Gravitar

Gravitar

While it’s true that the first video games to employ the combination of a space vessel and a landscape with a fairly realistic interpretation of gravity came earlier than this one, the first one you could really call an actual game was Gravitar. Like the earlier Lunar Lander and Asteroids, it makes use of lovely vectors to create its landscapes and other bits and pieces, and this time they’re in glorious technicolor! Unsurprisingly for a ‘gravity game’, it’s also set in space and involves cleansing several star systems of the many gun emplacements, or ‘bunkers’, that are sprinkled across the surfaces of their various planets. Your ship is a small blue thing somewhat reminiscent of the craft in Asteroids and is controlled by five buttons. Two turn it left or right, one shoots its feeble but invaluable cannon, another thrusts its engine to counteract the gravity, and the last activates its shields.

Gravitar - Atari 2600

By making use of these buttons you’ll need to guide your craft through three solar systems and clear them of bunkers. You start off emerging from a portal of some sort from where you’ll immediately be drawn towards the nearby star. Getting too close will cost you a life so you’ll instead need to use the ship’s thrusters and head for one of the five planets that lie further out. Touching any of these switches the action to a side-viewed section of land featuring several red bunkers. Destroying one takes only a single hit but they’re constantly shooting as well so you’ll often need to be a very good shot! Once you clear the section of bunkers, simply head back to the top of the screen to re-enter the ‘home’ area and head for another planet. Do the same for all of the planets and you’ll move to the next ‘phase’ which has some new ones. If you manage to clear all three phases and you’ll then be transported to the next ‘universe’ where the same job awaits.

Gravitar - Atari 2600

It’s not quite as repetitive as it might sound though. Each planet has a different layout – one might feature a flat (though ‘bumpy’) landscape, others require you to go underground and take out the bunkers around tricky caverns, and one stage consists of what seems to be an asteroid with bunkers all around the outside of it. Each solar system also features a ‘red planet’ which contains a reactor at the end of a winding tunnel. The tough part is, you have to get to it, destroy it, and get back out within a tight time limit. Doing so will ‘complete’ that solar system. The planets also have different points values which indicate how difficult they are – not only in terms of bunker positions/numbers, but also how strong the gravity is and therefore how much fuel you’ll need to use, for your supplies are indeed finite and, unlike Lunar Lander, you don’t get more simply by inserting more coins.

Gravitar - Atari 2600

As well as the thrusters, fuel is also used by the shield so it can disappear quickly! Luckily, there are more fuel cannisters available on most planets which can be grabbed using your tractor beam (activated the same way as the shield). It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that the bunkers are pretty good shots, and enemy ships also appear now and then and zero in on your position, so hanging around to grab fuel can often be costly. It’s not an overly tough game though, at least in theory. Lives are lost often at first but the stages are well designed and control of your ship is well implemented too – it’s one of those games where mastering the controls makes a lot of difference and can potentially see your game last forever (almost). Like many early arcade games it does keep repeating too. There are four ‘universes’ in total – the second one reverses the gravity (which will mess with your mind big time), the third one features invisible landscapes, and the fourth one has both features, but if you complete all of them you’ll just go back to the first one.

Gravitar - Atari 2600

The only thing that changes for each universe is the time limit for destroying the reactor which gets smaller and smaller until it becomes impossible, but that can take a good while – the amazing world record score for this game was achieved over a continuous 24 hour (almost) period! I’m not sure I’d want to play Gravitar for that long even if I was good enough (and I’m pretty far from that – I can generally only last between 5 and 10 minutes!) but it is a pretty decent game. The sound is limited to a couple of effects but I’ve got no complaints about anything else. The vector graphics are as crisp as you would expect (and are even all glowy on the Xbox 360 port!), the ship movement and collision-detection is fine, and those controls, while initially a little confusing, do at the very least challenge you to do better. It may still be a bit too tough for some but it’s a challenge that I enjoyed anyway!

RKS Score: 7/10

Deadlight

Released for Xbox live arcade on August 1st 2012, Deadlight is a 2d side-scrolling survival horror cinematic platformer for Xbox Live Arcade developed by Tequila Works.

deadlight

(..takes deep breath…)
Plot:
Virus outbreak reanimates the dead, decimation of society, Randall Wayne (you) searches for his family.  Walking Dead meets Limbo.

deadlight
Positive critic reviews focused on the horrific and compelling story-line and challenging puzzle game play.  Negatives include issues around game controls, brevity and voice acting.  Opinion is polarized as to the game environment, impressive vs. bland and the plot, compelling vs pointless.  The game managed to score a decidedly average 69% from 52 critic reviews on Metacritic.

deadlightMy 2 cents
In fairness to the developers, I’ve only managed to invest an hour in the game since launch day, which probably says more about the game than I’d like to admit.  I found the voice over script contrived, the game atmospherics failing to impress and then there is that overly familiar nod to the walking dead, the “shadows” responding to loud noises…please!!.

deadlight
Alf The Helper: Yeah I noticed that too, they could have mixed it up, like the zombies responding to smell!
Elderly: Smell?
Alf The Helper: Yeah, like the zombies can pick up your smell if you’ve been sweating and stuff.
Elderly: What?
Alf The Helper: Yeah, like you’ve got to shower and brush your teeth, find cans of Lynx to put the Zombies of your trail..
Elderly: 8( …..oh sweet divine!!….where was I?

…..getting pummeled by “shadows” before I knew how to fight back, didn’t help either.  I do however intend to return and finish the game, at which stage I’ll update this little section…  without Alf!

deadlight
Quote of the Bunch:
Deadlight draws you in with its rich, pervasive atmosphere, but doesn’t give you much to do once you’re there. -Gamespot

deadlight

Reviews Summary:
The quality of content is amazing, psychotic storyline with fluid gameplay.
The full product is a disappointment to say the absolute least.
Probably the best downloadable title on the market right now.
Weirdly inconsistent 2D survival horror.
A breathtaking adventure, though the main campaign lasts only five or six hours.
It’s as mindless as the zombies it features.
All the style, substance, and gameplay you could want, with none of the originality you need
Without satisfying mechanics or narrative, there’s nothing pushing you forward towards Deadlight’s conclusion.
An incredibly slight experience, a single play-through comes in at under two hours.
Ruined by the lacking storyline and extremely short campaign.

Official Website

Sonic CD

Sonic CD - Main Screen

Of course, this should’ve happened months ago but there are always things that come and go with our lives and other things. It’s finally here though and what better way to reach the one hundred mark than with an incredible game. A personal favorite if you ask me! Lets check Sonic CD out!

Sonic CD - Main Screen

The music of Sonic CD is something to admire. Not even the Sonic 3 soundtrack which was directed by Michael Jackson was good enough to surpass this. There might be different opinions on this matter but the fact is that this game has an incredible soundtrack! Don’t believe me? Just try it out for yourself!!

Sonic CD - Main Screen

The graphics are top notch for a 16 bit Sonic game. The game not only looks beautiful but it also has a 3D view at times especially when Sonic runs through some ramps. The angle switches and almost gives it a 3D look. There is plenty of color to see and lots of graphical beauties to admire. Well done Sega.

Sonic CD - Main Screen

What can you expect from a real good Sonic game? Great gameplay of course. The levels get challenging along the way but not too challenging to make you throw your controller against the wall. The levels stay fresh and offer new ideas which is why this has been one of the more enjoyable Sonic games ever released. You have to search for all the secrets and even try to acquire all the stones. Can you accomplish such tasks?

Sonic CD - Main Screen

The game has a great replay value. You can pick this game and beat it from start to finish and enjoy it every time. This is an example of why these games are referred to as “classics”. They are always a great experience to come back and challenge yourself over and over. Keep this one in your collection for sure!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDuk-wsY0rA[/youtube]

To conclude, the game is just a gem and probably one of the best Sonic games ever. After years of mediocre Sonic releases, we can always go back to this one and enjoy what Sonic was. Thank goodness for Sonic Generations reviving the franchise! Be sure to pick up Sonic CD to battle against Metal Sonic whenever you get a chance!! A must have!!

Spelunky

Spelunky-gameplay screenshot

I don’t often do game reviews. I certainly wasn’t planning to do one when I first downloaded Spelunky for XBox Live Arcade when it came out on July 4. However, after becoming totally addicted to the game I feel compelled to do just that. This game is something special.

Spelunky, written by Derek Yu, originally appeared in 2009 as a freeware game for Microsoft Windows. The game will instantly take veteran gamers back in time with a 16-bit console feel and music soundtrack and side-view platformer style. The object of the game is to take your adventurer through four different environments full of challenging enemies, booby traps and random surprises.

Spelunky-gameplay screenshot

Along the way there are various treasures to tempt you. Collecting these are not required to complete a level but are required to run up the score and to ensure you can purchase items when you find a shop. The player is armed with bombs that can blow holes in the floors and walls and ropes to help reach high places.

Health is scarce in Spelunky. You begin with four hearts, all of which can be quickly lost in countless ways on each level. More hearts can be gained by rescuing “damsels” hidden in each stage, but doing so requires carrying her all the way to the exit.

Spelunky-gameplay screenshot

The charm of Spelunky comes with a unique combination of familiarity and surprise. It somehow borrows elements from numerous classic titles while managing to throw curveballs at almost any turn. That treasure chest or clay pot you just busted open could be full of treasure, helpful items or enemies. Picking up a valuable treasure might trigger a trap. Adding to the surprise factor are random levels. While each world has four levels to pass, the levels appear at random from a far larger pool, sometimes adding in total darkness or zombies as well.

Spelunky-gameplay screenshot

Spelunky is also an incredible challenge, yet somehow contains enough balance to remain charming. Personally, I am reminded of the very balance that hooked me on games like Lode Runner in the 1980s and the original Prince of Persia in the 1990s. Spelunky joins those titles on a short list of platformer games that have driven me just insane enough to demand that I have to try again, knowing that I’ll do better on my next go-around, only to dodge my previous mistake in favor of making a new one. Passing a level is extremely satisfying, even if you didn’t get any further than you have before by doing so.

Spelunky-gameplay screenshot

There is also an element of risk versus reward that exists in very few games of this kind. You will often find yourself at the end of the level, able to simply exit the door and move on, but tempted by trying to gain just a little more treasure stashed nearby. If you pull it off it is quite a thrill, but more often than not you’ll simply end up losing valuable health or finding sudden death, wondering afterward why you didn’t just leave while you could. Greed can also be costly due to time. Taking a page from 1980 arcade classic Berzerk, lingering too long on a stage will bring out an invincible enemy (a ghost in this case) that will end your point-pressing attempt cold if it catches you.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Caj23gbl0n8[/youtube]

All told, Spelunky is easily the most addicting and charming game I’ve come across on XBLA to date. I know people often hesitate on grabbing a game for 1200 Microsoft Points, especially if it doesn’t have a household name attached to it, but in this case it is more than worth the price. Spelunky is as addictive as it is challenging and will provide hours of entertainment before you’ve even realize you’ve been playing for hours. A must-buy.

Sonic CD: Coming Soon

sonic cd logo

Fans of the classic Sega CD game will soon have the chance to play Sonic CD on Xbox LIVE Arcade, PlayStation Network, iPhone and iPod touch, iPad, PC Digital Download, Android, and Windows Phone. The release will feature the original Japanese soundtrack and is set to be released in late 2011, most likely right in time for the holidays.

sonic cd

Following the classic story of the original, Sonic CD sees Dr Eggman plan to cause chaos and take control of the future by stealing Time Stones from the Little Planet. Sonic must speed through levels and travel through time while fending off Eggman’s robots to recover the Time Stones, and save Amy Rose from his mechanical twin, Metal Sonic! This fast-paced game will return with brand new features including enhanced widescreen graphics, special iOS features, Xbox LIVE Achievements, PSN Trophies, PC Achievements and more.

Limbo Review

Limbo screenshot
Welcome to Limbo

“Some days, you’re just screwed from the moment you wake up, till the moment you lay back down”

(Author’s note: I do give games a score, but I use a different system than most. It’s simple really. I give the score based on the price of the game. For example if a game is $60 but pretty decent, I’d give it a $30/$60, and recommend that you should buy it for $30. With MS Points, it’s the same thing.)

Limbo, released July 21st at the beginning of Summer of Arcade on Xbox Live, had a lot to live up to when I first heard about it. It reminded me of Braid from 2008’s Summer of Arcade launch at first glance, however as I played through it, I realized that this is not like Braid at all, it triumphantly surpasses Braid and every other game on Xbox Live Arcade, be it puzzle or otherwise.

Limbo screenshot
This is not a happy place

Limbo’s minimalist art style is striking enough at first glance to warrant immediate attention. The small boy’s only distinguishing feature being his two hauntingly glowing eyes. He wakes up on the floor, clueless and without guidance, and immediately embarks on an adventure that would (and has) made grown men shudder with fear.

While Limbo may look like a simple “artsy” puzzle game, here lies the main difference between Limbo and Braid: Limbo is completely terrifying. Despite the boy being a “silent protagonist” who we know absolutely nothing about other than he kind of looks like Ness from Earthbound, I felt absolutely compelled to try to keep him out of as much danger as humanly possible.

Danger however, is everywhere. Bear Traps, Giant Spiders, Automated Turrets, even things as simple as a flaming tire become absolutely petrifying in Limbo. As I played through, knowing that the game was designed to terrify you and kept my guard, the people watching me play were screaming and cringing in absolute terror. Limbo is painful. Limbo is unrelenting. Most importantly, Limbo is completely unforgiving.

Limbo screenshot spiders
The Spiders are a formidable foe

While we’re on the topic, let’s talk about the deaths in Limbo. “Limbo is unforgiving” is a complete understatement. It’s more than unforgiving, it makes you look like a pathetic fool as well, should you make a mistake. Run too far without paying attention? Bear Trap has now turned your body into an Ocarina. Happen to be in a calm state of mind? Limbo sends a giant spider to impale you and then shake you off as if it stepped in something. Didn’t jump down at the right spot? Limbo forgot to show you that spinning buzz-saw blade waiting to turn you into meat shuffleboard pieces.

Whereas Braid was about using one mechanic, time travel, in many different and mind-detonating ways, Limbo takes the opposite approach. Limbo throws everything at you it can possibly think up. While gameplay consists mainly approaching the puzzle, solving it and moving on without getting turned into cannon-fodder, these puzzles are simple, yet elegant in design and are amazingly difficult to figure out. Towards the middle of the game however, I seemed to get better at solving them, but almost as if the game was recognizing that I was getting better at surviving, it shifted dynamic and the puzzles began to take a much more sinister turn. However none of the deaths seem unwarranted. I was never playing a part of the game and screamed “OH COME ON I SHOULD HAVE MADE THAT!” as we all do when we’re playing these puzzle games. It’s almost as if Limbo has a life of its own. If you are accurate, you are rewarded for your accuracy, but if you aren’t flawless, you most certainly will pay. Greatly.

Uncommon with most art games is Limbo’s “story.” There isn’t any progression however, this isn’t a true story, but as you progress further in the game, you start to figure out why you’re in this horrible, horrible place. However unlike Braid, the story is woven during playtime, not through some awkward text at the beginning of the level. More importantly, this story is one that is simple enough to understand, but satisfying enough to digest. All without any speech or text of any kind.

Limbo is easy to classify, difficult to master, but most certainly one of the best of it’s kind. As long as you are willing to continue forward and figure out the puzzles, Limbo will easily be one of the most (if not the most) satisfying arcade game you will play this summer.

Score: 1200/1200 (MS Points)

Gyruss

Gyruss Arcade
Gyruss Arcade

Gyruss review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“My favorite video game from my early youth”

Overall Score:
10 out of 10

Overview & my history with this game:

This review is specifically for the arcade and c64 versions. I haven’t played the other versions and I know the NES one is different (includes bosses, different music, etc.)

This was the first Konami game I ever saw or played, although it’s not their first game. People were impressed with Pacman but this was the first game that showed me that video games were going to be the future. This is the first game I remember having upgrades and also the concept of getting a “perfect”. This was the first game I played that had bonus stages too.

You take the role of a starship fighter pilot trying to fight your way to earth. The entire solar system has been taken over by a legion of enemy fighters and space stations. Your lone fighter will get swarm attacked by a pack of enemy fighters that will come at you in a specific attack pattern depending on what squadron you’re fighting and what planet you’re traveling to next. Your ship rotates around the center of the screen as you fight your enemies and keep flying forward. You start at Neptune and travel in order of the planets until you make it to Earth.

Gyruss Perfect
Gyruss Perfect

Not only are fighters coming at you at a fast rate but you have to deal with the projectiles they sometimes fire at you, passing asteroids, energy barriers that can rip you apart, and space stations that spawn at the end of a stage. Everything in this game kills you with one shot. If you get touched by an enemy ship or any other object, you instantly die.

At the end of the level, when there are a swarm of enemy fighters circling in the background, 2-3 enemy space stations will appear, one which, if you haven’t picked up the upgrade yet, will make two beams circle around the screen and land on your ship once you kill it, giving your weapon twice the width in spread.

If you kill a certain grouping of enemies in a specifically quick manner and leave no survivors the game also awards you with bonus points. This matters in this game, actually, because you get bonus lives based on your score.

The game loops when you beat it until you run out of lives.

This game has always made me think of the movie The Last Starfighter. In my mind, as a child, I imagined that it took place in that universe and the main character was fighting his way back home.

Gyruss is available originally for the Atari computers as well as 2600 and 5200 consoles, the ColecoVision console, the Commodore 64, and for the NES. The game got rereleased for Playstation, Gameboy Advanced, and Xbox Live Arcade.

Fun Factor:

Gyruss is a ton of fun and my favorite early shooter game. It’s a lot of fun to hear the swarm sound of a group of fighters jumping out at you in a really fast pattern and you blasting away as much as possible trying to kill them all and gain the bonus points while keeping them from ramming you or shooting you as well.

You can see how intense the action is in the following video:

Fun Factor gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

There is no way to change the difficulty but the game is challenging enough for most gamers as it is. The longer you play it, the harder it gets. The enemies will attack you more often in each passing stage. Overall, the game is tough near the later stages but it’s still playable.

Since you can’t change the difficulty that hurts it but it’s hard enough for most players. I give Difficulty Versatility a score of 7 out of 10.

Value:

Most people will just play this on M.A.M.E. these days so basically the ROM is free. Technically, you’re not supposed to play ROMs unless you own the game already.

The link to download the c64 emulated version is the following from c64.com.

I couldn’t easily find the Playstation and GBA versions for sale as they might be out of print.

Since most people will play the emulated versions, I’d give Value a score of 10 out of 10.

Replayability:

I’ve been playing Gyruss since the early 80s and I visit it often when I’m in a retro arcade/c64 gaming mood. The mix of the music, retro sounds, non-stop gameplay keeps me having fun even though it’s been many years that I’ve been playing this gem. It’s hard for me to get tired of the gameplay. Replayability get a score of 9 out of 10.

Sound:

The sound effects are super retro and they’re brilliant. My favorite sound effects are the blast of the main gun, the teleportation sound from when you warp to the next stage, the gun UPGRADE sound (oh god yes), and the explosion when one bites the dust. The rest of the sounds are great and sound like a perfect blend of retro arcade.

Sound gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Music:

The music to Gyruss is a simplied and sped up version of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue is D minor:

To me classical music in games, especially ones with a ton of action is pretty epic.

Music gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Graphics:

For an early 80s game, this game looks simply amazing. Most of the enemies for the main stages look the same but the enemies for the bonus stages look unique depending on which bonus stage you are doing. The game looks like a total evolution over Space Invaders. Graphics get a score of 10 out of 10, considering this is a 1983 game.

Stability/Reliability:

Since the 80s I’ve never seen this game crash or get stuck once, not even after playing it for ours on my old c64. Stability/Reliability are perfect and get a 10 out of 10.

Controls:

On all versions, the controls are really simple. Left rotates you in that direction and right rotates you in that direction. Fire just fires for all versions. Nothing fancy or confusing there.

For the arcade version, the ship will rotate in the direction of where you have the joystick pointed towards. If you keep it towards the top and you keep pointing up, the ship will just stay there once it’s topped out there.

For the c64 version, it’s a little different. Left moves you counter-clockwise, and right moves you clockwise, no matter what.

Controls can’t get simpler than that. Controls get a score of 10 out of 10.

Performance:

Perfect performance, even when the game just came out. Performance gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Conclusion:

Gyruss is a classic arcade game that should be played by everybody, especially retro arcade gaming junkies!

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Geometry Wars Retro Evolved

Geometry Wars in game screenshot
Geometry Wars in game screenshot

Geometry Wars Retro Evolved review by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:

“The return and revenge of classic arcade games.”

 

 

Overall Score:

10 out of 10

 

Overview:

Back in the 80s, people would usually flock to arcades to see what new hard arcade games would come out and they would try to see who could get the highest score in their neighborhood. Arcade games were really hard back then since they were designed for you to keep dropping in quarters in order to keep playing in order to try to beat your friends’ scores. Continues? Never heard of that! Those days are gone but now thanks to games like this one, the challenge from those games has returned.

This game needs no storyline.You’re a spaceship/triangle and you’re trying to survive for as long as you can. You move around and shoot with endless enemies coming for you at all times. If anything touches you, you die. It’s that simple. After 10000 points, your fire modes alternate from rapid fire to a more concentrated but slower attack. You have no control over this. The only special thing that can save you when you’re really screwed is the nukes you get, in limited numbers. The game awards you with extra lives, nukes when you reach a specific score point (and multiples of that score amount).

The longer you live and the more/faster you kill, the higher your score multiplier will be. When you die, you lose a life and ALL your score multiplier. Basically, try to never die because as you have a high multiplier if you are really good you will reach a point where if you manage to stay alive you will get a 1-up/nuke much faster, but most people will not get to see that point in the game.

There are different kinds of enemies each with their own attack style pattern. The most basic enemy, a star just comes at you in a linear path, so they’re usually easy to dispatch. There is a diamond shape one that does about the same only that they spawn in groups. There is a green square cowardly one that will stay away from whatever direction you’re shooting in, will try to go around you to tag (kill) you. There is a pink one that when you kill will spawn two smaller enemies that will go kamikaze for you in a circular pattern. You have a snake one (I call them sperm) that you can only kill by shooting the head off. There is a black hole enemy that eats other enemies and also draws you in via gravity, but the best attack is also has is spitting out really fast seeker enemies when it ate until it burst. There is also a red version of you enemy that tries to ram you and has a forward facing shield (forcing you to trick it and shoot it in the back). The deadliest enemy is the smallest, taking form in a pack of “snow” that you have to shoot endlessly to try to hold back.

Geometry Wars is available for PC, Xbox 360, and also for Nintendo Wii and DS.

Fun Factor:

This game is really unforgiving. Enemies constantly keep spawning, sometimes on top of you, so that you need to keep moving at all times and alert every single second. Usually, the faster you kill enemies the faster you will have to deal with the next wave of enemies. Later on, the game will spawn more than one batch at a time, usually of different kinds of enemies that complement each other.

Here is an example of how insane this game is and how ridiculous the gameplay and your nerves will get:

The game is a pure adrenaline injection into your heart. Fun Factor is a 10 out of 10.

Difficulty Versatility:

This game is really hard for 99.9% of all people. The longer you play Geometry Wars, the harder it gets, no matter what. You are doomed from the start as the game has no end until you run out of lives. The difficulty is simple for about the first 2-3 minutes and then you will start to see it grow at a geometric rate.

This is not a game for a casual gamer, but then again hard arcade games aren’t either. If you’re like me and like hard game, this game is going to be a favorite. You can’t change the difficulty… the game does it for you! Difficulty Versatility gets a 10 out of 10.

Value:

For the Xbox 360, you can just get it from the Xbox Marketplace for a few dollars. For the PC, the game costs $4 via Steam. The link to get Geometry Wars via Steam is the following: http://store.steampowered.com/app/8400/

Considering how challenging and fun this game is, the game is of great Value. If you are a fan of classic arcade games and MAME, you need it. Value gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Replayability:

Literally, this is a game I play every day, myself.

This game is part of my daily routine of games, when I feel like training myself to build up more/better reflexes. I would usually turn on my computer and play this game until I would reach a minimum high score that I set for myself based on how recent I’ve been playing the game. As soon as I reach that score I let myself go play some other games. It’s part of my gaming “exercise.”

If you get mad at it or sick of it, you can always put it down and come back to it weeks or months later and the charm of the game always returns. Replayability gets a 10 out of 10 from me.

Sound:

All the sound effects are reminiscent of classic 80s arcade games such as Warlords or Sinistar. There are many zapping and electronic kind of sounds that will put a smile on an old gamer’s face. The rapid fire upgrade and the black hole enemy blowing up, as well as the nuke going off are particularly gratifying. Sound gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Music:

The game has a menu song which is pretty relaxing and an in game song that sounds like a mix of early Sega, Nintendo NES, and Amiga game music. Although you will hear this song over and over, it does not get boring or annoying. It fits the theme of the game really well and it will keep your adrenaline in synch with the action, especially if you set the volume of your speakers/headphones up really loud. The action sometimes drowns the music. Music gets a score of 8 out of 10, simply because of the limited selection of music.

Graphics:

Graphically, this game is like a remix of all those retro 80s arcade games you grew up playing. The game is such amazing eye candy that it makes one glad that small games like this are being released, bringing back the spirit of the original arcade, despite the fact that many original arcade games only had rudimentary graphics. “Retro Evolved” … the subtitle was chosen correctly as this is a rebirth/return of the classics.

You shoot enemies and they shatter into a thousand micro pixel vectors. There are so many things on the screen and they all look familiar in a good way (although they all kill y0u in one hit). The game gives one the feeling of holding down the fire buttons just to watch a stream of volleys shatter a cluster of enemies. Graphics get a 1o out of 10.

Stability/Reliability:

I used to have an issue with this game and my old graphics card (an ATI 1950 Pro) where it would run out of video memory and freeze up the computer forcing me to reset the whole thing. On my newer gaming PC I’ve pretty much never had this problem, although I remember it might have done it once or twice. Other than that, the game is pretty solid. I give Stability/Reliability a score of 6 out of 10, mainly of how bad the crashes were on some older video cards/systems. The Xbox 360 version has no problems.

Controls:

The controls are really simple. Half your keyboard/game pad moves you around in the obvious direction, the other half makes you shoot in that direction. The only other button you need is the nuke, which is the spacebar for the PC version. ESC key pauses whenever you want.

Combos or special moves aren’t going to keep you alive in this game. Only tactics and pure skill really do make a difference. Controls get a 10 out of 10.

Performance:

This game runs fine on most computers. I’ve seen it lag on some machines that are not necessarily the fastest gaming machines but you’d imagine it would still run fine since it’s a 2D game. The game though does have a lot of action going on at all times. The Xbox version runs perfectly. Overall, Performance gets a score of 8 out of 10.

My history with this game:

I kept hearing about this game from Xbox 360 players, saying how good it is. I decided to pick up the PC version for a few bucks and it was a really good decision.

When I first got Geometry Wars I basically spent 3 days doing nothing but playing it non-stop until my hands hurt. As I said before, I usually play this game daily. It usually can wake me up even more than drinking 2-3 cups of cafe con leche.

There is a sequel for this game and it looks amazing but I don’t yet have an xbox 360. If I get to play it or get my hands on one of those consoles, I can assure you I will get it and review it for you.