Archives For Mario

Super Smash Brothers has been a long standing favourite for many of us. The idea of gathering all of Nintendo’s mascots (and some guest fighters) was a novel idea back in the N64 days, and it has only grown in popularity since. With a new generation of Nintendo consoles comes a new Smash game, and for the first time since it’s conception, the series goes handheld for the 3DS. With a WiiU version coming in the next month, is it worth your time to buy Super Smash Brothers for your 3DS or 2DS?

Characters

The most important thing for any fighting game is of course it’s character roster. Boasting the largest roster of the series to this point with an astounding 51 characters, there is no shortage of variety. There are 14 brand new characters in this iteration of the series, including of course Megaman, which came as a surprise to many back when the games were first announced. While there are some notable names missing from the roster, particularly fan-favourite Ice Climbers, the new additions to the roster more than makes up for these exclusions. Much like it’s older counterparts it has a number of “clone” characters, characters that play exactly the same as more conventional counterparts, but this game has the fewest since their introduction, which allows for an extremely diverse cast.

Another notable thing about this iteration is the inclusion of the Mii Fighters, which acts as this game’s create-a-character mode. Using Miis that you have created, you can choose between one of three fighting styles; Brawler, Swordfighter, or Gunner. Each one comes with a number of customizable moves so that you can change your character to your own liking. In addition to this, the remainder of the cast possess customizable move sets, allowing you to make them to your liking, which I feel is a great addition to the series.

Gameplay/Story

I’m including these in the same category for one simple reason. There is no story. Outside of the usual Classic mode, which serves as a sort of arcade mode, you will not be finding much in the way of plot in this version of the game. Whether or not the WiiU version will have an adventure mode or something like Brawl’s Subspace Emissary, only time will tell. However, there is still quite a bit the 3DS version of the game can offer.

In terms of mechanics, there is a little getting used to when it comes to the control scheme. I personally own a 2DS, and find that the size of that particular console is comfortable on the hands, however I know there have been some complaints of the game being uncomfortable to play on the regular sized 3DS consoles, so do be sure to keep that in mind if you are planning on picking this game up.

Beginning with Classic mode, this mode has gotten a massive overhaul. Before starting your run, you get to set your difficulty from 1 to 9. Higher difficulties require you to use coins, the in-game currency you gain for playing the game, to buy in, but the rewards often out-weigh price of admission. Once you set your difficulty, you begin the game. You are set on a path that branches into 2-3 different options, which is great as it gives you some sense of freedom, at least as far as an arcade mode can be concerned. These paths are of varying difficulty, and have you doing all sorts of challenges. From fighting another combatant in single combat, fighting a giant version with 1-2 AI allies to assist you, or fighting against a horde of Mii Fighters (which will randomly generate based on your own personal pool of Miis), you are on a quest to fight the final boss, which of course is the always present Master Hand. At higher difficulties he can also be joined by his counterpart, Crazy Hand, and you have to fight them in tandem. However, since they can’t just leave it at that, there is a secret boss for you to fight if you fulfill certain conditions within the Master/Crazy Hand battle, but I’ll let you find that out for yourself.

Outside of Classic Mode, there is the ever-popular All-Star mode, a challenge mode where you fight have to fight every character in the game on a single life. In this version you fight them in chronological order of their debut, from the classics like Game & Watch and Pacman, all through the decades until you reach the current era of Nintendo games. After every few characters, you are given a brief rest, before being thrown right back into the mix. Also returning this version is the Stadium, which hosts a number of mini games for quick and fun challenges. There is the Homerun Contest, a fun mode where you get to beat up a punching bag before sending it flying with a baseball bat, with the goal of seeing how far you can make it fly. The Multi-Man Smash mode returns as well, a mode where you have to fight wave after wave of opponents, in this case Mii Fighters, under set conditions. These conditions include 10 or 100 Man Smash, where you have to defeat however many opponents the conditions state, with every 10 or so Miis you kill spawning another character from the game. There is also 3-Minute Smash, which is the same as above except that you have a time limit to kill as many as you possibly can. A new version they introduced is called Rival Smash, where you play against an AI opponent to see which of you can defeat more enemies. And of course, there is Cruel Smash, where you fight against a horde of other characters, all of which are extremely difficult and will probably mess you up something fierce.

Brand new and exclusive (as far as I’m aware) to the 3DS version of this game is a mode called Smash Run. In this mode you and 3 other people, whether friends or AI, are put into a rather large dungeon, and given 5 minutes to explore. There are a number of enemies for you to defeat, which drop upgrades to your various stats, which also slowly rise as you use various abilities. For example, every time you jump, you’ll gain points in your jump stat, whenever you attack you’ll gain points in attack, and so on. There are also challenge areas and random chests that will drop power ups and loot for you, so you are really encouraged to explore as much as you can in the time given to you. Once the time is up, all your stats will be tallied up and compared to your opponents, after which you will be pitted in one final battle. This battle can be something as simple as a free-for-all against the other enemies, or you could be paired up into teams, or even have to complete some sort of challenge faster than the others. This is a good game mode for unlocking customizable moves for your fighters as well as getting coins, however there is one glaring issue with it, which is the fact that it doesn’t have any sort of online capability. If you want to play with friends, then you better hope you know some other people locally that have the game.

Speaking of online, this game has online functionality. There are two modes, called For Fun and For Glory. For Fun mode allows you to play against anyone else online, with all the stages save for Final Destination, and all items turned on. For Glory mode puts you on Final Destination only, with no items, and the option to fight one on one. Both modes are fairly fun, though I personally find myself playing more in For Glory. You can also spectate random matches happening online, which has a feature that allows you to bet your coins on who you think is going to win the match, a neat little thing if you’re feeling bold and need some coins. Matchmaking is fairly quick, however since you can’t choose regions or anything, it’s not uncommon for you to face off against people from great distances. Functionally the game isn’t too bad online, at the very least being a massive improvement from Brawl. So long as both member’s internet connection is good, the game runs mostly smooth, however since you are forced to play wirelessly that will cause the usual issues that come with that. Overall I’ve enjoyed playing the game online, whenever I can find a stable connection to play on.

Presentation

This game looks downright gorgeous. The characters are all very well defined and detailed, and the backgrounds on the stages look amazing and really add to the atmosphere of the fights. I was quite impressed by the level of detail on many of the stages, particularly the stages with dynamic backgrounds such as the Prism Tower stage and the Living Room. Every stage comes with an Omega mode as well, which turns them into a stylized version of Final Destination based on that stage, all of which look great as well.

Musically, this game is everything you’ve come to expect from Smash Bros. at this point. Most of the music are either remixes or just straight ports of original classic tunes, with each stage usually having a small selection of songs that it cycles through, once you unlock them. Particularly I enjoyed the number of medleys throughout the game, notably on Dr. Wily’s Castle, the stage for Megaman. Whether you’re an old fan or new, you will surely enjoy the large variety of music this game has to offer as you fight against other people.

Overall Super Smash Brothers for the 3DS is a fun little title with a ton to offer despite it’s lack of story mode. Though the controls can be a bit cramped at first, once you get used to them there shouldn’t be very much issue at all. At a modest price of $40, if you want a fun game to play while on the go, the this game is for you. However with the WiiU version only a month away, with all new stages and undoubtedly more game modes, if you’re not interested in the portability that the 3DS version offers you, then it might be in your best interest to hold off until that version comes out.

The Days of Past List

(Aka My Top 10 of Reminiscence)

Cafés are a great place for idea pondering or even the backseat of a car, listening to rock n’ roll while sleeping.  After having a talk about games that I grew up with, I started to wonder about what I would consider my favourite games.  At first I thought how could I even give this list a sense of order and understanding and thought about how many hours may have been spent playing them or even the memories I had of these games.  So let’s start with my two honorable mentions.

Honorable Mention #2: Mario

OH MY GOD! How can I put this down here? What blasphemy?  For me, I grew up with a Sega Genesis, Playstation and a computer, I rarely had access to a Nintendo system and when I did it was when I went to my babysitter’s for the afternoon or night.  Her two sons had it and constantly played Mario; though my memories of game was usually fighting and me sitting on a couch rolling my eyes at them.  Boys will be boys and no one wants to play Luigi it seems.

Honorable Mention #1: The Game That We Had For Sega But I Can Never Remember

As the title says, this game I remember playing but I never remembered the name.  It was a dungeon crawler game that the final boss was a dragon and it was a very dark and old gothic feeling game.  It used to give me nightmares as child and I had a tendency to hide behind the couch or my mum when it was played.  My family used to play on the Sega and the Playstation together, yelling and screaming and enjoying the time together.  I felt like this was one of my favourite games not because I remember how good or bad the game was but the time spent.  If anyone can remember a game that was dungeon crawler with a dragon boss in a keep, let me know. I would love to have this mystery solved.

Word Munchers#10: Word Muncher

A Dos game that I’m pretty sure ever elementary school had or the other game called Number Muncher.  Personally I was more leaning towards Word Muncher than the others because it was easier for me as a child to play with.  This was a game that tied into my love of books and I was proud to say as geeky as it was, I usually had the high score in it.  This game was one of the few that we had in our classroom for the computer until the Apple computers replaced the old computers in the library and the few computers each classroom had were removed.  It was a sad day for all since we couldn’t play on them during a rainy day.

Duck Hunt Dog#9: Duck Hunt

Classic, annoying and pretty sure many enjoyed this game for same reasons.  You didn’t get to play with a controller but the gun for the Nintendo system and EVERYONE wanted to shoot the dog.  Who wouldn’t?  That laugh was so annoying, always taunting you when you missed.  This game was a lot easier to share than Mario was between the boys so I’ve put it higher up on the list.  Good old nostalgia.

American McGee's Alice in Wonderland#8: American McGee’s Alice in Wonderland

Oh goodness this game.  This one has to be one of the first games that I ever experienced gamer’s rage.  My first introduction to this game was in Costco where they had it in such a large bulk on the table.  It was one of the few games that had a box tab and within the creepy images of the Cheshire Cat.  While the graphics weren’t exactly high on the list as the story was.  This game was the definition of cult classic and the story of Alice in Wonderland was a cult favourite childhood story. While Lewis Carroll’s version was a bit more of an LSD trip, McGee took the story to a horror level while appealing to the masses’s hearts on a darker version of their favourite story.

My biggest issues with this game was the controls and why it’s so low on my lists. Oh how many times I fell to my death while kiting.  The controls were either way too sensitive or barely there depending on how you adjusted them.  They would drive me crazy when I first played the game and again when I played it in my first year of college and when the sequel came out.  Gladly the controls for the second one was a lot better, less ragey for everyone.

Mortal Kombat#7: Mortal Kombat

Enough said.

I kid.  I think there is very few people of my generation and those above and below who have experienced this game.  This was the first game many people either played in an arcade or at home.  It was well known for it’s ‘Fatalities’ where you could brutally execute your defeated enemy when the computer told you to ‘Finish Him’.  While the game had an interesting tweak about the finishing moves, it had high level of bloody violence and gore which we were all excited about because not many other games where this crazy.  The series is highly successful as time goes by and the brutality got worse.  In the 2011 Mortal Kombat, the finishing move of Kung Lao against Mlieena is probably considered to be one of the most painful fatalities every created in the game.

#6: Warcraft: Orcs & Humans

Warcraft: Orcs & HumansNo. This is not about World of Warcraft; there is no nostalgia there for that version for me.  This is about the first Warcraft that we have ever experience and it was the first one created.  I’m talking about the real-time strategy one.  My family was big into the strategy games such as Risk and while we did play Starcraft, I felt this one was more nostalgic for me.  I remember when my mum would work nights coming home about 4 in the morning and I would sneak down the stairs to watch her play and spend time with her before she sent me back to bed.  While playing this game with her and on my own, it gave me a sense of strategy that I would have to say I fueled into chess and playing League of Legends and other MOBA and RTS games.  I really enjoyed the phrases and little walk animations of the game; while the small side stories that were developed deeper into the second and third made a place in my heart.

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo#5: Super Puzzle Fighter II TURBO!

While this one will tie a bit into number 4 I feel like it has a place of its own, just because it’s just a whole bowl full of awesome for me.  The title is a parody of Super Street Fighter II Turbo and it has a lot of characters from the Street Fighter franchise.  It’s cute and different way of tetris; I’ve still highly enjoyed this game even when they brought out the HD remix of it.  College parties with tetris have never been weirder.

#4: Tetris

TetrisPlusSingle… Double… Triple… Tetris!

Hearing those words bring such memories. One of the first games we ever owned as family was a game called Columns III for the Sega Genesis which was a kind of like tetris but more on the puzzle side.  We didn’t own a pure tetris game until we got the Playstation and from there we had a game called TETRIS Plus.  It had its own version of tetris with a small storyline and 52 levels of puzzle nightmares.  It also had a second game added to the disc which was the good old traditional tetris without the fancy puzzle levels.  Both are quite entertaining and I still like to crack open the case and play myself some old fashioned tetris but I have to say listening to the little professor in the puzzle tetris was quite entertaining.

Final Fantasy VII#3: Final Fantasy VII

I’ve heard it all ladies and gents, why did I pick VII? Simple, it was the first one I ever owned and I do believe the second or third game for the Playstation we owned. I’m quite confused on what came second so I’ll just take a rough guess.  At the time, this game was huge when it came out and was the first game that had a sequel created through Crisis Core which was really a prequel.  It also had a movie… but that has nothing to do with why this was high on my list.  It was the first game to use 3D graphics which made it three discs long!  I enjoyed playing through the game while I was a child and again as an adult only understanding more and more about the storyline I couldn’t as a child.  I enjoyed the franchise of the games considerably, owning and playing through almost all of them.  Hell I even own the animation and model book they released after the movie.

Baldur's Gate#2: Baldur’s Gate

This game was the first game where I was introduced to Forgotten Realms Series of games and to Dungeon & Dragons.  This game was so well loved in our house that the 3rd disc was so over played and scratched that you had to use turtle wax on it to keep it playing.  This game ran on D&D rules for the advance 2nd edition and it had some modifications for it to works as game.  This game was a huge tie in for everything I loved a child: fantasy, lore, knights, magic and DRAGONS! How can we forget dragons?  One of my favourite characters has to be this crazy berserker called Minsc and his animal companion named Boo which he believed to be a ‘miniature giant space hamster.’  Stay crazy Minsc… Stay crazy.

 And finally….

#1: Sonic the Hedgehog

I kind of thought as I was writing this list that I feel obligated and honor bound of putting this here.  My first console was a Sega and with it came Sonic.  I had all the Sonic games for the Sega genesis and had a blast playing them.  This was when they were actually good being with the new ones I find myself more and more disappointed but this is about what I enjoyed.  These games were a good mix of challenging and fun.  Some levels were more frustrating than they had to be while others seemed easy and whimsical.  These games were ones I can still enjoy as much as I did as an adult and that’s why I put them as number one.

Sonic the Hedgehog

This wraps up of the first one my top ten lists, stay tune for the next one. Who knows what it will be about? I’m not even sure yet.

Cheers! Happy Gaming.

When the Xbox One and PS4 pricing were both announced, I made my decision instantly. For me, my path into the next generation was to be determined exclusively by price. Price is what pushed me to pick up an Xbox 360 over the PS3, and price again determined how I’ll be spending my next few gaming years with the PS4. I preordered it literally seconds after the price was announced and preorders were opened. In the months that have followed, my wife and I have had ample time to tuck $400 (plus tax, thanks Maine!) away for the day Amazon ships that sweet, sweet hunk of gear.

But I think I made a mistake. I just finished reading an excellent piece from Eurogamer’s Martin Robinson on USGamer.net. In it, he makes the case that the Wii U is actually the most compelling next-gen console to pick up this holiday season. I have to agree with him, but there’s a catch.

See, the PS4 is supposed to be the “big gift” under this year’s Christmas tree. It’s a fine tradition in the Macy household. Last year saw the Wii U, and the year previous to that saw a pair of 3DS in blue and red. If there isn’t a video game console under the tree, it wouldn’t feel like Christmas. What a lousy precedent we’ve set.

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The pair of 3DSes and the Wii U get used a lot. I mean, a lot. With the release of Wind Waker HD, my oldest son has dove head-first into the entire universe of The Legend of Zelda. He spends hours poring over Hyrule Historia, sometimes late into the night. He dressed as Link for Halloween, and leading up to the holiday, he wore the costume many times to bed. To say he is obsessed might be understating it a bit. His 3DS gets equal Zelda time, with my old copy of the DS title Phantom Hourglass. My youngest son will spend hours on the Wii U playing the Metroid missions in Nintendoland, a charming set of minigames disguising a thorough tip-of-the-hat to Nintendo fans through the ages. Myself, I am enjoying Pikmin 3 much more than I ever expected, along with the aforementioned Wind Waker HD, and a slew of Virtual Console games.

And that’s why I think I made the mistake preordering the PS4. Looking at its launch line-up, I see nothing that my kids will be excited for. There’s really nothing at launch on either next-gen console that excites me. Lego’s Marvel game will satisfy them on any console for which I purchase it, so why wouldn’t I just buy it for Wii U?

The PS4 is sorely lacking a compelling reason for parents of kids under 12 to buy it. It might just be since all the other kids on the playground will be talking about their next-gen systems when the school break is over, but is that really reason enough? I know that, in the life of the PS4, we’ll get plenty of use from it. But the idea that it will make a good gift for my kids, or anyone’s younger kids, when there is the Wii U, seems unlikely.

Nintendo has, and always has had, an ember of magic burning within its properties. Ask someone on the street to name a Nintendo character. I bet nearly everyone you asked could at the very least name Mario. Ask someone to name a Sony character. Or a Microsoft character (that isn’t Clippy). You, reading this, might be able to answer those two questions. But this is NerdSynq, come on now. Mario is a pop-culture icon. He is bigger than the games in which he appears. People have a familiarity with Nintendo’s properties, a fondness, that the other two console makers lack.

Cats and Mario, two of the Internet's fav things

Cats and Mario, two of the Internet’s favorite things

That’s why I feel like the Wii U is THE console of choice for Christmas this year for anyone who has kids under 12. Young kids like the characters, the story, and believe it or not, the history, of the characters with whom they’re playing. For a kid, playing a game is more than just navigating the pathways and puzzles set out by the developers. For them, it’s imagining a whole world, with intricacies that expand beyond what is being presented on-screen. Whether it’s the Mushroom Kingdom or the planet Zebes, or Hyrule, the worlds and characters Nintendo creates resonate with kids and grown fans of Nintendo, alike.

If you’re on the fence over which console to buy, and you have kids, just get the Wii U. They will enjoy it much more. You will enjoy it, as well. There is some modest 3rd-party support. The Eurogamer piece above points out that the Assassin’s Creed IV port on Wii U is great. If you already have a Wii U, as is the case with me, and can’t decide which one of the other two consoles to get for your kids for Christmas… long and short of it, who cares? They’re basically the same. Just pick the one you like more, whatever that reason may be.

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Free Games Friday!

Duckie —  30/08/2013 — Leave a comment

It’s that time of the week again, and I’m here to bring you two more free to play games. This week I’ve chosen some older games, and overall lighter in tone from the ones I featured last week.

 

Genetos_Title

 

Game number one is a quick Shoot-Em-Up (or “Shmup” as they tend to be referred to) game titled Genetos. This Japanese title was developed by one man named Tatsuya Koyama, and features a theme of evolution. You start the game in a fun (and admittedly kind of cute) homage to Space Invaders, shooting aliens and collecting the coins that they drop. Collect enough coins, and you will evolve into the next generation of vertical shooters, making you more powerful as a result. The way you play will determine the type of weapons you get in the next evolution, so the game has a ton of replay value despite being easily beatable in about 30 minutes. It’s a fun nostalgia trip through the generations of vertical shooters, and has some pretty damn good graphics and music to boot. You can download the game to play here.

 

romcheckfailtitle

 

Continuing the completely unintended theme of nostalgia, the next game for this week is called Rom Check Fail. This quick and fun game is more of a minigame than a full fledged title, but it is nevertheless entertaining. The basic premise of this game is to complete the levels by defeating all of the bad guys on the screen. The catch? Every few seconds the game will “glitch”, changing your player character, the enemies, and the background. From Mario fighting Space Invaders to Zelda stabbing Asteroids to Pacman eating Goombas, every switch is a gamble and you never know what you’re going to get. If you have a couple minutes to kill and want a fun and quick game to occupy yourself with, this is a good title to do it with. The game can be played online here.

 

That’s all for this week, tune in next week for more Free Games Friday.