NES Godzilla Creepypasta demo 1 (PC) review

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Remember how back in my Godzilla: Monster of Monsters! review I mentioned the famous Godzilla NES creepypasta was getting a fangame, one that looked to be really damn good? Well, the first demo dropped last month, and I’ve finally got around to playing it. As said before, I wasn’t going to review this game until the final release. But, since Allone (the game’s creator) is looking for all the feedback he can get, I’ve decided to make a review of the demo. It’s unlikely I’ll review every single demo that gets released, but I will definitely be reviewing the full game when that eventually gets released.

So, the creepypasta this game is based on is amazing. It’s got well-made screenshots and a realm of believability towards it. Honestly, it was just begging to get a game of its own. But, many years passed, and nobody seemed to be creating such a project; whereas worse creepypastas such as Sonic.EXE got their own fangames, it seemed the NES Godzilla creepypasta was left in the dust. That was until 2013, when YouTuber Sakat57 showcased their attempt at adapting the famous creepypasta into a game. Many of us were excited and hyped-up, but unfortunately, nothing came out of it. No releases, no future updates, nothing. Eventually, the video was removed from YouTube, and ever since we’ve heard nothing about Sakat’s project. Hope seemed lost, but in late 2015, a new showcase of a NES Godzilla Creepypasta game was uploaded to YouTube, but not by Sakat; instead by newcomer Iuri Nery, also known as Allone. This instantly garnered lots of attention, and hype was built up quicker than ever. More videos and screenshots showing the game’s progression were getting uploaded, and even the creepypasta’s writer, Cosbydaf, approved the project as the official adaptation. A demo starring the first two worlds, Earth and Mars, was announced for release in January of 2017. January came and went, but the demo wasn’t released. The release was then changed to March, but even then the demo wasn’t released. Some of us began to worry that the project had met its demise, although Allone had assured everyone the demo was still coming. Out of nowhere on June 27th, the first demo of the game was released to the public! Unfortunately, this demo has only the first world rather than two, but regardless of that I was very excited to at last play a game version of my favourite creepypasta. So, what are my views and opinions towards this game thus far? Let’s find out!

Starting with the gameplay; it’s pretty much one-to-one the same as the original Monster of Monsters game on NES. However, there have been a fair few improvements done in the player’s favour;

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The life and power now have different colours to easily differentiate the two, and your exp. is now displayed below your level, so you can see when your monster is about to level-up. There are even more nifty changes to make Mothra better;

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Firstly, she no longer gets hit down to the corner every other time she’s attacked, and she’s been given a new attack rather than being stuck with just two. In addition, the poison powder will hit more often and the default eye beam has seen a graphical upgrade. Taking all these changes into account, I find the game much more enjoyable, and I’m glad that Mothra can now stand a chance against the bosses. The controls are smooth and very responsive, too, making this all the more better.

Whilst I cannot comment on the music too much for it is mostly the same as the original game, the few remixes currently presented are well done, and I’m excited to hear the rest of the game’s soundtrack in future versions. On the other hand, I can comment on the graphics; compared to the NES original, everything looks mostly the same. What has been changed, however, really makes an impact. Even the smallest of changes, such as newer palettes for certain enemies, end up looking much better than how they did originally. New sprites created specifically for the game fit in well with the NES style, too, giving a sense of believability.

Story-wise, not much is changed. At all. Whilst the intro cutscene has been sped-up (thank god), there’s also something about said cutscene that caught me off-guard when I played the game for the first time…

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Holy heck that’s a bit brutal

No, this was not part of the NES version and not mentioned in the creepypasta; this has been deliberately changed for the sake of this fangame. Do I know why? No. Am I against it? Not really. It’s just something that caught me off-guard. Since there’s still not much of a story, I’ll do something a bit different; compare how well this fangame follows the creepypasta. Whilst there isn’t much I can judge in this section just yet since this demo is merely the first world, what is there is completely accurate to the first chapter of the creepypasta, although adapted to a game format. As an example, in the creepypasta it’s Godzilla that’s used when Gezora’s glitch occurs. Whilst if you fight Gezora using Mothra in this game, the glitch will occur the exact same way that it would with Godzilla.

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The result of game code strangling itself

This accuracy really makes me glad that we all patiently waited for the demo’s release; other fangames based upon this creepypasta always look to be different in some way. For example, Sakat57’s project had an entire 3D-based menu system that really didn’t seem all that accurate. Another project based on this same creepypasta is being made by JokasDroid, and whilst this one is more accurate than Sakat’s, it still deviates quite a bit. Specifically, the Gezora glitch doesn’t occur as seen above; instead, he just infinitely tentacle-slaps Godzilla. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in full support of Jokas’s version, but from what I’ve tried and seen, it isn’t 100% accurate as of yet. Back to the main point; this game thus far is accurate to the creepypasta, making it a truly playable version of the story.

Final statistics

Graphics: 5/5

Much like the original, Kaiju and enemies are all recognizable and well designed. However, this game makes many graphical improvements that the NES original desperately needed.

Gameplay: 4/5

As with before, the game is very fun to play; smashing things as Godzilla is enjoyable and devastating bosses with Mothra’s new abilities provides greatly challenging battles. The only thing keeping this from a perfect five, is that Mothra can sometimes be cheaply killed in the sidescrolling stages if a lot of projectiles or enemies are on-screen at once, which couldn’t happen in the original game due to her getting pushed back every other time she was hit.

Story and accuracy: 4/5

The minor story detail change wasn’t needed, but it does give a stronger feeling that this is a full-on Kaiju battle. The game’s events are (so far) a perfect emulation of what was detailed in the creepypasta, but before I can give a perfect five, I’ll have to see if this trend carries on in later builds.

Music: 5/5

Whilst the original already had perfect music, the remixes used here (such as for the title screen and when Gezora glitches out) are absolutely amazing. It all keeps in line with what an NES can produce, too, making it all better.

Overall score: 9/10

This game is understandably very hyped-up, and whilst this demo isn’t the exact one we’ve been waiting on, it delivers a feeling of nostalgia and fun, as well as leaving me excited for Allone’s future builds of the game. Since first reading the creepypasta back in 2013, I’ve always wanted a game made out of it, and now that I’ve had a taster I’m more hyped than ever before. No matter how long it takes for the final version to be released, I know that it will be worth the wait, and I’ll definitely be reviewing it.

If you wish to try this game out for yourself, or to show support for Allone and his works, then you may do so here: http://allone-works.com/

Next review will likely be on one of the Shovel Knight campaigns, since I’ve recently completed all three of them (Shovel of Hope, Plague of Shadows, and Specter of Torment). I’ve also got a little extra planned, so hopefully that’ll come soon, if ever.

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Small update + first YouTube thing

I did a YouTube video discussing Murkrow in Pokémon’s competitive metagame, specifically how I use it and potential sets that can be used. It’s not the best thing ever, far from it, but for any who would like to check it out, here you go:

More discussion videos on different topics, mostly anime and games, will be posted to the channel whenever I feel like; no set uploads dates or crap like that, just videos whenever I feel like it.

The Mario Kart Review GP is being put on-hold, so I can focus more on individual reviews. I will return to the Review GP some day, but for now it won’t be happening. Related to the site itself, I’ve added an External links page so my Tumblr and YouTube are easily accessible.

I’m leaving for my week’s holiday next Thursday, so nothing will be posted within those days. When I return, any photos I took will be put up on my Tumblr, which I shall then link to in a post here.

Thanks to the few people who read these things. It makes me feel happy.

Extra thoughts – Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness

XD Cover

Having recently replayed Gale of Darkness, I think it’s best to do the extra thoughts for it now, and also to show that I’m still alive.

When replaying the game, I went for a team of Pokémon I didn’t use on my original run, as a sort of challenge. It was actually very hard to pick team members, further showing how much variety there are for choices. Whilst my final team was Jolteon (Sparkster), Aggron (Alphonse), Walrein (Maguma), Gardevoir (Kyosuke), Arcanine (Mokou), and Parasect (Matango). Although I did have three other members that didn’t stick with me the whole adventure; a Mighteyana named Inubashiri, a Gligar named Ace, and a Salamence named Tohru. Overall, everyone served me well during their time on the team, and I wish everyone could’ve stayed for the final battle. Surprisingly, Matango ended up being one of the best members on my team, landing the final hit and KOing Greevil’s Zapdos, whilst at the same time proving that Parasect is not a useless Pokémon if you raise it right. This has given me a new respect for the game’s challenge, specifically noting how the challenges change depending on your team. As an example, I had trouble with Psychic types on this run since I didn’t have a Dark-type Pokémon or any reliable Dark/Ghost attacks, whereas on my first run I had a Houndoom (named Rias) for Dark-type attack that benefitted from STAB, and a Zangoose (named Sakuya) that had Shadow Ball on it, benefitting from Physical-STAB because of how types worked in Generation 3. In addition, you still need to consider how certain moves will affect your partner and how the opponent may strategize, which can be made much more challenging depending on the Pokémon you use and their moves. Another example being most of my team was weak to Aggron’s Earthquake, making using the move very risky. However, I strategized around this by switching Aggron’s active partner to Parasect whenever Earthquake was used, as it resisted the move 4x and could easily recover the small damage done with the Leftovers I gave it to hold. This tactic has risks of its own, such as the possibility of an enemy hitting Parasect for super effective damage as it switches in. Away from the strategic part of the game, I still feel the same about the graphics and music; both are great, and the music is just as catchy as before. Whilst I’m still disappointed at how some Pokémon models were literal imports from Pokémon Stadium (namely Kangaskhan and Scyther), giving them a horribly blocky look.

So, have my opinions on the game as a whole changed? Aside from thoughts on specific parts, no; this is still my favourite Pokémon spinoff and one of the best RPGs on the GameCube. I highly recommend trying it out if you’re interested, although that’s provided you have a GameCube and are able to buy a copy.

(Read the original review here)

Another update: slightly less quick edition

Another update, I know. I know. Just going to jump straight into it this time, so let’s gooooo!

Firstly, my last two exams are on the same day next Tuesday, I’m having more free time. The problem is, I’m still waiting on tester feedback for my game, of which I’ve had none. It’s quite important to the development of it, although since the project is being made by me and one other person, I’ve opted to do a test playthrough of the game for myself and note-down feedback as I play it. This will cost more of my writing time (and free time in general), but since I know the game really well due to working on it, a playthrough of it shouldn’t take too long.

Despite being free from next Tuesday onwards, there are some things that will cut-in to writing time; ironically, writing a story will be cutting into my reviewing writing time, although mainly because I’m creating mock-up game screenshots to go with it. I’m also organizing a day out with some of my friends after we finish our exams, so that’ll be rather soon. Lastly, during the summer holidays, I’ll be going on holidays for a week, including a full day of comic con! Although, I’ll have my laptop with me, meaning I can do some writing in the evening; I may do a day-by-day thing, detailing what I do during the day and showing any pictures I take. Whilst I will most certainly do this for comic con, I may not do it for every other day, although it is a possibility.

About that mini-review… I ran out of material for it, and even so, it evolved into a full-on review by accident, so for now, it’s going to be scrapped. I might continue it as a full review sometime in the future, since I got very far in writing it, but that’s not for certain.

I’ve now got a YouTube channel, where I’ll be doing a variety of videos. Not much will be posted there until I build my new PC, but when I get into it properly, expect some decent-ish quality content. There’s only one upload right now, but you can check out my channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLGzRi09CCsHl78ADHR9f8w

Lastly, despite the fact that my next full review has already been in writing for some time, there’s something else I plan to do alongside it; a review marathon. “But Ampharosite, a reviewer of your size taking on a review marathon is suicide!” I hear the 2 people who read my site speak. Well, whilst I would agree, it’s something I’ve planned to do for a while now, mainly because I’ve reviewed two RPGs, both Pokémon games, already, so I would like to have some variety in the games I review. So, that is why I’m doing what I call the (stupid name ahoy) “Mario Kart review grand prix”;

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Fancy logo I made for the marathon

I’ll be reviewing my four favourite Mario Kart games, starting with my fourth favourite game in the series and ending with my absolute favourite game in the series. Not going to set a time period for this marathon, but instead just release the reviews in the order stated above. After the marathon is done, the other full review I’ve been working on will be put up on the site.

So, that’s about it.

Quick update (+Tumblr)

So, I’ve left the few people who read this blog hanging for a bit, eh? Thought it was best to give those 2 or 3 people a small update as to where things are going.

Thankfully, I’ve been handling my depression quite well, although I’m still seeing my counsellor twice a week. That may not occur for much longer, but regardless of that, the point is my condition is improving. Still need to take medications for my anxiety disorder, which has been acting up unconditionally quite a bit lately, but a slow recovery is better than nothing. I’ve not had much time to write because it’s exam season, so combine that with my sleeping difficulties and the anxiety acting up, you can see that things aren’t exactly smooth sailing. My next review is also quite a big one, but I’ve also been working on a shorter one to compensate, which should be up tomorrow.

As mentioned, I also now have a Tumblr for non-review things. For those interested, here you go: https://ampharosite181.tumblr.com/post/161547001544/greetings-or-something

But, that’s about it. Hopefully everyone is doing alright on their own accords.

Godzilla: Monster of Monsters! (NES) review

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Godzilla, a name almost everyone has heard of at some point. For me, I first got into kaiju after watching Godzilla vs. Mothra when I was 11, around the same time I was getting into anime. Whilst not all of the movies are great, I definitely have an admiration for the franchise, particularly for the creative kaiju designs they can come up with. Sure, a fair few are pretty much just enlarged animals given some powers to fight Godzilla, but then you have the likes of Ghidorah and King Caesar. Although not every kaiju appearing in the Godzilla films originated from the Godzilla franchise, they were all made by the same company; Toho (Not to be confused with the game series Touhou, that’s completely different). Given how popular the king of monsters was, and still is, games were an inevitability. Most people talk about the fighting games released for the PS2, Xbox, and Wii, since they are some of the best games for those systems. One title I always see swept under the rug or disregarded as a bad game is the NES title, Godzilla: Monster of Monsters!, released in 1988. I own a cartridge and NES, and since my capture card was generous enough to work for my NES, here’s my review of Godzilla’s NES debut. Is it as bad as people say it is? Or are their positives to it?

Starting off, the graphics are very nice, especially for their time (1988). The kaiju look how they should, you can tell what’s an enemy and what’s a projectile, and they made good use of the NES colour palette. Although some kaiju have odd colourations (more on that in a bit), I do like the blue palette they applied to Godzilla, as it makes him stand out from the backgrounds. Of course, being a game of the NES, sprite flickering is a thing that exists, but it’s not too bad. Well, not unless you end up with a screencap like this one:

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Good lord what happened to Godzilla!?

Yeah… But, aside from the sprite flickering, everything looks nice.

Onto the aspect I see people complain about most; the gameplay. Essentially, you have to control Godzilla and Mothra throughout eight planets, battling though a variety of stages and defeating the opposing kaiju.

This is done by moving Godzilla and Mothra through the hex-shaped boards, with Godzilla being able to move two spaces each turn and Mothra being able to move four spaces each turn. To proceed to the next planet, you must get both Godzilla and Mothra to the enemy base and complete the stage. Defeating the kaiju bosses are optional, but it’s definitely something I’d recommend doing. For a start, defeating them levels-up the monster that defeated them, increasing their life and power meters. The only other way to do this is by defeating the Matango mini-boss found on certain stages.

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Matango, as mentioned above

Secondly, I have to say that the boss fights are the most enjoyable part of the game, at least to me; a one-on-one fight between two kaiju set to epic chiptune music is something that can only be properly done on the NES. However, each boss battle has a set time limit of forty seconds. This is a thing people complain about, but I found it’s usually not an issue, as it’s likely you’ve defeated the boss before the timer runs out, or can seize the chance to replay the regular stages for health powerups so to heal your monster. The bosses regain some health too, but not by much, and the reason for it is logical; they’re essentially doing the same as you, going through stages each turn, although their end goal is to defeat both Godzilla and Mothra, which results in a game over. Speaking of the bosses, not many of them actually appeared in Godzilla movies until long after this game was released, and there are eight bosses in total:

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Gezora

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Moguera

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Varan

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Hedorah (feat. sprite flicker)

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Baragon

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Gigan

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Mecha Godzilla

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King Ghidorah

Each of them having their own attacks, being carried over from their movie appearances. Their AI patterns are random, and I’d say the most fun to fight are Mecha Godzilla and Gigan, since it comes down to a battle of pure skill. The other bosses, however, do require some planning ahead before rushing in to fight them. As an example, you could fight Ghidorah with Mothra and be evenly matched since both fly around the stage, but then you’ll also do pitiful damage whilst losing chunks on your health with each hit. One of my proudest moments, however, was on the final world Planet X: I had lost Godzilla when trying to beat Gigan, and I somehow managed to finish off Gigan as Mothra.

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Screencap proof of my achievement (I know I only grinded to level 8, shush)

Of course, Mothra got absolutely destroyed against Ghidorah and I had to restart the game from Planet X because of it, but at least I managed to do what was considered near-impossible. With the bosses out of the way, let’s segway into the last gameplay-related segment; Godzilla and Mothra, the two playable kaiju of this game. People always say that Godzilla is the superior choice, and I must agree… to an extent. For me, Mothra is nowhere near as bad as people say she is. Sure, getting knocked back into the corners when attacked is annoying, but at least you can fly over all the projectiles and obstacles that drain Godzilla’s health. Essentially, playing as Mothra is like playing a Touhou Project game. And I love me some Touhou Project, so everything here is fine by me.

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Mothra confirmed playable for Hidden Star in Four Seasons

To make a long story short, Godzilla is the more power-orientated character that has trouble getting through most regular stages (after Earth and Mars), but excels at boss fights, whereas Mothra is better suited for the regular stages and has difficulty lasting in the boss fights unless they were weakened by Godzilla beforehand. Godzilla has a punch, kick, and his signature atomic breath, although it does consume the power meter. Mothra only has her eye beam and poison powder, the latter consuming her power meter, although it is much more spammable than Godzilla’s atomic breath. Whilst I do love how Touhou-like the game becomes when playing as Mothra, at the end of the day, both Godzilla and Mothra are fun to play as in their own ways, and like it or not, you have to play as both to complete the game. Alternatively, you can just kill-off Mothra as soon as possible, but that’s no fun. Ending off the gameplay segment, the controls are simple and responsive, just how controls should be. Other than the occasional slowdown, the game does run quite well, particularly given this is the NES we’re talking about.

Usually I’d talk about the story first. However, for NES games, I’ll leave the story until last. Why? Because if anyone knows anything about NES games, it’s that their stories usually leave a lot to be desired, as is the case with this game. Upon starting a new game, you’re given a short cutscene that shows and explains the events of the game. Essentially, invaders from Planet X have sent out their forces to attack the Earth. In response, the Earth send out Godzilla and Mothra to defend their planet and travel through the different planets, eventually defeating King Ghidorah on Planet X. As said before, being an NES game, not much of a story is to be expected. However, I do think it works for what it is; we’re given the loop of what exactly is going on, why Godzilla and Mothra and travelling through different planets, and who our main antagonists are. With the monsters being sent out from Planet X (despite some kaiju bosses being from Earth, ironically), it makes sense as to why some of them aren’t from the Godzilla movies at the time of the game’s release. That or Toho just wanted some really neat references to their other kaiju franchises.

To end off, I’ll talk about the music. I seem to say this in all my reviews thus far, but the music for this game is great, especially for what the NES is capable of. Each song is full of life and intensity that you would hear in a Godzilla movie. All of the boss themes, except maybe Varn’s, are some of the best music tracks of the NES era, and the title theme has gained quite some notoriety. The password theme has also gained a somewhat infamous status for sounding unsettling, and was remixed for a few of the Godzilla fighting games. Of all the boss themes, my favourite has to be Gigan’s. It fits the full intensity of the fight, being Godzilla against ones of his most powerful enemies in one-to-one combat. Or if you have an experience like me, Mothra killing one of the most powerful kaiju ever in a few eyebeam attacks. King Ghidorah’s theme provides a similar setting, particularly with him being the final boss. I can’t exactly recommend this soundtrack to everyone as I can with my last two reviewed games, but I can say that it is worth a listen if you like chiptune songs.

Final statistics

Graphics: 4/5

Kaiju are recognizable from their sprites, projectiles look like they’re supposed to, and stage enemies have simple but good designs. However, some projectiles look overly simple or similar to a potato.

Gameplay: 4/5

Destroying things in the sidescrolling levels is fun, but nothing compares to fighting the kaiju bosses one-on-one. The problem is that Mothra tends to get screwed over during the boss fights, whilst Godzilla has difficulty avoiding stage projectiles from Jupiter onwards.

Story: 3/5

For the NES, it works and explains the premise well. Although more could have been explained, particularly in the game’s ending, you can’t exactly put it down, with this being an NES game.

Music: 5/5

Some of the best music from any NES game, I feel there are very few bad or unmemorable music tracks here.

Overall score: 7/10

A great experience for fans of Godzilla and kaiju alike that is not as bad as people say it is. Flaws and exploits are definitely present, but with a few exceptions, none of them are particularly game breaking. The levelling system and ability to play as two familiar kaiju is definitely nice, the graphics look great for the time, and the music is amazing for the NES, holding up even today. Given the time this game was released, it’s an uncommon find. When copies do pop-up for sale, however, they tend to be cheap; I got mine for £15, with a cartridge case for it too. It’s worth a play if you happen to have an NES and are a fan of Godzilla, but other than that, you can pass over this title. The game became more well known for the amazingly good creepypasta written about it, which has the game completely changed, featuring new kaiju bosses and level types. There is a game being made that hopes to recreate the story in a playable form, with the creepypasta’s author doing the spritework for it. When that game is released, I’ll do a review of it. A demo is due sometime soon, but I’ll review the full game rather than the demo.

Forgive this one for being so late. I’ve had exams, and even then, I haven’t been coping too well as of recent, hence my lack of witty comments, but getting to write these reviews about games I enjoy really does help me feel a bit better at least, which is better than nothing I guess. Next game I review? I’m not sure. Maybe a Tohuou Project game, in celebration for the newest title, Hidden Star in Four Seasons, having a demo release.

Quick update

Greetings to the two people who actually read my stuff here. Well, it’s exam season yay and despite me studying and working from home due to anxiety disorder, I do have to go in and do my exams, although it’s a case of I go in, sit my exam, then walk back home. On the bright side, I’ve only got one exam in a single day. On the contrary, we have them for 5 weeks… Yeah. This slows down the progress of writing my reviews, because of the time I use for studying and the exams themselves. Another thing that’s crippled my upcoming review is my capture card still not working with my GameCube. Because of this, my next review will not be of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, but instead a little game for the NES called Godzilla: Monster of Monsters!, which a lot people seem to hate. I’ve already done a playthrough and collected the screenshots to be used in the review, so all that’s left is to buckle down and write it when I get chance. Hopefully it will be up by next week, but I’m not making any promises.

Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness (GameCube) review

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Straight from Pokémon Colosseum into what I would consider one of, if not the, best GameCube title; Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. Released near the end of the GameCube’s life, it didn’t garner much attention or praise upon initial release due to the main complaint being that most locations were copied from Colosseum, the game preceding it. However, this may have not always been the case, as when it was first announced, Nintendo claimed the game would be set in another new region, although this was later changed at an unknown point in development (likely early on) to fit in with the plot and show players the parts of Orre that they were unable to explore in Colosseum. With my stand on Colosseum being that it’s great for a first playthrough and nothing more, does the sequel improve on anything? Is it worth purchasing today? And will my capture card ever be fixed? Well, that’s what this review is here for.

Starting off, we have an actual story this time! Despite being a sequel, Gale of Darkness doesn’t require knowledge of Colosseum’s “story” to be enjoyed, particularly as it set five years after the events of Colosseum. Starting story mode, you see a custcene of a ship sailing through the calm oceans at night, when out of nowhere, a dark-looking version of the legendary Pokémon Lugia and a group of helicopters surround the ship. The dark Lugia then steals the ship by levitating it out of the water and flying off with it, leaving the ship’s captain in the ocean. I don’t want to spoil anything story related, so that’ll do for my explanation of the story. I’ll summarize my opinion and say that the story is rather fleshed-out, interesting, and even considerably dark, all whilst staying relatively appropriate for younger fans of the Pokémon franchise. Going from “We bad guys make Shadow Pokemans pls no steal them with your magic arm device” to the detailed story in Gale of Darkness is very refreshing and appreciable. It’s like they wanted this game to stand out well, and the story alone does that.

Graphically, many Pokémon models have been taken from Colosseum and Stadium 2, but more of the older generation Pokémon having had their models and textures tweaked, with Gen.3 Pokémon mostly just having texture upgrades. These minimal changes do make a great difference, and I really must commend the developers for even thinking to implement such a small change. The biggest and best change in my opinion is that the trainer models were not only upgraded to look as high-resolution as possible, but they also animate uniquely and smoothly, making them appear more like humans rather than the robots pretending to be humans we had in Colosseum. Trainers also react when their Pokémon get hit in battles, too, which is a neat addition. The sprinkles to top off this fancy cake are attack effects being more polished, animations no longer drag out, and Crobat’s teeth are still as hellish as before.

Last thing you see before you die

They also stayed that way for Pokémon Battle Revolution

Gameplay-wise, it’s the same as Colosseum when it comes to battling trainers, but with differences in finding and capturing Pokémon. Of course, you still go the route of stealing the corrupted Shadow Pokémon from Cipher, but this time, it’s mainly only members of Cipher that carry these Shadows, and from a certain point onward, they begin carrying more than one Shadow Pokémon at a time. Not only this, but you don’t get to keep snagged Shadow Pokémon if you lose a battle, adding to strategic planning; you can attempt to snag all Pokémon in one go, but risk losing the battle and having to start the fight again. Not only this, but Shadow Pokémon were made more unique since their debut in Colosseum. Whereas in Colosseum they had one unique move (Shadow Rush, which has 90 base-power), they have a whole slew of unique Shadow Moves only useable by themselves.

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This move isn’t quite as powerful as it looks, trust me

Shadow Moves will always do Super Effective damage (x2 damage) against any non-Shadow Pokémon, and always do Not Very Effective damage (x0.5) against another Shadow Pokémon. Whilst this could be seen as unfair, it does make sense given the concept of Shadow Pokémon is that they’re powerful, practically unstoppable fighting machines artificially created by Cipher. When snagged, Shadow Pokémon keep their Shadow Moves until purified, at which point they will be replaced by normal moves, with at least one of them being unobtainable on that Pokémon through normal means. There are many more Shadow Pokémon in this game than in Colosseum, allowing for greater teambuilding options, particularly as the majority of them are useable, even ones that are usually considered underwhelming, such as Parasect (caught as a Paras) and Nosepass. However, not only can you snag Shadow Pokémon, but you can also obtain members for your team through another way…

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Even Pokémon love the taste of Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Like the main series games, you can now catch wild Pokémon, albeit through a different method than running into grass all willy-nilly. Instead, you have to place Duking Brand Pokésnacks™ onto the plate in one of three Poké Spots (or all three at once) and wait for the Spot Radar to notify you of a Pokémon chowing-down on the snacks you left behind. Each of the three spots have three Pokémon that can appear, totaling nine potential Pokémon to add onto your team (or more than one if you so desire). Duking will also give you otherwise unobtainable Pokémon for any of the three rare wild encounters; Wooper for Larvitar, Surskit for Shuckle, and Trapinch for Meditite. These three Pokémon also come with egg moves, such as Larvitar having Outrage and Dragon Dance. The only problem with these Pokémon, aside from Trapinch for Meditite being an awful trade (Seriously, it’s better to just raise that Trapinch into a Flygon), is that you’re unable to nickname them since they’re registered as “traded”. So, when I wanted to use Larvitar during my playthrough, I was saddened to find that I couldn’t give it the nickname of Godzilla (or any nickname), thus leaving it in the purify chamber to slave away at purifying Shadow Pokémon.

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Duking’s trades can also be shiny if you get lucky or just abuse the RNG

Oh, right. Almost forgot to mention it… Essentially, in addition to the original methods of purifying Shadow Pokémon, you can now leave them in the Purify Chamber with other regular Pokémon to automatically purify them. This is great if you want to transfer all the shadows to your GBA game or are having trouble purifying multiple Shadow Pokémon through battling. It’s a really neat addition, although I never used it too much since I preferred to purify Shadow Pokémon in-battle due to the heart gauge rate being decreased by a fair bit, although using the purify chamber is undoubtedly the easiest way of purifying Shadow Pokémon, if not slightly broken; catch 48 Hoppips, shove them all in every single slot of the purify chamber, and you’ll be able to almost instantly purify any Shadow Pokémon. All this talk of Shadow Pokémon, and I forgot something else; how to catch Shadow Pokémon you miss the first time around, which leads me to one of my favourite characters in the entire game…

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*insert witty comment here*

Returning from Pokémon Colosseum is Miror B., although this time instead of working for Cipher, he’s a wanderer aiming to start his own group by the name of Team Miror[sic], with the goal of owning all Pokémon in the world. Although his aims are more generic than vanilla ice cream, Miror B. isn’t the main antagonist, or really an antagonist at all. Instead, after meeting and battling him for the first time, he will start to appear in Pyrite Colosseum, Realgam Colosseum, or one of the three Poké Spots at random, equipped with one (or more) of a Shadow Pokémon you failed to capture that he has stolen from their trainer; not as in “snagged” like you do, but rather he just steals them in their Pokéball. It’s hard to believe given this is Miror B. we’re talking about, but just roll with it. Whilst this would be tedious, the fact that you’re not only getting to see Miror B., but battle him and hear his godlike battle theme is an amazing treat. Oh, and being able to catch missed Shadow Pokémon and level-up your team is nice, too.

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You get to catch a Shadow Dragonite if you snag all the other shadows

Back onto Shadow Moves (this is the last thing I promise), not all of them deal direct damage, or even damage at all, with three of them having secondary typings, which means they have the chance to deal x4 damage against certain Pokémon. Thankfully, the only Shadow Pokémon that can use these moves are used in the final battle against Cipher’s leader, although given the Shadow Pokémon have a catch rate of three… It’s best to bring an extremely defensive Pokémon with you to wall the damage, such as the Shuckle Duking gives you, if you decided to raise that. Otherwise, bringing Shadow Pokémon of your own is a good idea, since they take x0.5 damage from Shadow Moves. I did manage to win the battle with only non-shadow Pokémon, so using the same partners that you’ve been using throughout your adventure is a definite option. Shadow Moves that do no damage instead have other effects, such as preventing switch-outs and halving the HP of all Pokémon on the field. The most devastating attack would be Shadow End, which when combined with Shadow Mist (which lowers the evasiveness of a Pokémon) can make quick work of your team, or at least until the user faints itself from the massive recoil damage.

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You get an Eevee early on which is a nice treat

As with my previous review, I’ve left the music for last. May or may not make this my usual standard for review layouts, but I’ll still keep screenshots with witty comments and all that stuff. Segwaying out of that little update and into the music itself…

Like with Colosseum, Gale of Darkness offers some of the best soundtrack out of the entire Pokémon Franchise and possibly even the GameCube library as a whole. At first I wasn’t a particular fan of the soundtrack and considered Colosseum to be much greater, over time I’ve come to love the music offered in Gale of Darkness. Particular favourites of mine are Miror B.’s battle theme, Cipher Peon battle theme, and the Gateon Port music. One song I just don’t like at all is the Wild Pokémon Battle theme, because despite it fitting with Orre being a desert-based region, it doesn’t work too well for a battle. Other than that one song, I enjoyed almost every other music track in the game and encourage you to listen to it sometime.

Final statistics

Graphics: 5/5

A huge step-up from Colosseum makes this one of the best looking titles on the GameCube, despite some Stadium 2 models still being used.

Gameplay: 5/5

Almost entirely the same from Colosseum, but with some improvements to how Shadow Pokémon are captured makes things more of a challenge for the better.

Story: 4/5

Not exactly perfect, but I absolutely love the story this game offers. What keeps me from giving a 5 in this department is the lack of post-game plot.

Music: 4/5

I enjoyed both soundtracks greatly, although a few intolerable and reused music tracks put Gale of Darkness down a bit. Between this game and Colosseum, however, I can confidently say I prefer Gale of Darkness’s soundtrack.

Overall Score: 9/10

This game is just short of a perfect 10 due to the lack of post-game story and some of the music tracks being a bit… Off. However, the main story is great and will keep you playing a long time, the variety in Shadow Pokémon gives you many teambuilding options, and the difficulty curve is very fair, particularly in contrast to Colosseum’s logic of “higher level means more difficulty”. I only had to grind once and that was because I really wanted to evolve Tifa, my Shroomish. Unfortunately, the game isn’t that common to come by, and usually has a hefty price; most copies sell for upwards of £50, although I had a membership discount when I bought mine at Computer Exchange, meaning I got it for a price of £33. If you can find a copy, I highly recommend picking it up, provided you can find one at a reasonable price and given you have the GameCube or Wii to play it. This is a game I’d mostly recommend to Pokémon fans, but I think it’s great for people wanting to get into Pokémon, too, and I can confidently say you’re able to jump straight into this game without having played Colosseum beforehand.

Pokémon Colosseum (GameCube) review

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Pokémon Colosseum is a game cherished and loved by many, similar to the main series games of its generation. My first Pokémon game was Sapphire, and I was aware of the gen.3 spin-offs back then. However, I never actually bought or played them as a kid since I never got a GameCube and by the time I had a Wii, stores had stopped selling many GameCube games. Thus, it wasn’t until I found a copy of the game at a Computer Exchange whilst shopping around Swansea in December of 2016 that I got to play the game for myself. Whilst initially I would’ve labelled it as one of the best Pokémon games, that opinion has differed since coming back to it after completing the sequel, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness.

To start, the models of trainers and Pokémon look nice, although most Gen.1 and Gen.2 Pokémon models have been reused from Pokémon Stadium 2 on the N64, giving them an incredibly blocky look. One thing I must discredit is that the human characters use many of the same animations, making things look quite awkward, with people slowly bouncing up and down outside of battles. On the other hand, the Pokémon animations are full of character and life, even if Crobat’s teeth are the spawn of Satan. Again, trainers remain mostly static and stocky, even when they appear behind their active Pokémon in-battle.

Story-wise, there isn’t much at all. It’s hard to detail without spoiling anything, so all I will say is that because of the story being minimal, this results in the game’s length being quite short, taking me only one week to complete my first playthrough, and an additional three days to complete the post-game. Not much character development goes on, which is a shame as there was opportunity for certain characters to have developed throughout the game’s minimalistic plot, especially since quite a lot of characters featured story-wise are rather interesting and unique.

Now, the gameplay. If you’ve played any main series Pokémon game, you’ll know what the gist of the gameplay is. However, even knowing that is not the full of it; Colosseum is made-up of only double battles, meaning both you and your opponent will be using two Pokémon at one time. Whilst this change seems minor, it really does make you consider possible strategies and any drawbacks that may occur from them, a prime example being having a Pokémon on the field that knows Earthquake, whilst also having a Pokémon weak to Earthquake on the field. Do you risk knocking out the opponents or knocking out your own Pokémon? Not only this, but you’ll have to consider strategies the opponent may pull off as well.

Now I bet some of you just said “But Ampharosite, you can just catch Pokémon to counter your opponents!”, and whilst you would be right… You’re wrong in this situation. See, in the Orre region (The setting of Colosseum), wild Pokémon are the equivalent to Mythical Pokémon in the main series games, meaning you cannot find any on your travels. Instead, you utilize the “Snag Machine”, a badass looking thing that fits right over your character’s arm.

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(Credits to YAMsgarden for this awesome artwork)

What this means is that you can steal Pokémon from trainers you battle to build-up your own collection of ‘mons. There is a catch (no pun intended), however; you can only steal Shadow Pokémon, which are corrupted Pokémon created by the antagonist team, Cipher. They’re denoted by the purple aura that they emit, although only the partner character has the ability to see these auras. So, whenever a trainer sends out a Shadow Pokémon, a short cutscene plays of the partner identifying which Pokémon is emitting the Shadow Aura. Given you can only catch Shadows, this greatly limits your options, especially since there aren’t that many Shadow Pokémon you could consider “useable”; they exist to be caught and transferred over to Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald to complete the player’s Pokedex, as prior to Colosseum, most of these Pokémon were unobtainable in the generation 3 games (excluding the ones found in post-game locations of FireRed and LeafGreen). Regardless, the Pokémon selection isn’t exactly shallow, but rather the number of ‘mons considered useable is shallow. However, don’t let this stop you from building your team out of Pokémon you just personally like… Although only if you’re prepared to grind.

Unfortunately, the level scaling of enemy teams gets pretty steep starting from the Shadow Pokémon Lab, forcing you to re-enter colosseum tournaments or fight your way through Mt. Battle to level-up your team. Thankfully, Shadow Pokémon tend to be higher levels than standard enemy Pokémon, but you must grind with them as well; they will only be purified when their heart gauge is completely empty, and until they’re purified, they cannot learn new moves, be given a nickname, traded to the GBA games, or even earn EXP to level-up. Thankfully, after being purified, a Shadow Pokémon gains all the EXP they would’ve gained from the battles they had participated in. This is handy for evolving whichever of the Johto starters you picked, Flaaffy, and Vibrava, among others, due to the levels you catch them at being close to their evolution levels. Up until purification, however, carrying too many Shadow Pokémon on you can be quite the weigh-down on your team.

Saving the best for last, the music; I absolutely LOVE this game’s soundtrack. Right from the first battle, I knew that the music tracks in this game would be some of my favourite video game tracks ever. Some of my personal faves would be the Normal Battle theme, Shadow Pokémon Lab theme, Cipher Admin theme, and Miror B.’s retro groove. I highly encourage you to check out the soundtrack sometime, even if you aren’t a Pokémon fan.

Final statistics

Graphics: 4/5

For the GameCube, they’re great. Most of them hold up today, although reusing most of the Stadium 2 models was quite a lazy move.

Gameplay: 4/5

Whilst only being able to use snagged Shadow Pokémon is a unique idea, the lack of useable Pokémon puts the concept down. I really adore that every battle use the 2-on-2 mechanics, however.

Story: 2.5/5

Minimalistic, but what did you really expect after Ruby and Sapphire? I do like the final confrontation with Cipher’s leader, however. That was perhaps the best part story-wise.

Music: 5/5

Some of the best music on the GameCube that is really worth listening to, even if you aren’t a fan of Pokémon.

Overall score: 7/10

First-time playing, I would’ve given this game a score of 10. However, replaying it after completing the sequel, I see how lack-luster it is in comparison. The constant need to grind is also a problem, as difficulty is employed by ramping-up the levels of enemy Pokémon. If you have a GameCube or Wii, you can always get this game on the cheap (I bought my copy for £15), but I only recommend doing so if you’re very curious and haven’t played the sequel, Gale of Darkness.

Up and running

Hello, and welcome to my site! I’m Ampharosite (not real name because my parents don’t hate me), and here I will be posting reviews for a variety of video games, as well as some general stuff every now and then. Hopefully you’ll stay around and see my mediocre writing skills.

Enjoy your stay ^^