Quickie Review: Mega Man Maverick Hunter X

This was seriously the only cover I could find that wasn't watermarked.

As you probably already know, Mega Man Maverick Hunter X (referred to as MM:MH from now on) is a remake of the original Mega Man X for the Super Nintendo.  However, much like Mega Man Powered Up was, is much more than a simple port to the PSP.  This isn’t really a short ‘quickie review’, but hey, it’s not really a full-on review, either.  Regardless, let’s get started on the comparing/contrasting.

When you first boot up the game, the only thing that’s available to you is ‘X Mode’, which would obviously let you play through the game as X.  The game overall plays much like the original: You run through the eight Maverick stages, finding power-ups and stealing the bosses’ weapons, then you blast through Sigma’s palace to take on the main baddie himself.  The levels are overall unchanged, though a few things are moved around, most notable of which being the locations of X’s armor upgrades.  In addition, some of the bosses get some new tactics in this game, which can make them easier or harder (in my opinion, mostly easier).  Overall, the game is easier than the original (at least, it was on Normal Mode… that may not be the case on Hard), which can be good for Mega Man newcomers, but not so much for veterans of the series.

Moving on, though, when you beat X Mode, you get two things: An anime short and Vile Mode.  Let’s touch on the movie real quick… it’s about twenty minutes long, and it explains some of the events before the first game.  It’s interesting if you’re interested in the actual story of the series, and it surprisingly doesn’t spoil any plot points in other games.  Of course, if you don’t care about the story, then you probably won’t find much good in the anime.

However, the most interesting part about MM:MH is the new Vile Mode.  Vile plays completely differently from X, featuring the ability to use three different kinds of weapons at once.  He also gets a bunch of new weapons every time you beat a Maverick, so he gets to be really customizable.  However, Vile’s mode is also a lot harder because of this:  You’re gonna have to find new strategies for the bosses.  Thankfully, Capcom did a good job tweaking the levels so that the enemies sets and other things are better suited for Vile’s playing style.  What that basically means is that the difficulty doesn’t stem from cheap deaths or an enemy that’s hard for Vile to hit.  It’s also interesting to note that Vile’s story stays pretty canonical to the original story (or X’s, if you will).

MM:MH is a pretty good remake.  It offers stuff for both the newbie and the old veteran, and the price I paid for it ($15) was worth it.  Of course, this is a game where mileage will vary, and you can see why by everything above.

Quickie Review – Castlevania: Harmony of Despair

[Author’s Note: Quickie Reviews aren’t written like my normal reviews… well, that’s because they’re quickies!  They’re easy for me to write, and easy for you to read.]

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (HD for short) is a total fan service game.  If you don’t like Castlevania, you will not like this game.

That being said, though, it’s really not like the ‘Metroid-vania’ games that HD pulls their characters from.  It’s essentially a Castlevania MMO, since you can get online with up to six people, fun through six stages of throwbacks mainly from the DS games, and eventually grind for those rare drops from Dracula on Hard mode for hours on end.  So… maybe if you are a Castlevania fan, if farming and grinding isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you may not like this either.

Thankfully, each of the five characters has something unique to offer to the game, and different ways of obtaining their skills.  Alucard’s the basic weapons guy, with a few ‘meh’ spells and a lot of awesome equipment.  Soma obtains souls, and getting them is random from the enemies killed.  Jonathon uses subweapons, which you level up though CONSTANT TEDIOUS usage (it sucks).  Charlotte has spells you absorb from enemies.  And Shanoa… oh, hell, I don’t know what she does.  I never used her.  Point is, everyone’s different, and it adds a bit of variety to the gameplay for when you’ve seen that same stage for the hundredth time.

It’s certainly not for everyone, but it’s also certainly not a bad game.  The online community is still active, especially with the new DLC that came out (though it’s unlikely I’ll pay 400 MS point for only one new map… milk it more, Konami?), so you won’t be running dry on teammates.  One thing, though, is that you shouldn’t try the demo… it doesn’t really capture what the game’s about.  Watch some videos instead.

Oh yeah… and be thankful (or unthankful?) it wasn’t like this:

Quickie Review – Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis)

Note: Quickie Reviews are done in a different format than my normal reviews.  Why?  So they’re quick, for both me to write and you to read.

Oh, good old Sonic the Hedgehog, with his cool ‘tude, his super speed, and his fake ‘Blast Processing’.  Mario’s rival back in the days of the Genesis, Sonic the Hedgehog was the blue animal’s debut.  But that was over ten years ago… does the first Sonic game stand the test of time…?

Well, no.  Let’s start with the lack of the speed dash: It might be one of Sonic’s signature moves, but it wasn’t introduced until the  second game.  While you could still roll by pressing down while running, but you can’t start a spin dash from a standing position.  It may not seem like much, until you’re in a situation that you’ll really want it… maybe when you lose your speed going up-hill, for example?  It only becomes a real problem rarely, but after you’ve played another game of the series, it’s hard to get on without the spin dash.

Also, it seems like most of the stages weren’t really built for Sonic’s speed.  When I say this, the second Zone pops into my mind.  All the things blocking your path, trying to crush you… the ‘careful’ platforming (at least for a Sonic game), and so on… it really ruins what the game’s all about, which is speed.  Of course, there are some stages where you can run and enjoy yourself, but be careful… unless you memorized the stage layout, there’s likely to be an enemy there as soon as you feel safe.

Now, this might sound like a bash-fest, but the game is still fun.  The stages are still decent, and the music is great.  It has its flaws, but it’s still worth a playthrough, as long as you understand that it’s just not as good as the later Genesis games.

Eh, I think that’s it, I don’t have much else to say.  See, that’s why they’re Quickie Reviews!

Quickie Review: Fatal Labyrinth

Note: Quickie Reviews aren’t done in the same format as my other reviews.  Why?  Because they’re supposed to be quick, for both me to write and you to read.

I recently beat Fatal Labyrinth on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection.  They’re not much I can say about this game, really.  It’s a standard rouge-like game (if you don’t quite know what a rouge-like is, wikipedia is sure to help), though different from most is that it has some decent graphics.  Nothing to be amazed with, to be sure, but compared to most rouge-likes in genreal, not bad.

Oh yeah, a quick overview of the story: Some dragon took the Holy Goblet and now you gotta fight through the Fatal Labyrinth, with nothing but a knife and the clothes on your back.  Seriously, you could have at least asked the damn guards for a better weapon or something.  Oh well…

Anyway, like most rouge-likes, you have to find EVERYTHING you need on the ground, from weapons and armor, to potions and food.  Who’d really drink potions and eat food just sitting around on the ground of a dangerous dungeon is my guess, but you’d better do it here, or you won’t last long, since our hero forgot to pack lunch.  Oh but don’t eat TOO much, or else…

Of course… you’ll get used to dying at lot in this game.  Maybe I’m just really bad at rouge-likes, or I just have miserable luck, but I died A LOT… but one thing made me feel better about dying.  I mentioned before that my memorial service changed as I went through the game, but as opposed to my original thoughts (farther I got, better memorial), getting a better grave was determined solely on how much money I had.  Kinda depressing… had I died on the 30th floor with no gold, I’d still only get a rock as a grave…

There are 30 floors in the game, and after you getting through them all, you’ll fight the only boss, the evil dragon… and the bastard likes to make you dance.  I won’t spoil the rest, though I doubt anyone else will really want to play this game.  It’s not that it’s a BAD game, it’s just… there’s so many other games you can play, especially since I only played this because it was on the Genesis collection.

Guess that sums it up about Fatal Labyrinth.  A bit disorganized, yes, but still understandable.  In the end, I would have never bought this for the Genesis, but since it came in the Genesis Collection, I guess it’s not bad.  If you’re in the mood for a rouge-like, it’s worth a try.