About Brandon Myers

The "Rambling Gamer," Brandon has been playing video games since 1988. From the NES to the PS4, he's played almost every major console. While he favors consoles, he's dabbled in PC gaming, and is an avid Linux user. Every Wednesday, he posts his latest Ramblings, which usually consist of video game reviews, best/worst lists, and on occasion a good old-fashioned rant.

Mega Man Universe gameplay trailer

IGN.com has posted a new Mega Man Universe trailer, complete with an introduction by series creator Keiji Inafune. Check it out below:



Personally, I’m a little torn. The graphics in general look awesome. But I think the Mega Man character model sucks. I really, really hope this is just an early model and that it will look better later. Or at the very least have an option for the 8-bit Mega Man. This model just looks too blocky. Like it’s rendered using the SuperFX chip or something.

I do like that Mega Man is using the Quick Boomerang at some points. I’m hoping this confirms that Mega Man will be able to fight any boss and use any weapon from the first ten (or eleven if you count Mega Man & Bass) games from the Classic series. By this, I mean I hope it isn’t where you just select one game to play through. I want to use the Metal Blade against Tornado Man, for example. Or take on Magnet Man’s stage with the Magnet Beam (from MM1).

The trailer gives me hope, but it’s really all speculation. And please, Capcom, make a better Mega Man model.

Classic Gaming Retrospective – TMNT blowout

So apparently this is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles week on Superfriends Universe. What better way to celebrate it than covering a bunch of classic TMNT games? No box art this time, though. Not enough space. I know Ed and Big D are going to cover the three NES games on a new Pixels & Bits, but I’m going to give my own opinion on those and a couple others.

First, let’s start with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the NES. This game sucks. Few enemies or bosses are taken from the cartoon. The controls aren’t that great. The vehicle sections are annoying. It’s just bad. It’s almost an insult to the fans. I honestly can’t think of anything good to say here, so I’ll move on.

Next is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the Arcade. This is what a TMNT game should be, and it helped inspire a series of excellent games. The arcade game had up to four players, taking the Turtles from burning buildings to sewers and parking garages. First it was to save April, and then to save Splinter. Actual enemies from the cartoon show up, such as Bebop, Rocksteady, Baxter Stockman, Krang, and Shredder. This is pure fun. Jumping, kicking, slashing, and so on. Sure, it’s a basic beat-em-up, but it’s a lot of fun.

The arcade game came home on the NES with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game. It’s mostly a straight port, with a severe graphical downgrade and only two players instead of four. Some stages are extended, and two stages are exclusive to the NES version. Otherwise it’s pretty much faithful to the arcade version. Though it does have a ton of Pizza Hut advertisements. People complain about in-game ads in modern games, but it goes back to the NES, and not just mascot games like 7-Up Presents: Spot (that’s the NES Spot, which is an awesome game, not Cool Spot, which sucks). Much like the arcade version, this game is a lot of fun. A must play for TMNT fans.

Then we have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project. Shredder kidnaps April and raises the entire Manhattan island into the air. It’s up to the Turtles to stop him. Recurring baddies Bebop and Rocksteady are back, as are Krang and Shredder. The game borrows a little from the TMNT2: Secret of the Ooze movie. Tokka and Rahzar appear as bosses as does Super Shredder (sadly not played by Kevin Nash in the game). Gameplay is mostly the same as TMNT2: The Arcade Game. But if you press A and B at the same time, you do a more powerful attack that also drains your health. I don’t remember if TMNT2 had this or not, but I know the third game does. This, as with the last two, is really fun.

The next arcade game is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time. The gimmick in this game is time travel. At a certain point in the game, the Turtles start traveling through time. Much like the first arcade game, up to four people can play at once. The home version was titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time and was released on the SNES. Much like the NES TMNT2, some alterations were made from the arcade original. But overall it’s a similar experience.

I never played TMNT: Tournament Fighters, and I think I only ever rented one of the Game Boy outings. But in terms of the NES and SNES games, most of them are good. The glaring exception is that first NES game. That was crap. Overall, Konami found a winning formula in that first arcade game, and they knew enough not to mess it up. They had two excellent NES games and a great SNES sequel. They made for some of the best beat-em-up games out there. Yeah, Final Fight and Streets of Rage are good, but the TMNT games let you make guys in purple jumpsuits explode, and what’s more awesome than that?

Any TMNT fan needs to play those games. But then again, if you’re a TMNT fan, you already have. In fact, you’re probably all sitting there nodding as you’re reading this, and probably trying to find a copy on eBay (or other, less legal sources).

Classic Gaming Retrospective – Mega Man 6

Mega Man 6 box art
Mega Man 6 was the last Mega Man game on the NES. Oddly this game was not published by Capcom in North America. Instead, Nintendo themselves picked up the publishing rights.

The story of the game is as follows: The mysterious Mr. X has organized a worldwide robot competition. Robots from all over compete. Once the tournament was down to eight, Mr. X reprogrammed the robots and set about on a plan to take over the world. Of course Mega Man defeats Mr. X who reveals himself to be Dr. Wily, and then Mega Man has to defeat him again.

This game has, in my opinion, some of the worst robot masters in the Classic series. The last three games started the decline, and I think Mega Man 6 is the worst. I can understand that the robots are supposed to each represent a different country and all, but it’s just a bit absurd. Centaur Man? Really?

Also, the Rush items from the past games are replaced by the Rush Adapters. When Mega Man selects an Adapter, he and Rush fuse, granting Mega Man extra powers. One Rush Adapter gives Mega Man a limited use jet pack. Flying uses up the energy bar, but standing on ground refills it very quickly. The other Rush Adapter lets Mega Man fire a rocket fist when his Mega Buster is fully charged. This fist can break walls and do some extra damage.

It’s the third game in a row with the fake villain concept. It’s a good thing that after this, they took a break from the idea for a couple games. It would have gotten far too old. I know I shouldn’t pay much attention to the story in a Mega Man game. I’ve had many discussions with Superfriend Ed DiFolco about game series that use the same basic plot for each entry (like the Super Mario series), and the discussion always comes down to whether or not the games are fun.

Mega Man 6 is a fun game. All of them are. But the glorious shine of the second casts a shadow on the others. Yeah, I hype up the second game a lot in these things. But Mega Man 2 deserves it.

Mass Effect 1 & 2 double review

Mass Effect box artMass Effect 2 box art
Mass Effect
Mass Effect 2
Developed by BioWare
Published by Electronic Arts and Microsoft (360 version of ME1 only)
Platforms: Xbox 360, PC (Windows), PlayStation 3 (ME2 only, coming January 2011)

I’m doing things a little differently this time. Two full games in one. The reason for this is because Mass Effect is so popular and so well known amongst the RPG crowd that nearly everyone knows the quality of the games. I just want to gush about them a little, and this seemed like the best way to do that.

More

Classic Gaming Retrospective – Mega Man 5

Mega Man 5 box art
Now we come to Mega Man 5. The story involves another fake villain. This time, Proto Man (aka Blues) has apparently gone evil. Once you battle through Proto Man’s castle, you confront him, only to have the real Proto Man come in and reveal Wily’s deception. Before Mega Man starts his adventure, though, Dr. Cossack shows his appreciation for the events of the previous game and helps upgrade Mega Man’s Mega Buster.

This game introduces Beat, if you can find the letters MEGAMANV (or MEGAMAN5 in the Mega Man Anniversary Collection). Beat has its own weapon energy and can be summoned to attack any enemy on the screen. Oddly it’s also the weakness of Dr. Wily’s Capsule at the end of the game.

It’s another solid, if unremarkable, Mega Man game. Not a whole lot has changed from the fourth game. Eight new robot masters, each group less spectacular than the last. There is one thing I hate about Mega Man 5, and that is the enemy damage and destruction noises. As far as I can tell, this is the only 8-bit Mega Man game to have different noises whenever an enemy is damaged or destroyed. All other 8-bit (or mock-8-bit) Mega Man games have the traditional sounds. I have no idea why it was changed in this, but I hate it. The sound effect makes me cringe when I watch a video of this being played. As you might have picked up from my Final Fantasy XIII review, I’m not fond of games changing traditional sound effects or music.

All in all, this continued the steady decline of the Mega Man series. Yes, the games remained solid, but they never really recaptured the greatness of Mega Man 2.

Classic Gaming Retrospective – Mega Man 4

It’s time for a new entry to this Mega Man retrospective. But first, I’ve been thinking about the columns on the first three games, and I don’t think I’ve done a good enough job with those. I haven’t given enough of my own personal thoughts, memories, and opinions on those entries. So before I go into Mega Man 4, let’s do a little recap.

More

Classic Game Review – Poy Poy

Poy Poy box art
Poy Poy
Published and Developed by Konami
Platforms: PlayStation

Poy Poy is a somewhat obscure game from the original PlayStation library. It’s a game that is really difficult for me to describe, but I’ll do my best. It’s a 3D, arena-based, party/fighting game. That might not quite do it justice. I’ll get into a bit more detail later. It should be noted that this will lack a “Story” category as the game really doesn’t have a story. Again, more on that later.

More

Classic Gaming Retrospective – Mega Man: The Wily Wars

I got a bit lazy last week and didn’t have anything to go along with the Mega Man retrospective. So to make up, I bring you…another Mega Man game? Well, this one is a little different. Before I start, though, I want to give a shout out to the Mega Man Wiki, which I’ve been using as a source for info on all the Mega Man games. That site has information about these games, even the ones I’ve played, that I never noticed or even knew about.

Mega Man: The Wily Wars box art
Mega Man: The Wily Wars was a game for the Sega Genesis. I’m using a Mega Drive box art because the game never saw a cartridge release in North America. Instead, it was released on the Sega Channel. It was, however, released on a cartridge in Japan and the PAL territories.

Wily Wars features the first three Mega Man games remade in 16-bit graphics with updated audio. For the most part, the games remain faithful to their NES counterparts (at least the Japanese versions), but there are some differences. In the first Mega Man, if you’re still invulnerable after being hit, you can’t be killed by spikes like you could in the NES original. The rate of fire was altered, and there is a slight pause after using certain weapons and items in the second and third games. Wily Wars also has a lot more lag, especially in the battle against the Yellow Devil in the first and third games and the Wily Machine from the first game.

Probably the most notable difference isn’t actually a difference at all. All sprites in the games were redrawn. Mega Man and the master robots were made taller, and given extra frames of animation. The sole exception to all of this is Proto Man. He’s the same size as his NES sprite and has no extra animation frames, but does appear to have a nicer, 16-bit color pallet. As a result, when he’s seen next to Mega Man, he sticks out like a sore thumb. A full list of differences can be found on the Mega Man Wiki.

Wily Wars also has a save feature, which is helpful. However, it should be noted that the type of save it uses is very uncommon and most Genesis emulators don’t support it. (I am in no way advocating piracy. I’m just giving the facts.) With the save feature, however, means that the password systems from Mega Man 2 and 3 are gone.

But the best part about Wily Wars, and the reason why it’s worth playing, is the Wily Tower. It’s only available after you beat the original three Mega Man games. There are only three master robots in Wily Tower, but it also has the best feature of any Mega Man game ever. You get to pick up to eight weapons and three items from the first three games. As far as I know, this is the only Mega Man game where you can mix and match weapons from multiple games however you want. And you’re able to do this before each level, including each Wily Castle level. Sadly this option only exists in Wily Tower, which is a huge bummer. It should be noted that Hyper Storm H., one of the Wily Tower master robots, is the first Mega Man boss (out of the original and all the spin-off series) to feature more than one life bar. However, hit him with his weakness, and he falls as quickly as any other boss.

If you live in North America, you may not even know this game exists. Which is a shame, as it’s actually quite good. I only recently discovered this game, myself, so I haven’t had a whole lot of time to play it. But it’s probably one of the best in the Classic series, if only for Wily Tower.

Classic Gaming Retrospective – Mega Man 3

Mega Man 3 box art
We continue our journey into the Mega Man series with Mega Man 3. This game saw the introduction of Rush, Proto Man (Blues in Japan), and the new Slide move.

The story behind Proto Man, much like the stories in most NES games, is revealed mostly outside of the game. Proto Man was the first robot that Dr. Light created. He was capable of independent thought and reasoning, but was still a prototype. He had a flaw in his energy core that would eventually cause his death. Proto Man started to distrust Dr. Light, primarily because of his free will, the fact that he knew he was incomplete, and because he feared that Dr. Light would alter his programming. So he vanished before Dr. Light could repair him.

After wandering the world alone, Proto Man was found by Dr. Wily, who replaced his solar energy core with a nuclear energy core, and also modified him to be a combat robot. Wily also gave Proto Man his now trademark visor. Working on Proto Man helped Wily better understand robotics, as well.

Proto Man would show up in Mega Man 3 as Break Man. At the time, he worked for Dr. Wily, but upon observing Mega Man he decided to help Mega Man instead, though he still didn’t trust Dr. Light.

Rush, the robot dog, replaces the items in Mega Man 2. Item-2 is now the Rush Jet, for example. There is no true Rush equivalent for Items 1 or 3, though. Instead you get Rush Coil, which is a springboard item, and Rush Marine, which is only for underwater areas.

The master robots were starting to get a little odd, but they weren’t too bad at this point. Snake Man, Gemini Man, Top Man, Spark Man, Hard Man, Needle Man, Magnet Man, and Shadow Man. The big twist, however, came when you defeated all eight master robots. The stage select screen showed these odd looking portraits for Spark Man, Needle Man, Gemini Man, and Shadow Man. You had to re-enter those stages, and what awaited would definitely catch new players off-guard.

The four stages were redesigned, but retained the same theme. About halfway through, however, you’d reach the boss doors. A bit odd, you may think. Then you see the Doc Robot standing, and suddenly one of the Mega Man 2 master robots descend from the ceiling and “enter” Doc Robot’s body. Now Doc Robot has assumed the powers of that master robot. Mega Man can’t take the weapons that Doc Robot uses, which is unfortunate. But it is definitely an “Oh crap” moment. The Doc Robot concept returned in Mega Man 10 in the form of the Weapons Archive.

Overall, this game isn’t as iconic as Mega Man 2, but it’s still a very good game.