Battletoads for Sega Genesis Review

When I was younger one of the games I played the most was Battletoads for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It wasn’t one of my favorite games, but when I got bored with all my other games I would sometimes fall back into playing the game. I never completed the game, though I came close many times. The game never became stale to me. The game is brutally difficult but at the same time it isn’t unfair and I think that is what brought me back to it over and over. If you die in the game you deserve it. The game is a beat’ em up style game (similar to Double Dragon or Streets of Rage). I assume that Tradewest (the company that produced the game) was going for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles knock-off when they created this game. The characters are very cool. The 3 Toads are musclebound and radical. Their leader/mentor is a chicken (Tradewests answer to Splinter from TMNT). All the enemies are very imaginative as well. I had only learned that the game was also released on Sega Genesis about 2 years ago. I wondered how the game played compared to the NES version. As you may have read in my last post, I found a copy of the game for Genesis at Goodwill for $1.00 last weekend. The game plays exactly like it did on the NES. The graphics look sharp and clean and truthfully I can’t imagine going back and playing this on NES now that I own the Genesis version. The game is extremely varied and has the Battletoads fighting their way through one level only to find themselves repelling down into a cavern, riding a speeder-bike or riding a surfboard in the next. The game seems to be a slight bit easier to play (I got through the speeder-bike level in a few tries, on the NES it took me days of memorization). Being that it is a port/update of an NES title though, only two buttons are used on the Genesis control pad (the attack button and the jump button). Sure, the game is just a port of an NES game, but it was one of the better NES games. The Genesis version of Battletoads is fantastic and worth picking up even if you have the NES version in my opinion, if you are able to find a copy of the game for a couple of dollars (or just one dollar like I did), pick it up.

Thrift Store Junkie #3 (March 20, 2011)

Yesterday I stopped at two Goodwill stores to see if there was anything worth picking up. I was very disappointed at the first Goodwill I stopped at. I found two games that I had been wanting to get my hands on for a long time. The games were Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed and Twisted Metal 4 for Playstation. The cases were in perfect condition. Unfortunately when I opened the cases neither game was inside. I searched through all of the Playstation cases that were in the store, but none of the cases contained the games I was looking for. I also turned down a copy of Alien Trilogy for Playstation that was three dollars that I now kinda wish I had purchased.

My next Goodwill stop turned out a lot better, I picked up three games. Each cost one dollar. The games I picked up were Battletoads, Beavis and Butthead (both for Sega Genesis) and Wolverine: Adamantium Rage (for Super Nintendo).Battletoads is a game that I had been looking to pick up for a very long time. When I was young I had Battletoads for Nintendo and it was one of my favorite games. When the Playstation was released I sold all of my Nintendo games dirt cheap in order to buy a couple Playstation games. A few years ago I had been looking to find a replacement copy of Battletoads for the Nintendo when I found out that Battletoads had also been released on the Sega Genesis. When I found this out I quit looking for the Nintendo version and started looking for the Genesis version immediately. The game is so much fun and almost exactly as I remember it, the only difference is that it looks a ton better on the Genesis.

Beavis and Butthead for Sega Genesis is a game that I always wanted to own. I had borrowed my friends copy when it first came out and I loved it. It reminds my of many of the early 90’s point and click adventures on the PC. It’s not really a point and click game though, but the art style and size of the characters reminds me of those games. The main goal of the game is to collect the pieces of your Gwar tickets that have been chopped up by a lawnmower and blown all over town by the wind. The game is extremely difficult and I remember not being able to pass a single stage back in the day. I played the game yesterday and I realized that I am still terrible at this game and couldn’t complete a single stage. The final game that I picked up was Wolverine: Adamantium Rage for Super Nintendo. I had never played this game before, but being that I am a huge comic book fan I decided to give it a try. I expected this game to be a lot better than it turned out to be. It doesn’t really feel like you are controlling Wolverine as opposed to just some random character. You could replace the Wolverine character with new sprites and call this game by a new title and I don’t think anyone would notice. Wolverine has a very awkward looking punch, an even more awkward kick and a super awkward downward claw slash at his disposal. The level that I played was very uninspired and looked like something out of a crappy Metroid clone (lots of platforms to jump to and tons of small flying enemies). I only gave this game about ten minutes of my time before turning it off. It’s a shame because I really expected something great out of this game, especially after seeing the kick ass title screen. The weather outside is getting warmer (in Pennsylvania) and yard sale/flea market season should be starting up again real soon. I am excited to be able to  update the Thrift Store Junkie portion of Pixelated Heart as the season chugs along.

Till next time!

Kinect (One step closer to Skynet)

This past weekend I purchased a Xbox 360 S with a 250gb HDD and Kinect. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Kinect. I had seen people trying the Kinect out at Best Buy and I also saw a few commercials for the Kinect, but I had no experience with it myself. The bundle that I picked up came with the 250gb HDD and Kinect Adventures (why Microsoft didn’t bundle this with Kinect Sports is anyone’s guess). The first thing that I want to mention is that I already had an Xbox 360 with a 20gb HDD that I had later upgraded to a 250gb HDD. From the first moment I turned on my new 360 S I noticed that it had less space on the HDD than my older 250gb HD. The weird thing about it is my old drive has numerous arcade games as well as full disc games installed on it. The HDD seems to be missing about 30gb of space, which I could attribute to the space that the Kinect software needs to run if Microsoft didn’t also sell a 4gb version (how could Kinect take up 30gb of space and be bundled with a 4gb HDD?). I checked to see what was installed on the HDD under the memory section of the dashboard. Nothing that took up much space (Not much, about 1gb for system settings and my profile). It would seem that the new Xbox HDD’s just simply cheat the consumer out of some space (that’s my best guess anyway). No problem as I’ll still never fill the remaining space on the HDD anyway.

When you first turn on the Xbox 360 you will notice that the Kinect scans the room (it actually moves around looking at the room). My wife was very creeped out by this. I have to give it to her though, it is a little creepy.What it is actually doing though is determining how much space there is in the room. It is easy to imagine that it is actually Skynet scanning how many lifeforms in each household it needs to terminate come judgment day.

The Kinect came with a surprise that I didn’t know about, it can be used as a microphone while playing games on Xbox Live. I popped in Call of Duty:Black Ops to test this feature. It works superbly. Even with the game volume cranked up the Kinect only picks up voice. I played a few rounds with friends and they told me that my voice was even clearer than with my headset! Using the headset there were often times that I found myself talking very loudly so that my friends could here me. With the Kinect, even with the volume turned up on my TV I could just speak at my regular volume and the Kinect picked up my voice (and I sit more that 6ft away from the Kinect).

The one thing that I think needs to be addressed is the fact that there is no controller for the Kinect. The Kinect seems like a step up from the Wii/Move until you realize that buttons are sometimes necessary. Games like Red Steel 2 would be a blast for the Kinect if Microsoft releases a wand/analog stick of some sort in the future. It would only need a button or two since most everything else could be handled with gestures/movements.

Kinect Adventures is a very fun game, although it seems a bit short. There is an adventure mode, as well as a free play mode. I have owned a Wii since the day it launched and I absolutely love it. Unfortunately, being as used to playing Wii as I am really hampered my experience at first. I’ve noticed that most people playing the Wii for the first time will use exatuarated movements. Later on, when they realize they don’t need to use such exaturated movements they begin to just casually flick the Wiimote. With the Kinect you need to move as much as you would like your character on screen to move! When I first started playing Kinect Adventures I was only moving slightly, as I assumed slight movements would account for bigger movements on screen. This is not the case, you really need to dive, duck, jump, and reach all within seconds to avoid everything that would hit you and to collect the coins (I was playing the obstacle course level). After playing one level I was sweating and knew that I would need a shower right after I was done playing. The Kinect seems like it would be fun for all ages, but in order to do really well in the games it seems that you need to be young and fit. Remember when the Wii first came out and on the news there where tons of stories about senior citizens playing Wii, you won’t see the same stories about Kinect. Senior Citizens will drop dead from heart attacks if they attempt to play these games!

All in all I would suggest picking up a Kinect if you are on the fence about getting one. I am Loving it.

The cake is a lie (Wii Component Cables, and the difference they make)

wii-loves-moving

About a month ago my wife got me a new 40 inch HDTV. I have really enjoyed using it to play Xbox 360(hooked up with component cables), but the Wii looked horrible with the composite cables that came with the system. I figured since I have a HDTV now I might as well make the best of it. I decided to pick up a HDMI cable for my 360 and a component cable for my Wii. When I first started to look I could only find stores and sites that were selling each of these items for about $30.00. When I went to Gamestop looking for the component cable for Wii the clerk advised me that the component cable made no difference for the Wii and that it was pointless to buy a cable. This was a shame because at the time my Wii was nearly unplayable with the picture the composite cables were sending to the television. I gave up on my search for both of these cables until about a week ago when I found cheap versions on Amazon. In total I paid about $6.00 for a HDMI cable and a Wii component cable. I was worried that the Wii Component cable really wouldn’t make a difference on my television, but since it was only $3.00 I thought I’d still give it a try. Well, I got the cable on Wednesday and immediately plugged it in. It makes a world of a difference. Granted, it still doesn’t look like a PS3 or 360 but at least everything is cleaned up. Words no longer look blurry, Netflix looks great and I found myself playing Mario Galaxy 2 again. Without this cable my Wii was practically unplayable on my new television, but now I am excited to play my Wii again. If you haven’t picked up a component cable for Wii because someone told you it made no difference, ignore them, go find a $2.00- $3.00 cable on Amazon and start playing your Wii again! I can finally give my 360 a rest, I’m going to go play some Warioware and Mariokart Wii now.