Picture time!

Kicked the History exam’s ass! Only Bio and Math left. To celebrate the almost end of school, I’ve added a whopping 4 pictures to the gallery. Not one, not two nor three, but four! I drew and (MS)painted them all. It’s just a little something to write news about until I can think up another article. That’s it for today. ~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.

Crowd interaction

Two days of school left and then exams. Most people are in a tizzy, but I’m cool as ice. Exams are no big deal. Not knowing what to do for your next article, that worries me. Not really, but I still want an idea for what to do. If anyone actually reads this wants to send me an idea of what to review, go nuts. I’ve got nothing as of yesterday, and I lost the Airplane! movie, so that’s out of the question. Doors are now open for “commisions” so think up something I could review, and quick! That’s about all I have to say for today.
~Ryan out

Promises kept

It’s done! Finally! …The MegaMan 4 article, that is. I said Wednesday, but I gave it to you on Tuesday. How’s that for dedication? Then again, I started it how many months ago… Maybe I’m not as dedicated as I thought, but it’s done and that’s all that matters. Well, that’s all for today.
~Ryan out


New article is done. Go read it or I be mad. And you wouldn’t like me when I’m mad. Oh yeah, and I’m putting a little thing on the home page that says when the last site update was, so you don’t actually have to go anywhere to see if there’s anything new. I just thought it would be convenient.

~Ryan out.

Hulk for GCN! Smashy smashy was never so fun!

So it’s the weekend. This is the time of the week where people can party hard, go out and do stuff, not have to worry about work, that kind of thing. Me, I rent video games. Last weekend was a bit of a bust because both games I wanted were out at Rogers Video and Blockbuster. Oh, wait, Blockbuster didn’t have either of these new titlesat all, never mind available. Stupid Blockbuster. I guess what I’m trying to say is, fight the damn Americans and rent your movies and video games from Rogers instead. Unless you live in the States, then do whatever the Hell you want.

So back to the story, both games were rented out already and there was nothing else that I really wanted. But what were these magical games that could grab my interest so exclusively? The first was Burnout 2: Point of Impact. I’d assume that it’s a great game because the first was really good. Oh, it’s a racing game of you cared to know. And I’m not big on racing games, so you can bet it’s really good. The second was even more appealing, but since it wasn’t so much of a sequel as Burnout 2 was, I must admit that I was a little skeptical.

That second game was Hulk. I’m not sure why I was at all skeptical about it. Spider-Man was great. X2: Wolverine’s Revenge was even better. So that makes a 100% success rate for next-gen video games based on Marvel movies. Why should Hulk be any different? Well, to be completely honest, I’m always skeptical about a new game that doesn’t come from Nintendo or Capcom. And it just so happens that Universal Interactive made Hulk, and they don’t exactly have the best track record. But today I went back there and took that game for all it was worth. And let me tell you, it was worth all 6 of my dollars.

If I had to sum this whole review up into one word, it would be “incredible”(pun intended). Hulkis a very fun game to play, or at least I think so. Basically, it’s just another 3-D brawler, but seeing as I love that type of game, it fits me perfectly! On the flip side, there are a few stealth-oriented levels peppered throughout the game, but they’re not all bad, and definitely not something that would take away from the overall goodness of the game. But, I’ll get to that a little bit later.

Now as I said, the game is first and foremost a 3-D brawler. If you don’t quite get that, think Double Dragon or River City Ransom in 3-D. If you’re still a bit perplexed, it’s a game where you walk around and beat up enemies. I guess if I had to compare it to any other game, it would be Minority Report. They’re the same kind of game at heart, they both have lots of fighting, they both have lots of stuff to break, and they both have a lot of the same options and special features. But, Hulk has no guns or jetpacks, and Minority Report has no Hulk. I’d say they’re about even on my rating scale, if Hulkisn’t just a bit higher.

I guess the first thing that I should cover is the main game. Or, Story Mode, if you will. What this consists of are many different levels with cutscenes in the middle. And that would be one of my first gripes. The cutscenes seem to be too many in number. It’s not really the FMVs that get to me, but the actual in-game cutscenes. In some levels there are none, but in some, there’s one every few steps. Luckily, not too many levels are like that, and it doesn’t hamper the gameplay too much. And, as for the length of the game, I’m not quite sure because I haven’t beaten it yet. But if the last two Marvel games are anything to go by, there should be more than 25.

That said, the levels themselves are actually nice and long. To be more specific, they canbe nice and long. Most enemies in the game will regenerate infinitely and you can just sit there all day pounding on the same guys over and over. But if you prefer to run from these sorts of areas, you could beat the levels a lot quicker. Not to say that they’re short if you don’t intend to waste time. They can still be pretty good length, but as in most games, they all vary. Some are long, some are short, but it all comes together in the end.

As stated earlier, you’ll be playing as the Hulk for about 70% of the game. It’s good old smashing and bashing everything in sight. You can do a lot of things to rid yourself of enemies. The basic idea would be to punch them into submission, but you can also jump attack, clap, stomp, throw, bludgeon, and squish them to death if you wish. Much like in Wolverine’s Revenge, Hulk has a rage meter, and when that gets full, Hulk gets stronger, his attacks have longer range, and he might get a bit faster. It’s hard to tell, really. The only really noticeable thing about it is that you can do this super huge sonic wave attack that takes out anything in front of you.

But of course, you can also use the surroundings to your advantage. Hulk can pick up virtually anything around him from pipes to smashed helicopters and beat enemies with them. Or if you prefer, you can just throw them. The only time the fighting can really get overwhelming is the boss stages. The first boss, Half-Life the vampire, is relatively simple to beat, but the catch is, you can’t touch him or he’ll drain your energy. The second boss fight is against a red Hulk-like guy named Madman, where you have to destroy computer consoles while avoiding him and his cronies. Then once that’s done you have to fight him in his rage mode. And if that wasn’t hard enough, there’s the constant threat of the respawning bazooka guys. And that’s only what I’ve seen so far.

For the other 30% of the game, you’re playing as Bruce Banner, scientist on the lam. His levels are a lot less action oriented, having him rely mostly on stealth to survive. Yup, just when you’re having fun pounding soldiers’ heads into the floor, the game goes all Metal Gear Solid on you. Of course, I really shouldn’t compare this to MGS, because if I did, Hulkwould rank about as highly as that fungus growing behind most department store toilets. But that’s just the Banner levels. The rest of the game still rocks the house. The only part that really amazed me about these levels is that the guys who made it have a different excuse for every single level as to why Banner can’t go Hulk. But as you can probably tell, I don’t want to write anything else about the stupid Banner levels.

So, what do you do when you’ve beaten the game? Well, first off I’d suggest beating it on the two difficulty levels that you didn’t the first time through. After that, it’s just playing for fun. Of course, there are plenty of extras in Hulk. Extras make me happy. Most notably is the Challenge Mode. It’s more or less just fighting arenas where you can see how many bad guys you can kill. There are five different Challenge games, the first two are endurance matches, the second two are timed matches, and the last one, entitled “Hulk Smash”, I haven’t played yet so I can’t tell you what it is. The first one is unlocked at the beginning of the game, but the other four open up as you progress through the Story Mode.

Next up we have the “Hulk Unleashed” section, which is comprised of a bunch of movies and such. There are two trailers for the Hulk movies, the first being the infamous “teaser trailer”, and the second being the more recent “trailer trailer”. There’s also one of those “Making of” videos, but it’s the making of the game, not the movie as you might expect. As you progress through the game, you can also view any FMV scenes that you’ve seen here. Finally, there’s a “Hulk Movie F/X” movie, but it’s locked so I can’t tell you exactly what it is. Popular speculation leads me to beleive that it has something to do with the movie’s special effects. In addition to that, they’ve added some movie production art to sweeten the deal and make the fanboys salivate.

Finally, we have the cheat menu. Strangely enough, you have to unlock all the cheats with codes. Well, maybe that’s not that strange but you have to unlock almost all the production art and one of the movies with said codes as well. Then there’s the complication. There are two different ways to enter codes. And each code works uniquely to one of these ways, never both. The first way to enter codes is to simply go to the “enter code” menu and type it in. The second way is to find a cheat console somewhere in the game and type it in there. Ant it pretty much goes without saying that these cheat consoles are only in Banner’s levels, and they’re pretty out of the way. I’m not even sure if you can find out the codes in the course of the game or if you have to look them up in a magazine or on the internet. And, a cool little rumour that’s going around says that a super-secret code will be given in the Hulk movie that opens some kind of new gameplay mode. If it’s true, I think that’s pretty cool.

So, now that I’ve covered every possible aspect of gameplay, what about the rest? I’ll start with graphics. Just to give early warning, this game is cel-shaded. But not in the traditional sense. Only the characters really look it, and it’s more of a comic type shading than a cartoonish style. All in all it looks pretty good, especially on the non-human characters. The environments are pretty well done, but some of the textures just don’t look right. Not that they’re all pixely like in Super Mario Sunshine, but there seems to be a lack of detail. Other than that small problem, the game looks very nice, and even the most spoiled of graphics babies should enjoy the way Hulklooks.

I, being the audiophile I am, place a lot of weight on the music/sound of a game. The Hulk only disappoints in the aspect that the background music is rather faint and can get annoying. It’s not anything catchy that you’ll be humming. I suggest turning the music volume all the way off (but keep the sound volume on) and put on the radio or a CD. Something like Rammstein or Disturbed would suit Hulkvery well. As for the sound effects, they’re all good. The clanging, smashing, all that stuff, it’s all there and it sounds just fine.

As for voices, the voice acting is done rather well, almost as good as in Batman: Dark Tomorrow. The fact that enemies are very vocal makes for a hilarious experience. “Oh crap!! I need backup!” and “Hey! Put him down!” are just a couple samles of the rather humourous things enemies will say as you pound your way though enemies. Even banner talks to himself while you play his levels. My only gripe is that Hulk never talks. No “Hulk smash!” or “Hulk angry!“. Just grunt and roar, grunt and roar. Oh well. All in all, I think this category did pretty well.

And now we come to control. As was Wolverine, Hulk controls a bit sloppy, but it really doesn’t matter since you’ll be mashing the A button most of the time. One significant problem is aiming. It’s tough to get Hulk to face exactly where you want him to, and using the lock-on function is mostly useless, because enemies are almost always in groups of 4-8, so you probably won’t lock-on to the guy you wanna hit. Like I said, just pounding the A button will do fine in most cases. Another problem is launching the rage attacks. One of them is B+Y, and as those familiar with the GCN controller will know, pushing those buttons at the same time is quite the task. Luckily, you can also press Y+X to do (I think) the same attack. Another problem is the first-person look. Control is way too sensitive and it’s basically useless. Final gripe here is that you have no control over the camera whatsoever, which changes angles with the wind. So, I’d say the controls are mediocre at best.

Finally, we come to replayability. Essentaily, it’s a rather reply value-less game, but you can go through it at least 3 times, one for each difficulty level. After that, it’s just Challenge Mode and playing around with all the different cheats, some of which can actually be quite entertaining. Of course, if you’re really hyped up about the movie, you an watch the trailers over and over again, as I did with my Ocarina of Time/Master Quest disc while waiting for The Wind Waker.

For a final score, I give Hulk an 8. The lack of good music and sloppy controls lost one point each. But, I can tell you enough that this is an extremely fun game while it lasts. You might just want to rent it once or twice because it’s not gonna last much longer after you finally get bored with it. Or, if it eventually goes down to $20 like Spider-Man did, then you should definitely think about buying it. I know I’m gonna enjoy this game all the way until it has to go back. Yeah. Rent good idea, buy only if bargain bin. Hulk angry if you not play Hulk’s game. Hulk want smash more little people. Hulk really need voice in game.

Yup. That’s how I feel about Hulk. If you wanna take my word for it, go ahead, but if you’re some kind of stupid person that doesn’t like beat ’em up games, you can go play some other game. But Hulkis great. I strongly urge anyone and everyone to go and at least try it out. Very, very fun game. Needs two-player smackdown mode though. Maybe that’s what the mysterious “movie cheat” will be. Who knows? It is just a rumour after all.

So this brings an end to article number 11 I think, not including Chat Radio, but including the Gallery and Guides. I think so anyway. Yeah. Well, the Easter thing was the 10th, but I did include Chat Radio in that figure. But the numbers don’t really matter, it’s the quality of my many, many offerings, right? I guess it doesn’t matter either way because I don’t really have many readers yet. But 3 is a good start. So that’s all for today, see you in the MegaMan 4 article!

As a bee

Aaaahhh. Now that my project is done, I have a bit more time on my hands to do anything else. So, I’ve got a new article on the way, and I promise to finish the MegaMan 4 article by Wednesday at the latest. I guess I should be studying for exams, but I’m pretty smart and I still have a whole week to study, so I should be okay. Chat Radio 9 might be up anytime between now and sometime around the MM4 article. While I’m on that topic, we decided that CR8 was good enough as it is and won’t be getting a real ending. So that new article I mentioned may be up by tonight, or sometime tomorrow. It all depends on how much I feel like writing. ~Ryan out.

Not bored yet

Holy crap it’s already June. It’s kinda nice to know that I’m still “passionate” about the site. I’d have lost interest in anyhitng else by now. But alas, I’ve got exams in two weeks, and a huge history project due sometime in between now and then, so besides finishing Chat Radio 8, I won’t be doing anything else for the site until about the 20th. So that said, I uploaded CR8, or at least half of it. Read it to find out why.
~Ryan out.