iOS GTA: Vice City

iOS Vice City Nothing gets me more excited than stealing a random car and running over some unsuspecting pedestrians. So when I found Vice City on the iOS App Store, I screamed like a school girl who just had Justin Beiber follow her Twitter account. Yes, I was that excited.

Now with most games that have been ported to iOS, there are horrible touchscreen controls. I have a couple of games on my phone that I bought from $.99 to $4.99 that were broken just because of the touchscreen controls. So when I saw this I was very hesitant to buy it. But once I read the reviews I went ahead and purchased it, and I am very pleased with the game.

At the time the PS2 Vice City graphics were pretty awesome. But for today’s standard, they are horrid. In the iOS version Rockstar did polish them up ever so slightly, which is great. I mean, you can’t have GTA IV graphics on an iPhone, so there is nothing to complain about.

iOS Vice City 2

The controls were way more than I asked for. The game does come with the default control settings, which didn’t suit me very well, but they do have a little bit of customization. This helped me find the best control setup that fit me. I have been through more than half of the game and never once found the controls to be buggy or broken.

The game does still come with your favorite 80s tracks, but Rockstar added one more feature to the music system, Tape Deck. Tape Deck allows you to create a custom playlist from your Music App, and play them while you’re driving around Vice City. All you do is create a custom playlist, label it ‘VICECITY’, and then boot up the game. While in a vehicle, change the radio station until you hit Tape Deck and you’re good to go.

I absolutely enjoy this port of Vice City and found the graphics to be super smooth on my iPhone 5. If you are nervous about purchasing this app, don’t be. As always, if there is something you would like to add or just want to comment, please do so below.

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Super Mario Kart

Over the many years Nintendo’s staple character, Mario, has been one of the most recognizable video game characters. This monster of a franchise has many titles, but not all of them are platformers. We all remember the original platformers such as Super Mario Brothers, Super Mario World, and so on. And then there were the sports games such as, Mario Tennis and Mario Golf. One of these non-platformer games changed the racing genre forever, and that game was Super Mario Kart for the SNES.

Super Mario Kart isn’t just a racing game where you try to make it to the finish line first, it added a new element to the racing genre. Super Mario Kart Race During the races you pick up and use projectiles to slow down or stop opponents in their tracks to gain positions. By doing this we now see other staples from Crash Bandicoot to Sonic racing games with the same formula. But nothing is more satisfying than suiting up as Yoshi and shooting some red shells at your friends in Battle Mode. I’m going to keep this review simple since we all now how Super Mario Kart goes.

Graphics — One thing I want to point out is Mode 7. Mode 7 is a 2-dimensional layer that is laid out to emulate 3-D graphics. That was a big perk to owning a SNES, and in the early days of the SNES it seemed that every title that was produced contained some form of Mode 7. The reason I brought Mode 7 up, is because it’s one of the few games that has it and doesn’t give me motion sickness. To me, this was the best display of Mode 7 that was done in a video game. Below is an example of Mode 7 from Secret of Mana. Secret of Mana Mode 7

Music — The music in Super Mario Kart is all over the place. It sets a good mood for a light-hearted racing game, but nothing that really stands out for me.

Modes

Grand Prix — Grand Prix is the meat of the game, where the player races in circuits for the gold against the other seven computer players. When completing them, you can unlock more circuits and difficulties. Now to get the gold, each circuit has five races and you must fight your way to first place in each of them. When you complete a single race, depending on which position you are in, you are awarded points. The closer you are to first place, the more points you get. At the end of the five races, the sum of your points determines what trophy you get, if you get one at all. Plus, you can play this mode with a friend!!

Time Trial — In Time Trial you race by yourself on a track, in order to get the fastest time on that particular track. Pretty simple. I have never been into Time Trial modes in racing games, but it does add replay value for those hardcore gamers.

Match Race — Match Race is just like Grand Prix but the computer players are not present. It’s just you and your friend. Mano y mano.

Battle Mode — This mode is where you will get most of the replay value out of the game. In Battle Mode you play against your friend but it is not a race. The game places you in an arena with obstacles, and just like in the races, you pick up weapons to deal damage to your friend. Super Mario Kart Battle mode Mario vs Luigi Also the game allows you to get hit three times before losing the match, and these hits are represented by balloons that float around your kart. This mode is tons of fun, and still today I hook up my SNES just to play Battle Mode in Super Mario Kart.

Overall this game is super fun, especially with family. Like I was saying before, I love playing it during holidays, and I was wondering, what’s a game that you usually set down and play during the holidays? Let me know below!!

Tetris Attack!

When’s the last time YOU had a Tetris Attack?

puzzled_man Receiving this game as a kid had me puzzled… you get it… PUZZLED… In all seriousness, puzzle games were not what I was into at the time. Only being into action-type platformers, this gift threw me for a loop. But Tetris Attack being a video game, I had to try it. Now from the front box art, you would have never guessed that this was a Yoshi’s Island themed game. Which when I popped it in my SNES, added more value to it. The game did stand out from other puzzle games, with a story, simultaneous two-player action, and multiple modes. Tetris Attack is by far, my most favorite puzzle game. You know why? Because I loved kicking the crap out of my friends in two-player mode.

Tetris Attack Gameplay So in Tetris Attack, the basis of the game is to connect three or more of the same block, in order to clear it from your puzzle board. You can connect these blocks vertically and horizontally to clear them. But the puzzle board is against you *gasp* *oh no!*, it adds a new row of blocks every so often, trying to make you lose by pushing the blocks to the top of the board. And as you progress through the puzzle, the board adds the rows more quickly. So keep connecting those blocks!

VS. — In Tetris Attack, versus is your primary mode, which contains a story. The story in versus, is that Kamek has put a curse on Yoshi’s friends, and Yoshi (You) has to beat them in order to remove the curse. Pretty simple. Now I know in Castlevania, I said that stories usually bore me. But in normal tetris-type games, there isn’t a story. That is why as a kid, I just referred to them as the ‘boring puzzle games’. So by having a simple story, it made the game more appealing.

So as I mentioned above, you have to beat Yoshi’s friends to make it to the end of the game. ‘But how do I beat Yoshi’s friends up?? It’s a Tetris game, you can’t attack!’ Oh… you can… In order to beat each friend, or level, you have to make their blocks reach the top of the board. To make things tricky for them, matching up blocks fast (combo), or connecting four or more blocks will release a garbage block on their puzzle board. But beware, they can also do this to you. Garbage Blocks To remove the garbage blocks, simply connect three or more blocks (make sure one of the blocks is touching the garbage block) to get rid of it. By adding multiple garbage blocks, you will quickly defeat your opponent.

Endless — The name of this mode pretty much says it all… it’s endless. There is no goal except for trying to rack up those points before you lose. And as I said before, the board adds rows more quickly over time.

Stage Clear — In Stage Clear, the setup is similar to Endless except for now there is a goal. You will continue clearing blocks until you see a ‘Clear Line’ from the bottom of the board. Get your blocks underneath this line and you progress to the next level.

Time Trial — Same setup as Endless, but now you only have so much time to get the highest possible score you can.

Puzzle — When I was wasn’t beating my friends up in two player, I was playing Puzzle. This was by far my most favorite single player mode of Tetris Attack. In Puzzle the game sets you up with a few blocks and all you have to do is clear them from the board. Easy enough… WRONG! You only have a certain number of moves to clear every block. The game sets these blocks up so strategically, that in later levels you will be playing a game of trial and error. The main reason I liked it so much was because it’s so satisfying finally figuring out that one puzzle that had you guessing for 20 minutes, or showing your friends the solution to the puzzle they were stuck on.

Graphics — The graphics for Tetris Attack are pretty mediocre in my opinion. Being related to Yoshi’s Island, they did a good job of being colorful and sticking to the theme. But this is a puzzle game so graphics didn’t make much of a difference for me.

Music — Now the music for this game is actually done very well. Most of the tracks make the gameplay seem much faster, putting you on the edge of your seat trying not to lose. Here is a track from the Blaze Stage, one of my favorites.

Overall, Tetris Attack is just a puzzle game, but by adding multiple modes, difficulties, *spoilers* and endings, there is a lot of replay value to this title. But by far the most fun is through the two player mode. So get together with a friend, or enemy, and duke it out on Tetris Attack!!

If there is something you would like to add about this game, or just want to share stories, please do so below!!

Castlevania

Castlevania… I hate you…

No, I don’t really hate Castlevania. I’m just cursing it because of its intense difficulty.

Castlevania takes up a huge part of my childhood. It was one of those games, that when you saw it, it looked like it was only made for adults. That’s mainly what made me want to play it. I had never owned Castlevania as a kid, but my friend did, so of course I spent many afternoons at his house trying to, navigate through the Medusa Heads, or figure out a pattern to make it through a hallway. Castlevania was one of those games that I couldn’t get enough of because there was always something new around every corner.

Castlevania was localized in North America in 1987, and was published by Konami. The game was well known for its platforming and classic horror icons, such as Frankensteins Monster and Medusa. It was a game that had everything for a horror fan such as myself.

You are Simon Belmont, the hero that will vanquish Dracula himself. But what’s this?? You don’t jump on your enemies heads, or shoot them with a gun, like in Super Mario Bros. or Contra. This was a sort of new platformer, something we haven’t seen. YOU WHIP YOUR ENEMIES!!! How awesome is that! There is nothing more gratifying than whipping some skeletons or flying Medusa Heads. It was a great element that, for me, made this game into a great series. Not only do have just a plain old leather whip, you get to upgrade it, to a long chain whip, allowing Simon to whip his enemies less, before they are defeated. I’ll talk more on weapons later, but now for the story!!

The Story — Not much here!! Yay!

There is a story but I love the fact that you sort of just jump into the game. That’s it. The reason I like this is because it’s just about the game. There are so many times where a game tries to make an elaborate story, and it just gets boring. I mean its for a younger generation and if it had a long story and cut scenes, I would probably get bored of it.

Graphics — Now graphics back in the NES era were nothing to write home about. But that’s one of the reasons I want to do retro reviews, because most of the time you have to use your imagination. Many times when I was a kid, I would find my friends and myself getting into arguments. “That’s a –” ” No it’s a –“, then we would bust out the instruction booklet to confirm what it really was. That’s the beauty of it, it’s up to your imagination.

Colors

Courtesy of ign.com

Now with Castlevania, it is darn near perfect for that era. The color palette goes perfect for the game. Every levels theme was great, and it was very easy to distinguish what objects and enemies were. Also when sprites move it’s very fluent. Overall Konami did a fantasic job on Castlevania.

Music — Okay, so music is a huge thing with me, as far as setting the tone and getting you pumped while playing the game. Kinuyo Yamashita composed all the music for Castlevania, and it is mindblowing. Every levels theme is amazing, and I often catch myself humming or whistling the tune for the first level. It is by far one of the best soundtracks to a video game to date. I would love to know which video game soundtrack is your favorite. I’ve included the original soundtrack as well as a version done by Vomitron below.

Weapons/Items — Like I mentioned above, I love me some whip! Along with the whip, Simon is armed with some pretty impressive secondary weapons. He can obtain the dagger, holy water, axe, boomerang, and stopwatch. Each play an important roll throughout the game, but I always find myself spamming the holy water whenever I have the chance. Depending on your play style, you will be favoring a certain secondary weapon. Other items to mention are the double-shot and triple-shot. When using the secondary weapon, you can only shoot it once at a time on-screen. Once you get a double-shot (and eventually a triple), you can shoot two on-screen at a time. This is a huge element of the game that will have you pondering on what weapon to use throughout the level. Now you will lose some health from time to time, but luckily you will get your health back by getting some porkchops, or as I like to call it wall meat. The reason I call it that is because the primary source of porkchops, is from the wall. To find it, you have to whip at the wall in areas and you just might find a secret or some wall meat.

Gameplay — Now this game is a platformer, but not like your average Super Mario Bros., this game is HARD. So many insta-deaths, pits, spikes, you will be seeing the continue screen many times. The enemies have erratic patterns, and throw different items at you. One enemy in particular, the Medusa Head, has had me cursing at the TV screen. The biggest problem you will encounter is the ‘Castlevania Knockback’. Yes, this game has its own coined phrase for what happens when you get hit by an enemy or object. When you do get hit (and you will), Simon gets knocked backwards, resulting in many cases falling into a pit to your death. That will be your toughest enemy. But stick to it and you will eventually overcome many of the difficult areas this game has to offer.

Overall Castlevania is a grueling game, but is very satisfying, once completing each level. Even today, I find myself beating the current platformers with ease and coming back to Castlevania just for the challenge. Most people have played this masterpiece but for those who have not, I highly suggest playing it.

If there is something you would like to add, share a story, or suggest a game for me to do, please do so below!

Gaming Reviews

Hello gamers old and new!!

I am tails4life and I have been a gamer for as long as I could remember. To specify, video games. Consoles that I started with were the NES and SNES. Through the years, I have watched the video gaming world evolve, and it’s come a long way. From console to console, graphics and music have become more colorful and diverse. With new gameplay, physics, and genres, the video gaming world is becoming vast, with endless possibilities.

I wanted to start this Gaming Reviews section with the older games and consoles from the late 80’s and work our way forward. I’m sure I will miss out on some things along the way, but I just want to point out the things that hit home with me.

If there is something that you would like included let me know! I want this blog to reach out to the community.

Also, I’m not sure that at first, I will be posting regularly because as of right now, I am taking on a lot. But this is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.

So my first review will be coming shortly. I have one in mind, that has been haunting my dreams for a very long time…