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Game Industry v Consumers

Seems like the industry is on it’s period again.

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The Belmonts are in.

HELL YES!!!

https://www.hotnewhiphop.com/fortnite-gamer-who-used-cheat-codes-being-sued-by-epic-games-news.56965.html

Cheaters never win. 

14-year old Caleb Rogers is learning a hard life lesson. Cheating is not a good way to handle anything in life. 

Wanna know how out of touch I can be? I don’t even know what the hell Fortnite is!

Even so, I know there’s gonna be a million devilish advocates who are going to justify these sorts of lawsuits. If you have a problem with cheaters, just ban them! Is Epic Games trying to be Nintendo? They’ve always hated cheats too. Did the kid get some DLC for free? That’s the only reason I could see for that. If not, then NO ONE should get behind this.

you gotta love that opening tagline, it already takes the side of the company with that asshole dialogue. It’s that self-righteous advocacy that makes journalists out to be the royal ass-kissers they are. When did using cheats count as copyright infringement!? Is the game industry going insane again like when they declared used games as piracy!? Or is someone going to come out with some hyper obscure law that makes this so?

This shit here, man…

Damn, has it really been 7-8 years since the last Bomberman game? Wow.


For a while of playing Bomberman games, there’s always been one constant question on my mind. “How do you make the game better?” Sure the games are fun as they are, but when you get right down to them, a damn good majority of them are the same exact game. At least where multiplayer is concerned as it is the one element that people care about the most. 

My first Bomberman games started on the N64 with…. Bomberman 64, and I assumed it was similar to Mega Man because the bosses looked like Robot Masters. But they looked cool for ones so tiny. And this game as well as Bomberman Hero shows just why the late 90s kicked so much ass. Those games had some nice ass music! The worlds and story were generic, but they always had a sense of tension to them. Sure, Bomberman’s girly voice and comical stylings were goofy, but you felt like you could also take them seriously in some regard. Hero in particular was fucking weird! I don’t think I’ve ever played a Japanese game (for kids) that felt like being stoned. The enemies were creepy and had strange animations, some jelly monsters could merge and become this gooey bastard with those dreaded eyes, and those crabs that were smooshed together in one of those underwater tunnels… I think they were crabs, shit I can’t remember. 

After that though, I played what some would call a real Bomberman game,  and that was Atomic Bomberman for the PC. This game was amazing! Color coded explosions so you know who’s kicking who’s ass, bitchin soundtrack, and bomber deaths that were just cartoony and over-top! That shit was awesome! Right up until technology made it impossible to play it ever again. 

But as I played more… “traditional” Bomberman games, I start thinking how can you could make the games fresh. After all, if the multiplayer aspect remains stagnant, people will tire of it. And looking at how no one talks about Bomberman (and I mean NO ONE) or even wants to entertain a discussion, it could be a prime example of how focusing too much on gameplay can make for an incredibly dull series. The N64 games were probably the best games in the series for their content alone… and after that… crickets. 

The only way to make the games interesting (in Hudson’s eyes) was to add more game modes. In Generation, we found modes like Reversi Battle where you’re just blowing up the floor to change it’s color, coin battle for cheap and obvious reasons, and Air Raid Battle where bombs constantly rain from the sky, you can’t plant any bomb, and must avoid being blown away (personal favorite of mine). 

Then Jetters came along. No, not that shit show where the character gains thunder bombs from leopard skin undies, the alleged “:sequel” to Bomberman Generation actually made some change to the battle mode. Characters now had Super Moves. Bomberman could make Dangerous Bombs automatically, Flame Bomber can become a destructive pillar of fire and automatically detonate bombs, Thunder Bomber could shock certain areas on the field, etc. Problem was you had to build up a meter before you could use any of those moves. Obviously for balance, but it took forever to build up meter, and match length largely depends upon whether or not the players actually last that long, so often times you wouldn’t see them.

But it is something that could break up the monotony of “playing the same game over and over”. The lagging popularity (if any) of Bomberman seems largely due to it’s slow pace and honest lack of control you have in a match. You have to practically dig your way out of corners, pray for good power ups, and then play with the hand that you are dealt, and play it well. Battle mode boils down to preparation and execution, so in many ways you could say your chances of victory boil down to luck. Imagine if in one game, you a Bomber in a tight spot with bombs, and you win the game. But you try the same tactic next round, and they possess a kick/punch, they could free themselves. The tables can turn just like that.

And looking at how very few (or… 0) people are talking about Bomberman, including the rampant gameplay whores who pervert any and all logic of what makes games appealing, it’s something that needs to be mitigated. Special abilities like those in Jetters would’ve been a much needed evolution of the game, but like the orbital explosions of the past single player modes, this was long gone by the time live and blast hit the scene. 

And tben…. Hudson disappeared, so whatever hope you could have for future Bomberman games was slim to diminished. 

Imagine my shock that Konami of all companies decided to bring it back! After literally 7 years of no shows, Bomberman is back, and…barely anything has changed! 

On the Switch, the game was merely a retro throwback title in the same vein as DKCR, Kirby Return to Dreamland, Rayman Origins, Bubsy, Sonic 4, and even Konami’s Rocket Knight game. These are essentially short, low budget graphical and gameplay updates to games that came out primarily in the early 90s, i’m still waiting for an actual Castlevania Throwback and not that rebirth dogshit on wiiware. I think the novelty wore off after Donkey Kong ss everyone started doing it, even for games that people hated (I still cringe at the thought that some clod greenlit bubsy) Capcom is in the middle of MM11 as we speak. Despite not being a lucrative endeavor, I can’t say I’m against it. I like the older shit better than these days. 

But as it is, this one harkens back to Super Bomberman on the SNES in the tradition of naming all games after the damn console it itself. I suppose those are the most popular games in Bomberman as the five dastardly bombers seem to crop up more often than any other bomber group. Which is unfortunate as the one in 64 kicked more ass. 

Konami takes the late 2000s trend of using cheap flash animation for its cutscenes, and takes Bagular, the villain of Bomberman Hero, and turns him into Dracula. Literally.  Buggler… that….. that’s what they call him here…. decides to go to planet Scrapheap to ressurect the 5 dastardly bombers, and sends them across the galaxy to raise hell, and it’s up to Bomberman and his 7 unmotivated siblings to stop them! Hilarity is supposed to ensue, but along with the flash animation, the writing leaves a lot to be desired. Characters are tropey as Hell.

I suppose it’s nice of them to give Bomberman a mans voice for a change, and each bomber has their own personality. It’s also nice to not have to stomach the same old Funimation, got our start on toonami bullshit, voice actors that latch their vile tentacles on every fucking game it seems. and shit! These nobodies are pretty damn good! 

It’s just hard to care about that when the game is super short. It’s quite a bare bones game. Even the battle mode was thinned out. You only have the one basic ass mode that’s in every game. No coin. No reversi. No crown. No air raid. Nothing. 

So in other words, the game was just slapped together for a quick buck. Like all the other retro throwbacks over the years.

So… what’s the point of talking about this game? Well, Konami, in an uncharacteristic fit of generosity, decided to actually support the game with updates, extra characters, and ports to the other systems.  With their own exclusive guests! 

And thus the Shiny Edition is born! And… it’s only marginally better! 

The game now includes characters from several different Konami franchises. Mother fucking SIMON BELMONT and his nemesis COUNT DRACULA from Castlevania, Vic Viper from Gradius, Jehuty and Anubis from Zone of Enders, Goemon from Mystical Ninja, some…. school girl from a dating sim… I guess, Princess Tomato from……..

For the extra consoles, there’s also 3 exclusive characters (I know you know). But to access them, you might need Internet. Amma knows I can’t find Ratchet Bomber anywhere in this game alone, and I can’t find answers online, everyone else seems to have the character any way. So… I’m assuming it’s a patch/update required. If so….


And the game also includes a new Grand prix mode where you have all these different features. A new battle mode “crystal”… which is just coin battle, and… basic…… and a fair warning, the AI eats dog shit. 

What’s really new in this edition is the presence of character abilities. The new characters all have these unique skills that completely change the dynamic of matches. Simon can use a whip (duh) that has all kinds of utilities. If you have no punch or kick, and you’re sandwiched by bombs, this damn thing is a life saver! It yanks bombs and bitches out of the way so you can a quick escape, or drive the bombs onto other players, or snap the chumps into oncoming explosions! Basically, Simon’s the blue shell from Mario Kart. OBSERVE!

BWAHAHAHAHA! He vanquishes evil… by BEING EVIL!!!

Other characters have more…. situational abilities. Reiko can shield herself from explosions,  Dracula uses magic circles that moves bombs in different directions, Jehuty can warp next to other players, Tomato can make people immune to explosions, Bubble Head poisons other players, etc. Knowing how and when to use them blah blah makes you badass blah blah. They also have their own cool down  and drawbacks so that you don’t abuse them.

This is a good start!

This goes a long way to ensuring the game doesn’t get old too fast, and the players can figure out some inventive ways of screwing over everyone else. Jehuty players could unexpectedly warp behind another player and trap them behind a bomb, for instance. Or an Anubis player could get trapped behind a bomb, but find some unlucky chump to trade places with, and sacrifice him instead!

This is all well and good, though it kinda makes the original 8 bombers useless because they don’t have abilities, unless you’re playing Grand prix where they can take them from the extras.

I have no idea why Konami would neglect the actual bombers (Well we didn’t make em, and we desperately care about our own vanity!) and only sets to make them cool in grand prix. But Grand prix likes to restrict certain things from characters. How many powerups they’re allowed to have, mainly. It’s a balancing act, of course, but why do the regular bombers have these same restrictions without copying abilities? They can barely compete as it is. 

But whatever. It’s good that a Bomberman took one of my ideas and applied it!  It makes the game fun, fun, FUN!:D

…..For a few people. A lot of abilities don’t serve much of a purpose, or seem to be liabilities. Bubble Head can poison herself and risk getting shorter fuses or diarrhea bombs, Tomato makes everyone else immune to bombs and not herself, Pyramid head walks at a snail’s pace (sure, one-hit kill balance), Dracula is useless,  etc. The only really good ones are Simon, Goemon, and ….. the fuck is it….. Shiori Fujushima? Is that the bitch’s name?  The problem is that a lot of these skills are very situational, depending on a number of variables to go right. If you don’t have anyone to swap with 8 spaces across from you, Jehuty/Anubis is useless. So really, the abilities balance themselves out in terms of usefulness. Sure, screw Simon over with only one bomb because his whip is op, I get that, but why make Anubis slow?

And come on. No Solid Snake? Sparkster at least? You’d think you get the obvious choices out of the way instead of going obscure. … unless that’s dlc and I’m screwed.

In either case, the shiny edition has a few bells and whistles that vanilla doesn’t, but this is definitely a $10 game at best. So much has been skimmed out since live and blast, and the severely lacking modes hurt this game plenty. The special moves are awesome, but limited. And…. that’s all I got. 😛

Man, I don’t think anyone bought this game…

 Sorry Blastcannon….



I was talking with a few guys about the… cataclysmic shitstorm my posts on Sonic Mania had caused. I’m like “damn, no one will buy the games, but they’ll kick and scream when someone badmouths one or 2 of them that they feel is worth a damn”.       Look, I know we all want to live vicariously through Taxman in our psychological masturbatory revenge fantasy in giving Sega the middle finger by “showing them how to make a proper game” but please, don’t let that enthusiastism stop you from detailing exactly why “I suck”.

The responses aren’t too far off from what I was expecting, half of them you could do side-by-side comparisons with Yahtzee when he shat all over Smash Bros brawl. Or even Razorfist when he shat all over Street Fighter 4 (and was more sane). The ones that…. were odd were all the ones in reference to Knuckles. Specifically the “Keeping the black man down” part.

Normally, people would look at that and think “stupid joke” or something along those lines. But there’s a lot of… hostility in regards to that bit. People starting arguments and aggressively denying the character being black, and that anyone saying he is… is an idiot. I’m like “goddamn”. Some would argue that this was an SJW/Generation Z mantra in that speaking of Knuckles in that way is insensitive, but what makes me suspicious is the presence of a rhetorical coon who pops up and tries to back up that line of thought. There’s far more focus on that line than there should’ve been. And the level of hostility is abnormal. 

It’s rare to see anyone denying Knuckles being Black. The only other time was with the Sonic Stadium who suggested he was instead Australian because that’s where Echidnas in general are indigenous to. But, knowing they’re idiots, a lot of that is based on their own theory out of vapor, or the movie because he had a hat. A movie that called him a mole.

I’m hoping this is just another case of genuine ignorance and not something more sinister. If the former, here are some things to consider

  • Knuckles’s prototype name was “Dreads” in reference to his dreadlocks that’s supposed to be his hairstyle. Dreads are a distinctively African hairstyle.
  • Takashi Yuda, his original creator, stated that Knuckles was intended to have a Jamaican accent. That and his shoes are (poorly) patterned after the Jamaican flag. Dreadlocks. Jamaican features
  • Fighting style is boxing. And being that the Japanese are stereotypical as fuck, they associate black people with boxing. You can see it in tons of their fighting games, and even with the Blacker Baron in Anarchy Reigns, if you have a boxer, 9/10 he’s going to be of the African persuasion. Why? Because Black Men dominated that sport. Around the time of his creation, folks like Mike Tyson and Buster Douglas were the heavy hitters in the boxing world. Not to mention the ancient Kemetic (or Egyptian) fighting style closely resembles boxing, so the Black man’s proficiency in boxing is hereditary. 
  • The crest on his chest was originally intended to be the Nike symbol. A promotional deal that went south for whatever reason. Negative stereotype or otherwise. I’m sure this’ll create a feeding frenzy. 
  • Theme music is Hip Hop, a genre created by and associated with our black asses. This goes way back to Sonic 3 when he had a freestyle beat before they pussed out and changed it in SK.

That’s quite a few coincidences to suggest otherwise. I could add in the whole “super strength because everyone feels black people are physically superior” but that would be overkill. “It was done for the rivalry of speed vs power, you idiot!!!!!!” I can see it already.

That being said, i’ve seen this kind of behavior before. Mostly from anime fans, anytime you have a dark skin character, many of those same fans have a habit of pointing out “they are not black, you baka gaijin! “. Yet, on the same token, they’re eager to point out that most anime characters are “white” simply based off their features. 

Here, the excuse is that, in no given context, is Knuckles stated to be black. Because obviously, on the surface, he’s an animal which no doubt several people have stated, or that he’s “red” by the dumbasses who think they’re witty and clever. But you know, there’s another character in question that was based on black “stereotypes”… but was instead a robot on Transformers. He was called “Blaster” who could change into a boom box. Get it? A “Ghetto Blaster”? That’s what they were called back in the 80s. Of course he isn’t Black by “human” definition, but the fact that he was patterned after such a thing implies who he was supposed to represent. Who do you think Toejam and Earl are supposed to be based off of? It’s the practice of anthromorphics. The practice of putting human attributes in non-human entities. And if that can occur, then it also means that Stereotypes can be put into these characters as well. What are some stereotypes of Black People? 

the reputation of blacks is low. They are generally seen as being arrogant, boorish and “shitsukoi” (persistant to the point of annoyance) where their approach to girls is concerned, and aren’t terribly selective in what they go after. Some even go so far as to refer to black men in Japan as “disease carriers”

All these factors point to what Knuckles is supposed to represent, and that is black people. Now if Sega was actually thorough (or gave a shit), he’d have more appropriate voice actors. Then again, it’s not uncommon for people of a certain… breed to voice characters from wnother race. You got Wendee Lee voicing Lisa in DOA, DC Douglas doing Raven in Tekken, and Laura Bailey voicing some chick in Uncharted 4. And yes, anime voice actors are an obvious pick.

Now as to why these guys are aggressively against the notion of Knuckles being Black, I’m going to say is just them trying discredit everything I’ve said in regards to Mania. But again, i’d have to question how those responses went. I remember reading some shit that went “you linked to a guy who claimed the Knuckles’s role was racist” or something along those lines. Ignoring the exact wording, again, above everything else I have said in regards to mania, that is the line you single out? That’s highly suspect. Fuck that I say Mania has shit design (which it does), I called Knuckles an African! That was more important to call attention to!?

I’m getting Battlefield Harlem Hellfighters vibes, gamers not wanting to see ot acknowledge black people in media. That line was intended to be joke, but it says something when you’ve got a decently sized group of people calling attention to it. See, Sonic Fans actually LIKE Knuckles, but associating him with blackness creates this air of anxiety in them. Like they have to hate a black character on principle, and liking a character of that particular association causes a contradiction in their psyche. Now, that‘s just me talkin shit, but the way gamers have been acting lately… makes one wonder,  yah know?

I’ll tell you what, though. If you acknowledged this Guardian as a black character,  then you’d have to get into how he’s portrayed in the series.

 Knuckles is the archetype of the arrogant buttmonkey. The character that we, the audience, are supposed to look at with contempt and ridicule. Over the years, i’ve noticed quite of few of these Japanese archetypes pop up, and they’re every bit as one-dimensional as they are forcefully irritating if only to justify their mistreatment from the rest of the group. It goes without saying that im not a fan. Oftentimes, these characters are portrayed as haughty, full of themselves, not very bright, jealous of the main characters, and prone to anger when fucked with. Ivar from Tales of Xillia come to mind. He’s constantly trying to win Milla’s approval, and badgers Jude Mathis amongst others about how much more important he is to Milla than him. And on cue, there’s always an opportunity for him to screw up and show exactly why he’s undesirable to her. 

Another example would be Zack from Dead or Alive. If you wanted the biggest clown in gaming, look no further than him. But ignoring his tap-dancing ways, it’s rather telling how eager some of the characters are in trying to beat the hell out of him. Namely Tina. In 2 unprovoked instances, just the mere presence of Flava Flave’s videogame equivalent is enough to send her into an unbridled rampage and strangle him. It’s not helped by Brad, the drunken kung fu fighter, who for no apparent reason decides he just wants to kick his ass. And for the majority of the 5th game, Zack just ends up being an emasculated punching bag for the rest of the ladies. It certainly doesn’t help that he delves into his own level of shit talk that “justifies” him getting his ass beat in certain situations. Or losing his cool simply because a gary stu Ninja refuses to get on a chopper. The game finds no shortage of excuses for him to job harder than Johnny Cage.

Or how about the Blacker Baron from Anarchy Reigns. A character who exhibits all of the worst traits of this archetype (and is the one Knuckles might as well be based on), and yet the game still has to force it out of a situation just to say “yes, lol, he is butmonkey!” One of the more egregious scenes in the game is where a Russian agent who’s name escapes me, and is introduced ass and tits first, shows up and has a philosophical dialogue with Jack Cayman, the Steven Blum character with a strap-on chainsaw. At the end of this conversation, Baron puts in his 2 cents about how Altumbra’s citizens don’t wait around to get killed… and then the Russian cunt diverts from the subject to point out his inability to pleasure women. And the other 2 good guys in the area join in to dump on him. Because even though she could kill all 3 of them while they’re shit talking their own supposed ally, we can’t let a little thing like “caution” get in the way of a good opportunity to clown the clown.

Not to mention that black characters, typically black males, tend to have shitty luck. Balrog in Street Fighter 2, tries to take over Shadaloo only for the place get ran into the ground, and whatever money he hoped to gain is gone. Sean Matsuda from Street Fighter 3, he ends up getting beaten down by every fighter in the series, and his teacher, Ken Masters, basically lies to him and teaches him nothing while making false promises in exchange for mowing his lawn (horrible HORRIBLE implications there). The USA sports team (includes 2 black guys) from King of Fighters, they’re always getting invited to these tournaments, but their invitation always seems to get stolen. Which leaves them out of the next entry…. over… and over… and over….

This is what Knuckles has been reduced to. Frankly, I’m sick of it. Hell, you’re all sick of it. Virtually No one has expressed any admiration for Knuckles’s portrayal except the dregs of gamefaqs under the false notion that “he’s always been an idiot”. And yet, this characterization of Knuckles has remained consistent for 15 whole years. With all the “per-game” adjustments to the characters personalities (most notably Tails) it’s amazing that Knuckles barely goes outside of buttmonkey status.  The only times he’s gotten a better rap was in 2 games where he was just an alternate version of himself (Sinbad and Gawain). And before you ask, no I did not play nor do i want to play Chronicles. Even with Sonic Forces where he allegedly organized a resistance movement, you find that his authority is practically non-existent, or gets overridden by 2 subordinates. I notice that when the Japanese want to make a character into this weak, easily ridiculed person, they  often make it so that the women can push him around. If the women see him as an easy target, it sends a message that he is not deserving of respect by the audience. And we can see this in how easily Amy abuses him. As well as in the previous examples I listed.

As well, the bits about him suggesting he didn’t need Sonic’s help in Generation, or that he would’ve saved some stupid animals faster than Sonic implies a certain level of insecurity on his part. 

Knuckles couldn’t be in a more embarrassing situation where the rest of the cast is elevated at his expense. And that brings me to Sonic Mania.

Now, as I understand it, Takashi Iizuka wanted to separate the muddled Sonic canon, for all the good it won‘t do. And that’s by putting it into 2 categories.  Classic, and Modern! Going off that logic, everything in the classic sonic era should be preserved, while all things unique to Modern should be kept there. Mania and Forces were to be the games that defines both universes (or dimensions) as 2 separate planes of existence, and not just long gaps in the timeline like Generation had it, a game I guess we’re going to ignore now.

And For the most part, they’ve succeeded. With little to no personality, being these hollow and empty shells, they’ve established a clear difference in the characteristics. Tails isn’t an inventor, nor is Sonic this annoying, quippy asshole, and the universe is simplified to the point of absurdity, and only robots are the enemies,  etc. Everything matches up well with how we remember these details from a time long past. 

Except….. Knuckles!

This guy is an anomaly in this game. From his mannerisms to his rotten luck, they might as well have taken the shrink ray from Metallic Madness and used it on the modern version, and snuck his ass on into the game. He doesn’t even get a proper ending like the other 4 characters. 

Yeah, if you beat the game with Knuckles, you don’t get anything resembling a budget. You get a literal cheap joke. Knuckles is telling a self-fulfilling story to a bunch of animals about how he saved the day, defeating Robotnik and his minions! Sonic and Tails are merely in the background, blowing it off as “Knuckles just dicking around again”. Sure, lets say that’s merely some play on the whole “& Knuckles” meme or whatever, but what this implies is that Knuckles, unlike the other 4 characters, is totally incapable of defeating Robotnik and saving the world, and to compensate for that, he has to make up stories to impress the other animals, which just shits on the character. 

While the other 4 are treated as the silent protagonists who seem to be normal,  Knuckles is literally a tool for corny jokes. Though the most damning one is the piece where Knuckles recalls the moment where he gets electrocuted via a children’s drawing where Knux himself looks retardedly pissed.

And…. this is supposed to be funny?

No fool! It’s Knuckles learning from his mistakes! By realizing that grabbing onto the Master Emerald would only get him shocked, the better alternative would be to just knock the Emerald out of his grasp! This is Knuckles redeeming himself from a stupid choice”

I’m sure someone is retarded enough to use Cinemasins logic, and would be symptomatic of how egregiously stupid this scene is. The point is the scene was deconstructed and taken out of context for a joke. Back in 3K, when Robotnik eventually screws Knux over, there are a few things to consider. He had already gotten his ass kicked earlier, meaning he has less energy to spare. Him being obsessed with keeping the Hidden Palace. … hidden, means he starts to panic when Sonic does find it. The shock of Robotnik’s betrayal and his theft of the Master Emerald, the very jewel that keeps Angel Island from crashing down into the Ocean. Panic mode. The only thing he’s concerned about is getting that Emerald. There isn’t a whole lot to think about at this moment. 

This is supposed to be a dramatic turning point in the game where realizes he’s been deceived, and now must put his trust in the person he’s been fighting this whole time. The fate of Angel Island and the world itself is at stake. So What does Knuckles do? He doesn’t make excuses. He doesn’t try to justify. He just uses the last bit of strength he’s got, punches a goddamn wall down, and gives Sonic a path to the Death Egg, because getting the Master Emerald back is all that matters. It wasn’t intended to be a comical scene. And yet, it’s treated as such. This is the equivalent of the Yamcha death pose. He gets killed in the series as a means to show just how dangerous these saiyans and their ilk are, but… because he’s laid out a certain way, it’s “funny”. And he just gets dumped on in DBF for what was a sneak attack. 

In other words, the Japanese have no souls.

Going further than that, if this game was supposed to take placr after 3K, if that intro is to be believed, then Knuckles is completely out of character. His ending basically tells us that he’s little more than a clown who cares about winning the admiration of little animals. So he spends the whole game reading to them a fictitious account of the game’s events. Which…. probably shows how humble he is to say he got knocked off of a plane and busted his ass on the ground (even though he can glide or just latch onto the plane) or admits to being electrocuted. Speaking of which, Heavy Magician seems pretty incompetent if he waits an entire act before trying to destroy the Tornado via his transformation. 

The Competition Mode Preview doesn’t let up on him either, where he loses his cool for no apparent reason while standing on a hovering platform with Mighty. Perhaps he’s mad that Ray and Tails are flying, giving them a clear advantage over the former….. except that Knuckles has a similar advantage. The only person that should be pissed is Mighty as he has no flight capabilities whatsoever. All it does is make him look fucking retarded. 

It’s like his entire character was really contrived! And sure, maybe I am complaining about a contrivance in a game that’s all about contrivances, but the point is Knuckles’s treatment in a game that’s supposed to be about nostalgia is completely abnormal. Like Iizuka simply had to keep Knuckles in this comical, deplorable state, amongst all other things. Regardless if it’s out of character, regardless if this is supposed to be a different version from the character he’s used to shafting in yhe quote “modern games”. He doesn’t even have a proper ending! He’s “othered” him and made him completely foreign to the rest of the playable characters. He comes off as irrational and easily flustered while everyone else looks sane in comparison, and is obsessed with what others think of him. 

But what makes it so interesting is, as I’ve said before, he’s the only character that expresses any sort of personality. The other four characters are blank slates. What little personality they show from idle animations or win poses is minuscule and obligatory. Knuckles clearly had more effort put into him over the rest in terms of defining just what kind of person he is. And the question is why? Why was it more important to define Knuckles as the fool amongst the rest of the characters? Why do they ignore continuity in order to give him the same personality he has in the modern universe? Why does he get this peculiar level of detail and focus when such characters like Mighty and Ray… need definition? (Or is that reserved for those online cartoons?) It’s like Iizuka had to portray him this way, and by God’s word, nothing would convince him otherwise! 

*sigh*

The funny part about all of this is that “racism” wasn’t my concern when regarding Knuckles’s portrayal in current games. Honestly, it’s the last thing on my fucking mind. I simply acknowledge it. I don’t have to race code a damn thing, that work’s been done since 94. When Sonic Advance 2 and Battle came out with a dumbed down variant of the character, it was a jarring shock. It came out of nowhere. And I’m left confused with no answers. I assumed because Characters like Sonic and Tails are also inconsistent, I figured it was different writers with their own visions of the character. But with Mania, and how much attention was given to his portrayal there leaves a lot to interpretation. And knowing who Knuckles is patterned after has some unfortunate implications. It hasn’t escaped me that the Japanese hold a certain level of contempt for black people. I’ve even noted in the past that they believe black people to be of low IQ. And when it comes to media, they don’t generally hold back with how they portray certain groups. Sega’s lack of transparency, awarness, and consistent track record with the character doesn’t help matters. I can’t say for certain that it is purposely insulting, but it leaves a lot to think about.

That being said, I know there’s a lot of people who want to tiptoe around Japan being racist. They’ll go around posting about how they’re treated so nicely over there, ignoring that they’re more passive aggressive, more covert about their shit (not to mention tourism = good money). No one wants to believe that because most lovers of Japan grew up watching bad anime and playing jrpgs, and now they desire a Japanese girlfriend because they’re so kawaii desu in cartoons. None of that changes the fact that they hold racist attitudes towards other groups. Is Knuckles a part of that equation? Quite fucking possible! 

Good lord, what has the world come to!? Hell, suddenly the more kiddy content of Sonic no longer bothers me. Least I ain’t got to stomach this shit!:P

Is it true!? Has Nintendo fallen in line with the rest of the industry in it’s push for the agenda that shall go unnamed!?

Call up Hugh Hefner, you a gay boy bunny!


Reckless Abandon (Sonic)


I forgot to mention Encore mode. For those who don’t have the plus version, Encore mode redesigns the zones and gives you a mediocre version of Knuckles Chaotix ala being able to switch between the current 5 characters via tvs. That’s, of course, a stupid idea as it means playing the characters you want comes down to luck. The recolored zones have slightly modified layouts with varied enemy placements, though they seem to exacerbate the problems that exist. Only real thing of value are the bonus stages changing to a simple pinball game.

Add to it, the lives system is tied to how many characters you have on hand. Yeah, you start off with Sonic first, then you have a choice between Mighty or Ray, and then you have to find the other 3 and keep them alive. But that also means having to scour the zones for tv’s if you want to use particular characters. If you have 2 on hand, you can switch between them freely, but with 3-5? You have to find specific tv’s that will rotate them so you can use the guys in your “party”. This is, of course, tedious as hell because the rotation is often random at best. Meaning finding those tv’s merely gives you a chance to swap out for a character you want or need.

So the obvious question. Why not just let us choose the characters for each and every zone? That’s what Chaotix did. And the characters you use obviously don’t impact the zone’s difficulty. This has no real benefit toward making the game fun. It simply exists. Why the team thought this would be fun is anyone’s guess. Encore mode is simply more of the regular mode without much limitation on the characters you have access to.

But I did notice this.

This is an area in Press Garden where you have to use those disappearing blocks from Mega Man to progress to the next area. I decided I wasn’t about to do that bullshit. You can jumpbto the top of those boxes and jump to the next area from there.

But, if you make it to the same spot in encore mode….

But whyyyyyy?

You can that the devs have barred off access by (literally) stacking the deck. If you don’t have Tails or Knux, you have to use the disappearing blocks. I can’t shake the suspicion that this was deliberate. Like Taxman and the boys wanted to remove any possible exploits or workarounds so that you’d have to progress through the game a certain way. As Sonic, Mighty,  or Ray, you have no other way around it (as far as I can tell)

Fuuuuck

 What i was expecting was that the Zones would be “remixed” to make them feel fresh to justify going through them all a second time. Not that it would be more difficult with minor changes. 

Regardless of what he may say in interviews about a stated intent, that shows a fundamental lack of understanding why people enjoy Sonic in the first place. This design choice was done to set you on a more linear path. Forcing the player to make skillful and precise jumps on faster acting platforms.  IE “making it harder”.

“But wait!” Says internet gamer. “What’s wrong with a harder game!? Isn’t that the point of video games? To be challenging? If you’re complaining about hard games, you have no business talking about the quality of games!” 

This belief evolved out of the desire of internet gamers to be seen as the elite. The hardcore. The big dogs. Primarily as a means to compensate for their own lack of achievement in life, they push this narrative down everyone’s throats because they feel they can impress other people with “desire” to play the most difficult games ever, and earn bragging rights online. These days, it’s a universally accepted notion that videogames were difficult as a means of generating revenue rather than being the main attraction of videogames, praying on the egos of the players by posting up leaderboards with highscores, and encouraging them to drop more quarters. You can see that happening today with DLC and microtransactions, the goal is to addict you and get enriched off of you. 

What internet gamers have done was take the commonality of a revenue stream and turn it into a dick swinging contest. 

This narrative loses its meaning when you come to find that everyone’s favorite game or entry in a franchise turns out to be the easiest games In said franchise. Mega Man 2, Resident Evil 2, Pokemon Gold and Silver, Star Fox 64, Sonic 3K, Super Metroid, etc. People tend to gravitate toward the easier games more often than not. And I’m not implying it’s because the games are easy, they simply offer something over other entries in the franchise. What that means is they’re not going into the games with it’s difficulty in mind. They are merely there to have a particular kind of experience.  If the difficulty gets in the way of that experience, it sours their opinion of the game overall. No one wants their gaming experience to be hindered by difficulty. 

But the internet gamers love that. They see someone complain about difficulty, it gives them an opportunity to make asses of themselves and wave their fingers, shaming said individuals and generally giving themselves high fives for “loving the challenge”. This is why so many of them worshipped Capcom in the past, Capcom had a nasty habit of making unreasonably difficult games back in the day, and why they clamor over the Dark Souls games. Bragging Rights.

The simple fact of the matter is that people are not looking for a challenging game. Just one that is the most interesting. Capcom made hard shit, yes, but a lot of it was interesting to people. Nowadays, people would accuse Capcom of poor game design. These days, the super difficult games that aim to “replicate” the olden days are something of a niche, only celebrated by the “super elite internet gamers” only so they can look cool to their peers online. 

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a difficult game, mind you. As i’ve said before, the point of a challenging game is more so to keep you awake. An easy game can be a boring if it has no interesting elements. Sonic, however, is probably the only franchise that I would argue shouldn‘t be quote “challenging“.

Yes. You read that right. 

When people talk about what makes Sonic games so unique and interesting, oftentimes they’ll wax poetic about physics and it’s competition with Mario, or how he was designed to be the bad boy….. but everyone tip toes around the way the health system worked. This is so far the only series who’s health system is completely dependent upon carrying particular items to survive. And I feel it’s because if they talk about the rings, they would have to admit that Sonic games are inherently easy as gamers equate difficulty to overall quality.

But it’s the ring system that changes the fundamental behavior of the player, and could very well be the “secret sauce” that creates a unique “Sonic” experience. For many platforming series (and I use that term lightly) you’re often required to exercise caution when traversing levels, mainly because the games were fucking hard. It’s easy to lose health and lives because there is danger everywhere. One level of Ninja Gaiden would wear yo ass out because of the level of caution and careful playing needed to survive until the inevitably difficult boss fight. Needless to say, a lot of games would certainly feel like work if you’re trying to do things perfectly. That’s a lot of effort for something that’s supposed to be fun. What goes unsaid is that the games that stand out the most are those games that let you see more of the content even before you’ve met the requirements to see them. What with Mario’s warp zones to Zelda allowing you to go to a multitude of dungeons, to Mega Man allowing you to choose levels off the bat… sure, these games were hard, but allowed a certain level of freedom that other games didn’t offer. Even so, you still needed a certain level of skill to beat them.

But then came Sonic the Hedgehog. Now here’s a game that doesn’t present you with a typical health system. As I’ve said before,  Sonic is (or was) a series that gave the middle finger to conventional game design. And this extended to the ring system. As long as you had one ring on hand, you could survive everything except pits. Getting hit means losing your rings, but if you’re quick enough, you could scoop them all back up and keep going strong. Even boss battles were of no challenge thanks to the rings.
It’s a simple concept, yeah. But the resulting behaviors that come from this concept are what’s important. With so many games in the market that required patience and practice to exceed, the ring system changes everything. It acted… as a release valve. The players wouldn’t be afraid to take risks. The player wouldn’t be filled with tension. They would have no fear. The player could finally throw caution to the wind and charge through levels at their own leisure! No more practice, no patience needed. You could be as wild and as hyper as you wanted! There’s no barrier to entry. Just pick up, play, and have a blast.  

People started becoming impulsive to blast through levels as fast as possible, And didn’t want to be held back by anything considered an obstacle. That’s why water zones are hated so much. As the series went on, enemies and traps were less common, or were out of the way so as not to hinder the feeling of freedom the players had. You think alternate paths was something special? No. These were all just interconnected parts of a whole that coincided with that feeling of freedom. No matter where you ended up, you could still make it to the finish line, so long as you can be as reckless as you want. The player wanted to be independent of the level designer’s whim and traverse Zones their own way. All of that evolved from the ring system. 

clockwork

You notice when you’re put into a situation where you have no rings, like the final bosses of Sonic 1&2, the whole dynamic changes. After a whole game of recklessness, the game demands caution!? Sure it’s a “challenge” because it’s the final boss, but it’s absolutely terrible game design because you’re infact punishing the player for something your system encourages for 99% of the whole game. It’s subversive at the worst possible time. Hell, the final bosses of most Sonic games are more so about maintaining your rings than trying to win.

As the years went on, this type of hyper-active experience became synonymous with Sonic the Hedgehog, and as such, people expect and demand this experience. It’s why the 3D Sonic games tend to get a bad rep because they’re often saddled with gameplay systems that demand patience, and slow down the experience. At least until boosting came around and enhanced the already impulsive behaviors of fans to blast through zones at high speed. Before then, about the only 3D Sonic that resembled Classic Sonic via gameplay was Shadow the Hedgehog. I don’t give a damn what anyone says, that was Classic Sonic in spirit. Even took the ring system further by making it so you only lose 10 rings a pop! So you could have about 100 rings, and if you got popped in the ass, you’d be like “oh I lost 10 rings? Psh! I got 90 more, bitch! Dueces!” 

This means that it’s virtually impossible to make Sonic games hard without abolishing the ring system altogether. Forces nearly tried this by making it impossible to recoup any rings you lose, thus making the game “harder“. And if not for the long heatlh bar, The werehog would’ve been a total loss. Tis also why I HATE the mech stages in SA2. Clunky as shit machines!

When people try to make Sonic games “hard”, they will sometimes invent “cheap” ways of killing the player. And when you do that, you get Sonic Unleashed. Enemies that can zap you in middair, random quicktime events, springs that turn over into spikes when you least expect it, that game (HD version at least) was a nice warm cup of “fuck you just cause!”
This is why Mania is so… stupid. It walks a thin line between allowing the players to really cut loose, or demand patience and precision. Encore mode really shows that the mindset isn’t in making the most authentic Sonic experience,  but in showing off how much goofy shit they can stuff into a game. What made Sonic games fun and unique was the level of freedom it gave the players simply by telling them “throw caution to the wind, and be as wild as you want!”. Mania’s design misses that mark on more than one occasion. Whether it’s Oil Ocean requiring that I rush through the zone to find switches to eliminate poison gas to filling jelly with enough “juice” to bounce into higher places, or having to raise/lower the water levels to progress in hydrocity and traverse those same underwater areas inside of a slow moving bubble (yes, I know that shit came from the Game Gear games), it sends the message that this game was lowkey trying to be an intricate platformer. And in the process makes the game more tedious than normally. Boss battles, because they’re focused on chaotic spectacle, end up filling the player with uncertainty as they have to follow certain patterns, have smaller windows to attack, and greater risks of losing all of your rings (and not getting them back).

There’s clear desire to make the game hard, otherwise the Zones wouldn’t be death traps and enemies around every corner. Nor would Encore mode deliberately create obstacles on your path to make sure you follow a specific trail. It’s more trying to force Sonic to be hard, and comes off as a desperate annoyance. 

To make Sonic hard is to necessitate massive changes to it’s level design, and removal of the ring system in it’s entirety. You would have to gear it towards another franchise that is difficulty incarnate. You could say the game was trying to be more like Mega Man in some ways just by the amount of enemies alone. But doing so would piss off fans, so all Taxman and the boys did was make the game tedious. On the surface, the game certainly looks like the good ol’ days, but overall, the game’s design carries influence from other franchises that simply don’t mesh well with Sonic. The only thing it does well is automation, but that requires no input from the player. You could say the only way to make Sonic hard is to take control away from the player.

So going back to my example, the “Sonic experience” that people crave from this series, the freedom that comes from giving the finger to conventional game design, was being pushed aside… in favor of conventional game design. Primarily in Chemical Plant, Flying Battery, a little bit of Press Garden, Hydrocity, Oil Ocean, Lava Reef, and especially Titanic Monarch. Shit, that’s more than half the damn game! The level design alone feels as though it’s guiding you on a specific set path for your character, considering how boxed in half the zones are.

Knuckles is pink as shit!

Well, it’s here. The physical release of Sonic Mania, a game who’s marketing tauts it’s high ratings to compensate for it’s poor sales. Clearly, the game is so far up it’s own ass to worry about competent design as it bastardizes the very zones it’s supposed to be “celebrating“. There isn’t a shred of polish that makes it “the best Sonic game in years!” It’s the most narcissistic Sonic game ever.

BY THE MANIA, FOR THE MANIA!!” NEVER MIND IF That STATEMENT DOESN’T MAKE ANY FUCKIN SENSE! 

A team of “passionate developers” it says! Not talented or capable, just passionate! This whole preface reeks of pretentiousness, and after playing this shit, it’s beyond infuriating to see these guys are just masturbating to a mirror while they have a game out that is purely about nostalgia and nothing else. 

*sigh*

I’m trying to give this shit a fair chance, but it’s either boring or just tedious! I don’t know. It feels like I’m playing Advance 3, and you all know how I feel about that game. And top it off, the fuckin creators are so busy trying to convince me of Mania’s value, that’s why they have this art book in tow showing all these sketches. The game is pissing me off, and these fuck jobs are just shoving it in my face that “theyre awesome“. They care more about them damn Metacritic scores than actually trying to make a coherent game. It’s frustrating, and i’m not having any fun with it. Where do I even begin?

Level-design is Rom-hack levels of bad

I think the guys of Sonic Dissected mentioned that it was easy to get lost in certain zones, using Studiopolis (the Clusterfuck that it is) as an example. And shit, I can vouch for that.

This bastardized version of Chemical Plant (just put in Wacky Workbench, you hacks), you can see that I’m all over the place. How the fuck was I supposed to know there was a ceiling that you had to bounce right into just to progress!? A detail like that is far too easy to miss when that shit blends into the stage with no obvious signs that signal to you “go here retard!”. 

One of the more amateurish things rom-hackers do is that they tend to try and one-up other hackers by trying to make the levels harder by stacking the deck, and that’s often done by fucking up enemy and trap placement. And Sonic Mania’s Zones are fucking flooded with enemies and traps to the point of absurdity and fatigue. Go check out Lava Reef and tell me how many exploding rock bitch and fire traps you run into within mere… fucking… seconds! They’re all over the goddamn place! You can literally have 3-4 of these bastards within centimeters of each other, and that alone wouldn’t bode well. But hell, earlier in Stardust Speedway, there wasn’t a platform I couldn’t reach without getting rammed with those blue spiked balls that pop out of those holes.

Enemy Placement is also a bit on the obnoxious side. I recall a few instances in Metallic Madness where, if I try to jump over one of those spike carriers, i’d run into one of those bees with maces on their asses. Or again, in Stardust, if I try to avoid those spinning spike platforms, i’m getting knocked on my ass by a roller bug.

And if it’s not enemies, it’s always a damn spike trap. They never fail!

 If the goal was to take the rare elements of older zones and ramp up the quantity, mission accomplished. But even the new zones have this bullshit. 
Titanic Monarch, I know is the final zone, but what sense is it to flood the zone with those ffffffffucking lock-on enemies!? These flying bastards who surrounds you with these balls that close in on you if you don’t kill him or escape? escaping is always a grand option, but is ultimately pointless when the very next area has another  one? Escape him, seconds later BAM another one! Escape him BAM another one! Escape BAM another one! I mean goddamn! Let me catch my damn breath for a good minute or 2!

This wouldn’t be so bad if these assholes were easy to find and kill, but often times, they’re in out of reach areas, off screen, or in areas where you get stuck on electronic balls. It doesn’t help that there’s so much shit you gotta pay attention to because the acts were designed by some guy on Ritalin. 

These examples and more often force me to take the levels slowly. But as always, if you are rewarded for taking a slower approach in a faster-paced franchise, that’s a red flag that the devs have to go back to the drawing board because they dun fucked up. Enemy and trap placement was not an issue in 2D Sonic (save for advance 3, see where I’m going with that?) Of old, but this is Rom-hack design philosophy. You flood the zone (hehe) in some sick, fetishy desire to make the game hard as hell. You gotta take everything slow cause otherwise, you’re gonna be running into shit constantly. And that’s not fun in the slightest. Unless you’ve memorized these Acts, you won’t know when shit is coming. After a while, it just gets annoying, and it’s not mitigated by the fact that the game keeps jerking itself off. How can you be proud of level-design like this!?

that being said, I’m amazed Press Garden turned out so well. That’s pure classic Sonic right there… aside from those disappearing blocks.

Fuck Mega Man!

(Personal gripe) Aside from that, there are obvious signs that Knuckles is severely hindered. I can tell this game was made purely with Sonic and Tails in mind. Being the guy who rides the Echidna’s nuts, Im trying to go through it with him, but I constantly feel pressured to play the game in the mindset of Sonic anyways. Knuckles can’t fully utilize his climbing abilities to the fullest extent because every area feels like it’s impassable without a decent jump. I even recall a certain cliff in Mirage Saloon because the Cliffside was slanted. Infact, a lot of walls in that zone are shitty to climb anyways. You get the feeling the game was working against Knuckles simply because he could climb, like they assumed knuckles players would have it easy just because he can climb. That’s not the case here. You don’t have a lot of options when it comes to Knuckles simply because there are areas that he can’t get to due to how the zones are structured. He’s honestly the worst character to use due to his shit jump height. You’re literally better off with Tails. Or Mighty because he can actually rape the bosses.

Difficulty Spikes

Up the ass. Gets more and more noticeable once you hit Mirage Saloon.

Inconsistent Themes/Gimmicks

Well, Mr. Spore, you might’ve been right about Press Garden. Act 1 is purely a newspaper factory (hence the name.) But when you get to Act 2, the theme of the zone changes to a Japanese Winter shrine… something, if only to coincide with the boss being a reference to Revenge of Shinobi. The only real connection is thr grinding down of trees to make said newspapers, but other than that.

Another jarring decision is in Studiopolis where  some strange instance, you’re playing a bingo machine. I’m like “wtf does bingo have to do with making movies?”

One could also make the argument for Chemical Plant where Act 2 and the following boss are more akin to a candy factory/laboratory, what with the gelatin floors that were spliced from Wacky Workbench, oversized syringes, and DNA elevators. Yeah, those are 2 different themes. And judging by the science lab theme that Titanic Monarch sports, Act 2 would’ve been far more appropriate there instead.

Not a frequent issue, but it shows they were more focused on the spectacle rather than it making sense. Perhaps it’s explained away by the Phantom Ruby, but all that seems to do is teleport people. A little logic wouldn’t hurt, is what I’m saying.

There was also this mechanic where your elemental shields could manipulate the environment, but these opportunities only appear in Green Hill and Oil Ocean, and only seem to be an aesthetic feature for trailers because otherwise, they serve no purpose other than for Taxman to jack off to Mega Man. 

That’s another thing. Splicing one or 2 elements from zones you did not include don’t make the ones you did include fresh. It just comes off as lazy and unoriginal. As if the game wasn’t derivative enough.

Developer Narcissism

Often times, you can tell when a game thinks too highly of itself when it smacks you over the head with references to past work. Konami and Capcom both have this problem, but see… they can get away with this because a lot of the games they choose to callback on are games that haven’t been seen in years. Like Symphony of the Night making references to Castlevania 3 and Kid Dracula, super obscure shit like that.

This doesn’t work for Sonic Mania for the simple fact that Sega’s been making a million retro collections in the last 2 generations, and even has a new one for this gen. Not to mention the single releases on digital download services, and even the classic genesis mock-up with several games installed. Sega was not intent on having us forget the “good ol days” so long as it made them a penny.

The problem? Mania is completely oblivious to this simple fact as it smacks you upside the head with it’s callbacks. It’s this juvenile theory that automatically having these references will elicit some happy response out of the audience via way of “hey, I remember that!” Whether it’s Heavy Shinobi having sound effects from Revenge of Shinobi, Knuckles having some children’s drawing of what happened to him after Lava Reef, or this bullshit:

Rest assured, you will NEVER FORGET!!! 

What irritates me is the game assuming that I’m supposed to find it cool… because it has all these references. All the while I’m zeroing in on why the Act 1 boss in Mirage Saloon is an oversized Mario enemy.

Heavy Magician works because the three cameos it turns into are those we haven’t seen in ages. Metal Sonic works because no one played those game gear games (:P), and in small part, Encore mode works because Sega absolutely refuses to rerelease Knuckles Chaotix. Now you wanna talk about a missed opportunity, between Sonic Gems and now, they seem to ignore the real obscure shit save for Sonic fighters. It’s always this non-stop parade to glorify the Genesis trilogy. Not much of a celebration if you neglect all but a few titles.

I just completely forgot what I was ranting about.

Bad Physics/bugs(?)

OHH I’m hurting some feelings with this one. Oh check your blood pressure meds at the door, these instances don’t occur throughout the entirety of the game, but seeing as this is the most tauted “pro” of mania, I expected perfection! But alas…

Please, all you Mania ass lickers. Explain to me why in a boss fight where you have to to jump to avoid missiles, your momentum DROPS!!!!?

Cause this is the 3rd time I had to fight him  cause I didn’t understand why I couldn’t jump over them very well! I thought it was the random shifts in elevation on thr road that interrupted my jumps, but the moment I notice that, I was pissed beyond belief! I was getting angry at this fight!! That shit right there is no excuse!

The game has some goddamn technical flaws, and no one said shit for a year!? Agendas, mang. Agendas

Tedious Boss Fights

Now, mind you, the bosses are prone to difficulty spikes as well, but the majority of them might as well have been in Alien Soldier.

Sonic 2, Heroes, and Shadow all have the best boss fights by virtue of the fact that you simply HIT them, and not have to wait for an opportunity to do so, unlike in the majority of sonic games. But Mania seems to be much worse. The bosses themselves prove to be just a bit more chaotic that you aren’t giving much breathing room to think and plan on what to do next. 

A lot of them, you have to figure out what In the hell you have to do first before trying to strike them, and it isn’t obvious what you have to do. That and I was playing Knux  whole time, so his shit jump height was an impediment to doing anything of worth.

Like Metal Sonic, it took me 5 tries before I figured out you had to hit the silver bastards into Metal’s chair or w/e, or with the Act 1 boss of Press Garden, you had to wait until this fuck hits a brown box to break off a chainsaw (subtle hint in the intro, I know), or that ffffucking Act 1 Lava Reef Boss where you had to wait for the Lava to burn off this asshole’s armor before you could actually hit him. It threw me off cause you had armorless fucks appear throughout the Act. Is this Sonic or Zelda?

Then there’s just fights that are just tedious. Act 2 of same zone, you have to employ the same tactics used against the final boss of Sonic 3 (hitting the middle section). Problem is this fuck randomly jumps half the damn time, so you’re being knocked away even though you’re timing your shit right.

Or the spider from Flying Battery. And he ain’t even hard, but you have to be fast and ultra precise just so the damn thing doesn’t take too long to kill, or so you can avoid accidents. And then even when you hit him, he’ll just hit the ground instead. So annoying!!!

And then they get lazy and start trotting out some of these old bosses like Sonic 1’s final boss, or the death egg security system from S3K. None of which were enjoyable to fight back then.

Special Stages are absolutely terrible. 

Ok, one. The Super Peel-Out is a shit move. Nothing is special about it. It’s an inferior spindash. Treating it like some sort of reward is laughable. And so are the conditions for unlocking this and other shit.

Blue sphere, one of the worst special stages in Sonic history, makes it’s obnoxious return to Mania, and it’s shittier than ever before. This time around, they’re treated as the bonus stages for getting 25 rings at a signposts. IE I can ignore them, right? WRONG! In order to unlock anything of worth (like Knuckles Mode), you would have to do these stages consistently. The tokens  you get from blah blah you should already know. I hate Blue sphere! Seems to be a recurring theme in Mania, bringing back all the elements I hated in the classic, namely the shit from S3K.

This wouldn’t be so bad if a lot of the new stages weren’t designed specifically to be disorienting. Like they’re scripted to be completed in a certain pattern. And if you don’t know the pattern, you’re gonna be thrown off course and you’ll lose all the time. And they included the old stages so you can do side-by-side comparisons of how retarded the new stages are. The older ones don’t rely on one-way patterns to be challenging, they were simply mazes you had to traverse. How is that a throwback when you fucked up the very essence of the damn special stages!?

But hell, that’s nothing compared to the actual special stages. This new breed of impossible blends elements of blue sphere and with character models from sonic R, and the piss ass controls that make it impossible to enjoy. I kept thinking how much better this would be if I could fucking drift. Turning by itself is an absolute chore as the characters can’t bank worth a damn, so what happens is that you start skidding around the road constantly,  and that can’t be good for anyone’s stress. Especially when you add in the need to stay off the grass, collect rings, keep from bumping into walls or falling off cliffs, etc.

And all that just to replicate the feel of the olden days!? Look, just cause your goal is to make the game feel old doesn’t mean everything about the classic days was gold. Some things need to be dumped. Why not just bring back S2’s Special Stages?  It’s the only good one that people liked.

And lastly, Knuckles is still treated like a joke!

And yet, despite this desire to replicate the good ol days, someone missed the memo that Knuckles wasn‘t comic relief, and was actually pretty popular. And yet, here he is being knocked off of planes at Mirage Saloon. Just another way of keeping the black man down, I suppose. 

I’m guessing your next question is “”well, is there anything you do like?” Cause if I don’t like anything, then that invalidates my shit, I guess. But sure there was. The soundtrack is on fleek…. that’s what the kids are saying these days, right? I love that they brought back Mighty and Ray,  and Mighty is probably the best to use considering the amount of enemies and traps there are, and the ability to use knux as a secondary character is a huuuuuuge plus! But even with all that, the frustration of this game, and the pretentious… “aura” it exudes, prevents any real praise from coming out of my mouth. It’s kinda like hearing on the news that an 8 month old baby was beaten to death by her 17yo father, and then you go outside and the sun is shining FUCK THAT DAMN SUN! Kids is dying and the sun is shining….

…not a good comparison,  I know. 

Fuck me, this game is long as shit.

Mafia 3 is a helluva game. I like it more than I should, but goddamn if it ain’t cathartic. It was just daring to be considered the most controversial videogame of this generation. It’s… admittedly disturbing hearing Nolan North and Liam O’Brien (Fuckin Infinite) pop off “ni-” like it’s nothing. 

But fuck all that. Mafia 3 became a prime target for disinformation, defamation, and all other shit you could pull from a dictionary. Most of which I already discussed before, but one element I never delved into was the “underbosses”

Mafia 3 works a little bit like Zelda. You start off with having to rescue 3 people as an introductory portion to how the game operates. You fuck up rackets, draw out the big boss, kill him, assign such and such district to bosses, rinse and repeat about 8 fucking times. It’s a lot of goddamn work. Too much goddamn work.

Anywho, there are, ofcourse, multiple endings in the game, and they are heavily dependent upon how you treat your underbosses. Here they are.

Cassandra: Black Chick. Leader of the Haitian Mafia

Burke: Drunk ass. Leader of the Irish Mafia

Vito: Author’s pet. Leader of the Italian Mob. 

Now, if you go onto any site discussing this game about which of these underbosses are on anyone’s shit list, the results are painstakingly obvious. Cassandra ranks number 1, 99% disapproval rating, all that jazz. And these are gamers no less, so we have a string of asspull reasons to why she is the most hated. But as the trope goes, these fucks don’t bother with details, so there isn’t a lick of shit to go on, so you either gotta watch YouTube vids, or play the game 3 fucking times like my stupid ass did  just to see how these endings play out. As such, I don’t think I’ve ever run into a more blatant example of gamers pushing a false narrative! Cassandra is the most hated character in the game for complete bullshit. It’s hilarious! 

Strangely enough, because these guys were hard on for their talking points, I’ve only read “3 complaints” about the character, all of which are lies or half-truths. Yes. Three Complaints. Exact number. Repeated over and over by numerous people until it becomes an acceptable fact. That’s how these publications like  IGN and Game Informer can find a ready swath of idiots to write their shitty pieces, they have entire galleries on the internet to choose from. Maybe you guys can… help me to understand where these grievances are coming from cause I don’t see shit.

1. Cassandra is a liar! And an untrustworthy ally!

As these fucks never went into detail, it’s difficult to pinpoint what in the fresh hell they’re even talking about. So playing the game over and over, I only found one instance where she lied. It was about her daughter,  Caroline. 

Early on in the game, Cassandra talks about a man named Ritchie Douchet, leader of the Dixie Mafia, who had kidnapped her “sister” and forced her into all kinds of nasty shit before eventually killing her. Later on, completing her loyalty missions gives you the real story in that Caroline was her daughter who was murdered, and why she personally felt it necessary to acquire firearms. 

It would be confusing to guess why she would keep details like that herself and not share that background with people she’s working with. But, if you talk to Emmanuel (her second in command), he reveals that she tends to push others away. A person with that kind of history tends to keep to themselves,  dontcha think? At least in fiction? 

I think the implication here is that she doesn’t open up to people unless she feels she can fully trust them, hence the fucking loyalty missions, and it also means Lincoln Clay (Main character,  no shit) has to work even harder to gain her trust considering that they used to be enemies. There’s also the matter of killing some of her men in the beginning of the game.

Other than that, I haven’t found any other instances where she could be considered a liar. Unless you want to say “the Haitians were robbing and killing people in the beginning” and no such thing happened in the game either. Probably using that soup kitchen incident as an event to exaggerate. 

2. Cassandra is a disrespectful and rude cunt!

I reiterate. Lincoln and Cassandra used to be enemies. 

But even so, it is highly important to get one thing straight. How your underbosses respond to you is 100% dependent on how much territory you give them, and if you bother to do their loyalty missions. They will often respind favorably to you if you are fair or playing favorites with him/her over the other 2. Neglecting the other 2/1 will piss them off no matter what. And by Amma, people are determined, obsessed even, to lick the sweat off of Vito’s ass. Even the developers got in on game to make sure Vito is the only “reasonable” choice.

Cassandra’s alleged rudeness is not exclusive to her in anyway. I notice barely anyone talking about Burke. Now Burke is a fuckwit. King of liability. Emperor of no respect.  This bastard doesn’t wait until he gets neglected in the sitdowns to show how much of an inbred jackass he is.

Matter of fact, he’s likely the first guy to ditch you if you ignore him or turn his rackets over to another boss. The guy has zero respect for you even though he’s supposed to have been friends with you. Above Vito and Cassandra, it should’ve been easy pickings to get him on your side. But you have to drive him around town like a maniac before you can (not) earn his respect. And yet everyone is determined to kill off Cassandra for the exact same reason. 

Furthermore, i’ve noticed that she has far greater animosity towards Vito than she does Burke, mainly as his group targeted the Haitians more than once, so there’s the implication that giving Vito more power is set to make Cassy a wee bit more pissy than you’d expect. And again…. everyone who plays Mafia 3 finds some reason, legit or otherwise, to suck him off big time. Vito is the “Femshep” of this game. So Cassandra’s responses are less than kind. That’s my guess, I never gave that Gary Stu shit to begin with. 

Actually no, I did, and Cassandra was pissed beyond belief,  Probably because she had at least one racket there, and that was given up to Vito. Losing a racket to Burke led to a more “whatever” response. I’m almost certain it’s because she hates Vito with a passion, and would probably explain the animosity from the “fans” as “you hate my favorite character!  So fuck you!” I would certainly hope that’s the case, but piff. What good is hope where gaming is concerned? 

3. Cassandra leads New Bourdoux to ruin in her ending! 

Not even close. 

By the end of the game, you have 3 options. Only one of them produces 3 distinct endings depending on what underboss you favored the most. And it’s more proof that the devs were biased towards Vito as he’s the only one who lives. The other 2 get killed. But normally, i’d read comments that after watching Cassandra’s ending, these sob’s are “more determined than ever before!” to kill her off in the next playthrough. Shit! She must’ve done something real fucked up of it piss off that many players! Right?

If Lincoln leaves New Bordeaux and Cassandra assumes control of the city, there wasn’t a crime boss from Boston to Miami who respected her claim. As a result, the Commission, the Columbians, and the Cubans all went after her. They realized too late that they had no idea who they were fighting.

Johnny Galante had his throat slit while watching Deep Throat in a porn theater. Manny Moreno was set on fire outside his daughter’s quinceanera. Severo Garcia was buried alive on the beach and drowned when the tide came in. Anton Bagrov was beaten to death with crowbars in the parking lot of the Briar Patch.

After this the real criminals came after her. The governor declared martial law and sent in the National Guard, so Cassandra shot him in the head on the steps of the capitol building. After that everyone got the message: The city belonged to Cassandra. But the government is like a rogue elephant. It’s murderous, patient, and never forgets. So the state pulled funding for schools, city maintenance, and the like. If they couldn’t get Cassandra, they’d strangle the city until it gave her up.

When the hurricane hit New Bordeaux, the locals called it Hurricane Cassandra. Nobody expected the damage to be so severe that the levees would completely fail, that the flooding would wipe out half the city and force the other half to leave, that the city would turn into the ghost town it is today. It’s hard to believe that a major American city would be left to rot like that.

Some say that Cassandra was one of the thousands who drowned in the flood. Others say she slipped away into the swamps and still rules what’s left of the city’s underworld from the bayou. Either way she’s a ghost who hasn’t been seen in years.

Right!?
*sigh*

 I could see shooting the Governor as a mistake, but if you ask me, a lot of what went into this ending equates to external forces beyond her control. When she takes over the city, the Commission (or Illuminati, rofl) basically declared war on her ass. And she was beating the fuck out of them. Nothing in the ending implies she started the war.

Then the Governor, out of nowhere, declares Martial Law. What reason he had to do this is never explained, but is implied that he did this to get rid of Cassandra. All she did was whoop Commission ass, with no real harm done to the city. Imagine that. Killing the real crooks of America rewards you with the National Guard up your ass. Killing the Governor might…. miiight have been a little too far, but if the mobs can buy off senators, Mayors, Judges, etc., then it is easy to assume that this Governor was bought off by the Commission to go that far.

And then the State itself decides to pull funding for everything in the city. Now, with all the money she accrued throughout Clay’s rampage, it’s possible she could’ve funded these elements to compensate for the involuntary ass-fucking. All we saw were some trash bags in the street. 

But then…. a fucking, convenient ass Hurricane drops by and destroys the city, and any chance of Cassandra being able to do anything beneficial. She gets captured by the Dixie bastards, and her fate is left ambiguous. 

Funny how she’s the only one who gets a Hurricane in her ending

I don‘t see this as her “leading the city to ruin” and more so that forces beyond her power were constantly impeding her ability to do anything of benefit. The game detailed nothing of her true intentions in the ending, unlike the other 2 cocksuckers, and we’re left with a bunch of speculation. And the city was trashed. Literally and figuratively. 

You know who did lead the city to ruin? Burke, Burke, and fucking Burke.

This jackass first gets a transplant to extend his life for 16 years, and then floods the city with drugs, and buys a seat on the council just to rename the place after some fucking beer. But then he goes to war with the Cubans and causes chaos in the streets before getting murked. And New Bourdeau is still a shithole. Buys a seat on the council just to name the city after some beer, not to actually do anything of benefit. 

Not a peep about this drunk fuck that’ll cause people to say “Burke is going down next playthrough!” Naw, we gotta focus on Cassandra because all this talk about…. voudou, she probably MADE the damn Hurricane! Oy!

and Vito just takes Marcano’s Casino & expands throughout the south 

What attachment do gamers have to New Bourdeau that’ll make them vindictive of Cassandra in the first place is anyone’s guess. But the ending ruffled their feathers this much?

You know what I really think it is? I mean, you could probably guess, but what I genuinely believed really pissed them off? That the ending (and hell, the game itself) served as a metaphor for the Haitian Revolution. Haiti was the only slave colony in history (that I and many others could recall) that liberated itself of the colonizers through revolt (I believe they were the French). This would be Marcano’s death.

Then, the other European groups (British, Germans, etc) come in to try and regain control, but also get the shit knocked out of them, same with how the Commission,  Columbians, Cubans, and even the damn Governor go after her and get fucked up. 

Then the US pulls some legal horseshit saying that the Haitians stole land from the French and basically forced them into debt, similar to how the “State” (get it? State!?) pull ed funding to strangle the city.

And the Hurricane. That writes itself.

It goes without saying that Haitians are despised by everyone as a result of those asswhoopins. Having an ending allude to that part of history would be enough to ruffle some feathers, no? Going on that, it makes too much sense for this to anger people to the point of wanting Cassandra dead.

But seriously! How the fuck can gamers claim to be higher than game journalists when they turn around and do their own personal smear campaigns on whatever they deem evil!? Cassandra is no better or worse than the other 2 underbosses, but the level of hostility towards her is very telling. Even worse is the amount of shit they spew just to get that point. I swear, if I ever decide to play Mafia 2 and come to find that vito doesn’t have this mythically tragic tale that everyone else parrots….

EDIT:  Slight correction. Sammy had mentioned that the Haitians were indeed robbing people in the hollow in the beginning of the game. It’s hard to remember that shit after dealing hours of game time. Killing, though… nothing.

Fuck it

I hate the way he runs. He just looks retarded!

It’s so grating! Back in SA2, his animations had a little more intensity. Like when he hits a speeder or whatnot, he has this “don’t fuck around, don’t fuck around!” Kind of animation to it. He threw his weight into the shit! 

Now he just looks like he’s on PCP. He’s got this…. Egoraptor Awesome May Cry shit going on, like “I’m just… too cool! Swaying in the wind…” this limp wrist bullshit ass animation just makes him uncool

His skating animations got ruined as soon as Heroes came out. It’s never been right since then, it looks so artificial. Imagine that, y he one character Sehs bothers to shill, and they skimp out on the animation budget like a mother fucker….

…..Come on Tomorrow. Dat plus took to long to go physical. 

You know what’d be nice? If they took the Game Gear zones and re-did them in the Mania style? Since these fucks don’t like making new shit. I would kill for Gigapolis in 32bit.