Monday, October 31, 2005

Old School Game of the Week: Turtles In Time

One game, two different and equally great ways to play. Turtles In Time was the sequel to Konami's killer 4-Player arcade button masher Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. TMNT was so hot then, and this was without a doubt the best game to come out of that craze. Even a novice game player could walk up to the machine and figure out what to do. Your joystick moved you around in 8 directions, and you had a jump and an attack button. Press them together and each Turtle would do some kind of special attack like a spinning slash or kick. This upgrade of the older TMNT game engine also let you do a running dash but pressing forward twice where you could then ram into an enemy or do some kind of forward flip over them. You could also now throw enemies AT the screen for a cheap early 3D mode-7 effect. Enemies included dozens of Foot soldier variations, mousers, dinosaurs, stone warriors, and more goddamn mutants. With and enough skills in jump kicks and nunchucks (or an afternoon to kill and a roll of quarters), you were sure to see the ending. But not all of us were blessed with the ability to roll into the arcade and beat the game in one sitting, so Konami did the cool thing and gave us a near perfect port for the new Super NES system. I call it near perfect because it didn't feature 4-Player support... but they did toss in several new levels and bosses, which more than made up for it. This F.A.Q. excellently documents the changes. I admit to being kinda mad that Cement Man and Shredder were ommited completely, even if replace by better bosses. Why couldn't there be a Shedder fight before Super Shredder? Oh well. At least we got Bebop and Rocksteady. Super NES carts weren't exactly cheap (I remember dropping at least $60 in x-mas money for Turtles In Time), but the replay value was great for a pick-up-and-play-as-a-ninja-turtle game. There were several levels of difficulty, some better control options (like mapping the special attack to a seperate button), a kinda worthless VS game, and a Time trial mode where you had a short time to kill as many Foot Soldiers as possible. This is not one of the great classics that stand the test of time like a Mario or Sonic game. It doesn't even compare to other stuff Konami was releasing at the time like Super Castlevania. But if you want to play a game that perfectly encapsulated where pop-culture and gaming were in 1991, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time is a shining example.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

$20 game of the week: Taito legends (PS2, Xbox)

These past 2 months have been a great period for classic gaming fans. Since the end of August, we've gotten no less than 5 Classic gaming compiliations from companies such as Capcom, Tecmo, Namco, Midway, and now Taito. Taito may not have had the arcade prominence that companies like Capcom and Namco do, but they manage to turn out memorable hits just the same. They've given us Space invaders, Bubble Bobble, and Operation Wolf among others, and Taito legends is a compiliation of those hits. THere are 29 games in this package, and out of all the classic gaming compiliations, this has the most variety genrewise. You have puzzle, beat-em up, side scrolling action, and shooters. A lot of these games are obscure, but they are fun in thier own right. It is dissapointing that this isn't the line up of the Japan only Taito-memories and games such as Renegade and Darius Twin are omitted, but there is always hope for a sequel now that Square Enix owns Taito.

Monday, October 24, 2005

OMG! Allard confirms Halo 4

Halo 3 speculation is old news now! In the IGN interviewXbox boss-man J Allard said

"games are the biggest content you'll ever download. But we talk about, 'Will I buy Halo 4 online exclusively online?' I don't know. I don't think about it that way. I think about the marketplace as a place to have a real friction-free relationship with a gamer "
So there you go, Halo 4 will come out when you can download it. Or maybe not. But it will come out. After Halo 3. And hopefully it will fix all the broken multiplayer maps and cheating from Halo 3. I hate having my pelican shot down in the middle of a flag raid on Sidewinder by some jack ass with infinite fuel rod cannon ammo.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Revolution controller mockup on Half-Life 2

This little genius took a One handed PS1 Controller and an Gyration mouse and plugged them into his PC to see how Nintendo's Revolution controller might work. Seeing as Nintendo hasn't shown off any actual games yet, this mock-up is the closest thing we have to seeing in-game play. Posted to the IGN Boards, theres photos of the hardware he used and a short video. Well done, Tsietisin. This of course confirms my earlier assertion that this will be the best controller for shooting games since the Zapper.

$20 Game of the week part 2: Psi Ops (PS2 and Xbox)

I'm late this week (for a good reason), so I'm gonna hit you off with 2 cheap games this week to make up for It, so hopefully there are no hard feelings. WITH MY MIIIIIIIND....WITH MY MIIIIIIINND... As early as last year, Midway has adapted a new strategy: Create new intellectual properties and revamp old ones completly. This has given us some of thier best games in recent years, such as Area 51, Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks, The Suffering, and now this. Psychic powers turn what could have easily been a run of the mill shooter into a classic expierence. You can levitate objects, burn them, and even mind control enemies. This adds an untold amount of strategy to an ordinary shooter. Do you use levitation to toss an explosive canister into a room full of enemies, or do you take over one of them and make him kill th eothers before killing himself? Of can you just use levitate while standing on that discarded piece of metal and fly over the room completly? This is probably one of the best applications of the Havok physics engine ever, as you can use your psychic powers to levitate and destroy pretty much anything that isn't nailed to the ground. Also of note is the song from coldplay"With my mind".

$20 Game of the week part 1: Super smash brothers melee

I'm late this week (for a good reason), so I'm gonna hit you off with 2 cheap games this week to make up for It, so hopefully there are no hard feelings. Super smash brothers meele is probably the one major reason to own a gamecube besides Animal Crossing. It's the sequel to an N64 classic that pits characters from all over the Nintendo universe against each other in a 4 player battle royale. THe singleplayer modes also bring in good times, as you fight through a section from each character's video game. You'll escape from Zebes in Samus's level, crawl through a dungeon in Link's level, and climb up a moutain in the Ice climber's level. The event mode brings in several tough challenges which unlock trophies that will give you information on Nintendo's various franchises. It's a wonder Nintendo hasn't given us a sequel yet.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Spartan-458

10/22/05 Update! New hi-res screens available! Also, this is fast becoming the most popular post in the blog, so here is other posts about Halo and don't forget to check out the forum and the rest of the blog! Original 10/13/05 post: Last week we heard DOA4 would have a Halo character. It was quickly confirmed it wouldn't be Chief. While I was hoping for the villanous Tartarus or even a Flood mutation, we got something else entirely... Spartan-458 While the Halo story dictates that Master Chief is the last survivor of the Spartan program, 458 has shown up alive and well and is (gasp!) a woman. Can't wait to see this in action, and read Bungie's plot explaination as to how a dead solider from the future shows up in this game (hey, they promised to not break continuity!)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Name Your Own Price on Gamecube!

Word is coming in from the east that Nintendo is cutting Gamecube price shackles to whatever retailers want. No word yet if this deal will go anywhere else, but without a killer title this christmas, it might be the only thing to keep the console selling. This was on digg several days ago, but mentioning it to friends not many had heard of it. and yes, i spent a lot of time on that picture.

Metroid Prime Pinball: Hands on

Metroid is one of the few Nintendo franchises that has remained pure. With the exception of Samus Aran's appearance in Smash Brothers, Metroid has stayed out of racing, partying, extreme sports, dancing, and the other assorted oddball activities the Mario crew finds themselves in. Metroid has also never had a bad game, putting it far ahead of Star Fox (which now stands at 2 good games and 2 terrible ones) and even Zelda (I'm counting those CD-i turds.) So why now with the Metroid universe being glorified with the astounding Zero Mission remake of the first game and the superb play of Prime... why now do we see a Pinball game? Mario Pinball Land is one of the worst Nintendo games ever released. But while the associated is blasphemous, the game itself is actually pretty good as as faithful as can be expected. We could've done a whole lot worse. I played the Tallon IV overworld table, with the DS' L/R buttons working the triggers. Enemies from Metroid Prime show up here and there, since Samus is ball mode, she'll need to use the B button to drop bombs to take out some of them. At certain points you'll lock into position just above the bumpers and stand up and Samus will rapid fire at an onslaught of approaching enemies. This also is controlled very simply by using the d-pad or just the L/R buttons to aim left and right to blast them as the get close. Just from the very short playtest, I could tell this is going to be a very fun game. Its not a new 2D adventure (as the oft-rumoured unseen DS title Metroid Dread is), and its not Hunters, which is aging very quickly. Even though it sticks out like a sore thumb in the Metroid mythos and breaks the series consistent reputation as the best action/exploration title available, it is not a bad game. The visuals, sounds, and play are all well within the established Metroid world and don't do the history a disservice in the least. But if I see Ridley & Kraid playin' baseball, there will be trouble

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This week in Halo...

I already did this once before, but I keep finding interesting shreds of news and gotta report it. Halo 2 by the numbers is a breakdown from Bungie showing exactly how the online multiplayer stats add up. A staggering 2 billion games have been played since the Nov 9, 2004 launch, with 21 thousand years of game time logged. Thats fucked up. I finally got my Game Informer in the mail yesterday with the full story on Spartan 458 that hit the net last week. Well, the whole 'story' is still under wraps, but its pretty clear that this female spartan isn't going to look any different than Chief, and the only alternate costume shown is Red. I full expect a Blue costume to make it in as well, and hopefully the geniuses at Rooster Teeth will find some way to use it. Speaking of RT, they launched the 64th episode of "Red VS Blue" this week. I gotta wonder how long they can keep this up and keep it funny, but the always do. They're only just now mining the fun that can be had with a Covenant Elite. Game Informer also ran a blurb in the "Loose Talk" column suggesting that 2 scripts for Halo 3 exist to keep the 'real' story under wraps and that not all Bungie employees know what they're working on. Its unlikely the script that was circling the web a few days ago was one of them. Its also worth noting that Halo 3 aint done until its done, but the rumour that the original Halo: Combat Evolved playable over Xbox Live as a bonus to Halo 3 would terrifically sweet. Finally, this video is not Halo 3 but looks kinda neat anyway.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Apple gaming... no seriously!

Developer.apple.com has an article up about Aspyr's development of PC ports to the new Intel-powered Macs coming next year. With such a ready solution to the age-old problem of Apple being years behind on even the games they do get... could we be heading toward more simultaneous release PC and Mac games? And if that happens, will Apple be able to chip away at the hardcore PC gamer audience and 'switch' the one group no one ever suspected. Even I'm not gullible enough to suggest that the PC crowd who lovingly build, upgrade, customize, and maintain their gaming rigs would give it up for an iMac. But the iMac audience that is out there buying them might want to buy some games too. So continues the courtship of the casual gamer, where the real money is. On a seemingly unrelated note, Sony is not worried about a video iPod competing with the PSP. They really don't have to be worried right now, but now that Apple has conquered music, and moving on to video, who says they won't go after portable gaming next? Imagine digital delivery like game tap is already doing right in the iTunes interface and playable on a gaming iPod. Homebrew gaming would have a new wide audience just like podcasts and videocasts have now on the iPod, and by putting games right next to video and music in an online outlet just like they are in brick and mortar stores you'd be entice a group that might never pick up a PSP or even a GBA. Think I'm crazy? Read this:

“The format that’s under discussion right now, HD versus Blu-ray, that’s simply the last physical format we’ll ever have. Even videos in the future will either be on a disk in your pocket or over the Internet and therefore far more convenient for you.”
Ya know who said that? Bill Gates. Microsoft's Xbox360 is designed to download games as much as it is to play ones you put in the disc tray. If they're banking on this as the future, imagine how much more better prepared Apple would be as the owner of the internet's most popular legal download application?

Friday, October 14, 2005

$20 game of the week: Mortal Kombat Deception (Xbox, PS2, and gamecube)

I had a totally different game in mind for this week, but I just read on gamespot that the PS2 and Xbox versions of this game have achieved platnum/greatest status and will sell for $19.99. In 2002, Midway resurrected it's stagnant fighting game franchise with the incredible Deadly alliance. The game bought back what fans loved about it in the first place (the fatalities!) while adding in a host of new features (konquest mode, a 3-style combat system, a slew of unlockables). Last year, midway bought it back again, and jam packed it with more features with Deception. Most notable of which being online play*, a first for the Mortal Kombat series. Minigames like puzzle kombat(A shameless rip off of Capcom's Puzzle fighter) and chess as well as an extended Konquest mode guarente that there is something for everyone in this package, even those who are not really fans of the series. Note: If you can find it, pick up the premium pack. It has a playable version of the original Mortal Kombat so fans can see how far the series has come. *Dosen't apply to gamecube obviously. Have fun with Goro and Shao Khan!

Duck Hunt

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Super Princess Peach Commercial

$20 game of the week: Samurai Warriors (PS and Xbox)

"WAAAAH! It's mindless button mashing!" Yes, but it's fun button mashing. If you don't buy games expecting the meaning of life in them, they'll be fun. Samurai Warriors is one of those titles. Who can deny how fun it is to run around and smash up a crowd full of enemies as in Koei's Dynasty Warriors series? More then just Dynasty Warriors in feudal Japan, this adds a number of key features to seperate it from Koei's cash cow: Points on the map which tell you where to go to complete objectives (versus having to check the mission log in DW), multiple routes and endings for each character, and selectable skills to upgrade (a'la X-men legends and Diablo). In fact I was dissapointed to see that several of these features were not incorporated into DW5. Bring a long a friend in the story mode or one of the game's many versus modes. Although Koei's DW and SW titles leave a lot to be desired (online play for instance), they guarantee a lot of fun, and they are educational too. If you want a nice little game that's easy to pick up and play, then get this. If you want something complex with puzzles, 45 minute intro sequences, havok physics, and a bunch of other features, then go play zelda. BtW, if you get the PS2 edition, grab Samurai Warriors Xtreme Legends also, as it adds some new features.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Unlock a Starfox Ship in Zelda Game It looks like an odd photoshop job, but that arwing in Ocarina of Time is real. the video clearly shows Link target locking and taking it down the with boomerang....

"Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow" impressions

Keep in mind these are first impressions as I've played this game for about an hour and a half now. This game is solid. It's so similar to it's predecessors on the Gameboy Advance, and in doing so very similar "Castlevania Symphony of the Night" for the PlayStation, that the easiest thing to do in order to make this game good would be to change nothing at all and they pretty much did that. The system of soul gathering in this game is nothing too revolutionary but it's still pretty cool. You kill monsters and get their souls. You can equip them in 3 different slots that do different things and use up magic to use them to fight. You can also fuse them with weapons to make better weapons which is pretty neat. The game doesn't really seem like it was ever meant to be a Nintendo DS game as it is so similar to earlier games in the series in so many ways. Stylus functionality seems very tacked on. You beat a boss down until he's dead and then all of a sudden you're asked to draw a symbol on the screen to "seal" the boss. This becomes quite annoying as standard game play is entirely done with the game pad and standard buttons so you don't have the stylus in hand when prompted to draw your "Magic Seal". In the 2 bosses I've beaten I just ended up drawing it with my thumb which is less than precise. There's other stuff available like an item which you can use to destroy obstacles (like ice walls) with the stylus. When you need to do this while moving your character it again becomes annoying to swap between buttons and stylus at a moment's notice. The second screen is very useful. Using the select button you can change between using it as a map or status screen while still going around playing. Much better than pausing it every 30 seconds to see where you are or watch your level progress. Surprisingly though things like weapons and soul equipping are all done with the bottom playing screen only when pausing. Had the playing screen been at the top the bottom screen could have been used to switch items without pausing. Despite my criticism of the way it integrates with the DS I still think this is a great game. It was my concern when this system was first made that the only games made for it would be "DS games" that are made specifically to work with the gimmick of the dual screen and stylus provided by this unique system which would close off the possibility of just making good games. Well his isn't a game that takes full advantage of the system's capabilities. It's just a good game! Go buy it! More information on this game: Official Site Japanese Official Site Nintendo.com IGN Gamespot GameFAQs

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

This week in Halo...

In what seems to be the biggest news Bungie could talk about with the exception of Halo 3, A Halo character will appear in DOA4, and Peter Jackson will produce, and WETA will execute special effect for the Halo movie Edit:just learned the link below is a big fake. kinda figured that, but I'll leave the link for anyone who's curious... And just for fun, here's the latest Halo 3 rumor, indicating a massive, two disk game with a much longer single player mission and the multiplayer content left to the second disk and a slew of new game types, one of which infers teams working together to outlast a Flood onslaught. To top it off, theres a link to a script, which might be bullshit. I haven't read it yet. At the very least, rumours and hype like this will be encouraging Bungie to REALLY work their asses off. At X05, it was said that Bungie is not bound to a PS3 release and they will finish when they will finish, which is just what I want to hear.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

$20 game of the week: Capcom Classics Collection (Xbox and PS2)

Warning: if you thought Ninja Gaiden was hard, then wait until you check out this collection. These games are harder than a black man's pipe with Jessica Alba, Alexis Amore, and Heather Hunter taking turns polishing it. THese games are not for hucka bucka gamers who are scared to get thier feet dirty. If you're gonna play this, then do not be ashamed to turn down the difficutly and crank up the extra lives. Capcom is probably one of the most prolific 3rd party publishers in the gaming industry. They've been holding it down since before the days of nintendo, and this disc is just a small collection of games from thier immense catalog. You can find classics such as street fighter 2 and little known titles such as legendary wings (Character Michelle hart is a 'striker' in Marvel vs Capcom for you newbies) and Trojan. I remember the nintendo versions of these games, and it's good to see the original arcade games. My only faults with this disc is the fact that there are three different forms of SF2 on here, and of course there are several key omissions that I can go on for days about (Strider, Magic Sword, Final Fight 2, The original Street fighter, Knights of the round, etc) but there is always hope for a second compiliation (and the upcomming PSP version). But other than that, if any of you Nintendogs-Halo-2-Grand-theft-auto-Mario party-weaned xbox-ps2-gamecube-kiddies wanna know what real games were like before all your havok unreal 3 engine and fog rendering b.s, then pick this up.