The 'Shroom:Issue LXXX/Critic Corner
Hi. I am your new Critic Corner director! So… hi! How you all doing?
October Section of the Month
Had a slightly higher voter turnout than last time, which is certainly nice! Congrats to MrConcreteDonkey (talk) (why did you people vote for such a horrible person…) for his Should Have Been section, which covered his opinion of what should’ve been in Nintendo Land. It was a very nice article, so well-deserved (not that NSM’s sections were bad, because they were both great as well!)
P.S. Anything bad I say about MCD is all in good fun, because he hates me too. :’)
Non-Mario Game Reviews
NSM’s Review Corner
Hey guys, NSM here. This time, I’ll be reviewing Tomb Raider (2013).
In case you didn’t know, the new Tomb Raider game is a reboot of the classic Playstation titles in the original series. Crystal Dynamics succeeds well in creating a great reboot, so let’s begin.
Alright, the game begins with Lara Croft and her crew set out on an expedition to the lost kingdom of Yamatai. However, Lara suggests that they venture into the Dragon’s Triangle, a place known for its raging storms. And, as I on key, they of course encounter a storm and wash up on island. Lara is separated from her crew, and finds herself in a strange location, hanging above a place with a bunch of dead bodies everywhere…
But that’s fine! Lara Croft then swings over to a torch, burning the ropes she was tied in and falls to the ground. And then that stick or metal rod (or whatever it was) enters through her side and she pulls it out. Yeah, that’s right. Lara is just awesome.
She soon finds out about a strange man named Mathias who has captured Lara’s friend Sam, proclaiming her as the successor of their queen. The plot unravels throughout the game, (and it’s quite good, actually), leading up to the ultimate conclusion. But I’ll leave that for you to find out.
One complaint though, is that some of the things that happened became so expecting after a while. Like, Lara falls and then has to jump from platform to platform as they fall off, and I basically called a few “enter cutscene” moments. That’s just a minor complaint though.
Other than Lara, Sam, Roth, maybe Reyes, and that annoying Dr. Whitman nobody likes, however, the characters are sadly kinda boring. I mean, some of them just aren’t very memorable and I wish they would have had more personality.
But what Tomb Raider lacks in predictable cutscenes and dull characters, it makes up in for its great gameplay. In the beginning of the game, Lara begins with no weapons, but will slowly gain new weapons and weapon updates throughout her journey. Her main weapon, the bow and arrow, is just awesome, I pretty much felt like Katniss Everdeen, being the big Hunger Games fan I am. Other weapons include the shotgun and the pistol (which was especially fun to finish off your enemies with later in the game).
Like I mentioned, as you progress throughout the game you will receive updates from your weapons and gear. One example, would be the fire arrows, which can be used to explode gasoline barrels and other items. The updates arrive at the perfect time, and make the game feel fresh. I really liked them.
Also, Lara can update her equipment by stopping at a base camp. Want more ammunition? You can do that. What to be able to finish your enemies off with your favorite weapon? You can do that too. Pretty much anything you want, really, is available for upgrade at the base camp (just be sure to collect enough salvage).
Throughout the game, you’ll encounter small, optional tombs as well. In these tombs, you work to get to the “treasure”, I suppose at the end. While seemingly basic at first, I loved these tombs. The puzzles in them reminded me of the Zelda series, in the fact that you have to use the environment to figure them out. And as long as you don’t do the survival instinct feature, figuring some of these puzzles may take a while, which I love. Other than that, there are plenty of collectibles and other side-missions you can do that will keep you playing the game much longer after you beat it.
Tomb Raider is simply a beautiful game. The scenery of the island is breathtaking, and I found it hard to not stop and look around for a little bit. The characters look good too, and their voices sound great.
Other than that, Tomb Raider does feature online multiplayer, but it’s pretty awful, to be frank. It feels rushed, and I hate that many games these days have online multiplayer just for the sake of having it. However, overall, Tomb Raider is a great game, and I encourage you to pick it up if you haven’t already.
Got an idea for a game I should review? PM me, NSM, on the forums!
Pros: Beautiful environment, great character design/voices, fun tombs, weapons and upgrades, great gameplay, Lara is awesome <3, great plot, epic conclusion Cons: unnecessary multiplayer, some characters lack personality, predictable at times Overall rating: 9/10
Hottest Reviews Around
My wonderful ass prevented me from submitting a section last month...no, scratch that, the lack of competence in me...no, rather Pokémon X and Y are too fucking slow. In my boredom, Skulldug had a moment of genius to buy the XBLA version of my still broken Spelunky HD copy on Steam, so I finally got to play the game! Hooray!
The Binding of Isaac is a very fun game, and is making me like rougelikes. Spelunky HD is the HD remake of Spelunky, a randomly generated platformer made in Game Maker. The game got so popular that there had to be an XBLA version. Cough, Minecraft, cough, Terraria.
Everything except your sanity is randomly generated, but instead of a top-down RPG like most roguelikes, Spelunky is real-time and a platformer. The idea works brilliantly - a randomly generated platformer really has no problems. You play as an unnamed spelunker, who I like to call "Spelunky Guy", who possesses bombs, ropes, and a whip and nothing else. You're whisked into a always-changing, hellish mine shaft to find a legendary treasure held by the mysterious Olmec. As you progress through the game, you go to different locations, such as an underground, very deadly jungle, an ice cavern with a bottomless pit ominously crying for your life at the bottom, and an ancient temple haunted by Anubis, the god of death. There's also Hell, but I've never gotten to Hell yet.
Each of these floors are inhabited by their own monsters, gradually getting more asinine as you go. You start off with typical baddies like snakes, spiders and bats, but you soon encounter man-eating plants, explosive frogs, and boomerang-loving natives. This eventually climaxes in yetis with absurdly strong arms, explosive UFOs, and a giant...ice...thing. You could say it's a mammoth, but who cares? I'm making a joke about it.
The cool part is that when you kill or you are killed by an enemy, it's added to your journal. The same goes for characters, places, items and traps. The journal keeps track of all of the times you've been killed by an enemy and how many times you've killed it. There's some pretty hilarious descriptions of the enemies as well. The journal, I feel, is a strong point of the game and I think it enriches the experience. It's like the Spelunky Wiki but without the Spelunky Wiki.
As regular for rougelikes, expect your deaths to be plentiful, quick, and hilarious. Among the many deaths you'll have, expect some nasty encounters with giant spiders, rude awakenings by insta-death spikes, and your own bombs. There's no end to you dying horribly, and even if you do get pissed off the death log will cheer you up with its hilarious messages. Examples include "an arrow has pierced one of my vital organs" and "help! I'm still falling!". No boring "Game Over, press R to try again" bullshit, you really get cheered up by the death log. Sort of like BOI. "Dear Diary, today I died..."
Another plus is the variety of wacky items. You've got typical items like a knife, shotgun, and pickaxe, but you've also got giant explosive laser guns, freeze rays, and teleportation buttons. Some items are blatantly overpowered, such as the Shotgun, Jetpack, and the Plasma Cannon, but others make you find out their use, like the elusive Eggplants. You'll assemble a large array of items that you'll likely have to juggle to keep track of on especially good runs. I'm a big fan of the Climbing Gloves and Mattock, as they decrease your use of ropes and bombs, respectively.
Another fun thing is the shops. Shops are always a pleasure, as I have an odd happy feeling every time I see weapons in the shop. The fun part is that you can rob the shopkeeper, making him go berserk and attempt to shoot you to death. You can then get every item in the shops free, but at the cost of a trigger-happy, powerful shopkeeper guarding every last exit of a level. Have fun, kiddies.
But all of the wacky items and monsters you can encounter in the game stops there. The game has a few glaring flaws.
The game tries to be a little too speedrun-friendly. If you spend more than two minutes and thirty seconds on a floor, you'll be attacked by an invincible ghost that instantly kills you upon contact. It prevents you from thoroughly exploring floors and taking your time, as the ghost is one of the largest enemies in the game and very hard to avoid. If you're daring and insanely good, then you can ignore the ghost, but otherwise it's a pain in the ass.
The game also features certain level flavors that usually reward you with something if you look hard enough, but you can encounter "dark" levels that prevent you from seeing anything besides dim torches and your spelunker. You're given a torch that emits light, but usually it ends up being another thing to juggle. If you get dark levels, it's very easy to be eaten by near-invisible giant spiders and seemingly nonexistent spikes. But...after all, this is just me nitpicking.
All in all, Spelunky is a blast to play (especially when you blow yourself up. Ba dum psssh.) and any rougelike fan that either has an Xbox, PS3, or a reasonably well-running computer, Spelunky is a must-have. If you want to play it now now now, you can download an old but free version on the Spelunky World site.
See you next time...hopefully.