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The Adventures of Powerstick Man vs. Shadowiii
The Adventures of Powerstick Man DER SLIME IS NOT THE DEODERENT OF LIKEING!?!1!?!!!
Pepsi Ranger
Download: 2.34 MB
V.S.
Shadowiii
Play Time: 20+ hours and 00 minutes
Review # 8 for Shadowiii DER SLIME IS NOT THE DEODERENT OF LIKEING!?!1!?!!!
Them's Fightin' Words
    "In a perfect world, everything would work the way it should, and people would treat each other right. But, sometimes, the world reveals that itís not no perfect, and things turn out less than well, and people turn out less than kind. And once in awhile, the world will even make the point that things are really tough, and that people are crazy, and that it can't get any more weird than it is. And sometimes things get so incredibly weird, that what could never happen in a million years, actually happens twice. Which brings us to the present..." - Opening Sequence, [I]Powerstick Man[/i]

The Adventures of Powerstick Man is a unique and humorous gaming experience. The game itself follows the exploits of a somewhat "wanna-be" superhero, who was first just your ordinary brown-haired tennis player until a freak accident in a deoderent factory turned him into Powerstick Man, defender of clean armpits. The game itself is suprisingly believeable, especially compared to many of the "world destorying" or "superhuman" rpg's or comic books out there. Powerstick Man lives in a world not very different than our own; a comic book world where freak accidents of radiation can create even the most average person into a freak superhero (complete with mullet). Even though the game's graphics aren't fantastic, and the story (though humerous) leaves much to be desired, Pepsi Ranger has perfected the art of using dialogue in text boxes to create a believeable and interesting world. NPC's have purpose, the storyteller is interesting and intreuging. The overall feel for the game is one that makes you want to keep playing, simply because the storytelling is so well done.



Graphics
    The graphical appearence in this game, to the casual viewer, is ugly. Maybe even "newbieish." The overall view of the graphics is bad. There is no exceptional detail or shading that makes them look beautiful. But that is perfectly ok.

The Adventures of Powerstick Man follows Pepsi Ranger's traditional art style: the characters have high shoulders, skinny bodies, and a decent distance between their arms and bodies. This NPC style is certainly unique, but for most gamers raised on the SNES Final Fantasy's may consider them somewhat ugly. However, even though the NPC's aren't glorious to look at, they fit the game style amost perfectly. This is a game full of irony and subtle parody, that was ment to look like a real world that collided into a comic-book world. If the NPC's had been drawn like the Super-Deformed Anime NPC's, the game would have lost some of its deeper charm and meaning. This game is ment to parody society as a whole, not give in to it. The NPCs, though ugly, provide a stable piece to the game.

The Maptiles themselves are decently done. Though there isn't anything amazingly fantastic about them, Pepsi Ranger did put in a good bit of detail into each map he designed, making them certainly a step above average. None of the tilemaps seem bad, or out of place. Overall they, like the NPC's, seem to fit the style of the game. The purpose of the game isn't to show us flashy graphics, it is to tell a story. And the graphics fit that.

The battle graphics do need some work. Even though Powerstick Man does look half-decent, his animation can be a bit choppy at times. The enemy graphics are crudely done; sometimes you can't even tell what they are. Overall, the graphics aren't beautiful. But they are fine for the game.



 
Storyline
    Story is where Powerstick Man really shines. Even though the story as a whole isn't anything amazing, Pepsi Ranger has told it in such a way that it is interesting, intreuging, and funny. The setting is a world much like our own, except weird and unexpected things happen (like in comic books). An ordinary, brown-haired tennis player is taking a tour of his local Powerstick Deoderent factory, when he slips into a vat of the deoderent...substance. Just then, lightning strikes the vat, and the mild-mannered tennis player emerges as the blond haired, deoderent wielding, mullet-armed POWERSTICK MAN. But the most bizzare part is that this is the second time this has happened. Some time in the recent past, lightning has struck a simlar vat of deoderent, and a super-hero has emerged. So Powerstick Man sets off with his new-found role as a superhero, to fight crime and smelly armpits.

The story itself isn't really a tale of a deoderent-wielding crime-stopper. As the game advances you really begin to feel that this game is actually a parody of something, but the question is...what? It is obvious that this is left for the player to decide, but my personal feelings is that PR is parodying Pop Culture in general. Why else would the game start with a disclaimer reading

Warning: This game has explicit references to pop culture. Those offended should not play.

And shortly following Pac-Man enters, eats the words, to reveal. "Its only going to get worse from here."

The story itself isn't great, the storytelling is. I have never seen a better use of dialogue in text boxes in any game I have ever played. Even though some stuff is just plain pointless (like the opening where a guy bashes his computer with a mallet after he downloads Powerstick Man), the dialogue is presented in such a way that the you actually enjoy playing the game, which is something very few OHR games end up doing.

As an added bonus, Pepsi Ranger included an extra story, "Superheroes Anonymous," in the zip file. It is a fantastically written short story, and I highly recommend you read it, even if you aren't a fan of this game.


 
Gameplay
    Gameplay, overall, is very well perfected. The game is simply fun to play. When you first begin playing, you'll notice that every NPC you talk to says something different. Not only different, but sometimes amusing, sometimes ironic, sometimes sarcastic, and so forth. Pepsi Ranger has created a WORLD, where the guys on the street aren't just idiots who say "hi" over and over. The NPC's have personalities, and they actually express themselves. This alone makes the overall game feel realistic.

Very few OHR games (and commercial games for that matter) accomplish what RPG style games want to accomplish: create a world, describe it, and make it a realistic and interesting place to explore. Most OHR games and newer commercial games would rather show us a really pretty world and force-feed us gorgous graphics or a steller story, leaving the art of creating the actual world behind. But in this game, Pepsi Ranger creates a unique and interesting world (in a way, you could compare it to Tolkien) that actually is believeable and well designed. Let me emphasize that, not only is this world well designed, it is HUGE. This game will take you a very long time to completely explore. And everywhere you go, the detail put into each scene never diminishes. Its almost like being in a real world.

Another great addition is the ending. After you've beaten the game, you get to go to an 'awards ceremoney' where you are presented with various awards that you 'earned' throughout the game. Depending on how you played, who you talked too, who you helped, etc., you can get multiple awards (some good, some bad). This touch was a great addition to the game. It not only added some replay value, but it make the player have a sense of accomplishment after playing through this huge game. Plus, it showed that all your hard work and chatting with various wandering NPC's really paid off.



 
  Battle
    Battles follow your standard "veteran" ohr style: they are difficult. If you are going to play this game, you'd better have some time on your hands. There isn't really a unique battle system integrated; you basically learn spells the standard way, attack using weapons, and hope you don't die. The game starts out as a bit of a spacebar-smasher, which is somthing that certainly could be improved upon if this game is ever finished. It is obvious that Pepsi Ranger's weakness is battles. They are very boring. If this game had a unique battle system to top its incredible storytelling off, it would be one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) OHR games of all time. Hey, I can dream, can't I? There should be an update someday...

Another thing I'd like to mention about battles is how well battle backdrops are used. Despite the fact that the backdrops aren't beautiful looking, every backdrop seems to have purpose. If you are in a lab, there is a steaming vat of deoderent behind you. The deoderent slime-blobs aren't just randomly placed on the screen, they are perched (if I can use that word...heh) on the rim of the deoderent vat. The detail that Pepsi Ranger puts into his games is evident even in these battles. Nothing in this game exists without haveing some purpose or another.



 
  Map Design
    Map design is steller. Even though many of them aren't your "standard" RPG maps (with weird, pointless puzzles and flying castles and crap), they are more like real-world buildings. For example, the first map in the game is inside the deoderent factory. This early on, enemies are difficult to kill, and paying for healing items or an inn can be expensive. But there is something to balance it off: if you step on the open vats of deoderent, Powerstick Man will slowly be healed. Considereing most RPG games start off with you fighting bunnies and then running back to the ever-convienent "free inn," this is certainly a unique improvement over that.

Another impresseve feat is the city. This , in itself, is one of the most ingenious works in the game. Basically, in the game, if you talk to various characters around the world, you can eventually follow their information and get your hand on some wheels. However, if you choose to ignore the NPC's (bad player! Bad!), you'll have to walk. Unlike most RPG "cities," where you usually have to just stroll to an ever-convienent trolley or walkway or the map zooms out and you can cover vast distances in seconds (think Xenogears), in Powerstick Man you have to walk. Mile after mile of freeway pavement. Realistic? Most definatly. You may be a super-hero, but you ain't "Flash," and you could spend a good 10 minutes walking around on the freeways. This touch itself was simply ingenious, and added even more to the realism of this game.



 
  Balance
    The battles, though boring, are decently balanced. You won't die every second. Though they are difficult, most players who are hard-core RPG fans will enjoy the challenge and rise to it. The only problem with having battles that last a while is that you usually need something interesting to pass the time (say, some cool spell you are learning, or a fun unique battle system). Powerstick Man doesn't have this, which makes the battles not only long, but boring. You won't die, but you may get pretty bored after a while. At least the speed-meter goes up decently fast, so you won't be waiting for five minutes before you can chuck your deoderent at thy opresser.

Overall, the game needs more spells, as well as maybe an entire new sub-menu with unique ablities or SOMETHING that makes the game more interesting. If the enemies were easier, the battles wouldn't be as tedious, but that wouldn't make the game hard anymore...oh well.



 
Music
    The entire musical soundtrack is ripped. There is a rather humerous scene at the beginning, where a care-free OHR game player realizes that almost every OHR game rips from Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy (with music to accompany his discovery). But in all the style of Pop Culture, Pepsi Ranger added some classic rock and pop songs for you to enjoy while you strolled through the game. Jam to "Another One Bites the Dust" while you slay slimes. Rock on with "Smells like Teen Spirit" when you win a battle. The music selection suits the game, even if it is all ripped.

One thing I really enjoyed about the musical score was that it was well placed. The opening scene, which basically sets the setting for the story, as well as displaying the opening credits, has some of the best accompanying music I've heard. The music, though not the most wonderful selection, is placed well. This is a detail many game designers often overlook when they create their games, which is unfortunate, because all your glorious music is pointless if it isn't placed correctly. Pepsi Ranger takes the music, throws it in with his dialogue, and makes the game even more desireable to play.



 
Enjoyment
    This is quite possibly the funnest OHR game you can play to date. Even though many games like Ends of the Earth or FUBMX have fun battles to fight, or other games like Time Flies have an interesting story to tell, Powerstick Man has something unique to OHR gaming. Instead of focusing on the story itself, like many OHR designers, Pepsi Ranger focuses on TELLING the story. A story could be as fantastic, dramatic, or breathtaking as you want, but if you can't cram it into those tiny text boxes and make all the emotion pass through, then your story is wasted. The dialogue in this game alone is so well done that the game is actually a joy to play (unlike 99% of OHR games).

The only thing I actually disliked were the long, boring battles. Even though this game basically revolves around the story and storytelling, battles ARE the filler, and they are what the player does 75%+ of the time. The battle system could use some originality (heck, the whole game is so original, I almost EXPECT an original battle system...;) ) as well as haveing some overall purpose. They need work, but nothing too serious.


 
Final Blows
    If you don't read any of this review (lazy bum!) read this: You will not be disapointed if you download this game. I can assure you that much. After that, it is up to you whether or not you can take in this different yet strangly beautiful OHR gem. The story is told perfectly. The world is realistic and cleverly designed. The battles, though tedious, are better than most OHR games'. It is a game that is simply fun to play, fun to read, and fun to watch. If this game were only finished, it could very well be one of the greatest OHR games ever created.


Yes, yes they do.

Yes, yes they do.
Final Scores
Graphics: 6/10.0
The graphics aren't the best by OHR standards. They borderline good and average. However, they stay away from the traditional japanese 'super deformed,' which was a great idea. The tilemaps also look great. The battle graphics need some work, but other than that, the graphics are fine.
Storyline: 10/10.0
Simply amazing. Though the story itself isn't fantastic (though it is VERY funny), the tapestry Pepsi Ranger weaves of this semi-real superhero world is spun with skill. The storytelling is better than most commerical RPG's could dream of achieving.
Gameplay: 9.5/10.0
Other than the bland, boring battles, this game flies above the rest in terms of gameplay. Every character, be they superhero or villiager, has a personality and is defined. NPC's have purpose and reason for being there. Maps are created and executed with skill rarely shown in OHR games. Overall, the game plays well.
Music: 7.5/10.0
It is all ripped, but not from Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger (with the exception of one purposfully ripped CT song). Pepsi Ranger wisely strays off the beaten path of many OHRers who don't compose their own music, and instead chooses songs that better fit the theme. Not only that, but the music is placed well and sounds good in-game. I am very impressed.
Enjoyment: 10/10.0
I haven't had this much fun with an OHR game in a long time. The game is certainly a joy to play, and I came off it feeling like my time was well spent. It was once stated that a good book/game/movie makes you feel like you've lost a friend when it is over. This game certainly accomplishes that. I EAGERLY await the next update, so I can experience even more adventures of the now-legendary Powerstick Man.
Overall Grade: A+
Final Thoughts
    This game is, hands down, the single best use of dialogue I have ever seen on the OHR. The storytelling of Pepsi Ranger is simply stunning. He creates a world that is interesting, fun, and semi-realistic (as realistic as a comic-book world can be). The only major problems are the graphics and the tedious battles. But it still is one of my favorite OHR games of all time, and probably will be for a good while.

Well done, Pepsi Ranger, you've created a masterpiece. Now finish it!
 


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