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About Cube

Personal Information

  • Location
    North Wales
  • Interests
    Firefly, Games, Sci-Fi
  • Occupation
    IT Guy


  • Nintendo Systems Owned
    Wii, DSi
  • Other Systems Owned
    Xbox 360, PC
  • Favourite Game?
  • Favourite Video Game Character?
    Banjo and Kazooie
  • Gender

Game Info

  • 3DS Friend Code
  • Nintendo Network ID
  • Wii Console Number
    0460 9678 8120 6539
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  1. Just wait until you get to the Citadel DLC. Lots of people (including me) even recommend playing it after the main story (it essentially reloads to before the final mission) as it's the perfect way to say goodbye to the trilogy.
  2. A big update here. First some failed games Failed 3. Sonic Billiards Platform: Mobile Status: No ROMs leaked to public, copy known to exist Another Sonic Cafe games – a lot of failed games will be from this Japan-only mobile phone service. Footage of this exists from the same source as the other Sonic Cafe games. Sonic Billiards looks to be nothing special, it’s a basic billiards game with a picture of Sonic or Shadow in the corner representing each player. There’s no additional Sonic “flair” such as having Sonic be the cue ball, obstacles like bumpers and springs or power-ups, just regular billiards. 4+. Sonic Cafe Card Games Platform: Mobile Status: No ROMs leaked to public, copies known to exist I’m going to lump all of these in one section to avoid a lot of repetition. A lot of card games were released via the Sonic Cafe service, all of which are a single card game using artwork from the Sonic Advance series. The most interesting of note are Amy’s American Page One as it features female characters (Amy, Rogue, Cream and a Hero Chao because they somehow couldn’t think of a fourth, or just didn’t have the assets to re-use) and Sonic’s Napoleon, because of the hat in the artwork. Other card/board games include: Sonic Hearts (which has a DX version), Sonic Backgammon, Sonic Reversi (and Hyper Reversi), Sonic Speed DX, Sonic’s Millionaires, Sonic’s 7 Narabe and Sonic Casino Poker. And some more completions: 23. Sonic Lost World (3DS) Original Platform: 3DS Where to get: 3DS eShop With lovely graphics, full video cutscenes and voice acting, Sonic Lost World is definitely a visual treat for a 3DS game. I originally reviewed this when it originally came out so I was curious how my feelings for the game had changed. Playing it again, and I think the controls are an issue as they don’t feel intuitive at all. Running up walls, especially design sideways, feels clunky, and I found myself jumping instead of boosting a few times. The somersault energy attack move also feels like a pointless addition, even if it’s required for some enemies it just doesn’t add to the game, it’s just an additional thing to remember. I do enjoy games with lots of controls to remember (such as Banjo-Kazooie), but they need to be intuitive. Another change is the homing attack, with a change that sounds nice on paper: you can now target three enemies at once and bounce between them. Unfortunately, you can end up targeting an enemy you don’t want – such as one you passed – and Sonic will fly backwards to hit it. Tapping jump between each enemy worked fine as it was. The levels in Sonic Lost World 3DS are a mixed bag. A lot aren’t memorable, partly because they all look like floating islands, all in the style of Green Hill Zone. The most memorable levels either have interesting mechanics or are just a nightmare to play. These levels also seem to go on forever. There’s one level set inside a giant juicer and you have to wheel apples into it, which I really enjoyed, but then there’s one where you have to push snowballs which is possibly one of the worst Sonic level’s I’ve played. Some annoying jumps, ice physics and a giant snowman head which chases you the entire level, destroying the snowballs you push around if it touches them. Wisps return from Sonic Colours (although the story doesn’t acknowledge them at all) and while I loved them in that game, they just don’t work in Lost World 3DS and feel more like a chore to use, the asteroid is slow, floaty and often has bad camera angles while the Quake would work, but uses motion controls that can’t be turned off. Motion controls also hamper the special stages and a boss fight, as they use 1:1 motion controls, so you have to turn around fully to play them. If you happen to be playing on public transport, you’ll just have to stop playing. The controls actually work well, but they needed to be optional for a handheld system. Sonic Lost World 3DS isn’t an awful game, it’s just somewhat forgettable. It tries to do some new things and I think with some refinements it could have done well. 24. Sonic Rush Adventure Original Platform: DS Where to get: Second hand It seems that Dimps listened to all the criticism of Sonic Rush and addressed it for Sonic Rush Adventure. The stages in this are extremely enjoyable and feel like they have the right balance of fun and difficulty. They all seem to take into account the viewport of the screen, with methods to slow Sonic down naturally when needed without it being forced. They all look fantastic, too, with some great themes (Haunted Ship and Pirate’s Hideout are my favourites) and set pieces, with some amazing music to nod your head to as you play. The levels also use rings or arrows for some parts to direct you, instead of you instantly dying due to not expecting something, and traps that give you time to react. I think the levels in Sonic Rush Adventure may be some of the most fun in the franchise, although there are still a few unexpected pits and parts where you are moving forward without much to do for a couple of moments. Bosses are also much improved, giving you a lot more opportunities to hit them. They have a health bar and need to be hit far more than in Sonic Rush, but don’t drag on for anywhere near as long. There’s also a good variety as each boss feels quite different to each other. If that was all there was to say about Sonic Rush Adventure, it would be an outstanding game. Unfortunately, there was one Sonic Rush complaint which should have been ignored: its short length. In order to make Sonic Rush Adventure longer, there’s a lot of padding – I’m sure you spend more time doing the padding than playing the actual game. A lot of this is navigating between islands using various kinds of boats. You have to draw your route on a map (like The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass) and then play a minigame until you get to your destination. Sometimes you’ll need to do this a couple of times before you get to the next stage. To access the Pirate’s Hideout stage, you have to find three hidden islands (thankfully these have short but sweet Sonic stages on them) to find clues. You can stumble across these early, but Sonic will just ignore the clue and you’ll have to replay it later. To build each type of ship, you’ll also need materials. These are earned by replaying stages until you have enough, meaning you’ll redo the first few levels multiple times before you progress. A Sonic Rush Collection that combines Sonic Rush and the actual levels from Sonic Rush Adventure would be wonderful to have. 25. Sonic the Hedgehog Part 1 (Java) Original Platform: Java mobile phones Where to get: Not available, unless you happen to buy an old phone with it installed. A port of Sonic the Hedgehog to old mobile phones sounds scary, especially when you consider how bad the Game Boy Advance version of Sonic the Hedgehog was. This port has a lot of issues, but completely different ones to the GBA port. For starters, the game actually runs smoothly, there’s no slowdown at all. The physics also feel correct, and jumps will happen exactly how you would expect. It’s quite impressive to see how well it runs for a game made for pre-smart phones. Some things do seem to be running too quickly. I’m not sure if this is due to a decrease in frames of animation (for things like rings), but it also seems that Sonic’s period of invulnerability after getting hit is also far shorter. The music sounds a lot more authentic to the Mega Drive version, just of a much lower sound quality. It is also made of smaller segments, so at the end of the unfinished “loop” there will be a slight pause in the music as it starts up again. There are also no sound effects at all, so it’s just the jarring music for you to hear. The HUD has been altered, looking closer in style to Sonic Advance. As the phones it was designed for have a portrait view, you have the full aspect ratio and the hud elements are above and below the game “screen”. The keypad controls are the biggest issue, as a keypad layout isn’t suited for games, and the jump button is effectively the “up arrow”, situated between the left and right buttons. One random change to this version is not allowing you to hit Robotnik early in the first boss. Instead of not allowing you to damage him like some versions, it will just count as Sonic being hit and you’ll lose all your rings for trying. The mobile port also only included the first three levels (the remainder were released seperately) and there are no special stages, you are instead awarded Chaos Emeralds for having 50 rings at the end of a stage. I wouldn’t recommend playing this version at all, but for a java version of Sonic, it’s a little bit better than expected. 26. Sonic X-Treme Original Platform: Saturn/PC (Unreleased) Versions Played: Two prototype builds, fan-made demo level Where to get: N/A A cancelled Sonic game originally made to be Sonic’s big leap into 3D for the Sega Saturn. Two different versions of these were being designed by different teams, with both of them working themselves to the point of illness to try and get it done. Ultimately, the game was cancelled. Since then, some prototypes have been found, and a fan has made a level in Unreal Engine, which gives us a taste of what Sonic X-Treme could have been. The simplest build is the “boss engine” one, it’s a simple 3D landscape with 50 rings to collect, and Sonic can jump and spindash. Movement is quite smooth although, due to the camera, you’re always running at a diagonal. The geometry is just some simple hills. It’s a fairly simple “Sonic in 3D”. The other build is much more interesting as it looked like an extremely unique game, as Sonic can shift gravity by rolling up walls. The prototype features some demo levels, and it’s actually quite good fun to mess around with. It does seem extremely difficult to create levels around it, especially ones that can be followed by a player, as being able to go up walls and change the orientation of the level creates a lot of options. The demo also features some short “tube” levels, something that did happen in later Sonic games, here shifting the gravity works a lot better as you can see where you need to go clearly. There are also different ground types which make Sonic slow down or go extremely fast and bouncy. The fan-made demo gives us a look at a potential “level” for this build of Sonic X-Treme could have been like, with the fish eye lens seen in early footage. Navigating this is actually quite easy. It limits rotating the level to just slopes (not hard corners), which means specific paths can be seen. It shows that this gameplay could have worked. Sonic X-Treme is an interesting part of Sonic’s history, and the development shows that they were trying some unique things with it. It’s hard to say if it could have worked, but perhaps a mixture of tube-like levels and stages where you have to find objects could have worked, even if it’s a bit of departure from the regular “A to B” style of Sonic.
  3. Xbox Series S | X Console Discussion

    I imagine this is stuck everywhere around their offices. Hopefully some day Microsoft will let them do some fun marketing.
  4. Xbox Series S | X Console Discussion

    Xbox Marketing continue the trend of being the elderly person attempting to stay "hip" with the "kewl kids" and failing spectacularly.
  5. 21. Tails and the Music Maker Original platform: Sega Pico Where to get: Second hand. The first thing to talk about with this is the console it appears on: the Sega Pico. This is an “edutainment” device released in 1993. The internals were the same as a Mega Drive, but it featured a drawing pad and a pen, and the cartridges were books. The console can recognise which page you are on, and you can even press parts of the book to activate things in the game. Due to the cost of the device, this one I played via emulation of PicoDrive. Tails and the Music Maker isn’t so much a game you play from start to finish, but a collection of minigames and activities. The first page features a simple platformer game, across three short levels of a Green Hill Zone that turns more blue for each level. At the top of the screen are instructions for Tails to stop, tip-toe, jump or run. Tails will have to go slow to dodge coconuts and jump to make it over gaps (although if you fall, a spring will launch you back out. Also on this page is a simple game of musical chairs, played against frogs on lily pads. Page 2 features a pinball game, where hitting instrument icons will cause the sound. Hitting the bell at the top seems to end the game. There’s also a minigame where you have to draw circles around notes. Page 3 features an extremely slow Arkanoid clone where you bounce tails around to break blocks of music. Page 4 features a matching game. Click on an instrument and it will play the sound of another, click on the right one and they’ll vanish. This one doesn’t work well at all as the sounds don’t sound anything like each instrument, so instead you have to learn the tune played by each instrument. You can also play along (a few notes at a time) to a few nursery rhymes. The final page features a simple drawing studio. You can click on colours on the book and draw whatever you choose, and add Sonic and Tails from the book as well. You can also visit a music studio and listen to the sounds of each instrument (the same as the ones from the previous game that don’t sound like the instrument) or to the nursery rhymes. As an “edutainment” title, Tails and the Music Maker seems to be completely lacking on the “educational” side of things. The Pico seems like it’s aimed at slightly older children, whereas the functions of this game – at least the music-related ones – seem similar to most light up electronic keyboard toys that you can get for kids around the age of 1-2, and provide a more tactile feedback. And those ones usually have additional functions to teach colours, numbers and shapes. 22. Sonic Rush Original Platform: DS Where to get: Second hand The birth of the “boost” gameplay in Sonic games. The big addition to Sonic Rush was the boost and trick system. You gain boost power by destroying enemies and performing tricks after jumping from springs. This makes Sonic Rush an incredibly fast, which feels amazing when it goes smoothly, but unfortunately has its own share of problems. As this is a DS game, it uses both screens, with Sonic moving between them as though it’s one giant screen. This allows for more vertical movement, which does look great, but also has the side effect on how short the screen is from left to right, which is a major problem when combined with the boost as you have no idea what is coming up until it is too late. And Sonic Rush loves to abuse this flaw with traps, enemies, obstacles and pits. There’s one moment in particular where there’s a long, fast section followed by a “crusher” and a wall. Unless you already know it’s there, you will be crushed and will die. Get a game over in Sonic Rush and you’ll have to start the act from the beginning, so these unfair traps will lead to a lot of repeating levels, unless you choose to repeat the first few levels to grind lives – it’s an added unnecessary frustration. Thankfully, this doesn’t apply to the boss battles, so you can restart there if you run out of lives. The bosses in Rush are some of the worst in the franchise. There’s a lot of waiting around for the boss to do something, where they will conduct attacks – some of which takes ages to happen. Some attacks will leave the boss vulnerable for one hit, others will not. And you need 8 hits (although this is reduced to 6 if you select easy mode, which I highly recommend as this is the only change that happens when you select easy). The boss fights take ages due to this, and some attacks can be instant deaths, so you have to start from the beginning. Sonic Rush also introduces a slight change to the rings system of Sonic which becomes very clear with the bosses: the more you get hit, the further your rings will fly, making it harder to collect them. The Casino Night boss is the only fun boss, as it has a spring on it where you can do a carefully timed jump to hit the boss as an optional extra way to cause damage. While this write-up has been fairly negative, Sonic Rush is still incredibly good fun, combining tricks and boosting works well when it goes smoothly, and I really like the little second jump Sonic can do to reach better routes. The music is also wonderful. I can’t tell what is being sang in some of them, but it’s all incredibly catchy and it will be stuck in your head for days after playing it. Sonic Rush is more flawed than I originally remember, but there’s still a fun Sonic experience here. I think a modern port would do wonders for it, expanding the screen sideways (but keeping the vertical view as high) would make obstacles far less annoying, and possibly some improvements to the bosses.
  6. The Best Gaming Music Ever.

  7. Just want to say, if you feel like any of my arguments in the Covid thread (now or future) are in bad faith, feel free to take any relevent action.

    1. Rummy


      Thanks Cube, it's not to shut down any voices or points per se; but certain ways things are argued can slowly escalate on both sides and I'm not sure how authentic they, or more so how much some posters consider the community(ie all our members, who are posting and conversving), and my 'bad faith' is along the lines of just stoking the issues and argument for the sake. As I said I'm not taking either side of the vaccine but I will be wary of the way folks are posting. Subjects and issues don't discount decorum no matter how sesinsitive or emotional they may be and it kinda just leads to division etc. imo.

  8. Marvel's Phase 4

    They certainly have the "fun and enjoyable time travel ideas, but just don't think about it too hard because none of it makes sense" aspect nailed. I feel they if you focus more on characters (like Loki) or just going completely over the top (like Legends of Tomorrow), then time travel with poor logic can still work well.
  9. Your 2021 Gaming Diary

    Perfect Dark Zero Perfect Dark Zero has a feeling that it doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. It’s a prequel to the much loved Perfect Dark on N64, but also wants to be more like Halo. But at the same time it wants to be a stealth game and a cheesy over the top action game. To me, it gives me the impression that Rare were working on a new IP, but ended up shoving the Perfect Dark name into it mid-development. I have no idea if that’s what happened, it’s just the feeling the game gives. The story starts out before Joanna Dark joins the Carrington Institute, where her and her dad (who comes across more of a brother in terms of looks and voice) are freelance agents trying to save someone (and their research) that DataDyne is interested in. The dialogue is over-the-top cheesy and the plot absurd. If this wasn’t related to Perfect Dark, it would be enjoyable in a “parody blockbuster action film” kind of way, similar to what WET did with B-movie action films. There’s even one segment where you can choose which kind of sassy response Jo gives an enemy, but this doesn’t crop up again, so it feels out of place. If this went full in with the parody action, and let you choose dialogue through the game, it could be hilarious and entertaining. The music is also wonderfully cheesy, with some brilliantly funky beats that fit the visual style quite well. A lot of the setups - such as a virtual deathmatch with a cheating opponent called Mei Hem - would even be perfect with the parody style, along with a boss fight towards the end of the game with a couple of cowboys that come out of nowhere. It’s never explained who they are and are never mentioned again. And if the gameplay went alongside this, such as the previously mentioned WET or the more recent Bulletstorm, then I think it would be thoroughly entertaining. Unfortunately, the gameplay feels slow and sluggish. Even at 100% sensitivity, aiming feels like its on a very low setting. Stealth is also quite paramount, as enemies will hound you relentlessly if you’re spotted. They’re very good shots from a distance and it’s very difficult to tell where a shot is coming from. Your best hope is to try and funnel the dumb AI into a choke point and take them out as they come trough. Level design also doesn’t match the style. Everything just comes across as a bit tame, with no memorable locations. Levels also don’t flow very well, so you’ll spend the whole game just wondering if you’re heading the right way until the game takes pity on you and displays arrows on the floor. Within each level, a lot of the areas look the same, making it easy to get lost. Weapons also feel fairly weak, as enemies take a lot to go down (especially with armour that explodes off the wearer in an over the top manner). You also now have limited slots, so you’ll mainly stick with a pistol and assault rifle. There are some cool weapons in the game, but you’ll likely never use them in the campaign because you lose a vital slot for one of your main guns. The original Perfect Dark created a wonderful weapon wheel to manage all the weapons, so going to a two weapon layout feels restrictive, and you miss out on some really fun weapons. DataDyne and the Carrington Institute also feel very different. DataDyne is run by insane over the top villains (while Cassandra was greedy but not totally insane), while Carrington Institute feels more like a mercenary gang or unprofessionals and less like a spy agency, with agents treating Jo as a sex object and not an equal, with Johnathan constantly making a pass as Jo and someone you rescue saying a dumb line like “if I knew rescue looked like this, I’d have gotten in danger sooner”. Give them new names and you wouldn’t notice any similarities between them and the versions from the original game. The same also holds true for Joanna Dark. Take the same plot, story, music, rename some things and give it the over the top action gameplay such a story deserves and you could have something immensely fun and entertaining. Instead, the style of Perfect Dark Zero and its gameplay are at odds with each other, making both seem worse than they actually are. Neither part is terrible, it’s just that they don’t fit together.
  10. I may check out some homebrew and fan games at the end of the list (if I ever get there). Next one: 20. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Original Platform: Wii Where to get: Second hand only. A big improvement over the first Mario & Sonic title. This gives you all of the main events straight away, with the Dream Events being the main unlockables (but aren’t difficult to unlock). The events themselves also felt a lot more fun, with rules and controls that are simpler to understand and far fewer events where a single mistimed (or unregistered) Wii Remote shake can knock you out of the competition, or create a false start. Skiing and Snowboarding are some of the main events, both with a trick version (jump for skiing and halfpipe for snowboarding) and a race. The controls are very similar (tilt to turn, pull back to slow down) except that skiing uses both the Wii Remote and nunchuck and the Snowboarding uses just the Wii Remote – although thankfully it doesn’t force you to unplug the nunchuck. Bobsled and Skeleton have you going down a long pipe, tilting the Wii Remote to stay within the optimal racing line. Speed Skating I couldn’t properly get the hang of, the on-screen prompts are hard to see but luckily it’s not too difficult to get used to the rhythm needed to move the remote from left to right. It’s a good way to make it feel different to the other sports. Figure Skating is a “simon says” type thing which mostly works fine, except for a tilting action which I always failed at. Ice Hockey is great fun. It’s a simple version of ice hockey, but as it uses buttons and analogue sticks, it feels very responsive. My only issue is that you can’t select to play one match, you have to take part in a mini-tournament with two matches. Curling is by far the worst event. The swing required for how powerful your hit will be is very unreliable, and it takes ages. I ended up just doing a full power shot each time, as without sweeping it’s actually a perfect short. To make matters worse, it’s also a mini tournament. The Dream Stages are better than the main events, with races like Snowboarding and Skiing taking place on fancy tracks with loops, jumps, springs and items. They’re incredibly good fun, with other Dream Events following similar things. Dream Figure Skating is like a “Sonic on Ice” (or “Mario on Ice”) performance. The dream events feature some new ones. Dream Gliding was not what I was expecting. It’s like the multiplayer from Lylat Wars/Star fox 64, a dogfighting game where you score points for hitting enemy units, or even more points for hitting opponents. I was expecting something like Monkey Target from Super Monkey Ball. This, however, does get a similar game in the form of Dream Ski Jumping. The main campaign is called “Festival” where you play through various events and training exercises to try and earn the most points (although I don’t know how they work, as even though I lost a lot of events, only one opponent had a single gold medal). You don’t have to win to progress, they just add to your final score. Every now and then you’ll encounter a boss, who you do have to beat, although my main struggle was one race with Bullet Bill. Although I did have to retry a race against King Boo, but only because the game cheated and claimed he won, even though I crossed the line first (and even the replay showed this). Overall, this is a much better party game than the original Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, and the festival is even fun for a single player.
  11. There was a similar scare with miscarriages, where people pointed to data that showed an increase in the number of people who had the vaccine and then miscarried. However, the data completely ignored the massive increase in people who have had the vaccine. It turned out that if you work out the percentage of people who had the vaccine and miscarried, the number hadn't actually increased and it was consistent with the normal chances of miscarriages. The original way the number were given was something like "in week A, Z people with the vaccine had a miscarriage, in week B, Y people with the vaccine had a miscarriage". The number was a massive jump, but the number of people who counted towards the data was also a massive jump.
  12. You tell me. I said they aren't valid sources of scientific research (unless of course, they are a scientist doing relevant research). Lots of accounts claiming to be single mums are common types of accounts sharing this information, most likely fake. As you brought "demonising" into it, you must have a big dislike of that group of people (this is a stupid thing for me to claim, just using the same kind of logic as your for twisting other people's words to change their meaning). There's a massive difference between abortion and vaccines. Vaccines slow down the spread of the pandemic, preventing vulnerable people from dying (including those who are vaccinated, as it's not 100% affective).Anti-abortion laws are simply created for sexist or religious reasons. A lot of the "left" are against actual laws regarding vaccines, but we should still encourage people to have them. One thing I find odd is that there's load of anger regarding vaccines and face masks, but while that happened the government has put extremely vague laws on protesting that could lead to 10 years of prison if it is deemed an "inconvenience". That's where people's focus should be.
  13. Only hypocrisy to people who don't understand basic logic, who are too terrified to do any research in case they find out they may be wrong about something. Single mums on Facebook aren't valid sources, btw. Out of interest: do you grow all of your own food? The vaccines have been tested far more than most of our food, so you should probably be terrified of supermarket food as well.
  14. Your 2021 Gaming Diary

    Kameo: Elements of Power Rare’s take on an epic fantasy, Kameo: Elements of Power gives us a story of Elves and trolls, although interestingly, there are no humans in this world. I also quite like their take on Trolls. While they’re still brutish and strong, they’re not done so in the typical “dumb” way, instead they focus on science and technology, creating impressive weaponary for you to fight. The elves are also not typical elves, and seem more like fairies, due to having wings. Wings won’t help Kameo jump over large gaps, but do allow for very fast movement, allowing areas to feel large without it taking too long to get anywhere. Each area you visit also has interesting creatures living there, it’s surprisingly quite a fascinating world. The story itself isn’t as unique, though, and is fairly predictable. Kameo’s sister turns evil due to jealousy, wakes up the baddest trolland kidnaps their family. It’s very cheesy, especially one character used for a sequel bait twist near the end who practically announced that they’re secretly evil the first time you meet them, but still charming enough to be serviceable. The main feature of Kameo: Elements of Power are the Elemental Warriors. These are spirits of creatures in various forms of Rock, Fire, Ice, Water and Plant, with two for each type. Each one has a fantastic design and they all feel very different to play, with their own moveset. You can upgrade each one using elemental fruit hidden throughout the lands (and are often rewards for side-quests). While this is structured similar to a Zelda game: a hub area, village area with quests and then a dungeon ending in a boss, there’s a lot more focus on combat and navigating the world. In combat, you earn points for dispatching enemies quickly, and you’ll need to learn which Warriors are effective at dispatching what enemies - some need a certain element to combat them. There’s a wide array of enemies, all of which are very easy to identify, so you can quickly analyse a situation and choose which warriors you need. You change into these with the B, Y and X buttons. My only issue with this setup is that it means you’ll be changing warriors a lot. There’s a quick select option if you hold down one of the buttons, but because it doesn’t pause or slow down the game, it’s useless in combat. The way forward is also very strict, you always need a specific Elemental Warrior to progress. Unfortunately, the game rarely allows you to experiment outside of combat. I also wish that some of them were utilised more, as a couple such a Rubble (a heap of rocks that can fire bits of itself), Flex (a stretchy water creature which is a hookshot with limited grapple points) and 40 Below (a menacing ice creature riding a giant snowball) aren’t used much outside of their initial areas. This is especially true for the final section, which focuses mainly on a couple of these creatures. I feel like each needed its own “power moment” to celebrate them all at the end. There could also have been a few more combinations of utilising different powers. Even with this, you do get a bit of leeway in fights and can experiment a bit more there. Between each dungeon, you’ll encounter large battles in the Badlands, where the trolls are trying to destroy the shrines protecting your kingdom. The scale of these battles is impressive, with hundreds of elves and trolls doing battle. Even now, the amount of creatures on-screen is an impressive sight. As the main bulk of trolls are focused on your elf army, you can still zip around to where you’re needed the most and concentrate on the important part of the fight. Accompanying you on this journey is a mystical wizard in a tome called the “Wotnot Book”, this game’s Navi. My advice for this is to go into the options straight away and turn him off, as he’ll constantly be giving you advice and nagging you to talk to him, although he does get some entertaining lines in the cutscenes. The music in Kameo is also amazing. It’s Rare’s first orchestrated soundtrack and it features epic sounding tunes with strong instruments and choirs. It makes each moment feel epic. While Kameo: Elements of Power has its problems - mainly not letting you experiment more with the Warriors - it’s still a great fantasy game, one that probably gets overlooked these days. It will never happen, but I would love to see a sequel with more refined...elements. Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge The criminally overlooked Banjo game - even by myself. Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie are loved by many, Nuts & Bolts get unfair hate (it’s a brilliant game) but at least it gets some attention. Banjo’s outing on the Game Boy Advance however, barely gets mentioned, and I didn’t even properly play it until now. Turning a Banjo-Kazooie game into a GBA game sounds like a daunting task to me. The obvious route would be 2D, but I don’t think that would capture the spirit of the game. Instead, Rare went for an isometric-like viewpoint (it’s more head on, so you’re not mainly walking diagonally), and somehow managed to squeeze the feeling of a Banjo game into the tiny GBA. Most impressive is Banjo and Kazooie’s moveset. Most of the moves from the first game are here and work really well with the limited buttons on the GBA. Firing eggs has been changed drastically, as Banjo now holds Kazooie like a gun (like the first person segments of Banjo-Tooie), allowing you to move around a bit more freely to line up shots, which works really well. You also get access to different egg types like electric, fire and ice. The gold feathers and red feathers suffer the worst fate. Gold feathers are now only activated from a pad, so are only utilised a few times, while flying is not in the game at all. However, I can see how flying in this would be a nightmare so it’s understandable. Even with these, moving around really does capture the feel of Banjo-Kazooie perfectly. There is one main flaw with the viewpoint: sometimes it’s difficult to judge where a platform is, as you can’t tell how high it is. One thing that does help is that Banjo’s shadow is visible to help you aim, but you’ll still mess up a fair few times. Grunty’s Revenge is more lenient with lives as it has none, instead allowing you to continue from your last “door”, having saved everything you have collected. This alleviates the unfairness of jumping on platforms as it means it never takes long to try again. The graphics look lovely on the GBA, it gives the game a 3D feel despite being in 2D, which makes Banjo and Kazooie look more natural and like their N64 versions. Each level is accompanied by catchy music with 10 jiggies to find (one of them being finding all 5 jinjos) with a wide manner of ways to find or earn them. Each level does have a minigame which consists of a fishing game, a shooting game, a slide or a sort of dodgems game. These are easily the weakest parts of the game as the minigames are not fun (the shooting is fine). Each world can be completed the first time you go through it, with the exception of the swamp level, which needs a later transformation for one jiggy. Transformations also return, with Mumbo providing them. They work slightly differently here: once you have unlocked a transformation, you can then use it in any level. This gives them a bit more time to shine, and it’s usually clear as you explore levels as to which ones you’ll need. They’re all adorable, especially mouse Banjo. Grunty’s Revenge is a short game, taking between 4-5 hours, but for the most part it’s an incredibly fun experience that captures the feeling of the N64 Banjo games extremely well.
  15. My second failed game: 2. Sonic Athletics Platform: Arcade Status: No ROMs, not much interest in backing up. Available only in Sega’s Tokyo Joypolis, this arcade game looks to be a collection of three events based on Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympics, but without Mario & Co. There are eight cabinets in a line, all with a treadmill and a button. As this is only available in one location (and I’m not sure if it’s still there or if the 2016 and 2020 versions replaced it), along with it being built for unique inputs, it’s not an easy game to preserve – even if someone wanted to do so. As the 2016 and 2020 arcades are based on the Mario & Sonic series, I won’t be including them here. Athletics is only here due to it’s unique branding. And my latest playthough : 19. Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis (GBA) Original Platform: Mega Drive Version Played: Game Boy Advance Where to get: thankfully, nowhere. As part of this collection, I’m playing a bunch of ports of Sonic the Hedgehog. I’m focusing on just the first game, and more significant ports and not emulation (as found in lots of collections, the Steam version, Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, etc). First up on my random ordered list is the Game Boy Advance version. As this was made after three Sonic Advance games, and was sold for £20 for just the one game, you would think it’s something special. And in a way, it is. It’s a spectacular failure filled with many issues. Frankly, this port was not sold in a playable state, just thrown out to cash in on an anniversary. The first issue you’ll find is the music. The GBA doesn’t quite have the same sound chip as the Mega Drive and it seems that instead of modifying the music to fit what the GBA can do, they instead just had it attempt to play what it could from the Mega Drive. What you have are very tinny version with zero bass. I had to put the game down in Spring Yard Zone because I just couldn’t stop laughing at the music. It starts off not too terrible, but after around 20 seconds it attempts to keep up with the original and just spits out an incoherent mess. The music is the least of this port’s issues, though. There is a lot of slowdown, and it affects how the game plays massively, as your jumps are slower and shorter. Then after each bit of slowdown usually follows some super fast movement where you launch uncontrollably to the side, flying over platforms with no hope of stopping. Not helping matters is the cropped screen, so some obstacles can’t be seen, especially where jumping up is concerned. The final boss doesn’t fit into the screen, so you have little time to react to it. It’s a complete mess. And to make matters worse, the physics just feel off, particularly jumping on slopes. You’ll either barely move or fly off to the side, and this includes downwards slopes. There’s other minor things as well, such as the wrong death animation used (Sonic always “drowns” in this version), a way to exploit Robotnik fights by jumping on top of him and just bouncing on his head, all the sounds are extremely weak (especially explosions). If you want someone to hate the original Sonic, get them to play this version.