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Brad Gallaway's blog

Cocoto Platform Jumper, 'Splosion Man and The Legend of Neil

Huge thanks to Anonymous for tipping me off on how to defeat the gorilla boss in world four of Cocoto Platform Jumper (WiiWare).

It's a simple little game that by all reckoning should have been a complete cakewalk, but this gorilla seemed invincible and all efforts to find answers on the Internet were a complete fail. My frustration at this part had grown to the point that I had actually quit the game in disgust, and I was contemplating calling Nintendo to complain that they were selling a piece of defective software. Then, lo and behold, Anonymous chips in with a comment and solves the mystery.

Guest Blog: Writer Ann Aguirre talks games

Guest Blog: Ann Aguirre talks games

For a little change of pace, I invited my good friend and super-author An Aguirre to sound off on games from a female perspective. As you can see from her gameography, she’s no newbie to RPGs and has definite opinions on a few topics… I gave her free rein to jot down whatever she felt like, and here’s what she came up with. I think you’ll agree that there’s some interesting stuff here:

I'm not a level grinder or a number cruncher or a loot monkey. It will probably come as no surprise that I love the stories these games tell. I'm in it from start to finish because I want to know how it ends. That's the same reason I read a book. Sadly, many games seem to have rushed endings; it's 100% awesome until you get to the wrap-up and it's like the designers said, "Ok, good enough, the end," and you're left wondering why you spent $50 on this. My affinity for story is also why it irritates me to no end to pick up an awesome-looking game and realize I have to play Captain Jack Dawson, and screw me if I don't like it.

Heatwave, Avalon Code, and Tweeting

I'm getting pretty damned sick of the heat wave that's been plaguing Western Washington recently.

Before global warming started getting really bad, Seattle and the surrounding parts was famous for its mild weather. The misconception is that it rains all the time here, but that's actually not the case. It's incredibly cloudy for a large portion of the year, but there are tons of places that get a lot more rain than we do.

Anyway, since our summers are usually so pleasant, it's pretty rare to find a house that has an air-conditioning unit installed. I think that trend may be changing. It's been so hot here that I have literally been afraid to turn on any of my consoles for fear that they will overheat and die. If my house had air conditioning or if it got some shade, that might be different story, but the way my domicile is positioned, it's like a friggin' oven. If I spilled some flour on my counter and left a few eggs out in the morning, I'd have muffins by mid-afternoon…

Still in Dark Athena

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena Screenshot

Still playing Dark Athena on 360.

I thought I had reached the end of the game when the developers surprised me and whipped out another new chunk of content to get through. To be perfectly frank, I think I was ready for the game to be over. I'm a little concerned now that it might overstay its welcome.

Phantasy Star Portable and Emergency! Disaster Rescue Squad

Phantasy Star Portable Screenshot

I'm at the final boss in Phantasy Star Portable.

I expected to have it done and on my shelf a few days ago, but the sharp spike in difficulty was a real turnoff and I decided to take a break before I'd be tempted to chuck the thing across the room.

The game itself is nothing special, although I will say that I was in the mood for a loot-earning, clothes-changing dungeon crawler and it satisfied my craving perfectly. I would have been thrilled to complete it without much thought, but now it seems apparent that the only way I'm going to see credits roll is to grind out another ten or fifteen levels.

After twelve hours of play this isn't exactly the way I wanted things to wrap up, but I imagine I'll get back to it and chip away at the remains incrementally.

Further Ghostbusters impressions

Although I haven't had as much game time as usual lately, I was able to sneak in a few sessions with Ghostbusters: The Video Game on PlayStation 3.

I haven't checked any FAQs, but I'd estimate I'm about halfway through or so—before I started, I was hoping that the game would be at least decent, but I'm quite glad to report that it's actually fantastic. Without a doubt, it's certainly among the best license-based games ever created, if not the best. Besides that, it's great just as a game, license or not.

Although I certainly think anyone would be able to enjoy the action, I'd guess that it's at least twice as good for people (like me) who are fans of the film.

Game Buddies

Although it's not exactly a new thing, two games I've played recently have included vocal NPCs tagging along with the player—and I love it. Specifically, the titles I'm referring to are Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood and Ghostbusters.

In Juarez, the player selects either Thomas or Ray McCall at the beginning of each level, and the AI plays the role of the other. Although the adventure is heavily scripted in nearly every aspect, their constant company provides ample opportunity for dialogue between the characters. These conversations help build a sense of familiarity with the characters, and it's very welcome to play a game where I don't feel like a lone soldier fighting a war all by myself. Honestly, the back-and-forth between the brothers is the best aspect of the entire game.

In Ghostbusters (I'm still really early in the game) but the first section featured constant chatter between the player and the main characters from the films.

Phantasy Star Portable: pros and cons

Contrary to popular rumor, the Best of Community feature I've been plinking away at is still alive and kicking. I had to shelve it for a little while for various reasons, but I have two reviews that need to be posted tonight, and once those are in the can then I'm going to focus my full attention on getting the first installment of Best of Community up and running.

In other news, I never saw this one coming but the PlayStation Portable's Phantasy Star Portable has been getting the majority of my playtime lately.

One reason is that I've been on the go much more than usual lately, so the "portable" aspect has a lot to do with it. That aside, it's been a while since I played a good level-grinding loot-fest, so this one is fitting the bill. It's not one of the genre's best and it's certainly not as good as it could be, but it definitely has a certain charm.

Calling Juarez and plus-size Phantasy

I needed something to play on the PlayStation Portable since I knew I'd have some time to kill. Scanning the shelves of used titles (and trying not to imagine a future where this is no longer a reality) I found myself strangely attracted to Phantasy Star Portable.

Although I enjoyed a couple of the original Phantasy Star games back on the Genesis and spent some time with Phantasy Star Online, I can't really claim to be a huge fan of the series in its various incarnations. The more recent titles have been especially lacking in my opinion, and although Phantasy Star sorta paved the way for online console MMOing, the developers don't really seem able to keep pace with current trends for various reasons.

Getting back up to speed

I'm completely behind schedule in terms of reviews which is a little embarrassing since I pride myself on being an industrious, high-output kind of guy, but I'm making the effort and slowly getting back up to speed. At the moment I'm still chugging through Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood on PlayStation 3.

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