Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Game Review: The Mega Man X Series, Part I

The Mega Man X series includes some of my favorite action games of all time. I enjoy the original, non-X Mega Man series as well in its various incarnations, but for me, the X series at its best (well, the first two) can be even more fun. It's Mega Man on speed, with a faster pace, more abilities, and a badass edge to it. Over the holidays I'll be replaying these games for the first time in years, and as I play them I'm going to do some mini-reviews of each one. I'm certainly looking forward to replaying these games...well, some of them. Some not so much. It's a hit-or-miss series, and the reviews will reflect that.

With the mild amount of resurgent interest in the series, possibly due to Gamestop's re-issuing of the game, it seemed like a good time to do this. I'm starting with mini-reviews of Mega Man X1, X2, and X3...in later installments I'll cover the rest of the X series up to X8 and Command Mission. Since CM is a big - and more modern - game, expect it to get more of a full-sized review than the mini-reviews the rest are getting.

For the record, I'm playing these (well, the first six) on the Mega Man X Collection. That is, the Playstation 2 version...do not, I repeat DO NOT get the Gamecube version unless you want a vastly inferior control scheme and a severely bent penis.

And to the women out there, don't think you can get away with playing that version just because you don't have a penis. Matter of fact, without penis assistance, I wouldn't even attempt to play Mega Man X with an unwieldy Gamecube controller in the first place.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Game Review: Bioshock


"Fallen, fallen is Babylon"

Playstation 3 / XBox 360 / Pretty Much Every Computer Format, 2007

Publisher: 2K Games

Developer: Irrational Games

Time to Complete: 15-20 Hours

Some time soon, I'm going to get around to playing and reviewing Bioshock 2. Because of this, I thought it was a good time to review the first game, which I played not once, but twice over the past two years. I'm going to go right ahead and say it: Bioshock might be the best game of the past decade. Maybe. It's definitely on the shortlist, and I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who would give it that distinction. I'd give it Top 5 status for sure. It's so good that it's available on every major HD gaming platform possible, including the PS3, XBox 360, and -  as dweebs, geeks, nerds, and dorks of all stripes already know - computers.

What is Bioshock? A great first person shooter. Then again, calling it that is like calling Lebron James a "good basketball player". It goes way beyond the expected level of quality. Also, it's so much more than just an FPS. It's one part Resident Evil 4, one part Metroid Prime, one part Blade Runner. Add HD graphics, a heaping plate of modern political philosophy, and an incredibly unique setting, and you get Bioshock. Speaking of unique, somehow this game manages to be both futuristic AND retro with the location and storytelling. It flat-out makes me proud of the people who made it. The only way Bioshock could be better is if the whole game were Tina Fey wearing a burlesque outfit and playing an accordion while sitting atop the luckiest piano ever.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What the Thunder Said

This is a story that I wrote for one of my classes. It was the only opportunity I had all semester to do creative writing in school, so I pounced. An encounter between Shakespeare and Milton in a modern mental institution. Once I came up with this, I ran with it and didn't look back.

A little Silence of the Lambs, a little Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a little of Nolan's Joker, and more than a sprinkling of what I actually think.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Radical Dreamers (Super Famicom) - Pt 2

Get ready for the climactic PART 2 of the Radical Dreamers fun-fest. Our last episode culminated with Serge and company defeating the Mystical Gobbler Team, the Ginyu Force of Radical Dreamers. Now, they look for the Frozen Flame and finally meet the dastardly Lynx.

Here, I'll look at the remaining 33 and a third of the game.

See what I did just now?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Radical Dreamers (Super Famicom) - Pt 1

Time to take a look at a game that never got released outside of Japan. This game was released in 1996, and was, sort of, the sequel to Chrono Trigger. It is most certainly the predecessor to Chrono Cross... actually, it's far more of a predecessor to Chrono Cross than Chrono Trigger is. I don't know what's more wrong: that, or the fact that CT got this as a sequel.

That said...it isn't bad on its own.

Here it is. There are lots of people who insist that this game is neither a CT sequel nor a CC prequel, taking place in a separate but similar world. Really, who knows? Square didn't exactly take good care of the Chrono-verse after Trigger.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Game Review: FFIV - The After Years

Final Fantasy IV - The After Years

Shoot for the Moon

Wii (Download Only), 2009

Publisher: Square Enix

Developer: Matrix Software

Time to Complete: Anywhere from A While to A Very Long While

This noble endeavor is the 2009 sequel to the 1991 Super NES semi-hit, Final Fantasy IV (Which was at the time renamed Final Fantasy II in the U.S.... I think everyone understands the whole wack FF numerology thing by now). For anyone who knows about FF, the phrase "sequel to an FF" is a tricky one. Final Fantasy games simply don't flow into each other within the main series, much like how the planets of our solar system don't orbit each other. FFV wasn't a follow-up to FFIV... FFVIII wasn't a follow-up to FFVII... FFXI wasn't a follow-up to Mog House. The only true sequels in the FF-verse come from outside the main series, much like a moon would orbit a planet. Final Fantasy X-2 continues X's story. After Years continues FFIV's story. Revenant Wings continues FFXII's story.

Lots of things continue FFVII's story, including but not limited to: Dirge of Cerberus, Crisis Core, Advent Children, and lots of really screwed up fanfiction.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Game Review: Odin Sphere

Odin Sphere

Because Odin's Ball just wouldn't sound right

Playstation 2, 2007

Publisher: Atlus

Developer: Vanillaware

Time to Complete: 40-50 hours

Odin Sphere is a cult favorite from the latter days of the Playstation 2's lifespan. 2007 was actually a pretty good year for the PS2, even though the next-gen systems were taking over by then. Why am I reviewing a game that is several years old? Because for some ungodly reason I played it earlier this year, and I need something to show for those efforts besides a debilitating spleen injury.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Goodness of Game Music

A friend of mine did this write-up. It turns a lot of my own thoughts into eloquent words.


I also feel like game music in general can be highly underrated by the non-gaming populace. There are definitely games out there that have brilliant soundtracks. On the other hand, some other news that came in over the past couple of days indicates that perhaps game music is starting to gain more recognition:


My viewpoint is that in their own way, some of the best game music composers can touch us with their music as much as any mainstream musicians can.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


50th Post Spectacular, Continued

This time, focusing on night or twilight shots...mostly. Also, the JFK Library.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010



Time to take a look at the city I reside in. I took all of these pictures myself on my travels, in an effort to convey the city's cosmopolitan suavé.

If I can convey the magic and power of the place, then mission accomplished. It's a historical and majestic locale.

Hell, it's where one can find the nation's first subway AND the nation's first college.

One of the most interesting things about this city is that most of it sits atop a man-made island. Indeed, the original area of the city was much smaller, until the diligent people who lived here expanded it over the water.