Mario and Sonic at the Olympics
What happens when you combine two of the most well known video game franchises and the Olympics? Apparently something that is not worth playing as I discovered when I played Mario and Sonic at the Olympics. I fully support Mario and Sonic competing with each other. The two groups have been feuding for years, it's nice to see them working out their differences in friendly competition. It is much better then the result of the Bubsy Gex Gecko rivalry (Bubsy is currently serving a life sentence at San Quentin for the murder Gex Gecko) so I was looking forward to this game. Really it's a combination of three franchises, since it is also licensed by the Olympics. I was hoping it would be awesome and other franchises would follow the example. Street Fighter vs Mortal Kombat at the Westminster Dog Show is just one of five possibilities that I would look forward too.
I agree with Cream's description of the game.
Famed video game guy and supervisor of Mario and Sonic at the Olympics, Shigeru Miyamoto, once said, "A delayed game is only delayed for a little while, but a bad game is bad forever." Mario and Sonic at the Olympics was released two weeks earlier then scheduled. It goes to show that games released early are done so because everybody gave up on making it good because lets face it, this game was going to sell like crazy hot cakes no matter how little effort was made during programming. The game disk could just load up a power point presentation where the first slide is the entire cast flipping off the viewer and the rest of the slides or poorly drawn pictures stolen from the internet of the characters having sex and it would still be a top seller. You combine something as popular as Mario with something that used to be as popular as Sonic the Hedgehog was in the mid 90s and it doesn't matter what you produce, nostalgia starved gamers are going to lap it up.
I didn't get a chance to play all of the events. While we were playing Sonic and Mario at the Olympics, Billie called my cell saying she was having car trouble and needed help. William Kenneth decided we should stop at the video store on our way to Billie's car so that he could claim the game was defective and get his six dollars back. In this review I will go over the events I did play, and explain exactly why they are not fun. Because I can explain why most of the events are not fun in about three sentences I will pad this article out by giving some brief character descriptions of those featured in the game.
Part A: The Characters
Sonic is a speed type. Who would have guessed?
Of course Mario is in the game. He's on the cover! If Mario wasn't present then it would have to be "Sonic and Characters from the Mario games but not Mario himself at the Olympics" and that title is too long to fit on the game box.
The Mario platformers for some reason are no longer made with multiplayer, so Luigi has fallen to the wayside. If he wasn't able to appear in these sports titles he would probably have to move and get a roommate to make rent. Lucky for him Nintendo is more than willing to make 500 Mario related sports games a month and Luigi is prominently featured in every single one of them as the guy who is just like Mario but a little worse.
Peach is creepy in these sports games because her face never moves and she looks like she is made out of plastic. None of the other human characters suffer from this problem. Peach is the ideal character for girls and girly men.
Daisy is the other girl in the Mario spinoffs. Originally an obscure footnote of the Mario canon she was plucked from the past and planted into the Mario spinoffs in case two girls/girly men wanted to play at the same time.
One time I was in Walmart with William Kenneth and we saw a sweet Yoshi t-shirt. We discussed getting it before realizing we were in the woman's clothing section. We silently slunk away ashamed that people would think we wear woman's cloths. Later we had a debate about whether its okay for a man to wear a woman's t-shirt and what exactly are the differences between a man's t-shirt and a woman's t-shirt. We came to the conclusion that its okay for a man to wear a t-shirt found in the woman's section if he has well defined pecks.
Wario is the opposite of Mario, except they are both fat and Italian, so I guess the only difference is that Wario is evil, except he isn't really evil as much as he is just an asshole. So he is the slightly fatter asshole version of Mario.
Waluigi is insane and always on meth. He lives in a shack in the woods where he grows tomatoes using cocaine as a fertilizer. The results are gigantic purple cocaine tomatoes. He does crazy shit all the time like stare into the sun for hours on end and screaming "wetlands" while throwing baseballs. The rabbits in the forest love him because his antics are entertaining and he always shares his tomatoes. Watch out though, he has no grasp of the English language and is prone to shouting "you fucking faggots" in busy bars, so chances are if you try to hang out with him somebody will end up kicking your ass. Mark Lanegan produced the album Waluigi released in 1995 and is the only person in the world who understands what Waluigi is saying.
Bowser is a gigantic dinosaur who kidnaps, and presumably sexually assaults, Peach on a regular basis. He says he does it to take control of the Mushroom Kingdom but he always leaves her alive and savable. I assume if he killed her and she had no heir it would throw the Mushroom Kingdom into chaos and his troops could easily move in and occupy the war torn country. When he isn't trying to usurp monarchs he enjoys playing golf with his sworn enemies.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Everybody who has seen Sonic's kick ass cartoon in the 90s knows that he can really move, that he has an attitude, and that he is the fastest thing alive, but there is so much more to him. Did you know that Sonic has a doctorate degree in emergency management? It's true! He also owns the patent on a kind of shirt that prevents nipple chafing while running. He truly is an industrious hedgehog.
Miles "Tails" Prowler
I think my views on Tails have been made very clear.
Knuckles the Echidna
Knuckles is annoying because he is constantly being tricked by Dr. Robotnik. He isn't being tricked by some cunning scheme either, usually its just Dr. Robotnik telling Knuckles that Sonic stole all the Chaos Emeralds, even though Dr. Robotnik is responsible for 100% of Chaos Emerald theft.
Fuck Dr. Eggman. That name is retarded. They should have stuck with Dr. Robotnik. In case you weren't aware, Dr. Eggman is the original Japanese name, but in America they changed it to Dr. Robotnik because Robotnik sounds a hell of a lot more evil and intimidating then Eggman. Sega decided that they didn't want to admit that America is cooler then they are so they started giving him the super lame Japanese name in the English translations of the games sometime around when Sonic Adventure came out. That was stupid and one of the many reasons I hate Sega.
Blaze the Cat
Blaze is a queen from either the future or an alternate dimension (there are conflicting reports) who had to travel either back in time or to Sonic's dimension in order to protect the Sol Emeralds and learn the true meaning of friendship, which results in her becoming a superhero.
Man, if my hypothesis that Tails is the end result of hallucinogens is true then the person who came up with Blaze must have been huffing propane while getting hit in the head by a hammer.
Amy exists mostly because without a chick around Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are all going to look like gays. She first appeared in 1993 on Sonic CD, with appearances in Sonic Drift, Sonic Drift 2, Sonic Fighters, and Sonic R. Nobody has ever played any of those games. Her appearance in Sonic Adventure marked the first time people became aware of her existence.
For her appearance in Sonic Adventure, Amy had her age changed from 8 to 12 and was drastically redesigned. This is because Sega realized that as the only prominent female in the series she was going to be drawn in various degrees of undress. Even Japan is creeped out by people who sexualize 8 year olds so they made her an appropriate age (in Japan) for sex fantasies and changed her look accordingly.
Shadow the Hedgehog
Shadow was Sega's attempt to make their own Wario, but instead of being comedic and in good games, Shadow is melodramatic and exclusively featured in the worst games of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. He is beloved by pubescent girls who buy way too much stuff at Hot Topic.
Vector is a stupid crocodile who has a worse track record than Shadow. I don't know why they even included him. Nobody likes him and he used up a spot they could have been given to somebody that was at least in a good game. I guess they wanted to have an equal amount of characters from each franchise, but I say if Sonic couldn't find enough worthy characters then Mario should have been allowed to pick more characters to fill the gaps. Vector simply does not deserve to be featured in any game, especially one with such an all star cast.
Part B: The Events
100 Meter Dash
Does anybody even watch the track events during the Olympics? They are really boring.
The reality was that we got last and second to last place. We actually lost to the crocodile for Pete's sake! The only explanation is that Shadow and Sonic went out partying the night before and were really, really hung over, which affected their performance. The only other explanation is that the controls suck, which is the correct explanation.
110 Meter Hurdles
Exactly the same as the 100 meter dash, except with, you know, hurdles. You run the same way as in the non-hurdle 100 meter running event, but when you get to a hurdle you press B. Its slightly more fun then the 100 meter dash because adding the B button creates an extra layer of depth and strategy. It's also funny when Dr. Robotnic runs into a hurdle with his gigantic gangly legs.
I thought the trampoline event would have you jumping, and then twisting the controller and pressing buttons to do tricks. Kind of like a Tony Hawk game, where depending on you skill at pressing the right combinations you can pull off all kinds of tricks. However Sonic and Mario at the Olympics seems to try to make every event as non-open ended as possible. Instead of being able to pull off all kinds of tricks you can do one trick, the one the game tells you to do. All this event consists of is a series of buttons appearing on the screen and you press it. Then if you hit it correctly in the right amount of time the character does a trick. It's kind of like the those Quick Timer Events (When the A button would flash on the screen and you had to press it) from Shenmu except with fewer possible outcomes and no punching school girls.
Also in a very obvious design flaw, Tails could easily use his flying ability to hover in the air and perform a variety of tricks. The other Olympic athletes are just lucky he chooses to play with honor rather than dirty like some goon. The ending of Slapshot really struck a chord with Tails and he has vowed to put virtue over glory.
Skeet shooting is by far the best event in Mario and Sonic at the Olympics. Not that it is really all that great, but compared to the rest it is awesome. If you've played the skeet shooting game on Duck Hunt then you basically have played this game. The only difference is that this one compares your score with other competitors and you're a pink hedgehog in a dress.
One feature unique to this game is that before each round a heart appears in the middle of the screen and a white dot flies past it. If you press the B button when the dot is in the middle you get a bigger crosshair. I think this must represent how much the Olympic competitor wants to win. If you press the button at the right time then their heart is really into it and they get the bigger crosshair, but if you fail then they are thinking about lunch, or what happened on the most recent episode of Meerkat Manor and the crosshair is smaller because they aren't concentrating. You have to come up with theories like this while playing Mario and Sonic at the Olympics since the actual game is so boring.
Swimming is the same as the running except that you have to do a turn at one end of the pool. Sonic wears what appears to be a lifejacket during the swimming competitions. This makes him look like a huge wuss. Tails doesn't use a life jacket. Just another reason why he is superior to Sonic.
I was disappointed that the characters swim in their normal clothes and not swimsuits. I wanted to see Wario in a speedo.
Same as 100, freestyle but with four people on a team, so you get to not have fun for four times as long.
Fencing and Tails. The two best things this game has to offer.
Shit fuck shit shit fuck fuck fuck! This event is terrible. I thought ping pong was going to be the saving grace. Wii Play has a ping pong game in it that is bad ass. There is no reason this one shouldn't be exactly the same but with sweet characters. Instead you have a game that consists of swinging the controller and on occasion pressing one button. It's unbelievably and unnecessarily simplistic. You can't even move your character. If this was on any other system it would be exactly the same except you would press a button instead of swinging the controller around. There's no excuse for laziness like that, especially since they could have just been lazier and stolen the better version of ping pong from Wii Play and been much better.
Those are all the events that I played. There were some other field events and gymnastics that I didn't get to as well as some unlockable events like archery. Personally with so few actual events in the game I don't think they should have had any that were locked. I'm a fan of the "I paid for the game just give me stuff" school of thought. I hear some of the locked events are less realistic then the normal events, incorporating items in the same way as Mario Kart. That's a great idea. The Olympics are boring, and if you're going to have fantastic characters you might as well do the same with the events. Still, this would only work if the controls themselves were fun and worked well. I never imagined Mario and Sonic at the Olympics would be great. I expected a firmly average game that got by with its entertaining characters. Instead I got a pooptastic game that couldn't make it no matter who was in it.