Posted by: Tha Square | October 12, 2008

Games You May Have Missed Part Two

Ah… it’s October. It’s finally time to retire our summer clothes and get ready to enjoy the inevitable transformation our daily lives will go through. The seasons are changing, TV lineups are being altered, and America is finally getting a new president. But more importantly, it’s almost Halloween! It’s due time to paint our faces up in the nastiest fashion possible and collect the goodies good little ghouls and goblins deserve (or a few pints of beer if you’re not so little)! If you’re lucky, a friendly Frankenstein might drop one of these enchanting tricks in your bag of treats. So open wide you’re your sack, candy crusader, and enjoy these Games You May Have Missed.

Number 3Kororinpa: Marble Madness


From the pages of history to TV screens across the globe, Kororinpa: Marble Mania has helped give marbles something many old-fashioned games never receive – a smooth transition back into the mainstream media. Though Hudson Soft has turned marbles into puzzle-solving, wall-climbing renegades, it still brings me back to when I use to play the old fashioned game at school. With charming good looks and innovative controls, Kororinpa is bound to bring a few memories of youthful playgrounds. On the other hand, the pleasantries may be short lived. I was left wanting more once I had beaten the game and unlocked most of the marbles. There are also a few controls with which I had a problem with, such as jumping and the layout of the controller, but even with these few minor instances, the game still rocks. The modern twist to this historic game makes it a joy to play time and again.

When I first got this game, I figured it was going to be a Super Monkey Ball rip off. To my surprise, the game works so much more efficiently. Hudson Soft, the developer of the title, did a really great job on this game all around. Each level you play is look pretty good and it’s hard to keep focused on getting to the goal when you’re wrapped up in the surroundings. The marbles you play with are just as delightful as themes you’ll see in game. With dozens of marbles to find you’re sure to get one that’ll suit your fancy. There are gas tanks, planets, animals, and even basketballs at your finger tips which all differ in special effects. Animal themed balls such as the pigs and puppies make comical noises and are easily controlled while the heavier marbles like the UFO and the gas tank move much faster and can be quite difficult to keep on the map.

Controlling your marble isn’t too daunting of a task, however. They are admittedly challenging at fist but with a little practice, you’ll be navigating your prized marble to the goal with finesse. You can send your ball rolling slowly down a steep grade or zooming through near straight paths all according to the angle at which to twist the remote. However, there are a few problems with the controls that I’ve found. Raising the remote performs the task of jumping and it’s very difficult to keep it level as the human hand will naturally twist instead of using the whole arm to lift. If you don’t keep the controller level, the map will turn and there’s no telling if the ball will land safely onto its route. The extra effort to perform jumps isn’t needed and could have been mapped to a button command. The way you hold the remote is another problem. Instead of holding it with two hands, you’ll need to point the remote towards the screen with one, twisting it sometimes all the way upside-down. If it were to have been setup to be played with two hands, it would have helped keep the ball all that more balanced and put less stress on the wrist. Though most of the controls are nice and the visuals are even better, the lacking amount of levels is a letdown.

Strawberries may dance and stars might shine, but with only 50 main levels of play, Kororinpa becomes a little disappointing. To be fair, once you complete most of the levels, you’re given the opportunity to play them all backwards. This does give the title a little extra life as the levels can seem quite different on the way back. There are also 15 or so hidden stages all of which have you collecting orange diamond shaped items. However, mirroring stages is a cheap way to extend a title. They are all brilliantly positioned and designed, but once you play a map for 10 minutes, it hard to get up the will to play it again. Even with the small amount of maps, the title still rivals some of the other ball-rolling adventures out now.

There’s a lot of fun to be had with this game. You may think it’s a knock off just as I did, but you’d be mistaken. No other ball rolling game on the Wii today takes their controls to the level at which Kororinpa has done. Though it can become rough on the wrists at times, the game really makes use of the remotes abilities. The environments that encompass the maps are beautiful and if you’re not careful, you may find yourself simply checking out the art that’s in the game.So be sure not to lose your marbles when playing this game!

Number 2 – Marvel Ultimate Alliance

Modern man has immortalized comic book creations. From the pulpy pages of the 1930s to the silver screen of the new millennium, the world’s favorite superheroes have tapped into every form of entertainment conceivable. TV shows, movies, songs, and theme parks are only a handful of creations inspired by them; they have even stretched their reaches into the Internet and are no longer bound to the magazine rack. The same artistic genius found in their pages can now be streamed directly into the homes of eager fans across the globe in seconds. One of the most successful forms and long time counterpart of the paperback parodies, video gaming, has allowed fans to take control of their favorite superhumans, or otherwise, for well over 10 years.Invulnerability, super strength, and the ability to fly have all been possible with a click of the button for nearly every gaming system. But now with the latest chapter of comic gaming to hit the Wii, lifting cars and zooming through the air might take a little more than mundane button mashing.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance joins together over 20 of Marvel’s most famous superheroes and heroines to save the world from some of the vilest villains comic books have ever encountered. Bring together the likes of Wolverine, Spider Man, The Thing, and Ghost Rider to knock the ever-loving snot out of droves of hostiles. You navigate your party through a Gauntlet-style world leveling up specific stats and unlocking new bone crushing moves to lay waste to all those who resist. Get with some buddies and compete or cooperate in the fight to defend the planet.

Unlike the rest of the consoles, the Wii version allows you to really get into the moves you pull off in the game. Swing the remote in a variety of directions to launch character specific attacks. With a flick of the wrist, Captain America can send his shield flying around the room; a drum of the remote can have the Human Torch “heating things up” for the competition. Each character has a dozen or so attacks under his (or her) belt which can be accessed after leveling up. Sadly, the controls implied to use them are a bit sketchy. Moves might be performed every time you wag the controller, but sometimes they’re not the right ones. The game can misinterpret your gestures quite easily it seems and though just about any move can put a baddie on its backside, it can be obnoxious to see a move you didn’t intend to do shooting off in the wrong direction. Besides that, it’s a very fun beat ‘em up game comic book fans and otherwise will enjoy.

What I really like, other than the massive amount of fan service, is the ability to put together your favorite “Marvelous” heroes in one team. It’s a gamer’s dream to be able to blend the pages of their favorite heroic icons’ together. You can have a team of heavy hitters such as The Thing, The Hulk, Luke Cage, and Colossus bustin’ minions’ chops left and right. You put together some light weight, long ranged characters like Ice Man, Spider Woman, Silver Surfer, and the Invisible Woman to send fools packin’ from afar. No matter who you put together, the team is going to kick some serious butt.

Becoming a person with superhuman abilities is one of the many reasons why video gaming is one of the world’s fastest growing forms of entertainment. With the Wii and its unique remote, it’s one step closer to reality. Sure, there may be some minor qualms with the controls, but it’s by far one of the best beat ‘em ups on the system. With multiplayer functionalities, a huge amount of fan service, and a great storyline, this game’s one sweet snag from the pit of the budget bin.

Number 1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

What’s better than Bed Knobs and Broomsticks on a hot summer’s day? It’s another installment into the Harry Potter video game series and this one takes the cake! Since the next game in the series has been delayed to be released beside next year’s flick, now is a good time to take a look back at this boundary-breaking Wii game. Fans of the series, which probably includes you, already know the story behind this game; Voldermort is back and it’s up to Harry to find a way to stop him from getting his slimy hands on the weapon being held in the Ministry of Magic. There’s a bit of a problem though, the Ministry has imposed Hogwarts with the abrasive Dolores Umbridge to make sure Dumbledore isn’t trying to create some sort of child army and her beady eyes seem to be fixated upon Harry at all times. Between the strange dreams he’s having and all the stress his elders are putting on him, it’s rather hard for Harry to concentrate on anything let alone saving the world from the clutches of evil. Mischief is afoot at Hogwarts this year and in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix the video game, it just may be you who’s causing the ruckus!

I really wasn’t expecting the Order of the Phoenix to be this fun but thanks to the Wii specific controls, I was totally mistaken. You’ll be rearranging your school’s property, mending broken vases, and even throwing a few defensive spells to fend off Crabbe and Goyle all with the flick of your wrists. There’s something to do around each corner at Hogwarts and if you’re aiming for 100%, you should be prepared to look in every nook and cranny for those hidden tasks you know are there.

Electronic Arts really made spell casting in this game pretty fun. From flicking the remote up and down to shaking and rotating, the gestures in this title are fairly solid. Some are used for general housekeeping such as Accio and Incendio while others like Stupefy and Petrificus Totalus can only be used while in the fray. There aren’t many spells you can use though; there are only a total of 12 at your disposal which means you’ll be casting the same things over and over again. Still, most go over without any problems and even with the repetitive motions you’ll need to pull off, it has been pretty fun.

Another way EA has kept the game fun is removing the load times. I have no idea how they managed to take them out when the map is so large, but it’s a great advancement. Entering and exiting rooms prove to be no problem and no matter how hard you try, you won’t find a single waiting period. You can walk from the Gryffindor Tower to the Great Hall without having to wait a single minute. You may have concern over the fixed camera though. Every room has a different angle at which the camera is set and when you’ve got your thumb pressing the joystick down one way, the direction you’ll need to be pushing is likely to change. This will result in Harry swiftly turning to a direction you don’t intend to go and you’ll need to correct his angle accordingly. Though it’s not the end of the world, it’ll at least make you a little irritated. You can tap the C button to bring the camera behind Harry but there are some locations that won’t allow you to do so. Even with the camera control problem, the loading times make the game move at a great pace and with the outstanding graphics, it’s easy to see why they’ve set the camera in the way they did.

The graphics in this game are superb. From the talking pictures to the objects you can levitate with Wingardium Leviosa, everything has been nicely detailed. Characters have had full body scans to make their in game equals look as life like as possible and many of the less important people are included too. The school itself looks as if you were walking right into the real thing and the grand scheme of the building seems like it would have been scaled back but thankfully, every detail I can think of is featured.

I too was swept up in the Harry Potter craze when it was at its peak a few years back. I read the books time and again until there the next tale hits the shelves. This game, though tiresome at times, has ignited the Potter flame once more. They are always great stories and being able to partake in the adventure is something every fan would dream of. With the help of the Wii and EA’s ingenuity, this chapter of Harry Potter’s gaming life has been securely nailed down. Many Potter enthusiasts have probably already picked this title up but there may be a few Wii owners out there who haven’t gotten the news so I’ll let you all in on the secret: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is awesome. Those who aren’t hooked on the series yet would probably find a lot to enjoy, and should certainly give it a try first. This game is one to look out for because if you’re not careful, you may just find yourself spellbound!

I do hope you’ve enjoyed this “classic” Wii game roundup and will come back for more in the near future. I urge you all to check out these games if you have the spare time (and dime) because these are just a few games worth mentioning. Until next time, be safe, wrist strap those remotes, and may your Halloween horde be as bountiful as the Horn of Plenty!

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