Martian Gothic: Unification

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Martian Gothic: Unification

Survival horror titles tend to be less scary the older they get – they still retain some impact, but the ageing graphics can sometimes have a direct impact on how immersed you become in the game’s world.

Martian Gothic: Unification doesn’t suffer as much as you’d expect in this regard though, mainly due to the game’s slower paced nature.

It starts off with a fairly long opening cutscene, which sees a three person rescue team being sent into a Mars space base to investigate why nothing has been heard by its crew for ten months.

Martian Gothic - Unification - PlayStation

It’s a predicable set-up, but that doesn’t make the amount of effort that’s gone into the game’s presentation any less impressive.

The music is dripping with dread, and the opening voiceover sets the dark and foreboding tone rather well.

You’re then thrown into the game proper, and you have a choice of three characters to swap between – Kenzo, Matlock and Karne.

Martian Gothic - Unification - PlayStation

Each character has entered the base at different doors, mainly due to their instructions to ‘stay alone – stay alive.’ Yes, that’s possibly the worst reason ever to have characters split up, but it does mark the game out as being a little bit different.

This is mainly as you can only progress to certain areas by co-operating with your colleagues by, for example, sending each other relevant items using delivery tubes (or ‘vac-tubes’) and opening doors for the others by using computers in your section.

Martian Gothic - Unification - PlayStation
You won’t get anywhere by screaming like that…

 

The game is also aided a great deal by the decent voiceover work and a solid script that helps maintain your interest – although there are exceptions to this.

Kenzo talks like he’s on dope for example (just listen to entries 42 and 13 on this Youtube list for a sample), and he does ruin the atmosphere a little as a result – the way he calmly reports seeing a floating reanimated corpse is ridiculous.

Martian Gothic - Unification - PlayStation

But by and large, the script is well crafted, and you’ll be surprised at how much work that’s gone into it. There are several audio logs from members of the now departed crew, and each character has realms of voiced dialogue.

The game doesn’t even look too bad nowadays, mainly due to its Resident Evil style rendered backdrops with fixed perspectives.

There’s very little movement in each screen – but that actually works in the game’s favour, as it’s even scarier when the infected humans drag themselves into view.

Martian Gothic - Unification - PlayStation

Despite the game’s admirable qualities – of which it has several – it’s a little too frustrating to be enjoyable though (perhaps being enjoyable isn’t the aim of a survival horror title, but you get the point).

One minor problem are the awkward rotate and move controls which can make avoiding the re-possessed humans and various beasts a struggle (the constantly changing perspectives when you’re going from place to place doesn’t help), but more problematic is the occasionally confusing design.

With three characters the possibility to miss something vital is tripled, and the unhelpful map doesn’t help matters.

Martian Gothic - Unification - PlayStation

Some of the puzzles also have overly vague solutions, and you can often be wandering aimlessly looking for the right item or clue – this isn’t ideal when enemies re-spawn constantly. The fact there are very few complete guides to the game tells its own story.

As a result, there are probably very few people who will enjoy Martian Gothic: Unification nowadays – but if you have the patience of a saint you may be able to savour the game’s finer qualities, namely its plot and script.

 

The Simpsons Wrestling

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The Simpsons Wrestling

 While the early 90’s had plenty of games based on The Simpsons, I really think The Simpsons Wrestling in 2001 was the start of the modern era of their video games. While the older games featured mainly Bart, The Simpsons Wrestling featured most of the well-known characters.
The Simpsons Wrestling-PSOne
The late 90’s and early 2000s were also an era of countless wrestling games, so I guess a wrestling game based on a beloved cartoon was inevitable. The game features a cast of the whole Simpsons family, friends like Apu and Barney, and less-known characters like Bumblebee Man and Professor Frink.
The Simpsons Wrestling-PSOne
 The game features a similar set-up to other 3D wrestlers, but with the addition of power-ups such as donuts to make you faster. It also featured original dialogue from the cast of the show, and many of the characters that don’t show up to wrestle can be seen in the audience.
The Simpsons Wrestling-PSOne
Overall The Simpsons Wrestling received a very harsh reaction from critics. It came out after the end of the PS1’s prime, and neither the graphics nor the game-play impressed many. I was a huge fan of the show, but I didn’t get a PS2 (which could also play PS1 games) until a few years later and by that time I had forgotten all about it.

Mega Man Legends

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Imagine Metroid meets Ocarina of Time with walking/movement akin to Resident Evil, and you sort of get the picture. ~Adam R.

Mega Man Legends

While the original Mega Man series has only seen ten original games, Capcom’s favorite blue hero also had different spinoff and subseries. Like Mega Man X which features a new Mega Man built by the original Dr. Light in his last days. Later came along Mega Man Legends which introduced a new Mega Man into a 3D world.

Mega Man Legends - PSOne

Its story is also somewhat indepdent and perhaps unconnected to the rest of the series from what I can tell. This Mega Man is referred to as Mega Man Volnutt who travels with Roll Caskett (who shares the same name as the original Mega Man’s sister), her grandpa, and some monkey. It had something to do with mining and random robot attacks. Didn’t make much sense.
Mega Man Legends - PSOne
The game was not a traditional platformer but instead a 3D action-adventure. Imagine Metroid meets Ocarina of Time with walking/movement akin to Resident Evil, and you sort of get the picture. You travel around towns, and go into caverns/dungeons defeating bad robots.
Mega Man Legends - PSOne
The game met very positive reactions when it first came out on PS1. The complete overhaul was praised for the most part, and the 3D gameplay was likable. A PC and N64 version were later released but they were met with a fair harsher criticism. I played a little bit of the N64 version, but I was saddened to hear that the 3rd game in the series got cancelled.

Moho/Ball Breakers

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Even the single player is better than you might expect, with ten prison worlds to play through.~Simon Reed

Moho aka Ball Breakers

Trawling through my local car boot, I spotted a copy of Moho on the Playstation.

Moho - Ball Breakers - PSOne

Actually, judging by the weird font used on the cover, I thought it might be ‘Motto.’

Either way, i’d never heard of it or seen it before, so snapped it up (50p if you’re interested) in the hope that it was rare.

Moho - Ball Breakers - PSOne

It turns out that it’s incredibly common. Oh well. At least it’s not too bad an effort – in fact, it’s above average.

Last week I berated Crash Bash for being a rather tepid collection of minigames. Moho is structured in a similar way, but is a far more successful in nearly every respect.

You might be surprised to hear that Rockstar even had a hand in making the game, and (of less interest) the title was called Ball Breakers in the US. But not when it came to PC, where Moho was used in both EU and the US.

Moho - Ball Breakers - PSOne

But that’s enough pointless trivia.

Starting off with a CGI cutscene, the game sets an odd tone – one that is both brooding and lighthearted. If that is even possible.

You then choose a robot to play as, and are then thrown into individual jail based worlds where you’re set a certain challenges to complete.

These range from last man standing battles (‘last man rolling’), straight out races, collecting all the pick ups in an arena (‘tag’), to ones that set you a goal to reach – piling obstacles and various foes in your way.

There are a few more, but all revolve around one main gameplay gimmick – you’re a robot on a sphere shaped wheel, and therefore you’re fighting against momentum and physics all the time.

Moho - Ball Breakers - PSOne

Instead of being annoying this actually makes the game feel far fresher and varied that it has any right to be.

It transforms what could have been a solid but unspectacular mini game collection into something much more interesting.

In terms of modes the game inevitably has a multiplayer mode, which is as frenetic and competitive as you’d want it to be.

Even the single player is better than you might expect, with ten prison worlds to play through.

Overall, Moho is a solid and reasonably experimental minigame collection that’s worth 50p of anyone’s money.

Gex: Enter The Gecko (PSOne)

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Look past the painful attempts to make Gex a gecko with ‘attitude’ though, and this is a platformer that’s still worth a look. ~Simon Reed

Gex: Enter The Gecko

I recall in my revisit of  Gex: Enter the Gecko on the Gameboy Color that the titular lizard had precious opportunity to make his abrasive personality come across – and how that was a real blessing. Sadly, in ‘Gex,’ the game in which the gecko was first introduced to the world, he manages to give you a very good idea of his ‘persona and you know what I find even more annoying than Gex himself? The game underneath is actually not half bad – but it’s overshadowed by the green ones constant chatter.

Gex - PSOne

Set up like an old school platformer, Gex sees you travelling around small hubs, each one focusing on a specific location – such as a horror world and a kung-fu universe. So far, so unoriginal. Of course, the game originally came out on 3DO in 1994, so perhaps these old fashioned sensibilities are to be expected. In each stage you have to recover a remote (or two) which then allow you to access new levels. Fortunately each remote can usually be found fairly easily, and are placed in clear view when you’re working your way through a level.

Gex - PSOne

Stages tend to feel a little open, although in actuality they’re quite linear. Gex has an ability to stick to walls you see, and this can make you easily go up, down as well as left and right. Further variety comes about through power ups, which you can either whack with your tail to add to your health bar or eat (by using your extendable tongue) to access short term abilities, such as fireball breath or a super jump. Despite these interesting gameplay mechanics however, the game itself can occasionally feel a little generic – but some credit must go to developer Crystal Dynamics that the game remains playable throughout. Controls are solid, and there are rarely any moments where the game feels broken or unfair.

Gex - PSOne

The only truly annoying design aspect is the password system – which requires you to collect a tape in every other level (and they’re usually hidden away) or beat an end of world boss. Whether the game is worth playing thought, simply comes down to whether you can stand Gex himself.  His wisecracks are just about acceptable – the first time your hear them. They’re repeated so much that they end up getting more than a little irksome though, and he seems to have to comment on something nearly every five seconds. Look past the painful attempts to make Gex a gecko with ‘attitude’ though, and this is a platformer that’s still worth a look.

 [Check out Simon’s Homepage]

Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain

Release Date on PSN: September 10th 2009

Original Release: November 15th 1996

Blood Omen - Legacy of Kain

Story

Blood Omen is the first game in the Legacy of Kain series. As the name would suggest the story is centered on Kain, a noble who is murdered in the first few moments of the game, but he is given a chance for revenge by a Necromancer who brings him back to life or un-life as a vampire.

Blood Omen - Legacy of Kain

What really makes this game stand out is the quality of the voice acting, casting trained thespians as the characters was a stroke of brilliance and this is the best part of the game.

The way they use voice as makes you really invested in the story and gives you that push to keep you playing. Voice acting in games today could still learn a thing or two from this PSone classic, and at original release this feature was unheard of.

Gameplay

Blood Omen plays just as you’d think Diablo would with a directional pad. The controls are easy to get used to and rarely were there any issues with control except for a few jumping sections that can sometimes be confusing.

Blood Omen - Legacy of Kain

As you progress through the game you gain new abilities, spells and equipment, that range from raising your health and magic bars to learning how to become a werewolf and tear your enemies apart. Health as you would imagine is gained from drinking the blood of your enemies, if you hit them the right number of times they’ll hold this very Mortal Kombat “finish me” pose where you can feed. Also while traveling to villages you can feed on the locals before heading off to defeat one of the games many interesting bosses.

The difficulty isn’t too bad, but you’ll have to watch your resources carefully at some points, the learning curve is good, but you really get into the gameplay when you start receiving new abilities and equipment. All of which add some strategy to the game and make it that much richer.

Graphics

Blood Omen - Legacy of Kain

Although Blood Omen is a dated game, the 2d graphical style suit it well and the art direction in the game still make it immersive. Also some graphical decisions that were made (like having blood you drink from enemies spurt through the air into your mouth) make is still a gruesome game which was certainly surprising for a game of this generation. Graphically there is nothing spectacular but the attention to detail doesn’t make graphics a hindrance to the story.

How Blood Omen Legacy of Kain holds up today

Blood Omen Legacy of Kain certainly makes an impression on the first time player. This comes from the excellent voice work and gripping story that is so rare in games even today. The amount of time it takes to run through this game is also impressive. It took 35+ hours to complete and I was glued to my console for the duration. Graphically you’ll not be impressed but there are a few nice touches you’ll notice that Silicon Knights threw in that will keep it from being a problem.

 Blood Omen - Legacy of Kain

For the standard PSone classics fee of six dollars and with story elements and gameplay that keep you interested for 35+ hours, this gives you a great bang for your buck. I enjoyed every moment of it.

Highly recommended (if you have the time), and if you liked this one check out it’s sequel Soul Reavertoo.

9/10

Galaga Destination Earth

Galaga Destination Earth

During one of my misadventures, we were driving across the hot and dusty desert when we came across a small nameless thrift shop in the middle of nowhere. I was just looking for something to drink, but to my surprise this hole in the wall actually had some video games too. A small stack of original xbox games, some ps2 sports games, and some cases that appeared to be ps1 games. I rummaged through the stack and found Galaga: Destination Earth. No manual, no label, just a cracked plastic case with a disk inside. “How much for the game?” I asked the guy behind the counter. “I dunno, hows about $1?”
“SOLD!”
Galaga-Destination Earth
Without thinking twice, I gave the man his dollar and was out the door quicker than I had arrived. It’s not that hole-in-the-wall places in the middle of nowhere scare me, it’s just that…yeah, they scare the living bejeebers outta me for reasons too extensive to list in this post…which is supposed to be a game review. Moving right along!

When I got home the game sat in my bag until I finally found some time today to pick it up and play. Let me tell you, this ain’t your momma’s Galaga!
No sir, this is a completely new take on the entire series.

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.

Galaga-Destination Earth

The controls are similar to the original; just move and shoot, move and shoot. Simple right? Wrong! The first wave is classic, you just shoot them as you would in the original arcade game, enemies above, but then shit hits the fan. This game, as a shooter, doesn’t know what it wants to be. Your camera is constantly changing perspectives with each wave. One minute you’ll be in a side scrolling perspective, the next you’ll be in a tunnel shooter, then it’s a rail shooter, then back to the tunnel perspective, all while you’re trying to shoot enemies and avoid projectiles as well as space debris. This may sound cool in theory, I mean, Einhander got it right, but this game does it all wrong. When you’re in the the tunnel shooter parts of the stages (which is a majority of the time) you’ll find yourself flailing around trying to figure out the difference between up and down, and where the aliens are at in relation to your ship. I’ll remind you this is a PS1 game so the graphics are a little bit, how you say, confusing. Well, the graphics were pretty good for the ps1 in general as far as the look goes, but it’s really hard to tell the distance between you and an enemy. They fly all around the screen, get closer and farther away, but you can never really tell where they are in relation to your ship so sometimes you’ll run into them, other times you’ll miss shooting them all together. This game has serious depth perception issues and it’s extremely frustrating.
Galaga-Destination Earth
Another thing that really pissed me off was the shooting speed. Your ship fires so slow that you could literally get up and grab a snack or two before you’d need to press the shoot button again. It’s that bad. There are power ups that you can pick up but they don’t seem to do anything at all. There’s also health packs. Yes, health packs in a Galaga game. Unlike the original, you don’t die if you get hit, you have a health bar in the top left of your screen. You will need every ounce of that health and the 3 additional ships you’re given to make any progress in the game at all due to the terrible muddled messes that make up each level.

Galaga-Destination Earth

Another fun addition to the game, and they might have been going somewhere with this, is that each new level gives you objectives or missions that you must finish to complete the level. These, however, aren’t fun at all because of the depth issues. Take for instance levels where you have to collect a certain number of an item. It’s kind of hard when you’re constantly screaming at your tv screen like an idiot, “WTF?! I TOTALLY HIT THAT! UGH!”.

Because down is up and up is down and it still doesn’t matter at all because this game has problems and wants to take it out on you. Because it hates you. It hates you because it knows that it will never be as good as the original. It makes everyone else around it suffer because IT suffers. This game is terrible and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Galaga: Destination Earth gets a 4/10

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

Resident Evil 3 - Nemesis

Price: $5.99

Original release date: September 22nd 1999

Release date on PSN: December 3rd, 2009

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

Story

This episode of the Resident Evil chronicles follows Jill Valentine who was in the original game in the series and you are in control of her for most of the game. Once again you’re stuck in Raccoon City, and of course it’s full of zombies and yes you have to escape.

Resident Evil 3 - Nemesis

The problem with this story is that it doesn’t compare to that of RE2, in the previous game you get two characters to play as, and even though you play through a lot of similar areas the storyline is so much more interesting. As well the characters actually have motivations I can understand, the story in RE3 on the other hand, feels thrown together, and I don’t find myself caring for anyone in this game, nearly as much as I did in the former.

Gameplay

The gameplay is mostly the same as the other two, except you get a nice 90 degree turn move by pushing down and then the run button which really makes the game a lot easier. It’s still clunky by today’s standards though, and having played through the first three games back to back to back it’s really starting to grate on me. If you’re familiar with the other two in the series though, you’ll be at home with this.

Resident Evil 3 - Nemesis

As I said before, you’re only in control of one character in this game, and the campaign is quite a bit shorter than RE2 (like half as short). Now to be fair most of the last game was back-tracking, but because of the story that drove me through it I didn’t mind. This iteration though, re-uses a lot of locations from RE2, and I was really looking forward to some new environments, but it all looked the same, nothing new to see here, sadly.

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.

Graphics

Resident Evil 3 - Nemesis

They are once again very much the same from RE2, some of the environments were recycled as well, and it does sort of seem like it was thrown together with spare parts. One thing that stands out in this one is the pre-rendered cut scenes. Characters during these scenes display believable emotions, and that’s a huge step up from the last game. Other than that, it’s a cookie cutter cut and paste of RE2’s graphics.

How it holds up today

I must say after RE2 I was really interested on where this series was going, but I found myself disappointed with how this game turned out. There’s a lot of action to be sure, but after the other two games I don’t feel there’s much of a threat to the same slowly moving zombies, and blowing there heads off, while still enjoyable, started to lose its charm…

Resident Evil 3 - Nemesis

I’m happy that I finally finished the trilogy, and plan to play the rest of the series because it’s so influential in gaming, but this one dragged on for me, it didn’t have me glued to my console like the last one did (and took me a few weeks to complete compared to the week or so the last one took). Also I completed the campaign in a measly 6 hours, while the other two games in the series were much longer.

If you have the choice between all three RE games, go for the second, it has the best story, epic bosses, and is a real heart pumping experience. This latest one was still enjoyable, but not up to expectations. Perhaps RE: Code Veronica on my Dreamcast will treat me better.

7/10

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Castlevania- Symphony of the Night-
Release date on PSN: July 17th 2007

              Original release date: October 2nd 1997

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Story

Castlevania- Symphony of the Night-

Castlevania is about the castle Dracula, and you play his son Alucard (Dracula backwards) as you try to defeat your father and banish him once again. There have been many Castlevania games, and this one is a direct sequel to Castlevania Bloodlines, but having not played that, I didn’t feel too lost in the story. It’s the gameplay we’re going for in this one.

Gameplay

SOTN as it’s called is a basic 2d beat em up type dungeon crawler. If you’ve played one 2d Castlevania, you’ve played them all, but this gameplay really works well and it’s extremely satisfying. The difficulty in this game is pretty high though, and dying is a huge pain due to the lack of a continue screen, and that it took me a while to figure out how to save (read the manual on this one!). Once while playing around with the controls I found a spell that kills everyone on screen and then heals you for the damage you caused. It was a life saver! But it didn’t make it too easy.

Castlevania- Symphony of the Night-

The game is non-linear in a fashion, in that you have to go through the castle, searching for new abilities that allow you to access new areas. The amount of abilities is staggering as well, from turning into a bat, to spells, tones of special equipment, swords and armor, and collecting all of these really got me addicted (not to mention leveling up your character as well).  Not just OCD to collect everything, but because they added new elements to the gameplay, and gave you more options to defeat the bosses.

The boss fights in the game aren’t revolutionary gameplay wise, you’ll be hitting them with your sword just as you do with all the enemies in the game, your jump and strike skills will be tested, but once you memorize the patterns you’ll plow through them.

Castlevania- Symphony of the Night-

What is interesting is the scope of the Castle, every part feels different which makes it easy to remember where you are, and where you’re supposed to go (the map helps too). Half-way through the game however (if you use a special item during what seems to be the final battle) the castle will flip over and you’ll play through the castle again (upside-down) while collecting more cool items and defeating more bosses. There are many endings; I didn’t go through them all, but those I witnessed were interesting and worth the playtime.

Castlevania- Symphony of the Night-

At the time 3D gaming was coming into its own, but was usually poorly executed. The makers of SOTN made a smart decision in keeping the game 2D and making those graphics detailed and colorful. Some use was made of 3D though on some enemies. This really makes them pop out from the screen and they make for a good contrast.

The style of the game is slick as well. The design of the spaces shows a lot of time was put into it. With every area of the castle looking very unique, along with the monsters you’ll be killing in each area, it just adds that extra something that keeps it from being a grind, and more of an exploration.

How it holds up today

Castlevania- Symphony of the Night-

When I first started playing Symphony of the Night, I couldn’t get into it. I would die constantly, and it wasn’t much fun. But once I got over the learning curve I found a compelling experience that really had me hooked. The story was somewhat interesting, but it was the castle that drew me in, and the abilities I was unlocking that kept me going. And as well as colorful graphics and varied locations the music was spectacular, spooky, but catchy; a great companion while playing.

I was skeptical to begin, but the game soon won me over with its timeless style and classic gameplay. For ten bucks, this is a great time eater.

9/10

Played through on a PSP-3001 approx 12 hours playtime.

If you love the music of SOTN as much as I do check out the OST here.

Also for some humor based on SOTN check out this article.

Alien Trilogy

Alien_Trilogy-Psone

Format- Playstation

Genre- FPS

Alien Trilogy

In my local car boot copies of Alien Trilogy pop up all the time, and I always ask myself – is it just because the game was popular in terms of sales, or are people really keen to toss it away like an errant facehugger?

In all honesty I think it’s both. I recall my dad playing the game a fair bit back in the day, and getting annoyed at its difficulty and resorting to cheat codes to progress. Perhaps it was hated by most people, i’m not sure.

But playing it now, it’s not bad. No masterpiece, but it has its charm. It can be difficult sure, but that’s because of two main flaws.

Alien_Trilogy-Psone

First, the controls are tough to use with any grace. The game was made when precise aiming wasn’t really part and parcel of FPS games, and therefore you’re pretty much lumbered with a control scheme that makes you feel like a ham-fisted fool.

Think Doom and it’s ‘all shooting on one plain’ philosophy. You eventually adapt to Alien Trilogy’s control related foibles, but don’t expect to ever truly embrace them.

Alien_Trilogy-Psone

Second, the game is dark. Really dark. See the screenshot above? See how it’s hard to pick out much in terms of concrete objects? Expect to employ that level of squinty eyed-ness for the whole game.

That screenshot is one of the brighter I could find as well. The main advantage of this overpowering bleakness is that it helps to build atmosphere – but damn it’s dark.

Get over these two problems and you have a rather endearing shooter. Perhaps endearing isn’t the right term for a game which sees you working through gloomy corridors, ever aware of a lurking alien threat, but for me it sums up the game quite well.

Alien_Trilogy-Psone

Some elements of the game are surprisingly well implemented for example. The enemy tracker nestled at the bottom right of the screen tells you roughly where aliens are, with small bloops alerting you to their increasing proximity. This can result in some brilliantly tense encounters.

In fact, the game thrives on offering up small memorable moments rather than offering a completely captivating experience.

Your first attack by a face-hugger. The first time you see an alien zig-zagging it’s way to you emerging from the darkness. Small bonus levels which have you gathering as many collectibles as you can within a time limit. All great

Alien_Trilogy-Psone

Of course, you have a fair bit of drudgery, muddy design, dodgy weapons, and repetition to go alongside these spikes of excitement, but for an old PS FPS Alien Trilogy offers a lot more bang for your buck than you’d expect.

It probably sold a lot off the Alien license, but putting that to one side the game isn’t bad by its own merits. Set your standards accordingly and this is a game that deserves to be fondly remembered by more gamers.

So if you see a copy in your local car boot (and going by mine you probably should) and it’s a low enough price, pick it up.

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete

lunar silver star storyLunar: Silver Star Story Complete

The game Lunar didn’t rang a bell to many as only real savvy Sega fans would know of its existence. The game was original released for the Sega CD and many thought it was a lost gem. Working Designs decided to port it to the original Playstation and this is the result. An amazing cinematic RPG of mass proportions! Lets take a look at it….
lunar silver star story
The music really reflects the beauty and atmosphere of this game. If there is anything this game stands out on is the music. You might see it today as a dated game but the music will always shine on this one. We all still listen to Beethoven right? Enough said!

lunar silver star storyThe graphics could have been better but they were good enough. You’ll feel like if you are playing a SNES RPG at times due to the graphics module the developers decided to use and lets face it, with games such as Final Fantasy 7, the standard of how RPGs played and are supposed to look like was raised. It won’t affect much of the gameplay anyways as it’s what the game’s strong point is.
lunar silver star storyWith every RPG comes every type of gameplay. You will find yourself battling through tough bosses and dungeons in this one. This game is not as easy as you might think so you better be ready to use all your skills for it. The challenge factor is what makes you keep coming for more so in a way it’s not too tough that you would want to rip your head off but it’s also not too easy to make it a cakewalk. Just try it for yourself.

lunar silver star story

RPGs are very tough when it comes to replay value as they tend to take a long time to finish so this will depend on how a hardcore a RPG gamer you are. You can’t say not to a second run at this beauty. If you overpass the difficulty, then you’ll be fine and enjoy multiple hours of this masterpiece.

The game delivers an experience like no other. You will fall in love with the characters and storyline. This game will suck you in from start to finish! Be sure to pick it up even though it could be pricey!

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

Medal of Honor

I originally reviewed this game on the PSP and PS3, and at that point there was a bug that would stop you from continuing, if you A. Died, B. completed a mission, or C. looked at your console funny. Now on the Vita, it seems like those problems are behind us, so I managed to complete the game and here it is, another review.

Medal of Honor - PSOne

Original release date: November 11th, 1999

Release date on PSN: June 2nd, 2009

Price : 5.99

Story

Medal of Honor - PSOne

For the uninitiated Medal of Honor is a World War 2 game, you take control of agent Patterson a member of the OSS, the “Office of Strategic Services” which was a honest to god military intelligence service that was the pre-cursor to the CIA. You and Mr. Patterson go behind enemy lines and kill lots of Germans, and stop a lot of secret Nazi weapons programs too, that are also based in history.

Character wise you’re not going to get a lot out of it. Even though the story was written by the great Stephen Spielberg, there is no real story other than see Nazi, shoot Nazi. There’s no dialogue with other characters, as you’re a single operator through-out the game. Any narration you hear is in the cut-scenes between missions, they’re really interesting actually because they’re historical films of real WW2 weapons. But don’t expect to see you character grow or there be any twists in the story.

Gameplay

Medal of Honor - PSOne

This was built to be a Goldeneye like experience, and gameplay wise I agree, it plays a lot like it. You get many different weapons, the standards, hand guns, shot guns, etc. The accuracy of the weapons are a little off it seems though, making some weapons way overpowered. If you have a rifle, you’ll headshot everyone you see, being stuck with a shotgun and a machine gun in later levels though can be a pain. While playing on the Vita touching the back pad (where R2 would be) you get the cross hairs just like you remember on Goldeneye. This was a lot tougher on the PSP,  the dual analog sticks on the Vita make this game much easier to control

The missions are objective based, but there isn’t a lot of variety. You collect this list here, then plant a bomb here, sometimes you have to show a passport for a little stealth action, but that’s a very small portion of the game. There aren’t any escort missions which might be a godsend, but it probably would have given you someone to talk to at least. It gets to be a bit of a grind without a story.

The difficulty ramps up like crazy by the end of the game as well, (someone decided to give the Nazi’s rocket launchers at some point). That can get a little frustrating, but it’s not too bad.

There’s a multiplayer mode as well, but I didn’t test that out, but I heard you can get cheats to challenge a Velociraptor as William Shakespeare.

Shooting nazi’s pretty simple concept.

Graphics

Medal of Honor - PSOne

Medal of Honor is not a looker. It’s strength comes though animations. It was one of the first games where enemies would react depending where you shot them. They catch a bullet in the foot they hop around, the arm, they cover it and etc. They will even follow you by crawling into vents something I haven’t seen in games in the latest generation, which sort of surprised me. The music is excellent though, orchestral score by Michael Giacchino the Academy Award winning composer of films like Mission Impossible 3, Up, the Incredibles etc.

The levels are a bit like mazes, and you do get caught in a lot of corridor shooting. This is mostly due to the draw distance in Medal of Honor, it is really short. It’s even tough to use a Sniper rifle, because most of the time you can’t see the soldiers shooting at you due to the distance problem. This is obviously due to the PSX limitations at the time, but it’s still frustrating getting shot at by someone you can’t see, so you have to fire wildly into the night hoping you hit the source of lead.

Is Medal of Honor worth playing?

Medal of Honor - PSOne

I had fun with it, but going through the review has really made me a bit more negative on the whole thing. It’s an interesting game that’s for sure, but the little annoyances really nip at your heels. The end of the game does sort of end abruptly as well. You would have thought with a game backed by Spielberg you would get something, instead you get a 15 second clip announcing victory. The gameplay is decent in Medal of Honor, but the total lack of story doesn’t really drive you forward to complete it.

Medal of Honor is a functional shooter, but with nothing to really get you invested other than shooting Nazis.

7/10

Weird Games: Alive

Alive - FMV - PSONE

I was a fan of FMV (Full Motion Video) games, not so much as a player but as a watcher. Honestly, those games were often way to hard and cheesy even for a teenager. You would think that if all you had to do was act out a video game, movie style it would produce some great games. Sadly that was not the case.

Alive - FMV - PSONE

Case and point is this PlayStation One game from 1998 called Alive. This game was created by the now bankrupt, General Entertainment. I mean with a name like that is it surprising that they failed? This game featured a 20 year old Japanese girl that is accused of murder. Like in classic games such as, Dragon’s Lair, you needed to make quick movements and commands and make sure they are the correct ones or you die and its game over.

Now the game is in Japanese, but you can piece together the story from the video, sort off. As stated you are accused of murder and must fight to prove your innocence. Of course you are being hunted by the cops and there are a ton of dangers you have to avoid. You are in a futuristic city even though it says 2003 they have tech that looks way beyond that, then again it is Japan.

To say the graphics are bad is an understatement, but I guess you can give them a little slack, but just a little. As a side note and because I am a sick puppy, I laughed really loud watching this video and seeing the “vibrator on” open on the title screen. You play as Atsuko-Kawada and while the game starts off peaceful it isn’t long before you realized something is wrong and you need to get out of there.

So the gameplay works like this. During some sequences you have three choices, active, cleaver and escape. You have a limited amount of time to choose one and the wrong one can delay you or give you the game over screen. Later in the game you get additional choices to make such as, when you are driving you can go left or right or go up or down. Once you have a weapon you will get a moving target indicator and will need to time your shots to hit the enemy. Failure to do so almost certainly spells doom.

Alive - FMV - PSONE

As stated the graphics are not that great. Obviously it is FMV, but the added animation is not well done. You can really see this in the car crash and explosions scenes. It is pretty bad. You can also tell in the gun shots that they use squibs, but all this goes along with the bad acting and overdone death scenes. If there is something I would say this game is known for it is the death scenes, especially the knifing scenes and the abrupt Game Over screen with what sounds like a cheap version of the Law and Order gong.

Full disclaimer, I never got to play this game. There are like no articles or wiki’s on it. I had to piece together everything from the videos. However, the game is interesting enough that it deserves to be talked about if nothing else, but to watch some of the videos and have a good laugh.

Doom

So here we have a game that needs no introduction. Every other FPS developer today should have a portrait of this game in their studio. Doom changed the way we looked at FPS and turned out to be a classic for the ages. Is it still fun to this day? Lets find out!
Doom - Sony Playstation - gameplay screenshot
Doom as very popular for many things and the music was one of them. With such a great soundtrack, the PC version turned out to be the most played shareware ever. This was even before internet became a household name! Turning to the Playstation version, I was shocked that they took out the soundtrack but instead added a very interesting soundtrack. You mostly hear monsters and what not in the background with a mix of environmental music. It’s quite freaky at times especially when you are in very dark rooms. I must say it doesn’t make me miss the PC version’s soundtrack and gives a twist to an already twisted game.
Doom - Sony Playstation - gameplay screenshot

Graphics in this game are everything you could hope for. The blood is there, levels are detailed, and everything looks to be in place. Overall, you have a very fun and viewable version of Doom that will keep you in pace to the finish line. I’m sure you won’t get lost. Also, I’m glad you can still shoot near the acid barrels to blow up your enemies to pieces. That’s always so enjoyable.

Doom - Sony Playstation - gameplay screenshot

The developers of this game were savvy enough to make good use of the Playstation controller. Not only are not going to miss your keyboard but you’ll also have an easy time getting used to the controller. You’ll be using R1 and L1 buttons quite often as they are the ones that make you move left or right in order to dodge your enemies attacks especially those fireballs. You will be able to battle any enemies with easy movement! In the end, this is Doom! You can’t any better than this.

Doom - Sony Playstation - gameplay screenshot

This is probably one of the most replayable FPS games ever. You can go through it, get your password, and continue later. You then finish the game and start the game again. The thing is that this game has such enjoyable gameplay especially with blowing up your enemies that it becomes addictive. You can always go back to this game and replay each level, discover its secrets, and have a great time. You must find all the secrets period!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TYMI6gD19Y[/youtube]

To conclude this entry, the game is a perfect port of the PC version and would be a great addition to any FPS fan especially from the golden age of FPS. You will have lots of endless hours of fun with this one. If you really want to be mega old school, you can always get another Playstation with another TV set and another copy of Doom to play against each other. This is how things were done back then! Hope you enjoyed this week’s pick!

PSone Classics coming to the Vita

PS Vita

We have kept quiet on the Vita mainly because there is enough coverage elsewhere, but with the announcement of PSone classics coming to the Vita, we felt it was news worthy. Originally, the Vita could not play any of the PSone classics, which made many gamers upset. However, an upcoming firmware update will allow owners of the Vita to place all the PSone classics.

For those of you who already have PSone classics on your PS3 all you will need to do is connect your Vita to your PS3 or you can connect directly to the PlayStation Network and transfer your classic games. As said, if you don’t own a PSone classic and want to play it on your Vita you will have unrestricted access to it. Every game in the current PSone catalog will be available.

Now that’s progress.

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider - Playstation - Box

I can’t imagine there’s a human being out there reading this that hasn’t played this game, or at least knows everything about it. Before all the sequels (good and bad), all the comics (good and bad), and all the movies (good and bad), there was the original game that set everything up.

Soon after I purchased my PSOne, my cousin stopped by my apartment. I didn’t realize he was a big video game guy until I talked to him that day. He didn’t live too far from me and we talked about getting together. My brother was already over and I told him we were playing the Playstation. He told me he had one as well, and was going to bring over some games. I don’t remember any of the others he brought, because I don’t think we ever got past Tomb Raider.
“It’s an Indiana Jones chick who jumps around and shoots stuff.”

Tomb Raider is a 3rd-person action-adventure game which really plays like a classic platformer in 3D. Your hero, Lara Croft, is a rich girl who grew up in archeology, but her parents died when she was younger, leaving her with money and boredom. You’ll learn a lot more of her backstory in future games.

Tomb Raider - Playstation - Gameplay Screenshot

In this particular game, she’s hired to search the world for objects which have ties to the Lost City of Atlantis. She will battle animals, creatures, and humans, as well as the occasional mythical figure. Always armed with two guns and unlimited ammo, this will be her signature.

Tomb Raider is more about puzzle-solving than shooting, although there is enough of that. Throughout the levels, which will take her around the world, she will collect items and treasures, pull levers, push blocks, climb walls, jump to ledges, all while avoiding breaking her neck or falling into a death-pit. All in a normal day for an adventurer. Not only can she walk, but run, flip, and swim in water.

A true magical adventure, this game had me hooked. Looking back at it now, the graphics are pretty blocky, but the game play was/is something special.

Tomb Raider - Playstation - Gameplay Screenshot

I can’t finish this review without mentioning one of my favorite moments in video game history……the first time Lara’s walking around and the gigantic T-Rex comes seemingly out of nowhere, and I had nothing but the dual-pistols. Literally a crap-your-pants moment.

Obviously, this marked a special moment in gaming. I can’t stress enough how this was literally a game-changer. Combining great graphics and level design, wonderful music, engaging gameplay…..it almost seemed like you were in a movie, and a must-own for any gamer.

Only two negatives about the game, and they’re not minor; First, you can’t save where/whenever you’d like (they would change that in the sequels), but you have to find the save points. Secondly, the camera angles can be brutal, and sometimes get stuck. Can be very difficult to make a crazy jump when the camera is not cooperating. This will be a problem throughout the series.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL1cwhNDWkw[/youtube]

The great Tommy Shaw once said, “Don’t go messing with a girl with guns.” The man was right-on, she’s totally badass.

Crash Bandicoot

Crash-Bandicoot-PS1-Box

Crash Bandicoot was sought out to be the mascot of Sony just like Mario was the mascot of Nintendo. It worked for a while, until the games went down hill. The best part is that you don’t have to hear about the crappy Crash games, I’ll talk about the good ones here yay! Crash Bandicoot is what a platformer can be if done correctly. This game involves Crash who is trying to defeat this scientist yada yada yada doesn’t matter, it’s the gameplay that counts most of the time, then again some games need to give you a reason to keep playing them, err RPGs anyone?

crash_bandicoot_ps1-gameplay-screenshot

Crash Bandicoot gameplay is very simple. There is the jump button and the spinning attack button and well I think that’s pretty much it. Of course you move with your D-pad! From my experience, this game is a lot of fun and also full of secrets. This was a big hit for Sony back in the day and good thing it was, the game and franchise helped them get an image to compete against Sega and Nintendo. Too bad it was fucked up years later on the PS2…..but lets not change the subject again, Crash 1 for the PS1 is full of nostalgia. The game is what you will expect from a platformer, it has interesting levels, secrets, and crazy bosses. There are things here and there that you might not find appealing but good thing there is a sequel.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3Bn4L-FCr4[/youtube]

 

So that should be it for now, the game contains high marks on music, control, graphics, and gameplay. You can’t lose with this one! Pick it up as it’s mad cheap on eBay. Look for it at your local flea markets and thrift stores as well. Until next time!

Parasite Eve

Parasite Eve - PSOne - Box

Parasite Eve showed that Squaresoft were more than capable of making action RPGs with brand new elements and intriguing story lines. The games cut scenes are outrageous, for instance the part where the rat turns into a freak monster just blew me away! It still did when I finally got to see it again. The gameplay and storyline does evolve as you get through the game like others which will keep you coming back for more.

Parasite Eve - Gameplay Screenshot

The sound track for this game is also very nicely done. As this is a game that takes place in more of our time than in the past(Final Fantasy 3) or the future(Final Fantasy 7) the game is just very enjoyable. The battle scenes are well made and gives you a chance to come up with your own strategy. Enemies will have hit patterns where they will hit you while you are moving but you will need to tap the pad in order to avoid these attacks. In other words, it makes you battle for your life! You also get a chance to upgrade your gun, since you being a cop and all, must have a good kick ass gun! The battle also uses a meter system where the meter has to be full in order to needs to fill up in order for you to attack.

Parasite Eve - Gameplay Screenshot

 

This game is highly suggested for those of you players looking for something different but with a familiar taste at the same time. I also recommend the sequel and well I think I also heard that part 3 is finally being worked on so that’s something good to hear, although I don’t have any next gen console, I’ll probably miss out on this one. Like usual, I won’t give much details in order to keep the spoilers to a minimum because that just spoils that fun huh? Pick it up as it’s a very affordable game on ebay and well try to visit your local pawn shops or flea markets because you might just find it there.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tb9lpYIS-U[/youtube]

Darkstalkers coming to the PS3 & PSP

DarkStalkersScreen

The classic PSOne game will soon be coming to the Playstation 3 and PSP. The game will have ten playable characters including favorites, Morrigan and Felicia. Currently there is no release date, but word is the game will cost you about six bucks.

Here is a video of the classic game.

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