Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story

Platform: Nintendo DS

Price: $40 CDN

Release Date: Sept. 14, 2009

When I played the first Superstar Saga game for the GBA I was impressed. Nice graphics, tight gameplay, excellent use of RPG elements, and a comical story all added up to a fun and fulfilling gaming experience. The subsequent release Partners in Time continued with that tradition while further exploring the DS’s capabilities. Bowser’s inside story nicely continues on this trend, adding some new elements, but mostly using the tried and true formula that has made the series a hit worldwide.

The story goes like this: Fawful (veterans of the series will remember him) wants to take over the Mushroom Kingdom. He tricks Bowser into eating a vacuum mushroom, and Bowser, in turn, vacuums up our heroes into his belly. Fawful takes over Bowser’s castle and now the trio must work together to defeat this new villain.

You control either Bowser or Mario and Luigi (game shifts during the story) and each has a unique control scheme. The controls are great, with one exception. There is quite a bit of mandatory touch screen action that is imperfect and annoying (I was eating a giant carrot for a long time). I don’t mind the touch screen when it works, but every time you use the touch screen it could be done easier, faster, and better with a button combo.

That aside, the game is a solid, solid title and will keep you busy for at least 20 hours. That works out to a very reasonable $2 per hour of entertainment. Mario and Luigi is a must have for any RPG fan, but others will enjoy it as well. If you have ever liked a Mario game you should give this a try.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Micro-Review: Daredevil: The Return of the King

Brubaker does not disappoint in his rendition of The Man Without Fear, and the Return of the King storyline is no exception. Solid storytelling, excellent use of forgotten characters, and a surprising ending make this tradepaperback a must have for any DD fan. If you enjoy gritty crime stories with ninjas, this is the comic for you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mini-review: Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty

As the first downloadable only Ratchet and Clank game, Quest for Booty faced pretty high expectations. A lot of gamers were hoping for a robust R&C story to hold them over until the new disc based game hit the shelves.

Quest for Booty is fun, but really short. I don't have a problem with short games, but this will take you 4 hours tops. It is a fun 4 hours, and you are never bored while using your various gadgets to take down zombie robot pirates (I know, I know).

However, the price tag of $15 isn't really worth the experience. It is a good thing that Sony periodically puts it on sale for $10. If you are a Ratchet and Clank fan pick it up for $10, but if you have never played a R&C game before rent or buy an older title in the series first. If you like it shell out the $10.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Micro-Review: Web of Spider-man #1

Just awful. The Kaine storyline is too long and unnecessary and the Spider-Girl story is incoherent for new readers. The only decent part was the Frog-man story, but it was the shorter joke story at the end of the book. I will give this new Web a bit more of a chance, but you should avoid.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mini Review: Amazing Spider-man #609

Making ASM a thrice monthly publication has done nothing but ensure inconsistency in Marvel’s flagship title. Some storylines are great, some mediocre, and some downright horrible. This month’s issue falls into the middle category; the art and writing are fine, but the overall story is lacklustre.

Also, why are we talking about Kaine and Ben Reilly again? When you have run out of ideas and you need to reach into the mid-90’s for sub-par characters there is a real problem.

I also have to wonder why Kaine knows Spider-man’s secret identity? Spidey simply states that “it makes sense” that his clone knows who he is. No, it doesn’t. Mephisto changed reality so Aunt May would be alive and no one knows who Spider-man really is. This deal with Mephisto was a ridiculous plot fix and Marvel will forever be cleaning up the mess.

If you are a Spidey collector this will find a place in your comic box, but others should just wait until an actual storyline comes along.

Bad Naughty Dog

So apparently in Uncharted if you start a new game your chapter select disappears. That does not make me want to play this game any more. I assumed that this was like RE 5 and I could start a new game and retain my chapter select for picking up extra trophies here and there.

Naturally I saved over my game that had chapter select enabled (how was I to know?) and now I feel little incentive to continue on my trophy hunt.

Why did you leave such a design flaw in the game Naughty Dog? RE 5 does the chapter select, new game plus, and unlockable items much better.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Finished Uncharted over the weekend. Now the trophy hunting really begins.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mini-Retro Review: Preacher

I recently had the chance to re-read Garth Ennis' magnum opus, Preacher. For most of the late 90's this was the comic that I looked forward to every month. While it is still great, I no longer think that it is the greatest gift to all of comicdom.

Some of it seems quite dated and very 90's (e.g. Arseface and Kurt Cobain), but it is still a compelling story. Unless you find a cache of issues for cheap the complete tpb run will cost you $180, so If you are a fan of horror or the western genre this is for you, but if dislike stories with graphic violence, mature situations, and sacrilegious plotlines, steer clear of this title.

Mini-Review: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

As Uncharted 2 hit the shelves this week, I figured that I should see what all the fuss was over the original Uncharted. Currently a greatest hits title that costs $30, Uncharted provides you with at least 10 hours of Indiana Jones style adventure.

I am currently about half way through the game now and I can see why this title is a favourite of many gamers out there. The controls are tight (I only have a complaint on the grenade controls) and responsive. Death will occur frequently, but you start almost exactly where you left off.

The story is compelling, and Uncharted is the only game in recent history where I didn’t try to skip the cutscenes (MGS4 is a great game, but some of those cutscenes are brutally slow). You will get great value from this game and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good solid action title with great puzzle elements.

New Review System

In an effort to post more often, I am instituting a new review system. A full review will be the normal in depth posting that I have created in the past. A mini-review will be a couple of paragraphs highlighting the key features of a game, movie, or comic book. Finally, a micro-review will be a sentence or two giving the bare essentials for a review. I hope that this structure will aid in more frequent postings while allowing me to stay on top of all the great nerdy products out there.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Take that Ndesu!

I finally managed to beat Ndesu last night with the help of a friend in co-op mode. The fight is ridiculously hard and I will post strategies later.

My friend and I also managed to steam roll though the rest of the game on Professional mode and, therefore, I now have my first Platinum Trophy!

Take that Capcom!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ndesu Update

I died another 9 times. If it wasn't for this platinum trophy I would not ever try again.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Comic Book Daily

Face front true believer! I have discovered a great new website for all you comic book lovers out there. It is called and I strongly encourage you to check it out.

I read a lot of comic book sites, so a new site has to be quite different to catch my eye. What I enjoy about CBD is the wide variety of comic book related articles and blogs. If you want to know what is new this week, or how the comic book market is doing, or how to prep your books for grading, or which twitter feeds you should be following, don't worry, the folks at CBD have your back.

All in all a great site with a lot of industry info. Visit them today.

Ndesu, from Hell's heart I stab at thee

I have been trying to beat level 2-3 from Resident Evil 5 on Professional Mode for some time now. I loathe this level. I know, I know, pretty strong language, but it infuriates me and my hatred burns with the fury of a thousand suns.

I am trying to get my platinum trophy, but I fear that this level will stand in my way. The giant Ndesu boss is near impossible. For those of you who do not know, level 2-3 is a rail shooter (the only one in the game) that forces you to use a Gatling gun mounted on a jeep. No healing items, no different weapons, just a stupid gun that overheats when you fire too much.

The boss has a series of attacks which are difficult to dodge every time. This would not be a huge problem except that his attacks take off about 50% of your life. That’s right folks, two mistakes and you are dead. Oh and there are a bunch of other enemies shooting and throwing bombs at you. You can kill them, but while you are killing them Ndesu is crushing your jeep.

The AI partner is only sort of helpful; sometimes it will stop firing or shoot at some other target for no reason. You can do co-op with a human partner, but I swear that Ndesu has even more life if you play with a friend.

All and all if Capcom removed even one handicap this fight would be manageable. If the gun didn’t overheat, or if you could heal yourself, or if those jerks on the side of the screen didn’t throw stuff at you, or ….. you get my drift.

So far I have died 14 times against Ndesu. I will post when I finally beat him. Any tips would be great appreciated. Rage.

I know I haven't written in a while.

I know that I have been amiss in creating new posts lately, but, as many of you know, September can be a busy time. I will endeavour to post more frequently, and, to this end, will be posting shorter pieces that will not necessarily deal with reviewing a piece of pop culture. These shorter postings will be updates on my current nerd activity and hopefully will provide you with some insight into the choices I make with my recreational time.