Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sin and Punishment 2: Star Successor


I may have never told you guys this before, but I love light gun arcade games.   To this very day, if I got ten minutes to burn and there's an arcade nearby, I'll freely sink a dollar or two into any shooter machine.  Give me a plastic gun, a screen to shoot at, and a bunch of Nazis/aliens/Nazi aliens to blast in the face, and I am in heaven.  Yeah, for some reason FPS games are all the rage these days, but you can take your "Halo 4" and shove it.  The real hardcore shooters are "House of the Dead 2", "Area 51", and "The Ocean Hunter".  Nothing but beautiful memories in those things:  if you're a kid at the Jersey Shore with a buddy, and there's an hour of of zombies or dinosaurs to slaughter, that's paradise.  I am serious when I tell you that I will have sex with any human being on Earth if they give me an old 90s light gun arcade cabinet.  You could even be that mumbling chick from "Twilight", and I'd have sex with you - twice.

But I honestly, I don't want to have sex with that walking corpse people call "Kristin Stewart".  Sadly though, its probably the only way I'll ever get to play those light gun games.  Rail shooters are a dead genre, and arcades are twice as dead.  The world has moved on*.  Luckily, however, there is one console on the market today that has motion-based controls that would be perfect for a light gun shooter game:  the playful little Wii.  There plenty of light gun games on the Wii, its a like a white plastic Renaissance.   We got two "Resident Evil" games, "Dead Space: Extraction", a brand new "House of the Dead", and most importantly, "Sin and Punishment 2", which is so important because its the game I'm reviewing right now.  I know one day I'll have to play the "House of the Dead" stuff (which includes remakes of "House of the Dead 2" and "3" - yay!), but for now I got this incredibly awesome game in front of me.  Oh, "Sin and Punishment" is good.  Not just good, but great.  Not just great, but stopreadingandbuyitnow-fucking-unbelievably-kickass!

"Sin and Punishment 1" was a shooter game for the Nintendo 64 which ultimately succumbed to the curse that seemed to plague that system from day one.  Tons of games were put into production for the N64, not a whole lot actually made it out.  "Earthbound 64" bit the dust, "Fire Emblem 64" went the same way, "Dragon Quest VII" fled to the PlayStation, "Kameo Elements of Power" wound on the Xbox 360 of all things, at least one other Kirby game completely collapsed before "Kirby 64" was released, "Dinosaur Planet" fell apart and was recycled as a disappointing Star Fox game for the Gamecube, and even the "Advance Wars" game didn't make it.  "Sin and Punishment" actually was finished - with English voice acting - but never got released in United States because the Gamecube was coming out in months, and Nintendo didn't think it was worth the money to import it**.  So nobody in the US played this game until it was released on the Virtual Console of the Wii, where it was a small hit.  That meant that when a sequel was made on the Wii, we were guaranteed to finally get it properly.  And so we did, and I played it, and a review has been written.

"Sin and Punishment" is like a mixture of Star Fox and light gun games.  You play as a character flying around on the screen with the joystick while your Wiimote targets enemies completely independent of your character's location.  If you've seen the new trailers for "Kid Icarus: Uprising", you'll know what kind of game this is.  Automatically you're controlling two completely separate things:  the character and your gun's crosshairs.  With the human you're playing as, you basically want to dodge all the crazy stuff trying to kill you, while you use the gun to blow everything back to Hell.  The controls take a bit of time to get used to, but its extremely intuitive and by Level 2 you'll be a master.  Your character also has a melee attack which you use on close targets and a Super Charged Laser you use to cause extra mayhem.  Sometimes you'll get little boxes of first aid to boost health, usually you're left running and gunning until a check point.  Learn where the quick-dodge button is on your Nunchuck, and use it constantly.

The gameplay is fun, fast, and completely insane.  Things start off slowly, then start growing crazier and crazier.  Hordes of enemies cover the screen with bullets, its pandemonium from all directions.  Missiles fly from the sides, enemies in robots fire machine guns, little bombs float around, lasers block your path, and sometimes just floods of enemies seem to dominate the entire screen.  There are times when this game turns into a ruthless Bullet Hell situation, when the boss's laser seems to dominate every single pixel of the screen.  You just got to learn the patterns of movement, find the safe zones, and kill the most dangerous enemies fast.  Because of the game's unique control scheme, it shifts from sidescroller to on-rails shooter without a second of confusion.

Once upon a time games went out of their way to be as ludicrous as possible.  Do you remember the last game that allowed you to fight dinosaurs, krakens, giant crabs with Greek temples as shells, space stations, random soldiers, and eagle-kitty fusions?  This is classic Nintendo Entertainment System madness, a style of gameplay that the world has forgotten.  Just make as many things as possible trying to kill your characters, and constantly multiply their numbers until you break the processor and fry the game cartridge.  Then add another six more robots.  Oh, and if the regular game is a bit crazy, make sure the boss fights are jibbering unfathomable lunacy.  This is a game with the mind of George III and the soul of Rasputin, all boiled down in a solution of pure mercury.  And it is fucking incredible.

The other major detail is that this is game is hard:  super hard.  I played on Normal, and even then it took me several tries to get through some of the tougher bosses.  Stage 6 is particularly bad in this respect, its just super tough boss after super tough boss.  This is the type of game that leaves you feeling proud of yourself once you've won, because it really is an accomplishment.  Nothing is going to stop you again, you beat "Sin and Punishment 2".  You're a prodigy of death, a barely human walking titan with Holocausts flowing from your fingertips.  Puppies cry and virgins bleed at yoursteps.  What a great game.

Now there are faults with "Sin and Punishment 2", and like all lightgun games, its with the story.  The voice acting is barely passable, and the script is terrible.  But when compared with some games of the genre, this is basically the lightgun version of "Shakespeare in Love".  The game just starts with roughly a third of the plot already passed, just placing us with two random anime teenagers, a girl and a boy, running from an army of SciFi monsters.  Who are these kids?  Who is trying to kill them?  Where are we?  When are we?  Why can these kids fight so well?  Does that girl have a tail?  All of this backstory is completely secret, it is nowhere to be found on the disc.  Instead its in the manual of all places!  Yeah, I know this game is a retro throughback, but we didn't need to bring back the parts that sucked.  There are a group of odd villains named the Nebulux who are out to kill you, and they can summon every single thing on Earth to kill you.  Honestly, none of the story really matters just:  BAD GUYS THERE, SHOOT THEM.  If you actually do watch the cutscenes, you get to see such gems as the boy talking with the girl over what makes a person human - apparently it isn't her tail.

If you desperately want to know what's going on... its weird.  God made seven Earths to stop the Scrub Coral from "Eureka Seven" from conquering the universe.  So the Scrub Coral made Kachi, the girl, to visit humanity.  But God wants her dead, so he sent the Nebulux to kill her, but Isa, the boy, betrays them.  Now Isa and Kachi have to fight a lot and defeat all the Nebulux in order to.... do something.  I didn't understand a whiff of it.  Actually, I only brought up "Eureka Seven" as a proper alternative to the worthless storyline this game features.  Maybe it only makes sense if you've played "Sin and Punishment 1" but I doubt it.

Also, "Sin and Punishment 2" is huge loads of fun... but only when its a lightgun game.  There's one point where you suddenly find yourself playing a bizarre utterly broken 2D fighting game against the boss.  There's no blocking, no special attacks, only really random combos that seem to happen completely by luck.  I just slammed the A-button and B-button together without even looking at the screen, and somehow I won.  The last boss too is really really lame, since all you do is kick back glowing orbs of laser at the Final Boss while protecting Kachi.  Still, these are really minor complaints.

"Sin and Punishment 2" is so much fun its almost criminal. Criminal that there isn't a "Sin and Punishment 3" yet!  Clearly this isn't the end of my lightgun adventures with my Wii.  Because these games are great.

* Don't think it can't happen to your favorite genre either.  Its not entirely coincidence that I'm playing twenty-year-old RPGs these days instead of whatever modern games are on the Xbox or whatever.

** Everytime Nintendo does this shit an Angel turns into a misanthropic video game blogger filled with incalculable rage. Yeah, I'm still pissed over "Xenoblade".


  1. it might or might not be your cup of tea, but have you ever played Monster Hunter? its an ARPG sorta like zelda, but thats not true I only said zelda because its the only thing I could possibly think of,

    anyway, they are fairly retro in many ways, ultra difficult, take an eternity to beat, etc. etc.
    graphics are good, but its damned hard

    like, get hit twice and die hard.

    I think you should track down Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii and check it out, should only be 25 bucks.

  2. Well, he hasn't posted in a couple of days. Maybe he found it so engaging that he's been doing nothing but watch it for days on end. Orrr it didn't work and he's doing something else completely different. Who knows.

  3. Sorry, I'm really busy these days. Posts are going to be considerably less frequent while at school. You remember those days? Just about one or two posts a week. Bleach recap is coming tomorrow, I might try to squeeze out a review of something else after it.

    Oh, and I didn't fall for it.

    My current big project will have something to do with Chrono Trigger. I won't have anything up for it for it until I get somewhat deeper into this game.

  4. I really do think you'd like Noein, Blue. Please try to find the time to watch it.