Gamer’s Playlist – “Lemmings (7″ Mix)”

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Inspired by the classic puzzle game Lemmings, this cacophonous tribute by SFX is definitely kitschy. But it’s also strangely infectious, and it apparently topped out at #51 on the UK Billboard Top 100.

Title: “Lemmings (7″ Mix)”
Artist: SFX

Portal 2 (PS3) *SPOILERS*

Before we begin this opinion piece, I’m going to warn you right off that, unlike my last opinion on Portal, I’m going to be dropping some spoilers of the game as I discuss it.  If you want a spoiler-free quip, let me just say that yes, Portal 2 is an excellent game and a worthy sequel to the first, although it lacks the revolutionary spark of the first game and came across as an easier game puzzle-wise.  To counter that, the game’s storyline, characterization and level design is brilliant.  So it’s probably on the whole the better game, but it’s not quite as awe-inspiring as the original.  If you want more details, well, you’ll have to risk some spoilers to find out, because I need to express some in order to explain my feelings. (more…)

Virtual Console No-Shows: Maniac Mansion (NES) and Secret of Evermore (SNES)

53. Maniac Mansion (NES, Jaleco/Lucasarts)

Brief Synopsis – One of Lucasarts’ graphic adventure classics, which was released by Jaleco to the NES.  Lucasarts and Jaleco did a pretty good job on porting the title, although some aspects were censored or altered.  Despite that, it’s fondly remembered as one of the better PC ports on the console.

Why is it Missing? – Well, this one has the odd combination of two different studios being involved that’s holding it back.  Lucasarts owns the rights and ported the title, but Jaleco themselves handled the NES publishing duties and assisted with the port work, so it would likely require both companies to work together to bring it out.  I doubt it’ll happen, as Jaleco is not a huge publisher these days, and I’d imagine Lucasarts would seek a fairly good sum to relicense it to them.

Other (Legal) Options – Well, the PC original was pretty huge, but apparently Lucasarts hasn’t gotten around to making it legally available as a DL option, so you’ll have to do some hunting to find it.  The NES port is a little rarer, but it too was fairly successful.

54. Secret of Evermore (SNES, Square)

Brief Synopsis – Square’s American development branch decided to make a game similar to the company’s earlier Secret of Mana, but took it in radically different directions.  Your hero, along with his faithful dog, has to travel to the four realms of Evermore to try to return to their own world.  Adding in alchemy, a more American design sense and more diversity in the changes between realms (including your dog’s ability to alter its form depending on where you are), this experiment proved to be a rather unique one in Square’s catalog.  Unfortunately, it was the American team’s first and only release, as the studio was shuttered after Evermore’s release.

Why is it Missing? – One reason could be that Square-Enix doesn’t wish to revisit their failed North American dev house and their one game that wasn’t as successful as they would have liked.  That’s fairly petty, but hey, I’ve seen it before in this industry.  Otherwise, I’m not too sure what else Square could claim to keep this off the Virtual Console.

Other (Legal) Options – The Super NES cartridge is the only option here.  It’s not as rare as some other games, but it won’t be super easy to find, either.

Weekly Whose Line? – Film, TV and Theater Styles

This playing features Greg and Ryan, which happen to be among the funnier combos this game had.

Happy Video Game Nerd – Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest

In his latest episode, the Happy Video Game Nerd covers one of the most maligned games in the Final Fantasy series: Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest. But in true Happy Nerd fashion, he’s not here to bash it or make fun of it, but rather he sheds it in a positive and interesting light.

Check out the video at the Retroware TV website: HVGN: Mystic Quest

Frankly, I can’t hate on the game either, because it actually was my first Final Fantasy game. (Not my first RPG, mind you. That was the original Dragon Warrior.) I likely wouldn’t be able to go back to it now because my gaming tastes have changed a bit, but the game probably came along for me at about the right time, and I enjoyed it when I played it.

So…this Webcomic Fridays: 5-20-2011

Today will be the last So…this Webcomic update until I get back from vacation.  It’s a meaty one, though, with a ton of sketch work I’m quite happy with.  Let’s start with this one of Takara:

Pretty pleased with this one – I think I may have finally figured out her hair. XD Takara’s the kind of woman to go class it up in a fancy bar, so I ran with the premise. Normally I wouldn’t think of doing such a sketch, but apparently today it worked out that way.

Here’s Alexia.

Sort of melancholy, listening to some punk/alt rock song, I’m sure. :p Here’s her crush, Chad, doing about the same thing (he’d be jamming to some metal, tho):

Wanted to experiment a bit more with Jay and Kristyn, so I did:

Jay’s eyes are a bit big, but eh. Lastly, the raging fire demoness herself, Lindsay:

Really like the anger on her face.

On top of all this, there’s a small Scraps update. See you in a couple weeks (with art, anyway)!

Music Wednesdays – Incubus’ “Pardon Me”

Ah, the glory days of youth.  I admit – Make Yourself was a life-saving album for me, one that helped me become the individually-minded fellow I am.  And Pardon Me was the first song that caught my attention and led me to buying this CD.  I still consider this their finest work, and really regret the direction the band began to head on Light Grenades, a very disappointing album that lacked the lyrical spark Incubus had pioneered for four solid albums.  I do hope they find it again…

Gmod Monday, Volume 4: Tuesday Edition!

Here we go, with another video by Kitty0706! This time it’s Left 4 Farts, a skit-like series of shorts primarily featuring the cast from Left 4 Dead.

Overrated vs. Underappreciated: Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow vs. A Boy and his Blob

OVERRATED – Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (DS, Konami)

Dawn of Sorrow started off quite well.  Unnecessary anime redesigns aside, Soma’s second adventure kept up the excellence the first game presented remarkably well. In fact, I would even go as far to say that I understand why people like this game the most out of the DS ‘Vanias.  However, I found enough glaring flaws to make me question that understanding, which I will do here.  The first question – magic seals.  What exactly makes one overlook these horrific game-changers that render your hard-fought effort to conquer a boss potentially moot?  Fantastic boss fights that pushed a little harder than Aria of Sorrow are suddenly aggravating as you “kill” them, with the sudden prompt to slide your stylus/finger in a preset pattern in order to finish them off…I don’t know if I ever got any save the first right on the first try.  And when you’re fighting Death or Gergoth, you really don’t want to witness that seal fail and cringe as they spring back to life – it’s frustrating.  Plus you have to go track the seals down to use them, which is also a minor annoyance.  If I recall, most were easy enough to stumble upon, but I’d rather feel like I’m in control of the game over the game controlling me, which Dawn does.  Second, continued reliance on the touch screen in the form of ice blocks.  These obnoxious objects require the player to clear them with touch screen brushes, which broke the connection to Soma’s adventuring for me.  I’d have to cease moving him in order to do a quick swipe to make a path that Soma could maneuver through, and I didn’t enjoy it at all.  A quick and simple switch to letting Soma smash through them himself would have more than sufficed and kept up the pace.  I’m quite happy that Portrait of Ruin and Order of Ecclesia dropped the touch screen padding.  Otherwise, Dawn is a great game.  But these attempts to utilize the Touch Screen in order to just play the damn game was abused far too heavily, and compared to its prequel and sequels, it just was too much for me to want to ever play it again.

UNDERAPPRECIATED – A Boy and his Blob (Wii, Majesco/Wayforward)

Wayforward’s reinvention of David Crane’s NES A Boy and his Blob is a gorgeous, well-designed gem of a game that truly deserves more praise than it received.  The game is pretty much like playing an animated movie, with its crisp, luscious animation, detailed backgrounds dripping with clever touches, a soaring soundtrack that is a perfect fit, and a dynamic relationship that builds between the game’s titular heroes.  The game controls very well, has some great puzzlers, and features top-notch level design, and while it has a few glitches and the occasional jellybean misthrow, I was more than willing to excuse the game’s flaws and relish its joys.  If you have a Wii, track this down.

Black Blood Mondays Will Return June 13th!

I’ve run out of my pertinent text samples I can post up relating to Black Blood, and with my vacation around the corner, I think it would be best to properly launch the comic on June 13th once we get back.  The prologue will properly begin on June 13th, as well as a cast page with characters appearing in that pre-chapter.  I want to do this right, and I think rushing the project before my vacation is not the way to go.  Hope you understand!


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