Things Have To Look Up

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Over the last few weeks, I have been noticeably absent from my bi-weekly commentary. Sad to say, it has become tough lately for me to come up with a column because a lot of personal matters have come up over the last month. I already mentioned the mass EMP that fried my GameCube, Xbox, and PS2. Thankfully they have all been repaired, but it bridged to another major disaster in my hellish schedule.

The last of my repairs was to take place two weeks ago. I got a call from Starland telling me that my GameCube was repaired, and just needed a new AC adapter to function properly. Good timing, I thought, as I was ready to get my hands tied up with Metroid Prime over the Thanksgiving holiday. But on the way home, I didn't even see it coming"

In NASCAR terminology, it is referred to as "The Big One."

Specifically, a tractor trailer spun out of control, smashed into the back of a Subaru Outback, when then hit me from behind, and I bumped into the back of a BMW (just my luck). The back of my car was smashed in, as was the driver's side headlights. As for the passenger side door, it looked as if someone shot at it, with a bullet-sized hole right in the middle. No glass was shattered; thankfully, so I wasn't cut, and the only injuries I sustained was minor whiplash and (don't laugh) a sore butt bone.

In fact, there were no serious injuries at all (even the two people in the Outback), which is always a good thing. However, my car ended up totaled, and as a result, I am virtually grounded. On the bright side, however, aside from nobody being injured, I was able to spend a lot of time re-living some classic titles, as well as a lot of classic remakes.

Of course, Metroid Prime was at the top of my list. Considering this was my top pick of E3, Prime succeeds in doing what most remakes fail to do: provide a successful just from 2D gameplay to 3D, not to mention the surprise that a US-based second-generation developer was responsible for such a masterpiece.

Contra: Shattered Soldier is also quite a surprise. After two horrendous non-Contra type games, CSS returned to the original Contra team to provide a 2 1/2 -D experience that Contra fans have been crying out for. Be warned though, even though it is a true blast from the past, Contra is excruciatingly tough. Expect to die quickly and often. Even with pattern memorization (which worked well in classic Contra titles), the game is still a massive challenge.

Lastly on the classic remake format, we have Rygar: the Legendary Adventure. As a fan of the classic NES series, I was curious to see how the PS2 version would play. On the bright side, the game is a lot of fun, and using Rygar's Diskarmor weapon is a joy to behold. Nothing beats striking out at a creature, slinging him around and around to strike at other foes, then slamming it to the ground causing the poor victim to shatter into sludge. Rygar is also a destructible little bastard, as the Diskarmor crumbles anyone and anything that crosses its path. Sadly, the downside is that the game is very short. I was only able to beat it in 5 hours. I wish there was more to the game because it was fun while it lasted.

As always, I do my best to look for the bright side of a bad situation. In this case, I got to visit the past by playing some great remakes, and it will help me out until my insurance settlement arrives. Once that is done, I will be able to get back on the road, and to my fellow victims in the crash, I wish them the best in their recovery and settlements, but to the truck driver, he'd better pray he doesn't cross me again.

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