REVIEWSThe Incredible Adventures of Van Review
Van Helsing returns to Borgovia to slay monsters and take revenge. Is the final installment of this popular ARPG series considered a worthwhile conclusion?
In all the talk of graphical downgrades no one seems much preoccupied with 'why?'. Why build something and then proceed to tear it down, piece by piece, in the hope that ever more diminished expectations about the final product won't be severe enough to...
It's the one emotion that we can't live without in some form or another. Whether it be finding one's soulmate, the warm glow of being surrounded by family, the laughter and energy of friends, or a solo night fueled by Jack Daniels and Vaseline, there is nothing more special than being surrounded by love. Some things may be less messy, but nothing more special.
And when you love someone, oftentimes that love can be shared by common activities. How great does it feel when that special someone bonds with you in one of your hobbies? Your favorite activity with your favorite person... it's the stuff that dreams are made of.
Unless your favorite activity is gaming. Then you may be walking in a minefield.
You see, as gamers, not only do we have a need for love, but we have a mean competitive streak. Missions do not simply sit as “failed"; we must “accomplish” them. Completing a game isn't enough; we must 100% them. And when it comes to local multiplayer, relationships head right out the door once certain games are turned on.
And when we play with that special someone, that could lead to a lot less nookie.
So, if love is in the air for you this Valentine's Day in some form or another, you may want to put off playing any of the games on this list, guaranteed to wreck the mood. Or play them, but be sure to stock up on Jack and Vaseline.
The iconic birth of Super Mario. Many claim Super Mario Bros. was almost single-handedly responsible for resuscitating the home video game market after the North American video game crash in the early 1980s. The game has spawned countless sequels and spin-offs, as well as cartoons, clothing, and sugary kids cereals. Simply put, the game is historic.
But that doesn't mitigate the pain of playing with someone much better than you, especially if they're Mario, and you're Luigi.
To this day, my parents still won't play any video games with me because back in the '80s I would be Mario and take off on a sprint from Level 1-1 to Level 4-2 (no warp zones!) without dying. Then, when the inconceivable finally happened, my folks were nowhere to be found and I went all Lion King in the living room:
“DAD! It's your turn!... Dad?... DAD!!!”
Another one from the retro collection, Anticipation crosses Trivial Pursuit with Pictionary and provides video party gaming fun for everyone prior to 1993. Actually, I think it's a game that highly deserves an eighth-gen sequel, especially with the capability to utilize the Wii U Gamepad. But I digress...
Anticipation was a great diversion, and fun for gamers and non-gamers alike. Fun, that is, if you were a good speller. Not so much for the spelling-challenged, especially if they were playing with those who could spell.
“Oh, I know!” (Buzzes in.) “R... A... C... K – what? Wrong? But it's 'racquetball,' I see it! There's the court and the racket... ugh! How do you spell it??”
And with just one glance, you know that everyone in the room knows that the sport is spelled racquetball, not racketball, and not one letter will slip through their lips.
If ever there was a time in pre-Jerry Springer life to throw chairs and start inappropriate fist fights, it was during a game of Anticipation.
There's nothing as emotionally bonding as a nice game of Monopoly. Well, except for pretty much anything. Monopoly always starts with good intentions, and quickly devolves into Who Can Screw Who Into Financial Despair First?
Now combine Monopoly with the Mushroom Kingdom and throw in some Dragon Quest/Dragon Warrior characters for good measure (since really, they don't get enough screentime and completely fit with Mario & Co., don't they?), and you have the little-known Fortune Street.
It's a unique concept, buying and selling shops and properties in both the Mario and Dragon universes, charging rent and playing the stock market on virtual game boards. But much like the tabletop game of buying and selling, Fortune Street can have your friends pouncing on you like an Occupy movement.
We figured Princess Peach might have been part of the 1%, but not our favorite blue-collar Italian plumbers.
You Don't Know Jack
Trivia games. Who doesn't love a good piece of trivia? We all do, and that's why we have game shows—pointless factoids for cash. But when cash isn't on the line, trivia games are basically pissing contests for the brain, which is all skittles and beer... if your brain is pissing the farthest.
If not, you feel like a grade-A dumbass.
You Don't Know Jack takes that dumbass feeling and reminds bad players they are dumbasses every chance they can get. Again, this is great fun, if you're the player in first place.
Haven't lost all your friends yet? You Don't Know Jack practically insists that you screw your neighbor with the appropriately-named Screw Your Neighbor option, where you can buzz in and force one of those dumbasses to answer a question you know they have no clue for.
To top it off, while you may be leading throughout the game, one good Jack Attack lightning round in your opponent's favor and your huge lead can be blown apart into a relatively-small-but-still-legitimate come-from-behind victory.
The cel-shaded adventure for our little bomber dude is regarded as one of the best iterations of Bomberman, with a highly-touted multiplayer, which is why the Gamecube version of the series is on this list. But the pain that can be found from a cruel opponent lies in any version of the game with multiplayer.
It's not always pronounced; sometimes the alliance belies even words. But that moment when you realize all the other players are ganging up on your poor little Bomberman... that moment is dark, cold, and damning. And before the explosions char your character to little more than a Carl's Jr. afterthought, you think to yourself, “Why do I even have friends like this to begin with?”
And right before the flames singe you, body and soul, you decide, “Yes, someone, in fact, is getting Ex-Lax in his smoothie tomorrow.”
It's a race! It's a race! Clear the viruses, get them all gone! I'm working fast to clear my viruses, get them all in a chain reaction and beat my opp–
Wait, what the hell are those? They're like pieces of capsule... WAIT! No no no no no no, don't fall there! I set that up for yellow OH MY GOD WHY IS A BLUE GOING TO LAND THERE I CAN'T STOP IT???!?!?!?
… And just what do you find so funny over there, “friend?”
This particular game doesn't have a special multiplayer mode, but it does have a two-player mode, where taking up the mantle as the second Battletoad assists another player scourge Ragnarok in search of the third Battletoad, the Princess, and the lair of the Dark Queen.
This is one of the few games in existence where two are definitely not better than one. Why worry about enemies when Rash and Zitz can beat each other, sometimes to death, just by being too close to one another on screen? And since both characters need to be on the same screen, it makes the already-difficult platforming excruciating.
If the two of you survive the first two levels, the third level still features hoverbikes going 220 million miles an hour with no mercy. If that's not hard enough with one Toad, two Toads basically ensures a ragequit.
If your significant other says, “Oooh! Battletoads! I haven't played that in forever. Let's play that!”. consider suggesting something that's healthier and more uplifting to both partners in a relationship. For example, soldering your eyes shut.
The forerunner of the modern shooter, the N64's Goldeneye 007 pioneered many elements considered standard in first-person shooters today, such as scoped sniper rifles, varied missions, and the use of stealth. It also introduced multiplayer console modes, which even today still provide gamers of all sorts tons of fun.
It also provided a heinous equalizer that should have been renamed the Lucky Shot, B**ch” Mode—The Man With The Golden Gun.
This mode put one single Golden Gun, Francisco Scaramanga's signature weapon, into play in a field. With it, the lucky punk who had it could kill with one hit. You could have all the PP7 ammo in the world, but one golden bullet meant a kill for the other guy. And the gun wouldn't respawn; you had to take it from the other player.
All of a sudden, he or she who sucked at multiplayer Goldeneye 007 now fancied his or her self as a regular Annie Oakley. Little siblings around the world, rejoice.
You've blown all the other racers off Rainbow Road. Easy as pie.
No one can touch you; you're just that damn good at the go-kart racing series loved by many. Now it's just time to sit back and enjoy the gorgeous scenery afforded by the final track in the ga–
Wait... do you hear something... behind you... whistling?
If you are looking for the fastest way to ensure no lovey-dovey play for the night (or possibly ever), there's no surer bet than the Mario Party series. What seemingly looks like an innocent board game romp really exists for no other reason than backstabbing and torment.
That's a nice item you got there. Would be a shame if someone stole it.
Wow, look at all those coins/stars/mini-Stars you have! That's a whole lot! I better take some off your hands so you don't have to carry so much.
Hey, we were a really great duo in that 2x2 game! Now I'm going to bash your head in during this free-for-all. You understand, right?
Between all the theft, sabotage, and cold-hearted backstabbing, all wrapped up in a conveniently-cute Mario package, the Mario Party console games are your sure-fire bet that no one will want to play games with you anymore, be it console games... or romantic games.