Friday, April 17, 2015

Mental Grab Bag

You ever have a bunch of random thoughts that aren't necessarily related, but you wanted to share them anyway? I sure did, so let's get right to it!

It's not just an adventure, it's a job!
(Image from Giant Bomb)
 Donkey Kong 64 was just released for the Wii U, some fifteen years after its debut on the Nintendo 64. Normally this wouldn't matter much to me, as it's a tedious collectathon starring a cast of obnoxious mascots, the sort of thing that became RARE's calling card in the late 1990s. However, it also includes a conversion of the Donkey Kong arcade game that's more faithful than any previous attempt on a Nintendo game system. That's probably worth the ten dollars Nintendo is charging... but is it worth combing through dozens of levels for the teetering pile of Jiggies, Wiggies, Lennies, and Squiggies you'll need to unlock this bonus? Er, probably not.

 Speaking of Donkey Kong, did you know there's a grey market version of the game called Crazy Kong? The game was licensed only for markets outside America, but you can bet your sweet bippy it came here anyway thanks to Donkey Kong's massive popularity. As the name suggests, Crazy Kong was designed to run on the cheaper, less capable Crazy Climber hardware, which is like trying to toast bread with a cigarette lighter. You might get the desired results, but you're bound to be disappointed. One YouTube viewer described Crazy Kong's off colors and misplaced digitized sound as "terrifying," and after you've played a few levels you'd find it hard to argue the point. See for yourself!

"Hi honey, I'm... what the hell are you
people doing to my house?!"
 I've been itching to get my hands on a copy of Dead or Alive 5+ for the Vita, and after nearly a year of owning the system it's finally happened. I'm happy to say that it's a strong conversion of the game I originally played on the Xbox 360. There's probably a slight dip in the quality of the visuals, but you'd have to compare screenshots to notice the differences. More importantly, the game is a hell of a lot more fun than Tekken 6, with fluid combat and "danger zones" that let you launch your opponents off icy cliffs and the roofs of buildings. There's even a level set inside a ramshackle house, with fighters breaking the surrounding furniture and even the walls as they trade blows. It's not as epic as flinging people off mesas in the exceptional Dead or Alive 3, but it's unlikely the series will ever reach those, ahem, plateaus again.

Check, please.
 Mortal Kombat X recently made its debut on next generation consoles and PCs, and... I think I'm gonna sit this one out. There are plenty of reasons for fans to pick up a copy, but just as many reasons for less dedicated players to save their money, as Ben Kuchara points out in an editorial published on Polygon. It's not just the opportunistic DLC that leaves me cold (want easy fatalities? It'll cost 'ya!), but the violence, which bordered on excessive in the previous game and races a marathon over that line in the sequel. It was like series creator Ed Boon watched his nephew torture frogs in the backyard and started taking notes.

 I just spent some quality time with Kirby: Return to Dreamland on the Wii... or more accurately, the Dolphin emulator. One wonders why Nintendo released this game in such limited quantities, because it's arguably the best entry in an already ambitious series. It shares a lot in common with Kirby: Triple Deluxe for the 3DS, except the Miracle Fruit has been replaced with supercharged versions of Kirby's copy abilities and the graphics are even more incredible. I read on Wikipedia that Return to Dreamland was delayed for over a decade (three previous versions of the game were abandoned because the developers weren't satisfied with them, a testament to HAL Laboratory's dedication to excellence), but Nintendo probably should have held onto this one for just a little longer, so it could have been a launch title on the HD-enhanced Wii U. (And so people could actually play it.)

Here, have some pictures of Return to Dreamland. That ought to wash the taste of that Mortal Kombat fatality out of your mouth. (I can't guarantee it'll stop you from having nightmares about Crazy Kong, though.)

See what I mean? Absolutely gorgeous!

You may recognize this as Kirby's final smash
in the latest Smash Bros. game. I preferred the
one where he sucks all his opponents into
a stewpot, but whatever!

Hey, wasn't she from Bubble Bobble?

Kirby sweats profusely when he's low
on health. It's a nice touch!

Oh yeah, straight to the top, baby!


  1. Just poppin' in here to say that I agree with every word you said here about Kirby: Return to Dream Land. Such a wonderful game :) I'm glad Nintendo didn't wait until the Wii U was out to release it, though. Now, if they wanted to go ahead and release some sort of HD version, that would be OK with me.

    1. Hell, I'd take any version I could get at this point, SD or HD. It's nice to run the game on Dolphin because everything is upscaled, but at the same time, I'd like to go legit without having to break the bank for it. I can't justify the oodles of cash the game costs on the second hand market.

      By the way, I bought Kirby's Dream Collection for $5 back in 2014 and I guess THAT has steadily climbed in price, too. At its core, it's just a compilation of old Kirby games, but it's incredibly well presented and comes with both an art book and a soundtrack.

  2. Ah, I always meant to get KDD, but it came out at the wrong time for me, and once that time passed I no longer felt like picking it up, I guess :|