Friday, April 29, 2011

Predator 2: Worth A Rental

I don't remember the Predator 2 movie, and based on the fact only the first film is ever replayed on classic film channels, I think nobody else wants to. It doesn't really matter though, because I'm here to write about the Predator 2 game for Genesis. It was developed by a company known as Teeny Weeny Games, and fact they thought that was a good name for a company and that they also made the abysmal Wolverine: Adamantium Rage is why I am glad they are out of business. At least this game is slightly less completely unlikely than Adamantium Rage.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shinobi II: The Silent Fury

Shinobi II: The Silent Fury for the Game Gear is a pretty unremarkable game. It has some interesting ideas, though nothing particularly original, and it is all hampered by clunky controls. This is one ninja game where you don't feel much like ninja. You aren't particularly fast, deadly, or stealth, not that I'd expect that element from a Shinobi game. My biggest gripe with the game is that Sega had Yuzo Koshiro do the soundtrack, and the Game Gear hardware just doesn't do the man justice.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Depressing History Of Quitting Phantasy Star

There are a lot of reason I don't trust my friends and family, and one of them is my experiences with the online Phantasy Star games. Don't get me wrong, I love the games, and I don't necessarily hate my friends, but I often find that neither are particularly reliable. This story starts, of course, with Phantasy Star Online for the Dreamcast. Lots of people played I know played it, and it was the source of many good times. Interest waned a while and really dropped off with the release of Version 2, which required the monthly paid for Hunter's License in order to play online. This was the only time when I wasn't particularly bitter about parting ways with a Phantasy Star game.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jurassic Park-athon Part 2: Rampage Edition

This is the 2nd part of my Jurassic Park-athon, where I plan to play every Jurassic Park game in roughly chronological order. I was trying to come up with a combination word like Chrontendo, but I've got nothing. Anyway, you can find part 1 here. Today I hope to get through all of the games from around the time of the first film.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Drill Dozer: Another Reason To Love GBA

GameStop is currently getting rid of their GBA stuff, so they are selling their stock of used games with a buy two, get two free deal. I don't usually like buying things from GameStop because of all their pre-order nonsense, but right now it is a good place to pick up some great GBA games on the cheap. I got four games for just over ten bucks, and none of them are shit. One game that I got was the flagrantly unique Drill Dozer by Game Freak. You may know Game Freak as the company that develops the main Pokémon series, and Drill Dozer is actually one of the few non-Pokémon games that they have made since the original games.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jurassic Park-athon Part 1: It Begins!

I think if I were to try to explain to someone significantly younger than me why Jurassic Park was such a huge deal, they wouldn't get it. I mean, it was a movie with dinosaurs that looked real, and that was mind-blowing, but to kids that have grown up with convincing CG, any movie could do that. Jurassic Park was huge multimedia blockbuster franchise with movies, comic books, and most importantly to this site, video games. Oddly enough, there was never a cartoon series like every other thing marketed toward kids in the 90's, not that weren't people trying to take advantage of the hype, like the people who made Cadillacs and Dinosaurs. That's right, before Tyrannosauruses were used for irreverent comedy and before Velociraptors were philosophers, dinosaurs were just plain awesome. Part one, of what I'm guessing will end up being a three part series, will be about the games from the era of the first film. Be sure to listen to the Jurassic Park theme while reading this, otherwise the entire article doesn't make any sense.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Battle Unit Zeoth

As mecha fan, I'd like there to be a lot of good mecha games, but there aren't many. Battle Unit Zeoth is definitely a mecha game, as you might be able to tell from the Macross knockoff main unit design, but it is not a good one. It's pretty much a straight up side-scrolling shooter except that you can shoot in four directions and apparently the direction the screen scrolls changes after each stage, not that I'd ever have the urge to play it enough to be able to finish the first level.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wall Street Kid: 80's As Fuck

I seem to frequently say that the game I'm writing about is weird, but in this case it is really weird. Wall Street Kid is a stock market simulator for the NES. As far as I know, this is the only stock market sim released on US consoles. In Japan, before this there was The Money Game, and then there was The Money Game II: Kabutochou no Kiseki, which this game was a localization of. I remember playing Wall Street Kid at a friends house when I was a kid, and at some point his copy of the game ended up in my collection with the rest of his NES games. I'm quite surprised the game was of Japanese origin, because the is so 80's business America that I'd expect the game to have a cocaine meter.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fatal Labyrinth and What The Hell Is A Roguelike?

What is with me and labyrinths lately? I friend of mine left some games with me after digging through his old stuff, and one of those games was Fatal Labyrinth. I had to guess at the title because the label was mangled, but it turns out I guessed right. It also turns out that I already owned Fatal Labyrinth, as it was part of that big Genesis pack I bought on Steam a bit ago. I guess I didn't remember it because the title is so generic. The game actually has a history that was a lot more interesting than I expected. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Bit of Battle Networking

The Mega Man Battle Network series is the fun-loving younger brother of the Mega Man franchise. It has the youthful feel and colorful design of the original series, but the games play in an entirely different manner. Most people consider the series to be Capcom's response to Pokémon, but that seems overly cynical to me, and it too easily dismisses what is interesting about it. The Battle Network games are more like a traditional Japanese RPG with the twist of a unique battle system and with grindy leveling replaced by grindy collecting.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Legacy of the Wizard

Legacy of the Wizard is an NES game that people would probably only put up with in the NES era. It was known as Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family in Japan, where, as you might be able to tell from the title, was part of a series of games. It's not a series that I am familiar with, but I guess some people remember Faxanadu fondly, which it was a sequel to, though in the weird world of US NES releases, Faxanadu was released later. The game was originally developed and published by Nihon Falcom, but according to Wikipedia the NES version was made by Quintet, whom later made Actraiser and Illusion of Gaia. The fact it was Nihon Falcom doesn't really change my impression of the game because I've never spent much time playing any of their games, but the connection to Quintet disappoints because I've liked their games.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Whirl Tour

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was a scooter game with some cockamamie story about portals zapping the player into strange locals? Me neither, but apparently somebody at Papaya Studio did when they made Whirl Tour. It plays like the most blatant ripoff of a Tony Hawk game I've played, but maybe they got away with it by having it on scooters and with a bad cartoon art style. From what I can tell, Papaya Studio has never made anything good, usually doing licensed games for cartoon properties.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Poverty Attendant Part 2: The Company

Working at a mall arcade in 2008 was an enlightening experience in some weird ways. While the general stupidity displayed be the people who walked into the arcade was dismaying, the stupidity of the company that ran the arcade was downright depressing. I used to think that the death of arcades was simply caused by the rising quality of consoles and online play, but after working for this unbelievably cheap and stupid company, I think that companies like the one I worked for were also detrimental to their own success.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rabi Laby

DSiWare is a strange platform, not unlike WiiWare, because it is almost entirely ignored by the major games press. It's not too surprising considering that even regular retail DS games get ignored quite a bit already. I guess reviews of mobile games have always been ghettoized, even with the extensions of large console franchises. The apathy towards cheap mobile games seems to have been greatly exacerbated by the success of the iOs and Android app markets and their tons of games. There is just too much to cover, and not a lot of it is worth the time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dungeon Magic: Magic and Dungeons

Don't get your hopes up, I'm not writing about mid-90's fantasy themed isometric arcade beat'em up from Taito that was pretty fucking cool, I'm writing about the late 90's fantasy themed first-person NES RPG from Taito that was pretty fucking boring. While the RPG was known everywhere as Dungeon Magic: Sword of the Elements, the beat'em up was called Lightbringer in Japan. Another difference between the two games (other than the fact they are different games entirely), is that while the arcade game was developed by Taito themselves, Natsume developed the NES game for Taito back before Natsume became the Harvest Moon company.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Radical Psycho Machine Racing

Radical Psycho Machine Racing is one of those games that is more historically interesting than it is fun or interesting to play. I bought RPM Racing because it had a stupid name. I played it for a little bit and decided it was bad and forgot about it until I was looking through my carts for something to write about. The wikipedia page for RPM Racing held my attention for longer than the game did. The game is just an isometric racing game with tank controls like R.C. Pro-Am. The immediate game it reminded me of was Micro Machines for SNES because I guess that was the only tank controls-having racing game I ever played much of, but that was just top-down and not isometric.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mega Man X4: What Am I Writing FOOOOOOOOOOOORRR!?

I love Mega Man X4. There, the review-oriented readers don't have to read the rest of this post because you now know whether I give the game a plus or a minus. For those of you still with us, thank you for being the type of person that I write for. Anyway, I don't think I have to into detail on the basics of the game, everybody should know that X4 is Capcom's first Playstation game in the Mega Man X series. A lot of people didn't care for X4, but I have my reasons for loving it, and I will explain them.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sonic Isometric Blast

There seems to be a myth in that in the history of Sonic the Hedgehog games, there was a point in which they went from being great games to complete shit, but the truth is that there has always been hits and misses. Sonic 3D Blast is an example of a relatively early miss. It's just not a fun game. I think I may have enjoyed Sonic Spinball more, and I loathe Sonic Spinball. 3D Blast was just a bad idea from the start. An isometric perspective does not lend itself well to the fast traversal that is the hallmark of a Sonic game.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Poverty Attendant Part 1: The People

"Gift of the silver tongue.  It's the mark of a good suit salesman. . . and of a liar!"

I spent about 8 months of 2008 working at an arcade in a mall in suburban America. If you haven't been to an arcade in a mall in the past few years I wouldn't be surprised, but if you have you know that they have become the definition of poverty. It may have been minimum wage at a shitty arcade, but it was a pretty solid easy job up until the place closed. I mostly just read books and played portable games. I walked away from this little excursion with four A Song of Ice and Fire books read, a couple of dark knights in Final Fantasy Tactics for PSP, a vague idea of how to play Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, and a lot of stories. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Brutal: Paws of Fuckin' Furries

When people think of terrible fighting games of the 16 bit era, their first thought is probably Shaq Fu, but I think that does a disservice the sheer volume of horrid fighters that came out in that era. One such disgrace of a game is Brutal: Paws of Fury. There is no redeeming quality to this trash. I've had the game since I was a kid and I've always hated it. Brutal is a prime example of why creators GameTek deserved to go bankrupt and have their properties locked away in Take 2's vaults, never to be seen again.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Streets of Rage Remake

I should first say that Streets of Rage 2 is easily one of my favorite games of all time. The first Streets of Rage was okay for the time, and 3 was great even with Sega's seeming concentrated effort to destroy ruin the American version of the game. When I first heard about Streets of Rage Remake, I was interested, but having played quite a few fan-made beat'em ups like Beats of Rage, I wasn't particularly optimistic. I first played remake with version 4, which was pretty good.  It was definitely the best fan-made beat'em up, but as a hardcore fan of the original series, I was annoyed by little details that were off. The newly released version 5, the final version, fixes pretty much every problem I had with it, and added a bunch of cool stuff.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Story Time: Uniracers

There is a lot I could say about Uniracers. It's a really strange game, and there are a lot of really strange stories to be told around it, let alone just transcribing the experience of playing it. Uniracers, Unirally in other parts of the world, has the distinction of being the last game developed by DMA Designs before they created the wildly successful Grand Theft Auto series. Before they were Rockstar North, DMA Designs made weird shit like this game about sentient unicycles racing, for which they were sued by Pixar. I guess Pixar had made some animation in the 80s that starred some sort of animated unicycle, so in spite of having good initial sales, being critically well-received, and being a pretty fun game, Uniracers' initial production run was the only one it got.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bionic Commando: Rearmed, Hitler: Reexploded

I picked up Bionic Commando: Rearmed for $5 in one of the many Steam sales. The original Bionic Commando is a weird game for me, not just because it is an offbeat game, but because it was not a game that I had heard of during the NES era, but it had become sort of infamous during the time emulation was new and exciting. I imagine that I'd have found it even more weird had I known about the Japanese version, the title of which translates to The Resurrection of Hitler: Top Secret. The idea of making Hitler into a resurrection-themed boss like Dracula is pretty funny. It seems completely crazy, but considering that around the same time SNK came out with an Ikari Warriors-type game based on Che Guevara, it was just a weird time.