Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “collector’s edition”

Christmas Stories: A Christmas Carol Collector’s Edition (Big Fish Games)

Your uncle Scrooge writes you a letter, asking you for help.  In order to grant his request, you must work with his good conscience and the ghosts of Christmas to save him from himself.  Careful, because Scrooge’s evil alter ego seeks to undermine you at every opportunity.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure that you’re familiar with the classic story, A Christmas Carol.  It is the tale of a rich old miser who must change his ways for the good of the world and himself.  This game chose to take a different turn by having you take the role of Scrooge’s nephew, Fred.  I’ll admit that this change is not one I’m crazy about at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against change and I do love the story Zombie Christmas Carol.  The only difference is that the zombie version managed to stick to the original theme of the story with an extra plot about the undead walking among them.  This version undermines the moral of the classic story.  In the original Christmas Carol, the three ghosts of Christmas visit Scrooge to scare him into changing his ways.  The Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge his past, forcing him to observe memories from his traumatic childhood and demonstrating how it made him the man he became.  It also forces Scrooge to see the mistakes he’s made, such as choosing money over Belle, and showing the few bright spots in his life to make him see that he’s wrong.  Scrooge is helpless to change his past and the bad decisions he made, showing a deep regret for some of his choices.  The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge the life he’s missing, such as taking him to Fred’s house, and the depravity of the world he refuses to face.  It also demonstrates to Scrooge how he has the power to do something about this depravity.  The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come takes the appearance of the grim reaper and never speaks.  This is to demonstrate how scary and unknown the future can be.  Its job is to show Scrooge the future he will have if he doesn’t change his ways.  Let me tell you, said future is not a good one.

In this game, the ghosts each make an appearance.  However, spoiler alert, you get to change Scrooge’s past.  I’m sure you remember the scene in the original story, when Belle didn’t like the man Scrooge became and broke off her engagement. Well, in this version, Scrooge tried to propose to Belle but the evil alter ego steals the ring and Belle gets angry, thinking Scrooge played a cruel joke on her.

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Don’t worry, you can get the ring and change Scrooge’s present so that he and Belle not only marry, but also get to have children of their own.  As I said earlier, the whole point of the Ghost of Christmas Past is to show Scrooge how bitterness and greed consumed him.  While Scrooge is helpless to change his past, he can still learn from it.

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The Ghost of Christmas Present asks you to take a letter to Scrooge from Bob Cratchit asking him to get medicine for Tiny Tim.  Unfortunately, said alter ego took the letter and tries to destroy the medicine.  That’s right, Scrooge’s current misery isn’t because he let greed and bitterness consume him.  It’s because a little demon goes out of his way to sabotage him at every opportunity.  The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come makes its appearance and it talks.  The whole point of this spirit is that it doesn’t talk.  You also get to see Scrooge’s miserable present, which doesn’t make sense considering that you changed his past.  He’s not the same man anymore, so he wouldn’t have a bitter future.  There are also two other plot issues, such as Fred saying that he misses Fan.  Since she died giving birth to him, he wouldn’t remember enough about her to miss her.  Another one is that, when you first get to Scrooge’s house, he has a Christmas tree.  The whole point of the story is that Scrooge hates Christmas.  Why would he put up a tree in his house?

The Collector’s Edition comes with an extra story line where you explore kitty cat world and help Sherlock Cat find Santa Cat.  It’s An American Tail with felines.

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I’ll admit, this story is adorable but it really has no point other than to get you to shell out more money.

The game play is actually quite fun, with you going around and collecting objects to add to your inventory.  You can use them to advance throughout the story.  Some items require you to take place in a hidden object scene for you to collect.

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You also play mini games that you have the option of skipping.  If you’re stuck, use a hint.

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While this game seems like the typical hidden object formula, it also has one extra addition.  Remember Scrooge’s good conscience, who comes with you?  He can animate objects in order to help you with your quest.  In the extra storyline, this feature changes into a magnifying glass so you can collect paw prints.

This game is fun, but undermines the original story.  I give it 5 out of 10; making an adaptation that completely ignores the message severely damages the game.  However, the addictive game play makes up for it.

Halloween Stories: Invitation (Bigfishgames.com)

It’s Halloween, and Jane and Joe received two tickets to attend the coolest party of the year.  Unfortunately, said party turns out to be a trap as Jane and Joe find themselves locked in a creepy mansion with mysterious creatures.  Can Jane get herself and Joe out of the creepy mansion before the evil creatures set their plans in motion?

Let me say that, despite the lack of jump scares the game gives you, the story itself is terrific.  I don’t want to give anything away.  Therefore, I’ll just tell you this one little detail.  There are some people in the world that will go to any lengths to get what they want.  I mean this in a tragic way and, if you play the game, you’ll see what I mean.  As for the mysterious creatures, they call themselves Beyonders and they have an enemy in the main character.  When you play the game, you’ll discover why.

The game play is quite typical of the hidden object genre.  You go from room to room collecting items and using them in various locations.

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Some items require you to participate in some very well done hidden object scenes.

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You can also play mini-games to advance the story that vary on level of fun.  If you are stuck, use a hint.  Purchase the Collector’s Edition and you’ll discover Jane and Joe’s back-story as you conduct a séance.

This game is addictive and intriguing.  I give it 8 out of 10, not scary but well-crafted Halloween fun.

Off the Record: Linden Shades (Bigfishgames.com)

When a mysterious figure haunts the Linden Shades orphanage, the police immediately shut the place down and send the children to foster homes. As a reporter, your job is to investigate the former site of the orphanage. Can you discover what’s going on and help reopen Linden Shades?

Playing the beta test made me want to check out the entire series. I have to say, I love the plot in this game. You never know what’s going to happen. I also like how everything’s wrapped up and the ending of this game will shock you. If you want more of the story, buy the collector’s edition.

The game play is your typical hidden object. You go from scene to scene collecting items for your inventory. You have to use what you collect in order to advance throughout the game. If you’re stuck, use a hint. The one thing that separates this game from other hidden objects is that you also collect tapes to discover more about the mystery of the story.

This game is addictive and intriguing. I give it 8 out of 10; one of the best hidden objects I’ve ever played.

Dark Parables: Jack and the Sky Kingdom (Bigfishgames.com)

The Fairytale Detective is back and this time he/she has to investigate the Sky Kingdom. The only ally he or she has is a mysterious treasure hunter named Jack.

The Dark Parables series is back and this time it’s taking on Jack and the Beanstalk. This game also takes on the legend of Rumpelstiltskin. I don’t have much to say about the plot except that you discover the back story of it as you go.

The game is typical hidden object. You travel throughout the scene collecting items for your inventory. You also have to partake in hidden object scenes but instead of finding a list of random objects in order to only add one to your inventory, you have to collect the pieces of the item you get.

You can also collect hidden parables to slowly discover the story of how everything came to be. The Collector’s Edition includes bonus content such as more game play.

This game is addictive and intriguing. I give it 8 out of 10; the Dark Parables series hasn’t died yet.

Princess Isabella: The Rise of an Heir (Bigfishgames.com)

The evil witch has turned Princess Isabella to stone.  Fortunately, her daughter, Bella, was spared due to a fairy and a dragon.  Now Bella must confront the evil witch and save her family from the curse once and for all.

Don’t worry, this is nothing like Twilight.  The only thing the two main characters have in common is that they have the same name.  The plot itself is quite simple.  You have a princess going after the evil witch to save her mother. 

The evil eye of Sauron, I mean the witch, watches over the castle to keep Bella from entering.  In one scene, where Bella’s about to enter the castle, instead of shooting Bella, the eye shoots the path in front of her so Bella can’t get past the fire.  Did I mention she easily puts it out with magic?  Therefore, our plot relies on the witch being cursed with Bond Villain Stupidity in order to make the game work.  The extra game footage found on the Collector’s Edition let’s you go from room to room destroying each curse in the castle and it would be great if the series ended there.  Unfortunately, there’s a hint that the series will continue and I don’t see what more it has to offer.  Everything’s been done and if the series continues, you’ll be trying to resurrect something that died.  The Jurassic Park movies are a great example of what happens when you try to continue something that’s already over.

The game play is simple but fun.  You travel from location to location solving puzzles and collecting items. 

Use the fairy if you’re stuck and use the dragon if you need an item destroyed.  Some items can be used to help you advance throughout the game.  Oh, and did I mention Bella could also learn spells during her quest?

This game is simplistic yet addictive.  I give it 5 out of 10; not the best, not the worst.

Empress of the Deep 2: Song of the Blue Whale (Bigfishgames.com)

After escaping the destruction of her underwater kingdom, Anna arrives on a mysterious island.  Her task, go to the Sky Temple and restore it to its former glory.  Her only guides are Jacob and a mysterious blue whale.

The whole reason I even started playing these games is because this one had blue whale in the title and I’m fascinated with the ocean.  The plot is like the first game, simple and predictable.  You free the children and the guardian animals of the temple.  Then you have to discover a mysterious plot and embrace your destiny.

The game play is just like in the last game.  You go from area to area collecting items and playing mini-games.  In the collector’s edition, you can collect diary entries from the nemesis in the last game.  As for how they read, let’s just say that her character is similar to Scar from the Lion King.  After that, you put the heads in certain areas, play a few hidden object scenes and then you get to play zem, a matching game involving gems.

This game is beautiful and addictive.  I give it 7 out of 10; two extra points for the animal drawings.

The Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition Part 3: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo Gamecube)

Link has always been known as the boy without a fairy by his fellow Kokiri.  The minute he finally has one he also has a quest.  He needs to gather three items and use them to open the sacred realm, getting the Triforce before the king of the Gerudos, Ganondorf, beats him to it.

What 90s Zelda fan doesn’t remember this game?  It was the first to hit 3D consoles, the first where you got to ride a horse and, for those of you familiar with the fan fiction world, the inspiration for the dreaded My Inner Life.  The first Zelda game I played was A Link to the Past, but this was the first game I owned.  The plot follows that of a typical Zelda game, find three items and then see a huge plot twist.  Now you have to collect more items.  Some plot elements are similar to Peter Pan, such as the fairy and a fact regarding the Kokiri you discover later on.  Navi is the first of her type and boy does it show, but more on that later.  Link, like the rest of the games, is an avatar for the world of Hyrule.  He says nothing and goes where he’s told.  Zelda drives the plot, risking her life to help Link and doing everything she can to save Hyrule.  The lengths she goes to are very daring.

I absolutely love the game play.  You can set any items you find to l, r, or z, taking place of the four c buttons of the N64, save the sword and the shield.  L targeting has helped me on more than one occasion.  The only problem is the fairy that makes it possible is very annoying.  Navi has a tendency to give information when you really don’t need it and sometimes you have no choice but to hear it.  Her targeting usually makes up for it until the second to final battle where she can’t do anything.

As for other features this game has, you can play songs on your ocarina, use your brain to go through dungeons and defeat bosses, and search the world for heart pieces.

Collect four of them to get a free container.  Some heart pieces require mini-games, the shooting being my least favorite but that’s because I can’t get my hands steady enough to complete it.

As a child, I loved this game and I still love it as an adult.  I give it 8 out of 10, the beginning of a new era of Zelda games.

Awakening: The Skyward Castle (Bigfishgames.com)

After awakening from a long sleep, traveling through Moonfell Well, and seeking the Goblins’ aid, Princess Sophia finally discovers her home.  For some reason, the people have been turned to stone and a man named Dreadmyre threatens the safety of it.

Like the last games, Sophia has no powers and is reliant on her own skills and her magic companions.  In this one, it works to her advantage because Dreadmyre can’t harm her.  She also meets the many servants of the castle and discovers why her parents did what they did.

The game play is reliant on logic.  You have to find objects throughout the game and figure out which object would be put to better use in which scene.

If you’re stuck, you can use a hint.  You also have two companions in the form of a pocket dragon and a wise owl.

After this, you can play the epilogue to discover that the series isn’t over yet.  If you feel like shelling out extra money, you can get some bonus content.

This game is beautiful and fun.  I give it 8 out of 10, great artwork and a great game.

The Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition Part 2: Zelda II-The Adventure of Link (Nintendo GameCube)

An evil wizard has cast a sleeping spell on Princess Zelda.  In order to awaken her, Link must travel to six palaces and return the rods to get the Triforce of Courage.  Unfortunately, minions of Ganon have set out to kill Link in order to revive their master.

All right, a few issues with the plot.  For one thing, the decree that Hyrule royal family name every daughter Zelda sounds very confusing.  What’s going to happen when the family has two daughters?  Do they just name them Zelda 1 and Zelda 2?  Another thing, I don’t get why Link’s blood is required to revive Ganon.  He seems to revive in every other game just fine without it.  The only explanation I can come up with is that Ganon’s minions have been secretly killing Link whenever he settles down with a family.  I get that the whole purpose of this plot point was to give Link enemies to fight but it makes no sense.  They would be constantly stalking him day in and day out never giving him a moment’s peace.  He wouldn’t be able to do anything without armed guards around him every day of his life.  In addition, what is Link doing in Zelda’s chamber?

I get that the game needed a place for him to start but there is no reason for him to be there.  At best, he’s admiring her beauty while she sleeps.  At worst, well, I really don’t want to think about it.

As for the game play, they pretty much took away everything that made it great.  Instead of solving puzzles, you have to fight your way through everything and if you’re anything like me, you will die quite often.  If you back out, you can’t gain levels.  You can also talk to people in town to gain magic, but you have to complete a quest first.  If you’re low on health, you can visit a woman in a red dress who will take you to her house and heal your wounds.

In other words, while many women have a crush on Link in Ocarina of Time, this is the game where he got the most action and I’m not talking about fighting monsters.  I don’t know if the makers were too naive to figure out what that was implying or this was their desperate attempt at fan service.  Don’t get me wrong, I can understand if hot animated characters arouse you but if a pack of pixels turns you on, please remove yourself from the gene pool.

I once had a very painful cramp in my foot.  Just when I thought it was gone, the pain came back double.  That is exactly how this game rolls.  I give it 0 out of 10; if you’re playing all the Zelda games, just skip this one.

The Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition Part One- The Legend of Zelda (Nintendo GameCube)

In 2003, Nintendo released four Legend of Zelda games on one disc for the Nintendo GameCube.  The Legend of Zelda, Zelda 2: Link’s Adventure, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask.  Each game has its own charm with the exception of Link’s Adventure but I’ll get to that later.

Hyrule’s in trouble, the evil Ganon has the Triforce of Power and is after the Triforce of Wisdom.  The princess Zelda has broken it into eight pieces and scattered the Triforce throughout the world.  Now it’s up to Link to reassemble the Triforce and rescue Zelda.

The game that started the Zelda franchise doesn’t really have a plot other than rescue the princess.  Still, I do like that even when captured Zelda takes an active role in the game.  If it weren’t for her, the Triforce of Wisdom would have been in Ganon’s hands and Hyrule would have been doomed from the start.

You aimlessly wander around the map and try to find the Triforce pieces located in eight dungeons.  Then you go to Ganon’s tower for the final battle.  You can also find heart containers, various upgrades for items and destroy enemies to get health and rupees.

Be sure to visit a fairy if you’re low on health.  In all honesty, I don’t get how anyone found anything in this game before the days of strategy guides.  There’s no one telling you where you’re supposed to go unless you count the few hints given by old people.  Once you get the hang of it, you can’t stop playing.

Despite the confusing system, I absolutely love this game.  I give it 6 out of 10, a perfect beginning to the Legend of Zelda.

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