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Mar 222013

In the Sega Genesis game Bubsy in: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind, Bubsy is a heroic cat with the jumping skill and speed of Sonic the Hedgehog. Evil space aliens called Woolies invade Earth to steal the world’s yarn and only Bubsy can stop them. It makes sense because cats love yarn.

The Woolies are crazy creatures that attack by throwing eggs and cheese wheels. The Woolies also blow their noses at Bubsy. Seriously guys, get a tissue! Other enemies Bubsy faces are brain dead birds, little flying saucers that look like yarn balls, and other cartoonish creatures.

Bubsy’s antics are cute and cartoonish and the beginning of each stage has him say something cute and funny. You got to love it. However, Bubsy doesn’t take any hit points. If touched by an enemy or an obstacle even once, he dies instantly. That makes the challenge frustrating and leaves me to think that Bubsy is a total wimp. That’s why his gliding skill comes in handy because even high drops to the ground kill him easily.

There are 16 levels in this game. Each group of three levels has its own theme with a boss at the end of the third one. The groups include a meadow, a carnival, a canyon, a forest, and a jungle before making it to the Woolies’ mother ship, where Bubsy must face their leaders, Poly and Ester.

When you leave the game unattended without pausing, Bubsy actually knocks on the screen to get your attention. And I thought Sonic had problems with patience.

To add to the cute excitement, cats hate water. Some of the levels have oddly shaped water slides Bubsy crazily slides down. They don’t kill him as long as he lands safely.

This is a cute platform game. If only Bubsy would take more hit points, then he would be able to pounce on his enemies more efficiently.

Nov 162012

If there’s one thing that makes a video game exciting, it’s a boss battle at the end of a level. Whether it’s for the creative look of the character, his or her fighting style, or even the musical score, boss fights are always something to look forward to after getting past a whole bunch of other evil minions as long as I can figure out the strategy. Every boss has one. Unless you have a strategy guide, it’s usually only found by trial and error. These are bosses that truly stand out as big favorites of mine from video games I’ve played, not including final bosses.

#10) Doppelganger from Double Dragon 2: The Revenge (NES): Normally, doppelganger bosses are a cliché, but this evil clone of Billy Lee is so mysterious and sneaky, it’s cool. The Doppelganger not only has the same fight moves; he can also turn invisible and attack by clenching onto Billy, rendering him helpless. How many evil clones do you know that can do that?

#9) Two-Face from Batman Forever (Sega Genesis): It may seem like he’s the main boss of the game, but he isn’t. The Riddler is. Two-Face has a perplexing fighting style because it’s different, depending on which direction he’s facing. I don’t believe he ever used swords and bear traps in the movie, but can you believe that Two-Face can actually restore his life meter just by flipping his coin?

On a side note: I’d also like to include Two-Face’s two girlfriends, Sugar and Spice, because I think they’re both interesting fighters even though the movie doesn’t feature them that way.

#8) Master Necky from Donkey Kong Country (Super NES): This giant buzzard can spit coconuts, but what I like most is that he only peeks his head out from either side of the screen. Necky never shows the rest of his body, even when he gets defeated. It’s hilarious when Necky’s head falls to the ground and still makes noise while Donkey Kong cheers for victory. Is that what a buzzard looks like when it has a concussion?

#7) The Wrestler from Simpsons Arcade Game: Dropping in from a set of stage lights, this strong unnamed character is the first boss of the game. Like most of the other bosses, it’s hard to determine how he fits into the story, especially since this character was never on the series. You’ve got to admit though. The Wrestler is a fun boss to fight on a game like this.

#6) Goldar from Power Rangers Super Legends (Playstation 2): Even though it seems like every boss in this game is defeated by the same simple strategy, this classic character is the most awesome one to fight, and I’m not just saying this because he’s old school. Goldar likes to talk during the battle and he doesn’t fly out of reach as often as he does in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the Movie game for Sega Genesis. Of course, Goldar could’ve come up with something wittier to say than, “Why did the chicken cross the road? To meet his doom.” Dude, that’s lame.

#5) Horsehead from Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (NES): Armed with a mace, he’s the guardian of Parapa Palace. Apparently, Horsehead’s only weak spot is his head, which sounds very simple. However, I never would’ve known that if I hadn’t seen that episode of Captain N: The Game Master called “Quest for the Potion of Power”, where Horsehead made an appearance. Isn’t the animated version cool? What I don’t understand is why Horsehead never returned on any of the later Legend of Zelda games as some of the other bosses in this game have. Wouldn’t it be neat if he did?

#4) Dancing Specters from Super Castlevania 4 (Super NES): Also known as Paula Abghoul and Fred Askare, this pair of dancers are the stars of the haunted ballroom. As they dance away to the awesome boss music, these ghosts use swords and flying blades that keep Simon Belmont from “cutting in”. You won’t see this on Dancing with the Stars.

#3) Phantom of the high school musical from Scooby-Doo First Frights (Playstation 2): With the aid of his skeleton henchmen, this creepy character has an edgy presence. I think it’s neat that the Scooby gang gets to actually fight a monster before unmasking him, but before doing that you have to hear the Phantom sing and take out his henchmen. What really makes him interesting is the mystery involved. So what if he’s just a guy in a suit.

#2) Nano from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Playstation 2): There are several versions of this boss, but I mainly want to focus on the giant monstrosity at the end of stage 2. I always find giant bosses more exciting because of the intensity. Although it took me a little while to figure out how to fight Nano at this point, I totally found this boss battle interesting. Just aim high, robot goes down.

#1) Lobber from House of the Dead Overkill (Nintendo Wii): Of all the different types of monsters I’ve seen in horror themed video games, this is definitely one of the most original creatures I ever saw. Lobber hides out in the fetid waters and attacks by throwing chunks of its body. That’s just nasty, but my only real concern is that you have to fight a bunch of bats also. They’re harder to aim for than the monster itself. Other than that, Lobber is a villain that’s unique as well as creepy.

May 142012

Based on the old arcade title, Golden Axe for Sega Genesis takes place in the epic world of Yuria. Three heroes must rescue the King and his daughter from the warlord Death Adder, not to be confused with Black Adder.

The heroes in this game are Ax Battler the Barbarian, Tyris Flare the Amazon Warrior, and Gilius Thunderhead the Dwarf. The adventure they go on isn’t just a rescue mission though. Ax, Tyris, and Gilius have all lost loved ones to Death Adder and seek justice. I won’t spoil the ending, but I can tell you that it’s not different with each character.

The heroes also use magic to either clear the screen of enemies or to put a lot of damage to a boss when necessary. The type of magic each hero uses is different, but the damage it causes is basically the same. The magic is useful, but can only be used once.

In order to collect enough magic to use again, you fight thieving elves and gather magic pots to fill your magic meter. Some elves provide meat to fill your life meter, but it doesn’t happen often.

This game has eight levels with amazing scenery and exciting battles. The groups of enemies tend to gang up on you, which can be tough. Sometimes you have to outwit them. For example, if you’re fighting enemies near a pitfall, you can knock them in or let them walk off the ledge. If you’re worried about high scores, don’t worry. There are none.

Some enemies even ride beasts like dragons and chicken-legs. You can knock them off and ride the beast yourself to use against them. It gives you more of an edge, but be careful. The enemies can knock you off just as easily. If that happens about two or three times, the beast runs away. Can you believe it?

This is an interesting action game. Even though the three heroes are evenly matched in fighting skills, some appear to be stronger than the others. Personally, I think Gilius the Dwarf is the strongest.

Jan 022012

That’s right. The speedy Sega icon has been around for 20 years and still continues to grow in popularity. At Holiday Matsuri 2011 there was a presentation about the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.

It all started in 1991 with the first Sonic the Hedgehog game for Sega Genesis. Originally, Sonic was actually based on Mario with his basic running and jumping skills, but made simpler. Mario needs two buttons to run fast, but Sonic only needs one and he runs much faster than Mario, which makes the platform game play a whole lot smoother.

A year later there was Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for Sega Genesis, which contains more of that smooth platform action and introduces Sonic’s young partner Tails the fox. Tails keeps up with Sonic with the use of his two tails that work like helicopter blades. I admire Tails’s abilities. With Sonic known as the fastest thing alive (according to the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon), that’s the kind of speedy skill one would need to be an equally matched ally.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was also the first Sonic game with 3-D bonus stages as well as Super Sonic, which was based on Goku from Dragonball Z. I never would’ve thought of that.

With the success of these titles, Sonic became a cultural icon and had four cartoon shows. First there was Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (1993-1996), which is the wild and crazy version about Sonic and Tails having fast paced comedic adventures.

At around the same time was Sonic the Hedgehog (1993-1994.) This version is edgier with characters that are not featured in the video games.

The third cartoon series was Sonic Underground (1998-2000), which only features Sonic and his siblings Sonia and Manic on the search for their long lost mother. I didn’t like this version as much because it’s nothing like the video games or the other two shows. Seriously, why would Sonic need a guitar to fight evil?

Last, but not least, is the Anime version Sonic X (2003-2006). This features Sonic, Tails, and other new characters on the search for Chaos Emeralds before arch nemesis Dr. Eggman does. He was always known as Dr. Robotnik before, but in Japan he was always called Eggman.

One of those “newer” characters is Knuckles, who started out of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 for Sega Genesis. He’s a bad dude that’s very gullible, which is why Eggman always manages to trick him into doing bad things, even though Knuckles is actually a good guy.

Another interesting part of the presentation was some of the old Sonic commercials. Ones like for the Sonic 3 toys at McDonalds, which I have the Knuckles toy, and for the first Sonic game when the announcer asks, “Why can’t he be like that good boy Mario?” Remember that one?

When Sonic CD came along for Sega CD, it featured some Anime cut scenes much like Sonic the Hedgehog Movie. Though I was a bit disappointed that Sonic the Hedgehog Movie wasn’t mentioned in the presentation.

Other Sonic games followed like Sonic Heroes for Playstation 2. Not much was mentioned about this one and I never played it, but I remember the trailer very well because it was one of many previews on the TMNT  (2003 version) DVDs. It features four teams of three characters, all of which were on Sonic X. They include Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as well as Rouge the double agent, Rose that’s a rabid fan of Sonic, and Shadow the Hedgehog who is not evil, just misunderstood. Here’s the trailer that I found on YouTube.

Many video games based on the Olympics were unsuccessful, but that changed when Mario and Sonic Olympic Games was released for the Nintendo Wii.

For the first time, two of the biggest franchises were brought together to compete in a series of athletic events. There was mention of a concern that many of the characters were not dressed for it.

For instance, why would Mario and Luigi compete in overalls? At least Peach and Daisy decided to wear athletic attire. It would be very difficult to play sports in a long dress.

One of the most recent Sonic games was Sonic Generations for Playstation 3. It contained many bits and pieces from other Sonic titles, the levels are more graphical and you can play as two different Sonics, the classic and the modern versions.

I did enjoy this presentation. Sonic has certainly come a long way over the years. What’s next for this blue hedgehog and his friends? Only time will tell.

Nov 042011

When the animated Disney classic The Lion King returned to theaters, followed by a new DVD release, it reminded me of The Lion King video game for Super NES and Sega Genesis. Like many video games based on movies, the story line is accurate to the movie, but with a few extra additions to expand on the many levels.

This game has ten levels. As young Simba, you explore the Pride Lands and climb over animals near the water. Rhinos bounce you upward, monkeys swing you around, and you even get to ride an ostrich.

It’s not as easy as you might think though. While on the ostrich, you have to jump and duck past quite a few obstacles. Miss once and you die. The game is difficult enough with a small life meter, even on the easy mode. This kind of challenge can be frustrating. Thank goodness for halfway markers.

Things get more exciting in the next level, where Simba explores the elephant graveyard. You get to battle hyenas and vultures, which are easy to pounce on once you get the timing down. It’s neat that the little bones on the ground fly around when Simba runs through.

Then there’s a unique graphical level in the game about the stampede. Simba must dodge wildebeests that try to run past him as well as rocks on the ground. It’s one of several levels that are very accurate to the musical score.

After that is a more expanded take on Simba’s exile from Pride Rock. It’s not so easy to get away when there are boulders trying to kill you all the time.

Next we take a break from the darker levels as Simba explores the forest were he meets Timon and Pumbaa, and learns the phrase “Hakuna Matata”, which means no worries. They must have forgotten about the dangerous creatures like spiders, spitting frogs, and the giant ape that throws coconuts and slaps you if you get too close while he’s eating his banana.

The rest of the game features Simba all grown up as he heads back to Pride Rock. First he must get through a dark forest, a volcano, and a maze of caves. I don’t remember those places in the movie.

Adult Simba’s skills are basically the same as before, except that his rolling attack is gone. However, he can now fight enemies more efficiently with his claws. His roar also has different results. It used to only startle pink monkeys and porcupines. Now it kills wild monkeys, but only within a close range, and that’s it. I was expecting more than that.

Then it all ends back at Pride Rock, where Simba must fight his Uncle Scar in a final showdown to reclaim his kingdom and avenge his father Mufasa. However, it’s more than just a one on one battle. You have to chase Scar throughout Pride Rock while fighting past hyenas and dodging lighting that sets the platforms on fire. I have read in several strategy guides that all you have to do to beat Scar is to throw him over the cliff. It’s that simple. Yeah, right.

I admit that this game has its frustrating points, but it’s still a good one. The main thing I can think of, when it comes to the songs from the movie, is that Can you feel the Love Tonight was an award winning song, but it’s also my least favorite. I enjoy the other songs, just not that one.