I, Da Ca$hman's Movie Reviews

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WWE All-Stars (2011)

Well...that was quick.

Of course they end the trailer with Triple H, Vince's son in law, knocking out Bret Hart. Regardless, let's get this show on the road. So this game's goal is to have a Legends/Superstar roster that everyone from every generation will love, and attain an atmosphere that will be NBA Jam if it was for Wrestling. Super mega 3X Exaggerated Muscles and moves that go 15 feet in the air! How does this play out? Let's find out. The most important part of a game is the gameplay, and that is part of the goal for this game. How does it work out? It's awesome. I love doing absolutely over-the-top moves. The reversal system keeps you on your feet and not insane.

The momentum system is great! You have a momentum bar spread across 3 Special moves. To perform a special move you press a simple combination of two buttons. Sometimes it can get very competitive and high-paced trying to get your signature in. Once you perform a signature, if you have at least one special move of your momentum bar filled, you can execute a Finisher Move. But you have to have the opponent down so that you can do your signature taunt, and then execute the Finisher by pressing L1+L2. This is probably done to train the fighter and to keep the player from being super dominating.

In Smackdown vs. Raw, you can just execute a few big moves, a signature, a finisher, and you're done. Here, it relies a little more on skill and less on strategy. This works in its favor and makes it more competitive, which is part of gaming as a whole. In fact, you could say Smackdown vs. Raw is Sports Entertainment Simulation, and All-Stars is a Fighting Game. Well...using the word "simulation" somewhat lightly. When you do a signature or finisher, you are shown with either blue, red, green, or yellow ribbons. This adds to the cheesiness. It very much tries to emulate the classic Wrestling Arcade games.

Also, submission moves actually count for finishers. In Smackdown vs. Raw, you would lock in a submission move, take it out 5 seconds later, and that would be a finisher for some characters. Here, you do the submission and you hear a disturbing crack in an area of the body that makes it sound like it was actually worth it. Makes playing as Bret Hart super fun. He is my favorite character in this game.  But...those old wrestling arcade games had one major problems. And this game has it too. Controls. FUCK ASS I HATE THESE CONTROLS! This game is extremely focused in reversals.

It's all about chains of reversals half the time. This works extremely well, most of the time. But if you haven't pressed the appropriate reversal button by the time the sign comes up, you're screwed. THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS! It's like instead of saying "hey, hey, hey buddy, press this button." It's saying "HEY, YOU DUMBASS, YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO PRESS THIS BUTTON!" That pissed me off, but only a little. Now let's get into the really bad thing. 3 & 4 player modes. These are nearly unplayable. Smackdown vs. Raw was a control system that was so predictable that you could do it while the screen had you the size of a snail.

This control system is so fucking unpredictable. That's fine in 1 on 1, but in a multi-player match, you need predictable controls for it to be even playable. And this leads into an even bigger problem which we will get to later. This really sucks when you have a friend over, because if he is in a different league then you, you wanna play together in a tag match? You get screwed. And this game is highly meant for more then one human. When it comes to playing alone, you have a favorite character, a wrestler you've hated the most throughout time (there's only 30, 42 if you count downloads, people so it's not hard to pick) and a favorite match.

You'll want to play this the most. If you don't, you'll have less of an experience. There's also only a handful of matches. But this gets real old. If you choose something refreshing, it's not as slick and fun. So...yeah, this game is pretty screwed. And then this gets into time. How are we going to measure this? First, let's get into story. The main story mode "Path of Champions" reminds me a lot of Godzilla: Save the Earth and Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee. It's just a bunch of exhibitions, one is Legends, one is Superstars, and one is Tag-Teams. At the beginning, middle and end you get a clip from the champion you plan to face. In the way you are aiming for this boss at the end of this exhibition, reminds me of Tekken.

Mostly Tekken 4. These clips are WAAAY better then the ones featured in the Sixth Generation Godzilla games. They definitely add a sense of the atmosphere for Undertaker, Orton and DX. But this doesn't add much. Especially when 1/3rd of the matches are those unplayable 3/4 player matches. And there is only 10 matches per story. The other one-player mode is "Fantasy Warfare." Here you can choose a player for a Fantasy Match. For instance, Greatest Execution: Edge vs. Bret Hart. Greatest High Flyer: Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio. Mr. Wrestlemania: Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels. A few of them are kind of insulting, like Pride of Scotland: Drew McIntyre vs. Roddy Piper. But it is still fun to represent who you choose. This is also the way you unlock all the wrestlers.

Even with all this, I seriously give you a maximum of 4 days before you are completely finished with everything you would want to do here in WWE All-Stars. And Story Mode isn't really worth it, the main one, since all you unlock is alternative outfits. So...yeah, either have some trade-ins, a membership and a gift card ready or wait until this game is in the bargain bin. There isn't much else to talk about. The extreme rules matches are kind of lack-luster, being that you only have 6 weapons to choose from, where in Smackdown vs. Raw you practically had 14.

There are also many, many people who are missing here. Chris Benoit, Goldberg, Ric Flair, Jeff & Matt Hardy, Christian, Booker T, Road Dogg, Terry Funk, Billy Gunn, X-Pac, Kevin Nash, Brock Lesnar, Batista, Mick Foley, Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, RVD, Steiner, Iron Sheik, Evan Bourne, Albert Del Rio, Chavo Guerrero, Ken Shamrock, Owen Hart, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, Jesse Ventura, Jimmy Hart, George Steel, The Great Khali, Santino Marella, 123 Kid, JTG, Rick Rude, Greg Valentine, Razor Ramon, Vince McMahon, Yokozuna, Daniel Bryan, Sabu, Tito Santana, Lex Luger...hey, that's 42 people. Maybe if they had a sequel it would be this roster.

Well, besides that, I think they missed the point with the title "WWE All-Stars." It's not about Legends vs. Superstars, it would have been called that if so. All-Stars should be about WWE's greatest of the greats. NO. RIC. FLAIR. What the hell. But if they are aiming for what they are, the above roster would be good for a sequel. Anyways...this game is 3/5. Very fun, very high-paced, but mediocre controls and very little gameplay...in fact, it might even be close to...FOUR HOURS?!?!

Pokemon Black (2011)

I think we're about draw some First Blood if you know what I mean.

First off: if there are any differences between Black and White that are not obvious they are not going to mentioned here. I played Black. Now, lettuce a go! The first two questions when making a sequel is whether it's worth playing. The first question: is it worth playing if you're a Pokemon fan? Oh HELL Yeah! A longtime Poke fan will always question if the Pokemon are worth it or not. This game focuses entirely on new Pokemon. You won't even be able to trade between other DS Pokemon games besides White until you finish the entire story. Trust me, that is not an easy feat.

They are also extremely creative. At least in comparison to some of the older Pokemon games. Sure, a lot are based off of real animals, but I think that's how all Pokemon are. And they are have their own twist on it, what else is new? The gameplay - namely the battles - hasn't changed much. You still have Pokemon with up to four moves that evolve occasionally battling other Pokemon in turn-based RPG ways. But I gotta tell you, the strategy that goes into these kinds of battles, were PERFECTED! Some of these battles really got my heart racing. The only turn down is the controls are extremely slippery. But in this game, controls don't matter as much as strategy.

Now let's talk about the second question: is it worth playing if your not a Pokemon fan? The question is why aren't you? If the core idea or the gameplay are the problems, then no, don't play this game. I'm talking to you TonicalTalk. If the fact that the storyline for Pokemon has been overused to death, 8 Gym Badges, face the Pokemon League, and capture the Legendary Pokemon, then...you might want to play this game. You still do that, but there is more. You might also recall that in each Pokemon game the band of Pokemon thieves is usually just a group of people waiting out in a warehouse to be beat.

No, not here. Team Plasma is a group that tries to get people to believe that Pokemon Training is wrong. That even though the Pokemon look like they are having fun, they are miserable. Let's talk about it from the perspective of Team Plasma. One point that comes up in the debate is that they usually have the same expressions on their faces in battle whether or not they have a trainer at their side. Can you honestly tell me that they WANT to be separated from their families to go with some human? Sure, it seems like their relationship grows, and saying that is the case, it still doesn't change the moment of fear when they are captured. That said, if they have the exact same expressions on their faces...how do we know whether they are miserable or happy?

Let's also think about the nature of Pokemon Battles. You are capturing small and large animals in little tiny balls to battle for you and force to defeat and become stronger. Ugh....do I need to say anything? Granted, in the Poke Balls, there is a computer simulated environment that feels like home. But here's the problem: there is literally nobody left there to interact with. It probably feels like a singular insane asylum! Now, another point that comes up is the relationship between humans and Pokemon becomes stronger through battle. I can easily counter this.

On the outside, it looks like battles make them stronger both humans and Pokemon. On the inside, it might look very different. What if the trust bond comes from a feeling of slave ownership? What if as the Pokemon are forced to do more and more battles, the relazation gradually sets in that they are to do this for the rest of their lives, so they spend less time complaining about it and try to put on a good face even though they are miserable. If they were just in nature, they could become what we view as wild animals. But there are even some sick twisted people that take our wild animals which are meant for nature and nature only and make them into their own circus acts!

Skim Bob Joe: "Oh hey Ca$hman...WAIT, YOU'RE NOT CA$HMAN, YOU'RE N!" Ca$hman: "Shut up, I'm not N. I'm Ca$hman. I've been giving these people honest and UNBIASED opinions, haven't I? *evil laugh.* *shoots Skim Bob Joe with a dart.*" Ah now, where was I? Oh yes. Even though this whole thing that the characters of Team Plasma and N have been trying to portray can seem very convincing to those who are at least 13.2 years old, it never is definite. On the outside, it still looks good, and we aren't Psychic, we can't see into their souls. Except for N, who can talk to them...seriously...

In fact, why is this not more used in the game? Why doesn't he talk to more Pokemon? HELL, WHY CAN'T YOU PLAY AS N? I love this character! He is one of the most awesome Nintendo-esq characters out there. Right with Mewtwo and Shadow the Hedgehog. (Yeah, I like antagonists in a lot of Nintendo games, deal with it.) (And yes, I know Shadow is SEGA.) They need to make a game that allows you to play as the bad guys, with such a great storyline here. It's Casablanca in comparison to the over-used over-simple story that most Pokemon Games have. Now that I've rambo'ed through the gameplay, controls, storyline and characters, let's talk about the Level Design.

...Yep, nothing new. Okay, now lettuce talk about the graphics. The graphics look very good in comparison to some Pokemon games. But...it's still a DS. Any 3-D scene on here is pixel-ated to death. Not even talking about 3-D Sprites. Those have always looked good on the DS. I'm talking about 2-D Sprites interacting with 3-D Environments. For some reason, when this happens in the game, the 2-D Sprites look like VHS. Also, the Pokemon sprites ACTUALLY MOVE. But only a little. This still adds to the excitement of the game though. Now let's talk about the enemies.

Wild Pokemon jump out WAY TOO OFTEN. You take like ONE Step sometimes and a Pokemon comes out at you. It forces you to buy a ton of Repels. I don't want to spend my money on time, I want to spend my money on strength! But whatever. Get the repels, and you'll get over it. This game hands out money like candy anyways! Am I the only one who thinks it's weird that everyday trainers will give you an entire paycheck just for beating their Pokemon in a duel? The Pokemon are also very unbalanced. Nothing new, but it does affect the difficulty. Some of the gym battles are heart-racing experiences. Others are beaten in a minute and a half.

And it's not like it gradually gets difficult. It all depends on what Pokemon you have. So if you're a super good strategical operator, the gym battles will be as easy as 1, 2...not even three, just 1, 2. But I will tell you right now nothing will prepare you for the difficulty it takes to defeat the Pokemon League. NOTHING, I REPEAT, NOTHING IS AS CLOSE TO HOW DIFFICULT TO POST-GYMS IN THE ENTIRE GAME. I think I've covered almost everything. Ah, wait! The soundtrack! The soundtrack is very good. Some themes are just there and they work, nothing special. Others, like the themes for Team Plasma battles, ARE FREAKING EPIC!

Thank you Nintendo for such an awesome soundtrack. And thank you for an awesome entry in this series that really needed a new storyline, even if it's only newish and the debate has been raging since the beginning, it's still super fresh. Not everything about this game is great, but damn is it superb in comparison to other Pokemon games. You will have a ton of fun playing this game, you will not be able to let it down. So, I'm going to give it a 4.5/5

I, Da Ca$hman (possibly N) signing off.

Donkey Kong Country Returns (2010)

The first video game review of 2011.

Most people who were hyped up for this game were people who remember the original Donkey Kong Country back in the day. But I wasn't born in time. The Donkey Kong I remember is from Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (ANYBODY WHO SAYS THAT GAME IS BAD SHALL FLY!) So how is this game from the eyes of someone who doesn't get nostalgia from it? Simply put, it's freaking genius. The first thing anybody will notice is the apparent difficulty. MAN, this thing is flipping hard! Anybody playing this game will be throwing their controller into the wall! Fortunately, the game allows for easy collection of lives, while one could argue this makes it easier, it really increases the difficulty and helps with the gradual gain of skill in the game until you finally scream YEEEEESS!

The graphics are enhanced from the E3 Version and I gotta say, it's beautiful. Not only is everything on there beautiful (for Wii, anyways) but so many things go on screen (which also helps the difficulty), and it never slows down. You really gotta be on your tippy toes, and the fact that it can hold everything all at once, still being beautiful and never slowing down is absolutely amazing. I can't stress enough the fact that this game NEVER GETS BORING. It always has stuff going on. The story, at first, seems like it's pretty useless. But by the end, the story really amplifies itself to a gut-wrenching finisher! Even very small characters besides the main pro and antagonist, such as Cranky and Diddy Kong, you can latch onto and feel with.

The gameplay, besides difficulty, is genius. You spend most of your time jumping. No, it's not as thrilling as Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, where you're PUNCHING TO DA MAX!!! But it takes some real strategy with the jumping capabilities, and other pieces of the gameplay, such as the Rhino, the Vehicles, the Vine Swinging, and everything else. This game is packed with great variety, great challenge, great strategy and doesn't spoil the player with anything as hardcore as DKJB. I can't say the difficulty is executed perfectly, though, because you can cheat using Super Kong (racism much, will get to that.) To go through the level for you. This provokes the player to give up. Why? It's such a hard game with all those balloons! You're not meant to give up!

Anyways, it's probably been known that DK does have some racist undertones, but here's my basic beef. DK is a gorilla, right? And his fur is brown, not black? Hmmm...I was okay with that, until Super Kong came along. He is a silver/white gorilla, so it's implied that white is better than brown. I actually agree with chuggaaconroy, Myamoto might be racist! The game has a lot of polish, not just the regular way, but in secrets. There are four KONG letters to collect in each stage, along with 5-9 puzzle pieces. You get a certain reward for collecting these which I won't spoil, but trust me, it's pretty sweet.

Even certain sections of the game require secrets. The Factory is one. The game also let's you and other things go into the foreground and background, making for times when it does feel 3-D. But I can tell you, Donkey Kong was made for 2D. The boss fights are challenging, exciting and well-designed, however frustrating. He11, this whole game is so frustrating. If you don't like frustration, then do two things: don't buy the game, and get that stick out of your @$$! The controls are a bit unresponsive, but it really doesn't matter much.

This is all around a very well made game, with A LOT of challenge, a non-poetic but still exciting story, great gameplay, beautiful graphics, very good controls and is all around fun but frustrating! 4.6/5

WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 (2010)

Wow, how long has it been since I uploaded a VIDEO GAME review?

When they talk about most authentic WWE experience in a game ever - they ain't kidding. That's what we're going to talk about first: The Gameplay. Wow, is this awesome. But first, let's get out a negative: you can build your finisher very quick, even on a challenging difficulty. Not to mention, after that finisher, you get the 3-Count guaranteed even with manager interference. I was playing on Hard. But let's get onto the good. First off, when you run by something, you don't just run by it like in a normal game. If there is a mop on the ground, you trip like in real life.

You also get exhausted like in real life. Now, depending on which mode you are playing *cough*Road to Wrestlemania*cough*, it can get really annoying. Depending on what other mode you are playing *cough*WWE Universe*cough* it will almost never occur. That is a huge fault. Also, you can actually go through the table with moves that don't involve a table finisher. You can do a powerbomb by a table and BOOM you're through it. That adds a lot of excitement - although it is a little surprising. Also, anything can go on the ropes. The ropes are no longer doors, but are in fact ropes.

Basically, the gameplay has been tweaked so that you feel like you're playing a wrestling match, to the extent of the graphics even on the PS3. Although there have been some tweaks you might find negative (Money in the Bank), you'll eventually realize that this adds to challenge and this is a huge step in the right direction. It can be said with 120.56% certainty this is a wrestling game, and not a Smackdown game. As for the controls: the ability to do strong moves using the R1 button was a nice feature, I don't see why they didn't keep it. Maybe 'cause it was confusing with the run option.

The reversals have been greatly improved, however I sort of wish that they had a better tweak. 2012 here we come! The strong strikes are also greatly improved - basically, they can be used when it would be appropriate in a real wrestling match. The details are very difficult to explain about strong strikes. The finishers work better, with an easier chance at reversals, however the actual movie that plays for the finisher is toned down. Good or bad? It's not as fun, but it gives a better sense of realism while still saying that the finisher is BIG. It also helps confusing the player between a successful and failing finisher.

As for the graphics - unfortunately I do not feel they live up to the standards of SvR 2010. They are more cartooney, and the in development game WWE All Stars does not look like it improves. However, graphics are not what matters, but they do matter. It's not about quality, it's about how the quality affects the game. This is why I am mad at people saying Donkey Kong Country Returns should have been 3-D. The sound is pretty much perfect quality, though I am listening on a standard definition television. However the actual content of the sound is questionable.

For instance, the commentators are SO VERY WRONG too many times. The commentating programming was much better in 2010. The dialogue is also cliche - but is that a new thing? The songs they chose for the menu were boring. Instead of Cody Rhodes, do Triple H! Instead of Ted Dibiasie, do John Cena! (The Theme Songs for the menu.) As for the story, the Road to Wrestlemania mode shows promise but still needs tweaking. Giving a backstage arena and branching storyline gives it huge replay value and much more realistic storyline. However lip syncing is horrid, movements are clunky in backstage, and the camera locks onto a moment so that you haft to see the entire sequence.

The storylines themselves are as follows. Rey Mysterio - creative but not quite executionated right. (I just made a new word.) John Cena - uncreative but executed correctly. Christian - creative and executed right. Chris Jericho - uncreative and sort of executed right, depending on where in the story. It gradually gets WAY better. Vs. Undertaker - you get the choice of Kofi Kingston, John Morrison, Dolph Ziggler or Created Character. Why are Triple H or Shawn Michaels not represented in these stories? Vs. Undertaker is an extremely creative storyline executed to a good degree but there is room for improvement.

Create a Story is really good, improved, but the sounds are programmed so lazily. You'll find yourself hearing two sounds at once depending on when you programmed the sounds into a segment. Also, the dialogue box goes away way too quickly. However, it can branch in this game, which is an improvement. WWE Universe mode is, instead of plain exhibition, you gradually unlock items through choosing matches and having the 60% chance of a surprise the game built in, and a storyline develops that you shape without having to do all the scripting work left for the geniuses. Genius. Absolute genius. For it's first shot. Has plenty of room to improve. But so does WWE.

The character selection is huge, with plenty of DC characters and many CAW slots. Not to mention the Divas. I'll admit it's not dream roster, but it's great still. The important part is how they work. Most characters are very fun to play with and unique, but for some reason the high fliers are slower then they are supposed to, thus creating an unnatural balance. The stage selection is your complete show (RAW, SMACKDOWN, ECW, SUPERSTARS) and PPV listing, and nothing more. You can still give a character a Legend, Free Agent or WCW brand, but there is no arena to represent that.

Match selection is as huge as it was before, with the new addition of online Royal Rumble. YES! THANK YOU! EPIC!...Except my ram on my PS3 will be filled in ten minutes BUT IT'S ONLINE ROYAL RUMBLE! It's also harder to give a first blood. The extreme rules match - which is my favorite - is toned a bit down by no flaming tables, no 2x4's (Jim Duggen what did he want), a limit on how many weapons you can pull out from under the ring and a replay of chairs instead of a new weapon. But aside from those details, it's the same epic match. 

Final Verdict? Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 is a huge improvement on 2010, making it an actual wrestling game and not just a dominate the opponent game. However, much stuff needs to be worked out. But if they could do this good in the past year, I can't wait to see what SvR2012 is gonna be like. 4.5/5

Metroid Other M (2010)

Get ready for another edition of Rambo-ing (my version of Rambling.)

Where to begin? If any of you know of my YouTube channel, this will not be just re-telling the other video. The story, I will get to right away. It is cliche, but AWESOME and freaky. Characters? None of them will win the Oscars for acting (as much as this is a video game.) But most of the characters are done really well. The only federation member I had a problem with was Anthony. Man, what a stereotype. But people say Samus Aran has become a princess? That she used to be a Bad@$$? That her new personality is sexist?...Idiots!!! I mean, idiots!!! Does unlocking Samus in a bikini by entering some dudes name in the passcode not seem sexist to you? Does getting to see her bikini with no code but beating the game super fast not seem sexist? Does a skin tight blue jump suit with perfect design to make it like you're looking at her naked not seem sexist? That's not new, that's just a normal piece of Nintendo. Same in Zelda, same in Peach, same in Daisy, it's all sexist characters! In fact, I think Peach and Zelda are at least acceptable, they aren't just sex models!

Other than that, in all other Metroid games, she's just been a walking machine with laser beams and hot boobs. Here though, she actually shows some emotion. She ain't the Bad@$$ we hoped for. That wouldn't be in the games favor. This game was to show Samus' deeper past, soft side, and respect for her former leader. Yeah, it ain't done the greatest, but it's done great. I will say some of the cutscenes fall under Metal Gear Solid category, going up to fifteen minutes long! Why? I dunno, I guess the writers really felt like they needed to pour effort into cutscenes. But it works out well, it's not too painful. Onto the Game stuff. The controls are tight but are also dodgy. But this works out great. Why? Most people say that horror games loose any suspense from bad controls and less power to a character. Here, it's not that the controls are bad to make it scary, but they're just hard enough that if you slack on one single move YOU WILL DIE IN A PAINFUL DEATH.

Which of course, helps in the scare factor. Same with the gameplay, it's not that its bad, but you need to focus. This game doesn't let your mind go auto pilot, IT KEEPS YOU ON YOUR TOES THE WHOLE TIME! And that my friends, is called awesome challenge. Another thing people say about it is that the transition from First Person to Third Person is too clunky. Well whaddya expect? This is a new experiment they're doing. It's gonna be clunky! Especially since it doesn't utilize the Motion Plus (thank God,) it's obviously gonna be clunky. It's actually pretty smooth seeing with what they had to work with. And a combination of 1st and 3rd makes it a great mix of old and new. Where the entire franchise comes to a head in an epic battle to the SUPER MEGA MECHA ULTIMATE DEATH!!! Also, people complain about collecting items? Well, it's not just a "screw you, we're taking your items," kinda situation like people say. Rather it's, "DUDE, u made it dis far? You have just been rewarded with an awesome upgrade!" Or sometimes it's "Jeezus you're in trouble? Man (or Woman), here you go, take this Jack@$$ down with your awesome new upgrade!" It's a rewarding experience.

The game is both super long and super hard. It is freaking challenging. The enemies are on steroids! Forget Sympathy o' da Nite, this right here is the true Metroid-Vania. And who doesn't like challenge? Too many people are synthesized with games that are either easy, or challenging for all the wrong reasons. Then, when a REALLY good game with challenge comes out, they bang it! (I might be the biggest fan of this game.) The character design is awesome, I mean...you got green armadillos, flying mushrooms, purple Angiruses, man eating plants, super sayain grasshopers, barney the dinosaur and the devil's B@$T@RD son, and things from Zelda in alien form! It's freaking awesome! And that's how I describe this game: AWESOME. Challenging, but AWESOME. And Challenge does come with frustration, people need to understand that. Graphics and Sounds are the weak points...oh wait...THAT'S A GOOD THING. Graphics and Sound don't matter AT ALL, unless it's below the console standards. (Not Gamecube, say a Wii game was N64 style.) Put effort into the game!!!

For a Nintendo game, it's scary. @#$% Halo: Reach, Metroid: Other M is where it's at!!!!

But only one thing can happen now....

The Metroid vs. Halo fan war...

Must happen...

Ca$hman leads the war on the Metroid side...

Angry Joe leads the Halo side...

Angry Joe gave Halo: Reach 8/10 (4/5)

I, Da Ca$hman gave Metroid: Other M 4.1/5 (8.2/10.)

Both franchises are going in a totally new direction....

What will happen...

I, Da Ca$hman signing off.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010)

I'm sure you all know, but I'll force a trailer down your throat anyways.

The first thing I plan on reviewing is the trailer itself. I want you too look at these two trailers for Super Mario Sunshine and Luigi's Mansion:


I love those two games BTW. What do they have in common besides universe similarities? There both E3 trailers, and they both have a ton of stuff that didn't make it into the finished product. Nintendo has a pet Petey Piranha for this,  they often times show to much of the beta before it is released. Imagine if Warner Bros. showed a trailer for Superman vs. Batman before they decided to trash it! This is something I love, hate, love to hate and hate to love. It always leaves the game a mystery. It never finishes the game, gamers are always talking about the beta version of Mario games and asking Nintendo to let them play 'em.

But this is fixed to the right amount in Super Mario Galaxy 2, it has just enough to keep us wondering, but not enough to keep us up at night all the time. I figure, they just did what they were pressured to do and that's good enough for me. Besides, there's a whole situation where these two Galaxy games are the original 128 and 64 2, so there's even more pressure from the conspiracy theorists. 

What is not fixed to the right amount is a different story. Remember the original Galaxy? Gravitational effects were completely new to us and we couldn't stop playing. It's the only Mario game I've actually collected every single star-type item. Unless you count the ghosts in Luigi's Mansion. Now, it seems like Nintendo just doesn't care. They just threw out a lot of Gravity effects and then replaced them with regular levels. Some levels seem perfect for gravity effects but don't have any. Now, there are plenty, but nothing we haven't seen before. When I first heard of a new Galaxy game, I expected it to re-invent itself. This is the first direct Mario game 3-D sequel ever. Probably the only other direct sequels are SMB, SMB2 AND SMB3.

The stages are over-rated, there about as creative as the first one. That's great, but lemme put it this way. Your first time eating a New York Stake, your second time eating a New York Stake...your fifth time...your 13th time...your twentieth time...I had already seen 121 different awesome levels twice at the minimum, so I was already exposed to this creativity about 242 times at the minimum! Round all the hard levels and I'd say about 280 times! So to say more of the same is like saying I don't deserve more after going through all that! Nintendo is treating their fans like dogs!

The only stages I was super happy with was the flash back stages. Starshine Islands and Twisty Turn Galaxies are clearly from Super Mario Sunshine. Mansion Pop-Up on Boo Moon is clearly from Luigi's Mansion. Throwback Galaxy is clearly from Super Mario 64. Those were just for nostalgia though.  However, they were pulled off excellent because they were updated but not too far. Basically, it would be like making a trading card a hologram. It's not that big on an improvement but we love it to death anyways. When I think about it, there aren't really any direct stages from the original Galaxy. Sure there are updated versions of the desert and the Honey Bloom galaxy, but nothing too special.

Well, you probably think I hate this game right? WRONG! But, I'm not done with my ranting. Remember when you unlocked Super Luigi Galaxy? The excitement of playing it all over again with Luigi, being just as fresh as a new game. Here, you don't have that replay-ability. You just meet Luigi in some levels and then after beating the final boss you can swap with him at your leisure. It seems they were just toning it down for the spoiled 8 year old kids. Sorry Nintendo, there are adults AND teenagers playing your games too. And I'm pretty sure they don't understand games are for adults too, because they never let an M game on their platform. 

Speaking of toning it down for the spoiled little Cartoon Network watchers, the cut scenes are as cheesy as ever. Only, I can't put my finger on it, but there's just something there...the dialogue!!! Normally, the dialogue is performed cheesy but the actual words are as clean as a whistle. Here, I feel cheated. Am I playing Mario or watching Disney Channel? I mean, and this is a Japanese game, so I don't know who to blame. Nintendo of America or Nintendo themselves. Or maybe they just like cheese a lot better in Japan. I dunno, I gotta stop acting racist before everybody and their mom brings me picket signs. I'm not racist, I just think you can be somewhat bias if you actually know what people do in this world. British Petrolatum people!

I've wrote like 8 paragraphs and I'm not into the good stuff. That's when you know the gold is truly buried in the mines, and it takes a lot of dirty work to get to the Ca$h. I'm happy to say you don't haft to hold onto the star bits all the time, where you have a bank to hold them in and hungry lumas that take tons and tons and turn into more galaxies. Hardcore fans are gonna be happy that the old fashioned map is back, but it's done totally wrong. I'll get to it later.

The items are creative yes, but unfortunately it feels like something is missing. What are your favorite foods? Chicken Salad, Hamburgers, Pizza, BBQ Steak? Let's say you go to one restaurant for these foods, but then on an unlucky day, they totally change their style to lunch only, with stuff like Ham and Cheese, Soup, Plain Salad, Potatoes, Chicken Nuggets, it's still all good, but you miss the awesome stuff they used to serve. That's how I feel. I miss the real mushrooms, the cape, the airplane thing, the penguin suit, the raccoon tail, and numerous other things. The only thing still alive is the Fire Flower, besides that it's totally new. Creative, but not that well done.

But here's the thing I hate most of all about this game: the storyline. Didn't we all love and speculate the mystery of the original storyline of the original Galaxy? Yeah, here's how I feel about the movie of To Kill a Mockingbird and this story: they took a candied apple, chopped it up into 6ths, took 5/6ths away from you and poisoned 1/12th, leaving only 1/12th of it enjoyable. How would you like to eat only 1/12th of a candied apple!?!?!?!?!?!?! But that's the only food for miles, and your chief won't get you anymore food. I think most of you already suspect what I'm about too say, but I'll put the label infront of it anyway [SPOILER ALERT.] Rosalina and the place she lives is gone until the very end. Infact, you never really make contact with either. [SPOILER ALERT ENDING..] Instead, you have a Mario-head shaped space ship and a fat purple star dude. However, you still get your other baby luma from the original.

Mario games have awesome story lines, not this time. The galaxies are also a lot shorter, with only 1-2 stars and secret stars instead of 3-4 and secret star. Yoshi is back, but with less then we've seen before. Only his items make a whole new personality, which does help this game. Now, the one thing that kept me playing the game was the game play. Most of it was very smooth, the only thing is camera angles and he doesn't quite go so far with jumps. It's also not that free-roaming, but never the less, it's extremely addictive. Most Mario games have been extremely addictive, and thus created lots of replay value. That's the reason to play this game: once you start playing you can't stop. It's just so hypnotizing.  The bosses are hard but quick, creative design. Enough said.

I'd like to bring your attention to a GameSpot review of the game. Take about 1/3rd of it out, and you have the positive apsects that I agree with. There's still some stuff I would argue about, that's why I said take a bout 1/3rd maybe even a 1/2 of it out. But, what I didn't say here about the positive aspects is said in this video.


Well, when it all comes down to it, if it weren't addictive I'd give it a 2.5/5, but it is, and for that is deserves a 3.8/5. I, Da Ca$hman, signing off.

Batman: Arkham Asyulm (2009)

YEAH!...The highest rated video game in history!!!....why?

First off, until Dark Knight Rises I’m going to review the two big movies and two big video games that have come out that tie-in to the Nolanverse.  It’s not going to be a proper marathon, it’s just I WILL review that stuff. First, is this game. Released in 2009, it holds the Guinness World’s Record for highest game ever rated with 91.67/100 in their book, which barely surpasses Marvel vs. Capcom 2 which was 90/100. It’s been called “the greatest comic book superhero video game ever made” and “one of the best recent games of its genre.” Sooo…why? Alright, let’s talk about what I didn’t like about it. You guys love that shit anyways.

Unless it’s Super Mario 64, Avatar or TinTin…wait….SHIT. First, let’s talk about the difficulty/length relation and them individually. One thing is a positives, one is a negative. I like the difficulty. When I first started the game, I went into normal mode, and fucking failed. I couldn’t move two rooms without fucking dying, and puzzles were shit. But then I went into hard mode, and it actually turned up to be easier for me. I think I just had to get used to everything. Either way, if you play on a difficulty for your experience the level of challenge should at least be satisfying and for me was pitch perfect.

Now for the bad part. Even though I fucking sucked at Normal mode, I somehow beat the game in 2 days. That…shocked me. I actually knew who the final boss was going in, and when I figured “oh shit, I’m going to fight him now” it felt like I had only gone through about 1/3rd what I expected it to be. I wanted it to be much longer than that even. And I do mean in main story. I was still expecting the extra stuff to give me many more hours, and yet I wanted the main story to be 3x what it was. Is that greedy? Well, probably. I might just be spoiled, but with so many good games out there and this being “THE FUCKING BEAST” according to reviewers I wanted a much longer game.

I guess I just touched on boss battles, so I guess I’ll talk about them.They’re unsatisfying too. Most boss battles are a clone of Bayne. And, I’d just like to say, you guys praise this game yet hate Super Smash Bros. Melee on the basis that it has clones? HY. PO. CRITES. Anyways. The Bayne battle is just him running and throwing things. You’ll face at most two, and if there’s any extra enemies it’s the normal grunts. Which I’ll get to in a second. There are three other boss battles that I could count as “bosses.” The first is Poison Ivy. She has a really cool design, don’t get me wrong. Anything based on Biollante is always cool.

But her fight is literally just pressing the L1 button over and over while running fighting off grunts. Oh yeah, kind of like the Bayne battle. The next one is against Killer Croc, and he isn’t much of a battle. Again, mostly throwing a batarang and running, with a little variation. He’s scary for a little bit but eventually it just becomes a slow, reptative stage and you’re kind of happy to be out of that sewer for the WRONG reasons. So what’s the last battle? Run, fight grunts, aim, mash x, press square three times, rinse and repeat. Wow, does this sound like fucking good boss battles to you? I didn’t think so.

Now let’s talk about some of the mixed stuff. First off, the graphics. There’s some excellent character models in that they’re detailed and realistic, and the background is so atmospheric, detailed and polished it’s awesometacular. However, the character animation is another story. They move with the quality of late-PS2 level animation, which is not up to par with a 2009 console game. They also have that sleek, shiny coating that just screams “CGI!!!” That, I do not like. Another thing that’s mixed is the characters. In the important parts, it’s fucking excellent.

The Joker, played by Mark Hamill A.K.A. Luke Skywalker, is awesome. He’s a mix of Tim Burton/TAS style Joker and the new, Heath Ledger Joker. His appearance is extremely close to how he appeared in TAS, however his hair is greasy and he has that red smile scar like in The Dark Knight. I had no problems with his visual design whatsoever aside from the problems that everyone else has. His personality is half Tim Burton/TAS as he is a joking psychopath, but he has that Heath Ledger personality come out in some of the best creepy lines spoken by him.

“I just wanted you to see the world in the way I see it. Sitting in a corner, laughing…and bleeding.”

But that’s balanced with

“So bats, what are you really afraid of? Death? Not being able to save this miserable city…ME, IN A THONG?”

However, Batman isn’t as good. I don’t like his voice actor, he seems just so generic. Like his voice came out of the 60’s series. Oh, and what do you know. He spits those stupid ass lines like “We’ve gotta end this. Once, and for all.” When your video game character spits the heinous line of “I need to” before telling the gamer what to do, you can basically consider your dialogue scrapped. Fortunately all the villans save the game. Scarecrow is so fucking creepy, Ivy plays “her role” perfectly, Harley Quinn is okay but maybe a little annoying (as she is supposed to be), and The Riddler is that cocky son of a bitch you wanna see.

The good scenes are the ones where Batman doesn’t talk. Now let’s talk about some of the stuff that’s good in this game. First, the melee system. I love the combo system. Basically, you punch one guy three times, then start a string of flying punches where the more you do the more XP you get. Basic but awesome. Spicing it up by, I dunno, giving grunts A FIGHTING CHANCE (something that’s not done in most games) with blocks and stronger strikes makes the melee system overall much more enjoyable. I just wish the grunts weren’t so fucking STUPID.

The stealth is easily the highlight of the game. Hanging from the rooftops, spying on every soldier and hoping to isolate them, then diving in with the constant fear of being killed is perfected in this game. Then there’s also the suicide collar, which is an alert for all the other soldiers that one of their guys has been taken out. This adds so many gameplay opportunities, and the ones that are taken advantage of are awesome. I do say they could have gone farther with it, but it’s still great. If you’re looking for a good stealth game – something that’s not around lately – stop reading this and pick this up.

Well, that’s about all I think I should say about Arkham Asylum. While extremely short length, bad character animations, horrible bosses and a cheesy voice actor for Batman keep this game from being truly great; great gameplay, atmosphere and fantastic villain characters make this game an extremely worthwhile play. 4/5

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

Grill-Off With Ultra Hand (2009)

Yes, they made a game out of it.

I have presented to you, the weirdest trailer of ALL TIME!

So what is this game like? Well, not to much. It's a mini game. The graphics are okay, nothing special. The music is very annoying. But the gameplay is fun, however, not so addictive. You'll be putting your controllers down after about 5 games. It's a party game, not a real platformer. The meat looks absolutely weird, the only thing you can make out is the Chicken....or Turkey. I'd say the trailer was more entertaining than the game, but after those 5 games the next day you'll play another 4, than 3, then 5, then 6, then 2, then 1, than 0, than 6...it's like they sended a subliminal message.

The rating? 2-3/5.

inFAMOUS (2009)

Looks like we shocked the whole world again.

OH MY GOD!! OH MY GOD!! CA$HMAN'S REVIEWING A GAME THAT ISN'T NINTENDO OR WRESTLING!!!! IT'S A SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE!!!! HaHa, expect more of that. I almost reviewed Modern Warefare 2, too bad I didn't. I definitely will review Modern Warefare 3 when it comes out. Well, the welcome back program is here. Or, has been here for a while now. With the ability to download 2 out of 5 PS3 Games for free - and not to mention 2 out of 5 PSP Games, 30 Free days of PlayStation Plus, and not anymore but at the beginning 100 Free Digital "Items" (DLC Characters or Maps) - I got inFAMOUS and Super Stardust HD. (1)

Needless to say, I'm having a lot of fun. It was surprising to see either the length, positive statues, or both of the games offered. They also offered Dead Rising and Little Big Planet, along with one other game I can't really remember. The game I was most intrigued by is our subject today, inFAMOUS. Or, I guess it's okay  to just call it Infamous. So, why not just dive in? I typically review a game based on at least the five necessary criteria: gameplay, controls, story, level design and graphics. This game was released in Spring of 2009 for the most graphically enhanced console, the PlayStatoin 3. (2)

The Wii and Xbox 360 only have Standard Definition abilities, however the PS3 has High Definition abilities. During scenes of gameplay, characters animate smoothly but fast. They move at speeds that would normally not be possible in the real world, but this is Science Fiction after all. Point is, their animations are very smooth. During CGI/In-Game cutscenes, they move even faster and their animations turn incredible rought to the point where it looks like the sixth generation of video games (Gamecube, Game Boy Advance, PS2, Xbox.) During gameplay, you will occasionally receive calls that unless under certain circumstances, typically advance the story. (3)

These calls act a little like the ones from the Star Fox series of games, showing icons of the caller. You talk back and forth between calls, however the icon on the screen does not move his or her mouth and there is no text. You do not move your mouth either, which is definitely strange, possibly lazy on the designers part. Again, graphics that are similar to the sixth generation of games. When it comes to in-game/CGI cutscenes (there are other types of cutscenes)characters mouths do move, but fucking Conker's Bad Fur Day had better lip-synching then this game. (4)

While I don't have an HD Display for my video games, I can tell that the graphics were very weak by one complete coincidence. There is a water fountain by a hospital (hospitals become important later in this review), and if you zoom in very to it (a function used a lot in-game), the main character Cole's shadow looks very pixelated. The water moves also very roughly, again looking like a generation before. Point in case, the game has very, very low graphical capabilities. Now let's talk about level design. A little backstory, we are in Empire City, which has recently succumb to an explosion of which I will adress in a little bit. (5)

THIS. CITY. IS. FAN. TAST. IC. The atmosphere of this place makes the apocalypse feel so much more serious, and not goofy. While there are some levels that are filled with lava or other cheesy aspects, most of the city includes trashed buildings, damaged signs, no power, gangs killing innocent people, people laying dead or injured, cars wrecked and left unusable, and much more. Empire City is split into three districts: Neon District, The Warren and The Historic District. Besides different types of enemies, these areas are not different in many ways. In fact, while they look good for an Apocalypse feel, areas often become stale and repeat. (6)

Let's be honest with ourselves: even if you see someone getting brutally murdered dozens of times while trying to do something else the effect would lesson. That's almost a crime, how an apocalypse feel can become stale for something as simple for lack of variation. There are several areas that have unique designs, but they usually only have unique designs because it's important to the plot. Examples pertain to bridges, harbors, trash dumps, ground zero, graveyards, a jail, and a certain boss fight area which unfortunately is only accessible once, yet is one of the most beautifully designed parts of the game. (7)

In other games, say Super Mario Sunshine or Super Mario 64, levels are varying and not just because of the plot - though it has something to do with it. Then again, this game's goal was not exactly to be Colorful. There is a lack of unassisted navigation due to the tendency of repeated environments. The more unique areas do not help with navigation at all, save the bridges. When finding important items, these unique environments can become a pain in the ass as you have experience with the generic buildings and not these areas. We'll do a little more on navigation a little later. (8)

There is only one part of the game that acts truly like the paintings in Super Mario 64. Obviously, these won't work for navigation. They are the sewers under Empire City, and they are even more that aspect that in both paintings and the sewers there are new strategies to complete the same goal per stage. You enter sewers to restore power to Empire City, and in the process gain a new power. They are dark, misty, somewhat disgusting, and creepy. You never know when an enemy is going to try to shoot you, and when there is an attack on you, it usually has a subtle quietness to it that enhances the need for stealth. (9)

I would talk about the story now, but that is going to be saved for last. Let's talk about gameplay, the most important part of a video game. This one goes out to two good friends, and movie/video game enthusiasts Eli (no online username in my possession of knowledge) and Aakash (Dr. A on YouTube.) (I respect you both.) We once had a dream of making a Platforming RPG FPS. But that didn't really fall through, because we're high schoolers after all. Eli thought that you couldn't do that kind of combination, and he cited Paper Mario as an example of how it doesn't work. (10)

Obviously he had never played the N64 original.

But this game is one of those pieces of fiction (like Predator and Jonah Hex) that matches many genres to it's respective format of entertainment AND uses it well. It is Action-Adventure, Platforming, RPG, Sandbox AND Third Person Shooting. The Third-Person Shooting acts as First-Person Shooting would, however only from a Third Person perspective. You have many electric weapons at your disposal, and they come in familiar forms. While they aren't technically these weapons, there are certain weapons that are very similar to weapons commonly found in Military Shooters. Rocket Launches, Grenades, Sniper Rifles, and of course a standard gun. (11)

I like these types of weapons better than their Military Shooter counterparts. There are also hovering mechanics, which while useful, are more focused on speed then height, and fall short of hovering mechanics such as Super Mario Sunshine, which was more focused on height then speed. There is also a shockwave function, which is essentially a rip-off of The Force from Star Wars, in the use of battle respectively. While it is good for solving puzzles, it does not come in handy much during fights, and you're always better off with a different weapon choice. The most Badass weapon to have, is conjuring up a lightning storm. (12)

This is the last upgrade you receive and it basically lets you control Zeus at your own free will. There is no better way to describe it. To add to the coolness, you use this weapon as you would use say the Move add-on. You know, Motion Controls. Makes me wonder why they had to make another whole add-on to the system for motion controls, because this fits perfectly as motion controls. You STEER the lightning by moving your standard PS3 controller, or any variation of the standard controller, in certain directions. Up and Down for Forward and Backward, and Left and Right for the motions of the same name. (13)

It's not extremely comfortable, but it is extremely interesting and Badass. Like most games with weapons, they come at a price. You have "battery cores" which are describe like juice to a battery, however act more like ammo to a gun or other weapon. These battery cores are easily rechargeable, just find something electric (which there are tons scattered fucking everywhere), and press L2 to recharge. To increase the amount of electricity you can use without recharging, you find things called Blast Shards. I don't know who the hell came up with them, but they are essentially a collectathon of "find 25 more for a new battery core." (14)

If you want to recharge a different way, striking an enemy with a standard attack instead of draining your energy recharges it. There is another way to recharge your battery cores, which is another mechanic gained later in the game through the sewers. It is the Shield. You can't fight while using the shield, but if you are in a tight spot it's very wise to use, and use correctly. It doesn't even end there! Cole also has incredible platforming abilities that are essentially a blatant rip-off of Spider-Man. They go completely unexplained. They take it to a few extra levels above Spider-Man, including being able to surf on telephone wires! (15)

This mechanic is very fun, the only problem is when you want to jump off or on during the middle of a cord, it becomes an uncomfortable and unnecessary challenge. It's very quite cool, we're talking Sonic the Hedgehog type cool. That's...not huge, just a certain type of cool. You mainly climb to rooftops via platforms sticking out of walls, and jump between rooftop to rooftop. The platforming from the walls at first you might thinking might require some strategy to climb, but the only strategy involved is when you can't find one of these platforms. Otherwise, it is simply pressing the X button over and over. (16)

Most of these buildings have an incredible amount of these platforms, sometimes completely unrealistic (such as jail buildings). You just continue to press the X, and it involves no strategy. It becomes more of a chore that way, but it can add to the suspense when you know that the only way to live is to climb up a building. Probably when platforming has some sort of real, engrossing strategy to it is when you are trying to find and collect blast shards off of buildings off of places, and then it becomes a slightly intelligent part of the game. You also have a melee attack! After all, this is an Action-Adventure game. (17)

You can beat up enemies at close range, but it's nothing special. Just continuously press the Square button and Cole will do a repeated pattern of punches. I really wish there was a little more strategy involved in this, maybe by pressing the Square and Triangle buttons at certain combinations you could do a finisher or something. I would love to see Cole do a Double-A Spinebuster! This becomes flashier with optional swords, but it doesn't add anything at all. I also mentioned Sandbox elements earlier? ...Wait, how earlier...HOLY CRAP. Okay, I'm officially keeping a paragraph counter on this baby! Looks like I mentioned it in Paragraph 11. (18)

Holy Shit. I just broke my record. My record for a review written without notes is 17 paragraphs. Let's see how much farther we can go! Sandbox elements? This game is not linear but in fact open world. While you are restricted to the quarantined area of Empire City; and of it's three districts; you are allowed to roam this area as much as you want, with the exception of swimming and driving. It would be basic stuff in a normal game today, and they give some explanations that he would explode in these materials, but it just feels like an excuse from Sucker Punch to be lazy. (19)

However, in this game, you have main missions, side missions, dead drops and blast shards. Main Missions are exactly what they sound like, missions that progress the story in important chunks. They come out in blue targets on your GPS. I guess this might be a good time to talk about navigation, since this review is all over the place? You have a GPS, that will mark important things on your map, such as the things mentioned earlier, you and enemies in relation to a small area. It is an interesting and helpful feature, and there is nothing really wrong with it, only that it doesn't give you enough of a detailed navigation system. (20).

I was really hoping for a map. The only time you ever see a map is when you complete side missions, which I will get into now. Side Missions are missions where you either help or defeat other people or gangs in numerous ways, and you gain new territory for yourself. Whoever is your ally also indulges in your new found part of the city, and whoever is your enemy will cower in fear and never return to that area. Sometimes you will unlock police departments, hospitals and satellite up-links. The former and the latter do not help at all, but the middle can provide an interesting aspect. (21)

When you run out of health, you are transported to a stretcher in the nearest hospital. The more hospitals open, the more varied the locations you can land is. Of course during mission, you are transported back to a certain check point. The last two things on the GPS that are worth mention are Dead Drops and Blast Shards. I already explained what blast shards are, however Dead Drops are a very interesting tale. You find them via pressing R3, and if one is near there is a white ring that forms around the GPS. It indicates where a dead drop is by having a section of the ring blink, showing in which direction you should go. (22)

When you get closer to a Dead Drop, an entire white circle fills up the entire GPS, and acts in a reverse way, with the direction you are supposed to go turning invisible. It becomes smaller as you get closer to the Dead Drop. These come in chips implanted in specific satellites, and describe parts of the story that are not seen via personal account of Cole, however are either very interesting or important. They are mostly told by either John or Kessler, and trust me, when you play the game, you'll know who the hell I'm talking about. After finding all the Dead Drops and completing the story once, I suggest playing the first scenes over to discover some information you may have missed prior. (23)

Oh, are we on Replay Value now? Well, you won't be able to get all the side missions, dead drops and especially blast shards during the main story. This game is merciful and lets you roam around freely after the game is finished. And for a purpose besides completion. So you'll want to be patient and stay through the credits. Besides, it's such an amazing story anyways, you'll want to. The other part of replay value is the Karma meter. I've played through this game once in the time I had between vacations, and the first time around took around 30 hours I would say? (24)

Maybe between 28-35. Though it was much longer then most games are (Modern Warfare 2 was probably around 4-5), it still feels like you need more! Well, first off inFAMOUS 2 is out, and I've played the demo. From 60 minutes of it, I can say that the gameplay and graphics are enhanced, but difficulty and story take a hit. Second, there is Karma in this game (as I've already stated.) This comes in small decisions such as "do you kill him, imprison him, suck out his soul into yours (I know) or in some cases heal him?" It sometimes comes it bigger decisions, with this as a smaller example: "do I let everybody get poisoned by this tar and save myself in the process or take myself on another acid trip?" (25)

There are plenty of these, and they affect the story to many different degrees. To quote InfamousWiki, "Cole's actions change his appearance, how his powers develop, the successive chain of events that happen within the story, how people and major characters react to his actions, and the very ending of the game." This makes the game worth several playthroughs, which I know I'm going to do. In total, the game should provide at least 80-90 hours of entertainment, though some parts become stale when viewed upon several times. If you're truly out to get every piece of the game you can, this can last over 200 hours! Though that would be overkill. (26)

I am treading of the water on the story, but I still want to hold that off for the last bit. The controls for this game are kind of slippery and sometimes frustrating, but they are adequate and varied. I love the PS3 controller for how many buttons and button combinations it has, plus it's small size. This game takes full advantage of that and uses more functions than most games could ever dream to, but it falls flat in being solid and gets slippery. Character design is a mixed bag. Nobody is detailed, and most people look okay but not great. Cole looks really good, but nothing innovative. (27)

The enemies, though clearly inspired by other sources, are very original. There are Reapers, Dustmen and The First Sons. While they are all have their roots (Grim Reaper, N.W.O., Illimunati. My Bloody Valentine are some examples) they have plenty of original spins. Some of them even have supernatural powers, and these are called Conduits. They can be a challenge, especially the larger conduits of the Dustmen. Those things are like bosses and yet they can be NORMAL ENEMIES?!?!?! This game offers plenty a challenge. When fighting off a hoard of any enemy, they just are fucking unforgiving and hit you from every angle. (28)

Fortunately, you have the power to do the same, you just haft to know how to learn it. It's not unreasonable either, but you WILL get frustrated. Difficulty is never annoying, but challenging and suspenseful. Except for the Spiders...damn. Speaking of which, the learning curve can be a little rough at times, including forgetting you just got an awesome upgrade, but once you get a hold of it you're good to go. The RPG segments come in the missions, but also come in Exp points that you can use to upgrade weapons and powers. Some are available when good, some are available when evil. Most are available at universal disposal. At this point, I have covered so much of the game I am not sure what else to talk about but the biggest part of this game - the story. (29)

Holy Crap. This game features some helluva story. Essentially what happened was that Cole - I assume a mailman before the events of this game - delivered a package he didn't know was a bomb to someone he didn't even know. After work, he settles down in the park to relax, and then the world he once knew turned into Hell. But we don't find this out immediately. When you start the game, the game doesn't greet you with "story mode, practice mode, challenge mode, character designs, options, credits" etc. AKA a menu. It just greets you with a nice little peaceful scene of someone from the First-Person view relaxing in the park. (30)

It says to press start, but don't do it at first. You probably won't, as you become attached to this beautiful atmosphere. While I still recommend actually starting the game, I would advise you to suck in that atmosphere as much as possible because in this game you will NEVER see it again. You wake up in the parking lot that looks like it is being sunken by lava. You soon learn you have the ability to control lightning, and you hear people calling you a terrorist. Your girlfriend Trish, and you best friend Zeke, are both there at the scene of the accident. For the first 14 days of the quarantine, you remain tolerated by the city and enjoyed by your friends. (31)

But when you start to commit heroic or dastardly actions, a popular conspiracy theorist TV spokesperson starts targeting you and calls you a terrorist. From there, many story choices are yours. You delve deeper into what was the explosion, what is your involvement,who else is involved, and what happened behind closed doors. You meet new characters on the way, and older characters appear less and less as the story progresses. Let's just say - your world is completely turned upsidedown. Hell, fuck upside down. Your world is just taken away from you and is replaced by this new, unforgiving world. (32)

Each character is very interesting, and throughout the game you learn more and more about them, or maybe even sometimes realize stuff you already knew. The whole story is dark and unforgiving, however the character of Cole is a tough yet caring character who never gives up yet ain't exactly cheerful either. His personally is essentially Batman. No, not essentially, he IS Batman. This might be due in part to Cole's epic sauce voice actor. Empire City, while modeled after New York City like Gotham and Metropolis, is certainly in much worse shape then either comic book city. Cole IS The God Damn Batman. Only thing different is he is more about finding out stuff about the situation and doesn't really focus on defeating the evil until the very end of the story. (33)

That's one thing about Cole I didn't like in the demo of 2. He didn't feel like Batman AT ALL. Especially with some events that happen during this game, I would have never expected him to become a full on partner with anybody...ever. Just...trust me. The story is also shrouded in a lot of mystery throughout the game, but through Dead Drops and story events revealed gradually, you have a lot of incentive to continue, if it isn't for how awesome it is to play this game. The final ending, which no way I'm going to spoil, and is different depending on your actions in the game, is one of the most shocking, thought provoking, thoughtful, emotional, and unexpected endings I have seen in a while. (34)

UPDATE - I have played through the game a second time as a Villain, and I have some more things to say.

I really wish I had played through a second time before reviewing, but what the hell, an update is good enough. Playing through as a hero and then a villain is a very interesting experience. By playing as a hero, I got very attached to the members of Empire City. When the goal was now to kill them all, emotions flowed through me of regret. Of course being a villain is out of trying to survive, and I assume the story they planed on you having was to be a villain and then realize your faults. Infamous has a story that you unwrap, it doesn't unwrap itself. By playing through the game more than once, you realize things you didn't realize before. (35)

I can't explain much without spoiling it, but the story is not just spoonfed to you. It is something that you have to solve yourself. Okay, here's an analogy: Looking at a completed puzzle, as it falls apart itself. You try to piece it together, but it falls apart faster than you can control, and not until it was incomplete does it stop falling apart. But many more pieces of the puzzle are thrown into the mix, and you put the old pieces with the new pieces to make connections that you previously didn't realize. Some parts don't fit, and you must figure out what parts don't fit. (36)

But, that's one part of the story. Another part of this story is how it doesn't claim to know anything. The closet it comes to is showing quotes between days by famous people such as Abe Lincoln. It lets you figure things out for yourself. "Is this true, or is this false" that is the question that most games ask you, but this game lets you ask it to yourself, and decide for yourself, as you can progress through the game evil or villain. Now, the basic plot is exactly the same throughout the entire game, bu that's not what's important. It's those moments that create character development. When someone says something to you that is completely different, it's much more impactful than a different event, and it truly shapes your character. (37)

The way people react to you...anybody reacts to you, is shaped by Karmic choices, and because of that the story can turn out to be many different things. That's great, because it lets the user create the script, even if the story has already been suggested. In most games, you are just put in the seat of director (using film analogies, duh), but here, you are put in charge of writer and director, but not story creator. So many secrets to uncover about different characters. The one character I'd say acts to you the most different between Villain and Hero is Sasha, followed by Trish. *wink* *wink*. Your just not going to be able to encompass the entire story in one try, and by the time you do two or three runs the story has been shaped by your own interpretation. Like a book...sort of. This is how a video game is supposed to be played! (38)

Plus, the story is just very good in general. It's very emotional, important to the real world (sort of), interesting, has lots of plot twists to keep it fresh, and just is plain awesome. Throughout the game you notice this game takes some ques from Apocalypse Movies, Zombie Movies, Crime Movies and most of all Superhero Movies, especially Batman and Spider-Man. Hey...did I just think of a crossover or two? It can sometimes learn towards being over the top...and sometimes is with those Suicide Bombers. Which, seriously, you're making Suicide Bombers FUNNY? Bullshit! The last part of the game I must mention is the Graphic Novel like cutscenes. When the developers feel lazy about a cutscene that details too much time, they turn to graphic novel artists to create motion comics for these cutscenes. (39)

They are very artistic, and show that of all influences of this game one is the biggest: Superheros, mainly Batman, and then Spider-Man. Superman can KISS COLE'S ASS! Overall...Overall....wow. Over 35 paragraphs worth of review. That's amazing. This game has extremely varied gameplay; featuring 4 Military Weapons, Two Swords, a Shield, Zeus, Hands-on-Brawling, Spider-Man Platforming, Hovering Mechanics and The Force! It's an Apocalypse Story about an Electric Batman, and has RPG, Sandbox, Action-Adventure, Platforming and TPS elements! It's 30 hours long once, but has so much replay value! If it weren't for crappy graphics, slippery controls, a little bit of lack of thought in very, very specific parts of the story, and some mechanics that don't require strategy, I would call this the perfect video game! (40)

Look at this game! It's the perfect video game! If you want to know what video games are really about, look no further then inFAMOUS! I know it's a bold statement, but this is a fucking masterpiece! It's one of my favorites, along with Ocarina of Time and Super Mario World. Yes...I just put this among those masterpieces. I know that's kind of hard to understand, but with everything that this game does successfully, you just can't deny it. Refer to my ratings system on my film reviews if my rating is questionable. 4.8/5

I, Da Ca$hman signing off.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii (2009)

Thank you! Nintendo has come back to it's sense!!....for now.

(Note: There may be an advertisement before this vid.)

This is awesome, Super Mario Bros., Super Mario World, Super Mario Sunshine, Luigi's Mansion and Super Mario Galaxy all rolled with some Bar Ba Que Chicken Wings from Pizza Hut into the biggest Burrito of ALL TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously folks, Nintendo has done some great stuff. First are the controls, they are a perfect balance. Motion Controls are only used sparingly, as classic game controls are still utilized. Sometimes it gives me a pain, but it's only on one particular subject. The little bits of motion left from that are fun and useful. But most, classic controls are back in the saddle, and boy are they awesome.

Now, let's talk about them items. First off, you got the Mushroom and the Fire Flower back in action. You've also got the Freeze flower and the Star also in action from later games. Unfortunately, there is no cape, that makes me angry. However there is something I like to call an "airhead" which is more vertical than the cape but is still very fun. There's also poison mushrooms from games like Luigi's Mansion but this time they are utilized to your ability and help. Something completely new is the Penguin, you can use this like a freeze flower, but it also lets you slide on solid surface. The items are great, and are really fun to use.

Now, I'm gonna get through the bad stuff as quick as possible. This game seems to try a little to make it easier for spoiled peoplez, as Nintendo has rephrased many times at E3. One is that if you loose a stage say, I think it was 7-10 times they give you the option of watching Luigi do it and skipping it. These can be used good for when a stage is completely useless and is really hard. But they also give you this chance is the Castles! I almost skipped when I realized "I'm gonna face that #$%^ing Bowser on my @$%^ing @$$ own!!!!!" It also has Item and 1-Up stations, and well this is very useful, you'll just find yourself using very little continues. As I do like a game I can beat, a game should separate the 5-year olds from the 15-year olds from the 30-year olds from the 50-year olds and not just try to clump them into a steaming pile of $#!T! (Credit for saying that goes to James Rolfe of AVGN.)

The graphics are both classic and revolutionary, Nintendo doesn't spend to much time on the graphics. It just makes sure it's got the minimum of the system it is on.  Some games, like Twilight Princess, are (or is) the exception. It makes you feel like your playing a video game, unlike some games like WWE SVR2010 which feel to real and can trick somebody that RAW is on.

The music is both classic Mario with a new twist, it gives players the sense of "Super Mario World in the year 2009/10."  You cannot have a Mario game without such a great score as this. However, it can get stuck in your head, similar to some other past games if only they weren't so beeps and whistles.

Now, don't get me wrong from Paragraph 4, this game still has some excellent difficulty. Besides what I just said, it keeps Japan and Nintendo at it's reputation: Extremely fun, Super Hard. Now, this game also includes Multi-player, and here's whatz up: Battletoads. If you haven't seen the AVGN episode, go see it now. Alone it's hard, but extremely fun. Together, it's the best, BUT NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE!!! It is only a two player game if you just plan on having fun and not beating it. If you wanna beat it, go alone. The only thing that helps you beat it in Multi-Player is the fact that you don't just exit the stage if one dies, instead, the other player can pop your bubble but you will still have lost a life. This can help if your having trouble getting through a certain part of the stage.

The boss stages are absolutely brilliant.  You might not think so when you get to Bowser. All the boss stages prior to Bowser are extremely great, but it seems they gave Bowser the slip a little to easy. Maybe because they wanted to make him more like Godzilla, without adding Donkey Kong impersonating King Kong. After all, this is Japan ain't it? Which makes me wonder why TF is Link German and Mario Italian? Are the fire emblem characters English? Is DK African? How bout' Captain Falcon, he seems pretty American. Or let's put our attention to a Middle Eastern Gannondorf (yes, I'm not being racist.) How bout's your Outer Space Metroid Players who also seem American or Canadian. It's like Nintendo wanted to make no Japanese characters!!!! WTF??!?!?

This game also keeps the tradition of secrets in all stages and at the very end. Also, requiring you to do some heavy duty to get to these secrets.

The Rating? Keep in mind I love things a lot more then other people. I give it a 5/5.

I, Da Ca$hman signing off.

Super Stardust HD (2007)

A remake of a sequel that's fucking awesome even if you don't know what an Amiga looks like.

As you might have guessed, I got this for free too via the Welcome Back Program. Why is this review so much later than Infamous, if you were playing them at the same time? Simply put, I spent a lot more time on Infamous, since that game is one of my favorites, even if it's not one of the best games in history. Definitely one of the best of this generation though, I will say that. Franchises like Halo, Call of Duty, Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda are awesome, but they haven't had much innovation in the last six or seven years. Why am I rambling about Infamous? Let's get started on this simple yet incredibly amazing game we're talking about today!

So this game is essentially about a spaceship with weapons going around five sphere like planets (duh) and shooting everything in site. Literally, everything! I personally imagine the spaceship being headed by a captain sworn to protect each of these five planets, but story is not anywhere near something to judge this game upon. So let's talk about what we are to judge this game upon. First, the graphics. This is a PS3 game, with the word "HD" in the title, so in no way should it be lacking on graphics. While maybe planet designs are a little smooth, everything else in this game is pitch perfect for the atmosphere that they were aiming at. Everything is colorful, sharp, but not loss of cartoonish fun.

Level Design is also not something that we are to judge this game upon. This game refers back to its origins, and games like Galaga and Asteroids. Those games really didn't have great level designs, but this game does have good atmosphere. Aside from the first planet, each planet has it's own unique feel that doesn't get stale. If I could say planet any more times I'd be killing myself. Wait...what? Skipping story, let's talk about the controls. The controls are a mixed bag. They are extremely responsive - and good, because this game needs it. While I never found myself uncomfortable with the controller, I did wonder why they didn't utilize ANY of the game's core buttons.

Sure, the control sticks need to be used properly, but there's no excuse for switching the R and L controls for the four main shapes on the PS3 controller! Ughiddy Ugh I say! Still, that's a minor quibble, it should work just fine. Let's talk about the gameplay. The goal is simple, destroy everything in site. You have many asteroids, which sometimes contain umm...kryptonite(?)...which give you tokens, and you have various enemies. You have three weapons according to each element found in the game: rocks, gold and ice. Very simple, but it is fucking explosive! 

Let me brutally explain what goes on in this game: "Alright, one big asteroid, damn why is my weapon so tiny, WHAT TWO, THREE, okay, bomb it, what are all these, wait, where did they come from, OH MY GOD MINES, yes upgrades, HOLY CRAP I GOT A BONUS, OH MY GOD GAME IS ENOUGH ENOUGH ALREADY?!?!?!?!" I would love to see Emile/Chugga A. Conroy do a Let's Play of this game. You will have an absolutely blast with this game. I would recommend Planet mode, but Arcade mode is a lot of fun to. It's a very simple, in-extensive game, but it's free, so it's well worth your nonexistent money.

The Rating? A solid 4/5. It's nowhere near perfect, it's just a helluva fun time, and that's all it tries to be.

Super Yoshi-err-I mean--umm...Mario 64 DS (2004)

The original, aged classic gets a well needed update.

(No trailer worth showing)

In the original Super Mario 64, there had planned to be a split-screen Mutliplayer option where Luigi and Mario could go hunting for stars at the same time. This option was scrapped due to the fact that a PS3 might explode for that kind of server crunching madness, let alone a Nintendo 64 System. This is also rumored to have been planned for Ocarina of Time, but that's very unlikely. This is why Luigi is seen in screenshots and his code is in the cartridge. Judging by BETA Pictures of this game, this was planned to be rebuilt in this version, by online interface, and no splitscreen needed. Unfortunately...that didn't happen. But what did happen was very refreshing.

The biggest draw to this game for any newcomer is the fact that not only Mario but Luigi, Yoshi and Wario are available for individual play. The game features a nostalgic intro video extremely similar to the first 64, but also featuring Wario and Luigi and not just Mario messing around with each other before going into the castle. What is left is Yoshi fast asleep with all the "human" characters left trapped in the castle. So technically the whole reason that Peach was saved and the Mushroom Kingdom in harmony is now because of Yoshi! Which is why this game should have been called Super Yoshi 64.

But of course the market value is too high to have it called that. Of course, later in the game, all characters are unlocked, with their individual levels to unlock them in. This leads into how each character plays. In the original 64, I loved the button controls, but found that the controller stick was extremely slippery. Mario went way too fast too quick, and instead of slowing down he slipped. This game completely remedies that problem, with just pressing the D-Pad to walk, and holding Y button to run, like in Super Mario World. Actually...just like in Super Mario World. It allows for navigating Mario tightly.

However, the control scheme is not perfect here. The long jump, previously beyond perfect in the 64 game, is now the slippery control at a slippery quotient equal to moving Mario around. Luckily, this isn't as necessary of a function, so it's an overall + on controls FOR MARIO. Yoshi, on the other hand, does not get fast enough by  measurement or time. This is sacrificed in favor of being able to eating enemies and then throwing them at other enemies. This is only useful in more calm areas of the game, such as the first one. But if you have to jump at all - and of course THIS IS a Mario game - it's completely useless. Yeah, Yoshi is overall a - in the control scheme.

Wario and Luigi are interesting beasts. Wario is much slower, but not so much that its irritating, except when he swims. This is sacrificed at the ability to destroy previously indestructible blocks, which DOES come in handy enough to be a good replacement. He also uses the long jump the best out of all characters, even if distance is a problem. He is an overall +. Luigi, the man who we've wanted to play in this game forever, is much faster and has very slightly aerial ability. His weakness in muscle is not apparent at all during the game, and has superior swimming ability. The only problem is the problem with the long jump is the worst with him. He is an overall +.

Yeah, odd how the worst playing character in the game is also the character who is responsible for saving the day, huh? The previous power ups return - Flying, Metal, and Invisible, all licensed to individual characters, Mario, Wario and Luigi. It was originally planned all characters would be able to fly, as seen as the function is available in the limited Collect-a-Thon multiplayer. But, wait, there's more! Yoshi, when he gets his individual power-up, can BREATHE FIRE. This is probably the biggest reason to say Yoshi is a Dragon, however it's just heart burn guys. Yoshi is a dinosaur, THE ISLAND IS CALLED "DINOSAUR ISLAND."

His breathing fire is extremely clunky, once again, so the only times you'll be playing Yoshi are to save Mario and in two specific fire breathing missions. The power-ups don't stop there. They really went all out with the power ups here. Many Mario fans first playing 64 were not happy that no original Mario Power ups were not present, aside from the 1-Up Mushroom. This is partially taken care of in this game. Occasionally you will find a growing Mushroom (I dunno what the official name is) which gives you the ability to destroy anything smaller then you, and get 1-Ups in the process. It is even required for one mission in Course 6.

The Fire Flower makes a subtle but often return, as the vehicle for the individual power ups. Instead of Caps, you get Fire Flowers, which depending on the character, you get their individual power up. Also, the strange whatchyamacallit ? Balloon from past Mario games makes a return in the form of the power-up that was planned to be THE exclusive for Mario, however with the wings being exclusive, now Mario has two exclusives. It doesn't have much function, essentially just making navigating certain areas easier. A cheat device similar but not as substantial as the Cape from Super Mario World.

Speaking of which, The Cape, The Tanoki Suit, and the Raccoon suit do not return. But wait, IT'S STILL NOT DONE! If you're playing as a specific character, you can pick up caps scattered across each world to temporarily turn into the character you wish to play as. Of course, you can't turn into Yoshi, because he doesn't wear a cap. This helps if you want to be mostly a specific character - Mario, personally - but do need to change from time to time. But now that we've covered controls and power-ups, let's talk about the difficulty, my most major problem with the original game.

The fact that the controls are improved to this degree make me forgive the cheap difficulty already, but they also went the extra mile and made the game a few degrees less cheap. Unfortunately, the source material they were working with didn't have ANY hard difficulty aside from cheapness. So now it shows it's true Nintendo-Kid-Friendly colors, being sometimes boringly easy. Even the empty space in Course 2 is now filled with extra coin grabbing, making the 100-coins of World 2 THE EASIEST mission in video game history, BAR NONE! The difficulty is improved, but still requires a massive amount of tweaking.

They just had such a clusterfuck with the difficulty in the first game. The Star Count is increased to 150, both by more secret stars and an extra star per world. Unfortunately, they didn't make anything less redundant. This is typically filled with Silver Star collecting, which is 5 little stars to get your major star. However, sometimes it is also filled with a loosely racing mechanic. Essentially, step on platform, and race to the goal to get your star. These are fun, but not fulfilling, often being the shortest missions of the game. Yeah, the side-missions are still too redundant, but at least they have better controls are slightly better difficulty to get with it.

I mentioned another lack of motivation in Super Mario 64 was how Bowser was a total dumbass in that game. Why he didn't keep the stars to himself is beyond me. Of course, that idiocy is still in tact, but he was able to CAPTURE Luigi, Mario and Wario! You know this means Bowser means serious fucking business. (Like the Internet.) It still remains the weakest Bowser Plot of the Mario series, but there's a small token of forgiveness for good measure. While I was never fond of the levels in Super Mario 64, being good but only good, I do like some of the new levels for this game.

Mario, Luigi and Wario's unlock stage portray the feeling we were supposed to have with all levels to begin with. "Dude...this is it. This is the battlefield, and if we fail..." etc. Isle Delfino's throwback is not as good, as a half-assed throwback. It's just a Sunshine themed 64 stage at it's purest, it doesn't feel like a Sunshine throwback. Galaxy 2 got it's throwbacks right. All graphics are smoothed out but perfectly feel like the original game - something I'm worried Ocarina of Time 3D won't attain. 

Well, overall this game has it's ups and downs compared to the original. While getting controls and difficulty improved, it also digs up it's own new faults for itself in doing so. The characters are a mixed bag but overall definitely worth it, although Wario being a hero all of the sudden makes no sense whatsoever. It does little to improve Bowser's plots, and the power-ups are just all out compared to the first. Graphics are smoother and new levels are much better then the originals. This is the definitive modern version of Super Mario 64, and new gamers should pick this title up, not the original. 4/5.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

Pikmin (2001)

WARNING: This game can be hazardous to your health. And we're not just talking about seizure warnings.

If you play this game too much, you will see images of it everywhere. Whether you're closing your eyes, or watching TV, or anything that could have Blue, Red, Yellow colors or similar shapes, you will see this game pop up and haunt you. Why? Let's review the controls and/or storyline: you play as Olimar, a member of the Planet Hocatate, crash landed on the Distant Planet *cough*EARTH IN THE DISTANT FUTURE*cough*. You discover a species of plant/animal called Pikmin, who find a likeness to you and follow your every command. You can either throw Pikmin or command them to go somewhere within a short range. Commanding them to go in a short range will get a lot of Pikmin on the target at once, while the throwing technique will get a far away target slower.

You can battle enemies, first off, which is done by the Pikmin banging their heads repeatably on the enemy. You can also carry ship parts and animal remains back to base, in which animal remains create more Pikmin. This means everything but the beer will be carried to the base! You can also construct things, like bridges. These actions works great for a Real-Time Strategy game, but the motions become so repetitive that they can be easily burned in your head. The Pikmin design is also simple, so anything resembling an oval with the colors red, blue or yellow with a tip might look like a Pikmin.

Also, the game is spread across 5 stages, with two of them having barely any parts. Only 3 truly matter, while the others are necessary afterthoughts. So you might see the same designs repeated in your images. I'm not trying to hate this game, because it's awesome, but it really is a game that is hazardous to your health. There are really creative character designs in the enemies, though. Flint Beetle is a cool redesign of a beetle, Bulborbs, Dwarf Bulborbs, Bulbears, Dwarf Bulbears, and Emperor Bulborb are really cool redesigns of ladybugs. Although it doesn't sound creative, they are!

Wallywogs and Yellow Wallywogs are cool redesigns of frogs, and there are also redesigns of mushrooms, spiders, blobs and sloths. Before you say anything, just remember games like Mario and Call of Duty have about the same level of creative character design of Pikmin or less. Except for Super Mario Sunshine, those character designs were the bomb! Now that we've got all the warnings and related things out of the way, I have to say something: a lot of you want me to review some more Mature games. Such as Black Ops and Dead Space 2. Dead Space 2 I don't think until a few seasons, Black Ops I'm trying my best to borrow from a friend, Goldeneye for N64 I'm playing right now, and I am going to get the new Mortal Kombat.

Back to the Pikmin review. As repetitive as they are, the controls are dead solid. They could not be fine tuned anymore. The gameplay feels a little lazy though. Often Pikmin will go RIGHT INTO THE LINE OF DEATH. They will also do a lot of things instinctual, that while contributes to a theory of mine, is still annoying as hell. Aren't they your minions? The story part we are going to cover, but Gameplay and Controls come before Story. Then characters, then character design, then graphics, then sound. Alright, so the story seems very simple at first. It's also very mysterious, which leaves it up to the viewer to fill in some holes.

GENIUS! One of the possible journal entries you can unlock from Olimar is him stating that he wonders why the Pikmin haven't harvested him for remains and aren't hostile to him. I have an argument for and against this. Why they would be friendly to Olimar is because he has been the nicest to them. He plucked them, which may only happen once a century due to the fact that almost all species on their planet are hostile. Thus, the Pikmin looked at him friendly and are doing his bidding. Pikmin can obviously figure out that Olimar is their picker, because they obviously have the memory to be able to do the same actions over a 30-day period or more.

However there is a possibility to make the Pikmin go hostile against Olimar. Hold down 2 (in the Wii version, I dunno about GameCube), and you can make Olimar go to sleep. They will then pick up Olimar and bring him to harvest his remains. Thus, fireworks come out. Why do fireworks come out instead of Pikmin seeds? Olimar is material from an alien planet, so it probably didn't register with the Onion (the device used to harvest more Pikmin.) However, they might actually think Olimar died there. Only Bulborbs and their cousins actually sleep on this planet, so other species sleeping may be a new thing. Thus, they might think Olimar died.

Now there's some depressing thoughts, eh? After all, Pikmin never see Olimar sleep, since he is always sleeping in his spaceship. So this is the reason why Pikmin are not hostile. The Pikmin aren't just plain Jane, average Joe either. There's Red, Blue and Yellow. Red's can withstand fire and do the most damage to opponents. Blues can survive in water, however they are the only ones who have mouths while the others don't! When you drown, your lungs fill up with water, and you can't breath. You COULD drown outside of water if someone made you drink enough. So wouldn't it stand to logic that the blues would be the only ones you can't swim?

Whatever. HEY DUDES I BROUGHT THE BEER! There's also a random bottle in the Forest Naval...ugh....interesting. There is the bottle. Yellows can be thrown the highest and farthest, as well as the ability to use bombs to open doors (and kill enemies, but it's so weak.) The ship parts designs are, while clearly unoriginal, variable and different from one another. They're not all nuts and bolts. There's everything from such, to Jello molds, to Piggy Banks, to UV Flashlights, to Lightbulbs, to Floaties and Pilot Seats, and Rocket Launchers! Unfortunately only one part really comes into play in the gameplay.

The graphics, while not really sharp, are beautiful. Not the colors either, but the sharpness, colors and character designs combined to create the mysterious atmospheres of each stage. The music definitely helps to this. However the music BECOMES REALLY REPETITIVE. The last thing I wanna cover is the playtime. This game spans over 30 day periods where each is 13 minutes. You might spend a few seconds to 2 minutes at the stage select screen each time. Some really experienced gamers have been able to finish the game in as little as 14 days, without fighting optional bosses course.

So for one play through, you can have a maximum playtime of 7:30 hours to a minimum of 3:03 hours. This is not a long enough time! Fortunately there is a sequel, but I've never played it. You may fail to lift off the first time, and if a completest, you may end playing this game a couple times over. It has some great replay value, along with the optional bosses. So if you play this 2 more times through, with 3 endings to unlock, it could max out to 22:30 minutes. However you'd probably get better, so it would probably run around 15:00 with more then one play through! 

All in all, though being repetitive and short, along with hazardous to your health, this game is solid and fun, a great time strategizing in RTS. I would give it a 3.76/5

Super Smash Bros. (1999)

You've been waiting to see this trailer on my website, haven't you?

FOUR PLAYER STAR STUDDED SLAM FEST! That's what this game feels like, doesn't it?

So, it finally happened. The 21st Century. Nintendo, ever since 1985 with Super Mario Bros., dominated the video game industry like Chuck Norris playing as Captain Falcon. (Imagine that in your heads while you read this.) They had a slew of famous franchises, and THE system that opened our eyes to an interactive cinematic experience. While the N64 didn't die in 1999, a lot of people consider this Nintendo's Last Hoorah! These are the same people who diss the GameCube and Wii because they are too nostalgic. But, let's look at their perspective. The Nintendo 64 had just created some of the best games in history. Goldeneye, Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, etc.

Everything was revolutionized. How about close it out with their version of the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny! Besides, let's look at what came after this game. Majora's Mask, Paper Mario, Wind Waker, Sunshine, Luigi's Mansion, games that have large cult followings but generally are seen as either "eh" or "WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO TO MY ZELDA!!!?!?!" If you are one of those people, this is the last Hoorah of the Nintendo Awesomeness. (I'm looking at you BananaMonkeyKing5.) So this came along, and pretty much everyone was pleased.

But that's just what happened. What if you are just a new gamer who wants to get into the Nintendo 64 and is looking for a game to play? Well, first go find Ocarina of Time NOW. Now, let's talk about it. With a game that is essentially a Nintendo Royal Rumble (FOUR PLAYER STAR STUDDED SLAM FEST) we must talk about the characters. We have 8 characters at the beginning, four unlockables. Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Link, Fox, Pikachu, Samus and Kirby are your starters. You can unlock Captain Falcon, Jigglypuff, Luigi and Ness. Technically, not all characters are "Nintendo" characters. While they were all originated by Nintendo, some of these were owned by different companies.

Donkey Kong was owned by RARE, Kirby was owned by Hal, and the mine featured in this game is from Perfect Dark, also made by RARE. Notice that there are FOUR Mario characters, yet only 1 character for most franchises, 2 for Pokemon. I would accept Mario, Luigi and Donkey Kong, as Mario can't go without Luigi, and Donkey Kong had branched over to his owned franchise by now. But Yoshi is kind of over doing it. I would like an overt amount of Pokemon characters...but JIGGLYPUFF?!?! A BUTT of most Pokemon jokes? REALLY? Get this, there were even MORE Mario characters planned! Both Bowser and Peach were planned as playable characters!

In Melee, Peach turned out to be a good character, but I would say back in 1999 I would laugh HARD at the idea of Peach in a fighting game. A joke would it be? But Bowser would be really cool. Still, way too many Mario characters. Also, Mewtwo and Meowth were planned to be in the game. THOSE are the types of Pokemon characters I would like to see in this game, along with Charizard. Fortunately Pikachu is another one of my top choices. Finally, two other characters were meant to be in this game, one being Pit of Kid Icarus. I would have liked that a lot, being this is supposed to be an ultimate royal rumble, and Pit turned out to be one of the best SSBB fighters in the game.

King DeDeDee of Kirby was also supposed to be here. I'm glad they didn't do him, he turned out to be a crapass character in Brawl. However, we can see him flying in the background of Kirby's stage, along with Ridley flying the background of Samus' stage. There's also some sort of rumors of a moth-type character, Lucas (who I believe wasn't even created yet), Fire Emblem characters, but none of that is official. Point is, the roster could have been better, but they did good either way. They also payed attention to how gigantic the Pokemon universe is by having Poke Balls as items. A lot of my favorites, such as Onix and Charizard, saw an official placement in the game this way.

There was also plans to have Final Smashes in the game. I'm kind of glad they didn't do that, being the game was already kind of junky already. Should I get into that? Yes. The gameplay is a mixed bag. If you're playing as one of your favorite characters - Link and Captain Falcon for me - it can be one of the greatest Royal Rumbles you've ever played! If you're playing as a lackluster character - such as Yoshi or Mario - your in for some trouble. Controls are more unresponsive then previous N64 games, including fighters. The button combinations are only a small hint at what would come, and just don't feel very varied. Going back in time, I wouldn't find them varied even without Melee or Brawl.

That said, what is there works. If you can get used to the untweaked gameplay and controls of 1999, it can be a lot of fun. Remember, FAVORITE CHARACTER. The amount of tweaking they did in Melee and Brawl is fucking astounding looking back at this game. One thing I really want to talk about is the atmosphere. I feel like people judge Melee and Brawl too harshly sometimes because of one reason: atmosphere. They might not put it like that in their review, but it's pretty obvious when someone is upset at it. I can understand why. 2 and 3's atmosphere very much felt like a clusterfuck of everything. Trying to go for that USOUD feel, and failing.

In this game, it doesn't really feel that way. It feels like "if Nintendo made a Tekken or Street Fighter game." More focused on FUN then EPICNESS, where the ratios would reverse in the later games. That said, I don't think that's the most appropriate thing to judge a game by. Speaking of which, there's still more to go. Graphics are a mixed bag. Most people praise the graphics as "characters look exactly as they did on previous N64 games." Well...no, not really. First and foremost, Pikachu, Jigglypuff and Samus never appeared on the N64. Judging around Super Mario 64, yeah, the game does have nice graphics.

Judging around something like Ocarina of Time, something CLOSER yet still BEFORE this game, the graphics look half-assed. Level Design is REALLY cheap as well. Though they're not bad, levels never really feel like there's any effort put into them. This highly changed in Melee. Something else about Melee and Brawl is that you could tell they were trying to be cool. This game doesn't take itself seriously, as it should. The storyline is that you play the role of a kid playing with dolls of these characters. That IS the official plot. Compared to The Subspace Emissary, I'd say this is not trying to take itself seriously.

Overall, this game is a total blast. It's kind of junky and unresponsive at points, but that just takes getting used to. While other negatives exist, like half-assed graphics and levels, if you play as your type of character this game is just a load of fun. The Smash Brothers formula has never ceased to amaze me, and constantly have been the best fighting games of their generation. It's as if they put Street Fighter and Nintendo together, and meshed it perfectly. 4/5.

And before ANYBODY asks - NO, there was no plans to have this game on SNES. Goodnight.

I, Da Ca$hman signing off.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)

In no way will I, nor anyone else on the planet, not even it's own creators, do justice to this game.

UPDATE: This review is modified after the original posting to better represent the point(s) I am making.

Now, I'm not entirely sure everybody hear understands where this game is in my heart. Being born in the GameCube generation (well, sort of anyways) I am the luckiest kid on the planet. What was my first game? Super Mario Sunshine. But, the re-release of it with the Master Quest on the GameCube was when I first discovered it. If my memory serves correctly, it was a toss up between Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time. I guess W2 is a great game, but at the time the art direction put me off. That's why I am so lucky, because of Nintendo's so-called "greed."

Nintendo I urge you, whether it be out of this request or money in your pockets, please re-release this game as much as possible. Do it for every game console in existence that you own. I don't want the graphics updated or the difficulty raised or any shit like that, but if you haft to change my childhood memories for the sake of a reason to re-release it, okay fine. Because every child who will ever play a video game should play this as a child. I can tell you right now that if this game hadn't been a part of my childhood, I would not be the same person I am today. I would probably be hopped up on weed driving way over the speed limit away from the police officers and then beaten down to pieces.

Now, with that said, this isn't the prime reason of that. But dammit, I can't imagine myself without this game. Nothing in the world would be the same. Hell, I'd probably not even be alive. But hell, I'm just going to dive in to what just happened last night that made me so emotional like this. You see, as an Elementary school student, I got really close to fighting Gannondorf but never actually got around to it because I was a stubborn sore loser. Plus, Asperger's Syndrome (an autistic disorder) didn't help either. My motor skills are shit, I can't fucking drive a golf cart. But the fact I can type as much and fast as I can, and play as good as I do shows that you can improve on yourself.

Regardless, after stating in my Infamous review that OOT is one of my favorites, I decided to play through it again to review it. I also said to myself that I would finally finish it. I had seen the whole thing of Gannon's tower that I had not seen before on a bad YouTube video, but in no way would that prepare me for what I was going to do. You know that scene in Toy Story 3? Anybody who has seen it knows exactly what I'm talking about. That scene felt like I was coming to terms with my childhood. It was all those characters saying through their expressions "it's okay, everything is okay. Andy is happy, he's going to college, and this is the end of our story."

Here's the difference: Toy Story 3 made me a little misty eyed, a couple tears maybe. When I finally got through everything in Ocarina of Time, I was shaking. It was past midnight, and I finally saw the ending screen. I told myself it's time to turn the N64 off. I kept telling myself that for five minutes...and then I started crying. Legitimately, genuinely crying. I'm not some little kid, I'm not an adult going through a mid-life crisis, I am a 15 year old teenager who almost NEVER cries for ANYTHING. Now, I don't know about you, but that's enough of a reason to say that this game is Godly in comparison to any game in existence for me.

I guess it wasn't just a Zelda game that brought me to tears. It was finally coming to terms with my childhood, finally seeing that last, unknown chapter of this story. The first real story that I was ever exposed to, it got me into story telling. I mean, you can say whatever you want about the Disney movies, but I never wrote a single story about any Disney characters as a kid, but a helluva lot with the Zelda characters. Because of this game. The only other game I've played is Twilight Princess, and I didn't even care to finish it since it's basically a copy of this game. 

I think that kind of power, the power to make you break out in tears, is something that no game posses. No Mario, no Call of Duty, no Halo, no other Zelda, no Metroid, no Assassin's Creed, no Street Fighter, none of that shit. If there was ever an appropriate time to call something a God among Dogs! But alas, that is my personal experience. Though I recommend more than living if you are a parent wanting to expose your kids to video games, what if you are a gamer who just didn't get around to it? You know, who went the PlayStation route in the 90's? Well, SHAME ON YOU. I feel so sorry for you. But, I will talk about this game legitimately.

Alright, so let's go backwards in my criteria. First, how are the graphics? Well, it's Nintendo 64. While the environments are varied, unique and iconic - you will fall in love with every god damn pixel - there aren't many pixels to fall in love with. Textures will often pixelate, and the colors look very dull aside from maybe the Golden Goddesses. That is definitely the only thing that is easy to talk about with this game. Not even the sound is that easy. But, let's talk about the sound. This game is well known for it's music, specifically that one of the tools you use in your quest is an Ocarina.

You have 12 songs to your disposal. Zelda's Lullaby, used for opening passageways guarded by the name of the Royal Family; Epona's Song, which is used to tame the horse Epona; Saria's song, which is used as an external Navi; The Song of Storms, which causes rain storms; The Sun's Song, which is used to turn day to night or vice versa; The Song of Time, which is used to move objects "specific objects" (no spoilers here); and six Temple songs, each used to transport to it's respective temple. Each and every one of these songs, for as simple as they are, have a lot of effort into them. They are unique, iconic and beautiful.

The only problem is that the Ocarina has a very high frequency. Still, they are beautiful. Aside from the Ocarina, this song's soundtrack is still iconic and well worth the effort, but not the main event awesomeness as the Ocarina. I think I already talked about how beautiful and unique the level design is, but let me tell you something about those dungeons. The amount and difficulty of the puzzles put into these dungeons is pretty damn difficult, so much so that I legitimately had to use GameFAQS. Curse modern gaming! But just enough so that I would never be annoyed with it to the point where I wanted to quit. The game is just so fun, that no matter what it shoved my way I just kept going. That is how you beat this game in a week and a half without super skills.

Yeah, let's just say I blasted through the game like a madman. All the dungeons are rather compact, but they have enough in them to last. The only dungeons I felt were too short were ironically the first and the last one I played (Young Link Forest, Adult Link Spirit.) There were a couple of enemies that I felt were just too damn difficult, namely Dark Link. I really had to be cheap on him, let's just say that. Hyrule Field is expansive but not unreasonably, especially when you have Epona at your side. Everything just looks so nice, even if pixelated to death. The controls are a "what are you playing on" thing. If you are playing on an N64, the controls are near perfect within the game, but the controller is just so damn big and bulky that you'll often find yourself not being able to press the Z button, and then forgetting where it is.

Now, as far as the GameCube version goes, the controller is great but it doesn't know how to make any use of the controller at all. Same for the Wii version, since they both use the GameCube controller. Oh, boy, guess what we have left? The story and the gameplay. I guess I'll go with the gameplay first. This game is a fucking miracle. The way it utilizes everything link has is amazing. You have many weapons, a Shield and Sword mainly, but many others, such as a Hookshot, Arrows, Deku Sticks, Nuts, Slingshot, Magic Abilities, and so on. You can assign three minor weapons for the left, right and down C buttons. Switching between these is never tedious, and always helps.

The sword is controlled by the B button. Depending on which direction Link is moving, you will do a different type of swing, and trust me, you'll need to master those. The shield is controlled by R, and is not very extensive...but it's a shield god damn it what do you expect! Surprisingly enough, it appears as if the Deku Stick is twice as powerful as the Young Link sword, or as powerful as the Master Sword. There's another sword in here, called the Giant's Knife. It breaks easily due to being too damn big and not made very well, so only use it WHEN IT'S ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Trust me, you'll know when that comes. Also, during that fight...if you run out of magic, don't worry.

Some people complain that there is a lack of freedom in Ocarina of Time. The first three dungeons you must do in order and the last five have an intended and easier order, however are free to do in any order. In past Zelda games, all eight dungeons have been completely free to you in any order. Yeah, well, I'll tell you why it's controlled here. First off, it allows for a much more focused story. If you did any of the adult dungeons before any of the child dungeons, that would make a helluva lot less sense. The intended order is to give items more of a purpose then just aiding you in battle. They open up new parts of this universe.

The universe is way bigger, way more beautiful, way more varied, way more unique, and way more epic than any other Zelda game. They have greater designs, and they wouldn't have such awesome designs and puzzles if the items weren't necessary and the collection of songs and years weren't controlled. Quality over Freedom, for sure. Freedom does not equal awesomeness. There are games where you can just explore wherever you want and it looks beautiful, but I guarantee you it's not going to be a fulfilling experience.

Due to the extensive amount of weapons and the puzzles you must solve with them, the gameplay never gets stale. Not even on your thirtieth time around. Except for the first dungeon, of course. I could play this game for the rest of my life and live a happy man. Now, it's time to finally unload it upon you. The story. Jeremy Jahns stated in his review that the characters are weak, and under explained. Well, buddy, let me tell you a few things. First off, this game is gigantic. If they spent anymore time on character development, this game would not feel nearly as epic. They wanted this game to feel big, first. I don't know about you, but I know enough about Gannondorf. Is he under explained? Yes.

But hell, I would like it if we didn't need characters to be fed to us on a silver platter. We learn about these characters through their emotions and expressions, and their actions. Through that, we can fill in the characters ourselves, instead of having them filled in for us. One thing that is awesome about Link is his face. He always has this serious face, as in "yeah, yeah, I know I'm the chosen one, let's just get this over with." Inside him though, you can tell he truly fell in love with everything in this game along with you. Just saying - whatever truly happens at the end, that's partially up to you.

However, this might be taken completely differently to another person. The character of Link is deciphered by you, the game doesn't tell you what to make of these characters. Some people think they ended up living together, some people think that would be completely inappropriate for the game, and both are valid arguments. Every single character is just awesome, maybe aside from the Gorons but that's partially due to personal bias. This isn't a movie, Jeremy. We have dungeons to defeat and evil Kings to kill! You know, this was the perfect game to come to terms with my childhood with.

You want to know why? Because it deals with childhood. It deals with childhood, it deals with growing up, but it never force feeds you it, even unlike some of the best movies out there. The story is a little cliche, but Link keeps it from getting cliche. I shouldn't haft to critique this game, just telling you that it made me legitimately, genuinely cry at the end is enough. Super Mario World, Infamous, you games may be some of my favorites. But this game still is a million miles above you. A million miles above perfect. This game is Godly compared to anything else. Any other game, while not in actuality, will feel like a cheap knock off of this game from now on. This game was one of the best experiences of my life. 6/5

I, Da Ca$hman signing off.

Yoshi's Story (1997)


While there is no true successor to Super Mario World recognized by the Mario universe, video games Yoshi’s Island and our subject Yoshi’s Story are the official “direct sequels” to Super Mario World. That’s about as true as how Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 are technically direct sequels to Super Mario 64. Yoshi was the equal in Super Mario World as Robby the Robot was in Forbidden Planet. While it’s not the main emphasis in the game, and surely not what makes it so awesome, it’s what ended up ionizing it’s respective media outlets and what was made the most popular by their respective media outlets.

Yoshi’s Island received overtly great praise when it was first released, and while it does have a cult following reception was mixed for our subject Yoshi’s Story due to a lack of length and strategy in the plat forming and level to its predecessor. However I was more interested in this video game for a couple of reasons. #1 N64 = Best Video Game System of all time. #2 Nintendo Capri Sun + So Happy = Must Buy Game. So let’s dive in. As per usual, there will be at least 5 necessary criteria that I will judge this game by, however possibly more. Gameplay, Controls, Story, Level Design, Graphics. They may interlace each other.

The story will be an easy one to cover first. The game is meant to be an overtly simple to understand cutsie fairy tale. It’s all about a relaxing, childlike atmosphere, innocent and cute, definitely takes you away from real life. With the entire video game pertaining to a pop-up book, a rhyming and extremely cute intro (thought maybe a little grim of a beginning), and probably the cutest songs in video game history, it is pulled off successfully. The only thing I’m wondering is if Bowser Jr. has existed since Mario was a child, how did Peach not know of him until Super Mario Sunshine?

Now let’s talk about Level Design. The goal of each stage is to eat 30 fruits, although favorite fruits and melons give you more points. So if you’re aiming for a high score in this game, then collect those fruits. The platforming kept me very content, but also not extremely satisfied. This game is very much simple, I don’t expect it to be very difficult. But at some points I didn’t even know I was plat forming. The levels vary in design, not exponentially but enough to give it a distinct sense of variety. Since we’re going into that relm, let’s talk about the graphics. Graphics are actually pretty nice.

I don’t know about you, but games like Super Mario 64 and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time seemed a little rough around the edges as far as graphics go. God, Ocarina is beautiful and Mario 64 is very responsible for 3D as it is today. But this game looks really, really smooth. There isn’t a lot of complexities, which may allow for more artistic accuracy in the game. It’s probably one of the smoothest looking games I’ve seen on the Nintendo 64. Sound is a bit of an issue on the other hand. The songs are cute at first, but are REALLY repetitive and they come out in ear-piercing high pitched noises.

Not just out of Yoshi being high pitched, but the game exporting the sound in high pitched squeals. Minor quibble. Let’s talk about controls. I’ve mentioned before that I take a special disliking to the Nintendo 64’s controller. So already it can’t be a greatly controlled game. Let’s take a look at the layout: A button for jumping. Good, it should totally be that. B-Button, I would at first expect to be shooting, and that disoriented me at first. But realizing this IS a shooter, and having player other shooters, it makes more sense for B to be eating faces and Z to be shooting eggs. Now, the biggest problem is pertaining to directional controls.

The C-Buttons, all FOUR of them, all shoot eggs. Honestly, this seems a bit wasteful. The left and right C-Buttons should have been move left and right, the upper C should have been jump, and the lower C should have been ground pound. Instead, ground pound is done by  pressing the control stick down while in mid-air. Seems a little stupid of a control scheme when compared to the control scheme of EVERY 3D MARIO GAME EVER.  Yoshi is a very slippery plat former, it doesn’t seem like they got slipping mechanics right until the GameCube age as far as light weighted characters go.

The game length is possibly another issue. It’s two predecessors had quite substantially lengthened games considering the residing franchise. This game takes 4 levels to beat, with 16 available levels in total. Mario World had 72 levels, pertaining to 96 available goals. Yoshi’s Island had 60 available levels. This is a huge downgrade and means you probably won’t be playing for long. There is no multi-player option, but to be expected. Overall, it’s a game I would recommend playing. It only goes for 10-15 bucks. But don’t expect anything amazing. 3.34/5

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

Super Mario 64 (1996)

Control yourself Bheema...Control yourself Ca$hman...CONTROL YOURSELF CA$HMAN!!

(Fan-Made Trailer, but it's fucking awesome, so I decided to put it in here anyways.)

UPDATE: This review is changed from the original. It is updated to better fit my opinion, and the history surrounding this game.

Since I seem to be in a statues of rage, I'm listening to Weird Al's "A Complicated Song" to try to calm down. I mention this as NintendoCapriSun is currently during a run of the game. He's going for 120, I just did 70 stars for the final boss. I've done A LOT of this game MANY times before, so I know exactly what I'm going to say. I just needed a sample of the game fresh in my mind. Let's talk about the plot first. No, not the actual story. That would be stupid to critique a Mario game for it's universal story. (ArmLegGamer, we need to have a clarification discussion.)

No, the only parts of the Mario story that are changed are ALWAYS affected by Bowser. If it weren't for Bowser, everybody would live in Big Happy Candy Mountain, Luminescent District, Mushroom Kingdom, Underground Italy, Europe. Bowser's plots have a very simple goal: Kill Mario, @#$% Peach. Audience: "WAIT, CA$HMAN, YOU JUST CENSORED A WORD ZOHMGALLAPINOS U HAVEN'T DONE THAT IN EVAAR!!!" (I have that kind of audience?!?!) Yeah, I guess I just don't feel clean spelling that out in the context of Mario. *Goes to Google Images while nobody is looking.*

Wait, what in the holy hell was I talking about?!?! Bowser's Plot?!?! Yeah. Before, we've had 3 major entries in the series of Bowser plots. Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2 (Japanese), Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. Correct me if there's any other major entries. In the first three, it was very simple. Get Peach 8 Districts (a lot is left up to interpretation in the NES age) away from Mario, and send his minions to try to keep Mario away and maybe even kill him. (Refer to the first GameBoy Comic Book if you doubt Nintendo recognizes death in Mario.)

Super Mario World was a little different. Instead of fighting him at the end of those 8 districts, he would have his children do it. Instead of shortcuts, there are hidden areas. Well, there are shortcuts, but less of them. Also, do it on an island where the natural forces of work can kill Mario, let alone Bowser's Minions. Unfortunately, he didn't count for Yoshi, and Mario got an even playing field that way. Still, he made sure all Yoshis were captured, but one escaped. Point is, Mario has yet not beaten Bowser out of Bowser's idiocy, more so out of Mario's wit and special "jumping" ability as Super Smash Bros. Melee puts it.

Now, we have a unique and worse situation. There is a major plot hole in Bowser's plan. The idea is that he overthrew the Castle, then captured everyone and hid them in the walls of the Castle. He then took away all Power Stars so that the residents of the castle or any allies would be powerless. Okay, that sounds good, but instead of locking up all the Stars where nobody can get to them, he has them fucking scattered everywhere in the paintings! He obviously knew Mario could jump into paintings, being he had his own minions, who are much less powerful, jump into them!

Ah, you see that this is not a perfect review, do you? Yeah, that's kind of weak. You want to know why they did that? I'll tell you why. So that this game could be a collect-a-thon. Like Galaxy and Sunshine, it's ALL SIDE MISSIONS. Yeah, guys, I hate to say it, but the game is entirely side missions. In a game like Ocarina of Time, the world was large enough so that side missions could exist and enhance your strength, but the main missions were still the main focus. In here, the main missions ARE the side missions. It's just when you've done enough of those side missions do you get to fight the bosses.

Let me put this intro retrospective. Collect-a-thons get really, really redundant after awhile. Especially when there is one red coin mission and a 100 coin collection in each stage just to get another star. But I'm fine to do it with an exterior motive. The motive presented here is weak, as it is: Bowser has captured Peach. Again, that's fine, but Bowser doesn't feel like a threat. So if I were in Mario's shoes, I would just be like "ugh, let's get this over with." Thus, a lot of motive to keep going is lost, and the game shows it's truest flaws. Back in the day, people were motivated because 360 directions was much bigger than eight, and now they're motivated for nostalgia and money in the case of L.P.'ers.

To give some examples, I'll name two. In the "black sheep" of the series, Super Mario Sunshine, you have something more than Bowser captured Peach and the Toads. An entire Island an it's native species are dying out, a source of life is being depleted, someone is imitating you and framing you, Bowser has a son, all of this is being taken advantage by Bowser. That's a lot bigger then this game. Also, FLUDD alludes to the Shine Sprites having Artificial Intelligence. While that is a personal interpretation, it makes it a lot more reasonable that Bowser could not hoard the sprites to himself. After all, "the shine sprites fled." How could they do that without an A.I.? They're probably just still in the presence of Mario because he is the HERO.

You say it's unfair to use the "black sheep" of the series? Fine. Super Mario Galaxy. In Super Mario Galaxy, BOWSER IS TAKING OVER THE UNIVERSE. EVER SINGLE LIFE FORM IS GOING TO BE ENSLAVED TO A GODZILLA RIP-OFF IF YOU DO NOT DO SOMETHING. Finally, in both previously above mentioned games, there is a lot more meat and creativity put into those side-missions. Plus, in Sunshine, you still will get to the point many times in the game, resulting in a sense of "yeah, I'm still on track here." Some people say it's unfair to critique a Mario story. Guys, I'm not comparing it to Final Fantasy or Metal Gear Solid, not even Zelda! I'm just comparing it to OTHER MARIO GAMES. Is that really unfair?

Also, there is some idea about "freedom" and that it was the whole purpose of Mario games. That's why it's all side missions, so there's more exploration. O RLY?!?!? This isn't an exploration-a-thon. You have to go through the milestones of 1 Star, 3 Stars, 8 Stars, 10 Stars, 30 Stars, 50 Stars and 70 Stars. I'm not entirely sure about you, but to me that doesn't exactly ring "freedom." Hell, until you get 8 Stars the game feels very compact. IT TAKES PLACE INSIDE OF A CASTLE FOR LORD'S SAKE! Maybe in Ocarina of Time there was more restriction as to order, but that was in a MUCH huger world. 

The painting worlds are only moderately sized. Nothing like Ocarina of Time. Well, let's get into the meat here. The controls are mostly good. All the button controls are fine. They're tight, not varied, but they work for what the game offers. It takes a lot of advantage of those button controls, and it makes you forget all you can do is punch, jump, move and change the camera. But wait, there's one thing on an N64 Controller that's NOT a button! The control stick! Moving Mario is...insane to say the least. Let me put it this way. You remember the Hover boots in Ocarina of Time?

Yeah, those boots that have the slipperiest controls and no traction, thus you only use them in emergencies? Yeah, moving Mario feels like using the Hover Boots, only to about half the degree. That's about NES slippery. In NES games, you could only walk 2 directions, so a little slipperiness was good. Not having that slipperiness would make the game feel stiff. However, in REAL LIFE, which is 3-D, when you stop walking YOU STOP WALKING. You don't slip around. Maybe you slow down, but they got that down in Super Mario Sunshine. Here, you SLIP, and it makes moving Mario as annoying as hell!

The Level Design is probably one of the best things about this game. There are about 2 levels that feel large. However, those 2 levels that feel large only feel large as they feel like the smaller levels spread out. In smaller levels, it is compact enough so that you can do enough stuff in such a small area. There are 15 levels in all, with 7 stars each, so length is not a worry. In some levels, that isn't the case though, like 7 and 8. So they add a centerpiece that goes to the other half, which really  makes it feel bigger. Nintendo knew what they were doing with the level design.

I can't really critique the graphics, because they were one of the biggest steps in video game history. Any thing they got wrong they knew they would get right later. You could say I shouldn't critique the 3-D controls either, but since everything else is so good in 3-D as far as Level Design and Button Controls, I'm going to hold MOVING MARIO to that standard. I will say that for Nintendo 64, they are still some of the best graphics on the system. Nowhere near Ocarina, but much better then most of the consoles' graphics. After all, it's much more of a cartooney game anyways.

The thing that really gets me is the difficulty. There are three types of difficulty that I think belong in the video game industry. Too easy, where you feel like you didn't really accomplish anything, like running in the special Olympics. Too hard the right way, where the enemy is intelligent, and you must be strategic to win. In this difficulty, the enemies will beat you fair and square, and if you loose it's your fault and you must become a more skilled gamer to beat it. Or, Too hard the wrong way. Where instead of intelligent enemies that have a large health bar, you have cheap ass enemy placement and booby traps that make you feel like it's the game's fault you lost.

I don't know if I sound like I have a giant stick up my ass for saying that, but it's true guys, there's a difference. This game is unfortunately a 50/50 of 1 and 3, and nothing of 2. BTW, "Just Right" difficulty is not there since A. it's too precise to be in many games and B. that really is a fantasy difficulty. I don't know. This game half the time felt like it was made for 6 year olds and the other half the time it felt like the designers were too lazy to make any good difficulty, but were forced by their bosses. Ehem...As said by Chugga A. Conroy...MYAMOTO!!!!! If it weren't for him, this game would probably just be a 3 hour game. The extended time is brought to us by cheap ass enemy placement and booby traps.

The game play mainly involves Collecting, Jumping, Dying, or THE MOST REDUNDANT FIGHTS IN VIDEO GAME HISTORY. There is no strategy to these fights, and they are so boring. If they are challenging, it's because they're cheap. Like in the final Bowser fight, where HALF OF THE BATTLEFIELD VANISHES. That's cheap. It gets really old, really fast. Especially after we've been spoiler by the new mechanics provided by Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, and admittedly Super Mario Galaxy 2 a little. Paper Mario and Luigi's Mansion don't really count, since they are spin-off games.

Overall, it's a weak attempt at a Mario game. It was very important for the Nintendo business, and video game industry. It made 3-D Video Games real, brought us the vision of 40 years in the future where we would have fully interactive cinematic experiences, and brought them in well for what we had. Though the PS1 and SNES had tried 3-D Games before, they still had the "bells and whistles" effect. They didn't give off any signs that video games could be the interactive cinematic experiences it is today. This game WAS in fact the first game to say "yep, it can happen."

It was the next Mario console game, which of course was needed by Nintendo. This game also has huge importance in one of the biggest fanbases of video game history, and making Mario the Superstar that he truly is. Seriously, would there be as many parodies out there without that "Italian" voice? Believe it or not, evidence shows that Mario was originally to have a Brooklyn accent. But, in my opinion, this is a very weak attempt. It's one of the greatest games of all time for fulfilling those three categories, but it hasn't aged well, especially with's it's incredible sequels. People just loved it because it was literally "nothing they have ever seen before."

The Rating? I'll give it two ratings, no averaging out. My personal opinion is a 3/5. It's a fun game, with great level design and button controls, but not really worth your time. Probably your money, as I got this for $10. Both on Virtual Console and Cartridge individually. But, it's importance to the video game industry is 5/5. It game Mario a voice, and without a voice he would have never really impacted culture as the Italian Plumber of Awesome. It made Video Games 3-D, and gave games a very real future, see the above. It is universally loved for some reason, and so I guess maybe you shouldn't take my word for it.

I, Da Ca$hman singing off.

Oh yeah...you want me to talk about L is Real 2401? Dammit. I won't give you the backstory, look it up if you don't know. Luigi is NOT an unlockable. He was originally planned to be playable via a Multi player feature, but that was scrapped as it was deemed too complicated and would probably BREAK the Nintendo 64. It would be done in traditional Mario Multi Player style, but in Split-Screen. Ugh...no. There's also the idea that it alludes to Luigi's playability in Paper Mario, which was released on February 4th 2001. Well, actually, it was 2/5/01, but I think it's very plausible, as more then a one day difference could have been the original release date five years prior.

But here's my theory. It isn't L is Real 2401. It's "Eternal Star." The last star in the game, the one you get from Bowser, is not counted as one star. If it was the "Eternal Star" it wouldn't be one star, and getting an eternal amount of stars would be pretty insane. Also, notice how that star gives all power back to the Castle, regardless of how many stars you have at the end. After all, you can do a 0 Star run with an emulator. No cheat codes though, just simply spamming the backwards long jump. That plaque is in commemoration of the Eternal Star, which fuels all power of the Castle. But without any official statement, we may never know. After all, the same sign is used in Ocarina of Time, so maybe there's no purpose after all.

I, Da Ca$hman REALLY signing off.

Super Mario World (1991)

The 20th Birthday of the 16-bit Mario and the introduction of Yoshi.

In the previous Mario games (the early Donkey Kong games don't count as they were starring a version of Mario titled "jumping man) we had been mainly in the Mushroom Kingdom if not completely. We also had a recurring plot where Bowser would capture the Princess, run away as fast as possible, and fight you multiple times as he ran farther and farther away. These were two huge elements that this game changed. While I'm sure this is a property of the Mushroom Kingdom legally, Dinosaur Island presents itself as the new area of this game. The native inhabitants, Yoshis, have been trapped away by the Koopa race to not help Mario.

One Yoshi, the main Green Yoshi, was able to escape the Koopas and tried to find his friends. Soon, he would be forced into hiding by the Koopa Troops. This is where Mario comes in. He comes with Peach - and Peach alone - (I have Toads) to go on vacation here on Dinosaur Island. The Island seems to have a shrinking curse, and Peach gets captured by Bowser. And the game starts from there. The rest of the game is just progressing farther and farther into the game, while finding bonus stages along the way. In total, there are 72 courses, however 96 exists, as many stages have more than one exit. Finding these exist will give you secret courses or Switch Palaces.

Switch Palaces are simple: Get a 1-Up, and push a button. Doing this allows for many previous unfilled squares to be filled with designs that would later go as the standard Power-Up in the ever loved (but I don't) Super Mario 64. There are several themes to the levels. Aquatic, Forest, Jungle, Underground, Aerial, Dirty, Ghost, and of course Castle. While this sounds like enough for variation off hand, only 8 design foundations over 72 courses does not allow for the entire game to be fresh. That's probably one of my least liked parts of the game. Level designs are really not that great. Their either once and awesome, or many repeated and stale/

However, if you consider the puzzles as part of the level design, it's pretty substantial. They're not the most complex puzzles to find the 24 secret exits, but they take enough work to feel on part with the reward you get. I dunno about you, but a switch palace or secret level(s) seems pretty nice of a reward to me. Also, there's the Star Road levels, but I don't feel like I should get into them in this review. Just quickly - the better side of the bell curve of gamer skills get a little surprise at the very end after finishing all levels. Navigation through the levels requires constant but very light strategy, making it a game accessible to all gamers however one that keeps you on your toes.

Also, when levels get more difficult, it usually is about the game being intelligent. Never does it feel like "damn, game, have a little mercy!" Instead, when you die, it's more about "okay, gotta be more strategic here." Let's just say collecting coins and opening treasure chests doesn't require "constant strategy." Sometimes quantity is not what matters, but quality. But, there are definitely enough levels to keep you satisfied. I can't go in this game without talking about the soundtrack. Okay, 16-bit is 16-bit. But sometimes I don't care. They just wrote the best songs in the SNES era. Some examples are many from this game, and Zelda's Lullaby of Link to the Past.

There aren't too many here to speak of, now that I think of it. Each level design features a reprise of the original theme song, except for Castles. Those feature their own theme. Both have become mainstays of the Mario franchise and I can't stop listening to either - unlike most songs in SM64. The overworld theme is the only one I'm not a huge fan of - it's stale, repetitive, and uncreative. Now that we've got this in mind, let's get into some of the more core elements. Controls are tight, never did I feel like the controller was my enemy, always my friend. However, it is not expansive. Jump, Super Jump, Speed Up, Moving and Camera Controls. Even less expansive then 64, eh?

A remedy to this is the biggest new mechanic introduced into this game - Yoshi. Yoshi is the dinosaur I mentioned earlier, and he basically eats ANYTHING. His mechanic is very different from Mario's, and provides a freshness that this series was going to need if it wanted to continue getting great. Especially with the removal of the Raccoon and Tanoki (I DUNT LICK SPEALLING) suit. I just wish Yoshi had 3 or 4 extra opportunities to be found, but it's great that we actually got him. If one thing is bad about Sunshine, it's the overuse of Yoshi, making him not a special treat but instead just another power up.

Then again, take a look at 64! That game only uses him in a cameo! WHAT?!?! This game finds an area that is close to perfect with his use. Other core gameplay elements exist, although only the basic Mario elements are required. Three Major Power-Ups: Mushroom, Fire Flower and Cape; 1-Ups; and using Koopa Shells or other Dead Enemies to your advantage. The latter is used great, no complaints whatsoever, you'll be able to do it with no trouble whatsoever. The 1-Ups...I can't really critique that. All power ups add to the suspense of the game, truly defining whether you'll finish a level or not sometimes, and coming in extremely handy, turning the tide massively.

That said, with the fact that the Mushroom is just a step-ladder for the other two, why did they throw out all past power ups? It doesn't introduce any others - last time I checked the cape was available in Super Mario Bros. 3...but whatever, it's fine. There's nothing bad about the power ups, but nothing really more special compared to the other Super Mario Bros. games. EXCEPT. The ultimate cheat device in this game is not a game shark, game genie, action replay or emulator. The ultimate cheat device IS your cape. In all but the underground and Castle areas, you can't just fly by way too high in the sky and finish the level like that. 

I hate the fact that you can do it that easily, but if I refuse to do it, I feel like a n00b. THANKS. I know you were able to go so high due to the fact that a good several secret exists, and even one normal exit, requires it. I just feel it is an unfortunate accident. Also - definitely they used the cape as a marketing ploy to make Mario look like a Super Hero. The multiplayer function is as it has always been, and of course no complaints. Enemy design is not largely varied, some even being smaller or larger versions of the others, and four different Koopa re-skins. Still, all these different enemies make the island feel tropical and populated, like you're on an actual island.

Which is odd considering all the enemies are Bowser's enemies...Overall Super Mario World is a near perfect games, with slight flaws that can be easily overlooked if you're not doing a review like I am. Except for that cheat method...but whatever. One of the best entries in the Super Mario Bros. series, and loved by many. It created launched Mario and all his awesomeness into the best looking 2-D Graphics that we would see out of video games. It also created Yoshi, something that the Mario universe could not live without, even with his lack of attention. At least it's not like freaking Luigi! 5/5

I, Da Ca$hman signing off.