The Scrap Yard

Review of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) for Xbox 360

In a world of technological innovations, one game stands alone… as the all-time crappiest attempt at a video game in history.

Story: The story is quite simple, really. Sonic and friends meet a hedgehog named Silver from the future who goes back into the past to fix his present while Sonic goes into the future to fix his future while Shadow works with the Federal Government to encase the devil who has the power to manipulate past, present and future and in the end all three hedgehogs defeat time and space. Literally. And did I forget to mention that Sonic gets a heartfelt kiss from a human princess? Shakespeare must be pretty frickin’ jealous he didn’t conjure up this masterpiece. There was more sarcasm in what I just said than there are plotholes in the game.

Presentation: Being one of the first big Xbox 360 games out there, I’ll give this game props. From a technical standpoint, the graphics are pretty good, but from a Sonic standpoint the proportions are weird, character models move like stick-figures and why the %*@^ does Eggman look like an actual person? Oh, but here’s the icing on this purely disastrous cake. The load times, ooooooh, the load times. Starting the game? Load time. Selecting a menu option? Load time. Talking to a person? Load time. Accepting a quest? Load time. Finding out your objective? Load time. Completing the level? Load time. Getting your rank? Another frickin’ load time. If you gave me a quarter for every single load time that occurred with in one hour of this game, I could single-handedly pay off the multi-trillion dollar United States’ debt. Presentation: 2.5/10

Sound: I’m actually a little upset that the majority of sound is good, because if it weren’t I could give this game the truly low averaged score it deserves. But yes, if there is one thing this pile of garbage manages to salvage, it’s the soundtrack. Tunes are catchy, and most songs are action-oriented. But hold the phone, Sega couldn’t let one good thing go un-screwed up. So they got the most aggravating voice actors ever. My eardrums will forever suffer from eternal shock after hearing Sonic say the most blatantly obvious stuff for the fiftieth time straight. “That tornado is carrying a car!”, “I have to speed up to catch that train!”, “I have to jump to reach that enemy!” no $^@*, Sherlock. Sound: 6.5/10

Gameplay: Did you ever think Sonic could become slow? That Tails could become more useless than he already is? That another pointless side character could steal the spotlight longer than Sonic in a game called SONIC THE HEDGEHOG? Well you thought right, because this game succeeds in all of the above… and more. Let’s start with the three main character’s gameplay styles. Sonic moves at the slowest speed to date, complete with trippy physics and numberous delayed control inputs. I cannot honestly recall a time when I was this afraid to have Sonic jump from a platform two feet away. But if you thought his slow times were bad, get ready for the “Mach-Speed Zones” which is pretty much Sonic sections on steroids minus any sort of control you managed to have earlier in the game. You just run at a ridiculous speed with only the ability to jump, and you can’t even change direction in midair. Thank the cruel maker who allowed this game to pass on this earth that there are only four of these sections in the entire game. Shadow is another quality character, who prides himself in even slower gameplay than Sonic, outright stupid vehicle sections, and a completely useless battle system. He moves at about the pace of a snail… a dead snail, might I add. But if the stunning half a mile an hour was too much, you also get to enjoy a large array of clunky vehicles, such as the motorcycle, weird hanglider thing, or even a hoverpad. Cool… not. Silver, the last anthromorphic hedgehog of this game, is probably the only saving grace this disgraceful piece of software has to offer. And even then, he’s still a bit of a letdown. Although he’s about as slow as Shadow, his controls are a lot more solid than the other two and for the most part actually respond. He’s got a pretty fun gimmick, having the ability to levitate and chuck objects at enemies. But here is where the first flaw with him arises. That’s all he can do. He can’t homing attack, can’t spindash, and just can’t attack directly at all. He can fling boxes and that’s it. I don’t know what future he came out of, but if that’s all he can do than I want no part of it. 
Now that I’ve covered the three main attrocities, let’s move on to the “amigo” characters, who are basically even more broken and useless. Sonic has Tails and Knuckles, both of which I hate with a passion. Tails has the dumbest attack I’ll ever witness with my eyes in a video game, and that is that he chucks “dummy” rings at the enemy. WTF? His ability to fly is unpolished as well, and has you flying around like a mentally-dysfunctional helicopter. Knuckles, oh God, Knuckles. This game hadn’t truly reached the epitome of Hell until I played as this red son of an echidna. For a guy who’s name talks about his fists, his attacks can’t hit an enemy for his life. On top of that, he has the ability to wall-climb. Problem with that is, THE WALL WON’T RELEASE YOU! You’re stuck on a bloody wall for like ten minutes straight, no joke. This review is starting to raise my blood pressure to abnormal levels.
Shadow has his set of allies too. He has a flirtatious bat and a terminator robot. Rouge the bat suffers from the same exact problems Knuckles does, so I’m not even gonna bother repeating them. Omega the terminator robot is just outright over-powered. He’s got a huge arsenal of guns, so enemies never really present a threat. The real problem with him it his little jetpack. He can’t jump squat. Seriously, he makes Sonic’s jumps in this game look like Olympic quality.
Silver has the only fun alternate characters, and even that is debatable. Blaze the Cat is one of them, and what makes her great is that she sports responsive controls, a wicked cool double-jump and she’s shockingly faster than Sonic himself. If this entire game were of Blaze, it wouldn’t be that bad. Amy, the other side character, well, has the unexplainable ability to turn invisible, and she’s just a slow, pointless addition to the game.
But no, the gameplay rant still isn’t over. We still have level design and technical problems to cover.
Level design is terrible for all characters, being so stupidly open-world that it doesn’t feel fast-paced at all. In fact, half the time you’re trying to figure out just where the hell the goal ring is because of how bad the level’s laid out.
Technical problems hinder literally ever second of this game. Doing a wicked cool loop-de-loop scene? Well, no doubt you’ll run off the side of it and die for no reason at all due to a glitch. Running really fast and starting to actually have fun when all of a sudden you crash through the texture of the game itself and fly into this abyss of doom? Glitch. Snowboarding uphill at zero mph? Glitch.
Other technical problems were the already mentioned loose controls, which make you afraid to press a single button on the freakin’ direction pad, and how on earth could we leave out the camera. This camera is intent on making you cry and eating your soul for dinner. It will pan out to every single mother truckin’ angle possible instead of aiming at the one enemy you need to attack. It will randomly shift just as you’re trying to do a homing attack. It will flip practically upside-down if you so much as jump. I seriously believe this camera is out for my sanity. Gameplay: 1/10

Mutliplayer: Want to drag a friend into the sorrowful mess that is this game? Well I sure as hell didn’t! But I had to for the sake of you consumers who are actually wondering whether this travesty is worth a penny. It’s all the fun of countless glitches and slippery controls on a splitscreen, which gives you even less room to maneuver in! What fun! Multiplayer: 1/10

Length: This game is decently lengthy, but for all the wrong reasons. Levels are huge, checkpoints are scarce and lives are at a bare minimum, meaning that you will be spending hours upon hours to complete a single bloody stage just so you can move onto the next one, full of more suffering no doubt. This game is hard enough due to it’s extremely challenging difficulty, but when you have to account for glitches as well it’s just too much. So if you do manage to complete all three campaigns (which you deserve a solid-platinum medal of honor for, might I add) then you will be looking at a good twelve or so hours of torture. Sure, you could go back and try to collect all of the hidden and S-rank medals, but if you have any life outside of gaming whatsoever no force in the world would be able to compel you to go back and try to collect them all. Length: 1/10

Overall: If it weren’t for that somewhat good score I had to give the soundtrack, this could’ve been the lowest possible score ever. But no, this utter mess will be lucky and get my lowest score yet, a 2.4/10. This game will break you in ways you didn’t know were possible. It will shatter any sense of happiness you had in your essence. I can’t even recommend this to hardcore Sonic fans, due to the fact that this game finally enlightened me as to why the Sonic series as a whole was hated for so many years after this trash was released.

The Scrap Yard

Review of Sega Superstars Tennis for Xbox 360/Wii

The handheld version of this game is a fair amount of fun, so can the console versions say the same? Read on to find out!

Sound: The music and sound effects are all collections from the memorable soundtracks of classic Sega games and are the same on both versions, but the audio on the Wii has some weird lags occasionally.
Xbox 360: 9/10
Wii: 7/10

Presentation: The Xbox 360’s graphics are the standard we’ve come to expect, but the Wii surprised me and delivered an above average visual experience.
Xbox 360: 7.5/10
Wii: 8.5/10

Gameplay: On the Xbox 360, you’ll use the analog stick to move and one button to hit the tennis ball, which means the basic formula is really simple. The only twist would be each character’s superstar move, but a lot of them are similar so not even that can save this game from some inevitable repetitiveness. Where the game succeeds though is in the inclusion of a massive collection of minigames all based on different Sega titles, which adds loads of variety and makes up for what the gameplay lacks.
On the Wii, everything is the same with the exception that for some odd reason the controls are a lot more slippery, and occasionally unresponsive which means some frustrating moments will occur.
Xbox 360: 8.5/10
Wii: 6.5/10

Multiplayer: The Xbox 360’s version sports online gameplay in addition to local multiplayer, which doubles the fun. The Wii only has local multiplayer, but still provides a good time none the less.
Xbox 360: 8.5/10
Wii: 7/10

Length: On either version, the minigames and tournament modes are  bound to provide hours of fun, and I enjoyed a solid nine to ten hours before Sega Superstars Tennis began to grow stale.
Xbox 360 and Wii: 9/10

Overall: The Xbox 360 version gets an 8.5/10, and the Wii follows just behind with a 7.6/10. Although the Xbox 360 version has more precise controls and includes online multiplayer, they both still deliver a fun, simple party game that’s sure to delight any Sega fan.

The Scrap Yard

Review of Sega Superstars Tennis for Nintendo DS

Does this pocket-sized version of Sega’s attempt at a light-hearted tennis game make for a fun and enjoyable time, or does this game “double fault”? Tennis pun, I think so.

Sound: With a large assortment of fan-favorite classic Sega soundtracks, you’re sure to find something you like. Sound: 9/10

Presentation: A good-looking game. Not outstanding for the DS, but it gets the job done. Presentation: 7/10

Gameplay: The gameplay really boils down to moving and pressing a single button. But even with such simple mechanics and no strategy required whatsoever, the game still offers a huge amount of minigames/challenges to complete, a good character roster, and a few different courts to play on so that things don’t get stale right away. Gameplay: 7/10

Multiplayer: Fun and simple matches modes, whether you’re using a single card or multiple. Multiplayer: 7.5/10

Length: If normal tournament and matches modes don’t keep you occupied for long, then the long list of minigames will. Length: 7.5/10

Overall: This title gets 7.6 tennis balls out of 10, being a simplistic but fun game that’s sure to please anyone.

The Scrap Yard

Review of Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games for Wii

I may be a couple of years late to do this review, but better late than never. Read on to find out what my opinions are on the first Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games.

Sound: Good music, but nothing too ear-catching. Sound: 7/10

Presentation: A slick Wii game, with Mario and Sonic looking their best in every competition. Presentation: 9/10

Gameplay: A mixed bag. Some of the events are an absolute blast to play, these including fencing, dream events, track and gymnastics. Then there are the painfully bad games, those including archery, table tennis and aquatics. When it comes down to it, the majority of games are enjoyable to play, but the few that are irritating sport twitchy and unresponsive controls, and just too many intricacies on the Wii Remote’s part to qualify as fun party games. Gameplay: 7/10

Multiplayer: Even the bad events get a spark of fun in multiplayer, with every game being a blast when with a friend to compete against. Multiplayer: 8.5/10

Length: A lot of different events, minigames, objectives and a large playable character roster make this a lengthy party game with a plethora of unlockables. Length: 8/10

Overall: This Olympic game gets 7.9 Mega Mushrooms out of 10, being a mildy entertaining party game that could be a lot better, but is good for a few hours of casual fun with friends.

The Scrap Yard

Review of Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood by BioWare

The first Sonic game to trade in speed for RPG mechanics. But even without the insanely fast loop-de-loops, does this game still stack up to be a quality entry in the Sonic series? Read on to find out!

Presentation: Okay graphics, but nothing too special. A fair amount of different locales to play in, though. Presentation: 7/10

Sound: This game has some really peculiar music, but overall the soundtrack is pretty good. Sound: 7.5/10

Gameplay: The gameplay is classic, RPG styled gameplay, with the occasional stylus command and irritating puzzle thrown in. Sonic and each of his teammates all have their special attacks, but overall the game just doesn’t deliver the fun factor most other Sonic games have. The character variety is nice, though. Gameplay: 7.5/10

Multiplayer: N/A

Length: The game has a short story mode, and once that’s over the game just repeats the story over and over and over again. For me, the game lasted only about 6 hours. Overall, I’m pretty disappointed with the lack of replay value. Length: 4/10

The average score for this game is a 5.2/10, with a title of weak. This game provides a handful of fun moments, but overall it’s just a big mess of pathetic battle sequences, maddening puzzles, and extremely easy bosses. Sega and BioWare need to make some serious improvements to this game if they ever intend on making a sequel.