For the past several days, we at the Casa del ‘Squatch have been getting hammered with far too much sickness of the respiratory persuasion. My daughter has been so ill that it required a (thankfully short) stay in the hospital, and yours truly has spent the last three days breathing as though he had just climbed 20 flights of stairs with lungs full of cotton. (As part of my treatment, I have an inhaler, so now I’m just a pocket protector and set of horn-rimmed glasses away from fully embodying the ultimate geek stereotype.)
But, with all of the downtime that comes from being out of work with sickness, I have managed to hit the DS pretty heavily as of late; closing the deal on some titles that I started a while back, as well as checking out some new stuff:
- The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass — I don’t even know why I bother with Zelda games anymore. Initially, I really seem to enjoy them, but once I get a decent way in, my interest begins to peter out. Such is the case with Hourglass, whose repetitive content (“Temple of the Ocean King” anyone?) really just tired me out. I have lost all interest in starting the game up again, and I couldn’t care less about how things might turn out if I force myself to continue. It was fun while it lasted, but the fun just didn’t last long enough.
- Metroid Prime Pinball — Yeah, I know…I’m pretty late on getting to this party. Of course, I seriously doubt it would make a difference whether I was playing it in 2005 or 2008…I just don’t care for it. That’s not to say that it’s a poor example of video pinball, ’cause for what it is, it’s very well done. It’s just that playing pinball on a video game system has never felt right to me, and at this point, methinks I would be better off to just leave the genre alone. It’s the real thing or nothing, I suppose.
- The New York Times Crosswords — Out of all the excellent titles we have on the DS, who woulda thunk that this title would have proven to be the DS gateway drug for my wife? She loves crosswords, and she loves this game. In fact, she loves it so much, that she has effectively stolen my daughter’s DS (as well as the game card from me) in order to play it excessively. I’m still enjoying it and getting in a game when I can (even though the difficulty can be a bit too much and it really sucks that the game doesn’t indicate multiple word solutions), but usually the mizress has it employed for her downtime leisure.
- Resident Evil: Deadly Silence — The only reason I can think of as to why I even bothered with picking this up, is that I thought it would be cool to have a classic PSX title to play on my lil ol’ DS. Sure enough, it’s quite impressive how Capcom managed to fit the entire game — opening cinema and all — on a tiny DS game card. Ultimately, though, who cares? If you’re like me, you played the original game to death when it was released in ’96, trudged through it again in the highly disappointing Director’s Cut, and then played it again when the dolled-up version was released on the Gamecube. Really, despite the fact that the conversion to the DS was a successful achievement, I just can’t make myself suffer through the game an umpteenth time. Once I heard “Master of unlocking” through my DS’ speakers, I was pretty much done.
The DS hasn’t been the only bit of gaming I’ve done lately. Before I got hit with the plague, I was tearing it up on the 360 a little bit as well:
- Arkadian Warriors — Think a slimmed-down version of Diablo with a Greek mythology setting and cutesy anime-style characters. That pretty much sums up Arkadian Warriors, which I found to be ultimately disappointing. The stages and visuals are far too repetitive (could have used some more diverse content here), there isn’t enough weapons and armor to make the “upgrade” feature interesting, and at a price of $10 ($11 for me after that joyous 10% Tennessee sales tax), it’s really difficult to praise the game’s cash-to-fun value. With that being said, I did find myself compelled to see the game through to the end, so I guess that says something fairly positive about it. (Although, it should be noted that since I finished it, I have had zero interest in firing it back up.)
- DDR Universe 2 — The wife got this for me as a “birfday” present, and while, yes, one could say that she’s sending me a message (I’m quite the land-monster), I would like to point out that I had it predominantly on my wishlist. (Shush it!) Now, as for what I think of the game, well, it’s kind of a mixed bag. I’ve certainly been enjoying it (well, up until my sickness put an end to the dance party, that is), but the difficulty seems a bit loopy. On easy mode, the game is a snoozefest that borders on complete boredom, while the next level up gets kinda crazy on certain tunes. It’s almost like an all-or-nothing kind of thing, and although it will be rough to newcomers or old-timers returning to the franchise (like myself), I’m sure folks who have kept up with every iteration of the series will be right at home. Oh yeah, the game’s tracklist features Kool & The Gang’s Jungle Boogie, which instantly makes it one of the best versions of DDR ever.
- Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 — Yeah, MK3 on Xbox Live. It’s like…Mortal Kombat 3…but on Live. Meh. (Let’s have an enhanced version of MKII please.)