RJS

"Can you believe this Mini-Wii thing?”

"Releasing a new version of a console after the successor has already come out?”

"And no backwards compatibility??”

"I can’t believe Nintendo would DO something so crazy! It’s so unlike them!"

Zak & Wiki is best 3rd party Wii game.

To those who ask why I have have one word: appeal.

Appealing art and game design.  I remember the graphics in this one far more fondly due to flat out APPEAL than anything on an HD console.  I would give anything to see the production art in this game printed in a book.  Or better yet, find some hi-res art files of it.  This game needs a sequel more than any other game ever. It’s far more memorable than Capcom Vs. Nomoremegaman with DLC costumes 7 or whatever flaccid franchise they’re currently cranking now.

Retro City Rampage, VBlank Entertainment, 2012


I cannot WAIT for this game.

Inju25ice
(NOTE: THIS IS NOT A SLAM ON ZELDA. I LOVE ZELDA, I’M JUST TRYING TO MAKE A POINT)This is something I meant to draw for months, but didn’t get around to, but since the year’s almost over I better get it done.2011  was the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda (1986-2011) and it was  an anniversary with much fanfare: there were four Zelda games released  this year, Skyward Sword (which also had a special edition), a 3DS  Virtual console release of Link’s Awakening, a remake of Four Swords on  DSi, and a 3DS remoke of Ocarina of time. If you were part of the 3DS  ambassador program, you got three additional games, too: Zelda 1 and 2,  and Minish cap. There was even a 25th anniversary orchestral concert.Metroid,  on the other hand, also had a 25th anniversary this year with little  fanfare, other than a few fan tributes and a V-Con release of Metroid  II, there was no celebration on Nintendo’s part at all. Now don’t go  thinking I feel that Zelda didn’t deserve the attention—it did. In fact  there’s some Skyward Sword fan art that I’ve had on the backburner that  I’ll be posting soon. I just feel Metroid deserved it too.

Inju25ice

(NOTE: THIS IS NOT A SLAM ON ZELDA. I LOVE ZELDA, I’M JUST TRYING TO MAKE A POINT)

This is something I meant to draw for months, but didn’t get around to, but since the year’s almost over I better get it done.

2011 was the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda (1986-2011) and it was an anniversary with much fanfare: there were four Zelda games released this year, Skyward Sword (which also had a special edition), a 3DS Virtual console release of Link’s Awakening, a remake of Four Swords on DSi, and a 3DS remoke of Ocarina of time. If you were part of the 3DS ambassador program, you got three additional games, too: Zelda 1 and 2, and Minish cap. There was even a 25th anniversary orchestral concert.

Metroid, on the other hand, also had a 25th anniversary this year with little fanfare, other than a few fan tributes and a V-Con release of Metroid II, there was no celebration on Nintendo’s part at all. Now don’t go thinking I feel that Zelda didn’t deserve the attention—it did. In fact there’s some Skyward Sword fan art that I’ve had on the backburner that I’ll be posting soon. I just feel Metroid deserved it too.

OMFG IT SO SHINY #SkywardSword

OMFG IT SO SHINY #SkywardSword

Look what IIIII have!

Look what IIIII have!

Budding game designers: Having trouble coming up with a boss character? Create a floating head with a pair of floating hands.

Budding game designers: Having trouble coming up with a boss character? Create a floating head with a pair of floating hands.

Super Meat Boy may not be coming to Wii, but you can at least download these!Meat BoyBandage GirlDr. FetusC.H.A.D.BrownieTofu Boy

Super Meat Boy may not be coming to Wii, but you can at least download these!

Meat Boy
Bandage Girl
Dr. Fetus
C.H.A.D.
Brownie
Tofu Boy

It’s On, Like… That Game With The Monkey In It.

Between this, Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Meat Boy, the platforming genre has been going through a kind of Renaissance this year. Donkey Kong Country Returns is a rebirth of 1994’s Original Donkey Kong Country on the SNES—which was in and of itself a rebirth of 1981’s Original Donkey Kong—which makes this some type of Moebius loop of rebirthing.

The original DKC was a huge hit—It was the biggest-selling game (over 8 million!) on the Super NES, single handedly winning the 16-bit console war for Nintendo over the Sega Genesis/Megadrive. It used pre-rendered 3D models to create 2D sprites and environments, which was state-of-the-art back in ‘94, when you could call the original Doom a “3D” game without any sense of irony. It spawned two sequels but the series was forgotten when the next generation, led by Sony and their first ever console the “PlayStation”, gave us ACTUAL 3D graphics and gameplay.

So now it’s 2010, the system is the Wii, and DK is back—again—but this time around Retro Studios (Metroid Prime) was in charge of development in place of the long-since-defected-to-XBox Rare.  Strangely enough though, Retro made it look exactly like something Rare would have made if they were still doing the series—which is a good thing.  DKC Returns gives DK the the New Super Mario Bros. treatment, using modern 3D graphics to recreate old-school 2D platform jumping.

That’s not to say there isn’t anything new here. In fact, Retro has mixed things up quite a bit while retaining the best core elements of the original.  DK’s banana hoard is missing once again but K.Rool and the Kremlings are absent this time around.  Instead the enemy is a tribe of evil Tiki things that appeared out of a volcano and hypnotized the local wildlife into stealing all of the island’s precious potassium source.

Anyhow, on to the actual review:

-The Pros-

  • Retro figured out a Donkey Kong game should be about Donkey Kong.  The cast of superfluous apes has thankfully been cut down, so no Dixie or Chunky or any other character nobody cares about. Diddy Kong’s still around, but instead of switching between Kongs, Diddy takes up the Kazooie/Clank role and clings to Donkey’s back to give him improve movement abilities, like a rocket-pack boost and a longer rolling attack.
  • Classic platforming and OCD collecting goodness. The level designs are top-notch, tons of hidden stuff like in the old games.  Bonus rooms hidden in places you wouldn’t think to look.  K-O-N-G letters and puzzle pieces are scattered throughout each level. You’ll be playing for days overturning every rock and blowing every dandelion in order to get them all.  Plus making the game in full 3D allows for creative platform designs that spin, turn and rotate much like in New SMB.
  • It’s really goddamn hard. REALLY hard.  In spite of each Kong having two hit points instead of one, this is yet another DKC game where you will die A LOT.  Most deaths will come from pitfalls and crashing on the mine cart ad rocket barrel levels.  Though there are bananas everywhere, and you can buy life balloons with coins, but even so you will burn though dozens of lives.  I managed to max out my life count to 99 luft balloons, and it was cut down to 40 once I managed to finally beat the Volcano levels and the final boss.
  • The details. DKCR is a GORGEOUS game.  The music is great too, all great remasterings of the classic tracks from the original game. The enemy design really looks like something Rare could have done back in the day, most of the Tiki enemies are shaped like drums—their design just screams, “Hey! Jump on my head!” even moreso than Goombas.  The sunset levels, where everything is shown in silhouette, are incredibly creative. There’s also tons of hidden references and other little touches that really make the visuals a joy to behold. A secret area underground shows a tunnels with marching termites in it. Ancient temples with hieroglyphs shaped like sprites from the original arcade game. Factories are decorated with familiar blue ladders. And a special guest from the old days appears in the background of one level—I won’t spoil it for you.

-The Cons-

  • Enough with the bullshit waggle already. Just about every Wii game Nintendo produces has to have arbitrary waggling to justify the motion control being there. In games like Mario Wii and Wario Land it usually just serves one purpose. But in Donkey Kong the remote-shaking, together with the D-Pad/analog stick serves for THREE different moves(rolling, blowing, and ground slapping) which is simply NOT a good idea, especially in a platformer where precision control is essential. I can’t tell you how many times I died because an attempt to do a ground-pound made me roll off a cliff instead.  Also, I made the mistake of using the Wiimote by itself like a NES controller. I didn’t find out until late that it works with the Nunchuk, and it works A LOT better that way.
  • What’s that? Still don’t have an HDTV yet? Fuck you. Hope you like eyestrain!  It’s 2010 and I still use a standard definition tube TV.  Nintendo basically went into the HD generation kicking and screaming, and until recently still made games for us technology primitivists. But alas, they are forced into the 16:9 format and they make it so SD sets letterbox their games now.  So now I have to suffer, along with everyone else who plays games on a TV less than 5 feet long, with shrunken-down images on an already not-so-big screen.  I found myself having to lean in to see shrunken obstacles that can kill me instantly.  This became especially prominent in one section where I entered a room and had to fight a group of hummingbirds.  No, really.
  • No underwater levels. Oh no wait, that’s a good thing because underwater levels suck. Nevermind.
  • Fuck the Super Guide. I’m playing to get my ass kicked, not insulted! Most of these cons don’t really seem to be about Donkey Kong, but Nintendo recent games in general.  Along with New SMB Wii and Mario Galaxy 2, dying on a particular level enough times will pompt the “Super Guide” to try to play the game FOR you. It’s one thing that you’ve become a replacement for the parents of the kids who play your games Nintendo, but now you’re trying to replace their older brother, too?!

To finish, this is one of the best platformers and best Wii games I’ve played this year. It’s control issues keep it from getting a perfect score though. Retro studios has done a great job all in all, and it makes me wish they were still doing Metroid Games. (Stupid stinkin’ Other M.)

FINAL SCORE: 9 out of 10! Highly recommended!