Today I go over the Top 10 Let's Plays I have done during my 5th full year on YouTube. Some of these are chosen because of either the game itself, the commentary of the LP, or the gameplay done throughout. Most of these choices are strictly my opinion, but slightly influenced by the fan input I have gotten over the past few days. So without further ado, let's get started.
#10 - Mario vs Bowser & Mighty No. 9.
It's no secret that Super Mario World hacks get a huge bulk of views for me, and this one was no exception. It was requested to me through my Facebook page by the hack developer, Roberto Zampari. Sure it was mired with a game-breaking bug in the first part if you press the wrong button, though I believe that was patched up since then. That being said however, the hack certainly delivered in well thought out level design, great custom tracks, and a plot tying in Mario with the Mega Man series as a whole. The ending though, left a little to be desired, and felt really tacky with random pony references, but overall, a really good hack, and my choice for #10 on my Top 10 LP List.
#9 - Clarence's Big Chance
For a simple Flash game platformer, it feels really polished. You're an adult man who lives with his parents, trying to get lucky in love. Sure you get a date by lying about your appearance and life, but the adventure in proving you have what it takes to woo someone is a zany one at best. There are multiple endings you can get, and that all depends on how many items you found, what hints you know about your date, and how much money you have found scattered throughout the levels. Oh, and how can you not make fun of devouring the fleshy beating hearts of humans, rubber duckies, and electrical appliances. Yes, that actually is a thing in the game...along with causing a car to drop down from pretty much anywhere.
#8 - Donkey Kong Country Returns
Anyone who has played the previous Donkey Kong Country games first released on the Super Nintendo know what they are in for when they play this game. Your bananas have been taken by the vile Tiki Tak Tribe, who also use mind control on the inhabitants of DK Island. And your goal is to travel across multiple themed worlds to defeat them, collect Kong Letters and Puzzle Pieces. The difficulty can range from easy, to average, to painstakingly hard within just a few levels, which keeps this experience from growing stale. The graphics and music are just to die for, and the many different types of levels, such as rocket barrel stages, as well as mine cart stages make this game a must play even at this time, not to mention its sequel, Tropical Freeze, out for the Wii U. Hopefully Sandbox Gaming makes use of this game as I have donated it, along with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and Super Mario Galaxy to them not too long ago. In fact, I did catch some DKCR being played at a Video Game Mixer, because what goes better with alcohol than apes with ties and ball caps.
In fact, if you want to know more about Sandbox Gaming, which I am a volunteer of, there are two places to check them out.
1. Their website - http://www.sandboxgaming.org
2. Their Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/SandboxGamingNL
#7 - Mega Man X8
Capcom needed to breathe new life into the X series after the infamous and impotent X7, and X8 did a good job in that. The game did away with the unpolished 3D levels and went for a standard 2D format that many Mega Man X games have used in the past. Being able to play as either X, Zero, or Axl, gives each stage some replay value as you will be backtracking to get items you cannot reach without a specific weapon, and the music really pumps you up. While not the best X game as this one has an extremly high difficulty curve in certain stages, but overall, if you want a challenge, this is a game you cannot pass up.
#6 - Spelunky
A popular indie game that was remade in an HD version after the acclaimed success of the original, which is still available for free. You are an explorer looking for ancient treasure in a deep underground area full of randomly generated rooms that can range from very rewarding to very cruel. The dangers are vast, as are the secrets such as new items, hidden areas, and unlockable characters. Sure each character has no unique traits, but they are zany in their own right. Even Edmund McMillen's Meat Boy makes an appearance if you can unlock him in the Worm stage. Personally, most of the joy is not in how you win, but in how many ways you can lose, and not many games have that kind of charm.
#5 - Ratchet & Clank
The much acclaimed duo of a Lombax and a robot has been requested to me for the 2013 Christmas Special, and I couldn't wait to play the first game. Needless to say it lived up to the hype, as I enjoy these kind of platformers that have much to explore and much to gather. The environments were well done, and the voice acting attracts you to each character, giving them their unique charm. You got attached to each main character, and the wide variety of weapons gives you many ways to dispatch the large array of enemies. It is not an easy game, for the enemies have great killing power, so you better keep your arsenal updated if you want to have good success against them. Only disappointment to me would be the lack of Clankbot scenarios, and there were only 2 Hoverboard races. But all in all, this game was really fun to play, and you can look forward to other Ratchet & Clank games done by me in the near future.
#4 - Spyro the Dragon
This has been a game requested to me for years, and another game I have done as part of the 2013 Christmas Special. I am not surprised to have this game requested many times, as it is a great experience. The environments are absolutely whimsical, and the music immerses you. Voice acting is cheesy, but funny at the same time as you're going around saving fellow dragons. Sure a few of them have the generic 'Thank you for releasing me', but others are there for comic relief, which adds a light feel to this game that is already light enough as is. But I will say this, Treetops is not a stage I would recommend in terms of trying out a random Spyro stage for the first time as it is an absolute chore much akin to wiping yourself with Tater Mitts.
#3 - Mega Man Battle Network 4: Red Sun/Blue Moon
I am no stranger to the Battle Network series, for I have done the preceding 3 games before this, and was the final pick of the 2013 Christmas Special. Veterans and beginners to the series can easily pick up this game as the series traditionally brings in a tutorial to get you familiar with the battle system to help you find your niche and strategy to taking out your virus foes, as well as all-powerful Navis. There are multiple ways you can build a winning folder, and how you find that folder that works for you is the joy that this series as a whole brings. I would have ranked this higher in the Top 10 had it not been for two things. 1. The game requires you to beat this game more than once in order to unlock every ability and earn the right to battle Bass, which has been a fixture for all challengers in the series to fight an extremely powerful superboss. 2. The main plot of an asteroid coming to hit the Earth and wipe out humanity gets overshadowed by the multitude of tournaments that Lan Hikari competes in, so it becomes more about proving your worth in the NetBattle Community than it does about being the world's saviour one more time. But alas, it was very enjoyable and I can't wait to do Battle Networks 5 and 6 in the future.
#2 - Super Mario Galaxy
Speaking of Mario Galaxy, it's no surprise that this game has been voted by my audience as a great LP for this time period. The experience of Mario going to space to rescue Princess Peach, while exploring various galaxies is breathtaking, and the music makes it much more memorable. 3D Mario veterans get a breath of fresh air after Super Mario Sunshine, as this game feels more polished, and offers more to the Mario spectrum than just jumping on enemies, collecting Stars, and hoarding coins. Flying into space, seeing the vast universe around you, and battling giant beasts, makes Super Mario Galaxy one of the best, if not the best LP I have done in my 5th year on YouTube. Also, it has a bit of replay value if you want to play it as Luigi, where your jumping is higher, but your traction suffers. Not just that, but the Cosmic Luigi races are harder than the Cosmic Mario ones. But there was one game, however, that topped it, and it was no surprise to see much acclaim for the #1 LP on this list.
#1 - Shovel Knight
When this game was in development, the hype was there. Everybody was promoting it as the perfect retro throwback with gameplay that's a mix of Mega Man, Castlevania, and DuckTales. And no surprise, it was exactly that when it got released on PC, Wii U, and 3DS. I was not one to resist the chance to LP this game, and I wanted to do it blind so that I can experience it for the first time with you guys. The modern 8-bit vibe immersed you back to your childhood, and the gameplay was quite polished, not only giving you flexible jumping and melee attacks, but a multitude of special weapons (or relics) to use against your foes. The difficulty is quite fair, and there are many spots where if you take a single hit, you will die as pit/enemy placement can be cruel. But it tested your skills and ingenuity, which games are meant to do. To not only be fun, but to be challenging and give your brain an exercise. And hey, promoting a giveaway so that some lucky fan can win a copy of this game, was a nice reward in itself as well.
So that's my Top 10 LPs from September 2013 to September 2014. Hopefully the 6th year on YouTube will yield just as bountiful projects to be enjoyed by all. Now let's take a look at the worst 10 LPs I have done in that same time period:
#10 - Vice: Project Doom
Personally, I enjoyed Let's Playing this game, and found it a bit on the short side, as most NES action games are. The plot did feel slightly shallow in my opinion, as you play the role of Agent Hart who is trying to stop a corporation involved in military and electronic weaponry. Also, that company is a front for an alien race, which also alludes to Hart being one of the bio-forms, developed by said race. The controls are actually quite intuitive in terms of movement and weapons, but the other modes such as car driving and shootouts were used too sparingly compared to the platforming parts. Not a terrible game, or even a bad one by any stretch of the imagination, but just fell on the wayside compared to the many other projects done by me within that time period.
#9 - Hybrid Heaven
In my opinion, it's definitely a game that could have used a sequel, or at least an HD remaster as we have the ability to make such a fighting system work more fluidly. While the music and gameplay are good, the controls feel awkward, and the camera angles are difficult to manage. Also, building up your character's stats can also play a huge risk as in order to build up defense, you have to get hit, almost to the point you're near death to min-max your potential. While most encounters are not random, it makes backtracking slightly faster. However, it means you can find yourself unable to level grind; so if you defeated enemies too fast and can't build up your defense, you have to make do, putting you at risk of getting killed by bosses who can either do devastating moves, or combos you can't recover from fast enough. As for moves, you would have to get hit by that move to learn it, and even then you may not always learn it, so increasing your moveset is also a chore, making it #9 on this list.
#8 - Commander Keen 1 (2 and 3 fall under the same category)
Anyone who is into the good old DOS days of PC gaming has at least either played or heard of Commander Keen. Many of them also remember him from Keen games 4 and 5, which were very enthralling. Some of these people, however, cringe at the series after hearing of the first three. The movement is stiff when it comes to jumping and the pogo stick, and the controls are weird as well, since you have to use the pogo stick and jump button at the same time to fire your ray gun. Of course, I used a keyboard to joypad emulator, mapping this duo of key pressing to a single button, making it so much easier in the long run. The sound effects are primitive and grating as there is no background music, and the difficulty is really intense, since you die in one hit, and there were no mid-saves until Keens 4 and 5, so you had to finish the stages in one go. Oh, and you don't have infinite lives either, so if you either don't save before a hard stage, or save after using up too much ammo, you can find yourself in a bad situation real fast, or in worse cases, an unwinnable one.
#7 - SMW: The After Years
I guess not all SMW hacks I do rake in huge popularity, as this particular hack was disliked by some of my fanbase, and it's easy to see why. The story deviates from it being played as Mario, but instead as someone who idolized him named Mute. The Mushroom Kingdom is attacked by a man named Nova, who after so many battles throughout the game, was revealed to be Mute's brother all along. That plot twist is often cliched and felt like it was jumping the shark which didn't need to happen. In terms of the plot, it really fatigued you with the many instances of dialogue, which can be very lengthy. In some instances you ran into long dialogue in multiple points of the same level, which really burns away the momentum that the level provides. Overall, the game tried to do too much to bring in an enthralling story and it took away from what people play Mario hacks for, which is the different levels and challenge that awaits.
#6 - Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole
A game that had a neat plot, along with some memorable characters, such as Nigel and Friday. Thankfully, the protagonist actually talks, deviating from the whole silent hero schtick. The glaring problem that this game had however, was the many confusing dungeons, as well as relying on diagonal isometrics. Because you can only go in diagonal movements, you usually found yourself holding two directions at once, which is harder on the thumbs, and because there are no shadows, it's hard to tell where the platforms really are, or where you are gonna land. Also, the combat system feels clunky as your sword attack has limited range, and there's no real pattern for most of the enemies, meaning you'll find yourself suddenly taking damage, often without warning. Not to mention, while your attack cancels should an object get in the way of your swing, enemies don't have such a penalty, and can hit you even through walls. While not an awful game, its flaws give it the #6 spot on my Top 10 Worst LPs.
#5 - Easter Bunny's Big Day
#4 - Mortal Kombat Deception
This game continues after the events of Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance. While the fighting in this game looks and feels much better, it's the Konquest mode that can drag on in ways it shouldn't. The backgrounds look sterile after being in them for so long, and the colors are dreary. Also, the constant wave of tutorials interrupt the flow so much, and after a while, get very generic very fast. And to make things worse, some collectibles you can only obtain after you beat the main quest. Some of which only appear in specific times of day, lasting for as little as only an hour, even to the point they can disappear in front of you. And to get another chance? You may have to wait as long as a full in-game month, making some items very inaccessible unless you memorize where and when to get them. The mini-games are a bit fun, though Chess Kombat is much better than Puzzle Kombat. Overall, the Konquest mode really dragged this LP on, and once I got bored and disinterested with getting the unlockable items, was when it suffered greatly, much deserving of the #4 spot on this list.
#3 - Pac-Man World
A lot of people grew up with Pac-Man, and spending their many quarters in arcades across town playing him. For his 20th anniversary, we get this game, Pac-Man World. The music is whimsical for its time, and the story is done well, kept simple for the type of game that it is. The main issue with the game, however, is the platforming itself. The jumping feels stiff, and the combat is a bit unrefined. You can find yourself taking damage from enemies, even if you kill them the right way yourself, making the hit detection shoddy at best. Also, the bosses range from extremely hard, to extremely tedious; especially with the 5th boss, where he uses the exact same attack pattern, but his health bar is too big, making it a really boring fight. I don't know if the sequels are any better, but the original Pac-Man World earns this spot on the #3 list, meaning there are two LPs that I did that were worse than this.
#2 - The Barbie Diaries: High School Mystery
Many would dislike this LP just because it's associated with Barbie and nothing else. Personally, I do not blame them as Barbie games tend to feel shallow. This game could have been executed better, had it not been for many obvious flaws. First of all, the isometrics are broken in the places you have to dodge obstacles. The shadows of food or soccer balls would pass you, but the sprites themselves still send you back to the beginning if you touch them, meaning the objects and shadows aren't connected to each other. Also, the mini-games you have to take on, not only to sort through mail, but to even answer a text message, can be tedious and dull. In fact, you have to have good reaction time for receiving text messages, and this is for every single one...not to mention you get a lot of them. Final flaw to mention would be that the plot feels so shallow and full of holes. You get to a certain point in the game, and one of your friends has a gadget for your device that conveniently fixes a problem in your way, such as a lie detector test. Oh, and let's not forget the notorious typo for replacing 'diary' with 'dairy'.
#1 - Dynasty Warriors 4
Personally, I would not have put the game there on this list at all, due to my love for the series as a whole, and many others would be infuriated to see this above Barbie in this list. But the many reasons people didn't like it as much are easy to recognize, so I will go over them. The gameplay can be repetitive, but enjoyable as you mow down countless soldiers. But it is just that, repetitive. Also, the series as a whole had 125 parts, making it the longest episodic LP I have ever done, topping Final Fantasy VI Advance for that coveted title. Eventually, people got tired of the series as each campaign can have repeated stages, as certain kingdoms face each other, covering each side depending on what campaign you do. I will do Dynasty Warriors 5 someday in the future, but this LP has been a test as to what would be the best way to avoid this problem in the future, as having a project from November to May, almost every single day of that time period was getting stale for many people. And that is why it earned the #1 spot on my Worst 10 LPs of this time period.
So there you have it, my 10 best and 10 worst LPs of my 5th year on YouTube. I'm sure the 6th year will have its more notable Let's Plays, seeing as how Twilight Princess falls in that time period, and there will be many others. Not just that, but the 2014 Christmas Special should have its many treasures too. Thanks for reading, everybody!