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4.2 stars 4.2 Stars Average score of 103 user reviews

Awful Soundtrack & Easy, But Still Fun 0

Home to three great games in the Castlevania series, the GameBoy Advance is the perfect cure for all that ails the oldschool gamer. While not quite the creamy center we all expected, Harmony of Dissonance is still a benchmark for the system and a valuable learning experience (which paid off in Aria of Sorrow).  It is without question much easier than Circle of the Moon, and more closely resembles the PlayStation masterpiece Symphony of the Night. Game play Additions Despite the main cha...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

The best Cave Man simulation? 0

Artdink is a small Japanese company that has made some of the strangest gaming experiences in the medium. From the relaxing scuba diving in Aquanaut’s Holiday, to programming interplanetary war machines in Carnage Heart, they’ve pushed the envelope of what games can be. Tail of the Sun, an unusual caveman simulation, is no exception. It was released during a wonderful period of innovation on the original PlayStation when companies were bursting with ideas, like Parappa the Rapper (the fath...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Better than the recent numbered entries in the series 0

Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light is a side-story that takes its inspiration from the earlier 8-bit and 16-bit installments; a time when games were genuinely challenging and couldn’t rely on flashy graphics to hold a player’s attention.  Players can customize their characters with a variety of skills using the Crown System, which functions like the job system from Final Fantasy 3, though it has some interesting modifications.  One of my favorite artists in the video game world, Akihik...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Worth checking out! 0

Treasure Hunter G was developed by Sting and was the last game Squaresoft published on the Super Famicom. Like so many RPGs from that era, Treasure Hunter G was never released outside of Japan, which is a shame since this one is quite good.  Luckily some hardworking fans have since translated it in full for all to enjoy. Like Sting’s newer offerings Riviera and Yggdra Union, strategy will be the key to victory in Treasure Hunter G, which features 3D rendered characters. Storyline & Ch...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

A Good Launch Title 0

It’s not often that a system gets a launch title with as much clout as Castlevania, but the GameBoy Advance got lucky.  In this adventure Nathan Graves fills the role of the vampire hunter when Camilla revives Count Dracula in 1830.  It’s a race to the finish as Nathan’s mentor, Morris Baldwin, is being held somewhere inside the castle and will be sacrificed at the next full moon to restore the vampire to his full power.  A rivalry between Morris’ son Hugh and Nathan builds as they both s...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Really not that bad at all 0

Metroid: Other M, developed by Nintendo and Tecmo’s Team Ninja (known for the Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive games) is the first in the series where the main heroine, Samus Aran, has a speaking role.  Throughout the series’ 8 previous games, Samus Aran’s personality was little more than an outline tracing a fearless, silent galactic bounty hunter.  Her personality was left to the player’s imagination, akin to Star Wars’ Boba Fett, and that’s how players liked her.  Metroid: Other M fleshe...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Great for Gaming On The Go 0

Wario Ware Inc.: Mega Microgames (Mini Game Mania in Europe) capitalized on a game genre that arguably first appeared on the SEGA Saturn in 1998 ( Segata Sanshirō Shinken Yūgi). Containing 200 microgames, two dozen full-fledged minigames, and one or two complete remakes, Wario Ware is all about testing your reflexes in a huge variety of strange challenges. It can be played for more than two hours or for less than one minute at a time, and the player will accomplish something – perf...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

A pretty, but ill-conceived mess 0

Avalon Code is an Action-RPG in the vein of The Legend of Zelda, with a twist. At the outset, the player has the choice between a hero or heroine who is destined to change the world. They alone have the power to alter the Book of Prophecy – which eventually lists pretty much everything in existence. How you alter its contents effects change immediately, and will also determine what happens when the world is born anew.  It’s an intriguing premise that certainly could have brought someth...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

The Best Chapter Yet! 0

Professor Layton and his loyal apprentice Luke are back in their third (of four) puzzle-solving adventure for the Nintendo DS. A time machine demonstration goes wrong, and its inventor and several others disappear in the accident.  Layton then receives a letter from someone claiming to be Luke from ten years into the future.  The Professor’s itch to investigate leads to a wormhole that sends him and Luke to a strange, steampunk London ruled by “The Family”, an organized crime ring.  Even ...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Whimsical Adventures Await 0

Pikmin is Shigeru Miyamoto’s first 100% original game series on the Gamecube, and his first real-time strategy game. This is more than enough to warrant an examination. At first, it would appear to be a strategy game for kids, with cute characters and simplistic play. However, looks can be deceiving and Pikmin contains all sorts of challenges that will entertain older gamers as well. A Whole New World Olimar, a deep-space pilot, crash-lands on an alien planet. Along the way, ...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

I liked the changes! 0

Fire Emblem is a turn-based strategy RPG series from Intelligent Systems that predates the Shining Force, Ogre Battle, and Tactics games by several years. It’s the twin brother of the Famicom Wars series – made famous by its GBA incarnation Advance Wars. And like Advance Wars, Fire Emblem’s worldwide debut came on the Gameboy Advance – after more than 6 iterations on earlier Nintendo consoles. The Sacred Stones is the third game in the series made for the GBA, but only the second one ...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Morph Ball Craziness 0

Hot off the success of Samus Aran’s first foray into the 3D realm, Retro Studios went back to work on the inevitable sequel. Samus takes off from Talon IV only to retrieve a distress signal from space marines stationed on planet Aether. The Luminoth are in a life and death struggle with the Ing and it’s up to Samus to save them. Yin & Yang Echoing the goals of Mario Sunshine and Billy Hatcher, the goal of the game is to return light to the realms of Luminoth that has been stolen b...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Unprecedented amount of content for a portable RPG 0

Square-Enix sent shockwaves through the worldwide gaming community when it announced that the latest chapter in its long running role-playing game series Dragon Quest was being developed for the Nintendo DS.  Each new game in the franchise had always been developed for the most successful game console of its day, but back in 2006 (with no clear indication of what the future console wars might bring) Square-Enix broke series tradition and went with the popular portable.  The previous game ...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

The Definitive Metroid Experience 0

What with Metroid: Other M releasing in a few days, I felt it was appropriate to revisit earlier chapters in the Metroid series, culminating with the best: Super Metroid.  It regularly ranks highly on lists of the “best games of all time”, and is widely considered an indisputable classic. It inspired a whole new form of level design that has been copied by the Castlevania series, among others.  Newcomers can experience it today on the Wii’s Virtual Console for 800 Wii points (a classic co...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

How Remakes Ought To Be Done 0

Yoshio Sakamoto, after a successful return to the Metroid series with Metroid Fusion, brought even more love to the GameBoy Advance with Metroid Zero Mission, a remake of the one that started it all.  Game design philosophy, let alone the technology, had changed dramatically during the 20 year span between the original and the remake, but the fundamental ideas are still as green as ever.  The combination of traditional and progressive design results in a 2D action game that retains ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

New Suit, New Direction 0

Yoshio Sakamoto returns to his classic game series after a long hiatus.  Metroid Fusion is the first Metroid on the GameBoy Advance, and it’s a stunner.  The manga-style intro makes it clear that Samus has been infected by a mysterious virus code-named “X”.  After ramming her famous yellow spaceship into an asteroid belt, Samus is rescued and her infected suit is surgically removed at a special research station.  Ironically, the thing that saves Samus is a vaccine derived from the recov...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Bowser... the underdog? 0

AlphaDream is an extremely talented group of former Squaresoft employees led by the directors of the original Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (Super Nintendo). The Mario RPG games are known for mixing the jumping of Mario with traditional RPG elements.  It’s a surprisingly good mash-up, and there have been several games made to take advantage of the formula.  Each game in the Mario & Luigi series has added a new twist, and in Bowser’s Inside Story it’s the addition of Bowser...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Short but sweet 0

The Legend of Zelda – The Minish Cap continues the collaboration between Capcom and Nintendo established with the Oracle games on GameBoy Color.  What makes Minish Cap exciting is the combination of the new shrinking game play mechanic and a return to colorful 2d graphics.  Featuring entirely new tilesets and character sprites in the vein of Four Swords Adventures, Minish Cap is one of the last 2D Zelda games released. A Wrinkle in Zelda’s Mythology Appears The story starts off with a b...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Wow! 0

Each year dozens of Japanese games are passed over for release outside of the land of the rising sun, much to the chagrin of gamers around the world.  One of the most egregious cases is that of Mother 3, the third game in a series created by acclaimed writer Shigesato Itoi with Nintendo.  The first game had been created for the original 8-bit Nintendo Famicom, the sequel (known as Earthbound in the West) was released on the Super Nintendo, and the third game was due to be released on the ...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

You Get What You Put Into It 0

One could be forgiven for getting Mario and Wario confused, but the Wario games tweak the underlying formula enough that the two play quite differently.  Although he looks (and acts) like a brutish thug, Wario faces levels laced with puzzles that would stump the Mario Bros..  Wario concerns himself with collecting treasure over saving damsels in distress, and it’s pretty surprising what he has to do to find and collect it all.  If along the way he inadvertently saves the day, that’s mere ...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Right Up There With Classic 16-bit RPGs 0

The first four Dragon Quest games sold relatively poorly in North America late in the life cycle of the original 8-bit Nintendo, causing Enix to lose faith in the market. Despite fans clamoring for the release of the Super Nintendo sequels, the two “lost chapters” in the Dragon Quest series would not receive worldwide releases until the DS remakes. The original Japanese Dragon Quest 5 is now 18 years old, and has finally received its official English translation. Yuji Horii, the series...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Frustrating, but ultimately enjoyable 0

Capcom took a risk by releasing a point-and-click adventure title about a year after the release of the Nintendo Wii.  Starring the young treasure-loving Zack and his strange sidekick Wiki, the pair soon find the golden skull of Captain Barbaros, a legendary pirate.  In return for finding and reassembling the rest of his scattered remains, Barbaros offers Zack his own ship, a deal that’s too good to refuse.  Their globe-spanning adventures take them to Mayan jungle ruins, fiery lava pits,...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

It's Out of This World 0

The first Super Mario Galaxy recaptured the old magic that started it all while reinventing the 3D platformer with fun new gravity physics and power suits.  The sequel picks up right where the first ended, and in some ways it may feel a bit like more of the same.  In this case, however, that’s certainly not a bad thing.  Super Mario Galaxy was one of the most refined, polished video games I have ever played, and a second dose of that kind of fun is exactly what the doctor ordered. Power...

4 out of 5 found this review helpful.

Timeless Classic 0

Chrono Trigger was the last great RPG for the Super Nintendo from Squaresoft, and remains a favorite of RPG enthusiasts more than 10 years after its release.  The development team was nicknamed the Dream Team, because they were composed of Final Fantasy veterans Hironobu Sakaguchi and composer Nobuo Uematsu, as well as Dragon Quest veterans Yuji Hori and Akira Toriyama.  This sort of partnership was unprecedented at the time, especially among rival companies like Squaresoft and Enix (whic...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Good but far below expectations 0

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is the strategy game starring four friends, each troubled by real-life problems, who read an incantation found in a strange book in the small town of St.Ivalice.  Reading the children’s hearts, the enchanted book transforms the sleepy town into the Final Fantasy world of Ivalice, where their dreams become reality.  Some of them decide to stay in the fantasy world to escape their troubles, but Marche decides he must face reality.  To do so he must destroy the ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Worth the wait 0

Final Fantasy 5 was a 16-bit buried treasure, taunting non-Japanese gamers in magazine previews with the likes of Dragon Quest 5 and 6 back in the early ’90s. Fortunately, Squaresoft saw fit to release the game in English on the PlayStation in 1999, seven years after its debut on the Super Famicom. It would take another seven years for the game to see its most complete English release, on the Gameboy Advance, in 2006. It was one of the first games to be translated by rom-hacking fans, ...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Remains one of the best racers 0

Even years after its release F-Zero GX remains one of the best racing games ever made.  Having previously created the arcade hit Daytona USA, SEGA’s Amusement Vision had all the experience necessary to tackle Nintendo’s long-running futuristic racing series. They brought together all of the traditional F-Zero elements (recharge strips, boost power, arrow zippers, and ramps) while introducing some new ideas into the mix.  Beautiful Racing Venues The designers at Amusement Vision clearly...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Formula is wearing thin 0

Castlevania’s 2nd installment on the DS implements yet another gimmick attempting to rejuvenate the formula: players can swap between two new heroes named Jonathan and Charlotte.  Unfortunately neither character possesses unique abilities of the sort seen in Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse.  Jonathan’s your typical Belmont wannabe and Charlotte’s your typical spell-casting magical schoolgirl.  Usually you control one or the other though they can called upon to perform special moves and t...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Threads of Fate is a decent game, but could have been better 0

Threads of Fate (originally titled Dewprism in Japan) is an action-RPG divided into two different story threads.  At the outset players choose between Mint (a magic user) or Rue (a fighter).  While the storyline focuses on different main characters (interweaving at certain points), the adventures are roughly the same.  Rue’s quest has a more serious tone than Mint’s, but both feature their fair share of light moments.  The cast of a dozen supporting characters each have distinct and enjoy...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

It Hits The Pleasure Center of Your Brain 0

The Legend of Zelda takes a detour in Spirit Tracks, the pseudo-sequel to 2007’s Phantom Hourglass.  Inspired by his son’s favorite children’s book titled The Tracks Go On and On, director Eiji Aonuma decided to include trains as a key ingredient, and the game takes off full-steam in this new direction.  Although many classic Zelda elements are present and accounted for,  half of the time you spend with the game will be aboard the train.  Zelda purists may cry foul at the changes being i...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Some improvements and some drawbacks... 0

Professor Layton and his peppy sidekick Luke are back in their 2nd grand adventure for the Nintendo DS.  This time they’re hot on the trail of the Elysian Box, an ornamental artifact said to (gulp) kill anyone who dares open it.  The Professor gets a letter from an old colleague about the box and, sensing something is amiss, he and Luke soon discover the old man’s body – with the Elysian Box nowhere to be found.  The letter included a mysterious ticket (destination unknown) aboard the Mol...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

A solid platformer, but bland graphics 0

Sporting ridiculously long ears and a Pac-Man pin in his cap, Klonoa was one of 32-bit’s original heroes, starring in a 2.5D puzzle-platformer with an oldschool vibe.  Klonoa’s charm lies not only in its colorful setting or the cute and cuddly inhabitants of Phantomile, but in the grab-and-shoot game play that feels slightly reminiscent of the similarly named Kirby’s Dreamland.  It is therefore somewhat disappointing that Klonoa has appeared in only a small handful of titles, 3 of which a...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Arguably the best shoot-em-up ever made. 0

Treasure’s Ikaruga, the follow-up to their legendary vertical shooter Radiant Silvergun, is a stunning example of the genre achieving a perfect balance between game design and design aesthetic.  Ikaruga isn’t just another shooter – it’s a work of art; the result of years of experience creating excellent games in the genre by a small handful of talented individuals (amazingly, the developer credits list only 4 people). Gameplay Basically, all the enemies in the game are broken down into two col...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

One of the best in the series 0

Breath of Fire 4 focuses on two main characters. Fou-Lu, a god-like badass who has just awoken from a 500 year slumber, and Ryu, who appears out of thin air with no recollection of who or what he is. You’ll spend most of the time with Ryu and his friends, which are fairly well developed and likable, and the scenario moves along at a smooth pace with never a dull moment. A fragile cease-fire between empires hangs in the balance, with Ryu and Fou-Lu, and Nina’s lost sister caught in the middle. Di...

6 out of 6 found this review helpful.

Way more addictive than I thought it would be 0

Originally released on the NES back in 1990, it’s 18 years later and Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen has found a new home on the Nintendo DS.  How does it stack up to other RPGs and what is new?  Story  Dragon Quest 4’s storyline is split up into 5 chapters.  The first 4 chapters introduce the heroes in the game as the evil spreads throughout the land.  These chapters are great as they develop the secondary characters in different areas of the world map, so that you really get a good s...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Killing for money - what could possibly go wrong? 0

No More Heroes is one of the few M-rated titles on the Nintendo Wii, and with good reason.  It’s a comic-book inspired kill-fest splattered with ridiculous geysers of blood streaming from the enemies you decapitate or cut in half.  Sexual overtones seep into just about every aspect of the game, from the hilarious titles of overdue porno rentals left on your answering machine to the way you jerk your light saber to recharge it.  And like any good action movie that doesn’t take itself too seriousl...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Breath of Fire 3 could probably have been better... 0

Capcom’s Breath of Fire games have never been top shelf material. The main selling point is a hero who can transform into a dragon, and Capcom’s signature 2d sprite-work. Despite owning all the games in the series, I’d only ever completed the original SNES game, when I decided to start Breath of Fire 3. Story The story has some nice ideas, and sort of delves into the history of how the Brood were hunted down, but is bogged down by cliched scenarios. You will compete in a battle tournament, vi...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Klonoa is colorful retro-gaming bliss 0

In case you missed it the first time around, the critically acclaimed PS1 classic Klonoa: Door to Phantomile has been remade for the Wii. The development team is once again led by Hideo Yoshizawa, who cut his teeth on the Ninja Gaiden series for the original Nintendo. The old-school game design philosophy is echoed in the game’s 2.5D levels; the world is 3D but the player is limited to a 2D play field. This clearly defines where you can and can’t go, facilitating jumping challenges and preventin...

0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Mario's back from his Sunny vacation! 0

Super Mario 64 ushered the platforming game play of old into the 3d realm, setting a very high standard for the Mario series and video games in general. When Super Mario Sunshine failed to recapture that special Mario magic, it was with cautious optimism that we awaited Super Mario Galaxy. New Super Mario Bros for the DS proved to be an enjoyable romp down memory lane, so perhaps Galaxy was worth getting excited about. Little did we know just how great it was… In the game’s spectacular intro, B...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

A candidate for the "perfect video game" 0

It’s easy to forget that Mega Man was a revolutionary action platformer back when it made its debut in the mid ’80s. A robotic hero echoing Astro Boy who defeats rogue robots created by a mad scientist, Mega Man had the unusual ability to assimilate his enemy’s weapon. Each robot had a hidden weakness that Mega Man could exploit if he had the right one.  Filled with a solid mixture of jumping and shooting challenges, Mega Man appeared like a bolt of lightning out of a clear blue sky. Despite i...

2 out of 3 found this review helpful.