Topic   Wiinderful 101 Review #9 - Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

GameTZ Gold Subscriber 500 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Gold Global Trader (9) Has Written 26 Reviews This user is on the site NOW (10 seconds ago)
* 27-Jan-2018(#1)
It's back! It was a very long hiatus, so the original topic is archived, and can be found here.

I often hear people complaining about how the Wii was terrible, didn't have more than a handful of great games, etc.

It's true that there were tons of shovelware titles released for the system, but that in no way diminishes the fun of the good games on the system, and there are more of them than you might think. So in the spirit of "The Wonderful 101," a great but terribly underpurchased Wii U game, I've decided to seek out one hundred one great, or "Wiinderful," games on the Wii, and document my adventures here.

I currently have over 200 Wii games to try for this project, and another 80+ on my wanted list here on GameTZ (if anyone has any they'd like to trade or sell to me for the cause, let me know!). Also, if you have any opinions on games I should try for this project, and they aren't in my collection/available/wanted list here, please let me know and I'll research them to see if they would be a good fit. There are over 1,000 retail releases here in the US, so I'm sure I haven't heard of all of them.

I plan to submit these to the reviews section here on GameTZ, but the full log including non-review material will be here in the forums.

I'm going to set some ground rules for the project which I will be following:

RULE #1 - No online functionality will be considered
Since Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection is no more, it's not fair to consider experiences people cannot currently have with the game. Therefore, only the content available in offline play will be considered. Also, for games with dlc available, only the base game will be considered.

RULE #2 - No virtual console games will be considered
It just doesn't feel right to include Virtual Console games on the list. I could do a separate Wiinderful 101 for that by itself!

RULE #3 - WiiWare games are eligible for consideration, but retail releases are preferred
There are a good number of great WiiWare titles, but I'd like to fill the list with retail releases if I can, since the Wii Mini doesn't have any online functionality, and nobody knows how long the Wii Shop will be around.

RULE #4 - Multiplatform releases are eligible for consideration
Additionally, they will be judged on their merits as a Wii game only, not in comparison to other versions of the game.

RULE #5 - I do not have to fully beat a game before making a determination
I will play enough to get a feel for a game, and for games I feel are eligible, they will receive several hours at least of gaming time. For games that are bad, you can often know pretty early on. There is no set minimum, but I will disclose how long or how far into the game I played with the review.

RULE #6 - This is my personal enjoyment of a game, not what I think others will think of it
As you read, you'll get a feel for the kinds of games I like and don't like, and you can compare that to your own tastes, and maybe just maybe you'll be able to find something new you like!

RULE #7 - M-Rated games will be excluded (initially, at least)
Nintendo earned their reputation as the family friendly system (although some would use the word "kiddie"). Because of that, I am leaving M-rated games off the list for the time being, despite my love of Mortal Kombat Armageddon. I may include them later, but for now they are off limits, as my tastes in gaming have really moved away from them.

RULE #8 - US releases only
That's all my Wii will play, and I'm not interested in buying an import Wii or modding.

RULE #9 - Multiple entries in a series are eligible as long as they are different enough to warrant it.
If I put Metroid Prime Trilogy on the list, I would not also include Metroid Prime 3, since it is part of Trilogy.
If I put Lego Batman on the list, I would still consider Lego Batman II, since it is has different levels, characters, story, etc., even though the basic gameplay is similar. Same with Mario Galaxy 1 and 2. They share basics, but are different enough for both to be considered.
For annual sports releases, I would probably pick just one for each series, since the differences between each year are often incremental at best. Unless there are versions that are significantly different, and in good ways for both (I'm not sure what makes the EA "all play" games different from the regular installments, but that's a possible reason to have two if they are both great and different).

RULE #10 - Games will be sorted into one of three categories upon review.
Wiinderful - the game is somewhere between great and amazing - this project is about finding 101 of these games. Would rate B+ or higher on GameTZ's rating system.
Would play again - the game is decent to good. Would rate between C and B.
Wubbish - the game is just... I know I probably won't be itching to play it again, that's for sure. Equivalent GameTZ rating of C- or lower.

RULE #X - I may add rules if the need arises
Sometimes I don't think of everything up front, so if I need to add new rules, I reserve the right to do so.

Current Standings, order game was reviewed, rating, and a defining moment:

Wiinderful: 3 games
Kirby's Return to Dreamland / #006 / A+ / When you get a super ability and really start wreaking havoc
Trackmania: Build to Race / #003 / A / Nailing a perfect vertical jump
Boom Blox / #004 / A- / Knocking one block out and watching the entire stage topple

Would Play Again: 3 games
Goldeneye 007 / #007 / B / Playing as Oddjob and throwing your hat
Tetris Party Deluxe / #005 / B- / Getting 100% on one of the Shadow mode levels
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit / #008 / C / Getting to the front of the pack in a 100 car race

Wubbish: 3 games
101 in 1: Party Megamix #008 / C- / That cutscene where you realize the submarine is in the deep waters of a toilet
Mini Desktop Racing / #002 / D+ / Starting the game and realizing in horror that you have to twist the Wii Remote to steer
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer / #001 / D / Saying, "That's it?" after completing the game in under 12 minutes

Requested reviews:
Alien Syndrome (Admiral)
Battalion Wars 2 (PizzaTheHutt, Admiral)
Bit.Trip Complete (citizen_zane)
Boom Blox (PizzaTheHutt) Reviewed!
Boy and his Blob, A (Johnny)
Castlevania Judgement (Admiral)
Cate West: The Vanishing Files (Gypsy)
Cruis'n (Admiral)
De Blob (citizen_zane)
Dragon Quest Swords (SuperPhillip, Admiral)
Endless Ocean (Admiral)
Endless Ocean: Blue World (Admiral)
ExciteBots (razeak)
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - The Crystal Bearers (SuperPhillip)
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon (SuperPhillip)
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (tonymack21)
Fishing Resort (SuperPhillip)
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (Admiral, dunno001)
Ivy the Kiwi? (Admiral, SuperPhillip)
Just Dance (PizzaTheHutt)
Klonoa (PizzaTheHutt, SuperPhillip)
Kororinpa: Marble Mania (SuperPhillip)
Last Story, The (Admiral, tonymack21)
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (KCPenguins)
Lost in Shadow (Admiral)
MLB Power Pros (KCPenguins)
Marble Saga: Kororinpa (SuperPhillip)
MySims Racing (SuperPhillip)
NASCAR Kart Racing (SuperPhillip)
Opoona (SuperPhillip)
Pandora's Tower (tonymack21, Admiral)
Rhythm Heaven Fever (citizen_zane)
Rune Factory: Frontier (Killkernal)
Spectrobes Origins (SuperPhillip)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour '12 (KCPenguins)
Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga (tonymack21)
We Love Golf! (SuperPhillip)
Zack and Wiki: The Quest for Barbaros' Treasure (KCPenguins)
GameTZ Gold Subscriber 500 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Gold Global Trader (9) Has Written 26 Reviews This user is on the site NOW (10 seconds ago)
* 27-Jan-2018(#2)
Game #008: 101 in 1: Party Megamix

The prevailing perception of the Wii's immense library is that of the 1,262 physical titles released for the system, approximately 1,250 of them are mini-game collections with bad motion controls.

While 101 in 1: Party Megamix may not do anything to change that perception, the fact that they crammed a hundred and one Dalmatians mini-games onto the disc - while other publishers were content with anywhere from thirty or so, all the way down to as few as four (I'm looking at you, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) - is enough to make you sit up and take notice.

With that many mini-games, can they all be good? Surely not, as even the undisputed monarch of the mini-game genre, Mario Party, has its fair share of stinkers. But the scarier question one has to ask is whether they can all, in fact, be BAD?

I'm going to start by saying that in the couple of days prior to playing 101 in 1, I've been playing Mario Party: The Top 100 for 3DS. While I don't agree with every pick that Nintendo made for what to include there versus what to leave out, I will say that overall, they did a pretty good job choosing some of the best mini-games (although they left out some greats and also included some pretty bad ones). This isn't a review of Mario Party, but I just wanted to make it clear that's what my brain was calibrated to before sitting down to play this.

So, without further ado, here are some mini-reviews for some of the mini-games I played, sorted by the order in which I played them.

1 - Totem Trouble: C
A stack of five totems drops onto the screen for about a second. Then it goes away, and five new stacks fall. You point the Wii remote at the screen, and pick the matching stack. It works, it's a simple memory game. Nothing terrible, doesn't last too long - this is the kind of thing that could be in Mario Party with a little more polish.

2 - Mass Sculpting: D
A block of stone appears on the screen, with a pulsing circle telling you where to chisel. Using the Wii Remote to point, and swinging the Nunchuk to strike, you pound each chisel spot until it breaks, and go to the next one. Voila! You have a completed sculpture when you get them all. Then a new stone comes and you do it again until time runs out. The Nunchuk is problematic in this game, as it doesn't always register your swing. It's easy enough to swing it again and usually the hit goes on the second time. This one is just repetitive, though.

3 - Difficult Art: C+
You play as an angry person picking up statues, vases, and other valuable works of art, and destroying them by throwing them on the ground, into other pieces of art, or at other people. Use the analog stick on the Nunchuk to move, and A to pick up or throw items. It's a little clunky, but it works, and everyone crashing vases over each other's heads gives a good three stories vibe. I actually found this one to be somewhat entertaining, although it went on a little longer than needed.

4 - Flashy Photography: D
The screen is filled with birds flying around, or standing on things, and you need to use the analog stick on the Nunchuk to point your reticle at them and press A to take a picture. When you do, it shows a close up picture of the startled bird. Rinse and repeat. There are issues with this one - first and foremost, the Wii Remote has a pointer feature built in - why on earth would you make someone plug in the Nunchuk and use the analog stick to move a targeting reticle across the screen? Secondly, every time you take a picture you get one of a few different close-up shots for about three seconds while the game timer is paused. There are so many birds that you'll probably be able to get a shot every second or so while playing. Which means the game actually lasts about 4 times longer than the 60-second timer. Also, you can just keep pressing A as quick as you can while moving between birds, as it only registers when there is a valid shot. No penalty for missing shots. The shocked bird photos are funny for the first few, but grow tedious real quick.

5 - Shallow Waters: C+
You need to get your submarine across the bathtub faster than your rival. There are mines, boxes, and rubber duckies in your way. Use the Wii Remote to point where you want to go on the screen and the submarine follows. You can boost with the A button occasionally, too. There's no meter or indicator showing when you can boost, but it takes a few seconds for it to recharge. This one isn't bad, although the random layout of the hazards can make it really difficult for one player and easy for the other. Also, all the obstacles just bounce you off of them in the exact same way. It goes for three rounds, which felt about right. Not great, but not bad.

6 - Amateur Alien Abduction: D-
Use the analog stick to have your alien mosey around a pasture. Move behind cows and use an energy blast to scare them away from you and towards the glow of your UFO's tractor beam. Collect as many cows as you can. This one sounds more fun than it actually is, because your alien moves quite slowly. Additionally, like the turbo in Shallow Waters, your energy blast needs recharging between uses.

7 - Candy Dispenser Dismay: C+
There's a piece of candy at the top of a vending machine. Move four sliders left or right to move the candy through the gaps so you can retrieve it. There are sometimes non-candy items too, so be careful not to get those or you lose points. This one wasn't too bad. I liked the idea, but the execution was still flawed. There are six "slots" on screen for each slider, plus three off screen in either direction at the start of the game. The problem is you don't know what's off screen until you move the slider. So if you have all six slots blocked, you may move it to the left hoping for a gap. After three shifts, you discover there is no gap on that side. It doesn't wrap around, so now you have to shift it three times back the other way, and then additional shifts to find your gap. It doesn't happen often, but it's annoying when it does.

8 - Urban Sky Diving: C-
Jump off a building, and grab everything you can on the way down. Coins get you lots of points, but you also need to grab a certain amount of underwear hanging on lines because you use it to make your parachute. The premise is ridiculous. In practice, though, it's just pointing your Wii remote where you want to go on the auto-scrolling screen, and hitting A once you have enough underwear. But you need some precision. If the cursor ever goes off screen, your jumper stops moving, which can be frustrating if you need a quick move to the left and you jerk the Wii remote just a hair too far.

9 - Dwarf Hurling: B+
Throw a dwarf out on the ocean with a flick of your Wii remote, then gently guide him left or right to hit as many targets and birds as you can. With everything coming from the background forward it's easy to see where you need to go and point the Wii remote accordingly. This one plays quickly, it's simple, and controls well.

10 - Troglodyte Golf: F
Shake the Wii Remote and Nunchuk as fast as you can to build up strength, then press A to smack a statue with your club, driving it into the ground. Time your smack for when the pulsing circle is the smallest. I'm not a fan of "shake as fast as you can" minigames at all, and pounding a statue into the ground is not golf. Golf should be things flying through the air. The only redeeming feature of this minigame is that it is mercifully short.

In total, I played 40 of the 101 mini-games available in this package. I thought 6 were fun, 13 were ok, 20 were awful, and 1 was actually broken. That one (Fatal Distraction) is a Space Invaders style game where you use the analog stick to move and the A button to shoot. In theory at least. The A button did not shoot when I played, and neither did any other button or shake of the controllers. I tried it 4 times with the same result. I don't know what the issue is, but I watched a YouTube video of that mini-game, and it worked fine for that player.

There's another issue, though, which is almost as frustrating as how thoroughly below average the mini-games are. That issue is that the majority of them are single player. When you use the word "party" in your title, there are certain assumptions that people will make about your game. One of those assumptions is that you will be able to break it out with a group of friends and play together.

There is a Marathon mode in the game that is for 2-4 players. But it just picks a random smattering of five mini-games, and you play them one at a time, and compare your score at the end. Then it's back to the menu. For the single player games, you take turns. Because parties are a one person at a time kind of deal where the developer Nordcurrent is from.

The overall presentation outside the minigames leaves a lot to be desired too. Mario Party and Wii Party wrap their minigames in a relatively interesting way. Mario Party has it's board game element, and Wii Party has a board game as well as other game show style modes. 101 in 1 just has menus.

Additionally, in Mario/Wii Party, you choose a character or Mii and play the macro game and mini-games with that character, which gives a sense of continuity to the game, and a sense of ownership of your performance. 101 in 1 has you playing as whatever thing they've chosen for a particular mini-game, whether it's an alien, a skater dude, a cow, a submarine, or just some omnipresent thing that points.

101 in 1: Party Megamix isn't the worst mini-game fest on the Wii, but there are far better options out there - both for mini-game collections, and for other games that work well for parties.

GameTZ Gold Subscriber 500 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Gold Global Trader (9) Has Written 26 Reviews This user is on the site NOW (10 seconds ago)
Game #009: Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

Sometimes, publishers release a PS3 or Xbox 360 game, and then do a quick and dirty downgrade port for the Wii. Other times, they make the Wii version a completely different game, for better or for worse. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit for the Wii falls into the latter category on both counts.

One of my rules in reviewing a multi-platform game is to judge it on its own merit, and not in comparison to the other versions of the game. And as long as you're not comparing it to the PS3/360 game, there's not a lot that's outright wrong with the Wii version, it's just thoroughly average.

There are four different locations across the globe, Chongqing, Dubai, Rio de Janeiro and Las Vegas, and each has several different tracks. The career mode has you progress through each of these locales, gaining points and unlocking cars along the way.

In concept, racing in different regions sounds cool. In practice, though, most of the locations look practically identical to each other. Bland looking streets with drab guard railings on the side to keep you in line. There are usually buildings around too. There are shortcuts or alternate paths in some tracks, but not enough to really make the tracks stand out. Unfortunately, this means that no matter which region you are in, the tracks end up looking and feeling pretty samey. There are tracks that focus on long straights and tracks that have a number of tight turns. Other than those two broad categories, though, the differences feel pretty minor. For example, one track actually has a jump ramp. Another one has a shortcut through a twisty canyon. But at any other point on those two tracks, there isn't much to distinguish them from each other.

As far as the graphics go in other areas of the game, the cars are all licensed models, but they're pretty basic. They look decent in the car select screen, but they're not much to look at in action. That being said, the game runs at a pretty smooth framerate in single player. I did not try the multiplayer in this game, although I have read that it gets pretty choppy.

The sound is... there, I guess. Generic car sounds: engine revving, tires squealing, collision sounds when you hit something, etc. The powerups make typical video game sounds. The music is standard EA stuff - licensed tracks from bands I've never heard of and don't care to find out more about after hearing their music in the game. It's not awful, but not enthralling, either.

To try and keep things fresh, there are five different race types. There's the basic Hot Pursuit race, where you and the other drivers race a few laps and try to avoid the cops. Next up is the Eliminator race, where every so often the person in last gets removed from the race until there is just one car remaining. Then there is the always exciting Time Trial, which is inexplicably part of the career mode in this game, when in most other racing games it's known as the mode never played unless there's a trophy or achievement or other unlockable for doing so. Fourth is the Interceptor mode where you play as the cop and try to tag certain racers three times to get them out of the race. Finally, there's Rush Hour mode. It's similar to the Eliminator mode, except there are a hundred other racers, and they don't just eliminate one car at a time. Of all the race types, I found this one to be the most fun, because it felt like an old school arcade racer where there are dozens of cars ahead of you and you have to claw your way to the front of the pack.

There are also various powerups you can pick up while racing that will repair damage, boost your speed, auto-steer you at full speed through tough corners, protect you from damage, or send a shockwave to damage or push other cars off course.

It's a bit disappointing that although your car can take damage, there isn't any actual damage modeling in the game, I think the only thing damage does is limit the amount of turbo boost you can hold. Speaking of turbo boost, I did appreciate that there are two levels of boost - you can burn it slow for a minor speed increase, or you can burn it quickly for a more noticeable boost.

I played with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo, and it controlled fairly well. The early cars don't handle very well, as you might expect, but with practice it's not difficult to drift around most corners. The auto-steer power up is quite useful in a few of the tighter corners though.

Overall, you could do a lot worse than Hot Pursuit on the Wii. It's competent, has some variety, and it controls well enough. But you could do a lot better. It's that frustrating middle-of-the-road thing that ultimately makes this a tough game to recommend. If you wanted a Wii racing game, and were thinking about this one, I wouldn't tell you not to get it like I might with, say, Mini Desktop Racing. But if you were asking me which Wii racing game you should buy, this one wouldn't be on my radar.

"It's fine." Anyone who has heard those words from a spouse or significant other knows that it doesn't really mean that it is actually fine. It's almost always said with some kind of disappointment, and in some cases resentment. It doesn't matter if you're going to Wendy's or Burger King or Carl's Jr/Hardees for a burger if you're in the mood for Mexican food. "It's fine." But it's just not what you really wanted.

THE VERDICT: Would play again.
GameTZ Gold Subscriber 500 Trade Quintuple Gold Good Trader Gold Global Trader (9) Has Written 26 Reviews This user is on the site NOW (10 seconds ago)
With that one out of the way, I will start working on a few of the ones people requested. yes

Also have played a lot of Mario Galaxy 1/2 lately so I may sprinkle in reviews for those soon, too.

Topic   Wiinderful 101 Review #9 - Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit