Daily Archives: August 15, 2011

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH: Wild 9

Wex Major is out for revenge. Makes sense. His team of ragtag teenage freedom-fighters, known as the Wild 9, was attacked by Lord Karn’s Elite Shock-troopers. Some heavy damage was done, and six members of the crew were captured to be experimented on. Now it’s up to Wex (and his cohorts B’Angus and Pilfer) to save them, as well as kill as many of Lord Karn’s goons as cruelly as possible. Thank goodness he has the RIG, a high-tech weapon that shoots out an energy beam, which Wex can use in multiple ways: grabbing enemies and throwing them into deathtraps, picking up objects, using it as a grapple-swing-thing, and so on.

Wild 9 was an impulse buy. That much I remember. I was looking for something to play, and here was something to play. And from the makers of Earthworm Jim, too. Platformers don’t get kookier than that one. I assumed that their latest offering would be much of the same. I don’t recall getting very far in Wild 9 though. I think the torture aspect lost me, much like it put me off in Bulletstorm. When the RIG hits enemies, they moan and scream loudly, clearly in pain. Not my thing. I don’t want “bonus points” for dangling an enemy over spikes before finally dropping him to his death. I want to save Wex’s friends, and that means killing efficiently, progressing left to right, our destination always ahead. I might’ve stopped playing after the first boss chase sequence.

But Wild 9 has personality, and that’s the main reason it has remained lodged in my brain all these years. Loading screens contained some original artwork of the Wild 9 crew in amusing moments, and the art style and animation is clearly taken from the very same pages of Earthworm Jim. That’s not a bad thing, as they nailed something there and knew it. There’s some decent animation work too, in that Wex reacts to what you’re doing. Use the RIG to grab a crate, but accidentally drop it on your foot? Yup, he’ll hop about in pain. Really evokes that sensation of the Sega Genesis and SNES days where game characters were that–characters. However, his walking animation is trollish and clunky, but don’t tell him I said that.

Like Klonoa and Viewtiful Joe, Wild 9 helped usher us into a new form of platforming, that which is known as 2.5D. Yup. 3D graphics (as in polygonal), but still a side-scrolling action title. The camera angles could get a little jarring at times yet it was still a neat effect, especially when some levels have Wex is way up high with a gorgeous backdrop that seems miles away in the distance. Games like Shadow Complex will use this look to great success many years later.

The above text might seem contradictory–I love the style and personality of the game, but actually did not enjoy playing it. So, why would I regret trading in Wild 9? for some measly space credits that I don’t even remember spending? Well, I’d like to try again. As a youth, I did not have the attention span or devotion that I do now, and if a game didn’t interest me, it was off the list and over to the next. I feel like I gave Wild 9 a small amount of time and moved on to something else, eventually forgetting about it until the day came where I needed to trade in some games, and there it went. I’d just like to give it one more shot, to see if it will always be more unique than fun.

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.

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Some great Nintendo DS games yet to come

I don’t know about you, but I kind of thought that great Nintendo DS games came to a stop with Monster Tale back in March 2011, and that all further energy and expenses were put towards making the Nintendo 3DS a roaring success. That latter hope has not worked out quite like the big Nintendo head-honchos would’ve liked, and any glimmer of light that gamers would get another title for the bereft DS handheld as high quality as The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks or Professor Layton and the Unwound Future or Dragon Quest IX seemed unlikely.

However, strangely, there seems to be a number of great titles coming out in the next few months, even during the rebirth of the 3DS, and I’m all for this. In fact, these are the sort of games that will get played in my Nintendo DS Lite, as playing them in the 3DS might feel a bit like betrayal. They were created for the DS; that is their home, their haven. It’s only right.

Let’s take a looksie…

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2

Release date: September 19, 2011

From what I understand, the Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker series is basically Pokemon, but in a universe where classic blue slimes and puns reign supreme. I found a copy of the first game the other week at GameStop for less than $10.00; haven’t got to play much of it yet as I plan to cover it for The First Hour. However, if it’s anything like the monster battling mini-element from the end of Dragon Quest VIII, I’ll be pleased. DQM: J2 seems to be more of the same, but with the usual shtick of better graphics, better online connectivity, and huger monsters, the kind that take up both screens.

Kirby: Mass Attack

Release date: September 19, 2011

A new Kirby game is always reason for excitement. The little pink hungry puff‘s latest adventure comes with a new gimmick; he’s been turned from one Kirby into many, and you’ll use this mass of Kirby to solve puzzles, platform through levels, and fight end bosses. The fact that it’s not trying to force 3D at us or use it in some stupid way is welcoming. Seems like a fun time overall.

Solatorobo: Red the Hunter

Release date: September 27, 2011

A follow-up to Tail Concerto, a PlayStation game I actually did get to try out as a youngling. It was just a demo level and entirely in Japanese, but still…the dang thing resonated with me so well that I still flash back to it from time to time. It focused around Waffle Ryebread, a dog police officer out to stop the nefarious workings of a cat named Fool. Silly stuff, but there was such confidence in the world-building that I bought in, and the same effect seems to be happening here with Solatorobo: Red the Hunter. Maybe deep down–really deep down–I’m a furry fan. I dunno. Kind of hope not. I just want to play a videogame about a doggy sky hunter and his sister as they try to steal a special file from an airship called Hindenburg. That’s totally normal.

And that’s three great-looking titles that don’t need 3D witchery to enhance their fun (and price tag). I’m definitely interested in picking up all three whenever they come out. Which is in…uh…all of them in September, two on the same day. Dang it. We’ll see what’s possible. If anything, since I just picked up Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker for cheapy cheap, I might forgo the newest edition until the timing and financial situation is better. But still, two desirable and quality DS games come out next month, and that’s definitely something to pay attention to, gamers and game developers alike.