By Video_Game_King 24 Comments
Sonic Advance( Quick, what do you think is the easiest type of game to review?) I'm guessing a lot of you probably said music games, and maybe one or two answered Mega Man. No. The correct answer seems to be Sonic games. If it's 3D, just talk about the series' steady decline, the crap controls/camera, high amount of characters, and base your score on your memories of the good old days; if the game you're reviewing is 2D, however, praise it for the sense of speed, simple controls, and base your score on how big your Sonic boner is. However, seeing as how I don't believe in the PSS (Phallic Scoring System) or all of Sonic's decline, I decided I'd play a random Sonic game and see what develops. That game was Sonic Advance, and I'm somewhat surprised to say that it's not as good as people claim it to be.
I'd go into detail on the story, but what the hell am I to say? "Eggman steals the Chaos Emeralds, Sonic must give him titty twisters until he gives them back"? Yea, that's gonna fill up an entire paragraph. OK, in all seriousness, I have an actual plan: discuss the characters. You have the exact same cast as you did in Sonic 3, each with the exact same purposes: Sonic if you want to have some f'ing fun, Tails to get the Chaos Emeralds (more on that later), and Knuckles because he was in Sonic 3. They all work just as well as ever, the only difference being the addition of a useless ability mapped to the B button. Speaking of useless, Amy is now a playable character. *sigh* Dear God, why is Amy even here? She can't roll into a ball or spin dash or do anything of use, so it feels like playing Sonic without any of the things that make Sonic fun. The only bonus is that bosses are slightly easier because of her wider range of attack, but I suspect the bosses were easy because I sent her headfirst into them, watching her almost die again and again.
Oh, I almost forgot the gameplay. Just like the story, what can I say that you guys don't already know? Christ, this is turning into a Mega Man review already. Anyway, the major theme of this game is moving really, really fast for some reason. Throughout the levels are tons of objects to help you maintain a high speed, and I know it's gonna sound weird whne I say this, but they're actually one of the game's strong points. They're quite varied and well-implemented, ranging from spinning bowl things to little wheels you run on and bouncy pole things. Each of them give the levels a memorable, unique feel, which I find quite necessary, as the level themes themselves aren't that original. I know platformers tend to repeat the same level themes over and over, but I didn't expect this game to rip things like a casino level and gravity flipping space stations completely.
Then again, the game does come off as old school, so I can forgive it a little. After all, it's classic, fast-paced Sonic, featuring our old Genesis buddies. A few bosses directly reference Sonic 1 and 2, but I didn't find much referencing 3. That was the degree. As I've said time and time again, I consider Sonic 3 & Knuckles to be the best Sonic game ever, so any regression from that game is usually gonna be for the worse. Case in point: the special stages, which kicked off some bad trends in the GBA Sonics. As in previous Sonic games, you have to find a certain object that allows entry to the special stages, but unlike the other games, there's only one for each Emerald, usually in a hard to find area. They're better than the methods in the games to follow, but they're still not that good, since they're flow-breaking time wasters.
However, finding them is still better than playing the special stages, which, as I've said before, started a weird trend: stupidly high difficulty. I can almost never complete the GBA special stages, and here's a reason why, at least for this one: the perspective. Everything is accelerating towards you from an overhead view, which means you'll often find yourself colliding into objects you thought you werne't touching and missing coins you thought you were aligned wtih. See why I couldn't complete them, now? Oh, nevermind, I completed this one. So what was my reward? A new character, a Super form of a current one, an extra level? The disappointing reality is that it's just an extra boss you fight as Super Sonic. That's it, just Sonic, just that one boss. You can collect all the Emeralds with any character, but apparently, only Sonic feels the benefits, and even then, barely. He controls like crap, mainly because he's always floating to the ground. Yes, I get it, he's fighting Eggman on a planet, but SUPER SONIC CAN FLY! WHY SHOULD GRAVITY BE A FACTOR!?
I could ask that for a lot of the things in this game, but I believe I've already found the answer to them all: this was after Sonic went 3D. We all know that Sonic's career went downhill after he hit the Dreamcast, and that includes 2D games. OK, they're still better than crap like Sonic & The Black Knight and Sonic the Hedgehog, but they're still not as good as people think they are. So I give Sonic Advance the Final Fantasy VII Award for Being a Good but Overrated Game.
- It's essentially old school Sonic with some unnessecary frills.
- I should have known there would be nothing easy to the special stages.
- Amy sucks. She is just horrible.
Let me combine something I love with something you probably love: Billy & Mandy with Michael Jackson. It's oddly great.
Crash Bandicoot: Warped( When will games stop making me 100% them for an ending?) Oh, they stopped a long time ago? Screw that, just act like it's 1998 and the first half of the blog is heresy/prophecy. Anyway, I'm tired of games forcing me into 100% completion for any sort of ending; it just destroys otherwise good games. Blast Corps, Jet Force Gemini, Rocket: Robot on Wheels , and now Crash Bandicoot: Warped. When will it end? And, possibly more relevantly, when will this begin?
Right here, to be precise. Like the last Crash, Warped begins where the previous one ends: with Cortex having his ass blown halfway across the universe, only to stumble into another world domination plan. This time, it's Uka Uka, the evil twin brother of Aku Aku. Wait, who's Aku Aku? That floating mask that gives me an extra hit? That thing was a character? I thought it was just a mask Crash couldn't shove onto his face. Whatever, so a previously unknown characters gets a bit more of the limelight. Fortunately, this is something you get a lot of in Warped; from time to time, the villain du jour will appear on screen and command that you bring him the crystals for some reason. It seems weird that they're asking this, but aside from that, these little asides are a good way to promote these guys from insane cartoon mascots to something you'd find on The Simpsons.
Yet for all the work they put into making the bosses more three dimensional, they're still the same scenarios you've faced in previous games: wait for a chance to hit them, hit them, repeat until dead. This is a big theme in the game: not that formula thing, the fact that they were creative in theme, but not in actual gameplay. Perhaps the best (OK, just good) example is the levels. You have to time travel to each one, which you think would mean an incredibly varied amount of levels, or at least some consistency between worlds. Neither come true, as you visit the same time periods again and again, and only the last two worlds or so demonstrate consistency between the levels. I guess this was to show off the level variety, but the problem is that the levels feel the same as ever. Why couldn't Naughty Dog come up with original levels instead of recycling the same ones they've already used?
Huh? What's that? They actually made some original portions in Warped? Well, I look like an idiot. *executes the messenger who told me this* That guy was right. As I recall, there were some original portions of the game, and while they're where the game shines, they still need a bit of work. Some of the levels are 1950s races that control poorly, some are airplane shooter stages that control poorly, there are a couple of jet ski things that control poorly.....I think you get the idea: the controls need some work.
Other than that, it's the s-no, wait, I forgot one thing: new moves. Every time you beat up a boss, he gives up a special move that would have been EXTREMELY helpful during the fight. They range from a run button to double jumps to....a bazooka? OK, that one's a bit weird, and it only gets weirder the deeper we go. You shoot fruit (preferably exploding), but your ammo is unlimited, even though the game already has something resembling an ammo system lying in plain sight; you can aim it manually, but again, the controls are a bit wonky. Not by much, but it becomes noticeable when aiming at small objects in that one level. That's the final flaw with the fruitzooka: it's not used that much. I can only recall a few instances where I pulled the damn thing out, and most of them were forced. It would have been cool to see it more often, but because you see it so rarely, Warped feels mostly like any previous Crash game.
Wait, why am I complaining about this being like the previous games? It was old school platforming fun at its finest. Sure, it wasn't in true 3D, so what? 2D games can still be good, just look at a lot of the games I review and probably will review. Now why was I com-oh, right. The collecting thing. As always, this Crash Bandicoot expects you to collect things like an obsessive-compulsive playing through the entire Metroidvania genre, and will withold the ending until you collect EVERYTHING. Why do game developers do this? It's a cheap way to lengthen the game, it breaks flow, and it rarely feels natural or part of anything related to the game. I'm glad this game feature died, so I give this game the Rightful Death Award.
- Some new levels that need some work.
- Some new moves that need some work.
- Same old Crash Bandicoot....that needs some work.