October 2005

Thats right, another one of my favorite hobbies, paintball, is making its round trip back to video games. Last year’s Greg Hastings’ Tournament Paintball was a surprise hit, and hopefully it made more fans for the paintball. Well WXP is out with another version of the paintball game entitled Greg Hastings’ Tournament Paintball Max’d.

New additions to the game are a breakout manager and some new paintball guns (Angels included). I sure hope Smart Parts gets on board, I have yet to see any screens with their products in them. [url=http://ps2.ign.com/objects/761/761156.html]Read[/url] up on this bad boy.

[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/mariosuperstarbaseball/cover.jpg[/floatleft][i]Mario Superstar Baseball[/i] is the newest Mario-themed sports game to hit the GameCube. Historically, the [i]Mario Sports[/i] games have been a huge success with gamers due to their quirky and fun approach to the sport, and [i]Superstar Baseball[/i] is no exception.

[i]MSB[/i] sports a bevy of fun yet challenging modes of gameplay. Jump into a quick Exhibition game and pick your favorite characters and the park you want to play in. Challenge mode has you taking on different teams around the Kingdom. As you beat the other teams, you will recruit new members to your own team. The ultimate goal is to put together an All-Star team and defeat Bowser’s team. Toy Field is a strange multiplayer game where offensive and defensive players battle it out to see who can collect the most coins. Last and certainly not least are the mini-games. Every [i]Mario Sports[/i] title is chalked full of highly enjoyable mini-games. [i]MSB[/i] has: Bob-omb Derby, a tweaked-out homerun derby, if you will; Wall Ball, a pitching game where you collect coins based on your pitching accuracy; Chain Chomp Sprint, a mini-game that tests your base-running skills; Piranha Panic, where you earn points by hitting the Piranha Plant with an egg of a matching color; Barrel Batter, which tests your batting accuracy; and a few other unlockable games to keep you playing.

[floatright]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/mariosuperstarbaseball/ss04_thumb.jpg[/floatright]One thing to keep in mind is that the actual baseball gameplay mechanics are pretty dumbed down and will not compare with your true baseball sims from EA. Your pitching is limited to fast ball, change up, slider, and any star-powered pitch your player may possess. Batting is pretty standard with your player having full freedom in the batter’s box and sporting the bunt, swing, and power swing. Players also have star-powered swings as well. Star swings and pitches are special moves and deduct a star from the team star meter or two in the case of a non-Team Captain. Use these moves when you are behind or when you want to secure a big lead.

Fielding in [i]MSB[/i] left a little to be desired. I really never became all that comfortable with controlling any of the fielders, and more often than not it resulted in an extra base for my opponent. The Cube’s controller is also not very conducive to games of this type. I found myself fumbling over buttons trying to remember what they did. This may be more of a rookie mistake on my part, but I felt it was important enough to mention.

[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/mariosuperstarbaseball/ss07_thumb.jpg[/floatleft]The bottom line is that [i]MSB[/i] delivers a well-engineered baseball experience that can be highly shallow for the casual player or very immersive for the veteran baseball fan. The game sports an interesting team-chemistry aspect that allows you to hand-engineer the most deadly baseball team in the land if that happens to be your thing. Not being a big fan of sports games, I found it enjoyable and didn’t find myself getting bored before the game was over.

In the end, Nintendo has themselves a decent game, and I would recommend giving this one a rent or a borrow if you are considering it. There just wasn’t enough in this one for me to give it a glowing score and suggest that you run out and buy it.

Donkey Konga 2

October 18, 2005

[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/donkeykonga2/cover.jpg[/floatleft]When [i]Donkey Konga[/i] first hit the shelves, I will admit that I was more than a bit uncertain as to how that game would be accepted in my household. The idea of a music-based [i]DK[/i] game just seemed wrong on all levels. In the end, it turned out to be a fresh idea that became an unhealthy addiction. Enter [i]Donkey Konga 2[/i], the much-welcomed sequel.

[i]DK2[/i] looks and plays almost identically to the original game. It is accompanied by a brand new set of 32 tracks. The songs themselves don’t cover as much of the musical spectrum as the original songs, but they provide a nice variety and even throw in a few harder songs like ‘Headstrong’ that make a surprisingly nice transition to the game. The songs are not performed by the original artists, so the game itself isn’t quite as good as it could have been, but you do get used to the cover bands after awhile.

[floatright]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/donkeykonga2/ss08_thumb.jpg[/floatright]Much like the original, [i]DK2[/i] is a relatively simple game to pick up and have some fun with. The early songs are quite easy and allow beginners to get into the grove, with later songs proving to be a challenge for even a [i]DK[/i] veteran like myself.

[i]DK2[/i] comes with a nice variety of gameplay options. Street Performance is where you spend your time collecting coins to unlock additional songs as well as mini-games. Challenge mode is a slight variation of Street Performance that tests your endurance with a nice run of varied songs. Concert mode challenges three players to either play cooperatively on a single controller or on your own controller if there are four players. Battle mode is a head-to-head competition for points that throws in a few random elements to mix it up. The addition of the random elements such as a slot machine, a rock-paper-scissors game, and a POW icon from the original [i]Mario Bros.[/i] can highly sway an otherwise close match and cause a lot of frustration.

[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/donkeykonga2/ss04_thumb.jpg[/floatleft]The mini-games that come with [i]DK2[/i] aren’t nearly as fun as the first game, and I didn’t find myself spending too much time with them.

All in all, the sequel brings new songs to the table, and that is really all that we needed. The slight changes in the interface were unnecessary considering you spend most of your time ignoring everything but the beats you have to hit. For you fans of the original, I’m going to recommend to pick this one up, but wait until it drops in price. I honestly wish Nintendo would release expansion song packs and not muck with the interface too much. Japan already has a third [i]DK[/i] game, and I can’t wait for yet another set of songs to master.

Podcast Ep. 10!

October 17, 2005

Back with new format, and a new show! I really liked this one, besides Pretz threw in some Pantera on the soundtrack, very cool. We do announce the new format, with this show. Listen to it to find out whats going on here with our podcasts and the Lifestyle podcast. Ill be droping some more about the new show in the future, enjoy!

[url=http://www.snackbar-games.com/p11.html]Episode Diez[/url]


October 13, 2005

Ok this stuff is everywhere on the net. It appears that Jack Thompson (Fla. Lawyer who is hell bent on putting violent games to death) is offering 10 grand to a charity if Take Two makes his game (which itself is lame). Now, I know at SB we have not gone the JT-is-a-moron route, I for one think our homies at P.A. do that quite well.

Apparently Gabe over at P.A. sent him an email, and not only got a response but a phone call back. J.T. is upset. Poor poor man. P.A. runs the very awesome Childs Play drive and has raised over half a million bucks in toys and cash or kids all over the U.S. So ten grand IS pretty damn weak. Rock on Gabe.

Jack hates you, he really hates you.