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All reviews - DVDs (2) - Games (8)

Does not withstand the test of time

Posted : 10 years, 2 months ago on 17 August 2007 06:50 (A review of Twisted Metal)

I recently purchased this game at GameStop, so this review will definitely be biased.

Twisted Metal was one of the Playstation's launch titles, way back in 1995; it shows its age with mostly non-distinct graphics, an onslaught of levels, bland gameplay, glitches, irritating physics, and a bad control setup.

The graphics are hardest to decipher. It's too easy to mistake a random vehicle for Ghost, which leads to some cheap deaths. The radar screen is blank except for your opponents' locations and inexplicable white X's (come on, shouldn't I know what they do if I've beaten the game?). I'm usually not one to fuss over graphics, but it's hard to beat a game with graphics so ugly they result in cheap deaths.

The onslaught of levels would be acceptable, if it wasn't for the fact that every level is staged in the same place with different vehicles. You beat two enemies, then you beat three, then five, then eight, then three, and then you face Minion, the final boss. I get that since the Playstation was so new, they didn't know how MUCH they could put in Twisted Metal, but this is like they didn't even try.

I add the term "bland gameplay" into this review because, while every stage is frantically fast-paced, it always breaks down into the same basic routine: Hunt down one lone combatant, and blast him with Homing Missiles until he's dead.

Twisted Metal's irritating physics and bad control setup go hand-in-hand. Up and down on the D-Pad work like the Gas (Square) and Brake (Circle) buttons, so you'll stall whenever you try to back up and you don't hold exactly left or exactly right. Irritating physics also don't help, making your character seems like he floats, thus crashing into things, or like he's in quicksand and can barely move. Also note that many vehicles, even if they are slower than you, are easily able to drive circles around you while shooting you. And why does the monster truck always run over me? That's pretty cheap. While its true that you can change the controls from default, taking time to switch them is an unnecessary chore one shouldn't have to endure.

Aside from these many bad points - I often have to focus purely on the radar to see an enemy down the street - the game is still pretty fun. Since you can easily beat it in about 30 minutes, it offers some quick, fast-paced action. It has a plot, and it also has an individual ending for each character. It's fun to read the endings, and quite a few of the characters are memorable. The fact that this came out around the time Aquanaut's Holiday did also helps boost its score.

I would recommend this game, but only if you can spend very little for it. Compared to today's games, it sucks more than Paris Hilton's Oreck. Compared to the games of yesteryear, however, it's definitely passable.


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Fantastic game

Posted : 10 years, 2 months ago on 16 August 2007 02:29 (A review of Guitar Hero II)

RedOctane was bought out shortly after the release of their first game, Guitar Hero - something to be grateful of since Harmonix, the ones who created Frequency and Amplitude among many others were the ones who did it. With this in mind, you can expect the game to be even better.

The new Cherry Gibson SG guitar controller is much, much better and easier to use than the original; unlike the first all-plastic controller, this one has resin on it that makes hitting the notes easier. Also, the note buttons, whammy bar, and strummer work better than before. And who can pass up the Cherry color?

Like the controller, the gameplay is much improved on as well. Hammer-ons and pull-offs are easier this time around; where you had to have nearly perfect timing before, this one gives you much more lenience when hitting them - avid guitarists might frown upon this, because you can just touch the notes to play them. Easy mode is still easy, but expert mode has you playing every single note. The user interface is improved, showing you a statistics screen including how many notes you hit, your average multiplier, and the percentage of notes you hit correctly in each section. And FINALLY, you have a Practice mode! There are more songs, and a wider variety of them too, including death metal and techno.

It still has flaws. One of the more noticeable flaws occurs when you start a game on another difficulty. When you switch difficulties, your guitar stays the same. This means that when you unlock the Grim Ripper in Hard and go to your game on Easy, your character will have the Scythe guitar. Or when you pick the Cherry Gibson for Expert, your Grim Ripper on Hard will be using the Cherry Gibson, even though he's not allowed to change guitars. Yes, this is a minor flaw, to say the least, but I have to bring it down a few pegs.

Despite this, it's still a great game. Go buy it. Go play Free Bird.


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Good practice game

Posted : 10 years, 2 months ago on 15 August 2007 04:48 (A review of Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship Tournament 2004)

This game will teach you how to play Yu-Gi-Oh, most definitely. When you first start the game, you'll have your initial deck. Everytime you beat someone, you'll get a booster pack full of cards that are actually found in the packs. Beat a group of characters enough times, and you graduate to another set of characters. This is the basic concept of the game. There is ZERO story line, but it's not supposed to have one, is it? If you're looking to follow the Yu-Gi-Oh story arc, seek out another game.

The rules and gameplay are perfect. Where there might be certain contradictions, the game compensates for them with a clear, solid look on how the rules are applied and how the game works. If you want to test out a card combination, or see how well your deck works against an Exodia deck, I would recommend buying some variation of this game. It's like a real tournament.

The game could use a bit of improvement, however, in gauging the skill levels of your opponents. I'm not sure what any of the red squares indicate, as I don't have the instruction booklet. I also wish there was something special you could obtain after beating Yami Yugi in the very end.


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Even as a suicide alternative, it's too

Posted : 10 years, 2 months ago on 14 August 2007 08:11 (A review of Epic Movie (Unrated Edition))

Created without any sense of direction and utter lack of humor. I imagine this was more of a bet that someone made the producers of the movie - to see how many half-assed, idiotic parodies could fit into 90 minutes and still make millions. Honestly, nothing was funny, and everything broke down into unintelligent jargon. The special effects sucked as well, making me think that the producer won $10,000 on a scratch-off ticket and decided to go hog-wild at the Goodwill. I would rather watch a documentary about forensics specialists attempting to explain a bag of vomitted human anal tracts through dramatization featuring the Baldwins and Carrot Top. No wonder only two of the six writers of Scary Movie made this; the other four hemmorhaged and shat blood continuously for ten hours. The only way the other two survived was by cramming their own heads into their asses, and the resulting movie is definitive proof.


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Burn all of these movies, stick with the

Posted : 10 years, 2 months ago on 14 August 2007 08:07 (A review of The Hills Have Eyes 2 (Unrated Edition))

By far one of the most amateurish gross-out films ever made. Looking back at the original, you can tell where they went wrong: In the first "The Hills Have Eyes", the mutants were given human characteristics - it was terrifying to realize that humans could be so malicious. They had something good with cannibalistic humans that happened to be mutated, and they ditched it for generic humanoid monsters. Like we've never seen those, you asshats.

At several points in the movie, if you can drown out the actors' "OMG CAN'T BELIEVE IT" screaming, you will assuredly wonder why trained National Guards with military-issue combat fatigues are being slaughtered by mutants. Let me tell you this: Despite people in their unit dying, they don't take out their knives until 20 minutes before the movie ends. Yes, they have knives, but do they use them when they're captured? No. I'm serious, throughout all of the bloody deaths, someone says "bayonet" just before the very end. The only way this could've happened is if they fired all of the retarded people from the crew, and the new crew didn't have enough time to film a less retarded movie.

The only saving grace of this movie is the special effects, but then again, you can easily beat someone's head into a bloody stump in reality and have it be more realistic. And after watching this movie, the latter method is preferable.


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Plot-based, apparently

Posted : 10 years, 2 months ago on 12 August 2007 03:52 (A review of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Sacred Cards)

Unfortunately for the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise, they have been cursed with the ability to create either a great story-based game with terrible game-based mechanics or a great game-based game with terrible plot. This is one of the good-plot ones.

Since the plot is good on this, and reminds me quite a bit of the show, I've decided to give it some lenience and give it a 6/10. If I were to base my score on the card game's mechanics, I would give it a 1/10. The game doesn't tell you what each card's effect is, so when your opponent attacks a defense position monster and you take damage, you're left wondering what happened. The tribute summoning feature is also entirely different from the game, having you summon some monsters with three tributes, some with two, and some with none. There are lots of cards that aren't even featured in the show or manga. It's extremely confusing, to say the least.

If you actually want to play the story, this would be a pretty good game to rent. If you want to play Yu-Gi-Oh, this is the worst possible game you could buy. It has more in common with Madden than it does the card game.


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Amazing, but dated

Posted : 10 years, 2 months ago on 12 August 2007 03:50 (A review of Clock Tower)

Clock Tower is an awesome game, period.

The game consists of mostly detective work where investigating certain objects is your only way to make progress. Scissorman only makes it more enjoyable by jumping out of things at random - it's pretty frightening. You don't control the character like in Silent Hill or Fatal Frame; instead, Clock Tower is a point-and-click game that has you telling the character where to move or what to look at. You can play as one of two characters with ten different endings, which gives it a high replay value.

The only downside to Clock Tower is the graphics. The characters are ugly compared to today's standards, and sometimes certain objects are hard to see.

If you are looking for something different, enjoy solving puzzles, and don't care about graphics, you should definitely get this game.


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Severely underappreciated

Posted : 10 years, 2 months ago on 12 August 2007 03:44 (A review of Final Fantasy X-2)

You'll hear a lot about how terrible this game is, but it isn't. If you've been playing Final Fantasy games as long as I have, you will respect this game for daring to be original. It is a game you have mixed odds of liking. You have to understand exactly what you're getting into first: If you expect more of the same from FFX, you will be very disappointed. However, for what it is, without being compared to anything else, it is rather exceptional, and is perhaps the best game in the Final Fantasy series.

The main story path is rather short. You could probably finish it in 10 hours if you pushed a bit. However, the main path accounts for a relatively small portion of the game. There is so much optional content that you will easily get as much out of X-2 as any other game in the series if you try for it all.

The story itself is based mostly around characters and revisiting the world to see how it's changed. The conflict isn't particularly epic and the villain isn't very threatening. The game's tone is extremely happy-go-lucky - that's not to say anything is wrong with that. In fact, I'd go so far as to call it uplifting. The dressphere system is a fairly neat take on the classic job system developed for FFV; since you can switch classes on the fly, there's no need for the game to include more than three characters (don't let people tell you that's a weakness; it isn't). That gives plenty of time to focus on powering up those characters and figuring out ways to use them effectively. Combat itself is fast-paced and more fun than any other game that uses the ATB system. The new combo system allows you to string moves together for massive damage, and even stop an enemy's attack. Learn to use the system and it becomes pretty rewarding, especially against some of the tougher optional bosses.

FFX-2 also has the most replay value of any FF game, due to the fact that it requires multiple playthroughs to see everything thanks to its branching story paths. It is literally impossible to see everything in a single game, and it's very difficult to see the best ending if you just play through it once. The graphics, although not up to par with the most recent installation of the Final Fantasy series, are still fairly impressive and realistic looking. The soundtrack is mostly technopop, which provides a lighthearted feel to the game. The voice acting is impressive, but it can get repetitive and annoying - if you don't have problems with "girl talk", then you should be fine.

All in all, it's a very good package unless you're a whiny teenager who has to see a heavy dose of angst in his games and hates anything with bright colors out of some retarded fear of being associated with anything immature people might see as childish.


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Different from the RPG norm, but in a go

Posted : 10 years, 2 months ago on 12 August 2007 03:42 (A review of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest)

Most Final Fantasy games have the same formula, but Mystic Quest mixed it up a little; it was a pretty gutsy move for 1992 and a company that didn't have many games out yet.

Good Features

The monsters are visible and can easily be avoided, so you don't face random battles. You are able to real-time weapon change, which means that you can switch between all of your weapons by pressing L or R, and use them to affect the surrounding environment (chop down trees, blow up rocks, etc.). Your armor is accumulated as a whole and automatically equipped. Every direction you can go is displayed on the world map, meaning you don't spend all that time mucking about trying to find your way to your next destination. It is also an over-the-shoulder type of battle, so you won't be on the right of the screen with your enemies on the left. You'll have battle tournaments of ten rounds each where you can win prizes for defeating everything. And lastly, you can jump, which opens up different pathways and possibilities.

Bad/Cheap Features

When you find a treasure chest, you can go back to the world map, re-enter, and the treasure chest will be full again - I find this to be a bad thing, whereas some people might find it to be a good thing because it negates the need for Item Shops. When you die, you are asked if you wish to restart the battle, minus anything you might have used before - you'll fight the same monsters, minus the 5 arrows you used against them the first time. You have several different magic levels, and you are alotted a set number of casts per level; once you get Life, for instance, you'll be able to cast any White Magic 30 or so times, and once those are used up you'll have to rest to regain them (no pesky MP ratings). Also, you can only have one other person in your party besides Benjamin, which limits your success at taking down powerful enemies.

The storyline is the usual fare from Final Fantasy games - you must save the world from an evil being by unleashing the power of four crystals, and various people help you along the way. However, you don't get to choose who is in your party! Friends like Kaeli and Tristam join your party in exchange for your services to help them, and they leave whenever they want. One of the gripes I have about this is how, towards the end of the game, one of your friends rejoins your party, but he is still at the same level - naturally, he dies every battle.

The graphics are your average 16-bit sprites that were common in all RPGs during this timeframe, so I'm not going to penalize them by comparing them to graphics today.

The sound is awesome. It was composed by Ryuji Sasai and Yasuhiro Kawakami, not by Nobuo Uematsu, and the heavy rock and roll influences are noticeable. The "Victory Fanfare" theme in this game is the absolute best rendition I have ever heard, and one of the other songs is a rendition of "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry.

There is virtually zero replayability, unless you find it necessary to look for hidden items or level up to 99, which isn't necessary to complete the game. Again, I'm not going to penalize the game for this because other games in that era also lacked "New Game +" features.

If you are looking for something different from the typical RPG, this is a great game for you. I was very impressed with it.


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Ingenious mech game sets standard

Posted : 10 years, 2 months ago on 12 August 2007 03:39 (A review of Armored Core)

On the surface Armored Core appears to be little more than a 3rd person action/adventure with robots. Look a little closer and you’ll discover a level of depth beyond your wildest imagination. What starts off with the simple premise of being a mercenary-for-hire will eventually escalate into an involving story where treachery and and politics run rampant. You’ll begin the game as a lowly ranked Raven and be given your own mech (called Armored Cores) equipped with the most basic of parts. Money is earned by accepting missions from various companies. Completing the mission nets you the specified reward minus a few expenditures such as ammo cost, and armor repair. This money can then be used to upgrade your AC. Everything in this game can be upgraded, and if you want to advance beyond the first few missions you’ll be spending lots of time in the shops and garage finding the perfect match. You have different bodies, arms, legs, and heads to choose from, each with their own different perks. After that you’ll begin looking for a generator to run your AC, a targeting system (FCS), and boosters so that your mech can maintain more time in the air. Next comes the weapons, you have the option to equip your arms with swords and guns, and missile launchers and bigger guns on your back, as well as radars. And just to keep it fair, all of this has to meet certain weight limits. Control in this game is simple and will come quickly to those familiar with the playstation’s controller. You have the conventional strafe buttons; a primary attack button, secondary melee attack, and the weapon select, as well as a button to control your targeting and the boosters. The controls are perfectly suited to the button layout and will soon have novices flying through missions like pros. The missions in the game vary from arena duels to labyrinthine dungeons requiring you to destroy various locations in the deeper parts of the area. Payment comes in either money or new AC parts. Generally, the harder the mission, the greater the payment. Several missions will offer special bonus and sometimes deductions, this is detailed in the mission briefing. Siding with different companies leads to different missions, with around fifty missions, some only accessible if certain other missions were completed, the game comes packed with replay. The challenge gradually increases from the early missions to the finale, but hopefully, so will your skill. It’s not impossible to beat the game by any means. Finishing missions successfully also places you on a ranking ladder. As you complete more and more, you’ll slowly make your way to the top of the list of Ravens. When it comes time to customize your AC, the sheer amount of options can boggle the unsuspecting player’s mind. Choosing a head piece for example requires the player to decide what’s most important. Some parts offer greater armor defense while others come equipped with built-in radar functions. There are two different types of arms, normal arms and weapon arms. Normal arms allow you to equip a weapon in the right hand and a beam sword in the left. While weapon arms are weapons themselves and can not be equipped with more weapons. Boosters also play an important role as some missions will require a certain level of competence with flight. Stronger boosters means extended flight time and also increases the likelihood of evading enemy attacks. There are four types of leg parts to choose from, standard humanoid, reverse joint, four legged, and caterpillar. The standard humanoid legs can run and strafe at average speeds and generally hold adequate weight. Reverse joint legs have the ability to jump higher but this is countered with lower armor and low carrying capacity. The four legged parts allow your AC to cruise through missions but feature both low armor, stability, and can only bear light loads. The caterpillar legs are basically tank treads. These hold obscene amounts of weight and provide heavy armor. Of course this comes at a price, caterpillars are slow and their flight capability is terrible. The weapon selection is vast and will give players plenty of options to experiment. The right arm can hold various types of weapons such as rifles, pistols, flamethrowers, and machine guns. Each weapon has a set limit of ammo and a damage rating forcing the player to decide what will be the most beneficial in the coming mission. Weapons are further divided into energy and shell, each AC has a set armor rating against each class and knowing what the opponent is will determine which is most effective. Shell weapons are typically weaker but contain more ammo, however, energy weapons have free ammo and drains your energy bar. Your left arm is strictly reserved for beam swords. These are used for close combat and do much more damage when compared to a standard weapon. Players can also equip weapons on their AC’s shoulders. These range from missile launchers to excessively powerful guns and radars. Missile launchers can fire multiple times with one lock and are a good bet for long range. Rocket launchers do ungodly amounts of damage but have no lock-on mechanism. Wise gamers will also take care to equip a radar so that they won’t blindly wander into enemy traps. Finally, there are large missile launchers that require both shoulders, are extremely heavy, and deal exceptional damage. Entering the garage also provides another area of customization- the color. While one can easily choose one of many set patters, the real fun comes in making your own. Each of the main AC parts can be edited with a custom color of your choice. There are also four different areas to customize making for interesting combinations. Also you can create an emblem for your AC. On the AC’s left shoulder is a little emblem, his flag if you will. You can make this look like whatever you want, good emblems take time, but your generally rewarded with an appealing symbol to feel proud of. The graphics are rather dark and somewhat dull, however, they convey the perfect mood for this game. The music is a very light techno that is often blocked out due to the large sound your AC will make when walking around. The voice acting in the game consists of the emotionless voice that speaks to you at the beginning and end of the mission. It suits the game rather well. Armored Core is a heavily customizable mission-based action/adventure game that can be enjoyed by nearly any fan of gaming in general. Armored Core stands apart from other games in the genre with its seemingly magical ability to immerse you in its world.


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