08/31/2003

I know many of you are probably wondering, so I'll say it here: the ROMs will return around September 6th. That's when my future host will start the hosting service. I will need to set up a PayPal account to pay for my future host, though. After I do set up my PayPal account, I may put up a donation page or something. After all, the hosting costs will be quite expensive now, and it'd be simply grand if my site could pay for itself, since I can't make profit from it either way.

As many of you can plainly see, I changed the top banner a bit. If you would like to link to my site, and you'd like to use a banner to do it, use that one at the top of my page. But remember to put it on your own server; don't link to it directly.

I got my hands on Final Fantasy Tactics Advance quite early. Alas, I won't play it for quite a while, since I want to at least get a good amount done in F-Zero GX and SoulCalibur II. I've been playing so much F-Zero, in fact, that I'll explain a little more about it.

First, to prevent any further confusion, let me explain this whole F-Zero AX thing. No, it's not a new F-Zero game, thus you won't have to immediately run out of your house to your local gaming store and demand that they burn for all eternity for not notifying you about this sacred info. F-Zero AX is an arcade game. Yes, that's right; arcades still exist. I was quite shocked myself. It's essentially the same game as F-Zero GX, it just obviously has different playing modes to better suit multiplayer and quick "pick-up-and-play" arcade styled game play. Here's the thing, though: you can bring your memory card with your F-Zero GX save on it, insert it into the F-Zero AX arcade machine, and get some extra features unlocked on your original F-Zero GX. So, you're probably thinking: "darn! If I want to complete F-Zero GX 100%, I'll need to get off my butt and visit the arcade?! Insanity!" Thankfully, you can still unlock everything within the game; it'll just be much harder... by a lot. In fact, it'll be nearly impossible. So, yes, you'll probably still have to go and visit the arcade, unless you are a game master.

One interesting feature in F-Zero GX is the fact that you can kill other racers while in the main racing mode. No, I'm not talking about "Battle Mode", like in Mario Kart; I'm talking about the real racing mode, Grand Prix, as it is called in most racing games. What good is it to kill racers on these modes? Well, the way you win a grand prix is done similarly to most Mario Kart games; score. Each grand prix "cup" (as in, trophy cup, not tea cup) has several tracks you race on. Every time you get first place on a track, you score 100 points. At the end of the grand prix cup, (after finishing all the tracks) they add up all your scores, and see which racer has the highest. The racer with the highest score wins. So this means that you can earn a really high score on all the tracks, and finish last (30) on the last track, and still win.

Now what does this have to do with killing people? Read on to find the answer. The score is added from track to track. Each racer earns a score; even the PC racers. So if a certain racer is ranking rather high in score, and you kill that racer, they will earn 0 points for that track, thus pushing them behind in the rankings. This, apparently, helps you win. I think that's pretty cool, since you can just focus on killing racers on each track, rather than coming in first, and beat the game like that.

Anyway, so far all I've been doing is repeatedly beating the first track on Novice or Standard difficulty to earn myself "tickets" to buy new racers. I've bought all the racers that can be obtained through normal means; now all that remains are the racers that can only be unlocked from the arcade (F-Zero AX) or by doing some insane task in this game (F-Zero GX).

I also bought a few machine parts and built a little custom machine, which turned out to be pretty darn good. Still, I'm having trouble advancing in the grand prix races. In many of the tracks, coming in first nor killing other racers is your main focus; survival is. You can fall off many of these tracks very easily, and thus die. When you die, you waste a life. If you waste all your lives, you Game Over. If you Game Over, then you should kick the wall, causing a dent in it. This irritates me greatly, and I may stop playing this game forever more if it continues.

Eh... that's it, I guess. Nothing much more to say, except for the fact that the voice acting in this game is horrible.

08/30/2003

I've got bad news and good news. The good news is, you'll be able to read what I write in the news to keep updated on my current host situation! The bad news is... well, I had to delete all the ROMs in exchange for that. Don't worry, though; I'm currently trying to contact that other host. Since they're an emulation site, they will accept my ROMs. Again, they seem to be having some trouble now, so it'll take a while to get everything ready. In the meantime, just keep visiting the site once a day to see when the ROMs return, or if I need you to start going to a new URL.

08/29/2003

ZSNES has updated their WIP, so I updated the respective files on the site, as well...

Actually, it really doesn't matter, since my host just found out I'm a ROM website and they're going to take me down. Once that happens, you won't be able to access this site anymore. This will supposedly happen after 24 hours.

I have a backup plan, though. I'm going to ask a very nice emulation site, Emulation Galaxy, to host my site for me. The only problem with this is the fact that they seem to be having many problems, and they're much more expensive than the host I've got now. Actually, I can't contact them (Emulation Galaxy) because of said problems, as their forums are down for some reason.

If I cancel the account with my current host, I'm not quite sure what'll happen to the domain name, e-mail address, etc; those type of things.

Ah well...

08/28/2003

Heh, I wasn't aware that both F-Zero GX and SoulCalibur II would come at pretty much the same time. I played a little bit of F-Zero GX, and well... I guess it's okay. I can't really give out a professional opinion, since:

1) I don't really like racers. The only ones I'm vaguely interested in are the Mario Kart ones.
2) I've only played Mario Kart and a few F-Zero games briefly (very "brief" I might add; I got bored out of my mind after a bit).

Obviously, I can't comment much on it. The graphics look great, but that almost really doesn't matter because of how fast you go. Did I mention that you go fast? Fast, as in, insanely fast. At first, I could barely see anything, and I still have trouble keeping up with the track. Often, I hit walls and such because of how fast paced the game is. Thankfully, since you can see pretty far, this avoids the same problem Sonic Advance 2 suffered.

The music wasn't as good as I expected it to be (I got too hyped up, I suppose... I like techno), but it almost met my expectations, which is pretty good. Actually, most of the music is good, but sometimes, you feel as if they could've bumped it up a few levels. It's like they were holding back. There are also a few music tracks that just plainly suck. Oddly enough, these music tracks seem to be played often because they are a part of some of the menu themes and such.

What about the actual game play, though? Well, I did get to tell you how fast the game is, and how hard that makes a lot of things. The actual racing isn't really anything special. They did change a few things from the older F-Zero games, though: for one, boosting is different. After the first lap, your energy bar (what keeps you alive, just like HP) turns into rainbow colors, and you can boost. Every time you boost, a good amount of energy is taken away. I actually like this better than the old boosting system, since you can boost much more often. The second thing... well, it's not that big, really. You can use a button to do some sort of "attack spin" to bump into other cars. I think it's supposed to do immense damage to them, thus ruining their day. The problem is, your turn becomes horrid, and you slide into walls, thus ruining your day.

The only other thing to note is the fact that you can buy parts, make your own cars (which often suck at the beginning), and buy other racers. Well, you don't buy the racer, per se, but you buy their car, and they just happen to come with it.

That said, this game seems to focus a little on the story, seeing as there is a story mode with scenes and voice acting. There's also a profile of each racer you can view, along with their music. It generally just explains a little back story about them.

This may be the first F-Zero game I play for real. As in, the first one I play longer than 10 minutes, and actually come back to. I wouldn't play it much if it weren't for the stuff you can unlock, really. Still, in the end, I'm not the type of gamer that enjoys racing games. So it's nothing too great for me.

I don't enjoy fighters, either. I'm still questioning why I'm getting SoulCalibur II, or why I even got F-Zero GX. If I had to rate them on a scale, though, I think I like racers better than fighters. It's a hard choice, but I simply can't stand almost every fighting game I play, while I can last a little bit in racing games.

I'm still looking forward to Viewtiful Joe, but my hype for it dropped a little. It's basically because of my mood. I was in a mood for a game like Viewtiful Joe a month ago, but now I don't really care.

P.N.03 looks interesting, and I'm certainly going to pick it up. But now a lot of the hype for it died down, mostly because people actually got to play it, and the game's nothing special like we hoped for. What I mean is: the game looked like something new and interesting (like Viewtiful Joe), and it just had that appeal that catches your eye, but once you play the game, all that goes away. Of course, I wouldn't know, as I've not played the game yet.

Another game that I think is coming out next month is Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Honestly, the game looks like good fun, and I'm almost certain I'll enjoy it. Unlike most of the tactics games, the story doesn't seem to be so centered on war, and, well, the tactics for it. It starts out with some basic RPG plot that looks a little interesting. Sadly, plots never do that much in these games in terms of interaction. Sure, they sometimes tell interesting storys like in RPGs, but you still do the same thing on every map, and you don't have any freedom to walk around or anything, so the plot doesn't feel so important. Game play and strategy is the key to these games.

The third game coming out this month that I will purchase is Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg. I'm not really interested in this game, but it has that appeal, that when you look at it, you can immediately tell that it's not just another game; it's a big one. Still so, I'm not hyped up at all for it.

I think that's all for next month for me. There still might be some games I have on preorder that I do not remember, but if I don't remember them, then they're generally not so good.

Final Fantasy X-2 looks pretty darn interesting, but I'm almost certain it's going to suck bad like its predecessor. And yet my interest prevails, not only because it's an FF game made by Square, but it just looks so darn interesting. Darn you, Square! Either way, I'm getting it. I vowed to get every Final Fantasy game a while ago, and will stick to that.

Har.

08/27/2003

I had many odd computer problems yesterday, but everything's fixed now.

Lately, I've been playing Super Mario All-Stars. See, I've beaten Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World and I have a save for it, but I don't have a save for Super Mario All-Stars separately, so I'm working on that now. I only need to beat Super Mario Bros. 3 in Super Mario All-Stars now. I'd like to take some time to say: this is a great compilation. Unlike Sega, instead of making the exact same games in one package, they also pumped up the graphics. Unfortunately, although the sound and music is of better quality, I much liked the NES versions' better. I don't know, it may just be me.

F-Zero GX arrived yesterday night, but I didn't have a chance to play it. I'll try to do that today. I might talk about it later, too. That's it for the moment. Not much else to report, nope... except for the fact that those drop down boxes are just so much fun to play with! Wee...!

08/26/2003

Phew. The drop down boxes now appear on every page on the site, and they look... not too bad. At least they follow the design of the site. As you can plainly see, I have more than one drop down box. It's easier for you and me.

So you're probably wondering: "what will these complicated things do to help me?" Well, I'm here to answer that question. Here's the answer: the veterans amongst you, who have been to this site since the beginning (very rare, but I think there's at least one person), will know exactly where to go to get what they want. Instead of forcing them to click on every single link, they can directly reach most of the common pages all through those boxes. And, well, it's more flexible this way, as there's plainly more than one way to access a part of a page. I like it this way. It adds more freedom.

Well, that's the major update for now. I probably won't do anything like that again until much later. *Cough* so tired...

08/25/2003

Some major changes to the site are taking place, so everything's going to randomly mess up until I'm done. I'll report back once I've finished the major update.

*UPDATE*

First time I did something like this in the news post thing... anyway, I've done the major changes, mostly. Actually, I'm looking at this in two parts: the first part, which will make my life slightly easier on one end, while making it harder on another. The second part will be something that you, the user, will actually be able to see and use to your liking.

You can already notice something upon visiting the first page; a drop down menu! That's the new major thing I'm going to be working on right now. That's just a working example of how it'll be, but I plan to make more than one, and organize it more so than that. It took me quite a while to figure out how to put working links in those drop down menus, but I've figured it out now. Soon there will be a few of those drop down things on every page, hopefully making navigation easier. Or at least more exciting. Isn't it fun to just click on those drop down menus? I certainly think it is. It better be, because it took a lot of work. I'll try and complete the drop down update fully by tomorrow, in the next update in this daily update series that I've kept up so far.

08/24/2003

Wow, we're back to daily updates. That hasn't happened for a while. What's even more astounding: it's not just me rambling about a game; no, I'm actually updating content every day. Firstly, some news about certain things. Arch Nacho and Tortilla Godzilla's Quality ROMs has been down for quite a while, as you can plainly see. First time around, their first host stopped the hosting service, and so they had to get a new one. Now this new one just went down one day for no reason. It seems that the host is back now. This means that Arch Nacho and Tortilla Godzilla's site is back up and running, faster than ever before, I might add.

I went over there today and found out they updated with a ROM by the name of "Wonder Project J" for the SNES. I had absolutely no knowledge of this game's existance, or how innovative it was. So I downloaded the ROM, renamed it to my liking, and uploaded it to my server (I'm not leeching off of their site). I highly recommend you try out this game. It's very original and innovative.

That's all for today. Please don't hurt yourself on the way out.

08/23/2003

Visual Boy Advance has updated to version 1.6a. Heh, I think this mostly happened because of me. I sent an e-mail yesterday to the guy who made Visual Boy Advance about a certain slow down issue in Wario Land 4, and he quickly replied today and made this update to fix it. There were also a few other things he updated, but I think this was the major one. Anyway, yes, of course, I've updated the files on the site.

Yes... not much to say for me.

08/22/2003

I updated the ZSNES files on the site with the latest ZSNES WIP (work in progress). Take note, however; I won't do this all the time. I just did it this time, mostly because they updated some major stuff, and I was tempted. Of course, when the ZSNES team finally makes an official release (which won't happen soon), I will definitely put it up. Also note, I've added the Japanese version of Star Ocean to the SNES ROMs section. Once DeJap releases their patch, I will patch the ROM, and we will have an English version. Yay!

That's all I wanted to say today, okay?

08/21/2003

A lot has happened since I last wrote something here... actually, that would be a lie, since only two things happened. For my birthday, I received an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB. Yay! It's the best video card in the entire world thus far, which is good. Secondly (well, this actually happened first, but I put it second because I'm such a daredevil), I beat Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. And I would've played a new game +, too, if it weren't that you lose your levels. Levels and stats are the main reason for a new game +; a level 99 character who boosted his stats immensely with stat boosting items can kick anyone's butt with any weapon. You can freaking destroy the last boss using a twig or wooden sword. Add good weapons into the mix, and you're practically invincible. I'm not quite sure what I'll do now, but only time will tell...

Something that may interest you is the fact that ZSNES is doing some sort of "WIP" thing. "WIP" stands for "Work in Progress," and basically, it means they're working on a new version of ZSNES. While they're working, though, they are publicly releasing their WIPs, so that we may enjoy their updates earlier. I haven't kept up-to-date with the changes of every WIP, since I want to try and wait for the official version release, but I've read about some of the changes and they're pretty good.

One of the first great ones is being able to use the graphic engines (makes the graphics look better) with your desktop set to 32bit mode. I remember that this annoyed me a lot in the past, present, and future, because I had to switch into 16bit mode to be able to have uber graphics. Secondly, they're fixing many bugs, glitches, and problems for many ROMs. Sometimes, there'd be a certain ROM that has a graphics bug. These are the kind of things they are fixing. And by the looks of it, they've fixed a ton already, and are well into fixing more. Last, but certainly not least... this is probably the best darned thing since sliced bread: they've (a certain group of very nice people) cracked some kind of ancient technology that was used for games such as Star Ocean. These people spoke with the ZSNES team, and ZSNES will now support this! What does this mean? It means that you no longer need a Graphics Pack for games like Star Ocean! Yay!!

I don't have anything else to write now... so go away!

08/18/2003

My birthday was all the way back on the 14th, if anyone really cared. Did I say that already? Oops, I think I did.

Anyway, now to talk about the next game I've been playing: Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. I like the game so far. I like it very much, indeed. You see, this game brings me back to the old days of the PlayStation (which isn't that old, mind you) when great RPGs like Final Fantasy VII and VIII were at their prime. Many RPGs that came out for the PSX are simply great, and had a "standard" quality that each RPG had to live up to, and possibly surpass. Lately, though, RPGs have been trying too hard to make new experiences, rather than keep the old quality. What I mean is, RPGs are trying new things, sure, but they're ignoring everything else.

Let's look at Final Fantasy X for a moment. As you know, the game had the all new sphere grid system, which was the next big thing. The problem is, they ignored every other thing in the game, thinking that this new "sphere grid" system would be enough. New and innovative game play isn't always the best way to go, mostly because you may come up with an idea that would irritate all the old fans who loved that game beforehand, thus losing a lot of profit and angering a lot of people. Of course, this would also bring newer fans who seem interested in this "new" thing, thus pleasing a lot of other people and gaining profit. Will the amount of pleased people and profit gained outweigh the loss of old fans and profit lost? I think not.

That's not the main problem I'm talking about right now, though. Sure, want to try something new and innovative? That's fine with me, but don't ruin everything else that makes a game good. Something new and innovative doesn't always make a game good; it has to be done right, and with lots of quality. So in FFX, they think the sphere gird system would be the only thing needed, and they can just forget everything else. Many video game companies do this same thing with innovation, which is wrong; completely wrong. And this is why I think a lot of the quality in video gaming has been lost lately. They're so caught up in this "new and innovative" nonsense that they can't or don't choose to actually make a game that's fun. I could make a game about a piece of poop that uses a wooden stick to beat the tar out of muffins in new game play that has never been seen before, but that wouldn't be fun, now would it?

Back to Breath of Fire, then. The game starts out like most traditional RPGs from the PSX era, plot wise. And it continues in that direction, pretty much. There's some interesting and complex plot here, but nothing that could beat the likes of Final Fantasy VII or VIII. The graphics, as usual for most PS2 games, pretty much suck. Of course, that's not the main focus. The main focus always lies within the game play. In an RPG, sometimes the main focus can be the plot, but the game play should always go first. The plot should at least be interesting enough to urge you to go on, though.

Really, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter is not such a great RPG, but it's an RPG that could live up to those "standards" of the older days. Apparently, the "standard" RPG in those days kicked the butts of every RPG nowadays, so that's why I like it so much; I've not played a good RPG for quite some time.

The battle system is where the main gameplay lies for most RPGs. This is why I hate RPGs that have such a horrid battle system. It's the only time you actually play the game; so if that moment sucks, then, well, it's not much of a game. The battle system here is quite interesting. To say it's "new" and "innovative" would be a blatant lie; I can mention one RPG right now that pretty much has the same exact battle system: Quest 64. That said; these are the two only RPGs I've ever seen with this battle system. Basically, the battle system is this: after you encounter a battle, you see a large green thing blocking your movement, like a barrier. You can walk around here freely, as if you were not in a battle. Of course, this wastes AP. The more AP you have, the more you can do in a single turn. Each move wastes a certain amount of AP, and how far you walk from your starting point also wastes some amount of AP. There are a couple of skills and you can combine these skills into combos, etc. It's a bunch of that usual RPG stuff that everyone loves.

The music is actually pretty great. Surely not as good as Squaresoft's music, but still very good.

There are two major things that really change the way you play the game, and not in a good way; to save, you need to find a save point. Sure, that's okay. These save points are very rare. That's not so good, but still acceptable. Here's where it gets bad, though: you can only save with an item called a "save token." You need a save token and a save point to save. Both of these things are very rare. The thing is, there's a limited amount of save tokens in the game, so if you save whenever you find one, you'll likely run out before the end of the game, and can no longer save. This isn't so bad if you only save when you find a save token and a save point. Never save twice on the same save point; that will keep your butt out of trouble.

Now here's the real problem: around the beginning of the game, you find out that the main character can turn into a dragon, which he does so in every Breath of Fire. Did I mention that his hair is blue, just like in all the other games? And that he uses a sword? There's also the girl named Nina, who has wings for some odd reason. She's in every game, too. Back to the subject; after finding out about the main character's dragon ability, a counter appears on the top right corner of the screen. Every 25 steps, it increases. Every turn in battle, it increases. Every time you turn into a dragon, or use an ability of said dragon, the counter goes up by insane amounts. What happens when the counter reaches 100%, you ask? You die. If you just happen to save with a 99% counter; you're done for. You must restart the whole game over. This is utter bull nonsense, I tell you.

To remedy the save situation, they let you "quick save," which means you make a temporary file and quit the game. When you continue, it erases the temporary file, and lets you begin from where you last quick saved. This is always useful for any RPG.

It also seems to me that the game is rather short, which is good, seeing as how there's a counter at the top of the screen counting down (or up, rather) to my death. There is some sort of "new game +" feature, but it sucks.

You can either:
A) Start from the beginning of the game, keeping all your skills, items, and equipment.
B) Start from the last save point, keeping all your skills, items, and equipment (useful for when you die, I guess). They always show you these two options when you die.

One last thing you keep when restarting your game: party EXP. Now you're wondering, "what's that?!" When you win a battle, you get normal EXP, which is added to your characters so they can level up, and you also get "party EXP." Party EXP is a bunch of unused EXP that is stored away for use later. Technically, you can use it any time you want, but the main purpose for it is to use it when you start the game over, I guess. It's not as good as just keeping your levels and stats, but oh well.

To sum the entire thing up, it's just another one of those quality RPGs, but with three glaring flaws: the save system, the death counter (it's called D-Counter; D is supposed to stand for dragon, but...), and the fact that you don't keep your levels and stats after doing a "new game +." Other than that stuff, it's a good, solid RPG, and anyone who loves these kinds of quality RPGs should pick it up. Oh, and just like all the other Breath of Fire games, the translation is garbage. So that hurts the dialogue by a large bit, which affects the story and plot, which is bad.

08/13/2003

The second best emulator for SNES, SNES9X, has updated to version 1.41. Now I do not know why anyone in their right state of mind would use SNES9X over ZSNES, but just in case I have some mentally disabled people around here, I updated the files on the site. I think I also updated something else, but I don't remember.

So you're probably waiting for me to speak about this new Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour game, eh? Well, I'll shed some light on that. Be warned, though; I did not enjoy the game much. So you're only going to hear bad things from me. Maybe not entirely bad things, though.

Ok, firstly, the graphics. Why do I talk about the graphics first? I don't know, it's just very simple and easy, so I do it first. The graphics are simply amazing. No questions asked.

Now for the music. Most of the original music in the game sucks entirely, but to remedy this situation, the game remixes quite a few older tunes to save the day. Save the day in terms of music, anyway.

Next I'll mention the controls. Really, in this day and age, controls are never a problem. If they are, then that simply means you should immediately stop playing the game.

The way the game plays is very important, mind you; very important, indeed. Ok, here's how golf works (or at least how it works in this game), you have a club (the stick), which is used to hit the golf ball (the little white round thing), which initially starts on a tee (looks like a large nail stuck to the ground). The basic point of golf is to try and sink (sink is a term used in golf, I guess...) the golf ball into the hole (flag, pin, hole; these are all just different names for the same thing; technically, it's a flag attached to a pin which is then sticking out of a hole...) in the least amount of strokes possible (the word stroke means when you swing the stick and hit the small white round thing). The less strokes it took you to sink the ball, the better score you get. The better score you get, the better rating you get. And getting better ratings puts you one step closer to beating the game.

I actually got quite confused when looking at the score boards at first, since I had a "+6" and was last, while another character had a "-7" and was first. So I thought: "isn't more better?" Apparently, it doesn't work that way in golf. Now, you're probably wondering; "how does one get -7 strokes?! Doesn't that defy the laws of everything that exists?" Well, here's how: in regular golf, there's usually 18 holes per course. In those 18 holes, they add up your score. The person with the least strokes at the end wins. Now this still doesn't answer the question of how it may be possible to get less than +0 strokes. There's this rating system that's very important. Apparently, there are a set of "good" ratings and a set of "bad" ratings. When you get the lowest possible good rating (which is called a "par"), you get +0 on your scorecard. So if you get a higher rating than par, then you'll get a score lower than +0. Here's the ratings from best to worst, just to give you an idea:

Good Ratings:
1) Hole in One
2) Albatross
3) Eagle
4) Birdie
5) Par

Bad Ratings:
6) Bogey
7) Double Bogey
8) Triple Bogey
9) +4
10) +5
And so on...

So, it doesn't record precisely how many strokes it takes you to sink the ball; so the number on the scoreboard does not mean that's exactly how many strokes you've made in that entire course. You're probably wondering: "I know the first rating, Hole in One, is obviously earned when you sink the ball in one stroke, but what about the others?" On each hole, there's a set number of strokes for a par. Usually, if the hole is really far, the par is set to 5 strokes. That means if you sink the ball with 5 strokes, you'll get a par. If you sink it with 4 strokes, you'll get a birdie. 3 strokes? Oh, that's an eagle. 2 strokes? Amazing! An albatross is what you get. 1 stroke?! That's simply impossible, but if you do indeed sink it with 1 stroke, then you've got a hole in one. On most holes, the par is set to 4 strokes. Now you're probably wondering: "wait, how would you get an albatross, then? Wouldn't that be a hole in one instead?" you are correct, sir. You can not earn every rating on every hole. For example, for holes that are really close, the usual par setting is on 3 (it's never lower than that), which means the highest rating you can get with the exception of hole in one would be a birdie.

With all that, you now know basic info about general golf! Now you can go out and play a game of '"real" golf! Where did I acquire all this info, you ask? Why, from Mario Golf! As you know, the first golfing game I played was Mario Golf for Nintendo 64.

You can also switch clubs in Mario Golf, and each one is used for a different situation, but that's an entirely different thing that I won't be getting into now.

Anyway, now on to the actual game. They've developed an interesting system to determine how hard you hit the ball, the distance it travels, etc. At first glance, the game looks way too complex. You see all kinds of meters, indicators, distances, measurements, and so many things to drive off anyone new to the game. Of course, many of these things you don't really need to pay attention to at the beginning, but to truly determine just exactly where your ball will land, an extensive knowledge of all these things is needed. That's what the manual is for. It then becomes so much simpler, and it turns out that it all wasn't such a big deal. You'll need to be quite experienced at two things, though: estimating and timing.

What's timing for? Well, there's this little bar at the bottom of the screen, see. It's so shiny and nice looking. This bar determines how hard you want to hit the ball. Upon pressing the big, green button titled "A," the bar will start filling up quickly, and then after reaching the end, it'll then drain until the bottom. What just happened? I'll elaborate: the thing is, while the bar is filling up or draining, you'll have to press "A" again to stop it. Depending on where you stop it determines how hard you'll hit the ball. If you stopped it just when the bar filled to its max, you're obviously going to hit the ball rather hard, and it will apparently travel really far. This is where timing is crucial; you'll probably know where on the bar you want the little indicator to stop on, it's just so darn hard to get it to stop there, since it fills and drains so quickly. Conclusion: you need good timing, since this is the bulk of the game. There are other little bars you can activate by pressing a different button or two, but this is the basic chunk you'll need to know. The other stuff is for pros, or people who need to use skills from pros to be able to get anywhere in the game (like myself).

Then there's estimating. Why do you need this? With all the indicators, bars, meters, distances, etc, you'll need to make a rather difficult decision. Even then, the ball could still end up in a place where none of those fancy indicators and meters told you, so a lot of experimenting will need to be done to know just where the ball will land. If that weren't bad enough, each character is completely different. That means that, not only will all those fancy indicators and meters point differently for those characters, but where the ball will actually land will change, too. There is no pattern to follow; each character is completely different. If that were not bad enough, they really penalize you for mistakes, or experimenting. So if you were wondering if that ball would land in that bunker, you were wrong; dead wrong. It will bounce off the darn wall and land in the lava.

The few last levels are, simply put, excruciating torture. This is especially true for the last one, which just happens to be Bowser's castle. The obstacles they put in your way are just ridiculous. An army of Thwomps, Bob-ombs, Torpedo Teds, and even lava?! That's not even considering the odd design of the castle; all those bumps, rocks, gates, grates, and all kinds of nonsense to mess you up. Getting a simple par on any one of those 18 holes of insanity is really difficult. If someone could actually make a hole in one on any of those holes, they must be a champion.

Because of how frustrating the game was for me, I decided to stop playing, and I'll possibly never return. Just to note: I did beat the last level, but this was on the normal tournament mode. There's still a mode or two to make these stages even harder that I need to beat. For example, there's a mode where you need to shoot your golf ball through several rings and also at least get a par. I'm sorry, sir, the normal stages were hard enough; I don't need them to be even more difficult.

I recently got into Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, I think it's called. I wasn't very interested at first, but that all changed once I played more of the game; it all picked up so quickly, and I got sucked in. Just like those older RPGs... Finaly Fantasy VII and VIII are perfectly good examples. Hopefully, all this nonsense I wrote will make up for so many days of not updating.

08/11/2003

The best emulator for Game Boy Advance in the entire world has updated (didn't I say something like that earlier...?) to version 1.6. Of course, like always, and I do mean always, I updated the files on the site. One thing to note about this major release is: not only has rewind support been added, but it's been modified. What does that mean? We now have a rewind that's exactly (possibly better) like the one on ZSNES, which is the best emulator known to man. Yay! This is especially good for me.

Lately, I've been playing Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour a lot. I won a match against all the current characters I have, thus unlocking the "star" version of them. That just means I can now select their upgraded forms. This "star" character thing is in the old Mario Tennis for the N64. I'm not sure if they also had it for the old Mario Golf on the N64 as well, since I didn't really play much of that game. Right now, I'm struggling with the stages in Toadstool Tour; I'm trying to beat each one. The game is very difficult for me, and I don't like that. I hate games that are difficult.

How's the actual game, though? I can sum it up in a single sentence: it's an upgrade to Mario Golf on the N64. Pretty much everything has been enhanced. The engine is obviously much nicer and cleaner, more characters have been added (I think), the graphics are apparently better, etc. You know, the usual stuff. Really, these types of games can only be improved upon; nothing could be changed to actually say "oh, this Mario Golf game may be older, but it's so different from the new one that some might actually like it better." If someone does like the old one better, then that just means they'd rather brush their teeth with a twig than a toohbrush, and urinate outdoors rather than use a toilet.

Anyway, I'll probably speak of more details concerning Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour a tad bit later, when I've actually played more of the game.

08/09/2003

Sorry for not writing anything in the news. I've been doing nothing but wasting time looking at various comics...

I don't think I'm going to collect those last few chips I need in Mega Man Network Transmission, nor the last upgrade. Especially the chip I need the slot machine for... that'll probably never happen. It pains me to move on to other games when I haven't done every single thing possible in the previous game. This is why I hate games with so many secrets, especially when each one is rather difficult and annoying to get. I hate difficult games, actually. I don't like challenge.

And so, maybe I'll try out Mario Golf or Unlimited SaGa and see how that goes...

I don't feel particularly good these days; for many reasons. One, as I've said already, is the "leaving things behind in games" phase I have. The other is more personal stuff.

My date of birth is in the month of August on the 14th day. Not like you need to know that, or want to. I'm getting old...

08/05/2003

The best emulator for the PlayStation in the entire world has updated: ePSXe is now version 1.6.0. It's actually been a very long time since these people updated... a year or two? In any case, I took care of the files. Also, I updated some of the NES emulators, but I can't remember exactly what I did, so you'll have to check that out yourself.

08/04/2003

I mindlessly added several more ROMs for your enjoyment:

Nintendo Entertainment System:
1) Bomberman
2) Bomberman II

Super Nintendo Entertainment System:
3) Super Mario All-Stars
4) Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers

The only place I've seen thus far that has ROMs and no intention of going down for quite a while is Edge Emulation. That's where I'm acquiring most of my new ROMs. Note: I'm not leeching; I'm downloading the ROMs and uploading them to my server, which is a large hassle, I might add. Why is it a hassle? It's because of how annoying the download system is on Edge Emulation. Not only that, but there's around five million pop-ups at any single time, flooding my computer to the point of it crashing. Seriously, Edge, why do you have to make your site a foreign jungle where I get bitten by poisonous monkeys multiple times? The only reason I go there at all is because they actually have a lot of ROMs. Most of them are very rare, too. Other than that, I would just give up.

In other news, I recently purchased a GameCube Preview Disc, and it has several playable demos on it. The thing also had some movies, but I didn't care about those, so I skipped them.

Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut: This game has been released a while ago, so it's a wonder why they have this on the disc. Unless, of course, this disc came out before Sonic Adventure DX did. Anyway, I've commented on Sonic Adventure games quite enough, so I won't say anything about this one. I didn't even try the demo version.

Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg: Meh. I wasn't too interested, but the game looks promising. Basically, you roll eggs around to kill enemies, then collect these fruit things to make the eggs grow. You can also use the egg as some sort of boomerang-like attack that is useful. So Billy Hatcher feeds his egg, for what? Who knows. All I know is: the egg gets to a certain growth, then stops growing. This is when you use Billy's special yell (which sounds exactly the same as a clucking chicken...) to hatch the egg. Inside the egg, you'll find a little animal that will have an ability to aid you on your quest. From what I saw in the demo, all these eggs and animals you get are not there forever, so it's not some sort of Pokemon game. They just pop in, follow you for a bit, then... uh... go away somewhere? Seriously, after hatching the first egg, I always lost my animal friend upon advancing. Further proof of this is seen by the many other eggs you can carry around the stage. Not to mention that the stage is a linear one like in the Sonic games. I did not finish this demo, but I'll probably pick up the game anywho. One thing though; the demo was very glitchy and choppy. Hopefully, that'll change in the final version.

SoulCalibur II: It seems to me that this is a decent fighting game. Personally, I despise fighting games, but this one is:
1) Made by Namco.
2) Has purdy graphics.
3) It's not too hard to pull off a single combo.
4) The music is somewhat decent.
5) The characters are rather interesting.
6) It's got swords.
7) Link is in the game. Yes, the one from the Zelda series.
Need I say more?

Viewtiful Joe: This is a very fun game. I liked it a lot; aside from looking great graphically, it also looked interesting. It's one of those games that catches your eye. No, not because it's the most amazing graphics evar (which it isn't), but because of how they were done and executed. The game play is very interesting, too. Slow motion is your friend. Although they never say much about Mach Speed, and mostly, you probably don't need it much, but it can be useful or entertaining to use this to dispose of some of your foes. Ok, here's what I loved about this game: the main character looks and sounds like me...! Well, that's not the real reason. The real reason is up ahead, ever so further. There are many ways to dispose of your enemies. There is no one way to kill a single enemy. That's something I simply love; to each his own. It gives the game a feeling of freedom, but in a different way than most Mario games do. You can punch enemies, you can kick them, you can do a punch and kick combo, you can use slow motion and totally annihilate them with a single punch, or you can use Mach Speed and rip their lungs out (!!!) with a furry of fast attacks. That's only a few ways; there are still more. This also works on bosses, too.

One last thing about Viewtiful Joe that's worth mentioning: there's this "high/low" dodge system. If an enemy is about to use a high attack, you must duck. If they are going to use a low attack, you must hover over the ground using the viewtiful pose (press up; but don't jump). How would you know when the enemy does this? Simple, my dear friend: a skull mark goes in the right direction to lead you the way. So if a skull mark appears slightly above the enemy, then it's a good time to duck. If it appears slightly below; press up. What's so good about this? Aside from dodging the enemy's attack - and looking viewtiful while doing it - you make them dizzy. Yeah, dizzy. When they're dizzy, they die a lot faster, and you get more points. Plus, they don't move.

Last but not least; Splinter Cell. I don't generally like these types of games, but hey, I might as well give it a go. It's an interesting game, focused on stealth. It has FPS (first person shooter) elements, but nothing a non-FPS person like myself can't handle. One thing I hate about these types of games: you die too quickly. An enemy soldier spots you, shoots several blows, and before you know it, you're dead. So it's best to never get seen. I was fascinated with the game at first, but since I've heard that the Metal Gear Solid franchise is very similar, I'll wait for that and see if I purchase it. This is a new genre of games for me, so I'll have to think about it. I'm not into this kind of junk.

That's all for today. Bring me cake for my birthday. I'll reward you with more ROMs. Yes, I will. Oh, and no worms, please. It doesn't go well with my meal.

08/01/2003

It's August. I was born in August. Is that good?

So far, I'm enjoying my vacation. I've played and beaten, yet again (it's been around 20 times that I've beaten these games), Sonic 1, 2, and 3. I just noticed that I did not have a beaten file saved on my Sonic 3 ROM, so I quickly changed that. See, I beat the game many times on my Sega Genesis. After Sonic and Knuckles came out, I never ever played Sonic 3 by itself again. I mean, why would anyone do that? Actually, there's a good reason to: certain music tracks are better. For example, the mini-boss and Knuckles' theme are much better in Sonic 3 alone, rather than Sonic 3 + Sonic and Knuckles. At least, I like them better. I just need to collect a few more emeralds with Tails, and beat the final stage for him. Then, I will truly have a completed save file on my computer. Kunpuutaah. Haanbaagaa.

Many people probably think this is absurd, but I always have one completed file with Sonic and Tails, then one with just Sonic. It's both basically the same, really. Just one is less annoying than the other. Although tails does help a little, since he does exactly what you press on your controller, which is useful.

After this, I'll play Sonic and Knuckles with Sonic 3, then my Sonic for Sega Genesis craving will end... for a while, anyway. I may be wrong, and darn you if I am, but I think the best Sonic games in history are all located on the Sega Genesis, or Mega Drive for some of you. They're definitely not on the Super Famicom or Famicom. The only other Sonic game that I can think of that comes anywhere near the gems on Genesis is Sonic Adventure 1. Sure, a lot of the old Sonic games' magic has been lost, but it was a pretty good transition into 3-D. It's not easy moving a 2-D franchise into the 3-D realm, what with the extra dimension and all.

All the other Sonic games have been utter disgraces, though. Sonic Adventure 2?! Where was Sonic in that game? I'm sorry, I was too busy moving Eggman's fat butt around to notice he existed in that game, and that's not even mentioning Tails. Did anyone notice that both Eggman and Tails have pretty much the most levels? Why didn't Sega just scrap the entire idea for "Sonic Adventure 2" and make a mech battle game? Maybe even throw in Tails and Eggman, just for good measure. Oh, wait, I think they already did, and it's called Sonic Adventure 2.

I thought Sonic Advance 1 for GBA would be like the other Genesis titles, but boy, was I wrong. I was such an idiot. It was slow paced, boring... the music didn't interest me, the sounds didn't interest me, the graphics were really only good on the characters; the stages themselves are too plain and boring. I could look at the wall in my kitchen and get the same enjoyment out of looking at the sand in the first level of Sonic Advance 1. If that weren't enough, they added a bunch of annoying traps that prevented you from running. You can't run. Seriously, isn't that suicide for a Sonic game, where you're supposed to be running all the time? Running game + stop running = failure. Ok, fine, they could've done something slow-but-interesting... only they didn't. Sega, or should I say Sonic Team, what the heck are you thinking?

Then came Sonic Advance 2, which was supposed to be an improvement over the first one, since it was more about speed. Jeez, can't they just stay somewhere inbetween? It's either slow as a snail, or faster than a jolt of lightning. This game was so fast, I couldn't really see what was going on. I think Sonic just fell and died, but I'm not sure. A polar bear might've killed him; all I know is that he died. Why? Because he was going so fast, his flesh tore from his very body, or it just made it impossible for me to react when there was a jump. That said, Sonic Advance 2 was basically just a memory game; you hold right, memorize where all the pits are, and jump them when passing by. That's really all there is to it. You just have to do this in blazing speed, that's all. It's like trying to brush your teeth while riding a horse over a cliff. Such a simple task, yet it becomes so difficult... tsk, tsk. There I go again, rambling and ranting into a blinding rage.

Many of you must be curious (probably not, but I like to humor myself into thinking so) about what's happening with the comic. I'll say the truth; interest has suddenly dropped. Either way, I wasn't really getting much done. I might ask several professional web comic authors for advice, or I may just do it all on my own. If you really would like to know exactly what I accomplished, I'll tell you: pretty much nothing. I'm just sketching up several rough designs of characters I would like to create, and coming up with names for them. That's pretty much it. At least I have a plot and story set up, so I'm not too far off. Other than that, there is no other info I can release about the comic. I would like to think that the plot I've thought up is pretty unique, and so are the names for some of the characters. If I wrote all that down here, people might steal it. We don't want that to happen, now would we? I certainly don't.

Have I mentioned this before? Oh well, I'll just mention it anyway; I'm really excited about Viewtiful Joe. It looks very interesting. F-Zero GX is, surprisingly, going to be the first F-Zero game I actually purchase. I was never interested in said games, and didn't even know much about them until several years ago, when I played Super Smash Bros. for N64. I then hunted down the SNES ROM, which had decent music. Sadly, Mario Kart for the same system was way better, I feel. The F-Zero for the other systems look really good, though. I briefly played the one for N64, and I loved the few seconds I had with it. I also played the one for GBA a little, and frankly, I don't remember much of it. Although something tells me it was decent. Now all of these were ROMs, mind you, since I missed out on most of them when they were new.

This time around, F-Zero GX seriously looks good. Many people claim that it has techno music, which I like. Techno is really the only type of music I could never really say I absolutely hated... from the U.S., anyway. I like all Japanese music, mind you. Top this off with the fact that F-Zero GX has good techno music, and I'm already pulled in by a strong 40%. The graphics look simply astounding. Of course, it could just be the fact that I don't play next gen games often, and when I do, they graphically aren't so great. Nonetheless, the graphics pull me in an additional 20%. Then the fact that the entire F-Zero franchise is made by Nintendo pulls me in by 10%, as well. This being a joint project by Sega is also worth at least another 10%. That's a healthy 80% right there. I'm not too fond of racing games, but it looks interesting, so that might be worth a 5%. That may change when I actually play it. If it's anything like the N64 version, I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

Then there's SoulCalibur. I've never heard of nor played the first one for Dreamcast (don't blame me for being stuck in the past; Dreamcast pretty much died inside a locked room, and not many knew of its rise or death, and not many cared) but from what I'm hearing of the general human being public, it's a pretty good fighter. Even Gabe from Penny Arcade likes it.

I have serious issues with that one line, though: "it's a fighter." I despised most of the old school fighters. After that, I never returned to the genre. Pressing up, up, up, down, down, left, right, while jumping off of a tall building and juggling is way too much for me. Honestly, I could never pull off a single move. And when I did, it was a miracle. The only fighter I ever liked was Smash Bros., both the one on N64 and GameCube. Obviously, I like the GameCube version better, since it's basically an upgrade with very little changed. See, in my mind, Smash Bros. was made with the intention of "if you don't usually like fighting games, then this is the only one for you!" Basically, it was made for people who do not like the usual stuff in fighting games.

For one, the battles are too short in standard fighters; the life bar is down to zero in only a few kicks and punches. Some fighting games allow you to make the life bar bigger, but you still end up killing people too fast, or dying too fast. Battles don't really last long. Then there is the fact that, to actually be able to compete with whoever you're fighting, you have to pull off these insane moves by pressing a combination of buttons in light speed, which seems utterly impossible. I mean, has anyone actually done any of these moves in the heat of battle?! It sucks.

There's something that most fighting games have, called "bouts," I think. It's like lives, basically. You kill the opponent once so quickly, that it only makes sense to make the game play slightly longer by killing them again even faster. Or you could replace "killing" with "dying," it's the same thing. What I don't like about this is: they start the entire battle over, with the characters doing their taunt or whatever. That's just stupid. It breaks up the tense mood you had while fighting. Why can't they just respawn quickly and continue?

Last but not least, there's way too much focus on two people fighting. I mean, it's just a flat, boring stage, with two people fist fighting. That doesn't excite me in the least. They sometimes throw the random effect of items, like in Smash Bros., but none of the items are really that great. You can't jump. You can't explore your scenery. I think it's fun to be able to walk, jump, and fumble around the stages you fight in. To me, that enhances the battles greatly. If you haven't already noticed, I pretty much mentioned every single thing that I like about Smash Bros., which is the opposite of most fighting games.

I might look into this SoulCalibur game more closely, and see if it will be one of the few fighting games I actually purchase. I'm sure it'll take you quite a while to read all this, so good luck! If you're already done, here's a cookie. Eat it and then do your dishes. It does this world justice.

For great justice! Main screen turn on!! All your base are belong to us!!!

< Newer Posts | Older Posts >