All posts by themancalledscott

Born of cold and winter air and mountain rain combining, the man called Scott is an ancient sorcerer from a long-forgotten realm. He’s more machine now than man, twisted and evil. Or, you know, he could just be some guy who loves video games, animations and cinema who just wanted to write about such things.

Zelda II: The Adventures of Link Review


Wizard Dojo tackles the black sheep of the Zelda family.

Wizard Dojo

Zelda 2

Unlike movies, video game sequels are usually expected to be better than their predecessors, though third entries can still see some mixed results even in games. This is an area where Nintendo differentiates from other developers. While many developers see their franchises meet high points with their second entries (such as Capcom with Street Fighter 2 and Mega Man 2), Nintendo’s second installments are often seen as the black sheep of their franchises, while their third entries break new ground.

Super Mario Bros. was a revolution, while both the Japanese and English versions of Super Mario Bros. 2 were relatively less well-received (with the Japanese game being extremely difficult, and the American game being wildly different from the original). Then Super Mario Bros. 3 served as the benchmark for 8-bit gaming. This also occurred with the 3D Mario titles, with Super Mario 64 once again serving as a gaming revolution, its…

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Pokemon Moon Review


The fastest-selling titles in Nintendo’s history, the biggest Pokemon games ever. The Wizard Dojo’s long-overdue review.

Wizard Dojo

Pokemon Moon

When Pokemon Sun and Moon versions were released on the 3DS towards the end of 2016, they became the fastest-selling titles in Nintendo’s long history. New entries in the mainline Pokemon series are always a big deal, but it seemed more of a big deal than ever with Sun and Moon. Perhaps due in part to the (long overdue) changes the games made to the formula, and maybe partly due to the wild success of Pokemon Go earlier in the year, and maybe a little bit due to them being some of the last major 3DS titles before the Switch takes over Nintendo’s priorities. Whatever the case, Pokemon Sun and Moon were big. But did they live up to the hype?

In a lot of ways, Pokemon Sun and Moon were the breath of fresh air the series sorely needed for a long time. Despite Pokemon being a series that’s…

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Bill & Ted’s Excellent Video Game Adventure Review


TheManCalledScott of Wizard Dojo reviews possibly the worst game he’s ever played. Head for the hills and take cover!

Wizard Dojo

Bill & Ted

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Video Game Adventure on the NES may very well be the worst video game I have ever played. It’s right up there with Wizard of Oz on SNES and Superman 64. It’s a game that’s so bad, that I can’t even begin to comprehend how anyone involved with it could have thought any of its aspects were anywhere near finished. It’s a broken, unplayable disaster.

The game serves as something of a sequel to the 1980s comedy Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The film was not exactly a classic, but it’s a fondly remembered and pretty entertaining comedy about two idiots (Bill and Ted, obviously) who are about to fail their history exams, and go back in time to find historical figures to help out with said history exam.

It’s not the worst concept for a movie to be turned into a video game, but…

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The Weekly Wizard: Issue #5: Super Mario Oddities


Welcome to The Weekly Wizard, the weekly segment of Miketendo64 brought to you by the dark magics of Wizard Dojo, where I look at the current goings-on with Nintendo, or take a retrospective look at their past.

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Super Mario is weird. It always has been. But somewhere along the line, it seems we all took its weirdness for granted. Perhaps it’s because of Mario’s status as the “face of gaming” or because it’s a multimillion dollar franchise, but somehow, we all kind of forgot just how baffling weird Mario is. Continue reading The Weekly Wizard: Issue #5: Super Mario Oddities

The Weekly Wizard: Issue #4: The Worst Nintendo Console of All Time


Introduction! This is The Weekly Wizard (TWW), the Miketendo64 segment brought to you by Wizard Dojo, where the maniacal cad behind said site discusses current happenings with Nintendo, or gives a retrospective look at Nintendo’s past.

Last time, the Weekly Wizard looked back on the greatest Nintendo console of all time, the Super NES. What better way to follow that up than with a look back at Nintendo’s worst?

Continue reading The Weekly Wizard: Issue #4: The Worst Nintendo Console of All Time

The Weekly Wizard: Issue #3: The Best Nintendo Console of All Time!


Welcome back to the third edition of The Weekly Wizard, the weekly segment of Miketendo64 brought to you by Wizard Dojo, where I talk about current goings-on with Nintendo, or take a look at their past.

For this installment, I’ll take a look back at the greatest Nintendo system that ever was. But which one is that? Continue reading The Weekly Wizard: Issue #3: The Best Nintendo Console of All Time!

The Weekly Wizard: Issue #2: Welcome Back 3D Platformers!


Welcome to “issue” two of the Weekly Wizard. The segment of Miketendo64 brought to you by the dastardly villain behind WizardDojo.com, where I talk about current goings-on involving Nintendo, or take a retrospective look at Nintendo’s past. Whatever I feel like, really.

For this second “issue” of The Weekly Wizard, let’s talk about the reemergence of 3D platformers that seems to be happening in 2017. Continue reading The Weekly Wizard: Issue #2: Welcome Back 3D Platformers!

The Weekly Wizard: Issue #1: Switch Happens!


Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Weekly Wizard, a new segment here at Miketendo64 by TheManCalledScott, the evil genius behind WizardDojo.com. Here I will give opinions and such on current happenings in the world of Nintendo gaming, or maybe give little retrospectives on Nintendo’s past. Whatever I’m in the mood for, really…

For this first ever edition of this new segment, I figured it only made sense to write about the biggest thing in the world of Nintendo right now: the imminent launch of the Switch!

Continue reading The Weekly Wizard: Issue #1: Switch Happens!

Freedom Planet Review


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Freedom Planet is a love letter to the glory days of Sonic the Hedgehog. In fact, it started development as a Sonic fan game, until its developers at GalaxyTrail decided to create their own IP out of their love of the 16-bit Sonic the Hedgehog classics. The end results are a satisfying platformer that could even be called the best Sonic game of recent memory, even if it doesn’t boast the titular hedgehog.

From the get-go, the Sonic influence is obvious. The game adopts the 16-bit visuals of the Sega Genesis, and no doubt its musical score echoes inspiration from Sega’s heyday (not just in Sonic, but a Nights Into Dreams influence can be heard from time to time as well).

The base game includes two playable characters: Lilac is a suspiciously hedgehog-esque dragon who has powerful kicks and hair whips, as well as the ability to “dragon dash” using stored up energy, and a helicopter spin to add a little boost to her jumps. Carol is a wildcat who isn’t quite as strong as Lilac, but has quicker clawing attacks, can wall jump, leap between specially marked platforms, and can use the aforementioned energy for a rapid kicking combo.

Post-release add-ons for the PC releases have added additional playable characters – including Milla the dog, the game’s tritagonist – though the Wii U version has yet to receive these updates.

Either way, having two characters from the get-go gives players a little bit of diversity in its campaign, as Lilac and Carol battle armies of robots to save their planet from the evil Lord Brevon.

This simple story is perhaps the biggest differentiation between Freedom Planet and the 16-bit Sonics that inspired it. If you play the game in Adventure Mode, each level is introduced and concluded with a series of cinematics, complete with voice acting.

I have to say, for having 16-bit limitations, the cinematics are actually quite impressive, though they can at times become a bit too lengthy, which is probably what inspired GalaxyTrail to also include Classic Mode, where players jump directly into the levels without all the cinematics.

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On one hand, I feel the game is definitely meant to be played with the story intact, and something feels a little off when playing it without them. But on the other hand, I’m not too big of a fan of some of the characters (like Milla, whose cuteness is forced to the point of obnoxiousness, or Torque, an alien ally who often wears a duck beak for some reason), whom I feel are a little on the pandering side, and again, some of the cinematics drag on and on. In the end, I suppose it’s all down to personal preference.

The gameplay remains stellar, however, with clever level designs that contain multiple pathways a la 16-bit Sonic, with new mechanics added throughout the adventure to keep it all fresh.

There are minor tweaks to the Sonic formula at play, however. Instead of rings that work as a health system and a means to gain extra lives, Lilac and Carol collect red leaves, with every two red leaves refilling one of their hit points. Meanwhile, blue crystals need to be gathered in quantities of 200 in order to gain an extra life.

If there’s one big drawback to Freedom Planet, it’s that it boasts a rather glaring inconsistency in the difficulty between the levels and boss fights. The levels themselves can be easy or reasonably challenging, but even some of the game’s early bosses are on the frustratingly difficult side of things. It’s one thing if a hard game has hard bosses, or if the boss fights gradually become more difficult. But I can’t help but feel there’s no real transition in the boss difficulty. The levels themselves gradually stack up the difficulty, but the boss fights are difficult from the offset.

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The complaints are ultimately minor, however. Freedom Planet itself is a whole lot of fun, and feels like a Genesis classic that never was. It’s lightning-fast platforming and smart level design stand favorably alongside Sonic’s most fondly-remembered adventures, it’s fluidly animated with surprisingly strong production values, and its soundtrack – like any great 16-bit title – is a thing of utterly infectious beauty.

Sonic may have lost a step or two over the years, but Freedom Planet is a reminder that the foundations Sonic built were timeless and, of course, way passed cool.

 

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TheManCalledScott’s Top 5 Most Anticipated Nintendo Switch Games


The Nintendo Switch is imminent. As it’s worldwide March 3rd release approaches, we all have our lists of games we’re looking most forward to from the new home console/handheld hybrid.

1-2-Switch looks like it has the potential to be a great party title, and Arms looks to do to the fighting genre what Splatoon did for the shooter. But there are five games that I can safely say I’m most excited for, so I figured I’d cram them all into a list. Because that’s what I do sometimes.

Keep in mind that this particular list is based on games that are officially announced for the Nintendo Switch. There are rumblings (and very justifiable assumptions) that Yooka-Laylee will see a release on Switch, but it isn’t confirmed officially as of this writing., so games in that ballpark won’t be found here (though if it were included, Yooka-Laylee would be towards the top for sure). Obviously, this also means that games that I would like to see, but are currently just pipedreams (like a new DKC), are also not here.

Now with all the technicalities out of the way, here are my top 5 most anticipated games for the Nintendo Switch.

Continue reading TheManCalledScott’s Top 5 Most Anticipated Nintendo Switch Games

The Nintendo Switch Hype is Real!


TheManCalledScott’s quick, early thoughts on the Nintendo Switch’s lineup.

Wizard Dojo

Before I get to my opinions of the Switch or its lineup of games, I just want to express how grateful I am that those horrible rumors of a Mario RPG/Rabbids crossover turned out to be false. The idea of Super Mario RPG FINALLY getting a sequel, only to have it defecated upon by the presence of the Rabbids (the most insufferable gaming mascots of all time) was just too much to bear. But it was all nothing but lies and deceit. This is cause for celebration.

Anyway, the Switch looks pretty incredible. I like the different play styles (console, handheld, and tabletop), and the controllers look quite nice. The “differing battery life” seemed like a vague answer to one of everyone’s biggest concerns, but I guess I can worry about that another time. The good definitely outweighed the bad with Nintendo’s presentation (though what, must I ask, was up with…

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Luigi’s Mansion Arcade Review


A Wizard Dojo review.

Wizard Dojo

Luigi's Mansion Arcade

In 2015, Nintendo released an arcade iteration of their Luigi’s Mansion franchise to arcades in Japan, courtesy of developer Capcom. The game has since made its way to select arcades stateside, as something of a test run to see how well it fares outside of its native Japan. Hopefully this test run turns into something more, as Luigi’s Mansion Arcade is the best of the recent arcade transitions of Nintendo franchises.

The first highlight of Luigi’s Mansion Arcade is the setup itself. The game is featured in an enclosed cabinet, giving it a darker, more isolated feeling that fits the game’s haunted house theme. The cabinet features a seat for two players, each of which use a controller modeled after Luigi’s Poltergust 5000 vacuum.

Unlike the GameCube original or the 3DS sequel, Luigi’s Mansion Arcade is presented in a first-person view, meaning that players see everything from Luigi’s viewpoint. The players…

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The Wii U Game I Must Have Ported to the Switch


If rumors are to be believed, it seems that the Mario Kart and Splatoon titles heading for the Nintendo Switch aren’t entirely new entries, but enhanced ports of their Wii U editions.

This may come as a disappointment to some, but I think there’s a bright side to this. It’s true that the ports may be done to get some quality titles onto the Switch early on, but I think it’s also something of a testament to both the longevity of Nintendo’s titles, and the quality the Wii U brought to Nintendo’s franchises (seriously, the games were great! Why didn’t they sell more?). I’ve long since stated that Mario Kart 8 is the best entry in the long-running series, and if Nintendo fixed the battle mode and added some better character selections, it would pretty much be perfect. So if the Switch Mario Kart is just that, I’ll have no complaints.

Point being, while I would like to see some sequels to a number of Wii U games on the Switch, I’m also all for enhanced ports, provided they make some meaningful changes to the titles. But there is one Wii U game I’d love to see get an enhanced Switch port more than any others.

No, it’s not Super Smash Bros. It’s not Xenoblade Chronicles X. It’s not Pikmin 3. Those are all great games, and seeing them ported to the Switch would also be great.  But the Wii U game I most want to see get an enhanced port on the Switch is none other than…

 

DKCTF

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze!

 

Pretty much anyone who knows me or reads anything I write should know that Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is my favorite Wii U game, and one of my favorite Nintendo games of all time. Retro Studio’s Donkey Kong Country Returns was a fantastic return to form for DKC, but Tropical Freeze cranked everything up to all new levels.

The level design was some of the most creative ever seen in any game of any genre, the gameplay additions (such as Dixie and Cranky) were terrific and meaningful, and the soundtrack (composed by the legendary David Wise) is one of the finest in gaming history. Simply put, it was one Hell of a platformer.

DKCTFDespite its quality, Tropical Freeze was only a modest success. Perhaps partly due to the Wii U’s overall lackluster sales, and partly due to Nintendo fans (astoundingly) being disappointed at the game’s initial reveal, instead wishing for a new Metroid title from Retro Studios (because apparently one DKC from Retro was enough, but three Metroids weren’t???). No matter the case, the game sold decently enough, but doesn’t even rank as one of the Wii U’s 10 best-selling games. And despite getting strong reviews upon its release, it basically went under the radar from there, winning very few awards and rarely ranking nearly high enough on lists of best Wii U games.

This is a crying shame, not just because of the game’s immense quality, but also because it all but ensured that it never received any DLC or significant updates in a generation when Nintendo finally embraced such concepts.

Granted, a fantastic game stands on its own merits, and doesn’t need any additional content (just look at all the SNES greats). But considering that the Wii U was the console that saw Nintendo regularly update titles, often with significant additions (such as with Mario Kart 8, Splatoon, and Super Mario Maker), this really felt like a missed opportunity.

Though Tropical Freeze was a substantial improvement on the already-great Donkey Kong Country Returns, it still stands at being two whole worlds shorter. Once again, I prefer quality to quantity, and would prefer a shorter game with more polish and creativity than a lengthier one that features less in those departments. But how great would it have been to see additional stages, or even additional worlds, added to Tropical Freeze? What about extra modes, more secrets, or additional animal buddies?

Looking back, it seems like Nintendo and Retro Studios could have done something for the game post-release.

Now, I would absolutely love to see what Retro Studios could do if they were to make a third Donkey Kong Country title of their own. But since they’ve already announced that their next game (sadly) has nothing to do with DK, that’s off the table (hopefully we’ll get another DKC down the road at some point).

DKCTFSo if we won’t be seeing a new Retro Studios DKC anytime soon on the Switch, the next best thing would be for Tropical Freeze to make its way onto the console/handheld hybrid with some additional bells and whistles. This may not be entirely likely (again, the game was only a modest success), but if there’s one Wii U game I’d want to revisit on the Switch above all others, it’s definitely this one (okay, I suppose Mario Maker has a ton of potential, but Tropical Freeze was my favorite, okay?!).

Maybe with Retro working on another title, a different studio could handle a potential port, while adding new features to the process? Or perhaps Retro could cook up some brand new stages for the game as a side project? I don’t know, I’m just throwing ideas. All I know is I would absolutely love for this to happen.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is one of my favorite Nintendo games of all time. And you can never have too much of a great game. If Nintendo is really going to enhance some of the Wii U’s best games and bring them over to the Switch, it would be a perfect opportunity to make one of their greatest releases in recent memory all the more special.

They may have missed the opportunity to add more levels, bosses and gameplay additions to Tropical Freeze with DLC or updates. But hey, better late than never, right?

While we’re at it, can we also get the Tropical Freeze soundtrack on CD or something? That would be wonderful.

DKCTF

Nintendo Wii Turns 10!


Feel old?

Wizard Dojo

Wii

Time to feel old, everyone! The original Nintendo Wii was released in North America ten years ago today. Yep, it was November 19th 2006 that the gaming landscape was changed forever, as Satoru Iwata’s home console brainchild was released, and changed perceptions of what it means to be a gamer.

The Wii opened the door for audiences who previously seemed as far removed from gaming stereotypes as possible. No longer were video games just a “geek” pastime, but a hobby for just about everyone, from small children to grandparents and everything in between. It not only changed the direction of Nintendo, but even Sony and Microsoft took note, and if the popularity of mobile games is any indication, the Wii’s impact is still being felt.

Sure, the console had more than its share of shovelware (but then again, so did the PS2, not that anyone seems to bring that up)…

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Paper Mario: Color Splash Review


Is Paper Mario: Color Splash a return to form? Or does it fall flat?

Wizard Dojo

Color Splash

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars began the concept of transforming the world of Super Mario into an RPG series. Though Super Mario RPG never got a proper sequel, its legacy was continued by two series: the handheld Mario & Luigi titles, and Paper Mario. Both series were great in their own right, but it was Paper Mario that felt closer in spirit to Super Mario RPG.

Despite the Mario RPGs being among Nintendo’s best titles – up there with Zelda, Donkey Kong, and the Mario platformers – Nintendo, for reasons that will never make sense, decided to opt out of the Mario RPGs as time went by.

The last two Mario & Luigi titles have basically stripped away the depth in story, characters and gameplay from the first three titles, but Paper Mario has been altered all the more. Super Paper Mario took away the turn-based battles…

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