I’ve noticed a small problem with the banner ads. There should be one small one near the top of the screen, and a bigger one at the bottom. Sometimes the bottom one covers any links I have on the bottom of the page, and sometimes it appears over top of the small one. I’ve only noted these errors with the Opera browser, everything seems to be in order when using Internet Explorer though. I’m clueless about other browsers, but I’m pretty sure that it’s not my fault this is happening. Just thought I’d point that out. ;p

And for anyone who cares, MegaMan NT Warrior and the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premiere tomorrow on Teletoon. 8:00PM my time.

~Ryan out.

MegaMan 4 – Starring Skull Man!

To be completely honest, I’ve been wanting to do an article on a NES game for a long time. When we finished Chat Radio #2, I knew that I had found my calling. Maybe not my calling, but it was some kind of sign, because it was then that I found the perfect game for my first video game article: MegaMan 4, or as it is known to the higher classes, MegaMan IV. Damn social butterflies. Actually, damn all butterflies. I don’t know why, but I don’t really like them.

“But why MegaMan 4?” you ask, “Why not MegaMan 1,2,3,5 or 6? Or MegaMan Soccer?” The answer is simple, really. 1) MegaMan 4 features the best Robot Master ever, Skull Man and 2) MegaMan Soccer was for SNES. I distinctly said in the paragraph above this that I wanted to review a NES game. And NES game I will. Oh yes. Oh NES. Sentence that really has no use except for to make this paragraph look longer than it really is.

I can already tell that this review is going to take a long time, mostly because all of my articles have taken a long time. And also, because as I type, I’m playing MegaMan 4. I need screenshots, and I didn’t have any on hand before, so I’m multitasking a bit. I know it’s something that men aren’t supposed to be able to do, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna stick to the stereotype.

When you first boot up MM4, you are treated to a nice little “movie” of Mega’s story. It all started when Dr. Light and Dr. Wily worked together to make robots that would help the humans. But for reasons unknown, Wily went nuts, took control of the robots, and went on a rampage. Light’s remaning robots, Rock and Roll were powerless to stop them, for they were mere maid-bots. But brave Rock volunteered to become the super-robot, MegaMan. He had stopped Wily a total of three times, hopefully putting him out of the biz for good. And now we’re in the present.

Rock steps into the hot seat... 
Once again, 8 robots have declared war on Earth, this time led by a mysterious scientist named Dr. Cossack. His name kind of souds like cock sack. High school must have been torture. Now Megs must spring back into action and defeat yet another wave of angry ‘bots. It’s not gonna win any awards, but the story of MM4 was probably one of the best of the era. Considering the kind of crap they were marketing as “video games”(read: Jaws) back then.

Sure it looks cool, but I'm too lowbrow for Roman numeralsSo many to choose from. Where to start?
The key to beating any MegaMan game was always to know which order you were supposed to beat the bosses in. It was like a big game or rock-paper-scissors, every boss had a special power. When you beat him you gained that power to use on the other levels. Every boss also had a weakness to one of the weapons. So the only real trick here was figuring out which one of these guys to kill first. They were all pretty tough, but I recommend starting with Toad Man, since he’s such a wuss. Wait… I just contradicted myself, didn’t I?

I will ribbit you to death!How does this HURT anyone?
Toad Man really didn’t account for much, except for that he was the only frogish Robot Master within the whole series. But I guess that counted for more than I think, because he got reincarnated in MegaMan Battle Network 2 for GameBoy Advance/SP. Which, I might add, is also an excellent game. Buy it. Back to Toadie. his special weapon is called the “Rain Flush”. How it manages to count as a weapon is beyond my comprehension, but then again, most things are. Like I said before, Toadie’s a wuss, so he shouldn’t be too hard to take down with the Mega Buster. As an added bonus, you also get the Rush Marine for beating him.

When I have an idea, my head lights up.Again, how does this hurt anyone?!?
Bright Man is a bit tougher, if only because his level is rather hard. Lots of spikes, peope. And as any Mega-fan knows, spikes kill you in one hit, regardless of how much life you have left. If you have the Rain Flush weapon, he’s not too bad. Of course, every boss can be taken down with the Mega Buster if necessary. I guess Bright’s name described the guy pretty well, since he was more or less a big light bulb. The bulb on his head lit up every once in a while, but I don’t think it was ever actually used as a light source. His Flash Stopper stops enemies. That’s it.

*does that weird egyptian dance*Finally, I gots me a real weapon!
The other day I was drawing all the boss robots from MM4, and I got to seven before I was stumped. It was a decision between StarMan and PharaohMan, and I chose wrong. I don’t know why, I’m usually pretty good at remembering which bosses were in which game. It’s probably because PharaohMan is the least memorable boss in MM4. He was pretty boring actually, all he did was throw a big energy ball. Every other boss had something that did something unique(to say the most). And if short-term memory serves, his level was pretty crappy as well. The boss himself wasn’t extremely easy, and as one would expect, his .EXE incarnation is way stronger and cooler. Onto the next.

And I STILL had to buy her a wedding ring...This is a lot more effective than it should be.
Ring Man! For some reason, his level was space-themed. I don’t know what’s so spacey about rings, and they sure didn’t have Halo back then. In any case, he was like every other boss who attacked with projectiles. Jump, shoot, jump, shoot, lather, rinse, repeat. None of them were terribly difficult in theory, but the unpredictable jumping and aim could best even the best player. Unless they had the boss’ weakness. Then it was very possible to beat them without getting hit, never mind breaking a sweat. Only I didn’t know this back when I rented the games, so it made for some frustrating times. It also explains why most of my NES controllers don’t work very well at all.

There is no broom powerful enough to defeat ME!Attacking with dirt. Neat-o.
Next on the list we have Dust Man. Look at him! He’s got a ventilation shaft for a forehead! Mega could just sneak in there to get into the enemy base like in the movies. Maybe not, but I think it would be pretty funny. In any case, Dust Man’s level is kinda tough, since it’s got enemies that pop out of pits randomly and if you get hit, you’ll more than likely die. Then near the end there’s one of those “crushing machine” things, which poses a problem only because there’s so damn many metools lurking around inside it. As for Dusty himself, he’s a generally easy boss, even without the Ring Boomerang. His shots always go straight, so just jump. His movement is similar, so it’s a solid strategy. Your reward for beating him is the Dust Crusher, which is remarkably similar to Junk Man’s special wepon(MM7).

This game should revolve around me!Look at them spin!
It’s about damn time we got to Skull Man. He’s so cool. I’m not sure why. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the undead. Putting zombies or skeletons in a game increases the worth by about $10 by itself. Well, at least that’s what I think. It might also explain why I enjoy Castlevania and Resident Evil games so much. Anywho, Skull Man’s level is embarassingly easy, and there are two Energy Tanks to grab along the way. Skull Man himself isn’t much of a challenge either. He’ll shoot straight and diagonally and run around, pausing occasionally to use the Skull Barrier. The Dust Crusher will stomp him down in about 5 or 6 hits. Victory secures the Skull Barrier weapon, which is a non-active variation of the Leaf Shield. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve played MM2.

Perhaps the most original of these guys, I'm a submarine.It's no Slayer, but it'll do.
Dive Man, theoretically, has the biggest level of all. It spans the clouds right down to the bottom of some type of cyber sea. But in reality, all the levels are pretty short. It does have a good amount of spikes though, making it somewhat tricky to get through. And, as a bonus, you can find the Wire Adapter here by navigationg a chasm of spikes. What the Wire Adapter does exactly, I have not clue, but it might allow MegaMan to cling to ceilings. Dive Man is a rather tough boss, even if you do have the Skull Barrier. His missiles will follow you forever and he moves quite fast. An Energy Tank will help here. Taking him out will result in gaining the Dive Missile power.

Say hello to my pointy friends!Twirl twirl, gouge gouge!
I think that Drill Man’s level is actually the longest. It’s hard to say for sure, but I know it took me the longest to beat. It’s got a lot of spike traps at first, then falling rocks, then falling rocks over bottomless pits. Plus, there’s a whole area where you have to turn platforms on and off to progress. And hitting a switch and then changing direction to land on the newly created platform isn’t exactly easy. If and/or when you make it to Drill Man, he’ll launch drills all over the place and pop up at random places to try and catch you off guard. The Dive Missile’s homing ability makes it that much easier. Manage to kill him and you’ll bring home the Drill Bomb.

Rock steps into the hot seat... 
After you beat all eight bosses, you’ll be taken to Cocksack’s castle. Then you’ll have to beat so many levels until you fight the Doc himself. I don’t have the patience to play through the rest of the game on an emulator, so I’ll just guess what happens from that point on. After you beat Cossack, you’ll reveal that Dr. Wily was the bad guy all along. What a unexpected plot twist! Then you’ll have to go through hiscastle, fight all the Bosses again, and then finally beat Wily. It’s standard fare. Every 4th game and on in every MegaMan series is like that. Well, maybe that’s being a little too general. It only happens in the original and X series. None of that crap in the Battle Network series. Ah, good old MMBN.

I suppose this review should contain the general review contents, so here goes. The graphics are great. For the NES anyway. The sprites are all nice and clear, and sized well for the levels, not too big, not too small. The backgrounds seem to be a bit more detailed than the previous three games, but that’s about all the change there is. As for controls, they’re spot-on, if and only if you’re using a controller. If you’re playing the ROM and using the keyboard, be prepaed to get frustrated with the controls at least once. It might be the emulator, but the game won’t let me jump left while charging the buster, and that has caused death on more than one occasion.

The sound is just what you’d expect it to be. Fast-paced techno-ish music that fits right in with the game. Then there’s the evil music whenever one of the Docs come on screen. And the prologue has a nice tune playing too. Of course, every other MegaMan fan will say that MM2 has the best music of them all. I’m not sure if I agree or not. It’s all really similar to me. As long as it sounds good, I guess. Of course, let’s not forget sound effects. It keeps true to that jumping sound that MegaMan makes in all the NES games. I love that sound. Not sure why, but it’s just a funny sound. And all the other stuff is standard MegaMan fare too.

Overall, I give MegaMan 4 a 10/10. It might seem a bit biased becasue Skull Man is in it, but I’d give most MegaMan games 10/10. The only exceptions are MMX6, RM.EXE(WonderSwan), and MegaMan Soccer. Sure, MegaMan Soccer is a fun and hilarious game, but it’s got control issues and I’m not a huge fan of soccer. MMX6 is a good indication of why a series should die, and RM.EXE for WS was a terrible, terrible game. But back to MM4 for a second, it is a more or less perfect game, the only faults being that it’s a bit slower than modern day MM games. Otherwise, it’s all good.

The thing that really bothers me though, is that I never got the chance to own this superb game. Back when my NES was my premiere game console, I really didn’t have any money, so I couldn’t buy it. And you know that when you let parents buy you games you’re gonna end up with a lot of crap and maybe a few good ones. Luckily, my library of 30+ was pretty well-rounded, so I can’t say my parents neveer picked anything good. They did get me Punch-Out!! after all. I suppose the moral of this story is that ROMs are a Godsend.

There, finally finished! But the intro is a little bit out of date now… this definetly isn’t my first game review, and obviously, it took a very long time to finish it. But I promised that I would, and I try my damnedest to keep my promises. So now that it’s done what do I do? I was thinking something along the lines of Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow or some type of Animal Crossing article. I can never predict what my next article will be.

I also took a lot of pics for this article, and a good amount of them are rather large too, so it’s taking up a lot more space than I want it to. Maybe by the time I need it, I’ll have access to a bigger amount of webspace. If only it didn’t cost so much. If you want, you could always send me some money so that I could afford some. Or, I could just make another Angelfire account and store articles on that! But it is againt the TOS… I don’t know how long it would go unnoticed. Anyways, this is the end. You can click the back button now or click the link below the table to send me an E-mail. I like E-mail.

Nintendo Surprise: The Nintendo surprise bag

It’s really amazing how much merchandise that Nintendo pumps out. Sadly, most of it isn’t exactly the kind of stuff you want to buy, and very little of it is worthy promotion for the GameCube and GameBoy Advance. Sure the Pokemon line goes over really well with kids, but very few older Nintendo hardcores want Pokemon toys all over their room. I don’t. At one point, I did have a small Gloom hanging out on my dresser, but it got lost. Kinda unfortunate because Gloom is one of my favorite Pokemon.

Of course, they have gone to certain lengths to make Mario and Zelda action figure lines. You saw a few of them in Hylian Idol. We even got a few burger restaurant deals, one promoting Super Mario Bros 3 at McDonald’s, which was a long time ago. Last year, there were Mario toys at Wendy’s, which I believe came along to help sell Super Mario Advance. The most recent was the Burger King deal, which was a menagerie of Nintendo most popular characters, such as Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, and Kirby. Everyone loves Kirby. Why we didn’t see any kind of promotion for his TV show is beyond me though.


Whee! Look at him dance! I guess that’s an ample intro for today. I really don’t think it’s that necessary anymore. After all, they do sway off the path of the articles a bit. But in the quest for longer and better articles, I must do what I have to do. But, enough redundant rambling, I’ll just start the article now.

A long time ago, actually, less than a year to date, I was browsing the dollar stores of a faraway land and came across quite the treasure. It was a simple plastic bag with candy in it, but that was just the base idea. This bag of goodies was a Nintendo Surprise. Of course, the surprise wasn’t really there, since there was a transparent area on the front of the bag. That and they all had more or less the exact same things in them. I went back this year to seek more of the bags-o-fun and I found them, only they had changed a bit.

The old Nintendo Surprise contained a sucker, a Ring Pop-like thing, a slab of gum, and a game tip card. They all sported different characters. The gimmick was that you could collect all of the different characters and candies. I guess the only surprise is what character bust you found in the ring pop. There were 2 different sucker “statues”, 6 character busts in the ring pops, and 18 different portraits in the gum. The only problem with this is that they seem to be extremely rare, and no kid would be able to resist eating them.

Now, produced by Au’some Candies, the “Nintendo Surprises” are simply plastic bags containing a bunch of gum. It’s really a sad story. Why? Because the gum was the only collectible that you could really eat. the others left plastic remains to collect. Fortunately, you won’t want to eat the gum after you try one piece. it tastes absolutely horrible. Bad, sinful, imperfect, rancid, unsuitable, wicked, tainted, hurtful, noxious, and terrible are all words that go hand in hand with this gum. the package says “sour” but this stuff tastes worse that eating Kool-Aid powder. I kid you not.

As I stated in one of the above paragraphs, there are 18 slabs of disgust that you can collect. Though, Au’some Candies seems to have cut a few corners when they were making them. The different characters are the following: Mario, Princess Peach, Luigi, Bowser, Paratroopa, Larry Koopa, Ganondorf, Ludwig Von Koopa, Yoshi, Ganondorf, Link, Link, Link, Diddy Kong, Link, Donkey Kong, King K. Rool, and Donkey Kong. Notice the abundance of Link. Even the two different DK gums are the same picture, just one is reversed. At least they look pretty good and not at all like some poor African kids drew them on.

I also mentioned earlier that the Nintendo Surprise contained a card with a game tip on it. These ones are no different. But the use of the word “latest” is a bit of an exaggeration. At least now. I guess that I forgot to mention one little detail. After a little bit of researching, I found out that these things were made way back in 2001. I suppose it’s not as bad as the Hulk gum that my brothers got. If you read X-Entertainment, you’ve seen it before. And if you want a bit of a more in-depth look at the 8-year-old crap, check out Matt’s Video Store article.

So, here’s the contents of one of the packages. It seems a lot more impressive than it really is. A LOT. There’s not a lot I can say about this pile of crap that I won’t say later so instead I’ll tell you about this GameBoy Advance link cable that I’m holding. Firstly and most importantly, it’s a pretty shade of white, with a white tip for the first player, and gray tips for the second, third, and fourth players. That said, it obviously has four heads to link GBAs together. It’s made by Pelican and was a lot cheaper than buying three Nintendo-brand cables. there’s also a little switch on the connector that enables it to work with GameBoy Colour units. Back to what’s important.

As you can clearly see, they come in a wide variety of colors. All three colors of the… uh… groraninkbow. Ha. Got outta that one with style. Oh yeah. Anyway, it’s plain to see that a character is not confined to a single color. They can appear on any one of the three shades of gross. If you look even closer, you can see both Donkey Kongs and how it’s the same picture, just flipped horizontally, just as I said. On the upside, I was lucky and scored both Koopa Kids. I’m at a loss to see why they didn’t use all of them. If they hadn’t repeated characters there would have been enough to host all seven of ’em.

Now, I’ll try my best to describe what all of them taste like. Orange is clearly the best of the three. Incredibly enough, it does taste like orange candy-type stuff. Only it’s way too soury-like. Bad memories of Kool-Aid powder are coming back… Yuck. Well, I guess I was wrong. Pink is definitely the best. It tastes decent, much like one of those sour soother things. It’s still not worth eating, but at least it doesn’t make me want to throw up so that there’s a better taste in my mouth. Green is supposed to taste like apple, I think. It does a little bit, but then you notice that it has a hint of BILE in it. The package wasn’t lying when it said they were sour. Maybe not as sour as some other candy, but it isn’t exactly tame.

Look, it’s the Game Tip card! When I say card, I don’t mean card in the normal sense, or even the tradeable sense. It’s just a piece of hard paper with a picture and some words on it. Oddly enough, it’s the only thing included in the Nintendo Surprise that isn’t collectible. I guess you could collect all of the different tips, but to date I’ve only seen three different ones, and I and my brothers have been through at the very least twenty packs of this stuff. Oh, I forgot another important thing. The gum’s taste lasts for an average of 40 seconds. You’d be much better off with some Wal-Mart candy machine gum.

As usual, you can click on the pics to enlarge them if you want to read them. The first tip is for the Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages. It’s pretty handy, and is something you might not think of right away. But, most people who played the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past have already figured this out. The second “tip” is both asinine and redundant. It tells you that in Super Mario Advance Luigi can jump the highest. It might have been helpful, but the game itself gives you this tip, so like I said, it’s redundant. Note that they have French tips too. If you can’t read the language, don’t worry, it says the same thing. This also leads me to believe that Nintendo Surprises were only distributed in Canada.

For the sole purpose of writing this article, I saved some of the plastic carcasses from the original Nintendo Surprise. Shown above are the sucker cases. There are only two to collect, so if you went the whole nine yard to get all the gum pieces, you’d have a lot of extra sucker cases. The two characters chosen to be immortalized as suckers were Mario and Yoshi. I don’t see why not. But they could have just as easily modded the Mario mold a little and at least made a Luigi. Oh well.

If you did manage to get you hands on a lot of these guys, they could be used as really low-budget action figures. I have several Yoshis and use them to war against my Star Wars figures with Mario as their leader. The detachable bases can also double as hats or a bad game of stack-the-sucker-bases. That’s what they seem to be doing in the picture above. To tell the truth, I’m really scraping for idea for this one. There’s a cool picture of a pelican on my GameBoy Advance link cable.

Pictured above are the remains of a couple of my Nintendo ring pops. They come in the same colours as the gum, but they taste a whole lot better. In fact, so do the suckers. Everything tastes better than that gum, except clams. I hate clams. Stupid chicken nugget-looking clams. I hate you, clams. I hate you and your cousin the oyster. In fact, I hate all seafood. Except sushi, I’ve never tried sushi. Or lobster. It’s pretty sad, but I plan to try it the next time we go to Red Lobster. Which should be in about 3 years. So I may never try lobster until it’s too late. I bet lobster tastes better than that stupid gum. And clams.

By now you should be aware that this bag of sugar was made for kids. This is further evidenced by the fact that the rings barely fit onto the second joints of my fingers, never mind the third. It also teaches us that Link doesn’t look good in pink. Red, blue, and green yes, but pink no. Yoshi can come in any colour and seems to be enjoying his orangyness quite well. I think green Yoshi is a bit jealous of orange Yoshi’s happiness. And Link seems to be jealous of both of their decent colour palettes and full bodies. Poor Link is just a bust of himself.

While I’m writing about shoddy Nintendo products, I guess I should mention this GameCube watch. It’s not really that bad, I did get it for free after all. My complaints focus mostly on the extremely easy to press buttons, causing the time to change by itself. If compared to most digital watches of today, it’s got no options, just the time and date. No fancy bells, whistles, or beeps. Then again, the time and date are all you really need. I never need a stopwatch or alarm anyway, so I guess I don’t care.

Now, back on topic, after finding my goods, I went to the dollar store next to the dollar store I had just been in. There I browsed the party favors and found some Groucho masks without the mustache. I had to have them. I’m not sure why I wanted them, they don’t fit, but I wanted them anyway. So that’s me with one of the masks on. Wow… I look nerdier than usual. It would probably have been a good idea not to upload it, but nobody who would judge me reads this site anyway. I guess I’m safe.

So to turn around the theme of the article and show a excellent Nintendo product and add some cool, I’m including another picture of my AGB playing MegaMan Zero. Once again, it’s an awesome game and if you have an AGB, you owe it to yourself to get it. Really. Or you could just wait a few months and get MegaMan Zero 2. Or you could not wait and import RockMan Zero 2 if you don’t care about knowing what to do or can read Japanese. In any case, it’s one of the best games I’ve played in a long time. Well, that’s about that for that.

So now you know what I was blabbering on about in that one news update. Ummmm… this whole conclusion part is the toughest thing to write. I guess I could mention that I have plenty of gum left if anybody wants to try some. I’m more than willing to let go of a piece or eight. That’s all I have to say for today. I have no more ideas about what to review, so I don’t know when the next article will be. Maybe I’ll finish that MegaMan article sometime within the week.