The 'Shroom:Issue 139/Critic Corner
It's the greatest holiday of the year, a time of ooky spooky ghosty ghoulies, creepy crawlies, tasteful goth and gloom designs, and loads of candy! In celebration, we've (mostly) brought you sections that somehow focus on Halloween to get you in the disembodied spirit spirit!
This month we welcome Doomhiker (talk) into the Critic Corner team, with his Virtual Console Reviews section! You can find it at the bottom of this page right by the poll. Speaking of, thank you again for making Half-Baked Reviews CC's Section of the Month! Please keep voting and spread your love to other peeps putting in a lot of work here, along with the other teams!
And finally, our annual Holiday issue is coming up in December, which will also serve as a Smash Bros. theme! If you would like to cater a section for any of the dozens of holidays and events going on throughout that month, or for anything SSB-related, please feel welcome to do so! ☃️🎁
Section of the Month
Could Have Been
Hello there! I am Alex95 and welcome back to Could Have Been! So, apparently I'm supposed to do something spooky this month. I guess that makes sense, it is October after all. But I already covered a spooky game four issues ago. Little too soon for another one, right? …Eh, whatever. Given there's another game in the aforementioned spooky game's series coming up, and we just got done playing a Killing Game based on these mansions on the Mario Boards (which I did not survive), now seems like the perfect time to go into the Luigi's Mansion sequel: Dark Moon! It's time to dive right in and take a look and what could have been.
When the game was first revealed at E3 2011, the game was first titled simply "Luigi's Mansion 2". It was given the subtitle of Dark Moon in North America and South Korea, but the title Luigi's Mansion 2 stuck around for other regions (or Luigi Mansion 2 in Japan). Between this early version and the final game, there are many noticeable differences. The heart meter was always shown on the top screen rather than the bottom, though the final game has it show on the top whenever Luigi takes damage. Luigi himself also went through some changes: he originally had a utility belt that held the Dual Scream and other items, reused voice clips from the first game, and when it came to being pixilated by the Pixelator, Luigi seems to have been perfectly content with it at first. Speaking of the Pixelator, it is internally named the "Pixelporter", a name that snuck its way into some broken dialogue during the Underground Expedition mission in Old Clockworks:
Gloomy Manor also seems to have had the rooms aligned differently, as the door leading to the Lobby lead to the Library and the Dining Room was where the Studio is. Luigi also had the Strobulb by the time he made it to the Garage, instead of just the Poltergust 5000. The Poltergust also acted a bit differently; when doing a power surge, the Button will show when it's time to press it on its own, rather than being accompanied by the power meter.
The second build of the game introduced us to the ghost dogs, the Polterpups. When they move around, they leave little ghost pawprints on the ground and walls, though that wasn't the case at first. And the scene where the Polterpup eats the key to the Haunted Towers, it isn't raining. Haunted Towers and Old Clockworks also had their positions switch, with Old Clockworks being the second mansion. Luigi also starts off the Gloomy Manor with the Poltergust 5000 already equipped. In the E3 2012 demo build, the Blue Toad seen in the Secret Mine was originally the Toad.
When Luigi's Mansion 2 was first revealed at E3 2011, a teaser artworkMedia:LuigiMansion2-LuigiKingBoo.png was revealed, showing King Boo and Luigi. In early 2013 (about two months from the official release date), an updated version of the artwork was released, showing a significantly rougher texture on both King Boo and Luigi. The texture used on this artwork was also used on all of the other artwork releases from that date and later.
What Could Have Been?
There isn't a lot here, really. Most of the concepts shown early on were actually used in the final game. Aside from the mansion layouts and order, which would've likely not made us feel any different, nothing really majorly changed from what I can find documented. And that's a good thing! It shows that the developers had a solid idea of the game from the start! We have some additional screenshots and bullets on our pre-release page and The Cutting Room Floor has some unused text and regional differences, so check those out!
Happy Halloween, everyone!
In honor of the best holiday modern society has ever churned out, I will be reviewing some Halloween junk!
Ghost Pepper Chex Mix
First thing I noticed was the smell, hickory bbq specifically. It didn’t have the usual hot or spicy smell to it. The contents look just like Traditional Chex Mix pieces that I guess just got hot dust dumped on them; those being the square pretzel, mini breadstick, rye chip, corn chex, and wheat chex, with a notable exclusion of the circle pretzel. For a first bite it definitely has a spicy capsaicin sting, but doesn’t really linger much, or make me sweat. For something advertised as “ghost pepper” it’s kinda pretty mild. But, much like one of those brownies your one cousin who missed the point of the Pickle Rick episode keeps trying to offer you during a family holiday together, the heat from Ghost Pepper Chex Mix suddenly kicks in after you’ve deluded yourself into thinking it’s not so bad and have stuffed your mouth with a solid handful. Perhaps this is a result of granular convection, a phenomenon wherein particulate matter behaves similarly to a fluid when shaken or vibrated, resulting in larger particles resting on top while smaller particles shimmy their way to the bottom; also aptly goes by the Brazil Nut effect. In the case of Chex Mix, this usually results in the chocolate candy pieces or peanuts all sinking to the bottom, forcing one to eat fistfuls of Chex just to get to them, and I suppose it’s no different in Ghost Pepper with all of the spicy dust becoming more concentrated the deeper into the bag one goes.
Now that I have reviewed a new flavor of Chex Mix, I can add it into my rating lexicon.
Explanation: It’s something that purports to be really exciting and specifically one thing, but just really collapses to merely a technicality. Yeah, it’s technically pretzel but it’s just so thin. Yeah, there’s something that resembles peanut butter inside but it’s mostly hollow. Ultimately not exciting until you go to do something else and you’re stuck with a genuine flavor in your mouth that you recognize and want more of. Can you go through the slow burn disappointment → mild contentment again? I guess it satisfied its claims but it’s probably more worth your time and investment just getting the genuine product.
Halloween M&M flavors
Target had some exclusive M&M flavors and it seemed like perfect thematic filler so why not.
White Pumpkin Pie
White Candy Corn
Similar in shape and design to the White Pumpkin Pie, it also kinda just tastes like white chocolate but has enough of a candy corn smell and vibe for it to make sense as to why they labeled it that. It doesn’t have the horrible stiff and smooth crumbly candy corn texture and instead just has the horrible creamy void white chocolate texture. It’s maybe like two whole degrees better than actual candy corn, which doesn’t really say much to its value when any bum can get mountains of candy corn for basically nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I understand and appreciate the seasonal and aesthetic value of candy corn, as well as acknowledge its flavor profile being basically a harder vanilla marshmallow and not the steaming garbage people who hate it make it out to be, but in a world of limitless choices for treats, why subject yourself to eating them as anything more than something akin to the novelty of grandma’s hard candy bowl?
Cookies & Screeem
Honestly I’m pretty tired of cookies & cream flavor stuff, just as much as I am of fake strawberry so I never actually bought it. These bags were all 8oz, which is a lot more M&Ms than I care for if I’m just trying out the flavor, and also cost $3 each. Not just $3 each, but the concealed rate of 2/$6 originally $3.19. I don’t know about you guys but Target’s sales really suck, and I don’t know whether that’s because their regular prices are good to begin with or if they’re just a really manipulative and stingy soulless corporation like the rest.
Like two weeks after I bought these I wandered into a Walgreen’s because I had to wait four hours at a repair shops and was bored wandering around the few blocks around the place. Trying to waste as much time as possible I went through every aisle, and sure enough there was a small bag of the White Candy Corn M&Ms for like $1 at the regular size and shape; a perfect trial size that wouldn’t leave me stuck with a bucketload of funky M&Ms no one in my apartment wants to eat. I then found the large bags on sale at Publix buy one get one free at $3.79. I thought they were Target-exclusive? Someone lied to me. Maybe it’s just the one I didn’t try.
Rating: Buying Chex Mix at full retail price
Explanation: If you’re going to pay for a simulated product that can’t even be bothered to have a (decent) sale running then you’re better off spending your cash on the real thing at a more fair price and not just cattle feed wrapped in expensive marketing. If you’re going to buy it anyways, you better commit yourself to it in a focused desire to want that exact product right at this exact moment and then force yourself to enjoy it, or else, like me, it will numb your Retail Therapy Receptors for an indeterminate amount of time and instead feel nothing but regret and your bank account manifesting as a poltergeist in your room reminding you that you’re stuck in a capitalist society whether you agree with it or not.
Cap’n Crunch’s Halloween Cruncha near-complete removal of all artistic integrity and adherence to nostalgia. While Kellogg’s is off turning Snap, Crackle, and Pop into the Stepford Mascots, Quaker Oats put shoes on longtime scurvy foot-themed Cap’n Crunch nemesis, Jean LaFoote, shoes. Maybe they’re self-aware and are just trying to preempt perverts, but just retire the character at that point. Given nostalgia’s power in the market, you’d think they’d be a bit more respectful and cautious. Regardless, nearly all of the Halloween special cereals were just like “wow a new shape” as if my heart hasn’t been broken by what happened with the original Trix shapes. I easily could’ve gone for General Mills’ Monster Cereals, such as Count Chocula, but I didn’t want to pack this section with too much so instead I’m saving that for next year to draw more life out of this whole review thing I’ve got going.
having your food be unnatural colors. Fun cereal shapes never look the way they’re supposed to and I honestly don’t know why they even try for intricate and specific designs. The orange bat things have what would be suspected as mold if not for the box saying it turns your milk green, so I’m guessing it’s just poorly concealed food dye sprinkled on the pieces. The actual cereal tastes absolutely nothing different from pretty much every other Cap’n Crunch gimmick special box, which is ok enough because I like that so I know I’ll finish the whole thing. The milk only technically turns green, but not in any mind blowing way, or even comparable to Cocoa Puffs turning white milk chocolatey.
Rating: Buying Dark Chocolate Chex Mix again just because it’s on sale even though you don’t really like it that much
Explanation: If my reviews and exploits teach you nothing but one thing, let it be that seasonal food gimmicks are pretty much always a scam to get your money quick and then take itself off the shelves before you feel too hoodwinked, and instead simply fail to develop basic object permanence abilities as you mindlessly buy the next one. You can go and spend less money on more of something that tastes the same, if not better, just because it doesn’t have a fancy package.
Tune in next month where I review assorted Nestlé stuff! Also, tell me what to review next! It can be games, movies, shows, physical actions, trying new foods, music, literally anything and I’ll cover it eventually if it’s not too ridiculous. Just send me a message here on my talk page or PM it to me on the forum. Don't like what I have to say? That's fine, and probably bound to happen because I've been told about how much people like Super Mario 64 and how they feel about any criticism of it! We at Critic Corner will welcome your alternate review of it as a new section for the next issue!
So it's October, the month where everything becomes spooky-themed, including this section. Oh wait, I guess this section forgot to get that memo and I kinda failed to see anything spooky within the past month, so behold the power of using a backlog of reviews to bring this one into the forefront. And look, the film was released in 1999, so we can hardly say I'm behind the times.
A couple of months ago, we looked at a film where Hugh Grant played a bumbling English villain, this time we're looking at a film where Hugh Grant does what he does best and plays a bumbling Englishman. And it's hard to critique this performance, as his bumbling, affable personality makes his character very likable. The same can't be said for every character, and the film would have benefited from losing Grant's character's Welsh flatmate, whose comedic relief fell incredibly flat.
The film follows your typical bog-standard rom-com plot. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, something drives them apart, repeat a couple of times, couple get together for happy ending. As a result, there isn't a plot twist that you don't see coming, and yet the romance between Grant and Julia Roberts is still endearing. However, with a run-time of just over two hours, the film does drag on a bit, especially since we all know where it's inevitably going to end.
Even though the aforementioned Welsh character was mind-numbingly dull, the film is successful with some other comedic moments, whether it's Grant's character forced to interview the actors of a sci-fi film about the possibility of horses in space as he poses as a reviewer from a horse-themed magazine, or the long string of unsuitable dates that he has to suffer through.
Notting Hill, however, does fail with its side characters. In early stages of their introduction, I was confused as to whether many of them were just friends or family instead, and that feeling never went away as the film progressed. I eventually just learned to accept the fact that I didn't know this. The film centres so heavily on Grant and Roberts's characters that everyone else just becomes a bit of a distraction, and considering the bloated run time, a lot of their scenes could be cut and for the benefit of the film.
Notting Hill may not be a spooky film by any stretch of the imagination, so it does fail in regard to this month's theming, but if you have a few hours to kill, and love a good soppy film, there's a lot worse things that you could do instead of watching this film.
Okay, it's spooky season, and there's a new Luigi's Mansion game out, well sort of. As I'm sure many of you are well aware at this point it is just a port / remake, but it's something. However, as all of the attention will be rightly on that game for this month, I decided to review a character from the sequel of that game Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, which is a much better title than Luigi's Mansion 2.
When all the trailers for Dark Moon were coming out, and this guy showed up, I got really excited because I thought I'd seen the first Portrait Ghost for the game. Alas, Dark Moon had dispensed with them. And this disappointed me, as it meant there was no personality to the Poltergeist. In the first Luigi's Mansion we were faced with Neville who was catching up on his reading, Shivers who was in love with Melody and Vincent Van Gore who presumably starved to death given his title.
Here, we see the Poltergeist playing the piano, but with no real reason as to why. Nor do we know why his head is enlarged, was he smart in his life before death? I mean, it certainly looks like he was an impressive brain in there.
There's no denying that it's a pretty impressive ghost, and I definitely feel that it's right to have it be a sub-boss, but I would have liked to have known a lot more about it. The Portrait Ghosts aren't amazing, but at least their titles and flavour text give them a little flair, here the Poltergeist is just a standard boss that needs to be fought in order to progress.
It's a shame, because I enjoy Dark Moon but most of its sub-bosses are disappointing, especially since a couple of them are just recoloured variants of the Poltergeist, all as bland as the next one. E. Gadd was right not to turn these into paintings, because they'd just end up as grey or blank canvases.
Hello Everyone! Geeky here with a Spooky Scary Halloween G. TV Section. I’m also not alone. This time I’ve come to recruit some help from my new dear friend, Raregold. It was a pleasure getting to work with him. For this section, I had wanted to do something special. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I wanted to think of something that would truly fit the theme of Halloween. Tim Burton was an automatic thing that came to my mind. When I saw a video on Youtube explaining a theory created by fans, I knew I had to do it. So sit back and relax as me and my spoopy guest debunk this theory.
To start things off, I want to credit the creator of the Youtube video that I watched which gave me the idea to write this section. This video that I had watched was entitled, “The Tim Burton Theory | Footofaferret”, he had found an image on Tumblr that had basically connected the three movies, Frankenweenie, Corpse Bride, and the Nightmare Before Christmas stating that it was just one big movie. He basically sped through his explanation of why he thought they weren’t connected. However, he didn’t look into why it should be confirmed. If you guys would like to watch this theory,We wanted to create a comparison between why this theory should be believed and why it shouldn’t.
Within three days Raregold and I took the time to explore the realms of the Burton World. We started with watching Frankenweenie then made our way to Corpse Bride, and finally to the Nightmare Before Christmas. We took notes on each of the films and discussed what we saw in each film. We took note of each of the traits we saw that we could use to find both similarities and differences within it. The traits being their characteristics, setting, and goal in life. Raregold graciously created these charts to separate the differences and similarities between each movie.
Analysis and Conclusion
Simply put, between the Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie the theory has no grounds to stand on. Victor Frankenstein and Victor Van Dort cannot be the same person due to the wide discrepancy between their mannerisms as well as the time frame the movies take place in. The nail in the coffin between the two Victors lies in their reaction to the undead. While time travel could be pulled out as an excuse due to the wonder of science Victor Frankenstein accomplished, Victor Van Dorts total surprise and unwillingness to accept the possibility of life after death is a key marker of separation between the two. Again this does not include the likelihood that he traveled 50-80 years into the past and lived a life that did not have him stand out among the people of that time. The theory also states that Zero is perhaps an undead Sparky adopted by Jack Skellington. Which could at least excuse for a link between two of Burton’s films, but again proves itself unable to stand up to examination. If Victor Frankenstein could simply keep Sparky alive with a charge of electricity there would be no reason for Sparky to exist as a ghost for as long as Victor lived. And seeing as this again takes place during a remarkably similar time period, Victor is still very likely to be alive and with the increase in the availability of tech would have no trouble keeping Sparky charged. So overall on the grounds of remarkably different personalities and a clear unnecessary action taking place for Sparky to exist as Zero at the time Jack Skellington is saving Christmas, these films are in no way connected by means of the storyline. However, the possibility that they take place in the same universe could be likely due to the many consistent stylistic elements within the films. Either that or Tim Burton really has a thing for tall and skinny men, be it alive, dead or anywhere in between.
The consensus between us is that this theory is FALSE. There is no way that these three characters can be connected to each other. These movies have to be three separate films. Although...it could be argued that perhaps they could be related, however, that's another topic for another time. With that my guest and I wish you a very spoopy good day/night. Please check out all of these other ghoulishly delightful sections within the Critic Corner. This is both Raregold and Geeky signing off.
Virtual Console Reviews
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
This is Doomhiker and today I am starting with my first issue of Virtual Console Reviews, where I review Virtual Console and eShop games! This time I am reviewing a classic game on the virtual console, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest! Does this game still hold up today? Or should Donkey Kong take back the spotlight? Today we will find out!
To start off let's talk about the plot, which like many platformers is very simple. After the events of the first Donkey Kong Country, King K.Rool (Now Kaptain K. Rool, pirate garb and everything) kidnapped Donkey Kong in exchange for the Banana hoard. Diddy Kong and his girlfriend Dixie Kong venture to Crocodile Isle, where Donkey Kong is held hostage. It's simple, which is all a platformer really needs. The adventure starts on Gangplank Galleon, the same place where K. Rool was defeated in the game prior. Now that the story is out of the way, lets talk gameplay.
The gameplay is just as simple yet complex and as intuitive as the series is famous for, you can roll and jump just like in the earlier game, but with two new moves: Dixie Kongs hover and the new team-up toss, a move which may only be used when both Kongs are alive. This move can be used to launch the other Kong into enemies as a long-ranged attack or to be used to throw the other Kong vertically, which is used to reach out of reach platforms, barrels and bonuses. This mechanic is a great addition as it gives a reason to keep both Kongs alive, instead of using one as a sacrifice.
Speaking of the two Kongs, they now feel much more distinct, due to Dixie having her hover ability and Diddy being faster at climbing ropes as well as being faster in general, which fixes a big issue with the first game, as Diddy and Donkey felt too much the same in the earlier entry. The game has the Kongs progressing thought seven worlds where they will find themselves in a wide variety of settings (Pirate ship, Mines, Hives etc).
In these levels they will find themselves collect this games two optional collectibles, Kremkoins and DK Coins. The former tasks the Kongs with finding and beating the many bonus rooms in the game which have three different objectives, collecting a set amount of stars, finding the Kremkoin and destroying all the enemies. Unlike in the first Donkey Kong Country, the player must actually beat the bonus rooms to get the Kremkoin (and for it to count for the percentage meter). These bonus rooms are a huge improvement over the originals bonus rooms as they are less repetitive and more skill based. The Kremkoins are used to grant access the elusive lost world, where this games most difficult challenges wait. This world is a fantastic late-game challenge and it gives a good reason to beat all the bonus room and not to just increase the percentage on your save file.
The later collectible, the DK Coins appear once per stage as the game's most hard to get collectible. These only increase your rank on Cranky Kongs Video Game Heroes pedestal, but they are still plenty fun to find and collect. During their adventure the Kongs venture through seven worlds each with there own levels and themes. The levels are, in my opinion, better than the ones in the original game as these levels are more vertically designed, they rely less on bottomless pits have more natural difficulty such as smart enemy placement and even more fun gimmicks, and the fact that the level themes are much stronger. This is because not one level theme felt under or overused, for example in the first game there was five (six if you where playing the Game Boy Color version) cave levels, yet there was only two treetop levels, but in this game this is not an issue. The animal buddies return with Rambi, Engarde and Squawks (although Squawks has been completely revamped to fly and shoot eggshells in Bramble stages) return from the first game. Two new animal buddies make a debut, being Squitter the Spider (who shoots webs and creates web platforms) and Rattly the Rattlesnake (who jumps on enemy with an increased jump, similar two Winky the Frog). There are also now animal barrels, which allow the Kongs to transform into the animal buddies, which allow the levels to be more focused around the animal buddies. This is a great addition as it increases the variety in the levels.
However, I have a few minor issues with this game which is with the save and the travel system. As Diddy and Dixie traverse the seven worlds they meet several other members of the Kong family. Cranky Kong complains and gives hints to the player of the location of DK Coins, some of which cost Banana Coins (more on those later). Then there's Swanky Kong, who will allow you to take part in a small trivia contest in exchange for Banana Coins. Then there's Wrinkly and Funky Kong, where my two main problems with the game lie. First with Funky Kong, where you have to pay him Banana Coins to move to other worlds. This is annoying when you want to beat the game 102%, as you have to get enough coins in levels (which reset every time you boot the game up) to move to other worlds! It seems rather unnecessary to have traversing across the worlds to be so inconvenient. Even worse though is Wrinkly Kong. She charges you two Banana Coins to save, and she isn't immediately available meaning that you can't focus on individual levels as if you die you may have to restart 30 or more minutes of gameplay, even if you already proved your ability to beat the levels that you have to restart. Still this ends up being a minor complaint, all things considered. I should also mention the bosses. They not bad or excellent, they are certainly better than the ones in the first game, but there still kind of mediocre.
In the end, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest is a fantastic game with great platforming, levels, bonuses and gameplay makes this game a must-buy. See you again in two months!