I'm working on a work bench so I can work on some other projects of mine. It's not finished yet, but it's far enough along that I could do a mock up of what it should look close to when it is done:
I might eventually put up a full web page about this entire project (and maybe later other pages about what I do with that workbench).
-Crawl, July 4, 2011
Similarly, I've finally done what every other game review site has done for years now and added screenshots to the reviews. I also changed the review pages' formating, which I believe makes them easier to read.
-Crawl, May 5, 2006
I've beaten quite a few games last month. Some one SENTENCE reviews (and tenative ratings):
Actraiser - The simulation mode might seem original, and it's better than Sim City (which doesn't say much), but it's still simple, and the action stages are slow paced and easy. - 2 1/2 stars
SkyBlazer - Some unique stage gimmicks, but still not enough challenge. - 2 1/2 stars
Hyperzone - Like a cross between Star Fox and F-Zero that isn't as good as either, this 3D shooter has slow control and almost no substance. - 1 1/2 stars
Kirby's Adventure - You can fly over almost every level in this game. - 2 stars
Rescue Rangers - It's only for kids; adults that disagree, stop fooling yourselves. - 1 1/2 stars
Rescue Rangers 2 - Even worse than the original. - 1 1/2 stars
Dragon Spirit: The New Legend - Not bad, but I think I'll save my enthusiasm for the arcade version.
Duck Tales - About as childish as Rescue Rangers.
Ys 3 - No mazes, no mysteries, and the music isn't as good as in Book 1 and 2 (though it may still be the best part of the game) - 2 1/2 stars
Ys 6 - The worst of the Ys games released in America. - 2 stars
Mega Man 3 - Doesn't start off too bad, but there's too much emphasis on (or chances to abuse) energy tank use, bosses are vulnerable to so few weapons that strategies are foregone, and the game loses all its steam by the end. - 2 1/2 stars
Mega Man 2 - This might be the best game in this current batch... But I still beat it in about a day!
... 3 stars! Yes, I might give a mild recommendation to that one. I'll replay it when I get the chance to strengthen my opinion on it.
-Crawl, March 2, 2006
I think Dracula X (for the Turbo) is a very overrated game. I had intended to write a review on the game to give my point of view (with the exception of the soundtrack, which is quite good, it's an unnecessary sequel with few new ideas and virtually no challenge), but as months turned into years and no review has been written, I guess I'll just have to briefly make fun of the game.
So, here are a few game play videos. These are all real and unedited. I guess I could explain in detail how these illustrate some ideas from the game that might not have been very good, but the videos probably speak for themselves.
-December 8, 2005
To begin with, the new 72 pin connector for the NES works perfectly. I'd recommended it easily to anyone who is having trouble with their NES.
I beat Ninja Gaiden for the X-Box. The One Minute Review:
This game has a reputation for being challenging. It's easy to see why that would be: If a gamer would play the first few stages but then put it away (as I'm sure many have), they might wonder how the game could become any harder than what they've seen. Well, it doesn't get any harder. It starts sort of hard, then more or less stays there (though it could be argued that it actually becomes easier as it goes), and ends incredibly anticlimactically. As for the challenge that is there, a good deal of it comes from a poor camera system, and the need to figure out which 5 moves out of the hundred available are actually useful. The graphics are highly praised, but I found them poor. Almost every stage is brown. Stages range from dull (the trainyards) to downright ugly (the sewers). And the ending of the story is a cross between a Scooby Doo and a Metal Gear plot. Not recommended.
-October 31, 2005
Some One Minute Reviews of some games I've finished lately:
Shinobi - Fast paced. Exhilarating. Challenging. The final boss is one of the best ever. Takes some time to get into, but it's worth it. Highly recommended.
Paper Mario - I liked Super Mario RPG, but this disappointed me. The graphics are mostly blurry pastels. The soundtrack is one of the worst I've ever heard (in particular, the haunted house theme is annoying, and the flower field song sounds like death moans). RPGs are typically easy games, but this is in the easier half of even that genre. Nothing in this game can compare to Smithy or Culex. The "timed hits" system returns (now called "action commands"); it's the one thing that can keep some interest in the battle system, and the game in general. But it's not enough, especially without good bosses to take advantage of it. Not recommended.
Ratchet and Clank - Fun. Funny. Some good variety. Easy to get into. Final boss ain't bad, either. Recommended.
Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando - like R&C1, easy to get into. Longer. Final boss isn't quite as good, though. Mildly recommended if you liked R&C1.
R&C: Up Your Arsenal - A R&C sequel would have been better if it combined the best ideas from Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal, rather than turning the series into a 1-a-year fest. Still, the game is okay, and this might be the most humorous installment. Mildly recommended if you liked the other two and still want more.
Katamari Damacy - Facile and superficial. Not recommended.
Jak and Daxster - It's not tedious or boring, but it's not that great, either. The beginning is too open (just run around and pick up doodads that're all over the place), and it takes too long for the game to buckle down and deliver some decent platforming over bottomless pits. Even when it gets to that point, it's still not very challenging. It's short, too: I beat the game in 3 days of moderate to light play, and got all 101 power cells in one more day. Not recommended.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - It might have taken a while, but this game definitely did grow on me. I don't think I've ever seen anything in an RPG like this game's final area, where relentless waves of enemy reinforcements pour in to create an almost continuous menu based battle. Recommended.
Lament of Innocent - If I'd compare this game to Castlevania III, I'd be unspeakably depressed. It's more like River City Ransom -- run through featureless areas, fighting generic enemies with lots of mindless button mashing, and there's some adventure elements. Rather dull and unchallenging. Lots of Castlevania games have been uninspired or unchallenging, but at least delivered a good soundtrack. Even that's disappointing here. Not recommended.
Eternal Darkness - A sometimes creepy game that often captures the feeling of being alone in a strange place. Unfortunately, the game is sort of easy, and once you learn how to deal with enemies (mostly by chopping off their heads), it's hard to be scared of them anymore. The final area is also too drawn out (and you have to go through it twice, almost in a row!). Mildly not recommended.
Devil May Cry 2 - This game simply has no reason to exist. Not recommended.
-Crawl, May 11, 2005
I was all ready to start Might and Magic for the NES. I even bought a brand new notebook of graph paper.
Halfway through mapping the first area, the top half of the screen fills with random letters.
I cleaned both the game itself and the system before starting. I've had enough of this crap with NES games (in fact, the last time I played through Castlevania III, I just used NESterDC, so system reliability wouldn't be an issue) so I ordered a new 72 pin connector. I've never replaced one before, but how hard can it be? Hopefully, that will take care of the problem (for this and all other NES games). I'll post about it once the surgery is complete.
-Crawl, May 12 I'm making minor updates to the site. I'm in the process of recapturing some of the screen images for the Great Game Feature. I think there will be a big improvement in quality. While I'm at it, I may finally add some games to the list that I had been considering. I'm further considering using emulator screenshots for more 8- and 16-bit titles on the list (as has been the case for Super Mario All Stars and Punch-Out!!). Emulator screenshots are standard practice on most websites, I know, but I'm sort of biased against them as I'd prefer screens that look more like they do on a real television.
I'm also considering finally adding screenshots for the reviews.
-Crawl, December 1, 2004
Wow, I can't believe how long it's been since I updated this site. I last talked about R-Type Final. Since I never really came to a conclusion about it, I will now.
Final score - 2 1/2 stars. The game has a near equilibruim of postive and not-so positive traits. The not-so positive traits are pretty well covered (large gaps in action, for instance), the positive traits somewhat less so (I did kind of like stage F-C), but I doubt I need to go into much detail regarding most of them.
So, anyway, I was on the fence for a while as to whether the better aspects dominated or not, and consequently whether the game deserved 2 1/2 or 3 stars. What finally made the decision for me was the "Cleared game without powerups" note (something I have not heard talked about much).
Those who have played R-Type Delta know that that note is the ultimate challenge in that game. It's harder to earn that than to beat the game on Hard with all the ships. Earning it is sort of like earning all the cheats in Goldeneye, if you'd like a comparison to a game in a different genre.
Anyway, in R-Type Final, that cheat is pathetically easy to earn. Previously, the potential promise of a final, ultimate challenge kept my hopes up even when all signs pointed to the game being a disappointment. It turned out to be an empty promise: The difference in challenge between earning this note in Delta and Final is nearly as drastic as the difference in challenge between beating R-Type 1 and Yoshi's Story.
In other news, I temporarily disabled the link to FacilityPro's site since it will be down for a while.
-Crawl, July 23, 2004
It's been about a week since I bought R-Type Final. In that time, I haven't been able to play the game as much as I might have hoped (what with real world responsibilities intruding) but I have played enough to say I have very mixed feelings on the game. Since I would have to feel unequivocally positive about a game to recommend it, I suppose that means I can't give R-Type Final a general recommendation. Might fans of older R-Type games like Final despite its flaws? Maybe. More on that later.
-Crawl, February 12, 2004
So, R-Type Final has been released, and I picked up my copy tonight. As a big fan of the older R-Type games, do I recommend you, a general game player who may not have played the other games in the series, run out and pick up Final right away? Hell no. Every game has to prove itself on its own merits, regardless of how good its lineage is.
I won't promise a full review, but I'll eventually post some impressions on how it stacks up against the other games in the series, and to games in general. Until then, you'd be gambling with your money (unless you'd buy, say, R-Types or R-Type Delta, which are sure bets).
-Crawl, February 4, 2004
You have Super Mario All Stars listed in your great game feature. What about Super Mario World?
I don't think Super Mario World is a great game. It is sort of fun, I admit, but I don't think SMW deserves the credit for that. I think the main reason SMW is fun is because it has the same play control as the earlier Mario games (and thus the earlier games, which created that control, deserve the credit). I think almost any game with that control would be fun.
I also don't think SMW seemed nearly as fresh or creative as SMB3 (and SMW's biggest innovation, Yoshi, didn't add much more potential for challenge to the game; to the contrary, it just made it easier). Nor did it have as many good levels. I think SMW is quite a bit easier than SMB3, and that's an immediate barometer of level quality. There's not enough space here for me to run down all the SMB3 levels I loved (though, to give just a couple of examples, 5-9 and the world 8 airship were very exciting). SMW had a couple of decent levels in Special World (though that was all optional), I kind of liked the final world's minifortress, and the dolphin stage on top of the vanilla dome was fun (though unchallenging). But I think SMB3's best stages are better than SMW's best stages, and SMB3 has many more great stages overall.
Admittedly, a comparision to SMB3 is tough for any game to stand up to.
-Crawl, Jan 29, 2004
I thought I'd try to kick off some more regular updates by answering some questions.
If you like challenging games, what do you think of Battletoads or the Ghosts n Goblins games?
Believe it or not, I haven't played much of Battletoads. It looks pretty good, though, and I'm looking forward to playing it eventually.
As for the G'n'G games, I've finished Ghosts'n'Goblins and Super Ghouls'n'Ghosts. Don't get me wrong, they are definitely not too easy, but their challenge might be overrated somewhat, considering some seem to think they're the (or among the) most difficult games ever. I think R-Type and Goldeneye (to name just a couple of examples) are definitely more challenging. Even Super Metroid, which most people don't seem to think of as a terribly difficult game, took me more time to finish than G'n'G or Super G'n'G (granted, part of that may be that Super Metroid is simply a longer game, but that's not the only reason).
I didn't think either game was incredibly, explosively fun (though I didn't find either one boring). Both have a style of play control that is so slow that player reflexes are rendered useless. But I appreciate that the designers were at least willing to challenge gamers. (And I like some of SG'n'G's music) So, neither is a favorite of mine, but I do have some respect for them.
-Crawl, January 23, 2004
It's exam week (well, technically, exam week is next week, but this is the week I'll be busiest), so I'll have no time to make even paltry updates of this size. But maybe in a fortnight I'll be able to get back to making these several sentence updates you love so much.
-Crawl, December 8, 2003
While anxiously reloading his page repeatedly, I noticed Facility Pro moved his website. It's now pop-up free! Hooray! My links page has been updated.
Yes, this is worth an update all its own.
-Crawl, December 3 2003
I saw Master and Commander: The Far Side of the Earth over the weekend. I'll give my thoughts on it by way of replying to Josh Becker's opinions:
Along the way, a number of the ship's crew die, but since we don't know any of them, it doesn't mean a thing. They keep trying to push the sentimental button with these deaths, but it fails every time.AGREE. One character dies when, during a storm, the mast he's climbing on breaks off and falls into the sea. This is supposed to be a poignant scene, because the captain must decide whether to wait for the man to reach the rigging and climb back on board; or cut the rigging, as it is acting as an anchor for the ship and is on the verge of tearing it apart. However, I couldn't even tell which character it was that had gone overboard. I also disliked the abrupt suicide of the third leftenant.
If they'd set up a cat-and-mouse situation between the two ships, like "The Enemy Below" (1957), where Robert Mitchum is a battleship commander in the North Atlantic during WWII, and Curt Jurgens is the captain of a German submarine, and the two of them are trying to outwit the other one, they would have had a dramtic story that was worth telling. As it is, though, in M&C they have a big battle right away, which, in my opinion, is a big mistake, since we don't know anyone yet and doesn't matter, then they stall for over two hours until the next battle.DISAGREE. Firstly, something always has to happen in a movie before we know anything. That the first thing in this movie is a battle serves a purpose. It establishes how the Surprise and Acheron are matched, which is important throughout the entire rest of the movie, both in terms of how battles between the ships might unfold in the future, and of the character of Captain Jack for being willing to pursue the ship beyond the letter of his orders. For another thing, if the story of a cat and mouse situation has already been told before, I don't think it needs to be told again and again. The drama between the captain and the surgeon made for an interesting enough story, worth telling on its own right.
-Crawl, November 26 2003
I've finished Wind Waker a long time ago, so I can make an update on my below comments: The game does have a few (very few) decent (as opposed to great) parts, but they're interspersed throughout a matrix that's uninteresting, way too easy, and often borders on boring. The decent parts aren't good enough to make the game worthwhile. Score - 2 stars.
The next time I update the Great Game Feature, I intend to add Goldeneye (N64), Ninja Gaiden (NES), Sinistron (Turbo Grafx), Contra: Hard Corps (Genesis) and Gaiares (Genesis).
To answer a question:
Will you ever update again?
Absolutely yes! I always knew that updates would be slow here, but I also have no plans of ever abandoning videogame reviews. I am considering a new review now, but I have to admit it won't be ready for a while (how long, I cannot say), because I want it to be as good as I can possibly make it.
But even when I'm not updating this site, I am actively playing and discussing videogames. I'm currently playing Zelda: Wind Waker for Game Cube. I'm not really liking it much, but I'm not hating it, either. More detailed thoughts of mine on this and other issues are posted at our message board. The link is to the left.
A new review, of Bonk's Adventure, has been written and posted. It's sort of late as I type this, so I may need to reread it to see what I think of it in the morning. But, lucky you, you can read it now.
-Crawl, November 19, 2002
First things first, I finished and uploaded page 2 of the Yoshi's Island Boss Feature. So, that's new content to check out.
I also did some organization stuff to my site today. You'll notice the new "Features" link to the left. From now on, all features (including the Yoshi's Island Boss Feature) will be listed there. I moved the Great Game Feature to that directory, too.
I mentioned months and months ago here that I was playing Gaiares and Phantasy Star. Well, I beat both of those games (again, months and months ago). Phantasy Star wasn't anything special. Its battle system was extremely simplistic, barely a step up over Dragon Warrior 1: You couldn't even choose which enemy to attack. Consequently, 95% of all battles were nothing but tapping the "confirm" button over and over again for everyone to select "fight".
Gaiares was a lot better. 1/3 Gradius, 1/3 R-Type, and 1/3 all its own, Gaiares was an interesting shooter. My main complaint is that the next-to-last stage was just a boss rehash level, when I was hoping for more new challenges.
Other games I finished lately: River City Ransom was nothing special. Over Horizon was good (about as good as Contra) and I really liked the music to its second stage (btw, I admit I finished Over Horizon with an emulator [NESter 6.0 for Dreamcast to be precise]: The game was never released in America, and I've never seen it for sale anywhere online). I also replayed Ninja Gaiden a few times within the past few months. I really should add that game to the great game feature; I don't know why I haven't so far.
Oh, I also finished the Japanese version of Puss N Boots. When I reviewed the game, I had of course beaten the American version, but my knowledge of the Japanese version was second-hand, some misinformed. The play control and sprites are mostly identical, but the game was still greatly revised for the U.S. release. My review of the U.S. version is still completely valid, but I may add a note to it mentioning that, and how, the game was revised.
-Crawl, September 22, 2002
I apologize for not having finished or updated the Yoshi's Island feature yet. I had some problems with - blah blah blah, I'm sure you don't care to know the specifics. Anyway, I'll get done with it when I get done with it. I added a couple of links to the links page. I fear the descriptions are probably incoherent and not especially helpful, but they'll have to do till the day I overhaul that junkbin (a day which is long overdue). -Crawl, July 31
I'm halfway done with the Yoshi's Island boss feature. You can now check out page 1.
-Crawl, July 18
In lieu of a real review, I rushed out a pictorial review/walk through of King's Knight (well, mostly of King's Knight's final stage). Yes, it has spoilers - including the game's ending - but when were you planning on beating King's Knight anyway? Anyway, you can see my work here. Better check it out while you can! I don't know how long I'll leave that feature up.
A long time ago I mentioned that I thought it would be cool to have a video of me playing R-Type - maybe beating the final boss or something - but the problem is that that game somehow gets unsynched with the card I use to capture video. I had the same problem while getting the screen shots for the Great Game feature, but, while it was headache-inducing to play, the final shots looked alright. Oh, well.
-Crawl, June 24
This front page was getting a little cluttered, so I cleaned it up. I moved my thoughts on R-Type here. It's hard to do justice to such a great game, but until I can review it, that will have to do.
In other news, in order to get a quick update in, I opened a new section of my site: Reader Reviews! People who have been to my site before or are even smart enough to look at URLs will probably have no idea what they're all about. Even those who might have seen some of that stuff before, rest assured that unless you're one of maybe two people, the Castlevania III review will be all new to you. And I pray to the gods of gaming to have mercy on my soul.
I might sometime update this main page to have a better manifesto of my philosophy of gaming and reviews. But it's not a priority. I'm still thinking about reviews and gaming, of course, and hope to have a new review finished sooner rather than later. Lately, I've been playing the Gargoyle's Quest games. They're pretty good. Certainly Gargoyle's Quest 1, an early Game Boy game, proved what Super Mario Land could not: That good, original games could be made for Game Boy.
-Crawl, June 9
I know it's been a while since I updated, so I'm just posting here know so you know I'm alive. Why no reviews lately? Well, the main reason I haven't been reviewing games is because I'm too busy playing them. Isn't it possible for me to do both at the same time? Nope! Being an adult, sorta, I have too many responsibilities to do more than one thing in my leasure time. Oh, who am kidding; I've never been good at multitasking.
Anyway, I was considering doing more pictoral walkthroughs, like the one of King's Knight, because those are really easy to do, and could maybe let me make a quick update sometime in the future. (I imagine it'll be some time before I get a real review done. Sorry)
As for the games I've been playing: I started Phantasy Star about a week ago. I'm getting pretty burnt out on it, though, so I'm taking a break by playing Gaiares. I've been posting about these in detail at the message forums, so I don't feel a need to repeat it here.
-Crawl, July 15
I know I haven't written a real review in a while. Eventually I will - no matter how long it takes. But at least I've been continuing to beat games, so I'll have more review fodder whenever I do start reviewing more games.
And, on that note, I just beat Blazing Lazers. I probably won't review it for a while, but you can find my current thoughts on it here, and, since this is a message board post, you can even add your own thoughts.
-Crawl, June 30
I hope to make a more substantial update soon, but I like to ramble, so I'll do that for a while. I was thinking of doing a quick article on Dracula X for the Turbo Duo (I made a couple of MPEG videos to supplement it) but I think I may just put off anything like that until I write a definitive review. I was playing Suikoden 2, but I abandoned it due to exams. I'll probably pick it up again soon. A little while ago I played through Thunder Force 3 on mania difficulty. Earlier today I beat The Adventures of Bayou Billy on one credit. What does that weird voice say at the end of the game? I'm guessing "Congratulations", not because that's what it sounds like (it sounds like coughing) but because I can't imagine what else it would say.
So, those are some things I've been up to. And, yes, I'm sorry about the lameness of this update.
-Crawl, May 15
I now have a link to a Great Game Showcase on the left. This is not intended to be a complete or definitive list of my favorite games, nor are the games listed in any particular order (though R-Types and Castlevania III are indeed my 2 favorite games). I can even think of several that I probably should have put on, but forgot to take screenshots of at the time. However, those that are included are indeed great. This also gave me an excuse to put some screen shots on my site. Check it out; I hope you'll enjoy it.
-Crawl, April 21
I uploaded and posted a new Super Mario Bros. 2 review a few days ago, but never got around to officially announcing it until now. I think one of my next projects will be to clean out and update my links page. Obviously, I'm too lazy to actually do it now, rather than simply talk about doing it.
It's another exam week for me, so I've been busy with that.
-Crawl, April 3, 2002
Most of the reviews here will be somewhat serious, so if you want to read a (very) little bit of humor, check out the pranks page.
I'm working on something new. If I were a normal person, I would finish it, and then link it, but since I'm not, here's a preview. Actually, it's about 90% finished as is. Anyway, this site is screen shot free no longer! But I'll still never, ever put screen shots in the reviews.
-Crawl, April 15
Some musing: Considering I get so many hits from that silly Pokemon Black "review", it might be natural to wonder why I don't simply really review Pokemon (and probably get more hits in the process). The answer is quite simple. The inspiration behind that review was my own lack of playing Pokemon (and, when I wrote it, my brother's - yes, the same brother whose Super Mario Land I borrowed - enthusiasm over the game, and his desire for me to trade or Poke-battle with him). Well, I'm now much more than 1.5 hours into Pokemon... but I'm still a long way from beating it. And since my brother's interest in the game has dwindled, the game is no longer quite so pressing for me either. Don't worry. I will review Pokemon. Expect to see the review up around 2010.
Still pondering game and review philosophy...
-Crawl, April 9
Late last night, I finished a review. And by "finished", I mean that I obviously haven't posted it. I don't think I'm happy with it. But I've been working on it so long that I lack all perspective on it. I'll wait a few days a see what I think of it then. -Crawl, March 29
My girlfriend and I have just started moving into our new place. Our first attempts at getting online there yesterday (just with the Dreamcast) weren't successful, though... I hope that doesn't portend difficulty in getting online in general, or updating this site in particular, in the future.. I am itching to work on this page and reviews. Till then.. - Crawl, March 3
Believe it or not, this site has had its one year anniversary this month. Sure, I had no content up whatsoever a year ago (except maybe that Bionic Commando review) and I didn't tell anyone of this site for a few months after I started it, but it has existed for one year regardless. I have one review about 90% done, but this is mid-term week, so finishing off that last 10% will have to wait until I'm under less stress. In other news, for people who searched for an R-Type Delta review on Google and found the one on this site, I am so, so sorry. But don't forget to read my thoughts on R-Type at the bottom of this page (which might be easy to miss if you don't scroll down) - Crawl, February 24, 2002
This site still is something I plan to keep chipping away at, however long it takes. Since the last time I made an announcement on this page, I added reviews for Puss N Boots, Mars Matrix and Super Mario Land. I still have a few other reviews in progress on the back burner, but they're getting closer to being ready to boil.