I admit it: the Sonic game I really want to play right now is Sonic Mania, the homage-heavy, long-overdue, critically praised 2D sequel to Sonic&Knuckles. Alas, Vita and 3DS owners were collectively denied the joy of playing that game; and thus I have to make do with erzatz such as Sonic Generations and Sonic Lost World to quell my Sonic thirst on the 3DS. Those two games have been sitting in my collection for, like, forever; it's thus time to give them an opportunity to prove themselves — if only to be able to sell them for good money while the 3DS is still supported in case they turn out to be disappointing. And as you may have infered already from the title alone, those two games were indeed disappointing; and we'll see right away how they failed to dazzle and impress the Sonic fan in me.
Mind you, things started nicely enough, giving me good hopes that I could indeed like that game. The controls were sleek and precise, the aerial-based gameplay instantly clicked with me and spiraling up and down the long tubular zones was great fun. Sure, said zones were a bit too long for their own good, colours were a bit too dark for my taste, and the music was lacklustre; but I could perfectly live with that if the gameplay rocked. I cleared the tutorial and the first zone without too much hassle; then came the second zone, and I starting falling to my death. A lot. Those repeated falls conjured up horrible memories of Super Mario Land; and with that, the die was cast. I can tolerate tweaks to the classic Sonic formula quite good-naturedly, as my appreciation of Shattered Crystal abundantly proves; but having levels that are basically giant bottomless pits with a couple of platforms hovering around is where I draw the line. And mind you, those early levels are supposed to be easy and forgiving compared to later levels, which makes me think that there's no way in hell I could ever clear that game. I might as well save myself a couple of painful ragequits and spare a couple of good gaming hours by selling Lost World right away.
Sonic Classic Collection was a better investment. This game is a self-celebratory monument of fan-service that tries its hardest to unite all Sonic aficionados under its banner and please older as well as newer fans — and fails utterly at it. The main issue lies in Generations' very concept, which is inherently flawed and a recipe for bombing. Offering flashy remade versions of old zones sounds like a Sonic fan's wet dream on paper; yet in practice, it's bound to disappoint basically everybody by sheer virtue of offering a limited selection of zones. It was pretty obvious that every single fan was going to be miffed that their favourite zones were not included and pissed off at the inclusion of some other zones they happen to dislike. Was I miffed and pissed off? Heck, you bet: I don't care whatsoever about the zones lifted from the 3D entries, but I would have killed to play remade versions of Flying Battery, Lava Reef and Dead Line — with a gloriously remixed soundtrack to boot. And was there really no better pick from the Rush games than Water Palace? How about Sky Babylon and its amazing theme track? And how about lifting Aquarium Park or Starlight Carnival from Colours, rather than the ultra-generic Tropical Resort? I could go on and on like that, just like probably every single Sonic fan that purchased that game. The only way to avoid such ramblings would have been to include every single zone created since the dawn of the series; and with a meagre seven zones for the 3DS version, the Sonic Team kinda missed the mark, if you ask me.
With Generations and Lost World being dismissed as unsatisfactory instalments and on their way to the closest second-hand shop, I now find myself in the very weird situation of being able to bandy Shattered Crystal as my favourite 3DS Sonic entry. But hey, that's Sonic Team's fault for releasing experimental and half-hearted games instead of building upon the series' strengths. The DS entries did a great job at restoring the series' former glory; so why not expand on them, instead of resurrecting a dead unfinished game and wallowing in selective fan-service? Where is the third Rush instalment or the sequel to Colours, for instance? Heck, just because the 3DS has '3D' in its name doesn't mean that all games released on it have to go for full 3D, as the Boom subseries cleverly figured out. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to curl into a ball in a corner and come to terms with the fact that I'll probably never get to play the flashy, shiny and lush Sonic Mania. Or will I? After all, I still didn't write off the Switch entirely, now did I? Maybe I'll play that game in a few years after all, if I follow my own plans and invest in a Switch towards the end of the system's lifetime. Thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!
last post, and I'm still enjoying Awakening quite a lot. The ennui that viciously gripped me during my Fates playthrough is nowhere to be felt now, and I sure hope that things will stay that way until the end. I finally decided to stick with my female avatar, leaving an hypothetical male run as an option for future runs; and while I was at it, I got my claws into Chrom and made him my avatar's husband. I seriously doubt this romantic move will unlock anything interesting, but better safe than sorry. It's not like there were a lot of interesting bachelors anyway; the female characters are definitely more alluring, and I'll sure have a hard time choosing my mate when I replay the game with a male avatar — although I've already set my sights on a couple of ladies. But I digress; let's move back to my current playthrough and its unexpected developments.
|Never were deeper words of love spoken.|
With that said, I'll see you soon with more Awakening reports, dear fellow gamers! There will be blood and romance, new recruits as well as new romantic developments. Thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!
But hey, the first part of that run was pure delight, and it was a satisfactory experience overall. Having said that, I'm not too sure I will replay Black and White too often after that, lest they host an exclusive 'Mon I really want to run solo with. Black 2 and White 2 are so much more polished, so much more rewarding and so much better overall that I declare them henceforth my reference games and go-to entries for generation V. And with that Venipede solo run under my belt, I'm now inching closer to full Type coverage. Ground, Ice, Electric, Dragon and Fairy 'Mons, you're next on my To-Run-Solo-With list! Until then, thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!
female avatar back in the days. And if the chemistry between Chrom and my avatar — or complete lack thereof — is any indication, I won't miss on a lot of character and narrative developments anyway.
Well, I'll ponder that option in the next days; and at any rate, I'll see you soon with more Awakening goodness, dear fellow gamers. I can safely state that for now, I like Awakening much more than Fates, despite the dull cast and disappointing interactions between my avatar and the game's resident hero. Now that I think of it, my aborted romance with Azura in Fates was also quite lacklustre; maybe it's just a better idea to woo secondary characters than to make a pass at the cover character in Fire Emblem games. Until next time, thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!
first Skitty solo run post. Hidden Power being a Move that's not affected by bloody Normalize in Generation VI, that meant that my Delcatty could effectively get her paws on a surefire way to get rid of Ghost 'Mons — providing, of course, that her Hidden Move Type wouldn't be Fight, which would be the worst stroke of bad luck ever. It turned out that my Delcatty's Hidden Power Type was Steel, which delighted me since I've not been using Steel Moves since my Piplup solo run of Platinum. Little did I know that Steel was possibly one of the worst possible Hidden Power Types in the context of my run — but more on that very soon.
The Hidden Power hack worked beautifully, and I was at long last able to wipe the floor with Ghost 'Mons; and boy, did it feel vengefully good after a whole run spent avoiding them, cowering at the though of encountering them and being gripped by dread when getting stuck in a battle against them. They still managed to be a bit of a hassle, mind you. Hidden Power doesn't hit that hard to begin with, and my Delcatty's Sp.Attack, while being respectfully high, was still much lower than her Attack; as a result, one-shooting Ghost 'Mons was but a distant dream that never materialized — all the less so as my Delcatty has already hit the big 100 level-wise when she learnt Hidden Power. Still, I could at least progress unhindered and reach the Pokemon League to engage in what would turn out to be one of the most challenging and nerve-racking Elite Four showdowns of my gaming career.
|Trembling yet? Oh yeah, you should.|
I never thought much of Aegislash, but that disparaging point of view certainly changed radically after facing him with Delcatty in the X Pokemon League. That fight necessited two attempts and nearly made me tear up with sheer frustration and powerlessness; and when I finally managed to wrap things up, it was after fifteen minutes of arduous fighting. Let me tell you: never had I been that relieved to wrap up a Pokemon battle. I let out a huge sigh, threw my head back and beamed in sheer relief, fervently wishing never to encounter an Aegislash again. Ever. Because my, that 'Mon was the biggest nuisance ever and a monstrous challenge to overcome. And I don't play Pokemon solo runs to have it hard: on the contrary, I play them to make things easy, mellow and smooth. I run solo to bask in the thrill of one-shooting my way through regions, drinking in the sights and chatting with NPCs without having to bother about recruitment, training, breeding and fighting strategies. I obviously relish the occasional challenge during my Pokemon solo runs; but oh gosh, was Aegislash a giant, tough bite to swallow.
But you know what? All these hardships made my ultimate Elite Four victory all the sweeter. Ghost 'Mons were a huge thorn in my side during my whole Skitty solo run of X, and to manage to overcome these pests and thumb my nose at them was well-deserved payback. Needless to say, being able to salvage my run and snatch a clean victory from adversity's jaws was also immensely satisfying; I never like to give up on Pokemon solo runs, especially when they're going smoothly and chances of success are high. A big shout-out to you, Sieg, for the inspired suggestion that ultimately allowed me to wrap up this solo run! Having said that, I still want to tackle a solo run of White 2 with a Cute Charm Skitty; but maybe I'll warp things up a trifle to make said run more interesting, for instance by not making my Skitty evolve into Delcatty. My, wouldn't that be a blast to beat the Elite Four with a cute pink kitten? Until then, thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!
Let's face it, dear fellow gamers: we all more or less play the same games, but what make our own gaming career unique is the mass of entertaining and distinctive little events that unfold around our playing. Without further ado, here are five random anecdotes lifted from different eras of my gaming life. Enjoy!
What the heart wants: 2014 marked the absolute peak of my collecting endeavours, as well as the release of Selena Gomez' single "The heart wants what it wants"; and as unlikely as it may seem, these two events are correlated in my gaming life. It so happened that one fateful day, as I was browsing the internet in search of games, the radio played Selena's freshly released forlorn love call; and upon hearing the song's chorus, I couldn't help but laugh at how perfectly the lyrics fitted my current situation. There I was, hunting for games despite the fact that a backlog the size of the Mont-Blanc was waiting for me — because, you know, the heart wants what it wants. After this episode, the song became my official Game Hunting Song for a couple of weeks, and I played it every time I looked for and purchased games online. To this day, hearing the song still stirs up memories of browsing through Ebay and Amazon pages along with a sweet, aching longing for games I didn't own yet.
— up to very the last one, a broken mess of a game called Titus the Fox that made me give up on the console entirely. This was in 1995; and I have no memories at all of playing my Game Boy or even handling it beyond that year. Now, 1995 is also the year I got my Game Gear; and I reckon that the two events are actually linked. Although I have no memories of it whasoever, I'm pretty sure that I sold my Game Boy and its game library after the Titus the Fox debacle in order to get the necessary funds to purchase my Game Gear. That sure would explain neatly why my Game Boy seems to have disappeared from the face of the Earth after 1995 and how I was able to treat myself to a brand-new Game Gear despite the fact that I was still an idle teenager at the time.
Collecting karma: In 2013, I imported a second-hand copy of Children of Mana for the DS for a couple of euros. Upon opening the box, I discovered that it contained an unexpected guest: in the GBA slot was nested a pristine copy of Pokemon Emerald in all its shiny and transluscent glory. The former owner of my Children of Mana copy had obviously either forgotten it or put it there to get rid of it, and I pondered what I should do with that surprise gift. And since I neither owned a GBA nor knew the Pokemon series at the time, I seriously considered tossing it away. Tossing. It. Away. A nearly brand-new copy of Pokemon bloody Emerald. I very nearly did it, and I shudder at the thought that I could have thrown away such a valuable game in such a careless way. But wait, I hear you say, couldn't that complimentary Emerald copy simply be a crappy bootleg that its owner didn't care one bit about? Well, this possibility obviously came to my mind after I became acquainted with the series, and I put the cartridge through a thorough examination. And guess what? This is the real thing. It's a totally authentic and legit copy of Pokemon Emerald, and I got it virtually for free. This was my biggest gaming stroke of luck ever, a splendid gift from the Universe; and it certainly repayed me beautifully for these early collecting stages when I found myself routinely paying way too much for games because I didn't know better.
— which, for the record, was Sorcery Saga. And guess what? I absolutely hated the Vita upon first play. The analog sticks felt utterly foreign, the screen was way too big, the graphics were too sleek and polished, and the console left such a bad overall impression on me that I turned it off and put it right back in its box with a lot of huffing and puffing. Good thing I picked it up again a week later and managed to overcome my initial repulsion, or I would have missed on what turned out to be one of my favourite handhelds of all time — as well as on a ton of stellar games.
The rearguard: I happened to be part of the very last bunch of subscribers to the now defunct Official Nintendo Magazine UK: I subscribed in early 2013, only to see the magazine bail out in october 2014, a mere year and a half later. To see that publication edge closer and closer to its unavoidable retirement was quite an eerie experience, I must say. In true Nintendo-ish fashion, the publisher and writing staff didn't mention that ONM was slated for execution before said execution was nearly upon us subscribers; but one could feel that something was fishy many months before we were actually notified that our subscriptions were cancelled. The magazine's content was incredibly poor, with safe and boring interviews of Nintendo developers and dull previews and reviews of big titles that were published again and again under a slightly different form each time. There were no in-depth analyses, no retro features, no cutting-edge and informative interviews; in a nutshell, there was none of what I actually expected to find in a magazine devoted to Nintendo consoles and games. But when the list of staff members and contributing writers started shrinking literally every month, I knew that the writing was on the wall. I certainly didn't regret the magazine's half-baked and snooze-inducing content in the slightest; on the other hand, it was a bit of a nasty blow to be ousted from my own subscription. I had already missed out on the most famous gaming magazines of the '90s; and now that I could finally bask in the joy of being a gaming magazine subscriber, that long-awaited joy was taken from me after barely one year? Sheesh, talk about the Universe not wanting me to read gaming publications. Good thing I managed to unearth other interesting and — most importantly — thriving gaming magazines and to get a good subscription pool after that.
Now that you've been reading these anecdotes and hopefully enjoying them, I have a favour to ask of you, dear fellow gamers. See, what I enjoy even more than pondering all the little quirks of my gaming life is to learn about the little quirks of other gamers' gaming life. You guess where I'm going with that, I'm sure: I'd like you to tell me some gaming anecdotes of your own in the comments, dear fellow gamers. Numbers don't matter; just feel free to tell as many or as few stories as you wish, and I'll read them all with great delight. Thanks for reading, and be my guest anytime!