The Secret of Monkey Island consumed a lot of my time back in the day, it is one of the best (and funniest) games ever produced. I have wondered for a while now why some of the old adventure games haven’t been dusted off and republished for the new consoles – the Wii in particular seems well suited to the genre. It seems somebody has had the same idea:
That’s the second biggest monkey head I’ve ever seen!
Nintendo have finally released some original games to their online store. Having a couple of hours and $18 spare, I decided to check it out by buying Star Soldier R, because I have always been a sucker for 2D shooter games.
While the game looks good and plays well, I cannot say that it was worth the money. The big problem is that there is just not enough of it. Instead of several large levels that you might see in a traditional shooter, Star Soldier R has only 2. The challenge is to score as many points as possible in 2 or 5 minutes (depending on the mode). This could have worked if there were a variety of levels to play in, but you always start from the same place, shooting the same enemies. On top of that, the power-ups are pretty unimaginative.
All this makes the game feel more like a demo than a full game – it gives you a short taste of fun then cruelly shuts you down just as you feel you are getting somewhere. As it stands, Star Soldier R is just not good value even at its reduced price of 800 points.
For the last 2 weeks I have been playing this game on the Wii. The Legend of Zelda series of games go back top the eighties, but I have to say that I have not really followed it in any way, although I did start Windwaker at one stage. I must say upfront that Twilight Princess is one of the best game I have ever played.
Finally a new game for the Wii has been released! Excite Truck is a monster truck racing game pitting you against several nameless, faceless opponents in races set in various locations around the world. All pretense at realism is thrown out the window – the trucks move at insane speeds down narrow branching tracks and jump hundreds of feet into the air. Even better, by running over triggers on the track, the landscape dynamically reforms, usually by having large ramps thrust out of the ground sending your truck soaring.
Most of the strategy in Excite Truck centers around increasing your base speed (already fast enough) with various boosts. You have an unlimited amount of turbo which gives you a good boost, but using it too often can cause your engine to overheat, slowing you down. Using the turbo when your truck first leaves the ground over a jump causes you to rocket into the air at great speed, and while in the air you control the aspect at which the truck is flying. Another large boost occurs if you manage to angle the truck so that it lands with all four wheels at the same time.
The races in Excite Truck are not winner-takes-it-all. You are racing for stars, which can be obtained by a variety of means. Particularly large jumps, stunts while in the air, jumping through hoops, and even taking out the other trucks al give you varying amounts of stars. A good placing at the end of the race gives a large amount of stars but it is perfectly possible to beat a level without winning the race, or even by coming last.
The controls of Excite Truck take a bit of getting used to. The Wii remote is held horizontally, steering (and controlling the truck in midair) is done by turning the controller like a steeling wheel. Once you get your head around not using the d-pad for controlling direction this arrangement works even better than you would expect.
The gameplay is excellent, with the track coming at you so fast that sometimes you have to just let instinct take over, by the time your consciousness has registered the turn coming up you have already passed it. The graphics are very well done as well. Although there are only 5 locations, each one is host to several tracks so there is plenty of variety. The music is dreadful, but you can’t have everything.
I have a Wii, in fact I have owned one for 2 months now. I like almost everything about; its small and quiet, unpretentious, and has great functionality. Although it is not as powerful as the other “next-gen” consoles (the Xbox360 and the soon-to-be-released-in-this-market PS3), I actually find this to be somewhat of a plus since I do not have the HiDef TV screen that is needed to take advantage of the more expensive competitors.
The Wii controller (or wiimote, if you prefer whimsey) is a work of design genius. Easy to hold in a variety of positions, the motion sensing works fantastically well. Even better is that the controller works as an accurate pointing device, this opens up a whole lot of gameplay options and makes things like the Wii web browser work very smoothly.
Unfortunately, despite lots of potential, there are not a lot of good games out for the Wii yet. I have Wii Sports (which comes with the machine and is excellent) and Ramond’s Rayman Raving Rabbits Rabbids, which is good if uneven. Excite Truck comes out in a weeks time, so I will probably grab that if only to see how well the controller works as a steering wheel.
For those wishing get a lot of Miis in their Mii parade, my Wii Code is:
5086 2637 9628 9138
Either leave a comment with your Wii code, or email it to me and I will add you to my address book. Lets get those Miis marching!