The 'Shroom:Issue LX
Welcome back for another issue of The 'Shroom, everybody! And Happy St. Patrick's Day!
My first order of business is to apologize to both Nabber (talk) and Xpike (talk). To Nabber, because he sent in an application and it got lost in my inbox (which resulted in a decision not being reached in time its inclusion in the March issue). To Xpike, because he sent in his section, but due to a lack of my preparing a back-up version of the section, it was not able to go up on time (although it will be released for this issue). The staff will ensure that this does not happen in the future.
Ralphfan (talk) has left the Core 'Shroom Staff after several years of serving on the team. Thank you for your service, Ralphfan! Tucayo (talk) will become the new Statistics Manager, and the Social Networking Manager position will be merged into the Affiliates Manager position that Crocodile Dippy (talk) holds. We feel that given the size of the paper, the amount of writers we have, and the amount of staff we actually need, having a position dedicated only to maintaining the Twitter and Facebook accounts is not necessary at this point.
A new position, the Activities Director, has been added for the purpose of majorly assisting in the planning of Special Issues, to plan different events for different times (such as the Poll Chairperson Election and special 'Shroom games on the forum), and to manage The 'Shroom Spotlight (among other various duties). Marioguy1 (talk), who pretty much grandfathered the idea for the position, will be the Activities Director from now on. Paper Yoshi (talk), who has been a dedicated member of the community for many years and a writer for the Pipe Plaza team for a while now, will be taking over as the Pipe Plaza Director.
Selection of the Section of the Month will now be handled by the readers: after every issue is released, a link will be provided to a form in which every reader may submit the name of their favorite section for that issue. After three weeks of collecting votes, the poll will be closed and the results tallied up, and the winner of the most votes will receive the award. A process for determining Honorable Mentions is being developed.
The process of inviting individuals to write guest sections every month (an idea that Tucayo came up with) has started. Shyguy27 (talk) was invited to write the first guest section in this program, and he was able to do so for this issue. Please be sure to check out Shyguy Does a Thing!
The Core Staff hopes to bring more updates next month. We will be working towards introducing new projects and fixing up things, and we have some pretty exciting ideas that we hope to implement. Be sure to check back next month on April 21st, 2012 to see the progress that will have been made!
Until next month,
Activities Director's Notes
Hello everyone! It's Marioguy1 in his new position as Activities Director! Now I know what you guys are thinking: What on earth is an Activities Director? Well, let me describe it to you. The Activities Director is responsible for all things hosted by The 'Shroom that fall outside the timeline from the actual issue - this means any special events we hold, the Poll Chairperson Election and The 'Shroom Spotlight.
Now, I know what you're thinking: Wow, that sounds cool! But what do you have planned for us? Well, let me explain it to you. For one thing, I mentioned a project in my directorial campaign. Now that I have this position, that project is most definitely back on track. Secondly, starting next month, The 'Shroom Spotlight will be back on track to see how it really works out. For this month, just check it out at this page and work on Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
Now, I know what you're thinking: That secret project sounds interesting... Well, let me enlighten you about it. It's a secret so I'm not telling you. Now, I know what you're thinking: Wow, this guy is psychic! Well, let me reveal something to you - it's part of my job description.
Now, I know what you're thinking: I should probably read on with the issue and enjoy the amazing content our writers have to offer! Well, you would be right. Now go!
Section of the Month
Hey, everyone! Welcome again to Fake News, and, this month, it's faker than anything else in the entire world
Starting off, two users were hired: Travix Man (talk) will be writing the Fake Police Blotter, and Toadbert101 (talk) now writes Fake Ads. Also, we have a guest section from our Affiliates Manager, Crocodile Dippy (talk), who will be writing the Travel Guide this month!
So, without further ado, let’s begin!
LOCAL ARCHEOLOGIST UNEARTHS “MYTHICAL” TREASURE
Last Tuesday, famed archeologist and elementary school science teacher, Professor Hankley discovered a rare treasure while exploring the deepest, darkest caves of Poshley Heights. Once thought to be a myth, the Emerald Melon was found at the end of Poshley Cave.
"Apparently there was supposed to be a big monster guarding this treasure, but all that was left was its remains. Poor fool", exclaims Hankley.
"The melon is supposed to bring its bearer a bountiful harvest on the 5th of every month. I hope it's true, I spent all the money I had left on this beautiful stand for when I found the melon. Note, I said when, because I'm the greatest archeologist in existence. Har har.
No seriously, I am."
"Currently, this beautiful treasure is with my collection of other great excavations. To the right of this beauty is a useless spherical object I won in a bet with some old dude. Don't really remember the poor sap's name. I haven't really found the purpose or importance of this crap, so I just leave it in this container. Now, to the left of it, you may be wondering what that is. It's a water faucet...
What's with that look...I'm telling ya, that thing's worth a FORTUNE. When I go to the bank with the thousands I make from selling, then we'll see who's the crazy one! YOU HEAR ME?!"
Flower Fields, recently a hot vacation spot, has been shut down due to Occupational Health and Safety concerns. The list of injuries at the fields have increased from one to two and a half in the past seven years, so the government made this decision late last night.
One of the main concerns at the fields was the large well. While some holidaymakers threw a berry, or their money, or the deeds to their houses, down the well, some extremist tourists decided to jump down the well. Strangely, the people who fell down the well also showed signs of being badly attacked by something. However, this was probably a coincidence, because there are many fist-shaped bricks in the world. People who decided to ram into the trees also somehow got beaten up, which is strange, because trees don't have hands...or...do they?
Other people decided to put their faces in the fumes from the Puff Puff Machine in the north-east of the fields, and this was another reason leading to the closure. We were informed that they had heard somewhere doing so would make them look "ten years younger", which is rather bizzare. They probably misread the word "older" as "younger" (and "ten" as "fifty"). An old man told us "The Puff Puff Machine has ruined my life. I'm 31 years old!" The fumes had also been damaging to the environment.
In the place of Flower Fields will stand a factory that makes those blocks that keep up cropping up everywhere, and, for some reason, float. The smoke rising from the factory will be "slightly" damaging to the environment, but, luckily, only make anyone dumb enough to put their face in it look fourty-nine years older. The spikes that cover the factory will not sharp enough to instantly give you a Game Over. Hold on...we've just got news...there was a leaflet that told people to do all kinds of harmful things in Flower Fields...if you see this brochure, inform the police immediately, and don't pick it up, whatever you do! Thank you for listening!
Hahaha… so this here's our home page, is it? Well to anyone who actually found us here, let me first tell ya that the pamphlet over there? Hahaha, 'bout as useful as the leaves on my back, that waste of good trees is. I mean look at it, it's like it was designed inside an hour on GIMP from someone with roughly fifteen minutes worth of experience to go on, and that writing? It's atrocious, if I may be so blunt, like someone genuinely thought he was “cool” and that he had enough charisma to sell a baked bean. Rather lacklustre, I would say. Full of half-truths and outright fabrications, so don't even bother reading it; let me give you all the proper information. I mean, would I bend the truth at all? …heh heh heh.
Now here's the entire real story behind Flower Fields …Bahahaha. Flower Fields was founded in August 11, 2000 as a means to give terrified flower denizens a place to hide away from crazy harvesters and Poochy the great canine god himself. Left to establish a new government from scratch, the four Flora families feuded over power, culminating in the Fire family staging a war against the other three by threatening to napalm the entire land. The joint efforts of the Wisterwood, Bub-ulb and Cumulus families overpowered them and banished them to the outside lands, where they to this day are terrorized by crazed moustachioed plumbers trying to get a quick fix. Favour fell on the Wisterwood family for their “we have the biggest roots, so suck it” policy, and established a completely benevolent democracy where the populace are expected to behave and stay in one spot for easy inspection and extortion. Each new inheritor to the Wisterwood household is born with a severe throat infection that allows evil red-clad beings to cross over into the region from the outside world, although the glorious Cumulus family ensure he can't take three steps without hurting his foot! That is the absolute truth! …Hahahaha!
You don't want to see any Sun Tower or pond. That's boring stuff, you can see that anywhere else you go. No, you want to see the real sights, like the Enigmatic Well to the east which features flora and atmosphere like nowhere else in the region, and of course the wonderful well itself which houses one of the region’s cheeriest, loveliest residents. Throwing a red or yellow berry in there, that'll make him happy; heck, why don't you jump in there as a neat trick? It'll give him some nice entertainment, and I'm sure he'll give you something nice for the trip down there. And if you can, definitely piledrive down there; he'll really be impressed by that! Ha... bahaha! Or how about the Puff Puff Machine to the northeast? The fumes from that thing are rumoured to sooth the skin and make you look ten years younger, and touching the machine transfers the energy of the Gods into your very nerves; staying there for more than a few hours will certainly provide you with the most relaxing, healthy experience of your life! Go on, you only have an underwhelming lifestyle to lose. And who needs accommodation when you have trees? In fact, why not ram into them to get the attention of the managers? All this is %100 safe and factual… heh heh heh.
So come visit now, while prices are at an all-time low! I swear on my petals that everything I have outlined is the complete truth. I'm not setting you up for pain or humiliation at all, no sirree, I'm totally clean on this! I mean, I never lie. Much. …heh heh heh. But who are you going to believe; an honest, hardworking joe like me, or some pseudo-celebrity poser that thinks his spinies are bigger than everyone elses just because he travelled around with Mario that one time? Me, of course. Or you're stupid, is the long and the short of it all.
Make sure to take a Crystal Berry with you as a souvenir; they're free, after all!
Wow, it’s already March! Who knew? This is your host, Baby Mario Bloops, here to drag characters from your favorite universe and ordeal them in a less-than-but-also-more-than-comical intrusion! Without further ado, let’s bring forth our latest interviewee Fly Guy! Let’s begin.
BMB: Welcome Fly Guy!
Fly Guy: …
Fly Guy: Haven’t you interviewed me like three times now?
BMB: Huh? Oh, no! I interviewed Shy Guy twice, but you’re not a Shy Guy.
Fly Guy: Technically I am, just with the ability to fly.
BMB: Well, I don’t care, you have “fly” instead of “guy” in your name, so that matters.
Fly Guy: No it doesn’t-
BMB: Shush! Anyways, let’s begin. So, how are you able to fly?
Fly Guy: Are you blind?
BMB: No, and it’s still a valid question.
Fly Guy: Ugh, this is going to be a long half hour.
BMB: Actually, I never timed one of my shows…
Fly Guy: Alright! My little propeller on my head allows me to fly! Are you happy now?
BMB: I’m never happy until I get as much scoop from characters as best as I can.
Fly Guy: …
BMB: Well, another question. How is that propeller…in you? Like, is it in the clothing, the mask…part of your skull?
Fly Guy: To be honest, I never really spent any time thinking about it. I think it is part of the fabric, though I can’t be sure.
Fly Guy: …And?
BMB: Oh, sorry, zoned out there for a second. Anyways, why do you work for Bowser?
Fly Guy: How in the world is your previous statement related to the one you just asked-never mind, I’ll just continue. Well…for one, he offers decent pay.
BMB: If I recall correctly, another one of Bowser’s minion told me that he had terrible pay.
Fly Guy: Well, he was probably at a Goomba ranking or was a Goomba, because I get great pay.
BMB: That would probably be the case, they are always stomped on by Mario. Speaking of which, how does the chart work?
Fly Guy: What chart? I wasn’t informed about this before I came here!
BMB: You also weren’t informed I am spontaneous. What I meant was the chart that states what level Bowser’s Minions are ranked. You know, from lowest position to highest position.
Fly Guy: Oh, you mean the ranks? Well, it’s very fuzzy, but all I know is that land creatures are usually below sea creatures, and they themselves are below the flying creatures.
BMB: So what you are saying is that you are the highest level?
Fly Guy: No. After flying creatures are the big creatures, then the mini-bosses, then the major foes, then the bosses, then the Final Boss. I would say that I’m on the higher end of the lower middle class.
BMB: Still confusing, but Goomba is still the lowest rank?
Fly Guy: Goomba, then Koopa Troopa, then the smart, non-falling-off-the-edge Koopa Troopas, and then it goes on from there.
BMB: Well…I think that basically wraps up this interview.
Fly Guy: What!? I thought you said you never timed yourself?
BMB: I didn’t, I just go by my formula: Annoyance of Fly Guy by the factor of how many questions I can think of.
Fly Guy: I’ll admit that you are annoying.
BMB: And with that, we will conclude our interview! She you all next month!
Fly Guy: “She you all next month”?
BMB: Darn it, you all knew by what I meant. Until next time, bye!
Fly Guy: I still think I’m considered a Shy Guy.
Hi everybody! Here’s your hostess, Chivi-chivik! And this is Cooking Guide, where we teach you how to cook excellent dishes!! So, let’s go!
They asked me for do something special for this issue, so this time...
I’ll be the COOK!! (SFX: Taaadaaaaaaaa!!!)
Me: I’m not bothering... eh... I mean... going to visit a cook, I’ll cook what I have in mind! So... today I’ll cook... eh... *Turning the pages of a recipe book quickly* A... Chivi-Supremo! It doesn’t appear in the recipe book... Okay, Let’s begin!
2: Why those ingredients?
Me: I’ll combine the Fire Burst and the Shooting Star first, for get a very damaging matter. Then I’ll Fusion all that with the Life Shroom FOR GET THE DEFINITIVE ITEM! MWAHAHAHA!!! *lying*
3: Beginning with that “matter” thing!:
Me: Get a pan and put inside the Burst and the Star, at high temerature. I recommend you to close the lid with some duct tape. You don’t know when it’s going to explode!
4: The Life Shroom!
Me: We have to put the Life Shroom in the oven at mid temperature for 30 minutes. Then wait. The Burst ans the Star will take that time too.
--After those minutes...—
Me: Let’s take the Shroom out from the oven, and give a look to the matter thing...
Me: The thing is ready. Now just take out the tape of the pan, and put, VERY FAST, the Shroom in the pan and close it again!
Me: *opens the pan slowly* Ehm... IT’S PERFECT! *Gets a pan and puts the meal on it* Voilà! Here’s the Chivi-Supremo!
6: Taste it, smartass!
Me: I hope this won’t kill me... *tastes* ...
stage-manager: Did you cook this accidentally?
1- Put the Burst and the Star in a pan at high temperature. Close the lid with some duct tape.
Today, we explore a shop that has been known for its odd products. As we venture down Toad Road, we find a small candy store…or…stand, to be exact, run by none other than Candy Guy.
“Welcome to the Candy Shack where we sell nothin' but candy. You name it, we got it. “
“Wait, a candy shop all the way out here? “
“Yeah, is there a problem? “
Nobody buys candy anymore. This is 2012. Are you still in 2007 or something?
“Wait…so you are telling me that no one uses candy in these new Mario Party games. You're telling me I wasted my life savings just to build this candy stand in hopes that Italian men and their friends can cheat their way to the top with sweets? “
“Uh…yeah, basically! “
“Well, it's no big deal! I just recently opened up a shop in Magma Mine. I heard that's a key place for sweet shops. Later. “
Good Evening, folks, and welcome to the Mushroom Kingdom Police Station. I am your chief, TravixMan, and Boy, I say, I am here to report several incidents over today.
1. Missing: Toadsworth
Toadsworth has been missing for several months. We believe Bowser had something to do with it. If you have further information, please contact us immediately.
2. Edible Emotions
Petey Piranha had recently stolen and eaten King Boo's Crown. King Boo ran over to get it back with his girlfriend, Booette, but the situation got worse. The Boo King's Best friend then grabbed Booette, and swallowed her whole. A Toad saw the situation, and contacted HQ. The Police came to the scene and took the large Piranha Plant away.
3. Car-Crashing Drunks
Wario, Waluigi, Mona, and Rosalina drove down to Wario Casino for a victory celebration in Wario and Waluigi's victory in a kart race. Wario, Waluigi, and Mona then drank Chuckola Cola, and gambled with Wiggler and Gooper Blooper, who are concerned about King Boo and Petey Piranha's friendship. Then when they went to the car, Rosalina, who was not drinking, asked Wario if she could drive. Wario then refused Rosalina's offer, and got in the driver's seat.
And that's the story of the events that occurred today. If anyone has questions, please contact "The Mushroom Police Squad". This has been the news on the Police Blotter.
I don’t have a super awesome witty intro, so y’all are just gonna have to deal with this. *puts on cool shades*
"Who do you feel is the funniest user on the forums?"
"What are your thoughts on the Steam platform?"
"Which video game genres have you just been unable to get into?"
"What is your favourite advertisement? (please include link if possible)"
"Aside from your own section, which is your favourite section of the 'Shroom?"
"What is your favourite internet meme?"
"How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?"
"You're a big fan of Retsupurae (but then, who isn't?), but which of Slowbeef and Diabetus' videos/video series is your least favourite?"
That’s tough. There was a multi-part series where a LPer going by the name of “BurningHunter” was doing a Let’s Play of Mega Man X, one of my favorite games of the 16-bit era. The riffing on it was excellent (as it usually is), but what makes me not like it is the fact that BurningHunter was so terrible at the game that it was actually making me angry. He also wound up using a cheat the game gives you to beat the boss at the end of the first fortress stage and then acts all proud of himself which made it worse.
Dead to Rights.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Also, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to make their sections extra-special and to those who decided to do extra sections for this as well.
Thank you and I hope you enjoy Issue 60!
Music & Artwork
Director's Notes (Fawfulfury65)
We need more writers! Currently, there are four sections open to write for, including Photoshopped Image of the Month, Soundtrack of the Month, Box-art of the Month, and Character Artwork of the Month! Most of them are fairly simple sections to write, so if you want to write for the 'Shroom, but don't have so much time, one of them could be good for you. Contact me if you would like to write for them, or view more jobs here.
Screenshot of the Month (Fawfulfury65)
For this month, I picked out this awesome picture from Donkey Kong Country Returns that shows the Kongs and their Animal Buddy, Rambi, in the game's third silhouette level, Smokey Peak.
This level is definitely one of my favorites in the game. You ride on Rambi as he smashes through giant boulders in the silhouette world. For me, the background is beautiful. You can easily tell this takes place in the Volcano world, and there's hot flames rising in front of the large rocky structures in the background. The foreground looks really neat, and it's very detailed, even if it's all one color. Notice how Diddy's hat and DK's tie are both visible in the foreground. It makes them stand out more so you don't lose track of where you are and run right into one of those annoying Tiki guys (who I wish were the good ‘ol Kremlings from the older games). I can't imagine why someone wouldn't like this level.
Alright, that's about it for this month. I hope I didn't bore you too much :p Tune in next month for another great Screenshot of the Month.
Sketches Related to Mario (Fawfulfury65)
This month, I have received a beyond amazing picture from Walkazo (talk) that depicts the Koopalings all grown up. Plus, I finally figured out how to put my drawings on the internet (yes, it took that long), so I’m displaying one of my pictures as well. Click on the pictures to view them larger. Enjoy!
Random Image of the Month (Ralphfan)
The image you see to your right is a scene from the end of Super Mario Bros., in which Peach thanks Mario for rescuing her. After Mario rescues Peach for the first time, the player can play in Hard Mode, in which enemies become harder and levels become more difficult.
Sprite of the Month (FunkyK38)
For this month's sprite we have the magnificent General Klump from Donkey Kong Country ! Besides being an enemy in the game, he also has a large role in the TV series, where he plays a bumbling general in K. Rool's army. He is mostly comic relief, he can't dance, but he can sing and talk like a surfer. Hang loose, readers!
It was March the second, 2012. DP messaged me with a suspiciously long "heeeeeeeeeeeey buddy." He proposed that I write a guest column for The ‘Shroom, an offer which I have never before accepted due to my chronic writer's block. As I was about to turn him away, he suggested I play through Terraria for my article. The idea struck a chord with me: starting again from nothing, a new world to explore and conquer, a multitude of pointless items to collect once again. I agreed to play through Terraria for the ‘Shroom on one condition, that DP play with me.
And so begins a quest of epic proportions, two best friends reduced to nothing and united against an endless legion of zombies and eyeballs.
So yeah, DP and I will be doing a text LP of Terraria. We’ll be playing on a brand spankin’ new world with brand spankin’ new characters. Our characters will be set to mediumcore difficulty, which means we drop all of our items on death, to make it more interesting for me and you and to make DP never want to play Terraria again. For the uninitiated, I tried to write up a clever description of Terraria but Steam does a much better job.
With my new character freshly created I eagerly jumped into our new adventure. Surveying my starting equipment I noticed that I had a slightly better than average copper axe. I milled around for a minute or two waiting for DP to wrangle his game into line and connect.
All of the sudden a hideously flamboyant pink-haired monstrosity appeared before me, dressed in a drab shirt and bright blue pants. I flailed wildly at it with my pathetic starting sword, but swiftly realized it was only my good friend Pokemon DP. I quickly assured him that attempted murder is how I welcome all of my friends onto my servers.
The first order of business was to mercilessly kill every tree in sight and build a wooden square vaguely resembling a house for shelter through the harsh, incoming night. Our rudimentary housing was completed shortly, and with nothing left to do I went exploring for treasure.
I stumbled across a cave and found a chest with a shoddy wooden boomerang inside. Not preferable, but it would have to do for now. I also found some shuriken and arrows on my journey. It was getting late, however, so I headed back home to hog all the spoils and wait out the night.
Night descended swiftly and brought with it hordes of demon eyes and zombies. Normally two frail equipment-less adventurers such as ourselves would cower helplessly inside our nice safe homes and wait for it to all end, but that's too boring. Instead we went spelunking!
Before long we stumbled across a heart crystal. DP had no idea how to access its succulent fruits, but I had had the foresight to make and bring a hammer for the journey. I broke the stone open and, feeling generous, gave DP the crystal from inside, granting him an extra 20 health. We spent some more time underground and mined some copper and iron ore, and before we knew it we were surfacing to find that it was the dawn of our second day.
We quickly made our way back to our home base, where I crafted us a furnace to smelt the ores we pulled up last night, which I used to craft an anvil. We also saw the arrival of a nurse, a friendly NPC who would return us to full health for a price.
Having already explored underground, DP and I decided to go to the west today. After crossing a large hill, the sky began to darken and we found a deep chasm lined with a resilient dark purple stone. I instantly recognized the area we had wandered into as corruption, a fairly dangerous place for us to be exploring with no armor and very early-game weapons. Naturally, we waltzed right in. We were almost instantly mobbed by eldritch horrors known as eaters of souls, gigantic flying insects which hit hard and died harder. Being completely unprepared for an encounter of this magnitude, we fled, fighting only what we had to.
We made it back home in one piece, but we'd been followed! The beast flew over the hill and smashed my face in. My corpse disappeared, leaving all of my items on the ground. DP rushed over and avenged my death, while I respawned and recollected my items just in time for the sun to set.
After a short period of health recharging, we ventured back outside, once again pushing west. I managed to hold my ground against the monsters of the night, but DP was not so lucky. He fell into a hole and was mobbed by zombies, who killed him swiftly and easily. I jumped down and avenged his death, while he followed to grab his things. We left to hole only to be confronted with two more eaters of souls, but we were able to hold our own against them and we returned home safely.
Seeing now that going west was not a viable option at this point in our game, I decided that we would explore to the east. We crossed two lakes and came to a rather expansive cave network. Now remembering the importance of proper armor, DP and I dove deep into the cave, mining every inch of ore we could find.
The enemies that tried to stop our quest fell quickly before us, leaving plenty of copper and silver coins in their wake. At some point, we acquired the coinage to attract to our outpost a merchant, who would sell us a myriad of useful items. We continued exploring the cave long into the night, pressing ever further until our pockets jingled with money and ores.
DP left the cave before me, and fell victim to one of the creatures of the night. Meanwhile, I found a treasure chest and opened it to find a spear with a knockback bonus on it. When I finally left the cave, the night was almost over, and I strolled confidently toward home. My journey was interrupted by a zombie though, and I exploded into a pile of incredible early game loot. I rushed back to where I died, and grabbed all my items as the sun rose.
I went back home and made a pair of goggles for me and a copper breastplate for DP. We wandered the overworld aimlessly for a while.
Night descended during our wanderings, but we didn't let that deter us. Until a demon eye killed DP. He quickly went and grabbed his stuff and we went back to not really doing much of anything.
Today I decided that our next goal would be to find some bombs underground to lure a demolitionist to our settlement. I had collected a bit of cash from our various escapades, and I thought that it would be a good idea to use it all to buy dynamite so I could blow a hole through the corruption. The end goal being the acquisition of a gun, which would drop from a shadow orb, found deep under layers of material that we currently had no means of digging through.
My venture was successful, and I returned with 2 bombs, some ores, and a pair of boots which would let me run faster than DP. A demolitionist moved in shortly before the sunset.
Not one to let silly things like mortal danger get in our way, I bought 6 sticks of dynamite and dragged DP back into the corruption. Our voyage started off disastrously, getting attacked by a huge mob of eyeballs the second we stepped foot in the corruption. I managed to hold them off, but DP wasn't so lucky. I grabbed his items and brought them back to him, and we tried again.
This time we made it to a chasm safely, and carefully climbed down the walls. I began to blow through the floors. Everything was going very smoothly until:
I shook it off and went back to our chasm, recollecting my items and continuing to lob TNT like it was confetti. By the time I ran out, though, we were starting to see grass again. We had wasted a whole phase and a ton of money on a dead-end chasm.
After that catastrophic waste of time and coins, we still had half a day of sunlight. I ventured back to our cave system to try to find a demon altar, a special crafting area for making boss summoning items. I figured we had spent enough time being boring, it was time for action. I found a demon altar fairly quickly and crafted two suspicious looking eyes, which summon the Eye of Cthulhu.
This night phase and the following day phase would be crucial preparation time. The Eye of Cthulhu can only be fought at night, and we weren't nearly prepared yet, so I made myself a copper breastplate, and DP and I built an arena to make the boss fight go easier:
This phase went by incredibly uneventfully. I did some half-hearted mining and got enough ore to make DP another piece of crappy ineffectual armor, but my mind was mostly focused on the epic battle we would be waging in just a few minutes. Before night fell, I bought an arsenal of shuriken and arrows from our merchant. I gave DP around 300 shuriken and made myself 250 fire arrows. All we could do now was wait.
The Eye of Cthulhu is a huge monstrosity of a creature. It bears some resemblance to the crappy little eyes that fly around at night, except approximately 10 times bigger, with around 50 times as much health, and far less susceptible to knockback. I had had a lot of trouble fighting the beast with my first character, and I was far better prepared back then than me and DP were now. But surely we must stand a chance! After all, I had gained a lot more combat experience since my first time, and there were two of us this time.
After suitably briefing DP on the boss's attack patterns and attributes, I selected a suspicious eye from my inventory and summoned the Eye of Cthulhu. The monster flew in from the side, and I immediately shot an arrow straight into its pupil. DP let loose a barrage of shuriken while I kept up a suppressive rain of fire. Before we knew it, the Eye started spinning and its front half exploded into a gigantic mouth. Unfazed, we continued our barrage until:
We'd done it. I grabbed the drops and stashed them away before congratulating DP on a job well done.
With Mario Party 9 coming out and all, I figured I would review Mario Party DS this month.
Mario Party DS is a great Mario Party Game. There are flaws but also lots of things that are perfected. There are 8 playable characters in the game: Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Toad, Yoshi, Waluigi, and Wario. I feel that they could have added up to 10 because it seemed kind of short for what it could have been. In Story Mode after choosing your character you play each board with a boss battle at the end. The plot is kinda dumb, Bowser shrinks them down and they have to fight back to turn back into their regular size. I felt there could have been a better plot for the game instead of this. The boss battles provide some fun. However after you complete it, you never really care to redo them. Story Mode is kind of disappointing.
Besides Story Mode, you can also do Party Mode and Multiplayer Mode. Party Mode allows you to play on any of the boards, while Multiplayer Mode allows you to play with a single-card multiplayer, something the other Mario Parties didn’t have. I felt this really added to the gameplay, and I enjoyed it the most out of anything on the game.
However, if I did do multiplayer, I usually did minigames and not the party boards. The boards in this game were really disappointing, and there was only one good one. The items and hexes were also not that great. I found that the minigames were amazing.
After beating Story Mode, all I did was the minigames. And even if there weren’t boards, I would still buy the game, just for the minigames themselves. The minigames are probably one of the best out of all the games. My favorites would have to be Camera Shy, a minigame that involves snapping pictures of the other players in a maze first, and Flash and Dash. After those every minigame is amazing except maybe 8.
So if you plan on getting this game, I would suggest making sure you have somebody else to play with, and won’t mind playing minigames only and not the boards.
This month, I'll be reviewing two people: Crocodile Dippy (formerly, Pokemon DP/Black Hole Sun/My Bloody Valentine), and Master Crash (formerly, Super Paper Luigi DS). Just look at all those name changes!
The First Target
Crocodile Dippy joined the site quite a long time ago under the name "Pokemon DP". He became quite popular within a short period of time, gaining numerous friends and even earning a promotion early into his membership. He was the first Australian admin on the wiki (and on chat, Userpedia, and a few other areas around here), and remains the only Australian user to have earned that title to date. Around the community, his reputation as a cool guy spread to places like the forum, chat, and even Userpedia; however, along with this, he would also gain quite a few enemies that hated his guts. Friendly as DP was to the people he like, he could also be vicious and sharp-tongued to others. This caused quite a lot of controversy to revolve around DP at the time, resulting in many flame wars in the chatroom and on Userpedia. Despite this, though, many users still looked up to DP as a role model for activity, good friendship, on-the-ball adminship, and even as someone who didn't take shit from people.
As time passed, DP eventually resigned from his administrative position on the MarioWiki, taking a brief hiatus from most parts of the community. He returned later with a new name: "Black Hole Sun" (pulled from the Soundgarden song of the same name). During this time, he mostly hung around The Xephyr Board, as that is where most of his friends resided. However, he would once again receive a controversial reputation, this time as someone who was "emo", "edgy", and just an outright "asshole". (Note that those opinions are in quotes because they are not my opinion.) His love of music grew by a very notable degree during this period, and he has since retained an eminence as the wiki's musical guru. Though his taste in music has drifted from time to time, he has always been vocal about his love for music and the artful, unique ways in which it can be represented.
Fast-forward a year or so, and Dippy once again went on a hiatus for a short time. He came back again, this time with the name "My Bloody Valentine" (named after the greatest band to come out of Ireland). By this point, he had mellowed out considerably, which resulted in him practically losing his controversial reputation. He had even publicly apologized to numerous people for his previous behavior in an effort to turn over a new leaf. His efforts proved to be successful, and his word true — he's had a solid reputation as one of the coolest guys around the community since. (Now that's an opinion I can agree with.) He slowly started to ease his way back into community centers, such as the chatroom and MarioWiki forum. He also started writing for The 'Shroom once again at this point, and even earned back his administrative rights on Userpedia.
Shortly after that, he began to play on the community's Team Fortress 2 and Minecraft servers. It got to the point where everyone who mained those servers specifically enjoyed playing with Dippy. This furthered his reputation as a cool guy even more. His ruthless adventures and friendly way of playing on these servers would eventually earn him the nickname "Crocodile Man" (mostly due to his choice of Sniper weapons/accessories in TF2). He came up with his next name (which is also his current one) by fusing that nickname with a mispronunciation of "DP"; thus, "Crocodile Dippy" was born. Since then, he's maintained a very propitious reputation. He's once again become a dear friend to many, and holds a fair amount of respectable positions around the community.
I'd just like to point out that Dippy's history here is extremely long and involved, so I've had to brush past a lot of details. Plus, my recollection is somewhat fuzzy on many things due to how long he's been here, and my own frequent hiatuses. I'd recommend checking out his Userpedia article or contacting him yourself for finding out more info.
The First Interview
Me: Greetings, dear 'Shroom readers! Here in our studio today is a relic of the MarioWiki's community. ...at least to me.
Me: Well, that does it for today folks! Hope you enjoyed this long-winded and totally-not-boring interview!
The Second Target
My next interviewee, Master Crash, has a much less detailed past. He joined the wiki a few months before Dippy did, so he's certainly been here for quite some time.
Like Dippy, Crash was quick to accumulate numerous friends around the wiki and receive a reputation as a good guy. Crash was must less active in the encyclopedic end of the wiki than Dippy, opting to spend more time around the members of the community instead. Crash became an Operator in the chatroom, as well as a Bureaucrat on Userpedia because of this. He was featured in countless comics on Userpedia as well. On the MarioWiki, Crash was known for helping out many users who were new to the wiki (including yours truly).
Shortly after the crash of the ScribbleWiki Userpedia in 2008, Master Crash slowly became less and less active. He joined the Adriels Userpedia shortly after its inception, but did not maintain an active status there. Around this time, he became more active on The Xephyr Board, making a fair amount of posts there to keep in contact with his close friends. His activity continued to decrease, until he eventually reached the point where many people assumed he had retired. Though he would stop by the MarioWiki Forum, Xephyr, or chat for a brief visit once in a blue moon, he didn't become active again until sometime last year. Now, Crash is considerably more scurrilous than he was a few years ago, somewhat more similar to how his brother, Xzelion, would act; however, Crash is still just as outgoing as he always was.
Crash is also notable for having 3 siblings on the wiki, all brothers. Xzelion, Eggbert, and SM97 are those three; although, most people probably only know Xzelion, as he was the only other one besides Crash who was really active.
I'd like to make this introduction more involved, but Crash's large bouts of inactivity for a couple years gives me less to write about. I'll subtly blame him for a shorter introduction than Dippy's.
The Second Interview
Me: 'Allo once again, 'Shroom readers! Today, I'll be interviewing everyone's favorite dude; Master Crash!
I think Dippy's story on this wiki is very interesting and inspiring. He's had more happen to him, and has done more for and around the community than pretty much any other user I can think of. He's always looked for ways to contribute, further himself, and further those around him. He is extremely dedicated to making the Awards Ceremony the best it can be this year, has put a great deal of effort into improving The 'Shroom, and has poured an immeasurable amount of care into being a good friend. Sure, I may be biased since he's my best friend, but if you ask around the community, you'll find a vast number of users who consider Dippy a good friend, a cool guy, or just as someone who has helped them out in some way. Even through controversy, he's managed to turn himself into a commendable and admirable member of the community. I think a lot of people could learn from Dippy.
Crash is a great role model for many things. First and foremost, I think the way he helped newer users out back in the day is a method that many users could learn and eventually benefit from. His amiable personality is another thing many could learn from; unfortunately, a lot of petty hate still floats around the wiki, more specifically to those who haven't done anything that could be considered them "asking for it". But again, I'm a bit biased here, since Crash has always been a close friend of mine. So, maybe I'm rambling.
The point I'm trying to make is that these are two very awesome people worth getting to know, or at the very least, worth just chillin' with. And when I say you could learn something from these guys, I'm not just specifically talking about values or wiki tactics; they're both very cultured people with a lot of cool things to talk about.
Alright, I guess I should stop kissing ass and shut up now. That's it for this month's interview. Hope you enjoyed learning some facts about two of the MarioWiki's most well-known users. See you next month!
What should have been in these games?
Mario Party 4Mario Speedwagons. I don't know if it's just me, but I can't get anywhere in that game. I can't even move. The controls are explained pretty badly, and I'm sure it's not a problem with my controller, so what's up with that game? Next, luck-based games like Hide and Go BOOM! are frustrating, as it really doesn't take skill to win them, just luck. Games should be based on skill, and, while the luck can spice things up, it, again, is frustrating at times. Panel Panic is another one that was luck based, and I was pretty confused on how that worked for a while. On the subject of minigames, while I believe quality over quantity, I think the game could have fit in a little more minigames. Even returning games from the first three would be fine.
Next, the boards look a tiny bit bland. While there are a few interesting things in the background, and around the board, all the spaces are on an ugly, grey...platform thing, which, for some reason, floats above the setting of the board. Why couldn't it be like the last games, where you played on the board, rather than above it. Another qualm I have about the boards are those Mini Mushrooms. I don't like how some areas have a Gate thing in front of them. I'd prefer to be able to explore the whole board, and have access to everything there without a Mini Mushroom. Plus, there's way too many Mushroom Spaces and Warp Spaces on the boards, and the Warp Spaces were a bad idea in the first place. Additionally, I think the chance of winning in the Lottery Shop is too low, and should have been higher.
Finally, I think by now the game could have added a few more new characters, like Toad. Honestly, I really liked this game. I can't find much else wrong.
Mario Party 5
Well, where do I begin?
Really, I need to talk about something!Scaldin' Cauldron. Now, even though I don't like them, I'm usually okay with them, but this is not okay. This is a Bowser minigame, meaning that, if you lose, you could lose Coins, or even Stars. I mean, getting punished for losing something luck-based? That's hardly fair. Next, why did Donkey Kong stop being playable? I know he's now got the DK Spaces, but, honestly, there's only one-per-board,
Next, the boards are pretty good. They aren't just flat anymore. However, I don't think the gimmicks and events on the boards aren't as good as in the previous installments. This game, as many others do, also seem to suffer from the problem of long waiting times, especially in the minigame Card Party. The gameplay of the Super Duel Mode is also pretty slow, albeit that doesn't stop either from being great fun with friends or alone. Finally, while I liked the Capsules, I think items could have returned as well as the Capsules, but that's just a minor complaint, like all of these are, really.
There weren't any beta elements in either of these games, which is incredibly unrealistic, because planning a party in real life isn't like that at all. You have to change a whole lot of stuff, and sometimes people don't even come!
Sorry it was so short, but that's all I can think of for that. Got a suggestion? PM me (Godot) on the Super Mario Boards and tell me. You'll get mentioned in the next issue if you do. Until next month, I bid you adieu.
What's up, Brawlers? FunkyK38 here with this month's issue of BRAWL TACTICS!
This month, I will be covering the stage 75m from the original Donkey Kong!
75m is a huge stage with pretty deep sides. If you go off-camera, you have a little ways to go before you hit the end and get a KO. One interesting thing to note are Pauline's various items, such as her purse and tissues. Although she will not get them back (you won't even see her!), you can pick them up for points on the arcade- style scoreboard up on top. This stage is also filled with tricky gimmicks that you should watch out for!
First off, the platforms. Most are NOT safe to grab on the sides, so if you are falling, try to land on the center instead. The spaces in between them make it hard to judge which way to fall, but they are close enough together to make it a tight squeeze. There are also two elevators that move up and down with different platforms. Be careful when you ride these. The one that goes up is no problem, but when you are on the one that goes down, that bottom block where they are coming from is not a place where your character can stand. So don't get distracted and let them fall to their doom!
The fireballs moving around the platform can be a little tricky to tangle with. For starters, don't try to play as Mario and use F.L.U.D.D. to put them out. It doesn't work. They hit with a lot of launch power for such little guys, so if you have taken a lot of damage, stay away from them. On the other hand, if you've done a lot of damage to your opponent, shove them and watch the fireworks. They can move a little faster than you may be expecting, and the one near the right side of the stage can launch you all the way off the stage if it hits you at the right angle, so don't play around with these two.
Finally, this stage wouldn't be complete without the king of construction site mayhem, Donkey Kong Sr.! He relives his old role to stop you from getting too confident in your abilities. He will summon barrels to fall across the stage, 8-bit barrels, I might add. They are heavy, they are powerful, and they do not stop. They will go to the edge of the top level of the stage and fall down through to the next small level, which can turn the tables quickly. Hiding on the stage above DK will not work, as they bounce high when he first summons them. Your rivals will make a great barrel target, so try to get them on the top level of the stage, the reward will be great, because these hit with as much launch power as the fireballs do. You can earn a KO and not have to do much at all!
That's all for me this month, Brawlers! Hope to inspire your use of this classic stage for the future! Happy brawling!
The beginning of the year is always an awkward time for developers, what with the end of the previous one usually going out on a huge militaristic bang with all the big triple-A Christmas releases placating the average gamer's animalistic urge to murder for another year. Add to that the burden of being an opening act for everything to come in the following eleven months and you have exactly why virtually bugger-all had been released until late February, but at the very least what has been released certainly reflects the paranoia of the year. So far we've had two zombie apocalypses, three glorifications of relentless murder, and Final Fantasy XIII-2 which stands in a cynicism league of its own just for its utterly retarded name. And now we have NeverDead, which I hesitate to call the worst game ever made, but that's certainly not for its lack of trying! But Megadeth do the opening theme song, a fact Rebellion are so bloody proud of that they felt it necessary to paste the song over all their pre-release trailers and call attention to it on the box art blurb presumably to cover up all the layers upon layers of shit they didn't want the populace to know about, so they at least got that bit right.
NeverDead is another entry in a long line of shooters that were passed out in their dorm when the "how to be fun and actually work" lecture was taking place. It's set in a grey dystopia in which demons hold parties in public service buildings and scenery explodes whenever so much as a jacket zipper brushes past them; you play as the ludicrously named Bryce Boltzmann, a grumpy demon hunter whose strong endeavours to be labelled the biggest wanker in the known universe puts him at vicious odds with the stiff competition that is the rest of the game's cast. A struggle against the demon king Astaroth five-hundred years ago that is left completely to the game's own pre-rendered enjoyment has left Bryce "cursed" with immortality and Mel Gibson's face after having an egg jammed in his skull. Bryce works alongside a stereotypically sassy Special Forces agent with a skirt matched in length only by her brain-damaging wit named Arcadia, because he wants to get revenge on the demons for whacking his wife and turning his face into a hot cross bun all those centuries ago. Eventually they meet a self-entitled pop diva who is reminiscent of Ashley from Resident Evil 4 but with at least one thousand sticks crammed up her ass, who needs to be protected because she turns out to be a "medium" with the ability to bring demons into the human plane of existence, although why she was completely unaware of this power until just now is one of those things that thinking too hard about will cause certain parts of your brain to shut down.
Bryce's immortality establishes the main draw of the game as he is unable to die by any conventional means – hence the title – which might sound a little counterproductive to that whole "challenge" concept video games are supposed to have, but they deign to solve that by having his limbs and head tear off when so much as a single drop of demon drool touches his shoes, a feature that only grows more and more aggravating each time it happens. And it will happen a lot because Bryce's bones and tendons are apparently made out of breadsticks and polystyrene. He can recollect his limbs by somersaulting into them – because that's always my preferred way of picking things up – or by manually regenerating them when his magic demon eye has fully charged, which would be all well and good if not for the fact that the enemies are so fast and Bryce such a ponce that more often than not he'll recover a limb only for another enemy to propel his head ten feet into the air immediately after. Now I can honestly see a great deal of potential in the concept of limb removal within the confines of, say, a puzzle or stealth game, but this is an obnoxious and repetitive action game so obsessed with its tough guy image that it has no time for such practical uses of its talent, so it feels like giving praise to a Tasmanian devil for using its sharp teeth and claws to attack defenceless rocks. It doesn't help that every bloody room has at least two monster spawners that take forever to destroy, so all those mutant dogs you just crushed under a building will be replaced by twice as many of the twitchy little shits. You can still roll around the stage as a head in Morph Ball-styled gameplay complete with dodgy boosting functionality – further lending credence to my belief that Bryce's head is filled with firecrackers which would explain why it always rockets into the sky with the slightest provocation – which I'm guessing was a ploy to win our hearts over by reminding us of Metroid Prime, an actually good game, perhaps to avoid acknowledging that the controls for their own masterpiece are more broken than a house made of nougat.
In all fairness NeverDead deserves a bit of credit for a few nice ideas, it's just that it has no idea how to execute them. It throws away the tedium of cover-based combat and instead tries to replicate the horde-based gameplay of traditional, much better first-person shooters, but it's handicapped by the third-person perspective and incredibly restrictive camera which makes manual aiming feel like you're throwing playing darts at a flock of speeding eagles while drunk, which I can only guess is because Bryce's arms are reinforced with jello. There is an auto-aim upgrade, but it considers a bullet-immune blade-necked spider creature one basketball court away a bigger threat than the fat clubbed-tail bastard right in front of you about to hack your arms and legs off, not helped by the levels being so cluttered and dark that you'll probably trip over a cardboard box while backpedalling and become easy pickings. All weapons in the game can be dual-wielded, an idea I think could make for some interesting combinations if not for the fact that there's a grand total of five guns in the game, four of which are loaded with Brussels sprouts and the last one being completely impractical, made all the more troublesome by the unintuitive weapon switch system which forces you to scroll through each weapon one at a time like you're sorting through your iPhone contacts in the middle of a moshpit rather than just opening a menu overlay for greater convenience. I'm starting to question if gun combat was deliberately made frustrating as aside from certain bosses there's absolutely no reason to use anything but the sword, since it's good for ploughing through the legions of baddies that will inevitably crowd around you like clingy house pets. Although you swing with the right analog stick which feels really awkward and unnatural, and half the enemies blow up when defeated, so maybe the entirety of combat was made frustrating to coax you into turning the game off, but silly me not picking up the hint there! And I know I shouldn't question the logic of a game in which activating a switch with the sword is recommended over simply pulling it with hands like a normal person, but when Bryce regenerates his body he also automatically gains his weapons and clothes back; how the fuck does that work? Is being able to store sub-machine guns and fabric in his cheeks another perk of his curse? because that sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.
But just because you can't die from the real action doesn't mean there aren't still other ways to get a game over, incredibly stupid ways they may be! The most common death scenario is having your disembodied head consumed by little sentient dumplings that appear in every section of every stage and constantly respawn no matter how many times you kill them; they can only be escaped if you line up two scrolling bars in an utterly baffling attempt to balance out the gameplay, but it's really finicky about what counts as lined up, and towards the end of the game the bars move by so fast that you'd have to have meditated on an isolated mountain top for twelve years to be able to keep up with them. There are also the support NPCs the game forces you to escort through various parts of the game, but they just could not give less of a shit about self-preservation since their survival strategy involves staying as far away as possible from the unkillable man with the giant sword trying to babysit them; that and they rarely ever run away from attacking enemies, never target the monster spawners that are always in every goddamned room, and have a terrible habit of walking under the one strip of building you've toppled over to crush a marching band of demons. Whenever they're overpowered or simply trip over their high heels, they screech into the microphone at full volume and express mild irritation that they lack the constitution or mere motivation to pick themselves up, which masterfully reflects my own reaction. Failure to come to their aid in time has them give up all hope in humanity and suddenly drop dead, although whether you're able to reach them in time tends to be a crapshoot based on the amount of debris cluttering up the room and whether or not you're in one piece at the time, to say nothing of the segment with the speeding trains which felt like assisting an overconfident three-toed sloth through a monster truck rally. No one wants to get a game over for something that isn't their fault, especially not from characters whose every last utterance already fills the player with enough misanthropic rage to power an entire North Korean concentration camp.
But I've ranted on enough about the gameplay, so let's look at other areas that give me meningitis. Ah, I think the art direction will work, because there is none; if there was, then the concept artists sneaking Max Ernst doodles into their submissions to troll the character artists is the only logical explanation. I feel it deserves special mention for vomiting out some of the worst character designs I've ever seen in a video game, which is saying a bloody lot when the entire JRPG genre still exists (buuurn). The "Quad Jaw" creature was the most ridiculous, having the body of a purple beetle with an octopus' mouth on its underbelly, and three heads covered in spider webs that resemble a tiger, a rabbit and a crocodile sitting atop necks resembling tree trunks, an inhumane concoction that even Doctor Moreau would find offensive. Bryce himself looks like a shaving accident gone horribly wrong also bearing hair so stiff he must need fucking sculptors to shave it, and Astaroth has what appears to be blue paint dripping from his mouth (which probably makes him the "special" kid of the demon world), a bird's nest for a body, and two skinned snakes for arms. It really does reach far beyond plain ridiculous; here I thought Ghirahim was insulting but if there were a competition held for most offensively gay video game characters ever made then the semi-recurrent demon boss of NeverDead would not only win the gold trophy and all the runner up medals, but he'd also take home all the consolation prizes, a lifetime supply of designer cupcakes, and probably a couple of underaged boys as well for good measure.
The story is all over the shop too, reading out like it was written inside fifteen minutes by an exasperated intern suspecting the director of banging his wife. They mention the more powerful demons being immune to weapons in our plane such as swords and guns which is the reason the heroes need a medium to make them vulnerable, but while Bryce gets a free ass-kicking ticket with the common enemies because he's special for no other reason than the game refusing to cooperate with the writers if a half-assed explanation wasn't given, how the fuck is Arcadia – a mere mortal with no prior connection to the demons – able to harm them? The writers don't seem to have a full understanding of emotional weight and impact, seeing as how the treachery of a fellow demon hunter who looks like he was on the bad end of a botched knife throwing act is treated as somewhat of a big deal despite the anorexic bastard only appearing for all of one minute prior to that with a huge neon sign saying "I am totally going to literally stab you in the back soon!" And if Bryce's blood behaves as an all-purpose restorative drug, then why in God's name does he only ever give a dose of it to Arcadia once in the entire fucking game? How many game overs and mortal genocide fantasies could I have been spared if she had just kept a couple jars of that shit on-hand instead of calling for help every single goddamned time the wind blew in her face?
I played NeverDead on-and-off because playing it dedicatedly would've been like shoving hot iron prods up my nostrils, and yet I still finished the entire story campaign within three days. When you get past all the shit, you find that the game is just boring; there are nine linear levels padded out to at least forty minutes each, with roughly half an hour worth of ideas to show for it. Gameplay feels more like a formulaic grind than any genuine test of skill; enter a room, run past all of Lovecraft's rejects so you can reach the giant armoured vaginas constantly respawning the twerps, slowly drag your fat load to your needy colleagues because a gun-toting harpy just shot all your limbs off in four different directions, then repeat about a hundred times. I thought Bryce would be made mortal for the final battle, stripping away the only thing that kept him safe for so long as an epic final showdown that's won on his own merits and not just because he was the guy blessed with a shiny eyeball, but that would imply a degree of genuine sophistication or effort on the part of a production team that likely spent the majority of the development process bashing their heads against their desks and injecting copious amounts of turpentine into their systems. The addition of online multiplayer just seems like a desperate attempt to maintain replay value, a bid that couldn't even fool the fans since I was only able to find about four active lobbies over the week I played, which in all honesty was the most uplifting part of this entire experience.
The biggest insult to any gamer is when they've invested more effort into beating a game than the development team did actually making it, which makes NeverDead the biggest middle finger a developer could possibly give. There are a few interesting ideas, but that's hardly enough to salvage the game when even those mechanics were constructed from horse shit. It's just one of those games that no matter what you do, it never really feels like you've accomplished anything of worth. I mean Astaroth doesn't even die in the end, he just sinks back into his burning grotto dragging Bryce down with him; for all the shits I gave, everyone may as well have just shot each other with squirt guns at the local rubbish dump, and that at least wouldn't have cost me $90. Then it just jumps into the credits roll as an incredibly out of place dance pop number closes off a game that up until now was built entirely on monotonous heavy metal and high-powered electronic, which would be like going to a Rammstein concert and the closing act being Kesha. Do you really want to be heavy metal, NeverDead? Then go jump in an iron maiden, and then maybe we can both feel like we've achieved something beautiful.
Also, if you haven’t noticed, I don’t know how to write introductions.
Ok, so this month I still don’t have any new games, but I'll promise next review will actually be about a new game! In the meantime, I'll give you a really popular game, Grand Theft Auto IV and its first expansion, The Lost and Damned. So I’ll put a disclaimer right now, if you’re under the age of 10 you really shouldn’t want to play this game. If you're above 10, go ahead.
With that out of the way, let's start with the story, which I must say is one of the finest aspects of the game. The game stars (and you play as) Niko Bellic, an immigrant fresh of the boat who has decided to move to New Y-I mean, Liberty City because of its reputation as the land of liberty. Of course, as you would expect, he quickly gets into Liberty City's criminal underworld, and so you play his tale of how he survived in the city.
But, who the hell plays Grand Theft Auto for the story? The game itself is what matters in a sandbox game, and while it isn't bad per se, Grand Theft Auto IV's gameplay is certainly dated. No, I don't mean the “shoot everyone up” part; I mean all the other parts. Apart from doing missions, you don't have jackshit to do in this immense world. Sure, you could hang out with an AI buddy, but that mostly amounts to “drive here, play a boring minigame, drive back”. You could watch TV, but that’s just depressing man. And in this gritty and realistic universe, you just can’t go into a murder spree because it just isn't detatched enough from reality in order from it to be funny.
And then there are the controls. I challenge you to find an AAA-game with more horrible controls in almost everything, because it's kind of impossible. Cars and motorcycles control like they are made out of paper, a single crash will make you go flying like 30 meters in the air, which you’ll be doing a lot of times, since trying to stop the goddamn vehicle is also a hassle that involves you pressing all the buttons on the controller while praying to whatever deity you worship to please not let you crash into that same fucking wall another time.
*sigh* Moving on, walking is something you’ll most likely never want to do, since it's slow as fuck, and running is now apparently an Herculean task since it involves mashing the X/A button as hard as you can. This, coupled with the horrible and boring as hell driving, leaves taking a taxi as your only option for traveling everywhere, and even though you can unlock a free taxi for you to do anywhere without paying, you'll notice taking a taxi will make a hole in your wallet, especially in the early game when you don’t have much to start with.
The shooting controls, while somewhat awkward, are actually the part of the game that I wish most sandbox games took influence from. You get an auto-targeting reticule that automatically goes for the nearest living object, which, in the brown world of Liberty City, is a necessity since enemies will most likely blend in with the background. It also shows their health, and let’s you score headshots easily, making combat
Moving onto the sandbox, the world of Liberty City is a beautiful place, and a gaming masterpiece as far as environments is concerned. Every single piece of it is perfectly detailed, and it shows that Rockstar tried really hard to make it its own world, with people having random conversations in one corner, or two hobos having a drunken fight in a closed back alley which you have no reason to be in. It truly feels like this isn’t a world just designed for your player character, but that the player is just a part of it, with other people having their own adventures.
However, the part that truly shines in the game, the best part of it, is the sound department. First off, the voice acting in the game is flawless, well, maybe not that good, but it's still really good. But the reason I said that the sound department is the best is simply because of the radio. The radio, which you can listen while driving, is made up of about 12 stations, each with their own DJ and own music setlist. There are also 3 talk radio stations, one of which is unlocked about 5/8ths of the game and is hosted by the guy who wrote all of them, Lazlow.
Now, some of you may be thinking, while preparing their pitchforks, “I’m tired of all this, I already have Grand Theft Auto IV, I just want to know if The Lost and Damned is worth it”. Truth is, until this point, I totally forgot I was also going to review it, but don’t worry, let's dedicate the rest of this review to that thing.
For those who don't know, there's this thing called downloadable content, which HD consoles like the Xbox 360 can do. They're basically digital things you can buy to extend your game's playtime, like expansion packs, but more crappy. So, when at the beginning of this console generation, people weren't still so hot on the whole idea, Microsoft announced that they had made a deal with Rockstar so that, in exchange for gigantic amounts of money, they would create 2 DLCs for Grand Theft Auto IV only for Xbox. And the first one, and the one people consider the inferior of the two, was The Lost and Damned. This one focuses on The Lost MC, a biker gang that you occasionally meet in the main game. You play as Johnny Klebitz, the vice president of the gang who is having issues with the newly released president of the club, who’s being a complete idiot starting gang wars and just overall not giving a shit. In terms of gameplay, the DLC doesn’t add too much. It gives you a few new weapons, and improved bike racing, but there’s not a lot compared to the core game. But the story is more interesting on this one, showing us the story from the point of view from someone who isn't new to Liberty City and already has his reputation made.
Overall, I would recommend Grand Theft Auto IV to anyone wanting some gritty, realistic action with a great plot, but not someone searching for the mindless, stupid fun of past games (go to Saints Row 2 if you want that, you won't regret it). On the other hand, The Lost and Damned should only be purchased if you're a big GTA4 fan, since it doesn’t add too much to the mix, apart from more rage-worthy motorcycle driving.
And that concludes this review, I guess. Seeya next month, when I’ll hopefully review Mass Effect 3.
Yo-yo Mario Karters to the Mario Kart: Wheel Tips Corner. Coincollector's here and ready to tell you the tip of the month. Let's begin.
Today I'll talk about one of the courses of the latest Mario Kart game: Mario Kart 7, Wuhu Island Loop. Wuhu Island Loop (aka Wuhu Loop in North America) is the first course of the Flower Cup and takes place in Wuhu Island, an element coming from Wii Sports Resort. Wuhu Island Loop's track is remarkable for being divided in three sections, a first in Mario Kart 7. This means that once racers have completed a section, they have completed a lap. Racers must find the line with the banners that show two stars and three stars on them that indicate the second lap and third lap respectively. The race is completed when the racers finally find the banner with the Mario Kart title and cross the line. Besides Wuhu Island Loop, there are two other courses that have this unique feature, but today I'll only talk about this course.
The first section of the track is simple and safe for beginners. Most of this part has wide fields of green grass and almost no obstacles to worry about. All players begin the race in a small town that leads quickly to a concrete road that goes to a bridge, and at the beginning of it there is the first set of Item Boxes. While crossing the bridge, you can find a ramp in the middle to do tricks. After crossing the bridge, racers bend in a soft S bend to the right with another ramp for tricks at the end of the turn. The course keeps going with the road bending gently to the left and then to the right. The track now follows in a straight line with a second set of item boxes split in two by a small median. Racers complete the first lap by crossing the line located in this part of the course.
The second section of the track is slightly harder. While crossing the line, racers must enter a tunnel with traffic. All the others vehicles in the way can bowl over the karts and drop their coins on the road. However, these obstacles can be surpassed quickly once exited the tunnel. The track continues between two masses of rock and later over a rocky cliff. Be careful not to be too near to the right side of the road or you will fall off from the edge. Racers make a turn to the left between two large rocky mountains. In this spot you can choose to take the concrete road or fall to the entrance of a tunnel at the bottom. The main way makes a C turn to the left and down there is a third set of item boxes. Next to it there is a row of two trick ramps to gain boosts. The alternate route is a passage where racers will find a blue pad that activates the kart's glider and fly over the stretch with the trick ramps. Turn to the left and then to the right in a large curve where you get the fourth group of item boxes and eventually the crossing line to finish the second lap. Watch out again with the traffic that gets in your way to the line.
The third lap is less hard than the second, although the course now has more curves and their obstacles are simpler. After passing the second line, you'll swerve to the right and find another ramp for tricks. Racers follow the way over a cliff. Now swerve to the left where another ramp can be found, very near to the edge of the cliff. The last set of item boxes appear and the track splits again in two, a path of soil can be found to the right side of the main way, which sends you to the lighthouse of the island. The main route on the other hand has some crates that block your path. You can break up these crates making contact with them to reveal an item inside them, sometimes, but the best way is just avoiding them as they can make you slow down. In the road there is another median that splits the track in half. The other route sends you to the lighthouse lying over a cliff. In your way, you can obtain a boost from a pair of dash panels to take flight later by a blue pad at the end. You'll glide over a cliff and you can ascend a bit more with a Koopa Clown Car-like fan floating in the air. You'll land on the main way eventually which goes down to the town in an S bend. Two last jump ramps can be found at the sides of the track. After that, racers take the last turn to the left to return to the town and finish the race crossing the line where they started out.
If you're skilled enough, this track is not a big deal and despite the course having various obstacles, they are easy to avoid. The course also has their shortcuts. The most basic one is to cut the curves of the track by passing through the grass using a Mushroom or a Star. Some of these shortcuts even have a ramp over the grass for another boost - but frankly, they are not necessary to use. In the second section after the two trick ramps there is a row of platforms over the void. This shortcut is a bit hard to pull off as you need very good accuracy to take the boost pad and then use tricks to reach the other platforms while you pass over a perilous gap that makes you lose valuable seconds if you fail. The course also has another, perhaps obscure shortcut that is located on the way to the lighthouse. All you need here is to fall off and... whoops! Time's up for me to tell you more...
Well, Shy Guys, I hope you have enjoyed the tip of this month in the Mario Kart: Wheel Tips Corner of The 'Shroom. See you next time.
Oh hey, everybody, it’s Toad85 again. I apologize if this section seems a little short this month, but I’m drenched in homework and it’s difficult to find time to write. Also, I had some trouble finding a good source for this edition, so that cut into my time as well.
But look at the bright side. I finally figured out how to put pictures in this thing.
So sit back and watch me do my thing the best I can.
PART TWO: NINTENDO’S TOY YEARS
So, where did we leave off? Well, if you don’t know, read the title of the dang section.
The year is 1967. Nintendo has dabbled in some industries outside of its original intended market, which was card-making. A newcomer named Gunpei Yokoi (remember that name, it will appear again) had joined the staff, and was coming up with these newfangled things called toys. His goal was to develop a hit toy that Nintendo could sell over the holidays. He was one of many toymakers hired by Nintendo at the time, but unlike his comrades, his first prototype was completed in wood.
Yokoi’s toy was called the “Ultra Hand.” Basically, it was an extendable appendage thingy that you could use to pick things up or poke another person with, kinda like a robot arm. Nintendo decided to take a shot with it. It turned out to be a success, ultimately selling 1.2 million of them. Yokoi was named head of Nintendo’s toy division as a result, and began work on his next big product.
His next toy was a simple resistance meter marketed as a love tester. Two people who were in love would hold a handle each and then hold each other’s hands; the amount of resistance would indicate how much the two were “in love.” This toy also sold well, and would help propel Nintendo into their next era.
Yokoi, Masayuki Uemura (a member of Nintendo’s R&D team), and Hiroshi Yamauchi (remember him from issue 59?), as a team came up with a new use for old bowling alleys, that had fallen into disuse after a bowling craze in Japan in the sixties. They decided to make an electronic skeet-shooting gallery. Despite having some technical limitations, the three engineers developed the system in 1974, basically making a system that would register a “hit” to a target whenever someone pulled the trigger on a toy gun.
Nintendo had just made their first video game.
The system was called Wild Gunman, and was based on a wild-west high-noon duel scenario. The game featured live-action video of a homicidal outlaw who the player would need to shoot before they themselves were shot. The game would later be ported to the NES, but the graphics were tremendously downgraded. Little did they know it at the time, but Nintendo just pointed the compass of their destiny.
In 1973, the OPEC oil crisis that was ravaging the U.S. economy also hit Japan pretty severely. Shooting galleries like ‘’Wild Gunman’’ became much less popular as the oil crisis went on, and Nintendo was looking for some new novelty to keep the company afloat. Luckily, it found salvation in the form of Pong.
Hiroshi learned about the video game craze going on in the U.S. during the 70s, with companies like Atari racking in millions of sales and billions of dollars. Nintendo decided to jump in the pool, and negotiated a license with Magnavox to produce their electronics in Japan. In 1977, Nintendo released the Video 7 Color TV Game, a console for the Japanese market, and, together with its sister console the Video 15, sold over one million units. Nintendo was about to make it big in the video game industry, but how long would it take for the corporation to catch on across the pond?
Hey guys, it's Marioguy1! Welcome to another issue of Fading into Obscurity! This month the character we're looking at isn't necessary an old character but is definitely an obscure character. If you haven't already figured out who I'm talking about then this month, we are reviewing Red and Green!
Don't worry, the font craziness stops there. So, Red and Green are pretty minor characters from Super Paper Mario but they do play an important role. When Mario enters Yold Town, these two are guarding the entrance. Red asks Mario his favourite colour. If Mario answers correctly, then Red opens the door (guess what the right answer is). Green on the other hand, doesn't let Mario past regardless - taking preference to his allies, Luigi and Bowser. This combination of confounding kinsmen is clearly a crucial component of the game, regardless of whether or not they have faded into obscurity.