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July 30, 2014

A Look Back On: Crash & Spyro Superpack / Big Brain Academy

Starting this Wednesday, I'll be publishing every week links to past reviews. Especially the ones I wrote before fame. (If 28,000 views can be called "fame", anyway.)

I was supposed to start last week, but I was too busy or something. Which is why I'm covering my two oldest reviews today. Next Wednesday, I,ll just talk about one of my older reviews.


As my first review, it was very basic. No pictures aside from the box art. Some jokes, but not as many as there are now. I remember that these games contain one of my bigger pet peeves about the Game Boy Advance games: Having to trade with each other in order to achieve 100% completion. Something that sounds like a good idea at first, until you realize it's a good idea only for the Pokémon games. It's so hard to find someone who owns either Crash Purple or Spyro Orange that your best chance is to buy the two versions yourself, then buy the Link Cable, and ask a friend to give you your now-pretty-damn-old-and-probably-broken GBA.

All in all, a game that has fun moments, some of the minigames are creative, the boss fights aren't half bad, but the two are VERY short. They were on the same GBA cartridge. In itself, it's a good thing, but you can't trade between your two games; you still need the two versions once again in order to get everything!


While Big Brain Academy is a fun intelligence game, many of us don't play games to become more intelligent. Alright, some of us do, that's why Brain Age was quite popular. But platform games and RPGs are much more fun to me, and you, too, probably have a favorite genre aside from "intelligence games". Whatever the name is.

Yes, Big Brain Academy is fun, but only fifteen different minigames doesn't seem like enough to me. I also disliked how the final score isn't a representation of your IQ, but a mesurement of your brain's weight... which is complete bull****. Still, despite these flaws, the game IS fun, though I won't guarantee you'll play it for very long.

July 28, 2014

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Part 4)

This is a hexalogy, and we're barely halfway through. I recommend you go and read the first three parts here, here and here.

Showing up on a Brawl stage half-naked LIKE A BOSS.

Hello again, for a fourth time! I'm nearly done covering everything that SSBB has to offer! It's almost over, so I'll jump into what's probably the most boring part of the game: The options and the Data section. But before any of that, I must cover what's left in the Vault!

Alright, so after the Challenges, what is there left in there? Well, there's the Replays. Whenever you play a match that has taken two minutes or less, you can choose to record it. The fight will appear in this section. The battles take more space than the pictures, obviously; but let's say you accomplished something incredible during a brawl, you want to immortalize it, and pictures just aren't enough to explain, then this may be an option to consider.

Oh, but wait! You have been playing Brawl for hours, maybe days now (curse you, “Play 100 hours of brawls” challenge!), and you might be telling yourself: “Wait, I'm playing with the Ice Climbers, with Pit, even with Samus or Fox! But I never got around to playing games from their series!” Well... Complain no more, as Brawl has another handy little feature (the bajillionth, huh?) called Masterpieces. In it, you're allowed to play for many seconds – and even a few minutes – to a Nintendo game.

July 25, 2014

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Part 3)

If you haven't read Part 1 and Part 2 of this review, you missed a lot. Go read them if you want to understand the Subspace Emissary re-telling in the second half of this post!

More stuff than a normal game should contain.
Hello again! It's time for more Brawl! Yep, I'm still talking about this game! Can't help it. There's too much to say. It did take Masahiro Sakurai more than a year to reveal everything on the Smash Dojo website (which was a very entertaining read; sadly the site has been shut down). Today, I'm looking at the Vault, this wonderful place in Super Smash Bros. Brawl that has nothing to do with fighting! Or maybe it does. Maybe parts of it do. Either way, this is yet another huge section, so I shouldn't waste any time!

July 21, 2014

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Part 2)

I suggest you read Part 1 before this one if you haven't.

Hello again! Welcome to the second part of Planned All Along's first anniversary review of Super Smash Brothers Brawl! Last Friday, I talked about the Solo modes... now I cover the multiplayer modes! You may have noticed that the site changed quite a bit since Friday, too...

Anyway, are you ready for this part? Well, you better be, 'cause it starts now!

The Smash series doesn't just pride itself on the Solo modes, which are fun in their own right; a lot of emphasis is put on the multiplayer aspect, what with special Brawl settings, the large selection of characters and so on. There's so many things you can do, so many ways to customize your battles, that it would take me more than two parts describing each of them. Which is why I am mostly going to go over the many different possibilities, without detailing them the best I can, or I'm still gonna be talking about this game in September.

After you select Group, you're brought to a screen with these options: “Brawl” (makes sense), “Rules”, “Special Brawl” (huh?), “Rotation”, “Tourney” and “Name”. Gonna cover it right now, “Name” is just you typing a name so that your high scores in the game really are yours. Also, just selecting “Brawl” will immediately bring you to the character selection screen, without any changes to the rules. Man! But you're forgetting the fun part in Brawl!  One of the key mechanics of Brawl is how you can bend nearly the entire system to your will! Come on, follow me to the Rules.

July 19, 2014


Today is the blog's first anniversary! It's been exactly one year since I created it! That was a busy year.

Anyway, I've been working on a little something for the blog. Behold: My very first long Questions and answers (Q&A) video!

I also announce:

What's interesting with this forum is that it isn't just about Planned All Along; you can use it to advertise your own site, your reviews... So, I hope to see you there! Also, as you may have noticed, the site has been entirely redesigned!

Old look:

New look:

Note that the new look might still change a little. I'll be taking your suggestions.

Also, over the next months, I will be posting about my earlier reviews. I want them to pick up more views.

Here's to wishing another great year to Planned All Along! Where, while the stories indeed ARE planned from the start, it's not always the case for the reviews!

July 18, 2014

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Part 1)

This is it! The final review of Planned All Along: Year One! The one so many of you have been waiting for! Before I jump into this enormous game, I have to explain a few things. Not related to Super Smash Bros. Brawl, actually. Most of them are related to the blog.

-Due to the blog's first anniversary tomorrow, I will probably write a post about the year's history, the ups and downs (downs? There hasn't been such things as downs this year! ...Or has it?), the progress made...
-Tomorrow, the blog's design will greatly change. Yes, I will change everything through Blogger's system, the colors, the backgrounds, and other elements. I hope this way to get a site that will look good to your eyes just as much as mine. If you got any suggestions, send me a message on my Twitter account @hamelnico.
-As an addition to the blog, starting this Wednesday: I will promote one of my reviews from this year. In fact, I will promote each and every one of my reviews of this year, one per week. I will usually follow this with a little comment on the review, my thoughts on it in hindsight.
-A Google+ Community has been created, and any Google+ users will be able to join. On the plus side, this will give me an idea of my number of fans (on Google+, anyway), and it will also give users another place to promote their blogs or review series. You can also join by clicking "Community" on the black bar on top of this screen.
-Last but not least, a forum has been created. I will link to it on my blog. You'll be able to reach the forum through the black bar just below the title. I plan to use it to get suggestions from you, but also to promote new things, ask the fans' opinions on additional modules to add to the blog, have polls that really work (in comparison to the  Bloggerpolls) and to bring up ideas I get in the future. I want it to be a fun place, where exchanges are made in peace, so I'll probably also be looking for Moderators. I hope to see many of you there! It's a bit empty for now, but keep in mind that I've created it, like, two days ago. Again, this can also be reached through the black bar on top.
-Finally, if you've seen my last videos for Planned All Along (one in this review and another in this one), you'll notice my spoken English is... um... lacking. Not in words, but my accent. Therefore, pardon me if I don't frequently publish videos, but I'll try to have at least one small video for each review. An I do mean a small one. I'll probably use them for quick jokes. Once I gain some self-esteem and I stop fearing my god darned Quebecois accent, I might start posting longer videos, always in vlog form from my webcam. Until I get enough money to buy an actual camera...

Now, as I said at the beginning of this blog post, I know that Super Smash Brothers Brawl is a truly massive game, there's a LOT to discuss (and even if I spent ten parts on this game, I just wouldn't be able to talk about everything that can be done in the battles, all the existing techniques, and so on and so forth). However, this blog is called Planned All Along for a reason: The plot is usually a core element of the games I'm reviewing. In other words, I'll put extra care in describing the Adventure Mode, better known as the Subspace Emissary. So here's how it's gonna work: The first half of each review will cover the other elements in the game (the other Solo modes, the characters, the Multiplayer mode, the items, the other features, etc.) and the second half will be just me, riffing on the plot to the Subspace Emissary. So, why not start now? The review itself, not the riffing, that will be in the second half of this review and the four following parts.

July 11, 2014

VGFlicks: Gamer (Part 3)

...Okay, here's the final part of my review of this stupid movie. Here's to hoping it ends soon.

One of the few glimpses of actual humanity in this film.
The Humanz sure chose their name well.
After the reveal that Tillman had actually been controlled by Castle to commit first-degree murder, I was sure the movie didn't have more for us. We're still at the Humanz headquarters, where Tillman's wife Angie has her nanites hacked so that she doesn't receive commands anymore. However, the Humanz leaders Brother and Dude realize that Tillman has escaped the memory-reading room. He's found grieving in a hallway by his wife, who has been cured from control. Though she's still partly wearing her stupid, stupid, STUPID attire from Society. (Seriously though, this made me realize that some alternate costumes for video game characters would indeed look absolutely ridiculous on real humans. ...Thanks, Gamer, for that deep thought.) Tillman asks where their daughter is. They learn the answer thanks to the punk girl... Here's the new plot twist: Tillman's daughter has been adopted by Ken mother-flipping Castle, the insane man behind Society and Slayers.

July 7, 2014

VGFlicks: Gamer (Part 2)

I recommend you read Part 1 here if you want to understand this page.

I don't want to review this movie anymore... Please... have pity... I thought about it during the weekend and it's even worse than I thought...

...On the other hand, I did find more reasons why this movie is awful, and since the key to my happiness is to be done with this film as soon as possible, I'd better hurry and finish this review... The faster it's done the better I'll feel. Or else... Oh, my God...

Ack! Hackman: Scary scary scary human being!
So, where we we last time... Oh yeah, Tillman/Kable, Society, Hackman, Humanz, Simon, nanites, Castle, Slayers... This plot continues as Tillman, better known by the screen name Kable and played by Simon Silverton in Slayers, is in his twenty-ninth match. Simon has downloaded a mode by the Humanz group of hackers that lets him speak to Kable while playing. I just realized the large number of names in this paragraph... Anyway, Tillman finds that Simon has few back thoughts about the killing of the other prisoners considering they were all on death row anyway. Kable attempts to go beyond the war zone's limits, which is forbidden by the game.... and moments later encounters Hackman, who's every word as amazingly dangerous, psychotic and sadistic as this description lets out. Simon realizes he and Kable are screwed, since Hackman isn't controlled by anyone. Tillman understands that someone, somewhere, sent that guy to kill him. I don't want to spoil here, but it's obviously Ken Castle, the maker of Society and Slayers, and- Damn, I'm still going on with the dozens of names. I'll just say that Kable eventually makes it out safely and wins his twenty-ninth match.

July 4, 2014

VGFlicks: Gamer (Part 1)

Hello, and welcome to this all-new installment on Planned All Along, VGFlicks! In this new segment – which replaces the reviews of Game Boy Advance games – I will be reviewing movies related to video games. Oh, it can be a film adaptation of a video game, but it can also be a movie in which video games play a part in the plot. All that counts is that there are video games somewhere in there. Can't chase that from the blog.

Video games are often misrepresented in cinema due to the two formats being very different. A game can be played for days while a movie should be, at most, three hours long. Some games contain so much material that you cannot squeeze all of it in a single film. Adaptations of video game franchises tend of be of lesser quality due to this. We all know about the failure that was the Super Mario Bros. Movie. That's without mentioning adaptations that leave out too much and, as a result, the plot is impossible to understand. On the other side, games that are adaptations of films can feel short, either because the developers had little to work with or couldn't think of something to increase the play time. And then we get films that aren't based on existing video games, but deals with video games and gaming in general, yet you gotta wonder if the director even played video games – or talked to video game players – to know what it's like.

You'd think Gamer, released in 2009, with such a clear title, would be an enjoyable ride. Mmmmmnnnngyyyeaaaaaahhhhh NO. NO NO NO NO NO. It's a cluttered mess that tries to put too much at once, at the detriment of a plot that can be followed. So bear with me, we're starting VGFlicks with a movie that is pretty damn hard to explain and even harder to watch. This is Gamer, everyone. Pray for me.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.