Tag Archives: vexx

Day 3: A Game That is Underrated

Today’s topic of the 30 day game posts, as you can guess, is a game that’s underrated, and the first game that comes to mind is “Vexx”.  I’ve actually written about this game before.  “Vexx” is quite a wonderful game, but I have only met one other person that has played it.  It is a platformer made by Acclaim, for the GameCube, XBox, and PS2, and while very few have heard of it, it is a very fun, very unique game I think many would enjoy.

            I love this game so for many reasons.  For one, the locations are unique and beautiful.  Vexx’s world was torn apart, so each location is floating.  And each place is so different.  There’s the strange tower behind the waterfall in Timberdale.  The desert with the giant dragon skeleton and a maze of underwater tunnels below.  There’s the giant dome of water in the Below, where you’ll find smaller domes with various puzzles and challenges inside.  There’s also the lovely Summit of the Sages, home of three giant stone heads with vastly different secrets inside.  As time passes in these places, the locations change as day turns to night and back again.  Nighttime sees enemies become more vicious and the music more sinister, making you want to run and find a sundial to change time back to the relative safety of day.  The music in this game is beautiful, as well, consisting of violins and pianos and other such things.  The game is quite a challenge, too, which is nice when so many games nowadays are too easy.

            The game is also filled with variety.  You collect Shadowwraith Hearts to progress to the next world, and each one has a riddle associated with it.  Solve this riddle, and the heart is yours.  Sometimes this involves platforming.  There’s the occasional boss battle (this game actually has few of those, which is good, because they are tough).  There are times when you must collect items, like soul jars and heart shards.  There are puzzles, as well, like the block puzzle in Daggercrag and the statue puzzle in the Below.  The riddles are a lot of fun, and in a small way, I like to think of it as a platformer version of “The Legend of Zelda”.

            The game is not perfect, though, and is lacking in some areas.  There is very little story in the game and very few characters, as well.  But, the game is still fun enough and the gameplay varied enough to make up for that.  And Vexx, the main character, has personality of his own.  This guy has attitude, and while he’s small, he, like the game, should not be underestimated, as he has some razor sharp Astani War Talons to pummel his enemies with.  Plus, I can’t dislike someone who flips off the main villain.  Or kicks a goblin-like creature in the you-know-where to get an item the fiend’s holding out of reach.

            So there it is, “Vexx”, an extremely underrated game.  Sure, this is not the game to play if you’re in the mood for complex stories and interesting characters, but it’s still a very fun game to play, nonetheless.  It can be pretty darn hard, too, but it’s fun enough that I wanted to keep trying.  I loved the challenge and the variety and the unique locations and music, which all make this game really stand out for me.  If anyone wants to try out a game that isn’t so well-known, give “Vexx” a chance.  At the very least, it won’t be something you’ve seen a million times before.

Shadowwraith Duck

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Vexx Songs, the Best Music No One Has Ever Heard

“Vexx” has some really good, unique music, so I needed to do my top ten songs.  These songs are complex and awesome, and I didn’t even really realize how good they were until I really listened to them.  I love how you can hear the individual instruments so well.  The poor developers went all out on this game that most people never even knew existed.  The least I can do is help share this game’s music.  I included links to Youtube, like usual.

            10. “Tempest Peak Manor (Night)” is played at night in this particular world.  It is a bit spooky.  That piano sounds evil.

            9. “Dragonreach (Day)” is played during the day time in world two, Dragonreach.  Certain parts fit the desert landscape well.

            8. “Citadel of Shadows” is the final world of the game.  The music goes really well with this dark, utterly horrible place.  Oh, the engine rings.  The engine rings…

            7. “Dungeon” (I couldn’t think of a better title, so I hope the person who used this title won’t mind me using it, too) is played in several random levels.  It is similar to the volcano in the Below, but not quite.  I like the violin.  It gives this sad, hopeless feeling to the song, I think, which is the feeling the player sometimes gets from falling to their death repeatedly.

            6. “Summit of the Sages, Inside Vexx’s Head” is the music that plays in the giant stone Vexx head on the mountain of Summit of the Sages.  It’s a creepy song that features a piano and violin, I think.  It starts off slow, gaining speed later, with some really creepy sounds at the beginning.  Actually, chilling is more the word to describe it.  It sounds like the far off wail of a ghost.  I keep listening to it, and I still feel a twinge of something in my stomach whenever I hear that noise.  It almost gives me goose bumps.  Or duck bumps, I guess.  I really like the piano, followed by a violin, around 2:16.

            5. “Summit of the Sages, Inside the Middle Head” is what I’ll call the music that plays in the middle of the three giant heads in the side of the mountain in Summit of the Sages.  This music is interesting and has a good beat.  I like the piano, especially the stuff that starts in at around 0:32, and then the song really gets going.

            4. “Dragonreach, Spooky Place” is my not creative title to the area in Dragonreach with the ghosts.  This music makes the area really spooky, especially when the voices start around 1:00 in and the longer vocals at 1:32.  I especially like 0:30 to 1:11 or so.

            3. “The Below (Day)” is a lovely song that plays in the water level during the day.  It’s slow and beautiful and sounds like maybe a cello or something to me.

            2. “Timberdale (Day)” plays in the first world.  It is a nice song to start the game off with.  It’s hard to describe, but it’s awesome and has a lot of parts to it.  The person’s description of the song below the video describes it much better than I do.

            1. “Tempest Peak Manor (Day)” plays in the manor during the day.  It starts off slower and then gets faster.  It’s always been my favorite song, since the first time I ever played the game.  I like the very beginning and 2:04 to 2:22 the most.

Tempest Duck Manor

It Vexxes Me That No One Has This Game

Like “Okami”, “Vexx” is another game that I kept noticing years ago and kept passing by.  Finally, I decided to buy it, and like “Okami”, it wasn’t in regular stores anymore.  I finally tracked it to a game store (it was the last new copy there) and got it, and I’m so glad I did.  I ended up finding that “Vexx” is a hugely underrated, really wonderful game that most people overlook.  In fact, I only once met someone that had played this game.  He was just as surprised to find a fellow “Vexx” fan as I was.  We used to play that game together, but I have now not seen that person in about seven years, so this game is now not only a great game on its own, but it has some important memories with it, as well.

            So who is Vexx?  Vexx is a creature from the world of Astara.  Astara was invaded a long, long time ago (possibly in a galaxy far away, but I’m not sure), when the Astani opened up a rift, and the Shadowwraiths, led by the evil Dark Yabu (not to be confused with Jabu Jabu from “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”), came through.  Almost all of the Astani were killed, and centuries later, Vexx’s people were enslaved.  While working in the mines, Vexx got fed up and attacked Yabu and would’ve died if his grandfather, Vargus, didn’t protect him.  Yabu killed Vargus and Vexx, luckily, was able to get away, and he ended up finding the Astani War Talons.  These talons apparently have a life of their own and fused themselves to his hands.  And then, Vexx set out on a quest to kill Yabu and avenge his grandfather.

           Not only do I love this game, but I’ve always liked the character of Vexx, as well.  He’s a tough little dude, he has attitude, and he even sometimes flips Yabu off at the start of the final battle, which always cracks me up.  Even better is that in one level, he kicks this goblin dude in a certain spot (you know where…) in order to get a soul jar.  That poor goblin looked close to crying.  That is enough to make Vexx awesome.

            But, I haven’t told you about the game’s awesomeness yet, have I?  Okay, well, this game is a platformer, with nine huge worlds set around a central hub.  Vexx must find Shadowwraith hearts to power the hub so he can reach Yabu.  Each world has about nine or ten of these freakish hearts, with 81 in total.  I always found them to be very fun items to collect.  They look like real hearts and are still beating.  You know one is near because the beating gets faster and louder, and you can even feel it in the controller.  To find each heart, you read a little clue in the form of a small poem each time you enter a world.  This game requires a good bit of thinking in order to figure out what the clue means, which I’ve always enjoyed.

           And there is a good variety of things you must do, too.  Yes, lots of climbing to the tops of things, of course, but also puzzles like the one in the statuary or the room with the blocks in Daggercrag, or a few battles, like with the huge sumo wrestler or a mummy that apparently has Samus’s morph ball ability.  Other times, you must collect 100 shards or 6 soul jars.  Defeat your inner demons in a game.  Use the sundial to change to the correct time to make a portal open somewhere in the level.  Whatever it is you must do, this game ended up being quite a challenge and tons of fun.

            Another thing I like is that this game also has some creative levels and creatures.  Each level is a large floating area, as Astara was broken apart, but that’s not just what is different.  You can explore the huge Tempest Peak Manor, whose only remaining resident is the pet, a ravenous snarling dinosaur-like creature that waits for Vexx to become its snack.  (I always felt bad for the poor thing.  I wish I could knock that huge steak to the floor so it wouldn’t be so famished.)  There is also the Below, a huge dome filled with water, home to a large sea creature that’s swallowed a trio of pirates named Nasty, Brutish, and Short.  (I used to not mind them, but now they really creep me out.  Especially Nasty.  I am not turning my back on that ugly freak.  Short, though, also looks like he has the potential to murder me….  I’m watching you both.)  The enemies are also quite bizarre, and they get extra mean at night.  Fortunately, you can use the sundial to change time, so you can keep it at daytime, when the beasts aren’t as beastly.  And it’s fun to spin the sundial and watch the sky change quickly.  I feel powerful.

            I thought it was funny to mention my efforts to reach the landspire (I believe that’s what it’s called), a tall white tower that you can see floating off to the side of some levels.  I tried to get there once.  Vexx can grow wings and fly in certain places, so I had him fly in Dragonreach.  I was so excited.  I had a limited time, but I was almost to the landspire.  Just a bit farther…  And then Vexx flew right through it.  No!  Darn you for taunting me, Acclaim!  I thought it was a real place, and I was being all clever reaching it!  Boo, Acclaim, boo!  Hiss!

            Anyway, I have a few small complaints with this delightful game.  One thing that saddens me is that I wish this game had more of a plot.  It’s mainly in the beginning cut scene, and I think they could’ve done much more with Yabu.  He had the potential to maybe be a good villain (if there’s such a thing), but they didn’t do much with him.  Also, sometimes the graphics freak me out a little, like on Darby.  What on Astara is wrong with his face!  What is wrong with it!  My other complaint is the final boss battle is absurd.  It’s ridiculous.  I despise it utterly.  I hate you, Yabu!  I.  Hate.  You.

            Despite my few problems, this game is just awesome.  I’ve beaten it four times now and gotten all the hearts a couple times.  I wanted to get 100% again this time both because it’s fun and to make sure I still can.  Don’t want to slack off.  Surprisingly, the game seemed much easier now.  It’s nice to see I’ve improved.  And it helps that I try to stay much calmer now.  I used to freak out.  Now I’m as cool as…a frozen pizza.  (Which I’m eating once I’m done dieting.  Yum.  Pizza.)

            And while I play this great game, sometimes I think about when I used to play with my friend.  I would help him get through difficult levels.  I remember specifically this area in the snowy place that was truly dreadful.  Way up high, there were platforms that would flip every few seconds, and if you weren’t careful, you’d tumble to your doom.  I don’t remember if we made it or not.  And I remember the time he decided to mess with the color on his TV, so it was all very pink for a while.  It was funny, though I certainly wouldn’t let him do that to my TV.  Nuh-uh.  Proper colors are satisfactory for me, thank you very much.

           Ah, the memories.  Plus the game.  Equals perfection.  If only that game store didn’t put a sticker on the cover.  I picked it off, and it left a sticky area, and all kinds of crud stuck to it, and yeah.  Rather distressing.  Despite that incident, which I still haven’t totally healed from, great game.  It’s not often I try a game that’s not so well known and get lucky, but this time, I did.  But, that stupid sticker.  Why do they put stickers on everything!  Why!

Astani War Ducks, We’re Fierce

The Duck’s Thoughts on Video Games

Sana requested a post in which I tell you guys about what I like in video games and what’s not my cup of tea.  Sounds fun.  Thanks for the idea!  Here I go!

THE GOOD

            The things I like are pretty obvious.  Of course, a game must be fun, but what makes some games stand out from others is when they have a good story and good characters.  These are pretty important.  That’s why I love games from the Kingdom Hearts and Jak and Daxter series so much.  Good stories, awesome characters.  And lots of fun.  The cut scenes are often as much fun as the game.  They get a very special place in my heart.  Like a nice apartment.  With a view.  Because I can’t fit houses in my heart.  I still, of course, like games that don’t have good plots, or plots at all, such as those from the Mario or Donkey Kong series because they are still fun and creative.  They are just not quite as special to me.  But, still special.  They get a slightly less nice apartment in my heart.

            Good graphics and music are always nice, but not super important.  Good, or at least, not bad dialogue helps, too.  Other things that make me happy are when you have a lot of places to explore, items to collect, new moves to learn, which is why I like Metroid games better than Halo, even though both are awesome.  In Metroid, you get upgraded weapons and moves as you play and can collect things to upgrade your health and missile capacity.  Plus, there are many places to explore.  Unique ideas are fun, too.  In “Okami”, for example, you drew things with a brush, which was neat.

            I also like when you can save often enough, don’t have to redo a lot when you die, and can skip cut scenes.  “Kingdom Hearts”, for example, made you rewatch cut scenes, and it was annoying.  Square Enix must have realized how annoying it was because you get to skip them now.  I also like when games are a challenge, but not ridiculous.  I hate absurdly hard games.

            Specifically, my favorite games are platformers, RPG’s, and other such things with action or exploring or whatever.

THE BAD

            Now for the things I hate.  These are the things that will cause me to sell or not even buy a game.  One is dirtiness.  Some games think that because they’re rated M, they need to have as many bad things as they’re allowed.  When I was looking at new games for the XBox 360, the only games that looked good were rated M, so I checked the back, and they had things I didn’t want.  So I’m not even going to try them.  What’s nice about the Halo series is all they have is violence and a little bit of swearing.  Being rated M, they could have more, but there is no dirty things and minimal swearing.  In fact, “Halo: Reach” doesn’t even have swearing.  I’m proud of you, Bungie.  On the other end of the spectrum, I don’t like super corny games.  I can only handle a small amount of corn.

            I was also kept from getting a game because I heard it had a limited number of saves.  That would be so annoying.  I also hate it in games when you can’t save at all.

            I also hate bad controls, like when the camera won’t obey you or you can’t control it at all, and you often die just because you can’t see where you’re going.  I also hate that “Sonic and the Secret Rings” is only hard because the controls are so bad.  They tried something new, where Sonic is always moving, and you tilt the Wii remote left or right to go left or right, forward to speed up, and back to slow down.  I think you can make Sonic stop, but it’s hard.  I feel like I have very little control over him.  It’s very aggravating.

            This next thing is tolerable or horrible, depending on what game it is.  I don’t like when games have battles start randomly.  Most games, you can see the enemies and choose if you want to fight.  In games like “Final Fantasy X” and “Quest 64”, you never know when a battle may start because you can’t see any enemies.  You’re just walking, and then suddenly you have to fight things and can’t easily get away.  In the former game, though, it’s a good game so it doesn’t bother me as much, but the latter is already not a great game, and this is pretty much the worst part of it.

            Also, like I said, I hate super hard games.  I really hate them.  It’s bad enough that the final bosses of “Vexx” and “Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep” are insane, but when a whole game is a chore…  No way.  I also hate having to do stupid things or you can’t move on, such as beating the super annoying “Donkey Kong Arcade” in “Donkey Kong 64” not once, but twice, in order to get a necessary item.  I also hate when you must fight zillions of enemies or when they take super long to kill.  All this fuels the duck’s feathery rage.

            The types of games I dislike are sports, really simple games like pinball or Pacman, and fighting games that aren’t “Super Smash Brothers” and racing games other than “Jak X” or “F-Zero”.

THE UGLY

            And now, the things that simply disappoint me.  For one thing, when things don’t feel complete.  In the 2006 version of “Sonic the Hedgehog”, it was a good game, but they left some things unfinished.  For example, things would fall in the water without a splash.  Such a simple thing to fix.  I felt like they sold the game before they were completely done with it.

            I am also disappointed by bad graphics and bad music, but that’s not a big deal.  I am saddened when games are too short, especially good ones.

            I also don’t like bad dialogue and skimpy outfits.  Too skimpy, and this nears the Bad.  I also don’t like when you get to the end of the game and aren’t allowed to return to previous areas, like in “Okami” and “Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier”.  I don’t mind when it’s a kind of game where there’s nothing to collect, but in these, there is, and I couldn’t go back for what I missed.

            I also don’t like when they think they’re too cool.  I’m talking to you, Sonic.  And the characters in “Jak X”.  I don’t think they were as obnoxious in the previous games….

            Well, there you go.

An Opinionated Duck