Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Mario Kart Double Dash!!

Mario Kart Double Dash is the fourth game in the Mario Kart racing series and definitely a good addition to the series. It was released for the Gamecube in 2003. Unlike other games in the series, Double Dash gave us a new way to play the game. Unlike past and future installments, player now drive with two racers instead of one, one driving and the other using items. Speaking of items, each original duo of racers have their own special items, such as Mario and Luigi's Fireballs, Wario and Waluigi's Bob-ombs and Bowser and Bowser Jr.'s Bowser's Shell. The game comes with sixteen new tracks suitable for two people karts. Up to four player can play. The single player is a little dull since there is only Grand Prix and Time Trial modes. Grand Prix is where you race against seven other racers to win 1st place in a certain cup, either Mushroom, Flower, Star, or Special. There is also an unlockable All Cup Tour in which you must race in all sixteen courses. This appears in both single player and multi player. Next is Time Trial, which only appears in single player. The racer lonely races on a single track in order to beat his or her best time. The next mode is Battle mode, in which two to four players can play. There are three different battle modes, the first one being the classic Balloon Battle. Basically,each racer starts out with three balloons. What you must do is throw items and place traps to make opponents lose a balloon. The last racer standing with at least one balloon left is the winner. Next is Shine Thief, which players must battle for a Shine Sprite located on the battlefield. Attacking the racer holding the sprite causes them to lose it. The racer holding the sprite when the clock reaches zero is the winner. The last of the three is Bob-omb Blast, which I highly recommend.

Oh the excitement!

What you do is stock up on Bob-ombs and throw them at your friends. The racers who get caught in three explosions are taken out of the battle and the last duo standing is the winner.

Last, I would like to talk about Versus mode, which is where you race against your friends in any track you choose instead of a whole cup. It's not in single player mode so that's a small disappointment.

Graphics in Double Dash are very good in my opinion. The kart's and racer's appearances on the racetracks are well animated and have good designs. The tracks themselves are all well designed and are wonderful to see. One small thing I noticed being pointed out is that the characters on the character selection screen are a little shiny looking like toys or something. It honestly doesn't bug me, but it may bother some people. Overall, graphics are very good and pass.

Music in Double Dash is very good and catchy. Each piece of music fits its track, from fast paced for Luigi's Circuit, to creepy for Bowser's Castle, to deep and beautiful for Rainbow Road. All the songs are well done and pass. Sounds are well recorded and are rather cartoon-like. Racers scream for almost every occasion in the game, a lot if they are hit by shells, so that may get annoying for some.

Mario Kart Double Dash is a good game for anyone who is a fan of the Mario Kart series. From its different gameplay elements to its familiar fun, this is a must have. If you have a Gamecube laying around or even a Wii and a Gamecube controller and memory card, see if you can find a used copy of this game at a local game store. While I'm still up, I must mention that the controls are a little unpolished, so they require a little getting used to. Overall, Mario Kart Double Dash is a must have.



Next Review

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Top 10 Creepiest or Weirdest Moments in Gaming

Halloween's coming around the corner, so I have decided to put together ten of my creepiest moments in gaming. Please note that they are in no order.

My first creepy moment in gaming I'm talking about is the River Twygz in Super Paper Mario. It appears in chapter 7's The Underwhere, which is basically a gaming underworld. Early in the chapter, you come across a gondola over a murky River Twygz. For a price, the creepy figure will take you across the weird body of water.

However, you have to dive to the bottom of the river to continue the story. Sounds okay, until you see and hear the horrors.

When you get to the middle part, around the area in the picture above, the music turns from dramatic to rather creepy and spine tingling. It doesn't even sound like something from a Mario game, more like Nightmare on Elm Street. It barely has any instruments in it but faint, but still loud enough to hear, screeches and blowing (or is it whispers) sounds. Seriously, if you are playing this game and about to get to this area at night, you might as well either stop or turn your tv volume down to zero because you may (actually you will) lose sleep. It also doesn't help that ghostly, undead hands invade the river bed (see picture below the title cover). Each and every one of them slowly and limply float toward Mario and try to hold him down. Definitely my all time creepiest moment in any Mario game.

The next creepy moment I'm talking about is Bogmire, the second boss of Luigi's Mansion. Like I probably said in many articles already, almost every creepy thing was pretty much removed from Luigi's Mansion. Well, I think they left one thing behind. The first thing I want mention is his freaky appearance. He looks a little like a Purple Puncher ghost that got mangled and had its arms ripped off. Second, I want to mention when he appears. First off, he appears in a rather creepy graveyard. You suck up three skeleton ghosts, then the main headstone starts glowing. When walking up to it, this happens:

You then get warped to a graveyard-like arena with creepy music. In battle, Bogmire makes shadows of himself, varying in size. When you are sucking one up, it lets out otherworldly moans and howls, which Bogmire will let out a few times while getting captured, too. While weird, it is still an overall fun battle.

Next is the Old Chateau in Pokemon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum Versions. It rests in the deepest parts of the Eterna Forest. I may be repeating myself since I wrote an article on it a while back, but I guess I just have to repeat myself. Old Chateau is and old and rather small mansion. Not much is in it but some Gastly and the Old Gateau. A ghost of a girl and a butler appear, but you can't interact with them. After completing the Sinnoh Pokedex (in Diamond and Pearl), you can catch the Ghost/Electric Pokemon, Rotom. You can only do it during night hours, or you can forward your DS clock. It's a lot more fun to do it at night, in a dark and silent room. For anything I have failed to mention, refer to this article I wrote about the Old Chateau:

Creepy Steeple is the location of the fourth Crystal Star in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Judging by the picture, yes, this place is rather creepy. First off is the music. It's not as creepy as River Twygz, but is still bone chilling. The music is pretty much stereotypical Halloween music with a few spine tingling, radiant sounds. The appearance is overall dark and devious. In the foyer, Boos float throughout the area and will throw him out if he stays around too long. However, they are an optional boss battle, which is an Atomic Boo.

The boss is the shadow thief, Doopliss, whose name is not known yet. During battle, he appears to take the form of a shadow version of Mario. I want to save the rest, but here's Doopliss:

He doesn't look all that threatening, he actually isn't to be honest, but he does make the steeple fairly stranger.

Next is a rather creepy character. He's not exactly an important one, but I still felt like he should be mentioned  here. He is Ghost T. from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. He appears in chapter 6 on the Excess Express. He appears in cabin 004, which at first appears vacant. Mario later gets a report from the conductor saying that a passenger without a ticket is in there and is holding onto a blanket. Mario goes in to find nothing, or so he thinks. If he uses Vivian's Veil to hide, this specter appears, causing many kid's hearts to nearly stop. He tells Mario that he died on the Excess Express a long time ago, apparently from some sort of food poisoning. He offers Mario the said blanket, but for a price. Ghost T. left his diary on the train and wants no one to read it. Mario gets the diary, but he dares not read it. If he does read it, Ghost T. immediately knows and kills Mario instantly, giving an automatic game over. If you do want to read it, just at least save first. Mario gives him the diary for the blanket. Ghost T. is then ready to go "above", but decides to stay because the train is comfortable. Though a light hearted character, his appearance and the music that plays when talking to him is overall creepy.

Lavender Town is a small town in Pokemon Red, Blue, Yellow, Firered and Leafgreen, along with a small appearance in Gold, Silver, Crystal, Heartgold and Soulsilver. It is rumored for various ghost sightings. In it is the Pokemon Tower, a pokemon graveyard. Ghosts appear all around and are fairly disturbing at first.

Most of the ghosts are simple Gastly, Haunter and strangely Cubone. They can be seen normally by using the Silph Scope that you find in Team Rocket's hideout. Near the end, a real ghost makes an appearance. Using the scope identifies it as a ghost Marowak that was killed by Team Rocket. It must be beaten in battle in order to continue. The ghosts can be a little creepy at first, but they just take a little getting used to. What I thought was weird was that nearly every trainer in the tower was possessed until they are beaten in battle. In Gold, Silver, Crystal, Heartgold and Soulsilver, the graves in the tower were moved to turn the tower into a radio tower. I wonder how many angry ghosts are there now?

Here, I'm going to talk about a small incident in Luigi's Mansion. When going into the Telephone Room and talking on the phone, look carefully at Luigi's shadow when the lightning strikes. The shadow looks as if Luigi is hanging from the ceiling. It's not even in the same formation as Luigi, but instead looks rather limp. It has not been confirmed if this was a mistake by Nintendo or intentional. Many believe that it was to be a warning from the Boos.

This isn't really much of a creepy moment but more of an unexpected experience. I remember getting used to catching regular ghosts, until I got to the Study. I walk inside to see this guy sitting in his chair and minding his own business. I was all like "What in the world?!" and ran off instantly. After gaining some bravery, I walked back inside to try to catch him. After he gave nothing but a simple yawn, I was able to catch him. I then knew that there were more like him. He and the other ghosts were not as creepy as Bogmire, but I still remember this fully well.

The next creepy moment in my little list is the World of Nothing from Super Paper Mario. If anyone has played the game, you already know about the void that is supposed to swallow everything. However, when you get to chapter 6's Sammer Kingdom, the void is unexpectedly closer. When Mario reaches the second part of the chapter, the void is ready to consume the kingdom. Mario is instantly warped back to Flipside, but the door to the kingdom remained. He returns to find a lifeless, white world. Pillars from the castle still appear poking out of the ground and are rather sad looking in appearance. The music make the mood rather worse with its creepy sounds, though not as creepy as River Twygz. You then have to walk across this lifeless world for I say around a boring and depressing seven minutes. Once you meet the end, you have to battle Mr. L once again. After defeating him, you find the sixth Pure Heart, but it is lifeless and made of stone.

The final creepy moment I will talk about is the Ghost Ship from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. You first learn of it in the pictograph shop on Windfall Island. Supposedly, a man created a chart to track the Ghost Ship, but he died after he finished it. The ship is the location of one of the Triforce charts, so it must be vistited. However, when you see it and try to board it, you pass right through it. You must find that chart I mentioned earlier.

According to the chart, the ship will appear in certain places depending on the lunar phase. I expected the Ghost Ship to be creepy and filled with ghost pirates. I was half right, but the ship looked more like a small submarine. There are many undead enemies, but no pirates. The mainly creepy enemy was this thing:

That's a ReDead, something worthy of mentioning on this list. Whenever it attacks, it lets out a haunting, ghostly scream that paralyzes Link in his tracks. If it is close to Link when it does this, it will jump onto his back and gnaw on his head until he's weak. While I'm still talking about the ship, I might as well mention this:

If you look into the room in which the treasure chest is held, a haunting smile is staring at you, however, if you are close to it, it is nothing more than a bleak face.

That wraps it up for my creepiest and weird moments in Nintendo gaming. Thank you and have a happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Current and Archived Covers

Here are a collection of current, archived and future logos and banners.

The website's very first logo, kinda cheaply made.

Current and most used logo.  

Independence Day 2012

A temporary logo using three of the Koopalings.

An unused logo featuring the website's mascot, Dynamo Bro., and the
three Koopalings.  

A temporary and now unused logo.

Halloween 2012

Paper Mario: Sticker Star.

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Magnagate and the Infinite
Labyrinth (Japanese release)

Christmas 2012

Pokemon Kami Trio Threian Forms (unused)

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity (U.S. release)
New Logo now unused once agian
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity and
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon release

Spring 2013

Nintendo Extreme 1 Year

Other Covers and Logos

Mushroom City Department of Motor Vehicles logo.

Luigi's Mansion Beta cover.

Mario Kart 20th Anniversary article cover.

The covers used in 'Top 10 Creepiest or Weirdest Moments in Gaming'.