Initial D: Special Stage (PlayStation 2)
My Favorite Racing Game EVER.
It pains me to see such a good racing game lost among the Need For Speed Undergrounds and all other street race games. It is also a shame that this game may never come to America. Lucky for me I was in Japan one day and played it.
I have always been a fan of the Initial D manga and anime and was excited to play an Initial D game and I wasn't disappointed.
You can play as the main character Takumi and race in his "Eight-Six" or play another mode where you race various characters of Initial D in various courses. What I love about that is that it takes you into the Initial D universe and you get to see all of your opponents home courses. They look alike, but they are very different. I also like how you have to race under their rules. It makes for an interesting race. After a certain amount of time, you can even play as different characters to get different cars.
What I love the most about this game is that how the car looks doesn't matter at all. Some cars in the game may make some race game lovers go "ewww that car is ugly!" The cars aren't exactly pretty, but who cares? In the manga and anime, they only care about its performance. That's what I love so much about the game, looks don't matter. While on this subject, unlike most racing games, you don't use Nitrous Oxide at all. You use pure skill and drift to race.
Something that amazes me is that in the game, it captures the same feeling you get when you watch Initial D. You get all of the classic Eurobeat music from the series and you get all of the characters. You see Ryosuke, Keisuke, Mako and Sayuki, etc. Another thing that amazes me every time I watch Initial D is how the Eight-Six Trueno stacks up against cars with turbos and such. It may make Western gamers go "That is so fake, it can't happen one bit!". They clearly explain how it is possible in the series and it is true. An Eight-Six (if driven properly) can beat tuned up cars.
Enough of my jumbling about the Eight-Six, now on to gameplay. The gameplay is some of the most fluid race gameplay I ever encountered. It is smooth and it acts like the real car. The drifting in the game is simple to pick up. The racing is fun to do because there are many choices you can to race.
What amazes me in the car selection is that there a lot of cars. This game may have enough cars to stack up against Gran Turismo. All of the classic Initial D cars are here, and there are some new ones. You can choose to tune up engines, put in turbos, etc.
What I didn't like was the fact this game was only in Japan. It should be brought to America so gamers who love racing games can enjoy a game where they don't depend on Nitrous Oxide and stuff. And since it is only released in Japan, if you can't read Japanese, you're pretty much screwed. I had to have one of my friends translate for me.
Something that bothered me in this game (and in the Initial D manga/anime) is that the characters are ugly. You can see in the cover of the game. Some of them are horribly drawn and some are downright disturbing.
Another thing that annoyed me is that there are no voice-overs. It is just text. You have to read everything. And on the subject of text, if you can't pronounce their names, you are once again doomed. They won't give you the English names (Which I thought were horrible) so you better know a thing or 2 on how to pronounce their Japanese names. Other than those stuff, the game is a great racer.
The Bottom Line
This is a great racing game. If it was released in the U.S., racing games may have a different approach. Who knows, with the Initial D series and the Initial D movie, this game may come to the U.S.
By NightKid32 on June 30, 2005
Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout (PlayStation)
Very Poor Installment to the Dragon Ball Game Series.
After I played Dragon Ball Z Legends, I was loving Dragon Ball Z. When I heard of Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout, I was excited than ever. I spent my hard-earned money on a piece of crap that should've stayed in the buildings of Bandai.
Let me start by saying the opening cinematic is beautiful. It showed footage of Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT. Some of it was even made specifically for the game. It was really just like watching the series. You are introduced to the characters of the Dragon Ball world. When the cinematic is over, you are at the menu which is designed quite nicely. You see pictures of certain characters (And if you enter certain cheats you can change the picture) and introduced to the numerous modes you can do. There is the obvious arcade mode, the vs. mode, the tournament mode, and the options mode.
When you are at the character select screen, it is designed very nicely. There aren't many characters to choose from, but they are well drawn. When you pick the characters for a fight, they actually taunt each other. If you pick specific characters from the show, they will actually say things to each other. For example, say you picked Gohan and Piccolo to fight. Gohan will say "I'm gonna blow you away Piccolo" and Piccolo will reply "Is that you Gohan?" That was a really cool feature.
The graphics are in 3-D for the first time in Dragon Ball game history. You can shoot the obvious ki (engergy) blast, but what amazed me was the stages and how much of the show they put into the game. When you fly into the air, you get the sound effects from the show. All of the backrounds come from the show as well. You can fight from a dying Namek to a wasteland.
The enemies aren't your average enemies. They are tough. You need some amount of skill to beat them. No matter the difficulty, they are still tough. When you reach the end of the game, the ending boss is one of the most breathtaking bosses I've seen. I won't spoil it, but let's just say he can't fit your T.V. screen.
The amount of characters you can unlock amazes me. It really gives you a large variety of characters from Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT. There are some of the coolest characters in here.
To end what I liked about this game, I'll end with this. You can sell this game to get a large amount of money. (I did that in 2001 when DBZ was beginning to be a hot show)
I'll start by saying this. THE AMERICAN VERSION BLOWS. The voice actors are new people who sound absolutely like little children who couldn't say something about Dragon Ball to save their lives. They really do suck. The original Japanese voice actors did the voices for their characters in the game. While the opening cinematic was great and all, the Japanese version is the one Dragon Ball fans want to watch. It has the original music from DB in it. What does the American Version has? Hard Rock. I was shocked. Just shocked.
I'll move now into the characters you can play as. Yes I said there are a lot, but guess what? THEY ARE THE EXACT SAME CHARACTERS. I swear. Take Goku for example. You get him in 6 FORMS. No lie. Goku makes up most of the characters. Well, him and Trunks anyway, who has 3 forms in the game. Some characters are missing since DB was made a video game. What happened to those favorite guys, Tien, Krillin, Yamcha etc.?
Now my next grudge is against the title and how this game was released. In Japan it was called Dragon Ball: Final Bout. In America it is called Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout. Why? Perhaps they called it GT was so it would spark interest and wonder in those who never heard of Dragon Ball before. Bandai probably hoped GT would make people say "I know what Dragon Ball Z is, but what is this Dragon Ball GT?" They probably just wanted more people to buy it. (Which probably explains why it's so rare to find nowadays). I have a problem about it's release date. It was released back in '97. Why would Bandai do something like that? DBZ was beginning to air it's first episodes on T.V. and they put out a game that is a sequel to that series?! My oh my....
MY BIGGEST PROBLEM IS WITH THE GAMEPLAY. It is the worst gameplay control ever!!!! You punch once, and you have to wait about 2 seconds for your fighter to react. There are incredibly tough combos called "Meteo" that takes lightning fast reflexes to do. There are the cool ki blast war where 2 people shoot ki blasts at each other and it collides together, but I always got hit with the blast. My biggest problem is with the CPU. They have no problem with these crappy controls. They can execute their moves perfectly and they WILL hit you with the Meteo more than once. (Especially Cell)
The Bottom Line
Please, if you want to get this game, get the Japanese one. It is a lot more faithful with the Dragon Ball series. This game is crap. If you buy it, sell it after you are done! Don't say I didn't warn you!
By NightKid32 on April 10, 2005
Final Fantasy VIII (PlayStation)
The Game That Brought Me Into the World Of Final Fantasy.
Final Fantasy 8 is one of those games you are amazed with from beginning to end. No matter what comes, you are simply stunned.
Final Fantasy 8 opens with a beautiful cinematic and a full orchestra playing in the backround. You introduced to the main hero Squall Leonhart (which is kind of ironic because one of his special attacks is called Lionheart) and his rival Seifer Almasy. They look like they are about to kill each other, but they are only training. As it turns out, Squall gets injured in the fight, and he is admitted the doctor in his college for mercenaries-in-training. Squall is approached by his instructor Quistis. It turns out Squall was supposed to take his final exam to become a member of SeeD (Yes SeeD is spelled like that). You are introduced to Balamb Garden and all of its facilities. The music in the backround is all nice and calm and it makes you enjoy what you need to do. Soon after that, you head off to pass your exam and guess what? You get to fight a big monster to pass! Colleges are getting so complicated these days....
Anyway, soon after you become a SeeD, you are introduced to a cast of characters for a mission, but you uncover a darker, more powerful force. It's no laughing matter and our hero doesn't care! This is one of the things that actually amazes me. No matter what the situation is, Squall doesn't care. He just cares about what he is told to do. He sometimes gets into hilarious confrontations with people and the comedy usually works. Squall is always in a situation that he really never asked for. That's what makes this game so fun.
The game has 4 discs in it and it is one long adventure. It takes you to places you never expected to be at all. A thing that amazes me is how the game is pretty hard. You get into fights and you may need to run or you will die. The enemies are all interesting and they are very exotic. You may even get to fight enemies so they will become your allies. Very cool.
The game has a system called the "Junction System" where you can equip magic. This is a first into the Final Fantasy world where MP is not used to do Magic. I found this helpful and much easier. This is also probably the only Final Fantasy game where you don't equip armor. It makes it so there are less problems. Along the way on your adventures, you may encounter and pick up forces called GF's (Guardian Forces). They help alot because you can summon them and they do a great deal of damage. There are many GF's to collect, but you have to look hard for most of them.
Final Fantasy 8 is a really great game for someone who never played Final Fantasy before. Sadly, for those who HAVE played Final Fantasy before Final Fantasy 8, they will have some problems with this one.
After I played Final Fantasy 8, I went out and played Final Fantasy 7 and noticed the differences between the two. As I mentioned above, Final Fantasy 8 eliminates the armor equipping and the MP usage. They have been used in all of Final Fantasy. They just took it out so suddenly.
Final Fantasy 8 was just a little too dramatic. It had a romantic story going for it, but they pushed it waaaaaay over the edge. You like it at the beginning, but the next thing you know, the girl learns a strange secret about herself, and she flies off into space.
Which brings me to my next point, Final Fantasy 8 drives you to so many locations for small battles its absolutely strange. At some point in the game, you actually go off into space. Why? I don't remember. This game is so long and confusing I don't have time to recollect everything I saw in the game. In fact, the romance story is just a bit too romantic for a Final Fantasy game.
This is just one of the things I hate about the game. Some of the enemies are so powerful its ludicrous. One enemy in particular, he is sooo strong he is stronger than the last boss! It is absolutely insane. You actually need special items to actually combat this monster.
This may sound stupid after how I just ranted about the difficulty, but the ending boss was actually easy. If you strengthen up one character and do their special attack over and over, you can actually kill the last enemy.
The Bottom Line
Final Fantasy 8 is just an ok game. It is not for Final Fantasy hardcore people.
By NightKid32 on April 7, 2005
Final Fantasy X (PlayStation 2)
I'm at a lost for Words. It's That Good.
I loved Final Fantasy the moment I laid my eyes on Final Fantasy on the PlayStation. It's been years since then and Square could still do the magic they could.
Right from the beginning of the game, you are introduced to the whole group. (Of course you can't see all of their faces or know their names) You hear a narration of someone telling you "This may be our last chance" and that can draw you in instantly. The game begins on a ship and there are people all waiting for you. You take the role of Tidus, a star player in the game of Blitzball. You begin to sign autographs and such and then the first FMV comes on and you are blown away.
The FMV's look amazing. Every little detail is there. From all the faces in the crowds down to the drops of water on Tidus' eyes. The rock music in the back is a nice touch. I have heard that Nobuo Uematsu wrote the piece and he does a terrific job at making it a rock song. You watch everyone play Blitzball and then you see a man in a red coat standing where you couldn't normally stand facing this HUUUGEEE thing coming out of the water. He begins to walk towards the stadium where Tidus and everyone is playing. Well wouldn't you know, everything begins to fall apart. Statues are broken, blasts are fired, people are running. Everything is just truly detailed. It just blew me away.
After all the commotion, you wake up on an island and someone throws a ball at you. (The nerve of some people huh?) You meet up with some interesting characters and is introduced to the island of Besaid. Some time afterwards, you are introduced to your first puzzle to solve. It's not hard but believe me there are harder ones. You are introduced to some more characters who will be your allies and begin a pilgrimage to stop the all evil Sin.
What I like about the game so much is the story. Tidus is this mysterious character where you as the player, don't know much about him. How did he get to where he is, who are his parents are just some of the questions I've asked so many times. Sometimes the story is just so good I just can't stop smiling and going "Yes Yes Yes!!"
The graphics are something I couldn't take my eyes off. They actually have facial expressions now! Yes a character can look sad or happy and you can tell! It shows how much Square is pushing the PS2. For once, for ONCE the characters can actually talk! Yes TALK!! This makes the game a lot more fun because you can see if they have an angry tone in their voice or a happy one. The voice acting isn't that bad either. It's actually pretty good.
The enemies are another thing. Some of them are just so cool you want to be like them. Seymour especially, is one of them. He doesn't look threatening, doesn't seem threatening, doesn't sound threatening, (And would you expect someone so respected to be evil?) and next thing you know, you're against him. It is truly amazing. Some of them only have small roles and yet they have such an impact on you. One enemy in particular you meet for about 5 minutes and battle her. You think you wouldn't know much about her in 5 minutes but you know as much as you know about Tidus and the crew. It is truly amazing. Even Sin is interesting. He seems unbeatable and is feared throughout Spira and here is a group of people who say they can take down Sin and make him stay away forever. It is truly suspenseful.
Blitzball is one of those games you got to get into to have a good time. I got into it and DOMINATED. Once you begin to play Blitzball it is a little complicated but if you continue playing and signing new players on your team you'll love the game.
Final Fantasy X is just one of those games you couldn't stop playing. It just keeps drawing you in and in.
There were some things that bugged me.
The story of how Tidus got to where he was and how he came to exist is just plain confusing. I couldn't follow at all. There is one particular thing you have to do in the end and I never knew why I had to do it. This is another problem I had that concerns Tidus, they should've never given the option to change Tidus' name at the beginning. It would've caused less confusion among the gamers. I have heard COUNTLESS people pronounce Tidus' name Tee-dus.
The sidequests are just too much and too complicated. To get the Sigils and Crests for your characters' Celestial Weapons is very complicated. You actually have to get something to start collecting the Sigils and Crests! You also have to find the Celestial Weapon to power it up with the Sigils and Crests! How complicated is that?! You can find the crests in treasure chests in Spira which is easy but the Sigils are tough. Tidus, Wakka's, Lulu's, Auron's and Riku's were so complicated and frustrating I actually threw my controller at the floor. I won't spoil it but I'll say this, be good at Blitzball, have a controlled temper, be good at dodging lightning bolts in the Thunder Plains, and learn how to find things you wouldn't normally find.
Bliztball is one of those games that is tough in the beginning. I thought I had the worst team in Blitzball and everyone dominated us. Somehow, I managed all that and began to beat everyone. I found one player who helped us out a lot. Some things that I found weird about Blitzball was how did they stay that long under water? Is the water fake or something? They never really explained it.
The game ending is a bit over dramatic. At many points at the end I rolled my eyes A LOT.
The Bottom Line
Final Fantasy X is just one of those really cool games you can't stop playing.
By NightKid32 on March 19, 2005
Final Fantasy X-2 (PlayStation 2)
HIT.........And a MISS!!
This is the sequel to the great Final Fantasy X. They just should've left it the way it was.
It's been 2 years since we last saw the gang and they have splitten up except for Yuna, Rikku, and Rikku's strange brother...Brother. It appears that Rikku has found a sphere that resembles Tidus. Tidus is the hero of FFX and the man that Yuna loved. She brings the sphere to Yuna and they head out with other partners to see if its really Tidus. Along the way, they will encounter dangerous enemies, old allies, and new ones.
What I noticed when the first cut scene came on was that they really upgraded the FMVs. It looks quite realistic and is breathtaking. Yuna also has quite a decent singing voice. As soon as the game actually began going, the fighting is actually pretty fun. It is no longer turn-based like FFX (I hated that). I must say, the heroes are quite pretty and the characters and enemies are really unique.
Which brings me to my next point, some of the characters and enemies are either made for humor, for action, for sex appeal, or a combo. Some of the characters I had stuck in my head. (I actually couldn't stop saying "Machine Faction" for some reason) There are some new things in Spira that I liked quite much. Baralai and New Yevon are one of them. I must say this as well, Spira has actually stayed the same (In the way it looks anyway). You can go back and visit all the spots you were at in FFX and they will remain the same. It is a nice touch.
One thing I liked about the game was that you can choose where you can go. This game has many missions for you to choose and you can go back and visit some old allies, and learn a few new things about them. (Cheers to Wakka!) The missions are all quite different, some are serious ones, and some are actually kind of funny. There is also a new game that's sweeping Spira, and it is very fun to play.
The Dresspheres are a new addition to the Final Fantasy world and it is very well done. You can find spheres and actually have a different look and all new powers. I found that being able to go from having a sword to having a gun was a good touch. This is very easy to execute because the gameplay is nice and fluid. It never feels choppy and stiff.
Sadly, this shall begin my rant about the game.
What's a game without the bad? This game is probably one of the poorly made Final Fantasy games.
The thing I thought about when I got the game was that the story could go no further. Sin was destroyed, Tidus has disappeared, and everyone has gone their separate ways. How could you continue that? Apparently Square had their strange story made for this game.
The first thing right away I noticed was that the girls are dressed in very skimpy clothing. Rikku isn't wearing a shirt (I never learned why), Yuna is dressed in something if not looks like a tube top, and Paine is dressed so strangely I can't describe. It seems that the Square wanted to raise the sex appeal in Final Fantasy which I don't mind, but doing it so bad that the girls are almost nude, I mind that. Even in dresspheres, they are turned into people who still wear skimpy clothing. Some stuff doesn't even belong in Final Fantasy. (There are 2 particular sexual situations that are supposed to be funny but is not funny in the Final Fantasy World). Perhaps they also did this to bring in all the teen boys.
Another thing I noticed was that the musical pieces of Nobuo Uematsu (sp?) are COMPLETELY gone. They replaced his great music for music I don't know how to describe. It is all sort of pop music. I really hated this. Nobuo's music is what made Final Fantasy a great game. His music is truly better than the one in Final Fantasy X-2.
This is one of the things that got me frustrated. Some of the missions are absolutely hard and some don't make sense at all. I remember one mission where you have to beat this person's score of 500 in this shooting competition. Laugh now but you won't laugh when you play it. There was one mission that brings a tear to my eye. Yuna is pretending to be a massage person and she has to give a female a massage. The female has no idea it is Yuna and she is making some sounds that sound pretty sexual. Does not belong in a Final Fantasy game.
The next thing that bothered me to the fullest is that this game is just too easy. You can just go right through enemy after enemy without taking too much damage. I remember the last boss. He was no challenge. Just hit, wait for him to do about 100, hit him, and repeat. It was not much of a challenge. Speaking of the last boss, there are multiple endings. It is absolutely infuriating that you have to play the game about 5 times just to see all endings. For anyone who doesn't have access to a computer, this will get them angry.
The Bottom Line
This is Square's first attempt to make a sequel to a Final Fantasy game. They could've tried to put some more effort into making this a great game.
By NightKid32 on March 14, 2005
Resident Evil 4 (GameCube)
A Whole New Resident Evil.
Resident Evil always had this reputation for being terrifying and very bloody. Well I hope you got a strong heart because Resident Evil 4 takes it up to a whole new level in terror and gore.
The thing I noticed immediately when I began to play Resident Evil 4 is that it was no longer 3rd person. It was more over-the-shoulder. The graphics are the same during cut scenes and gameplay which I thought was terrific. Most games use cut scenes with CG and such but Resident Evil 4 doesn't. It proves you don't need CG to make cut scenes.
The story has changed. It doesn't used that same old recycled pattern. Umbrella is history, Raccoon City is history, and zombies are history. It has been 6 years or so and the rookie cop with the funny hairdo is now a special agent working with the government. Yes ladies and gentleman Leon Kennedy from Resident Evil 2 is back with a tough look. He must rescue the president's kidnapped daughter Ashley. He stops in a village and is attacked by crazed people. He doesn't know why. Never fear! Leon has weapons. He has a gun with laser targeting. This makes the game more fun as you can shoot of the enemie's head, legs, or arms. The story is something that interested me very much. I just wanted to figure out how the villagers became the way they were.
The gameplay is something that remained the same. However, unlike other games with cut scenes, you need your hands on the controller at all times! During cut scenes you can never relax. You're talking and the next minute you have to hit a button. Beware!
Resident Evil 4 is one of the most scariest and bloodiest games ever. If you shoot somebody (or something), they just bleed. If you shoot a villager in the head, pretty much there goes their head. The bosses in this game are so scary and SOOOOOOOO hard that I actually had to look up how to beat them. (I hardly don't do that at all!) The Village Chief is one of those that scared me. One minute he's human, next minute he looks like a 20 foot centipede sticking out of his bottom half, the next, he's swinging like a monkey. The one that gave me nightmares was the last boss (won't give his name away). He was just terrifying. He looked like a spider except had more legs and was WAAAAYYYY bloodier. Oh yeah, HE HAS EYES ON HIS LEGS!!! Yes people, eyes on his legs. Creeped me out!
This is just one of those games you are so scared of but you can't help but play it until the very end. And believe me, at the end you get a surpirse.
The game is great. Action, horror, blood. Sadly, this game had some flaws.
For some reason, whenever Ashley was kidnapped (Believe me it happens more than once) I actually wanted to shoot HER and not her kidnappers. She is kind of weak and she should run. Oh wait, that would take away the extra missions Leon has to do.
Another thing that bugged me was the lack of what Resident Evil made Resident Evil. You don't feel like you're playing Resident Evil. At some points during the game, I just felt like playing a horror game with a guy named Leon Kennedy. It was ONLY Leon who reminded me I was playing Resident Evil. Trust me, if this game was called something different, you'd probably wouldn't even notice the difference except for Leon and the character who makes an appearance at the end.
The Bottom Line
Overall, the ultimate terror game. Scares around every corner and the villagers are downright relentless. They jump out at you and it scares you like I can't even describe. Go out and get Resident Evil 4. But be warned, it is not for the weak at heart.
By NightKid32 on March 13, 2005