By Video_Game_King 29 Comments
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
(Wait, didn't I already do this game, like LONG long ago?) Actually....yes, I totally did, back in the early days of season 1, when I didn't know shit about graphic design. (Not that I do now, but...uh...) Although I didn't read it for this blog (because I'd most likely end up repeating every goddamn thing I said there), I do remember writing that to be a painful experience where I flailed about for a few paragraphs and hoped that I said something about adventure games. Well, you know what? I've played a few adventure games since then, and I have a good feel for what makes a game in that genre good...yet I'm still not confident that I can write an objective, worthwhile piece on the damn game.
But I'll try. Oh god, will I try. Now, as we all know, The Secret of Monkey Island follows the tale of Thig-wait, I used that joke before? Fuck it; it's still a good joke. Anyway, The Secret of Monkey Island follows the tale of Thighbrush Deepwood trying to get laid. Yes, I know that he doesn't come to the island with any intention of getting with a lady (mainly because there are only three female characters throughout the entire game), but once that first act is over, Deepwood's motivations are clear: he's after pussy. Now was that funny? Sort of? Well, that's what the entire game is like. In fact, I've invented a word for it: funnish. What does that mean? You'll recognize that the jokes in this game are funny, but you'll never laugh out loud at the game like you would Portal 2; instead, you'll just think, "Yea, that's pretty funny" before going back to figuring out what the fuck you're supposed to do with the meat. (Poison it and feed it to puppies is the right answer.) Imagine a 90s cartoon that you wouldn't actively laugh at. Actually, just imagine the 90s cartoon, because that's exactly what this game is: something you'd watch in between Rocko's Modern Life and Animaniacs. Don't believe me? Listen to Stan and tell me that that's not a product of its era. (As long as I'm talking voice actors, Special Edition Deepwood vaguely sounds like Neil Patrick Harris. Might as well throw that out there.) And that's just scratching the surface; I didn't even mention the light fourth wall stuff or how awkward Thighbrush is, mainly because I was saving it for now. I'd say that I love it, since it gives the game a shitload of personality, but that personality is an utterly mellow one, so I don't feel like I can. I can say that it's pretty damn cool, though.
Wait, I just remembered something: the original Monkey Island didn't have voice acting. (I figured that out when I switched back to the original Monkey Island.) Turns out that the Special Edition adds a ton of extra shit to justify its special status. "Like what?", you don't ask? Well, for one, a streamlined interface. No longer do you have to navigate clunky menus full of options you'll only use twice throughout the entire game. Now it's as simple as "left click to walk up to something, right click to use the one option that will actually do something." I know that this sounds like a minor thing to talk about, but holy shit does it make the game easier to enjoy. Before, everything seemed daunting and I worried about using every option with everything (given how relaxed the game is, I consider this the most dickish form of torture); now, all those scary actions are tucked away into sensible keyboard shortcuts. (Well, except for pulling, but how often did that come up? Twice?) And yea, I think that's all there is to th-graphics. Forgot the graphics. Turns out that this was another update included in the Special Edition. Like the voice acting, it lends the game a cartoony personality, but not too much personality. In fact, the only two things I distinctly remember are Thighbrush staring at me with a "now what do I do" look on his face and the game chugging along at about two frames per minute. As always, that probably means the game looks fucking fantastic on computers not made before the invention of the steam engine.
That's more than I can say for the puzzles. Now I'm not insulting the puzzles in any way; I'm just saying that it's near impossible to say anything about them when you remember half the goddamn solutions. How am I supposed to know that following the shopkeeper to the sword master was a fair puzzle when I specifically recall that from however long ago I played the game? Yet there were puzzles that I had a hard time solving (and with that line, past and present are equally painful), and for those, I can say that they're decently challenging. There were definitely times when I wandered around the various maps throughout the game, trying to figure out just what the hell I was supposed to do. But here's the surprising thing about the game: I never got too pissed at any of the puzzle solutions. (I hate gathering those insults/comebacks for different reasons entirely.) All the answers actually made sense in some way, and over time, I was able to get a handle on just what weird system of logic Monkey Island was employing behind the scenes. (Maybe. Again, it's hard to call the ending easy when you remember exactly how to beat LeChuck. (I'll still do it, though.)) But even if you don't eventually understand the game's logic system, don't worry, dumbass. There's a hint system in this game to guide you to the answers! Granted, it's never once mentioned and it can move from utterly useless to condescendingly dickish within a few uses, but it's there, damn it. So I guess this is the best adventure game ever, right? Not even close. Second best? Yea, somewhere in that neighborhood.
- It's like Rocko's Modern Life: The Game...except not that.
- If you're gonna get any version of this game, it should probably be this one. (Of course, I shouldn't have to tell you this.)
- The puzzles are....uh...they're puzzles, alright. I think.
Guys, what happened to my skin? I left it jus-WHY IS EVERYTHING SO FIVE?!?
Tetris Battle Gaiden
(Wait, two puzzle games in one blog?) (What do you do in an adventure game?....Exactly.) Shouldn't I try to introduce some variety in the games I cover? And two 90s games in one blog? Didn't I already do th....try to do that back in my Sonic CD blog? I'd ask if I'm running out of ideas, but I think I ran out of ideas a long time ag-Why am I spending so much of this time complaining? It's Tetris; what's there to complain about? We're about to find out...maybe.
Now what the hell is there to say about Tetris? It's a game that everyone has played and everyone knows. In fact, I don't even have to explain it...but I do have to explain Tetris Battle Gaiden, since it adds A LOT to the Tetris formula. Like what? Like a multiplayer focus. Yes, I know that sounds odd, since previous Tetris games had multiplayer, but here's the thing: they also had single player, which this game doesn't really have. Sure, there's an option that says "play by yourself" (once you translate it, of course), but that just means you get to fight the AI instead of somebody as smart as the AI. This changes things immensely. For example, you're both drawing from the same pool of Tetris pieces. That means you have to be pretty quick on the draw, then, right? Well, yes and no; speed of play is certainly important, but the game stresses being an asshole above all else. Think about it: you don't want that dick to use a T piece to send your pile rocketing to the heavens (unless this is Meteos. Then again, this isn't Meteos, so you generally don't want that happening.), so how do you stop him from getting it? Well, you could jam pieces onto your board as quick as possible, or you could waste all the time in the world while they jam pieces onto their board, or you could fuck around with the game's spinning mechancis, or some fourth thing. My point is that there's a lot of strategy to be found in this game. All of these are tactics I've seen the AI use, and damn it, I can't insult them for it. I have to compliment them on the matter, since it turns them into competent enemies instead of piss-easy wastes of time. Hell, I've seen the crafty bastards waste their own power-ups just to prevent me from getting four lines on them. If that video from before wasn't proof enough that computers can be assholes, let this serve as that proof.
Oh, and speaking of power-ups, damn, do the people behind this game know their Tetris. Yea, you have your obvious power-ups, like clearing lines and that exact same thing (I'm pretty sure everybody has something like that), but things can be more subtle than that, like fucking up a single tiny aspect about the controls or massive explosions. Again, there's a ton of strategy to be found in using these things, like using gravity to turn stone pieces into a combo machine, or using that control thing to buy yourself time so you can destroy people with your combo machine. I know that sounds kinda minor (and it sounds like the game is about building a combo machine instead of destroying things), but it can feel sooo good to see your power-up utterly destroy an opponent in one fell swoop. Yes, that includes using one of those stacking power-ups to push your opponent's pile up when it's already close to the top. Then again, the system could use some improvements, like being able to choose which power-up you want to use. Yes, that's something that's not in this game, and no, I don't know why. I spent more of my time worrying about some butthole using an orb stealing power-up than I did about that. For those of you who can't see why that's a bad thing, go out and play this game (I've already given you enough reasons, and I'm prepared to give you more). Go and see your opponent steal your power-up-inducing orbs and then use them in a one-two punch to destroy you in five seconds. It's the sole reason why I hated dealing with those dwarves throughout the game. Wait...what? I probably should have explained that there are characters in this game, lest you think I invited little people over specifically so I could yell at them for beating me in obscure Japanese video games. Characters like Pyro Jack (there's no way you're kicking his ass; not even if you're King Frost), a Ninja, a Princess....yea, none of them are really that memorable or compelling, but that's not why you play Tetris Battle Gaiden. You play Tetris Battle Gaiden because you want to get revenge on somebody, and your best option is Tetris.
- It's Tetris: The Fighting Game.