Encore Extra Stage #05

Good day, fellow Friday gamers. This here is Alex Williams, and this is your weekly serving of awesome, with a side of cool, and a dash of rad. And if you don’t like it, you can’t send it back. What you see is what you get.

Well, this week FINALLY sees the release of Pokemon Fire Red and Pokemon Leaf Green after what seems like 87 years of waiting. I got one of each. (A person named Alex on Inside Pulse that plays Pokemon? WHAT ARE THE ODDS?!?) Fire Red goes to my fiancee, who is just picking up the game, and Leaf Green goes to me, because it has Venusaur on the cover. (I’m not picky!) I’ve been waiting MONTHS for it, and I finally get to try it today. Should be nice to head back to the Kanto region after all this time…(Oh, like YOU never played the original Red/Blue/Green/Yellow games.)

In other “ME” news, I’ve just figured out how rigorous a semester in the Towson Business program can be, and I’m only in my second week. I have four classes, but EACH one has me put in a group for the big projects. This means scheduling four team meetings at a time, and praying that I don’t mix up my International Business Theory & Practicum presentation notes with my Marketing Research and Forecasting surveys. Wish me luck, everyone.

And you know, all this schoolwork and game waiting has gotten me into…I dunno, a sorta…HATEFUL mood. So, I think we’re going to open this week’s offering with an old fan favorite…


THIS ONE GOES OUT TO THE ONE I HATE (Volume 4)

I have no problems when it comes to side scrolling adventure games. After all, that’s what this industry is built off of. And I have no problem with “educational” games. These games are perfect for the youngsters, as it serves as a tool to teach them letters, numbers, or other things in a fun way. However, when certain companies try and combine these genres into one, bad things start to come about.

And today’s example is probably the worst yet.

Do you have diabetes? It’s all right; you don’t have to feel ashamed. People who I’m very close to have diabetes. Would you like to know more about your condition? Well…go to your doctor. Or look on the Internet on various search engines. Or ask your favorite uncle. Or go ask Fred, your friendly neighborhood hobo that lives under the bridge three blocks from your house. Hell, do ANYTHING instead of playing the following piece of filth. I HATE…


CAPTAIN NOVOLIN
(Super Nintendo)

Yes, today’s evil offering has pictures. If I have to suffer through this tripe, so do you.

Okay, the first question on your minds is: “How in the hell have I played this game without possessing a Super Nintendo?” Well, funny story. I was over at a friend’s house one day, going through his old SNES collection of games from yesteryear. Then I found this interesting game at the bottom of his cartridge pile.

“What’s this game?” I asked.

“No way, man,” he said with a start. “You don’t want to play THAT game.”

Puzzled, I asked “Why not?”

“You just…don’t,” he said with a stern tone in his voice. “The game is BAD. Like…the worst.”

I let out a laugh, my naivety clouding my judgment. “Bad? Come on! No game can be THAT bad!”

With a sigh, he conceited defeat. “It’s your funeral, man.”

After spending a good hour or two with this game, I could see that my friend was wise beyond his years. This WAS the worst game I’ve ever played on the SNES, if not ever. It’s corny. It’s cheesy. Its premise is horrible. The characters are horrible. The controls are horrible. I felt horrible after playing it. My friend felt horrible for plugging this gigantic rat dropping back into his console. Long story short…it was HORRIBLE!

But you probably want some details as to why it was horrible, right? Fine, fine. I’ll relieve the evil memories JUST FOR YOU!

We begin with this cute little warning:

So we already get a bad feeling from the game. Not only does it tell you you’re going to learn stuff, but it tells you not to change your drug intake. WOW! Drugs in a 16-Bit game! But it gets worse…

Here’s your basic story, as displayed by the following pictures:


Okay. Let’s see if I can finish this with a straight face. Aliens from outer space, disguised as junk food, invade the planet, and capture ONE MEASLY MAYOR who happens to be a diabetic. These are obviously the dumbest aliens in the galaxy, for one. The REAL evil plan should have involved forcing their way down the gullets of 8-10 year old children, and forcing them to run amuck in the streets. But I digress. Needless to say, it’s up to a blonde-haired guy in blue underwear to save the diabetic mayor from the aliens’ evil clutches. His name: CAPTAIN NOVOLIN!


Um…yeah…

Now, Captain Novolin also has diabetes. Which I really can’t fault him for, as no hero is perfect. But the SAD part about this is that Novolin has NO FUCKING CLUE about how to DEAL with diabetes! With this being an educational game and all, you’d think that the good Captain would teach YOU, the player, about diabetes. NOPE. All throughout this dismal adventure, he’s getting advice from doctors, question boxes, and park rangers. The common housefly has more knowledge of diabetes than this loser. Yippee.

Now, before you can actually start the game, you’re going to advice from about 30 different people about how you should manage your diet in regards to diabetes. Which is useless, as your own personal doctor should be able to tell you himself. BUT, Captain No-Nothing’ takes advice from them anyway…


Novolin can’t figure out which one of them is hotter.

And of course, you can’t go out on your daily adventures of alien smashing without…


TAKING YOUR INSULIN!!!

Congratulations, you’re taking drugs in this game! With NEEDLES! In your WRISTS! I’m sure the politicians in Washington would have a field day with THIS game! Oh, wait, it’s educational, so it’s okay. Simply amazing.

Okay, so now you’re drugged up, it’s time to kick some ALIEN ASS…whoops, forgot to check my blood sugar. Hang on…

Of course, when this game wants you to check your blood sugar, it means playing “match the color and hope its green.” And you can’t leave this screen until it’s properly matched. Joy of joys.

GRAH! Okay, NOW that I’m drugged up, and NOW that my blood is green, can I fight enemies NOW?!?!?

FINALLY! Okay. After all of this waiting and crap, this guy better have some amazing powers to go with that retro-80’s costume. Let’s just press a button here…

Yep. Any minute now, I’ll press a button and he’ll do something.

OH, COME ON, CAPTAIN DUMBASS! DO SOMETHING WHEN I PRESS ONE OF THE SIX FACE BUTTONS ON THIS CONTROLLER!


Gee, arm flexing. That’s…that’s just wonderful. Thanks for nothing there, buddy.

Okay, so after all that busy work about teaching this idiot about his own genetic disorder, he has no super powers. None. No super strength, no laser eye beams, no PUNCHING. He just…jumps. Yes, JUMPS. Your ONLY weapon against the massive army of evil space sweets is jumping and running away like a mad man. Never mind you’re roughly one-third the size of the screen, and have little room to maneuver. You gotta RUN from the evil soft drinks, cookies, and candy bars that look like turds.

And what happens nine times out of ten when you try to move out of the way of oncoming sugar cereal, this happens…

Yes. Come in contact with sugar sweets, and Captain Novolin is about to vomit. Apparently, Novolin has this SPECIAL type of diabetes where sugar permeates through his skin right into his blood stream. Our hero…

Aside from this, the only real “action” thing you’ll do is…(sigh)…row a boat. Which can jump to avoid evil sweets. YAY! More bad ideas!

But wait! There’s more! Not only do you have to run away from everything that comes you way, but you also need to collect food in order to fulfill a proper diet! (And didn’t the warning say the game doesn’t tell you how to manage anything?)


Tell it like it is, doc.

And of course, all the food you need is in each stage. And all the food has legs, and walks around. Why has God given me sight to view this idiocy?

But hold on! You may have to eat healthily, but you can’t collect too MUCH food! If you collect too much food, your blood sugar will rise to the red, and you’ll lose energy. If you collect to LITTLE, your blood sugar will lower to the blue, and you’ll lose energy. So only collect what you need, right? (Ahem) Remember that maneuvering problem I mentioned earlier? Well, you’re going to have trouble NOT collecting food, as you’ll probably end up running into each and every sandwich and milk glass by accident for one reason or another. So you’ll eat too much without any fault of your own, and you’ll lose energy. Hooray.

Of course the only thing that could make the game worse would be little quizzes during that appear out of nowhere that interrupt the “action”, or lack there of.


GUESS WHAT!

Yes, this wouldn’t be an educational game without educational questions that you HAVE to answer in order to proceed. And if you get them wrong? BAM! Loss of energy! Luckily you have an IDIOT HERO on your side, right?

Everything about this game makes me want to rip out my tonsils with a rusty fork. You’re supposed to be learning about diabetes, and how to deal with them, and yet all you get is a diabetic douche in tights with NO super powers, and NO clue why he’s alive after ignoring his condition for most of his adult life. He’s a coward, an idiot, and an overall nutcase for leaving the care of his doctors in his Fortress of Mental Institutions.

And THAT…is why I hate Captain Novolin. Do me a favor, and smash every copy you see with a hammer. Or better yet, run over them with steamrollers. ANYTHING to get rid of the plague that is this moron!

(NOTE: No offense is intended towards any readers who happen to suffer from diabetes. It is not the condition I am criticizing here. It’s just the idiot hero of the game. Thank you.)


MMORPG-ING WITH ONE HAND

Just when I though there wouldn’t be much content other than ranting about a diabetic in spandex, THIS comes along.

It turns out that Square is releasing a ONE-HANDED controller for their Final Fantasy XI game. Yes, that last sentence is without typos.

There’s a big D-Pad in the middle, and all the buttons you need surround it. Basically, it gets rid of the dead weight, and makes the USB device small enough to rest comfortably in your palm.

Finally, Square-Enix makes it easier for Final Fantasy fanboys to jack off to their favorite characters. Aeris, Tifa, Cloud…not in the GAME, silly. The posters hanging on the walls BEHIND the computer screen!

I swear, there are about a million other jokes I could be making right now. Even now, I’m typing this sentence one-handed…because I’m holding a phone to my ear talking to my fiancee, and I need that hand free. PERVERTS.

All of you with your sick, sick fantasies…ugh. Lets move on.


I GOT MAIL?!?

Send me mail, get it posted here. VERY simple formula. And I’ve used it every week. Go figure.

In my Metroid Prime 2 preview, I said I never played Super Metroid. One week ago, I said I was waiting to play it until I get enough funds to purchase an SNES and the actual game cart. Not long after that, I get THIS:

hey man,

since youre not ready to “buy” a snes and stuff, why not look into Emulation? i know
its not the same as rocking out to a console and stuff…but if youve got a decent
gamepad for yer PC then its kinda the same…

if youre interested, i can hook you up with metroid and an excellent emulator

-Immy

Good lord…emulation…

Look, Immy. I’m going to level with you. The minute…nay…the SECOND I decide to emulate a Nintendo game without legitimately paying for it means I am STEALING the portion of Shigeru Miyamoto’s salary that allows him to feed his fish. And we ALL know that unless Mr. Miyamoto feeds his fish, he will restart his development plans for Wind Waker 2.

No, seriously, unless you actually OWN the game cartridge/CD/DVD published by the company, emulation is BAD, BAD, BAD. None of us condone piracy here on the Games staff.


BUY ME A EURO PS2!

Well guys, the time has come. As you probably know, Konami is going to publish a new Dancing Stage title in the form of Dancing Stage: Fusion on the PS2. And believe it or not, this game is looking…well, GOOD. The mix will have 50 songs on it, including 21 licenses, and 17 exclusive ones at that. Plus, it contains an excellent collection of Konami Original songs, and all the gameplay modes that will be in DDR Extreme.

So now I want to play it. But I don’t have a Euro PS2, or a PAL/NSTC converter. Which now officially suck.

But that’s where YOU come in! Why? Because I officially open my “BUY ALEX A EURO PS2 FUND!”

For only a $2 donation, you can help a poor, needy Bemani addict experience the wonders of a weird dancing game from the EUROPEAN territories!

What’s in it for you, you ask? Why, with every $2 donation, you’ll receive your name in this column, and my sincerest thanks. You’ll also have your name KEPT in this column until the fund closes, and I actually purchase the damn thing.

So, how do you donate? Simple! Go to Paypal, sign up for an account (if you don’t have one already), and send the money to tuxedoalex@comcast.net.

So hurry and get your pledges in now! It’s only $2! Come on!

(Yeah, this method will take about 3 years to work…)


PLUGS & SHILLS THAT PAY THE BILLS

Of course your weekly serving of awesome is NEVER complete without an ala carte menu of awesome servings from other days of the week. Click and be amazed!

Views You Can Use

The 10th ArtBen Parfitt
Ben compares gaming to other forms of media, and answers some mail. He also has some interesting thoughts on gaming unlocks. Good read.

From A Gamer’s BasementA.J. Angeloni
A.J. devotes this column to an IP-style review for Jet Force Gemini. What does he think of it? Well, one way of putting it is he likes it as much as I hate Captain Novolin.

The Daily PulseAlex Lucard
The more popular guy with the same name as me lists what’s coming out over the next two weeks, and covers each section here on the Pulse. He also tells you how to make Pineapple Milkshakes.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Video GamesMisha
Misha is back from ECTS this week, and has offered his thoughts on it. He’s also very into Donkey Konga. As am I, as I got to try out Busy Child in a Gamestop demo kiosk. Now I need the money to buy it and the Bongo controllers.

Rapid FireBryan Berg
Berg is awesome, and devotes half the column to defending his reasoning behind the GBA SP price drop, and also discusses the effect DVDs have had on video gaming. As always, he’s the tops of the list in read order.

The Angry GamerLiquidcross
LC wonders where all the wacky, quirky games have gone. The answer: Onto my video game shelf. Probably the same with Lucard and Jackson.

Outside The Box

Orange Lounge Radio gets the nod again as the awesome radio station it is. Their Wednesday radio show is also where I stole this nifty little “Outside The Box” plug subsection. And I haven’t been used yet! YES!

Now normally, I wouldn’t plug Scott Keith, but his Challenge Of The Super Friends review is friggin’ awesome, as I’ve seen every episode of it on the Cartoon Network, and I remember every episode he lists. I don’t know whether to be proud or sad. (Probably the latter) He also cleaned off the mess he made on his Chris Benoit DVD and reviewed it here.


FINAL WORDS

And now, Friday is over and done with, I’ll be playing some Leaf Green. And NO ONE IS TO BOTHER ME this weekend while I do so. And if you think that restriction is harsh, just wait until DDR Extreme comes out two weeks from now.

Next week I’ll talk about stuff. Stuff that matters. Stuff that YOU MUST WAIT UNTIL NEXT WEEK TO FIND OUT ABOUT!


Alex Williams, The Norwegian Athlete