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Recap / The Angry Video Game Nerd Season Four

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The following videos were all posted in the year 2009.

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    Atari Jaguar Part 1 
Featured Jaguar games (for comparison sake): Zuul 2, Brutal Sports Football, Checker Flag Racing, and Cybermorph

The Nerd talks about the Atari 2600, discussing how the game console was so ground-breaking and memorable for its time, and how it started to decline when competition came into play, with so many pieces of hardware available (such as the colecovision and intelivision) and a huge abundance of software. Atari did attempt to one up them with the Atari 5200, but the faulty controllers and confusing setup had this system fade into obscurity. Soon, the great video game crash happened. Then, video games made a come back with Nintendo's own game console, the NES, and Sega's console, the Sega Master System. Atari attempted a come back in the form of the Atari 7800, which was backwards compatible with the 2600, but it didn't have as much to offer compared to its competition, thus fading that into obscurity. Atari tried again, this time at the handheld market with the Atari Lynx. Despite being the first system to display the graphics with more colors, it was too bulky, and it was caught in between of the already successful Gameboy and Game Gear, and was eventually forgotten.

With the release of the Sega Genesis, people started to discuss the fact that the Genesis was 16-bits, while the NES was only 8, kickstarting what the Nerd dubs "The Bit Wars." When graphics became the prime topic of debate (thanks to Sega's marketing campaign that heavily promoted this fact), the Nerd would then talk about the game console that "reminded us that bits aren't everything." The Atari Jaguar was released, claiming to be a 64-bit game console, which sounds impressive. However, the Nerd starts to look over some of the video games for the system to show off its actual graphical capabilities.

The first was Zool 2, which while it is a decent platformer similar to Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis, it didn't look like much of an improvement from that game. Brutal Sports Football was also demonstrated, but it looks more like a game that could be on the Super NES. Checker Flag Racing does have 3D visuals that look nice enough, but compared to F-Zero for Super NES, it doesn't look as present, nor does it play no where near as fast. Then Cybermorph was shown off, which is a flying game with polygonal graphics, similar to Star Fox for Super NES, but with less colors and not as interesting.

As it turns out, Atari originally was going to release a game console running on a 32-bit processor called the Panther, but was scrapped in favor of a 64-bit system, except that it used two 32-bit processors, which only made it difficult to develop games for. With that out of the way, the Nerd concludes his discussion with "tune in for part two [...] and we'll play some Jag!"


    Atari Jaguar Part 2 
Featured Jaguar games: Tempest 2000, Alien vs. Predator, Doom, Attack of the Mutant Penguins, Kasumi Ninja, and Cybermorph
Also featured: Atari Jaguar CD

After discussing the graphics, the Nerd goes into some of the games available on the Jaguar. He was left impressed with Tempest 2000, a remake of a classic arcade game that enhanced the wireframe visuals and has a new, techno-themed soundtrack (which was so well received, it got a CD release). He then moves onto Alien vs. Predator, a cult hit for the system where you have the option to play as a marine, or the titular Alien or Predator, with each of them having different objectives. The Nerd finds the marine campaign to be the most fun of the three, but otherwise dismisses this as a good game for the system. He then touches on the Jaguar port of Doom. He finds the game to be as faithful to the PC version as it possibly can be (graphics, levels, etc), but is really disappointed in the lack of music. He dubs the game "Silent Doom." "So pop in some Slayer, and you'll be all set."

The Nerd decides to tackle some of the more obscure titles for the console, starting with Attack of the Mutant Penguins. While the presentation is really good and it plays fine, the overall concept caused the Nerd a great deal of confusion. He then goes onto Kasumi Ninja, which he already had a bad feeling about when he found out the game does not have a traditional character select screen. He finds to be the controls to be really clunky, with how the special moves are performed differently from other fighters (you have to hold an attack and then press on a direction). He also criticized how the game's blood and gore is locked, despite being advertised as a very bloody fighter. Having already been angered by the game, he decides to look at Cybermorph one more time and gave it more of a fair chance. As he is flying the plane, minding his own business, bumping into anything triggers the green disembodied head constantly berating you ("Where did you learn to fly?"), with his other criticism being that when your ship crashes, you respawn immediately in front of your crash site. He eventually gave up, but the voice continued to haunt him until the head itself spawns from the couch. The Nerd grabs a super scope and destroys it, then goes onto berate the Jaguar, only to be interrupted by its snarl as the box of the Jaguar flies out of the TV to attack him. The Nerd tried to fight back, but his weapons proved useless. He then sends Death Kitty after it (his black cat) as the two go around the whole room before finally vacating the basement.

The Nerd takes a moment to relax and discuss the games he played and gave the Jaguar a final verdict: "I'd rather puke. Like a cat." Then he brings up the Atari Jaguar CD, an add on for the Jaguar console. The Nerd is perplexed by this considering that not many people owned an Atari Jaguar and argued it should had been its own game system. While he does have the add on, he cannot get it to work. He is also unable to get the cartridge slot on it to work. He then sends it to Richard, the best tech guy he could find (even sharing his credentials to the audience) and decided to play an audio playback of his findings. Richard said that he had did all he could to get it to work, such as cleaning all the connectors, directly wiring them together, etc) but was unable to get it to work and conclude that the device is self-aware.

The Nerd mentioned that he did purchase another Atari Jaguar CD, but also found that it was non-functional as well. He then ends the review there, concluding that they are indeed self-aware and refuse to be reviewed, before using the Atari Jaguar with the CD-add-on as a toilet.

It is worth mentioning that James did get a working Atari Jaguar CD, and decided to play some games as a DVD extra for this episode.

    Metal Gear (NES) 

    The Odyssey 

Featured games: The Uncanny X-Men (NES), Wolverine (NES), X-Men (Arcade), X-Men (GEN), and X-Men 2 (GEN)

    The Terminator 
Featured games: The Terminator (NES, SNES, and Sega CD)

The Nerd arrives in his basement and locates another shitty game: The Terminator for the NES. While he doesn't mind the idea of having a chunk of the game take place in the future, where you take control of Kyle Reese, he is left unimpressed by the graphics, commenting that the green, gray, black color schemes do more than induce vomit. The sound design is also abysmal, with simple, disjointed bleeps and bloops. The method of attacking also annoys the Nerd, where pressing the B button brings out the gun and fires it, but doing so forces Kyle into a crouch position, and is only allowed to shoot straight or diagonally up or down. He also notes at how faulty the platforming elements are (such as delayed jumps and picky hit detection, as well as numerous bottomless pits) and just needlessly adds to the games difficulty. He finds that the game has no continues, meaning lose all the lives, and you lose the game. The one way he thought of to get around this was to score a one up for every 10,000 points. Then he ends up immediately losing that one up. He then devises a plan: put a wrench on the controller, so that Kyle will endlessly fire his gun at the respawning waves of enemies until he accumulates enough one-ups from all the points he accumulated. The Nerd then decides to leave the game going over night.

Once the day passed, the Nerd comes back, ready to play to find of all the points he accumulated, he only got six lives. Afterward, he would go through a couple of on-rail sequences that involve firing at two different hunter-killer machineries, until he reaches the final part of the level, with a needlessly difficult platforming section. By this time, the Nerd had only two lives left, and ended up losing them both to this level. In a fit of rage, he grabs his Terminator cartridge and blows it up with his NES Zapper.

After ranting off, he cools down enough to take a look at the Super NES version of the game. While it is a completely different game, even with a lot of elements improved, he finds some faulty elements in its game design, such as how some enemies are unkillable due to being far into the ground to where you are unable to aim at them, and how enemies with guns have no real pattern, making it seem luck-based. The gun-play isn't that much better. While he is able to fire and shoot, it's still stiff and unintuitive (basically, it isn't like Contra). The other big complaint was how the first level drags on for a really long time. One rail shooter sequence later, the level continues as normal. One boss fight later, and the level continues. Much like the last game, losing all the lives means game over, no continues, starting from the beginning.

After reviewing those games, the Nerd decides to go back to give the Sega CD version another look. He finds it to be a huge improvement over the other two games, featuring excellent presentation, great platforming elements, much better gameplay (despite the somewhat wonky gun mechanics), and even a full rocking soundtrack. He also praised it for actually having the Terminator theme. After that, the Nerd expresses his optimism, talking about how Terminator 2 was such a great film, and he has a good feeling that the games based on it are much better. Then he notices the LJN logo...


    The Terminator 2 
Featured games: Terminator 2 (Arcade), Terminator 2: The Arcade Game (SNES, GEN, and GB), Terminator 2 (NES, GB, and SNES)

Featured games: Transformers (C64), and Transformers: Mystery of Convoy (FC)

    Mario is Missing 
Featured games: Mario is Missing (NES & SNES), and Mario's Time Machine (NES & SNES)

    Plumbers Don't Wear Ties ( 3 DO) 
The 3DO, a game console developed by Panasonic, was once boasted as the most advance game console of its time, as described in its aggressive marketing campaign that took pot shots at the SNES and Genesis. In truth, however, the Nerd knew practically no one who owned a 3DO; everyone he knew as a kid either had an SNES or a Genesis, mainly because those consoles were more affordable than the 3DO. After showing off a slew of various 3DO models (each with only one controller input: the second player would need to plug their controller into the first player's controller) and mentioning some of the better games on the 3DO, including Gex, Wing Commander III, and an arcade-perfect port of Super Street Fighter II Turbo, the Nerd introduces what is said to be the absolute worst game of the entire 3DO library: Plumbers Don't Wear Ties.

The game's generic box art describes itself as an "interactive romantic comedy", but otherwise gives little indication to what the game is about or how it is played.

The game opens to a live-action cinematic of "Jane", one of the lead characters of the game, describing the rules of the game before the title screen, which appears a low-quality MS Paint drawing, appears, followed by opening credits featuring photos of race cars in bizarre filters (occasionally accompanied by a badly cropped panda on a go-kart). Once the credits end, the player is introduced to John, who is awoken by the sound of his shrill mother calling him on his answering machine. When John answers the phone, his mother harps at him for remaining single and demands he finds someone to settle down and have kids with.

The Nerd, already put off by the game at this point, describes it as less than a game and more like a movie, and even then, barely like a movie at all: after the cinematic with Jane, the game consists of nothing in the way of visuals aside from still images.

The game continues as the player is introduced to Jane, whose father harps on her for being single and demands she finds someone to settle down with. Afterwards is an overly long montage of John and Jane getting ready to face the day, taking showers (with long-nosed censors blocking the nudity, which can be removed with a cheat code), getting dressed, and partaking in other miscellanious activities. John, in particular, is seen playing air guitar with a plunger, suggesting that he is the eponymous plumber, but is later seen wearing a tie, making the game's title "Plumbers Don't Wear Ties" a bold-faced lie.

Eventually, John and Jane meet in a parking lot, and a mutual attraction is forged between the two. After several moments of the two looking at each other, after which a narrator suddenly appears for whatever reason. After this, the player is finally given control, but only insofar as a choice of which scene they'd like to see: "He makes the first move", "Jane makes a move on him", or "Meeting has to wait". The game is barely any more interactive than a DVD menu, making them worse than the likes of Dragon's Lair and Night Trap. Making matters worse is the fact that the player cannot move the cursor and pick an option until a voiced narration of the choice concludes, bogging the game down further.

The Nerd finally decides to have Jane turn down John to go to a job interview. The player is then given another choice: "Thesher finds a job for Jane after all", "Turn poor Jane away", or "The hairball takes advantage of the situation". The last option is accompanied by a narrated disclaimer that the player had to be at least 18 to make this choice, confusing the Nerd since the game's age rating if 17+.

The Nerd selects the last option, and the boss becomes an unabashed pervert who demands Jane strip for him. The narrator appears again to chastise the player for their choice, annoying the Nerd to no end.

The player is then given another choice: "Our heroine declines the disgusting offer", or "She'll do anything for the job". Oddly, the refusal option has Jane in her underwear, while the acceptance option has Jane still clothed. The Nerd goes with the latter choice, which leads to Jane stripping into her lingerie with handcuffs and a bullwhip and riding her new boss like a pony. The narrator appears once more to scold the player, donning a chicken mask out of nowhere during his speech.

Afterwards, the player is given an option to try again or quit the game. The Nerd presses on and selects the option where Jane refuses her boss's perverse advances, which leads to Jane being in her underwear anyway. A confusing chase sequence follows, leading Jane outside (and fully clothed) where John sees her in her predicament and gives chase. The narrator rears his head once more to chew the player out, only to be confronted by a rival narrator in a martial arts uniform who beats him senseless and takes control of the narration for reasons the Nerd fails to grasp due to the bizarre, out-of-nowhere nature of this scene. Sadly, the new female narrator also proceeds to scold the player.

The game's story proceeds from there with John chasing after Jane (in her underwear once again) and her pervy employer. The Nerd finds it more perplexing as the game goes on that the entire story is told through still images rather than full-motion video, which the 3DO was capable of; the game's opening was animated, and other games like Wing Commander III boasted live-action videos of superb quality.

The chase scene drags on, only interrupted by the dueling narrators once again, with the original narrator shooting his rival to death to the applause of an audience of dogs.

Finally the chase scene ends with John, Jane, and the boss in a room, where the boss tries to offer money in exchange for sex after having terrorized Jane, with John trying to help Jane as she is now negotiating a price with the boss for five minutes. Eventually, John launches a speech to win Jane over (a speech his actor flubs in a fourth-wall breaking moment where all of the actors present laugh at the error, which was thrown into the game).

The player is then given another choice: either Jane accepts her boss's proposal (and the narrator chews out the player again), or Jane goes with John, after which, there is a final decision of either a happy ending or "something completely different". The Nerd opts for something different: specifically, something different than this crappy game.

    Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle 
Featured games: Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle 1 (NES), 2 and 3 (GB), and 4 (GBC), and Woody Woodpecker in Crazy Castle 5 (GBA)


    Super Pitfall (NES) 

Featured games: Godzilla: Monster of Monsters (NES), Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters (NES), Godzilla (GB), Super Godzilla (SNES), Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen (SFC), Godzilla: Save the Earth (PS2), Godzilla Unleashed (PS2), and Godzilla Destroy All Monsters (Xbox)
Growing up, the Nerd had two great loves: video games and Japanese kaiju films such as Godzilla. Being a kaiju fan in America was not easy, since only two Godzilla films had been released in theaters to the Nerd's recollection (not including 1998's Americanized ''Godzilla'); the only other way to see these films was either on broadcast TV or rented videos.

Things were not much better as far as games of Godzilla were concerned. The first game introduced is Godzilla: Monster of Monsters, on the NES. From the title screen, things bode ill; Godzilla blocks half of the game's title, an indication for the game being "half-assed". The actual gameplay consists of moving Godzilla and Mothra across a hexagonal grid, with side-scrolling gameplay commencing after landing on a "battle zone". While these segments require little strategy to succeed in, Godzilla's full repertoire of attacks, from punches and kicks to tail swings to his Atomic Breath, are represented. Unfortunately, the game does little to replicate the series' famous "urban destruction" aspect, taking place on an alien world infested with bizarre enemies. After completing a battle zone, the computer takes its turn moving its monsters around.

Mothra's gameplay is different: she can fly and bypass most land obstacles, but taking damage forces her to the ground, making her segments tedious.

At one point, the Nerd finds himself stuck, unable to proceed past a volcano that looks like it should be in the background. He manages to get past it after hitting it once, however.

The goal of the game is to destroy the opponent's monsters by engaging them in single combat. Annoyingly enough, the monsters of the first level are not even native to the Godzilla franchise. Unfortunately, there's a time limit to destroy each monster in battle: exceeding the time limit ends the battle and recovers some of the enemy's health, requiring players to start over. Even more annoying, landing on a space adjacent to an opposing monster railroads the player into fighting it, regardless of if they want to.

The time limit proves to be this game's undoing, and the Nerd moves on to Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters (no relation to the PS2 game of the same name). This game proves even worse, being a turn-based strategy game where players control the JSDF instead of Godzilla where the outcome of attacks comes down to the results of a slot machine. The music is terrible, but luckily, there's an option to turn it off, along with the rest of the game's sound: one would be better served pressing the mute button on a remote.

Godzilla on the Gameboy is quite a different beast, being a side-scrolling platform with cutesy graphics where Godzilla beats up other monsters with a glove. The Nerd dispenses with it very quickly.

Next is Super Godzilla on the Super Nintendo. While the graphics are a major step up, the gameplay is not much better: players control Godzilla as they march through the city and fight monsters. The bottom half of the screen shows a map which players navigate around, while the top half shows Godzilla in action. Unfortunately, destroying buildings is ill-advised: it drains Godzilla's health. Battles resemble a 2D fighter in appearance, but in practice, is miserable: the on-screen hints are unhelpful, and the battles themselves are simplistic and confusing. The Nerd ultimately decides that the first NES game is more preferable to Super Godzilla.

This was the point, as a child, that the Nerd gave up on Godzilla games. All he wanted was a traditional fighting game featuring Godzilla and his kaiju rivals. However, he would later discover that such a game actually existed, albeit as a Japan exclusive: Gojira: Kaiju Daikessen on Super Famicom. While the game is fairly unremarkable, it was more along the lines of what the Nerd really wanted. Making things worse is the fact that the game was previewed in an issue of Nintendo Power, only to never be mentioned again nor released in the US. The Nerd had been left incensed over this in the years since.

There were more Godzilla games released on later consoles such as the Xbox, Gamecube, and PS2. Even though the Nerd isn't into modern consoles very much, he decides to give the games a try. The Nerd is absolutely blown away by these games, high quality fighting games that pay proper respects to Godzilla and the kaiju genre in both presentation and gameplay. The Nerd is pissed that he couldn't have the chance to enjoy these games as a child, bringing up every curse word the Nerd can think of (plus an Atomic F-Bomb from the bottom of his heart), yet none of which can properly describe his anger and dissatisfaction. The Nerd decides the best way to describe his anger with the Godzilla games of his childhood is with a new expletive, one so foul and heinous that it's even censored on his show!

    Wayne's World (NES & SNES) 

    Castlevania Part 1 
Featured game: Castlevania (NES)

The Nerd decides to do something extra special for Halloween. He points out to the audience that he referenced Castlevania an awful lot up to this point in his previous videos, and decided that now would be the time to let it all out. He starts with the first game, reminiscing over how he was first exposed to the game and how the name sparked images of Dracula, skeletons, monsters, werewolves, etc. As he plays the game itself, he finds all his cherished memories flowing back with him as he happily portrays Castlevania as one of the pinnacles of platform action greatness. However, when the deaths start to come in, he does decide to discuss the more frustrating aspects of the game. He finds some of the situations exceedingly unfair, such as one section in the game where you are required to defeat a knight (who takes a lot of hits) while dodging the onslaught of medusa heads. He is also psychologically scarred from seeing all the medusa heads, finding them more annoying than challenging. Never the less, he ends up fighting his way to the end of the game and defeating Dracula after all the years of being unable to beat the game.

As he sat triumphantly, he observes the quirky credits sequence, finding its humor at mis-referencing the actors of horror classic films juvenile. Never the less, he decides to proceed to cover Castlevania 3... only to be interrupted by the second game, drawing his attention to it.

    Castlevania Part 2 
Featured games: Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest (NES), and Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse (NES)

The Nerd decides to review Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest for NES once again. While he does hate the game, he did admit to still having some nostalgic memories with the game and can still find a bit of enjoyment out of it. However, once that day-to-night transition box comes again, he starts becoming more constructive in his criticisms. One of his main complaints is how the towns folk are all unhelpful, possessing hints that don't make any sense, and spouting out other dialogue boxes that have no real bearing in the game (such as "do not look into the deathstar" and "Let's live here together" with two anonymous npcs). He also demonstrated how utterly ridiculous how the boss fights were handled, as in you can just walk past them. Otherwise, his opinion did not change much as he goes onto the third game, Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse.

In this game, he appreciates how it returned to classic 2D action that the first game was known for, and also appreciates all the new additions, such as having one out of three other playable characters in your party. It made for a more epic game, but the Nerd does complain about how insanely difficult the game is, talking about a few levels that weren't designed particularly well, and some unfair situations entirely. He would repeatedly die in many sections, which got him to input a password to get more lives. He did manage to get up to Dracula, but never beat him, and was unable to figure out his pattern The Nerd ends up giving up, feeling real angry to where he decides to do more Castlevania videos beyond Halloween.

It may be worth noting that the US version of Castlevania 3 was made intentionally difficult, whereas the Japanese version was easier.

    Castlevania Part 3 
Featured games: Super Castlevania IV (SNES), Castlevania Dracula X (SNES), and Castlevania (N64)

After calming down from the last review, the Nerd moves onto Super Castlevania IV for the Super NES. As he gets to play the game, he had nothing but good things to say about it, talking about how it is classic Castlevania gameplay with many improvements. The main thing he praised the game for was its fluent controls, in which you can whip anywhere, control your jumps, crouch walk, moon walk, he ends up arguing that "you are Simon Belmont" with how satisfied he is with these controls. Pretty much everything else he thought was perfect, being the visuals, the audio, the challenge, he considers this to be the definitive Castlevania game.

The Nerd would then talk about how he never expected there to be another Castlevania game, and ends up recalling when the fifth Castlevania game was announced for the west in Nintendo Power dubbed Castlevania Dracula X. While he is aware of the existence of Rondo of Blood for the Turbo Grafx CD, he notes that this game would be largely unknown for the west and that Dracula X for Super NES is basically a remake of that game. When he got around to playing it, he does mention that it is a decent game, but it is a huge disappointment compared to the much more polished Super Castlevania IV. He was dissatisfied at how the controls got downgraded and went back to how the NES Castlevania titles worked (throwing weapons once again is up and attack, and the jumping is stiff). He ends up not liking some of the level design, such as being unable to reach a ledge without carefully positioning the character off the edge before making the jump. He did make it to Dracula, but finds the boss fight impossible due to how insane the level design is, and how laughably bad Dracula was designed (basically a devil with a speedo). He ends up giving up the fight here.

The Nerd then takes a moment to explain to the audience about the N64 and Playstation. He talked about how he went over to the Nintendo 64 instead of the other consoles in the hope that there would be another great Castlevania game to hit the platform. He also talks about two Castlevania games released for the console, which are called Castlevania, and Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness, but he chooses to cover the former since both games are heavily similar.note 

The Nerd notices that the game gives you the option to play as two different character: Reinhardt and Carrie. He was left unimpressed by Reinhardt considering how the whip works in the 3D style of gameplay and quickly changed to Carrie, who utilizes magic to fight, but now he does not feel like he's playing a Castlevania game anymore. While he does note the graphics look pretty good, he does say that they look dated even for its time due to how awkward the transition between 2D and 3D the series attempted was. He also questions some of the enemy designs, such as a Frankenstein's monster wielding a chainsaw, and skeleton enemies on motorcycles. He also has qualms about the music, even stating there is no music. The Nerd even had frustrations with the gameplay changes, such as how he had to confirm every action he had to take, and how there is fall damage, and even how difficult it is to maintain the camera on the character.

The one part he grew to despise was where he had to deliver a mandragora and nitro to blow up a wall. He got the mandragora and approached the wall, but he was unable to use it. He's unable to remove it from his inventory and he cannot carry both, so he inferred that he had to start from the last save file. He decides to go after the nitro instead, but finds that jumping, running, or getting damaged causes it to go off in an explosion, instantly killing his character. When he finally got to the wall, he finds himself unable to use it. Unsure as to how to progress, he ends up giving up.Explanation 

    Castlevania Part 4 
Featured games: Castlevania Bloodlines (GEN), and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1)

The Nerd was left upset that the N64 Castlevania game had failed to impress him. However, he did realize that he was looking at the wrong direction for superior Castlevania games. One such game is Castlevania Bloodlines for the Sega Genesis. While he finds it odd that a Belmont is not present in this game, he's even more confused that he plot now involves the Dracula novel, where this time, a member of the Morris family, along with another new character, are out to fight Dracula, with the game taking place all over Europe. While he does find the game good, he doesn't consider it a worthy successor to Super Castlevania IV.

The Nerd would then move on to the Playstation, admitting that he had severely underestimated the console so much as it had a really good Castlevania game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. He finds himself impressed at the length and scale the game has, as well as the major change in gameplay where it went with an action adventure with RPG elements, as well as taking elements from Super Metroid with the exploration, all the back tracking, finding power ups, all new weapons and armors, and even having a whole second half of the game hidden, all left the Nerd to really enjoy the game. He does go out of his way to criticize the game, which includes a ridiculously long process to restore your progress after getting a game over, the amount of variables present to help bypass certain sections of the game, and how this ended up being the dominate gameplay style for the whole series, where he is more impartial to the classic Castlevania gameplay (though the latter is more of a preference than a criticism). While he does highly regard Symphony of the Night to be a great game, and even appreciates the option of playing as Richter from Dracula X (though you have to beat the game to use him), he still prefers Super Castlevania IV due to its more simplistic objective, many obstacles requiring wit and skill to maneuver, and finding the challenge to be perfect.

Afterward, he did briefly discuss how Symphony of the Night left a huge impact for the rest of the series to follow. While Castlevania games on consoles would continue to experiment, the portable Castlevania games would play out like successors to Symphony of the Night. While he does appreciate these games despite claiming that some of them are ridiculous in story lines (such as Dawn of Sorrow which has the castle appear in the solar eclipse over Japan, and how all of them take place in the castle), he does miss the classic gameplay of the first four games and keep them all in his memories as some of his greatest moments in life.

    Little Red Hood (NES) 

    Winter Games (NES) 
Another Christmas episode. After getting his greetings for different holidays (including Happy holidays, and James' made up holiday salutation: Happy Shut The Fuck Up). He decides to cover Winter Games for the NES. He briefly goes into the history of other sporting events games made by Epix, such as California Games, Summer Games, etc. He doesn't consider any of them to be awful, and even had some doubt that Winter Games may be pretty good too. After popping it in, he is greeted with a decent introduction screen, which is, unfortunately, not very exciting, takes longer than necessary to be done, and it is entirely un-skipable. He also has to input a name, but finds the name input screen to be poorly done as well, where as he can only input four letters at a time, and he can't even skip over a row of letters from either left or right. The Nerd then decides inputting a name is fruitless and just puts in all A's. He has the audience consider that if they couldn't get this screen correct, then the game itself might have suffered.

Before proceeding to the games selection, the Nerd points out that the Atari 2600 version of the game featured seven events. Expecting to see some sort of upgrade, he looks at the NES version's select screen to find there were only four games in there. He takes a moment to point out that the Atari 7600 also had only four games in its selection, and they are completely different games, which the Nerd figured that they may had taken the Atari 2600 version, and then divided the games to both ports.

Onto the games itself, the Nerd starts off with Hotdog Aerials, which confused him at first, until he finds out it's just Ski Jump. After lingering on the title alone for a moment, the Nerd finds that the game itself doesn't have a simple control scheme as he ends up botching his jumps almost every time. The next game, Speed Skating, is also unintuitive, considering that the character has to race against their opponent by tapping left and right on the D-Pad, really, really fast!, and even argues that it's just as bad as Ghostbusters for the NES. He skips over to Bobsled to find that the interface is really messed up, making the game look more complicated than it actually is. He did remark that it is actually a simple game, but otherwise, it isn't exciting.

The Nerd lost all hope for the game trying to redeem itself, so he went in expecting Figure Skating to be just as bad. The controls, once again, are not self-explanatory and are confusing to understand. While he was able to get some tricks to work, he never scored any points on it. He then goes on a rant to argue about how anyone in a movie who ever pretends to play video games are actually playing Winter Games. After all of that, he removes the game, rants some more, then finds a caution label on the back that states the many things you shouldn't do to the cartridge. He ends up doing all of that, plus burning it in his fireplace

    Street Fighter 2010 
Featured games: Street Fighter 2010 (NES), Fighting Street (TGCD), Street Fighter the Movie the Game (Sat)
At the dawn of 2010, the Nerd goes to retrieve his mail, only to find his neighborhood infested with strange enemies, which the Nerd recognizes from one game in his collection: Street Fighter 2010. Released before Street Fighter II, the Nerd is ecstatic at the possibilities of a Street Fighter game featuring the cast of the series fighting each other in a sci-fi setting.

In actuality, however, the gameplay is divorced from anything resembling Street Fighter, or even any other fighting game: it is an action platformer, more like a cross of Mega Man 's shooting and Ninja Gaiden 's platforming, where players control Ken in a high-tech cybersuit fighting off bizarre enemies to draw out the level's target monster. Ken's basic weapon has a fairly short range, and the controls are not the most intuitive: the only way to shoot down is while performing an aerial somersault, and aiming diagonally is accomplished by pressing down on the D-pad, to the Nerd's chagrin.

The Nerd is perplexed by how this game could possibly tie into the Street Fighter storyline. According to the in-game intro text, Ken retired from street fighting to become a scientist, when his partner Troy was killed over their invention called "cyboplasm", which turns people into mutants. Aside from Ken, no other cast of the Street Fighter series appears. Even then, that only applies to the American version of the game; the Japanese version's protagonist is "Kevin Stryker", making it even less connected to Street Fighter. The Nerd reckons that this was back before the series found its calling with Street Fighter II, which eclipsed the original Street Fighter in popularity and recognition. The only home console release of the original Street Fighter was Fighting Street on the Turbografx-16, a console that was released around the same time as the Genesis and SNES but never gained as much notability as its competitors.

Sadly, the original Street Fighter was mediocre compared to its sequel: the controls were incredibly stiff, and special moves worked very inconsistently.

The Nerd also takes time to mention Final Fight, which was originally intended as a sequel to Street Fighter entitled "Street Fighter '89" before its name was changed to avoid confusion between the two otherwise disparate games. Final Fight would go on to be its own series, albeit one with ties to Street Fighter. Oddly enough, Street Fighter 2010 has a subtitle: "The Final Fight". The fact still remains, however, that Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight had nothing in common with its namesakes.

The Nerd goes off on another tangent, leading to him exhibiting Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game, a video game adaptation of the Jean-Claude Van Damme Street Fighter movie, which, itself, was an adaptation of the game series. The Sega Saturn version featured digitize graphics of the movie's actors, not unlike Mortal Kombat, and played like Street Fighter II. Ultimately, it was unremarkable: not terrible, but Street Fighter II is still better.

After going off on unrelated tangents, the Nerd decides to redouble his focus on Street Fighter 2010. After destroying the target monster, the player must locate and enter a portal that appears in the stage. There is only a very short amount of time to find the portal, though. A time limit is also present during the stages, but the target enemies prove tough to pin down and kill.

Each stage is difficult in its own right, such as one auto-scrolling stage where players have to navigate twisting corridors quickly, lest they get pinned inbetween the edge of the screen and a wall, dying instantly. One similar stage moves in a back-and-forth manner, making it even harder. Vertically auto-scrolling stages are harder still, due to the abundance of flying enemies that are two difficult to kill for a lack of intuitive vertical attacks. Another stage has the player fight a boss while contending with a sand waterfall that slows their descent, making it difficult to attack before they shoot first. One boss takes the form of a giant eye, but you cannot hit it if you don't have enough power-ups. Even then, you need to wait for mucus walls to built up.

Distracting enemies abound throughout the game, forcing players to multitask between platforming, fighting bosses, and avoiding damage from all directions. For its faults, however, the Nerd finds himself enjoying this game, describing it as very stimulating and just difficult enough the piss you off, but not enough to discourage you.

The final stage, however, pushes players to their absolute limits: it is a long endurance stage where players must fight their way to and through three bosses before fighting the final boss, which has two forms, with only one bar of health. Dying means starting the stage over from the beginning. The time limit is also incredibly strict; getting to the final boss does nothing to refill the time the player has left. The Nerd finds this out the hard way when he reaches the final boss with only two seconds to spare.

With unlimited continues, the Nerd presses on, determined to finish the game. As the Nerd describes it, you become good at fighting past the enemies at the expense of time, so you try to rush the stage, but find yourself with little health to spare and dying too soon. The built-up frustration causes the player's concentration and skills to backslide.

The final boss's weak spot is high in the arena. Ideally, the player can climb onto a wall and shoot the face, but only if they have enough power-ups to increase their attack range. Otherwise, they won't be able to defeat the boss within the time limit. Collecting the power-ups is also time-consuming, so the player must do it quickly without taking too much damage.

Succeed, however, and the final boss will fall, and the feeling of satisfaction from beating Street Fighter 2010 is immeasurable.

With that, the Nerd wishes his viewers a happy new year before realizing he forgot his mail.

The Nerd is less than enthused at the prospect of playing Hydlide, considering merely speaking its name to be nauseating. After an opening sequence where a dragon breathes fire on a princess and causes her to explode into fairies, the game begins with the hero in a field. At first blush, the game appears very similar to The Legend of Zelda, even though the game precedes Zelda, having been released on Japanese home computers before being ported to the NES.

First among the Nerd's criticisms is the music, which sounds like a tinny arrangement of the Indiana Jones theme and loops without end except for the ending, which sounds like a different part of the Indiana Jones theme.

Combat is a pain: attacking monsters is done by holding A and running into an enemy. Unlike in Zelda, when Link is seen brandishing his sword, there is no visual indication that you are attacking the enemy, which also makes it impossible to tell if you're being attacked while trying to fight; fights are about as random as dice-based board games. Defeating enemies gives the player only a minuscule amount of EXP, requiring ridiculous amounts of grinding to level up. Players can also cast magic, but doing so is convoluted; players must select the spell they wish to cast, press A to enter combat mode, then press B to cast the spell. The process of casting magic is so time-consuming, you're likely to die in the attempt.

Making the difficulty of this game worse is the fact that dying sends you back to the beginning of the game. There is a password system for continuing progress in the game, but the process of using passwords is also heavily convoluted; open the menu, select "Save", then go back into the menu and select "Password". The passwords, themselves, are very long. Writing the password or to entering it into the game is about as long as it takes too much time.

Figuring out what to do in the game is a chore unto itself. Some treasure chests contain treasures, while others won't open. Going into a hole in the ground leads to a cavern, but with the walls hidden, it's practically a death trap where sometimes you can die for what seem to be no reason, likely an invisible enemy hidden in the darkness. To have a chance of surviving, you need a lantern, which you get from killing vampires, which necessitates a cross, which only works when attacking the vampire from behind. Lighting the caverns reveal the only threat to be fireballs which are visible regardless of whether you have the lantern; without it, you're liable to just drop dead without any rhyme or reason.

To win the game, the player needs get a better sword from the cavern, then collect a few key items, find three fairies in random trees, cross a desert, go into a hole in front of a castle that leads into the ocean, go to an island with two wizards, kill the wizards with one blast of wave magic, be taken to another castle by the fairies, burn a bush to get inside, get a grave stone, kill the dragon, take a jewel back to the castle, and kill the final boss.

The game is, overall, very cryptic. This isn't to say Zelda didn't have its fair share of cryptic puzzles, but they were less difficult in general, and there were hints of how to proceed throughout Zelda, as well as the game being highly discussed among gamers (thus spreading information and hints through word-of-mouth). Zelda was also a much better-made game than Hydlide. The Nerd concludes that players would be better served playing something they're more familiar with like Zelda, or reaching into a dog's ass than seeking out a new game like Hydlide, because you're only going to get shit either way.

    Ninja Gaiden 
Featured games: Ninja Gaiden (NES), Ninja Gaiden II (NES), Ninja Gaiden III (NES)

The Nerd recalls fond memories of Ninja Gaiden on the NES; while the series began as a mere beat-em-up in arcades, the NES game re-imagined the game as an intense side-scrolling platformer. On top of stellar gameplay, graphics, and sound design, the games also boasted a feature that wouldn't become common in games until much later; animated cutscenes through which the story unfolded, which would become a prominent feature of the NES trilogy. The cutscenes were something of a reward for progressing through the game; clearing a level gave players a cutscene that furthered the story.

Players assume the role of Ryu Hayabusa, a ninja from Japan whose father, Ken (no relation to Street Fighter's Ryu or Ken), was killed for a demon statue that could be used to awaken an ancient evil, thus starting Ryu's quest for revenge and to save the world.

The Nerd's chief criticism with the series is that they are among the most punishingly difficult games on the NES. The second game featured environmental hazards such as strong winds that can interfere with platforming, slippery ice, and darkness that can only be illuminated by lightning. The third game is even more difficult on the principal that it had only a limited number of continues (compared to the first two games, which had unlimited continues). The Nerd describes the games as harder than even Castlevania, and he has yet to beat them, but now, he intends to beat the first Ninja Gaiden.

One annoyance in the game is enemies that respawn if the screen scrolls back from where they appear, making platforming difficult. This coincides with a bigger grievance: it is far too easy to be knocked into a bottomless pit. So common are falling deaths that the Nerd even forgets that the game gives players a health meter; you're more likely to die from falling than by depleting your life bar.

At his wit's end, the Nerd travels to the mountains to seek the aid of a ninja master. The ninja master offers advice to the Nerd as he continues to struggle with the game. In particular, respawning flying enemies prove to be the Nerd's bane, returning faster than he can kill them and knocking him into bottomless pits.

The Nerd begins to give up, but the ninja master insists that he persist and give him training to improve the reflex speed and rhythm of his thumbs. The Nerd struggles with his training as well, removes the cartridge from the NES, and chucks it. The ninja master, however, catches the game, throws it back into the NES, and shows the Nerd his prowess at the game, blazing through the segments that others struggle with. Impressed by the ninja master, the Nerd resumes his training and begins to improve, making his way through the game with ever-increasing ease.

Eventually, the Nerd makes it to the final boss battle in stage 6-4, which consists of three battles against different phases of the boss. While the first phase is easy enough once you get the boss's pattern down, the second phase proves to be grueling due to the boss's homing fireballs. To make matters worse, dying against the final boss forces players back to stage 6-1. Stage 6-2, in particular, is a nightmare, made worse by the overall dearth of power-ups and a lack of a stage select code. The only consolation is that players don't need to start back at previous phases of the final boss, but even this is little comfort.

The Nerd finally gives up. The ninja master tries to convince the Nerd to continue, but the Nerd isn't having it. He hands the controller off to the ninja master, but the final stage of the game proves so difficult, it reduces him to curling up in a quivering ball and drowning his sorrows in Rolling Rock as the Nerd concludes that between being forced back in the final stage, environmental hazards, and limited continues, the entire Ninja Gaiden trilogy is impossible.

    Sword Quest 
Featured Atari 2600 games: Sword Quest Earth, Sword Quest Fire, and Sword Quest Water

    Pong Consoles 


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