Monday, January 28, 2008

Poll #24: "What do you think of the latest Brawl delay?" results, banner, news

Make sure to check the bottom of this article for important schedule news. Now then, poll results!

"This is one delay too many" 5 votes (11%)
"Well, poop. I'll deal, though." 17 votes (37%)
"I don't really care" 2 votes (4%)
"Whatever it takes, man." 20 votes (44%)
"It was delayed again?" 0 votes (0%)
"I'm not sure what to think." 1 vote (2%)

It was pretty much a sure thing that most people would be bummed about this. But at least it's still coming!


So, this week's banner is from forum member Zapster. As you can plainly see, the theme is Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Quite fitting, considering it's premiering in Japan within the next three days. And I have to wait until March...

As always, you can submit a banner via this thread on the forums, or you can e-mail it directly to me using the address listed in the sidebar. Just make sure you follow the guidelines listed on the forums, and all's good!

Make sure to vote on this week's poll, "About how many hours of gaming do you get each week?"! If I had to guess, I'd say more than 50 hours a week. Between my DS, Wii and PC, there's just so much to play!

Now, here's the news I was talking about before. I will NOT be posting on Wednesday, January the 30th. It is my birthday, and I plan on spending the day with my family. I will be back as usual on Friday!

Okay, there should be an article up in a bit. Might not be anything huge, though.

EDIT: Sorry, nothing today. It's nearly 3 AM, I'm incredibly tired, and I couldn't think up a decent article topic to save my life. I'm gonna have to pass tonight. I might write something up tomorrow instead, but for now, I need my sleep.

Sorry, folks.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A brand new take on the world of Pokémon

Every Pokémon game has a big thing in common. I'm not talking about the gym leaders, the Elite Four or the Pokédex. I'm talking about the huge, evil organizations the player always fights against. But what if everything was backwards? What if the player instead fought from the syndicate's point of view? I've been dreaming this up for years on end, and it gets bigger and better each time I think of it. Here is the fruit of my many hours of thought.

The player is a new recruit in a new Pokémon crime syndicate. Like Team Rocket, Magma, Aqua and Galactic before them, this new organization is once again out to use innocent Pokémon for evil. The player takes the role of an entry-level grunt, who will eventually rise to become the boss' right hand man, or even overthrow him altogether.

The player works their way up the ranks by capturing Pokémon, scamming trainers and fulfilling general evil organization duties. New promotions bring more missions, better Pokémon for use on duty and better pay (For buying items and such).

Of course, with each completed mission, more and more backstory and many secrets will become known to the player. Perhaps the founder is a disgraced member of another syndicate, out to get revenge? Maybe the organization's grand goal isn't as it seems? Or perhaps the player will begin to see the error of their ways?

When it comes to the gameplay itself, I'm seeing it as an alternative RPG to the current line of games. The set-up would be similar to that of any other standard Pokémon RPG, with Pokémon Centers, Marts, towns and whatnot. Players could get mission details on a portable device such as a cell phone or PDA, and then run off to complete their objective. Skills necessary for missions could be stealth, strength and intelligence. Some missions wouldn't be available until your team reaches a certain level, so training evenly would be a necessity.

As for the setting, it could take place in a brand new country, or in a familiar location in a different time. Imagine what must be going on in Kanto and Johto as of now, seeing as Team Rocket has been disbanded... Perhaps this new organization formed from the remnants of Rocket?

Or for a totally different approach, what if the game took place parallel to the main series, but behind the scenes? What if you played as one of the grunts who hassled the hero in an already-released adventure? There have been some situations where a grunt will recall having met the hero at an earlier part of the game, so why can't players be him/her? And maybe this would also give some insight on where the hero's rivals are all the time. What the heck was the renegade kid in Gold/Silver/Crystal up to anyways? Stealing Pokémon, breaking the law... Was he secretly a member of Team Rocket? Man, he could take the lead role in a game like this!

Was this kid more than an average crook?

He treated his Pokémon like tools, and cared little about anything but himself. Or did he? Perhaps he truly cared about the cause he was helping out with? He has some character development, too, what with his perceived softer treatment of Pokémon at the ending of Gold/Silver/Crystal. This new game could go beyond that point, showing us how the character actually continued to see more and more he was doing wrong, up to the point of even leaving the organization. Perhaps he'd even start fighting against the syndicate he was once a valued member of!

There's just too much potential in playing the bad guy... I'm not too sure how well this idea would go down with the target audience. Seems a little dark. But hey, this is just me daydreaming, so it doesn't have to make sense!

Discuss This Article On The Forums

The Duck Has Spoken.

Post delayed until tomorrow

Sorry, guys, but I gotta hold off tonight's article. I need to take a shower, get to sleep, and then wake up in, oh... seven hours. Yeah, I don't really have the time tonight... But since I have the idea jotted down (Complete with Photoshopped image!), I'll write it up tomorrow. Sorry, but even The Duck must sleep.

Article tomorrow, people! Marketh thine calendar!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mini-article: Why can't they make a good video game movie?

Some game storylines seem perfectly well-suited to movie adaptions. For horror, you have Doom, and for adventure, you have Tomb Raider. Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought these franchises would make good movies, as they've already been turned into films. There's one problem, though:

The movies sucked.

I'm not going to go into specifics about why the above movies were no good, nor am I going to name ways I think they could have been improved, and that's for the simple reason that I don't want to be writing this article from now until Christmas. I'm just merely asking the simple question of "Why?". What is there stopping a game movie from being great? We have a few exceptions like the above-average Resident Evil films, but most of it's utter crap.

You know what, film makers? I'll get you started. Here are some franchises perfect for movies:

-The Legend of Zelda

There, three solid franchises perfect for becoming movies. Make them animated, make them CG, make them live-action. I don't care. Just make them good. It can be done. They've made movies based on all other forms of media, why should games be any different?

So put some effort into game movies, rely more on content than fan-service, and even hire a few of the game's writers to pen the script. Toss in some good actors and a great musical score, and you just may go against the norm and make a good game movie.

Discuss this article on the forums

The Duck Has Spoken.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The greatest final boss battles of all time

It should go without saying that there will be some spoilers within, specifically for Portal, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario Galaxy. Be warned.

Almost every video game leads up to a final battle between good and evil, light and dark. Every one of these battles is memorable, but a few stand out to really stick in your mind for ages. Here are three such encounters that do that to me. And no, Link: The Faces of Evil's Ganon is not one of them.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's Ganon

Of all the bosses I've ever fought, the battle with Ganon at the end of Ocarina of Time is by far the most epic. After having already fought him in his humanoid form, Ganondorf once again rises from the rubble of his castle for a rematch, but this time, he's battling as the monstrous Ganon. Your sword is knocked out of your hands at the beginning, flung outside the arena's fiery border.

Find a way to get behind him, then pummel his tail with the Megaton Hammer. After doing this a few times, you'll retrieve your sword and enter the final phase of the battle. Strike his tail a few more times with your sword, and he'll eventually fall over. As Princess Zelda holds him down with her magical powers, deliver the final blow with the Master Sword, right into the evil beast's skull. And then it's all over. The beast falls silent, and is sealed away to the gaping void of the Sacred Realm. Swirling through nothingness, Ganondorf swears his vengeance on Link's ancestors.

No matter how many times I played through this battle, it never got old. If I ever had to fight one boss over and over for all eternity, this would be it. Ocarina of Time's Ganon shall go down in history as one of the greatest final bosses ever, if not the greatest.

Portal's GLaDOS

When Portal first begins, you wake up in some bizarre test facility. A computerized voice suddenly begins to speak, telling you that you're in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. Despite the name, this facility does little in the ways of "enrichment", no matter how you look at it. It instead consists of a gauntlet of arbitrary challenges designed to be nigh impossible to complete. After fighting your way through all nineteen tests, GLaDOS tricks you into boarding a platform headed directly for a fiery pit. Using the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (Or "Portal Gun"), you manage create a series of space-altering portals to escape and confront GLaDOS' mainframe. And this is where the battle begins.

After promising cake if you stand down and surrender (Which, of course, you don't do), GLaDOS becomes irritated by your persistence and fills the chamber with deadly gases. Using motion-sensing rocket turrets and a series of portals, you can attack GLaDOS' physical form directly, breaking off pieces of her mainframe. These pieces of the computer can be picked up and disposed of in an incinerator located conveniently in the same room. After disposing of the last piece (Which growls and writhes in your grip), GLaDOS becomes destabilized, imploding in on herself. Amidst the chaos, you manage to escape, and the game comes to an end.

This game is incredibly addictive, as I went and played it to grab the above screenshot of GLaDOS. Even after snapping the above picture, I felt like continuing on to defeat the evil computer. Somehow I managed to save in that room and exit the game. But darn it, that was not easy to do. All of Portal is incredibly addictive, and the final boss battle is the icing on the cake.

And by the way, said cake is a lie. Just a heads-up.

Super Mario Galaxy's Bowser

Perhaps excluding only Super Mario Sunshine, every final battle with Bowser in all the Mario games ever made is amazing, but dang it, the Bowser in Super Mario Galaxy just blows all the other fights out of the water. First of all, this Bowser requires more hits than ever before to be defeated (At least ten). Second, this battle takes place on several planetoids. It begins on a small, plain planet. At this stage, Bowser covers up almost his entire body in rocks and rolls around the planet, chasing Mario. The only way to counter this is to attack his face when it rolls towards you. He then falls on his back and spins uncontrollably around the planet. Again, attack him when he gets close.

After battling him like this for a few rounds, he breaks the gravitational pull and takes the both of you to another planetoid. Now is when he starts getting really angry. He launches fireballs at you, curls up in his spiked shell and rolls around the planet, becoming nearly invincible in the process. The only way to attack him here is to use your spin attack on nearby plants, sending the bulb flying off in the other direction. When it hits Bowser, he begins spinning on his back like before. Just like last time, attack him until he takes you to a different planet.

The final stage is a glassy, lava-filled sphere with a few weak points. Stand near a weak spot when bowser tries to jump on you, and he'll rupture the glass, fall into the lava, and begin running around in pain. Take the opportunity to strike at his scorched tail, which will again send him spinning on his shell. Yet again, attack him when he spins towards you. After doing this a few times, he is finally defeated. He falls off the planet and lands in the molten surface of a nearby sun.

But he isn't done yet! He emerges from the fiery depths, and stumbles around on a floating rock. He looks around and screams in sorrow at seeing his galaxy destroyed. The sun he's on collapses in on itself, dragging the rest of the universe in with it. After Mario talks briefly with Rosalina, he, Bowser and Peach awake on the Mushroom Kingdom Castle's lawn. All is well again in the new galaxy.

Bowser's resilience in Galaxy is amazing. It's definitely the fiercest of all his incarnations. Who else could fall into the sun and be okay? Bowser's one tough hombre.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Poll #23: "What so-far announced 2008 game are you most looking forward to?" results, banner

"Super Smash Bros. Brawl" 38 votes (66%)
"Mario Kart Wii" 4 votes (7%)
"No More Heroes" 3 votes (5%)
"Wii Fit" 2 votes (3%)
"Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers" 3 votes (5%)
"Advance Wars: Days of Ruin" 3 votes (5%)
"Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney" 0 votes (0%)
"Dragon Quest IX" 0 votes (0%)
"Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates" 2 votes (3%)
"Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood" 1 vote (1%)
"Other" 1 vote (1%)
"I don't know" 0 votes (0%)

I can't say I didn't see that coming! I had a feeling the results would be something like this, but 66%? Yipes.

So, this week's banner is by your's truly. Whipped it up quickly. Minus image hunting time, it took me about five minutes. Oh well. Anyways, the theme is No More Heroes (Duh)!

Remember, you can always submit a banner to the blog through this thread on the forums. Just make sure to follow the guidelines! You can also e-mail the banner to me via the address listed in the sidebar.

And now we have this week's poll: "What do you think of the latest Brawl delay?"! I was kinda angry about it at first, but now I'm okay with it. Now I have time for No More Heroes and Endless Ocean!

There should be an article up in a bit. I'm feeling a little under the weather at the moment, so it might not be anything special. But I'll try for something, believe me.

Oh, and it's the 200th post. How 'bout that.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Drawn to Life review

For those of you who don't frequent the forums, I have a small bit of news. I was recently contacted by a publicity company, and they began sending me retail copies of THQ games in return for reviews written by me. I just want to say that I will review these games the same way as any other software, regardless of it being "free". I will continue to give honest and fair reviews like always. For more on this recent happening, please check out this thread on the forums. Now then, time for the review!

Developer: 5TH Cell
Publisher: THQ
Release Date: September 10, 2007
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
ESRB Notes: Mild Cartoon Violence

If you're reading this, chances are you've played a two-dimensional Mario platformer at least once in your life. There's also a decent chance of you having played Mario Paint in the past as well. But have you ever wondered if a game would come along and bring these two games together in a platformer that requires skill as much as creativity? I've done more than imagine it: I've played it. And it's name is Drawn to Life.

Drawn to Life is an amazingly creative game with an interesting story to go along with it. In this game, you don't play as the hero. You play as The Creator, the one who made the world and all that exists on it. All goes well in the land you have forged, until one day, when a twisted denizen off your world mangles the sacred Book of Life. This book is what ties the world together, and without it's entirety being intact, the moon, stars and more all disappear.

The residents of your land, the rodent-like Raposa, begin abandoning their village in light of the recent happenings. This goes on until only three remain: The mayor, his daughter, Mari, and a young Raposa named Jowee. To make things even worse, Wilfire, the one responsible to the tragedy, seals off the last exit from the village with impenetrable darkness. Now the remaining citizens can't even retrieve the Raposa that have left! With nobody else to turn to, Mari contacts you, The Creator, and prays for help. You hear her pleas, and agree to help. Bringing a nearby mannequin to life, you then craft the being in your image by drawing a character on a template. Now that the hero has appeared, you, The Creator, can begin to rebuild the Raposa's devastated village.

In order to fix all that Wilfire has done, you must retrieve the lost pages from the Book of Life. These pages have been ripped in pieces and scattered across many lands, so it won't be easy gathering them all up again. You'll kill many a foe, jump over many a hole and draw a whole whackload of items and objects to assist you.

When it comes to gameplay, I suppose the best place to start would be the drawing aspect. After all, that's the main defining feature of the game. When creating the hero, you have to make sure that the elbows, knees and such are all positioned correctly according to the hinges of the template (Which are represented by a dotted line). You can be as detailed or cartoony as you like, although the colour selection each palette comes with is a little skimpy.

The character creation screen

Don't worry about getting your character drawn perfectly, as you'll have plenty of opportunities to redraw him or her throughout the game. You'll even be able to unlock more palettes later on in the game, so it couldn't hurt to touch up your character later on. You can even make two additional heroes to swap out every now and then, just in case you get bored of staring at the same guy all the time.

If there's one problem with creating your character, it's that the game doesn't tell you that your creation should be facing to the right. If he's looking to the left, he'll be walking backwards once you start playing. And if he's looking straight at the screen, it'll sure look weird when he gets walking. Just make sure your character is angled to be facing slightly to the right (Like in the image above), and it'll be okay.

When you're designing objects and devices to help you in a level, you often have full reign over the shape and design of the object, as long as you stick within the template. However, sometimes an object will require being coloured in, and not designed. If you don't put some colour in one section, it will be white instead of invisible. This can be a little bit of a downer compared to otherwise having full control over the shape your creations, but the restrictions are understandable. After all, a submarine wouldn't work very well if it didn't have a solid hull big enough to house your character! While you can't change the shape of some items, you can color them in however you want. You could add a custom design to the side of your sled or a fancy pattern onto your hang glider.

Of course, one could easily breeze through the whole game by colouring everything a solid colour instead of putting some effort into their artistry, but that kills a lot of the fun. That'd be like playing Wii Tennis sitting down. Sure, it may be easier, but that's not in the spirit of the game. How much fun you get out of this game partially depends on how much work you put into it. At least, that's how I see it.

Of course, you never have to draw exactly what they say. Instead of clouds you could draw some classic bricks from Super Mario Bros.! Or maybe replace that Tiki head with a foot! The game doesn't know the difference, and it's quite fun to boot!

One problem with drawing items to be used in the platforming segments of the game is that if the object you're drawing moves, you don't know exactly in what way the item moves until after you draw it. Imagine spending all that time drawing a super-detailed clam, only to notice that the hinge is on the other side of the object. You'd have to go back and fix it, or continue on and spring off of some messed up clams. Either way, it's somewhat of a pain.

Okay, now that I'm finally done yapping about the artistry part of the game, let's move along to the platforming aspect. Sadly, it seems that most of the creativity went towards the drawing integration, because the platforming sections are somewhat generic. Jump, fire a snowball, jump, run, jump, butt stomp, enter building, grab page piece, free trapped Raposa, wash, rinse, repeat. Every now and then the monotony is broken by drawing an object, and then it's business as usual.

Although it does deserve saying that while everything's relatively same ol', same ol', it's still pretty fun. It's just not new. I have fun playing through each level, it's just that I never find myself thinking "Wow, that's something new!" outside of the drawing segments.

I really love the art style in this game. Well, the art not drawn by me, that is. First of all, the Raposa are just so darn cute! As you can see on the box art above, the Raposa are an adorable bunch of little guys, with big ol' ears. The rest of the game is equally colourful and bright, from the biggest boss battle down to the smallest enemy.

There's even one part when art really meets gameplay, and that's when your character takes damage. Instead of having a life bar or health meter of any sort, your character takes damage visually. Every hit you take knocks off your custom artwork from the mannequin frame. As your character takes more and more damage, his or her mannequin skeleton is further revealed. If you manage to take so much damage that you're down to having no custom artwork left on your character, then it's just one more hit until you're done for.

All it takes is one more hit, and this guy's toast.

It can sometimes be hard to tell how much health you have left if you give your character bulky gear. For example, my character's underwater helmet is a full fishbowl (Surprisingly effective). Since the head is the last part to lost it's custom artwork when taking damage, I'm sometimes left wondering if I have any health left. I suppose that's just my fault, though.

Adding even more to the intense cuteness of the Raposa is their adorable little chatter. When you walk up to a Raposa and talk to it, the conversation is usually preceded by a small outcry of "Rapo!" or "Raposa!". It's in such an adorable little voice! It's as if 5TH Cell didn't think they were cute enough already. No, they had to go and make them even cuter. WHEN WILL THEY LEARN?!

The music in the game isn't something you'll find yourself humming the next day, but it's still something that keeps the action flow going. Sorry if that makes no sense, but that's the best way I could put it. Basically, it's nice music that helps without being all that noticeable.

There seems to be a multiplayer function in the game as well. I say "there seems to be", as I just noticed it about an hour ago. As far as I can tell, it's limited to trading character designs between consoles. Sounds pretty cool, really. Perhaps if I had a friend with a copy of this game and a shred of artistic talent it'd be a neat idea. However, that is not the case, so I can't judge the game on this.

I haven't finished Drawn to Life quite yet, and I'm pleasantly surprised at how much time I've put into it without actually getting to the credit sequence. This game has some surprising longevity to it! Or maybe I just suck. That could be it.


Storyline: 8.0/10
The story to Drawn to Life, while somewhat basic, is strangely gripping. You start to care about the characters that you see throughout the village, and it really sucks whenever something bad happens. Then again, I'm somewhat of a sap.

Gameplay: 8.2/10
Being able to draw whatever you want and see it come to life is incredibly rewarding. From crafting the hero himself to drawing an umbrella for the beach, it's really nice to see you art become part of the game. The platforming is somewhat generic, but it's still fun. If you want something new when it comes to your platforming, this isn't the game for you.

Audio: 7.2/10
The Raposa are so adorable with their little cries of "Rapo" and such! I can't help but crack a smile whenever I talk to one of them. The music is a little on the generic side, but it isn't bad enough to affect the experience. And the sound effects? Pretty basic, really. Whenever the hero jumps it sounds like a zipper for some reason...

Longevity: 8.6/10
Drawn to Life is a pretty long adventure, surprisingly. Most DS games are fairly short, but I was gladly shown otherwise. I've played it for a few hours a day since Monday, and I still have a bit left to do. I question how much replay value there will be afterwards, though.

OVERALL: 8.0/10
Drawn to Life was criminally ignored last year, and that's a real shame. It's easily one of the most unique games to hit the DS in a while, and I'm very sad to see sales so low. Sure, it has a few shortcomings in the platforming and sound departments, but everything else makes up for this. Drawn to Life is a very fun platformer, and if you're a creative person, this is more than deserving of a spot in your game library.

So then, so concludes my first review in about two months! Things should pick up in the review department from here on in, so don't worry about that. Well, that's that!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Games that need to be remade

I like new games as much as the next guy. But still, there's some games that have gone by and become lost in the annals of time. These are games I'd love to see remade. Not only for me, but for the new generation of gamers we are beginning to see. People born in the mid- to late-nineties have most likely missed out on the fruits of gaming's heyday. What better way to acquaint them with the past of gaming than a remake? So, without further ado, here are some games I think are well worth a remake.

Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions

Released in 2000, these two games are the most recent of the titles in this article. Introducing these games seems somewhat pointless, since we know both of them so well (At least I hope we do!). But, just in case, here's the basic rundown.

Like Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow before them, Pokémon Gold and Silver were all about what fans of the series have come to love: Catching 'em all! With 100 new Pokémon (Bringing the grand total to 251), there was more to do than ever before.

Along with new Pokémon, Gold and Silver added a few other features that would later become recurring trends in the Pokémon series. First, they added the PokéGear. Worn like a watch, this handy little computer served as a phone and a radio, among other things. This would later return in Ruby and Sapphire as the Pokénav, and again in Diamond and Pearl as the Pokétch. This multi-tool, although somewhat of a novelty in the second generation, served as the base for so much more.

Another added feature was an internal clock, which would keep track of real-world time. Whenever it became late in real life, the lights would come on, and the environment would darken. Depending on what time of day it was, certain Pokémon would become more or less common, some of which will appear exclusively at a certain time of the day. Also, depending on the time of day, a properly cared-for Eevee could evolve into either an Espeon or an Umbreon.

Pokémon Gold and Silver added much to the Pokémon universe. But what could be added to them to entice veterans of the series to buy it again? Well, I'm thinking that we'd see a fully redone version of Kanto (The location of Red, Blue and Yellow) instead of the shrunken, stripped-down version we got in addition to Johto in the second game.

Also, the game would be fully compatible with Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, allowing for trading and battling between the two. This would make it far easier for Diamond and Pearl players when it came to finishing their Pokédex.

Of course, the game would also need to be entirely compatible with the Diamond and Pearl Global Trade System (GTS). If that's not possible, then it would at least need a similar service of it's own. I just can't imagine Pokémon without the GTS anymore!

There's a huge demand for a Pokémon Gold and Silver remake, and the potential is almost as great. I only hope the Nintendo and Game Freak have realized this as well.

The Legend of Zelda

Originally released way back in 1986, the closest it's ever gotten to a remake is BS Zelda no Densetsu on the Super Famicom's Satellaview game service. Sure, it's been re-released on the Virtual Console, but I'm still dying for an enhanced remake.

The Legend of Zelda was an amazing adventure title for the NES/Famicom, introducing many new features then unheard of in video games. It pioneered the overworlds and dungeons we see all the time nowadays, and it practically created the free-roaming aspect of games that we don't even seem to notice anymore. Without The Legend of Zelda, the world of gaming would be very different indeed.

So what could be done to this already amazing game to make it worth buying over the Virtual Console port? First of all, it would have entirely revamped graphics, taking full advantage of whatever console it's developed for. If made for the Wii, it could have waggle-controls for sword movement, and a DS version could be controlled like Phantom Hourglass.

Additional sidequests and such would also be added, with the possibility of entirely new maps exclusive to the remake. And perhaps, in similar fashion of the Link to the Past remake, this version could share a game card/disc with a brand-new Four Swords game! Whether this remake happens on the Wii or the DS, there'll be plenty of space left over for an entire secondary game.

The Legend of Zelda could become a powerhouse title for the Wii or the DS, and I hope Nintendo has noticed this. A remake is far overdue, and I've been dreaming of such a thing ever since the Link to the Past GBA port. It can be done, and if I have any say in it (Which I don't), it will be done.

Final Fantasy VII

Of course, it would just be wrong to write an article like this and leave out the amazing triumph of RPG design that is Final Fantasy VII. This game deserves every ounce of praise it gets, and I only wish I owned a copy of my own so I could play it all over again. All three glorious CDs of it...

Anyways, for those unfamiliar with Final Fantasy VII (FOR SHAME!!!), here's the basics. As with all the other numbered Final Fantasy games before it, Final Fantasy VII was an incredibly in-depth and fleshed out RPG. Being the first ever on the Playstation, and possibly more importantly, first ever Final Fantasy in 3D, VII had some big expectations to live up to. And did it fill those shoes?

In a word: DEFINITELY.

With it's new Materia system, Final Fantasy VII made it easier than ever before to customize your characters any way you wanted. Want Cloud to cast Thunder? Sure thing. Feel like having Cid unleash Bahamut? Go right ahead. Final Fantasy VII gave you an incredible amount of control over how your characters were structured, and it's been overcome very few times to this day.

To top it all off, it had an amazing story that was incredibly epic in both scale and length. What starts off as "fighting the power" eventually escalates into an adventure to save the very planet they live on. Final Fantasy VII's story is still ingrained in my mind to this very day.

So then, if this game's so epic and amazing, what could they possibly do to improve upon it? Of course, we're gonna be seeing some beefed-up graphics. Just imagine if Final Fantasy VII was remade for the PS3 (Which is looking to be the most likely candidate as of now). All that raw power put into making the characters from one of history's greatest RPGs look the way we've always dreamed, and bringing them to life like never before... I don't know about you, but that would sure get me thinking about buying a PS3!

As for actual content, I'm not sure what could be added... The original title itself was already so expansive! And I'm sure a change too radical would anger the fans... For this particular section, I'm going to have to leave the genius up to Square-Enix. They do know what's best for the game, after all. Well, if it even exists or ever will exist, that is.

And it has to exist! Come on, Dirge of Cerberus, Advent Children and Before Crisis can't possibly exist without a Final Fantasy VII remake! ...right?

The Duck Has Spoken.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mini-Article: Why don't they just announce Animal Crossing Wii already?

Only a mini-article tonight. Don't have it in me for a full-length post...

Nintendo has come so incredibly close to admitting the existance of this Animal Crossing Wii, but never actually outright said that it was being made. We've pretty much known it was real since E3 2006, when they used it as an example of how games could send messages to the Wii Message Board to remind you of events or whatever.

After that, things calmed down a bit. But then rumours of a playable Animal Crossing character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl surfaced, which were then boosted by the confirmation of Mr. Resetti's presence as an Assist Trophy. And now there's another rumour floating around that Animal Crossing Wii will be a massively-multiplayer online (MMO) game, with several interconnected towns and such.

No matter how little Nintendo says about this one, the talk just won't die down! I just don't see why they can't just come out and announce it already. We pretty much know that it's out there. Might as well just calm the rumblings.

But, if they want to keep it quiet until it's ready, okay. We don't need to hear about all the stuff in the beta that might not make it to print. But can't Miyamoto just say something like "Hey, we're making Animal Crossing Wii. Alright? Ok, back to work."

Then I could sleep at night.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Poll #22: "Are you going to use the forums?" results, banner

"I've already signed up!" 17 votes (38%)
"Yes, but I haven't signed up" 3 votes (6%)
"Maybe, I'm not sure" 9 votes (20%)
"Probably not" 5 votes (11%)
"Absolutely not" 3 votes (6%)
"Wait... There's a forum?" 7 votes (15%)

Well, it's good to see that the forums have been received so well! In fact, there's already been over 680 posts! So if you haven't joined yet, why not register today?

This week's banner comes from forum member WJUK. Sure, it doesn't pertain to any particular video game, but dang it, that duck is wearing shades! Excellent work, man.

Do you want to submit a banner? Well, if you're registered on the forums, just click here, read the specifications and post your banner! You can still e-mail your banner to me via, if you prefer. Just make sure you follow the guidelines, and it's okay either way!

Finally, make sure to vote on this week's poll, "What so-far announced 2008 game are you most looking forward to?"! I have a feeling a certain Wii fighter is going to be winning this poll...

Alright then! New article in a bit!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The never-questioned and omnipresent video game oddities

There are some strange things that always happen in video games. Things that break many of the laws of physics, but we almost never question them. Why? Because they've always been there, ever since the beginning. So here are some insane occurrences and inconsistencies present in almost every game, but you most likely don't notice.

Enemies are rarely dismembered or maimed by swords

This is probably the weirdest of them all. No matter how many times you swipe at an enemy with a sword, they rarely bear any scars or injuries even remotely related to a sword attack. Really, one good swipe with a sword would kill almost any living being, yet it often takes many more than that in the world of video games.

Somewhat related to the above is the light sabers in many Star Wars games. In the movies, does one blow from a light saber not cause severe damage? Doesn't happen in any of the video games I've played.

Bullet-proof hero

Ever watch CSI or any show like that? Often the victims are found with one fatal bullet wound on their body, with maybe one or two additional wounds. That is rarely (If ever) the truth in a video game. Unless it's a headshot, you're likely to get hit quite a few times before being brought down by an enemy. I could take my character in Godfather, run into the middle of a Cuneo gunfight and stand there for a moment, getting pelted with bullets, and survive. My character will merely jerk a bit when hit, and that's it. He should be dead by now!

Jeez, reminds me of that woman in the second Austin Powers movie. "Why won't you die?!"

I never knew Octoroks carried wallets

In almost any video game, killing a monster will yield a cash reward. Y'know, because Tonberries have bank accounts. Have these monsters killed other foes in the past and looted them for some unknown reason? Or perhaps we just keep running into the enemies on their way to the corner store. Because, you know, Tektites need bread, eggs and milk, too.

Weakest enemies up front, if you please

Isn't it convenient how you always start off a game next to incredibly weak enemies? Why can't you ever start in a town with some level 70 monsters kicking around? In Pokémon, you always start off in a small town with no gym leader, incredibly weak wild Pokémon, and with the first gym less than three towns away. Maybe game characters just have really awesome luck. Or really good real estate agents.

Can't touch this

Apparently, Princess Zelda is Superman in disguise. What other explanation could there be for her surviving all these bombs, arrows and sword slashes I keep dishing out? Unless she's merely a figment of my imagination, some allies just can't be injured. Well, not by you, at least. I once emptied my entire ammunition stockpile on Sonny Corleone in The Godfather, only to have him emerge without a scratch. Then, five minutes later, he gets whacked by a few guys wielding tommy guns. I guess the bullets were kryptonite-tipped, or something.

Those houses are deceptively spacious

Run around any town in Final Fantasy or Pokémon. Chances are, you'll run into far more people than there are accommodations for. These people must be hobos or something. Or perhaps Pokémon trainers are too awesome for housing. Either way, somebody's hiding something from us.

Or it's a developer's oversight. That's a possibility too, I suppose.

New weapon = Boss' weakness

In any Zelda game, the weapon you find in a dungeon is key to defeating the boss monster within. Your newly-acquired bombs make quick work of King Dodongo, and your bow and arrow make the battle against Phantom Ganon possible to win. Where's the logic in this? Does Ganon put the weapons in the dungeons for kicks? I suppose has hidden camera in all the boss chambers, and he charges his buddies to watch.

"Watch, watch, Link doesn't know that Stallord has two forms! Look... Ha! That's great. That'll be five bucks, Aganihm."

So, those are several things that occur in many video games, and you've likely not noticed at least one of them. From Super Mario to Jak and Daxter, every game has it's fair share of oddities. I suppose you just stop noticing after a while...

The Duck Has Spoken.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Random Babbling

I can't think of anything substantial to write tonight, so here's a series of near-incoherent mini-rants. Some may not even be related to gaming, so watch out.

-Why are so many Playstation 3 games so darn short? Seriously, a Blu-Ray disc has about 60GB of storage space, plenty of room for an epically long game. Yet Heavenly Sword and Uncharted (Two heavily anticipated games) came up short in the longevity department. They couldn't have possibly filled up 60GB of space with graphics, physics and such, so extra play was certainly a possibility. Why the shortness?

-What's with all the gun shells for the Wii remote? I've seen over twenty different models so far. Really, I think anybody who wanted one has bought it by now. You can stop making them!

-How come almost no companies upload their commercials to Youtube? Seriously, that's free advertising right there. All you need is an internet connection, a computer, and a FREE Youtube account. You spend a few thousand bucks on a commercial, you can take five minutes to put it online.

-Why don't more games have "Screenshot" functions? Unless you're playing on a computer with your handy "Print Screen" button, there's rarely any chance for screen grabs. Metroid Prime 3 sported such a feature, but even then it had to be unlocked. What the heck?

-Somewhat in relation to the above: Why can't we send images from a Wii to an e-mail address? Would that harm the universe in some way? Even if a screenshot feature is in a game, there's no way to send it to anything but another Wii.

-Why can't we send Virtual Console gifts to people in other countries? If the game we wish to send to the other person is available in their region, what's the difference? It's not like we're stealing your money or anything, since (With exchange rates) the points all cost the same. And divided by countries? What about all my American buddies? No Super Mario Bros. 3 for little Billy of New York? You know, that little kid I just made up? What about him? DO YOU NOT CARE ABOUT LITTLE BILLY?!?!

-Why must LEGO and video games both be so expensive? Why can't I have a cheap hobby? LEGO and Nintendo need to get together and decide who needs to drop their prices. Seriously. It could be done. They'll just meet at whatever point is directly between Japan and Denmark, so as to avoid home field advantage.

-This article is going are far longer than I'd expected. Why won't I hit post? Why can't I be satisfied with what's been written? Oh, to hell with it! I need my sleep.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Monday, January 7, 2008

My Vision of the Next DS

Lately there's been a lot of talk about the next DS. And they're not talking about another redesign like the DS Lite. They're talking about another platform altogether. Just as the Nintendo 64 became the Gamecube and the Game Boy Color became the Game Boy Advance, people are starting to talk a lot about the handheld commonly dubbed "DS 2".

Since it seems to be the current "it" thing to talk about, I guess I'd better toss in my two cents. Here's what I think the next DS will be like.

No GBA support

The ol' Game Boy Advance really is getting on in years. I don't think it's had a decent game released for it since Drill Dozer back in early 2006. So why bother adding something to a console that won't likely be used? The Game Boy Advance had a good, seven year run. But nothing can last forever.

And besides, ditching support for the old can make more room for the new, as well as lower production time and costs. And without the need for the big old cartridge slot, it will be possible to make the new DS even smaller! Imagine an entire, closed DS 2 no thicker than the bottom section of a DS Lite. The technology is there! Just look at the Game Boy Micro and the iPhone!

An SD card slot

Speaking of the whole "out with the old, in with the new" mentality, I see the next DS having a built-in SD card slot. And what would that be for? I'm seeing music, movies, pictures and more! Imagine using an SD card to input your own custom music into a Need For Speed game, or having your own pictures appear as posters in an in-game store. Sounds pretty neat, huh?

And of course, there'd be a separate mode just for listening to music, watching movies and checking out pictures. So if you don't have a specially made game, you'd still be able to see your files. It'd almost be cruel to not include this!

Larger, wider screens

It seems that everywhere you look nowadays, be it televisions, computer monitors or frequent fast food-eaters' waistlines, everything's going wide. So why can't the DS follow suit? Just imagine two huge, 4.3" wide screens, sitting one above the other. It's be like two PSPs stuck together! A DS with a resolution of 16:9... Now that's a handheld worth camping out for!

The raw horsepower of a handheld Gamecube

The Gamecube was one powerful system. Resident Evil 4, anyone? Take that, and imagine playing it on a handheld console. Crazy? Yes. Possible? It seems so! After all, look at the PSP. It came out in 2005, two months short of three years ago. The PSP was practically a PS2 in the palm of your hand, so really, a pocket-sized Gamecube may not be too far away.

And further helping this guess is an old rumour that was floating around. IGN said the following back in August 2006:

IBM may be working on a revised Broadway chip with a lower clock speed for a future Nintendo hand-held -- presumably one that plays GameCube discs.

Yeah, so what? A rumour's a rumour, right? In this case, perhaps not. Shortly after the article containing this quote was posted, it was pulled from the website, and later reposted, WITHOUT the above quote. Would they go through all that if it were merely a rumour? I don't think so...

A DS with Gamecube-level graphics is almost confirmed to be on the way. With the increase of technology's limits, a decrease of cost, and the above suspicious activity, I'm nearly positive of this super-charged handheld's existence.

Put it all together and the end result is...

A handheld DS, with an SD card slot, two three inch wide LCD 16:9 screens, and the goldmine of graphical power that is the Gamecube. Add to it a sleek design, a great gaming library and some Nintendo magic, and voila! You've got one hell of a handheld system.

Is this in any way near what the DS 2 will be like? Will it be so powerful and have so many bells and whistles? Or does Nintendo have something even more grand up their sleeve? Only time will tell, and until then, we can do nothing but dream...

The Duck Has Spoken.

New poll and banner, and a return to the normal schedule

Well then, it's January 7th. Just about time to get things back to normal around here!

First things first, let's get that new banner up. In case you didn't know, One Duck's Opinion now has it's very own forums, and this banner is a celebration of that. It opened less than 24 hours ago, and it's already hit 100 posts! I'm very pleased with how things are going here, and I can only hope things will get even better.

Speaking of the forums, you can now submit banners to the website via this thread! Just check out the info in the first post first, and you're well on your way!

And now to continue our weekly tradition, we have a new poll! This week's question is "Are you going to use the forums?". I try to keep the questions less focused on the site, but in situations such as this, well, I made an exception.

Okay then, I'll be writing up an article in a bit. Hope to see you at the forums!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The forums are now open!

That's right, folks! The One Duck's Opinion Forums are now ready to be used! Now that didn't take too long, did it?

I've added a Forums button in the sidebar, right below the posting schedule. You can't miss it!

So all you gotta do now is sign up, read the rules, and you're in business! Let's hope these forums do well!

The Duck Has Spoken.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Future Wii Franchises 2

Man, I haven't touched this series of articles since June! Time to change that.
"If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour, you're gonna see some serious gaming."

I like new franchises as much as the next guy. I'm incredibly excited for Disaster: Day of Crisis and No More Heroes. But still, there's just something about the tried and true that's unbeatable. So then, here's two game franchises that I think would be great on the Wii.

Really, this is a no-brainer. Ever since Wii Boxing was announced, people have been begging for a sequel to Nintendo's classic fighter. And who can blame them? The two-handed set-up of the Wii remote and Nunchuk seems like it was made just for boxing!

The controls would be pretty much the same as in Wii Boxing, which is a good thing. Why mess with what works? So for those unfamiliar with the controls in Wii Boxing, here's the basic run-down. Holding the controls up in front of you, you simply jerk your hands towards the screen to jab. Give it a bit of an upward sweeping motion for an uppercut, and swipe in from the sides to hit your opponent across the body. Holding the controls up in front of your face blocks incoming blows, and leaning to the side enables you to dodge your opponent's punches.

In addition to the above, players could press one of the many available buttons to unleash one of Little Mac's special moves. And who knows what could be added to that? Perhaps using the Nunchuk's analog stick to move around the ring? And the possibilities for training modes and bonus games are pretty extensive. Beating up a punching bag to power up your shots and mock-running on a treadmill to work on your endurance... Heck, this could turn into the core gamer's Wii Fit!

With a good amount of work, a Punch Out!!! Wii game could be the beefed-up Wii Boxing that fighting fans have been asking for! Give him zee uppercut!

Racing games don't get much faster or furious than the F-Zero series. Over the years, F-Zero has enjoyed a somewhat "cult" following in the shadow of Mario Kart. Despite the franchise's relative unpopularity, it always manages to be a super-charged, adrenaline-fueled hit. It's been on the Super Nintendo, the Nintendo 64 and the Gamecube, and now it's time for it to make it's grand appearance on the Wii.

The main thing to consider in a F-Zero Wii game is the controls. Adapting it to the Wii's unique controller may not be easy, but it could work. Here is how I see the motion-controlled parts working:

As you can see, the Wii remote acts somewhat like a gas pedal. Pressing down accelerates, and pulling back is like an inversed brake pedal. Pulling back even further puts it in reverse. This would allow for some amazing control over your speed and acceleration. And now for the Nunchuk portion:

The motion sensors in the Nunchuk will act like an emergency brake handle. Tilting the Nunchuk back will engage the brake. Using this during turns would be great for starting drifts! I suppose jerking the Nunchuk back to engage the brake would work, too. It would probably feel pretty cool to boot!

Now, those of you who've played Need For Speed: Carbon on the Wii should be pretty familiar with this, as the above was an available control scheme in the 2006 racer. I thought it was pretty great, and it seemed a perfect fit for F-Zero, so I ran with it. I suggest giving this game a rent just for the controls.

As for the other stuff, that'll be handled by the usual suspects (Turning with analog stick, menu with + button, etc.).

Of course, this wouldn't necessarily be the only available control scheme. In fact, there's a good chance that the real game won't have any motion control at all! Back in 2006, Shigeru Miyamoto said in an interview with Nintendo Dream that not all games need to use motion controls, and he stated F-Zero as an example. According to him, it looks like we'll be using our Classic Controllers once the time comes.

But still, motion controls would be pretty neat, wouldn't they?

Alrighty then! There's the article, people. As I said in the Chat Box, I'm going to look into creating a forum for the blog tomorrow. If all goes well, it will be up by the 10th. I wanna make sure I nail down the rules and such before I open the doors!

Okay, I guess I'll see you guys on Monday, if not sooner. Until then, keep on gaming!

The Duck Has Spoken.

No post tonight, something tomorrow instead.

Sorry, folks. Nothing tonight. Gotta get up in a few hours! I've already got an idea, so I'll just write it up tomorrow.

Oh, and this being the first post this year... Happy New Year, everyone! It's only about five days late!

The Duck Has Spoken.