Upon starting this game, I was under the assumption that building up the Roman empire had something to do with Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. Gladiator. Anyone? Right?
Terrible joke aside, Rome was actually built on matching, solving puzzles and buying necessities to survive. Well, at least this is true in the newest match three 3DS title: Jewel Master: Cradle of Rome 2.
Seriously, take a look at the box art. It says it all. The Roman soldier on the front cover obviously has been matching jewels and barrels of water all day instead of using that overly shiny sword (that's in its sheath) to build up his empire. (WHY DOES HE EVEN HAVE A SWORD?)
But moving on from how far removed this game is from the actual Roman empire (Joaquin Phoenix), Jewel Master: Cradle of Rome 2 is a simple match three puzzle game like we've seen so many times already on the Nintendo Wii and DS in different iterations. (Jewel Master: Egypt, Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia) It's actually the sequel to Cradle of Rome that was released on Nintendo Wii and DS.
Similar to games of the past, Jewel Master: Cradle of Rome 2 has around 100 different puzzles, each varying in difficulty. (We'll get to this in a minute.) The name of the game is to match three similar units whether it be jewels, coins or other resources horizontally or vertically. Each board has a number of blue tiles, which you must destroy. You can destroy them by matching three units while they're placed on the blue tiles. Ultimately, you beat the level by getting rid of all these blue tiles. Sure, when the game's difficulty level increases, there are more difficult tiles (Green and Chained Tiles), but the strategy remains the same: match three, get rid of the tiles and you win! (Woohoo!)
Same concept as we've seen over and over again, but with each puzzle, you will receive amounts of resources, gold and food. This will help you throughout the game. By receiving these items, you will then have the option to buy buildings and structures to "build up Rome." What does it really do? The structures will provide you with power-ups you can use in the puzzles, which will help get rid of those pesky tiles. There's a catch though. You actually have to charge the power-ups to use them, but once they are charged, they can be extremely useful to you.
With that being said, the puzzles present all the necessary challenges through the 100 levels available to play. Not only do you have to get rid of all the tiles standing in your way, but you also have to do it in a limited amount of time as shown on the time indicator on the top screen. In addition, there are also the tourney and blitz modes to challenge yourself even further.
Strictly talking about gameplay, Jewel Master: Cradle of Rome 2 does a lot of things right. It's challenging, offers power-ups and its strength lies in its pick up and play type gameplay. The flaws come in when we start straying away from the gameplay a bit.
The overall integration of 3D is absolutely useless. It's only used on artwork on the top screen, which you won't be looking at most of the time as the matching and action is happening on the bottom screen. Along with that, the music is absolutely forgettable. Sure, it's a puzzle game and epic music isn't necessary, but some good music would have been nice to have. It is a 100 level game.
Of course, you will also run into redundancy with this game. But this is less of an issue than the others because there is so much content. It is hard to create 100 levels in a match three environment without it feeling a little boring and dry. Along with redundancy, the game seems to have an absolutely random sense of difficulty. One minute the puzzles will be extremely easy, the next minute you will be scratching your brain on how to beat a level. It goes on like this throughout the game and it is hard to judge when the hard puzzles are going to stop you in your tracks or when you're going to breeze through them.
Lastly, there is no multi-player mode. This game would be great to play online. The sense of urgency coupled with the player's sense of strategy is perfect for an online competitive mode, but it's nowhere to be found. I've talked about it before and I'll say it again, games like this need a multi-player mode. Mix it up a bit! (It's 2012!)
I digress. Jewel Master: Cradle of Rome 2 doesn't stray too much from its predecessors, which means it's an average match three game. The match three gameplay has been done to death and it needs a little revigoration especially in this series. With no new innovation, it still feels like the same titles we've seen again and again. Adding multi-player support and better 3D integration would be a start, but Jewel Master: Cradle of Rome 2 will end up as yet another match three puzzle game that most gamers won't even take a look at.
Publishing giant ZeniMax Media has filed six different trademark applications for popular Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim dragon shout, "Fus Ro Dah".
"Fus Ro Dah" is a dragon shout in Skyrim that allows players to summon a powerful force that pushes away enemies; but it became wildly popular after a user on YouTube uploaded a video that showed the character dragon shout sending a powerful shockwave that knocked an oversized person off of a table. From there, the words exploded into a popular meme and there now exists dozens of YouTube videos playing on the shout.
Now, it appears that ZeniMax is attempting to protect its intellectual property as it has submitted six separate trademark applications for "Fus Ro Dah" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office that cover a wide range of goods and services. One of the applications covers clothing, namely T-shirts, shirts, sweatshirts, etc.
Below is a brief look at each of the trademark applications submitted on April 4, 2012 (via):
Serial Number: 85589286
Computer game software for use with computers and video game consoles; downloadable computer game software offered via the internet and wireless devices; cell phone cases; downloadable cell phone ringtones; digital tablet cases; smart phone cases; mouse pads; eyeglass cases; head phones
Serial Number: 85589288
Computer and video game user instruction manuals; magazines, books, and pamphlets concerning video games; computer and video game strategy guide books and magazines; trading cards, maps, posters, advertisement boards of paper or cardboard, art prints
Serial Number: 85589291
Bags, namely, backpacks, duffel bags, knapsacks, book bags, athletic bags, and cosmetic bags, sold empty
Serial Number: 85589294
Clothing, namely, T-shirts, shirts, sweatshirts, fleece pullovers; headwear, namely, hats
Serial Number: 85589296
Toys and action figures; playing cards, dice, and board games; bobble-head dolls; sporting equipment
Serial Number: 85589298
Entertainment services, namely, providing on-line interactive computer games and providing information relating to electronic computer games via the internet