Sonic Adventure Part One: The Chaos of Love

Hey shorty! It’s your birthday!

So yeah, Valentine’s Day was my birthday. Instead of kisses and hearts, I got glorious gifts and chocolate cakes. It’s always strange being a Valentine Baby, having to explain it to people whose thoughts are most likely “where’s the red hearts filled with chocolates! Let me speak to your manager!” Anyway, I hope everyone is enjoyed their day of love, showing the one you care about how much you care about them so they can shut up about how much you don’t care about them. How does it feel, cause I never found love…

“Me everytime I make a decision without prior research or a plan.”
Image from MobyGames

Personal History:

Well, since this month is my birthday month, I decided to make a special post about one of my favorite video games, Sonic Adventure. This wasn’t my first ever video game, that would be a portable Grand Theft Auto Game I played when I was 5, but this was the first one I owned. Like usual backstories with a video game, I played this a lot as a kid, it influenced my life, made me a prolific fur-nah I’m kidding.

I will say, since my internet was about as slow as grass growing, this was my introduction to the series like how Smash Melee was mine to Nintendo. I didn’t find out Sonic had a franchise till around middle school, though I never cared enough to play the other games until Sonic Mania came out(yes, I am that man who lived under a rock). After that, I really stuck close to the oldies, playing Sonic 2 on my 3ds and Sonic Cd on my old tablet.

“Why go to the beach for real when you can run like hell in a fictional one? You’ll be safe from CO-VID.” Image from Sonic News Network

Sometime in 2017, I decided to make it an annual tradition to replay Adventure every summer break, since the story states Station Square was supposed to be a vacation for Sonic. This is the only game I replay, and I found myself liking and disliking sections. Every playthrough had something I never noticed before, leaving with a different perspective by the time I finish. The game is dated, especially the graphics for the DX version, but the developers put so much love and detail into this platformer to make it an immersive and fun adventure.

For this review, I’ll be giving my honest thoughts of each story, character, and miscellaneous things with a balance of bias and unbias (trust me, there are parts I can’t gaslight myself from). Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring my copy to my dorm, so this won’t be as in-depth. So, here’s part one of 45.

Spoiler Alert: If you don’t want to be spoiled, play the game first and then comeback

“This city’s water bill is gonna go through the roof soon.”
Image from Sonic Fandom

Overview

After years of living with small animals and beating a fat man, Sonic has decided to take a vacation in the city of Station Square, a small loop noticeable for showing Eggman’s race, when he suddenly intercepts a police operation to deal with the greatest enemy in the series: sentient water. Sonic beats the creature, but it escapes into a sewer pipe. Standing on a building, out of view, the walrus drops the creature’s name as Chaos, the so-called “God of Destruction.” Later on, after witnessing Tail’s commit plane arson on the beach, they’re confronted by the two, where Eggman reveals he needs the 7 Chaos Emerald’s in order to power up Chaos and destroy Station Square. In place would be Robotnik Land, which presumably will involve making Metal Sonic the mascot and charging 3 grand each visit. Sonic, Tails, and other 5 game modes race against time to stop the evil Eggman, while also discovering the mystery of who Chaos is.

Sonic’s Story: It’s Sonic’s Story

Sonic, as the title character, has the most levels, getting 10 out of the 11 action stages. It’s essentially a 3d version of his usual gameplay from the 2d era, like Mario 64. Fast with long levels, split up similarly to the acts of the 2d games. Additionally, they introduced the Homing Attack to hit enemies better (and make the platforming easier) and minigames in between levels (other characters have some as well) like the sky Chase sections. Compared to Mario 64, Sonic’s gameplay is smoother than the red plumber. Levels like Emerald Coast or Sky Deck don’t have too much BS level design that hinders the controls, unlike levels like Shifting Sand Land or Tall Tall Mountain. There’s also expansive unlike the sand-box like design in Mario 64, which does have its own merits.

I have played Sonic way more than the other, and I don’t wanna bash Mario 64 too much, but even when I got used to Mario’s controls the level design just didn’t mesh together. Sonic’s levels aren’t too challenging, maybe Final Egg, but their fun to run through and each level has enough secrets to have continuous playthroughs. I’m just saying, sonic had the smoother transition.

“I take one vacation away from the animals, and now I gotta fight the embodiment of my one weakness!”
Image from Pinterest
“Did you know that, apparently, this was alluded in the Japanese marketing for Sonic 3 and Knuckles. That’s…really good consistancy on Sonic Team’s part.” Image from Pinterest

However, while gameplay is fun, Sonic’s story is the introduction to the wider one. This means his section isn’t as in-depth to his character or to the lore, which is a strong point for the other characters. Sonic has to beat Eggman and get the Chaos Emeralds; the usual “get to the goal” kind of story that’s been in the previous main entries. Characters like Tails and Knuckle are at their surface level, acting as a teaser to their game modes. The only depth of lore comes after his fight with Chaos 6, where he enters into the Temple Ruins and discovers a sliver of Chaos’s backstory, an ancient mural and a vision of a fiery past. Besides that, it ends with him beating Eggman and saving the day.

Sonic’s story isn’t bad. The gameplay is the most solid out of everyone else. Who doesn’t remember his run from the giant Orca whale. It just lacks the substance in world building and character that the rest of the game offers. Sonic doesn’t change or learn anything unlike Tails or Amy, coming close to Big territory, and that one lore drop is all he has. Luckily, the secret story gives this blue blur the edge he needs over the others.

Favorite Moment

Just like how Sonic Adventure was my introduction to the franchise, it also gave me a taste of Nights: Into Dreams through the casino level in Casinopolis. When I played this as a kid, I thought this whole section was an in-universe character that was popular in Station Square. I found myself always coming back to this pinball machine because of how much it stands out from the rest of the game. The music is mystical, and my jaw drops every time I get transported to the bonus area and fly through a miniature Spring Valley.

“My favorite theme in the game, and it’s not even original to the game.” Image from Strategy Wiki

I eventually got a copy of Nights on Steam just to see how the game was. It’s a pretty fun acrobatics game, with enjoyable controls and heavenly music. By the end, though I wouldn’t say it blew my mind, but it was fun to be able to play a different game Sonic Team made. The company was pretty creative in their hay day. Hopefully, Balaan Wonderland can bring back the surreal fantasy that made me love Nights.

Tails: A Tale of Independence

“I wanna fly HIGH!” Image from Strategy Wiki

Tail’s may be the brains of the operation, but he’s the “Luigi” of the duo. Smart, but young, without the confidence to go on his own. Tail’s story is about him catching up to Sonic, his hero, in a symbolic and literal sense. While the story is essential the same as Sonic in the beginning, fighting the same bosses and going through the same cutscenes with small dialogue changes(which I’m pretty sure is non-canon), it diverges when the duo are separated in the first Tornado section. Tails lands in the jungles of Mystic Ruins where he dreams of his first encounter with the blue blur, running behind him with a smile on his face. Afterwards, Tail’s story becomes one of self-confidence and growing.

I love a character arc when a sidekick wants to be more than or equal to the main hero without disrespecting them. Tails learns to become independent besides just making gadgets, to not rely on Sonic for all his problems. At the end, he stands alone in the face of adversity against Eggman, who plans on detonating a straight up nuke within the city. Tails beats Mr Potato Head and becomes a hero to the people of Station Square, proving that he too can be a hero in his own way.

Unfortunately, as good as his character arc is, Tail’s levels are beyond easy. His gamemode is a race against Sonic (Eggman in the finale) in every level Sonic is in, excluding Twinkle Park, Lost Underworld, and Final Egg. However, levels were designed to make it impossible for Tails to lose. Not only can he fly across the entire map, they put ” magically floating rings” to give you short cuts to areas far ahead from Sonic. The only one without these shortcuts is Icecap since you’re stuck with a board.

“I didn’t even know Sonic could get that close.” Image from Mod DB

The story they were trying to tell gets undermined when they give Tails such easy routes to beat Sonic. I get that Sonic’s the fastest thing alive, but don’t nerf him to the point where Tail’s can beat him in a race by flying. I’ve swung into both spectrums on how I feel about Tail’s levels. Sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes I’m bored with it. By the end, it’s just decent. You’re only take away is Tail’s character growth…and how useless his tail blades are until the final battle.

Favorite Moment

Tail’s ending is just incredible, no matter the faults. Despite Eggman’s threats, he beats the AT-AT all by himself when no one else could have stood up to it. Surrounded by a crowd of cheering fans, Tails gained the confidence he needed to know that he can be a hero. Station Square knew of the hero Sonic, but this was Tails’s night. This was his glory. Heck, apparently Sonic Adventure 2 confirmed Tails got a medal for his actions and a Chaos Emerald. As the credits role, Tail’s theme plays, with lyrics discussing his major theme of independence and self-growth. Besides that, the song is triumphant, a fitting tune to a great character…which they forgot in Sonic Forces. I mean, come on! The moment I saw that interaction between Tails and Chaos killed any interest in that game. That crap was inexcusable. How are you gonna forget the one thing Tails had!

“So did Tails see this and think, ‘You know what, I’ll make my own chicken walker.” Image from Sonic Fandom

Knuckles and The Escape from Unemployment

“Oh no!” Image from Pinterest

Imagine your all alone, contemplating you whole existence with a magical emerald behind you, when you suddenly find a lanky water god towering over its shattered remains and eating the pizza man. To make matters worse, because the Master Emerald was what held it in the sky, the island falls into the ocean next to the Mystic Ruins (referenced as mountains by the explorers, which begs the question: how is the train station and the surrounding area not destroyed?).

Knuckles, the last guardian of the Emerald, must search around the 3 locations to find its scattered shards in order to bring Angel Island back to the sky seas.

As the last of the Echidna Tribe, which is further explored as the race in the past, this is Knuckle’s sole purpose in life. To me, his story is sad. His arc is about his secluded life, whether or not he’s happy with this fate. In the beginning, he states that he doesn’t know why he was given the job, meaning it was placed upon him when he was probably a child. However, he’s incredibly determined to recovering the Master Emerald, even, for the second time, believing Eggman that Sonic is trying to find shards as well. Though he’s naive, that rash behavior shows that he’ll do anything to accomplish his mission. His goal is simple in the end, compared to other characters. Get the stones, say hi to some friends, punch some robots, go back to his introverted seclusion and beat a stick. Serious and practical, Knuckles is one of the best characters.

His entire mode is a fetch quest, which makes for one of the more “explorational” sections of the game. Every character shares a few levels together, which, while might seem lazy, actually allows different sections of the location to be shown. Since Knuckles has gliding and climbing as abilities, you can explore so much of the map that you couldn’t with other characters (even Tails, who just really has crappy levels).

“Nobody touch my emeralds! I leave it all for my ghost!” Image from Sonic News Network

One of my favorite is in Red Mountain. It’s the exact map that Sonic has in the firsts ection, but Knuckles abilities can let you see all the little islands and canyons that you couldn’t access before. There are even the little things like the flying platforms and the strange whirlwind area in the far back. Being able to see different perspectives of the same maps in a new way makes Knuckle’s short levels unique. Level designers and programmers will have a blast with this Echidna

I’ll inject this right now, Knuckle’s gameplay is way better in this game than Sonic Adventure 2. The sequel, by giving him his own unique maps, took away what made him special in the original. They also ruined the meter that indicates where the shards are, showing only one at a time rather than the original that showed all 3, making levels way too long. Sure the original was short, which does suck, but its better than being stuck in one level for 30 minutes going through the same looking hallways. But hey, at the end of the day, at least Knuckles got the best level songs in 2. How a serious and rash character can work with chill hip-hop is beyond me, but it is a damn good mixture.

Favorite Moment

“A purpose in isolation. Is there truly more to that kind of life?” Image from Sonic News Network

A question Knuckles raises is, “Is there more to life than just this role?” Knuckles seemingly wants to do more in his life than live in seclusion and fight for the Emerald. The only time he ever goes to Station Square is for his job, never getting the time to just hang around. He never goes to Sonic like bros, he goes for advice on his job or fight him. His mind is focused on one thing, though the beginning makes you wonder if he really wants to do this anymore. Seclusion can have a toll on a person, especially for all their life. Heck, it’s no wonder he has a hard time talking to Rouge. There aren’t any lady Echidnas, or ladies at all, on Angel Island.

By the end, however, as he sits in front of the restored Alter with the sun beating int he distance, he feels satisfaction in his role. I think it’s because of the 3 times he sees the past, and not just because of the quest. The game never points it out but this is the first time he’s seen the tribe he’s descended from. He saw increments of the struggle for the Master Emerald, between the tribe leader Pachacamac and his daughter Tikal. In last vision, he sees the shrine in flames, the girl hurt, and an ominous roar in the distance. He may not have seen it all, but I believe this helped reaffirm his belief in protecting the Emerald. He may not have seen the entire story, but he’s found a new sense of peace in his purpose.

Big the Cat: A Huge Problem

“Like it, want it, need it, WHY!” Image from Pinterest

Before we get to the two last characters, let’s get this stupid one out of the way. Big’s section is bad. While I can do it, it’s just so unnecessary. The only form of enjoyment from this section is the Game Grumps playthrough. Arin’s rage makes watching fishing fun. Why would you have a fishing mode in a game called Sonic Adventure! The story has some relevance, but not to the point where we needed a Gaiden on it.

So, the story starts with Big sleeping in his hut within the depths of the jungle, where a search party of dim-witted explorers are, when his pet frog, Froggy, discovers a differently shaded and textured puddle. When it gets close, the water gets ingested, and the frog gains a longer tail. Big wakes up to find his friend insane, eating his damn Chaos Emerald and hopping away. And thus, the journey of furry Duke Nukem begins.

“Come on Froggy, get over here! I’m gonna hook this sh!t in your mouth.” Image from Nowhere

Big’s gameplay is fishing. That’s it. You go to 4 stages with a bunch of pools to catch a green frog, and you just wait. Gotta go fast! Except, if you don’t know what to do, it takes hours. As a great memory of my time as a kid, I never did this section. My brother played it, and I remember distinctly Emerald Coast being 3 hours. We waited 3 hours to catch a frog in a Sonic game

I eventually found out that you have to push down on the Control Stick to get the “hit” when Froggy, or any fish, bites the lure. So, while I can finish a level in under an hour now, it’s not worth it. Compared to Sonic’s fast platforming and Knuckle’s exploration, the fishing is just slow as hell or a quirk route to boredom. Big’s maps do show different parts of the maps, like the top of the aquarium in Hot Shelter, which is good world building. However, Froggy’s location isn’t randomized. It’s in the same spot every time, so there’s no point to going back to the level to explore the secret areas unless you want a bunch of fish or just for some sense of fun. His gameplay is repetitive the first time and in subsequent replays.

To add to injury, and this may be different for your copy, but I found that getting to the secret area of Hot Shelter makes catching Froggy impossible. For some reason, I can never catch anything while floating in the water using the Life Belt. Since getting to the secret area requires filling up the main location with so much water that the only solid ground, a floating brick, is far from Froggy’s location, I have to reset the level to erase what I did. It’s mind numbing.

“There’s a whole skeleton in Icecape that’s so cool but you’ll only see it when you need to find Froggy.”

As I said, the story has relevance, but only because of Froggy. It shows why Froggy became one of the central points of Eggman’s scheme, since he needs Chaos’s tail. However, even if Big is the owner, I don’t think we needed an entire story of the character when his frog is more important. I do like the chill humor of the story, and a story about a cat fishing for his pet frog in the midst of the world close to ending sounds like my alley. But the execution was not worth the 3 hours. The game didn’t need Big’s section, functioning the same, or even better, without the laid-back cat.

Favorite Moment

“I will fight Chaos the only way I can, with my fishing pole!” Image from Sonic News Network

I do love this moment. This is the funniest way to have a boss fight with Chaos. After Eggman kidnaps Froggy for the third time to give the swallowed Emerald and tail to Chaos by straight up throwing it into the deity, Big must help Sonic to get his pal back the only way he can: fish within Chaos’s body. I hope and fear the man who thought this got a promotion. Think about, knowing in the end, that Big managed to penetrate Chaos’s body faster than most characters. Some people may find it stupid, and I can see that, but the fact that they made this happen with a water boss the team wanted in the game is brilliant. Not worth it, mind you, but funny none the least.

E-102 Gamma: The True Hero

“My hovering jetpack is having a hard time holding this whole game.” Image from Sonic News Network

Gamme is the reason, in my opinion, you should play Sonic Adventure. A lot of people have said it but Gamma is the best character in this game, no doubt about it. An amazing plot of brothers, the concept of love and freedom, and character development that stands out among the rest…considering he dies in the end. He’s the only character in the franchise to die apparently, though you could consider the Dreamcast as well. However, like his B.A.G, his character had an impact that none of the other characters had.

The story begins with Gamma’s creation as the second of the E-100 series robots, coming after his “brother” Beta. After a shooting test, Gamma is pitied against his brother to see who will be apart of the Egg Carrier Crew, because why have two of your best soldiers when you can have just one. Gamma wins, impressing Eggman, but Beta comes along for “spare parts.

“Something about this feels like my master’s fantasy…” Image from Source Gaming

Inside the large vessel, Gamma is put in a team with 3 other of his kind: Delta, Zeta, and Epsilon. Eggman instructs them, as their first mission, to catch Froggy. Yeah, a ragtag team of pimped up robots should totally be catching a frog instead of gunning down Sonic. Good plan Eggman. After Gamma succeeds, gets sent to a vision of the past, and watches his other siblings transported away, he stumbles upon Beta being remodeled. Something about this hits Gamma, as if he’s witnessed a murder. Just one long existential crisis.

“This bird is free to fly. Why do I recognize it, and why do I desire the same thing?”

Confused, Gamma leaves to accomplish another task for Eggman: take a bird from a captive Amy. Gamma demands for the bird, but Amy refuses to heed his commands. When Amy asks why he wants it, Gamma is left with no answer. He doesn’t know why he carries out these orders and, after everything that’s happened since his birth, he’s left a shaking, confused child. After a while, Gamma questions why Amy cares for something she barely knows, something useless to her. Amy takes pity on the machine, believing Eggman failed to give him the greatest gift of all: love. Suddenly, Birdie escape to look directly into Gamma’s eyes. Gamma stares at the bird when a mysterious picture appears in his processors, one of 3 birds including the blue one. Gamma is left silently shaking until he makes the ultimate call to let Amy go. The girl thanks Gamma, calling him a friend, before leaving the robot to his thoughts.

Have I talked gameplay? No? Okay. Well Gamma’s the gun level. I’d make a Shadow The Hedgehog joke, but I barely played that game. Anyway, Gamma’s main objective is to shoot everything he can until he faces the boss of the level, namely his comrades after he decides to go against Eggman and free the animals within them(a good expansion on the idea of the machines having animals in them). Unlike the other characters where there timer goes up to tell you how long you’ve spent on a level, Gamma’s goes down. Blasting enemies gives you more seconds of time, and with the lock on system allowing you to stack up time, its best to hold the B button to lock onto as many robots as you can to avoid a game over.

Gamma’s gameplay is alright. It’s quick and gets to the point like a gun, so it accomplishes what’s it’s meant to do. All 5 levels aren’t long, so it makes most of Gamma’s story cutscenes. He controls fine, the rocket pack giving him a small gliding boost like knuckles and the gun fires fast, but his movement speed always felt slow. He can speed up, transforming his legs so his back wheels can move him, but it gets annoying when he gets stuck on stairs. He has another mode where he becomes a propeller to avoid water, which makes him raising Chao impossible. Don’t use him for taking care of babies.

“So, you guys or gals cool with me busting holes in you later for my existential crisis?” Image from Sonic News Network

The part that lacks is boss fights. They are way to easy. All the E-Series robots have low health, two attacks, and A.I that barely tries. I’m not asking Sephiroth bosses, but his final boss, once you know how it works, can go by so fast it almost takes away how awesome and emotional it is.

(Before I do my obvious favorite moment, I have to talk about the character integral to his plot.)

Amy: Love In Different Ways

“Sonic has quills, Knuckles has fists, and I have a big a$$ hammer!”

I have had many different perspectives on Amy’s story. At first, I thought nothing of it. As a kid, it was just “the girl” of the game. Later I found myself feeling they cheated Amy out of a good one, making her have the fewest levels and not having her stand on her own. I felt that her goal of saving a bird wasn’t as significant as Sonic’s or Gammas. But, despite how short it is, this story does Amy’s character justice. Love is her main character element, and the game brings out so much of that theme through her actions. I saved her for last because not only did she become my second favorite story, but she’s integral to the story of Gamma.

It starts with her being the material girl of a material world, reminiscing the bygone days where she and Sonic were together and being chased by his psychotic robot double (by this point, I’m pretty sure Sonic Adventure is a continuation of the 2d games). Suddenly, Eggman’s flying fortress passes above Station Square, scaring all the citizens with its massive, pointy tip. Amy questions what just happened, when a blue bird suddenly tackles across her face. At first she’s mad, but she realizes the bird must have escaped from Eggman when E-100 Zero, the prototype to the E-100 series, crashes from the ship and chases the duo. Realizing the bird is in danger, Amy vows to protect the bird and deliver it to their family…by first asking Sonic to do it.

Amy’s gameplay is honestly the second worst of the game. She runs like a tank which makes movement jarring and unnatural. She has a hammer as her main weapon. If you run fast enough, she can do a really fun somersault by launching her into the air. Other than that, just the tap of B adds to the clunkiness. In each stage, she is pursued by Zero relentlessly, making her gameplay that of the “cat and mouse.” Zero has a lock on, a prototype to the one Gamma has, hands that can stretch out like a rocket punch, and a electric shock wave when it jumps in the air. The game says don’t let Zero catch you, but that just means don’t let it kill you. Nothing happens if Zero touches you.

“No joke, I still don’t understand the controls of this area.” Image from Neoseeker

To halt it’s progress, since you can’t break the exterior(somehow more durable than it’s successors) you hit it down to the ground to stun it. Some levels have little cans to hide in like Solid Snake, but they are useless. Not once did the mechanic work, since you’re in plain view of the robot. It’s like hiding in a cupboard while Jason Voorhees is in the room watching you. On a funnier note, sometimes Zero leaves you alone for a while but busts through walls just to scare you. I guess Zero did it’s horror film research.

The end goal is some random balloon that takes you to safety, even though Zero can clearly just rocket punch the balloon. It floats slowly anyway, and I’ve seen Zero bounce high enough to just grab her. I don’t know, maybe Eggman didn’t program it with smarts. Like father, like robot.

This mode can be fun when you get the handle on the controls, however you only have 3 levels to do that. Yep, she has the lowest count of levels. Most of her story is just cutscenes and dialogue, and the occasional kidnapping. I do get it, since it’s just her trying to find a bird’s family in 3 locations. The pacing is good for such an arc, I do enjoy each scene like her and it going into Final Egg, but it feels stupid when she’s the only girl character. It’s really obvious. Besides that, she deserved more levels than Big the ATOZ 7. Amy’s gameplay is bad, but at least it’s not so bad that people couldn’t beat the game because of fishing.

I didn’t mention it till now, but each character gets their own upgrade that boosts their abilities or gives them new ones. Knuckles gets shovel claws to dig, Sonic gets a ring to do the Light Speed Dash, and Big gets a bunch of lure. I saved it till now to discuss how stupid Amy’s are.

Her first upgrade, the Warrior Feather, allows her to spin her hammer in place. It’s required like other upgrades, which, unlike others, must be obtained by beating Eggman’s high score on his whack-a-mole minigame (why does he have this in the Egg Carrier? I don’t know, he must get bored in there). However, it doesn’t help fight enemies and you can’t use it to inevitably kill Zero cause you need a horizontal attack than a vertical one. In a section of running away, the move keeps you static and vulnerable. The only thing it does is cause a special animation where Amy becomes dizzy as she walks. Like Tail’s tail swords, this mechanic is unnecessary to play the game.

“Wow, this could have been useful a while ago!” Image from Sonic News Network

Her last upgrade is the Long Hammer, which increases the range of attack. This makes hitting enemies and somersaults easier. However, you can’t get this upgrade during her story, rather afterwards. You get it at the whack-a-mole again, getting 3000 points instead, in the floating ruins of the Carrier. What I don’t understand is you come to this location for Amy’s last level and boss, yet getting the score gives you nothing. You have to beat it, go back in, and do it again.

So much of her gameplay left a bad taste in my mouth, leaving a bad impression on her story. Slow, janky, getting all the good stuff 2000 late, and going by like a blur in the worst way. Thankfully, I ignored it to analyze the underrated story.

Favorite Moments

“Writer Here: You would not believe how scared I when typing “Amy and Gamma” in Google for a screenshot. I was afraid of seeing the weird side of the Fandom.” Image from F@ck Yeah Sonic

Amy first appeared in Sonic CD as the “Minnie” for Sonic, a love struck hedgehog who fell for the Blue Blur. Even when Sonic rejects her heart, Amy is determined to make Sonic fall for her. Her character is essentially based around love, shown by the pink of her fur. While the game keeps this aspect of her character, the writers also brought out, in full flair, her love for other creatures. When the little bird was in trouble, and Sonic rightfully refused his stalker’s request, she immediately made it her quest to protecting it from Zero. I always loved that the bird followed behind her. It’s a small detail, but it showed how much the bird imprinted to her.

This act of love would later be the revelation needed for Gamma. As I said, Amy is responsible for Gamma turning on Eggman. She initially hated the machine, like all Eggman robots since she was kidnapped by Metal Sonic in CD, but when she realized Gamma had not reason to do the things he did she felt sorry for him. Amy immediately pleaded to him them, seeing Gamma now as a life than a machine. When Gamma frees them, she’s actually shocked. An Eggman robot being good? As she leaves, she thanks Gamma and decides to call him a friend.

Amy would later return the favor by stopping Sonic (or Tails) from delivering the finishing blow on a damaged Gamma, telling them that he’s good. Just before the Carrier crashes and Tails takes Amy away, she asks Gamma if he’s okay. He asks why she helps him, to which she repeats that their friends. She even states that Eggman is no good for him, and that she and the bird want to see him friend. Amy hopes she sees him again as they depart the falling castle in the sky, separated to continue their own story.

Image from Sonic News Network

Gamma, as memories of his life and the people he’s met flash before his servos, decides to erase his master registration, declaring Eggman an enemy and making it his mission to free the animals within his E-100 series brothers.

“Last remaining units…Beta…Gamma…” Image from Source Gaming

One of my favorite Gamma moments is right after he destroys Zeta, and he sees a modified Beta fly above him. Right before he goes into his last battle, he takes a moment to count how many units are left. Beta and Gamma. He looks at his hand as he says his own name. His mission is to free all the E-100 series robots, including himself. With the ocean breeze as ambience, it reveals to the player that Gamma isn’t going to walk away from this story with a happily ever after. His battle with Beta will be the last, or he’ll have to take other measures to free the animal inside of him.

After his fight with Beta Mk II, as his brother falls to the ground close to exploding, you think Gamma’s gonna walk away. However, Beta faces Gamma and delivers a fatal shot to the protagonist. Beta dies, freeing the yellow bird within. Gamma limps away as the bird watches. Just then, Gamma remembers the memory of three birds: a yellow one, a pink one, and a blue one. Right then, the machine falls to the ground and dies in the biggest explosion in the game. The story fades away as a pink bird reunites with the yellow one. However, while this is the ending shown in Gamma’s story, Amy’s end shows the conclusion.

After failing to find Birdie’s family in Final Egg, Amy believes they may be on the floating Egg Carrier since that’s where Birdie escaped from. They go and Amy is happy when birdie finds their family, revealing to be the yellow Beta and pink Gamma bird the whole time. Suddenly, Zero appears and hits Birdie with a rocket punch. Fed up, Amy takes out her hammer and stands her ground. With the help of the “magically appearing electric gates,” Amy destroys Zero once and for all, as only one stalker can be in the Sonic Universe.

As Amy stays with the hurt bird, watching it try to fly away. For a moment, it seems Birdie dies, but they manages to recovery and fly with the rest of its flock. Amy says how happy she is that Birdie found their family again. Amy watches them as they fly away to the sunset, never realizing that she got to see Gamma one last time. Amy says that she’ll do her best, which basically means getting Sonic’s damn respect. The story ends for the both of them, going back to their daily lives.

“Can’t believe you blew up our cool, mecha suits, idiot!” Image by Sonic Adventure Facts from Twitter

Gamma’s story hit me as a kid. In a short time, I saw his birth and death at the same time; an entire lifetime. I never expected him to go like that, hell I never thought a main protagonist could die. When Beta, possibly rejecting his brother, takes the dirty shot, it came out of left field for me. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and then it all came together when the hero fell. The emotional weight his story had stuck with me for years, becoming one of the reasons I got into storytelling. I don’t remember if I cried or not, probably did, but every subsequent playthrough came close to bringing me to tears. Something brought up to me was how his theme song, played in every cutscene, represents his story; the techno front being his robotic exterior while the soft piano is the emotions he gains.

I chose to do Gamma and Amy’s section together because they’re connected together. Having Amy’s ending be about her growth as a character and the finale of Gamma’s arc really shows how much they affected one another, and how much they are friends. Sure Gamma’s is the more famous one, he is a fan favorite, but I got to give credit to Amy for being the reason for his redemption. Their stories are the most heartfelt and unique in the game, and why I think you should give them a shot and play the game.

End of Part One

“I just liked this meme. Props to the creator.” Image by Stick Breightley on Reddit

Since this post is getting long, I’ll separate the secret story, other characters, and miscellaneous things into a different post. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this February, 2021, and I’ll see you into the start of the Spring, where allergies will come and falsely accuse people of having the virus. Fun times.

-Samuel Argueta

The 100 Songs I like to Listen to

Note: I know the Metal Arm’s Review isn’t up yet. I apologize. I was writing the first draft of it last night on Thursday when I had a family emergency. Don’t worry, it was a false alarm but it left me incredibly tired. The review will come up Saturday night. Anyway, enjoy the list.

The 100 songs I loved in 2020 (doesn’t actually have to been made in 2020 and not a Best to Eh)

1.The Entire Song Machine by Gorillaz

2. Feels like Summer by Childish Gambino(or Donald Glover)

3. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zepplin

4. Humility by Gorillaz

5. Tick Tock by Joji

6. Dreams by Fleetwood Mac

7. Village of Dali from Final Fantasy 9

8. Gymnopedie by Erik Satie

9. Pretty Boy by Joji

10. Fly Like An Eagle by Steve Miller Band (Also the cover by Seal)

11. Sara by Fleetwood Mac

12. Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac

13. Chances Are by Johnny Mathis

14. Thunderstruck by ACDC

15. Hell’s Bells by ACDC

16. Love Train by The O’Jays

17. Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind, & Fire

18. Big Poppa by Notorious B.I.G

19.Juicy by Notorious B.I.G

20. Paisley Park by Prince

21. I’ll Get Lucky Someday by Glen Campbell

22. Might Be Right by White Reaper

23. Safe And Sound by Capitol Cities

24. Pocketful Of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield

25. Orphans by Coldplay

26. Yellow by Coldplay

27. Almighty from Kamen Rider Saber

28. Chant My Name from Ultraman Z

29. Ms. Jackson by Outkast

30. Cid’s Theme from Final Fantasy 9

31. This is America by Donald Gambino

32. The Main Them from The Mandolorian

33. Send In The Clown by Frank Sinatra

34. Tusk by Fleetwood Mac

35. Demon Days by Gorillaz

36. Circles by Post Malone

37. Paperback Writer by The Beatles

38. Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles

39. Killer Queen by Queen

40. Georgy Porgy by Toto

41. Adventure Of A Lifetime by Coldplay

42. Native New Yorker by Odyssey

43. Viva La Vida by Coldplay

44. The Entire Transformers 1986 Movie Soundtrack

45. It’s Christmas Time Again by by Vince Guaraldi

46. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Sam Smith

47. Dancing With A Stranger by Normani and Sam Smith

48. One Kiss by Dua Lipa

49. Without Me by Eminem

50. Another Brick In The Wall by Pink Floyd

51. Echoes by Pink Floyd

52. Mecha World from A.I Artificial Intelligence

53. Space Oddity by David Bowie (Also the cover by Chris Hansfield)

54. Disintegration by Myuu

55. Vast Poni Canyon from Pokemon Sun and Moon

56. Kamen Rider Saber’s Ending Theme

57. Corridors Of Time from Chrono Trigger

58. West Town Girls by Pet Shop Boys

59. Stayin Alive by Bee Gees

60. Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers

61. Who’s Crying Now by Journey

62. Super Fast Jellyfish by Gorillaz

63. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt cheap by ACDC

64. Rising Sun from Okami

65. Last Train Home by Pay Metheny Group

66. Metsuboujinrai’s theme from Kamen rider Zero One

67. The Man by the Killers

68. Tears in Rain from Blade Runner

69. Blade Runner Blues from Blade Runner

70. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for by U2

71. Shooting Stars by Bag Raiders

72. Immigration Song by Led Zepplin

73. Fool In the Rain by Led Zepplin

74. Paradise City by Gun’s and Roses

75. Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowier

76. Private Eyes by Hall & Oates

77. Beyond The Moon by The Pillows

78. Star Overhead by The Pillows

79. When Dove’s Cry by Prince

80. Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd

81. Return Of The Mack by Mark Morrison

82. All Around The World by Daft Punk

83. Photograph by Def Leopard

84. Stardust Speedway All Versions from Sonic CD

85. Emerald Coast from Sonic Adventure

86. Meteor Herd from Sonic Adventure 2

87. Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

88. Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley

89. Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper

90. The Court Of The Crimson King by King Crimson

91. Don’t Fear The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult

92. I Still Cannot Sleep/They Cannot Touch Her from Taxi Driver

93. True Colors by Cyndi Lauper

94. Cherchez La Femme by Dr. Buzzard Original Savannah Band

95. Walking Into The Sunshine by Central Line

96. Dracula by Gorillaz

97. Paint it Black by Rolling Stones

98. Rock the Casbah by The Clash

99. Chained To the Rhythm by Katy Perry

100. Empire Ants by Gorillaz

Update February 1st, 2021: It’s been a long while since I have updated. I am currently in school while also dealing with an internship, so this blog and website is being kept in the backburner of priorities. I apologize to anyone reading. In terms of a plan, I am not sure if I can do bigger posts like my review of Earthbound Beginnings this semester, but I am thinking of making smaller posts. As a spoiler, I am thinking of my own thoughts about a minor character in Earthbound.

Until then, expect a crazy schedule where posts come randomly. See you then.

-Samuel Argueta

Kamen Rider: A Jump To the Sky That Become a Rider Hit

An Old Hero, A Spanning Legend

“And they say Endgame was the most ambitious crossover ever.”
Image from Kamen Rider Fandom, the website I spend too much time on.

Kamen Rider is a Power Rangers rip off that- nah I’m kidding. Kamen Rider is a tokusatsu show, a Japanese type of live action cinema or television that heavily uses special effects and originated from Japanese theater shows. Kamen Rider is the best know example of the superhero  “henshin” genre, alongside others such as Ultraman and its sister series Super Sentai, in which a young man, usually early 20s, is given powers to transform into a bug-eyed hero to fight evil on a motorcycle. The franchise is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, so I think it’s necessary for me to reveal my absolute love for this series.

History: Presented By Zaia

“No jokes this time. Thank you Shotaro for giving us this franchise.”
Image from Wikipedia

The franchise was created by Shotoro Ishinormori(original last name Onedara), an influential manga artist who defined tokusatsu with such series’ as Cyborg 009 and Super Sentai. The first ever Kamen Rider series, just called Kamen Rider, aired in 1971. It told the story of college student Takeshi Hongo, IQ genius and Sega lover, who had been kidnapped by Shocker, an evil terrorist organization who wanted to rule the world with modified humans, in order to create the ultimate warrior. However, irony kicked in when Hongo escaped the facility, taking with him the power to transform into the Kamen Rider.

With a bike, martial arts, and the eventual help from Hayato Ichimonji, the second and first Secondary Kamen Rider, Takeshi managed to beat each of Shocker’s warriors on a weekly basis until the Double Riders destroyed the organization. And thus started this sequence of events as future rider would beat their own monsters on a weekly basis and deal with the troubles of life, friendship, and the occasional talking belt.

The show became a hit and would later spawn 9 more seasons and 4 movies in the Showa Era, or I guess Heisei as well with the movies. Unfortunately, Ishinomori passed away on January 29, 1998, two years before he could see the revival of the series, Kuuga, make the franchise popular again in 2000.

“Told ya, talking belt.”
Image from Kamen rider Fandom

After Kuuga became a hit with the moms, the franchise would continue to today under the…moderately okay hands of Toei studios. With a total of 32 seasons, and crap ton of movies and special, and a passion filled fanbase, it’s become a prominent figure in Japanese Pop culture.

Cast Off! What is a Kamen Rider?

“My Grandmother once said: It’s not spandex, it’s leather. Really beatable and aged leather.” Image from Kamen Rider Fandom, which I think is where most will come.

A Kamen Rider is a spandex wearing superhero who rides a motorcycle. Their first designs were based on grasshoppers which gave them their unique insect look, most notably their compound eyes that became a staple design in future riders. They also had a red scarf, though this would only appear later in a few incarnations. To transform, you needed two things. First, a transformation device. The staple device is a belt, which would later be known as Drivers with Decade, though many Riders have a spin on this. Ichigo, the name of the first rider since it got too confusing, used the Typhoon, which used the wind with a spinning device in the center of the belt would be referenced in many future belts. The second is the term Henshin, yes this is where it comes from, which is a term every single rider uses to activate the transformation. Do a cool pose and watch as your armor comes on with magic or technology, not no Morphing Grid.

Build Change! The Rider Machines

“Hey look at my cool bike that I’ll ride for a few episodes and a movie until Japanese laws kick in and I RUN EVERYWHERE!”
Image Dictsaurus from Reddit

Motorcycles is a Rider’s steed, otherwise they wouldn’t be considered a Rider. Unless your Drive, who drives a car. Known as Rider Machines, from the Cyclone to Diago Speedy, these machines would serve a Rider to help with running down bad guys. Or you could be Kuuga and use the damn bike as a replacement for your fists. However, in recent years, they haven’t seen much screen time due to Japanese laws against modified bikes. Watch from Kuuga to Zi-O and notice the lacking appearance of these machines. It’s sad, but it can’t be helped. At least the movies show them.

Final Form Ride: M-M-Motifs!

Motifs are a common trend with Kamen Rider. It started out simple with animals, usually bugs or even a dragon. Then things got weird and complicated with Heisei. 555, or Faiz, had a motif of phones and technology, Blade had a theme of playing card, and then you get to Gaim who is based on fruits. Their weapons and henshin device would tie well with their motif, especially with the collectible gimmick. Starting with Ryuki, belts required an external source to be placed into the belt to transform. For real, it’s to sell toys. It’s a Japanese kid show, it needed high quality screaming toys. Each gimmick corresponded with the motif, so you’d get stuff like game cartridges, soda bottles, cards, and even eyeballs once. The show would make them important, so it didn’t feel as cash grabby, much to the dismay of fans of the older seasons and people’s wallet.

“Yes, he’s wearing an orange for armor. However, I’ll some information for you anime fans. His season was written by Gen Urobuchii”
Image by Decade 1945 on Devianart

Kick Strike, Saiko!

A Kamen Rider’s greatest weapon is their own body, or sometimes a weapon. The Rider Kick is the signature finisher every Kamen Rider has, where they jump into the sky and perform a flying side kick. Though, you could be a badass like Kabuto and perform a roundhouse kick. Other finishers come from punches or their weapons. This started with Riderman and became a trend in Heisei for that sweet toy money. Most weapons are swords but there have been guns, staffs, axes, and even a DJ table gun-sword thing.

“Hey! I didn’t see him puncture a hole through his chest and cause a massive explosion! It’s not a rider kick unless they impact like a f*cking bullet train!” GIF by Trench Zero from Tenor

Hissastu Dokuha: Cross of Fire

One of the bigger themes with Kamen Rider is the fact that, despite being made or directly tied to the evil antagonists, you can use your powers for justice and peace. This is known as the Cross of Fire, termed in Wizard. The very fact is many of the protagonists could have turned out evil, but it’s their own choice to use their given powers to do good.

This concept would be challenged in many seasons, from other Kamen Riders using their powers for selfish or evil reasons, with a common trend now having the final villain be a Kamen Rider, or even the protagonist willingly become evil. Many shows have other themes, but the Cross of Fire is the theme of Kamen Rider no matter what.

I am the child of the Americas, Kamen Rider Adaptations!

“Okay, this one was good. I’d show Masked Rider, but then I would need Ferbus and I don’t wanna see that E.T sh!t again.”
Image from Imbd

Kamen Rider Japan’s baby, but it has seen some adaptations here in there in America. The most infamous being Masked Rider, an adaptation of Black RX Saban made during their experimental time in the 90s after the success of Power Rangers. However, it didn’t do well and that ended any chance of Saban doing any more Kamen Rider adaptations. Whether that was a good thing or not is left unknown. Steve and Micheal Wang would go on to adapt Ryuki into Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight in 2008, which I did watch personally. It was good but didn’t do enough to get Kamen Rider western fame.

International Rise!

However, things would change in 2020, when Shout Factory Tv would create Tokushoutsu for their own streaming service and PlutoTv. Not only did Super Sentai and Ultraman come to the west, the original Kamen Rider would be aired for the first time ever. Later on, Kuuga would be added to the roster and then the Build/Zi-O crossover movie “Heisei Generations:Forever” with subtitles. As confirmed by Toei, in celebration of the 50t anniversary of the series, both era starters and Zero One, the first of the Reiwa era, will be coming to Toei’s official Tokusatsu World youtube page for the franchise’s 50th anniversary.

“Kamen Riders, assemble! Except you Shin. Get your mutated a$$ out of here.” GIF by Wayfinder on Tenor

3, 2, 1! How to Watch.

For the time being, not everything Kamen Rider related is available. Most of the seasons can be watched on places like Kissasian and other “legit” streaming service. There aren’t very reliable, or safe honestly. I’m not advocating for it, do what you watch, but until these seasons become readily available in more legal ways this is the way.

Open Up! My Personal History

“Besides Dragon Knight, this was one of the first things I’ve seen of Kamen Rider over in the East.” Image from Kamen Rider Fandom

I’ve been a fan of the series for a long while. I believe I started watching in 2015, during Power Rangers: Dino Charge’s run, when I first watched Gaim and Fourze, which I didn’t really finish until 2020. A friend of mine got me into it, and ever since then I’ve been trying to watch as many as I can. I’ve seen Gaim, Drive, Ghost(which I didn’t finish), Ex-aid, Build, Blade, Zi-O, Fourze, Kuuga, Zero-One, and currently Saber.

I love this series to death, even when it does disappoint at times. Many are a hit or miss, but the storytelling can be incredibly engaging and unique. For a kids series, the series is not afraid to be more mature and dark, more than any of adult shows in America. No sex, sometimes cursing, and pretty violent. The themes are thought provoking, leaving me wondering throughout and remembering afterwards. From the ethics of war, the effect of friendship, whether or not a person’s ideal is right or wrong, and even if a child should be born in a world full of violence. When it hits, it really hits. But each show has its way of shining a bright light, having fun with each episode. Sure, its cheesy, really cheesy, but it’s some of the most entertaining content I’ve seen in a long time. It proves Japan has some of the greatest storytellers. If only Toei would get that through their heads sometimes.

The thought of whether or not Kamen Rider being popular in America is a good or bad thing is left for another day, but I can say I hope the franchise continues for a very long time. It has its faults, I can’t deny some seasons infuriate the hell out of me, but the good overcome the bad. This is a series that worth checking out on your own time, of course with a virus protector. Look past the cheesiness, and you get a show that’s worth it.

“I won’t spoil it, but this form from Build leads to one of its best and darkest arcs.” Image by Prasblacker from Devianart

Apology for the late post. I got held up with the internship and coming back to my college. It hurt not being able to post this but I do hope you enjoy me rambling about a popular and niche topic. In terms of the future, the schedule has gotten out of whack and I’m not sure if posts will come to the planned date. Earthbound Beginnings may come early February.

Either way, I’ll make sure to update more about the blog, the website, and my book so stay tuned. Alright, have a good night and remember to pray for love and peace.

“By the way, this guy can legit beat Thanos and any other OP villain.”
Image from Villain Wiki

-Samuel Argueta

Metal Arms: Glitch In The System

(Note: Sorry for the late upload. A family emergency put me behind schedule. Nothing happened, don’t worry, but let’s just say that tired me out into bed earlier than usual.)

Introduction:

Metal Arms: Glitch in the System, a 2003 GameCube game I fondly remembered playing as a kid…as long as my brother’s best friend came around. He would bring it over for us to play together. I vaguely remember the days we played, only retrieving small fragments like ink pigments, but I do remember how much of an impact it had on me. It sucks because our friend would later move away, taking with him fond memories he made with me and my brother. Still miss him. The game kind of became a fever dream I would have sometimes. In these moments, I questioned if the game was even real and was just the result of my childhood over imagination. It became a mystery my thoughts obsessed over.

“You’ve got the touch! You’ve got the-OH SH!T!”
Screenshot from Neoseeker

Thankfully, I learned I wasn’t too psychotic since I found the game’s name in a search back in my good old days of high school. Waves of nostalgia hit me as I dug deep into this forgotten gem. I found gameplay footage and listened to the soundtrack in preparing myself when I get my own dirty hands on it. It wouldn’t happen until I received a $25 Game Stop gift card, by spending all the points I had accumulated over the years from my dentist location, that I could buy the game.

I ordered both Metal Arms and Viewtiful Joe 1 off the online store and played both babies for a solid 3 months. I won’t count this in the pros and cons but playing in blind was one of the best gaming experiences I’ve had in a long time. 3 years later and I’m finally gonna add myself to the list of people who remember and value this scrubbed classic.

The Wonderful and Brutal War Of Iron Star

“In the planet of Cybertron….”
Image from Metal Arms Fandom

The story begins with 2 Droid fighters and a dog, Zoggy, rummaging through a wasteland and discovering a strange robot named Glitch. They decide to bring him back to Droid Town, while noting the strange mark on the back of his head. Optics reactivated, he is greeted by Colonel Alloy, leader of a Droid resistance, and Krunk, a no sh!t taking bot with a foul mouth. Afterwards,  a 1900’s style war documentary on the planet plays, telling of the mysterious and unseen Morbots within the core, the Droid race, the beloved Dr Exavolt, and the inevitable explosion he caused that unleashes an evil, war bent General Corrosive and their Mil army.

Unfortunately, they weren’t given the emotion love and they soon became the ruling race on the planet, deactivating droids or making them their slaves. General Alloy leads the Droid Rebellion in the allusive Droid Town, hoping to one day bring the Droid race back to the top and destroy General Corrosive. As Glitch is reactivated, he decides for himself to help the rebellion after he finds out he and the 2 droids that saved him are the only ones left to defend Droid Town when Mils invaded the mines.

Throughout the story, Glitch is accompanied and helped by a variety of colorful characters. There’s Krunk, Zoggy, Mozer, who can’t get his piston up, Slosh, who’s seen some major sh!t, Agent Shush, who’s really quiet, and Agent Goff, a preacher?, and Shady and Mr. Pockets, two weapon merchants that don’t want to get into too much trouble.

Gameplay

You play as Glitch, voiced by the man and legend Dave Wittenburg who also directed the game. Metal Arm is a 3rd person shooter where you get to explore the vast majority of Iron Star, from the Wasteland, to Mil City, and the Ruins, in 49 levels tearing apart Mils in your way.

“Till all are one!”
Image from Dolphin

In each level, their a variety of enemies that pound you to ground, getting more and more difficult in terms of how many there are and how much damage they cause. There are the Mil Grunts differently colored depending on their weapons, Titans, Guards, WTF?!, and Troopers.

“Ooooh, Zombiebot is tired of being bullied into pieces!”
Image from Metal Arm Fandom

It wouldn’t be a third person shooter without a variety of a$$ kicking weapons. The primary weapons, shot by R, consist of guns such as the Mining Laser, a Rocket Launcher, a Shotgun, and a Rivet Gun that can be upgraded for Washes(that cash-money). Secondary weapons come in a variety of bombs like grenades, Magma bombs that spread fire, and even a Recruiter bomb that can reprogram Mils to your side. You can even go commando and bitch slap everyone with Z.

All guns can be upgraded by underground merchants scattered throughout levels. There ain’t no window watching, so you better be buying some kind of ammo, upgrade, or Energy with those hard-earned Washes.

Speaking of reprogramming Mils, one of the main and best mechanics of the game is taking over Mils and using their special arsenal. This is done in two ways. One occurs for earlier levels through literal Arcade Machines. Pop in a chip and control that level’s designated Mil for a short time to complete some task.

The second is through a primary gun known as the Tether, invented by Krunk, that can shoot a wire into a Mil’s backside to send your spark into them. This lasts longer and you’re in control of which Mil you want for the situation. Unfortunately, the range isn’t long, so you have to keep close to your body or else you lose the signal.

Some level’s even let you play as the other characters, adding to the variety and creativity the game has. Besides that, you can take control of vehicles and gun stations with the Y button. Some vehicles include the R.A.T, Sentinel Tank, and Loader. This helps prevent any repetitiveness and keeps you engaged with each level. Some levels have other special features, but I’ll let you discover it in your own playthrough.

Finally, the enemies and their A.I were given a lot of attention-to-detail that not only lead to funny moments but also change in combat. First is Stealth, which I’ll admit I never really see in person. It is possible to walk past enemies without them knowing. I have dabbled in the concept by throwing bombs, since the Mil’s A.I actually listen to sound. Check out Vuthakral’s video on the Titan’s stealth mechanics to found out more. It is just one enemy, but it does show the depths of the enemy A.I and the idea of other Mil’s in this predicament.

“My…name…is…Slosh.” Quote from Slosh if he was in Netflix Siege
Image from Metal Arms Fandom

Enemies can actually be disarmed thanks to a mechanic where you can blow off or cut off their body parts. This can make combat easy as you can target their weapon’s and make them useless. Some include: Blowing off the legs of a Titan to immobilize them, breaking off the heads of Grunts to remove their ability to aim, and blowing off the arms of a Hunter so you can just watch them fly around thinking “Ah dammit, I’m defective!”

Pros:

“Will the party who released the main protagonist into the Mil City please take him back, he is dismembering a citizen…thank you.”
Image from Neoseeker

Humorous Yet Dark

Much of the humor is pretty childish, like how Glitch threatens Vlax that he’ll cut off his legs and “spill his reserve oils” all over his eyes, but it works effectively to contrast the death that goes around. Krunk basically says a cuss word ever f$%cking minute, and sometimes, if you wait a while, the Mils actually toot on duty. In some moments, the humor is subtle and quirky, like a Mil spy speaks to glitch like Billy Graham to encourage him while also saying he won’t join him since he didn’t “sign up for no suicide mission.” I love the humor, but it may not be in your taste.

As I said with Earthbound, I like a comedy that isn’t just that, especially when it gets dark sometimes. With Metal Arms, death is shown a lot with no empathy or sympathy from characters. The whole story is about Iron Star destroyed by the Mils, and you see this when going through the ruined cities. Zombiebots swarm these wastelands, clawing at both droids and Mils alike while hanging the dead like the Predator. I’ll get to the sound design later, but their whole sound design reveals a monstrous animal that sends shivers down anyone’s spine.

The Mils take pleasure in the destruction and oppression of Droids. When you listen to their dialogue, you get robots who laugh and taunt at you in the middle of battle. In one special conversation, two Mils discuss Droid Hunting and one asks if he can stick a rachet in their necks with a laugh.

One section of the game pits you in a Colosseum, where they put helpless droids into the slaughter for the amusement of many. The first thing you wake up to is a busted-up Droid who basically says the only way out is death. The concept of death means nothing to these characters, which adds to the grunge, war ridden atmosphere the game is trying to present. The Mils are a threat to be taken seriously, even when they can be hilarious sometimes, adding to the conflict. The humor and dark themes mix perfectly together, giving it an identity that screams “Metal Arms.”

Worldbuilding

The first cutscene tells you everything you need to know about this world. Morbots made it, Morbots made droids, Droids advance with space debri and the rich ore within the planet, and Dr Exovolt f$%ks it up. But as you explore the planet, each location gives you more in-depth look into the planet and establishing a dark and mysterious tone. You see the ruins that lays in the deserts, the death from the hanging bodies in the Wasteland, and the industrial advancements with the Mil City.

“I’ve got better things to do than die!”
Image from Neoseeker

Iron Star is a dirty, war ridden planet that loves the colors brown, red, and grey. The characters show this as well with their designs, from the rust, sand, and scars on their bodies. War is dirty, and Metal Arms exemplifies this. Yet, when you explore Morbot City, you get a clean, alien like environment that contrasts heavily with the above world, but the cracks do show with the Mil invasion. It adds a mystery to the lore of the planet, making you wonder who the Morbots were like the characters. The world is shown masterfully, and the immersion it brings to the players invests them into the story.

Graphics

For the GameCube version at least, the graphics look good and add to the dirty feel the game goes for. It’s a lot better than the PS2 graphics.

Difficult Yet Fun

The game can be extremely difficult, which is a double edged sword, but that’s what makes it fun. Enemy A.I, at least from what I’ve experienced in Normal, are pretty smart and armed to the teeth. After every level, the next one remembers what ammo you had left. Without conserving and being smart with it, you can be left in a hard level with a little resource to get you through. Not only that, tough enemies take a lot of ammo to destroy. Don’t be surprised if you get the Mission Failed screen a lot.

“One shall stand…and that’s you private! Get your a$$ up and fight!” Image from Metal Arms Fandom

However, once you get the hang of the weapons and controls, the game becomes incredibly fun to play. Every weapon has a purpose and I never felt any was useless. The Rivet is a sniper, the Shotgun is good for close combat, and the flamethrower does continuous damage. Each one is given a purpose within specific levels as well, like the Slingshot in the 4th Colosseum level. The game gives a lot of room for experimentation and time to use each one, since you’ll probably die a lot.

Sound Design And Voice Actors

Sound Design: Jojo’s sound design made me appreciate the concept a lot more. It doesn’t have to be crazy, like The World’s time stop, but it does have to sound good, and Metal Arms gets it. The sounds are loud and pack a huge punch. Shoot a rocket or fire the shotgun and you feel like your next it as it lands. You can hear each of the Mil’s parts blowing off as the screen goes crazy with explosions. The immersion of the world wouldn’t be as good as it is without the sound design. Its heaviness pulls you in and keeps your attention.

“Momentai. Now give me that chip rust bucket!” Image from Gamer Gallery

Voice Actors: Despite being a small project, there are quite a handful of big-name actors, which I found mostly on Imbd. Dave Wittenburg as Glitch, who was also a crap ton of characters like Henry Wong from Digimon Tamers. Dan Castellaneta as Krunk, best known for the role of Homer Simpson. Patrick Warburton as Mozer, who I best remember as Kronk from Emperor’s New Groove. Rob Paulsen as Hosed and Vlax, who has voiced characters such as Yakko from Animaniacs. Daran Norris as the Newsreal announcer, who played Cosmo and Timmy’s dad from Fairly Oddparents.

This small handful of actors didn’t break out a star performance per say, but I did find the voice acting enjoyable and fun to listen to. Even the uncredited voice actors who voiced the grunt Mils, which I’m not sure if its Rob or someone else, did a good job portraying stupid and hilarious droid who talk smack.

Cons:

Aiming

Now I can’t say for certain if the PS2 or Xbox versions are better or worse, but the aiming and controls for it are really sensitive. There is a reticle that glows red when you target enemies but moving the C-stick throws the camera too quick. It doesn’t help that enemies run and dodge around a lot to avoid fire. So, most of the time I die because I miss just the slightest and waste so much ammo trying to stay on one enemy.

Now I do play with aim assist that I thought did the trick, but I was given the idea to turn it off by Youtuber Cvit, who touched upon it in his own review. Check out his video. I turned it off to test my copy, since he mostly played the other versions, and I actually found nothing really different. In his video, the camera swings toward enemies when aiming assist is on. But on my copy, I found nothing of the sorts happening. Whether or not it works on the Gamecube, I’m not sure.

“*Sigh* We’re all gonna die.”
Image from Model Resources

R.A.T Controls

While most of the controls work fine, the R.A.T and any level with them is absolutely horrendous. You go forward and back with the control switch but turn with C-stick. Imagine getting confused with that the first time while doing a timer level with movement akin to ice physics. It becomes chaotic to get used to, and it’s just unfun when you do understand the controls.

Difficulty Becomes Much At Times

While I do find the difficulty fun most of the time, there are levels that become so difficult I just want them over with. One level, “The Hand is Mightier,” introduces the Titans with shields and split rockets. 3 of them. I have to play it smart because if I don’t *explosion.* Plus, this level is split into two section and the only checkpoint is the halfway point. So, if I die before then I have to do it all over again. When I played it the second time for this review, I just gave up doing it till tomorrow because it became tiring.

“Am I even denting it? Oh sh!t what am I gonna do now!”
Image from Neoseeker

Again, not all levels are like this, and your experience might be different, but when those difficulty spikes come it’s sucks out all the fun You just want it over so you can play the rest of the game. Dying a lot has its pros and cons, and sometimes you’ll either be in the mood for it or not.

I never played hard or Nut’s of Steel, aka the impossible mode. I have no idea what could be in store, and frankly I don’t think the game would be fun. If you’re the person who loves a really hard challenge, then I say do it. But if you want difficulty that doesn’t become overwhelming, then I say with normal.

Droid A.I. Sucks

“We must stop the Mils at all cost. Let’s just not send out these guys.”
Image from Metal Arms Fandom

This is a nitpick, but the Droid’s A.I on your side sucks. When you get them, you think you’ll keep them for the rest of the level. Instead, I find them dying 15 minutes into helping. Sometimes their okay, like the third level in the game “Do or Die.” But in future levels with rocket launching Titans and swarming Mils, expect their burnt heads in burning piles. Heck, in “Find the Spy Factory,” I found out they despawn when you leave them into the tunnel so you don’t get to keep them the way. I only found that out because I took him to a safe space, unrecruited him, and left him their to fight the rest of enemies because I got tired of letting them die.  They’re unhelpful, and what they can do you do much better alone or with a recruited Mil. No wonder the Droid Rebellion hasn’t gotten far without Glitch, reprogrammed Mil’s act like better soldiers than the actual Droids

Spoiler Warning: Ignore This Part If You Want To Avoid Spoilers

“Destiny! You cannot…destroy my…destiny!”
Image from Blockfort

Unfinished Story

The synopsis for the game really is the only amount of story you’re really gonna get. The story is fun, with funny and tense moments throughout, but you never learn who Glitch is as a protagonist. Don’t expect huge revelations about who Glitch is and why he has that mark, which is only brought up in the first cutscene only. His character backstory is never brought up ever again. The game does show that he is a cocky but helpful droid care about the people who help him all the way. Without that character trait, there never really was a reason why he went far as he did to destroy the Mils. It’s not like General Corrosive or Exavolt. But you never learn about him, and that’s all due to the original trilogy plan Swingin Ape studios.

This was supposed to be a trilogy, and the second installment was supposed to tell that Glitch was in fact a Morbot creation, which is not surprising. Also, the plan was for General Corrosive to also be a Morbot creation, not Dr Exavolt who was just a pawn, and that Glitch was going to get revenge on the Morbots. It sounds exciting, and I would have loved to see their execution, but Swinging Apes Studios didn’t get to do it.

Despite Metal Arms being a success, the company got absorbed into Blizzard and never heard from again. They had been assigned to develop StarCraft Ghost, but that got cancelled. The series has had no second installment in 17 years, and I highly doubt Blizzard is gonna recreate the magic again. I can’t claim to know or follow Blizzard, but I doubt they can do the sequel justice after that “Do you not have phones!?” comment. Until something comes up, and the game continues to get noticed, I doubt the story will ever get finished. The game’s story is good as is, with fun mysterious, but it leaves you wanting answers.

Spoilers Over

Conclusion

Despite its rugged edges, Metal Arms: Glitch in the System is a great game for what it is. A funny and dark war story about robots blowing each up that will keep you invested by its creative mechanics, great gameplay, quirky humor, and ambitious story. It’s a shame that it never got the audience it deserved in the beginning, despite its early success, and the continuation of what Swinging Apes studios planned. I swear, most of the things I love either have a small audience or never get finished.

I am glad the game is getting noticed on YouTube, and I hope all this attention brings us some kind of remaster or sequel from Blizzard. I just hope they don’t give it to us without what made the game special in the first place: dirty, humorous, and innovative gameplay.

Metal Arms is a game beloved to my childhood, and I hope my review didn’t have too much bias. With that, I give the game an 8/10 and a message for you to remember. You are a robot…and destroy!

-Samuel Argueta

2021: A New Year

Happy New Years everyone! 2020 is finally coming to an end, and I think we can all agree that it will not be missed. From the pandemic, the fear of the future, the election, the moments and experiences lost for many high schoolers and graduating college students, and the possibility of life never really going back to the way things were.

“Look at that, the meteor didn’t come!”
Photo by Raman deep on Pexels.com

There was always talk of things changing forever, that this is our new normal. Well, for a new normal it was really crappy. Now, somehow, we’ve reached the end. I could talk cynically about how 2021 will be the year where the meteor comes. But I think that we should have positive dreams of the future. 2021 can be the year where we get out of our ruts and become productive, happy people.

Some people say you don’t need be happy in order to live, but being happy is what makes you keep going. It makes you fight through the day and better yourself. It’s what allows you to come to friends and family with a smile on your face, and a humor to make you laugh with them. I don’t know if that’s a quote or not, but if it is tell me so I can be proud to have pulled it out.

I’m gonna be honest, this year was the worst for me. The pandemic happened after such a happy time in Disney World (yes I went to Galaxy’s edge). I was in 12th grade, so naturally I lost a prom, a genuine large graduation, and a bunch of time away from my friends. The first few months slipped by, all alone in my room with my online work letting the time slip by me. My motivation died, my hopes and dreams slinking off into depression, and a bunch of opportunities with college and money slipping away. Even in college, I didn’t feel like myself. I still need scholarships for college, at least for next year.

“I am looking forward to this in 2021”
Image from TFW

I could have even gotten the first draft of my novel done by now, but everything that happened only added to the doubt of my own novice abilities. 2020 expanded my worldview, and I didn’t see a lot of good around. All in all, 2020 was the pinnacle of bull. 1920s had parties and jazz, and 2020 had rules against partying and jazz. Okay the latter is exaggerated, but still. Hopefully, next year will be better.

What’s To Come In January:

In all honesty, I’m not sure how much of my blog or my website will be improved in a steady and fast rate. The first few weeks should be good, but, by January 17th, I’ll be back in college focusing on my school work. I also have an internship coming in on January 14th that will end around May. With that, and my book, I’m worried about schedules things being pushed back due to time. Hopefully I’m wrong and I can deliver a quantity of quality work.

The Metal Arms review should have come before January 1st, but I’m replaying the game to get the hang of it for future reviews. Also, I got lost in the game because it’s just so good. I think that many people like doing game reviews just to replay old favorites. However, it should come out by January 8th.

“Way to piece it together dick!”
Image from Metal Arms Wikipedia Page

Then, the continuation of the Earthbound Reviews will come in January 15th with the review of Earthbound Beginnings. Hopefully *Random Battle Starts* it shouldn’t *Random Battle Starts* take as long *Random Battle Starts* as *Random Battle Starts* Metal Arms! *Random Battle Starts*

“America but interesting.”
Image from Starmen.net

Afterwards, get your kicking boots on and buy a rad motorcycle because I’m making an overview of the Kamen Rider series, the franchise about a bug-eyed masked hero stopping men in suits while also probably fighting other bug-eyed masked heroes (that depends if a Rider War is a part of the show.) The post shall come around January 22nd.

“I spend way to much time on the wiki page.”
Image from Kamen Rider Fandom

In between, a post about the 100 songs I like to listen to on my own time or during a writer session should come in between. I don’t really have rules in terms of what’s on the list. Whether it’s from a musical artist you can listen to on the radio or from a video game, if I like it then it will be on the list. This is based on my opinion and is not an objective list (I am not a musical genius and I don’t know what makes certain music good).

With all that, I hope you all are having an amazing New Years Eve day. Let’s all hope and pray for a better year. Let’s not let the crap of this year make a meteor come. Bring yourselves up wherever you are and live a happier life.

-Samuel Argueta

The Christmas Elves

A fine Christmas Day we have. I’m writing this Christmas Eve while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”, but it’ll go up Christmas Day. Might be a stretch, but what 19 year old do you know that actually watches that movie? Who am I kidding, I shouldn’t lump my generation into one group.

Anyway, this time I’ll be writing a quick rant about The Christmas Elves, a 1995 Christmas movie made by Golden Films based on the tale of the Shoemaker and the Elves. I watched it a few weeks ago on Tubi, the streaming land of both popular movies and sad obscure ones that either never got to see the light or were too bad to grasp it.

“Elves are like Stands, you can’t see them unless you have them.”
Photo by Oleg Zaicev on Pexels.com

The Story: In the a distant kingdom, the King does everything he can to get the finest shoes. Unfortunately, that means raising taxes, getting into debt, and then later selling a bunch of land. Meanwhile, a man named Hans takes in a thieving boy as his apprentice and later finds out shoes are being made in his sleep. Despite never making shoes before, people believe the beautiful shoes are his, and so they pay him for them. Hans becomes a famous shoemaker around his parts, even better than the King’s shoemaker.

However, his wife becomes suspicious that he’s just able to make shoes in his sleep and convinces him to stay up on look out. As it turns out, a couple of elves, training to be apart of Santa’s crew, have been making the shoes. He confronts them, however, just as they leave, they accidently transport him back to their base.

He finds a elf training base not in the North Pole, as only elves that work with Santa get to live in the North Pole. The elves that make his shoes are a bit of misfits with no real chance of being with Santa. The head elf puts Hans to sleep just as Santa arrives, fearful of him seeing a human finding out about the base, and later sends him back home.

Hans wakes up and remembers the whole thing, due to one of the elf’s cloth being in his pocket, and makes new cloths for the elves. The elves come back, but they are unsure if they should help him now that Hans knows. However, they want to give their gratitude and end up giving Hans magic to continue making shoes. And so they leave.

Some time later, the dumb King, after promising a ham to a maid and to be a royal, sends for guards to Hans in order for him to make the finest shoes by Christmas…unless he wants to be imprisoned. Unfortunately, Hans wanted to make shoes for his apprentice. He stays up all night, until he wakes up realizing he didn’t make the shoes. The guards come and take him from his wife to rot forever.

However, the elves came back and made the shoes, sending it to the king and releasing him. The King puts on the shoes, but they take control of him and make him a nicer person against his will. The elves that help Hans become Santa’s elves, as they realize that them giving Hans the magic he needs despite it being against the rules is the true meaning of Christmas. The movie ends with them being on the back of Santa’s sleigh as they ride out the night.

“Can you tell there’s not a lot of pictures on this movie?”
Photo by Melvin Buezo on Pexels.com

My thoughts:

I was coming into this film thinking it was either gonna be bad or okay enough to like it. Afterwards, I came up with the latter. The film’s charm and wit made for a good Christmas film. I’m not sure if its true, but the animation is exactly like the animation from “Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer.” The voice actors and actresses did a pretty good job, even if the movie didn’t credit them. That’s why the IMBD is pretty barren.

“I put this picture because I swear, Izzy from Digimon’s voice actress is in this film.”
Image from Digimon Fandom

The story is fine, but the wit and performances made for a fun sit-on-the-couch Christmas film to watch with my family. It tells of the heart of doing something for others, from Hans helping his apprentice to the elves helping him with shoes, and the evil of greed. Seriously, the king got his kingdom in debt for shoes. Good lookin shoes but still! It’s like some classmates I used to know would seriously spend so much on dang shoes.

Other than that, there isn’t much else to say about the film. It’s short, about 48 minutes, and I can’t much say about the original tale since I never read it. However, I did enjoy it, and I think it did its job as a solid Christmas movie. If you have a Roku, Tubi, and some time on this Christmas Day, I say take a chance and give the movie a shot. It might become a new holiday tradition for you.

Well, after all that, I leave you with a Merry Christmas. The end of the world might be around us, but I think this Christmas can be a time to remind us of the holly and jolly that we can share together…of course at a distance. It might be wishful thinking, but someone’s gotta dream a little. Anyway, happy holidays and pray for a White Christmas wherever you are.

-Samuel Argueta

Earthbound: The Giygas Strikes Back

Introduction: (Disclaimer: There may be a few spoilers)

The year is 199X. In the depths of the night, the citizens of Onett are sleeping soundly, unaware of the strange things that are going to start this very night. Our chubby protagonist, Ness Quik, sleeps within his small home in his blue pajamas, when suddenly a loud boom shakes the earth. The ambience of the outside world is now accompanied by the distant sounds of police sirens blaring into action, coming closer as if the source of the sound is near. Ness wakes up, along with his agitated family, and decides to check out what has occurred. His younger sister, Tracy, gives him a cracked bat to arm himself, and so the boy goes out to the cold world.

“Don’t you just hate it when a meteor from the sky wakes you up from your glorious sleep?”
Image from FandomSpot

He goes over to climb the mountain, meeting up with several officers along the way who are tired an agitated, especially with the gangs they have to deal with on a daily basis. He talks with a strange man who lives on the mountain, who asks him to see his billboard he worked hard for, and then meets up with one of the neighbor’s son, Pokey (renamed from Porky for obvious reasons) who is chastising with the police. The police have blocked the way. Up above, a scientist and a cop study the meteorite. Pokey tells Ness to go home and stop bugging the cops. With nothing left for him to do, Ness goes home and back to sleep.

Suddenly, he’s ripped from sleep by the sound of knocking at his door. Ness storms downstairs and opens the door to see Pokey, who had lost Picky when they checked the meteorite after the police left. With bags under his eyes, and a call from milk-getting pa, the boy, his “friend,” and dog named King, they set out to the top of the mountain while beating up snakes and crows. Stupid nature. Once on top, King leaves in fear and the duo find Picky. Before leaving, a strange and controllable pillar of light breaks from the meteor toward the sky. The trio bask in the total disbelief as a fly, bee, rhino-beetle looking thing descends from the heavens. Buzz-Buzz tells of an evil future brought by Giygas, the universal destroyer who used to go by the name Giegue, and a prophecy that the chosen 4 will beat them. Spoiler, its not porker and his brother.

“Awaken, my Buzz-Buzz!”
Image from Earthbound Fandom

The gang leave, when suddenly Starman.net arrives to defeat Ness. Buzz-Buzz and Picky help in the fight, while Porky does nothing. The first of many enemies. Ness delivers the brothers to their parents, hears their father beat them, and then witnesses their mother one-shot Buzz-Buzz. With the thing dying in his hands, Ness is given words of courage and the Sound stone in order to record the music of his 8 “Your Sanctuary.” After sleeping away the trauma, our chosen one steps out to the beautiful sunrise of a new adventure.

The World of Earthbound

“Cue that Upbeat Onett theme”
Image from Nintendo Life

Earthbound is the wacky story of a young boy who must travel cross-country, from Eagleland to Foggyland, with friends in order to stop an adopted universal evil. Along the way, they must beat up cops, help the Runaway Five band out of debt, fight 5 number 3 moles, and even deal with living barf.

Each town, city, and tourist trap they visit is based on a theme. Onett, Twoson, Threed, and Fourside of Eagleland are an obvious one. Foggyland has Winters and Summers based on the seasons. Summers also fits with the number theme combined with Chommo’s Tenda Village in the Deep Darkness. 1+2+3+4=10.

“See, it is the Blu Blux Klan. The only left to do after seeing them is getting the hell out.”
Image from Starmen.net’s walkthrough

At the time, it was a parody of many JRPG’s at the time, which were mostly set in an old fantasy world rather than the more modern fantasy one the Earthbound franchise would be known for. While the game can be quirky in many moments, it also tells the serious themes of childhood, friendship, and love for one another. Ness grows up throughout the game, eventually defeating the evil in his heart that could corrupt him. It’s also known for the various dark crap that happens to these kids, even if some are played for laughs.  You know you’re a dark game when you have a boy stop the blue Klu Klux Klan from sacrificing a young girl and painting the world blue. The blend of satire, fun, and disturbing moments makes for a unique journey.

Gameplay

Unlike the other RPGs at the time, with their magic potions and mystical swords of insert thing it does, you heal with food, like hamburgers, and equip with a bat or a frying pan. Trash cans and present boxes replace treasure boxes, castles are replaced by suburban towns, and you’ll ride the occasional yellow submarine. Everything has a modern mix to it, making for a pseudo-realistic feel.  At the same time, there are elements in the game that make you feel that you are in the imagination of a child, such as the pencil eraser item that erases pencil-shaped statues (no kidding).

Rather than magic spells, the game has characters use PSI. PSI is more explained in Earthbound Beginnings, but for now all you need to know is that it’s a psychic power that some people, animals, and machines have. Like magic, it runs on PP. The more the characters with it gain experience points, the more they learn new PSI powers and even stronger versions of the ones they have based on Greek letters (like PK Freeze Omega).

“Why take the bus? I got legs! Um, don’t tell the Runaway Five that…”
Image from Earthbound Fandom

The party walks around the vast world of Earthbound, and I do mean walk. There isn’t a run option in the buttons, but you can eat a Skip Sandwich to move faster. You can talk to anyone and check everything through the menu, accessible with the press of A. Talk To for people and the like, and Check for objects and other things (check things you might not think would work. A surprise is always around the corner).

Besides those options, there’s Status to check on your party’s states, PSI to check the PSI your party has, Equip to put equitable objects on the party, and Goods to check you inventory. The inventory is notoriously small, with only a few items to hold for each party member, and items don’t stack with each other. Under the menu is the amount of money your party has, and the HP and PP they have.

Characters

Image by Wolf Electric from Pinterest

Ness

Ness is the main protagonist, healer and tank of the game, a great contrast to the standard typical “Main protagonist must be a full on fighter.” A baseball fan, his main weapon in the Bat and equipment a baseball cap.

He is a PSI user like Paula and Poo. His only offensive attacks are PSI Rockin, a powerful attack exclusive to him that can hit all enemies, and PSI Flash, which can inflict a random effect like crying or even instant defeat. As the healer, he gains each of the upgrades for PK Life up, which heals Hp, and Healing, which heals status affects. He also has other assist moves such as shield for physical attacks, hypnosis which gives enemies the sleep he lost in the beginning, and paralysis to paralyze people. He is the leader of the group.

Paula

Paula Dean is the offensive glass cannon of the group and the only female character in the party. Her main attacks come from her PSI, but she can do physical attacks with a Frying Pan. Like any magic user, she has the PK attacks of Fire, Freeze, and Thunder (because Japan likes the name better than the actual lightning that strikes). Her only “Recover” PSI move is Magnet, shared with Poo, in order to heal her PP (it’s so good). Her assists are PSI Shield, the magic shield equivalent to Ness’s Shield, Offense Up for the whole party, and Defense Down for enemies.

While the fastest and strongest attacker on the group, Paula’s special skill is the ability to Pray, which I believe to be a pseudo reference Ana’s(Paula’s counterpart in Earthbound Beginnings) Christianity. It induces a random effect during battle from healing everyone in the party to inflicting a status affect on everyone. I guess this is God’s way of interacting in the world? I don’t know. The ability is limited, and I never really used it myself, but it is a pivotal ability during the final battle.

Never used solely in the game.

My Name’s Jeff

Jeff Bridges is the geeky support and I guess thief of the party. He is the only one in the party to not be a PSI user, which makes it seem he’s the weakest link. However, looks can be deceiving. His main weapon is a gun. Not a toy gun, an actually freakin magnum. This kid packs heat to the highest degree, since he has 2 of the best special traits in the game. The first is his ability to repair and use gadgets that only he can use (such as the bottle rockets and shield killers) due to his IQ. Yes, that’s a stat. Once Jeff gets the Multi Bottle Rockets, he can easily deal massive damage that can end a battle swiftl y. He also has the Spy ability, which allows the player to know the stats and weakness’s of the enemy, while also being able to steal from them.

He’s used solely by himself during his introduction in Snowman.

Poo

Poo Puri is the Prince of Dalaam and I don’t know what he’s supposed to be. As a PSI user, he’s a balance between Ness and Paula. His offensive skills are Freeze and Thunder, the former never going to omega. He can use Lifeup (never omega), Healing, a Shield like Ness, and Magnet like Paula. He does have his own special skills exclusive to him. He is the only one in the party to use PK Starstorm, a powerful attack similar to Ness’s PK Rockin, and Brainstorm, which puts strangeness on an enemy. He also the only one to use the technique called Mirror, which makes him become an enemy except bosses.

Poo, like the prince he is, is a very picky poo. He cannot equip any of the equipment available in the game, as it makes him weaker. He can only equip the “of Kings” set (good luck getting his damn sword). Also, he has a special diet where only water and stuff from his kingdom will increase his HP and PP to a high degree. Anything else does less.

He’s used solely during his introduction when the rest of the party get high on cake.

Other important characters include Buzz-Buzz, Dr.Andonauts (Jeff’s Dad), Picky, the Mr Saturns, and Pokey Minch.

“Anyone else feel bad for Picky?”
Image from Wikibound

Pros

The Story: I chose to make a small novelization of the introduction just because it’s one of the best openings to a game I’ve ever come across. The story is the classic good vs evil, yet the wacky humor and dark themes flesh it out. The journey is nothing short of a children’s tale, filled with swift setting changes and weird enemies to fight. Yet it’s that children’s aspect that makes the game unpredictable and fun to playthrough. Many moments in the game are memorable, from the lights out of Fourside’s department mall to the final battle with Giygas. One of my favorite moments was when you switch over to Jeff’s side after Ness and Paula are captured. I didn’t expect it to happen, but the mystery of this new character and the humble setting of Winters made me intrigued to what would come. Once you get into it, it’s a story that’ll keep you guessing and entertained.

The characters: Many of the characters are funny and complex. The protagonists each have their own character traits and story that go deeper than the surface value. Ness’s journey of growing up, Paula’s strong and tough personality thanks to the English localizers, Jeff’s relationship with his father and friend, and Poo’s journey to master Mu and help the others in their quest. Many of the important characters are just as well-written as the protagonists that allow players to theorize and go deep on their own to fill in some of gaps the game intentionally leaves out. Even the NPCs around the world are interesting due to their quirky lines of dialogue. A mix of fun and serious make each of these characters fun to talk to.

“It speaks for itself.”
Image from Ekostories

The humor and themes: In my opinion, the funniest things come from a serious story that has a sense of humor. Despite the dark and disturbing moments in the game, its mixed perfectly with a game that will make you giggle and laugh. It’s that fine line in the middle that gives the game a heart and soul. Without each other, I don’t think the game would have gotten its cult classic status and unique tone. There are such absurd moments in the game that will make you laugh. I mean you ride the Beatles Yellow Submarine to a place called the Deep Darkness. That is not where you find the sun. At the same time, the moments of police brutality, the kidnapping of Paula by the blue cult, the zombies of Threed, and a touch of alien invasion give a creepy atmosphere that demands you to take this game serious at times. To me, it’s a great comedy because it balances to good and bad that accompanies life.

The worldbuilding: From Onett to Tenda Village, each location stands out from each other and bring a memorable moment to the game. Each has a distinct atmosphere and a distinct look from each other. The metropolitan Fourside, the cozy tourist trap Summers, the small population of Winters, and the warm heat of Scaraba. The game transports you into this world and keeps you hooked in till the end.

“When a jam happens like this, pop in some ACDC and enjoy the-move it already!”
Image from Earthbound Central

The soundtrack: To me, music is everything and Earthbound nails it. The theme of Onett makes you want to walk down the sidewalk of a quaint little town, while the music of evil Threed makes you want to stay home and drown out the screams with Wipe Out. Atmospheric, chiptune, fun, and creepy, the Earthbound soundtrack is just as complex and fun as the game is. A good movie, tv show, and game must has the proper music, and good thing Earthbound got one.

The UI: Everything just flows well with the game. The menu is there with the push of a button, everything you need to know comes up in, and there is no confusion in what you need to know. The lack of random encounters is a godsend, and the mechanics of the overworld enemies is fresh and controllable. Battles flow well thanks to the rolling HP counter, allowing you to save yourself from certain defeat before it rolls to zero. With enough practice, even the hardest battles can be controlled by the player.

Cons

The inventory space: It’s a con that everyone usually points out, but it is a problem nonetheless. Inventory space is based on how many party members you have, so starting out with Ness gives you such little to carry. Since items don’t stack, you have to carry two of the same item and they take 2 spots in the inventory. Equipment items also take up space, so that’s 4 spots taken away including the required items you need to have.

Getting party members become a blessing in order to carry more, however, if they fall in battle that stuff is locked away from you both in the overworld and in battle. Imagine giving someone all the reviving items and they fall in battle? There is a storage in the game, through your sister with the Escargo Express, but along the way inventory is a pain.

“Back then, on my first playthrough, I think Hell’s bells were ringing for me” Image from Earthbound Fandom

The difficulty: It can be grueling at times. Many people have a hard time with the first part of the game, since it’s just Ness. Grinding is a must during Onett and the first part of Twoson, since you’ll be dealing with 4 bosses, enough with SMASH attacks (critical hits in the game), and the whole of Peaceful Rest Valley.

Me personally, I’ve had a lot of trouble with Threed and the Stone Hedge alien base. I entered Threed without grinding beforehand, and because you’re stuck there until you free it I was dealing with enemies’ way above level. I say grind before going.  The Stone Hedge Base is a current predicament, since many of the enemies are powerful PSI users. Earthbound is a game that takes time and effort to get into.

Lack of run button or speedup: The walking in the game can be slow at times, especially compared to the adding speedup in Earthbound Beginning, and the only way to run is stuck in the inventory. Everything is in walking distance, but when you’re doing a long dungeon and you can’t just speed it up it becomes unbearable, especially if you need to backtrack.

This goes into the point that some items are completely useless. The bicycle could have fixed the problem, but the bicycle can only be used when only one person is in the party. You get the bike in the town with the second party member, so you get to enjoy it for one town.

A nickpick: I don’t like that Onett never returns to its original state after the invasion near the end. I never like that when a game has this one area that just turns to crap and you can never experience it again until you start another file.

Conclusion

I didn’t get the chance to grow up with this game, but it became an easy classic in my game catalog. It’s was a unique RPG in its time, and it still stands out to the hearts of many to this day. This game is a cult classic, but I will admit that not everyone will probably “get it.” However, if you love a funny but dark game set in an alternate 90s America in the eyes of Japan made by a copywriter and his team, then Earthbound is the game for you. Fuzzy pickles everyone.

-Samuel Argueta

Earthbound Overview: A Franchise Far From Stinky

“Come on Ness, smile! You’re on cricket!” Image by L. Rockword from Pinterest

Introduction

In 1989, a strange phenomenon would occur in the space-time continuum, and the source would be a man named Shigesato Itoi. The phenomenon would birth the weird, but wholesome, Nintendo franchise known as Mother (or Earthbound)

“Let all be reminded that a freakin lamp was the first enemy of this franchise.”
Image from rpgclassics.com

Earthbound Beginnings

The NES game released in 1989 as a parody of rpg games at the time, like Dragon Quest. The story is about the asthmatic boy named Ninten, named after the company with the money. He must travel around a fictional America in order to stop his adopted alien fetus of a cousin named Giegue, who is invading Earth due to Ninten’s grandpappy stealing information from their race. Along the way, Ninten is helped by Ana, a love interest from Snowman, Lloyd, who’s literal trash in the game, Teddy, boss of B.B Gang who packs heat, and Pippi, the first member who leaves immediately.

The boy and friends must find the 8 melodies, which has a strange connection to his grandparents. The game was a hit in Japan, but the SNES’s release stopped the translation from arriving in American stores.

Earthbound

The sequel that introduced the franchise to America. In Eagleland, a chubby boy named Ness, who in no way resembles Ninten, is meets a bug from the future, who warns of a dark future in 10 years created by Giegue, who has been renamed Giygas. As part of of the Chosen 4, Ness must travel throughout the world in order to find the others and his “My Sanctuaries” while beating up everything from a dog to the Blu Blux Clan, all under the influence of the intergalactic terror.

The game’s simple artstyle, wacky humor, and dark undertone could have been a hit when released in 1995. However, due to stinky marketing, the game didn’t succeed well. In the years before the next release, a solid 11 years, Ness would become a stay in the Super Smash Bros. franchise, putting the franchise more into the spotlight.

“And out of the meteor came a rhino-beetle, bee, fly like thing from the future. What a start.”
Image from Earthbound Central

Mother 3


Once in development for the N64, Mother 3 came out on the Gameboy Advance as the finale of the series. In a more serious and emotional story, crybaby Lucas lives in Tazmily Village of the Nowhere Islands, which is slowly being changed due to the appearance of an army of pork-wearing freaks. After a major loss, and growing a little, Lucas and his group must unseal the 7 Needles to awaken the Dark Dragon before the pork army, led by a mysterious cyborg with the same power as Lucas, can use it.

Mother 3 has yet to be officially released outside Japan, much to the dismay of fans. Only a fan-made translation has been made. After Mother 3, Itoi stepped away and had no intention of continuing the series, ending it with 3 games.

“You’ll never see sunflowers the same way.” Image from Starmen.net

Legacy: A Cult-Classic Not Involving Blue

Despite the very few games, the Earthbound franchise got a turn around and gained a cult status. Without its growing fandom, Earthbound Beginning wouldn’t have received its Virtual Console release (remember that?) on the Wii U (remember that as well?). The franchise inspired games such as Undertale and Oddity (originally a fan continuation called Mother 4 coming out in Winter 2014), fan-sites such as Starmen.net and Mother Forever, and many people with its weird humor and emotional storytelling.

“Poo Puri about to meet his violent master.”
Image from Earthbound Fandom

I never grew up with Earthbound. I wasn’t even a thought back in the 90s. It wasn’t until March 2018 that I got my hands on the 3ds Virtual Console rerelease. The characters, world, and humor made an interesting experience that kept me guessing what would come next. After the playthrough, I became an immediate fan.

The series is a standout among other Nintendo such as Super Mario and Metroid, and it’s a good thing Ness and Lucas are still kicking it from a distance in SSB and within the fandom.

A Series Of Reviews

I plan to review the series in the end of 2020 and somewhere within 2021. The first will be Earthbound, coming by the end of the week before Christmas. Next will be Earthbound Beginnings in January sometime. Now Mother 3 is a complicated case. I’m not even sure when a review will come because I have not played it yet. I know the story because I watched Chuggaconroy’s Let’s Play of it. 2 pieces of advice: watch Chuggaconroy and don’t spoil yourself of the game. I love him, but I still regret it. I could just review the story, but for a game review that’s stupid. With college coming up during mid-January, my novel, and other games I’m playing through, I’m not sure when I will be able to dedicate time to get it and play it. All I can say is be patient and that will totally come out before it’s western release. If it doesn’t, well then you’ll know because a whole week won’t have anything at all. Also don’t be surprised if you hear a huge yell of satisfaction in the middle of the night.

Until then, play the games, support the Hobonichi Project, get a Ness Amiibo if you can, and don’t cry until the end.

-Samuel Argueta

My Blog: A Sweet Escape

Introductions:

Greetings good people of the world, and welcome to the blog section of my website. Since I am not an up and coming writer yet, and until I get my feet up into the business of it, this will be the most updated portion. I have never done a blog before, so everything is a work in progress. I am not nervous. Not at all.

What is this blog about?

Pop culture, various types of media, and nerdery all over. Alright, you can stand up from your nice couches for a round of applause now.

GIF by sri_18 via Tenor

Yeah, make those hands red. From video games, to movies, to shows, to even books, I’ll give my honest thoughts in review form about the things I like or dislike in these categories. Either well-known items or obscure ones I find on my own (Tubi is good for stuff like that). My writing will be as honest and humorous as I can get. I am not as professional and experienced as other websites or blogs that cover such media. But I give my typed words to deliver good quality to the best of my abilities.

This is the main focus of my blog for the majority, but at times I may write about other things that interest me. This includes my writing process, what I have learned or what I do to learn, and my personal list of favorite songs from artists, video games, and movies. P.S expect a lot of Gorillaz on that list.

My Policies:

Don’t worry, these are just policies on myself and blog. Don’t worry, there are no rules for you except for reading. Call Samuel Jackson if it otherwise happens.

For starters, I will not be political. I hate it, and you’d hate it too if I wrote about it. The only politics I will discuss is if it is integral to the themes and story of the particular media, such as the oh so crucial trade disputes of Star Wars, or my own theories and interpretations. Other than that, no 2020 politics here.

Gif by Stallion_Prime via Tenor

As mentioned, I will be honest with my reviews while making the occasional joke. My focus is to get a little giggle or snicker out of you, but please tell me if I’m actual funny. Love it or hate it, I will be critical and fun about it. My system is basically a summary, a pros and cons, and a conclusion to finish. But do expect a rant here or there.

In terms of a schedule, things are hectic on my end. The best that I can say is expect something every Friday. With college, my book, and life itself in the good old 20s, things will be very jarring and I apologize in advance. Don’t be surprised if something comes early in the week or later into the weekend. But i will do my best. We all start somewhere, right?

Alright, now that I’m done delivering promises like a man at gunpoint, lets get into what should be coming out in the end of this month.

Things to Come:

For right now, I have a few things planned.

Image from the Earthbound Wikipedia Page via Wikipedia

The second post will be an overview of the Mother series, including game summaries and my personal experience with the series. Afterwards will be a review of Earthbound, or Mother 2, the game that out second but came out first over in America. Eat a cup of life noodles by then.

On Christmas Day, I will post a review of The Christmas Elves(1995), a movie that I didn’t initially plan to review until I watched it on Tubi. The movie is so obscure that the IMBD page is like a barren wasteland (Btw check out the site. Really enjoy their trivia pages).

Image from Metal Arms Wikipedia via Wikipedia

Finally, expect a review of one of my childhood favorites, Metal Arms: Glitch in the System, a game that doesn’t have a trivia page on the Did You Know Gaming? site. I should know because I actually procrastinated creating this website just to find it. I’ll probably make a request.

Until then, thank you and welcome to my blog out of a million. Get cozy, drink your favorite drink, and let’s ride out the end of the year until the eventual meteor comes for us. See you then,

-Samuel Argueta