Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - PSP

I am an unabashed fan of Final Fantasy. I haven’t played all of them – but I’ve played and beaten quite a few of them over the years – starting with Final Fantasy on the old NES. I was one of the many who had a first day of release copy of Final Fantasy VII and like many thought it was the best game I had ever played at the time. Years later, it’s story and game mechanics are among my most fond gaming memories. So when I heard that a prequel was coming out, I was really excited. That excitement was a bit tempered however when I saw my traditional RPG turn-based systems turned into a more live action game during trailers. I’m happy to say those particular fears proved to be unfounded.

Graphics: 9

Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - PSP

The in-game engine is good, you don’t suffer any breakup and the full motion video scenes that the Final Fantasy series have become well-known for hold up beautifully on the small screen. Don’t let the fact that this is a PSP game fool you – it holds up very nicely in both artistic direction and execution.

Sound and Music: 8.5

Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - PSP

The voice acting was good, though many of the sounds were a bit repetitive after awhile. Final Fantasy games are known for their quality music and this one while not among the best from the series, is still pretty good. I found the combat theme to be surprisingly catchy.

Gameplay: 7

Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - PSP

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 action comes in perfectly sized smaller chunks that fit with the handheld platform. I had played this game for nearly a year on and off. I’d just pick it up some days when I had fifteen minutes to kill and do a few missions. The PSP is not one of my primary systems, so its games tend to get neglected, but this one’s content felt just right for on-the-go gaming.

Intangibles: 9.5

Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - PSP

There is a ton to do. The main storyline itself is not terribly long, but there are a bunch of side options to chew up your time. There’s missions that unlock over time or when certain criteria are met. There’s a fusion system in place that lets you upgrade items and materia (think of them as magic, skills and stat boosts). You get emails throughout the game from characters as well. There’s a handful of mini-games tucked in there as well throughout the storyline. To top it all off? There’s a New Game+ mode as well – always a favorite discovery of mine.

Overall: 8.5

To date this was probably my favorite PSP game. The characters and world were sentimental favorites of mine. The overall production values were high. All of this was expected. The unexpected? That the action-based combat would work so well. That using one character throughout the game instead of a party would feel so involving. That you don’t collect experience and level up in traditional fashion, but that levels, boosts and special attacks are all managed through a perpetually running slot-machine like system that augments the action itself. Last but not least? The ending is fantastic. After I beat the game, I was just really taken with the ending and did some searching on the topic online. I was not alone in my sentiments there. A lot of people out there list it as their favorite ending ever. Mine? Maybe not, but probably top 10 to date, and getting there was a blast.

Soul Blazer

 Soul-Blazer

Soul Blazer for the SNES is just another wonderful title by Enix to keep us RPG geeks with something to do during the SNES era of greatness! The music is nothing but wonderful. Enix sure did a great job with the soundtrack and sound effects of their games. You can’t beat the 16-bit sound effects from yesterday. If anything, they motivate you to continue with your quest and finish up a wonderful title. Graphics wise, it is decent. You won’t find any graphics like from lets say Final Fantasy VI or Chrono Trigger but you’ll find some decent graphics that’ll be more than enough to keep your eyes happy till the end of the game. Things look like how they are supposed to so be happy to at least have that.

Soul-Blazer

As far as the gameplay, it is quite satisfying. You will have to come up with your own strategies to defeat certain bosses. You just can’t run to them and kill them, it’s a good way to use your head in a way. There is also a level up system that of course makes you stronger. Weapons, and other items are on the way to help you finish your quest. Everything an action-RPG title should bring is here! Don’t look anywhere else! The game is quite fun but would only be good for a replay if there are extra things you might have missed on your first run. Then again, if you find defeating bad guys and playing this game as satisfying then I suggest you go for it! It’s a great experience overall and experiencing it again would just be joyful and action packed once more.

To conclude, this is a must have for anyone’s collection and anyone willing to step down the golden ages of the 16-bit era. You can’t go wrong with titles from Enix! They always delivered high quality stuff.

Valkyrie Profile

Valkyrie Profile

Valkyrie Profile

“Smooth sprite animation, screen-filling spell effects, 2D backgrounds as good as the PlayStation can muster, and superb character art.”

Yup even the reviews sounded different back when……

Valkyrie Profile ヴァルキリープロファイル is a role-playing video game, released for original Playstation on December 22, 1999 in Japan. An enhanced port of the game was later released for the PlayStation Portable under the name Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth.

Valkyrie Profile

Loosely based on Norse mythology, players assume the role of a valkyrie who recruits and prepares the souls of fallen warriors, before sending them to Valhalla for a final apocalyptic battle between the Æsir and Vanir: Ragnarok.

Several improvements were made to the English release of Valkyrie Profile, including more cinematics and the ability to adjust all characters’ armor.  Some editing occurred during translation, but visible blood, drinking, and sexual comments remain.

Valkyrie Profile

Badrach’s smoking was cut out but the animation of him smoking after a successful battle remains, minus the cigarette.

Original Playstation discs range from $59 to a staggering $499 for a mint edition.

Game Review on IGN where it scored an immaculate 91%
Game Faq and Walkthrough

Dragon Warrior

Dragon Warrior - NES - Gameplay Screenshot - Box

Dragon Warrior

You take role of a warrior (Elwood?) in order to save the princess and slay the dragon. Dragon Warrior(Quest in Japan and lately here) is the one that started it all in terms of quest style games. If you get a chance to check out the library of games for the Famicom you’ll realize that there are a vast amount of Dragon Warrior(Quest) clones out there. Most of the good ones were translated by true RPG fans while some others might or not still be in the works. Either way, you’ll have your best bet playing this classic of classics as you take a quest in the most initiative way through a realm full of freaks!

Dragon Warrior - NES - Gameplay Screenshot - 1

 

You(Elwood) take your role and start up as a wimpy warrior and must train hard to turn into a respectful killing machine. It’ll take you a while to reach your goal so you better be ready to sit down and level up by killing the same monsters over and over again. The music might get to your nerves since it’s so archaic (it’s from the 1980s for crying out loud!) So take a chance and plug in your Ihome or stereo and listen to some punk rock, it helps!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U5gnCG0AUI[/youtube]

 

Your quest will take you approximately twenty hours to complete for slow pokes like me, but I heard some hardy players have beaten the game in ten hours so go figure. I remember that the magazine Nintendo Power said it could be done in ten hours as well. Don’t worry though, do what you have to do, Elwood will always be there dancing on the same spot waiting for your command.
Till next time adventurer….

Dragon Warrior III

Dragon Warrior 3 Box

Dragon Warrior III

This is definitely my favorite Dragon Warrior for the NES. Apart from the introductory Dragon Warrior for the same console, Dragon Warrior 3 introduces different ways to play the game. One of the neatest ways is the option to build up your ultimate team. You can change the characters of your team to your liking and therefore have a dream team! Well, wouldn’t call it a dream team since you will be trying a lot of different characters before you find the one of your liking. Your dream team could be different from every other players dream team. For myself, I would pick all fighters and one mage just to heal but then again there are some monsters that are weak against spells and strong against hits so there goes that idea. I would probably pick two fighters, one healer, and one offensive magic user. It’s just like in FF for the NES, it worked great all the way to the end.

Dragon Warrior 3 Gameplay Screenshot

 

Dragon Warrior 3 is just one of the best RPGs for the NES period. I personally liked it better than part four and more so than part 2. I don’t think the first one counts as it’s more of an introduction to the genre. The graphics of the game are your typical Dragon Warrior for the NES graphics and the music delivers the same Dragon Warrior feel. Old RPG fans will be in heaven with the complexity this game can accomplish. The quest also keeps you involved in the game and makes you want to come back for more. As for price range, this game goes in the 20-30s depending on condition and if it comes with that damn NES box.

 

Overall, Dragon Warrior 3 is a must have for an RPG collection especially if you are trying to find those old NES titles. You won’t be disappointed I guarantee it!

Bust a Grove OST

Bust a Grove OST

Known in Japan as Bust a Move the name was changed when Puzzle Bobble was released in the U.S. under the same name. Bust a Grove showed up on the PlayStation video game console in late 98’ and was a rhythm and dance game in the vein of PaRappa the Rapper but it added fighting game elements such as special moves.

Bust-A-Move OST

Made by Enix (now Square Enix) you could go up against the PC or another player and as you pressed the correct moves on the direction pad you would “attack” your opponent. Honestly it was like You Got Served meets Dance Dance Revolution.

What made the game for me personally was the music; it had memorable tracks with awesome beats that really got you in the game. I still play the tracks often on my media player.

As always Obsolete Gamer supports the original work of the artist, you can purchase the full soundtrack here.

Game Music: A Love Affair

Mario with Rock Star Guitar
Mario with Rock Star Guitar

While working on the new music player for the website I began thinking about some of the game music that really, dare I say, moved me. These were more than background songs they were an important part of the game or the specific level or zone. The music I am talking about is the kind that stays in your head long after you stopped playing. It is the type of tune you would play in your car or music device. So allow me a moment to talk about some of my favorite video game music from the world of consoles.

Wood Carving Partita -The Library: Castlevania Symphony of The Night

Castlevania Symphony of the Night screenshot
Castlevania Symphony of the Night screenshot

Wood Carving Partita – The Library: Castlevania Symphony of The Night

All the music from SOTN was excellent and to this day I still listen to it from time to time. However, there was just something about the music when you entered the library. The classic overtones just mixed in so well with the Dracula theme. It was truly a signature theme that, to me, stood out from all the other excellent music from this first rate game.

Julia – Final Fantasy VIII

Julia – Final Fantasy VIII
Julia – Final Fantasy VIII

Julia – Final Fantasy VIII

While many fans did not believe FF8 was a worthy successor to FF7 it was well done in its own right and had quite a few memorable songs. One of my favorites was Julia. Julia Heartilly was a pianist and a love interest for the character Laguna. The song is actually a piano arrangement of the games main theme song, Eyes on Me. Maybe it is because my sister played classical piano, but I really liked this one, it set a perfect tone for the flashback and helped me to enjoy the main version even more.

Parasite Eve 2-Forbidden Power (Aya’s theme)

Parasite Eve 2 – Forbidden Power (Aya’s theme)
Parasite Eve 2 – Forbidden Power (Aya’s theme)

Parasite Eve 2 -Forbidden Power (Aya’s theme)

Not to sound like a Square fanboi but Parasite Eve was one of those great games that did not get the credit it deserved. Now I will admit that part two was not as good as the original, but I did really like the main theme remixed from the original with a harder, rock guitar beat to it. This theme mixed with the intro cinematic’s got me hyped to play.

Starfox 64 – Corneria

Starfox 64 – Corneria
Starfox 64 – Corneria

Starfox 64 – Corneria

I played this game so much that I could beat it on hard without anyone losing health or myself dying, with my eyes closed. Okay, so my eyes were open, but I owned this game and the theme music for the first stage started me off on the right track. It made you feel you were going into battle and you were going to kick some ass. Sometimes I load this one up just to play the first level, hear the music and lay some smackdown.

Sonic CD – Wacky Workbench (Past)

Sonic CD – Wacky Workbench (Past)
Sonic CD – Wacky Workbench (Past)

Sonic CD – Wacky Workbench (Past)

You know I can’t even explain why I like this theme so much but I do. There was just something about it that felt classic. Sonic CD was the best thing to come out of the Sega CD and it had some great music to boot, but this one stood out for me.

Now there are a ton of other themes I love and these don’t necessarily rank in any particular order, but they are definitely up there. Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite video game music themes?

ActRaiser

[youtube id=”8TmgNMgcLk0″ width=”633″ height=”356″]

A fine blend of an action side-scroller & Populous-like god game rolled into one game. ~Honorabili

ActRaiser

In ActRaiser, you take the role of a sleeping god which has just woken up after thousands of years to find that in your absence the whole world has gone to utter crap.

ActRaiser Title
ActRaiser Title

There are multiple stages (countries) in the game and the first stage consists of you manifesting an avatar in an action side-scroller game to fight your way through some monsters, kill a boss and liberate the land. After doing that you enter a god-mode game similar to Populous where you control a little angel cherub and you fight cute monsters and help guide the civilization level of the people of that country. Some plot device happens and then you must fight the final boss in order to free that land from monsters completely.

Once you’ve done that, so long as you met all the other objectives regarding you gifting people items/technology, that country will grow to its max population/civilization level. The more population you have in a country, the more followers you have, giving you the ability to level up (you only level up that way, not by killing stuff).

The game was written by Quintet, published by Enix (Square Enix) in 1991. There is a sequel that sucks, so just stick to the original. The game originally came out on the Super Nintendo, in 2004 released as a game for mobile phones, and in 2007 re-released on the Wii.

Fun Factor, Replayability, & My History With This Game:

I’ve played this game over 30 times since the early 90s. Although the game is rather simple, it has its own style and I play it at the bare minimum once or twice a year. It only takes me about 2-3 hours to play and beat the entire game. I keep coming back because I consider it a classic.

The action side-scrolling reminds me of a simpler Castlevania or Lionheart kind of game. The god mode game is like Populous except that it’s simpler but it’s fun watching terrain blow up and having your followers find stuff around the map.

After years of playing this I give Fun Factor a score of 7 out of 10. If you are playing it fresh, you’d probably say it’s worth an 8 out of 10. Replayability for me gets a score of 6 out of 10 as well.

Difficulty & Difficulty Versatility:

Overall, the game is rather easy.

ActRaiser Ending
ActRaiser Ending

It could be that I’ve played it too many times and I know all the spots that enemies in the action game will attack from as well the attack patterns of all the bosses but even when I first played the game in the early 90s, the game was not too challenging. You can ignore most enemies in the action levels and there’s only really one challenging boss, the Dragon. Two of the other bosses are not so much hard but more annoying and the strategy to beat them is simple.

The god game part is super easy so long as you listen to what your followers want and shoot mainly the bats and white dragons they auto build everything themselves.

Difficulty gets a score of 3 out of 10. Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 3 out of 10 as well because some parts get tougher slightly but the overall difficulty is the same throughout most of the game.

Value:

Most people will now be playing this game on ZSNES, the SNES emulator, probably playing a ROM they downloaded off the internet. If that’s the case the game is then free, giving Value a score of 10 out of 10.

Sound:

The sounds are rather simple in this game but they are satisfactory. For me, the best sounds come in the god mode when you kill monsters and blow up their lairs. For some reason the sound that happens when your population expands has stuck to my head all these years. Sound gets a score of 7 out of 10.

Music:

The music for this game is really nice and although it’s not as popular as let’s say the music of the Final Fantasy games, it still does get remixed quite a bit. If you want to check out some of the remixes, click here to download some at ocremix. The best songs are the main action stage song that happens in the first levels, god mode town song, and the song that gets played when one of your followers invents “music”. Overall, I give the Music a score of 8 out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

On the original SNES, I’ve never seen this game crash. I’ve never seen the emulated version crash either. Nothing to complain about here. Stability/Reliability get a score of 10 out of 10.

Controls:

The controls are pretty straight forward. The arrow keys/thumbpad move you in the direction you want. In action mode, one button makes you attack with the sword, another jumps, another detonates your magic attack. In god game mode, one button fires the cherub’s arrow while the other brings up the god powers interface screen. The only real problem I have with the gameplay and controls is that your avatar in action side-scroller mode can’t block. A lot of the gameplay comes down to just sheer chopping and jumping out of the way. The game I find easy, so it’s just me complaining, really. Controls get a score of 8 out of 10.

Graphics & Performance:

ActRaiser was well coded and both in the original and emulated version you have no problems with the game engine not being able to catch up to the action. The performance is fluid. Performance gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Since there are different modes to this game, let’s talk about the graphics for each one. The action sequence has really nice graphics for a 1991 action side-scroller. In the god-mode, the graphics look cute, even for the monsters as well as the little flying cherub that kills stuff for you. For 1991, this game gets a Graphics score of 9 out of 10.

Conclusion:

ActRaiser is a classic game for the SNES. If you are a fan of side-scrollers, you should check it out. If you also like games like Populous, although it’s very dumbed down in ActRaiser, you should also check it out. Overall, if you consider yourself a loyal SNES player, you should play this game as people who grew up playing the SNES are all very fond of this game.