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May 032017
 

Big Hero 6 was a great superhero movie with the potential for a sequel, or a TV series. Unfortunately, neither is happening any time soon, at least that I know of. However, there is the next best thing, a video game that continues the story. Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay for Nintendo 3DS takes place shortly after the events of the movie.

It turns out that Yama has returned and reprogrammed an army of robots all throughout San Fransokyo in order to take revenge on Hiro. I’ll admit that Yama is not as memorable of a character. So to recap, he was the bot fighter champion at the beginning of the movie that Hiro defeated. Yama has gone to extreme lengths just for being a sore loser.

Of course, it’s up to the Big Hero 6 to stop him. The members split up to clear each area of robots. Each character has different special skills to go with his or her basic attacks and double jumping abilities. However, you cannot pick your character before entering a level. The game provides a particular hero for each area.

Hiro has electromagnetic gauntlets and can cling on to walls, where there happens to be a glowing magnet to cling on to. When there are too many enemies in one place, Baymax comes down to assist, which is automatic.

Wasabi fights with his plasma blades that are very affective in more ways than one. His smooth moves make him a big favorite.

Fred has his special suit that allows him to spit fire and jump really high. However, the control is pretty stiff when it comes to just slashing away at enemies. Luckily, Fred’s jumping attacks can take the robots down more efficiently.

Then we have Go-Go, who has great speed on her Mag-Lev discs. Though her basic attacks can be tough to keep under control. Just by pressing the attack button, Go-Go jumps all over the place and doesn’t always hit her mark. But I like her more efficient jumping attacks, especially against the shorter enemies.

Although Honey Lemon is part of the team, she is not a playable character, which I find disappointing. On the bright side, she does provide chem-capsules that are scattered throughout the stages to increase special effects on enemies when they get too tough.

There are boss battles too, but they are actually more difficult than the rest of the game. A strategy is required and there’s no mention of what to do? How are you expected to know without checking YouTube?

My only other concern is that you got to search for stuff that’s hidden in every level. They include a missing cat, all the letters in the word “HERO”, and five red health capsules. However, you can revisit levels any time and it’s all worth it when you get the upgrades.

Overall, I really like this game for being a simple platformer. I’ve also got to admit that the timer icon of Baymax trying to grab a soccer ball is cute and funny.

Feb 222017
 

Normally when it comes to shooter video games, the most common genres featured are action, horror, or movie based games like Transformers and Jurassic Park. Well here’s a shooter that’s more cute and cartoony. It’s called Chicken Shoot for Nintendo Wii.

The object of the game is to shoot as many chickens as you can as they fly by. Some of which contain weapon upgrades. However, unlike other shooters, there’s not even an ounce of bloodshed. When a chicken is shot, the content is reminiscent of Looney Tunes or any of the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the 60s.

As you proceed through the levels the scenery takes place in different countries from Scandinavia to the Himalayas to even Antarctica. Why would a simple farmer travel that far and wide just to shoot chickens? It just doesn’t sound logical if you think about it.

The control is a little tricky but real simple once you get the hang of it. For instance, the traveling is not automatic. You have to move the Wii remote like a mouse to move in any given direction. Luckily, each stage only takes place in a small-condensed area.

Speaking of moving the Wii remote, quickly moving it off screen is how you usually reload your ammo. In this game, you just press the ‘A’ button. It took me a while to figure that out because I’m used to how other shooters reload.

At this point you might think Chicken Shoot isn’t too challenging. Well in later stages, not only do you have more chickens to find and shoot, more of them throw eggs you have to shoot before they hit you. Supposably there is a life bar, but it’s not real visible.

There are three different modes to choose from. They are the arcade mode, the classic game mode that is merely shooting against the clock in stage one, and the Catch an Egg game.

Catch an Egg is a mini game where you catch eggs in the hen house before they hit the ground. Sounds easy, but it’s not. Once again moving the Wii remote like a mouse does the control.

This was certainly an interesting game for its cute humor and game play. It’s one of those rare titles that a certain genre is not well known for, but still stands out just the same.

Nov 302016
 

If you thought that the album Nintendo: White Knuckle Scorin’ was an obscure Super Mario Bros. title, check out this one. An old computer game called, Mario Teaches Typing is basically another typing program to help improve keyboarding skills, but in a more creative setting.

You can choose between three characters, Mario, Luigi, or the Princess. Their running and jumping skills are all equal, so it doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference.

Then there are several different levels, where you can only proceed forward by typing the correct keys. The first is a basic outside area with Koopa Troopas and bricks to bash. On occasion, there’s a random block with a symbol to type that brings you to a coin area in the clouds. It doesn’t do much, but it’s cool to see. To get through, you have to be able to type at least 10 WPM (words per minute).

The second level is an underwater stage, where you’re being chased by a bloober or Big Bertha. The faster you type, the faster you swim. However, the typing is more difficult because you focus on the numbers and other symbols, not to mention that you have to be able to type at least 30 WPM to get through.

The third level is in a castle where you run past thwomps and swim through quicksand. As for the typing, you move straight to full sentences. In case you were wondering, those sentences have nothing to do with the Super Mario Bros. franchise. By this point, you might think that there’s a new level to unlock when you reach the next goal. Apparently, there isn’t. As you continue to improve, you stay with the castle stage.

Even though there is a fourth setting, it’s not anything too special. You just move up a scrolling sheet of paper that Mario looks over and reacts to. I should also point out that there are no boss battles either. That would’ve at least made things a little more exciting.

Now let’s move on to the music. When I first played this on my computer at home years ago when it was new, there was no music. Then when I saw it on other computers at school, I noticed that there was music for each level that came straight from Super Mario World. Once again, that was the most hyped Super Mario Bros. game at the time.

I should also point out that Mario speaks in this game. Voiced by Ronald Ruben, this is actually the first time Mario speaks with an Italian accent. He never did in any of the Super Mario Bros. cartoons and in the earlier games, Mario had no voice at all. It’s pretty interesting if you think about it.

Considering that it’s really just a typing program, Mario Teaches Typing really isn’t too bad. Sure it’s not in the same league as other Super Mario Bros. titles, but it’s nice to look back on for nostalgic purposes. Though I can’t say the same about the sequel Mario Teaches Typing 2.

May 112016
 

As much as I enjoyed the Animaniacs TV series, why not try the video game based on it. In Animaniacs for the Super NES, Pinky and the Brain stole a movie script from Warner Bros. Studios as a means to take over the world. CEO Thaddeus Plotz assigns the Warner siblings Yakko, Wakko, and Dot to get it back. Of course it won’t be easy.

As you go through each stage focused on a particular genre (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Adventure, and Aquatic), before going up against Pinky and the Brain in the editing room, you fight your way past different obstacles and enemies, most of which cannot be killed. Mainly since the only attack any of the Warners have is a dash attack.

The most common enemy is Ralph the security guard. He may be bumbling on the show, but in this game he is hard to dodge. No matter how many times you dash attack Ralph, he will never let up. More importantly, if you don’t get Ralph at just the right angle, he will get you every time.

The Warners do have some other cool skills like the three of them can stack up onto each other’s shoulders to reach high platforms. However, my biggest concern is that the Warners cannot take any damage. After one hit, a Warner is captured and you have to start the stage all over with the others.

If the one-hit deaths aren’t bad enough, there are also stages where the screen moves too fast. If you miss even once, you’re faced with the same problem. The best example is at the beginning of the Fantasy Stage, where the Warners ride broomsticks past trees blocking the pathway. It’s just like the Turbo Tunnel on Battletoads, or the Quarry on the Cutthroat Island game. Those kinds of levels are frustrating if you’re not perfect.

As you collect coins, there are opportunities to get continues and other bonuses. However, it’s completely random as a slot machine automatically goes off while you play. The biggest flaw with having continues is that you don’t get to continue the level with all three Warners. You only get one and the only way to leave the stage is to get through it with one Warner. That doesn’t sound right.

On the plus side, there is an opportunity to get the captured Warners back by going up the water tower. You ride a platform up while dodging vultures and Ralph with a hose. You can get a glimpse of the Good Feathers on your way up.

Speaking of other characters, Animaniacs regulars like Mindy and Buttons, Rita and Runt, Dr. Scratchansniff, Hello Nurse, and the Mime make walkthrough appearances as you play, which is pretty neat.

Each area also has a boss, but they are also tough to get around even if you know the strategy to beat them. Some of the bosses include Count Dracula and Captain Mel, who were only featured in one episode.

Animaniacs is an interesting game with easy control and good music, but man is it hard. On top of constantly dodging fast enemies, you also have to search the stages for pieces of the movie script, which was separated into 24 pages. I liked the story behind the game, but I would rather watch the TV show for it has more laughs.

Mar 022016
 

The Nintendo eshop downloads for Nintendo 3DS keep getting better and better since I downloaded Ninja Battle Heroes. This side scrolling platform game has Anime style animal characters with ninja action and simple navigation. Why can’t more Anime video games be platformers that are easy to figure out?

The story line is also simple and straightforward. Set in a feudal Japan era, there are a group of warriors called the Beast Brigade led by General Yukimura. Unfortunately, all of the members were captured except one, Saizo Kirigakure. Now it’s up to Saizo to rescue them.

As you proceed through the game, other members get rescued and join in as backup. Their skills are helpful, but Saizo is really the only playable character. Also the skills can only be activated when you’ve collected enough spirit energy from defeated foes.

The rescued allies include Kosuke who can restore your life meter with first-aid and Kamanosuke who can make cyclones which is very useful when there are too many background enemies throwing projectiles.

There’s also Mochizuki (Mochi for short) who can throw fire and Jinpachi who can make an ice pillar. Their skills are interesting but not very affective.

Other allies are bosses who are under evil mind control that join you after defeating them. The first are the Miyoshi Bros., Seikai and Isa. Seikai has brute strength and uses his brainy brother Isa as a throwing weapon. However, the only skill you can acquire is their earthquake attack, which isn’t any more effective than the fire and ice attacks.

Other bosses include Rokuro, a bird who grants you flight, which is very helpful to get to those hard to reach areas, not to mention the hard to reach enemies up high. There’s also Juzo who has a rifle attack and Sasuke who can provide clones. These skills are only useful when you need a very strong attack, most likely against a tougher boss.

Eventually, it all comes down to the final boss Ieyasu. He’s tough with his strong attacks, unleashing of enemies, and has a second form courtesy of the demon Hattori Hanzo. Why does that name sound familiar?

I really enjoyed this game for its simple game play. It has its share of challenges also like completing a level within a certain time, having a big enough combo, and getting through a level without taking any damage or summoning any beasts, which is required to unlock certain skills and powers. But once you manage to succeed in these difficult tasks, you’ll feel rewarded knowing that it was all worth it.