Thursday, August 30, 2012

SC On Saint (Wii)

Dragonball has nothing on this shit!

 It's the first sentence of this blog and I've already resorted to crappy sarcastic Dragonball remarks.  That is what this game has reduced me to.

Okay, let's get a grip for a moment.

Saint is a game developed by a Japanese company that's been around since 1993, and published by an American company that's been around since 1999.  That sounds encouraging since they've been around so long, right?  Well the former is Starfish, a company known mostly for fishing games and children's storybook games, and the latter is UFO Interactive, which has published such illustrious titles as several Chuck E. Cheese games and the Smart Boys'/Smart Girl's/Smart Kid's series.  So of course these two should team up and help bring the world a side-scrolling shooter right?

Wait, what?

Co-produced by random users!

Well, this will be a short blog entry.
I might as well say that I'm not that pissed off about this game existing.  It's a budget title, namely a budget title that not even GameStop could justify charging $10 or more for and one that I held off on writing about for several months.  As such I have forgotten most of what I saw when I played it.

Most, but not all.

Saint is about the mythos of the monkey king (which I've never read about, or cared to) and as such I can't properly judge the story.  You play as Goku flying somewhere on the back of some transforming girl-bird-thing to... defeat evil I guess?  It's told exclusively in oddly-drawn illustrations between every level with flavor text of who says what.  Bam.  Story section done.

Controls, meh.  They work.  That's the highest compliment I can possibly give.  No motion controls or anything, just the usual sideways control scheme.  They're functional.  Controls section done.

Graphics?  It looks like a flash game from 2006.  Paying for this is like paying for air.  Damn, if I hadn't been so long-winded at the start this might be half as long.

Sound?  It sounds like a generic SNES/PSX-era shooter.  Except it's a Wii game.  From 2009.  And the death sound is a cartoonish BOING sound effect. 

Gameplay?  Oh... this will take a bit.

Let's get physical!  Physical!

 Like I said, this is a shooter.  A fairly basic one at that.  However, it's the kind of shooter that, seemingly at random, flirts with being bullet hell-esque.  You have a health bar, but on difficulties higher than Easy it hardly seems to matter.

You can pick up various power-ups to upgrade your weapon, whatever the hell it is, and hit checkpoints at which you can select special weapons to fire along with your main... gun?  Staff?  Whatever.  I just kept choosing the one that caused long strings of "bullets" to shoot across the screen because, well, it worked.  There's also one power-up that causes a huge spinning... thing to fly across the screen.  It's supposed to be one of if not the strongest, but there's a huge delay on it that doesn't make it seem worth picking up.

In addition to the usual sidescrolling sequences there are also certain stages, usually right before a boss, where the perspective changes and you're behind Goku, flying to wherever the boss fight is.

Some of you already know what I'm going to say, but screw it.

Why is it that after all these years developers still think that having this perspective when you're trying to shoot enemies without getting shot yourself is a good idea?  Actually, it's worse here as your shots always fire toward the center of the screen, just at slight angles.  This makes it a pain in the ass to hit jsut about anything that comes flying at Goku in Mode 7-like glory as they all fire at the same time (usually).  Add in bullets that come seemingly out of nowhere and explode and these sequences can eat up lives.  Fast.

The worst part of it though is that dying clears out all your power-ups.  Yup, this game shares one of the worst aspects of Silver Surfer for the NES.

Then again, sometimes the AI, even on Easy, does something like this:

It's like fighting Professor Xavier without his mutant powers.

I think we're done here.  Even at $5 this game seemed like kind of a waste.  But hey, at least I'm not one of the people who paid full-price for this.

That's what I keep telling myself to make it not seem so bad.