By Video_Game_King 28 Comments
Croc: Legend of the Gobbos( I know I've said this in previous blogs, but the 90s were awesome incarnate.) It had the balls to reveal Satan Claus for what he was (on Invader Zim, a show conspicuously absent from YouTube), Disney movies that weren't shit with 3D stink lines, and the best video game ever made EVER. What could be wrong with such a decade? Oh, right: the platformers. For the uninformed, the 90s was also a desolate wasteland, filled with furry-mascot collect-a-thons. Croc: Legend of the Gobbos is one such collect-a-thon.
So why did I play it? Well, before playing this, it gave off a very distinct 90s vibe, and I thought it would be an underappreciated 2D platformer. Imagine my surprise when I found it to be a deservedly mediocre 3D platformer! I should have seen that coming, given that this game was made around the same time as Rocket: Robot on Wheels, Banjo Kazooie, Spyro, and just about every other platformer that rips off the Super Mario 64 glory. So why did I like those games (Spyro not included), but not Croc? Well, all those games have something in common: decent controls. Not Croc, however; apparently, the people at Argonaut played Resident Evil and thought the controls would best fit a 3D platformer. What could possibly go right?
Yet Croc does not leave the unintuitive controls to the movement. No, it pioneers in crap controls. For example, you know how in Super Mario 64, you can do a ground pound by hitting Z in mid-air? Well, in Croc, you do the same thing by pressing the jump button in mid-air. It may sound innocuous, given that you'll eventually figure out that this game has no double jump, but it can cause cheap deaths when you accidentally press the jump button too early. Other deaths attributed to jumping include the somewhat finicky ledge grabbing controls, and the left and right controls turning into strafe buttons mid-air.
The odd thing about it, however, is that the gameplay is rather easy to grasp: explore levels, find keys to open doors and cages, and collect diamonds and furballs until you hit a giant gong with your tail. It sounds OK, and while it is, this is pretty much all you'll do in the game. All the levels have this same-y feel to them, the only change being the level theme. Even the special boss levels aren't safe from this, both in the level part and the boss part. I've already told you about the levels, so here's your strategy for the bosses: dodge their attacks, whip them with your tail (I guess grabbing them with your mouth and spinning them around like a drill would have created too much gore for a kid's game), rinse and repeat. I can only name one boss in the entire game that does something different than this, and it isn't the final boss. In fact, the only thing that he does different is that instead of repeating the aforementioned process once, you must now do it thrice.
Then you're treated to a crap ending with all the furb-crap! I forgot the story part of the review. Here's the basic premise of Croc: there's a colony of Kuribohs on an unknown island, and one day, a baby crocodile appears on their island. Rather than flush it down the toilet, they raise it as one of their own. Keep in mind that these things are tiny, and crocodiles...well, that part's obvious. Anyway, one day, an evil king guy captures all the Gobbos, and it is up to Croc to rescue them all. Why did he capture the furballs? Probably for the same reason I'm going to end this review so abruptly: no reason whatsoever. Weakest Crocodile Award.
- In the real world, crocodiles have enough raw power to kill sharks; in Croc, you'll be lucky to kill anything, given the poor controls.
- I guess in an attempt at overcompensation, the bosses are really, really, easy.
- There are better 3D platformers, obviously.
Since we're talking about 90s platformers, we might as well attack the source. With erectile dysfunction!
Mega Man 5( As long as we're talking about washed-up blue platforming mascots, Mega Man!) Wow, it's been a long time, hasn't it? Let's see....wow, I haven't reviewed a Mega Man game in at least two months! You'd think I would have played this game a bit earlier, but it seems like many other games just got in the way. Oh, and the other game I wanted to play for this blog wouldn't really work (the sound was dead), so here's Mega Man!
I know the plot is exactly the same as just about any other Mega Man game (as is everything else), but humor me: after Wily's fourth failed attempt at beating Mega Man, he's given up the world-conquering game and left it to Proto Man. (OK, he hasn't, but we don't know that yet.) Mega Man must now defeat his Robot Masters, invade his imposing/impractical fortress, and suppress that thought he has that it's actually Wily. The first step, of course, as always, is to beat the Robot Masters. You know the drill: pick one boss, beat them, rip their weapon off their corpse (yet somehow leave it on them so you can beat them later), use that weapon against somebody weak to it, repeat the entire cycle until you get to the bad guy's fort.
However, this game also follows the tradition of not making any sense with its weaknesses. How, for example, does a train's weapon beat water? I can understand that it's a powered up slide more useless than Top Man, but how would that beat water? And for that matter, why doesn't water beat f'ing napalm? You'd think water would beat fire jelly two-fold, but no, apparently you get diamonds for that crap! Whatever, at least the weapons themselves are still the same: multiple direction shot, shield, ground-based shot, etc. The only problem I have with this basic premise is that the weapons really don't affect the levels in any way. It may sound petty, but remember the original Mega Man, where each weapon would have some sort of effect on the environment, like creating a platform or clearing a new path for you? Why did that have to end around Mega Man 2-ish?
But whatever, at least Mega Man 5 acknowledges that levels are for more than getting from point A to B (B, of course, being a boss); each level holds a single letter, and collecting them all gets you a new weapon. It's a cool way to get you to search levels, pay attention, and replay them so you can get that neat weapon. Or it would be if the weapon were any good. Might as well stop referring to it as a weapon: it's Beat, a robotic bowling ball with wings. He's supposed to lock onto any nearby enemies and peck the crap out of them, and while that's already pretty crap, he manages to screw it up even further by requiring that you be incredibly close to the enemies in question. Hell, if you're already as close as the game demands, you might as well just shoot the poor bastards in the face.
Finally, there's the overall problem of the game being a bit too easy. You get more energy tanks than you do weapons, weaknesses are exaggerated (as always), and the new controls for the PS1 version, while entirely welcome, make things slightly easier. It doesn't help that the game is already shorter than Strider 2 on fast forward. Then again, a lot of really good games are on the short side (Portal, Panzer Dragoon Saga, P.....Phire Emblem 4). Then again again, all of those games are really good games that can stand on their own; this one has recycled the Mega Man formula so damn much, even Captain Planet would tell you it's time to throw the damn thing out. Are you happy, Mega Man 5? You've made Captain Planet cry! I didn't think it possible, given how many tears gushed out his eyes when he saw Dust Man's level. I'm giving it the Least Environmental Game Award. Yes, it's worse than ET!*
- Same Mega Man as ever, you know the drill.
- Beat makes his first (and what probably should have been his last) appearance.
- *In that it harms the environment more. Not in terms of overall quality.