Friday, September 12, 2014

SC on Mighty Gunvolt (3DS)

The gun is good.  The volt is evil.
 
Well, I wasn't expecting this (blog entry) to be a thing. Mighty Gunvolt, as the name suggests, is a title from Inti Creates, also known as "those people working on Mighty No. 9."  While it won't be commercially available by itself until December, it's being given away for free to two groups of people:

1. People who buy the recently-released Azure Striker Gunvolt, and
2. People who backed Mighty No. 9's Kickstarter.

Mighty Gunvolt plays, sounds and looks like the retro Mega Man games, so I'll try and make clear where it's different.  For example, the translation job on the game is so shoddy I can't tell what's going on.  Take this excerpt from the opening crawl:

The other time, the other place: experiments on humans started by massive media group "Sumeragi" to audition for next "muse" idol.  their magic hand even reached female schools.  Female students vanished, and no new couples formed.  Love was in danger.
 
"Gunvolt," it's the name who we call the only one to fight them.  It's no accident he was involved in the troubles.  Together with angel "Ekoro" and robot "Beck" he fights to free successivefuly occupied major city facilities.

Mission: Successivefuly.
 
As the text suggests, there are three different characters to play as which affect the order of the stages slightly.  You can't switch characters as the game goes on, but the game's only five levels long so whatever.

Each character has different abilities that affect how you might approach certain parts of each stage.  Gunvolt can double jump and has a mid-range pillar of sparks he can shoot which can be moved slightly up and down.  Ekoro can hover (think Toadstool in Mario Bros. 2) and charm enemies to fly with her and shoot other enemies, as well as launch them into other enemies.  Beck has a dash attack, which he can also use to enter narrow passages.

There honestly isn't much to say about the levels as they're all pretty basic jump-and-shoot sidescrolling platforming.  As someone who doesn't play a lot of Mega Man I had no problem reaching and beating the end of the game in a single playthrough, much less the two other playthroughs I did afterward.  The one sticking point is being able to defeat the bosses at each level, which comes down to the old newbie Mega Man strategy of sacrificing a life to see what their attack patterns are like.  The bosses do tend to throw out an extra attack when they're low on health, but by then it's too late for them.
 
The game doesn't run smoothly though, save for when you're playing as Ekoro and try to grab onto a ladder while holding a charge shot; you can get stuck to the ladder doing this.
 
Overall I'm glad this was just a free game, and allegedly it won't cost very much when it does release by itself.  It's a fun diversion for a half-hour or so but I can't see myself playing it anymore beyond now.

Anyway, once you complete the game you'll see the following text:

In order to prevent a "muse" auditions, "Copen" infiltrated Sumeragi group, to rescue "muse".  But his plans ware shattered by "Zonda" easily defeated him.  "Zonda" would use her, to fill the world with ultimate love.  But "Zonda" was a failure.
 
What was the true planning of "Zonda?"  With his death, no one may never know.  The first place it is unknown if anything really existed in that world was real.  So, perhaps all "Zonda" has showed may have ben illusion...

Who the fuck is Ben Illusion?

MIGHTY GUN REX

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

SC On Sega Superstars Tennis (Wii)

In the background: characters who were collecting dust before this game.
 
 This is going to be relatively quick as I didn't have much patience to play beyond what the game initially offered.  As such, don't view this as anything more than an extended impression of sorts.

That being said, I found Mario Tennis on the N64 more enjoyable.

Sega Superstars Tennis doesn't have much to offer in terms of stuff to do.  You can experiment with different characters as there is a decent roster of 16 characters (though 5 of them, almost 1/3 of the roster are Sonic characters).  There are different types of characters with different focuses such as ballspin, speed, power, control, and all around.  The only ones that seemed to make any major difference in how I played were speed and power. 
 
Each character is also supposed to have a special ability that builds up over the course of a match which can cause the ball to take weird paths through the air and confuse the opponent, as well as having other effects such as the Rokkaku Police running onto the court for Beat's and Gum's specials. The thing is, the computer opponent is never fooled by the weird flight patterns, which make the ball take way more time to get across the court and reduces that would-be strategic move to little more than a novelty.

You can play a singles or a doubles tournament if you like, though at most you'll end up playing three matches and a "special" hidden stage against the Sonic villains before a rather lazy credit sequence plays.  Outside of adjusting the difficulty, that's it for this mode.
 
Yay?

I don't wanna work.  I wanna bang on this game all day.

The beef of the game, however, is in a mode called Planet Superstars.  The idea is to jump around different game worlds based on different Sega franchises and completing specific tasks according to the world you enter.  For example, the Puyo Pop Fever world involves completing a game of Puyo Pop by smacking tennis balls at grouped puyos of matching colors.  The House of the Dead "Curien Mansion" world involves hitting zombies with tennis balls as they shamble toward you and/or throw axes.  The Virtua Squad world turns the game into a gallery shooter where you try to take out targets before they "shoot" you.  Space Harrier world is basically Space Harrier... with tennis balls and without the ability to fly.

Those are all well and good except for two things.

One, some of these challenges really expose how strange some of the game's controls are.  Only in singles or doubles matches/tournaments can you pick the control scheme to use, of which there are three (one with the nunchuk, two without).  Most of the time it forces you to play with the Wiimote held like an NES controller, where performing drop shots or lobs involves mashing both buttons at the same time in a certain sequence.  Aiming these is also a chore as sometimes you need to hold a certain direction, then move to a diagonal direction while making the shot.  This is absolutely infuriating to do in places like the Chu Chu Rocket world, where you need to hit a specific tile, sometimes more than once, quickly to not fail the stage.  Thanks for taking the fun out of Chu Chu Rocket, Sega.

The second problem is the more glaring issue, though.  There is zero balance to these worlds.  The Sonic world has a total of 14 missions, easily the most in the game.  Super Monkey Ball and Jet Set Radio have 12.  Virtua Squad, Puyo Pop Fever, Chu Chu Rocket and Space Harrier have 10

Guess how many missions the Space Channel 5, Samba de Amigo, OutRun worlds each have?  Just two each.
 
NiGHTS isn't much better off with only three missions, though all of them got it better than Golden Axe and Alex Kidd which have just one goddamn mission each.  
 
 More like Lonely Axe, am I right?
 
Not only that, but many assets get reused between each world.  For example, Space Channel 5's court is used for the Chu Chu Rocket world, which really pissed me off because Space Channel 5's court legit screws with my eyes.  Because of the mix of dark colors and bright lines I would occasionally lose track of where the ball was or, for overhand smashes, have no idea where the ball was in the air and completely miss the shot.
 
Oh, and did I mention the game isn't the best programmed thing I've played recently?  In the time I spent playing doubles matches with this game, my character froze for no apparent reason on five separate occasions.
 
It's a good thing I didn't pay much for this game or I'd be more pissed off.  Until then I'll just continue to sulk about how there are no new Jet Set Radio/Golden Axe/Chu Chu Rocket/OutRun/House of the Dead games coming any time soon.
 
Although there is Hover: Revolt of Gamers being developed, so that's something.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

SGDQ 2014 Blog: Day 8 (The End Is Near)

The mood was still up, but you could tell some people were starting to get a little down that the marathon was so close to ending.  A lot of people would be heading home after the last part of the marathon, leaving about five hours between the time the marathon finished and checkout Sunday morning.  The parking lot thinned out quite a bit by Sunday afternoon.

On a lighter note though, I managed to catch the entire FF6 run, aside from a few minutes where I stepped out for a bathroom break.  MisterMV has the singing voice of an angel.  Essentia has the singing voice of a fallen angel, though I credit that more to the filter put over her voice.

Meanwhile, the bonus stream would get going later in the day Sunday with the most official of organization methods; paper and pen.  Bonus stream is a lot more laid back, so there's not a ton of pressure involved.  I volunteered a couple of games which might make it on at some point, though I'm trying to defer to anyone who signed up before me.

Until I get back, this will be the final entry in this series of blogs.  I had a great time at this year's SGDQ and hope that I can make it to future marathons as a runner, volunteer or otherwise.  I'm also not looking forward to the drive back because seriously, Kansas is terrible.  Thanks again to the folks at SpeedDemosArchive for organizing the event and letting me run a game during the marathon (with a donation incentive no less) and to LazerLong for letting me sit in on MadWorld.  Also thanks to |3ass|3oost for splitting a room for the duration of the marathon and then some.

And before I go, congratulations to JKB for winning that Mario Sunshine race.  Ohio was represented well this marathon.  Now to get back to putting together the next Five Dollar Gaming...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

SGDQ 2014 Blog: Day 7 (Viva Video Juegos)

Oh, of course.  Now that I don't actually need to be awake at some ungodly hour for my run, now I'm waking up at 5:00 in the afternoon.  Ah well, at least I'll get to see some of the Mario bloc and maybe get to the practice room when it's thinned out a bit.

I forgot to mention that at one point the previous night the stream window cut out for a bit, as in the computers used to run the stream were still going but the display was gone entirely.  Much to their credit, the guys running tech didn't panic and got the stream back to normal within a couple minutes.

I was stunned at how much money had been raised since I last checked the total: over $300,000.  When I went to sleep it was around $260,000.  It turns out they added some more donation incentives, including a race of Ocarina of Time between Cosmo and Skater.  Since then they added a couple other incentives and the donation total has been climbing at a rapid pace.  Someone donated saying they were going to snipe the Save/Kill the Animals bid war for Super Metroid, and to that guy all I can say is I hope you have very, very deep pockets.

Another event started at the convention center as SGDQ soldiered on.  I don't know what it is, but it seems to be some sort of Hispanic culture event.  I can hear lots of singing and music and people generally having a good time in the adjacent rooms.  At one point during the Mario World run a really loud air horn went off at that event, loud enough that it came through over the SGDQ stream.  I should mention that the microphones used for the marathon are generally good at not picking up background noise and people talking or moving around in the background, so having it come through on the stream gives you an idea of just how loud it was.

Meanwhile, my PB for Zombie Panic "Why the hell not try running it?" in Wonderland dropped again to 27:24.  Considering the first time I kept track of is almost 4 minutes slower, I'm quite happy with how things have gone so far.

And when I went to sleep, the marathon hit over $440,000.  I can't wait to see what the final rally of donations during FF6 looks like.

Friday, June 27, 2014

SGDQ 2014 Blog: Day 6 (Milestones)

Usually when I sit in the marathon room to watch I sit near the back, close to where the registration table is set up.  It's pretty cool to see and hear how excited some people, including and especially people who aren't necessarily runners themselves, are about being able to attend.

I ended up pulling an all-nighter because there was no way in hell I was going to miss Metal Wolf Chaos cutscene%.  If you aren't familiar with the game, it's a Japan-only XBox game which is by far the most American game ever made.  I know you might be rolling your eyes at that, but so was my girlfriend until she watched the run, then later called me to apologize for having her doubts.

At some point during the Castlevania III run the marathon hit the $250,000 mark.  Incredible.  That's about what they raised at last year's SGDQ and this year they still have a few more days to go.  Here's hoping the build-up for the end of the FF6 run is as dramatic as the Chrono Trigger run was at AGDQ 2014.

Again, I spent some time working on Battle Clash in the practice area.  I'm at the point where every single shot counts now, as I've lowered my personal best time by over a minute since being here.  Well, that and I'm at the mercy of how some of the bosses path around because my co-pilot likes to wobble drunkenly back and forth on some of them.  I'm definitely aiming for the bonus stream with this one.

And on a side note, FUCK YEAH USA!  I mean that for both the World Cup and Metal Wolf Chaos.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

SGDQ 2014 Blog: Day 5 (Smash and Singing in Denver)

I forgot to mention this before and it seems pretty minor, but a quick note about BlueGlass.  During the El Viento run there were a total of two people watching the projection of the stream, one of them being me.  BlueGlass came in from the other side of the room and was going to cross in front of the projector to get to another set of seats.  Rather than walk in front of the projection, he got down and sorta-crawled under the screen.  The guy went out of his way to not be a minor inconvenience to two random people for a quarter of a second, if that.

There was a Smash Bros. Melee tournament being held adjacent to the practice area, as well as a Project M tournament.  Against my better judgment I signed up for the Melee one, despite not playing Melee in years.  You can probably guess what happened next; I lost every single match, seeing as how several of the people who entered are hardcore competitive players of Smash.  I ended up driving the point home when I was asked about striking stages (or something like that, can't remember the exact term) and my response was 'What does that mean?'  The tournament was a $5 pay in, but it was all going to Doctors Without Borders and I just wanted to have a bit of fun so whatevs.

Despite being in the room to watch the entire thing, I'm still not sure what exactly happened during Cosmo's ZZT run.  I was just born early enough to have memories of playing some games similar to ZZT on my parents' IBM computer and always figured I didn't know what to do or what was going on because I was too young to get it.  Now I'm not so certain about that.

I was wondering why he was carrying around a guitar most of the week, but after hearing Striker's speedrunning song, I may have to ask if he'd want any royalties for doing a cover version.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

SGDQ 2014 Blog: Day 4 (It's Time)

I didn't wake up at 9:30 in the morning despite being awake until the sun came up.  Nope, I woke up at noon.  This whole "changing my body clock" thing isn't working very well.

I must say, I was happy to find that there was a Qdoba and a Subway nearby because having only burger places around (Wendy's, McDonalds, etc.) would have gotten old fast.  Even better though, today Qdoba catered lunch for SGDQ!  Burrito is love.  Burrito is life.

Somehow I managed to post improved times on almost every stage of Battle Clash as well as get a faster single-segment time that's below 14 minutes.  If I work up the nerve and find out how to do it, maybe I could try getting this on the bonus stream after the main marathon.

I also decided to start running Zombie Panic in Wonderland because... because.  I haven't gotten much planning done on it yet, but I did manage to figure out some ways to drop my time from a little over 40 minutes to a little over 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, I was still nervous as hell about the Ninjabread Man run.  I've played shows in a band and as a solo act before and done the YouTube thing for a while, but the audience for that was nothing like what the GDQ streams get.  I practiced until the game locked up trying to do the level skip and took that as a sign to stop.

Being on the couch for MadWorld did help calm my nerves a little bit, and for that I really owe LazerLong for letting me on it.  I was trying to keep track of the amount of swears in the game as part of the MadWorld Swear Jar, mostly relying on my knowledge of the game's music to count those so I could focus on the in-game commentary and goons.  In the end, over 250 swears were counted.  I hope that guy who said he'd match the swear jar has deep pockets!

For the Ninjabread Man run most people lost the fight against time and had to go to sleep.  Laz offered to stick around since he'd seen me practicing earlier and knew a bit about what I was trying to do.  Cool guy, even letting me use his Wii cables to make setup go faster.  Mike Uyama was also there, which made me even more nervous.  If the texts I got afterward from my friends were right, the twitch chat was on me for the fingerless gloves I was wearing.  To that all I can say is 'Twitch chat will be twitch chat.'  Well, that and 'My hands are really fucking cold, especially when the AC is cranked up to 11.'

The actual run went surprisingly well.  I missed the tutorial skip a few times and had to use the safe (read: slower) method of doing it, but the rest went rather well and I wound up with a time around 4 minutes 43 seconds, well under my "everything went wrong" estimate of 20:00.  Thanks again to everyone who donated for the one-handed incentive and the GDQ crew for deciding to take a chance on a rookie like me.

Also, I looked up the comments from the guys at RiverCityGamers who donated.  I swear, you likely won't see me streaming this game for a long, long time.  I have other terrible games to beat as fast as possible. :D

I stayed around for a couple more runs before my eyes were burning from being awake too long.  I did manage to catch Graviton destroying the first Bubsy game, though.  That takes me back to when I had the game as a kid, dying in nearly every conceivable way.