Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Game Reviews: April 2011

Sailor Moon (Arcade)

These include all the old Sailor Moon side-scroller arcade games. These are all very similar, so I’ll be focusing on the two SNES releases.

*** Obligatory Possible Spoiler Warning ***

The classic Sailor Moon game allows you to play as any one of the five original Sailor Scouts. It should be noted that each Scout has a different attack pattern, and long range attacks have a clear advantage. With that in mind, the order from strongest to weakest is as follows:
Venus > Mars > Jupiter > Moon > Mercury

Venus does not have a standard physical attack, and uses her Love-Me Chain as a whip. This means that all you have to do is stand in the middle of the screen and whip in either direction to hit all monsters before they have a chance to attack.

Mars uses a kicking combo, which also has a good attack range. Her strategy would be to kick with the tips of her shoes just touching the edge of the screen to hit anything that tries to approach.
Jupiter has a mean punch but doesn’t use her feet at all. This makes her attack range shorter, which means she can get hit by enemies more. Her punches have considerable power though. 
Moon uses a vertical hand chop combo, which has a very limited range. Expect to get beat up quite a bit if you choose to play as her. She does have an odd Clawing Attack you can laugh at.
Mercury also uses a vertical chop combo, but hers is even weaker. Maybe it’s because her arm is thinner than Sailor Moon’s? In any case, Mercury is a very difficult character to play.
If you really want to finish the game using one of the weaker Scouts, messing with the 7e0758 value on SNES9X will give you infinite lives.

Level 1: Downtown Shopping District

You have the option of beating up a four wheel drive at the end of the level. Doing so will actually net you extra points. Way to promote vandalism?

Level 2: Time Warp Zone

The first boss is a nasty overgrown cat. It’s hard to hit and will dodge all your Fireballs by jumping three metres into the air. Sometimes you will be able to hit it and other times it will claw you instead. I found the easiest way to hit it is to just move up and down until you find an opening position. Once you knock the blue cat down, it will try to pounce on you, so just keep moving around to dodge.

Level 3: Fantasy Theme Park

There are trains on this level which will drive through at a few points. Don’t stand on the tracks to avoid being involved in a hit and run accident. You can also lure enemies onto the tracks, as they can get run over by the trains too.

Level 4: Cake Land

The second boss is the Candy Princess. She will either try to cut you by twirling her handkerchief around, or blow evil cotton candy in your general direction. After she is hit, she will disappear and then reappear in another location. Just stand on one side and mash the attack button, as she will walk straight into your kicks or Fireballs. With some luck, she might even reappear with your foot right in her face.

Level 5: Industrial Conveyor Belts

This level is full of conveyor belts, which can get annoying. There is a small glitch in this level, where one beaver beast monster will freeze until you walk right up to him or kick him. The third boss is Zoicite transformed into an evil purple Sailor Moon. She uses the same attack pattern as the real Moon and will jump about a lot. Once you are able to beat her down into a corner, continuously mash the attack button while standing next to her so that she will get kicked again every time she tries to get back up. Muahaha.

Level 6: Moon Kingdom

The music in this level is splendid. Somewhere here, there is a hidden paper fan that will drop if you hit an enemy in just the right way. If you manage to trigger this, never allow yourself to get hit again or you will lose that precious Fan of Demise.

Level 7: Glacier Land

Again, you will have to face the horror of moving conveyor belts. There are also a lot of mobs on this level, which may get irritating. The fourth boss is Malachite, who just loves to punch you in the head and use Razor Wind. The best thing to do is to just keep moving to reduce his chances of hitting you, and then sneak up on him from another position. He seems to take a lot of kicks to the crotch. Serves him right.

Level 8: The Negaverse

There are a few items on the ground here that might be difficult to spot, so just keep an eye out. There will be lots of mobs, and lionhead beasts will drop on you from above. You can detect them by noticing their shadows.

Level 9: Queen Beryl’s Throne

The final boss is Queen Beryl herself. She will also bring out a fifth boss before she leaves her throne, the brainwashed Prince Darien/Tuxedo Mask. Darien moves fairly slowly and you can easily avoid his silly sword jump attack. Occasionally he will also try to slice you with the sword in a really half-assed way, but usually you’ll be able to grab him and throw him on his butt before that happens. Queen Beryl’s beady eyes will follow your every move on this level, isn’t that creepy? After you destroy Darien, Queen Beryl will finally get off her throne and fight. She has a paralysing lightning attack, flying icicle spears and will swipe at you with her claws. The lightning attack is the most annoying, as she will glide all over the place in an attempt to strike you with it. You are still able to pick up her minions and throw them into her though, which may interrupt her attacks. There is also a red rectangular item in front of Beryl’s throne, be sure to pick it up.

After you defeat Queen Beryl, you will get a cut scene of all the Sailor Scouts destroying her with the power of rainbow love waves (or something along those lines).

Sailor Moon R

The updated version of the original Sailor Moon game. Somehow, it seems less fun to me. Many of the monsters have been changed to female, and all the Scouts now use an annoying vertical chop combo. It’s brighter and more fast paced, though. An extra ‘hit all enemies’ attack has been added in case you find yourself in a bind.

There is one level which appears to be based off a radioactive space city, with background music that sounds like screeching bagpipes. There are also female monsters on this level that will rape you. Seriously, they will grab you up close and then thrust into your body. That’s just not right.

Later on, you will also meet equally suspicious bronze/silver/gold coloured goop monsters which will grab you with their chests and then constrict you. Hmm.

You would have also come across pretty women in miniskirts who will either use your head as a drum, flamethrower you or electrocute you with electric appliances. Cue amusing after-effects.

You will fight Rubeus and his group in this game, rather than Queen Beryl, who was honestly a lot more intimidating. For some reason there is a separate option to play as Chibi Usa, who cannot be hit at all by more than half the enemies due to her short stature. Have fun playing around with her Umbrella of Death!


A game very similar to the original Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon R that run on SNES.

Tuxedo Mask always jumps onto the scene before bosses and then flees in terror by elevator cable a few seconds later. At least he leaves a rose which gives you extra lives on the ground for you to pick up. He will also point his fork-like hand at a board and grade your performance after each level. What a jerk.

You will definitely have the chance to pick up the fabled Fan of Demise in this game. It’s freaking awesome!

There is a level in this game where you are fighting on top of some moving trucks. Some very thin moving trucks. It’s a terrible way to fight.

Sailor Mars Attacks

Headstand Throw – Opposing monster’s head is wedged between your feet so that you can grab hold of it and fling it away. You can throw an enemy at another to knock the whole bunch down.

Fist Beat Up – Alternative to the Headstand Throw, except a hundred times more difficult to trigger. In Sailor Moon R, Mars will step on the enemy’s foot repeatedly. In Genesis, this is a replaced with a groin-kneeing motion.

Scroll Attack – Self-damaging if it hits an enemy, so it is a desperation attack. It was later changed to a circular kick, most likely because it caused a delay when triggered.

Fire Soul – Special Fireball move that needs to be charged before use. In Sailor Moon R, a stronger fire attack called Burning Mandala was also introduced.

Fan of Demise – A paper fan which drops if you hit an enemy just right. It has a massive range and takes off heaps of monster HP. Pick it up and never let it go!

Sailor Moon S/Super S (Fighting)


The standard Sailor Scout VS. Sailor Scout fighting game. You can choose to go through the Story mode, fight your friends or fight against the computer. I find it more fun to just watch the computer opponent use flashy moves. You can also choose the same two Scouts to fight with, resulting in one being dressed in a different coloured uniform.

Sailor Moon: Another Story (RPG)

A nice RPG game with great background music. You play as the Sailor Scouts and are able to link special moves to create stronger attacks. Somewhere there is a godly equip item called the ‘Red Pupil’ which massively increases attack power. Good times.

Avalon Code (DS)

A great original idea which was poorly executed. You can choose to play this RPG as a boy or a girl, although I felt that the female character design looked rather uninspired.


You are given the Book of Prophesy to control, which allows you to ‘scan’ weapons, items and people. Once you have scanned an item or weapon, it becomes yours to use. Everything that is scanned is made up of certain properties, represented in blocks of elements and qualities. The idea is you can shift these blocks around using your book to strengthen or weaken your weapons and opponents. The problem with this is that it costs MP to shuffle your blocks around, and the MP meter drains quickly and is annoying to refill. 

Also, to acquire the strongest weapons, you must obtain a recipe or tablet for that new weapon first. You can’t really choose whatever blocks you want to make a good weapon, and mixing elements at your leisure often makes your weapons weaker. You actually have to pay some idiot money to unlock weapons with higher base power, which means tedious grinding using Judgement Link.

The map is also quite confusing, with many areas labelled simply as Forest 1 to Forest 11. Each numbered area looks disturbingly similar to the one before, making it extremely easy to get lost. Half the time you have no idea where you are meant to be, or how to get past some of the puzzles in caves.


As well as your typical saving the world plot, they also attempted to throw romance into Avalon Code. It’s an interesting feature, but not at all well integrated. Heart levelling scenes are disjointed, unrealistic and trigger far too easily. I think I would have preferred not to know that General Heath might be a pedophile. Maybe I should also mention to be wary of the blue-haired guy above?

All flaws aside, this is a fun game. If you’re following a walkthrough you should have a good idea of what to do and when. Otherwise, you might get stuck and give up on continuing.

Tokimeki Memorial  – First Love

This is what a dating sim game is supposed to be like. You start off with basic stats which you raise according to which guy you’re interested in, increasing the numbers by choosing to participate in the right activities. It does get quite tiresome when all you’re doing is raising stats and buying clothes, but that can be fixed by raising all your stats to 999 using a cheat code. Be sure to get the English translation patch for this game while you’re at it.
They even made an opening animation for this game, complete with Japanese pop song and everything.

First Love is the original Girls’ Side Tokimeki game, and I still think it’s the best one of the series. The characters are all designed well, meaning that not one of them is unattractive. (If you kind of ignore the principal and Goro…) There are now two sequels to this series, and regretfully it seems they are running out of fresh attractive character designs. In my opinion.


Although all of the guys featured are up for grabs, the opening sequence in the game shows you have a childhood connection with Kei Hazuki. As luck would have it, he is the prince of the game and requires the highest number of stat increases to get. Of course! Your easier options all have female rivals, some of whom you may befriend. Personally I find it easier to not spend much time making female friends in this game, as they will hate your guts if you speak to their man. Another problem arises if you meet too many guys – they will dish out ‘bombs’. This symbol means that the guy is pissed off because you’ve been ignoring him for a while. The only way to get rid of a bomb is to call up the guy and ask for a date. Why can’t you just ignore the bombs, you ask? Because if one goes off, you will lose a chunk of affection from everyone you know. I’m going to guess this occurs from gaining a bad reputation as a man-eater.


So aside from doing all your stat boosting activities like studying or reading fashion magazines, you can also go to the shopping district and buy clothes and accessories. Each piece of clothing, hair clip or jewellery is placed in a style category, which means you should only wear items that the guy you’re after likes. Kei likes the cute ‘pure’ style and hates anything sexy, so you’d be looking to buy lots of frilly skirts while avoiding the skimpy tops. You can also buy a yukata or kimono to impress your guy for the summer beach festival and New Year’s Day events. Interestingly, nobody sees anything wrong with dating your teacher or principal, both of which are at least 10 years older than you. Good lord, the principal looks like he is 42 or something. Warning: Mr. Principal will appear randomly with roses for you regardless of how you treat him, if your stats are high enough. Run away.

There is an option to get a part time job to earn extra money or join a club, resulting in more opportunities to spend extra time with the guy you choose. Different guys may hang out around different workplaces or clubs, so it’s best to find out where would be the best place to join before you apply. For Kei, it’s the waitress job at the Café. You’ll get to make his coffee and model with him while wearing unusual outfits.

If you watch your calendar and email, there will be event announcements which you can use to plan your dates. The horoscope and fashion advice pages will give you an idea of how successful your outing might be. Some events come with mini-games, such as the Valentine’s Day chocolate activity, the School Athletics Festival, and the Field Trip. You should save your game the day before these events so you can try again if you make a mistake. Occasionally you will be prompted to buy someone a birthday or Christmas gift, in which case you should make sure you buy the right item.

After the guy you chose likes you enough, you can successfully get him to go out with you on a regular basis. Occasionally he will also show up at school to ask you out on a date as well. Before the date begins, you get to pick out your outfit and accessories. Be careful to remember the location of the date, as sometimes the game will give you a list of options about where to go. The point of the date is to raise affection levels by saying the right things and touching the guy appropriately. Actually, you just poke him with your stylus. Where and when you poke results in a different reaction, although everything should be good as long as you don’t trigger any blue hearts. Tapping the guy with your stylus could mean several things. It could be indicating eye contact, a light tap or just plain molestation. I’m afraid we don’t really know.

The game runs through your final three years of high school, so the ultimate point of it all is for you to get a confession at graduation from whichever guy you chose. If you buttered up a bunch of guys, you might not know who will show up in the end. There are also depressing endings, such as if you fail to make any guy like you or if the terrifying moustached principal shows up.

Princess Debut

A cute little game targeted at younger girls. It’s a simplified version of Tokimeki Memorial, except all you have to do is dance your brains out. There are more details about it here.
Pokémon Black/White

Unfortunately, generation V has killed all hopes I ever had for the future of this franchise. I think I can accurately say that either you will think these new games are a welcome improvement, or you will hate them. Here is a rant I started earlier on this subject.

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