Wednesday, April 20, 2016

MLP:FIM Episodes Revisited - The Worst of the Worst (Final Decisions)

There have been plenty of episodes I've changed my thoughts on eventually considering that even I can sometimes have a naive view on one installment too many. So here, I now present to you a few new episodes that I've rethought on, and others that I'm rejudging a third time (and trying real hard not to change them after this post). It's no secret that we all obviously change our opinions to develop more as real critics to judge TV episodes, movies, video games, and just any other form of electronic media. So now that I've done some more rethinking on these episodes, complete with more of my expression of each one of them on this post, let's now move on...

I'd also like to dedicate this Zack Wanzer the Railfan Brony, as I promised to express at least 3 episodes to him. So if you're reading this Zack, then be prepared and I hope the rest of you enjoy the post.

Episodes that are so popular with ever their own page on Wikipedia are just so awesome that it's hard to view them as awful. For amazing points you've made on how it was advertised falsely, Zack, I now view it as one of MLP's worst efforts and was just uninteresting due to a lazily confusing story, the various sections of the now uninteresting background ponies being just "there" as much as Derpy with no real development whatsoever, whereas the whole episode basically just makes no sense to me at all, including its random moral that had pretty much nothing to do with the story. Cause as you said (as a message to M.A. Larson), if you're going to make a good special, think of anyone else we have an opportunity to draw into the show (where we can preach kindness and compassion to them), and don't aim it just at us bronies who already a part of the fandom. Period.

Let's be honest; to develop background characters, you should write for only one at time, in one episode at a time, and not just cram them all into one so-called *special*. And don't start going all ape on me, Slice of Life fans, because my opinion on it has changed overtime, and I feel something else like Crusaders of the Lost Mark should've been the special for Season 5 (or even The Mane Attraction just for broadway actress Lena Hall as a guest star) due to strongly focusing on important characters like the Crusaders and giving something more surprising to audiences (like the CMCs finally getting their cutie marks) rather than just focusing on too many characters at one at time at random in just one little episode and giving them nothing other than pointless attention. So considering I now agree with those who hate it (which graphics and sound being the only positives of any bad episode), and that Feeling Pinkie Keen is now off my worst list (more on that later though), it's not surprising that it's now my 3rd worst, behind only Dragon Quest (my new worst of all time), and The Mysterious Mare Do Well.

Speaking of...

Final Rating:

You know, the more I think strongly about an episode's flaws, and how much some them still grind my gears, the more I start hating on them as to taking any bits of praiseful ratings. Mare Do Well seriously deserves worse for how unwatchable it feels for how much of jerks everyone acted like and how harsh it was being on Rainbow Dash, cause while most people criticize Dash's part more, as an equivalent, I was rooting a lot more for Rainbow Dash than I was anyone else since she's the main focus of the episode. And since it was her friends that were trying to teach her this lesson, as a result, if I had the opportunity, I'd write an episode on them deserving punishment for what they all did to her just as much as I'd want to with the rest of Ponyville on the Crusaders in Ponyville Confidential. One episode at a time.

So for how cruel it was being on Rainbow Dash (like Dragon Quest was for Spike), and considering I hate it more and more every single time I look back on it (because I will never ever watch it again), there's absolutely no real reason for any bronies like Joshscorcher and Lily Peet to praise and defend this piece of trash, and I am so glad it still receives a heck of a lot of criticism from nearly everyone else.

Final Rating:

Season 1 didn't have the most amount of awful episodes and had none that I gave a perfect rating to either. I once panned Feeling Pinkie Keen because of its religiously offense moral on learning to make your own choice of religion and beliefs, and just ignored the rest of the actual episode when I criticized the moral only. For my zero star rating, I'd give it just to the moral, grading a big fat F only because I still find religious-toned morals unacceptable for children to be taught from anything even besides any children's cartoon series. So don't get me wrong, I still despise the moments of Twilight getting hurt, but the whole concept is what I'll give actual praise to, and that its plot feels like some impressive B-Movie, especially the look of the Hydra since it's the cool type of Greek Mythology. More or less, I would call it bad, but since I've been far too harsh on it, it's for the best that I should starting looking a lot more clearly at stories and not just morals of MLP episodes from now on.

New Rating:

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Super Mario 3D World - Top Fifteen Levels Part 3 (Number 1)

Let's recap before I unveil my Number 1 pick...

^ Part 1 ^
^ Part 2 ^

#1 - Rainbow Run
(World Star-1)

There's just way too much to sum up about a level that feels so thrilling. But it's everything I like in a Mario level that makes this first level of the bonus Star World my top pick.

Rainbow-colored yarn-like platforms, Skipsqueaks and Ring Burners, the vehicle section of riding Plessie, a Coin shower right before the goal pole, and let's not forget that awesome upper section of the 8-bit Link sprite that you have to light up to get one of the green stars, that section of which also features another Mega Mushroom. With everything that makes it so fun to play, Rainbow Run stands out as my favorite level of the game and, spoiling my favorite 3D levels of all time list in the Super Mario series, in my Top Three of all time.

Do you agree with my list? What's your favorite Super Mario 3D World level?

For more awesome posts posted weekly, be sure to tune in to The Super Mario Brony Blog.

Thanks for reading!

Super Mario 3D World - Top Fifteen Levels Part 2 (8-2)

#8 - Super Block Land
(World Star-5)

Recycling the Athletic theme from Super Mario 3D Land, and feeling somewhat like Super Mario Bros. 3's Giant Land world, it's fun whenever those Koopa Football players charge into the bigger blocks and when you're rampaging throughout the beginning of the level in a giant form. But as the saying goes, "Bigger isn't always better."

#7 - Cakewalk Flip
(World 5-6)

It may be considered more of a desert level, but at the same time, it feels also like a dessert level as its title suggests. The Red-Blue Panels that flip over whenever you jump are especially cool even after being recycled from both 3D Land and Galaxy 2. So yeah. Great level for a fifth world.

#6 - Gargantuan Grotto
(World Star-7)

Levels with Mega Mushrooms should seriously become more common. You're stomping through trees, wrecking nearly everything in your path and at the same time, you feel absolute satisfaction while making your way through the grotto. Swimming and jumping high out of water to grab one of the green stars in giant form feels sluggish though...

#5 - Bom-ombs Below
(World 5-5)

Lights underground have never looked this cool. The Bom-ombs are spectacular, and it's really cool to hit that path of POW Blocks to make this section of the game feel like a piece of cake.

Boom, baby!

#4 - Cookie Cogworks
(World Bowser-3)

A level this delicious couldn't be more fun. Does this not want to make you take a bite out of it?

#3 - Ty-Foo Flurries
(World 6-5)

Snow levels look so gorgeous and breathtaking since playing in snow, both in games and reality is fun. Those Ty-Foos make it more enjoyable and ice skating in a shoe was one of the coolest moments in the game, even if some people wouldn't say the same thing.

#2 - Tricky Trapeze Theater
(World 5-2)

A circus for a level? Yup. Trapeze also make for some of the coolest moments in the game, as well as the Mega Mushroom section where you take out a bunch of Piranha Plants (including 4 big ones). How much cooler can it get than those swinging platforms with the spike bars, and even more trapezes?

...Well, only Number One is more awesome but still, this makes for a great experience.

Concluding in Part 3...

Monday, April 18, 2016

MLP:FIM Review - Gauntlet of Fire (S6, E5, P113, OE122)

Warning: Spoiler Alert!

Dragon Quest was undeniably one of the worst episodes ever to come from My Little Pony, and made any dragons who weren't Spike completely unlikable. If you look at Gauntlet of Fire by writers Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco, you could call it a fixed up version of DQ. Due to a new breathtaking concept of more dragons and a more creative plot with less racism, it seems Lewis and Songco could pull pretty much anything off to make a good episode.

Spike and numerous other dragons receive a summons from the Dragon Lord Torch to participate in the Gauntlet of Fire, a perilous challenge designed to name his successor. Spike initially has no interest to participate, but changes his mind upon realizing that the other competitors—including Garble, who holds a grudge against Spike and his friends—are eager to use the position to pillage Equestria. Receiving support from Twilight and Rarity, Spike saves the life of Torch's daughter Princess Ember, who has secretly entered the gauntlet to prove herself a worthy leader. Initially reluctant, Ember teams up with Spike and helps him claim the scepter that determines the winner, forcing Garble to stand down when he attacks his friends. Spike then passes the scepter onto Ember, declaring her the true Dragon Lord.

You'd think it would fail like its Season 2 predecessor did four years ago, but Gauntlet of Fire has to be Season 6's new best episode out these four episodes that have aired so far after On Your Marks. Thanks to better execution and a better narrative, this has what its predecessor doesn't - kindness, and so much of it. Because if you look back Dragon Quest, it was being just downright brutal on Spike and partially three of the Mane Six (in which they were trying to help Spike during his quest to learn what being a true dragon is really like.

Great humor added, the episode has charmed itself greatly with great traits from Spike and the newest dragon to be introduced (along with her father the Dragon Lord), Ember, who was just amazing after seeing how much of a great team she and Spike make. Garble may still be detestable (and a part of my worst characters list still), but you have to hand it to the writers that they gave these mean-spirited jerks reason, since we didn't get any in the predecessor. There may not be much backstory provided for the heard of dragons, but it still makes for an excellent ideal storyline for every wrong it fixed from its Season 2 father.

Some of the moments with the bully dragons can still get on my nerves, but that's no major effect for the overall story since we get a better tale of Spike's race. It's especially great with its moral, script, animation in action and design, So you have to give it credit for that. So while I really cannot point out anything wrong with it here since its much easier to talk about its predecessor's flaws than it is with this one's, Gauntlet of Fire now comes out on top as my favorite episode of Spike, and I hope for the best that the next dragon-themed episode of his kind can do themselves justice as well.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Super Mario 3D World - Top Fifteen Levels Part 1 (15-9)

As I've done with every game in the main 3D series, I've made countdowns after each game I reviewed so far despite not making a best level-themed countdown for 3D Land afterward. But now I've review Super Mario 3D World, I'd like to look at my favorite levels before I move on to my favorite music tracks in the game. I'm looking at them based on their challenge, creativity, and much more, although I will be leaving out World Mushroom and Flower levels since they're just levels from previous worlds with twists like switching from (either) day to night (or night to day) or speeding up. Now, let's waste no more time...

#15 - Hands-On Hall
(World 6-3)

Who would've thought a Chinese like level would and feel so cool? Traveling through the main building is especially awesome, and the outside atmosphere of the stage felt spectacular too. Now don't get me wrong, I really love this level, but some are just better than others.

Inspite of my statement I just made, Hands-On Hall is still super awesome for a level that looks like a tower/building out of China...

#14 - Mount Must Dash
(World 3-6)

The Super Mario Kart Mario Circuit track of Super Mario levels. Need I say more?

#13 - Footlight Lane
(World Bowser-4)

It's so cool when you have to try and find your way towards the very end but finding your way through the blue pathway of which you can only see when your right on it so you should really be prepared when searching your way through it. Those Cat Bullet Bills add to how great it is by giving you a Cat Bell power up sometimes when you take one out. It's like a maze-like puzzle; but a challenging and fun one.

#12 - Clear Pipe Cruise
(World 6-1)

Since this takes place around a bunch of platforms and pipes in the sky, filled with bizarre fuzzies, it's so cool to be traveling through pipes. I get why they call it "Clear Pipe Cruise"; because of course you're traveling through glass pipes to get from one place to another.

It's lower on the list because its regular platforming sections don't look or feel very memorable as higher entries on the countdown, but I still love it.

#11 - Cosmic Cannon Cluster
(World Star-9)

I still get frustrated when trying to hit those two switches just before the flagpole and a it's a little too difficult to earn a higher spot. But since you get to use a cannon block on your head for a power up when you inquire one, I think that should be just enough for it to make this list...

But in the process, it's pretty fun when blasting your enemies with that cannon. I don't really think you need much else to make a great level other than that.

#10 - Trick Trap Tower
(World Castle-5)

Autoscrolling levels, be it side-scrolling in 2D, or a big circle in 3D isn't very fun as they drag on and feel very sluggish. Of course, there are always exceptions like this level of the 7th world. Those towers especially feel partially like that section of Super Mario Galaxy's Good Egg Galaxy known as the "Pill Planet" only with no gravity sections which makes for charming plus to a good level. Not to mention great challenge is provided during your escape from the inside of the second after collecting those five key coins.

#9 - Beep Block Skyway
(World 4-3)

It's really cool to bring back the awesome blocks that disappear from one second to the next as the beat goes on. It's a fantastic edition to the game, providing excellent challenge and good fun. Especially with the Double Cherry power up being used as a way of helping you activate those switches that require both buttons pressed at the same time. So long story short; great challenge, great elements, and great exploration for a great level...

Continuing in Part 2...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mario Game Review - Super Mario 3D World (Wii U, 2013)

As Super Mario 3D Land's sequel, Super Mario 3D World has returned with upgraded features to all its categories that make a game so excellent. New Super Mario Bros. U may have been the first Mario title to grace the Wii U, but it was ultimately this that comes out on top as the best on the console by far. It's a greater impact for the series than almost every other game, but more on that and everything else in the review. So to do so, let's now get started...

Note: The Top Ten Levels of 3D Land is just too hard for me to decide, make, and publish. So I'm just going skip that and move with the next review of main series instead...

On an evening in the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad come to view and enjoy the fireworks outside of Princess Peach's Castle, when they discover a slanted Clear Pipe along the path. Mario and Luigi fix the Clear Pipe with hammers and wrenches, causing the pipe to eject a large number of items as well as a Sprixie Princess[6], a fairy-like creature of the Sprixie species. The Green Sprixie Princess begins to explain that Bowser has kidnapped six of her fellow Sprixie Princesses and that she needs their help; thereafter, however, Bowser emerges from the pipe and traps the princess inside a bottle before disappearing back down the pipe with her. Peach, in trying to stop Bowser, falls down the pipe herself, and the others soon follow in order to assist her. The heroes soon end up in the Sprixie Kingdom, where the journey mainly takes place.

Very similar to 3D Land, Super Mario 3D World brings back spot on gameplay mechanics with (as I said) new features added alongside it. We have the usual running across various levels in the game which makes use of the obvious 3D platforming mechanic. The biggest change to this of course is that, despite the Galaxy games allowing you to co-op with only one buddy, it now features a 4-player co-op mode for more friends to cooperate in the main adventure mode. With some classic power ups added like the regular Super Mushrooms, Fire Flowers (and finally bringing back the Mega Mushroom again from the first New Super Mario Bros. game), there's more to be had here like the Double Cheery (allowing you clone your self once), and the most iconic of the game, the newly introduced Cat Bell (turning you into a cat in order to climb up walls and attack enemies with your paws).

The levels themselves all have a great feel of platforming and challenge thrown into the mix. Raging from underground worlds, to deserts and snow levels, and (Spoiler Alert!) my personal favorite of the game: World S' Rainbow Run. Throughout the game, much like 3D Land, you'll be collecting green stars (three per level) to unlock more and more stages to progress on (those of which all replace the star coins from 3D Land). While it can be a bit tedious most of the time, even more annoying than that is having to beat the game with ALL FOUR CHARACTERS (that is if you play the game with less than four players), but thankfully, neither of those grudges hurt the game that badly and can be looked past most of the time. Even if the same can't be said for the biggest flaw people have with it: the 4-Player Co-Op Mode Camera.

Replacing Yoshi, and partially the Manta Ray to ride down waters with to try beat a few levels is the Plesiosaur know as Plessie (a character strongly resembling Yoshi), which felt like fine vehicle sections for a Mario game. And you'll be swimming through a few stages too, but water levels, as everyone can agree, that they're some of the worst levels in gaming history. Levels like the boss stages are pretty fun and clever (especially the final boss stage with Bowser) and in conclusion, everything that makes the game so fantastic is all fun and games until you're entirely done...with all the fetch quests and backtracking in every world in the game, resulting in arguably one of the best the games of any Wii U game gameplay-wise.

The levels, modeling, animation and everything else look better when they're made on the Wii U. The game's enemies, bosses and other characters are well designed and modeled greatly, as with the layout of the levels and various worlds of the game. With colorful textures and flamboyant concepts to every new stage in the game (old school or new school), spot-on-as-usual animation for every character, enemy and boss, as well as incredible effects on the gamepad screen like the rippling rain, Super Mario 3D World stands out as one of the best looking games to date. Both on the Wii U and the franchise.

Music in the game has always been the big standout out of a wonderful soundtrack result like the Galaxy games and I'm happy to say that from the main theme of the game, to recycled classics like the main theme in the Rainbow Run stage (my favorite level in the game as I said), to the final boss theme, every song in the game just screams pure catchiness.

Sound effects as always are done magnificently, and the voice acting is just nonsensical since all that's necessary are grunts and yells for the characters (with hardly any dialogue) in order to balance their use.

So the music's awesome. Sound effects are...well, you get the picture. And need I say more about the voice acting? (No, I don't. So moving on.)

NOTE: The same controls that go for the gamepad also go for
both the New and Classic Wii U Pro Controllers

There are 3 different control mechanics for the game: The stage, world screen, and normal main menu controls. But for this one, I'm really only going to explain the main stage controls.

  • Left Control Stick/D-Pad: Move Around
  • Y/X: Dash (While Moving), Hold Items (Release to Throw), Attack (Power-Ups)
  • A/B: Jump, Swim, Wall Jump (against wall)
  • ZL/ZR: Crouch, Ground-Pound (While in Mid-Air), Go Down Pipe, Slide (on a Slope)
  • ZL/ZR + Y/X: Roll
  • Crouch + Roll + Jump: Rolling Long Jump (While Moving)
  • Left Control Stick/D-Pad + A/B: Somersault
  • Left Control Stick/D-Pad (In the Direction of the Entrance): Enter Horizontal Pipe
  • L/R: Bubble (Multiplayer Only)
  • +: Pause
  • -: Use Inventory Item
  • Right Control Stick: Camera

My overall verdict for Super Mario 3D World here is that it's a game of the franchise with true heart and charm thanks to how much fun you'll be having throughout pretty much the entire thing. From the awesome and challenging levels, to the amount of hours you'll be spending on it in order to complete every last fetch quest, and lots more to discover and guess (like trying to get the best time on each level for a world record on each one). Even if it's not the greatest Mario game of all time, nor that of the Wii U, it's easily ONE OF the best, and thanks to its charming co-op multiplayer mode, it's one you'll have a blast playing with your friends so if you either have a Wii U or are planning on getting one and don't this, get 3D World immediately. (You'll thank me later, I promise.)