The 'Shroom:Issue XCI/Critic Corner
Hellos everybody, welcome to the October issue of Critic Corner! :D I hope you all enjoyed last month’s issue. Unfortunately, we do not have as many sections this month, so we’re kind of a draaag! But I hope you enjoy the section that we have anyways! :)
Section of the Month
Out of the three sections last month, it turned out the winner was me, so thank you guys very much! :D I appreciate that lotsss! I had 4 votes, Yoshi876 had 3 votes, and Pyro had one vote. So congrats to you both especially! :)
Non-Mario Game Reviews
The latest instalment in the Super Smash Bros. franchise has just recently been released, and who’s come along for the ride? That's right, it's Dr. Mario, yay? Dr. Mario is literally just that, it's Mario all dressed up in doctor gear, with the necessary drugs to boot, obviously some drugs were probably ingested when it was decided he should return. As one would expect Dr. Mario is a completely original character, oh wait no, he's actually just a semi-clone. For those of you not geared up on Smash Bros. terminology, this means he plays like another character, you got three tries to figure out who he's based on, but has enough differences to not be considered a clone. The most notable changes are the Megavitamins which bounce higher and fall faster than Mario's fireballs. The other major difference is the down special, for Dr. Mario it's the Dr. Tornado (who is a very bad doctor by the way), whereas for Mario, it's F.L.U.D.D., hooray?
It's ironic that the doctor's inclusion makes me sick, he comes in as a semi-clone, instead of a full blown unique character, however, the main thing that annoys me is the fact that he comes for a series which I believe to be overrepresented, yes Mario is Nintendo’s flagship series, but it does not require seven representatives for this game, especially seeing as series like The Legend of Zelda definitely deserved another newcomer. Continuing on from this point, the Doctor was likely included to beef out the roster, so why not use other previous semi-clones like Lucas?
However, it’s not only Smash Bros. where the good doctor makes an appearance. No, he has his own series, the Dr. Mario series, which plays similarly to Tetris, even his games aren't an original concept. Well to be fair, the Dr. Mario games are more of a semi-clone than an actual clone. However, in these games Dr. Mario practically bears no importance, as the game is basically Tetris he is just there to throw the pills in, he is the equivalent to the box that told you what piece you were getting next in Tetris. And this annoys me, Dr. Mario is a character who is a glorified box, and nothing more. I thinkwould've been a better idea.
Hello, friends, and welcome to a not special edition of Fangame Reviews! Today we have not three, not four, but one fangame to review! After last month's nightmare of a section, let's relax and contemplate about a fangame I actually beat - Abducted Toad! This fangame was made by Friendly Dictator or Superdimentiobros or whatever the hell you want to call him and was just finished recently, after multiple demos. It was obviously inspired by the best Mario fangame to date, Psycho Waluigi, with the game's design surrounding a central gimmick - Toad has the ability to shield himself with an electric aura for a second, killing enemies, activating switches and the like. The game definitely does great things with it, but it has...problems, and I'll be taking out the problems first.
The absolute biggest problem with this game is the absolutely insane difficulty, and for all the wrong reasons. For the purpose of this review, I'll be comparing the game to its inspiration Psycho Waluigi, the infamously frustrating indie game Super Meat Boy, and the silly, well-designed Mega Man fangame Mega Man DONGS. All three of these games get right what this game got wrong.
The game is trying to be a "hard game" by design, and it succeeds in that matter, but sometimes it's not fair. This game unfortunately uses a lives system, which severely bogs down the game. Dying over and over to a hard part, only for to game over and have to start all over again is crushing. One specific example is World 6's UFO Fleet Area; after an incredibly difficult level, you may be low on health and lives. Trying to figure out the bosses' pattern, you get killed and get a Game Over. "But it's just like Mega Man!", I hear. The first counterclaim against that is the fact that Mega Man has 28 hit points. Toad has four. Mega Man has a relatively normal length invincibility period. Toad has a short one. Mega Man has multiple weapons and the bosses have weaknesses to them you can use to speed up the fight. Toad has one attack. You see where I'm going with this? And the aforementioned three games all have infinite lives and make it less frustrating in a specific way - Super Meat Boy's levels are very short, and so when you die you don't lose much progress and are thrust back into the action very quickly. The other two have very frequent checkpoints. While Abducted Toad has frequent checkpoints, it takes a very long time to get back to the position you were in if you die to the boss of the level. Black Hole Area is the best example here - the boss there has a crapload of health, and before it is a long, tedious level with autoscrolling, very few places to heal, and no checkpoints. You also have to go through a rather long cutscene beforehand.
Now that I've got that point out of the way, I have a laundry list of levels that are fucking horrible in this game. They are - Crumbling Castle Area, Glitch Data Area, Ghost Galaxy Area, Hot Cold Area, UFO Fleet Area, and Black Hole Area. I'll cover them from least bad to most bad, and I've already covered the problem with Black Hole Area. First off, I only hate Hot Cold Area because Crumbling Castle Area has an absolutely awful area towards the end where you have to destroy the blocks you break with your aura but avoid destroying the crumbling blocks below it in order to not die. While this is fine in theory, look at the provided picture. Look at that low ceiling. Ugh. UFO Fleet Area is bad because it's long, very hard, low in extra lives, and has a section with the UFO vehicle that's autoscrolling. Ghost Galaxy Area is bad because it has many annoying enemies coming at you from every which way and introduces the UFO vehicle. Now why is this UFO vehicle so bad? It controls like a fucking drunk donkey running down a slope at its fastest possible speed, it has a giant hitbox, and it has very weak projectiles. I don't know what compelled Superdimentiobros to make this awful vehicle; maybe it's because it looks hilarious when you're holding Up, Right and Jump.
And the worst level in the game, Glitch Data Area! The glitchy screenshot above is what the level looks like in one section. People may be very surprised at why I hate this level, as it's "inspired" by the amazing, fun level from Psycho Waluigi, Static Void Kingdom. Now my biggest qualm with this idea is that it's very uninspired. If you fixed the tilesets and backgrounds, it would be just another level. There's nothing else special about it besides its bizarre visual gimmick. Static Void Kingdom's gimmick was that it flashed you to a new section of the level at seemingly random and had some bizarre level design. Nothing in Abducted Toad's version is "bizarre" outside of the tilesets. Sure, there are those extremely annoying enemies that randomly change into other ones, but they're used outside of this level, specifically in Starshine Islands Area. It's a really bad level overall if you put it into perspective with the other levels in the game, especially Worlds 2 and 4.
Those are pretty much the bad parts about this game...now on to the good parts! The hands-down best part about this game are the controls - yes, I'm serious. Toad moves at a fast pace making for quick and easy levels if you know what you're doing (and if you don't, then have fun in UFO Fleet Area! Hahaha, fuck you). There's no weird friction or anything, you basically move like a faster Mega Man. The next best part is the music. Oh god, the music. Superdimentiodictatorfriendwhatever actually got someone to compose some tracks for this game and they sound wonderful. The regular overworld theme is so calming and fits so much, and there's other very nice ambient tracks such as the one in Illusion Manor Area. I have to say the only bad track in this game is the music for the fight with the Singularity Core, which is a really shitty MIDI of Mega Man 4's final boss music.
The game also has some creativity, such as these Monty Mole fish, and this strange Up N' Down edit that has feet and jumps up and down...it's hard to explain. The game also has 56 CDs to collect, and the CDs contain various info on the enemies and bosses of the game. It adds some replayability, and I have yet to find them all. Other options include a special world and "Daredevil Mode", which gives you infinite lives but you die in one hit. When you beat a level in daredevil mode, you get a gold crown on the map screen's dot for that level.
Overall, I would highly recommend this game. Despite its extreme difficulty, it's still quite a fun play, and I'd give it a 10/10.
Oh, and guess what's happening early next month? The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth comes out! Oh, and the Nintendo Community Fangame Convention! It's a yearly online event where people come and showcase their fangames of Nintendo franchises and Mega Man, and more recently, some indie games. It takes place from November 3rd to November 7th, and for next month's issue I'll be tackling all of the fangames there, including Fire Emblem fangames, which are of a series I have never played. All but two...hmm...I wonder what two I could be talking about? Maybe a one about some elemental orbs that I've helped out with and another one about a Blooper made by yours truly...ARE YOU GETTING MY SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE DAMMIT
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