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Showing posts from March, 2024

Final Fantasy II: The lost "black sheep"

Final Fantasy II, the 1988 sequel, never came to the NES. The "black sheep" of the series, it is inferior to both I and III. A complete English prototype of the game was made but then shelved due to the release of the SNES. This was an understandable business decision, as FF4  is the far better game. The root problem was how long it took RPGs to make it to the West. Final Fantasy II has a clichéd story cribbed from Star Wars. There is an evil empire and emperor, rebels, dark knight, and city-destroying, flying death machine. The protagonists are four young people, orphaned by the empire. The game opens with a battle they can't win, but three of them are revived by one of the game's many NPCs, Minwu, a white mage. He works for Princess Leia—I mean Hilda, the leader of the rebellion (and yes, at one point you have to rescue her from a cell). You choose the names for the heroes: each is a tabula rasa , like in FF1. The girl's brother is missing and doesn't appea

Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3: 30th anniversary

Wario Land was one of my favorite Game Boy games as a child, and now it’s 30 years old! Subtitled “Super Mario Land 3” for marketing purposes, it’s actually the beginning of a new series. No longer a villain, but an antihero, the greedy Wario seeks to gather as many coins as he can on Kitchen Island. The game mechanics of Wario Land are different from those of Super Mario. Wario, being fat, can’t run. He can, however, charge enemies with a shoulder slam (press B). His power-ups come in the form of hats, of which there are three. The most common is the bull hat, which enables Wario to smash through blocks in a single hit instead of two. While wearing the bull hat, Wario can also ground-pound, which is so forceful it stuns nearby enemies. The next hat is the dragon hat, which emits fire that can incinerate blocks and enemies. The last is my favorite: the jet hat. This increases the distance of Wario’s shoulder dash, which he can also perform in the air. Wario loses whatever hat he has