Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose (SNES)

This is a landmark for me: It’s my first “Let’s Play.” It was kind of spur-of-the-moment. I was at Geo’s (aka WrathOfSeven’s) house for the weekend, he had this game, and on Friday, it kicked my ass… but then I stepped up and beat it. Then on Saturday, I recorded proof while WrathOfSeven watched. I’m not really good at doing Let’s Plays because I can’t make humorous commentary by myself, so Wrath’s presence really helped.

Without further ado, I present my Let’s Play of Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose, guest starring Geo (aka WrathOfSeven)!

To accompany, here’s a mini-review of the game. Buster Busts Loose really has no plot, but rather each level has its own storyline. Oddly enough you use the dash a lot in the first level but then level two’s intro talks about how you’ll need to learn “new skills” like running up walls and shit, that you’ve already been using.

The game is pretty much pick-up-and-play, and is good enough to appeal to even people who don’t like the cartoon. There were however a few control quirks. One of them (which I mention during my LP) is the Dash. To dash, you press R. Buster will keep dashing until either the Dash meter runs out or you press R again. However, it’s easy to forget to press R in the heat of the moment and instead try more natural reactions like pressing back or down, which cause you to turn around or do a slide. I often lost control of Buster or got into bad situations because of this. Admittedly, that’s probably my fault.

Buster has three attacks: the drop-kick is done by pressing Y, and Buster will leap a little into the air and lunge either left or right, depending on which one you’re holding down. If Buster jumps or slides while dashing, those are also attacks (the dash itself is not an attack though). During any of his “attack” animations, Buster is invincible, which can be used to your advantage.

There’s not much more to say, since you can judge for yourself from the video. All in all, I recommend this game to anyone who likes platformers.

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Okay, I’m kind of cheating with this entry, since I didn’t bother to record this game, provide screencaps, or prove I’ve beaten it. Why should I? It’s Legend of Zelda. Beating it isn’t a matter of skill, just attention span. Besides, I’ve beaten it multiple times over the course of my life, so doing it once more won’t mean a thing.

And I want to say something upfront.

When I was young, I loved Zelda. I played all of them (minus the CD-i ones of course), with my fandom phase ending with Majora’s Mask and the two “Oracle of Something” games. It was around those that I realized Zelda had lost its ancient magic and had become an empty franchise, trying to keep itself fresh with shallow gimmicks as opposed to good gameplay. This Kotaku article sums it up best: Zelda isn’t really about exploration or the wonder of discovering an untamed world, it’s about coming to an arbitrary roadblock and then ferreting around until you discover the item that lets you get around it. It feels like work.

Even back in the day, I never felt like A Link to the Past (arguably the Zelda franchise’s last hurrah, although I argue Ocarina of Time is better) was the all-time classic everyone hailed it as. By the time I played it (my first 16-bit console was a Genesis), I had already played superior games like Landstalker, Secret of Mana, Crusader of Centy, Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia. It wasn’t like I was intentionally avoiding Zelda–just that for the longest time, I couldn’t find it anywhere.

And it’s not like A Link to the Past is terrible as a game. Hell, seeing Death Mountain brings me back to my grade school years and reminds me of the excellent days when I would rent games from Crossroads… err, anyway, the problem is just I’ve grown to dislike a lot of the concepts that are part-n-parcel to the whole Zelda (and in some ways Action RPGs and RPGs in general) thing.

Case in point, there’s this one well in Kakariko village you can’t jump down until you have both the hammer and the power glove (by Mattel!) Going down there is a shrine you can sprinkle magic powder on to get a magic bonus. But you won’t have the necessary items until after the fourth Dark World dungeon, so the game is already almost over. It feels like such a waste, to be forced to wait until so late in the game to get an upgrade that would’ve come in handy much, much earlier. It’s almost pointless for it to even be in there at all.

Another reason this game tends to annoy and frustrate me is that much of the exploration ends up being purposeless. You bomb a wall and find a hidden thief… who gives you 300 rupees. And it feels like such a waste because I already have 959. Rupees are easy to get and I’m perpetually full of them. Likewise, when you open a chest and it just has arrows or bombs–again, I already have plenty, and a one-time treasure chest should not be filled with items that can be replenished by breaking pots or killing enemies, anyway.

I’d like it if I could just ignore the treasure chests and pots until I was sure I needed them, but no–sometimes they have keys in or under them that you’ll need later, so you’re forced to waste potential resources on the off chance that one of them is that key you’re looking for.

That’s my problem with Zelda: It’s not about “adventure” or “exploration” in any meaningful sense of the word. There is none. It’s just a bunch of ferreting around. A true adventure would allow the player to discover things for themselves. Zelda never does. Except in the NES original, and of course all the weakling modern gamers call that “bad design” now.

It makes me think that “good game design” is a synonym for “dull, tedious and boring,” and I suddenly understand why “badly”-designed games like Blaster Master or the original Zelda somehow seem more engrossing–it was because you literally don’t know what to expect. That makes them mysterious, and wonderful. I actually want to see more of them because they’re strange new worlds with their own rules where something awesome could be anywhere.

Hmmm. Maybe Blaster Master should be next week’s game? No promises though!

Super Bomberman (SNES)

This entry is gonna be a little bit different. My video isn’t gonna show the entire game–instead it’s just the last regular level, the final boss, and finally the ending.

I had a lot of problems uploading a game this week. I actually wanted to do Animaniacs for the SNES, but Handbrake won’t rip my footage of that one for some reason–but it’ll do every other game on the same DVD.

So this week’s game is Super Bomberman. I actually plugged this in just to relax and take a break from the super-hard arcade games I had been tackling, and especially because this game made less demands of me–I was having trouble with my eyes at the time and that made fast-paced games like Thunder Force far more difficult than they really ought to have been.

I still made some boneheaded mistakes here and there (indeed, this very video shows a moment where I suffered a very-much-avoidable death) and wasn’t thinking straight, but for all that I managed to get far. I only used one continue (shown in the video), and that was in the next-to-last level.

Super Bomberman itself is something of a nostalgic classic for me, and my favorite game in the Bomberman franchise (Although, I have not played the vast majority of them). There’s not much to the game–you run around, you blow shit up, you go to the next level and you blow more shit up, and after awhile there’s a boss fight–but compared to the NES games (And the first TG16 one), Super Bomberman has more graphical variety, better music (especially that boss battle tune), and some much-needed tweaks to the formula (such as being able to find more than one powerup per level).

The storyline of this one is that there’s these two evil guys named Dr. Mukk and Mr. Black (I think) who have teamed up to take over Diamond City, where the Bombermen live. Personally I wouldn’t want to get in conflict with people who crap bombs out of their butts, but okay…

Most people don’t play Bomberman for its single-player campaign. It’s all about the multiplayer. But at least for this one, the single-player campaign is actually kinda fun (not like the NES ones, where you’ll go “Oh god please END!”)

One funny thing I’d like to note. In the manual, it says “If you’re playing battle mode and constantly getting creamed, you’re probably playing against a 12-year-old. Don’t. They’re notoriously harsh on new players.” Not that funny, but I appreciate documentation with a sense of humor.

So anyway, here’s the video. I actually started recording at Level 4-6, but due to how much hassle it is to upload multiple videos, I decided to just show the final level, final boss and the ending.

Besides, this way you get to hear that awesome boss music faster. (Hope you can hear it over the explosions!)