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Rocky’s Reviews

Mario Kart: Super Circuit

Game Boy Advance – 2001

Mario Kart’s first foray in to the world of handheld racing is a memorable one. A bright and colourful games that’s still a challenge. While the course may be a bit more simple than its N64 counterpart, they still have memorable moment. You ca also unlock the Super Mario Kart tracks, which is a nice bonus. The cars control surprisingly well and each racer has their own stats so you should be able to find one to suit your style. I’d recommend playing this on a GAB SP or through the Game Boy Player on GameCube so you can truly experience the charming visuals.

4/5

Mario Kart 64

Nintendo 64 – 1997

There are few games that can trigger nostalgia for me quite like Mario Kart 64. Late nights sat around a screen with three friends playing a variety of the game’s modes, or just replaying Bowser’s Castle by myself again and again. The game is probably one of the few on the N64 to have aged well. The graphics still look good and the controls are as responsive as ever. Moving the AI characters away from unique specials to using the same item boxes as you makes the game easier and, in my opinion, more enjoyable. The two negatives I’d have are that it introduced the Blue Sell (although it couldn’t fly just yet) and Rainbow Road is probably the most boring in the series.

5/5

Super Mario Kart

Super Nintendo – 1992

Where it all began. To this day, the title music is ingrained in my brain. The amount of hours lost (or well spent, you decide) on Balloon Battle with friends is staggering. The game itself is a solid racer that makes excellent use of the Super Nintendo’s Mode 7 graphics. Going back now, however, exposes some flaws in the game. The other racers have their own specials that they can use whenever they want (God help you if you get stuck behind the Mario brothers) and you can often get knocked around the place. The game is definitely more challenging than those that came after it and I don’t know how may times Donut Plains 3 ended my run for a cup in the Special Cup (Donut Plains 3 is the first track!).

4/5

Marvel Ultimate 3: The Black Order

Nintendo Switch – 2019

The final game (to date) in the Ultimate Alliance series is a solid entry. The four player co-op is back but the new Infinity Trials add a bit more depth to the game. Sure, the previous entries did have a Simulator but this one uses the rifts for unlocking characters, costumes and unique ISO-8 crystals. The rifts can be quite challenging so it’s worth grinding a bit to level up your characters. The costumes so far have been a bit disappointing. In previous entries, they were different outfits but now they’re just pallet swaps. Perhaps the most notable change form the second entry is the art style. While MUA2 had a more realistic setting, MUA3 goes for a more comic book look.

3.5/5

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2

Xbox 360 – 2009

Set during Civil War, MUA2 has players pick sides in the conflict. You can either side with Iron Man and the Pro-Registration side or Captain America and the Anti-Registration heroes. Depending on your choice, you’ll have a different hub, different characters and some different missions. The game-play itself is an action RPG with you controlling a party of four (which up to three friends can join you). Like the other games in the series, characters can be unlocked by progressing through the story or finding hidden items. Thor is probably one of the characters you’ll want in your party as his abilities can make the game a breeze, even on the harder difficulty levels.

3.5/5

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

PlayStation 2 – 2006

Taking the game-play from X-Men Legends II and throwing in a whole range of Marvel characters can only be a good thing, right? Absolutely. The game also has additional objectives and choices that can affect the endings you receive. The game is a fun beat’em, especially in four player, but it sticks to the same tried and tested formula of the two X-Men Legends games. It’s probably worth looking out for the Gold Edition on the Xbox 360 so you can play as the additional characters.

3.5/5

X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse

Xbox – 2005

X-Men Legends II takes everything established in the first game and expands upon it. The roster is now larger and includes some of your favourite villains. The new locations are beautifully put together and encourage exploration to unlock secrets and characters. There are unique dialogue encounters depending on who you have in your team so it’s worth mixing it up every now and again. The graphics look cleaner than the first one and the camera retains its top-down view, enabling you to explore the levels easily. A quick warning: on the Xbox version, there is a glitch on the New York level that can freeze your system. This is caused by having a full inventory. To get around this, simply store or sell some items.

3.5/5

X-Men Legends

GameCube – 2004

X-Men Legends places you in control of your favourite mutant heroes as you battle Magneto. It’s an action RPG where you can control up to four unique characters with their own special abilities. This adds strategy to the game as each character brings something different to the party. This can be through dialogue or abilities both in and out of battle. It can be played with up to four friends but there are times when you’ll control only one mutant. The graphics look good and the top down view allows you to navigate the maps with ease. A fun RPG that can be absolutely broken by Storm if you know what abilities to allocate points to.

3.5/5

Super Mario Bros.

Nintendo Entertainment System – 1985

One of the most iconic games ever made. It’s fun, fast paced and incredibly easy to pick up, an excellent place to start if you want to experience Nintendo games of yesteryear. Battle your way through Bowser’s minions using Mushrooms, Fire Flowers, Stars and Warp Pipes. The controls are excellent, with Mario’s momentum feeling just right. The graphics are still pleasant more than 30 years later and the music is an absolute joy.

4.5/5

FIFA 20

Xbox One – 2019

FIFA 20 felt like a breath of fresh air, and not just because Sheffield United are in the Premier League. The custom manager in Career Mode is a nice addition as is the new Negotiation settings. Sadly, these don’t feel like enough. Clearly this review is a few months after launch because FIFA 20 was a mess at the start. Teams playing weak squads against you, youth players seeing unbelievable growth and editing a player could lead to all sorts of issues. There are some issues (teams in Career Mode having unreal winning streaks) but it is a lot better. Volta is a nice addition which harks back to the days of FIFA Street (and FIFA 98’s indoor mode).

4/5

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