Sonic Adventure 2 is still a game I enjoy to this day. I know haters are gonna hate. BUT just listening to the music of each stage gets me pumped to play it. With the release of the XBLA and PSN version I decided to try it out again. I don't do much these days so I decided to look back at something I had not done in a long time. Well actually two things: write about games I play and complete (100%) a game.
As I write this I only need 1 emblem in the game. There are 180 in total in the game. Once you obtain all these emblems you complete the game and unlock a special bonus stage.
Why did I do all this? Why is this game so important to me that I must complete it while there are so many great new games to play? The only answer that comes to me is nostalgia. I didn't grow up with the Dreamcast but it just made such an impact in it's short life.
I never owned a Nintendo 64 or a Playstation. So the Dreamcast was my first true 3D gaming console. It seems that even though I had seen those other consoles it just isn't the same when you own a system. Had I owned one maybe things would be different.
Back to Sonic Adventure 2. This game just fixed a lot of things wrong with Sonic Adventure and brought a lot of mechanics that are still in Sonic games today. The combo system that was implemented to reward you for killing enemies in a row is genious. Grinding feels great. Overall its a more focused and polished experience. Sure the camera can get annoying a lot of times but not always.
What I'm trying get across with this is that if you 100% a game, I guess you REALLY like it. Some games are better left to just our memories. You end up playing them again for like 10 minutes and say "What was I thinking!?!". After 40 hours of Sonic Adventure 2 I can honestly say: "Worth it".
It's been a while since I've had anything to write about, now with the quest system and spare time I have all I need to blog away. I want to write about something I have been doing for the past 2 months and a half. I moved to Los Angeles and am attending the Los Angeles Film School in Hollywood. Now I like movies but that's not what I signed up for. They have a Game Production program and I am in the third month. The course is only 14 months but it covers a wide variety of subjects that are all important for any person wanting to join the game industry. So far I strongly recommend it to anyone that lives in the area or anyone who has a strong pasion for games. I don't work for them or anything and this isn't ment to be some kind of publicity type crap. I just wanna share this really cool experience.
The first class we took was Global Game Studies. In this class we study games in a historical and cultural importance. It's kinda a history class but you actualy get to experience the games so you realize their importance. Here are some games I first played with this class: Spacewar!, Myst and Castle Wolfenstein. I had never played these games before but wow, their importance in history blows my mind. This class was just awesome and the instructor was also a real great guy, Martin Hagvall.
The second class was Analog Game Theory. Here we take a look at board games and reflect on their importance in game design. The final project was a real challenge. In a team of three, we created 2 board games. Our first game was called Stars of Olympus. The objective was to build constellations with a certain amount of resources. The other game was Doone 3000. Clearly a spoof of this game. The game was all about dexterity. You move your harvesters with "spize" cubes and make sure it doesn't fall off. This class was Mr. Hagvall's specialty, since he actually is a board game designer. At the end of the class we also had a game fair and showed a bunch of people our games. It feels real cool to show people your work even if they are gonna grade you on it.
At the same time as Analog Game Theory we also took another class that I really liked. This was Business of Games. It's pretty much what it sounds like. We take a look at how the games industry works. Giantbomb has been very useful and reading game sites like this one really give you an idea. However, the ones that publishers and other people in the games biz are looking at are Kotaku and Gamasutra. The discussion was my favorite part of this class. The class was given by Robert Bryant. He worked at Mattel and Crave but now publishes games in this own company I think.
Now this month we get into some more technical stuff. Game Art 1 is a class that so far has also been awesome. We learn the way developers work with textures. It turns out Photoshop is widely popular among game artists. We learned some vector art and we made a main character, level and even a boss battle. The instructor is really talented and shows us really cool tricks that game designers use to create certain illusions in games. He worked for Pandemic but wasn't there when it went under.
On monday we get to make some weapons so that will be cool.
Well that's all for now, check out the LA Film website to see all the course info if you decide game production is for you!
I wanted to celebrate this milestone in my gaming life with a special game. First it was gonna be with the expantion to Phantasy Star Universe since I already got all 1000 points of the singleplayer. But my girlfriend got me 50 cent: Blood on the sand and my plans changed. It was hard to choose what game would get that honor, I love both games. Jeff's review of the game so far is spot on, it's a very fun game and very funny as well. But I've been a big fan of the Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Universe games so that was my first option. So for those of you who reached 10k or more gamerscore: Did you celebrate with a certain game? Or did you just go meh?
It's firmly established that Sonic has seen better days. We all know that and get that since well, some say he started slipping ever since he went 3D. I think that's n ot the case since the two Dreamcast games were really good and I should just stop repeating myself. I really didn't wanna try this game out but I had a free rental at Blockbuster and said: "well, I'm sure as hell wont pay to play this so why not".
Let's start with the presentation of the game. Sonic once again gets sucked into a storybook by one of the citizens that reside in a world filled with an evil that must be stopped. In this case the summoner is a young wizard named Merlina and the evil is the Black Knight. Again they take Sonic characters and put them in different roles like Tails is a blacksmith and Shadow is Lancelot for example. The story is once again pointless and really didn't keep me interested enough to play the whole thing. Thats really disapointing and sad since: 1) I'm a big Sonic fan and 2) The game takes like 3 hours to finish. I didn't finish the game, my brother did so I took a look at the videos and well they are as always very nice to look at.
The music is great, Crush 40 does most of it and that is a welcome change since well, they rock. The whole setting seems a little less dumb than the arabian nights I think but still, none of the characters look interesting except Merlina the wizard. She looks nice but really, Knuckles, Blaze and Shadow with armor? That just doesn't fit no matter how you look at it. The Black Knight looks very generic. Whats worse, he looks bigger than his ride (horse). Overall the presentation just got a little better.
Now the gameplay. Oh God does this game suck. It's just like Sonic and the Secret Rings only that the game uses the nunchuk so you can move Sonic more accurately so thats way better. There is one other big change in the gameplay and it totally eclipses what they got right with the nunchuk. It's the sword. You waggle the Wiimote to attack and make combo attacks. Why this is a problem is not that it's just button mashing, it's that this attack doesn't follow the enemies like the homing attack does. You can use the homing attack but it does harm the enemies! What the hell? What was wrong with the homing attack? Even in Sonic and the Secret Rings that was alright. Like I said, I have no problem with button mashing as long as it gets the job done, like in Gauntlet Legends. The missions are also really dull and boring as heck. Why did they not just make levels? Instead it's just like the other game: open up a new level, get new mission, beat mission, get more missions, beat those and get a new level. You end up playing the same damn level over and over again but with different missions. And its not like this is optional, no, you pretty much gotta play them all to get to the next level. The ones that really got me to stop playing this are the beat 50 or more enemies. Without the homing attack and the speed that Sonic runs in, it's freakin impossible to know if you beat all the badguys in a group.
Ok I gotta end this. Well, in conclusion: I WANT MY FREE RENTAL BACK. Really, like I said it's a slight imporvement over the first game on the Wii, but at this rate it would take them at least 5 games to get it right. That's like taking baby steps in a marathon. But I still hope, someday they do get it right. Heres to Sonic '20.
Video games and movies are a big part of my life. Movies stir the emotions in so many ways. You can feel romance, nostalgia or you just be flat out going huh? Those are the things that review what I saw this week in terms of movies. Three great movies that I think are worth checking out and you probably already have at some point. Past the point of no return...
First goes the movie that just grabbed me by the nuts and then let go of them real fast. Ok that was weird, in normal, that means it was a rush through the whole thing but just ended kinda abruptly. Risky Business is a movie that stars Tom Cruise in his quest to say "what the fuck" more often. The main guy here is a highschool student called Joel (Tom Cruise) who doesn't really take many chances in life. But all that changes when his parents go away in the longest weekend I have ever seen. Without saying more about the plot, the reason why this movie I think is so good, is that it's one of those movies that has the main character get in some real deap trouble. You just think, man, this guy is not gonna get outta this one and that makes for some real tense moments. I got this one in a Tom Cruise triple pack that came with Interview with a Vampire and The Last Samurai. Those movies are so good also I love them. But Risky Business was the only one that I had not seen yet so I said: "what the fuck". So when I got to the part when he lip syncs to the song Old Time Rock n Roll I was like: "Oh thats where this is from". I really had no idea, I had seen all the parodies and just thought it was funny. This movie is just so cool really, it just never stops with the weird moments and it's just crazy. I guess I give it 5/5.
Phantom of the Opera
Once again, another popular thing I was totaly unaware of. I mean yeah I know what the Phantom of the Opera is and all but, had I ever seen the musical? No. What about the other billion movie adaptations? Well...no. I gotta thank my sister for this one. We both love musical movies and musicals in general. So one day shes like: "Check this out, it's here, the phantom of the opera". All I can say is wow, this one is a real masterpiece. I had been missing something real special. The music is just AAA, creme de la creme man. The whole soundtrack is just one glorious song after another. The only bad thing I can think about the movie is the pace sometimes, it's kinda slow and has some moments that I think we could have done without. I had the chance to buy this one after I had rented it but thank god I didn't because I saw it later on Blu-Ray, lucky me. So of course I saw it again. Mmmm...genious. Another one for the ages. The funny thing is that it's directed by Joel Schumacher. No bat nipples here thank god. 5/5 baby.
Last one. I had not seen this movie in years. My dad gave me this movie on a homemade VHS and I would watch it all the freakin time. So I kinda went through a "Pinocchio-ain't-as-good-as-all-the-newer-disney-movies-after-little-mermaid" phase. Maybe I was right but you know, this movie just took me way back. To the days when I had my good ol NES. When we used to tape all our favorite shows and movies on a 6 hour long VHS. That really warmed my heart. Aside from all that, something I thought was interesting is how the fairy in the movie sends a note to Pinocchio. The thing is that she sends it using a dove. A heavenly bright looking one. So wouldn't this clash with the whole theory of some christian pastors that claim Disney is the devil? I'm christian so I notice these things right away. Anyway forget all that other stuff, because the movie is great. There isn't that much I can say about this one. We all know it freakin rules, the music, the story, and just about everything. Also the movie tends to get kinda dark sometimes. The tone just does to freakin hell when the kids are all turned into donkeys. It's like a soft version of a bunch of brats getting sent to hell. Still it all for the sake of teaching kids right from wrong, and it does this really well. When Pinocchio is all getting wasted at the amusement park, you can see that he is in no way, having fun. I don't get though why the heck would they put this PSA kinda thing before the movie starts about smoking and what it does to you. Isn't getting turned into a damned jackass enough to get you to stay away from that stuff? It sure did work for me. 6/5.
Now this game might come as a surprise to people. First, this game got really good reviews, like 8's and 9's as far as I saw. But I still think this game is really bad and for really dumb reasons. The game is an action JRPG, just the way I like em. The story revolves around a guy who gets exiled from his clan. While he's on a break a rival clan wipes them out, leaving him and this other girl alive (how convinient). The story is not bad by any means, it's JRPG and ninja stuff, and that's cool im down with that. Even the gameplay is really good. You get a list of moves from different styles; you put them in slots that are your combo movies. So you can mix and match to make some pretty cool looking moves. Where the game totaly falls apart is in the interface. I wasted so many healing items by accident due to the damn way this game works. You map an item to one of the face buttons but the game doesn't have anything to remind you that you have that item there. Then theres the map, it's a complete waste of time. It looks really good artisticly, but if you wanna get somewhere good luck because the roads aren't in it. I don't play my portable games at home, so when I went on trips I would play this game. But after a month or so of not playing the game, I had no idea what I had to do next. The game wouldn't tell me what the hell I was supposed to do next or how to get there. Due to all these problems I could never finish this game and I don't intend to.
#5: Tao's Adventure: Curse of the Demon Seal (DS)
Now we're really getting to the good stuff. Once again I got suckered into getting any game during the times when there are no good games out. Tao's Adventure: COTDS (Nice sub-title by the way) is an RPG where you fight monsters in a tower using magic and regular attacks in a turn based fashion. The thing about this game is that you draw the symbol of the magic you wanna use. That system sounds good but it just sucks. I would only remember like 2 symbols and never use the rest (Heal and Fire). The story is just about a kid (Tao) that has to get this monster egg from the tower in the middle of town to save his tribe who has been turned to stone. Something to point out of this game is that all of it takes place in the tower and you just go up floors full of monsters to kill. The graphics are ok and the monsters look pretty bland. But the UI is so messed up, it's really hard to buy stuff to upgrade your character because you can't tell if its better or not. The worst thing is that I didn't get this game on purpose, I was looking for some other game that looks a lot like it. I read this game is a kinda sequel to Azure Dreams on the PS1, might check that out. Oh wait....
#4: Sonic the Hedgehog (XBOX 360)
By now it's very clear that I'm a big Sega fan and a Sonic fan as well. This game looked really good on all the previews I saw and trailers. This was gonna be Sonic's big comeback from Sonic Heroes and Shadow the hedgehog. But as many of the dudes that made Sonic Team the powerhouse I guess it still is or was started leaving to make their own studios, this game just didn't make it past alpha. All the pieces where there to make this Sonic Adventure 3: Good graphics? Check. Good music? Check. Sonic running really fast? Check. Sonic the hedgehog is a very broken game, that's the biggest problem with it. It's got bugs all the way up the ass. You can sometimes go through walls, bump into invisible objects, slowdown and in one boss fight you can even get sent into space! This game has it all! To make things worse, you can control super broken versions of almost all of the Sonic heroes cast. Knuckles and Rouge are the worst BY FAR. I'll just tell you this: once you get on a wall, good luck getting that bastard off of it. I wont keep going because we all know this game blows. Robotnik looks cool though. Silver is also a cool new character.
#3: Haven: Call of the King (PS2)
Just thinking about this game gets me so mad. Even though I got it for like dirt cheap, almost free. Another thing im a sucker for are platformers. I love them. So when I saw this at for like a dollar I go: "Well how bad can it be?". OH boy REAL BAD that's how bad. The game is a broken, bad, sucktown, hand-me-down version of Jak & Daxter. The only thing that made me get to the end was the story. I gotta admit it was not bad. You play as Haven who hears the "Golden voice" of the lost king of the land. This makes the bad guy, Lord Vetch, keep an eye on Haven because he doesn't want the fair king back. So you go around getting items like all good platformers to keep the story going. There isn't much to say other than the game just feels unfinished and very frustrating at times. The combat just sucks, you get a yoyo for a weapon and you can find upgrades to your bracelet that let you shoot your enemies in like 4 different ways. Now on to the main even. The game ends in a cliffhanger that makes Halo 2 look like graduation day. You fight Lord Vetch and he freakin BEATS you. But don't worry, you find the king! Oh but he's chained to a rock in the middle of space, and Lord Vetch chains you up right next to him. The end. Really that's the end. Have no fear though! It's only the first game of a trilogy. Thank god. Wait, what's that on the box? Midway? Ah crap. Haven couldn't sell enough to even get a sequel. I couldn't find this secret ending if you get all the cogs or gears whatever, I couldn't take anymore of this game to care. But if anyone know what it is, let me know.
#2: Sonic & the Secret Rings (Wii)
Worst Sonic game ever made.
#1: Spikeout: Battlestreet (XBOX)
Spikeout sold itself to me with this one thought in my mind: A four player beat-em-up with online. How could you go wrong with that? Well let this game tell you how. First of all, you only get 1 stinking life for the whole game!! WHAT THE HELL? There are like ten chapters and you can save at the end of each one. But with only one life the game is impossible. It's crazy you have to put all the time in the world to become a master at not getting hit so that one life can be enough. It shames me to say that the game can tell you suck and asks you if you wanna tone it down to easy. So I did. The result is the same thing! I can't get past the second chapter. I can even act out the first like 15 seconds of that chapters cutscene, because that's the time it takes for it to load the game. The story and characters are all just wack. They are so bland and full of sucktown. I can't think of anything good about this game. That's why I think it's the worst game I have in my collection.
I'm almost out from work so thats why I cut this thing short. So I did the worst, so I guess I'll do the best. That list I think is harder to do.
Here I go again, the next 2 games that I should have stayed the hell away from.
#8: Goldeneye: Rouge Agent (DS)
Back when the DS first came out there wasn't a whole lot of games to get. This is what happens when you have little to choose from. I got this game thinking: "It's a FPS with touch screen controls". Yes this game is that but where this game falls apart is in the hit detection. Sometimes I swear I shoot some guy and the bullet just goes through him or the whole thing is just too clunky. The graphics are also terrible, the game probably looks worse than Goldeneye on the N64 and that sucks since Mario 64 DS looked slightly better than the N64 version. This problem is a real bitch when you have to snipe dudes that just blend in with the rest of the enviroment since they all look blocky and pixelated. The controls are ok I guess, the idea can and has worked (Metroid Prime: Hunters) of having a FPS control with the touch screen. Something really weird about this game is that it has loading. What the heck? Isn't it supposed to be a cart? It doesn't take a lot but really, why in the world would this game need that? The game has multiplayer in case you want to subject someone else to this terrible game.
#7 Headhunter: Redemption (XBOX)
More like headhunter: deception. A sequel to the Headhunter game on the Dreamcast and PS2, I was so excited before this game came out. The game puts you in the role of either headhunter Jack Wade or his new super dumb as hell parter: Leeza X. Oh and did I mention her name is dumb? And that she is in fact, dumb? Let's start with her. She is probably the main problem with the game. All her dialog consists of complaining and just trying to be all hip. BUT SHE'S NOT. Leeza X just barely tries to be this badass girl from Da Hood. The other thing is that the missions are just terrible, they are so boring. Just kill a bunch of dudes and to some random ass puzzles. One good thing I can think of this game is this one boss that has a movie studio. He's played really over the top silly but is also very sadistic. There is also some character development, Jack got married to the girl he had the hots for in the first game and has a kid. After a tragic accident the kid dies and the lady blames it all on Jack. So they get divorced and the game starts. The story in general picks up right after the whole bloody mary incident and from there on, it's pretty good. But the pace of the game is really slow. The game as I said before lets you play as both characters depending on what part of the story you're at. You don't get to choose. Thats a real bummer since Jack has way better weapons and accuracy. But that would make it a better game more like the first one, and that's been a big no no for Sega in a while.
Next time will be a double wammy of portable games that just suck the big one.
I don't have that many games in my collection but man I've made a few mistakes. I tend to take a visit to the bargain bin to see if I can find some gems here and there. But it's just like digging in the dumpster, you find a lot of junk. I'll try to make this in some kind of order but the only one in this top 10 that has any kind of rank is #1. Here we go.
#10: Shadow the Hedgehog (XBOX)
After Sonic Heroes it was clear that Shadow was here to stay (sadly). I'm a big Sonic fan and man this game we all knew was gonna be full of suck. Shadow as a character in Sonic Adventure 2 was great, he had an ok story and it ended well with him dead at the end and saving the world after he became friends with the good guys. The part where things went bad is that he somehow got popular with the kids and so Sega I guess thought: "Shadow = Money! Let's do this!". So as a result of all this we got this crappy game. The controls are exactly like Shadow in Sonic Heroes, and he has guns as you can see on the box. Why the hell would you need guns in a Sonic game and playing as a copy of Sonic? Aren't they supposed to be faster than that? This game has all the bad things you can think of in 3D Sonic games, bad camera, bad dialog, bad story and bad in-game videos. The only good thing here is the music, theres even a track done by Powerman 5000. Another good thing I guess are the CG videos, they look really good. Oh man and the different endings are soooo dumb, you get to go bad or good in every mission and that leads to a LOT of useless endings since theres a final one that ends up being the real one. The game also had the stupid promise of telling the whole story to Shadow and his origins. That ends up being completely useless since they did that already in SA2. Oh god just don't play this game, maybe if you wanna laugh at it and see of for 5 bucks or less.
#9: Biker Mice From Mars (PS2)
Dear god I loved the cartoon as a kid so when I saw this game I totaly got it. But as I played this game I noticed that the story was all changed, the bad guys where these cats and gone were the other cool ones from the show. Sadly it turns out this game is based on a remake of the show that I can no idea existed. The game is barely playable and the cutscenes my god are so funny and not in a good way. It's something I can't really explain and everyone must see. The other game of the cartoon on the SNES was pretty good, an isometric racer with cool upgrades and weapons. This game has a similar upgrade system but just feels very bland and it's just really boring. This game is really a surprise, it's not even listed here on GB. The graphics are also super bad, everything is blocky. A clear example of a quick buck being made of a once good cartoon.
I'm getting lazzy and gotta go. I'll finish this up later.
This song is so great in the movie, probably my favorite. It's really up there with the best I think. BUT this remake just makes it no justice at all. It's barely got any music in it at all. It's god awful. Don't like it. It's gone from my ipod. 0/5
Jack and Sally Montage - Vitamin String Quartet
Don't remember if this is in the soundtrack but all the different tunes used in this montage are from the movie. It's really good musicaly but a little too long. 4/5
Jack's Obsession - Sparklehorse
This one is really awesome in the movie, it's just so cool. It's like a rollar coaster. This version is terrible, it's got the lyrics but damn, what the hell is up with the music? The poor thing sounds like a lulaby. Be careful with this one while driving. The voice is like an annoying wisper. I don't like it. 1/5
Kidnap The Sandy Claws - Korn
Now I know I had said that I don't think this movie goes along with a hardcore approach. But this song is just so good and sounds so much like the original. Another thing is that it's Oogie Boogie's henchmen singing so they needed something like this to really capture the fact that these kids mean business. 5/5
Making Christmas - Rise Against
Once again I think I'm gonna contradict myself. But screw it. I love this one, it's a punk rock approach to this song. The fast paced feeling of this really gives you the picture of what was going on in halloween town: They were beating the crap out of christmas. Very chaotic and good music. 5/5
Nabbed - Yoshida Brothers
Sounds more like a kidnap the sandy claws remix. Has that japanese wind instrument that is every samurai show. Very relaxing without putting you to sleep. It's ok not bad. 3/5
Oogie Boogie's Song - Rodrigo y Gabriela
Acoustic guitars gallore. Sadly missing the words so thats a big negative. Still is very well made and fast paced. 3/5
Sally's Song - Amy Lee
The first soundtrack had a remake of this song and was a very simple upgrade to the original. This one takes things further and gives it more music while keeping the depressing nature of this song. A litte short but thats because I just love it. 5/5
Christmas Eve Montage - RJD2
This one is ok. It's Jet Set Radio meets TNBC. But from the middle to the end it kinda bores me I don't know why. 2/5
Poor Jack - Plain White T's
Now this one sounds almost just like the original. I guess thats the only downside to this one. I rather just listen to the original in that case. 3/5
To The Rescue - Datarock
Freezepop meets TNBC. I really like this one. You can barely get to hear this one in the movie but it is one of the best. 5/5
Final/Reprise - Shiny Toy Guns
It's ok. Don't got much to say about this one. Starts kinda annoying and then it's a robot singing a love song. 3/5
Closing - Danny Elfman
Just in case you want to know what happens after the movie. Sandy Claws tells you all about it. 3/5
End Title - The Album Leaf
Another montage of the tunes of the movie but with updated music. It's cool. 4/5
So that's it, forgive the simplicity of my posts but I do this just for the heck of it. This album is a must for fans of the movie and it's not that much money for it. Just some songs are not if my liking but who knows, you might and thats cool. Start the Conversation
One of my all-time favorite movies is Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. Back when if first came out I was a kid and I really couldn't appreciate much of what this movie had to offer. Now that I take a look back at this movie one of the best things about it is the music. Deffinetly some of Danny Elfman's best work. I recently came across a new version of the soundtrack called "Nightmare Revisited". It comes with most of the tracks from the official soundtrack but all remade into all kinds of music. Here are the tracks and what I think about them.
Overture - DeVotchKa
Really good, has good rythim and captures the feeling of the movie 5/5
Opening - Danny Elfman
If you have the soundtrack it's the same. It's the narration given by Danny Elfman in the beggining of the movie only longer and with more detail. It's meh. 2/5
This is Halloween - Marilyn Manson
WTF. This one is just weird, and thats saying much given the parties involved in the making of this. I don't know, I really don't think this hardcore rock goes well with TNBC. It's a musical about halloween, not emo town. The song isn't even that bad it's just that I don't like the interpretation given my many that think Jack Skelington is a badass. Once again, this one is in the soundtrack so why bother having it again. 2/5
Jack's Lament - The All-American Rejects
This one is ok. It's an upgrade in terms of music and all, and it sounds just like the original. The only thing I don't like is the voice, it's so skweely. The song is suposed to be a complain and all so you add that and it sounds like emo town again. 3/5
Doctor Finkelstein/In the Forest
Not bad. Once again a welcome upgrade. But the track wasn't that memorable to begin with. 3/5
What's This? - Flyleaf
This one is really nice. Fall Out Boy did a good job in making the other remake but this one is very different. It's slow but it just sounds great. You just can't go wrong with this song I guess. 5/5