Tag Archives: activision

Spyro the Dragon: A Short Review

For the past decade or so, I have been trying to catch up on the major PS1 games that I had missed.  For about $10 per game on Amazon (with a few exceptions), I was able to play all of the old PS1 Final Fantasy games, including a few SNES ones that were remade and bundled with other games.  I caught up on the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy thanks to the N. Sane Trilogy.  And last of all, to complete my PS1 tour, I have begun the Spyro Reignited Trilogy.  I have played through the first game thus far, and below are my thoughts.  (If you’re interested, we’re also playing through the full trilogy on our Virtual Bastion Youtube channel.) Continue reading Spyro the Dragon: A Short Review

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Top 3 Songs from Crash Bandicoot 3

Another top songs post because, well, why not?  After completing the N. Sane Trilogy with the third and final game, Crash Bandicoot: Warped, I thought I’d share with you all my top 3 songs from the game  I’m rather tired so this might be a little short, but just as musically informative. Continue reading Top 3 Songs from Crash Bandicoot 3

Top 6 Songs from Crash Bandicoot

Not so very long ago, I finally had the pleasure of playing the original Crash Bandicoot game thanks to the N. Sane Trilogy on the PlayStation 4.  As you may have noticed by now, I enjoy listing my favorite video game music, and I certainly couldn’t ignore the very first Crash Bandicoot game.  Just keep in mind that this list includes music from the updated soundtrack, not the original one from the PS1.  But seriously, you can’t deny that Vicarious Visions did an excellent job remaking this game in all respects, music included!  And I’m doing a “top 6” list because I wanted to include an… Continue reading Top 6 Songs from Crash Bandicoot

Comparing Crash Bandicoot 1-3

After many long hours of platforming peril, both delightful and frustrating, the Duck has finally completed the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.  And almost with 100%, too.  While I was able to get 100% in the first two games (minus the relics), I was not able to get the final gem in the third game.  Since it, you know, required me to get all those silly relics, gold or higher.  Which is…not happening.  Though I had planned on writing a separate review for each of these three games, I decided it would be more fun to write a single review comparing my experiences with all of them. Continue reading Comparing Crash Bandicoot 1-3

The Duck Finally Plays Crash Bandicoot

The Duck’s mission to experience all the classic games I possibly can has been mighty successful these past several years.  I’ve played such beloved SNES titles as Super Metroid, EarthBound, and Super Mario RPG.  I’ve even caught up on Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy 4-9 and Chrono Trigger.  The next set of games I had set my sights on was Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot series from the PS1, a feat that became much easier with the release of the N. Sane Trilogy on the PS4.  As of writing this review, I have just managed to complete the very first Crash Bandicoot game, and here are my very interesting (hopefully) thoughts. Continue reading The Duck Finally Plays Crash Bandicoot

Top Songs from Lost Kingdoms II

“Lost Kingdoms II” is much better than the first game, and the music is no exception.  So I listed my top 10 songs from the game with links to Youtube.

            10. “Cathedral” is played in the Grenfoel Church.  The music, as expected, sounds like it’s played on an organ.  It is a bit more dramatic than it needs to be, though.

            9. “Obeonix Gorge” is an icy place with pretty music.  I like the parts with the harp especially.

            8. “Leod VIII’s Theme” is the theme of Leod VIII.  I really don’t like this creepy guy, but he has a good theme song.  It sounds like a harpsichord and has a bit of a sinister sound to it.

            7. “Isamat Urbur” is a really weird place that seems to belong to the Isamat Urbur cultists.  The music is simple, with a single sound repeated throughout the whole thing, with a few other sounds added in parts.  That repeating sound does a good job at making one feel rather uneasy in that place.

            6. “Runestone Caverns” is played in both parts of this level.  I love how this music is calm during parts and then it gets all dramatic.  It goes well with trudging along through the caves while nothing much is happening, then all of a sudden oh my gosh what is that weird ball of light waaah!!!  That’s what it makes me think of.

            5. “Krasheen Mountains” is played in the mountains.  It is a rather epic song that definitely makes you feel like you’re high in the mountains.  I especially like the part that starts around 0:50.

            4. “Battle Theme” is the song that plays during boss battles.  It is fast and epic.

            3. “Bhashea Castle” is a creepy place that was swallowed up by the Black Fog 200 years ago.  The music for this level is also very creepy and sounds almost like ghostly voices.  I love this song, and it does a good job making me feel lonely and like somebody might be watching me.

            2. “Ruldo Forest” is a beautiful, slow song.  It fits the area really well and gives the place a mysterious feel.  I didn’t really notice certain parts until I really listened, and there are almost mournful sounds at times that gives the place a bit of a lonely feel.

            1. “Coliseum” is played in the Sacred Battle Arena.  This music is fast and awesome and is the best song of the game.

 Sacred Battle Duck

I Still Can’t Find My Kingdom

(Hey, it’s post 200!)  I recently played “Lost Kingdoms II”, sequel to, you guessed it, “Lost Kingdoms”.  I already summarized the basics of the series in the post on the previous game.  You know, you summon monsters with cards and such.  So that leaves me with more time to discuss the other aspects of this game.  So let’s start discussing.

            This game takes place about 200 years after the first, and the main character is a thief named Tara, a young woman with a mysterious past.  Story-wise, the Kendarians have somehow learned how to mass produce Runestones, the magical stones that allow people to control monsters (though, they are weaker than the real things).  As the story progresses, you figure out just how they are doing this, and you find out who Tara really is.

            This game is much fancier than the previous one.  You see, the previous one was fun, but lacking in many areas.  In this one, they went all out.  For one thing, the levels look much nicer and are much more interesting.  The music is better.  The graphics are a little nicer (strangely, though, Gurd looks worse than ever).  I think more story is thrown in, and there are more characters, such as Tara’s friend, Sol.  The map screen is divided into several screens now, with much nicer artwork rather than the mainly brown, un-detailed version of the last game.  It’s also much easier to get money because now any excess magic stones you get count as money.  The previous game made you sell cards to get money, which I simply refused to do.  They also added voice acting, though, which is not very good.  That was not an improvement.

            They also made changes to the most important part of the game, the monsters.  Now, instead of 105, there are about 226, I believe.  All I have to say about that is a big fat YES.  They’ve also added machine creatures and creatures you can transform into, allowing you to control the creature for a short time.  These particular creatures are extra useful because they can be used to jump up ledges, fly across gaps, or break through obstacles.  Or you can just pummel some enemies, if you so choose.  The battling has also been changed.  In the last game, you would randomly get into battles with enemies you can’t see until the battle starts, but now enemies are seen roaming the levels and can be fought or fled from at your choosing.

            Overall, this is really quite a fun game.  I still don’t care for any of the characters, and I think the voice acting ruins things a bit, but the much better levels and huge variety of new creatures, such as the Valkyrie, new dragon creatures, Gorgons, and Thanatos, makes this game great.  And because of the transform creatures, you have a reason to revisit levels to get things you couldn’t get before.  These creatures also help you get to an extra level that I particularly wanted to mention, Bhashea Castle, which I like very much.  This is the castle that was overrun by the Black Fog in the original game and is never seen in that game.  It is now in ruins and haunted by creepy and powerful monsters like the scary Death and the formidable Stone Head.  And if you can solve some puzzles and get all four blades, you can reawaken a powerful warrior….  I love that level, especially the first time I played it.  It was just so spooky and awesome.

            After getting all 105 creatures in the first game, it bothers me quite a bit that I can’t get all the cards in this one.  I got 225 out of 226.  It’s upsetting.  I remember from the past that you only have one chance for two of the cards.  If you open this chest on the Bridge of Sarvan, the Lucky Lion is forever locked away (well, in that file).  I knew this, so I was careful, and now the Lucky Lion is mine.  But, then there’s the Barometz.  I knew it only showed up a short time in the first part of Alanjeh Castle, but did I get it?  No.  No, I did not.  When you finish a level, you often can choose these cards that are flipped over.  I thought I could do that and get my Barometz that way.  I guess not.  It bothers me so much.  That empty space in the catalog is like a punch to the face.  And what kind of sicko would punch a duck?  Huh?  What sicko indeed!  Why do you deprive me of my Barometz, company who made this game?  Why do you indirectly land a blow to the face of this innocent duck?  Have you no souls?  Did the God of Harmony steal them from you as it did to the innocent folks in the game?  Is that what happened, you sick people!  Is it?  Is it!

            Ahem, cough, hmm.  I am proud to say that I was able to, at least, get nearly all the cards, including the Emperor.  Actually, this brings up a story that can be considered amusing or horrendous, depending on how you look at it.  Last time I played the game, I got every card except for the Lucky Lion (yes, I even obtained the elusive Barometz).  I decided to start a new file and play through to the Bridge of Sarvan and get my Lion, so I can at least say I have every card, even though they aren’t all within one file.  And then guess what happened.  I overwrote my file with the 225/226 cards, even losing my beloved Emperor.

            So finally, this time playing through the game, I decided I was getting the Emperor back.  Perhaps I must explain, though.  After beating the game, a new level opens up called the Proving Grounds.  It is 25 levels of unimaginable horrors (but not really, but it can get pretty bad) and at the very end awaits a powerful creature called the Emperor.  This is one tough beastie who used to defeat me countless times, and after losing him in my last playthrough, I vowed to conquer him again.

            It only took two tries this time.  The first time he destroyed me, not unlike a hungry child attacking a bowl of Jell-O (and I’m the Jell-O).  The second time I got lucky and learned a great trick.  Leave an immobile, independent creature in the middle of the room, and the idiotic Emperor will repeatedly try to attack with pillars of fire, but far enough away that they never reach my creature.  So this left me to attack him while he was too distracted to massacre me as he usually did in the past.  His health started to get very low, and my heart started racing.  Soon, the Emperor shall be mine again, after all these years apart!  Once his health was almost gone, I threw a Capture Card at him.  Nothing.  Crap!  I threw another, and I captured that son of a…  Oh, glorious day!  The duck is the victor once again!  Sound the trumpets!  Prepare a banquet!  Vacuum the carpet!  There will be merriment like never seen before!

            So anyway, this game really improves on the original in almost every way.  Except the voice acting.  And the knife that is forever embedded in my heart for not having every creature.  “Lost Kingdoms II” feels like a much more solid game, while the original was a little bit of a mess.  For a while, though, I used to like the original better.  I liked Katia better (even though she had no more personality than Tara).  I liked that there was no voice acting, and it felt simpler and more pure, and with less monsters, you could get more attached to the few (if 105 can be called few) you had.  But, now that I have replayed the sequel, I can’t help but admit it is really a much better game than the original.  But, both have a place in my video game library.  The original, simpler “LK” and the much fancier, much improved “LKII”.

Twice as Lost Duck

Top Songs from Lost Kingdoms

Most of the music of “Lost Kingdoms” is not particularly interesting, but there are a couple songs I do enjoy, so here are my top five songs from this game, with links to youtube.

            5. “Lumsted” is a town that was taken over by a white mist when someone was trying to find a way to get rid of the Black Fog.  I find this music quite interesting sounding, and I like the beat.  I really wish the chilling wolf howls could be heard in the music like it is in the game.  It makes the level much spookier.

            4. “Battle” is played during the battles, of course.  It is fast and rather epic.  This music makes me miss the game, since I heard it so often.  (This version doesn’t seem to be quite the same as in the game, but it’s mostly the same, and it’s all I could find.)

            3. “Boss Battle” is played during boss battles and is even more epic than the regular battle music.  I couldn’t find a video with just the song, so here’s a video with the boss fight against the Necromancer, so you can still hear the music.  It starts around 0:46.

            2. “Main Theme” is the main theme of the game, as the name suggests.  It is very epic.  I need to stop using that word, but it keeps working for stuff.

            1. “Hupon-Jen” is a maze-like forest, home to the White Tiger.  I like the music a lot here.  I love that it gives the forest a mysterious feel, and I enjoy that sinister sounding piano.

Hupon-Duck

I Seem to Have Lost My Kingdom, Have You Seen It?

About eight or nine years ago, for a while, I only had one current generation console, the GameCube.  (‘Twas a sad time, those days before my dear PS2.  Kisses, PS2.)  And for a while, no good new games were coming out.  I got tired of playing the same old games, so I would buy anything that looked decent, so I could play something actually new for once.  And that’s how I ended up with “Lost Kingdoms”.

            “Lost Kingdoms” is fun, and I’m glad I got it, though it’s certainly not among my list of games most dear to me.  In most aspects, it’s simply an average game, with bad graphics and boring characters.  The story has something to do with a mysterious Black Fog engulfing villages and such, even gobbling up the entire kingdom of Bhashea.  When the Black Fog comes to the kingdom of Alanjeh, the home of our hero, Princess Katia, the princess decides to go out in search of her father, who left the kingdom in order to find a way to stop the fog.  Before leaving, she takes the kingdom’s Runestone, a strange object that allows anyone who carries one to summon monsters with cards.

            Katia ends up exploring many different places (with some advice from a strange, old woman named Gurd), first in search of her father, and then later for I forgot what.  There are a decent number of areas.  Various castles, a desert, a cemetery, and even a town that was taken over by a white mist, the result of an experiment gone wrong that was meant to get rid of the Black Fog.  There are even a decent amount of secret levels.  But, what makes this game good is the gameplay.

            As I mentioned earlier, the Runestone allows Katia to use cards to summon monsters.  Pretty much every enemy in the game can also become a card you can use to fight for you.  So whenever you end up in a battle, you can use a bunch of different creatures to do your bidding.

            And to make things a bit more interesting, there’s a variety of different types of monsters, too.  Some of them walk around on their own doing stuff, which I find rather adorable.  Good job, my darling Man Trap, show that Plague Rat you mean business.  Some are used as weapons, so you can go up to an enemy and slash away at it several times with the Lizardman’s sword or the Chaos Knight’s lance.  Some, like the Lycanthrope, are summons.  They appear once, do something, and then, go.  Different creatures do different things, and some are for healing or restoring cards rather than simply violence (which in some cases, really isn’t the answer).  There’s also some that attract enemies to them or make allies stronger, but they are actually quite useless.  If you aren’t going to inflict harm, heal me, or restore cards, then I don’t want you.

            And I think all these different monsters make the game quite fun. There are 105 different creatures, many of which are from mythology.  I actually learned a lot about mythological creatures and other such things from this game.  I learned about the Doppelganger, the Kraken, the Banshee, the Hobgoblin.  (Well, I was aware of the existence of goblins.  Just not the ones of the hob variety.)

            It’s so satisfying finding new cards, too.  Many are in chests or lying around.  You can also buy new cards or level up the ones you have.  Some you get by giving this dude Red Fairies.  I love collecting the Red Fairies.  I have fun looking for them, for one thing, and they’re just adorable.  They are small, simple things, and when you find one, they make this noise (which is actually cute and a little spooky) and say a few things before disappearing.  I love them.

            So like I mentioned earlier, much of this game is below-average, but the great gameplay more than makes up for it, and I’m glad to have it.  I love all the creatures.  I love getting a deck of strong cards and massacring my enemies.  I even like the artwork on the cards.  I have gotten quite attached to this game, and it still occupies a special place in my heart.  Not as special a place as my other games live in, but still somewhat special.

Lost Ducks