Monday, January 31, 2011

Thoughts: Marvel vs Capcom 3

So it's a new year! A lot's happened so far - someone's bought the domain name for "Gaming Everything" and created their own site, the bastards; a broken arm has made life difficult just after Christmas; and the stress of running a game room at an anime convention has gotten the best of me. So, this may likely be the last post I make on this blog-slash-review site, but if I come up with any other clever name I may resume with a hopefully better schedule.

And what better way to round out this project than with my thoughts on the currently revealed characters of one of the first games I covered; Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. There are currently 38 characters announced, two of which are downloadable content, and range from the typical to the downright odd. Of the characters I added on my wishlists, only four have made the cut so far (Zero, C. Viper, Nathan Spencer, and Thor) while two were confirmed to NOT have a chance of making it in (Power Stone characters and Mega Man X, those bastards!), though rumor is the statement about X not making his way in has been removed. Let's take a look at each character currently announced, and try to decide who would make our best teams of three.

First Appearance: Super Street Fighter II Turbo

Akuma remains the intimidating foe he's always been. His combos appear to be quite powerful, as do his supers; his hadouken looks larger and more powerful than Ryu's, and he also has a super that appears to stretch across the screen in a haze of purple. Akuma haters should watch out: he seems ever so devastating in the little we've seen of him so far.

First Appearance: Okami

The Sun Goddess from Okami looks to be one of the most complex characters we've seen yet. Amaterasu looks to have different runes floating around her that can call upon the help of different elements and attacks; think of them as "stances" that you might see in other fighters. Video so far shows the wolf looking rather broken, but there's a thing about complex characters - they can either be absolute beast mode or totally worthless. Will each phase Amaterasu uses contain a full move list, or will a normal sized move list be split into each individual stance? We'll have to see when we finally get our hands on the game.

First Appearance: Ghosts N Goblins

Arthur is a fucking badass. I think very few saw this one coming. King Arthur retains a lot from his retro days, including his goofy high legged run and jump animation and a huge number of his weapons, from his trademark lance to torches. He can gain golden armor for a boost of power, where after a certain amount of time he is dropped down to his signature heart-covered boxers. Arthur is one of the most nostalgic characters revealed, and more characters like him are certainly appreciated.

Captain America
First Appearance: Captain America Comics #1

Steve Rogers rejoins the fray with his classic red, white, and blue. He seems fairly average, perhaps a bit on the stronger side, but there's honestly not a whole lot that looks to have changed with ol' Cap'. Captain America appears to be much better in the melee department, a very up-in-your-face style, with the star-faced shield being a back up option for when the opponent tries fleeing.

Chris Redfield
First Appearance: Resident Evil

The first new character announced, Chris has an amazing array of weapons at his disposal. Seeming to be the new trend, the S.T.A.R.S. member has plenty of firearms, ranging from pistols to shotguns to rocket launchers. He can even set down mines, reminiscent of Snake in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Redfield will likely be a character that will keep his distance, fighting from afar with a bit of tactical strategy as well.

First Appearance: Street Fighter II

The first lady of fighting games returns, and she doesn't look vastly different from before. It appears now she can use her lightning fast kicks as an aerial combo as well, giving the Interpol detective more use in the air, but whether Chun-Li actually plays differently or not we'll have to wait to find out.

First Appearance: Devil May Cry

Another long-ranged firearms user, Dante already appears to be a force to be reckoned with. A recent video has shown the mercenary has over 40 moves, most of which are either quick or powerful, and incredibly versatile. I can already imagine seeing him in a high percentage of people's teams.

First Appearance: The New Mutants #98

Deadpool is fucking hilarious. The merc with a mouth breaks the fourth wall several times to harass the player, rambles ridiculously throughout matches, sings to himself, and even uses his own health bar and super gauge to beat his opponent with. Between his hilarious antics and his long-range pistols, prepare to see a LOT of Deadpool once the game is released.

Doctor Doom
First Appearance: The Fantastic Four #5

Doc Doom looks to have retained many of his moves from MvC2, only several of them look improved. The beams he shot out of his hands, most notably as an aerial super, now appear to be wider bolts of lightning that cover a wider range. The laser he shoots is now much thinner, but Doom is looking to be a great character both up close and from afar.

First Appearance: Strange Tales #126

I know literally NOTHING about this character, but gameplay footage shows him to be a powerful beast. This ruler of the Dark Dimension uses fire-based attacks, with one of his supers flooding most of the screen in flames. He looks like a powerhouse character, with little speed and the possibility of being punished should he leave an opening.

First Appearance: Darkstalkers

Ahh, the character no one gave a shit about when she was added to the roster. The official MvC3 site has literally no gameplay footage of her, and even of the four pictures they have, only one is of her NOT getting her ass kicked. It's as if EVERYONE forgot about her being in this game. What little footage of her that can be seen shows little difference from her playstyles in her previous games.

First Appearance: Final Fight

The original wrestler-turned-mayor looks like Zangief's replacement, using less combos and more powerful hits. Looking like quite the grappler, Haggar can be seen pulling out a lead pipe as a weapon, throwing large haymakers, and performing powerbombs and piledrivers as his moveset. He looks like a more interesting version of ol' 'Gief, but other than that he seems to be a cool version of a generic grabbing powerhouse.

First Appearance: Darkstalkers

More Darkstalkers love is a great thing. One of the last reveals on the roster, Hsien-Ko looks like a make-it-or-break-it character; she'll either be incredibly good and a great counter pick, or total garbage. She has projectiles, but mainly fights up close, and has great ways to close the distance between her and her foes.

First Appearance: The Incredible Hulk #1

Bruce Banner's angry side seems largely unchanged. The game appears to be a bit slower than it's predecessor, with the exception of aerial combat, so Hulk appears to be slightly slower and just as powerful. His Gamma Charge dash attack can easily help close the distance between him and a foe that's better at on the other side of the screen.

Iron Man
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #39

Tony Stark was one of the first announced to return, and he doesn't appear to have lost much steam. Iron Man looks good no matter where he is on screen, with long range beams, close range blasts, and the ability to fly and hover around in the air. He's looking very much like an above-average all-around character.

Jill Valentine
First Appearance: Resident Evil

There is no footage of Jill in action. All that we know is that she will be offered as downloadable content and included in the Special Edition version of the game. However, it has also been noted that Jill will play drastically different from her play style in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, so we'll have to wait until the game is released to see what she can do.


First Appearance: The X-Men #1

Mag-fuckin'-neto! Expect to see ol' Maggie at the top of the tier list. He's still powerful, he's got hard hits up close, he's got hard hitting projectiles, he can hover about in the air, and he can pull enemies close to him for a super. Rapist.

First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #93

This big piece of shit kinda pisses me off. Let's forget what he plays like for a minute: look at him. He looks so fucking stupid. We lose a spot that could easily go to, for Marvel alone, Gambit, Venom, Carnage, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Jubilee, Sabertooth, Colossus, Cyclops, War Machine, Elektra, Beast, Cable, Juggernaut, Iceman, Ms. Marvel, Nick Fury, Songbird... And this big-headed fuck up gets a spot in? I'm all for new characters, but retarded looking, keep-away laser spammers is not what I had in mind. Consider the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing near the top of my least favorite character list.

First Appearance: Darkstalkers

The second Capcom character reveal, Morrigan looks very similar to how she played in Tatsunoko vs Capcom. Lilith no longer joins her for her Darkness Illusion super, and her air dash looks much more easily manipulated to go in several directions instead of just slightly up or slightly down, but other than that and a few new supers, she looks nearly the same.

First Appearance: The X-Men #1 (as Jean Grey)

A surprising newcomer that shouldn't have been surprising, Jean Grey looks downright devastating. Showing us the first level 5 super, her move sets and supers are not only covered in flame, but several either quickly sweep across the screen or completely fill it. She's fucking beast mode rapist, and likely to top the tiers of tourney play.

First Appearance: Street Fighter

Capcom's staple fighting character icon, Ryu returns with more or less the same. He still uses hadoukens, his shinku-hadouken now able to be moved towards aerial targets, as well. I mean, it's Ryu.

First Appearance: The X-Men #14


First Appearance: The Savage She-Hulk #1

Everyone's really hating on She-Hulk, but I think she's an interesting new character. She's got strength comparable to the Hulk, but she can actually dash, and has interesting attacks and supers. She doesn't look to have much in the terms of long range like the Hulk, so expect to fight with her up close.

First Appearance: Marvel Premiere #5

The first announced Marvel DLC, Shuma-Gorath has also yet to be seen in action. Like Jill, this tentacle monster will be included on the Special Edition version of the game.

First Appearance: Bionic Commando

Nathan "Radd" Spencer was one of my top wishes, and he looks pretty badass. His bionic arm looks to close the distance from runaways, with both attacks as well as drawing them closer like Mortal Kombat's Scorpion. His supers are interesting, and I'm genuinely excited to play as him.

First Appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15

Peter Parker brings back Spidey, who appears to be nearly as talkative as Deadpool. He's got some interesting supers, and looks to be one of the speedier characters in the game. He has an opposite move of similar to Spencer, able to pull himself towards his opponent instead of vice-versa, which should be good for locking foes in the corner.

First Appearance: Giant Size X-Men #1

Just like in MvC2, Storm is looking pretty beast. With whirlwinds to pop up foes, lightning ball attacks that travel the screen, and a blizzard super that takes up a large chunk of screen room, expect her to again remain in everyone's roster.

First Appearance: Fantastic Four #18

Skrull looks fucking stupid. I mean, sure, he saves up four spots that would normally fill the Fantastic Four, as he has all four of their powers. Sure, he has an amazing moveset using the Four's powers, and amazingly at that. But... he looks fucking STUPID.

First Appearance: The Avengers #195

Taskmaster, meanwhile, looks fucking awesome! This smug bastard can copy any opponent's moves and use them against him; in comic book lore, the only person to defeat him is Deadpool due to the merc's erratic and unpredictable thoughts and actions. It's hard to tell who all's moves the villain comes packed with, but Spidey's Spider Swing can be seen, AND he comes packed with a sword, bow, and pistol. This mother fucker is amazing.

First Appearance: Journey into Mystery #83

Thor already looks underrated, mainly by how little he's been shown. He has what looks to be a really fun moveset. He looks like he can fight from anywhere, with his lightning attacks spanning the screen and his hammer being powerful up close. Strange how we've seen little on him to this point.

First Appearance: Devil May Cry

I dunno, Trish is interesting, but something's not clicking with me. Not too particularly interested in using her, honestly. She uses a large blade, nearly the size of her body, throwing it out during a super. She can also summon attacks from a demonic summoning circle. She looks alright, I suppose, but I likely won't be playing her.

Tron Bonne
First Appearance: Megaman Legends

It was a surprise to see her return until it was announced that Megaman Legends 3 would be coming to the Nintendo 3DS. Tron is a silly character, using the servbots to do her bidding. It appears many of her old moves return, as well as supers used by her and Servbot from MvC2.

Viewtiful Joe

First Appearance: Viewtiful Joe

I fucking hate this character. I fucking hated his games. I fucking hated that he was in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. And I fucking hate that he's in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Let this fucking character die, and give a character that's actually likeable and worth a shit a chance to be in this game. Fuck.

C. Viper
First Appearance: Street Fighter IV

Crimson Viper appears as one of the newest characters on the roster, and she looks to have brought all of her moves from Street Fighter IV with her. Her moveset literally looks near identical. Let's hope they're not as high of a learning curve to pull off in this game as they were in her debut.

First Appearance: Resident Evil

The traitorous Albert Wesker looks to finally make a playable debut and has always been a fan favorite of the series. He not only looks badass, but his combos look quick and fierce, and when you can't think things can get any crazier, this son of a bitch pulls out a big ass missile and throws it down on his opponent. Wesker pisses excellence, and because he does so you can expect to see him on a lot of teams early.

First Appearance: The Incredible Hulk #180

One of Marvel's most beloved characters, Logan brings back several moves and supers he had in past games. He still looks quick, and he looks to bring back combo potential, but he still looks weak. In a game where nearly everyone except him can hit you nearly anywhere, you can't afford to be weak. I see him being picked by his faithful followers, but he's not going to be one of the best characters of this game, either.

First Appearance: X-Men: Evolution, episode #41

Bitch all you want, but it's better than two Wolverines. X-23 is hot, and dons two claws per hand plus one on each toe of her boots. She looks faster and more powerful than Wolverine, and has a moveset that looks much more useful than the veteran fighter.

First Appearance: Megaman X

Zero makes a return from Tatsunoko vs. Capcom with many of the same moves, only improved. He combos a bit faster, his supers are vastly better and more useful, and he genuinely looks like a better character overall. Let's hope there's a little more balance to him than in TvC, however, and cross our fingers that X DOES in fact appear as DLC, considering the high demand for him has caused Capcom to apparently pull their deconfirmed statement.

That's the entire revealed roster to this point. I'm particularly impressed with even the details we've seen as well; from the visual changes that happen to the HUD (such as during C. Viper's fire based attacks), to the characters calling out the names of their partners during a tag (Spider-Man: "Maaaggiiiee!" to Magneto, for example, is one of my faves). The levels look amazing and include many newcomers' locales, such as an Umbrella Corp lab and the Ghosts N Goblins graveyard. And the dialog between characters is outstanding:

Spencer: "How much of that suit is bionic...?"
Iron Man: "Just the arm? What? Couldn't afford the rest of the suit?"

C. Viper: "I've found M.O.D.O.K., leader of A.I.M. ...Understood."

Storm: "Will you never learn, Erik...?"
Magneto: "I grow weary of these encounters."

It seems a lot of characters will have dialog chemistry with each other. It's these little touches that make this game look great, and feel like it wasn't rushed and given little time. The game arrives the day after Valentine's Day, but I'm sure a lot of us are already in love. Everyone, enjoy Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and we'll see you somewhere down the line.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bomberman '93

Bomberman '93

Publisher: Interchannel

Developer: Hudson Soft

Consoles: TurboGrafx-16

The black Bomberman has attacked the city, stolen the electricity circuitry chips, and fled. It's up to the white Bomberman to chase him down and bring him to justice! ...Yeah. That's the plot for Bomberman '93.

I'm not saying plot shouldn't be allowed in a Bomberman game; hell, I really loved the plot and characters of Bomberman 64. It's just... why don't they make new chips? Or find another power source? Why does one lone Bomberman have to travel to seven different planets to help out one city? Good thing the plot isn't very important in this game.

What a dick.

This game plays like nearly any Bomberman game before 64. Small hallways in a grid shape with bombs that blow up in a cross shape, destructable blocks that hide powerups and the exit, enemies that must be destroyed before you can pass... It's all standard Bomberman gameplay. Plays like the very original NES classic, with a bright, colorful, almost anime-style graphical upgrade. The game looks great, and plays well. The levels, meanwhile, follow the basic "each world is a different element" example that was often seen in classic games - water, fire, ice, etc.

However, the game can at times be frustratingly difficult. With enemies that can can walk through blocks, may take multiple hits to kill, or speed up when you're in their line of sight, it can become controller-throwing infuriating. I know, because I have done this. You can grab power-ups that give you more bombs, increase the firepower of those bombs, turn your bombs into remote bombs to detonate when you want, allow you to kick your bombs once placed, give you an extra hit point, give you an extra life, make your Bomberman faster, and give you the ability to walk through walls or bombs... But once you die, you don't get two hits of health on the next life, you don't get back the ability to use remote bombs, to kick bombs, or to walk through walls or bombs. And it's EASY to die, either by a runaway enemy or by simply standing too close to one of your explosions.

Come on, you lazy Bombermen, help me out!

The music is hit or miss, more or less. There's some songs that are awesome, simply amazing. There's others that make you wanna rip your own ears off. Sound effects are few and far between - pretty much just explosions, and maybe when you pick up a power-up or kill the last enemy. Just be prepared for mainly music.

The bosses? They have NOTHING to do with the story. Find its weakness, kill it, and get a power chip. And some of these bosses? They're REALLY stupid...

Yep. This boss is an idiot.

Meanwhile, five man multiplayer is pretty badass. Playing against one friend is alright, it becomes very strategic and thought out. Playing against FOUR friends becomes mayhem, and there's bombs everywhere. It doesn't quite live up to the ten man multiplayer of the Sega Saturn Bomberman, but it's still highly enjoyable, especially back when it was made in 1993.

Yeah, mad multiplayer action!

The game is simply straight up Bomberman. If you have friends to play multiplayer with, it's a blast. If you play it solo, you'll probably only play it until you beat it and then never want to touch it again, instead revelling in the satisfaction of conquering it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010



Publisher: Atari Games/Tengen

Developer: Atari Games/Tengen

Consoles: Arcade, Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, TurboGrafx-16, Sega Genesis, and various others

"It is the nineties, and there is time for Klax."

It's odd that not many people know of Klax. It won the Best Mind Game award at the 1991 European Computer Leisure Awards, gained the seal of approval of the Parents' Choice Foundation in 1990, and was named the Best Cartridge Game of 1990. It was considered a major arcade hit, had ports not only to the systems above but also to Playstation, Playstation 2, PSP, XBox, Gamecube, Amstrad GX4000, ZX Spectrum, MSX, Commodore 64 and Amiga, DOS, Windows, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Game Gear, Atari Lynx, and more. It seemed like this game was everywhere. Yet, I can't find hardly a single person that's played this game before.

Klax was an arcade follow-up to Tetris, because Atari was in legal troubles over the latter at that time. It's hard to truly explain Klax, so let me try my best to explain the gameplay:

The game is made up of a conveyer belt, or a staircase, or something along those lines, and has tiles tumbling down towards the playing field. You control a little white machine or ship just above the playing field, where you catch the tiles. You drop them down into the playing field, a 5x5 area, and attempt to match up three or more like-colored tiles, either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. This is called a "Klax," and getting four or more (either in a row or as two connecting Klaxs) counts as more than one Klax.

What most of the game will look like. Only exciting.

So the idea is to make as many of these, right? Well, not necessarily. See, what made Klax interesting was that each level had a specific goal. One level may have you performing a specific number of Klaxs. Another may have you do the same thing, but only vertically, horizontally, or diagonally completed Klaxs count. Other modes include simply catching a certain number of tiles, hitting a certain score, and so on.

Your ship (or device or whatever the hell it is) can only hold five tiles at a time. You dump out the top most, or recently caught, tile onto the field, allowing you to hold onto tiles for a later time. There is no way of shifting through these tiles, however, so if the tile you need is at the bottom, you need to dump out the four tiles on top first to get to it.

So let's say you try to catch a tile with five tiles already piled up. The tile falls off the stairway to hell and takes one hit off of your Drop Meter. You have three, four, or five chances in your drop meter (depending on if you warp; more on that later), and any tile that plummets off the end of the highway counts against you. Deplete the meter, and it's game over.

Warp screen example, at the start of the game.

At the start of the game, and every five levels afterward, you're given the option to skip five or ten levels ahead. These warps give you either four or five drops, depending on how far you warped, as well as bonus points. The catch is, obviously, the game is harder the further you go. The game has 100 levels, the last of which is to get a large high score of 250,000 points before you're able to win.

Some levels may have special criteria, as well; for example, one level may ask you to complete an X-shaped Klax that spans the entire field of play. The reward? A warp that takes you 45 levels ahead. And it's not easy, neither - I tried for nearly two hours recently before giving up, frustrated.

Pausing the game gives the player the option to change the current song being played, as well. This is nice, because there's a lot of different styles to the songs, from a dirty grungy metal sound to a more pop, maybe even new wave sound. It's nice to have an option, too, with a soundtrack of five songs that can be changed during play is nicer than going 15 levels of hearing the same song. I even like the titles of the songs - "Led Fut," "Giganticus Breathalizer," "Dance of the Fairies," "Rottweiler," and my personal favorite, "Caverns of Cthulu." It's really catchy, and I suggest anyone to YouTube them.

Most of the screens all look the same, so here's a bonus song for you guys.

The game's been released recently with the Midway Arcade Treasures for PS2, Gamecube, and Xbox. I suggest anyone that likes puzzle games to at least rent this compilation to try this game out. It may not be the nineties anymore, but there is always time for Klax.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Illusion of Gaia

Illusion of Gaia

Publisher: Enix/Nintendo

Developer: Quintet

Consoles: Super Nintendo

Illusion of Gaia is one of my all-time favorite games in a genre owned by The Legend of Zelda series. The second game in a loose trilogy with Soul Blazer and Terranigma (the latter only released in English in Europe) it stands on its own as an Action/RPG with a few unique ideas and systems that havn't been copied since and a entertaining story - although a little poorly translated as time, as SNEs-era JRPGs were won't to do.

The gang's all here!

The story starts out with our protaganist, Will, getting out of class. You find through Will's narration that a few years ago he went out with his father on a journey to the Tower of Babel. He made it back, somehow, but his father didn't. Then you meet his classmates who will be some of your companions in this game and subsequently return home. Here you meet a girl named Kara who you subsequently find out is a Princess and the King has demanded a ring from your father's things. However, your father never left any 'things' behind. You head out to King Edward's Castle with this information, and thus begins your journey.

My favorite dungeon, the Floating Garden

As I said, Illusion of Gaia is an Action/RPG. You start out controlling Will, who fights with (and plays, as melodies have a part in this game) a flute. Simple strikes, lunge attacks, and a twirling block that also pulls items and certain objects towards you are your arsenal from the beginning. Will is not Link and does not obtain any additional items for use in battle (other than herbs, which are limited). The gameplay in Illusion of Gaia is made more complex by the acquisition of powers and a second and third "form" (with their own distinct abilites).

Will as his second form, the Dark Knight Freedan

Another very unique element exclusive to Illusion of Gaia that I don't believe has been replicated since (at least not in the genre) is RPG style stats (HP, strength, and defense) and how they're optained. Instead of how Action/RPGs like Zelda have you killing the randomly regenerating enemies mainly for health and item drops, clearing an entire room of enemies in Illusion of Gaia will net you an upgrade in either HP, strength, or defense. The enemies also do not regenerate. This encourages you to fight every enemy along the way as there is a reward for doing so (making Illusion of Gaia a lot more like an RPG than games like Zelda).

One of Will's later powers, the Spin Dash

Illusion of Gaia has a lengthy but not overly long and mostly linear story that will probably take you 20-25 hours to finish in its entirety. There are a fair amount of towns free of enemies to explore which breaks up the gameplay so that you're not constantly fighting. The dungeons have a fair difficulty curve that goes up as you progress further in the game that will challenge you (but as long as you're clearing every room to receive stat upgrades, you'll be fine) without frustrating you. The story is interesting and despite a few translation WTFs should keep your attention throughout the game. Will's story takes place over many months and there are times when you meet and leave companions along the way. It all culminates at the proper point and the twist at the ending is unexpected but leaves you interest piqued.

Will's journey takes him and his friends across their world

I always feel like Action/RPGs are easy to pick up and play so for anyone looking for a game to grab and go I recommend you give Illusion of Gaia a try. There's no denying it's old and a little outdated, and as I've said the translation isn't perfect, but it's fun and the simple but engaging upgrade system leaves you wanting to clear room after room until, before you know it, you're absorbed into the game.