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Episode 187: Mario Must Die

by Jonathan Metts - March 14, 2010, 5:00 pm PDT
Total comments: 30

On this deadly episode: numerous fatalities in Shiren the Wanderer, killing tornadoes and bears in Disaster, and the gaming crap we'd like to euthanize.

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As the universally acclaimed leader in Ironically-Fascinated-by-90s-Hip-Hop Nintendo Podcasts, we predictably celebrate the 187th episode of RFN with the ridiculous theme of murder/death/kill. Jonny's New Business kicks it off with his lengthy and detailed impressions of the morbidly fascinating Shiren the Wanderer (for DS). Like little Mikey chewing so much Life cereal, the host is pleasantly surprised by this bizarre and obtuse RPG. In other New Business: James can't get enough BioWare, Jon catches up on Torchlight and plays more Disaster: Day of Crisis, and Greg is blessedly current and on-topic with Picross 3D.

With Jonny out of the way for the second segment (scheduling conflict, or something more sinister?), the rest of the crew lowers the axe on all the things in the gaming industry that need to die in a lively feature discussion. Industry analysts, corporate jargon, unskippable tutorials, and babbling enemies are just some of the victims of this violent purge before we rediscover our sentimental side by answering a distinctly nostalgic trio of Listener Mail questions to close out the show.

Heading to PAX East in March? If you can stand to miss part of Chris Kohler's panel or Wil Wheaton's keynote, please consider attending our own panel, Radio Free Nintendo: A Live Nintendo Podcast for Grown-Ups. Jonny, James, Jon, Karl, and Mike will be in person to discuss Nintendo games and take your questions, directly from the audience! There are also plans to have a social gathering with RFN fans that weekend -- check the forum thread for details. If you can't make it to PAX, don't worry! We plan to record everything for the podcast feed.

We're always looking for great Listener Mail to read and discuss on the show, so please send your questions or comments! (We really love seeing your praise and feedback regarding the show itself; however, in the interest of time, we may edit your letter to be read on the podcast.)

Credits:

This podcast was edited by Greg Leahy.

Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their newest album, Done with the Devil, directly from the record label, Amazon.com, or iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!

Additional music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is copyrighted to Nintendo, and is included under fair use protection.

Talkback

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusMarch 14, 2010

I really enjoyed the Shiren talk, Jonny has really changed his opinion on it over the past week!

During the segment it was mentioned that the hunger meter serves as a sort of cattle prod to convince the player to progress. The game also implements a mysterious "wind" that will blow you back to the first part if you spend too long on a level! Just a word of caution to those that would stock up on riceballs and try to spend too long on a level.

To clarify a statement I made:
Mass Effect 2 (as of recording was 22 hours).  Completed in 34 hours over five days.  5.8 hours A DAY.

AND ALL BUT ONE WAS A WORKDAY

Awful.

Sad to say it, but all the games that came out recently, or come out in the next few weeks (Fragile, Infinite Line, Sakura Wars) are all RPGs, as are my next two review games.

I'm so getting kicked off the show. A merciful God wouldn't allow me to be so indulged.  I'm going to need a 12 step program to get back on arcade flight sims.

James, isn't it funny that as you play through Pokemon Rehash 6, I'll be renting Sky Crawlers.

ReggieFA!March 14, 2010

The Things that Need to Die segment was very good; I totally agree that Nintendo needs to inject some spontaneity into their franchises. You mentioned a bevy of tutorials, but WSR deserved a mention. A related issue for me is the barrage of splash screens and press-start-to-start button presses that needlessly extend the time between starting up a game and actually playing it.

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusMarch 14, 2010

Quote from: Zap

The Things that Need to Die segment was very good; I totally agree that Nintendo needs to inject some spontaneity into their franchises. You mentioned a bevy of tutorials, but WSR deserved a mention. A related issue for me is the barrage of splash screens and press-start-to-start button presses that needlessly extend the time between starting up a game and actually playing it.

I agree, and wish there was an option to acknowledge sort of terms of service and not have to look at how to hold your wiimote every damn time you want to play a game.

A similar thing that needs to die comes to mind; the constant prompting of controls in most Wii games. The idea that the player never quite learns the controls is both degrading and annoying. For instance, I don't need to remember how to use a propeller suit every time I get one. I also don't need to remember that pressing "a" will open a door, etc. There should simply be a toggle for this kind of thing in games.

One more thing that needs to die? More like things, a family really. Mommy, Daddy, Billy and Sarah. I think we can throw Gramps and Auntie into the mix as well. Also, anything with the name "Cocoto" in it. I think James would agree; when I had to play Cocoto Kart Online I was mortified.

SouthForkMarch 15, 2010

Johnny if you like Shiren and you are a fan of Final Fantasy you should pick up Final Fantasy Chocobo's Dungeon. It's a rogue with a F.F. setting and story. Don't let the fact that you are a Chocobo throw you off. It's actually a very decent game.



Rob.

NWR_DrewMGAndy Goergen, AlmunusMarch 15, 2010

Jonny, there is a bank where you can store away money in the Wii game.  I actually found balancing my gold balance to be a fairly significant part of the Wii game, trying to be able to afford various herbs and riceballs from the merchant.  Being that I was playing on easy, and thus didn't lose my items or money when I died, I didn't have a lot of use for the bank.

Jonny doesn't get to talk about Shiren again next week. He talked about it for two week's worth of New Business during this episode. ;-)

Loved the main discussion. I think tacked-on multiplayer needs to die, personally. It doesn't belong in Bioshock 2. It just doesn't. It probably doesn't belong in Uncharted 2, either, although it's shockingly good.

Yeah, I got Shiren talk out of my system. I'm still playing it but will not be discussing it much more. After we wrapped that segment, I told Greg that I was starting to feel self-conscious about the length of my impressions even while they were ongoing. I'm sure he alleviated it somewhat in editing, as he always does.

noname2200March 15, 2010

Regarding the talk about the differences between the Wii and DS versions, I'd like to chime in that the two actually have several big differences that make them play quite differently.

The most obvious one is that the Wii version does not reset your level upon death (or your items if you play on Easy). But the Wii version is much, much longer (20-30 hours, I think), while the DS version can be finished in about two if you really know what you're doing (and get lucky in your items). 

The Wii version's many dungeons are almost all under 10 floors, and most of them end with a boss battle. Unlike the single boss in the DS version, the Wii's bosses are immune to all the status effects and other tricks you use against regular monsters, so they usually dissolve into a contest of "who dies first."

The Wii version almost always has one or two AI companions with you, whereas the DS version makes you unlock companions. More importantly, you can always choose to control your companions in the Wii version, but not the DS version. Also, your companions in the DS version become less and less useful as you go along: they're fantastic in the first half of the game, then dead meat about five floors into the mountain proper.

The Wii version has a LOT more narrow corridors than the DS version. Consequently, you rarely have to worry about being surrounded in the Wii version, but you also lack the flexibility that comes with seeing your enemies ahead of time. Consequently, the Wii version is much more about overpowering your enemies than it is about using clever tactics.

You can grind in the Wii version to your heart's content. You can't really grind in the DS version.

The Wii version has a much more gradual difficutly curve than the DS version, which noticeably increases the difficulty level every five floors. Also, as a word of warning to Johnny, the home stretch in the DS version lacks a town. That's right, you don't get a town when you most desperately need it.

Finally, the Wii version has Revival Herbs, which are basically an extra life. This lets you make far more mistakes without penalty than you could in the DS version. The Wii  game also has Escape Scrolls, so if you're ever in danger of death you can (usually) jet out and restock.

Useful items in general are more common in the Wii version, while the DS version makes you figure out why that lowly Switching Staff can save your ass.



Too long, didn't read version: The Wii version is longer but more broken up into smaller chunks. It's friendlier by far, but it emphasizes grinding and fighting more than clever tactics or smart item use.

The Wii version is probably better for most people who are already familiar with JRPGs, but I personally prefer the DS version more. And now you know more than you ever wanted to about Shiren!

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusMarch 15, 2010

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Yeah, I got Shiren talk out of my system. I'm still playing it but will not be discussing it much more. After we wrapped that segment, I told Greg that I was starting to feel self-conscious about the length of my impressions even while they were ongoing. I'm sure he alleviated it somewhat in editing, as he always does.

Longer impressions are usually better when more than one host has played the game in question, that way some dialogue can develop. Still, I think your monologue didn't go on too long. We would hate for you to start feeling self-conscious about your length Jonny, that's uncomfortable for everyone

I like how Jonny told "Greg" he was feeling self-conscious. Jon, where were we?

Greg is the only one who can fix it after the fact. You guys were there, trolling each other. ;-)

I'm sure I was simply giving James some life lessons.

happyastoriaMarch 15, 2010

The Things that Need to Die segment was great! this is my second favorite podcast behind "This American Life"...keep up the great work!!!!!!!!

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

I'm sure I was simply giving James some life lessons.

In douchery

Regarding our Cubivore tangent, the quote Atlus used from my review was:

..."one of the most visually unique games you’ll ever play." -- Planet GameCube

And yes, the "most...unique" faux pas makes me cringe now, but I wrote this back in 2002. I've tried to find a scan of that magazine ad, to no avail. I may ask Atlus PR if they have a copy on file.

Kytim89March 15, 2010

Quote from: Crimm

To clarify a statement I made:
Mass Effect 2 (as of recording was 22 hours).  Completed in 34 hours over five days.  5.8 hours A DAY.

AND ALL BUT ONE WAS A WORKDAY

Awful.

Sad to say it, but all the games that came out recently, or come out in the next few weeks (Fragile, Infinite Line, Sakura Wars) are all RPGs, as are my next two review games.

I'm so getting kicked off the show. A merciful God wouldn't allow me to be so indulged.  I'm going to need a 12 step program to get back on arcade flight sims.


You should try Zubo, Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the plumb, Avalon Code and Sonic Chronicles. These are good RPGs for the DS.

I really appreciated you guys commenting on Sonic Chronicles because that game has gotten very little publicity and it diserves recognition. Just the fact that it was developed by Bioware was enough to seel the game to me. Word has it that Bioware is considering opening up to the Nintendo wii and DS and I would lay the red carpet out for them if I could.

As for what I want to die in the gaming world, that is a tough question. How about Nintendo's negligence towards third party developers. I would really like to see a stronger relationship between Nintendo and third parties.

Quote from: Crimm

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

I'm sure I was simply giving James some life lessons.

In douchery

What I have to give, I give.

Kytim89March 15, 2010

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

Quote from: Crimm

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

I'm sure I was simply giving James some life lessons.

In douchery

What I have to give, I give.


What did you think of Sonic Chronicles? Does the Sonic series need to go away for good?

I'm getting really excited to see/hear all this snappy banter in person. I can't believe it's just next week.

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusMarch 15, 2010

Us chums on the west coast will just have to enjoy the fact that E3 is but a mere car ride away. Sadly, E3 has no RFN "live" podcast.  :( Perhaps living podcast is a better term? Like those painting come to life things

broodwarsMarch 16, 2010

I'll be curious to see what you eventually think of FF XIII, Jonny, considering everything you said you disliked about some RPGs.  The game's pretty streamlined and focused, so it sounds like it's right up your alley.

My favorite part of most previous FFs is the overworld. So I'm just hoping the battle system is awesome and the story hooks me enough that I don't hate watching the cut-scenes.

broodwarsMarch 16, 2010

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

My favorite part of most previous FFs is the overworld. So I'm just hoping the battle system is awesome and the story hooks me enough that I don't hate watching the cut-scenes.

You'll be happy to know that something approaching "the overworld" appears late in the game, where you have free reign to just run around and do a little questing/exploration/grinding.  It's actually the area I'm running around right now, and it's pretty eye-pleasing...though the enemies can get ridiculously hard.  I think you'll be surprised just how much exploration Square-Enix manages to wring out of seemingly simple level designs up till that point, as well.  The battle system is awesome, btw, and I've found the story engaging enough.  It's all leagues better than XII, that's for damn sure.

KDR_11kMarch 17, 2010

For the things that need to die, tutorials that integrate into the story and tutorials that you can skip aren't the only options here, what about a tutorial that's simply not boring to play through? Making the tutorial fun would prevent those issues. I don't remember any "now practice it" parts in Disaster...

I'm not much of a loot person myself, I do like loot but usually loot is just a number boost and I don't care about that, I want game changers. That's what I like about Metroid items (and one of the areas Corruption fell flat in), you get one and suddenly the game is different. EDF weapons tend to be like that too, because they're not random you get what the game devs designed and if it has drawbacks you better learn to deal with those because you can't just keep grinding until a similar weapon without the drawback drops (looking at Boringlands here). Even Hellgate did that better than Boringlands because often the different guns you got had different behaviours (e.g. the fire rocket launcher is nothing like the MIRV).

Kytim89March 17, 2010

Rail shooters on wii need to die.

GregLover5000March 18, 2010

Loved the bit on Shiren. I haven't played it (yet), but I had very similar experiences and reactions to Izuna (which I began playing never having heard the term "Rogue-like"). But yeah, very similar reaction. Once I wrapped my head around the concept I found it really compelling. There was definitely some behavioral conditioning going on while I played -- I had to have my hand slapped a lot before I figured out that caution was actually a virtue that's rewarded in these games. And while it's frustrating at first, it becomes very satisfying to face up to some randomly generated circumstance and realize you just have to back off if you want to keep what you have.

SundoulosMarch 18, 2010

I thought I heard a brief joke in there about there being no Mario-spinoff in the FPS genre.  Wouldn't Yoshi's Safari count? 

jrlibrarianJeffrey Trewin, Associate EditorMarch 19, 2010

Just wondering, but if anyone (not specifically Jon) reviewed Explorers of Sky, then would James play Shiren? I've been thinking about getting it just to make my own opinion about the series.

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