RecSpec Roulette: July 16, 2012

 
 aka Note to Self: Play More Games!
 
The Steam sale is rolling along, and I’ve made a discovery. I like buying PC games more than playing them. I’ve bought about 6-7 games so far, and haven’t touched any of them. I had family in town for the weekend, so it would be considered rude to play games while they were here. But that’s not the reason. I bought the games I did merely to have them, not necessarily to play them. So there will be no Steam games in this roulette, just rhythm games. Note to self, play more games.

Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure


Sega’s next rhythm game is a pretty good idea in concept. If you replace the puzzles in Professor Layton with rhythm minigames, and set it in France, you would have something very close to Rhythm Thief, which I keep calling Rhythm Heaven for some reason.

The story is something strange, Napoleon has risen from the dead to find a legendary treasure. He was resurrected by a mysterious stranger who has a tie to the main character Raphael who is also the master thief Phantom R. This becomes a race between Phantom R and Napoleon to find the legendary treasure. I can’t remember the name of it. To be quite honest, I can’t remember much about this game. Nothing really stands out, characters are introduced and pushed aside quite a bit. You have a dog that helps you out, a cheesehound named Fondue. I remember that!

You’ll go around Paris tapping the screen looking for coins and phantom notes. And you can record various sounds to advance throughout the game. When you’re trying to escape the police, you need to play a sound of a bulldog growling to scare a patrolman off his guard duty. A lot of it is quite easy to figure out, and the path you need to take is ALWAYS highlighted. The game is pretty focused on moving you from minigame to minigame.

The minigames try to use the 3DS in every way possible. You’ll use the touchscreen, buttons, even the gyro controls sometimes. There have been a lot of variety in the games, unfortunately out of the 20 or so I’ve played, three have been repeats. And I don’t just mean the controls are the same, it’s literally the same thing, just with a twist. The songs are even pretty alike. I know repeating is inevitable, but the tenth minigame was a rehash of an earlier one. At least space it out a bit, or maybe change the controls. Yes, I’m going to have to fight henchmen over and over, do I have to do the same minigame each time though?

The voice acting isn’t bad, and a lot of the music is actually pretty good. It’s decent all the way around, but it doesn’t really excel anywhere. Then again, it came out a week after probably the best rhythm game for the system.

Theatrhythm 

 
This game is nightmarish. I keep picking it up and playing it. It has already topped my 3DS activity log, dethroning Puyo 20th. Still grinding away at the Chaos Shrine, trying to unlock all of the characters. I haven’t even tried replaying the songs in Challenge mode yet. Kind of a nightmarish thought. I will probably spend 10+ hours unlocking the characters, and I haven’t even scratched the surface of the game yet! 

Once I unlock everyone, I’ll be done with the Chaos Shrine for awhile, abilities won’t matter much anymore, and I can just play songs for fun. Trying to beat high scores and all of that fun stuff I used to do with Ouendan. I said pretty much everything I wanted to last week, but I have to say this again. If you like rhythm games, this is the one to pick up. Hasn't been one this fully featured in quite some time..  

Future Bets 

Completion percentage of last weeks list is at 0% because I’m awesome! I couldn’t even unlock Seifer in the 20+ hours I put in Theatrhythm. Also, I didn’t beat Binding of Isaac, I bought it for my sister though, and SHE beat it! I’m considering dropping out of the games thing to start collecting Pokemon cards again, I was actually good at those. This games thing? Not so much.

Going back to paragraph format. My goal is to make it through the rest of the sale without spending any more money. I added $50 on Saturday, and it’s already down to $30. Nothing today intrigued me though, so fingers crossed! I might write a list later this week when the sale ends, so I can laugh at how foolish I was.

That’s all for this week. For more of my nonsense follow me on twitter or check out Really Bad Future, I’ve been designing a playing card game for me and my siblings, and it’s based on Triple Triad, because that is the BEST card game out there. Well, it’s the one that requires the least explanation. Thanks for reading, see you next week!
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RecSpec Roulette: July 9, 2012

        

 Today... we fight...with rhythm...for Chaos?
  This was a bizarre weekend. I had all of Sunday afternoon/night to play a bunch of games I recently bought, but I barely played anything. This was because I was too busy watching the Evo Finals on the live stream. It started with someone mentioning Yipes on Twitter so I tuned in and saw his great Spencer play, after that I was hooked. Watched about 3 hours on Saturday night. Sunday, I got home from work at 4:30pm and ended up watching until the end, about TEN hours later. Fighting games are awesome. I love playing them even though I suck at them. Watching the best players in the world in Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs Capcom, Virtua Fighter, and Street Fighter was awesome, but the most surprising part of the day was the King of Fighters finals. That is my one blind spot as far as fighting games go, but after watching, I am definitely interested. I seriously considered picking it up. IIf you aren’t a fan of fighting games, you’re in luck! I didn’t play any this week. Instead I played a lot of Theatrhythym, and a bit of Spelunky and McPixel. Guess which one I’m addicted to.

Theatrhythm


I spent about 20 hours playing this game, and I have no idea where to begin. This game is a rhythm game along the lines of Ouendan and Elite Beat Agents, only it has Final Fantasy music. You tap or swipe the screen to the rhythm, and there are a ton of songs from the main series. There are three main modes. Field has your characters crossing the map, Battle has you fighting enemies and bosses, and Event has you tapping along to a (usually hilarious) montage of events from a Final Fantasy game. I forgot how bad Squall was at dancing and driving.

You have a party, like in Final Fantasy games, and each character has their strengths and weaknesses, Cloud has high strength, Tidus has high Agility, Terra has high magic, and so on. They can learn passive and active abilities to help you out on the three stages. Enemies drop items that you can equip. All pretty basic RPG stuff, but it doesn’t seem to help too much at first. Your goal is to get a high score in each song, so what difference does it make if Cloud has higher HP?
 Each Field stage is based on the Final Fantasy game it's from with a lot of attention to detail.

Enter the Chaos Shrine. It has Dark Notes which are a combination of a Field and a Battle Stage with three bosses. This is the best part of the game for me because all the RPG stuff is not only useful, but necessary to conquer this mode. In the Field stage, if you travel far enough you can fight stronger bosses, so characters with a high agility are a must. Once you get to the battle stage, you fight enemies to get to the Boss, so high strength and magic are helpful here. If you kill enemies fast enough you get to the third boss, which drops crystal shards that unlock characters. It requires a balance between agility and strength, and has been very addictive because for every note you beat you get another one, and the songs are random. There are even songs that aren’t in the series modes, I have been pleasantly surprised by some of the songs I came across, specifically Judgement Day and Something to Protect.

My main party is Tidus, Zidane, Squall, and Cloud because those are the only games I have beat. This game is as good as Dissidia in being a basket of fan service. Even if you hate the Final Fantasy series, I would still recommend this if you like rhythm games. RPG elements aside, the rhythm gameplay is solid, and there are different difficulty levels for each song, and the types of stages keep things from becoming stale too fast. If you ever liked Final Fantasy though, don’t be surprised if you get completely pulled in by this one. One of my favorite games of the year so far.

McPixel


Played the demo about a month or so ago and loved it. The full game came out about a week or two ago and it’s just as insane. It’s a bunch of point and click stages where you have a short amount of time to defuse a hidden bomb. You have one shot usually, and if you pick wrong you blow up, and it goes to the next stage.
 I love the stage based on the poem The Waste Land by T.S Eliot

Stages are grouped together so you keep cycling through them until you clear all of them. The art is pixelly and crude, but it’s charming. And it’s always fun to see exactly what you can do in each stage. My favorite gag so far is when you drink a bucket of coffee and become the Great Cornholio. Yes, there are references galore. Many of the stages are based off of movies from Titanic to Terminator. The craziest things in the game (so far) are the bonus stages, each one is great, and they leave you with a genuine “what the fuck was that?” feeling. McPixel is only ten bucks, but you can play a demo for free to see the insanity for yourself.

Spelunky


I was looking forward to this game because I really enjoyed The Binding of Isaac. I love the way that you can lose everything in an instant, and the stress/excitement that comes from it.. I have had a harder time getting into Spelunky though. There seems to be a lot more to learn than what initially meets the eye, like sometimes there are enemies in jars! I’m sure once I dig through the game some more (no pun intended), I’ll get hooked, but it’s been a rough start.
Playing with friends may lead to you losing those same friends.
 
I do enjoy the random stuff though. Like throwing a girl into spikes because I didn’t want to get hit by a spider, whoops! What I love about these kinds of games are the stories from certain playthroughs, even if they all end with disaster. Spelunky will probably be one of those games where I’ll play it here and there for a long time. I can’t play this for more than a half hour at a time though, too heartbreaking to have a good run go bad.
 
 
 
 

To-Do List

My old future bets section is now a list of stuff I really need to get done, because I can’t focus on anything. This way I don’t have to write “God I hope I can beat The Binding of Issac” every single week. Or if I do, it’s documented so maybe I’ll be motivated enough to do these things.

Beat Binding of Isaac- I don’t want to beat everything. I just want to get through Depths 2. Every time I type this, I keep feeling like it’ll never happen.
Beat Lewis Legend on Very Hard- The main reason I started my Very Hard playthrough on Lollipop Chainsaw, easily the best boss in the game
Unlock Seifer- As much Theatrhythm as I’ll play, should be easy.
Beat Rhythm Thief- Already on the way and should be here tomorrow. I need to cruise through this because if I’m trying to balance my time before two rhythm games again I might actually turn into a metronome.
Play Wizorb- Bought this for $1.50. Gotta play it before it disappears into the depths of my Steam Library.
Play Walking Dead- Bought this on a whim too, I hear a lot of good things about it.
Play Persona 3- How the hell did this happen? I thought I was done with RPGs, but nope, ended up buying this because it was on sale on PSN. I want to eventually beat this and P4, god help me.

That’s all for today, now it’s time for me to keep humming Final Fantasy songs. For more of my nonsense follow me on twitter, or refollow me if you happened to unfollow me because of my twitter yelling during Evo. I’m REALLY sorry about that, I just thought that Infrit had it, he really did! Thanks for reading, see you next week. 
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RecSpec Roulette: July 2, 2012

 
June went by pretty fast, the last week especially. A slow week for gaming because of work and the Derby City Comic Con here in Louisville. The DCCC was the first convention I ever attended, and it was ridiculously fun, even though I’m not much of a comic book fan. My favorite comic series is Sonic the Hedgehog for crying out loud (apologies to any comic fans). I came away from the convention feeling more motivated to write than I have in awhile. That will be covered more in depth on Really Bad Future. For now, onto video games. One this week is a repeat from last week, want to guess which one it is?

Lollipop Chainsaw

Looking at last week’s Roulette, I was pretty down on Lollipop Chainsaw. But less than a couple hours after I wrote about it, I couldn’t help but want to play more of it. I spent time grinding for medals to buy stat boosting items to take on the hard difficulty. I was told that the bosses are a ton of fun on hard, so why not?

I made a slight mistake, I had a rough time getting through the first level, had about four continues, and that was before I died to the boss ten times. I finally learned the patterns and used them to kill the boss. Then I quit to the menu, and to my surprise, I was playing on Very Hard. This is a big deal for me. I’m not the type of person that will replay a game on a higher difficulty, so this was already out of my range. I decided to go with it, and now I’m cruising through the game on Very Hard. The gameplay is still bogus. I’m spamming her R. Mika style flying ass attack to decapitate zombies, any other way is just a chore. The minigames suck even more on hard. So why am I doing this?

The bosses are much better so far, they take some skill to beat now. There are new attacks and they are a lot more aggressive. I said last week that the boss battles are the best part of the game, and hard mode (or very hard mode) makes them even better. I think I’m going to try to take on No More Heroes on Bitter soon, maybe. (Realistic chances are slim, I’ll forget about it).

Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War

Even though it sounds like a game Millhouse would covet, it’s from Koei. I played a lot of this a few years back, but started a new game because of my adoration of Joan of Arc (the character, not the real person) from Warriors Orochi 3.

Now hold on, I know what your thinking. Dynasty Warriors gameplay set in France right? Actually, no. It’s pretty different. You are a mercenary that controls a group of soldiers, from swordsmen and pike users to archers and lancers. There is a complex rock-paper-scissors system to the types of units. Spears beat horsemen which beat archers, and so on. You start alone, but you can control any unit group you come across, so staying with your group is highly recommended. The battle system is one you would see in a PC rpg. You hold the button down and your group will keep attacking automatically. There are three special abilities each group has that have to recharge after each use. This way you have to make sure you have the advantage against the enemies you fight otherwise your group will be wiped out  quickly. You have to conquer bases in most missions, but this is a slower paced game. You can’t just rush and kill the main guy to win.

The story is based on the Hundred Years’ War between France and England. You are a mercenary, and you can play on either side. The barkeep that gives out the missions even tells you to ignore boundaries and only focus on money. There are various special characters like one would expect in a Warriors game, but they are introduced sparsely. This is cool because each time someone of importance shows up in battle it is a big deal. It may be a bit of a turn off to some, since it takes a few battles before something happens, but spacing it out gives the big battles more impact. I’m having a lot of fun with it.

Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure

Sega isn’t a newcomer in the crazy rhythm game market. After taking on Samba monkeys and space reporters telling the story about a thief in Paris seems tame. I played the demo of Rhythm Thief (out now in the e-shop) and had an extremely fun half hour with it.

There is nothing story wise about the demo, so I can’t talk about that, but the three minigames are fun. The first is a dancing minigame where you swipe the screen based on what your other two dancers do. The second game is a neat one where your character is running through a museum after hours. You have to tap a pose on the touch screen to match a statue so you aren’t seen. The third is a battle minigame where you have to push left on the control pad and A to punch knights.

The minigames were pretty easy, but they were functional, which is great. The full game has gyroscope controls for some of the stages and it would’ve been nice to see how those play. The music on the museum and battle games were catchy. Which shouldn’t be a surprise since it’s from the same musicians behind Space Channel 5. I have been waiting for this game for quite a while. This demo just got me even more excited.

Future Bets 

Tomorrow I’ll be playing Theatrhythm, which is another game I’ve been quite excited for. Also, I’m going to play some version of Spelunky. That game sounds like it has the same hooks as Binding of Isaac, just with more polish and it’s a platformer. Speaking of Isaac, still haven’t beat it. For more of my random nonsense, here’s my Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr. Pick your poison. Thanks for reading, see you next week.
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RecSpec Roulette: June 25, 2012

             
 
I haven’t wrote one of these in months, life came out of nowhere and to summarize, I just lost motivation to write. Lost motivation to do a lot of things actually. Anyway, I’m back to writing my weekly blog about the stuff I’ve been playing. This is a summary of the last couple weeks, since my family was in town. This will be pretty long, I’ve been on vacation, so I’ve actually had time to finish games. And with that, off we go!

Lollipop Chainsaw


Ever since I completely fell in love with No More Heroes last year, I’ve been interested in whatever Suda 51 and Grasshopper have been up to. While nothing has come close to No More Heroes in my book, I still enjoy how absurd his games have been. Lollipop Chainsaw looked like a spiritual successor to NMH, so of course I was excited to see how this ended up.
 Zombie rockers? Where's Lord Raptor when you need him?
Lollipop Chainsaw lets you know early whether you will be along for the ride or not. The game is crazy, and the jokes are plain juvenile once in awhile, the main characters in the game are high school students, and that really shows. I personally found Juliet annoying throughout the whole game. It’s a relief that Nick (her severed head of a boyfriend) is a great foil. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t have made it through the game. The humor is really hit or miss and it will miss a lot.There are some really good jokes at times. The voice acting is pretty good, despite the age old tradition of lines being repeated too many times during battle. Don’t dig too deep as far as the theme and tone is concerned. What you see is what you get.

The gameplay is decent. You use your pom-pom attacks to stun enemies, and your chainsaw attacks to finish them off. I avoided most of the pom-pom attacks and mainly used the chainsaw attacks and dodging. The combat is pretty easy, the hardest parts of the game are some of the events they throw at you. These aren’t that difficult either, (except for the zombie baseball, which is killed by the game mechanics, and just bad). The game can be finished in about seven hours without much difficulty, which is a good length for what is here.
My favorite thing in No More Heroes was the boss battles, and they are pretty good in this game. There are five zombie lords, each representing a genre of music (except for funk/disco/auto-tune guy, not sure what his deal was). The boss battles aren’t hard on the normal setting, but they do a lot of cool things. Just when you think it’s over, it’ll throw a curveball at you and keep going. Easily the best parts of the game. Paying full price for it is only recommended if you are a Suda fan, if you’re interested, you should probably rent it to see if it clicks with you.

Warriors Orochi 3


Over the last year, I’ve claimed that I was done with the Warriors series. Dynasty Warriors 7 was it for me, and I had enough. To show how done I was, I bought Dynasty Warriors 7:XL (played about a half hour), Samurai Warriors Chronicles (It was on sale, never touched it), and Dynasty Warriors: Next (actually put a few hours into this one). I kept hoping that they would catch me again. Unfortunately, none of them came close to making me feel like I should get back into the series. Enter Orochi.

Warriors Orochi 3 is a good game. Not a “good for a Warriors game,” an actual decent piece of software. The amount of characters are mind-blowing. It combines all of the Dynasty and Samurai Warriors characters, adds the mystic legends who are a staple of the Orochi series (they are all based off of old legends), and it throws in a bunch of crossover characters to boot. Yes, there are some clones, but overall, a lot of different play styles and abilities.

 Joan of Arc (from Bladestorm) is hands down my favorite crossover character.
The gameplay hasn’t changed that much from the Orochi series, there is still a lot of leveling up, grinding for items, maximizing relationships to unlock stages. Still the old hack and slash, but the team system and various abilities make it a blast to plow through each battlefield. The series has improved over the years, so if you haven’t played each series like I have, you’ll see huge leaps in the gameplay.
The story is fantastic, it follows the previous game where the alliance army made from the Dynasty and Samurai warriors are fighting the Orochi army. This game steps it up by starting at the end of the war, the world is doomed, and the alliance army is down to its last legs when a goddess comes and saves them. From there they go back in time to save the other fallen warlords and generals. It’s a neat twist with enough time paradoxes to make Colonel Campbell weep. Because of the state of the world with the dimensions crossed, it allows for some neat crossover moments. There will literally be sections of universes from other games in the middle of these Dynasty Warriors stages. These run from a beach straight from Dead or Alive to a section of 14th century Paris. The game oozes fan service, but if you are uninitiated, this will still be a fun game, with a ton of replay value, as long as you can live with subtitles instead of the “poor” English dubs.

Punch-out!! (Wii and NES versions)

 The knockdown taunts by your opponents are the best part.

Me and my brother had kind of a Punch-out rivalry to see who could finish it first. So we went through the Wii version again, and I finally made progress on the Title Defense ladder, while he beat the whole thing only to get brutally beaten by Donkey Kong. Punch-out is always fun because there’s two parts to it, learning what to do, and actually using what you learned. The multiplayer isn’t too fun because it locks you into using Mac, which is a failed opportunity.  

From the Wii version we went back to the NES version. That game doesn’t mess around. In all of our time playing it, we never got past Soda Popinski, and that’s with the help of game saves. It’s cool seeing how much of the NES game made it into the Wii version. A lot of the same strategies work, you just have to adjust it a bit.

Splice


I loved Auditorium HD, so I’m going to try anything Cipher Prime puts out there. Splice is a neat puzzle game where you are trying to make gene patterns. It’s hard to explain in words, as most of their games are, it’s easier just to see it in action.

The puzzles are pretty neat, and once you start figuring how things work, you feel a sense of accomplishment, you can rewind steps, so you can go back one instead of starting over again. The puzzles get tricky because of the modifiers, and once they start combining them, it becomes difficult. The piano soundtrack is pretty good, and contrasts nicely with the frustration you’ll feel when you get stumped at a puzzle. It is put together well, and hopefully I can finish it soon.


The Binding of Isaac


I bought Isaac when it launched, but due to the lack of pad support and my laziness to figure it out, I left it sitting until last week. It’s a shame I did too, because that game is brilliant.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a 2D Zelda style shooter where if you die, game over, start again. The brilliance in it is everything is randomized, from the weapons you pick up to the enemies and bosses you face. A good run can be cut down short due to a tough room or boss. It reminds me a lot of playing poker. Skill is important, but you can never truly erase luck from the equation.
 Getting Monstro is like the dealer turning up a Blackjack on you.

I still haven’t beaten the first final boss yet. Got there twice. Once was a bizarre end where I was unaware of a glitch. If you’re in the shadow of the attack when you kill the boss, you take the damage anyway. Since I only had one heart through deals with the devil and items. Instant death. That run was awesome, I ran through the hard versions of the last area (added with DLC, which I probably shouldn’t have bought right away, since it makes the game harder) trying to survive with my pathetic life. I ran into a shop hoping to find a life boosting item, only to find a hidden boss. Tried a slot machine to get more life, machine exploded giving me max money.The random nature makes it a lot of fun, but it can be frustrating. You get the same sense of accomplishment you get from Super Meat Boy (Isaac is made by Edmund McMillen, part of Team Meat)  though when you survive a level, and that’s worth every bit of stress.

Pokémon Conquest


I love the idea of the series, but I will never play another main Pokémon game again unless it’s a second reboot of either Red/Blue or Gold/Silver. A turn-based strategy game featuring Pokémon sounds awesome though, and the Samurai Warriors crossover is just icing on the cake. Sadly the game is pretty simple. I’ve only put in a few hours, but nothing yet has been too challenging. There are a number of great ideas in there though.

    
 You start with an Eevee, but can link with any wild Pokemon     
To recruit a warlord, you either have to defeat them in 4 turns, finish them with a super effective attack, or beat them without them damaging you. If you want a certain type, you have to plan effectively. It’s a cool system, and forces you to think things through if you want to “catch ‘em all.” This has all been moot so far because each battle has been pretty simple, it’s basically planning to get extra bonuses, not to win. If you can use type advantages, you should have an easy time. You can capture Pokémon for your warlords with a timing based minigame, which is strange. It’s not a bad thing, just out of place. There are some battles which require you to capture banners and defend them, which is a nice change of pace, unfortunately the AI fails horribly at these.
The story is nothing special, someone’s trying to take over the world (not-so-spoiler: it’s Nobunaga), and you have to stop him. As I said though, I only have a few hours into it so far. The game is trying to hit a hard balance between hardcore strategy and making it easy to pick up. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hit the mark as well as the main series. There are a lot of good things, but the flaws really stand out too. 
 

Final thoughts


This week I plan to hopefully beat The Binding of Isaac (even though I’ve been told multiple times that beating the final boss is just the beginning, great). Hack away at Splice some more, and maybe pick up Quantum Conundrum if I still have a functioning brain. Thanks to Warriors Orochi 3, I got back into Bladestorm, which is criminally overlooked. I also still need to pick up Gravity Rush, but I’ve been having too much fun playing Monster Hunter with two sticks. Horrible, my favorite thing about the Vita is how it makes PSP games better. For more random nonsense, follow me on twitter, or check out the Really Bad Future for the other nonsense that I couldn't cram into here. Thanks for reading, until next time. 
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RecSpec Roulette: February 6, 2012

 

  
 I love rhythm games. Some of my top games of all time are from the genre. From Gitaroo Man (if I had to pick one favorite game, this would be it) to Ouendan, to Um Jammer Lammy, it is my favorite type of game by a land slide. This edition of the Roulette has quite a bit of them I have missed over the last few years. If you’re a fan of rhythm games, I suggest you pick them all up, they can all be found pretty cheap. Also, I redeem last weeks Meteos switcheroo and play the original article, plus a look at Little Big Planet’s best trailer and the song that accompanied it. Time to place your bets!

Main Bet: Ontamarama  

The hell you say? That’s right, Ontamarama. A rhythm game for the DS published by Atlus. Sounds crazy already right? Well, it is. And it’s one of the most challenging rhythm games I have ever played. The game combines screen tapping and button pressing to create a nightmare for people bad at multitasking. 

There is a timeline on top of the screen going from right to left. When a colored circle hits the end, you have to press the matching button. Simple enough, but before the circle moves across the screen, you have to fill it up. You achieve this by tapping Ontama (little magical creatures) of the same color. So to fill the red circle, you have to tap the red Ontama that appears. The game mixes things up by adding giant Ontama that require 2 button presses, and black and white ones that lower or raise your performance meter respectively. Quite frankly, it is a lot to keep track of. If things get too hectic, you can blow on the microphone to clear the screen. But you only get to do this 3 times in a song. Lost yet? Just...here.

  
  
This game is challenging because of the actual gameplay and the mechanics. The crazy gameplay is made harder because of a few design choices. For hold notes, you have to release the note at the time the note ends or it’s treated as a miss. While understandable, it conflicts with how other rhythm games treat long notes. It’s a hard habit to break. Also, instead of tapping, you can draw a circle around a group of the same colored Ontama to clear them all at once. Problem is, the circle mechanics are a little too precise. You can’t draw too big of a circle, but if you barely graze the edge of an Ontama, it’s not removed. So you have to do another move, which is suicide in a fast song. 

Don’t let the trailer fool you, the music isn’t too bad. The song in the trailer is probably the song I hate the most. There are various genres as expected. Some songs have lyrics, most so far don’t. To be quite honest, I’m only halfway through the game at this point. I keep failing a song called Hypnotronic Death. Which is a pretty decent song. My favorite so far has been Clubhouse Gig, which is a horrible name, because the characters you battle to it are named Club and Gig. That aside, it’s pretty cool.

There’s a story about your character who finds a stray Ontama with the best name ever, Myu. There are evil creatures called the Ditties that are trying to capture all of the Ontama for some evil plan, and they possess people and make them fight you. The story has many moments where you meet someone, only for them to attack you. It’s pretty repetitive at the beginning but once you meet the evil group, things pick up. While there are flaws, the gameplay is a nice change of pace from other rhythm games out there. 

Side Bets


I remember playing this when I bought it for my brother, and failing miserably. My brother’s mockery made me put off this game. (To be fair, this was the beginning of my brother’s rise to being better than me and my sister at games.) Finally picked it up again because Rhythm Heaven Fever is coming out soon. The stages are great, and the game is jam packed full of charm. Definitely one of those games where you need to play it before you pass judgement on it. It’s just crazy how catchy some of the tunes are, and overall it is just a cheery game. Again, also one that can be found cheap. If you have a DS, pick this up. Even if you are waiting for Fever.

Beat City is a clone of Rhythm Heaven produced by THQ. It has the minigames but makes a story out of it. Mimes invade Beat City and suck the music out of the city. A squidlike creature from space comes and turns your head into a speaker, because mimes are evil. It’s a neat way to tie all of the rhythm games together. The music doesn’t come close to Rhythm Heaven, but if you can lower your expectations a bit, it’s pretty fun. Some of the situations are pretty absurd too. One early game has a gorilla distracting an angry old man while lovers whisper secrets to each other. The games also throw more visual flair into it. With people suddenly sporting cowboy hats and weird outfits for no reason. A lot of fun, but not quite up to par with Rhythm Heaven.

I still hate the driving in this game, but the story is admittedly pretty fun. I love the direction this game has taken, adding the multiple characters and their storylines. As much as I hate the driving, I love doing the side missions to earn credits to buy new cars and garages. I don't think I'll finish this anytime soon. Also, playing this game with music from the original Driver is great.

I decided to pick up the real deal after last weeks Meteos Misery, and all I can say is...wow. After playing Disney Meteos, I forgot how amazing this game was.The match 3 and blast off gameplay is just as good. Even if I got a bit spoiled by the side switching in Disney Meteos. It’s just a better game overall. The sound effects and music are among the best in a Q Games joint, and the amount of unlockables is mindboggling. Easily the second best puzzle game on the DS after Puyo Puyo in my opinion.

Future Bets

  • Uncharted 3 Patch 1.04 is live, which means I’ll be playing a lot of that this week. Can’t wait to be Doughnut Cutter.
  • I plan to go back to finish Carmen Sandiego, because it must be done. Horrible puns be damned.
  • Going to open up Driver and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, streaming fun.
  • I am highly tempted to pick up Resident Evil Revelations. And I actually support the Circle Pad, if it makes the game play better, why wouldn’t you use it?

Final Bet

I’ve said many times that Street Fighter X Tekken has some of the best trailers in gaming right now. But the old crown belonged to the original Little Big Planet. Before this game was out, each trailer made me want to play it more and more. A lot of this had to do with the song choice. My favorite trailer being the Sackzilla trailer. It was accompanied with the song Dancing Drums by Ananda Shakur. While this is a licensed track, I can't help but think about LBP every time I hear this song.  In the final game this song would be the song for one of the Temple stages, but the song will forever be tied with this trailer. Thanks for reading, see you all next week. 
  
  
   


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RecSpec Roulette: January 30, 2012

      

  Forgive me for being optimistic, but portable gaming is poised to take over my life again. The Vita is coming out in a couple weeks with a strong launch lineup. The 3DS lineup is also looking pretty good. Last year the only portable game I looked forward to was Dissidia 012. I am also excited for the return of crazy Japanese rhythm games. Between Rhythm Thief R, Theatrhythm, and Rhythm Heaven Fever, things are looking great. If iNiS throws one on the pile, it’d be perfect. The funny thing is that you can tell they are rhythm games because it says rhythm in the title. Toe-tapping aside, time to place your bets!


This Friday I took a trip to the mall, and I make it a habit to stop at the Gamestop and see if there are any crazy used games there for cheap. I thought I had stumbled onto a hell of a deal when I saw them selling Meteos for only $4. Imagine my surprise when I got home and it wasn’t Meteos, but this. 

Meteos was one of my favorite DS games. Blocks fall from the sky, and you try to connect groups of three. Instead of disappearing, they turn into rockets and blast off. There were different characters that represented different planets, and each had their own chain rules, gravity, and launch power. Disney Magic still has all this. Instead of characters though, the stages are Disney storybooks. The gameplay is as solid as ever, and they added the ability to move blocks sideways (In the original game you could only move blocks vertically). While this may offend some, it actually isn’t that bad. 
 
 The claw chooses who will go and who will DIE!
That being said, it is such a shame how botched everything else is. It replaces the competitive games with missions. There were missions in the original game, but they were on the side. Your main focus would be to defeat your opponent. Focusing solely on the missions are a poor choice, because it turns the game into an endurance battle. It is not too fun trying to launch 1000 blocks in 3 minutes. There are a couple battles, but they make no sense as far as the story goes. 

Speaking of the story, it is laughably bad. Jiminy Cricket and Tinker Bell ask you for help because someone has been messing with their books. To be honest, I’m not even sure who really was messing with them. Probably Organization XIII. The scenarios presented can be pretty strange. One will have you helping the Toy Story aliens escape the claw, while another has you launching dice back at Oogie Boogie. You can unlock stuff like gallery pictures by beating stages multiple times, which is great because during the game, you won’t be paying attention to anything on the opposite screen. Unfortunately there is nothing of real value to unlock.  The second screen has no functionality at all. I have to admit, some of the game over pictures are funny, like in the Cinderella Stage. Cinderella can’t get to the ball so she’s crying, the animals are dejected, and the Fairy Godmother is dumbfounded because she doesn’t understand her wand. The music is forgettable. Some familiar songs are there but are redone in a bland way. I can’t recommend this at all. Even if you’ve played the original Meteos to death, you’d be better off playing that some more.

Side Bets

Driver history lesson. I loved the first game, hated the second one so much I never finished it, and...that’s it. Driver 2 turned me off to the series. This game has been a ton of fun though. The jumping from car to car is brilliant. I love using it to make chases unnecessarily difficult. Sure, I COULD outdrive the police, but why wouldn’t I take over these two cars and try to ram the police cars? The actual driving is pretty floaty, which takes getting used to, but nothing too hard so far. The story is also decent, as nonsensical as it is. I can’t wait to put more time into this.

This was the diving board back into the wrestling pool for me. As a fighting game, it’s not really too fun, but as a wrestling game, it’s pretty fun. I haven’t played a wrestling game since the PS1 version of SmackDown! but I was able to recognize at least half of the characters because of the legends they had in the game.  The Fantasy Warfare matches are awesome, if only because of the video promos before it. The first thing I did was pick Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage and take on the Tag Team ladder. When I won my first match, I received a trophy called “Mega Powers.” That was amazing! If you don’t understand why, then this game really isn’t for you. That pretty much sums up this game. If you like or may have liked wrestling at one point in your life, it’s a blast. If you haven’t, then move on.

Random Bet: WWE aka Yes, I know wrestling is still fake. 

Speaking of wrestling, I’m totally hooked on it again. I blame my crushing boredom and winter blues. Seriously though, I’m interested in it all over again. I haven’t been interested in wrestling in about 10 years. Strangest thing about this resurgence...I haven’t actually watched any on TV. I watched some matches from past Wrestlemania featuring my old favorites Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho, and watched a couple of the WWE documentaries on Netflix. I even bought A Lion’s Tale for my Kindle (which wrestling aside, is still a pretty good book). Last night was the Royal Rumble, one of the WWE’s big PPV events, so there was a lot of stuff to read online. It’s strange, like someone who studies a foreign country over and over and over, learning everything about it. I did the same with wrestling. I read predictions about what would happen, read reviews and stories about past events. Aside from Whiskey Media sites, the site that takes the most of my side is ESPN spinoff site Grantland. The various wrestling articles there written by The Masked Man were always interesting. It was because of them that I went down this road. I will probably watch Monday Night Raw tonight, and MAYBE just maybe, I’ll be a sucker and throw down $60 for a PPV down the line. It’s kind of exciting, and it sounds horrible.

Future Bets

  • I bought Mass Effect for 360, so there’s another game for my to do list. I won't be caught up by the time Mass Effect 3 hits, but I hope to be able to beat all 3 by the end of the year.
  • I want to get through Driver: San Francisco, which I’ll get back to when I wrap up All Stars. 
  • Sadly, I was excited for Soul Calibur V, but since there’s so much going on right now, I’ll probably just hold off on that for a while. Of course, don’t be surprised if I DO end up buying it (tax money).
  • It’s kinda scary, the Vita comes out soon, and I will probably buy one (thanks again tax money). 
  • I rented Battlefield 3 again (the first time I rented it, never touched it) and Just Dance 3 from Gamefly, add these to Halo Anniversary as Gamefly games I won’t touch. 

Final Bet 

Didn’t do a final bet this week, I decided the best way to wrap up this blog would be to pull a random video game song out of nowhere. This week’s is one of the credit medleys from Sonic Generations. Yes, ONE of them. There was one for the console version and one for the 3DS one. This is the console version, which starts off EXACTLY like the Genesis one. Sonic Generations is a game that has a soundtrack that is superior to the game itself, this medley shows why. It has all of the stages in it, so you can see how much they crammed into this game. A great nostalgia rush.  
 
  
  

Thanks for reading this week! For more random nonsense you can follow me on Twitter or check out my YouTube channel. Questions and requests are always welcome. See you all next week!
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RecSpec Roulette: January 23, 2012

      

  
  Hello ladies and gents. The week off gave me time to fix my personal issues and rethink how I was going to write this. I started writing this as a way to get over a failed relationship. That kind of worked, but it was so quickly put together, I made a few missteps.

I really like the roulette theme, but naming everything after roulette terminology, bleh. So I’m going to simplify things (to an extent). Renaming my sections. Main bet is about the top game I’ve been playing. Side bets are the other games. Random bet is well, the random part. Future bets is what I’m looking forward to playing and what I might actually play. Enough explanations though, place your bets!

Main Bet: By default, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Multiplayer) 


Apologies in advance because this is charted territory (Boom). My boss was on vacation last week, so I ended up working 5am to 6-7pm every day last week. Then football on the weekends. The only game I played this week was Uncharted 3. That is a horrifying feeling. What did I play this week? Nothing? And I’m trying to write a game blog? FOOLISH MORTAL! I digress. I played a lot of Uncharted 3 this week.

The treasure hunting in the multiplayer is what drives me. When you kill a player (or enemy in co-op) they can randomly drop a treasure. If you collect all of the treasures in a set, you unlock one of two things. It will either be a costume piece for your character (my personal favorite: a cowboy hat for Talbot), or a special weapon with multiple mods (rate of fire, accuracy, etc). When a treasure is dropped, I abandon EVERYTHING and run like a man on fire towards it.

Greed. Like Nathan in the stories, I’ve been wrecking myself looking for the treasures. Playing modes I don’t like because I can only get Lazarevic’s KAL-7 in that mode. Talbot’s FAL-SS can only be got in Hardcore (which is horrible because you can’t use boosters to raise treasure drops). Everytime I think I’m over it, oh look, a new treasure. The game is sadistic. This game just tries to makes you mad and I’m done with it. I think. My brother likes playing it a lot (true story: Uncharted 3 cured his Skylanders obsession) and he might drag me back into it. Oh god.

Random bet


The San Francisco 49ers got knocked out of the playoffs, and thank goodness. I’ve been a 49ers fan since I was a kid, but they haven’t had decent success since I was in middle school it seems. When they made their move in the playoffs, I was excited, yelling, etc. It makes it hard to play games when watching football. The whole day Sunday I was watching football pregame shows and reading previews. It was exciting. Frisco hadn’t been that close to the Super Bowl in years, and even though they lost. It was exciting. All in all, great season by the Niners, thank god I can stop stressing though. By the time overtime happened I was a wreck. Sports. Love em.

Future Bets 

In earlier posts I mentioned a January Steam Journal, that is dead now. I’ve barely had enough time to play any games. So a game a day pace was just too much to keep. There are three games I am thinking about diving into. Dynasty Warriors 7:XL, Halo Anniversary, and Driver: San Francisco. I’ll probably play Driver because I loved the first one. Or I might play more Skyrim. PS3 version and it still hasn’t exploded yet. That’s enough for today. Til next time folks.
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RecSpec Roulette: January 9, 2012

 

 I’m sorry to state the obvious, but getting sick sucks. You think that you’ll be able to spend that time playing games, but in reality you can’t. My January Steam Journal is behind because of that. I did get a good start on it though. I plan to spin it off into its own blog, so this week’s roulette will be its last. My goal for this month was to avoid spending money on games. I think that’s going to derail this week. While we are talking about derailing, I think I am going to do a shift next week, rearrange some things, upgrade some things. You know, maintenance. No outside bets today. Each game will be in detail. Time to place some bets!

What have I been playing? Steam games of course!

Skyrim Update: My stealth conjurer is now a light armored, warhammer wielding warrior. Also, I hate Argonians. No way a daughter of mine will marry some slimy lizard scum. (Speaking for my character, I swear). Moving on, every inside bet this week is part of my January Steam Journal. Where I’ll try to play a different game every day. 

You know what bothers me about this game? The character you play as reminds me of a Tom Goes to the Mayor character, and that really irks me. The actual concept is neat. You can move and jump, but the main way to move is to rotate the world around you. This has led to some cool puzzles, like delivering a banana to a monkey so he can move out of your way. I don’t know if this is because of the setting or the ambient noises, but I can’t really get hooked onto this game. 

This competitive 2d airplane shooter is a blast, proving that an experience system plus perks can get me interested in just about anything. There are a lot of planes to choose from, with different speeds and weapons. I’ve been partial to the bomber, because it’s takes a little more punishment. I’ve only been playing against bots, but I still had a lot of fun with Altitude. There are the usual deathmatch modes, along with a rugby style mode. My favorite is the base defense one, where you have to pick up a nuke and drop it on the enemy base. This is a fun one.

This game’s premise is so simple, you move left and right, you have an action button, and a button that flips gravity. Your crew has been warped all over and you have to find them. The platforming in this is fantastic. It reminds me of Super Meat Boy. There are specific rooms where you have to time the gravity switch to make it across, it’s frantic yet satisfying. Also, the music is pretty good, although a bit grating after looping for the hundredth time. I’ve saved 3 of my crew members, each in a different section that has its own trick. One is a constantly moving room, another deals with barriers that flip gravity while you’re midair. If you liked Super Meat Boy or just platformers in general, you should pick this up. It’s even available on the 3DS now.

Hard to believe this game came out in 2008, it didn’t seem that long ago. If you’re unfamiliar, Braid is about a man who is in search of a Princess who may or may not exist. It is a platformer that allows you to rewind time. This can be used to redo a poor jump or more frequently to solve a lot of the games puzzles to get puzzle pieces. I’ve traversed (not completed) through all of the worlds except the first one, and I’m not sure what to make of it. I enjoyed a couple of the worlds, while others haven’t impressed. That’s a shame, because the story is interesting, and I want to see it through. Getting every puzzle piece looks like it will become a chore way too soon though. I loved the stuff with your own shadow (you perform an action, and when you rewind time your shadow will repeat the action you just did). I’m not the completionist type, but I may force myself to finish this. 


The (more) random section of the blog. This week: Books!
I bought one of the new Kindles, and the first thing I did was put the Sonic Dash and Spin manga on it. It’s like a combination of Sonic and Ren and Stimpy, it was pretty bizarre. Then I found out you could read books on the thing, and it truly became a magical device. As far as actual reading, I put a lot of the free classic books on there (Invisible Man, Sherlock Holmes, Dracula) and I bought the Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (my favorite writer). Haven’t read any actual books in at least a year, so if you have any good book recommendations, please let me know. 

    
Poor planning is still better than no planning...right?
The second half of last week was smashed together because I was sick, kind of like this blog. Next week will bring a few changes, hopefully for the best. As far as the future goes, more steam games, more Skyrim, and I will probably pick up Amy on 360 (or maybe PS3 if it comes out this week). Might actually review that one, because it’s been awhile, and I was a fan of the last game Lexis Numerique put out there, Red Johnson’s Chronicles. Until next time, thanks for reading. 
 
For more of my random nonsense follow me on twitter ( @recspecreno) and check out my YouTube channel   http://www.youtube.com/user/RecSpecReno 

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RecSpec Roulette: January 2, 2012

 

January 2, 2012. Let's kick this year off right!

 Happy New Year duders and dudettes! I hope your resolutions are still holding up. The Steam sale is finally over, and thank goodness. I mentioned this last week, but this January I plan to play a different Steam game every day. I'm going to call it the January Steam Journal. I will probably write more about this later in the week, but the first game will be on here. Maybe if this picks up enough momentum, I will spin this off into its own thing. Then again, how much can I REALLY write about Universe Sandbox? I have nothing video game related to talk about in the Zero Bet section, so I'm going to talk about food, sorry in advance. Time to place your bets! 


I can definitely say that I'd put some chips down on these.

Sonic CD

I finished this during the week, and I am completely floored. This game is great, even though this feels like a Sonic the Hedgehog reboot (Certain sequences like the infinitely looping water sections are straight from the first game).  The boss battles are strange, but I appreciated them as the game continued. They are pretty clever and it seems like some thought was put into them. I was expecting a "normal" battle against Metal Sonic, where you have to hit him 8 times while dodging his attacks. The actual boss battle is a race, you vs. Metal, with Robotnik chasing you both with a death laser. It's probably one of my favorite Sonic battles of all time.

 The time aspect is cool but kind of useless, until you try to get a good ending. To get a good ending, you can either complete the seven special stages (chasing UFO's in a 3d space, pretty irritating) or destroy the generators in the past versions of all the acts. Now each act has three objectives. The first is finding a decent way to get into the past. That means hitting a Past sign and getting enough speed to make the jump,  It's a lot harder than it sounds. Second is finding the generator, making you explore the stages a bit. Third is getting to the goal, obviously. This adds a lot of depth to the formula, it's refreshing.

Also, the Japanese soundtrack is fantastic! I played with the JP soundtrack because I like Cosmic Eternity over Sonic Boom, but I didn't expect such a gap between them. To me, Sonic CD isn't an epic battle between good and evil. It's a goddamn Sonic game, fun and comical and light. The US soundtrack is dark and moody and brooding, the JP soundtrack samples a funk song for the boss music! Then again, the final stage music in the bad ending route is darker than anything the US soundtrack throws at you. It basically tells you (as in you the player, not Sonic) that everything is done for. Creepy as hell, but still awesome. So maybe the mood thing doesn't hold up, but I love the JP soundtrack.

Magicka (Day 1 of January Steam Journal)

After hearing good things about this, I couldn't help but pick this up when it went on sale. I bought the complete pack, which has all the DLC, so immediately I was enthralled by the costumes. I settled for picking the mage with a pistol, how cool is that! Also, there's a tentacle one, and a soldier one, and a detective one, it's so cool! This game has brought out a childish joy in me. Combining elements is pretty cool, and I love finding different ways to tackle situations. One boss had me trying to link two different spells, only to realize I was over complicating things. The writing is all right, nothing spectacular so far, but there are some neat moments. I also love the way everyone talks in that game. This game is a neat package, I don't think I'm quite done with this one yet.

ChuChu Rocket!

Since I blew out a tire this week, I figured it would be a good time to get a new set of tires, I had been putting it off for a long time anyway. While waiting, I got to mess around with ChuChu Rocket! on my phone. If you are unfamiliar, the ChuChus will run in a straight line, turning when they hit walls. Your goal is to place arrows so they run towards their rocket.    Later on they will add cats that you need to avoid, and sometimes direct the cats away from the ChuChus. It is a great phone game, easy and quick (so far).    

I've dabbled a bit in these, but I would bet for or against these.
 
 Another great game that ends in space.

  Puyo Puyo! 20th Anniversary- Finished the Wii version's story mode. 25 stories complete.

Skyrim- Now working on making stupidly powerful weapons, hoping my PS3 version doesn't explode.

And Yet It Moves- Started this, pretty neat so far, but something seems missing from it.

Beat Hazard- Played for the Steam Xmas achievement. Still amazed by how much is in that game.

Super Meat Boy- Haven't played this in forever, I don't think I can play it anymore, my skills have rusted over. 


     

Zero planning, zero purpose. The (more) random section of the Roulette 
Bringing a dish to a party can be a scary experience. Do you really want to bring booze to every party the rest of your life? Yes, you could go to a grocery store and buy the neat organized party platter, but that might get expensive. What if you get invited to a potluck party? What do you do then? \ 

Stealing this idea from my aunt, but each person should have a dish they can fall on in case of party situations like these. Make it your signature. It doesn't have to be 5-star restaurant quality. I make a simple rice dish consisting of white rice and cooking cream cheese. That's it. But people love it and it's mine. Where am I going with this? One day you will be invited to boring adult parties where you will be judged by the dish you bring in. Prepare now so that when that time comes, you'll be ready. Heck, if you want to borrow my idea, here you go. 
 
Ingredients, 3 cups of white rice, 2 10oz containers of Italian Herbs and Cheese cooking creme, found in your local supermarket. 
1. Cook the rice

2. Mix creme into completed rice, make sure you mix thoroughly.

That's it! It's just one of those basic things I've learned as an adult, get yourself a simple signature dish. Not a dessert either! As I said, people will cop out with desserts, you want to stand out without standing out. 


There's always hope for the future right?

  This has become the section where I lie, because I never play the games I am going to set out to play. I WANT to play Skyward Sword (need to start that sometime right?), Halo, and Dark Souls. I'm going to line up the Steam games I'm going to play this week for sure, and I'll probably start uploading some Puyo Puyo videos. Maybe even write about it. 2011 has been a great year as far as gaming goes, here's hoping 2012 is just as good. Thanks for reading.   

  For more of my random nonsense follow me on twitter ( @recspecreno) and check out my YouTube channel   http://www.youtube.com/user/RecSpecReno

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RecSpec Roulette: December 27, 2011

      

It never seems like I can catch up on what I want to do (posting this at 3:30am because I passed out before I could finish last night). Christmas is done and over with, yet there are so many games to play. STILL a lot of games to play. That is a great problem to have. First things first, no Game Gear game this week, may return next week, not quite sure yet. Next up, I finally finished my Game of the Year list, and to my surprise, Sega shows up twice. My games this week are going to be numerous yet short. Since I've mainly been sampling from stuff I picked up from the Steam Sale. A good thing about this year is that I've actually played every game that I've bought, unlike last year where I bought every five dollar indie pack. Still haven't played all of those games. More on that later, first up, some Wii games.

Inside Bets

Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math: The Lady Liberty Larceny  

So I made the mistake last week of thinking Doctor Lautrec was a Layton clone. Turns out the real Layton clone was here the whole time. This Wiiware game (for 600 points on the shop) borrows a lot from that game. From finding hidden hint coins to offering Prestige Points per puzzle (Think picarats). I've only put an hour into the game, but I'm pretty sure I am halfway done. Because there are only 10 puzzles in the game.

That game reminded me how insane the Carmen Sandiego world is. You are an agent of Acme sent to recover the Statue of Liberty, which has been stolen. How you ask? By strapping a rocket onto it. The suspects are part of an organization called VILE because of course they are. The list of suspects are full of witty names like Jacqueline Hyde. To be honest, everyone likes puns in that game, from your annoying contact from Acme to the random people you meet (Herr Doktor Doktor Doktor, no joke, that's a real character name). If you're not familiar with the Carmen Sandiego games, I probably sound crazy. One last thing, I like how the game uses the Wii remote like a phone at times like No More Heroes did. Carmen Sandiego herself will call you at times just to mock your progress, then give you a hint before dropping a pun on you and hanging up. Good times.

Puyo Puyo!! 20th Anniversary

So, a bit of background information. Puyo Puyo has come over to the states four  times. The first was Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, which was a reskin of Puyo Puyo but with Dr. Robotnik and robots from The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Second was Kirby's Avalanche, which was a reskin of the second Puyo game, Puyo Puyo Tsu, with Kirby characters. The third is Puyo Pop Fever, which came to the DS and Gamecube. The last was the previously mentioned Puyo Puyo Tsu, brought to the Virtual Console as an import. You can get all three on the VC or Mean Bean Machine on Steam.

If you're not familiar with the series, blocks of Puyo (little creatures from a RPG series called Madou Monogatari) drop, and your goal is to match four or more of the same color. When you match four, they disappear. It is a competitive puzzle game, and your goal is to do bigger combos to bury your opponent with garbage Puyo (colorless that only disappear when connected to a group).

Puyo 20 is a collection of characters and modes from the last 20 years. Think of what Tetris DS was to the Tetris series. The game has a story mode for each of its 24 characters, which differentiate themselves by their dropsets, so there is more to each character besides the look. There are at least 15 different modes too.  This game has the most play time for me (over two versions, the DS one came out in June, Wii version came out a couple weeks ago.) and there will be more to come on this.  Consider this an introduction. If your only look into the series was with Mean Bean Machine, get ready to have your mind blown.

Outside Bets

Steam Sale! I am going to shoot to play a different game on Steam every day in January for at least an hour or two. Complete overdose. So get ready for that. (Spoiler: I doubt I will make it.) I've been scratching the surface with these games to get ready.

Jamestown- I don't even know what counts as bullet hell these days. I think this counts. A pretty nifty shooter. Haven't tried the co-op yet.

Frozen Synapse- I love the simultaneous turn-based system in this game. Haven't really dug too deep with this one, but I am starting to pick up a bit of the basics.

Hard Reset- Best menus ever! This shooter is the first old-school PC style FPS I've played in awhile (that's a genre right?) so the whole "KEEP SHOOTING THINGS, QUICKLY!" was a bit overwhelming the first time I played it. Looked nice though, will definitely go back.

E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy- Played this for a half hour or so. Still shaking my head at the absurdity of it all. 

Uncharted 3: My brother and sister hit the max level, all through co-op. I finally got to 55 (Desert Talbot unlocked). We put WAY too much time into that game.

Zero Bet

 Wires and Dials!

I finally got the mixer I got for Christmas set up, wires and all. It's a pretty awesome device, so many wires and dials!. I was able to mess around with it and record my playthrough of Lady Liberty Larceny. Not much else with it though. I ordered the right cords so I can pretty much do what I want with it. Having a bit of an issue with multiple people though. Had a Skype call running through it pretty well, but everyone on the phone would end up hearing the game audio. Nothing a splitter can't fix though.   

 I guess the main thing is to build confidence in recording audio over games. My motivation behind this is strange. I'm just trying to have fun with it, you know? It would be a bit strange having all this stuff and not using it. As I've said before in my previous commentary related blog. It's a lot harder than it looks. You have to be on your toes, and always have something to say. I guess this will get easier with more practice.  

  
  

Final Bet

First thing I'm trying to do is survive the Steam sale. Hopefully I can play some more Lautrec. I still haven't touched Halo Anniversary yet. Pushmo and Super Mario 3D Land will probably continue to collect dust on the shelf. Honestly though, I predict more steam stuff, and finishing Carmen Sandiego. 

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