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Episode 309: James vs The Gaping Dragon

by Michael Cole, James Jones, Jonathan Metts, and Guillaume Veillette - October 7, 2012, 8:47 am PDT
Total comments: 26

Now featuring more 2D platformers than ever before!

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It's always a good week when we can rope in TYP for an episode, and he's a great choice for this one because we've got a RetroActive discussion of a series he adores. But first, James has early impressions of the New Super Mario Bros. 2 downloadable level packs. Plus: a troll gets trolled by the infamous Dark Souls! TYP is next with a Mario Party 4 (what?) and a few thoughts on Kirby's Nightmare in Dream Land, that other really good GBA title in the series. Jonny sums up his mixed emotions from playing Rayman Origins lately and wonders just how much the upcoming Wii U sequel will improve the template. Finally, Guillaume revisits a genre-bending childhood favorite in Quarth, from the 3DS Virtual Console, and doesn't get far at all into Final Fantasy V from the PSN Store.

Next up is the latest RetroActive discussion, and this one is really fun. Kirby & The Amazing Mirror is a strange game with a shockingly steep learning curve, yet those who decipher it come away impressed and, perhaps, with a new respect for the entire franchise. If you hear this segment and decide to play it for yourself, the RetroActive forum thread is still open and contains a wealth of useful tips. Thanks so much for playing along and contributing your own thoughts on this wacky game!

We'll get back into Listener Mail next week, so be sure to send in your questions for the crew! Also, we're excited to announce that the NWR Live Telethon for Child's Play will return for its third year on Saturday, November 10. Mark your calendar now and stay tuned for more details and your chance to donate early for this awesome event!

This podcast was edited by Guillaume Veillette.

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 (CD) (MP3), 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

FjurbanskiOctober 07, 2012

Yeah, Dark Souls rocks.


It does take a significant amount of time to get into if you're playing it blind.


But I think it's worth it. It's just tons of fun to beat the bosses.

FZeroBoyoOctober 07, 2012

Hooray for another live show!


The discussion on Rayman Origins made me want to go back and give it another shot. I got to the point where you beat the first few worlds and then find out there's like twice the game before I ran out of steam. I was liking the game up to that point, and if I can pick it up for cheap (I think all versions are 20 bucks at Target, so says the website) I'll definitely give it another go.

Da JarvisOctober 07, 2012

LOL LOL LOL! The Zero Coins topic was pretty funny. Actually, you know, that gives me an idea! I think I am going to go for that. It's a better alternative then getting into Kingdom Hearts 3D or Cave Story when I only have 20 minutes between my classes -_-. Plus, my friends will find it hilarous when they get a new street pass level from me, play it all hardcore to get a good score, then find out I got 0 Coins. Plus who knows? It might prove more difficult then getting the max coin amount! I'll definatly snap a picture of it and post it on facebook when I do, that is if I can do it xD.


That's a shame with the PS1 Classics version of FFV having a glitch like that. I had no idea the game was so glitchy. Good thing I didn't buy it. I just hope my copies of FF8 and FF9 aren't like that since I got the PS1 classic of those as well. Also, I would be trilled to hear what you guys think of the game and it's a shame Guillaume decided to give up on the game. Granted, I haven't completed it all the way on my GBA copy of the game (was about 20 bucks when I got it), but it's a lot better then FF3 IMO. Plus the class system is really deep and quite addicting to get into once you understand how it all works. Hope Jonny decides to pick this one up, cause it would be interesting to hear what he thinks of it!


Looking forward to next weeks show. I didn't get a chance to play Amazing Mirror sadly as my brother took it with him to college and it was the only copy I had access to. Plus with all the exams and essays I had over the past 2 weeks, it would of been hard to find time to play it for very long :(. Hopefully the next one will be another portable game, perhaps an eShop title? Who knows? Looking forward to it regardless.

Pixelated PixiesOctober 08, 2012

Another great and thoroughly enjoyable episode guys!

Waiting for the next retroactive is going to be very difficult, this one was alot of fun. I think you all did a good job of explaining why you enjoyed the game, while also highlighting and addressing many of the reasons why some people might not like it as much. Like Gui, I usually try and finish games for retroactive, but this game just wasn't jiving with me and I had other things to play instead. As with all the best retroactives, however, this was at the very least an interesting game, and one which I'm very glad retroactive gave me the opportunity to dig into in a little more detail than I otherwise might have done.

Also, as usual it's always great to hear TYP on the show.

ClexYoshiOctober 08, 2012

Eeeeeeeeeee, Dr. Metts stuttered out my name and dream Kirby game concept! ~<3


*ahems* In all seriousness, though, great show! I have wanted to try Demon's Souls and Dark Souls as someone who's a big fan of some of From Software's other titles like the Armored Core franchise, Lost Kingdoms, and 3D Dot Game Heroes. Hearing about James getting crushed in a tug-of war of risk/reward was just music to my ears!

Yes, I had Meta Knightmare mode on Nightmare in Dreamland and appreciate it for both being a mono-power challenge of sorts and being a time attack where your actions have to be especially premeditated since there are a few things to Meta Knight's animations and the way he funcitons that make it so you have to push buttons a bit earlier then you want things to happen or make sure you aren't too close for a sword swipe because Meta Knight takes a step forward when he swings his sword for some incredibly dumb reason that has gotten me killed more times than I can count. XD

I will continue giving my well wishes to John and hope everything in his family is okay. I will also hope that he didn't decide to buy any games to add to the museum while he doesn't have a chance to play them.

The_Darkest_RedOctober 09, 2012

Awesome, someone on the show finally gave Dark Souls a shot!

James, if you aren't completely opposed to the idea I would recommend checking out a wiki for the game just to learn the basics of the game's systems, it will make the initial learning curve much more manageable since the game isn't great about telling you how some of the systems work. Regarding the bloodstain mechanic, there is only one bloodstain that can be recovered at any given time --- the one from your previous death. If you die again on your way back to it a new bloodstain will appear at that location with the number of souls you had upon dying. All of the souls stored in the previous bloodstain will be lost forever.

I must admit, I'm a little surprised that you talked so much about the game "trolling" you, to me the difficulty is very similar to something like the original Legend of Zelda. In that game there are countless areas you can access from the very beginning that will completely destroy you in no time but you quickly learn to avoid those areas and come back to them at a later point. That is the same mindset you need for Dark Souls. It seems like you figured that out already but I'm surprised you saw it as the game trolling, I actually appreciate that sort of throwback in game design because it respects the intelligence of the player instead of constantly spoon-feeding everything to you.

Jonny, you should totally try this game out sometime! The game has such an unfair reputation, don't let that put you off from it, if you're willing to tackle the initial learning curve you will eventually find a gaming experience that is more rewarding than just about any you've ever had (at least, that was the case for me). I know what it feels like to have real world responsibilities and limited free time but this game really isn't as harsh as something like a rougelike.

Anyway, great show and I hope to hear more wonderful stories of James tackling the many challenges of Dark Souls in the near future.

geoOctober 09, 2012

Quote from: The_Darkest_Red

Awesome, someone on the show finally gave Dark Souls a shot!

James, if you aren't completely opposed to the idea I would recommend checking out a wiki for the game just to learn the basics of the game's systems, it will make the initial learning curve much more manageable since the game isn't great about telling you how some of the systems work. Regarding the bloodstain mechanic, there is only one bloodstain that can be recovered at any given time --- the one from your previous death. If you die again on your way back to it a new bloodstain will appear at that location with the number of souls you had upon dying. All of the souls stored in the previous bloodstain will be lost forever.

I must admit, I'm a little surprised that you talked so much about the game "trolling" you, to me the difficulty is very similar to something like the original Legend of Zelda. In that game there are countless areas you can access from the very beginning that will completely destroy you in no time but you quickly learn to avoid those areas and come back to them at a later point. That is the same mindset you need for Dark Souls. It seems like you figured that out already but I'm surprised you saw it as the game trolling, I actually appreciate that sort of throwback in game design because it respects the intelligence of the player instead of constantly spoon-feeding everything to you.

Jonny, you should totally try this game out sometime! The game has such an unfair reputation, don't let that put you off from it, if you're willing to tackle the initial learning curve you will eventually find a gaming experience that is more rewarding than just about any you've ever had (at least, that was the case for me). I know what it feels like to have real world responsibilities and limited free time but this game really isn't as harsh as something like a rougelike.

Anyway, great show and I hope to hear more wonderful stories of James tackling the many challenges of Dark Souls in the near future.

Couldn't agree more!  I'm so happy they're trying it.  The game is insanely rewarding and great, and is basically the closest thing to a modern symphony of the night/Super metroid we have.  Big open world full of shortcuts and hidden passages with extremely rewarding gameplay.  The difficulty rumors and high learning curve turn people away, but once you figure the basics out, you'll feel like a kid again.

Da JarvisOctober 09, 2012

Wow. I didn't realize how much people liked Demon Souls. I mean, I know the first has a HUGE fallowing, but I always remember hearing that people where really upset and dissapointed in the second game. Hearing all the things everyone is saying about the game devenatly peaks my interest, but it's difficulty and the fact I am never home to play my PS3 anymore makes me really reluctent to give the game a shot. Maybe over winter break I can go ahead and pick it up for cheap and try it out, but when that time comes around, I'll Assassian's Creed 3 and Xenoblade I still want to beat. My backlog right now is pretty big and I would hate to just add another game into the list of games I need to finish over that time frame is all. Still though, this discussion has peaked my interest quite a bit.

geoOctober 09, 2012

Also, if you're buying a GBA game on ebay, caveat emptor.  ebay is very well known for selling fake chinese knock-offs of gba games that don't always work well, if at all.  Make sure you see the actual card theyre selling you and not a stock image.  If they do show the actual card, compare it to other pictures on google and make sure it looks authentic.  Faded colors, logos in the wrong place, etc are all good indicators of a fake copy.

ejamerOctober 09, 2012

Quote from: geo

Also, if you're buying a GBA game on ebay, caveat emptor.  ebay is very well known for selling fake chinese knock-offs of gba games that don't always work well, if at all.  Make sure you see the actual card theyre selling you and not a stock image.  If they do show the actual card, compare it to other pictures on google and make sure it looks authentic.  Faded colors, logos in the wrong place, etc are all good indicators of a fake copy.

Good point. I have zero confidence in buying GBA or DS games from eBay. Way too many counterfeits floating around.


Wish I had held onto my copies of Final Fantasy IV/V/VI on GBA though. Being able to take those classic RPGs with me all the time in a GBA Micro was priceless - the kind of technology I used to dream about as a video game loving kid.

The_Darkest_RedOctober 09, 2012

Quote from: geo

Quote from: The_Darkest_Red

Awesome, someone on the show finally gave Dark Souls a shot!

James, if you aren't completely opposed to the idea I would recommend checking out a wiki for the game just to learn the basics of the game's systems, it will make the initial learning curve much more manageable since the game isn't great about telling you how some of the systems work. Regarding the bloodstain mechanic, there is only one bloodstain that can be recovered at any given time --- the one from your previous death. If you die again on your way back to it a new bloodstain will appear at that location with the number of souls you had upon dying. All of the souls stored in the previous bloodstain will be lost forever.

I must admit, I'm a little surprised that you talked so much about the game "trolling" you, to me the difficulty is very similar to something like the original Legend of Zelda. In that game there are countless areas you can access from the very beginning that will completely destroy you in no time but you quickly learn to avoid those areas and come back to them at a later point. That is the same mindset you need for Dark Souls. It seems like you figured that out already but I'm surprised you saw it as the game trolling, I actually appreciate that sort of throwback in game design because it respects the intelligence of the player instead of constantly spoon-feeding everything to you.

Jonny, you should totally try this game out sometime! The game has such an unfair reputation, don't let that put you off from it, if you're willing to tackle the initial learning curve you will eventually find a gaming experience that is more rewarding than just about any you've ever had (at least, that was the case for me). I know what it feels like to have real world responsibilities and limited free time but this game really isn't as harsh as something like a rougelike.

Anyway, great show and I hope to hear more wonderful stories of James tackling the many challenges of Dark Souls in the near future.

Couldn't agree more!  I'm so happy they're trying it.  The game is insanely rewarding and great, and is basically the closest thing to a modern symphony of the night/Super metroid we have.  Big open world full of shortcuts and hidden passages with extremely rewarding gameplay.  The difficulty rumors and high learning curve turn people away, but once you figure the basics out, you'll feel like a kid again.

Absolutely, and you were able to sum up some of the reasons why I love it so much a lot more succinctly than I was! The part you said about feeling like a kid again completely nails it, it's just such an incredible feeling and it's so rare in games these days.

Da Jarvis, there are definitely some folks who prefer Demon's Souls to Dark Souls but overall I'd say most people who are into one love them both and as far as favorites go it's probably split down the middle. I love Demon's Souls as well but I think Dark Souls made some great improvements in terms of the systems in the game (particularly the bonfire, magic, and healing systems) and I also love the fact that the entire world is connected and open (as opposed to Demon's Souls which was split into a series of disjointed levels connected by a hub world). You should definitely give it a shot sometime!

As soon as James mentioned Dark Souls on the show, I knew it would dominate the Talkback thread. As with World of Warcraft, I probably would like it... but I can't justify the time/sanity cost with so many other games to play. I'm the guy who spent much of his 70+ hours in Xenoblade thinking about how many other games could be used for New Business with that time.

Pixelated PixiesOctober 09, 2012

@Jonnyboy117

Speaking of playing games which demand alot of investment, I was hoping to hear your continuing impressions of La Mulana. I know technically speaking it's no longer new business as you've already discussed it on the show, but have you played any more of the game?

jimwood27October 09, 2012

Mario Party 9 is a really fun game.  Never played a Mario Party before but 9 is a lot of fun and supposedly removes a lot of quirks that held back past games.  Still a lot of luck involved with who gets stars on the board but the whole board game is different with everyone moving together.  And the motion controls are used very infrequently (not even close to the amount of Wii Party, which I feel is still superior but both are fun).

PP, you may get your wish on the upcoming episode, because I've been playing a lot more La-Mulana.

Da JarvisOctober 10, 2012

Quote from: The_Darkest_Red

Da Jarvis, there are definitely some folks who prefer Demon's Souls to Dark Souls but overall I'd say most people who are into one love them both and as far as favorites go it's probably split down the middle. I love Demon's Souls as well but I think Dark Souls made some great improvements in terms of the systems in the game (particularly the bonfire, magic, and healing systems) and I also love the fact that the entire world is connected and open (as opposed to Demon's Souls which was split into a series of disjointed levels connected by a hub world). You should definitely give it a shot sometime!

I see. Reading about the whole open ended part of the game actually makes me a little more interested then I was before. Quick question though: As someone who has never played both, would you recommend I play Demon Soul's first or would it be ok to just go straight to Dark Souls?

HaldrichOctober 10, 2012

I am so glad that James is playing Dark Souls.  That game got its hooks into me and didn't let go.  I highly recommend getting the players guide or using a wiki walk through to help you out.

The_Darkest_RedOctober 10, 2012

Quote from: Da

I see. Reading about the whole open ended part of the game actually makes me a little more interested then I was before. Quick question though: As someone who has never played both, would you recommend I play Demon Soul's first or would it be ok to just go straight to Dark Souls?

Both are pretty equal in terms of accessibility but if you only want to play one I'd say go for Dark Souls since I think it's the better game. They aren't connected in terms of story or universe so you don't have to worry about missing out on any of that stuff. I think the servers for Demon's Souls might be down at this point though, so that might be another reason to go for Dark Souls (there are some really cool multiplayer elements to the games). Either way I would suggest reading a bit about the game on a wiki before you get too much into it since there isn't really much of a "tutorial" and the games aren't particularly great about explaining how everything works.

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

As soon as James mentioned Dark Souls on the show, I knew it would dominate the Talkback thread. As with World of Warcraft, I probably would like it... but I can't justify the time/sanity cost with so many other games to play. I'm the guy who spent much of his 70+ hours in Xenoblade thinking about how many other games could be used for New Business with that time.

Fair enough man, prioritizing is definitely a part of every adult gamer's life so I understand where you're coming from. I won't even touch an MMO for that very reason. I'm also having a tough time getting through Xenoblade myself, it's taken me quite a few months and I'm only about 45 hours in. Dark Souls took me 65 hours on my first playthrough so that's about the kind of time commitment you're looking at. It doesn't approach MMO numbers or anything but it's admittedly nothing to scoff at.

Da JarvisOctober 10, 2012

65 hours? My god... that's a lot of time I don't have xD. I still need to beat both Xenoblade and Last Story! I mean, I guess I also have FF13... but I am at a point in the game I really don't want to come back to and my progress in Persona 3 is more of a on and off thing... *Sigh* I really hate it when I have to many RPGs on my plate. It makes games that are over 30 hours that aren't on my 3DS really intimidating to start up... Maybe I'll save it as a game for the summer since there is never any games coming out around that time and I'll have plenty of time to invest in games I will want to catch up on :)

Pixelated PixiesOctober 10, 2012

Indeed, 65 hours is a hell of a long time. It's for that reason that I'm going to be avoiding longer games if I can, for a while at least. The amount of time I put into Xenoblade and Monster Hunter Tri is kind of gross.

Da JarvisOctober 10, 2012

Quote from: Pixelated

Indeed, 65 hours is a hell of a long time. It's for that reason that I'm going to be avoiding longer games if I can, for a while at least. The amount of time I put into Xenoblade and Monster Hunter Tri is kind of gross.

I feel thta way when it comes to the time I have spent on Bayonetta or Brawl. I am always dissapointed when I see just how many hours I have spent on games I am already beyond done with instead of moving onto games I should be trying to finish so I can move onto newer games xD

RagnaBladeOctober 10, 2012

Dark Souls is amazing. I usually detest games that are as difficult as it is, but Dark Souls is so incredibly fair in its difficulty that it instead felt like a mountain, cold and uncaring and vicious, yet not insidious, and a true challenge to be overcome. It also helps if someone you know is playing through it at the same time as you. That way you can talk through some of the bosses. Capra Demon was oddly difficult, first run through. Sorcerer was a great class though.


On the other side of the difficulty equation, Kirby was rad as well.

Sal ParadiseOctober 11, 2012


I'm also very glad to hear that James at least tried out Dark Souls. In some ways it seems to be the perfect game for him, I hope he continues playing and gives updates on the show.


I had never played Demon Souls and just thought I give Dark Souls a shot when I didn't have anything else to play, and it turned out to be an amazing game, which could only be topped by Xenoblade last year.


I have to agree with what Darkest_Red was saying about difficulty/trolling. I'm a less than average player myself, but never really understood the complains about dying in Dark Souls. Sure it's a hard game, but so are plenty of others. However, DkS is always fair, and if you die it's 99.99% your own fault and you probably won't make the same mistake again. Also, if you really cannot make it through an area or cannot beat a boss there's always the option to connect with other players, who are generally very helpful.


The length of the game could be an issue to some, but not to me. Exploring the world of Dark Souls (as well as Xenoblade) took some time for sure, but it was worth every minute, much more than playing maybe 3 or 4 other, more average games. In fact, DkS spoiled me, making it hard for games of the similar genre like Skyrim (well), which was another subject that was discussed on the show a few months ago.


So yeah, looking forward to the DLC coming in October I think. So it looks like James has at least a few more weeks to find out what the Pendant is really doing. ;)

Hey Einstein!October 12, 2012

I just finished Tales of The Abyss after 60+ hrs and I am done with long games for the time being. My backlog isn't as scary as most people who post about such things here. I geeked out recently and used HowLongtobeat.com to "price up" what each game might cost me in hours so I could focus on some of the low hanging fruit. The lesson: I may well be able to beat my entire 3DS back log in the same time it'll take me to finish Tactics Ogre!


Do you remember when people played video games for pleasure, only had a few and used to rent new ones from video stores? How things change.

That's mainly because there was no such thing as "disposable income" for us in those days.

Fiendlord_TimmayOctober 13, 2012

I think the Demon's Souls servers are still up. I can't check for sure because I don't have my PS3 with me at college, but based on some quick googling, it seems that they haven't been shut down yet.

Demon's Souls is hands down one of my favorite games of this generation. It is fantastically rewarding and addictive once you get over the initial learning curve. I really suggest reading about some of the mechanics on the wiki though, as someone else in this thread suggested. There are things like world tendencies and stat requirements for equipment that the game never really explains to you, but if you take the time to understand them it makes the game so much easier.


It is a LONG ASS game though. My first playthrough was about 60 hours. I realize most people won't be as addicted as I was, but that time was all concentrated in a 3 week period, so it didn't consume my whole life for very long. :P

I've been wanting to play Dark Souls for a long time now, and it's finally cheap enough that I might be able to get it.... might want to wait until after finals though.

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