Someone had to conjure up a Mario parody that blended surreal cosmic horror with an over-the-top DBZ attack sequence. And Terminal Montage went and done just that in "M&L [Mario & Luigi]: Ultimate Attack."
At first, the brother plumbers spot a dissident goomba and decide to execute a brilliant attack sequence that defies logic, but then it hurdles (or spirals) out of control and makes the whole damn Mushroom Kingdom call out for a hero from the stars.
The author blames the NG player for getting the colors on Mario just a bit off. It's a bit on the crude side, but there are some interesting graphical touches. For better realism, however, smoke-based particle effects when planets blow up would be more fitting. There are also plenty of voice-over talents who can pull off Mario and Luigi, so those ripped samples wouldn't be necessary and dialog could assist in the cartoon. Though it is played for laughs, establishing Luigi's dark side ahead of time via foreshadowing would have aided in delivering the message. For those not in the know, it seems like a random occurrence, that ending....
Though, to be honest, the sound direction and visuals are, overall, solid and fun. The art design is a juxtaposition writ large, what with CGI and animation ghetto quality flash, but it somehow works well in staving off the seriously horrific overtones and playing everything for laughs. There is also evidence of a planned sequel, so that's on the record as well.
In any case, this is a chance to reconcile somber fans of surreal cosmic horror to the friendly goofball world of Mario. Pretty fun ride while it lasts.
"Want to play a game?"
Romanticide is perhaps the first really prominent original project by Johnathan Wrathborne. He is known for his Resident Evil parodies. And if the first caption is any indication, it is going to be a series that establishes that as a catchphrase. This is one of the coolest things I've seen in a while, although it's up against TOME, so there is a lot of expectations thrown on it. The format and scope are different, however.
Keiichi awakens to the sound of a beautiful stranger playing Dance-Dance Revolution on his game system in the middle of the night. When he tries to provoke her attention, he instead stirs up a hornet's nest far beyond human comprehension.
If you've seen his previous work, you may feel as if the animation stiffness is a step back. It isn't--it's quite deliberate. You don't necessarily start at the high end of animation in your first few episodes (if released in chronological order, as in most cases). Once he has all the assets, several episodes may be produced and he can maintain fluid output.
There is a build-up and a perceptible aura of anxiety that develops through the cartoon. The mood is disjointed throughout the latter scenes, where we assume are possible only as the protagonist goes through his daily routine with someone watching him at all times--someone who invaded his space and his comfort zone (the thematic implications here are obvious). As for the potential of there being a series, there is something of an ontological mystery going on here: not knowing the purpose behind the visitor beyond the fact that contact has been made. Trying to figure that out is part of the fun. Why did these two meet, and what will they do with each other? Even greater--and this is one of the unnerving elements when you really think about it--the wish to play games with this visitor. Think about this after you've watched the show. Considering the flawless performance on the dance floor, one can be certain where this will go. There is enough minor humor to keep the presentation rooted in its cartoon/manga roots; nobody should suffer a horror/suspense of this sort without some respite.
The soundtrack is a killer addition. This is where the Audio Portal really comes in handy, since the hand-picked tracks meld together perfectly for each moment in the cartoon. If anything, people should look the tracks up. There are a lot of good musicians represented here.
One thing I have a love/hate relationship with is the "Captain Ersatz" gig with all the game references, which are subdued to some degree but obvious in their origins. This is to maintain fair use protocol without having to pay for anything. However, it bothers the hell out of me. It doesn't seem to go far enough to be safe and looks terribly cheap at the same time. It's still a necessary thing if you wish to claim this as an original series. Either incorporate the games or stray from the references over time.
Overall, I look forward to future installments of "Romanticide" in all its eerie dissonance. It may make greater sense to do this in comparison to cartoony Resident Evil Parodies, chiefly because the art direction now makes sense. This is something that should have been released way back in 2008, even if it would later necessitate the obligatory remake. Good job--yes, I would like to play a game!
I know this is another experimental piece, but I don't think you developed the visuals well enough. The scream as he approaches is good, but there isn't any eating of the wife. Sort of like, I don't know, messing with people's expectations. It's like how they marketed "Hudson Hawk" and inadvertently pissed off all the critics who went to see it.
Well anyway, it's messed up. But not THAT messed up. Not like previous entries. This one looks like it was just practice more than anything. Doubly goofy when he's literally climbing up the stairs because he's just a doll. That's just dumb. But it kind of cracked a smile on my face anyway.
Yeah, it's not meant to be subtle or deep, moody or intellectual, and hey, you can do a whole lot better (I know you can), so this reviewer, unimpressed as he was, will be fair: 4 of 10. With the hope that the next one gets better than the stop-motion that preceded this one.
Bloodrun 2 is likely a polished sequel for another arcade-like game I never played since I've been away for some time, and I would have rated this higher had it not been for several quirks that I found detestable in its design.
Setting aside the cut-scene you can skip, the story shouldn't even be there. Evidently, you're playing the bad guy--a zombie who, if he can eat enough humans, become this hulk-zombie thing and kill the cops as well. The core mechanic is to roam the streets murdering an endless supply of innocent civilians while trying to dodge a posse of increasingly better-armed law enforcement personnel, of which you have no chance to repel unless you're bigger than they are (in essence, in Hulk Form).
Now, the controls are straightforward with Pac-Man-esque simplicity we're talking about here, so let me be blunt: this game isn't all that great. It falls prey to some basic and unforgivable slights. First of all, you're the bully of this game. You have to play the bad guy, which is already unsettling in that you must go around and kill to survive--and that's pretty much all you do. You not only get to eat their corpses to instantly regenerate health, you can also bite them to revive them into guys like you, who will then roam around, eating other people and distracting the cops so that you may continue to survive.
Has anybody wondered why zombie media is not only pervasive, but threatening to society's moral fabric? The game establishes two factions: you and them--society and you, really--and the objective is to wander around a metropolis biting people for food and conversion, starting with the hospital. You'll eventually die and get graded on how much carnage you had inflicted upon society.
I know Newgrounds always had an edge, but this is ridiculous. Maybe I just grew out of this garbage. Perhaps, but I also appreciate a cool game concept that is well-executed as well. It's just too bad that Bloodrun 2 fails on both fronts. You see, not only do I have to play a bully being posited as an underdog beset from all sides without having the moral questions I had just insinuated being set aside by recasting the sides with an archetype or trait we can rally around, but it has some niggling problems with its hit detection.
A game as fast-paced and intense as this one should not put you in a situation where your Hulk Mode gets stuck on the edge of an invisible block that so happens to represent a parked taxicab while pursuing an otherwise hapless civilian. It can get you killed because the police fire rounds that strike you without any affordance such as being knocked away by the bullet, to better indicate that, yes, you're being shot (I've always found it dumb how zombies don't bother to recoil from a bullet, even if their nervous system doesn't sense the injury brought on by the impact). It also brings me to tears whenever your game can end with the sudden pincer attack of multiple cops (SWAT-armored ones in particular) that just arrive from magic and gang up on you. This means you can't afford to enter an alleyway or pursue a hapless civilian unless you're really, really hungry. That's like innumerable NES games where the spawn point is just off-screen but the ratio between civilian and officer gradually gets skewed. The rate that it goes is way, way too fast. Hit Detection gets worse when it's hard to tell how a second bite will turn the character into a zombie or be devoured until only the blood remains on the pavement. So, there's no real way to know what you'll get out of your trouble. The only constant is the Hulk Mode, which increases per successful attack, but it changes your character's hit detection to be bulkier and requires multiple attempts just to get a hang of it. Oh by the way, bigger box equals you absorb bullets faster, and there's no offsetting the damage despite your increased mass. All you get is increased speed to either bob-and-weave or just plunge in for the kill, getting yourself peppered with lead in the process.
Finally, you have one life, mostly because this is a score-based game where you're trying to get onto a ratings board. Ratings boards, a pinnacle source of personal achievement in an arcade-style venue, will get flooded with zombie enthusiasts and bullies alike thanks to how this game plays out. It's not all that fun to discover what percentile you happen to be in after getting massacred on your first try. You're better off adopting the Japanese style of arcade play and just moving onto some other game after playing one session of Bloodrun 2.
Having played a few games by Hyptosis, I can safely say he's coordinated better collaborative projects. "Pact", despite being a relishing chunk of Eye Candy, fails to deliver an experience appropriate and worthy of the browser format. Glamourous, but scratch the air with an outstretched hand and flakes of paint fall from the mural. Its utter failure to showcase the potential of Rogue-Likes as a genre is just the beginning of its problems. It might be because thirty-somethings like these guys have to look back two decades before and revile the elements of their childhood, which happened in the nineties and again in this era. Guess where they've decided to project their anger this time?
To begin with, "Pact" has a tale: one about a trio charged with slaying the demon inside a forest. Rogue-Likes don't need complex tales or character development, just an excuse to dump the player in an environment that changes by a set of algorithms. Still, there is a tale delivered through the characters' stilted conversations the further down the labyrinth you go; they're otherwise a progress marker. Their topics include the Placebo Effect, gender roles, indoctrination, child soldiers and persecution (going so far as to give the witch African descent to drill in the latter point). Too bad most players are here for the game, so these events are (safely) clicked through, without spoiling the experience (in
theory, since the story, while merely decent, is a relative highlight of the game. Keep that in mind). This should offend Hyptosis a little, since it was inspired by his Kingdom of Liar-verse, though it reminds us how rogue-likes and power players treat a plot.
Since Rogue-Likes operate on randomness, this one features randomized map creation, JRPG-style fights, and special stationary encounters where one may bolster one's stats without having to spend experience or gold. A Blacksmith appears in "E" icons, where for a (geometrically rising) price in gold, a character's stats may be enhanced via equipment--just a +1, with a new, flowery title to justify the exorbitant price. Better to spend Experience on Stats, since the Blacksmith never sells potions; they're found off of opponents. There are only three stats: Damage (called Strength--it affects Healing and Magic), Health, and Mana. During battle, Player Characters may Attack, use three unique skills, or quaff a draught. That's where their tactics end. That's the system. No dice -rolling or questioning the wisdom of picking up a magical item, just barebones "Random is Fight, Special always Good".
The upsetting linearity is just beginning. Enemies always appear in trios and have but one attack each, which gets grating since everyone always hits if they're still alive. Worse, random encounters let players strike first every time--no variable initiative or randomized damage. Thus, the player realizes that, if each PC kills one enemy per turn, every encounter is a clean-sweep. The enemies may get stronger, but since you always have the jump, exclusively raising Strength lets one force those drow rip-offs to chew on tree roots while the PC's stomp their heads. A power-leveler will forget there were ever mana-cost abilities that made a character unique; some will even revile a few of them, particularly of the Thief, and complain about Ability imbalance when there were no worthy abilities to speak of.
Pair this with the frequency of Random Encounters and you can have a truly dull game where you know the exact route toward victory. Just the same; after your paranoid assumptions pay off and you've become supernaturally and strategically air-tight against the expected massive confrontation, the anti-climactic ending only serves to upset and depress the player even further. There goes replay value, out the window. People will seriously wonder why they had dumped an hour or three into such a game.
These are signs of cripplingly poor game design, but they have never before been as pervasive than on the web. What happened here? Did Kildorf merely program the engine or design the gameplay itself? Who's responsible for this mess? Is this a prank? If the public perceives browser role-playing games to be this bad, then why showcase a game that offers all of the horrible drawbacks of the worst offenders? If this is meant to be a Rogue-Like, it is the Dada of Rogue-Likes.
Hyptosis can do art direction no problem, but not a game engine. He can illustrate and implement those impressive, randomized enemy designs, but he can't figure out what abilities those little figurines could have, making their linear one-trick mathematical escalation even more grating--a joke threat. Which brings us to graphics and sound, which, on the other hand, are actually excellent for the medium, with a catchiness reminiscent of the 16-bit era. There is a point behind this: much if not all of "Pact's" appeal rests in the graphic design, something Hyptosis has no trouble conveying. They even include a little voice-over work. There isn't much variety--only player characters ever say anything--so it gets old quick.
Rogue-Likes and browser role-play adventures are usually poor because there are few people working on each project. This means we consider a larger team should work on one, instead of a one-man wrecking crew, which includes editorial oversight and quality assurance departments. That way, we can achieve a safer, even more ambitious project, rather than merely yank players' cranks to prove a point that plenty of people have already established. How hard is it to incorporate random number generation into action-script? We've seen it in Absolem. I thought a math of 1+[0-5] represents a six-sided dice myself.
Just because it's in Flash doesn't mean we're supposed to think really tiny, or have a crew of one or two. The net deserves better. There are, of course, plenty of good examples, not the least of which include the Epic Battle Fantasy and Monster Den series respectively, that are single-guy affairs. Maybe a for-profit model will inspire them to communicate with their work rather than being merely clever. The designers' talents have been unceremoniously and irredeemably squandered on "Pact"!
Perhaps our criticisms about how this game sucks are trying to tell us something, as though this is another deconstruction, an intellectual exercise in literary analysis, of Eastern Role-Playing at work: a set path regardless of how it's painted, an emphasis on character development happening beyond the player's decision-making, and an oversimplified representation of the genre at large. But someone made "Press Spacebar to Win" already, making the idea of this being a satire even more unpalatable than it being just a bad game. Never put people through something horrible at their expense just to prove a point. That's not intellectual, that's crass.
The first duty of any game designer is to entertain an audience. Does "Pact" entertain? Not even on the initial play-through.
Now THIS is what a browser-ready Role-Playing Game should look like: a ground-up dungeon crawl with enough randomness and variety to keep a savvy player at it for hours at a time. Garin-Dan's series has gotten its renaissance, but this is just a step on the way to his upcoming epic, Godfall, which he should not have told his fans about so early....
Okay, so this is a dungeon crawler with comfortable familiarities. By that I mean the story is a hack and the characters are blank slates. That's okay--they're meant to be customized. You can even upload images to stand in for ordinary artwork, so you can have the luxury of forming a dream team of characters. The only drawback to that is how you cannot yet program your own abilities to approximate your ideal setup. In other words, Mario, should you use something like a sprite image, cannot pull off his cape or fireball techniques. Other characters like Solid Snake, on the other hand, may be approximated by one of the Rogue units.
The objectives, listed in a series of campaign acts, involve heading into a random-generated dungeon with a few simplistic mechanics. In this version of the series, the icon travels through each corridor and passage to its clicked destination, an odious arrangement since you cannot select instantaneous travel, assuming you played "Book of Dread." Also, the screen is very small, because if you zoom in, the graphic effects, notably fog, start to wear down the CPU. I'm not sure if this game's source code of Flash accepts graphics card support, but I bet it somehow doesn't.
The Emporium is streamlined and always available. You'll need to invest in its departments to see an upgrade in services, but otherwise things are okay. You have far more space for equipment since you're actually eating for ten; all the units are unique; buy the premium edition for a buck and get five more, greatly expanding the tactical options. Equipment may be upgraded with multiple slots. There is a spark of legend that allows a good piece of gear to level up with the character, staying on their tier. This is remarkable and takes out the annoyance of having to upgrade every few levels, even if the purple is a purple. Tiers make a little more sense; it's easier to figure out what the equipment delivers and how much per tier.
Due to time constraints and continued project development on Godfall, Chronicles has three line-ups of opponents--Undead, Fanatics, and Demons--and gone are Dwarves, Orcs, Deep Creatures, and their subsidiary, the Legendary Creatures. Those that remain each have their own Act, where they exclusively appear, while a fourth act is a survival gut check where you fight wave after wave of villains, and the fifth act is a long, engrossing challenge where everything is featured.
There are far more abilities, along with countless individual Conditions divided into broad categories (that way, certain characters can heal different kinds of afflictions). Notable are Terrain Conditions, which adjust your stats according to what the panel provides you, and Stance Conditions--three options per Unit--which adjust stats between moves and last until the next turn, where you can switch them out. This makes for some interesting setups, though each one has a drawback, like not having the benefits of the stance you switched out. Quickness has become something like Final Fantasy Tactics' Active Turn, an ongoing process rather than being static.
All in all, Monsters' Den: Chronicles does not quite blow its direct predecessor out of the water--this is but a sample of what Godfall is supposed to be like. An overworld map and return of female counterparts (and all the previous classes) are just a few of the things that are rumored to be featured in the next game. Even so, Chronicles blows most games of this category out of the water, and while that might not sound like much at times, remember the format. Sometimes, it's brilliance in simplicity. Garin-Dan has accomplished that here. Let's hope the next game features dwarves, eh?
Remastered version of something cool from your library? WHY DIDN'T ANYBODY REVIEW THIS?
Better than the original--actually coherent and the doom-synth is still there.
Not sure why no one reviews my stuff. I really, really appreciate any feedback, but I think my music may be an acquired taste. At other times, I really don't give a shit. It's my expression and I share it freely.
You know, I've always wondered what would happen if Katy went Metal like how Taylor went full fuckin' pop (most of the widespread or radio-friendly pieces are this). It wouldn't improve sales, but it would be fascinating regardless. Most pop songs, when you think about it, could use a heavy metal cover (no need to change the tempo--that's the punk or thrash). In fact, the lyrics I hear from Katy actually lend themselves to metal pretty well--the tightrope between eerie and erotic--and she often sings frankly about topics like mental illness, interpersonal strife, empowerment. It's just that she sugarcoats her material with pop flavor to get it under the radar, which is probably why all the metalheads despise her--the secret of her success.
But I wouldn't get riled up. Frankly, most of the pop musicians tend to suck, but Katy was one of the first that I'd listen to. Maybe it's just because she's different-sounding from most pop or maybe that I've listened to the same five or six Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd tracks on album-oriented channels that I channel-switch. Yeah, I said that: I prefer listening to Katy over fucking Led Zeppelin. But think about inundation--what you listen to on the radio while driving or such and then think that the same few tracks by any band or musician will eventually hurt after a while.
So I say this with sincere respect: Katy isn't as horrible as we think. It's just that her format might be wrong. While most lady-fronted metal bands like Huntress (who's bipolar, which explains a lot about her sound and approach) or Evanescence land very few hits, you always have the Eurpoean Lacuna Coil/Nightwish crowd--a crowd which makes sense for Katy given her own ambition and scope. Everybody hates on pop stars for superficial reasons (popularity, unoriginality, shambles of a personal life, etc.) but don't forget that they're human and likely open to new ideas or ways to make a track work. They're never complacent by design--that's their environment talking, actually (the music industry).
But fuck yeah, metal! I think it's an unpolished in-a-few-hours piece, but I smirked. Might as well ask when you're going to submit practice tracks and make them downloadable again, 'cause I still want another good metal soundtrack for Doom (unless Newgrounds has some kind of new policy regarding playback counts and downloads, like their policy on playback counts when you want to nix the tracks from the catalog).
Did you know that the soundtrack to the latest Doom game sounds similar to this? Hell, I would put these tracks (all of them--EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM) onto a .pk3 which allows a Source Port to play these tracks in place of the MIDI's featured in the game. There'd be a Final Doom version, a Memento Mori version, a Brutal Doom version....
And it's just a WIP, which might explain why I can't download the fucking thing. (Or you horded this track for an album, which I wouldn't be surprised by.)
This will start another atrocious trolling trend.
If you want my opinion, simply run a survey--humorous in tone--and get at least forty people to fill it out. Have them describe a little about themselves (what sex, age, etc.) but nothing else. What makes a person click on a link could be as simple as "level of intricate detail" or "hey, she's a redhead!" or something to that effect. Forty provides a statistically significant sample, and that's all the attention you need for a polling project of any kind. Make it forty-one, to make some of the formulas a little easier to calculate.
What this is is another trolling gag just waiting to be resurrected. Here's how:
Back in the good old days of the net, some flash cartoons and videos were rigged specifically to create the illusion of the sexy, and then gross you out when you click on something. It's an old troll trick and it can be more than a little incendiary to some. If any of these get front page (undoubtedly, given there is a little minor star recognition and the admins always love a good laugh), then the people will follow the trend and conjure up more of these things. And that's not conducive toward a positive experience at this site or anywhere else.
The difference between previous offenses and now is that the image does not have much merit, and it's overall jerking people around. In other words, it would have been better if you posted a news post about your curiosity and just solicit suggestions there.
As for the image itself, it's exploitative without being tasteful and yet not terribly flattering. By this, I mean it's not terribly provocative. I didn't consider it attractive in terms of sex appeal or even a general aesthetic. The smug expression on your avatar is priceless, of course, which is what brought the notion of trolling to mind. It's not a bad piece of art, but it's neither good nor expressive of your true skill. The very concept is rabid, considering you're far better an artist to bother catering to the lowest common denominator all the time. I recommend you explore subject matter you are interested in, because I'll want to review that just as much as anything else you've made.
In any case, good luck with your research and remember: never treat the audience like total morons. That could cause them to never click on your material, even if they've made you one of their favorites. Don't forget to post ACTUAL new pieces after you're done having fun at people's expense.
I get where you're coming from with creating a more accurate, feasible survey--and that's totally a great idea I'd be interested in pursuing. Maybe I'll do that after the fact...! In all honesty, though, I made this series on a whim with the confident assumption that my general audience has a good sense of humor and would be up for a good juke. <:) ... I'm no statistician. Just a well-meaning artist who got bored.
I don't think a majority of people here are as offended as you're implying when I did something like this. It's definitely not my intent to anger anybody or have them boycott my site--
You're definitely right about not treating an audience like morons, though. I couldn't agree more.
Thanks for the brusque, yet truthful comment!!
It was really insightful. c:
Shouldn't the text be reversed for her to read?
Now, the main focus is the character, but blurring the city background to unidentifiable lengths does not help in immersing the viewer. The eye has to trace to and fro but there isn't much in the background beyond nondescript stars and what looks like distant ships.
It's hard to tell what the reason behind her urgency is, or why she has been wounded in the face. And a little hint: the face bleeds like a geyser if it's been cut. Hit it just right and boom, it's all over the place, man. Still, it's better to show the wound in some capacity. If it bled too much, we'd go from futuristic to metal real quick.
While it might be fun to delve into futuristic/sci-fi, I would not dwell there exclusively; your fantasy fare still reigns supreme. I recommend three fantasies to one futuristic, roundabouts.
Don't get me wrong--there is a bucket-load of effort and detail that went into this piece and it holds its own, but it's far from flawless, let alone perfect. It's standard rather than flawed, though. Twenty hours on one piece is still a lot of effort. I suggest you sleep more because, regardless of the good qualities I see here, the flaws would never have happened if you kept a clear, rested head. Most sci-fi horror stories happen as a direct result of scientists and technicians overexerting themselves and causing avoidable accidents in laboratories. Consider this as you delve further into the vast coldness of space.
But she is sorta bad-ass, isn't she?
I know a few people I'd send this to just to watch their reaction. And snap photos.
The simplicity of the victim flies and the irregularity of the neck jewelry belie a certain complexity in the subject matter, somewhere between the innocent upward glance of the girly-girl toward her apparent guardian, or familiar spirit (if she is a sorceress). Wreathed in spider's silk and peppered with her man's underlings, it shows childlike innocence in a way rarely spoken: that their curiosity and wonder supersede any preservation instincts. Most people smash spiders if they're not too busy freaking out in their presence. Others will let them be, knowing they pick off other lesser beings fluttering through the household. Still others, like this girl, will let them keep her warm at night.
Hate to sound ironic, but that's damned sexy. I like it (rather, PREFER IT) when girls can keep their composure when faced with the little things in life. Reminiscent of those fantasy images of werespiders, with the torso of a hottie replacing the head of a black widow or other such nefarious specimen, only that here, the cute woman is the friend and master of countless spiders, some fist-sized. The way they should be.
In another fit of symbolism, she could be somehow above the snares of her many boyfriends, seeing how they might crawl around her, but she does not seem all too concerned, and her innocent guise and expression only compound her inherent allure. Besides, if they really are together, there is that chance that she must devour her mate if he wishes to breed, so that implies a level of control.
In other words, physical beauty aside, there is a lot that makes the subject of the piece a desirable ideal, even if most people will brush it off as purely a darkly fantastic horror piece (it's far too silly for that label).
I've noticed across several of your works that you're definitely a fantasy illustrator like out of "Heavy Metal" Magazine, with a serious glamour bent. This deserved its Front Page status. Heh, this deserves to be plastered on desktops, either as a reminder of what to shoot for or just because it's too damn horror-cute to pass up.
thankyou so much for this critique. Always a pleasure to read these. :)
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