Tag Archives: Review

Review for Tetris 2 on the GameBoy

IMG_2474

With some great help from people on Twitter, I’ve been able to grab some high quality second hand GameBoy games, cheap, and complete in box at very good prices. One of which is Tetris 2 on the GameBoy; a game I remember seeing back in the day, but I didn’t get it. I wasn’t too keen on getting the game at a premium price, so finding the game complete for under £7 on eBay was a great find! Continue reading

Review for Yars’ Revenge on Atari 2600

Want to know what my favourite game is on the Atari 2600?

Yars' Revenge (1982) (Atari)

It’s Yars’ Revenge. It’s one of those shmups that tried to be port of another game, Star Castle, but became it’s own game due to programmers not being able to port the arcade game to the 2600. Yars’ Revenge is a rather unique game in the fact that there’s not really another game like it. To explain this game, you play as Yar, an insect alien floating in space, being attacked by the Qotile and it’s relentless homing destroyer missile. The idea is that the Qotile is surrounded by a shield that parts can removed by either shooting at it, or eating chunks out of it. once you expose the Qotile, whilst avoiding the homing destroyer missile. There’s a scrambled coloured bar a little left from the middle of the screen, this is the neutral zone. If you hide inside this, the destroyer missile can not hurt you, but you can not shoot whilst inside the neutral zone. Continue reading

phoenix_silver_cart_2

Review for Phoenix on Atari 2600

The Atari 2600 in my opinion wasn’t so hot on arcade ports. Then again that’s coming from someone who wasn’t even born when the Atari 2600 was released. However, there are a few arcade ports that were done well on the system that was only really was only really made to play Pong; and that’s Phoenix by Amstar Electronics!

Phoenix (1982) (Atari)

Granted, the game doesn’t have the graphical and audio prowess of it’s arcade counterpart. But Phoenix on the 2600 is a great port, because they got the gameplay and the feel of the game right on this! Continue reading

The best way to review EVER!

I’ve been really bad at keeping up with my blog, plus I kinda stole this from Kotaku. But here’s an awesome way to review a game! Write a script that’s the game review, eat one hell of a hot pepper, then read said review, film it and stick it up on Youtube! I swear this is better than reading any IGN review in the last 8 years!

Continue reading

My weekend with the Ouya…

MyOuya

So I got myself an Ouya, and over the weekend I’ve been playing a lot of this machine. Some good stuff, some bad stuff.  But what do I think about this £99 console? Well… Why do we have to pay more for this! In the states it costs $99, but $99 is not £99, it’s £65! But talking about price, I’ll explain how this might get a little more pricey than expected depending on where you get it from. Let me explain… Continue reading

Review for Adventure Island on the GameBoy

As you may have seen from a yesterday’s post, I picked up a GameBoy Pocket with a copy of GameBoy Gallery and Adventure Island. Well I’ve been playing it a lot yesterday and today, and I’ll have to say I’m pretty impressed with it!

Adventure_Island_01

Continue reading

Return to the Review: Mario Kart DS

Back in 2005, the DS was finally picking up steam in the game department as better games got released. Back then I wrote a reader review for Mario Kart DS. It was a pretty good game, that and it’s focus on Nintendo Wi-Fi connection, made playing Mario Kart online fun, despite it’s flaws and easy exploits. It’s a shame that the 3DS game didn’t interest me in the slightest…

mariokartds

Continue reading

Review for Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock now has it’s third game, Bioshock Infinite, a game set before the events that took place in Rapture in the first Bioshock game in the 1910s. Set in a city in the sky, named Columbia, is spreading their message about America’s brilliance to the rest of the world and how the rest of the world is terrible and how they’re better than everyone else.
One of the many covers in the game, the Beach Boy’s “God only knows” in barbershop quartet style.
You play the role of a character called Booker Dewitt, a man in his late thirties/early fourties who is on a mission to rescue a teenage girl from Columbia, and bring her back to New York. But in the plot of games, movies or even books, it’s never that easy and Booker is caught up in a mess where he is treated as an Anti-Christ around a bunch of white loving, right winging religious types who are after his head.
The beginning of the game shows plenty of racism like this, and you have the choice to go against it or support it.
You begin your quest on a little rowing boat with a couple taking you to what looks like a light house. But it turns out that it’s a way to get up to the city Columbia in the sky by launching a pod into the sky and crashing it into a baptist church. Similar to how you went down into Rapture in the first Bioshock game in a bathysphere.
The ultimate question to ask about this game is how does it compare to the likes of the previous Bioshock titles. Well, if I compare this with Bioshock 1, or even System Shock 2, there are some big differences, and some of which aren’t for the better either. One of these is the games bigger emphasis on combat rather than puzzle and role playing mechanics seen in previous titles. One of the major things you’ll notice is how there are no hacking or unlocking in this game, instead you just collect lock picks and your partner in crime, Elizabeth, the girl who you’re trying to rescue, does the work for you. Which to a degree removes the puzzle solving and level upping hacking skills like you did in System Shock 2. However Elizabeth isn’t all about making the game a bit too easy, she can be handy. In a gun fight, she can scope the scene and try to find med kits and ammo, and when you need it, she can throw them to you. Though this does sometimes happen outside a fight where she’ll throw you a coin what feels like once every five minutes, and that dear sirs can get annoying; though it was hilarious to see her lob a coin from so far away with such extreme throwing precision. Someone should make this girl a baseball or cricket pitcher! 
The new Psy/Plasmid powers in this game, called “Vigors”, aren’t terribly impressive. To be honest you can actually beat the game using just two of the eight vigors made available to you. Plus the final vigor that you collect is a real disappointment as it just pushing enemies away. At least the Bucking Bronco vigor launches your enemies in the air, why do I need to “Push them away”. After beating the game, I found out through websites that you can mix and combine these vigors, which is never actually explained in the game, and if it was I missed it! But I honestly felt like the vigors were there for “flashy effects” rather than deep gameplay and puzzle solving mechanics. 
As the puzzle solving is practically gone, the game really does concentrate on combat. In each skirmish, there are a lot of enemies coming after you. Which you can take as either a good or a bad thing. Good in the sense that this is the first time that a “Shock” game has thrown a lot of enemies towards you as you’re now in a more open environment. Though on the bad side the combat does feel a little crazy as I felt that some enemies would take a thousand bullets before dying, turning this Bioshock into a Killing Floor game rather than an actual “Shock” game. Sure there’s a lot more bad guys, but why am I wasting so much ammo on these guys anyway?
Something that I had noticed was missing the feel of suspense entering a new room. Maybe if you forgot playing Bioshock 1, or never played it before. Bioshock had it’s classic enemy, the Big Daddy, a big hulking man in an aqueduct suit wielding a massive drill. Taking them out was a pain, but a necessary pain, as you needed to kill them so that you can take it’s little sister in order to progress in the game. But they would appear randomly in the game meaning that they were never in the same place in each play through, meaning that you could walk into a room and “BOOM!” a Big Daddy in the room sees you and charges at you with drill in hand to turn you into cannibal curry! It’s just that in Bioshock Infinite that’s not there, now there is the over powered enemy, in fact there’s two, the Handy Man, and the Patriot, but if you re-play the game, they’re always in the same place, therefore removing any fear you have with these enemies, which I have to say is a bit of a shame.
“So is there anything gameplay wise that you like about the game Ian!?”, oh yes there is dear sir! Going back to Elizabeth, she has the ability to open these inter-dimensional “Tears” where an object from a parallel universe can be brought into the game. Some places might have a few of these “Tears” that Elizabeth can open up and give you an advantage in battle, depending on what’s available, you can bring in extra cover in the battle field, turrets, rocket launchers, turrets that are mounted on balloons called Mosquitoes, extra med kits, boxes of ammo, or even random people from a parallel world that can be used as distractions to the enemy. Sometimes these extra objects can be the difference between winning and losing a gunfight, which makes opening these tears with Elizabeth worth it.
As for graphics, this is something I am pleased with. Not that I ever disliked the graphics of previous “Shock” games, but it’s great to see that Irrational Games are pushing the way in graphics. Be it textures, lighting, water modelling, it’s all gorgeous. Bare in mind that I was playing this on the PC, which I can easily say without looking at the console versions is the best version for graphics, I mean come on, the XBox 360 is seven years old, and the PS3 is six years old, and they can’t be upgraded, so that assumption has to be reasonable. Though I will suggest that if you’re like me, and many others, with an nVidia graphics card, be sure to download the latest driver update to reduce the crazy amount of screen tear. But once fixed it looks absolutely stunning on my PC monitor. What’s more impressive are the facial expressions on Elizabeth’s face, they look really good without going into the “uncanny valley” of terrible looking facel models. Though to be honest some of the NPCs could’ve had better work on them.
There has been a major amount of motion-capture work used on Elizabeth’s face to make her as realistic as possible.
Here’s a great example of the dynamic lighting used in the game. You can see the beam cast from behind the bronze statue, not only does it cause the light to change around the body of the statue, but the bronze reacts in different ways to the reflected light, and there’s great use of lens flare to add in effect that’s never over done.
Going back to this picture again, the NPCs could have had more work, way do the couple’s eyes look like they’re about to pop out?
Now, for the Coup-de-grass of the game. It’s plot, story and ending. I’ll try to write this without spoiling it, because it’s so worth playing this game for it’s ending! As you progress in the game, you slowly start understanding the story behind Elizabeth, her Farther, Comstock, her mother and the little conspiracies and battles in the city of Columbia. Not only that, but you learn about a group of people called the Vox Populi who wish to defeat Comstock and turn Columbia into a borderline Socialist community. But you discover something very big at the end of the game with an awesome plot twist that’s so worth beating this game for. For some it might be a little unoriginal, but for me I didn’t see it coming. Plus you learn a bit more about these reoccurring twins that appear and disappear in thin air and about their dark devious experiments. In a similar plot to the other “shock” games, you discover that you’re not quite the good guy, but the reason for why you’re not the good guy is very different, but still mind blowing as you watch the final cutscene play and have your mind set in every direction and around corners!
So, do I recommend Bioshock Infinite? Yes! BioShock Infinite, even with it’s slightly disappointing gameplay mechanics, rather boring vigors and bigger emphasis on combat; it’s still worth playing the game for it’s beautiful graphics and awesome story. The game is simply a great experience that any gamer should witness and not spoil. It’s not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s still a game that people should have in their collection and keep. It’s a keeper! So grab yourself a copy!

Return to the Review: Wii Classic Controller

I wrote this back in 2006 for NerdBlurb when the Wii was released. Bare in mind this was before the better Classic Controller Pro came out. It was just weird at the time that Nintendo forced the GameCube controller to have it’s buttons A to A, B to B, etc-etc, when they were in the position compared to a SNES controller. So having a Classic controller helped. Though it felt really weird to play with one for N64 games.
So… you’ve downloaded a few games onto your Wii, and you want to get playing, you could use a GameCube Controller. However you can buy a Wii Classic controller for £15/$20. So why should you buy it when you can use a GameCube controller?
First off, playing SNES games with the GCN controller is awkward, back then, the “B” button became the new “A” button to jump, and the new “Y” button became the new “B”. The thing is, Nintendo has been literal about what the buttons, so A on the GCN is A on the SNES pad, which mean if you’re playing Super Mario World, you’ll be spin jumping instead of normal jumping, plus have you ever tried pressing B and Y together on a GCN pad? It’s quite awkward to pull off unless you’re holding the controller in an odd way.
The Controller itself is very comfortable, think of it as a SNES pad, but a tad thicker. Just like the SNES pad, it features the Dpad, A, B, X and Y face buttons and the L and R buttons; however an additional Z buttons (ZL and ZR), two analogue sticks and a home button are available on the pad for N64 and Wii Home options. The L and R buttons are sprung just like the GCN pad’s triggers, including the digital click. This could be used for original download games for the Wii. There’s a button in between the ZL and ZR buttons that controls a sort of lock on the back of the pad; there are two slots that looks like something can be attached to the back of the Classic controller.
So, why should you buy a Wii Classic controller? Well it really depends on what games you’re going to get, the GCN pad feels OK for all the other consoles (NES, N64, MD/Gen and TG-16), and it’s just a pain for SNES games. I’d say buy it if you’re going to get a lot of SNES games from the Wii Shop, if not, you might not really need it. Otherwise it’s a very nice controller that guarantees to work on all VC games, although the GCN controller at the moment works on all VC games, Sega and Hudson have mentioned that the GCN may not work on up coming MegaDrive/Genesis and TurboGrafix-16 games.
Pros:
  • Guarantees to work on all VC games.
  • Comfortable.
  • Button layout matches SNES pad.
  • Wireless (connected to the Wii Remote).
Cons:
  • Isn’t necessary for other VC games (NES, N64, MD/Gen and TG16).
  • The two sticks a little too close to each other.
  • Requires a Wii remote to work.

So… That was my review and analysis of the Wii Classic controller in 2006. As I said above, Nintendo later on would release the Classic controller Pro that would be bigger and a lot more comfortable than the original classic controller. Shame it didn’t come with rumble or made better for N64 games, but it was a good controller for virtual console, and Wii disc based games that used it. I’ll review the Classic Controller Pro later on…

Return to the Review: Galaga Legions

OK, here’s a section I’m going to introduce, “Return to the Review”, this is where I pull out a review I wrote back a few years a go. So here’s a review for XBox Live Arcade’s Galaga Legions.

Galaga was one game that I remember when I was very small, and to hear that it would get a proper sequel sound awesome considering that all the other versions of this game were just ports or remakes of the classic arcade game. 
The game feels like Geometry Wars in which you can move across the whole screen; however you can only shoot up. This is where the satellites come in; you can place a satellite to shoot up, down, left and right with the right analogue stick, however the satellites stays static in that place until you go back to it and pick it up by moving over it. This is where I felt a little put off by this game, the original Galaga was nothing like this, it was more like a beefed up version of Space Invaders, where you can only move left and right and just shoot upwards. 
Another part of this game that I was disappointed with is it’s method of shooting, there’s two ways or doing this, Automatic and Manual mode. Automatic mode shoots lasers without the need to press the right trigger, whilst Manual mode needs the player to pull the right trigger in order to shoot; but the shooting it more like a modern Sh’mup where you create a horde of lasers rather than shooting individual lasers with multiple button presses. Plus the point to the original Galaga game was all to do with how accurate you gun down the aliens, but this is gone in this new game. In general the game doesn’t really feel like a Galaga game at all, and more like a new game that sports sprites that match those seen in the Galaga arcade game. 
However I did find some things in the gameplay that I did enjoy. In certain points in each area of the game, a possession item will appear, the idea to this is that you keep on shooting it until it breaks, and it’ll cause a black hole that consumes all enemies on the screen. After a few seconds the consumed aliens will come back out, but they’ll be on your side and will allow you to shoot a huge barrage of lasers against the enemy, plus they can attach themselves to the satellites meaning that the added fire power can be shot in each direction. 
As for the graphics, the game is presented in a cool updated mode, which is pretty to look at. At the same time there are two different style modes, Original mode, where you get the updated looking ship, and Vintage mode, where you can play with the original ship seen in the arcade game; however in Vintage mode you’ll only get a sprite change, the background is the same like in Original mode. The game has a look that matches itself with Pac Man Championship Edition; Smooth, Updated, yet at the same time not totally over the top; which is good considering that we all know what happened to Sonic the Hedgehog. I wished that I own an HDTV to really see what this game is like in 720p. 

Sound? Well the game features the original score heard from the arcade game, yet it remixes it into an awesome soundtrack. What’s nice about the music is that just like the graphics; it’s updated, but not totally over the top, and will leave you humming to it. Sound effects on the other hand are a little lack-luster, rather than coming up with new ways to update the classic sounds of lasers, alien swoops and explosions; it sticks to more of an Ikaruga style sound effects where the lasers and explosions match that of modern Sh’mups. It’s not a bad thing, but since PacMan C.E. managed to keep all the sound effects in place, you’d think they would do the same here. 
In conclusion, this is an OK game; it’s not bad, but it’s not amazing. If I was to compare games here; Pac Man C.E. is better than Galaga Legions, and so is Space Invaders Extreme. Space Invaders Extreme is a great example of how you reinvent an old game; Galaga Legions though isn’t quite there. As I mentioned above, it’s more of a new game that inherits graphics from an older game. I could easily think of plenty of ways to improve this game and make it feel like Galaga, just like how Pac Man C.E. was to Pac Man, and how Space Invaders Extreme was to Space Invaders. In my opinion Namco should have worked on this game a little longer and work in ways to make it feel a lot more like the classic arcade game. In the long run it’s not bad, and I’m not saying it totally stinks, but as I’ve played the original before, I was expecting more of the same, but it turns into something a lot more different. 
Should I recommend this game? This is where it gets tough… like I said, it’s not a bad game, but retro gamers may feel put off from its new gameplay mechanics. However the “Halo” crowd may enjoy this game, but will have no idea what its legacy is. For 800 Microsoft points, the game does feel a little steep considering that it feels like another twin stick shooter; its best that you download both demos of Legions and the Original arcade game onto your hard drive and personally decide which game you like better. In this case I would’ve chosen the original game, but hey, I wouldn’t be able to write this review without getting the full version of this game!