With all the sales on games, toys and electronics this summer we decide to celebrate Christmas in July by looking over the top Christmas toys from the 80’s to today. From Transformers to the BeyBlades, we reminisce about our favorite toys, watch some weird toy commercials and try to remember why some of these toys were popular.
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Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus
This game was originally released on the original Xbox as Ninja Gaiden Black, then it was updated to “Sigma” for the PS3. The Sigma plus you would rightly assume is the Vita port of this game, should it have been left out of the launch window or is it one of the best titles on the system?
Keep reading to find out.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus isn’t a narrative powerhouse, but it’s full of a great kind of kitch story telling. It’s about honor and family, sensei’s and demons. The fun is actually in the cheese, and in that way the story doesn’t disappoint. You play as Ryu Hayabusa, a member of the Dragon lineage (and the Dragon Clan as it turns out). Your family protects the Dragon swords, one evil sword and one…not so evil one that Ryu carries around. In the first chapter Ryu’s village is attacked and your adventure begins.
You meet a few interesting characters along the way, and even get to play as another character in the story (a monster hunter named Rachel). Really though this game is about the great action and challenge you’ll face while playing this title. The story doesn’t drive you forward like some of the great narratives in the medium, but it keeps you interested with the next strange conversation you’ll hear, or by learning a little more about Ryu and his famous sword.
This is where this title really shines. As an action game Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus is a thrilling experience, the action is challenging of course, but it’s never cheap, and you always know that when you die, no matter how frustrating it may be, that if you practice you’ll improve. You start with the Dragon sword, but as the game continues you get numerous other weapons to rely on. Throwing weapons, bombs, staves, dual katanas, nunchuku, etc. etc.
Some of these weapons are necessary for certain enemy types, but they’re all fun to use, and easy to learn. Ninpo magic is something you’ll work with as well, which is a bit of a help especially in boss battles. I didn’t use it very often preferring the melee combat, but the Ninpo magic certainly saved my butt when I was in a jam.
There is a bit of platforming in the game, but luckily Ryu is an agile guy, and can run along walls, climb ledges, and do just about anything you need. Don’t expect Assassin’s Creed level of platforming, but those sections in this game usually make you think, and although they were sometimes frustrating, just like the combat, it isn’t cheap.
Upgrades are another thing you’ll find in Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, you can upgrade your accessories for upgrades (like extra health or defence) and every weapon can be upgraded to do more damage ala God of War. Upgrades, health potions and accessories are all available for purchase from in game shops and strangely enough statues of blacksmiths. You buy upgrades with the yellow orbs you collect from killing enemies. It has a familar economic feel just like other action games, and it works well, and there’s just that much more incentive to go out and kill some more baddies.
Some of the shooting mechanics are a little annoying though, you use the touch screen to shoot arrows and other projectiles. They take a little while to get used to, but luckily they’re not that common of a hindrance. You’re lucky in the way that you can kill almost any enemy with your awesome melee combat.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus actually looks quite good on the Vita. The game runs really smooth, and the animations are great. The first time you see Ryu use nunchucks you might get a flashback of Bruce Lee from Enter the Dragon. They took a lot of care when they first made this title. The animations are different for each weapon as well, making them all really interesting to use.
The environments in this game aren’t the most exciting, but then again you have to take into account when this game was made. It won’t blow you away with amazing settings like Uncharted Golden Abyss did, but the places you see in this game are at least quite varied, you’ll go from a small village to a large capital city, to dungeons, and even an Egyptian crypt. I don’t give away all the environments of course, that would spoil it a bit, but you’ll be surprised along your way, that’s for sure.
The voice overs are actually well done too, they really push the cheese factor that the story calls for. The pre-rendered cutscenes are great too, you’d be surprised how over the top they are. The music is decent as well, but it won’t really blow your mind. I don’t ever remember it being annoying or memorable in either way, I guess I was more working on the great combat.
Is Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus Worth it?
Undeniably yes. If you’ve never played this title and have a Vita, buy it. There was a ton of content in this game too, it took me almost 20 hours to complete the main story, and there are many “ninja challenges” that test your skills too. The difficulty in this title is a little extreme as well, and for perhaps good reason they developers put in a mercy button for you (after dying a few times they ask you if you would like to continue your quest, if you say no, you’ll be pulled back into the game at a lower difficulty, this wasn’t explained sadly though, so I unwittingly ended up finishing the game on the lowest difficulty, there being three).
What really had me hooked, and I mean up till 3am in the morning hooked on this game is the great gameplay that is visceral and satisfying. This is a great title for the Vita, make sure to check it out.
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Sonic Heroes was a good bit different than the Sonic Adventure games. While those games stopped the furious speed with adventure elements, this game was more true to it’s 2D roots. It was a pretty straight forward platformer with little distractions. ~Adam R.
While Gamecube fans liked the ports of the two Sonic Adventure games, Sonic Heroes was the first original Sonic game for the system. Ironically Sega also produced PS2 and Xbox versions which gave Sonic a home on all the major consoles. Though most critics cite the Gamecube version as the superior edition.
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Overall I would still recommend this game to anyone with either a passion for board or family gaming. It has its shortcomings, but they are not fatal, and there’s enough that’s right about Family Game Night 4: The Game Show to override that which is deficient. Give this game some playtime when you have a hankering for some simple, clean, and non-violent fun! ~Dan Epp
Family Game Night 4
Family Game Night 4: The Game Show is a collection of mini-games set within a broader game environment. You are a contestant (and can play with others or against computer opponents) playing to win a virtual version of the Hub Network television game show of the same name. Some of the games you play include: Scrabble Flash, in which you attempt to form as many words from a set amount of Scrabble tiles as possible; Connect 4 Basketball, in which you must aim your basketballs carefully to form a row of four balls or to prevent your opponent from doing the same; Yahtzee Bowling, wherein the pins are the dice that you must knock over with your bowling ball; Sorry! Sliders, a shuffleboard-style (or curling) game in which you must attempt to slide your pawns into the highest possible scoring areas; and Bop-It Boptagon, which is essentially a hand-eye coordination and reaction game.
I found the various games to be a mixed bag in terms of “fun,” which arguably is the best metric to judge a video game based on a television show based on board games. I enjoyed the Scrabble Flash and Yahtzee Bowling, and found I could play these two games multiple times while still maintaining a sufficient level of “fun” gameplay. Connect 4 Basketball could be challenging once you started shooting simultaneously with your opponent, but the Sorry! Sliders became dull very quickly as the gameplay did not seem to alter much from game to game. Finally, Bop-It Boptagon was an experience that I did not repeat twice, and the memories of my abject failure are too painful to translate into the written word.
Mr. Potato-Head is the host of the game, and though he is not annoying like the bizarre host of the Family Feud Xbox game (the memory of whom has scarred me for life), he also doesn’t add anything to the gameplay. The animations of the avatars are a bit silly, and not dismissed immediately with a button-click, which makes them a little irritating. The play-by-play voice was a constant, “go get ‘em, tiger” kind of happy, which lost its charm over time. Note to developers: if you want to see how a host can be engaging, perhaps even annoying, and yet bring you back for more, check out the You Don’t Know Jack series of games.
A quick note: although the game features Kinect compatibility, as I am one of the last Xbox 360 owners in North America without a Kinect accessory, I did not test it with anything besides a standard wireless controller.
Overall I would still recommend this game to anyone with either a passion for board or family gaming. It has its shortcomings, but they are not fatal, and there’s enough that’s right about Family Game Night 4: The Game Show to override that which is deficient. Give this game some playtime when you have a hankering for some simple, clean, and non-violent fun!
Thanks to the Classic Game Room for the awesome video review.
If there was one thing I would not expect to do on a next-gen console, is to play games from the older generation. Boy was I wrong! Even though I do own a SNES and a Master System 2, I still happily play old and new titles on my Xbox Classic, the 360 and the Wii. The 360 and the Wii offer access to their exclusive online stores, and amongst the titles on there are a lot of old games from the older consoles. With that said, a lot of companies lately are remaking classics (and doing quite a faithful job of it as well!) Enter R-Type Dimensions.
My past experiences with the R-Type games weren’t overly immense. A brief stint at a Timezone in Sydney back in the 80’s , the rental-to-almost-purchase on the Master System 2 in the early 90’s, and a sequel on the SNES (R-type 3). A frustratingly hard game? Some could say that, but I’ll go with exuberantly challenging. For those who don’t know what R-Type is, it is a side-scrolling shooter, think 1942 but with a side-on perspective. The storyline is that there’s the evil Bydo empire invading the universe, you are a pilot of a small ship sent to stop this evil.
Okay, not much to it really, but this is the kind of game, where the storyline doesn’t mean a thing, and gameplay is where it matters. R-Type Dimensions is a faithful remake to the original game on the arcade. The graphics have been enhanced to a more modern (3D) feel, and I’ll be honest, they (IREM who were the original creators of R-Type, Tozai, and SouthEnd) did an amazing job of keeping the remake faithful to the classic, also by including an option to swap between HD and Classic graphic mode flawlessly, as the High-def visuals were rolled over onto the originals (Plural, yes, it includes R-Type I & II).
The game was, and still is very challenging, getting to the point that many levels can not be passed easily unless you have 1-3 seconds of invincibility after you die, and a new ship appears. You have multiple power-ups, one of them infamously is your satellite, which is mounted to the front or rear of the ship, and can be jettisoned at will and returned back to the front or the rear of the ship. With the usual speed-ups and missile power-ups, you will find interesting methods on attacking the hordes of enemies, and figuring out how to defeat each end-level boss without losing 50 or so lives.
Speaking about the lives, there is also an infinite mode, meaning you have unlimited lives to plow through the game with. The challenge there I suppose is to see who can finish the game with the least lives. There is also a co-op mode which would be beneficial for plowing through such a hard game.
On the XBLA for 1200 Microsoft Points, some would argue that the price for title like this is questionable. R-Type Dimensions is definitely a title for those who appreciated the original on just about any platform since it’s release.
4.5 out of 5
– extremely loyal remake to the original
– ability to swap between new and old graphics
– Price may be questionable
– Plenty of moments where you could lob your controller across the lounge room from frustration
I never really played Halo 1 that much since I didn’t have a good PC at the time it came out for that version (really bad trust me), and never had the friends at home locally to enjoy the first game.
The combat was probably the weakest thing about KOTOR, which isn’t probably a bad thing when the quest was so long, the characters so memorable, and a story that dragged on you for the ride. Republic solider Carth, Jedi Bastila, alien teenager Mission, her wookie Zaalbar, weird cat lady Juhani, and the evil droid HK-47 all have their deep but interesting back-stories, and provide memorable parts to the main plot. The Sith Lord Dark Malak made the first really great Star Wars villain since Darth Vader.
Though Tecmo gave us this weird monster lady boss, and even though it was a good fight, Tecmo is pathetically trying to put a thong on anything female. Works with Dead or Alive, Ninja Gaiden… not so much. Joking aside, I think this is the best game in the series, and even though Ninja Gaiden II sucked monkey balls. I think Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword on the DS was fantastic and a much truer sequel than the 360 train-wreck.
Bioware had a lot to live up to after they quit the KOTOR series. They said they were going to make a more original game cause apparently stupid shit like making sure every stupid alien having the right eye color is very important to George Lucas and fanboys. The result was a similar yet different game based on the old days of China.
Except marines never had weapons as cool as this game’s arsenal. Each ammo type providing a different way to kill an enemy. Some worked better on others, some were traps, etc. You had plenty to play with so you never felt bored when it came right down to it.
Next Gen Xbox to play all PlayStation Games
In an announcement that will shake the console world Microsoft announced today that the next generation Xbox will play all current and future PlayStation games. “Let’s face it, we are an overpriced Blu-Ray player.” A Sony spokesman said. “Sure, we might feel like Xerox after seeing Windows, but when you are losing to a console named after a bodily function you have to make drastic changes.”
We asked an Xbox rep what game most fans are looking to play from the PlayStation library. “Well I was going to say Uncharted.” The spokesman said. “But then part three came out.” We asked how much will this added feature cost but we could not make out the answer from all the launching.
More not to come.
Happy April Fools.
Killer Instinct Comeback
Could there be a Killer Instinct remake or sequel in the future? That is the questions being asked after it was discovered that Microsoft has renewed the trademark for the classic fighter. Killer Instinct was originally released by Rare for the SNES in 1994 and featured some incredible combo’s that you could chain together and even connect to your finisher, your ultimate. Also, in its arcade version, was one of the first games to use an internal hard disk drive alongside the games ROM. This was due to the pre-rendered sprites created with Silicon Graphics and the pre-rendered movie-like backgrounds.
Now before you get all excited about a sequel, the original announcement came from Xbox Live so there is a good chance KI is getting a HD release for XBL Arcade. However, that is fine with us as well. We will keep on top of this and let you know when we learn more.
Did you know
There is a lot of random trivia and facts about classic video games. Some of it has historical content while others are just interesting to know. To continue spreading retro gaming knowledge we begin a new series that will showcase random classic gaming facts. Some you might already know, but we hope to surprise you from time to time.
Nolan Bushnell created Chuck E. Cheese
Depending on how old you are and where you lived you might know about or have gone to a Chuck E. Cheese. Chuck E. Cheese was a pizza restaurant that featured video games, prizes and a dancing mouse. It was the place to go for a kid’s birthday during its hay day as it featured everything a young child would want. It is no surprise the founder of Atari would create a place that showcase food, fun and video games. I personally went there for my thirteenth birthday and had a blast.
Steve Jobs created Breakout
There is a little more to this story. With the success of Pong, created by Nolan Bushnell, he and Steve Bristow came up with an idea to create a single player version of Pong and so the concept of Breakout was born. Steve Jobs was tasked with creating the game and brought on Steve Wozniak to help engineer the game. After a lot of sleepless nights and other adventures the project was done. Now in the end Atari had to do some reworking to Wozniak’s design before the final product was released, but overall that is why Steve Jobs got the credit for the creation of Breakout.
Jack Black Stared in a Pitfall Commercial
Funny man Jack Black long before we ever saw him on screen was in an Atari Pitfall commercial. It was in 1992 that the then 13-year-old Black appeared in the spot. Jack Black is counted among the notable celebrity gamers and here we see his history with classic games went way back.
Porn and Video Games go together
For many a gamer, porn and video games go together like Cheetos and Mountain Dew, but did you know one porn star got her name from a video game? Adult actress, April O’Neil got her stage name from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles own reporter and turtle confidant, April O’ Neil. In addition, April loves gamer geeks specially for their video game knowledge. Google search in 3…2…1…
There is an Atari 3600 version of Halo
Yes, the classic Xbox shooter, Halo has a version created for the Atari 2600. Ed Fries former vice president of game publishing at Microsoft showed off his creation in 2010 at the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. In the game you control Master Chief in an adventure type game where you explore 64 rooms shooting enemies and eventually encountering a final boss. Unfortunately, only about 100 cartridges were made so good luck getting your hands on one.
Just a Taste
There is a lot more history, trivia and weird facts and we will bring you more in the next installment. Until then tell us about classic gaming facts and history you know and perhaps we will feature it in a future article.
Spec Ops: The Line is set to be released by 2K Games on the 26th of June, for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. Fans of the series and those who enjoy games of a similar genre, like Gears of War and Uncharted, should enjoy the action scenes in Spec Ops: The Line.
The makers of Spec Ops: The Line drew inspiration from the film Apocalypse Now and the classic novel Heart of Darkness for the creation of underlying moral dilemmas faced by the characters in dark, hellish settings.
The game is set in a post-apocalyptic Dubai, after a sandstorm has left most of the city dead and buried. Captain Martin Walker and his elite Delta Force Bravo team attempt to locate and recover the remaining survivors, including US Army Colonel John Konrad. The name of Konrad is a reference to the author of Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad.
Colonel Konrad remained behind along with his men and some of the citizens who couldn’t evacuate in time. A weak distress signal is picked up that indicates that he’s still alive and so Walker and his team must deal with outlaws, navigate through treacherous sandstorms to find their men.
Both the website and trailer hint that Konrad may have stayed in Dubai against orders for his own motivations. More of the mystery will be uncovered when the game is released.
Spec Ops is a military game franchise that was originally created in the late 90s, primarily for PC, PlayStation and Dreamcast. Each version of the game had completely different narrative and characters, and took the hyper-realistic third person shooter game to the next level of coolness.
The first two games released in the 90s, Spec Ops: Rangers Lead the Way and Spec Ops: Ranger Team Bravo, were well-received and won plenty of fans.
The latest version has voice work by Nolan North who has featured as many different characters over the years including Dead Pool in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Nathan Drake in Uncharted and Desmond in the Assassin’s Creed series. He is a charismatic voice actor who lends a lot of believability to the character of Captain Martin Walker.
Finally fans can rejoice! The long wait for the release of Spec Ops: The Line is almost over.
Check it out retro gamers, you can pick up King of Fighter I 2012 for your iPhone on the App Store. Here is the official press release:
KOF-i 2012’s controls allow players to perform special moves and combos, and the game features a multitude of modes for thousands of hours of enjoyment and intense battle. In addition, game play experience is enhanced with the addition of new fight rules, previously available only in the PS3 / Xbox 360 version.
Along with the 20 characters in KOF-i, four new teams of characters are now available, including ‘ART OF FIGHTING’, ‘PSYCHO SOLDIER’, ‘KIM’, and ‘IKARI’ team, bringing the total number of playable fighters to 32. The game also includes six bonus background stages, including popular console stages Plaza of Snow and Blue Sky Open Café.
In addition to multiplayer over Bluetooth, ‘Versus’ Battles in KOF-i 2012 can be enjoyed via Game Center, both in ‘Rank Versus’ mode, in which player ranking varies depending on the total number of victories and losses, and in ‘Friend Versus’ mode, where the player’s ranking is not reflected. Also new in KOF-i 2012, a new ‘Time Attack’ mode is available where players must win 10 matches as fast as possible, as well as additional features like ‘Ending Movies’ for each default team, new challenges, trading cards and illustrations.
THE KING OF FIGHTERS-i 2012 App is available for $6.99 from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore. Additional characters, including ‘NESTS-Style KYO’ and ‘IORI with the Power of Flames’ are available for $1.99 each through In-App Purchase.
For more information on theTHE KING OF FIGHTERS-i 2012, please visit the official site located at www.iphone.snkplaymoreusa.com/kof-i2012. For more information on SNK PLAYMORE USA, please visit the official web site at www.snkplaymoreusa.com.
In the midst of a strong holiday sales season, Microsoft’s XBox 360 has now reached lifetime sales of 62.6 million console units, overtaking the Nintendo Entertainment System as the fourth highest-selling game console ever (not counting handhelds).
Released first as the Famicom in Japan in 1983, the NES first came to North America in 1985 and quite literally brought the American video game industry back from death. Production on the console finally ceased in 2003 when it was finally discontinued in Japan. Through this lifespan, the Famicom/NES sold 61.91 million total consoles worldwide.
The XBox 360 first hit shelves in November 2005 and despite weak lifetime sales in Japan, the Microsoft unit has managed to reach this mark in far less time than the NES, taking only six years to reach this mark.
However, despite toppling the NES in all-time sales the 360 is still the distant second overall in the current console generation, trailing behind lifetime sales of the Nintendo Wii’s 93.4 million units.
The current console generation is likely to see a hat trick in regards to the NES before all is said and done, though, as Sony’s PlayStation 3 is also catching up with the NES sales figures with 59.1 million units sold to date. Even as big as the Nintendo Entertainment System was in it’s day, it appears destined to find itself ranked under all three modern consoles on the all-time charts.
The all-time best selling console (not counting handhelds) is Sony’s PlayStation 2, which shipped 144.45 million units during it’s lifetime.
Patrick Scott Patterson has been a gamer since 1981, acting as a writer, technician and world record holder on several game titles. He has appeared numerous times in the yearly editions of Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition. In addition to writing here, Patterson has also written for Yahoo!, Twin Galaxies, VGEVO and Gameroom Magazine, and is always looking for unique and positive news to report from the video gaming world.
Xbox Live is continuing its sale giving gamers additional presents up to the New Year. Today’s deal is on everything Sonic, well almost everything. Take 60% off the normal price of the following tittles.
|Sonic 4, Episode 1|
|Sonic Adventure Upgrade|
|Sonic the Hedgehog 2|
|Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Sonic the Hedgehog 3|
Thanks to Major Nelson for the info. Now get out there and get the goods!
The year 2011 – the year of hopes – is coming to its end and it is time to sum up the results. It is about six years of own game projects’ development and 11 years in the gaming industry. Next year means new goals! For sure, they will be more ambitious than those in 2007, when the idea of Deep Black project was only emerging.
What was it like?
In the far 1997, when I was 18, I first saw PlayStation console. I worked for a company that was doing semi-legal localisation of gaming software at those “wild” times in Russia. Working for the company was something beyond description – there were not more than 3 similar companies in whole Russia at that time. I was very interested in software development and it took me three months to do first “game” that would successfully run on a modded PS1 console. That game earned me 1000 USD, which was very decent pay at that time in Russia – taking into account that I did both programming and drawing.
Starting with 1999, I worked as a producer of western products in the Russian market. It was easier, than developing games myself. My core tasks were to find indie games developed on GNU and buy them to publish in Russia. Indie developers were surprised, that they could earn some money in Russia. Later there were Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox and much more game systems. Semi-legal companies would become legal or disappear, owners of companies would change, but the localisation issue was still important. A DVD-format came to Russia.
It was in 2002 when I decided to set up my own company – Biart. A first version of the company’s logo was introduced and then changed in 5 years’ time. We were a young team and didn’t think about business-strategies – things were going well anyway. So we started experiments with design, internet services, opened three sound-recording studios and two authoring studios. And I hoped that one day we would have enough potential to develop own gaming project. So why didn’t we start developing our own game at that time? It was because we understood that we didn’t know the market well. Besides, we felt that everything had its time. You cannot force yourself.
In 2005, I met an indie developer with an interesting concept and as I also had similar ideas, I decided to make it a commercial project. So I made up my mind to go into the project and started searching for a script writer, team, and product placement partners etc. We had a small office and some money to finance the development. The development took us a year. We worked hard and devoted our souls and hearts to our work.
So in 2007 Diver: Deep Water Adventures appeared on PC platform. Deals were good at that time and we decided not to play with royalties and prefer a flat fee scheme. Publishers were more adequate then compared to the period after the economic crisis. Publishers were hungry for games.
But our German publisher cheated us and we did not get the last payment from them. It was a guy from Gost Publishing who sold rights to Frogster without paying to the U.S. No need to say that Frogster assured us that they had paid it all. Stephane Gonod – the guy from Gost Publishing – disappeared and half a year later announced himself bankrupt. It is funny that a year ago he set up a new company in cooperation with an ex-Frogster employee and when we accidentally met at a conference, his only words were “Shit happens”. God will judge him.
So the project was released and there was a question – what’s next? I always strive to set new, more complicated goals, so development for PC was not so challenging for me anymore. Everybody was talking about game consoles and I realized that we should slow down with Diver 2 for a few years and devote ourselves to own multiple platform technology’s development. And accordingly, our new goal was now to create own engine for next-gen titles. I sent an inquiry to Microsoft and a miracle happened – we got a status of an official developer! Thank you guys, if not for you, we would most definitely remain one of those numerous PC-only developers from Russia. So I was one of the first who brought Xbox 360 devkit to Moscow. It was not easy at all to deal with the Russian customs, but once again, thank you to our account manager – Alistair, you are the best!
There was another challenging task – where do we get people and how do we get a team if nobody in Russia can program for consoles, optimise the code and – most crucial – artists do content of very low quality level. But as they say, believe and love what you do and you will find people who will believe in you and in your project. Another hint – feel and understand who you are going to employ, for someone without experience is able to learn and the other is only going to “eat” your budget. Speaking of numbers – it took us a year to experiment with staff and content. The real development itself started in late 2008 – 2009, when the team got skilled enough.
The project’s original title was U-Wars. Later we renamed it to Deep Black. Platforms – PC and Xbox 360. It is a third-person shooter with key moments being fought onshore and underwater. Special underwater mechanics, jet pack etc. The idea of the game appeared after I read various articles about special underwater operation forces. We started doing a game about these Special Forces but then I changed my mind and we did it in the sci-fi genre, abandoning the previous script.
[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FPSF8-d28Q[/youtube]
The period of active development of the game was 2010. At the same time, we went into agreements with publishers and started working on PlayStation 3 version of the game. It was not easy, but for sure it was a challenge for the team!
2011 is a year of the technology’s optimisation and content polishing. And now I am going to tell you about all drawbacks we had. I think this may be interesting.
We replaced our game designer three times. There are no experienced game designers in Russia, who know how to do shooters. In 2011, I took over and we spent the entire summer polishing and balancing the game.
We should have done feature cuts earlier. It hurt to cut when we had to do it later. Still even after the cut there were 10 hours of gameplay there. We also cut some game mechanics. Gradually you come to understand that it is better to do less but in decent quality.
The pipeline settled by the development’s final stage. I relied upon level designers’ common sense and some of them were wrong when incorrectly putting emphasis in level design. For instance, level designers used to pay too much attention to places; a regular player would run by within three seconds and would not notice.
Our major problem was that we lacked experience. As a result, too many iterations. If I started the project now, I could economize not less than 1.5M USD (total to-date budget 4.2M). The pipeline and exact task setting – this is what counts. When you feel that your ship is going in the wrong direction, do not be afraid to change your staff. I said good-bye to those who didn’t match our dream team in 2011. If you are an indie, fire those who only work for their salaries and who do not go with the level of your team.
First, there was weak understanding of the architecture and some mistakes of the lead programmer. Let me put it like this: we were unlucky with our technical architect and had to re-do the technology three times before we dismissed him. Integration of new features to the render was changing the pipeline in terms of art. As said above, it took us one year to experiment with the technology and develop first toolset. To me, it was like a joker in the pack – the arts and programming departments would set some terms, but in reality it appeared that nobody had control of the situation. Difficult? It was. Especially when you invest your own money. And your employees do like to experiment 🙂 As a result – we finally got a working technology for Xbox 360 and PC in 2010… But our publisher then wanted PlayStation 3. I have to admit that we were afraid of it. And not in vain.
At that moment we had strong guys in our team and decided that we could do it. We got the hardware in August. And we realized that we had to do the impossible – once again re-write the whole architecture of the render and do refactoring of the engine, as our engine was not ready for PS3 architecture. And in October we had to show the Playable to the publisher.
Gritting their teeth, guys got down to work and analysed the entire code in every detail. The publisher waited patiently for something playable for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. I, as a producer, had to look into it too – it was a serious step to do considerable refactoring of the code. But I trusted the guys and they did it.
At the same time, we provided for the possibility of the engine to easily add new platforms, as well as mobile platforms. The previous code was designed for Xbox 360 and DirectX. The new one became a real engine. Within three months a playable for PS3 was available. …. But how slow it was! 🙂
In 2011, while doing a team test and fixing multiplayer for Xbox Live and PSN, programmers were focused on optimisation of the engine code and PS3 render. Numbers? Ok! We raised these two-three times for Xbox and four times for PSP! We had 25-35 fps on PS3 without Cell optimisation. At the final stage of development. We even used to joke about Stereo, but had already dealt with feature cut and knew the importance of total concentration on our tasks.
We reduced our staff by middle of 2011 and left only key people. It was clear now that it was not enough to do a game and fix critical bugs. One has to pass certification! And, let me tell you, this depends on the quality of testing. It is tough, as you start finding weak points in the code, when something hasn’t been considered well. And at the same time, you keep on spending your money… And you do postpone your other projects. We had a three month delay and moved release date. Very hard times…
On the whole, the project lasted a year longer than planned. On the one hand, it was due to PlayStations 3 porting, on the other though, because of overestimation of own abilities.
We started developing concepts of two new projects in mid-2011 and are planning to release Depth Hunter game about underwater hunting and treasure hunting by December, 2011. It will be released for mobile platforms later. Yes! We are indeed developing a version of our technology for mobile platforms – IOS, Android.
And Deep Black is going to become MMOTPS. We are going to launch it as a Free-to-Play by the end of next year. Depth Hunter for mobile is going to be Free-to-Play too. We are eager to work on free-to-play for consoles. I do believe that this is going to be of top interest in 2012-2013.
We have registered an office in the USA (Delaware) this year. So far it is our legal HQ, but we are looking forward to getting money for Deep Black to move to the USA. Unfortunately our business is in Russia and it is getting more difficult to search for investments here, in Russia. Unreasonable loan terms and local investors who are eager to get a controlling interest at once make it challenging to do business in Russia.
The political situation in Russia is not predictable too. People talk a lot about it and do not trust the government. Guys, we do want to work and develop games, rather than wait for another revolution!
A Russian Association of Game Developers and Publishers of Game Industry and Interactive Technologies (http://www.radit.ru/) was set up in 2010 by a number of Russian companies. We were trying to promote development of simulator games and gain support to develop an equivalent of, for example, “Canada” in Russia. But in our country you can only do business if you pay bribes. I spent two years and a lot of money trying to change things. I have held two conferences ACGI (2009, 2010, http://www.acgirussia.com/), but soon realised that they do not need us. I have no intention to have anything in common with the current authorities any more.
So at the moment I am busy transferring our contracts and licenses to the US, dealing with registration issues and searching for investors/ partners for a long-term cooperation.
We have always tried to develop not only original and quality games, but also high-tech games. I think that we have coped with our task in 2011. I am sure that we will cope with our new challenge – move to the US – in 2012.
Six years after the company set-up, we are facing a new stage of the company development. I am sure that the upcoming 2012 will bring success to all our games!
Founder & CEO of Biart Company
I do love RPG’s, but when Fable was originally released I didn’t jump on it. First off, I’ve acknowledged that I’m a cheap gamer and I like the bargain bins, and secondly, I was getting geared up for Halo 2 (which would take most of my time). Third, I have a buddy who loves playing all 3 games and other similar RPG’s, like the Elder Scrolls run. Over the years, he would tell me of his gaming exploits, which were usually something like, “Yeah, this game is awesome! I have a bunch of wives, but they were coming after me for child support, so I had to take them out into the woods and kill them.” and “I played as a chick this time, and got VD and pregnant.”……This was enough to keep me away for a while. But, I knew I’d get around to it sooner or later.
Before the game was released, there was enough hype surrounding the game to assure it would never live up to all the expectations. I don’t care about that. All I care about is having fun. It doesn’t matter to me if a game is delayed for years, or if it fails to deliver what it promised. After I insert the disc into my Xbox…”How does it look?” “How does it control?” “How much fun am I having?” These are the questions I ask myself. Having said all that, let me get into Peter Molyneux/Big Blue Box/Lionhead Studio’s Fable.
All RPG’s have a story, some better than others. With Fable, the main story is pretty standard: Little boy’s village raided by bandits, father killed, mother and sister taken, strange man takes in boy so he can grow up and get revenge.
You play a short time as a boy, and then as a teenager, basically to get used to the controls. A little more than a tutorial, but that’s really what it is. When you reach manhood, the main quest starts. I know people who have put 40-50 hours (maybe more) into Fable, but I did 13. Here’s why: I’ve also never been a huge fan of “sandbox” games. I prefer linear. I understand I’m probably in the minority, but I like having a goal/quest/mission, then accomplishing it.
In Fable, there is the main quest that will be fleshed out in increments by your mentor(s), but also a crapload of side quests. Most gamers want to get more for their money, and you’ll get this with Fable, because there is always something to do. But, nothing drives me crazier in a game than given my main quest with a “Time is of the essence! You must rescue ‘so-and-so’!”, then also having the option of romancing women, escorting traders, and stopping to smell the flowers, with no consequences after doing so.
Sometimes, there’s so much going on that the main story is forgotten, and that should never be the case. I would have skipped the side quests completely, but for a couple of reasons: One, I wanted to see for myself so I could write about it, and two, I wanted to do just enough to level-up properly so I wouldn’t be under-powered against bosses when I finally reached them. But come on, there are just so many escort missions I can do before I was bored silly.
Having said all that, Albion itself is a beautiful place. From the water, to the woods, to the villages…..they spent a lot of time making everything look unique. Except for the people, who all look the same…. I think I married sisters. There is plenty of world to explore, and loading times aside, it was worth it to wander from section to section to see what the next part of the country looked like.
The music was cute and very ‘fairy-tale’ like, the score was spot-on what I want to hear in the background when I’m playing a game like this. It was a very welcome addition to the game.
Combat is also an important part of an RPG, and this is done in real-time. You have your close-combat weapons (and there are plenty from which to choose), your long-range, and your spells. One of the cool things about your character is he doesn’t have a ‘class’ so to speak, meaning no fighter/wizard/whatever.
He can do all of these things. As you kill enemies, you get experience and can take those XP to build up your character pretty much the way you want. You can make him extremely strong, very fast, or proficient with spell-casting. If you play the game long enough, you’ll eventually max out all. One of the really cool things I found was when I came across a huge sword that my character had a hard time carrying/using, but after I ‘strengthened’ my character, he was waving it around with no problem.
There are also the typical spells, with the fire/lightning strikes which I mostly used, along with a spell that gave me double attacks. Again, everything looked pretty cool, but the ‘lock-on’ targeting system was a major pain in the ass, with a lot of innocents getting fried on accident. And there were many times where it stayed on when I was trying to run for cover, which left me a bit defenseless. The enemies are many in number, but sparse in variety, and they look cool. Mainly bandits, huge wasps, some werewolf types, and a couple of others. There are some small bosses before the big ones at the end…. I just called Rock Monsters ‘small’, for some reason. The final bosses were way too easy, and I considered myself underpowered.
Another huge aspect of the game is what I call the “The Sims”, which I didn’t really want to do. This is the interaction with the townsfolk. Now, every game has you talking to people for info, that’s pretty standard. Fable wants you to spend valuable questing time literally flexing my muscles, flirting, showing my trophy-kills, and giving gifts to impress people, as well as showing a scary face or giving the middle finger to people I don’t like. There’s a lot more of this than I just mentioned, and there are reasons for doing so, I just had zero interest in this. If I want to play The Sims, I will buy those games.
I appreciate what they tried to do here, by making the game unique and ‘more real’ (I guess), but I think it takes away from the core gameplay. I did take a couple of wives, just so I could say that I did it, but it was empty gameplay…and oh yeah, my mother was being tortured during all this…sorry, ma. A man has needs.
I could go on, but by now you pretty much have my take:
Beautiful-looking, slow load times, wonky combat, good main quest story, unnecessary side quests, Sims stuff that doesn’t interest me, and easy bosses.
If I rate the game so just the main story, I recommend it. On the whole package…not so much. But, I know there are plenty of you out there that want to get that great hours to price ratio…and this game will do it for you.
“Find Makarov: Operation Kingfish” is the seven-minute sequel to the fan-made, original film, Find Makarov. The real life movie reveals a key moment in Modern Warfare history as Soap recalls one of his most memorable Task Force 141 missions. For more information visit findmakarov.com.
[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afs8lcfBY7Q[/youtube]
Created by We Can Pretend, Meteoric, The Junction VFX, and Stealing Time
Director: Jeff Chan
Executive Producer: David Fradkin
Producer: Evan Stasyshyn
Stars John Morgan as John “Soap” McTavish
This video is just to awesome not to share. This video shows death scenes from various classic games to a great remix tune. Enjoy.
[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ6APKIjFQY[/youtube]
(Dir.: Rob Beschizza, BoingBoing. Music is Rob’s MIDI homage to “Mad World,” by Tears for Fears, and you can download the MP3 here:http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/28/game-deaths-mp3.html and buy their original song here [MP3]: http://tinyurl.com/4wzqgry ).
We all know what’s going on with Sony. For those of you who don’t know, you either don’t game or you live under a rock. The greatest hacking escapade of 2011 has left the company’s loyal consumers hanging on the sideline while they hope to the heavens that their credit card info hasn’t been sold to the highest bidder. If you haven’t cancelled your credit card, asked for a new number, or put out a fraud alert by now it’s best advised you do so now.
What I really wanted to get into with this article isn’t Sony’s time and time again ability to completely fuck up everything they touch. I want to know why anyone would even remain loyal to this colossal abortion of a company?
Because Microsoft is the devil, Umar!
Microsoft can be whatever you want to call it but Xbox Live has provided some of the best online multiplayer entertainment compared to their other console rivals. True, the Xbox live community is immature at best. Again, it is true, most of the games that come out for Xbox are also available on the PC but this isn’t just about comparing PSN to Xbox Live.
I don’t care about the other consoles. Disregard the Wii, Xbox, or the PC in this decision. Why should someone remain devoted to Sony games or devices? If you can’t get past that, you’re missing the point entirely.
What is the point then, you fat asshole?
The point is, as a customer, why should you remain with a company that can’t protect your CC information? Why remain with a company who has been so crippled by the attack they have yet to restart their service? Why remain with a company that markets with an asshat like Kevin Butler? Why remain with a company that barely has anything to show at E3 time and time again and when they do manage to reveal something it becomes an internet meme?
And this is just with their Playstation portion of the company. They recently announced and moved forward with the shutting down of all Sony Online Entertainment games due to this “intrusion”. That means games like Everquest 2, Everquest… and what other games would be affected by this? Didn’t they seize operations on a huge plethora of their games? I know they have DCUO but how many customers can you upset by bringing that game down? Their ten remaining customers? Big deal. If this assault doesn’t put the nail in the coffin for DCUO then its loyal subscribers are used to be being screwed over and over again.
For a company that is already struggling to breathe in the MMO market, this setback is going to draw more players to WoW, LOTRO, and/or Rift. How can they recoup their losses? Offer a free month for the month they’re already going to lose? Give away 700 Station Points?
Thanks for the piece of mind, Sony. I’ll enjoy these small tokens of your appreciation for my loyalty while some criminal abuses the shit out of my credit.
Face it, loyal Sony fanboys. You’re on the Titantic and you can get off the ship and survive or freeze to death in the piercing icy waters of Hell. You aren’t Rose. No one wants to draw you naked. You won’t live through this.
I know a couple of people who are still riding on Sony’s cock. To them I say you’re a complete moron. Enjoy lubing up your ass with olive oil while this company and its attackers continue to fuck you from behind.
Now I want to hear from you, the reader. I want to know why on God’s green and polluted Earth would you want to stay with Sony?
[youtube id=”w8BmgtMKFbY” width=”633″ height=”356″]
I am not quite sure how the humanoid robot balances itself as the video doesn’t really explain it but it does seem able to remain focused and not lose any center of balance whatsoever. ~Umar Khan
Now Robots Can Play Kinect, Too!
When Microsoft announced the Kinect, a lot of people thought that this was going to be just another peripheral gimmick. In reality, they were correct. It really was just another peripheral gimmick and a way to bring in another competitor in motion based gaming. The original intent of the Kinect was to just have some good gaming fun. In the world we live in, though most things that have an original intent get pushed into another direction by an opposing force. For the Kinect, this opposing force is a community of hackers that enhanced its capabilities. I am sure we’ve all seen things that people have managed to do with Open Kinect.
One user managed to make humanoid devices mimic movements applied in a Kinect. What does that mean? I mean he made a freaking robot simulate human movements! What else could I mean? Move over Iron Man because we no longer need the armored suit.
In the video it shows the machine doing the opposite mirrored movement but that’s because instead of facing the screen, it is facing towards the camera. The robot responds to movement inputs placed in Open Kinect programs and responds with a likewise movement. The robot shows perfect balance even when moving around with a weight on its arm and shows adaptability to remain as focused as it is in the Kinect movements. I am not quite sure how the humanoid robot balances itself as the video doesn’t really explain it but it does seem able to remain focused and not lose any center of balance whatsoever. Give or take a couple of months and we’ll see what else hacked Kinects can really get done.
Company: Haruneko Entertainment
Profession: Game Developer
Favorite Classic Game: Eternal Darkness (Gamecube).
Quote: Eternal Darkness because this masterpiece is not known well enough: this game is just sheer perfection, the game system, the story, the characters, everything is crafted really well. This is an horror game like no others, sucks you in like a good book and entertains you like the best arcade you can think of. Eternal Darkness achieves to tell you a really complex and shocking story without being tedious or rely on hundreds of lines of text. I hope that someone who has a Gamecube (or, probably, a Wii), will read these words and get a glance at this unparalled work of art.
Bio: The company at the moment is focused on developing Indie Games for the Xbox.
Project: Akane – The Kunoichi
Project Info: After having released in 2010 our first game “Ace Gals Tennis”, we are looking forward to release our upcoming platform game “Akane – The Kunoichi” during Q1 2011 – more info about this during the upcoming weeks.
Name: Martyn Brown
Company: Team17 Software Ltd.
Profession: Everything over the years, currently heading up business development at Team17.
Favorite Classic Game: Football Manager (ZX Spectrum, circa 1983)
Quote: “I openly admit hiding behind the sofa, not able to look, when I guided the mighty Lincoln City to Wembley.”
Bio: I co-founded Team17 in 1990 and have been here for 20yrs. Recent releases in 2010 for Team17 have been Worms Reloaded on Steam for PC, Alien Breed: Impact on Steam and PlayStation Network for PS3, Alien Breed 2: Assault on XBLA and Steam, Worms 2: Armageddon on PlayStation Network for PS3 and also on iPhone and iPad. Forthcoming releases include Alien Breed 2: Assault on PSN, Alien Breed 3: Descent for XBLA, Steam and PSN and also Worms: Battle Islands for PSP from PlayStation Network as well.
My Unparallel Loathing of Gaming Hipsters
I can’t take it anymore, reader. I simply cannot suffer the pretentious attitude of gaming hipsters. They leave my stomach churning, tie my throat in a knot, and cause an unpronounced level of pain in my scrotum. Why God? I ask you this! Why do they exist to believe themselves to be upon a celestial pedestal of understanding and ownership of some delusional knowledge they do not possess?
The word alone makes me want to go on a punching jamboree at a local Starbucks. Those bastards just weren’t content on having the indie scene, huh? They had to someone seep like a poison into the gaming community. And it wasn’t like they miraculously appeared out of nowhere. No, no. I just noticed they’ve been here for years, secretly hiding like some Massachusetts Witch Covenant biding their time for an unveiling.
But you know what?
No one gives a shit about them or the opinion of their Gaming Hipster Community. But contrary to that last sentence, I do care to a degree. I’d like to point out my disliking for them in detail. Yes, reader, you will become more knowledgeable on who is a gaming hipster and may even come into the realization that you yourself or someone you hold dear to your hearts may even be one of these aberrations.
- No one cares if you were in beta.
Aside from narrow-minded children and frat boys, no one cares that you’ve played since beta. When someone asks a question as to whether something is a good talent specialization or how to beat a certain raid boss, don’t reply with “Trust me, I’ve been playing since Beta.” This doesn’t make you more knowledgeable to specializations or strategies. Especially don’t say this in games like World of Warcraft. The game at its current state is completely different than its original incarnation at this point and your opinion is null and void. Another thing, games that go into Beta maybe have 10-15 people who are actually voicing legit opinions in that gaming community. The rest are people who whine and shit because they don’t understand gaming mechanics or can’t even offer viable solutions aside from nerfing the entirety of a class. Oh, and speaking of classes…
- No one cares if were an underpowered class pre-buff.
- “Mmm, I liked a Shadow Knight before they got buffed!” Wow? Really? Holy shit, that is amazing news. I’m glad you stuck through your underpowered character until they got revamped. You know why classes get revamped? It isn’t because it only takes “skilled” people to play them and make them viable. Any other class that isn’t gimp with an equally “skilled” player is going to steam roll you in numbers and efficiency. They buff classes to bring them up to par. Aww, don’t cry! Just because people can now faceroll as your favorite underground class doesn’t mean you suck. If you really were skilled you’d still be better than the rest of them by far, right? Or is it because no one played the class you had no real competition to gauge yourself? Wait. What was that you muttered underneath your breath? Oh, that’s what you said? Well guess what…
- No one cares if your guild beat content before it got nerfed.
I remember going into threads that said “Fenrir’s Pups beat Ragnaros” and reading the replies of smug faced, Rockstar drinking hipsters who would sneer the achievement with “Congratulations on beating old and nerfed content.” What a monster you must be! Let’s look at those virtual muscles. Wow! You’ve been really hitting the E-Gym. We all know beating Ragnaros pre-nerf was like fighting Muhammad Ali in his prime and fighting him after the nerf was like fighting him today. We get that. No need to boast about it, though. Your past efforts fall upon deaf ears because not a single person today gives a shit.
Hey, what’s that you’re playing? Is that an NES emulator? What game are you playing? Is that Super Mario Brothers 2? It isn’t? It sure looks like… holy shit don’t say it.
- No one cares if you played Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic before people played Super Mario 2!
I’m glad that you are in touch with the origins of a game and know that Super Mario Brothers 2 is a rehashing of another game but don’t toss it away because it wasn’t indie enough for you. Most of the creatures in Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic were created by Nintendo anyway.
This sick need to do the polar opposite of anything popular or mainstream brings me to my last point.
- Fuck You.
Fuck you, gaming hipster. You’re the person who finds the Playstation Network vastly superior to Xbox Live. You’re the person who guffaws at Apple products (and yes, I admit, I was once this type of person) without even trying to grasp why people like them. You’re the person still playing your NES because all new games suck like some grumpy old man who still plays that game with a hoop and stick. You’re the person who demands nostalgia and only subscribes to progression servers for a month and quits within 3 days because those memories weren’t as fond as you thought they were.
There is no means to stop you from these self imposed habits and traits and there is no wisdom or knowledge I can bestow to remedy the hipster hivemind so I will gladly end this article in the simplest but most profound way I know…
Eat a dick, gaming hipster. Eat a steaming plate of dicks on a bed of rice.
You’re finally coming down from the sugar high ready to get back to gaming, so, let’s get to it. We are in a lull period between holidays and it seems with the election the push of top games have been lessened. This week will be the shortest console preview in Obsolete Gamers short history as only one game gets the nod for purchase.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
First let me start by saying that I was not happy with many of Activision’s decisions involving the COD franchise, especially when it game to network and multiplayer support. In addition I was not pleased that the common wisdom of pushing out a Call of Duty game in one form or another every year was now a company requirement. There have been debates across the internet questioning if Call of Duty is the best modern warfare game out there with games like Medal of Honor stepping it up. However, if there is one thing that’s for certain it’s that they know how to get you hype for a game from its trailers to the information I have read on the game.
Call of Duty Black Ops adds a little something new with the good parts of something old. The over the top firefights are still there (for better or worse) and you have new features such as varied weapon modes. Anyone who knows the term Black Ops knows it means covert top secret missions, normally where if you are caught you are out of luck. In this installment the game takes place in various time periods and locations from Russia to Vietnam and more.
The single player mode has been enhanced with small things done within missions like controlling troop movements from a plane high above the earth and it really matters where you send them. Also little things like the banter between the NPC’s and your player who actually have a voice and opinions and uses them.
Variety is the spice of life and what has made Call of Duty so much fun for me was the various ways you completed your mission and Black Ops continues giving you more, even more than Modern Warfare 2. In the single player you will find a mixture of stealth using the element of surprise to make your way through the enemy’s base. You can snipe your enemy from far away or move in for the silent kill using your knife or the crossbow.
On other missions you have the run and gun that Call of Duty is known for, repelling from Helicopters in a hot zone and calling in airstrikes on buildings just across from your position is a staple. Sure, the fighting might not be realistic, but when you breach a building and see the slow motion camera kick in before firing an explosive arrow into the gut of the bad guys you we be glad realism was checked at the door.
Single player is great and all but it is multiplayer that can determine whether a game will be a hit or a quick rent and beat. Treyarch has kept many of the multiplayer aspects from Call of Duty that we like and add in a few new things and one of the coolest ones is the wager match.
Anyone who has played the newer Call of Duty games knows you level up using experience points and there are tree’s you use to unlock new weapons and accessories. While the EXP leveling system is still there you also earn CP which is the equivalent to cash. In some matches you earn CP and XP and in others you earn only one or the other. So let’s say you have a lot of CP but not enough XP to buy that new gun, well now you can purchase it using CP. Now you might ask, how do you end up with way more CP than XP? Well, one way is the wager matches.
In wager matches you can enter into specific maps where you bet your CP points on who will be the winner. The winners are the top three people in the game but everyone has to bet. One can either quickly win or lose CP but at least you can’t lose XP. The match types for wager matches are pretty cool to including a game called One in the Chamber, where you only have three lives and one bullet. You have to kill someone to get their gun and hope he didn’t waste his ammo. In another match you start with a handgun but as you kill someone with it you get another gun. There are 20 total guns and you have to kill your opponent with each to progress, but here’s the kicker. If you are knifed you lose a level and the gun that goes with it which will make for some interesting online games I can imagine.
Now for you newbies to Call of Duty this might seem overwhelming but fear not because in Black Ops you can train against the AI in multiplayer tactics to learn how not to get owned. You can go up against the computer in various scenarios to give you a feeling for the game. Now of course there is no substitute for a human player but at least this lets you get your feet wet before your head does.
Once you are out in the field you can view how you did in the theater. For Halo fans you will be used to this section. The game automatically records your game and you can decide to keep it to see how you did and what you did wrong as well us upload and share footage with your friends and enemies alike.
Speaking of enemies, you can make custom emblems and logos within Black Ops and place them on your gun for the world to see. It’s a pretty good customizer too so you can make clan symbols or just something to make you stand out in a crowd of bodies. Also, you can even customize your reticle so when you kill someone and they view your screen they can remember it’s you and maybe get some revenge.
Of course there will be a ton of new multiplayer maps from various missions you’ve played as well as multiplayer only maps. You will also get a number of new weapons to use including shotguns, crossbows and even a user guided missile.
Overall from what I have heard, read and watched it looks as if Call of Duty Black Ops will be a pretty good game. Honestly if you are a fan of the franchise it is a must have and the additions to multiplayer will give it a longevity that is important to many gamers in hard economic times. If you need a break from Halo but want that same high paced action on planet earth then COD is your game. You can pick up Call of Duty Black Ops pretty much everywhere on November 9th.
See you next week!
It has been sixteen dark years since the last true Sonic game made its debut. Sega ventured on towards 3D adventures with their signature Blue Flash and since then the fandom that followed Sonic slowly converted to Mario or lost interest in the platform genre as a whole. The masses cried out, their faces stained in the salt of dry tears for Sega to remember the past, remember their roots! After witnessing the success of Megaman 9 and 10, Sega’s minds opened up to hope and the prayers of their fans finally fell upon eager ears. Sonic the Hedgehog 4, the continuation of the main 2D adventure line was to be restored! Thousands upon thousands of loyalist creamed their pants at the mere thought of Sonic returning to his true form. Surely, Sega would remember what made Sonic great.
Unfortunately, they didn’t. The return of Sonic is anything but a sequel to Sonic and Knuckles. The developers of Sonic 4 didn’t seem to know what made Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Knuckles stand on their own as epic platforming adventures. All that they remembered was the formula of level design and loops. The game plays like a mix mashed combination of both Sonic 1 and 2.
The first thing I noticed about this game that bothered instantly once I noticed it, was Sonic’s amazing brakes. I remember in the old games that Sonic used to come to a skidding stop. In this iteration of our hero, he just stops. If you want Sonic to stop where you want, he will. Sometimes midair I could just stop moving forward during an initial jump and slide down an invisible wall when all I wanted to do was reduce my jumping speed. The biggest most daunting issue I had with this was when I’d complete a zone with 50 gold rings and attempted to jump into the bonus stage golden ring at the sign post. Most of the time, I’d run right past it and think “Crap!” and try to run back in time as Sonic zooms off screen. As I made the jump toward the ring, autopilot would kick in and Sonic would just collapse like a ragdoll to the ground in front of it and walk away off screen again.
Our hero also seems to enjoy walking like a robot because his running animation from start to finish is one of the least inspiring displays of speed picking up I’ve ever witnessed in a game before. His legs stiff up like Al Gore as he slowly walks forward. I seemed to be in top speed during this ridiculous take off as Sonic trudged off with an ungraceful motion due to his lack of kneecaps. Suddenly, his legs would turn into red blurs as he ran at what was supposed to depict top speeds. Regrettably, the robotic movement lacking any fluid shift was already top speed so this animation lacked any real dramatic achievement.
An inclusion to the core game play is a homing missile aerial dash which was introduced in Sonic Adventures. While this attack was a welcome addition to the 3D adventure, its transition to 2D is rather obnoxious. The difficulty of calculated attacks and hitting small openings on enemies vanishes with this ability and takes away from the nostalgia of Sonic. Many menacing old school villains which took clean precision and timing to kill, such as Orbinaut, become trivial obstacles in Sonic’s path with the addition of the aerial assault.
The tracks in the zone Sonic robotically glides through are lacking any real enemies. Sure a villain shows up every now and then but they are easily bypassed with the homing attack. Most of the perils in the levels are spikes and pitfalls but the track you go by makes these traps seem more like scenery than anything else as most ramps toss you over spikes. Pitfalls can be easily avoided since the levels are set up in multiple tiers and you can go cascading through the air and end up landing on a lower section of the zone. When you do die though from pitfalls, it is a surprise as there are no real warning signs of its upcoming occurrence. 90% of the time you land on something when you fall. 10% of the time there just isn’t anything and the plummet is so stretched you don’t even realize it’s a pitfall until you hear the reminiscent Sonic fatality sound.
Super Sonic makes a return once you manage to collect all the Chaos Emerald in their tilt-a-whirl secret zones. I did mention earlier how the game is mostly comprised of traps, remember? Super Sonic doesn’t seem to really run faster than his blue form and there aren’t many enemies in the way to pummel through. What you end up having is useless invincibility that slowly eats away at your life force. I didn’t find any use for Super Sonic in this game at all since most deaths were instant kills anyway.
Another thing that peeved me about the game was the music. Sonic is known for its memorable songs. I can still remember a few and hum them every now and then when I sit on the toilet seat while reading a book. The musical director for this installment must have been Keyboard Cat as all of the songs use and abuse repetitive keys with a trumpet blaring every so often. I can’t recall a single song in my head right now despite how hard I may try.
The art style in the game lacks any inspiration at all. In fact, most of the zones are just rehashed models of zones from Sonic 1. The backgrounds in the game are bland and look like something found in a free game application on the Android Market. I was reminded of games with a smaller budget and less gameplay like Totemo as I ventured further through the game’s uninspiring scenery. Some of the cogs you were supposed to interact with in Dr.Robotnik’s Lair (Yeah, I said it. Eggman sounds stupid.) seemed to be part of the background because of their dull color and slow almost shuddering movement. There were times I’d be standing around a level wondering what I am supposed to be doing only to realize that the background was actually part of the foreground.
Speaking of the good doctor, he seems to have lost that knack for creativity we had come to know his boss battles for. In each of the four zones, you fight a familiar nostalgic battle with Robotnik. As your heart flutters from your excitement of revisiting these famous bouts, half way through the battle Robotnik changes gears and gets a bit more hardcore. Each of the initial four encounters are pretty easy and Robotnik does his usual fleeing as you free your bunny friends. When you finally reach Robotnik’s space station, Sega decided to pull a Mega Man and have you fight Robotnik again in each of his four forms you battled him in throughout the campaign. The only difference in these battles from the previous skirmishes is that the doctor kicks up his rage a notch. None of his geared up antics were too difficult and are unbelievably forgettable. I just beat the game two hours ago and I can barely remember any of his new antics. To top off the insult of mutilating old battles, they decided to change one of the greatest fights with Robotnik at the end of the game. Robotnik jumps into the colossal robotic version of himself with a jetpack from Sonic 2. The major difference between that battle and this one is that you have a homing jump and there are a ton of openings to hit the suit this time. To say the least possible without ruining the tactics involved in this battle, I didn’t have to think or struggle too hard to end the game.
The game doesn’t stand on its own in the series. Fans who may run for this installment of Sonic’s latest and greatest adventure for scraps of nostalgia will be sorely disappointed and only the most hardcore of Hedgehog fans (Laraque) could find any real entertainment in this game. I, on the other hand, wish I played Comic Jumper instead. It is only the first episode of the Sonic 4 series, and more episodes may add more features but the lackluster experience of Episode 1 has left me with the taste of duran fruit in my mouth, something I never want to taste again regardless of presentation.
I hope you either have rich parents, a good job or the unemployment check can be diverted from being used for Ramen noodles to video games because the week of October 10th has some great cash draining games.
Medal of Honor
War is hell; war in Medal of Honor is beautiful. When you have the perfect mix of exciting gameplay and incredible graphics then you have a winner. MOH has come back in 2010 with engaging missions, intense firefights and state of the art sound and graphics that puts you right in the game. It may sound cheesy, but it’s true. Check out the video from the helicopter mission.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode
There is not much more I can say that wasn’t covered in our preview of the game, but while this is a download title, for Sonic fans it’s a slice of heaven. True enough this is not breaking new stuff and some even feel it is nothing more than a Sonic Rush rehash, but the gameplay is fun, the visuals are a prefect mix of classic and modern and the music… well the music needs work, but hey its only fifteen bucks.
Lucha Libre AAA Heroes of the Ring
We got to look at this game while at E3 and if you are a wrestling fan in the very least then this title is worth taking a look at. Lucha Libre is Mexican style wrestling and that means high-flying stunts and crazy insane costumes. Pretty much it’s like playing a highlight reel of the WWE or TNA, on crack. The gameplay is solid and the graphics are stunning so if you need a break from the normal step into the ring with the Lucha Libre’s
So there you are three titles worth checking out next week and since one is a download it shouldn’t break your bank too much. I’ll be back next with a look at the games coming out for consoles the week of Oct 17th. Until then go make some extra cash.
Today’s picture of the day comes from Capcom’s upcoming release for Xbox live and PlayStation Network, MegaMan universe.
Mega Man games are beloved by fans all over the world. Since their debut in 1987, Mega Man has remained a videogame icon, having starred in more than 140 titles over the last 22 years. The connection he’s made with pop culture at large has extended beyond games and into cartoons, toys, clothing, comics, kid’s meals, and more. Part of that popularity is driven by the series’ ability to evolve over time yet consistently retain the addictive gameplay experience that sets Mega Man games apart.
As a bonus check out the first gameplay video showcasing three of the playable characters in MegaMan universe and an introduction from creator Keiji Inafune.
The “Forza Motorsport 3” World Class Car Pack, available for download starting today on Xbox LIVE Marketplace, features some of the most stunning 2010 and 2011 production and performance models in the world. Available for 400 Microsoft Points, the pack offers some of the hottest new cars from leading manufacturers like McLaren, Acura, Mercedes, Cadillac, Fiat, Mitsubishi, and more.
This month’s car pack puts you behind the wheel of some of the world’s newest and most sought after vehicles. From the elite McLaren MP4-12C supercar and the luxurious power of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz CL 65 AMG, to the tuner-friendly 2010 Acura TSX V6 and the agile 2011 Citroën DS3, the World Class Car Pack will ensure your “Forza Motorsport 3” garage is fully stocked and ready to take the competition by storm during the summer racing season.
The World Class Car Pack features 10 new cars that are ready to hit the track or tuning garage:
- 2011 McLaren MP4-12C
- 2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
- 2010 Mercedes-Benz CL 65 AMG
- 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
- 2010 Fiat Punto Evo SPORT
- 2010 Acura TSX V6
- 2010 Kia Forte Koup SX
- 2011 Mazda 2
- 2011 Citroën DS3
- 2010 Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart
After launching the iconic McLaren F1 in the early 1990s, the 2011 McLaren MP4-12C is the culmination of over a decade of Formula 1 and street car development. Built upon a superlight Carbon MonoCell structure with a mid-mounted twin-turbocharged 600hp V8 engine, this latest supercar from McLaren is a must-drive in Forza Motorsport 3. Sample the World Class Car Pack now and download a free 2010 Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart, the hot hatch tuned by the legendary Mitsubishi motorsports division.
I could have been lazy and copied Honorabili’s post since the list is pretty much the same but my high work ethic wouldn’t allow me to do that. However, I am willing to take this month’s breakdown of new releases in a different direction so bare with me.
Alpha Protocol – June 1st
You know this game is going to be good because of the silhouette of the man holding the gun. Not only is showing an image like this the true sign of a winner, but it’s sexy too. Check out the subliminal message of the lady holding the gun near his crotch. The question is who will fire first.
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands – June 8th
Jake Gyllenhall is movie gold, no really he is. Alright fine, this is about the game which has 25% more sand and more time travel than a Lost episode. If you’ve played any of the modern POP games you know there will be incredible jumps, cool combat and interesting puzzles and ladies I hear you can unlock shirtless pictures of Jake.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior – June 8th
Everyone hates a sniper, so much so that many end up on Oprah wanting nothing more than a hug. Step into the shoes of this misunderstood soul as you pick people off in South America. See people believe its all “Boom head shot!”, but it’s more than that. You have to spend time (too much time) searching for that perfect spot to make your kill, but once you do it’s on. Again look at that box, this guy is deep.
Naval Assault: The Killing Tide – June 15th
The killing tide is the type of title that lets you know there will be tides. Hop inside your WWII submarine with a load of seamen and blast away. This game looks like it could be fun if you like old navel sea battles through honestly some of the water effects look kind of strange. With Naval Assault you’ll find yourself in many battles across the North Atlantic so run low and silent commander.
Transformers: War for Cybertron – June 22nd
Go back to a time when Optimus Prime was just another robot fighting for his homeland, a time before ebonic robots and Shia LaBeouf. Unfortunately it is also a time before Megan Fox, but you have the internet for that. War for Cybertron takes a step away from the movies back to when the war was brewing up and the battle lines were drawn. In the single player campaign you play both an Autobot and Decepticon story where you see each side recruit their forces and engage in skirmishes. You know what happens in the end, but like the movie Valkyrie you’ll still be interested in experiencing it right?
Singularity – June 29th
So you have a time reversing device that can do things like restore an old box of ammo to the time when it was new and full of bullets and yet when you use it on an enemy it turns to dust? Okay, I get it, if they turned to babies or even before that there would a lawsuits and Tea Party members raising kain. Overall the idea is pretty cool, traveling back to the 50’s and using time as a weapon looks like a winner. I wonder if you can target specific body parts and restore it?
It’s not Modern Warfare or Bad Company.
It’s pretty simple, if you love realistic racing and a collection of cars that would make a billionaire jealous then Forza 3 is for you. Forza Motorsport 3 has released their exotic car pack as a downloadable content patch on Xbox live. For 400 Microsoft points you get ten rare boutique cars for your collection.
The “Exotic Car Pack” features 10 automobiles ready to race, paint and tune:
SSC Ultimate Aero
Weismann GT MF5
Spada Codatronca TS
Spyker C8 Laviolette LM85
Radical SR8 LM
You can get a free download of the Spyker C8 Laviolette LM8 till the end of the month so head on over to the XBL marketplace to get yours today.
Dig Dug review by Honorabili
One Sentence Review:
“Pop that monster!”
9 out of 10
Dig Dug consists of you being this blue man in a white suit that digs your way underground to kill monsters in tunnels. You do this by impaling them with an air pump that has like a tip like Scorpion’s weapon in Mortal Kombat (weird, I know but it’s cute!). You them pump the little monsters with enough air until they pop like a balloon. The game keeps progressing as you kill more monsters and there are none left in that level. Each level is progressively harder (especially when multiple enemies come at you at once).
You can get an extra man every 20000 points and you can pick up fruit in the middle of the stage when you kill enemies in a spectacular way, accelerating your 1UP rate.
The original game keeps going for 256 levels with the remake having about 400 levels.
The game is available on most Ataris, the Intellivision, Apple II, Commodore VIC 20 and c64, for PC, NES, gameboy, Wii, and the TI-99/4A. The remake is also available under Namco Classic Collection Volume 2 for Xbox, Gamecube, and the PS2.
I always thought it was a trip to fill up cute little monsters with air and watch their belly burst. If you’re braindead like me then you will love this kind of action. As the game will become much harder later, you will have to react instantly to the onslaught of monsters and have to adapt to using the terrain to your advantage and tricking the game’s A.I. by timing your attacks. You will sometimes have to run like a little bitch for your life and that can be fun to do especially in an old game! Fun Factor gets a score of 1o out of 10.
Dig Dug is a challenging game. It’s from an era where if you wanted to get a high score you had to be a good gamer. Continues? Never heard of them. You put in a quarter and you got a set amount of lives. If you lost them all, you had to pay again to replay from the beginning. If you like your games easy then Dig Dug is not a game for you. If you like a game where the A.I. will eventually come at you from every direction, really fast then this is your game. You do get one more life though every 20000 points.
The first levels are easy and the game constantly keeps acccelerating in diffuculty. There’s no way to alter that but the game is challenging enough as it is. Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 9 out of 10.
Since this game is so old now, most people will probably play the emulated (usually MAME) version which you can get for free.
The PS2 Namco Classic Collection version is now out of print and not available online. You can track it down either by calling your local game stores or finding it through ebay.
The Wii version you can probably get online from their store for probably a few dollars.
Overall, since you can either play this game for free or for a few dollars for the PS2 or Wii version, Value gets a score of 10 out of 10.
Most classic arcade games are highly addictive/replayable, unless you find them too hard/frustrating for you. You can pretty much set your own goal as you what you want your experienced with this game to be, whether to get to whatever number of level or whatever your high score will be.
Myself, I find this game fun and I often wonder to what level I can get to the next time I play. Considering I’ve played this game thousands of times since the 80s and I still play it, the game is a classic and very replayable. I give replayability a score of 9 out of 10.
The sounds mainly consist of hearing the dragon roar (whistle) and your pump that fills up the cute monsters and pops the living hell out of them. For an old game the sounds are really well done and I think Sound deserves a score of 1o out of 10.
The music is so simple but it’s so catchy. The music is interactive in the sense that the little jingle will only play whenever your guy is walking. Mega64 makes fun of that fact and made a video where they go around harrassing people with it! Here is a video showing that:
It’s catchy and it keeps you playing this hectic little game. For a few simple notes, it’s a classic. Overall the game has like 4 little melodies but the main melody is the one that you will hear the most. Music gets a score of 10 out of 10.
The graphics look pretty cute for this old game and they are actually great. It’s fun watching the monsters blow up like a balloon and then POP! Graphics get a score of 10 out of 10.
This game actually has 2 bugs.
If you get to the end of the game, the game has a kill screen where you are basically stuck because the game will not progress any further. This happens when you get to the last level of the game (level 256) and beat it.
The other bug happens if you drop a rock on an enemy while you are pumping it with air and snuff it. It basically makes all enemies disappear making the level unbeatable but the work around is to trigger another rock to fall.
Other than those two bugs, mainly the rock one (because most people will NOT get to the last level), the game is rock solid. Stability/Reliability get a score of 8 out of 10.
The controls are simple. Up is up and so forth, and the fire button always triggers the harpoon gun/pump which lets you kill enemies. Other than that you walk into the ground to tunnel and you make rocks fall by leaving a tunnel under it (to try to trick a monster into getting crushed). Controls get a score of 10 out of 10.
The game runs flawless whether you play it on an arcade machine, emulation (MAME, etc), or on a console remake of it. If only all games could run as well as old games! Performance gets a score of 10 out of 10.
My history with this game:
This is one of the first games where I was impressed by an arcade game, specifically Namco and Atari. I remember seeing this around the same time I first played Ms. Pacman, another arcade favorite of mine. I’ve played Dig Dug over 1000 times, literally. It’s not as popular as the Pacman games but among the arcade community, it’s always a classic.
If you’ve never played Dig Dug, you are missing out on a major arcade game that is a corner stone for arcade gaming history. Go play it and stop reading this.