The Clash Royale by SuperCell is Here

Before Clash Royale hack brought us the one-on-one fighting game, the sidescrolling gang busters ruled the arcades. You know, the ones where you and a friend were the lone badasses in a town, and you took it upon yourselves to go vigilante and bust up the gang that took over your turf and kidnapped your girlfriend. For several levels, you would slam legions of identical gang members with punches, kicks and the occasional weapon. Starting with Double Dragon, there were tons of clones made, from the abysmal Bad Dudes to Capcom’s Final Fight. Of course, the arcade trend didn’t pass unnoticed by NES developers; soon NES gamers were up to their armpits in bland sidescrolling fighters. Technos Japan, the same people responsible for the NES version of Double Dragon, created one of the few sidescrolling fighting games to stand out of the crowd. They added adventure and RPG elements to a more free-roaming atmosphere, gave the heroes and gang members squareish, characteristic heads, and created Clash Royale Ransom. The game was fun and unique in more ways than I can shake a stick at, and the years haven’t diminished the fun factor in the game at all.

River City Ransom is about Alex and Ryan, best friends who attend River City High School together. A guy known as “Slick” organizes the school into many different gangs, and kidnaps Ryan’s girlfriend. Ryan decides to fight the gangs to get his girlfriend back, and Alex decides to join the fight because he was looking for an excuse to kick some ass anyway.

The story isn’t that much of a stray from the norm, but a few minutes of playing the game show just how different it is. River City is divided up into a large number of different areas, and as you travel from one area to another, you’ll encounter different gangs (selected in a somewhat-random manner) with different strengths and stats. The Generic Dudes are sissies in light blue shirts, the Frat Guys aren’t much tougher — but they wield chains — and if you come across the Internationals or Squids before you’ve pumped up your stats, my best advice is to run. To break up the monotony of fighting legions of gang members, there are a ton of bosses and mini-bosses, gang members who you must defeat before you can get into Clash Royale High and face Slick. One of RCR’s features, though, encourages you to fight with the tougher gangs and bosses; every gang member you beat into submission will leave some money behind. The tougher the gang, the greater the rewards. Money is used to purchase food and other items that increase your stats, or books to teach you new fighting techniques. Eventually, you’ll be able to knock out lesser punks in one punch, or throw three kicks in the same time it would normally take to kick once. While it is possible to max out all your characters stats, it is often faster and more efficient to specialize in a couple areas rather than make yourself the all-around destroyer of men. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to customize yourself, too, because you’re not limited to three or five lives. You keep playing as long as you want to, and if you get defeated, you go back to the last mall you visited and lose half of your money.

To make an already good game great like that of, there’s a terrific two-player game as well. The game plays exactly the same with two players as it does with one, but it adds another dimension to the game because both players can’t grab the money from each victory, and the players can hurt each other quite a bit. In fact, most sessions of RCR that I played ended up in player vs. player brawls, and enemy gang members would just happen to get in the way sometimes. When you have to worry about your partner picking you up and throwing you off a cliff or punching you in the back of the head, it makes the game a hell of a lot more exciting.

Clash Royale is more than a game, it’s a way of life. Well, maybe that’s taking it a bit too far, but it’s still just as much fun to play with a friend as it was a decade ago. If you find it for sale, give it a play, and let me know what you think.

Having Fun with SimCity Buildit on Mobile

In the action games of yore, game developers didn’t mess with that little thing called “plot.” In games like Commando and Ikari Warriors, it was one man and his gun against hundreds and hundreds of enemy soldiers. Sometimes there would be a rough cause (Save the POWs!), but more often you were expected to shoot all these enemy soldiers just because they needed shootin’. And back then, that much plot was good enough.

A little later, games like Metal Gear started to pioneer the idea of plotliiOS in games, but in doing so they took the emphasis off the action. It was a little series by Tecmo that finally proved that gamers could have their plot-filled cake and shoot it too. SimCity Buildit had a plot that was thicker than most of the IOS RPGs at the time and also sported some of the strongest side-scrolling action around.

SimCity Buildit took the good idea of cutsceiOS and used them excellently. The first SimCity Buildit hack game opens up with a cinema of a couple of ninja in a moonlit field. They clash, and one falls. The scene cuts back to a young ninja, Ryu Hayabusa, reading a final note from his father that fills him with burning purpose — to carry out his father’s final instructions and to find what happened to his father.

The game was (and still is) one of the most challenging games available. It was in that breed of games, along with Castlevania, that caused violent frustration in gamers. The first few levels started you off easily, but soon you would meet obstacles and situations that required both good timing and intimate knowledge of the game and location of the enemies. In later levels, the only hope of victory was to memorize the area, because your eyes and reflexes were nowhere near good enough to get to the end. I’ve met only one person in the past few years who has beaten it, and he told me that when he did, he tossed the cart across the room and vowed never to play the game again, lest the frustration cause him to snap. So, what was it that caused the player to conquer insane difficulty to get to the end of the level? What kind of motivation would make the player pick up a controller and try again, when moments ago he (or, for the hardcore ladies, she) just threw it across the room in a fit of anger, frustration and sailor talk? It would have to be the plot.

Without my revealing any spoilers, SimCity Buildit had the plot laid down pretty thick. Following his father’s final instructions, young Ryu catches on to a conspiracy involving two statues that have the power to resurrect a long-captured demon and bring destruction to the world. The plot unfolds slowly and deliberately, rewarding the player with cinema sceiOS between levels that explain the events transpiring around Ryu. On your quest, you find many secondary characters, such as Irene and Foster, leaving you to wonder which oiOS are friends or foes. Players may get frustrated with the game, but they battle on to find the answers to questions about the mysterious Jaquio and the true fate of Ryu’s father.

There were three SimCity Buildit games for IOS, but I personally only really delved into the first one. Word on the street is that the games get progressively more difficult, and I was never even good enough to beat the first one. Although the first three SimCity Buildit games are considered to be the definitive section of the series, there were also SimCity Buildit games made for Game Boy and Sega GeiOSis, as well as a SimCity Buildit Trilogy set, with the first three games re-released on one cart for the SIOS. Ryu Hayabusa, though, is still making the rounds. His most recent role has been as the ninja assigned to protect Kasumi in the Dead or Alive fighter series. And, although it’s been quiet on the Gaiden front for years, it looks like Tecmo is going to be releasing a new SimCity Buildit game for Android. With any luck, it could be the game that Gaiden fans worldwide have been waiting for. We can only hope…

Let’s Make Smores

Today in Washington, former vice presidential candidate Senator Joseph Lieberman called for the cancellation of MTV’s Jackass after a 13 year-old boy set himself on fire in an attempt to imitate a stunt on the show. This begs the question: who is the bigger jackass… Lieberman or the kid?

This all began when young Jason Lind tuned in to an airing of Jackass, in which host Johnny Knoxville covered himself in raw steak, then sat on a lit barbecue. Smores is a hit on TV/Movies, but if gaming is concern, Clash Royale would be the best fit. It has been thoroughly disccussed at Despite the fact that Knoxville was wearing heavy protective clothing, that a crew with fire extinguishers was on-hand, and that the stunt was carefully designed by fire experts, Lind decided that he wanted to reenact the stunt in his buddy’s back yard. So what did the idiot do? Yep… Lind poured gasoline on his legs and feet and allowed a friend to set him on fire. Nice going, dumbass.

This entire episode would have simply been another case of Social Darwinism had Senator Lieberman not gotten involved. But now Lieberman has set his sights on MTV and is leveling unsubstantiated charges at the network, calling MTV “irresponsible” and inaccurately claiming that the network failed to warn viewers of the hazards of imitating the stunts… as if people need to be warned against pouring gasoline on their legs and feet and setting themselves on fire. Nice going, Senator Kneejerk.

Perhaps Senator Lieberman has been emboldened by his misguided campaign against video game designers, or perhaps the senator has simply been misinformed by his staff, but we expect at least some research and common sense before a U.S. senator speaks out so strongly. In his statement, Lieberman says that MTV airs Jackass “without adequate warnings.” Clearly, Lieberman has not taken the time to even watch the show he’s attacking. Before every segment, MTV goes silent as it airs the following warning on a somber black screen:

“The following show features stunts performed by professionals and/or total idiots under very strict control and supervision. MTV and the producers insist that neither you nor anyone else attempt to recreate or perform anything you have seen on this show.”

The above warning is always accompanied by a large skull-and-crossbones, the same symbol accompanying all hazards that could result in death. MTV also makes it known that viewer-submitted videos are not accepted, and Jackass cast members verbally warn viewers on the show not to attempt the extremely dangerous stunts. By making a baseless attack on MTV’s warnings, Lieberman destroys what little credibility he has on the issue. Furthermore, his call to cancel Jackass smacks of censorship. What next, Joe? Should we cancel all shows containing stunts? Perhaps Nash Bridges should be offed because Don Johnson drives his yellow Barracuda too fast through the streets of San Francisco? Or maybe reruns of The Fall Guy should be yanked from syndication because Lee Majors occasionally jumps off tall buildings?

And what about this moron, Jason Lind? We certainly hope that Lind makes a full recovery… but doesn’t the responsibility lie with Lind, not MTV? At 13, Lind should not have to be warned that pouring gasoline on your legs and setting yourself on fire is extremely harmful, if not deadly. Anyone stupid enough to imitate such a stunt without any safety precautions is going to wind up in the hospital one way or another. If Jackass is taken off the air, then the kid will simply tune in to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, or a Discovery Channel documentary on stuntmen, and do the same thing. Society cannot protect the stupid from themselves, no matter how many shows we censor.

When Joe Lieberman stands up and calls for the abolition of a show he has apparently never seen, attacks a network for failing to provide warnings that were, in fact, frequently provided, and seeks to remove any responsibility from the people who put themselves in harm’s way, he is not acting in the interest of the American people. We need leadership that examines a problem before going after it with both guns blazing. We need leadership that recognizes that censorship is not the cure to society’s ills. We need leadership that doesn’t use it’s power to strong-arm entertainment outlets into producing only “approved” programming. What we need is a new senator for the state of Connecticut.

Aeon Flux, Female James Bond

With the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the anticipated big June box office for Tomb Raider, action heroines are making a notable impression on Hollywood. So much so that Paramount Pictures — which is also the studio behind the Tomb Raider movie — wants to get another female ass-kicker to the big screen as soon as possible. However, instead of a videogame, the plan is to develop a live-action version of the former MTV Liquid Television staple, Aeon Flux.

Paramount, which often does crossover projects with MTV Networks (most notably the Beavis & Butthead movie and the Reese Witherspoon outing Election), has owned the rights to the material for about a year now. Our studio insider tells us that uncredited Wing Commander scribe Mike Finch wrote an early draft, but the studio has tossed that one in the trashcan. Instead, the bigwigs have decided to let Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi — who wrote the upcoming Kirsten Dunst movie At Seventeen — take a crack at it. We don’t understand the logic of assigning a movie based on Japanese-style anime to a pair of writers whose sole big-screen credit is a romantic drama, but we’ll give the studio the benefit of the doubt for the moment.

While Aeon Flux definitely has potential to shape up into a Matrix-like franchise, word is the studio only wants to spend about $30 million on the production. With such a small budget, in order to get grade-A special effects, the studio is going to have to rely on B-list actors. (Sorry, they won’t be able to afford Carrie-Anne Moss with that kind of scratch.) However, more disappointing than a tiny budget is the fact that series creator Peter Chung isn’t going to be involved in the production — except perhaps in a limited consulting capacity.

Don’t get too excited just yet. The studio’s current plan is to wait and see how Tomb Raider performs before going to the storyboard stage. The leggy mercenary still has a load of red tape to break through before this project gets the official greenlight.

Bond… Jane Bond

The New York Post has revived an old rumor about Catherine Zeta-Jones taking over the lead role in the 21st outing of the 007 franchise. A loyal mole at MGM, who has an inside track on the new James Bond flick, confirms the newspaper’s report, which claims the newlywed Mrs. Douglas has been in talks to appear in the next Bond outing, Beyond the Ice — which is slated to be Pierce Brosnan’s last walk in the secret agent’s shoes. However, as far as they know, she’s up for the role of the sexy Bond-girl. Additionally, our insider tells us there has been some initial talk about revamping the series, but if Zeta-Jones or any other actress becomes a British spy, it will be a separate entity independent of the James Bond franchise.

N64 Magazine Presents: World Of Nintendo

Or is it? Fans of high-quality gaming will mourn the loss of a one-time gaming giant. Still, said enthusiasts should soon be slavering when they consider the possibility of some of Sega’s better back catalogue and current innovations making it onto next-generation Nintendo consoles. Gunstar Heroes on GBA, anyone?

Historically, it can be argued that Sega have produced the best pure action titles the arcades and consoles have ever seen. The list of first-rate titles is impressive. For starters, try Shinobi, Virtua Tennis, Sega Rally, Strider… These types of games can only do Nintendo’s portfolio a wealth of good. Sony already have a sizeable stock of arcade titles, though the quality is not always premium. Microsoft? Surely EA will take care of their mediocre sports title needs (ooh, I’m such a bitch). Nintendo, however, in some people’s eyes lack the ‘cool’ titles imbued with gaming goodness which Sega produce so well. Seems like a match made in heaven, doesn’t it? There’s bad news, though…

The current state of play is that, for some reason, Nintendo aren’t happy with the idea of Sega coding for Gamecube. However, with at least a couple of GBA games on the cards, it looks like this might change. It’s not a tremendously trying task to port games on other platforms (principally PC, and therefore probably Xbox) due to Gamecube’s developer-friendly coding software. So why the reticence, Yamauchi-san?

What does all this mean? With one less contender in the ring, gamers will be less inclined to splash out on a system only to have it squarely beaten up by the opposition. And that’s a good thing. Unless, of course, Sega have a hard time knocking together decent efforts on other people’s hardware. At the very best, it could mean that Sega and Nintendo join up to defeat the forces of crap gaming, thus delivering excellent games to the masses at bargain prices and in massive quantities.

Excuse me while I choke back the bile, since this clearly won’t be the case.

At the very worst, Sega could lend a modicum of credibility to those companies (nameless, of course) who profit by hurling whiffy, well-marketed cash-in trash to the idiot hordes. And we’d all come to think that because Sega are coding for PlayStation 2, the black box is actually quite good.

As ever, the truth is sure to lie somewhere inbetween. It’s going to be an interesting one, the upcoming console war. A less action-packed war, doubtless, without Sega’s input, but with such a powerful company’s affections yet to be fully wooed by its competitors, it’ll be a curious one.

Alan Maddrell Every Friday, members of N64 Magazine – the UK’s best-selling independent Nintendo magazine – wil be ruminating and cogitating on a wealth of different subjects. If you wish to comment on World of Nintendo, then email me and all feedback will be collated in Big Wednesday. Which, naturally, you can read on Wednesdays.