Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I am The Law, and So Can You!

As you may have guessed from my full title, "Havoc Mantis, Esquire", (Or my re-anagrammed title, "Serviceman Quits a Ho") I am fully qualified to practice law in the state of "I swear, this is totally America, why would you even think it's Japan". I am referring to the Ace Attorney series, which I have mentioned before, and am mentioning again. Right at this very moment, in fact.

A new Ace Attorney game, Dual Destinies, came stateside about a month ago, and I guess I took that as an invitation to talk about it on this here blog. The Ace Attorney series of games follows the legal career of Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright, (and eventually some other, blunter-haired attorneys) as he acquits his clients through sheer power of belief, and in the process causes the prosecutor's heart to grow three (3) sizes. Or he just straight up kills them. Either way.

Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies actually earned a Mature rating from the ESRB, which is rather surprising for a game about murder. Honestly, I can't really think of any way in which it was significantly more graphic or "mature" than previous entries in the series.

Well, when you put it that way...

Well, in most of the honestly, I only wrote this post so I could make that joke, so see you next week, folks! Oh, if only you were so lucky. Instead, I guess I'll say more things about Dual Destinies. I'm not entirely sure how what the verdict (hah!) on Dual Destinies is. On one hand, I think I enjoyed it the least of all the Ace Attorney games. On the other hand, I think I might kind of be a jaded, bitter asshole (see: my opinion of Pokemon X and Y). One curious thing that I noticed is that there was a lot less gameplay. The court sequences felt more automated than before, with fewer cross-examination sequences, and out of court segments involved a lot less CSI and interrogation, and a lot more listening to people talk. This ended up making the game a lot easier, especially considering the ability to make save-states in the middle of court, which removed any sense of urgency in making decisions.

But then again, the Ace Attorney series has arguably always been more about the stories and characters than the gameplay. And how do those stack up? Pretty nicely, all things considered. Although there were times when the plot was predictable, and seemed a bit too similar to previous entries in the series, there were some genuinely heartwarming moments and shocking twists, including at least one revelation that easily stands up to the Zero Escape series in terms of mind-blowingness. Seriously, the moment I learned the truth about [REDACTED] may have been worth the price of admission by itself.

Just like every previous game in the series, Dual Destinies introduces a new rival prosecutor, Simon Blackquill, a convicted murderer who's more dangerous than a second bowl of Eldoon's Noodles. I think it's pretty cool how every previous prosecutor was talked up by someone saying, “This prosecutor has never lost a case! Do you feel lucky?” and then Blackquill is talked up by saying, “This prosecutor killed a man. DO YOU FEEL LUCKY?” Blackquill is also a Samurai, but due to his incarceration, his ability to summon demons has been revoked. Not that that stops the game from bringing them along anyway, bless its heart. I could say a lot of things about Blackquill, but I'm afraid that giving my opinions will bias the jury. Just kidding! There is no jury. There never was a jurist system, so we should all just forget about it.

All-in-all, I'd say that this game wasn't quite as good as I'd hoped, but it wasn't a disappointment, like I felt Pokemon was. Or this post, for that matter.

When I originally started wrighting this post, I had intended to transition to talking about Papers, Please, and how I was also The Law there. (In case you didn't already know, Papers, Please, is a "Dystopian Document Thriller" about looking at passports and finding new and creative ways to tell people to get the hell out of your country.) But important things have come up. Time sensitive things that deserve another post. Probably one with a spiffy title, like "Punchstarter" (Kickstopper was already taken). But time is of the essence, so I'll have to make dew.

Really? Am I actually to believe that in the universe of the world wide web, there does not exist an image of the Dew patrol from Fairly Odd Parents? Well, I guess we all missed out on an opportunity for me to make a barely coherent joke about "quitting your day job". Sometimes I wonder why we ever even invented the internet.

Anyway, as I previously implied, I am indeed promoting a Kickstarter. Not one of my own, of course. I could never be morally comfortable with accepting money for this. I may be an asshole, but I'm not a monster. What I am promoting is a game called Tadpole Treble, a neat little game with music, action, art, and the most dangerous secret in the universe, i.e. my real name. If you're actually interested in the game, you're probably best off clicking that link and reading the details there. If you're just interested in seeing if I can spin this shameless other-promotion into something funny, then read on. 

Tadpole Treble is a game that defies classification into any genre I know of. I almost described it as an "on-rails shooter without shooting", but that sounds more tedious than trying to come up with clever comparisons, so I won't describe it like that. Basically, you play a tadpole named "Baton", and you go through a constantly moving level trying to dodge obstacles. But the twist is that the level is a staff, and the obstacles are notes, forming the sheet music for the song that plays during the level. When things happen in the music, things happen in the game. So I guess, for example, if the music speeds up, the level speeds up, or if a tritone plays, your eyes turn red and you sprout devil horns. Not Baton, mind you; This will happen to you, the player of the game. Such is the power of the tritone.

Actual Playtester

To the surprise of even myself, it would seem that I retain some iota of dignity somewhere in the corner of my mind, and I cannot bring myself to beg you for donations. But fret not; when I find that last scrap of stubborn pride, it will be immediately executed, without mercy or compassion. Those were the first to go. But seriously, in all actuality, in the time it has taken me to type this, the goal has almost been reached. Hell, if I continue writing this at the same rate that I have been, by the time I'm finished, Kickstarter will be naught but a distant memory from a golden age of internet handouts. There's really no need to spend your money, especially after the wallet-threshing you likely received from the recent Steam sale. Although, if you've ever dreamt of dropping $20 to have your name appear next to mine, this may be your last chance, so act soon!

Because I have something I'd like to get off my chest, I will now talk about Brawl in the Family, a webcomic by the same man as Tadpole Treble. Simply put, Brawl in the Family is the webcomic I would write if I wrote a webcomic. Except without references to handicapped smut from the darkest corner of the internet. Or sexual implications regarding exploded bodies. Or rambling, incoherent sentence fragments. But despite these vast incongruities between my writing style and that of BitF, there are several similarities between the two: A love of Nintendo, a love of references, and most importantly of all, a love of Nintendo references. Brawl in the Family stars the cast of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, with Kirby as the main focus, and is about... well, the cast of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Just doing whatever it is that they do when not smashing brothers. Making sight gags out of eating things, it would seem.

But that thing I said about it being the webcomic I I'd write if I wrote a webcomic was no idle jest. When I was a younger man, many were the occasions when I was told that I was funny enough to be funny on the internet. That's why I eventually started this blog, because I think it's important to teach people to be careful what they wish for. But before this blog came to be, I had the idle notion that I could write a webcomic, with an almost identical premise, if I recall correctly. Super Smash Bros. Characters super smashing their bros, whilst making jokes about it. And because Kirby is my favorite character, he got top billing. Sure, I have absolutely no talent for art, but looking back at some of the first strips of BitF, it seems that he didn't really either. If I recall correctly, I even had a few drafts written up for some strips, but they are all (hopefully) lost to the mists of time. But I do remember something involving going to McDonalds, ordering a number 2, (you know how their menu is numbered?) and then something about eating poop (you know, like number 1 and number 2 assigned to bodily functions?). I believe the phrase “Elementary School toilet nomenclature” was involved. Because this is the kind of things that Kirby does when he's not skipping through meadows of sunshine and daisies.

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.

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