I’m back to making some videos. One of the first new videos I’ve created is Top 10 Unresolved TV Cliffhangers. I run down 10 TV shows that ended on a cliffhanger that I watched growing up, and then the story was never resolved because the show was cancelled (much to my sadness and/or anger). All of the items on this list were shows that came on before the year 2000. So, have a look and enjoy the video.
*This review tied for 1st place in VideoGameGeek’s monthly video game review contest for June 2013. The theme was Over 18.*
Hydrophobia was released on the PC, and later for the Playstation 3 with an enhanced version. This is a review of the Playstation 3 Version (it is digital only, and has no physical edition). Note: This game was not used with a Motion Controller.
Hydrophobia takes place in a city where you are an engineer with the night off. The world is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Queen of the World (a giant ship that houses an entire city), with advertisements of NanoTech in the background (a group who wants to make food for everyone). This immediately reminded me of Journeyman Project, where you roam around your room before a big event, only for a huge catastrophe to happen. Of course, said catastrophe does happen.
You play as Kate Wilson. You start in your apartment and can explore as much as you like, and even find some hidden objects. All are useless for the game, but they all have a story, which lets you learn more about the character before you begin, such as a picture of her graduation, a letter from her dad, as well as a book with a brief summary of this future world. Your character’s electronics suddenly stop working, so you set out to see your co-worker, Scoot, and fix the problem, only for an explosion to happen while you are on an elevator. You find nothing but chaos on the floors below; everything is damaged, and you find terrorists (Malthusians) have invaded. The story of who they are and the world you are in itself is actually really clever, and is more exciting in the game to experience as they unfold (even though, technically, your character knows this already).
The game starts out with you running around a ship’s deck in 3rd person, and your co-worker Scoot will talk to you to tell you where you need to head to get out alive and where to manually alter some doors (someone on the inside gave the terrorist’s the computer codes and they have all been reset). There is a 3 dimensional map to help you find your way. This map can be flipped in every single direction and zoomed in and out to find the path you need to take. You can also convert it into a ¾ perspective map.
The explosions around the area have unleashed water around you; the visuals of the water are the best I have seen from any game, and the mechanics of this are very well designed, also. Sometimes, you will open a door, which will only partially flood the room. Then, another door will flood the room entirely. The water even leaves the room if you open a door to a room which held no water in it. The water effects and the reality of it make for a very fun game, but also terrorize you, because you never know when, at any moment, the entire room will flood while you try to find the exit.
Once the room is flooded, you have 15 seconds to find an exit, or you will drown. What is great about it is, before the water comes, there will be music, and sound effects of creaking pipes and electrical problems; but once the water engulfs you, you hear it all stop, and the only thing you can hear is your arms swimming through water and the ship creaking. This immerses you into the game, immediately tells you something is wrong, and you start to associate the complete removal of all those sound effects and music with “Oh crap; I need to find an exit before I drown. Where is it? Where is it!” It gets creepier; as you drown, it gets harder and harder to see where you are going , and you start to hear voices toward the end which sound like a little kid calling for help. This is made to make you panic and realize you are about to die, and you feel very relieved when you find land just a few seconds before death.
Because of what I stated above, the game really draws you into the experience and makes you a part of the game. This is all your doing for an hour or two; no enemies in sight. Eventually, you find the terrorists and have to hide.
Then, you find a gun, and the 2nd part of the game begins. This gun is a force gun, and pushes the enemies away. A few light blasts and the enemy falls over unconscious. If you charge it, however, you can unleash a large blast that can stun an enemy unconscious instantly. Shoot them while they are down and you will kill them (as they can get back up shortly). At times, you will be going from room to room, killing enemies. Also, you will be swimming in the water, killing enemies while under the water and trying not to drown (They will normally have underwater gear; you won’t). Luckily, your gun works the same under water as much as it does above it.
Later, you will find other weapons, but your default weapon is much better. The only things you will want to use are the grenades. The grenades that attach to the enemy and count down from 10 before exploding are really fun to use. You can ONLY use weapons, as Kate has no experience in hand-to-hand combat. To avoid enemy fire, you have a cover system to hide behind a wall, then release a button to appear briefly out in the open to take shots.
Throughout the game, you will need to pull our your computer table (that is see-through) and use it to find hidden keycodes on the walls to get into other areas. In addition, the philosophical works of the terrorists’ inspiration are also hidden on the walls as well, and are just for world-building and getting 100% completion.
Finally, you combine with a virus that doesn’t kill you, and it gives you complete control over water. This starts the 3rd and final part for the game. You can cause water to rise very high, and lift boxes with it. Yes, this means puzzles attempts; you must bring a box over electrified water so you don’t die of electrocution, for example. But, it is also useful for pushing back the enemies, and you can also slam boxes and explosives at them.
There is a downside to your powers; the virus is slowly killing you. Occasionally, you must collect inoculations to keep the virus at bay; you suddenly become very sick and can only walk, the screen covering up with the virus to prevent you from figuring out where to go. You must find the inoculation quickly or die. Luckily, these are in exact scripted locations, and not on a timer, otherwise you’d be trying to speed through the game the whole time.
Unfortunately, I feel this part of the game is over too quickly, and I wanted to play more with these powers. There is a mini-game you unlock after beating the game where you are in a watery arena below and a metal grate upper level around the corners, and you must complete different challenges with your water-based powers. It’s a fun diversion after the game is over; though it can be frustrating until you learn a trick you can use on the AI. While on the catwalk, simply use your water-based powers to bring a box toward you near the corner and block one direction of the walkway completely off. Then bring another box to block the view below so no one can see and fire at you, leaving a medium sized hole on the other corner. Now, there is only 1 direction most enemies can fire at you, and you have a hidey hole should combat not go your way (as you will still need to go out and find the enemies sometimes due to the time limit).
Another aspect of the game is hacking. This is done by putting your computer tablet (that doesn’t ever stop working from all the water) near a door and playing a mini-game. Here, you can the control the left axis to increase or shrink a wavelengths size, and the right button to change it’s distance between waves. You must make an exact match of the wavelength already on the screen. It’s not a bad mini-game, actually, and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.
Along with the same tablet you carry, you can see the world on a different frequency; the backgrounds look a different color, and there are words and graffiti from the terrorists, as well as arrows you can follow to the key you need. You can even find the entire teachings of the man that the terrorists follow. In addition, there are arrows and hidden key codes written on the wall. This serves two objectives, a way to find keys, and a way to show through the story that this was an inside job to leave clues for the terrorists once they got on board (a pretty good combo, I’d say).
The game is mostly linear, and has a pick up and play at anytime feel to it, as all you have to do is see where you have to go on the map (if it wasn’t there, you could spend a long time backtracking the entire game for no reason).
The only problem I had with the game were all the hidden items; and they were mostly memos (I found a bottle of depression pills I couldn’t use for some reason). I like the house items, as it reveals most of the character and is optionality if people want to skip it. However, the problem I have is looking for small hidden objects in a game that is hugely immerse and life-threatening at any moment. These collection items can completely kill the mood and bring you back to reality. When I realized I was running around an entire wall and every single computer to look for memos, I had broken out of the experience and just stopped collecting the items altogether.
Story: 10 out of 10
The story is told in pieces as you uncover it, through your characters room, the memos left my other employees and the terrorist themselves, books on the history of your world, the ship, and the terrorists, plus the hidden keys that actually tie into the plot of the game. The world around you is introduced slowly so it feels surprising. It gets more points not just for the original story, but for how it’s told.
Graphics: 8 out of 10
This is an independent game, with pretty decent graphics. The water is the best part. However, since you are on a ship for most of the game, I was surprised at how different each room was from the other; with only 1 room being a copy of another. Also, the water tosses on your screen as you move, as if your TV was a real video camera in the water.
Music: 10 out of 10
I don’t remember the music. Do you know what I do remember? The sound of nothing as I scourge a ship looking for survival from explosions, electricity, and fire as they all crackle around me. The sounds of my feet trashing through the water, the slowing down as I try to silently sneak up on someone, hoping they don’t heard my footsteps. The total abrupt silence of nothing but the ship creaking around me while I drown, my breath getting quicker and quicker the more my character thinks they will die, the screen getting brighter and thicker as my mind enters a hazy fog of death. No, it’s not just the music, it’s the combination of music absence, and sound effects, and how they are used, that make this work.
Challenge: 8 out of 10
This game is really hard in some places on the Hard difficulty. On Normal, it is also fairly difficult. There is one part near the end that I think many people could have a problem with; the 2 symmetrical large rooms (separated by a middle underwater hallway). You have to contend with around 20+ people underwater shooting at you, and people on the balcony (who can hide in cover) shooting at you, twice.
Fun: 18 out of 20
I enjoyed the hell out of this game.
Controls: 9 out of 10
You scale pipes to climb to higher places. You pull out a gun to shoot at people. You also have some fun grenades you can throw at people. To switch guns or select grenades, you have to pause the game. Though I found that even in hard mode the Force Gun is still the best weapon.
Replay Value: 7 out of 10
Aside from going through the game again for the collectibles and medals/trophies, the game is still fun, but might lose some of the immersion when you know what’s coming and what to do.
Extras: 3 out of 10
There is mini-game where you use your water control powers in a challenge room. It’s fun and frustrating.
+ 2 / – 2 – Collectibles
I’m torn here, because on one hand, the collectibles really add to the world of the game, but on the other, they ruin the sense of immersion that this game is good at producing.
Seriously, how often do you really feel a part of the game. You always feel like you’re going to drown, you’re on edge from falling and fighting enemies.
Hydrophobia: Prophecy, is a very entertaining game, and can be yours for a very cheap price. It’s also not very long and doesn’t need that much of a time commitment. I recommend it for people who want to know what it’s like to feel really immersed in a game.
I really hope that Episodes 2 & 3 in the planned trilogy actually getting made.
It’s hard to do the game justice with still pictures, even with a trailer here; you should skip to the 1 minute mark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZceJsTwdcg
*This review won third place in VideoGameGeek.com’s monthly video game review contest (in which I got beat my by other review–Hydrophobia). The theme was any game rated M or above.*
Metal Gear Solid had some VR missions being built around the game, but the designers had more ideas than would fit on the disc and decided to create a separate product for the VR missions. Thus, we have this.
Inside, there is no instruction manual, just a small art paper that unfolds for TV warnings. Booting up the disc shows you a small movie with Solid Snake (the character you play) doing many of the VR missions you are about to experience (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmzUgBZZAe4).
VR Missions is set up into 4 categories: Sneaking Mode, Weapon Mode, Advanced Mode, & Special Mode.
In Weapon Mode, you are given only one of the weapons (of 8 total) along with a limited amount of ammo. You then must play through 5 levels for each gun and destroy all the targets (most of which move around). After you complete these levels, you can then complete for the fastest time in getting the level completed, where any extra ammo you have on you subtracts from your total time.
Weapon Mode can be hard on occasion because you actually have to follow targets and watch their patterns. Only knowing where they will be at certain times will make it easier to plan when and where to shoot them so you can get them all destroyed quickly. Also, just because you have that weapon, doesn’t mean you can’t still use your hands.
The format for Advanced Mode is the same as above, only now you fight against real people. To me, however, these humans made it easier than the targets to get the best time. For instance, on the Stinger level, the Targets come from all angles and you have to turn not only 360 degrees, but also look up and all around as the Targets fly all around the level, but the humans are on the same plane as you. Also, since Advanced Mode is people, you will get 3 seconds removed from your time if you complete the level without being seen. I will now describe each weapon and how they play for both sections since they are so similar.
One of the more challenging weapons to use. You Hold the Circle button to have the gun auto-aim in front of you, then release it to fire a shot. To get the best times, you have to learn how to use this because every bullet counts, and if you misfire even 1, you can lose out on 1st place. Most targets take 3 shots, but I occasionally kept shooting 4, having to reply the level again. I don’t feel this weapon was made with timed attacks in mind. However, once I got to the human levels, I found it just a little bit easier.
You have a C4 Explosive that you can lay on the ground, and can then detonate later. Both the Target & Human levels of this are really fun and only slightly challenging.
My most hated weapon in this game. It’s basically a machine gun that has no aim at all. You tap the Square button to fire, and hold it for rapid fire. You can auto-target automatically, just make sure to use the control stick and not the directional controls. It was the only human mission where I died before I could even get to the time trial.
I really hate this weapon. It took me the longest to get that best times here. You basically have to cheat to win these levels. When the level starts, keep the X button held. You will now run while holding your weapon, and can fire, also. Just don’t release the X button and hit it again or you will go into a crawl position, immediately ruining your chances of a good time. I don’t understand why run and crawl were not separate buttons.
The Target levels are Medium to Hard and really need you to think and strategize how to plan the grenades and their explosions (as it takes 5 seconds after you throw it before it explodes). Oddly, these levels have the biggest gap between your score and 1st place, as I constantly found ways to improve the 1st place score by nearly a minute.
Oh, but then you get to the Humans. This is the only level where the Human level is harder than the Target level. You sort of have to cheat, too, by preparing to throw a grenade, allowing yourself to get knocked to the ground. Why? When you are knocked down, you are temporarily invincible, so the grenades explosion won’t hurt you, but it can take out lots of enemies.
Place the Claymore mines on the ground (which are hidden from your view) so Humans and Targets explode when they get in front of it. If you have the mine detector (sometimes hidden in the stage) you can see the mines and what direction they are facing. You can also place them on the ground in front of you to have them explode the enemy instantly, but if a stray bullet moves you even slightly, or you tap the directional pad at all, you will walk in front it and explode, too. Though it is amusing that the AI doesn’t feel the need to move when they see you placing a mine. Both the Modes are really fun for this one, and not all that challenging (expect for the final Target level).
This is a missile that, once fired, you then control with the control pad. If it faces any direction for more than 2 seconds, it goes that direction as super-speed. You can also control it in first person, as well as make it explode whenever you want (useful when the target is just slightly out of reach).
Next to the FAMAS, these levels are the most frustrating, especially the levels with corridors you have to navigate through. It’s hard to control to avoid the super-speed, so you end of wiggiling the rocket (which looks weird on screen) just to prevent an instant explosion into the wall, and in 1st person, it can be hard to tell if you’re too close to a corner.
This is a sniper rifle that you must use in 1st person mode. Both modes are challenging, but not to hard. The Targets still require planning ahead to know where they will be.
This is one of the easiest weapons to use in both modes. You have a rocket launcher that is operated in 1st person, and it has an auto-target. Once the target locks, and you fire, you don’t have to watch the rocket hit your target, and you can immediately go to the next target.
There is also a Sneaking Mode, one I enjoyed a lot. It is split into 15 levels. You must do each level twice, once with No Weapon, and another with the SOCOM (both are timed). When in SOCOM, you must kill every enemy before the exit appears, but being seen instantly ends the mission. With No Weapon, the exit is already there, and you must get to it without being seen or the mission instantly ends (you don’t have to kill anyone, you can just hide and run to the goal).
It’s a little hard, but not too difficult. Plus, you can cheat a little here too. You can throw a guard onto the ground, and still have 3 seconds before he gets up, and by then you could already be at the exit. Plus, it doesn’t count as being seen. This feels like cheating, but I feel the developers knew people would use this, as the times I got were only slightly near 1st place when doing things like this.
Also, in Weapon Mode, you have to kill them all silently before the goal will appear.
You have to unlock this mode by getting a certain number of the game complete. These levels are all really fun and have many different game types to play. Every missions is timed, except Mystery and 1 Minute Battles.
Through 10 levels, you have to figure out the murderer in each one by looking at 1 of 3 suspects, and choosing the right culprit and dragging him to the exit. For instance, in one, a murderer has lost his glasses at the crime scene. You have to drag each suspect away from their standing position, and whichever one walks into the wall on his way back and knocks himself down is the killer.
Ten (10) Puzzle based missions. These can be a tad frustrating. Some are hilarious, such as the one where you knock a guard so that he keeps knocking into all the other guards like dominoes, each falling off a ledge in the process. Some require thinking differently than you have been (or finding ways to abuse the game mechanics). The hardest was figuring out you have to plant C4 on the ground, then on a human. You have to explode it so he flies north, and once in the air, you have to explode the other grenade so it takes out the camera.
Eight (8) completely random and strange missions, all of which are really fun and unusual, such as World’s Smallest Stage where you have to kill 1 soldier in a small 3 x 4 grid without being seen and fighting a UFO with a rocket launcher.
Ten (10) completely different missions, such as throwing grenades and people into holes, punch-killing invisible soldiers, and fighting giant sized guards.
You have 1 level for each Weapon I’ve stated before, as well as No Weapon, with each of these having two levels; 1 for Targets, 1 for People. The goal is to kill as many Targets or People within 1 minute to get first place.
You start with a completely different weapon set and limited ammo for each level (You are only given 3 max of each weapon except for rare instances with the SOCOM), and must kill 12 people within a time limit. This is really hard to figure out as each weapon usually causes an alarm. One of the most frustrating categories.
You have to complete 10 levels, back to back. You have to incorporate everything you’ve learned into these 10 missions and beat them all in 7 minutes to get first place. Having a few more combination missions like this would have been really fun.
These are 3 really fun levels where you control the Ninja and slice and dice your way through guadrs. The only thing that’s missing is that this would have been a lot more fun with just a few more levels.
There isn’t one.
Music: 2 out of 10
The music is repetitive, as you will hear the same background music for each individual mission, and the same sound effects at the beginning and start of each mission.
Graphics: 5 out of 10
The graphics are just grid based for most of the levels. The only exception is a mystery level or two which takes place in a fully decorated room. Most graphics are just used from the main game, with nothing new really added. However, the graphics do look decent for what they are.
Fun: 18 out of 20
This game is made just to test your reflexes and brain, and it’s really fun to do the main levels, and though occasionally frustrating to get the best times, is still worth the playthrough. I found myself liking the Special & Sneaking levels more than the ones with the weapons.
Extra: 10 out of 10
The rumor of this game is that it’s only rated “M” because you can take a picture of her panties
Unlockables include, strangely, photography rooms. You have 3 rooms where you can photograph a girl at her desk, a girl standing, & another girl standing. You can get closer to her the more you play the game. I don’t really understand the point of this, especially since a picture takes up an entire block of memory (not to mention just being creepy).
Also, you have 3 trailers that Konami made for Metal Gear Solid shown in 1997 before the game was released. Also, there’s the intro movie at the start, and a demo movie with the programmers beating missions certain ways to give you hints, if you wait at the starting screen long enough.
Controls: 9 out of 10
The controls are simple, you move with the directional pad, duck with X, run with X if you hold it, hold R2 to access your weapons, and hold R1 to access items. However, once you pick up a weapon, each one has a different control scheme (see Weapons above) with a different button used to fire it (and in some cases, a 1st person perspective). This gives more variety to the game.
The most frustrating thing is trying to choke a guard. You have to be perfectly still, or hardly moving (making it hard to choke moving guards). If you are moving at a walk or run, you instantly flip the guard. The annoying thing to control is crawling, because the controls change depending on what direction you are facing, but luckily, you don’t need to do it often.
Challenge: 10 out of 10
God yes is this game challenging. If you liked Metal Gear Solid’s weapons and wanted to play them in more bite-sized levels, this game will give you a fix. Just know it will take you many, many hours to master and complete the game 100% with the fastest times possible.
Replay: 5 out of 10
The replay is built into the game’s structure. You can complete the level (finally, after many tries) only to find you didn’t get the 1st place time score. Guess you’ll want to keep playing until you get it. However, once I was done with the game fully, I don’t really have a reason to play it again for another decade.
Level Design +10
The levels are designed exceptionally well, and require some thinking to proceed. Some even include false areas to make you think that it’s a better place to go and accomplish the objective. It took some thought to plan and program these levels correctly.
The entire game is fun if you are just playing to play through each mission (except for any FAMAS and Nikita level) and having no story, is easy to pick and play whenever you want. But, if you are going to try and get the best times, it will get a little frustrating on the Weapons Mode (Targets), and with some levels on Advanced Mode (People). Overall, I enjoyed it, as it caused me to think and experiment with different ways to do things to get a better score.
For help, I recommend watching this YouTube walkthrough http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=A30E52E32C3ACE16 as someone did a whole walkthrough getting 1st place for everything; useful on occasion when you can’t figure out how to get a faster time.
Sometimes a game jumps out on the shelf and into your eyes saying, “Look at me, don’t I look awesome?” This game was not one of them. However, this games’ cover was amusing. I mean, just look at it!
So, despite by better judgment with the poor proportions and NO pictures of what the game even looked like, I bought it for $1.00 because…why not.
Get Medieval is a PC Game from 1998 from Monolith. I put it in, not really expecting much of anything, and get a bad menu screen. The design isn’t bad, it’s just that whenever you leave a menu, the music from the previous menu is still playing even though it loads a new theme, resulting in 2 songs playing at once.
Next, I watched the opening movie/cutscene. This wasn’t like any cutscene I’d seen before. Based on the video, a dragon burns a village , four heroes pose, then they go together into the dragon’s castle to stop him. However, if you listen to the audio, people are cracking jokes at what they see. At first (since the menu had problems) I thought that the game messed up and played a different audio track, or a gag reel. Then, it cuts to the four warriors, and one voice mentions what they are doing in that scene It was then I realized that the voices were trying to be regular people role-playing their characters in an RPG or video game. Maybe they thought the opening was too generic? The game tries for comedy, and in-game it works, but in the opening scene it does not. The actors constantly talk over each other on occasion, but it sounds like they were all recorded together, but they never actually talk to each other, so maybe the editor made it look like they were all playing together. Also, it sounds like it was all done in one take. It is really odd. See for yourself.
I check the menu link to find that the link still works, and the company that made this game later created FEAR, the only game I’ve heard of, but never played. At the end of the game, when the credits role by, the screenplay for the opening and closing cutscenes role by in it’s entirely. That is pretty interesting.
Ok, time to stop the anticipation and actually play the game, not knowing at all what I’m getting into. I start by choosing a warrior. There is a muscle-bound warrior with a helmet that talks like Arnold, a sexy mage, an elven archer, and a female knight. Each of them has little sound bites when you click on them, telling you why you should pick them. I chose the sexy mage to play as the magician.
Then, the game starts on an overhead dungeon perspective. I am near monsters, treasure chests, gold on the ground, monster generators, and my health of 999 starts ticking down. I then realize I am playing an updated version of Gauntlet.
I walk around and collect gold and attack some spiders. You can fire in any of the 8 directions, along with 2 types of barriers; those you can shoot through, and those you cannot (the same goes for the enemy). You also have a spell which turns every enemy into a rat which runs away (but you can still kill them). Spells are powered by scrolls, but these are rare. There is also a disc you can activate under your character, but it appears to do nothing.
There are also weapon and shield upgrades. And you will need them. When I first got to the boss (bosses appear every 5 levels in the level itself) I was so underpowered I couldn’t win, but when I came back, I could beat him in 15 seconds with rapid fire. You must seek out the Shield icon to increase your defense, and a double Sword icon to increase your weapons power. However, they don’t work automatically; collecting 5 silver of each icon before your Defense and Strength levels up, but collect the gold icons to go to the next level instantly. You can only have a max of Level 5 for both Shield & Strength, but it will always be taken away from you at some point. There is a very fast thief hidden in various parts of different levels and in treasure chests. When he touches you, you revert back to level 1 for both Strength & Shield. You then have only a few seconds to kill the thief and get it all back or else he teleports away, never to return. In a way, this sucks because it punishes you for exploring, but it does keep the game balanced. I wonder why they just didn’t reset your power after every level, or have less of the power-ups around, for you keep all your massive power and defense from level to level, resulting in you finding many worthless power-ups.
Also, you have to be careful where you aim. If you shoot and hit a power-up, health, key (yes, trapping yourself in the level), and treasure chest, it will flicker in and out for 2-3 seconds before disappearing. You can still get the items or open the chest if you run over to it quick enough. If you fail to get it, a voice will tell you “Destroyed” or your character will say, “That was a stupid thing to do.” The only thing you can’t accidentally destroy is the gold.
There is gold everywhere in this game. You don’t buy anything with it. Instead, it’s your score that also plays into your actual Level (independent of the Strength and Shield levels). I don’t actually know what leveling up does, though, as the Shield & Sword have such a huge, noticeable impact on the game already, so at first I thought it might just be an arbitrary score level. The manual never mentions this, but the score does give you extra lives when you go beyond a certain amount, so that is the only reason to level up and get gold.
You can also get many Cursed items. One makes pressing up move you down, and left move you right. There is a Mask of Evil item (the most common special item), in which all the enemies run away from you so you can kill them without worry. Invisibility make you unseen to enemies, but they can still hurt you if they touch you. Odder curses are “Player now moves like the Bishop / Pawn.” This means you can only move diagonally / vertical & horizontally. The game is really hard to play like this for the 2 minutes you have to endure it. There is also the obvious invincibility item late in the game where nothing that touches you can hurt you, but you still have to fire at the enemy to kill them. The worst curse, however, is the Timer Curse: if you don’t find a health powerup in 30 seconds, you die instantly.
There are bronze, silver, & gold keys; with Gold keys opening most doors and treasure chests, and silver being reserved for more searchable keys and doors. There is also the Skeleton Key. The Skeleton key counts down from 45 seconds, and you must reach the door with the Skeleton lock before time runs out. However, in that time, you can also open every single treasure chest and door without using the keys you already have. The worst placement of these keys is after a boss. You have to collect it to walk through the passage after you kill the boss, and must navigate a maze to find where to use the key. If you don’t make it in time, you can see all the treasure and powers you could have had to start the next level (but you can still beat the level). You must also avoid traps; there are electric tiles that turn on and off you have to avoid, and most are usually everywhere in a boss fight to make it harder. Slime exists to slow you down to half speed.
The hit detection is exact, meaning it can be bad when your weapon is small. It’s annoying when it flies right by them, only for them to get in range of you and throw their weapons. You can only ever move fast enough to dodge when they throw it from ¾ of the screen away or more. You had better not collect all the health and leave some for later, as items never disappear (unless you shoot them).
The worst way to die is being overwhelmed. If you are touched by an enemy for about 3 seconds, you are dead. Each touch drains your health considerably. You and the enemy don’t move, flash, or bounce; you walk through each other and take damage. It’s getting away quickly that can be the problem. Also, touching a boss is an instant death. After playing an entire level, you fight the boss right after. If you die, you still have 2 lives left, and 4 continues (In a four player game, everyone has 3 lives and 1 continue—it’s the same number of lives and continues for each number of players).
The enemies are challenging, too. I’ve had to play through many of the floors again. The enemies that throw things will hit you all the time unless you hide around corners, but good luck since as you wait, more come out of their generators. The last 5 levels have the fastest enemy generators (flying dragons), and you need to be quick to get through these final levels. The bosses are hard unless you have leveled up your Shield & Sword, so you normally have to go through the entire level not collecting them, then going back once you’ve cleared the whole floor so you can be sure no thief will steal your stats on the way to the boss, or just learn where they are and hope you kill them before they reach you. Don’t worry; you will die and have to repeat the level a lot, so I’m sure you will remember where the thieves are.
There are also terrain traps. There are electrical squares that hurt you when charged for 3 seconds, but they also have 3 seconds of deactivation where you can pass through them. However, it’s hard to maneuver through them sometimes when enemies are chasing after you, and they put these tiles everywhere on boss battles. There is also black sludge’s that slows your walking down, and red fire blobs; they are the only enemy that cannot be killed because they aren’t technically enemies (they don’t move), but each time you hit them, you lose 300 Hit Points.
You can also trap yourself in the level if you try to explore, as your health will lower as you do. There are no hidden walls, but there are hidden portals that are disguised as a regular floor in various places. You can also trap yourself from ever exiting the level if you go crazy with your keys and use them to open every single treasure chest without using them on doors (gold are used for doors and Treasure chests).
You can save, but only at the beginning of each level. I had to replay a few levels trying not to die often since you only have a limited number of lives to beat the 40 levels of the game, as saving saves all your lives AND continues. So you will have to replay some levels to get better at them if you ever want to reach the end.
One thing that is amusing is your character. They make comments on everything, and luckily they say a lot of different things so it doesn’t get repetitive and boring. My sorcerer complains if I go too long without killing something, and often gets exciting when killing multiple enemies at once in different ways. Also, it’s fun to get the enemies to kill each other. If you walk along a door without unlocking it, if they are ranged enemies, they will throw their weapon at you, killing the enemy next to them. You can do this until only 1 remains.
The game include Local & Online Co-op. I doubt there is anyone online playing it at all (as the game couldn’t connect to anything). You can play the game with two people in your living room, with each person using a different side of the keyboard. In addition, you can play a random, computer-made dungeon anytime you wish. The game says there is a Dungeon Creator, but I could never find it to make my own levels, and I tried searching through the entire CD’s files. I could not, oddly, find the options to create fan-made levels in the menu.
Story: 3 out of 10
Did Gauntlet have a story? This one doesn’t either. However, it does have a CG opening and intro, so there is that. Also, the dialogue it funny in the game, so I will give it a little bump.
Controls: 10 out of 10
Everything is very simple. Press arrow buttons to move in any of the 8 directions. Press 1 button to shot forward. Press 1 button to ignite your magic bomb. Press a 3rd button to attack close range (but you will never use this).
Graphics: 7 out of 10
After every 5 levels, the dungeon design changes (all doors, walls, and enemies get a new design, even though they mostly act the same way. The old enemies come back mixed with them, but it looks different and avoids looking at the same thing over and over again. All the bosses are gigantic, too. You can tell effort was put into this game.
Fun: 13 out of 20
Despite the fact that the programmers are being a dick to you on many occasions, such as the skeleton maze key after a boss and placing multiple pathways where going the wrong way wastes the item you just got, I had fun playing it, but got frustrated a lot, enough so that I would quit the game and not come back for another month or so. It can also get repetitive if you try to play through the entire game in a few weeks.
Challenge: 10 out of 10
The game is tough. You will die multiple times trying to figure out the design of each level, and having to learn where to backtrack so you won’t die instantly in a giant enemy rush.
Music: 6 out of 10
The music is fun to listen to. It’s not memorable, but it does work with the game.
Replay: 10 out of 10
I would play this game again with someone else, as it would be fun to try and tackle the game that way, though we would probably need to use some cheats to avoid getting agitated playing the same level over and over again.
Extras: 10 out of 10
Included on the disc is a demo of Claw, a 2D platformer that looks like a cartoon. You are a pirate cat and it looks like your goal is to collect every single item in the level, for at the end, it tells you all the items you found out of how many. The sprites are very big in this game. There is also a trailer for Get Medieval, Claw, Rage of Mages, & Shogo (a mech game). However, the main bonus is the random dungeon generator and the level creator. You can play a new level all the time, and create your own, as well.
Though I couldn’t find it, that fact that you can design your own levels and upload them anywhere for anyone to play through the main game itself is a really awesome idea, and very rare for a game made in 1998.
Total Points: 75 out of 90
Overall, an easy time waster. Plus, since the game saves at the beginning of each level, and there is nothing complicated to remember, you can easily play this game at your own pace by coming back to play it when it suits you. A fun diversion, and worth the $1.00 I spent on it.
Donkey Kong County was a huge hit on the Super Nintendo. It utilized impressive graphics that made it appear 3 dimensional in its 2D world. With the success of that game, not only did sequels follow, but also a Game Boy spinoff.
The Game Boy game, Donkey Kong Land, is an entirely new game built for the system. However, there isn’t really anything new in it. Everything from the previous game is here; all the backgrounds and enemies are taken from the Super Nintendo game. But, you will be impressed at the graphics, as it looks like they somehow got the 3D look for the characters on the game boy (well, 3D white, black, & green, but still 3D!).
You can play as Donkey Kong or Diddy Kong. When you die, the other character comes out to replace you (as both characters can’t be on the screen at once). Both characters can jump on enemies, run by holding the A button, and spin when pushing the B button. Luckily, like the Super Nintendo game, you can still roll off the ledge and then magically jump in mid-air to reach places further away. Donkey Kong doesn’t have his slapping-the-ground move, but it wasn’t really helpful in the regular game anyway.
Each level is a 2D sidescrolling and platforming level where you must get to the Exit on the other end of the screen. You will find a few Checkpoints along the way. All the enemies from the previous game are here, such as running, jumping, and stationary lizards, dangerous bees, and chomping lizards that you can’t roll into. New enemies for this game include flying pigs that travel in horizontal lines, and a sea creature that moves vertically very quickly. The enemies that are most annoying are the rolling barrels that turn into stationary snake generators, as they can never be destroyed and caused me lots of deaths when trying to jump over them or jump across a platform. Once you destroy an enemy, they are gone for good (unless you die, of course) and no amount of running 4-5 screens over and back will resurrect them; you will just have to forget bouncing off of them to travel along the trees for now.
The enemies aren’t the only thing that returns; all the backgrounds from the previous game– pyramids, jungle, factory, ships, caves, and more–return also, as if they were ported to the Game Boy and just had the color removed. Even many of the songs appears in Game Boy form and are still fun to listen to. There are some original songs, but they aren’t as engaging.
Other things that return are barrel blasting levels, swimming away from a sea creature that’s chasing you, and rope levels where you magically go up or down quickly while holding onto them. There is no mine cart level, but it wouldn’t work here: the screen is very small, and you are a little large, so sometimes it can be hard to see that an enemy just entered on screen until it is too late when you are running. If you are walking, you will be fine. The new level type is a moving platform that moves a different direction ever time you jump on it. This level is the most annoying, as anytime you try to land, the thing has already moved, and you’re trying to calibrate your landing on the small platform to compensate for it’s movement, you sometimes walk off into death pits instead. Plus, if you try to jump on enemies that block your path, you will propel yourself upward so quickly, the screen quickly jerks with you, meaning you just lost where the platform went, as well as the entire screen you were just on. And then you fall back down and hope you know where the platform is.
You start out on a map screen, and select the level you want to play. Once you beat the level, you return to the map to select the next one. Every level must be completed expect for 2-3 of them. At certain places you will get an explosive barrel at the end of the stage, and you can use it on 1 of 2 rocks, each leading to a different level.
You will want to collect the letters K, O, N, & G that are in each level. Whereas in the original game, they were only an extra life, here you need to collect them to save your game after each level.
You can also collect bananas, with every 100 giving you an extra life. There are also 1-up balloons. The new addition is Donkey Kong coins. Every so often, you will enter a secret room with a barrel in the sky moving left to right, and a button on the ground. You have to jump in the air and land on the button, which makes the barrel shoot out a coin in one of 5 directions. You have to collect it quickly before it goes through he walls or floor, and if you do, you get an extra life. Rambi the rhino returns for you to ride to charge into enemies. Espresso the ostrich returns to help you glide, but he is only available in bonus stages.
There are 1 to 2 secrets in each level (though none in underwater stages). You will know if you entered every secret area when an exclamation mark appears near the stage on the map screen. Secrets are found by looking for secret barrels to jump into and jumping on holes in the ground to summon magic ropes. Oddly, there is only one secret where you destroy a wall like in the Super Nintendo game (in the first level).
As with any game, there are 4 bosses that must be beaten, and all of them are original. The first is a flying manna ray that moves faster with each hit. The second is a clam that shoots pearls at you underwater, and you have to make sure he hits you where the reflecting item is. The third is a mole that comes out of 1 of 3 holes who throws his hat; simply jump over it and land on his head. Finally, King K. Rool returns, and you have to hit him 12 times. He throws his hat just like in the first game, but after 6 hits, he will start randomly throwing, running faster, and start bell-flopping, with rolling under him being the only safe options.
After you beat the game, you only get the credits. There was no story in the beginning, so I wasn’t expecting anything, but I also got 100% of the game completed, and there was no reward for that either.
the rest of the game doesn’t look like this and is only monochrome.
Story: 3 out of 10
The story exists only in the manual. The game itself has nothing, not even after you beat the game. The game happens because Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong bet Cranky Kong they could still have a fun adventure without amazing graphics and sound. The story in a little amusing in the book.
Sound: 10 out of 10
The Game Boy is playing the Super Nintendo music through it’s speakers. The songs are still addicting here.
Graphics: 10 out of 10
The graphics all match the Super Nintendo, only they are black and white. Even with a black-and-white pseudo 3D look, you can normally see where you are going (unless you run at full speed), and nothing blends into the background
Controls: 10 out of 10
I mentioned every control above. The controls are simple to use and never interfere with you enjoying the game.
Challenge: 10 out of 10
The game is moderately challenging, but what makes it harder is having to collect the KONG letters in every level just so you can save. This forces you to try out areas that might be secrets (or death) and do more challenging things than you normally would. Luckily, every loaded game starts you out at 6 lives.
Fun: 15 out of 20
This game was fun, as it was pretty much Donkey Kong Country on Game Boy; you can’t really go wrong here. I just had some problems with the quickly popping-up enemies and the annoying screen cut that happens when you jump off someone into the sky.
Replay: 5 out of 10
The replay happens while you are playing the game. See, if you don’t collect all the KONG letters, you can’t save. And it’s usually easier to go into the level you know than to start an entirely new level where you don’t know what to expect. In addition, you will replay levels to find all the secret entrances. As such, you won’t want to replay it again, as you will already have done so.
Extras: 2 out of 10
There are no extra features or special things in Donkey Kong. The only extra I count is the bonus game and the coins you collect for it to earn extra lives. The other is because it’s Super Game Boy compatible. The title screen is impressive, showing yellow, red, and brown all at once, but once you start playing, you can only play in monochrome. Annoying, every time you enter a special room, the color resets to the defaults, but luckily you can just hit X to turn it back to your preference.
This is definitely worth a play on your Game Boy. It’s a simple sidescroller where you just jump on people, jump over platforms, and occasionally do some more variety than just jump on enemies heads. That, combined with the fact you can save on every level (if you find the KONG letters) means you can pick it up and play anytime without having to defeat entire worlds before you can save.
*This review won 2nd place in VideoGameGeek’s monthly video game contest for May 2013. The theme was Law*
My experience with Shadowrun is only through the Super Nintendo game. I’m not going to compare it to the Genesis version, but they are completely different games. I finally got a hold of this game and expected it to be entertaining, but it was not. It was not fun in the slightest.
In 2058, technology and flesh bond. The Matrix is invented, which allows people to jack into cyberspace. Around the same time, Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs returned to the world. Some were hiding in human guises, whereas others were normal humans who turned into them.
A Shadowrunner is someone who steals data from corporations for their own profit by jacking into their Matrix systems (they occasionally break into buildings and steal packages or save lives, and occasionally do escort missions, such as walking an NPC from one house to the other house directly next to it). Your brother (a Shadowrunner) is killed, and you fly to Seattle to find out who killed him, by becoming a Shadowrunner yourself.
The game is played in an Overhead perspective, along with a character portrait of yourself in the far right. It will show your current Mental Health and Physical Health; if either of these reaches 0, you die. Your current spell or weapon will also be displayed under it.
Right off the bat you will die—all the time. You start walking and immediately get attacked by 1 or 2 people. You can’t fight them very well. So, you’ll have to get money to buy better weapons and protection. When fighting, you simply press A, and your character will attack with the gun or magic you have equipped. The enemy you attack will be surrounded by a either a Green, Yellow, Orange, or Red square to indicate how close to dying they are (in that order). Hit B to change the enemy you want to target. Hit C to control another Shadowrunner with you (if you have one).
while I’m getting beaten up by the guy in front of me.
One of the aspects I like is random encounters. Occasionally, you will be interrupted by your display screen with various different options to choose from. A Lone Star (police) will come at you, and if you just talk to him, he goes on his way (with a small percentage he will see your illegal weapons and shoot at you). However, if you try to run, he appears on the game map and starts shooting at you (though occasionally you might be able to get away). Many of these encounters are the same thing with a random outcome. In one instance, A sick man will ask for help, and if you help him, he gives you money. Sometimes, however, he will be an instant killing vampire.
forcing you to make a decision.
To raise money, I find a Johnson. They give you missions so you can earn money. When I first started, I was given simple escort missions and prayed that no one would run into me on the way to both locations (you have to walk to where the guy is, then take him to his destination). Whatever you do, you need to save immediately when coming out of the 2nd location for the escort mission. Many times, enemies will already be outside 2 seconds after you exit, giving you a limited opportunity to save because you can’t save during combat (you can’t enter buildings either). Nothing sucks more than accomplishing your mission and getting the money, only to be gunned down immediately after trying to simply walk one step.
Fighting is at first frustrating, then boring. Every enemy will always come right up next to you and start shooting or punching; enemies cannot be stopped or slowed by guns or magic, they continue to walk right toward you as if the bullets or spells are not there. You end up having to run away a lot while fighting. Luckily, if you are far enough way (not office building levels) your other Shadowrunners won’t get hurt if they are way off-screen.
The first few hours of the game, if you are caught with 2 enemies or more, you die in 3 seconds with all of them punching you. This game is really hard in the beginning and leads to many deaths simply from just trying to cross the street and find a building. Realizing that taking a taxi would be suicide if every level was harder than this one, I spent over 2 hours doing Shadowruns to afford the best gun and armor, and enough to pay off the gangs to stop attacking me. I was still not ready. In the next town, I died all the time just trying to move. I returned to the original city to earn enough money to get the highest level Zap spell and to hire another Shadowrunner full-time.
When hiring another Shadowrunner, you can set them (and yourself) to 1 of 5 reaction levels since the AI will control the other ones, and each one affects their defense and attack (if you tell them to be totally offensive, their attack power goes up, but their defense is weaker). Just remember that spells bypass armor altogether.
When you are injured, you can stay at a hospital to heal your Physical and Mental energy, and how much it costs is relative to how injured you are. Hotel heals your Mental energy only (but fully) but here you can also increase your Karma points.
Doing a Johnson mission will give you Karma points, as will killing a certain number of people. You use these to increase your stats, and there are a lot of stats; around 20. You need to decide what to focus on (for each Shadowrunner). Charisma makes you drive the prices of gods down and get by guards in corporate buildings. Body increases your defense. There is a separate skills for Medkit. What your skill in it is depends on how much health you administer. Spell makes your spells more accurate and powerful. Guns make your guns more accurate and powerful. And, yes, accuracy is a problem. When using magic, you raise your hands and a small circle moves around you, but sometimes you can press the button, and your arms will raise, but nothing will happen (this is like a Miss in an RPG) and the same can happen for bullets. Lastly, all the Shadowrunners you hire also earn Karma points so you can make the ones you like more powerful, as their stats are permanent, no matter how often they leave the party.
I returned to the major part of Seattle, but I couldn’t do many of the Shadowrun missions; they were all too hard. Just going into a building to find something or someone sounds the alarm pretty quickly, for you see, you need a high Charisma to pretend that you work there, and it doesn’t work all the time. Also, once the alarm starts, the guards spawn indefinitely unless you turn off the alarm, but there is only 1 computer that will allow you to do this per floor. Escort missions would be in different towns, which cost a taxi, so you won’t end up making as much money. You could hack into the Matrix now, but the stuff you buy for it only has a limited number of uses, so occasionally I found my Attack or Deception powers just suddenly disappear and I realized I wasted my entire trip in here. Also, I was still not powerful enough to kill Ghouls for extra money (abandoned houses contain infinite spawning Ghouls, and you are sometimes hired to kill them with a price per Ghoul). All I did was find a wide place to run far ahead of the Ghouls, shoot a spell, repeat. But just screwing up once resulted in an instant death too many times.
Matrix runs are really hard to describe. They are insanely boring. You are a metal avatar traveling from Node to Node looking for a download jack to find information you were hired to retrieve. You can chose 4 of the 12 items for the computer deck (you can never actually buy all 12 at max level, as even the best computer doesn’t have enough memory to fit them all). Your avatar appears before a node. Each node will continue doing what it’s doing or attack you. You can chose to attack it or try to get buy it. Sometimes trying to sneak by it makes it enter attack mode, then you have no choice. If you sneak by it, though, you will not be able to Transfer data if there was a data transfer jack there, so you will need to attack it. Luckily, there is a Matrix map that displays which areas are Data Transfer points. Your attack will miss all the time unless you upgrade your attack more, so yes, even more items to buy and upgrade. Where will you find the money for all this, and just how much time do you want to invest in this game? There are many other things you can buy, such as health, slowing down the Nodes attacks, confusing them; but for the most part, you can do pretty well just using attack and deception only and ignore everything else (and increase your Computer Stat) and explaining every single computer app you can buy might sound like there is depth to this game, but it is really just very dull.
You can hack into random low-level Matrix areas and steal anywhere from $50 – $200. But when most magic and upgrades cost 14,000 for the Level 4 upgrade (not counting the high price at level 8 and the massively expensive computer boards that are over 200,000) you realize grinding in a different way is all you are doing. To hack into specific locations, you need a password from a Johnson because it’s for your mission. To hack corporate buildings, you need to be in the actual building itself (but to do that, you have to have a mission reason to be there). It’s only later that you can discover a Johnson that will hire you for Matrix mission for the big corporations and give you passwords to hack from the outside. Hire him all the time, as the passwords are permanent even after the mission is over; this way you can go in and make more money on the side if you wish.
After traveling to all the other cities and learning everything I could about the story, I eventually gave up on the game. Yes, I could do stupid little side missions only and gain money to get better stuff, but I already did 6-8 hours of this stuff; I was not wasting anymore time on this. I never give up on a game, but this game made me abandon it.
I would have given up there, but a few days later I looked to see if there was a cheat code; and there was. I gave myself 250,000 to see if it would actually change the outcome of anything; it didn’t.
I eventually gave in and did it 3 more times, making my stats (and my 2 other Shadowrunners’ stats) up a little and getting them the best armor (you can buy items, armors, weapons, magic, and cyberware for any of the Shadorunners you hire). And, if you dismiss them (or they run off after dying) they retain all their items and stat bonuses.
I hired a 3rd Shadowrunner permanently, then we died really quickly. I then show up at the hospital with $350.00 taken from me. It takes forever to earn that much money. And if I try to hire the same Shadowrunner again, his prices goes up because you nearly got him killed before. You can hire Shadowrunners for the short or long term, but both prices go up if you let them die. Can you guess what you have to do? Yep, reset the game and reload your game.
Still, the combat just gets worse. None of the enemies have any concept of anything but run right at you and attack, even people with guns. Only other wizards will stand afar and shoot at you. Even when I became powerful enough to stand a chance, fights just weren’t exciting or fun; they were all boring and not well constructed.
An important thing you have on you is your Notebook. This keeps track of plot points so you know what or who you are looking for. It also includes a list of every Johnson that offers missions (and where they are located) and every Shadowunner you can hire (and where they are located). However, there is no Map; you will have to remember all the 50 buildings or so and what they are for. There is a map included in the manual which lists which doors you can go in, but you will have to write in what the buildings are yourself. In addition, the Notebook also keeps a list of contacts. You need to meet people and pay them for contacts. These people sometimes give you more contacts or help you out for a price (such as getting into you into a prison to break someone out, or selling you discount weapons). It wasn’t until much later that I realized I had missed the most important contact of the game; the guy who sells you keycards for corporate buildings so you can sneak around without being attacked on site if you fail your Charisma check. This finally made the corporate missions a little easier, but you can still screw up with the random co-worker that likes to talk to you all the time. Now, corporate raids were the best source of money as there are safes all over the place with money inside. Occasional you find grenades instead (?) but you can then sell those for money. This is when I started making more money to buy things. I could then afford to buy computer apps to infiltrate corporate computers to find even more money in Data Transfers in addition to money hidden in safes, making an average of $1,000.00 each mission, plus the $2,000 for completing the mission successfully.
we totally work here.
It’s mentioned that you shouldn’t carry illegal weapons, but I never had a problem with it. My Orc Fighter carried an illegal shotgun the entire game without incident.
Everyone starts with 6.0 Essence. If you equip yourself with genetic modifications, you lose that Essence and spells are less effective. My elf Decker had an Essene of 1.6 because her focus was in computer hacking, not magic, so equipping her with things wouldn’t matter. Early in the game, it’s better to hire her to go into the Matrix rather than going yourself. These modifications are the weakest aspect of the game, as you never need anything that will drop your Essence detrimentally.
Item overload. There are over 100 unique items and every single item is available at the beginning of the game. You won’t know where to begin or what to spend your money on, let alone what’s worth buying. This is both a blessing and curse, as the exploration should be fun, but in the beginning you die way too easily to really enjoy it.
Spells. When using guns, you use ammo that you can run out of and have to buy replacement clips. But with spells, some drain your mental Energy. They can damage an enemy really quickly, but drain you a lot. Usually, you stick to the weaker, non-draining spells so you can attack indefinitely and save the big spells for when 4-5 enemies show up on-screen at once. You can buy items that absorb your drain a limited number of times, but that felt worthless and too costly to me when you can only hold 8 items and you really need to pay for a helicopter to bypass a half hour stage that is full of insanely powerful Weindigos.
Hilariously, if you max out your best computer with every application you can, you will no longer be able to download data in Matrix runs because you used up all your memory, which means you can’t make money this way the rest of the game. Luckily, you can still download plot relevant data.
Story: 10 out of 10
The story (for the time) is more involved that most. There are many twists in turns in solving your brothers murder. In addition, the personalities of some of the character are very interesting. Even the Contacts system, in which people join a contact system for money to help people do illegal things, is interesting and very fun to read and use. Also, the random story moments that pop up when just walking around lead to a feeling that anything could happen at anytime that could sometimes reward you, but for the most part leads to situations you will try to avoid and help develop some tension.
Sound: 5 out of 10
I only remember the theme song from the title screen. I know there are other songs there, but I can’t remember any of them even after playing for over 20 hours. That comes to average in my book.
Graphics: 5 out of 10
The graphics are very detailed when looking at faces and people. However, the sprites are very similar and small; making battles hard to maneuver and sometimes you forget where you are and which character you are controlling.
Controls: 8 out of 10
The controls are very simple, as stated above. It is the stats of your characters and weapons that make it seem complicated, but otherwise, A is attack, B is focus on another target, and C is switch characters. The only odd thing is when you turn, your entire body turns along your shoulder, so sometime you make some awkward moves when traveling around the map and it can make you run into an enemy or go in a door you don’t want to go in.
Challenge: 5 out of 10
This game is challenging, but the challenging isn’t alleviated by maxing out your character, unless you REALLY max out your character. The reason this isn’t a high score is because there is too much grinding and repetitive play, as well as an unusually high learning curve in the beginning. If you enjoy games that really change you, however, you might want to check this out.
Fun: 3 out of 20
I really don’t know why I continued playing. It was fun the first 2 hours or so, then a little more fun once I cheated and gave myself money, but each only lasted briefly. I wanted to play to see what they did with the story, but eventually the story moments became fetch quests and even that lost its appeal. Looking at GameFAQs reviews, however, not liking this game seems pretty rare.
Replay: 0 out of 10
I’m selling this game. That should tell you how much replay value I am giving it.
Extra: 10 out of 10
I give a high score to it’s extras. It has lots of bonus side missions. And though they can get repetitive, they made many different buildings to infiltrate, along with many different escort and Matrix hacking missions. Though it will become a requirement to do almost all of them to earn money, you can tell they really enjoyed making their Shadowrun missions. Also, there is a cheat menu that does amazing things. Simply select A, B, B, A, C, A, B on the title screen, load your game, then go to the menu and scroll past the Save/Load option and select the blank space; you now have 8 cheats you can do to the game.
+5 Random Encounters
The random encounters with individuals in distress, random animals you have to hide from, and even undercover cops pretending to sell illegal weapons to trick you so they can kill you (they never try to arrest) are really inventive. I haven’t really seen anything like it before and really believe something like this should be incorporated into other games.
Total Score: 51 out of 90.
I still see a lot of positive points in the game, but the few major negatives I have with it seem to supersede all of it for me. I thought it would be fun the way the Super Nintendo game was. Alas, games with the same name for different systems back then really were completely different games.
See the review at:
VideoGameGeek / RetroWareTV / GameFAQS
I waited years for this?
Ninja Scroll (which, was just released on Blu-Ray this month) was an awesome action movie that I enjoyed as a kid, so when I saw Ninja Resurrection on VHS, I bought it as well. I watched the first OVA, but the 2nd I never bought, so I never saw the conclusion. I wouldn’t know until college that Ninja Resurrection used the same font as Ninja Scroll to trick people into buying it, and that it was actually based on a series of novels and already had 3 Live Action films. Despite this, I enjoyed the first Ninja Resurrection as an interesting set-up, was excited when I finally found the DVD of both OVA’s at a Movie Stop for $5.00 this year, then greatly disappointed when I finally watched the 2nd OVA.
Let’s sum up Ninja Resurrection: OVA 1. We learn a long history lesson about historical figures (so that the anime can the nscrew with the history in any way it pleases); the only important thing from the narration is that there is a tale of a savior of God helping turn the people and land, but if he is stopped in any way, he could instead become the next Satan. We see an army attacked a house, destroy the Virgin Mary statue inside, then shoot a boy to death who happened to enter. That boy is seen my his friend Okho, who cries for his death, until it is revealed that he is alive; the bullet hit his cross. Everyone comes out of hiding and believes it is a miracle, and the boys’ cross glows with light and the Virgin Mary statue is magically re-created.
Years Later, that same small boy (Shiro) is now the head of a farmer’s movement that is fighting the local government (it’s situated as Farmers = Good, Government = Bad). Shiro tells his followers not to forget that the enemy is also dying, and that they are also suffering. Later, he tells his mentor that he will surrender himself to the government because they are without food, and victory is now impossible. However, his mentor tells him they must fight to the death, or everything they started will mean nothing.
Every attack the government makes fails. At a meeting describing this by the general of the army, Jubei appears, stating he will go in. He and four of his allies attach themselves onto a kite and decent into the castle on gliders (so, apparently, this is what really happened in local history [sarcasm]) and start killing everyone. At one point, Jubie spots some children, wall walks past them, and continues running. Later, they are spotted by Shiro’s Mentor, who kills them (if you were watching this, this is totally obvious given his per chant for smiling malevolently when no one was looking). With the defense down, the army is also able to get through.
Shiro meets Jubei on the roof and says he will kill himself if the women and children are protected. Jubei agrees, but then Shiro’s mentor shows up with the children’s heads, telling Shiro that Jubei is not to be trusted. Angered at Jubei’s (supposed) lies, Shiro calls forth the power of good and forms a dragon out of ceiling tiles to fight Jubei. This is where we see Shiro fall, as his anger comes lashing out, and his eyes glow with hatred which he has most likely never shown before (it is also unknown whether the power he got actually came from God or Satan). After a long battle, Jubei uses the heads of the children to distract Shiro, and in a moment of hesitation, is able to kill Shiro and knock him back into the church.
There, however, Shiro’s mentor appears with his childhood friend Ocho, and tells him to have sex with her so he can give birth to Satan. Shiro is unable to stop the consummation, but it is assumed that Shiro will return as Satan, having given birth to himself.
The only problems with the first OVA is that you get back-story on the general Jubei talks to, for no reason whatsoever, as he is never seen again. Also, Shiro is clearly the main character. The OVA feels like a compressed story that hints at far greater things to come.
I can’t even begin to describe how completely annoyed I was at this. The storytelling is off the wall, characters are raped (because it’s 90’s anime I suppose), people are killed, and not a single thing happens. It ends on a cliffhanger. This is a another set-up after the initial set-up. What the hell kind of storytelling is this?
Before I start to sound like someone who has had their dreams crushed, I’ll give you the synopsis. First, Jubei is relaxing while two kids (a brother and sister [Onwei]) catch fish and play in the water. Jubei suddenly remembers the two kids that were killed. Their father returns and chastises the girl for being a tomboy, and his son for doing servant work. Then, what follows is plot exposition (and this is in addition to the lengthily historical info that happens before the anime even starts). Apparently, the local Shogun wants all girls of noble birth ages 15 – 22 to appear in his city, and I immediately realize it’s for a virginal sacrifice. After a long dinner scene, we cut to morning, where we see the female that cooked them dinner (Ohina) to be a fighter that defeats everyone around her. She then spars with Onwei and they battle to a standstill.
Jubei trains everyone at this place, in case you are wondering. He also wants to quit fighting. He is now clearly the main character this time around. Jubei’s father and mentor train him in a flashback. Jubei had just killed some men, and his Father/Mentor tells Jubei to attack him as if he is anyone else. Jubei doesn’t try to kill him, so Father/Mentor stakes him in the eye and tells him not to rely on strength alone, and that he used his knowledge that he would hold back to defeat him, then banishes Jubei. Jubei doesn’t like his lessons, but apparently agreed with them, because in the first OVA, he sticks out the heads of the children to distract Shiro to deal him a killing blow.
Also, why did Jubei kill Shiro? Apparently it was because it was his duty, but it appears in the first OVA that he is almost a mercenary force or something. It’s not really explained.
Anyway, the good character set-up for Jubei’s character is now pointless because Jubei in now removed from the rest of the OVA. You heard me right: the main character is gone from the rest of the story. He sends Onwei (who clearly has a crush on Jubei) & Ohina off to the city, then leaves to investigate on his own, which also seems to mean, “I don’t have anything to contribute to the plot anymore.” Hell, even Onwei & Ohina, who we have JUST ESTABLISHED, are gone from the rest of the OVA.
The OVA does a total 180, as we see a guy who ran through the forest in OVA 1 then smile at the end as if he was a villian, now doing something unvillian like, drawing pictures of Buddha while surrounded by evil looking statues. It’s never explained what he is doing or why.
Then, we get a rape scene to introduce the evil demons. Well, these aren’t demons, they are 3 of the 6 masters of some fighting styles that are now evil for no reason whatsoever other than to show people that they are experienced badasses and that no one can touch. I guess they are expected to be obstacles for Jubei to overcome and show that they are actually a viable threat, if he ever got to fight them. One of the other demons (I don’t care at all to name them or look them up, I really stopped caring at this point) kills a ninja who was spying on them, then is staked with multiple swords. Instead of dying, we see the swords in his body push themselves out, while his intestines swirl up and cut people (yes, you heard me: deadly killer intestines). One of the ninja escapes, but it looks like he escapes because a third demon-ninja-fighting-style-master interfered. Did they want him to get away?
That ninja reports to Jubei’s Mentor/Father and we find that he still hates Jubei, but also thinks his follower is drunk for stating who the people that killed everyone were.
Next, onto a long and boring resurrection scene. We see Ocho from OVA 1 give birth to Satan. It’s not pretty. There is some smoke, some skin movements, some hair extending out of her body, and then it explodes (this takes over 10 minutes, by the way). Shiro/Satan returns (I assume it’s Shiro, he just sort of screams) and then gives his 3 followers a green glow of power (except for Shiro’s old master, who just praises Satan and watches with glee the entire time). We later see one of the follower demons that just powered up standing in the middle of a busy street festival, and then he starts killing everyone by cutting them up with his sword. The other two followers do this as well. People are killed for a few minutes, then the 3 fighting-style-not-zombies jump toward the screen, followed by Shiro/Satan; and then it just ends.
What the hell was this? Why did you do a set-up of a set-up? Why did you draw out the narrative of the resurrection for half of the entire OVA? Why are the characters missing? Why does this feel like 2 different writers when 1 writer is credited for both OVAs? Why was this the last OVA? The story is not continued anywhere, I checked. On Wikipedia, the stories of the Live Action films are completely different (even though this is technically a sequel to one of them). Also, Wikipedia, states that Ohiro is the girl that is raped. If that’s so, what was the point? Why set her up as a fighter only to have her now dead? And furthermore, where was Onwei if that was the case? If the Demons are actual positive historical figures, were they corrupted? If they are just lifeless husks, why do they have personalities and speech? The characters were entirely pointless, as was the entire OVA itself. Nothing is explained, not even Satan/Shiro’s motivation or what he is. Does Shiro have the powers of Satan? Or, is he Satan’s mindless Avatar? Did his soul merge with Satan? Why does he only grunt and scream? How are we supposed to figure out what Satan/Shiro’s plan are other than just killing everyone that exists? The one thing that does get explained (the Sata/Shiro resurrection) is long and takes up way to much screen time. At one point I realizes there was no way this would finish and I was already expecting a cliffhanger that would never be solved, but I was still pissed about it when it happened.
So, yeah, OVA 1 has potential, but OVA 2 destroyed every ounce of the potential it had. I am not surprised that the next OVA was cancelled after this one came out, and after watching it, I’m glad I’m angry about it so that I don’t care, otherwise, I’d be silently wishing for the remaining OVA’s which would never come, which is a rant for another time.
I am told to meet the man in charge of the group still loyal to the Empress (Loyalists). Instead, I swim around the entire docking area. I am immediately damaged by sources unknown. Are there piranhas in the river? I swim around the left tower, but find nothing but colorful scenery (I’ve been in prison for 6 months, I needed to partake in the air and view the surroundings I had missed—though finding rare items washed upon the shore seems plausible, too). I then start searching the entire Loyalist house and steal people’s things (I told you, I can’t help myself). The gold is so tempting, and so shiny– and when I get close to it, IT GETS EVEN SHINIER!
I also start reading through everyone’s personal journals; I do want to know about the people that have helped me. A poor whaler was defeated by the struggles of city life (was that the boatman?). I also learn that they wanted to free me for some time. Am I just an instrument to further the plot—their plot against this new nation?
I meet up with Admiral Havelock (the leader of the Loyalists) and a noble named Treavor Pendleton. Pendleton says everyone is equal here, but I heard on his Victrola (I’m sorry, Audiograph; damn, I really read those Thief novels too many times while I was in prison) that no one understands he has problems, even though he’s heard ordering champagne from his servant as he says this.
Admiral Havelock tells me they fight to take back the city from the Spymaster, who is now the Lord Regent and ruler of this city. I want to believe these people, but I could just be used again. Havelock tells me to talk to their inventor and get some rest, as if I’ve already decided to join them. I want to speak up for myself and tell him just because he busted me out doesn’t mean I’m going to instantly join him, but I find that, after having not talked to a single person in prison for so long, that I can no longer speak.
I speak to the inventor, Piero. He has a bit of an ego trip. Reading all his papers, I find that he thinks himself superior to Sokolov, and believes his plague elixir is better. His papers give off lots of aggressive tendencies and hostility at not being recognized, as well as displaying feelings of inadequacy. I wonder if the Loyalists know how much of a dangerous man they are harboring. It is only a matter of time before he invents something dangerous (like robots that run on steam and shot canons from their arms) or turns into a villain to fight against us just to show us all how brilliant he is. I’m going to get close to this guy so that when he snaps he still considers me a friend.
He shows me lots of tools and gives me a mask. Sweet; like Garrett, I now have a mechanical eye that zooms. This will be helpful is spotting whether or not people are facing me when I try to sneak by them. Since I am famous in the city, he recommends I wear it. He also has lots of tools that seem tailor suited to fit me. Has he been building all this since I was in prison, just for me?
I find a letter from Havelock stating to Piero that they don’t have much money, and to stop requesting so many things. At least now I have a reason to justify my klepto ways; I can now say it’s for the greater good (new sweet gear). I already angered Havelock when I stole some of the gold from his bar and started chucking bottles into the air. Though why Peiro couldn’t find out that an item he needed was in the dumpster in the alley next to his house, I’ll never know (how long had it been there? It looks like this trash has been this way since the plague started—leave your workshop and explore the outside world around you!). I also run into Callista, who says her Uncle is the Captain of the guards, and wants to know if I could save her Uncle from Campbell’s plan to kill him. Apparently, he is the only person in the City Watch that is uncorruptable. I wish I knew if she were telling the truth, as I feel that I should know this since I did travel with this man for 4 months.
I then try to explore the tower, but there is no way inside. Realizing I’m completely trapped, with no doors to leave and find out how this connects to the city, and no walls to mantle over, and realizing that I did just break out of prison and was running for life and am possibly exhausted, I go to bed. Hopefully, tomorrow, I can begin my quest to look for Emily and keep my promise to Jessamine.
I wake up, but as soon as I walk outside, I find that the entire world is gone. All that exists is a blue haze filled with crumbling buildings and…a whale? It is here I meet the Outsider of legend. He gives me a power called Blink, which allows me to move at distances with great speed. I use it to explore the back of every building, and even the rocks near every building and corner. However I am not careful and fall into the abyss. Luckily, the Outsider teleports me back, saying that I cannot die here in my dreams.
I see a construction of Jessamine’s death. Why are you showing me this? I also see Emily being held by 2 guys, and the Lord Regent playing with a map as if controlling everything like a chess game. All of them are completely frozen. What are these images? A few are just people getting killed or crumbling buildings and I wonder what they have to do with anything. The Outsider also gives me a magical heart that tells me the secrets of places and people when I point it at them. Garrett had a talking body part on his adventure–an Eye–but luckily, my magical talking object doesn’t make sarcastic quips at me; it just tells me the truth. It also tells me where magical runes and charms are so that I can call forth other magical powers. The Outsider says I have the potential to change this city, and looks forward to watching my actions.
When I awake, I find the tattoo still on me. And, I move incredibly fast though the air. I now have powers, powers which I can use to save Emily and avenge my Empress.
In Comix Zone, you are a comic book artist. The cowboy-esque villain of your comic book comes through your pages and pushes you into your own comic book. You have to fight your way through your own creations to make it back to your reality.
As soon as you fall into the comic world, you meet Alissa, someone who thinks you are the chosen one. She communicates with you throughout the adventure and occasionally gives you hints.
The visual style itself is that of a living comic book. You always see the border of the panel you are in. Villains are drawn in front of you, starting off as black and white, then, eventually, full colored copies you must fight. You fight through mutants, dojo’s, and nuclear facilities straight out of exaggerated comic book concepts.
You start off with a punch and a kick, and you can also jump and kick in the air. You can use your punch and kick in different attack patterns depending on the order you press them. You will find a few items you can use. However, you can only carry 3 items as a time, and you’ll normally want to hold onto potions, as you will get hit a lot. One peculiar item is your rat, who is helpful for puzzles. You need him to turn on switches you can’t reach, or find a hidden item under the page necessary to progress. You have to remember to pick him back up, though, or you might accidentally leave him on the previous panel. Other items include a dagger you can throw and a bomb that clears the screen. There is also a ‘?’ symbol, but it can be anything and might blow up in your face. You also have a special weapon which rips a part of the background out and makes a paper airplane, but this cost life, and it’s possible the plane might hit you for even more loss of life.
The combat is what is really fun. Many enemies are their own mini-boss, usually taking a few hits to beat, but they are not so numerous that they become repetitive. You have to learn how to combo your attacks, as certain enemies do not respond well to punch, punch, punch.
In addition, your punches that connect make a loud ‘Krack’ sound effect as a loud audio cue that you are hurting them, plus, different sound effects appear on the screen spelled out in text, similar to reading comic books. The final death punch always makes a louder sound, and you will hear a 2nd, loud ‘crunch’ if you knock the enemy into the comic book panel. Yes, the panel itself acts as a wall. Your attacks feel like they have weight to them, and combined with the sounds, makes for an immersive experience.
One realistic thing they tried, was that whenever you punch a manhole cover, metal door, or box (necessary to progress sometimes) you will lose health. You will lose a ton of health if it’s a metal door. At first, I liked this realistic idea (as you are a normal human) but then found out it requires items you want to use for villains to make your job easier non-existent, as you now need all the special weapons to blow up doors so you don’t hurt yourself. And when you have to defeat an entire Page with only one health bar, losing health this way just adds to the frustration.
The character you play, as well as the villains, occasionally talk to you, and they talk with a speech bubble directly above their head that moves with them (as sometimes people will fight and talk).
One downside to the game is that it is very short, and very hard. This being early video game days, the short video game is made incredibly hard so you can’t beat it immediately. There are 6 pages total that you fight through; that’s it. However, you will die a lot along the way and have to learn what to do, but sometimes it can be a little cheap. For instance, a tall vertical panel makes it hard to fight flying insects that retreat beyond the panel where you can’t reach them. Add some obstacles that you need to progress through that drain your health as you punch them, plus only 1 continue, and you have a game that will take you hours to learn.
One bit of humor is the way your character reacts to the situation. At the end of the level, he turns into a superhero and freaks out. You can actually turn into this superhero for a split second as a bomb that clears the screen when you find a certain item.
The game has only 3 bosses, and the first one has an item that you can use to kill him pretty quickly if you look around his lair and figure out what to do with it.
Eventually, you will get 1 of 2 endings. At the final boss, Alissa will be captured and stuffed into the rocket, with rocket fuel slowly filling her cage. You have to defeat the boss under a certain time limit, for if she drowns, you get the bad ending.
She’ll yell, “Help, I’m Drowning,” to let you know you haven’t saved her yet.
Also, did Evil Cowboy suddenly become an insect robot?
You have to get the final boss to follow you into a rocket jet, then run to the other side of the screen to turn it on. However, there is a glitch in the game: I defeated the boss myself using only my character’s fists and kicks the first time (no jetfire), and the game didn’t progress; it didn’t give me either of the 2 switches to beat the game with either ending. All I could do was jump around the stage staring at the lifeless body of my friend.
In Comix Zone, the design is what made it stand out from other games. Each battle takes place in a very small comic book panel, and when you are done, you swing beyond the comic’s borders to go to the next panel. Eventually, you make it to the end of the page.
Story: 8 out of 10
The story focuses on a comic book artist trapped in his own comic book. He must face the villain he created that has trapped him within the comic, as well fight off various mutants, bugs, martial arts fighters, and more. Since this is the time of Genesis, it’s story is better than most action games and is pretty original.
Music: 7 out of 10
Slightly above generic music. I listened to some of those beats forever since each Page takes a long time to complete and never got bored of them. However, the track selection is rather limited.
Challenge: 8 out of 10
Did I mention this game is hard? Yeah, you will get frustrated, you will cry, you throw controllers around, but you will keep playing. The challenge is hard, but adaptable. The only problem being the doors that cause you to lose health when you punch them making it harder than it needs to be.
Fun: 17 out of 20
I had more fun with this game throughout most of it than I realized. It’s satisfying to punch through enemies where you can feel yourself doing real damage to them. Plus, jumping around the panels into different areas, choosing multiple pathways, and using fun items makes the game a blast to play.
Control: 10 out of 10
The controls are very response and nothing feels like you have to wait for your character to react. The odd thing was they removed the original way you selected items from your Genesis for the PlayStation Network version, as pushing L1 makes you use the left most item, L2 for the center, and something else for the right weapon. Too often I accidentally used the wrong special weapon trying to remember this.
Graphics: 8 out of 10
It’s graphics rate higher more for originality in the concept in addition to everything stated in the review above. Your attacks break the page, a fire catches hold of the page and you have to outrun it, plus cool and original character designs for the enemies, bosses, and backgrounds.
Replay: 5 out of 10
There is not much reply to be had, unless you count having to replay it multiple times just to be able to beat it. However, it is fun to play through, and I know I’ll most likely be playing it again soon with Unlimited Health to see how it is without any of the frustration.
Extra: 5 out of 10
You can access Unlimited Health and a State Select code. This seems necessary given how hard this game is. Unfortunately, I didn’t find these out till after I had beaten the game.
+ 5 Immersion
Seriously, how often do you punch a bad guy or swing your sword and not feel like a part of the action? Comix Zone makes you feel your attacks connecting with the enemy.
Total Points: 72 out of 90
Comix Zone does a fine job of mixing comic book athletics within a video game, while also being fun to play. Despite its hard learning curve, it is a fun game of the Genesis. It’s available for Playstation Network, as well.
I just received by first comic book review from TheOuthousers.Com. They reviewed The End #1 & #2. Here is the link to the review:
Or, you can type in TheOuthousers.Com and then select Features – Misc – Small Press Comic Of The Week: The End.