Friday, May 1, 2009

Mad World, Shenmue

Hey guys, Hows it goin? Here again to bring you s'more groovy reviews. 

There are very few good games for Wii. Between Nintendo having their heads up their asses, only giving us a new super smash bros, zelda, or an actually good Mario when they come out with a new console. and giving the consumer & their hardcore fanbase a shit storm of Mario Party, Mario Sports, & ports of older games. and the fact the most third party developers are making games that take five minutes to make. the Wii is in incredible need of not only great, but original games. Luckily, Sega & Platinum Games delivered and gave us the awesomeness that is Mad World.

When I heard about Mad World and saw trailers and gameplay videos of it. I hoped so much that this game would not be shit. It would be such a waste if it was. But luckily, from its graphics to its gameplay. Mad World is not only original, but fucking good too.

Story: The opening cinema starts off with the a place called Varrigant City, being cut off from outside world. its bridges Leading out are blown up, the People's Cell Phones are disabled, and they have no way of contacting the outside world, and vice versa. and the people on the outside's only theory on what's happening to Varrigant City is Terrorism. 

Eventually, you find out that whoever is behind attacking Varrigant City has turned the city into a game show called "Death Watch". The rules are simple, Kill people to become the winner, or die. 

In the game, you play as Jack. Who just so happens to find a way into Varrigant City. Jack is your typical bad-ass main hero. but unlike other similar characters, such as Dante from Devil May Cry, or Marcus from Gears of War. Jack actually gets away with being a bad-ass, in my opinion. He doesn't try to act like he's cool, or be a total Macho ass-hole. I think he might be kinda like a cross between Wolverine from X-Men & Marv from Sin City. but to put it simply, Jack is definitely a character you can stand to play through the game.

after Jack makes his appearance, and Impresses a mysterious man named Agent 13. A russian sounding man in his fifties. And a private contractor for Death Watch. Someone who provides weapons and supplies for the contestant in exchange for bets placed on said contestant. He sponsors Jack and gets him into Death Watch.

although the game's story looks like it has as much depth as man-hunt's. it actually goes pretty deep. You find out about the origins of Death Watch and who's behind it and funding it. and Jack's true motives for being in Varrigant City and who he is. It's good. It's story is definitely not on par with Metal Gear Solid on Depth. But it has a good story, which surprised me a whole lot.

Gameplay: It's bloody, Gory, and downright brutal. And damn do I love it! Not just because I love throwing a tire over someone, shoving a street sign through there head, and then rapidly impaling them on a spike wall multiple times. But because everything in the game works really well. 

The game is definitely a brawler. but how you play it makes it different from other generic brawling games. Instead of many of the linear fighting games you see today. Picture almost every level in the game to be like a level in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. The whole level is open up to you to explore, and find all the interesting ways to kill people. In each level, the goal is to kill as many people as possible in the most gruesome ways. Giving you points depending on how many people you kill, and how you did it. The combo I described earlier would have gotten you a few thousand points right there. you could probly go through the game using just hand-to-hand combat or your chainsaw arm. But not only would it take a long ass while, but its so fun ( and satisfying ) to kill your enemies in the most brutal way possible. Seriously, it's like Mortal Kombat but you have the ability to do fatalities from the moment the level starts.

as your being to rack up more points. Weapons or Onions( Jack's favorite food that heals him completely ), will become available for use. another thing thats available when you get enough points is the BloodBath Challenge. which are mini-games that you do to really rack up the points. And you'll also get an introduction about the challenge from probly the most cartoony character in the game, The Black Baron. A pimp who comes and tells you how to play the game. And then some woman comes (probly his bitch) and kills him in the way he described to you how to play the game. It's always funny to have that girl come on screen and have him act like she hasn't killed him before, and have her using a golf club on him, with his head being the golf ball.

When you first play the game. the main enemies are pretty easy. there not there just to be cannon fodder, they've definitely killed me before. but they start you off pretty easy. Even the bosses are a bit easy at first. But as you progress through the game it builds up s'more challenge and gets a bit harder. You also unlock a hard mode after you first beat the game. Which I heard was definitely a bitch.  

One thing that really adds the comedy to the game. is the announcers in the game. two announcers ( who's names I forgot ). Talk as they watch you fight and slaughter your way to victory. one of the announcers is voiced by John Di Maggio, who was Bender in Futurama, Marcus in Gears of War, and Wakka and Kimahri in Final Fantasy X. And Greg Proops, who I haven't really heard of. But they both did a wonderful job as the announcers for the game. hearing their vulgar banter is funny. they don't have a whole lot for each level, so your bound to hear some repeated pieces dialogue alot. But is it just me, or do all announcers in games suffer very repeated dialogue? Either way, they did a great job with it, and it's definitely won't ruin the game. It just might annoy some people.  

They did a good job with the controls. Balancing the use of motion control and the buttons. you use the buttons for your fists, getting your chainsaw arm on, grabbing people/objects, locking on and using the camera. motion controls are for your using your chainsaw. using weapons/objects on people, backflips to dodge enemies attacks, and executing people or doing the final blow by moving the wii remote in different ways. the only complaint I have, is that its a little difficult to lock-on to people, taking a few seconds to get locked onto the person. I heard to that some people don't like the camera control in the game. But I've played games with worse camera setups (*cough*SimpsonsGame*cough*), and it doesn't get in the way for me. 

Presentation: It's no secret that Mad World has Sin City style graphics. and shit, they did it really well. sure, the graphics won't be as good as Metal Gear Solid 4's or Flower's. But the fact that they got the style of the graphics down to perfection makes up for it. Frank Miller would definitely approve.

The music is pretty good too. An interesting combination of  rap and rock. A nice touch to the game that makes it that more interesting. 

When Nintendo Failed to bring its people hardcore games and just gave them Wii Music. Their ex-rival, Sega brought the goods and gave us Mad World. If you can stand the tons of violence. the game is a must have for the Wii. It's just a shame that hasn't sold that well. Only selling around 66 thousand copies. It kinda reminds me of another game that Sega made that suffered from the same thing, but to more of an extreme. what was that game again....oh yeah, it was shenmue! 

Shenmue. Probly one of Sega's most interesting
Games. It did things that were very new for its time. Making it part adventure/life sim. But I'll get to that later. but to put it simply, Shenmue was another one of Sega's original games, that Received much praise and positive reviews. Unfortunately, the game was one of the reasons of Sega's downfall. Costing 70 Million bucks to make. Sega got no profit from the game it costed that much to make. IGN said that each dreamcast owner would have to purchase the game twice for Sega to make a profit. And even though I'm a big fan of Sega. There's no way in hell I'd pull the cash out for two copies of the game! But the game definitely is worth getting. Let's take a look.

Story: The game starts out when the game's hero, Ryo Hazuki. Coming to his home\Dojo to find that a black car is parked out front. He rushes inside and to the dojo to find his father fighting a strange man. ( He's the guy on the right on the cover. ) whoever he is, he wants something of Ryo's father and ends up beating the crap out of his dad, and Ryo, to tell him where it is. Eventually, the man gets what he wants, which is some Mirror thing and Leaves. and Ryo's dad gets beat down so hard that he ends up dying. Ryo, being the rather generic action hero that he is. Decides to find out what the mystery man got that was to kill for, and find him so he could avenge his father. 

The story to the game might seem a bit generic. But its big, and still pretty entertaining. When you play the game you'll always be wondering what happens next. 

Gameplay: Now I didn't get a chance to really do everything in Shenmue. There were somethings I did to past the time between events. But I could have probly done alot more exploring about the world. I just kinda blazed through the main story. But I'll explain this as best as I can. 

When I first got into the game. I just kinda assumed that it was gonna be pretty much like a free roaming, fighting game. but I was off. There are three different parts to the gameplay of Shenmue. The main part to it. Is the investigating. You'll go around town, talking to people and triggering events that will give you leads on what to do next. It's not what I was expecting to do when I first got the game. But that part of the game was pretty fun and well done. Just get ready to hear alot of repeated dialogue coming from Ryo alot. at the beginning of the game. Get ready to hear the sentence: "Do you know what happened on the day of the incident?" about over nine thousand times.  

the second part of the gameplay is the QTE( Quick Time Events ). This part is just like playing Dragon's Lair. Press the right button when it tells you to, to get past obstacles & people. one thing I like about this is that you don't immediately fail after missing a button once. after Ryo would fuck up or get hit in the face, the scene still goes on until you've fucked up two or three times on that part. And the scenes that go along with the QTE are pretty cool. They either consist of quick, yet cool fights, or chase scenes. Just be ready to hit the buttons immediately when it pops up. and when I mean "Immediately", I mean right at that millisecond. Because sometimes the time they give you to press the button can be very, very short, even for a Quick Time Event. Luckily the only punishment you have to suffer is just starting the QTE from the beginning. thats another thing about this game, you don't have to worry about game overs or starting from when you last saved. when you fail a QTE or a fighting scene, you just have to start over from that scene. which is pretty nice.

and the last main part to the gameplay is the fighting. this part is kinda....okay. it just passes for being good. the problem with it is its kinda setup like a one-on-one fighting game. your always locked on and looking at one guy until you move far enough away from him and closer to another guy. it would be nice just to be able to move around freely and focus on whoever I want easier. Throughout the game you learn fighting moves that you can use in battle as you progress though the story and talk to people at the right time, which is pretty cool at first. but eventually it got hard to do the moves that the people were telling me how to do them. it got to the point where I had to look up how the moves where done online, and even then at the very end it became a bitch to perform them the way they tell you too. 

And now, for the side parts of the gameplay. Stuff you don't have to do, but are still fun and bring more depth to the world of Shenmue. 

One of the things I really liked to do in the game was goto the arcade and play the mini-games their. Their pretty cool. Two of them were just QTE in mini-game form. Others were dart games. In these you didn't control where you'd Aim the dart, Ryo would. you'd only control when you'd throw it. in the first version I played of it, it was pretty easy to figure out where the dart was gonna hit. the other one I played, called: "Neo Darts". It was a bit harder because he was holding a bit differently instead of straight. Either way, both versions are fun.

The other games I played were ports of the old Sega arcade games, Space Harrier, and Hang-On. for those of you who haven't heard them. Space Harrier is 2D-3D-ish shooter game where your some guy who could fly around and shoot with his gun. and Hang-on is a racing game, that was kinda like pole position, but with bikes. you have a time limit and if you didn't reach the finish line and to the next stage in that time limit, it's game over. these are probly my favorite games out of all that I played. I learned after I beat the game that there was a billiards game that I missed the chance to play. So I don't know whether or not its good. 

early on , you have a chance to take care of a kitty that lost its mommy when it got hit by the bad guys car. you can feed it food, pet it and talk to it. He won't die if you neglect it. But everything is better when you have an adorable kitty in the game. 

there's also a lottery for the game in certain shops if you buy something. the only thing you can really win are just figurines though. but, its still kinda cool. 

One thing that I think is still pretty amazing to this day. Is the way they setup the world in the game. The game start off in late november, and as each day passes by. The month will change, the weather will change, people get ready for holidays when they come around. And everyone has their own agenda and things to do. It really is a detailed world. It may not seem quite that impressive with the games we have nowadays. But back then, that was never done in a game before. 

The voice acting for all the characters in the game is definitely not the greatest. It goes from being okay to just bad. And Sega must have put alot of money in it because each character in the game had their own individual voice and the voice cast list in the credits was pretty long. I wouldn't be surprised if that was one of the reasons the game took so much to make. But all in all, the voice acting in game is tolerable. 

Presentation: This had really great graphics for a Dreamcast game. It comes really close to being on PS2 par graphics. There aren't any flaws at all I see here. 

The Music in the game is good too, ranging from Rock or Jazz-ish music, to more ancient japan style music. it fits well with the game.

Shenmue may not be perfect. But you know what, its still a pretty fucking good game. I'm definitely gonna get the second one sometime in the future. And I'm gonna hope that Sega will get around to finishing out the trilogy and start working on the third installment of the game. If you have a Dreamcast that you play occasionally with no new games to play on it. Definitely give Shenmue a shot. Its worth it.    


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