day three

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

First Hour Review

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater CoverMetal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a third-person stealth action game for the PlayStation 2. Though it is the third game in the Solid series, Snake Eater serves as the prequel to the entire Metal Gear series. Released in 2004, the game drops the original Snake in the middle of a dense Soviet Union jungle during the height of the Cold War. Political tensions are high and the game holds nothing back in terms of cut scenes. Heck, the version I own includes a disc with over three hours of cut scenes edited together to make the Metal Gear Solid 3 movie. This is a common complaint thrown against the series, though many fans enjoy their dramatic and over-the-top directing. But how will they affect the game's first hour? Now that is a question we are about to answer.

I'll be playing the Subsistence version of the game, a re-released enhanced version of Snake Eater. The only difference that I know of that will affect this first hour is the much improved camera. Let's get to the first hour of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Subsistence).

Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble!

First Hour Review

Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble CoverDangerous High School Girls in Trouble! is a indie PC game released this year. It's a computer board game at heart with lots of puzzles mixed in and a mystery to solve at high school. DHSGiT (I think that's the only time I'll use that acronym, ever) is a period game set in America's roaring twenties and features a large cast of funny and well written characters. Tons of original art and gameplay is promised by the developer, Mousechief, who actually emailed me back in July and requested I give their game a review (and yes, I do take requests).

This is my first review of an independently made game, and I think I'll do more of them in the future. They typically offer such a unique experience that is simply not found anywhere else. I have a few other in mind that I think are worthy of a one hour go. But for the game at hand, let's get into the first hour of Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble!

Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure

First Hour Review

Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure CoverRhapsody: A Musical Adventure is a role-playing musical for the Nintendo DS. Now, when I say musical, I really mean a musical. The cutscenes feature the characters singing songs, in Japanese. This is not a very common genre combination, there have been plenty of musical games, PaRappa the Rapper comes quickly to mind, but that was the whole premise of the game. Here we have a console RPG wrapping periodic musical numbers. And it is made by the developers of the popular Disgaea series, so it can't be all bad, right?

Rhapsody DS came out in September of 2008, and is a re-release of the 2000 PlayStation game. In North America, it has been pigeon-holed as a "girl-game", essentially the kiss of death for any kind of mainstream attention besides the typical, "hey look, a girl game that's not about dolls or ponies!" Well, I didn't know this going in; I hear about an RPG for the DS and it has my attention. Since females supposedly take up a ton of the market now, I think it's my responsibility to play a wide range of games. Well, I'm joking there, but variety is important, and at least now I can say I've played a musical, even for an hour.

Pikmin

First Hour Review

Pikmin CoverPikmin is a GameCube real-time strategy game set in what could be someone's backyard and featuring a large cast of inch tall plant creatures (and you thought it couldn't get weirder after last week's Katamari Damacy). Basically, our hero is Captain Olimar, a space traveler who gets stranded on the Pikmin planet. His ship is in thirty pieces and scattered across a few different levels, but Olimar only has enough life support to last thirty days. The only way he's going to get off in time is to recruit the Pikmin's help in gathering his ship parts back together. And thus, our story begins.

Pikmin did pretty well and received a sequel a few years later. Nintendo also recently announced Pikmin 3 for the Wii, so the series will keep on growing. Pikmin originally caught my eye because it was Nintendo's first original series for the Gamecube (well, if you don't count Luigi's Mansion) and was straight from the mind of Shigeru Miyamoto. Well, let's play the first hour of Pikmin.

Katamari Damacy

First Hour Review

Katamari Damacy CoverKatamari Damacy is the quirky... ball rolling game released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004. In this highly original Namco game, the Prince is on a mission to restore the missing stars in the sky. To do this, he rolls up everyday household items into giant piles of junk (called Katamaris), and then his dad, the King of All Cosmos, creates stars out of them. You're probably thinking, "WTF?" and that would be entirely valid. This game doesn't hold back the weirdness at all. But sometimes I think gamers need games like this, too often we're thrust into much too serious worlds doing much too serious business.

I'm fascinated by games that are named with generally entirely original words. Though Katamari is a real word and Damacy is kind of a one-off, I applaud Namco for not changing it for the American release (and also for not changing the game's cover). Knowing the gaming industry, it probably would have been called something like Clumpy Souls. Anyways, let's get on with the review of just the first hour of Katamari Damacy.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

First Hour Review

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time CoverThe Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released 10 years ago this week for the Nintendo 64 and 3D adventure gaming has never been the same. Topping many gamers' all-time favorites list and sitting atop at Game Rankings, Ocarina of Time currently reigns as the unofficial Greatest Game of All-Time. I remember quite well my anticipation for this game ten solid years ago and that it actually did live up to the hype.

How much more can be said about this game that hasn't already been said? Well, no one has just played the first hour before and wrote a review just on that, so let me be the first. I'll be playing the original Nintendo 64 version, as there have been at least a Gamecube and Virtual Console port so far.

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures

First Hour Review

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures CoverPac-Man 2: The New Adventures is the one and true sequel to Pac-Man! You may be wondering, but wat about Ms. Pac-man, Super Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, or Pac-Mania? Nope, none of those have the number two in their name. Pac-Man 2 is the definitive sequel, and it is a side-scrolling adventure game with puzzle elements. How about that. It was released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and is quite the departure from the traditional series.

Fourteen years after chomping pills in a dark maze, Pac-Man is now a moody middle-aged blob living with Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Jr., and Pac-Baby-Daughter. Pac-Man is an independent blob too, as you don't even control him directly! Instead you shoot a slingshot to point out things to Pac-Man and hopefully grab his attention. This doesn't always work though and Pac-Man can get angry pretty quickly. This is pretty much a recipe for complete disaster, so let's start cooking the first hour of Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures.

Mother 3

First Hour Review

Mother 3 CoverMother 3 is the 2006 sequel to Earthbound that was only released in Japan. However, last month a fan translation was released and now I can play Mother 3 without referring to my Japanese dictionary every ten minutes. The translation is supposedly really good, even for a series that is chock full of humor and puns that take a lot of effort to translate from one language, and culture, to another.

One of the questions on many minds is why wasn't this game officially translated and released outside of Japan? I've been mind boggled about this for two years now and my respect for Nintendo of America definitely went down because of this. Gamers have seen this before with Sin and Punishment, Star Ocean, and even Final Fantasy V, but all of these games eventually saw a translated release. But from everything Nintendo says, Mother 3 will only officially ever be released in Japan. We all scream "why?" because Earthbound was so popular (which, of course, is Mother 2, with Mother never being released outside of Japan either). I think I finally got my answer the other day, when I read this absolutely great review on Mother 3. The reviewer described the game as poetry and that attempting to translate Mother 3 would result just like the generally awful translations of ancient haikus. The rhythm is gone. The original meaning is lost.

But alas, Mother 3 has been translated, and the first hour beckons. For those unaware, Mother 3 is a role-playing game for the Game Boy Advance. And this is actually the first review I've done where I've already reviewed a game in the same series as Earthbound was the second review I ever wrote. Well, let's go.

For a review on just the entire game, check out my Mother 3 review at Beyond the First Hour.

Diablo II

First Hour Review

Diablo II CoverDiablo II is the super popular hack and slash released on the PC in 2000. It has probably broken more computer mouses than any other game because of the excessive clicking involved in its hacking and slashing. I'm personally a Diablo II virgin and have barely played the original, so this was admittedly, quite the experience! At least I can say I've played it with Diablo III announced and looking amazing.

A few notes, I also have Lord of Destruction installed so I can capture higher resolution screenshots (800x600 vs. 640x480), but I'll try to treat it as I'm just playing the regular game. And if you're interested, as I guess it really matters, I'll be playing version 1.07. Oh yeah, if you're a big fan of Blizzard, check out my Lost Vikings review after you read about Diablo II's first hour.

Aladdin

First Hour Review

Aladdin CoverAladdin for the Sega Genesis was released in 1993 about a year after the film was in the theaters. It was created by the same team that would go on to make Earthworm Jim and features animations drawn by Disney animators. The game was released on a wide range of systems, but the Super Nintendo Aladdin was actually an entirely different game created by Capcom. For all these years I asssumed it was Nintendo's infamous censorship at work because you couldn't use a sword like on the Genesis, but it was simply a different game under the same name (though I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo still had a hand in swordless Aladdin).

I reviewed the first hour of Lion King back in March and did not have a good experience. Considering both Aladdin and The Lion King were both developed by Virgin Interactive, could I possibly have a similar first hour? Let's get into it.

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