Mushihime-sama (Review)

“Definitely not your grandmother’s shoot ’em up.”

Today I’m looking at, well, the wild game you see the logo of above, Mushihime-sama for the Playstation 2. This game has become very infamous online as the game with the “hardest video game boss ever.” Search it up on YouTube, it’s very easy to find.

Mushihime-sama is, as you can tell, a fast paced shoot ’em up that was only released in Japan. Now, I know what you’re thinking, that it can’t be that fast. The game truthfully is quite fast, even being challenging at five frames per second. The game makes it very clear to the player who it’s target audience is, and that would be the hardcore fans of the genre who love to have their screens filled with projectiles and explosions at least 97% of the time.

Gameplay is fast and hectic. I found the higher difficulties to be too extreme, and I didn’t want to show myself dying constantly to you guys, so I opted to play on the easiest difficulty setting so that I could see more of the game in a shorter period of time. it was still quite a handful at normal difficulty, and I found myself dying left and right, particularly on the third stage.

Since I know no Japanese at all, I’m not familiar with how the power-ups or weapon settings really work in this game, but I can tell that the more flashing orbs you collect, the more potent your weapons seem to become. You are also equipped with several devastating bombs that destroy everything in their path, unless you happen to be firing them at a boss, in which case the bomb will have little to no effect. Bosses are very exciting and fun to fight in this game as they throw wave after wave of projectiles at you, each one looking more intimidating and impossible to dodge than the last. Since I was playing the Playstation 2 version of this game, I had the luxury of having unlimited continues, which I can safely say you will most certainly need.

Graphics are not easy to comment on, because everything happens so fast and the things I wanted to look at were usually obscured by explosions and projectiles flying all around. I can say that the stage backgrounds look quite good for a PS2 game, and bosses look very well done with lots of detail. Menus are very straight forward and thankfully the main menu itself is in English so it is very easy to navigate.

It’s difficult to review a game like this. The gameplay is simple, and we all know what it’s about. There are no major innovations to be found, the game is just a straight up bullet hell shoot ’em up that will proudly beat you into oblivion. Overall, it stands above most games of it’s kind and is certainly above average. The gameplay is fast and mesmerizing, and the intoxicating music sucks you into the experience even more. If you are a fan of shoot ’em ups and are able to get your hands on Mushihime-sama, do yourself a favour and seize the opportunity. Try this game out, because it’s good fun and a great way to pass time on those rainy days.

Final Score

7/10

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Mushihime-sama (Video Review)

First ever video review of any kind, and first time I’ve recorded myself in 2-3 years. It’s allowed to suck, especially since I didn’t record under ideal circumstances at all!

Click here to read the written review in which my terrifying voice won’t bother you.

Top 5 Retro Super Mario Brothers Enemies

The Mario franchise has featured more baddies than you can possibly keep track of! Fortunately, almost all of them have appeared in more than one Mario game, which allows for a bit of consistency. Because there are so many enemies in the Mario franchise, they cannot all make returns as often as we’d like. I’ve taken five classic enemies who haven’t made nearly enough appearances in the Mario franchise, and I personally feel that Nintendo should stop neglecting them! So, here are the five enemies that Nintendo really needs to show more love towards.



#5 Flying Hammer Brothers
One of the most fearsome encounters in Super Mario World when I was younger. Flying Hammer Brothers fly back on forth on winged platforms, throwing an endless barrage of hammers below. They were intimidating foes, and to Mario newcomers they usually spelled death. To defeat one of these hovering baddies, Mario only had to give them a knock on the bottom of the flying platform. However, getting under was the tricky part!


#4 Volcano Lotus
I will always remember the first level of the Donut Plains in Super Mario World very well, because it was the introduction of this frightening plant. It could only be defeated by a cape spin, super star, or Yoshi. Fire flowers and spin jumps were completely ineffective. That isn’t what made these flowers tough opponents though. These guys would periodically spit out several fireballs that would raise quickly to the top of the screen and then slowly drift back down. They weren’t overly difficult on flat plains, but on tricky ledges they were quite a hassle!


#3 Goomba in a Shoe
Goombas introduced Mario to one of his greatest power ups ever, the Kuribo Shoe, which he was only fortunate enough to use for one level in the entire Mario franchise! These shoe-dwelling goombas would wildly jump all over the place and were not to be underestimated. These were not difficult foes like the previous two entries though, and are primarily on this list because of the power up that they provide Mario with when defeated. It is a shame that it has only appeared in one game in the Mario Brothers platformers.


#2 The Chucks
My all time favourite Mario enemies are the chucks, the football loving koopas in Super Mario World. They would run at you, jump at you, wake up nearby hostile fish, split into three and (of course) chase you… The more difficult chucks would pitch baseballs and kick footballs at Mario. These guys made some levels tough and added a bit of challenge to Super Mario World. It really is too bad that they’ve struggled to appear in other Mario games given their interesting design and their admirable set of skills. I cannot believe Nintendo neglects these guys so much.


#1 Angry Sun
… However! It absolutely BAFFLES me that Nintendo has never brought the angry sun back. Without a doubt the most intimidating encounter in all of Super Mario Brothers 3, the angry sun was a force to be reckoned with. The sun can be defeated via shells, hammers, or by using a super star, but the rarity of these items in sun levels made them next to impossible to kill as they would swoop down at Mario with killer intent. The angry sun has only been in two Mario Brothers levels ever, but considering that it is enormously popular among Super Mario Brothers 3 fans says quite a lot. This is, without a doubt, the most awesome neglected Super Mario Brothers enemy of all time.

Return to May 2010 Articles

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

It looks like a new Tomb Raider game is in the works, though “Tomb Raider” has been dropped from title and has simply been replaced with Lara Croft’s name. Even checking out what the game is all about, it’s not hard to see why the naming of this installment is different.

What sets this game apart from Lara’s previous adventures is the nature of the game itself. This is no longer a third person adventure game. Guardian of Light is, instead, an isometric 3D platformer/puzzle game that relies heavily on co-op multiplayer. Now that’s certainly a different approach to Tomb Raider!

In this game, Lara is off looking for a “Mirror of Smoke” which is apparently stolen by some bad guy. The Mirror’s guardian, Totec, must work together to get the Mirror back. This is where the title comes, as Totec is the Guardian of Light in the name.

The game will apparently play like an arcade adventure game. My immediate impression is that the game probably played like a Diablo style game, but instead I believe it to be closer to the classic Prince of Persia titles. The arcade aspect comes from having a score that will increase as you defeat opponents and find collectables.

I have never been a huge Tomb Raider fan, but this looks wildly different from Lara’s previous adventures and just may be more mainstream. Overall, it looks like an interesting game which will be available via digital download. If the price is reasonable, I will probably give the game a try. To conclude this little article, here’s a trailer.

Return to May 2010 Articles

Red Dead Redemption Glitches

This needed to be shared. Red Dead Redemption. Glitches. Hilarity.

The Elk-Owl

Invisible Horse

Skydiving

“Zombie Girls”

Bird People

Cougar Man

Donkey Lady

Flying Deer

Gunslinger Dog

Jumping Girl

Rocket Horse

Wagon With Hydraulics

To see the best bits all together, watch this video.

I am really starting to consider picking this game up sometime after I get paid just for the goofy glitches. It’s supposedly like Grand Theft Auto, only in the wild west. I liked GTA and the wild west is sort of cool, so maybe??

Return to May 2010 Articles

ModNation Racers (Review)

“United Front Games annihilates Mario Kart even before the race begins.”

Around this time last year is when I first heard about ModNation Racers and the plethora of customization tools that it would provide. As someone who loves racing games, as well customization in games period, I was really stoked.

I waited many months for anything playable to surface. It wasn’t until December 2009 that I obtained a beta key in a Gamespot giveaway and was able to check out what ModNation Racers had to offer first hand. It may have only been a limited test product of the full game, but I couldn’t help but feel very unimpressed with ModNation Racers after spending a few days with the exclusive beta. Controls felt strange, customizing content was all locked away except a few pieces (making it feel more like a demo) and loading times were far too long. Worst of all, it felt very amateurish. When time eventually ran out and the beta period expired, I was left with a sour taste in my mouth. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Is that what I waited all that time for? Is this all that ModNation Racers is?”

The answer? No.

Despite not being too content with the beta gameplay, I still knew that I was going to buy ModNation Racers because I told myself that the full game would surely be better. So, a day after the game’s release last week, I picked it up at my local EB Games. Was purchasing ModNation Racers a good investment, or was it the worst gaming mistake that I’ve made this year? I can safely say that it’s the former. ModNation Racers is good. Really good.

After waiting through two minutes of splash screens and such, and then enduring a five minute install that came to 3.2 gigabytes, I was thrown directly into a race which served as the first event in the game’s career mode. This seemed like a page straight out of GRID’s book, since it did the same thing. A grizzled old “southern” voice talks to you over the radio too, just like GRID. While the similarities between the two games end there, I do feel like GRID was the inspiration for ModNation Racers’ opening race.

After clearing the race, you’re immediately taken to the Modspot, which is a virtual environment that houses all of the games features. Aside from just driving to and accessing the game’s features in the Modspot, players can also practice their cornering and drifting as well as chat with fellow players either by voice chat or controller (via the ingame keyboard). The Modspot has a lot of neat little things around it. There is a “coming soon” preview window, which I believe will show off future DLC, as well as the top three karts and mods, whcih are proudly represented on their own podiums. From the Modspot, players can access career mode, singleplayer races, local multiplayer (which includes online splitscreen support), online races, and the creation studio. Most of these choices are pretty standard with the exception of the creation studio.

If players opt to continue career mode instead of checking out the other features of the game, they be presented with more races and a storyline that unfolds through cutscenes. Career mode is very user friendly as it allows you select any previous race that you’ve unlocked so that you can try to collect all tokens on the tracks (tokens ingame currency for buying customization pieces) or attempt to meet the objectives, which unlock goodies if you complete them, for each race. Some races will just ask you to do simple things like “take every shortcut on the circuit” or “don’t hit any walls for one lap” and aren’t very difficult to attain, but they quickly get harder. Regarding the difficulty of career mode, it’s fairly extreme. Ask anyone what they think of the career mode in ModNation Racers, and they will probably give you a pretty mean look. This is because career mode holds your hand for the first few events, but then immediately throws challenges and races at you which, for some reason, seem to believe that you’re a seasoned pro at ModNation Racers. I can recall a few “near rage quits” that I had, which I wish I could say for some of the players who I’ve spoken to on GameFAQs and such. Everybody seems to be frustrated by career mode, and rightfully so. It gets hard too quickly. I have not completed it yet myself, and thinking about how challenging the final races will be really worries me.

Singleplayer racing offers you exactly what you would expect, quick race and time trial. Quick race is nothing more than a singleplayer race set up the way you want, and this is something we’re all familiar with these days. Time trial is just your standard relaxed game mode that has you doing as many laps as you want around any given track to try and set new best laps.

I haven’t had a chance to try the local multiplayer yet, but it looks quite good. Local multiplayer involves split screen racing between two to four players with or without AI bots. One feature that sounds particular nice about the local multiplayer is the ability to play online as well. This means that you and your friends can all play on the same screen and in the same room, but be playing online against other people. This is a feature that we haven’t seen much in Playstation 3 games, which is surprising considering that the Wii takes advantage of this feature nicely.

Speaking of online races, there are a few different race types available. Casual races allow you to play custom races with your own race settings and are just for fun, meaning there are no rewards for winning. If you are looking to show off your skill, then there are XP races availble to you. From what I have been able to tell, these races are only on the game’s original tracks. Since competing in XP races inproves your online standing, this makes sense since racing custom tracks in XP races would introduce a few unfair aspects to the game. My only complaint with the online racing is that XP races are fairly easy to get into, but casual races are quite hard to start up. I was in a casual race lobby for nearly ten minutes before somebody else joined. I was away from the PS3 when they joined though, and they managed to steal the host seat from me through a veto vote. They then changed the track to their own custom made one, so I promptly left the lobby. It is also worth nothing that I experienced zero lag so far online. ModNation Racers seems to be incredibly stable.

The creation studio is the meat of the game. Here, players can cash in tokens for new customization pieces, upload and download user content, and make their own karts, mods, and tracks.To give an indication of how good the creation studio is, I’ve downloaded recerations of Mario and Luigi’s karts from Mario Kart, Mr. Bean’s car, and even a Jurassic Park jeep that, yes, has the actual Jurassic Park logo on the sides. For mods, I’ve downloaded Bender, Bugs Bunny, Stitch, Super Mario, and even a moogle. They all look strikingly like the original copyrighted characters that they are based on, which is very impressive. I neglected to base my kart and mod on existing material and instead just made a Formula 1-esque car and driver, complete with self-placed sponsor logos and everything.

The track creator is the best part of the creation studio. Here, the sky is very nearly the limits. Making your own track has never been easier, as all you have to do is drive around a track-laying steamroller sort of device which controls the direction and altitude of the race track. Your track can be shaped however you want it, allowing you to recreate existing real life circuits or make your own dream courses. I like to do a bit of both. I’ve made a few tracks so far, my favourite original track being a long circuit that starts in the desert before sweeping into a seaside shady jungle and then back into a populated area of the desert. My favourite track that I’ve made though happens to be High Speed Ring, a track featured in the Gran Turismo series. It started out rough, having incorrect placement of props and a very bumpy road, but after smoothing out both of these details, I can safely say that I have a very nice recreation of the Gran Turismo circuit. Making your own tracks really is a blast, and is probably the most entertaining part of the game. The only racing game that does a similar thing which I enjoy is Trackmania United Forever, which is absolutely blown away by ModNation Racers in every way imaginable. This is truly the best game in terms of editors available on the PS3.

Now, it’s about time that I talk about the gameplay. While kart controls in the beta were awkward at best, the final game has silky smooth controls. They may take a few races to get used to, but once you get used to them you’ll feel very at home. If you find yourself unhappy with the controls, you can tweak your handling and drifting, and your acceleration and top speed. There is a catch though, as increasing your handling or drifting will decrease the other, and the same applies between acceleration and top speed. This is a nice feature, straying away from kart specific characteristics of Mario Kart and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.

ModNation Racers decides to be unlike the competition with drifting as well. Drifting is done simply by holding X. After holding the button for nearly ten seconds, you will get a speed increase and leave a trail of flames. This lasts until you stop drifting, which should give you an idea of just how effective the drifting can be in this game. Drifting may not be as easy as it was in All-Stars Racing, but ModNation certainly defeats Mario Kart in this area.

There is a lot of charm in this game. The visuals are quite nice for a cartoony kart racer, and the hyperactive music fits in beautifully. Sound effects are also surprisingly decent, which also includes the silly voice acting in career mode. All in all, the overall package is fantastic. There is, however, one aspect of the game that is unacceptable. I am speaking of the long load times. Even after the mandatory install, you will be facing 30-60 second loading screens. Add up how many times the game will load when you play and you’ll realize that you’re missing several minutes of time that you could have spent playing rather than watching loading screens. Load times are even significantly longer than they were in the beta, which astounds me. I’ve been told that United Front Games is supposedly going to fix this issue, which should really be in their best interests. The problem with the frequent load screens is that when you’re not sitting in one part of the game for long and are instead going from menu to menu, feature to feature, you will be hit with countless loading screens which will set you back several minutes. Considering the fact that two loading screens alone will make you lose more than a minute of play time says something, and it confuses me that ModNation Racers was released with these long load times.

Despite the fact that the load times are a little bit on the ridiculous side, ModNation Racers is still a fantastic game. If you enjoy racing games or customization tools, then you really do owe it to yourself to try this game out. ModNation Racers tears the competition apart on merit alone.

Final Score

9/10