Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket A - Match 3

3. James Bond 007: Nightfire


6. Metroid Prime

Here are two pretty enjoyable first-person shooters I have for Gamecube. First is James Bond 007: Nightfire, which plays out just like a Bond movie, complete with awesome gadgets, beautiful women, a suave British spy, and a real bad guy with his own super bad-ass bodyguard. Next is a solo adventure that plays straight through very smoothly , no missions, and awesome boss battles. Who doesn't love boss battles?

I can easily pick out my favorite parts about both of these games, but will it be that easy to pick out my favorite?


Nightfire starts off in the middle of the action, as does most Bond movies. You are flying in a helicopter providing sniper fire for beautiful woman in a sports car. That screams Bond. And sniping? One of the most fun things in an FPS. The very first mission advises that you use stealth, but sometimes it is more fun to burst through the front door with guns-a-blazing. Plus, the first boss is a helicopter!

However, the multiplayer is incredible. The GCN version owns the PS2 version because it allows four player action without use of multitap and you can add 6 bots to the match. YES! BOTS! I do not know why more games don't do that. Perfect Dark executed bots perfectly (pun intended). Customizable attributes and difficulties. For the hardest match, make them all ninjas. With snipers. I put in countless hours of the multiplayer alone, and I must say it is the best shooter for multiple players on the Gamecube.


Metroid Prime was the whole reason I wanted to get a Gamecube in the first place. It is beautiful. Perfectly paced. Great balance of fighting with exploration; one never dominates the other. I have said a lot about this game in two previous posts. Go find them yourself.

Metroid Prime does not need a multiplayer (and MP2 Echoes did not either, but they threw it in anyway; kinda dumb). But it is classic Metroid formula that gives the player this huge environment to traverse, with so many different areas that seem so unreal. Tallon IV has its rainy forest, hot magma caves, snowy drifts, underground mines, ancient ruins, and underground mines. The Space Pirates are so much scarier in this game than any other Metroid. There are some things holding MP back on my list, like how I have not given it more appreciation than it deserves. I am replaying it now on the side of my other gaming, and perhaps another playthrough could have swung the votes.


This match up was both difficult and easy to decide at the same time. Which do I enjoy more: a fun multiplayer or an epic single player. In this case, it is the multiplayer. Nintendo fanboys, do not yell at me!!! I am one of you. But Corruption is much more fun than the first MP, and I feel that had an effect on the outcome. Plus to upset more people, I like Nightfire way more than Goldeneye.

Winner: James Bond 007: Nightfire

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket A - Match 2

4. Killer 7


5. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

I would consider both of these games a rare find in any collection. Killer 7 is such an obscure game that received very poor reviews because of its style, control, and overall insanity. On the other hand, all of those three reasons made it so unique. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is such a popular game that the cartridge itself is worth over $60. If you are that lucky.

Odds are, you reading this have only played the latter game. But hold onto your seats, you may in for quite a tough first round battle.


Allow me to begin by saying Killer 7 is freakin' sweet. If I did not pay attention to the gaming industry, I would not really be aware of this hidden gem. I followed previews for months, because I loved the style and promise this game showed. A lot of people let it pass, which is a real shame. Yeah, the control system is odd; you move on rails and when you want to shoot something it jumps to first-person. Puzzles seemed out of place at times, while they sometimes meshed perfectly with exploring a somewhat limited new area.

The consideration of a favorite is for its story. I cannot say plot, because it is more than that. It is a thrill ride where more questions are asked (about 40 billion) than answered (about 2% of that). A lot of the fun came from wondering what the hell everything meant. Who were the Killer 7? Well, at one point they were a Killer 7. By the end, you realize something much more twisted than that (what would be the fun if I told you that?). Click the aforementioned link for a more in-depth (but still only scratching the surface) look at the game.


First thing I need to say about Super Mario RPG is this: COME OUT ON VIRTUAL CONSOLE ALREADY!!! I think it was announced for Japan a few weeks ago, meaning it MUST come out here in the states eventually. Virtual Console is lacking RPGs.

Here is the formula for this game. Take Final Fantasy, replace its mystical world of swords and spells with the Mushroom Kingdom, have Mario team up with Bowser to kick some ass, and throw in an evil version of the Power Rangers for good measure. Genius. And Geno? Where the hell has he been since this game? He is one of the most loved side-kicks in gaming history! He made it acceptable to leave Mallow facedown in the dirt for the whole game.

Super Mario RPG is a favorite because it is Super Mario and it is RPG. It is fun, funny, and challenging (even overly challenging when having to fight Yaridovich.) Even though not Mario canon, it has spawned faux-sequels like the Paper Mario series, which I love dear. Although Super Mario RPG is not in my collection, it is loved dearly and if I ever have the chance to borrow it from someone, I do (thank you Ryan, Mike, and Brittany). It has one of the best graphical showcases for any SNES game, and tops most RPGs that I have played.


Which game is more favorable? Well, according to the seeding: UPSET!!!!!! Super Mario RPG trumps Killer 7 in classic fashion. I do love both of these games, but if I picked one right now to play again this summer, I would go RPG. Killer 7 is still way over my f***in' head.

Winner: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Monday, June 23, 2008

Round 1 - Bracket A - Match 1

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past


8. Pokemon Blue Version

Both of these games were introduced to me at a relatively young age, and with the case for Pokemon, that makes it a lot more acceptable. No offense to anyone who plays Pokemon; the games are solid money-whoring, top-selling, overrated RPGs. And are damn fun.

But can Pokemon even be compared with Zelda? Let me begin the first match up.


The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is perhaps the best SNES game. Ever. Perfect adventure game even after a dozen or so playthroughs. It can be played straight through; or do what I do and go for broke, finding all the heart pieces and the medallions, upgrading all equipment, etc.

Why do I consider it a favorite? Because I have played it so many times and there is only that one moment I do not enjoy (in the ice dungeon). Otherwise (I'll be honest) I love the colors. I love the boss battles. I love searching for the next item on the agenda. I love being able to say no to a potion so I can test my abilities, and then looking at my scoring during the credits to see that I have died zero times and saved only once. It is better than all other Zelda games because of how simply straight forward it is and it is not so gigantic that it takes so long to get from one place to another. It is a game that I can (and probably will) play again and again despite all technical advances gaming has. This one is a classic. A great. An obvious number 1 seed.


The challenger is Pokemon Blue Version. Blue over Red because in 5th grade, I chose to play that one and my brother would play the other. My cartridge still has all 151 pokemon in its Pokedex, and batting lead off for my team is always Articuno.

Pokemon has spawned many spinoffs and sequels, but never as good as the games that started it all here in the states. A playthrough is never the same, unless you want it to be. You can change your party at any time to best suit your needs, and how many other RPGs let you do that? You can always go after new pokemon to catch, which gives the game longevity; it is easy to get lost in the game and go for over 50, 60, 70 hours of playing and still not be done with it all. But I love it most because it was such a staple of my childhood. So many other kids had the game, and taking my Game Boy to school was not uncommon so we could trade or battle.


Which game is more favorable? The choice is obvious. Zelda. While Pokemon creates for more playthroughs and different ways of playing with its many creatures, Zelda is simply more fun to play. Pokemon's biggest drawback: it is a BITCH to level up.

Winner: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My Favorite Videogame: Bracket Challenge

So at work a few weeks ago, Andy asks me what is my favorite videogame. I honestly could not think of one definitive game, but I could name a few that I really loved (i.e. Tales of Symphonia, Tetris, Zelda). We both had this idea about bracketing my favorite games and seeding some over others.

So I have decided to do that now.

Here is my method. I have a list on my IGN account with the majority of games that I own in my collection (majority, not all of them). If not present, I would remember games and add them to the list afterward. I checked off games as I went down the list which were games that were all favorites. I came up with 29 of them, and then went back over it and added three more for an even 32 games. That will give four brackets of eight games a piece.

I picked the 1 and 2 seeds first, then the 8 and 7 seeds next, going outside in. The hardest choices were trying to seed the 5 and 6 games. Therefore, after a quick revision of my list and seeds, not all of them may be properly seeded as they are seen by me. Which is not a big problem, since each will face off against another, giving lower seeds a good chance against higher seeds (probably no 8 over 1 upsets, but calling any game an "underdog" may not be appropriate).

I may be able to do two matchups per day, except for those days that I am not at my computer (like when I am up north or just having a really lazy weekend).

Now you are wondering, "Tim, where are these brackets?" Right here. They are listed not in seeded order, but instead listed by bracket and matchup.

Bracket A
1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
8. Pokemon Blue
4. Killer 7
5. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
3. James Bond 007: Nightfire
6. Metroid Prime
2. Tetris
7. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic

Bracket B
1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
8. Chrono Trigger
4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
5. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
3. The Legend of Zelda
6. Syphon Filter
2. NHL ‘94
7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Arcade Game

Bracket C
1. Resident Evil 4
8. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
4. Final Fantasy VII
5. Golden Sun
3. Super Mario Bros. 3
6. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
2. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
7. Super Metroid

Bracket D
1. Tales of Symphonia
8. Halo 3
4. Contra
5. Metal Gear Solid
3. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
6. Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
2. Fire Emblem
7. Kirby’s Adventure

Hopefully, matchups will start tomorrow. I will do my best to make it as presentable and fun as possible. Hell, I will have a lot of time at work during the day to think about this kind of thing. The only obstacle is trying to remember it all when I get home in the late afternoon.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Top Trio: Games that changed my view on gaming

I love videogames. I have always loved videogames. But there were a few moments where gaming changed from something to pass the time to a way of life; to a different way I view the world; a way a think about things... These are the three games that changed my view on gaming.

Metal Gear Solid - This goes for all of them. Videogames used to be only for playing. Games were then given plots so that the player would be given a story to act out. Then Metal Gear Solid came along and took story telling to a whole new level. Gameplay was on an equal plane as the storytelling, and for me it was more enthralling than playing the game. Most recently with MGS4 (LOVED IT) the storytelling was bigger than the gameplay. It was a cinematic experience with never a dull moment, and I truly do mean never.

Metroid Prime - One of the most beautiful games visually. In fact, I played this game at a Best Buy for maybe a half-hour, and after the first five minutes I decided that I needed a Gamecube. It was an adventure game hidden underneath a FPS; a "first-person adventure" per se. It was perfectly paced and challenging at the same time. You are always on the move, always with objective. Acquiring power-ups came often so there was always something new you could do and somewhere new you could go. This was one of those games where you can get lost just looking and not really doing much of anything.

Fire Emblem - I have been a fan of RPGs for as long as I can remember (which pretty much traces itself back to Super Mario RPG for the SNES). Hell, I even include Pokemon. But Fire Emblem took way too long to reach the states from Japan, and I was ready when it arrived. Being a strategy RPG was something really new to me though. If somebody fell in battle, I did not have the luxury of healing or reviving them. They died. It meant planning two, three, or even more steps ahead. What I really loved was taking the smaller units and making sure they got a piece of the action, because once leveled up, they became the best units available. They are one of the most challenging games around. As a closing note, Marcus you suck you EXP whore!!!

It was hard and easy at the same time to narrow the list to three. I did think of other games, like Half Life, Guitar Hero, Killer 7 (it's freakin' sweet still), Resident Evil 2, and Knights of the Old Republic. However, I am most proud of the fact that I even got around to writing this article.


So I do not forget, things I need to get done:

-A couple top three lists, like the good 'ole days from journalism
-Some more Brawl posts, possibly throw in some Mario Kart
-A decent breakdown of my Final Fantasy favorites
-More Playstation 3 banter
-Dance party

So that last one is not a for sure deal, but would be fun nonetheless. Order of this stuff is not really how you will see it all. I think I know where I will begin. Working a monotonous job helps me brainstorm. However, working a monotonous job makes me forget everything. GO TEAM VENTURE!