Thursday, October 16, 2014

Can Scott Pilgrim Overcome How Bad I Am At Fighting Games?

I finally went ahead and downloaded a game from XBox Live Arcade. Two actually, but the old Sega Genesis title Comix Zone is kicking my rear, so there's not much to say. I haven't even finished the second "page". So, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game.

It's a game based on the comic storyline, styled as an old-school NES beat 'em up. The game doesn't waste any time on the whole thing where Scott was dating Ramona before he broke up with Knives, or the part where he got kind of whiny about the whole "attacked by evil exes" thing. Which means I didn't spend the majority of the game wanting to see him punched in the face like I did during the movie. Too bad it still happened a lot. Sorry, Scott.

You move through levels, fighting loads of various henchmen types, periodic mini-bosses, and eventually, each level ends with a fight against one of the 7 evil exes. You level up as you go along, learning new moves, and there are stores where you can step in to buy food to boost your health, or other supplies to boost your stats. I don't understand why the leveling up doesn't boost your stats, though. Isn't that pretty standard in games that have leveling up? You get stronger, faster, etc. Here, that only happens if you buy stuff to specifically do it. Oh, beating up people gives you money. I guess I rob their pummeled bodies. Hey, they attacked me first, unless I was able to get the drop on them.

I've never been much good at these sorts of games. Not fast enough, or I'm not smart enough about knowing when to stop attacking and start blocking, something like that. At least this game gives infinite continues, and allows you to save your progress. I appreciate that. I've managed to beat it twice so far, with Scott and Kim. The most consistently frustrating part is the battle with Gigadeon. He's the second stage in the 4 (or 6, depending on how you look at it) part final boss battle. He just never seems to die, especially once he knocks me off the ledge and I lose the really awesome sword. And he's really cheap. He punches me off the ledge, I fall, lose some health, reappear on the cliff. If I don't hit block instantly, he punches me off again. He'll keep that up as many times as it takes to kill me if he can. And, of course, he can just attack me while I'm in the middle of hitting him. I hate that kind of crap.

But it's usually a lot of fun. When I did manage to beat the game, I felt happy about that, even if Scott's ending didn't seem entirely right. You can go back and play earlier levels whenever you want, to level up some more, get more money, or just because you want to have easy fights. I liked the look of the game, it captures Bryan Lee O'Malley's art style, but also looks like an 8-bit video game. Each character gets their own variations on the basic style of attacks, and their own more specialized moves. Kim has this nifty attack when she's in the air where she can dive feet first at an enemy, then bounce back up in the air, and do it again and again, at the same person or a different target.

I love the music, it's all very good for wanting to run around and fight various people. There's even a generic big guy goon in the early levels with a douchey fedora. I really enjoy fighting him, maybe because he's a little bit of a challenge at low levels, so it's nice to see him later on, when I can take him out in one or two hits. Satisfying.

I'm definitely disappointed I have to shell out for downloadable content if I want to be able to play as Knives. She was my favorite character in the movie (her or Wallace, but he didn't do any fighting). She is the default support character, but that means she pops up for a second and helps when you call her. You can also fight and defeat her father, then he'll show up sometimes. Haven't gotten him to show up to help Kim yet. I think it's random. Anyway, it's a really fun game when I'm not getting frustrated enough with that one boss fight that I want to throw the controller.

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