video game review

Psychonauts

The wonderful Psychonauts, on the other hand, has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to originality and story. In fact, it almost goes too far in the opposite direction – basic things, like the controls (which are ridiculously floaty), seem to have been added in almost as an afterthought, such is the focus on telling the sublimely ridiculous story. I won’t go into the details of the plot here (you can read the Wikipedia entry for that), suffice to say that at one point you get trapped inside the mind of a giant mutated lungfish and lay waste to an imaginary city – populated by tiny little mutated lungfish. [...]

Venture

Even on a huge television this dot is tiny – but once you figure out where it is (it’s at the bottom in the middle of the screen in the picture above) you’ll be fine. Each level has four rooms for you to explore, which you enter using white doors. At first entering these rooms is easy, but the further you progress in the game the more aggressive the green squid-beasts that patrol the corridors become. One touch from them and you lose a life, so when you exit rooms you have to be very careful not to immediately bump into them. There’s no way to fight back against them either. [...]

Zelda: Skyward Sword

I also really liked how the story was the ultimate prequel to the series. There was no Ganon, Zelda isn’t a princess, and there is no Kingdom of Hyrule yet. The story was fresh and the main villain for most of the story is the demon Ghirahim who wishes to revive his dark lord. He was also the most memorable boss of the game for me as when you first fight him, he can catch your sword (not in a cut-scene either) and toss it on the other side of the room. [...]

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. [...]

Clu Clu Land

Onto the meaty part of the burger. You’re a fish named Bubbles trying to collect coins while avoiding the Unira, a nasty type of sea urchin. Without the game manual, I wouldn’t have clue one that this was even a fish. She’s fairly badass in her own way because she has these extendable arms with claws that grab onto poles and turn however you grabbed them via momentum. Black holes can suck you in and bounce walls will send you eyeballs first to your doom but your main enemy in this game? [...]

Street Fighter

‘Street Fighter’, as you may have guessed, is based on Capcom’s 1987 arcade game. You enter the worldwide martial arts tournament as Ryu and fight opponents from across the globe in order to become the street fighting champion. Ryu’s fighting arsenal is made up of various punches and kicks – that’s it (no special attacks!). Each battle has timed rounds; the winner being the last fighter standing. After each battle, Ryu competes in bonus rounds, smashing bricks to earn extra points. [...]

Hello Kitty World

The gameplay is quite entertaining. You keep yourself levitated with two balloons and your goal is to get across the level without getting your balloons popped! It may sound simple but believe me, levels get tougher and tougher as you move along. Even if you get your balloons popped you’ll be able to inflate new ones to fly into the sun! Of course, you gotta make sure you don’t land on the different obstacles that will definitely kill you such as fire. [...]

Dig Dug 2

This time around is Dig Dug 2 for the NES. We have been hitting a lot of NES games lately so it’s only fair to continue with them but the next couple of months will showcase other consoles, that’s for sure. This game is different from its predecessor as it takes place in the open. The first one took place underground. I’m guessing the monsters found a way outside and our little hero must blow them up once again. It’s not an amazing title, but it’s definitely worth a mention. [...]

Theme Hospital

Like it’s mentioned above Theme Hospital is a classic hospital management “simulator” for the pc which was released back in 1997. You manage your hospital, you hire doctors, nurses, janitors and receptionists, you build diagnosis and treatment rooms, you discover new deceases and cures and you are having fun the whole time. [...]

Retro Duo Portable V2.0 Review

Should you rush out and buy the Retro Duo Portable V2.0? It depends, if you are happy emulating (legally) your 8-bit and 16-bit Sega or Nintendo games, then the answer is no. However, if you want a system that you can plug in your library of SNES, NES and Mega Drive carts, then the RDP V2.0 is perfect. The other plus to owning the RDP V2.0 is that you will safeguard your Sega and Nintendo hardware from further abuse, and let’s face it, these old consoles won’t last forever! [...]

Rush Bros

In a nutshell, Rush Bros is a platformer game in the likes of MegaMan, Sonic and even newer indie games like Super Meat Boy. You navigate the beautifully created levels with your little rocker running, jumping and avoiding various traps placed throughout each level. The key is taking in your environment. You can just barrel your way through, especially if you are used to playing these types of games, but if you do you are missing the point and the fun. [...]

Darkman

Darkman the NES game has both good and bad elements to it. In summary, some good aspects: Innovative stages involving photography and differing gameplay goals, differing characterizations based on Darkman’s ability to take on the appearance (and thus, apparently, the other physical traits) of certain foes later met as bosses, and an overall smooth, pleasing appearance. The bad components: Not-quite-polished physics resulting in overly slippery momentum and odd hit detection (battle is somewhat arbitrary in contact), rather difficult precision-jumping sequences throughout, and just an overall license-grade performance. [...]

Super Air Zonk

How Japanese gaming is this, you have a hero that belts out songs on his microphone, hurls sushi at enemies and morphs into all kinds of things in a shooting game. Well that is what you get with Super Air Zonk the follow up to Air Zonk which is a spin-off from the Bonk’s Adventure series. You got all that? Super Air Zonk was released in 1993 for the TG-16 by Hudson Soft. Like in Air Zonk you face a multitude of enemies and your overall arch nemesis, SandroVitch. You can power Zonk up with the meat item to eventually turn him into Ultra Zonk and Tyrano Zonk. In addition, after rescuing your friends from capture you can morph with them and combine your powers. [...]

Gauntlet

There are six types of enemy altogether – Grunts, Ghosts, Demons, Sorcerers, Lobbers, and Death. All of them except Death are created endlessly by generators placed all around the maze-like stages which have three strength levels with each monster they create being of the same level. The generators can be destroyed in the same way as the monsters they produce – either by shooting or fighting them one at a time or by collecting potions and using magic which clears some or most enemies on screen in one go. [...]

Golden Axe

Anyway, on with the adventure – there are lots of different enemies to slash and if things get tough on screen, each of the protagonists can call upon their unique magic power – Tyris Flare has the coolest magic, she uses fire to incinerate everything on screen. There is finite magic power, so the player will have to pick and choose when best to use it. But wait there is more – mounted enemies riding creatures can be knocked off and the players themselves can then hitch a ride on the creatures and use them as weapons (swiping with their tail). The other neat attack is to charge and ram Death Adder’s henchmen by double-tapping the joystick right or left. [...]

Takin’ It to the Hoop

This week in honor of the NBA playoffs we bring you the Turbo Views, video game review of Takin it to the hoop. Sadly, this title made by Aicom Corp is really sub-par and I mean even for NES standards much less TG-16. The roster is not good and the big heads and style of the graphics is made more for a Wii retro game that a real basketball game. Also, get this, you cannot even jump! [...]

LeMans

LeMans on the C64 is a top-down up-the-screen driving game, where you as the driver, must hit the pedal to the metal and drive to a never ending finish line. The goal of the game is to pass as many cars as you can. The more cars you overtake, the more points you earn. It’s not about the finish line in this game, it is all about accumulating the highest points score.The faster you go, the more points you earn – 2 points per metre to be exact. Every 10 cars passed you earn 1000 bonus points. Keep an eye on the countdown timer, as you will only get time extensions every 20,000 points. This is old school tough. [...]

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

You don’t have to be a real detective to guess what you do in Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective. The game is a hybrid of an adventure and simulated game where you play the famous doctor Holmes as you and your friend Watson solve a series of crimes. The game takes you around London where you will, interrogating suspects, gathering clues, checking out the newspapers, and eventually presenting all the evidence to the judge. If you did your work correctly the judge will accept your results and the case will be solved. [...]

Rad Raygun

“I spent most of my childhood trying to learn anything that could get me in the video game industry, such as programming and 3D animation,” he said. “I can remember being 13 or 14 and wanting absolutely nothing for Christmas. All I wanted was knowledge. I wanted to know how to make games. I would make little text games in QBasic. I would also download other people’s source code and dissect it, trying to figure out how it worked. In 10th grade Computer Science class, I built my first two actual games, a clone of Pong and a clone of Frogger. [...]

Xevious

The graphics have no retro wow factor either – patches of grass look like they were sketched by a five-year old in a more restrictive version of Mario Paint – it makes you wish for a simple but effective black space background. I’ve not managed to get very far in the game (the screenshot above is of a level that I will probably never get the chance to play through) but I still think most of these criticisms still stand. So don’t bother with Xevious. Just let it quietly pass away, and hopefully the game’s developers will do the same. [...]

Keith Courage in Alpha Zone

With games like Final Fantasy 2(4 in Japan) hitting the USA and other RPGs as well, there was no doubt that this title wouldn’t stand against others. In my opinion, I think this game was released just to show off what the Turbo Grafx console was capable of. The game is very simple, although based by an anime, it’s not bad at all. It contains some RPG elements that help it stand out a little bit. There is also a transformation sequence where you turn into a robot and fly around… [...]

Fracuum

Like a psychedelic version of the Atari 2600 Adventure on steroids, Fracuum is a brilliantly designed and utterly mind-bending maze game. It has you navigating a complex and expertly designed labyrinth that feels quite a bit like a zoomable fractal, while avoiding baddies and collecting points and power-ups. Play it and have your mind messed with. [...]

Electrocop

t’s certainly quite an unusual game. It’s set in 2089 and casts you in the titular role which I guess makes you a robot and we all know what temperamental oafs they can be. This one will need his (or its?) wits about him, however, as he’s up against the formidable (and somewhat conspicuous-sounding) Criminal Brain. This is presumably also a robot, or perhaps a computer-based artificial intelligence like Skynet. Hmmm, well, whatever form it takes, it apparently has influence over the physical world as it’s kidnapped the President’s daughter [...]

Neutopia 2

The game plays a lot like the Legend of Zelda games on the NES and SNES where as you explore a large 2D world taking on tasks and quests in any order you wish. A strange note about this game is at the end it mentions that Neutopia 3 would be coming soon, but no such game was ever released. [...]

Demon Sword

This can be a difficult game to master, especially some of the boss fights, but once you get the hang of the patterns of the infinitely generated hordes of enemies, it becomes a fun little romp. Victar can collect different power-ups; some that increase his life or respawn, others that change his speed or the speed of his darts, one that shortly allows him to throw darts in four different directions at one time, and keys that open special areas that reward miniboss-beatdowns with devastating special spells. [...]

TV Sports Basketball

The game allowed you to play against the computer as either a player or a coach and against other players in versus mode. One of the strange things about the game was that it was a full court basketball game with a vertical view. However, when you crossed half-court there would be a short cut scene showing all your players running to the other side as a sort of loading screen. [...]

Twin Bee

The gameplay is truly enjoyable! I can’t say enough! The game is short but fun and quite challenging. If you think the first stage was easy, they are just easing you in. Be sure to get all the power ups early on because you are going to need them. The game does a great job at raising the bar in difficulty although the enemies are quite simple if you learn the patterns and even then some don’t have patterns and you just have to shoot and move. Fun fun fun ! [...]

Syder Arcade HD

Now as you can see the game looks incredible so that means older phones might have issues so check the specifications before you download. The game itself is a top down free-scroller which means you have much more control over your movements then you would in most space shooters. Your ship comes with shields and a number of weapons to take out the multiple enemies that are gunning for you. Did we mention you don’t need to buy addition weapons or features? [...]

Egress: The Test of STS-417

Eye candy aside, and there’s quite a bit of it as Egress is very good looking first-person adventure indeed, this short sci-fi offering is a also a good and atmospheric game. Set in the outer reaches of space, it follows you, the commander of a two man recon team attacked by a weird black blob, as you explore a mysterious planet, search for you partner (his screaming is rather annoying apparently), try to figure out what’s going on and, quite obviously, save yourself. All this with the help of a pretty standard interface and against some mostly easy but definitely enjoyable puzzles. [...]

Shadow of the Beast

Developed by Psygnosis and published by Electronic Arts, Shadow of the Beast tells the story of a child kidnapped by mages. This child was transformed into a powerful creature to be used at their will. Years later you learn the truth of your past and set out to kill everyone involved and ultimately your master. [...]

Batman

It remains to be one of the more memorable games of my childhood, and features one of the most unforgiving final boss fights I’ve ever encountered in a game. This game is based on the first Batman movie, although you may forget that once you see batmans purple suit, never before seen enemies, and some off the wall boss fights. You will find yourself beating down enemies, ninja gaiden wall jumping, and batarang spamming all the way to the Joker. A challenging, exciting, and highly enjoyable game in every way… this is one you dont want to skip over. [...]

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

Fan service is also prevalent here; many more characters are featured this time around, including the Dinobots, the Combaticons, Metroplex, and the Insecticons. I actually felt like I had been sucked into an eighties toy commercial every time a new character appeared. Hardcore Transformer fans should really find a lot to enjoy here, before I played the game I couldn’t distinguish Swindle from Onslaught, so fans of the source material will really enjoy all of the love taken with the character choices. [...]

Pitstop II

You also have to be careful how you drive as not only can you run out of fuel but you can also wear out your tyres too. Driving too fast around corners too often, for example, will soon see your car squeal off to the side like a burst balloon and stop dead. This, as well as the fuel situation, can be overcome by making one of the titular pit-stops. These can take some time but are unfortunately necessary if you want to make it to the end of a race in anything resembling a decent position. [...]

Kirby Tilt and Tumble

A s for the game, it’s well suited to the Gameboy and really did deserve to reach a worldwide audience. It has small, manageable maze levels that are suited to quick bursts of play, and is simple enough to be grasped by most players. Stabs of annoyance can occasionally be inflicted through the game’s controls, such as having to flick your gameboy to jump, which temporarily snatches any view you may of the actual screen. Fortunately, foibles such as these aren’t enough to boil over into out and out frustration. [...]

Barbie

Each “level” of this “game” is actually a dream that Barbie is having, which is a convenient cop-out way to explain the ridiculous elements in each stage. Nonetheless, Barbie is armed to confront her adversaries with projectiles that never seem to hit anything, despite their somewhat potentially interesting mechanic of traveling a certain distance dependent on how long the player holds the B button. It is a shame that the potential of this degree is play control is wasted on such garbage of a video game. [...]

Gex: Enter The Gecko (GBC)

Most noticeable is that the game uses ‘B’ to progress through menus and jump, which goes against the unwritten rule that ‘A’ is the main button. The fact that this is one of the most noticeable elements of the game does not bode well. Actually, the controls are generally rubbish (walk more than a few consecutive steps and the green one breaks into a run) and level design is of a labyrinth rather than linear nature, which helps brew up a sense of confusion after playing only for a few minutes. A lack of map doesn’t help either. [...]

Happy Monster

Actually, now that I think about it, this must be how Mr. Neelsen was able to fund his F-Zero exploits. Oh well, he’s no worse than Zoda I suppose. Whether the F-Zero tournaments are tainted or not, our hero is gifted with only the basic platforming actions here. He can drop down through platforms, and he can fall an unlimited distance without harm, but contact from any monsters causes instant death. By means of offensive abilities, he can shoot fireballs from his torso to take out the monsters, of which there are several colours which determines their speed and how many hits they take to defeat, but he can only jump a short height. [...]

Alpha Mission

Alpha Mission already suffers a blow in being ported to a television setting, since vertically scrolling shooters are much more apt to their original arcade screens, oriented to provide an optimal perspective and taller screen. With so much working against it, and forcing the player to deal with a ship that begins so slowly and existing under the constant threat of downgrades (which, by the way, actually serves to discourage quickly going after power-ups, which seems outrageously philosophically counter-intuitive of shooter design), this video game is just not good. Even worse, it is not fun. [...]

Mega Man

The graphics are very stable. They are nothing amazing but it does make you feel like if you are in the future. The game looks and feels great overall. There aren’t that many weird things off from the game but it wouldn’t make any sense since it’s from the future. The bad guys are definitely known by many with such simple names as Cut Man and Guts Man…. Yeah, I remember those. The gameplay is quite tough. This is one of the more difficult Mega Man games out there mainly because there is no Mega buster, no sliding, no E-tanks…I can go on and on. You’ll have to use your best Mega skills to get through this. It’ll be worth it though! [...]

Pocket Gal

This ‘effort’ comes in the form of stages. There are more of them per girlie the further you get and they alternate between frames of regular pool (is it still called a ‘frame’ in pool?) and trick shots. A predictibly simple interface enables you to take the shots – just move your aim, represented by a dotted line, and set the power. It’s hardly a complicated process so you should find yourself smacking the balls around (giggity) in no time. There are a few different variations of pool during the course of the game (6 ball, 9 ball, etc) and it’s possible to add topspin, backspin, and swerve to the cue ball during play, but that’s about as complex as things get. So, your prize for playing well may nudge this game toward the ‘adult’ side of things, but is it even worth playing it at all? Well, not for the ‘prize’ itself, obviously – even in its day this was hardly an obscene game – but it’s actually not bad. [...]

BlazeOn

Now don’t get me wrong if you love these types of games then you’ll understand there is only so much you can do, but the key question becomes, is the gameplay fun. In BlazeOn you fight one against an army of enemies and like R-type you are not always in free open space. You end up traveling inside enemy bases and end up fighting a boss at the end. [...]

Berzerk

Everything has an “electric” feel to it, from the laser shots to instant death from brushing against a wall. You receive points by destroying the robots, but you can’t hang around too long before escaping or “Evil” Otto will quickly be on your ass. Otto, a bodiless smiley face, is the “Smoke Monster” of video games. A true indestructible enemy that will chase you down like a heat-seeking missile. [...]

Double Dragon: 1987 vs 2012

I am an old school retro gamer, and yes, I also dabble in the current generation video gaming systems. When I heard that one of my favorite beat’em ups would be rebooted on the current gen consoles, I was salivating at the thought of kicking some black warrior heads. Well, I have finally ‘tasted’ the Double Dragon Neon reboot, and let me say this – I was initially wowed (nostalgia got to me) but within a few minutes of play I started comparing Neon to the original arcade game. I found myself thinking, I would rather be playing the original ! [...]

Alfred Chicken

The visuals are not awful, but they lack a certain polish. In a way that is difficult to describe yet obvious the moment you see it, the art used is very “flat,” lacking outlines or layers, giving the human player a “washed-out” sensation for everything. All this, despite the fact that the game prides itself on not having a big single color for its backgrounds, instead plastering little stars and crap across the canvas of the levels. Another instance: The first stage’s color sample is in a yellow and brown theme, even though Alfred himself is yellow and brown, and the whole event just feels stale and yucky. [...]

Crystal Castles

A 1983 Atari product, Crystal Castles is a game that stands out. From its crazy-detailed cabinet art to its glow-in-the-dark trackball, you wouldn’t be able to miss this in any arcade. But, how does it play? The “Crystal Castles” are 40 isometric levels given a 3D look. You play as a goofy-looking bear wearing Dorothy’s ruby slippers. Throughout the pathways of the castles are scores of gems and jewels. Your mission is to collect them (for points) as quickly as possible. The trackball moves you around and there is a jump button, as well. To reach the different levels of the screen, you’ll use ramps, stairs, elevators, and secret passageways. [...]

Cadash

This week’s video review features the 1991 platform game, Cadash. Developed and published by Tatio, the gameplay combines the elements of the traditional role-playing game with that of a platformer. The game features sword and sorcery and is set in a medieval fantasy world where powerful demons and abominations who at one time walked among humans, were banished to the underworld below Cadash. A powerful wizard named Balrog has arisen to take revenge on the humans and return to the overworld. [...]