Monday, 4 May 2015

GG Series Collection Plus (DS), Part 4

It's time for the final part of this long series of reviews, and it's covering the sports section of the cartridge. Don't worry, though, as apparently Genterprise are as lacking in enthusiasm for the subject as me, and some of these games really stretch the definition of a sports game.

Drift Circuit
A terrible racing game. All the cars are the exact same sprite in different colours. They aren't even properly animated, they just slide around and rotate. It's also incredibly slow-paced and tedious. The gimmick is that you can increase your speed by double-tapping a direction to drift, but this just feels awkward, and the boost isn't much, either.

Tetsubou
This is a little odd. It's a futuristic gymnastics game starring what appears to be one of the cycloids from the Street Fighter EX series. You jump to grab on to bars, then swing round them and jump to other bars, collecting gems and trying to reach the exit. It's kind of frustrating when you miss, but otherwise this is a pretty fun game.

Throw Out
A weird soccer-like game starring teams of four fat little robots. It's not particularly interesting or noteworthy in any way.

Exciting River
A kayaking game with an interesting control scheme: the shoulder buttons are each assigned to one of the paddles. Tap them rhythmically and alternately to go straight ahead, and repeatedly tap one to turn in that direction. The player simply has to get to the end of the course before time runs out, and there's a bunch of courses to play through. It's fun to play even on the strength of the controls alone.

Run & Strike
A tennis/squash game featuring a girl hitting a ball at targets on a wall. It reminds me of the bonus games in SEGA's tennis games. Though it's not a bad game, it just didn't really grab me.

Air Pinball Hockey
Like you might guess from the title, this is a weird hybrid of pinball and air hockey. The way this turns out if pretty similar to an arkanoid clone, but with a smaller paddle that can move in all directions. The stages all have different goals, like scoring a certain amount of points or destroying a bunch of targets, and you get a fresh set of lives for each stage, too. This is easily the best game n the sports section, though that does feel a little like damning with light praise.

Uchuu Race
Dissapointing, this one. You drive a spaceship round various short tracks as fast as possible, and touching the sides adds seconds onto your time. There's no opponents at all, and though it looks nice, there's not really much substance to it.
               

Monday, 27 April 2015

GG Series Collection Plus (DS), Part 3

This time, it's the biggest and also the best section of the cartridge: the "Action" section, which covers a few genres!

Shinobi Karakuri Den
This game is probably the best one on the whole cartridge, and the standalone DSiWare release actually reached North America, I think, though unfortunately not Europe. You play as a constantly-jumping ninja tasked with destroying cogs that are guarded by various kinds of samurai. You've got a bunch of tools at your disposal: shurikens, a sword, air-dashing, and every few stages there's aboss fight against an enemy ninja. Enemy attacks don't damage you, just knock you back, with death only coming when you fall off the bottom of the screen. The thing is, though, that every time you jump off of a platform, it disappears and another one appears in a random place. I may give this game its own post at some point in the future, because it's deeper and more interesting than it seems at first glance.

Super Hero Ouga
As if to deliberately provide contrast, the next game in this section is terrible. It's a single-plane beat em up starring a hero who bears an uncanny resemblence to Kamen Rider Agito, who fights of many identical enemies and occasionally a boss. It's boring, repetitive and your character feels way too weak. A disappointment all round.

Assault Buster
Getting back on track, Assault Buster is a great little single-screen shooter starring a jetpack-clad heroine zipping around shooting enemy turrets, with a big installation at the end of each stage and a bossfight against an evil-doer with a jetpack every few stages. Interestingly, each boss has a different special attack that's like a significantly-upgraded version of an attack one of the types of turrets use. Assault Buster's a really fun game, and I don't have much more to say about it other than it also looks pretty good, compared to many of the games on this cart, too.

Drilling Attack!!
this one's a platform game starring a robot that looks  lot like Mechazawa from Cromartie High School, and who can also transform into a flying drill. The aim of each stage is to find a keycard and then the exit, with a secondary objective of finding glowing stone tablets hidden inside rocks. There's also a fun scoring system built around consecutively drilling through many blocks in quick succession to build up and maintain a multiplier. This one's a lot of fun, and also really satisfying to play.

The Last Knight
Something a bit different, a top-down action psuedo-RPG. You play as a knight who goes from room to room killing gargoyles and will-o-the-wisps and so on. For every five rooms you clear, you can increase your strength, dexterity or vitality. I recommend always putting points into strength, unless you're on low HP, in which case vitality will restore it and increase the max. I don't actually know what dexterity does, but i never felt weakened by its absence. This game's alright, I guess. It's not bad, but it's not one you'll come back to often, either.

Variable Arms
Back to platform games, with this one's gimmick being that you pilot a tranforming robot in it. In robot form, you can jump higher and have a fast, weak, short-range weapon, and in vehicle mode, you move faster and jump further, and your weapon is a long range cannon with a much lower fire rate. Another one that's pretty average, really. Nothing to write home about at all.

Whipper no Daibouken
A cute little platform game where you play as a little man with a whip who has to traverse jungle stages and get to the exit. This one doesn't have any special gimmicks or anything, but it does have well-designed stages, and it's fun enough to play that that doesn't matter. You can whip in front of you or upwards, and there are anchor-like hooks that your whip can latch onto, too. There's also a few different kinds of enemies that stand in your way, all with their own different behaviour patterns. Definitely one that's worth playing.

The Hidden Ninja Kagemaru
A stealth platform game that sees the eponymous ninja sneaking around stages trying to steal scrolls without being seen. Kagemaru has various items at his disposal, like a camoflage sheet to hide behind while guards walk past, and a magic eye that lets him see the guards' fields of vision. Unfortunately, though the concept is excellent, I just can't get into this game. Maybe it's just limited by its small scope: larger stages and Tenchu-esque stealth kills might have been massive improvements. Worth checking out for the cool gimmick, but not that great a game to play.

All Breaker
Yet another platform game, this time starring a girl with a big hammer, traversing stages with the mission of smashing special orange blocks littered about the place. The hammer can be used to smash most of the blocks from which the stages are built, too, and as the game progresses, different kinds of blocks with different properties start to appear. For example, blocks that are sent reeling ahead when hit, or ones tht are only held aloft by othe blocks, that fall when those blocks are smashed, and so on. Yeah, you probably won't regret spending your hard-earned points on this one.

Nano Creature Nyokki
A strange one this: you play as a microscopic tapeworm thing, and you swim around the screen collecting cubes and avoiding everything else. It's not a bad game, but it's not very interesting, either. I get the feeling this one was probably more fun to make than it is to play.