Monday, October 12, 2009

Gaming World Reviews: Yoshi's Story (Nintendo 64/Virtual Console)

Yoshi's Story (Nintendo 64/Virtual Console)

Video Game Console: Nintendo 64, Game Boy Advance (Cancelled), Nintendo Wii (Via Virtual Console)
Release Date (North America): March 9, 1998 (Nintendo 64), September 17, 2007 (Virtual Console)
Publisher: Nintendo
Developers: Nintendo EAD
Genre: Platformers
Players: 1

"Does the baby Yoshis have what it takes to produce a decent video game?"

Yoshi's Story is the first of a series of reviews done by me called Gaming World Reviews. While it is the first, it is also my latest purchase for the Wii. I had fond memories of the game when I was very young, but I never owned the game myself. Now that I do, is Yoshi's Story worth the 1,000 Wii Points Nintendo force you to cough up for each and every non-import Nintendo 64 games currently available?

History: Yoshi originally appeared in the universally acclaimed Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, which is in fact a launch title. In that game, Mario (Or Luigi, depending on who you choose), Yoshi comes out in an egg and you had the option on riding on him. In order for him to be able to eat most enemies, fruits, and even power-ups, you punch him in the neck and his long tounge so he would be able to eat plants. Yoshi's commonly appear on the game, in fact, with the exception of the first level, ghost houses, block switch levles and castles, he appears in nearly every level. This game was universally acclaimed, scoring a 96.75% at Game Ranking and going on to sell 20 million copies. It also made Yoshi the icon that he is today, spawning off a Mario spin-off that remains successful to this day. The game appeared on the North American Virtual Console on February 5, 2007.

The first of the Yoshi's spin-off series is called Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, also on the SNES. The game was released on October 4, 1995 in North America. Althought it featured Super Mario World and Mario was in the game, he appears as an helpless infant. In the game, the character you play as is Yoshi. Also, the gameplay is drasticilly different from it's predeccesor, as it is not in the main canon. Also, while games were starting to be more about how good the game can look, this game takes a different apporach. Why not let art direction determind how the game appealed to it's fans? The gamble payed off graphically, with critics, and in sales, selling four million copies during it's short lifespan
and has an fantastic 94% at Game Ranking.

That part was probably boring as ****, let's get to the review.

Story: In the Yoshi's World, their do exist a Super Happy Tree. Yoshi's are always happy to be around them, because it brings joy to their lives. Unfortunately, Baby Bowser does not like this and as a result, he steals the Super Happy Tree and turns the world into a storybook! As a result, the Yoshi's are sad. However, six baby Yoshi's hatch out of their eggs. Colors are red, blue, yellow, light blue, pink, and of course, green! When they realize that the Yoshi's are sad and that the Super Happy Tree is gone, the six baby Yoshi's get together and make a cunning plan. Remain happy and bring back the Super Happy Tree from Baby Bowser. The baby Yoshi's get together and goes to Baby Bowser's Castle to reclaim the Super Happy Trees.

Controls: I will be doing this for every reviews, even on the Virtual Console, since not everyone reads the manuals. Now the controls.
I'll be using the Classic Controller for this section (Since I do not have a Gamecube controller anymore). First off, to move left and right, move the analog stick left to move left and right to move right. Hold the analog stick left or right to run. To jump, press the A button. Hold the A button to jump higher. Press down on the analog stick to crouch. In order to make Yoshi look up, move the analog stick up. Yoshi can move while he's crouching and looking up, but you have to
gently move the analog stick up to move while looking up and down to move while crouching. While in mid-air, press the A button to perform a Flutter Jump. This can be help while moving the analog stick up while pressing A in mid-air. While in mid-air, you can also move the analog stick down to do a ground-pound. Move the D-pad up and down to move the fruit frame closer together or further away, depending on your preferences. You can move your screen closer to Yoshi by pressing and holding the R button down. When you're doing that, Yoshi will be smelling things. While holding the R button, move left or right with the analog stick to move. You can press the ZL and ZR button to make the fruit frame disappear or come back. To stick out your tounge to eat a fruit, enemy, etc, press the B button. You can stick out your tounge upward,
diagonally, or even down. Press the X or Y button to get one of your eggs to throw. But hold on to the X or Y button, because you are able to choose where you want to aim the egg. Release the X or Y button to throw an egg. If you were considering throwing the egg, but decided not to, press the B button to cancel throwing the egg. Press the Analog Stick up to enter a door and down to enter a pipe/vase. Press the Start button to pause the game (Or in Practice Mode), to take you back to the main menu. Other then the Practice Mode, you can choose to quit the level by pressing both Start and Z button (According the the Nintendo 64 version).

Gameplay: You play as one of six Yoshi's. Before picking your Yoshi's, you get to see which one of the four fruits (Watermelons, apple, grapes, and banana) will be one of your Lucky Fruits for the game. Before starting a level, you can pick one of six kinds. Green, Red, Blue, Yellow (Looks Orange to me), Light Blue, and Pink. Under certain circumstances, you can unlock White and Black Yoshi's (Something I have yet to do). Anyway, while choosing your Yoshi's, the characters that you're considering stays in the same areas waving to you in both hands. The others are just moving around. The Yoshi's that you choose is the Yoshi's you'll play with until you either complete the level or die.
In a level screen, the left-right corner of the screen is a face. Around it is petels, which are health for Yoshi's, which in turn, depending on the health, determinds the face mood. If all eight petels are alive and well, the face will be smiling. If their are no petels and Yoshi is fixing to die, the face turns sad. It'll be even sadder if you lose a Yoshi. When you have some, not all of the petels, the face mood is mixed. On the outer edge of the screen is the fruit frame. You can keep track of how many fruits you've eaten throughout the course of the levels with the fruit frame. The rest is the gameplay screen. When you pause the game, it'll reveil the number of Special Hearts you've collected, your current score for the level, your favorite fruit, your Lucky Fruits, and during Story Mode and Trial Mode, you can even quit the level if you wish.
You're goal in the game is to eat thirty Fruits in the game. To do that, just eat any fruits that comes into your sight. Their are five kinds of fruits. Watermelons, Banana, Apple, Grapes, and Melons. Yoshi will eat any kind, but depending on colors, they will pick favorites. For example, Green Yoshi's favor watermelons, while Red Yoshi prefers apples. Their favor colors depend on the skin of their color. Back to the gameplay, the fruits will retreive health for them that they lost. You can completely regain your health with Lucky Fruits, and partially with other fruits (Even Melons). Yoshi's mood is determind by the fruits he eat and how much petels is left on the face on the top-left corner. If all the petels are alive and well, Yoshi will be happily marching and humming. But the less petels the Yoshi has, the worse his mood is. Not grumpy or sad or something like that, but he'll get tired allright. Yoshi can ground-pound the floor to find hidden stuff in the level, like for example, melons and coins. Yoshi can collect coins, special hearts, and of course fruits. Coins are something you can collect that will be important to your score. Ground-pounding can There are tons of enemies in the game, the most common being the Shy-Guys. The Shy-Guys comes in the colors of the Yoshi's you play as and even black (Eating Black Shy-Guys is not recommend, as it will drain Yoshi's health). However, other Shy-Guys, depending if they match the color of your Yoshi, can actually increase health depending on your skin color and their skin color (They have to match). If you want the color of the Shy-Guy to match, ground-pound near him (But not on him) to change his color to your color. You can collect up to six eggs. Please look at the image above, at your right is an Yoshi egg-like square. Hit the bottom of the block to bring out eggs until you have about six eggs. You can use the eggs to aim at enimies, break open bubbles, and even break blue rocks! You can also use them for mini-bosses and mid-game bosses (There are only two in the entire game). When throwing an egg, you can change the distance at where you want to throw it. When it reach that destination, it will explode, thus providing no more usefullness. Jumping on an Message Block can give you advice on what's going on and what you need to know so when you find one of the Message Blocks, hit it for useful informations. White Shy-Guys are very helpful. If you beat the game with him and he's still following you, if you've lost a Yoshi, you can bring him back, so you can play as that particular Yoshi again. Ground-pounding on an blue/yellow ? block can brings coins and melons, so take advantage of that oppertunity every time you come near by one. You can also move it around to get to other places. You can become Suppy Happy by eating one of the Heart Fruits, which you can get by eating the same kind of fruits mutiple times in a row. When you're Super Happy, you're invincible, and when you ground-pound near a Shy-Guy, you can turn him into a Lucky Fruit, making the game easier. However, it only last for a short time, so take advantage of the limited time to eat as much fruit as possible. And before I forget, he has an endless amount of eggs during that time.
Sometime, their will be some kind of mini-challenge in the game. The two I know of is where you carry the melons to the end without dropping it and how fast can you finish a race to the other sides. Depending on if you complete the challenge and if so, when or with how many is the number of melons you'll earn (Up to seven).
You can get hit by enemies. If that continues, you'll lose a life, You can lose a life from falling into a pit or object that can kill you. If you lose all six Yoshi's, it's Game Over. Strangely, you don't get a second chance, you have to restart the entire game. No but's, if's, and why's.
When you finish a level, you'll go to the scoreboard who determind your score base on how many Hearts and coins you collected, how many Yoshi's remain, and how many fruits and melons you've eaten. They add up to the total score in the Story Mode and it becomes your high score.
There are two bosses in the game, one during Pg. 3 and one during the last page.
Features: There are four modes in the game. Story Mode, Trial Mode, Option, and Practice.
Practice is basicilly tutorial for the game, in case how I explained it confused you. I highly recommend taking this mode first to understand the control, unless you already have played the game and understand it fully.
The Option Mode is where you can adjust the Audio to Stereo, Mono, and Headphone. You can also change the language from English to Japanese and vice versa. Also, you can even erase your memories (Althought it's not recommended). When you're done with the Option Mode, you can exit.
Now the Story Mode. It follow the plot way back in the Story section of the review and goes with it. There are twenty-four levels in the game, six of which you will be playing (Quite litterally, you don't even get to play more levels!). The setting is different on each page of the storybook. Now if you haven't died yet and want to finish tommrow, you can. Also, the Special Hearts that you collect, you can find up to three in each stage. The more you get, the more levels that open up to you in the next world (Or page). It also tell parts of the story after you beat each level. At the end of the game, they tally up your score of all six pages, that you view at the very end.
The last mode that we're discussing is the Trial Mode. The Trial Mode is where you can replay previously beaten levels. Gameplay wise, it follow the same rules as the Story Book, but it's defindently a departure from the story, as the Special Hearts are only their for scoring purposes. When you beat the level, it tallys up your score for the game, but not the time. I think it's a weird decision that they only did scores and not time also. But oh well.

I know this has take forever, but opinion is the beginning of the end for the review.

Visuals: It is gorgeous. From beginning to end, everything looks like it was made for the Nintendo Gamecube! I'm dead serious, this would look fine on the console. Yes it's 2.5D, but still, it looks amazing! Nintendo really outdid themself in this category. Great art direction strikes again! 10/10!

Sound: The digital voices by Yoshi's are solid, and I think they're better then the original. Each Yoshi's have a different tone to their voice, depending on the color. In other areas, they are also well executed. However, it shouldn't have rip-off some sound from past Mario titles. 9/10.

Music: Sadly, the music does not live up to the high Nintendo expectation. I was very disappointed by the soundtrack. Why? Their are way too many remixes in the same game! Not to mention most of them from meh to flat-out suck (The two rapping songs are especially bad). Sure there are a few good soundtrack here and their, but it's a huge letdown. But what killed it for me is the horrible Yoshi's singing voice. Sure their normal acting is soild, but it could have been great had it not been for them singing so badly. I mute the TV every time now when the Yoshi's are singing, it's that bad. I'm actually surpraised that my ears aren't bleeding now. Even the current cast for Sonic the Hedgehog wasn't this bad. I was thinking on 4/10, but the nearly-ear bleeding Yoshi's singing drags this to 3/10.

Bad: My first complaint is the difficulty. It's way too easy. I beat the game in five days, two of which when I didn't even pick up this game! Another complaint is that the game is way too short. As a kids game, I don't expect it to force us to run throught all twenty-four levels, but just six not even nearly enough. We should be require to play twelve levels minimal with the option. I was also disappointed with the lack of bosses. We should have gotten one boss per world, but instead, we only have two in the entire game. Also, the two bosses you fight (There are different bosses that you fight in page 3, but it depends on the level you choose) are disappointing. Almost as soon as you fight them, you find their weakness, which makes them practically an normal enemy powered up who you fight at the end. Yes, this includes the final boss.

Good: As easy as the game is, it does have some good things going on it. The first thing that I would like to note is that the gameplay is fantastic. Their are tons of variety in the game, it seems that for every level, you see something new, something interesting. Also, it's something that you can replay over an over again. The replay value is great and you'll stock up many hours on this game. Also, despite being increabily easy, their is a lot going on.

Conclusion: This game is not for everyone. I wouldn't recommend this game unless you had noglista of this game or a newcomer to the gaming world. Even then to the long-time gamers with noglista of this game, beware of the increabily easy difficulty. You will get throught this in under a week and you will realize the game is not as good as you remember it to be. For every else, unless you're absolutely dying to play this game, skip this game. For the people who really need to play this game, just buy an Nintendo 64, find a friend who has the game and borrow it for a day or so. I will tell you again, unless you are a newcomer, have noglista of this game, or absolutely suck at gaming, buying this game will be a big mistake and a waste of 1,000 Wii Points.

Final Score: 55/100.

Edit: I'm actually quite surprise that I like the game, despite the realitively low score. I need to re-review the game.

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