Saturday, May 31, 2008

StarSoldierR>Logging in to system.

I downloaded Star Soldier R for the Wii today. Im a fan of the older Star Soldier games for the Turbo Grafix so I was looking forward to this game. What struck me is that even if the gameplay hasnt changed much in 15 years the presentation really has.

The game presents all information to you in a way that I can at best describe as a bot on a chat client such as IRC, complete with a ">" tag after its name. This makes it feel like the ships computer is talking to you in a cool early 90's sci-fi kinda way, really interesting.

Of course this isnt the only change in presentation. The game also has new fancy 3d graphics which look nice but I cant say that they are better then the old 2d graphics. But I understand that everything has to be 3d theses days and Im just glad they were able to preserve that old school shooter feel.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Time to leave the house, the house of the dead that is

Ok that was a bad title but I just couldnt resist. So I beat House of the Dead 3 earlier today. It wasnt nearly as much fun as House of the Dead 2 but it was still a decent game and a must for a House of the Dead fan like me. It took some time for me to finish it, mostly because every time I turned the game on I couldnt help to notice how much better HotD2 is and I went back to replay that again.

When I finally beat the game I unlocked extreme mode, which is the new content for the Wii version. Its much harder and adds a melee attack. Its kinda fun but its so hard that I didnt feel like replaying it a hundred times to beat it. Just trying it out once was enough. I wish they would have added some extra content to HotD2 instead, thats a game I wouldnt mind replaying a hundred times.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Kick start your day

This morning before work I played through House of the Dead 2 on very hard. I played on original mode so I had the chance to use some of the cool power ups I have collected during my previous playthroughs. I used the infinite chamber one so I never had to reload. If I hadnt used it it would have been close to impossible since the enemies are just too fast on very hard.

The combination of a super fast moving game and the ability to fire like a maniac without ever having to reload resulted in an extremely action packed experience. I was ready to pass out afterwards but it was a lot of fun and since it pretty much fastforwards through the game its great if you dont have a lot of time to game, like me who had to get to work. It turned out to be the recipe for a short and intensive gaming experience.

Monday, May 26, 2008

No WiiFit for me today

I had preordered WiiFit from a local retailer and today I recived an email that they had it in stock. When I showed up it turned out that it was something wrong with their system and they didnt have any in stock at all. This made me kinda cranky and to cheer me up I went and picked up some used Xbox games. They had a take three for the price of two sale going so I couldnt stop myself and ended up with six games. At least it cost me less then half of what I would have paid for WiiFit. The games I bought were:

Shenmue 2 (incuding Shenmue: The Movie)
Jade Empire
Knights of the old republic
Fahrenheit (aka Indigo Prophecy)
Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon

I never had an original Xbox so Im trying to collect the Xbox games that interests me now that I have a 360. There arent that many of them, most Xbox games didnt fit my taste.

Improvising

My TV is in the perfect position for playing games while sitting down. In the more unconventional Nintendo games that are better played while standing my TV doesnt work as well, its too low. So I improvised a little and grabbed the upper part of my bookcase. It looks a bit weird but it works fine. Its only temporary anyway, Im planning on picking up WiiFit today so Im only going to use this setup for the first day or so of playing.

Retiring Mario Kart

I have decided that Im done with Mario Kart Wii. Its always hard for me to decide when Im done with a game that doesnt have a clear ending like Mario Kart. I have earned a gold trophy on every cup and unlocked most of the characters. The once that are left require some nearly impossible stuff to unlock. Those must be considered extra content for the truly hard core Mario Kart players. I feel like I have gotten enough out of this game now and I have cleared enough of the content to say that I have beaten the game.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Curse of Monkey Island on Wii

Earlier tonight I manged to get my favorite PC game of all time The Curse of Monkey Island running on my Wii. I used a bug in Twilight Princess known as the the twilight hack to run a WAD installer off a SD card. With it I was able to install a Wii version of the Scumm emulator ScummVM with its own channel and full pointer support. With it I could to boot a copy of the PC game that I had placed on the SD card.

It all ran fine and I had a huge grin on my face for about 2 minutes. Then the thing froze on me. It seems that even if the emulator is running in full speed with full sound support it still freezes so often that the game is completely unplayable. Its really sad because the game looked amazing on my HDTV and the wiimote worked great. I was hoping to be able to replay this masterpiece of a game on the Wii. Thats not going to happen until the emulator gets fixed and that could take forever. Maybe I should just play the game on PC, I wonder if it will work on Vista.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What'cha been buying?

I picked up some more stuff for almost nothing from the same place a I got Hotel Mario. Paid less then 100 skr ($17) plus shipping for everything.



Dreamcast Controller
PSX Wrist rumbler
Dreamcast controller extension cord
PS2 controller extension cord
Black Dreamcast VMU
Grey Dreamcast VMU
Virtual Fighter 3

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hotel Mario

I just received a copy of Hotel Mario for the CD-i from a retro gaming company that is going out of bussnies. Its still in its original plastic wrapping, a real collectible.

For those of you who dont know the CD-i was Philips failed attempt at getting in to the video game market. It was originally like the Playstation supposed to be a CD add-on for the SNES. When Nintendo ditched Philips the CD-i was released as its own stand alone system and somehow Philips got their hands on the Mario license and this game was released.

Im a huge Mario fan so Im really glad to have this game in my collection.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How to handle arcade ports (2)

A while ago I wrote about the genius way Sega handled continues in House of the Dead 2. That was in what they call Original mode, which is the arcade game remade for the home console. They also include the Arcade mode in House of the Dead 2 and that is the only thing you get in House of the Dead 3. Me being me, I ofcourse had to beat House of the Dead 2 in both Original and Arcade mode. In the Arcade mode they handle the continues differently.

Every time you lose the game you get more lives, when you have maxed out your lives you start getting more continues. You have to be insanely good to beat the game with the amount of lives and continues you start out with. Even with the maximum amounts of lives and continues the game is still challenging. This makes a very short game like House of the Dead last a while and when you finally beat it you will feel like you have truly mastered the game. I like this approach to handling continues better then just having unlimited continues but the way it is handled in Original mode is more interesting and it does a better job at encouraging the player to get as far as possible in the game every time.

If you want to read my old post about how continues are handled in Original mode you can easily find it by clicking the "House of the Dead 2 and 3" label at the end of this post.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Turning down the difficulty

I usually always play games on the normal difficulty setting. With Metal Gear I made an exception and restarted the game on easy. Im mostly playing the game for the story and my reasoning was that this would get me through the gameplay portions faster and they would hopefully be less annoying.

Now when the enemies dont spot me as easily Im actually finding the game somewhat enjoyable. As I have written before the games controls work as long as you are sneaking around and you can take your time. It breaks down completely when the enemies spot you, luckily on easy that doesnt happen a lot.

Great story, bad gameplay

I started playing Metal Gear Solid 3. The story and the writing is great, the in engine cinemas are fantastic, the voice acting is even better. Its an amazing presentation. The problem is that the gameplay isnt actually good and the controls are horrible.

As long as the enemy doesnt see you the game works ok but once you have been spotted everything breaks down. As an action game its freaking terrible, you move so slow and the controls are so clunky that its much more frustrating then fun. If you want to fire your gun with any kind of precision you have to go in to first person mode and very slowly move your aim until you have it lined up with the enemy. This works ok if you are lying down hidden in the bushes but when you are facing a boss or is in the middle of a shootout its terrible.

Im gonna keep playing because Im interested in the story and the characters, half of the game is cinema sequences anyway. I will just have to fight through the actual gameplay part, which is a very weird thing to say about a video game.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Beating games

I like to feel that I have beaten a game before I put it away. But when is that really? Usually it means beating the last boss on normal and getting to see the end credits. But not always, I dont feel like Im done with modern Mario game before I get all 120 stars. Thats long after beating the last boss and having seen the end credits. What about Links Crossbow Training, that game doesnt even have any end credits, I had to get a platinum ranking on everything there to feel that I had beaten that game. How about games with different endings? I got the good ending in Silent Hill 3 but if i hadnt, would I have felt the need to replay that whole game? In House of the Dead 2 beating the game in original mode didnt feel like enough so Im now trying to beat it in arcade mode. Mario Kart is even worse, I have gotten a gold medal on everything but there is so much more content in that game so I cant decide if Im done with it or not.

Of course these are just silly rules I make up for myself to have a clear goal to aim for. The reason I started thinking about it in the first place is because Im playing Ghost Squad. I have written before about how it only took me 30 minutes to beat that game. But have I really beaten it? The game is really made to be replayed over and over again so when am I done with it. Do I have to get my guy up to level 99, unlock all costumes and all weapons? No that would be ridiculous. I think I found a good medium when I decided to unlock and play all alternative routes in the game. There is a nice chart and a percentage meter in the corner every time you beat a level so its easy to keep track of.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weapon of choice

In both Brawl and Mario Kart you have a wide array of controller options. Just the Wiimote, Wiimote and Nunchuk, classic controller, Gamecube controller and in the case of Mario Kart the Wii Wheel.

I think its great that the player is given the option to use a more traditional controller when it comes to franchises that were not originally designed with the Wii in mind. The new control schemes might be great and enhance the experience but will be hard to convince a real Smash Bros fan of this or someone who has played Mario Kart since the SNES.

When I look back at games like Twilight Princess I wish that they would have included support for the Gamecube controller. I see why they didnt, they needed a game to show off the Wii with. Now on the other hand the Wii has proven itself and thats no longer necessary.

Still its very surprising that a Japanese company like Nintendo would do something like this. They are usually all about offering a very controlled experience where the player experiences the game just the way its creators imagined. Customizable controls are usually found in western games and never in Nintendo games.

Too much plastic?

My room is quickly filling up with plastic exessories for my Wii. Im having a lot of fun with the Zapper and Im warming up to the Wheel but when you think it they are nothing more then cheap white plastic. Still they do their job fairly well.

For the casual crowd they offer a simpler more less intimidating alternative to the traditional controller. Everyone knows how to aim a gun or use a steering wheel. If they get more people to play games Im all for it.

For the more hard core like me who have played so many games that they hunger for innovation and new gaming experiences these exessories offer a fun alternative. Its important to remember that the Zapper and the Wheel are not required for any game, they are optional exessories. If you dont like them thats fine, you dont have to use them. If Nintendo wants to continue serving both the casual and the hard core I believe its important that they keep it that way.

Sweet!

Look at these sweet DS styluses I just got in the mail.

A late bloomer

It has taken time for Nintendo to realize that online gaming is important. When their comparators first went online they didnt seem to care at all and when Nintendo years later finally introduced an online infrastructure it was seriously gimped by things such as friend codes. This might have changed with Mario Kart Wii, it seems like Nintendo just nailed online. Im going to list everything it does right to illustrate my point.

It futures twelve player completely lag free online play. I have played for hours and never experienced any lag. There is some slight warping, but thats the price you pay to get rid of the lag.

It shows you if your friends are online when you connect to the WiFi network. You can also check if anyone is playing in the Mario Kart Channel without having to pop in the game.

If one of your friends are online it lets you easily join their game. If they are playing with other friends it also lets you add them to your friends list without the need for friend codes.

If you already have a friend added to your console you dont need to enter a new friend code like with other games, you can just send them a friends request.

You can play two players online on one console.

Everyone gets to vote on which track to play and the computer then selects one of them. Its not completely random.

Mario Kart has leader boards for every track that you can sort by world, region and friends.

You earn points by doing well online which helps your rank.

These are all pretty basic stuff but its the most important things in an online game and Nintendo has successfully implemented them. So finally you can have a decent online experience on a Nintendo system. Other then this Mario Kart also does some cool and innovative things online

When you first join an online game it shows you your opponents Miis and where they are from on a spinning globe. This gives you more of a feeling of playing against real people and it makes the whole thing more personal.

Mario Kart has its own type of free downloadable content. The competitions, where you get to play on modified courses to compete with the rest of the world and the people on your friends list for the best time.

It lets you download ghost data for every course, both from the record holder and from the player who is one step above your best time. So you can keep beating better and better players as you try and improve your time.

Nintendo has modified the classic battles to work with more players so that they are playable with up to twelve people online.

There is sadly still no voice chat, not even with your friends. Other then that it seems to me like Nintendo really has done everything possible within the boundaries of their online infrastructure to offer a really sold online experience. Its not as good as Xbox Live but remember that you pay $50 a year (or $100 where I live) for Live while Nintendos service is free.

Bragging rights

I have written before about how Mario Kart is great at rewarding you for your hard work and motivating you to really get everything out of the game. One way they do it that I havent mentioned yet is using the online mode.

If you really play the hell out of the game and manage to get a star ranking in every cup you will be rewarded with a golden star next to your name online. If you are truly amazing and manage to get two or three stars in every cup this will also show up next to your name. So if you ever see someone with three stars next to his name you know you are facing a Mario Kart god. This is a great way for the player to show off his accomplishment to the world. It will surely also get a lot of gamers to go back and try to get a higher ranking. I know it makes me want to go back to single player and try to do even better so that I get that star.

Also if you play a lot online using the Wii Wheel and do well you will be rewarded with a golden wheel next to your name. This is really smart since the players using a regular controller usually have a competitive edge over those who use the wheel. Now there is a reason to play with the wheel and it gives those who prefer the wheel a way to show that they can still kick some ass, even with the odds against them.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Motivating the player (2)

Nintendo are using the same tactic in Links Crossbow Training as they did in Mario Kart to motivate the player to get as much out of the game as possible. When you choose which Mii to use you see the medals listed underneath it. If there is one that isnt a platinum medal there it annoys the hell out of me and really drives me to hundred percent the game. On top of that in the level select screen you also see huge medals next to the levels to make it clear which once you have to get your score up on.

If it wasnt for this design decision on Nintendos part I probably never would have gone back to Links Crossbow Training. I would have gotten less then an hour of play time out of it and missed out on some of the most fun in the game. Instead I was up until two in the morning making sure that I got a platinum medal on every level.

The Oocca

One things thats fun about Links Crossbow Training is that you get to revisit most of the memorable locations from Twilight Princess. It reminds me of how much weird shit there was in that game.

Like the Oocca, a race of bald chickens taken from an M. C. Escher painting. Who apparently are ancestors of the Hylians. How they became chickens I have no idea but they are undoubtedly among the weirdest stuff to ever show up in a Zelda game. Of course they have their own level in Links Crossbow Training.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Reevaluating Link's Crossbow Training

I might have been a little too harsh on Links Crossbow Training the other day. I went back to it today and played the hell out of it. I now have a platinum rank on every stage, beat that.

The game actually works pretty well. I messed around a little with the settings and tried to sit closer to the screen. This helped a bit and on top of that I just got used to the controls. Especially the turning just took some getting used to, its still clunky but it works. The game could still use a calibration option like the one if Ghost Squad and House of the Dead. The control in those two games is ten times better then in Links Crossbow Training. Which is weird to say about a Nintendo game. They are usually the once to really nail the controls.

How to handle arcade ports

In arcades you are limited by the amount of change in your pocket. When porting arcade games to the home console this limitation no longer exists. So how do you handle continues?

In Ghost Squad you get unlimited continues. The downside with this is that you will beat the game in one sitting. In House of the dead 2 & 3 you only get a limited amount of continuous. This solves this problem but now its so hard that you will probably never be able to finish the game. And seeing how short these games are you will be playing the same first 10-15 minutes over and over again.

It turnes out after playing House of the dead 2 for a while that they actually have an ingenious solution to this. As you play the game you will find hidden items. The further you get and the higher your score is, the better items you get. You cant use those items right then and there. Instead you will have to wait until the next time you play the game, then you can use them. These are items like a bigger magazine for your gun and more continues. You can only use them once so you have to use them wisely. Hopefully you will be able to beat the game with these, if not you will probably be abler to get further and get even better items. Towards the end if you have good enough of a score you can even get an unlimited continue item. If you choose to use it or not is up to you but with it youre guaranteed to beat the game.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Light gun week

This week I have decided to dedicate to light gun games. Its a genera that I have always enjoyed but never played much. I never used to hang out at arcades much but when I did I always played light gun games. Now when I the Zapper for my Wii I think its time for me to dive in to the world of light gun games.

I have stocked up with Ghost Squad, House of the Dead 2 & 3, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles and of course Links Crossbow Training if that counts. So its time for me to start zapping.

Sweet but a little too short

The other day I wrote about how nice it is with short games. Then I was talking Silent Hill 3 which took about seven hours. Which doesnt sound so short compared to Ghost Squads 30 minutes. Thats right, it took me just half an hour to beat Ghost Squad. That is a little too short for my taste.

Of course Ghost Squad was designed for the Arcade where half an hour is a whole bunch or quarters. Sega have tried to remedy this somewhat when bringing it to the home console. Ghost Squad actually has a surprising amount of replayability. So Im tempted to forgive Sega for the games short length. You can level up your character as well as level up the stages making them harder. This makes you want to play through the game several times. You can also take multiple routs through the levels, some only available on harder difficulties. So the experience is a little different each time.

Zapping Zelda

The Zapper comes with Links Crossbow Training, a light gun game based on Twilight Princess. I was prepared to really like this game but it turns out it has some serious problems. It lacks a calibration option like the one in Ghost Squad so where you aim on screen isnt necessarily where the pointer goes. This becomes much more apparent when you are aiming with the Zapper then with just the wiimote, since you have much more of a feeling where the pointer should be when you are holding a gun then just resting a remote in your lap.

On top of that in the stages where you have to move Link he turns painfully slow and is hard to control. I dont see this game being a good choice to pack in with the Zapper since it does a terrible job convincing you that that the Zapper can enhance the gameplay experience. If anything it makes you wonder why you should use the Zapper in the first place. Luckily this wasnt my introductions to the Zapper so I know how great it can be. But for most gamers this will be their first and maybe only experience with the Zapper.

More then just a piece of plastic

I wasnt so sure about the Zapper to begin with so I didnt pick one up right away. But its a Nintendo peripheral and it comes with a Zelda game so it was inevitable that I would buy one sooner or later. The other day I broke down and got one. I first tried it out with Ghost Squad, a light gun shooter from Sega.

It worked surprisingly well. In Ghost Squad you can calibrate the gun and then turn off the pointer so that it plays like a real light gun game. This setup worked really well, its almost like having the Arcade game at home.

Less talking, more dungeon crawling

I usually enjoy the story in rpgs, its half of the experience. I mean what would a game like Final Fantasy 7 be without its story? But when it comes to Pokémon Mystery Dungeon the story is less like that of a epic Square game and more like that of a Saturday morning cartoon.

There is a lot of talking about nothing and then I mean A LOT of talking. Thats just silly when there isnt really any story to speak of. Its more of a premise to give you a reason to crawl through huge randomly generated dungeons. When I only have 10 minutes with my DS I dont want to spend it scrolling through meaningless text. I want to explore a floor or two of the dungeon and level up my character.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Short and sweet

Last night I finished Silent Hill 3. It took me a about 7 hours to beat the game. I really enjoyed it but Im still glad it ended when it did. Seven hours was enough for such an intense experience as Silent Hill 3. If it went on much longer it would have run the risk of being repetitious. This way I never got tired of it and the twisted world never ceased to give me a strong uncomfortable feeling.

I would like more games to be under 10 hours. It gives you a compact and varied experience that holds your interest all the way through. Plus I would love to be able to finish more games. Too often I get bored with them and never come back.

What Silent Hill 3 does for the gamer who wants to get some more hours of gameplay out of his games is to offer a ranking system, multiple ending and some really cool unlockables. So there is enough there to motivate you to beat the game several times. For me the first play through was enough and Im very satisfied with it but I do appreciate all this stuff being there.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Perfect for the busy gamer

I have been busy the past few days, working a lot and trying to spend some quality time with the family. These are times when I really appreciate my DS. Its perfect when you dont have a lot of time for gaming. Im able to quickly pull it out of my jacket and beat a level or two in Mystery Dungeon when I have a few minutes of free time.

Thats brings me to what has quickly become my favorite feature of the DS. Its not the touch screen or the dubble screen setup, its the ability to close the lid and have the system go in to sleep mode. This makes it possible to stop playing in a second and also to come back to the game and instantaneously be back in the middle of the action. I love how I can just stop playing in the middle of a boss battle and then come back to the game when I have time, no matter if thats 5 minutes later or the next day.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The beauty of prerendered backgrounds

Back in the day when I would play a Final Fantasy game or a Resident Evil on PS1 I didnt think much about the use of prerendered backgrounds. It all blended together for me. Now on the other hand when I go back its very clear that the games are just simple 3D characters moving around on whats basically a still picture. The backgrounds might have some 3D element to them to make them feel more alive but are almost completely prerendered.

This stands out even more now days since the 3D characters look very dated while the backgrounds even if they are low res still look very good. So when Im exploring the world in Final Fantasy IX Im still able to enjoy and be impressed by the beautiful backgrounds.

Writing this post actually makes me want to go back and play the Gamecube remake of Resident Evil 1 which has some of the best prerendered backgrounds in any game. But Im playing way too many games at the same time right now so Im gonna have to wait until I beat at least one of them.

Component cables and Playstation 1 games

Im have been slowly playing through Final Fantasy IX for the past few weeks. Up until now I have had my PS2 hooked up using normal composite cables. Which has worked fine but I changed to component cables a little while ago. I didnt expect to see that much of a difference on a low res PS1 game but man was I wrong. The new crisp picture is beautiful and the game looks a lot better then before. The picture is so nice Im even considering playing through Final Fantasy 7 when Im done with 9. The art in all of the modern FF games is really impressive and viewing it though component cables makes so much better.

I even popped in the psx port of Chrono Trigger to see how a 2D game would look and even that looked great. Maybe not as huge of a step up as with a 3D game but still really nice. I never did beat that game so maybe Im gonna have to go back to that too. If I do its going to be so much more enjoyable with component cables.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Sorry but the lock on this door is broken

Im loving Silent Hill 3, I really am but there is one thing that is bugging me. The game is filled with doors, your run around in office buildings and hospitals so there is is going to be a lot of doors everywhere. The thing is you cant open 80% of these doors. They arent just locked because if they were locked it would mean you could find a key to open them. The locks on the doors are broken, you are going to read that line of text a hundred times.

I dont think I ever in my life have encountered a broken lock, yet in Silent Hill almost every lock is broken. Its clear that these doors are only there for decoration but you dont know which doors can be opened and which cant. It would make sense to make the "real" doors another color or give the player some other cue which doors are worth trying to open. No instead you have to try to open every door.

Maybe this is a trick to scare the player. Trying desperately open doors only to find out that their locks are broken when being chased by some big freakish creature can be kinda scary. But its still very annoying.

Mystery Dungeon

The Mystery Dungeon games are a special type of rpgs made by the Japanese developer Chunsoft. They are very traditional dungeon crawlers and have hardly changed since the first game came out for the Super Famicom. Or so I have heard, I just started playing the series for the first time.

I picked up the most recent one that was made in cooperation with Nintendo. This time the game takes place in the world of Pokémon and is called Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time. Its the same old school type of dungeon crawling only now you can do it in the company of cute Pokémon. Which fits me very well since I usually like colorful cutesy games more then the once that mostly use grey and brown.

The Mystery Dungeon games always future randomly generated multi leveled dungeons where the enemies get to move one step for every step you take. You dont realize the turn based nature of the game until you stop moving and notice that everything else also stopped. So even if it plays like an action rpg its really a turn based rpg and you can at any time stop and think about your actions.

Im finding that I really enjoy this special Mystery Dungeon type of gameplay. The tactical yet simple style is nice and I like its old school feel.

Not so casual

For a game thats supposed to be aimed at the more casual player, you have to be pretty freaking hardcore to unlock all the characters in Mario Kart. Its not enough to to earn a gold trophy in every cup like I have. No then you will still have five characters left.

To unlock all of these you have to get a star ranking on every cup. Now a star ranking is one step better then the A ranking and to get it you have to get close to a full 60 points (finish in first place on every race) and on top of that get good times on all laps.

Even doing that will leave some characters locked. You also have to beat all of the developers ghost data which can be really hard. But thats still not enough, you have to beat them with a good margin of several seconds to then unlock the expert ghost data. Luckily the game is sattesfied with you just unlocking this data, you dont actually have to beat their times which may or may not be possible.

I think Im pretty good at Mario Kart and definitely what you would call a hard core gamer when it comes to Nintendo games but this is too much for me. I might unlock one or two more characters but I can say right now that I will never be able to unlock all of them. Which is a weird thing to say about a game that has been criticized for being targeted at the more casual gamer.

Subway stations are scary

When I was a kid I used to have nightmares about being chased down in to subway. I would run further and further down under ground until there would no longer be anywhere to run and I would be trapped with whoever was chasing me.

I cant be the only one who had nightmares about the subway. Some guy over at Konami must have figured out that underground subway stations can be pretty freaking scary. Because the second part of Silent Hill 3 which I was playing the other night takes place on a subway station. Not only that, its the type of subway station with multiple platforms and of course the game forces you to go as far down under ground as possible. Oh and did I mention that the station is filled with bizarre freaky monsters?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mario Kart competitions

Today I got a message on my Wii that Nintendo had launched the first of what they call "Mario Kart competitions". This is Nintendo setting up a special race of some kind and then letting you submit your time to Nintendo to participate in the competition.

What I found really interesting once I started the race was that Nintendo actually had taken their time to modify the course. The first competition takes place on Marios Circuit, a course where there is a giant Chain Chomp chained up to a pole. Only in this modified version of the track the Chain Chomp has gotten lose and is running wild. Going full speed in the opposite direction of traffic. This completely changes the experience of the track. If Nintendo keeps being this creative with the competition tracks I can see myself going back to Mario Kart every time a new competition starts.

Of course there are still problems with Nintendo and everything thats online, after I finished the race and tried to submit my time to Nintendo I got an error message and was booted back to the menu. My time wasnt that good anyway so I could care less but I can see this being extremely annoying if you manged to get real good time.