By Video_Game_King 20 Comments
Mega Man 3(If you said "six," you are horribly wrong.) The correct answer was "this blog." See, both these games are somehow related to the number three. Since you guys probably don't see that for the latter game, let's start with the obvious one: Mega Man 3. Well, after the success of Mega Man 2, Capcom decided to find the jail that was housing Wily and not only free him, but give him enough funds (presumably from the MM2 profits) to build more Robot Masters, a death castle, and tons of other robots. Now the Blue Bomber is back to put Wily in jail again (until Capcom decides to release him AGAIN).
In order to do this, he must, as always tackle the Robot Masters in any given order that he chooses. That mechanic still works fine, each level feeling like a piece to a larger puzzle or one smooth line, but things started to fall apart by the third installment. Don't get me wrong, the game is still great; it's just that this was where the truoble started for the series. The first weird thing I noticed was that there are two weakness circle things instead of the usual one, which makes things kinda confusing. Hell, I walked into the Needle Man battle thinking a few sparks would kill him, only to find out the previously stated fact. On the actual bosses, though, I felt the aforementioned desperation. Why the hell were they resorting to the Zodiac, and how the crap does he beat needles?
Speaking of needles, the weapons are as fun as ever, but again, things were creaking downhill at a slow pace. You have the standard weapons, like the homing missile and metal death blade (admittedly not as "death-y" as that of 2's), but then you have some weird ones, like Gemini Bouncy Laser (awesome) and the ballerina pirouette of death (suffice to say, it's as threatening as it sounds). There's also the Rush items, which were more uniformally good than the regular weapons. Each one has their own specific, easy use that comes up often enough in the game to justify it.
The Rush items are not the only thing I liked about this game (despite what the last few paragraphs might have led you to believe). For example, the new Doc Robot levels add a new and interesting twist to the game, forcing you to refight Mega Man 2 bosses under different circumstances. We also see the introduction of the more-permanent Proto Man, a prototype of Mega Man. That probably explains why his battle strategy is "jump and shoot," which would be somewhat disappointing if not for his cool whistle. On that note (no pun intended, honestly), the music, as always, kicks serious ass. Just about everything in this game is an instant classic, from Spark Man, Gemini Man, and Snake Man to Top Man and those two great Wily songs. So consider these factors either one of two things: cherries on the Mega Man sundae, or patches to cover up the stagnation of the series. I'll consider it the former, and in lieu of an award, I present Mega Man 3 with a sundae. Well, I would if there was a funny picture of a sundae on Google Images. But there isn't, so both me and the game must now enjoy a moment of very awkward silence.
...................Silence over. Silence must be renewed. I know! Which was better: Mega Man 2 or 3? 2, obviously; a lot of people say "You know, everybody says 3 was better, but we all know 2's the best", which is odd, since I've never met anybody who has said 3 is better. Can somebody direct me to them, as I don't want to go on the odyssey on which you are about to embark. Instead, I want to introduce this new feature of mine:
- Great music, items, and new features.
- The bosses and weapons are still good, even if the age is showing.
- Mega Man 2 was better.
Now instead of a video for this blog, I'm going to show you something that I found outside the Internet. OK, not exactly:
You may ask me what's wrong with this and why I'm putting it in this blog. Here's why: it's just a collection of pictures somebody ripped right from Google. And they're making money off this. I am surprised colleges have not seen a massive downward spiral in enrollments.
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon(Oooh, a part where I get to indulge in my own personal history.) A long time ago, before the existence of Giant Bomb, I had a rather torrid love affair with strategy RPGs. We had some great times with some great games like Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu, Shining Force II, Bahamut Lagoon, and many others. Yet somewhere down the line, we went our separate ways. Maybe it was Warsong's difficulty level or Treasure Hunter G's major lack of quality, but for some reason, I ran from this genre to the hands of JRPGs. But here we are, a DS in my hands, and Fire Emblem in my DS. Could this be the game that returns me to the genre? Yes. Kind of.
This next part is also going to be in my full fledged review of this game, so consider it a preview: Fire Emblem DS (technically, SD) is actually a remake of the first game in the series. The original was pretty good for its time, but was killed by the lack of a save system of any kind. It seems Nintendo knew this, as not only does Shadow Dragon have the save system, but there's also a mid chapter save system. Put in this game to relieve the frustration of resetting every time a character permanently dies, it helps fix what is essentially an irreparable problem. No matter what Fire Emblem game you play, you're still going to reset the game when characters die. Even Seisen no Keifu (which, as I must remind you of once again, is the BEST VIDEO GAME IN ANY REALITY EVER), a game that let you save every turn. Oh, and you didn't have to waste a unit doing so, like you do in this game, meaning that if you're like me, your strategy becomes "save with weak unit, then keep that person from dying a horrible death."
Speaking of strategy, this game is a strategy RPG. I know that's kinda obvious to some of you, but I feel like it needs to be included. Anyway, gameplay consists of selecting from a menagerie of characters to send into battle against pirates or dragons (depends on how far you are into the game). What makes it better than other Fire Emblems is how it utilizes the DS's features so damn well. The top screen displays either a map or the stats of any given unit, freeing up the bottom screen; battles also take place up there, and are skippable if you wish; and the touch screen controls are just plain awesome. The point and click controls reduce the amount of menus you have to navigate by some high%, removing a lot of the reasons why people don't play these games. Sure, trading is a bit finicky, but the ability to control it with the traditional D-pad eliminates that.
All the previous features are ones that really don't have any downside; the following ones do have one. With all the mandatory improvements come the new features either borrowed from previous games or completely new. For example, there's the new reclassing system, allowing you to change a character from a healer to a paladin. Why anybody would want to do this is beyond me, as I (and from the looks of it, everybody else) barely used the damn feature. This feature wasn't in the original version, so all the characters pretty much fit into their designated categories. I can see how this would work with a new game, but since this is a remake, not so much.
Another feature that kinda fell flat was story. OK, it doesn't fall flat, it just doesn't age well. Here's the basic concept: long ago, some guy killed an evil dragon. Now, 1000 years later, that dragon's empire is slowly reviving itself and swallowing the continent of Archanea into the tides of war. Marth and his group of rebels are tasked with putting down Medeus once and for all (as far as America knows *cough* sequel *cough*). Pretty standard fare, right? There's nothing wrong with the basic outline, but rather in how it's presented. The links between chapters seem kinda tenuous, as if each one exists independent of the other. Also, characterization, one of the strong points of the series, isn't very strong in Shadow Dragon. Granted, there's a large cast of characters with their own individual backstories, but for the most part, their development is limited to their recruitment speeches. The only characters who get any real development are Marth, his two girlfriends, the villain, and a few late-game powerhouses. However, I can't complain too much, since all of the characters in this game went on to become the far more developed characters of Seisen no Keifu.
Before I continue on with my review, let me say this: I am biased when it comes to this game. Let's face it: I've played all but one game in this series (two if you count the Satellaview thing), played this particular game twice before, and my favorite game is a Fire Emblem game. Of course my opinion will be affected, there's no avoiding that. However, there are some things that I can comment on without coming across as biased, like the gaiden chapters. I have nothing against gaiden chapters, but again, it's how Shadow Dragon does them. All of them are inserted for the idiots who killed so many of their units that they make the French look competent in battle. No, seriously, go check it out for yourselves.
However, as I said, there are things that Fire Emblem can't affect, and one of them is my taste for music. Using that, I deduced that the new soundtrack is actually really good. In fact, I'll say that of the three iterations of this, Shadow Dragon's the best one. The NES version was OK, but the DS has a wider variety of instruments, so it wins over the original. "But wait", you say, "what about the SNES version?" Oddly enough, the melodious NES soundtrack was destroyed by the atrocious instrument choice in the SNES version. So clearly, as I have stated before, the DS version kicks the most ass.
Unfortunately, a kicked ass does not stay kicked over time; no matter how hard the ass was kicked, the pain slowly dissipates over time, and that's obviously what happened here. What I mean is that most of the game's problems relate to the fact that it hasn't aged well, like the story, the erratic difficulty, the brevity of the experience, and the lack of character development. If you can get past all that, you'll find an enjoyable game. A game that deserves the Sequel for all Spacetime Award. Why? Well, the ending hints at a possible sequel in the future, and I wouldn't put it past Nintendo. After all, it's already there, and it's a really good game that I hope makes it over here.
- Some very nice new features, but a few others that I really can't give a crap about.
- Excellent implementation of the DS's features.
- Oh, wow, this game hasn't aged well, has it?