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Midget's Gaming Medley


thatshortguy
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Working a video game store offers you the opportunity to, well, play video games. Now that I own all three next-gen systems yet again, it's time to go nuts with the game-playing. Included here is what will hopefully be an ever-expanding list of games I've played and the best/worst thing(s) about them. Think of it as a form of Numbahs' movie thread, only with video games...and therefore, cooler.

Grading Scale:

A = Great. Either already in my collection or soon-to-be.

B = Good. Either wasn't my cup of tea, or just generally lacked something.

C = Decent. While okay, I probably won't be trying it again.

D = Ew. Don't bother.

F = I demand seppuku.

The Report Card Shortlist:

Gamecube:

1. Mario Kart: Double Dash -- A-

2. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door -- B+

3. The Legend of Zelda: The Four Swords Adventures -- C

4. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes -- B-

5. Resident Evil 4 -- A

6. The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time & Master Quest -- B

7. Super Smash Brothers Melee -- A

XBox:

1. Halo 2 -- A-

2. Fable -- B

3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords -- B-

4. Dead or Alive: Ultimate -- A

5. Oddworld Stranger's Wrath -- B+

6. Star Wars: Republic Commando -- C-

Playstation 2:

1. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas -- A-

2. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater -- A-

3. Katamari Damacy -- B-

4. Gran Turismo 4 -- A-

5. Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening -- A

6. Tekken 5 -- A

7. God of War -- B

8. Castlevania: Lament of Innocence -- B-

9. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne -- B+

Playstation Portable:

1. Need For Speed Underground: Rivals -- B+

2. NBA -- D

3. Gretzky NHL -- C

4. Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix -- B-

5. Lumines -- A-

6. Untold Legends -- C+

7. Ridge Racer -- B

8. Twisted Metal: Head-On -- C+

9. Wipeout Pure -- B-

10. Metal Gear Acid -- B

Cross-Platform:

1. Need For Speed Underground 2 (PS2 version reviewed) -- A-

2. Madden 2005 (PS2 version reviewed) -- C+

3. The Punisher (PS2 version reviewed) -- B

4. Playboy: The Mansion (XBox version reviewed) -- D+

5. Major League Baseball 2k5 (XBox version played) -- D

6. MVP Baseball 2005 (PS2 version played) -- D-

7. NBA Street V3 (PS2 version played) -- B-

8. NFL Street 2 (PS2 version played) -- B

9. Super Monkey Ball Deluxe (PS2 version played) -- C+

10. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (PS2 version played) -- B-

11. Fight Night Round 2 (PS2 & XBox versions played) -- C

12. Lego Star Wars -- C+ (PS2 version played)

The Detailed Reviews:

Gamecube:

1. Mario Kart: Double Dash

The Good: Greatly addictive gameplay, easy to learn, and excellent multiplayer.

The Bad: Single-player mode offers only moderate amounts of replay once you've collected the Cups. That said, it'll take a while to do so.

The Ugly: Princess Peach. We know what Mario's in it for....cha-ching.

Grade: A-

2. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

The Good: The fact that it's a worthy "sequel" to Super Mario RPG. Battles are fun and items/badges/weapons are deep without being over-indulgent on detail.

The Bad: Doesn't maintain as much of the cute humor that SMRPG does, although there are some good moments (the mugging comes to mind.) You may feel a bit ripped-off when your first strike attack fails to hit, even though you had the correct angle. The perils of a 2D-in-3D game, unfortunately.

The Ugly: Female goombas kissing you? Strangely, she's still hotter than half the toothless meth-ho's I've encountered in Dalton.

Grade: B+

3. The Legend of Zelda: The Four Swords Adventures

The Good: A feeling not too far away from Link to the Past, which is always good. This is a great game for the kids, as none of the puzzles are *too* challenging. A good intro to Link and Co. if you're looking for one for the young'uns.

The Bad: The hardcore Zelda lovers may dig it a bit, but it's going to be far from the best in the series. Anyone who has played the past Zelda games will have seen this before, only in greater detail and challenge.

The Ugly: Having to constantly switch formations at times can be a bit gruesome (although the C-Stick comes in mucho handy for this...although they FAIL TO INFORM YOU OF IT IN THE TUTORIAL!) -- aside from this, it's not a horrible game, but easily outclassed by the earlier titles.

Grade: C

4. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

The Good: Everything that you loved about Metroid Prime is back, so that calls for fluid controls, impressive graphics, and intriguing-yet-not-too-tedious adventure.

The Bad: Not much of note was added from MP1 to MP2. Sure, there is the whole "oh, spooky, dark world" concept, but if it was a creepy vibe they were going for, they stopped fairly short of achieving it.

The Ugly: No Kraig!? NO RIDLEY?!? YOU FIENDS!!!

Grade: B-

5. Resident Evil 4

The Good: Let's not beat around the bush, here. This is the best game you're going to find on the Gamecube at this moment. Everything you know about Resident Evil has likely been zombified and shot in the head, because gone are the frustrating camera angles, the incessantly stupid and cheap AI, and the overall lack of mood. Easily the most intense and darkly gorgeous game on the Cube, this game is best played at 2:15 in the morning with nobody in the house and no lights on.

The Bad: There's going to be a culture shock for those of you who grew up a fan of the earlier games. While the mood is similar to Nemesis in that you could go down at any time, the controls are very little like the previous games. Aside from this, I really wish they would've kept Leon from seeming like Dante from DMC2.

The Ugly: Even the monsters look good. Zoiks.

Grade: A

X-Box:

1. Halo 2

The Good: Tis beautiful in them thar Covey-packed hills. The two-weapon-wielding ability definately adds a much-needed element of on-the-move strategy. Terrains allow for little camping (as long as you know where to look, you'll see them before they can gank you) and, oh, lessee, the game is easily the most fun game you'll find on X-Box Live.

The Bad: The game offers little to non-shooter fans as enticement. Also, the single player moder below Legendary is short. Once you hit Legendary difficulty, though, dear gawd. Prepare for frustration.

The Ugly: Why are there six pedals if there are only four directions?!?

Grade: A-

2. Fable

The Good: While it's not quite "never the same game twice", there is a ton of things you can do. This, while not in such huge detail as Morrowind, definately raises the bar as to what an X-Box RPG is expected to do. The game feels huge, as you can interact with a massive amount of people and items. On top of all that, if you know where to look, you can pick this up for a mere $25.

The Bad: Those who love to play in huge chunks will finish the main story fairly quickly. Also, why must killing the town guards only make me a smidge more evil than I was before? If I slaughter guards en masse, I expect to be feared like the plague if I wander into the town again. Yet, I only receive a nudge in the direction of evil. Boo.

The Ugly: The fact that you can't be uglier when you're completely evil. I want zombification, baby!

Grade: B

3. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

The Good: The depth that people loved with in the first one is still here, although slightly more linear than the last go-round. It's not as crazily random as Fable can be, but there is more than enough to warrant multiple run-throughts.

The Bad: It's quite a gooey GUI in here. Just getting used to the menu system and overall control scheme will take a bit. KotoR II could've also fared a bit better had it incorporated more ties to the original.

The Ugly: Although the controls are a bit frustrating, there's nothing here to make you really consider seppuku.

Grade: B-

4. Dead or Alive: Ultimate

The Good: You get quite possibly the best-looking game to hit the XBox with DOA:U. While character models are decent, the gorgeousness that is the collection of stages are near breath-taking. Add onto this a great variety of modes, online play (which comes bundled with a HUGE amount of statistics), arguably the best pure fighting engine on a console game, and a remastered Dead or Alive 1, and you will probably have to change your shorts after playing.

The Bad: Yes, there is bad to be had here. After noticing the stages and all their lush, interactive glory, you wish that that Team Ninja could've kept the child models from looking like something straight out of The Wind Wanker. Along with this is the fact that this game is daunting at a first glance. Make sure you jump into the Sparring Mode and get comfortable with a character's style before even thinking of going online.

The Ugly: Am I the only one that thinks Kasumi is meh at best?

Grade: A

5. Playboy: The Mansion

The Good: Er....well....they're topless? I mean, since most real-life women's breasts aren't real, why complain about virtual women's breasts?

Seriously, though, fans of The Sims or the various Tycoon games will find fun in this title, as the actual magazine management is deeper than expected (various celebrities ranging from Uncle Kracker to Carmen Electra to even Melissa Joan Hart can offer guest articles, essay, or in the case of some females, pictorals), and you will have some challenge in fulfilling certain challenges. Also, there are some guilty-pleasure-esque humorous moments that will have you snickering like a 13-year old.

The Bad: There is, sadly, plenty of things to complain about here. Graphically, every girl essentially looks the same (save for skin tone and hair/eye color). Furthermore, why have people such as Carmen Electra or Melissa Joan Hart in the game and be unable to have them leave out certain interactions, especially in the case of Electra, who has famously posed for the real magazine itself? Aside from these two factors, this game will play almost identically like The Sims, right down to the un-intelligible jibberish-like langauge. Even the soundtrack offers little, which is sad because the standard soundtrack *is* expansive.

The Ugly: How *dare* you taunt me with Melissa Joan Hart?

Grade: D+

Playstation 2:

1. Need For Speed Underground 2

The Good: Customization. Bah gawd Keeng at the customization. Gauges, engine specs, doors, types of seats, etc. More here than in any current game, although Gran Turismo 4 will have much to say about that. Along with the level of editing, however, is the cool soundtrack. New Snoop Dogg, Queens of the Stone Age, and Mudvayne are all awaiting your ears.

The Bad: Balance. Instead of the last game's issues with rubber band AI (which, thankfully, can be turned off this time), we get an issue with balance. A souped-up Celica should not be able to chase down a souped-up Mustang GT, nitrous or not.

The Ugly: The spoilers. At best, they're decent. At worst, they look like deformed chicken wings.

Grade: A-

2. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

The Good: Such detail. Clothing, weight, cardiovascular health, shooting ability, driving ability, girlfriends. So much to take care of that it boggles the mind. Oh...and yeah, it's GTA. Kill, mate, feed, repeat. Pedestrian interaction is hilarious at times, and the attempts at tying together the stories from GTA3 and Vice City are not without giving props to. Not to mention the game is freaking HUGE. 30 minutes to walk from one corner of San Andreas to the other. That's value, baby.

The Bad: The level of detail is a double-edged sword. Some gamers are in it for the realism, whilst others just want to blow the crap out of stuff. Those wanting the latter need to go back and pick up GTA3 for $5.

The Ugly: A little more creativity could've helped. Let's not have the Easy E models and the such, please?

Grade: A-

3. Madden 2005

The Good: The game really brings across the idea of football being similar to a chess match. At its finest, you'll really get the feeling you're in a mental war with someone. Aside from that, the soundtrack is solid and multiplayer remains great.

The Bad: Madden's online crowd has always been suspect, and things certain aren't changing this year. Formation Shift abusers now get to join the ranks of Cheesers (although dwindling in number thanks to the Fair Play System) and Cheaters alike as People I'd Like To Meet A Soapy Bradshaw.

The Ugly: The Franchise Mode. It's depth is nice, but un-necessary for a video game. When a CB rated 83 bitches because he can't find playing time because the starting CB is a 99, I have a problem. Not to mention the salary cap, cap penalties, and general lack of restriction make what could've been a solid feature nearly unplayable. All of this could've been fixed or at least alleviated by giving us the option to turn some stuff off.

Grade: C+

4. The Punisher

The Good: Oh. My. God. Becky, look at all the blood. This is arguably the best comic-to-film-to-game title you'll find on the market. The ways to interrogate are numerous, with items from drills to windows to electric eel tanks to dual-wielded shotguns capable of getting info out of perps. Some will even offer to assist you by distracting their fellow gang members while you continue the mission -- so long as you let them live (get too lax, though, and they will turn against you at the best opportunity).

The Bad: The Slaughter Mode feels more than a little ripped off of The Suffering, although the effects are decent. The fact that you get docked points for killing someone after they've spilled the beans oftentimes annoys me, as well, especially since the uber-sensitive analog stick controls how much pressure you put into questioning/torturing someone. On top of this, the game tries to censor itself, but leave it to some whacked-out folks to make a completely-uncensored patch for the X-Box and PC versions.

The Ugly: Graphics are a little jagged, and there are a few glitches, but the most ugly thing about this game is all the blood and bodies that will eventually stack up in your wake.

Grade: B

5. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

The Good: This is arguably the most deep and yet subtle MGS to have ever been done. While the gameplay is good and the music (what little there is) excellent, it's the little things that make this game solid *rimshot*. For instance, there are at least two different ways to kill one boss before even having to face him. Another example is how you can actually press R1 to witness another boss in numerous cutscenes. Not to mention that combat is challenging, but very innovative. It takes strategy to take down the bosses...some plans are easy to figure out, others are mind-numbingly rough, but at no point will you feel cheated.

The Bad: As with games like San Andreas, sometimes you just want to sit down and play. Eating, resting, etc. etc., it's all here. This is one of only two problems for the game, however, as the only other bad thing that could be said about this game is that it is DEFINATELY not for those of you who are just getting into the franchise. Go back and play the series from the start (yes, that means picking up a PS1 game...shock and horror.) If you just jump right into MGS3, you're going to get lost. If you take it from the top, you're going to lose yourself in the game.

The Ugly: While far from cheap, this game will have you pulling your hair out at times with some stiff challenge. This one's for the patient gamers, folks.

Grade: A-

6. Katamari Damacy

The Good: This game is bizarre. Some of the things said in this game *will* make you tilt your head and/or mutter the ever-so-popular phrase of "WTF, mate?" Aside from the weirdness, the gameplay (when mastered) is addictive, and the music is pretty cool as well. Not to mention that some parts of the game will just make you absolutely crack up. Make no mistake about it, this is an shroom trip in electronic form.

The Bad: This game is bizarre. If you're looking for any substance, you will find zero, and probably be left wondering just what the hell is going on most of the time. Story aside, the controls take a little while to master (you will use nothing else but the analog sticks for this one, which makes controlling the Prince a bit difficult at first), and can be frustrating in the first few stages. Also, be aware that there *are* technically enemies in the game, as animals will oftentimes track you down if you get too close (although with a bigger katamari, you can easily roll these animals up).

The Ugly: This game is...weird. Much like Pat Boone's album of metal covers, you need to play this game so you can truthfully say that you know how it feels to be on drugs.

Grade: B-

-------------------

Questions? Comments? Requests? Chime in with 'em.

Edited by The
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I tend to disagree with you on the madden review , it isn't perfect by far but I don't think it really deserves a C+ . yes online you'll find cheesers and all and as you said Franchise can be too in depth but I'm of the few that actually like the new franchise. Madden is probably the most realisitc football gmae on the market , Espn NFL 2k 5 was good in alot of aspects but it doesn't hold up in the gameplay department for me , but it is a good deal for merely $20 , i own both ;)

If I were to grade Madden 2005 I'd give it a B-

I'm looking forward to your take on Mercenaries. I've got int until tuesday and to say the least its simple fun , not too far in it yet story wise

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I tend to disagree with you on the madden review , it isn't perfect by far but I don't think it really  deserves a  C+ . yes  online  you'll find cheesers and all and as you said Franchise can be  too in depth but I'm of the few that actually like the new franchise. Madden is probably  the most realisitc football gmae on the market , Espn NFL 2k 5 was good in alot of aspects but it doesn't hold  up in the gameplay department for me , but it is a good deal for merely $20  , i own both ;)

If I were to grade Madden 2005 I'd give it a B-

I'm looking forward to your take on Mercenaries.  I've got int  until tuesday and to say the least its  simple fun , not too far  in it yet story wise

ESPN took down Madden in that it had excellent presentation with decent gameplay (similar to EA's FIFA 2005, which I'll get to eventually). However, Madden took the crown for better video game overall because there is such a level of strategy and accomplishment whenever you achieve a touchdown/victory/etc.

The main reason I didn't give it higher than a C+ was because of the dynasty mode, as it just feels like the features were thrown in so that they would be in there. No special circumstances are present a lot of times (for example, nearly every single time, an 83 OVR CB will bitch because he's second-string to a 99 OVR CB, which makes no sense if you think of the 99 OVR CB as what they are considered in the real world: the best of the best) and it felt less like playing the actual game of football and more like balancing checkbooks, which, while realistic perhaps, should not be what a football video game should be about.

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I'm not particularly knowledgeable on the subject - my only contact with said devices being watching a friend play on one with her PS1, but can't a dance mat just work as a normal controller if you really want it to? Or will some games in fact not recognise it?

Try playing something like Metal Gear Solid with a dance mat...oh the hilarity. The painful, painful hilarity.

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I'm not particularly knowledgeable on the subject - my only contact with said devices being watching a friend play on one with her PS1, but can't a dance mat just work as a normal controller if you really want it to? Or will some games in fact not recognise it?

Try playing something like Metal Gear Solid with a dance mat...oh the hilarity. The painful, painful hilarity.

Games are smarter than you think. There's games now that won't even run if you don't have an official Dual Shock PS2 controller. So, we'll have to wait on that hilarity.

It would've been hilarious hilarity too... :(

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Some games will allow you to use the Dancepad, or even the PS2's DVD remote, as a controller (GTA3 recognizes the DVD Remote as a controller, but trust me, it isn't pretty to try).

As for SPC5, you *can* use a dancepad for it, but I've heard more than a few people complain that the timing gets thrown off whenever you try one out.

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Should I buy The Punisher, Midget?

If so, what platform? I'm thinking PC, since I recently upgraded my RAM for Half-Life 2, and there's no sense in wasting all that RAM on just one game, you know?

So, yeah, should I buy it? I played the Demo and it was badass, but I'm waiting on some reviews from people I trust.

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Should I buy The Punisher, Midget?

If so, what platform? I'm thinking PC, since I recently upgraded my RAM for Half-Life 2, and there's no sense in wasting all that RAM on just one game, you know?

So, yeah, should I buy it? I played the Demo and it was badass, but I'm waiting on some reviews from people I trust.

I'm wanting to get  the Punisher for ps2 but I'm not sure if tis good enough to shell out the cash

As stated in the newly-added review, The Punisher is probably one you'll want if you like intense action games -- and don't mistake me at any point, this game has the intensity Max Payne WANTED to have. The interrogation feature is nice, too. A lone deal-breaker in deciding what platform to go for is whether or not you want the increased gore found in a patched PC or XBox version.

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I'm defiently renting the Punisher tommorrow(if Movie gallery has it) and when I find it on ebay for a good price I'll add it to my collection. too bad my pc sucks cause I want to get it for that so I can get the patch but meh . sounds like fun either way.

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Actually, when you think about it, the 83 OVR bitching about being second string is feasible, even when you consider he's backing up a 99 OVR.

Probably because I'm near Buffalo, but I'd call it the "Peerless Price effect". Price was not happy being behind an Eric Moulds, even though Moulds is a much better receiver (if you believe what everyone says about Price not being a good enough #1 WR)

It's not a matter of WHO he's backing up, it's THAT he's backing up.

Just a guess, but if you looked at the CB ratings of the rest of the NFL, your 83 OVR CB could immediately take over a starting role elsewhere, making more money as well as the additional playing time and recognition of being a starter.

Same deal with Travis Henry/Willis McGahee. Both are very good running backs, but neither one wants to be a #2 back when there are so many other teams that would pay them a huge salary to be a starter.

I think the same thing will happen soon in Carolina with Stephen Davis/DeShaun Foster...as well as Brad Hoover/Nick Goings. If they're talented enough to start elsewhere, they're going to want to start, regardless of if you have the greatest starter in the world in front of them.

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Actually, when you think about it, the 83 OVR bitching about being second string is feasible, even when you consider he's backing up a 99 OVR.

Probably because I'm near Buffalo, but I'd call it the "Peerless Price effect". Price was not happy being behind an Eric Moulds, even though Moulds is a much better receiver (if you believe what everyone says about Price not being a good enough #1 WR)

It's not a matter of WHO he's backing up, it's THAT he's backing up.

Just a guess, but if you looked at the CB ratings of the rest of the NFL, your 83 OVR CB could immediately take over a starting role elsewhere, making more money as well as the additional playing time and recognition of being a starter.

Same deal with Travis Henry/Willis McGahee. Both are very good running backs, but neither one wants to be a #2 back when there are so many other teams that would pay them a huge salary to be a starter.

I think the same thing will happen soon in Carolina with Stephen Davis/DeShaun Foster...as well as Brad Hoover/Nick Goings. If they're talented enough to start elsewhere, they're going to want to start, regardless of if you have the greatest starter in the world in front of them.

Without getting too far into the semantics, I submit to you Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe. Injuries forced Bledsoe out and led to the rise of quite possibly the best old-school QB in the league. To keep things short, I'm saying that this happens far too much in Madden, not that it shouldn't happen, period.

The case about Price is a little meh, since the Falcons' offense is less about the air and more about "score any way possible". That's best suited for the Sports Bar, however.

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Should I buy The Punisher, Midget?

If so, what platform? I'm thinking PC, since I recently upgraded my RAM for Half-Life 2, and there's no sense in wasting all that RAM on just one game, you know?

So, yeah, should I buy it? I played the Demo and it was badass, but I'm waiting on some reviews from people I trust.

I'm wanting to get  the Punisher for ps2 but I'm not sure if tis good enough to shell out the cash

As stated in the newly-added review, The Punisher is probably one you'll want if you like intense action games -- and don't mistake me at any point, this game has the intensity Max Payne WANTED to have. The interrogation feature is nice, too. A lone deal-breaker in deciding what platform to go for is whether or not you want the increased gore found in a patched PC or XBox version.

To be fair, Max Payne was never intended to be one of the most intense games at all. It was a dramatic detective story and both installments were great great stuff. I was more interested in both Max Payne's than I am The Punisher, so I may be kind of bias, but don't see Payne short on intensity if it wasn't meant to have as much.

Sorry about getting defensive I just really like my Max Payne. :P :thumbsup:

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I kinda agree with Midgeeto on Madden. I own it but it really gets frustrating later on down the track in Franchise/Dynasty.

C+ sounds about right. The Franchise mode is a killer and the Storyline Central is rank bullshit.

I'll be intrested to see what you give Fifa 05. I played 04 and found it utter shit (Its still too easy) so I'd like to see what 05 gets

Edited by Troy Maskell
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