As a gamer, I’ve seen a lot of crap. And by a lot, I mean tons. There are literally hundreds of craptacular games out there. Sure, the Playstation and PS2 have tons and tons of titles, but over 90% of those games are utter bullhock. Not to say that Nintendo systems are without their stinkers. Just looking back on the SNES and thinking of bad games for it makes me cringe. Heck, even the GameBoy Advance is a victim of this virulent affliction. Anyone can see they suck, but people must be buying them, cause they keep getting made.
On the other hand, we’ve got some real gems too. Speaking as a fanboy, almost every one of Nintendo’s games have been of excellent quality. Sure, production values are sometimes sold short, but they’re almost always fun. And it’s not only Nintendo, of course. A lot of other companies have very nice track records, like Namco, Squaresoft and Enix (which are now conveniently rolled up into one), and Rare. It’s companies like this that make people keep coming back for more. If it were only crappy whored-out movie/TV licenses (Matrix and Simpsons, lookin’ at you), video games would have been dead long ago.
So if I’m talking about both sides of the spectrum in one article, what the Hell is going on? Well, simply put, I’m reviewing one crappy game and one excellent game. Why do both at once? Well not only am I trying to make some kind of deeper meaning or something only an English professor could figure out, but neither game that I chose to review could possibly fill an entire properly-sized article. So now that you know what’s going on, I’ll start with the bad news.
Yes, that’s right. I’m going to subject you to something so bad that you’re bound to appreciate the better of the two. Now that’s a clever little idea right there, isn’t it? Glad I thought of it while typing that last sentence. Yes. Yes… But anywho, you remember Waldo, right? That guy who everyone was consistently trying to find? Ha, I can see that look on your face right now. I love that “Oh God no! They made a game out of that!?” look. It’s so… je ne sais quoi. But yeah, they made a game out of Waldo.
After I picked the difficulty, I got a choice of four different graphics. A dangerously obese man-thing (anything that fat cannot be classified properly as a man), two guys who looked to be getting drunk [whilst sitting] on magic carpets, a strange pig-like thing with spikes and a hugeass nose, and some guy throwing what looked to be liquid Play-Doh on a robe-sporting man. It decisions like this that make life so difficult. I figured eventually I’d have to see them all, so I took the drunk carpet guys.
The other two levels are pretty much the exact same things. I should note a couple things about the gameplay here, I guess. Now obviously there’s a time limit, and you can extend it by picking up those clocks. But honestly, you don’t even need the whole first clock to complete a level. The only thing that takes any time at all is finding the other objective, a scroll. They, unlike Waldo, can be hidden quite well, as they’re small and can be fit behind things quite easily. But of course, they rarely are, so each level will take you about 30 seconds, and that’s if you stop to pick everything up.
One other thing I forgot to mention that influences the game in a big way is the size of the maps. For one, they’re very, very small. Bite-sized, even. And to top it all off, they only scroll horizontally. This may not sound like such a big deal, but considering how big everything is, you’ve got an extremely small zone of probability of where Waldo can be hiding. A zone of probability comparable to that of an electron. And that’s pretty much all there is to it. You scroll around until you see the scroll and Waldo, and you’re done.
I think I can sum up the entire review portion into one paragraph here. Graphics were so-so. The animation was at a max two frames switching back and forth. The sound and music wasn’t much better. The music was forgettable and might have been annoying too. The sound may have consisted of a couple beeps and one really bad voice sample that says “Where’s Waldo?” every damn time something happens. Gameplay was boring and simplistic. I finished all three difficulty levels in less that 10 minutes total. If that doesn’t tell you that this game needs a little tuning, what will?
As a final note, I’d like to just plainly say that The Great Waldo Search sucked. It doesn’t even deserve to be italicized. I’m being kind enough just capitalizing the letters there. It sucked hard. Don’t even download the ROM. You’d be better off doing something productive like taking a dump or making a macaroni statue of Jerry Seinfeld. I guess the only good thing you could possibly say about the game is that the maps are fairly faithful to the books. Other than that, total crap. At this halfway point, I’m at about 1600 words, and the next game will probably yield a shorter review, because lo and behold, it’s a puzzle game. If you want, this would be a great time to go get a snack or something. It’s okay, I’ll wait for you.
I hope you’re done whatever you chose to do at our little intermission, cause I’m getting back to business now. Waldo was a horrible stain on the tapestry that is the history of video games, but the next game is one of my all-time favorite puzzle games ever: Bust-A-Move! Now the tricky part is going to be making it to the 2500 word mark, because there just isn’t a whole lot you can say about puzzle games. Fortunately, since I love this game so much, I could probably drone on and on about it for quite a while.
I’m not sure why I love this game, but anyone who’s ever gone to a movie with me can surely back that claim up. If there’s an absence of Metal Slug, you just know I’m gonna be at a Bust-A-Move machine until my quarters run dry or they manage to pry me off the machine because we’ve already missed the previews. I think one of the biggest factors that keeps me coming back is the music. It’s always the same tune over and over, but I love it so. If you need a little idea of how it goes, here’s a link to a remix of the main tune. It’s not quite the same as the original, but I can still put it on loop for hours and not get annoyed.
To wrap this one up in a single paragraph doesn’t do it justice, but I will anyway. The graphics are colourful and fun, almost giving off a Yoshi’s Island vibe. The music, as I already stated, is very cute and loveable. Sound effects include happy “yay!”s and such from the dragons, and the always fun bubble popping sound. The gameplay is that of a puzzle game: simple, but at the same time complex. Controls are nice and precise, and give you the accuracy you need for tricky shots.
Overall, I still love this game, and when it gets ported to the Nintendo 20075, I’ll still love it. When I go see whatever movie I deem worthy of seeing 30 years in the future, I’ll still love it, and my accomplices will still have to convince me that the movie is what we came to see. I suggest finding a GBA version, or if (God forbid) that doesn’t actually exist, go for one of the older GB games. If you can’t find one of those, look for the PS2 version. As a last resort, download one of the many ROM versions. Usually I wouldn’t condone such a thing, but some games are just worth breaking copyright law for.
And that’s the end of this week’s article. I probably shouldn’t say that, because these don’t exactly come weekly, but it’s too late to go back and type in something different. Maybe I should try to do an article a week, or at least bi-monthly. Lately I’ve been doing pretty good, with nine submissions so far this year. If you total what I did last year, that a whole lot of crap in two months. I think that this is one of my best articles in a while, because for at least the first half, I concentrated on not actually reviewing, but picking out little things and making big deals out of them, much like one of my many web-heroes would do.
So I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. I know the electron thing made all the difference for me. I think it would be a whole lot funnier if I’d actually made that page, but as it stands, very few people will know what I’m talking about or take the time to read the whole thing and try to understand. I also had fun taking the screenshots for Bust-A-Move, and almost forgot that I was trying to write an article and not trying to finish the game. As a final remark, I’d like to say that after writing this, I’m certainly convinced that I should go out and buy Bust-A-Move. I guess it worked. Ooh! And I even managed to finish with a sweet word count of over 3100!