Thursday, November 21, 2013

Contra NES - Review

This is a written review of the 1988 NES version of Contra. originally for the Arcades, this action game  is a Run & Gun shooter. And over the years this Konami title has become one of the most beloved games of the Nintendo's library. The video review is embedded below. and the written review continues below the video! [follow the link to see the video at youtube, instead of watching the embedded video here].


80'S MOVIE INFLUENCE:

if you pay close attention to Contra as you play, you will notice how many 80's movie influenced the visual design of the game. Its evident in the cover. We have two soldiers, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean. their the ones who have to fight the evil Red Falcon Organization. the one on the left looks a lot like Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his predator look as the character "Dutch". the one on the right looks a lot like Sylvester Stallone, in his "Rambo" look.

the US cover for Contra

arnold and stallone!

and in the middle of the two soldiers we have a xenomorph. AKA the alien creature from the alien movies!we also see cocooned walls just like in the alien movies. I like to describe contra having "Alien DNA" running through its blood.

 there is alien dna flowing through the blood that runs through contra

xenomorphs, eggs, facehuggers, and much more in contra

GAMEPLAY:

Contra is mainly a side scrolling game. but it also has 3D perspective levels, specifically stages 2 and 4, the "Base" levels. its a run and gun game, so you run around and gun things down. this shooter has you going mainly left and right, but the third level is a vertical level that has you going up an awesome waterfall! and throughout the game you have many weapons and upgrades at your disposal. the basic gun, or "pea shooter", is the one you will most use. but there are lasers, machine guns, and the famous spread gun. the spreader fires many shots at the same time. my co-host in the video review [g-troche] describes the spread gun as a gun that fires red balls of death. thats a great way to describe it! 

Stage 1 Jungle:

The Jungle stage is a simple and effective level. a level that has become iconic, as iconic as the stage itself. and the end boss is a barrier wall. take down the guy on top, the turrets, and then fire like hell at the weak spot! many games in the series have repeated the wall-boss concept, like Contra 3 Alien Wars and the DS Contra 4.and lets not forget how awesome the music is. the game's entire soundtrack is catchy and action packed! 


 the iconic stage 1-Jungle

take down the barrier!

Stage 2 and 4, Base:

The base stages are the 3D levels. they have you shooting forward. you have to take down enemies, turrets, and fire at the barriers weak spots to destroy the walls and move forward. I especially love it when you move forward. running forward in 8 bit looks cool!


 Stage 2, 3D levels!

 Stage 4

Stage 2 boss

Stage 4 boss

Stage 3 Waterfall:

The Waterfall stage is the vertical level. it has you going up a waterfall. lots of automated guns, and enemies hidden in the water and shooting at you. its one of my favorite stages, maybe my favorite. but you have to be careful in 2 player co-op. if one player advances too much, the camera catches up with the other player and kills him. it pisses troche off a lot. 


 going up!

 lots of platforming!

the end boss is an obvious reference to the Alien Queen from the Alien Movies! made iconic by the second one, James Cameron's "Aliens". amazing boss! 

Alien Queen

Stage 5 Snow Field:

Who doesn't love snow levels! snow levels are beautiful! this stage ends with a boss fight against an alien ship. UFO like in design. it fires smaller UFO's at you! Unsolved Mysteries would have a field day with this UFO! rest in peace Robert Stack!


 gorgeous level!

the UFO-like boss!

Stage 6 Energy Zone:

this night-time stage has you running and gunning until you get to a boss fight. a very weird boss fight. looks like an alien robot. and the backgrounds are great, with these pipes and tubes filled with energy all over the stage! and there are these environmental hazards, that throw fire at you. notice the patterns, and move when possible! be very careful!


 energy tubes!

alien robot thing!

Stage 7 Hangar:

The hangar is the trickiest of all the stages, as it if filled with all sorts of surprises. Dangerous surprises! bobby traps and many other dangerous things, even carts that can kill you if they touch you. You have to pay close attention to the patterns of many environmental hazards.. if you want to survive!


 study the patterns, and move when its safe!

destroy that wall! and enter the final stage!

Stage 8 Aliens Lair:

The final stage has many of the Alien references! facehuggers are coming at you. and the level has all the cocooned walls, just like in the alien movies. the walls have that techno-organic look made famous by the alien movies, and HR Giger's paintings that inspired the films look and the xenomorph itself. and there is one, a xenomorph, in the middle of the stage. its an awesome sight. just like the alien queen in stage 3. 
once you take down the end boss, the island explodes. and you have saved the world from the evil red falcon organization!


 end stage! alien visuals all around!

face-huggers coming at you! 

Xenomorph head! incredible!

CONCLUSION:

Contra holds up quite well! the 8 bit graphics are colorful and have an old school retro charm to them. the music is catchy. and the gameplay is tight and fun. its a fast paced game. and its especially fun with a second player. the game was designed to be played in co-op. its still fun playing it solo. I have played it many times alone. including when I recorded the gameplay used in my video review. but I always have more fun playing it with friends and family. I grew up playing the game in co-op with my older brother. and have played it with many friends over the years. including G-troche, co host of the video!

g-troche and miself, co-hosting the video review

Contra holds up well, and its my belief that almost anyone can enjoy the game. as long as theres no unfounded bias against "retro games". i worry about many kids today, that call themselves gamers but only seem to care about next gen visuals. its not all graphics. its about gameplay. and contra has epic fun gameplay. and graphics that at the time were amazing, and that still look pretty if you look at them correctly and knowing the context of the games release date! Troche played it for the first time for the video, and he loved the game. And in my case i've been playing the game since I was a kid. So I deeply love the game and have a lot of nostalgia for it. 

examples of some of my other game videos. 

We hope you enjoyed this written review. and we hope to check out our video review by visiting my youtube channel djtitoflow. we have many other game videos, including a pilotwings review, resistance 1 review, wind waker hd unboxing, the retro days, etc. if you enjoy the video then subscribe to the youtube channel, and to this blogger. thank you for reading/watching.

title card for the video review. made in photoshop. 
instead of bill and lance, its troche and I in the game's title card





Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pilotwings SNES - Review

This is a written review of The 1991 Super Nintendo classic- Pilotwings. the video review I also made is embedded below, but its best viewed by following the link to youtube instead of watching the embedded video here. the article continues below the video.


INTRO:

Pilotwings was released in 1991 in North America as a snes launch title, and its basically a simplified flight simulator. and its fun as hell! and challenging. I still don't understand how so many people have overlooked this game over the years. its an amazing game, and I will explain why in this review! also, why do so many people ignore wave race, punch out, f-zero, etc, as well!!



more credits include: produced by the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto, developed by Tadashi Sugiyama. and music my Soya Oka, and the famous Koji Kondo [they appear in left to right on the image below]



GAMEPLAY:

The game is mainly divided in four gameplay styles, due to the 4 main vehicles you use in the game. theres a Light Plane, Sky-diving, Rocketbelt, and a Hang-glider.


and the game has you going to a flight club where you learn from 4 instructors [Tony, Shirley, Lance, and Big Al] as you get certificates and grow as a pilot.



there are 4 normal rounds [each with 2-4 vehicular stages], then a special helicopter rescue mission. then the harder levels are unlocked. Their really cool visually, as some are at night, theres snow, red skies, and much more. 4 hard rounds and another helicopter level. theres also bonus content like the unlockable birdman and penguin stages. it all depends on where you land, to open these weird stages. even more bonus stages in the N64 sequel.

LIGHT-PLANE:

(going though rings = fun!!!)

The biplane levels have you going though rings or passing through dots or arches and then landing. landing can be difficult at times. the plane levels are challenging, but they get easier with time. the plane moves very slowly, but their still fun levels. 

(night-time levels look really cool. and are higher in difficulty)

SKYDIVING:

(snow!! going through rings! lots of rings in this game)

Skydiving has you going way up, and then going down really fast. you have to go through rings, and then you are alerted to land. its controls well, and its fun going down and being precise and dealing with the way you aim your body. aim and move correctly while up in the air and you will get all rings! its fun. skydiving in real life however might give me a heart-attack.

(parachute has successfully opened!)

ROCKET-BELT:

(Rocketbelt for the win)

My favorite, cause jet-packs! hell yeah! you control a pilot with a rocket-belt on his back. you go though rings, dots, etc, and then are prompted to land. the controls here are really fun. its fast, tight, and easy to use. I find this to be the most fun part in the game. you have more control over this character than other vehicles. and the theme song is awesome.

(land in the dark! don't drown!!)

HANG-GLIDER:

(theres a ring there. you know what to do!!)

My least favorite part, but still cool. its the slowest and clunkiest aerial vehicle. really slow. you need to pass though an air current that takes you high up. once you reach a certain height, you are permitted to land. I always have problems landing here. i find these segments kinda boring, but its not completely un-fun. still cool.

(beautiful background. the game is gorgeous!)

BONUS CONTENT

As I mentioned in the gameplay sections, theres helicopter missions where you destroy armed turrets and rescue the instructors who where kidnapped by an evil organization. these levels are really fun. and you get to shoot stuff. the shoting segments in the N64 game were fun too, the gyrocopter. 
lets not forget weird oddities like the birdman and penguin!

(harder levels)

(gooo! get to the choppah!!!)

(birdman)

(penguin)

OLD FAN, AND NEW-COMER:

I had G-Troche play the game for the first time recently. he did not grow up with the game, has no nostalgia for it, nothing affecting his judgement. and he enjoyed the game. he believes is difficult [at first] and has a steep learning curve, but that once you play it enough times you will have more fun and will eventually love the game. 

(troche liked pilotwings!!)

In my case, i've been playing since I was a kid. its tradition for me to play this game with my brother on most trips he takes back home. I always have fun playing. the game means a lot to me. its something I share with my brother. and since earlier this year, its now something I share with my buddy troche. I hope to share fond memories of playing pilot-wings with more friends and family as the years pass. 

(pilotwings never gets old for me. I LOVE IT!!)

CLOSING COMMENTS:

the game has aged in some areas, but for the most part holds up well. the game has a lot of charm. the mode 7 graphics may look dated, but they look cool and give the game its distinctive look. the music is amazing, really memorable themes for all the vehicles, the menus, the rewards, everything in the game has a theme. and the game is fun and challenging. people really need to play this game. it deserves more love and attention than it gets from most gamers. and nintendo itself need to give this franchise more love. only 3 games in the series. 3 games over 22 years. WE NEED MORE PILOTWINGS! if you havent played the game, then your in luck. both the Wii and WiiU virtual consoles games have pilotwings. and finding the cartridges online isn't that difficult or expensive. if you get the game and play it, you wont regret it!

(we need more sequels)

for now we can look forward to the Smash Bros Wii U pilotwings stage. and hope for a sequel!! lets keep hoping, praying, and wishing for one!

(Smash Bros WiiU)

(cant wait!)

if you enjoyed the review, please check out the video review at my djtitoflow youtube profile. it has even more content than this article. lots of nostalgia in that video! like the video. subscribe to the youtube channel. and sub to my blogger as well. thanks for reading/watching!

(my video game videos.. so far. more to come!)

(title card I made for my video review. go see it!!)

THANKS FOR READING! 
LONG LIVE PILOTWINGS


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD Collectors Edition - Unboxing

I recently did a video of me unboxing the Legend of Zelda Wind Waker limited edition. the video is embedded below. and here you can read an article, full of pictures. many taken by me, like the pictures of ganon alongside the zelda gacha tomy mini figures. lets get started.


THE OUTER PACKAGING

the collectors edition comes in a huge cardboard box. one that should not be thrown away. the front has the see through area where you can see the Ganon figure. and theres artwork of Ganondorf fighting Link. Zelda is on the side of the box, aiming her light arrows! the back of the box has a similar design to what you will see in the back of the game box.


THE GAME BOX

The game comes in a traditional Wii U dvd-amaray case. the front cover is based on classic wind waker artwork. but everything is gold colored, minus Link who stands out in the middle of the box. the box art is great. I like the UK version more, but i don't mind the gold design. its traditional for many zelda games to have this type of color scheme in their box art. Im OK with it!

 
gamecube and WiiU boxes side to side

Epic box art!

amazing wallpaper

GANON FIGURE

Ganon looks amazing. its too bad we didnt get the clear dome that other regions got. but it figurine is still great!

sadly no dome for those in the US and other western regions

The detail on the figure is amazing. the face! the design on his back. the swords. everything is highly detailed. the sculpting and paint-job is excellent. as you can see from the internet pictures below, the figurine truly captures the wind waker art style and Ganon's look from the game.




GANON AND THE TOMY GACHA TOY LINE

I took video and pictures of Ganon next to the figurines from the zelda blind bag tomy gacha line. when you do that you can almost believe he's a part of that line. and link and tetra from the tomy line are more or less correct in size when compared to the ganon figure. i had a lot of fun putting these figures together. 

Ganon next to Tetra and Link

 Link vs Ganon
Ganon vs Link

These tomy gacha figurines are amazing btw. Really well sculpted, painted. I just wish there were more zelda collectible out there. especially action figures. and more figurines of course. cause a lot of the stuff out there is statues, and their way way way expensive. i cant recommend this line enough, and the ganon figurine of course. if you were lucky enough to pre-order the collectors edition before it got sold out, then take care of it. put it on display. and enjoy the amazing ganon figure.

ganon and the zelda and mario gacha-tomy figurines

STRATEGY GUIDE and COLLECTION

One of the last things I did for the video was show the prima strategy guide for the original gamecube version of Wind Waker. I love that guide. mainly cause its full of art work. its a fun and colorful book, much like the game itself. and one of my favorite things is the character guide. its full of images that come from the nintendo gallery u create at the forest haven. when you take pictures of characters with the in-game camera [pictobox] you can get them made into statues within the game. and the small ocarina of time guide within the wind waker guide is a nice bonus.

still my favorite prima stategy guide!!

the final segment was going through most of my zelda colection. i forgot to include the club nintendo posters. i showed the games, even the original NES game with box and booklet. many strategy guides. the figurines. watch the video embedded at the beginning of this article to see it all in detail.

zelda collection

CONCLUSION

the packaging is great. the game box is great. the figurine is amazing. what else is there to say. Highly recommended!! and the game of course is a masterpiece. its still as good now as it was ten years ago. if you have never played it, then go and play the new HD version. or the original version. either way, you will have fun. and the art style is gorgeous, and the graphics amazing. cant believe there are still people out there who haven't played the game because they still cant get over the art style. ITS GORGEOUS!!! and if you play it you will not only get used to it, you will also love it. and you will be experiencing one of the greatest games of all time. cant wait to review it one day! I promise you I will!! written and video review!!! 

the title card i made for my video! go to my channel and see the video!