Tag Archives: Bears

Donkey Kong Land III

Donkey Kong Land III

Game: Donkey Kong Land III
Start Date: May 13th, 2019
End Date: June 2nd, 2019
Videos: 10

After the events of Donkey Kong Country 3, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong and Baron K. Roolenstein decided to have a little fun (for some reason) and look for the legendary Lost World. They left Dixie Kong behind though, forcing her and Kiddy Kong to go on their own adventure and show up their bigger, more seasoned adventurers. It’s time for another Game Boy installment of the Donkey Kong Land series!

I was looking forward to this playthrough just on the sole basis of being able to finish up the remaining Donkey Kong Land game, but it turns out, this project ended up being a lot of fun. Who would have known Donkey Kong Land III could be the pinnacle of amazing game design? I would have never guessed!

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SlimKirby Reviews: Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

SlimKirby Reviews: Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Hello everybody, SlimKirby here!

As you know, recently I played through Crash Bandicoot (1) for the very first time and had a very enjoyable experience. Because of that experience, I was also looking forward to playing through the rest of the original trilogy, which I had also picked up in addition to the first game, and since I made a review for the first game, I decided to also do reviews for the following two games as well. So here is my review of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes back!

Crash 2 Box

Crash Bandicoot 2, of all the Crash games I got to play when going over to my neighbor’s house (because I didn’t own any of them then) was the Crash game I was most familiar with. At the time, it just seemed like it was the more interesting title, as it was easier to play due to better gameplay mechanics and it just presented itself in a much better way. So whenever I went over to my neighbor’s house, it was a game I looked forward to playing, and if anything, it was kind of a shame that I never got to finish it because I don’t think my neighbor had a memory card, so I only got to see the first 5-10 levels on most of my sessions. It was still a very fun game though and I had good memories of it whenever I got to play.

After completing Crash 1 about a week and a half ago, I was really curious to see how the 2nd game would improve on the first one, and let me tell you, I was surprised to see how much it did. A lot of my concerns and problems with Crash 1 were addressed or remedied in the second game, and I think that’s pretty cool considering that the second game didn’t come out that long after Crash 1, and it wasn’t as easy to investigate consumer feedback as it is these days. Like the first game, you have two basic ways you can complete Crash 2. You can just play through the game and each level normally by grabbing the newly introduced pink crystal and beating each level and the boss of every area until you get to the end. Or, you could go the 100% route and collect all the gems, where much like Crash Bandicoot 1, you’ll have to go through every level in Crash 2 and break all the boxes in the area. Once again, I feel like the in-game reward for 100% isn’t as great as it could be, but after thinking about it, I think the reward in fully completing a Crash Bandicoot game is moreso how the gamer feels at the end of the accomplishment and not so much what the game presents to you.

Getting 100% this time around isn’t as stressful as it was in the predecessor. In the first game, you had to do the entirety of every level in one go, making sure you didn’t die and if you did die, restarting the level from the very beginning instead of starting at the checkpoints you get along the way. In this game, it’s a lot more lenient than that. For one, getting checkpoints will save your progress and you won’t have to start from the beginning anymore…in a majority of the cases. There are some cases where you will have to start over, but only in levels that have specific “no-death” routes, where a pad that leads to a new area will only appear if you make it to that point without dying. However, the game is still very lenient in that department as well, since once you make it to that point and ride the pad once, it will save that platform and allow you to die after the fact. In other words, the game isn’t strict about perfecting a level and any further perfection will be based on your own self-imposed challenges, which is the way I think it should be. Also, in general, the game just feels a lot more fair and should have less instances of sections that will just suck the extra lives away. There are still challenging parts of the game and I’m definitely not saying that the entire game is “Easy Mode” or anything, but it’s a fair challenge and has a very standard progression of difficulty when moving from the beginning to the end.

There are some things that Crash 2 does that are still kind of strange though. Like in Crash 1, there are colored gems that are offered throughout the game and in order to get some of the box gems, you will need specific color gems to reach alternate paths and areas in specific levels. Some of these gems can be found in alternate stage routes and death routes, but in some cases, the objective for the gem may not be entirely clear. This is especially true for the first level of the game; Turtle Woods, where in order to get the Blue Gem, you need to go through the entire stage without breaking a single box. I knew about this quirk from watching playthroughs of the game from other Youtube channels, but for a new player, this requirement may not be entirely clear and could send the player on a wild goose chase for something they are unaware of. There are also some stages that cannot be completed on the first go-around, but not because of a colored gem path, but because you need to warp to a hidden part of that stage from a later area’s level. Some of the warp points are obvious if you experiment in certain levels and pay attention to your surroundings, but considering this is the first Crash game that does this kind of thing, it’s kind of hard to know for sure what exactly you are looking for and when you are looking for it, so that could have been a little more clear. I think the N. Sane Trilogy remedies this problem by giving hints in the loading screen of the level, but that’s not so much the case for the original version.

It took me a lot less time and way fewer sessions to complete Crash 2 compared to Crash 1. While the first game took me an entire week (and then some), the Crash 2 experience only felt like a weekend, and even then, on my first night of playing, I came to the realization that one part of my 2-sided memory card was completely full and the game wouldn’t allow me to save until I turned off the game and deleted some save data. As a result, everything I did on the first night was completely erased and I had to start from square one the next time I played. I made a lot faster progress the next time, but it was still essentially a complete redo of what I had already done. By the end of the second night, I was more than halfway done with the game and made a big push on the following day to finish up the game completely; so really only 2-3 days to beat the game, which I think is pretty good considering it was my first full playthrough and with more than half of the experience being blind.

My only trouble spots in the playthrough came from very unexpected places…and I say that based on the horror stories of certain levels I’ve heard from other people who have played this game. For some reason, I couldn’t quite get the timing of the polar-bear riding levels down; which are automatic-moving levels that are based on timed jumps and movements while avoiding enemies and other annoying obstacles. For some reason I had a really hard time controlling the bear and lost a lot of lives in the process, especially on the secret level, “Totally Bear.” And on the level “Unbearable,” a level where you get chased by a giant polar bear while running towards the screen, I ran into an issue of missing 3 boxes by the very end of the level, which confused me because I was very thorough with investigating every nook and cranny of the stage, including the discovery of two hidden boxes that were off camera in a specific part of the level, yet even with those two “trollish” inclusions, I still managed to miss three boxes elsewhere, which just doesn’t make sense to me. On my second run through, I did it no problem and without missing anything, so I had to have blanked out something somewhere.

My biggest surprise was the level called “Cold Hard Crash,” a level that is notorious by fans to be the hardest level in the game. It has ice physics, a death route, the most boxes in any stage of the game, and an annoying gimmick that can mess you up if you don’t know the entire level well enough. Basically, in the death route, you have to make it to a certain point and then backtrack through the death route after activating a switch. Once you destroy the boxes that get activated by that switch, instead of exiting the level through the natural route, you have to keep backtracking to exit from the entrance pad and continue the level normally because the death route’s exit takes you to a much further part of the stage where you can’t backtrack to get back to the normal route, which sure enough has boxes on it. It’s quite the troll when it comes to playing the game for the first time and admittedly, it did trip me up as well. And to top it all off, in the bonus stage for the level, there is a box out of sight that you need to hit and there is just no indication that it is there. You just need to assume that something is up there and experiment until you make the discovery, which I am very sure was annoying for all of those individuals who did everything in the level perfectly and then reached the very end of the level just to see the box counter at 154/155. Anyway, as I was trying to get at earlier, I had heard horror stories about this level, but surprisingly, I did it relatively quickly and with not much issue. It definitely helped that I figured out the death-route gimmick very quickly and that I was aware of the troll bonus box, but still, I expected my life counter to melt away as quickly as an ice cube in the desert. “Piston’ It Away” was another level that I was expecting to be challenging, just based on stories I  had heard, but I also got through that one pretty quickly as well. I guess everyone just has different experiences in terms of what they struggle and don’t struggle with, huh?

So when I finished Crash 2, I was ultimately surprised at how quickly it had come and gone. On some level, it was a shame that it was already over, but after thinking about it, the game itself is probably considered to be pretty “retro” now, and over time, especially due to continuous play by gamers, older games will generally seem to be a lot shorter and faster to get through then more modern games that have better technology to work with and more content to sift through. Besides, sometimes it’s good to have a shorter game, one that you can breeze through after a few nights and then you can start fresh on the next one the following day, so it’s length is definitely not a negative. The experience did get me interested in starting the third game, so much that I actually tried to start Crash 3 on the following day. However, once again, I had memory card issues, and also figured that it was probably better to focus on getting this review done first before I started the next Crash game anyway. Since then, I have fixed the problem and have gotten a new memory card, so I’ll probably get to working on Crash 3 immediately, but as I said, I want to get this review done first, so this will be further elaborated on in the next review.

Overall, I consider Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back to be a much better product than first Crash Bandicoot game. It presents itself very well, makes it playable and approachable for all gamers of every skill level, and improved on many things that were either lacking or problems I had with its predecessor. That final detail alone shows that the game had good production and development values and is something I can appreciate from the perspective of a gamer and a consumer in general. Looking forward, Crash 3 has some pretty big shoes to fill, but from what I’ve heard from Crash fans, I have a pretty exciting experience to look forward to, so we’ll have to see how that goes when I finish the game and post the next review.

Thanks for reading everybody, I will see you guys next time for whatever game I decide to finish and talk about next!

~SlimKirby

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SSR #7: “The Call of the Simpsons

Title

Introduction:
Now that we’ve gotten through a few more individual character episodes, we’re going back once again for another family-centric storyline. Sorry Marge, it looks like you will have to wait a few more weeks before you get your first episode plot, but trust me, we’ll definitely have some things to talk about with THAT episode. Anyway, this time we’re taking a trip to the great outdoors, and based on what we have seen so far; The Simpsons mixed with the great wilderness…I’m sure that will be a sight to behold. “The Call of the Simpsons” aired on February 18th, 1990 and was the ninth episode written for the series despite being the 7th episode that aired for this first season. This is because the episodes “Some Enchanted Evening” and “The Telltale Head” (which will be our next episode) were written before this episode, but were delayed for one reason or another. In the former’s case, it was because the episode was an animated nightmare, but that’s further from the point here. The chalkboard gag for this episode is, “I will not draw naked ladies in class,” and the couch gag is…there is none. The family just comes in and sits on the couch. No gag.

RVMarge: “Homer, I’m telling you. This is not the interstate”
Homer: “Pfft…maps!”

Plot:
When Ned Flanders comes home with a brand new, top-of-the-line RV for his family, Homer’s “hidden” jealousy for his neighbor’s wealthy possessions kicks in, as he decides to get an RV for his family as well. At the RV dealership, he finds an RV that he really wants to get, but when Cowboy Bob proceeds with a credit check on Homer, he discovers that the vehicle is way out of Homer’s price range. Instead, he hooks Homer up with a much cheaper model that looks incredibly run-down and sounds like it is in bad shape. Despite the warnings from Marge, Bob convinces Homer to purchase the RV and Homer decides to take the family on a camping trip with their newest purchase. However, during the road trip, Homer gets lost and drives the vehicle to the very edge of a giant cliff. The family escapes the RV just in time for it to fall over the cliff, stranding the family in the woods, away from civilization.

The family sets up camp and Homer and Bart decide to go out and look for any signs of civilization and help, while Marge and Lisa stay back at the camp. Baby Maggie starts to follow Homer and Bart, but when the two mistake Maggie’s pacifier sucking for a rattlesnake, they run ahead and leave Maggie by herself. Maggie eventually meets up with a bear which at first roars in Maggie’s face, but quickly calms down when she sticks a pacifier in its mouth. Maggie travels with the bear and goes back to its family’s den, where the entire bear family takes care of Maggie like if she were their own and brings her stuff from other families camping in the woods. Meanwhile, Marge and Lisa find out that they are quite adaptable when it comes to living outdoors as they manage to make a campfire and some decent shelter for the night.

However, Homer and Bart are not having the same amount of good fortune. They stumble into a raging river, lose their clothes, and have a really hard time adjusting to life in the great outdoors. This is incredibly ironic considering Homer is supposed to be an experienced woodsman (at least according to him), but he seems to run into difficulty at every step. When Homer tries to drink honey from a beehive, the stinging of angry bees cause Homer to run to what he thinks is a watering hole, but ends up being a giant puddle of mud. Homer is completely covered in mud and is babbling incoherently from all the bee stings, and during this state, he runs into another camper who mistakes Homer for the legendary “Bigfoot.” The camper gets Homer on film and runs off before Homer can start talking properly again.

With news stations reporting on the discovery of Bigfoot, the camp rangers start evacuating families from the premises, including Marge and Lisa who have been found and warned of the Bigfoot sighting. After seeing the tapes, Marge recognizes “Bigfoot” as Homer and tries to talk some sense into all of the reporters, but the reporters start treating her as a crazy lady instead. Homer and Bart eventually find the bear cave that Maggie has been staying at and reunite with their youngest daughter/sister. Maggie bids a sad farewell to her new bear family and then they start heading back to where their campsite was.

When Homer is located, the camp rangers tranquilize Homer, still mistaking him for Bigfoot, and take him in for extensive tests and analyses. After testing, Homer is let out and is able to go home, where he and Marge watch the test results being broadcasted on TV. From all the testing, it is determined that the results are “inconclusive,” meaning that Homer could very well be the intelligent creature known as Bigfoot, or just a human being with below average intelligence. Homer is incredibly humiliated by the program, but Marge tries to console him with kind, loving words as the episode ends.

Cliff Scene“The Simpsons have entered the forest…”
~Lisa Simpson

Personal History:
Much like the episodes “There’s No Disgrace like Home,” and “Moaning Lisa,” this was always an episode that I was very well aware of, in terms of its existence, but could never really recall when I first watched it. I think once again it has to do with the fact that a clip from this episode was used in “So It’s Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show,” where it basically showed a scene of Homer and Bart in the woods from this episode. The first time I remember watching this episode in full was on the Simpsons Season 1 DVD, but if I had seen this episode prior to that, I honestly couldn’t tell you.

CampfireLisa: “Remember, the handle of the Big Dipper points to the North Star.”
Homer: “That’s nice Lisa, but we’re not in astronomy class. We’re in the woods!”

Favorite/Memorable Moments:
Honestly, I don’t have a lot to touch on this time around, so I’m just going to go through the episode and touch on all the major highlights. First off, I have to give a huge shout-out to the very talented Albert Brooks for his voice work in, not only this episode, but in any episode where he is featured. In this episode, he does the voice work for Cowboy Bob, the RV salesman, but most Simpson’s fans will better know him as Hank Scorpio from “You Only Move Twice” and Russ Cargill from The Simpsons Movie. In this episode, although he plays a very minor role, it’s a role that is done very, very well. He was the most excellent personification of a classic used-car salesman and the way he worked over Homer was absolutely fantastic. I have to give major props to any individual who can do that line of work, which requires a lot of stretching the truth and saying the right things, and even though this is a cartoon show, Albert Brooks gives an amazing performance here and I could really get the sense that he knew what the hell he was doing.

Homer’s aptitude, or should I say lack of aptitude, for being an experienced woodsman is also a very humorous part of the episode, even if I feel like it can be a bit overdone at times. There is just something funny about how Homer can be so confident about his plans and zany schemes, even though they are so clearly lacking in substance or careful thought. He literally granbs a honeycomb and starts chugging the honey out of it, not even giving a second thought that bees may be around in some way. And honestly, perhaps my favorite joke of the entire episode, is when Homer tries to catch a rabbit with a snare trap, and the trap just flings the rabbit many, many miles away and Bart and Homer just watch the rabbit landing so far into the distance. In fact, I think I’ll include a link to that scene just to show you how great it is. As I said, I’m not too much of a fan of when Homer gets “overly” depicted as a bumbling idiot who can’t do anything right, but in this episode, I think it works because the entire situation was Homer’s fault to begin with. He bought the cheap RV, he insisted on taking the family on a camping trip, and he decided to drive the family through a dangerous wildlife path that was completely off the road map. In other words, he kind of reaps what he sowed.

And finally, special mention to the return of the humorous newspaper headlines when Marge is trying to explain to the reporters that Homer isn’t Bigfoot. I always enjoy jokes of that nature and I always remember these one in particular. I think the one that really gets to me is the headline that says “The Bigfoot Diet: Pork Chops Aplenty!” just because it clearly shows that the reporters do not care at all about what Marge is trying to explain and just want to get more shock value or information for the Bigfoot articles, which is just classic humor at its finest.

ApplesauceTV Reporter: “Although the creature was ultimately released, the question remains, ‘Who was this Homer?’ Was it a man or was it, in fact, the legendary missing link known as Bigfoot?”
Homer: (on footage) “Could I have some applesauce?”

My Review:
So before the retrospective, I honestly thought this episode would probably be one of my lowest rated episodes from the first season. Watching this back, much like Bart the Genius and Moaning Lisa, I was surprised I actually enjoyed it a little more than I thought it would. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, or incredible or anything, and I would still probably rate it as one of the least enjoyable episodes from this season, but it’s not unwatchable, which I guess is the most important thing. It just feels like there could have been more jokes. Homer trying to adapt in the woods is the most engaging part of the episode, but they cut away from it a lot to focus on the other parts of the story, which, I do agree are necessary parts of the story, but it’s such a shift in tone that I almost feel like it starts to lose me a little.

I think the biggest problem though is that I just don’t really like the “Bigfoot” development of the story. Again, I understand it’s a cartoon show and is not meant to be realistic or logical, but there’s just something about that part of the plot that seems to be “too much” of a stretch, at least for me. And it’s a stretch in the sense of where the episode ends up, because like Homer’s Odyssey, it feels like three different mini-episodes. The first episode is about Homer being jealous of his neighbor’s RV, the second is about getting lost in the woods, and the final is about Homer being mistaken for Bigfoot. It’s just really interesting how the episode gets to that particular point and I almost wonder if it could have been done in a different way; a more enjoyable way that could have flowed together better. I think an ending where Homer and Bart get saved by Marge and Lisa, who have discovered how to be quite efficient at living in the woods, could have been a more engaging conclusion, and one that would have focused on the entire family a bit more as opposed to the Bigfoot shenanigans.

That’s just my take though. I’m sure there are individuals who may defend this episode a bit more than I would, but at that point, it all comes down to personal preference. I definitely don’t think it’s a bad episode by any means, but there are many other episodes I would choose to watch over this one, including episodes in this same season. But yeah, I think that about wraps it up for this episode, so let’s not ignore Lisa’s advice on how to find the North Star and head on home and back to civilization.

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And with this episode taken care of, we are officially more than halfway through Season 1! We only have 6 more episodes left and…my god, we have some interesting ones to come! Next week we’ll be taking a look at what many Simpson’s fans consider to be a classic Simpsons episode; The Telltale Head. After that, I may be taking a small break since I’ll have a vacation coming up, but when I return, I’ll be hitting the remaining 5 episodes hard because I would like to finish this season before we get to the summer months. Thanks for reading everybody!

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Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie’s Double Trouble

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie's Double Trouble

Game: Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie’s Double Trouble
Start Date: June 5th, 2012
Runtime: 5 hours
Videos: 15

If capturing Donkey Kong wasn’t enough, it seems like Diddy Kong has also gone missing, which means that it is Dixie’s turn to figure out what the heck is going on in the world of Donkey Kong Country. This time she is joined up by her cousin Kiddy Kong who has some unique abilities of his own (although for the most part, he is just a copy of Donkey Kong). The duo will have to search places like Kremwood Forest, Mekanos, and Razor Ridge to find their friends!

To close off this SNES trilogy, I bring you DKC3! Although it’s not my favorite of the trilogy, I still have very fond memories of playing this game with my friends, and like the two installments that came before it, it’s filled to the brim with excellent platforming gameplay, some very intriguing puzzle elements, and the general monkey madness that ensues from any game with the Donkey Kong label.

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