What the hell's a Bandicoot? Or a Wolfenstein?

Crash Bandicoot

(For the former, I guess that's a somewhat fitting question.) As to why, more on that a bit later. Right now, it's review time, and lucky you, both of these are games that everybody has heard of. The game I speak of...well, that's obvious, since it's blatantly written at the top. What isn't so obvious is what I think of the game, so let's start with my belief that this was Sony's response to Donkey Kong Country. Come on, how could you not know that? It's a crazy mammal jumping around in wacky jungle environments.

Let me say that this was not a negative statement on the game, but rather a little historical observation. I liked the game, and I'm sure I would've loved it when it came out (I was an N64 kid, mind you). The first thing that would've caught my attention would have been the word "bandicoot" and what the hell it was (along with echidnas). But once I got past that, I'd notice that it's all about the fun. The main goal of each level is just to jump about and avoid enemies until you reach the end. No gimmick or catch; just jumping.

Normally, this would make for a crap game without some sort of twist (as was the case with Shadow of the Beast, an old PC game where you walk to the right until you get bored), but Crash doesn't have that twist. Instead, he has to rely on conventional tactics, like level design and charm. First, the level design: many of them are memorable, fun to play through, and...not 3D. Yea, there are only two kinds: a sorta-3D perspective where movement is relative to the screen (IE forward/away), and the 2D stages which prove my theory that many developers in the early days of 3D were very, very lazy. 

Yet there is another, more serious problem with the 2D perspective thing. You know how in most games, when you press down, your character crouches? Not in Bandicoot; since the game still thinks you're in 3D, it just makes the....whatever-the-crap-he-is move torward the screen, leading to many unfair deaths until you adjust. At least it would lead to many unfair deaths, if not for the game's overgenerosity when lives enter the picture. I ended the game with about 90 lives, and given the frequency of the bonus levels, I find that number to be completely average.

However, the game is still worth playing, despite some of the flaws I have listed and have yet to list, like graphics that have poorly aged or MIDI music with like results. But as I said, this game is still worth it, if only to relive whatever random piece of your childhood contained batshit insane animals beating up scientiests. Speaking of which, most of the boss battles are pretty good; I can only remember one that was pure crap. Add that to the numerous reasons to get Crash Bandicoot, along with the Best Shirtless Hero Award.

Oh, wait, I forgot one little asterisk to this whole review. Inevitably, some of you will ask me to compare this game to Super Mario 64, the definitive 3D platformer. My response would be that these games are two completely different animals with dissimilar results. Super Mario 64 is a kind of open world platformer with cool power-ups and levels, while Crash Bandicoot is more of a traditional platformer filled with zany charm. Personally, I'd go with Super Mario 64 out of sentimental value, but I wouldn't fault you for choosing the latter.




Now I know this next video will earn me nothing more than baseless controversy, so let me say it now: I ONLY PICKED IT BECAUSE IT WAS FUNNY.
  

And out of fairness, here's a funny video for the other side. 2-for-1 deal!

Wolfenstein 3D (SNES version)

Not exactly.
(And for the political correctness spectrum to be in perfect balance, I must give equal time to the Nazis.) Why? Shut up, that's why. I'm doing a Wolfenstein review, and you're going to sit here and read it, word for word. Or watch the thing that inspired me to play the game, whatever it takes for you to comment on this blog :P.

As we all know, Wolfenstein 3D concenrs itself with the story of an American soldier infiltrating the various Nazi cast-OH WAIT. Yea, Nintendo kinda demanded that id edit out all the Nazi parts of the game, making it a weird experience where I had to make up my own story: FDR sends an American soldier into various fun-land castles, mainly because the damn guy needs a break. But for whatever reason, Mr. America (the soldier, as I will refer to him from now on) decided to smuggle weapons into this fun-land castle, so all the nine foot security guards tell him to stop in very clear English. Mr. America does not comply, so they must unleash the mastiff-size rats (ratstiffs?), disco zombies, and shaven Hitlers in mecha-suits. Let me reiterate that the circumstances made this incredibly strange, not me.

But what isn't strange is the gameplay (which should be incredibly obvious, given how it was essentially a blueprint for the entire FPS genre). Standard FPS fare: you point a gun, you shoot, fun-land employees die or don't die. Repeat ad infinitum. Sounds pretty boring, right? Well, not really. The game mainly focuses on shooting the crap out of anything that moves, giving it that simple, violent feel that several other games lack. However, there are some screw-ups, like the sometimes harsh difficulty. Should you die, you go back to the beginning of the level (that's not the bad part), left only with a crap pistol that can barely kill a single employee, let alone a bunch of them (that's the bad part). In the later levels, where there can be enough enemies on screen that their corpses cause slowdown.

Although the death system cannot be entirely blamed: the graphics also contribute their fair share of problems. Dear God, they have not aged well at all. Everything has this very pixelated feel to it, everything looking blurred from a distance. By contrast (as I alluded to earlier), anything close to is nine feet tall and will jam their crotch in your face. And I know this was supposed to be in Nazi castles filled with whatever gold Dr. Jones didn't already swipe, but why are there so many f'ing portraits of Der Fuhrer? Did some Nazi see that old Donald Duck cartoon, thinking it would be hilarious to see the real-life application of that? Or, continuing on that train of logic, did the developers fail at making the game any easier? Mission failed, id.

OK, I think I've wandered a bit from my original point to the extent that I've forgotten it. So instead, let me speak of the other flaws, like mouse controls. You'd think that a PC game in a PC genre would control perfectly with the mouse, but I guess a weird space vortex created by the lack of Nazis turned the mouse controls to shit. Yea, you can move perfectly fine, shooting's OK, but what kills it for me is the doors. Opening them with the mouse is a finicky process that destroys the game when you realize that the door count goes up with each level, and the only way to keep them permanently open is to hope that somebody dies in the door. The maps could be better, and the weapon selection is a bit meager, but my main complaints were the graphics, controls, and the things I actually fleshed out. They don't make the game worse; they only reveal how old and outdated it is compared to other games. So I give it the Original Trilogy Award for Poorly Aged Quality, and anybody who posts here this key advice: before insulting me for calling a game crap, keep in mind that I score them. Complain about the scores, if you feel the need to. (Also a warning for future blogs.)
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Posted by Video_Game_King

Crash Bandicoot

(For the former, I guess that's a somewhat fitting question.) As to why, more on that a bit later. Right now, it's review time, and lucky you, both of these are games that everybody has heard of. The game I speak of...well, that's obvious, since it's blatantly written at the top. What isn't so obvious is what I think of the game, so let's start with my belief that this was Sony's response to Donkey Kong Country. Come on, how could you not know that? It's a crazy mammal jumping around in wacky jungle environments.

Let me say that this was not a negative statement on the game, but rather a little historical observation. I liked the game, and I'm sure I would've loved it when it came out (I was an N64 kid, mind you). The first thing that would've caught my attention would have been the word "bandicoot" and what the hell it was (along with echidnas). But once I got past that, I'd notice that it's all about the fun. The main goal of each level is just to jump about and avoid enemies until you reach the end. No gimmick or catch; just jumping.

Normally, this would make for a crap game without some sort of twist (as was the case with Shadow of the Beast, an old PC game where you walk to the right until you get bored), but Crash doesn't have that twist. Instead, he has to rely on conventional tactics, like level design and charm. First, the level design: many of them are memorable, fun to play through, and...not 3D. Yea, there are only two kinds: a sorta-3D perspective where movement is relative to the screen (IE forward/away), and the 2D stages which prove my theory that many developers in the early days of 3D were very, very lazy. 

Yet there is another, more serious problem with the 2D perspective thing. You know how in most games, when you press down, your character crouches? Not in Bandicoot; since the game still thinks you're in 3D, it just makes the....whatever-the-crap-he-is move torward the screen, leading to many unfair deaths until you adjust. At least it would lead to many unfair deaths, if not for the game's overgenerosity when lives enter the picture. I ended the game with about 90 lives, and given the frequency of the bonus levels, I find that number to be completely average.

However, the game is still worth playing, despite some of the flaws I have listed and have yet to list, like graphics that have poorly aged or MIDI music with like results. But as I said, this game is still worth it, if only to relive whatever random piece of your childhood contained batshit insane animals beating up scientiests. Speaking of which, most of the boss battles are pretty good; I can only remember one that was pure crap. Add that to the numerous reasons to get Crash Bandicoot, along with the Best Shirtless Hero Award.

Oh, wait, I forgot one little asterisk to this whole review. Inevitably, some of you will ask me to compare this game to Super Mario 64, the definitive 3D platformer. My response would be that these games are two completely different animals with dissimilar results. Super Mario 64 is a kind of open world platformer with cool power-ups and levels, while Crash Bandicoot is more of a traditional platformer filled with zany charm. Personally, I'd go with Super Mario 64 out of sentimental value, but I wouldn't fault you for choosing the latter.




Now I know this next video will earn me nothing more than baseless controversy, so let me say it now: I ONLY PICKED IT BECAUSE IT WAS FUNNY.
  

And out of fairness, here's a funny video for the other side. 2-for-1 deal!

Wolfenstein 3D (SNES version)

Not exactly.
(And for the political correctness spectrum to be in perfect balance, I must give equal time to the Nazis.) Why? Shut up, that's why. I'm doing a Wolfenstein review, and you're going to sit here and read it, word for word. Or watch the thing that inspired me to play the game, whatever it takes for you to comment on this blog :P.

As we all know, Wolfenstein 3D concenrs itself with the story of an American soldier infiltrating the various Nazi cast-OH WAIT. Yea, Nintendo kinda demanded that id edit out all the Nazi parts of the game, making it a weird experience where I had to make up my own story: FDR sends an American soldier into various fun-land castles, mainly because the damn guy needs a break. But for whatever reason, Mr. America (the soldier, as I will refer to him from now on) decided to smuggle weapons into this fun-land castle, so all the nine foot security guards tell him to stop in very clear English. Mr. America does not comply, so they must unleash the mastiff-size rats (ratstiffs?), disco zombies, and shaven Hitlers in mecha-suits. Let me reiterate that the circumstances made this incredibly strange, not me.

But what isn't strange is the gameplay (which should be incredibly obvious, given how it was essentially a blueprint for the entire FPS genre). Standard FPS fare: you point a gun, you shoot, fun-land employees die or don't die. Repeat ad infinitum. Sounds pretty boring, right? Well, not really. The game mainly focuses on shooting the crap out of anything that moves, giving it that simple, violent feel that several other games lack. However, there are some screw-ups, like the sometimes harsh difficulty. Should you die, you go back to the beginning of the level (that's not the bad part), left only with a crap pistol that can barely kill a single employee, let alone a bunch of them (that's the bad part). In the later levels, where there can be enough enemies on screen that their corpses cause slowdown.

Although the death system cannot be entirely blamed: the graphics also contribute their fair share of problems. Dear God, they have not aged well at all. Everything has this very pixelated feel to it, everything looking blurred from a distance. By contrast (as I alluded to earlier), anything close to is nine feet tall and will jam their crotch in your face. And I know this was supposed to be in Nazi castles filled with whatever gold Dr. Jones didn't already swipe, but why are there so many f'ing portraits of Der Fuhrer? Did some Nazi see that old Donald Duck cartoon, thinking it would be hilarious to see the real-life application of that? Or, continuing on that train of logic, did the developers fail at making the game any easier? Mission failed, id.

OK, I think I've wandered a bit from my original point to the extent that I've forgotten it. So instead, let me speak of the other flaws, like mouse controls. You'd think that a PC game in a PC genre would control perfectly with the mouse, but I guess a weird space vortex created by the lack of Nazis turned the mouse controls to shit. Yea, you can move perfectly fine, shooting's OK, but what kills it for me is the doors. Opening them with the mouse is a finicky process that destroys the game when you realize that the door count goes up with each level, and the only way to keep them permanently open is to hope that somebody dies in the door. The maps could be better, and the weapon selection is a bit meager, but my main complaints were the graphics, controls, and the things I actually fleshed out. They don't make the game worse; they only reveal how old and outdated it is compared to other games. So I give it the Original Trilogy Award for Poorly Aged Quality, and anybody who posts here this key advice: before insulting me for calling a game crap, keep in mind that I score them. Complain about the scores, if you feel the need to. (Also a warning for future blogs.)