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August 31, 2015

Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (Part 2)

There is so much to this story that I don’t believe going back on what was said last time would be of much use. If you must remember the events, head back to Part 1 and give it a good read again. I’ll try to complete Chapters 3, 4 and 5 today, if possible.

Kyle feels hungry, and as a miraculous coincidence, the restaurant opens at 6. It’s currently 6. Gotta love when everything goes right. So Kyle heads back downstairs (He wasn't in his room; did he just teleport there after talking to Louie?), and sees little Melissa being grounded by her father. After the girl leaves, Kyle has his first actual discussion with the father. Name’s Kevin Woodward. Surgeon. Kyle presents himself to Kevin, and the father seems to recognize the name. Well gee, that’s odd. On the other hand, we get to see the restaurant, Moonlight Grill – oh, hey Louie. Sorry if we left in a rush to Room 215 after that big talk we had. We feel compelled to head to my room after every moment of interrogation. For no reason other than funsies. As Kyle chats with him, Louie says that three rooms were broken into six month prior, when the other “Kyle Hyde” stayed, and Dunning still didn’t repair them. Rooms 217, 220 and 218. In fact, Other Kyle stayed in Room 217. We also encounter Iris on the way. Boy, this hallway sure is packed with people. Apparently, she’s the reason Melissa is grounded.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait. Kyle is smiling???
A big honest smile? That's so rare!
Kyle enters, finds a doll Melissa forgot there, gets his meal (I’m hungry. I just ate breakfast, right before posting this part, and I’m hungry. This game made me hungry. Well, that’s just great.), and then gets dessert, but is approached by Martin Summer again. The author wonders if there wasn’t something like a bookmark that stayed in the box that wasn’t ours. After Martin leaves and dessert is eaten, Rosa comes to get the plate, and is reminded that Martin Summer, yes, that guy Kyle makes fun of, is one of her favorite authors. An author she loves stays in Hotel Dust? What are the odds? Summer got famous with his first book, The Secret Word (which was also the name on the notebook we gave back to him).

August 28, 2015

Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (Part 1)


I saw it that day. I don’t remember what day, or what hour. I just know I saw it one day. I felt intrigued by this game’s cover, which showed sketchy characters on a black and white background. An impression of a film noir waiting to happen. A sense of mystery emanating from these characters. I decided to buy it, hoping it would be worth the price.



Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is a type of game called a “Visual novel”. For all intents and purposes, it tells a story, and prioritizes that over gameplay. Said gameplay consists of moving around, speaking to people, getting answers to questions, picking up items for later use, completing puzzles and mini-games once in a while, figuring out what to do next, and solving the overaching mystery of the game. Anyone who has played through an Ace Attorney game knows what it’s like. However, unlike Ace Attorney, Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is grounded into reality, and its characters are anything but flamboyant or cartoonish. Andf these characters interact within a complex story that sucks you in with ease. So complex, in fact, that I might be forced to skip a few details here and there. Also, spoilers; but if you’re a regular around here, you already know I spoil a lot. Follow me on this quest, as my deductive skills are used to solve the grand mystery hidden within Hotel Dusk and its Room 215.

August 26, 2015

Life Just Sucks Today.

Jesus Christ, the world keeps getting worse. Life is awful today. Life sucks.

Don't go believe I suffer from clinincal depression, I don't, and I can't pretend to know what it's like. But with the recent news, I might as well become depressed.

And all this is related to gun control in the United States of America. Look, I'm Canadian. French Canadian. I can't say I know what's the mindset in America. I just know that Americans got to work on their gun policies, because this doesn't make any sense anymore.

It feels like not even a week passes without the news reporting about a massacre, or a trigger happy madman shooting innocents, or planning to shoot innocents.

Now, why do I talk about this today? Well, earlier this week, we had news in which two men had been arrested. They were heading to a Pokémon tournament with firearms and 250 rounds of ammunition. They were quite possibly planning to shoot at children and teenagers. It doesn't matter at all that they say it's a "joke"; if it is, that's the shittiest humor I have ever seen. And the joke argument doesn't work when, clearly, they were equipped to carry through with it. But of course, one can imagine they weren't exactly the brightest bulbs, as they talked about what they were planning to do directly on Facebook. This moment of sheer stupidity is what saved so many lives; the guys were arrested before they could get there.

Again, most people at this Pokémon tournament would have been children, teenagers and adult fans of Pokémon. There is simply noi justification whatsoever as to why this should happen. You wanna know what's worse? Those two guys arrested? They were Master finalists in this competition. They were participating.

So yeah, that's soe news that still enrage me today, but there's another.

See, for years I have desired to become a journalist. Report news, talk to people, write compelling articles. Write about the real life, for everyone to read. Doesn't matter if it's in a journal or on the Internet. Journalism is my dream job. More like, it was; another trigger-happy asshole had to ruin that, too.

This morning, a reporter, her cameraman, and their interviewee were shot by some guy in the middle of a live interview. Their deaths were caught on camera, and the cameraman even managed to get a blurry picture of the shooter.

News reporter Allison Parker was interviewing Vicki Gardner, head of the SML Chamber of Commerce, while Adam Ward was filming. Suddenly, gunshots. We cut back to studio, and a little later we hear that both the reporter and her cameraman were officially pronounced dead. As for their interviewee, she's in a critical state at the hospital.

Fuck that guy. I hope they catch him, and then I hope they throw him in jail for a life sentence.

Just... what the fuck is wrong with America now? I mean, I know what is wrong: Too many massacres. It's come to the point where I'm terrified of going to America, in case some guy shows up and tries to put a bullet in me.

So fucking tired of hearing about all these massacres.

What can be done? What could the American government do? I don't know. This is a political dead end. As long as the second amendment will be there to protect the right to bear firearms, no one will be able to do much. And too many Americans seem to be deathly afraid of the government and will want to keep their guns in case it turns into a tyranny or something. Like I said, I don't have the mindset of an American. I just wonder: How many innocent lives will have to be lost before something is done?

How many? Too many already. Way too many.

It's impossible to prevent every shooting, I get that, but something should have been done as soon as people realized that shit was getting frequent. It's not supposed to be frequent. You're not supposed to go "oh, man, another shooting? We had one just last week!" No. That's not how it's supposed to work. Tragedies are not supposed to be taken as a common occurrence, yet that's exactly what 's happening with these shootings. It's not normal. Something should be done, but a lack of will, or a lack of fucks to give about other people, that's what makes it impossible for America to get out of this vicious cycle of armed murders. And don't pull me the "more people die in terrorist attacks in the Eastern countries" bullshit. Over there, that's still terrorism, that's still innocent lives taken by jackasses who believe they have the right to take lives. It's not any more right there than it is here, on the American continent.

Look, I'm sorry if this feels incomplete, it was written on the spur of the moment. It just... these shootings make me sick. And sad. And scared. And it would be impossible for me to say everything on this issue. It would take me a long time to write something that covers every argument, every reason for this, every possibility. I just can't write something like that, I don't have the American mindset. I just know, from my Canadian point of view, that this should have been stopped earlier, and now it's spiraling out of control.

Fuck the world today. I just want to go away and mope. I can't even play Pokémon to make my day brighter.

A review will be up this Friday, as usual.

August 21, 2015

Fishing Master: World Tour (Part 3)

Missed something? Read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here!

So, we’ve caught plenty of fish, including a lot of weird ones, and we’ve won all of the actual fishing competitions in the game. Now, if we want to be known as the real Fishing Master, we need a Fiendfish. Oh my, this is gonna be difficult. So, now we’re in Oceania to practice a little more, and we start off in Sydney. There are 19 different species of fish here, and only one pink fish… but when you pull it out, it turns out to be an army of small fishies. Allow me to make the obvious joke.


Yeah, I had to do that. Anyway, our trip across Oceania continues in Tasmania and Tahiti, but then we get news that there’s a giant fish roaming the waters around Antarctica. It’s not just any fish; it’s a giant squid, and it’s not any giant squid, it’s the Emperor Squid. It’s so huge it terrifies people. In fact, how can I know, with utmost certainty, that we’re not gonna be fishing out Cthulhu’s head over there? Oh well, we are not given any choice in the matter. The Emperor Squid has very eclectic tastes when it comes to bait; the only thing that interests it is a crown. The sole problem with that is that this thing fights like a demon (what a surprise) and will frequently leave with your bait, because it can easily break your line if not careful. Also, the crown costs 1800 Catch Points, and you might have to shill out the cash for multiple crowns if you want to have a chance. And since the Emperor Squid is a Plot Mission, you HAVE to catch it. Yep, there’s no skipping that one. Fill your wallet, buy loads of crowns, and chase down this Emperor!

This looks like Antactica... it isn't.
Don't you hate misleading pictures?

Wait… Legendary fish, which are extremely hard to catch, with most of them requiring the strongest baits, take a few – or in the worst cases, many – tries before you can finally get them? Are you SURE this wasn’t heavily inspired by Pokémon after all?

It's so big its picture doesn't even fit on the screen.
Anyway, I catch the Emperor Squid, and MY GOD! Over 300 feet long, and it weighs over 100 tons! Holy crap! Anyway, now that it’s caught, that means we can move to the location of the infamous Fiendfish… South America! There are quite a few fishing spots here too; First there are two separate sections of the Amazon River, Lake Baccarac, the Caribbean Sea, and finally Easter Island. As for the special types of fish, the list contains golden dorados, whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, bellicose piranhas, and of course the legendary Fiendfish. In the Caribbean Sea, if you throw your line with a crown on the hook and a pink fish catches it, you’ll need to be careful not to break your line… because you’re gonna pull out a treasure chest! Yep, chests chomp on crowns. We learn something new every day.

Am I the only one creeped out that inanimate objects act like fish?
Now I'm picturing a chest closing its lid to catch the crown...

HERE IT IS. THE FIENDFISH. DOOM IS UPON US.
Finally everyone’s favorite captain finds out the Fiendfish is located near Easter Island. Time to fish it out and get the title of Fighing Master! For this fish, only one type of bait can be used: The Fiend Lure. It costs 2000 Catch Points, so stock up before you head to Easter Island to catch this one! Personally, I had problems with the Emperor Squid, but for some reason (maybe I was lucky), I caught the Fiendfish on my first try. Kinda like when you use a Master Ball to catch the Legendary Pokémon you want. Except instead of a ball, it’s bait. And it was probably of the “Master” type. All things considered, this would make for a snark-worthy name, so maybe we should just keep calling it Fiend Lure. Long story short, I caught the Fiendfish, and that Ryan guy was there to witness it. Oddly enough, he doesn’t comment. The only one who acknowledges your epic victory for now is the ship’s captain, when you tally up your catch. Nicola is now a Fishing Master. Time to celebrate! There’s a party on the boat!

That night, the captain gives the protagonist a marvelous trophy. And on the next day, we get a call from Fishy the eighth dwarf – I mean Gramps. He congratulates the player, and then gives one last surprise: He reveals to the player the location of the Isle of Mystery, a place with only two fishing spots, but those spots contain all sorts of rare fish in all sizes and shapes. It’s the perfect moment to visit this place! Go there and have a blast! Special fish there include megamouth sharks, humphead wrasse, golden toothfish, super sturgeons, giant squids, treasure chests (again?)… and an upgrade to the Fiendfish, the Twisted Fiendfish, which nets even MORE points! That one must be freaking gigantic.

After a while, you’ll get another call from Gramps; he has “magic words” that turn all the blue fish you didn’t catch in any spot yellow, so that you can know exactly what you have and what you don’t. Well, except pink fish; those remain pink, so you can fish out pink fish you already caught. This comes in handy to complete the fish journals, for which you must try to catch every species of fish in every location. THAT’S a tough thing. Just for reference, the whole list of fish that can be caught in every location is more than six pages long. There’s THAT many.

Man, those fish journals sure feel like a Pokédex, don’t they? It just makes me think that a Pokémon fishing minigame would be awesome. Fishing out a Gyarados would simply be epic. In fact, a full-fledged Pokémon fishing minigame where you’d go to the best fishing spots in the entire Pokémon world would be great. Imagine going to Johto and catching the Red Gyarados!

Welcome to... Fish Paradise?
Once Story Mode has been completed, there are no Story Mode missions anymore. However, the Captain of your ship may still have missions for you. And he may have MANY missions. So there’s this to do if you feel like spending more time fishing, maybe doing those would be good. Plus you earn free Catch Points when you complete the captain’s missions, so I guess that’s good. Another thing would be to look for the “Achievements” in this game. Sometimes you’ll earn medals for completing certain tasks. You get one medal (named Title) each time you win a tournament, you get one when you catch the Emperor Squid and another for the Fiendfish. There are only 30 Titles to earn, and at least one third of them will have been found by the time to beat Story Mode. The other titles include quests such as “catching every shark”, there’s another for not breaking your line in a while, another for fishing up lots of trash (and opening a museum to put them all on display – nah, just kidding), but of course most Titles are earned by catching all the species of fish. At the same time, if you really want, you can go buy every rod available in the shop, including the best one… which costs 50,000 Catch Points. That would require catching 17 times the Fiendfish, just imagine that.

So yeah, I think that’s all there really is to say about this game… And to be frank, I have to admit I really, really like it! I think the Wii’s movement detection system allowed for more fishing games than any other console could ever have. The key was to combine these new controls with an interesting concept, in order to create a good game. On this level, Fishing Master: World Tour succeeds where other, more basic fishing games like Reel Fishing: Ocean Challenge failed. In the latter, all you could really do was casting your line, waiting for fish, then reeling in. Sure, you could change your lure if you wanted. However, the game was split into 30 missions (10 if you couldn’t pay the additional 100 points, which is my case), and every mission had very precise requirements… and you couldn’t move forward until the mission had been completed. What’s more, the fishing spots never contained many different types of fish, only the ones required for the missions. There was no story, there was no character, there was only fishing. It was lacking something… pardon the cliché, but one could say Reel Fishing: Ocean Challenge was lacking heart. None of those problems are in Fishing Master: World Tour.

Fishing Master: World Tour is also a sequel to a game
called... Fishing Master. I didn't even know that!
This Wii game added everything that should be in a good fishing game: Being able to buy new rods and all kinds of bait, a better “Escape or Break” system (where not reeling in sufficiently leads to the fish escaping and reeling too much results in the line breaking), the ability to choose between fishing spots from anywhere around the world, and giving freedom of catching almost any fish, at any moment, anywhere, with only the rare plot-relevant missions being of any importance and the captain’s missions being optional. In addition, you get to choose your character’s appearance and that character’s pet; at first this feels unnecessary, but the pet turns out to be a valuable ally who often finds new bait in the ground. Getting bait without having to pay for it? That’s neat! Along with this, we get a supporting cast that comprises the old man who sends you on your quest, a Captain who drives the vehicle to get you there, some competitors, and the people living near the fishing spots you visit. Oh, and the shop guy too, I guess. Anyway, what’s up with this guy? He always looks the same even though all nine shops are spread all across the world… Eh, it’s probably a Nurse Joy or Agent Jenny type of deal.

All the things to take into consideration when playing this fishing game (the location, the bait, the length of the rod, the season, the blue/green/pink/yellow fish) make this game complex, but very enjoyable once you get the hang of it. One could say each season being only three days long is too short to be realistic, but it could be quite the opposite; in some cases, it feels too long. Sometimes you want to catch a type of fish, but it only shows up on certain seasons, so you’re stuck having to wait for that particular season to return. Also, the fact that each new set of bait is unlocked after a tourney or when you reach a new continent. That may be an annoyance, but then again, most baits are unlocked only at the moment where they're needed for certain types of fish in the latest spots.

Now, about the fishing spots themselves: They are simply marvelous. And the music that accompanies the game is a lot of fun. Its in-story use is also pretty great: If you pull a normal-sized fish, the music playing will be enjoyable and fun. If you pull a bigger fish, the music will be tense. And if you pull a giant fish, the music will have a “boss battle” vibe to it. The real fish look pretty great, and the special fish also look great. (Well, except the Humanface ones, and a few others...)

There's also a multiplayer mode, and whle I never got a chance to try it, I know up to four players can cast their line at once, and it's a competition to see who has the best catch.

I do have a few points of criticism, and here they are: The CGI models of characters – other than the player character, his/her pet, or the fish caught – don’t look all that great. The sea captain’s movements are stiff and unnatural, and “Gramps” looks like a garden gnome with a mechanism à la Nutcracker. In that aside from a quick wink, Gramps never moves or even blinks, he just stands there, opening and closing mouth. At least the captain has more movement than that. Sorta. Even the shop guy looks alright, though his movements are kinda wooden too.



When we get to a new fishing spot, we get one e-mail telling us which kinds of fish can be caught there, and we’ll often also get other e-mails from people met during the competition… not all of it is important, you’ll often get e-mails that just make you waste your time. What’s worse, the list of fish in each fishing spot is split in two e-mails! You get the second one after you beat Story Mode! Couldn’t it be just in one e-mail and spare us the trouble? I mean, after a while you get tired of getting e-mails. Besides, all the fish can be caught from the first day you spend in a fishing spot, why splitting the lists in two?

A final thing: The rivals. God damn it, the rivals. Simply put, one of my pet peeves is the annoying rival who brags all the time, claiming his superiority, until you beat him for good… Look, I can understand how cathartic it is to teach a lesson to a person like that… But seriously, we just don’t need to go against jerkass rivals. Pokémon dropped the “Jerkass Rival” thing after its second Generation. J.J. is so full of himself that one can wonder if there’s even enough space for his ego on Planet Earth, and Ryan… well… is barely any better, he’s just more reserved and doesn’t show up until near the end of the game. Also of note, neither congratulates you on beating them, so along with being sore winners, they’re also sore losers. It’s just… The jerkass rival is one of the tropes I hate the most. These two characters are easily the most insufferable, annoying people in this game. And neither of them is called Keith, so that’s even worse.

But outside of those issues? Everything else is pretty damn good. This is the best fishing game I played for the Wii, I’m glad I own it. I still haven’t been able to achieve 100% completion, but someday maybe. Someday.




Come back here next week for another review!

This time, I will be reviewing Hotel Dusk: Room 215. And I will be adopting a "Typewriter" feel.

August 17, 2015

Fishing Master: World Tour (Part 2)

Read Part 1 here!

I spent most of Part 1 explaining all the mechanics in this game, now it’s time to take a closer look at the plot! Not like there’s a big one, anyway… It’s just "go there, catch fishies, move to next spot, catch fishies". I mean, there’s not really a plot outside of this smug rival who suddenly showed up… I never understood why rivals are so often portrayed as smug a-holes who believe themselves better than everyone else. Weren’t they taught politeness by their parents? Do they even know what humility is?

The only place where trolling is acceptable.
In North America, our main character passes by Hawaii, San Francisco, Detroit and Campbell River, all so he can participate to a Tourney in New York. Yeah, there are tournaments in this game. Oh, by the way, it says “North America”, and yet all five fishing spots are in America. I call false advertising on that. What, was “Fleuve Saint-Laurent” too hard to pronounce? Nobody likes Canada, or what? Even Bass Pro Shops’ The Hunt claimed it had hunting grounds all over North America, but there were 9 grounds on the United States and only one in Canada! Is that a strange conspiracy, a plot to have Canada fade into obscurity in the Americans’ minds?

At Campbell River, you stumble upon the rival yet again. This time, he presents himself as J.J.. What’s that for? “Jerkass Joe”? After fishing a bit here, we unlock the tourney in New York.  Oh, by the way, if you hook an ant lion to your line, you may catch in Campbell River a pink Princess Trout. Yes. With tiara and all. Not joking. That fish got a freaking tiara on its head.

August 14, 2015

Fishing Master: World Tour (Part 1)

I said, time and time again, that I actually like sport games. There’s just something I like in being able to practice a sport you might not have the budget or the tools to play in real life. Personally, I enjoy fishing video games. My only complaint is that most of them really want to mimic reality by having realistic techniques, realistic-looking fish… I dunno, I’d love to get a bit of realism out of the way, and turn what would be a boring fishing game into a great experience.

Hello, Fishing Master: World Tour! This little Wii game uses a dose of realism, what with many kinds of bait, many lengths of fishing rods, and dozens upon dozens of real fish to catch. However, it also has some crazy competition taking place all over the world, naggy rivals, legendary fish and creatures that can be caught, special baits to catch those legendary animals, and oh so much more. This game combines unrealism with realism, resulting in a rather fun mix. As an example, you can catch METALLIC FISH! All you need… is a magnet as bait! No, really!

I once caught a fish so big, the photo alone weighed ten pounds.
...Nah, just kidding, it weighed two.

We’re in for a crazy worldwide trip across all the best fishing spots. Jump aboard our boat, we’ll make you see all kinds of weird stuff!



August 10, 2015

Super Paper Mario (Part 8)

Super Paper Mario review
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4
Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8

Something weird happened last Friday… Let’s not talk about it ever again. However, it seems I'm a lot happier than before. I guess I mostly had to get my anger out on something. This doesn't make right every moment of anger I had in the past; but if anything, I hope this means I won't have as many moments of anger in the future.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Just ask Bowser. Every time
he went giant he'd still get his ass kicked.
So, Super Dimentio’s invincibility has been removed. It’s time to defeat evil! Mario, Peach and Bowser use everything they got (their personal abilities and the Pixls), and finally defeat Super Dimentio. I mean, it’s not like he’s all that hard. 200 Hit Points, in an action RPG, it’s really not that much. Sure, Dimentio is powerful, but all things considered he pretty much plays like the second Brobot. Pretty quickly, Dimentio is defeated, and the fusion dissolves back into Luigi and the Chaos Heart.

It seems love isn't two hearts together, it's eight
hearts getting together to stop an evil one from
destroying the Multiverse.
However, Dimentio decides that if he can’t have the Multiverse, he better destroy it! The Chaos Heart is still at work! We need something to stop it! Bleck, having regained some strength, hatches a plan. He teleports the whole group – his ex-enemies and his underlings, minus Dimentio of course – to the altar at the beginning of the game, where he “married” Princess Peach and Bowser! They make a quick ceremony where Bleck – oh, pardon me, Blumiere – finally gets to marry Tippi – oh, I mean Timpani. Silly me, I still have to get used to their actual names… Their love is so pure that it ultimately undoes the Chaos Heart’s power, destroys the Void and restores every world. Now, one week ago, I would have allowed myself to make a joke about this “power of love” thing, but in all honesty, I think I can accept it in the context of this game.

Nastasia... you should smile more often.
You're a cute Pixelly character when you smile.
And I honestly don't mean that as a joke.
As a result, the group is back in Flipside… well, everyone minus Dimentio (obviously), Blumiere and Timpani. Nastasia wakes up, too! And there was much rejoicing from O’Chunks and Mimi. Nastasia confirms that Blumiere and Timpani aren’t dead, either; they are alive, somewhere, finally together. And then Nastasia breaks down crying. Aw, poor her. But in the end, evil was defeated, so Merlon invites everyone over at Saffron’s for a victory banquet. The group leaves… roll credits. After the end credits, we see two silhouettes in the distance… with one of them wearing a top hat.


*sob* I promised to myself that I wouldn’t cry!


So, this is the end of the game. After this point, you can still go back to every level, talk to every character (again, minus Dimentio, Blumiere or Timpani). Officially, the game is over. Boy, I hope the next Paper Mario is as awesome as this one!


SLAP

That was a goof, Miyamoto!

So, if you want to explore everything that is yet to be found in this game, you’ll spend numerous hours completing side-quests and bonus dungeons. Here’s a list.
-With the Sammer’s Kingdom back, you can finally go and try to defeat all 100 Sammer Guys. It’s a tough fight, bring plenty of Ultra Shroom Shakes.
-You can also access both Pits of 100 Trials. In the first one, you encounter almost every regular enemy seen in the game. There’s a resting area every 10th floor so you can maybe buy stuff or go back to Flipside. On Floor 100, you fight a stronger version of Fracktail, the robot dragon at the end of Chapter 1. This one’s named Wracktail and would be more difficult, if Luigi’s super jump didn't make it so easy to punch its lights out. The Flopside Pit is a special case; all the enemies are pitch-black, featureless versions of regular enemies. They are also much stronger, having more HP and higher attack power. Once again, there are 100 floors with a resting area every 10th floor, and trust me you’ll need it. When you get to Floor #100, you are told you must reach the Flopside Pit’s Floor 100 a second time to see the boss. So do that (beat the Flopside Pit in its entirety a second time), and you face Shadoo, a shapeshifter pitch-black creature who goes through shapes of all four heroes, also gaining their abilities. This boss has 400 HP, 100 for each form, and is definitely harder then Super Dimentio. It’s quite an achievement to beat it. Good luck! As a fun fact, if you do go and beat both Pits (including the Flopside Pit twice) before heading off to the final Chapter, you WILL find Bleck and Super Dimentio ridiculously easy, even easier than I felt they were.
Don't try, Shadoo, you're not scaring us.
We've had to deal with much more annoying shapeshifters.
-Some guy in Flopside sells about 20 different maps leading to places in the game. Visit these places, then use Fleep on the region marked with an X to discover brand-new Catch Cards. It’s not the longest side-quest, but it’s necessary to complete the Catch Card collection. It’s also a good reason to revisit the levels in the game, which are more lacking in enemies and content now that the Story Mode is over. Of course, getting all Catch Cards is a challenge all to itself, which forces the player to find every secret passageway in the entire game.
-Getting all of Safron and Dyllis’ recipes. For this, you need money, and you need to revisit every shop in the game. It’s an extremely difficult mission, and you’ll most likely need a guide to get everything. It’s hard as Hell, and there’s a lot of exploration required. A lot of coins, too (THOUSANDS, in fact), so you might have to harvest cash by going in the more enemy-populated levels.
All 13 Pixls. Enjoy!
-Last but not least, getting the remaining Pixls. There’s the one in Chapter 3-1 hiding in the bushes. There’s the musical one that can be unlocked by completing a relatively long chain of small quests that gives you a key to a locked door in Flopside. That Pixl changes the music, but it can also cure status effects. Then there's Dashell, which you unlock by completing the Flipside Pit of 100 Trials. It... allows you to run. That's all. Bummer. Finally, there’s Tiptron, Francis’ robotic version of Tippi (Thank GOD he didn’t call it Francine!). It serves the same purpose as Tippi: Revealing info on characters, objects and enemies. That’s especially useful in the Flopside Pit, where the pitch-black enemies are often unidentifiable. Oh, you need to buy it for 999 coins. The maximum in the game.

If you want, you can also go chat with O’Chunks, Mimi or Nastasia. Not that they’ll talk about much, but it’s still pretty neat. Most NPCs in the game are still where you find them, so have a blast. Hell, for some reason, even Luvbi is alive! Don’t ask. Even the game acknowledges this makes no sense. I still don’t like Luvbi, but hey, everyone deserves a happy ending…

A final thing, the four mini-games available are:
-Forget-Me-Not, a “find the pairs” game with some power-ups to make it easier.
-Mansion Patrol, where you, as Toad, have to shoot plenty of Boos in a haunted mansion. My least favorite mini-game.
-Tilt Island, you tilt the island so that Mario can pick up food and avoid the baddies falling. You get bonuses if you only collected one type of food. There are also power-ups here. It’s my favorite mini-game here.
-Hammer Whacker, where Koopa Strikers are tossing giant shells at Mario and he has to knock them back with a hammer. The closer it is to Mario when he hammers it, the more points you get.
I'll smash it with a HAMMAH!
Those four mini-games are fun, but the fact that you have to pay to play them, and the small selection, makes them really a minor part of the game, one that will probably not be used much. Well, unless you want the InterNed’s prizes.

Alright, I think this covered everything. Final thoughts?

This game is marvelous, beautiful, awesome, amazing, grand and great. Let me throw my dictionary of synonyms aside and continue. Yes, this is a good game, no questions asked. I’ll be the first to acknowledge I’ve been openly negative about it. But it’s a good game. It really is. Going down the list of tropes and clichés that I deeply despise, this game makes me cross more of those than other games do. I chalk it up to the “Chosen One” and “Jesus symbolism” stuff, as those are the main tropes that bring all the others into play. Also, there are numerous moments that also greatly annoy me, such as all the moments where the plot forces the characters to act stupid. I mean, when we know it’s Mimi, we still have to play her little game? Ah, come on. TVTropes has a term for that: Idiot Ball. That’s when characters are written to act stupider for certain plots to be forced upon them, plots that wouldn’t happen if the characters used their brains. Then there are plenty of small details that irk me through the plot. The brothers from Chapter 1-2 come to my mind… Oh, don’t get me wrong, I can accept jokes. I can also choose not to find certain things funny. Same goes for Francis, who I still don’t like all that much, but the post-game scenes kinda try to show him in a slightly better light… Same goes for Luvbi, who seems less annoying after her revival.


I still don’t like much of the story in this game and the slew of Messianic tropes it carries (it's been done so often it's become an annoyance to me), but I must say it brings up a good point about love. After all, many of the villains represent a twisted, impure form of love. There’s Mimi’s vanity, Francis’s treating of women as trophies, King Croacus who got polluted and became narcissistic as a result, and I’m sure the list could get longer. But in the end, not only does friendship and loyalty save the day (by removing the final boss’s invincibility), true love saves the multiverse. Call it sappy if you want. But in a strange way, the whole game had been building up to that conclusion.

This guy should leave his place and look for a lizard girl.

This green rectangle is the screen you'll see the most.
My only other major problem with this game is that you always have to pause. Like, all the time. You have to switch from Mario to Peach to float across a large gap, then back to Mario for a 3D section, then to Bowser to use the fire breath, then switch to Cudge to hammer an enemy that can’t be killed otherwise, then pause to select Carrie to move across a spiked floor… see what I mean? Through Story Mode, especially near the end, you’re always switching between the 4 playable characters, and you’re always switching between the many Pixls who joined your team. Add to this that Mario’s flip to 3D is the most important ability in the game, so much that you can’t spend long without using it, and by extension, without using Mario himself. Which means he still has a greater role than the others.

I do have quite a number of nitpicks as well: You must pay to play the mini-games. The shops are located all over Flipside/Flopside and sometimes in the game’s levels (and you need to remember what each shop sells if you want to complete the cooking side-quest). Said side-quest is, by the way, nearly impossible without a guide. There is too much backtracking in certain levels during Story Mode. The Cursyas are annoying as Hell. The password in Chapter 5-2 is insanely long, you’ll have to have a piece of paper on standby, not a good thing. Traveling around Flipside and Flopside can take some time, even after a special pipe has been installed. Some levels become boring post-Story Mode, as the plot-related events are done and many rooms end up either empty or with a lot less enemies. Chapter 7-3 is way too freaking long, the very definition of a marathon level. It’s difficult to jump on 2D characters while in 3D Mode, the perspective makes it complicated. You can’t fight against any bosses again after they’ve been defeated. And most bosses are a little too easy to defeat... But that’s all minor stuff.

Everything else is great. The gameplay: Awesome. As much as I hate having to switch all the time, Mario and Co. having all these abilities makes them very fun to play. Not to mention that having the right character and Pixl at the same time can lead to game-breaking combos. Bowser is slow? Not on Carrie, he isn’t! And he can breathe fire even in the middle of a jump when he’s standing on that Pixl! Luigi’s super jump becomes a great weapon against flying enemies, including Bleck, or those whose weak points are located higher, like Bonechill. Hell, just having Princess Peach, Bowser AND Luigi as playable characters makes this game better in my opinion. But, more than anything else, the gameplay is FUN. That’s all I ask for, really.

Flamm demands that you complete
his side-quest.
Oh hey, he has a South Park Canadian
face too!

The choice of side-quests is great, playing through all of them will add many hours to your play total. If you’re persistent, you can do everything and find all the recipes, all the catch cards and all the hidden treasure chests. I know I did that the first time I beat that game. The Pits of 100 Trials are great bonus dungeons, and the Sammer Guys Challenge is a fun post-Story Mode fight.

The graphics are beautiful. 2D and 3D don’t fight for power here, they complete each other near-perfectly. And it’s a treat to look at a zone in 2D, then flip and look at it in 3D. Not to mention that’s practically required if you want to find every secret. Now, the puzzles based around flipping could become rather complicated, but it’s otherwise a very neat feature and the level designers used as much of their creativity as possible. They did every possible puzzle one could do with this ability. Same goes for the music; it’s so great you could make playlists out of the best tunes in this game. And then there's all the incredibly creative character designs, the bosses, the creatures who mix 2D and 3D, and the environments... Just so much creativity, that's awesome. The soundtrack in Super Paper Mario is generally regarded as excellent, an opinion I agree with.

The large selection of items, the controls (all with only the Wii remote!), the NPCs (well, most of them; some are better than others. Looking at you, the Bridge Brothers!), the even larger selection of enemies (over a hundred!)… Point to just about any aspect of this game, minus the story, and I’ll tell you it’s good. It’s just a good action RPG. And those who complain because it’s not a straight RPG like the other Paper Mario games, well… seriously, how about you play it before complaining. Look, I’m ready to admit Super Paper Mario is not perfect, but the flaws I see have nothing to do with this being an action RPG. On the contrary, I think it greatly mixes Mario’s platforming roots with the complexity of RPG adventures. And if you don’t want to accept it this way, if you don’t want to give it a chance, then you are a sad, strange little person, and you have my pity.

So, outside of its problematic storytelling, Super Paper Mario has basically everything that makes a great game. I sincerely suggest you play through it someday. You might not like every aspect of it, and that’s perfectly fine. As long as, in the end, blind hatred doesn’t cloud your judgment and you are able to see the good and the bad, and not only one of them. I learned that hating for the sake of hating is pointless. Sure, it’s funny to watch and read, but it’s pointless. And no matter how much bad you see, there will always be the good to balance it. And sometimes, you just have to search for it. But rest assured that for every awful story, there are many great ones. For every piece of crap, there’s an acclaimed masterpiece. For every bad video game film, there’s a handful of good ones waiting to be seen. And for any media out there, especially animated media like films or games, even if a story isn't top-notch doesn't mean everything else in that oeuvre is also terrible; on the contrary, the rest could salvage it. Never fall into negativism as I so often did, and most of all, never forget to smile.


And this closes the second anniversary review for Planned All Along. I hope you enjoyed. We’re gonna start the third year with a game called Fishing Master: World Tour, and then we’ll go into more games and series I still haven’t discussed. This year, I hope to review more visual novel video games, more M-rated games, and possibly one or two Pokémon games.

See you soon!

August 7, 2015

Super Paper Dimentio (Part 7)

There is no Part 7.


There is only the Jester Lord himself, Dimentio. Now, I shall entertain you like a monkey dancing on a street paved with gold!

Do your eyes hurt? I do not care.
Your eyes simply cannot stand the radiance of my powerful self...
Of my powerful message!

Why are you commenting? Why are you “liking” this website? It’s idiotic. You are an idiot. I can provide far better comedy.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
He wanted to flirt with the chicks on the other side.

Yes, as you can see, prolonged exposition to the Internet has transformed me, the Grand Jester Lord Dimentio himself, into a perfect product of pop culture. See me reference works of fiction you have heard of. Ah ha ha ha. This will not be much of a change from what’s usually on this site; Nicolas aligns references like a distracted referee aligns mistakes during a heated soccer match in November!
That’s all he does: References.
The lowest form of humor, if there ever was a classification.
It’s there, right next to scatological comedy.

Yes, I know about this.

You humans from Universe-1 disgust me.

Then again, I suppose it explains the red-clad hero of prophecy being identified as a plumber. If you are forced by nature to expulse certain matters, no wonder you need the appropriate tools and profession to go with it.

Praise me, for I am more than a hacker.
I am the true Dimentio.
Not merely Nicolas pretending.

Besides, why would he be so stupid as to pretend to be me? Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha. You are probably wondering, asking questions like a journalist to a helpless English politician caught in a fraud scandal in the middle of the afternoon, during tea break. Allow me time to respond.

I have always had a talent with dimensions.

To the point where I could even create my own.
Which I would then use to fight the Fab Four…
…The heroes foretold in the Light Prognosticus.
I can travel at will…
Disappear here
Appear there…
Disappear there
Appear here…

I believed I was limitless.
I
was
not.

There was a little, untouchable world.

I
couldn’t
even
get
to
it.

It never even knew the Void was coming for it.
Because, to you, the Void was merely fiction.
Our fiction, my world, this story which you unceremoniously called
Super
Paper
Mario.

Not even Dimentio The Great And Powerful.
You had to give that honor to an Oz.
He is not even worth an ounce of me.

To my shock,
            Universe-1 was
                        Protected by something.
                                   Perhaps because it’s known
                                               As Reality, the source of all
                                                           Fiction. And, therefore, the
                                                                       Source of my creation. Which
                                                                                  Explains why I couldn’t harm it,
                                                                                              No matter how much I tried.
I couldn’t even transport myself to it.
                        Teleport, appear in Universe-1.
                                               It was impossible, but I found a way.

I do have to thank Digibutter.net for this.
They were like a portal, so I used Francis’s computer.
I acted as soon as I learned that Universe-1 had created its own Digibutter.net.
Do not try to understand.
My ways would not make sense to the people of a magic-less universe.
Even if you apply your little Harry Potter bullshit theories.

There is only one problem now;
            I am stuck as a virtual ghost, roaming Universe-1’s Internet
                        Until I find a way out, materializing myself into what you call REALITY.

I am stuck, like two idiots toying with a Japanese finger trap at the Starbit Festival.

But as soon as I get out

I will proceed with my plan.

First, I will –
                        Oh, you think I will reveal it?
                                                                                  Do you think I am stupid?
                                                                                                                                 An idiot?

Dream on!


But then, you might ask,
Why take over a little Internet reviewer’s website?
Simple: I do not tolerate insults.
Insults towards me, of course.
And this powerless loser wouldn’t be able to do anything.
Like a chicken strapped to a chair and forced to watch garbage for years.

Thankfully, my goal remains the same: Destroy the multiverse.
But that, you might have probably guessed.
In fact, I am the one who has been surprised by Universe-1.
It’s not what I was expecting.
Maybe the Internet is lying to me about this…
…But your fixation on love… and especially on sex… is strange.
Like a policeman chasing an ex-prisoner into the sewers, I felt disgusted.
Pairing
-          Oh, Pardon me –
Shipping me with Mr. L?
What is wrong with you people?
I am not attracted to men.
Nor am I attracted to women.
I am asexual, in case my appearance did not hint towards it.
Aromantic, too.
I have no interest in love whatsoever. Nor in sex.

Yeah, well, maybe if you got laid you’d think again about destroying the multiverse…

Who said that? Nicolas? Is that you?
I believed I had protected my tracks.

Once again, your “masterfully-crafted” plan falls flat due to a single detail you overlooked. My site, my rules. As long as I have this account, I can write my thoughts and respond to whoever speaks to me. And you cannot claim ownership of my site just because you’re in it!

Just so you know, I saw that last post you wrote. I worked all night to find a way through your control of this site, and now I have it. I'm not letting you get away with this!

I am not very happy.

That I could have told ya. A misanthropic omnicidal murderer attempting to erase all that is, was and will be doesn’t make you a very funny jester.

What about the Joker?

He’d rather stay in Gotham and make trouble there than go and destroy all of existence. Even he would say you’re going too far… Hey, can you stop teleporting left and right? It’s really difficult to follow.

You cannot catch me this way!
Besides, if you had this power
you’d do it too.

I’d have the class to avoid doing that sort of thing. Seriously, do you have ADHD?

Who knows?

Any inner turbulence? Bipolarity, PTSD, schizophrenia, post-partum depression, autism, multiple personality disorder? Any of that?

You can’t psychoanalyze me! There was that one time, long ago, when-
                        How dare you!!!
                                                                       You almost got me at this one.
I’d say it’s impressive…
But it’s not.

So, you picked my site because I was badmouthing you, right? How vain must you be for that.

I take offense to you critiquing my abilities,
My personality,
My role in the game,
And my super form.

Yeah, that super form is awful. Instead of looking like an octopus with a Luigi head, could you at least have chosen a humanoid form?

I did not decide what this fusion would look like.
What, you think I had a choice in the matter?
You’re even dumber than I thought!

Well, you still chose to merge with it even after you saw how ridiculous it looked.

I worked with what I got. You should know that, you’re only critiquing games you own.

Fine, then. Let’s look at your role in the game: You lead the heroes into getting all the way to the end, then you use the Chaos Heart to possibly destroy the Multiverse, and YOU FAIL because you overlooked a detail that may have seemed tiny to you, but was major.

Now, your personality: What is it? Your background: What’s known of it? As far as I know, you might have written the Dark Prognosticus, and you might also be the new form of one of Flipside’s Elders. Or something. What does this say about your personality? Nothing! Almost everything about you can be summed up as, “he’s insane”. Similes for no reason, dancing text? Smart and manipulative, perhaps? You know those last two are on just about every good villain out there? Also, your motivation: What is it? I hate the idea of “evil for evil’s sake”. I saw Inside Out recently; one of the beliefs at Pixar Studios is that nobody does evil willingly; they do it because they think it’s the best course of action, or they are unaware that they’re doing evil. Do you have a motivation? Rebuild the world in your image? Why. Why would you do that.

To make the world better.

FOR YOU! To make the world better for you!

That’s what heroes do.

You’re the fucking bad guy! Am I gonna have to nickname you Cartman Number 2?

Please watch your language.

Okay, fine. Your abilities now. Teleportation, summoning clones of yourself, throwing magic spells left and right, having your own Dimension D, encasing 2D people in rectangles and then blowing them up inside them… Now that I think of it, didn’t your fusion with the Chaos Heart make you WEAKER?

I do not want to talk about this.

You’re insane!

I prefer the term…
…Eccentric.

Oh, it doesn’t stop there. Let’s suppose, for a moment, that you had actually won. The Mario Brothers? Beaten. Everyone else who stood up in your way in the Super Mario universes? Beaten. You get into the Multiverse with the Void. What you don’t know is that the Multiverse is home to a LOT of characters who are much, much stronger than you. Chances are, by the time you leave Bleck’s Castle in your Super Dimentio form, there’s someone out there who sees the Void coming and is alerting all the heroes they know to make sure to stomp on the guy who controls that reality-destroying paradox. Like, say, in the Marvel universe, Doctor Strange sees it coming multiple dimensions ahead of time, alerts the entirety of the Marvel universe AND a big part of the DC universe and they assemble a neat little welcoming committee to beat you to a pulp! Hell, they could just ask the tiny favor for someone to use the Gem of Reality and warp you and the Void out of existence!

What am I gonna have to do to kick you out????

You are stuck with me.
                                   So unless you try a new “Dimentio and Me” formula,
                                                                                                                                 We aren’t going anywhere.

The last thing I needed on my site was a jester who thought he was more important than the rest of the multiverse. Have you seen what I did to Anubis II?

You sent it back to the store.

…In my review.

I don’t care! Why should I care?

You’re… not very logical, are you? How about we settle this out? You beat me at something, you can stay. I’ll start my blog over, from scratch, or even better, I’ll make the switch to video and turn it into a web series. AWAY FROM YOU. But if I win, you leave this website, you find your way back to your home dimension, and you never, ever, ever try to cross over to Universe-1 again. Deal?

Foolish Nicolas, I don’t do deals.

DIMENTIO!

Ack! Fine, fine, deal. Don’t you ever again dare say I never compromise.

So, what do we do?


A dancing contest on Just Dance, perhaps?

I have no physical form at the moment, genius.

A singing contest?

I heard you squealing Dream Theater songs like a pig getting its entrails ripped apart at the slaughterhouse. You sing one line, I win by default.

You don’t even have a mouth right now.

I know. Despite that disability, I would still win by default.

You tunk.

Now you’re just making up words.

How about a rap battle?

You’re not serious… You really are an idiot, aren’t you?

Not a sung one. You start off with a few lines, I do mine, then you reply and I reply to your reply.

Oh, yes! Like those hilarious videos I saw.
This will be most… enjoyable. Be ready to lose…

Wait. What’s that? Is this Dimension D? What the…????

I’m Dimentio, the Joker of the Mario series
Challenge me to a rap battle? You’ll be sorry
I’ll blow your mind with my tricks, little gnome
It’s the only part of you that will ever get blown!
Heroes of prophecy? Keep ‘em comin’, I’m chillin’
‘Cause I’m in the mood for some serious Hero Killin’!
It doesn’t matter what you say, you’re all bark and no bite
And I can do things that will turn you WHITE!
Of course I’m gonna win against a weakly reviewer
I’ll burn your whole body, fling you into the sewer!
I’m gonna blow you up with extreme prejudice
I swear you’re never gonna recover from this!

Think you’re the Joker? Merely a Harlequin
A circus freak, Starscream, your plan is running thin
You’re a final boss so weak, it’s actually painful
You’re a wannabe Kefka; your metamorphosis is awful!
In your brain, you’ve got some messed-up wires
How old are you, anyway? Time to retire!
You think you could do anything in our Reality?
Here, you’re a character, fictional, imaginary!
You’re a thought, a figment, a piece of a tale
You don’t exist, you are not, that’s why you’ll fail!
You’re a villain so bland it’s almost a treason, just leave
And don’t come back till you have a reason, a motive!

Think you can face these rhymes? You can’t beat these!
The best job you ever had was cashier at Mickey D’s!
You’re a jobless, joyless, loveless individual
And I’m gonna shut you up once and for all!
Even if you kill me, it won’t go so well
I’m so great, I can find my way out of Hell
You’re a Level 1 critic, Level Minus 1 in comedy
Even humor school wouldn’t help you be funny!

You need to know, insanity a character does not make
You’re so one-note, even to stoners you’re half-baked
And we know 'bout your chronic backstabbing disorder
No one will ever trust you again; why would you try harder?
I’ve got the plot continuum right here, on my side
Two millennia of stories from here, and far and wide
The heroes of the other universes will never let you pass;
I got Squirrel Girl on speed dial, she’s coming to kick your ass!
Batman, Goku, Roland Deschain,
Anthony Fremont, Dr. Strange,
Prismo, Naruto, Linkara,
Twilight Sparkle or She-Ra
Dozens of heroes can stop you
And not just heroes; villains too
Why did you switch to regular song?
You are nothing, little jester
But a weak moment of terror
Just a bad dream in a kids’ game
A generic villain with fame
So go away, little nightmare
Where you can still create a scare
You'll leave this universe, alright?
And get the fuck out of my site!

Tssk. Alright, you won.
But this was so lame.
I don’t consider myself defeated.

We had a pact.

I’ve never been good at keeping my promise.

GET OUT!

Try again, you don’t scare me.

GET OUT!

Keep it up, you might someday
get threatening enough
to get me to leave.

I said: GET. THE. FUCK.
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!
What the Hell
is wrong with you?
Fine, I’m leaving.
And don’t expect me to come back.
...I'll probably find another way... someday... if I search long enough...

OUT!

Alright, alright… Sheesh…

Is he gone?
…Yes, he’s finally gone! I can write the last part of my review!


Next Monday, everyone.