Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom/Rehydrated (2003/2020) Review

Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is a 2003 action platformer developed by Heavy Iron Studios and published by THQ for the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox. The game was remastered in a 2020 release Titled Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated, this version was developed by Purple Lamp Studios and was published by THQ for the PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC and Xbox One.

In this review I will be mainly looking at the original game and then briefly discussing the remake afterwards.

Plankton has built an Army of Robots to help him steal the Krabby Patty Secret Formula and take over the world. Unfortunately for him the robots were set to not obey mode and instead decide to take over Bikini Bottom leaving Spongebob, Patrick and Sandy to defeat the robots and put a stop to their chaos.

There are three playable characters in the game which can be switched at bus stops hidden within levels, each of these characters have different abilities which are needed to find secrets and progress through out the game.

Spongebob has the most moves in the game and each of these revolve around blowing bubbles, his most commonly used move puts a bubble helmet on his head which he uses to destroy robots that are positioned high above the ground.

His bowling bubble can be used to hit enemies that are wedged within difficult spaces or to hit buttons when he is standing on a pressure pad.

The cruise bubble is a projectile move that allows Spongebob to blow a timed missile at enemies.

Patrick is able to pick up heavy objects which he can hurl at buttons or stack up so that he can climb to higher places. Using freezing fruit Patrick can temporarily freeze body’s of water so that he can walk over them to find secrets that could not be found otherwise.

Sandy is my favourite character to play as in the game, she is able to use her lasso to grab enemies, swing across specific sections and temporarily glide across large gaps.

There are various surf sections in the game where players need to quickly travel down ski slopes which hide additional secrets and collectibles. I really like these sections I found them to be challenging with tight enough controls and overall a great experience.

I really enjoyed the boss fights in the game I thought they were really well designed and challenging to fight, some of these were references to episodes from the Television series and the others were robotic versions of the playable characters. Concept Art from the game shows art for a robot Squidward fight, this could be a sign that he may have been designed as a playable character at some point in development.

The main collectable in the game are the Golden Spatulas, these are needed to access new levels and areas in the game, players can either find these or be given them as rewards for helping in-game NPC’s. You can also get spatulas for finding Patrick’s missing socks, or by purchasing them from Mr Krabs in exchange for Shiny things the in-game currency.

The soundtrack is really fun and is one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard in a licensed videogame, its not phenominal or anything but it really works so well for this game. The music is a lot of a fun and can be more serious at times when needed, what I really appreciate is that in the rock bottom section of the game they removed the music entirely so that it felt just like the episode it was based on. my favourite was the Bikini Bottom Music that played during the hub world it made me think of jolly sailors travelling the high seas.

Battle for Bikini Bottom is one of the greatest licensed video games ever made, this is a really solid experience and a love letter to Spongebob fans from the developers. I was shocked with how much effort was put into this, mulitple playable characters, funny dialogue, great music, tight controls and lots of things to do, I do wish that the theatre gave us a little more than just concept art and a better completion bonus would have been appreciated but apart from that I can only reccomend you get yourself a copy of this game even though these days it doesn’t sell for very cheap I think it is well worth its price and is better value for money than the remake which we will discuss now.

The new version obviously looks better than its predecessor the graphics are lot more appealing and run at a higher frame rate compared to the original.

I also really enjoyed that the new game added up to date Spongebob references and memes for the younger fans and the older ones too.

Gorgeous new visuals aside lets discuss the game in general, the first thing that really sucks about this is that they didnt add anything new so this is purely a visual remake.

They modernised the music as well and while still is very good its lost a lot of its charm and doesn’t suit the game as well as did previously.

The theatre returns but they removed the concept art which makes sense as they should have replaced it with concept art from this game but instead they put a handful of still images from the game as your reward for unlocking the theatre.

I haven’t really got much else to say about this remake as it is very close to the original but it just feels like a few more months fixing up a few of its fall backs were needed. I think a bonus world would have been a great addition and if not the robot squidward fight that was added into the multiplayer could have just been added into the main game even if it was a hidden boss fight. As for the theatre how about instead of screen shots from the game they could have placed a playable ROM of the Battle for Bikini Bottom GBA game as it will probably never be released virtually anyway and it would give fans of the console game a chance to play a version they may have missed.

Speaking of the GBA game maybe one day I will take a look at it to see how it holds up compared to the console version.

If you do not have a an older system then rehydrated is still a really fun game it just struggles to compare to the original game that in my opinion is vastly superior.

Battle for Bikini Bottom 9.5/10

Rehydrated 7/10

My Favourite Spongebob episodes – Rock Bottom

In this season 1 episode Spongebob and Patrick have just finished a day of fun at Glove World and are catching bus home to Bikini Bottom but unfortunately they are on the wrong bus and end up in a town called Rock Bottom.

Rock Bottom is a unusual place where everything is backwards or just genuinely doesn’t make any sense, the area is quite dark and somewhat creepy which makes the need for Spongebob to get home even more intense.

The episode only really gets funny when Patrick manages to catch the bus home and Spongebob is left alone, poor Spongebob keeps missing every bus home by seconds and no matter what he tries he just cannot catch that bus and it soon becomes apparent to the viewer that the bus might be missing Spongebob on purpose. This is definitely one the funnier episodes and may be one of the highlights of the show where the comedy is at the expense of Spongebob and not another character.

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The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2004) Review

Originally planned to be the shows grand finale (although it is considered the ending of the canonical timeline), 2004 gave us the Spongebob Squarepants movie a surprisingly well written film where Spongebob and Patrick are sent on a quest to receive King Neptunes stolen crown from Shell City.

The film mainly revolves around a new restaurant opening the Krusty Krab 2 and how Spongebob not getting the management position affects him.

While Spongebob is grieving Plankton has started his evil plan Z where he steals King Neptunes crown and blames Mr Krabs resulting in Krabs being frozen while Spongebob and Patrick go on an epic road trip to get the crown back and clear Mr Krabs name.

The movie was directed by Stephen Hillenburg the series creator and you couldn’t ask for a better director as he best understands the characters and the world of Bikini Bottom. Since the movie was made when Hillenburg was still involved in the shows production the film holds up in quality, comedic timing and feels like a love letter to Spongebob fans of the time.

My favourite part of the movie is actually the opening, the film starts with eccentric Spongebob fans (pirates) discovering tickets to the Spongebob Squarepants movie where they soon give the audience a live rendition of the shows theme song in the style of pirates shantie.

The film is a lot darker than the show, there is one part that’s always creeped me out and that’s when Spongebob and Patrick run into the ice cream lady, this seemingly innocent old woman is actually a giant monster which draws inspiration from the Kelpie as well as Grandma from the episode Have you seen this snail.

Plankton is particularly evil in this movie, this is by far his most sinister plan, he not only frames Mr Krabs for his crimes but he even enslaves the residents of Bikini Bottom.

A character called Goofy Goober plays a small role in the film as a food mascot but his influence on Spongebob and Patrick throughout the movie helps them both to see emotions and learn maturity. It’s the place were spongebob goes to grieve over his loss of the manager position and is even used at the end of the movie to foil Planktons plans.

With great jokes running from beginning to end, new characters, original songs and special cameo appearances, the Spongebob Squarepants movie may be the greatest film to ever be made of an animated property, it managed to stick to the nature of the show with a few updates to help it work for a cinematic experience. It’s not just a great ending to the Spongebob timeline but its just a great movie in general, its very cheap to rent on apps such as amazon prime and the Sky Store and I highly recommend you do, this is honestly one of the funniest animated movies I have ever seen and I guarantee you will find enjoyment in it even if you haven’t seen the show.

My Favourite Spongebob Episodes – Have you seen this Snail

Since I mentioned this episode earlier on in the review, whats a better time than now to talk about it.

In this season 4 episode Spongebob is too distracted by his new Paddleboard set to remember Gary’s feeding time which results in Gary Running away from home.

He is eventually picked up by a kind old lady who gives Gary a life of luxury and lots of homemade foods, later on in the episode Gary discovers a sinister secret about the old lady when he discovers lots of empty snail shells piled in a cupboard.

In my opinion the most memorable part of this rather emotional episode is the original song “Gary Come Home”. Since the new movie, Sponge on the run follows a similar premise to this episode many fans are hoping it appears in the film.

Not one of the funniest episodes in the series but Have you seen this snail packs plenty of emotion in a very memorable episode that reminds its viewers to remember the importance of taking good care of their pets.

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Spongebob Squarepants: Plankon’s Robotic Revenge (2013) Review

Spongebob Squarepants: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge is a 2013 third person shooter based in the Spongebob universe. It was developed by behaviour interactive and was published by Activison for the PS3,Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo DS and the Nintendo 3DS.

I played through the Wii U version but after further research I realised that all versions are practically the same with small gameplay and graphical changes.

A military ship accidentally drops live batteries into the ocean causing them to land outside of the Chum Bucket where they are collected by Plankton. Plankton uses these batteries to power a robot army in order to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula and take over Bikini Bottom.

So before I rip into this game I want to say that to have multiplayer co-operative play is a really great idea for a kids game and I love that Mr Krabs and Squidward are both playable as they are often not playable in the Spongebob games.

The game is a third person shooter, players are able to collect gears by killing robots and then they use those gears to purchase new weapons and upgrades. This may sound fun but it’s not very well designed I found that if you fully upgrade the standard pickle blaster you can take out most enemies with a few shots and because the game gives you auto aim and auto fire as a standard this makes the journey to completion very easy.

It doesnt help that you fight ths same handful of enemies throughout the 15 levels in the game, there is no variety between worlds and apart from the final world of Bikini Bottom the game looks boring and uninspired.

Even the three boss battles in the game feel very similar again there is no variety and the game is very repetetive, the only saving grace is that its so short, I beat the entire game in less than 3 hours and with no side content there was nothing else to it, I was happy that the game ended because of how boring it was but I’m still annoyed with home much I got ripped off in paying for it, the game should be a £9.99 e-shop title at most, it literally gives the player the bare minimum amount of effort needed for a game.

The soundtracks very good I can at least say that, it mostly uses music either from or inspired by the TV series and of course due to that the soundtrack fits perfectly into the game and I cant really complain about it.

For the first video game of Spongebob month I can’t believe the bad luck I had in picking this one, I feel that if more effort was put into the game a third person Spongebob shooter could be really fun, they could have implemented more antagonists from the show as boss fights and if they had given each world unique robots then it wouldn’t have been so boring. But for what this is regardless of its music It’s just a very bad and lazy game that should not have been released, it makes the developers, publishers and Nickelodeon all look bad for releasing such a scam a of a game that it serves as nothing more than a cash grab, there is nothing special about this and I cannot recommend it to anyone 2/10

My Favourite Spongebob episodes – Idiot Box

At the end of every review I’m going to write a very short review on my favourite episodes of the show.

Idiot Box was part of the third season of the show, in the episode Spongebob and Patrick are using a TV box to play imagination games, Squidward doesn’t believe this as the sounds coming from the box are so realistic that he is convinced that Spongebob and Patrick are playing a trick on him.

This is by far one of funniest episodes of the TV series, you really start to understand Squidward as a selfish and grumpy character here with him failing to understand to concept of an imagination and mocking those who do. The ending to episode has me laughing hysterically every time I see it, its very well directed seeing Squidward alone on the box losing his mind trying to find a sound recorder only to have one of the funniest final moments in the shows history, Idiot Box is a great episode and one of my personal favourites.

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The History of Spongebob Squarepants

Hello and welcome to Spongebob month, throughout August we will be taking a look at all things Spongebob including the television series, two movies and four video games.

Spongebob Squarepants was created by a Marine Biologist named Stephen Hillenburg who first began development of the character in a book called the Intertidal Zone which he created to help teach his students.

Before Spongebob there was Bob the Sponge, this character was the lead in the Intertidal Zone and would tell readers interesting facts about marine life and creatures who live under the sea.

Hillenburg struggled to sell his book to publishers and eventually decided to take a masters degree in art where he created a short film named Worm Holes. This Short-film was played in many film festivals including the 1992 Otawa Festival where Stephen Met Joe Murray the creator of Rocko’s Modern Life who was so impressed with Hillenburgs work he offered him a job to direct and work on Rocko’s Modern Life.

During his time working on Rocko, Hillenburgs colleague Martin Olsen read the Intertidal Zone and encouraged Hillenburg to use his expertise in Marine Biology to create his own animated series, Hillenburg had never thought about making his own cartoon before but he decided to give it a go and wanted to focus the premise of his show on the strangest sea creature he think of and eventually decided on a sponge.

When creating a pitch of the show for Nickelodeon it was originally called Spongeboy Ahoy ! the show was accepted as long as some changes were made including name which of course became Spongebob Squarepants, the pilot episode was released in 1999 and from there it became one of the most successful animated series of all time and is still being aired today with new episodes being made after Hillenburgs passing in 2018. Hillenburg hit the jackpot with Spongebob gaining himself a net worth in the millions. Spongebob is a very important TV series in the history of animation, it had many high points and low points as many shows do.

Many would argue that the later seasons were no where near as great as the first three seasons and the first movie and I tend to agree but I still love the property even if it has over stayed its welcome a little bit.

The show is still going after 20 years and it has spawned many types of main stream media, recently there was even a Broadway musical which I may get around too on a future Spongebob Month but until then lets take a deep dive into some of Spongebobs video games and the two current movies and I will see you in the next installment Spongebob Month 2020.

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Book Review: A Better Life by Isobel Scharen

A huge thankyou to the Publishing Push for sending me a review copy of this book.

I love being sent stories that I wouldn’t often pick up because it gives me an opportunity to explore new genres. A Better Life is a story that focuses on a young Singapore woman named Ada who not long after getting married is thrown into a world of struggles, chaos and heartbreaks.

I believe that a book that makes you feel for the characters and can bring emotion to the reader is one of the most difficult things an author can write, its easier in film because you are able to see exactly what the director wants to portray but when it comes to writing its not easy to make someone feel emotional just by reading. I commend Isobel Scharen for being able to write such a powerful story that is guaranteed to make you feel something, for me it was sadness for Ada and her struggles and the things she had to sacrifice in order to keep herself and her family safe.

I really cannot fault this book at all, I was hooked from the beginning, I will admit that I enjoyed the story more at around the half way point because that’s when things started to get really serious and we begin to see how badly the war affects the main characters and the lengths they have to go to just so that they see them selves survive the horrors of the war and how it changes their lives.

I felt that the romance was very well done in this story, often books come across as a little cliche and cheesy but this feels like a real relationship, the dialogue between characters in the book is also very realistic, this helps the reader to build connections with the characters which again will help the reader to feel emotions in the text.

I have to recommend this book because it really is one of the best I have read in a long time, I often go for more lighthearted and well known stories but now and again it is nice to read something different, I didn’t give away too many details in this review as I would like to encourage people to go and read it, below is a link to the UK amazon shop where you can pick up a copy.

Thanks again to the Publishing Push for sending me a copy of this book

I hope you enjoyed this review of A Better Life by Isobel Scharen

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Metroid Prime (2002) Review

Metroid Prime is the first game in the prime series, these games follow an action adventure style with a focus on exploration and puzzle solving which is a completely different style to the previous games in the series. It was developed Retro Studios for the Nintendo Gamecube and was released in 2002, the game was also re-released in the Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Nintendo Wii, In this review I am focusing on the original GameCube version of the game so keep that in mind.

After escaping Zebes in the Original Metroid, Samus recieves a distress signal from to travel to the Planet Tallon IV to prevent Meta Ridley and the Space Pirates from exploting the planets core and stealing its phazon energy, Samus lands her ship directly in planets center in a forested area and prepares herself for her very first 3D mission.

Right from the get go the game looks gorgeous and it has a large variety of different areas, my favourite was the forest but you also have to deal with ice and snow, lava, underground caverns, mines and toxic substances, all of the areas of the game are fantastically designed and I have no issue with graphics or visuals.

You will spend the majority of this game shooting enemies and as you explore you will discover new weapons, the game is very well designed with the different weapons needing to swapped regularly in order to damage different types of enemies, so many games will give you loads of weapons but only one will really be needed, in Metroid Prime however you need all of them to survive and the final boss of the game requires you to use each of them.

You can also find many upgrades to your armor most of these are series staples but the final phazon suit upgrade is new, it allows you to walk through the toxic substance without taking damage, the gravity suit also makes a return allowing Samus to double jump.

Of course the morph ball makes a return and while there isnt any new power-ups for it, it is very satisfying to use and once you unlock the spider ball upgrade it makes exploration a lot easier and at times a little bit quicker.

What is new is the ability to use half pipes to launch your morph ball to high ledges, this takes a while to get the hang of and I feel it could have been made a lot less stressful if they took out the need to time you boosts.

For the first time in the series Samus is able to upgrade her Visor to deal with different environments, the scan allows her to scan enemies and items to collect information and interact with the environments, the thermal visor allows her to see heat in the dark and the x-ray helps her to find secrets hidden within the landscapes such as walls that she can destroyed or ice she can melt.

The boss fights are really memorable but I do feel they drag out a bit too long, some of these fights can take up to 20 minutes and all of them quite difficult, it doesnt help that you still need to discover save stations to get a checkpoint, I feel that auto saves in some areas would have been a better choice, for example half way through the game you get to the mines and there is a section where you have to take out various difficult difficult space pirates and solve puzzles to get to through the areas, after getting so far you have had your health drained and instead of giving you a chance to save and heal the game just throws you into awkward boss battle that takes off large amounts of your health, at the same time more space pirates turn up making this the only part of the game that I felt was badly designed.

Another really annoying issue with the boss fights is that you have hold down the controller buttons in order to do powerful charge shots and missiles, your hands really start to ache after 30 minutes or so fighting the same boss and while this may come across as nitpicking it really does get annoying when you are really getting into the game and you have to stop playing for a while just so that you rest your fingers.

As per usual the soundtrack for Metroid Prime is as great as you would expect it to be, these games have always had immersive music that fits the lonely atmosphere of the games surroundings perfectly, the music is often creepy and chilling, it makes the player feel uneasy and on the edge of their seat not knowing whats lurking in the darkness and this is no exception its a really good soundtrack and while I still prefer the music from Super Metroid even though most of that music is remixed here this is still one of better Metroid soundtracks available.

I may have complained a little bit about this one but I did really enjoy my experience with Metroid Prime, for the first game in 3D the developers did a remarkable job in making it feel similar to its predecessors, this may be the hardest Metroid game I have played yet and while I do enjoy a challenge a few extra save stations would have been nice especially before major boss battles. I am very excited to eventually get around to playing Metroid Prime 2 but for now I will leave the series here, giving It’s first 3D game a score of 8.4/10

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Sonic Adventure 2 (2001) Review

After the blue blurs first fully 3D Adventure fans were begging for a sequel, in 2001 we got Sonic Adventure 2 a follow up to the first game that used a similar style but with a few changes that would help improve both the gameplay and the story. It’s no secret that this is one of the most popular games in the series. How does it hold up today is it still as great or is it just the nostalgia talking?

Lets find out and take a look into Sonic Adventure 2.

The game was re-released in 2002 for the Nintendo GameCube this version was called Sonic Adventure 2 Battle it added some new modes and a multiplayer which were all equally mediocre but the base game remained the same with a few fixes on camera quality, sprite work and controls, this is the version I am most familiar with.

Right off the bat following from the first Sonic adventure we get multiple story modes although they have been cut down to just two with a secret story after finishing both. This works much better than it was done before due to the lack of crappy campaign modes such as fishing or running away from robots.

Hero Mode opens with Sonic escaping from the goverment after being falsely arrested due to misunderstandings from the humans that he was dangerous.

After a fairly intense chase from the army Sonic runs into a new hedgehog that has stolen a chaos emerald, this character is Shadow a troubled character who has found himself working for none other than Dr Eggman who wants to collect all of the chaos emeralds in order to destroy the planet.

This leaves Sonic to gather Tails and Knuckles in order to track down the Dr, clear his good name and save the world.

The Dark Story follows the same plot but from the perspective of Dr Eggman, here we see that he finds a diary from his deceased grandfather Gerald Robotnik who inspired him to become the scientist he is today, Gerald had worked his whole life to create the ultimate super weapon to destroy the earth but passed away before he could pull it off. We see how Eggman hires shadow to join his team after realising that he may be more powerful than his greatest nemesis Sonic.

Further on in the story we also see how another newcomer Rouge the Bat a talented and selfish treasure hunter offers her services to the Dr and she soon becomes an enemy to Knuckles the Echidna the treasure hunter of the Hero Mode.

There are three level types in the game and both story modes share each of them.

Sonic and Shadow both use the classic style of fast-paced game play where they must destroy robots and make their way to end of a stage while riding rails and making sure not to fall off of the stage or take damage from enemy’s.

These are the most fun part of the game in my opinion, the stages are all very well designed with this style in mind and the game controls fairly well minus some issues with the camera.

Knuckles and Rouge are both treasure hunters who will be placed in large open areas where three pieces of the Master Emerald are hidden, you can use skills such as digging and gliding to find some of these pieces.

I hate these parts I thought they were really boring and never made much sense as to where the emerald pieces were hidden, the game does give a sign when you are near an emerald but even then the camera made it difficult to spot the pieces as it never focused where I wanted it too.

Tails and Eggman ride in mechs and have to blast through barrages of enemies and other obstacles to survive, this game play style uses the most puzzles often hiding buttons that need to be shot to open doors.

The Chao Garden returned and it was definitely more forced upon the player here since they removed the hub world from the first Sonic Adventure, in Sonic Adventure 2 you needed to find a special key hidden within levels to visit to Chao Garden and here you could raise Chaos and upgrade their stats, I never enjoyed this growing up and I still don’t but I understand that many people have fond memories of this part of the game.

Kart Racing is an unlockable mode in the game but its also included in two stages between each story mode, the issue I have with this is the imbalance of acceleration and turning, it is really frustrating to play this mode and it doesn’t feel like it really fits in with the main story because it is so out of place and looks so silly compared to how serious and at times dark the main plot is.

The visuals are a major upgrade here than they were in the first Sonic Adventure game, while the graphics were substantially better its hard to admire the creativity and love that went into this, my favourite area in the game is Pumpkin Hill, its a level that is themed on spooky visuals and Halloween Vibes, it even has a really good rap song playing during the stage, I personally really like scary levels in kid friendly games and this game did not hold back on not so scary visuals.

What a fantastic soundtrack, every song in this game is really well composed, it uses a lot of punk rock and fun summery songs but also mixes things up with hip hop and even some more calming and slower melodies.

7.0/10

Thank you for reading my review of Sonic adventure 2

A long while back I reviewed the next two main series games Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog

Checkout those reviews here (please keep in mind that these reviews are old so my writing style may have been a little weaker back then)

Sonic Heroes https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2016/01/09/sonic-heroes-2003-gc-pc-ps2-xbox-review/

Shadow the Hedgehog https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2014/09/21/shadow-the-hedgehog-ps2gcxbox-review/

Next time we look into the Sonic games it will be the infamous Sonic 06 so look forward to that.

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Thank You for all of your support.

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Super Mario Sunshine (2002) Review

Super Mario Sunshine is a 3D platfomer for the Nintendo Gamecube, it was directed by Yoshiaki Koizumi and Kenta Usui with producer credits for both Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka

Mario, Princess Peach and Toadsworth are all flying to the luxurious Island of Isle Delfino for some summer fun, relaxation and a well needed vacation after Mario’s past adventures.

Unfortunately a Mario impostor has covered the entire island in toxic slime and due to this Mario is mistaken for the criminal resulting in him being thrown into prison. Luckily he had previously picked up one of Professor E-Gadd’s inventions FLUDD, FLUDD is a water propelling device which has multiples functions and is able to remove the slime, Mario is eventually released and told that he must clean the entire Island before he can leave, this gives him plenty of opportunities to figure out who framed him and explore the entirety of Isle Delfino.

In the game you will travel to different areas of the Island which each hold a number of Shine Sprites (This games stars).

In order to receive these Shine Sprites you will have to complete various tasks ranging from basics such as collecting red coins and more complex tasks such as fighting ghosts, riding yoshi’s and even riding roller coasters !!

My favourite Shines in the game are from the second world you can access, there are two missions here where you can ride on squids to go fast across the water, this is really fun and not too difficult to control once you get the hang of things.

Another game play style worth mentioning here is when the game takes the FLUDD away, this goes back to basic Mario game play and its very challenging because you are now used to using FLUDD for practically everything, I can see some gamer’s being very frustrated with these sections because they are both difficult and visually differing to the rest of the game but personally for myself these are some of the highlights of Mario Sunshine.

Speaking of the worlds they are each so differently designed that I want to briefly discuss my thoughts on them.

The Hub World has its own Shine Sprites which you can collect as you unlock new peripherals for your FLUDD, the main layout is actually really good and minus two Sprites which are a pain to collect it had little flaws, the only issue I have is the awful plachinko mini game and the red coin mission which is requires you to navigate a Yoshi to an island using boats which you have no control over.

The first world you enter is Bianco Hills a really summery area that is powered by windmills and ruled by ferocious pirana plants. I really like this area its genuinely really well designed and a great place to get used to using Mario’s jumping mechanics and it also teaches the player the basics of FLUDD.

Next up is Ricco Harbor a water based level which requires players to quickly adapt to using FLUDD in order to explore the stage,I like this level but I do feel its really unfair at times especially so early on in the game, I love riding the squids but I hate the wind that knocks you off of the towers which are already challenging to balance on.

Gelato Beach is one of my least favourite areas of the game, it can be very creative when it comes to using water to control the sand and I also enjoy the general atmosphere of the level, the stage was not very well designed for the Shine Sprites it holds, examples of awful design would be the much hated sand bird stage and rolling the water melon, while the sand bird is a stage hidden within the Beach it is still extremely frustrating and does not work well with the games genuinely slippery control and the water melon mission is just ridiculously difficult as one hit and it get destroyed and the level is crawling with unfair enemy placements.

Pinna Park is easily the best part of the game, its a theme park which is really fun to explore and is one of the best areas to climb up really high to get some good views and appreciation for the game design. I love this part and I have no complaints.

Sienna Beach is an odd name considering that you hardly spend anytime in the beach part of the level and mostly explore an old hotel, the hotel is a pretty cool area its a little boring considering that most of it is locked from the player but what we do get is great, I really love finding the secret rooms and the Casino is a memorable part due to that really crazy fight with King Boo.

An area I always forget about before each play through of Sunshine is Noki Bay, this is another water based area and I don’t know why I never remember this because its one of my favourite places to visit. It is a really challenging level because when you first enter the entire water area is poisoned and will kill Mario fairly quickly, the level is very small but has some great details such as the use of seashells as decoration and buildings, there are a lot of well hidden secrets to find and the stage is designed in a way that makes it really fun to explore with little frustration, I love the colours used, there is a lot of dark blues and purples and other darker colours that each blend really well together and build great immersion.

Pinata Village is the final area before you head to the Volcano to fight Bowser, I hate this level because it is really boring, there is nothing special about it and while I think its interesting that it was developed with players being able to explore both the village and its underside the entire layout is just basic and nothing really stands out, I would argue that even the Shine Sprites here are not great, the only one I enjoy is when you have to drag the giant chain chomp into the hot springs but apart from that nothing else is memorable for me.

While exploring all of the Island you will primarily be using FLUDD who has four functions, shooting water, hovering, blasting water to move Mario at rapid speeds and the rocket allowing Mario to propel himself into the sky, these are all really easy to use but you will be mainly using the hover which is the most useful as it can come in handy to allow you to make tricky jumps.

Yoshi’s can be ridden in the game but they are hardly ever needed a very unusual choice was for them to spit out juice from their mouths, this juice can be used to remove a specific type of slime that can not be destroyed otherwise.

At this point we have covered most of the game but the last thing I want to touch on is the blue coins, these are hidden all over the game and the primary function is to sell them for more Shine Sprites, people do complain that these make up a large chunk of the Sprites in the game and is just lazy I think its done in a way that works well enough but I would be lying if I didn’t slightly agree with the statement.

The game may be a little flawed but you have to admit that the soundtrack is fantastic, its very simple I wont deny that, it even repeats music but with a different style and instruments but its done in such a clever and discreet way that it just works, the music fits perfectly and helps you get immersed in the really silly world of Isle Delfino.

So I know I have complained a fair bit here but I do feel this game is far from perfect, It’s buggy and the controls are not as great as they usually are and for the most part it feels unfinished but there must be something great about this game because I have replayed it every Summer since 2002. I think what this game does well is that it genuinely feels like a vacation, its so silly and charming that its hard not to put a smile on your face and I think for a lot people its nostalgic, it definitely is for me I got this game when it came out and I’ ve grown up with it since I was seven years old, back then I would have told you that this is one of the best Mario games ever made but now that I’m older and I review video games for a living I can see that its far from being a masterpiece for reasons I have stated previously. It’s a game that I would say is half amazing and half mediocre its a little bit of a mess but is also really fun, Mario Sunshine is probably the most difficult game in the series to rate because its hard to look past how much fun it is but then as reviewers we must look into It’s problems and it has a fair few so I think its only fair to give it a 6.5/10 and just enjoy for what it is, not the best Mario game but a great way to start the summer.

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Book Review: The Witches by Roald Dahl

The Witches is a children’s novel written by British Author Roald Dahl, it begins in Norway after a young boys parents have died and he has been left under the care of his grandmother, his grandmother tells him all about the dangers of witches and how to spot them amongst humans. In this book witches are child killers that use magic to murder children in very discreet and clever methods such as turning them to stone or trapping their soul in a painting.

Later on in the book the boy and his grandmother end up holidaying in the same hotel that the witches of England are holding their annual meeting where he overhears a plot to turn all of the children in England into mice.

Will the boy and his grandmother be able to stop the witches and save the children of England?

You will have to read the book to find out 😉

What an excellent read this was although I must point out that it is rather dark and has themes of death, murder and coping with the inevitable, there is also a lot of tobacco use and alcohol in the book, without spoiling the ending it was happy but did have a darker tone to it than most children’s novels.

The characters in the book are all very simple but at the same time wonderfully imaginative thanks to the mind of Roald Dahl, the witches were in my opinion the best part of the book both equally funny and scary enough to not quite give you nightmares but send a chill down your spine, the grandmother was another favourite character of mine as I enjoyed her sense of humour and odd view of the world.

I would recommend this even if you have seen the 1990 film adaptation because while there are similarities the book differs in many ways that you could class them as two different versions of the story especially considering the light hearted ending of the movie compared to the original story.

As an adult I cant say that I enjoyed this as much as I did when I was younger but I would still recommend this to any young persons wanting an excellent book to read.

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Witches by Roald Dahl

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Chip n Dale: Rescue Rangers (1990) NES Review

Chip n Dale: Rescue Rangers is a platformer video game based on the hit television series of the same name, it was developed by Capcom for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

The plot follows Chip and Dale on one of their missions, this time to rescue a stolen kitten from the villainous Fat Cat.

The game has 11 levels that each need to be explored, each of these are themed and some can be played out of order.

In the levels your main goal as usual is to get from the start of a stage to the end however you will be dealing with many tough bad guys which you can defeat by picking up items and throwing them at them.

The boss fights in the game are fantastic, they all follow a similar pattern of using a thrown ball to defeat them but they each have different attack patters which can be pretty tough at times, the final boss was particularly quite challenging.

This game is quite simple in its premise and its design but what I love about it is the smaller details, I think its great that you can play simultaneous 2 players as that was quite rare on the NES, some of puzzles are really interesting such as turning off the taps or trying to get past the desk fans which is difficult due to your small stature. I also think its great how its uses plenty of enemy sprites so that they are not repeating all of the time, giving plenty of variety. The game is very easy especially on two players so I would consider this more of a fun game to run through than a title that would test your skills as a gamer.

The soundtrack is fine, its not one my favourites and I while it is a lot of fun I do feel some of the tracks could have been changed to suit the levels more but its not a bad soundtrack by any means, it does have a great chiptune of the shows themesong.

Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers for the NES is really fun game that I feel anyone can enjoy without getting stressed or giving up, it is a great game for new gamers but is also a fun time for older gamers aswell, for the best experience play the game on two players co-op, one major update I would make if I designed the game is I would have made the co-op need more team work in order to proceed through the game, for example more puzzles that require communication that just good reflexes.

8.3/10

Thank you for reading my review of ChipnDale: Rescue Rangers for NES

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