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ALttP

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#2
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

System: Nintendo DS
Release date: October 11th, 2005
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Players: 1
Game length: 20+ hours
Difficulty: Medium to Hard

Review:

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Gyakuten Saiban: Yomigaeru Gyakuten in Japan) is an attorney game, where you play as up and coming attorney named Phoenix Wright, as he defends his client case after case. Throughout the game, he encounters several characters, some who assist him and some who work against him. The game offers various tasks for you to take as you progress through each of the five Episodes, ranging from investigation to pressing witnesses on statements and presenting evidence.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a remake the first game of a five year old franchise that started on the Game Boy Advance, titled Gyakuten Saiban (literally translated as Comeback Court). There have been two sequels since the original, keeping the gameplay of it intact. Unlike the original, however, the DS remake has several new features. Most noticable of these features, but other than minor cosmetic changes, the biggest difference between the games is the addition of a fifth Episode, which is the only episode to require the touch screen and microphone.

In both Japan and the United States, it did not sell as well as it could have. In Japan, it sold 100,000 copies, compared to the original\'s 250,000 copies, missing Capcom\'s expectations to exceed the sales of the original. The reason behind these low sales is attributed to the remake status. In the United States, it has done far worse, selling 9,555 copies in its first month. To start off the review, I must say that I really enjoyed this game. It may be a bit to talkative for some peoples\' tastes, but in those texts is a quality storyline.

Gameplay: 10.0

While some may not agree that there is very much gameplay involved, I stand by my opinion that the tons of reading involved, analyzing the testimonies and examining evidence is some of the best gameplay out there. The game mostly takes place in the court house. During the trials, there is a lot of text, and the gameplay does not pick up until you begin cross examination. After the witness finishes their testimony, the Judge will allow you to begin your cross examination.

During Episode 1, The First Turnabout, the gameplay is limited to cross examination of a single witness. Episode 1 was designed to be somewhat simple, similar to a tutorial. Unlike future Episodes, this Episode spans only one day, and does not leave the court house. Throughout the trial, you will learn about various features available to you, such as the Court Record. The Court Record allows you to read about both the evidence and the characters involved in the trial. Once you get to Episode 2, it becomes far more difficult. Instead of merely cross examining a single witness with a small amount of evidence to have to consider, you now have a large laundry list of evidence to use in your cross examination of several various characters. Not only that, but you now must investigate several different scenes for evidence.

The investigation aspect of the game is similar to that of Sam & Max for the PC, except instead of a mouse, you are given a stylus. Two new features were added for the remake. These features are luminol and aluminum powder. The luminol is sprayed onto a certain area by using the stylus to click on an area. If there is any blood, the luminol will make it visible. The aluminum powder is used far more sparingly, however. It is only used at certain points when fingerprints are discovered, and to be used, you must spread it around with the touch screen, and then blow into the microphone to blow away the excess. You must then match up with a matching fingerprint in the Court Record. These features were a very effective use of the touch screen, effectively making it more than just a DSized GBA game. Hopefully, this will be common in future Gyakuten Saiban games.

Visuals: 9.0

As this is a remake of a Game Boy Advance remake from 2000, it is to be expected that it would look inferior to many Nintendo DS games. While it is not a technical achievement, the art and animation is very good, and I would not have noticed any inferiority without knowing that it was once a Game Boy Advance game. However, this only applies to Episodes 1-4. While Episode 5 includes the same art style with characters, there is cel-shading incorporated on several occasions.

Audio: 10.0

The audio quality of this game is excellent. The two speakers really help to bring the music and voice acting to life. The music really helps to liven up the court room battles. When you are cross examining a witness, you are treated with a simple song, but when you find a contradiction in their testimony, you are treated with an uplifting song. It\'s unfortunate that they did not include a sound test in this remake.

Storyline: 10.0

Along with the court battles, the storyline that builds the gameplay up is what makes the game what it is. In the first two chapters, it is immediately obvious who comitted the crime. The star is Phoenix Wright, an attorney that works for Fey and Co. Law Offices. Phoenix Wright is on his first trial, defending his long-time friend Larry Butz (often referred to as Harry Butz). Larry is on trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Cindy Stone, who worked as a model. A man named Mr. Sahwit apparently discovered Cindy\'s body, after seeing Larry flee the scene. Winston Payne, the prosecutor for the case, eventually calls Sahwit to the stand.

Once he takes the stand, he gives his testimony as to what he saw. Once he finishes talking, Mia Fey, his mentor, instructs him to look for contradictions in Sahwit\'s statement. Phoenix must press him on statements or present evidence when a contradiction comes up. For instance, Mr. Sahwit claimed he found the body at 1:00, when the autopsy report said that she had died at 4:00. Phoenix presents the autopsy report, and he will wriggle his way through it and gives his testimony on why he thought it was 1:00. Phoenix keeps presenting evidence proving the contradictions in his statement, and eventually, Mr. Sahwit is proven as the killer, and Larry is set free.

All Episodes after Episode 1 are far more extravagant and lengthy, with witnesses far more difficult to crack. Each Episode introduces a plethora of characters, such as Will Powers (the Steel Samurai), Redd White of Bluecorp., etc. But there are several characters who span most episodes; Phoenix Wright, a defense attorney, Mia Fey, his mentor, Maya Fey, Mia\'s sister, Miles Edgeworth, the prosecution, Dick Gumshoe, a detective, the Judge and Larry Butz, Wright\'s friend. Throughout the game, Phoenix will encounter evidence from a case called DL-6. This case is highly important, and is directly related to both Episodes 2 and 4.

Replay value: 8.0

The replay value is the major flaw of the game. Being that it\'s a pretty linear game, it\'s to be expected. If you\'re expecting to replay it over and over again with no breaks, then I\'m sorry to say, you might want to lower your expectations. Likely, you will have perfect knowledge of how to beat each Episode the instant you finish. However, like many other games, this is the kind of game that\'s still amazing if you let it sit until you forget much of the plot. Although, there\'s still a chance that one might be less forgetful than me.

Overall: 10.0

Overall, this game is the greatest Nintendo DS game and the greatest Capcom game that I have ever played. The only flaw present is the replay value, but even then, after a while, one would likely forget a lot of details, and it would feel almost like the first time you played it. Other than that, however, every aspect of the game is spot on perfect. I would recommend buying this game before all others; it\'s not like Phoenix Wright will be on the market longer than Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories or Mario Kart DS. A sequel is planned for the Nintendo DS called Gyakuten Saiban 4. However, this game has yet to show any involvement from Phoenix Wright.
 

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#3
Paper Mario

System: Nintendo 64
Release date: August 11th, 2000 (JP) | February 4th, 2001 (NA) | October 05th, 2001 (EU)
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Players: 1
Game length: 20+ hours
Difficulty: Somewhat easy to medium

Paper Mario (Mario Story in Japan) is a Nintendo 64 game released in Japan in the year 2000, and Europe/North America in 2001. Like the name implies, the game stars Mario in paper form. Not only Mario, but also the entire Mario universe, from the environment to the characters to the items are paper as well. This is on account of the storyline being based in a story book, and being told by an unknown narrator. Unlike the traditional gameplay featured in Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario features a lead character plus a partner character, which can be one of any eight partners that Mario meets throughout the game. Instead of HP, Mario\'s partner can be stunned for a certain amount of turns if they do not block the attack.

Paper Mario is a \"sort-of\" sequel to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars for the Super Nintendo. It has no connection to Super Mario RPG other than genre. The combined factors of the visual style and SquareSoft not having anything to do with it upset many fans of the original. Some believe that SquareSoft would have been the developer of Paper Mario, assuming that Nintendo had not caused things to sour in their relationship. Instead of SquareSoft, Nintendo had one of their own developers, Intelligent Systems (of Fire Emblem and Super Metroid fame) develop it. Timed hits, a concept introduced in Super Mario RPG, was expanded upon in Paper Mario. Paper Mario did not do as exceptionally well as Super Mario RPG. While Super Mario RPG had exceeded 1,000,000 copies, Paper Mario did not meet the same number, likely because of it being released late in the Nintendo 64\'s life.

Paper Mario is a quality title, at least when viewed separately from Super Mario RPG in the case of SquareSoft devotees. Even in the face of Super Mario RPG, it still is an astounding RPG, and a great example of how an RPG should be. It is unfortunate that some people refuse to look past the kiddish visuals, and will ignore what is under these graphics, a deep, eventful RPG that all ages can enjoy. I cannot wait until I will be able to download it on the Nintendo Revolution. Along with EarthBound, A Link to the Past and Kirby Super Star, it will be the first thing I download.

Gameplay: 10.0

The gameplay of Paper Mario is very deep, despite the lower-than-normal numbers. Usually, any character or enemy would be lucky to do double digit damage. While it may seem like a bad idea, it is basically the damage number system in RPGs dumbed down. As both the heroes and the villains do low damage and have low health in comparison to other RPGs, the damage system works perfectly. It takes Super Mario RPG\'s timed hits system, and expands upon it. While timed hits were just used as an optional offense/defense system in Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario uses them as a necessity. For instance, when jumping on an enemy, pushing the A button again will cause Mario to do a second attack on them, and when Mario uses his Hammer, the player must pull back on the control stick in order to get maximum damage. It really helps to separate itself from traditional RPGs, which are more or less selecting options from a menu.

As stated before in the lead of the review, the partner system of Super Mario RPG is changed. Instead of having three equal characters in your party, Paper Mario has Mario as the lead character and a second character to be his partner. Each playable character has their own special techniques. Mario has a Hammer and Jump boots, which allow him to use the Hammer and Jump commands to attack enemies. However, there are some enemies who are immune to one of these techniques. For instance, Goomba, the weakest enemy in the game, is vulnerable to both Jump and Hammer techniques, while the Spiked Goomba is immune to Jump techniques, and the Paragoomba is immune to Hammer techniques. By doing this, Nintendo prevented the game from being too easy, but didn\'t make it insanely difficult. The only way for Mario to get special abilities is to either save a Star Spirit in order to unlock a new Star Power, or to equip a Badge, granting a new ability, such as the Hammer Throw, which can be used against flying enemies.

Intelligent Systems really hit home with the Badge system. Each RPG has a system to call their own - Super Mario RPG can lay claim to the timed hits, Final Fantasy VII has their Materia, and Paper Mario has Badges. There is a variety of Badges available to the player, ranging from Hammer Badges to Jump Badges to Partner Badges to Stat Badges and more. The Badge system allows for a high amount of customization for Mario and company. Several Badges are situational. Fire Power and Ice Power resist fire techniques (although they have little differences), and some Badges make the game much easier, like Quick Change, allowing Partners to change and attack in the same turn. Badges are littered all over the Mushroom Kingdom, and in order to acquire every one of them, you must acquire every Star Piece.

The gameplay is not limited to RPG battles. There are a lot of things to do outside of battle. It is one of the truer platforming RPGs, because it goes further than jumping around to make itself a platformer. For instance, there are blocks lying around all over the Mushroom Kingdom, requiring that Mario either jumps to hit them or hit them with the hammer, assuming they’re on the ground. There are also special techniques. One such techniques is the Butt Stomp, a typical technique found in 3D Mario titles. This technique can be used to do a variety of tasks, such as push buttons, or flip panels over that are hiding Star Pieces. Partners can be of assistance as well. Goombario can tell Mario about any person or place, Kooper can be launched a good distance (in order to hit a switch or grab an item) and Bombette can blow up walls. Each character in Mario’s party has their own distinct ability that must be used to finish the game (with the exception of Goombario’s). Sidequests are also abundant. They range from minor sidequests, such as the Dojo, to the big ones, like the Recipes or Star Pieces.

Audio: 10.0

The audio is a very good throwback to previous Mario games. While few songs in the game have any relation to songs of previous Mario games, many of the songs present in the game have the same feeling as previous Mario games, thanks to being composed by famous Nintendo music composer Koji Konno. The music isn\'t the only great thing about the game; the sound effects are very good as well. Like the music, they are very reminiscent to previosu Mario games. Many sound effects, such as jumping and destroying blocks sound similar, although they are far enhanced in comparison.

Visuals: 9.0

The visuals may not have been all fancy 3D, but they were very clean 2D, and far more appealing than most 3D games seen in the 32/64 bit generation. Most of the environmental design is in two dimensions, there are some three dimensional effects, such as the collapsable doors that collapse when Mario and his partner enter the building, and trees. Because of the simplistic two dimensional sprites, the character animations are disappointingly underdeveloped, with characters having few animations. However, despite this, the animation is very fluid. The area design was similar to a pop-up book. This may seem a bit kiddish, but it works very well.

Storyline: 9.0

The storyline is a bit corny, but it is still very humorous and enjoyable to read what everyone has to say. The storyline starts out with Mario and Luigi receiving an invitation to a party at Princess Peach\'s castle. At Princess Peach\'s castle are several various people from all over the Mushroom Kingdom. Once Mario meets with Princess Peach, the ground starts to shake violently, and the castle begins to be lifted into the sky by King Bowser\'s castle. Bowser and Kamek Koopa fly through the window of the castle, and Mario battles with Bowser. However, Bowser has captured the mystical Star Rod beforehand and kidnapped the seven Star Spirits. Bowser successfully defeats Mario, and knocks him all the way back to the ground with a lightning bolt. Mario falls unconcious, and gets a message from the seven Star Spirits asking him to save them. Mario soon awakens in a Goomba Village, where he meets a family of Goombas. Soon afterwards, he joins up with a Goomba named Goombario, and go on a search for the Star Spirits. Throughout the game, Mario meets up with many different characters, including Kooper, Bombette, Parakarry, Bow, Sushie and Lakilester.

Replay value: 7.0

Like many RPGs, Paper Mario does not have much incentive to be replayed again, at least in a short period of time. Once you have collected all of the Recipes, Badges, Star Pieces and maxing everything out, there\'s not that much to do in the next replay of the game. However, Paper Mario features an average of 20 hours game length, and once the previous replay eventually wears off, the game is enjoyable enough to be replayed once again.

Overall: 10.0

Paper Mario is one of the best RPGs ever created, falling short of the #1. spot to EarthBound, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Chrono Trigger and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Combining the intuitive gameplay, the fun storyline and the paper graphics, there\'s not much that can beat this game. Unlike Super Mario RPG, which was essentially just a traditional RPG with a Mario flavor, Paper Mario is in a class all of its own. Other than Nintendo\'s own Mario RPGs, its gameplay is like no other game. Nintendo\'s Mario RPGs are the only RPGs I have ever seen that successfully fuses platforming elements with RPG elements. Along with The Legend of Zelda: Majora\'s Mask, Paper Mario is the must-have for any Nintendo 64 owner. You\'re cheating yourself if you do not play this masterpiece. Although, if you were forced to choose between this and The Thousand-Year Door, I would go with the latter.
 

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#4
Mario is Missing!

System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Release date: July, 1983 (exact date unknown)
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Software Toolworks
Players: 1
Game length: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Very easy

Mario is Missing! is an educational video game (also known as “edutainment”) for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was designed by a developer called Software Toolworks (with permission from Nintendo), a video game developer that would develop Mario edutainment games for a very long time, ending with Mario’s Time Machine Deluxe in 1996. Some claim that Luigi’s Mansion was Luigi’s first starring role. Not so. It was, in fact, Mario is Missing! where Luigi first appeared in a starring role, but there was nothing all that spectacular. Mario has been kidnapped by King Koopa, and it is up to Luigi to save Mario. Remind you of Luigi’s Mansion, sans the King Koopa?

Gameplay: 1

The gameplay is… “unique”. Luigi has to walk around landmarks from our reality to acquire rare artifacts to assist Luigi in guiding Yoshi to his location. These clues are held by stray Koopa Troopas walking around the town, and in order to figure your location yourself, you must present the correct rare artifact to the correct information guide, who is answering a question that can be answered with one of the rare artifacts. Why is it that edutainment games can never be fun? The entertainment factor of the game ruins the educational factor of the game. If you want entertainment, go buy Super Mario Bros. If you want education, go buy Brain Training. Neither of these have sloppy controls. Although, what can you expect from a game such as this? Anyway, onto other aspects of the gameplay.

One thing that I should mention is the complete lack of any difficulty whatsoever. Why is this so, you ask? Well, perhaps it is the fact that enemies do no damage when they collide with Luigi. In fact, they do not even react. They just keep walking on their merry way. The only way to stop them is to jump on their head, and recover the rare artifact that they stole, for whatever reason. There are three Koopa Troopas walking around, and thusly, three rare artifacts. This is essentially what the game is from beginning to end, with the exception of one final boss. If I were to describe this game, I would call it an overblown trivia game with the Mario license slapped onto it in order to help it sell. However, one thing you must know - the game is not actually broken. It is surprisingly well-designed outside of some sloppy controls and lack of fun, and could have been made into a good edutainment game if they put any effort into it.

Visuals: 7.5

The visuals are, I guess, the best factor of the game. In fact, I would argue that they are cleaner and further advanced than most NES games out there. The sprites are based off of their Super Nintendo incarnations, and even the environment isn’t all that terrible. However, if you want the negatives, I have some. For instance, not enough going on. Sure, there may be people walking around occasionally, but those sprites don’t match the shine of Mario, Luigi or Yoshi’s sprites. Basically, next to the Super Nintendo version, this is the best looking version of Mario is Missing!. The reason being is that the PC version is absolutely horrifying; everything I have seen in the PC version is a mess. I do not know which version you should avoid the most.

Audio: 6

The sound quality was alright. They should have put more effort into creating more music for the game, and making it top-notch. The music available in the game, however, is a mixed bag. While they aren’t horrifyingly annoying tunes, they aren’t toe-tapping masterpieces. Probably closer to the former. Being on a television set, it doesn’t have much of a problem with the audio quality. The sound effects are a bit tacked on. The most sound effects are jumping, the “exploding Koopa Troopas”, the pipe, and various \"bleeps and bloops\". That\'s about it.

Storyline: 0

Ew. I’ll give it my best to describe the storyline. Mario was doing whatever on one day, and all of a sudden, Mario was stuffed into a sack by King Koopa, who quickly makes his escape. But Luigi witnesses, and along with Yoshi, chases after King Koopa. However, Luigi must traverse a castle filled with pipes to the real world, and he must find rare artifacts in each real world city in order to make any progress. Okay, sucks.

Replay Value: 0

There is no point to replaying this game, ever, unless you are morbidly curious. I challenge any single human being to find ONE aspect of the game that warrants replaying this failure at life.

Overall: 1

Overall, this is one of the worst games ever created by man. Other than visuals, which they seemed to have sacrificed quality in order to achieve such visuals. The only way you should ever play this is through rom… or your cartridge, if you own the game for whatever reason. For shame, Nintendo.
 

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#5
Ape Escape

System: PlayStation
Release date: May 31st, 1999
Publisher: Sony
Developer: SCEI
Players: 1
Game length: 15+ hours
Difficulty: Somewhat easy

Ape Escape (Saru! Get You! in Japan) is a platformer on the PlayStation video game system, developed by Sony. You play as a young, spiky-haired boy named Spike, who is challenged with the task of capturing an army of monkeys that has escaped to various points in time, lead by an evil white monkey named Specter, who are all highly intelligent, thanks to a special helmet. It is a very innovative title, requiring the usage of a controller with two analog sticks. The left analog stick, like most adventure games, is used for basic movement, but the right analog stick is used to control the large variety of weapons at the player\'s disposal. This was the deal breaker - apart from the great visuals, audio, replay value and gameplay, the control setup was the one thing that made the game amazing.

Gameplay: 10

The gameplay is very innovative, thanks to the added analog stick. Ape Escape is your typical platforming game, except in this game, you use both sticks in harmony. The left analog stick is used to move Spike around, while the right stick is used to use items. In the beginning, you only have a Stun Club to stun monkeys and defeat other enemies and the Time Net, which is used to capture the monkeys. Both of these items are used by swinging the right analog stick in any direction. However, as you progress through the game, the Professor grants Spike more and more items, each with their own unique task. For instance, the Monkey Radar can be directed with the right analog stick in the direction you want it to be aimed, and will come in two colors - blue for nothing and red for something, basically. Other examples of this control setup are the RC Car, which is controlled with the right analog stick, and the Sky Flyer, which launches Spike into the air by spinning the right analog stick.

The main aspect of the game is to capture monkeys with the Time Net, throughout many different eras, using various other items if necessary. The helmet that the monkeys are wearing gives away their awareness of you - blue means they are calm, yellow means that they are cautious, and red means that they have spotted you. There are many variations of the monkey, depending on the type of pants they are wearing and other circumstances. The basic monkey has yellow pants, which indicates it has no special traits. The weakest monkey type in the game are monkeys wearing light blue pants. These monkeys are often cowering in a corner, and will run away, although they are not very agile. However, monkeys wearing blue pants are slightly less cowardly, but run very quickly. Monkeys that wear red pants are very aggressive, and often wear boxing gloves. Monkeys wearing white pants are too alert to not spot you. Monkeys wearing green pants have incredible eye sight, and often wear a backpack that launches missiles at you. The arguably most dangerous of the monkeys are the monkeys wearing black pants, which wear sunglasses and carry a machine gun. Occasionally, you will encounter \"mini-boss monkeys\". These are regular monkeys that ride in UFOs and other machines, and need a variety of weapons in order to defeat them.

Ape Escape features a large variety of levels. There are three levels in every world (with the exception of the final world), each sticking with the theme of the world. There are eight worlds, and 22 levels inside of these eight, ranging from prehistoric to medieval to futuristic, with monkeys littered all over each and every one of them. Each level is designed very well. Everytime I entered a new level, I had to immerse myself in it. One of my favorite themes in the game has got to be the prehistoric era, which is the earliest world that you encounter. No reason in particular, just that I like the theme. Outside of the main game, there are three minigames for you to play. These are unlocked by finding Specter Coins, which are placed throughout time. The first minigame is called \"Ski Kidz Racing\", a skiing minigame, the second minigame is called \"Specter Boxing\", a boxing minigame and the third minigame is called \"Galaxy Monkey\", a space shooter similar to Galaga. I did not care much for Ski Kidz Racing or Specter Boxing, but Galaxy Monkey was unbelievably addictive. I stopped playing the main game for a while to play this awesome minigame.

Visuals: 9.5

Ape Escape\'s visuals were very good for a PlayStation game (looks even better on the PlayStation 2). Ape Escape\'s visuals are very cartoony, and it succeeds with this style better than most games. The backgrounds are very detailed, and the character designs obviously had a lot of work put into them. I experienced very few graphical glitches, a rarity in games at the time.

Audio: 8.5

Both Ape Escape\'s music and voice acting is top notch. Ape Escape\'s voice actors are clear and not half assing it like many other games do. It was a real treat, since voice actors were somewhat uncommon back when it was first released. There are not very many voice actors in the game; the only voice actors in the game are for Jimmy, Natalie, Professor, Specter and Jake. Each area has its own unique music catered to the theme of the level. However, I must admit that while the music is of high quality, there\'s not a song in it that I could call \"memorable\". The music lasted me for the game, but I did not take anything away from it.

Storyline: 9.5

The storyline was great. While it is not your typical epic masterpiece of a story, it was very simple, yet enjoyable. The story begins when a circus monkey named Specter is sitting in the middle of a circus tent, where he finds a helmet with a red light atop it. He puts it on his head, and it enhances his intelligence greatly. He uses this intelligence to acquire more of these helmets and gives them out to other monkeys, creating an army of apes in order to take over the world. He sends his monkey army to various events in time, ranging from the prehistoric era to the space age era. The Professor (who had invented the helmet that Specter wears), with the help of a girl named Natalie, sends a young boy named Spike through time with various inventions of the Professor\'s in order to capture all 204 of the monkeys.

Replay value: 9.0

I stand by my score - I could replay this game over and over for as long as possible. For one, the game\'s design is incredible, and on my many playthroughs, I have never gotten tired of it, not even slightly. I admit that eventually, any game such as this one will get a tad boring, but it gives a lot of stuff to do. One such thing is to capture all of the apes (a daunting task), and the other – which has practically infinite replay value – is the Space Monkey minigame. I swear, I played that game for hours on end. The first time I played Ape Escape, I didn\'t finish the game for a week, because I was constantly trying to get a better score in Space Monkey. It\'s that awesome.

Overall: 9.6

Overall, Ape Escape is an amazing video game, and one of the best games to show that SCEA is a competent video game developer. Despite how complex it may seem, Ape Escape is a very simple game that anyone could pick up and play if they put their minds to it. However, while many may feel Ape Escape is better than Ape Escape 2, Ape Escape is inferior. Ape Escape 2 improves on many aspects of Ape Escape, and it is not like the level designs are lacking in any way. This is not to say that you should get Ape Escape 2. Everyone should play Ape Escape before Ape Escape 2, for both the continuity of the plot and to try the innovation before the improvement. Also look forward to Ape Escape 3, which is currently out in Japan, but is reportedly coming to North America by mid January. Ape Escape got praise for its innovative control set up, as it should have. Enjoy.
 

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#6
Donkey Kong 3

System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Release date: July 4th, 1984
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Players: 1
Game length: Five minutes
Difficulty: Very easy

Donkey Kong 3 is an arcade style Mario game released by Nintendo on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It stars Stanley the Bugman, a one \"hit\" wonder of a character, who seems to be the cousin of Mario and Luigi. However, he has never left Donkey Kong 3 (out of appearing as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee), and has since fallen into obscurity. It features gameplay with a similar feel to previous Donkey Kong arcade games, but with far less climbing. In fact, the most climbing you do is usually up a few platforms, at most, essentially killing off the emphasis on climbing from the past Donkey Kong games. Unlike past Donkey Kong games, there is no one that they have to save, and Donkey Kong seems to be there in order to start crap in Stanley\'s greenhouse.

Gameplay: 5

The gameplay is as simple as gameplay can be. You use the A and B buttons to shoot, up and down on the d-pad to jump up and down the platforms, and left and right to move left and right. In each level, there are three platforms for Stanley to climb up in order to be in range of Donkey Kong. However, the bugs living in Stanley\'s greenhouse are riled up, and will occasionally fly down from their beehive to attack Stanley and try to steal all four of his flowers. Stanley\'s bug spray can be used to kill these bugs, but the main point of this is to spray Donkey Kong in order to force him out of the greenhouse (where, for some reason, Stanley feels the need to follow him into a pyramid and a forest). Each bug is worth a certain amount of points, and a bug that is carrying a flower scores extra points. While the gameplay was not terrible (I would even go as far as to say it was okay), it is the lamest and dryest gameplay I have ever seen from Nintendo. It was basically the exact same thing over and over again, except in a slightly more difficult setting - all you had to do was jump up, and shoot at Donkey Kong until he leaves.

Visuals: 6.0

Sadly, the best thing about the game is the visual quality. It is a very okay looking game. All of the sprites are of okay quality, while the backgrounds are pretty okay too. Nothing amazing to talk about here, just some okay sprites without any slowdown. But the main issue is that even back in the 8-bit days, these are merely okay.

Audio: 5.0

Bleh. Incredibly average. What do we have - a handful of songs? Most of the songs in the game are just tiny little songs, like the death song and the introduction, with a few songs for the few levels you get to play. I mean, they\'re not even all that great anyway, so that kind of put the nail in the coffin. The sound effects are nothing to call home about, neither. They kind of get lost in the music, with the exception of Stanley\'s bug spray sound effect.

Storyline: 2.0

The storyline... is pretty weak. The main character is Stanley the Bugman, Mario and Luigi\'s cousin, who runs a greenhouse. One day, Donkey Kong decides to mess with Stanley and break through the roof of his greenhouse. He pisses off a couple hives of bugs, and Stanley must use his bug spray to force Donkey Kong out of his greenhouse before the bugs steal all of his flowers. However, Stanley decides to follow him to a pyramid and then a forest for no particular reason in order to defeat him. Seriously, this story is pretty awful. Why is Donkey Kong there? What does he gain by ruining Stanley\'s greenhouse? Why did Stanley chase him into the forest?

Replay value: 4.0

Honestly, I don\'t see any incentive to replay this game unless you are either incredibly bored of all your other games, or you don\'t have anything better to do. Sure, you could go through the same three levels over and over again in Game B (that\'s hard mode), but in the end, you\'re just doing the same thing for 99 Phases, and once you finish all 99 of them, the game merely restarts at Phase 1. The game has no end, and no reason to spend that much time getting to Phase 99.

Overall: 4.5

Overall, this is a rom-worthy game. The kind of game that you should try once to truly understand the unbelievable repetition of this game. Not even worth buying if you own an NES. The only redeeming quality in this game is that it is not awful looking, it is not awful sounding and it does not play awfully. But that does not make it anymore worth playing. The writers made no attempt at making a reasonable plot. I would say that Donkey Kong\'s motive is pretty damn essential to know. At least Nintendo ended the arcade-style Donkey Kongs on a good note with Donkey Kong \'94 on the Game Boy.
 
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