The Zero Hour

Reviews, rants and oddities on video game and film culture.

Monthly Archives: July 2011

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 – Silent Review

Scooby Doo: Classic Creep Capers

Scooby Doo has a lot to answer for. Scrappy Doo, Freddy’s insistence on looking for clues…with Daphne…, and that awful live action movie, it astounds me that the format can keep going after 40 years and still be relatively the same, regardless of line-up changes. It’s because of this, I have to give credit to the developers of Classic Creep Capers, they’ve managed to perfectly capture the essence of the show including everything that infuriates me about that fucking cowardly dog…

NOT THAT ONE!

Scooby Doo: Classic Creep Capers is a re-telling of 4 classic Scooby Doo stories, from the very first, terribly named “What a night for a knight” to “Snow Joke” about, you guessed it, a Snow monster (actually a Steve Buscemi look a like) and you may wonder “oh how do they pull that off?” well, it’s pretty much a cartoon kids version of Resident Evil. I shit you not. That dark, terrifying tense horror game with the zombies, replaced with bright graphics and given a cartoon dog and stoner as lead characters. It’s an awful idea and should be taken out back and shot. It even copies Resident Evils controls, which really don’t work in contrast to the games fixed camera angles. You move forward, titling the analogue stick upwards. Camera changes and you’re now moving left, straight into a wall. Now considering that in many levels you get chased down corridors by the monster of the week, running into walls and losing health for no good reason is just ridiculous oh and it doesn’t help when you’ve got a Great Dane who follows you everywhere that occasionally blocks your path. Oh actually, there isn’t even health, it’s kind of a courage-o-meter. Whenever you get scared, you lose courage, lose enough courage and Shaggy runs away and you have to start from a checkpoint. It reminds me a bit of the Sanity meter in Eternal Darkness, except clunkier and really poorly implemented. It doesn’t help that you spend most of the game running from something anyway, so the “death” doesn’t really make much sense.

Oh shut the fuck up, Freddie, no-one likes you.

 

It’s quite remarkable this came out at the end of the N64’s life, whilst you get occasional flair in graphics, it’s mostly bad 3D polygons (Shaggy has about 1 pixel width arms) that it wouldn’t look out of place on the PS1. The writings just as bad, it tries to recreate the dialogue from the cartoon, but because it’s just text, it feels boring to read and just plain bad. Freddy will always ask you to search for clues, Daphne will always state the obvious and Velma, for all her knowledge pretty much doesn’t do anything until you collect all the pieces of the trap, apart from get kidnapped and have her glasses taken away, and oh boy does she make a spectacle of the fact she can’t see without her glasses (spectacle, glasses, get it. Hur hur hur). I still would though.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the worlds worst security guard...

Scooby Doo: Classic Creep Capers is just awful. The camera angles are terrible, the controls worse, the menus are fiddly and the dialogue boring. It’s predictable, it’s dull and almost painful to play and I don’t wish it on anyone. I actually recommend playing Resident Evil instead, even if you are a 7 year old, even if you find yourself traumatised, you’ll at least remember the experience. Zoinks indeed.

Zack & Wiki – Silent Review

Porky reviews Zack and Wiki in episode 5 of Silent reviews

Zombie High

The school system sucks. What good is learning half these things? I have no need for the Pythagoras therom whilst watching Mean Girls, I don’t see the point in knowing how to locate Asia on the map, it’s all going to be destroyed in 10 years by robots and Design technology? I buy my wood products, not make them, everything I make leaves me or dies. Like my garden, my wife, that cake I made last Sunday and my DVD shelf. God I loved that shelf. Where was I? Oh yeah, High school sucks, every kid in there is a mindless drone always wanting to be popular and liked and to get a girlfriend and eat pizza together or whatever it is students do these days…also, what’s a Justin Timberlake? So it’s rather fitting that this weeks game is about mindless drones in High School, let’s play Zombie High.

Released on the Sega Mega Dri…it WASN’T released? Guess there’s no point reviewing it then…

Ok, ok…so the game starts up with…the hell? It just starts, no crappy little freeze frame to introduce us to why there are zombies in my school? Or why our main character is holding a gun that shoots goo (maybe its gun-ge, hurr hurr). Did he just walk into school and go “Huh, the place has been taken over by zombies. Good thing I just happened to bring my goo gun today”? And another thing, are these zombies? Or goo monsters? There’s an awful lot of ectoplasm in this game, more than the stuff that comes out of my boils [Really? Did you really need to add that?– ED] and it just feels kind of stupid when you’re firing goo at zombies made mostly of the same stuff. How are they being brought back to life by the stuff that’s killing them? And how are they being teleported into the school? Oh god my brain hurts from the lack of sense this is making. There’s even weird pulsating sound effects whenever something happens that just sound weird and wrong and it’s not like the music makes it bearable because there is no music.

So your character is armed only with this goo gun and that’s about it, its 5 lives, get to the end of the level, I think there was supposed to be a point system but it never got implemented. And why can’t I go into these classrooms? So anyway, you go through the level, having to use 2D Platfo….oh for fucks sake. That’s it, I’ve had enough of this,  I’m done, we’re finished professionally. [Oh bollocks, quick distract the readers – ED]

Ok, so they’ve tethered me to a chair to make sure I actually finish this episode, so…you blaze through goo, zombies, hindered by the games terrible jumping mechanics and more luck based timings to get to the end of the level and you’re confronted with what I guess is a boss, it’s 4…I assume they’re teachers, but I actually have no idea and they throw pencils at you. Honest to god, carbon HB pencils, it’s a bit like the Hammer Bros. in Super Mario Bros. except bigger and hard to avoid and kill you very quickly. Oh and when you die, you literally decompose on the spot. Everything prior to this flashed KIDS GAME! At me. Now this, I’ve no idea what? It’s too juvenile for teenagers, too…graphic and scaring for kids, so…who’s it aimed at? Maybe Sega didn’t know and that’s why it was shelved. And I’m glad it was. This game suuuuuuuuuuucccckkksssss. It doesn’t make sense, the jumping mechanics are awful and there’s no music, nor opening. I can’t blame it for that though, as it was technically unfinished. Of course, it’s not like you can buy it, so go play Zombies Ate My Neighbours or something.

Ocarina Of Time 3DS review

this review was written to compliment and back-up in more detail the contents of the video review, found here.

For an entire generation and maybe more, Link’s 5th outing, The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time has pretty much defined gaming. This was the game that brought in a 3D targeting system, the action button, the open world gameplay, nigh on perfect level and gameplay design and a cinematic flair that paved the way for just about everything since. At the time of release, it got huge fanfare and declaration to the point where it’s still considered one of, if not the greatest game of all time and created such an impact that every other game in the series hasn’t been able to better. (although in my personal opinion, I think Wind Waker is a better game)

Now of course, that was in 1998. That was 13 years ago, so when news of a remake for Nintendo’s 3DS console were announced, I think everyone went through a mix of excitement and possible anxiety. I mean, there is so much potential that could have gone wrong. Fortunately Nintendo stuck to their guns and gave us probably the most faithful remake ever produced, which is partly my problem with it.

I’m not exactly an expert when it comes to game remakes, I’ve only really played 3 or 4 and those have been the typical Nintendo fare of recent years like the 2 Pokémon remakes and Super Mario 64 DS and they were both fairly good, with the last Pokémon game actually improving on the original, but there was a reason for them. Pokémon FireRed/LeafGreen added  a lot of Pokémon that weren’t catchable on the current generations because of a lack of backwards compatibility, Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver not only added all the elements from the newer games, but expanded the story to fit it with the mythology of the series and Mario 64 DS added extra content and playable characters to give it a different feel to the original. Now Ocarina Of Time on the other hand hasn’t really changed at all. The puzzles are exactly the same, so if like me you know the sequence to getting into Queen Gohma’s lair by heart (Twenty Three is number One), there’s no real addition of anything from later incarnations. The sword combat is really basic in comparison and only being able to use your bow on horseback is a bit of a step backwards, with even horse riding itself feeling just as incredibly clunky as it did before (but then maybe Red Dead Redemption has spoilt me) and it just appears that now with 3 sequels that canonically follow-up from this with an upcoming prequel, you’d think some neat call backing or foreshadowing would be in order. Nope, it’s just 1998 all over again. So I suppose the big question here is why bother remaking a game if you’re not going to add to the experience?

Well, that’s a question someone has clearly thought about, as the main draw of this remake is both the higher graphical output and the use of 3D, both of which not only make the game very impressive to look at, but really immersive to play, especially in huge areas like Hyrule Field and in more smaller intimate areas, I said the game was cinematic earlier and it damn shows when Impa’s breasts stick out the screen. The lick of paint given makes Hyrule appear more alive than ever before, flickering neon signs in the bombchu alley, the little posters with puzzle hints in Kakariko and the more detailed characters just add to the effect and prove that the game can still surprise you. it still feels a bit cartoony, but at the same time looks somewhat realistic and still representative of its source material. The 3D is incredibly subtle, to the point where you really have to be looking out for it to really notice it and is only really used for depth, which is fantastic in Hyrule Field as you really feel like a small kid in a big world, it really isn’t essential and arguably the game looks better on the 2D setting, but it’s a really nice addition that shows off the 3DS hardware. What doesn’t work in terms of 3DS features is the gyro mode, here you move your 3DS round in first person view or during targeting and the camera moves with it. It is fairly smooth and effective, as you’d expect, but when needed for faster paced stuff, and combined with the idea of glasses-less 3D (meaning, move your 3DS around, the 3D effect stops working) it’s just not practical in the end.

The other additions are that they’ve added a boss rush mode and the brilliant Master Quest as unlockables (the latter, I’d have preferred to have had as an option from the start) which racks up the difficulty on the dungeons and has clearly been put in for those who know the game inside out with the boss rush mode brilliant for those who love certain boss fights, but don’t want to replay the game for them specifically. Finally, Nintendo have also relegated all menus to the touch screen making boot switching and item assigning really streamlined and easy, which makes that the least of your worries in the infamous Water Temple. I’ll admit I found myself missing the “inside a box” fiddly start menu for nostalgia sake, but yeah this is one thing that’s a big welcome, especially as no longer will your Ocarina take up one of your precious inventory slots, getting its own little square on the screen. On that subject, as I feel its necessary to mention it. The Ocarina tunes, whilst they sound ace with the upped sound quality, the 3DS buttons don’t really have the punch of the N64’s c buttons and you find yourself playing very staccato notes for most of the game.

It’s a real shame that this review is looking really negative, because most of this stuff is such a small nitpick, as the game is actually phenomenally good. Ocarina Of Time played perfectly in 1998 and it plays perfectly now. The story, whilst now clunky in dialogue, is still simple and compelling and the music, unchanged but upped in quality, is just incredible still that it’s no wonder Nintendo are touring it later this year. If you’ve never experienced the game, go buy a copy of OoT 3D this second, it’s called one of the greatest games ever for a reason.  if you’re just feeling nostalgic, or a big fan of the original you can fall in love with the new improved graphics and 3D effects, it won’t be a brand new experience and there’s a distinct lack of actual new content, but it’s still good fun to play wether it’s your 4th playthrough or 40th. , which is the point of the entertainment industry, right?

Right?