Cheat! 09.03.03

Well, I’m back in the saddle this week with what hopes to be a quality column! (Meaning I didn’t phone in a performance and just pick games from one facet of gaming.) I’ve officially moved into my dorm, and currently getting my shit together for classes and stuff. For the record, if this column dips in quality a bit, or if I do “phone-it-ins” more often, bear in mind that my schoolwork comes first over EVERYTHING. Even 411Games. (Besides, Freddie B. and Chuckie P. are such a hard act to follow anyway”¦) But rest assured that I’m still committed to this site in every way possible.

I’m also a member of X-Box Live now! Thankfully, college has put me in a situation where I can finally take advantage of Microsoft’s online capabilities. In fact, this is my commentary for this week! Check at the bottom for my impressions and likes / dislikes.

I also picked up Soul Calibur II for the GC and Pokémon Pinball for the GBA. Both are extremely fun, addicting games. I just wish I could play my GC more than just the weekends. Oh well. That’s life.

And that’s all the personal stuff out of the way. Now we get to the nitty gritty all you readers (all three of you) come to expect from me: CHEATS! And far be it from me to disappoint. ON WITH THE CHEATING!
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F-ZERO GX (GameCube)

The lightning-fast racer returns on the GameCube, and it’s even more lightning fast than ever. Bring the barf bags, it’s going to be a bumpy ride”¦

Some people may not know that there is a companion arcade racer to this game in Japan: F-Zero AX. (A for Arcade, G for GameCube) Players can bring their memory cards and transfer data between them. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have that luxury in the US, so we get our AX goodies by unlocking them. Here’s how:

AX Race Tracks: Either place first in each individual AX track, or beat all the Grand Prix tracks on the Master difficulty.
AX Machine Parts: Complete Story Mode on the Hard difficulty.
AX Racers: Complete Story Mode on the Very Hard difficulty.

(Credit goes to GameFAQs)
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POKEMON PINBALL: RUBY & SAPPHIRE (Game Boy Advance)

Far be it from me to step on Alex Lucard’s toes and review this game. So, I’ll just cover some fun stuff instead.

Did you know that not all Pokémon can be captured normally on the pinball tables? Some of them you’ll have to capture through specific bonus stages. Here’s how!

Kyogre: Beat the Kyogre bonus stage twice. (Sapphire table only)
Groudon: Beat the Groudon bonus stage twice. (Ruby table only)
Rayquaza: Beat the Rayquaza bonus stage twice. (Appears after beating Kyogre/Groudon)

(Credit goes to myself and GameFAQs for confirmation)
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SOUL CALIBUR II (Playstation 2, GameCube, X-Box)

The hotly anticipated fighting game is out in three flavors: PS2 Punch, GameCube Grape, and X-Box Berry! What’s your flavor? Tell me. What’s your fla”¦*gunshots*

(NOTE: The preceding joke on those stupid “Flava” dolls was completely uncalled for, and on behalf of 411Games and 411Mania, I apologize completely.)

Okay, back to work. The versions are different, but the unlockables are all the same. Let’s take a look at what we got here:

CHARACTERS
(NOTE: All characters are unlocked in Weapon Master Mode. The last three characters are only available in VS Mode and Battle Theater.)

Yoshimitsu: Complete Chapter 2, Stage 3
Charade: Complete Chapter 3, Stage 1
Cervantes: Complete Chapter 3, Stage 4
Sophitia: Complete Chapter 4, Stage 5
Seung Mina: Complete Chapter 6, Stage 3
Bezerker: Complete Subchapter 1, Extra Mission
Assassin: Complete Subchapter 3, Stage 2, Extra Mission
Lizardman: First you must be at Level 72 or higher. Next, you must complete Chapter 4, Stage 3 once again. This will open up Subchapter 2. Complete all the Stages in Subchapter 2 to unlock Lizardman.

“EXTRA” MODES

Extra Arcade: Beat Arcade Mode once.
Extra VS: Beat Extra Arcade once.
Extra Practice: Complete Chapter 1, Stage 1 of Weapon Master Mode.
Extra Survival: Complete Chapter 6, Stage 5 of Weapon Master Mode
Extra Survival (Death): Complete Subchapter 4, Stage 3 of Weapon Master Mode
Extra Survival (No Recovery): Complete Extra Chapter 2, Stage 2 of Weapon Master Mode
Extra Time Attack: Complete Chapter 5, Stage 1 of Weapon Master Mode
Extra Time Attack (Alternative): Complete Chapter 9, Stage 4 of Weapon Master Mode
Extra Time Attack (Extreme): Complete Extra Chapter 1, Stage 1 of Weapon Master Mode
Extra Team Battle: Complete Subchapter 1 of Weapon Master Mode.
Extra VS Team Battle: Complete Extra Team Battle once.

OTHER ODDS & ENDS

Character Profiles: Beat Arcade Mode or Extra Arcade with a character to unlock that character’s profile.
Egyptian Crypt Stage: Complete Chapter 8, Stage 5 of Weapon Master Mode.
Hwangseo Palace/Phoenix Court Stage: Complete Chapter 7, Stage 2 of Weapon Master Mode.
Labyrinth Stage: Complete Chapter 6, Stage 6 of Weapon Master Mode.
Lakeside Coliseum Stage: Complete Chapter 1, Stage 3 of Weapon Master Mode.
Money Pit/Top Tier Stage: Complete Chapter 4, Stage 1 of Weapon Master Mode.

(Credit goes to myself and GameFAQs for confirmation)
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TOM CLANCY’S GHOST RECON: ISLAND THUNDER (X-Box)

Here we have an expansion to the critically acclaimed first-person shooter. Now I can lose to a whole new breed of levels online!

But for you single players out there, here’s a few cheats for ya. Pause the game, go to “Enter Cheats” and enter these:

Mega Noggin (Big Heads): A, X, B, Y, A
Chicken Explosives: X, X, Y, A, B
Helium Mode: X, A, Y, B, X
Slow Mo Mode: Y, Y, B, X, A
Paper Mode: B, A, X, Y, A
Run Fast Mode: A, A, X, B, Y

And then there’s Team God Mode. Enter BAYYABAXXX to activate it. Keep in mind that you can’t unlock anything with it, though.

(Credit goes to GameFAQs)
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VRTUA FIGHTER 4: EVOLUTION (Playstation 2)

This is the best fighter for $20 EVER. But don’t take MY word for it! Read the review on the website by”¦um”¦me. Okay, so I guess you MUST take my word for it.

You’ll be able to unlock a TON of stuff from Quest Mode if you’re good enough. Here’s a list of what you can look forward to:

Old Win Poses: These are available for purchase at any time in the shop. Hold the buttons listed under each win pose during the replay to see them.
New Win Poses: As you progress, extra win poses will be available for purchase in the shop. Hold the buttons listed under each win pose during the replay to see them.
Training Stage 1: Beat the tournament in the first arcade to unlock this stage for use in V.S. Mode.
Training Stage 2: Beat the tournament in the second arcade to unlock this stage for use in V.S. Mode.
Training Stage 3: Beat the tournament in the third arcade to unlock this stage for use in V.S. Mode.
Training Stage 4: Beat the tournament in the fourth arcade to unlock this stage for use in V.S. Mode.
VF1 Stages: Beat the tournament in the fifth arcade to unlock these stages for use in V.S. Mode.
VF1 Character Model: You can buy this from the shop immediately.
Dural: Reach the sixth arcade, and Dural will be available for purchase in the shop. To use her in VS Mode, move the cursor to the vacant spot in the upper-left corner of the screen.
Battle Mode: To unlock this option in the Options Menu (where the question marks are), beat all 14 tournaments in the Underground Fighting Arena.

There’s also a little more cool stuff that doesn’t fall into the Quest Mode category:

Classic Sega Tone: After the memory card loads, hold the Circle Button. When the Sega logo is displayed, you’ll hear the classic “Seeegaaaaaaaa!” sound byte.

Fight Transparent Dural: To fight a transparent version of Dural, you’ll need to meet a certain time requirement. If you’re fighting 1-round matches, you’ll need to reach her in 4 minutes. In 3-round matches, you’ll need to reach her in 6 minutes. In 5-round matches, you’ll need to reach her in 8 minutes.

(Credit goes to GameFAQs)
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RETROCHEATING

Today we get to look at a game for a handheld that was recently released with six games for only $80. The system, of course, is the Neo Geo Pocket Color. The game you ask? Well, it’s”¦

SNK VS CAPCOM: MATCH OF THE MILLENIUM (Neo Geo Pocket Color)

If Alex Lucard says this game rules, well, this game RULES! No doubt about it.

First of all, there are eight hidden characters. The thing is, though, is that they aren’t unlocked in a conventional way. Every time you beat the game, you’ll see a random portrait covered in blocks. A certain number of blocks will be removed depending on what the difficulty was. (The harder the game, the more blocks removed.) Once all the blocks are gone, the hidden character will be accessible!

For the record, the hidden characters are:
Akari
Akuma
B.B. Hood
Evil Ryu
Geese
M. Bison
Orochi Iori
Yuri

Plus, you can get blood in the game if you change the internal settings of the NGPC to Japanese. Nice little trick there, eh?

(Credit goes to GameFAQs)
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COMMENTARY: I’M AN X-BOX LIVE n00b!

As stated at the beginning of the column, I just signed into the X-Box Live network. I’m probably completely insane for taking part in something that will not even be around three years from now, but I’ve signed up nonetheless. I’m also pretty happy about it overall.

Want to know the reason why I’ve gone nuts and signed on? Well, while living at home, my games set-up would not allow me to get online anyway. My video games and game systems were upstairs, and the computer with the broadband connection was downstairs. If I had the time, energy, and the parental consent, I could have bought a router, a HUGE CAT5 extension cable, and stretch the damn thing up the stairs, and across several rooms just to hook up my X-Box to the Net. However, that idea is simply stupid in theory AND practice, so I didn’t mind the lack of online options for my consoles. I was perfectly happy playing by my lonesome.

But then came the time when I would be moving to a college dorm room. And in the dorm descriptions, I read there was to be an Ethernet connection PER PERSON! Wow, I could hook up my new computer, and with a router, hook up my X-Box for the Live functions! I couldn’t pass this up.

Imagine the surprise when I found there were 4 Ethernet ports, and that I could use two of them! So it turns out that I didn’t need the router after all. And after a few easy set-up instructions, I was connected to X-Box Live! My official introduction to the world of online console gaming!

So this all leads up to the reason I got into this in the first place: to try an area of gaming I’ve never touched before. To play against people from all over the country and test my gaming skills. To..um”¦to”¦

Okay, I wanted the downloadable content for DDR Ultramix. Are you happy now? HAPPY?

Anyway, no matter what the reasons, I now have a 1-year subscription to X-Box Live. And to be honest, I’m having fun with it. Sure, it might be obsolete very soon, as Mr. Laflin pointed out a week ago, but for me right now, it’s a novelty I can take part in easily. And will probably wear out its usefulness once I leave finish school about 2 years later. But for now, it’s something cool to get into. (By the way, Laflin. I’m a junior, not a freshman. Now we’re even for me getting your name wrong.)

So now I’ve experienced the Live”¦uh”¦experience, I’ve got a general idea of the good and the bad of it. (I’m no expert, having it for such a short time, but I never claimed to be anyway.) So if you’re the dorm-living college student with an X-Box and a back-up Ethernet port, here’s what you can look forward to:

THE GOOD

1) Easy Sign-Up: The actual sign-up process is fast and easy. Just enter your name, address and credit card number, let the X-Box configure itself, and boom! Instant Live for a year! I’ve never seen another process that was so easy to perform.

2) Hand’s Free Communication: Sure it’s a standard feature, but it’s cool nonetheless. With no keyboard to worry about, you can talk to people all across the globe in real time and not pause the game 50 jillion times just to type in two or three words. Speaking of which, this segues perfectly into the next point”¦

3) No “l33t sp34k”: You don’t know how happy this makes me. With the removal of the keyboards, any and all forms of “l33tness” have been removed as well. I’ll never have to make my eyes bleed again trying to decipher someone’s attempt to be “teh koooooooool!!!!1111″ Thanks, Microsoft!

But of course, with every good has to come”¦

THE BAD

1) No Keyboard When You Need It: Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the headset. Just look up a few paragraphs. But when you NEED a keyboard, such as for changing your e-mail address or credit card information, there’s none to speak of. You’re just going to have to plug away on the game pad for all that, and that takes more than double the time.

2) Random Disconnects: You’re going to have to learn to love these, especially if you’re (A) in a college dorm, or (B) have a poor Internet service provider. You don’t know how many times I’ve been sparring with someone in Capcom VS SNK 2 when all of the sudden, the connection goes dead. I’m still in the friggin’ Q rank because of this! The Q RANK!

3) Lots of Idiots: If you run into jerks on Everquest or something, all you have to deal with is their poor typing. Running into jerks on X-Box Live is an entirely different story. You can hear their annoying voices, AND get cussed out by them for no reason. Luckily there is a report service for things like this.

So is it worth it overall? Yes, yes it is. Just make sure to buy games that you’re comfortable with playing online. Not everyone is good at First-Person Shooters, for example. Find the genre of games you’re good at, and go from there. I guarantee a fun experience.

Oh, and my gamer tag is “Tuxedo Alex”. Look me up when you have the chance.
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MINI-COMMENTARY: STUPID CHARACTER WORSHIP

What’s this? Another commentary topic? In the same week? Interesting, eh? Anyway, this is something that needs to be addressed now instead a week from now.

Most of you know the site I steal most of my material from: www.gamefaqs.com. Well, they have this “Character Battle” tournament thing going on right now, where they picked 64 video game characters (some well known, some completely obscure), split them into brackets, and let the visitors of the site vote to see who goes on to the next round. This goes on until there’s one character left out of the bunch. Oh, and people will win prizes if their “fantasy” tournament bracket matches the real bracket by the end of the thing.

If you’re a regular visitor to GameFAQs, you know that the tournament is winding down. But there are two characters that are in the “final four” that have no business being there: Cloud and Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII.

Please tell me GameFAQs is putting up a sick, cruel joke, and that no one is in on it. If not, than the GameFAQs message board is the biggest bunch of Squaresoft whores I’ve EVER seen.

To make matters worse, these characters have beaten vastly superior characters from the annals of video gaming history, and FAR more deserving of such an honor as “Number One Character” to boot. Here are your examples:

Cloud: Cloud has beaten Bowser, Sonic the Hedgehog, and from the looks of it, Link. Three characters that have about 100 times more personality than Cloud”¦EACH.

Sephiroth: As of this writing, he is currently beating Mario by a significant margin. MARIO, people! Come on! It wouldn’t matter as much if Mario was losing to another Nintendo character, or someone from Sega. But someone from a SIX YEAR OLD MEDIOCRE RPG?!?

Yes, I said mediocre. Final Fantasy VII is a mediocre RPG, and you can quote me on that. This isn’t to say that other offerings from the Square side of Square-Enix weren’t fun, like Kingdom Hearts. But the fact remains that FFVII isn’t that good of an RPG to warrant this kind of fan base. Cloud is an enigma who fights to STAY an enigma. In the game, he had about 13 different back-stories, and even after immersing ourselves in his SUBCONCIOUS MIND, we still didn’t get a clear answer as to who he was. “I’m Cloud” was all we got. Okay”¦and what? “I’m Cloud, and I’m a clone of Sephiroth?” Or, “I’m Cloud, and here’s the REAL backstory?” Nope. We just get non-ending to that sub plot. Not to mention he is devoid of any emotion, and makes it hard for ANYONE to feel ANYTHING for him.

As for Sephiroth? He’s just fan-girl eye-candy. Nothing more, nothing less. He’s evil to draw them in, but he’s got that “I’m so misunderstood” side of him that keeps him there. Men want to be him, women want to change him. He’s just fluff with a spell that nukes the whole solar system.

Both of these characters, as well as the others, are just part of a poorly conceived game. Oh sure, it looks pretty. In fact, it was the first RPG of its kind to feature hundreds of polygon-characters in a psuedo-3D environment. Sure the summon spells were a feast for the eyes, as were certain environments to look at. That was the game’s gimmick. Cinematic cut-scenes out the yin-yang, and graphics that were never seen before.

But the story was sacrificed. Heavily. As much as I loved LOOKING at the damn thing, the story made my head hurt. You never found out what Cloud WAS, you never got Sephiroth’s whole story, and you spent hours upon hours trying to find the stupid “Knights Of The Round” spell when you really didn’t need it. And don’t get me started on the non-ending, which didn’t even make sense.

That is why those characters don’t deserve to be anywhere NEAR the final four. And it’s probably going to end up Cloud VS Sephiroth in the finals, just like the game. This does not mean that FFVII is the best game ever. No sirree. It just means that people are so suckered in by gimmicks, that some companies TELL them what is good, and they’ll believe it. All of it. Without question.

And I think that is just sad.

(NOTE: The previous opinions are my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the other writers here at 411Games, or 411Mania. I have nothing against Square-Enix on a personal level, I just don’t like FFVII all that much.)
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PARTING THOUGHTS

You know, I feel a lot better now I’ve gotten that last bit out of my system. I feel cleansed. And I probably made Alex Lucard VERY happy.

Next week, we’re going to try something different. I can’t say what it is just yet, but I guarantee it will rock.

Until next time, find a game you like and play it to enjoy it. Not just because a game company told you to.

Alex Williams