The 'Shroom:Issue XC/Critic Corner
Hiya everybody, welcome to the September issue of the ‘Shroom, and to this lovely, wild, inhabited Critic Corner section! Please enjoy your stay here! If you want, I mean, I dunno, I cannot sue you if you do not :(
Section of the Month
Since there was only one section last month, there is not any Section of the Month! BOOOOOOOOOO. But hey, at least you guys have a wide variety to choose from this time!
Yoshi876 debuts with a wonderful review of the wonderful Pink Gold Peach!
Non-Mario Game Reviews
Heylo everybody, it's Pyro, back with another issue of Fangame Reviews, now with pictures! I'll basically be doing fangames whenever I don't have a non-Mario game to review - I have yet to finish Shovel Knight, and when I do I'll review it. It's fantastic, but that's a subject for another day...er...issue. Today I'll be tackling two recent Mario fangames, Super Mario Country and Mario Land: Minigame Mayhem, and the new updates on a relatively well-known Mega Man fangame, Mega Man Unlimited.
First off, Super Mario Country, which is probably what I'd consider the...least good of the things I'm tackling today. The last true Mario game I played was Super Mario 3D World (which is excellent, by the way), and I've been avoiding any and all Mario platformers for a while now because the newest games are getting extremely stale no matter what powerups or pretty graphics they add; and because the only platformers I've been playing recently are Kirby and Mega Man ones, I'm extremely out of shape in Mario. On to the actual game, Super Mario Country is made by DJ Coco, a global moderator on the MFGG forums. The game aims to capture the charm of Super Mario Land 2, as evidenced by its graphical style, use of only the four Gameboy colors and its screen size, and even scanlines. I have to say, Coco did a great job with the authenticity. The game has a few graphical hiccups, however, as can be seen in the images provided. Enemies that weren't in the original Land 2 just have their sprites from World or something and recolored with the four colors available. It looks jarring, but for someone who's played all of the Gameboy Mega Man games it doesn't pop out, considering a good chunk of the graphics in those games are just taken from the NES. The level design is a bit wonky; it's okay for the most part, but there are some unfair points.
I played a good 7-8 levels, and a good chunk had some pretty bullshit parts. There's a level where you ride on a raft and a shark throws Goombas at you; creative idea, but I swear, those Goomba's hitboxes are ever so slightly off and I shouldn't have died three times. The first level of the snow world is the one pictured on the right; it was a pleasant surprise to see old faces from Mario 2 like Panser, Ninji and Flurry, but the level had some pretty dumb parts. You see that picture? That section is awful. There's at least four different spike fields you have to jump across via Flurries (note: Instead of standing on Flurries, you continuously bounce off of them). There's also this ooone jump close to the end of the level where there's two falling platforms over each other, a pipe, and a Ninji guarding a cliff. If it sounds easy, it's not. If the Ninji just happens to not be timed right, you're either going to have to take a hit (or die if you're Small Mario) or just die in the pit. I died to it the first time because it wasn't synced up the way it should be, and on the second try it was. In another level in a zone I don't remember, there was a minecart; its jump curve is just...bizarre; it just feels very heavy. Plus, its hitbox is screwed up; sometimes you stomp the enemy, sometimes you don't. I think DJ Coco realized this as well, because the checkpoint is fairly early on and the level is short in general.
There are also a few other points of bullshit, but I just wanted to point out those instances. I can't say anything bad about the soundtrack, it was all good Gameboy tunage, but the level design really takes it down a notch. I'll give Super Mario Country a 6/10.
Next up, Mario Minigame Mayhem! Wait a minute. It's called Mario Land: Minigame Mayhem, sorry folks! Mario Land: Minigame Mayhem is the brainchild of Kritter. The basic idea behind the game is that Mario visits the Mario Land theme park, filled with booths hosting minigames of all kinds. There's over 80 minigames to play, over 40 tracks to listen to as you walk through the park, 60 figurines to collect from a store, and more. Minigames cost coins, and Toadsworth gives you coins if you don't have any. You can earn coins via completing and winning minigames, and you can spend them on figurines or extra costumes to wear.
Okay, I'm just going to be blunt here. This game is absolutely fantastic, perfect, amazing, awesome, I cannot see it any better! No, seriously, this game is fucking amazing. The graphics are superb; they're Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga sprites, and everything looks clean and pretty because of it. There's a ton of things to do, including 80+ minigames, all well-designed. You can go to an arcade and play Mario-themed remakes of arcade games such as Snake, Frogger and Tetris, and you can go to a "Card Pavilion" to play glorified rock-paper-scissors (an NPC actually calls it that in game) against either Luigi, Wario or Bowser. There are many different standalone minigames as well, such as some platforming challenges hosted by a Thwomp, or a trivia show run by Psycho Kamek. The one bad thing I do have to say about the minigames is that there's a good chunk of luck-based ones; there's a minigame where you pick a card and hope it's not one that makes you lose coins; there's another where you try to dodge Bowletta's flames by picking a wall to hide behind and hoping she won't burn that one; there's one where you bet coins on which minion will win a race; etc. It's not like you're required to win them, though; you have to play them to access a big secret, however. I'm not spoiling it here.
There are 60 figurines of Mario characters & enemies; you buy them via a capsule machine. The best part about it is that you never have to worry about getting one you already own; the more coins you pay, the more likely you are to get one you haven't gotten yet. There's a great selection of figurines, from Mario to Rexes to Lord Crump to even Kritter himself. The descriptions tell you what game they first appeared in, and include a short description reminiscent of Smash Bros. You can purchase extra costumes to wear in the Costume Shop - they range from relatively mundane (Fire Mario, Luigi) to crazy batshit insane (Peach). It's a good selection, and I'm comforted that more costumes are on the way; I'll talk about that soon. There's also a good chunk of achievements in the game, which are easily the hardest part. Some ones I've looked at go into luck-based territory - one requires you to play the matching game and complete it without hitting the Bowser (dud) panel.
Another great part of the game is that Kritter can easily update it via the Updater. The game itself tells you when an update is available, and the updater automatically downloads it without you having to redownload everything. This allows for rapid-fire bugfixes, and thanks to it many, many bugs were fixed, including some framerate issues affecting my computer. The only other thing I've spotted is some typos relating to "i'm" instead of "I'm". And now that the bugs have been fixed, Kritter has promised extra content via the updater, including new minigames and costumes!
If I haven't made it clear enough, this game is fantastic. It's a solid 10/10. Give it a download; it's seriously worth it.
Aaaand finally, Mega Man Unlimited. This game came out...I think last year? Mega Man Unlimited is a very high quality fangame made by MegaPhilX and others that I can't remember off the top of my head. It's infamous for its difficulty being through the roof, sometimes in a good way, sometimes bad, sometimes really bad (I'm looking at you, Yoku Man. Fuck you for all eternity). Over time, updates have made the game less bullshit, and recently version 1.2.0 and 1.2.1 have come out. These versions mostly focus on extra content rather than main game changes, so if you haven't played the main game yet I suggest you either play it or watch a playthrough on YouTube; Heavy Sigh from Something Awful is currently doing a Let's Play that I recommend you watch; it's very informative.
Onto the new updates; it adds a few new things - Endless Attack, Endless Boss Attack, a new stage (Whirlpool Man), and the ability to charge up your buster. Endless Attack is like it is in Mega Man 9 and 10, in that you get every special weapon and you have to traverse sections endlessly, with "screens cleared" as your score. Unlimited's endless attack features areas designed by fans; it's pretty cool. MegaPhilX made a loooad of new tilesets for this and Endless Boss Attack; I think there's at least 20, and they all look fantastic. All of the areas use previous stage gimmicks in creative ways; there's one section that combines platforms that explode when you shoot them (Trinitro Man's stage), and glue enemies that absorb your shots and reflect them back at you (Glue Man's stage); the reflected shots still destroy the platforms, so it makes for some interesting stage designs. My high score is 20; yeah, I suck. Endless Boss Attack is exactly what it sounds like; you fight the ten Robot Masters in a random order, get health refills from each, and get some weapon refills when you defeat every 10. My high score is 12. Oh, and you have the option to charge your buster now. It's Mega Man 4 charging, where you don't lose your charge when you get hit, and the charge shot doesn't pierce very many things. It certainly speeds up boss fights, but I'm sad that the charge shot doesn't pierce the aforementioned explosive platforms; I'd love it if I could just send a charge shot flying through a row of those. EXPLOSIONS.
The big feature of the update is a brand-new stage - Whirlpool Man. You access the stage from the same menu as you do the Endless modes, and you can select difficulty and the ability to charge as if you were starting a new save file. You're generously given all special weapons (I wasn't expecting that) as well. The stage itself is gorgeous in the graphics department, and spikes in the spike department. What else do you expect from a water stage, let alone a Mega Man Unlimited, also known as Unlimited Spikes, stage? There's a bullet hell theme going throughout the stage; the miniboss shoots swirls of energy balls, and there's these destructible walls that shoot out eight shots in the cardinal directions when destroyed. The main gimmick is, surprise surprise, whirlpools that push you up. This is used creatively, especially towards the end of the stage. There's some new enemies, including Tellies from hell - these giant fucking seahorses that only take two shots to kill, but they are a pest, dashing towards you. Also here are the fish from the third Wily stage of Mega Man 2, but now with a fresh new sprite, and scuba Mets. Whirlpool Man himself is an okay boss; the only thing he does is spawn mines and pull them towards you, and when they hit the wall they explode into a spray of bullets. Supposedly he has another attack, but I waited for five minutes and he never did it. Defeating him permanently unlocks a new weapon, the Water Cannon. It's a rapid-fire weapon that has a good amount of ammo, and due to lack of enemy invulnerability that lasts more than half a second it absolutely murders enemies and especially minibosses.
The new content is quite fun and replayable, and the new weapon especially is a fun addition to your arsenal. I give the new updates to Mega Man Unlimited an 8/10.
Breaathhh...Holy shit, I think that's the longest section I ever wrote. I encourage you to check out these games yourself, and if you have a fangame or game in general you want me to check out, tell me at my talk page or shoot me a PM on the forum. See ya!
Pink Gold Peach
Pink Gold Peach was introduced in Mario Kart 8 to many people's chagrin, including myself. Pink Gold Peach is basically just the female counterpart to Metal Mario, an addition I thought was bad in the first place. And with this addition many may wonder whether this will open the floodgates to many more metal characters a la , .
Pink Gold Peach is made from pink gold, yeah me neither, and this makes her heavy, and basically nothing else. The pink gold is just put on in an attempt to make Princess Peach just a bit more pink, peachy. One of the main reasons she may have been included is to make a female heavyweight, however Queen Bee already that did that, and with a completely original character to boot. This leads me nicely into the main reason I dislike her. The main thing that irks me about Pink Gold Peach is that it seems that she has come into the Mario Kart series at the expense at other, more original characters (okay granted most are generic enemies, but they still have importance). If Pink Gold Peach had come in with characters like Birdo, Dry Bones and Bowser Jr. then it would've been fine with me, yes she'd still be a bland addition to the roster, but at least the people I like are there. And I'm not alone in this view, Pink Gold Peach was written in my large amounts of people for Worst Character in the Awards Ceremony, safe to say her reception has been less than peachy.
However, I don't hate everything about her. Whilst admittedly she is just a metal version of Princess Peach, I do see her becoming a recurring character within the franchise. Like Metal Mario she will likely return in the next Mario Kart instalment bringing along with her the onslaught of more metal, doubt the Karts can handle it. I can also see Pink Gold Peach in the main series, what with Princess Peach’s recent playable appearance in Super Mario 3D World, if she is playable again, the Metal Box could return allowing Pink Gold Peach to stomp some Goombas.
Overall, Pink Gold Peach is an unnecessary addition to the Mario series, more original female heavyweights could've taken her spot. However, with the potential to appear in the main series, she may not be a wasted character. Do I want to see her again though, no not really.
Hiya to you crazy people! I'm that Packy guy. Yeah. That guy.
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