Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Level Up: Mega Man

So November is now here, and like any Nintendo fan, I’m excited for Super Smash Bros. on WiiU. Sure, I’m still enjoying the 3DS version, but Smash Bros. just works so much better on home consoles (plus the 50 facts video did get my hyped). But whether it’s on WiiU or 3DS, there’s a new character to Smash that people have been requesting for a while: Mega Man. And why not? He’s just as recognizable as most of the cast and probably more so than the first 3rd party character introduced: Snake. Plus, he got his start on a Nintendo console, which is what we’ll be looking at today. Here’s Mega Man, originally for the Nintendo Entertainment System, but I’ll be playing it on the Mega Man Anniversary Collection.
To get this out of the way, the biggest down point to the first Mega Man is that it’s missing a lot of things that later becomes standard in the series: no Rush, no password, no charge shot and a bunch of other things. As a matter of fact, this game only has 6 Robot Masters, 2 less than the other games.
That being said, since this is the first game, it has established more than any other single game from the series. Things like the run and gun platform game style, the Rock-Paper-Scissors motif, the ability to select any stage, the Wily level after beating the others, etc… Really, all of the other standard things add to it, but putting this game into perspective, you don’t feel like you’re missing out at all.
This even applies to the Robot Masters, as despite there only being 6, they are overall the most recognizable group. This might have to do with the fact that they were first, but Gutsman alone was brought back at least 2 more times, Cutman is always a favorite and Elecman is an assist trophy in the new Smash Bros, that’s already half of them. They’re all well designed for both powers and look, and just that right level of challenge (expect for Iceman, he’s a pushover).
It should go without saying that this game did establish the basic look for Mega Man, along with how robots look in this world, Dr. Wily and a few other aspects. That being said, remember how I said in another Mega Man review that some of the graphics looked like they were too soft, or full of air? Well this game seems to be on the other side of that spectrum: some things seem too small or scrawny. Perhaps I’m spoiled by future games with half screen wide sub-bosses and other bigger enemies to that identify themselves as being tougher. I also got to mention some of the coloring: yeeesh. I don’t know what you’d call the color of Cutman’s stage, but “nauseating blue-green” comes to mind. But these are just nit picks for the graphics. As a matter of fact, I have no nit-picks I can think of for the sound: it’s all well placed, good and the sound effects have become iconic.
I guess at this point you’re wondering what the plot of Mega Man is. I mean, the series is so big that the first game has to have started an amazing plot, right? Well the story actually goes that that Dr. Light and his assistant had created a total of 7 humanoid robots together, all to serve different functions in society. However, Dr. Lights’ assistant, the now infamous Dr. Wily, grew disloyal and reprogrammed 6 robots to help him, you guessed it, take over the world *OF COURSE*. The 7th Robot, originally called Rock Man, but localized as Mega Man, was sent in to take care of the situation. That’s right, Dr. Wily and the Robot Masters started about working for Dr. Light. A twist for anyone who thought the Robot Masters were always evil, but other than that the game is a simple “Villain trying to take over the world” story.
The original Mega Man did exactly what it needed to do: be a great game and set up the ground work for a series. It’s always been fun to play, with the platform gunning style, and the weapon copy and Rock-Paper-Scissors Robot Masters makes it easy to see why this would catch on and why a another game would soon follow. However, playing it now a days, it feels quite lacking. It might be unfair to the first game, but I can’t help but wish I had a couple more Robot Masters, the ability to continue via password or a charge shot. It’s just so ingrained into how we play Mega Man now. That being said, don’t think I’m holding anything against this game, because I am NOT. This is one of those must play games of the NES and one of those series starters that still holds up today. I give Mega Man originally for the NES 9 levels out of 10.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Level Up: Evil Dead & Army of Darkness Defense

So it’s Halloween again. Alright, so I guess I should review another Evil Dead game… The only console one I have left though is Hail to the King, and I haven’t played much of that one yet. Should I review it anyways, or should I wait… oh right, there are the mobile games which I have played through! Sweet, get to procrastinate another year. Let’s start off with the appropriately named Evil Dead.
Unlike the other games, Evil Dead is actually a retelling of the first movie, at least to start. It’s pretty much now become a classic story, the “cabin in the woods.” A bunch of University students go up to a cabin for their spring break to party. However, after the students play a recorded reading from the Necronomicon, strange things start happening; demonic possession mostly. And while the game tells that story fully, it then goes beyond with a second “chapter” about the cult that made me the book. It’s not really something I really wanted to know about the Necronomicon, but it does make sense on how to continue the story using only the first movie.
The game is a pretty basic action game. You play as a big headed version of Ash, typically armed with an ax, but you sometimes get a gun. You’ll have to save yourself and your friends from attacking plants and Deadites. But while I know this might be a bit too obvious to say about a mobile game, the best way to describe this experience is “cheap”. There obviously wasn’t a whole lot of effort made into making this feel like a fun, smooth experience; hit detection can feel off and getting into fights fells cheap no matter whom is winning. Adventuring is also shallow, as the levels aren’t very big and don’t have a whole lot of variety. There are some paths you can take that are optional, which might lead to a hidden health pack or gun, so it doesn’t completely miss its mark. It just feels small and restrained.
Moving from a mobile game based on the first movie, we now have a mobile game based on the 3rd movie. Here’s Army of Darkness Defense.
Yeah, the name probably gives it away: this is a defense game, where you will have to gather resources to be able to prevent a certain amount of enemies from getting to what you are defending (in this case, the Necronomicon). However, you’re not just some random army leader that doesn’t get his hands dirty: you actually play as Ash in this game too. Beyond being able to summon peasants to fight for you, Ash can rush in and use his boom stick or chainsaw to kick some Deadite butt, or use 1 of 2 powers you can select before going in. This comes at the cost of a second loose condition though: not only do you have to keep the Deadite army from reaching the book, but you also need to keep Ash alive. Luckily Ash heals over time.
Again, this is a defense game, so you’ll be given resources to build an army. As time goes on, the blacksmith automatically produces metal for you to recruit army members, and you can pick some from defeated enemies. You can also collect coins from fallen Deadites that are to be used to upgrade your army members and abilities between rounds. All simple enough stuff, with the only really negative thing about it being that there’s only one direction enemies can come from, making the game pretty simple with no strategy really required.
The two mobile Evil Dead games are not the best representations of the series, nor the most enveloping games based on it. However, it is nice to see the other 2 movies in the series get their video games, as most of the time all the focus falls on the on the second movie. Both of these games are pretty short, simple and make great use of movie clips. However, while Evil Dead is a game that’s kind of expansive, it makes itself feel small, while Army of Darkness Defense, which has the smaller map, feels like a bigger experience. Plus Army of Darkness Defense is free, while Evil Dead costs a dollar, though it does have a free demo. I say maybe play the demo for Evil Dead first, but you probably won’t get it unless you’re an Evil Dead fan. Army of Darkness Defense though, is a pretty all around good mobile game. I give Evil Dead 5 and Army of Darkness Defense 6.5 levels out of 10.