Zebeth

The Futurama DVD is finally coming to Region 1. It won’t come until March, but at least it’s coming. I still don’t understand why this has already been available in Region 2 for months now? Yes, I realize that I could have imported it and played it on a region-free player if I was so inclined — but I’m not about to go and shell out money on a new DVD player (or PS2 mod) solely for one DVD set.

Deep in the comments of Kuro5hin, I found a link to this free PC game: a Tactics-like strategy/RPG hybrid in a very sprite-based Japanese style, Engrish and all. It’s also worth noting that it has online play, and that it’s from the makers of the Y’s series.

I’ve already managed to finish Metroid Fusion, which is odd as I have completed it before Prime (and I was at 84% when I started Fusion). It draws you in very well, and the passage of time is barely noticeable as you get lost enjoying the experience; but, as you do get to the end, you realize that it is indeed unfortunately brief. It really is a solid game otherwise, and a true successor to Super Metroid, but Super is still the superior title.

Additionally, now that Fusion is complete, I have unlocked the original Metroid in Prime. What a nostalgia trip. The original still holds up. What I find amazing is just how familiar it feels. After some fifteen years, I still remember where a lot of the hidden tunnels, energy tanks, and weapons are. My only beef with having Metroid as a bonus in Prime is that the button mapping for ‘select’ is weird. I don’t know why they made select (activate missiles) the Z-button rather than the much more convenient, and easier to hit R-button — which does nothing.

I have additional comments about the near-end of Fusion, but these might contain spoilers. If that isn’t a bother, then continue on…

One of my other beefs about Metroid Fusion, other than the length and added linearity, is the balance at the end of the game. The difficulty curve is very well balanced, and I find that it peaks during the battle with “Nightmare.” A very difficult boss that requires some precisely timed jumps and accurately aimed shots. After the intensity of this fight, everything eles falls flat. Once you do finally encounter “Ridley” — something that you were anticipating, as Fusion did a good job of hyping you for it — you find that this, most definitely, isn’t the Ridley you remember. Whereas Nightmare forced you to be precise; the battle with Ridley is just a mindless blast-fest. I literally stood in one spot and launched a barrage of missiles. Ridley was quickly dispensed with. Not my idea of fun.

I guess it can be said that the final encounter with SA-X makes up for Ridley’s uselessness, but it too was a let down. The final battle should be the most intense battle, not some boss nearly an hour before it. If a game doesn’t end at it’s peak, then the remains seem drawn out and uneven — as Fusion does.

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