What I’m Playing (12/13/06 Edition)

2006 December 14
by CajoleJuice

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (DS)

This game rocks pretty hard, even though I am getting a bit sick of the yearly Metroidvania releases. It’s turning into Maddenvania. I’ve only gotten up to the obligatory crappy ending, and it didn’t take long at all to get to – only a bit over 3 hours. From what I hear, there is MUCH more to the game, including a ridiculously brutal final boss fight. So far, the game has been the standard GBA/DS Castlevania fare, with one standout level with a strong emphasis on platforming.

The game’s main setting is Dracula’s castle, as usual, but much like Super Mario 64, there are paintings that have levels inside them. These range from a mediocre desert-themed level to the aforementioned awesome level called “Nation of Fools” that was obviously inspired by someone’s imaginative dreams, and there’s more that I haven’t gotten up to yet.

The game’s new mechanic for this game is a dual-character system that adds some cool possible techniques and strategies to the game. At some times, it sort of breaks the game in making fights extremely easy, but this game on the whole seems harder than the previous GBA/DS iterations, so it evens out.

Like I said before, it’s still pretty much standard fare – if you enjoyed the last few, you’ll enjoy this one – but the formula is wearing a bit thin.

Tetris DS (DS)

That screenshot above is from the game’s new mode – push mode. I frankly barely play it, but it’s a fairly cool mode. Both players build up on the same blocks, just from opposite directions, in an attempt to push the other player into the fiery pits on each end. The other ways to play include touch mode, which is just a terrible attempt to utilize the DS’s stylus and touch screen, puzzle mode, which I’m pretty sure most puzzler vets know of, and mission mode, which is…ah screw this. All I play is good old Tetris online. That’s all you need. The utilization of the Nintendo WiFi Connection for this game makes it impossible to put down. I end up playing it for at least an hour if I pick it up before I go to bed. For the most part I play 2-player, because it takes longer for a 4-player game to get setup, but 4-player is probably even more fun and frantic, as it includes the use of items like shells, mushrooms and stars (yea, they have cool applications in this game). So while 2-player is ideal to show off true Tetris skill, 4-player is just crazy fun.

Ninja Gaiden Black

It’s one of the best games on the Xbox, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to finish it. Maybe because I’ve played through 1/3 and 2/3 of it on previous run-throughs and it’s getting a bit old by now, but it almost feels like a chore to finish. Or maybe it’s the fact that my friend’s Xbox only reads the NGB disc 10% on the time. Argh. I really just need to beat it so I can give him back his Xbox and get it out of my room, as it takes up so much damn room.

By comparison, I ripped through God of War in a few days, and even though its fighting system isn’t as deep and its graphics are technically not as good, I enjoyed that game more than NGB, and just about as much as any game I’ve played this gen. It was the definiton of short and sweet. I have yet to play the DMC series, but I just picked up the 5th Anniversary Collection, so I shall see if it lives up to the hype.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GC)

Just picked up this version of the game for $38. Sure beats paying $300 bucks for a Wii and the waggle-infested version of Zelda. My Gamecube deserves to have this game spin inside it. It’s only been waiting over two years for it. That’s all I have to say on that matter at this time.

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