Month
December 2013

Red Baron

Between battles, you’d keep up with the “real world” through the game’s newspaper. I can’t tell you how proud I was (or how embarrassed I ought to be, today) when the newspaper’s lead story was on my bravery in shooting down some minor German Ace, or the stoic countenance I’d sported upon receiving my first medal. There was my teenage pride when, mouse in hand and Mountain Dew nearby, I’d read that my squadron’s efforts had led to a break in the lines, or frustration in reading about the Red Baron’s exponential kill-count. The newspaper was a (virtual) tangible anchor for the game’s sense of reality. Brilliant, really. [...]

Alien Breed

My favourite bit was when you were tasked with activating the level’s self-destruct system (obviously in homage to the films: “Mother! Turn the cooling unit back on! Mother!…You BITCH!” (Alien), “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.” (Aliens), and so on and so forth (love those lines)). Suddenly the clock in the top left corner would start ticking down and you’d be left to frantically steer your crash test dummy in the direction of the (incredibly far away) elevator, cursing every godforsaken alien that leapt out in front of you and panicking as your already slim supply of bullets ran out. Classic Amiga gaming. [...]

Tetrisphere

Once you grasp this, and it takes a few minutes, you can start destroying large amount of blocks at once. You’re helped by the ability to drag blocks where you want – as long as there aren’t any in the way of course – and the helpful fact that the shadow of the block you’re about to place changes colour if it will start a combo. It’s hardly a pick up and play title. But credit to developer H20 Interactive, they tried to squeeze as much as they can out of the concept. There’s a two player mode (strangely, none of my friends want to play the game), and a solo option with plenty of options. [...]

Gamer Profile: Jay Mohr

I loved Donkey Kong Jr. and spent so many rolls of quarters on it. There was also Dig Dug at my local Ihop and I wore that out too. I wasn’t particularly good at Dig Dug but I loved digging and digging and planning on how the rocks would fall and blowing dudes up with my air pump. Donkey Kong Jr. I loved because it had it all for the time. great graphics. Jumping, swinging, timing and a mission to save someone. [...]

Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword

You play as Lara Croft (i’m sure you knew that) and have been attacked in a friend’s museum and seen a rare artefact (I think it was a sword – the title would suggest so anyway), and have to get it back. Irritatingly, you start off with no weapons, meaning you can be blocked off by bad guys who just stand in your way ominously, and hit you if you get too close. Those guys are real lazy – you can be jumping around, collecting keys, and they just don’t even move. [...]

Iridion 2

The gameplay is very enjoyable nonetheless. You are able to pick up power ups and shoot down your enemies. You can also pick up other items along the way and recover your energy. You’ll have a lot of fun dodging the rain of bullets coming your way and just like any games of this genre, you have to keep your button on the trigger in order to defeat the massive bosses you come across. [...]

Prehistorik 2

The premise of the game is very simple, you are playing as a caveman finding hamburgers and fridges full with modern-day food everywhere killing animals and dinosaurs along the way while trying to get to the end of the level. It’s a game full with secrets which added a-lot in the level of entertainment it was offering. [...]

Kid Klown

The other area that this game really stands out, for anyone who has ever played it, is that while on the surface it seems very much like an “easy kids’ game”, it also packs some serious punch in the difficulty department in a few areas once you get deeper in. The different areas include a charming forest, a crazy toy factory, a giant beanstalk land complete with an evil Cyclops giant at the end, a land of snow and ice, a stage made up of living (and dangerous) candies and pastries, and finally Night Mayor’s gigantic castle. The game really does ramp it up the further you get, as well. I just recently played through it again myself, and god damn, there are some parts that’ll make you cuss out the game like nobodies business. [...]

Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout

The control is fairly tight, and Bugs is able to jump pretty high, which only makes sense for a rabbit in a cartoon world. There are some enemies he can jump onto and stand on without taking damage, and he can collect carrot icons for points. The end of each stage is a boss battle with another one of the Looney Tunes line-up, though this almost always just consists of the character moving back and forth, possibly also jumping, all in a regular pattern Bugs must merely avoid and counter with mallet attacks. The only exceptions are minor character traits like that Yosemite Sam fires his pistols at Bugs, or that Foghorn Leghorn is big and invincible so you must beat Henery Hen instead. [...]

Super Star Soldier

Each weapon can be powered-up four times by collecting successive icons. Grabbing more after that has a smart-bomb effect. Whichever main weapon you choose, you can bolster it with either heat-seeking missiles or a pair of shot-absorbing drones, both of which can also be powered-up. Contact from an enemy or their fire reduces the power of your weapons by one level so as long as you keep collecting icons, you should be able to progress quite far into the game. Luckily, the desire to do that is much greater here than with the prequel and part of this is down to the graphics which are superb. [...]

Riot Zone

Does this sound familiar or even kind of standard for side scrolling beat em up games? Well, that is because this is pretty standard. The game plays a lot like Final Fight and toss in some Double Dragon just because we can. The gameplay is simple, you walk from left to right fighting enemies that can appear from both sides of the screen. Like Final Fight, you face a boss at the end and move on until the final boss. Unlike Final Fight, there are no weapons, only items for health and points. [...]

Motor City Dragstrip

There are two aspects that do actually help this game out, despite what I just said. Of course, playing against another real BBS user rather than the computer is always fun. Again, this is done in the aforementioned turn-based style, and your opponent will have no idea what happened until he logs back in to that BBS. The other is the gambling system. This definitely helps balance the game out, as when you do keep piling on the wins, you get tempted to wager more and more money on the races. In fact, my most recent playthrough had me absolutely dominating until I made one HUGELY bad bet and lost. Of course, blowing out my tires and killing one of my crew wasn’t a huge help either. [...]

Super Star Wars

Yes, 17 years is a long time in the world of video games, and little things we now take for granted – like reasonably spaced restart points – were thin on the ground back in 1993. But there are some aspects of Super Star Wars that are frankly just the result of poor design, like the inability to avoid getting hit, or the all-too-common ‘leaps of faith’ where you can’t see the platform you’re meant to be jumping onto (which usually results in you landing in that all-too-common ‘insta-kill’ lava instead). [...]

X-Men Mutant Apocalypse

Early on levels are designed around whichever mutant you are going to play (Psylocke, Wolverine, Cyclops, Beast and Gambit). It’s an interesting idea, since most games of this sort let you pick from a pool to get through a level – and that happens later in the game, but early on each X-Man is assigned a task in a different location, forcing you to use them all. This is a good and bad thing since you may prefer one character over the others, but it does add a bit more variety to the gameplay as well when you have someone like Wolverine who just tears through people using his claws while moving left to right, as opposed to someone like Beast who can cling to ceilings and attack enemies from above as well. [...]

Galaga Destination Earth

The opening sequence recaps the occurrences of the first game in a lengthy cut scene. After the events of the original Galaga, humans won the war against the aliens and everything was good, that is until humans decided that they wanted to colonize space. Guess where they wanted to colonize? In the area where the aliens were coming from. Oh yeah, fantastic idea! Let’s piss off and attempt to take over the territory of our enemies after years of peace for no particularly good reason. Who feels like another war?! YEEHAW! Needless to say, the aliens aren’t happy and you’re sent in to uh, save people or something. It’s kind of ass backwards story-wise. [...]

Arcadie Review

Straight off the bat, the Arcadie is compatible with Apple’s iPod and iPhone devices up to and including the iPhone 4S and iPod Touch (3rd and 4th Generation). Unfortunately, if you have an iPhone 5 or above, you miss out. Not only is the Arcadie hampered by limited hardware compatibility, it is also limited to proprietary software. The good news is, Zeon are releasing games exclusive for the unit and the best bit is, they are totally free (via iTunes App store). Let’s hope they keep on releasing more games for the Arcadie, as it needs them. [...]

Ufouria: The Saga

Ufouria is a platformer that is similar to Wonderboy 3. It offers one big world to play in rather than individual levels & includes different areas that only certain characters can access. Seeing the similarities so far? The only real difference is that Ufouria features 4 seperate characters & Wonderboy 3 features changes to the 1 character, but from a gameplay perspective that hardly matters. For those not familiar with Wonderboy 3, let’s have a look at what makes this a great game. [...]

One Piece: Treasure Wars 2

What did get me excited though, was that the cartridge itself has little red and green lights that flash while your playing. I couldn’t believe this at first, and I don’t think any other Wonderswan games in my collection do this. Why this cart does this, I do not know. It’s very cool though. Perhaps the fact that this is my most memorable part of the game says it all. Avoid, unless you’re a One Piece fan – who also happens to speak/read Japanese. [...]

Tetris 2

There’s also a decent puzzle mode added for those want a real challenge. Despite all that, it’s not going to rival the original to almost any player. It’s a decent puzzle game, and I could see people back then having their fair share of fun with it. On the other hand I can why nobody has really tried to re-release the game since the 90’s. [...]

F1 2011

Early reviews heaped lavish praise for improvements in handling and Ai and the additional layer of strategy in the game with the inclusion of KERS and DRS. However it was the lauded Ai which also drew the potentially most damaging criticism, suggesting it made the game very difficult. And what about all those “NEW” additions? nope game critics weren’t overly impressed suggesting they did little to change the core gameplay. Which is kinda good as the first title was a cracker, even though I still can’t get first place at Monaco grrrrrr! [...]

SteelSeries Apex [RAW] Keyboard

Oh, another deceptively simple but nifty feature that the Apex [RAW] keyboard has is drainage holes. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been writing late at night while enjoying a steaming mug of brain go-go juice (coffee) to have it spill all over my keyboard. At that point my work is abruptly interrupted as I run with my keyboard to the sink and say a silent prayer to the computer gods that my keyboard will not be a completely sticky unusable mess. At least I know that with this keyboard I stand a chance. [...]

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

If you notice the Nemesis in the title you’ll wonder what that is, Nemesis is another bio-weapon from Umbrella corp. that chases you around trying to wipe out the last members of S.T.A.R.S. of which your character is the final one remaining. We already had something like this in RE2 again, and if feels just like a recycling of the last game. The difference is in RE3 you get two options each time he appears, usually between fight or flee. Depending on which one you choose you’ll see a few different areas of the game, but make no mistake this is linear progression, and Nemesis is there to get you to hurry up. But because most encounters with him let you press a button and escape, he doesn’t feel like much of a threat. [...]

Arm Champs II: Video Games that Break our Bones

You can see why I had to play this. Arm Champs II is a 1992 game from Jaleco that pits you against the Terminator arm of a robot video game. That’s right, you arm-wrestle it. Little did I know at the time that people have had their arms broken from similar game cabinets in Japan, resulting in recalls. All I could think was, “Oh this looks like good, clean fun!” The surprising results of my herculean efforts can be viewed below. Thanks so much to my new wife for narrating this and humoring her pasty, frail, geek husband! It’s too late now babe! [...]

Batman Forever: The Arcade Game

The games co-op play only made things more confusing, as the muddy, pixelated digitized visuals caused Batman to blend with the background, and Robin to somehow look like some of the more colorful enemies. Instead of establishing a flow or pacing, BF – TAG just tossed everything onto the screen. Power-ups are everywhere, and the game randomly seems to stop as the superheroes suck in their the newly found abilities. Other times, it stops so either can explode into an explosion of lightning (?) to clear the screen. Various combo counters took up valuable areas of screen real estate, making an already difficult to see game even worse. Of course, they can also shrink (??). Why, for what purpose, is anyone’s guess. [...]

Snakes of Avalon

Space and even time in Snakes of Avalon is a most relative thing after all, and the protagonist’s warped perception of everything makes sure the game is actually much longer and quite a bit more challenging than its excellent and confined location would imply. As for the puzzles themselves, well, they are at times taxing, enjoyable and -impressively- make sense in the demented game world. [...]