Copyright Adam Schlosser

Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser

Posted by Pip

AD45- Needs Ketchup

Man, this... this will not help Rhett rise above the rank of “wuss” in Addy's eyes. Beaten up by kitty bunnies. Granted, they're somewhat demonic kitty bunnies, but still. Maybe Rhett can spin the story over the years into a tale of massive jaguars mauling him so he can save face for posterity. Or jackalopes! Getting mauled by a jackalope would just be an honor.

Thanks to everybody that was swayed by the new TWC voting incentives! We jumped up over 100 ranks in just two days. Is there anything bribery doesn't solve?

Long, It's been how long Review: Shantae: Risky's Revenge- It took forever and a year to see the light of day but the new Shantae game is hands-down the best downloadable title in the shop and easily one of the best games on the system. Vibrant colors, fantastic static art, fluid animation, funky music, and lots of nice touches and flourishes like your hair changing color when you get out of water, the great shadow work, and watching Shantae pinwheel her arms if you come to a sudden stop while running show that this game was a labor of love for the team. There are lots of little improvements over the original like speeding up the transformations, a map, tighter combat, a better shop, and the warp points no longer require you to hunt down the squids (you just have to wake up both sets of statues and then you can jump back and forth). If you haven't played the original, the sequel doesn't really explain the events of the first one but you'll deduce everything you need to know in a few minutes anyway. Bolo and Sky are your friends. Rotty is weird. Shantae is a cute genie and therefore is awesome. Risky Boots has a kick ass outfit and name, is cute, and is a pirate and therefore is awesome but evil. Once that's established, you're in for Castlevania 2/Wonder Boy awesomeness with a modern makeover. There are all kinds of little secrets and shortcuts hidden in dungeons and the world and even though some of them are required to move ahead in the game, you have to pat yourself on the back for tracking some of them down. It's not a pushover either. The game is still tough if you don't stock up on items or underestimate what it will throw at you. Unfortunately, there's no mapping feature for dungeons and you can't make notes on the overworld map, so while you might find a secret you can't access yet, there's no way to put a mark on the map to remind yourself later. There are no maps at all in dungeons and they could really use them given all the tangled routes. Something simple like the maps from Super Metroid should just be a given in this genre. The third dungeon is kind of lousy too. Once you know what to do/where to go, you can go through it in a snap, but your first time through, it's very confusing and poorly laid out. It feels like the kind of stage where QA knew the proper route to go so everybody blazed through in testing but nobody out of the loop had a go of it. Always a good idea to get an outsider to take a look at a level entirely built around flipping switches and combinations of switches that alter the level in undefined ways. There really aren't many levels either. There are two legitimate dungeons, one combat arena, and a super-easy horizontal shooter followed by a few very simple rooms that counts as the final dungeon. It's not the meatiest action-adventure game out there and you'll be left wanting more (preferably in less than a decade this time). The semi-final boss is a recycled fight but with worse hit detection for some reason and the last boss is easy but it has about three times more health than was necessary. There is nooo resolution at the end of the game. In fact, it introduces three new elements to the story in the last ten minutes and doesn't resolve any of them or really the main plot. Given how short the game is for the price, tying up one or two of the loose ends would have been kind of nice and all. I can grumble about the price but $12 for a five hour game isn't terrible and it's a fantastic game made by talented people and by what seems to be a good company, so I'll keep all my mumblings under my breath. Between the animation and some of the dialogue, it's rather surprising them managed to snag an E rating. They went pretty overboard with the breast jiggle on the female characters and that never sits right with me. At least they're equal opportunity about it though. I'm secure enough in my sexuality to say that Item Shop Guy got hot in the transition to better graphics. There are two bugs I came across that annoyed me but only one affected gameplay. For the first, when you trade an item and lose it from your inventory, whatever the cursor defaults to carries the description over (so when you trade the egg and your heart containers are highlighted, the game still displays the egg description. Minor but it bugged the crap out of me). The second is a persistent nuisance. Many enemies are designed to spawn when the screen reaches a certain position and will respawn if the screen hits that spot again. So if you kill an enemy, move left, and move back right, the enemy comes back. However, if you leave the screen on that spot, the enemies keeps respawning. If you're fighting a large enemy that takes a few hits and it's positioned near a spawn point, the game will keep generating enemies while you're fighting the big guy. What started as a crab and a golem turns into a golem and four crabs. Great for farming for money, terrible when the game spits three tough enemies at you in a matter of seconds because you didn't scroll the screen enough. The game also creates massive enemy dumps at the end and since you never really get stronger as the game progresses, the final exploration can be a bit of a slog. Complaints aside, the game, characters, and franchise are still fantastic, worth the price of entry and time it takes to complete it, and I want an ending to the game. Seriously! Before I die, please.
Sins Committed: Bad map, Non-ending ending, Repetitive combat
Virtues Acted: Good art, Good animation, Good writing, Good characters, Good gameplay, Good music, Finding the horrible secret of the jam lady in Scuttle Town. You're sick, lady, sick!