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Super Mario Sunshine
Mario 64 is one of, if not my favourite game of all time, and Mario Galaxy isn't far behind. I think that's why I dislike this game to such a degree. I really enjoy 3D Mario and I want this to enjoy this game but I just don't like it at all.
The movement is undoubtedly the best part about this game, similarly to 64, but unlike Mario 64, the controls are not complemented by the level design nearly as well. The levels and the missions within those levels felt like they were designed with JUST the idea of F.L.U.D.D., and not all the other crazy shit Mario has in his arsenal.
Sirena Beach is a good example of this. Outside of the obligatory missions that involve secret levels, they literally just boil down to "Go here, spray this, proceed" or "Scrub this specific area clean". The King Boo mission doesn't fall under this formula, but it's not particularly well-designed either.
I think this is why the secret levels are my favourite part of the game. When F.L.U.D.D. is out of the picture, the levels are created in a manner that encourages you to utilize the moves you've been given and get creative. It's where the game really shines (xd), because as I said earlier, the controls is the best part of the game.
Level design and F.L.U.D.D. aside, the missions are just kinda... boring? They aren't bad or anything, but to me, most of them just aren't interesting at all. I feel like I explained why I think this with the Sirena Beach example from earlier.
The "get 7 shines from every stage" is the most egregious part of this game to me, and is one of my least favourite designs in any video game that I've ever played. Aside from forcing you to play missions you don't want to, it makes half of the content in the game redundant, if you're not going for 100% that is. You can chalk it up as just "optional content" but I hate the idea that some shines are inherently worth more than others, especially when Mario 64 just demonstrated how fun having the freedom of choice when it comes to selecting what missions you want to play and which ones you don't. I'm seriously struggling to find a single find a single upside to this type of design. It's bad game design and a big enough issue to straight-up kill the game. There's a reason why they went with the 64 approach when it came to selecting levels and missions in Galaxy.
I'm not gonna comment on the story and voice-acting, because I don't care. The game has way more prevalent issues that I just went over.
A lot of the issues I have with this game probably, definitely come down to personal preference, but I hope I still got my points across well.
As far as I know, this was the very first video game I ever felt excited for. I remember during a trip I took with my family to NYC we stopped at the Nintendo store and I vividly remember saying "I can't wait for this game to come out" to my mom. It's odd, really, I had never even played a Donkey Kong game before and didn't even know what it was about but I was excited for it? I don't know I was like 10 and I barely even played video games much at that age. Regardless, my mom bought the game for me when it came out and you just know I was so amped to play it. I think I beat the first level and then put it down for roughly half a decade.
This habit sucks, by the way, I have a tendency to not abandon games entirely but rather finish them long after I made the purchase. I rarely finish games I buy close to when I bought them. Anyway, jump to I think May of 2018 when they released the overpriced port of this game and I was at a Gamestop when I happened to see it. I remember having a weird connection to this game, it was one of those games where I stopped playing early on but I always felt the urge to come back to some day. Which doesn't make sense because if you want to play the game then just play it right? Yeah so I bought the game again with me now having spent 110 dollars on this 15 hour platformer determined that I would beat it this time. And I beat the first world and like one level of world 2 and stopped yet again. I'd put it down this time for 3 years which now makes me in possession of a game I'm more than willing to play for 7 years. I still don't understand.
One night in 2021 I was laying in bed scrolling on my phone like I usually do and I stumbled upon a video of the game. To be more specific, it was a video of Busted Bayou, one of the three silhouette levels in the game and it just... filled me with nostalgia? I've sunk at this point, MAYBE 2 hours into the game in total from years ago and I'm nostalgic for it? I did some more digging and I ended up listening to a bit of the soundtrack for it. Somehow from years back I recognized Windmill Hills, the song for the first level of world 2, the farthest I ever got. To say this song amplified my nostalgia I was already feeling would be an understatement. I planned to start the game when I woke up the next morning.
And so I did. In the morning, I started a new file of the game for the third time. It felt different, I've never felt a hankering to play this game as much as I did today. I played through the first world and put the game down. This time for just a few hours though. I had a pool party at my friend's house today. I'll spare the details and just say I got the worst sunburn of my fucking life and soon would start to really feel it. Anyway, I got back home and holy shit I felt like continuing the game. It's a miracle. I played through world 2 and my god it clicked. Felt like that one Danny Devito gif. It was the first rocket barrel level I had just beaten and I sent a message to my friends saying "God dude this game fuckin rocks."
I keep breezing through the game all the while I'm in the worst pain of my life because my entire upper back and shoulders are covered in burns, I swear to god it was the only thing keeping me sane during that time. I think I played exactly two worlds per day for 3 days and the pain just got worse. Then when the pain settled a bit it started to itch and my lord I wanted to off myself. Anybody who's gotten a bad sunburn will know. Anyway, on the third day of playing this game I finished it. All levels with all puzzle pieces and KONG letters including World 7. I knew something right away. This was my favorite 2D platformer of all time and later would become my favorite platformer in general. What could initially be chalked up to recency bias remained as my opinion of the game only grew the more I played it. The seven year wait was worth it. It's like I always knew I'd love this game but I just had to let it sit.
Story time over. With my favorite games, it usually takes more than just a fun game to completely win me over. Completely out of the game's control obviously but it's the memories of what I was doing during that time that really solidify its place among my favorites. At the moment, I was miserable and almost ironically so. Suffering from a sunburn while playing a game all about taking your home back from the arctic? Yeah real funny God I'm laughing so hard. But reminiscing on my experience, it really brought out the best of the game. It's supposed to make you feel good and it succeeded.
But I'm not a game designer. I'm not gonna dissect each level to see what really makes them expertly crafted because that's not my thing. The game's just really damn fun man. I know it's a bit overstated but the platforms being organically woven into the scenery? It's things like that which make me feel like I'm playing a game that had care poured into it. The world makes sense in a video-game, over-the-top fantasy kind of way, you know? And as I mentioned previously, the music in most of these levels? If this ain't one of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time then I don't know what is honestly. In a game with like 60 something levels, to say that probably half of these songs have been stuck in my head at some point or another speaks volumes to me. The game's not very difficult to me anymore so it's one of those games I can really just relax to. Trust me, it doesn't take a lot for a video game to catch my attention. I just want them to be fun, plain and simple. I'm not gonna be like "See, games don't need a crazy deep story or thought-provoking characters to be good! Thanks Nintendo!" or anything like that because those things are always welcome. But it's a game about a dumb gorilla and his family against a barrage of penguins. The game really just needed to be fun to be good. But it's underselling it to just say it's fun and has great music because a lot of games fit that description. It accomplishes something that not many games can do. It makes me truly happy to play.
"I'm going to fucking kill myself" were the words I found myself uttering over and over while I played this game.
Coming off of the third game you'd expect Devil May Cry 4 to be much better than it is. Enter NERO. Moody and arrogant, in essence he is HIM. You know I had a really funny joke regarding Nero but it's too funny and I'm absurdly proud of it so I'm going to save it for later and don't you fucking dare say that it probably wasn't gonna be funny it absolutely fucking is everyone I've told it to has laughed at it fuck you. Anyways this kind of thing is exactly what DMC4, it set ups tons of things which make you feel like this will be "peak peak goatly goat raw fire", you kill demons in the first level that banger of a soundtrack comes in and you are getting into the grove of playing as Nero and just when you've had enough of the foreplay the game rips your nuts apart by having dogshit level design and enemies which range from mediocre to annoying
Devil Bringer is really something I felt was missing in DMC3, a way to bridge the gap between you and the enemies outside of mashing Stinger. The game is smart with it as almost every enemy in the game feels like they're designed with Devil Bringer in mind, right down to the bosses. Speaking of which, how are they bosses? Well they start off all right and it all goes downhill when I got to Mission 6 and went "oh my god this is so dogshit". Agnus can SHOVE those fucking swords UP HIS ASSHOLE and fiddle them around like a fucking DILDO and I hope that he doesn't have a G-spot cause my god that fucking FUCK does not deserve any form of pleasure. Then in the last 8 missions they start fucking reusing bosses like crazy to the point where the second final/final boss (depending on who you ask) is just a fucking beefier version of a boss you've fought before and they made said boss even MORE dog shit fuck your fucking BUBBLES fuck YOU.
Right when you get the hang of Nero the game throws you a curve ball and gives you control of Dante and baby? This was the best Dante yet, gameplay wise. "YEEESSSS BRO YESS 😍🥰🥵" was my reaction once I remembered how to play Dante. I should add that I didn't buy this game myself to play it but got it from a friend, and I noticed that she had bought souls with real world money, so I had an abundance of souls at the beginning which I spent into upgrading myself. In hindsight I'm kind of grateful for it as it gave me the chance to get my bearings in the game without being overwhelmed but when I got to Dante's section I was running low on souls. Fuck you Angela could you have seriously not bought MORE??? WHAT THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO FOR THE LAST FUCKING HALF OF THE GAME?? PLAY IT NORMALLY? Fuck you it costs like 2 fucking pounds, are you really THAT broke???? And don't you dare act like you don't have 2 pounds, I am the poor broke boy from a third world country, NOT you. So please sell that fucking Nando's gift card already and give ME the fucking money you are fucking RUINING my gaming experience.
Remember how I said how each enemy was designed with Nero in mind? Well that comes back to bite this game in the ass when you play as Dante cause it's something that becomes really apparent especially when you start to fight old bosses again. Don't worry my DEAR reader, I didn't do a gamer rage moment and throw my controller. No, I'm a civilised man. I just beat the shit out of cardboard boxes like a REAL man cause this game is for REAL men like me and nobody should dare challenge me on that fucking front.
Level design and atmosphere is something that's also worse in this game. As bad as DMC2 is I will at least admit that due to the fact it reused a lot of shit from DMC1, it remained just as atmospheric. DMC3 was also really atmospheric! And I know DMC4 came out during the height of ugly brown Unreal Engine 3 games but goddamn does this game not hold up as well graphically as 1 and 3. I could really go on about how shit some of the puzzles in these levels are like holy fuck DICE WOO DICE it's fucking YAHTZEE ALL OVER AGAIN but I feel like I'd add nothing to the discussion except dry humping a limp corpse while I go "what's up my fellow Devil May Cry-ers I am also on the team".
Now we come to the story and there's really nothing much to be said. I don't CARE about old dude, I DON'T care about evil scientist, I don't CARE about the fact the girl who has 3 minutes of screentime. Nero aside, all new characters are a bust and even old characters take a hit. Still, I fucking laughed out loud when Dante used Royal Guard in his boss fight. Although, there is one new character I'd like to talk about...Gloria.
Let me start off by saying that, as you may have surmised, me and "sex" don't have the best of relations. I never had sex-ed in school, I didn't know what a "clit" was until I was 16, when a girl said that she'd make me her bitch I just replied with "woah cool", when a girl confessed to ME, I FUCKING RAN AWAY. So to have Gloria pop up and have my mind for the first time in a while go "Hmm while I usually don't find characters attractive this Gloria person is very pretty I hope she's good" is no easy feat. "Is this it?" I wondered. Like Nero, did I finally awaken a demon inside me, but instead of being a cool fucking arm that can grab things, the demon inside me is called "sex drive". Maybe I could finally give this sex thing a shot, maybe I don't have to be scared of anything sexual, even while alone, anymore. In that moment, I got Nero, I became him. I looked at my hand like it was Devil Bringer as I wondered if I should give this "jacking off thing" a go. Is this a new chapter for me, Quade Pad? Did Devil May Cry 4...change my life? As I slowly came to terms with this new side of me, it all came crashing down via the fucking costume select screen where I got spoiled on Gloria's true identity and oh my god jokes aside I laughed so fucking hard. Which made me realise a new truth.
"White women are mid"
Thank you Devil May Cry 4, for opening my eyes and changing my life.
Thank you Devil May Cry 4, for opening my eyes and changing my life.
The final mission pretty much cemented my view of the game. Truth be told I'm going through a rough patch in my life at the moment, and during these trying times where I've distanced myself as much as possible from everyone who loves me, I'm playing one of the worst boss fights I've ever seen in a video game. FUCK that boss FUCK you FUCK Dante FUCK old men FUCK statues FUCK everything FUCK me and Dante WILL WE FUCK AGAIN?
Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to kill myself and this review is my last mark on this world. Also it's my birthday! Please say "Happy Birthday Quade!" in the replies. It'd really make me feel better! Cheers and god bless Devil May Cry. I will see you next time.
Super Mario Sunshine
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