...I think it's time we had a talk.
I've been a watcher of your series for a good long time now. And to the best of my knowledge, while some of your research and knowledge has been... er... "questionable", I've never fully suspected you didn't really know what you were talking about.
...but then came that complete trite about the Crystal Skulls.
Have you even googled Crystal Skulls? Even once? I did, and to my surprise, I learned that the Crystal Skulls were likely created in the 1950's. In fact, every single piece of evidence, from the type of crystals used to the manner in which they were shaped to the dates that they were attained, indicate that not one of the skulls existed before the 1950's. And you know, I honestly don't know if you willfully ignored that information, or if you didn't know about it in the first place, but either way, this is inexcusable.
Look- far be it from me to tell you what to believe. Belief is one of those sacred things that should really be left to the individual. I'm not going to tell you that what you think is stupid. But by spreading this sort of groundless misinformation, it's starting to become HARMFUL, and that HAS to stop. You cannot keep making these videos and present information in a factual manner when the information is wrong. It's one thing to say that aliens are watching us. It's another to say that the Crop Circles are their attempts at communication, when that was an ADMITTED hoax from two talented artists. It shows willful neglect to your audience and a lack of respect for the subject matter.
It would of been so easy to avoid. Address the controversy with the Crystal Skulls, not ignore it. If you could of given me one, even ONE tiny bit of information that you dug up that might contradict what I've read about the 1950's dating, I wouldn't be so bothered- because then at least you were aware of the issue, called the audiences attention to it, and put in your thoughts. As it stands, though, I can only assume you knew and didn't want other people to be aware of it, or that you simply didn't know, which illustrates your own ignorance on what you're trying to preach.
You talk about expanding your vision, but you might be the most narrow-sighted of all, right now.
Look, a man who's only heard jazz music his entire life is going to think jazz is the best kind of music in the world. I'm going to assume the best in you, Jordan, and think that you've been listening to way too much jazz as of late. Please- refresh your ears a bit. Listen to some Rock and Roll or Pop or Rap for a bit. Even if you've heard them before, give them another listen, then look at what you're saying again. If nothing else, it might encourage you to do some fact-checking on these sorts of things.
...if not, I'll have to start attempting to blam this stuff, so long as it claims to be "Informative".
Here's hoping for the best.
The guy under me KINDA has a point...
I've been with you the whole ride, and I've been a steadfast supporter of what you've been doing: Sure, you get facts wrong here and there and sometimes off and your examples aren't well developed, but a lot of the points are still interesting and its something to muse on when I'm having a dull day.
...and up until this point, the series greatest strength has been its pacing. You never really demanded we swallow too much at a time, it was all very manageable and while you did make increasingly strange points and predictions it all came at a rate that was easy to handle.
...and you just blew it all out of the water. Too much too fast in this episode, and whats worse, it has to be some of your most outlandish propositions yet. I know you began this episode with a disclaimer saying its something we had to discover for ourselves, but... it was all just too ridiculous, and way too much at a time. You force-fed me a lot of spiritual stuff and gave almost no explanation or fact behind it, just assuming we'd 'roll' with it, but... no, this was way too much, way too soon.
I know these episodes are hard to make and you have a lot you want to talk about, but when you do stuff like this, you lose most of your credibility. I was always willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, but... no, this time you just sound straight-up crazy. You didn't give us manageable bites of information, and for that, your points will suffer.
THAT said... It's still a very nice story. A fun story. Its kinda like you threw your hands in the air, said "Screw it", and you took a lot of the concepts you told us about in earlier episodes and combined them into one giant crossover story. The point where I stopped taking it as fact and instead treated it like some spiritual fanfiction, I started to really enjoy it a lot more than when you were ACTUALLY considering it a history.
...Look, I'm not saying you're wrong, necessarily, I'm not a historian or a guru of spiritual matters, but it was a lot more fun for me when I was pretending it was fake, and that doesn't bode well for a series that has "Science" in the name. If you want these to be taken with a sliver of credibility and genuine, thoughtful respect, you'll have to go slower and explain EVERYTHING... because otherwise you just sound like a very imaginative conspiracy theorist.
Bottom line: too much information this episode, slow things down a bit.
Yes, i understand how many people will feel this way about this lesson. You know, i don't believe i am actually covering "more" information, or "too much", but rather i am covering a different type of information.
Everything else i've talked about, has been putting the pieces together between science and religion. Over 11 lessons, i feel i've made a solid case for how dimensions work and the power that consciousness has over everything. And now, i am telling a story that nobody remembers (and there's a reason for that).
At the beginning, yeah, it'll feel that way, but by the end, you may just begin to see where we came from in a different way.
Could use some improvement.
The joke itself is fine, but you need to work on the delivery- which is where about 80% of the actual humor comes from. For example, the moment you see her walk to her house, you know exactly what the joke is going to be, which is premature- if you had just have her walk off-stage instead of cutting to her house, it would of turned a "Heh, I guess that's kinda clever" joke to a "lol!" joke. Unpredictability is where humor COMES from, and any unnessisary hints as to whats coming will only ever hurt the joke, not enhance it.
Likewise, every joke needs a concise ending- nothing quite ruins a joke like when it overstays its welcome... which this joke does. You either needed to end after she tells him over the game that it's her (and his friend comments on it) or you needed to remove that bit and just have her hint at it during the date itself. This stuff matters.
I don't know if you got some guys to voice the boys, but if you did, they need the axe. There's a difference between giving the guy an awkward personality and the line's being delivered awkwardly, and the former can't substitute the latter. The girls's voice, presumably yours, is fine, though- remember that in humor, though, its better to exaggerate personalities than to minimize them. Just... saying.
You did a good job with the sprites, though. They showed the exaggeration the voices should of had: but when contrasted to the tamer voices, it did come off as a little... off. It was distracting, because I was relying more on their expressions then their voices.
It wasn't horrible flash by any means: there are enough small problems within it that it's sufficiently hampered by them... but its salvageable. I hope you take this advice to heart for your next cartoon.
One of the best Games on Newgrounds, Warts and all
Crystal Story strikes me as a the perfect kind of flash RPG- Its depth is achieved through all the right kind of sacrifices.
From an ascetics standpoint, your game hits as many key elements as it NEEDS too: there aren't a crazy amount of animations between the characters and monsters, and while it may get stale, it doesn't draw attention to itself- its not obnoxiously repetitive, its subtly repetitive, so it doesn't grate your nerves. The sounds were pretty standard-issue for flash-game fare, but by giving each sound its own distinct action associated with it (you never confused the 'basic attack' sound with a 'spell' sound, and so forth), and that helped to build the immersion where the visuals were lacking. The music was appropriate and varied, too, with a very heavy JRPG influence that fit the game well, considering it's a condensed JRPg.
Story-wise, it was pretty standard. The scarce dialogue was a treat- you weren't bogged down in exposition or story, so cut-scenes were actually a reward rather than something that simply had to be endured. This makes the characters more likable- they were all two-dimensional and lacking any real depth, but sense that wasn't rubbed in our face it was easy to simply take that for what it was. A lot of their personality, it appeared to me, was told more through what class you chose and how they did their attacks. Victory poses are telling, and those little details gave a player the freedom to construct their own 'characters' around the skeleton you provide.
In those terms, I'd really call this gaming 'minimalism' at its finest. It got better as you left things out- not an easy task to accomplish, but it defiantly turns this from a great game into an excellent one. You knew what needed attention and you gave it accordingly.
Gameplay wise, the first thing I'll have to do is give kudos' for the item leveling system. By having us able to pay to increase the level of items, it meant we didn't have to grind for newer equipment, and it meant we could actually build the stats we WANTED to increase- you wouldn't have to compromise or suffer sub-par equipment to get what you wanted out of your character. It was a simple idea that really transformed the RPG for me- and made inventory management a whole lot easier.
Dungeon crawling was pretty standard. Making some chests only spawn after you've defeated the enemies helps make me want to meet every encounter head-on, but usually the drops of these chests were nothing compared to the stuff you could get feeding the slime (Which is more or less an item lottery) so I wouldn't call it that great a reward. By the end of the game, I was positively SWIMMING in gold, by the way- while it made it easier to do everything, I think it could stand to be balanced somewhat. You don't want to make item management a grind, but all the same, making it too easy kind of negates the point of having currency.
Combat was fun, if not a tad easy. The variety of enemies are appreciated, and the fact that sometimes you need to use moves such as 'silence' and 'tranquilizing shot' speaks well for the balance, because oftentimes such moves just take up space, but I never really felt challenged by the enemies- it was only my frugal use of my abundant potions that caused me trouble, and I certainly could of afforded to be more liberal with their applications, seeing as I had so much money to spend on more, but still, there was enough variety to keep things interesting, even if there were no real strategies for boss fights other than "Empower, DESTROY!"
All in all, this is one of the best games on Newgrounds, hands down. It's fun, full of variety and depth, and if I had more characters remaining I'd defiantly take the time to mention all the other stuff it does right and wrong, but for now, rest assured- it's defiantly worth the time I've spent playing it, and I'm grateful you made it.
A solid game but could be improved
The biggest problem I had with it was its length: it was too short. It lasted all of two levels, then you unlocked the Sleeper block, and then you win.
Or to put it in less sarcastic terms, the blocks are, while rich in variety, extremely unbalanced. With a combination of the sleeper block and the sticky block, a block you start the game with, I won every single level with a gold soul. There was not a single time where I had to alternate my strategy to accommodate a new enemy, because 'swamp them with damage and slow them down' never lost effectiveness. The closest enemy that got me to switching up my plans was the ghosts, but again, sense the sticky blocks did damage to them anyway, slowed them down so they could get hit more, and one upgrade caused them to lose health while they held onto a doll, it was very underwhelming.
Like the blocks, the enemies had a nice variety, and the fact that new ones appeared all through kept me engaged, but all in all they were all venerable to the same strategy. I can see why you threw in the invisible enemies, to try to throw a curve ball, but that was poor design choice: when you turn it into a matter of chance it invalidates strategy, turning this into a odd defense game into a game of dice. There were a lot more interesting ways you could of tried to change up a strategy: say, a enemy that could shift through vertical shafts if they got too high, or a enemy that could disable whatever block it was currently seated on: the only real variation of powers swapped between health and movement speed. I will give a shout out to the balloon-like enemies that moved quickly up viritcal shafts: that was the right idea. But the problem was there weren't many strategies one could utilize for horizontal-layered game play. While its true there were a few blocks that could shoot up, but only one that could shoot up thru other blocks. It was a step in the right direction but we weren't equipped for the trek. Coincidentally, they could still be killed with only sleepers and stickies.
The last level showed me a glimmer of the real potential this game could of had: a clever mix of puzzle and strategy game that actually forced you to think ahead and anticipate the kinds of demons you'd be facing, but it was all 'bogged down' by enemy and block variety that masked a repetitious block spam fest.
As for other aspects of the game, the graphics were sound and clear, and the new enemy types were a joy to see, but the girls didn't look like girls at all... they looked like boys. The dad's animation got stale after a while, and I would of happily traded a block or two if it meant a new attack animation every once in a while.
If there was as much music as there were blocks, my ears wouldn't be sore right now, but as it stands hearing the same two songs over and over started to make my head hurt. it doesn't help that those songs were ALSO repetitive and loop every five seconds. More, better songs would be appreciated in the future.
In conclusion, despite all the flaws, the bones of a good game are here. The idea is nice, the gameplay is addictive, even if lacking in variety in the strategy, animation, and music department, and it caught my attention long enough to warrant me writing this lengthy review.
Good idea, but you made game-breaking mistake
Frankly, adding the hostages was a bad move. Yes, I'll give you, It was a way to make this game different from the other kinds of games like this on the internet: but it wasn't a good way to go about this.
See, after you pick the spot you want to shoot, everything is out of your hands. With everyone moving constantly, there's only so far you can plan ahead, and a chain reaction is going to very quickly get out of your control... which is where the FUN of these games come from. With the hostages, its not only forbidding you from going batshit crazy, but its also making this more a game of chance than skill: there's only so much you can do to avoid hitting them, and, like I said, once your limited control is removed, all you can do is HOPE that the civvy doesn't get hit, turning this into a game of chance.
Other than that, it was a fine game, a pretty standard-issue example of this type.
Yeah, Scuare wins. Good battle, good retorts, and I liked his voice better.
...yeah, I have to go with everyone else.
:20 to :42 was spectacular. I want the full version. Badly.
For what little my voice can contribute, I offer it to this cause.
Ignore the zero-bombers
This was a fine piece of music. Its well made, technically sound, and a catchy tune to listen to. It has no reason to not be rated 4, at least.
Normally, I don't review art
But this deserves the boost in score. After all, it's unfair that you're score should be reduced just because it's Jesus... so, to make things fair, I'm gonna give you a full ten just because this is a picture of Jesus.
Oh, and because it's very well done.
and very christmas-y! I love looking at this picture, I might have to use it in my Christmas cards...
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