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« Why I Hated... Brink | Main | Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Or “My Thumbs; My Inadequacy” »

Cult DS Classics: Supplementing The Poor 3DS Launch Line-Up - Part I

- KENZI199 is a very good friend of mine and part-time, amateur freelance writer. He writes what he wants, when he wants, how he wants then sends it to me. As such, his articles may not necessarily be the most relevent, but if I didn't think they were well worth a read, they wouldn't be on the site. Enjoy!

As craterous the opinions formed over the 3DS, some claiming it to be a Holy Grail from which to live and breathe innovation and new invention, courtesy of Nintendo; others claiming it more appropriate a comparison to a fetid, sopping urinal from which users will only amass a miasma of disappointment and dirty hands. Very opposing forces are stacked on either side of the 3DS. The sceptics amongst them claim that the format is prone to gimmicks with weak core gameplay. Whereas, the ever faithful claim future games will deliver untold pleasure and excitement, solidarity as a species, and offer pets without fear of ever accidently touching real shit; that Nintendo are pioneers in handheld gaming.

From whichever angle you choose to look at the 3DS you can be sure that the release line-up is decidedly average. So I offer a short list of recommendations to supplement the Gamer unafraid to explore the humble DS back catalogue. And I assure you that I’m not working on commission.


Do you like meteors? Do you like Tetris? Do you like dogging on a week night in the badly-lit parks around Stockport? If you’ve answered "yes" to any of those questions you may be interested in a fusion of all three – A copy of Meteos wrapped in my social calendar and a photo of a car. To continue the link of raucous sex with strangers with only car ownership in common, and a rather addictive DS game, both will get under your skin in a way that there’s no cream for, and put a strain on your wrist. Meteos is one of the few games for which the touch screen is not simply drafted in. The concept is of the evolution of Tetris which changes the pace of the original gameplay by making it tighter; rapid, but controlled.

The game works by using the stylus to slide three or more of the same tiles together, which then turn into rockets that fire skywards, carrying any tiles stacked on top with them. The skill is in firing multiple rockets up and connecting them into a screen clearing mass of propulsion, and keeping things balanced with blocks constantly dropping in from the opponent. Each of the 32 planets offers a different environment to subtly change each match. Some planets are wider or narrower than normal, or gravity is changed which alters the game more than you might think. Hevendor blocks disappear instantly after ignition, whereas Gravitas is like hauling your house onto your back and climbing the every stair in the world. But what to do with unlocked planets? The multi-player lets you utilise them which adds a dimension of "best of 5" tournaments, and could see you being a new archenemy to your friends when the rivalry starts to rocket.

Considering Meteos was a line-up release title, you could probably get a copy for less than a fistful of Viagra and a bottle of vodka, so easy on the wallet - and with a more friendship forming multiplayer. A true sequel to equal even the most halcyon held memories of Tetris.


Price: Around £16.99 - Brand new

Metacritic Rating: 88




Custom Robo

If bricks and rockets aren’t your cup of contentment then ever-ready to please I offer a fully customizable selection of miniature robots. But not just any robots, not those dullard mechanized automatons that build cars or fail to grasp teddy bears in amusement arcades. You choose the gun, the bomb, the mine, the body and even the legs! You can customize between so many different parts, arenas and un-lockable "illegal" (read bad-ass) parts it has all the appeal of a pokemon game but with a more intense battle system. You control the robot in real-time, ducking and diving behind cover or jumping around peppering the enemy with bombs and watching them confusedly dart into your mines. It’s hectic, but war between tiny robots often is.
It’s worth noting however, that for every exciting moment in battle between belligerent ‘bots there will be a reel of dialogue to skip past or minute of walking between scenes in the miasma disguised as "story". Sadly, this isn’t the work of Oscar Wilde and the plot can be summed up in "boy moves to town, meets friends, becomes an active member of the community, slowly gains strength/skill/rank, and beats the final enemy". The plot is mired, purulent, vapid to the point of vacuous, and inoculated with insouciance - but to save you looking those words up - the story has the personality of particularly unremarkable grey paint sample, slightly covered in "a bit below average" house dust in stupendously sub-standard way. Bland to the point of banal, which I don’t think can be understated.
Though once you complete the (sparingly short) story mode, you can start unlocking the awesome illegal robot parts and arenas, and really mixing things up in multiplayer. This game is frenetic with a surprising amount of depth to collecting new parts, and creating new combinations for the ever-changing multiplayer matches. Just tune out everything that happens between battles and you’re in for a treat.


Price: Around £14.99 - Brand New

Metacritic Rating: 74




Bangai-O Spirits

Something not so far removed but with a different appeal is Bangai-O Spirits. If that alone didn’t give you a jolt of serotonin and memory of more explosions than celebrations on Chinese New Year, then buckle up and strap yourself in. I’m not being cute either, the visuals in this game go off like fireworks in a paint factory and you may experience arousal.
The game plays on a 2D map and starts deceptively easy as you control a small robot and jet around and defeat all the enemies on each map to win. You can use a variety of weapons each with their own quirks and uses which you can mix up, or use independently to various effect – such as homing + napalm bullets, or bounce + break that rebound off walls and shoot through the opponents’ hail of missiles. The uses of each weapon and some of the game’s mechanics are introduced through optional training levels which are not to be overlooked if you find yourself initially overwhelmed. The levels themselves form a mixture. Some start you brutally in the centre of hostile turrets which instantly effloresce with incandescent attack. Other levels are more puzzle focussed and require some forward thinking about what to shoot first so you can eventually get to the waiting enemy. There are also a handful of levels that combine both aspects with a challenging combination of quick shooting and quick manoeuvre, (good luck).

The real appeal, the jewel in the crown, the Molotov cocktail that ignites the petrol station in a riot, lies in the EX attacks! Wait till the enemy have you surrounded with torrents of hell-fire and bullets coming at you then unleash an EX attack to create a cresting wave of return fire and gather some footing against the heaving flow of incoming chaos. The EX attack is a wondrous thing, the more missiles fired at you, the stronger the EX attack, equals explosive extermination. Can you stay calm and composed enough to charge a screen obliterating attack? Therein lays the skill.
Intense, and a not entirely brainless delight, Bangai-O mixes puzzle elements with the action rather smoothly, and of the 160 instantly available levels there are levels for a bit of feverish fun or maps in need of a well planned approach. And, if that wasn’t enough - prepare to have your cherry popped - up to 4 player multi-card multiplayer, and a level editor to edit any of the 160 levels or create your own.


Price: Around £13 - Brand New

Metacritic: 83





Was that a champagne cork or are you done?...


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