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    Sep 28th, 2009 at 22:47:56     -    Sam and Max Save the World (Wii)

    GAMEPLAY
    If it was not for the sitcom humor of "Sam and Max," I feel like I would soon grow bored with the gameplay. Essentially, the game is a point-and-click adventure, only with a Wiimote. Pushing the "A" button and waving the Wiimote back and forth is about as immersive as the game mechanics get. It's a simple game to pick up and enjoy, but not one to spend hours and hours and hours playing.

    The characters of Sam and Max are wonderfully entertaining. Sam is more of the straight man (dog?) when compared to Max and his psychosis; Sam is the one leading the investigations and asking witnesses (usually) relevant questions. Max, on the other hand, is a complete lunatic who enjoys causing violence and general mischief. Together, one would think their eccentricities would cancel out. But one would be wrong! Together they are a very silly, trouble-making, buddy-cop team.


    DESIGN
    "Sam and Max" has many interactive elements that are giving me a few ideas for the game project my partner and I are working on. Sam will comment on almost every object in the game (pictures, newspaper clippings, groceries). Supporting characters will also react when Sam uses an object like a tear gas grenade. I'd really like our game project to have a similar level of interaction, so the player will spend some time exploring the area and marvelling at little details, like a scrap of paper on the floor or a painting on the wall.

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    Sep 28th, 2009 at 22:23:46     -    Sam and Max Save the World (Wii)

    SUMMARY
    "Sam and Max Save the World" is a game for the Nintendo Wii (though originally for PC) that follows the misadventures of the freelance police detectives Sam (the dog) and Max (the insane rabbit). The player must collect items and question witnesses in order to solve cases and bring criminals to justice.

    GAMEPLAY
    What I love most about this game so far is the silly banter between Sam and Max. For example, when Sam is about to get into his police car, Max asks very excitedly, "Mind if I drive?" To which Sam replies, "Not if you don't mind me clawing at the dash and shrieking like a cheerleader." The voice-actors are spot-on in their delivery, and it just adds to the wonderful, snappy, film-noir-esque feel to the game. The cutscenes are a joy to sit through, and it's all thanks to the wonderful lines Sam and Max deliver.

    Another hilarious part of the game is a little mini-game in which Sam and Max board their car and chase after other motorists. Sam and Max can ram into the back of a random car, then pull that poor motorist over for a number of random reasons. One reason: impersonating a ferret. Max can also shoot the tail light of another car, and Sam can then pull the motorist over for a broken tail light!

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    Sep 8th, 2009 at 22:44:46     -    Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)

    GAMEPLAY

    After playing Shadow of the Colossus for a few hours, I've found that over half my time has been spent exploring the world rather than battling the Colossi. If the game was any less gorgeous, or any less expansive, this would be very boring. But Shadow of the Colossi keeps the world map varied while still retaining cohesion. It's not like some other games in which there is a volcanic area and then a snowy area. There are canyons and an ocean and mountains, and yet with the same color tone and similar plant life, it all feels like the same world.

    The game continues to make me quite sad; every time a Colossi dies, you see its statue crumble, and then a bright pillar of light cuts across the sky, reminding the player, "Yes, yes you killed it! Right here!" And that pillar of light just stays there for the rest of the game. Usually, when you beat a huge monster, a game should make you feel accomplished for doing so. I don't feel accomplished at all!


    DESIGN

    Shadow of the Colossus, with its huge world map and huge monsters, does a very good job of making the player feel very small and very alone. The player is truly at the end of the world. This loneliness leads to the player to become very attached to Wander's horse, Agro. I personally fretted quite a bit when I'd whistle and Agro took a little too long to respond. My brother told me that he managed to kill his horse, and when he found her lying dead in the middle of the wasteland, he almost cried. Luckily that hasn't happened to me yet, but that just makes me worry about leaving Agro alone for too long!

    One thing that did strike me as odd: there is no background music in the game when you are not fighting a Colossus. This may tie into the unsettling silence and the feeling of being alone, but some gentle background music would have been nice. That is my one minor complaint on an otherwise spectacular game.

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    Sep 6th, 2009 at 18:52:49     -    Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)

    SUMMARY

    In Shadow of the Colossus, the player controls Wander, a young man who must defeat sixteen roaming monsters (Colossi) in order to bring his lover back from the dead. The Colossi are, well, COLOSSAL, and defeating them takes both platforming and puzzle-solving skills.


    GAMEPLAY

    The gameplay in Shadow of the Colossus is quite satisfying. I love just hopping onto my horse and galloping around the gorgeous world map. The controls are simple and pretty intuitive, allowing me to focus on puzzle-solving. Battling a Colossus is especially quite fun, since the player must have good timing and a sharp mind to take the monster down. There's a lot of trial and error involved, and a LOT of falling off the Colossus, but that just makes the experience more satisfying in the end.

    So far, playing this game makes me feel...well, quite sad! The game begins on a morose note; the open cutscene includes Wander laying his dead woman on a slab. But what really gets me? Killing the Colossi. When battling the first Colossus, I was getting more and more irritated every time he shook me off his back. That's when I thought, "All right, time for you to die." But when I finally killed him, there was black blood spewing everywhere, the howling of pain, and then a long cutscene of his death...and it's all very sad!

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    1Gungrave (PS2)Stopped playing - Got Bored
    2Sam and Max Save the World (Wii)Playing
    3Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)Playing

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