Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chameleon Twist for the Nintendo 64

As a gamer, I always have a fond memory of most of the games I play. Yeah, I might not remember all of them, but one that I played a long time ago and still remember is Chameleon Twist for the Nintendo 64. This is definitely one of the more memorable games that I remember from back in my childhood. How does it stand up by today, though? Well, I’ve got my thoughts on it and I am ready to review it. Is it as good as it was back in the day? Or are there a few cobwebs showing this game’s age?

The story is very simple, and I think it fits the game quite fine. One day a blue chameleon named Davy is just relaxing and minding his own business, when he sees a white rabbit that strangely looks like the one from Alice in Wonderland. Davy goes through a rabbit hole, and ends up in a strange and magical world. Davy also turns into some strange humanoid chameleon. It is up to him to travel through 6 levels to get back to normal. Heck, if I was in some strange world, I rather escape it than live in it, unless it’s really cool.

The game play featured in Chameleon Twist is your basic plat-former game where you control 4 different chameleons. You can either control Davy, Jack, Fred or Linda. They all play the same so I guess you would play as your favorite colored chameleon. The main gimmick in Chameleon Twist is the tongue. It’s like Yoshi’s tongue, since you can eat enemies, but it also has a mix of Kirby where you can shoot the enemies back out of your mouth, like artillery fire. You can jump in this game, but you will need to use your tongue to grab onto metal poles and swing around them. You can also control the way your tongue goes, which is kind of cool. It reminds me of Super Castlevania 4, where you could whip 8 different ways. The reason why I say that is because you can control the way your tongue goes, and you can swallow even more enemies than you could by just sticking your tongue out straight. You also collect these golden crowns that I think do nothing, but I think they either give you a life if you get a certain amount, or they could just raise your score, but I don’t remember.

In my opinion, the graphics in the game are pretty good for N64 standards. I mean, yeah, you can see how they have aged, but since I grew up on the N64, I think they look great. I also love the music for the game. It reminds me of something like Kirby or Adventure Island. I like how all the enemies are unique to that certain level, like spiders in the jungle level, ice cream sandwich monsters in the sweets level, and stuff like that. The game can be a little difficult, but if you know what to do or just find an alternative route through a puzzle or something, it’s easier that you think. The game rewards you for being creative, and I like that.

There are some gripes I do have with this game. They might have to do with putting it into the somewhat obscure game category where not a lot of people know about it or not pick it up. The difficulty in the game comes from the awkward camera angle. It’s too far away, and you can’t control it in some levels, which makes the plat-forming sections a little harder than you would like. Outside your extremely long tongue, you have no other form of attack, so be careful. The game itself is also pretty short. The levels are long, but you can easily get through them if you find alternate ways of getting through the levels. A lot of people might be turned off by the cute factor of the game. While I don’t really care, I still can see people not picking it up due to its cute factor.

Overall, though I think this game is a highly overlooked gem on the Nintendo 64. I know I could list others like Fighters Destiny or this game’s sequel, Chameleon Twist 2, but those are for another time. I say, pick this game up. I think you will like it, but I wouldn’t pay too much for it since, well, we want to make sure to get a good game for a good price. I think this series at least deserves one more sequel, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

This game gets an 8 out of 10

Retro Saga Part 20: the 19XX Series.

Okay, everyone guess what these games have in common. Gradius, U.N. Squadron, Axelay, R-Type, and Raiden. No, the correct answer isn’t that they are all great games (even though they are great games). The correct answer is they are all 2D shooters. They also have you flying a plane of some sort, and shooting everything in sight. Now, most of these games were either made or published by Konami (besides R-Type and Raiden). I think Capcom wanted to cash in on these kinds of games and released a few of their own, which includes Legendary Wings. To be honest though, I’m not the biggest fan of the arcade version of Legendary Wings, but I am a big fan of their other 2D shooter franchise known as the 19XX series. There are about 5 games in the series (6 if you count the Xbox Live arcade game, 1942: Joint Strike)

The main story of the games is basically you’re some faceless hero piloting a WWII bomber and blowing up tiny planes, and then blowing up bigger planes and then going to the next level. Yeah, there isn’t much story, but when you’re playing a 2D shooter, you don’t really give a hoot about what the story is. All you want to know is if the game play is awesome.

The game play in the 19XX series of games is pretty much the same in all the games, a top down 2D shooter, like Raiden. You basically control a bomber-like plane as you go through multiple levels, shooting down planes, and getting power-ups to shoot down more planes faster, and then fight a boss at the end of the level. The power-ups mainly include stuff like shooting lightning. Yeah, you won’t get amazingly super crazy power-ups like in Raiden or R-Type, but they get the job done. You do get different stuff like multiple missiles, little helper planes, and lasers. Each game is pretty different in their own ways, but I like them all.

The graphics are pretty much a mixed bag. It depends on which one you like more. I like them all, but I know some people like 1943 the best, and some people like the later ones like 19XX or 1941. I know some people don’t like 1942, but I will explain that in a second. A cool thing that I enjoy about this series is that after you get shot once, you don’t die like you would in Gradius or other games. Instead, you got a couple of more hits, but the game will tell you when you’re running low on health. I also like how you can regain health if you’ve lost some. It means that this game is more open to casual gamers, but more hardcore people can keep playing it. I also like how the power-up system works. I know on one of the games you have to shoot down orange planes to get the power-ups, but I don’t know if it’s in the others. I do know that it’s a fun series.

This fun series does have a few faults. Sometimes, all the games get just a little boring. I say this because the game moves at a snail’s pace, from time to time. Your plane moves so slowly and it’s not that you can get hit easily, it’s just that the screen moves so slowly. It also makes it seem like the games take forever, even if some are only like 6 levels long. I don’t know, but this was just me, but I just found the color pallet to be somewhat bland in some of the games. It just seems like with all the great graphics Capcom puts into their arcade games, they would put some amazing detail on this series.

Overall though, this series might not have aged well in some areas, but it’s still a fun series. You can get most of the games in the Capcom Classics Collection discs, but if you can find them on the NES, then I wouldn’t waste a moment to pick them up. Like I said, it all depends on which one tickles your fancy. So yeah, go check out this series.

This game series gets an 8 out of 10

Monday, January 26, 2009

Retro Saga Part 19: Final Fight

Everyone has their beat ‘em up. There is, of course, Double Dragon, Battle Toads, TMNT: Turtles in Time, the X-Men and Simpson’s Arcade game, and others, though there has been an eternal fight between two beat ‘em up franchises. Those two franchises are Streets of Rage and Final Fight. To be honest, I have never played Streets of Rage, but I will make sure to do a review of the three games of that series in one review in the future when it becomes playable. A good thing though is that I have played the first Final Fight, and I am reviewing the arcade version of the game that I played off of Capcom Classics Collections Vol. 1. Let’s get started then, shall we?

The game takes place in the fictional city of Metro City, and yes, that is the same place Captain Commando takes place. The story revolves around the buff muscular Mayor Mike Haggar, who one day gets a threatening call from an evil gang known as Mad Gear. The gang tells Haggar that they have taken his daughter and want something in return, or else she dies. It is up to Haggar, along with his daughter’s boy friend Cody and his ninja friend Guy to stop the Mad Gear Gang and save the Mayor’s Daughter. For some reason, when I think about this game, I feel like watching Die Hard or something like that.

The game play is a 2D side-scrolling beat ‘em up, where you control one of three characters, Guy, Cody, and Haggar. Guy is the weakest, but I think he is the fastest, Cody is the middle guy that is strong and fast, and Haggar is of course the strongest and the one you will want to play as more than the others since, well, what other choice gives you the ability to play as a muscular mayor? You’ve got your basic punches and kicks, along with the occasional throwing the bad guy. You also have super moves that do more damage to the opponent, but drain your life bar. I think that’s pretty fair, since it would be too easy if you could use your super moves willy-nilly. I like the fighting system here since if you get ganged up on, you can throw an enemy that’s in front of you behind you, unlike in Golden Axe. You can also pick up weapons dropped by the enemies and use them to your will, which puts a twist on the 2D brawlers, though Streets of Rage also has its own unique stuff.

The graphics in the game are pretty impressive, and both the Arcade and the Super Nintendo versions look great. Of course, if you wanted an almost perfect arcade port, you would need to get the Sega CD version. The Super Nintendo and Sega CD version don’t have two-player co-op. It’s kind of weird, since this game is meant to be played with two players. Yeah, you could play the game single player, but beat ‘em ups are more fun when you have a friend. The music in the game is also memorable. Well, I haven’t memorized the tunes, but they are good. The people responsible for this is Yoko Shimomura who is known for Kingdom Hearts, Adventures in the Magic Kingdom, Legend of Mana, Code Name: Viper, and Little Kings Tale. He was partnered with Yoshihiro Sakaguchi, who is known for Megaman 1 and 2, Ducktales 1 and 2, and 1943: The Battle for Midway did an awesome soundtrack to Final Fight.

There are some things I don’t like about this game though. One of the only things I don’t about is that some of the enemies are smaller than you, and they can be an annoyance. I also hate how you can get attacked during jumping in the air. I mean, yeah, in a way you can see that happening in real life, but it’s annoying. I also don’t like how you have to do a combo for a super move. They can be useful, but if this game’s combo system is anything like the Street Fighter games, then I don’t end up using them.

Overall though, the above paragraph contained just minor gripes, and I really enjoyed the Final Fight series. You can easily pick up a copy of this game, or download it off the Virtual Console or Playstation store. I bet you can pick this up off of the Xbox Live store, but I don’t know. Either way, Capcom shouldn’t have made such a painfully average sequel on the PS2 and Xbox. Instead, they should have just done an HD remake or something, like they did with Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo Hyper Fighting. Still though, you should pick up a copy of this game.

This game gets an 8 out of 10

Retro Saga Part 18: Mega Twins

Capcom has made a LOT of beat ‘em ups, Final Fight, Knights of the Round, King of Dragons, and you get the idea. Capcom is a really amazing company and I’m really happy to play a lot of their games. I mean I’m not a fan of Ghost and Goblins or Megaman, but I like and respect the popularity those two series have. I have mentioned in the past that I would have liked to see some of their old series brought back. We all know about the whole “they might bring back Power Stone, Rival Schools, and Dark Stalkers” thing, and while that’s fine, I kind of wish they would bring back some of their beat ‘em up franchises like Knights of the Round or King of Dragons. There is one game though I’m surprised didn’t get as much as a sequel. This game is called Mega Twins, or Chiki Chiki Boys in Japan and Europe.

The story of Mega Twins is basically summed up like this. An evil monster has attacked a magical land called Alurea. The people there fall victim to the attack, due to the people not knowing how to fight or defend themselves. There were only two survivors left. The two survivors were both kids who were the son of the king. They must now go out on an epic adventure to save their land and restore it back to normal. Yeah, the story’s nothing special, but it’s just there to push you from A to B.

The game play featured in Mega Twins is a side-scrolling beat ‘em up where you control one of the two twins equipped with a sword and a shield. Your main form of attack is you slashing your sword. It’s your only attack besides using a bomb as a sub weapon. It’s kind of odd to see this, due to the fact that most of the arcade beat ‘em ups that Capcom made gave you more than one attack. They would usually throw in a couple of super moves in their arcade games, but oh well, I guess you can call this the easy man’s beat ‘em up. You can also jump pretty high, which is a new thing for me since everyone in the other arcade games I reviewed has had low jumps. You can also climb and hang from walls, which is even newer to me since, in my opinion, not a lot of arcade games did that. The only other arcade games I have seen where you can climb and hang from the walls are Black Tiger, Magician Lord, and Ghost and Goblins.

The graphics in the game are very cutesy and child-like. The designs for everything remind me of something from the Dragon Quest or Blue Dragon games, and even the Wonder Boy series on the Sega Master System. It’s not as hard-core as Black Tiger was, but I guess they were trying to aim at kids with this game, but I don’t entirely know. They might have just liked the cute Japanese-esque look of the game. I also like the music for the game. It’s very Capcom-like, and that’s a good thing, since they usually have their own unique sound to their games. I also like how you can choose from the first three levels. It kind of reminds me of Megaman or Lords of Thunder. Since in those games you can choose what level you want to go to first, which is always a plus if you want to get through the harder stages first, then move onto the easier stages.

However, this game isn’t without its flaws, and there are reason why this game is a “poor man’s” beat ‘em up. For one, there are only 5 levels. This makes the game pretty short, and a game you could easily beat in about 30 minutes or so, but his could also prevent you from beating it so early if you could avoid getting hit and losing so much energy so easily. You basically have three hits, and then you’re dead, though I think it depends on the attack. I also wish there were more attacks or power-ups.

Overall though, it’s a solid game, but I can see why there wasn’t a sequel made for it. I do think it’s one of the best arcade games I have ever played, and I would find a copy of this game and get it. You can get this for the Genesis, but I bet you will have to drop some coin for a copy. You can go cheap and pick it up on one of the Capcom arcade collections. I’m sorry I keep bringing that up, but there are about three other games, so get ready to hear that statement again.

This game gets a 7 out of 10

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Retro Saga part 17: Magic Sword

Knights of the Round, King of Dragons, Black Tiger, and Ghost and Goblins. What do all these games have in common? Yes, Capcom made them, but they also dealt with fantasy-themed worlds, with monsters and weaponry. While I enjoy that they did a lot of games like this, it kind of felt kind of redundant since it seems like a lot of arcade games that they made used the same formula, especially Knights of the Round and King of Dragons. I think it started to get boring right after they released Magic Sword for the arcades and Super Nintendo. While it isn’t a horrible game, it just feels plain and dry, by this point.

The story of Magic Sword is told like this. An evil lord known as Drokmar has taken over an unknown land with the power of a crystal called the “Black Orb”. He now hides within a 50-story tower, and it is up to the main hero of the game, Brave, to scale the tower and stop the evil lord and bring peace to the land.

The game play of Magic Sword is more on the lines of Black Tiger and Ghost and Goblins. Magic Sword is a side-scrolling hack-and-slash game where you control Brave and go through 50 short levels with some having a boss fight at the end. Your main form of attack is your sword. During the game, you will find keys to unlock doors. Now this would just be fine if there was treasure behind the door, but there is something more. In each door, there is usually someone trapped inside, and you can pick him or her up to use as allies, like the knight throws spears, the Amazonian uses a crossbow, and you get the idea. Each ally has a different ability that helps out in different situations. A good example is the priest. The priest not only brings up a barrier, but he is more effective against undead enemies. You also have RPG elements where your sword is stronger after each boss fight. Careful though, because you can easily lose your powered-up sword and go straight back to a weaker sword. I will talk about that game play component later. Another interesting component is that when you beat the final boss, you can choose to either become the good guy and destroy the power, or take the power and become the bad guy. That’s pretty unique since I haven’t seen such a twist like that since in Double Dragon, where at the end, you have to beat your brother since to the girl you saved wants only you or your brother. That’s interesting since you usually see the main hero become the good guy, and everything is rainbow and lollipops.

The graphics in the game are pretty impressive. They are nothing special, but it gets the arcade and Super Nintendo job done by showing off 16-bit graphics. Not as well as Final Fantasy 6 or Super Mario RPG, but like I said, they get the job done. The music though is actually pretty good. It’s not as good as Final Fantasy 6, but it doesn’t seem fair to compare this game to that game, though the composer, Manami Matsumae who is known for games like U.N Squadron, his participation in Megaman 1 and 2, and Adventure of Lolo on the Gameboy resulted in a good job.

Sadly though, this is where I’m going to talk about the faults of this game and the reason why I think this is one is best left unknown. First off, the main hero is just so stale and boring. I mean, he looks like He Man. It wouldn’t be any different if they made the hero a girl in a bikini, like the girl in Golden Axe. Secondly, the game gets really boring really fast. It’s due to most of the levels looking like the same thing. This means that the game gets stale and repetitious. What else could I say? Oh yeah, I HATE how you can drop your sword. What’s the point of having a super strong sword when you can easily just lose it after getting hurt? I also don’t like how many allies are in one level. You can easily just have one ally for 5 seconds and then just pick up another one. They also have their own life bar. What’s the point of having them around if they can get hurt also? The game itself can get pretty annoying since it seems like you have no time to breathe because there is a non-stop onslaught of enemies. It’s not Ghost and Goblins hard, but it gets annoying due to how small everyone is.

While this game is ultimately forgettable and bland, it’s an interesting game, and it’s fun to put in and play if you don’t have other games to play. You can get this on the Super Nintendo or again, off of one of the Capcom arcade collections discs.

This game gets a 5 out of 10

Friday, January 23, 2009

Retro Saga Part 16: King of Dragons

I have recently been doing a lot of reviews of games from Capcom. Weird, right? I guess you can say I’m a fan of Capcom’s arcade games. While I do not enjoy all of them, like Ghost and Goblins and Magic Sword, I do enjoy a lot of their beat ‘em ups. I already did a review of Knights of the Round, which is one of my favorite arcade games of all time, so I think it’s right to do another great arcade beat ‘em up by Capcom. Now, this next one that I am going to review is a game that I have mentioned before. This game is called King of Dragons, which is another fantasy-themed game, like Knights of the Round or Ghost and Goblins. So let’s get started then shall we?

The story goes that an evil red dragon named Gildiss has taken over the countryside, along with other evil monsters that have taken refuge within the country. It is up to 5 warriors, the elf, the wizard, the fighter, the cleric, and the dwarf to travel across the countryside and defeat the evil monsters that have taken over the land. Yay, more dragons. This actually reminds me of the new PS3 game Demon’s Soul where you have to fight dragons during parts of the game, though that is another game for another time.

The game play is very similar to Knights of the Round in a way, since it’s a hack-and-slash beat ‘em up where you can control 5 different characters with unique abilities for each. The Cleric is the strongest but slowest fighter, the elf has the longest range, but poor defense and attack power, the Wizard uses magic, but has poor defense, the dwarf has the slowest attack range, but the longest jump, and the fighter is the second strongest fighter out of all the fighters. It’s cool since this adds replay value, and different difficulties due to each fighter’s persona. After each level or so, your character is upgraded with a new level, like a stronger sword or shield.

The graphics in the game are pretty good for both the arcade and Super Nintendo versions. I like all the monster designs and the designs for all the characters. The cleric especially reminds me of an outfit you can use in Demon’s Soul. I know I said a lot of this stuff in the Knights of the Round review, but I’m a fantasy-style kind of guy. I always enjoy the looks and designs of soldiers and monsters. The music also fits and it’s fun to listen to while playing the game. I just kind of wish Capcom would take as much care with their beat ‘em ups as they do with their Megaman or Tomba! games. I also like how some of the sound effects, like for the dragons, originate from some of the monsters from the Toho film company in Japan that make all the Godzilla films, though you would only notice if you were a fan of Godzilla movies like I am. I also like how they have the upgrade system, like in Knights of the Round.

Let’s pick up our swords and shields, and find the bad parts of the game. Again, this game has a timer, and for an arcade game I don’t see the reason for having one. It makes you feel rushed, and you end up making mistakes and losing lives. While I like how long the game is, I just think that it could have been a little shorter. It kind of drags on, and it’s annoying. I think long games should be on consoles, since who the heck is going to stand around for hours to play just one game at an arcade. Well, I know some people could, but I sure can’t. While I like fighting dragons in the game, some of the fighting can be awkward due to the fighting rounds being like Golden Axe or Final Fight. It’s awkward to line up your attack with the target, and it ends up either with a missed attack or a direct hit by the enemy. I think it’s easier when you have two to three other people playing with you, but still.

Overall though, I found this game to be fun. It’s just sad due to a lot of people not knowing about it. Well, it seems like not a lot of people know about it. I would say get a copy of this game for the Super Nintendo or see if it’s downloadable on one of the three console’s online stores. Of course, with any of the past arcade games I reviewed, you can look up and see which Capcom arcade collection has it. It would be nice to see Capcom do either a sequel or an HD remake of their arcade games. They have a lot of good ones. Oh well, a gamer can dream, can’t he?

This game gets a solid 8 out of 10.

Retro Saga Part 15: Knights of the Round

I like a lot of beat ‘em ups. I love Final Fight and King of Dragons, and they stand as some of my favorite arcade games of all time, next to other arcade games like Metal Slug, Top Hunter, Shock Troopers, and of course, Captain Commando. However, I think one of my favorite arcade games of all time has to be Knights of the Round. I don’t know, but something about King Arthur, knights, and dragons are just wonderful.

The main story of Knights of the Round revolves around King Arthur who has been training to become a great knight. After pulling out the sword Excalibur, Arthur realizes his destiny to become the ruler of England. The mighty wizard Merlin then sends Arthur and two of his friends, Lancelot and Perceval to stop the evil ruler named Garibaldi. It is up to Arthur and his two allies to stop his evil reign and save England. Yeah, the real historical story is wonderful, but the arcade game story isn’t that great and ultimately forgettable, but it fits the situation and theme of the arcade game, so I won’t hold anything against it. You don’t really play an arcade game for its story.

The game play in Knights of the Round is a classic hack-and-slash beat ‘em up. You get to control one of three knights, Arthur, Lancelot, or Perceval, who all play differently. Arthur is the all-around fighter, Lancelot is faster, but weaker, and Perceval is stronger, but slower. During the game, your knight of choice gets upgrades that are either for its weapon or armor, but it’s never really shown which one will upgrade first. You have your basic strong and weak attacks, as with any beat ‘em up, but there are also super moves that you didn’t really see in a lot of beat ‘em ups. The fighting system also has a beat ‘em up system where being a defensive fighter will help you kill multiple enemies at once. I prefer to just hack and slash my way through the levels, and dodge attacks when I need to. During the game, you will be able to find gold to add to the overall high score, and food to heal your health bar. A cool thing you can do is hit the bigger chest and food, and separate them for other players to share in the bounty of the kill. It’s cool since you can play with two other people, and you will need to be working together to take down some of the more tedious boss fights.

The graphics in the game are impressive and haven’t aged as much as other beat ‘em ups, like Golden Axe or Altered Beast, that by today’s standards are bad games. Knights of the Round however, has aged well and looks nice. I also love the character designs in the game. I like all the cool armor and weapons that everyone wields. I guess I’m a sucker for this style of look for game and other games like Demon’s Soul. The music is pretty standard, but it fits the mood. At least the game isn’t quiet, since it would have just been boring to play an action game like this with no music. I also like how you can upgrade your character during and after the level, which is cool since games like Final Fight are kind of, well, normal since you can’t upgrade your character’s cool appearance and powers, unlike in Knights of the Round.

There are some things I do have against this game though. I hate the first boss because of his annoying obnoxious laugh. I also hate how they just recycle him as a moderately tougher enemy with that same obnoxious laugh. I also think that your character moves a little slowly. I don’t think there is a dash button, and it gets annoying once you get up to Phantom, who is faster than you, and it is hard to attack him. I also don’t like how there is a timer for the game. This is suppose to be an arcade game. I say you would make more money off an arcade game if you didn’t have to put in a timer. It’s just like Ghost and Goblins and Black Tiger. I say beat ‘em ups shouldn’t have timers unless there is some threat for not getting to the end in time, or something. I also hate how you can’t choose what to upgrade. It’s random and you won’t know what will be upgraded first.

Even with these minor flaws, I really like this game. I would highly recommend playing this game or just owning it. It was ported to the SNES after all. I don’t know if it was ported to the Genesis, but I think the SNES version would be a better choice. I wish they would bring this game back for at least an HD remake. They could do what they did with Ultimate Ghost and Goblins and make it 2.5D. All and all, I say just check this game out.

This game gets a n 8 out of 10

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Retro Saga Part 14: Eco Fighters

Capcom isn’t that famous for making 2D shooters, but they have a few like the 1940 series of 2D shooters. Sadly though, Capcom is more known for their fighting, horror survival, and beat ‘em up genres than 2D shooters. It’s a shame, since one shooter got overlooked and I find it a fun game. The game in question is known as Eco Fighters, and it is one of the only few 2D shooters that I know Capcom has made or published.

The story for Eco Fighters is actually pretty funny, but cool at the same time. An evil organization has taken over the land, and is doing pretty much what our big companies are doing right now, causing pollution and killing off everything. However, a small elite group of people who instead of joining Pita or the hippies, take the matter into their own hands and get into little space ships to take down the evil organization themselves. So yeah, that’s what I want to do when I want to save the environment…

The game play is a classic 2D shooter, like R-Type or Lifeforce. The main innovation here is a ball-like weapon you can attach to your ship’s grapple arm or something, and have multiple different abilities. It is kind of like R-Type, since you can put the special weapon in front of you or behind you or even all around you, since you can control where you want the weapon to be. It helps when you’re fighting certain enemies and bosses. It’s also cool when you can go through this game with two players. You also gain a secondary weapon, but it’s mostly an attack that takes down enemies or threats below you. You also have a basic laser weapon before gaining the special orb-like weapon that attaches to your ship.

Of course, Capcom doesn’t skip on the presentation. The animation is bright and colorful. The animation on the enemies is fluid and has an interesting design. A lot of the enemies look like fish and other animals, which is cool. Like I said in a couple of past reviews, the music is traditional Capcom, in that it sounds good, but nothing memorable, unlike music you would hear in the Megaman games. The sound effects are also bright and colorful like any shooter you would play. The difficulty is right in the middle. It isn’t super hard, but it’s pretty much playable by any kind of gamer.

I bet you can tell that I do have some gripes with this game, however. For one, the main gimmick of the game is very interesting, but it can also be your greatest weakness. You can rotate it, but it can be a hassle when you’re in a serious dog fight, and you can’t have the main weapon in front of you, which makes it, oh, umm, what was I thinking of…oh yeah, SHOOT WHAT’S DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF YOU!!! It’s really annoying since I can’t remember how many times I have died due to not having perfect aim with the main weapon in the game. Another thing I don’t get is that at the game overscreen, there is one panel where there is a girl in a bikini for inspiration to keep fighting. In a game about saving the environment, they have a girl in a swimsuit? I mean yeah, she isn’t a girl from Dead or Alive, but still. That is just a minor gripe though.

Overall though, it’s an enjoyable shooter that is a little underappreciated it. I would say that if you can find a copy of this game, pick it up if you are a 2D shooter fan. Yeah, it’s not the best, but it’s just fun to play. You can also pick this up again in one of the Capcom arcade classics collections.

This game gets a 7 out of 10

Retro Saga part 13: Captain Commando

Nintendo has Mario, Sony as Kratos and Drake, and Microsoft has Master Chief. Mascots are everything in showing who the company is. You could say the mascot is a fictional spokesman for the company. Now, there is some debate about what Capcom’s mascot is. They have a lot of games like Megaman, Street Fighter, Lost Planet, Resident Evil, Ghost and Goblins, and you get the idea. I mean, yeah, I think it is Megaman, but I think back in the day, it was Captain Commando. It’s funny, because of how many times you see him on the boxes of retro games, but he doesn’t look like the picture above.

The story of the game takes place in the future version of Metro City, where an evil gang has taken over Metro City in 2026. It is up to Captain Commando and his three Commando companions to stop the evil gangs and villains of Metro City, and save it. There is something very familiar about Metro City since it reminds me of another Capcom game, but I will get to that later in the review.

The game play in Captain Commando is a straight-out beat ‘em up, just like Final Fight and Streets of Rage, where you can control Captain Commando and beat up the enemies within the games. A cool feature is that you can play with four people playing at once, each controlling a different character in the Commando team. The second team member of the Commando team is Mack the Knife, who is a mummy-like alien who wields two knives. The third member is Ginzu the Ninja, who is the ninja Commando on the selection screen uses the same fighting style that Guy uses in Street Fighter Alpha and Final Fight. The final one is Baby Head, a super smart baby who uses a mech suit of his own design. I will give this game some credit for some pretty original characters. In this beat ‘em up, you can also pick up weapons and mech suits to bring down more damage on your enemies, which is nice since you are not stuck to just punches and kicks, like in the NES game, Kung Fu. Each character also has his own unique super moves, which is also nice since it gives some variety to the game.

The graphics in the game are also well done, and I always enjoy seeing Capcom’s interesting character design. The music is also very good. I mean, it is just as good as Final Fight with tracks that aren’t memorable, but pretty solid for a beat ‘em up. The thing I was going to mention in the story section of this review is very interesting, and I decided to tell you all what I was going to say. The city that the game takes place in is actually the same city that the beat ‘em up Final Fight takes place in! I find that amazing that a lot of references in Captain Commando are from Final Fight. Then again, in some Street Fighter games, you can see characters from Final Fight within the game itself. The game isn’t too hard, but it’s more fun when you have a two-player game going on.

I do have some gripes though about this game that doesn’t age well. A lot of the enemies are inspired by Final Fight, but it just seems like they got lazy and decided to reuses enemy designs for Captain Commando. Captain Commando also moves very slowly in my opinion. I would say he moves as slowly as Mickey does in the Magical Quest games. Another thing I don’t like is that the super moves are hard to pull off, and I just find it annoying that there isn’t a nuke or something to clear the screen. My final gripe is the same gripe you are going to see in my review of Final Fight. When you get hit, you go flying across the screen and you drop your weapon. I hate that in a game. I mean, this issue is also seen in Golden Axe. I mean, you are sent far only by a strong attack.

Overall, though, I like this game and it is one of my favorite beat ‘em ups of all time. I say if you can find a copy of this game for ANY system, then I say pick it up. You can also pick this game up in one of the Capcom Arcade Classic collections. I don’t know why Capcom doesn’t use Captain Commando anymore. I would love to see him make a comeback along with Strider and Mega Twins.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

Retro Saga part 12: Black Tiger

When you think of arcade games from Capcom, what do you think about? Ghost and Goblins, Final Fight, and Street Fighter are maybe ones that you think about the most. While those are all good and all, I want to review some of the more obscure arcade games that no one talks about unless you’re from or something. The first one I am going to talk about is called Black Tiger. How good is this arcade game? Is it a fun play through? Or is it an annoying mess like Ghost and Goblins?

The main story of Black Tiger is that three evil dragons have taken over the land, and have put it in a horrible state of sorrow. You play as a powerful warrior known as Black Tiger, who uses a morning-star-like weapon to take down his foes as he is sent off to a quest to defeat the 3 evil dragons and save the land from darkness. I would make some smug remark about the story, but I will save it for later in the review.

Game play in Black Tiger can be best described as an action plat-former where you go through huge levels destroying multiple monsters and defeating the three evil dragons. Your main weapon is a morning-star-like weapon that has a really good reach. Your other main weapons are throwing knives to where you can throw like 9 knives at once, which is just awesome! During the game, you will have to save old men that have been captured and put in different areas in the levels. Think of it as the prisoners in Metal Slug, since they give you some helpful stuff after you free them. For example, some will give you hints, some will give you money and time, and from time to time, one will offer to sell you some power-ups. Some of the power-ups are like upgraded armor or an upgraded weapon like a morning star covered in fire or something. It’s helpful, since there are some pretty tough enemies in the game. In fact, some of them look like something from Ghost and Goblins. No wonder they do look like something from that game since this is supposed to be a spiritual successor to that series.

The graphics in the game, of course, are amazing since this is Capcom one of the greatest third party developers of all time. The animations are slick and the character designs are pretty amazing. I also like the design for the main hero. He looks like a barbarian version of Simon Belmont. The music is also wonderful to listen to. It might not be that memorable, but it’s a solid soundtrack nonetheless. The difficulty is kind of in the middle. It’s not as tough as Ghost and Goblins, but it’s not stupidly easy, unless you’re good at this kind of stuff.

I do have some gripes though that I feel like I must address to this game. First off, there is a timer in the game and I just feel like it isn’t necessary. The reason why I say this is because the levels are huge and confusing, and you want to get to the end before the timer runs out. It’s just tedious when I don’t know where I’m going and I only have 1:34 left on the timer. Since this is an arcade game, it just doesn’t seem right to put in a timer since you want the player to keep putting in quarters to keep playing the game and not have to worry about any timers and such. I also feel like Black Tiger gains a little too much momentum. I say that because when I stop, he kind of slides forward a little, and I end up running into enemies and falling into spike-filled pits. Speaking of the levels, I feel like they are just all the same. A little diversity wouldn’t kill. I mean, look at all the level designs in Megaman and Castlevania. Those two games have a lot of unique levels, but it just seems like I’m going through the same levels in Black Tiger. The main character himself has a fault. He is just too unoriginal. Who hasn’t thought of a buff guy wearing armor? Let’s name a few for example. Rastan and Simon Belmont are pretty buff and they are pretty much like Black Tiger. Yeah, I like the design, but it wouldn’t have hurt to put a little more creativity.

Overall, though Black Tiger is an enjoyable game that is sadly overlooked, it is fun. I would recommend finding a copy of this game if you can find one. You can also pick it up in one of the Capcom collections, but I forgot which one. I would say there isn’t hope for a sequel for this game, but I wouldn’t mind seeing one for this game.

This game gets an 8 out of 10

Monday, January 19, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Starfox Assault for the GameCube

When you think of Nintendo franchises, what kind do you think of? Of course, Mario and Zelda come to mind, but what about Starfox? It seems like today, a comeback or a new game doesn’t seem possible, but I still think there could be a new game in the series. I am going to talk about one of my favorite Gamecube games released during my lifetime known as Starfox Assault. How does this game stand up today? Let’s find out.

After the last game, Starfox Adventures, a lot has happened. For one, Falco left, but came back, and Krystal, the blue wolf girl from Starfox Adventures, is the new addition, taking Peppy’s position, who is now with Rob. The Starwolf team has also changed, with the pig character Pigma, and the monkey-like teammate Oikonny also left to be in charge of Andross’s old army. The team, though, does have a new team member named Panther Caroso. Back to the story though. This game takes place one year after the last game, and Oikonny has started to attack Cornerian army groups, and it is up to Starfox to take him down. Shortly after, though, they find an even bigger threat known as Aparoids, which is a viral machine-like race that plans on taking over and absorbing everything in the known universe. The Starfox team must stop them and save everyone.

The game play is at the same time the same, but also different from the old games. The game is split into two different styles. The first one is classic Starfox 64, where you control the Arwing and the Landmaster through half of the levels. The other half includes running around on foot, and doing a third person shooter kind of thing. Of course, the flying parts are simple, since all you do is shoot down enemies during a rail shooting-like level, or during the all-range mode style, like in Starfox 64. The on the ground run-and-gun segments are a new thing, where you control Fox and use different weapons. They are basic weapons that you would know what to expect, but they get the job done. The boss fights are huge and crazy. You won’t know what to expect for each boss fight in the game. It’s like you might fight a giant robot or maybe an infected being or something… it’s always different, which I like since it doesn’t get really redundant. The music is also classic Starfox. It isn’t anything mind-blowing, but it gets the job done. I also like the references from the last game, like you actually meet the Prince from the Dinosaur planet again in one mission. It’s interesting, to say the least, since I also enjoyed the last game.

With every game I review, I do have a lot of gripes to top off with the good parts, but there aren’t a lot of them. While the run-and-gun game play is interesting, the controls just aren’t there. I struggled getting through the second run-and-gun mission, due to the controls being awkward. I also think the game is way too short. I could beat this game in one sitting, which is one day. That doesn’t seem right, and seems stupid to market a game you could beat in a day. I wish there were more levels where you fly a plane instead of running on the ground. When I think of Starfox, I think of flying around, but this just isn’t it.

However though, this game is pretty solid. It might not be the sequel to Starfox 64 we might have wanted, but it’s a fun game, overall. I say pick this game up for a couple of bucks. I wouldn’t pay a lot for it. I am happy though, since there is talk about a new Starfox in the making, but nothing is known about it, so I’m pretty excited. If they could just bring stuff like Kid Icarus and Kirby back, then they should be able to bring Starfox back.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thoughts on the new Prince of Persia

During the years of the Prince of Persia titles for the PS2 and GC, I was still convinced that Nintendo was the greatest video game company, and I would shun other companies. This is one of those examples. I wouldn’t touch these games, and now that I look at them, I feel bad about not playing them. So, now, I’m going to rent them before buying. This new Prince of Persia looks amazing. The fighting system looks fun, and the platforming looks awesome. I know some people might chew me out, but this looks better then a lot of games on the Xbox360 or PS3 right now. Even though there are only a few bosses, it looks interesting enough to keep you playing. This game deserves for now a 9 out of 10.

Retro Saga part 11: Virtua Fighter 2 (Sega Genesis version)

Virtua Fighter is one of the most well known fighting franchises in the gaming world. Not only was Virtua Fighter the first 3D fighter, but it was also one of the more unique fighting games during the late 90’s, when Street Fighter and King of Fighters took the place at the top of the hill. However, there has always been one thing that has baffled me for a while now. Virtua Fighter 2 is a Sega Saturn game, but it also has a port on the Sega Genesis. Now, I am going to review that version to give my honest opinion on it. So what does happen when a 3D series turns 2D? Is it good or bad?

I apologize, but this review is going to be a little shorter than the rest, due to this game being a fighting game and there isn’t much of a story. Unless you can find some story to show me, then I will retype this section of the review in the future. I actually thought about taking this review down due to it not being the 3D version of the game.

Virtua Fighter as you all may know is a 3D fighting game. However, since this is the Genesis version, it was stripped down into a 2D fighter, like Street Fighter. You have your choice of fighters, and the main goal is to, well, what else? Hit the other person until he or she won’t get up. You can also push your opponent off the edge of the ring, which is new to the 2D fighting genre, since you’re pretty much stuck in one area. I don’t think here are any fireballs to speak of, but you can do throws and such so it does have some moves.

The graphics in the game are fine, but this was when the Genesis was on its last legs, and looking at the N64 and Playstation, the game itself doesn’t look that good at all. There is very little music in the game and it just makes the whole game kind of boring.

I guess I already started on it, but I think it’s time to talk about the bad parts of the game. First off, the game moves so sluggishly. Street Fighter 2 moved faster than this game. The fighting mechanic sucks in this game. It feels so stiff and almost unresponsive. The throwing and every other move seemed delayed by a few seconds. The difficulty is just too easy. You can easily just beat the person right off the stage the first 7 fights.

This game is soooooo disappointing. I thought they would do a better job for one of the most recognized fighting game series of all time. I would say that if you see this somewhere, stay away from this game. For now on, there are going to be a list of games that I will do in the future that get a razzy-like award for being incredibly bad games. You know this will be on that list right at the top.

This game gets a 2 out of 10

Monday, January 12, 2009

Soul Calibur 4 for the PS3

Fighting games have been around for what seems like forever. The current throne of the fighting game genre is possibly Street Fighter. There are strong contenders though like Tekken, Virtua Fighter, Guilty Gear, and Super Smash Brothers to name a few. Lets back track though to the Dreamcast what is one fighting game that was super popular on the console besides all the fighting games by Capcom? How about Soul Calibur? Everyone knows that it became popular after being on the Dreamcast. Currently there is Soul Calibur Broken Destiny, but lets talk about one of the best fighting games on the PS3 and 360, Soul Calibur 4. How is this old franchise holding up? Lets go and find out.

The story in the game is basically the same in everyone game in this franchise, two swords are super powerful and can destroy the earth, Soul Edge and Soul Calibur. Of course everyone has their own reason of finding the two swords and well of course there is going to be a nasty fistfight. It keeps the story going since you don’t really care about the story in a fighting game, but it would be interesting if Namco would actually come up with an interesting story. Ill gripe about the story later though let’s get to the good stuff.

The game play is classic Soul Calibur, a 3D fighting game where you control a big list of fighters who each wields a weapon and you beat the other person down until he or she won’t be able to stand up again. Some new elements have been added into the series though. For one there are super finishers kind of like Mortal Kombat style where if you break the opponents armor three times you can pull one off and destroy them. The other element I added was an armor health bar where there are three bars that act as your defense thing along with your normal health bar. It also shows your character with less armor when you deplete one of the armor gauges, which is pretty cool since I don’t see any fighters showing battle damage in other fighting games. There is another mode, which are like challenge arenas. Another great addition from the last game is the character creation mode where you get to create your character. Of course there are also new characters Darth Vader and Yoda depending on which version you have, but I will talk about that in a second.

The graphics in the game are just super amazing. I like all the lighting features and all the character designs. I like how they keep changing the outfits for the characters even if some don’t seem to change like Ivys or Cassandra’s outfit. I also enjoy the music for the game I don’t know why, but I just enjoy this music more so then a lot of music out today. Two of the composers of the game, Junichi Nakatsuru known for games like Time Crisis 2, Tekken 5, Urban Reign, and two Ace Combat games, and Masaharu Iwata who is known for Final Fantasy 12, Bloody Roar 1 and 2, his help in Odin sphere are the only two I could get information on. The only other two Keiki Kobayashi and Hiroyuki Fujita are the only ones I could not find info on. However the four of them did a very good job in making the music intense and great throughout the game. I also like how this game is great for casual gamers, but also in depth for hardcore players unlike Street Fighter which is more on the line of hardcore players and isn’t that welcoming to new players.

Its time now for the criticism I have for this game. For one I find it odd that they chose Star Wars characters. Maybe it was due to the new Star Wars game coming out, but I think they could of used different characters exclusive for that version of the game like how Soul Calibur Broken Destiny has Kratos in the game. Why not add like Master Chief or something as a special character for the 360 version? Either way two of the Star Wars characters, Yoda and the Apprentice are really unfair fighters. The reason behind this is Yoda’s height and being immune to grab attacks. The other is the Apprentice is overly strong and when he is being controlled by the computer he is extremely tough to fight against due to him being so cheap. The finisher moves while interesting are really hard to pull off and I tend to just kill the opponent the normal way since it takes forever to break the armor gauge on the opponent. I also think that the character creation is a little less free like in the one for Soul Calibur 3. It just doesn’t feel as open fighting style wise.

Even with its faults though I can’t stay away from it. I enjoy playing this game with my friends and classmates during times and we all get a kick out of it. I would say get either one for what ever console you have since you can have Vader for the 360 by downloading him and you can get Yoda for the PS3 by downloading him. I wonder what they will do for Soul Calibur 5…

This game gets a 9 out of 10.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Arcade Saga part 10: Decap Attack

There are a lot of random games out today, Kirby, Kabuki Quantum Fighters, Bubble Bobble, and you get the idea. A lot of games have weird concepts, and they are usually pretty fun games. One example is Decap Attack for the Sega Genesis. One reason why this is weird is because the America version is actually 100% different from the Japanese version that is actually based on the Japanese anime series, Magical Hat. It’s weird…oh well. S, how does this game stand up, in my opinion? Let us see.

The story of Decap Attacks revolves around a headless mummy named Chuck D. Head. Well, I wouldn’t say he is headless, since he has a face hidden in his gut. He was created by Doctor Frank N Stein to stop an evil twin of Chuck, known as Max D. Cap. What Max has done is take a whole island and separate it into a bunch of separate islands. It is up to Chuck to stop Max, and save the land. Decap Attack was developed by Vic Tokai. The only other games I know they have made are Golgo 13, and Clash at Demonhead.

The main game play of Decap Attack is a side-scrolling plat-former, where you control Chuck through multiple levels, and fight a boss, just like any plat-former has. Your main form of attack is, well, shooting your face at enemies and jumping on top of enemies’ heads. You also can find a head and make your attacks stronger. There are also mini-games where you can obtain potions and such. Other than that, there isn’t much to explain about Decap Attack’s game play style. I guess I’ll move on, then.

Graphically, I like the design of the characters and the main character of the game. It has a very cartoonish style and I like it. I also like how big the levels are, since it would be kind of boring if you just went on a straight path to the finish, unless that is your kind of thing. I also like the unusual nature of Chuck, since he is a zombie with a head in his stomach. The humor by today’s standards might be so stupid and cheesy, but they have a charm to them if you are a retro gamer. If you are not though, you will still get a small chuckle out of the jokes within the game.

There are a couple of things, though, that holds this game back from being a franchise for the Genesis. For one, the controls feel slippery. What I mean by this is that Chuck has a lot of momentum when he stops, and I end up running into enemies a lot, and it’s just annoying at times. Enemies also hit you a little too easily. One thing is that your face attack is very limited, and it doesn’t have a good range. Without finding your skull, you’re just begging for more power-ups, and I wish there was a bone launcher or something. Even though the levels are big, in my opinion, new gamers could easily get lost because it gets confusing about where you need to go.

All and all, this game doesn’t have the makings of a memorable game, but this game is worth checking out, and I personally like it. If you have a Genesis, I say pick up a copy of this game. If you don’t though, you can easily find it in the Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection, or in one of the early Genesis collections. Even though this isn’t the best Genesis game, I think it’s a fun game and worth playing.

This game gets a 7 out of 10

Heavenly Sword for the PS3

I admit when the Playstation 3 first came out, I was a little suspicious about what titles it had. At first, I didn’t see anything special since then I didn’t like Resistance, or Ratchet and Clank, but there was always one title I was interested in playing, Heavenly Sword. I didn’t know what to expect, except a cool-looking action adventure game that looks like God of War. So, how does it stand up to action adventure games of today?

The story of Heavenly Sword takes place in some area of Asia, where a clan of warriors protect a powerful weapon, known as the Heavenly Sword. The prophecy is said that the leader’s son will wield the sword and save the clan from certain doom. Sadly, the prophecy now looked like a curse, due to the leader having a Xena Warrior-like daughter named Nariko. The clan will have to look past this, as an evil tyrant named Bohan wants the sword to rule the land and its people, and is willing to crush the clan to get it. It is then up to Nariko to wield the sword and save the land from the evil Bohan and his generals.

The game play can be described as a somewhat clone of God of War, mixed in with extremely well done choreographed martial art moves. You will mostly play as Nariko and use the Heavenly Sword on hoards of Bohan’s soldiers. Your sword has three styles: speed, range, and power. A cool thing is that you can pull off combos and switch stances while making the combos. You also get to pull off gruesome finishing moves that are just amazing to look at. The weapon variety can be a little thin though, since you can pick up some enemy weapons and pick up a rocket launcher-like weapon. From time to time, it turns into a third person shooter where you control Nariko’s sister Kai, who uses a big crossbow to shoot down enemy soldiers. Nariko will also man a cannon, and shoot down giant catapults, taking down hordes of men. An interesting thing about using Kai’s crossbow is that you can control where the arrows go, using the motion sensitive six-axis controller. Throughout the game, you will also need to pull off quick-time events like in God of War, but the events are set up like fight scenes in martial art flicks like Iron Monkey or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

The graphics and art style get an A+ from me since it’s so beautiful. Yeah, we got graphically good-looking games today, but when I saw this, I was amazed to see what the Playstation 3 could do. The music also gets a ‘thumbs up’ due to its amazing choreographed songs, and sound played through the game. The person in question who composed the soundtrack is Nitin Sawhey, who is a well-known Indian British musician. The voice acting has to be one of my favorite areas of the game, with great voice actors like Anna Torv doing the voice for Nariko, and the famous Andy Serkis doing the voice for King Bohan. The boss fights are frantic and a little hectic, but they are fun nonetheless.

Sadly, it’s time to get into the bad parts of the game. The game itself is pretty short, only lasting about seven hours or so. While fighting enemies are great, it just seems like it can get a little repetitive when it seems like you’re in the same situation, only in a different area. There isn’t an upgrade system, which is kind of dull since the fighting looks so amazing. I wish there were more boss fights than the three generals you fight in the game, and besides, the final boss being Bohan. I wish the six axis controls weren’t so sensitive, since it makes controlling the arrows very awkward and clumsy at times.

Overall though, this is a great game. While it’s not in the top 10 best PS3 games as of now, it at least deserves to be in the top 20 best PS3 games, though I would say to rent it first just to see what you think. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did actually make a sequel for this game. I mean, yeah, the people of Ninja Theory said they were interested, but they are going to focus on cross-platform games first.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

Retro Saga part 9: Kid Chameleon

There are a lot of overlooked games these days that I wish could be loved more. For example, these are some of the games I think are underrated, Lost Kingdoms 2, Donkey Kong Jungle Beats, and etc. Though there are some games people do know about like Kid Chameleon for the Sega Genesis, this is still a rather unknown video game. So, is this game as cool as the kid on the box art? I think you will have to read to see my opinion of it.

The main story of Kid Chameleon doesn’t have to do anything with some science experiment gone wrong or a kid getting bitten by a radioactive chameleon. The story takes the place in a fancy new arcade where rumors are popping up that if a person loses in a certain game, then that person is trapped in the game forever. The rumors turn out to be true, due to the game’s AI that went crazy and decided to kidnap kids if they couldn’t beat the game that the AI controlled. This is until one day, a kid name Casey and, yes, he is a guy, decides to take on the AI himself and try to beat the game and free the children trapped inside. The story in the game kind of reminds me of Tron for some reason, since the game is kidnapping people.

The game play is a simple action plat-forming game, where you control Casey through some interesting levels. Casey alone can jump on enemies to kill them, but then this game would have been labeled as a Mario clone. It’s a good thing that this game has its own unique power-up system that is pretty neat. Casey has multiple power-ups to help him get through the level. One of the first ones you get, turns you into a knight that has more defense power, and can scale certain walls. Another one turns you into a samurai, a tank, a super hero, and there are more, but I will let you find out about them yourself. Other than that, it’s basically a normal plat-former in the other areas, like it has a timer for each level, you collect crystals, and etc. The main goal in most of the levels is to get a flag at the end of the level. Some levels, though, throw you a boss fight to mix it up a bit so it doesn’t get too repetitive. It also helps to use the superhero suits, since in some areas, you need to use them to get to other areas of the level.

Graphically, it’s a take-or-leave kind of game. The 16-bit graphics look good in my opinion, but some people can say that it hasn’t aged well, and that is also true if you look at it. Like I said above, I like the idea of multiple suits, because it gives the game variety. It would be boring to play through the whole game as a stereotypical 90’s punk kid.

However, as with every game I review, I do have a gripe or two up my sleeve. Hey, if they didn’t, multiple other people and I would be saying every game was perfect, and we would be out of a job. First off, the game can get pretty tedious, and new players could get lost in the game. I mean, it took me awhile to figure out how to get past one of the early levels due to getting stuck in an area. The game can also get pretty hard, and if you play the Genesis version, then there are no save points or passwords, meaning you will have to beat it in one sitting. I have heard there is a cheat code, but it only takes you to the final level and that just isn’t right.

Overall, it’s an okay game. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. I say check it out first on either the Sega Genesis Collection or on the newer and bigger Ultimate Genesis Collection.

This game gets a 7 out of 10.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Resistance: Fall of Man for the PS3

To be honest, I don’t see the big deal with first person shooters. They all seem just the same, except they have little differences that make them unique. I think Halo is a good game, but to be honest, it doesn’t deserve all the super hype it gets. I also have played the Call of Duty series, and I can see why people like them, but just like with the Grand Theft Auto series, I don’t see the big deal with those games. However, since I am a gamer, I am willing to try any genre except sport games that don’t have Mario on them. This time I will be trying a new franchise known as the Resistance franchise, and this will be a review of the first game in the series. So, will I need to resist this game? Or will I fall for its interesting game play.

The story takes place in a “what if” situation where World War 2 never happened, and something worse did happen. Instead of World War 2, we have an alien invasion by the name of the Chimeras that have taken control throughout most of Europe. You play as Nathan Hale, a soldier in a group of 12,000, sent into Europe to stop whatever is happening, and save the world from the threat of the Chimeras.
The game play is of a first person shooter, where you control Nathan as you go through Europe and kill Chimeras. You have your assortment of guns from WWII, but you can also use the weapons that the Chimeras drop. In some levels, you get to drive a tank that seems invincible, and you get to drive in a jeep with other people. One of the cool new weapons you get, called the auger, can shoot through walls hitting any unsuspecting Chimeras waiting to kill you. The gun also has an alternate fire that can bring up a shield that only auger fire can get through. The fighting in the game can get pretty intense with multiple types of Chimera-like little crawling monsters, and ones that act like attack dogs or zombies dogs come after you, so you’ve got to keep on your toes if you want to stay alive. There are also some skinny Chimera-like enemies that can latch onto you, which always scared the heck out of me each time they latched on and ate my face.

The in-game graphics look amazing and are a good way to show off what the Playstation 3 can do. While not a horror game to begin with, there are a lot of areas that can spook you if you aren’t paying attention. A good example of this is in one level, it’s pitch black and then the epic music appeared. We didn’t realize there were two wolf-like chimeras in the room, and it scared my friend and me when they attacked us. The music is also well done and I would say it’s ‘movie quality’ music. The one who is in charge of the music is David Bergeaud, who has worked on the Ratchet and Clank series, Earth 2, The Outer Limits, and Prince Valiant, just to name a few things he has done. The slide show pictures that are shown during each new level are beautifully detailed, and in black and white, reminding me of a Kens Burns documentary. It’s also interesting since this was made by the people who made Ratchet and Clank, which is a series I will review in the future along with this series, too.

There are a few things with this resistance that don’t stand well with me. As a shooter, I just don’t see anything special with it. I’m not the biggest fps gamer, and I’m not that good at them. This is why I don’t review a lot of fps games. If I did review this game when I played it alone, then I would have done a dishonest review about how stupid or how boring the game is on the single player mode. I am glad I played through it again with a friend, and I enjoyed it with a friend. The AI seems pretty dumb, since they just stand there. They will take cover, but throwing a grenade will just show how stupid they are. The enemy varieties, while looking scary, are pretty much all the same, except for a few enemies. It seems like they didn’t have enough time to finish the game, since they could have done a great job with cut scenes explaining the story so far, instead of doing stuff like Ken Burns.

Overall, I enjoyed playing this game even though I’m not an fps gamer. Even though there are games like Killzone 2 and Resistance 2, this game still comes recommended for your PS3 collection along with the Ratchet and Clank Future games, Uncharted 2 and much much more. Let’s see how this newly announced third game in the series turns out, but before I can do that, I have to try the second game.

This game gets an 8 out of 10

Retro Saga part 8: Top Hunter

When you think of the company SNK, what do you think of? Metal Slug? King of Fighters? Samurai Shodwon? What about Top Hunter? In the SNK universe I feel like this game was highly overlooked, and I feel like I need to do a review and talk about this game.

The story is about two people, Roddy and Cathy, who are the galaxy’s top bounty hunters. Their latest job is to take down a colony of pirates who have taken four planets under their grasp, and it is up to Roddy and Cathy to stop these pirates and save the galaxy. While the story is interesting, it just isn’t that original. It’s kind of hard to come up with an original story for a bounty hunter that hasn’t been dragged in the ground. However, you don’t play this for the story.

The game play is in the form of a side-scrolling beat ‘em up, with some plat-forming elements thrown into the mix. You can either control Roddy or Cathy. Roddy’s main form of attack is punching and stretching his arms like Stretch Armstrong for a long-range punch or to grab opponents. Cathy can also use a chain-like punch, since she can’t stretch her arms like Roddy. You can also pick up guns and get into mech suits that are dropped by opponents. A cool little innovation is that you can go into the background and then jump back into the foreground. In a way, it’s like Wario Land for the Virtual Boy.

Graphically, SNK did another great job making this game look amazing. The whole style of the game looks like something from their other creation, Metal Slug or from Konami’s Mystical Ninja series. Everyone has a very cartoonish look on his or her face, and the grunts of the game are like super deformed anime-style characters. I also enjoy the look of the bosses in the game. They still look like something from Metal Slug or Mystical Ninja or even Rising Zan, The Samurai Gunman. The music is also very impressive with a Japanese techno feeling.

However, there are some things I don’t like about this game, but hey, if this game were perfect, then multiple other people and me would be out of a job or hobby. The game itself is rather short, and anyone could beat it in about 45 minutes or so. The game is also a little bit too easy. I mean, there is a challenge, but since this is a game you can beat in one sitting, then I deserve a little more of a challenge. The game also gets a little bit repetitious. It kind of seems like you’re doing the same thing over and over again, and there isn’t that big of an enemy variety. There should be some screen clearing attack, since your mech suit can be destroyed and you can run out of ammo with the guns they drop.

Although there are some faults with this game, I think it’s a fun game. I would look this game up IF you have a Neo Geo and I REALLY emphasize on the “if” part since I don’t know anyone who has a Neo Geo. Your best luck is to get it with the SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1. Maybe, instead of focusing on King of Fighters, they can bring this game a couple sequels on a handheld or maybe on the virtual console or maybe in a Top Hunter collection.

This game gets a solid 7 out of 10

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Little Big Planet for the PS3

It has finally happened! I cracked under pressure at the arrival of GOOD Playstation 3 games, and decided to get a Playstation 3 for my birthday. I was so happy to get one for my birthday, but I was also excited about a little-known title called Little Big Planet coming out for the system. Ironically, I got this game along with my Playstation 3. Is this game the flagship title for the Playstation 3? Or is it just another minor game?

There is very little plot to the game. The only real story is that someone is ruining the world of Little Big Planet, and as Sackboy, you need to stop whatever is happening and save this little world.

The game play is of a classic 2-D side-scrolling plat-former where you go across creative worlds and levels collecting bubbles and items like outfits and stickers to customize your character. The worlds and levels are huge, and filled with challenges, so you have got to be on your toes or else your latest jump could be your last. You can also use stickers to activate little mechanical things to help you through the levels, or give you more unlockable stuff. You can also ride on top of vehicles, like horses and rocket cars. There are certain areas in the game that requires more then one Sackboy or, umm, Sackgirl and this is one of the best parts of the game, co-op play. The biggest I’ve seen is 4 required to solve a puzzle. It’s one of the best things about co-op, since I have spent a good 10 minutes one time to solve one single puzzle. I think it’s also good that they brought that into the game play. The plat-forming is based on momentum It’s kind of like the old Super Mario Brother games where you can hold down the jump button to jump higher or run faster and etc. A big theme in Little Big Planet is creativity, and with good reason. There is a whole section of the game where you can create your own levels with stuff you obtain while playing the story mode.

Graphically, it’s one of the best-looking games for the Playstation 3. I say it’s one of the most graphically impressive games next to Resistance, Uncharted 2, Ratchet and Clank Future, and the upcoming God of War 3. The music is also very well done and fits in with the themes of the levels and the action in the game. One of my favorite songs has to be from the Go Team! that is played during one of the early levels.

Now it’s time to grab a doll and find the bad parts of the game, though there is very little to say that is bad about the game. One of the things I have a love/hate thing with is the physics in the game. I mean, I like how I can jump higher, but sometimes jumping too high is a bad thing, and has gotten me killed a couple times in the game. In my opinion, the old-fashioned way of momentum hasn’t aged that well. To understand what I mean, just play some old Super Mario games and then play Little Big Planet and then finish up with Super Mario Galaxy and you will understand. It’s cool, but it’s so massive, and since things rely on the actual physics, in reality, it makes it really hard to know what will fall and what won’t, and it kind of keeps me from doing some really interesting and creative levels. However, these are just small gripes, and are kind of a stupid thing to gripe about…wait.

All and all, this is definitely one of the killer raps of the Playstation 3, and is a must buy. You can either get the normal version or game of the year version that has 20 dollars worth of DLC. I know they aren’t thinking of making a sequel over at Media Molecule, but think of how much more they could dish out with the laws of physics not in play…

This game gets a 9 out of 10.

Retro Saga part 7: Vectorman

To some people, the Sega Genesis was only number 2 in the console race against the Super Nintendo. Now, I do agree the Super Nintendo was better, but I don’t deny that the Genesis did have a lot of good games. I do like the 16-bit Sonic games, but they don’t really grab my attention. There is one game, though, that caught my attention. This little game called Vectorman came out when I was about 5 or so, and I remember seeing commercials for it. Sadly, I never got to play until I got the Genesis Collection for the Playstation 2. So, is this game as good-looking as I remembered? Or has this game not aged well?

The whole plot of the game revolves around this evil robot named Warhead, who declares himself ruler of the now-abandoned Earth. It is up to a lone robot named Vectorman to take down the evil Warhead, and stop all the evil robots under Warhead’s control. I would next talk about the company, but sadly, the company that made it went out of business and I haven’t heard a lot of their games. Let’s just get to the good parts.

The game-play is kind of like Earthworm Jim, since it’s a side scrolling 2-D shooter plat-former. You control Vectorman as you go through levels, going from point A to point B. Your main form of attack is shooting glowing balls at opponents. You can shoot in all directions while running like Contra and Metal Slug. You can also transform into drill and a bomb, and cause some massive damage.
I really like the graphics for the game. They are pretty to look at, and this game is one of those Genesis games that gave the Super Nintendo a run for its money. The music is also fun to listen to and is always upbeat. The soundtrack reminds me of the songs from the Sonic games on the Genesis, which were also entertaining to listen to. The controls were great and responsive for a Playstation 2 controller, and it didn’t feel like the controls were broken or anything. If I continue to like it after this review, I will, in the future, find a Genesis and get a copy of the game. The difficulty is right in the middle. It’s not too hard, but you won’t breeze through it.

However, I did find a few things I don’t like about this game. The first is that the enemies are sometimes hard to see, and they hit me by accident because I wouldn’t see them clearly. The ice level is also annoying, since I keep slipping and sliding everywhere, and I get lost because of it. I also got really confused on one level, since I didn’t know where to go, and it would have really helped to have the cheat code installed on the PS2 controller to move around through the level.

Overall, this is a good game. It might not be for everyone, but I liked it. I would say, if you have a Genesis, I say go pick it up or get it off the virtual console, though you can get this game and its sequel on the Genesis Collection on the Playstation2. I just wish they would bring Vectorman back. Sadly, since the company is now gone, I don’t see any future of seeing him ever again.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo

The Super Nintendo was the first game console I ever learned about, since my cousins had one, and they still do. It amazed me at the time at how cool the console was, and how awesome the games were. I remember the very first video game I ever played was not Mario Kart 64 for my Nintendo 64, but Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo. I am going to be pretty nostalgic about this one, since it was my very first game to play, ever!

The whole plot of the game is that Bowser has kidnapped Yoshi’s eggs, and has hidden them over a huge world, and in the process of it all, he has kidnapped Princess Peach. It is up to Mario to stop Bowser from his evil schemes, and get back all the Yoshi eggs and save the Princess. I know a lot of new gamers out there like a game with a great story. If you are a gamer who likes stories and such, then why are you playing a Mario game in the first place? Yeah, the story is a little cheesy, and it’s been done before, but you don’t play a Mario game because of the story. If you do, though, then you need to go see a therapist.

The game play is classic side-scrolling plat-forming, where you go from point A to point B by jumping from platform to platform. In classic Mario-style, power-ups also make a return, but there aren’t as many of them as in Super Mario Brothers 3, which had multiple ones. The only power-ups that return are the mushroom, fire flower, and the invincibility star. A lone new power-up is a feather that gave Mario the power to fly, with a cape, kind of like the red star from Super Mario Galaxy, or the leaf from Super Mario Brothers 3. You also get to ride on Yoshi, and he can swallow enemies, and in some instances, can shoot fireballs if you eat the right thing.
Now, since the Super Nintendo was late in the 16-bit war, the graphics weren’t as good as the games that Sega was pushing out, though I think the graphics on Super Mario World are pretty nice. They look better since they were re-released in a game called Super Mario Allstars, which included this game with the four 16-bit Mario games for the NES. The music is also another high point of the game. It’s fun to listen to and it’s one of those soundtracks that will get stuck in your head after playing the game. This is, by far, one of the best games of all time, which not a lot of people can deny. Well, maybe the Sonic fans that are in denial won’t think that it’s good.

Now, it is time for me to talk about the bad parts of the game, though I don’t think there are a lot. I am not saying this game is perfect, but Nintendo did a good job making sure nothing screwed up inside the game. I think one of the gripes that I have is that it’s annoying that some enemies take two hits. I think, if Mario stomps on them once, then they should be dead, since I have died a lot when I was young because of those enemies.

All and all, I think this has to be one of the best games of all time. It is what all games should be based on, simple game play, great controls, and just be a blast to play. I would highly recommend getting this for your Super Nintendo or off the Wii’s virtual console. You can also get this in a special cartridge of Super Mario All Stars.

This game gets a 9 out of 10

Retro Saga part 6 Golden Axe

Beat ‘em ups were everywhere in the arcade. We had such classics like the Simpson’s Arcade game, the X-Men Arcade game, Final Fight, and a lot of other fun beat ‘em ups that were later ported to the Genesis or Super Nintendo or whatever console it was ported to. Sadly though, there were some that never made it to the consoles, like the Simpson’s and the X-Men Arcade game, though we did get some good ones like Final Fight and the one I will be reviewing today for the new year, Golden Axe for the Genesis. So, is it as good as it was about ten years ago? Or has its age been showing? Oh, I will be reviewing only the first game in this review and maybe in the future do the two other games.

The plot of the game is that the evil lord Death Adder has taken over the land with the power of the Golden Axe. It is up to three heroes. They are Gilius the Dwarf, Ax Battler the barbarian, and Tyris the female warrior. It is up to our three heroes to take on the army of the Death Adder and save the land of Yuria.
The game play is in the form of a classic beat ‘em up where you and up to three players control one of the three heroes as you go across linear levels and fight off hordes of bad guys. You basically hit your enemies with your weapon, and use magical powers. You can increase the strength of the magic attack by holding down the button, which highlights more of the magic bar on the screen.

The graphics for the game are very impressive. They are about as good as any old arcade game that was ported to the Genesis, like Altered Beast. The music is also very nice since it reminds me of games like Rygar or Conan. The sound effects were also cool since they used digitized screaming for when the enemies die.

Sadly, I have to list some of the things I don’t like about this game. First of all, you are very stiff and slow, making your attacks a little delayed, and because so many enemies can surround you easily, it is hard to defend yourself. The game is a little more difficult then I like. This is due to your character being slow, and the fact that when enemies are halfway across the screen, they can ram you, and send you flying. It also doesn’t help that you can get knocked off easily any monster that you are riding in the game. The animation just hasn’t aged well. Compared to today’s standards, it looks very cheap.

All and all, this isn’t a great Genesis game when you compare it to games that are made today. If you’re a fan of the Sega Genesis, I would say to go pick up a copy of another game instead of this one. It’s just one of those games that didn’t age well.

This game gets a 5 out of 10

new update! new section of my blog

As you can see, I have already put up two “Thoughts on” posts, and it is a new section of my blog. It’s not a review. Don’t worry, I’m not getting lazy with my reviews. This section is just my thoughts on games that are out, and just my opinions on the game. They aren’t full reviews.