Saturday, December 28, 2013

#81: Monopoly

Rich Uncle Pennybags!
I know it hurts my boardgamer cool factor but I actually like Monopoly. It's not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination but I had a lot of fun playing it as a kid and I still enjoy rolling dice and seeing what happens. You can certainly play with rules mods that make the game worse (like Free Parking being Profit Parking) and I have to admit I don't think I've played the game since Tom and I schooled Andrew and Ken when we played it for money back in University but I still like the game. So I was oddly looking forward to this game more than most thus far.

Unfortunately the things I like most about video game adaptations of board games are not present here. The biggest problem is that they added in an animation when a piece moves around the board. And then they play it every time someone moves. It's like playing the game with someone who doesn't realize the board is divided up into 5 and 10 space segments so they have to count out each and every space. Only it's worse than that, because they're counting VEEEEEERRRRY SLOOOOOOOOOOOWLY. And they're counting it out for each player. Having animations on the community chest cards seemed a little more reasonable. You need to pause and read the card anyway. (Well, no you don't, just give me my $10.)

Nick, are you a moron? PRESS A!
The AI was TERRIBLE. This is the first trade offered in the game, from the guy who has Boardwalk. He is interested in my Park Place and is willing to give me nothing at all for it. This wasn't just the AI trying to fleece the rube either. I was playing a 4 player game with 3 AIs and they insisted on offering each other trades of something for nothing. The worst part is it went into all the menus to show them building the trade of something for nothing. The other AI would reject the trade. Then on the other AI's turn they'd offer nothing for something back the other way. I had to sit and watch them try to trick each other back and forth with it taking a lot of time for each 'trade'.

I ended up quitting before even finishing a single game. Not because I didn't want to play Monopoly... In fact I actually want to play a game of Monopoly more now than ever! But because this version is abysmally bad. I wouldn't recommend even the most diehard Monopoly fan give this a try.

Rating: F-

Saturday, December 21, 2013

#80: George Foreman's KO Boxing

Stick to the grills, Georgie.
I remember George Foreman for his TV show and his meat grills. He was also quite the boxer and has several records relating to his world heavyweight championship victory at the age of 45. This game came out in the middle of his 'old man comeback' and plays up the fact that he's still just as strong a puncher as he was in his youth.
Unfortunately while the game claims he's still a powerful puncher the game itself disputes that quite heavily. You play as George Foreman and you do no damage with your punches. You need to land dozens of punches to do the same amount of damage that your opponent does in a single punch. George Foreman was reknown for winning by knockout; I won two matches and they were both by decision.
PS: Eat Doritos.
Take a look at that stat line! I landed 35 more punches and yet I got knocked down and he didn't. The first guy was pretty easy to dodge and counter attack so I can almost see why they'd want to set it up this way... But I'm supposed to be the awesome George Foreman. If the first guy is easy to dodge and counter attack so be it. Let me lay him out! Let me murder him! That's what boxing is all about!

On the plus side the game had voice overs and I like the way the faces get beat up as the fighters take damage. On the down side George Foreman doesn't do enough damage and that's a really big down side. Having Little Mac need to dodge and punch a bajillion times to take out Mike Tyson feels like it might make sense. But having George Foreman need to dodge every single punch and land a ton himself to get ahead? Sorry, that's just not right.

Rating: D-

Saturday, December 14, 2013

#79: Faceball 2000

1999 iterations down...
What in the world is a Faceball? I had definitely never heard of this game before. It opened on a bit of a sour note with some pretty terrible music on the title screen. That crosshair thing makes this look like a shooter of some kind?
It turns out the game is a first person shooter. I'm surprised to find such a thing on the SNES which it seems is mostly platformers, RPGs, and sports games. I don't know if this game was badly written or if the limitations of the SNES hardware are showing themselves but wow this game is _really_ slow. It didn't help that the controls don't work the way first person controls should work. I want a strafe button. I want the ability to possibly dodge an incoming bullet! As soon as I got out of the training missions and ran into enemies that could attack I exploded. Someone would come up behind me and shoot me three times very quickly and I'd died. I know this is a standard situation in a FPS but normally you have a radar or the ability to turn around and look behind you.

On the 'plus' side the dead screen actually talked to me and said 'have a nice day' in pretty decent speech. I'm always amused when the SNES talks to me. But that really is the only plus side. I like that these guys tried something new but the speed of movement is just so incredibly slow that it just wasn't any fun at all.

Rating: F

Saturday, December 7, 2013

#78: F1 ROC: Race of Champions

WEEEEEEEEEEE Are The Champions...
I haven't heard of this game before, but it's pretty clear what I'm going to be getting myself into. Racing F1 cars! Unfortunately for this game I don't much care for racing games...
Lots of ladies.
This game actually seemed pretty detailed. 16 different race tracks and a level up system where you earn money to spend upgrading your car. Different breaks and shocks and whatever diffusers are. I know there are people out there who love this sort of thing. I had a roommate who put a stupid amount of hours into one of the Gran Turismo games. (Myself and my other roommate put in a comparably stupid amount of hours into Final Fantasy X at the same time...)

As far the actual gameplay went it seemed pretty straightforward. L and R were manual gear shifts and it generally ran on automatic as well. Falling off the track didn't seem very bad and I was even able to run straight into a wall without blowing up which was unrealistic but nice. Especially nice since I couldn't find a way to stay on the track. Like I said, racing really isn't my thing.

Rating: C

Saturday, November 30, 2013

#77: Dinocity

I've heard of most SNES game; Dinocity is one of the rare ones that's completely new to me. I didn't know what to expect from the name alone. Dinosaurs probably, but in what way? How do cities work into it? Is this going to be SimCity but with dinosaurs? That sounds awesome!

Even before the title screen arrived I was given a little video introduction. Jamie and Timmy wanted to watch a video on tv but they touched a 'science device' and got sucked into another world. I dinosaur world I guess?

Dino City turned out to be a really mediocre platformer. It's like someone saw Super Mario World and decided to run with the concept behind Yoshi but they didn't have anyone on staff who really knew how to program a platformer. The controls are incredibly sluggish and beyond getting sucked into a dinosaur world I didn't have a clue what was going on. You can see Timmy riding on that dinosaur's back. Why is there a gigantic woman trying to kill him? Why is this dinosaur happy to strap on a harness and do Timmy's bidding? Why is my attack, of all things, a dinosaur punch?

I want to know more about this game, but a platformer with sluggish controls is not something I want to subject myself to any longer than I need to. I continued twice and was still stuck on the first level. I even tried switching to the little girl and the girl dinosaur and it didn't help. I kept jumping into pits. Girl dinosaur attacked with a projectile which was nice, but she couldn't attack while ducking so I couldn't possibly kill any short enemies.

Rating: F

Saturday, November 23, 2013

#76: Axelay

Credits? *sigh*
I didn't know what to expect of this game from the name alone. It's a new game to me and I was thinking some sort of beat em up like Golden Axe. It turns out this game has a reasonably decent intro with animation and text and everything to tell me what's going on; Axelay is most definitely going to be a scrolling shooter.
GOGO Axelay!
There was an options menu to let me remap the buttons which I always like. Not because I want to remap the buttons because it lets me know which buttons are in use! For this game 2 on the face and the L and R buttons for weapon selection. It's not using them all, but at least it's doing better than just being an NES game. The game also had a voice over when I started the game and chose my weapons. Nice!
The graphics actually made pretty sweet use of the Mode 7 feature of the SNES.The screen could scroll a bit side to side and the background looked really cool while that was happening.

This game seems to have everything going for it. An actual plot, good graphics, the best voice overs I've heard yet, and an explanation of the buttons. Unfortunately the game itself is terrible. It's like they put all their development effort into buffing all the things that normally irritate me and forgot to make a game. The speed and responsiveness of your ship is the most important thing in a game like this and it just doesn't work here. It's too slow to dodge anything and the enemy lasers come from seemingly random locations. It was a very frustrating game to play, and that's not a good thing.

Rating: F+

Saturday, November 16, 2013

#75: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

I was a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan as a kid and the original TMNT arcade game was certainly my most played arcade game as a youth. This is a port of the sequel to that game.
It's the rat king!
I am not longer much of a fan of side scrolling beat em ups. I don't know that I ever was, actually. I remember not understand why people liked Double Dragon as a kid. I think I only really liked the original TMNT arcade game because of the turtles. The same is true for this game. The combat is pretty boring and it definitely has annoying aspects of arcade games designed to get you to pump in more quarters. 'Super' moves that drain most of your health, for example...
Kick it! Kick it good!
I did have fun playing this game, so much so that I continued once. It definitely brought back good memories of the ninja turtles. Cowabunga! And for a beat em up it was pretty well done. The controls were smooth. Donatello swung his bo like a pro. It even had the theme song from the cartoon! Da da da da dun dun!

Rating: A-

Saturday, November 9, 2013

#74: Super Play Action Football

Foosball is for the DEVIL!
I want to like SNES era football games. I have memories of playing one of the Madden games, and actually feeling like I was playing football. This game has an NFL license (but not an NFLPA one, so the players are all numbers) but just made me frustrated. It felt like football in that there was a large amount of downtime between plays but I didn't know how to control the game. I even went so far as to go to gamefaqs to find a control summary and it still didn't help...
My first play from scrimmage seemed to be a triple reverse? I kept handing off the ball as my team kept running backwards. Eventually I was sacced for -18 yards. My second play was a 109 yard field goal attempt because clearly I don't understand what the pictures meant. Barry Sanders #20 then ran the ball in for a touchdown the other way. I then proceeded to get sacced again, try a pitch play that resulted in a fumble, get sacced again, and then actually manage to throw a pass! To the other team for a pick 6.
I then turned the game off. I played about a minute and a half of game time, probably 6 minutes of real time, and just ended up super frustrated. Maybe this is a decent game with wonky controls that can be worked out with time and effort. I'm not feeling good and really don't want to spend time or effort on this mediocre game. Nintendo has published some real sports stinkers so far in this little adventure. They need to move onto the Mario series of sports games real quick!

Rating: F-

Saturday, November 2, 2013

#73: Strike Gunner: S.T.G.

S.T.G. stands for STrike Gunner? Do you need the periods?
Strike Gunner is a pretty straightforward scrolling shooter. Get in a plane, shoot the things flying towards you, dodge the bullets that they're shooting at you. Reach a boss. Shoot parts of the boss so his weapons fall off. Win.
Strike Gunner does have some things going for it. It doesn't suffer from much hardware slowdown at all. It has a relatively straightforward weapon scaling system. It has 15 different super weapons to use with your super power meter. The controls are smooth.
Sonic boom!
Things aren't all perfect with this game. The music is mediocre, the plot is practically nonexistent (other than that it takes place is some sort of post apocalyptic future set in 2008), and it only uses two buttons. TWO BUTTONS! The SNES has 6 main buttons to use... I want more games to use them!

One interesting twist is with the super weapons. There are 15 to choose from but as soon as you beat a level with one of them you lose the ability to choose it. So for the 3rd stage I couldn't use the homing missiles or the plasma shield. This is the sort of thing I like and would have made this a good rental as a kid. You need to play a bunch to figure out the weapons and then you get to plot out the right order to use them based on the levels. I used homing missile on the first level and it was very straightforward so it was a waste. It would have been much more useful on the second or third level! I also suspect that if you play 2 player you can't share weapons which just adds more interesting decisions!

Rating: B

Saturday, October 26, 2013

#72: Soul Blazer

Such a simple sword for a sword blazer.
I love a lot of games on the Super Nintendo but there aren't very many that bring back memories the way Soul Blazer does. It had a really interesting way of building up a world and that stuck with me over all these years. The basic idea is there are little circles that spawn monsters inside of dungeons. Kill all the monsters that spawn and you can step on the circle to seal it. Sometimes this would open up a new path to travel in the dungeon and sometimes it would release the soul of a creature from town. That soul would appear back in town along with nearby things like a building or a bridge or a set of stairs. You could go back and talk to all of them. Some existed just to add atmosphere to the town. Some existed as part of an end game gathering quest. Most importantly some served to progress the plot and/or open up new dungeons. So the game basically plays out with you hacking monsters in a dungeon for a bit, then going back to town to check out all the souls you saved, then going back into a dungeon. Repeat as necessary.

Old woman sells medicinal herbs!
I didn't remember much about the game beyond the basics of releasing souls. The opening music was immediately familiar, but not from Soul Blazer... No, this music was from ActRaiser! Another game that alternated between fighting monsters and a unique way of building a town. Another game by Enix, actually. It didn't take long for them to link the games together in other ways. In ActRaiser you play as 'The Master' who is essentially the God of that world. You would sent your power down to inhabit statues to beat up the monsters. In Soul Blazer you take the form of a human avatar of a heavenly being but you get to commune with 'The Master'. In both games The Master has apparently failed as all living things have been sealed away by evil. But with a little help from an angel the day can be saved! It also felt like they flat out stole a lot of the sounds and animations for things like enemies dying, and shooting projectiles, and spawning from a lair.
Suck it, Deathtoll!
I saw this game was coming up today and spent all week playing it instead of just popping it in for a bit in the afternoon. Soul Blazer is worth the attention. The story is interesting enough, but a little preachy. The plot is about a scientist who invents a machine that lets evil take over the world. The moral of the story is that science is bad and faith is good. A pretty terrible moral, actually. The ending has the player character fall in love with a human girl. The Master sees this and decides the player character isn't worthy of being a heavenly being and casts him out of heaven to go live with the girl. Sounds good, actually! Oh, except The Master wipes out all of his memories. She still knows he's the angel/man/hero who saved the world but he doesn't remember it. He doesn't even remember her. But she loves him and he's an amnesiac so they obviously live together in the end.

The game is a pretty standard adventure RPG game. Swing your sword, cast your spells. Find the pattern for the boss fights and execute them in order to dish out more damage than you take. Level up some if you need the extra health. Inventory management is a real pain, unfortunately. If you find a key you need to go through the effort of equipping the key to your one item slot before you can unlock the door. Then you need to switch your item slot back to the one useful item.

There are 6 levels of souls to save and then a final dungeon. Each level has it's own theme and story, though they are all pretty derivative. A member of Dr Leo's entourage was in the town and had a gem. The ruler of the town falsely imprisoned them to take the gem, all of which led to the huge downfall of the world. Save people, eventually save Leo's friend, save the now apologetic rules, get the gem. But even though they were all basically the same story the details were different enough in each town to feel like something new was going on.

Is Soul Blazer the best game ever? No. But it's a fun game with a really interesting and unique premise. A lot like ActRaiser in that way, actually. It's pretty telling I think that there's only been two games out of seventy-two thus far that I felt compelled to play through to completion and it's those two games. I came close on Link to the Past and I only skipped out on Final Fantasy IV because I'd just played it but the fact still remains that only ActRaiser and Soul Blazer captured my memory enough to get me to want to play it through, and were good enough to make me stick with them.

Rating : S-

Saturday, October 19, 2013

#71: Rampart

There are some sounds that stick with me for no discernible reason. I wouldn't have been able to describe the opening sound for Rampart before I played it today. Even now, 40 minutes later, I can't describe it at all. But as soon as it started playing I knew right away that it was time to build cannons and destroy my brother's walls.

Unfortunately I don't have a brother here so I can't destroy his walls. Instead I was stuck destroying these little boats that kept swarming my island. Stupid little boats. Stop attacking me! Shooting the little boats wasn't actually very fun. Targeting is quantized and not along the right grid to make it clear where to shoot to sink a boat. If they started moving it was right out. Even now I don't know if I needed to hit them multiple times, or if there was a chance to miss, or if I was just aiming badly. I ended up just unloading tons of bullets at each boat and taking many waves to kill them all. This is made easier by building more cannons every wave, I guess...

The other aspect of the game is the rebuild your walls stage. You get given a random piece of size 1 to 5 which you can rotate. You can't build over existing stuff like cannons, castles, or fires. Surround extra castles for bonus points and extra cannons! This aspect was actually really stressful. Am I going to get the piece I need? Can I mash buttons fast enough putting pieces into any legal spot to try to search for the right piece? Is it even possible to succeed? (Fires along the coast could make it impossible to fix a give castle.) Fail to surround any castle and lose.

I remember liking Rampart as a kid, and it was still ok even now. I suspect it would have been better with a second player? Even alone, this would have been a definite rental.

It even had actual voices! CEASE! FIRE!

Rating: B+

Saturday, October 12, 2013

#70: Mario Paint

I remember renting Mario Paint as a kid, because it came in a stupidly big box compared to other games. This is because it came packaged with a mouse and pad. This game was the first time I ever used a mouse (the early computers we had all had joysticks as input devices)!

Swat those bugs!
As far as an actual game there isn't much here. There's a fly swatter minigame buried in a submenu where various bugs fly around the screen and you need to use the mouse to hit them while avoiding their projectiles. I was able to play this on my emulator by emulating the SNES mouse with my actual mouse. It turns out after using a mouse for a couple decades the novelty has worn off, so it wasn't actually very fun. The cartridge also came with a drawing program, some animation functions, and a music player...

The music player may be one of the best things to come from the SNES. There are people who use it to play songs from other things. Songs like the one above from Final Fantasy VIII.

Is Mario Paint a game for me? No. Drawing and making music are both things way outside my skillset. Is Mario Paint a good game for someone who would actually use it for more than swatting flies? I believe it is.

Rating: A+

Saturday, October 5, 2013

#69: Magic Sword

Magic Sword is a game I didn't think I'd heard of, and I know I didn't play it as a kid. But the more I played it today, the more familiar it seemed. I feel like maybe I played it on an emulator at University? Or maybe I played a sequel/spin-off? I'm not sure, but it was definitely interesting.
Level Select at the start of the game?
Magic Sword is a single player platformer where you take the role of a scantily clad, muscle bound blonde with a big sword and a shield. There are three buttons. Jump, swing sword, and hurt yourself. I'm sure the hurt myself button pulled off some sort of super move but I never saw it do anything except drain my own health so I stopped using it. The twist for the game is the ability to get an ally who follows you around jumping/attacking when you jump/attack. There seemed to be a large number of potential allies. I know I saw a ninja, a thief, a white mage, a black mage, an ogre, a dragon, a knight, and a girl.
He-Man and She-Ra?
On top of that, there's an item slot which holds one item at a time. What those items do was not clear to me, and I just picked everything up indiscriminately. When an item dropped it was never clear if it was going to be worth points, or restore health, or go into my inventory slot. Or hurt me? I know I lost health sometimes without knowing why. So I just took them all.

The gameplay reminded me a bit of ActRaiser. ActRaiser is my second highest rated game thus far, so that sounds like it should be high praise. But the platforming in ActRaiser was not great. It got such a high rating for the world building and the awesome integration between the two. The platforming here is playable, but with nothing special going on. Jump, attack. Jump, attack. Awkward dodge. Hardware slowdown. Attack.

After each level the game would give little tips about what was going on. So eventually I learned the diamond ring is used to recruit the dragon. The gold book is used to earn more points. The white mage can damage undead while the black mage cannot. Thieves detect trapped treasure chests. Those are the sorts of things I would have written down if I'd rented this game as a kid back in the pre-internet days. And probably would have been enough to let me figure out what was going on. That would add a lot of replayability to the game. I don't really want to keep playing it now, but I think I would have played it a lot back then.

The music is also very good. And also reminded me of ActRaiser. I think it's the organ base to the music maybe? It really fit in with the idea of climbing a tower and killing the undead. I like it.

Rating: A+

Saturday, September 28, 2013

#68: Kablooey

I didn't know what to expect when I saw the next game was called Kablooey. Platformer? Shooter maybe? I was not expecting a puzzle game, but that's what I got. One with very low definition graphics if the title screen is any indication!
Game Instructions!
The game opened with an instruction screen which is something more games could use. Unfortunately the instructions were in a box that can show 19 characters at a time. Less than 1/7th of a tweet! It slowly scrolled sideways and took about 10 minutes to finish off. I almost fell asleep during it. Perhaps even worse, it didn't tell me what the buttons did, or how to explode bombs. It told me what the different tiles would do and that was about it. So despite 10 minutes of instructions I still didn't know how to play!

Graphics didn't get any better...
It turned out I had 2 buttons which were each duplicated twice so it seemed like I had 4 buttons but it was all a lie. One of the buttons let me pick up a bomb but I couldn't figure out why that mattered. (It turned out there were little trenches you could drag bombs along on later levels, so it didn't matter on the first stage where I was trying to figure out the controls. Terrible game design, that.) The other button started a detonation timer... Hold it down for 3 seconds on a bomb to prime the bomb for an explosion. Then I had a brief window of time to run one square away before the bomb exploded.

Explosions would chain, and bigger bombs had bigger explosions. You could still only run away one space, so manually detonating a big bomb was suicide. So the goal was to figure out the order to explode the bombs and the chains you wanted to have happen. I like puzzle games, and these puzzles were fairly interesting.

Unfortunately the interface was terrible. You died if you walked off the cliff, or got exploded. You'll note the board is set up with diagonal movement while the SNES controller is up/down and left/right. So sometimes I'd just walk off the cliff for no reason. Movement was also painfully slow, and the whole 'hold the button down for 3 seconds and then run' mechanic didn't seem to serve any purpose at all. Push a button to tag a bomb to explode when you walk off would seem to be a better interface. That way I wouldn't accidentally kill myself by mistiming things, which did happen. It also took forever to reload after a mistake.

On the plus side, it had actual speech to introduce the levels. Just 'Player One, Get Ready' in a very robotic female voice, but still pretty good for an SNES game. Minus points for being player one get ready instead of ready player one, though.

So while I like the idea of the game, and could see playing it as a browser game or something, the SNES game was painful to play.

Rating: D-

Saturday, September 21, 2013

#67: Street Fighter II: The World Warrior

Warrior or Worrier?
I will admit to being very surprised when I went to load up this game. Apparently there are 11 different Street Fighter II roms that were in the download pack I found when I started this little adventure. I played a fair amount of SNES SFII way back in the day, but I think it was mostly on the Turbo edition.
Uh, Gief? I don't think that's appropriate touching.
I kicked things off with my favourite character, Zangief! The gigantic bear wrestling dude from Russia. I do recall that some versions of the game have a terrible Gief, and some versions have a truly terribly Gief. And one version had an absurd Gief where his spin made him fly and he'd wrap around the top of the screen back to the bottom. This version has a truly terrible Gief. He doesn't move at all when he spins and he has no other move. A bunch of throws, which are impossible to use on a smart opponent. The AI did not start smart, so I got to murder them with Gief. Then they stopped being bad and I couldn't win.
I beat a few people with Ken, and then got stuck on Mike Tyson Balrog. Eventually I decided to pull out the big guns and use the cheating fat man on him. Cheating fat man doesn't really get to cheat in this version (Honda is rooting when using his hundred hand punch) but just standing still with it up was good enough. Balrog had no way to attack me through it, and eventually got bored and threw himself into the hands. Over and over until I won.

Then Vega blew me up and I got bored and quit. Street Fighter is still a great game, regardless. Better against a human instead of just the AI, but still fun.

Rating: B+

Saturday, September 14, 2013

#66: Spanky's Quest

Wait... Spanky is a... monkey? Really?
I had never heard of this Spanky fellow or his epic quest before I started playing the game today. I still know nothing about his quest and next to nothing about Spanky himself. Any story exposition for this game must have taken place in the manual. There was a very confusing intro sequence that explained nothing and then I was thrust into a quasi-platformer, quasi-puzzle game. I take the role of Spanky the monkey and my only weapon is a little purple bubble. Hit the attack button, launch the bubble. Hit the attack button again and the bubble will burst, turning into a tiny baseball which kills any enemies it hits. Some enemies have keys. Collect the keys, get to the exit. Repeat.

Look at the silly monkey!
Eventually I figured out that I could bounce the bubble off my own head. Doing so made the bubble grow in size, change colour, and caused a different sporting ball to burst out when I detonated it. Green would spit out a stream of soccer balls. Yellow would be a single volleyball, but if that volleyball killed an enemy it would burst into a bunch of volleyballs killing everything in the area. Orange would burst into a shower of basketballs that rained down destruction on everything. I could keep bouncing the orange one until I got it into a good spot, and I could even aim the bounces by positioning where I was headering it from.

That is one crabby apple.
A cute concept, but it didn't actually play very well. Spanky is a very sluggish monkey to control. Levels where I could segregate myself from the enemies and set up a good bounce were fun. Levels where the enemies could charge at me were a pain, since I couldn't charge up a good ball. So I either needed to have fantastic aim with the baseball or I needed to make precision jumps to avoid the enemies. Spanky doesn't control well enough for precision jumps, and only has two lives. I made it to the boss of the first level once on three tries, and that was enough.

The game suffers from many of the same flaws as other SNES games. It only uses two buttons. It had mediocre sound and no story. It didn't control very smoothly. It had a couple menus at the start of the game that couldn't be navigated with the control pad. Only the select button would move the cursor. I understand it's called the select button but I shouldn't need to go through every stupid option on the option menu before I can get back to the main screen!

I think I could have had fun with this as a kid, though. Get gameovered a bunch, but figure out what levels have enemies that can reach me and get to a safe spot as soon as possible. There does seem to be a game here, and that's a plus!

Rating: C

Saturday, September 7, 2013

#65: Clue

I have always been a huge fan of logic puzzles as appeared in puzzle magazines, and I've always been a huge fan of board games. It should come as no surprise that I loved to play the Clue board game as a kid. Video game adaptations of board games, on the other hand, tend to be pretty flawed. Either the AI is terrible or the interface is terrible or both are terrible. But since Clue is really just a single player puzzle with other people racing against your clock it isn't actually so bad.

Shake-a, shake-a... Boom!
The game had difficulty levels to choose from, so I chose the hardest one. It ended up giving me a game that wasn't the same as the Clue board game. The normal action of interrogating to find out what cards other people held seemed to be limited, and I used all mine up right away. The rest of my turns, and all of the AI turns, consisted of entering a room and nominating a person and a weapon. Then the game would try to link those objects together in some way, or not. So it might tell you if Mr Green was in the Lounge, or if he had the candlestick, or if the candlestick was in the Lounge. Basically turning the whole thing into a really big logic puzzle.

The AI found out for me that Mrs Peacock was in the Conservatory, and I had that card, so I got to exclude her from my calculations. I had the Scarlet and White cards dealt to me, and someone showed me Plum during my limited interrogations. So I knew it was down to Green or Mustard and put all my efforts into figuring out which weapons they had. Green had the candlestick. Mustard had the revolver. Either could have been the weapon. I excluded both of them from a couple of the rooms I had, and then the AI found out that Green was in the Hall. I couldn't see how I was going to get better than 50-50 to win with my earlier wasted interrogations so I went for it as an accusation. Success! Suck on that, Mr Green! Colonel Mustard rules the day!

The game had some cute music clips that played for each room and each character, which I liked. The game's music bugged out halfway through when I alt-tabbed to notepad where I was making notes and it ended up with the looping choppy sound that kept me from playing Jack Nicklaus Golf. Pretty sure that's an emulator flaw. I considered finding a different emulator but decided I could play Clue without sound and just took my headphones off.

This game was one I remember renting multiple times as a kid. I loved Clue. I still do, really. The movie is awesome and I've even named a Blood Bowl team after the characters. The SNES adaptation was still fun even 21 years later.

Rating: B+