Super Smash Bros. Brawl

I got Super Smash Bros. Brawl for my birthday a year ago.  I played the game for a bit before discarding it for another year (and then some).  This is because Steve and Dustin had already unlocked all the characters/stages and I had no desire to do so myself.  I tried to get their data copied to my Wii’s hard drive but Nintendo thought that was a stupid idea (data can not be transfered or some bs).  Robbed of $60 and really pissed off, I buried the game…until a recent staycation and I decided to undertake the grueling task unlock the characters/stages.

It’s taken 10+ hours (and I still need to play as Kirby and Donkey Kong 20 times…each…to unlock the last two stages) but whatever.

Anyway, the easiest way to unlock all the characters was to trek through Subspace Emissary.  SE is a more fleshed-out Adventure mode that was introduced in Melee.  It has some partial platforming elements with a few fights thrown in.  What’s different this time is that there’s an attempt of a story here.  The attempt fails but hey, points for trying.  The plot was too Metal Gear Solid-esque for my tastes, with the constant manipulation involving the villains.  Turns out an army of ROBots is being manipulated by the trio of evil (Bowser, King Dedede and Ganondorf), and that trio is being manipulated by Master Hand…who is being manipulated by some weirdo named Tabuu.  If reading that last sentence was stupid, imagine watching it unfold for 8 hours.

Instead of some weird thing going on with hands and things from other dimensions, go with something more simple.  Have Ganondorf plot world domination and make alliances with other villains (Bowser, King Dedede, Wolf).  From this alliance, the villians attempt to conquer the Nintendoworld!  Throw in Meta Knight and his ship and the villains would have a very mobile fortress.  The heroes will unite against the evil guys…and are helped by the treachery of the various villians (evil never tends to work as a team).  Alternatively, Dedede could be swapped with Ganondorf, because it’s reasonable the King of Dream Land would want to expand his influence into the realm of the waking.  All the worlds could be connected through dreams and the ending could be just that…all just a dream.  Very vague outlines but I wasn’t paid to storyline the game, much less throw around ideas.  That said, with the proper motivation (money), a better story would have been written.

That’s my major annoyance with the game.  Other minor nitpicks include lack of quality stages, crap online multiplayer, having some music appear randomly instead of being unlocked (I really want the Corneria theme for one of the Star Fox stages but it’s yet to appear) and the emphasis on new-age Pokemon.  Also, I don’t get why certain characters were changed or left out.  Why replace Mewtwo with Lucario?  Were Toon Link, Lucas and Wolf really necessary?  What’s the point of Mario having FLUDD if it does no damage?

One praise that was about to be heaped on Brawl were additions/tweaks to the gameplay.  New characters like Olimar, Meta Knight, Wario, King Dedede, Snake and Sonic are how new characters should be implemented.  One of the problems with Melee was that while the roster of characters was impressive, most of the new additions were clones of pre-existing ones (Ganondorf-Captain Falcon, Falco-Fox, Young Link-Link, Dr. Mario-Mario, Pichu-Pikachu, etc.).  Brawl still suffers from this problem, but to a lesser extent (Wolf-Fox/Falco, Lucas-Ness, even extends to items as the Golden Hammer isn’t different from the regular one).

Brawl is weird.  It’s the best game of the trio but it hasn’t held my interest like the first two (although
, I can not go back to playing either of the previous titles, thanks to all the new additions).  Perhaps it’s because I’ve overplayed the hell out of the previous games and Brawl isn’t exactly different.  Sure, there’s new characters/items/stages/etc., some of which change the gameplay, but overall, there’s a sense of “been there, done that.”  Overall, it’s a very good game but it won’t set the world on fire.  8.6 out of 10.

Mei Ling, Samus took her clothes off!

Who Would Survive Resident Evil

Next to the voting poll, the top 10 lists are a reason GameFAQs is a daily stop.  Some lists are rather generic (top 10 SNES games, for instance), while others are a bit more creative.  Yesterday’s was a list of characters who would survive the Spencer Mansion from Resident Evil 1.  Obviously, these lists are subjective and based on opinion.  Still, some of those picks are rather…questionable.  Here’s the list…

10 – Pokemon Trainer (Pokemon)
9 – Regina (Dino Crisis)
8 – Frank West (Dead Rising)
7 – Kratos (God of War)
6 – Squall Leonhart (Final Fantasy VIII)
5 – Jinpachi Mishima (Tekken 5)
4 – Dante (Devil May Cry)
3 – Max Payne (Max Payne)
2 – Rikimaru (Tenchu:  Stealth Assassin)
1 – Raziel (Soul Reaver)

While the logic is listed for each pick, it’s still an odd list.  A couple of people need to be at full power (Pokemon Trainer needs level 99 Pokemon, Squall needs to be level 99…according to the list, anyway).  Even then, seeing a zombie (much less, one that’s munching on someone’s brain) will take a toll on one’s sanity.  Despite having powerful creatures as his command, keep in mind the Pokemon Trainer is still a kid/young adult.

I’d replace the following:  Pokemon Trainer and Squall Leonhart (does all his fighting in psuedo turn-based style).  The Pokemon Trainer is only a kid who would become too scared to throw a Pokeball (or even run away) after seeing a zombie devour Kenneth’s brain.  Also, the closest the Pokemon Trainer has come to fighting undead is facing off against ghost Pokemon so (s)he wouldn’t fare too well in the mansion.  Squall is also replaced because he fights in a psuedo turn-based style.  Zombies (and bosses) would get in numerous free hits as he cast magic (which, for the good spells, requires a several minute-long animation to watch).  Of course, he could resort to his gunblade but here’s another question, why is he being singled out?  By the logic applied to Squall, any Final Fantasy character could survive the Resident Evil mansion.  If he’s on the list, why aren’t the others?

Of course, you can add these two back in but consider these two characters:  Master Chief and Link.  Master Chief has fought the Flood (zombie-ish creatures) so he wouldn’t wig out like a 10 year old at the sight of someone’s brains being devoured.  Chief would cruise through the mansion similar to how Frank West would, only he’s a super-soldier.  West has dealt with mobs of zombies and so has the Chief.  Master Chief also has rechargeable energy shields and thick armor that zombie teeth would have trouble penetrating.  The only problems with Master Chief would be his limited carrying capacity (people bitch about Chris Redfield’s capacity, imagine playing as a guy who could only hold two guns at a time) and the limited ammo inside the mansion.  Still, even with sparse ammo, Chief could just melee all the zombies’ heads off and save the bullets for the bosses.

Link would also be a good pick for survivng the mansion, especially the incarnations that have fought Redeads/Gibdos (and their equivalents).  Bearing the Triforce of Courage, Link wouldn’t be afraid to fight zombies, giant snakes, wasps, mutant dogs and whatever the hell else is in the mansion.  Unlike some on this list, Link would also fare well solving the mansion’s insanely stupid puzzles.  He also has no limitation for carrying, but only can use two-three items/weapons at a time.  Of course, Link has only used medieval weaponry but a sword will cut through most anything.  Tyrant might be a problem but Link has also shown he has weapon proficiency in everything.  In some games, he’s able to pick up and use a bow & arrow (found in a dungeon, mind you) flawlessly…despite never training with the weapon.  It’s safe to say Link’d be a quick learner and, hell, his fairy (or whatever) companion could help him L-target (or Z-target, for N64 Zelda fans) the head of a zombie…

Of course, playing Resident Evil as either character would be fun…but not as awesome as the Left 4 Dead people.

Pills here!

Why Educate When You Can Indoctrinate?

I occasionally get e-mails from an English college indoctrinator.  I was in his class for a single day a few semesters ago before dropping his class because it sucked and was too early to get up for.  Each semester since, I’ve waved back and forth because I needed additional English credits to get my associate’s degree (and, unfortunately, he teaches the only online section of the class).  So I’ve added his class each time and dropped it every time.  As a result, I keep getting e-mails from him.  They are nothing annoying, just reminders of tests coming up and such.

Nothing annoying…until yesterday.  I get an e-mail telling his students to forget worrying about homework and start worrying about global warming instead.  A blatant political statement and it’s something that’s always bugged me about college.  Teachers get off on espousing their rhetoric and if they are disagreed with, teachers have no problem failing kids.  The good thing about Blue Ridge is that it’s possible (though bit of a hassle) to avoid these types.  EMU, to my knowledge, does not allow kids to swap out of classes.

Oh, and the problem with global warming (aside from the media making a mountain out of a molehill on the issue) is that the scientific community is not leading the charge.  Y’know, the people who actually study climate change and know what they are talking about (not to mention that there is too much diversity among these same people, i.e. no one agrees that man is responsible for global warming).  No, the people rallying about global warming/climate change are politicians like Al Gore.  He doesn’t really care that we’re killing the planet, only that he has a fear-mongering, convenient excuse to exercise his political agenda.  Also, if he really believed in man-made global warming, he would practice what he preached.  Instead, Gore’s a typical “do as I say, not as I do” liberal whose house consumes much more power than the average home.  Sure, Gore’s no average Joe but as someone who said “our ability to live is at stake,” shouldn’t he not be using twelve times the power of an ordinary citizen?

Rocket engines burning fuel so fast
Up into the night sky they blast
Through the universe the engines whine
Could it be the end of man and time?
Back on Earth the flame of life burns low
Everywhere is misery and woe
Pollution kills the air, the land and sea
Man prepares to meet his destiny

A Musing on Dead Things

No, not people.  I just heard the news that Geocities (or, if you prefer, Geoshitty or Geoshibby) is shutting down in the fall.  It got me thinking of all the things that have died/stopped being a fad since I started abusing the Internet back in 2002.  The major ones that came to mind were AOL, instant messaging (at least via computer) and Myspace.  Xanga could be on that list but that’d be viewed on a more personal level.  That meaning, people still use the site (check out its Alexa ranking sometime), just no one I know.

AOL was the Internet provider giant back in 2002.  Chat rooms had almost a million people total and everyone had it.  Two years later, cable/broadband was more affordable and AOL was a shell of its former self.  It was weird seeing the total number of people in chat rooms barely topping a hundred thousand.  There’s not much to miss about AOL; mainly the dial-up connection and horrible customer service.  A lot of its best qualities could also be downloaded for free (AIM).  I will say I miss creating a chat room, being the moderater (or whatever, I forget the technical term but remember that you had a lightning bolt next to your name) and abusing the power to eject everyone from the room.

Originally, I was going to list AIM amongst the dead fads but instant messaging (in general) is a better term.  Gone are the days of sitting at a computer for hours on end, messaging people whilst web-browsing.  Now, people just use their phones for everything.  I remember giving up AIM for a few months, returning and finding out that out of 70 or so friends, only about 4 of them were still actively using it.  AIM is being singled out because it’s the most popular (and one I used) but any program will do…from Yahoo’s messaging to that one Microsoft program (never used it but remember a few who did…Windows Messenger or something).

Myspace, while not quite dead, is pretty much a ghost town.  It seems that as quickly as Myspace became a popular fad, it died out just as fast.  Three years ago, every high school kid had an account.  Now, people still use it but there’s not much Myspace can do that Facebook (or, God help us all, Twitter) can do better.  It might be popular for music but as social-networking, it’s safe to say Myspace is a ghost town.

Now, add Geocities to the list.  I almost decided on a Geocities site but the bandwidth limit was a major turn-off.  Also, the only site I cared about was revamped.  It had a list of Lord of the Rings role-playing characters, some of whom I was going to incorporate into D&D campaigns a few years ago.  I was looking for the site one day a few years ago and (eventually) found it, but all it had was pictures of Mega Man X.  Farewell, Geocities…all those crappy websites that no one visited will be missed dearly.  Tripod, Angelfire, you’re next!

Oh, come on!  You’re gonna kill me because I had fake sex on graph paper with a girl who barely spoke to you in real life?

Transformers 2

With unemployment about to hit double digits and all this talk about economic woe, one would think we’re in the midst of a recession.  However, one look at Transformers 2’s box office take dispels that theory.  If we were really in a recession, would movies be making $300 million domestically (and over $600 million worldwide)?  It’s understandable that people go to the movies for escapist entertainment, to get away from the dreary real world, but seriously?  $300 million?  At least it didn’t make more money than The Dark Knight, a movie that had some substance to go along with its action.

Now, to be fair, there’s a plot somewhere under the smoke of Transformers 2 (maybe).  The problem is no one is going to give a shit about it.  All the advertising centers around the aforementioned kabooms and Megan Fox’s cutoffs.  This short rant isn’t to say these types of movies suck, only to express disbelief that these all-action flicks can make so much money.  Hell, if Transformers can make such a great amount of cash, then I officially call dibs on making the Bad Dudes or Fighting Force movie.

Oh, and here’s a statement that will be considered “heresy” among mankind but Megan Fox is not that hot.  Her tattoos are ick and poorly placed.  Her face is too f’ugly and is only passable when her only quality (her body) is emphasized.  Her personality also reveals her to be a complete bitch and despite being an actor, she doesn’t do a whole lot of acting.  Her taste in men could also be nitpicked (her taste in women is much better) but regardless, all her flaws are excused because she’s “hot.”

Gentlemen, the American wedding is a dark and fearful sham.  The event itself is designed to incite anger and drain loved ones of patience, support and money.  Most marriages fail miserably within two years; others end in murder-suicides, and a small percentage of them end with what we like to call ‘liveable hatred.’

Rock Band

Last year’s Rehoboth trip saw Steve buying Guitar Hero III for the Wii.  I gave him a lot of hell for this choice because Rock Band was also on the shelf.  The problem with him buying Guitar Hero over the alternative is because the game is a solely single-player affair.  While it is impressive to watch someone play songs on hard/expert, it’s not nearly as fun as co-op.  On the other hand, Rock Band would have let three people play (and I would have chipped in extra money to get a second guitar) and we’d all have had fun.

For a year, this game has been on the top of my list but the high price made the purchase difficult (I could understand why Steve would buy the cheaper Guitar Hero).  After taking a lesson from the federal government (if they can spend all their money, why can’t I?), I bought Rock Band 2.  A real guitar could have bought for the same price but hey, it was worth it.  I also bought Rock Band 1, payed $5 to import the songs (and another $5 for the Black Sabbath pack) and was able to take it back to the store.  At least I was able to get some money back…

Avoiding the long review of a game that has been out for several months, I’d give it a 9.3 out of 10.  The only things I really dislike about Rock Band is that hammer-ons are harder to pull off (the Guitar Hero fretboard looks a lot better than Rock Band’s) and there’s a ton of shit happening on the screen.  By the latter, I mean the constant flashing yellow whenever you hit a string of overdrive notes…or if you get a bass groove and the fretboard turns blue.  Activiating overdrive gives the screen a yellow tint.  It’s a bit of a mess.  However, speaking of overdrive, I do like the overdrive meter and how it’s easier to read than Guitar Hero’s star power.

Rock Band is easier than Guitar Hero but it’s better that way.  The point of playing games is to have fun.  Challenge factors into that fun but if the difficulty is too hard, then no one is entertained.  This isn’t to say Rock Band is a total cakewalk, as songs like Battery can prove.

The drum trainer is a bit of fun too.  I’ll never play drums in Rock Band, much less in real life, but it is satisfying to freestyle.  The instruments haven’t broken yet (although I’ve only played with a full band one night) but I am ever paranoid about the possibility.

I’ll fuck up your next girlfriend if she breaks your heart