This is a happy blog.

Mega Man X5

(It seems that platformers reveal the weirdest thing to me.) Various Capcom platformers have revealed to me Mickey Mouse's jerk disposition; Banjo Tooie taught me the valuable lesson that Banjo Tooie is awesome; and Mega Man is a blue, speedo-wearing hydra. Every time Capcom has tried to cut off one of the heads, not only did it grow back, but one or two heads accompanied its revival. In enters Mega Man X5, Capcom's attempt to dismember the MMX-head.

Obviously, the best place to start this review is the story. Again, Sigma wants to destroy the Maverick Hunters, but this time, he has a few new tricks. First, he's sent out a bunch of viruses that turn Hunters into Mavericks. Why he didn't invent this in X1 is never really explained. His other trick is to send a space colony crashing into the Earth. Thus begins the 16-hour gameplay mechanic: you only have 16 in-game hours to complete Mega Man X5, and each level takes up one hour. Take too long playing the game, and the colony crashes into the Earth. Finally, something that actually makes you strategically choose your levels over the course of the game! Oh, wait, that's exactly what doesn't happen. The countdown dies off at the end of the game, eliminating any reason for it to have existsed in the first place.

How is that fair?
Like another Capcom game of the time, Mega Man X5 haphazardly attempts several new things with mixed success. For example, there's a new leveling system for bosses. I have no idea what it does, as it never really made itself known. It doesn't give the Mavericks more HP, except in one instance; it doesn't give you better items at the end, since you still get the same item anyway; so what the hell did they put it in here for? The aforementioned originality? Fortunately, there are other features that receive more success than the level thing, like the ropes and the new armor.

Yes, like always, there's some super-secret-mega-armor hidden throughout the game, but instead of one armor, it's two now (or three if you count the Ultimate Armor). One of them is still the same as ever, but the second one is nothing more than a tank that can't fire weapons appropriately. Again, this comes off as a feature that negates its own existence

I probably should have explained the normal gameplay mechanics by now, but they're common knowledge. All Mega Man games play the same: traverse a weakness circle, go to final series of levels, traverse same circle, beat final boss for now. That much hasn't changed at all, which is quite amazing after 13 games. You'd think Capcom would be desparate for new ideas, which they obviously were for this game. For instance, the Mavericks in this game were named after members of Guns N Roses. You know a company's desparate when they name their villains after the singers of the first song they heard on the radio on the way to work. Several of the Mavericks are also recycled from previous bosses, like Dark Dizzy (or maybe the bug guy) rips off a stage from X4, and Axle the Red is nothing more than Gemini Man mixed with a thin premise.

That's another thing this game does quite a bit of: references to previous games. This is one of the few things I really can't complain about, as there are no major crap-ups. They have a few bosses reminiscent of previous Mega Man games, some of the music is remixed from previous songs, what more could you want? I guess a lot more, but you aren't going to get it. You could ask for voice acting in this game instead of the copious amounts of text, but after Captain Caveman's performance in the preceding title, I'm going to regard it as some type of improvement. You could also ask for a less annoying support character with dialogue that isn't so jumpy, but then I'd have to make this review more focused so as to set a good example. But whatever, I'll take what I can get, and I got was actually a fairly decent game. Yes, it does nothing to fix the major problems with the series (piss easy bosses, easily predicted layouts), yet I can comfort myself in the knowledge that this is the last Mega Man X game they made. I'll give it the Slaying the Hydra Award, and a sc...what's that? They made another X game after this one? And several spin-off series for it? MOTHERF-*review ends abruptly*

Review Synopsis

  • So many new ideas that don't do much to change the game.
  • Why did they name the bosses after members of Guns N Roses?
  • What's there is decent, but it's been done so many times.




This next video is perfect for any Internet debate. Expect me to use it a lot.
  


Romancing SaGa 2

(Like many Westerners, I have not had a good relationship with the SaGa series.) All of my experiences with the series have either been stupidly easy or frustratingly difficult. Add in the unintuitive, confusing gameplay mechanics, and you have several reasons why I'm not a fan of the SaGa games. So why the hell did I play, let alone beat Romancing SaGa 2? As I stated in a previous blog, I'm slowly running out of games to beat, so I have to play whatever I can get my hands on. What surprised me was that this game is actually quite decent, something that goes a long way for a SaGa game.

The one thing that makes this game better than the other two is the empire system. A major part of the game is ruling over an empire that directly contradicts Yahtzee, conquering lands and fighting about said lands for your people. You collect money from your conquered areas, and you can use that money for several projects. If you think this is a game within a game, prepare to be disappointed; everything about ruling this empire is only there to supplement the regular Romancing SaGa gameplay stalwarts. The "adding new territories" thing only exists to open up new side-quests, and everything else exists only for combat.

Not that the combat is bad or anything; if anything, the combat is satisfactory, but off-beat. It's a turn based system where you can see your enemies before you battle them, just like Earthbound. However, that's where the similarities end. You learn abilities through repetition, and in theory, you can customize your party members so that they can use any weapon/ability you want them to use. In practice, however, character customization is about as strict as in any other JRPG. Here's the perfect example: at one point in the game, I was trying to get my emperor to learn a certain sword ability, but to no avail. Eventually, I handed it off to somebody else, and they discovered the skill on their first try, despite never having used a sword under my watch. Can somebody explain this to me? Yes, the fact that you can distribute learned abilities to anybody somewhat alleviates the problem, but Romancing SaGa 2 still hasn't reached the level of customization it so craves.

The embarrassing part? This is just a normal enemy.
However, it at least tries to fix the battle system. That's something Romancing SaGa 2 uses as a recurring theme: slightly fixing the conventions of the series. For example, RS2 introduces the generation system to the series. Every few missions, your empire expands (or your emperor decides he wants to fuck mermaids for the rest of his life), several years pass, and you must choose a new emperor. It's essentially a new beginning for you, another chance to form a party. That's probably why every generation, you somehow begin extremely weak. For the first hour or so of each generation, you'll get your ass handed to you by random enemies. Despite this, I wouldn't get rid of it, mainly because it fixes one major thing about this game: the side-quests.

And we come to the meat of all Romancing SaGa games, the one defining feature of the series: the side-quests. How does the generation system fit into all this? It adds structure to the game and gives you something by which to measure your progress. It also gives some direction to the game, something it really needs. You know what else this game really needs? A bit of polish. There are certain side-quests that have specific requirements you have no way of knowing about. Don't meet the requirements? Wait a few years, come back, and face much harder enemies!

Yea, this game can be very unforgiving. Romancing SaGa 2 will drive you insane; this is the type of game you will lose sleep over. I should know because both of these happened to me. Anyway, many things about this game seem to have been inserted in here just to piss off the player. Most of the bosses regenerate health, sometimes more health than the damage you did. Of course, this means you will die, but worry not! You get a certain amount of life points that allow you to be revived a certain number of times before permanent death! How do you restore these life points? There's an item that does this, but trust me, it's in VERY limited supply. Fuck up too much, and you might as well reset all the data on your cartridge.
Words cannot express the joy this picture elicits.

And the final boss...let me explain it through a hypothetical. Pretend you're in a fight with a rapist. It's challenging, sure, but not impossible; it's only one person, and you have a lot of viable options. But let's also say that at random intervals, other rapists join in the fight against you. Oh, and it culminates with seven rapists. So obviously, the fight has become ludicrously one sided and your ass has now become their personal jousting target. "This has to end eventually," you think to yourself in between screams of agony. Well, it turns out the seventh rapist (we'll call him Uncle Rape) drove to the "party" in a truck, the bed of the truck filled with coolers, each cooler overflowing with Viagra, Red Bull, Captain Morgan, and several perverse sex toys. That, my friends, is the final boss of Romancing SaGa 2. Needless to say, I was sent down Buttfuck Boulevard numerous times before I was able to defeat the bastard(s). What also goes without saying is that I felt nothing but pure jubilation when it finally died. I would have risen from my seat in victory, but I beat the final boss standing up.

Wow, I can't believe I went this many paragraphs without ever once touching upon the story. And for an RPG! This must be corrected! As I mentioned previously, a major part of the game is ruling over your empire, but the empire exists for only one reason: destroying the ironically named Seven Heroes (or less ironically named Seven Noblemen, depending on the translation). However, once you do destroy them all, they somehow combine into the aforementioned Admiral Assrape in a last attempt to kill you. You'd think that a game that focuses on side-quests and contains more characters than sprites would have a crap story, right? Surprisingly, it doesn't. While it definitely does have the same problems as the other games in the series, again, it tries to fix these problems. The Seven Sodomists each have their own backstories, there are several moments that try to be emotional, and that's all I can comment on due to the fact that it was in Japanese. Yet despite the language barrier, I can still say this: have you seen the ending to the AVGN's Ghostbusters review? I can sympathize.

Holy hell! I didn't intend for this review to be this long! But can I make it longer? Probably. Hmm...what else is there to talk about?....I know! Music and graphics! The music is pretty good, especially the battle themes, and the graphics are...unique. Not good, not bad, just unique. Imagine if a few Renaissance artists got together and did acid. OK, I guess that's all that's left. That and the award. I hereby give Romancing SaGa 2 the Sodomy Award, represented by this picture of Captain Morgan. Look at him. He knows what's going on, but he does nothing to stop it. YOU ARE A SICK MAN, CAPTAIN MORGAN!!!


Review Synopsis

  • The battle system is the same as always, but several fixes make it somewhat more manageable.
  • The generation system gives structure to the flimsy story that is a Romancing SaGa game.
  • The final boss will carve up your ass and rape it.
10 Comments
10 Comments
Posted by Video_Game_King

Mega Man X5

(It seems that platformers reveal the weirdest thing to me.) Various Capcom platformers have revealed to me Mickey Mouse's jerk disposition; Banjo Tooie taught me the valuable lesson that Banjo Tooie is awesome; and Mega Man is a blue, speedo-wearing hydra. Every time Capcom has tried to cut off one of the heads, not only did it grow back, but one or two heads accompanied its revival. In enters Mega Man X5, Capcom's attempt to dismember the MMX-head.

Obviously, the best place to start this review is the story. Again, Sigma wants to destroy the Maverick Hunters, but this time, he has a few new tricks. First, he's sent out a bunch of viruses that turn Hunters into Mavericks. Why he didn't invent this in X1 is never really explained. His other trick is to send a space colony crashing into the Earth. Thus begins the 16-hour gameplay mechanic: you only have 16 in-game hours to complete Mega Man X5, and each level takes up one hour. Take too long playing the game, and the colony crashes into the Earth. Finally, something that actually makes you strategically choose your levels over the course of the game! Oh, wait, that's exactly what doesn't happen. The countdown dies off at the end of the game, eliminating any reason for it to have existsed in the first place.

How is that fair?
Like another Capcom game of the time, Mega Man X5 haphazardly attempts several new things with mixed success. For example, there's a new leveling system for bosses. I have no idea what it does, as it never really made itself known. It doesn't give the Mavericks more HP, except in one instance; it doesn't give you better items at the end, since you still get the same item anyway; so what the hell did they put it in here for? The aforementioned originality? Fortunately, there are other features that receive more success than the level thing, like the ropes and the new armor.

Yes, like always, there's some super-secret-mega-armor hidden throughout the game, but instead of one armor, it's two now (or three if you count the Ultimate Armor). One of them is still the same as ever, but the second one is nothing more than a tank that can't fire weapons appropriately. Again, this comes off as a feature that negates its own existence

I probably should have explained the normal gameplay mechanics by now, but they're common knowledge. All Mega Man games play the same: traverse a weakness circle, go to final series of levels, traverse same circle, beat final boss for now. That much hasn't changed at all, which is quite amazing after 13 games. You'd think Capcom would be desparate for new ideas, which they obviously were for this game. For instance, the Mavericks in this game were named after members of Guns N Roses. You know a company's desparate when they name their villains after the singers of the first song they heard on the radio on the way to work. Several of the Mavericks are also recycled from previous bosses, like Dark Dizzy (or maybe the bug guy) rips off a stage from X4, and Axle the Red is nothing more than Gemini Man mixed with a thin premise.

That's another thing this game does quite a bit of: references to previous games. This is one of the few things I really can't complain about, as there are no major crap-ups. They have a few bosses reminiscent of previous Mega Man games, some of the music is remixed from previous songs, what more could you want? I guess a lot more, but you aren't going to get it. You could ask for voice acting in this game instead of the copious amounts of text, but after Captain Caveman's performance in the preceding title, I'm going to regard it as some type of improvement. You could also ask for a less annoying support character with dialogue that isn't so jumpy, but then I'd have to make this review more focused so as to set a good example. But whatever, I'll take what I can get, and I got was actually a fairly decent game. Yes, it does nothing to fix the major problems with the series (piss easy bosses, easily predicted layouts), yet I can comfort myself in the knowledge that this is the last Mega Man X game they made. I'll give it the Slaying the Hydra Award, and a sc...what's that? They made another X game after this one? And several spin-off series for it? MOTHERF-*review ends abruptly*

Review Synopsis

  • So many new ideas that don't do much to change the game.
  • Why did they name the bosses after members of Guns N Roses?
  • What's there is decent, but it's been done so many times.




This next video is perfect for any Internet debate. Expect me to use it a lot.
  


Romancing SaGa 2

(Like many Westerners, I have not had a good relationship with the SaGa series.) All of my experiences with the series have either been stupidly easy or frustratingly difficult. Add in the unintuitive, confusing gameplay mechanics, and you have several reasons why I'm not a fan of the SaGa games. So why the hell did I play, let alone beat Romancing SaGa 2? As I stated in a previous blog, I'm slowly running out of games to beat, so I have to play whatever I can get my hands on. What surprised me was that this game is actually quite decent, something that goes a long way for a SaGa game.

The one thing that makes this game better than the other two is the empire system. A major part of the game is ruling over an empire that directly contradicts Yahtzee, conquering lands and fighting about said lands for your people. You collect money from your conquered areas, and you can use that money for several projects. If you think this is a game within a game, prepare to be disappointed; everything about ruling this empire is only there to supplement the regular Romancing SaGa gameplay stalwarts. The "adding new territories" thing only exists to open up new side-quests, and everything else exists only for combat.

Not that the combat is bad or anything; if anything, the combat is satisfactory, but off-beat. It's a turn based system where you can see your enemies before you battle them, just like Earthbound. However, that's where the similarities end. You learn abilities through repetition, and in theory, you can customize your party members so that they can use any weapon/ability you want them to use. In practice, however, character customization is about as strict as in any other JRPG. Here's the perfect example: at one point in the game, I was trying to get my emperor to learn a certain sword ability, but to no avail. Eventually, I handed it off to somebody else, and they discovered the skill on their first try, despite never having used a sword under my watch. Can somebody explain this to me? Yes, the fact that you can distribute learned abilities to anybody somewhat alleviates the problem, but Romancing SaGa 2 still hasn't reached the level of customization it so craves.

The embarrassing part? This is just a normal enemy.
However, it at least tries to fix the battle system. That's something Romancing SaGa 2 uses as a recurring theme: slightly fixing the conventions of the series. For example, RS2 introduces the generation system to the series. Every few missions, your empire expands (or your emperor decides he wants to fuck mermaids for the rest of his life), several years pass, and you must choose a new emperor. It's essentially a new beginning for you, another chance to form a party. That's probably why every generation, you somehow begin extremely weak. For the first hour or so of each generation, you'll get your ass handed to you by random enemies. Despite this, I wouldn't get rid of it, mainly because it fixes one major thing about this game: the side-quests.

And we come to the meat of all Romancing SaGa games, the one defining feature of the series: the side-quests. How does the generation system fit into all this? It adds structure to the game and gives you something by which to measure your progress. It also gives some direction to the game, something it really needs. You know what else this game really needs? A bit of polish. There are certain side-quests that have specific requirements you have no way of knowing about. Don't meet the requirements? Wait a few years, come back, and face much harder enemies!

Yea, this game can be very unforgiving. Romancing SaGa 2 will drive you insane; this is the type of game you will lose sleep over. I should know because both of these happened to me. Anyway, many things about this game seem to have been inserted in here just to piss off the player. Most of the bosses regenerate health, sometimes more health than the damage you did. Of course, this means you will die, but worry not! You get a certain amount of life points that allow you to be revived a certain number of times before permanent death! How do you restore these life points? There's an item that does this, but trust me, it's in VERY limited supply. Fuck up too much, and you might as well reset all the data on your cartridge.
Words cannot express the joy this picture elicits.

And the final boss...let me explain it through a hypothetical. Pretend you're in a fight with a rapist. It's challenging, sure, but not impossible; it's only one person, and you have a lot of viable options. But let's also say that at random intervals, other rapists join in the fight against you. Oh, and it culminates with seven rapists. So obviously, the fight has become ludicrously one sided and your ass has now become their personal jousting target. "This has to end eventually," you think to yourself in between screams of agony. Well, it turns out the seventh rapist (we'll call him Uncle Rape) drove to the "party" in a truck, the bed of the truck filled with coolers, each cooler overflowing with Viagra, Red Bull, Captain Morgan, and several perverse sex toys. That, my friends, is the final boss of Romancing SaGa 2. Needless to say, I was sent down Buttfuck Boulevard numerous times before I was able to defeat the bastard(s). What also goes without saying is that I felt nothing but pure jubilation when it finally died. I would have risen from my seat in victory, but I beat the final boss standing up.

Wow, I can't believe I went this many paragraphs without ever once touching upon the story. And for an RPG! This must be corrected! As I mentioned previously, a major part of the game is ruling over your empire, but the empire exists for only one reason: destroying the ironically named Seven Heroes (or less ironically named Seven Noblemen, depending on the translation). However, once you do destroy them all, they somehow combine into the aforementioned Admiral Assrape in a last attempt to kill you. You'd think that a game that focuses on side-quests and contains more characters than sprites would have a crap story, right? Surprisingly, it doesn't. While it definitely does have the same problems as the other games in the series, again, it tries to fix these problems. The Seven Sodomists each have their own backstories, there are several moments that try to be emotional, and that's all I can comment on due to the fact that it was in Japanese. Yet despite the language barrier, I can still say this: have you seen the ending to the AVGN's Ghostbusters review? I can sympathize.

Holy hell! I didn't intend for this review to be this long! But can I make it longer? Probably. Hmm...what else is there to talk about?....I know! Music and graphics! The music is pretty good, especially the battle themes, and the graphics are...unique. Not good, not bad, just unique. Imagine if a few Renaissance artists got together and did acid. OK, I guess that's all that's left. That and the award. I hereby give Romancing SaGa 2 the Sodomy Award, represented by this picture of Captain Morgan. Look at him. He knows what's going on, but he does nothing to stop it. YOU ARE A SICK MAN, CAPTAIN MORGAN!!!


Review Synopsis

  • The battle system is the same as always, but several fixes make it somewhat more manageable.
  • The generation system gives structure to the flimsy story that is a Romancing SaGa game.
  • The final boss will carve up your ass and rape it.
Posted by The_A_Drain

Final bosses have a nasty tradition of being either insanely ridiculously hard, or equally easy.

And oh dear god, Capt. Morgan does indeed see what's happening. That's very scary.

I never played Romancing Saga, but it looks pretty epic, Megaman X5 again I never played but I heard mixed opinions on it, I played the gamecube RPG Megaman (Command Mission?) and it was pretty good but I never got around to playing very far into it.

Edited by Einherjan

Nice review of RS2! Now I will know what to expect when I get around to playing it. Still switching between Star Ocean 1 and ToP.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@The_A_Drain said:
" Final bosses have a nasty tradition of being either insanely ridiculously hard, or equally easy.
Still, though, the Seven Rapists take the cake. (And fuck it, predictably.) Go see my last blog. You will see just how hard they ARE (see? That wasn't sexual.).
Posted by Bigandtasty

lol, sephroth

Posted by The_A_Drain
@Video_Game_King:

Haha, it does sound pretty fucking harsh. I've just hit Dezo on Phantasy Star II and havn't been levelling up, and every single enemy seems to go for Rolf and Rolf alone, and without him and his stupid cap thing I cant talk to people, so everytime he dies I have to reload the save because pissing about trying to get back to Paseo to res him would take ages.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@The_A_Drain said:
" @Video_Game_King: Haha, it does sound pretty fucking harsh. I've just hit Dezo on Phantasy Star II and havn't been levelling up, and every single enemy seems to go for Rolf and Rolf alone, and without him and his stupid cap thing I cant talk to people, so everytime he dies I have to reload the save because pissing about trying to get back to Paseo to res him would take ages. "
At least you can grind in that game. Try Romancing SaGa 2, where all the grinding in the world won't help you defeat the Seven Assmasters.
Posted by The_A_Drain
@Video_Game_King:

True, sounds like it's incredibly unforgiving.
Posted by SinGulaR

I wonder what uncle Sigmund would have to say about your many assrape remarks. ;)
Posted by Video_Game_King
@SinGulaR: 
 
That sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar?