Spyborgs

If there’s one thing every video game could be improved with, it’s mayor Mike Haggar from Capcom’s very own Final Fight. Even the crappiest of games would become instant stunner deals (Streetwise never happened) with his inclusion. Just… pile-driving everything non-stop. For example, imagine Data Design re-releasing Billy the Wizard as Mike Haggar the Wizard. He’d spin that entire castle right into the Earth’s core, before beating up on some garbage bins to restore his stamina with filthy, discarded roast chicken.Sadly, Spyborgs has a distinct lack of Haggar, but it is at least in the same genre as Final Fight. Side-scrolling beat ’em ups are a rarity in this day and age; especially ones that actually make it to retail. This final product is actually nothing like Bionic Games’ original vision for the title. It was initially unveiled as a ‘comedy’ adventure inspired by early 90s cartoons and what looked to be rather large bags of steaming horse urine. Thanks to a huge amount of internet backlash, Spyborgs’development went into chaos and somehow mutated into this no-nonsense, bog-standard brawler.

There’s a story, but it’s not very important and rarely ever gets in the way (this is a good thing). Essentially, someone’s being a dickhead and it’s up to the remaining members of the ‘Spyborg Initiative’ to save the day. See, just how much cooler would that have been as the ‘Haggar Initiative’? You better believe there’d be chest hair everywhere. Alas, there are three characters here, each with their own strengths and weaknesses (urr hurr no way) – a quick but fairly weak ninja, a slow but insanely powerful robot, and some guy with a gun fused to his arm to impress the ladies. While Spyborgs is best played with a friend in co-op, each stage will always have two of the three playable characters in action during single player. The CPU does its best to help out as the second player, and you can freely switch between the two at any time.

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Mario’s Cement Factory

Before he became a plumber to partake in typical plumber-like duties such as punching bricks, crushing turtles, crotch-polishing flagpoles and breaking into castles to let off fireworks, Mario owned a cement factory. True story. He made sure to let people know it was his, calling it Mario’s Cement Factory. This wasn’t a joint business venture with his brother – no, this was all Mario. Presumably Luigi just owned a gun, which he’d point towards the back of his trembling mouth each and every night.

Mario’s Cement Factory is one of those few Game & Watch games re-released through the DSiWare service. I like the idea of having these available for 200 Points ($3 something in Kangaroo money) a pop, but also lay awake in bed at night with the thought of never getting another awesome Game & Watch Gallery cartridge compilation ever again. This is a faithful replica of the original 1983 LCD handheld, and as far as Game & Watch games go, it’s probably one of the more hectic.

For whatever reason, Mario’s decided to do this all by himself. Conveyor belts dump bags of cement into chutes on both sides of the screen non-stop. As the company was put together with a budget of fifty seven cents, these have to be manually emptied and can only hold three bags at a time before the entire factory comes to a grinding halt. Naturally, arriving at this dreadful situation kills Mario and perhaps the universe itself.

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Sonic Heroes

Sonic Team sat down and listened to the fans for this game. “Actually make Sonic the main focus, ditch the crap-rock, fix the camera!” they cried in absolute pain as Mr. Naka ran them over in his race car while listening to Crush 40.

“I DISLIKE YOUR COMMENTS AND WILL BECOME A SUCCESS IN THE UK, A HAW HAW HAW”

About an hour later, Sonic Heroes was finished and on retail shelves. What’s this? Sonic’s got team based sex antics going on now? Oh okay. This obviously requires several teams of freaks. Remember those idiots from Knuckles Chaotix? Of course you don’t, because the world was trying to forget them. BUT NO, Sega will jog your memory. “HERE’S ANGSTY PURPLE THING, HAPPY BEE AND BIG SLOW CROC” they yell as crumbs stick to your face.

In total, there’s four teams of three characters. Each fart around the very same levels, but with silly different bits of storyline that all eventually cross over. It’s a game about talking to dead people. Every team has a fast character, a flying character and a ANGRY BREAK DOWN WALLS character. ‘Cept Big the Cat’s angry in a ‘where’s my brain’ kind of way. You need to switch between these characters all the time. This manages to totally destroy the whole Sonic feel. You might be running really fast for a few seconds then UH OH it’s time to switch over to slow breaking down walls character to.. you know.. break down some walls that are there for no reason. I’m sure Robotnik (or Eggman as Sega like to call him now, another delightful decision) has nothing better to do than stroll down to the beach and put up some walls. “I enjoy long walks on the beach. So I can put some walls all over it”. The flying characters are typically there just so you can fly for a few seconds only to somehow glitch up and end up falling into an endless background JPEG. How can Cream even manage to lift Amy and Big? His name is Big for a reason (THIS IS NOT SEX RELATED). Cream’s arms should totally break off and blood would cover the entire level. Knuckles would be all “hooo-waaaah”.

Sonic Team attempted to give some of the levels a retro look. The checkerboard textures that were very present in Sonic 1 are back on the Seaside Something or Other level, there’s a new Casino level. And um. There’s a level that’s.. er.. has the word Metropolis in it. Sadly, the levels are very VERY poorly designed. Very. They drag on for far too long, typically have very little checkpoints and require more rail grinding or breaking stuff than running. In fact, you won’t be running much in this game at all. Doing so could result in death, thanks to the return of terrible camera man (Lakitu’s confused cousin) and some shocking clipping. There’s an entire level called Rail Canyon. Can you guess what this level requires you to do? Sell ice cream. The fun part is where bomb trains crash into you and you witness the Game Over screen for the 7th time in the last three minutes. Jumping from rail to rail should of been easy, it’s not. There are times when you press left or right + jump and UH OH YOU’RE NOW SPAZING IN THE AIR? Death. To top this all off, Tails feels the need to yell “I’m falling!” when you’re falling. They’ve changed his voice actor for this game, too. I think they’re going for that three year old feel now.

When you get to a switch, one of the characters will insist on blurting out “I wonder what this switch will do?” WELL JESUS, I DUNNO. MAYBE IT’LL MAKE ENEMIES APPEAR LIKE THE OTHER SEVEN HUNDRED HAVE? Music is another sore point. Once again, we have the pleasure of dreadful rock music and other depressing lack of melody lack of meaning music to fall down holes to. Though I did rather enjoy Casino Park’s music, it was catchy as hell. Too bad the level involved confusing pinball machines of doom.

The game will last you a long time, I spose. If you can be bothered to play the same levels as the other characters (which you’ll need to do in order to actually complete it). There’s a sad 2 player mode where you fall down holes together, also. I think the game also has an options menu. Some stuff just doesn’t work in 3D. Sonic’s that stuff. I can’t wait for the Shadow the Hedgehog game. WATCH OUT PRINCE OF PERSIA.

This game gets two breadrolls out of a bakers dozen.