage where most of my reviews were getting done in 1000-1200 words, but my ones for RPGs (and related sub-genres like strategy) were still long. This is my first "condensed" RPG review and the result was (in my opinion) one of my best efforts ever in that sort of genre.

6. Mega Man 6 (NES) with 590 views

Funny thing is that this review has more hits than my ones of MM1-5 combined. For you newer guys, that shows what having RotW can do for your views. I don't know that it's my best Mega Man review, but BY F-ING GOD, it's easily my most popular!

5. Bouken Danshaken Don San-Heart Hen (TG-16) with 612 views

Before you ask, no this ain't that fake game GUTS took second in an Alphabetolympics a ways back. It's a wacky-as-hell TG-16 shooter that, to my knowledge, has only been comprehensively reviewed in English by ME!!!!!! Overdrive: Making the Obscure Part of YOUR Life! Anyway, for that reason, I'm really proud of how popular this review has been. Kinda gives me a warm feeling inside to know a game is getting publicity and recognition due to my efforts.

4. Final Fight 2 (SNES) with 733 views

I wrote this shortly after my glowing praise of the arcade Final Fight. I thought this was more dry and analytical (foregoing paragraph-long renditions of Dug getting his ass handed to him). Apparently that was good. Not only did that Final Fight review get its ass handed to it in the 2005 Summer Team Competition, but this one has proven to be one of my most popular reviews. Moral of the story : Never predict what people will like most.

3. Final Fantasy VII (PS1) with 782 views

It's a bit long and I do ramble on at points, but this probably is one of my better attempts in reviewing a popular game I like long after everyone's already said everything worth saying about it. Those might be the toughest sort of reviews, as you have to give readers a reason to care what you have to say — even if they've read it all before a million times. I wouldn't put it in a contest or anything, but I'm proud of it.

2. Dragon Quest VIII (PS2) with 904 views

If you haven't read this review yet, do so now. And then beg, borrow or steal your way into possession of this game (or simply buy it, if that's how you roll). I loved playing this game and loved doing this review. Hell, I was so pumped up, I did two NES Dragon Warrior reviews just to help me focus. It might have only been judged the third-best review in that four-person team tourney, but that was more due to the competition than any failings this one had.

1. Final Fantasy III (SNES) with 1248 views

My "flawed masterpiece", this review was directly influenced by Zig's Emerald Dragon, which amazed me in how it was utterly captivating even though it hardly really even barely came close to scratching the surface of the actual gameplay. However, I loved the vivid plot descriptions and tried to create a review similar to that, yet still including some gameplay commentary. It got RotW and almost immediately got a ton of praise. Yet, it never had the contest impact I hoped for, finishing fourth or fifth in the Beat Zig contest and then being my quarterfinals-losing review in one of FFM's 32-person single-elimination tourneys on GameFAQs. Such is life.
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Title: GG Aleste
Posted: January 26, 2006 (11:56 AM)
I wrote a review today. Well, actually, I did the intro yesterday and did the bulk of the work today. Came out pretty good if I do say so myself. Clocked in around the 850-word mark (give-or-take)......which I'm proud of. I'm getting better at tightening up my writing, so I can make a bunch of bad jokes in my reviews while not creating something bloated that takes an hour to read.

I feel cooler already......
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Title: Ain't writer's block a bitch?!
Posted: January 13, 2006 (11:11 AM)
So, here I am wondering what happened to me....

In December, I finished my Dragon Quest VIII review, which was the third-highest rated review in the Beat EmP team competition and I'm feeling great about things.

Then.....I do a half-ass review of Riddle of the Sphinx.....

Now, I just submitted a Karnov review that took me a week to write. I'd do a paragraph or two and then....stop for a day or two.

I have a GG Aleste review waiting to be written, but inspiration hasn't struck me yet as to how to do that.

My brain's broke.....I think I need a new one....

On a side note, I've been playing those fan-made Doom wads I was all orgasmic about in August or so again. It's amazing just how fantastic ones like Alien Vendetta and Requiem are, especially when you compare them to the lesser ones like Twilight Zone 2. I'd been saying that the key-hunt levels in TZ2 were fun, if repetitive, for some time. Then, I did Requiem's fifth level ("The Canyon"). That is the best key-hunting level I've EVER played in my life. All three major areas were completely different, only connected by a courtyard hub. The first area (industrial, maybe?) was well-designed, if a bit bland. The second part was an awesome "Inferno"-based region, though, and the third area with a breathtaking bridge across a huge canyon. Lot of enemy teleportation traps and other cool stuff to make the large-scale fights pretty tough.
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Title: Turn-based intensity (probably has major DQ8 spoilers, so don't read unless you don't care)
Posted: December 09, 2005 (10:05 AM)
I remember back in the day when Square started doing that active-time battle thing in their Final Fantasy games, people were all like, "Ooohhhh, this is so great. Battles are intense now, unlike those old-school ones where you could put down the control, make a sandwich and come back (never mind that you could usually PAUSE the game in the middle of a battle, sometimes by doing no more than accessing a menu).

I always thought that reasoning was stupid and last night proved it to me.

Abou 54-55 hours into Dragon Quest VIII, I finally got my hands on Dhoulmagus (evil jester that causes all sorts of trouble). His first form was fairly run-of-the-mill, although with a neat twist on the "enemy clones himself" battle (you know which one is real......but the clones have so few HP they can be killed in 2-3 turns, so you have the option to concentrate on the real one and get pounded by all three over a long battle ---- or take out the clones one-by-one, leaving the main guy standing for longer, but eventually fighting a 4-on-1 battle in your favor).

But, the second fight with him was just insane. He attacked twice a round and some of those attacks were enough to make me cringe. For most of the battle, it was all I could do to keep my four characters alive......for the final turns, my hero was stuck trying to resurrect dead characters and heal living ones, Yangus was attacking during turns he was alive, Angelo was dead and Jessica was hitting him with her one fire attack that was causing 60ish HP damage a round.

I didn't know if I could win that fight. My hero was just about out of magic when I struck the killing blow, so my guess was I had about 5-6 more turns of anyone being alive (at most) when I won.

That battle's up there in the top handful of RPG fights I've ever been in as far as intensity......and, by my estimation, I can't be more than 60% of the way through the game.......so, damn, how will the game top that one?

Oh, and as a sidenote, I was pleased (I guess) to find out that, as per the old-school Dragon Quest/Warrior norm, this game gets very vast when you get your ship. It took me something like 6-8 hours of play to actually get to my next in-story destination after getting that thing. I just knew it was in the western continent. But first, I had to slowly figure out what part of that place.....and then how to get there. That set me a bit behind as far as my time schedule in beating this game.
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Posted: December 02, 2005 (07:07 AM)
I was looking at the brackets for that GF single-elimination tournament and found this POTENTIAL second-round match-up!!!!!

The re-match of the summer team tournament's most-talked about match!!!! That's right......you could be witnessing......

OVERDRIVE VS. GRUEL: PART TWO!!!!! (Hell Takes No Prisoners)
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Title: Dragon Quest VIII — Second Impressions
Posted: November 30, 2005 (11:43 AM)
After two days of playing DQ8, I've made my first trip to the abbey on the second continent and have obtained a bit more insight into things I like/dislike.

1. As said before, the load times. Whether it be active-screen load times (ie: post-battle celebrations, opening town gates to enter/exit villages) or simple black-screen fun times, it does get to be a drag. I think part of it is simply due to the slower-pace of RPGs as compared to other genres. When a type of game runs at a relaxed pace, you tend to notice things like load times that slow things down even more.

1. The Alchemy Pot. So, far, I found the recipe for Strong Medicine and I easily figured out the Thief's Key (when you're handed one component, a guy in the same town mentions that a certain weak weapon tends to be useful in alchemy AND you find one of that sort of weapon in the area......that's not brain surgery). However, every other attempt at a mix I've tried has been a failure. Now, if I find a bunch of cool formulas while traveling through the game, this will be cool. If Square/Enix expects me to attempt mixing and matching every stupid item I have in an attempt to actually create something worthwhile, well that falls into the "waste of time" realm.

2. Monster/spell names. Espiga rants about that in his review. While I don't necessarily feel as put out by the different translations used for names, I can see his point. If you've known creatures by names like Drakee, Red Slime and Babble for the duration of a series, seeing Dracky, She Slime and Bubble Slime pop onto your screen is a bit disconcerting. However, the only ones that bother me are the unique (visible on screen) version names. From looking at a list of them in the Japanese version, I can tell that (when applicable) they're given the same names they had in Dragon Quest 5 and 6 when you could recruit them. Here, they're given stupid pun names, so instead of seeing Pierre the Slime Knight, it's One Knight Stand the Slime Knight. It's a minor point, but one I feel like making (just not in my eventual review, as it's not significant enough to yammer on about).

3. While I like the accents and the voice-acting, it does seem like virtually everyone talks really slow most of the time. I find myself skipping through a lot of the actual talking because I get tired of waiting 20 seconds for someone to say two sentences.

1. The unobtrusive story. You don't get a ton of story at once. The game just gives you elements in small doses here-and-there, which keeps the quest running smoothly.

2. The vastness of the world. On my way to Alexandria, I went off the road and wound up finding a house on top of a cliff. The guy there told me to get his tool bag from under a red tree which I could see from the top of the cliff. After descending, it took me a few minutes to get my bearings and find the tree. Then, it took a while longer to find my way back to the guy's house. It was a neat experience. Sure, after I get the world map, it will be easier to find my way around, but this world is about as realistic as any I've seen. If you leave the roads, it is a distinct possibility you will get turned around and be confused. Shoot, after getting the Thief's Key last night, I remembered that there was a locked chest near the first town. I'd spent a lot of time building levels around its location. It still took me 15 minutes to find.....meanwhile, in looking for it, I found a chest (and tough visible monster) that I had never seen during my initial exploration of that area.

3. Nostalgia factor. It's just really cool to see the new-and-improved versions of the traditional Dragon Warrior/Quest monsters. They look just like they did in the olden games, but with more character, personality and enhanced graphics. You get to watch Imps (formerly Minidemons, if my memory serves) still try to cast spells too powerful for them, fail and then.....fall over. You still have monsters wasting turns (like the Jail Cat, which alternates between attacking, casting spells, cleaning itself and rolling on its back to play).
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Title: Dragon Quest VIII — First Impressions
Posted: November 28, 2005 (11:58 AM)
1. Whoa!!!! It's a sweet combo of amazing new-age visuals/whatnot along with old-school gameplay. This might not be for everyone, but I love the old-timey turn-based, random battles. Especially since I had just finished Dragon Warrior 4 for the 3rd or 4th time.....I was worried they'd change the battle system, but other than fancier graphics, it all feels comfortable.

2. The upgraded menu system is really cool, as are the monster menus and the one that gives game stats.

3. From the very brief look at the overworld I've gotten, it looks to be really big and immersive. Something tells me I'll be happy to obtain the world map, as (in my opinion) the overworld here looks more vast than in the similarly-styled Star Ocean:TtEnT maps.

4. The voice acting is great. Really adds a lot to the talking scenes. Even though, I was pleased with how quick things got moving. I played about 50 minutes and did a wee bit of overworld fighting. Would have been more, but I did the ol' look for hidden in-town treasures thing, which delayed me.

On the flip side, the load times annoy me a bit. Especially since, as a beginning adventurer, I'll likely be forced to go in and out of towns to frequently rest at the inn.....meaning I have to watch the "open town gates" scene (a few seconds) and the "open inn door" scene. None of these things actually take a long time, but do make me remember the NES/SNES games and how everything happened instantly without the game needed to load in your new surroundings.
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Title: I struggled today
Posted: November 09, 2005 (07:26 PM)
I wrote a review on Metroid. The thing is that a ways back, Mariner had and it was submitted during one of my GF RotD days. I read it and completely agreed with it.

I hate when that happens, because I feel my review is so inspired by his that it really doesn't have a true identity. I don't think it's a bad review, by any means.....I've read it a dozen or so times and liked the writing......it just strikes me as being a somewhat derivative review.

I know I've heard people say they don't want to cover certain games because others have reviewed them so excellently. Maybe that's what happened to me. My best friend loves Metroid, but I never got into the way he did and never could explain why. Mariner's review basically did that for me. That put me in a situation where I was saying what I thought about the game, but spent the whole time feeling like I was reciting someone else's thoughts in my voice. Weird......guess that's why I like reviewing obscure games and ones that don't have much coverage from the writers here....I don't run into those problems then.
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Title: What I am I doing.......
Posted: November 07, 2005 (12:35 PM)
So, yesterday afternoon, I was playing Addams Family Values for the SNES......and suddenly, it just hit me: I'VE HIT ROCK BOTTOM!!!!! I mean, I was playing Addams Family Values, fer christsakes!!!!!

Someone put me out of my misery.......
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Title: I hate when good ideas go to waste......
Posted: November 01, 2005 (07:46 PM)
During the whole time I've been at GameFAQs, probably the best idea (on paper) they ever came through with there was their current review rating system.

I thought it was bitchin' groovin', dude! A lot of us had been talking about how it'd be nice if actual writers of quality could be seperated from the "chaff" in some way......and a few of us had the chance. By being on the "Highest Rated" list, a number of the best writers that submitted there could be prominently featured.

And then.....everything was ruined. First off, why can't you directly link to the review from the "Highest Rated" list? When I click on the name, all I get is some stupid screen telling me who all rated that review. To get to the review, I have to run a search for the name of the game and manually get to the proper review. What's the point of featuring (and that word is used loosely since I have to go through about 4-5 screens/menus just to get to this list) the "best" reviews on the site if there is no easy access to them?

And worse, when I looked forward to this function, I forgot about something that should be considered a given: IN GENERAL, PEOPLE ARE FUCKING IDIOTS!

I just spent about an hour on that site, going through a huge list of shit reviews by either shit writers or good writers who were beginning just to make the list look respectable again. For some stupid masochistic reason, I feel compelled that no review should be on the all-time highest rated list unless I've rated it, since so many of the people that do these ratings are fucking morons. Every day, some folk self-rate themselves a nice, fat 10 OR they give some poorly written review a 9-10 because they agree with it.

The only good things about that site nowadays are:

1. Review exposure/hits.

2. Laughing at the idiot brigade.
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Title: Something I've grown to dislike......
Posted: October 26, 2005 (07:31 PM)
Is 7th Saga.

I was playing it for a bit last night and realized that game makes me miserable. I'm up to the snowy continent now......meaning I'm 'bout two-thirds of the way through, so my stupid sense of pride won't let me abort my quest, but I am just hating this game right now.

The battle graphics are quite nice for the SNES. I love some of the music (dungeon, especially, even though it loops after a very brief time). I absolutely can't stand the massive amount of fights it takes to level up and the necessity of doing so. It's like Enix set out to make the most tedious experience possible.

If you read Mariner's recently re-posted editorial on why he hates RPGs......well, to put it bluntly, for the most part, I disagree, as I love the genre. But this game makes me agree with him, at least in part (as does the original SNES Shin Megami Tensei and the MMBN series on the GBA) due to the pure tedium involved.

The thing that truly saddens me is that Enix was one of the best things to happen to Nintendo (possibly only second to Ralph Wiggum calling Chalmers "Super Nintendo Chalmers" one on Simpsons episode. The Dragon Warrior/Quest series is my FAVORITE old-school RPG series, bar none. Robotech and other games also kicked ass.

But 7th Saga takes the worst features of those games and brings them to the forefront. Great monster graphics don't disguise the fact that you're supposed to constantly battle the same creatures over and over again WITH death always a possibility, depending on what attacks get brought out..... In my opinion, this could be even worse than an RPG with too easy of battles. Here, you're not only bored, but you have to constantly save (or freeze state, if you emulate like me) because virtually any encounter could tear through you if they do their toughest attacks repeatedly while you constantly whiff on your attacks. It's both boring and frustrating.

The thing that pisses me off the most is that I vehemently disagree with Mariner's anti-RPG stance......but games like this justify every word against the genre he says, as this dialogue that never happened between us and only played out in my imagination proves.

ME: You're full of shit, dude. RPGs are the sheezy!!!!

MARINER: What about 7th Saga, bra?

ME: Well, it's suicide for me, again......

You see!!! How could you do this to me, Enix? And I used to think you were so awesome......

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Title: One down, one to go
Posted: October 20, 2005 (01:07 PM)
Got one of my two reviews for the week done (and the other needs only a conclusion and a proofreading/scouring). That's a good start for me.

Gundam SEED was an interesting game to review.....interesting in that I definitely wasn't in Bandai's target audience, but was still muddling through it and writing about it. Kinda a change of pace for me, as far as the sort of game I write about.

Neat.....off to nappy-land for me now.....gotta get 'bout 2-3 hours of sleep and then drive an hour or so to do more work! Yay!
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Title: Work sucks!!!!
Posted: October 19, 2005 (05:29 PM)
When you handle the sports for a small-town newspaper.....three parts of the year suck. Fall sports tournaments, winter sports tournaments and spring sports tournaments. Well, the fall stuff has begun and I'm swamped.

Still, with a little luck, I will have two reviews up before the end of the week. One that I'd started before I got sick and one I started today, but didn't have time to finish.

Then I have to figure out my next project. Gulliver Boy (SNES/S.Famicom) is a possibility, as is Dragon Warrior IV (NES) and Sonic 2 (GEN). Diverse array of old-school platforms there, isn't it?
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Title: I'm sick.....
Posted: October 13, 2005 (11:28 AM)
Vicious-ass cold or flu has got me by the balls and given them a good squeeze-n-twist.....

Slept for about 12 hours last night, but still feel like shit. Days like this make you really hate life.......and everyone that's happy and healthy.
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