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Original Buffy Cast vs. My Buffy Cast (18 items)
Person list by Miss Tifini
Published 6 years, 12 months ago 4 comments



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Chrono Cross review

Posted : 6 years, 12 months ago on 20 December 2010 11:49 (A review of Chrono Cross)

Review of Chrono Cross from Andrew Vestal:

"The story begins with the hero, Serge, who is thrust into a parallel world where he died under mysterious circumstances over a decade ago. He teams up with a rowdy adventurer, Kid, and sets out in search of the mysterious Frozen Flame, an artifact that lets the holder reshape time and space on a whim. The enigmatic Lynx, a regal man-cat who hunts the Frozen Flame for his own purposes, opposes them. In his quest to return home, Serge will accrue both allies and foes, and he'll find himself thrust into an adventure that reveals his heritage, purpose, and ultimate destiny. Only by crossing between the two dimensions can Serge find the answers to his questions.

Without revealing any more of Chrono Cross' excellent storyline, it can be said that it successfully pulls off the difficult balancing act every sequel faces. It's not a rehash of the original Chrono Trigger, but neither does it exploit the characters and setting of Chrono Trigger for name recognition alone. Instead, it sets up an equally valid, separate, and well-developed world, then slowly and responsibly weaves in elements, characters, and events from the first title. It doesn't continue the original Chrono Trigger mythos so much as it expands it. Gamers will be stunned by the resolution of the disparate plot threads. And with features like a unilaterally taciturn hero, an accommodating attitude toward interdimensional travel, and a new game+ mode, Chrono Cross manages to maintain the ineffable Chrono Trigger feel.

The battle system deviates slightly from the RPG norm. The traditional "active time bar" has been replaced with a bar of seven stamina points. While the engine is still ostensibly turn-based, any character can take a turn at any time as long as they have at least a single stamina point remaining. Enemies can even interrupt your characters' attacks. Party members can unleash weak, medium, and strong attacks, which require one, two, and three stamina points, respectively. Even though the game pauses while waiting for input, the ability to start and end a character's turn whenever you please makes for a more frantic, "real-time" experience.

Elements, Chrono Cross' magic system, is divided into six colors: black and white, red and blue, and green and yellow. The characters all have a "color alignment," which determines their affinity to certain elements. Once you obtain a spell, you place it in an acceptable empty slot on a character's element grid. For example, a spell with level "5+/-2" is a level five spell, but can be placed in any slot from three to seven with the expected drop or rise in effectiveness. Successfully landing a weak, medium, or strong attack adds one, two, or three bars to a characters' element grid. A character with sufficient element bars can cast a spell, but the cost is seven stamina points, temporarily dropping him or her out of action. Combine building element grids and plummeting stamina bars with the dynamic nature of characters' turns, and battles become a constantly shifting endeavor - yet always remain under the player's total control. Once you understand the intricacies of the battle system, encounters are always over quickly.

Two other features of the battle system are dual techs and the color field. As in the original Chrono Trigger, characters can combine their special techniques for dual attacks; while dual techs are not as prevalent as you might expect, they are there to be discovered. The color field keeps track of the color of the last three spells cast. If the field becomes a single color, characters with that color alignment gain a statistical boost. Moreover, a monochromatic field is the only time when one of the game's mighty summons can be unleashed. Manipulating the field to a single color is trickier than you might expect, as the interference of your opponents' spells can't be ignored.

Chrono Cross has to be the most battle-friendly RPG ever released. All opponents are visible onscreen before the battle sequences begin, making battles easy to engage in or avoid. Even more pleasantly, every battle can be escaped whenever you like with a 100-percent success rate. Even boss battles. Don't like the way the battle is going? Your three red magicians hopelessly doomed against a blue powerhouse? Don't reset your console - just run away, regroup, and re-engage. And last but far from least, the option to automatically heal at the end of a battle is a boon from the RPG gods. Don't misunderstand; the game doesn't cure your party for free. But it will intelligently dig through your available spells and stocked inventory and use the necessary elements to return your party to fighting shape. So long, post-battle trips to the status screen, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.


Chrono Cross also features a list of key items that can be selected and used on the overworld map and field screens. These items advance the plot, bypass obstacles, and recruit characters to your cause. While no one will fall head over heels in love with this gameplay "innovation," it does add an old-school adventure game feel and an element of interaction with the environment that most console RPGs lack.

Surprisingly, Chrono Cross' seemingly endless supply of characters works to its benefit, not its detriment. The secret to its success? Every last one of the 40-plus members is a unique, story-driven, and valuable contributor. Unlike many cast-of-thousands RPG epics, each character in Chrono Cross is an interesting and worthy addition to your team. Everyone has a beautiful character model, excellently animated attacks, and three unique "limit break" type special skills. There's even a miniquest or special requirement for every character's best skill - that's a lot of extra adventuring! While you'll certainly have your own handful of favorites, you'll never add someone to your party and wonder, "Why is this character in the game?" There are no disposable placeholders in Chrono Cross.

Even more surprising is the amount of unique text in the game. There is no dialogue spoken by "assorted other party members." Every character has his or her own reaction to and take on the story's events, expressed in his or her own special dialect, speech pattern, and dialogue style. Moreover, many exchanges are only found by having certain characters in your party. If your opponent has a history with one of your members, the two of them will hash it out before you fight. If one of your members has had an experience they feel pertains to the situation at hand, they'll share it with you.

Square's localization team has done an incredible job with a comprehensive set of uniquely English dialects. The Japanese language has a broader base of vocabulary with which a writer can express a character's social class, self-perception, politeness level, maturity, and so forth. It would have been easy to dismiss maintaining the dialects as "impossible" and just do a straight translation - but Square did not. While some choices may seem odd at first (Kid as a foul-mouthed Australian sheila? Harle as a compassionate French belle?), the richness of the language soon becomes as much a credit to the game as the diversity of characters.

Graphically, Chrono Cross is nothing short of stunning. While Square's Final Fantasy is glossy and polished, Chrono Cross has an organic feel lacking in the former's "perfect" environments. Vibrant color, creative design, and just the right amount of ambient effects bring the settings to life. Again, while Final Fantasy drops your characters into a small subsection of a large, epic environment, Chrono Cross lets you explore every nook and cranny of scandalously detailed towns, buildings, and dungeons. While we don't intend to slight Final Fantasy's excellent graphics and design, many gamers will prefer the more down-to-earth, personal, and "gritty" feel of Chrono Cross. The environments are well worn and lived in, not just-constructed movie sets.

The battle graphics are also excellent. Characters and enemies are universally well modeled, textured, and animated. Camera movement, for the most part, always offers a great view of the action. Special accolades should be given to the spell effects - while they're impressive and suitably over-the-top, they're also short and fast.

Thankfully, the sound and music more than match the graphics. Sound effects are varied and always match the situation at hand. The music is, in a word, gorgeous, and it will undoubtedly be many players' favorite part of the Chrono Cross experience. Chrono Trigger composer Yasunori Mitsuda has returned and crafted a masterpiece. Composition and sample quality are both outstanding, and the soundtrack runs the emotional gamut, presenting everything from playful mambo jams to sorrowful violin solos. While many songs are new and unique to Chrono Cross, the influence of Chrono Trigger can definitely be heard. Some songs are rearrangements of Chrono Trigger tunes, while other songs tactfully reference a three- or four-note phrase that only the most devoted series fans will recognize.

With Square agonizing over every detail of its flagship property, the Chrono Cross team was apparently left mostly to themselves. Consequently, the game shares an all-out enthusiasm and joie de vivre found in the best 16-bit titles - back before games became multimillion dollar properties that had to answer to glaring shareholders. Chrono Cross may not have had the largest budget, but it has the largest heart."


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Yoshi's Story review

Posted : 6 years, 12 months ago on 20 December 2010 11:37 (A review of Yoshi's Story)

Review of Yoshi's Story from Peer Schneider:

"Yoshi's Story sometimes comes close to the classic Nintendo gameplay on the NES and Super NES. The only problem is that despite fantastic analog control and a "sniff button" that enables you to uncover hidden goodies, there really isn't anything ground-breaking here. As one of six differently colored dinosaurs (there are also two hidden ones) players run, jump, swim, bounce and crawl through 24 lavishly rendered 2D levels trying to find (and eat) 30 pieces of fruit. The stages are standard side-scroller fare, including water, cave, cloud, and snow levels, and the typical Nintendo castle stage. But unlike other 2D classics, Yoshi's levels don't have an end: You finish a stage by chomping up the 30th "super happy tree fruit."

Since each fruit gives you a certain amount of points, you don't want to eat just anything you find, but rather selectively choose a) the lucky fruit of the day (which is randomly determined before you play), b) your dino's favorite fruit (the green guy likes melons, the red guy likes apples, etc), or c) honeydew melons (all Yoshis love these -- and they give you the highest points). So although it's quite easy to finish a level by just eating any fruit you see, finding the 30 melons and collecting them is the real challenge. Also, you can change the colors of your enemies by stomping the ground -- you guessed it, the green Yoshi gets higher points for eating a green enemy, and so on.

Sounds good so far, right? The only problem: There is little reward for doing well in the game. Back in the old days of Donkey Kong and Defender, playing for hi-scores was the way to go, but whether you like it or not, nowadays we feel horribly cheated if we don't get anything special for succeeding. The same holds true for Yoshi's Story. You will carry on playing the game hoping to uncover an additional world or more levels, but in the end you will grow bored of the tedious melon search. Which brings me to another problem with Yoshi: Length.

When compared with its predecessor, Yoshi's Island, this game should have been called "Yoshi's Short Story." The original had more than twice as many levels, and you were forced to play through all of them to get to the end. In the 64-bit Yoshi, Nintendo brought back the one thing everyone complained about with Star Fox 64 -- the annoying multi-path level structure that only lets you play a limited number of stages each time. Since the game design is based on a children's pop-up book, every time you play Yoshi's Story you can only play six stages; one for each page. There are multiple pathways depending on how many hearts you gather in the individual levels, but they are quite easy to find.

The game also features a Trial Mode in which you can play single levels that you've already finished. Your high score in these levels is saved to the cart (with your name). This does admittedly lengthen the play value of the cart as you can compete against your friends' scores, but it doesn't solve the lack of challenge and the short quest."



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Banjo-Kazooie review

Posted : 6 years, 12 months ago on 20 December 2010 11:34 (A review of Banjo-Kazooie)

Review of Banjo Kazooie from Peer Schnieder:

"An evil, ugly witch by the name of Gruntilda seeks to be the prettiest creature in the land. One day, she learns that Tooty, Banjo's sister, is more beautiful than she, (which wouldn't take much) and decides that she must do something about it. So, as Banjo the honey bear sleeps in the comfort of his bead and Kazooie the red crested breegull squawks from his hanging backpack a few short feet away, Gruntilda flies down upon the grasslands and kidnaps Tooty, who happens to be playing in the front yard. Kazooie hears Tooty's cry for help, (if you can call it that) and proceeds to wake Banjo out of his sleep. Unfortunately, the bear/bird duo are too late, arriving just as Tooty and the evil witch ride away on her broomstick, destined for the lair of her wretched castle. Players begin the game just as Banjo and Kazooie set out to rescue Tooty from the claws of Gruntilda.

A "Dream" Come True
There's no denying the fact that Banjo-Kazooie borrows from Mario 64 in more ways than one. Both games are extremely cute 3D platformers with a variation of the same story, a near identical control scheme and a strikingly similar theme of levels. Mario collects stars. Banjo and Kazooie collect jiggies. Mario has a butt-stomp. Banjo and Kazooie have a beak-stomp. Banjo doesn't just copy Mario 64 though, it expands upon the game. For example, Banjo's worlds are bigger, more detailed and are filled with interactive characters at every corner. The Banjo-Kazooie team work as exactly that; some objectives require the use of Kazooie's wings or ability to run up hills while others are perfectly suited for Banjo. The result is an addictive balance between the two characters.

The astounding amount of detail put into Banjo-Kazooie is clearly visible from the game's start. After viewing Rare's inventive logo animation, players will be treated to an opening sequence of Banjo-Kazooie and friends playing the game's opening theme-song. The animation is perfect, colors bright and music cheerful. It all feels so Nintendo-like that it's almost eerie.

Before beginning the game, first-time players must select a save-file for their particular adventure as no memory pak is required. Rare has made three save-files available so that multiple Banjo-Kazooiers can play different games and save their progress. Each save-file is represent by Banjo-Kazooie in a different position. For example, players choosing save-file three are treated to Banjo and Kazooie playing Nintendo's Gameboy. Gamers selecting a different save-file may see Banjo sleeping in a bed. It's a very unnecessary interface that many developers wouldn't have bothered with, but Rare has gone the extra mile to give the game that much more character. This is the general theme of the Banjo-Kazooie; everything, no matter how small and seemingly unimportant, has been tackled with extensive detail and that's one of the reasons why the game is in a league of its own.

After selecting a game and viewing its opening storyline, which illustrates Tooty's kidnapping by the evil witch Gruntilda in real-time, (a la Goldeneye and Starfox), players begin the adventure just outside of Banjo's house. The first thing players will encounters is Bottles the mole, who teaches the bear/bird duo the maneuvers they will need to know as they progress the game."


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The Path review

Posted : 7 years, 2 months ago on 22 September 2010 12:47 (A review of The Path)

"Trying to find words to describe The Path is not easy, especially without throwing in too many spoilers. So here goes - wish me luck.

The Path is not a game. Sure, it contains elements found in this generation of gaming (most notably mass-collecting) but it's clearly not meant to be a game at all. It just all feels incredibly... messed up.

You probably know the setup by now. Choose from 6 Little Red Riding Hood-esque girls, then make your way to Grandmother's House by walking The Path. Of course, while you're told 'Don't Stray from the Path', curiosity (and trying to find some actual fun) tells you to take off into the forest and explore.
This is where I try to keep the spoilers to a minimum. In the wilderness it's pretty empty and you'll pelt along for a while before you encounter anything. That being said, it does mean that when you finally do spot something in the mist it's a good feeling.

Your next feeling all depends on what exactly is it that you've found. There seems to be three different types of scene to be sought out. The first is a simple 'here is an object, interact with it, move on'. Then you have pick-upables which your chosen girl will place into her basket (accessable via the space bar). Finally, there are whole scenes set out to find which, depending on which character you are, may or may not trigger cutscenes and special storylines.

The horror elements work very well. The creepy music and girls singing/laughing/crying mix with the dark, spooky settings and random shapes flash up all over the screen as if imprinted on your monitor. Tale of Tales set out to make a horror game and this they have pulled off spectacularly.
This is especially evident when you reach the end of the path and enter Grandmother's House. Again, trying not to give away too much, but depending on what was encountered during your walk along The Path, the inside of the house will look, sound and feel completely different. You might take a different route to normal and end up in rather strange settings, or maybe you'll take the regular path but the walls will be covered in... colour, and doors will be slamming in the wind.

So what it all boils down to is that Tale of Tales have developed an object-hunting horror extravaganza. I'll put a big tick next to 'horror' on their report card, but in the 'gameplay' box, I'm writing 'See Me'.

The thing is, like I said at the beginning, The Path is not a game. Yet, unlike other recent attempts at arty gaming (see Flower), Tale of Tales have not drawn that line between and art and gaming well enough. Everything screams that it's an arty-farty malarkey - there's poetry, beautiful surroundings, specific storylines dedicated to each girl which seem to be telling some kind of story about 'growing up' - but the control scheme coupled with running around everywhere, grabbing golden flowers and having a real, set objective to complete give it a very gamey feel.
And this is rather a problem. As a game, it's pretty boring. Maybe the first run through is entertaining enough, then the second go lets you use your new-found understanding of how the game works, but after that the whole experience just feels like an absolute chore. By the time I'd powered through the forest with my final girl, I was sick and tired of it all and really could not be bothered.

I think it's also worth mentioning that this game did not like my computer at all. While I don't own an incredibly high-end machine, my rig is only a couple of years old and can run the likes of, say, Far Cry 2 without problem. The first time I ran The Path, the opening video lagged immensely and I eventually had to turn the graphics down in the options to get it to run properly - that's with all the latest drivers installed et al. Maybe it's just my PC, maybe it's ATI gfx cards - I haven't seen it run on another computer to check.
So there is my spoiler-free take on this month's - hell, this year's weirdest game. If you're wondering whether to grab a copy (there is no demo, understandably, to try out first), decide which of these categories you fall into: If you're curious and are looking for a messed up experience, or are just a big fan of artistic gaming, give it a go; If you don't fit into that category, you probably won't like it. Of course, with this kind of game, it all boils down to your own experience, so what I think may not apply to you at all.

That's why it is hard for me to either recommend or veto The Path. All I can say is, buying this game is a risk as some will like it and some won't. Hopefully my experience with it has helped you to decide whether it will be for you.

Pick up your copy off Steam, D2D or from the Tale of Tales website." Review by Michael Rose


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Interesting

Posted : 7 years, 11 months ago on 3 January 2010 11:50 (A review of Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow)

I picked this book up because of a recomendation from my librarian. Its rather interesting, and its mysterious. It mixes a bit of Norse culture in it. If your a fantasy book lover then you probably would like this book. The main character is female, although I think males could stand to read it if they tried.

Its about a girl who wasn't named because her mother was so sick of having female children. Most of her sibling refer to her as the "pika," (meaning "girl" in Norse) however, her brother, Hans Peter, calls her "lass." They live in Christiana, a Christian based country(who would have guessed?) The lass aquires the ability to talk to animals after meeting a white reigndeer, who grants her a name. This also leads to her being taken by a gigantic bear(there was a norse name for this bear, but I can't spell it), and he asks her to live in his palace of ice for at least one year. She agrees to this in the condition that her family would get wealthy, and that her wolf can come with her to the ice palace.

Like I said before, this book is very interesting.


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Posted: 5 years ago at Dec 18 1:23
Check out my newest Amazing Underrated Obscure Bizarre film list Part 12! Thanks!
http://www.listal.com/list/amazing-underrated-obscure-bizarre-films-3177
Posted: 5 years, 3 months ago at Sep 9 3:32
Check out my new Amazing Underrated Obscure Bizarre film list, Part 11!

http://www.listal.com/list/amazing-underrated-obscure-bizarre-films-4408
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Hi! Please vote if you like it. :D
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this my Emily you can do this add me on Facebook ('', )
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Please take a look at my new lists and tell me what you think...
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Thanks for the friend request. BTW, I like the idea of a 'things that I dislike' list. I might make one for my profile too :)
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Ha! That was pretty bad. Thankfully, Jeffrey Donovan went on much better work.
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