Tag Archives: 3DS

Return to River City

I was perusing Amazon a few months ago when something caught my eye in the Nintendo 3DS section of the website. It was a new River City Ransom game, River City Ransom: Tokyo Rumble (technically not new as it had been available for almost a year) and also another one, Rival Showdown, that was available for preorder! I was instantly transported back to my childhood as I fumbled wildly for my debit card.

I still fondly remember walking with my dad every Saturday morning to the video rental store down the street from my house when I was 10 years old. Besides the armful of horror movies he would rent for himself and the few Godzilla movies we would watch over and over again (All VHS, I’m old, kids), we would always go to the NES section and pick out a game for us to play together. Usually he would pick out a sports game like Bases Loaded or Blades of Steel but I remember one Saturday he pointed out River City Ransom and asked if I would want to try it. I wholeheartedly agreed. As much fun as sports games are they had become repetitive and I always had my eye on Double Dragon, and well, this game looked a lot like Double Dragon which unfortunately was always rented out.

Now usually when you ask someone which was the first game that converted them into a gamer, you will hear the typical responses of ?Super Mario Brothers, Pacman, Contra,..etc. For me, River City Ransom was that game. It was the first game where I didn’t want to stop playing. Even after we would get tuned up, there was no frustration, no rage quitting, we just kept grinding away, earning money to buy books to obtain special moves in order to get farther next time. We adopted the old ridiculous 2 player beat ?em up strategy of ?I’ll take the top of the screen and you stay on the bottom so we don’t hit each other.? Inevitably this would lead to us running around the screen like maniacs completely disregarding our ?strategy?. Well, me more so than him.

I vividly remember one such instance of this happening. It was actually near the beginning of the game, we were fighting one of the street gangs and were outnumbered 5-2. My dad, at the top of the screen, was basically a punching bag as 3 of the baddies surrounded him, I knocked out the 2 guys who focused their attention on me and grabbed a tire that one had dropped. For once I felt like I was better than my dad at a game! Every game that we played, my dad would be better than me, which, in hindsight would make sense since he was 32 at the time. But in my little 10 year old pea brain, it was my time to shine! I was going to be the hero! I boldly walked into forbidden grounds (A.K.A the top part of the screen, A.K.A dad’s territory, A.K.A the scene of my greatest victory) and threw the tire into the crowd’completely flattening my dad’s character as the 2 enemies who were now left turned their attention to me and had juuuuust got out of the way. I felt my little face flush and I tried to redeem myself by laying a beating down on their pixelated faces. When it was over, I remember just seeing my dad’s character just stand there, completely still. I slowly turned my head to look at my dad who was just staring at me with amazement. I had done it. I was the man at River City Ransom. The young wolf was now the leader of the pack. I waited for the compliments to rain down on me with a little smile of pride on my face. Instead:

?Where’s your guy right now??

?Uh..top of the screen..??

?Where’s it supposed to be??

?Uh..bottom of the screen..??

?Oh! Good! You aren’t deaf’ Nancy! Good news, the boy isn’t deaf! He just doesn’t listen!?


So after reaffirming that I did in fact know that I belonged on the bottom of the screen, we picked up our controllers and started again.


The same tire completely waffled me as my dad started chuckling to himself. At this point this particular session of River City Ransom turned into Street Fighter as we decided to duke it out.

We actually never beat the game. We came close a few times. We rented and re-rented that cartridge so many times I lost count but it just never happened. We were fortunate that everyone was still enamored with the Double Dragon titles leaving R.C.R always available to us on our weekly trips to the video store. To me, it’s more than a game, it was time well spent with my dad, trash talking the 8 bit thugs, hashing out who should pick up what weapon, and of course who belongs where on the frickin’ screen. It also sparked my love for video games which has lasted, and will last, for my entire life.

So how do these 3DS games stack up? Well, both have the same RPG elements which made the original so great, as well as tons of cool special moves to buy and learn, secret shops to find, and of course the ridiculously fun punching of pixelated faces. In my opinion, Tokyo Rumble is the better of the two as it sticks more closely to the original in terms of mechanics. That said, I’m also enjoying Rival Showdown, which introduces a time mechanic which can change the ending of the game, unlocks special moves, and events that only happen at a certain time and location. There is more interaction with NPCs that also triggers events and fights. To me the difficulty of Rival Showdown is definitely not as beginner friendly as the previous titles, (even on beginner). Here are a couple of tips:

-Don’t be afraid to run if you’re getting absolutely destroyed.
-That 3 day time limit caught me off-guard, but in reality the game isn’t over if you don’t beat it within the time limit. As I mentioned above, the clock is used to trigger events. The 3 day limit is for the ?best? ending.
-If you’re fighting an opponent and your kicks and punches are only doing ?1? damage, run. It means that their defense is higher than your attack and you should work on leveling up, find some other easier opponents to beat on and grind levels.

Tokyo Rumble is much more linear when compared to Rival Showdown, so while there is a small amount of grinding needed to level up, you are in pretty good shape as the game progresses and the difficulty is not frustrating but not too easy either. You also get CPU controlled helpers that fight alongside of you which makes some of the boss fights much easier. I beat this game in about 5 hours, so while it’s on the short side it’s really fun and there are side missions that you can take on to earn money and special items. All said it’s definitely worth the $15 price tag.

I recommend getting both games if you’re a beat ?em up fan, the RPG mechanics make the games more interesting than other games of the same genre. While it’s a lot of punching/kicking/waffling enemies with various objects, it’s fun to earn coins to buy special moves books and equipment to increase the strength of your character. Also both games come with mini games; Tokyo Rumble comes with a dodgeball game and Rival Showdown comes with a fighting game, both of which are really fun to play. Check ?em out and let us know what you think. Also, pertaining to the question posed early on in the article, which game solidified your love for gaming? I’m curious if there are any ones that fell under the radar of most people. As always, thanks for reading!

Here Comes the Sun (or Moon)

(Editor’s Note: We’ve been meaning to do a Noob and Sons podcast on Pokemon since our old one got lost in a shuffle of computers. The crazy part is that it was Episode 2, just like the Episode 2 of 2 Guys Gaming with special guest Kevin was lost. But, we recorded yesterday and it should be live tomorrow.)

I haven’t seriously played a Pokemon game since Diamond. I’ve told that story enough times and repeated it in the podcast, so I won’t tell again how love is allowing your child to delete your Pokemon save game data with a legendary Pokemon on it. Oops, I suppose I just did. That’s okay, though, because Liam returned the love, took care of me, and he captured Dialga again. I guess we can call it even. I will put him back in the will.

Congratulations, Son. You get all of my nothing! And more! Or, maybe less!

He’s the single reason that I’m even playing this Pokemon game after so many years. I mentioned that I was excited about Sun and Moon and that I might want to pick up one of the games. I asked him which one he wanted and he told me Moon, so I settled on the fact that if I was going to get one, it would be Sun. I still wasn’t positive that I’d actually go through with it. Then, we started kicking around the ideas that we would reboot the podcast, ultimately for the new year. Also, Liam got Moon and he made the comment that if people want to get into or get back into Pokemon, this is a good time to do that.

I’ll let him tell you why in his own words in the podcast, but I will give you my perspective now. Having not played Pokemon for a few generations, this wasn’t geared as much to me, but there is an extensive tutorial mode in the game. Thankfully, Game Freak and Nintendo have done what Nintendo usually does and weaved the tutorial into the introduction story. That is the part of the game that I found most interesting. I both appreciated the story–always a welcome addition to any game, in my opinion–and I was surprised to see so many new and different (to me at least) Pokemon during that introduction. I still have no idea what they are or what they do, but I know that they exist and that’s enough in a world where “you gotta catch ’em all”.

So, the short version of it is this. If you’ve never played Pokemon before, you are given an extensive tutorial to familiarize yourself with the controls of the game. If you haven’t played in a while but still remember the ins and outs of the game, the tutorial is story driven enough that you won’t be (too) bored by having to run through things that you already know. Plus, some of the new Pokemon are eye catching enough that they will keep you moving through the sometimes tedious exercise. If you are an experienced player, like Liam, there isn’t much here to keep you engaged. You basically just have to power through it or hold on to the story to anchor you as you plow your way into the heart of the game.

At least they now have the technology in the games so they don’t have this interaction anymore. Professor. I’ve know you your whole life. Also, the professor: See above.

As for the rest of the game, I assume that it is mostly just more of the same with regards to Pokemon. I can’t say for sure because I haven’t played beyond the tutorial yet. However, other than adding color when that technology became available to their handhelds and continually adding new Pokemon to the games, not much has changed since the first game. One of the more recent advances, that has come as a result of the DS touch screen technology is that the moves can be operated by using the touch screen. I know that it seems like a small improvement, and it is, but it makes battling much more intuitive. If, when they finally implement trainer battles in Pokemon Go, they use the same technology on the phone, it will go a long way to bringing players back to that game.

I mentioned color in the previous paragraph. Not only has color made the game prettier, as it has with most games, but the moves list is also color coded. Along with the ability to use the touch screen to select moves, color coding them allows you to better match up against resistance and weakness because you can recognize the type of move by using its identifying color. Again, a minor improvement, but one that has a fairly big pay off. That’s only counting the normal campaign mode. It might be even more helpful when battling against other people. Quickness isn’t a prerequisite for Pokemon battles. Still, any advantage is one that is worth exploring and exploiting, if possible.

Did I seriously just say any advantage is worth exploring and exploiting? I think I might need to take a break from watching competitive Hearthstone streams. It’s affecting me in weird ways.

In closing, I can’t wait to play some more of the game. It is classic Pokemon gameplay and story with just enough updated to make it feel fresh and new. Pokemon hasn’t quite reached the pantheon of “need to buy that new console just because they’ve released a new game” like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, but I might now be convinced to buy the new Pokemon games as they are released. This game has also inspired me to take a look back at some of the Pokemon games of the past.

I’ve loaded up Pokemon Red a few times because Liam and I had the idea to either do a stream or a Youtube series walking through the game. I realize that we are probably a bit behind the times since Twitch Plays Pokemon made the game popular 3 years ago, but that’s nothing new for us. We mostly just play the games that we like and put out content that we’d enjoy. Hopefully it ends up being something that you all enjoy, too.

Who ya gonna call?

(Editor’s Note: With the (un)official status of 2 Guys Gaming very much up in the air, Christine suggested that I do a podcast with the boys. Be on the lookout for Episode 1 of Noob and Sons, most likely tomorrow.)

Being a gamer dad can sometimes be a delicate balancing act. When the children were very young, I only had time to game when they were asleep. Thankfully, babies and toddlers take a lot of naps and ours were even very good about sleeping through the night very quickly. Even with the care I took to shield them from the more violent games, Liam still stumbled on Dead Rising. I don’t know how or when he saw me playing, but he made a very specific reference to running over zombies with a lawnmower. Christine gave me a look and I could only respond with, “I have no idea.” After that, I took more of a precaution by putting our games and movies away from the kids. They have since again discovered our horror collection because they are tall enough to reach the shelves, but we are much more prepared as parents to deal with the situation.

Mowing though zombies: may not be suitable for 3 year old children.
Mowing though zombies: may not be suitable for 3 year old children.

We still don’t let them play or watch overly mature games or movies, but they are getting to the ages where their friends or classmates will mention Halo, Counter Strikes, or Modern Warfare. Heck, they’ve even made up a zombie tag game that they play together. To his credit, Liam has my attitude on FPS war games and thinks they’re really stupid. Aiden will be tougher to keep in the dark. He is already asking to watch Michael Jackson’s Thriller and The movie Halloween.

I can't wait until Liam discovers Fat Albert and we can have two really awkward conversations in a couple of years.
I can’t wait until Liam discovers Fat Albert and we can have two really awkward conversations in a couple of years.

Granted, he only knows about the John Carpenter version, not the decidedly more questionable Rob Zombie Remake. Not that he’ll be watching either any time soon, but I’d really rather not he be exposed to Rob Zombie’s particular brand of film making…well, at all, to be honest. So, if he must know about one of them, I suppose that the original is safer. Yes, I did just attempt to justify one version of a movie about a homicidal maniac as more acceptable for my 8 year old.

So, while we have kept them mostly away from the less kid friendly elements of gaming, they have taken to games in a big way. Kindle games, DS games, computer games, card games, and now even role playing games have gotten their interest. We have enjoyed playing many of these games as a family and it has led to a potentially different direction for the website and podcast.

When realized that October would be the first episode of “Noob and Sons”, I tried to think of games with a Halloween theme. Since the podcast is now all ages, I wanted these games to be kid friendly. As you may have deduced, the video games that I play often fall into one or the other of those categories, but rarely both. So, it was a bit of a challenge until inspiration hit like a flash as it often does. There was a game that the boys loved so much that they tried to emulate it by pretending to be characters in the game and play acting various scenes from the game. I’m not positive, but they may have even written their own skits involving Luigi and his ghost busting vacuum. Naturally, our first topic for the Digital Playground is Luigi’s Mansion.

It's a me...Green Mario!
It’s a me…Green Mario!

I feel the need to disclose that this review (and much of our podcast discussion) revolves around Dark Moon for the 3DS. I played the original version for about 45 minutes to an hour, but I am hooked on Dark Moon. I only planned to play a little bit so that I didn’t sound like a total moron (what stopped me this time, you might ask) on the podcast and I’m now trying to beat the final boss level on the 3rd world. That’s not going so well right now and I’m taking a bit of a break after tossing the 3DS in frustration, but I’ll be back and ready to fail some more soon enough.

I will start there. This can be a challenging game. Not only are the boss battles sometimes hard, but more than once I found myself wandering through the mansion with absolutely no idea what to do next. A couple of times, I finally just gave up and asked the Google machine for help. Hey, I’m not proud. I will cheat at a kid’s game, too!

The Google Machine. It looks shockingly like a level from Super Mario 64. No wonder it is so helpful with these games.
The Google Machine. It looks shockingly like a level from Super Mario 64. No wonder it is so helpful with these games.

As I mentioned, in spite of the sometimes dastardly design of the game, you’ll get hooked. The story is interesting and entertaining enough to keep you wondering and coming back for more. Cheesy humor keeps the mood light and not too scary in spite of subject matter of ghosts and hauntings. To their credit, they don’t shy away from the spook factor even though it is a kids game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not scary on the level of Silent Hill or Fatal Frame, but it sets the right mood.

The music helps to set that tone with a catchy and memorable melody that is just melancholy and moody enough to keep you on your toes and you explore unfamiliar territory. You are constantly on the lookout for what will trigger the next ghost event. Once you know them, you tread lightly and carefully through the room in anxious anticipation of the inevitable “Boo!” moment. Sometimes the “Boo” moment involves an actual Boo for you to capture.

By the way, good luck in getting that song out of your head now. Getting back to the topic, the Boos in the game are only one of a number of different secrets in the game for you to collect. If I ever beat the clock part that has me almost swearing and accidentally tossing the 3DS to complete the game, there is plenty to bring me back to the game and try for that 100%. In the interest of “no spoilers”, I won’t mention what they are, but trust me when I say that the replay value is high.

Overall, Dark Moon is a fun game full of spooky surprises. While intended for kids, some parts are challenging even for adults. Secrets galore will sustain the game through several playthroughs. Even after finishing the game and finding those secrets, you might be tempted to go for 3 stars on all levels and compete for best scores, times, etc. If you’ve never played the game, now is the perfect time with Halloween right around the corner.

Currently Playing…Vol.6


pxzoneProject X Zone (3DS) I ‘ve had my eye on this game ever since it was first announced. A strategy RPG with Capcom characters? Sign me up! Being cheap, I patiently waited until I could get it for under $20. Last weekend my patience paid off and I was finally able to find a used copy for only $15. I have to say, after having played it for a few hours, I was disappointed. It feels a bit slapped together. The storyline makes no sense. At all. In fact after the first 5 levels, I just couldn ‘t take the story anymore and rapidly hit A to fly through the cutscenes to get back to the actual combat. All of these characters from Street Fighter, Tekken, Darkstalkers, Resident Evil, Dead Rising..etc, who exist in ‘?different dimensions ‘? just happen to know each other?! Here ‘s an example: At the beginning of one of the Prologue stages Chun Li (Street Fighter) shows up, then Hsien-Ko (Darkstalkers) shows up, and then Frank West (Dead Rising) appears. Chun Li: ‘?You ‘re Frank West from the Colorado incident right? ‘?. Frank West: ‘?Yes, you ‘re Chun Li, agent of SIN, right? ‘? Now Chris and Claire from Resident Evil show up, ‘?Hey aren ‘t you Frank West from the Colorado incident? And you ‘re Chun Li, an agent of SIN ‘?. Wait,what?! What the ****?! And it ‘s not just this interaction; for the most part all of the dialogue is pretty uninspired and fails to carry the half-assed plot. It really feels like Capcom/Sega just wanted us to ignore the weak story and just focus on the fact that you can form teams of all of these cool iconic characters. If this was a Capcom 2D fighter and not an RPG, that wouldn ‘t have been a problem. But with an RPG, one of the things that separate a great RPG from a not so great one is the quality of the story. Ok, so storyline aside, the game play is actually not bad. Like a traditional strategy RPG, you form a team of characters and you take to the battlefield to beat on your opponents by performing super combos, ‘?X-over ‘? combos ‘etc. It ‘s actually pretty fun BUT the game does get slightly repetitive. I found myself getting bored after the first hour/ hour and a half. Bottom line: Unless you are a huge Capcom fan, I ‘d just rent this from Gamefly.