By Video_Game_King 19 Comments
Mortal Kombat II( Wondering why this blog took so long to make?) Well, look at it! Two huge-ass games, and a pizza thing! OK, the main reason is that I spent all my time trying to shelve Phantom Brave, given I've had it for so damn long. Also, I played Mortal Kombat II. That sentence is more for my sake, since if I had it my way, this would just be one long paragraph dedicated to my quest to beat Phantom Brave. Anyway, Mortal Kombat II: a game that forced Midway to admit that the first game was just plain awful. Also, it's actually pretty good.
Step 1 in making the game good: distancing itself from the original Mortal Kombat. Kano & Obligatory Female are locked in chains, Goro's dead (but, unfortunately, his knock-off frog brother remains), and Shang Tsung is about 39 centuries younger, somehow. There's this insane Chinese guy in another dimension; he wears nothing but armor, made even creepier by the fact that he moans a lot and likes watching people fight while in the spread eagle position. (The things I've seen, man....) This is when the world gathered together and collectively decided that this person must die. They then chose the best warriors they could find and sent them off to Cree-Pei Un-Kul's land. Oddly enough, it seems that they couldn't find enough warriors to do the job, so they painted a few of them nine different colors and pretended that they were different people. They even gave these guys their own unique backstories and motives and stuff, making me think that Scorpion is suffering from multiple personality/ species disorder.
This multiple personality disorder extends so far that he has different movesets for each personality. Oh, it might appear that they're distinct people with different uses and moves, but trust me, they're the same guy. Have you ever seen Kitana and Mileena in the same place at the same time? You have? Shit, that destroys my joke. Well, I might as well bash the original Mortal Kombat. Hey, remember how the game was so wooden that you found yourself wondering why there wasn't an Atari 2600 port? Well, they've fixed that in this game. Not only can you defend yourself in the air, but now you can build up combos with your moves! I guess that's supposed to make up for the small amount of moves per character, but why am I saying "to make up for?" It makes the system much more manageable and fun to use! What I should be complaining about is enemy AI stupid enough to think that the original Mortal Kombat was a really good game. The best strategy to use against them is this: get far away, launch a projectile, watch them jump into it, and repeat until their knees are dead.
Do it for another round, and then you can perform a Fatality. You know, the one thing that makes Mortal Kombat what it is? (Although, as this video shows, clearly not the best at what it does.) Midway knew this, and improved the Fatalities to the death degree. First, there's blood in this version; enough to make No More Heroes look conservative. Second, you can do much more than rip your foe in half: you can eat them, toast 'em up, uppercut their head off again and again and again, and even give them a nifty lil present! I think, at least for that last one; I was never able to pull off a single Friendship or Babality in the entire game. Not even the incredibly easy ones, like "press B for Baby" or "press something." Maybe it's something about the SNES, or maybe I'm crap at this, but I could never get them to work. Fatalities worked just fine, but my relationship with Friendships/Babalities could best be summed up by this video. (Get used to it, you'll see a lot of that soon.) I know I could love them; the game has a lot of personality and humor about it that leads me to believe that these elusive super moves are quite awesome. It's just that I never got to see them in play, forcing me to give the game the Mew Award for Hidden Awesomeness I Know to Be There. However, unlike Friendship, I've actually captured Mew. Your inner child is weeping right now. * evil laugh*
- Why is there no mention of an underground cloning ring? How else would you explain Scorpion becoming Sub-Zero, Reptile, AND Noob Saibot? Huh? Explain that.
- Oh, wait, they all have different moves. That explains it.
- Unfortunately, none of those moves seem to be what I want them to be.
This is why I hate the new Domino's: they will invade your entire town and brainwash your reality into making you eat that shit. Speaking of shit, from the looks of it, that's the entirety of their sauce.
Domino's Old Pizza( Oh, what the hell: another pizza review!) I can hear many of you scratching your heads, it's that loud. You must obviously be thinking, "What black magic is allowing you to get the Domino's of old? LET US BURN THE WITCH!!! Why didn't he just buy the new stuff in that vi-" Screw you. I've said it before: the new Domino's tastes like tomato genocide mixed with escaping convict cheese. I yearned for the days when Domino's actually tasted good. So I fired up the time machine and went back to a time when the bread wasn't so damn egotistical. Unfortunately, like Family Guy, the old Domino's isn't as good as you think it is.
That's not to say that the old pizza is crap; to say that is akin to saying that they changed absolutely nothing. Believe me, they changed a lot when they made the new Big Brother pizza. Every ingredient wanted to be the ingredient, constantly snatching the spotlight until it wasn't even pointing at the pizza. (It would probably help to mention that I like to eat my pizza in complete darkness.) Before that, each part of the pizza knew what it was: a part of the pizza, a role they played far too earnestly, probably thinking that being humble would make them awesome. As the next part of my blog shows, it doesn't. For example, the cheese: I could barely taste it. After ripping it from its lover, the bread, (off on a tangent: cheese sticking to the bread is always a plus, since it shows the unity of the product), I found that the heat of the pizza was kinda preventing me from actually enjoying it. Hank Hill's words rang in my head throughout the meal. Granted, I could kinda taste the cheese underneath the fires, and it was good, but the problem was that it didn't want to come out and embrace my tongue in hot, hot action.
OK, that was probably the worst choice of words for the given scenario. How can I fuck things up further? Oh, I know: abrupt transition into the sauce! Alright, it's not entirely abrupt, since I eat my pizza in layers (cheese, sauce, bread (no toppings for the pizza purist)). Anyway, the sauce suffers from the same problem: I couldn't get a feel for it. It wasn't because of the heat this time, though, it was just that I couldn't taste it that well. Not calling the sauce watery or anything, as it had the proper consistency I look for in a sauce; it just had no taste. I've hammered that point into your minds enough, so let me move onto something else: the sauce likes to hide in the crevices of the bread, like it thinks I won't reach it there. YOU ARE MISTAKEN, SAUCE!!! USE YOUR LAST MOMENTS OF LIFE TO RENOUNCE WHATEVER GODS YOU BELIEVED IN, FOR THEY HAVE BETRAYED YOU!!!
Bread, however....I cannot stay mad at you. True, you follow the same stratagem that your brethren have employed, but I forgive you because it helps you find the perfect place for you: a plate upon which all ingredients can come together as one. What has happened to this humble attitude, bread? Your new form displeases many; you have stuffed yourself with enough herbs to make Cheech & Chong look like William Randolph Hearst (trust me, this joke actually makes sense), giving yourself a bold new taste that overwhelms and annoys me greatly. That was not the part of you that needed improvement; what needed the enhancement was the crust. I'm guessing the guys at Domino's use a special dough for the crust, made primarily of cement mix, because that crap is hard enough to be considered a lethal weapon. I'm going to count it as a flaw, even though I could see how others would love the crunchy zest it brings to the bread. I'm just not that type of guy, I love softer (yet still firm) crust on my pizza. I give this pizza the China Award for Walling in Cheesy Goodness. That's what China is, right? Just a huge section of the Earth made of nothing but cheese? Wait, it isn't? Excuse me, but somebody needs a few death penalties right now. *writes rest of blog, leaves*
- The cheese is so hot that it cannot be tasted but by the most sensitive taste buds.
- The sauce isn't hot, but somehow evades tasting.
- The bread: an impenetrable wall holding in the one thing that makes pizza pizza.
Phantom Brave: We Meet Again( Are you wondering why this blog took so long to make?) Well, this is why. I spent all of last week just trying to beat this game. That, and I had no other games to beat *ignores Mortal Kombat II*, but my point is that this game sucked up all my time, along with my penis. Notice how I didn't say that it "sucked my penis" but rather said that it "sucked up my penis." You know what that means, right? Actually, I don't think you do, for once, so let me explain: this game makes you grow a vagina.
It all starts when the sort-of-protagonist Ash dies while fighting the main bad guy you don't see until the end of the game. He then gets sentenced to an eternity in Hell. Granted, this isn't what the game tells you, but trust me, it's Hell. He's caught between the worlds of life and death, stuck babysitting a 13 year old girl who just hit puberty. That's not the bad part, it gets worse. She spends the entire game trying to save nature, befriending a handicapped girl (it's the girl thing I don't like), helping people for no pay, and doing all the stuff that makes me puke enough rainbows to bathe 12 leprechauns. For this reason (and only this reason, from what I can surmise), everybody in the world hates Marona. I can hear you asking me what the point of all this is, what you're supposed to do in the game. For the first chapter, it's just to buy the island you're living on, but the game continues for three chapters after this, so it can't be that. My best guess is that you're supposed to kill Sulfur, the baddy who killed you in the beginning, but it takes about 3 chapters of vagina growing to get to this. To be fair, there is an extra story mode that solves this problem with an alternate story (complete with the best intro ever ( summary for the lazy)) that gets to the point rather quickly, but trades in the OK cast of characters and competent dialogue to achieve this.
Also, it mostly trades in the reasonable difficulty for a difficulty that's hard but as close to reasonable as you can get without being reasonable. To make up for how lame that sentence was, I decided to carry over my data from the previous game to this new game mode, essentially setting to "Everybody is Dead" difficulty. It's like how Caesar won his war against Pompey by summoning Godzilla. I'd just send Marona across the islands alone, beating up every single enemy before they could even got a turn. Oh, wait, I just realized that you guys have no idea what I'm talking about. Allow me some time to explain the basic gameplay: every battle begins with Marona finding the nearest item and summoning a character through it. Once you've summoned your unholy army, you walk around the map like it's Final Fantasy Tactics (only with a better camera), beating the crap out of weak enemies and banishing strong enemies to the nether-regions that lie beyond the map (by which I mean "you toss them off the map"). You may be tempted to bash every enemy off the map, and while you definitely will do that, Phantom Brave does a good job of balancing that by makign sure you have to beat up at least one (sometimes two!) monster(s) to clear the map.
Unfortunately, the one strategy you'll always use to get that one enemy is "send Ash over to shove a sword up their rectum." That's pretty much the only strategy you'll ever need for any map; any other strategy you use will be a minor variation on that. And no, don't blame this on me, the game was literally asking for it; he comes with an ability that lets him act first on every map, and he's always going to be more powerful than any other character you will ever create ever. No amount of fusing or grinding in dungeons will create a better character. Oh, right, fusing: it's how you give characters new abilities. Rather than level up or buy new abilities, you give weapons abilities and then combine them into characters. It's a wonderful system with lots of room for customization and replay value, the only complaint I have being that you're never told how many abilities a given character can have, meaning you eventually reach a development wall and have to start jamming your character's weapons with kickass abilities. (I assume this is the same thing that happened to 3D Realms while making Duke Nukem Forever.)
Of course, you don't want to end up doing that, since it's usually a helluva lot more fun (and much smarter, strategically speaking) to spawn a bunch of weaponless demons to skate around the levels, throwing the enemy into the void. Notice how I said "skate around the levels" instead of "move from square to square around the levels." That's because this game completely does away with the traditional grid system in favor of a giant circle of all the places you can move to. It helps to make the world feel like a genuine place instead of a series of overly elaborate Stratego boards. You know what else helps to do that? The fact that there are now physics at play. Not just "press down to move down" crap; I'm talking about sliding and bouncing and tediously jumping up hills, wasting movement points as you go along. Some of the boards become Japanese curling contests as a result of this. However, while this hints at a deep strategy, the sad truth is that the game doesn't use much strategy at all. You just.....shit. I've already said everything about that.
Let's see, what else can I discuss? Oh, right, the weird quirks about this game. I'm not speaking of intentional game design or anything, just weird anomalies I found in this game. For example, you can skip cutscenes, but not while you're watching the cutscene (or "demo", as Phantom Brave calls them). OK, this is actually just bad, since you can accidentally find yourself growing a second vagina for rewatching a cutscene. Also, the game manages to drag you back into it, even after you've beaten it, with things like Disgaea characters and a bonus disc. Oh, right, I forgot to mention that I got Collector's Edition. (OK, I didn't forget, but I did in this blog, is what I'm saying.) It's not like other Collector's Editions that I'm too lazy to name but I'm sure exist, where you're paying more money for a crappy cardboard sleeve; no, this game actually has a reason to give you an edition that warrants collecting. It comes with (besides better box art) a little art disc that serves as a godsend to spriters everywhere. *points to myself* Hell, it even opened in Firefox, for some reason! Huzzah!
OK, this thing is getting too big, even for my tastes (read: patience) ( MY TASTES (READ: PATIENCE)!!!), let's wrap this up. You'd think I'd give this the Most Parenthetical Statements in a Single Blog Award, but I'm not that desperate. Instead, I'll opt for the Ultros Award for Funniest yet Least Necessary Plot Point. I'm referring to a moment in Another Marona (the extra story mode) where everybody starts calling Ash a pedophile. I am not exaggerating, I'm not making this all up, everybody just starts looking at Ash as Marona's creepy uncle (even, ironically, the one character who looks like an old Sgt. Hatred). They have nothing to base this on and it doesn't really move the story forward, so I'm assuming they put it in just for the laughs. And it works. Because I can't find any videos of it anywhere, just watch this through anime goggles. It's the same thing.
- When the game asks you to "Skip Demo?", DO IT!!!
- Then you can slide around the map, throwing enemies into nothingness and amassing enough abilities to make Fallout 3 blush.
- But you won't, because Ash will walk around the map and slice up anybody who looks at him funny.