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November 28, 2014

WarioWare D.I.Y. (Part 1)


I think I said last week that I could do better than what Data Design Interactive released, a bad game called Anubis II. I think calling it a game is still giving it too much credit.

so bad that I could probably do better alone with a video game design software found at a flea market.”

...Okay, probably not a “flea market” game, but one thing's certain: I can do better. Thanks to WarioWare: Do It Yourself. The game is a smart combination: A game maker, a long series of fun tutorials, design challenges, medals, collectibles and endless possibilities of sharing with other people. ...Okay, not anymore; the DS and Wii servers closed earlier this year, but you can still trade between two Nintendo DS as long as both players are in the same room and have the game. You can also trade with a WiiWare game called WarioWare: D.I.Y. Showcase, which I will look at right after this review.

Say hello again to Wario and his company, WarioWare- Wait. WarioWare has split? Really? Oh. I'm sorry. Some of the employees (to be precise, Mona, Jimmy T, Ashley, Orbulon and 9-Volt) left the company and started their own, called Diamond Software. Guess they were tired of Wario's greedy ways. Oh, don't worry, they'll be back with WarioWare by the next game; but until then, we've got all sorts of problems. 9-Volt and his friend 18-Volt have split up (18-Volt stayed at WarioWare along with Dribble, Spitz, Kat and Ana and, obviously, Wario). Now, whether Diamond Software is doing better than their competitor isn't clear. But one thing's sure: WarioWare needs new developers. Thus, Wario turns to the gamers who bought his games. For that occasion, Dr. Crygor has invented the Super MakerMatic 21, which can let just about anyone make their own microgames, but also their own songs and comics! That's the story in a nutshell.

November 26, 2014

Vlog 2: Me, my site, my music


A second vlog about the history of the site! Next week: Poké-Month, keeping a theme during a whole month, and the hardships of working on a site while doing university classes!

November 21, 2014

Anubis II


video

Fuck this game.

The end.

No, really. I don't want to write this. Anubis II is a game so horrendous, it has made me catatonic! It happened right after I screamed on top of my lungs. I type the best I can with my hands, as they're the only part of me that is still moving. All things considered, I'm lucky. Though my parents feed me through a straw-

Oh, who am I kidding. Of course I'm not catatonic. In shock at such a horrible game, sure, but not catatonic. In shock? Close, but not quite. Actually, I think that witnessing this horror has made me insane; it has awakened something deep inside me that I never wanted to see out, and I'm soon going to go kill something to appease my spirit. A fly or two, an iguana, maybe a cat... And I cannot use video games to get that out of my system, as video games are the source of my insanity. I cannot touch a Wii remote anymore, I just want to stab someone with it. Don't ask me how I'd do that.

Ah, and dammit. I need to get this out of my system. Maybe talking about the game will calm me down.


So... Anubis II was a game made in 2007 by Metro 3D. It has been released on the PlayStation 2 and on PC. Data Design Interactive later bought Metro 3D and saw fit to re-release their titles, by adapting them for the Wii (even though it was pretty damn obvious they were of a low quality). Anubis II shares many similarities with other titles released by DDI around that time, such as Ninjabread Man, Myth Makers: Trixie in Toyland, or Rock'n'Roll Adventures. Never heard of those? You're lucky.

DDI, get ready. I'll spew a lot of rage at you.

Anubis II takes place in Ancient Egypt. The evil skeleton pharaoh Mumm'Hotep reigned with an iron fist, until he was defeated. Years later, he is back, and has spread darkness across the land. The inhabitants of Ancient Egypt have a hero, however – Anubis, the *ahem* "mighty" God of the underworld! Armed with his scepter, the God has to travel through six long levels, defeat the forces of evil, collect eight golden pyramids in each level to bring back the world's peace... and end it all in a brutal fight against Mumm'Hotep!

Let's give that to this game, at least Mumm'Hotep looks
fine... just like a cheap animatronic in a haunted house
for kids! Fakeness and broken mechanism included!

Here's an alternate storyline for this game: A game developer goes to take a dump and then decides to make a game of similar quality to what he's just released. He makes every level in a matter of minutes with a cheap game engine, and takes a 30-minute break to watch porn between every level. After one day – no, scratch that; half a day – he has completed a little game that would be alright if he shared it with his friends... and then realizes he could just send it to a stupid game company. Said stupid game company decides it's of good enough quality to be published and distributed across North America and Europe. Oh, and then he makes a carbon copy of that same game, only changing the character and some of the graphics, and sends it to the same stupid game company, which releases that one too. Because they're fucking stupid.

I'm feeling really crazy. I want to smash something. Just give me a few minutes... I'll go outside, destroy the neighbor's house with my father's tractor, and come back for the rest of this review. ...Oh, wait. Of course not. I'm not really insane, it's all make-believe for the review. Truth is, the plot to Anubis II was tacked on and is told only in the instruction booklet; there is literally no story in this game unless you read the booklet. Also, I'd have figured as such; any storyboard artist would have left at the Tutorial level.

So... How does Anubis II work? You control the jackal Anubis with the joystick on the Nunchuk. He jumps when you lift the Nunchuk, and can double jump if you lift the Nunchuk twice in a row. This doesn't work very well, however, as you need to be able to control Anubis while doing that movement, and it's a pain in the ass. In fact, controlling Anubis is a pain. Thankfully, you can use the Z button instead; it works way better. As for his attacks? He can swing his scepter around to attack enemies. You swing the Wii remote to do that. Also, Anubis can throw energy balls; you target an enemy with the remote and press B when the crosshair changes color near it, and then you can press B numerous times to shoot a load of bombs and destroy the enemy quickly. It's the best weapon in the game, because swinging the scepter doesn't work what, maybe 60% of the time? By the way, he's not throwing energy balls; he's tossing the essence of the game Anubis II, a plague powerful enough to kill enemies and severely injure or depress normal people. Also, he can swing his scepter upwards near some stones marked with the Eye of Anubis, which will activate their magic power and move some platforms around, letting him cross the levels. That, too, doesn't work about 60% of the time. You have to try again repeatedly. Pray there are no enemies around... There is one final thing Anubis can do: When he has picked up a bomb, he can throw it if you push A and hold it while making a tossing movement. Guess what? THAT, TOO, DOESN'T WORK MOST OF THE FUCKING TIME!

It worked now? It's gonna stop working at the worst moment.
ALL the controls that require shaking the Wiimote around are awful in here. And of course, two out of the three require just that. Guess DDI didn't want to work too much. The game will hardly ever detect the movement. And of course, most of the enemies in this godawful game are programmed to run into you when they see you. Even if you do manage to swipe the scepter at them once, you will NOT succeed twice in a row and the enemies will have taken some Life Points out of Anubis. Same problem when the time comes to activate the obelisks, which is just as annoying. Screw that goddamn scepter. I hate it, hate it, hate it hate it.

Hey, Anubis: You know what you can do with your scepter? Here are some hints: It involves a part of your anatomy, it involves shoving, and best of all, it involves lots and lots of pain for you. Oh wait, I think I can help. Bend over. Get on all fours, bitch. I promise it's not going to hurt. It's going to REALLY HURT.

video

"Woof, woof, bark, bark, arf, arf! I mean.... Arrooooooooo!"
He's trying to speak! Quick, someone bring him a muzzle!
By the way, you look awful, you little Sonic reject. No, really, look at you, with those revealed nipples! And look at that face; on the box cover, you actually look pretty cool, but in the game... What, are you Anubis the God of the Underworld, or a little purse puppy who still hasn't learned cleanliness and whose mistress, a clone of Paris Hilton, called Anubis because she thought it sounded manly, even though chihuahuas laugh at your small size? You're pathetic, Anubis. I'm rooting for Mumm'Hotep in this game. I'll be so happy to see you die. Bad doggy! Bad, bad doggy! That pyramid monster you just killed had probably a more interesting life than yours!

THOSE PYRAMID MONSTERS... HOLY CHRIST!
...And that's what our hero looks like in pain? He looks like
he is having another kind of powerful experience...
Oh, but Anubis isn't the only bad-looking character in this game. Everything is horrendous. The fields are simplistic, and all the enemies are just copy-pastes of each other. Some are too detailed, others aren't detailed enough. The result is... jarring, to say the least. There are tornadoes of flies right beside pyramid monsters, and then there are rock face monster things that just look out of place. Well, I guess AT LEAST they all have something to do with Egypt... I suppose...

Seriously, I feel like strangling the closest thing I can find. Come here, Valentine, my dear dog... Nico isn't going to hurt you, he just needs to release some stress... by snappING YOUR NECK...

What? Oh, I would never do that in my entire life! I really like my dogs! Where did that come from?? No! Video games do not push to violence... No! They... don't... shouldn't... Urge to kill rising... rising... Hm, if my urge to kill really gets out of hand, maybe I could go look for members of the GamerGate movement... No! Humans are off limits! When it comes to killing, EVERYTHING is off-limits, except for things that aren't real, like video game characters! My... logical brain... is clashing with... my morals... it's... Help me...

Tssk, you really believed that? Fiction doesn't make one go insane so easily! ...I hope. No, when faced with something like... this, I actually tend to get prone to depression. I feel extremely saddened that such an awful game exists.

The pain will start in 3... 2... 1... OOOOOWWWWWWWW!
Seriously, this game is the eleventh plague to strike Ancient Egypt. It's that bad. What else is there to mention... Oh, right. The levels. There's ten of those. Or, rather, there's one Tutorial, five normal levels and four piss-poor attempts at mini-game levels. I think I'll start with those. Basically, Anubis has to defeat enemies by having them chase him around a level. He can jump over puddles of lava, which the enemies can't do, so they should fall in the lava and die. Good luck controlling the jackal at a bird's view, though, as that camera is awful. The enemies are very difficult to avoid in that mode, too. Gee, it's like it wasn't programmed correctly! ...Nooooooo, you THINK? The lazy bumholes who made this game probably felt like they needed to fill more space on the disk, because five levels is not enough.

And then there are the six normal levels – oh, I mean, one Tutorial level, and five levels. In the Tutorial level, you learn the controls, and then you see how the levels work: You have to collect a number of items. ...That's it. There's an arrow in the bottom left corner indicating the direction in which you must go to reach the next item. In the Tutorial, it's parchments; in the next levels, it's golden pyramids floating above ground.

Okay, so the other levels come in many variations. Once you beat them the normal way, you unlock the new modes. There's Treasure Grab, Artifact Hunt and Time Attack. I gave myself the pain of completing one level in each of these modes to tell you how they work. No need to thank me, I'll just... stay in my corner... and gently weep...

Treasure Grab mode has Anubis pick up an insane amount
of objects across every level. 398? If you're crazy enough
to try and pick them all up... Go ahead... But get ready to
curse. A LOT.
In normal mode, Anubis has to run through the level and pick up eight golden pyramids. These will activate the portal at the end of the level, which you need to reach. There are save points scattered around as well. These five levels are not the longest I've seen (trust me, the far superior Drawn To Life: The Next Chapter, also for the Wii, had longer levels, most of the time), but they're still of an okay length. There are tons of enemies around, and as I noticed very quickly, Anubis' best weapon is energy balls. You can aim at the enemies from a distance and shoot many of those in rapid succession... In comparison, the scepter is a pile of manure. In Treasure Grab mode, there are lots and lots of smaller items (mostly precious stones, ankhs, and other such objects) around the level, and the goal is to pick as many of those as possible while you run through the level. In Artifact Hunt mode, there are 20 artifacts hidden around each level, and you have to find them all. In Time Attack mode, you have a set amount of time to reach the end of the level; better run through the whole thing!

Also, there are plenty of checkpoints... But what the Hell is
a red floating ball surrounded by a circling arrow doing in a
game that takes place in ANCIENT EGYPT?
Thankfully, there are some things that make the playing experience a little less annoying. Every time you defeat a monster, it releases a heart, which Anubis can pick up. He has a maximum of ten hearts, always starts at five, and he gets a new Life if he collects hearts to go beyond the ten he can have. Also, when he defeats an enemy, a meter on the screen will increase. This indicates the strength of his attacks. Sadly, when Anubis gets hit, this same meter decreases. However, each time it increases, it takes Anubis one less hit to defeat every enemy. As a result, this meter works best with the energy balls, which are and will remain the best weapon in this game.

Fall off that platform. Break your leg. Stay stuck there. Die alone.
That's all you deserve.
You go through this for five entire levels, for a total of, um, maximum 20 levels. Oh, God, this is depressingly bad... As if gaming wasn't already doing so horribly! What with the obvious betas that are released by major companies, many Xbox games released with upgrades you need to pay to get... and then recently we had that fucking GamerGate... And then, there was that Gamer flick... I'm saddened by the state of gaming as it is now. Only Nintendo still has some kind of decency... And even then... Gosh, I hate being a gamer these days... Screw you, Anubis II...

...Or maybe not. It's really silly to get depressed because of a video game, huh? What's next, once I'll have beaten Anubis II I will ascend to the next level of evolution? Satan is going to call me and pretend he was the maker of this game? ...I'm gonna get attacked by a man in a cheap Anubis costume pretending to be the video game character? An alien is going to contact me to stop the review? Mumm'Hotep will hack into my broadcast to threaten me so that I have to give the game a positive review? An alternate version of me from a universe where bad is good and good is bad will appear to give me a beating unless I see this game like he sees it – as a masterpiece?

Gosh, what is it with reviewers and these ideas that bad fiction is dangerous? Always coming up with new ways to have a bad work of fiction come back to bite their asses at some point in the review. …Don't get me wrong, bad fiction is awful. Bad films, bad comics, bad games deserve to be made fun of, and their creators do too. And it's a load of fun to see these sketches, these storylines added to a review. But there is one thing I have learned through these repeated attempts at a cheap storyline for this review of Anubis II: A game like this is simply not worth it. It doesn't deserve a majestic review with special effects and a plot. All it deserves is a good old verbal beating. No parade, no wonderful storyline. Just discussing this game and spewing insults at it is enough. It's not worth the extra effort.

Okay, maybe I DID put more effort in this review. There are
about 4,000 words, a title card, two videos... Does that make
me a hypocrite? Hey, at least I never worked on Anubis II...

Remember when I said I was rooting for the villain? Yeah, it's still the case.
No hero means no game. No game means I never wrote this review.
...Sadly, that would also cause a paradox that would result in me never
writing these lines, and thus you never reading them, so I guess
Anubis defeated Mumm'Hotep after all.  I hate logic...
I'd gladly call this game shit, but I'm afraid shit would sue me for defamation and misrepresentation... Another example of how bad it is: Just take a look at the final boss fight. It takes place after an easy level, in which Anubis pushes three switches, one after the other, to reach a mechanism that lets him gain access to the boss's room. He faces Mumm'Hotep, who protects himself with a screen, so he can't be hit with the scepter or with energy balls. And he tosses three energy ball himself, every few seconds. Anubis has to go on the floating platforms in the room, which have a tendency to disappear every few minutes (I'm guessing the platforms are ashamed that Anubis is stepping on them, so they vanish). Anubis has to pick up bombs on the furthermost platforms, high above Mumm'Hotep, and then come down and throw them at him. The controls to toss these bombs are not given anywhere in the game, and they're not even in the booklet. I personally had to search on Internet to find out. You have to stay at a distance from Mumm'Hotep, then press A and swing like you're tossing something. There are problems: Anubis swings too far (when the bomb should land near Mumm'Hotep so that the explosion can hit him), and thus the best place to throw the bomb is a corner of the boss's room. But it's hard because of the shitty camera, the shitty controls, the shitty view and the fact that Mumm'Hotep shoots energy balls your way every few seconds. Still, after you manage to hit Mumm'Hotep three times, the ground opens under him and he falls to his doom. Anubis goes down that same hole, finds the lifeless body of Mumm'Hotep, reaches the teleportation platform, and disappears, gone with the ending, I guess. You heard right: There is no ending to this game, just Anubis leaving.

I think the cutscene designers jumped out of the building from the third floor once they saw the overall quality of the product. That, or they all left during creation of the Tutorial level, making sure they had slammed the door hard behind them. I like to think that they left while brandishing two magnificent birds to all of their co-workers who were still stuck working on this.

Shovelware are like serial killers. When you're a young
idealist, you manage to convince yourself that this kind of
evil in the world doesn't actually exist. Then reality catches
up to you. You see the true madness. You see how LOW
and desperate some people get. You see the true evil.
You see how far some people are ready to go...
And your idealism is crushed like a fly under a boot.
What happened to you, Data Design Interactive? You were decent in the past! I heard you made some good games in the 90s! Sure, you can't avoid making bad games every once in a while, humans make errors. I can't name a single video game company that has only released good games. But THIS? Anubis II, Ninjabread Man, and the other shovelware you've been releasing between 2005 and 2009 are just painful. Seriously, shame on you, DDI. You are the first, and most likely only, time I break away from my “don't insult the developers” rule. That you were merely adapting this shovelware game for the Wii is not an excuse. FUCK YOU, DDI. I'm glad you went bankrupt and closed down in 2009. I hope it taught you a lesson: You don't make money with bad games. You lose the gamers' trust when you make bad games that are intentionally put on the market long before they're even ready, or when they're of such piss-poor quality. You don't make money when you lose your public: You make money by keeping it, by proving that you can make good games. By making games worth buying, games that no one will toss to the trash or bring back to the closest game store after a single playthrough. Trust will make gamers come back to you and your games, because they know you can release decent games and they'll look forward for your next releases, because they trust your products. Video games are an art form, you should not mess up with games that classify as “quick bucks”. The face of Anubis II would be on a Quick Buck if those were made for real! I think I spent more time playing the game and writing this review than you spent making this piece of crap of a game! Fuck shovelware!

Yes, now crap can sue me for defamation and misrepresentation.

Anubis II is, hands-down, the worst thing I have reviewed for Planned All Along. Not the worst game; the worst thing, period. It's worse than Pop-Up Pursuit; it's worse than Mario Party 2; it's worse than that Gamer movie I keep punching on; it's worse than Bit Boy, ReelFishing: Ocean Challenge, Garfield: The Search For Pooky, Purr Pals, Mario Pinball Land or even Castle of Shikigami III. It is the worst thing I've reviewed for the site, and it will probably remain the worst thing I've ever reviewed, years from now. I bought this game on July this year, along with two more games that were the same price. The other two games were a lot better. Heck, I usually try to review the games I bought recently for later, and first do the ones I've owned for a while, but I wanted to review this one as soon as fucking possible so I could send it back to EBGames and forget about it. I said during my review of the Gamer movie that I had never seen a game that personally insulted me on a moral level. Well... now I have. Thanks, Anubis II.
Oh hey, Anubis II is on that picture! How convenient.

Why is it so damageable? Because its a textbook example of what some companies are ready to do for quick cash. They forget their reputation. They forget the fans' trust in them. All that counts is the money, the bloody money. Screw good games, we can make some in a matter of days and then fill our pockets with the cash and tears of unsuspecting young gamers! I strongly hate the companies who do this kind of thing. They're the spawn of Satan's brother who is watching over mankind's economy with an evil smile. Video game companies who indulge in this practice just to increase their bottom line do not deserve our respect. Shovelwares, obvious betas and other shit like this are a plague that should be stopped, as they are a reason some people still do not see video games as an art form or, I'd dare say, as anything with even a bit of artistic value. Fuck you, Metro 3D. Fuck you, Data Design Interactive. Fuck you, whoever you are, if you've worked on this game, unless you apologize. Fuck you, Anubis, fuck you, Anubis II, and fuck you, whoever thinks that shovelware is a good idea.

Yes, giant mosquito: Suck all of Anubis' blood! KILL HIM.
KILL HIM KILL HIM KILL HIM KILL HIM KILL HIM
Anubis II has it all: Painful controls, horrendous graphics, a story that a first-grader would be unsatisfied with, unimaginative levels and modes, an unresponsive camera, a tiny number of levels (six if you count the Tutorial, and ten if you count the cheap-ass attempt at mini-games)... The creatures are either creepy or just plain boring. The final boss is difficult not because of the strategy you need to use against him, but because of the bad controls and the fact that you never get any indication on what you have to do. Even in its history, Anubis II is plain bad: A cheap copy of another game (Ninjabread Man; NO, I WILL NEVER REVIEW IT), made in a cheap game engine (ironically titled the GODS engine), so bad that I could probably do better alone with a video game design software found at a flea market.


Destination: Trash Land.
What are the positive things I can say about Anubis II? It will attempt to “entertain” you for a few hours, provided that entertainment and frustration/hatred go hand in hand for you. It's in a normal-sized Wii box, so it takes very little place in a garbage bag. You can wave the CD in front of your face to produce air during summer. The booklet makes great slippery litter paper if you want to play a prank on your cat. Said booklet also takes little room in a recycle bin. The CD would make a good paperweight or glass mount, but your gamer friends who know about Anubis II will probably stop being your friends if they see you own it. The CD will burn very well in a bucket in your backyard. It can also easily be broken with just about every tool you can borrow from your friendly neighborhood lumberjack, like a CHAINSAW! Anubis himself is a horrible character, one I wish I could inflict countless tortures on, and see if he likes it now that he's on the receiving end.

This is it: The one game that has struck me on a moral level, so deep that I will never forget how awful it was. The worst thing I've ever reviewed.

Memories of this game will stay in my head as long as I will play video games and enjoy it.


Come back next week for another review. Anything will be better than Anubis II. Anything.

Anything.

November 19, 2014

Vlog 1: The Early Days of Planned All Along


Last weekend, I made a video for my Patreon page. If you have an account there, show your support to Planned All Along! Even if it's only one dollar per month, it's already better than nothing!

I'll try to have one vlog like this up every week for the next few weeks. Regular reviews will still come up every Friday, have no worries. I'm just testing this to see if it works.

November 14, 2014

VGFlicks: Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, Part 2

Missed Part 1? No problem! You can read it here.

Hello, and welcome back to this review! When we left off, Juni Cortez had been sent in a video game where his sister had gone missing, and he encountered lots of dangers on his way. However, he wasn't alone; he was allowed an ally to aid him: His grandpa! He also became friends with three beta testers and a mysterious girl called Demetra. Now they're in Level 3, let's see what happens from there...


You know something's wrong with a game when it treats
a half-life like a life.
Level 3 brings the cast to a land of metallic blocks constantly shaping themselves into a field. They soon reach a new section, where an announcer asks both the best player and the strongest player in the team to step forward on new moving platforms. Juni steps, and so does one of the beta testers, Arnold. Then, the game puts them away from solid ground... and forces them to battle. The loser will suffer a Game Over. Arnold is in there to find the grand prize past Level 5 to save his family from poverty, so he won't give up. The fight starts, and the two are giving their all – no wait, I take that back; Juni is pathetic. He loses all of his lives, barely escaping with .5 of a life left. You read that right, guys: Point five. Miraculously. Half a life.


Ah, shut up.

November 11, 2014

Sometimes...

Sometimes I feel like there are two different Nicolas discussing the same work. The happy Nicolas who tries to see the good in everything, and the grumpy Nicolas who will point out every problem with each aspect of the game, and then the errors in logic in the plot.


Also, hurray for my first attempt at split-screening!

November 7, 2014

VGFlicks: Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, Part 1

Remember when I said, a while ago, that movies about virtualization were mostly good? “Mostly”, as in, they're not all good? Well... Here's a prime example of this. You know, being thrown into a video game (literally) means that the characters will see some outlandish worlds, some odd creatures, and some real threats. How can we have all this make even less sense? I know! Let's insert a world domination plot! That must be foiled in the video game! It will be like James Bond, except... Not! ...Besides, James Bond is too cool to play video games. His life is already that of a video game hero. ...Oh, and let's make it even better: Make it in 3D! As part of a franchise that has proven successful with children thanks to the crazy adventures, witty dialogs, and comedy! And a cartoony feel to it all!

Thus Spy Kids 3D: Game Over was born. It was the lowest-rated Spy Kids movie for a long while... Until the fourth film came out eight years later, in 2011. But I'm not here to talk about a bad, bad, bad movie today; just a bad one.


This movie was MADE for 3D. Heck, the Dimension Films logo explodes in your face in the first few seconds. And then, Troublemaker Studios, also using 3D. And then the credits and the film's title fly in your face- STOP!