Month
February 2014

Holy Diver

Today I’m featuring a really cool Famicom game that you should definitely check out if you have a chance. It’s called Holy Diver, and no it’s not the song by Dio. (I honestly don’t know that song but everyone on twitter kept mentioning it when I brought up this game) ** correction! It is based on that song! So crazy!** Holy Diver was actually recommended to me by Parodius Duh on the Famicom World website. I’m definitely glad that I listened to him cause this game is pretty awesome! [...]

Cavenaut

The first danger you’ll face are the enemies which can be found lurking on most screens in the form of snakes and frogs. They can’t be killed but move in predictable patterns so they can be avoided fairly easily. There are also a good few obstacles as well. Above ground there are trees and bushes and only the latter can be cleared (temporarily) by smacking them with your shovel. It doesn’t take too much exploration to find the entrance to the caves though, and down in these murky depths there are more bushes and enemies and even more hazards. [...]

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

Jedi Academy captures the excitement of lightsaber combat perfectly and not to far into the game allows the player to select between single, dual or a staff lightsaber. The problem with Jedi Outcast was the amount of tedious levels you had to play before you got your lightsaber, in this game you have it from the start and can customize it to your liking. I tend to favor dual lightsabers in green and purple, I have no idea why. After completing the single player I was actually surprised when I logged into multiplayer to find servers still running and being played online. [...]

Freakin Funky Fuzzballs

Sir-Tech was known for producing the Wizardry RPG series, so Freakin’ Funky Fuzzballs was a complete departure from their norm. (I picture the Wizardry team, burnt out from living an all-RPG, all-the-time existence, seeing this game and falling in love with its sheer absurdity.) The game was credited as the work of Ian Currie (game design, graphics, and programming) and Robert Koller (game design and graphics). Of the two designers, Currie would go on to work on several Sir-Tech games, such as Realms of Arkania: Star Trail, the Jagged Alliance series, and Wizardry: Nemesis, as well as more recent non-Sir-Tech offerings (since they went out of business in 2001, but not their Canadian chapter, which lasted until 2003), such as Star Trek: Legacy, Empire Earth III, and Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited. [...]

Defending Charity

Josh posted regular score updates to both the event page for the Defender charity run as well as his own profile. A little after noon, Billy passed the 4 million point mark. A little more than an hour and a half later, he hit 5.66 million. By 10:22 p.m. he passed 15 million points and was still going strong. At 2:17 a.m. Nov. 17, he had achieved 19 million points and by 10:10 a.m. he was at 26.5 million points. Billy continued playing, averaging over a million an hour. At 4:09 p.m., Billy was at 32 million, but then something happened – fatigue set in. [...]

Gamer Profile: Dave Vogt

In the end, not Mega Man, not Mario, not even Castlevania could take that spot. It had to be Zelda. This was the game that changed everything for me. The feeling of awe that overwhelmed me the first time I stepped foot into Hyrule has never quite been duplicated- and the intrigue built from there. That sense of wonder and exploration have not only had a huge part in my getting into game development, but truly cemented my love of video games. [...]

Dudes with Attitude

To try and summarize, though: Dudes With Attitude is an action puzzler, like a fast-paced arcade/puzzle genre hybrid. The player controls a Dude of his or her choices; these are little round head-shaped characters, who then enter play on a one-screen field. The grid-based field takes place on a black background and each level, to varying degrees, is filled with objects. The goal is to collect all the treasure on a particular stage without dying, which means avoiding static hazards and moving enemies. How this is accomplished is through a feat quite distinctive on the console: The Dude relentlessly moves back and forth across the screen, bouncing each time it meets a boundary or wall object, dying if it strikes a hazard or enemy twice (one “free hit” is allowed, visibly reducing the size of the round Dude), and collecting treasures. [...]

Reflections: Titanfall Beta

Ejecting out of your Titan while it turns into a nuclear bomb and torches your opponent is absolutely thrilling. You can actually sabotage Titans while in soldier mode which keeps the playing field a little more even. My favorite moment over the 25 matches I participated in was ejecting out of my Titan, launching my would-be Titan-jacker into the air, and then shooting him in the face before I hit the ground. I’ve never played a game where I could do that. [...]

NES Baseball

The worst part of this game, and the main reason is gets such a low mark is the goddamned fielding. The controls are just anarchy. Any fielder you control moves about the speed of a mudslide and the game has no concept of who is closest to the ball whatsoever. A routine pop-up was missed by my third basemen and instead of the game allowing me to control the left fielder and try to get to the ball, it makes my 3B run (more like freshly twisted ankle hobbling) after the ball all the way to the warning track. As if it could be worse, the fielder and the ball are often moving the same speed meaning you aren’t getting to shit until you make it all the way to the wall and pray the ball ricochets in your direction. [...]

Batman

Since it was based on the movie, there were plenty of impressive (for NES anyway) cut-scenes featuring key moments of the movie and some just for the game. Except the plot of the game is shortened to Batman just trying to reach the Joker. Doing so he must go through chemical plants, caverns, and even a cathedral to meet the insane clown. I guess a lot of the areas weren’t in the movie but were you expecting a dating mini-game with an 8-bit Vicki Vale? [...]

Kasumi Ninja

Diving into the story mode, things struggle to improve. The character select is viewed from a first person perspective, with one of the choppiest frame rates i’ve ever seen. It’s not like much is going on in this section, so I have no idea why it chugs along at such an alarming rate. Pick your ninja and opponent, and you can then begin your fight (in an unusually nice touch the game classes your foe as being played by the ‘Jaguar’ rather than ‘CPU’), which is introduced by an unintentionally amusing oriental style announcer. [...]

Organ Trail: Director’s Cut (Multi-Platform)

I won’t spoil the story too much, but Clements isn’t with you for long, but gives you his diary to help you out, explaining how much of what things you need. You and your party leave D.C. to head cross country with the supplies you’ve scavenged thus far. Just like in Oregon trail, things break on your station wagon, friends get hurt. They may get by a zombie and you may be forced to put them down, or they may get dysentary, or one of 9 other diseases, and if you don’t heal them with medkits they eventually die. As you travel from city to city, you have to scavenge for supplies such as food, ammo, fuel, money, medkits and car scraps and upgrades to survive. [...]

The Walking Dead Episode 1: A New Day

For the most part my complaints with the game are few. There were a few audio stutters and blips during the dialogue, but it wasn’t consistent enough to really hinder my experience. However one of the most glaring issues wasn’t technical at all. There is a section of the game where a character doesn’t know how to put batteries into a radio, or what kind of batteries it could possibly ever need. This really serves to undermine the believability of that character and to shatter the player’s suspension of disbelief. This wouldn’t have been something to point out in a bad game, but The Walking Dead is otherwise intelligent and well conceived. [...]

Gamer Profile: Carrie Swidecki

There was something cute about those twin dragons Bub and Bob that hooked me into the game. Plus I loved the simplicity of the graphics and the background music. This was the 1st game that I became obsess with getting both a high score and trying to complete the game. I would blow bubbles against the wall in between moving up levels and killing enemies to get max points. I would restart the game if I missed any bonus food items on a level to max my score. Bubble Bobble is also the 1st game that I stayed up all night long, so I could make it to the 100th level to complete the game. It is the only game that I have fully completed on Nintendo and I was 10 years old!! I like to say it’s the game that made me a hardcore gamer!! [...]

Warner Bros. Games delivers a slap to the face of gamers

What worries me is there have been companies that have been known for releasing great games and if there needs to be a fix it is addressed quickly. As much as people used to complain about Blizzards long development times, their RTS games were worth the wait, but look what they have become now. They still make good games, but you see the differences between now and before Activision. If we allow these practices to continue then we have to expect other companies to also slack off. If they can save money by releasing a striped down game and selling more DLC’s or rush a game out and patch it later then why shouldn’t they do so if it won’t hurt their bottom line. In the end, only new IP’s and independents will try hard because they have to prove themselves and win us over while fan favorites can do as they please because we will by their game anyway [...]

The Logitech G19s

So let’s get right into it. One thing about any review be it video games or hardware is the question of, how can the reviewer give an honest review if their job is to continue to review products and maintain relationships with companies. I found after a lot of trial and error, that the key is to recognize the different aspects of people’s decisions in purchasing a specific product. For the Logitech G19s, a big issue is price and at $199.99 it is completely understandable. What you have to do is really look at all the features and then your own needs, wants and budgets and ask yourself is it all worth it. [...]

State of Emergency

While GTA gave you the freedom to do anything, you’re limited by a good bit in State of Emergency. There’s two modes and frankly their both boxed-in areas where you rack up points by taking down police guards, gangsters, and breaking all kind of things like glass, cars, and other kinds of property. [...]

Warhammer 40k: Fire Warrior

The problems with Fire Warrior, you see, are firmly rooted in its dirty console past. The game sports an incredibly annoying auto-save/checkpoints feature that forces you to replay levels again and again (only to be killed seconds before beating them), has pretty clumsy controls, very poor AI, astonishingly few tweaking options and an obviously tacked-on online multiplayer side. Then, it doesn’t even try to add anything new to the genre and its sole innovation is a rather failed copy of HALO’s shield system. And don’t get me started on the extreme linearity of the thing or the truly archaic need to collect color-coded keys… [...]

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Sometimes deaths feel cheap. The actual action-oriented combat works well; certainly better than I expected. My biggest complaint from this department though was the camera. Sometimes I just could not get it into a good position, especially in narrow spaces. Also, the combat was a bit predictable in terms of how it was triggered. In earlier games, most combat occurred at random while walking. In later Final Fantasy games you are on an active field with enemies you can engage or try to avoid. Here? It’s things like intersecting hallways that trigger the usually-random group of monsters you fight. You find yourself hugging the walls awkwardly, battling the camera angles if you’re in an area where you don’t want to fight. It’s not all bad though. [...]

The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery

The answer is multifaceted, but the first step was retaining Jane Jensen as the author of the entire storyline. The first Gabriel Knight game was lauded for not only being fun to play, but having a deeper story than most adventure games. Ms. Jensen had majored in computer science, but also had a deep fascination with creative writing, evidenced by her work on the Gabriel Knight series. Interestingly, she did not become a published novelist until well after The Beast Within, with her novelization of the first Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers book in 1997, and then Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within’s novelization in 1998. Her first non-computer game related novel, Millennium Rising, was published in 1999, the same year her last Gabriel Knight game was released. [...]

Killer Instinct

All in all, Killer Instinct is pretty disappointing for a next-gen release, especially since the game is a glut of microtranscations. If you want the full game, it’s a standard twenty bucks. You can also just buy the individual characters if you want, which would be really cool if there were more than seven to choose from. If you want everything the game has to offer, which basically boils down to a couple of aesthetic character accessories and a playable version of the original KI, prepare to double-up on that Andrew Jackson. The only thing I was interested in besides the core game was the original that, unlike everything else, isn’t available separately. This fact, my friends, is worthy of ire right there. [...]

Rise of the Robots

Rushing home we inserted the first disk and were confronted by a very impressive intro. ‘This is going to be great’ we thought. Then, after an hour or two, we both felt something was wrong. Could Rise of the Robots be… rubbish? Neither my brother or myself could believe it. In fact I remember assuming that we were playing it wrong, that it was our fault that you could beat every robot by doing a flying kick. That there was a way of turning round and jumping over the other fighter we just hadn’t worked out how. That you could pick a fighter who wasn’t the blue cyborg, you just had to complete it or something. How could all the hype be wrong? [...]

John Madden Football

There is one fatal flaw with the game, and that’s the technical limitations of the SNES. The framer ate does not run smooth which really effects gameplay when you’re in a heated moment. Also when you pass you get a zoomed-in view of the players around you. Doesn’t sound too bad, but it kills your view on defense. It’s a shame really, because it seems like EA put a lot of effort in trying to make this the best football game ever in the early 90’s. [...]

Tweety’s High-Flying Adventure

To do this you can’t just walk up to them and get the prints though, oh no – you have to take them down with weapons you pick up throughout the stages. There’s nothing too violent in terms of you arsenal though – just plunger torpedos, slippery jam (?) and the like. Levels are therefore structured a little more expansively than in most platformers, and you have to check out both the higher and lower reaches of every level to find all the pesky felines. [...]