Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mega Man 5 (1992)

Genre: Platformer | Players: 1 | Developer: Capcom

Since I haven’t covered the fourth entry in the classic series, I’ll briefly list the things introduced there that carry over to this game:

***You can charge your regular shots for larger and more powerful blasts.

***Rush Jet now starts moving forward uncontrollably the moment even a sub-pixel of your foot hits it and will get you killed most of the time because of it.

I’ll also list the “features” that are new to it:

***You’ll be collecting letters (and a number) in each level to spell ‘Mega Man 5,’ which will unlock your new bird companion, Beat. He relentlessly circles enemies and WRECKS most of the bosses in Proto Man’s castle.

***Yes, Proto Man is the fake villain this time. Ooooooh SPOILER -_-

***You must now allow the Rush Coil to jump off the ground with you before jumping off it at its apex. It’s really weird, yes, but once you know how it works it’s worlds less dangerous than Rush Jet.

Outside of some kick-ass music (Wave Man’s theme may be my favorite piece of music on the NES), that’s most of what’s worth noting. Why bother writing this, then? Simple, I want to convey that to me Mega Man 5 is a rare kind of nostalgic that teleports me back to my days in front of the NES, on the floor, after school. This is even more astounding considering I maybe rented it once, ever, if at all.

Other than Rush’s tragic downfall, it’s sublimely playable and if critics want to say that’s because it’s overly easy (extra men DO drop like flies), they aren’t going to offend me. But, they also aren’t going to change my mind, either. I’ll likely be too busy completely unplugging to care.

Buyer’s Guide: It’s an NES game, but get the Mega Man Anniversary Collection (PS2, PS4, Xbox, Xbox One, Game Cube, Switch). If you’re feeling contrarian or want it on the go you can find it on mobile phones, the Wii VC, and PSN.

3½ Train Men Cometh out of 5

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright — Trials and Tribulations (2007)

Genre: Adventure, Visual Novel | Players: 1 | Developer: Capcom

Trials and Tribulations concludes the Phoenix Arc of the Ace Attorney series with aplomb and miles of grace to spare. In terms of gameplay, it is as similar to Justice For All as Silent Hill 2 is to Silent Hill 3. I.e., completely, functionally identical. It is worth noting that the introductory trial is actually part of the main storyline this time and the two stand-alone trials organically contain elements and themes present in that central narrative. They also house what are without question my two favorite one-off characters in the franchise. On top of all that, you actually get to play as two attorneys whose names aren’t Phoenix Wright, in three of the five(!) trials.

Because more of the Fey family’s story is presented in Justice than the first game, T&T works in a number of brief flashback-esque monologues about those events, throughout the proceedings. I have been told by a fellow Nut author—who has only played T&T—that this summarizing is effective and didn’t make him feel chided for not having experienced the other games. Good show.

Looking back on Justice For All from the finish line, this time, it’s clear that it derives its unique personality in the canon from a profound sense of tragedy. There’s nothing wrong with that. This game, however, is imbued with something outreaching of the humor to counterbalance the damage it wreaks upon its cast. There’s an almost shining aura of joy and life surrounding all involved, even the ancillary villain characters. For the central cast, redemption and release radiate beyond even the deepest shadows cast.

Trials and Tribulations simply feels like the most complete package of the trilogy in terms of presentation, content, and resolution. Like Final Fantasy VI, it exists in a space transcendent of its genre and overarching lineage of games. It is one of the most resoundingly successful, humanity-affirming pieces of fiction I have personally experienced and I unabashedly adore it.

Buyer's Guide: As usual, it was originally a Japanese GBA game that was ported to the DS, PC, and eventually the Wii (as WiiWare). It's also on iOS and the 3DS eShop.

5 Refreshingly Bitter Blends out of 5