Saturday, July 26, 2014

#111: Captain Novolin

Suck it, giant evil donut!
I first learned about the existence of this game earlier this year while watching Awesome Games Done Quick. One might think that this game would therefore be awesome, but it was in the subsection they run called 'Awful Games Done Quick'. Ruh-roh!

Your SNES is not a licensed doctor.
This game was designed to teach kids about diabetes. Donuts and hot fudge sundaes are evil and will kill you if you touch them. Each level has good food pickups you can make, but if you pick up too many of them then you also die. Presumably if you pick up too few that would be bad too, but I had a hard time not picking up the pick-ups in a platformer. Gotta catch them all! You're routinely forced to check your blood sugar level, inject yourself with insulin, read factoids about diabetes, and answer quizzes about the factoids.
This game has jumped the sundae.
I remember hearing from people's donation comments during AGDQ that this game was actually reasonable for helping kids learn about their diabetes. That's fantastic for it. But it's an atrocious game! It's a platformer where you can't go backwards and there are no platforms. Move in a straight line avoiding or killing the big sugary things while hitting most of the small things.

The controls are also terrible. Your only attack option is to jump in the air then hit down to stomp. I didn't realize this the first time I tried and couldn't beat the first level. I went and found a control listing online and found out how to kill things and made it pretty far into a very short game. The game only uses one button, which sucks. I hate when games only use one button. (Jump, in this case.)

Maybe edutainment is a real thing worthy of praise, but I'm looking at if I'd have wanted to actually play this game now, or back when I was a kid, and the answer to both questions is no. But it probably did some good in the world, so it gets to escape an F rating.

Rating: D-

Saturday, July 19, 2014

#110: Best of the Best: Championship Karate

Who's the best?
'Best of the Best' on its own is a name that doesn't tell me anything about the game I'm about to play. But the byline about championship karate makes it all crystal clear. This will be a karate game, and presumably one where you fight one on one in a tournament of sorts in an attempt to show you're the absolute best of the best.
Go Canada Go!
That is, in fact, exactly what we have here. There's a bit of a metagame going on where you earn money and can do training to raise your stats. You can customize your character moves, though I found that screen confusing so I didn't play around with it. I do remember using it when I was a kid and I think it was a good addition.

Canada down. 8(
The game has a cool metagame, and it actually includes Canada as a country option which always makes me happy. But is the core game any good? It felt like a pretty decent fighter as far as an SNES fighter goes. It felt pretty smooth and I feel like the pace was slow enough that you could work in counters and such if you were good.

I am not good at fighters. If I practice a whole ton I can get decent at them, but right off the hop when I don't really know the buttons I have no chance. So I got blown out here. I didn't feel super frustrated though, which probably bodes well for this being a decent if slow paced fighter.

Rating: C

Saturday, July 12, 2014

#109: Bazooka Blitzkrieg

This name didn't ring any bells, and then I saw the intro screen. It had a crosshairs moving around over the sign that said BAZ_OKA and I got a sinking feeling. The crosshair felt like this was going to be a shooter... Probably a shooter with the Super Scope.

Indeed, that was exactly what was going on. Which means this is a game I cannot play. They didn't put in any mode to allow you to play the game without a Super Scope and my emulator doesn't seem to have any idea how to even pretend.

There isn't even much on the internet about this game. No one has anything to say about it, good or bad. I seem to recall the Super Scope was a bit awkward for the sort of quick movement that this game looks like it requires, so I'm probably not missing out on anything by being unable to play. Oh well.

Rating: Incomplete

Saturday, July 5, 2014

#108: Wings 2: Aces High

I'd never heard of Wings 1, and I'd never heard of Wings 2 either. I assumed it was going to be some kind of flying game, maybe a scrolling shooter like Legendary Wings on the NES? It turned out to be a World War I simulator where you play British pilots running various missions in biplanes.

Je suis un pilote. Je peux volez!
You end up playing in a variety of missions. You can fly a top-down view and do bombing runs, or you can do a third person behind the plane view and do strafing runs or dogfighting missions. The controls actually seemed pretty realistic for a WWI biplane, and I was enjoying myself despite not really knowing what I was doing a lot of the time. I only succeeded in one mission and got my 5 guys killed off otherwise. Once by cutting my engines and flying into the ground!

Level up!
On the plus side the one mission I did complete gave me some experience to spend on making my pilot better. I like leveling up and getting better! The game also had a series of passwords so you could play again and pick up where you left off, which is nice.

I really liked the sound and music in the game. It wasn't amazing, but it really fit in with the theme of the game. The graphics were perfectly functional and there wasn't the sort of lag I've come to expect from a bad SNES game.

All in all... A pretty good game, actually. I would have had fun playing this as a kid for sure.

Rating: B+