Flashback Friday: Sonic Battle

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

Hey, guys, with the end of March, 2019 is a quarter of the way over. Isn’t that kind of scary to think about? 

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Sonic the Hedgehog has an interesting reputation. The majority of people believe his earlier games are the best examples of the speedy hedgehog, but his later games seemed to do well enough for them to keep on coming. I was always a fan of the character, even if his games weren’t the best quality, and one of my favorite games that featured Sonic was Sonic Battle for the Gameboy Advance. Considering Sonic is known for his super speed, a fighting game starring the character was a bit unorthodox, but I found it fun.

Sonic Battle was released in Japan at the end of 2003 and North America and Europe at the beginning of 2004. It got mostly mixed reviews, with most of its fighting and arena aspects being praised but its story and some mechanics being criticized. The battles themselves were fought in 3D stages, each with their own design, while the characters themselves were 2D, reminding me briefly of the graphics in the Paper Mario series.

There were a plethora of characters, each with their own standard attacks and combos, as well as heavy attacks, air attacks, upper attacks, and aim attacks. Sonic’s attacks relied mostly on speed, Shadow had the use of Chaos Control in his combos, Knuckles was one of the heavier hitters, etc. One character, Emerl, is the most unique in the game. As an ancient Gizoid, Emerl has the ability to copy attacks from the other characters after engaging them in a fight. These attacks are represented as cards and the player can build a custom move-set for Emerl to use throughout the story. It gave the game some replayability, even with the linear storyline.

Still, it was fun. It had the characters I cared about in a light that wasn’t seen too often. Sonic Battle is one of the few Gameboy Advance games that, even to this day, I would play casually when given the chance.

Have you played Sonic Battle? What did you think of it?

Save the date! We’re doing a special Twitch Stream to celebrate the Nintendo Switch! You can learn more about it here.

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Flashback Friday: Super Mario All-Stars

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

Can you believe we’re already near the end of January? The first month of 2019 has flown right by us! Any old or leftover games from 2018 that you’re still trying to finish up?

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Super Mario All-Stars was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993 and is a compiled collection of the Super Mario games that were available on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It includes Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, which actually wasn’t released outside of Japan aside from this compilation. While I was a bit too young to remember much of the NES, I have clear memories of All-Stars, enough so when we spotted the 2010 Wii port of the game at a GameStop, we nabbed it.

I mostly remember our older sister playing through some of the levels on the original Super Mario Bros. games and trying my hand at it occasionally when I was able to hold the controller. I wasn’t that great at the games then and, even with the Wii port, I’m still not great with them now. The Mario Bros. games have never been my favorites to play, but I can definitely recognize them as the classics that they are. Growing up as a Nintendo girl, I respect the influence the games have had on the gaming community and culture as a whole.

My fondest memories of these games, aside from their influence, is actually playing with my sisters. Being player two to my older sister and then player one to Rachel was always a good time, even if the games themselves were never beaten.

Have you played Super Mario All-Stars, or the individual games in the compilation? What did you think of them?

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Flashback Friday: Wii Fit

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone, the last of 2018!

With the end of the year comes time for new year’s resolutions! One of the most common resolution for people is getting fit, getting healthier, all that fun stuff, myself included. With that said, this month’s flashback is dedicated to Wii Fit.

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The Wii Fit came out a little over ten years ago, back in May 2008 for North America, a month after Europe, while Japan had gotten the game in December 2007 (perhaps also in time for new year’s resolutions?). Reviews were generally positive, with the biggest criticism for the game being how some of the workouts were lacking in intensity.

Wii Fit included a balance board to help measure a player’s progress in the cardio, strength training, and yoga activities while keeping track of the player’s weight, height, and center of balance. Wii Fit has been praised for its use in nursing homes, for physical rehabilitation, and health clubs around the world, particularly for its help in improving posture and movement in the elderly.

I remember Rachel and I having fun with the Wii Fit. Rachel’s Mii avatar was so skinny due to her being rather small, and the Wii Fit had a difficult time trying to figure out a fitness plan since burning calories wasn’t exactly something she needed to do. On the flip side, one of our younger cousins cheated at the game. During one of the jogging levels, instead of keeping the wii-mote in her hand and pumping it as she jogged in place, she sat down on the couch and shook it. The Wii Fit was very proud of her jogging score!

Still, it was a fun way to get us all moving and seeing the Miis in all the random activities was amusing. We still have our Wii Fit board chilling in our den. I’m definitely interested in the Fitness Boxing game for the Switch, which seems to be a spiritual successor to the Wii Fit game with an emphasis on boxing!

Have you played Wii Fit? What did you think of it?

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Flashback Friday: The Legend of Zelda Minish Cap

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

One of the last posts for Zelda Month, this Friday we’re talking about a game that came out for the GameBoy Advance. The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap was a charming installment for the franchise.

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The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap was a game released for the GameBoy Advance back in 2005 for North America. Rather than traveling through time, morphing into a wolf, or sailing the seas, Link has a sarcastic hat that helps him shrink in size. It was a prequel, if you will, to Four Swords Adventures, wherein the main villain was Vaati the Wind Sorcerer. The Minish Cap helped to expand the backstory of that particular villain and the birth of the Four Sword.

The Minish — or Picori — are a race of bug-sized creatures that live in and around Hyrule. They are the ones who bestow green clothes and a sword to a boy to drive back the darkness. Vaati petrifies Zelda, and Link uses the aid of the Minish to collect the ancient artifacts to restore the Picori blade to its former glory to seal Vaati away.

I’ve played through this game back when it first came out and I found it enjoyable. The graphics were vivid and colorful, and the characters were amusing. Ezlo, the talking hat, was like a squawking, sarcastic bird, and poor Link just went along with it. The dungeons were fun and I don’t recall anything too frustrating. However, I never finished the game due to rage-quitting at the final boss.

The final boss battle is timed, and not by a ticking clock, but by the sound of bells. Vaati’s wizard-like form (not to be confused with his flying eyeball form in Four Swords Adventures) has three phases, and if you spend too much time beating him down, the final bell will chime and Zelda will be encased in stone forever.

Which is definitely what happened when I played the game.

Still, I remember the game being a fun time and it’s a game that I almost forgot existed until recently when Rachel and I started playing Four Swords Adventure on our Twitch channel. Perhaps one day I’ll return to it.

Have you played The Minish Cap? What did you think of it?

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Flashback Friday: Dogz II

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

If there’s anything else I’m passionate about beside video games, it’s animals. One of my earliest video game memories involves a certain computer game about virtual dogs.

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Dogz II was one of the very few — if there were any others — game programs on the solitary computer in my grandparents’ house when I was a kid. When I wasn’t trying my hand at the SNES (or bothering my uncle to play said console), I was probably playing with the virtual dogs on the desktop.

Dogz II was one of the many installments of the Petz franchise developed and published by P.F. Magic back in the mid-nineties. Since then, sequels have been published, up until Dogz 5 and Catz 5. The games were virtual pets that you take care of from puppies and kittens to adults and, in the later installments of the series, you could breed and raise their offspring from newborns.

This particular installment was one of the simplest. You were able to adopt one of a handful of breeds, name them, and then care for them. Toys and food were available to let you interact with the pet, and your mouse icon turns into a hand to pet, snap to call over, and pick up your pet. Aside from the playpen mode, where your dogs are in the windowed mode of the game, you can also let them run around on your desktop.

Supposedly, you were supposed to let them loose on the desktop while you’re working, but I’d be hard-pressed to get any work done while watching my virtual dog chase my cursor, dig holes into my background, or carry around the icons. Of course, I’d never get mad at the dog — it was too cute!

Despite the Petz games being for Windows 95 or so, rather than Windows 7 or 10, I still have my CDs of Dogz II and Petz 5. For kicks, I tried to install Dogz II on my Windows 7 laptop, and guess what?

It works:

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Now I’m trying to decide if I want to dive down this rabbit hole and adopt a virtual pup or two to have running amok while I work…

Have you played any of the Petz games? What did you think of them?

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Flashback Friday: SimCity

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

Rachel and I tend to really enjoy simulation games, a genre we’ve been exploring more outside of the Sims. On that note, this Flashback Friday is dedicated to another installment in that franchise, SimCity!

Double Jump | Video Games | Nintendo | SimCity

SimCity was originally released in 1989, and has since spawned on many different platforms, from consoles to the personal computers to portable and online versions to many spin-offs. It’s a city-building simulation, where the player starts with a piece of land and develops residential, commercial, and industrial buildings for the citizens to thrive. The player acts as the mayor and must provide services to the citizens — like hospitals, schools, and police stations — to keep them happy (low taxes also help).

While I’ve never played the original port on the SNES, I have played SimCity 4 for the PC. It’s not the best but, like many simulation games that I’ve played, strangely addicting. You’re in charge of districts that are part of one region. All the roads snap to a grid and all the zoning must be attached to the roads. Supposedly SimCity 4 has servers and you compete with others online for the highest score for your city, but the servers have never worked when I’ve played. Fortunately, the online competition isn’t too important to me, but I know for some it was a deal breaker.

Nevertheless, SimCity is a fun waste of time and just feeds into my love of simulation games, and the Cities: Skylines that just came out on the Nintendo Switch this month remind me of them. One day I’ll remember to download Cities: Skylines!

Have you played any of the SimCity games? What did you think of them?

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Flashback Friday: 101 Dalmatians Escape from DeVil Manor

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone! I hope your July has been wonderful!

July is nearly over and, with it, probably the dog days of summer. Considering what the topic of this post is, that pun was definitely intended. Today, we’re diving way back, over twenty years ago, for a PC game that I used to love as a kid.

Video Games | Double Jump | PC Games | Retro Games | Disney | 101 Dalmatians

A couple of weekends ago, I was dog- and house-sitting for our neighbors. While relaxing with the dogs one evening, I stuck on Disney’s animated 101 Dalmatians and was amused to realize that the goldendoodle was enraptured with the movie, especially during the Twilight Bark scene. Her poodle-beagle mix sister sang along with the Twilight Bark.

It reminded me of an old PC game, Escape from DeVil Manor, that came out in 1997, over twenty years ago. While the characters’ animations — Cruella, Horace and Jasper, and the puppies — were based off of the Disney cartoon, the plot was based on the live-action version of the movie that came out a year before.

I remember playing the game often enough. You controlled two of the dalmatian puppies, Patches and Whizzer, as you tried to do what it says on the title. It was a point-and-click puzzle adventure, with the cursor lighting up on items that are clickable. You’d have to avoid Jasper and Horace, or set up traps for them, as you navigated around the manor. If you got caught, you were thrown into the billiard room.

There were a couple of ways out of the mansion, one of which was from the billiard room, which tended to be my go-to escape route. After actually escaping the manor, the puppies were in a mine shaft and pursued by Cruella DeVil, just like the video game that Roger created in the live-action film. Using explosive barrels from the back of your cart, you had to blast the old mad lady from the mine shaft to be arrested by Scotland Yard.

It was a cute, quirky game, one that was perfect for a little Disney- and dog-loving kid like myself. It’s something that I definitely want to try finding again, probably through an emulator, just for the nostalgia!

Have you played Escape from DeVil Manor? What did you think?

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