I just beat __

Rinka Hayami

Koops, King of cowards.
So hey, remember when I did a big-ass post where I talked about all characters I used in Blazing Sword alongside a short review of it?

Well... I was seriously doubting that this game game would really surpass Blazing Sword. And honestly... it did. The game is shorter in story material, but... I still love it so much. And there's much more to do, actually!

First, our heroes! I had a quite interesting team this time around. Here's everyone I used consistently.

Oh... Ephraim. What a badass lord he is. We had Eliwood, Hector, Lyn in the previous game... well... Ephraim really bests them all, easily my favorite FE lord now. For starters, he uses lances, probably maybe the best weapon type, and his starting weapon... Reginleif... I shed a tear or two when it broke... during chapter 19. It was there through the journey entirely, but its time had to come. Well, ... carry me, Siegmund. Ephraim is also just a badass character himself. Never picks fights he can't win, he has the charm of a prince but deep down he also just considers himself a normal person. Self-confident in his skill and knows what to get involved in, and how. Pretty smart, that boy. A very, very caring friend as well, and one who takes his promises seriously.

... And then there's his twin sister, Eirika. She doesn't stand out as much as her awesome brother, but she's a nice girl, and I can appreciate that on its own. As a unit, she has her uses. She ain't perfect at all, but she can do some decent work enough, and the enemies in this game are not very strong anyway. Also I supported her with Seth because I was like... ok. But next time I play this game I will ship her with someone else, who I think deserves her more.

Oh yeah. I didn't use Seth.

Ah, Forde. This guy, man. I just love this guy. Not too special of a unit, he's your typical cavalier. Made him a Paladin, and he kicked revenant ass. Starts off with some nice looking stats, which can grow into amazing, and he's got some decent speed on himself. But although he was very fun to use ingame, the one true reason I love him so much... well... let's say you took me... and decided to throw me into the Fire Emblem universe... you get Forde. Forde is just... me, translated into FE. Everything besides backstory and looks is like me. He talks like me, thinks like me, is perceptive of others' emotions like me, and he loves drawing. Like me. Forde IS me! In the entire universe of video games I have never seen anyone I can relate to this much. Saying I love Forde just means I love myself.

Ross was so goddamn useless in the beginning. Was too fragile to attack up close, and... never wanted to gain speed. Through the entire game he only ended up gaining 9 speed points... in a total of about 40 level ups. Thankfully... he mad eup for it with monstruous damage output. This guy could pretty much one shot almost anything that got in his way. Ross is a kid from some village that got destroyed by bandits. With nowhere to go, him and his dad join your little group. Him being a trainee, he takes time to get ok, but when he does, he's an absolute killing machine. He loves his daddy, and the way he asserts dominance over him sometimes is pretty precious. Oh yeah, this guy got ripped, I made him a Berserker.

Now here's a cute little cinnamon roll who's called Neimi. She's a very sensitive girl. She cries a lot. And she just lost a lot. In a harsh world where war is waging on the land, commoners are left unprotected, and bandits run wild. She still has someone to confide in however. Idk, the way she talks is also adorable. And. She's an archer. One of my favorite classes, wouldn't you know it. I promoted her to Ranger since it gave her horse and access to horses. And DAMN she was amazing. She has terrible HP, but she became so evasive it didn't matter anymore, and that movement + bows makes you reaches faraway enemies. I already loved Neimi as a character, but she was also a hell of a fun unit to use. I definitely had to bring her to endgame.

Colm is Neimi's boy. He's childhood friends with her, and although he is somewhat harsh on her, he means well, and if he gets to know you, you'll find that he's a chill dude. Him and Neimi are such a cute OTP. In fact, it's actually very beneficial in gameplay. Once A support is reached between these two, always be sure to keep them close to each other because together they destroy. Colm being a thief also makes him good for doors and chests, and he's also probably the best thief I took control of combat-wise. I made him an assassin, and oh boy is Lethality a very fun and satisfying skill to pull off. Especially when you wouldm't kill the enemy without a normal crit anyway.

I like that Moulder. That is a nice Moulder.

Moulder the Boulder is an interesting priest. He has abnormally high constitution and actually some pretty nice speed. And better magic than *cough* Serra *cough*
Jokes aside Moulder is a wholesome character, taking the time to listen to others' problems and providing them with wise advice. And as a unit... well... he starts off as any healer would. Poor defense an d frailty. But. Moulder can promote into a Bishop. And Bishops in this game can deal three times their normal damage output against monsters, which you fight a lot of. Moulder could solo entire Monster maps. But to be fair those monsters are pathetic, but still, for someone who used to be a simple healer.

People say Tana is superior, people say that she needs to promote to Wyvern Knight. Well I used Vanessa, made her a Falcoknight and regretted nothing. Although not on the same level as Florina, Vamessa was still a really good unit to have on the battlefield and although her personality is kinda bland... I guess that's actually a key thing about her. It's a bit of a problem she has, she doesn't know how to show her true self around others. Save for a few exceptions. And she's a Pegasus Knight, a flying class, which is nice.

Joshua... is NOT my favorite myrmidon from this game. Still pretty damn good though. Also he choose what to fight for based on coin tosses, the mad lad.

Lute. The mage. Mages are a great class, and the first mage you get in a FE game is always a great unit. Lute destroys Knights, and many things she can double. Made her a sage. She is also pretty arrogant and believes she is quite simply the best. While that is hilarious at times and kinda true as far as magic users in this game go, I still found her personality a bit annoying at times, but she has some sweet moments. Also yes. Watching simple Fire tomes wreaking tragedy upon the enemies never gets old.

Amelia is not super good as a unit, but she tries her best. She's another trainee like Ross. A made her a General. She was good at it, monus the defense part. But anyway, she's... ok. Not the best by far, but she's usable. Also pretty awfully cheery for someone who just joined an army and has first-hand experience with harsh treatment from her superiors.

Gerik... such a nice guy, man. What a bro. He's gone through shit, he got beaten up by some guy when he thought he was the strongest, the world opened his eyes. Gerik is a very kind leader for a company of mercenaries, which is odd for the members of that company. Gerik makes sure to check on everyone and know if they're alright or need any help, and that's the kinda guy I'd like to have as a friend. As a unit, he's the only mercenary in the game so chances are you're gonna use him, and he has nice stats all-around. Doubles many things and does lotsa damage. I made him a Hero, one of my favorite classes. He's pretty ripped, gotta say. Brought him to endgame.

Ok, shit got real, here we go. I said Joshua wasn't my favorite Myrmidon in this game. And that is because Marisa exists. At base, Marisa has stats that COMPARED to my level 17 Joshua. Yes. I knew from that moment I was definitely training her up, and she did not disappoint. Give her a killing edge or two and she's pretty much a crit machine. I made her a Swordmaster. Marisa is pretty nice-looking, a beautiful woman. However she ain't very sociable and as such has problems dealing with people. She legit promises Gerik in a support conversation that she's "practicing being sociable". She's that kind of character who's unintentionally funny when soeaking, and honestly her way of talking is also kinda cute. I love Marisa. Definitely best girl in FE. Yes. I said that. Brought her to endgame and she crit everything that dared try to touch her.

Ewan is the last trainee you get, and he uses magic. I made him a Druid. Kinda didn't have the patience to train Knoll so here. He's a bright guy with many ideas he wants to put to fruition. Cares about his family and wants to protect them, as weak as he might start. Brought him to endgame because someone had to wield the S rank Dark magic tome.

Here's our Wyvern Rider. Cormag was a nice unit and character, but although he's the same class as Heath, he wasn't as fun to train. Still. Made him a Wyvern Knight, and like everyone else, became strong by the end. He's a traitor to his country of Grado who decided he'd follow his heart and fight for what's right. Not much else to say about him, that's pretty much all you need to know about Cormag. Pretty cool backstory he has though.

I actually ended up using Rennac, who would've thought. Rennac is that guy who is not very excited about the adventures he is dragged into, but he's not one to really try to get out of them. Huh. You know, that's a thing we have in common I guess. Anyway, since I made Colm an assassin, Rennac was going to be my new thief. He's a prepromoted Rogue. Not a super good unit for fighting but he gets his own job done pretty well. He's the son of a rich merchant, and he sometimes happens to regret the situation he got himself into so much that he starts pondering about why people live. He just accepted a contract about escorting a princess to her homeland and now he's stuck with her forever. Poor guy. He's pretty fun to voice though.

Duessel is another one of those prepromotes I really like. Duessel is originally one of the imperial generals of Grado, and the highest ranking man in the whole army. Because of that, it just feels so good to have a man like him on your side. He is branded a traitor like Cormag and now faces execution threats. Ironically you end up saving his life, and apparently he is Ephraim's teacher with the lance. Not only this, but he is a very experienced man and has some deep and profound kindness, and understands that everyone in the army has ideals that they fight for. He's a Great Knight, which means he's basically a general on a horse, with well-rounded stats but a bit of a higher focus on strength and defense. A very solid prepromote. Brought him to endgame due to there being an extra slot.

And Finally here's good dragon daughter, Myrrh. You know the archetype, looks very young but is a dragon so like 1000 years, and so on and so forth. Myrrh is so adorable when she blames herself for whatever happens. And her friendship with Ephraim is so cute I actually made her his support partner. And as a unit she's pretty overpowered, but break her dragonstone and she's helpless. She... actually killed Lyon in my run.

With all my team out of the way, special thanks for Franz for filling in for the earlygame cavalier when Forde wasn't around, Tethys for, well, dancing utility, Dozla for being just about an awesome character, Innes and Saleh for keeping Eirika alive in Chapter 15, and Artur for being a decent light magic user before falling behind at some point.

Here are the pairings I did, including the non-romantic ones.

Eirkia X Seth
Ephraim X Myrrh
Forde X Vanessa
Marisa X Joshua
Duessel X Amelia
Gerik X Tethys
Lute X Artur
Colm X Neimi

This game... it blew me away. Skirmishes are so fun to grind units in or just tear through with your strongest units. It was a nice distraction from the main story, which by the way got really dark at some point. The gameplay here feels so much like Blazing Sword, but the small changes made like the new classes, possibility to choose two classes to promote into, and such really made the game stand out. It had an amazing soundtrack, and although Reminiscence is still one of my favorite songs in Fire Emblem, many of the themes here felt so great to listen to.

The cast of characters, while smaller than this of most FE games, is the most endearing I have seen so far, and a lot of these characters seem very well-written, like Gerik who isn't like a normal mercenary and was taught life lessons by near death experiences, Ephraim who realizes his attempts at getting glory cost him his country and his father, and now he is determined to fight to save whatever he has left, and Forde... who is me.

Until I play another Fire Emblem game that leaves a stronger impression on me, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is my favorite Fire Emblem game now and probably one of my favorite games ever. Oh well... Three Houses is just around the corner. Let's see what it offers. Sure will be a new experience, since the series has changed a lot since GBA.

I wish I could've saved you, Lyon. That post-credit scene made me cry in the inside.


Fairy of Ripple Star
Poll Committee
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

I'd been stuck on that dang final boss for a whole two weeks, whether it be because of vacation trips, wanting to play other games more, or just sheer frustration. But now that he's done with, I can finally give my opinions on this game...and celebrate because Smithy's no longer sitting on my plate.

This game was probably fantastic back in 1996, being the first of its kind and all. But today? Still good, but it's aged. It's the truest to RPG form that Mario games have ever been, and perhaps that's what put me off.

The good parts? Well, the story was great. Its characters were great as well, which is especially the case with Mallow and Geno. There's also a lot of exploration in the game, too, although it's not forced on you. They had the humor down all the way back in 1996, too, and I daresay that watching Mario tell stories in this game by transforming into other characters is one of the most entertaining things I've seen in a game to this day. Some areas, especially Bowser's Keep, were genuinely fun to play through as well.

Now for my gripes with this game. First of all, the camera has a diagonal, sort of isometric view, unlike the head-on view of the Paper Mario games or the 45-degree top-down view of the M&L games. This is okay on its own, but then it also has directly vertical or horizontal platforming sections, turned diagonal by the camera, and controlling these with a D-Pad and without invisible walls is a total pain. Also, while there were some entertaining areas, the stinkers were far more numerous. The aforementioned platforming areas (Pipe Vault, Barrel Volcano) and the long and tedious labyrinth dungeons (Forest Maze, Belome Temple, Pirate Ship, Factory) were probably the larger half of the game. The most fun I had with this game was Bowser's Keep, which comes near the end of the game; it's one of the only dungeons that's actually well-designed, and I only wish it served as the final one instead of the Factory.

And I haven't even touched on the true evil of this game: the battle system. Like I said, it's truer to RPG form than any other Mario game, and that may be why I dislike the battle system so much. See, timed hits are still a thing, and that's great! But they're implemented so poorly that I almost wonder why they even bothered. With standard attacks, you have to time it just right; just a bit off and you'll be doing 40 damage instead of 130. It's just messed up. Blocking's even worse; about three quarters of the attacks can't be blocked at all, and that includes the ones that transform you into mushrooms or nearly instakill you. The other attacks have two layers of blocking; an imperfect timed hit reduces the damage taken by half, and a perfect block negates it and you take no damage. But it's a lot harder than it should be to sink a perfect block, and with the vast majority of attacks being unblockable, sometimes I find myself just not bothering.

So overall, I'd recommend the game to see how the Mario RPG series started. There's some genuine fun here as well, but half the time that fun is clouded by annoying platforming or labyrinth dungeons and the incredibly flawed battle system. Still good, but far from the masterpiece many make it out to be.


Justice is not limited, it is a universal quality
Revenant Archagent said:
That looks incredible! Where can I pick it up?
If you're referring to Wuppo, it's on Steam, PS4 and XBO. I felt like a Switch release is a possibility given how this game is made with GameMaker, which is supported on Switch (Undertale is also made using GameMaker).

Thank you for reading.
The Great Ace Attorney

I really enjoyed this one however it probably would have been better to wait for a translation of the sequel, it doesn't tie up enough of its loose ends; especially ones that are present from as early as the first episode. Still, the trials were fun, the juror thing was cool and deduction & review is easily my favourite investigation 'mini-game' of sorts. AA games tend to have really long final episodes and this wasn't any different, where it just sort of drones on longer than it has any right to. Especially frustrating when you have pages and pages of evidence to deal with too. Music was great, I actually like the use of 3d models for this one but I liked them in Spirit of Justice too. It was only Dual Destinies that sucked really.

I remember thinking I must be at the final moment 2 hours ago but they seriously dragged it out on me. Time to avoid spoilers for five years.


Fiery bird with great firepower
Woodsea Labyrinth in Ever Oasis, finally managing to collect all rare material pieces there. Canyon Labyrinth is up next, and it's the last of the labyrinths. Rare items needed from there:

7 Starstones from a Paragonyx
12 Red Ribbons from an Andrealphus
1 Starry Teardrop from a Decarabia
4 pieces of Demon-Tree Bark from a Holodrake


Justice is not limited, it is a universal quality

Gunman Clive HD Collection (Switch)

Also available on: Wii U
Games individually available on: 3DS, PC
First game available on: Mobile

The HD Collection is a collection of both the first Gunman Clive and the second game Gunman Clive 2, both of which are available separately on certain platforms. The game is apparently set in 18XX, which is pretty much a parody of Mega Man's time setting due to the latter being set at a similarly vague year beyond the century. True to this, the titular Clive has a gun that can be used to shoot foes with, while being a platformer all the same. The main gist of the plot is that the damsel-in-distress, Ms. Johnson, is kidnapped and it's up to Clive to pursue her from the clutches of the kidnappers.

Every level is on the short side, where it's over in a matter of minutes if the player can traverse them all while still being healthy. You see, death means that the player has to start the level all over again, so every obstacle could pose danger. On the normal setting, the character can only take 4 hits, but the hard setting reduces that to a less unforgiving two hits. Easy setting is far more forgiving, for 8 hits is the most the character takes, plus pits are not a total life lost since the character respawns with HP lost in the process.

The Western setting is rather deceptive because it's not merely a Wild Western Mega Man clone. In fact, it devolves into some nonsensical parody territory that is anachronistic. This will not take long to be seen, as the second boss in the first game will show. To wit, the boss will look like an unassuming train pilot, which quickly transform into a robot, kind of like transformers. From there the game slowly made it clear that the adversaries are not one of traditional Wild West fare, as the journey will continue to the moon. The second game returns the character to the same Wild West setting, but the trip will instead take the player around the world, even equipped with auto-running sections that act as breathers between the boss and the traditional level. Bosses are also generally tougher as they tend to have two phases, so learning their pattern and acting accordingly is strongly advised.

Something I have yet to mention is that you can choose a playable character when you pick a file. Gunman Clive is the default character, but one could choose Ms. Johnson instead, who will in this case be the one rescuing Gunman Clive instead. There is another character called Chieftain Bob, a Native American, who will also need to rescue Gunman Clive. Each character has their unique attributes that offer advantages over the titular Clive. Ms. Johnson can float slowly downwards similar to Peach, but she is also slower. Chieftain Bob's spear is powerful, but it's also short-ranged so he cannot approach foes the other two characters could. Finally, there is an unlockable character that is unlocked after completing a playthrough, which is an unassuming duck. The duck has no means of offense, but instead it can fly for a limited time. Because it cannot attack, it is powerless against most foes but on the other hand, no boss levels will appear in the duck's run.

The games are sort of short and simple, so it's pretty much over in a few hours. It's also pretty cheap so it's worth getting if you are into some cheap thrills.

Thank you for reading.


Fairy of Ripple Star
Poll Committee

Kirby & The Amazing Mirror

Only play this game on a GBA. Seriously. Don't play it on a DS, don't play it on 3DS VC if you're an ambassador, and don't play it on Wii U VC like I did. Only play it on a GBA. Why? Because that is unfortunately the only way you can play multiplayer, and it couldn't be more obvious that the game was thoroughly designed for multiplayer. Single player is often tedious and downright frustrating, and because of that I don't feel I enjoyed this game as much as I should have.

The story goes like this: The mirror world is in trouble, so Meta Knight sets off to save the day. Shortly after, he returns with a darker hue and splits Kirby into four differently-colored copies of himself. Before long, the Kirbys reach the Central Circle and watch as Meta Knight (normal hue) loses a duel to the darker Meta Knight that split them earlier, after which the darker Meta Knight seals the other Meta Knight into the Dimension Mirror and shatters it into eight pieces. The Kirbys waste no time in traversing the Mirror World and recovering the eight shards to reassemble the Dimension Mirror. On the way, they meet a fifth, darker Kirby (known as Shadow Kirby), whom they originally believe to be a foe, and they also encounter Meta Knight once again, who challenges them to a duel. When the Dimension Mirror is reassembled, the Kirbys enter it and encounter Meta Knight once again, who challenges them to a duel once again. However, before the fight can begin, another identically-colored Meta Knight shows up and reveals the other to be a fake. Now exposed, the evil Meta Knight reveals his darker hue and challenges the Kirbys. When defeated, the Kirbys are suddenly sucked into a void, followed by Meta Knight's sword and then Shadow Kirby, and together they face their true foe: Dark Mind. After a long and hard battle, the four Kirbys reassemble and return to their home world, followed by Meta Knight, while Shadow Kirby stays to protect his homeland.

In terms of gameplay, this game takes a lot after The Great Cave Offensive from Super Star, including its level structure and heavy exploration focus. However, the game's Japanese name (Kirby of the Stars: The Great Labyrinth of the Mirror) is about as informative as you can get. This game is a maze. (btw there's a hint at this in the English title as well if you go punny and pronounce it "a-MAZE-ing mirror") There are maps you can collect to make your life much easier, but in order to even get the maps, you have to traverse without one and reach a vague highlighted area without knowing what paths to take to get there. As such, it's a good thing you're split into four, right? So that each one of you can explore different areas and cover more ground faster, and call your buddies over with your Cell Phone when you're about to fight a tough guy?

Unfortunately not, because it seems that Kirby's brain was split apart, too. Yes, prior to Star Allies, Kirby always had notoriously dumb AI. But Amazing Mirror is the worst it gets. Your buddies will do almost nothing to help you outside of boss fights, and similarly to Star Allies, you probably won't want to call them over for even those unless you want an ultra-easy boss fight. Most of the time they won't even follow you. So why are they even there? I can envision multiplayer being pretty useful and alleviating much of the frustration of this game, but the downside is that you can't even play multiplayer unless you have a physical Game Pak per player, an actual GBA with a link cable port per player (thankfully you can use a GameCube with a Game Boy Player, so at least that makes things a little easier, but you can't use a DS or either VC version), and a link cable per player. I would say that Amazing Mirror is the one Kirby game that desperately needs a remake for this reason; if multiplayer was more accessible and more people could use it, then this game would be pretty dang great. But I'm stuck with single player because I have the Wii U VC version, and as such I have to just wander almost aimlessly around every world until I eventually reach the highlighted area, grab the map, and beeline for the boss. What should be a fun open-world exploration game is often just tedious, and I'll go so far as to say that this is one of the most frustrating games I've ever beaten.

However, even without multiplayer, I should say that Amazing Mirror is not a bad game by any means. There's a lot of good points, too. The Copy Abilities are as interesting as ever, including a special Smash ability that allows you to use Kirby's special moveset from Smash (Melee, specifically), and to top it off, you get said ability from defeating Master Hand. How cool is that? And if you're a Meta Knight fan, this is one of his most prominent roles in the series to date (and after beating the game, you'll even get to use his sword whenever you want!).

Ultimately, though, I just can't really recommend this game if you plan on playing alone. Only get this if you're going to play on an actual GBA (or a GCN if you have a Game Boy Player). Otherwise, either extract the ROM and play it on a multiplayer-supporting emulator like VBA-Link (please excuse me while I go do just that), or just pass on this one and play Kirby's other GBA adventure, Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, which is much better as a solo experience.


Fairy of Ripple Star
Poll Committee

Kirby's Dream Land 2

Don't ask me why this game gets so much hate. Don't ask me why a lot of people call this worse than its comparatively mediocre predecessor. Because, simply put, that ain't true. No, this is a great, underappreciated game, and no, it is FAR better than its predecessor. With that out of the way...

This game is probably best known as the game that introduced the original three Animal Friends, as well as the debut of the recurring (and overused) Dark Matter. Rick the Hamster specializes in ground attacks, Coo the Owl can fly against strong winds, and Kine the Fish can swim against strong currents. Each Animal Friend will also shake up Kirby's copy abilities; for example, when Kirby acquires the Burning ability, he will blast forward as a flaming ball, but with Rick, he will instead be able to rapidly breathe short-range fire balls; with Coo, he will blast downward towards the ground; and with Kine, he will breathe a single long-range fire ball. It definitely makes up for the fact that the game only contains seven base abilities; counting all the animal friend combinations as separate abilities, you could say that there are 28!

Similarly to its successors Kirby 3 and Kirby 64, you can't fight the true final boss, Dark Matter, until you find all 7 Rainbow Drops; otherwise, the game will end after the Dedede fight and give you the false ending. I did collect them all, but I had to consult a guide for quite a few of them, and even then, a lot of them were pretty frustrating to collect. But even more frustrating than collecting all the Rainbow Drops is the boss you fight for collecting them. I daresay Dark Matter in this game is about as difficult as Miracle Matter from Kirby 64 (but unlike the latter, Dark Matter in this game was actually fun), as the only way to fight him wisely is to deflect his numerous projectiles. You can attack him directly, of course, but that's far too dangerous and risky and ultimately not worth it. And unlike Miracle Matter (who unfortunately is required in Kirby 64 whether you get the good ending or not), the sense of accomplishment for beating this guy outweighs the frustration required to do so, so that's good.

This game's main flaw, however, is the level design. Admittedly, it's not very great. But unlike those Kirby 1 megafans who just say "Kirby 2 = bad b/c bad level design", I'm going to elaborate. A lot of the stages are really short, for one thing, with most only being 3 or 4 small rooms with a miniboss and Animal Friend thrown in somewhere. The Rainbow Drops are on the other side of the spectrum, though; they often take too long and too much perfection to collect, and are a bit more frustrating than they really should be. Plus, the Rainbow Drop could be hidden in any stage within each world, and that can get quite annoying. But none of these level design flaws are dealbreakers, and they definitely aren't enough to drop this game below the depths of its predecessor.

So overall, my opinion on this game? First of all, if you're on the fence about whether to buy this or Kirby 1, I will reiterate that this game is a whole lot better despite what people might say elsewhere (and I will remind you that Kirby 1 only has five stages and no copy abilities). Other than that, I'd recommend this game for those looking for some more classic Kirby action, although it doesn't quite beat Adventure and I'd recommend you play that one first. Here's where it stands on my current Kirby rankings list, including only mainline Kirby games I've beaten thus far:

1. Kirby Star Allies
2. Kirby's Return to Dream Land
3. Kirby Super Star
4. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
5. Kirby's Adventure
6. Kirby's Dream Land 2
7. Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
8. Kirby's Dream Land


Fiery bird with great firepower
The Calamity Ganon spirit battle using the Zinger spirit, which is a Novice rank with 0 support slots
Beat the final boss of Cadence of Hyrule. I could go back through and get all the extra stuff but I really don't want to, the game is enjoyable but there's some areas that are just kind of a pain in the ass because you need certain boots or items that you don't have and you can't really mark anything on the map yourself. Hover boots are the worst with this.

Still it was pretty fun, hard until you get the spear or broadsword and the final boss was pretty cool. I feel like I haven't had the motivation to actually beat a game recently and I beat this one so that speaks volumes about the game on its own, worth the money and if you like the random layout thing or trying to do fast clears or something then it'd probably be even more worth it.


Fairy of Ripple Star
Poll Committee

Kirby's Dream Land 3

Kirby 3 is the second game directed by Shinichi Shimomura after Kirby 2, the third Kirby game to carry the Kirby's Dream Land name, and the fifth mainline Kirby game overall. And honestly, I find little trouble in calling this one of the most underrated Kirby games of all time. Now, I understand why it might have been a disappointment after Super Star, as it doesn't quite reach that game's level of greatness, but they're really just comparing it to the wrong game. No, Kirby 3 instead expands on the Kirby 2 formula; if you take all the best parts of Kirby 2, and fix up the worst parts, you've got Kirby 3.

Kirby 3 also introduces some new features into the mix. Every copy ability from Kirby 2 returns, plus a new ability known as Clean. In addition to Rick the hamster, Kine the fish, and Coo the owl returning from Kirby 2, Kirby 3 introduces Nago the cat, Pitch the bird, and ChuChu the octopus into the mix. This allows up to 48 ability + animal combinations on top of the 8 base abilities, which is a significant increase from Kirby 2's 21 combinations and 7 base abilities. In addition, this game takes a tip from Super Star and allows a second player to join the fun as Gooey. Gooey has all the same abilities as Kirby, including copying and riding Animal Friends, save for inhaling (instead he grabs enemies with his tongue, which has a few mechanical differences but works essentially the same). You can allow Gooey to be controlled by the AI in single player, but this game continues the trend of notoriously dumb AI in Kirby (Gooey won't even copy anything and will just blast enemies away before you get the chance to copy them), so you'd be better off without that. As for the quality of the multiplayer itself, it actually works quite well, with the main catch being that Kirby loses one vitality bar while Gooey is in action. I'll never know why they decided to abandon Gooey in favor of ordinary Kirby recolors in later games, as Gooey really felt like a unique addition to the game.

Also similarly to Kirby 2, Kirby 3 requires you to collect all of a certain item--in this case, Heart Stars--in order to face Dark Matter and see the true ending; otherwise, the game will stop after the battle with King Dedede and you will see the bad ending. However, Heart Stars are handled quite differently than Rainbow Drops from Kirby 2; there's now one per regular stage (30 in all), and collecting them is more centered around solving puzzles. On the map screen, each stage has an often-subtle clue about what you're supposed to do, which is particularly useful if you need to bring an Animal Friend from another stage. Some of them can be quite tough--I had to look up how to get a few of them--but for the most part, they're a significant improvement over Kirby 2's Rainbow Drops.

The graphics are quite good, and undoubtedly among the best I've seen from the Super Nintendo. The game opts for a crayon-based art style much like Yoshi's Island, which looks pretty dang fantastic in itself. But what really impressed me about the graphics was that parallax scrolling. Never before have I seen anything like cleaning off dirty flowers without trampling them on a cloudy day (as in, there are a ton of clouds running through the foreground, preventing you from seeing too well and making it more difficult to avoid trampling the flowers). I'm pretty dang impressed that they actually incorporated parallax scrolling into the level design, and it's creativity like that that really helps this game soar in my book.

And lastly, the soundtrack. Who would I be to not mention the soundtrack when it's as great as this? This game undoubtedly has the best soundtrack I've ever heard on the SNES. And that wasn't even hard. Kirby 2's soundtrack suffered from its three Animal Friend themes; while said themes were fantastic, they were pretty much the entirety of what the player hears because they'll be mounted on an Animal Friend 90% of the time...and for the remaining 10%, you're hearing tracks directly reused from Kirby 1 and Adventure. But Kirby 3 succeeds where its predecessor failed. Gone are the fantastic-but-repetitive Animal Friend themed, replaced by a ton of new tracks and even a couple remixes. Not once is a track ever directly reused from a previous game. Heck, the majority of the remixes here are from Super Star, a fellow SNES game, that could very easily have been directly reused if HAL so wanted. But they even remixed those, and they came out just as great, if not better, than their Super Star counterparts (Gourmet Race and Dedede's extended theme come to mind). A bit surprising that Green Greens makes no appearance at all, but otherwise, definitely an A+ in the soundtrack department.

Overall, Kirby 3 takes everything that was great about Kirby 2 and makes it twice as great. Its level design is much stronger than Kirby 2's as well, particularly with the stage length (a Kirby 3 stage is about as long as two or three Kirby 2 stages). Heart Stars are also a significant improvement over Rainbow Drops, as they are much more focused on puzzle solving and rarely feel cheap. The game even surpasses Adventure on my list, due to the level design of Kirby 3 being even better while significantly improving on the game mechanically. The game even comes quite close to beating out Crystal Shards. HAL's impressed me once again.

Kirby 3's placement on my Kirby ranking:
  • Kirby Star Allies
  • Kirby's Return to Dream Land
  • Kirby Super Star
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
  • Kirby's Dream Land 3
  • Kirby's Adventure
  • Kirby's Dream Land 2
  • Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
  • Kirby's Dream Land


[Insert something creative here]
Paper Mario: Color Splash (Nintendo Wii U)

Second time finishing the game, replayed it mainly to restore my save file since I formatted my Wii U awhile back due to issues with my NNIDs.

I 100% repainted Prism Island but didn't really bother with the Roshambo Temples this time and missed a few cut-outs here and there, the Black Bowser fight was a lot easier this time around since I arrived armed to the teeth with strong battle cards and still had the timing down for countering his attacks in his second phase. I only had to retry once because I initially flubbed up on his final breath attack.

Yoshi the SSM

I'm Yoshi the Space Station Manager from the wiki.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team: Hard Mode

It was my second time playing the game. And it was very hard to complete. Not only that, but I also wrote the game's story as best I could on a word document. So the total time was 76:12. But it was indeed longer than that since I did have many game-overs. But I completed it with all the beans found and all Pi'illos saved. But I enjoyed the challenge.


Fairy of Ripple Star
Poll Committee

Kirby: Squeak Squad

Most remembered for its notoriously meme-worthy plot, Squeak Squad (or Mouse Attack, for those of you who live in Europe) is another example of a Kirby game that gets far too much hate. Squeak Squad doesn't do much to shake up the basic Kirby formula, but it's still a pretty solid game in its own right.

First of all, while Kirby games tend to have dark and serious plots, Squeak Squad's is rather...interesting. It goes like this: Kirby's about to eat a slice of cake. Suddenly it vanishes, and Kirby falsely accuses Dedede for stealing it. After battling and defeating Dedede, Kirby discovers that it was actually a gang of thieves known as the Squeaks who stole his cake. Kirby spends much of the game chasing down the Squeaks to get his cake back. When he finally defeats their leader, Daroach, Meta Knight appears and swipes the chest away, so Kirby chases him down and defeats him. Suddenly Daroach steals the chest, opens it, and discovers that the chest didn't have a cake at all. It held Dark Nebula, the lord of the underworld, who then went on to take control of Daroach. Kirby chases him for a little while and defeats Dark Daroach and then Dark Nebula, and the Squeaks return his cake as thanks. So yeah, definitely a nice change of pace, and it might even be my favorite part of the game.

The gameplay is mostly the same as in previous Kirby games; however, there is one new feature. Kirby can find various Bubble items and store them in his stomach, accessible via the touchscreen, to use later. These bubble items can contain copy abilities, food, star bullets, or 1-Up pieces. It's a neat feature and it makes me wonder why it never returned in a later Kirby game. Kirby's stomach can also hold treasure chests, the main collectible of the game, of which there are 120. These treasure chests can contain special Ability Scrolls to expand your Copy Abilities, decorative Spray Paints, special Star Seals (necessary to chase Meta Knight into the seventh area), secret keys to unlock extra stages, and more. Oftentimes you'll find a large treasure chest, and once you collect it, one of Daroach's underlings will attempt to steal it back. It's interesting at first, but it can get repetitive near the end of the game, so maybe it wasn't a great idea to include it in nearly every level. There are also four new copy abilities, Animal, Bubble, Ghost, and Metal, all of which are fun to use (especially Ghost), and it's rather unfortunate that none of them have returned in later games. Lastly, ability mixing returns somewhat, allowing you to apply elemental powers to Sword or Bomb, but it's nowhere near as fleshed-out as in Crystal Shards, and Star Allies gave Squeak Squad's mixing system some much-needed refinement.

The soundtrack, while not the best in the series, is still quite good. Many of the tracks here are remixes of past Kirby games (mostly from Amazing Mirror, but there are a few remixes from Adventure and Dream Land 3 as well), and the original tracks, particularly the Squeaks theme and the boss themes, are pretty catchy.

Overall, while definitely not the best in the series, Squeak Squad is a solid game with just a few flaws holding it back. It's definitely an improvement over Amazing Mirror, at least in the single-player department, and perhaps even Adventure due to the game's superior mechanics. While the first few worlds are a bit too short for their own good, I was glad to see that the level length did get better later on, and that this game didn't make the same mistake as Kirby 2.

Here's where Squeak Squad ranks on my Kirby ranking:

1. Kirby Star Allies
2. Kirby's Return to Dream Land
3. Kirby Super Star
4. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
5. Kirby's Dream Land 3
6. Kirby: Squeak Squad
7. Kirby's Adventure
8. Kirby's Dream Land 2
9. Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
10. Kirby's Dream Land


Shine Sprite
Forum Moderator
Wiki Bureaucrat
Core 'Shroom Staff

Frontlines: Fuel of War is a 2008 FPS developed by Kaos Studio, a team formed by the core people behind the very popular Battlefield 1942 mod Desert Combat, and who actually assisted DICE on the development of Battlefield 2. As such, the game obviously mirrors Battlefield in a lot of ways and its main attraction was the multiplayer which, with the GameSpy shutdown, is no longer available on PC without LAN tunneling. But there’s still a single player campaign and to my surprise, I really enjoyed it!

The flat shooting mechanics, average (for the time) production values and cliché story about a fuel war between NATO and a Sino-Russian coalition won’t win awards, but what made Frontlines for me is the mission structure: basically you have a big open map with multiple objectives (usually taking over command posts or planting explosives on something), which you can approach any way you’d like, and you can get in or out of vehicles as you please. You can switch between the four character classes with their own weapon loadout and exploring is rewarded with extra gear like airstrike markers and drones (which are actually real fun and useful to use). There are some interesting set pieces in there (my favourite is the pitched tank battle after a nuclear detonation) and though the AI isn’t that clever, it does a good job at making you feel like you’re part of a big battle. It’s a clever way to make the single player train you in the skills and mechanics needed for the multiplayer without just being a series of bot matches.

Plus it ends with a cheesy sung theme song! We need more western games with those

There’s some jank (explosive barrels don’t kill shit, the helipcoter controls are WOEFUL) but Kaos studio was onto something potentially special here. So of course their next (and last) game was a poopy call of duty clone groan


Justice is not limited, it is a universal quality
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (3DS)

Although I haven't 100% the game due to some tough bonus bosses, I felt that I could write about it. So the game is basically a part of the Dragon Quest series, a very popular RPG in Japan although not as much overseas. Even then, the eighth game in the series is the most popular Western DQ game, which I would attribute to its memorable characters and the fact that it's a huge step up in scope from past games. That is a reason that the Hero of this game is one of the Smash fighters, after all.

The premise of the story is that a king and his daughter, along with his entire kingdom, is afflicted by a powerful curse by Dhoulmagus, but the Hero of this game is somehow not afflicted by it (the reason for this is explained in-game, but it will not be clear for a very long time). On the Hero's travels, the Hero meets with some very useful allies who have their reasons for fighting against the great evil that is terrorising different parts of the world. The game has a certain twist in the first-half of the game so I would not mention it as it would spoil parts of the game.

The monsters in this game is also one of the high points, and I think it's helped by Toriyama's stylings that is used in Dragon Ball. He made each monster very charming, and they seem to make the transition to 3D quite well, even keeping their poses from the games they originated from.

The 3DS version is the definitive version of the game in terms of content and usability, and along with the perks of portability and Quick Save, it makes this the most convenient and definitive version. That is not to say that the original PS2 is without its advantages, since that version has better graphical quality and the orchestral sountrack is what the US version got. Some of the changes that the 3DS got is that it added 2 new characters who have exclusive skills, some new content that could only be found in this version and a new ending if certain conditions are met.

In terms of how the game plays, I felt that the game is pretty well-paced. The basics of Dragon Quest is that the party is facing a group of monsters in a turn-based battle. The commands are executed before anything happens, in which the fastest character performs first, followed by the next-fastest. In my experience the turn order fluctuates a little, so it's not always constant. The skills are also strictly player vs enemy, so the player cannot purposely attack their teammates or heal the opponents. It does not contain the interactive quirks found in Final Fantasy, such as Death healing undead monsters or sapping HP from them hurts the player. The inventory cannot be fully accessed, as each character can have up to 12 items at once, including their equipment. In addition, inns does not extinguish a character's poison state nor does it revive fallen allies. As such, Magic is very useful since it can heal others without using up the inventory. In every sense of word, Dragon Quest is pretty traditional to its systems, unlike Final Fantasy which is not afraid to change things up.

Every character in this game has something to offer, so I can't say that any are useless. As an example, Angelo has a lot of support spells, so he could function as a healer in addition to being an attacker. I read that Yangus was not so useful in the original, so I think it's a good thing his Strength is increased to make up for his lower Magical skill compared to the other characters. Because this game added two new characters, the way it works is that the player can switch the characters up during battle at certain points (such as at the overworld), even with fallen allies unlike Final Fantasy X. They will automatically go to battle if every active member is fallen, which is a nice touch.

Overall, I enjoyed Dragon Quest VIII, and the next Dragon Quest game for me would very likely be the latest sequel: XI.

Thank you for reading.


Fairy of Ripple Star
Poll Committee
Kirby Super Star Ultra

How do you improve on one of the best classic Kirby games of all time? By adding more to it, of course. Super Star Ultra, if you couldn't guess from the name, is essentially Super Star but more. All games from the original return, with a couple minor changes, alongside quite a few extra all-new games. I won't talk about the returning games much, as they haven't changed much, but just know that Dedede was severely nerfed in Spring Breeze, Great Cave Offensive changed up all the treasures, Revenge of Meta Knight has enhanced dialogue, and all cutscenes now utilize CGI animation. Anyways, on to the new games!

Revenge of the King - Essentially a sequel to Spring Breeze, with a new storyline, new levels, and harder versions of the bosses. It also brings back Kabula, the one boss from Kirby 1 that didn't return in Spring Breeze, and introduces King Dedede's famous alter-ego, Masked Dedede. It also marks the first major role of Bandana Waddle Dee. The last stage, The Revenge, seems heavily based off of Revenge of Meta Knight, with Dedede and Bandana Dee conversing with each other as Kirby defeats the various midbosses, as well as the fact that Dedede gives you a hammer prior to his battle (much like how Meta Knight gives you a sword). The ending is rather sad for devoted followers of Dedede such as I, but the blooper reel unlocked after The True Arena will wipe away all your regrets when you see Kirby get flung out of Castle Dedede instead.

Helper to Hero - Similarly to The Arena, you must fight various consecutive bosses with limited healing items. However, this time around, you must use a Helper to take down your foes, and there are only 13 bosses rather than The Arena's 19. The final boss of this mode is Wham Bam Jewel, a harder version of Wham Bam Rock not seen anywhere else on the game (except for The True Arena; see below).

Meta Knightmare Ultra - A time attack mode starring Meta Knight! Similarly to Meta Knightmare from Nightmare in Dream Land, you must complete five of the seven main games (those being Spring Breeze, Dyna Blade, The Great Cave Offensive, Revenge of Meta Knight, and Milky Way Wishes) as fast as possible, while playing as Meta Knight. However, this time around, Meta Knight has some new special moves at his disposal. Whenever Meta Knight defeats an enemy, he accumulates Meta Points, which can be used to execute these moves. The first of these, Knight Call, required two Meta Points and summons either a Sword Knight or Blade Knight to fight alongside Meta Knight. Meta Quick requires 8 Meta Points and temporary increases the speed of Meta Knight and his assistant. Heal requires 10 Meta Points and does just that: fully heals both Meta Knight and his assistant. The last move, Mach Tornado, requires 30 Meta Points and clears the screen of enemies, and severely damages bosses. This game also marks the debut of recurring character Galacta Knight, the final boss of this mode, and also probably the toughest boss in the entire game.

The True Arena - The first rendition of the recurring final challenge, The True Arena is a boss endurance mode against all postgame bosses--that is to say, all bosses in Super Star Ultra that weren't in the original Super Star. It may be one of the shortest True Arenas in the series, with only 10 rounds, but don't count that against it; its healing items are even fewer than in later renditions, and the Final Four--Masked Dedede, Wham Bam Jewel, Galacta Knight, and the True Arena-exclusive Marx Soul--contains some of the toughest bosses in the series to date. I learned how to use Hammer effectively through this mode (a pseudo-log can be seen in my recent profile posts), and through some miracle managed to beat it. Not one bit of that journey was easy, I assure you. But it was well worth it nevertheless.

Megaton Punch and Samurai Kirby also return, and now there are three new sub-games. Kirby on the Draw is a target shooter where you try to hit more targets then the other players. Card Swipe is a reaction-based game based on how fast you can tap the card shown on the Top Screen. Snack Tracks is my personal favorite, being an eating contest to see which Kirby can eat the most food--but be careful not to eat those bombs, Kirby! All three are quite enjoyable, allowing for touch controls and four-player versus, and the five sub-games together make Super Star Ultra an even more diverse package than it already was.

Overall, I really like this game, and it surpasses the already impressive original in just about every way. The single biggest disadvantage it has is multiplayer, which requires two DS systems as well as two copies of the game (you can use a single copy as well, but only for Spring Breeze and the sub-games). But I'd certainly recommend this game to any Kirby fan, as well as a good starting point to anyone looking for a place to get in.

Dr. Peach

Rest in Peace Walkazo 1991-2016
Mario Tennis Aces

I completed the Adventure Mode before my sister did.


Fairy of Ripple Star
Poll Committee
Paper Mario

Originally intended to play this a couple months ago, shortly after beating its predecessor Seven Stars, but I was so burned out after that game I can't believe I even managed to beat it. But thankfully, this game is such a radical improvement, and never dragged on the way Seven Stars did.

The battle system is far more simplistic than I've experienced in other RPGs, but I find that to be a good thing. Gone are the confusing high HP numbers, instead capping enemy HP at 99 while in turn greatly reducing attack power (attacks never deal more than 12 or so points of damage). The max level is also only 27, a number you'll be pretty close to by the game's end (I finished at level 24). You can also assign one of eight partners to help you; these are unlocked throughout the game and can be switched at will. The first partner you meet, Goombario, is my favorite; his Tattle ability is not only useful for enemies and other hints, but also develops his personality much more than the other partners, and as such, I had him by my side for the vast majority of the game. Tattle also makes enemy HP visible, similar to Mallow's Psychopath ability from the previous game, but the enemy HP is present for all future encounters with said enemy, which is a definite plus.

The story is quite simplistic compared to most other Mario RPGs I've played, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It goes like this: Bowser steals the wish-granting Star Rod (tell me, is this somehow not a Kirby reference?), and kidnaps the seven Star Spirits as well as Princess Peach. He lifts her castle into the sky and plants it on top of his castle. Mario attempts to defeat him, but fails as the Star Rod is too strong. So he goes around and frees each of the seven Star Spirits to unleash the powerful Star Beam and counter the effects of the Star Rod, and save Princess Peach. It's basically a unique twist on the classic Mario story we're all used to seeing, and it doesn't try too hard to be deep, so it's a good story in my book.

This game is named for its paper aesthetic, and it's quite entertaining to look at. Everything is flat and 2D, which I'm sure was quite unique back then and still stands out today. The graphics are quite good for N64 standards, too, and are some of the best I've seen on the system.

Overall, I'd say I really enjoyed this game. It was an enjoyable experience from start to finish, and a huge improvement over its clunky predecessor. It's easy to see how this game became popular enough to spawn an entire series of sequels, all building unique mechanics from its paper aesthetics. I'll be playing the first of these sequels, The Thousand-Year Door, next, and from what I've heard it's even better than this game, so I'm looking forward to it.


Justice is not limited, it is a universal quality

(The six party members of this game is above the game's title)

Earthlock: Festival of Magic (Switch)

Also available on: XB1, PC, PS4, Wii U

Earthlock is an overlooked game, which tends to happen to indie games released outside of the boom, and in this game's case, it was released back in 2016. The game was the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, and because of how Kickstarter games usually go, it's actually amazing that this game looked as great as it did, plus it has solid gameplay. The fact that this game has a graphic novel (even if digitally through Steam) is actually pretty cool to see.

Because this is a Kickstarter game, certain backers are represented in the game besides the credits (which credits all the backers so that list is large). In this game, some ghost-like enemies have unique names, and is in fact represented by backers who contributed a larger-than-average fund for this game. This is a pretty nice symbol for them, I feel.

The setting of Earthlock is reminiscent to Final Fantasy 9, at least in my opinion. The world may have technology incorporated into the lives of the people, yet it is still encompassed by a good dose of fantasy. There is a city rich with steampunk technology, but there are quite a lot of towns and ancient ruins as well. Plus, there are anthropomorphic animals as people in this game, namely a hammerhead shark-like species and the "hogbunny", a species inspired by swine and rabbits. In a way it's actually kind of nostalgic because of the familiar type of setting, since I do like the setup in Final Fantasy 9.

The story of this game is that a villainous cult wanted a certain artefact from one of the main characters, basically to seek unimaginable power. The playable characters are not exactly affiliated with one another (except for Ive and her stormdog Taika), but the ambition of the villain basically brought them together to stop the villain.

The battles are turn-based similar to Final Fantasy 10 where the turn order is highlighted so you know who's next, and there's no penalty in waiting too long. In terms of the characters, each character have two battle stances, where they function differently due to having different skill sets. For example, Gnart has a stance that basically acts as a White Mage where he provides healing and miscellaneous status (Silence and Confuse), and another as a Dancer that boosts the party's stats as long as he's in this stance. Stance is not the only thing unique to this game's battle system, since pairing certain characters also grant them perks exclusive to them, and you can even switch existing characters to form different pairs (you can't switch inactive party members, though). Every character also has a Super skill set tied to one stance, and they tend to be great because they tend to be stronger and can multi-target without penalties.

One thing I noticed about this game is that character-building is flexible. You see, there is a talent grid where a character can increase their stats based on a trait, such as Might with its Attack increase, or Armour which increases Defence the most. Filled slots in the grid may stay there when they are filled, but since they can be swapped, the stat build is not set in stone and is in fact customisable. Every character may have few equipment (two of them having two sets of weapons) but each new weapon does not render the older ones obsolete since the older ones have stats bonuses and/or perks exclusive to them.

There is a crafting system in this game where certain items are required to create useable items, such as perk-based Talents such as one that grants auto-revive once per battle, or another that increases ammo damage. Each weapon is based around finding a one-of-a-kind item, which means that only one of each weapon can be obtained, not that it's a bad thing since every character has a unique weapon. Finally, the game has plants that produce items that can be used to create ammo and healing items (each healing item requires a jar), and because of the unlimited resource of the plants, you can store as many items as you can wait. I really like this because there is no worry about ammo cutting in on cash resources or them being used up, since money is not exactly easy to grind for until near the end of the game.

If I were to gauge a length, I would probably compare it to Super Mario RPG where the game is not long for an RPG. For one, every character's max level is 20, but that is sufficient to conquer even the toughest of the bosses. The game has two significant areas: one where the bulk of the game takes place and is split to three significant areas (grasslands, desert and plains) and another area which has cold land all around. Even the game's dungeons are not very long, helped by the fact that encounters are not random, and adding to that, each enemy represents one in-battle enemy and you can battle as little as you want (though the game rewards you for larger crowds). Perhaps the scope of the indie game makes it unable to be long, but I felt that it's not a bad thing since RPGs tend to be long.

The game's difficult is, I felt, balanced in that it's not too easy, but it's also not dependent on dedicated setups as to be impossible for any player who aren't hardcore. Certainly there are tough bosses and there is an area where two tough bosses can be battled at once, but sufficient preparation would be enough to conquer the battle. Each time a boss is encountered, the characters even quipped that if the battle is tough a different strategy is encouraged. The nice thing about each boss is that they have a talent panel that provides useful abilities, such as a sentient train (called Sentient Train) providing an ability that auto-revives once per battle.

I do like Earthlock. It's not very significant in presentation that you would expect in bigger Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, but it still looks great (in graphics and performance), sounds good and plays well, and it's still unique that it's not like a retread of the bigger RPGs in the business. I felt that even though the game is pretty self-contained, a sequel is a feasible option since the game's areas are not worldwide in scope, so a sequel might venture to new areas.

Thank you for reading.


Fairy of Ripple Star
Poll Committee
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

Normally, when playing games, I take a stance of "good until proven bad" until I get around to playing it. But Paper Mario 2 was different. Now, don't get me wrong, I knew how popular this game was, but in an ironic turn of events all I ever heard about the game was "so and so was bad, oh and this too, but everything else was good". I never heard about what was actually considered good. Combine that with the only screenshot I ever saw of the game (Rogueport Sewers, of all places), typical NoA dull box art, and my general uninterest in history, and I ended up paying little mind to this game. But after Paper Mario 1 wowed me in comparison to the clunky aged debacle known as Super Mario RPG, I thought I'd give this game another chance. And boy, am I glad I did. This game is a true masterpiece, and I cannot believe how badly I misjudged it.

The general gameplay here is essentially a revamped version of the original. In fact, many of the partners have the same abilities as those from the first game, even going so far as having similar attacks. Remember how I said Goombario was my favorite partner in the previous game because of his Tattle ability, as well as his Charge and Multibonk attacks (ultimate OP when combined)? Well, surprise surprise, Goombella in this game has all the same moves, plus one! As Charge is now accessible by any partner via the Tactics menu, Goombella also has Rally Wink, which passes her turn into a second chance for Mario to attack. This means that I no longer have to swap out my partner whenever I encounter a spiked enemy, which is a definite plus. However, I also found myself using my other partners a lot more than I did in the first game, with my other favorites being Spike (my Yoshi) and Vivian.

The battle system is essentially carried over from the first game, but with a few altered mechanics. First off, the game introduces Superguard, which is harder to pull off than the regular Guard but is much more rewarding, completely nullifying the damage you receive and sometimes even damaging your attacker. This allowed for more variety in my available moves during the enemy's attack turn, and made battles that much more enjoyable. Partners also have their own HP now. This is definitely preferable to the "injured partner" system from the original, and in fact you can even swap the positions of Mario and his partner, but as a result enemies will attack the back party member a lot more than before (although it's still generally safer in the back than in the front). However, partners also have an annoying tendency of stealing all your Life Shrooms...you don't know how much frustration that gave me in lategame. There's one more new mechanic that I think should die and rot in a cave for the rest of eternity: the audience. See, all battles now take place on a stage, with an audience watching you. The audience's main purpose is to charge your Star Power to pull off special moves (the new version of Star Spirit abilities), but they do more harm than good. They'll sometimes throw something at you or drop a bucket on you, which not only causes damage but can give you annoying status effects that you should never have gotten in the first place. The backdrop will also come down at times; it damages everyone on stage (Mario and enemies) and comes with little warning. There are also random stage effects. Sometimes, a cold wind will blow and freeze some people on the stage. Sometimes fire will shoot from the stage and burn a few unlucky fighters. Worst of all, a fog can also appear and make 90% (minor exaggeration) of all attacks miss. There's also the slots, which are helpful most of the time but have a small chance of landing on three Poison Mushrooms and halving your HP, FP, and SP, and if you're unlucky enough it could even kill you. This event happened to me twice in the game (with one of them being on the Bowser battle, which is my least favorite boss battle in the entire game by far for reasons I will explain soon).

The level design is this game's greatest weakness, without a doubt. All areas have a linear, hallway-esque design, but the story is not nearly as linear, so this leads to more backtracking than anyone would like. The worst of this comes out in Chapter 4, forcing you to go back and forth between Twilight Town and Creepy Steeple at least five times. It's as painful as it sounds. The level themes were great and colorful, though. Even Rogueport, the hub area, is rather creative in design despite not really being a pretty-looking place in general.

The story is actually really good. All I ever heard about the story beforehand was that it was dark. But, while it does get dark near lategame, what I had originally seen failed to convey that this is still Mario, light-hearted and humorous as always. And it still has an absolutely epic climax. The story is never a real gameplay interference until the end, as well (rip if you die to Shadow Queen because the cutscenes beforehand are painfully long, even longer than the fight itself). Need I say more about the story? I'll let you figure out the rest for yourself, if you have yet to play this game.

The boss fights were fun. A lot of them weren't too difficult (thank you, Goombella + Charge + Multibonk), but they were still fun. However, as stated before, there is one boss in this game I hate above all others: Bowser. I mean, I like Bowser as a character, but his fight in this game just felt cheap. Primarily because there is no opportunity to save between him and the already-difficult-enough boss before him, and he is fought in a location where it is very difficult to obtain more items. I essentially had to rely on the slots to carry me through, and they treated me very badly in one of my attempts, killing me entirely. That battle was not fun. At. All. The other battles were pretty fun, though. (There's a Hard Mode in this game too, in the form of a Double Pain badge. Perhaps I should try it sometime?)

The graphics were pretty dang great for a GameCube game, and I really liked how fluid the animations were in this game as well. The soundtrack also has some surprisingly catchy tunes; I really wasn't expecting anything from the soundtrack as I had already been spoiled by the soundtracks of the newest two Paper Mario games. This game also showcases the paper graphics to a much greater degree than the original, and it made the game look all the more lively and unique.

Overall, I would highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoyed the original. It improves on almost all the mechanics from its already-great predecessor, and the few flaws it has are far outweighed by what it does right. And most importantly, don't ever judge a book (er, a game that plays out like a book) by its cover. The box art and advertising screenshots do not do this game justice. You'll only ever understand the greatness of this game by playing it, and as such I'll highly recommend you do so.