Lucky Star Troopers OMEGA is-
[OH NO YOU DON'T.]
[THIS NONSENSE ENDS HERE.
... You're getting your pitch in early this year. Can I help you?
[DON'T THINK YOU'VE OUTSMARTED ME THIS TIME.]
[I KNOW WHAT YOUR GAME IS, SUNSHINE.]
Do you now? Enlighten me.
[You're waiting for me to stick my oar in, like a bastard, then you'll get me to play this game.]
That's generally the form for these April Fools' Day articles, yes. I fail to see-
[Ah, let me finish. Then, I'll ask if it's based on some lame anime, you'll tell me it is, then I'll watch it.]
[It'll turn out to be horrible, I'll swear and scream and cry a lot, and you'll get a big laugh out of it.]
[So no. Not this year, pal. Sorry.]
If you hadn't reacted so violently last time, I wouldn't have gone for it again.
Oh well, you've spoiled my fun.
... So, what are you gonna do now, punk?
[I'm going to play a game I want to play.]
Is it going to be The Pit? I bet it bloody is.
[Wrong. Come on, I don't think about The Pit 24/7. This is something else.]
[Anyway, you know the drill. Out the chair. I'm taking over this crummy
Hey, get off! Just because it's your special day of the year doesn't mean...
Oh, OK, fine. But don't throw me so violently out the chair, eh?
[I can't agree to that. You know that.]
Fine, but could you at least do it in a bigger font?
[Will this do?]
... Yeah, that's fine.
I'd better warn the readers, though- this is Ed's fifth 'review' and does not reflect the opinions or political stances of the other staff members of Gaming Hell!
And by that I mean 'If I'd gone with Cyber City Oedo 808 instead of Lucky Star, he might been reviewing something entirely different'.
[Let me tell you about my favourite Touhou fangame- Endless Alice.]
[Perhaps you've been consistently reading these April Fools' Day articles for the past however many years we've been maintaining this dirt-pile of a website. If you have, there's obviously something very wrong with you, possibly on a molecular level. Also, you'll have guessed by now that I'm a man who likes the simple things in life, and this applies especially to vid-cons. My writer cohort has a hard-on for these ultra-complex shooting games they make these days, with their score systems you need a protractor to figure out and bullet patterns that look like someone's thrown a bag of Pick-and-Mix on the floor and all that, but that's not for me. In fact, you can pretty much write off all video games released beyond 1988 (which means Super Mario Bros., Toki and Sky Kid are in my good books) because that's as far as I go... With only a handful of exceptions. I'm down with the odd fighting game now and then, like Fighting Vipers. I played through both Corpse Party games for reasons I don't quite understand. And then there's Endless Alice.]
[Technically there's also Endless Marisa but what kind of lunatic would want to play as Marisa I mean really c'mon]
[Released in 2006 by Lion Heart, possibly starting life as a free-to-download game from their website (grab it by clicking the Endless Alice banner on the right here), Endless Alice is a bit different from most Touhou fangames I've been subjected to. While most seem content to plunder game mechanics from the likes of Astro Robo SASA, Mario & Wario and even Seicross (I'm glad my writer lackey was on-hand to name check some of those because I'll be fucked if I know what the hell Seicross is) and stick girls in silly hats in them (as well as those point items, because it's not Touhou if stupid little blue blocks don't burst out of everything), Endless Alice is semi-original. I say semi-original because if I'm going to compare it to anything, it's a Game & Watch game, or an early 80s single-screen arcade title. You play as Alice- clearly the best of all Touhous- and are armed with an infinite supply of dolls (because what else is she going to throw, bullets?), including small dolls that can be fired quickly and massive dolls that you need to hold the button to charge up, a jump, and a slide. An unrelenting army of magic moving mushrooms have invaded Gensokyo- the evil work of a particular devious witch- and Alice must stop their advance single-handedly... Although, as the title of the game implies, there is no end at all, and you just have to survive for as long as possible on your choice of one of the 16 available stages, differeing in platform layout.]
[The mushrooms hop along rather than walk, and come in three varieties- green shrooms will turn around when the reach the edge of a platform (if they don't jump off by mistake), yellow shrooms will jump off platforms with wanton abandon, and evil red shrooms will try to chase Alice, hopping through platforms if they have to. The longer you survive, the quicker the mushrooms spawn, eventually filling the screen. The final enemy is the devious Marisa herself, who appears every now and then at the top of the screen, like that UFO from Space Invaders, dropping stars on your head- if you can take her out and grab her, she's worth a few points. One touch from any enemy takes a heart awat from your meter (complete with an adorable icon-change of Alice having a nosebleed) and when it's empty, you're done. If you're playing purely for survival, then the opening moments of every stage can be a bit dull- it takes a while for the red shrooms to appear, and so you're sort-of twiddling your thumbs waiting for things to heat up. When it does heat up, though, it gets pretty nuts! It can be difficult to keep up, and this is the game's strong point- once it gets started, you're barraged from all sides by a never-ending army of mushrooms. Gets the ol' blood pumping, you know?]
[The game also has some score mechanics, if you're into that sort of thing. Every shroom drops gold bars upon defeat, but on their own they're not worth much. However, charged dolls will explode upon impact, taking out any shrooms caught in the blast, and this can be used to take out groups at a time, both horizontally and vertically. Do this and the gold bars spawned will be worth a lot more- take out four at a time, for instance, and four gold bars will drop, one worth x1, one worth x2, then x3 and x4. See how it works? Your highest 'chain' is rewarded with a score bonus once you die, as is your highest 'combo'- every enemy you kill without missing a shot adds to the combo number, but get hit or miss and it's back to zero. Initially, it seems that most of your points are gained after death via your highest chain/highest combo multipliers, but once you learn how to chain enemy deaths together with charged shots, you can take out entire rows of enemies with one shot, which will skyrocket your score. And it's fun too! This is how you drown yourself in points- rather than taking out mushrooms as soon as they arrive, you'll most likely start letting them gather in groups, then taking out a load at a time, and making all your shots count... But don't be getting too greedy. Your primary objective is to keep Alice alive as long as possible, you point-coveting monster!]
[I like this game. As you can probably tell. That's a rarity for when I'm in charge- I don't talk about 'game mechanics' or 'score systems' often, eh? I dnuno, Endless Alice just gets me. It's not an overly-complex game, and each stage is slow to start, but when it gets its skates on it delivers arcade-style action in a little bite-sized chunk. That's pretty much what I want to see from my video games, for the most part. I don't want 50-hour RPGs that take 25 hours to get going (probably the main reason I got through Corpse Party is because it's short- brevity is the soul of wit, after all). I don't want games where I need a degree from MIT (with honours) to understand, let alone play well. Just let me let off some steam, you understand? That's what Endless Alice does, and that's why it's better than Touhou Seicross or any of the other Touhou fangames I've played.]
[Admittedly, maybe that's because this is one of the few I've found to let you play as Alice.]
[And no, MegaMari doesn't count. C'mon, Touhou fans, step it up.]
... Good job, I guess, but your obsession with Alice Margatroid is still weird.
[Don't talk to me. I can't believe you tried to trick me into watching Lucky Star. The nerve of you!]
Still harping on about that? Blimey.
At least I didn't threaten you with something like, I dunno, Strike Witches.
Hmm? Cat-girl got your tongue?
[... Go fuck yourself, I liked Strike Witches. Don't start shit about it.]
Get out, really? But they don't wear any trousers! It makes no sense!
[Man, you just don't get it. It's more than girls flying around in their knick-knacks.]
[And really, how different is that from Squid Girl or whatever her name is? That doesn't make sense, does it?]
... Impeccable logic, as always. I am defeated, sir.
I wasn't expecting that from you, though.
I figured you'd be more of a Violence Jack or Gunsmith Cats kind-of guy,
[I wasn't expecting you to gush over Madoka Magica, but here we are.]
[We all have our weaknesses, I suppose.]
[Mine happens to be magical girls with rocket launchers and cat ears.]
Is there an anime we can agree on, though? One that's sufficiently strong enough?
[Fist of the North Star?]
I mean one that isn't obvious.
... Yeah, OK. Nichijou.
This is probably the weirdest page we've ever put together,.
Dunno how people will even begin to understand any of it!
Oh well, see you next April Fools, Ed!