Flashback Friday: Pokemon Crystal

Double Jump Kris MiiThe first month of the year is almost over! How are you all doing with your resolutions? Keeping up with them, or were they more of a week-long thing?

I’m hoping to keep up more with gaming news, perhaps venturing out further with more online games to try to reach out to more players and friends. Still, there’s something to be said about the older games, such as Pokemon Crystal.

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Hey, Pokemon Crystal was released on the 3DS Virtual Console today!

While I started playing Pokemon from the first generation games, it was the second generation where I really started to comprehend the story, the game mechanics, and the characters. I started understanding the types strengths and weaknesses and actually strategizing the battles rather than just tossing my over-leveled Pikachu at everyone, which had been my go-to plan in Pokemon Yellow.

Pokemon Crystal originally came out in North American in July 2001, and it received good reviews, even if the reviews were lower than what Gold and Silver had received. The most criticism Crystal had gained was how it was too similar to Gold and Silver, with critics claiming there weren’t any notably new aspects to the game to make it a “must buy.”

Crystal did, however, update plenty of aesthetic changes, such as updated graphics, animating Pokemon sprites at the beginning of battles, and the ability to play as a girl. The story line surrounding Suicune was more involved as well, along with other changes to the wild Pokemon that are available for the protagonist to catch.

I’m very excited to be going back to Johto with the Crystal version. It’s the Pokemon game that I have the most fond memories of, and it’ll be interesting to dive back into the old-school Pokemon games!

Have you ever played Pokemon Crystal? Are you downloading the Virtual Console version?

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Friday Favorites: Switch Wish List

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

I know most people share their video game wish lists before E3, but I figured I would share mine now since Nintendo’s Spotlight just gave us a lot of little bites of some of their planned projects rather than giving us more to chew on. Here’s what I wish for the Switch’s future come next year!

Super Smash Bros.

With the deluxe editions of Mario Kart 8 and Pokken Tournament making their way to the Switch, I’m wondering why Nintendo hasn’t hinted at doing a Smash Bros. installment, or even a port of Brawl for the Switch yet. The Smash franchise is a big project, I know, but even a deluxe port with the DLC from Brawl like they did with Mario Kart 8 would have been fine with me. I’m sure this is in the back of Nintendo’s mind right now, but a little hint would have been nice.

Virtual Console

This is the big one. Everyone has been hounding Nintendo about the Virtual Console, and even Nintendo of America’s president Reggie Fils-Aime said, “Certainly, we recognize there’s an appetite for all of our great legacy content.” Some sort of time frame, even if it needs to be revised down the line, would have been great for those of us just waiting for the Virtual Console library to come to the Nintendo Switch. Here’s hoping we’ll hear more about it in 2018!

Ace Attorney and Professor Layton

Although these two franchises usually make their homes on the handheld devices, considering the Switch can be portable, I wouldn’t mind these detective games making their way to the console in the future. The Joy-Con and their technology would be perfect for the point-and-click puzzle games, and I would love to see the animated cut scenes on my television. (That, and Rachel and I like to play them together, and it gets a little cramped hunched over the same 3DS, haha!)

Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures Remake

This is actually something Rachel had mentioned the other night. We both adore the Legend of Zelda franchise, and Four Swords Adventures for the GameCube had been the perfect multiplayer experience for the series. Being able to easily split the Joy-Con between multiple players instead of dealing with setting up the wires for GameBoy Advances would be great for the game. That, and after seeing remakes of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask on the 3DS, and then HD versions of WindWaker and Twilight Princess, I think seeing another older Zelda game remade wouldn’t be a bad idea.

What do you hope for the Switch’s future? Did Nintendo’s Spotlight answer any of your wishes?

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Flashback Friday: Pokemon Puzzle Challenge

Double Jump Kris Mii Happy Friday, everyone! Are you all ready for the new year?

With New Year’s Day on the way, many people look toward the future, with resolutions and ideas on how we can improve ourselves and our lives. Today, however, we’re going to take a step back and soak in some nostalgia with Pokemon Puzzle Challenge.

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Released in North America in December 2000, Pokemon Puzzle Challenge was a side Pokemon game for the GameBoy Color. It was styled after the Japan-released Panel de Pon, which was then known as Tetris Attack in North America, despite having no resemblance to the actual Tetris game.

The concept — being faced with a grid of stacks of colored blocks that are cleared when three or more of the same colored blocks are arranged horizontally or vertically — was used with several side games from Nintendo, including a minigame in Animal Crossing: New Leaf and the Nintendo 64 version of this game Pokemon Puzzle League.

While the Nintendo 64 port of this game focused on the anime characters, Pokemon Puzzle Challenge follows the main Pokemon characters of the Gold and Silver games, like Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile, along with the second generation’s main protagonist. During the Challenge mode, the player battles with the Johto gym leaders and their Pokemon. The opponent Pokemon has an HP bar that the player and his/her chosen Pokemon partner for the battle can deplete with combos created by clearing blocks. Challenge also allows players to unlock even more Pokemon partners (and even eggs!) by defeating certain conditions.

Other modes include Marathon, Time Zone, Line Clear, Puzzle, and Garbage. Marathon plays until the player loses when the grid of blocks reaches the top of the screen. Time Zone is timed play, and Line Clear is beaten when a player clears blocks beneath a line. Puzzle involves certain conditions — such as a limited number of moves or combo requirements — to beat, and Garbage is a more difficult version of Marathon, where barriers fall and hinder the player.

Pokemon Puzzle Challenge was released on Nintendo’s Virtual Console for North America in November 2014, going for less than $10 at the time of this post. It’s a fun puzzle game that’s not too long or strenuous, a perfect game to sit and play while relaxing. And it’s Pokemon — what more could you want?

 

Party Time

Double Jump Kris MiiI know Rachel posted last week about how our Nintendo 64 decided to retire when we had attempted to play Mario Party, but we were able to work around that last night…

 

One of Rachel’s and my favorite YouTubers BrutalMoose has a regular streaming schedule on Twitch (same username, if you wanted to check it out) where, every Friday, he plays Mario Party. It’s always Mario Party one through eight, randomly chosen with the computer characters’ skill levels also randomized, and it’s always a good time.

Aside from his Twitch streams, a few of our other favorite YouTubers have also played a bit of old-school Mario Party as well, which prompted Rachel and me to try to set up our old Nintendo 64 in the first place. That hadn’t worked out so well, as you may have read last week, but we did do a little research and realize that Mario Party 2 had been released on the Wii’s Virtual Console back in 2010.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought something off of the Wii’s Virtual Console. Nevertheless, about ten bucks later, we had Mario Party 2 up and running with me being Luigi and Rachel playing as Yoshi. Add in an Easy-skilled DK and a Hard-skilled Wario, and we were excited to play.

It was definitely a fun time, but it was hilarious to realize that, for the majority of the mini-games, we were groaning: “Oh, not this one!” “I sucked at this one!” “How do we do this again?!” “Goddammit, Wario…!”

If Rachel and I had RPG character-like stats, she would have a high Luck stat. She got fantastic dice rolls with the star space popping up close to her. I did well in the mini games and getting coins, but on the board itself, I wasn’t doing so hot. It came down to the point where it’d be okay if Rachel won instead of me — as long as Wario didn’t win, we were good (poor DK was sucking so bad that we didn’t worry about him, but we did end up feeling really sorry for him by the end of the game).

It’s a shame that the first and third Mario Party games aren’t also on any of the Virtual Consoles. Still, it was a really good time and an awesome trip down Memory Lane with the game.

Flashback Friday: Ocarina of Time

Double Jump Kris Mii Happy Friday everyone, Kris here!

Since the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the most searched for game after this year’s E3, I thought I would share the familiar and beloved Zelda game that got me interested in the franchise so long ago, the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

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Although not the first game in the Legend of Zelda franchise, Ocarina of Time is arguably one of the most popular. Released in Japan and North America in 1998, it was the first Legend of Zelda game to boast 3D graphics with the help of the now twenty-years-old Nintendo 64 console.

Ocarina of Time has received some of the highest praises and reviews of all time, with perfect and near-perfect scores from all sorts of game reviewers, such as GamePro, GameSpot, and IGN. It has been rereleased for the GameCube, the virtual console for both the Wii and the Wii U, and for the Nintendo 3DS, all to similar acclaim. It was fan-voted as the greatest Legend of Zelda game back in 2011 for the franchise’s 25th anniversary, beating out Majora’s Mask in the final round.

Ocarina of Time was one of those games that got me into video games in the first place. Like Super Mario RPG, Ocarina of Time was a game that I watched my uncle play until I had gotten the courage to play it myself. As a child, I had never beaten the game myself. Instead, my favorite part was when we became adult Link and saved Epona. Riding around on the horse, like in Twilight Princess or flying a Loftwing in Skyward Sword, was the best part of the game in my little child opinion.

A couple of years ago I had played it on the Wii’s virtual console, my memories transporting me back ages like Link himself when he time travels. The dungeons, the landscapes, the characters… Everyone, every piece of scenery — from the sages to the princess to the Gerudo king to Death Mountain to Lon Lon Ranch — had their own story to share and it was utterly amazing.

And the music…! The music, written by the brilliant Koji Kondo, will always make me nostalgic. Hearing remixes and refurbished versions of the songs in the later Zelda games, like Windwaker or Skyward Sword, always makes me smile. The Song of Time and Sheik’s Theme will always be a couple of my favorite pieces.

I’m definitely looking forward to the Breath of the Wild and, despite how it is reinventing the series, I’m sure that it will evoke such feelings and create memories that are on par with those from Ocarina of Time.

Have you played Ocarina of Time? How did you enjoy the game?

Super Mario 64

  

Title: Super Mario 64
Company: Nintendo
Console: Nintendo 64
How we got the game: We do have the original N64 cartridge, but we recently played it on the Wii virtual console

Our Review:

 krismii
Everyone knows this game, right? Super Mario 64? It’s probably one of the most famous Mario games out there, with its hub-world, level portals, and the amazing (in those days) graphics on the Nintendo 64 console. It had come out twenty years ago and is still rightly talked about.

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The graphics are amazing, I think. The only thing about it is Mario slips and slides everywhere. It’s annoying, but it makes everything funnier when you watch others play.
I love how there are so many things to do in the game. There are only a few levels, but you can catch seven different stars in each one. The game does eventually end, but it seems as though it’s endless.

krismii
When we were younger (like, a lot younger) and played this, there were always our favorite levels that we stuck by like Princess Peach’s slide and Cool, Cool Mountain. We were able to beat Bowser in the end every once in a while, but this time around we decided to personally challenge ourselves to get all 120 stars in the game.

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It took us a while. I think we played the game for a couple of weeks. There certainly was some stars that stumped us more than others. For example, Hazy Maze Cave and Rainbow Ride. The funny thing is, we knew where the star was and how to get it, but Mario just slid everywhere and never jumped the right way when we wanted him to. Though I think that’s just us, not him.

krismii
It was still nice to blame Mario, though! Then, of course, there were those 100-coin stars. Most 100-coin stars didn’t take too long to get. Then there were others, like Tick Tock Clock and Snowman’s Land, where we were ready to scream at the screen. It was like, “I got 99 problems and they’re all coins!”

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yeah, some levels are super easy, some are not. Even though I’ve played it plenty of times, and now I can officially say that I’ve completed the game in full, it will still be fun to go back and play it again soon. The graphics, the levels, the story, and even the music are all classic.

krismii
Yes, it is an enjoyable game, especially when we’re beginning to get a bit sleep-deprived. I believe the harder levels will become easier in time the more often we play them. The ones on the top floor of the castle — such as Wet-Dry World and Tiny-Huge Island — definitely aren’t ones that I would play on my own, but it will be fun playing the game again.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Tiny-Huge Island is not my favorite, though it is an interesting concept for a level, to go into two different paintings to be big or small. But Koopa the Quick is a pain that one, I have to admit.
Overall, it’s a game that will not be forgotten.

Super Mario 64 gets…

5 lives double jump5/5 Lives