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Sun 23rd August, 2009

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Alucard commented on First Impressions: Project P-100:

This is probably my most anticipated Wii U game behind ZombiU. Rayman Legends and Pikmin 3 seem good too, but these other two games are looking pretty fresh.

This game is also a good argument for a higher powered system without having to relate it back to the graphics - all of the onscreen action and environmental destruction alone would be enough to make the Wii have a fit.



Alucard commented on Castlevania: Mirror of Fate "Definitely Not Me...:

While there is nothing really wrong with the so-called "Metroidvania" style (the developer is seriously using this term officially?!), of course it is not the be-all end-all of Castlevania styles, and it is certainly not "limiting" the series to point out some of its potential flaws.

That play style can of course be balanced out and it also depends a lot on how much backtracking or grinding you do, and so on, but I'm glad that the developer cares enough about Castlevania to think outside the box and make sure the game is well balanced from start to finish.



Alucard commented on First Impressions: ZombiU:


Have you played Shattered Memories? It's a Silent Hill game without all of those kinds of undertones - it focuses more on psychology and relationships. Granted it's not a traditional SH but it's in my top 10 Wii games.

Actually for some reason ZombiU reminds me of SH:SM in terms of environment design, which might be why I'm so interested in it.



Alucard commented on First Impressions: ZombiU:

This is the most interesting Wii U launch title, to me. I'm not going to watch too many videos as I don't want to spoil it for when I do eventually play it, but I love the ideas such as certain events only happening once, having to start from scratch when you die and fighting for your previous supplies, and the scanning system.

The fact that it's based on an 8-bit computer game that I vaguely remember from a long time ago just adds to the cool factor.



Alucard commented on Mercury Steam Talks Up 3DS for Castlevania: Mi...:


As a fan of Castlevania I can definitely understand where some people are coming from. Sometimes a series changes beyond recognition and relies mostly on its name for success. CV is one of the few major 3rd party platformers that's maintained a certain quality up to the present day, and so it's natural to feel a bit protective of it.

Generally I'm all for preserving tradition too, but let's face it, there are about 20 entries in the 2D CV series now. About half of them play more like the old school NES games and the other half play like SotN. I think it's time to branch out again.



Alucard commented on Mercury Steam Talks Up 3DS for Castlevania: Mi...:

I am looking forward to giving this a chance.

Yes, they have a lot to live up to. But 2D Castlevania needs another shakeup, and if this is what it takes, then so be it. Order of Ecclesia was fantastic, but the last major gameplay breakthrough for the series was with Symphony of the Night.

Stylistically, Mirror of Fate is looking reminiscent of the 2.5D Dracula X Chronicles for PSP. By the way the devs are talking about this game, they might also be influenced by that game's style of level progression too, which is still relatively unexplored (CVIII, Rondo and Rebirth being the main examples). I'm not happy with everything they say in the interview, such as specifically trying to appeal to Lords of Shadow fans by altering core CV ideas, but these types of custom made hybrids can be interesting and sometimes better than the games they were spawned from.



Alucard commented on Zelda Remakes Still Part of Nintendo's Quest:

I must admit that I enjoyed Ocarina again on 3DS just as much as if it were my first time playing it, back on the N64. Everything's so fresh and compelling - a testament to one of the best games ever made.

Every time I've sat down to play Majora's in the past, I just haven't managed to get into it. So I'm looking for a good excuse once and for all - bring it on!

ALTTP is a classic but what kind of makeover could it possibly need? 2D sprites and textures don't age in the same way that 3D objects do. Undoubtedly a lot of effort went into Ocarina, but in all fairness, it's a "remaster", not a "remake" - which is how it should be. Up-res'd polys and textures as well as a bit of nipping and tucking on the characters and some control adjustments is all that's really needed for success.


And this!



Alucard commented on Feature: Nintendo Land's Potential:

This very idea of Nintendo's primary launch game as "market research" is misguided. But I don't think Nintendo expects people to believe that these minigames truly represent their respective franchises. If people thought that they did, it could actually be a problem. Sure, it acts as name recognition, but that's as far as it goes, or should go.

I don't see it as a huge gamble to create an F-Zero for Wii U. The last game, F-Zero GX on the GC, looked stunning, was lightning fast, is now remembered as a great game and could easily be used as a base for something new.

On top of that, Nintendo system development costs are considered to be significantly lower than that of other consoles.

Finally, I am not completely sold on NintendoLand, but you never really know. As long as they treat it seriously and not as a "means to an end" - it has to stand on its own two feet. Okay, so Luigi's Ghost Mansion is reminiscent of Pac Man Vs. Let's hope it's the best Pac Man Vs. clone that it can be - and likewise with the other games. In the end, they just have to be really good games.

p.s. The fact we're even talking about this shows that there's some real unease with what we think the library for Wii U is going to end up looking like.



Alucard commented on Ubisoft 'Not Really Saying' That Rayman Legend...:

While this isn't really a surprise, I really think the Wii U needs some kind of original content from 3rd parties. So far we've seen that it's not getting a lot of the stuff that 360/PS3/PC is getting, so it needs something else in terms of 3rd party support to compensate.

This game would have been perfect for that, since Nintendo consoles have been the home of big name 2D platformers in recent years.



Alucard commented on Feature: Our Top Ten eShop Games:


Regarding Pushmo/Pullblox, I think it's the kind of game that is best played in short bursts. It can get quite devious in later stages too. I'm having a rest from it, but I am sure that it'll be enjoyable again in 6 months.


I also agree about ML2 and simply don't think the level design holds up. When it came out at the time, it was great to see how the Gameboy could handle SMW style sprites and ideas. But in order to pull that off, a lot of the levels ended up being totally bare. And when enemies do appear, the game slows to a crawl. Wario's Castle is definitely the most exciting part.

In comparison, Mario Land 1 seemed dated even when it came out, with sub-SMB1 quality sprites. But playing it again today, it's definitely more exciting than ML2, particularly with its quirky enemies, cool sfx, and hard mode.

Wario Land 1 is genius though, especially with its hidden keys and dangerous feats of coin collecting. It's just a total surprise.



Alucard commented on Feature: Our Top Ten eShop Games:

My most played eShop game is, by far...

Zen Pinball.

Can't get enough of it.

VVVVVV is very good, Pushmo is even better. Colours 3D isn't a game. Wario Land was a real surprise and easily beats out the other two ML games, particularly 6 Golden Coins which I find to be quite empty in hindsight. Link's Awakening shot right up my favourite Zelda games list.

Still waiting on Mutant Mudds here! Really looking forward to it.



Alucard commented on Reggie: Friend Codes Return on Wii U, But They...:

After reading the interview closely, it looks like this:

1) All interactions - including with friends - are a part of MiiVerse;
2) All interactions in MiiVerse are subject to layers of filtering; therefore:
3) All private interactions are subject to censorship.

I think this is the main issue we should be focusing on, not the ease or difficulty of adding people as friends.



Alucard commented on E3 2012: Our View of Nintendo's E3:


Actually, I am not sure if this is the right way to go, and I think it's a bit of overkill, really. One major entry from each major franchise per generation is fine. The SNES era allowed for that so why not now? An excellent game can last indefinitely despite its actual length, and particularly for older gamers, where do we find the time to play them all anyhow?

In some ways (but not others), we were very lucky with the Wii because we had two amazing 3D Mario games, two deep, story driven Zeldas, and two major Metroid entries, amongst other stuff. Opinions differ about them, but at least they took them seriously enough.

I think the teams are generally doing a great job. But sometimes I wonder about the influence from the suits, especially with what we've seen of NintendoLand and NSMBU. 2D Mario games used to have a certain type of craft to them but these days it looks like it's being diluted for mass consumption, like Fast Food Mario.

But a precedent was set during Wii era where they just sit on stuff that people want to play and switch it with frivolous stuff. Bring the games out and let the gamers decide! Don't trash their reputation publicly and then suggest that a party game is a valid substitute.

I do think that it would be nice to have more 2nd party stuff like what we got from Rare, Silicon Knights and Cing. And I agree that it would be great to have more agreements with 3rd parties such as with Capcom and Konami. If you look back at the GC library, it was actually pretty tight. But the 1st/3rd party tension has been there for a long time now and Nintendo really need to get on top of it for the Wii U like they were promising.

I really do think their biggest problem right now is to do with the way things are unveiled, emphasised, and rolled out. They really need to get their priorities straight.



Alucard commented on E3 2012: Our View of Nintendo's E3:


True, there are a lot of "retro-styled" games on the 360/PS3 shops. I'm personally big into indie games. However this is not always the same thing, as sometimes these games are deliberately retro styled to play on people's nostalgia, or are interesting experiments that can lack proper execution. That's not really a problem though.

Overall, regardless of labels, like you've also suggested, I am talking about games that are fresh, daring, cleverly designed, and don't pander or condescend to their audience.

As an example, Resident Evil has been part of this gaming philosophy even though it's considered violent. I consider Revelations on 3DS to be a real gem because it's been created with the system in mind and looks to what Capcom did well in the past while keeping it fresh and new, without trying to adapt so desperately. That game found an audience based on its merits.

In comparison, Resident Evil 6 has clearly been designed to chase after the CoD crowd. The developers have even admitted as much. It might still be a good game, but I think that chasing purely after what's likely to sell the most is a real creativity killer and sometimes it just doesn't work.

They are both very current games, but I think the reasons behind their existence couldn't be more different from each other.

Pushmo, yes, that's great. And Kid Icarus Uprising. And the recent Kirby stuff. There's actually quite a bit. But a new Nintendo system launch determines their focus for the next 5+ years ahead and they really need to channel all their resources and hit us with their very best for the Wii U.



Alucard commented on E3 2012: Our View of Nintendo's E3:


I think you've made an interesting point. Older gamers (and younger ones of a certain type) fit in a category that encompasses not only Nintendo, but early Sega, the arcade, 8 and 16-bit computers, and so on. The types of games developed during those years don't generally fit the modern designations of "hardcore" or "casual" - the best label I can think of is that they are "games as games", and only in retrospect are they called retrogames.

Today, Nintendo is one of the few developers to uphold this type of gaming philosophy without being too obviously retro about it. They've actually been stubbornly protective over the years, particularly during the times of SNES and N64.

But now, there are clear signs of this changing. Of course, they're a business. They need to eat. I just hope they never lose sight of what makes them special.



Alucard commented on E3 2012: Our View of Nintendo's E3:


I feel similarly to you. I am also a fan since around the time of the original Donkey Kong - it's been quite a ride, hasn't it?

In the end I think Nintendo generally comes through with the goods, even with the Wii, but sometimes it's a bit "touch and go!".

I think it's possible to label someone a complainer if they're being too unrealistic, such as their specific needs are not being met. But I think this situation is a bit different. I don't think we should just have faith, buy the system, and get what we're given without questioning what's happening.

They stood up on stage, made some pretty bold claims, and the onus is on them to follow through with it. It's not too much to ask.



Alucard commented on E3 2012: Our View of Nintendo's E3:


Many people are unhappy with how those so-called Q1 releases look for the most part. I don't think it's as simple as there not being a Zelda or Metroid (or whatever your fave is). Classic 1st party franchises are just examples. Just give people a compelling reason to pick up a Wii U and at least a glimpse into its first full year!


I think that the E3 2011 conference was really just meant as a sneak peek, and at least those tech demos sparked the imagination. Although, the 3rd party games shown running on other systems was pretty misleading and there were a lot of unanswered questions.

E3 2012 was set to be the grand statement about why we MUST go out and buy a Wii U this year. But you're right - the messaging was so confusing and contradictory, it reminds me of the adage "try to please everybody and you end up pleasing nobody".

Miyamoto was talking about how, in this age of mobile gaming, we should focus on deeper experiences. Reggie was previously talking about how he "heard us loud and clear" about the direction of their gaming focus. Yet what they've focused on looks closer to $1.99 mobile gaming than ever, asking to localize top quality Wii games was like getting blood from a rock, and these trends look set to continue unless they really prove otherwise once and for all.


I agree. Before the conference, I was 90% certain of picking up a Wii U at launch, like I did with the Wii and other Nintendo consoles. Now, I am sure to not get one for at least a year following the launch. Add this to the fact that they concentrated on black as the main colour, attempting to court the "serious gamers", and then refusing to commit to it as a launch colour. A minor point, but silly. I'll wait.



Alucard commented on Wii U Power Lacks a 'Generational Leap':

I think that there are some things that are often forgotten about in debates like this.

It's true, raw processing power is not the same thing as artistic direction. Unless you have the idea that getting closer to realism is better, then art style is more important.

However, sometimes a lot of processing power is needed regardless of art style. This is true for stuff such as physics and clothing simulations, draw distance, environmental conditions and so on. A game like Journey is an example of this.

There are a couple of reasons why a lot of important 3rd party games didn't come to the Wii. One of them is financial/demographic, and the other is processing power. It's not just about HD, it's about whether the console can handle a game's engine without compromising the gameplay experience.

And it's not even just about "ports" - 3rd party developers might not be interested in creating something new for a system that isn't capable of what they're dreaming to make.

We don't know what types of games will be coming out for the 720/PS4 when they launch, but unless processing power gets to the point where it no longer impacts game-based decisions, we could see a similar situation to the Wii where either ports to Wii U need to be downgraded, or just skipped over altogether.

This is actually not a big problem if there are enough high quality 1st and 3rd party exclusives that become well-received, popular, and tailored for the system (rather than the cash-ins that seem to be happening), but in this gaming and economic environment, how likely is that to happen?



Alucard commented on E3 2012: Our View of Nintendo's E3:

"After the dust has settled", actually I think it is as bad as it's been made out to be, if not worse, and this needs to be recognized in time for TGS and the next Nintendo Direct.

I don't think it's good to compare the Nintendo presentation to Sony or MS, or most other past E3 presentations such as 2008. It's worse specifically because this is a launch year. It's not about winning a show, but about convincing people why the Wii U is truly a new experience with the 1st and 3rd party games to match it. In this regard, they failed all three bases they're trying to capture:

1) Casual gamers will not be convinced that this is a necessary upgrade when they already own a Wii along with Wii Sports, Resort, and Wii Fit. Quite a few would not have played Wii in a while and wouldn't fork out $300+ with no genuine reason to upgrade.

2) The 360/PS3/PC base will be unconvinced due to late ports (Arkham City can be bought on Steam for $29.99 as of right now and sure to be half that during sales) and franchises - also important to Nintendo's history - that have failed to materialize (Castlevania: Lords of Shadow II). These gamers will likely wait for the beefier 720/PS4 or play on their PC now.

3) The Nintendo loyalists in part will not be impressed with the primary focus being on a minigame collection that is difficult to explain and yet targeted towards families. Then there's "Facebook Mario". Pikmin 3 is a breath of fresh air, but it was shown off as having M+/Nunchuk controls as its primary method, not a very alluring proposition for buying an expensive system based around an entirely new control scheme. These gamers will likely have to wait until late 2013/early 2014 to see much of real substance.

If they don't turn this around somehow, then the Wii U could go the way of the dodo, or at least the Dreamcast - except that console had a stronger initial 1st and 3rd party showing. I do like the Wii U - I just don't think they've come anywhere near showing its potential or convincing us that we'll be experiencing it any time soon.



Alucard commented on Poll: Which 3DS Game at E3 Got You Most Excited?:

Epic Mickey: Power Of Illusion would be my pick. The guy who is overseeing it is clearly an old time Castle of Illusion fan. Those older Disney games are wonderful and it's great to see that tradition being followed up.

The new Castlevania looks very different than what I'm used to, but I'm happy to give it a chance. A lot of care and attention went into the last DS entry, Order of Ecclesia, so I'm looking forward to that level of quality again even if the style has changed a bit.

I prefer Paper Mario in RPG form so I'm looking forward to Sticker Star. In fact I think it's looking fresher than the new Mario 2D platformers for the most part.

I'm undecided about NSMB2, although the concept could work if it's risky and different enough in execution. Shame they're recycling a lot of assets though.

Luigi's Mansion helped define the GC era to me even more than Sunshine. Glad to see they haven't forgotten about it.

I'm feeling really drawn to Animal Crossing recently, I wonder why we haven't heard anything more? I hope they haven't moved dev over to Wii U.

Yes, it's a shame we didn't see any genuinely new announcements, but it's another strong year for 3DS overall.



Alucard commented on Reaction: Your Opinions on Nintendo's E3 Confe...:

I would like to put this in a different perspective.

Nintendo has a long history of much loved IPs to draw upon, and a team of creative minds capable of crafting amazing new experiences too. Aside from Pikmin 3 (and maybe Nintendo Land?), not much of this was displayed at the conference.

Yes, in addition to Zelda and a 3D Mario, I'm sure we will get a new Metroid, Kirby, Star Fox, and hopefully also F-Zero, Wave Race, Eternal Darkness, Baten Kaitos, etc... However, unless they have some real surprises up their sleeves, none of these titles (or anything new) are anywhere near "launch window", let alone launch day.

Animal Crossing 3DS was first announced at E3 2010. We still don't have a release date for it, two years later. Paper Mario, and Luigi, are only just on the horizon. This is not a criticism; despite its troubled rollout, the 3DS turned out to be a great and successful little system mostly because the announced lineup was strong and we knew what was coming a mile away.

With the Wii, on top of Sports, Fit and Party, it had Twilight, Galaxy, Paper, Prime 3, Smooth Moves, ExciteTruck, Radiant Dawn, Battalion Wars 2, Strikers... all announced and released within a year of launch, and many within 6 months of it.

The main purpose of this E3 conference was to convince the audience to buy a Wii U, preferably at launch, on the strength of its games. Based on the 1st party games shown, it seems like we'll get NSMBU, Pikmin 3, NintendoLand - and that's about it - for a long time to come, perhaps until 2014 unless a surprise is announced. We know a Smash is coming, but they've barely started on it. 3rd party support for the most part is still in question and/or the games can be found elsewhere.

In the end, it's all about the games. But how is this lineup a convincing argument to purchase an expensive console with an interesting but untried concept? This is much more of a purchase risk than the 3DS ever was. As I mentioned earlier, Nintendo have been developing a habit of actively trying to bury some of their IPs, and adapting/creating other ones to chase fickle audiences. Who knows what 3rd parties are doing.

What we really need to see, and soon, are some real bona fides surrounding the games, if we're going to be able to make any kind of reasonable purchase decision about the Wii U at all.



Alucard commented on Reaction: Your Opinions on Nintendo's E3 Confe...:


I do think those 2nd tier games are actually still alive and kicking to an extent, considering Pikmin 3, and of course Kid Icarus Uprising, which is brilliant. There's also the likes of Pilotwings Resort, which is enjoyable albeit watered down in comparison to the previous two.

However, my point is that Nintendo is unafraid of sacrificing their games in various ways if it's seemingly in their short term financial interest, regardless of long term cost and company legacy. For instance, if a noise wasn't made about Xenoblade - arguably one of the most important videogames in recent times - it's head would likely have been squarely on the chopping block.

I would like to see them bring these titles to the forefront, and treat them with respect, for the launch of their first home console in six years.

What I was looking for during this E3, being a console launch year presentation, is to see what they've discovered and where they are heading. Apparently all they've learned from the 3DS launch is that "beep... console launch needs Mario... beep". Just a whole lot of smoke and mirrors.

Very promising new hardware though.



Alucard commented on Reaction: Your Opinions on Nintendo's E3 Confe...:

After having a day to think about this, I think the main problem with the E3 conference is that it is symptomatic of a deeper problem within Nintendo that has come to the fore within the past few years, and now feels like it's coming to a head.

It's not that party games, mini games, and exercise games are bad, per se - in fact these genres can be very enjoyable. And it's not that there's a problem with violent, action packed 3rd party games if that's your thing. In fact, games don't even need to be divided up so neatly like that as is so often done.

For me, having followed Nintendo since the NES days, the issue is one of emphasis - where does Nintendo's main focus lie, and what is their philosophy? I am not so certain any more. It seems that they are trying to chase after mainstream success so desperately that they are fully prepared to let more interesting titles fall by the wayside (e.g. last year's localisation debacle), particularly their 2nd tier IPs.

This is starting to filter down even to their hallmark titles, particularly 2D Mario platformers, which used to be relatively uncompromising, but are now in danger of becoming a focus group approved, phoned-in, social media extravaganza.

To display this kind of thinking copiously over the course of a full hour is really a bit too much and it's perfectly reasonable to call them out on it.



Alucard commented on Reaction: James, Tom and Mike React to E3 2012:

Thanks for the honest impressions, guys. Reflecting on the show, and trying to be charitable about it, I too feel that they had misjudged the audience and mismanaged the games rollout after a great start with Pikmin 3. However, I was also surprised that they detailed the Motion Plus controls before the Wii U Gamepad specific controls; it came across to me as a lack of confidence in the new scheme, and that set a precedent for the rest of the show from which it never recovered.

I think it's quite premature to expect to see anything on the level of Zelda or Metroid. But before pandering to fickle crowds, I think it's important for Nintendo to focus on their base at an event like this. Even just a hint of something like a new F-Zero or Eternal Darkness - or anything! - other than what we've already known to be coming for some time would have been much welcomed.

I consider this conference to be bad publicity and just plain unconvincing despite the potential of the system. It's now likely that I will not purchase one at launch, and I am quite sad about that and know that they can put together a much more convincing package than this.



Alucard commented on E3 2012: Game & Wario is Like Wario Ware, But ...:

Now this is a little bit more like it! It looks to show the TV-controller interactivity very well, and being a Wario game, it's bound to have a lot of character. What a mistake not to show this during the main conference - even just a splash screen or a hint of it.



Alucard commented on E3 2012: Watch the Nintendo Press Conference L...:

I personally found this conference to be very cynical for the most part, and even though originally I had planned on buying a Wii U at launch, like others, this has actually convinced me NOT to pick one up unless something new and substantial shows up. What a joke.



Alucard commented on Review: Monster World IV (Wii Virtual Console ...:


Yes, I am in Australia too. I also agree that there shouldn't be any real problems in going 60hz for PAL regions. And it's likely to be redundant by 2013 when the switchover occurs, anyhow.

I am just looking for potential reasons as to why they deem it necessary to hold to a 50Hz standard. Perhaps it is based upon some demographic information that they have. For example, both my European PAL and Australian PAL games generally support 50Hz/60Hz split mode, but I have seen the warning "60Hz mode (unlike 50Hz mode) is not supported by all TVs" only in Australian game manuals.



Alucard commented on Review: Monster World IV (Wii Virtual Console ...:


Nice - thanks. I'm surprised that those even exist to be honest.


My guess is that many PAL conversions are chosen for display in 50hz because of places like Australia. It just might not be practical for them to convert for specific sub-regions, so they just use the lowest common standard. Having said that, many European PAL retail Wii games are both 50hz/60hz - although I'm not quite sure about how that affects things other than being able to display in either mode.



Alucard commented on Review: Monster World IV (Wii Virtual Console ...:


That's cool, where are you getting the art prints and figures from, and are they official?


Based upon what I've played so far of this, yes, the gameplay is just different enough from Wonder Boy V: Monster World III (if that's what you're referring to). The Pepelogoo that you get early on is a cool multi-function sidekick that lets you double jump, protects you from stuff like lava, is throwable, upgradeable, etc.

However if you are looking for real variety, I would suggest Dragon's Curse (on Turbografx), as it has character transformations that are specific to different areas of the game (you pretty much start out as a fire breathing dragon). Then again I guess it depends on what it is you're after!



Alucard commented on Review: Monster World IV (Wii Virtual Console ...:

I have been holding off on playing this game until an official release - and it's been a long wait! I'm very glad to finally sit down and play it properly. So far, I have only finished the first level, but I'm enjoying it so far.

The game is clearly high quality, and the graphics are some of the most vibrant and full of life I've seen on the Mega Drive outside the Disney games. It has the most charm and humour out of all the games in the series too.

Also, one of the most important things about the Wonder Boy / Monster World series is the design of the enemy attack patterns, and I'm glad that quite a bit of thought has gone into them again. And the Pepelogoo is an interesting addition.

Right now I still consider Monster Land and Dragon's Trap/Curse to be the pinnacles of the series (they have the best pacing and immediacy-to-depth balance), but they're all of such high quality, they've proven Escape/Westone to be a great, underrated developer. Perhaps it was for the best that this was the final game in the series, but it would be great to at least have the developer around again to inject some of their arcade sensibility into current and next gen gaming.



Alucard commented on Review: Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Wii Virtua...:


Oh, they kept the gold exploit in? I tried it but didn't seem to get much. Snow Kong is very hard, I can barely get to him without a continue, but then he does me in pretty quickly. I agree about the 50hz SMS slowness, the arcade version is lightning fast in comparison and feels like I can't catch a break at all!



Alucard commented on Review: Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Wii Virtua...:


I think that the arcade version is the definitive version of this game. I've played many different conversions over the years (it was released on almost everything, it seems!). The Master System version comes close in some ways - it's surprisingly accurate, and sounds great with the FM synth. But the only ideal version of this game is the arcade one.

The Master System version doesn't have continues, so it's often considered harder - but actually in many ways it's far easier. You can find enough life potions to make continues redundant if you play reasonably well, and bosses take far less hits than the arcade original. This may be a pro or con for you, and it still provides a worthy challenge. The SMS version also includes an extra level and boss, which is nice but feels like a bit of an afterthought to me.

The arcade version has a lot of small touches and flourishes that make it pretty much perfect.



Alucard commented on Review: Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Wii Virtua...:

I think this game deserves much more recognition than it gets. In terms of actual gameplay (both innovation and playability), it's as important as the first few Mario and Zelda games. It was integrating what are sometimes termed "RPG elements" into sidescrolling platformers quite early on, at least around the time that Zelda II was doing it, if not earlier. And, like Mario, the platforming is spot on, with fluid movement and precise response.

The actual gameplay is pitch-perfect, deep enough for multiple playthroughs (choice of equipment, talking to NPC's, sidequests, etc), is full of secrets, and yet retains a streamlined arcadey "top your previous effort"/high score attack feel. There was no other game quite like it when it came out, and it's a shame that, due to its obscurity in some parts of the world, it is sometimes seen as "second best". In my opinion, it's a perfect arcade game and possibly the best in the whole Wonderboy series.



Alucard commented on Nintendo Download: 10th May 2012 (Europe):

Oh, also, VVVVVV is a nice game, taking its cue from old 8-bit computer games like Jet Set Willy... but the most memorable thing of all about the game is the music! Honestly it's worth playing through just for the pleasure of hearing it.



Alucard commented on Nintendo Download: 10th May 2012 (Europe):

I'm pretty thrilled about this week's releases, particularly the Wonder Boy games. It's one of my favourite platformer series of all time, and to my knowledge, this is the first official release of the arcade version Wonder Boy In Monster Land, in English. Apparently, all other English arcade versions of the game have been bootlegs up until now, making this an important release.

This nicely complements the fully translated release of Monster World IV, which is technically a Wonder Boy game. I've been waiting to play this properly for years, having played through Monster Land, Dragon's Trap/Curse, and Monster World (reclassified as MWI, MWII, and MWIII respectively), which are all top tier classics of the adventure platforming genre. ;)



Alucard commented on Talking Point: Why Skyward Sword Sales Failed ...:


An original MotionPlus accessory can be found for just a few dollars now - it'd be a shame for that to be more of a barrier than it needs to be. Of course, it's used for the core gameplay mechanic, one of the things that distinguishes the game from being a formulaic retread. For me, the only boring thing about SS is that the intro part is a bit long and drawn out, again.

Also, you can also use the M+ accessory for Red Steel 2, which is a well regarded game.


Games like The Witcher 2 and and Dark Souls are considered highly successful, and yet they moved just over 1 million copies each in the months after their launch. Zelda can move 3 times that and be considered a flop - I guess it's all relative!



Alucard commented on Talking Point: Why Skyward Sword Sales Failed ...:

Skyward Sword's sales are actually comparable to most other titles in the Zelda series, and with the Wii now into its 6th year, that is all well and good, really. At the very least, within a few short months, it has already outsold Majora's Mask, which also came out at the end of a console's life, and right off the back of Ocarina's wild success.

To paint Skyward Sword's sales as a failure in light of this is a bit unwarranted, I think. On top of that, Zelda has generally appealed to a very specific audience despite being one of the most recognised Nintendo series outside of Mario. To expect most of those 95mil Wii owners to invest a substantial amount of time and learning in order to play quite an involving game is a bit much to expect, although I'm sure it's something Nintendo would love to have happen.

Regarding some other points raised, while the Wii in 2011 had to endure quite a dry spell until Skyward Sword and Xenoblade (in EU/AUS) showed up at the year's end (two of the best games this gen, certainly no faint praise there!), 2010 was arguably the strongest overall year in terms of quality game content that the Wii ever had. I won't name names, but I can think of at least 10 important games right off the top of my head.

I do agree that we should be happy that there are two major Zelda titles on Wii. However, I don't think that comparing SS to the sales data of NSMBWii is useful other than to highlight the habits of gamers, let alone to suggest that Nintendo needs to do anything other than what they're doing now. I much prefer that they do their best to maintain the integrity of the series rather than try to increase the userbase at a game's expense.



Alucard commented on Feature: The Odd One Out in Operation Rainfall:

What I find interesting about this whole scenario is how many people’s expectations are dashed as soon as the press reception is shown to have mixed-yet-mostly-positive impressions about the game.

Some reviewers are finding it good but flawed, while a few are finding it very solid with no major negatives (see Eurogamer’s review). This was reflected in Famitsu even before talk of localization began, where it received two 7’s, an 8, and a 9 out of 10.

However, the way that many gamers have responded to this reception is strange.

Some people are trashing it outright, and saying that 15-20hrs of action is not enough, and that it looks and plays like a PS2 game (what does that mean?). Others become uninterested or cancel orders because it’s getting 7’s or even 8’s(!).

It’s a shame, since unrealistic ideas about what a game delivers can get in the way of enjoyment. It also shows that this is an issue within the gaming community to a large degree.

The title is clearly not for everyone, but shouldn’t it be commended for trying to experiment and innovate in some respects? I welcome games like this, even as a starting point for building new experiences in the future and for catering to different tastes.

P.S. Barely anyone has mentioned how gorgeous the music is, too. :)



Alucard commented on Review: Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (Vi...:

As a direct sequel to the original Super Mario Bros, this game is acceptable in many ways. In terms of gameplay elements, enough was added to keep it fresh - and yes, elements such as the wind and the brothers' distinct abilities were there right from the start.

In terms of difficulty, it picks up right where 8-4 of the first game left off. It is well known that Nintendo shelved the worldwide release of this game due to the demanding difficulty. However, I think it was a mistake to do that; instead, it would have been better marketed as a "master challenge" for those who had completed the original. And considering how many players were at least acquainted with the original, this shouldn't have been too much of a problem, aside from concerns about setting a precedent for future Mario titles.

As it stands now, in its original form, it is a worthwhile download, as a historical curio and as a serious game. However, it is missing the welcoming "playground" feel of more successful Mario platformers - and as such, it requires a serious, persistent commitment to master.

While its rank and standing in the Mario series is up for debate, don't miss the special opportunity to download and play this game in its original form.



Alucard commented on Review: Wonder Boy in Monster Land (SMS):

Monster Land is a legendary game - and the SMS version is the most faithful home port (considering both console and computer) of the arcade original. As such, this game (along with a handful of others) justifies the existence of the SMS itself, as a whole.

The initial review pretty much nailed it - although I would like to point out that the game's semi-non-linear design concept was very original and groundbreaking for its time. And although the future games in the series built upon this, and were in some ways more accomplished, Monster Land maintains the thrill of pure arcade platforming action, yet the elements of deeper discovery and exploration do not threaten to bog down the flow.

Monster Land is worth discovering.



Alucard commented on Review: Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars (SMS):

The Lost Stars is quite a different platformer to the classic Miracle World - but it isn't necessarily bad for that reason alone.

It can be seen to have lobotomized the elements introduced by that game - however, both games (SMS M.W. and arcade L.S.) seem to have been in development around the same time, so there was nothing much to build on or take away from.

It is fine that this game is a "stripped down" affair, as such a design is entirely legitimate. Due to the kind of obstacle course that's presented, a measured approach is needed in order to play successfully - avoiding the onslaught carefully without just attempting to breeze through it.

However, there are problems here. The controls can be stiff and unforgiving, not allowing for easy adjustments. This can tend to work against the player, who is faced with the task of tackling the playfield with a stop-and-start dynamic. This may be considered another challenge, but it could prove more frustrating than fun.

Also, the game is oddly paced, as there can be stretches without much going on, followed by attacks that are difficult to react quickly to.

Having said that, the game exudes a strange little charm, with quirky enemy designs and stage elements. And one just might find oneself being amused in spite of its flaws.