Archive for June, 2012

System: Game Boy (also available for NES)

Release Date: July 1991

Rarity: 43%

Price/Location: $5.00/Retro Go! Games (JAFAX Vendor)

Here it is! The sole item I purchased at JAFAX (which I should mention stands for Japanese Animation, Film, and Art eXpo). People who know me personally know I don’t like anime. It’s not that I hate it, because I don’t, I just never really cared much about it. But there is a reason I’ve gone to JAFAX for the past 7 or 8 years. There is something for everyone there and this rang true this year especially. Video games are always the hot ticket at JAFAX, as evidenced by the two video game tournament/free play rooms and the numerous attendees I StreetPassed with on the 3DS.

For some attendees, this form of communication is the most they’ll engage in all year.

Something that’s been hit or miss every year is a vendor selling video games. In past years, I have either not had gainful employment when attending JAFAX or when I did, was near broke by the time it rolled around. This was literally the first year I had significant money to spend on merch. Usually nothing outside of the video games interests me, but luckily there were 2 different video game vendors for me to spend money on. If I was an import collector, the one vendor I came across would have been a virtual treasure trove of collectables, but alas, I am not.

A Japanese game about robots. Don’t see those everyday.

Retro Go! Games had a smaller selection, but their prices were surprisingly fair and there was plenty to pick from for under $5. I went with The Punisher because why not? I played it after getting back to my friend’s place. Would I feel punished for buying The Punisher? Or would Retro Go! Games be the Kingpins of awesome deals?

There HAS to be someone out there who thought this would be a Punisher movie told from the bad guy point of view… that was somehow also about bowling.

The cartridge and box art notes a “Special Appearance by Spider-Man!” With the way it’s worded, I’m thinking I won’t be able to play as Spider-Man, but maybe he’ll be a support character or something. I jump into the game, and see something that any gamer who knows what’s what would dread to see…

Unlike Skittles, this rainbow will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

LJN is synonymous with bad games. Their toys and action figures based on WWF wrestlers back in the 80’s and early 90’s were immensely popular, but the complete opposite could be said about their games. If games based on licensed properties got a bad rap, it’s because LJN is the one awkwardly spitting rhymes with all the grace of someone who doesn’t know what music is. With the disappointment firmly settled it, I push start. Spider-Man tells me DRUG GANGS ARE TERRORIZING INNOCENT PEOPLE AT THE MALL! Oh no! Time to punish!

The sole moment of this game that made me smile.

Aaaaaaaaand this game is a rail shooter. Great. Now, the very first game I reviewed for this blog, Tin Star, was also a rail shooter, but there were things about that game that won me over. The art style, the ease of control, the easily visible enemies, and varied levels were all factors in the high five I gave it. But this… this is disappointing…

You’d think with the reticule being so big it’d be easier. Nah.

Enemy sprites are really small and they tend to blend in with the environment a little too well. I understand technical limitations prevent them from standing out color-wise, but there are many monochrome Game Boy games without this problem. The non-enemy sprites are hilarious because they are women just casually walking their shopping carts down the mall completely oblivious to the firefight they’re blindly walking into. If you shoot them, you lose a chunk of your life bar. Worth it. They wanted to die.

“Alright! I’m off to the mall!”

I did a mediocre job in this level and with the boss. I died several times and several suicidal mall shoppers perished. So Spider-Man tells me “You did an alright job… I guess.” That’d be like if you performed a tune-up on someone’s car and the engine caught fire when you started it up and your boss is like, “Well, at least the tires are properly inflated!”

“Great going on that paint job!”

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

Ugh. The only reason I’m bargain binning this game rather than putting it in The Landfill is because there are a few things the game did okay. The aiming control isn’t horrible, the machine gun has ample ammo with plenty of ammo refills, and Spider-Man is such a dork in this game it made me chuckle. But just because Carlos Mencia made me laugh once doesn’t mean I’m a fan of his. Just as I’m not a fan of this game because it made me laugh.

He’s The Punisher to anyone who pays to see him perform.

Episode 10 is done like the mall walkers in this game! If you want to leave comments, praise, criticisms, or suggestions you can leave them here, or on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!

System: Game Boy

Release Date: March 1990

Rarity: 44%

Price/Location: $2.99/Gaming Warehouse (Holland)

Quick note before I jump into discussing the game. I’ve decided to include rarity rankings from RarityGuide.com because I think it adds a neat piece of trivia to each game. 0 or 1% is an extremely common game whereas 100% would be extremely rare. Go here (http://www.rarityguide.com/faq.php#7) to learn more about how the rankings work. I’m going to retroactively add rarity scores to my past reviews in the coming days.

You mean my copy of Guitar Hero ISN’T hard to find?

Revenge of the Gator! Boy did this game catch my eye. I mean, did it ever! A game called “Revenge of the Gator” about pinball. The cartridge art was enough to get me to take a chance on it. It just seemed so weird. An interesting tidbit about this game is that my particular copy has the Electro Brain logo on it, whereas the game itself was originally published by HAL Laboratory, best known for their Kirby games and Super Smash Bros.

Just don’t expect to see the Gator in this series anytime soon.

Electro Brain from what I’ve seen has published a few games themselves, but mostly handled publishing of re-releases of games, of which this was one of them. As I jump into the game I notice the game modes include Gator Mode and Match Play. Gator Mode is the main mode of the game and includes 1-player and 2-player alternating variants. Match Play is (I’m guessing) the 2-player link cable mode, but good luck tracking down a 2nd copy of this game unless you shop online. Since I was with friends this weekend I was able to test out the 2-player alternating mode as well as single-player. I was not able to test out Match Play as I was sans link cable and a 2nd Revenge of the Gator.

Multiplayer: 90’s Edition

The game is easy to pick up and play if you have ever played a console version of a pinball game before. A/B controls the right flipper and the Control Pad controls the left flipper. The game boasts 4 sections of the pinball table with 3 bonus round screens. When your ball reaches the top or bottom of one section, it will move to the other section. The game itself is pretty standard pinball fare. You’ve got your bumpers, lights and buttons to light up and hit, a slot reel to match symbols for bonus points. There are 3 bonus games here, but I only saw one during my play time. It was an Arkanoid or Breakthru or Brickbreaker-style game with the Gator on top of the bricks. If you break through the brick and hit the gator, you get loads of bonus points.

Pictured: The object of the game.

That’s basically it. It’s pinball. I will say that it is fairly easy. On one screen, in order to move up to the next screen, you’ll have to perform a precise shot into a small corridor. It’s not a difficult shot, but it was the most challenging aspect of the game. My 2-player session with my friend Mike lasted seemingly forever since it felt like the game was refusing to let me lose.

The Gator eats your ball when you lose. He was practically starving at times.

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

I don’t play a whole lot of pinball video games, but I’ve played enough for this one to stand out above those I have played. What it came down to for me was the charm. I don’t know what it is, but the Gators are so damn charming. The challenge level is good, but a bit on the easy side. I would have preferred a bit more of a challenge, but it was challenging enough to keep me invested.

Episode 9 of Five Dollar Gamer is ready to be fed to the Gator! If you want to leave comments, praise, criticisms, or suggestions you can leave them here, or on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!

System: Xbox 360 (also available on PC, improved special edition on PS3)

Release Date: June 12th, 2007

Rarity: 15%

Price/Location: $4.85/GameStop

I remember the hype leading up to the release of this game. Well, the PS3 version, anyway. The Playstation 3 version was released over a year after this one and was supposed to make everything about the 360 version better. The hype for it was incredible. I worked at GameStop at the time of the PS3 release and we were advertising the hell out of it. Posters, advertisements, pre-order bonuses the likes of which were usually reserved for big titles like Halo and Call of Duty. This was going to be one big game.

The chaos outside GameStop on August 5th, 2008.

That day came and went and I barely heard about the game again. It was but a distant memory until a few weeks ago, when I found the 360 version sitting in the $9.99-and-under bin at my local GameStop. The memories all came flooding back. The hype, all the pre-order merchandise, the sudden drop off in interest of the game. As I wasn’t working for GameStop at the time of the original release, I can’t comment on the hype for it, but surely the demand must have been there for a port to the Playstation 3. Every game worthwhile gets a port to another system to reach a wider audience, right?

John Romero made everyone he suckered out of $50 his bitch.

The main menu is typical for the 360: Single Player, Multiplayer, Options, Leaderboards, Extras. I turn on the subtitles because sometimes it’s useful for story comprehension. Hopping into the game, you are given the choice of 4 characters. Zack is the token nerd, Andy is the token skater dude, Carrie is the token goth girl, and Jennifer is the token blonde cheerleader.

Character development is easy when you stick to stereotypes!

I choose Andy because why not. The story begins in comic book form with Zack monologuing to himself about how his parents are out of town and this is his chance to tell Carrie how he feels about her. It’s revealed Carrie is in the room with him and they’re doing homework. He starts to try to spit it out, but there’s a knock at the door. Andy pops in, inquiring about a skateboard Zack was supposed to fix for him. Carrie, frustrated that they’re getting nowhere on the homework, goes to leave, when she runs into Jennifer, who comes over to see if Zack has finished her biology report yet. So far Carrie seems like the only decent character so far. Now that all four are in the house, it’s time for the monsters to attack! What convenient timing!

“Are the kids all in the house now? Alright! Time to wreck shit!”

The gameplay finally begins and holy crap is the screen a clusterf***. The camera slowly rotates around the pivot point that is my character and there is chaos all over the place. Zombies swarm the house and random objects are littered all over the place. The live tutorial is lagging behind the action, and I don’t actually learn what the controls are until well after the action had begun. The right trigger button attacks, A to jump, B to dodge, left trigger to throw projectile weapons, X to perform actions like picking up weapons, opening doors, etc. Everything looks so tiny as well which contributes to the clusterf***iness of this game. I’m sure it’d look better on an HDTV, but I’m playing this on a 27″ Sylvania from the late 90’s with a screen burn spot in the upper right corner.

Not the TV to show off AWSUM GRAYPHICS with.

Speaking of how the game looks, I’m sure it’s because they wanted to do 4-player simultaneous gameplay while also throwing in as much crap as they can on screen because why the hell not, but the graphics are not among the best the 360 has to offer. The gameplay and comic book cutscenes look decent, but strangely the cutscenes where they introduce a new enemy would barely be passable on the Playstation 2. These cutscenes are pointless anyway. Half of them introduce a character so minor that they die in one hit and can’t easily be identified anyway because of how zoomed out and, once again, how clusterf***y the game is. After escaping the house, the battle is taken to the streets and Larry Tools is introduced. He knows what’s going on somehow, despite the whole thing starting only a few minutes ago (remember, Andy and Jennifer managed to walk over to Zack’s house unscathed). He offers to build you weapons if you bring him parts and Monster Tokens.

The blue things there that pop out of the zombies that suddenly appeared only minutes ago that Larry Tools seems to suspiciously know so much about.

The game seems easy so far, if not, just a little monotonous. Mashing the trigger button is not the preferred way I’d like to take out waves of enemies in a game like this. I’d prefer if the attack button could be mapped to one of the face buttons. Also a problem with this control configuration is that a special attack can be launched by holding the attack button down after a meter has been filled. The problem here is that the attack animation is too slow for the frantic on-screen action, so I’m often hitting the trigger button multiple times, as feels natural in a game like this, before my character finishes one attack. The result is the special attack misfiring when you don’t want it too. So many times I’d be close to finishing off a wave of enemies, only to have my special attack trigger accidentally on the last enemy. Very frustrating.

I turned into Angry Video Game Nerd many times during the playing of this game.

The challenge level of any good game gradually goes up as you progress through the game. Level 1 in the house is pretty easy. Level 2 on the streets is a little tougher, but there are soda machines to refill your health around every corner. If Level 1 and 2 is the game patting you on the back and saying “you’re doing a great job, you’ll defeat me in no time,” then Level 3 is the game swiftly kicking you in the balls, laughing at your pain, and stealing your girlfriend at the same time.

Pictured: Level 3

Level 3 takes place in the park, but it is no walk in the park! *har har har* Some annoying as hell enemies show up to taunt you into ripping the hair out of your head. Spiders, Fire Imps, Evil Clowns, and the enemy that made me give up once and for all: Bigfoot. Remember how I talked about how games typically have a challenge level that gradually rises? Well, the reason why I felt the challenge level rose an exponential rate so early in the game is because of what was added to Level 3 (multiple enemies flooding the screen that all take multiple hits to kill) and what was taken away (there is one soda machine I was able to find in the park, compared to the roughly 84 of them in Level 2. The weapons Larry Tools builds  for you don’t really help much. The nail gun is weak and has a slow firing rate, although it helped with the Fire Imps, since they dodge your melee attacks. The pipe shotgun is a bit more powerful than the nail gun, but it greatly slows your walking speed, to the point where you can’t avoid enemy fire.

I guess I can’t expect much from something that looks like this in real life.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

I’m sure this game would have been a little better had I been playing with more people. But at least in a similar game, like Gauntlet Legends, the difficulty level was scaled down for those playing alone. The bigfoot enemies I encountered, likely would have been tackled easily by two or more people, but with just me, it was cause for me to call it quits. If I hadn’t said it enough, the game is a giant clusterf***. The amount of stuff on-screen makes it disorienting and it doesn’t help the camera is constantly rotating. The controls and attack animations just felt unnatural for a game of this type. I would hope that the PS3 version released a year later improved on some of these things, but I’m not too eager to find out. This just left a bad taste in my mouth.

That does it for Episode 8 of Five Dollar Gamer! If you want to leave comments, praise, criticisms, or suggestions you can leave them here, or on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!

Hokey smokes! I won some kind of viral award to spread awareness of cool blogs?! No way! Well, an award is an award and I am honored. There are apparently rules to this so I’ll go ahead and post them here so… here:

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Them’s the rules. Now then…

Thank you to Steve from NUReviews for giving me the nod. I think in the rap world they call this “Game recognizing game.”

I don’t follow 15 blogs, but I do follow a few. Here are some I will nominate because they’re cool and I like them.

IPGR

Arcadepop

and one I just found today because she started following me and she’s actually written some really cool stuff: GamingBlonde

So now I must post 7 things about myself!

1.) I am from Grand Rapids, Michigan

2.) The first game I ever bought for myself as a result of earning money from an actual real job was NFL 2k5 for the PS2.

3.) My favorite game of all time is Super Mario Bros. 3

4.) I was scared of the picture of Mike Tyson on the title screen of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! when I was a kid. It is now one of my all-time favorite games and one of the original NES cartridges still in my possession since childhood.

5.) My review scoring system was inspired by “Continue?” They play a game and don’t really dissect it and look at graphics and such, but they play it and as a whole decide if they would Continue or Game Over. I didn’t want to talk in great lengths about graphics or music or anything like that. I want to discuss the game as an experience.

6.) This blog takes two of my favorite things to do, gaming and bargain hunting, and combines them. I’m always looking for a good deal. I wouldn’t call myself cheap… ok maybe I would.

7.) I like to travel and it was recently brought to my attention by a career counselor at my college that I might want to do a travel blog and find a way to get paid for it so I can do it as a living. I have considered what I could do and I’m still looking into ideas, but I thought a travel blog about independent game stores would be cool.

OK, so that’s that. Yay.

System: Super Nintendo (also on: PC & Game Boy)

Release Date: April 11th, 1996

Rarity: 30%

Price/Location: $4.40/Vidiots

I first heard about this game a few months ago watching a JonTron video on YouTube. He was counting down his top 20 Super Nintendo games and Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow clocked in at #19. In watching this video and some of JonTron’s other videos, I came to the conclusion that we have quite a similar taste in games. So I took his word for it when saying Maui Mallard was a good game.

I’ve seen enough JonTron to know that he’s probably saying something along the lines of “Mario Party had some classic minigames in it that WERESOFUCKINGAWESOMEOHMAHGERDBLARGHRABLEGRABLJRENFJRNVRJH!”

So imagine my surprise when I stumble into Vidiots one day and find this game priced at under $5! Now I had to take a chance on this game! Not only because JonTron liked it, not only for the blog, not only because I feel incredibly awkward whenever walking out of Vidiots empty-handed, but because all of those things and I wanted to know once and for all: IS THAT F***ING DONALD DUCK OR WHAT!?

Ohh… I guess it is… … … F***.

OK, so in doing some research on this game, I discovered the European versions of the game come out and say Maui Mallard IS Donald Duck! Donald Duck IS Maui Mallard! Einhorn is Finkle! Finkle is EINHORN! OH MY GOD!

This movie IS bad! Bad IS this movie!

And now, with the Ace Ventura reference, we bring it full circle and mention that Donald Duck Maui Mallard is also a detective of some sort. He’s on some island and a golden idol statue has gone missing! Uh-oh, better call Donald Duck, Weekend Detective! We start the game in a mansion of some kind and I am immediately lost. What is the context of me being in this mansion? Was this missing idol here at one point? Why are weird zombie butlers throwing spiders at me? What are all these collectables doing scattered about? What are these spinning things throwing me up in the air like an amusement park ride? What the hell is going on?

Pictured: The Level 1 map of the Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow Strategy Guide.

All weirdness of the level aside, the controls are pretty slick. Maui Mallard can be controlled pretty easily. The platforming sections aren’t too frustrating and your weapon (some kind of gun that shoots like… bugs… or something, I dunno it’s a Disney game) fires at an acceptable rate. My only gripe is that of your 2 enemy types in this level, zombie butler and spiders, the spiders appear more frequently and require you to duck to shoot them. Yes, it’s a very minor gripe, but I was mildly perturbed by it. All things considered, Level 1 is pretty easy. Not so easy that I could breeze through it though. There were spots that took a few tries to get through. The level itself goes on for a little too long, but I never felt bored by the environment. It’s incredibly atmospheric. I could picture the mansion in my head in vivid detail as if I was actually traversing through it.

This guy can see how atmospheric the Earth is from his space mansion.

Level 2 brings us to an exterior location on the island. Again, the style here is amazing. The moodiness of the sky and weather coupled with the moss-covered rocks actually made me feel a little chilly. It was 90 degrees outside when I played this game! This was starting to become less of a game and more of an experience. I didn’t mind the lack of challenge up to this point. If the game could maintain what Level 1 brought to the table, then there is no doubt in my mind that this could go down as some kind of classic in my book.

If I actually DID have a book of classic games, this is the cover and the first four chapters.

Unfortunately, Level 2 completely snapped me out of the trance this game had over me. A shaman gives you some ninja powers. Awesome! This is what I had been waiting for! I am now COLD SHADOW! Donald Duck IS Maui Mallard IS Cold Shadow IS… now getting his ass kicked by the very first enemy he sees.

Let me get this straight. Donald Duck pretending to be Magnum P.I. with a bug-shooting gun that can kill other bugs in one hit is a tougher character than Donald Duck pretending to be Magnum P.I. who is GRANTED MAGICAL NINJA F***ING POWERS BY A WITCHDOCTOR?! Imagine, you’re watching Magnum P.I. and were familiar with it. Imagine there was an episode where Tom Selleck just got done taking down the bad guys and a guy thanked him by turning him into a ninja. You’d be like “FERK YEAH! TOM SELLERK AS A NINJER! SO FERKIN ERSOME!” But you’d be WRONG because when Tom Selleck goes out to take down some bad guys, he gets taken out by the first bystander he sees.

Foreground: Maui Mallard.
Midground: Everyone in Level 2.

I really didn’t want to give up on this game. It was SO GOOD up until this point. After a whole bunch of practice, I was actually able to formulate a strategy to getting through the enemies here. It wasn’t perfect but I was well on my way to continuing through the game. There are some neat abilities you gain by becoming a ninja, like using your staff to climb walls. I still had trouble combating enemies at this point, but now I felt like it wasn’t the game’s fault. It just felt like I was doing something wrong.

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

I really struggled when playing the game, but it was a good kind of struggle. Level 2 was a challenge, but never to the point where I was frustrated. Like I said, I never felt like anything was the game’s fault, just my sucky skills. When a game is challenging like this and doesn’t prompt me to throw my controller against the wall in a fit of rage, but rather, actually make me want to practice and get better, it’s definitely a keeper. This, combined with the beautiful environments and engaging atmosphere make this game a winner. JonTron was right to include this in his favorite SNES games.

That. THAT is the face of a man you can trust.

So the verbal blowjob of JonTron Episode 7 of Five Dollar Gamer is complete! If you want to leave comments, praise, criticisms, or suggestions you can leave them here, or on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!

System: Game Boy

Release Date: August 1990

Rarity: 27%

Price/Location: $4.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

You can tell me all you want, 90s kids, that you didn’t like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but you’re wrong because EVERYONE liked the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

From left to right: Homecoming King, captain of the football team, voted “Cutest Guy” in mock election, Class President.

The Ninja Turtles defined early 90s culture. Ninjas, pizza, wise-cracking, cartoon characters. These guys had everything working in their favor. It’s only natural that in an era where intellectual properties were being licensed out to game companies up the ass, that someone would make a TMNT game or 10. Some were good…

Not pictured: The several hundred dollars worth of Chuck-E-Cheese tokens sitting inside the machine.

Some were… not so good…

For many people who’ve played this game, this is the final level. This is Level 2.

But what could be better as a kid in the 1990s than a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game on your Game Boy!? Holy crap! That’s like… like… Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers on your Game Boy!

The end-all-be-all of video games when I was 8 years old.

I never actually knew there was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Game Boy game until I stumbled across it at Gaming Warehouse. Just like every other game in this blog, I just had to question the price: “This is the freakin’ Ninja Turtles! Why is it so much cheaper than everything else?! I made my purchase and set out to find out why. The first thing I noticed was this was made by Ultra Games. Ultra Games was a spin-off of Konami. Nintendo had special rules in place for its 3rd-party developers back in the day where they could only release a certain number of games per year. Creating a sister company circumvented that rule. I can’t remember what other companies did this, but the Konami/Ultra Games example is perhaps the best known.

Of course that doesn’t stop them from putting Konami on the title screen.

So the first screen after the title is a level select/button configuration screen. Being that there are only two buttons, there is not much to configure. I make B the attack button and A the jump button. I notice there are only 5 levels to choose from. I started off on Level 1, naturally. After this screen is the Turtle select screen. Michelangelo, thank you. Level 1 places me on the streets of New York. April has been kidnapped! Oh no! The controls are tight. I’m able to jump around easily and attack with relative ease. Enemies die in one hit, unlike the arcade game. But like the arcade game, the graphics are surprisingly good. I couldn’t believe this game came out within the first year of the Game Boy lifecycle. The music is kickass too. A chiptune version of the main TMNT theme plays throughout the first level. I am loving this. After a short boss battle, I breeze through level 1 in short order. That’s when I start to worry.

Yes, me worry!

If there are only 5 levels in this game, and I beat that level that quickly, then I fear I may beat this game in the time it takes most people to take a shower.

Doing both at the same time is not recommended.

Don’t get me wrong, Level 1 was a fun introduction to the game, but I’m hoping Level 2 will be a bit more of a challenge. I press on to Level 2 and I’m met with more of the same. Foot clan soldiers fall easily and enemy patterns are deciphered quickly. Thankfully the boss is a bit more of a challenge this time around. I actually lost a turtle this time! I choose a new one and finish the boss.

Serving Shredder proud on the frontlines.

Levels 3 and 4 are more of the same “run to the right and attack” action. I lost a turtle on each levels boss, so I was down to one turtle for the final level. Now, I don’t know if I’m missing something in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lore here, so anyone reading this, feel free to answer this question for me. Why in the hell is Shredder the Level 4 boss and Krang the final boss? It almost feels like some kind of programming error. Shredder is the most challenging boss in the game, whereas Krang died after I caught him in an attack loop. Meaning he froze in place for a second when I hit him, then immediately hit him again when he moved, repeat until dead.

Shredder is beside himself after reading Konami’s memo regarding the change.

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

I may have beaten this game in 20 minutes, but it was a very enjoyable 20 minutes. I know I said each level was more of the same from the last one, but that’s a good thing. It’s a shame this game wasn’t longer but I can see the reasoning. As it was only a 1990 Game Boy game, the length of the game was possibly sacrificed to make the graphics and music better. If I had payed original retail price for this, I’d be pissed. But for 5 bucks, it’s all good. Out of the mixed grab bag that is good and bad TMNT games, this sits somewhere in the middle. A great game only hampered by it’s short length.

Kinda like another game I had as a kid. *sad face*

That does it for Episode 6 of Five Dollar Gamer! If you want to leave comments, praise, criticisms, or suggestions you can leave them here, or on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!

System: Playstation 2 (also available for GameCube, Xbox, and Xbox 360)

Release Date: November 18th, 2003

Rarity: Unknown

Price/Location: $1.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

Sierra Entertainment is famous for publishing popular series of games such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and numerous adventure games dating back to the 80s and 90s. Chances are, if you have been playing games for a while, you have played a Sierra Entertainment game. However, it is extremely less likely that you’ve played a game by Metal Arms developer, Swingin’ Ape Studios. There’s a reason for that. Never heard of Swingin’ Ape Studios? There’s also a reason for that too. Metal Arms: Glitch In the System is the only game ever released by them.

One and done. Hit it and quit it.

The studio was made up of former Midway developers and was purchased by Blizzard sometime after releasing Metal Arms. The team members would move on to work on other Blizzard projects. When a friend pointed out this game to me, I was intrigued. This game was priced much lower than the games around it. Priced at just $1.99, could Metal Arms: Glitch In the System be Swingin’ Ape Studios’ magnum opus? Or is there a reason their portfolio includes just one game and I was able to get it for a scratch-off ticket?

Accurate representation of me and the guys at the game store.

Unlike the previous games I’ve covered, this one has a well-defined story spelled out for you at the beginning of the game. An evil robot General uses his army of evil robot soldiers to take over a planet of Droid robots. A rebellion forms and those captured are deactivated or destroyed. You play as Glitch. Glitch is a deactivated Droid found, still intact, by some members of the rebellion forces. You are caught up to speed on the rebellion in the guise of a 1950s-era instructional video. You then begin the first level, which is a tutorial level. This game is apparently a 3rd-person shooter. I thought it was a platformer. Ah, well. Two rebellion Droids give you the basic controls as you move through the level and the situation warrants you learning something new. At this point, I’m feeling good about this game. The voice-acting is really good, the story is engaging, if basic, and the controls work. What could go wrong? High five! Next game, please!

Whoa! Not so fast there Jaws and King Kong.

Enemies approach! Time to get out your kick-ass robot laser weapon and blow up some evil robots! This is why anyone bought this game, right?! Sweet robot-on-robot carnage!

How friggin’ disappointing is it that THIS is the worst part of the game? Where to begin with how badly the combat in Metal Arms fails? Let’s start with your weapon. Now, I understand that the starting weapon in any shooting game is going to be… less powerful than weapons you acquire further in the game. That holds true here, but your standard-issue mining laser sucks. Furthermore, when you use it, or any weapon for that matter, there is no real good on-screen indication that your shots are hitting. Yes, your aiming reticule turns red when aimed at an enemy, but there’s no clear visual cue that you’re doing damage.

Why won’t you die?! Are you close to death? Am I even doing damage to you? Not even a tingle?

At least you get grenades along the way in this level. Very effective, but you’re toast in one hit if you stand too close to the blast radius. So, after unloading a ridiculous amount of lasers into your enemies, the training level ends and you’re off to hopefully find a better weapon. Level 2 begins with you needing to get to the other side of a river of lava, but those damned Milbots blew up the bridge! You’ll need to cut some wires holding up some piping and create a makeshift bridge! How will you do it and where will you find the means?! Answers to both questions lie conveniently 5 feet to your right in a metal crate. A gun that shoots saw-like blades! Hooray! A better weapon! Problem solved, right?!

You guys once again are too quick to react.

The sawblade gun thing does get you across the river of lava via shooting the support wires for that piping and creating a makeshift bridge, but that’s about all it’s good for. It’s just as weak as your mining laser, but it’s got a slower firing rate, AND limited ammo! At least you still have grenades with plenty of ammo refills scattered about. Rescue some more of your rebellion friends and level 2 is complete! So level 3 is where I decided what my final assessment of the game would be. It had a mix of good and bad for me. Firstly, you get some actual great weapons in this level. Guns that can actually destroy your enemies in a reasonable amount of time.

I’m gonna start shooting you now. Can you be dead sometime before next month?

So the evil Milbots are invading Droid Town, the last stronghold for the rebellion! The firefight here is frantic and enemies are everywhere. Clear an area and you’re told to move onto the next. Waves of enemies are eating my bullets of justice! We’re swiftly moving onto the next area after the last! We’re on cruise control for a win! “Move onto the next area!” says the commander! Got it. So… where is it? The level design here runs flat into a brick wall. In the last two areas, it was pretty straightforward. Clear an area, giant tunnel on the opposite side of the map leads you to next area. In this 3rd area, where you think you’re supposed to go to progress, you run into a dead end in some kind of hangar. I ran frantically around the map trying to find where to go to progress but after a half-hour of searching, I gave up. I later looked up where to go on GameFAQs just out of curiosity.

The outpost for any gamer who’s ever shouted “What the F***?!” at a game.

There are a series of enclosed walkways raised above the ground in each section of the map housing some hidden items and whatnot. I walked around in these looking for ammo when I was running low. Apparently in one section of walkways is a small tunnel leading to the next area. I would never have guessed it would be found here. The camera while navigating these walkways is awful and you are combating the camera angle just as much as you are your enemies. I would have liked to continue the game after reading this, but I was burnt out from frustration.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

I’m disappointed that I bargain binned this one. Since booting the game up, it seems like when it starts to do something right, it does something to lose my trust I built in the game. The story started off good, then I found out about the combat, the combat got slightly less frustrating, then the level design completely hampered what goodwill the game had built up with me. I appreciate what the game did well. The story and the voice acting is really well done, but the boring and frustrating gameplay and level design didn’t engage me enough to make me feel compelled to move on.

That does it for Episode 5 of Five Dollar Gamer! If you want to leave comments, praise, criticisms, or suggestions you can leave them here, or on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!