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    Feb 23rd, 2007 at 16:50:51     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    OK, so I played through the single-player game using Link. I definitely enjoy the multiplayer aspect more, but one thing I really like about the single-player is the inclusion of the mini-puzzles "break the targets" and "reach the goal." These simple but fun breaks from the fighting are cleverly tailored for each character, so they force you to make use of your chosen character's unique abilities in order to beat them. For example, in "break the targets," there are a couple targets that are outside of attack range. Since I could not use Link's sword to attack, I had to use his bow & arrow attack or toss a bomb in order to hit it. Another thing I like about the single-player experience is the variety of the battles. Sometimes I was fighting one opponent, sometimes two or three, and sometimes over a dozen! Also, you fight against special versions of characters - for instance, I fought against "metal Mario," who is stronger yet much slower than the original, and does not get knocked back easily by attacks. These design choices keep the single-player game from being monotonous. While the story isn't exactly enthralling (you're a figurine of a popular Nintendo character fighting against the evil(?) Master Hand), this game wouldn't really benefit too much from a better story premise. The gameplay is what makes this game so good, especially in regards to its multiplayer. The only real criticism is the fact that this game only offers a small selection of fighters, and there are many Nintendo franchises that are left out as a result. Of course, Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Gamecube improved the roster, adding several more characters, and the next installment will hopefully continue this trend. The more options, the better!

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    Feb 23rd, 2007 at 05:04:40     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    Playing this game brings back happy memories. And after all this time, it still retains its appeal. The genius behind this game is not only its inclusion of several Nintendo franchises, but a re-imagining of the fighting genre. It is wrong to categorize this game as being a fighter in the traditional sense, because it plays unlike any other fighting game out there (except for the knock-offs, and of course, Super Smash Bros. Melee for Gamecube). Yes you select a character, and yes the goal is to defeat your opponent/s, but that is the only reason to call this game a fighter in the first place. You don't have an energy gauge/life bar like other fighters; rather, the percentage of damage you've taken is displayed, and the higher it gets, the more likely your character will go flying off the screen in defeat. And instead of the stages containing only a floor and a background environment, there is actually platforming elements. For example, in the hyrule temple stage, there are multiple platforms you can stand on: there's a main section, a top section, and a section below. And it is a big stage, with plenty of space to work with. These attributes afford the player with several different strategies of play - if you're using a fast character, you can play keep-away from your opponent; if you're using a slow character, you can go down below and wait there for the others to attack you; and if you have charge-up or long-range attacks, you can blast away at distracted players from a safe distance. The other revolutionary aspect of this game is that instead of fighting against just one opponent, you can find yourself fighting against 3 or more! I prefer fighting against multiple opponents actually, because the pacing in this game is a lot slower against just one opponent than other fighting games. Of course the icing on the cake is the multiplayer mode - this is the main reason why I bought Super Smash Bros. in the first place. When I played this with my housemates earlier today, I was instantly reminded why I was so addicted to this game. Playing against your friends is exhilarating. The action is intense, with the option to include items that drop from the sky such as mallets, pokeballs, laser guns, etc. in order to add even more strategy to the game. The real draw is the multiplayer mode - this extremely well-executed part of the game is what makes it such a timeless classic. In my next log I'll talk a bit about the single-player mode after spending some more time with that.

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    Feb 9th, 2007 at 18:54:33     -    Phoenix Wright: Justice For All (DS)

    While I still haven't quite beaten this game yet, I feel like I've played enough to present a detailed analysis. Here are some descriptions of different aspects of the game:

    1. Characters - Still as wacky as the first game...again, not a bad thing. Playing as a spiky-haired lawyer of justice never seems to get old.

    2. Music - mostly remixes of songs from the first game. Some of the new themes are nice, but not quite as thrilling as the original songs.

    3. Gameplay - instantly familiar to someone who has played the first game. Still searching for evidence, still finding contradictions in peoples' statements, and still dealing with bizarre murder cases. The "psyche lock" feature, as mentioned in the first log, is the only new addition. It is used a lot more in the third and final cases, but it never felt fully fleshed out. It was never used in the court battles, only while searching for evidence. Overall an interesting new gameplay mechanism, but underutilized.

    4. Story - Humorous scenarios mixed with hidden pasts pretty much sums up each case in this game. There are many comedic moments throughout, but also genuinely clever plot twists, with secrets being revealed and lies uncovered.

    5. Replay Value - Not great. This type of game is good for a single play-through, because afterwards you know what to look for and what to do and say in the court battles. There are no alternate paths to take; it's a linear game that is fun while it lasts, but one that you probably won't pick up and play again for quite a while.

    6. Lasting impressions - While this is a fun game, it doesn't really improve upon the first game in my opinion. Also, one thing I haven't mentioned yet is that this is based on a Game Boy Advance game that has been ported over for the DS. That said, besides using the touchscreen to press on evidence and using the built-in microphone to say "hold it!" and "objection!", the capabilities of the DS are not really utilized. Almost everything you use the touchscreen for you can also just use the d-pad and press buttons. I would have liked to see more touch-based puzzles or activities, but I suppose I'll have to wait for a Phoenix Wright game that is made from the ground up for the DS.

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    Feb 9th, 2007 at 01:25:54     -    Phoenix Wright: Justice For All (DS)

    I was a big fan of the first Phoenix Wright game for the DS, "Ace Attorney", so I was definitely excited about the sequel! What I like about this series is it's sense of humor, its wacky characters, and its ridiculous court cases. In "Justice For All", you reprise the role of Phoenix Wright - a spiky-haired defense attorney who's mission is to gather evidence and find contradictions in the witnesses' testimonies in order to clear your clients' names. The main prosecutor in this one (there is more than one, but the game focuses on this one) is Franziska Von Fraasen - the daughter of Mr. Von Fraasen from the first game who is trying to get revenge upon you for soiling the Von Fraasen name by beating you in court. Not only that, but she caries her signature whip with her wherever she goes and actually whips people...even in court! Of course, the game rarely takes itself seriously, except when there's murder involved. Most of the characters in the game are highly eccentric - from the bumbling detective Gumshoe to the lecherous hospital patient who tries to pass himself off as the hospital's director! I'm on the third case right now (out of four total), and so far it's exactly the same as its predecessor - a murder occurs, an innocent person is accused, you go around getting evidence and questioning people, and you attempt to prove your client is not guilty in court. The only exception so far is the inclusion of a new feature called "psyche locks." Occasionally, when you are questioning someone, they will refrain from telling you the whole truth. When this happens, you will see chains appear with locks on them (the more locks there are, the harder the psyche lock is to break). These people have their reasons for not spilling the beans, and you must gather evidence to pry the truth out from them. This is an interesting addition to the game, but I'm not sure it makes it more fun. Perhaps if this feature was tweaked a bit it could provide more excitement, but right now it just seems to be a hassle sometimes. I will know more once I've finished playing through the game.

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    Entries written to date: 10
      Game Status / Read GameLog
    1Final Fantasy XII (PS2)Stopped playing - Something better came along
    2Gears of War (360)Finished playing
    3Phoenix Wright: Justice For All (DS)Finished playing
    4Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)Finished playing
    5Super Smash Brothers (N64)Finished playing

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