Quality Control – Star Wars (NES)


Star Wars Box ArtWell, I tried to beat this game. I couldn’t. This game is very hard. That said, I made it through Tatooine, with the help of the map in Nintendo Power, and I made it through the asteroid sequence through what I guess is dumb luck. However, after arriving on the Death Star, I ran into a brick wall. Well, not literally, but figuratively. I couldn’t find where to go next. That said, I do feel that I experienced most of the pieces of the game experience, at least enough so that I feel comfortable rating the game. So, let’s get started

The Premise:

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away… oh you know the whole plot already. Seriously, the game sticks fairly close to the basic plot points, though it embellishes on them to bring the game to a length that would be acceptable for a commercial release. Continue reading

Where I Read – Nintendo Power #28


The Cover for Nintendo Power #28This week’s Nintendo Power recap finally takes us into the 16-bit era, with issue #28 for September of 1991 and our cover story is Super Mario World for the SNES. I’m strongly considering dropping my “no classics” restriction for this game. However, let’s see what else we have this issue first.

Letters: We get a bunch of suggestions for future contests.

Super Mario World Guide: We get coverage of Mario’s new companion, Yoshi, as well as the game’s power-ups. We also get notes on some of the enemies in the game, along with some of the over-world maps. We also get notes on what levels are where, but we don’t get detailed level maps – which is kind of unfortunate, as this is the only mainstream Mario game I’ve gotten lost on. For the record, I also got a little lost in Super Mario RPG, but that’s a slightly different matter. We also get some notes on finding the Star Road – but again, they don’t get in a lot of detail on anything. Continue reading

Where I Read – Electronic Gaming Monthly #63


The cover for EGM #63This week we continue with our EGM recaps with issue 63 for October of 1994. Our cover story for this issue is Donkey Kong Country for the SNES, one of Rare’s latest games.

Editorial: Well, last issue, Steve Harris teased an announcement this issue about Capcom’s responce to their lower review for Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Well, this issue we learn Capcom’s response – they blacklisted (at least where Advertisements are concerned) EGM to “make a statement” in the words of Capcom’s director of marketing. Steve Harris says that the only statment coming from Capcom here is that they don’t have faith in their products, and I can’t help but agree. Further, I’d expand on that by saying that any game publisher or developer who engages in the journalistic equivalent of the Tarkin Doctrine only succeeds in making them look like the bad guy to the gaming press. If they blacklist a blogger or web site, then they’re picking on the little guy. If they’re blacklisting an established bastion of games journalism, then they’re making a Nixon-esque enemies list. Further, this is only aggrivated when they’re doing the blacklisting for a review that isn’t particularly bad. The Street Fighter II series had been pushing perfect scores in EGM for most of its run. This is the first game that didn’t, and thus they get upset over it. Continue reading

Concert Review – Video Games Live


Video Games Live 2008-2009 Tour poster

Video Games Live 2008-2009 Tour Poster (courtesy of videogameslive.com)

So, I’m doing a break in my usual reaps with a review of a concert I went to today. To be specific, Tommy Tallerico and Jeff Wall’s tribute to video game music – Video Games Live has finally come to Portland, and I’ve finally seen it. So, what did I think?

The Premise

Tommy Tallerico & Jeff Wall lead (in this concert) the Portland Philharmonic and the Pacific Youth Choir in a performance of music from various video games, including the Kingdom Hearts series, the Final Fantasy series, Mario, Legend of Zelda, and other games. Continue reading

DVD Review – Burn Notice (Season 1)


Buy Season 1 of Burn Notice at Amazon.com

Buy Season 1 of Burn Notice at Amazon.com

Yes, I am aware that I didn’t finish my recap of Season 1 of Burn Notice. To make up for it, I’m going to review the entire season (and season 2 besides, on a later week). However, we need to begin at the beginning. There will be spoilers, but they’ll be below the cut. I’ll try doing some spoiler-guarding stuff this time.

The Premise:

I’ll let the star of the show take this one (courtesy of IMDB):

Michael Westen: [voice-over] My name is Michael Westen. I used to be a spy. Until…
voice on phone: [phone rings] We got a burn notice on you. You’re blacklisted.
Michael Westen: [voice-over] When you’re burned, you’ve got nothing: no cash, no credit, no job history. You’re stuck in whatever city they decide to dump you in.
Michael Westen: Where am I?
Fiona Glenanne: Miami.
Michael Westen: [voice-over] You do whatever work comes your way. You rely on anyone who’s still talking to you. A trigger-happy ex-girlfriend…
Fiona Glenanne: Shall we shoot them?
Michael Westen: [voice-over] An old friend who used to inform on you to the FBI…
Sam Axe: You know spies… bunch of bitchy little girls.
Michael Westen: [voice-over] Family too…
Sam Axe: [phone rings] Hey, is that your Mom again?
Michael Westen: [voice-over] … if you’re desperate.
Madeline Westen: Someone needs your help, Michael!
Michael Westen: [voice-over] Bottom line? Until you figure out who burned you… you’re not going anywhere. Continue reading

Where I Read – GamePro #50


Magazine GamePro - Mortal Kombat V5 #9 (of 12) (1993_9) - Page 1The GamePro Recaps have hit issue 50 for September of 1993. Our cover story is Mortal Kombat, the latest fighting game (as of this issue) to rock the arcades. The cover art though, isn’t so hot, but that’s to be expected.

Letters: We get a letter discussing improvements to game endings. Or, at least getting it something better than “Congratulations, You Won.” We also have a small string of letters discussing violence in games, and they generally agree is that some games are too violent for parents and they’re disappointed with Sega instituting a rating system because it would promote censorship. We also get questions about what systems might be getting what cheat devices. Continue reading

Quality Control – Darkman (NES)


Darkman Box ArtDarkman is, by far, my favorite Sam Raimi film. I like it more than his Spider-Man films. I like it more than Army of Darkness. In my mind it is one of the best masked avenger films, and one of the best superhero films. Everything about it is excellent, from the direction, to Liam Neeson’s performance. It’s just excellent. So, when I found out about this game in Nintendo Power, I wanted to give it a try. Yes, it’s a movie licenced game from Ocean, but it can’t be all bad, can it?

The Premise:

Peyton Westlake is a scientist working on a synthetic skin formula for burn victims. When Robert Durant, crime boss, burns down his lab and leaves him for dead, horrifically burned and scarred, Westlake swears vengeance, and takes his imperfect formula (which only lasts for 99 minutes when exposed to direct sunlight), and uses it to take apart Durant’s gang, piece by piece. Continue reading