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

Tomba 2

Tomba 2 - Playstation Box

Tomba 2 for the PSX redefined a golden era of platformers that were though to be dead but weren’t! This game has some of the most innovative gameplay around for the PSX. Anyways, the game starts you out as caveman of some sort that goes on adventures like saving a crab for once…lol….it does contain some great graphics and interesting concepts. The game is just so damn fun and hard to find. I for once have only found one copy of it and has been loose which is still worth a pretty penny(around 35 US dollars loose according to my friend that owns a gaming store).
Tomba 2 - Gameplay Screenshot

This dude’s hair looks crazy being all pink and all but it sort of reminds me of the good old Joe & Mac games. Those were some classic fun games for sure. The gameplay pretty much goes from 2D to 3D at times. You can call it 2.5D if you please since it switches views at times. In the end, you are always following one road which keeps to its platforming genre.

Alright, I don’t want to say too much about this game to give stuff away but I do suggest picking a copy up if you ever see it in the while. I don’t recommend you buy it off ebay since it goes for a lot of money and we want to keep our costs down hehehhe…. You can also pick up part 1 of the Tomba series which is as good as this one.

UFO: Enemy Unknown

UFO: Enemy Unknown is a turn-based tactical strategy game with managerial and role playing elements published in 1994 by MicroProse Software on PC and various Amigas and later on on Playstation.

X-COM_-_UFO_Defense_Coverart

I wondered for a while how does one properly explain what ingenious creation like UFO is, compared to other similar games. And found no answer… So I decided to give it a whirl, play it for a while and see how I felt about it after years long brake from seeing it last. That was a HUGE mistake! A catastrophe on an unthinkable scale! I can’t stress how much time I’ve „wasted” playing it, though it was not a waste per se. Well, as you might have guessed by now, the game is not bad by no means. In fact when I started playing it I couldn’t stop until I beat it. And beating UFO takes a lot of time and patience as the game in its early stages especially is quite unforgiving. Going through it however, with all its ups and downs left me with a clear view of what I wanted to share here with you… So, let me get to it straight away…

In the beginning there was chaos…” And there is loads of it in UFO as well, especially for a first time player. There’s tons of screens, stats and settings that may seem a bit overwhelming for a person looking for a quick strategy fix, but if you decide to take your time with it and learn everything that there is to learn about the game it will reward you hundredfold! With long, deep (Oh, yeah, I said it!) adventure, that when completed will leave you disappointed… Badly… Because you’ll instantly want MORE!

UFO or X-COM as they call it in the US is a product built upon the idea that could’ve easily been transformed into three different, smaller games. First of, there’s the strategy – Globe View – in which you build your bases, send intercepting ships to shoot of alien vessels and direct your troop transport crafts to various missions – like alien terror attack, alien bases or earlier mentioned shot down UFOs. Sounds cool? Good, because it is!

ufo_enemy_unknown_01

Then there’s a micro-managerial – Base View – where you decide on your base’s buildings placement and purpose. Each building has it’s price, time it takes to put up and also provides certain commodities – like living areas, research laboratories, defences, hangars or even alien interrogation rooms, so thinking the layout through is a must. In here also, you buy, sell, research & manufacture various kinds of weapons, ships, equipment & technologies. And this is where you train, equip and prepare your troops before they get sent on a mission that most of them may not come back from.

And last but most definitely not least – Tactical View – where whilst on a missions you’ll lead your soldiers turn by turn to their painful and bloody deaths… I mean to victory against bad and ugly alien invaders, which vary in kind power and abilities! Yes… Well, initially some of your troops are bound to meet their maker in the field of battle when put up against overwhelming alien force. As they progress in game though – earn experience & gain skills, each mission will become more and more bearable until eventually with help of high tech equipment and armor designed by your team of smart bottle-bottom-like glasses wearing scientists you’ll start earning a bit of advantage. I wouldn’t hold on to that hope from the start though as that will not happen until you’re many, many hours into gameplay.

ufo_enemy_unknown_02

Because UFO punishes the slightest mistakes in tactical approach, you will have to be prepared for some serious losses when playing X-COM for the first time. That is good however as if it was not so challenging it may have not end up being so AWESOME… After all, it is fun to spray long series of bullets through purple coloured alien brains. But what’s even more enjoyable in my opinion is starting your way with your soldiers brains being spread on a pavement and slowly earning your way through the alien horde whilst learning their genesis, weak and strong points and researching means to counter them effectively.

In UFO: Enemy Unknown one can see many influences by the earlier games, games like Laser Squad or Civilization, from which UFO took what’s best and mixed into something even better. Funny enough Civilization was released by Microprose as well and Laser Squad was developed by the same team that wrote UFO. Coincidence? I don’t think so… Anyway, as I mentioned before UFO could very well be three separate, good in their own kind games but instead Microprose opted for mashing it all up into one tough but entertaining behemoth of a creation that takes many evenings to complete and keeps you on your toes through out it until the very last minute of gameplay.

ufo_enemy_unknown_03

All versions of the game are virtually the same gameplay-wise with only some minor engine differences. Differences like Amiga version having two separate release branches, one with 32 and another with 256 colours graphics (all other systems get 256 only) and a bit better music and sound effects. Playstation outing being least playable out of the lot due to the limitations of pad control compared to the mouse. All that said, any version you manage to pick up will provide you with dozens of hours of fun and challenge, and that’s what UFO is all about!

MicroProse released two continuations to UFO – X-COM: Terror From The Deep & X-COM: Apocalypse. First being direct sequel with some minor gameplay setting tweaks & alterations and second released in high resolution but with reduced micro-management scale from the whole World to one huge Metropolis. There’s been some spin-offs developed as well but mostly were not worth any attention as they fared into different genres, badly I must add. Independent Developers have been craving to shadow the success of original, releasing many similar games, especially over the last few years. Unfortunately none of them came even close to perfecting balance of gameplay and its mechanics, and MicroProse’s original is still King of the Hill when in comes to tactical anti-alien warfare.

ufo_enemy_unknown_05

It took me two weeks of serious gaming before I beat the game and I only managed to do it on normal difficulty level. Can’t wait to see what happens if I raise it a bit even though UFO was challenging enough the way I played it. Overall I want to give UFO: Enemy Unknown 15 out of 10 but I can’t, so I’ll settle for what’s available at hand…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dupngnAS6yk[/youtube]

PC version is still on sale (well, again not still) and can be purchased on STEAM either separately or as a part of the Complete pack where it is sold along with both successors. Alternatively if you still own your original disks they can be easily used to install and run it through DOSBox. As for Amiga outing, the game same as the platform has been forgotten for years and is only available to download as an abandonware at Planet Emulation website.