Friday, November 10, 2006

Clockwork Tides

We've been busy manning the pumps. I was vaguely aware the Reviewiera offices were on top of the old east-side frog pond, but we didn't know there was a mole-man-esque underground lake below the sub-basement.

Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation is done, & I did done save the entire planet. The thrwarting of an alien invasion via a massively enjoyable turn-based strategy game exclusively featuring giant mecha was mainly accomplished on a train-trip to San Francisco and back. Truthfully, I was stuck on one damn mission the entire trip down, then broke through & rolled through a fistful of missions, handing out mecha-sized servings of mashed potato ass-kicking.

T-LINK SWORD!!!
Especially noteworthy is the final 3 or 4 missions, a stage-by-stage final all-out assault on the Balmarian artificial planet, the White Star. Praiseworthy, if only because, having slogged through & figured out real sticky missions (like the aforementioned Portland-to-San Francisco exercise in frustration), the final missions were at-once competitive & yet easy at the same time.1

The general knock against Taisen in the reviewing-field is that in Japan the franchise frequently features mechs from tv series such as Evangelion, Gundam, and Getter Robo. Taisen is a product of Banpresto, a subsidiary of almighty BANDAI, which in turns owns the rights to the extensive Gundam franchise, so obtaining the licensing rights to those comes as little surprise. Its perhaps a penchant of Japanese marketing that other companies seem to have little problem allowing thier products to be pitched against each other in a video game made by a third-party. Obtaining these licenses for an American release of a Taisen game proved difficlt, which is why Banpresto went w/ the Original Generation thing. Even though the mecha involved look holy-hell a lot like mecha from the Gundam franchise, it turns out every single one of them is an original creation by the Banpresto team - hence, no licensing required.

The real consequence of completing Taisen is I can move on to Pokemon: FireRed Version. This may just be the best strategy turn-based semi-RPG I've ever laid thumbs on.


I don't know where to start. From the "collect 'em all" element, to the good ol' fashioned leveling-up process, to the "I wonder what this pokemon looks like when it evolves?", to the color-coded world ("Vermillion City"), to the strange pride & puffing-out-of-the-chest I get from winning a badge from a gym leader. Good, great video game fun.

And, of course, the NBA is underway. I stick to my best-case/worst-case scenario for the TrailBlazers: at best, they're basically last year's New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, right down to the ROY in Roy & being in the playoff race (mathamatically). Worst case scenario is a record like last years, maybe 5 more wins, although the product on the floor will be infinitely more pleasant to watch.

And Zach! He really is in great shape, & I'm enjoying a summer's worth of dumbasses who called for his departure, claiming the team could go nowhere w/ him, having to suddenly & abruptly go silent (dicks).


My favorite observation thus far, however, is that in a few games the patently bullshit preseason "what to look fors" which stated this team would miss "intangible" players Blake & Khrypha were put to rest. Both those players (esp. Blake) were touted last season as guys who-don't-fill-up-a-stat-sheet-but-do-a-lot-of-little-things-on-the-floor. Sorry but don't you usually only need ONE of those guys? And aren't they usually overshadowed by the true stars of the team? Straws of postivity, these were, grasped at by the media to throw the fandom a bone.

-d.d.

1 And there is nothing more rewarding that laying the smacketh down on a final boss. The classic example of this is the two times I've played Final Fantasy VIII. The first time I didn't truly grasp the game's strategic system, & as a result the final boss took a gargantuan 3 hours to beat (& probably 4 or 5 tries). The second time round I'd achieved a true understanding of the game's ins & outs. The final boss was defeated in a mere 30 minutes of blissful ass-kicking limit-break assaults. Now that I think about it, this may be a particular merit of Japanese RPGs in general - an almost zen-like understanding of the game is what you're supposed to achieve, & your reward will be the summary dispatch of your greatest adversaries. Miyamoto Musashi & shit like that.

2 Comments + Unabashed Criticism:

Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

The impressive thing about that fourth paragraph is that you were able to say it all while I drank a glass of water!

Jeez, quote a brother next time, willya?

-Fat

9:25 PM  
Blogger d.d. tinzeroes said...

Funny thing is you weren't drinking water...

9:42 PM  

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