|44 23%||Jak II (2003) - Nov 14, 2019
"A game that tries to jump on every trend of its moment, especially the ones least likely to improve a platformer. Jack is back, he's talking, and he's surly in a drab and gritty sci-fi cliché of a city pulled out of nowhere, where the player may experience just enough foul language for a T rating, a pointless rage meter, mediocre third person shooting, terrible open world driving, and maybe even a little linear platforming. Graphically and technically impressive it may be, but fun it is not."
|55 35%||Futurama (2003) - Nov 04, 2019
"Good use of the license with cutscenes by the show staff and everything. Levels feel rather by-the-numbers, but there's variety as some are third-person shooting, some jump-heavy platforming, and some "find the switches to get through the temple" with brawling. Would be more fun if the controls weren't so iffy. About "rental game" quality for its day."
|63 46%||The Simpsons: Hit & Run (2003) - Nov 04, 2019
"Well, if you cared for the driving missions in GTA III at all, here's many dozens just like them, gussied up with an endless stream of Simpsons references. Thankfully, there's no dodgy GTA style shooting, but there is a bit of half-baked platforming instead. Miles above most games with this license, at least."
|75 75%||Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (2003) - Oct 24, 2019
"An appealing tactical game, though it's more about playing around and building up your characters than challenge per se. The constant advancement to ever more overpowered stats can be fun if you care for the constant grinding needed to achieve them, though. The goofily energetic yet character-driven anime-style plot was a fresh change of pace for the genre at a time when Japanese strategy RPGs were generally bogged down in drawn-out "epic political intrigue" of variable quality."
|64 51%||Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (1985) - Oct 02, 2019
"Mechanically like III (other than a tedious "crafting" mechanic for spells). People have always been taken by the idea of acting out a moral role as the main goal, which I get, especially in a 1985 RPG. But do not expect the mechanics to live up to that concept. Sure, cheat and slaughter everyone a bit, but be sure to donate one coin at a time to beggars and tell some random person named Singsong or Billybob "No, I'm not proud" a few dozen times, and you're the most moral person who'll ever live"
|86 90%||WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames! (2003) - Sep 13, 2019
"Simple but wackily presented rapid-fire minigame collections like this had been popular in Japanese arcades for a long time, but Nintendo really did a fine job adding the variety and polish needed to make this a genre that would work as a handheld game people would actually want to come back to, with plenty of variety, charming presentation, and variable difficulty (though I wonder how many people stuck around for the hardest versions of everything). Also, the Fly Swatter game from Mario Paint."
|90 94%||Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (2003) - Sep 11, 2019
"A GBA entry finally rediscovers the right balance. What that means in terms of this series is throwing new powers and abilities at you left and right, some more useful than others, to keep you interested, some from grinding (the new "soul absorption" mechanic), and some from Metroid-style exploration (the rarest weapons and armor). Also, a fun bonus character lets you eschew all that action-RPG nonsense and make a beeline for the bosses with a more agile take on the classic Belmont arsenal."
|64 51%||Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (2002) - Sep 11, 2019
"If the prior entry dragged things out by making you take it slow, carefully hopping through tedious passages and grinding away for cards and XP, this tries the opposite technique of dragging things out with sheer walking distance as you breeze ever onward through one long, trivial hallway after another. At least they're much prettier hallways than last time, and there's a nice variety of overpowered magic attacks to play around with while you're at it."
|58 40%||Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (2001) - Sep 11, 2019
"Not really the spectacle that Symphony of the Night was, and clearly designed around the assumption the typical player will spend an absurd amount of time grinding for levels or be hopelessly outclassed by enemy stats and hampered by a lack of the magical abilities gained by collecting the annoyingly rare cards dropped by enemies.Clever subweapon use can help quite a bit, though only so much.It might have been better if shorter, and not so stretched out by grind and deliberately slow platforming"
|90 94%||Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997) - Sep 10, 2019
"The beginning of Igarashi's long-running re-imagining of the Castlevania formula that stood among the titles proving that 2D platformers abounding in style and substance were far from dead with the arrival of 3D. The direction was never quite as fully "Castlevania goes Metroid" as some might have it, as the action RPG grind for experience, money, and rarer drops to aid combat are very much present, whereas Metroid ignores them in favor of a tighter focus on the "lock and key" nature of abilities"