Thursday, January 3, 2008

Requiem for Cheese Whiz

I’m a firm beliver that one can say “life is like *insert anything here*” and justify it. I believe this primarily because a friend of mine told me so, and he then proceeded to explain how life was like cheese whiz. How he did this has long since been forgotten, but what’s important is that it was done. So naturally, in the spirit of my current pastime (which is really all the time), I will give an appropriate example with an inappropriate amount of excessive explanation. Without further ado…

Life is like mario galaxy. You proceed from one stage to another, with each succesive stage only becoming available after the first is completed. However, it is usually necessary to revisit previous stages (with the benefit of increased knowledge and wisdom gained from more recent experiences) to truly master your surroundings. Although you can revist these places, you cannot ever truly return, because the initial problems have been solved, and can never be unsolved to be discovered again like they were in the beginning. Victory, for the traditional goal of pursuing happieness, is arguably reletively easy to obtain, but for most, it seems hollow until every last possible nook and cranny is searched down and explored. Only after this can true contentment be found. Of course, being human, everyone goes back over their memories again and again, reexperiencing as much as they can, but eventually, after enough repititions, all of the passion fades away, and you are left with only the memories of memories, and eventually all will be forgot.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Bouldergeist Daredevil Run

This boss battle was a beast the first time through. Tough enemy in a very cool arena. I had a good amount of trouble as the last guy to face him, took at least a half dozen tries, but we got through with the clutch help of an overshield. Now, however, we are faced with the daredevil run. This means instead of having 6 life and the occasional coins, we have 1. I took it on first, and with a lot of luck managed it in just under a game over. j_vert took the next round, and it didn't turn out so good. After a long duel of wills, j_vert is currently taking a short break between rounds in the ring to collect himself, relax, get his mojo back. Now OSK is taking him on, and once again the bouldergeist is distinguishing himself as the single toughest boss yet encountered by a longshot. So far we've been blessed with continous progress. Yes, sometimes we've gotten hung up on a single star, but typically that's been just nasty on one player. Everyone has their bad moments, and although we give them some crap for it, we all know that it just takes some time to beat their personal deamons. This guy though, this guy's been beating on us all. Eventually, we're gonna take him down, but he's already done a number on us. It all comes down to good luck and well-trained instincts. It's hard to play really conservatively after you've had a half-dozen frustrating attempts, hence why we practice the breathers. Just taking some time off from the tension can have some pretty amazing effects on performance. Hopefully both of them will bring the smack down and beat this shadow-and-rock creature into the ground.

Major apologies for not posting this for around 24 hours after I finished it. I'll be better about this sort of thing in the future, I promise (please gods of karma, don't make me eat these words).

Hey, We Love Luigi and All, but... Seriously?

Giant pieces of meat in space = very bad for racing. j_vert had some trouble, but he got it in three or four tries. OSK is having a little more trouble, but he'll get it... eventually. We have faith. On the plus side, he's getting extra lives from star bits, so once he gets it, he's gonna make up some ground on the rest of us, which is going to help a lot with the hungry luma, and future ones too. There, he gots it. My turn XD

Sweet stuff with boos and invisible ground. It's like the zelda ocarina of time invisible ground, except you can't stand on this stuff unless you can see it. It's intense.

Oh, and on a random note (not at all related to the title), we found luigi. He's looking a little thin these days, being imprisioned by boos really didnt do him any good. Holy crap, luigi actually sucks. Allow me to explain: after you rescue him, he goes and looks for stars you might have missed. Sounds ok, maybe he'll open up hidden stars we couldn't get before. So he sends us some mail, saying he's found a star, with a picture of where he is in the level. Naturally, it's basically at the beginning, takes maybe a minute to get there, but y'know, he's probably just going to show us a new launch star, it'll be this sick new star stuff. Oh, what's that luigi? You have the star right here?
... douche.

At least luigi's mansion has been pretty good, 2 other good stars plus a nice hidden one. Actually, the third star is unreal. Nicely long, with a sick boss at the end. Even better, they improved on the lousy kill penalties. Each time you just have to refight the boss, but you need 30 new star bits if you want your overshield, so 3 or 4 tries in, if you still can't get it, it get's a lot harder. Very nice. Aww sick, after you kill him, he comes back! It's like gooper blooper, but even better. Except hopefully we'll only fight this guy once, not three times.
Dual-wield for the win. Man down. Victory is j_vert's.

Twelve... Ten... Nine... Four...

So, it's 2008... looking around, I gotta say the first couple hours haven't been particular better than last year. Galaxy rocks of course, but it rocked yesterday too, so I don't think we can pin that one on the new year.

Finally, galaxy has produced a truly beastly star, complete with an ice mario and ingenius use of enemies, wall kicks, all with an element of speed. A little frustrating, especially for the first guy (j_vert) but I think it's one of the best yet. On a completely different note, when d-pad targeting, the star bits hurtling towards you are pretty crazy. Not for those with heart conditions, or war veterans with post-traumatic stress.

I must say, the scattered nature of these galaxies is not in keeping with traditional mario, and I don't thinks it's an improvement. Although I love bowser worlds, a game of all bowser worlds just wouldn't work (this isn't nearly as good as that, but it's analogous to the highly sectionalized planets and puzzles). Bowser worlds are the desserts (specifically gumdrops) of the standard world meal (pizza of course). You can't just eat gumdrops... well you can, but it's much better to eat a crapload of pizza first. Some of the galaxies (honeyhive and the penguin beach one so far) are mostly just one planet, but even with that, typically one of the stars is at least half on a different mini-planet, so no single planet has more then 2 stars, and is therefore reletively simplistic and small. No need to really pack stars into small areas, or reuse sections of puzzles without changing them. I've always liked how Bo-omb Battlefield had you run past a chain chomp for 5 stars without making a big deal out of it, and then brought it back for the last star. It wasn't a new addition to the area, it had always been there, it just gained new importance. The galaxies do condense stars somewhat, but only really with comets, which reuse previous stars, with what is quite honestly not a huge change, not enough to really justify a whole new star.

Really, I just miss the large scale worlds of mario 64 filled with stars that you didn't have to get in any particular order. They were all there, the order was there just to give you hints on how to reach a star. Sunshine had even bigger worlds, with even more stars. The areas tended to be larger per star, with more specialized puzzles, but it worked out well because most of each level was still reused, with minor changes at most. Galaxy, so far, has been far too highly specialized for each puzzle. It's still good, but the style is a step backwords from its predecessors.

Now I'm feeling mean, so I will throw this out there: Galaxy has done very well with gravity and 3D mini-planets, and I'm loving the occasional step back into sidescrolling (especially the uses of gravity there).

That being said, I've lost basically all organizational skills, and I'm pretty sure my point rambles quite a bit more then it ought to back there, so I'll wrap this up for now. If anyone wants it, I'll very happily do another longer rant with more specifics (plus more galaxy will let me judge it's content better, we've seen less then a third so far).