Monday, June 30, 2008

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition: Colonies Edition

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: May 27, 2008
System: Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Kill aliens... in the snow this time!

0:00 I played at early demo of this game way back at X06 in Barcelona. I was on about two hours of sleep at the time, though, so I don't really remember much of it.

0:01 I'm a bit annoyed that I have to download an update for the game, but most of that annoyance melts away when I see the download complete in roughly 10 seconds. Now that's how you do an update!

0:02 No intro cut scene, just cut straight to a title menu on a black background. Gentle strings in the background give way to a thumping, drum-heavy beat in the options screen.

0:03 New game, normal difficulty. The game warns me that "the game will begin with this difficulty." Well, duh!

0:04 A big metal walker trudges through a frozen cityscape along with some supporting troops. Orange lightening in the distance. "It was T.C. minus 80, 80 years before the trial century. Humanity left a quiet world for the snow-covered E.D.N.3" (pronounced "Eden-3"). Why, exactly?

0:06 Cut to a shot of gas-masked, jack-booted soldiers in a corridor. There's some rumbling from outside, and then a giant brownish-orange thing rolls in like an armadillo, knocking the soldiers about. It unrolls itself to show a body resembling a scorpion and lets out a huge scream. Back to Mr. Narrator: "With the expansion of the colony, humanity encountered a new alien life form known as the Akrid." You don't say!

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Political Machine 2008

Developer: Stardock
Publisher: Stardock
Release Date: June 16, 2008
System: PC
ESRB Rating: E10+
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Becoming leader of the free world has never been so much fun.
0:00 I've been a political junkie since before I could vote, so this game should be right up my alley if it's at all good and/or accurate.

0:10 Since I count the annoying installation times on PS3 games, it's only fair that I count this game's somewhat ridiculous 10-minute installation sequence against it. There's not even any hints or fun animations or anything to make the time pass more quickly.

0:11 A remix of "Hail to the Chief" plays as bobblehead versions of political candidates hop down a street. Obama, McCain, Hillary and many more plaster trees with their signs as they hop their way to the White House. Cut to an interior shot, where Dubya is packing up. He hears rumbling outside, and all the candidates appear at the window, grinning like vultures. Is that Abe Lincoln?

0:12 There sure are a lot of tutorials, which I guess makes sense, because the average American knows about as much about the political system as they do about ancient Sumerian. It's all just pages and pages of text, so I'll skim through it. Back in a jiff.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Honda Superbike World Championship

Developer: Valcon
Publisher: Milestone
Release Date: March 21, 2008
Systems: PSP (reviewed), PS2
ESRB Rating: E10+
Official Web site

In a nutshell: A game for superbike superfans only.

0:00 I tend to like bike racing games, and this one sounds positively Super. Eh? Eh?

0:01 "Bikes included in this game may be different from real bikes in performance, shape and color," reads a quick disclaimer. So is there any way in which they're realistic?

0:02 Some grainy video of what looks like a real bike races play through an odd filter. Inappropriate opera music swells in the background. The only exciting part is when the bikers fly off the bikes during the crashes. Otherwise, it's kind of dull to watch.

0:03 Most of this minute spent loading the menu screen. At least there are a couple of pictures of pretty girls to keep me occupied.

0:04 The menu screen features more gratuitous hot girls, along with more decidedly low-res video of bike racers. Points for the effort, though.

0:05 The options screen lets me toggle a wide variety of simulation options, including "launch control system," "manual rider weight" and "motorbike damage." Luckily, I can just pick the "arcade" setting and not worry about poring over the options.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

NBA Ballers: Chosen One

Developer: Midway
Publisher: Midway
Release Date: April 21, 2008
Systems: PS3 (reviewed), Xbox 360
ESRB Rating:E
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Choose a different game.

0:00 I know next to nothing about this game, but I loved NBA Jam and NFL Blitz, so if it's anything like them, I should love it.

0:01 You know what I hate? Games that have loading screens that just load animated logos. This game included.

0:02 Some guys in suits are walking through a lobby. Helicopters are flying in from the other side. A guy in a Hawks jersey puts in the key for the penthouse and goes up the elevator. On the other side, another player gets out of the helicopter. Some screaming fans are in the penthouse, for some reason. The players point at each other and play a pickup game IN THE SUITE! Now that's a good way to lose your deposit.

0:03 The game gets bonus points already for being a PlayStation 3 title that needs no installation or downloadable update. It loses those points, though, for the extremely generic, SNES-era MIDI music in the background.

0:05 I can't go into the Story Mode until I create a Custom Baller. This smacks of laziness to me. The designers couldn't just make a few default players for me to jump in with?

0:06 I name my guy Basket Baller (B. Baller, for short). He was born in 1908, but doesn't look a day over 98. Seriously, why do they let me choose a birthday if the guy's gonna look 23 no matter what?

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Metal Gear Solid 4

Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Konami
Release Date:June 12, 2008
System: PS3
ESRB Rating: M
Official Web site

In a nutshell: War has changed. Now, it's really confusing...

0:00 I loved the first Metal Gear Solid, struggled to understand the second, and stopped a few hours into the third. That trend is not encouraging.

0:00.5 Just to be clear, I fully expect to be watching cut scenes for the entirety of this first hour.

0:01 The game at least has the decency to tell me that the mandatory installation will take roughly eight minutes. A highly realistic Snake smokes in the background. "Avoid playing when you are tired," says an on-screen warnings. Because the plot will make even less sense?

0:02 More warnings: Use an ashtray, take 15 minute breaks every hour, stop playing if you feel ill. I can't tell if they're going for over-the-top funny or deadpan serious with these things.

0:04 Further warnings talk about proper handling of the game disc. Looks like "deadpan serious" wins the battle. Installation is 35-percent complete.

0:05 The enemies will use "sight, sound and smell" to detect me. Smell? Really? Does Snake needs a portable shower?

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Monday, June 23, 2008

Obscure: The Aftermath

Developer: Hydravision
Publisher: PlayLogic
Release Date: March 25, 2008
System: Wii (reviewed), PS2
ESRB Rating: M
Official Web site

In a nutshell: A game that should remain obscure

0:00 I never played the original game, but I love highlighting obscure titles, and they don't get much more Obscure than this one. HA! I kill me.

0:01 After some elaborate developer and publisher logos, we jump directly to the title screen. Refreshingly simple, that.

0:02 I'm told that a second player can join in any time just by hitting "2" on his or her Wii remote. Nice touch.

0:03 "I always thought that urban legends were fairy tales," but two years ago, the students at the narrator's high school were used as guinea pigs in an experiment that involved mutated flower spores. "To survive, we had to kill our teachers." Uh, OK. After that, the narrator did some bad stuff and went to prison, but he's out now and wants to forget. This backstory is told at an extremely rapid-fire clip that seems to assume most players already know it.

0:04 Cut to a messy college dorm room. A guy with a spiky haircut wants to go out for drinks at Sven's. A tank-topped girl seems irritated, but says she'll come along.

0:05 "This bed has seen a lot of girls come and go," says the guy. The girl calls him a pig. "But you're the only one who stayed, Meg!"

0:06 The hallway is full of stuff like a beer can pyramid, two co-eds making out and, um, an office-style water cooler. "I drink water here whenever I have a hangover." If you say so.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Friday, June 20, 2008

Battefield: Bad Company

Developer: EA Digital Illusions
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: June 23, 2008
Systems: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web site

In a nutshell: An FPS that's in good company. Get it? No? Aww, forget it.

0:00 I haven't played any of the previous Battlefield games, but I've heard a lot of buzz about them, so I figured, why not try a demo of the new one?

0:01 A grenade with an EA pin rolls next to some gold bars with the DICE logo. Lilting lounge piano over the menu screen. Snazzy.

0:03 After screwing around in the options, it's on to the single-player game. Easy mode is described with the following quote: "Not complaining or anything, but are these bad guys actually trying to kill us?" I choose Normal, which is "how Bad Company is meant to be played." Tasty.

0:04 Helicopters flying in to rockabilly music. "Welcome to the 222nd Army Battalion." It's the "B company," made up of people considered expendable or useless. "A mismatched bunch of rejects picked to serve our country as cannon fodder." Our protagonist, Preston Marlowe, got transferred here instead of going to jail. "This is my story."

0:05 I'm introduced to the sergeant and my squadmates, Sweetwater and Redford. The voice acting and animation are incredibly natural. I even chuckle a bit at a small joke regarding the chain of command. "You can ride with us... new guy," says Sarge.

0:06 In the field, we get orders over the radio to take a farm/supply depot. Sarge is depressed that he'll have to put off his fishing trip. Heh. It's funny, because he's trapped in a war zone.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Developer: EA Tiburon
Publisher: EA Sports
Release Date: June 10, 2008
Systems: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web site

In a nutshell: "Turn left!" the videogame.

0:00 I've never played a NASCAR game or even watched an entire NASCAR race, so I'm the perfect person to be writing this review!

0:01 A short intro video features a lone driver speeding around a very short track against a stark black background. "Gentlemen, start your engines," echoes a far off voice. Trippy.

0:02 "Hey, I'm Jeff Gordon driving the #24 DuPont Chevrolet." Hi, Jeff! Nice to meet you! He's going to be my mentor. He tells me that EA Sports is very excited about me and that I have "a lot of hype to live up to." Really? I mean I know they sent me a review copy of the game, but I've never even watched a NASCAR race before! Jeff recommends I go with the "normal" driving style, and who am I to argue with Jeff Gordon?

0:03 "Nice choice! I use that driving style from time to time myself." I bet you say that to all the drivers. Really, I do. The delivery is kind of stilted. Gordon should stick to racing and leave the reading from a script to the professionals.

0:04 Gordon's gonna let me take the #24 car for a test spin! Aw, now I feel bad for making fun of his voice acting.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Developer: Free Radical
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: May 20, 2008
System: PS3
ESRB Rating: M
Official Web site

In a nutshell: In the future, all soldiers are drug-addicted jerks.

0:00 All I really know about this game is that it's been delayed a lot and didn't do too great at retail.

0:01 The predictable "Installing Game Data" screen pops up. You know what that means -- it's sandwich time!

0:03 We're at 15 percent installed. At least there's some enjoyable trumpet-and-string-heavy music. It's like the opening to a war movie, except more installation-y.

0:06 50 percent! The sandwich was good, but now I need something to do with my mouth. Maybe I'll take up smoking.

0:08 85 percent. The music is less endearing now that I've heard it loop two times. Plus, I can't hear it over my coughing from the cigarette smoke.

0:09 Just when it seems like the install is done, I need to download a game update. Usually I'd be angry, but these cigs really help calm my nerves.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Atari Classics: Evolved

Developer: Stainless Games
Publisher: Atari
Release Date: Nov. 20, 2007
System: PSP
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web site

In a nutshell: I can't really summarize it better than the title.
0:00 I think I've played most of these arcade "classics" at some point during my Chuck E. Cheese-saturated youth, so I'm looking forward to a portable, nostalgic romp. Already, I'm enamored by the clear case that surrounds the UMD disc.

0:01 Nice, simple menu design. First up is Battlezone, which I actually haven't played in the arcades. The game's already making a liar out of me!

0:03 I'm navigating a green field from a first-person perspective. There are some occasional holographic green obstacles, but the field is pretty empty. My vehicle handles like a tank, which I suppose is appropriate.

0:04 In addition to the radar, the HUD tells me when there's an "enemy in front" or an "enemy to right," etc. Good thing, because it's hard to tell the enemy tanks from the regular obstacles.

0:05 The game seems to be sending only one tank at a time, and if they end up behind me, I'm toast. This may have seemed revolutionary when it first came out, but now it just seems kind of dull. I do like the updated techno soundtrack, though.

0:06 There are 11 games to get through, so I've got to keep moving. Millipede is up next. I predict I'm going to miss the arcade game's trackball.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Friday, June 13, 2008

Persona 3: FES

Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus
Release Date: April 22, 2008
System: PS2
ESRB Rating: M
Official Web site

In a nutshell: The best game I've ever watched, or the best anime I've ever "played."

0:00 All I really know about this game is that the guys from Penny Arcade liked it and that Atlus gave me a free copy of the recent "FES" update, whatever that means.

0:01 Japanese singing over a confusing, jump cut-strewn anime. Then an equally confusing English rap over more jump cuts -- there's one every second or so! Flashes of people walking around school, RPG-style battles, a girl in a French maid's outfit, a white tiger, a gun to the face, a shop, and much more that I don't have time to write down.

0:03 In contrast to the frenetic intro, the title screen is dressed in mild greens with a gentle piano soundtrack and a full moon outside a window.

0:04 My menu choices are "The Journey" and "The Answer." Um, I was actually looking for "New Game"" or something. I guess that's kind of like a journey.

0:05 There's "New Game," along with my old friends "Load Game," "Config" and "Return to Title." Whew!

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ninja Gaiden II

Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date: June 3, 2008
System: Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Actually the fifth or sixth Ninja Gaiden game, believe it or not.

0:00 My exposure to this series is limited pretty much exclusively to the Ninja Gaiden Sigma demo I played for lunch almost exactly a year ago.

0:01 A shot of a rumbling sea before the camera shoots up through the clouds. The Team Ninja logo sits at the top of a mountain. Awesome!

0:02 Straight to the title screen, with a field with swords punched into the ground. That's it? Where's my long-winded opening cinematic?

0:03 My difficulty choices are "Path of the Acolyte" and "Path of the Warrior." I'm a definitely an acolyte, especially considering how hard Team Ninja makes its games.

0:04 Chapter 1: Sky City Tokyo. The loading screen displays text of a story about Sonia searching for Ryu in a sword shop. The Black Spider Ninja Clan is taking over the city. That would be a good name for a rock band.

0:05 Cherry blossoms over a small creek. Japanese temples mixed in with skyscrapers. An MGS-style jet copter thing makes the controller rumble as it buzzes by the camera. "So, let me get this straight, you don't have a clue where I can find Ryu Hayabusa?" asks the sexy Sonia. The swordmaker she's talking to says Ryu "could be half way around the world" for all he knows. Her business concerns the Archfiend, and that's all she'll say. She has a silky smooth voice, body and outfit, but her eyes look dead.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Emergency Mayhem

Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: Codemasters
Release Date: April 15, 2008
System: Wii
ESRB Rating: T

In a nutshell: Mayhem is an accurate description of the game design.

0:00 I like games that do things differently, and taking control of emergency responders is pretty different in today's gaming environment. That said, the fact that the game has been in development since 2004 doesn't bode well.

0:01 The loading screen lets me shoot at a yellow caution sign with the Emergency Mayhem logo. This doesn't seem to fit with the emergency prevention ideals espoused by the title.

0:02 I'm loving the trumpet-heavy swing music on the title screen. Feels like I'm in a '30s crime thriller.

0:03 I choose Medium difficulty (how hard can it be? It's a Wii game!) and I'm off to the industrial district. I choose the police first. "Oh no, the industrial heart of the city is in mayhem! Get to your vehicle and sort it out quick." Cartoony, over-the-top voice acting here.

0:04 The cel-shaded town is pretty nice, lots of bright primary colors and simple, undistracting designs. The B button accelerates and the A button brakes and goes in reverse. This is the reverse of pretty much every other driving game I've played on the Wii.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Trackmania Nations: United

Developer: Nadeo
Publisher: Enlight
Release Date: April 16, 2008
System: PC
PEGI Rating: 3+
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Racing gets stripped down to its bare bones, revealing a svelte and sexy skeleton.

0:00 I've heard the buzz and seen the mind-boggling videos for this game, but I didn't actually take the plunge to try it out until I heard it was being offered for free. At that price, I'll try anything (hint hint, game publishers).

0:01 I'm not including the roughly 1/2 hour it took to download this 500 MB game, or the ten minutes it took to install. This might seem hypocritical when I routinely take PlayStation 3 games to task for downloads and install times, but I just have different expectations for PC games. It's my column, so I can do what I want!

0:02 I'm asked to create a new account. Look for me as KyleOrl. (So original, I know). The silently spinning green globe is freaking me out. Would a little background music have killed them?

0:03 My account is registered and the music kicks in: A gentle yet sweeping electronic thing with light sitar. I dive right into "Play Solo."

0:04 The difficulty levels are White, Green, Blue, Red and Black. I have no idea what this means, but I'm guessing White is easiest, so off I go. The controls looks super-simple: The arrows are used to accelerate, brake and turn. What else is there?

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest

Developer: Saru Brunei
Publisher: Atlus
Release Date: Nov. 10, 2002
System: GameCube
ESRB Rating: E

In a nutshell: The building blocks of evolution.

0:00 The box quotes IGN as saying this is "one of the most bizarre games ever created." If that ends up being true, I don't see any reason I won't love it.

0:01 A huge roar issues forth from a monster with a GameCube for a face and box flaps for legs. He scampers to the middle of the screen and deposits what looks to be a steaming dookie in the middle of the floor. Simpler, two-flap creatures flop around the, uh, excrements on a bare white stage. Cue piano!

0:03 Primal Mighty Mite Piggy ACE is created (I always name my characters ACE, FYI). "I feel so nice, so warm. I remember in great detail a past I neither saw nor heard. Once upon a time, the world was full of Wilderness and dazzling, colorful beasts thundered across its untamed plains." Then colorless beasts devoured the Wilderness, using raw meat to give them power. One called Killer Cubivore became king of the world, "If nothing is done, the Wilderness will disappear and the world will wither and fade. I want to survive. That's the first thought I ever had. I want to survive." Heady stuff.

0:04 "Ahh... I am born. I am alive. I am Piggy ACE. I came into this world a beast. I shall eat and eat and become king of all Cubivores." Ambitious!

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Friday, June 6, 2008

Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy

Developer: High Moon Studios
Publisher: Sierra Entertainment
Release Date: June 3, 2008
Systems: PS3 (reviewed), Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web site

In a nutshell: A game that's more fun to watch than to play.

0:00 I actually saw this movie in theaters but have very little recollection of what actually happened, outside the unforgettable fact that Jason Bourne is a bad-ass.

0:01 Lots of company logos flying by, including the annoying THX sound test. "The audience is now deaf."

0:02 "Installing files to hard disk drive. Please do not turn off console." Looks like I have time to go make a sandwich.

0:05 Boy, that sandwich was tasty, but the installation is only about one-third done. Maybe I'll start on that opera I've been meaning to write.

0:10 The opera is complete! I even managed to find a theater that wants to run it! We open in six weeks, which should leave me plenty of time to get back BEFORE THIS GAME IS FREAKING DONE INSTALLING!

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rayman: Raving Rabbids 2

Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: Nov. 13, 2007
Systems: Wii (reviewed), Nintendo DS
ESRB Rating: E10+
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Bwaaaaaaaaaaah! Part Two.

0:00 I found the first RRR game to be amusingly odd, if not that great playability-wise. I played a demo of this new one briefly at the last E3 and I'm hopeful about the prospects for more interesting mini-games this time around.

0:00.5 I know this game should be played with multiple people, but there's no one around and I really want to try it out now. So there!

0:01 The Disc Channel Preview screen has this incessantly peppy tune that's just too cute. Also a yellow submarine flying by. Do I smell a lawsuit from The Beatles?

0:02 A Breaking News alert flies on screen. "Hi, I'm Jennifer Hart live from Paris.... large yellow submarines have been identified from around the world." Bunnies invade the standard news scene and attack Jennifer with plungers. Poor girl. She was just doing her job. Rayman shuts off the TV with a disembodied hand.

0:03 At the Rabbids "Super Secret" HQ, Rayman sneaks in to find the deformed white bunnies deep in training. He puts on a bunny ear disguise, inhales some helium and proceeds to sneak in using his best Solid Snake impression. The Rabbids are being hypnotized by scenes of everyday mundane-ness, à la "A Clockwork Orange," but with less violence. Rayman falls through a skylight and is surrounded! The leader Rabbid comes in and everyone stands at attention. He seems suspicious of Rayman, and keeps glancing at the box for the first game to see if he's the same guy (LOL). Ray gives a helium-aided scream to prove his Rabbid-ishness. That was close! He gets led into a submarine by a comely flight attendant Rabbid. SO CUTE!

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Games For Lunch is One Year Old!

Well, one year and one day, actually. Yep, on June 4, 2007, I posted my first one-hour review -- a piece on the then cutting-edge Halo 3 multiplayer beta. Since then I've written nearly 200 such reviews on everything from Backyard Baseball 2001 to Grand Theft Auto IV.

This post is just a quick thanks to everyone who's stuck with it through the low points (the few months I effeectively took off over the winter) and the highs (the move to a paid position over at Crispy Gamer!) Here's hoping you'll stick with me for many more years full of quick impressions.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2

Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus
Release Date: July 1, 2008
System: Nintendo DS
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web site

In a nutshell: All the fun of surgery... now with less blood!

0:00 The Wii version of the original game was one of my favorite early games for the system. Here's hoping the controls work as well using the DS stylus.

0:01 Black-and-white scenes of medical offices fly by. Derek Stiles, Angie Thompson, Adel Tulba and Heather Ross are introduced just as quickly. A bird flies over a city. Scenes of incisions, patches and pentagrams. Seems pretty similar to the intro for the original, if I remember correctly.

0:02 I choose the Normal difficulty and am relieved to be told I can change it later. I wish more games had this feature. Then, a warning about this game being a work of fiction. Were there really people who thought this was nonfiction?

0:03 "The Republic of Costigar, Africa... The internal warfare plaguing the people of this country for over a decade has finally come to an end." What a cheery introduction! There are still guerrillas and landmines and such, but the country is finally headed in the right direction. "A doctor named Derek Stiles has come to Zakara, one of Costigar's many refugee camps, to provide medical care to those in need." Hey, that's the guy from the first game!

0:04 Chapter 1: "Doctor in a Foreign Land." Derek is "a surgical prodigy who travels around the world helping patients." Angie is "an elite nurse with an International Nursing License" and "Derek's trusted partner." Insert sexually suggestive interpretation of "trusted partner" here.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity

Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Release Date: Jan. 8, 2008
System: PS2, Wii
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: Sonic's X-TREME Hoverboard Racing Craziness.

0:00 I was probably one of three people who liked the original Sonic R, so there might be something in this for me. Still, based on the critical reception, my hopes are not that high.

0:01 A dark night over a futuristic city. A blue streak speeds by from the sky... it's a glowing ring of some sort. It rolls into a room full of white, humanoid robots, all of which power up in a foreboding sequence. The walkers bust through a wall and into the night. "Robots made by the leading security company... are running amok all over the world," Sonic and Tails hear on their hovercar radio. Tails happened to find the meteor outside when he heard it land last night. Knuckles yawns from the back seat. Suddenly, the trio is attacked by some flying robots. They take a detour up a car-sized elevator, but get attacked again at the top. Everyone falls from the top floor. Tails and Knuckles can fly, but Sonic falls. The meteor in his hand starts glowing and cushions him in a protective floating bubble. "Is this the stone's power?" he asks with a mischievous grin before dashing for the ground. "Woohoo!"

0:05 The menu screen tells me to press the plus button, but, in an odd turn of events, the game doesn't respond when I do. None of the other buttons work, either. I get sent into an attract mode that shows off the generic racing action.

0:07 I try a different remote on the theory that this plus button might be broken. Nope, still no response. This is getting weird.

0:09 The Home button works just fine, but nothing else I do seems to get a response.

0:10 I try restarting the game. No difference. I can't even skip the opening cinema again because the game doesn't want to recognize my input.

0:12 I search the Internet for some answers. Surely I can't be the only one with this problem, right? I find this note with the advice: "If you guys have a GameCube controller plugged in first, the game will resort to that contoller [sic]being the one you will use." I don't have a GameCube controller plugged in, but I do have a Wavebird receptor. I take it out and the problem is solved. You'd think this would have come up in testing, no?

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer