Piglet’s Big Movie Game

Given my personality, you might be surprised when I say I don’t play a whole lot of video games targeted for kids around the age of 5 or less. Then again, there don’t seem to be a whole lot of those. And then again again, most that I’ve seen are total crap, mostly in the form of terrible gameplay. Even the graphics are shunned when making a game for small children. But there is at least one game that totally shatters this mold. Obviously you know what I’m talking about, unless you managed to misread both the link and the title. For any of youse who did pull that off, I’m talking about Piglet’s Big Game.

Just to clear my name, my youngest brother owns this game, I did not rent or buy it for myself. He wanted me to play with him, and I enjoy playing games, so I couldn’t say no. Though since it isn’t too bad a game, I guess I really don’t have any need to justify my playage of it.

I’ll start with the superficial stuff first. In a word, the graphics are beautiful. They are really great, even Luigi’s Mansion-esque, if you will. And Luigi’s Mansion has some of the best graphics I’ve ever seen. Back to Piglet, the character models are really nice and literally well rounded. No blocky crap here. The environments are also really nicely done. They all bask in 3D glory, but the way the game is, they probably could have been pre-rendered. More on that in a minute.

The music is there, nothing to be all that proud of, but not something where you’ll turn off the volume so you don’t have to deal with it. Like with most games and movies, the music is able to set a certain mood, and accompanies each different environment. The voice acting is superb, and I assume that they got the same VAs for the game as they did for the movie (which I’ve never seen, that’s why I’m assuming). But I know the voices of the Winnie the Pooh characters, and if they aren’t the same, they sure do a good impression.

The story is based around Piglet helping out his friends. Gee, how could this be any more cliché? There is a twist: he helps them by going into their dreams. He’s like the Anti-Freddy. I’m having a hard time deciding if that joke was really funny or really lame. Obviously, each character is represented in his dream world, and they all have their own little problems. I’m sure they could sort things out by themselves, but the dreams have been invaded by heffalumps and woozles. For all you out there who have no clue what I’m talking about, they’re elephants and weasels. Scary elephants and weasels. So Piglet beats these guys and helps out his friends. I haven’t finished the game, so I don’t know how it ends. Sorry. I know you were dying to find out.

As far as gameplay is concerned, the game is pretty solid. It’s kind of like a slow paced adventure game. We’ve got Piglet wandering finding items and beating up enemies. “Beating up” is a bit of a misleading term. He actually scares them out of existence. Yep, Piglet scares scary dream monsters out of existence. No matter how you say it, it can’t sound right. But that’s how it goes down. Along the way, there are cookies hidden all over the place, and they can be revealed by kicking random and often obvious objects. These cookies are used to “purchase” new “brave faces”. Brave faces are, by most general description, Piglet’s attacks.

After finishing a level, you can even go back and play a new mode called “Bravest of Them All”, in which you’re sent to chase down all the heffalumps and woozles. Only thing is, now they run away, and you don’t have to “fight” them, just catch them. As for a catch, there is a time limit for each room, and boy are they harsh. You have to be perfect to do it successfully. There is absolutely NO room for error. A trait never before seen in a game for young children. I love it.

The levels themselves are really the high point of the game. Each level is molded around what that specific character might have on his mind. For example, Eeyore is a pretty depressed guy, and his world shows it. The first part is a very spooky Halloween-like place, with gloom and misery rampant, and the second part is a creepy castle which has lost its colour. Then there’s Roo’s level. I can’t explain why, but his world is like one big craft. Everything is made out of cardboard and got the Crayon treatment. It looks like something out of Yoshi’s Story, or at least the Yoshi’s Story level of Super Smash Bros. I think it’s a really neat way to do it, and can provide for some very interesting experiences. I won’t find out personally, but I think this game would be cool to play while in some sort of inebriated state.

While the game is absolutely great from an artistic standpoint, I do have a few qualms with it. For one, the “battles” are just a little too hard for anyone who doesn’t know the controller layout by heart, and may discourage some players. Kids are easy to discourage. But I was just fine, of course. Secondly, the pace is far too slow. Piglet plods along, and you’ll probably want to stay one hit from death just because he runs a lot faster in that condition. Even though I like the idea of playing as Pooh and Tigger, they’re also way too slow. I don’t care if his parts are stealth-based, Tigger should move a lot faster than he does, and not tiptoe everywhere. Lastly, it might just be me, but every time I play this game I get really sleepy. It’s not a boring game, but it just puts me to sleep really well. Like it’s got some kind of hypnosis thing in it. Hmmm…

There are a few bad points to the game, but I have even more good points. A couple, mainly the voice acting and the level design, have already been expressed. One thing I really like about the game is that it can play with your emotions, mostly it’ll make you laugh. The Brave faces are almost all funny to see in action; in one Piglet goes all Satan, and I was just rolling around laughing after I saw that for the first time. Piglet himself is a pretty funny guy, and seeing him run around absolutely terrified is funny, as long as pity for the little guy doesn’t get in the way. The other characters offer some comic relief too. Rabbit’s original problem is that he’s stuck in the ground like a carrot, and just spills over with irony. And we can’t forget Pooh, who is totally loveable and jocular as always. Conversely in Eeyore’s level, there is actually an element of creepiness. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s there.

There are unlockables, and they consist of scenes from the game and clips from Piglet’s Big Movie. Not exactly the greatest of prizes, but hey, breadsticks is breadsticks. Options are limited, but they offer a Final Fantasy 9ish game of catch the frog. There is no multiplayer to speak of, but you weren’t expecting any, were you?

And now that I’m getting far too close to a decent word count, I’ll part and say that Piglet’s Big Game is most definitely the greatest kiddy game that I’ve ever played. Although Mickey’s Magical Mirror game was pretty good too. Damn, now I’m not sure which one I like better. But then again, Magical Mirror wasn’t exactly a kid’s game, it was pretty complicated… Ah Hell, I’ll just go ahead and give Piglet an A-. Though I did give Magical Mirror a 5… It was a bit more fun… Who would have ever thought that this reviewing thing would be so tough? That’s it, I’m just gonna stick with what I said, even if it does contradict itself over and over. But I’ll draw your attention away from that with a funny picture of a banana. Enjoy!

I am a banana!!

The Good Stuff:
  • Excellent graphics and sound
  • Every level has a distinct style/theme
  • Plenty of humour
  • Way above average for a kid/licensed game
  • Bonus modes for completed levels
  • Respectable difficulty for small children…
  • The Bad Stuff:
  • …But far too easy for someone my age
  • Very slow gameplay. Even as Tigger
  • Cookies are sometimes annoying to hunt down
  • When it’s over

    I’ve been getting a lot of people e-mailing me about the Wario Ware GBA ROM. Now it wouldn’t be so bad, but the site I got it from is long dead, and I can’t help ’em at all. If only there was a free web site thingy that allowed me to post ROMs. Then I could post my Wario Ware GBA ROM so that they could all download it and see how great it is before dropping $40 on something they may not like. So to resume what I’ve just said, I don’t know where to find a download for the Wario Ware GBA ROM. So I can’t help you if you want to download it.

    And now that this page says “Wario Ware GBA ROM” and “Download” so many times, the Google search will probably bring up this page before the actual review page. And now that people can read this,they can stop bombarding me with e-mails. Thank you for your time. And buy the damn Wario Ware GBA game.

    Oh, and sorry about the lack of updates. I haven’t been able to fix the Paint thing yet, and that’s an integral part of how I make my articles. So the only things I could possibly post in the near future are Chat Radios (very unlikely), mini reviews (likely, I just saw Matrix: Revolutions), or a new GameFAQs submission (unlikely). That wraps up the news for today.

    ~Ryan out.

    Sonic drive

    Gotta go fast, gotta go fast, gotta go faster faster fasterfasterfaster! Woah! The Sonic X theme song is just so energizing! I didn’t think the theme song to any (american/dubbed) TV show could be so great, but here I am and there it is. Well, I’m not sure why I decided that it merited a news post, but now that I’m posting, I may as well relate to other news as well.

    Most importantly, Viewtiful Joe comes out tomorrow! Tomorrow! It’s gonna be the happiest day of the month, at least. And that’s competing with Halloween, so it’s a huge thing. Say what you will Steve, but Joe already has a gigantic following, so it’s gotta be pretty damn good.

    As for site-related news, the next article I’m gonna write won’t be a real review, but I can say that it’ll be MegaMan themed. Unless I do the second part of the 3Foot-6Pak review first, which I most likely won’t. I might do a review of Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge sometime soon, if ever. I don’t know about FFTA or MMBN3 either. I might also review an episode of Shaman King, my new favorite anime, if I can get my paws on an episode. Shouldn’t be too hard, it seems to be pretty big in Japan. I suppose that that’s all I really have to say for now. Adios amigos!

    ~Ryan out.

    2003 Birthday Bonanza!

    The birthday. The one thing that’s entirely impossible to avoid. You can wish it to go away, not believe in it, or hate it, but it’ll always be there. Like those damned reality shows, some people love ’em and some people hate ’em. Some are more important or despised than others are, like the 18th/21st and the 40th respectively. All in all though, it’s just another day of the year, but now you have an excuse to pig out on cake.

    Recently, (now almost a month ago) I had my 17th birthday. I personally don’t love my birthdays, but I certainly do enjoy when they come around. Christmas in September if I do say so myself. Actually, it was Gabe from Penny Arcade who said that, but I agree. I’m not big on getting the whole “OH! Happy birthday Ryan!” thing from everyone, and fortunately most people forget or just do it in a calm and civilized manner. I don’t really want to be made a big deal out of. I just want new stuff. 😀

    The presents are easily the best part of any normal middle-class or higher child, and in the eyes of the law, I’m still a child. Sadly, everyone expects me to act all grown up and stuff since I’ve only got one year until I’m an adult. Screw that! People often give me odd looks when I say what I want/got for my birthday, as I have a tendency to like stuff that’s better suited for my younger brothers. But I figure if one of ’em is gonna act older than his age, I can act younger. So, to get to the point, I’m gonna show you just what I got for being able to survive for 17 years.

    Like I said, I’m partial to stuff that I should have been doing 10 years ago. Sure it’s not socially normal, but I’ll be damned if I’ll ever conform to society’s standards. Yes, I do still play with toys, of course I play video games often, and so forth. I’m not afraid to admit it. Hell, I’m putting this info up for all to see, so judge me if you wish, but why should one be judged for what one is passionate about? It’s not like I really have a reputation or anything to lose, so here goes!

    So my first example is a little bit more normal than I’d made it out to be. No biggie, we’ll get to the good stuff in a while. CD-R’s. My conscience pointed out that contrary to most of my other stuff, there were no age suggestions on the box. I felt a little like Milhouse, but I quickly pushed the annoying little voice to the back of my mind and out of the way. I suppose there’s not a lot I can say about these, they’re not really all that exciting. The only downside was that by the time I got them, my hard drive was long dead, so they were all but useless. As I write this, I’ve already created two music CD’s and have 18 remaining. Sadly, the Rockman.EXE episodes they were to hold went down with the hard drive. Oh well.

    Ah! There’s an interesting point! It looks like I also got a couple Big Macs! Score! There’s only one problem. I don’t like Big Macs. I guess I could try to sell them off. Does anyone know how much a Big Mac is worth? I’m sure that I would if I could get a job at McDonald’s, but I know now that no company in the world wants to hire me. Sigh. I guess the best thing to do right now would be to press on and try to forget that I’m a failure.

    Now I’m sure that all of you know how I feel about this game. If you don’t you either skipped the article, you’re reading them out of order, or you’re new to the site. But to expand upon that review, now I’ve played much further into the game. The Campaign mode is great, allowing you to choose (to an extent) which order to play the missions in. They’re also a lot easier to get S-Ranks in, but rather frustrating if you’re looking for a 300-point finish. The VS mode has expanded a bit, and will take hours upon hours to get gold on, unless you play cheap and just play as all the players. The War Room is mostly the same as the first, but all the missions have different CO’s to face off against, forcing you to change your strategy. And of course there are a few new maps. Color Edit mode still sucks, and the Neotank totally rocks. I think that’s all I needed to cover.

    This is the crown jewel of my birthday treasure. If you didn’t know, I absolutely adore MegaMan games, all of them. With the only exception being RockMan.EXE for WonderSwan, since I haven’t played it and I heard it’s really, really bad. And the Battle Network games are quite possibly the best of them all. They’re long, fun, and amazingly, they have pretty damn good stories. BN3, in particular, is at least twice as long as BN2, but most of it is chasing wild geese, and less navigating through boss levels. Actually, there are only 3 or 4 real levels in the game, the rest is just out in the regular Cyberworld. But, there are a lot of bosses, and of course mountains upon mountains of battle chips. Most old, some new, the battle chips are the life of the game, as they are your main weapon, and the thing that makes the game so damn long. I might review this one in the future, as it is mind-bogglingly huge. My brother has had the White version since July, and he still hasn’t finished it. But enough about this, let’s get to the next one.

    Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is the only gift that came close to usurping MMBN3 as my favorite. I got the PSX game for my b-day last year, and I loved it but was never able to finish it due to the enragingly high difficulty level. I don’t even think I made it halfway through the game. Luckily, FFTA is just right in the difficulty category. It’s got that kind of aura that makes you fear the next battle, but come out saying “that was almost easy”. Plus, I like the Item Skill (a la FFIX) system better than the old Job Point system. The Judge system is great, and really forces you to think about what you’re doing, rather than just creating 6 Black Mages and using Thundaga on everything. The link capability is also pretty good, as it pits both players against a common enemy, so I don’t have to suffer through my friends’ dance of “Wahahahaha! I beat Ryan!! In yo face!”. Really. I seem to be regarded as the best gamer that most of my friend know (some call me “The Master”) and they really go overboard when they win. In conclusion, I might have to review this too.

    Like the CD-R’s, there isn’t a whole lot I can say about the GameBoy Advance GameCube Link Cable. If you couldn’t tell by the name, it’s the thing that you use to activate the connectivity features between the GameCube and the GameBoy Advance. The feature is kind of like the Pocketstation or the Dreamcast thingies, but good. And now that Sony sees how much Nintendo is cashing in on the feature, they’re releasing some PSP thing. I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure it’ll suck.

    So as some of you may be aware, I already have a GBA/GCN link cable. So why exactly do I need a new one? As you can see in the diagram above ,the first cable I had was indeed a third-party cable, and when applied to the GBA SP, it pressed in the L and R buttons, causing mucho troubles. But now that I have the official Nintendo cable, all my troubles have been sent out the window. Possibly to the Island of Doom in my Animal Crossing game. Or did I call it Skull Island? Hmmm. I guess some things we’ll just never know. Or I’ll go to find out and you won’t know because there’s no way I’m gonna report back later. End paragraph.

    Ah. This is my new pride and joy. You are now seeing what is possibly the coolest flashlight ever. Why? I don’t know, but I think it’s pretty damn cool. Oh, you wanted to know why I got a flashlight for my birthday? It’s quite simple. My dad always gets me some kind of tool, and this year I was looking at a particular circular saw, but apparently I don’t need a circular saw, and this was the next best thing. So now I have this really big, really cool flashlight. On the downside, I have no properly sized batteries, so I can’t use it. I guess that’ll be my Christmas present.

    You have no idea how long I’ve wanted this CD. Actually, I don’t know how long I had wanted this CD. I guess it had only been a few months at the most. For a while, the Ataris have been one of my favorite bands, and I would much rather have the legitimate copy than just burn it. So now I have it, and I absolutely love it. There are some really great song on it, such as “So Long Astoria”, “Boys of Summer”, and the remastered “I Won’t Spend Another Night Alone”. I suggest for anyone to get it, even if you don’t like the whole punk music thing. Actually, forget that, as the “punk” category seems dependant on the opinions of the listeners, and not really up to the officials. It’s very confusing to me. In any case, the Ataris rule.

    Now we’re at the point where any cool points I had go straight down the crapper. Sure, you can say that they’re toys, but I love Ultimate Muscle. It’s one of my favorite TV shows, and one of the only animes that I like. It’s just kind of the fact that most animes suck. Maybe it’s because they’ve got some kind of secret joke that I’m not in on going around and I don’t get it, or maybe it’s because they’re just too damn boring. You can only have teenage kids getting into hilarious situations so many times, then it’s not so hilarious anymore. And don’t even get me started on Dragonball Z. I think the reason I like UM so much is that it’s a rather obvious spoof of DBZ and the WWE, two things I dislike with extreme prejudice.

    Look at them all! They’re all there! Well, they’re not all there, and some are there more than once, but you know what I mean. Within each package are 15 micro wrestlers, and I got 3 packages, so that means I’ve got a total 45 pint-sized plastic people hanging around my room. But seriously, I got at least 1 of all my favorite characters, including Kid Muscle, Checkmate, Ninja Ned, Jaeger and Cranky Doodle. I just like Cranky because he has a funny name. There are also Skull Duggery, Tyrannoclaw, Hanzo the Horrible, Eskara, Kevin Mask, Robin Mask, Terry Kenyon, and a whole bunch of other little guys. There are a couple I wanted but didn’t get, specifically Dik Dik and Meat, but you take what you get. But wait, there’s more…

    Coloured micro wrestlers! Sure they’re a bit off the trend of single coloured characters set by the original M.U.S.C.L.E line, but I’m not complaining. Look! I even got TWO coloured Kid Muscles! And a Checkmate!! Checkmate! Also among the group are Tyrannoclaw, Terry, and that stoplight-guy-whose-name-I-can’t-remember, but they’re not as important. Kid Muscle! Yeah! You say I’m a freak because I get excited over toys? If you can’t get excited over toys anymore, you’re dead to me. You obviously have no sense of fun left in you, it’s been all pushed out by that false sense of maturity. What a horrible way to live.

    Oh, it just gets better! Look, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! They’re back and ass-kickinger than ever! Now I love my parents for getting me these, but there are two problems. 1) They’re the mini-sized toys, a.k.a. the parent’s cheap way out. This also applies to the UM figures. I’d rather have had a big Kid Muscle than all those tiny ones. 2) Notice something missing. Yup. I only got THREE of them. To those who don’t adore the teenage ninjas, there are four in total. That means one is missing. Raphael just happens to be my favorite of the four, and he’s not there. Fortunately, my mom was able to find him somewhere last week, so now they’re all there again. So really, number two is no longer a problem.

    Of course, most people will associate birthdays with getting new clothes. I certainly did. Though like most years, I liked every article of clothing that I received. My only complaint is that new jeans always have really tight pockets, and it takes forever to wear them in. Other than that it’s all good. Not pictured above are some socks, boxers, and a pair of pajama pants. I was originally gonna pose in the boxers, but I thought it would be unfair to the male readers, since there are no females who read my site. At least not that I know of. Or at least not without being coerced into reading it. So if there are any girls reading, just try to make a mental picture. You know you waaaaaant it.

    This is my new bling thing. Or at least that’s what people keep calling it. I don’t get it. It’s just a watch. A rather nice watch, but a watch indeed. Sure it doesn’t have all sorts of fancy lights and dials like most watches do nowadays, but it certainly is nicer looking than any of them. It makes me feel just that much richer. Of course, it doesn’t accord the classiness that a pocket watch would, but that’s why I’m gonna get the jewel-encrusted zippo and the top hat. But for now, I’ll just settle with looking richer than everyone else looks. If, of course, the aesthetics of your watch determine how rich you look.

    And then there’s the runoff. Or the people who either are too lazy to go pick out a gift or think that I would do a better job of buying something I want than they would. Of course I appreciate the pile of money as much as the actual gifts. I just think it would be better for them to buy me something I need, like more clothing, than giving me money knowing very well that I’ll spend it on a video game I don’t really need. But I’ve actually been pretty restrained with my spending this time. I only bought a couple things…

    Some people may not be able to justify spending $40 on Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge, but I can. If you know me, you know that I absolutely love the B-K series. I almost cried when I heard that Rare was taking them along in their move to Microsoft. And it’s very, very hard to make me cry. In the end though, it’s a wonderful little game. Perhaps too easy for the first couple levels. But it gets tougher as it goes. The part I’m most unhappy with, is the music. Not that it’s bad, but the only song from the 64 games is the Spiral Mountain theme. The actual Banjo-Kazooie theme is nowhere to be heard. Nowhere. Oh well.

    To compensate for the lack of great music in BK:GR, I bought the new Disturbed CD, “Believe”. But for the sake of realism, I originally set out to buy only the CD, but when I saw that BK:GR was actually out, I couldn’t resist. So obviously I like Disturbed. They’re up on that level with the Ataris. Sure they’re a little less wholesome than most of the bands I like, but I do love the metal. I burned their first CD, and then said to myself, “Dude, you’ve gotta buy the legit stuff from these guys.” It just sounds so much better when all the songs are the same volumes and there aren’t any CD burner-induced skips. My favorite song on the CD is probably “Darkness”. It’s the only slow song on the CD, but it’s got this allure that makes you like it even if it’s in a completely different direction than the rest of the album. Oh yes, and I recently bought Soul Calibur II, but now isn’t the time to talk about that (Hint hint).

    And finally, my most favorite possessions in the world, my Hulk Hands. After I read the article on X-E about them, I knew I had to have them. And now I do. I actually got them a couple weeks before my birthday because they were so big and noisy that my mom couldn’t find a suitable place to hide them. I love them so much, I wore them for about a day straight after I got them, and I play around with ‘em almost every day. I was going to bring them to school, but after my Halloween costume idea fell apart so I didn’t and now that’s what they’ll be for. Unless I can get up and find me some boxes anyway. I just need to buy the Spider-Man Night-Vision Goggles and some kind of funny hat and I’m set. The greatest thing about the Hulk Hands is that…. well, they’re Hulk Hands. What more do you need?

    So that’s everything that I got. Seems more like the gift roster of a ten-year-old. But it’s what I love, so as I said before, don’t judge me because of what I like. I don’t judge you for liking cars or computers or skateboards, so don’t judge me for liking toys. The best part is that it’s kind of nice to have to juggle between games. That way I don’t pull a me and beat them within a week. The only thing I didn’t get that I wanted was Aggressive Inline for GameCube. I’m usually not a big fan of the skating games, but AI and the Tony Hawk games are great. Plus, AI has the absolute best soundtrack ever. Not only is it almost all bands I adore, but I can put up with every song on the soundtrack, unlike the Hawk games, where I have to turn off half the soundtrack. I did see it for $30 though, so I might go pick it up. But I can’t, as I promised not to buy any games other than Viewtiful Joe until 2004. Oh well. Again.

    So I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. It’s not all too funny, but as I’ve stated in earlier articles, that’s no longer my aim. I just want to review stuff. Or make fun adventures with action figures. Notice how there was no –ny on that fun. I know this article took me way too long to write, but it’s just because I was half making up excuses for procrastinating. But now I’ve got a lot of new things to review, so it’s working out for the best. I’ve even got some err… “original” ideas. But I guess that it’s hard to be original these days, what with pretty much every idea already done. But hey, I still don’t have a following, so nobody will care what happens. With all that said, it’s time to end. Seeya next time.


    The edge of soul

    Sorry I haven’t done that article yet. My brothers have been hogging the computer all week, and yesterday I had a job interview and I bought Soul Calibur II. I was going to wait and just get it for Christmas, but then it hit me that Christmas is still 3 months away. So now I’ve made a pact with myself not to buy any new games (bar Viewtiful Joe) until 2004. Unless I get the job, of course. Then I’ll have money to spend freely, unlike now, where my income is limited to begging my parents. So I’ll do it sometime this weekend. Not tonight, becuase I’m gonna be at my brother’s hockey tryout thing. I really miss playing…

    ~Ryan out.

    Drawing board

    Two things to report today, first being that I’ve taken all the necessary pictures for my next article and now it’s just the writing part. No problemo. My next topic relates to this –

    See this? It’s a fake X-Box controller. It’s also the most comfortable X-Box controller I’ve ever used. It’s almost as comfortable as the GameCube controller, and much moreso than the PS2’s controller. The best part about it is that you don’t have to dislocate your thumb to reach the Black and White buttons. This just goes to show that Microsoft obviously had no idea what they were doing when they made the X-Box, since I’ve never held a 3rd party controller that was better than the original before this.

    But now, I have to go back to school. I might do the article today, maybe tomorrow. I just have one thing to say. USE THE DAMN FORUMS!

    ~Ryan out.

    The Hunt for the Banded Dragonfly

    Like so many others, I’ve been charmed by the little virtual world that is Animal Crossing. What is it about the sim that makes me want to play it so much? I really don’t know. What I do know, however, is that it is the perfect game for anyone. For one, it’s insanely simple to play. You don’t have to know any secret button combos or cheat codes to get through this game. You just have to do what a person with no cares in the world would do, wander around town trying to make an easy buck. Sounds fun? Strangely enough, it is.

    I’ve almost been playing for a year now, and I still haven’t come close to doing everything that the game presents you with. Even if I do manage to collect everything, I think that I’ll still play. But the task of collecting every single item is one only those with time on their hands and a very long attention span should attempt. Now I have a relatively short attention span, but I’ve managed to get this far without completely losing interest, though I did give up on my ‘play every day’ campaign.

    My current task is to collect all of the different species of fish and insect that are crammed onto the little game disc. I’ve come very close to accomplishing this goal, and any that I’m currently missing are either extremely elusive or out of season. I’m only missing a few of each, and I can smell the scent of victory getting closer. There’s only one big problem between my goal and me. The irony is that the big problem is in reality quite small. And fast. And yellow. This problem is the one bug that has been able to evade me every time I’ve seen it, it is none other than the accursed Yellow Banded Dragonfly.

    It’s been almost a year that I’ve been hunting this little bugger. I’ve been searching so relentlessly for this insect so that I may acquire the legendary Golden Net. Why I want it so badly, I don’t know. It’s more of a personal victory than anything, but I’ve been putting off continuing the hunt for some time now and I must get back to my mission. Today could be the day that I gain the upper hand over the insect kingdom. Today could be the day that I become a legend in RyanLand. Or it might not and I’ll just try again some other day.

    Unfortunately, as I walked out the door, the first sign of defeat had already reared its ugly head. It was raining outside. Armed with my trusty net, I set off anyway, because I knew that the bugs would not be stopped from their merry flitting by some water. But before the quest began, there were two things that I had to check. The first was the town bulletin board. Animals would usually post messages there a lot, but during the last month they’ve stopped completely. I’ll have to investigate this some other time. Next I had to check the mail. since I’d let it accumulate for a while, there was a plethora of letters stocked in the box. There were two letters from my own mother, and they were quite confounding in their own way.

    The letter on the left is thrice confusing. First of all, I didn’t know that I had an ‘Uncle Dweezil’. Why were my parents holding this back until now? Secondly, what didhappen to him. Did he just wet his bed? The words “suffer a horrible fate” make it seem like it was much worse than just that. From now on I’m definitely using the bathroom before bedtime. And most importantly, who would name their child ‘Dweezil’? Who, I ask you!? Who!? As for the other one, my mother clearly knows that I live in a town inhabited only by animals (bar myself). Yet she asks if I’ve developed feelings for one of them, and she even suggests that I mate with one! Bestiality is a serious offense in my book, and my mother has just lost a lot of the respect I once had for her.

    So after I finished with the disturbing mail, I left to find that damned dragonfly. But where would I look? RyanLand isn’t the biggest town on the planet, but it certainly is a large place. I figured that I should seek some help before continuing my search any further. The first instinct would be to ask another bug enthusiast about the Banded Dragonfly, and gather as much information on it as I could. Why I didn’t think of this months ago, I haven’t got a clue. So I went over to my good friend Tabby’s house. I’m sure I’ve heard her say something about bugs once or twice before. I got there and started asking about it, but she started going off about how she has no GameBoy Advance or Nintendo GameCube GameBoy Advance Cable so she can’t get to some island. I stopped listening and inched away as she went on furiously.

    But before I could get away, I noticed a shiny glow coming from the ground. After living in RyanLand for a while, I’d learned that money can appear pretty much anywhere, and that shiny ground equals big bucks. Fortunately, I’d packed my trusty Golden Shovel so I was able to search the earth beneath the shine. To my great fortune, it was a sack nearly overflowing with bells. So now that I had some cash in hand, I thought that I’d go see if the local store had any tools that might further help me in my quest.

    Another bottleneck came about as I found that the store was closed until 9:00. I learned a lesson that day: don’t wake up bright and early if shopping might work itself into your day. That lousy shopkeeper has been a lot less liberal with his hours ever since he was able to renovate from a convenience store to a real store. Since my good friend Bill lived almost right next to the store, I thought that I’d pop in and see what he knew about Banded Dragonflies. Yet again, a damper was put on my plans. Bill was also lazy, and hadn’t gotten up yet. Knock as I might, he just wasn’t going to wake up. I even banged my shovel against the door, but it was to no avail.

    Just North of Bill’s house is the dump, so I went over to have a look-see at what the villagers had recently disposed of. To my dismay, there was nothing but a couple of shirts there. They weren’t even nice shirts. I don’t think I’ll ever find a shirt I like better than my Whirly Shirt. Then again, that’s what I thought about the Flame Shirt and look at where it is now. In a pear-shaped dresser. So having no success so far, I thought it best to question every animal in the village. One of them had to know something.

    The next stop was the house of my other good friend Genji. Now Genji isn’t the smartest of the bunch, but he does spend a lot of time frolicking around outside, so he seemed like the next best person to turn to. Yet again my plan failed and he knew nothing. It seems that he’s gotten even more stupid from the last time I saw him. He seems to think that looking as his watch counts as a ‘cool trick’. I’d consider nothing short of finding and catching a Banded Dragonfly a ‘cool trick’ at the moment. After speaking with about a dozen of my other good friends, I’d concluded that they all knew nothing about the Banded Dragonfly and that not one of them would listen to what I had to say. And my mom thought I might be more than friends with one. Disgusting.

    I’d been hunting for a good half-hour by then, and I hadn’t even seen a common, easier to catch bug. Not one. And I’d searched almost every part of town. What I did find, though, was a basketball. It seems that someone is very careless with their sporting equipment, because every time I return one of these things I find another lying about. While I was trying to catch this one in my bug net, I accidentally knocked it into the river. I tried to fish it out, but after it went over the waterfall I knew that it was gone for good. Let’s keep this between just you and me, okay?

    Just before I was about to give up I was given to sign to continue. I was just strutting about when I saw a small thing moving around on a tree. It was too hard to make out what it was from that distance, but in hopes that it was the dragonfly, I lunged straight at it and slammed the net down over it. Sadly, I had only caught a stupid drone beetle. I can’t even sell those for a decent amount of money. But with the knowledge that there were bugs about and waiting to be found, I pressed on.

    By the time I reached the pond, I had become bored with my current game of wild goose chasing. I thought it best to just sit back and relax for a while before I resumed my search. I wasn’t a hard rain, so I sat down by the pond and cast out my fishing line, hoping to catch the rare Popeyed Goldfish. It’s one of the few fish that’s been able to elude me as well as the Banded Dragonfly. So I sat for a few minutes, with not even a nibble. I was in a very giving-up mood that day, so I was about to pack up and go home. But then it came along.

    The Giant Catfish had stuck itself to my hook. What chance! I even had to make an extremely bad joke I was so happy. Heh heh, mousefish. Maybe it wasn’t so bad. But it was very good that I caught it, because they go for a huge amount of bells down at the store. Even if I weren’t going to catch the Banded Dragonfly that day, I would surely come home richer man. So the day wasn’t a total loss. With renewed faith in my small pseudo-animal catching abilities I whipped my net back out and got back on the trail.

    This time I had a much better plan. I would ask the local police chief, Copper, about the dragonfly. My idea wasn’t as good as I thought, because I had forgotten that he is totally enamored with his job and doesn’t think about much else. He just congratulated me for being a good citizen and resumed standing in one place. The only time I’ve ever seen him move is when he instructs morning aerobics, and even that only lasts for about 30 days. The poor guy never gets a break. I should volunteer there sometime so that he can go out and get a life. But not today! I have more important things to do!

    Just as I was about to finish the complete lap of the town, I saw something move. It was lightning fast and I readied myself instantly. It’s a good thing that I’ve been practicing for this day. I got my net ready and slowly moved toward where I thought I saw the movement. But there was nothing there at all. It must have been the wind blowing some leaves around. I thoroughly searched the area to make sure I didn’t miss anything, but previous encounters had taught me that the Banded Dragonfly doesn’t stick around for very long after it knows you’ve seen it.

    That was it for the day. I was soaking wet, and I had been out for quite some time. It seems that bugs don’t appear all too often on rainy days. But the day was still young, what was I to do for all that time? I certainly couldn’t go back to bed, I was already dully awake by then. So I went back home and did what any righteous man would.

    I played NES games all day!

    Ha ha! See, it was different than my usual tripe. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I’ve been too lazy to move the GameCube out of my room to the PC, even though it’s a maximum of twenty steps between the two. And, uh, if you noticed, the date is a moth or so behind, mostly because I haven’t played the game for a few weeks and I don’t want to miss all the stuff between then and now. So I’ve just been playing a few shortened days every playing session.

    The most amazing thing about this is how long I was able to drag it on for. I’m sure that I could have made it a bit longer, since I didn’t include everything I could have, but I still thought it would be a lot shorter than what’s become the norm. Actually, it is significantly shorter than the GCN Demo Disc article, but there was a lot of ground to cover in that one. Animal Crossing just isn’t big article material. It’s really more of a journal logging type thing than anything else. But I’m happy with the way it turned out, so it’s all good. I don’t know what’s next for me, but it should be soon. Later, eh?

    The GameCube Demo Disc

    I don’t care what anybody says, the GameCube is an all-around excellent console. It’s got all you need from a video game system; great games, comfortable controller, and it’s nice and small too. You may say “But Ryan, where’s the DVD player?” And I say, “The Playstation 2 dies after a year because of it’s DVD playing abilities”. And let’s not even get me started on the X-Box. But we could argue about that until the cows come home. Actually, when do the cows come home? Considering that people have been using that saying for ages, those cows must be dead by now. Unless they’re really cow-turtle hybrids with the physical appearance of a cow and the lifespan of a turtle. Hmmm… (Note to self: Find cows and bring them home).

    Where was I? Oh yes, GameCube being perfect. There was still one small fault in the system’s obvious flawlessness; the lack of demo discs, or even a single demo disc. But a few months ago, I’ll say May, that little oopsie was remedied. Remedyed. Remedeed. It sucks when even I don’t know how to spell a word, and damned if I’ll use a spell checker. Nintendo finally released a demo disc with 5 of the “biggest” upcoming titles. And of course a bunch of movies and a couple GBA-transfer games. Only there was a catch.

    The only way to get this precious disc was to get it free with the purchase of a GCN. So Nintendo shot themselves in the foot. Again. It was really no big deal to the general public, only those who had been waiting for the damn thing since the console’s release. Unfortunately, I was one of those people. Now that I think of it though, Nintendo has released two quasi-demo discs in the past. the first was before the GCN was launched and showcased the titles that everyone was drooling over. Only there were no playable demos and it was for use on a PC. Next was the other movie preview disc, mostly to sell the Metroid games. Ironically enough, was in DVD format. You can almost hear Nintendo crying about how much their feet hurt.

    The other day I was out with the family, and my grandma just gave me 20 bucks. And I hadn’t even said hello yet. How does that equate? I don’t know, but I’m not one to complain about free money. So we went to the new Best Buy store and there I found it. I’d been looking for the disc since it came out, only to be stopped by the complete lack of them and the fact that you could only get them when buying a Cube. But Best Buy had broken the rules. At $15, how could I lose? I’ve been salivating over Viewtiful Joe since the first screenshot, and now I had the chance to play the first level over and over until the full game is released. Fate was on my side that day and now I’m the proud owner of the wonderful GameCube Preview Disc.

    Nintendowood Squares?

    It’s a really nice case, but do you see something wrong with it? Yes, there are four games shown, but the little thing says ‘Demos! 5’. So, for the uninformed, there’s a secret game. On the cover, we can see Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Viewtiful Joe, and Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg. So what’s the fifth game? It’s the game that has been hyped up way more than I’ve ever seen a fighting game hyped up, Soul Calibur II. So we’ve got a pile of potential gold on this disc, but wait! There’s more?! Ah yeah! There’s the movies too! They’re much less filling than the main course of playable demos, but they do serve their purpose of whetting your appetite. Let’s take a look at the back of the case to see what we get.

    So many things to do...

    F-Zero GX, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Rebel Strike: Rogue Squadron 3, and a couple of football games that I don’t care about. What it doesn’t say is that there are also movies for the games with playable demos. And finally, GameBoy Advance owners get another little treat! There are two games that you can download to your GBA/SP, Dr. Mario and a preview of Wario Ware, Inc. The Wario Ware review houses my opinion of the full game, and the preview is significantly shorter, featuring approximately 7 microgames. But, if you get far enough, the game will change ever so slightly to advertise the full game. It’s funny and a good bonus game. Dr. Mario is the opposite of all the other games, because it’s the entire game! So you can play all the way to the end instead of repeating the first couple levels over and over. A very nice bonus for puzzle fans. The only thing that’s missing is a link feature, but I won’t complain about it.

    Yo Joe!

    So now lets ever so carefully put the disc in the GCN and boot that baby up. Aaah, demoey goodness. The menu is exactly what you’ve seen in the demo discs at Wal-Mart and such, only the Wal-Mart version of the disc has got Ultimate Muscle: Legends VS. New Generation and P.N.03 on it instead of Joe and Billy. I had wanted Ultimate Muscle for a while. Then I played it. The cel-shading and franchise fooled me into thinking that it might be different from your run-of-the-mill wrestling game, but it wasn’t. So I sucked at it and now I don’t even want to rent it. Sorry, Kid, but I’ll still watch your show. As for P.N.03, it was definitely original, to say the least. I’m looking forward to renting it.

    But back to the games on MY disc. I’ll go in order of worst to best, then movies, so I’ll start with Splinter Cell.

    When good concepts go wrong

    To be completely honest, I only tried this once, and I don’t think I’m gonna do it again. Wait, make that twice. Once to try it out, once to take screenshots. As far as I could tell, in the demo you’ve gotta spy on some Chinese guy who’s doing something bad. Gee. That’s original. Maybe I should have paid attention. So as Sam, you have to sneak around and find this guy without getting caught and killed. And if you’re caught, you will be killed. Damn realistic games. Sam should be able to take more than two shots. I’m not too good at stealth, and there are too many things to do with nowhere near enough buttons. That’s why Tom Clancy games should stick to PC, they use every button on the keyboard and then some. It just doesn’t translate well onto a controller. I hear the guy who invented Doom thinks games are getting too complicated as well. In any case, I got killed a couple times and quit because I suck at it.

    I missed. I'm dead.

    If you wanna look at it technically, all the playable demos are GCN-exclusives. Although you can find Soul Calibur II on the PS2 and X-Box, only the Cube version has Link(making it best by default). As for the multi-platform Splinter Cell, the GCN version has a huge advantage, GBA connectivity. The only thing I liked about the game is that you can use the GBA as a radar, and if I didn’t have that, I would have died a lot faster and possibly more times. It did allow me to find a new route into the first building. Only it wasn’t a secret route, it was the front door. See? I’m really bad at Splinter Cell.

    That's a long freakin title

    Next up we’ve got unnecessarily long-titled Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut. it could have just been “Sonic Adventure DX”, but it seems that the longer the title, the better these days. I doubt that they added any scrapped material to this version. This is your basic good news/bad news situation. The good news is that it’s the longest demo of the bunch. The bad news is that it’s not as good as Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, which came out on GCN a long while ago. True, it’s not a bad game, it’s just that there are a lot of flaws. The most apparent of these flaws being the camera. It flies all over the place whenever you move and most of the time it won’t go where you want it to. Speaking of uncontrollable, the controls could use a bit of tweaking. And when I say “a bit” I mean “a lot”.

    It's fuzzy cause the camera's underwater

    You can play one of each character’s missions, which equates to a whole of six playable levels. That’s about 200% more game than any other demo. It’s nice to have quantity, but sacrificing quality is not something I’m big on doing. It’s still not that bad. It sure is a lot more fun than Splinter Cell. I guess my real beef is with the Gamma, Amy, and Knuckles levels. The Sonic and Tails levels are all you could expect, and I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Big’s fishing adventures. Even better for me is that they kept the character themes in the instructions. I love Big’s theme. I even downloaded it and have listened to it several times every day. It really is an awesome song. The other characters’ themes (save Knux’s) are rather odd sounding after the remixed tunes form SA2B have become the norm. Especially Tails’ theme. Once again, I had to clean blood out of my ears.

    *La la lala la la lalalala*

    The last three games are all great, and I really can’t bring myself to rank one above the other, so I’ll check out Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg next. The first thing you’ll notice when you start playing is that it’s gotta be the cutest thing EVER. Billy’s cute, the animals are cute, the enemies are cute, even the damn music is cute. To some this is a bad thing and will make them turn away in disgust, but I love it. To understand the entire amount of cuteness that this presents, you have to hear Billy’s “Kook-a-doo-doo!”. Possibly the most surprising thing about it is that it’s made by Sega’s Sonic Team, the same people responsible for SADX:DC. Everything about the game is great. It’s got all you really need. Music, graphics, control, fun; all top notch. It’s definitely on my buying list.


    Billy’s quest in the demo is to hatch the Chicken Elder from a Golden Egg. It seems some nasty crows have invaded and sealed up all the Elders, the chicken who “make the sun appear”. So they put the roosters in big eggs. So Billy’s all dressed up in his unbearably cute chicken costume and gets to it. You can find eggs lying around everywhere and roll them around to break stuff, squish enemies, and hit switches. As you find fruit to feed the egg, it grows and eventually can be hatched. Most eggs contain small animals that Billy can team up with to attack enemies and solve puzzles. When you free the Chicken Elder, he presents you with a Courage Emblem. Then you go pick it up and the demo is over.

    Look at the cute penguin!

    But that’s the tricky part, it really not. on the title screen, you can access a second mission by holding A and pressing start. It’s the same level, just a few things have been moved around and the bad guys have gotten tougher. So what’s your mission? Get to the top of the same tower you got on to beat the last mission and get another Courage Emblem. So let’s take a closer look at this: Collectible objects, different missions in the same level, excellent gameplay… I think we’ve got another Super Mario 64 clone on our hands. Yay! Maybe Banjo and Kazooie won’t be missed as much if Billy is good enough to take their place. And for what I’ve seen so far, the little chicken-suited boy will go above and beyond the crow of duty.

    Sol Caleehbah tu!

    Next on the chopping block is the insanely popular Soul Calibur II. I often wondered why it was so popular, and now that I’ve played it I have a very good idea why. Now I usually don’t like 3-D fighting games. Tekken, Virtua Fighter, whatever. Not my proverbial cup of tea. But SC2 manages to pull off what only Bushido Blade has been able to do so far; make me like a 3-D fighting game. It’s gotta be the weapons. But I don’t just like SC2, oh no. I love the damn thing. Even if I only have access to two characters, I can see myself playing this a lot until I get the full game. Speaking of those characters, the two given are Cassandra and Nightmare. Possibly the two most opposite fighters in the game. Cassandra, my choice of the two, is small and fast. Nightmare on the other hand, is a huge lumbering monster with the biggest sword you’ll ever see. The demo is only four enemies long, but there’s two-player support so it’s got more replay value than any of the other demos.

    So I like to play as the chick

    So why is it so great? I’m not sure, but it’s got this huge appeal to it. Even my littlest brother who hates to play games with me (cause he hates to lose) was having a grand old time with it. Though I think he was doing it just so I’d let him play Billy Hatcher. When it comes down to it, it’s just your average fighting game but with permanent weapons. It can make the game a bit cheap, since some are mind-bogglingly long, but they add that extra dimension to it. It’s multiplatform, so all three groups get it, but there’s one big difference between them all. Each version has an exclusive character. Like I said earlier, we GCN owners get Link, so it’s obviously gonna be the most popular of the three. Coming in second is the X-Box version, which gets Spawn. Yeah. Freakin’ Spawn. Lastly and most definitely leastly, is the PS2 version, with their exclusive character being some geezer from the Tekken series. Heh heh. The enemies in the demo are Raphael the fencer pirate, Astaroth the Tyrant wannabe, Taki the ninja whose breasts “defy gravity”, and Voldo the bondage freak. They’re all pretty easy. Except Voldo. You can never tell what he’s gonna do, and every time he kills you he’ll whip out a new attack that you never saw coming. Like flopping on the floor and electrifying himself. This is definitely a buying game.

    What a great pun

    Now I’ve reached the one reason that I bought this damn disc. Viewtiful Joe. This is what I’ve been itching for for months now, and the release date still seems ages away. But that no longer matters, because I can play the first level over and over and over until I die of thirst and sleep deprivation and hunger and filthiness. But there’s no way I’d rather go out. My good friend thinks it’s dumb because it’s side scroller, but I’ll just be laughing at the fact that he’s missing what could possibly be my favoritest Cube game ever. Everything about this game has been worked out perfectly, even more perfect than Billy Hatcher. At least half of the gaming population hated cel-shading. But then the Wind Waker came along and most of them realized how wrong they’d been. Even I was wary of it until I bought Bomberman Generation. And as for Joe’s treatment? It looks fantastic. Capcom was going for a comic book style of visuals, and they executed it perfectly. The game does look like it came straight out of the pages of some comic. It may sound unappealing, but most of the objects in the game are 2-D, but in the end it looks more proper than 3-D objects would have. As for the characters and most of the important objects and platforms, they’re all in 3-D and have been rendered very nicely. There better be at least one sequel.

    Mach Speed = many Joes

    But now that I’ve spoken of the superficial stuff, let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of the game. The audio is great, music is catchy and sets a very nice tone for the game. As for voice samples, all the voice acting is great, with some well written and often funny dialogue. Some of the best being Joe’s “Henshin-A-Go-Go-Baby!!” and the “Yummy!” that’s produced when he picks up a life-replenishing burger. The gameplay itself is very simple and extremely fun. The controls are very easy to pick up and learn, as it doesn’t even use all the buttons. Not like Splinter Cell, which had like five actions for each button. The demo level consists of several parts which are cleared by killing so many enemies and/or reaching a certain location. After every little part, you’re given a rank based on your Time, Defense, and V-Combos. Ranks for each stat go from V to D, and add up to a bigger rank. So far I’ve achieved 3 different ranks; Awesome, Baaaad, and Crappy. I’m not sure if you can get a V or D as your final rank, I’ve never done that good or bad.

    Usually I don't suck so bad

    Playing as Joe is pretty simple. All you have to do is run around, jump and attack your enemies while throwing in an occasional dodge to up your Defense rank. But after beating the mysterious Captain Blue, you can become Viewtiful Joe! With the added powers of Slow and Mach Speed, you can pummel your enemies with a lot more style. The best part is that the powers have an effect on the surrounding area, so they can be used for many purposes. Slow is the more useful of the two abilities, as it has many uses. These include making fast moving enemies slower, stopping rotors, and slowing bullets so you can punch them back. Mach Speed is more of a “special effect” move, as it lets you attack all the enemies on the screen and if used long enough Joe will light up and set any enemies he touches on fire. What’s quite possibly the best part is the Helicopter boss. There are literally tons of ways to beat it. 1)You can knock down chandeliers on top of it. 2)Do it old-school and just pummel it to death. 3)You can slow time and bounce it’s bullets back. 4)You can kick it’s missiles back at it. 5)Slow down time to stop the rotor and then beat it to death with Mach Speed. And this is just the first level! Even better than the boss, it never gets boring! I’ve played through it at least 15 times now and I still have the urge to go back and do it again. I can say with confidence that Viewtiful Joe is the game to own this year. October is going to be one Hell of a month.

    The game where you an brutalize cute little Ewoks

    Now that I’ve reviewed all the playable demos, I’ll take a very brief look at the videos. first up is F-Zero GX, which looks very nice, and the added F-Zero AX (arcade version) connectivity sound like a great idea. The Zelda video is just an explanation of how to use the Tingle Tuner to it’s fullest ability. It is also home to a hilarious line: “Tingle is only as friendly as the person holding the GameBoy Advance, so choose your friends wisely” is spoken as various shots of Link getting blown up are displayed. The Rogue Squadron III video make the game look very promising, and I like the idea of adding in a multiplayer feature. Best of all, you can crush Ewoks in an AT-ST! You can’t improve on that! I don’t plan on watching the football videos. The videos of the demo games are somewhat less enthralling than their playable cousins, but are good to watch none the less.

    Finally, there’s an ESRB video about how to choose your games depending on the rating and how if you don’t choose the right game, you’ll be in a big mess. Not only is the video great because bowling balls are flying at a guy trying to play baseball, but it’s hosted by the one and only…

    I'm a star!

    Yup, Derek Jeter. Now if only they could hire a celebrity who I know to do these things, they’d have my undivided attention without having to resort to the bowling balls.


    That’s it for this disc. I don’t think I could have found a better way to spend that $15. The only real shame is that I didn’t get to play SC2 earlier. Or else I would have known it was awesome before and had the chance to ask for it for my birthday. Speaking of which, there should be a new article sometime around then. For now though, just wait, my third promised article will be done pretty soon. Though it’s another thing along the lines of Hylian Idol. But this one involves people with horns, animals, and crossings. Nobody will ever guess…

    In a real conclusion, I’ll have to rate each of these games. The Wario Ware Inc. demo gets a 8 for the funny advertising ploy. Dr, Mario gets a prefect 10, who couldn’t love that game? Splinter Cell scores a 5, because I suck at it. SADX:DC gets a 7, because it’s good for the most part, but has some big, ugly issues. Billy scores a 10. He’s just too cute to give any less to. SC2 gets a 9, because Voldo scares me. Otherwise it’s a 10. And I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m gonna give Viewtiful Joe a 10. I’ve yet to see any flaws at all in that game. You may not agree with everything I’ve said, but remember, it’s all my opinion, which should and most probably does differ from yours. So have a good night and give Joe a chance. Side scrollers are the best games ever. Except Super Mario 64. That’s the real best game ever.


    The list of what, exactly?

    I promised 2 articles before Sept.2, and one of ’em is up and ready for reading! And surprise, surprise! I even found a topic for a third, and it’ll be up before then too. I should have a lot of time this week, provided that I’m not forced to go out anywhere. Though I did rent Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, which is a very, very sweet game. It’s on the list, baby.
    ~Ryan out.

    The 3ft 6 Pak! (Part One)

    You know how I love video games? Well if you didn’t, now you do. But to get to the point, I’m really more of a console gamer. Sure, there are tons of good PC games out there, but most of them are first-person shooters and online RPGs (Half-Life, Everquest, etc), both of which fail to intrigue me very much, if at all. That’s half right there, another quarter are crappy games that really serve no purpose, and are boring and stupid (Lego Island, etc). Then we come around to the good games, which are primarily real-time strategy and console ports (Command & Conquer, Metal Gear Solid, etc). So like I said, I don’t play a whole lot of games on my PC.

    So then what purpose does my PC serve? Well for one, what you’re reading takes up a significant percentage of my time on the computer. The rest of the time I’m usually browsing the internet for any type of interesting stuff I may be able to find. So in short, I use the computer almost exclusively for the internet. But what of the days when I had no access to the web? Well, that was when computer games were still fun, and typically 2-D. You’d be surprised at the kind of games they made back then. There were tons of things you’d never hear of unless you were into knowing every game that was ever released. Or if you had parents who randomly bought games that seemed to be of good value. I was in the latter.

    Today I will once again delve into my shady and rather boring past to explore one of the oddities of my computer game collection. I haven’t touched this thing for years. Not since I was 12 at the very most. I didn’t plan to ever pick it up again, but as I write this, I temporarily have lost my connection to the net thanks to the bumbling tomfoolery of my brother.(Editor’s Note: I placed the blame a little prematurely…) So here we go, get ready for a trip into the darkest depths of edutainment as we witness PC gaming at what might just be it’s worst. Get ready for the ‘3 Foot 6 Pak’.

    As I stated above, this thing is old. I’m not sure exactly when it was made, but we got it sometime around between when I got my Super Nintendo and when I got my Nintendo 64. So that’s a span of about 4 years right there. In any case, this marvel of something was apparently made in 1994, or so the packaging has led me to believe. Sirius Publishing probably knew what they were doing too, because the package also says “From the makers of the original 5ft. 10 Pak”. Wow. So that’s about 1.6 times the crap. And almost twice the size. Maybe they learned that too much crap at once was bad and lightened the load by four coasters, errr, games. The part that bothers me the most is that it’s only Volume 1, even though it’s got a predecessor.

    Scratch that, the part that bothers me the most is how much my parents paid for it and that they didn’t remove the price tag. Now technically this is a great deal, seeing as most ‘full version CD-roms’ are about sixty bucks each these days. But realistically, they shouldn’t have been able to get away with trying to sell it for $15, never mind $30. I’m not sure if I mentioned it or not yet, but the ‘games’ in this ‘pak’ are total crap. I’m talking extreme craptacularness here. Except for three of ’em, but I’ll review each separate game later. Right now, let’s just make sure all the goods are here.

    Sadly enough, all six games are indeed in the pak. All of the discs are unnaturally clean and unscratched too. Which is only unnatural because my brothers don’t seem to understand the importance of keeping them in working shape. But now for the real test! Do they really equal three feet? In the interest of science and filling up this paragraph with mindless banter, I shall be the first one to find out! Well, maybe. But I’m not sure that anyone else ever purchased this thing, never mind produced the effort or interest to check if it’s actually 3 feet long.

    I only have two feet, so I can’t tell for sure, but it seems that all six discs do indeed equal up to a length of three feet. But on the other side, if you factor in the cover and little flap thing, if would actually add up to about 3 feet, 8 inches. A-ha! I knew it! Sirius Publishing is in for some hard times and legal battles for false advertising. I wonder if I could actually take this to court? I’m mostly wondering because Sirius Publishing might be long dead by now. But now what am I to do with this thing if it’s not 3 feet long? It’s totally useless to me now that it’s more than 3 feet. And just for the record, none of this means anything to me because I use the Metric system!

    Now imagine my surprise when I attempting to fold the thing up and this fell out. Actually, I wasn’t surprised, because I knew it was there all along. I was just trying to avoid it. What did surprise me though, is that it’s in extremely good shape considering it’s age and owners. I was very shocked to see that this nice poster-thing is still in one piece. But, in the end, it’s just a crappy poster. I wouldn’t hang it on my rival’s wall. Mostly because I haven’t got a real rival yet. If you want to apply for the position, I’m taking in applications from September 3rd to 16th. So why is this seemingly useless poster included with the pack? Let’s turn it over and see.

    Ah! It’s really just a cover for the instruction manual! Quite the screwed up manual if I do say so. It’s more of an instruction map if anything. But, since I’m so smart, I won’t need this thing at all! The only problem I face now is the folding of this damn thing. Yes, I’m smart, but I’m no neurosurgeon here. Although it does seem like quite the interesting field to work in, and I hear it pays quite well, too. I could be the next Dr. Drake Ramoray! …On a totally unrelated topic, if an actor is playing the part of an actor, is he really acting? What if he’s playing himself? Wouldn’t it be cool if watermelons came in different colours like in Yoshi’s Island? Okay okay, I’ll quit the crap and move on to the reviewing of the games. Damned games.

    Great. First game is already the boringest of the bunch. It’s the Family Circus for crying out loud! Just associating something to the Family Circus decreases it’s interesting points by 500. This “Our House” game isn’t getting anywhere near my CD drives. I refuse to play it. What could there possibly be to play? I mean, it’s probably just clicking on stuff around the house which produces a quote which is supposed to be funny but really isn’t. Just like the comic. Stupid Family Circus. The only good ones are the ones that show the trail that the kid took from point A to point B. And that’s only good because FoxTrot made fun of it. Yes, I do think that the Family Circus is dragging down the rest of the Saturday comics. But seriously, I’m totally not playing this game. Ever.

    What is this!? Cinderella? It just goes downhill from here, doesn’t it? In any case, I’m not actually going to try this out either, but not because I’ll hate it. No, that’s a given. I don’t want to play it because someone might walk in and see me playing it and then tell everyone I was playing a damn Cinderella computer game. And if that happened, my precious reputation would be ruined. Cause, you know, what others think of me is all that matters. It’s. All. That. Matters. Heck, I’ll probably be mocked for simply mentioning this entire pak of games, but I thought it would be a good thing to write about, and as usual, I stand by my decision. It appears to be an ‘interactive storybook’, and I’ve only had good experiences with those so far, so as far as actual quality and interestingness of this game goes, it might actually be good. Or it could be complete crap, like I expect. Onto the next!

    Sing-Along Kids… I probably would try this out if I had a working mic, but I don’t, so we’ll never know if I would have actually tried it. A mic probably isn’t a necessity, but I’ll just say it is so I don’t have to waste more time ‘playing’ this ‘game’. It’s really more of a karaoke than a game. Or at least that’s the impression that I’ve been given. In any case, the songs on it don’t seem to fit my tastes. All I see is stuff like “Old Macdonald” and “Yankee Doodle”. Where’s “Hysteria” and “Hell’s Bells”? I haven’t even heard of some of these songs. What the Hell is “This Old Man”? For the positive though, it includes the song “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”, which is just about the greatest song to hum or whistle when doing anything that requires little to no thinking. Matt was right.

    Next on the chopping block is “Basic Spelling Tricks”. See that happy old man in the corner? Until you quit the game, he never goes away. I’m serious. He never, ever moves from that position. Not even during the screen transitions. Anyway, he seems to be the leader of the tribe that your character belongs to, and he’ll instruct you as you go along and make fun of you if you do nothing for a short period of time. The zaniest part of this game is that it has a story! A spelling game with a story! Not since “Mario Teaches Typing” have we seen edutainment of this calibre. The story goes like this; the river is flooding and you have to get upstream to save the tribe. We’ve got a real award-winner here, folks. So, I suppose now that I have a mission, I should get started.

    The first step is to register your name. Try as I might, I just couldn’t fit ‘AssMaster’ or ‘AssMan’ into the thing. So in the end, I just named my character Ryan. Five spaces just isn’t enough. But it is better than four. And three. But when they only give you three spaces, it’s usually for initials anyway, like in arcade games. For future reference, if you ever get a high-score in a arcade game, enter ‘SEX‘ as your initials. I’m sure that got the skimmers’ attention.

    Okay, now I have a mission and a character. Let’s start the game already! This is more or less the main game screen. Sorry if the pics are a bit blurry, the jpegs were huge and I had to do a lot of size reduction to get them under 50KB each. And there was a header-type thing at the top of this screen with some angry Moais on it, but you know how it is. Anyway, I sailed in on my raft, and the old guy tells me to pick up the letters to spell “first”. I would have been fine with this had my raft not floated away as soon as I stepped off of it. So, I figured I’d try anyway and grabbed the letters. For anyone who has trouble spelling the words, there’s a sentence provided at the bottom of the screen with the proper spelling. Needless to say, I finished the level with no trouble at all. To my surprise, when I got the last letter, my raft came back! Old man instructed me to go back to the raft, and I continued my journey upstream.

    Every level is divided into two separate parts; the main game, where you run around solving puzzles and picking up letters, and this typing challenge. It seems out hero can’t paddle hard enough unless you can spell, so I guess he’s just lucky that I’m playing, and my friends aren’t. This part would be a lot easier if old man would enunciate a little better. He asked me to spell “flute”, but I didn’t realize what he was trying to say until I turned up the volume about 30 decibels and had him say it roughly 67 times. Also noteworthy is that every time you get a word right a mini-villager will climb up onto the board, and when you’re done, they do a mini-wave!

    I know that the first level looks pretty easy, and it was. If memory serves though, the game gets really hard later on, with some very advanced puzzles. I only played about 4 levels, and I thought to myself “How long could this game possibly be?”. Well, upon returning to the main menu, I discovered that, in the words of Def Leppard, I’ve got a long, long way to go. Oi. I’ll be damned if I ever finish this, or if anyone else ever finished it. I like puzzle games and all, but this just doesn’t cut the mustard. The most ironic part is that even though I’ve been playing a spelling game for the last 20 minutes, there are probably going to be a lot of overlooked typos in the finiched articel.

    I’ve also noticed that this thing is getting horrendously long. At this point, it’s over 2200 words long, and that’s almost as much as the Hulk and AW2: Black Hole Rising articles, if not more. I think that for now, I’ll stop here. Mostly because it’s going to be a really long article if I continue, and also because I’m desperate to get a new article up. It’s been more than a month since my last offering, and any readers out there need something after waiting for so long. So I’ll just wrap it up now, and do a separate review for the last two games, which coincidentally have a lot more content and fun than the first four combined.

    For what I’ve looked at today, I must say that I’m really not impressed. I’ll give them credit for the sake of they were made way back when, but somewhere deep inside I was expecting more. I’m sure that it’s the fact that I’m maturing (slightly) that makes these games less interesting than they were all those years ago. So for now, I’ll just blame growing up for the crappiness of these so-called games. Actually, I should blame growing up more often. It’s working pretty well here, so I imagine it could be used in other situations as well.

    So that’s it for today’s review. We- I mean I will just have to hope that both Putt-Putt and Lenny the Penguin can provide more entertainment than the Family Circus could. Looks like they’re shoe-ins for the “best games of the pack” award. I remember these last two being the best, and I hope that memory will serve better next time around, cause I don’t wanna be stuck playing a crappy game that I used to enjoy. That would mean that I enjoy crap. And I sure don’t wanna be known as the guy who enjoys crap.