PDA

View Full Version : My personal ratings


Pages : [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7

Icarus4578
01-14-2003, 08:53 PM
Here is an index of every review I've done in this section. I've included where to find reviews by other members in my section for fast and easy convenience. At the bottom is a listing of every special I've done, including system analysis and review. I'll keep this page updated.

Arcade
Dangun Feveron (Japan) - Page #87 - Rating 8
Daytona USA - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=38713#post38713)
Final Fight - Page #105 - Rating 5
Magic Sword - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=57098#post57098)
Marble Madness - Rating 6 (First Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=38884#post38884)
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - Rating 2 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=65718#post65718)
Mortal Kombat - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=55296#post55296)
OutRunners - Page #91 - Rating 10 :cool:
Pnickies - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=115330#post115330)
Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon (Japan) - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=57988#post57988)
Space Harrier - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31261#post31261)
Spinal Breakers - Page #95 - Rating 2
Street Fighter II - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=46111#post46111)
Strider - Page #106 - Rating 9
Three Wonders - Rating 6/7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=60736#post60736)
---Game#1 Midnight Wanderers ~ Quest for the Chariot - Rating 8
---Game#2 Chariot ~ Adventure Through the Sky - Rating 4
---Game#3 Don't Pull - Rating ?
TMNT ~ The Arcade Game - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=54751#post54751)
---Re-reviewed on Page #70 - Rating 8
Tokimeki Memorial Taisen (Puzzle Drama) (Japan) - Page #101 - Rating 7
X-Men ~ The Arcade Game - Page #89 - Rating 7

Commodore64/128
Ultima V ~ Warriors of Destiny - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=38952#post38952)

ColecoVision
Mr. Do! - Rating 4 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=99753#post99753)

Dreamcast
Fatal Fury ~ Mark of the Wolves - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=34755#post34755)
Ikaruga (import) - Page #67 - Rating 6
Shenmue - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=68978#post68978)
Skies of Arcadia - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=105625#post105625)
Soul Calibur - Rating 10 :cool: (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32768#post32768)
Street Fighter III ~ Third Strike - Rating 8 (Sixth Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30493#post30493)
Yu Suzuki Game Works Vol.1 - Page #67 - Rating 8
---Hang-On - Rating 3
---Space Harrier - Rating 8
---OutRun - Rating 8
---After Burner II - Rating 5
---Power Drift - Rating 0

GameBoy
The Legend of Zelda ~ Link's Awakening - Rating 10 :cool: (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=62485#post62485)

GameBoy Advance
Astro Boy ~ Omega Factor - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=143432#post143432)
Castlevania ~ (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=52528#post52528)
---Aria of Sorrow - Rating 8
---Circle of the Moon - Rating 7
---Harmony of Dissonance - Rating 7
Gunstar Super Heroes - Page #96 - Rating 7
Mario & Luigi ~ Superstar Saga - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=92211#post92211)
Metroid ~ Fusion - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=66540#post66540)
Metroid ~ Zero Mission - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=94542#post94542)
The Legend of Zelda ~ Four Swords - Rating 10 :cool: (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31144#post31144)
The Legend of Zelda ~ The Minish Cap - Page #77 - Rating 8

GameCube
Animal Crossing - Rating 0 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=84422#post84422)
Mario Golf ~ Toadstool Tour - Rating 2 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=66433#post66433)
Mega Man Anniversary Collection - Page #49 - Rating 6
Metroid Prime - Rating 7 (Second Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30493#post30493)
Metroid Prime 2 ~ Echoes - Rating 4 - Page #65
Paper Mario ~ The Thousand-Year Door - Page #62 - Rating 7
Resident Evil 0 - Rating 6 (First Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30493#post30493)
Resident Evil 4 - Page #73 - Rating 9
Soul Calibur 2 - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=67495#post67495)
Super Mario Sunshine - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30988#post30988)
Tales of Symphonia - Page #56 - Rating 6
The Legend of Zelda ~ The Wind Waker - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=42704#post42704)
The Simpsons ~ Hit & Run - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=79680#post79680)
Ultimate Muscle ~ Legends vs New Generation - Rating 3 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=63227#post63227)

Genesis
Alisia Dragoon - Page #50 - Rating 6
Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse - Page #48 - Rating 4
Castlevania Bloodlines - Page #82 - Rating 9
Double Dragon II - Rating 3 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31005#post31005)
Forgotten Worlds - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31762#post31762)
--Re-review on Page #104 - Rating 8
Gaiares - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31057#post31057)
Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30868#post30868)
Golden Axe - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=64925#post64925)
Gunstar Heroes - Page #47 - Rating 9
Haunting starring Polterguy - Page #60 - Rating 7
Landstalker - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=60721#post60721)
Last Battle - Rating 3 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=33841#post33841)
Light Crusader - Page #90 - Rating 8
Lightening Force ~ Quest for the Darkstar - Page #59 - Rating 9
Mortal Kombat - Rating 4 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=55296#post55296)
NFL Sportstalk Football '94 starring Joe Montana - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=105627#post105627)
Phantasy Star 2 - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30753#post30753)
Revenge of Shinobi - Rating 3 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=80249#post80249)
Rocket Knight Adventures - Page #69 - Rating 4
Shadow Dancer ~ Legend of Shinobi - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=34164#post34164)
Shining in the Darkness - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=78457#post78457)
Sonic the Hedgehog - Page #51 - Rating 8
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=38274#post38274)
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 - Page #51 - Rating 7
Sonic & Knuckles - Page #51 - Rating 7
Space Harrier II - Page #88 - Rating 7
Splatterhouse 2 - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30899#post30899)
Streets of Rage 2 - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=33959#post33959)
Strider - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32658#post32658)
--Rereview on Page #106 - Rating 9
Valis ~ The Fantasm Soldier - Rating 4 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=39270#post39270)
Valis III - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=33867#post33867)

Mega CD
Annette Again - Rating 4 (Review by Joe Redifer) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=93294#post93294)

Mega Drive
Divine Sealing - Rating 0 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=44734#post44734)
Monster World IV - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30943#post30943)
Rock Man ~ Mega World/Mega Man ~ The Wily Wars - Page #49 - Rating 8
Surging Aura - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=48478#post48478)

N64
Super Mario 64 - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=64589#post64589)
The Legend of Zelda ~ Ocarina of Time - Rating 10 :cool: (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=85730#post85730)
WWF No Mercy - Page #91 - Rating 9

Icarus4578
01-15-2003, 12:12 AM
Neo Geo
Art of Fighting 2 - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=40184#post40184)
Crossed Swords - Page #68 - Rating 6
Fatal Fury Special - Page #52 - Rating 7
King of Fighters 2000 - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=34756#post34756)
Magician Lord - Rating 7 (Fifth Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30493#post30493)
Samurai Shodown II - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=85173#post85173)

Neo Geo Pocket
King of Fighters R2 - Rating 4 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=119961#post119961)
The Match of the Millenium ~ SNK vs Capcom - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=107492#post107492)

Nintendo DS
Castlevania ~ Dawn of Sorrow - Page #99 - Rating 8
Trauma Center ~ Under The Knife - Page #100 - Rating 8

Nintendo Entertainment System
Athena - Rating 3 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=33104#post33104)
Bad Street Brawler - Rating 0 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30876#post30876)
Bionic Commando - Page #56 - Rating 7
Blades of Steel - Page #86 - Rating 6
Castlevania - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=35947#post35947)
Contra - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=86816#post86816)
Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde - Page #60 - Rating 2
Duck Tales - Page #54 - Rating 5
Faxanadu - Page #47 - Rating 6
Friday the 13th - Page #60 - Rating 1
Guardian Legend (A.K.A. Guardic Legend) - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=39457#post39457)
Hydlide - Page #47 - Rating 0
Kid Icarus - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32250#post32250)
Kid Niki - Page #44 - Rating 1
Kung Fu - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30624#post30624)
Legend of Kage - Rating 3 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=40361#post40361)
Little Nemo ~ The Dream Master - Page #55 - Rating 5
Marble Madness - Rating 6 (First Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=38884#post38884)
Mega Man - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=64479#post64479)
Mendel Palace - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=37335#post37335)
Metroid - Rating 9 (Second Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=38884#post38884)
(Mike Tyson's) Punch Out! - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32114#post32114)
Milon's Secret Castle - Page #90 - Rating 3
Ninja Gaiden - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=48589#post48589)
River City Ransom - Rating 10 :cool: (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=67772#post67772)
Rush'n Attack - Rating 2 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=92896#post92896)
Rygar - Page #85 - Rating 6
Slalom - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=45513#post45513)
Solomon's Key - Page #85 - Rating 6
Super Dodge Ball - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=71907#post71907)
TMNT ~ The Arcade Game - Rating 4 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=54751#post54751)
---Re-reviewed on Page #70 - Rating 7
Zelda II ~ The Adventure of Link - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=81091#post81091)

PC98
Kaien - Page #107 - Rating 6

PC Engine
Digital Champ - Rating 3 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=77950#post77950)
Heavy Unit - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=108462#post108462)
Parodius-Da! - Page #69 - Rating 9

PC Engine CD(SCD)
Dracula X ~ Rondo of Blood - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=57976#post57976)
Valis III - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=33867#post33867)

PlayStation
Alundra - Rating 10 :cool: (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=34740#post34740)
Brave Fencer Musashi - Page #63 - Rating 3
Breath of Fire IV - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=37813#post37813)
Castlevania ~ Symphony of the Night - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=51089#post51089)
Dragon Warrior VII - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=61223#post61223)
Final Fantasy VII - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=46423#post46423)
Genso Suikoden - Page #86 - Rating 9
Irem Arcade Classics (import) - Rating 3 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=43239#post43239)
Jumping Flash! 2 ~ Big Trouble in Little Moo/Two Faces of Baron Aloha - Rating 4 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=119845#post119845)
Klonoa ~ Door to Phantomile - Page #52 - Rating 8
Lunar ~ Silver Star Story Complete - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32533#post32533)
Lunar 2 ~ Eternal Blue Complete - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32533#post32533)
Mega Man 8 - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31339#post31339)
Mega Man X4 - Page #44 - Rating 7 (Review by Freeman)
Persona ~ Revelations - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=89874#post89874)
Persona 2 ~ Eternal Punishment - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32921#post32921)
Rage Racer - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32205#post32205)
Raycrisis: Series Extermination - Page #68 - Rating 4
Ridge Racer Type 4 - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32205#post32205)
RPG Maker - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=49432#post49432)
Soul Blade - Rating 4 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=77610#post77610)
Strider 2 - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=95599#post95599)
Tales of Destiny II - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=135449#post135449)
Tokimeki Memorial ~ Forever With You (import) - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=40531#post40531)
WILD ARMS - Page #50 - Rating 6

Playstation 2
Castlevania ~ Lament of Innocence - Rating 4 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=76405#post76405)
Contra ~ Shattered Soldier - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=33278#post33278)
Devil May Cry - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31202#post31202)
Dragon Quest VIII ~ Journey of the Cursed King - Page #99 - Rating 7
Final Fantasy X - Rating 0 (First Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30541#post30541)
Final Fantasy X-2 - Rating 0 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=88965#post88965)
God of War - Page #83 - Rating 7
Gradius V - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=139654#post139654)
Grand Theft Auto 3 - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=71472#post71472)
Guilty Gear X2 - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=43790#post43790)
Katamari Damacy - Page #70 - Rating 8
Kingdom Hearts - Rating 3 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=45517#post45517)
King of Fighters ~ Maximum Impact - Page #58 - Rating 5
Klonoa 2 ~ Lunatea's Veil - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=59149#post59149)
Mega Man Anniversary Collection - Rating #49 - Rating 6
Mushihimesama (import) - Page #104 - Rating 8
Onimusha 3 ~ Demon Siege - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=109744#post109744)
Rygar ~ The Legendary Adventure - Rating 4 (Fourth Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30493#post30493)
SNK vs Capcom Chaos (import) - Rating 5 (Review by Freeman) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=110817#post110817)
Shadow of the Colossus - Page #99 - Rating 4
Soul Calibur 2 - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=67495#post67495)
Tekken 5 - Page #76 - Rating 6
Virtua Fighter 4 - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=39554#post39554)
We Love Katamari - Page #95 - Rating 7
Xenosaga ~ Der Wille zur Macht - Rating 1 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=44583#post44583)
Ys VI ~ The Ark of Napishtim - Page #75 - Rating 9

Sega 32X
Knuckles Chaotix - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=53795#post53795)
V.R. ~ Virtua Racing Deluxe (First Review) - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=114710#post114710)

Sega CD
Final Fight CD - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=36929#post36929)
Lunar ~ The Silver Star - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32533#post32533)
Lunar 2 ~ Eternal Blue - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32533#post32533)
Silpheed - Rating 3 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=57870#post57870)
Vay - Page #82 - Rating 5

Sega Master System
Ghost House - Rating 0 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=110800#post110800)
Heavyweight Champ, A.K.A. James "Buster" Douglas Boxing - Page #88 - Rating 2

Sega Saturn
Astal - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=34734#post34734)
Capcom Generations Vol.2 (import) - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=94021#post94021)
---Ghosts 'N Goblins - Rating 1
---Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Rating 6
---Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Rating 7
Cotton 2 ~ Magical Night Dreams (import) - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=73039#post73039)
Darius Gaiden - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=35037#post35037)
Dragon Force - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=96381#post96381)
Dungeons & Dragons Collection (import) - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=41575#post41575)
Galactic Attack - Page #68 - Rating 8
Irem Arcade Classics (import) - Rating 3 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=43239#post43239)
Keio Yugekitai ~ Katsugekihen (import) - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=35626#post35626)
Legend of Oasis - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=78910#post78910)
Lunacy - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=82001#post82001)
Lunar ~ Silver Star Story (import) - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32533#post32533)
Lunar 2 ~ Eternal Blue (import) - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32533#post32533)
Mega Man 8 - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31339#post31339)
Mega Man X4 - Page #75 - Rating 7
NiGHTS ~ Into Dreams... - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=33490#post33490)
---Re-reviewed on page #77 with Christmas NiGHTS - Rating 9/10
Nightwarriors - Page #79 - Rating 9
Sega Rally Championship - Page #51 - Rating 7
Shining the Holy Ark - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=97539#poststop)
Sonic Jam - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=126177#post126177)
---Sonic the Hedgehog - Rating 8
---Sonic 2 - Rating 7
---Sonic 3 - Rating 7
---Knuckles & Chaotix - Rating 7
Street Fighter Alpha 2 - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=55763#post55763)
Tokimeki Memorial ~ Forever With You (import) - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=40531#post40531)
Vampire Savior ~ The Lord of Vampire (import) - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=93404#post93404)

Icarus4578
01-15-2003, 03:11 PM
Super Nintendo
Actraiser - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=53130#post53130)
Arcana - Rating 7 (Second Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=34235#post34235)
Axelay - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31049#post31049)
Batman Returns - Page #61 - Rating 8
Breath of Fire - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=36088#post36088)
Chrono Trigger - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30904#post30904)
Contra III ~ The Alien Wars - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=40705#post40705)
Demon's Crest - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=105615#post105615)
E.V.O. Search for Eden - Page #91 - Rating 5
Final Fantasy II (IV) - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31391#post31391)
Final Fantasy III (VI) - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=36304#post36304)
Gradius III - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=40853#post40853)
HyperZone - Rating 6 (First Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=34235#post34235)
Illusion of Gaia - Page #71 - Rating 4
Legend of the Mystical Ninja - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=107021#post107021)
Magic Sword - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=57098#post57098)
Mario Paint - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=72588#post72588)
Mortal Kombat - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=55296#post55296)
Pilotwings - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=54452#post54452)
Rock N' Roll Racing - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=59287#post59287)
Secret of Mana - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=58847#post58847)
Starfox - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=33544#post33544)
Sunset Riders (Second Review) - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=114710#post114710)
Super Castlevania IV - Rating 10 (Second Review) :cool: (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30541#post30541)
Super Chase HQ - Rating 4 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=59787#post59787)
Super Mario Kart - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=38702#post38702)
Super Mario World 2 ~ Yoshi's Island - Rating 10 :cool: (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31868#post31868)
Super Metroid - Rating 10 :cool: (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=74165#post74165)
Super Punch Out! - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32114#post32114)
--Re-review on Page #111 - Rating 9
Tecmo Super NBA Basketball - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=105611#post105611)
Terranigma - Rating 9 (Review by Magnus) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=98378#post98378)
The Legend of Zelda ~ A Link To The Past - Rating 10 :cool: (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31144#post31144)
TMNT ~ Turtles in Time - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=63815#post63815)
Ys III ~ Wanderers from Ys - Rating 4 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=90584#post90584)

Super Famicom
Tales of Phantasia - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=76825#post76825)

TurboGrafx16/PC Engine
Alien Crush - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=33148#post33148)
Blazing Lazers - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=90058#post90058)
Bomberman - Rating 7 (Second Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=68558#post68558)
Cratermaze - Page #60 - Rating 5
Devil's Crush - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=33148#post33148)
Dungeon Explorer - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31333#post31333)
Keith Courage in Alpha Zones - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=45910#post45910)
King of Casino - Rating 6 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=57829#post57829)
Legendary Axe - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=34403#post34403)
Re-reviewed on Page #106 - Rating 7
Neutopia - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=39699#post39699)
Parasol Stars ~ The Story of Bubble Bobble III - Page #68 - Rating 7
Vigilante - Rating 4 (Third Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=68558#post68558)
World Court Tennis - Rating 6 (First Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=68558#post68558)

TurboDuo(TurboGrafx16 CD)
Dungeon Explorer II - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=73785#post73785)
Forgotten Worlds - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31762#post31762)
Fighting Street - Rating 1 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31784#post31784)
The Legend of Heroes ~ Dragon Slayer - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=69849#post69849)
Lords of Thunder - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30666#post30666)
Ys Book I & II - Rating 9 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=85179#post85179)
Ys III ~ Wanderers from Ys - Rating 4 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=90584#post90584)

X-Box
Castlevania ~ Curse of Darkness - Page #97 - Rating 4
Dead or Alive 3 - Rating 6 (Third Review) (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=30493#post30493)
Dead or Alive Ultimate - Page #61 - Rating 5
Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball - Rating 4 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31596#post31596)
Fable - Rating 3 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=144478#post144478)
Grand Theft Auto ~ Vice City - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=81721#post81721)
Halo - Rating 1 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32747#post32747)
Halo 2 - Page #63 - Rating 5
Max Payne 2 ~ The Fall of Max Payne - Rating 5 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=82558#post82558)
Metal Slug 3 - Page #47 - Rating 8
Ninja Gaiden - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=99319#post99319)
Ninja Gaiden Black - Page #96 - Rating 7
Panzer Dragoon Orta - Rating 4 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=31269#post31269)
Psyvariar 2: Extend Edition (import) - Page #92 - Rating 6
RalliSport Challenge 2 - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=111306#post111306)
Return to Castle Wolfenstein - Rating 2 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=51793#post51793)
Soul Calibur 2 - Rating 8 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=67495#post67495)
Street Fighter Anniversary Collection - Page #93 - Rating 9
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 - Rating 7 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=75703#post75703)
X-Box Music Mixer - Page #53 - Rating 4

---------------------
Special Features
Are game developers as good as they used to be, or have most of them lost their magic touch? (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=94770#post94770)
Game Concepts & Structures That Work - an Analysis (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=78185#post78185)
Icarus Editorial #1 ~ Ignorant editors who shouldn't make baseless comments (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=144710#post144710)
Editorial #2 ~ Are you getting your money's worth? - Page #64
Editorial #3 ~ Japanese software development on a downhill trend? - Page #64
Editorial #4 ~ Lies, spreading misinformation and uninformed comments - Page #66
Editorial #5 ~ What's next for gaming? - Page #69
Editorial #6 ~ New year, same bull - Page #71
Editorial #7 ~ My little essay on Sega - Page #72
Editorial #8 ~ That New Feeling ~ Games which transcend time - Page #80
Editorial #9 ~ E3 2005 + Next-Generation Hardware = Fancy CG demos, wireless internet/connectivity and rehashes aplenty. Is it really the "next generation?" - Page #88
Editorial #10 ~ A distortion in time/A return to form - Page #92
Editorial #11 ~ Rip-offs - Page #103
Icarus Special ~ Magic Moments in Gaming - Page #108
My brother's point of view on my point of view - Page #81
Silence of the Sequels ~ Games that have been forgotten through time (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=109204#post109204)
System Analysis & Review ~ Sega Saturn (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=66901#post66901)
System Analysis & Review ~ Sony PlayStation (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=65462#post65462)
System Analysis & Review ~ Super Famicom/SNES (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=87495#post87495)
The General Mechanics of Game Structure and Concepts - Improving Game Designs (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=89903#post89903)
The Icarus Awards for Excellence for the Year 2003 (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=86215#post86215)
The Icarus Awards for Excellence for the Year 2004 - Page #70
The Top 50 Game Soundtracks Of All Time - Page #102
Transcribed song from Seiken Densetsu 3, 'Innocent Sea', for Guitar (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=82139#post82139)
Venting My Frustrations ~ Widespread stupidity is the norm of the day - Page #47

Icarus4578
01-15-2003, 07:15 PM
This is the beginning of my personal ratings section. Each review details my opinions about various aspects of each game title. Preceding each review is a Rating: 0 being the lowest - 10 being the epitimy of quality.

Resident Evil 0 - GameCube - Rating 6
Capcom is probably the most notable third-party developer that develops for Nintendo GC. Whereas many other big name companies are content developing most of their big stuff for other platforms like the PS2 (or even GBA for a quick buck) Capcom has not backed down from supporting Nintendo in the truest sense by developing where it counts most.... on the GC.
Much to my surprise, they added something different for a change to Resident Evil - the ability to switch between two seperate characters on the fly. An interesting addition that is utilized in all too familiar aspects to other games with similar attribute: one character has to stand on a switch to unlock a door while the other makes entry, etc. While this idea is healthy to the RE series, it doesn't make for a drastic enough change in the game mechanics overall. But once you understand it, it works well, to Capcom's credit. The absence of inventory boxes is the most noticeable change. Enemies and bosses are fun to do battle with, though you won't find much difference between this and its predecessors. The graphics are excellent due in no small part to the fact that the only things being rendered are the characters and enemies. All of the backgrounds are stills. Resident Evil 4 is all in-game graphics though and looks fantastic. This verifies what many people already knew -- that the GameCube has remarkable technical capabilities.
The music in this and other RE titles is all very similar to one another. I've always liked the ambient settling calm of the rest area songs. This soundtrack does everything right but lacks any significant memorable tracks. That's ok -- I've never played RE games looking for some incredible music I can listen to. The voices and sound effects are as good as anywhere else.
The third-best experience I've had in the series (behind RE 1 and 2). My first time through was in 4 hours and 24 minues. I beat the sidequest where you collect those slugs with 100% and this opens up infinite ammo on every weapon you get in your next outing, though there's more that can be opened.

Metroid Prime - GameCube - Rating 7
I can't believe it. An American company (Retro Studios) brings a classic Japanese game series, by Nintendo no less, into the 3D realm and does so gracefully. What is going on here!? If you ask me, this is what we need more of: companies that adhere to a higher level of quality. This type of developer is few and far-between, but Nintendo sure knows how to pick 'em out of the pack.
A supremely rewarding adventure that kept me glued from beginning to end. Truly a step in the right direction as far as FPS goes because it does so many things right and doesn't emphasize mindless killing (a-la Doom series and Halo).
Instead, Prime emphasizes what Metroid is best known for: exploration.
All of the weaponry and power-ups that make Samus Aran so uniqe are back and then some, including new types of visors such as x-ray visor which allows you to see through certain things, and the thermal visor which allows you to see how hot/cold things are. It's very useful; if an enemy is hiding, you can see the heat its body is giving off and suprise attack it. Now that's impressive. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well all of my favorite old techniques were executed in a 3D environment, and done from a first-person perspective no less. Only when Samus uses the Morph Ball does it take a third-person perspective, as expected.
The graphics are simply incredible and the detail is astounding on everything, though some of the texture maps could've used a little more work. Most of the enemies from previous incarnations return and there's also some cool-looking new 'faces' as well. And the bosses are impressive and immersive encounters, though I found some of them to be a tad easy.
The music takes a backseat to previous installments in that it's more atmospheric and doesn't have any song in particular that stands out. Actually, what you'll be paying attention to more is the sound effects, which are superb.
This is certainly among the best games ever made by an American company (albeit with much of Nintendo of Japan's support). Definitely worth the trek. I found 98% my first time through. A great game through and through. However, Metroid for NES and SNES still stand above it, undeniably.

Dead or Alive 3 - X-Box - Rating 6
The one thing that kept me coming back to the original Dead or Alive on PS (also SS import) was the massive amount of hidden costumes which could be opened. You'd take a character and run through the game in Arcade Mode and this opened up another costume for whoever you were playing as. While the guys can only get around 5 costumes each, the girls could get 14 each! Then, in DoA2 Tecmo reduced the total amount of costumes for all the girls and guys. And now with DoA3 Tecmo reduced it even further. However, there's a booster disc which adds new costumes for each character.
The fighting in DoA games has steered away from its originally VF-ish pedigree gameplay structure which figures since it was originally built on Sega's Model-2 arcade board, and it was also rumored that Tecmo got to mess around with the VF2 game engine. Therefore, Tecmo wanted to establish its own series; they didn't want to draw up constant comparisons with Sega's flagship fighter. An identity all their own.
I think it's safe to say they found it, though, aside from a few subtle touches here and there, there isn't a drastic difference between DoA3 and some of the other 3D fighters. You still chain attacks together similarly to other fighters, and you use a guard button. The ability to pull off reversals is perhaps the one thing that seperates DoA games moreso than anything else. Ironically, the one feature that does make it stand out the most is also its Achille's heel: using reversals is considered too cheap, too easy to perform. Matches can become nothing much more than reversal contests -- or, who can get more lucky. The other obvious thing that sets DoA titles apart from others is in how it liberally uses the image of female adolescence with rather obvious sexual overtones. Fortunately for Tecmo, I judge games based on an often-overlooked aspect of many games. It's called gameplay and funfactor. Indeed, DoA3 is very fun to play, despite the fact that even an intermediate gamer can master any of the characters.
I've rarely enjoyed listening to any of the music in DoA games, and this one is no exception. Right off the bat I was smacked with an opening song performed by none other than Aerosmith--Wham!--and I knew right from the start not to expect anything here worth taking notice of. It is, admittedly, just fine for while you're fighting, which is good enough I suppose. Sound effects are all well done - every whack, kick, and body slam has a fitting accompanying sound effect, and the voices are also well done. The story mode, well.... you'll have to do some research elsewhere in order to understand any of it. One thing Tecmo doesn't seem to know how to do is write.

Really.... is it that hard Tecmo? Didn't anybody in your offices learn proper writing skills in school or elsewhere? :???:

Immensely fun to play and always great to go back to, this DoA is the best one yet, aside from in the extras department, but according to Itagaki he wants to put the game engine in the forefront. That's fine with me. This was, along with Halo, one of the primary reasons why people originally purchased an X-Box.
Although the game plays like a dream it's also, sadly, a button-masher. No 3D game, save for perhaps Soul Calibur and VF, has had a level of mastery as rewarding as the 2D fighters (particularly Street Fighter). However, DoA is the best-looking 3D fighter available (still) and literally decimates Tekken 4's supposed 3D stages. No matter what you might accuse it of (being just about girls, graphics, button-mashing) it's a very fun game. Flawed, but fun.

Rygar ~ The Legendary Adventure - PS2 - Rating 4
The NES is the original starting point for many of gaming's most illustrious series: Contra, Gradius, Mega Man, Metroid, Final Fantasy, etc. Some titles which were very popular back then never saw a sequel, which is a crime. We'd dream about whipping out brand-spanking new installments to games such as Karnov, Ninja Gaiden, and Adventures of Lolo on the SNES. Unfortunately, this was not to be. (I'm still waiting for another Milon's Secret Castle. ;)) Fortunately, we've seen many attempts to revive some of the most cherished titles. And although there have been few successful attempts (Ninja Gaiden on X-Box comes to mind), there have also been some pretty disappointing attempts as well. Enter Rygar ~ The Legendary Adventure for PS2....
"At long last! The return of Rygar!" At least, that's what I was thinking at first. Where should I start? It's an interesting, unique game in many ways and certainly is taking the right direction. So where does it go wrong? For one thing, although the addition of combos is a good idea Tecmo felt it best to emphasize this element to the point of approaching mundaneness. Not only that, there must be a maximum of 7 or 8 different enemy types, give or take a few color-swaps, throughout the entire game (which isn't long at all). The bosses are a treat in not only the PS2's graphical capabilities but in their design as well. They're also menacingly challenging at first until you get their patterns down. The locales are superb and even have a certain elegance to much of them, particularly the water stage. The music fits the game very well although it isn't the kind of thing I'd listen to for enjoyment (Soul Edge's soundtrack is a great example of how this game's music probably should've been). But, good looks or not, the game suffers from being too repetitious. It would've been better if it were twice as long and had about three times as many enemies. As it is, this is a rather weak effort.

Here is a classic
Magician Lord - Neo Geo - Rating 7
One of my fondest arcade memories is of the first few times I played Magician Lord on the Neo Geo cabinets. As any avid arcade-goer knows, Neo Geo arcade sets usually featured multiple games which you could select from, and each game only costed one quarter to play. I didn't simply remember Magician Lord for its supreme greatness but also for its insane difficulty setting (even harder than at home due to less health!).
Truly classic, this game stands the test of time. 48-MEGS of pure action heaven. The sheer difficulty may turn some gamers off. However, you shouldn't find this to be a problem after awhile. Well, that is until the game realizes how good you're doing and then intentionally makes these floating orb-eye things start coming after you later on to KILL you (should you do so well throughout the first 4 stages or so). :irked: Awesome settings, unique enemy design (though there's not a tremendous amount of different types, there's just enough); the bosses and level-designs are what really make this game stand out. You can get this game down to an art form and beat it within about an hour with only 2 continues used (there's infinite, just so you know). What made Magician Lord so different back then were the 6 different transformations you could do. If you weren't really good, though, they wouldn't last long. I must say that it sure doesn't repeat a lot of sprites in the backgrounds, which is especially impressive since this is an older game -- almost everything is unique. The music, particularly the first, second and 5th stage (the one with all the frogs) stand out, even if it's just because they sound so different from other games.
Overall, it's a great game to own and definitely challenging. Its only major flaw is after you've beaten it a few times it gets a little old. However, after a few months you can always go back to it and have a good time. The last boss is a disappointment though. (FYI, you can buy it on eBay for often a slim amount of money, say $30-40 usually.)

Here's some great shots from Magician Lord ~ http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?letter=M&game_id=8509

cartman414
01-15-2003, 07:47 PM
Castlevania IV was great, and boasted superb control, but it indeed was too easy, which crippled the experience, since a game of its pacing (which is shared by the non Metroid-flavored games of the series) demands a modicum of challenge to compensate for said pacing, which isn't exactly SMB-esque. As for the music, well-composed as it was, not only did I feel that the instruments were kind of ill-chosen, mostly lacked the intensity and overall feel of that in the other installments. While I dug the rotating room levels, CV4 seemed more like CV1 with a few added gimmicks, namely the multi-directional whip, which, along with the reduced playing field, was what stripped the game of any difficulty. I was a bigger fan of the multiple characters and branching levels/paths seen in CV3 and PCE Drac X, which added greatly to the playability, which was consequently lacking for me in CV4, given that about 11 levels are overkill for a linear entry in the series.

My rating for the game: 8.0

Icarus4578
01-16-2003, 12:10 PM
Magic

Street Fighter 3 ~ Third Strike - Dreamcast - 8
Not since Street Fighter Alpha 2 have I been so immersed into a SF title as this. Everything tried and true from past incarnations is in one way or another represented in this work. God, why does Capcom have to rule so much?
The fighting system has been given a slight overhaul from the other SF3 titles, and there's no more zooming in and out of the screen. As usual, Capcom has done a fine job of creating a polished, well-balanced fighter that is worthy of the SF name. The graphics are tremendously well done for any 2D game, although Guilty Gear titles have clearer characters due to higher resolution. The music and sound work together well too, though you may think the songs in SF2 were more memorable. There are some very memorable pieces here, and just in case you're wondering, yes, this follows the typically classic Capcom forumla of endearing songwriting and composing, if a bit too cliche in parts.
If you are as fortunate as I am you've opened up all 9 pages in System Direction, allowing you to customize the game to fit your every need. All in all, a wonderful fighting game that rewards skill by allowing more experienced players to slam down the less experienced. The only issues are that Q can do way too much damage and absorb so much that it's almost absurd, and, although Akuma can't take as much punishment as somebody like Alex, he can finish virtually anybody in just 2 good combos + a special move or so, making him a powerhouse. Oh, and Gill is the epitomy of cheapness as usual. Plus, some characters now share backgrounds, which is a downgrade from other SF titles. Still, you're getting your money's worth with SF3 ~ Third Strike.

Hey Capcom, what's taking you so long counting to four!?


What can I say?

Final Fantasy X - PS2 - Rating 0
All I can say is what a letdown! Square almost completely disregarded much of what made the series so special to begin with by abandoning the freedom of exploration and all of its merits, and indulging into crappy dialogues, boring plot (attempts), and lack of individuality between characters. You can basically customize them all to play exactly the same, thus defeating all necessity for any one particular character aside from only one, Yuna, because she can summon a full army of 12 or something summons (give me a break) and that's about as close as you're going to get to individuality.
There are many other problems too. Tidus, Wakka and Riku walk around in futuristic-wannabe hip teen clothing which comes off as repulsive in every way, and there's the fact that Auron is a blatant rip-off of a certain character from another game (I'll let you figure it out). Oh, and Tidus is basically a Disney-esque stupid version of Cloud who isn't anything worth note himself. Kimahri Ronso is Chewbaka from Star Wars after he has shaved, pulled an MJ and colored himself blue, uses a spear and now he can talk (though he doesn't talk much anyway, which might actually be a good thing). To Square's credit, Lulu is unique in her own way and Yuna isn't dressed like utter crap (that is until her starring role in FFX-2; another attempt to cash in).
The game plays like any other Final Fantasy, only now you can, throughout most of the game, keep changing characters mid-battle. Whooptie-do! Plus, after battle you'll go to the *new* sphere grid, a good concept gone awry because now every character can be customized to be virtually the same. Whatever happened to 'individuality'? The game plays like any other FF title minus the free roaming overworld, the cool sidequests of yesterday and now the gamer doesn't need to make any decisions since the entire game is linear and the game basically tells you what to do (a one-track mind). This is Final Fantasy, dumbed down. And, hence, so is the gamer. So much for inciting people to actually THINK about things, stimulate a more inquisitive nature in the gamer and to do and make decisions carefully. How sad... Final Fantasy for the mass market. This is the result of Final Fantasy 7's success. It made Square in general decide to become mass-market and abandon any complicating matters so that they wouldn't discourage the average gamer from getting into an RPG.

The strange thing is Final Fantasy VII is such a great RPG, so why deteriorate?

I must mention the music. What has happened? Seriously. Nobuo Uematsu has gone bad ever since part 7 and it shows. If you combined all the good songs from 8 through 10 you'd only have a small handful of memorable songs and all the rest would be horrid MIDI crap, baaad rock/grunge wannabe-sounding stuff, and now we get 'treated' to horrid j-pop. Jeez. Did Nobuo lose interest in good song/melody-construction and arranging and forsake that for trying to be too ambitious or something?

Somebody help me out because I just can't get a clue...

The enemies and bosses are usually well-designed and animated, to Square's credit. However, what a foolish mistake to make a last boss that cannot defeat your party. Speaking of the last boss, what sheer lameness was that! I won't describe it because, after all, this is supposed to be a review and not a spoiler. I will say this much -- the ending made about as much sense as the game: None whatsoever.
Here's what I'll think about whenever I remember playing FFX:
"But dad! I want to play Blitzball!"
"Crybaby! Cry Crybaby!"
"But dad! I want to be a famous Blitzball player!"
"Stupid boy, you'll never be able to play Blitzball because you SUCK."
"But DAD!"
(young hooded child appears in 4 corners of the screen) "It begins... don't cry."
YEAH!!!! What plot!!!! Good thing it wasn't Square who made Soul Calibur 2, otherwise I'd be reading all those posers saying "Cool! Cloud is a playable character!" Hey Square, you wanna abandon quality and pay off people with advertising revenue and other shady deals to give your games high ratings? Don't expect me to keep buying your games if you keep on sucking up to average consumers and abandon what made your previous games so wonderful. Bottom line: Final Fantasy X stole 35 hours of my life and I'll never get them back.
And oh yeah... what about my $50? What about the $100 for part 8 and 9? That's about $150 of my money wasted. I guess that's my fault, somewhat. Square raised my expectations with Final Fantasy VII and then destroyed my faith with these lackluster titles.


Perhaps the best Castlevania ever

Super Castlevania IV - SNES - Rating 10
This has to be the consummate action game. It's over a decade old, it's only 8-MEG (not even half the memory loaded into even the PS2's RAM at any given time!) and yet it's STILL far and away better than every other action game, save for a few which are close. Definitely superior to any 3D action game I've yet played. And I took it all for granted. Back then, who knew? We'd have thought that, given a decade from then, we would've already been blessed with many more superior Castlevania installments. Indeed, we got quite a treat with Castlevania ~ Symphony of the Night. Many feel that is the best in the series. However, in my opinion, even that game has to stand behind the might that is Castlevania IV.
I've played every Castlevania title there ever was, from the NES days to all the GameBoy titles and even the PC Engine Installment (which I own, fortunately), to all the newer ones. And none have done it quite like C4.
Where to start? Let's begin with the gameplay. Everything about the controls shines through in every aspect. From swinging from platform to platform, to fighting against hordes of baddies, the controls never come to falter. Controlling Belmont is simplified and yet has its intricacies which shine through in the layouts of the stages. The only complaint I have is that it's a little too easy.
The graphics, the overall look of the game really works well. Every stage is designed in a unique manner, and the enemies and bosses still are quite interesting to battle. It's apparent that Konami LOVES utilizing special effects --- rotatiing rooms, zooming bosses, transparencies, a 'room' where the walls are circling INTO the screen... all have a certain charm to them and helped make this title stand out at the time. The bosses are standard Konami quality; you know the deal.
The music is so well composed, so well done that even after all this time it astonishes me how to this day no other game soundtrack has been so well composed. Absolutely phenomenal, and not only does it fit the game perfectly, it stands alone as phenomenal music to give a listen to. Baroque, Classical and Romantic influences abound, all of which is extremely well-arranged and composed. I can't believe they fit this in along with the rest of the game, all at a staggeringly small 8-MEGS.
I just don't know where to criticize it. Perhaps it's a bit easy nowadays. Perhaps it's short by today's standards. However... since its time up to this very day no other action game, 2D or 3D, has equalled Castlevania IV. It's absolutely incredible and if you haven't played this game I just don't know what to say.
Games may get better graphics nowadays with these newer, more powerful consoles but great games never diminish. The reason this game gets a 10 is because to this day, aside from a select few (Strider, Contra 3, Gunstar Heroes), there hasn't been a game quite like it, and there hasn't been an action game (including on these new systems) as well done overall as Castlevania IV. It takes its place among the greatest achievements in gaming history.

Here's another review with screenshots from Nintendo Land ~ http://www.nintendoland.com/home2.htm?reviews/snes/castlevania_4.htm


Time for another review! This time for the classic NES

Kung Fu - NES - Rating 6
Back around the time when NES and Sega Master System were released, there was an arcade released in 1984 by Irem that was so awesome to play, yet so damn hard that I couldn't get past the second stage. That game was Kung Fu.
Anyone who knows anything about NES has played Kung Fu. When it was first released for NES, I played it at least as much as Super Mario Brothers. To say that I love this game is an understatement; there hasn't been a game like it since. Sure, there may have been a thousand action/platformers with some martial artist protagonist, but this was (and is still) one of the most fun and challenging to play.
Controls are simple - you progress through the stages by punching and kicking all the bad guys that come rushing out, and almost all of them are Grippers; they try to kill you by what can only be described as some kind of hugging technique. And if you really get unlucky you'll wind up in a massive group-4 hug. Beware. The punching and kicking in this game has never been duplicated as well (far as I can tell) mainly because of how lightning quick all your attacks are, and all are accompanied by an all-too-familiar Bruce Lee-ish "A-TA!!!". There are 5 stages, each presenting its own problems in need of recitfication (particularly stages 2 - 4).
I must mention the bosses. They are a very diverse bunch with the magician at the end of stage 4 being the worst to deal with. All of them have a weakness towards one particular attack in general, and they have their own personal means of dishing out punishment. Where the game gets complicated is once you've beaten it a couple times or so because after you defeat Mr X at the end of Stage 5 you return to stage 1 all over again and this time the enemies are less-shy about running up and attacking you while you're trying to deal with the bosses and this can get frusturating. Add to this the fact that as you get further into it the knive-throwers all become Ted Williams and we've got a problem. I've made it to Dragon #5 (meaning I've beaten it 5 times in a row) and got wasted on, of all stages, the second (because of all those snakes! DAMN YOU ALL!!!).
And who can forget that one song that plays on every level. :)
All in all, this is still a fun game that will give you a hard time later on and challenge you to better your score. If you still own the instruction manual for the game it tells you how to get 5000 points from a normal enemy. But I recommend you focus on staying alive first and foremost.
Oh, and if you own a Turbo-Grafx (PC Engine) get Vigilante which was also made by Irem. That game is about as similar to Kung Fu as I have yet seen, though it's not quite as good.

Icarus4578
01-16-2003, 04:50 PM
I don't want to leave out TurboDuo so...

Lords of Thunder - TurboDuo - Rating 8
When this game first came out the one thing everybody talked about was its metal, almost Yngwie Malmsteen-like guitar-driven soundtrack. And man, THAT moreso than anything else was what made this shooter an experience like no other before.
Hudson Soft is to be praised for their stellar follow-up to Gates of Thunder. This is what shooting games are all about. It plays great, it looks great, it sounds great and it just rocks. I've never seen a shooting game designed quite like this. The controls are effortless and they'd better be since this game takes no prisoners (on the super difficulty setting in particular). Though you can get it down on normal and probably hard without having to continue, I DOUBT you'll do the same on super. No matter what you do (even if you do the trick for 10,000 in money) you're still gonna get whipped. But at least on any difficulty you choose you get the full ending anyhow.
The game starts off by allowing you to select your stage via the world map. From there you will select what armor you want for that particular stage. Pick carefully because some armors are worse in some areas than others (and each one determines what kind of attack you'll do). Then you have to enter the shop where you can buy health, weapon power-ups, shields and continues, and then get into the heat of action.
All great shooters are known for their variety in enemies and bosses. Lords of Thunder has some very cool enemies and some of the best bosses ever for a 2D shooter. And it's not just the enemies that are attacking you. Massive spiked-balls swaying from the ceilings, walls closing in around you, fire swooping up from pools of lava, etc. and all the while enemies are trying their best to bring you down. Sound difficult? It is, but on easy or normal difficulty it shouldn't be that big of a problem since you have an energy meter and you can even buy an extra life so that if you're energy runs out it automatically refills completely. However, you only have one life. If you die you have to use up a continue, and they're sparse. Think Forgotten Worlds and you should have a pretty good idea how this game works.
As I said before, the music is absolutely amazing and will probably make you want to listen to the soundtrack when you're not playing the game. It really fits the game's look and makes tense moments even more tense (put it on super just for the hell of it, start the game, and crank up the volume and tell me that's not an intense gaming experience :crazy: ). T's Music is to be commended for their fine efforts.
Though there probably isn't a harder shooting game than Pulstar or Viewpoint, there aren't much that are quite as fun or as cool as Lords of Thunder. There really isn't anything the game does wrong. It's more fun to play than any 3D shooting game thus far (yes, including PDO and Starfox) and is proof that you can never underestimate 2D gaming. Now, if Hudson did a 3D game similar to this the right way they could probably have the best 3D shooter ever made.
FYI, you can also find LoT on Sega CD, but the colors have been reduced from 512 on-screen at once to 64. But from what I know it still plays the same so you're really not losing much.

Here ya go sonny. A little somethin' for the ol' sweet tooth ~ http://pcenginebible.roarvgm.com/HTML_Games/Winds_of_Thunder.htm

Black Ace
01-16-2003, 08:25 PM
Boy, you're just a rebel aren't you.

98% on your first try? Let me guess, you miss an energy tank? The one in Magmoor Cavern is one tough s.o.b. You've probably used a guide for this game. ;)

Honestly, what kind of things can they add that will make people play each game in the Metroid series over & over. Its a one way journey through Tallon IV in MP, like the rest of the series. Same thing with Zelda, once you beat it, you really don't want to play it over because you be doing the same thing and there are no suprises.

Atleast I'm gonna play Metroid Prime in hard mode.

Icarus4578
01-16-2003, 08:32 PM
Well there's a few things that plaqued Prime. For one, I felt there was way too much emphasis on analyzing every little thing and this is annoying. Another is the different visions you have, while not bad at all, can make things tedious and unintentionally make you get hit by things you didn't know were around because it was so hard to see them. Not only that, with previous installments the music really made things more moody, interesting and unique while with this one the music is just somewhere off in the distance usually, and when it is in the forefront it's nothing impressive. The controls are stellar, as expected and there's a lot to love about Metroid Prime. But the added hard mode after I beat it does nothing for me. I'm not interested in earning the original Metroid since I own the game and certainly don't care either way whether or not I get to wear the suit in Fusion. Sorry, that just doesn't cut it for me.

Nonetheless, it's a fine product well worth the invested time, as I've said. And no, I didn't have a strategy guide. I always, ALWAYS play through a game alone the first time so as not to have it ruined.

Black Ace
01-16-2003, 08:39 PM
The scanning isn't necessary or required, I thought it was unique, as most everything can be scanned. Only a few place required you to scanned to unlock doors and stuff. The visor add a lot of twist to the game, especially after the blackout when you first got it, and all of sudden, you're under attack. The visors are there for exploration, which the series is emphasis for.

Icarus4578
01-16-2003, 08:42 PM
A little too much, if you ask me. Oh and, if you are to get a high percentage by the end, it is essential that you analyze every little thing (like I had to do in order to get 98%). At least it's a unique idea implemented for the first time, far as I know, to the Metroid universe. It could've been utilized far better.

Black Ace
01-16-2003, 08:51 PM
Your percentage is based on how many items you find, not what you scanned, that incudes missiles expansion, enery tanks, etc. If you scanned 50% of the in game enemies, you get a image art gallery, and if you scanned all the creatures, you unlock the second. Though I scanned all the pirate messages and Chozo Lore, to give an idea of what Tallon IV was like. This game mirror OoT in a lot of ways, from the bosses, to the puzzles, and exploration.

Icarus4578
01-16-2003, 08:54 PM
Wow, I DIDN'T KNOW THAT! Well, SOMEBODY owes me for that time, because I had read on-line that you can only get 100% if you analyze everything and get everything. What did I waste my time for?!

Thanks for the info. Much appreciated.:)

Icarus4578
01-16-2003, 11:06 PM
And now presenting quality gaming...

Phantasy Star 2 - Sega Genesis - Rating 9
Back then, before internet sites like IGN ever had a chance of ruining an RPG by showing you 500 videos of the game, there was a time when you only had pictures in a game magazine and when the entire purpose of game magazines was to take games on each respected platform, rate and review them in a fair, open-minded and professional manner rather than have the graphics and hype overshadow poorly crafted titles. Because back then if the game sucked you knew it, everybody else knew it, and (including especially) game companies all knew it.
Back then, there was a game for Genesis with a sparse 6-MEGS of power (I've heard it's actually 7 but nobody has confirmed this, far as I know) which was so big for its time that it needed to come with a hint book (more like a strategy guide to me). I, like many other gamers who had game magazines back then, would stare at the screen shots and read the same paragraphs over and over again, always analyzing anything and everything I possibly could about it.... and would even bring (sneak) game magazines to school and drool with some of my friends over screenshots of upcoming hot titles.
I remember vividly the day I got Phantasy Star 2. It was like an event. Same goes for my father -- he paid the full $90 for it :D which, especially at that time, was too much for a game.
Not to me though. This game was worth every penny and then some. Phantasy Star 2 changed the way I looked at RPGs forever.
First things first, the opening was for its time awe-inspiring. For the first time characters were being presented to me in almost full-screen, 16-bit quality graphics and that left an impression that hasn't rubbed off to this day. You begin in Paseo where you are an agent given a mission to investigate certain mishaps that have taken place on the planet of Motavia (your home planet) involving Biomonsters and Mother Brain. Nei joins you and you level up outside the town, gaining experience and Meseta (the currency) so you can buy better weapons, armor and items before you head out on your adventure.
The graphics were, at the time, awesome. In fact, it's still cool to see all the enemy animation, though the fighting backgrounds always consist of a blue grid and that's a downgrade from even the original Sega Master System PS. But I didn't care, and still don't. The locations and such are plain by today's standards. However they get the job done and are perfectly fine for a Genesis game.
The controls are standard RPG fare. You have your menu screens, you walk around and talk to people, buy, sell, fight, etc. The fighting system is simple and intuitive: just set all the characters to do what you want and you fight like basically any other RPG, only you sit back and watch the action unfold until every player and enemy has had their turn and then it's back to selecting what you want to do.
The Phantasy Star series has always had some cool songs and this one is no exception. From Silent Zone to Death Place there are some nice pieces here and there. Some of them sound kinda odd, but for a system with only 6 voices of usually poor quality it certainly isn't music that you want to really get into, though some tunes are undeniably good, and definitely fit the game's locales/moods. I enjoy it. :) Good music can even be predominantly monophonic, so I guess that 6 voice limit doesn't mean much. Besides, have you ever listened to the first stage song in The Adventures of Bayou Billy for NES (by Konami)? NES is 4 channels and that song sounds VERY cool!
All said and done, the quest isn't super long (about 20 or so hours), there's only 4 bosses which makes boss fighting all the more a dramatic moment to say the least, including one of them being 3 indestructable robots later on (if you don't know what I'm talking about and intend to try the game on Genesis or GBA, you'll see). And, man, what a cool albeit kinda short ending, especially for a Genesis.
Definitely worth the invested time, and you can even find a sound test hidden in a town somewhere which only plays all the songs you've actually heard up to whatever point you're at within the quest itself -- the more songs you hear, the more is accessible. I don't want to spoil anything but there comes a time in the game where there's a sidequest involving something called Moon Dew which can resurrect someone. If you get it, save it for one particular point in time (think Final Fantasy 7 - at the end of Disc 1).
Until next time... happy gaming.

Here's a great RPG site with PS2 ~ http://www.rpgclassics.com/shrines/genesis/ps2/walkthroughs/part01.shtml
Excellent Phantasy Star-dedicated site! ~ http://www.phantasy-star.net/
More PS goodness ~ http://www.pscave.com/
Artwork ~ http://www.fantasyanime.com/phantasystar/ps2art.htm
Very nice ~ http://www.fantasyanime.com/phantasystar/ps2nei.htm

Icarus4578
01-17-2003, 06:27 PM
Time for another review

Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Sega Genesis - Rating 7
I considered myself pretty good at games by the time I bought the 5-MEG arcade conversion of Ghouls 'N Ghosts. I had beaten some notoriously difficult games previously: TMNT, Blaster Master, Ninja Gaiden, Faxanadu, Life Force... but back then, you just never knew what to expect.
That night was one of those nights.
I had never before, and probably never again thereafter, been wasted so many times within the first few stages than with G&G (save for perhaps the original). And what a lesson in gaming I got. My first night I remember perfectly - it was a school night, and I had stayed up until about 1:30am in the morning trying to beat the third boss (the eye in the floating cloud) over and over again but to no avail.
Eventually I finished the game, only to find myself back at the starting point and now had to do the entire thing again, this time even harder than before before I could fight the last boss. Sir Arthur must save Princess Guinevere from the evil devil Loki because he's 'taken hostage' hers and all the souls of the people in the kindgom.
The graphics are fine and still look alright even today. There's tons of enemies scattered all over, and in the first level when you reach the tree with the huge vultures and you start killing them one of the most impressive graphic displays from those early Genesis days takes place as tons of feathers come floating downward (with slowdown, but who cares?). Back then it felt almost like having an arcade at home. The rest of the stages are nice, especially stage 4 with all the crystals everywhere, and though the beginning of 2 is plain it lends itself well to this game's premises.
I must mention the bosses. These were (and still are) some of the coolest-designed bosses I've seen. And remember, this was before Castlevania IV, Devil May Cry, Axelay, etc. These things were HUGE and, in some circumstances, quite annoying to do battle with. Take the giant hornet boss in the castle. Sure, it wasn't all that hard, but try and say that if Arthur's weapon is the short-ranged sword. I had to reset the entire game all because of that foolish mistake! Fighting against two Lucifers at once in the last castle (the final boss from part 1), the huge larva at the end of the crystal caves taking up more than 2 screens(!), the fire beast at the end of the burning village, and even the first boss... all were impressive to do battle with. And Loki himself takes up the entire screen... unprecedented for the time. Controls are simple: jump, attack (up, down, left, and right), charge your weapon once you get the magic armor and unleash magic attacks (or defenses, depending on the weapon).
The music is pretty good and matches the game perfectly. I particularly like the ending theme. The sound effects are the usual Genesis blangs, blips and bleeps but are well done nonetheless.
Nowadays I can rush through the game both times through without much difficulty. This game helped me become a better gamer. It remains a quintissential action game for any system and is a worthy addition to any gamer's library. Sega did a wonderful job porting this classic Capcom arcade to Genesis.

Icarus4578
01-17-2003, 07:06 PM
A baaad, BAAAAAAAD game

Bad Street Brawler - NES - Rating 0
When I first put BSB into my NES system I had high expectations. After all, this game is made by Mattel, a company notorious with high-quality, finely crafted game titles. I hadn't seen this game before and this was well after I had been spoiled by such game classics as Gunstar Heroes, Axelay, and, of course, MC Kids.
I hope you can see the sarcasm spewing from every sentence. When I first started up SMS the first thing I saw was mortifying - a horrendous drawing of some skinny teenage punk kid with blond hair and shades on, meant to look 'tough' but about as threatening as Barney - although psychologically Barney is not one to mess with. After all, he has quite a fierce weapon of torture and mayhem in his song-crafting which, although comparable to someone like Cannibal Corpse (which might put somebody into a rage), Barney music is a hate crime, a form of the most vile punishment which has been used as a means of torture to people who drove around blasting music too loud in their cars, and I'm not even kidding.
I took the game out and threw it against the wall... and who knows? Perhaps I shed a tear or two.
Later, when I put it in to see if it still worked (unfortunately for me, Mattel made this game to last), it still did and that was the beginning of what would later turn into many recurring nightmares where I'd wake up screaming in a pool of sweat, "TURN THE POWER OFF!!!!" I pressed start and the suffering began. There stood the Bad Street Brawler and I was in full control of him. Too bad for me. Some of the most awful visuals that ever devastated me are to be found in this game. I walked around attacking the stupidest looking baddies in existence. The music wasn't making things any better either. This was torture along the likes of Sunday Funday. Perhaps the coolest move ever in a game, there's a button on the system itself called 'power' and if you press that the suffering ends. I pressed it, and it was all over. The pain had left my body and I relaxed, and reflected on life's many ignored pleasures, sitting by a quiet window with the evening breeze making its way through the tree hollows...

Icarus4578
01-17-2003, 11:45 PM
:P You knew I had to bring this series up sooner or later...

Splatterhouse 2 - Sega Genesis - Rating 6
Before Resident Evil was ever conceived (or Alone in the Dark for that matter) there was a series starring a protagonist named Rick wearing a Jason mask (the 'Terror Mask'), who fought with his fists, scissors, a 2X4, shotguns and chainsaws against the undead, paranormal, and everything in-between to rescue his girl, Jennifer. That game is Splatterhouse by Namco and was successful enough that it got two sequels.
The series began in 1988 and was the first to include a Parental Advisory Disclaimer. The one I've chosen to review, part 2, is probably the best of the bunch.
Let me tell you, this game is a gore-fest. No matter how you kill your enemies (usually Screaming Mimis), from punching to chainsawing, it almost certainly is going to be an gory sight. Your character Rick is one slow-walking character, like he limbers forward moreso than he walks. You have 3 hearts for your health with a maximum allocation of 5 and that is what seemingly makes it all the more challenging -- low health combined with slow movement mean you have to be very careful. Much of the level designs revolve around tricky jumping, memorizing where enemies are gonna come from and when (trial and error) and traps like holes in the ground that lead to an underground dungeon-area. Fortunately you have unlimited continues and can write down a password for whatever stage you die on.
The bosses are awesome and include things like a massive squid, a group of fetuses hanging from a ceiling (while scissors and a chainsaw chase after you :)) and a huge blue head that appears in the dark. Some of them are tough and require you to get it down to the point of being cynical about everything that is going to occur. The last boss in particular is such a pain, and if you have to continue from dying to him, it's back to the damn elevator...
The music is very fitting of the game and helps bring the atmosphere alive all the more, though I wouldn't consider sitting there listening to it for enjoyment. The sounds are very impressive for the Genesis (especially those Mimis) with every splash and squirt fully represented. My only gripe is that the shotgun and chainsaw sounds are a bit weak.
All in all, yet another enjoyable classic series that should keep you interested to the end. It's just a little aggravating in parts.
Just in case you want it, here's the end-level password~
EDK VEI IAL LDL
Until next time...

(Special thanks to Western Mansion: The Splatterhouse Homepage for the info about the parental advisory disclaimer and the Screaming Mimi's name. Be sure to check out their web page at ~ http://www.classicgaming.com/splatterhouse/trivia.html for lots of cool info regarding Splatterhouse series)

Icarus4578
01-18-2003, 01:21 AM
The Time Machine II

Chrono Trigger - SNES - Rating 7
What a treat SNES owners got in 1995 with the release of Chrono Trigger, a dream-game project which included the likes of Hironobu Sakaguchi (the father of the Final Fantasy series), Akira Toriyama (who did the designs for Dragon Quest series and Dragon Ball Z) and Yuji Horii (who isn't as well known in the states as in Japan; he's the scenario writer for DQ series). Never before had such a dream team worked on one game before, and as a result the game received some of the biggest hype of any game ever made. I was always looking in my EGMs and Gamefan Magazines for anything related to CT before it was released. All everybody would talk about was how incredible this game was so of course that put me over the edge, waiting and waiting for the day this game would finally be released.
That day finally came and was an event the likes of Street Fighter II finally coming home on SNES. It was massive. I remembered how I sat there staring at the finest-looking RPG ever made, wondering how anybody could top it. It had everything an RPG gamer could ever dream of... awesome time-traveling ability with multiple maps, awesome character designs, incredible graphics, and some of the best music any system has ever produced, even still to this very day. The soundtrack is composed by Yatsunori Mitsuda (who also did other soundtracks later like Chrono Cross) as well as sporting pieces of music here and there by Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy series).
As I said before, this game was an event. The game boasts one of the best quests in an RPG and Square has yet to equal it to this day. You just can't come across quality gaming nowadays similar to this. The controls are fluid and intuitive, and features a great battle system unique to this game alone (however that one battle song always playing throughout the entire game wasn't that good). All of the characters and enemies animated which is in stark contrast to the FF series static drawings which I for one wish would animate. What really made this game stand out, however, are all of the awesome side-quests, the sense of exploration, and its unique presentation. There's so much that you can do, so much stuff to find that you have to go through it at least twice to get everything (thanks to another feature unique to this game, New Game +, which allowed the player for the first time ever to restart the game with all their belongings and power). There's 10 endings depending on when you finish the game but I only cared for about 2 of them - the ones which require that you go through the entire game.
There's no way I'm going into this review without mentioning the music. I've always loved the music to DQ and FF (except FF8 through 10) and this game is remembered for its stellar soundtrack moreso than anything else. Don't care what you say; the music is what made this game as great as it was. From Secrets of the Forest to Dreams Far Away it delivers in such a way that even if the game is dull in a part, if the song is good then it just doesn't matter. I often found myself stopping myself from engaging an enemy or leaving an area just so I could hear a song cadence -- that's how good it was. I bought the 3-CD soundtrack to the game (because I'm smart) and don't regret it in the least.
The game's not without flaws though. Some of the battling can get pretty dull at times and there's quite a lot of it, not a tremendous amount of variety in enemies, some things animate jerky/poorly, etc.
Virtually every RPGamer knows this game by now. And it's usually up there on most of their lists for best RPG of all time. For me, that's a tough call: I'd say that FF4, 6 and 7, most DQ games, both Lunars, and Phantasy Star 2 and 4 are among the better RPG experiences out there. That's my opinion though. Those games have more lasting value and challenge. But CT is undeniably a solid RPG experience that boasts some of the nicest visuals ever on SNES and certainly some of the best music.
All gimmicks aside, though, and it's really an average RPG with a fine polish.

Black Ace
01-18-2003, 01:33 AM
Thumbs up dude, keep those reviews coming. Try to get some reviews of GameCube titles.

Twelve
01-18-2003, 09:40 AM
Yeah Icarus, great job. You're a writer, I see. Want to write reviews with me at a webpage trying to get their feet off the ground? Send me a personal message if you do. You seem to have a good retro knowledge and we need that.

12

Icarus4578
01-18-2003, 12:26 PM
And now presenting my first review of an import title that never got the worldwide release it so deserved...

Monster World IV - Mega Drive - Rating 8
I must say, having enjoyed previous installments of Monster World, this one is the best by far (3 was great, but way too easy). If you don't know the MW series that's ok; just another thing that's Sega of America's fault. Well sorta. I'm actually disappointed in a lot of Genesis owners for not reacting strongly enough to Sega's decision at the time to not bring us the quality gaming that is this masterpiece.
Anyway, this is perhaps the most highly polished action/adventure game for the Genesis/Mega Drive. Everything is crystal clear, colorful and animated wonderfully. Think of Zelda - A Link to the Past's colorful, vibrant world making a transition to side-scroller, put in a female protagonist named Asha and her sidekick pet Papalog, and make the characters and enemies bigger, glossier and more anime-ish in look. Put this all together and add one of the coolest quests ever to grace any console and viola! You'd have Monster World IV!
First things first, if you don't understand Japanese you're going to be playing a guessing game most of the time. Though for the most part it's rather easy to figure out what you need to do, sometimes it's just a pain, especially once you reach the Ice Pyramids. If you're desperate there should be some walkthroughs on-line that you can use to help.
The game looks absolutely beautiful, like it should've been on SNES (no, I'm not exaggerating; this game looks beautiful, with some of the very best use of color ever in a game). Everything alive has animation to it, and most of it is nice and smooth. As a result, the control is excellent and there's just so much Asha and her pet can do, it's almost staggering. You must learn how to coexist with Papalog because the key to solving many of the game's puzzles and avoiding punishment is a direct result of how well you cooperate. Fighting plays an important role as well. As with all action/adventure games you will get better weapons, shields and armors as you progress and the usual healing herbs and potions. Like Zelda you're give hearts for life and every time you collect 10 of these shiny blue things (no, I don't know the name so don't get all over my case) you gain another heart in your life meter.
The enemies and bosses are all very well done, especially the bosses, and almost all have a unique manner in which they attack. Some bosses are very cool, like the big red blob near the end of the game that sticks its tongue out at you while smaller, yellow electrically-charged blobs keep jumping out after you. I like stuff like that.
The puzzles can be very difficult later on and some are frusturating. To me though, it was more difficult dealing with all the booby-traps and enemies. After all, they're what kill you. ;) Especially near the end, when you no longer have the convenience of Papalog around and you're on your own. That level, by the way, is more like Super Mario than anything else (complete with coins floating around in the all too familiar Mario-esque patterns) and is perhaps the most aggravating stage, though I was very impressed with the ride to Aegis Island on the magic carpet (very cool). What was sad was how they tried to create a zoom effect on Genesis as you're entering Aegis, which isn't built to do it as you'll see if you play through it. It just doesn't work. At least they tried...
The music is very good and melds with the game's visual appeal pretty well. Some is enjoyable, some is just there. The sounds are good also. It's nothing amazing though.
The most similar game to this that I've played is Popful Mail on Sega CD which was released in the US by Working Designs and has perhaps the best voice acting and writing of any game I've ever played. HIGHLY recommended, so if you don't want to go through the effort to play a great game like MWIV you can't go wrong with Popful Mail. They're very similar.
Just so you know, if you don't know Japanese, there's a VERY difficult part in the game (at the Ice Pyramid) which requires you to place statues you find in a particular order. Not only that, you have to do this 3 TIMES. Because I rock so hard I've decided to tell you all 3 :cool: put the statues into the slots in this order~
Ice Temple #1 Turtle - Dog - Owl - Bird - Angel
Ice Temple #2 Bird - Angel - Owl - Dog - Turtle
Ice Temple #3 Owl - Angel - Turtle - Bird - Dog
Before you can even enter Ice Temple #3 the statue at the door throws questions at you in Japanese at random and you have to respond with a "yes" or a "no" to each question. If you make a mistake, it tries to drop you onto a pile of spiked ice (which can be avoided simply by holding a direction right as you're falling and then you have to exit the screen, come back, and try again) and this part I can't really help with. But I can say that whenever you get a question with a 3 in the dialogue select "no" but that's about all the help I can be. Good luck and happy memorizing.
Definitely worth the invested time because it is so damn fun and challenging to play that it becomes an addiction, just like all of the greatest games out there. My only gripe is that SMB-esque stage because it's trial and error.
Oh, and I'll put this here so you can check out the game and see how cool it looks for yourself. http://www.shininglair.com/mw4/mw4.html
I'll finish simply by saying it looks as good as it plays.

Walkthrough ~ http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/genesis/file/monster_world_iv.txt

Icarus4578
01-18-2003, 09:30 PM
Ta-Daaah!

Super Mario Sunshine - GameCube - Rating 5
Well, well, well... Nintendo makes another Mario. And it follows Miyamoto's trend to always change up the mechanics in drastic and, often times, revolutionary ways. And as much as I like the concept of Mario having a water pack on paper, I can't help but think hey, maybe it would've been a better idea to create a brand new character with this concept in mind rather than automatically stick Mario's mug on the cover to generate $$$. At least Nintendo proves it can still come up with new concepts and implement them often flawlessly into games. However, I couldn't help but feel that this was Mario 64 with an added gimmick.
Mario has been accused of vandalizing the Island of Delfino and I won't bore you with the game's background, needless to say it's always the same (Princess Peach gets kidnapped by Bowser eventually) so I'll jump right to the play mechanics. It's Mario 64 with the added gimmick of a water pack called Fludd which Mario uses to clean up the island, hover, propell himself into the air, etc. Mario can do everything he could in Mario 64 so if you've played that then this is more or less an extension to that. Some stages are plaqued with boring tasks which you must do to collect 'Shines' (which is just like collecting stars in Mario 64), and later on this gets aggravating because of all of the ridiculous jumps that you have to do. So boring! The town in Delfino (the overworld) is more fun to collect shines in than most of the stages. And, just like in Mario 64, the later stages are more boring, uninteresting than earlier ones. I must mention the special stages which play like the Bowser levels in Mario 64, albeit much tougher. You cannot use Fludd in them and it's basically Mario up against the odds. These stages I enjoyed the most because they were challenging and fun. I hated the Pachinko machine stage though where you collect 8 red coins to get the shine - it was trial and error, plain and simple.
The graphics are much improved from Mario 64, with often so much going on you can't keep track of it all. Very generous use of colors, lighting and effects. Of course, the water looks great. However if you look at every game's 'water physics', you begin to notice how much more the water reacts like water in a small pool than in an ocean or the like (which would be just too much for any of these current systems to handle; that's really all there is to it). No matter. The enemies are standard Mario fare with very few new additions to the mix, which is disappointing to say the least. In some levels I was amazed at the sheer LACK of enemies more than anything else. The landscapes are often very well done, with the time of day often changing depending on which shine you're going after on whatever level. Some textures seem weak, however, and other things too plain. But overall it looks okay.
The music is typical Mario. In other words it gets the job done, but I could care less. Koji Kondo (Nintendo's main in-house composer) has written some of the most brilliant, memorable pieces ever in gaming (Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, etc.). At least most of this stuff fits the visuals. No track really stands out in my mind though.
Overall, I felt that this whole water gimmick was just what Nintendo needed to start up something new. Instead, they just threw it together with the Mario 64 game engine, and although Mario 64 revolutionized the way I see 3D gaming this just doesn't cut it with me. There were times when I didn't want to finish the game because I was so bored and uninterested that I shut it off. I never got all the shines --- never bothered. There are far superior Mario games to this, including Yoshi's Island which was so intelligent, I got perfect scores in every stage and hidden stage just because it was so good. Granted I opened nothing extra for all that effort but at least I had a great time doing it.
Unfortunately I can't say the same for Mario Sunshine, as highly polished a game as it is.

Icarus4578
01-19-2003, 12:28 AM
Hmmmmm....

Double Dragon II - Sega Genesis - Rating 3
The first time playing Double Dragon was a religious experience; I hadn't actually played a side scrolling beat 'em up beforehand. For the first time I was walking around being badass, beating the crap out of street thugs, girls with 80's hair-dos wielding whips and huge, bulky guys that bust out of stone walls, with heads as big as their bodies. What an experience that was and its formula was only furthered with titles like Adventures of Bayou Billy, River City Ransom, Crime Fighters, either TMNT Arcade, the 6-player X-Men Arcade, Final Fight and Streets of Rage which, although kinda dumbed down from repetitious sequels and every spinoff imaginable, still has a personal charm that hasn't been replicated. They even had a Sailor Moon arcade beat-'em-up which made it home on the Mega Drive/Super Famicom and were extremely fun to play (very stylish, with addictive music).
I have played through every Double Dragon on NES and the SNES version. So when I set out to play it on Sega Genesis I was expecting more of the same. And indeed it is. Anybody who has played any number of beat-'em-ups knows the name of the game. Walk around, beat up thugs, avoid holes and harmful objects, pick up weapons and use them, etc. It's all the same as ever.
This Double Dragon has the best start of any yet. Remember the beginning to part 1, when the thugs sock your girl in the gut and take her hostage? Well this time, right at the very beginning the first thing they do is blow your girl away with a machine gun and walk away casually, like nothing even happened!!!
Needless to say, you're PO'ed. The game starts on top of a building, and what follows is the usual 'beat X number of enemies before the screen advances a little, repeat' stuff you all know. Except this time, you have more weapons at your disposal, including axes, chain whips, big wooden crates and huge steel balls(!) The graphics are kinda plain with nothing that stands out. The characters are pretty small, and there's slowdown in parts. Enemies are fun to battle with for a while but it gets repetitious. The bosses are alright, though the second boss is one of the stupidest I've yet seen in a fighting game. I actually wanted to mess him up all the more because of how pathetic he looked (I guess Tradewest knows a little about psychology). And funny enough, after you beat bosses they appear in further levels as enemies, often in groups of 2, and sometimes even with another enemy with them! This doesn't make too much of a difference; they can all be taken out rather easily with repetitive jump kicks and spin kicks, etc.
Like the first one, there's 4 levels (missions) that include (in order) the rooftops, a factory, a farm area (!?) and the enemy headquarters. They all look plain, except a few nice touches here and there in the final level.
The music is just sorta there with the usual sounds you'd expect out of a title of this stature. Nothing special.
Overall, it's not really a BAD game. But what's the point in playing this one when you've got so many better beat-'em-ups out there?

FYI ~ This is not the same Double Dragon II that was released for NES. The NES version is entirely different and gets a 4 for being a slightly better game overall, but it's nothing special. Besides, you gotta respect a game with stage names like "Forest of Death" and "Mansion of Terror" :D

Icarus4578
01-19-2003, 09:36 AM
Rock on...

Axelay - SNES - Rating 9
Axelay, released not too long after the SNES came out, is still the best shooting game I've played on the system (Gradius III was great, but not quite as great). It had everything: incredible gameplay, awesome designs on EVERYTHING, cool effects and phenomenal music. It was such an unexpected treat from Konami, such a marvelous game, I have yet to play a better shooter from Konami (or most everybody else, save for a few like Darius on Saturn).
Even if you put the game in and play it today it still looks impressive. You begin by arming which weapons you'll equip on your ship (Axelay) which, at the start, is limited to just 3 but opens more as you progress and it's always important to know which weapons are best suited for the area (or your personal style of play). And you're off.
I must mention the game's layout. There're 3 mode-7 stages and 3 on the standard side-of-the-ship perspective. Both come off impressively and what is especially cool is the generous variety of enemies you have to deal with. You come across many types of enemies in just one particular part of a stage and afterwards you are almost certainly not going to see them again, like they're custom-made for the particular stage you're on. The bosses are, once again, extremely cool (this is Konami we're talking about) and are generally massive is size. In contrast, some of Gradius III's bosses are cool, but they just don't stack up.
The gameplay is virtually flawless; you shoot and dodge as with every shooter (duh) but, unlike most shooters, you select between weapons at any time (from those you selected before each stage) and each weapon has its advantages/disadvantages. By the way, there's no shield in the game so if you get shot you lose a weapon and that leaves you with two. Get shot twice more and you're almost helpless. One more shot and you're dead. Also, it's worth note to tell you that if you make contact with an enemy, chances are, you're dead no matter what. Fortunately if you die you will be right where you left off, unlike Gradius which made things much harder by forcing you to return to a pervious spot in the stage. However, lose all your lives and it's back to the beginning of the level, and you only have so many continues. On easy it's just that: easy. But you won't see the full last boss nor ending unless you play through it all the way on hard.... yet another feature typical of Konami games.
The soundtrack makes this a shooter like no other. I know there are a lot of shooting game fans who love Zuntata soundtracks, but I personally think this is the best music ever in a shooting game. It just rocks from start to end. Too bad there's no sound test in the game. The sound effects are all done to Konami perfection.
A well-rounded, wonderful shooter that never got the sequel it deserved. Anybody who likes shooting games will love Axelay. It's one of my absolute favorite shooting games of all time, and it's easy to see why.

Here, see why for yourself ~ http://www.classicgaming.com/shmups/reviews/axelay/axelay.htm

Icarus4578
01-19-2003, 11:00 AM
Let's see if you're any good

Gaiares - Sega Genesis - Rating 7
Wanna know whether or not somebody is any good at shooting games? Ask them to beat Gaiares. I did.
This 8-MEGA-powered killer shooter will put the K in KILL for you.
One of the toughest shooters ever (and that's just on the normal setting) Gaiares was one of the most extraordinary shooting experiences. Or massacre, depending on your skill level. And you'd better have skill of extraordinary proportions. That's because Gaiares is such a kill-fest, you'll have to keep retrying, a lot, because there's NO WAY you're going through this your first, second, or probably even third sitting because you're gonna get wasted. Many times.
The graphics are pretty nice for a Genesis, although kinda plain in comparison to something like Thunder Force IV. Then again, this game really isn't about looks; it's about challenge. However, the bosses are usually well done, and a couple of stages look nice. The enemies are the generic stuff you'd expect in a shooter, with a few big ones here and there.
What makes this shooter unique is its weapons system. You have a special enemy analyzer satellite-type thing that's always hovering nearby your ship (the TOZ system). Instead of shooting enemies to reveal weapon power-ups and such, you shoot your satellite into an enemy and it latches on for a second, and it returns to the ship and you get different weapons with different enemies. Not only that, but you can keep locking onto enemies to keep making the weapon stronger (as long as it's an enemy with the same weapon for its power-up) until it's maxed out. You can change the speed of your ship's mobility at will and this may become a factor later on. There is a total of 8 stages and they get progressively harder the further in you get.
The music isn't all that impressive, though I enjoyed the song at the very end of Stage 2 (where the water fills up the screen and you fight a boss). The sound effects are fine for a shooter on Genesis.
Wanna go to the options screen? At the title screen just hold A, B, and C on the controller and press start. You can select difficulty (but you can only select between normal and something like 'super difficult'. So now, I have the option to die even more than I already do? Where do I sign up??) and there's a sound test for all those people who wanna get their groove on to Gaiares' music. Errr. I'll just pray there's no such thing. But hey! the song I liked is there, at least.
So if you want to test your shooting skills to the breaking point, get Gaiares by Telenet-Renovation. It's surely the epitimy of hard shooters on Genesis. There aren't many as difficult as this; few come to mind... Pulstar or Viewpoint particularly (both on Neo Geo). And Thunder Force IV is a better game overall. But if you have the opportunity, give Gaiares a chance. It deserves it.

Icarus4578
01-19-2003, 10:42 PM
A very special classic

The Legend of Zelda ~ A Link To The Past/Four Swords - SNES/GBA - Rating 10
Before SNES came out, I was so obsessed with it, I'd carry around all my Nintendo Power magaines and EGMs which were the best (and only) sources for any game related news. I even taped all the SNES commercials (!) and still have them on tape to this very day. :D The first game I ever played on SNES was Mario World. I was astounded -- the first time I played it was over my cousin's house, and it was a religious experience. That and Final Fantasy II (in the US) were my entries into SNES land when I got my brand spanking new shiny SNES for Christmas.
It wasn't until my birthday the following year that I finally got Zelda ~ A Link to the Past. Since then, it has become a classic game in every respectable gamer's life. And with very good reason. It has been the most influential action/adventure title ever made, whose formula would be replicated in dozens of other (usually high-quality) titles. Landstalker. Crusader of Centy. Alundra. Illusion of Gaia. Legend of Oasis. All of them were inspired by Zelda. Neutopia may have come before this Zelda, but even that and its sequel are inspired by the original Zelda.
Whether on SNES or GBA (with the added Four Swords quest by Nintendo/Capcom) it is flawless not only in the virtue of its design but every aspect which one can associate with quality. There's simply nothing at fault with it: great visuals, a nice story (this is actually the prequel to the original), flawless control mechanics, inspired and inspiring game and dungeon design, cool bosses, an excellent soundtrack by Koji Kondo.... just flawless. It rewards the curious/explorative gamer with many hidden places and items, and even rewards the experimental gameplayer with small little quirks that only Nintendo seems to know how to do best. This game does no wrong.
I won't make this a long review, simply because everybody has played Zelda at one time or another, and I just want to show respect to Miyamoto and the fine workers/thinkers at Nintendo for inspiring a gamer like myself to raise my standards as to what makes gaming so great to begin with. Everybody who owns a SNES or GBA should feel obligated to own Zelda, one of the greatest moments in gaming history.

Here's a GREAT Zelda site ~ http://www.ganonstower.com/lttp.shtml

Icarus4578
01-20-2003, 12:04 PM
Nature calls? It's in the back...

Devil May Cry - PS2 - Rating 8
If you own a PS2 then it is essential that you purchase the Capcom goodness that is Devil May Cry. It is, without question, the closest a 3D action game has ever come to having gameplay as good as any great 2D classic. Right from the opening you can tell this game is killer.
Dante is the coolest new character I've seen yet on any new system. He just rocks hardcore and if you disagree, tough. He plays similar to how you'd probably have wanted a Belmont to in a 3D Castlevania, except Dante uses (mainly) swords and guns. And, a little later in the game, nice BIG guns. The controls are superb with lightning fast (and high) jumps, double-jumps and wall-jumps, attacks, and TONS of combos (you can 'uppercut' an enemy with a sword, blast away with whatever firearm, then catch 'em coming down with more sword-attacks, for example). You can buy more moves and powers between stages, and later on you'll even be able to transform into a devil which can use magic. Awesome. There's tons of puzzles to solve and items to acquire and, in fact, many are utilized in a similar manner to Resident Evil which works well. As a matter of fact, I think Shinji Mikami (creator of the Resident Evil series as well as this) originally had RE in mind when he made this game engine and somewhere along the line changed it into this, effectively creating a new, refreshing series. I'm all for it.
The graphics are, in a word, spectacular. Even if you put something beside DMC like Panzer Dragoon Orta, I'd still think DMC has a better 'look' to it, because it's more interesting to look at aged victorian, elegant and sometimes gothic sceneries than Panzer's cold, grey and brown 'lifeless' organic sceneries which fluctuates between fitting the game's unique representation of foreign sceneries and BORING, seemingly devoid of personality environments. Everything in DMC is rendered exceptionally well, too. This is similar to how I'd want Castlevania to look in 3D (though Konami better always keep it alive in 2D as well). The enemies are superb and often challenging, although, like Rygar on PS2, the total enemy count is in the lower digits. The bosses demand attention. These are among the greatest bosses ever conceived for a 3D game (or 2D for that matter). They're more like 'villians' in their own way, and they even converse with Dante before rampaging around the area, often causing absolute MAYHEM trying to turn you into a pile of blood. Plus they're often difficult, with a great deal of activities (patterns) that you must watch and build an effective strategy around to avoid getting hurt. This game reminds me of Konami's 16-bit days in a way, and that's definitely a good thing. Wait until you see the final boss...
The music is often the Resident Evil-style thing, along with the high-octane rock/metal stuff typical of many games nowadays. Nothing in particular makes me want to run out and buy the soundtrack, though it really, REALLY fits this game well. The sound effects are flawless and the voice acting is actually pretty well-done (certainly better than Castlevania - SOTN's horrendous excuse for 'acting') especially Dante, who rocks hardcore, like I already said. He makes the game as 'cool' as it is.
Capcom must really love us gamers. They make some of the greatest games on the face of the planet (Street Fighter, Mega Man, Strider, Ghouls N' Ghosts, etc.) and now they go and make the best 3D action game thus far along with Ninja Gaiden (X-Box). If you own a PS2 and you DON'T own DMC, go out to the nearest retailer who sells it and say to them "I'd like to behold the might that is DMC", take it home, and enjoy. If not, you should punish yourself by watching Kangaroo Jack followed by back-to-back reruns of Rhinestone starring Sylvester Stallone. That should serve you right.

Icarus4578
01-20-2003, 09:41 PM
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! .......GET READY!

Space Harrier - Arcade - Rating 8
"Welcome to the Fantasy Zone! ...Get Ready!"
Who can forget those words? Yu Suzuki (legendary arcade/game designer/producer/director) was the king of the arcades along with Capcom and Konami during the 80's and is still going strong with such gaming experiences as Shenmue 1 & 2 and Virtua Fighter 4. And if you talk to anybody about the arcades' golden years you're going to hear titles like Out Run(ners), Virtua Racing, Altered Beast, Fantasy Zone, After Burner, Hang On, and the game I've chosen to review, Space Harrier.
The stature of Yu Suzuki in arcade gaming is one that hasn't been equalled to this very day. He is a famous person in Japan: if he took a walk on the street, people would KNOW who he is. He revolutionized gaming in general by being a visionary, and he always stood at the forefront of technological advancements in gaming. One can identify this unique quality in virtually every one of his works -- it is always one in which efficiency and technology work cohesively in order to maintain a quality that can only be described as 'virtuosity in excellence', a startling effectiveness that never wanes and is only exhibited by a select few (including esp. Shigeru Miyamoto).
Onto the game. I remember when I first played Space Harrier in the arcade. It was a magical moment, to say the very least. Space Harrier was innovative (gee, how many times do you hear that word nowadays?), an instant classic in its most bare, broad form. Games back then just didn't play, look, INSPIRE like this. A fully realized 2D-3D world that has never truly been equalled (though others have tried, such as Square's NES title 3D World Runner, as well as the Mega Drive Cotton game, of which there were only around 5,000 copies made, sadly). One thing I must mention is the freedom of movement. Games back then, particularly shooters, had a greater degree of freedom than today's 3D graphic-fests like Panzer Dragoon Orta. And that's what games like PDO lack... FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT (though PDO is an on-rails shooter and SH isn't; advantage - Space Harrier). Controls are simple yet flawless. You are the hero Space Harrier who must save Dragon Land from the invading forces. You fly/run 'into' the screen with your hero hovering/running in full view of you at all times, and you can shoot anything and everything in sight though not everything can be harmed. The object is simple - destroy all the baddies, avoid getting hit/shot and stay alive. You'll need lightning-fast reflexes later as stages can get to blistering speeds and since you're moving into the screen you have to beware not banging full force into whatever might be sticking out of the ground, as well as enemy fire at the same time.
The graphics vary depending on which version you play. I remember the Christmas when I first played Space Harrier on Sega Master System.... what a wondrous thing to behold that was. Space Harrier has been released and re-released so many times I can't even count. You can even play it in Shenmue at the arcades and at home if you buy the Saturn and the game.
The bosses were the coolest back at that time and are still pretty cool today (the two-headed dragon, when it comes up to the screen and flies away with both heads still focused on the screen just makes me feel strange). Dragons spewing fireballs at you, a strange 'head' with other 'stone heads' circling like a shield, multitudes of mech-like robots flying all over the place firing lightning fast missles directly at you... you get the picture. There are 18 zones total, and the latter stages are amongst the most difficult. The bonus stages are awesome. You ride a white, furry dragon and slam him head-first into everything coming into the screen to rack your score up higher.
The music is great too. From the 80's-style motivational Main Theme, to the up-beat Battle Field which plays in bonus stages, to all the strange, urgent boss themes: Squilla, Ida, Godarni, Syura, Valda, and Stanrey... and of course the ranking and game ending songs Lake Side Memory and White Summer. That's it, but hey, at least these songs have personality unlike the stuff in most games made today. I enjoy it and if you don't like the music, just think, at least they didn't hire Mr. Big to do any of the tracks like they did with that Daytona Remix on Saturn :D Or, just as bad, you could've been playing this game while having to endure the 80's suffering manifest aurally that goes by the names Winger and Trixter :crazy:. The sound effects are cool with all the bangs and explosions done well, and of course there's all that cool game speech.
These days revolutionary games are non-existent and developers are taking 3D and doing nothing new with it. Well, back then, Yu Suzuki was taking 2D and making a 3D world with it. How's that for innovation? And, unlike too many of today's games, this game doesn't need no added gimmick like graphic power to disguise any insufficiencies because Space Harrier has character, ingenuity, is an original, and, most importantly of all - it's very fun to play. It definitely wasn't more of the same when it was released; it was more 'virtuosity of excellence' that Sega and Yu Suzuki are so adept at.
FYI, they released a sequel for Genesis, Space Harrier II, which is pretty good, although not quite on the original's level. However, it's still a game worth owning, if you can find a copy.
Until next time...

Break out the nostalgia

Icarus4578
01-20-2003, 10:22 PM
Catastrophic?

Panzer Dragoon Orta - X-Box - Rating 4
PDO, developed by Smilebit, is probably Sega's biggest game yet for any of the new systems. Featuring graphics that make the other Panzers look bad in comparison (what did you expect between an X-Box and Saturn?) and level designs which range from the astounding (Stage 7 - Forgotten Dreams) to the cold and lifeless (a lot of others like Stage 5). There's so much to shoot at that it's insane, with enemies that almost never repeat between stages. However, here is where the game's major flaw comes into play: on hard you're almost fighting with the enemy fire moreso than the enemies themselves (try Stage 4 on hard and tell me I'm wrong). However, in some stages this isn't as big an issue as with others.
Your dragoon can morph between 3 forms, and all of them can level up, thus, changing into a more powerful form. There's the standard offensive form which can accelerate and slow down, dash, shoot, and lock-on to multiple enemies at once (in the area of 8 or so). Then there's defensive form which cannot accelerate or slow down but can shoot, and its lock-on shots, while small in number, deal the most damage. And then there's the speed form which can evade better than any other form due to smaller size and faster movement, accelerate and slow down, and shoot rapid fire out faster than any other form (useful for taking out enemy fire and multiple weaker enemies), however, it has no lock-on. All forms have a berserk attack which really punishes the enemies/bosses, with the defensive form's berserk being the most lethal. You can turn the camera 90 degrees in any direction with either L or R on top of the contorller, and if you press them simultaneously it turns 180 degrees. With so much to control, things can get a bit confusing, especially under heavy enemy fire and/or fast speeds (and this game gets pretty fast). I would've preferred one dragoon form that transforms as seen in PD Zwei because this allows for one to focus more on what's going on on-screen rather than the dragoon all the time. You'll need to learn how to transform effectively and speedily, especially versus some of the bosses. Speaking of bosses, half of them are rather dull to fight, like the statue in Stage 4 which keeps putting up a defensive shield (it's horribly designed). However, some bosses are a treat (Stage 5 for one).
There's a tremendous amount of stuff that can be unlocked in the pandora's box. If you play the game for 20 hours most of the stuff opens, including the original Panzer game (that's right). However, in order to open EVERYTHING you'll have to get an S ranking on every stage on the hard setting, so I hope you've got a lot of spare time... Most of the stuff you can open, like the side missions, I felt were pointless and even boring. Others, like the cinema and art galleries, are more worthwhile and you can open a lot of that stuff on easy/normal setting.
The music is good in parts and bad/boring in others; it's almost as good as PD Zwei's soundtrack and probably better than the PD Saga's soundtrack, which was a letdown. None have equalled the original Panzer's soundtrack. The sound effects are very good, as you would expect them to be, with Maaya Sakamoto (a popular guitarist/singer from Japan) providing the voice of Orta, the game's low on self-esteem, devoid of feeling (at first) heroine. She (Maaya) also did the lead voice in PD Saga, the Saturn RPG I fortunately have a copy of.
And that's basically the game. It's not as fun as Starfox (in my opinion) but once you get to know the game, you'll find it to be rewarding in some ways and quite a bit lacking in others. I still think PD Zwei is the best in the series, but then again that's just me. PDO is pretty fun on easy but aggravating on hard.

Icarus4578
01-21-2003, 10:21 AM
Gauntlet's illegitimate son...?

Dungeon Explorer - TurboGrafx 16 - Rating 5
The first thought that entered my mind when I first laid my eyes upon Dungeon Explorer was Gauntlet. That's because both games play and look very similar to each other, and Hudson Soft was clearly influenced by the design of Gauntlet.
DE is a top-down dungeon crawler game that is more action than adventure. You begin by selecting which kind of character you'd like to play as: fighter, thief, dwarf, etc. just like Gauntlet, each with his/her specific means of attack (swords, knives, axes, etc. all are projectiles) and each character has their own unique starting stats. You build up stats by finding the appropriate items (i.e. the shoes increase agility). The only way to level-up is to get the ORA stones that the bosses leave behind when you defeat them, and leveling-up is the only means of increasing your max HP -- there's no MP meter. You can collect potions that you can use anytime to double your defenses temporarily, and skulls which do the same to your attacks. Oh, and it's also 1-5 players at once, though I suggest you max out at two or three because this game will slow down to a crawl and that's not gonna be much fun.
Basically you get briefed by the king to return all the ORA stones and it's off you go on a killing spree. You head south from the castle and you're right at the first dungeon. And from there the game pretty much goes from dungeon to brief visit in the town (there's only one town really, aside from a few houses scattered around here and there), back to a dungeon, etc. The game isn't long either, but what it does it does well enough. Each dungeon has its own design which isn't ever anything too impressive, its own enemies and boss (sometimes more than 1), and each has its own piece of music. Some pieces of music are well-done, or at the very least interesting. The TurboGrafx sound is crystal clear and is superior in many ways to the Genesis, though the TG16 is actually an 8-bit system with a 16-bit graphics processor.
There's a password system so you can always resume from where you left off, but on the downside all your powers (aside from level and HP) go back down if you use one.
There's a hidden character you can play as by imputting a specific password given to you at one point in the game, though it's nothing to get too excited about. There's also a trick you do with a password that will let you start not only beyond full-power -- you can even walk through walls, on roofs, water, or pretty much anything (except for some gates, which you can simply walk around) and that means you can go straight to the final boss right from the start! Coolness!
Hudson Soft released a sequel for the PC Engine CD (also plays on TurboDuo, at least on mine) which pretty much looks and plays the same, albeit with cinemas and CD-quality audio.
In the end, DE plays, looks and sounds decent. So I guess that's what this game is: decent. Not bad, but not excellent. Decent.

Here's every code ~ http://www.gamewinners.com/TG/DungeonExplorer.htm and this just happens to be a very useful site as well so check it out. ;)

Icarus4578
01-21-2003, 11:31 AM
More mega-goodness

Mega Man 8 - Sega Saturn/PS - Rating 8
You may think that the Mega Man series has exhausted all of its potential, but I disagree. I think the more Mega Man games Capcom makes, the better. Particularly those in 2D. I've always loved Mega Man games, with part 2 being my favorite. The Mega Man X series is good too but there's nothing like the original blue bomber. And with this installment we get the best-looking Mega Man to date with awesome animation on virtually everything, tons of enemies on-screen at once, great use of colors, parallax, effects, etc. Just what you'd expect from Capcom.
The game controls like every other Mega Man, and although he runs a little slower than he used to, he's also a little bigger on-screen than in previous installments. I've never played a Mega Man game that had poor control. There's a shop at the stage select screen where you can buy weapons, items and upgrades whenever you want and this is a welcome addition to the MM universe. As with all MM games the object is to go through a stage, fight a boss, get his weapon and figure out which weapon each boss is vulnerable to, not to mention all the hidden items in each stage which can only be accessed/reached by utilizing the right weapon. The bosses, for the very first time in a MM game, converse with MM before the fight begins, usually with a corny one-liner (Aqua Man quote ~ "I'm Aqua Man, but you can call me 'Handsome Guy'!") and even talk mid-combat and when you get in the finishing shot (Sword Man end quote ~ "Nice Shots!").
The music is that 80's kind of stuff that only Capcom seems to know how to make. Very cool songs include Tengu Man and Aqua Man's stage themes, Wood Man's theme (which is just his theme from Mega Man 2) and some of the Wily Castle stuff.
Really, who doesn't know Mega Man by now? This was the last REAL sequel to Mega Man, released on his 10th anniversary. And no, Rockman and Forte for SNES is NOT Mega Man 9, as many seem to think it is. The differences between the Saturn and PS versions are slight. The PS version has better transparencies than the Saturn version, but the Saturn version has both Wood Man and Cut Man as hidden bosses, while the PS version only has one of the two from what I remember. But either way you look at it, it's still Mega Man 8; it's still fun to play.
Mega Man 2 is my favorite, with parts 3 and this one tied for 2nd place. I'll always go back to these games because they'll always be challenging and fun. If I had to pick one version of MM8 I'd pick the Saturn version, because it has everything the PS one has and then some, except transparencies on a few things, which I for one could care less about. Besides, what controller on Earth is as cool as the original Saturn pad? :)

AWESOME pages devoted to the Blue Bomber.
The first is the Mega Man Homepage which details pretty much everything possible about the series ~ http://www.mmhp.net/
Here is the Mega Man Network. Don't leave home without it ~ http://megaman.retrofaction.com/
And finally, Planet Mega Man offers you a massive amount of resources ~ http://www.planet-megaman.com/

Icarus4578
01-21-2003, 08:05 PM
A masterpiece

Final Fantasy II (IV in Japan) - SNES/PS - Rating 8
Why is it that even though this game is over a decade old it's still a better RPG than anything currently released on any of the current systems? It's amazing. This game contains one of the most enjoyable quests in any RPG, and I can still pick it up and enjoy it to this very day. This was before the mass hype propaganda of the current game publications and sites, always praising Square like they can do no wrong. Let's look at a few titles, shall we?

Final Fantasy is kinda dated
Final Fantasy V was eeeh...
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is alright (meant as a beginner's RPG)
Final Fantasy VI is right
Final Fantasy VII is right (well, mostly)
Final Fantasy VIII is DEAD WRONG
Final Fantasy IX is WRONG
Final Fantasy X is WRONG (and sad)
That settles that.

Every FF Square produces today is catered towards the casual gamer. So if you're spoiled by today's graphic-fests you may look the other way from FFII. It's your loss, because it is a better game overall than parts 8, 9 and 10.
There were 3 FF titles released on the Famicon (NES) in Japan before this came out. This is the first FF title to introduce the 'active time battle' which has become a staple to the series. The story is one of Square's best yet~
Cecil, a dark knight and captain of the Red Wings of Baron, sets out on orders from the king of Baron to retrieve the water crystal from Mysidia. After taking the crystal by force from the innocent magicians, he sets back to his kingdom. But he feels a deep regret in what he's done, and he can't help but feel guilty for his actions. When he delivers the water crystal he questions the king as to why he must attack innocent people and take the crystals by force. The king, outraged, strips Cecil of his command of the Red Wings and orders him to deliver a package to the Village of Mist. That night, Cecil is visited by Rydia, the girl he loves, and he tells her of his concerns and guilt for what he's done. He knows something is wrong, and he promises himself that never again will he attack innocent people. So the next morning, Cecil and his friend Kain set out to deliver the package. But when they finally reach the Village of Mist...
The game's story is one of its strong suits -- it keeps you interested. The problem is that back then companies weren't as serious as they are nowadays about making a good translation (including Square) and this game's translation has suffered slightly. But it never gets as bad as Breath of Fire II's wretched, horrid, abusive translation. Not even near that bad. I don't even know what game has a worse translation than BoFII. That's just BAD. The 'you don't know bad until you've seen this' bad. Along the lines of The Wiz with Michael Jackson bad. Now that's BAD.
The graphics have dated, but it still looks fine to me (although you may not like it if you've been spoiled to death by all of today's CG-powered showcases). But hey, at least in this Final Fantasy the enemies are all drawings by Y o s h i t a k a Amano, the main artist of FF series, though I still wish they'd animate like enemies do in most Dragon Quest titles (all hand-drawn). The most an enemy will animate is two frames, and that's only for certain bosses. But no matter.... this FF's strong suit is in the game engine which is solid, and if you have either the PS version or the import FFIV on Super Famicom it's not only translated better but it's harder as well. I could care less which version I'm playing, though. Any version of FFII is a good version.
The music is absolutely wonderful. This was back when Nobuo Uematsu was still in his prime and definitely is better than all the recent installments. Illusionary World, Within the Giant, Into the Darkness, etc. All great songs so there's no way you're going to be disappointed aurally.
If you haven't experienced the magic that is this game by all means do so. There isn't anything this game does wrong. Don't be fooled by its dated visuals because it is far superior to FF 8 through 10 and is a great RPG in every way.

Icarus4578
01-23-2003, 09:18 AM
A fun game... for a limited amount of time

Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball - X-Box - Rating 4
Let me get this out right away: this game's core essence is to show off how well the X-Box can render ladies dressed in bikinis, nightgowns, and the like. That's not to say that it's not fun to play. I certainly think it's a fun game, but for a limited amount of time.
This game is supposed to be mainly about playing volleyball and that is the game's core essence. At least a good half of it is anyways. While the volleyball playing is fun for awhile, it gets a little tedious. It's apparent this game is meant to show off the X-Box's ability to render women, and it does so very well. The most fun thing to do is buy all the clothes and accessories, though even that can get tedious after awhile because a lot of the items are just junk. In other words it can get very repetitious, so you have to give it breaks. When you finish the game once with any girl (it just takes 14 days to pass) the file is still there where you saved, with the timer in the lower-right of your file. And you just select your file again and when you start a new game and pick a girl you used before all her stuff and money is still there. So if you like a few swimsuits or accessories and want to put them on your girl, that's fine. If you switch to a different girl she won't have all the stuff the other girl you used previously had but don't worry -- all the money and stuff each girl has gotten is still with them no matter what. So if you want Kasumi, for example, to get some stuff that only another girl can buy you have to either tag team with her and get gifts from her, or, you can be the other girl and give Kasumi the items you want her to wear. Watch it though because some girls need to be really, really happy to accept some of the bathing suits that they wouldn't normally like. Sometimes just getting a girl to tag with you is a pain. Kasumi has a hard time tagging with Ayane, for example, but it's possible (you have to figure it out :D).
The casino is kinda dull, to tell the truth (I don't even bother going there) because what's the point in gambling when you can make money faster by playing volleyball, considering you're as good as I am? It probably was put there as a relief for anyone who wanted a break from the repetitiousness of the day to day activities, but if Tecmo were smart they'd have put something like, oh, the original Ninja Gaiden arcade game or some of their other titles (NG, Tecmo Super Bowl and NBA Basketball, Rygar, Solomon's Key, etc.). But I can't downgrade the game just because Tecmo didn't read my mind and do what I personally would've wanted them to do. Ah well.
There are a few other things to the game. You have to perform well in volleyball and give your partner gifts to keep her happy. Otherwise it's splitsville for you and you'll have to try and make another girl team with you (or the same girl) which isn't always easy to do. It almost feels like a dating simulator, only with girls only and no actual dating involved. You can utilize the camera in whatever way you want in certain parts of the game (replays, walks on the shoreline, relaxing at the poll, etc.) to get a better, closer look at the girls in whatever you want them to wear, though this isn't as well done as it should've been because the camera is hard to control and the girls are limited to only a select few animation routines (each of course). You can go to the pool, not select any of the options which means they'll fade away shortly just showing the girl, and just sit there forever messing with the camera angles, zooming, turning and moving the camera. Let's face it, this game is meant to show off graphics (girls) which actually just look pretty much the same as DoA3, though the girls' skin, hair, animations and clothing are a little more well-done, but then again, the X-Box doesn't have to handle complex 3D background geometry in this. Though that's not to say there aren't a few nice locales.
Oh, and let me say this: MAKE YOUR OWN SOUNDTRACK!!! This soundtrack is filled to the brim with licensed crap music from mostly American 'artists' (yeah... I'm sure that's what they are) and a few reggae tracks. You have to put the music you want to listen to into the X-Box first and then, while you're in the game itself, go to the Radio Station and turn off the music you don't want to have being played during the game (by unchecking the boxes next to the songs) and then check in the songs you put in the system and adjust their volume. You have to go to the Radio Station and do this twice during the game - once during Morning/afternoon and once during the evening (nighttime counts as part of evening though it forces you to your hotel at that point so get it done in the evening). Or, you can just shut all the music off.
DoAXBV is actually a suprisingly fun, addictive game and has lots of longevity to it. Though it's apparent just who Tecmo had in mind when they made this game, that doesn't make the game any less fun. But after you've exhausted all its potential (there are virtually no secrets and the game gets very repetitious), you may get bored of it and not want to play it again. This is a game that is going to be returned by a lot of people, without any question.

The best place for news, pictures, and discussions on everything Tecmo ~ http://www.neotaku.com/

Icarus4578
01-24-2003, 06:35 PM
Blast from the past

Forgotten Worlds - Genesis/TurboDuo - Rating 8
Why, oh why, have we never gotten a sequel to this classic Capcom action/shooter arcade game? It remains an extremely fun game to this day and it would be great to see this game on a new system.
Basically it's a shooting game and you control a hovering person that can rotate 360 degrees. Your character also has a satellite that's always near him with a shot of its own. You have to blast through the baddies and take the money that a lot of them leave behind so that when you go to the shop you can buy weapons upgrades, new weapons, health, lives, armor, etc. This is the game that Lords of Thunder borrowed ideas from (as I said in that review). You can move anywhere on the screen and there's hidden power-ups, armor, money, etc. that you have to shoot in random spaces during stages to make appear, made even harder to collect because of all the action taking place.
The bosses are interesting, sometimes full-screen and are generally challenging. You have to exploit weaknesses and patterns just like any other shooting game. Before the game begins, after each stage, and during the ending there are full-screen cinemas (with voice acting in either English or Japanese in the TurboDuo version) and they briefly help progress the story, which isn't anything to get too excited about. Still, the English voice acting is absolutely hilarious in the TD version and not because it's trying to be either. You'll just have to hear it for yourself.
Both the Genesis and TurboDuo versions are very similar graphically, except the TD has slightly improved visuals and is a little harder (closer to the arcade) and obviously, since it's on CD, it has much better music.
Still, no matter which version you choose you can't go wrong with Forgotten Worlds. It's a very unique game that has tons of replay value. How sad that Capcom can manage to budget a ton of other game series like Mega Man X and can't even find the time to please hard-core gamers as well as newcomers with a good sequel. At the very least re-release this game on GameBoy Advance or something (where it would be VERY well-suited) and don't completely abandon the series.

Check out actual music tracks from the game, another review, and a comparison of screenshots between this version, the arcade, and the Genesis version ~ http://pcenginebible.roarvgm.com/HTML_Games/Forgotten_Worlds.htm
Here's a shot of the Commodore 64/128 version ~ http://www.c64gg.com/Images/F/Forgotten_Worlds.ss.gif
And one from the ZX Spectrum ~ http://www.crashonline.org.uk/65/images/forgotnw.gif

Icarus4578
01-24-2003, 08:10 PM
Uuuuuuh, what in the hell.....?

Fighting Street - TurboGrafx 16 CD (TurboDuo) - Rating 1
Well, needless to say, we've come a long way. I had bought a TurboDuo with about 12 games back about 5 years ago (I already owned the TurboGrafx16 so this was definitely a cool experience). I put in Ys Book I and II... cheesy cinema done by the system (no FMV like you would do if you're smart) but hey, that's ok. The game is very cool. Next up was Forgotten Worlds CD... SWEET!!! I already owned and loved the Genesis version, so of course it was with much excitement that I fired this baby up. My bro quips "Hey, aren't you gonna try Fighting Street?". I remembered playing it at a bowling alley and it was a pretty cool game, and I had been through all the SF2's and Alphas released up to that point. So I put the CD into my sleek, brand-new TurboDuo (not used), closed the CD lid and lit the power on fire. Whooooo!!!! Baby, here I come!!!!
What happened next has scarred me emotionally and even a little physically. At the title screen I made the same mistake so many before that played this game had done... I decided to press 'run' on the controller.
The ultimate form of 2D punsihment in gaming was set in motion. There are more things in this world that cause harm than do good: Kathie Lee Gifford, Roseanne Arnold, Barney, back-to-back episodes of Hillstreet Blues... and now this. I couldn't believe the videogame hell I had spawned on the TV. Petrifyingly horrid character and background art, controls of death, ULTRA-CHOPPY animation and, well, at least the music is ok. This is without question the worst Street Fighter ever made to my best knowledge.
What is redeeming is the ridiculous voice-acting and character profile art, and only because they're funny. Beat an opponent and hear a muffled voice going "What Strength! But don't forget there are many fighters like you all over the world! ". Lose and the same voice goes "You've got a lot to learn before you beat me. Try again kid! EH HEH HEH HEH HEH!!!".
How does it play? Firstly it animates like crap so you know it's not going to play well. I can't even get off Hadokens, Shoryukens and Tatsu-Maki-Sempu-Kyakus when I want to, no matter how hard I try. Everything is sloppy. And the enemies take way too much damage from Ryu too fast. I made it to Sagat (the last fight) and got my ass whipped and never beat the game. And of course he went "You've got a lot to learn before you beat me. Try again kid! EH HEH HEH HEH HEH!!!".
Forget this crap! This game is utterly horrible. Buy it if you want to ruin your gaming lives. Hey, if you've got a Turbo Tap (it allows multi-play because the system only has one controller port) both you and a friend can suffer together. The first player is always Ryu and the second always Ken. And it always sucks. Always.

Icarus4578
01-26-2003, 10:09 PM
Super Fun

Super Mario World 2 ~ Yoshi's Island - SNES - Rating 10
There's what more games these days need -- 'imagination'.
I've never seen (nor played) a game like Yoshi's Island. It's so fun, challenging and engrossing that it's utterly insane. This game pushes the SNES in such a way that even if you put the game in today it still looks awesome, and no 3D action/platform game has touched its sheer majesty, including Mario 64.
You have to control Yoshi who's carrying baby Mario on his back, and there's just a plethora of things Yoshi can do like transform into things such as trains, moles and helicopters, eat enemies and poop out eggs which he can use to target anything he wants, collect items, hover, etc. The game's genius lies in its flawless level designs which present unique and often challenging objectives for Yoshi to overcome. You also get graded after every stage depending on how well you've collected everything. If you have collect all 20 red coins, have 30 stars, and 5 flowers by the end of the stage you get a perfect 100%. In each world there's a hidden stage you open up if you get all 100% on every stage. If you get 100% on every level in the game (including hidden) you don't get anything except personal satisfaction, and that's fine. But I wish Nintendo added something for all that effort I put into it. At least I had fun doing it :)
The bosses are some of the most unique I've ever seen and take full advantage of the SNES special effects. Speaking of graphics, this game has some of the most unique visuals ever seen in gaming. It's like taking one of those storybooks that children look at and making a game with those visuals. It's colorful, clean and highly polished -- stages look like a child colored over them (like a coloring book) with pastel colors and a tremedous amount of parallax. Yoshi and everything else animate flawlessly. It's simply a marvel to look at it, and this came out back in 1995. While game publications and game players were being wooed by Rare's cheap tricks, ugly game visuals, and BORING gameplay and level-design, I personally knew Yoshi's Island exceeded it on every level: graphics, music and sound, level design, challenge, control, fun factor, and replay.... this game makes every other Rare product look/play boring in comparison.
The music is very nice and adds personality to the game. As usual, Koji Kondo does a stellar job aurally. Certainly far better than Mario Sunshine.
This game is released on GameBoy Advance virtually pixel-perfect, and now publications and the like are giving it perfect (or almost perfect) ratings. Sure would've been better if they all promoted it back in 1995 when it originally came out rather than giving stupid games like DKC2 coverage and overshadowing this incredible game just because of the then-newer 32-bit systems. At least GameFan Magazine had the courtesy of doing it justice.
Though it's a 2D game (and you might be suckered into thinking 3D makes games superior as if by default) it is yet again just another overlooked game that was more well-done than any 3D action/platform game I've played up to this day. It's a crowning achievement in gaming that was overlooked TWICE ~ once on SNES, and now on GBA.

Icarus4578
01-28-2003, 10:02 AM
Body Blow! Body Blow!

(Mike Tyson's) Punch Out! - NES - Rating 8
Super Punch Out! - SNES - Rating 9
Man was it cool when the original Punch Out! came out in the arcades. It was two screens, the one on top showed the profiles of the boxers and other stuff, and the bottom was the game. It had zooming on the characters, which at that time was awesome to see (even though the characters look kinda plain today) and it had voices for every different punch you did. "Jab, Jab, Body Blow, Uppercut...". I wasn't great at games back then, so I made it to the second or third guy and got my ass handed to me. After that, I played Punch Out on NES (formerly known as Mike Tyson's Punch Out until he was arrested for rape) and it even has Mario as the referee. It was very challenging for the first few weeks (remember, aside from Coleco-Vision, Atari and Vectrex home console gaming was pretty new). Now that I think of it, I can remember the very first time I even saw (and played) NES and Sega Master System back in Crazy Eddie's store. It was so DAMN awesome. I was with my brother and father and I got to play Duck Hunt and Super Mario Brothers. My brother was playing Fantasy Zone on SMS and some other shooting game for it on this enormus screen (like 7 feet tall or something) where he was shooting these big fire-wheels. Don't know what that game was called...
Anyway, back to Punch Out!. I would always lose to King Hippo because I couldn't figure out how to hurt him (hit him in his face when his mouth is open, then go for the gut). After that I had a hard time figuring out Bald Bull's 'bull charge'. I could never get the timing down on hitting him in the gut right before he unloads his super-uppercut. Of course now it's rather easy. Later matches against Piston Honda (rematch), Soda Popinski, Don Flamenco, The Sandman, Super Macho Man, and then... Mike Tyson, proved mighty challenging at first. Mike Tyson was changed to Mr Dream or whatever his face is called from the edited Punch Out versions, but both are the exact same fighter: for the first minute and a half of the first round every punch will knock you out with one hit. The rest is just like any other fighter's pattern, though a bit more annoying. Nonetheless, I've beaten it many times and it still remains fun. Here's the end fight password that I've had memorized in my head for the past 15 years or more~
007-373-5963
There's another password for a new circuit, but I'll let you figure that one out (hint: click on the link at the bottom of the review :D). Also, if you press 'select' in-between rounds, you can regain energy. However, the amount you get back is random. Just be sure you don't hit select before a match begins or in-between a round when you already have full health, otherwise your energy bar will go DOWN... There's just something 'special' about Punch Out!. One of the best things was between rounds, when Little Mac (that's you) and Doc would converse~
Little Mac - "He's hurt me, Doc!"
Doc - "Join the Nintendo Fun Club today Mac!"
Yeah!!! Now that's how it's done!!!

What a joy it was to get Final Fantasy III and Super Punch Out on Christmas at the same time, along with other games. It just ROCKED. I think SPO is better than the original for many reasons. I love the artwork, the characters, the strategy, how the super-meter from the arcade returned (instead of stars like in the NES version), not to mention better, quicker evasion and guarding, etc. Every fight is super fun. And later, super hard. But you can get it down in good time, and then it's no longer a question of 'if I win', but instead 'what's the best time I can finish him'? I got all sorts of records -- 12 seconds to Bear Hugger, 9 (count 'em, NINE) seconds on Super Macho Man, etc. etc. because it's so fun that it is literally unbelievable. They should release this game on GameBoy Advance because this game is a killer. The important strategies to get down with every boxer is 'when' ~ when they will do this or that attack and/or maneuver, 'what' ~ what you can do to avoid/counter each move, and 'how' ~ how to attack/counter and with what move(s). Get it down to an art form and punish them. Remember, to counter you have to 'intercept' their attack before it's released, and not every attack is counterable but most are. There are 4 circuits with 4 opponents in each. The last circuit will not open until you've beaten the other 3 without losing a match. The game is incredibly fun. If there's a negative to this game it could only be that the animation isn't smooth, but this game is on SNES and it's only 16-MEGS. Add to that the fact that the characters are massive and that explains that. But it still animates fine.
So I recommend these two games (and the arcade) to anybody looking for a good challenge and a fun time. I personally wish some company would borrow the super-meter idea from this game for a fighting game because it's as great an idea as, say, the super meter of Street Fighter Alphas and threes. Everybody that owns NES and SNES should check these games out, especially the SNES version. The best boxing games on the planet... (And no, Ring King doesn't compare.)

Codes for (Mike Tyson's) Punch Out! ~ http://www.gamewinners.com/nes/MikeTysonsPunch-out.htm

Icarus4578
01-28-2003, 08:03 PM
Here's a couple of great racers

Rage Racer - PlayStation - Rating 7
Ridge Racer Type 4 - PlayStation - Rating 8
Namco sure knows how to make a good racer. Ever since PS first released the Ridge Racer series of racers has become synonymous with quality mixed with state-of-the-art visuals, awesome arcade control and stellar music. And people seem to love Reiko Nagase as well (the cover girl for these games, except RRV with Ai Fukami). I personally don't care for her though. I'll begin with Rage Racer.
Even today, this game is awesome to play. It's very challenging, especially further into the game, because not only must you master power-sliding and braking but your opponents are just monsters on the road. And after you've got 1st place on all 4 circuits with all different types of cars and got all gold trophies, you get an ending. But no, that's not the true end of the game. Now you'll have to do it again with all the circuits in reverse! I personally would've perferred Namco make more tracks but these are no less challenging than Daytona USA and that's a good thing, in a way. It's also mind-numbing later on when everything is ultra-fast and if you make one or two good mistakes you may as well pause and select retry... The visuals are great, for PS, and the environments are well-done. The music is very good, with one song in particular reminding me of the boss fight song in Streets of Rage 2 (which was composed by Yuzo Koshiro). Though that sounds kinda strange, hey, it's nowhere near as weird as if Namco decided to make a song that sounds like the rock/metal guitar sustains "Weeeeeeeee!!!!" hysteria that occurs whenever you fight a boss in Lords of Thunder. :D You gain money throughout the game, as you do better on the tracks and place 1st, which you use to buy better cars and stuff. If you're as good as me and get all gold trophies in your trophy room you'll get the maximum allocation of money right from the start. I felt it useless though; after I did everything, I didn't feel the need to go back through it anymore. Similar to Mario 64 in a sense: what's the point in Yoshi giving you 100 lives when you've already got all 120 stars!?!? Still, if I pick RR up today it's pretty fun.

But I think RR Type 4 is more fun to play, though not as challenging. There's more circuits, more cars and they added a new style for the series. From the start you pick your team (out of 4 ~ USA, Japan, Italy and France) and then one of the car manufacturers and you converse with them before and after each set of courses, and depending on how well (or bad) you've been doing, elicit different responses and such, as well as different cars. The game plays excellently, with very good power-sliding, though it felt a bit too easy at times and I understand that this is supposed to be an arcade-style racer rather than a simulator like Gran Turismo. There are around 200 or more different car types (no real cars like the ultra-sweet Acura NSX though) and each has its own strengths/weaknesses. If you collect every type of car in the game you get to race as Pac-Man and even get a special song based on the Pac-Man theme. I personally didn't bother trying to get every single car just for that. I'd rather just race and have a good time.
The graphics are still good-looking today and if you put the game into a PS2 it can smooth the polygons out. Excellent course designs and very good sense of atmosphere really help make this game shine. The music is very nice too and really makes the experience all the more enjoyable. There are a lot of people who prefer Gran Turismo games to this series, but I personally disagree. I'd rather play a game that emphasizes fun factor over customization. If I wanted to stare at the real cars of GT then I'd buy a book or something with them in it and see the real thing.
So there you have it -- two quality racers that rock. If you prefer arcade-style, go with these, Daytona, Sega Rally, etc. and if you want simulation go with Gran Turismo and Sega GT series.

I will be back with more reviews. Now don't you go changing baby.

Icarus4578
01-29-2003, 08:32 AM
Curses

Kid Icarus (Palutena no Kagame) - NES - Rating 7 (stand-alone as a game it gets a 7, but for nostalgia I give it an 8 personally)
This game, when first released back in 1986, was one of the most popular Nintendo games made. It spawned only one sequel on GameBoy and this is utterly disappointing, especially from sequel-happy Nintendo. If there's one thing Nintendo should have besides their famous platformer Mario and adventurers Link and Samus Aran it's a great action mascot, and Pit fits the bill nicely. Look at Metroid on SNES and tell me you wouldn't have killed for a Kid Icarus done just as nicely. Did we ever get that? Nope. And Miyamoto (who I might add didn't make Kid Icarus for NES) said that they (Nintendo) weren't working on one because there wasn't enough fan support. Um, excuse me, but I can't think of any other old title people want a sequel for more than Kid Icarus.
If you grew up with an NES in your hosehold, chances are, you're familiar with Kid Icarus. It starred a young angel-boy named Pit who had to make his way up the screen by killing enemies with his bow and arrow and making some pretty devastatingly difficult jumps (though it's nothing to a veteran like myself). Pit's mission is to save Palutena and restore order to Angel Land by defeating his nemesis, Medusa. There are 4 stages in the game. The first three consist of 3 areas and then a dungeon/maze with a boss and the 4th stage plays like a shooting game (sort of) with Pit doning the wings of Pegasus, a mirror shield and light arrows. That's the basic game. But there's other things to do as well. There are many doors all over each stage and they lead to rooms where you can get power-ups for your arrow's attack power, buy items, fight enemies and even play a pot game where you shoot 8 pots in a room in whatever order you choose to try and get special items. Problem is, the god of poverty is always lurking in one of them, and if you hit the wrong pot he'll come out and take the items away (while a weird little melody plays). There's a room where Zeus tests your strength by throwing mirrors out after you everywhere (which you can shoot down) and if you stay in the room and survive it, you'll be given a choice of 3 special power-ups. Here's a tip ~ kill some and let the hearts they leave behind stay as long as possible because this reduces the amount of mirrors on-screen. Speaking of hearts, the hearts in Kid Icarus are the money in the game which you get by killing enemies or finding them in the pots in that room I talked about. Pit's energy bar increases by gaining a certain sum of points and finishing a stage, and Pit can also carry items as well. The enemies in this game are interesting for an action game in that most of them aren't simply running up to you and attacking. Some hover ominously around the screen waiting for a chance to strike, while others are activated so to speak when you let the Grim Reapers see you which makes them panic (and that god of poverty song starts playing) and 4 little floating reapers come out after you. Other enemies fall out of the sky and some can pop up from the ground and shoot at you, etc. so there's a nice variety of baddies to deal with (though some are the same enemies with a different look/stronger, sorta like what an RPG might do by color-swapping or what have you). Make no mistake about it ~ the worst enemies to deal with are the Eggplant Wizards. They exist in all 3 dungeons and are found in groups of two, throwing eggplants at you. If you get hit by their eggplants your upper-torso becomes an egglant and you cannot do anything other than run, duck and jump. You have to search for a hospital in the dungeon which can cure it for free. Sound weird? It is, but it's definitely unique and also very annoying when it happens. I almost broke my NES a while back because I got hit three times by the same stupid Eggplant Wizard. Here's how to avoid it ~ when you enter a room, try and get within a few feet of the closest wizard and fire away (because the eggplants they throw aren't going straight at you; they're thrown overhead to try and land on you, unless you're already on the top of the screen).
The graphics, while obviously dated, are the same quality as Metroid on NES, meaning that it looks decent but dated. The music is actually well-composed and though there's not a whole lot of songs, what's there works well.
So if you are looking for some good old nostalgia give Kid Icarus a go. While you're at it, ask Nintendo to make a sequel like we all know they should've by now. Hey, they have the nerve to show Pit's face in Super Smash Brothers Melee or whatever and they don't even bother to utilize him the right way. Instead, Kid Icarus has simply become a relic sitting on a shelf somewhere in Nintendo's offices in Japan.

And here, for your pleasure (since I love you all too much) is a page built just for the man himself, Kid Icarus ~ http://www.flyingomelette.com/kidicarusshrine.html Much thanks to whomever this hardcore gamer is that rocks hard enough he or she decided to share pics, maps, tricks,
tips, codes, enemy and character lists, music files, little-known facts, etc. with everybody. Great site! Show some love and check it out.

Of course, I'll be back for more review-goodness, as usual.

Vicviper
01-30-2003, 12:31 PM
You are the man Icarus! I bought DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball based on your review and it was spot on. It's a great game. The only thing that I liked better than you did was the casino. I found it fairly entertaining watching the girls bet tons of money on roulette. plus the poker and blackjack are fun.
I also like reading your reviews of older games. It brings back sweet memories for me. Keep it up if you can.

Icarus4578
01-30-2003, 09:54 PM
Two superb RPGs with a style all their own

Lunar ~ Silver Star Story - Sega CD/Playstation/Sega Saturn (import) - Rating 8 all-around
Lunar 2 ~ Eternal Blue - Sega CD/Playstation/Sega Saturn (import) - Rating 8 on Sega CD and 9 on PS, SS
Who that has played these games can possibly forget them? Among the most cherished RPGs ever made, Lunars stand strong above others with phenomenal story-writing and structure (by Keisuke Shigematsu), character designs by none other than one of the masters, Mr. Giant Robo himself, Y a m a s h i t a Akihiko, and superb soundtracks by Noriyuki Iwadare (who also did games like Grandia). Game Arts has a knack for effective game pacing which is often represented in cut-scenes which feature voice acting dialogue. The English translation was brought to us by Working Designs, who have imported many fine products, including Alundra on PS. The RPG engine is superb, with characters/foes that actually move around the screen and animate, and strategy is required for most of the fighting. The problem with Lunar SS on Sega CD was that there was a little too much emphasis on progressing the story which lead to a rather linear quest (albeit very enjoyable to say the least). However plain it may look by today's standards, it still had an atmosphere unreplicated to this day by other RPGs, one in which as the game's story changes the inhabitants of the towns reflect this change as do the protagonists/antagonists. The art design also does a lot in this respect.
I for one believe these two games to have the best storylines of any RPG ever made. Absolutely wonderful stories which would've been well-suited for a good Anime series. The only negative was when Working Designs brought over Lunar 2 on Sega CD they decided to change aspects of the game (pay to save? Come on now) and ruined some of the translation with bad puns and jokes which revolved around (then) modern-day America. I'd rather have a more straight translation, but I don't mind some of the jokes here and there, just as long as they have nothing at all to do with our culture. I'm trying to escape reality and have fun playing games; why remind me of a reality I already know is there?
When Game Arts decided to remake Lunar they got rid of some of the useless dungeons, added new sub-plots and cut-scenes (originally intended for the original), added a few things here and there and obviously improved the graphics and sound (well, the music in Lunar SS for Sega CD is still better than the PS, SS version). And with Lunar 2 they added more stuff to the epilogue, a few nice additions around the main overworld and cut-scenes, much more added dungeons to the epilogue, and, once again, upgraded the graphics and sound (here the sound doesn't suffer like the original Lunar SS remake). Although they added more to Lunar SS than Lunar 2, the latter is still the superior game in virtually every way. That's a personal opinion -- I'm more attached to Hiro and Lucia than Alex and Luna. Hiro had the better quest - that's just the way it is. Oh, and in both remakes you can see the enemies before engaging in conflict.
How can I not bring up the soundtracks? The original Lunars for Sega CD have some of the greatest soundtracks of any RPG ever made. Very effective in bringing the Lunar world to life and adding a much-needed emotional effectiveness to the quests. And who can forget the voice outtakes at the end of the WD translations?
So it's all a question of tastes. If you're the kind of person who gives every game a fair chance and want to be entertained and have fun at the same time, I recommend Lunar or Lunar 2 (perferrably the Lunar 2 on PS, SS) for their deep, enjoyable quests. If, however, you're put on only by graphics and buy products based upon its name, I say go buy FFX. I'm harsh on that game, and there's a very good reason why --- it sucks. Both Lunars definitely do NOT suck. They are underrated, left out, and they deserve more attention than the quips most game publications gave to them. I guess it doesn't matter how hard a developer works to make a great game. All you need is a name (like Final Fantasy) to completely overcast it.

Here is LunarNET, perhaps the best online source for Lunar info-related stuff ~ http://www.lunar-net.com/lunar3.shtml
Next is Working Designs. Naturally - what else were you expecting? ~ http://workingdesigns.com/
This is Noriyuki Iwadare's English Homepage. Learn about the man behind the music ~ http://www.cocoebiz.com/iwadare/index.html
Here's the GameArts official homepage ~ http://www.gamearts.co.jp/
And here's coverage of all four of the Lunar games I've reviewed.
Lunar SS (Sega CD) ~ http://www.rpgamer.com/games/lunar/ltss/ltss.html
Lunar SSS (PS, SS) ~ http://www.rpgamer.com/games/lunar/lsss/lsss.html
Lunar 2 EB (Sega CD) ~ http://www.rpgamer.com/games/lunar/leb/leb.html
Lunar 2 EBC (PS, SS) ~ http://www.rpgamer.com/games/lunar/l2ebc/l2ebc.html
Tons of great screenshots and artwork for both Lunars can be found here ~ http://quietcannon.tripod.com/Main.html

Let the good times roll :cool:

Icarus4578
01-31-2003, 08:08 PM
Back to basics

Strider - Sega Genesis - Rating 9
Strider was one of the most anticipated games of all time. It was the first 16-bit game to have such a massive amount of MEGS (just 8, but that was quite a number back then), and it was almost exactly like its arcade counterpart. All the game publications were giving Strider big coverage, and there's a good reason for that - Strider is a great game. After all, before that point, there just wasn't any competition against this game's massive sprites, huge bosses, and unorthodox game design.
There was a version on NES previous to this, but that wasn't based on the arcade (although it shared many similar characteristics). Watching Strider on Genesis in motion for the first time was like a dream come true. It literally felt like having an arcade at home. In fact, I remember in a magazine someone saying something like "you'll feel like inserting tokens into your Genesis" and "no tokens necessary." That was beyond the norm. Even when they released the TMNT arcade game by Konami on NES for the first time it just wasn't the same excitement.
Anyway, Strider has stood the test of time. It remains an extremely fun and exciting game. You are Hiryu, a Strider (a specially trained soldier) that must protect the Earth from a villian known as Meio ~ the emperor of the Third Moon, who wants to rule to world. Meio's arsenal consists of a flying battleship, mechanical dinosaurs, a room of politicians who jump into the air forming a massive metallic centipede with an upper torso which resembles a praying mantis, armed soldiers, Chinese kung-fu girls and even amazon women wielding huge boomerangs and axes. Hiryu can run, jump, slide, hang, move along ledges and climb walls, and of course there's his plasma sword which attacks at lightning speeds and is always accompanied by a "SHING!" sound. Hiryu even gets different 'helpers' along the way: little android robots that shoot at enemies, an awesome metallic puma-like cat, and a robotic hawk. There's a good variety of enemies in the game, especially since it's relatively short (I can finish it off in a good 20 minutes or less). There are 5 stages and each one is filled to the rims with a variety of enemies and seperate bosses (sorta similar to Treasure, although Capcom made this game well before they did anything of the sort). Sega made this port from the arcade just so you know, the same way they did the Ghouls 'N Ghosts port. Every stage has multiple songs that cue up as you enter upon different sections. Again, this was well before anybody like Nintendo ever used the idea with Mario 64. So Strider is quite an accomplishment, to say the least. There are even cinemas between the stages to progress the story, although they sorta fly by a little too quickly to get too involved in any real big plot, but honestly, WHO CARES? You're playing Strider for the action, not the plot. The music is very nice stuff, although some tracks only have about 20 seconds until they repeat. Nothing to get worked up about, but it fits the game well. The game does have one flaw -- slowdown! When you are fighting certain things the screen can really come down to a crawl at times, but I learned to get over it.
Strider is a great action game to own with lots of replay value. You can even get Strider 2 on PlayStation and it comes with a perfect port of the arcade with an optional redone version of the original soundtrack (but with loading between stages). And they released Strider on PC Engine CD/TurboDuo, but oddly enough there's no parallax scrolling. Uuuuuh.... And oh yeah - stay far, FAR away from that sequel to Strider that was released on Genesis by U.S. Gold. It absolutely sucks. Stick with the original and Strider 2.

Check out the greatness that is Strider--
--in the arcades ~ http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?letter=S&game_id=9838
--and at home on Genesis ~ http://www.shinforce.com/genesis/reviews/Strider.htm

Icarus4578
02-02-2003, 08:53 AM
Issues...

Halo - X-Box - Rating 1
Here we go again... yet another FPS game that really adds nothing to the genre other than improved graphics and the fact that you assist allies in battle. Nothing special. I mean, come on now. It has been a decade or so since Doom came out and the FPS genre hasn't really been developed much further (aside from technically).
Sure, there are die-hard FPS players out there. No disrespect to any of you, but I personally don't see the fun in shooting the same 7 enemies ten million times before a crappy ending ensues. It feels like it just endlessly goes on and on and on. Sure, they added vehicles and such but that's just a gimmick.
Would it hurt so much to have a variety of enemy types in FPS games, along the likes of something like Contra III (not to mention actual cool boss fights)? Think of the vast potential and how it is just ignored. Not only that, as good as the graphics are technically (remember, I hate the cold, sterile look of most 3D games) they don't seem to care enough to put enough variety in locales. Let me see.... in action games you are given a wide variety of stages with different looks to each of them, and even within the stages there are multiple sections. This helps to keep it from being dull. Not only that, in those other action titles like Gunstar Heroes, Contra 3 and even Castlevania IV the stages aren't nearly as long as they are in something like Halo, and so the longer you have to run through the same architectures, tunnels and plains, the more repetitious everything gets. What are the game designers being paid for if they can't even come up with a variety of locales? Virtually everything looks the same throughout the entire game, and it's not exactly a short trek.
And how about giving the player something to do other than mindlessly run around and shoot the same frigging 2 or 3 enemies 1,000 times before moving on to another area, where 1,000 more of the same enemies await? That's not fun. That just sucks, especially to a veteran gamer like myself who expects a lot more and knows not to play kiss-ass to game developers. If you want something changed for the better and for developers to stop handing you the same thing over and over again with a higher polygon count then the only thing you can do is make your voice heard. Game designers like these have talent in what they do; they just have a low standard for excellence. Even Space Harrier, which was about 12-15 minutes from start to end, had more things to shoot at (not to mention more original gameplay). So you mean to tell me that after all these years game developers are REDUCING enemy counts, locales, objectives, and even the music itself? And then game publications (who should know a LOT better) give this game super-high ratings and blazing reviews? Nuh-UUUH!!! No way baby! Not as long as I'm around because I'm condeming this game for doing nothing for a genre that remains stagnated in one place. Bungie, you have the means and the full capacity to take this genre and make it go places, but instead, you opted to do what everybody else has already done before you.
That's just sad. Halo 2 better do something and something good.

Icarus4578
02-02-2003, 06:59 PM
This is how it's done

Soul Calibur - Dreamcast - Rating 10 :cool:
By now, I think everybody is familiar with Namco's flagship fighting series Tekken. Part one was pretty cool when it first came out in arcades and Playstation. Two was even better and 3 rocked as well. But part 4 was a step in the wrong direction. I guess Itagaki (from Tecmo's Team Ninja) was right about that. However, even though part 4 was pretty bad, parts 2 and 3 are deeper fighting games than Dead or Alive 3, though nowhere near as polished. Both series are fun though.
However, both are also button mashers. In Tekken's case, it's more or less a game of memorizing 'press this button, then this button, then this button + forward here, etc.' to do a combo, and most of them are pre-set and easy to do (and counter) after the thousandth time, and they all play similar as a result (except for a wrestler like King). Dead or Alive 2 and 3, while they have better fighting engines than Tekken in many respects, don't have the masterful learning curve of something like Street Fighter 2. Instead, DoA suffers for its ultra-easy counter system. Both DoA and Tekken are fun series (with DoA3 being the most fun to play). Their big fault is that they're button mashers and do not have a steep enough learning curve.
Enter Soul Calibur. Released around the time of Dreamcast's launch, this Namco 3D weapons fighter remains a symbol in the genre as to what a great fighting system is (alongside Virtua Fighter 1, 2 and 4). The fighting system is intuitive and functionable, the characters are absolutely awesome, the game is deep with added secrets and the music is well-done. The counter system in SC is perhaps the best one ever made for a 3D fighter: tap back + guard/down-back + guard (or forward + guard/down-forward + guard) to counter/repel an attack high and low. Each character also has attacks you cannot deflet; they usually take a little longer to execute than standard attacks. There are 3 counters: Attack Counter, Run Counter and Back Dash Counter. Your character also has a library of attacks and combos. Each character takes work and time to make effective in combat (the way it should be), and it's a very even fighter. Juggles, throws, attacks while downed, guard impacts, and you can even 'soul charge' your character by pressing X, Y, and B which makes all your attacks have the same effect as a counter.
The graphics, while not as good technically as Dead or Alive 3, still look smooth and refined with very nice sceneries and locales. Excellent game design in its entirety. I must mention the character motion --- it is better than virtually every other 3D fighters (still) and this makes a BIG difference when it comes to game control.
The soundtrack is very nice and really helps bring the game to life. The music isn't as good as Soul Edge (this game's prequel) but it's not a big issue. As for extras, Namco jam-packed this baby with enough secrets to keep players happy for a long time to come. Whenever you win a full game in arcade mode or a fight in mission battle mode (I'll explain that in a minute) you gain points which you use as money to buy things in the museum. You also unlock the second roster of characters as you win with more characters, and you even gain new weapons for them all in mission battle mode.
In Mission Battle Mode you select a fighter and go to a world map where you use your icon to highlight different areas where different challenges await, such as defeat an opponent in a certain time limit, defeat all 3 opponents in a row, can only hurt the opponent with a throw, etc. Some of these are agitating because of their difficulty but it's a great way to truly get the fighting system down. There's also hidden locations unmarked on the map that you just have to find for yourself. There's even a mode to direct the opening sequence! Furthermore, you can even watch character embus (weapons demonstrations) which are awesome to say the least.
All told, Soul Calibur is definitely a fighting game with all the necessary credentials and is packed with a ton of extras. There's nothing to compain about with the game because it just does so many things the right way. Certainly the best game on Dreamcast (along with Shenmue) this title belongs in your game library. It's fun, challenging, addictive, interesting, and rewarding. It has aged gracefully and is currently my personal favorite 3D fighter. Good job Namco! :clap:

gabriel
02-03-2003, 08:34 AM
Originally posted by gearhound
I must sat that some of those reviews are way off. Your system for reviewing games is ridiculously off balance. How are you going to praise a game, but only give it 7/10? You gave great games poor reviews. I wouldn't buy games based on your reviews(not that I buy games based on reviews anyway because I know what is good and what isn't) nor should anyone else. However, some reviews I did agree with. Anyway, my butthole could write better reviews.

p.s. (if you read PROFESSIONAL reviews of his games, you will see that he IS way off!)

p.p.s (please don't hate me. oh what the hell! i really could care less!! PEACE OUT!!!!!)

I agree that the scale is a bit off balance but what you seem to neglect is that these are his personal reviews.

Icarus, you seem to have a bit of a double standard regarding innovation. You gave Halo and Orta lousy scores, saying they bring nothing new to the table, but gave a game like Lunar a great score. While Lunar is a great game it certainly isnt innovative (which your ratings seem highly based on) and does nothing new that hasnt been seen in RPGs of old. If you dont like Orta or Halo that's fine but if you're going to complain about the lack of originality at least do it consistantly.

Alucard
02-03-2003, 08:54 AM
Well like the heading says, they're his reviews. Someone could hop up and give one of the Tokimemo games 9/10 and alot of people on here wouldn't play them. I think its a good thread since it gives us insights as to what others think about certain games. As for professional reviewers... Doug Perry <that his name?> over at IGN is a prof reviewer, and I think he's a complete tosser.

Actually I'm surprised a few others haven't put up their own review threads, like Blueskeid for example since he likes to toss some here and there. I'm too lazy to write my own. They'd basically all be Konami games and the main body of he review would be 'This game r0x0rz. Play it or I'll kill you'. Kinda crappy.

blueskied
02-03-2003, 09:33 AM
Originally posted by Alucard

Actually I'm surprised a few others haven't put up their own review threads, like Blueskeid for example since he likes to toss some here and there.

I did post a review of Galaxy Angel for the jap xbox the other day. I gave it a high score as I think it deserves it (a 94%).
I plan on posting reviews for Japanese games when they first come out, and in the next week I'll post a review of the jap xbox action-rpg Tenerezza. I'm not going to start my own review thread for a couple reasons: 1)I don't have time to review more than one game every week or two, 2)I don't think there's any point in posting a review of a game that's been reviewed a bunch of times (like Orta, DOAX, RE0, etc) so I'm just going to stick to games that AREN'T being reviewed (like Galaxy Angel, Tenerezza, maybe Ikaruga for the GC too, etc.), 3)I don't think there's any point in reviewing old, old games as first of all they were already reviewed back in the day, and second of all if they're something like a NES game you can just download and play the rom in less time than it takes to read a review of the game, hence finding out for yourself if you like the game or not. I think reviews of old NES games like River City ransom are totally unnecessary, but that's just me.

That said, I agree Icarus has harsh and sometimes contradictory ratings. Even though I don't care for Halo I'd never give it a 2, I mean, you save ratings like that for truly flawed products with little to no redeeming qualities. And giving Orta a 2 is just ridiculous, but, as the thread says, it's Icarus's opinions and he is certainly entitled to them. It's good to have different views on things, even if you don't agree with all of them.

Alucard
02-03-2003, 09:46 AM
I'm definately looking forward to those japanese game reviews, blue. Theres heaps of stuff there that come out that would never make it into english, and those are usually the ones I'm really interested in. I will forever curse Sega, despite loving them, for never translating Shining Force 3 scenario 2 and 3. And I wishwishwish Dragon Force 2 made it in english. Damn, theres heaps of games I can bring up. Sakura Taisen anyone?

Vicviper
02-03-2003, 12:35 PM
Originally posted by gearhound
. Anyway, my butthole could write better reviews.


Well, let's hear a review from you, or your butthole for that matter. If your skills are as good as you say I should be reading a quality review by days end.

Icarus4578
02-03-2003, 04:38 PM
Let's clear these matters up. I write reviews of new and old titles based on (drumroll please....) my opinions. However, I take into consideration the 'lasting value and quality' of a product. For example, why is it that when Resident Evil 2 came out it got super-high ratings, and now with the re-release it got decimated by the reviewers? Because of graphics. They judge whether or not a game is good based on its graphics. I think that's absurd. If I played Resident Evil 2 and then played something like Driver 2 or Zone of the Enders (which have much better graphics) I'd still give Resident Evil 2 a higher rating, because it's a quality game, despite its graphics. I gave something like 'Forgotten Worlds' an 8 because it transends time with sheer fun factor, whereas something like PDO, which I believe got high ratings based solely on its graphical merits, will fade into the past and be bettered by this or that newer product. You see a great game like Yoshi's Island and you wonder why nobody has equaled (much less bettered) it on any of the new systems. It's a true classic.

As for me having a double-standard, I don't see what you're getting at. Halo was lacking, to say the very least, and when Halo 2 comes out, virtually nobody is going to care about Halo part 1 anymore (in much the same way people who buy Doom 3 won't wanna touch Doom again). FPS games utilize state-of-the-art graphics and technics and so you'd think somebody would take it and do something other than make you shoot at the same enemy 74,000 times. What's so great about that? You tell me. I personally could care less about those games, save for watching somebody else play them for 5 minutes. There's nothing that makes these games stand ahead or aside from the others aside from technical achievements and a few gimmicks. And then you play something like Metroid Prime, where the emphasis isn't just on shooting one enemy a thousand times before you move to the next section, and it innovates the genre by utilizing elements new to that type of game (though not new to Metroid itself) as well as new visions and such which are a nice addition. In contrast, what did Halo do that was so good to compensate for mundane shooting a million of the same 7 enemies? You can ride a couple of horribly-controlled vehicles. Ummm.... that's what I consider a gimmick. Do I consider that fun? No. Do you? If that's what you want to play, nobody is stopping you. I'd like to see them do something with this genre other than virtually everybody make the same game, often with a different setting.

As for why I review older games, I like to share my views and thoughts as well as try and expose some great games for anybody that hasn't had a chance to play them (and hopefully share a little nostalgia). Not only that, I speak out for things, like games that deserve sequels such as Kid Icarus.

If you don't like my section or disagree with me, then that's completely fine. But I'm making my own contribution. A 7 and 8 rating are very good ratings. Even if something gets a 5 (like Mario Sunshine) that doesn't mean the entire game isn't fun. If I gave something a 0-3 then that means I believe it has been done much better beforehand, and/or the game simply isn't that much fun to me. A 10 is reserved for games that I consider the highest quality and stand the test of time (Soul Calibur, Castlevania IV, etc.)

I know I set some of you on fire (like Gearhound, and Blueskied who tried to use the 'why bother reading his section' stance as a weapon) with my views. But I won't sacrifice my opinions for anybody or anything. If you don't like my opinions, nobody is forcing you to read them.

Kid0_oIcarus
02-03-2003, 05:08 PM
(Not reading a vast majority of the thread)

Oh yeah? Well your reviews sux, imposto-Icarus!

(Not really, I just wanted to get that out of the way. :D People are entitled to their opinions, and reviews fall- especially those labeled "My personal ratings"- under that category. So do moronic comments like mine and genious-hound's. Sadly. No offence.)

Icarus4578
02-03-2003, 09:23 PM
More review goodness coming your way

Persona 2 ~ Eternal Punishment - PlayStation - Rating 8
Too bad about this game. When it was released stateside it came at the same time as Final Fantasy 9, and so it was almost completely ignored. Too bad - it's a better game.
PS2-EP is the sequel in Japan to Person 2 ~ Innocent Sin, created by Atlus. Both are similar in virtually every way, albeit with some different characters, music, locations, etc. And some things are the same, such as some of the characters like Maya who is the star of PS2-EP. If you've played Persona ~ Revelations for PS then you should have a grasp as to how this game is because both are similar. And all are part of a huge series of RPGs in Japan, called Shin Megami Tensei, which has made its way to virtually every system, including the forthcoming X-Box and PlayStation 2 incarnations.
The first thing you notice about Persona 2 is that, instead of some past or future setting, it takes place in a predominately modern setting of cities complete with shops, supermarkets, buildings, and schools - a welcome change to the typical fantasy settings as seen in most every other RPG. The best thing about the game's map is that you can go wherever you want, whenever you want (so long as you make it to any new section on the map). The character designs are very interesting to say the least, featuring a very unique cast of characters and villians in one of the most unusual stories I've ever encountered in an RPG. But you really need to pay attention to the game throughout its entirety to understand it (which requires that you play virtually only this game for awhile until it's over).
The gameplay is great too, though it takes a little getting used to. The characters and enemies are sprites rather than polygon models, but the locations are in full 3D. Some rooms and places are very unique and even a bit impressive. You can rotate the camera any way you choose, in stark contrast to something like Breath of Fire 3, although that really doesn't make this game any better. The battles are interesting. Enemies can converse with you, and you can talk to them, sing songs to them, make fun of them, flatter them... etc. And every character has their own different means of communication. Sometimes, two characters will join together, one playing a classical/flamenco guitar (!) while another dances. That's just one example. And enemies react differently to different things. You can even combine up to three characters which yields even more different results, and as the game moves on and character relationships chnage more different things are possible. VERY unique to say the least. My only complaint with that is that in the first Persona ~ Revelations each character had a list of things you could make them do (such as dance, sing, bribe, etc.) while in this one you know what each character is going to try and do. However, it does make up for this with the combinations.
So what's the point to doing all this, you ask? Good question. A successful bribe (if that's what you can call it) will make enemies scared, happy, or filled with joy. And each one has a different effect. This is also the best way to get loads of tarot cards and special items you couldn't obtain otherwise. Just try not to make the demons angry. Tarot cards are basically summons, and each character can equip them. When you do, they can boost certain stats, make magics available, etc. The fighting is well done, of course. Though it can get repetitious at times (as well as very difficult) it's always a thrill to attack some enemies with a combo-magic attack, followed by beating on them with a weapon and then pulling out an Uzi and blowing them away. It sounds cool to be sure, but it's not the most impressive thing you've ever seen graphically. Nonetheless it remains an interesting combat system that has never been duplicated.
The music is very awesome (I got the 2-CD soundtrack sets for each Persona 2 as well as the 3-CD set for Persona Revelations). Some songs are cool, techno-ish dance stuff, some are weird as hell, others are funny (LOVE that convenience store song and all of its remixes :)) and some are more serious. Very good stuff indeed. The sounds are good as well, though some of the voice acting in battles can get repetitious. Thankfully, to compensate for the lengthy battles, you can always turn on an option that removes all the animation and shortens the battle length greatly.
All said and done, Persona 2 ~ Eternal Punishment is a great RPG. But I only recommend it for those die-hard RPG fans who want to play everything, or to those who want something new and different. On its own merits it's a fantastic game - much better than Final Fantasy 9 in terms of story, characters, music, lasting value and longevity. However, those of you looking for instant gratification and easy difficulty may wanna try elsewhere - this game is tough.
Maya Amano - "Let's all positive thinking!"

Want artwork? ~ http://www.dragonsagadensetsu.com/P2E.html
Want more? ~ http://www.rpgdreamer.com/per2/per2char.html
Even more ~ http://www.rpgfan.com/pics/persona2-ep/art.html
You just can't get enough, can you? Here's Persona 2 ~ Innocent Sin artwork ~ http://www.dragonsagadensetsu.com/P2I.html
Here, have some more ~ www.rpgamer.com/games/megten/persona2/persona2art.html
WinAmp skins of Persona 2? Why Not? ~ http://whitney.is-a-geek.net/winamp/persona/
You decide ~ http://www.sweet-umi.net/persona/persona2ep/
This site ROCKS! ~ http://www.chthonian.net/persona/

Vicviper
02-03-2003, 11:16 PM
Keep posting your reviews Icarus. It's a small matter of if someone doesn't like your views all they have to do is not click on the thread, plain and simple. We don't need people like gearhound turning this place into the Gamefaqs BB. This BB is supposed to be a refreshing place where people can speak there mind if they have something important to say. I for one enjoy reading your reviews. I don't agree with all of them but I admire your point of view based on the experience you've had with a game.

Icarus4578
02-04-2003, 08:52 AM
Naturally. Like I could possibly be contained! :cool: I'm too cool to let that happen.

I even add on to past reviews sometimes with facts and tips. I don't use a percentage system %. I just don't get why anybody would use it. I mean, what do I say when someone asks me 'why a 76% and not a 77% or 75%'? I use a score of 0-10. Easy to keep track of.

Rock on.

P.S. To Gearhound, I don't believe people are going to all come here for their latest game coverage to decide what they want to buy. A 7 rating is a very good game that everybody should at least try, in my opinion. And hey, at least in my reviews, I won't change a rating 5 years later just because a game's graphics have dated (unless a sequel or something similar has taken it much further), unlike other game reviewers.

P.P.S. To Gabriel, in an RPG like Lunar 2 it does so many things the right way that it's absurd. I don't rate games based on 'innovation' as you may seem to think I do (although if something is innovative, that's not a bad thing). In Lunar 2 the programmers and designers worked hard to make a fine RPG product filled to the rims with excellent storytelling, characters, music, battle system and fun factor. It keeps you interested. In Halo, it's shoot the same enemies a million times, and in PDO the controls are a downgrade from past installments, not to mention that on Hard it becomes a game of memorizing where every little enemy and shot is coming from and instead of having to avoid most of the shots I have to shoot them all down when I'd much rather be shooting down enemies like I'm supposed to be doing in a shooting game.

Bottom line, Lunar and Lunar 2 are both fair (aside from pay to save in the Sega CD version of Lunar 2), fun, unique, interesting and does what's supposed to be done in an RPG the right way. Halo is doing what virtually every other FPS has done which means if I own something else like Doom 3 or whatever I'm gonna get the same product with a different setting (and probably a few more enemies and locales). Lunar and Lunar 2 offer something different and fun every time. That's the way I feel.

blueskied
02-04-2003, 10:01 AM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
Naturally. Like I could possibly be contained! :cool: I'm too cool to let that happen.

I even add on to past reviews sometimes with facts and tips. I don't use a percentage system %. I just don't get why anybody would use it. I mean, what do I say when someone asks me 'why a 76% and not a 77% or 75%'? I use a score of 0-10. Easy to keep track of.

Rock on.



Jesus christ you're full of yourself. I've yet to come across someone that regards their own opinion so highly. You really need a reality check, Icarus. "too cool"? :irked"

And the percentage scale is merely a finer level of distinction, a game that rates an 80% is obviously not quite as good as one that rates an 89%, whereas if you give both an 8 then where's the difference? Of course all ratings are arbitrary and inherently relative to the the reviewer's tastes, but that doesn't have any more bearing on a percentage scale than it does on a "simple" 0-10 scale. Giving good games (like Orta, and even Halo) a 2, and average games like Castlevania IV a perfect 10 (I remember buying that and beating it in about 2 hours the first day I had it. I wanted to run back to the store and ask for my money back, what a waste of $60! It's not even close to being as good as Castlevania II!!), really makes your opinions fall on deaf ears around these forums.

Icarus4578
02-04-2003, 10:18 AM
Funny you should bring up Castlevania IV; it's a classic. Don't really care if it's easy ~ so are a ton of games, like Super Punch Out! That game (SPO) is super-easy to me now, but it remains tremendously fun. I can beat it in 20 minutes or so, but it's endlessly fun trying to better my timing or just beat up my opponents. If you think something like Zelda - A Link to the Past is easy after all this time, does that make it any less a classic? Not in the least. I regard my opinions as just that. And when I said I'm 'too cool' I mean I'm not concerned with being called names and being ridiculed for having opinions. I'm going to keep at it. Are you angry or something just because I didn't give Halo and PDO a perfect rating? I bet if I gave them both 9's or 10's nobody would have come in here complaining. Too bad that's never going to happen. I'm gonna keep kicking out great reviews of new and old titles from both Japan and USA. If you have a better rating for Halo and PDO go ahead and print it and explain why your views aren't the same as mine.

gabriel
02-04-2003, 04:20 PM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
.
Bottom line, Lunar and Lunar 2 are both fair (aside from pay to save in the Sega CD version of Lunar 2), fun, unique, interesting and does what it's supposed to be done in an RPG the right way. Halo is doing what virtually every other FPS has done which means if I own something else like Doom 3 or whatever i'm gonna get the same product with a different setting....

In your statement regarding Halo, one could easily replace "Halo" with "Lunar" and "Doom 3" with any random tradional RPG. In fact, many would argue that Halo is very well made, and "does what it's supposed to be done in an FPS the right way."

So basically, Lunar is like any other RPG, but in a different setting, and fun, while Halo is like any other FPS, but in a different setting, and crappy because all you do is shoot enemies. It sounds like you just dont like FPS games, and you should just say that rather than make Halo out to be a terrible game.

Twelve
02-04-2003, 04:52 PM
I'm sitting here in disbelief. Are people actually putting Icarus down because he's writing reviews? My goodness...let the man do as he wishes! So you disagree with his reviews...can't you disagree pleasantly instead of insulting him? He's doing quality writing here, WITHOUT pay. It's a service that he's doing. Chill out peoples. You agitators sound like you're jealous, and that's REALLY pathetic.
As I said before, Icarus, write on baby!

12

gabriel
02-04-2003, 05:06 PM
Bar a certain individual, who's name rhymes with earhound, I think the "agitators" are quite justified in their criticism and make valid arguements.

In all honesty I've found Icarus' posts to be some of the most agitating posts I've ever read on this forum (not this one in particular). They just rub me the wrong way for some reason. Nothing personal, just opposing viewpoints I suppose. And as long as he can defend his arguements, more power to him.

Icarus4578
02-04-2003, 06:38 PM
Can you say "BUG TESTING"?

Athena - NES - Rating 3
It's too bad this game is as sloppy as it is because it has some very good concepts. I will explain that in this review, and that will coexist with the fundamental reasons I've never completed the game (to all those who have, hats off too you).
First of all, this is an action game by SNK (they also did another Athena, for the arcades I believe) and it plays as following ~ you, as Athena, attack enemies to take their weapons (mallets, swords, staffs, bow and arrows, etc.) and destroy stone blocks to uncover pieces of armor, power-ups, wings which allow her to fly, and even items with a negative effect (see the red pumpkin face which I describe later), make it to a boss and defeat it to move to another level. The game is designed pretty nicely, and it has some interesting foes to deal with.
Now for the negative side. It's filled with bugs and glitches. From getting stuck in one spot and having no way out (thus having to restart the entire game) to enemies appearing alongside you as you come landing into another area, stealing all your life, to items and hearts not being collected when you touch them, to being 'volleyed' into arrows shot at you by more arrows, to cheap bosses, to getting far into a stage and leaping into a hole, only to find yourself back at the start of the stage (and there's a 5 minute timer, which you can only refill by getting an hour-glass), etc. etc. And even the control is plaqued with problems: when you attempt some high-jumps (by holding up with jump or up+direction with jump) it doesn't always work. And if you get cornered by a bunch of enemies they can almost instantly take all your life, thus destroying the continuity of the enery bar, because when you get hit, you don't blink for 2 seconds like in most action games - your ass is gonna be a pinball!
Now, I made it to a fire stage awhile back (rather far into the game) and got stuck in a section of blocks with NO WAY OUT. And so I couldn't complete the game. I felt jipped. Recently, I played Athena again and it was the same BS as before. I couldn't believe it. I had gotten all the blue armor and wings, and an enemy from above me shot out something which decimated all the blocks in its path, and a red pumpkin face fell onto me and REDUCED MY ARMOR TO 1/2! SWEET! Now I'm even weaker than before, and to make matters worse I'm almost at the boss (a green guy/thing whos head comes chasing me around the screen) and I got wasted. A little later I make it to a well-designed area up in the clouds with flying lions and stuff. I wondered to myself what this game could've, should've been like and wish they re-made it with better controls and no glitches, but I think I'm pipe dreaming...
So that's about all there is to say about Athena. It has some very good, unusual concepts but cannot demonstrate them efficiently with all the problems that this game demonstrates every time you play it. For your information, this is the same Athena in SNK's fighting series The King of Fighters. I don't know what SNK was thinking with this release.

Icarus4578
02-04-2003, 07:55 PM
Two great pinball titles

Alien Crush - TurboGrafx 16 - Rating 7
Devil's Crush - TurboGrafx 16 - Rating 7
It's weird to have to review pinball video games. I mean nothing beats the real pinball machines and so the game designers either try and mimic those machines perfectly (which is impossible to do) or take it like a video game and do things not possible on real pinball machines such as add rooms, enemies, special effects, etc. And I don't know anybody who doesn't enjoy playing pinball.
I'll begin with Alien Crush. First of all, the graphics are very good and clean, and there's quite a few things you can do to gather up your score. One of those things is to complete any of the hidden rooms where you can try and destroy weird, floating green creatures, a room with centipedes, one with skulls and such hovering about and you have to hit them to 'send them' into holes, etc. And I love the song that plays during these rooms (very strange). The main area is two screens tall and is filled with more than enough things to hit: brains, alien heads, and crawling aliens that hatch from their nests (designed quite similar to Alien the movie). I recommend it, especially if you own a TurboExpress. That way, you've got great pinball on the go, whenever you want (though the batteries last a full 2 hours; buy a plug).
Devil's Crush is another great pinball title. It is 3 screens tall instead of 2 like in Alien Crush and there's a bit more to shoot at. Not only that, there are more bonus areas to encounter. FYI, they released this on Sega Genesis under the title "Devil's Crash", but it's not easy to come by. There's even a password system in it, and if you type "AS*HOL*FUK" (i'll let you fill in the two missing letters) you get around 70 extra balls and a ton of points. (and no, I'm not making it up about the password). I have to agree with the guy who reviews Devil's Crush in the below link ~ TG16 is a dark system (games like this, Dungeon Explorer 1 and 2, Ys Book 1 and 2, Legendary Axe, Lords of Thunder and I mean what in the hell?!). At any rate, if you only want to go with one, go with Alien Crush for the 'easier' pinball game and go with Devil's Crush for more complexity and challenge.

Here are two sites where you can check both games out for yourself--
For Alien Crush ~ http://www.solinari.com/games/review.php/5
For Devil's Crush ~ http://www.angelfire.com/ny5/polas/other/devcrush.html
For nostalgia (if you want to check out a site with alot of pinball games and photos) ~ http://www.geisya.or.jp/~krg/atari2800/pb_nd.htm

I shall return...

Icarus4578
02-05-2003, 03:57 PM
Let's rock

Contra ~ Shattered Soldier - PlayStation 2 - Rating 6
After a couple disgraceful installments on PSone Konami finally develops another Contra that's true to its roots, featuring 3D graphics done in 2D, though it feels at times like playing a PSone title with more detailed polygons. From start to end, Contra is one big tour-de-force, down and dirty series of boss fights with only a few enemies to keep gluing boss fights together. In other words, it's similar to virtually every Treasure action game (ever play Alien Soldier for Mega Drive? How about Gunstar Heroes?), though in actuality Konami had this style of gaming down pat with Contra III.... though even with that the developers for Treasure (who, mostly, were then-employees of Konami) had a hand in its development. So is this a positive or a negative for the series? I think it works out well to an extent.
You begin by selecting from 4 stages (Strider 2 anyone?) until the 5th opens up (and 6th and 7th on hard difficulty). Unlike other installments you have three weapons and that's it, and you can select them on the fly mid-combat - an idea similar to how Axelay worked on SNES and was probably used because of it. And this is an intentional inclusion in the fact that each set of enemies and (esp.) boss encounters normally require a specific weapon (or a few) to take them down quicker. In contrast, earlier installments allowed you to collect weapons during the stages (and in C3 you could hold up to two at once). Boss fights happen quite often and this is definitely where the game's foundation is. Memorize a boss pattern, repeat, repeat, repeat... They added in-game cutscenes after you beat some stages, and these advance the story well.
The bosses range from a huge mech robot that transforms (while you're on top of a train), the first boss from Contra 3 with an added form, an alien head feeding on the remains of a creature you just defeated (you'll see), a massive fish with a freaky human head (reminds me of Seaman for DC), and on and on, until the real final boss fight which you'll only see if you play through on hard. You get graded after every stage and you'll get an S if you can make it through the entire stage without losing a life AND getting 100%. This is actually quite feasible, unlike in Panzer Dragoon Orta. ;) And the difficulty determines how many lives you get: if you die, you start right where you are, unless you have to continue... So why bother getting high ratings? Good question ~ so you can unlock things like a cinema section, art gallery and more. But once again, most of the stuff only opens if done on, you guessed it, hard difficulty (typical Konami).
The music ranges from heavy rock to techno-dance beat stuff which is not memorable like the music in other Contras, though the rock stuff really pumps you up. The only truly memorable piece is the last boss fight (where he/it keeps changing form). A nice piece of music that's very fitting.
So why give it a rating of 6 instead of a 7 or 8? Good question. It's not as good overall as previous installments. Don't get me wrong; this is truly a great action game. It's just not as cool as something like Super C or Contra 3. In all previous installments there were STAGES and yes, they had sub-boss fights but nowhere near to the extent of C~SS. Also, the bosses were a bit better in the older ones, not to mention better soundtracks (which goes a long way, believe me). However, despite its flaws, which aren't many in quantity, Contra ~ SS does rock while it lasts. If you're looking for a deep, challenging action game that will rock you to your core I recommend you get it. However, if you own other installments on NES, Genesis, and SNES you already own the best Contras; buy it if you want to complete your collection. You'll still enjoy it, but it probably won't have the lasting aftertaste of the others. I'm personally happy that Konami made an effort to return to its roots and didn't forsake its 2D foundation, and I enjoyed it while it lasted.

Icarus4578
02-06-2003, 03:53 PM
I hear the secrets that you keep

NiGHTS ~ Into Dreams... - Sega Saturn - Rating 8
When E3 '96 came around there were three major titles that were vying for game of the year ~ Crash Bandicoot for PS (which is a dull Mario-wannabe; let's face the facts), Mario 64 for N64 (which won game of the year everywhere I looked), and the third (and severely underrated) NiGHTS ~ Into Dreams for Saturn. Created by Yuji Naka and Sonic Team, it was also the first Saturn game to make use of the Saturn analog controller created specifically for this game, in response to Nintendo's Space World showing of N64 and Mario no doubt. You can still use the regular D-pad if you prefer. Although the game is in full 3D, most of the game is played in 2D. It remains a fun and unique gaming experience that sadly never got the sequel it deserved.
There are two characters you select from, Claris and Elliot. They are having nightmares and in order to rid themselves of them, they call upon Nights, a mystical dream entity. The stages are unique to each of the kids, so you'll have to go through both to see everything (although neither of their dreams lasts long). The object is to fly through the stages and rack up tremendous scores by flying through as many loops in succession as possible and other such means, and you can collect items and defeat enemies (by making a 360 magic loop which, if an enemy is within or near it upon completion, destroys the enemy). But defeating enemies makes up a full 2% or so of the game's activities, except for the boss fights. Speaking of bosses, NiGHTS has some of the most unique boss encounters to ever be found in gaming, featuring some of the most wild designs I've seen. The game is built on fun factor and replay by timing you, scoring points by doing stunts and so forth and grading your performance on each stage, so that you try and do better than before. The controls are flawless after the first few minutes with it as it should be with a game with such a strong emphasis on flight and fluidity. It is certainly among the best 32-bit graphical achievements, featuring extremely colorful textures and beautiful scenery, though the textures aren't that smooth by today's standards, but you're playing a game to have fun so who cares?
The music is very well done as expected from Sonic Team, though these days they've lacked that special something that is so apparent in games like Shining Force, Sonic and of course NiGHTS. What makes this soundtrack so unique is that the arrangements change depending on how happy, sad or angry you make these cone-headed small creatures called Nightopians in the stages. So you can enter an area and hear the song in one form, and then upon re-entering the stage it can sound entirely different. In fact, if you got Christmas NiGHTS (like all smart people have including myself) there's a section in it where you can arrange every single song in NiGHTS to your liking (an amazingly cool feature). However, you have to have the original NiGHTS in the Saturn's RAM in order to do this.
NiGHTS is a fun-filled game with lots of replay. It is unique, bizarre, beautiful, challenging (mostly a self-created challenge) and should be in your Saturn library. Too bad games these days don't have half the charm and originality of this. It would sure be nice to have a sequel for GC where it would fit in nicely. It sure is a 360 degree turn from something like Blinx, which just wasn't that good.

Here's a site that explains the game in better detail ~ http://www.csoon.com/issue19/nights.htm

Icarus4578
02-06-2003, 08:09 PM
"Zaba wing DABA!"

Starfox - SNES - Rating 8
Still the best 3D shooter I've ever played, Starfox remains as intriguing as the first time I played it. You are Fox McCloud, ace pilot of the Arwings. Fox, along with his Arwing crew (Falco Lombardi, Slippy Toad and Peppy Hare), must save the Lylat solar system from the menacing Andross. The controls are virtually flawless. You can move in any direction, shoot, throw bombs, accelerate forward or fire up the brakes, turn and twist (and alter your camera angle). And it sure feels refreshing to not have to keep tapping a button endlessly to change forms (in the name of 'strategy') to do things your ship should do whenever you want it to. In short, it's about true gameplay.
When Strafox first came out (not long after Virtua Racing and Virtua Fighter) people were dazzled with the mostly flat-shaded polygons, actually being able to play this on a SNES thanks to a 3D chip inside every cartridge called 'Super FX'. And it wasn't just the graphic approach that was so cool - the game itself is actually well thought out and designed. Gamers were appreciative back then of great games and weren't so harsh on games just because of their visual appeal. Though it's framey and plain by today's standards, the game still maintains its original integrity due to a generous amount of levels and foes, multiple routes, secrets, and (get this) good, fair gameplay. When enemies shoot lasers and such at you, you can simply double-tap the top L or R button to roll your Arwing and make them bounce off you. Some shots like missiles cannot be deflected and must either be destroyed or avoided, but the game focuses more on the strategy of the moment by emphasizing destroying enemies, saving your partners who are always flying nearby somewhere, and avoiding/destroying hazardous things like asteroids and such, rather than forcing you to shoot down a ridiculous amount of missles and such. Can you imagine playing Gradius or Thunder Force and being forced to shoot down virtually all of the enemy fire?
There are 3 routes that you can choose (easy, normal, difficult), and each is filled with unique areas and planets to do battle within/on, all leading to the final area - the planet Venom, and on each difficulty Venom and the final boss changes. You are graded after every stage on your ability to destroy everything (by percentage) and if you get 100% you get an extra life (wow....). There's hidden stages - the Black Hole, where Fox's father disappeared, and Out of This World (no, not the video game. I remember being tapped on the shoulder by the new alien friend at the start of stage 2 and he says "....MAI-SILU-WA!!!!!" :???: Creepy...). Because I care, here are all the secrets ~ http://www.gameskanker.com/gssnes/snes_starfox.htm
So... what about the soundtrack? It's very nicely done and it really fits the game's locations perfectly (check out Sector Y where there are whales flying around in outer space and tell me that song doesn't go perfectly with that area). The sound effects are well-done as well, but what is most interesting and unique is the voice acting which is almost crystal clear, and they usually speak blabber - "Ba ba zaba wa da!" with a few english exceptions here and there - "Good Fly!".
I recommend Starfox be in every SNES owner's library. It's a great shooter that hasn't been duplicated. There was Silpheed for Sega CD back then, but the polygons in all the backgrounds are FMV and it's not as good as Starfox. And of course there was the sequel to Starfox on N64 (Starfox 64), but I consider the original the best. I won't bother bringing up the horrid Zelda 64 wanna-be Starfox Adventures from Rare; I don't even want to acknowledge its existance (it blows).

Icarus4578
02-08-2003, 04:47 PM
Make me a hero

Last Battle - Sega Genesis - Rating 3
This is actually Fist of the North Star (Hokuto No Kenshiro), a well-known manga series in Japan that was made into a great anime movie and series, and then (believe it or not) a live-action movie in America much later. I don't know why Sega changed the name to Last Battle. Perhaps it had to do with licensing or something else.
When I first played it, I thought it was truly great. It had cool characters, bosses, graphics and it was challenging. Then again, back in the day, wasn't pretty much everything cool the first time you played it? Altered Beast, Golden Axe, Ghouls 'N Ghosts, etc. were all very cool games and what was especially appealing was the fact that you were playing games on a machine that was like having your own mini-arcade at home. Hell, when I wasn't playing my Genesis (or TG16) I was staring at the boxes and reading game manuals just for the pleasure of it. How often does that kind of thing happen nowadays?
Anyway, Last Battle hasn't stood the test of time that well. What was once impressive is now dull at best, with run of the mill stage scrolling, beat 'em up action that doesn't play that well (bad collision detection, cheap hits that can make you literally bounce off one enemy into another, etc.) and was in fact done better by such games as Kung Fu, Vigilante, and many others. The game is divided into 4 chapters and each is composed of a map where you move around to different areas, boss fights, and dungeons. You're given a health meter and a power meter which builds slowly as you beat enemies. When the power meter reaches a quarter full, Kenshiro (his real Japanese name) bulges out his muscles, ripping off his upper-clothing and his attacks become faster and more powerful. If you clear a chapter and lose in another you can continue by holding A+B+C at the title screen and pressing start, then select the chapter where you died. The stages, as I mentioned, are divided into regular areas (which are just side-scrolling beat 'em up action, some with mid-bosses), to mid-boss areas, and the dungeons. The dungeons play similar to China Warrior (that cheesy TG16 beat 'em up) in that there are various objects being flung at you from out of nowhere, and a few enemies here and there. They're rather dull, though the idea itself is actually good for this kind of game and would've been much better without all the stupid things like small stones falling out of nowhere, axes being flung like boomerangs and boulders rolling around (you can hit them all). And the only beneficial thing about dungeons is that when you enter rooms with enemies you beat them up to regain some health. And of course there are the bosses which consist of rather stupid attack patterns and are not very fun to fight. Sometimes you'll hit them but it will not count as a hit if they're about to attack you. In fact, most enemies are rather stupid to even look at due to lack of animation (in chapters 2 and 3, when you fight on the boats and those guys are coming after you with the knives extended towards you, and the only thing that ever animates is their legs - 2 frames - that's just wrong). Then again, the entire game is a sparse 4-MEGS and the characters are pretty sizeable. The game actually doesn't look bad, but the lack of animation hurts it (as does the gameplay).
The music is nothing special, though if you stay in a dungeon area too long you might find the song sitting in your head for a while. The sound effects are weak even for Genesis, although Kenshiro's yell "AAAA-TAAA!!!" when he is finishing off a boss with a zillion punches is nice, and in the Japanese version, when a boss was finished off they'd bulge out and explode into blood. Don't get too excited because it wasn't all guts and such flying out everywhere. Then again, that's not really exciting. :P
Just in case you don't know, Fist of the North Star is an ultra-violent series, and when this game came out in Japan there was quite a bit of gore. Obviously, Sega of America wasn't too keen on releasing it in the US with all the violence (this was before Mortal Kombat, although if you wanted you could go buy movies like Rambo and Terminator and it was considered entertainment for the whole family) and games were mostly considered to be kid's stuff (and many still believe that). However, in the end it doesn't matter -- Last Battle is lacking in depth, fun factor and even good control. Go play something else like Streets of Rage 2. While you're at it, go out and buy the Fist of the North Star movie (Japanese, of course).

Icarus4578
02-08-2003, 10:47 PM
What's this? A good action game??

Valis 3 ~ The Fantasm Soldier - Sega Genesis/PC Engine CD (also plays on TurboDuo) - Rating 6
Valis was a popular series of action games in Japan by Telenet/Renovation. It featured anime style cut scenes (some with a bit of animation but nothing impressive), voice acting (in Japanese, only in the PC Engine versions), a decent story with actual consistency, good gameplay and music. Valis games also have higher difficulty than the majority of action games (this is Telenet/Renovation we're talking about here... crafters of such games as Final Zone, Cosmic Fantasy, and Gaiares) so take heed. However, the Genesis versions are easier than the PC Engine versions.
Valis 3 begins with an opening cinema that explains the storyline up to this point. Glames, ruler of the Dark World and owner of the sword Leethus, is out to destroy the Dream World. If he succeeds the Human World will be destroyed. Yuko, the game's protagonist heroine that lives in the Human Realm, is visited in the night by Cham, a warrior from the Dream World. While Yuko's asleep she takes Yuko's sword, the legendary Valis Sword, and heads out to try and defeat Glames. Yuko awakens and chases after her to retrieve the Valis Sowrd (on top of a building in her pajamas :lol: cute) when all of a sudden Cham is captured by one of Glames henchmen. Cham drops the Valis sword as she's taken away and Yuko retrieves it to set out to find out what is going on...
The game plays like many other actioners, except the running speed is a bit on the slow side, thus making it a bit more difficult to avoid being hit. You can jump, high-jump, slide, attack (and power-up your attacks by collecting the appropriate items), and use magic attacks (there's a magic meter coinciding with the life meter) and magics change depending on which wand you have in your posession at any given time. Also, as you progress through the game you will be joined by Cham and another female warrior, Princess Valna. When they join Yuko, you can switch between them in-game at any time and they each have seperate attacks. I personally used Yuko throughout most of the game. The characters and enemies are animated decently, but they're relatively small aside from some bosses. The graphics are pretty good, and in fact the Genesis was among the first 8-MEG titles released (Strider was the first with others like Gaiares following shortly thereafter). Although the PC Engine/TurboDuo versions look a bit better due to more memory and more colors (512 on-screen available at once on-screen versus 64) they aren't too far removed from one another graphic-wise. The only major differences are the added stages in the PCE/TD version, slightly better cinemas with voice acting, and obviously superior sound. The game's one flaw is that the action can become repetitious at times.
The game relies strongly on its cinemas to keep you interested (similar to Ninja Gaiden). I was impressed with the Genesis version because virtually all the cinemas remain intact to their PCE/TD counterparts. However, the animation (whatever little of it there is) is unimpressive. The other downside is that Yuko and the others fluctuate between being cute and looking downright stupid/ugly, thus destroying continuity in artistic representation a bit. However, Glames and his evil panel of villians are cool to look at. He's actually one of the best-designed villians in any game, period.
The musical compositions are pretty nice and on the Genesis it has some of the system's better music, definitely in terms of audio quality. The best song in my opinion is the song that plays during the second stage (in the forest). Odd.... my favorite song in Gaiares was also in the second stage (the main boss fight where the water fills up the screen). Odder.... I like the Genesis version of the song more than the PCE/TD version. There was a sound test in the Mega Drive version but they took it out of the Genesis version (ummm.... WHY? :???: ). If you own the Mega Drive version, hold A+B+C and press start at the title screen to access the sound test. The sounds are decent but nothing impressive; a bit on the weak side.
So there you have it. Another good action game that's worth owning. Valis 4 was released on PCE and SNES, just so you know. It's sad that the series ended with IV. I don't know why they ended it. And as usual, because I'm a nice guy, here are some sites to check the game out.

To take a look at the game's graphics and cinemas, go here ~ http://uk.geocities.com/wolfteam_renovation/rev-valis3.htm It's a wonderful site you should see.
For cheats in the PCE/TD version (as well as many other TD games) go here ~ http://members.tripod.com/~MCeder/game/turboduo.html A useful site for anyone that owns a TurboDuo.

I shall return :cool:

MysticLegolas
02-09-2003, 01:08 AM
what would you Give Streets of Rage 2 on the genesis?

Icarus4578
02-09-2003, 06:22 PM
Keep groovin'

Streets of Rage 2 - Sega Genesis - Rating 7
Most of the truly great beat 'em ups came out in the arcades in the 90's. There were only a few on home consoles that were decent in comparison: River City Ransom, Final Fight (SNES and Sega CD), and the like were among the more fun console fighters. Streets of Rage was released on the Genesis in 1991. The characters were small, the control wasn't too good, and there were certainly other better games like it so I didn't really care for it. And then there was Streets of Rage 2.
Every single thing about SoR was improved for the sequel: larger, arcade-like characters with lots more detail and animation, a killer dance/techno soundtrack by Yuzo Koshiro (who also did parts 1 and 3), great gameplay with more moves, better stages (streets) to do battle with, more characters to choose from (Axel, Blaze, Max and Skate), more weapons, and even a better opening and ending cinema. When I first saw it, I was very impressed by it. The Genesis was being pushed farther than ever before, featuring a graphic quality that made previous Genesis fighters look kinda dull by comparison.
There's only one goal in the game ~ beat the living hell out of everybody you see. Innovative for sure :D but the game shines in this aspect. Each character has around twenty or so moves including attacks and combos, back attacks, jump attacks, throws, special attacks and super combos. There are 8 stages (most multi-part) each with bosses and sub-bosses. For example, the first stage begins on the streets (quite fitting) and you move down into an alley. From there it's into a bar, and, once through, out in the back where it's now raining and a boss awaits. Unfortunately, some stages are kinda stupid, like the baseball stadium - why are there enemies lying in wait to beat you up at a baseball stadium?! Because the pitcher's mound is actually an elevator down into a secret fighting arena. Oh... that makes perfect sense. :irked: Some of the enemies, like the guys that hop around with the mohawks, appear often in the game and when you come across enemies previously fought the only difference is in their life bar and color of clothing. There's about 20-24 different enemies (not including color swaps) and then there's the bosses: a martial artists street thug, a big bald boxer (I know this because he's wearing boxing gloves :D), hopping robots that shoot lasers at you :irked:, GUYS FLYING AROUND WITH ROCKET PACKS, :yikes: ....I have just one question ~ WHO DESIGNED THIS GAME?? I mean the guys over at Sega designed these characters, looked at them, and said "OK". While they're at it, why not add huge dinosaurs carrying rocket launchers and buildings which transform into huge super mechs? The stages can get a little repetitious (punch this to get a health item, beat those 3 enemies up, proceed...) and they tried to add 'strategy' by adding such things as moving platforms, but most of the strategy remains rooted in the combat which will only be of real significance if you adjust the difficulty to a harder setting.
The music is the best thing about this game. Yuzo really outdid himself (and 99% of the others on Genesis) with this soundtrack. Featuring groove-based dance beats, techno, and even a little lounge/jazz thrown in for good measure. Definetly one of the Genesis' high points as far as music is concerned. The music really motivates you to play it. Sound effects are all appropriate and well done, and there are even a couple of voice samples here and there.
There a stage select in this game ~ go here for all the cheats, screens, and info you could possibly need on SoR series ~ http://www.emulationzone.org/sections/segaforever/sor/sor2/index.html Thanks to great game fans like this for making such great sites.
Personally, I feel that SoR2 has a special charm all its own. It was an important game for Genesis and was very popular, and supposedly there's a sequel to SoR3 in the works for one of the new systems. Well, let's see if they can match this...

MysticLegolas
02-10-2003, 12:06 AM
*Golf Clap*:cool guy:

Icarus4578
02-10-2003, 10:44 PM
Cue traditional Japanese music...

Shadow Dancer ~ Legend of Shinobi - Sega Genesis - Rating 6
Oh yeah baby! Shinobi's badass in this installemnt into the series. When I saw this game and the way enemies perish the first thing it reminded me of was the way enemies in Magician Lord would perish (Neo Geo). As a matter of fact, the way you shoot your stars when powered-up looks entirely similar. It's a very arcade-like experience with fast paced levels and fighting, and was one of the first few 8-MEG games for Genesis. This is a port of an arcade, though I've never played it (doesn't matter).
The first thing you see is the cool intro, with Shinobi jumping in, and then the story which, while it scrolls up, shows scenes and characters fading in and out. Shinobi's mission is to take down Union Lizard, an evil organization consisting of lizard people, ninjas, etc. He's accompanied by his dog Yamato, who can be used to distract foes while you kill them. Shinobi (Joe Mushashi is his real name) can use shurikens (unlimited), his katana, and special ninjitsu attacks which fill the screen. You even have the choice in the options screen to play only with the katana and ninjitsu (no projectile shurikens). If you leave shurikens on, you have to get next to an opponent to use the katana. Your mission is to rescue all the hostages in each area before you can proceed to the next. Some hostages give you power-ups which makes your attacks stronger, and others give you extra lives, points, etc. There are extra lives hidden in every stage which are found by attacking special areas. In some areas, you have to hold up + jump to jump between planes (foreground and background). This game is fast-paced, and it controls excellently throughout.
There aren't a lot of enemy types in the game (9-12, some color-swaps) and there are 5 bosses, none of which are impressive, but at least they can be a bit challenging and fun to battle with, especially the last boss. The game is short so you don't really notice the lack of enemy types, although it would've been better if there were a few more different ones here and there. The graphics range from decent (Stage 1) to very good (Stage 3 - Statue of Liberty). After you complete a stage you go to a bonus area where Shinobi jumps down from a skyscraper and you shoot shurikens down at ninjas jumping up. You can win up to 3 lives if you get all 50.
The music is decent with one track in particular that rocks (Statue of Liberty). Yuzo Koshiro's soundtrack for Shinobi 3 on Genesis is much better. The sound effects aren't really impressive though, but I don't really mind. Besides, it's not really that bad.
All said, this game isn't particularly long but it's engaging while it lasts. If you're a fan of Shinobi games, or you want to try a good (albeit short) action game, get Shadow Dancer. It's cheap enough these days...

For screens of the game, check out ~ http://www.phm.lu/Shinobi/ShadowDancer2/rounds.htm This is a great site; much thanks to whomever it was that made it.
For cheats go to ~ http://www.gameskanker.com/genesis_megadrive/genmdrive_shadowdancer.htm

Until next time.... (vanishes in a cloud of smoke)

Icarus4578
02-11-2003, 12:17 PM
Here's two from Hal Laboratory, before Nintendo acquired them

HyperZone - Super Nintendo - Rating 6
Hal is of course known for Kirby titles, but they were also among the first pioneers on the SNES platform, as exemplified by HyperZone - the first SNES title to use dual-layered Mode 7, meaning both on top and on the bottom of the screen at once. Most of you probably don't even know what this game is. In fact, if not for my brother buying it, I myself may never have known it.
First things first, this game is rather easy and there's a reason for that - this game isn't as much a game as it is a showcasing of the SNES capabilities. However, once you get past that fact the game is definitely fun. You fly around in 3D, shooting at whatever may come and avoiding getting hit or going out of bounds. You are given a power meter which you can replenish by flying through the proper energy fields (just like F-Zero). The game's graphics look very nice, with the last stage in particular being very impressive because of the cool effect that is demonstrated. The enemies are basic and most do not present a challenge, though a few of the enemies later on can be a little difficult. The bosses are rather easy as well and, unfortunately, they don't stand out like the bosses in Space Harrier do. Your ship changes form as you progress through stages and decreases the amount of time it takes to charge up a big shot, as well as speedier maneuverability.
Did you know that in Japan Hal had schools where they taught game programming and design (I don't know if they still do), and that over 50% of their cirriculum was dedicated to sound and music? Quite interesting fact, at least to me. As you can imagine, the sound and music is highly impressive (though not terribly well-composed like Arcana which I review below). Even though this is a 1st generation title for SNES, HyperZone exhibits some of the best sound engineering of any title for SNES, with every sound and insturment crystal clear as it should be (in fact, although some may feel some of the latter day titles for SNES like Seiken Densetsu 3 are the best engineered, I think HyperZone is actually better, at least technically). To access the sound test, just hold L and R buttons simultaneously at the title screen and press start.
This game is 8 stages and isn't very long or challenging, but what's here is fun (and quite interesting in design). It should be cheap enough on eBay or wherever, although it may be hard to come by. So if you pay $10 for it, it's definitely worth it.

Here, take a look at the game ~ http://www.geocites.com/flyingomelette/hyperzone.html and decide for yourself what you think. Read this guy's review for a more comprehensive description of the game.

Arcana - Super Nintendo - Rating 7
Now presenting THE single most overlooked RPG for SNES, or perhaps any system. Arcana is a GREAT RPG that never got the attention it deserved. Similar to Shining in the Darkness for Genesis, the game's layout is in a first-person perspective, and every character and enemy is displayed in cards except for shop keepers and such. It's a unique style for a game, to be sure, but one which Hal uses to the fullest and in the best ways. Your party consists of the main character Rooks, an elemental (you start with Sylph - the Wind Spirit, and gather up 3 more as the game progresses: fire, water and earth), and the other 2 spaces will contain different characters who join Rooks during the game. The game is seperated into 5 chapters, and is almost entirely linear. You start in a town, go to a dungeon, beat the dungeon and proceed through woods (perhaps), then it's on to the next town and dungeon, etc. and you never go back to previous towns/dungeons. The story is good but the game isn't long enough for you to really understand too much about the characters. However, the presentation is very impressive (better than the Final Fantasy titles on SNES and, arguably, Chono Trigger). It's not a long RPG (about 15-20 hours long) and I wish it was longer/open ended because the game is so fun and engrossing while it lasts.
There is a good amount of enemies and bosses in the game, all of which are sprites within (you guessed it) cards, and they animate as well, although it's nothing too impressive (the entire game is 8-MEGS; the same amount as Final Fantasy II). Sometimes there is around 10 enemies you're fighting with at once! Parts of the game are challenging while others are quite easy. Every area and all 5 dungeons has a map which fills itself in as you progress through, and some dungeons, especially later, are multi-part - rather long, with a lot of different enemy types to keep you engaged.
Arcana's music is extremely awesome and is among the very best composed in any RPG. It is among the highest quality sound wise for SNES -- superior technically to even Final Fantasy 3 (not lying). Whether or not you agree, I think overall Arcana has superior songs in battle and otherwise to most Final Fantasy music. Listen to it yourself ~ here's the sound test - Hold L and R simultaneously and press B at the title screen.
I recommend this game to everybody that loves RPGs. It's fun, interesting, engaging, challenging and amongst the highest quality available for SNES. It's hard to come by and usually goes for $15-25 on eBay. Pick a copy up if you can.
There's even a chapter select code! Here it is - At the title screen press down, select, select, X, Y, select, select, L, R, select, select, left, right, up, and then press A for Chapter 2, B for chapter 3, X for Chapter 4, or Y for Chapter 5.

Here's another review with photos and more info from the same site as the above one for HyperZone and even includes MIDI samples of some of the songs ~ http://www.geocites.com/flyingomelette/arcana.html

And of course, I shall return....

gearhound1
02-12-2003, 01:00 AM
i beat that game years ago. i remeber it had cool music.

Icarus4578
02-12-2003, 09:54 AM
Phenomenal

Legendary Axe - TurboGrafx 16 - Rating 9
Let me begin this review by being direct - Legendary Axe is one of the best action games I've played on any system. In fact, if you don't own a TG16/TurboDuo system then here's one great reason why you should consider owning one. This game grabs your attention with its unique visual flair, compelling, challenging gameplay, and an absolutely fantastic soundtrack. It's absurd that this great gaming experience only received one sequel (also on TG16) and it wasn't as good in most people's opinion, including mine, as the original. I stayed home from school one snowy day just so I could play this game! It is, in a word, "special".
Developed by Victor Musical Industries, who also did the sequel and King of Casino for TG16, Legendary Axe is set apart from other action titles by its interesting play mechanics and an atmosphere unlike any other game. The story is nothing special~
You are Gogan, a mighty warrior whose people are ruled by the evil cult - 'The Jagu'. They pillage and destroy the land; none are safe. Their leader, Jagu himself, demands every year a human sacrifice from your home village, Minofu. This year it's your childhood friend (love interest) Flare, who is barely 16 years old. You return to your village after two years studying warfare, but it's too late. Flare has been taken to Jagu's stronghold "Evil Place". Armed with the Legendary Axe "Sting", you set out to rescue Flare. Nice story... how come I know it? Because it's easy to read from the game manual. :P The manual, btw, actually has some horrendous artwork that looks like it was done by a 5 year old. Seriously. And then there is the 'tips' section, with such useful advice as 'Be careful when traveling on ledges or near pits' and my personal favorite 'Be careful about jumping'...... uuuuuuh :irked: Thanks for the tips.... I don't think I could've survived without that useful info!!
Anyway, enough of that nonsense. Let's get to the game. The game comes alive immediately with Gogan entering the forest/jungle. You can jump, duck, climb, swing on vines and attack with your axe Sting. Where the game gets strategic is when you start powering-up Sting by obtaining Power Supply items. There's a power meter for your axe above your life meter and each time you power-up it increases the gauge up by 25%. As you wait (don't attack) the meter builds, like in Secret of Mana. You can choose to attack with rapid hits which are weak, or you can let it build and then unleash more powerful attacks. If you get the Wing power-up the meter for Sting will build quicker. Every time you swing Sting the meter depletes completely, and the longer you make the meter the longer it takes to fill up entirely. So you actually have to put thought behind 'when' you attack your enemies, not to mention the patterns of each foe. Nomads, for example, are strong or weak and do different things depending on their color. Red ones try and rush up and attack you with an axe and they're easy to kill, and others like the blue Nomads flip, jump and throw axes at you and take more pain. There's a lot of different enemy types in the game (thankfully), and later on bosses you formerly defeated become regular enemies.
The graphics are absolutely phenomenal for a 8-bit system with a 16-bit graphics processor (as is the TG16). Everything is crystal clear with vibrant use of colors and great animation on almost everything. There's a good variety of stages: from jungles, to caves, to even a dungeon/maze with rooms. Each stage is an atmosphere all its own and this is due to the fact that Legendary Axe has one of the best soundtracks of any action game. Every piece of music fits every stages visual representation flawlessly and the music itself is very enjoyable to listen to. The sound effects are also flawless. TG16 truly did have an incredible sound chip as this game clearly demonstrates. Everything just works together in perfect harmony.
I wish this game became a series because if it did I'd consider it to be at least as good as something like Castlevania. Deep gameplay, challenging, fun, and filled with a personality all its own - I highly recommend it. It sure makes me miss those wonderous 16-bit days :(

For those of you nostalgic about TurboGrafx/Duo/PC Engine, here's a good site to visit ~ http://www.pcenginefx.com/main/pcenginefx_com_special_-_turbo.html
[Update]
Finally found some good screenshots from the game. Also included are two music tracks. Check out the Stage 2 song for the Caverns ~ http://pcenginebible.roarvgm.com/HTML_Games/Legendary_Axe.htm

Sayonara

blueskied
02-12-2003, 10:15 AM
Originally posted by Icarus4578

Sayonara

I'm not sure if you know or not, but if you say "sayonara" in Japanese, it means something akin to "so long, farewell". Meaning you're not coming back. Unless your intended meaning is that this your last post, I don't think you want to say "sayonara". If you just want to say goodbye in Japanese, say something like "mata kondo", meaning, "until next time". Or the casual phrases equivalent to "see ya", like "ja ne", or "mata ne".

Just FYI.:cool guy:

Icarus4578
02-12-2003, 05:35 PM
Yes I know I know, but the problem is how many people who come in these boards actually know how to discern the difference between Ja Ne and Sayonara? Sumimasen (or should I say Gomen nasai since you are my superior in Japanese). Konbanwa, Itte kimasu, Itte irasshai, mata ne, ja ne, etc. are all proper ways to conclude the section.

Arigatou gozaimasu.

Icarus4578
02-14-2003, 04:54 PM
One of a kind

Astal - Sega Saturn - Rating 6
Released in 1995 near the Saturn's launch, Astal was one of the most unique action/side scrolling games released up to that point. Featuring stunning visuals, a great soundtrack, and interesting gameplay, Astal is a great game... but it's too short. Way too short.
The graphics are a big reason why everybody gave it high ratings (4-5 stars and around 90%) and indeed, Astal's visuals are second to none, with vibrant, lush scenery, most of which consists of huge, gleaming crystals/jewels of all colors, and the character/enemy art which is great but a bit lacking in the animation department. There's no way you can look upon Astal and not be impressed. Some of the zooming in and out gets pixelly, but it's not really that bad.
The game's story is about Quartilia, the land of crystals which a goddess by the name of Antowas rules. The demon Jeraldo is trying to control Quartilia again, and he's taken Astal's girlfriend, Leda, hostage. Shortly after embarking on his trek to save the land, Astal comes across a strange bird which he saves, and it follows him for the remainder of his journey.
You control Astal and to a small extent the bird. Astal can run, jump, duck, punch, grab and throw in any direction, use magic, and slam the ground causing enemies to change into crystals. That's about it, and the game is ultra short, but there are a couple of challenging spots here and there. Nothing too major though. The enemies are nice but a lot of them don't do much. The bosses are impressive, and some of the later ones can be a bit challenging.
The soundtrack is great stuff that fits the visuals very well. It's a good mix of contemporary stuff with lush synth sounds that really goes well with the game. The sounds are all done very well as well. Even the voice acting (whatever little of it there is) is decent.
So yes, I recommend Astal to anyone with a Sega Saturn. Just beware its lack of length and dismal challenge, both of which are the result of a rush job by Sega to hurry and release it. If this game were longer, more challenging and had more for you to do, I would've given it a 7 or an 8. It's a good game and one of the best looking of its kind. Too bad Sega never made a sequel.

Here's every cheat for Astal ~ http://www.acecheats.com/index.php/cheats/Saturn/Astal
And here's some screenshots ~ http://www.classicgaming.com/saturn/magazine/games/astal/ss_screenshots_astal.shtml

I'LL BE BACK....

Icarus4578
02-14-2003, 06:17 PM
If you love Zelda, then you must play....

Alundra - PlayStation - Rating 10 :cool:
Wow.... what a game! Released in January 1998, I personally felt Alundra was the epitimy of adventure titles for the 32-bit systems, thus beating Metal Gear Solid for game of the year. Developed by Matrix Studios (which includes former employees of Climax, the creators of Landstalker on Genesis) and published by Sony in Japan and Working Designs in the US, Alundra is every bit as great a game as Zelda ~ A Link to the Past, and succeeds it in many ways.
Alundra is an elf-boy from the tribe of Elna, people with the ability to enter other people's dreams. Every night Alundra is haunted by the same dream -- a guardian named Lars keeps forewarning Alundra of a terrible demon that will reawaken in a lake north of the village of Inoa. The people of Inoa are haunted by nightmares that they cannot find a way to rid themselves of. They need somebody to help rid them of their curse. And so, Alundra sets out for the village of Inoa, but on his way across the sea his ship is destroyed by a massive storm. Shipwrecked, Alundra ends up floating ashore the land of Inoa, where a humble man named Jess happens to come across him.... The story might sound like the standard 'save the world' premise but it has got enough twists and oddities to make it stand apart from the norm. I must also mention WD's translation of Alundra - one of their best yet, with only a few jokes here and there and most of it is light hearted stuff that works well. Aside from that, the game gets dark and depressing at times, with people dying left and right, which is uncommon for this kind of game. Why this is so prominent a feature of Alundra is because the game focuses on one town with one set of people whose lives affect each other. This is unlike something like an RPG such as Final Fantasy 7 where they try to be overdramatic to compensate for the lack of depth in the characters (although as a game FF7 is top-notch).
The game plays like an 'adult' version of Zelda with far more challenging puzzles and enemies to keep you glued to the game. Alundra will carry different weapons (Swords, an Iron Flail and the Hunter's Bow), magic wands which you can charge up to use magic attacks (fire and ice, just like Zelda), armors, boots, and an assortment of other items, magics and goodies with various effects. As you upgrade to better weaponry you can begin charging them up for a more powerful attack (think Zelda). There's also the Legendary Sword which can only be gotten if you've done REALLY BAD up to the point where it becomes available (and to all those like myself who are very good at these games and don't die often, you'll have to intentionally let yourself get hit/killed a bit). It's worth it, in my opinion; the Legendary Sword has the strongest attacks of any weapon in the entire game.
The dungeons/dreams contain some of the smartest, most challenging designs I've ever come across. Tough jumps, puzzles and enemies abound, and the best thing is it never gets old, although if you lack patience you may find yourself on the brink of destroying your PS several times. However, I LOVE a good challenge. The enemies (get this) actually attack and defend themselves, rather than mindlessly walk/move around waiting to be destroyed as in almost every other game of this kind. The bosses are made more difficult for the US version by taking more hits to defeat, and some of them are quite nice. Others are kinda dull, but it's not a big issue. 90% of the game is puzzle solving/searching and 10% is fighting (well, until deep into the game, especially those white monkeys - the Murgg - hopping everywhere like mad :irked: ). Some may be turned off by all the greys, browns and greens this game uses for the game's landscapes. However, some areas look rather good, sporting nice use of colors and lighting.
The music is excellent at times, fitting well with the game's looks/mood swings. Some of it is standard stuff and some is just atmospheric, but it's nonetheless very well accomplished. The sound effects are nice, even though much of them sound like they came off a SNES (though that's not a problem in my opinion). There's no voice acting in the game, but there's an opening and ending cinema with some nice animation, and the in-game dialogue is second-to-none.
Overall, you might consider Alundra an 8 or a 9 rating, but in all honesty this is one of my favorite games, especially for PS. I love adventure titles and if you do too don't miss Alundra. It's absolutely fantastic!! :cool guy:

Well what you've got here is your walkthrough for Alundra ~ http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/psx/game/24683.html
More on Alundra ~ http://www.rpgdreamer.com/alundra/
Here you'll find some media from the game (all screenshots are from the opening cinema though) ~ http://www.rpgdreamer.com/alundra/
Screenshots ~ http://www.rpgfan.com/pics/alundra/index1.html

Icarus4578
02-14-2003, 09:26 PM
Wild side

Fatal Fury ~ Mark of the Wolves - Dreamcast - Rating 5
Who doesn't know Fatal Fury by now? One of SNK's most popular series, Fatal Fury has seen a tremendous amount of sequels and releases across many platforms (Genesis, Sega CD, SNES, Saturn import, Playstation, etc.). Cherished by the 2D fighting crowd, Fatal Fury Special is considered by many the finest in the series.
FF~MOTW is a worthy addition to the series in many ways. Yet it can't live up to its full potential. I'll explain why, but first I'll explain the game structure. It's yet another 2D fighter with a few new additions. There's story mode, survival, VS, practice, a gallery section with artwork and cinemas (most of which have to be unlocked), and of course options. The fighting system now includes several new additions. There's the T.O.P. Setting which you set up after selecting your character of choice. You use left and right to determine the activation timing from front, middle, and back on the life bar. Also, by pressing up and down you can choose from 3 power levels. It increases your attack power, your life gradually recovers and a special T.O.P. attack is enabled. In order to activate it your life bar has to touch it. The Power Gauge works like in Street Fighter Alphas, only you have a limit of two filled at once. It allows you to use special moves and, if filled up twice, a hidden ability may even be activated. There's the Just Defended system (there's that word yet again - 'system'...) which lets you regain some energy if you press block immediately before an opponent's attack can connect. In addition, there's guard crushing and guard breaking, as seen in other fighters.
You select from 12 characters (and both bosses, if you earn them). There's Rock (the new main character), Terry "OK!!!" Bogard, and all new faces: Hokutomaru, Kevin, Tizoc, B. Jenet, and Gato are among the new additions. The others are similar to other SNK characters -- both Dong Hwan and Jae Hoon are basically Kim Kapwan, Hotaru is Nakoruru, Butt is Takuma Sakazaki, and Freeman is Basara. The character's profile art is weak in comparison to former SNK greats like KoF 94-2000, Art of Fighting series and former Fatal Fury titles, which is a disappointment. However, the characters themselves (in-game) are well done with a lot of animation. Most of them are a bit small though (except for guys like Grant, self-proclaimed 'Martyr of Might' and mid-boss before Kain). Think King of Fighter-size and you'll understand. The backgrounds are fairly well-done but what is especially cool is before each match there is a small 'entry' cinema preceding the match. Those are cool additions, as are the cinemas that occur during the game (with nice animation). Jumping between planes during the fights is sadly absent from this installment, and the characters are not as interesting as in most other fighters. If you lose and have to continue you can handicap the opponent by selecting one of 3 options: Power Gauge MAX for your character, COM difficulty down, or 1/4 the opponent's life meter. OR, you can bypass all these by selecting 'No Service', like us real gamers do. Whenever you beat an opponent you get graded on your performance - from top to bottom: Miracle, SSS, SS, S, AAA, AA, A, B, and finally C. I mostly get the S rankings, and extremely rarely get Miracle (I'm not the best at this game but then again I don't find it to be as interesting as others).
The music does nothing for me, quite frankly. I enjoyed soundtracks like KoF 95, Art of Fighting, etc. but this one suffers from being too mundane/hollow, without any passion. The sound effects are carbon copies of the Neo Geo which means they're decent but unimpressive. Even the voices sound somewhat muffled....
So that's about all I have to say about FF~MOTW. It's an average fighting game and a let down as far as the Fatal Fury lineage is concerned. It's a shame, really, that SNK would downgrade after many great fighting games. However, in a way it's understandable. SNK was going through tough times financially and probably were scared of taking risks. May SNK live on forever....
As Rock says - "If you deny your wild side, then you deserve to die." Errr... whatever.

Icarus4578
02-14-2003, 10:07 PM
Resistance is Flammable

King of Fighters 2000 - Neo Geo - Rating 6
It's unfortunate that many people looked past this game just because of its lack of ultra impressive backgrounds and tried to use that as an excuse to govern their mediocre ratings of this game. That's ridiculous. Besides, although some of the backgrounds aren't impressive (desert, grabage dump, old shipyard) others are decent/very nice (aquarium, city streets, factory, final area).
The game opens with the character K' walking past team illustrations, and shows him kicking at the screen, with the game logo coming on the screen. There's a few interesting additions to KoF 2000. If you fill your power gauge you can activate either the Counter or Armor systems. The Counter system is activated by pressing A, B, and C simultaneously and it enables special moves/combos and super cancels. The other (more useful) system, the Armor, is activated by pressing B, C and D simultaneously and it allows you to counter virtually every move when attacked (think of the way Juggernaut would get hit in various Capcom fighting games and just bypass the attack with his own attack, sucking up the pain in the process). This is ultra-useful, especially against the final boss, Zero, who can rack in multiple hits from one attack. You also have a Striker you can choose from when you're selecting your team (press B and C together during a match). Some strikers are hidden, others are accessible only by selecting the proper combination of characters on your team, or, you can select the striker from out of your team (consisting of 4 characters). There are 35 initial characters to choose from and a couple of hidden ones as well.
The characters are all animated well, though not as well as something like SF3. But then again SF3 has a lot less characters. Some of the new additions are corny like Bao on the Psycho Soldier Team, and Hinako is the worst character ever in KoF series (a school girl that acts like a sumo wrestler... how bad is that!? :irked: ). However, everyone else is designed very well, like K', Jhun, and Whip. And of course, some characters are similar to other characters in SNK series, like Lin who is basically Basara. Each team plays differently than the others. For example, the Art of Fighting Team plays like Ryu/Ken from Street Fighter and the Fatal Fury Team plays like, well, Fatal Fury. You can select all the characters in a team, and watch the team ending after you beat the game, or you can select random characters out of any teams you want. If you select certain combinations of characters, like Kyo and Iori, there will be a different ending. You are graded after each match in points, and if you play extremely well consistantly you'll fight with Kula (the Anti K', according to Zero). She's an interesting character with strange ice attacks. When I fought her, I was in the shipyard and when she came the entire place turned to ice. There are cinemas after Stage 5 which explain what is going on. After I saw them once I just skipped them every other time I played the game. No matter.... The story is about the Zero Cannon, a weapon that Zero created (who else?). And each team ends his plan in their own way, as well as following up on their individual storylines. Some character quotes are top-notch (you crazy funster) corniness of Neo Geo games. Kyo quote ~ "Resistance is Flammable, no one can snuff my flame."
The music is kinda plain, but there's one song in particular that's awesome, old school fighting gaming - the Fatal Fury Team. Songs are not activated by stages but by teams/opponents. The sound effects and voices are on par with any other game by SNK for Neo Geo, meaning they get the job done, and some are impressive.
Don't overlook KoF 2000 as being a bland fighter. It's certainly top-notch in many ways and is a great follow-up in the series. It may not have the best backgrounds, but what it lacks in background design it more than compensates for with depth and fun factor. 688-MEG of pure KoF gaming goodness. It's just not as good as some of the other fighters that have come before it (Samurai shodown II for example). Try to get the Dreamcast version - I had to pay $300 for my Neo Geo cart. :irked:

Here's a good KoF webpage ~ http://www.kofonline.com/

Icarus4578
02-16-2003, 07:20 PM
Weird fun

Darius Gaiden - Sega Saturn - Rating 9
Saturn owners don't have too much choice in the shooter genre (unless you import). Darius Gaiden by Taito is among the best shooters I've played --- fantastic visuals and effects, great bosses, multiple routes (28 stages total), and one freaky Zuntata soundtrack. Acclaim made a wise decision to bring this shooting masterpiece to US Saturn owners.
The first thing you'll probably notice is the soundtrack, which is great, strange stuff. It's got weird female vocals "Lost on eyes..." and even mixes the music with some opera. You'll either love it or hate it. I thought it was enjoyable and even a bit entertaining. What was really freaky was some of the boss songs, featuring the lyrics "eyes, eyes, eyes... HEAD HEAD HEAD...." :spinface:
The graphics are some of the most impressive 2D visuals ever done on the Saturn (and there's even a few 3D touches here and there). Insane special effects, warping insanity all over the screen, insane bosses, etc. The stages are only about 2-4 minutes each and they consist of vast, scenic outer space, underwater/sea areas (this game's premise is that you're fighting robotic/mechanized fish and sea creatures), rocky plains and even stages that consist of backgrounds overlayed with psychadelic effects and swirling colors. Great stuff.
The enemies are perhaps the weakest part of the game: small, often weak enemies that really aren't impressive. However, where the game shines is its 2-5 minute boss fights which consist of huge fish creatures of every kind, massive horsefish and crabs, and other things. They shoot out lazers, beams, and every other shot imaginable in a shooter.
Controlling the Silver Hawk is simple: move, shoot and use bombs. There. That's it. You reveal power-ups by killing the appropriately colored enemies and by shooting at random areas in stages. There's bombs, extra lives, points, shield power-ups, and weapon power-ups. You can also make some enemies aid you in combat by shooting at a special orb on them and collecting it. The bombs are very cool - you create a void which sucks in every enemy/shot on-screen (except bosses, obviously), and then it closes up, creating a massive burst of electricity/lightning which hurts everything on-screen.
Be forewarned -- this game gets tough later on, particularly on a harder difficulty. But it's far from impossible. Here are some tricks that should help you out~
Extra Credits - At the main menu press X, A, L, R, Left, then hold L and press X, C, Z, A, Right, Right. You'll hear a sound which confirms the code.
Rapid Fire - at the main menu hold B and press Y, Right, Left, X, Z, L, R. You'll hear a sound which confirms the code.
Two New Difficulties - At the game start screen hold X and press Z, C, L, B, Left, R, L. You'll hear a sound which confirms the code. You can select Very Easy and Abnormal difficulty in the option screen.
I recommend this game and Galactic Attack for Saturn owners, both brought to the US by Acclaim. Better, if you've got a converter for import games, here's a great site to check up on some good games http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~bevhome/damscans.htm Click on the covers to look at screens from the games, including Darius Gaiden.

Here's a useful link for codes and cheats for all Sega Saturn games http://vgstrategies.miningco.com/library/sat/bl_sat.htm

I'll return :cool:

Overlord
02-18-2003, 07:59 PM
Why did you go back and edit all the posts? The Mod or Admin would have shown at the bottom of the all the posts that were previously edited.

Icarus4578
02-18-2003, 08:05 PM
I realized that a little too late. Thanks for the advice.

Black Ace
02-18-2003, 08:19 PM
I check the thread status to see who edit/update this thread, and no names came up. The problem is that, the name Y o s h i t a k a happens to have a bad word in between, which the admin recently set to censor, so thats why you see **** instead of the name.

Icarus4578
02-19-2003, 07:39 PM
LUCKY!

Keio Yugekitai ~ Katsugekihen - Sega Saturn (import) - Rating 7
It's unfortunate that Victor Entertainment never brought the sequel to Keio Flying Squadron (for Sega CD) over to US shores as the game is among the Saturn's finest platformers. Featuring some of the Saturn's absolute best 2D work (and even has transparencies!) KY was released near the demise of the Sega Saturn and didn't get the recognition it deserved.
Remi is a blonde 14 year old girl dressed in bunny ears and a leotard (a bunny girl like you'd see in a cabaret). She happens to have in her immediate posession a magical ball which the 3,000 year old tanuki (racoon) Dr. Pon is after so he can revive an oni (ghost/spirit) he can use to hoard all the gold sealed in Mount Fuji so that he and his fellow tanuki can take over the world. So while Remi and her family are eating supper Dr. Pon shows up in his flying airship and throws a bomb at her house which destroys it. To make matters more strange an unfamiliar girl named Hibiko shows up and steals her magical ball, and so Remi chases after her....
The game shows all that in the opening (grainy) animated FMV, but at least it's almost full-screen. You begin the game in the forest and you'll immediately notice how good the game looks and animates. Everything is lushly animated and there's great use of colors and effects. Remi can pick up a lot of stuff (like tanuki statues and other objects) and throw them at enemies. Furthermore, she can pick up weapons (mallets, umbrellas, and bow & arrows) and while she has any weapon in her posession she can take a hit and live, though this knocks the weapon out of her hand. Make sure you pick it back up; always have a weapon in Remi's posession so that she can take a hit because if she gets hit without a weapon she'll lose a life. You must also collect as many bunny heads as possible if you want extra lives. You wind up going through the mines, and then it's on to a shooting stage against an armada of pigs (!) with Remi once again on the back of the baby green dragon Pochi. Pochi also serves as the check points in stages. After the shooting area is a sumo arena where a boss awaits. There's a tremendous varitey of stages: lava caverns, the flying airship (there's a part where Remi must grab a huge hand and use it to click a switch....), roller coaster ride, underwater (with MASSIVE sunfish and octopus), a haunted temple where she must fight an evil Kabuki mask which changes to two other heads before revealing it was a photo of a Japanese guy's head with the eyes blurred out :8):, a Sakura blossom area where Remi is on the run from a gang of tanuki while fighting off ninjas, a strange dojo where she must run on hampster wheels to make platforms move so she can jump on them, another Pochi shooting stage in space against flying volcanoes, koalas, and the 'sexy' robot with women's legs :P, and on and on. As you can clearly tell, there's a tremendous varitey of stages, and there's a bit more that I haven't listed. There's a ton of stuff Remi can do: run, duck, jump, climb, pick up/throw, attack, hop on kappa heads which act like springboards, swim, use the umbrella to float or cover her head from boulders, and more.
The soundtrack is very good and, as with most of the 32-bit CD games, you can listen to the music by putting it in a CD player or in your Saturn. There are a few memorable pieces here and there, and one piece even reminded me of Legend of the Mystical Ninja on Super NES (this game as a whole reminds me of that game). I don't know if I would say that Keio is as good as Mystical Ninja but it's a bit different. The sound effects and voice acting are all wonderful, and anytime Remi picks up a 1-up she yells "LUCKY!" in the typical cute (kawaii) Japanese pronunciation of English words. There's even a small gallery you can open up which includes photos, artwork, tips and tricks.
I recommend Keio to everybody with a Saturn and a converter. You can find a copy of it on eBay or search elsewhere for it. It's worth the trek. Makes you wonder why most other Saturn 2D games don't look as good (Mega Man 8 is the most similar animation-wise, Astal uses more color but doesn't animate as well, and Castlevania.... I don't even want to get into that). The game lasts an hour or two and maybe it's not worth $60 or so because it's not high on replay. But I think it's a good game even if it was too easy for me - I beat it without continuing my first time.

"Lucky?"

Want a great site where you can buy tons of import used software/hardware? Here ya go ~ http://www.yamatoku.jp/game/
Want to see some screenshots? Go check out OPCFG ~ http://www.geocities.com/opcfg3/keiossreview.html

Icarus4578
02-21-2003, 10:54 AM
The original

Castlevania - NES - Rating 8
Whenever I play Castlevania on NES I'm always reminded of the fact that system limitations are of no significance when it comes to the aspects of imagination, durability and creativity. It was such a bold stroke by Konami, one which has withstood all the grunts and strains of time. An important game. No matter what we may seem to think of as being limited we should look no further than at the works of some of the finest game designers to see how transparent 'system limitation' is as a term. Creativity is only as bound as one allows for it to be.
What other pure action game ignited the NES like Castlevania did? None to my recollection. It wasn't simply the characters Belmont and Dracula, nor was it the simplistic nature of the game structure but it was in fact a higher scope of what the action relies on; put simply, the personality. Enthralling it was, and is still very much today. Never before was there such a graceful demonstration of game structure to an action game, aside from a very select few (such as Metroid). There was truly something else there that wasn't there in others. If you'd disagree with me contemplate this: why hasn't there been a series as important on these new systems as a technically graphically inferior title named Castlevania on an 8-bit system which only used two buttons?
Need I explain the game? Belmont walks, jumps, climbs, lashes out his whip, and uses other weapons he collects as he transverses the exteriors and interiors of Dracula's Castle. Everybody knows this game by now. Smart stage design, enemies, bosses and even a few secrets here and there, all to such a memorable, unique soundtrack which was composed on a system with 4 channels of sound. That's what I call an accomplishment, not throwing around 10 million polygons and doing it like virtually everybody else does it (Which means it will be done better by the first game team that composes better graphics from a purely techical aspect).
Castlevania has been a defining moment in gaming similarly to what a movie like Citizen Kane has been to movie-making. Only there's a big difference -- Castlevania has seen many high-quality sequels and for that we are fortunate indeed.

:cool:

Icarus4578
02-21-2003, 08:23 PM
As good as can be

Breath of Fire - Super Nintendo - Rating 8
I own every BoF there is and the first is still perhaps my favorite. Many felt part 2 was the best but it had the worst US translation for an RPG ever and wasn't as well-polished as the original. BoF 3 and 4 are pretty cool but there's something about the original that makes it stand ahead. Square of America made a wise decision to bring BoF over to the US. Good story and pacing, tough bosses, great use of the SNES graphics, and a fantastic soundtrack that fit the game perfectly. Just tremendous enjoyment.
The game's graphics are the Capcom stuff you'd expect from the SNES lifecycle. They're nothing super impressive, but they get the job done well. The world moves from dawn, to day, to evening, to night on the world map, and when you enter a town it will be at the exact time of day you entered it at (time doesn't move in a town unless you stay at an INN). A nice feature; some things only happen at night and vice versa. There's a good variety of dungeons and battle areas scattered throughout the land. The battles are done on an isometric view with both characters and foes animating (something all 2D RPGs should do). Though Capcom can only squeeze so much out of a 16-MEG cart what's there is very good.
The quest is about a 25-35 hour trek and well worth it. Your party will consist of 8 people total and they all have 'talents', things which only they can do: Nina can become a huge bird and fly around the world map freely, for example. Some areas require that you put a specific character in the lead so they can do whatever is neccesary to proceed. The enemies are challenging, and the bosses are among the most resilient in any RPG I've ever encountered. When fighting them they have an energy meter visible that you drain, but when you're fighting with bosses most of your attacks do an incredibly small amount of damage, unless you're very strong. The boss fights are the best part about BoF since they're so strong, challenging and very fun to do battle with (and often times rather big). The final area in particular is filled with tons of bosses -- a very good thing indeed.
The soundtrack is what makes this game tick. The compositions and arrangements are excellent (better than any other BoF in my opinion) and help meld in with (personify) whatever area/event occurs. All the sounds/insturments are high-quality, as are many of the sound effects.
This is an RPG that belongs in every SNES RPG gamer's library. It's one of the very best on the SNES alongside Final Fantasy II-III, Arcana, Chrono Trigger, both Lufias, etc. Don't overlook Breath of Fire.

Icarus4578
02-22-2003, 06:02 PM
Super fine

Final Fantasy III (VI) - Super Nintendo - Rating 9
Do you like RPGs with hundreds of different enemies, tons of bosses, great visuals, a good premise, two world maps, tons of spells, items, and summons, TONS of secrets, and all to one of the greatest RPG soundtracks ever made? If so, boy have I got a game for you!!! But to be serious, who HASN'T played Final Fantasy 3 by now? That's because virtually everybody that loves RPGs loves FF3.
Notice I didn't say 'great story' or 'awesome characters'. That's because the story is kinda dulled from the fact that the characters lack much individuality and depth (unlike those in an RPG such as Lunar). The premise is good though and that's what makes everything work in FF3. The quest spans two world maps (one a strong variation of the other with many more locations), and there's even a floating island in-between. The game's length is approximately 40 hours without secrets, and with secrets about another 10. If you want to get every character to level 99 and every magic expect to sit there for an extra 20-30 hours (the northeast island in the second world map, the one with dinosaurs, is extremely useful to this effect).
As you can imagine, the graphics are top-notch stuff, though they don't quite match Chrono Trigger (aside from some of the enemy and boss fights). Virtually every effect the SNES can produce is present including Mode 7, zooming, rotation, transparencies, rotation, warping and every lighting effect. The character sprites are relatively small, but the enemy sprites are of a good size, with some filling up almost half the screen (though they don't animate). One thing impossible to not notice - the game is relatively dark, and that fits in with the premise and locations, particularly during the second map.
FF3 is filled to the brims with weapons, items, relics, magics, summons (called Espers), and hidden stuff. And many things like relics, weapons and armors will have different/multiple effects when certain combinations occur on one character. For example, if you combine the Genji Glove with the Offering on one character + 2 weapons he/she can do 8 hits every turn . And if you build someone like Sabin up all the way and do this he can take 9999 HP every single hit! Needless to say, the game becomes rather easy if this should occur. Also, every character has unique skills. Gau, for example, can leap into an enemy during combat on the plains (a special area on the world map). If you continue fighting on the plains he will re-join the team, only now you can select to make him fight exactly like the enemy he leaped into (every attack and magic the enemy can do, he can do).
Nobuo Uematsu's score for FF3 is perhaps his best ever. Never before has FF had such an accomplished soundtrack (FF2 is the other biggest accomplishment). Songs like Searching Friends, Devil's Lab, Celes, etc. are all top quality. And the ending theme is just over 20 minutes (though much of it is the characters' themes with slightly changed arrangements). The sound effects are pretty nice, though there's certainly better-sounding games on SNES.
Is FF3 the best FF of all time? Many feel that way, or tend to think FFVII is the best. I don't know. I enjoyed 2 (IV), 3 (VI), and VII the most of the series and couldn't imagine any RPG player without these in their collection.

Big tip (perhaps spoiler)
When you fight the final boss, if you've got someone equipped with the Genji Glove, Offering, two strong weapons and the character is powerful enough to do about 7000-9999 HP of damage each hit, you can finish the boss in one hit!
Another way is to have someone cast Vanish on the end boss ( ? won't Vanish but it will work so long as it doesn't say the spell had no effect) and then cast Death. That's all there is to it. :cool:

Black Ace
02-23-2003, 10:07 PM
Square should just forget about porting Final Fantasy III to Wonder Swan Color and release it on GBA with enhancement and stuff.

FFIII SNES cart are going for hundred of dollars on Ebay. These folks need to know what ROM are. ;)

gearhound1
02-23-2003, 11:01 PM
they aren't anymore......

Icarus4578
02-24-2003, 10:54 AM
$100 for Final Fantasy III on SNES!?!? What is it, still in its original package w/ the strategy guide? Whoever did that has some nerve. (Then again I paid $100 for Castlevania on PC Engine CD/TurboDuo, and it was in mint condition!)

Icarus4578
02-25-2003, 07:04 PM
A must for old-school arcade players

Final Fight CD - Sega CD - Rating 7
The Sega CD is one of the most underrated systems ever made, having a great variety of quality titles - some which people outside of Japan have never had a chance of playing or even seeing. Sega made a lot of bad decisions like changing the soundtrack to Sonic CD for its US release into the "Spencer Nilson soundtrack". Although Sega CD only had the same amount of colors available as the Genesis (64) it could hold more memory at once, and so Sega was able to take a classic Capcom arcade game, Final Fight, and make the best home conversion available anywhere.
Unlike the SNES FF games (Final Fight and Final Fight ~ Guy) this version is fully faithful to the arcades aside from slight loss of colors. All of the opening, sound and voice, all 3 playable characters and all 6 stages are fully intact and full-size. As many of you know, Final Fight was very popular in the arcades and on both SNES and Sega CD around the world. In fact, in one of my older Japanese game magazines they even included a small booklet with all the stages, enemy bios, and artwork. Japanese game magazines were a lot 'cooler' back then, so to speak, because they would make layouts with tons of strategy guides, maps, enemy and item info, etc. for games of all types (more like mini strategy guides/artwork collections than a game magazine would be expected to be) and the layouts themself were very cool to look at even if you didn't know what game you were seeing. Final Fight got great coverage in Japan and received good coverage in America too. That is except for Final Fight CD which got mostly ignored or just flew by in the pages of the game books. No wonder Sega CD wasn't getting the attention it deserved, although not all the attention it DID get was, shall we say, "positive". 'Games' like Marky Mark or Kris Kross Make Your Own Music Video, Sewer Shark, etc. didn't exactly work wonders for the Sega CD. However, what about Sonic CD, Popful Mail, Shining Force CD, Snatcher, Lunar 1-2, Bram Stroker's Dracula, Joe Montana/Sega NFL games, etc?
Anyway, Final Fight is basically a carbon copy of its arcade counterpart (with T's Music arranging all the music, which is absolutely great to hear :cool guy: ). Also, Sega added a time attack mode where you try and beat as many enemies as possible within the time limit or until you've died. The story is nothing incredible ~ Mad Gear has taken the city and Mayor Haggar's daughter hostage. Cody is her boyfriend, and Guy is his buddy. So all 3 of them (Haggar, Cody and Guy) set out to get her back and restore order to the city. One or two players select from the characters and you're off kicking Mad Gear butt. You can do standard combos which automatically come off by rapidly pressing the attack button on the opponent, jump attacks of which there are three per person, grab attacks and throws, special moves which deplete energy from your life meter, and various weapons (2x4s, lead pipes, and more). There's the standard health/point items lying about the stages hidden in barrels and such.
Basically it's six stages of beat the thugs up, move forward a little, beat up more, repeat, etc. Good, simple fun - though it's a little repetitious but since stages aren't super-long or plenty (the game lasts about 30-40 minutes) it's worth the time invested. The graphics are among the very best for Sega CD with large character sprites, plenty of different areas, and even some effects/animation in some areas like the train ride. It still looks good to this day. And hey, Rolento is in this version (neither he nor his industrial area are present on the SNES carts).
The music is truly spectacular stuff with lots of guitar-driven, bass pounding rock arrangements of the Capcom FF tunes performed extremely well and crystal clear to boot. The music is performed by T's Music which is also responsible for many other game soundtracks, including Lords of Thunder. And all the sound effects and voices are intact from the arcade.
If you own the Sega CD, get this game and add it to your collection if it's not already in it. It's easily one of the best games for the system and one of the best conversions of an arcade game in the 16-bit days. Once again, a great effort by Sega. Why am I not suprised?

Here are shots from the arcade version. Think 'slightly less colors' and you've got the Sega CD version ~ http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?letter=F&game_id=7794

Icarus4578
02-27-2003, 07:20 PM
Here.... try this

Mendel Palace - NES - Rating 7
Whenever I ask someone who owns an NES whether or not they've played Hudson Soft's Mendel Palace the answer is almost always "no". In fact, most had never even heard about it until I told them. That's because Hudson Soft didn't publish that many copies in the US due to the fact that the NES was on its way out the door. Amazing.... This is one of best latter-day titles for the system and remains much fun to this day. Most of the software that was released on NES during its final years sucked, aside from a few games such as Kick Master (and here's the end level password for it ~ VT6XGP YN5M9diamond).
There are 8 dollhouses for you to choose from, each 10 stages long with a particular doll that tries to kill you in many different ways. Candy has been trapped in her own dream by her dolls which have been suddenly brought to life. They've taken her to Mendel Palace. Her only hope is her best friend Bon-Bon. The object of the game is for Bon-Bon (that's you) to flip tiles on the ground to send dolls standing on them into the walls to kill them, and underneath tiles there are different things to collect such as 1-ups, stars, points, walls, sun icons which make every tile in the room flip, access to bonus areas, etc. There's around 15 different types of panels. Watch out though because in some areas the tiles can become a 'lock panel' and you won't be able to flip them anymore. There are usually 4-6 dolls to defeat per stage, though sometimes more can show up if for instance you flip a tile to reveal an 'enemy tile' which will make a new doll. Of the 8 different doll-types there are Wasser that swim on the tiles, Sumo that can pound down on the tiles making a row of them flip, Vinci that draw things on tiles like more enemies that come to life (and the tile becomes unusable), Mira which mimic you when you're moving and stop (with the song) when you stop, etc. There is also the occasional boss fights, and they can turn you into enemies (fully playable!) for a short while. After you've finished all 8 dollhouses Mendel Palace becomes available and once inside you'll have to re-fight every doll-type before you are transported over to another palace which sits in the sky. Here you must face a new type of doll and the final boss. This game can be played two-player simultaneously so you and your friends can get in on the action, though if things get way too hectic the screen tends to slow down a bit.
Each dollhouse has its own song, and the songs fit the personality of each doll very well. I enjoyed some of it; light-hearted, fun sounding melodies that are high-quality for the NES. Very memorable. The sound effects are well-done but often take the backseat to the music.
So there's 100+ stages of doll-destroying, item collecting, bonus stagin' fun and replay. Sign me up! I wish they'd make a sequel to this for GBA or better yet one of the new systems (this would be a welcome addition to the GC lineup). Hard to find but well worth the time, buy Mendel Palace the first chance you get.

Cheat: Extra Stages ~ Simultaneously hold Select+Start while turning on the game or pressing reset while it's on. :cool:

Here's a couple of screenshots ~ http://www.vgmuseum.com/images/nes/01/mendel.html

Icarus4578
03-02-2003, 12:09 PM
Is this the end?

Breath of Fire IV - Playstation - Rating 7
If you've read about or played the BoF on PS2 you'll notice that it's no longer 2D, no longer an RPG with an overworld you explore (it takes place underground in what appear to be sewers... goodbye colorful animated worlds of yesterday, hello cold emptiness) and is in fact rather downgraded from all previous installments. It almost seems like Capcom decided to make a spinoff moreso than a sequel. Too bad Capcom, too bad.
With Breath of Fire IV we are given one of the best RPG games available for PS. It features a vast world filled with over 90 areas, over 120 enemies (some CG but most are 2D animated), great characters, a nice soundtrack, and a great story that shifts between being light-hearted (occasionaly cutesy comedic) stuff and a deep, often times dark plot that exploits each of the 6 characters (7 when you count Deis) as well as the other main characters. The areas are in full 3D and I recommend playing BoF IV with the PS2's polygon smoothing on because it makes everything look even better. The game loads everything up pretty quick so it doesn't matter much if you turn on the PS2's fast loading. Oh, and don't turn both effects on at the same time on PS2 because sometimes the game will freeze or screw up. Least, it did to me.
As I was saying, the areas are in 3D with 2D characters (like Grandia and BoF III) and while this is nice some towns/areas get crampy, requiring you to adjust the always angled camera. Also, some treasures/items are only visible when the camera is set at a certain location. It's no big deal; you get used to it. Some items are cleverly hidden in such a way. And hey, at least in most areas the camera can be spun around in full 360 degrees (at 90 degree intervals) unlike BoF III's 180 degree limit. The dungeons/battle areas are often times small to medium sized areas due to system limitations and the amount of detail/textures on everything. What is remarkable indeed is how Capcom fit so many different fully 3D areas in with all the character/enemy animation all on one disc. What is especially nice are all the enemies which tend to get rather large and animate very well. My only gripe with the graphics is that it looks a little strange to see 2D animated characters up against the occasional 3D boss. Oh, did I mention the dragon summons you can call during battle? They suck (there, I said it). They look plain and stupid, like almost everything is a terrible rip-off of Bahamut from Square's latter-day Final Fantasy titles - and definitely not as impressive. After you've watched a summon's attack once it can be skipped every subsequent time it's used. I prefer how in the former BoF titles all the dragons were 2D and animated, and also there were more in previous installments. Not only that, the dragon gene-mixing idea in BoF III was so much cooler. Despite this shortcoming, which you'll get over, the rest of the battling is rather impressive, animated to Capcom lovin' goodness. Bosses are not quite as hard as in former BoF titles but the last bosses are very difficult, and then there's the worst enemy in the game who is harder to beat than any of the hidden bosses in FF titles -- his name is Rider and he's one bad mutha. Consider -- if you get to the last boss fights with a party of characters at level 40 it's a pretty long battle. Your characters will be at about 1,800-2,700 HP and you can deal about 7,000-10,000 in a good round of attacks... each form has 60,000 HP. So that's 120,000 HP that need to be taken away. Well, the Rider has 400,000 HP, can hit spells that can kill your party off in one or two turns, and automatically heals itself of 20,000 HP after every round of combat. Hmmm... how to beat him....
The cast includes the obligatory Ryu and Nina from every other BoF title, along with newcomes Cray, Ershin, Scias, Ursula, and the enigma Fou-Lu, plus Deis from the original BoF. While I liked the character design for Scias he doesn't have backbone to his subplot. Same goes for Deis.
The quest is 40 or so hours long with plenty of hidden areas and other objectives for you to investigate. If you want EVERYTHING expect to add about 20-30 more hours. There's the habitual fishing side-quests from previous BoF games, back and better than ever with many hidden fishing spots each with different fish. There's the 'build-a-fairy-village' just like in BoF III but this time it's done a bit better. It plays similar to SimCity or Actraiser; you build the town, make X amount hunt for food, clear areas for building, place houses wherever and assign jobs to houses (item and weapon shops, art, music, troops, games, inn, etc.). The more fairies you place in one house (limit 3 per household), the faster the job attributes grow and make more things available. However, the fairies have individual personalities and so you have to make them happy or they won't like you. There's even a racing/stunt part in the game you can always play when you get the sandflier.
The music is often the typical fanfare of Capcom. Some songs are rather nice such as 'Truth and Fiction', a couple are groovy like 'Turismo', and some more solemn pieces like 'For the Princess' which is actually a reworked version of 'Pavane For A Dead Princess' by the famous composer Maurice Ravel. Make of it what you will. I enjoyed some of it but not as much overall as BoF III and certainly not as much as the first BoF which was the best of the series.
This game starts off a bit slow but once you get into it you don't want to put it down. It's jam packed with much Capcom goodness and you would be wise to pick it up, especially if you're bored and want to get into a good RPG to kill time. It's not the massive production of a FF title nor is it really meant to be. It's just meant to be exactly what it is - an enjoyable, interesting RPG with good style and lasting value.

Vicviper
03-04-2003, 01:13 PM
Mendel Palace sounds very interesting. I think I will try it. I mean if I can find it locally it should be maybe $5 at the most. I see it on ebay for about$6 + shipping. I will find it locally. Thanks for the review Icarus.

markavellie
03-04-2003, 03:38 PM
Yo, not to burst your bubble, but I heard that Super Ghouls n Ghosts on the SNES is much harder than the Genesis version.

Twelve
03-04-2003, 04:37 PM
Oh, did I mention the dragon summons you can call during battle? They suck (there, I said it). They look plain and stupid, like almost everything is a terrible rip-off of Bahamut from Square's latter-day Final Fantasy titles - and definetly not as impressive. After you've watched a summon's attack once it can be skipped every subsequent time it's used.

True, true, not false. I would have given this game a 6. BOF 3 was much better.

12

Icarus4578
03-04-2003, 07:51 PM
I gave it a 7 because when it comes down to it it's about the RPG engine and gameplay - though the mix of good 2D art with bad 3D bosses and summons hurt it and made me feel that Capcom got a little lazy or rushed that part of development. It would've been much cooler if Capcom made cinematic 2D summons and 2D bosses, wouldn't you agree? But the game itself, once you get into it, is very worthwhile and rewarding. Not quite as good as BoF III, but no slouch either.

Mendel Palace is a great game. ;)

And Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts is a deep, challenging game. I didn't find it harder than the Genesis version simply because before the SNES version came out I had already garnered up enough experience from playing through the Genesis one so many times. But overall it certainly is a 'harder game'.

Icarus4578
03-04-2003, 08:59 PM
Stellar

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - Sega Genesis - Rating 7
Genesis owners welcomed Sega's blue mascot with arms extended when he first came blazing on the screen. So there was much to get optimistic about with the sequel. The biggest addition was the introduction of Miles 'Tails' Prowler, Sonic's new companion -- a fox that can propel himself into the air by spinning 'round both his tails like a helicopter (hence his name). With his inclusion, Sonic could grasp onto him and get a lift to higher areas and float downwards. Thankfully, Sega made parts of this Sonic faster than the original. They didn't forget what made Sonic so special: Freedom of movement and simple, fun and challenging gameplay. Are those days gone forever?
I fondly remember the Christmas morning I got Sonic 2 (and Joe Montana NFL Sportstalk Football... what a game!). I had traded my SNES for my brother's Genesis about 2 months before--we were always going back and forth with systems. :spinface: One morning, I had gotten a Genesis game magazine in the mail before my brother was awake and in it there was Mega Man and Sonic shaking hands (Capcom had signed with Sega for the first time in history). And what was the first game they showed? Street Fighter 2 CE. I had owned the SNES at this time with Street Fighter 2 and I was heavily into SF. So I made a trade that morning with my brother for his Genesis and then showed him the good news. Luckily, I traded back before the SF2 Turbo for SNES was shown in EGM (phew!). Close calls.... Anyway, Sonic was great but unfortunately at that time my brother got games like Super Adventure Island (with Yuzo Koshiro's samba/hip-hop soundtrack happily booming away) and it made Sonic 2 look and sound like playing a Sega Master System. In fact, when he came in my room to see Sonic 2 that's the first thing he said ~ "This looks like something on a Sega Master System." I felt bad but wasn't deterred. The graphics were dark and slightly downgraded from the first Sonic but it still wasn't horrible to look at.
Thankfully, Sonic 2 had lived up to its promises. The zones are longer and more complex, filled with secret items and traps (almost always involving spikes or similar) and there's a wealth of things to do. Sonic runs, dashes, jumps, can be grabbed by Tails to fly and hover, look up and down, push objects, swing on things, etc. The downside to all of this is the more you give Sonic to do, the less time he spends zooming and zipping around. Thankfully the zones that are specifically built around speed are FAST, possibly the fastest of any Sonic game ever made. There's the usual enemies here and there but they aren't too hard to deal with. And there's items like 1-ups, shoes that make Sonic go even faster, invincibility, rings, etc. And then there's Dr Robotnik (Eggman). These bosses are some of the easiest and hardest of any Sonic game. The final zone 'Final Egg' has possibly the hardest boss of any Sonic game ever made. Oh, and there's the half-pipe bonus stages to keep you busy trying to collect all the emeralds. If you collect them all you can be Super Sonic, the gold version of Sonic with super-fast speed and power! Also introduced for the first time is Metal Sonic who was more of an attraction in Sonic CD than here.
The music is that happy, bouncy stuff you all know by now. Overall it's not as good as the original's soundtrack but is still pretty good and some songs stand out. The sound effects are pretty much the same as the original. It gets the job done.
There's a lot of variety in Sonic games to get involed with. You've got Sonic 1 through 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Spinball (stay far, far away), Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 (though 2 was pretty bad), Sonic CD, Knuckles Chaotix, etc. etc. I recommend Sonic 2 only to those who have played through (and like) the original, and to those who don't mind a little nostalgia. Otherwise you may be better advised to start with another Sonic because this doesn't make the best entry into the series. However, all said and done, Sonic 2 is a good, well-balanced game.

Here are cheats and codes ~ http://www.cheatingdome.com/genesis/437.htm
And here's some nice screenshots ~ http://www.oldskoolgames.com/reviews/genesis/sonic_the_hedgehog_2/review.php

'Till next time. :cool:

markavellie
03-05-2003, 12:35 AM
Dang dude, you just whip these thing out. You ever check out da netjak (www.netjak.com)?

Smurfbert
03-05-2003, 09:02 AM
Icarus4578 Ive got to hand it to you, you work really hard to ensure us a steady flow of great reviews. Of course I do not always agree with what you say and sometimes I find your grading scale a little bit odd. However this is how you perceive the game so don't mind anyone else bashing your reviews.

I think we should feel lucky to have such a hard core hard working game reviewer on this forum. Keep up the good work Icarus4578:cool guy:

Icarus4578
03-05-2003, 09:09 AM
Markavellie the link doesn't work so I have no idea what that site is.

Smurfbert, yes indeed. This is pure fun for me and I enjoy sharing my opinions and views on games of all sorts. I don't get paid a cent but that's cool with me because it's interesting twofold ~ one, as I write I become more inquisitive of myself - and two, it's nice to know people are reading my thoughts/opinions and I hope that even though we won't always see eye-to-eye on everything that I help instill some imagination in the reader and expect more from games. After all, where there's art, there's possibility. :cool:

markavellie
03-05-2003, 10:37 AM
fixed da link, but here it is again http://www.netjak.com

Icarus4578
03-07-2003, 08:09 PM
It'sa me! Mario!

Super Mario Kart - Super NES - Rating 8
No, this isn't a Mario 64 review. :D There aren't many racing games as exhilarating, as purely fun as SMK. Nintendo specializes in making great games that know how to sell themselves. Featuring some of Nintendo's most famous characters racing and battling each other on go-karts, it went on to become one of the most popular games on the SNES (in both the US and Japan) and it's not hard to see why.
There are 8 characters to select from, each with their own racing strengths and weaknesses - Mario, Luigi, Princess, Toad, Yoshi, Donkey Kong Jr., Bowser and Koopa. Basically, if you're a beginner player you should start with anybody other than DK Jr. and Bowser since they are harder to control (though they are fast). There are four cups to compete in (Mushroom, Flower, Star, and Special), each with 5 individual tracks. You can compete with a friend split-screen on any track you want, and there are even 4 special tracks in Battle Mode specifically made for you both to combat each other. Different tracks include Mario Circuits, Ghost Valleys, Bowser Castles, and more. As you gain victories you amass points which determine which trophy you'll receive at a cup's end.
These go-karts are all-terrain vehicles that transverse every kind of surface and it's important to know how each surface effects your kart's performance. What's equally important is knowing how to avoid obstacles and enemy projectiles. This is the key to your victories. If you're really good you can even figure out special shortcuts which often involve using the feather to super-jump over a certain borderline. Collect coins to help keep yourself from being knocked out of control, use koopa shells to attack other racers, etc. It's much more important to know how to avoid being hit than it is to attack yourself, and that's something best learned by (what else?) playing the game.
The soundtrack is actually very well implemented and fits the tracks very well. Two of my favorites are Rainbow Road and Vanilla Lake. As usual, the SNES sound chip (made by Sony) is in full effect and all the sound effects are crystal clear.
How can you own a SNES without owning Mario Kart? (And who HASN'T played Mario Kart by now?) If you are in the mood for some serious fun fire this baby up. It won't let you down.

Here's perhaps the best site on Mario Kart (and even includes all the others) ~ http://www.planetnintendo.com/mariokart/ Wonderful site. :)

Drunken Savior
03-07-2003, 08:15 PM
You know, while I don't always agree with you (Your review of Halo is just wrong, wrong, WRONG :2happy: ) you write well, you have the balls to post strong opinions, you have a large knoweldge of many games from many regions and genres, (sans Sports, but most sports reviews are shallow) and you have hints and tips for games (good to have a catalog :) ) so keep it up. I'll try to read as many of them as I can.

Icarus4578
03-07-2003, 09:06 PM
Da-e-TO-NA! Let's go away!

Daytona USA - Arcade - Rating 8
Rolling Staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaart!!! Yeah, that's right baby! Sega/AM2's Daytona USA is one of the best arcade racing games ever made. It was released for Sega Saturn shortly after the system's launch. The home conversion on the then-new Sega hardware was fantastic. It had 15-20 FPS fully texture-mapped polygon graphics which didn't look as good as the Model-2 arcade board's obviously superior graphics, but was still amazing to see at home. The Saturn launch in general (Virtua Fighter, Panzer Dragoon, Clockwork Knight, etc.) was one of the last special game system launches ever. In fact, it was one of the last good systems! The new system war (GC, X-Box and PS2) is more a corporate battle than a game war. I SORELY miss those 8-16-32 bit days when games were what mattered the most. Sorry if my reviews tend to be retrospective; that's just the way I am and I'm proud of it. :)
Yu Suzuki really outdid himself with Daytona USA. It became one of the most popular racing games to ever hit the arcades. There's only 3 tracks but what was there was excellent and challenging. In fact, Daytona is one of the harder racing games out there (arcade and home) with racers that compete like there's no such thing as tomorrow. You really had to master braking and powersliding at precisely the right moments, knowing how to cut off a corner perfectly into the straightaways and even utilizing perfect handling to fit in-between an opponent and a wall, just edging past in perfect timing with approx. 1.2 seconds left to execute the perfect powerslide into an upcoming U-turn. Challenging, engaging, FUN. The graphics in the arcade are crystal clear and the tracks are designed to be both impressive and challenging. There are much better-looking racing games these days, but so what? Do they contain the sheer arcade 'feel', the simple 'pull-you-in-effortlessly', 'have-a-good-ride' attitude that Daytona exhibits? No, they don't. You have to go to a store and think about whether or not you want this or that racer. There are a few that are of any significance (Gran Turismo and Ridge Racer series) and most of the others just don't get the job done.
The heartbeat of Daytona lies in its stellar-beyond-compare B-Univ soundtrack. Featuring a wonderful selection of themes with some rather memorable lyrics "Day-to-naaaa! Let's go a-way!", "Bluuuue, blue skies I seeee!!!", and of course "Rolling staaaaaaaaart!!!" In fact, you can get Daytona Chapionship Edition on Sega Saturn with improved graphics, more courses and remixed songs without lyrics (and a new opening theme done by ......Mr. Big). There's also the Daytona for Dreamcast with more remixed versions of the songs and more tracks.
So there you have it. Daytona is just another great addition to the Yu Suzuki/AM2 library of software. With such titles as OutRunners, Virtua Fighter, Virtua Racing, etc. AM2 set standards in arcade/home conversions. Nobody can deny that Sega was perhaps the prominent, innovative force in arcades in the 80's and 90's. One of Sega's greatest strengths in the 90's was its arcade library, and their ability to replicate them at home was its core foundation. When the arcades died down late 90's/early 2000 it left Sega weaker than ever before, and it harmed their home console Dreamcast so much that it could barely stand (along with lack of third-party support from the likes of companies like Konami who are becoming rather selfish). But Sega should've seeked to secure a deal with then-supportive Capcom to work together, and Sega themselves should've had more commitment to Dreamcast with a Panzer, Clockwork Knight, NiGHTS, a real Phantasy Star, etc. But it's too late. For now, we can enjoy their past accomplishments and hope for a brighter future.

Icarus4578
03-07-2003, 09:15 PM
Thank you Drunken Savior for the support. I don't mind opposing views and if we all harbored the same views this would be a boring world indeed. I respect everyone's opinion (whether I agree or diagree) and am not so arrogant as to believe that everybody must conform to my standard. I'm glad you disagree with my review of Halo and I hope that in spite of this you accept my thought/opinions for what they are. I will continue to write reviews for as long as possible, at no cost. And I hope you enjoy my section as much as I do. :)

Icarus4578
03-09-2003, 12:25 AM
Wouldn't a sequel be nice

Marble Madness - NES/Arcade - Rating 6
Atari really had something special with the arcade release of Marble Madness in 1984. It wasn't the most graphically impressive game (back then, what was?) but it was completely different than anything else. You controlled a ball on-screen by rolling a metal ball that was built into where the arcade stick/buttons would normally be. On the NES it plays the same though; the object is to make it through each different stage in as short a time as possible by avoiding hazards like acid, mallets that attack, ground that pops up, vaccums, tiny railings to move across, etc. The faster you beat a stage, the more time is extended in the following stage. Time is your most valuable asset - if the time runs out, game over. No lives. No continues. You have one chance. With that said, it's a rather short game (less than 10 minutes) however you probably won't beat it until after many attempts. The music is a very real part of playing and enjoying the game. Each stage has wonderfully composed music that stimulates, entertains, agitates, annoys, and is excellently composed. There isn't much in the way of sound but what is there does the job.
So with that said, you should check out this classic gaming experience. You can get it very cheap and you will be glad you did. A short but sweet accomplishment.

The best time to be a gamer was for me undoubtably the 8-16 bit days. That was the time when individuals were allowed to have imaginations, experiment and expand their artistic gifts, when gamers both felt and knew they were in a special time, and there was an important communication between game designers and game players through the games themselves. Nowadays, it's different. It's more about money and survival, grasping at past glories and copying others, than it is about making a great gaming experience. We are at the mercy of the corporates. If one type of game sells then you can be sure you'll see many more follow suit. Exponential games like Street Fighter 2, Castlevania, and such existed because they did something different from the rest, whether it be a small or great difference, while being fun, creative, and communicative towards the gamer.

Metroid - NES - Rating 9
One such exponential game was the NES action/adventure genre-buster Metroid released in 1986. It was different than every other game and yet shared many of the same ideas: You run, jump and shoot at enemies. But you also roll into a ball, bomb, explore huge inter-connected areas, hidden walls that can be destroyed, hidden items scattered everywhere, special items that open up even more possibilities in areas previously visited, figuring out what to do next, etc. etc. all in one of the most unique game designs ever conceived. Even the look of Metroid is like no other (and this is on an 8-bit system). Sure, it's basic technically, but do you get the same feeling while playing any other game? Maybe another Metroid, but what else? So not only has Metroid established its own game structure but also never been faithfully duplicated, and that's saying something. The entire game is rather massive, with each area being impressively large and hiding a tremendous amount of secret items and areas. I think one of Metroid's greatest strengths lies in the game being designed in such a way as to NOT know what to expect next. The game told you nothing other than what was in your current inventory, and so you were pretty much on your own. It was your adventure.
Then there is the music. Metroid's soundtrack is so well done that it hurts to play it without the music turned on. The music sounds the same as the game's atmosphere; that's all there is to it. Haunting, creepy, unusual, and listenable - that's how I describe it. The sound effects are all perfect as well.
If the game has a fault, it lies in the fact that when you're moving from one room to the next, if an enemy gets stuck in-between rooms with you you're taking damage whilce the screen moves over to the next room. Also, some of the jumping is rather difficult when you're stuck in a pool of lava or whatnot. Some of you may feel this is actually a strength. No matter. Try to keep a footing on sturdy land.
That's all I can say about Metroid. It is in a class all by itself.

Oh, and here's a tremendous amount of codes and cheats ~ http://www.world-of-video-games.com/nes/codes/metroid.shtml Enjoy.

Icarus4578
03-09-2003, 10:00 PM
Bet you didn't see this one coming

Ultima V ~ Warriors of Destiny - Commodore 64/128 - Rating 7
(also available for Amiga and Apple computers)
Lord British is missing ever since his journey into the underworld of Britannia. Blackthorne was trustworthy and filled with virtue, and so he took the seat of Lord British during his absence. However, his rule was that of a tyrant dictator, enforcing his will upon the people against their wants and wishes, driving up taxes, and putting into place a martial law (like all tyrants do). As it happens, Blackthorne's heart was changed by the evil incarnations known as Shadowlords, wicked spirits opposite of virue which imprisoned Lord British in the underworld and roam free the overworld of Britannia. They seek to kill the Avatar and his companions, as does Blackthrone. They have been outlawed. Fortunately for the Avatar some kingdoms have rebelled against Blackthorne. However, Shadowlords still roam free in the overworld (aside from in Keeps of the Principles of Virtue) and they can go wherever they choose. Many have fought the Shadowlords and even those who have succeeded... did not vanquish them, for the next day a thought to be defeated Shadowlord was back with no battle wounds and in a perfect state of ill manner and menace. So it's up to you, Avatar, along with Iolo and Shamino, your companions, to seek out Lord British, destroy the Shadowlords, and restore order.
As you can tell, the Shadowlords get a lot of your attention. You will walk into a town or castle and you'll be given a warning that 'an air of cowardice/falsehood/hatred doth surrounds thee'. The town's trees are all plain and bare, and everything looks dirty/rotten. Then you'll KNOW you're in the presence of a Shadowlord. They like to hang around town squares, and if you venture close enough they begin chasing you! (Between midnight and one o'clock AM they cannot move.) Best to avoid confrontations with them. Besides, you cannot kill them physically. You'll have to find another means....
You begin the game by choosing your 8 virtues. From there, the game opens with a brief encounter with all three Shadowlords. You set out from your home in the northeast woods to towns, castles, keeps, harbors, dungeons, etc. like most RPG. However, Ultima V is vastly open-ended. While this may seem to make things a little inconsistant it really doesn't harm the story progression. You don't gain levels like in standard RPGs. You have to build your virtues up by doing (what else) virtuous things such as giving money to a beggar, not stealing, etc. Or you can walk around places killing innocent people for no reason (in combat, with cannons, in their sleep, etc.). However, beware that such actions do not come without consequences. In particular, guards will chase after you and if you have to fight them, beware! There are many on-screen and they can shoot at you from anywhere. Not only that, they are rather resilient. Also, if you do kill innocent people (murderer) people will run away when they see you and will not provide service and conversation. The magic system is divided into three 'rings', each is a different level of magic (one, two, and three) with more powerful spells as you progress up the magic ranks. In order to create spells you will need the proper ingredients. You need food, money (gold) and lodging to stay alive, like in real life. You can talk to anybody and say anything you want. However, most people will not respond to anything besides 'age', 'sex', 'job', etc. You can put the word into a full sentence - "What is your job?", for example. If they tell you something such as "I am a pirate!" and you say "ship" they'll say something else. Some people have useful hints and clues, while others are just everyday folk. The game takes place in real-time, and every move you make results in one minute passing (there's an in-game clock always present). Every individual lives their life working, eating, conversing, etc. and sleeping. You know there's much to appreciate about this game.
Fighting enemies is fun and requires strategy and skill of thought. Your party is on a battle plane and you can see everything that's going on. There are wisps, skeletons, daemons, dragons, imps, bats, insects, etc. You can equip up to two weapons at once, although some weapons you can only equip with both hands. There's swords of all sizes, daggers, bow & arrows, axes, magic axes, etc. and there's the armors, shields, and other such things. The game is packed with items which all have various uses. Transportation is done by several means including by foot, horse, ship, and magic carpet. If you enter a dungeon (you have to yell magic words to make entrances open) it changes from a top down view to first person. And let me tell you, these dungeons are menacing and filled with booby traps and foes, as well as treasure. All dungeons lead to the underworld which is where Lord British is held captive.
The soundtrack is classical-composed music that is diverse and well to my liking. I love classical music so it's great to hear such well-composed music in an RPG, especially one set in medeival times. You will probably like it a lot. You can even select whatever song you want to listen to before the game starts by pressing the appropriate keys on the keyboard. The sound effects are nothing impressive (this is a Commodore 64/128 we're talking about here).
This is one hard quest so I hope you've got some time on your hands. When it was released on Commodore 64/128 it came in a box with 4 floppy discs (use both sides) and it came with a massive manual, an amulet, a big cloth map, and other goodies. All this for $60. :cool: Very nice. I don't know much about the Amiga and Apple versions of the same game other than the fact that they look a bit better. However, you can't go wrong with Ultima V ~ Warriors of Destiny.

Here are tremendously useful sites about Ultima ~ http://www.ultimainfo.net/Codex/Ultima5.htm#Shadow
~ http://www.softwarezone.com/cheat/Commodore_Amiga/cheat7064.html
~ http://www.ultimainfo.net/
Here's all the music in MIDI format for Ultimas III, IV, and V - each in seperate compact downloads
http://markus.brenner.de/ultima/

Icarus4578
03-11-2003, 08:42 PM
In the beginning

Valis ~ The Fantasm Soldier - Sega Genesis - Rating 4
There is a lot to complain about in Telenet/Renovation's first Valis title for Genesis. (I know that's not a good way to start a review. :D) As you may know, Valis games are built to be cinematic action games but this one is rather poor. Of the 8-MEGS this game contains, about 3 must've been used for the actual game and 5 for the cinemas. As a result, the game looks basic and poor except for some of the cinema shots.
The game begins with a 7 minute cinema that could've been done in 2-3 minutes if not for the ultra-slow typed out character text whenever somebody talks. Their mouths move to each individual letter and man does it hurt to have to sit there and wait for someone to finish a few sentences. The game begins with Yuko Asao standing outside of school while it's raining. She briefly recollects about a dream she had. Her antagonistical friend Reiko brings up the strange weather and eventually she leaves. All of a sudden, monsters start attacking Yuko. She is given the Valis Sword and off she goes. So you fight through the basic, simple first stage by slicing through the same few enemies over and over and kill the boss. Then another cutscene begins and here Yuko meets Valia for the first time. Valia tells her she is in the fantasy world and that Yuko is actually the legendary dream warrior Valis. Yin and Yang have been seperated by Rogles (the bad guy). Valia then goes on to talk about how Rogles has sealed the source of the Yang into a Phantasm Jewel and shattered it, seperating it into pieces. Yuko's mission is to retrieve the Phantasm Jewel and restore 'Yang'. To accomplish this, Yuko must defeat Rogles and his five generals. Yuko doesn't want to fight though; she just wants to go home. So with a burst of light Valia changes Yuko's clothing from schoolgirl uniform to scantily-clad, skin exposed to the utmost Fantasm Soldier uniform and sends her off. And what's the first place Yuko is sent to? Of course... Ice covered mountains.
The gameplay is basic: navigate Yuko through poorly designed stages while killing poorly designed enemies. Sorry, it's actually not as offensive of a game as I make it sound, it's just rather weak. Yuko can jump, high-jump, slide and attack. You find swords which give Yuko different projectile attacks like spread shots, homing arrows, beam shots, etc. and with each time you gather another of the same type of sword you power-up the sword attack. But if you collect another type of sword you'll lose your other sword and its power. There's a life bar and an equally long magic bar which you must build up by gathering magic. As you beat stages you collect different magic attacks. You have to pause and select which magic attack you want to use and from there hold up and press attack to use it. Some of the hit detection is rather awful. You'll hit an enemy but it will not connect at times. This gets a little aggravating, but since the game is such a breeze it shouldn't matter much. Yuko's got one long energy bar and there's tons of hearts scattered about.
The graphics are plain and shoddy. Enemy designs are basic and unimpressive even for an older Genesis game (games like Ghouls 'N Ghosts look better, and that was only 5-MEGS so that'll tell you something). I'm quite certain that most of the MEGS were used for the cinemas. That's rather disappointing since there's a staggeringly small four cinemas throughout the entire game. Wonderful.... As in all Valis games, the artwork is good in parts and bad in others. One minute Valis is cute, the next she's a freak. :rolleyes: Go figure.
Bosses are easy and often consist of one or two predictable patterns. Even if you don't get the patterns down, you can often win simply by slashing away like crazy while you're getting hit. What's that nonsense? Once you get the Fire magic that acts as a barrier, use it while fighting bosses up-close. All you'll need to do against a boss like the two-headed dragon is get up close, keep activating the fire magic and slash away.
Valis games have some good tunes and this one has a few of its own. Too bad the songs tend to be short in length so they repeat thirty times a stage. The sound effects are weak and distant. Best song? The forest stage. Wanna go to the sound test? Hold A+B+C and press start at the title screen.
That's basically it. Watch drawn-out cinemas due to slow text with hints of animation here and there (most of it lip and eye movement), and play a weak action game that could've been much better. It's a far cry from Valis III on Genesis/PC Engine CD.
Tipn - during the last battle with Rogles there's a heart hidden you can get by attacking the top-left side of the screen.
Here's a code to regain all magic and life anytime - Pause the game by pressing start during the game on controller one. Then press Right+A+B on the second controller. Now you'll never have to worry about dying (like you would anyways). I didn't use the code and beat the game my first try. :P

Here's a great site devoted to Valis ~ http://www.darkcityproductions.com/duo/valis/index.shtml You can read reviews, check out screenshots and artwork, and read the story through the series. Here's an awesome collection of shots from Valis ~ http://www.geocities.com/opcfg3/valisart.html

Icarus4578
03-13-2003, 11:18 AM
What do you get when you combine Compile/Irem/Broderbund with a shooting/action/adventure game?

Guardian Legend (A.K.A. Guardic Legend) - NES - Rating 5
Anyone remember Zanac, the action/shooter on NES? If so, then you should also know that Guardian Legend was developed by the same team over at Compile. After the experimental days of gaming died down (basically the first few 8-bit years) developers were hard-pressed to come up with more original concepts. So what Compile decided to do was create games with elements from different genres. Although they weren't the first to accomplish such a feat it was certainly an accomplishment that stood out. That is, if you even noticed it. GL came and went without much attention anywhere.
We're left in an industry which caters towards the mass-market which predominately forgot about people like me, the small majority of true gamers who give a damn. GL is beloved by many NES owners and with good reason; it just gives so much to the player. You have space-shooting stages with a generous variety of enemies (if a bit lacking in the strategy department as well as layout), a Zelda-esque top-down view action/adventure game with shooting instead of swords, and a variety of weapons and items to collect. The execution is what keeps the score from ascending because, although both elements link together just fine, they don't really compliment each other that well, and what is presented to the gamer as far as tasks go isn't varied enough and can actually become rather tedious. At times it's satisfying, old-school joy and at others is basic fanfare.
Basically, you're an android-girl who can transform from girl to aircraft. Her mission is to prevent the artificial world Naju from colliding with Earth. What a story. Along the way the 'round face' will aid her in her journey on Naju. It looks like a child drew a circle on Mario Paint, gave it basic facial features and colored it in blue, like Lolo of the popular NES series Adventures of Lolo (only Lolo looks ten times better if you can believe that). The graphics are the basic NES stuff you know. It's not bad stuff; it's actually rather good and can stand up to pretty much anything else on NES. The action/adventure part of it reminds me of a graphically tame Neutopia. You walk around shooting enemies, collecting power-ups and health, and collecting/using keys to access other areas on the world map. Through the world map you access all the shooting stages (just over 20). The entire composite of the world map is shown by pressing select at any time. However, it only shows what's currently accessible. Also worth note is the fact that the map clearly shows where you're supposed to head next. There's chambers that you must enter to access the shooting stages, and some chambers require mundane tasks to open (I can't even call them puzzles), such as 'stand in the chamber and do nothing for a half a minute' or 'keep instigating conversation with the 'round face' three times to unlock it'. You gain weapons by finding them (about half of which come from the boss battles that exist on the world map) and you can power-up your health and chips which act as your shot power and must be used to utilize weapons apart from the standard shots. Just so you know, there are no dungeons/caves/palaces to explore. The enemies are well done and some are even philoprogenitive (like the spiders). The bosses on the world map suck, plain and simple.
The shooting stages are at once impressive for an NES and basic as far as shooters go. You have your standard shots and you can use any weapons you can on the world map. Thing is, every stage plays basically the same with only a few enemy differences here and there. Difficulty is unevenly distributed throughout the game; some early bosses are rather difficult and some later on are a piece of cake. The worst of these is the damn one-eyed monstrosity because its extended shot does insane damage and you have to face it many times. By the third time (when it's red) I was in suspended disbelief that Compile could be so evil as to make people have to fight that thing more than once. Bosses are rather dull so don't expect to be impressed. One of the dumbest is a squid which 'bounces' on the screen.... I'll let you figure that one out.
I didn't enjoy the soundtrack save for one song - the forest level (if you can call it that). And hmmmm.... isn't it funny how similar GL is to Valis in that respect (forest stages have the best song). The rest is just uninspiring. The sound effects are all clear though.
Thankfully(?), the game isn't ultra long. It's a good 5 or so hours if you're good at this sort of thing. The password system is long and hurts the game a bit, but it's nowhere near the password atrocities River City Ransom and Ys Book I and II. It's a decent game that could've been much better. There are much better action/adventure games out there and much better shooters as well. But it's a well-accomplished little gem that's decent in its own right. If you are into NES-style action gaming and you invest in Guardian Legend, your investment shall be reciprocated.

I know, you want cheats. I hear ya! ~ http://gamewinners.com/nes/GuardianLegend.htm

See you soon :cool:

Black Ace
03-13-2003, 11:28 AM
Icarus, you know better -- no direct links to ROM! :lol:

Icarus4578
03-13-2003, 07:32 PM
Woah, sorry about that. I had no idea. Thanks for the info.

Icarus4578
03-13-2003, 08:55 PM
Who wants some?

Virtua Fighter 4 - Playstation 2 - Rating 8
Let me begin by saying that if you don't like the Virtua Fighter series, if you don't enjoy spending some serious time mastering a character's every move, throw and counter, if you are into button mashing and instant gratification, then stay far away from Virtua Fighter 4. If, however, you are a serious 3D fighting game fan who likes to earn victories through a mastery of skill, boy have I got the game for you!
Virtua Fighter 4 presents the pinnacle of strategy-based fighting. Skill can only be attained through much trial and error. If you've already mastered at least one character in Virtua Fighter 2 and/or 3, then you have a good foundation to work with. However, a simple working knowledge from other VF games won't suffice to being really good in VF4. You'll need to be patient and practice for countless hours moves and their proper application during combat, throws, counters, juggling (to an extent), movement, range, throw-countering, etc. Thankfully, there's a very useful Training Mode where you can practice all the moves and learn how to apply them in tough situations. VF4 is jam-packed with enough modes and extras to satisfy even the most hardened gamer. The best addition is the Kumite Mode where you face an endless barrage of opponents and as you progress you'll get ranked with dans (belts) which keep track of your level of performance and the game even keeps track of a TON of other stuff like percentages of hits and throws executed properly, how well you're guarding/countering, how well you evade and defend, etc. etc. As you move up the ranks you face harder opponents who (supposedly) play at the difficulty of playing against VF veterans and masters. About 1,000 fights in and I've lost 43 matches (I use Shun Di). There's a few other modes as well, but I'll spare you the details. I would like to mention the fact that there are over 400 items, accessories, and costumes to unlock. However, much of it is uninteresting and I could care less about playing Barbie with my fighting game. I works well in a game like Dead or Alive because you're playing with girls predominately, but not here in VF land.
The arcade mode is fun and you can adjust the difficulty, rounds, timer, etc. like in every other fighter. The problem with VF4's arcade mode is that there are still no character endings.... Thankfully, the game is so engaging it makes no difference. There are 13 initial characters selectable (Dural is unlocked when you beat her in Kumite Mode). Each fighter has strengths/weaknesses. For example, Pai is ultra-fast with good priority in moves/range, but she's also among the weakest. Wolf is a massive wrestler that has a great variety of throws/counters and is very strong. However, his moves are harder to execute properly than most of other fighters. Etc. Pick a fighter that best suits your playing style. Want a well-rounded fighter with good moves? Pick Jacky or Sarah. Are you into the Chinese Shaolin Kung Fu fighting system? Pick Lei Fei. Want a powerhouse? Pick Jeffry or Wolf. There's something for just about anyone (except you button mashers. You know who you are ;)). What will not be tolerated is button mashing. If you think you're going to whip VF butt by slapping random buttons you're in for a suprise. Simply put, prepare to get destroyed.
The 3D environments are superbly replicated from the arcade without much sacrifice. Light sourcing is very well done although the eight individual light sources in the arcade has been reduced to two. However, the lighting is still among the best on the PS2. Characters are detailed and highly polished. Tekken 4, Soul Calibur, and Dead or Alive 3 have better character animation, but VF is faster, more in-depth and what's there is acceptable. Backgrounds aren't near as detailed or open-ended as in DoA3, but the fighting system is undeniably well-balanced and superior to DoA. As far as sheer fun factor is concerned, it's your personal preference. I personally feel that VF4 is more rewarding than DoA3, however, DoA3 is more instant fun and is underappreciated since it suffers for having easy counters, plus button mashing is rewarded far too often with victory.
I believe that VF had a great soundtrack, VF2 had a good soundtrack, VF3 had an average soundtrack, and VF4 has a decent soundtrack. I don't care for the music all that much in VF4, but what is there is high-quality. The sound effects and voices are absolutely crystal clear and get the job done right.
There's no question about it - VF4 is high-quality gaming with enough secrets, strategy, and challenge to keep even the most hardened fighting gamer busy. It occupies quite a bit of time so if you're not willing to invest serious time into one game then steer clear of VF4. This is a game that appreciates effort and rewards it generously.

Here's tricks and secrets ~ http://www.cheatchannel.com/files/virtf4.htm

Come get some!!! :evilsmile

Twelve
03-14-2003, 05:23 PM
VF4. The PAL version of this game is INCREDIBLY slow and awful. Turned me off completely.

12

Icarus4578
03-14-2003, 09:09 PM
Remember this?

Neutopia - TurboGrafx 16/PC Engine - Rating 7
NEC's PC Engine/Super CD was one of the best video game systems of them all. It didn't have Mario, Sonic, Final Fantasy, etc. but what it did have it was proud of. There were such classics as Ys, Castlevania, Lords of Thunder, Bonk's Adventure, Street Fighter 2, Bomberman, and much more. Perhaps no other company supported NEC like Hudson Soft did.
So Hudson took a good look over at the competition and somebody really liked Zelda a lot. So much in fact that Neutopia isn't simply a Zelda-wannabe - it's basically the same exact game. You as Jazeta must save Princess Aurora from the evil Dirth who has also taken the 8 medallions. Does that ring a bell? How about this: You walk around a world map (in this case four seperate world maps), find special items and enter labyrinths to defeat bosses and get back the medallions. There's nothing innovative here. It's hard enough discerning differences between Zelda and Neutopia.
Neutopia certainly looks better than the NES Zelda and is very comparable to the SNES Zelda (though the latter looks a bit better). As I said, the game consists of four seperate worlds called Spheres and each has a motif (Land, Subterranean, Water, and Sky). Within each Sphere is two labyrinths and two bosses, plus special items hidden within, though most are easy to find. Worlds are covered with enemies like slimes, flies, frogs, and other things. You enter people's homes and they converse (some give you items and sell things). And you'll need to bomb walls with statues on them and burn down trees to find hidden entrances. The labyrinths are just like the NES Zelda's, featuring walls with cracks that have to be bombed, doors/treasure which will only open/appear if you push a block or kill all the enemies on-screen, and of course a crystal ball (acts as a map), charmed compass, key, enemies and a boss. The bosses are often large and consist of a Dragon, Twin Gargoyles, a massive Crab and other such things. If you've played Zelda (and I know you have) then you already know how to play Neutopia.
Ok, so how is the music? Wonderful! Some places like the Water Sphere have great themes and excellent composition. In particular, the somber melancholy and muted despondency of the Labyrinth theme is perhaps the greatest theme ever used in a dungeon/labyrinth in action/adventure gaming (yes, even better than Zelda's). The sound effects are also good; the TurboGrafx 16/PC Engine has one of the nicest sound chips I've ever heard.
If you enjoy Zelda you'll feel right at home with Neutopia. The only downside is the long password system so if you've got a TurboCD/TurboBooster-Plus/TurboDuo you should save it. Also, it's a great game to bring on the go with the TurboExpress (the handheld TG16). TurboExpress even has an adaptor which allows you to watch TV! Problem is, six AA batteries last a full 2 hours so use a plug if possible. There's a sequel (Netupoia 2) you can also purchase. However, I've never played it and I heard while the graphics look a bit better the game isn't quite as good as the first. No matter.

Here's a walkthrough ~ http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/turbo16/file/neutopia_b.txt
Here are codes ~ http://www.gamewinners.com/TG/Neutopia.htm
And here's what the game looks like ~ http://www.bhlegend.com/php/show.php3?game=886
Here is perhaps the best site for PC Engine ~ http://www.pcenginefx.com/

Icarus4578
03-17-2003, 09:30 PM
The second cheap-fest

Art of Fighting 2 - Neo Geo - Rating 5
Is it just me? Are the fighters over at SNK all supreme masters at fighting games? It seems that way to me; put AoF2 on easy and it's one of the hardest fighting games I've played in my life, easily! (Ahhh.... how bitter the irony. :spinface: ) You have to get down every pattern for every opponent and exploit repetitious patterns in order to even stand a chance. Not only that... you get 4 chances to win (8 if you include the 2P side); no unlimited continues. Good luck.
In the first AoF, Kyo and Robert defeated Mr Karate and unmasked him, only to find out it was Kyo's father (and Karate instructor) Takuma Sakazaki. He explained in the AoF ending that he was forced to do this because of a man called Geese Howard (along with Mr Big) who kidnapped his daughter Yuri (Kyo's sister). Now, instead of there being just Kyo and Robert selectable in the arcade (story) mode, there are 12 fighters to select from, each with their own story. Obviously Kyo and Robert are selectable, but now so are Yuri, Takuma, Lee, King, Mickey, Jack, John, and two newcomers: Eiji (an agile ninja) and Temjin (a mongolian fighter). Mr Big is back, and this time if you beat everybody without losing a round you can fight Geese Howard (AKA one tough SOB). If you make it to Mr Big you can play as him (and save to the memory card). The bonus stages return and this time they changed the 'strength training' to a mini action/fighting game where you beat thugs that keep coming out of the screen.
The game control is basically the same as the first AoF, only this time there's even more of an emphasis on the special meter. About 70-80% of your focus is going to be on yours/your opponent's special meter. It depletes as you use special moves and you can refill it by holding A+B to charge (and leave yourself open to attack until you disengage it). Taunting is done with D button and it depletes your opponent's special meter. Like the fighting games on Neo Geo Pocket you press a button to do a quick attack and hold one to do a strong attack. Love it or hate it. The super specials are so ridiculous to pull off that I don't see how they can be effective. The controls are not my favorite fighting game set-up, to say the least. But once you get the hang of things you'll feel a bit less agitated.
As expected, the 178-MEGS are utilized to create massive characters that animate well and they've improved the backgrounds, plus there's the familiar zooming in and out of the screen. There is much graphic joy to be found here, but if you've been spoiled by such games as SFIII and Guilty Gear X you won't be particularly impressed. The music is done rather well throughout the game, though I enjoy the tunes from AoF1 much more (especially on the Takara translated SNES version, if you can believe that). The sound effects and voice samples are usually well done, with some sounding displaced and distant. For example, defeat Mickey and hear his lame distant (amusing) whine.
This is definitely not a fighting game everybody is going to enjoy. I can only recommend it to diehard SNK/AoF fans who don't mind a ridiculous challenge. Is it better than AoF? In some ways it is. Then again, how hard is it to improve a fighting game limited to two selectable characters?

Icarus4578
03-18-2003, 10:22 PM
"SONOMAMA SHINE!!!!" ~ Iori Yagami

Legend of Kage - NES - Rating 3
There was a time when I used to think that any game with a ninja must be good. You've got the Tecmo classic Ninja Gaiden series, you've got the Irem beaut Ninja Spirits, you've got the SNK cult favorite Samurai Shodown series, etc. There are plenty of Ninja-based titles available on NES. One of these is Legend of Kage by Taito (who also made Arkanoid). Seeing, hearing, and playing LoK after all these years brings back many fond memories... and brings with it a bit of displeasure in the form of its neverending repetiton of run, jump (about 70 ft), and kill. Sounds like a winner, doesn't it? Too bad about the execution.
Kage (meaning 'shade') is your character. He's going through tough times. You see, his girlfriend has been kidnapped by ruthless ninja and kodachi, and it's up to him to get her back and get his revenge. What follows is long, repetitious stages wherein Kage must transverse trees, moats, and the usual perils that come with the territory of fighting with ninjas. How do you play? You move across the screen jumping, slashing and shooting stars at your foes. It would work a whole lot better if there was more to do in the stages (of which there are only a small handful). The bosses don't feel like bosses to me. They're just enemies that are usually harder to hit. Graphically, LoK is pretty well done on NES, but surely you aren't going to buy an NES game based on graphical merits.
The music is repetitious to no end and will not be tolerated by everybody. Some won't mind it; others will want to destroy the game. I don't care for it. Even the sound effects aren't done that well, and it's not like there's a lot of sounds required anyway.
I guess Taito was as disinterested in LoK while programming it as I was playing it after a half hour. It is ok for awhile, but for more in-depth gameplay, sound, and story you'd be better off with something like Ninja Gaiden. Also, Kid Niki makes for far better NES action fanfare.
LoK is a good concept done poorly. It's sad to think of what this game could've been. I'll go play Ninja Spirits to cure my dissatisfaction.

Here are codes ~ http://www.gamewinners.com/nes/LegendOfKage.htm

Icarus4578
03-20-2003, 12:19 AM
1996 Game of the Year in Japan

Tokimeki Memorial ~ Forever With You - Sega Saturn/PlayStation (both import) - Rating 9
The Romance Simulator is a popular form of gaming in Japan. The idea is simple: Pick a girl you like and you try to win her heart. Sounds easy? Well, just like in real life, some girls are easy and some are hard. Problem is, most of those games were hentai (meaning 'pervert') which featured adult situations with girls (sometimes very young) and would include nudity and sexual content. Well, Konami's Tokimeki Memorial was the first Dating Sim made in Japan and it strayed from the usual nudity/sex that was so apparent in former entries in the genre. Instead, its emphasis is on the social lives of a select set of high school girls and the challenges a guy must confront in winning a girl's heart.
In Tokimeki, you play the role of a teenage boy as he's entering Kirameki High School for the first time. There, you meet Yoshio Saotome and he'll be your friend and 'informer' throughout the entire game (spanning 3 years, from the beginning of high school to graduation). He is also after a girl, and you never know who she is at the start. You meet your childhood friend, neighbor, and love interest Shiori Fujisaki in your class. She's looking out the class window at a tree. The tree that sits outside on the school campus is known as the Legendary Tree which supposedly is endowed with a power which joins two hearts together. It is said that if a girl confesses her love to you underneath the tree and you reciprocate, both you and her will be blessed with happiness forever. Of course, there are other girls in high school and you can try to win their love instead. Know this -- since her standards are so high, Shiori Fujisaki's affection is one tough prize to win.
Throughout Tokimemo you have stats which include looks, athleticism, intelligence, even how much stamina you have, and you'll have to balance these out rather well. In order to do this you are given boxes with different actions that you can select, such as groom (which will raise looks), train (which will build athleticism), and much more. Know that if you emphasize one particular thing too long other stats may drop slowly. Keep a good balance. Looks alone won't get you far. You need to socialize, study, enroll in a special cirriculum (such as art, basketball, computer programming, music, etc.) and to tell the truth it's amazingly fun to do this. However, don't expect to actually PLAY basketball or anything like that; you click and the game shows you performing the activity while your stats build in realtime. By building certain stats faster than others you'll end up 'running into' another high school student of the female persuasion, so if you're after Shiori try and cut down on how many girls you meet (just to be on the safe side). You can save the game every weekend/holiday so be sure to save often in case you screw up something bad (like a date).
Speaking of dating, here's how it works. First, you make sure you have a girl's phone number (Yoshio Saotome keeps 'em all so call him up to get girls' numbers). Also, Saotome keeps track of how happy/mad all the girls are with you so check in occasionally. You call up a girl and set a date up by selecting from different locations and events, such as concerts, stores, the beach, amusement park, library, etc. Be sure to check in on the schedule for event listings (you don't actually have to read it; it automatically updates your repertoire of date locations) for maximum options. Sometimes, you might get turned down, especially if a girl is angry at you or they're studying for exams. Here's another important factor: all the girls gossip about you, so if you make any particular girl angry (usually by ignoring them for an extended period of time) be ready to face the wrath of the female population! See overcast skies approaching? Make up quick! While you're at it, get to know each girl's personality. Take them to places they really like to go and don't say the wrong things to them. They ask questions (all in Kanji) such as "How do I look?". If it's somebody like Shiori, don't say "You look sexy" because she'll get embarrassed (or angry). Instead, settle for "You look cute". If it's a girl like Mira Kagami, feel free to call her 'sexy'. Since the game is all Japanese, you'll probably be playing a guessing game anyways, so if you screw up and you saved you can quick-reset (A+B+C+Start on Saturn) and try again. It's up to you.
The only negative about the game is that getting Shiori takes such hard effort and it bites to have given most of your focus on her throughout the entire game, only to have another girl show up for the ending! ARGH!!! If you perform horribly and all the girls are on bad terms with you, congratulations! You get the loser ending where you're sitting all alone in your room. Ouch.
There's so much Japanese pop culture references in the game it's staggering. There's even games like a 4 stage TwinBee game in Tokimemo. Also worth note is the run-ins with bullies and such which then sets up an RPG fight segment where you issue commands like 'attack', 'defend', and special attacks, and it includes HP (which is based on your stamina). Weird, but cool nonetheless. This game is jam-packed with extras and many Konami game references.
The graphics on the SS/PSX versions are about the same, with colorful backgrounds and characters. They don't really animate, but what's there looks very nice. They dress up different depending on season/location and they have special seqments specifically drawn for each girl if you're in the right place at the right time. The Super Famicom version has much lower graphic quality than the others and is missing a great deal of stuff, so I recommend the 32-bit versions. Also, on the SS/PSX there's a FMV intro with a short theme song (which I could care less about). Just thought I'd bring it up.
The music is nice anime-ish stuff that does the job. The voices (of which there's a TON) are all quite clear and you can skip through them (thankfully). All voice is accompanied with the text. There's nothing to complain about here unless you hate a particular girl's voice.
You can enjoy Tokimeki Memorial even if you don't understand Japanese, but only buy it if you're willing to give a Dating Simulator a chance. Don't buy this game if you're looking for action - you won't find it. If, however, you're looking for a break from the norm (or you just like Shiori too much) get Tokimemo. It won't let you down.

Here's a lot of sites featuring Tokimeki Memorial~
~ http://www.tcp.com/~prisoner/tokimemo
~ http://www.ag.ru/ch/3080_3_0.htm
~ http://endtears.net/tokimemo/cast.html
~ http://www.animesongs.net/database13.htm
~ http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~jemmysoe/shiori/four_season/natsu/tokimemo/tokimemofs/tokimemo.html
~ http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Temple/9388/shioindx.html
~ http://www.konamityo.com/tokimeki/en/
~ http://www.spaceports.com/~omicron5/tokimeki/index.html
This makes an interesting read ~ http://www.freetype.net/features/games/tokimemo/index.html
~ http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Temple/9388/
~ http://endtears.net/tokimemo/
~ http://members.tripod.com/~nantapornmon/index.htm (And no, there's no porno on this site, I assure you.)
~ http://www.tcp.com/~doi/tokimemo/index.html (Another section to the first page listed.)
~ http://www.geocities.com/masamune4444/index2.html
...And how 'bout it? ~ http://www.konamijpn.com/sitemap/index_e.html
Here is my review on OPCFG which also has vast coverage of more 2D gaming goodness ~ http://www.geocities.com/opcfg3/tokimemo95review.html

I'm out. :cool:

Icarus4578
03-20-2003, 11:01 PM
Go crazy

Contra III ~ The Alien Wars - Super Nintendo - Rating 8
Newer game systems are forcibly associated with the wrath of hundreds of atrocities in the form of games -- interactive software -- which often makes little to no attempt at the acquisition, the attainment of quality. We need not dissect this species of corporate intrusion. One glance at the walls of a game store should serve as adequate enough an account of the unintelligible demeanor of software publishers and their disdainfulness towards excellence. Nevertheless, there exists, in small order, hidden within and between the many-flavored atrocities, quality, a game whose resolve is well spent at the disintegration of the ruthless establishment which defiles the game shelves. It seeks to flagellate the mindless extravagance of poor software, and depart from it at full length. Devil May Cry is one of the only games that exhibits a similiar demeanor to the game I've chosen to review -- Contra III.
To compare Contra III to any new piece of action software would be foolish, for Contra, you see, is estranged from those others. Welcome to quality action gaming at its finest. You will not find a single CG cinema. It is simply not permissible. You will, however, be thrown full force into the action. Here's how it plays: run, jump, shoot (in any direction), climb, destroy. Every stage is made up of multiple parts and features many environments, each part usually consisting of a mid-boss battle. You are constantly given new obstacles to overcome, new enemies to demolish, new bosses to distribute firepower upon. The control is perfect and never gets in the player's way. The graphics are the 'we are Konami' SNES hyper-bliss you'd expect (and this game is only 8-MEGS) with every zooming and scailing effect imaginable, wonderful use of colors and shading (nothing gaudy), good animation and huge bosses. There are two kinds of stages: standard side-scrolling action and top-down view. In the latter stage form you can rotate the player with the L and R buttons, rotating the screen in the process. Boss battles are a treat, featuring some of the best ever seen in 16-bit gaming. If you play through the entire game on hard difficulty you'll get to fight the real final boss, and if you win you'll get the real ending. As in previous Contra installments you gather weapons while playing, including rapid fire, laser shot, and the Contra staple spread shot, and you can hold two at a time which you can switch between. There's also bombs which you collect, and when you use one it blows up everything on the screen (except you, of course). There are six stages in Contra III.
The game beats to a pulsating soundtrack furnished to be the finest compliment to the action. The music occupies your attention but doesn't distract you. It, in fact, motivates you to accomplish the mission set before you. The sound effects are all well done.
You can scrutinize Contra III's various devices of structure, intentionally looking for faults as your instinctive response to my bashing at great length the majority of software which corrodes the store shelves these days. Let me tell you -- don't waste your time. Contra III makes other action products seem like an embarrassment. This is quality gaming.

Take a look ~ http://dailyemu.virtualave.net/reviews/contra3.html

Black Ace
03-20-2003, 11:14 PM
Yeah, Contra III was awesome! I still remember back in 1993 when I first played this game. I died a lot playing the first stage, the part where they had fire shooting up from the ground and they pause and come back. The bosses fight were just amazing and ingenius, my favorite was when you defeat two robots, and thought you were done, but no, you're just scratch the surface, a huge mechanized boss ripped the back wall and he was scary as hell for me at the time. Those were the good days. :cool guy:

Icarus4578
03-21-2003, 09:51 PM
What's so good about this game?

Gradius III - Super Nintendo - Rating 7
We don't get new space shooters anymore aside from the occasional treat every once a year or so. Back in 1991, Konami ported their classic arcade shooter to SNES almost pixel-perfect (but with some interesting changes). It was quite a treat for shooting game enthusiasts, featuring lush 16-bit outer space dwellings and scenery impossible to replicate at home until the SNES was released.
It's not without its problems; namely, slowdown. Sometimes it's useful, like when there's a tremendous amount of enemy fire on-screen and so it makes it easier to negotiate through. Still, in some parts it's rather aggravating. Thankfully, the positives far outweigh the negatives. This is a great shooting experience with tons of enemies, weapons and, of course, bosses (of which there are numerous). It should be noted that while Gradius III is an arcade port it's not without its changes. (to read up on Gradius arcade-to-home conversions, please read this enlightening website http://www.classicgaming.com/gradius/gradport.html).
The basic heart of quality in shooters lies in the delicate balance of control and challenge, a seemingly elegant composition of truly awesome stage layouts, enemies, bosses, and the difficulties each stage address. For the most part Gradius III gracefully passes, but some areas are out of control with difficulty (try stage 7 on hard and see if you agree with me. That is, if you can in fact make it to there ;)). The Vic Viper, your $100,000,000,000,000,000 space ship (:eek: no kidding) is quite the weapon of destruction. You begin each stage by selecting from various weapon types. Once in the stage, you must collect power-ups which will light up the equip boxes on the bottom of the screen. In order: there's speed, missle, double, laser, option, ? and !. When what you want is lit up simply press the equip button. From there it's up to you to make your way through the stages. Put the game on hard for a woefully challenging experience (and to get the best ending). I hope you're good like me. If not, here's a tricks section for you to utilize ~ http://www.megagames.com/megacheats/G/snes-165.shtml Who loves you?
And what would this review be without mentioning the soundtrack? Gradius III has one of the most interesting soundtracks ever for a shooter. Great compositions throughout, with some of my favorites belonging to stages 3, 7, and the final level. The sounds are crystal clear and it's astounding in general what Konami can do with just 8-MEGS (check Super Castlevania IV). No other shooter has a soundtrack as blissful as Axelay, but that's another story.
What is there left to be said? You owe yourself all the pain and the pleasure that Gradius III encompasses. It will test your shooting skills to the fullest and keep you interested from start to end. You can get it rather cheap nowadays (say, $5?) so go pick up a copy. If you already own it, more power to ya!

Here's an awesome site you all should check out which covers an assortment of classic 2D games and has interesting articles, oddities, etc. ~ http://www.geocities.com/opcfg/main.html I know you'll enjoy it. :cool:

Icarus4578
03-24-2003, 06:19 PM
It's all about Capcom...

Dungeons & Dragons Collection - Sega Saturn (import) - Rating 6
This is, without a doubt, one great game collection to get if you're into importing Saturn software from Japan. These games are medieval/fantasy beat-'em-up titles similar to Golden Axe. You get two CDs: D&D ~ Tower of Doom, and D&D ~ Shadow over Mystara.... And you get zero difficulty due to infinite continues in both games.
Imagine Golden Axe mixed with RPG elements and much better characters, enemies and stages and you'd have D&D Collection. The first title, Tower of Doom, came out before Shadow over Mystara in the arcades. They both are very similar, though SoM looks quite a bit better. These are your standard romps through medieval times; hack, slash, and use magic on all the skeletons, dragons, chimeras, etc. Anything that gets in your way, destroy. Pretty simple. You select from a fighter, cleric, dwarf and an elf in ToD, and in SoM there's two more characters added: a magic user and a thief. What really seperates these games from other similar titles are the multiple routes. However, you soon learn why -- the stage areas are short. I figure that Capcom didn't want people getting too dragged down with fighting the same few enemy types over and over again through 10 minute long stages, so they opted to break stages up into smaller fractions and add a generous variety to enemy types. The bosses are often large and very well designed, such as an ogre, dragons, daemons, sea serpents, and, get this, an owl bear. Nice! You gain levels, items, magic, amulets, potions, and weapons throughout the game. These are obtained often by destroying treasure chests and buying from the shopkeeper. The control is superb, but then what did you expect from Capcom? Then again, there's not a whole lot to do--move, jump, slide, attack, use magic, etc. I don't mind this style of control, though I'd prefer it if the games made me think more about preparing for battle. You see, both games have infinite continues. Which brings me to this question: what's the point in having various difficulty settings? Do not the infinite continues defeat the purpose of the difficulty settings? It's not like a Street Fighter conversion in that sense because if you lose in SF you have to start the match all over again and actually earn the victory. I would've preferred to have Capcom force the player to restart the stage, even if there are infinite continues, because then and only then would I feel I'm earning my way through the games.
The graphics are pretty good in ToD and great in SoM since the latter title was released later. The graphical differences are as such: SoM has slightly bigger, more well-animated characters and foes, and there are more backgrounds as well. Neither approach Capcom's CPS3 graphical wizardry as displayed in Warzard (another D&D title). One thing I really liked was the Capcom artwork of the characters during the short breaks between stages in SoM because they resemble the quality of the Nightwarriors character win shots. Very nice stuff.
The music is good but nothing special. Come on Capcom! Ghouls 'N Ghosts has a better soundtrack than both of these titles (certainly as far as composition and enjoyability is concerned). Sounds are arcade-quality as they should be.
Ever played King of Dragons and/or Knights of the Round (arcade or SNES versions)? D&D Collection is the perfect compliment for those two games. However, if you really want this collection, know that the treks, while sweet, are short-lived. And you may be better off saving your money for something with more meat on its bones (e.g. the Capcom Generations Volume 2 disc with both G&G arcade titles and the SNES installment on one disc -- HOW CAN YOU GO WRONG?!?). D&D Collection is a good addition to your game library, but only Capcom diehards need apply here.

Here's the same review on OPCFG, which also has screenshots from this game ~ http://www.geocities.com/opcfg3/dndssreview.html

Icarus4578
03-31-2003, 07:18 PM
Engaging

The Legend of Zelda ~ The Wind Waker - GameCube - Rating 8
Miyamoto's latest effort is a remarkable game that grabs you and simply will not let go until you've completed virtually everything. Yeah, we've all been in this terrain before with titles such as Super Mario World, Zelda ~ A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, and much more. It is quite an ability, to stir one's imagination and keep it compelled through 20+ hours. And sure, certain movies contain a similar magic, such as the method of beauty that Miyazaki films tend to display. But they don't last no 20+ hours. More like 2 hours. In full consideration of the fact, let me say that comparing Miyamoto to Miyazaki isn't so far fetched as you might believe; both entertain people--of all ages--and both represent some of the best quality in their field of work. One just happens to have more agility at his immediate disposal.
Actually, that's saying too much. Miyamoto wasn't as involved in the development of this Zelda as in previous installments, and both Miyazaki and Miyamoto are certainly not the only ones responsible for the things they are involved with, of course.
Zelda games need no description. The standard in action/adventure gaming has returned for the tenth time (not including the disgraceful versions on Phillips CD-i and such) and it stands on its own as being one of the best games created during this era of gaming. You will surely be locked in its device of attraction. There's the beautiful cel-shading in full effect so as to make the latest Zelda look akin to a cartoon. At present, Link's newest quest is his most visually impressive yet. From sailing the oceans, to venturing through the rather accomplished Windfall Island, and, of course, all the dungeons, labyrinths, ocean scenery, and characters wihich illuminate the world.
As far as the world structure is concerend, the game is one huge ocean with a focal location in each square area of the map, of which there are 49 total. You are able to see places from afar; for example, if you are two blocks away from the Forsaken Fortress you can still locate it easily. And if you get within a certain distance from its summit you can even use your telescope to zoom in and check out what is occurring, for example. Time moves from day to night while sailing on the ocean, and it will stop as soon as you reach a location. Also, the weather tends to change with rapidity. It can be a peaceful ride with the haze fawning over the dawning day, and then, without much of a warning, a storm aggravates the sea. The negative is that early on in the game it takes a rather long time to go from one place to another (usually several blocks away). The positive is that later into the quest you can gain the ability to warp around the world map, which makes transversing the seas much less time-consuming. Whether or not you like this new world structure, it does have its charm to it. I would've preferred that there was more land and less water, but that's just the way it is. The inhabitants of this world are interesting and often times quite funny. Each person has character, and they're not just a stand-in character like in RPGs where you'll enter a town and see people, and then see the same people in a different town all standing around doing the same exact thing (usually standing around, doing nothing). The people in this world have purpose and are interesting. Some are amusing like Salvatore who runs a squid-hunting minigame. Others are more homely/sad like Link's grandmother, and some are just plain weird (Tingle and Tott come to mind...). Some of the things people say are amusing and/or suggestive; Sturgen quote ~ "Yes, there was a time when I used to like playing with fairies... Uh...ahem!" The cel-shaded look helps to make their personalities all the more convincing, and the animation is excellent on everything and everybody, even if it's only 30 FPS. The landscapes are nice but many lack the personality of those found in other Zelda titles. Also, the labyrinths, although impressive enough, are too few and far between. However, they are rather large and quite impressive. Also, most of the bosses, while not difficult, are impressive as well. The game controls like either N64 Zelda with some slight changes here and there but, even if you haven't played the N64 installments, this Zelda is pretty light on challenge (though parts like the Wind Temple can be frustrating to say the least).
The music is a mixed bag, with some songs being very good, and others being an insult to the GC and the Zelda series altogether. Also, there are a lot of songs recycled from Ocarina of Time which makes me think of the word 'lazy'. Some of the enjoyable pieces are the sailing themes (particularly the storm-riddled world version) and a few others. The main sailing theme is a re-arranged, extended version of the Zelda theme, and it's done to great effect. I was disappointed by many of the labyrinth/temple themes, which are very weak. Even Zelda ~ Link's Awakening for GameBoy has great labyrinth songs, so why not here? :???: Koji Kondo has had better days.
No matter what anybody says, this new Zelda is more than worthy of its namesake. It may be a departure of sorts, but it's an effective departure. There's more depth, intrigue and sheer enjoyability in this Zelda than in any PS2 or X-Box game yet, and that's saying a lot. :cool:

Icarus4578
04-03-2003, 01:58 PM
Painful

Irem Arcade Classics - Sega Saturn (import)/Playstation (import)
Rating - 3
It's a shame, really. Irem could've put together quite a nostalgic, quality package filled with their rich history of arcade games, including Lode Runner, Meikyuu Shima (otherwise known as Kickle Cubicle for NES), Atomic Boy, Battle Chopper, Ninja Spirit, and many more. Instead, they opted to go with two rather awful titles (10 Yard Fight and Zippy Race) and one decent arcade (Spartan X ~ aka Kung Fu Master). What a shame.
The game set-up is rather nice. You start by selecting which arcade you want to play. From there you 'insert coins' by hitting the appropriate button and from there you can set up each individual game with options. You can even choose between original and arranged soundtracks for every title. After that, things go downhill.... fast.
Let's begin with 10 Yard Fight, one of the worst football games ever made. If you're looking for Hail Mary's, calling audibles, hell, even time-outs, well.... you're in the wrong place. But if you're looking for super slow gameplay, horrendous control, no fun, and the worst graphics and sound, then boy... are YOU in for a treat! Here's how it works - you're a nameless high school team with players that have no intelligence and can't run for their lives. You've got a clock of 60 seconds (playtime) and if you cannot make a touchdown within a short period of time, game over. If you get a first down, the clock will add a few seconds. You don't get to choose plays; everything is pre-set. You can pass but if you get intercepted your team gets pushed back 20 yards. :???: Ok.... If you do get a touchdown, the computer kicks off to you again and this time there's less time to get a touchdown. Pretty exciting stuff.
I guess I'll sum up my experience with 10 Yard Fight with the only appropriate word.
"Huh?"
Now, onward to Zippy Race. In the options screen you can choose to continue right where you lost, so turn that on. And don't worry - you'll only be playing it once so may as well make the best of things. You're on a motorcycle on a top-down view and you're mission is to try and score first place before you reach New York (there are 5 stages). You have no time limit per se, but you have a fuel gauge which depletes as you race. After you've progressed far enough in any particular stage, the screen switches from top-down view to a standard first-person view done so poorly it hurts. All they did was draw a street and animated lines coming down into the screen, and the screen never moves. While I suppose at the time this was nothing short of mind-blowing, looking at it now is a complete joke. Not only that, even though it's 5 stages, after the first two they just repeat the exact same courses. I'll save you the time with this ending spoiler: all it says is "Viva! NY" and then the game starts over. Wow.....
Spartan X is the only reason why I bought this compilation, and even this is a letdown of sorts. Sure, I love Kung Fu on NES (as my review clearly states) and I enjoy this arcade conversion. But in the end it just isn't worth it. Ok, maybe if this compilation costed $3-5 dollars or so it would be worth the money, but not $20-30. No way baby. Here's the deal with Spartan X - move forward and beat everybody (and everything) up with punches, kicks, sweeps, jump kicks, etc. and avoid getting hurt. That said, for some reason this conversion controls worse than the NES version and is rather unfair. For example, you can no longer jump kick diagonally at will--you have to walk forward for about a second or so before you can execute the move. Why is that? I don't know. Where this gets aggravating is in seriously unfair predicaments like at the beginning of stage 2 when all the jars are falling from the ceiling. You'll see a snake coming and so (naturally) you'll jump over it and right as you're in the air another jar comes down and cracks you right in the head, depleting half of your life! Stuff like that really pisses me off to no end. Sure, the characters are bigger in this conversion than the NES, but the NES version controls far better. Here's the plot ~ Thomas, a 'Kangfu expert', must rescue his girlfriend Sylvia from Mr X. Sure would be nice if Irem knew how to spell 'kung fu'.
If there's one thing Irem does know how to spell, it has to be 'rip-off' because at $20-30 that's precisely what this compilation is.

Here are some screenshots from OPCFG along with (you guessed it) my review ~ http://www.geocities.com/opcfg3/iacreview.html

Black Ace
04-04-2003, 12:27 AM
Icarus, have you played Bio-Hazard on the Genesis? It just wicked, intense gameplay, dynamic techno bass sound track. I would love it if they port it to a next gen system in a greatest hit pack similar to Sonic Collection. Anyway, if you have played it, I'd like to hear your thoughts on it. :D

Icarus4578
04-04-2003, 09:23 AM
I've never played BioHazard Battle, but i'll play it and review it. Soon, i'll have up reviews for Xenosaga and Guilty Gear XX, and of course more classics.

Vicviper
04-04-2003, 11:55 AM
Icarus, You forgot to mention the insanly long loading times for D&D collection. The longest load time for a game that I can remember. Atleast you can watch a fairy on screen that picks her nose and flicks the boogers. Just plain horrible. But the game(s) are kick ass other than that.

Icarus4578
04-04-2003, 12:26 PM
Sorry, but with all the PC Engine/TurboDuo/Sega CD games I played around that period of time I certainly didn't pay too much attention to the load time. After all, I am more than used to it and besides, I judge games on their content, not their loading screens.

Icarus4578
04-06-2003, 04:20 AM
Guilty as charged

Guilty Gear X2 - Playstation 2 - Rating 7
When I think of great 2D fighters I think of Capcom and SNK. It's unusual to see another company come storming out of nowhere with a 2D fighter with higher resolution, more detail, some of the best animation seen in a game, and a strong fighting engine. But Arc System Works has done just that. Arc System Works? Huh? These days we're overloaded with piles of 3D fighters that are doing nothing for the genre, and there hasn't been a good 2D fighter seen in quite a long while.
Well, now there's reason to celebrate. GGX2, the sequel to the highly acclaimed original, is here in full force, thanks to Sammy Studios. It's quite a beauty, with sharp graphics running at 640 x 480 pixels and progressive scan capability. Quite an accomplishment. Once you see the results you'll want all future 2D games to do the same. In 2000, the original Guilty Gear X took the Japanese arcade community by storm with its hyper stylish graphics and gameplay. The characters were some of the funkiest ever seen in a fighter and were interesting to watch in action. That's not to say that GG bears no similarities to other games, particularly the Atlus effort Groove On Fight (Power Instinct) for Sega Saturn, Capcom's Darkstalkers series, and SNK's Samurai Spirits (Shodown). GGX2 takes the original and improves on it with more characters, better control, improved animation, and lots of extras.
There are 20 characters to select from and they're quite diverse. The entire cast from the first GG returns. Sol-Badguy and Ky-Kiske are this game's Ryu and Ken respectively (and both wield blades) and the others return (bosses like Dizzy playable, and Zato-1 renamed Eddie). Four new characters are added including Bridget, Zappa, Slayer, and the new playable boss I-NO.
As most anybody could plainly tell, a lot of the character names come from famous rock acts like Eddie (Van Halen), Slayer, (Frank) Zappa, Axl (Rose) Low, Testament, etc. Also, there's plenty of references to horror films such as The Ring (Zappa's 'destroy' move) and others. There's a lot to enjoy besides just the great visuals and gameplay. As I said, there are plenty of extras including a gallery section where you can earn and view various videos and drawings, including all the ending artwork in every mode. There's Arcade, M.O.M. (where you fight to earn medals), vs 2P, vs CPU, Survival, Mission (the most challengine mission mode you could ever come across), Story, and Training modes. You'll certainly have more than enough to keep yourself occupied for a long time.
The control is excellent but is riddled with a little too much excess if you ask me. You've got your double jump (triple if you're Chipp Zanuff), air-dash, high jump, recovery, combos and throws. Ok. But then you've also got dead angle counters, dust attacks, overdrive attacks, psych burst, faultless defense, instant kills (unless you're a certain character like Dizzy), jump cancels and roman cancels (phew). You've also got two meters to keep track of: tension and burst gauges. Sometimes, when all hell is breaking loose on the television I just can't help but think they've overdone it. The fighting gets a little too flashy at times, with 30-90 hit combos that make the screen look like it's going to explode. This does for fighters what Yuen Woo Ping does for movies; lots of flash and little substance. While there is a respectable amount of depth and fun to be found, you find that most everybody plays too similar with Ryu/Ken/Guile move commands, and once you memorize certain combos it becomes a button jam fest.
The graphics and animation are first rate but characters still share backgrounds like they did in GGX. Some backgrounds are nice but most of them are taken from part 1. I noticed the Anji Mito/Baiken background, where spirits are walking across a bridge, is clearly influenced by Spirited Away. I also noticed several other things, like the fact that Dizzy's attacks all look like Donovan Baine's special moves and that Faust looks like a ripoff of the Atlus fiend Joker from Persona 2 (they both wear a paper bag over their heads). The animation is impressive but not quite up to Street Fighter 3. In comparison to the original, GGX2 doesn't seem like a sequel so much as it does a 'champion edition' a-la Street Fighter because they really haven't added too much to the game.
The music is a mixed bag featuring rock songs that really do fit with the game's visual representation, but most of the music just dwindles because it's unimpressable and there aren't any memorable pieces (aside from one or two). The sounds are perfect and the voices are all nicely done. As a matter of fact, in story mode the characters have conversations before and after every match, and they kept the Japanese voice acting in and just added subtitles which was smart, especially seeing as they hired some famous voice actors in Japan to do the parts.
GGX2 is a great game with a few flaws here and there, but is well worth the invested time and effort. If you're dying for a good 2D fighting game, well, you really don't have much of a choice seeing as companies like Capcom don't seem to be releasing any as of late. GGX2 is pretty cheap at about $40 so it's worth the investment in my opinion. Arc System Works is a company worth supporting if only to see what they do next.

Vicviper
04-08-2003, 12:30 PM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
Sorry, but with all the PC Engine/TurboDuo/Sega CD games I played around that period of time I certainly didn't pay too much attention to the load time. After all, I am more than used to it and besides, I judge games on their content, not their loading screens.

Oops! I forgot to put this around my statement.

Icarus, You forgot to mention the insanly long loading times for D&D collection. The longest load time for a game that I can remember. Atleast you can watch a fairy on screen that picks her nose and flicks the boogers. Just plain horrible. But the game(s) are kick ass other than that.

Icarus4578
04-10-2003, 10:54 AM
Aim for the dump

Xenosaga ~ Der Wille zur Macht - Playstation 2 - Rating 1
I finished Namco's Xenosaga, and I think it sucks. I watched it about as much as I played it (a 40+ hour trek ...Star Trek rip-off that is, as well as Star Wars and a few other things). For those of you who have played Squaresoft's Xenogears you already know that Xenosaga is supposed to take place before Xenogears. Both games play and--to an extent--look similar, with much emphasis on sci-fi/religion, and mech (A.G.W.S.) battling. So does Xenosaga live up to the standard Xenogears set before it?
In a word, no. Let's begin with the characters. Shion is the lead female protagonist, and KOS-MOS is hers and Vector Industries' creation; a female android with very apparent combat skills. She was created to destroy the Gnosis (supposedly), and you find out much more about her as the game/movie progresses. There's also Ziggy, MOMO, chaos, and Jr. who come into the equation within the first 8-10 hour framework of the game (basically the first quarter). Also, there is an assortment of other faces/names you'll be seeing and hearing about all throughout the game. Problem is, there's TOO MANY. To help you cope with the ridiculous amount of names, terms, and characters there's a special feature you can pull up that explains what this or that means. Shion is kinda annoying in my opinion; her sympathetic attitude towards androids "They have feelings just like everybody else!" drove me up the wall, but some may take a liking to her bubbly, geeky with a hint of attitude personality. What really got on my nerves though was Allen. Boy is he annoying. All of his failed attempts to tell Shion how he feels about her are not executed to even mildly amusing effect because there was no backbone on his character to make me feel interested in the least. With Xenosaga we're given a phony sugar-coated attempt at love that falls flat on its face. Anyway, Xenosaga is filled with enough plot twists and betrayl to keep you interested, if you're interested in the characters to begin with. The character models all look great for the PS2 but they usually have a funny look and movement to them that somehow reminds me of the mortifying cast and crew of the old TV show Thunderbirds (oh boy....). Something that I truly didn't like was the layout of the Subcommittee on Close Encounters meeting room which is obviously stolen from Star Wars ~ Episode 1 (which I'll have you know right now I could care less about).
Enough about the characters/story. How about the game? Yes, how about the game? Seriously, you'll be playing for 5 minutes and all of a sudden here's this 20 minute cinema out of nowhere. The battles play similar to Xenogears (when you're actually playing it) in that you can perform combos and such, but Xenogears had better gameplay due to a more varied mix of Tekken-ish button combos and more interesting characters/moves. You can choose to perform a two-hit combo or store up for a three in Xenosaga, but in Xenogears you could do much bigger combos at will. As for the A.G.W.S. (pronounced 'eggs' by the characters) mech battles, not everybody can use them, but they are capable of different combos depending on what weapons you've equipped on them. You can equip your 'eggs' with shoulder missles, submachine guns, beam arms, etc. and you can find hidden weapons throughout the game. About midway into the game I was pleased to find a lot more emphasis on exploring/battling, but even here the game falls short because there's not much to explore and much of what's hidden requires you to backtrack using the EVS (Environmental Simulator) plug-in module at any U.M.N. save point. Instead of exploring new, different areas to get special hidden things, much of it has to be found by backtracking through areas you've already been through. Another problem is the fact that you have to keep pulling up the damn menu screen to keep building your characters' skills, attributes, etc. Why didn't Namco make that all come with leveling up?? So now, instead of the game doing it like it would in most every other RPG I have to do it for each and every individual character... Now I'm going to be straight with you. I'm generally a busy person, and besides the tremendous amount of time I've had to hold in peeing to sit through some boring "You don't mean..." "Yes, the prototype 100-Series Observational Realian." cinemas that rear their ugly head every 10 minutes, I don't want to waste even more time not playing the game by having to sit through tedious, boring stat-building!
The graphics are some of the best 3D you've seen coming out of your PS2, and they'd better be seeing as you're going to be watching it quite often. I personally don't care too much for sci-fi, 'futuristic' Star Trek-ish space ships and that sort of thing. If you do you're in for a treat. You'll be impressed by the space battling that takes place throughout the game (which is FMV mixed in cleverly so as to make it look like the PS2 is actually performing the graphics ;)). The cut-scenes steal the show graphically. Battling and exploring look ok but not quite as good. The enemy count is low (about 100 total) so that should tell you how little variety they thought about giving us battle-wise.
The music is by Yatsunori Mitsuda of Chrono Trigger/Xenogears fame. This is his weakest effort yet with only a select few pieces here and there being of any merit and the rest just sort of being there. It sounds like a typical sci-fi action movie soundtrack to my ears. Uninspired material. The annoying bossa nova-wannabe stuff that plays during certain parts of the game (to try and make it like an anime perhaps) just makes the whole experience feel too goofy. The sound effects are done pretty well. Then again, with a PS2 they'd better be done well.
If you're looking for something interesting in RPG land you (like myself) will be disappointed. There's too much time spent watching the game, causing me to wonder if I paid $50 for a game or something else. I hope all of those "It's gotta have plot" babies out there are satisfied with Xenogears for the remainder of the decade; long enough that game developers can focus on making real games. You know, one of those things you actually control and not something you watch. That's what movies/shows/books are for.

Twelve
04-10-2003, 06:36 PM
OUCH....

This review has taken a bit of my enthusiasm away from wanting dearly to import this game... hmmm....

12

Icarus4578
04-10-2003, 08:23 PM
Painful but pleasing?

Divine Sealing - Mega Drive - Rating 0
Yup, you read that review rating number correctly. Zero. Zip. Nothing. That's exactly what Divine Sealing deserves. You think you've played bad shooters? Heh. You ever play a little import Playstation hemmorhoid that goes by the title Two-Ten Kaku? That's bad. Is there anything worse than Two-Ten Kaku? I'd wager Divine Sealing takes the cake, but there may be a few here and there flaoting around too painful to recall.
Divine Sealing is a shooter/hentai (pervert) game. No, the fact that it displays nude girls doesn't take away from my rating. But in this case, the shooting is so bad, the stages so ultra boring, and the bosses, music, and control so pathetic, well... I'm at a loss. Ever been walking down a street and somebody threw a rock at you? That's what playing Divine Sealing is like. No... it's actually worse than that.
What can I say good about Divine Sealing? There's five stages of stunningly awful shooting to keep you glued to the tube. No... that doesn't work out well... Wait... Maybe it's the jaw-droppingly horrible soundtrack that will make your stereo attack you. Err... The graphics aren't so bad for a shooter... No, that's lying. I shouldn't lie. What does Divine Sealing have? Nude girls that strip full screen after you successfully complete any stage. They cycle through four/five full-screen stills of each girl talking to you in Japanese (using text) and then it's on to the next stage. For those of you who want a level skip code to go straight to the pics, here you go (I guess): During the game, to skip a stage, pause the game, and then keep pressing down+A+B+C until the stage ends. Repeat each stage.
Have you ever had to sit through the movie Beaches in its entirety? A traumatic experience to say the least. Add Divine Sealing to that list. It is surely the worst shooting game available on Genesis/Mega Drive.
The things I tolerate for you people....

Take a look (no nudity shown here) ~ http://www.vgmuseum.com/pics2/divine.html
Here's the original source of the shots, which lists tons of Genesis/Mega Drive games you can view ~ http://www.vgmuseum.com/test98.html
And here's my review as it appears on OPCFG, albeit slightly different. Includes screenshots ~ http://www.geocities.com/opcfg3/dsreview.html

Icarus4578
04-11-2003, 10:16 AM
I must apologize Ikaruga as I cannot secure a copy of BioHazard Battle. That's alright though. Why don't you post a review for the game in my place? :cool:

Of course, I'll be back with more review-goodness.

Kojiro Hyuga
04-14-2003, 03:54 PM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
Time for another review! This time for the classic NES

Kung Fu - NES - 6




Tatarara, tarara, tarararararara, tarara, tarara:D

Now that was a great song... Oh, I miss rescuing Sylvia (endlessly:big smile )

Icarus4578
04-14-2003, 03:58 PM
You don't have to miss it. Pick up a copy of the game. What's it sell for these days, 50 cents?

Kojiro Hyuga
04-14-2003, 04:06 PM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
What can I say?

Final Fantasy X - PS2 - Rating 2
All I can say is, what a letdown! Square almost completely disregarded much of what made the series so special to begin with by abandoning the freedom of exploration and all of it's merits, and indulging into crappy dialogues, boring plot (attempts), and lack of individuality between characters. You can basically customize them all to play exactly the same, thus, defeating all necessity for any one particular character, aside from only one, Yuna, because she can summon a full army of 12 or something summons (give me a break) and that's about as close as you're going to get to individuality.


:cool guy: :cool guy: :cool guy: What can I say? Here's a right on review of Final Fantasy X- exactly what I tought of the game!

Amazing, PASSIONATE work you're doing Icarus- something you don't get elsewhere anymore... Keep it up!:cool guy:

- Oh, about Double Dragon 2 for MD- I enjoyed that game! The strange sound Billy did in the air while performing the roundhouse spin kick (something like arrougha arrougha was memorable...:2happy: ) : one thing is for sure, Double Dragon was one of the most rewarding beat em alls experiences for me... I do not know why, with all the bad points you pointed out - wich I agree- But there was something there- the design of someone taking a punch, the sound effects- I really felt I was inflicting major PAIN in those basic moves! Like you said, there's something about those characters that makes pretty satisfying beating- Oh, and This game, unlike the NES game, was an Arcade port.

- And, to finish- Daytona 1 for the Saturn only had 3 courses like the arcade, I think. And one great thing about your Daytona review: You didn't criticize the graphics and the frame rate- you immediately said the frame rate was slow, but didn't give it importance and stated about the gameplay of the game: Like you, I enjoyed (maybe too much!) my Daytona and it is still, to this day (with sega rally 1 and 2) one of three racing games I dedicated myself to master AND CHALENGE time attack times...

Icarus4578
04-14-2003, 04:11 PM
Thanks. You might want to double-check on Daytona; there is four tracks, hence why you hear the extra song added to the Saturn version.

Kojiro Hyuga
04-14-2003, 04:12 PM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
You don't have to miss it. Pick up a copy of the game. What's it sell for these days, 50 cents?

Yeah, I'm thinking about buying an old Nes (it HAS to be the grey one that only works after a beating- now that's nostalgia! :lol: )

But I'm affraid of picking these games up... Kung- Fu, along with Soccer (the soccer game that had a music playing along all the time, always the same, endlessly...) where my first EVER videogames- that was in 1984 or was it 1985? Oh... I'm affraid to lose the image I have of those games...

Kojiro Hyuga
04-14-2003, 04:18 PM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
Thanks. You might want to double-check on Daytona; there is four tracks, hence why you hear the extra song added to the Saturn version.

Er... Now you got me... I'm not so sure now... let me see, the Three 7 speedway, Dinossaur Canyon, Lakeside... Well, that's it isn't it? The music you're talking also exists in the arcade version- it is a special track... Since I don't have a Saturn with me now I can't be sure, but I believe it is the same there. It played in the game when you holded z or Y before the race started (you had to hold start plus view 4 to get that music in the arcade, if I recall correctly). Anyway, I'm not sure, so I will check it out later... If I'm wrong, than sorry beforehand! Keep op the good Work!

Icarus4578
04-14-2003, 04:32 PM
....What's this?

Slalom - NES - Rating 5
Good, simple fun. That's what Slalom is. There's always this curiously strange feeling I get whenever I fire Slalom up on my TV. I don't know, it's just so different from every other game. The graphics are among the best on the NES with smoooooth scailing (though it's not really scailing, but don't tell anybody ;) sssssssh!), clear graphics, a unique and satisfying look and a charm all its own. Anybody who has been in an arcade in the 80's had to have seen (and played) the Slalom machine, which was usually situated alongside Hang On and OutRun.
In Slalom you are given three seperate courses from easy to challenging and each has several stages to ski down. You are given a timer and you must try and complete each stage before it runs out. Of course, it's not that easy. You'll have to deal with objects that get in your way like trees, poles, snowmen, etc. and, ridiculously, other sledders that have no trouble sledding UP the mountain straight at you. There's also little bumps in the snow that you can jump off of and perform freestyling for extra points. In some cases, there are two poles alongside one another and you have to try and fit in-between them because if you miss you'll slow down for a second. It's very challenging. That all being said, this game is an acquired taste; you'll either enjoy it or hate it. The controls are simple and responsive (if a bit slippery at times, particularly later into the game) and if you lack patience and want instant gratification you would be better off playing something else.
The music is repetitive but it is nevertheless memorable and easy on the ears. Sound effects are standard NES stuff--nothing impressive.
This is a short review because there isn't alot to discuss as far as this game is concerned. You ski and avoid obstacles. What more is there to say? If you are looking for a simple game with simple fun Slalom just might be the thing for you. Me? I enjoy it, but it's not something I make a habit out of. Here's hoping for a good sequel.;)

Icarus4578
04-14-2003, 04:34 PM
Hmmm.... I think I'm mixing up Daytona USA with Sega Rally. Now I'm confused. Maybe you're right.

Icarus4578
04-14-2003, 05:28 PM
Bad apple

Kingdom Hearts - Playstation 2 - Rating 3
It's a shame, really, because Kingdom Hearts certainly has a lot going for it. Its got interesting ideas that feel similar in ways to other Square greats like Secret of Mana and combines them with play control that feels like some strange Mario/Zelda/Dynasty Warriors hybrid.
First: If you love both Square and/or Disney, and you like your adventure games filled with lots of action and, well, a few decent puzzles, this is a dream come true. And I'm quite certain many people who are reading this review already own/beat the game. For those of you who haven't, and are not amused with Square's commercialism as of late, I'm telling it like it is. This is a rather weak action/adventure game that has way too much fighting that gets boring after the thousandth destruction of the same enemies (but some boss fights are rather exciting). However, its strengths lie in the hidden things like colored keyholes that can be unlocked and its challenge. Not much of an incentive to warrant a purchase, I'd say.
You control Sora, a new Square character who is joined by Disney favorites Donald and Goofy (both of whom you cannot control). Many people will find it intriguing that many Square characters make appearances, and I am certain that Square felt the same way ($$$). The action is not turn-based; everything's real-time. You can run, jump, attack, use items, magic, and special abilities, among other things. With this game's magic system you can assign magics to specific buttons. Whether you like this concept or not it can be undeniably fun repeatedly flinging out magic attacks at your foes. I just don't like how early in the game the magic meter depletes way too quickly. Also, using items during battle is more a hassle/hazard than it is helpful. You can really take some serious punishment during the execution of trying to use an item (like a potion). Also, I don't like how Donald and Goofy hog battling. You can set it so that they don't attack as much or at all, but then how are they supposed to gain level? At least there's a few things to like about KH. In particular, each world is based on a Disney animated movie (Aladdin, Alice in Wonderland, etc.) except for three (there are 11). What's so cool is that in each world there are unique predicaments that are not found in any other world, not to mention the unique enemies and look. And the bosses are often impressive with great animation. What absolutely sucks is when you want to go from one world to another you go flying in a spaceship shooter that looks and worse than most Playstation (hell, Sega Saturn) games, and it plays just as terrible as it looks. ;) VERY disappointing... and it's not fun at all. It's just a waste of time.
The graphics are quite nice for a PS2 game, with colorful worlds filled with good animation and nice stage construction (if a bit dull in parts). None of the worlds are constructed on the level of, say, Zelda, but it's certainly not bad. One thing worth mentioning is the sometimes inconsistency of characters proportionally to one another. Disney characters are often times far too large in comparison to people. Square still renders the Disney cast very well nonetheless.
The music is for the most part bad and offers no incentive to buy this game nor the soundtrack. First of all, there's that crap opening theme song by Utada Hikaru that I can't stand. Some other songs within the game are dull and uneventful. Interesting to hear was the rendition of Nobuo Uematus's One-Winged Angel from FFVII. The music is composed by Yoko Shimomura of (coincidence?) Secret of Mana fame. Nobody in their right mind would deny the fact that SoM has far better music. Anyway, the sound effects are all well represented as are the voices which are done pretty well for not being the original voice actors of the Disney characters.
I feel that Kingdom Hearts is little more than Square trying to cash in on the Square/Disney franchises. The major problem is that we've already got far better action/adventure games lying around. If you dig this kind of thing then by all means run out and grab a copy. If you already own Zelda ~ Wind Waker you'd be best advised to save your money, at least until the next installment of Kingdom Hearts which (I'll presume) is much improved.
As an adventure game, KH is mildly interesting. As an action game, it's kinda dull.

MaJiN-ChRiS
04-14-2003, 06:25 PM
Ok as i am fairly new to these forums(well i reg about a year ago but really couldnt be bothered posting:) ) i was just wondering how u rate the new Zelda game?

Icarus4578
04-14-2003, 08:16 PM
Go to Page 9 in this thread and you'll see the review for Zelda ~ Wind Waker almost midway down the page. :cool:

gearhound1
04-14-2003, 11:46 PM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
The music is the weak part in my opinion.


i think the last boss music, the music you hear after you fight ansem a second time after defeating the shadow demon on the island, is really awesome. i thought the overall music in KH was very good.

Kojiro Hyuga
04-15-2003, 06:37 AM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
Gradius III - Super Nintendo - Rating 7
We don't get new space shooters anymore aside from the occasional treat every once a year or so. Back in 1991, Konami ported their classic arcade shooter to SNES almost pixel-perfect (but with some interesting changes). It was quite a treat for shooting game enthusiasts, featuring lush 16-bit outer space dwellings and scenery impossible to replicate at home (until the SNES).


Hey, Icarus, do a review of a Parodius Game! I see you enjoy much Blasters and game music, so I really would like to see your views on this game series ( I belive the best parodius game is for the ps1/Saturn)

Icarus4578
04-15-2003, 11:05 AM
Sorry, but I don't have any Parodius games, and it's been quite awhile since I tried one (a Super Famicom title). I think the music is very well accomplished (if a bit cheesy in parts) and the game pretty good. Nice, colorful and vibrant graphics with good effects. But Axelay is the best shooter ever made in my opinion.

Kojiro Hyuga
04-15-2003, 12:47 PM
Oh...:( Well you couldn't have everything there is out there... (you even played tokimeki for chrissakes!:eek: ) Anyway, I liked Parodius more simply because it was 2 player fun with a lot of funny stuff in it, while keeping the Gradius engine...And amazing Parody music of classical music...uhh...."classics"..:lol:








Icarus, I tried a dating simulation once, on the Saturn... It was Can Can Bunny... Well, Icarus, the game was pretty... "Rewarding", if you know what I mean- It had a great soundtrack also! Did you try that one?

Icarus4578
04-15-2003, 01:03 PM
I have some stuff on Can Can Bunny, but I haven't tried the game. That's ok. I can buy some of the Can Can titles if I so desire. There are a lot of other similar titles, such as Sentimental Graffiti, High School Terra Story, Photogenic, and a whole slew of others (particularly on PC and import game systems). What I don't like are the violent ones with rape, tentacles, and some rather disturbing other concepts I won't get into. Tokimeki is still my favorite.

Kojiro Hyuga
04-15-2003, 01:19 PM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
I

(..)What I don't like are the violent ones with rape, tentacles, and some rather disturbing other concepts I won't get into. Tokimeki is still my favorite.

:haha: Yes, the japanese and the "tentacles"... No, Can Can is of course not as deep as Tokimeki (no minigames :( ) But its rather funny and "salty"- The other simulations games you mentioned I never really tried, some never heard of!

However, me and my friends played a lot a 4 player multiplayer dating simulation game for the N64 from Hudson called Getter Lover! It was amazing fun! You competed with your friends for a selection of 5 or 6 girls (who obeyed to typical stereotypes such as Sporty girl, Sexy Girl, Bookworm Girl and the tipical "I'm so fragile that I need protection" girl), and during the game you had various minigames such as a 4 player Doom clone, a 4 player "Protect your Girl" game and a Quiz show where you had to answer questions about the girls (changed every time you played!) There was also a very UGLY Girl in the game that appeared randomly at "dating" spots and ruined your game for 3 turns because she stayed with you and spread the rumor she was dating you! An amazing game (the concept was too macho, but I'm not complaining) and great fun if you gather a group of (male) friends! Try it!

Icarus4578
04-16-2003, 02:08 PM
Here... try this...

Keith Courage in Alpha Zones - TurboGrafx 16 - Rating 5
That was some Christmas long ago, when my TV was aglow with both Altered Beast and Keith Courage. Sega and NEC got here a year ahead of Nintendo's Super NES so they were the major two new consoles for the year 1990 (SNES came out near the end of the year). I know that EGM gave Sega's crisp 5-MEG home conversion of Capcom's Ghouls N' Ghosts arcade game of the year (and with good reason). So we were enjoying Sega and NEC games while we were waiting for our Mario, Zelda and Final Fantasy fix. Now, NEC lauched with some impressive software and judging from the promotional video I've (still) got they were set to bring over hundreds of titles from over in Japan (in fact, the end of the tape showed off many superb PC Engine titles that never made it out of Japan - so much for that). As a matter of fact, the video demonstrated games like China Warrior side by side with NES games like Kung Fu to show off the TG16's graphic superiority. Funny thing is, Kung Fu is far superior to China Warrior, but Vigilante was pretty good (both Kung Fu and Vigilante are Irem classics).
NEC's TurboGrafx 16 could've made a huge impact in America and set the standard for importing fine Japanese softs. They didn't follow through; with only several dozen decent games released outside Japan (often with lame box cover art) and some bad promotions and lack of a sound strategy vs. big contenders Sega and Nintendo, NEC fell behind the race for 16-bit supremacy (TG16 is an 8-bit system with a 16-bit graphics processor). Not only that, the third-party backing in Japan was nonexistent in other countries, except for a few companies like Working Designs with games like Cosmic Fantasy. We never got big titles like Street Fighter 2 CE, Fatal Fury 2, Konami's Castlevania/Dracula X and Snatcher, etc. and to add insult to injury there wasn't a good lineup of sports titles.
Keith Courage in Alpha Zones stood as one of the foundation titles for the TG16. Featuring clear, bright, colorful visuals complimented by an ingenious game system where you had to use almost Mario-esque platform jumping, attack enemies to collect money, go shopping, buying weapons, items, health and clues, and then using your purchased weapons/items in the Alpha Zones which would come into play during the second action-based half of the stages (there are 8 total). The action gameplay was especially well done. However, problems hamper these stages down a bit. First of all, you have to know that before the second half of each stage you're just in regular form (just Keith and his sword). This part is weak on the action and has more to do with collecting enough money to upgrade your weapon before the second half. And in the action parts you morph into an armor-clad warrior with a plasma blade and bombs (which are actually just projectiles) in which everything is all action. Make your way through the 'always designed the same' stages, destroy enemies and fight a boss. The problem (for me) is the lack of enemy variety. You're sure to fight the same 4-5 enemies over and over each stage (only occassionally adding defeated bosses as enemies). If you don't mind that, and the later stages in which you must collect money for a ridiculous amount of time--say 15-30 minutes--then you can look past its faults moreso than I can and enjoy it. I enjoy it, but to a limited extent. However, it's no less devoid of gameplay than Altered Beast.
The music is a mixed bag. It ranges from standard action flare to kinda silly motifs that actually fit the visuals very well. The sound quality is what you expect from TG16 - crystal smooth. And all of the sound effects are of the same quality.
If you at any point in time owned a TG16 then you already know the deal with Keith Courage in Alpha Zones. It was impressive at that time, but against other stellar 16-bit quality games it just couldn't hold its own. As everybody knows, Hudson Soft was responsible for what was NEC's mascot, Bonk. They missed the boat with KC, but Sega didn't do much better with Altered Beast. However, both have that nostalgic aura hanging around no matter how lackluster both games are on their own.

Here's codes for the game ~ http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/turbo16/code/9684.html
And here's a site with screenshots of games for TG16 (no Keith Courage shots though) ~ http://www.fortunecity.com/marina/indiabasin/1211/id215.htm

Pilotwings
04-16-2003, 05:40 PM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
Go to Page 9 in this thread and you'll see the review for Zelda ~ Wind Waker almost midway down the page. :cool:

burn! its the best game for gc and a 10 is the right score. :o

Icarus4578
04-16-2003, 05:44 PM
That's your opinion. There's no way I'm giving Zelda ~ WW a 10. That's reserved for absolute classics like Zelda ~ A Link to the Past, Yoshi's Island, and a few others.

Icarus4578
04-17-2003, 07:41 PM
The one and only

Street Fighter II - Arcade - Rating 7
The year - 1991. The place - any choice arcade. A revolution was born. Capcom exploded on the scene and became king of the arcades with just one release - Street Fighter II. For gamers, this was a revelation which had dominated our deepest thoughts, for we were gamers but first and foremost - dreamers. We sought at the very comfort of our homes a taste of that omnipotence, that singular spark that ignited the torch which Capcom kept running with. The crowds of other arcade-making dwellers recoiled in horror of this obstruction that populated arcades with muted simplicity. To all those that layed their hands upon the Street Fighter II cabinet, it had indistinctly become the emulation of their dreams.
Street Fighter II was a sensation for a generation of very fortunate arcade-goers. Players would subject themselves to being confined in a dissolute entrancement for hours and hours. It had everything - it was a complete and total fighting engine. You have three seperate punch buttons and likewise three kicks, ranging from weak to strong. And of course a control stick. It's what happened as a result of certain coordinated stick/button commands that made it work unlike anything else. And it was (undisputably) the astoundingly unique cast of characters and backgrounds which were the foundation of SFII's distinctness of atmosphere. The graphics and animation were unprecedented - they were the best. Who would argue? (who would complain?) It wasn't easy for everybody to hear the memorable compositions emmited from SFII but it was undeniably no less personal in character than the characters themselves. The sound effects were all done with a similar resolve of attained perfection. What was there that SFII did that was wrong? Every game publication found solace in this game - put SFII on the cover, sit back and watch the issue sell millions. The financial success of the arcade in and of itself cannot be comprehended. It was Capcom performing magic and nothing less.
To this day, I remember well the moment I first walked into the local arcade and walked by a new arcade machine titled Street Fighter II...
It has retained its quality and singular presence respectably well. Although it has since been bettered by many other now-classic titles, Street Fighter II will always be the father of fighting games. This, nobody can ever take away.

Kojiro Hyuga
04-18-2003, 03:42 AM
Only 7?:( O well... Like you said, its YOUR opinion...:) Oh, about the new avatar....... UUUUUUUAAAAAAATAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!! (Ever seen "Shaolin Soccer"?)

Icarus4578
04-18-2003, 09:18 AM
'Shaolin Soccer'? I'm afraid to ask. Only a 7 because it has been bettered by many other fighting games (including Capcom's SF sequels like Turbo). I chose to review the original and make a special review that complimented Capcom for making the original king of fighting games. I like the review very much. :cool:

Black Ace
04-19-2003, 04:38 PM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
That's your opinion. There's no way i'm giving Zelda ~ WW a 10. That's reserved for absolute classics like Zelda ~ A Link to the Past, Yoshi's Island, and a few others.

Yoshi's Island -- that game was the ****. Best 2D platformer in my opinion, hopefully Nintendo make another. Yoshi's Story was boring.

markavellie
04-19-2003, 05:56 PM
I agree with your Kingdom Hearts review...if anythiong it should've scored less. The action is boring and the puzzles are more like running around clueless until you come across what you were looking for.

Icarus4578
04-19-2003, 08:35 PM
Staggering quality gaming

Final Fantasy VII - PlayStation - Rating 9
The birth of the 32-bit RPG revival began with one title, and that title was the Squaresoft masterpiece Final Fantasy VII. We had a drought of RPGs in the 16-bit days (at least in America) with only a few chosen RPG releases every now and then. While Square is the main perpetrator of the cinema/movie RPG approach, they also were one of a select few game companies that stood for quality and getting a lot more than you paid for. $50 for 100+ of the best hours spent in gaming, period. I simply cannot find a game on the GC/PS2/X-Box thus far that comes close to this level, including key major titles like Metroid Prime, Zelda WW, Panzer Dragoon Orta, etc. and FF 8 through 10 weren't even close. FFVII was the renaissance of the 32-64-bit era. Others like Dragon Warrior VII and Persona 2 ~ Eternal Punishment, while great in many respects, just weren't quite as engaging.
This FF title featured a bold new world for RPGing. There was the addition of Resident Evil-esque polygon characters over still backdrops, 15-20 FPS fully 3D battles with (at the time) the most dazzling special effects and cinematic, bold summons ever to be seen, a memorable cast of characters, hidden items and a new useful system which required the player to ascertain shiny gems called 'Materia' which could be inserted into weapons and armor to add effects, magic, abilities, summons, and a slew of other features, and a vast world spanning three discs (the last disc is admittedly short in length though). We had never seen an RPG on this scale before.
The story is the weakest part of the game. It revolves around former ShinRa employee turned mercenary-for-hire Cloud Strife and other characters like Tifa and Barret who despise the energy company ShinRa Inc. which is run by shadowy figures known as the Turks. They are sucking the life out of the planet in order to power the huge city Midgar, and Barret, who leads a group of opposition called Avalanche, is so angry about it that he's organized Avalanche to help him take down ShinRa. So he's hired Cloud to help do the dirty work. Cloud doesn't seem to really care for Barret's cause though, and this frusturates Barret to no end. The story extends way past Midgar and these three characters and (of course) eventually becomes the 'save the world' stuff seen a thousand times before. The story is a little weak...
...But the game itself is just so high-quality that it more than amends for the disingenuous storyline. This is the first FF title to reduce the amount of characters in battle from 4 to 3. But this only made each character stand out more. The actual fighting system is the same as previous FF titles with several additions, especially the new berserk meter for each character. As a character is hit the meter builds until it finally hits its peak thus enabling the character to perform a Limit Break attack. Another interesting addition was the new cinematic summons which were jaw-dropping at that time. Also, there were hidden bosses added for the US release called Weapons -- ultra-powerful bosses that were scattered in the world. They were even tougher than the final boss! Oh, and there's all those FMV cinemas which were the best at that time.
The game is not without flaws. While not in battle, the characters look blocky and -- just admit it -- stupid, the final area is the worst-designed in the game, and some of the later summons take too long. There's a few more faults here and there, but the positives far outweigh the negatives.
The music is all composed by Nobuo Uematsu (FFVII was his first project since his little mid-life crisis) and it includes around 100 songs. While the sound quality is rather dull, a lot of the music compositions are very nicely composed. I'm not as big a fan of the final boss music--One-Winged Angel--as most other people seem to be. The sound effects are done well with a few here and there being a bit weak. Overall, it's an accomplished soundtrack, especially when you consider it all had to be composed and arranged within such a short time span (about a year or so).
This was the game that catapulted Sony into the stratosphere - way past Sega Saturn which I think is every bit as great a system. It's amazing to think that not too long before the release of FFVII critics and game companies were saying that RPGing wasn't a good decision for the US market. Square proved them all wrong.

Icarus4578
05-01-2003, 06:53 PM
Hey, that's not Phantasy Star....

Surging Aura - Mega Drive - Rating 6
Let me begin with a header on an advertisement from Sega - "Live Out Your Fantasies with Role Playing Games from Sega, the Leader of RPGs". This was back in the time when Shining in the Darkness was released (an awesome dungeon crawler-styled RPG), and after Phantasy Star II won video game of the year by Video Games and Computer Entertainment magazine. So then, what happened to Sega? Later into the Genesis lifecycle they began ignoring the RPG market, claiming that it wasn't worth Sega of America's effort. What was interesting to note was that in Japan circa 1994 there were two RPG titles going head-to-head for the honor of RPG of the year - Final Fantasy VI (Square) and Phantasy Star IV (Sega). Both are great games that deserved attention. During the period they were to be released in America, FFVI was getting more attention and hype than PSIV and this (in 100% truth) was unfair to Sega since they predetermined Square's title to be RPG of the year. Even if you felt that FFVI was better, PSIV was a landmark title for Genesis owners everywhere and, if it was given more attention, could've boosted Sega sales (and confidence, apparently). Since FFVI received unprecedented coverage, with PSIV being forced to play keep-up... Sega lost the race.
Which means we never got Sega/Mutsumi Inomata's Surging Aura, a fun spinoff of the Phantasy Star series. As a matter of fact, besides a slightly changed battling system, it uses the same game engine as PSIV. The game opens with some rather tasty artwork in the vein of other Sega RPGs. Strange enough, it feels like something out of Sonic Software Planning - the look, the music, the presentation, etc. It's all so similar. After a rather stellar opening sequence with cinemas interlaced within, the quest begins. Unfortunately I don't know what the story is about (I don't understand Japanese) but it has something to do with books that kingdoms are after (not unlike Ys). The main character is a magician that winds up being joined by an assorted crew of people, including a pirate, a couple male and female warriors, etc. but there is only a maximum of two with you at any given time. You gain magic by either finding it in chests, having somebody give you it, or buying it. Here's the thing: only the main character can use magic and everybody else can only do standard things (attack, defend, items, etc.) The battle system is slightly changed from PS series in that you see the character faces and underneath the HP/MP is displayed like an energy bar. There are commands shown and when you select one it begins to build. Upon completion the desired command is executed. What's annoying is when you want to cast certain spells. You select a spell from one of six orbs (I guess that's what they are) and you watch the spell being cast (like in Final Fantasy II for SNES). But if your main character gets hit the spell casting will halt momentarily. During this small interval of time, if he's hit again the spell is cancelled and you'll have to re-decide what you want to do. Fortunately, the enemy must follow the same procedure for casting spells. But unfortunately for you, sometimes there are two rows of enemies - one in the front row and one in the back - and in order to attack the ones in the back you'll need to do one of several things in time ~ A) kill off all the front row enemies so it forces the back row to come forward, B) use a long-range weapon, or C) get off a magic attack in time. It's a great idea for strategy in an RPG, but it's not done as well as it should've been.
The game itself is your generic RPG adventure. You go from town to town with very little backtracking, and almost every town looks the same. There are castles and such, but even here they look too similar to one another. It's not a big issue as far as I'm concerned. The game is very easy to understand even if you don't know Japanese. Some spots will make you go "Hmmm..." but with all the battling you'll do, you're sure to be a powerhouse for whatever else comes your way by the time you've figured out what to do next. There's a generous assortment of baddies and most are designed very well (as are the backgrounds) but they don't animate. Also, if you're in favor of PS-style cutscenes during the game, you won't find them here. What you've got here is generic RPGing in the style of PS but not quite on the same level.
The music is very similar to games like Shining Force and Shining in the Darkness with some great tracks here and there. It's got that old classic Sega feel about it which I'm in favor of. The sound effects are done quite well too. A good effort aurally.
Looking back at an old editorial in Sega Visions magazine (Fall 1991 issue), I'm reminded of why I am a game player to begin with. Excerpt: "Our games are always breaking technological ground, testing the waters of new techniques, and blasting past creative limits. You're playing video games for a good time, right? And that's exactly what Sega's technically complex, creatively outrageous games deliver." That may have been true in 1991 when Sega was putting their feet in the door, but how much changes in just a few years. I recommend Surging Aura for those of you that want to play something that will stimulate Sega nostalgia, but don't go into it thinking you'll be blown away.

Have a quick look ~ http://www.vgmuseum.com/pics5/surging.html
Have another ~ http://www.geocities.com/opcfg3/aurareview.html :cool:

Icarus4578
05-02-2003, 11:10 AM
Two ninjas, dueling in the shade of the moon....

Ninja Gaiden - NES - Rating 8
Forever a classic, Tecmo's grand series Ninja Gaiden has stood the tests of time because of not only its unique presentation and singular flair, but because it was the first such game for a home console to actually have challenging gameplay and great design to fit in perfectly with its inherently cinematic getup. The third Ninja Gaiden was a tremendous letdown, but the first and second were nothing short of greatness.
$60. That's how much Ninja Gaiden costed when it was first released on the NES in America. Everybody knows Ninja Gaiden's story by now. All sorts of people, from the old-school gamers to the newer swarm of go-getters, hell, even people living on the plains of Africa have heard the legendary tale of the Hayabusa clan's struggle to keep the light and dark statues apart. Ryu takes up the Dragon Sword to avenge the sudden death of his father Ken who was killed in a duel. But before he can avenge his death he must find out why his father had to die. Ninja Gaiden opens with a cinema, ends every stage with a cinema, and of course ends the game with a cinema. A whole community of parties get involved in the story throughout the game. The cinemas are done very well and display some of the best graphics seen on the NES. Animation wise, they're sparse. But what do you expect? This isn't a CD/DVD cinema; this is a video game. The stages are very well designed and will test your innermost game performance to the max with split-second timing on jumps and wall-latching, challenging enemies made more challenging by their often awkward placement around the often difficult to transverse stages (plus the age-old problem of reappearing enemies), and the bosses, particularly the battle with the sinuous bastard Jacquio - all adds up to one feisty challenge that will rock even adequately experienced gamers to the core. If you lose to the end boss even once you'll have to repeat the entire last stage, which is long and duly difficult. Good luck. :D
The gameplay is terrific for an action game, and whatever difficulties you may face with controlling Ryu only punctuate the neccessity of you playing with a higher purpose. You want to win. The game pulls a cheat on you sometimes but you learn to overcome it like everything else. You can jump and hang on walls, and you'll have to learn how to do small jumps off of walls and land on the same wall to keep going higher so that you can then jump onto some other ledge. And of course you can duck, attack with the Dragon Sword, and obtain weapons and useful items like invincibility and 1ups. In the event that you have to continue within a stage, you will have to return to the beginning and do it over again. Sorry, no instant gratification here. If you want to beat this game you'll have to earn it.
Ninja Gaiden boasts one of the most memorable soundtracks to come out of the 8-bit era, and indeed is better composed music than any game to come out over the past couple of years (aside from a select few, like Dragon Quest VII). Every single piece fits the game perfectly and helps accentuate the drama of the moment wherever neccessary. Even the sound effects are memorabilia in and of themselves. I can stay away from this game for several years and still remember how it sounds. You know it has a personality all its own.
I don't know if Team Ninja has what it takes to muster the creative level on par with the first (or second) installment of Ninja Gaiden for Ryu's X-Box debut, but whatever the case, you cannot afford to miss this genuine classic.
For those of you with a SNES, you can try and locate the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy cart which has all three NG titles (with very slight graphic/sound upgrades) on one handy cart, but it's rare. Good thing I've got a copy.

Here's a site with a couple of photos of NG ~ http://www.nesplayer.com/reviews/ninjagaidenr.htm
Here's a site with the front/back of many NES games, including NG ~ http://www.emucamp.com/jagsvgz/systems/nes/pictures/games.html
Here's in-game sprites ~ http://www.nesplayer.com/database/sprites/ninjagaiden.htm Go figure.
And here's a listing of in-game sprites for other titles ~ http://www.nesplayer.com/database/sprites/ Enjoy. :)

gearhound1
05-07-2003, 11:59 PM
icarus, are you slacking off again? what's up? :D

Icarus4578
05-08-2003, 09:15 AM
I can be.... R P G.... :sing:

RPG Maker - PlayStation - Rating 6
Have you ever wanted to create your own RPG (and have lots of free time to spare)? Then you owe it to yourself to purchase a copy of Agetec's RPG Maker for PS. This is a quality product that gives players full control over virtually every aspect of designing an RPG. Everything, from graphics and animation, to town/dungeon design and story/event writing... it's all here at your fingertips. You've never been given so much freedom of creativity before -- absolutely unprecedented. It'll cost you a bit of time and dedication, so be sure that you have the time necessary.
The game is divided into two sections - RPG Maker, where the game is structured and put together, and the Anime maker, where you can alter/create your own sprites, characters, enemies, backgrounds, etc. and animate things. The Anime section takes a long time to get down, and you really should have a mouse and some prior experience with a PC before going into this section. The RPG section is where you do all of the actual game designing, putting everything together. It's easy enough to design your own RPG universe by using the sprites and characters already preset in the game (don't worry, there's quite a lot for you to utilize). Creating events and causing action/reaction takes some trial and error (bug testing) but once you get it all down you're hooked. You can set up the opening/title screen to come up at whatever point(s) you want. You can adjust character stats and leveling, and fully adjust enemies in a similar manner, including their name, stats and abilities, what items they drop, what they can/cannot do, etc. down to the smallest detail. You can really get into the director's seat and design events that have a lot going on on-screen, such as screen/color fading, characters coming and going, what everybody says (and you can even adjust wait time between whatever you want to the 0.0 point of a second!), move the screen, etc. Virtually everything you can think of is possible. Heck, you can design your own spell effects! I could go on forever but I think you get the idea. The graphics department is decidedly SNES quality (somewhere between Final Fantasy II and Illusion of Gaia) with simple yet fulfilling sprites and animation. The enemies are as detailed as virtually anything in the 2D RPG realm. Excellent. :bigsmile: You'll never be at a loss for coming up with some great new aspects to your storyline; your imagination is pretty much the limit. Just think: you can make an RPG where you play as workers for a game company and must come up with the ultimate game system in order to defeat the evil Sony Empire. Throughout the quest, you must do some 'bug testing' by fighting enemy viruses inside of your games while combating the evil Sony henchmen that keep trying to raid your offices. :evilsmile When you defeat Sony, Microsoft comes in and tries to buy you out! :irked:

At last! A game that has the capabilities you're looking for.

You save the actual world design in system data, and the story/event design in the scenario data. These together take up at least two blocks on your memory card, and you'll be suprised as to just how much can be saved onto a mere two blocks of memory. If the game is getting sizey it will start taking up a bit more memory but most of the memory is taken up if you should decide to use the Anime Maker to an extent. If you want to, you can design an RPG world and several scenarios, and then mix and match them as you please.
The music selection is rather nice to boot. You can utilize different songs at whatever points you so choose to, and some of them are very nicely composed pieces that are reminiscent of older RPGs. And, of course, you have sound effects at your disposal as well. There's also a pre-designed miniature RPG for you to enjoy and its purpose is to help you come to grips with the 'how to's' of RPG creation.
I cannot recommend RPG Maker enough. If you invest a good 20+ hours of programming/designing/writing/bug testing, you'd be suprised what you can do. And if you want to truly create an epic, mammoth RPG that is possible as well. Finally, an RPG where the player is truly in absolute control. However, beware the amount of time and work that it requires.

Icarus4578
05-15-2003, 10:15 AM
Don't let the bloodsuckers bite

Castlevania ~ Symphony of The Night - PlayStation - Rating 9
I walked into my local Toys R Us one day, then walked out one lucky guy. I just bought the last copy of Castlevania ~ SoTN for PS and didn't feel the least bit guilty about it. Considered by many the greatest PS action/adventure game ever made, SoTN is certainly among the best gaming has to offer.

Here's some math for you~
Konami + 2D = Genius

What else is new...?

SoTN stars Alucard, Dracula's son whose name is his father's spelled in reverse. One of the Belmonts, Richter, has disappeared within Dracula's compound, and Alucard goes to the rescue. So why is Dracula's son helping a Belmont out? Play it and find out. One thing that may get on some people's nerves is the voice acting which, although it is crystal clear, is done rather nonprofessional in my opinion. But that's a small fault in an otherwise stellar gameplay experience.
The game is laid out like Super Metroid ~ you fill in a large castle map as you progress, and you can backtrack, find and use items, weapons, magic, transformations, etc. and basically explore while taking on bats, skeletons, and all sorts of other foes. The animation is superb, especially on Alucard, and Konami infused the PlayStation (and the Saturn version) with some of the sharpest 2D graphics yet seen even to this day. The Saturn import version has two extra areas with that many new bosses, but in all truth those stages are poorly designed as are the bosses within, and add little to the overall experience. You can play as Alucard, Richter and Maria from the outset in the Saturn version (as opposed to the PS version where you have to imput the name Richter at the beginning in order to play as him throughout the game, and you cannot play as Maria) but it's nothing to get overly excited about. The PS version has sharper graphics, transparencies, and better audio quality, but the Saturn version has more songs (such as redone classics like Bloody Tears) and allows you to access the sound test from the outset as opposed to the PS version in which you must first beat the game and then make it to the library in the subsequent quest.
In terms of game design, SoTN is unmatched by other actioners save for several like Super Metroid which is undeniably the best of this style of gameplay to date. In terms of action it doesn't get much better though. Alucard has HP and MP like in an RPG and can even gain levels to build his stats up. Every single weapon you equip has its own feel, and many have a special attack you can do by imputting a special command (a-la a fighting game special move). Some even have special uses like the Rainbow Sword which turns enemies into gems you can sell at the library for a ton o' money. Others include nunchaku, fighting gloves, all sorts of swords and other cleaving devices, and more. There are also armors, cloaks, and boots you can equip to further his stats. Some of these also have special functions. Money is used in the library shop to buy all sorts of useful weapons, armor, and other goodies. I don't know what a shop is doing in Dracula's domain, but who's complaining? You also collect food and items throughout, and even gain the assistance of helpers called Familiars which can help Alucard fend off enemies and even open up secret areas by hitting switches out of Alucard's reach. They can even level-up and get stronger! There's also special relics you can use that do several things such as the Leap Stone which allows you to double-jump. There's so much to explore and find, and so many enemies to fight that it will keep anybody busy for at least a dozen hours or so. And then there's the second castle...
The music is some of the finest you'll ever hear coming from a game system and is indeed far superior to any game soundtrack I've heard yet from the new system software. All new tracks include the rocking symphonic entree into Dracula's castle by Alucard titled fittingly Dracula's Castle, the booming basslines and the echoed piano of Crystal Tears, and plenty of other excellent tracks that makes most movie soundtracks seem like a bad joke in comparison. Actually, most movies nowadays don't have good soundtracks at all and sound stiff because the composers have nothing better to do than to rip off themes, motifs, and such from the works of famous and obscure composers that actually came up with their own musical ideas. There is a fine line between influence and blatant ripping off. Castlevania sounds like Castlevania, and that's a good thing.
There aren't that many new games that I would consider to be classic. But Castlevania ~ SoTN is classic and then some. Thank you Konami. As long as there is a Konami there is going to be more Castlevania titles for us to sink our teeth into (no pun intended).

Icarus4578
05-20-2003, 10:21 AM
Ugh

Return to Castle Wolfenstein - X-Box - Rating 2
What do you get when you combine Activision with X-Box? A generic sequel to their 1992 FPS Wolfenstein 3D, 'One of the 8 most important games ever created' according to PC Gamer. They were right -- Wolfstein (and Doom) ushered in a new genre of gaming in the First Person Shooter. Enter over a decade later. We now have an endless supply of FPS for PC/home consoles, including Halo, Quake, Duke Nukem, Doom, Goldeneye, and the game I've chosen to review, Return to Castle Wolfenstein.
So, what's new eleven years later? Better graphics; that's a given. Smoother gameplay; duh. Better sound quality and realism; of course. The one thing which hasn't improved since then: you still run around hallways, rooms, etc. blowing away whomever should come into vision. But now you can (get this) sneak up on your enemies (in this case, the Nazis) and stab/shoot them. Oh, and you can crawl and jump. I suppose the gameplay style isn't so bad. After all, I enjoyed games like Duke 'Shake it baby!' Nukem and some others at that period of time. But not here.
I'm thrown for yet another FPS ride, but there's just nothing new that's worthy of any merit here. You basically run/sneak around shooting Nazis, mummies, wizards that shoot electricity (?) and skeletons with shields which deflect your bullets. Oh yeah, you can open up the original Wolfenstein, or "Ladies and Gentlemen, prepare to not have fun."
So what else is there to say about the game? Hmmm, you can kick objects like radio transmitters, chairs, even Nazi flags, and this destroys them, sometimes revealing hidden switches and items. Sometimes, you have to avoid being seen otherwise they set off a red alarm which means game over for you. Thankfully you have the capacity to save anywhere you so desire with whatever you have obtained. You get knives, pistols, uzis, sniper rifles, hand grenades, and even night vision. So if you just can't get enough FPS gaming, you certainly will be pleased with the end results. Me? Bah. I've done this too many times to care. Even games like Mario Sunshine are too repetitive for my tastes these days (too similar to Mario 64 and not even as good). There's not much to think about throughout this game: move along, kill whoever you see (except some German females which plead with you not to shoot them), avoid deathtraps like spikes and such, and that's the way it is throughout the entire game.
The soundtrack aggravates me and sounds like every other war-based game with its cheesy Hollywood-esque booming sound parade as heard a thousand times before. The music changes into the more forceful, loud stuff whenever you're in the heat of things and conversely calms down a bit when you're sniping, searching, and doing whatever else. It gets aggravating hearing the same stupid thing repeat every 30-40 seconds, so I just switched on my CD player at times to avoid the ear-hemmorhoid that is this game's soundtrack. The sound effects and voices are all pretty much on the spot though, so at least they got that part down right.
I'm not into the FPS genre the way I used to be. It needs to undergo some serious overhauls before it reignites my interest. Certainly, for being what it is it sure does it good, but it doesn't do it really much better than most other FPS games you'll find out there right now.

Icarus4578
05-25-2003, 10:59 AM
Blood brothers

Castlevania ~ Circle of the Moon - GBA - Rating 7
Castlevania ~ Harmony of Dissonance - GBA - Rating 7
Castlevania ~ Aria of Sorrow - GBA - Rating 8
Konami has been supporting the GBA habitually with Castlevania titles for its three years out on the market. The intrinsic gameplay and design of Castlevania ~ Symphony of the Night for PS is obviously endeared by Konami since all three GBA titles retain the same game design. Although none of these GBA titles stack up to the PlayStation bloodfest, they are for certain not doing the series injustice in any way.
If you've played even one of these GBA titles or SotN then you should have a good understanding as to how all the others are laid out both gameplay-wise and in structure. They are all familiar territory to one another. That's because Konami made one game engine and have reutilized it over and over, making improvements here and there. Somebody at Konami apparently loves Super Metroid because every game is layed out in a similar fashion: explore Dracula's castle and fill in a map, find key items and such which will allow you to access other areas, backtracking, exploring, etc. None of these titles quite stack up to the utter brilliance of Super Metroid's impeccably well crafted world. However, it's quite an accomplishment on the part of Konami's hard working team of programmers and designers that they can release so many different Castlevania titles in such a short spectrum of time. So you know they all play very well (does not virtually every Castlevania?) and therefore I can skip out on the usual gameplay function descriptive.
With Circle of the Moon did Konami make their arrival on the GBA. This was one of the major factors in the GBA's early success. Featuring a well-structured game overall with tight gameplay and difficult challenge, it got impressive ratings almost everywhere. Problem is, the game is too dark. WAY too dark. So dark that often times I couldn't see what Nathan (the game's protagonist) was getting hit by. That's a major reason why this game is so difficult. The other big challenge would have to be some of the bosses which I might add are among the most sinister of bosses I've encountered in any Castlevania title. Aside from these facts, the game is nonetheless well polished with crisp, clear graphics (considering you get a good glimpse of them) and perhaps the best aurally of the three. The game introduces the Dual Set-up System which you utilize by combing two different cards you collect by killing enemies and them leaving one behind (some are hard to find). You then use your magic meter to activate special attack, defenses, etc. I love the system but found there to be too few cards at my disposal. Of course, you still acquire relics which add abilites, gain levels, and all the usual. Although I miss the powerful Baroque/Romantic/Classical inspired soundtrack of the SNES Castlevania IV (done by Masanori Oodachi and Souji Taro) what's present is not to be scoffed at. Here you can read a review of this game's soundtrack (which Konami combined with the rather lacking Harmony of Dissonance soundtrack, making it a 2-in-1 soundtrack). http://www.rpgfan.com/soundtracks/dracula-gba/ Overall, CotM is more than worthy of purchase. Just be sure you play towards the light....
Harmony of Dissonance is Konami's second romp for GBA and features much clearer to see visuals, more great gameplay, and all the familiar cryptic areas you've come to expect. New is the introduction of magic books which you combine with your secondary weapons (daggers, holy water, etc.) to create more powerful attacks and some neat effects. While I like the employment of new ideas which facilitate battling, the game is just way too easy to begin with. The game map, while well done, is a bit straightforward. And when it comes time to figure out what to do next you'll have to do some mindless exploring because the game gives you little to no idea what to do next. The original Metroid and that game didn't tell you a single thing; that's part of what made it so great.
While game sites and magazines render Konami culpable for this fact, I don't mind it one bit. Check this strange but true fact out ~ The gaming media complained about this aspect from this particular game, Harmony of Dissonance, but when Metroid ~ Zero Mission came out complained that it gave you clues where to go next! Does that make any sense to you???
As I've said, the game falls short on challenge and doesn't live up to the standard difficulty of most other installments. However, they make up for this by improving everything graphically, from the animation on Juste Belmont and his foes, to the use of color, lighting and shade, Konami outperforms HoD's predecessor quite noticeably. Also, there's a better variety of enemies to dismantle than before. The soundtrack does not live up to standards but for this I'll forgive Konami because of the short development time between CoTM and this. Though the sound effects can never substitute for great music they are nicely done throughout. Overall, it's a worthy purchase but a bit of a lightweight as far as challenge and depth is concerned.
Lastly, we come back to the future for a third corroborative effort by Konami with Aria of Sorrow. This time the game is set in the future (2035 to be exact) and stars a non-Belmont, Soma Cruz (although you can play as a new Belmont called Julius - more on that later). I don't want to give away any of the story so I'll skip to the game itself. This is the best of the three visually, structurally (in both design and gameplay), and about as good as CoTM aurally. You'd expect that since this takes place in the future Konami would litter the game with mechanized zombies, androids, and whatnot. Thankfully, aside from a few touches here and there, the game is basically the same as any other Castlevania. It is perhaps the most vibrant of the three since there is frequent use of brighter colors. However, all the gothic scenery and foreboding catacombs are as prominent as ever. Keeping with Konami's habit of upgrading the graphics, the animation is comporable to even SotN and is perhaps the best looking game yet for GBA. The castle is laid out very well with the usual item/relic collecting going on. But this time there's a new system which allows Soma to capture the souls of enemies. This is divided into three categories: Disc Armor - allows you to use magic projectiles and other types of special ability attacks, Flying Armor - allows for new abilities to be used such as floating down when jumping and calling on helpers (just like the Familiars from SotN), and Undines - boost stats + grant Soma new, permanent abilities such as walking on water. It's a very welcome addition which makes the game that much more captivating. The difficulty setting is not too hard and not too easy; satisfactory. Pretty evenly distributed difficulty throughout. That is unless you get the good ending and select hard mode. ;) The music is pretty good and is certainly refreshing to hear after Harmony of Dissonance's forgettable compositions and uneventful counterpoint. The sound effects are all as good as ever, of course. So overall, this is the best Castlevania for GBA yet. I recommend it highly.

Ok. Here's a great site dedicated to Castlevania ~ http://castlevania.wrong.button.com/index.html If you love Castlevania then you MUST check this awesome site out.
Also, here's walkthroughs and codes for all three GBA Castlevania titles :cool:
For Circle of the Moon ~ http://www.gamefaqs.com/portable/gbadvance/game/30255.html
For Harmony of Dissonance ~ http://www.gamefaqs.com/portable/gbadvance/game/16887.html
For Aria of Sorrow ~ http://www.gamefaqs.com/portable/gbadvance/game/35534.html
Tons of sprites from AoS can be found here ~ http://www.aria-of-sorrow.tk
You can use GAMEFAQs to look at all the walkthroughs, codes, and other interesting stuff (e.g. how to play as Julius Belmont in Aria of Sorrow). Very useful site.

Icarus4578
06-01-2003, 06:31 PM
I am The Master

Actraiser - SNES - Rating 7
Now this is how to kick off your launch onto a new platform! Well, at the time this Enix/Quintet title was so new and fun that it was easy to look past any shortcomings. After all, it wore several different faces; it's an action game, but it's also a strategy/simulator with a hint of RPG. And it did all of these things very well. For certain, I was more than impressed and found it a very satisfying experience (along with Super Mario World, PilotWings, F-Zero, and Final Fantasy II for starters). SNES had a slew of titles which showcased all the various visual effects of their new system, and thankfully Enix/Quintet didn't sacrifice that one things which makes or breaks any title....
Gameplay. This is where ActRaiser stood out from the pack. Enix was renowned in Japan for their RPG masterpiece series Dragon Quest, thus it was no surprise to find traces of RPGing interwoven throughout. You are The Master, a deity worshipped by the people of Fillmore (and all subsequent townsfolk which often implore your guidance and personal assistance) who must destroy the evil which plaques the world. First things first, you are sent to Fillmore to help rid the people of monsters which fly around trying to wreck havoc upon their land. So you (in the form of a cherub) must fly around the town, destroying all the fiends moving about. But that's not all, not by a long shot. You also have to instruct the people as to how to build their town (a-la SimCity) and you will use the elements to help them prosper (or destroy them - your choice). So it's got a bit of Populous in it as well. You can use rain to help crops grow, lightning to destroy trees and such so that there is more room to build, and later on when your magic gets stronger you can begin creating some real havoc with earthquakes and such. In order to rid a town of monsters you must instruct the townsfolk to build into their lairs where they will do battle and quickly seal it. You are given all sorts of magics, items, and power-ups from the people, and you can even find these hidden in certain areas.
You'll have to go all-out bad ass and take it to the enemies yourself in the action mode (just another name for stage, level, etc.). Every town starts off immediately with one half of the action mode - called an 'Act' appropriately enough - The gameplay is limited here, with only jumping, ducking, slicing with your close-ranged sword, and magic attacks (which you equip pre-entry into the act). While The Master himself controls good, the lack of variety gameplay-wise is noticeable, and, in some circumstances, even glaring. But it'll do. The stages are thought out pretty well with some tough spots here and there. And the enemies and bosses can be a pain. You can find health and magic replenishers as well as other things such as 1ups throughout Acts. Essentially, it's a pretty basic action game. I should mention the length. It's kinda short at about 5-7 hours and the game is relatively linear, though this perspective may vary drastically from gamer to gamer. I found it straightforward with no real tough spots. You have a save feature so you'll never have to worry about having to restart the entire game. And if you finish the game you can select the hidden Professional Mode from the title screen (which is just all the action areas combined without any town building, and it's a little tougher). The graphics are far from the best on SNES with a lot of plain wishy-washy colors used in the Acts, and the animation isn't gonna do anything for you. For me, it's about solid gameplay, and I suppose ActRaiser has got that down, but years of submergence into action titles with depth such as Castlevania, Metroid, etc. and notably ActRaiser 2 (which is solely focused on its action gameplay -- no strategy) has made me think twice about the actual quality of game mechanics present.
The music is a mixed bag. Featuring some of Yuzo Koshiro's most memorable compositions ActRaiser has certainly got a lot going for it. Unfortunately, I only believe about four or so songs to actually stand out while the rest just seem uneventful and non-interesting, but at least they're also non-intrusive in that they get the job done and don't harass my ears. The sound effects are very nice for any SNES game I can think of. John Williams clearly has an influence on Yuzo Koshiro. This much should be clear from the end credits (I won't ruin it for you).
When you pop this baby into your SNES just keep in mind that this was an entry title for the system. Don't take it too seriously and you should enjoy it. However, don't go looking for an amazing level of depth because you won't find that here. It's a solid effort and remains that to this day. A lot of other people who rated ActRaiser have given it an eight or a nine, but if you are so accustomed to this gameplay by now (like me) you'll want a bit more out of it.

Hope these are useful and/or interesting sites~
~ http://www.geocities.com/imagearcane/actraiser/actraisershrine.html
~ http://www.rpgclassics.com/shrines/snes/actraiser/fillmore.shtml

Icarus4578
06-09-2003, 06:38 PM
More than magic

Knuckles Chaotix - Sega 32X - Rating 8
The first thing I thought of when I put this baby into my 32X was "Gee, how come Knuckles gets a better Sonic title than either Sonic Adventure?". Did Sega really forget about their wonderful past? You used to be able to tell a Sonic title apart from the rest just by hearing the darn thing. Now THAT'S originality! Well it was, that is until the Dreamcast came out and what was once an astute hegemony in the realm of platformers tried to take on too much for its own sake - it diffused. What has become of the noosphere of Yuji Naka and his team? The lambent surrealism is somewhat intact, but not in its fullness.
I'll tell you this much -- if you have never partaken of the jewel in the dunghill that is Knuckles Chaotix, you have missed out on one of the last great 2D action titles made, period. This game screams quality. Knuckles plays a bit different than any Sonic game and actually does not suffer the least for it. The story is tame - Knuckles must prevent Robotnik from ruining the debut of a new theme park - but I could care less. The two major differences between Sonic titles to KC is the fact that Knuckles has five different partners to choose to help him complete the zones (5 zones w/ 5 parts each), and he holds the elastic ring energy band which keeps both him and his partner linked together. The five partners are Mighty the Armadillo, Heavy the Robot, Charmy the Bee, Vector the Crocodile, and Espio the Chameleon. Not exactly mascot material, but they'll do. The gameplay gets some getting used to but once you get it down pat you begin to appreciate its unique take on the genre. It takes it to a place apart from pretty much 90% of all other platformers so if you're looking for something with a twist, you've found it. The graphics are some of the best for any Sonic title, 2D and 3D. It uses very lush colors/hues and there are plenty of nice effects happening such as zooming, tons of parallax, and a treasure trove of stuff you've never seen the Genesis perform (hence why this is a 32X game). The gameplay and design sounds similar to the inspissation of recent Sonic titles but the differences are prominent enough to tell the difference. Too bad this style of game designing is fast becoming forlorn...
The music. Ahhh, such joy! This stuff is a paragon among the aural bliss Sega seemed to engulf the Genesis/32X/Sega CD with - an overachievement. It is just this pristine quality of audio composition which is sorely lacking from recent endeavors. The sound test itself is super fun ~ you can adjust the tempo at will, and watch every seperate channel being played on seperate keyboards all on-screen at the same time. A welcome addition. All the sound effects are good, too.
You would be most unwise to look past this shining gem. This level of quality serves as a reflection of what was a great team doing a great job. A great place to start looking for what's wrong with most games today is with where greatness was last left behind. Sega (or somebody) needs to pick up the pieces and figure out how this quiet destruction first began enveloping their will to create something worth purchasing because things are not the way they should be. This ongoing maldistribution within Sonic titles in particular will only end when guys like Yuji Naka and the rest stop trying to implement too many useless ideas into one game. I'm not saying changing things here and there is a bad thing but.... if it isn't broke, don't fix it.

Take a look at Knuckles Chaotix and wonder how cool it would be if a 3D Sonic had a similar visual flair ~ http://www.mobygames.com/game/shots/gameId,7592/

Icarus4578
06-16-2003, 04:47 PM
Keep pouring on the nostalgia

Pilotwings - SNES - Rating 8
I consider Pilotwings a Nintendo classic among the likes of their lesser-known but nonetheless true classics: Urban Champion, Ice Climber, Clu Clu Land, etc. However, what Pilotwings has over those others in my opinion is simple - it's a better game. The SNES was just pure magic when it was released and, indeed, what system released pre-Dreamcast didn't have some magical feeling emitting from somewhere which left an indelible set of memories within? The first time with NES, SMS, SNES, Genesis, TG16, SS, PS, etc. They each had personality to them. Pilotwings was a game with that magic feeling which only happens once during your first experience with something which feels different, special, and in fact foreign. Something about Pilotwings felt unfamiliar and did what it did with confidence. It becomes a part of your life by attaching itself in your memories.
Ahhh, as you can clearly tell I'm very fond of things with a nostalgic property to them. It is a remarkable thing. For those of you who haven't played Pilotwings before, I don't know if it will do the same thing for you as it did for me. It's a very simplistic game but at the time it was new and (for me) a revelation.
So what is Pilotwings about? Taking flying lessons of sorts. You have to take to the skies in a plane, hang glider, rocket pack, and even skydiving lessons. The idea is to achieve a high enough passing score to move on to different instructors which progressively give you harder tasks to accomplish. There's that familiar Nintendo combination at work again; simple, fun gameplay which proceeds to get more and more challenging. You get better grades by doing things like flying through rings in the sky, making parachute landings perfectly on moving platforms, etc. To this day, I've yet to tire of it. And oh sure, if you're feeling self-destructive you could choose to NOT open the parachute and freefall all the way down. But this is Nintendo, not some other company like Midway, so don't expect to see any blood or nothing (which is good in this case). To sum it up, it's a semi-cartoony simulator that doesn't take itself too seriously. Oh, and I shouldn't forget mention that you get passwords after you complete all the missions from each instructor.
Graphic-wise, this is a very early SNES game which was made not only to be fun but to show off the then-revolutionary SNES graphic zooming, scailing, rotating, etc. Don't worry that it doesn't use 500,000 polygons on-screen at once. This game proves you don't need X amount of polygons to create a good 3D world. In fact, wouldn't it be nice if somebody took advantage of this neglected formula nowadays and tried to do something with sprites instead of tons of polygons on everything? They could even mix 2D with 3D, but I guess it's not important (who is actually gonna try that nowadays?). Nobody is interested in indelible virtues or creativity anymore.... :annoyed:

Face it ~ we, the true gamers, are being neglected left and right.

The controls are simple but can become frustrating later on when you're trying to do something very difficult. The controls on the rocket pack and hang glider in particular take some serious mastering, but since I'm a veteran (or is it just because I'm familiar with the game?) it didn't take me long to get back into the hang of things.
Aurally Pilotwings delivers with soft, soothing bossa nova-esque lounge music and calm and generally quiet pieces while in the heat of things. It's a change from all the noise in today's software, and it works with splendid results. The sound effects are all SNES quality; you know the deal. They too get the job done.
You may wonder why I didn't give it a 9 given all its positive qualities. Simply put, it's not quite long enough for me to put it alongside a game like Axelay in ratings. It's a very pleasing game but there should have been a little more of it. Nevertheless this is quality classic gaming among the finest. I'm very happy that Nintendo didn't just make some stupid game based solely on the effects of the then new SNES. There's something enjoyable here.

I'll return. :cool:

Icarus4578
06-19-2003, 03:33 PM
It's Turtle Time!

TMNT The Arcade Game - NES - Rating 4 / Arcade - Rating 7
Oh baby! Does Konami rule or what? The 4-player TMNT arcade game was unleashed to arcades around 1989 and it was sweet, particularly if you were young like me at that point in time (and a fan of the series itself). And wasn't it great to see guys in their 20's/30's jammin' to one of the TMNT arcades only to watch some spunky little kid happily bounce to the Raphael coin insert slot and get ready to join his comrades kick Rocksteady's ass? That was pure fun! And Konami offered us many more like it: TMNT ~ Turtles in Time, X-Men, The Simpsons... all of them were a blast to play. Konami acquired Ultra Games after they had released a couple TMNT games on NES and they (Ultra) were responsible for the TMNT arcade i'm reviewing.
The arcade was, of course, amazing the first (and second, and third...) time I played it. It had everything I could want: a Konamilicious opening, the turtles (which were among the most popular cartoon characters at the time), an unprecedented amount of sprites on-screen at once, bosses that actually had opening speech before combat, 4 player co-op, and it was the closest thing to playing a cartoon at that time. What more could a kid ask for? Today, the graphics are still pretty nice to look at and convey a much better sense of the cartoon's atmosphere than does the new 3D outing which looks nice but is no match for actual artwork.
What is there to say in terms of gameplay? Go grab a joystick and beat Shredder's minions to a pulp with stringed attack combos, jump attacks, and special moves. It's that easy. Well, it's easier nowadays but at the time it was a deep challenge. Man, I remember how long it took me to beat the first TMNT (not arcade game) for NES by Ultra Games. That was one tough side scroller! When NES owners at the time had seen pics of the TMNT arcade conversion for NES for the first time they were ecstatic (myself included). The NES version was basically TMNT Arcade Lite with only 2 player gameplay, smaller, less detailed sprites, boss dialogue was missing, etc. But it was respectable for the time. I loved it. But now that I play it again I realize how tame it really is, especially in comparison to the arcade. At least it occupied my gaming attention for countless hours back then and is by no means a BAD game. It's just nothing too special now. :P
The music in the arcade version was great and for anybody who could actually hear it while playing it in an arcade it offered some of the crispest audio quality you ever heard. The NES version doesn't stack up but at least does a respectable job copying its arcade cousin.
Konami had strong licensing ties and they really exploited that. Although one might bring into question their dedication to deliver original products (Simpsons, TMNT, X-Men... all became arcade beat-'em-ups) there's no denying the arcades were all the more enjoyable because of Konami and despite their habitual gaming presentation. Hey, one time I had managed to go it alone through the game (spending about, oh, $20 in the process) and wound up having the arcade owner and a few other bystanders watch me take on Shredder. That kind of attention-grabbing gaming just doesn't happen as often anymore. Who was I? Michelangelo, of course. :cool:

Here's some shots of the actual arcade cabinet ~ http://www.ninjaturtlesnetwork.com/VideoGames/Game001.htm
Unfortunately, nobody on-line seems to be showing screenshots of the TMNT Arcade Game. :irked: Can someone please explain why?

Nindalf
06-19-2003, 09:23 PM
Gimme Rock n? Roll racing (SNES) Review! Hurhur!

And by the way, both punch outs deserves full 10! Best boxing games ever made!

Nive job with the reviews. Hurhur!

Drunken Savior
06-19-2003, 09:44 PM
Wow, I'm amazed you remember how much fun the old NES TMNT:The Arcade game was, dispite it trying to accomplish what was impossible. It's probably the game I've played the most on my NES, I still have it. But I lost both of my controllers to my NES when I moved (they fell out of the car onto HWY 101...I didn't even get to say goodbye...):crying: I gotta go, there's somethin in my eye....

Additionally, I just "acquired" every episode of the original TV show. If you havn't seen it lately, it's amazing how well it STILL stands next to the action cartoons of today, animation and story-wise.

Icarus4578
06-20-2003, 12:29 AM
Isn't it great how cool all those old cartoons are? Nothing will replace the old stuff. The NES TMNT was great and today is an ok game, but nowadays it has lost the wow factor. The arcade is awesome though. As for both Punch Out! games getting a 10, I agree that they are the most fun boxing games, but neither of them are quite a 10. When I first play them they feel like 10's and after time they're still amazingly addictive, but they aren't quite 10's in my opinion.

Good night. :D

Icarus4578
06-23-2003, 07:03 PM
"GET OVER HERE!!!" ~ Scorpion

Mortal Kombat - Arcade - Rating 5 / SNES - Rating 5 / Genesis - Rating 4
Mortal Kombat... one of the most controversial games in history. I must admit I lean more towards Japanese fighters but MK is a rare exception because, despite the controversial subject matter (blood and gore), it's a good fighting game. And MK is far better than part three and all its successors, including 'Deadly Alliance' - you can quote me on that. I enjoy the original because it was structured moreso around gameplay than secrets. Not that the gameplay is anything too impressive (it's rather basic) but it managed to keep me interested for quite some time back when it was released, in particular, on home consoles in 1993.
The arcade version is obviously the best version, featuring the best graphics and sound, all the blood, and everything else. Nintendo didn't want to ruin their appeal to the younger crowd by becoming a part of the controversy so Midway had to remove all the blood and gore from the SNES version. However (and fortunately for Midway/Nintendo), I play games for the gameplay and fun, not for gimmicks. By the way, in all truthfulness, most every kid that wanted MK wanted the gore - its main selling point - but the big N' didn't want to risk offending parents. Oh, if only they were more cynical about the future; you can find far more offensive and immoral stuff scattered throughout games released today. What's ironic is that the media, which painted the picture that Midway was a bad game company because of the violence, is among the worst, most immoral offenders you will find anywhere.
You can quote me on that one too.
Anyway, I prefer the SNES conversion of the arcade to its Genesis brother. Why? A few things -- aside from gore, the SNES is a far better conversion graphically, aurally, and just feels more like the arcade. When it comes down to it, the gameplay is intact in both conversions but the Genesis version suffers from having smaller characters, less colors, and more grainy visuals. Arguably, a lot of people consider the graphics MK's best feature. I somewhat agree. But I think that the clearer you are able to convey something to the viewer the better. The fighting game itself is bare and pretty basic: punch, kick, jump and use special moves on your opponents. There is only a handful of playable characters so I would've expected a little more of a learning curve per character. The most you have to memorize is a few special moves and fatalities. There's two bosses in Goro and Shang Tsung, and one hidden character. And backdrops are limited to a handful as well (though they look nice). You can surmise from what's said that this game is kinda fun for awhile but limited in variety. That's pretty much how I feel.
Aurally the arcade and SNES versions are very nice with great voice work such as the announcer, "FINISH HIM!!!", and Scorpion "COME HERE!!!" Musically it is very fitting stuff but it's a little weak overall. But it isn't something I'd consider listening to for enjoyment.
To sum it up, Mortal Kombat was among the most influential games of a decade and paved the way for a plethora of other violent-toned games which constantly tried to push it further than before. Time Killers comes to mind. Gimmickry aside, MK is a fun fighting game, but only for a while. It lacks depth and variety. Ah well.... ;)

Icarus4578
06-26-2003, 10:41 AM
Oh Warriors... Come out and Play-aay!!!

Street Fighter Alpha 2 - Sega Saturn - Rating 8
Let's just ignore the fact that SFA2 was released on PS. It was a huge disappointement after the amA-ZING arcade-to-home conversion of the original SFA for PS (and SS). SFA2 for PS had small characters, bad control, horrible loading, and seemed like a rush job. SFA2 on SS, on the other hand, was and is an accomplishment. It is one of the best arcade conversions to be found on 32-bit.
I've played Street Fighter for more hours than any other game series, including RPG series like Final Fantasy. That's saying something given the fact that back with games like FFIII on SNES and FFVII on PS I had put in around 200 hours of total gameplay each. I've become attached to SF. That's not to say every SF game Capcom makes is necessarily great. SFA3, while fun, just didn't have the same apparent skill as either predecessor. There were too many characters and -isms which made it too unbalanced. Guys like Akuma, Evil Ryu, M. Bison, etc. were far stronger than most everybody else, which meant that if two people of about even skill went up against each other (say Evil Ryu vs Cody), chances are pretty high that Evil Ryu is going to win. He has too much priority, too many powerful combos (which are very easy to pull off), and can fight effectively from every range. So you see where balance issues would come in and hamper things.
SFA2, while not as well balanced as SF Turbo or the original Alpha, does a respectable job with its 18 initially selectable characters. With Alpha Capcom gave us Chain Combos, and with SFA2 came the Custom Combos. How this works is if you fill your special meter and then press three punches or kicks together at once you could activate (for a small period of time) the ability to chain together a ridiculous amount of moves in rapid succession. Some players complained this was cheap because you could use it to get out of harm's way easily and batter your opponent's health down fast (particularly if you know what you're doing like me). Others felt it was Capcom ruining the continuity of the beloved but overused SF engine by adding such a peculiar embellishment. I don't see too big of a deal in this. Most people don't use it well to begin with, so it more or less turns out being a case of flashy looks instead of substance. "Look at me! I performed a 34 hit combo with Guy!" ...and took off about 1/5th of the opponent's health meter. The good news is, if you think you're gonna just button slam your way through a match using Custom Combos, think again. You need some time to fill up your meter to begin with, and when it's activated (like I said) it doesn't last long.
Of course, you can still use your special meter to perform your Supers, so there's no loss in that. They changed a few things here and there from Alpha, such as some character moves, combos, etc. The backgrounds are among the absolute best that Capcom has dished out even to this day and the graphics and animation are good too. However, comparing SFA to any version of SFIII is a bit humiliating for Alpha 2. Saturn can handle animating sprites with 16 colors, but not 64 like the Dreamcast could with the SFIII, let alone the animation (we're talking 150-200 or so frames per character in Alpha 2, to 400-500 per character in SFIII). However, in Alpha 2 Gen has two seperate fighting styles complete with their own move list. So he has about double the amount. The Saturn cannot hold that much animation without the aid of a 4-MEG RAM cart so in order to fully see all the characters' animation you have to play character vs same character. Nevertheless the animation during straight gameplay is better than Alpha 1 and looks just fine, if a little dated.
Ryu, Ken, and the usual suspects return from Alpha 1 and added are Gen from the original Street Fighter (titled Fighting Street), Sakura (brand new, female version of Ryu with similar moves), and Rolento (boss from Final Fight). Zangief and Dhalsim also return as well. That's right. The two characters everybody played as the least return. Gee, wouldn't Guile and another obscure character have been the better choice???? I really couldn't be any less excited about their inclusion. (I agree with GameFan here.) One thing I like (and Capcom took out of SFA3) was how every character had their own last boss fight. Oh, and actual endings too. ...was Capcom being lazy or what with Alpha 3?
One thing I enjoy more in Alpha 2 than Alpha 3 and any SFIII is the music. Perfectly fitting, instantly listenable, and easily memorable. Gen, Sakura, Ken, Guy... some great tunes to be found here. The sound effects are good and the voices, while changed from Alpha 1, are fine with me.
I poured a tremendous amount of time into Alpha 1 and 2 because they showcased Capcom's then-heightened sense of productivity and flexed their creative skills. I find it strange that Nightwarriors on Saturn had better animation overall than Alpha 2 given the sheer size of the characters and all the stuff that's going on on-screen. But that's beside the point. Alpha 2 gave me much pleasure and was worth more than its weight in gold. I'd like to see Capcom reinvent the genre while maintaining the core fundamental elements of SF instead of the upteenth team battle fighter sequel Capcom has been releasing as of late usually with recycled sprites--some looking out of place--and 3D (UGH!) backgrounds. Where's the Capcom of old hiding these days?

By the way, in a certain now-defunct magazine (don't really want to disrespect them) they claimed that Capcom 'stole' the idea of Gen from Virtua Fighter 2's Shun-Di. Nonsense! Fighting Street came long before VF2 did, so that settles that.

Cool stuff ~ http://www.godflesh.com/sf/content-old.shtml
Hey, it's the Street Fighter Organization! ~ http://streetfighterx.org/modules.php?name=Forums
The Street Fighter Galleries homepage ~ http://www.godflesh.com/sf/

SpaceManSpiff
07-03-2003, 03:59 PM
Anyone here from Japan that can post their review of FFX-2 plz.

Icarus4578
07-05-2003, 08:58 AM
Groovy

Magic Sword - Arcade/SNES - Rating 5
This little action/side-scrolling gem is one of the most overlooked games for Capcom's CPS2 arcade board. In it you must take a warrior and fight your way up the 50 floors of Drokmar Keep, fighting against a tremendous amount of enemies. To say that Magic Sword focuses solely on action would be an understatement. From start to finish, I must've killed about one-thousand enemies. I'm pleased with the end result, if a little dismayed at its rather repetitive, one-dimensional gameplay.
You know the drill ~ make it far and you must put in more tokens every minute or two because the enemies are EVERYWHERE and baby, you're taking damage. There are some funky twists to the gameplay which make it more a rewarding experience. You gather keys which you collect from treasure chests (of which there are plenty). There are three different types of standard keys and there are locked doors which you can use them on. Most doors contain people that need to be freed, and every one of them helps you out in some way, from giving you items to aiding you in defeating enemies. You can gain the assistance of thieves, lizardmen, warlocks, and plenty of others. Some doors, however, contain more baddies, booby traps (such as swords which come flying out and aim for you), and other unpleasantries. Also, certain doors lead you up the tower and some lead to hidden areas. Treasure chests also contain power bracelets, money (used for points), and plenty of other goodies.
Your character can attack, jump, high-jump, duck, use magic (which takes a bar out of your life), and you can store up power in your sword by waiting for it to fill and then use an attack mixed with a magic attack. As you progress and defeat bosses you collect newer, more powerful weaponry, and with each comes different magic attacks as well. Enemies range from skeletons and wizards, to dragons and mummies. The bosses, while decent enough, are a bit few and far between. Nevertheless, if you love action games this is your ticket. Don't come into this looking for strategy.
The graphics are dated by now and look like they were done on SNES (which it was released for later). One thing I noticed is that, like Magician Lord on Neo Geo, you get a wide variety of backgrounds. The enemy count on-screen at once can reach up to around 10-12 at once. That might not seem like a whole lot but you'll notice it when it's happening to you. :D The bosses aren't as good as those in other games like Ghouls N' Ghosts, and I was a tad disappointed by the last boss. Life goes on...
The music is good/average with some nice stuff here and there. With 50 floors you can bet there will be a ton of recycling going on. The sound effects are done well for an earlier CPS2 game, and the voices, while limited, are done well enough. Save somebody and you get a "Thank you.", that sort of thing.
The strategy combined with action in games such as Legendary Axe, Castlevania, and others like those is pretty much nonexistent in Magic Sword. But the action in MS (what mattered most in the arcades at the time) is all here. This is a great action game, but it's too one-dimensional for me to ever consider it on the level of being outstanding. Indeed, this is one of those games you can look at and think of a ton of things Capcom could've added to better the experience. Magic Sword was released in 1989/1990.
BTW, nice cover art on the SNES box (NOT! :P)

Here are some screenshots from the arcade version ~ http://www.gamefaqs.com/coinop/arcade/data/3892.html
Here's that SNES boxcover :lol: HAHAHAHA!!! ~ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/g/MagicSword-702878/covers.php?page=1

Icarus4578
07-11-2003, 10:26 AM
Dollar! Dollar!

King of Casino - TurboGrafx 16 - Rating 6
It's the year 203X. The solar system Ledos has been irrevocably devastated by a massive explosion caused by an intergalactic war. The only survivors are a young boy and his pet robot. Together, they travel the remains of the galaxy in search of the truth...
Sure, the premise sounds contrived, but that's no excuse why you shouldn't rush out and buy King of Casino. After all, that premise has nothing to do with this game.
Anyway, this is one of the best gambling games available anywhere (and there's some major competition with games like... actually, I don't know). You begin by naming yourself and start off with some money in your hotel. Here, you can choose which background music will play, look at a graph which shows how your money has increased/decreased, check out shop data, and get your passwords (you are allowed a total of ten), etc. When you're all set, it's time to go out gambling. You use a pointer to navigate around streets with an pointer, clicking on any casino that you want to enter. Once inside, you then use the pointer to choose what you want to play. There are five games for you to play. Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, Keno, and Slot Machines are all at your disposal. Ching! Ching! Some casinos have limits as to how big you can wager. The best casinos have every type of game, and allow the biggest bets. Money! Money! Is there a goal to this game? You bet (no pun intended). The object is to hit $10,000,000 or over. Bling! Bling! If you do this successfully you get treated to the end credits and a secret password which opens up a new game (I won't ruin it). Dollar! Dollar!
The graphics are adequate, though I can't think of anybody that would buy a gambling game based on graphical content. The music is actually very good and makes everything that much more enjoyable. If you are getting irritated at one song then you can change it to another, or shut off the music altogether.
So Icarus, why are you reviewing a gambling game? Because variety is the spice of life. If you like gambling, but don't enjoy actually going down and losing your money at a real casino, then pick up a copy of King of Casino.
And don't worry about that boy and his pet robot.

:cool: Cha-Ching!

Here are some codes ~ http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/turbo16/code/9687.html

Kid0_oIcarus
07-11-2003, 11:42 AM
Whoa 4578, you type a lot.

You should add a little one or two sentence summary to your posts, that way we can read that and decide whether to read the rest or not. Nice work, though.

Icarus4578
07-11-2003, 11:57 AM
Thanks, Kid0_oIcarus. I try to summarize most reviews at the end paragraph. I do type quick, because I can think quickly (not that I don't take time to think at times). I know my reviews are often large, but I try to give a complete picture of what a game presents and what makes it fun (or not) to me, so if somebody tends to agree with my opinions then they may want to check out some other games that I give good reviews to. I also make the reviews useful with codes and such. This way, I manage to spur attention to the things that I feel should be noticed. As everybody knows, a lot of people buy one system and only buy a few games a year for it. That's why I don't go hyping every new game that comes out intentionally, because the gamer should ultimately decide what they want to purchase, and should be taught to demand improvements in sequels and such rather than constant rehashing to gain cheap sales figures (or system bias). Granted, games are often cheaper nowadays, but still, the gamer deserves more. I review more older games so I can try and draw attention to the reasons why certain games were so special to begin with.

If you don't demand more from developers, you can expect less.

Icarus4578
07-11-2003, 12:37 PM
This is what happens when graphics dissolve gameplay....

Silpheed - Sega CD - Rating 3
I must say, at the time of Silpheed's release back in 1993 game publications generally had forsaken their true senses for the FMV graphical 'prowess' of this lacking GameArts space shooter. EGM was one of the only magazines that didn't become a graphic slave. GameFan did but that's probably because Dave Halverson and Co. were huge Sega fanatics, so their bias was expected.
Don't pay any attention to Silpheed's graphics and you're left with one sorry shooter. The background polygons are all FMV, as I said, except for on your SA-77 Silpheed Tactical Fighter Spaceship and the enemies, which are all plain polygons ...and none too impressive at that. The game offers 12 stages of space blasting action. The FMV stages are actually rather well done, with your Silpheed zipping and twirling through huge spacecrafts and even space wars between two warring fractions with lasers and explosions everywhere. It certainly is designed like a roller coaster ride in outer space (albeit a very grey and white roller coaster ride). The problem is the actual game itself offers very little variety in what you can do, let alone shoot at. For something this overhyped, it never came near the standard it attempted to set. However, for Sega CD owners, it was all they needed to taunt proud SNES Starfox owners. "Ha! Look at how tame StarFox is in comparison to the mighty Sega CD!" Whatever. The differences between StarFox and Silpheed are like night and day--quality and originality vs blandness and lack of depth, respectably. StarFox offers a much better experience overall, and it's a darn shame that many game magazines gave Silpheed the nod over StarFox, which is clearly superior.
What Silpheed has over StarFox is challenge. Silpheed is much harder to complete than StarFox. You'll be dying away, and to make matters even worse you are severely limited in continues (unless you use the unlimited continues trick, which I give you at the end of this... review. -more like slam-). The game requires that you master every stage to their fullest. This aspect I actually enjoyed; I love a good challenge. However, it never hits the Gaiares 'kiss your ass goodbye' difficulty. ;)
The music is uninspired and doesn't sound good even though this game is on a CD. Even the original Gradius on NES has a better soundtrack than this. The sound effects are a bit weak also, but some of the explosions and laser sounds sound like, well, explosions and lasers.
You can find this game relatively cheap these days. Perhaps it makes a good addition to your Sega CD collection. But as far as shooters go, it offers nothing exceptional. Instead, you may want to locate Lords of Thunder on Sega CD/TurboDuo (CD). Or better yet, get ahold of either the TurboDuo or PC Engine CD import system. NEC's system was infamous for its massive shooter library (and a lot of other great titles). Sorry, Silpheed is probably the most overhyped shooting game ever made, and among the worst as well.
Silpheed was originally released on the NEC PC88 and later brought to the Sega CD.

Here are codes ~ http://www.shinforce.com/segacd/codes/Silpheed.htm
...and more codes ~ http://www.gamewinners.com/SCD/Silpheed.htm
...AND screenshots (with another review; this one's positive) ~ http://www.shinforce.com/segacd/reviews/Silpheed.htm

Later

Icarus4578
07-12-2003, 06:12 AM
Konami is taking over

Dracula X ~ Rondo of Blood - PC Engine Super CD - Rating 9
Konami. The name says it all. And this was one of the games everybody with a TurboDuo wanted to own but couldn't because of Konami's indecision to bring this rock-solid Castlevania title to the US and elsewhere. Why they didn't is beyond me. Many people felt betrayed by their show of ignorance, and so the game became a popular title to import. This is one of the best Castlevanias money can buy and therefore one of the best games available for NEC's beloved system.
I paid $100 for a copy of this game in mint condition and I don't regret it in the least. To say I love Castlevania would be an understatement - I treasure it. This game screams quality from the moment the Konami logo comes onto the screen until the very end. The game opens with a great anime cutscene done in a similar style to other 16-bit cinemas (all in-game graphics; no FMV). The actual Castlevania engine is a lot like it was on the NES Castlevania III, but with much better visuals and sound, and slightly improved controls. The game is laid out like a standard action game but with multiple routes, some of which are hidden. And each different stage has its own boss encounter. Excellent.
You take the role of Richter Belmont--yes, the same guy from Castlevania: SoTN--whose girlfriend Annette (and her sister Maria) have been kidnapped along with the townspeople by Dracula. So Richter sets out for Dracula's castle to do some vampire-flagellating. Although this game is dark like every Castlevania should be, the game is actually very vibrant and showcases the PC Engine Super CD's power to the fullest (which is just one/two meg(s) of RAM at any given time, but damn, are those good MEGS or what? :D). Hell, it even has large enemies and parallax scrolling which the PC Engine wasn't especially known for. Konami really pushes the system to the breaking point. Visually, it's somewhere between the Castlevania III and Symphony of the Night with better visuals and animation than III but obviously not as good as SoTN. The game starts on Stage 0 in which you begin on a horse coach frantically romping towards (apparently) Dracula's abode. Here you'll face an old friend, Death! After that, it's on to the regular stages, most of which contain hidden routes which lead to different areas and bosses. And if you happen to free Maria, you can play as her! She can jump higher than Richter and this can prove quite useful. You will fight with all the standards Castlevania baddies, plus some familiar foes which later appeared in both Castlevania Bloodlines on Genesis and SoTN. All the skeletons, harpies, Medusa-heads, etc. are all present. Bosses can be a real challenge, such as the Minotaur or Medusa. The fact is, many TurboDuo/PC Engine gamers consider Castlevania to be the best game for the system, and it's not hard to see why.
Aurally you're in for a treat. Dracula X delivers synthesized versions of all the standard Castlevania themes as well as sporting some new pieces. The sound effects are all extremely well done as well. As usual, the sound takes center stage alongside the visuals to create an atmosphere unlike any other game.
You can find this gem on auction occasionally on eBay for usually lots of money. Only buy it if you're really a big Castlevania fan and you have the cash to spare (it isn't cheap). If NEC were smart, they would've brought this game here themselves as well as others like Gradius, Street Fighter II CE, etc. They could have made their system the Japanese gaming enthusiast's system of choice, and it would've lasted a lot longer than it did. Anyway...
Konami, thanks for the memories.

Here's a plethora of sites devoted to Dracula X/Castlevania!
Go here first. This place is the PC Engine Software Bible by Sunteam and it offers artwork, screenshots, and music (both MIDI and directly from the game) ~ http://pcenginebible.roarvgm.com/HTML_Games/Dracula_X.htm
This is the SNES translation of Dracula X ~ http://www.classicgaming.com/castlevania/cvdx.htm
Here is more music from Dracula X on PC Engine (from the VGMuseum) ~ http://www.vgmuseum.com/music/pcengine/
Here is another review w/ screenshots ~ http://www.anoxic-games.com/rev/drxrev.htm
And here is the Castlevania Treasury ~ http://castlevania.wrong.button.com/09-info.html
And here's another review (along with my own) on OPCFG. Includes screenshots ~ http://www.geocities.com/opcfg3/dracxpcereview.html
Phew!!

Stay cool!! :cool:

Icarus4578
07-12-2003, 07:59 AM
Tsuki me kawa te... oshi yokyo!!!

Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon - Arcade (Japan) - Rating 5
Pretty much everybody knows what Sailor Moon is by now. 200 episodes + movies have been made, plus all the manga, games, and countless merchandise. Needless to say, this has resulted in one massive fanbase worldwide. DiC brought over 75 episodes into the English market and ruined the translations with some bad voice acting, editing out stuff, and other atrocities. Now I must confess I'm not into this series like so many people are, but I enjoy it (to an extent). There have been several games based on Sailor Moon, including more arcade style beat-'em-ups in similar vein to the one I'm reviewing, fighting games, and an RPG.
This is a Banpresto arcade game and it has a charm to it that makes it stand out a bit. It opens with Tuxedo Kamen (Chiba Mamoru) flying onto the screen and throwing his face mask at the screen. Afterwards it shows all the Sailors come on the screen (good art by the way) and then the game begins. You select which of the five Sailors you want to play as (Usagi, Ami, Rei, Minako, and Makoto... no Chibi-usa! yesssssssssssssssssss!!!!). Er, anyway, the game starts you off on the streets with you taking out familiar foes from the first season, only they're mostly in the form of enemies which repeat endlessly and change color, as expected from a game like this (think Streets of Rage 2 but shorter in length). You can walk, run, jump, run-jump, and there's a good variety of different attacks per girl. There's the standard chain attack combos that automatically string together, you can grab the enemies and either do a repeated grab-attack or throw them, dash attacks, special attacks which take some of your life bar away (press attack + jump button), and a ton of jumping attacks (running jump attack, straight-up and forward jump attacks, jump + hold down and attack, running jump attack, etc.) so there's a good amount of stuff you can do. Then there's the attacks you can only do by using blue crystals which you collect whenever you defeat a certain enemy. Listen to this: whenever you use one of these attacks, whichever sailor scout you are using comes up on the screen full-size and animates as good as the anime itself. Each amount of crystals you accumulate per girl will result in a different animated attack (you can store anywhere from one to five per girl). If you have all five crystals and you perform the attack, the girls come up on the screen and run through the entire animated sequence of the attacks they did in the anime itself! Very cool. So there's 25 specially animated attacks in the game, and it's worth it to play through just to check them all out.
However, the fun will soon come to a gripping halt. The game is an especially well done beat-'em-up, sure, with fancy cinematics such as Tuxedo Kamen's appearances during some boss fights and such. But if you simply look at the content that is actually there, you find that it is very repetitious. You cannot even pick up weapons and use them - a beat 'em up staple. Also, I wish that instead of repeating a boss they added another different fight. Jadeite would've been acceptable; instead, he's reduced to a small part in a cinema... When you go up against some of these bosses, be prepared to die a lot. This game is a quarter eater!
Anyway, the music is pretty nice with some catchy stuff, mainly the first stage song, but some songs are just annoying. The sound effects and voices are well done though. I was expecting more, given the fact that the series is known for its excellent compositions (some of which sounds like it came right out of the 70's). If you can, I suggest you pick up the ten-disc Sailor Moon Memorial Music Box set from http://www.animecastle.com or someplace else that has it.
Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon is a good addition to an overpopulated genre, but there aren't enough redeeming qualities to make up for its repetitiveness. Still, if you're ever in the mood for a good beat-'em-up (and you happen to like Sailor Moon), check this game out.

Here's a tremendous amount of sites devoted to Sailor Moon. :cool:
This site has a lot of information on the characters of the series ~ http://congly.freeservers.com/anime/smoon/characters/
This site contains a quick background on the series ~ http://www.comicity.com/sm/sm.htm
Here, you can check out more background info on the series, as well as showing you all the English/Japanese volumes of the manga ~ http://www.slis.ualberta.ca/cap02/elisabeth/takeuchi-naoko.html
This site is about names and meanings of the characters ~ http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/5976/sm-characters.htm
An excellent site on the differences between the English and Japanese versions of Sailor Moon, plus other stuff ~ http://www.smuncensored.com/
Tons of information on characters ~ http://www.devermore.net/surbrook/adaptionsanime/sailormoon/smoon.html
Tremendous amount of glamour pictures from Sailor Moon ~ http://sf.www.lysator.liu.se/anime_manga/titles/SailorMoon/images/#glamour
A ton of artwork indexes ~ http://the.animearchive.org/sailormoon/
Some very beautiful illustrations ~ http://web.cs.mun.ca/~anime/afs/smoon.html
Excellent gallery of images ~ http://platform9.virtualave.net/sailormoon/gallery.htm
Some very nice cel images ~ http://www.tcp.com/doi/doi/cels/smoon/
ANOTHER image gallery ~ http://members.tripod.com/~serendipitycl/smg.html
All the villians ~ http://www.angelfire.com/anime3/sailorsun/smvill.html
And here is game screens (scroll all the way down to click on more shots, including one to view how cool the special attacks look in the game)... Yes, that's the same review here. I put my import reviews up on OPCFG as well :) ~ http://www.geocities.com/opcfg2/pssmreview.html

Enjoy!

gearhound1
07-12-2003, 07:54 PM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
"GET OVER HERE!!!"

Mortal Kombat - Arcade - Rating 5 / SNES - Rating 5 / Genesis - Rating 4
Mortal Kombat... one of the most controversial games in history. I must admit I lean more towards Japanese fighters but MK is a rare exception because, despite the controversial subject matter (blood and gore), it's a good fighting game. And MK is far better than part three and all its successors, including 'Deadly Alliance' - you can quote me on that. I enjoy the original because it was structured moreso around gameplay than secrets. Not that the gameplay is anything too impressive (it's rather basic) but it managed to keep me interested for quite some time back when it was released, in particular, on home consoles in 1993.
The arcade version is obviously the best version, featuring the best graphics and sound, all the blood, and everything else. Nintendo didn't want to ruin their appeal to the younger crowd by becoming a part of the controversy so Midway had to remove all the blood and gore from the SNES version. However (and fortunately for Midway/Nintendo), I play games for the gameplay and fun, not for gimmicks. By the way, in all truthfulness, most every kid that wanted MK wanted the gore - it's main selling point - but the big N' didn't want to risk offending parents. Oh, if only they were more cynical about the future; you can find far more offensive and immoral stuff scattered throughout games released today. What's ironic is that the media, which painted the picture that Midway was a bad game company because of the violence, is among the worst, most immoral offenders you will find anywhere.
You can quote me on that one too.
Anyways, I prefer the SNES conversion of the arcade to its Genesis brother. Why? A few things; aside from gore, the SNES is a far better conversion graphically, aurally, and just feels more like the arcade. When it comes down to it, the gameplay is intact in both conversions but the Genesis version suffers from having smaller characters, less colors, and more grainy visuals. Arguably, alot of people consider the graphics MK's best feature. I somewhat agree. But I think that the clearer you are able to convey something to the viewer the better. The fighting game itself is bare and pretty basic; punch, kick, jump and use special moves on your opponents. There is only a handful of playable characters so I would've expected a little more of a learning curve per character. The most you have to memorize is a few special moves and fatalities. There's two bosses in Goro and Shang Tsung, and one hidden character. And backdrops are limited to a handful as well (though they look nice). You can surmise from what's said that this game is kinda fun for awhile but limited in variety. Least, that's how I feel.
Aurally the arcade and SNES versions are very nice with great voice work such as the announcer, "FINISH HIM!!!", and Scorpion "COME HERE!!!" Musically it's very fitting stuff but it's a little weak overall. But it isn't something i'd consider listening to for enjoyment.
To sum it up, Mortal Kombat was among the most infuential games of a decade and paved the way for a plethora of other violent-toned games which constantly tried to push it further than before. Time Killers comes to mind. Gimmickry aside, MK is a fun fighting game, but only for a while. It lacks depth and variety. Ah well.... ;)

are you kidding me, icarus? why did you give the arcade version of MK the same score as the SNES version? that seems way off to me...

Icarus4578
07-13-2003, 01:35 AM
Gearhound, the arcade version and SNES version play exactly the same. They both offer the same amount of overall fun in my book. Sure, at the time, things may've looked more like this: Arcade - 7/8, SNES - 5, Genesis - 4/5, but time has deemed them both competent to one another. And, as the review clearly showed, the game has lost its initial impact.

BTW, when you reply to a post, please refrain from quoting the entire thing. Thank you.

Icarus4578
07-17-2003, 10:40 AM
Better than before

Secret of Mana - SNES - Rating 8
Games like this are the reason I play games. There hasn't been a game like this in a long time, and to relive this Squaresoft masterpiece again... almost brings tears to my eyes. The Legend of Mana for PlayStation doesn't even come close to the majesty that is this game. The original Secret of Mana was actually a GameBoy title called Seiken Densetsu in Japan, and was brought out in the US as Final Fantasy Adventure. Seiken Densetsu 2 is Secret of Mana in the US, and Seiken Densetsu 3 was never brought outside of Japan because at that time Square USA just released Secret of Evermore, a pile of crap which was actually just Square USA stealing the SoM game engine and ruining it, resulting in one bad game which every self-respecting gamer should avoid. And just think, we'd have Seiken Densetsu 3 if not for Square USA not wanting Square of Japan to compete with themselves (they would've whipped their own asses). ;)
I remember calling the Nintendo Hotline and asking about this game, just to try and suck as much info up about it as I could. "So, if you compared Secret of Mana to Zelda, which would look better?" was among the 100 stupid questions I used to ask (but it sure made sense at that time :P). And I didn't have enough money to buy it at its release date (darn), so I had to make with what little money I had and rent it about 3-4 times per month. And was it ever worth it! Square really struck gold with SoM and it makes all the recent Square titles, nay, all the recent adventure/RPG titles seem shallow in comparison. The fact is, SoM does for adventure/RPGs what games like Contra do for the action genre -- it sets standards. What's sad is when I look back at old game magazines like GameFan which wound up giving games like Jurassic Park (SNES), Clayfighter (SNES), and Alladin (Genesis) higher ratings than SoM. That is a crime!!!
The story is about the Mana tree, which gives life to the planet, but was also used in a more abusive fashion. To read more about the story click here ~ http://mmxz.zophar.net/rpg/mana/som.html
You control Randi, who lives in the peaceful village of Potos which is guarded by the Sword of Mana (which is located somewhere besides his village). Two other characters will join him ~ Purim and Sprite (in Japan, Sprite was called Popoie and in a rare case of intelligence, the US treatment was improved). The game is structurally similar to Zelda but with its own gameplay and style. You have to actually think about when to attack because your sword has to charge. Also, when you want to use magic or an item, you pull up a ring of options which surrounds your party member (and time stops while this is opened). There are puzzles to solve, and lots and lots of cool--and sometimes cute--baddies to take out. Throughout your adventure you'll visit castles and towns, and there are several modes of transportation in the game, most notably the cannons which you must pay to use. Using these, you can shoot yourself across vast areas and reach places you otherwise couldn't through conventional methods. The main form of transportation, which comes later in the game, is Flammie the baby dragon. Fighting enemies is fun and more emphasized than in Zelda. Using elementals is a big key to victory. One thing I really like is how the elementals will grow in power the more you use them. The elementals may as well be called summons because that is what they act like. The control is great and two other people can join you at any time and use the other characters. Sometimes, you'll try and move and cannot because one of your characters is caught behind something. So you'll have to go back a bit to recollect your party before moving ahead. This may aggravate you sometimes, but I got over it.
The graphics are VERY colorful and vibrant, and make great use of the SNES color pallette as well as special effects. The game is done from an overhead perspective a-la Zelda, only it looks better. Enemies are animated very well, and bosses are fun and challenging. Though the sequel has better graphics (and arguably better music; I personally don't think Seiken Densetsu 3 has better music...), this game is only 16-MEGS while its sequel is 32. The look of the game really is special and I would trade in all the CG filler of today for colorful artwork like this any day, baby! Even the animation is suprisingly good for a SNES. Just imagine what they could do with these new systems with a sequel done with artwork instead of CG.
Hiroki Kikuta is the composer, and this is one of the best soundtracks you can find on 16-bit. If you're smart you'll buy the original soundtrack from http://www.gamemusic.com/ or someplace else. Although you'll hear variations of some of the themes repeated with different arrangements, there's a generous amount of music and most all of it is great. Soundtracks of this caliber are nonexistent these days. Of course, all of the sound effects are done well, as expected from the SNES.
You would be most unfortunate to not own a copy of Secret of Mana. Playing this game will make you wonder what happened to great game design with creativity such as this. What a shame that Legend of Mana wasn't as good. Ah well. :sigh: :(
Hey SquareEnix, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!!!

Here's screenshots ~ http://www.fantasyanime.com/mana/somshots.htm
Here's artwork ~ http://www.fantasyanime.com/mana/somart3.htm
...and more artwork ~ http://www.fantasyanime.com/mana/somart2.htm

Have fun, and I'll see you soon. :cool:

Icarus4578
07-19-2003, 05:21 AM
It's a groovy world

Klonoa 2 ~ Lunatea's Veil - PlayStation 2 - Rating 8
One of my favorite game series on the new consoles would have to be Namco's furry hero Klonoa. Making his first appearance on Playstation, Namco combined excellent gameplay with an interesting graphic style which was presented in 3D but with 2D gameplay. Nintendo claimed Yoshi's Story on N64 was 2.5D -- somewhere in-between 2D and 3D. I disagree. Yoshi's Story used 3D-like elements to some of the graphics but didn't actually convince this gamer that Yoshi was anything but another 2D game (nothing wrong with that in and of itself). Klonoa, on the other hand, is what I'd consider 2.5D. It uses 2D gameplay over completely 3D stages and backgrounds, with a camera that changes viewpoints every now and then to add to the presence of the distinct game design.
For the PlayStation 2 sequel everything was improved (well, 95% of everything). You get better, sharper graphics (duh), sound quality, the same stellar stage design (but bigger), and more cinematic gameplay. They even included 3D hoverboard stages, which I enjoyed. Everything is more colorful and imaginative, and instead of using prerendered characters over 3D backgrounds, virtually EVERYTHING you see is rendered by the PS2.
For those of you who haven't been fortunate enough to play the original PS version (or this) I'll run down some of the game mechanics. Klonoa's moves include jumping and using his ring to grab enemies which he can toss as a projectile in any direction, or use in mid-air to jump even higher. Also, he can use the ring to grab onto things to jump off of. Some of this gets really tricky later on and will call for your best Mario-esque platforming skills. There's more, but you'll have to play it to find out.
The stages are gorgeously rendered and everything is colorful and detailed. There's a theme park complete with a haunted house, roller coaster riding, etc. And there are forests, caverns, an industrial city, snowy areas, a river raft ride through a swamp, and much more. Sometimes you'll be playing and the camera will shoot way out so that you can see everything. This is great because it greatly enhances the sense of height and depth within the 3D environments. Stages go up, down and all around, and are often massive is size and scope. The anime/cartoony look to the game is a refreshing change from the sterile CG as seen in most other 3D games. Enemies are well done but perhaps many of them are too easy to defeat, as if they are put there as insturments for Klonoa to utilize moreso than to actually try and defeat him. Bosses can be a pain, and some will require that you die several times before you learn how to defeat them (like any good platformer). There's a save feature by the way, and the world map can be transversed a-la Super Mario World on SNES.
The music is very good and fits the game like a glove. Some songs are catchy while others are more ambient, and you can open up a sound test at the amusement park as well as earn artwork to view. The sound effects are all done especially well, and I liked the strange language the characters use to speak with during cut-scenes (you read on-screen text).
What else can be said? If you own a PS2, buy Klonoa 2. It is better than over 90% of the other software on the system and is still to this day a graphic showcase for the system. Besides, there isn't much choice as far as platformers are concerned nowadays, and this is truly one worth owning.

Take a look at the game ~ http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/klonoa2/screenindex.html

See you later :cool:

Pilotwings
07-19-2003, 05:51 PM
icarus did you review metroid prime?

Nindalf
07-19-2003, 06:05 PM
Yes he did, he gave it 7.

Pilotwings
07-19-2003, 06:11 PM
Originally posted by NiN
Yes he did, he gave it 7.

ok, do you know what happened to his journal thread?

Nindalf
07-19-2003, 06:14 PM
I think he deleted it, dont know why. Atleast it seems that it has disappeared

Icarus4578
07-19-2003, 09:43 PM
I deleted it, alas, because it got like two hits a day, and I thought "Hmmm... maybe I'm not that popular around here". Too bad. That was some great writing. Then again, I don't blame people for lack of interest. After all, it's just one guy's opinions and thoughts, and my additions were rather sizey (as typical of me... I write fast :cool: ).

Joe Redifer
07-19-2003, 11:35 PM
I enjoyed the Journals thread. But of course there was no reason to keep clicking into it again and again when no new journals were added. :(

Icarus4578
07-20-2003, 03:03 AM
That's true. I was gonna add two or three additions a week but after my first few I watched the counter to see if it was gaining. It was gaining.... about 2-3 hits a day. Then, a day came where I was the only hit it was getting. Not good. So I didn't see why it was worth it. Anyway, reviewing games is fun work and I'll continue to do this.

Kojiro Hyuga
07-20-2003, 03:45 AM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
Better than before

Secret of Mana - SNES - Rating 8

Hiroki Kikuta is the composer, and this is one of the best soundtracks you can find on 16-bit. If you're smart, you'll buy the original soundtrack from http://www.gamemusic.com/ or someplace else. Although you'll hear variations of some of the themes repeated with different arrangements, there's a generous amount of music and most all of it is great. Soundtracks of this caliber are nonexistent these days. Of course, all of the sound effects are done well, as expected from the SNES.
You would be most unfortunate to not own a copy of Secret of Mana. Playing this game will make you wonder what happened to great game design with creativity such as this. What a shame that Legend of Mana wasn't as good. Ah well. :sigh: :(
Hey SquareEnix, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!!!

Have fun, and i'll see you soon. :cool:

Secret of Mana's soundtrack... I have it! That florest flute theme is just wonderfull, and the "Pre last bloss flying" music? One of the best in the 16 bit era... Icarus, do you know if there's any "arranged" or "Orchestrated" version of SOM soundtrack?

Icarus4578
07-20-2003, 04:01 AM
Well, there's the Secret of Mana + Soundtrack at http://www.gamemusic.com/dept/101/cat.asp?dept=101&cat=1011&cattitle=Seiken+Densetsu which is just one track arranged, but it's a long track comprised of several songs. You can read the reviews at that site (GameMusic.com) and decide if it's what you're looking for. The song near the last boss is good but there are quite a few exceptional pieces throughout the game.

I never could figure out what that head you find on the ocean is for (when you're flying on Flammie). Hmmm.... maybe it was just put there for the fun of it.

Icarus4578
07-20-2003, 04:49 AM
Let the carnage begin!

Rock N' Roll Racing - SNES - Rating 6
If you are fond of Rare's RC Pro Am for NES, and you've been looking for a game similar to it, look no further. Interplay's Rock N' Roll Racing plays EXACTLY the same way (albeit with a few additions here and there). In other words, it's very fun. So let's hit the highway!
You start a new game and select which difficulty level you want: rookie, veteran, or warrior. I'll tell you right now, if you don't select warrior you're not going to see the full game. From there, you choose a character (from out of 6) each of whom have different strengths such as accelerating, jumping, cornering, and top speed. From there, you must purchase a vehicle (only two are affordable at the start) and you must hit the road.
The game immediately resembles RC Pro Am and this is a good thing. Of course, it has better graphics being that this is on the SNES and all. You start off racing on one planet (which is comprised of eight tracks) and the object is the keep winning to earn money so that you can upgrade your vehicle or buy another. You also gain points after every track is cleared and once you've accumulated enough points you can set off to the next planet, and, obviously, each successive planet is harder than the one before it, and every planet has its own look and everything. Another thing you'll notice is how much more agressive your opponents get as you progress. This game can get quite challenging, especially later on, so don't throw your controller into your TV screen out of frustration. There are new hazards awaiting you on every planet.
The controls are responsive and quirky, like RC Pro Am (I sound like a broken record, I know). You steer with left and right, and accelerate and brake with B and A respectively. You also can shoot at enemies, jump, and use a booster to gain leverage. You have to be careful because you have a limit to all of these things. And the competition will eventually try and destroy you (yes, your car can be blown to pieces). Luckily, after every lap you replenish, and you can always buy new upgrades and such at the shop in-between races. You will need to buy tires for better traction and handling, armor for more resiliency, engines for better speed and performance, and shock absorbers. I like the way the game controls. In order to power slide into a corner, all you really have to do is hold down acceleration and turn into the direction of the corner before you actually get to it. It's very easy to master doing this. I also like the variety of tracks - there's a lot. And for those of you that wanna take it to a friend (or enemy?) there's the VS mode which is split screen but works out well for a SNES.
There are five racing tracks to be heard, and this can get rather annoying after awhile. The music is actually SNES-ized versions of such songs as Paranoid by Black Sabbath, Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf, and Bad to the Bone by George Thorogood. It sounds cheesy but in a good way :spinface:, and none other than Larry Huffman AKA 'SuperMouth' provides commentary throughout the game. The sound effects are what you'd expect -- good stuff, if a bit weak in spots.
I cannot recommend this game enough. You're not going to find another game like this anywhere else, so you may as well pick it up for SNES (or the GameBoy Advance version). You're certain to have a blast with it. Once you've beaten it you may find yourself looking away from it, but it is the kind of game you know you'll always be able to come back to after a couple of years to have a good time. :bigsmile:

Nindalf
07-20-2003, 08:27 AM
Originally posted by Icarus4578

Rock N' Roll Racing - SNES - Rating 6


:yikes:

Turn that upside down and add 1 and im happy! :spinface:

Good review though! :D

Icarus4578
07-20-2003, 09:02 AM
A six is a respectable score, meaning, the game is at least worth a try if you dig this style of game to being with. It's certainly above average, and it was great to play another game with similarities to RC Pro Am, but with its own little twist. How common does that happen?

Joe Redifer
07-20-2003, 09:06 AM
I liked that game, but I didn't really care for the geezer rock. Bad to the Bone is probably the most overplayed song on the planet. I enjoyed the music (both in composition and quality) in the SNES version of Super Off Road much, much more.

Nindalf
07-20-2003, 09:09 AM
I think that Rock ?n Roll Racing is one of the most underrated games, Its my favorite racing game with F-Zero. :cool:

Icarus4578
07-20-2003, 09:10 AM
Never played that, though I've played the original Off Road. I'll have to give that game a spin, especially since the other was so fun. I think I've played Off Road Baja or something like that on SNES which was GREAT.

Icarus4578
07-20-2003, 09:11 AM
NiN, have you played RC Pro Am?

Nindalf
07-20-2003, 09:17 AM
No i havent, i havent even heard of it before.

Icarus4578
07-20-2003, 09:19 AM
Woah. That's one of the most memorable NES games ever made. Most everybody knows it. Here, have a look ~ http://www.vgmuseum.com/images/nes/01/rcproam.html

They also did RC Pro Am II and Super RC Pro Am. I've never played them, though.

gearhound1
07-20-2003, 09:24 PM
RC-Pro Am is a classic

Icarus4578
07-22-2003, 10:22 AM
Beep Beep

Super Chase HQ - SNES - Rating 4
Have you ever wanted to just tear down the highway in pursuit of some whacked-out criminals like in all those action movies? Yeah, me too. Besides, racing games nowadays are almost always trying to do the same thing ~ customize your car, race, buy new cars/upgrades, repeat. Not that that automatically means a game is bad, but once in a while a little change would be welcome.
Enter Super Chase HQ, a port of the popular Taito arcade game/series. You take the role of a cop who is assigned missions to take down criminals, first by catching up to them in your Porsche 928 (oh how sweet it is! The Special Criminal Investigation Unit must really love you!), and then by ramming the living hell out of them, just like in real life! The first thing anybody who has seen the arcade will notice is that Taito shifted the view to being inside the vehicle, as opposed to the behind-the-vehicle perspective as seen in the arcade/Genesis versions. This isn't such a bad thing because it doesn't ruin the gameplay.
Each mission begins with a brief cinema showing criminals doing what they do best: breaking the law. Afterwards, you communicate with Nancy via a telecommunicator built into your vehicle. She describes the situation and shows you the assailant's getaway vehicle, and you're on your way. You have a time limit to reach up to the bad guys and bust their car up by smashing into it, thus rendering it immobile. And uuuhh, smashing up your Porsche in the process. ....Huh? :???: You can accelerate and brake. Furthermore, when urgency makes himself your companion you have nitro boosts at your disposal which will dramatically increase your speed. The game can be challenging because not only do you have a time limit but you also have to avoid traffic, motorcyclers hurling motolov cocktails at you, being shot at, etc. Whenever you complete missions, it shows you holding the criminals at gun point saying "You're under arrest!" in a muffled voice. If you lose, you can continue exactly where you left off --- a very welcome addition. However, continues are sparse and let's just say that it will probably take you more than one attempt to beat the game (although it is kinda short in length).
The graphics are pretty good for a SNES game with a pretty generous use of colors and good design, but nothing quite that impressive is to be seen here. The cars don't make use of the system's zooming capabilities (not that it matters much), and if this game is using mode 7 then I certainly didn't notice it. No matter.
The music is actually quite good, and the sound effects are done very well too. There's not much to be said about the game sound-wise. It just does a fair job, that's all.
To be honest, I had a blast with it while it lasted. But the lack of longevity (only five missions) really does make this game seem like it could've offered you more bang for the buck. The arcade of Chase HQ just feels more satisfying overall. So if you happen upon this rare SNES title for a small amount of money, you may want to pick it up. Just don't forget to take into consideration its short length.
I don't know about you, but smashing up my Porshe wouldn't be the first thing on my mind....

Icarus4578
07-26-2003, 05:10 AM
You better run

Landstalker - Genesis - Rating 9
The debut title by Climax is the closest thing the Genesis has to Zelda in terms of sheer quality. Climax was a part of Camelot Software Planning if I'm not mistaken, and they made such gems as Shining in the Darkness and the Shining Force series (along with Sonic Software Planning). The development team responsible for Landstalker eventually left Climax to form Matrix studios which blessed us with the PlayStation epic Alundra. Climax tried desperately to attain the heights of Landstalker with such lackluster releases as Ladystalker (SNES), Dark Savior (Saturn), and the wow-is-this-painful Time Stalkers (Dreamcast). If you've been dying for a tough action/adventure title along the lines of Zelda, then Landstalker just might be the next best thing.
The game begins with the introduction of the protagonist Nigel, a spunky elf whose heart is rooted in adventure and treasure hunting. During the game's introduction sequence you watch as Nigel makes his way through ruins (controlled by the computer), making what would otherwise be incredibly difficult jumps look pretty easy. At the end of the ruins lies the statue of Jypta, which Nigel takes into his possession. He returns to sell the statue in town where, as fate would have it, a pixie named Friday is being pursued outside by (you guessed it) bad guys. Friday runs into Nigel, looking for a good hiding place. She briefly tells him about the location of the treasure of King Nole. After hearing this, he allows her to flee danger by becoming a stowaway in his backpack. So together, they set out across the sea riding atop a huge bird to the island of Mercator where Nigel's quest truly begins.
The game is played from an isometric 3/4 view, which automatically means that this game must have hard controls to get accustomed to. You can move only in diagonals, and my best advice to you would be to learn quickly how to control Nigel accurately using only up, down, left, and right on the controller because this makes things feel much easier. Nigel can jump and attack with his sword, as well as perform many other tasks such as lift objects, climb, etc. Jumping is of utmost importance here, but what makes this game so aggravatingly difficult, partiularly later on, is all the amaaaazingly difficult leaping you'll have to perform--made doubly difficult because of the fact that Nigel does not have a shadow underneath him when he's in mid-air to guide you. This is the game's one major flaw. But aside from this, it's smooth sailing otherwise. The game is very playable and lengthy, with devious puzzles and enemies which are more than up to the task of being a chore to deal with. There are various towns for you to visit and purchase goods from and every location has hidden items and gold scattered throughout. The dungeon design is some of the best I've ever come across, filled with booby traps, puzzles, enemies, insane jumps, tricky hazards, etc. Bosses are usually pretty easy to defeat, so that is kinda disappointing. You get to know certain people (particularly villians), and you may even spot a familiar face or two. Recognize Lady? She's from Ladystalker.
The graphics have a flair about them that hasn't been replicated to this day, even by successive Climax ventures although they look similar. The animation is well-rounded on everything, although the color pallete leaves something to be desired. I can't blame Climax for something inherently lacking in the system's architecture (the Genesis can only display a total of 64 colors at once), but there have been Genesis titles with much better color usage such as the Monster World series. It still looks pretty good to me.
If the music sounds reminiscent of the Shining Force series, it should. The music is composed by Motoaki Takenouchi (yessss!!) and here he does a great job of helping bring this game's atmospheres to their fullness in depth. Every song fits into its respective territory, and if you enjoyed the music and arrangements in Shining Force you'll enjoy this as well. The sound effects are also done nicely and in this area the Genesis is utilized especially well.
This game brings back many memories for me of a time when great games meant something special for the gamer. You can have all your graphical jargon, all your fancy FMV, and all the cineamtic mimbo-jumbo you want getting in the way of the actual gameplay. Great game design never dies, and with Landstalker it is of utmost priority. This game will challenge you like you've never been challenged before (save perhaps Equinox). It lasts a good 40 hours and even though the ending sucks the game is so darn good it doesn't even matter. If you can beat Landstalker then you can beat any action/adventure game out there, and that has to count for something. I'm very happy to have spent another 40 or so hours with this game. If only there were more games like this lying in wait for our consumption.
Also recommended - Crusader of Centy, developed by Nextech and published by Atlus, for Sega Genesis. It's an adventure more in the style of Zelda (though a bit shorter and easier).

Walkthrough with pictures to guide you (cheater....) ~ http://www.rpgclassics.com/shrines/genesis/landstalker/walkthroughs/walk01.shtml
For all of you Shining Force fans ~ http://www.shiningforcecentral.com/
Useful site (don't ask, just investigate it) ~ http://genesis.mobygames.com/home/

Catch you on the flip-side. :cool:

Icarus4578
07-26-2003, 09:52 AM
...run into the distant night...

Three Wonders - Arcade (Three games in one)
Game #1 - Midnight Wanderers ~ Quest for the Chariot - Rating 8
So... which game did Treasure borrow ideas from to make their Genesis fan favorite action title Gunstar Heroes? If you answered Midnight Wanderers, you'd be correct! Both in look (character design) and in content, you can clearly tell that GH is inspired to say the least by this awesome action game. And allow me to go on record as saying that I believe Midnight Wanderers to be the better game. Even though MW came out in 1991 it looks like it could've been made in the later 90's. It's that good.
The Chariot of Light has been sealed up in the castle of Gaia, and now it's up to Lou and Siva to get it back. And eventually, to save the towspeople from the curse set upon them, turning them (and their girl friend Sena) to wood.
As far as graphics go, I'd say this game is about on par with Metal Slug. No, really. I could not believe it either... until I laid eyes upon it. Everything is drawn and animated wonderfully. Not suprising given that this is Capcom we're talking about. :cool: The game plays similar to Ghouls 'N Ghosts but with enhancements. You can shoot your projectile weapons up, left, and right, and if you're in the air you can shoot down. You can jump, hang on ledges and swing up on top of them or jump down, or, keep hanging on and move across slowly, just like in Strider. Plus, you can shoot while hanging, too. If you hold down and press jump (and you're on solid ground) you can perform a dash forward. There are treasure chests all over the place which contain items such as cards with different amounts of hearts on them (add 100 hearts to get a 1-up), weapon upgrades, and options which hover nearby and can be used for added firepower. There's quite a bit to this game. There are 4 main stages and then a final stage; the game isn't really long. But what is there is definitely worth your invested time. The enemies are all designed very well and the there's two bosses in each stage, until the final showdown with the demon Gaia. Oh, and lest I should forget, stages are disparted with short cinemas which quickly progress your journey.
The music is pretty nice and is eerily reminiscent of Ghouls 'N Ghosts in more ways than one. It's good stuff overall and fits in well. The sound effects are all great as well. Everything works together perfectly.
For me, this is one great action title and it shouldn't be missed. Capcom brought this home along with the other two games on the Import Sega Saturn CD titled appropriately enough Arcade Gears ~ 3 Wonders. I'd pick this game over Gunstar anyday.
Have a look for yourself but beware... the ending is also on the same page (and no, this is not a link to a ROM, just screenshots) ~ http://emulazione.multiplayer.it/mamend/T/3wonders_midnite.htm

Game #2 - Chariot ~ Adventure Through the Sky - Rating 4
The second game is actually an enjoyable shooting title and is the continuation of Midnight Wanderers. Here, we see Lou and Siva taking it to the sky/space for some decent but short-lived shooting action. The way they look flying around should remind you of Strider riding his hang glider. Again, Treasure apparently borrowed the idea of the shooting stage in GH from this title. Of course, this shooter is far superior to that one stupid stage. What we have here is a pretty good shooter that is hampered down by the repetitive stage layouts, enemies, and lack of length. Some of the enemies are straight out of Midnight Wanderers, such as the witches flying around on broomsticks. The graphics are top notch yet again, and the bosses are simply beautiful. Some bosses are based on Astrology such as Cancer, Gemini, and Sagittarius, and as you deal damage to them their looks change. You should recognize one of the mid-bosses that appears often throughout the game from the middle of the second stage in Strider; he flies around carrying a huge gun (hint hint ;))...
The control is good, as expected. You fly around shooting down whatever gets in your line of fire, and you can use a special shot whenever necessary. There are power-ups that will raise the power of your shots, bombs, armor, etc. just like in most other shooters. There aren't really enough qualities to make this title stand out from other shooters save for the excellent artwork and bosses. There's 7 stages with the last stage requiring you defeat every boss again (but they're much weaker). Lar is your final confrontation before the Light of the Chariot can restore peace to the world.
One or two songs are good but the rest is either not impressive or just repetitive nonsense. The sound effects are all well done as you'd expect. I wasn't too interested in this game aurally.
This could've been a fantastic shooter but I felt that the stages offered little variety. I'm also not a fan of paying a quarter each and every time I take a hit (what in the living...?). The faults are a little more noticeable than all the positives, unfortunately. Sorry.
Take a look (beware the ending) ~ http://emulazione.multiplayer.it/mamend/T/3wonders_chariot.htm

Game #3 - Don't Pull - Rating ?
I only played this game once, so unfortunately I cannot make an accurate review of it. It has no apparent relationship to the other games. You control a rabbit that kicks blocks around which you must use to try and defeat all the enemies on the screen. Whenever you defeat an enemy it leaves fruit you can collect. Unfortunately, just as I figured it out, I got hit by an enemy, and you have to pay to continue.... (you get no lives, just like Chariot). That's about all I know about this game. If you like puzzle games, you might enjoy it. It bears a more than passive resemblance to Kickle Cubicle (go figure).

Three Wonders - Overall Rating - 7/8
If you can find this on import Sega Saturn then by all means buy it! Even if just to play Midnight Wanderers, it's worth it.

....run until they take us away! ...Take us away! ...Take us awaaaaaay!

Icarus4578
07-29-2003, 11:00 AM
Magnificent!

Dragon Warrior VII - PlayStation - Rating 8
Sometimes you buy a game that just grabs hold of you and won't let go until you've done everything there is to be done. Often these are considered antiquities, relics of the past which surpassed the full measure of time. And indeed such things often are descriptive of a gainly productivity that fulfills more than its duty by giving you back in pleasure what you've invested in time. Such is true with Dragon Warrior VII by Enix (known in Japan as Dragon Quest). What gives DW most of its pleasing qualities is the fluid pace of the quest which almost never lapses into boredom. You're so into whatever you're doing, and you just don't want to put it down.
This quest stars Hero, a young fisherman's son in the fishing village of Fishbel where he has lived since he was born. He has longed for the day when he can become a fisherman like his father, Borkano. Of course, Hero isn't content just sitting around waiting for that day to come. So him and his best friend Kiefer, the young prince of Estard Castle, are always seeking adventure, particularly exploring the places on Estard Island which are deemed forbidden (their favorite place being the Ruins). Maribel, who is also best friends with Hero and Kiefer, always wants to join them on their little adventures but sometimes they do things in secret. This really angers Maribel, so she gets her way by use of threats and other such ignoble means. Anyway, Kiefer is restless with the thought that there are other continents besides Estard, and will stop at no end to discover the world. He discovers that there is a secret to getting inside the Ruins, and he is going to do it no matter what, even at the expense of obedience to his father King Burns who is always trying (in vain) to keep a short leash on his son. Eventually, his ego leads him to believe he's in fact the Legendary Hero spoken of in legend, and that Hero is just his useful sidekick! The character interaction in this game is truly something worth seeing. Maribel's stingy, self-absorbed personality is great to watch while the story progresses, and, rest assured, this is one long quest ~ at least 100 hours! I'll testify to that. This game is super long and addicting throughout. Of course, Hero will meet more people who will join him on his quest.
This is old-school RPGing, which is good. All the characters are 2D on 3D backgrounds, and if you smoothen the polygons on PS2 it looks a lot better than just playing it in standard mode, or PSone. You can rotate the camera in all directions (save for some locations like certain dungeons) and you can do an assortment of Zelda-like things such as push objects, lift and throw things, solve puzzles, etc. but it doesn't ever touch Zelda in this area (or Lufia II on SNES). The game world is divided between the past and present. This is where the Ruins come in--the focal point of the game. You collect different types of Shards (Aqua, Fire, Wind, and Land) and you use these to fill in maps of different continents. Once you complete a map you can then go to the continent which is set in the past, in which you must complete certain tasks before it appears in the present--often in a different state than the past version--and the great thing is you can always go back and forth between time. Battling is fun and there is a tremendous variety of enemies and bosses. The enemies are very cool and are all animated in 2D with great animation on virtually everything they do, and almost every enemy has at least 2/3 completely different things they can do. The character/enemy designs are all by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball Z fame. Like the Dragon Warrior titles on GameBoy, there is a class change system in which you assign each character to a class such as warrior, mage, bard, etc. and as they move up in their respective classes they gain skills and spells otherwise unobtainable. There are three levels to classes: basic, intermediate, and advanced. In order to gain access to certain classes you must first master two or three certain others, for example. Do like I did and get as much of it over with as you can early on. This will not only give you a greater arsenal of skills/spells but inevitably more level as well. Be careful though. After you hit a certain level, fights with weaker enemies will no longer count towards building a class. I should also mention that there are monster classes as well, which are also divided into three ranks. With these, your characters can learn skills and spells otherwise unobtainable, as well as stat-changes unique to each monster.
Each continent has its own locations like towns, castles, dungeons, towers, etc. and each has its own subplot. Some of these are very interesting such as a certain abnormality with time in the town of Litorud, which I won't ruin. It's truly interesting. Of course, there is the larger picture which ties everything together. The last time an RPG plot was as interesting was in Lunar 2, or perhaps Persona 2.
The soundtrack is by famed Dragon Warrior composer Koichi Sugiyama (arguably as popular as Nobuo Uematsu) and is definitely a great RPG soundtrack. He is clearly a great composer/arranger, creating great symphonic pieces with nice subtle touches here and there. Some of the best pieces include Heavenly Village and Days of Sadness, both of which you will hear quite often. The only negative is that there are only 40 or so pieces of music. For a game this long, there should've been about 15-20 more pieces. I bought the soundtrack and it's about as good as his previous soundtrack for Dragon Quest VI for SNES which never came here, unfortunately. The soundtrack comes with another CD with the music performed by an orchestra, and so does the DQVI soundtrack. You can buy these soundtracks and more at http://www.gamemusic.com/
If you're longing for some of RPG pleasure and don't care that there isn't millions of polygons flying around your TV screen then you're in the right place. Dragon Warrior VII offers a long, solid quest that will challenge you and hold your attention-span for its duration of 100+ hours. You certainly won't be bored waiting for all those new releases, and perhaps you'll even find that this game is a superior effort. Way to go Enix!
For your information, there is a fifth type of Shard, the ? Shard, which is often hidden extraordinarily well. If you can find them all, congratulations! Prepare for an arduous challenge that you will not believe!

Oh, ok... Here's every Shard location ~ http://www.woodus.com/den/games/dw7psx/shards.php
Perhaps the best DWVII site ~ http://www.dqshrine.com/dq/dq7/
Having a hard time getting immigrants to join your town? ~ http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/psx/file/dragon_warrior_vii_immigrants.txt
Here's a huge walkthrough (also contains more stuff on the shards and other stuff) ~ http://www.dqshrine.com/dq/dq7/dragon_quest_vii.txt

gearhound1
07-29-2003, 11:28 PM
hell yeah

go icarus!!!:cool guy:

Alucard
07-30-2003, 03:37 PM
Very nice! :cool guy:

Btw, how does DQ7 stack up compared to Grandia1? I find that to be the best psx RPG in my opinion.

Icarus4578
07-30-2003, 04:34 PM
You know what's funny about that Alucard? DWVII reminded me of Grandia in a strange way, perhaps because of the soundtrack (which is actually better than Grandia's, BTW). Or it could've been the way Enix treated the 3D in how you can move the camera around. I think if you don't mind 100+ hours of old-school RPGing that doesn't really stray from its play mechanics overall, has a lot of extras to it, and you don't mind the almost 16-bit looking sprites superimposed over semi-32-bit looking polygons, then DWVII will fit the bill (semi meaning not up to par with most other 32-bit RPGs with 3D such as Breath of Fire IV). Grandia is an excellent RPG but the problem (for me) is the soundtrack (or lack thereof). The composer for the Lunar series, Noriyuki Iwadare, made a good opening song, great battle songs, and a couple of other pieces which were ok, but for the most part it's atmospheric stuff or it simply isn't that good. The characters are pretty cool but don't quite match DWVII in my opinion, nor does the story. But Lunar series matches it pretty well. For a shorter quest with a fun and unique battle system, and better 3D graphics, Grandia is the pick. Overall, I'd pick DWVII, but Grandia is still a great RPG.

Icarus4578
08-04-2003, 12:12 PM
Oh! Ho! Ho! It's MAGIC!

The Legend of Zelda ~ Link's Awakening - GameBoy - Rating 10
Yup. You all know it. Here is probably THE single greatest video game ever made specifically for a handheld system. It just doesn't get better. Back when I first went to pick up my copy in 1993 I thought "Hey, this may be pretty fun." After all, Super Mario Bros on GameBoy was good fun but wasn't as good as the original NES Marios. When I actually slipped the teeny-weeny Zelda cart into my trusty GameBoy I NEVER anticipated that I would be the recipient of one of gaming's finest offerings. No way. That just couldn't happen despite the fact that it won Game of the Month in EGM at that time. When I started playing it knew immediately that my GameBoy had just become as important, nay, as relevant as any of the 16-bit home consoles. Well, almost. The library of titles on Genesis and SNES each surpasses the GameBoy despite the gargantuan quantity of titles available for it. That's a given. But from the moment my quest began on Koholint Island till the very end the little GB had become my best friend and companion.
Link's Awakening begins with a small cinema of Link sailing the oceans only to be caught in a squall which decimates his ship wayward towards Hyrule. Shipwrecked and unconscious, Link is washed ashore the beach of a foreign island. He hears Zelda's voice comforting him, "You're going to be all right! What a relief!", but when he awakens Zelda isn't there; in her stead is Marin, a beautiful young girl from Mabe, the village just north of the beach. Link soon finds out about the Wind Fish which supposedly slumbers inside of a giant egg resting on top of the central mountain of Koholint Island. He soon discovers that if he awakens the Wind Fish that all of his problems will be solved. And this is the beginning of his quest...
There is lots to love about Link's Awakening--so much to love--that I cannot accurately convey the deep affection I harbor for this game without the risk of sounding like a dork makes me feel useless and pathetic. The fact that something this small can give me such a large abundance of overwhelming joy is a form of skill and beauty in and of itself. Indelible is the word. This is the third time I've played through this Zelda, and, just like the previous times, was no less amazing. Actually, I should apologize. What should be a review scrutinizing this game's many factors must sound like makeshift praising with a cherry on top.
Let's start with the game structure. If you've played Link to the Past and loved it (as you should) then you'll adore Link's Awakening. If LTTP is the older brother, then LA is his young and gorgeous sister that you want to take out on a date.... or something like that.... Everything looks familiar and plays familiar. The conventional Zelda controls are at the ready. Link can perform practically anything he could do in LTTP, only there's more different things he can do as well such as jump at will (once you obtain Roc's Feather). That's right. Plus, this is the first Zelda to allow Link the opportunity to go fishing. Though obviously not as impressive as in Ocarina of Time, it's still a welcome inclusion. And there are more new items to collect and find uses for, such as the Secret Shells which you'll find a use for later in the game. As for locations, there's Mabe Village which acts as the main resting area for the game, houses scattered about the land where you'll meet different people, hidden caves and obscure areas, eight excellently crafted dungeons, etc. etc. Everything you'd want out of a Zelda game is present. There are absolutely no recognizable faults -- none. Speaking of dungeons, these are among the best ever designed not just in a Zelda game but taking into consideration the entire spectrum of adventure titles as well. How Nintendo comes up with these devious devices of action/puzzle excitement is a mystery. As usual, every dungeon contains a special item/weapon for Link's usage. Included in dungeons are mid-bosses along with the main boss fights (called Nightmares). Every dungeon has its own song, and they're mostly good too! Very impressive! There's even spots in dungeons where Link is put on a 2D plain as in Zelda 2 for NES, but these parts are sparse. As for length, LA lasts as long as any other Zelda. The game length varies depending on how much time you spend exploring. You could easily lose an hour just searching for a specific item and it never becomes an insipid chore, though indeed it can be a chore at times. I should mention that there's a wise owl that appears at random spots to steer you in the right direction as there is in OoT. This game is packed.
Ah, and there is of course the Color Dungeon which can only be found in Zelda ~ Link's Awakening DX which was created specifically for (suprises) GameBoy Color. This dungeon is nothing to get worked up about though. ;)
What a soundtrack! My favorite Zelda soundtrack just might be this one. Some of the best dungeon songs ever to be found are right here. It's so nice to hear such a wonderful soundtrack after suffering through the lackluster Wind Waker. The music gets more attention in LA due to the fact that Link must collect Siren's musical insturments in order to solve the riddle of the Wind Fish. The music is composed by Koji Kondo (of course), Kazumi Totaka, Akito Nakamura, and Minako Hamano. The sound effects all get the job done very well despite such underwhelming sound architecture.
Everything about Link's Awakening rocks and if you own a GameBoy then either you must own this game or you need to take up a new hobby. This is the pinnacle of handheld gaming joy, brought to you by Nintendo. What a suprise. After having played through this again, it only reinforces the fact that Wind Waker was a great game but only an average Zelda game. LA is what I consider a great Zelda game, and a great Zelda game is nothing less than a classic.

Here's a great site with all the dungeon maps and other stuff ~ http://www.tmsword.com/z4/maps.shtml
Here's a useful site which lists a tremendous amount of games/composers ~ http://www.vgmidi.com/html/composers.htm
Here's Zelda Planet website ~ http://www.z64planet.com/zelda4/index.php?page=characters&sid=0
And here's Zelda Universe website ~ http://www.zeldauniverse.net/z4.php?page=z4characters

:cool:

Bad1
08-04-2003, 07:08 PM
I got to agree with you on that one. I was hooked on Link's Awakening for a good 2-3 weeks, before Wind Waker was released.

Black Ace
08-07-2003, 12:18 PM
Originally posted by bad1 81
I got to agree with you on that one. I was hooked on Link's Awakening for a good 2-3 weeks, before Wind Waker was released.

I wonder you tried Capcom's Oracles Zelda, because those bored me to death.

Icarus4578
08-07-2003, 12:19 PM
Ok. So I've updated the reviews for Xenosaga and Kingdom Hearts (more criticism and lower ratings which I feel you'll appreciate). Also, I've corrected a lot of spelling mistakes (though not all), and lowered Slalom's rating from a 6 to a 5 instead. I'm still working on Ultimate Muscle and will put up the review by Saturday, along with another game.

Icarus4578
08-07-2003, 12:21 PM
I played them a little, but never got into them. While I like the concepts employed, the games aren't up to the high standard that Link's Awakening set.

Bad1
08-07-2003, 07:13 PM
Originally posted by Ikaruga
I wonder you tried Capcom's Oracles Zelda, because those bored me to death.
Nah, I haven't. I didn't hear too many good things about them.

I'll be waiting on that reveiw of Ultimate Muscle. I just bought it, been playing the hell out of it for 4 days.

Black Ace
08-08-2003, 01:05 AM
Originally posted by bad1 81
Nah, I haven't. I didn't hear too many good things about them.

I'll be waiting on that reveiw of Ultimate Muscle. I just bought it, been playing the hell out of it for 4 days.

I just sold my GBA, along with it and F-Zero a few weeks back, but I kept my copy of LA .:) I was going to get the SP, but hadn't gotten around to do so. Great thing is they just opened up a new Best Buy where I live, so I'll stopped by there this weekend.

Bad1
08-08-2003, 08:04 PM
Good decision on your part, to keep your copy of LA. Do you got the original version or the DX? I got the original. I heard there was some sort of picture taking side-quest in the DX version. I was wondering if it made the game any better.:)

Black Ace
08-09-2003, 01:16 AM
I got the original as well. It has a thump print stain on it. lol :D

Icarus4578
08-09-2003, 02:57 AM
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Ultimate Muscle ~ Legends vs New Generation - GC - Rating 3
Anybody remember this? ~ http://www.vgmuseum.com/images/nes/01/muscle.html Yeah, me too. Though that game is rather painful to play now, back at that time it was actually pretty cool. Whenever I'd go to *insert any choice game/toy store (Child's World, Toys R' Us, KiddieTown, etc.)* I'd usually buy one of the big containers filled with MUSCLE toys for like, what, $5? They were each about an inch or so in size and it was awesome to collect as many as possible... and I was always losing them (or having them stolen from me :P). Those, Garbage Pale Kids, He-Man, etc. were what kids like me enjoyed collecting. That said, I cannot say I'm familiar with the newer Ultimate Muscle cartoon, but that doesn't matter in the least because this wrestling game is made by Aki, crafters of such games as WCW vs NWO World Tour, WCW vs NWO Revenge, WWF Wrestlemania 2000, and WWF No Mercy, all for N64.
Now for some disappointing news ~ Ultimate Muscle isn't as well done as any of the former titles mentioned. However, it does have some interesting features present. The game is rendered in the cel-shaded look to try and make it look as close to the cartoon as possible and does a respectable job, though I'm personally getting sick of this whole 'cel-shaded' thing. Anyway, this game is packed with much of what made Aki's former wrestling games so great: options galore, the ability to create a wrestler (though a bit limited in scope and depth here), secrets, and of course an enjoyable--to an extent--wrestling system. Speaking of the wrestling, if you've played the N64 titles then you'll notice many similarities and changes. The most noticable control change is the addition of a jump button which allows for jump-attacks and other things such as Kid Muscle's head-scissors takedown (performed by pressing the grapple button in mid-air). Also changed is the grappling itself; you don't get locked into a grapple with your opponent and fight for leverage to perform a move. Instead, you'll execute moves as soon as you've locked up with the opponent, and which move you use depends usually on which direction you're pressing in conjunction with the grappling button. There are counters, chained attacks by rapidly pressing the attack button, a strong attack by holding the attack button, dashing attacks, and more. Notice I said 'more' and not 'much more'. Though there are plenty of moves and maneuvers possible, there's a distinct repetitiveness to how it all works. Characters' moves (of which there are over 20) are all distinct to each wrestler, much like how in a fighting game each fighter performs only their set move list. Problem is (like Aki's other wrestlers), they all play almost exactly alike. You can pull up a moves list by pausing the game at any time. The special meter also returns, but this time it is divided into three sections, like Street Fighter Alphas. There are three types of special moves for you to perform: one bar will allow for a powered-up attack, two a powered-up special move, and at max power, by pressing in both the L and R buttons, you can perform a super special move. These super specials are over-the-top, usually high-flying stuff (and by high-flying I'm talking about moves 50 feet up in the air which will come crashing down to the mat). And if you're in a tag match, there's even super special combinations, some of which can only be performed by certain character combinations. Nice! If you don't want to sit through one of these cinematics you can simply skip past them. Yet another thing added is the items which randomly get thrown into the ring, such as ramen noodles which will restore some health, bombs which will obviously take health, etc. There's a bit more, but you get the general idea. This is fast-paced, arcade-ish gameplay which always keeps you on your toes.
The graphics are nice if a bit lacking in color (most of it is brown, grey, black, etc.) and the animation is usually great except for some framiness during special moves. Huh? GC should be able to easily rectify this situation but Aki probably rushed things a bit. No matter. The move list is small so get used to seeing many of the same moves over and over again... another negative. In Story Mode, the characters converse before each match (voice acting intact) and during these short scenes you are given options of which character you'd like to face next, along with a partner who'll stand in your corner. My complaint is that you only go through about five matches per character before it ends, and that's it. If you're one of the default characters then the last match will be against a hidden wrestler who you can open up after you've defeated him. For a complete listing of hidden characters and how to access them, go here ~ http://www.gamespot.com/gamecube/sports/ultimatemusclelegendsvng/hint_6063812.html Also, as you gain victories, you'll gain KIN medals to be spent in the Toy Shop where you can purchase MUSCLE toys, many of which came out a long time ago (some of which, I'll presume, only came out in Japan). This isn't just for asthetics; each toy comes included with info, and there are certain characters that only open up after you've collected a certain amount of toys.
So overall, Ultimate Muscle is a somewhat fun wrestling game with lots of extras to hold your interest for a good while. Problem is, once you've exhausted its features there really isn't much left to it. The gameplay is enjoyable up to a point, and then it becomes monotonous at best. But I'll bet that ten years from now you won't be as offended to pull this one out of your closet as you would the M.U.S.C.L.E. game for the NES. (BARF :irked: )

Bad1
08-09-2003, 05:42 PM
Wow, you described 3 of my favorite childhood activeties! Your reveiw seemed right on. I probably would have given it 6.5 or 7. I really wish the create-a-player was more in-depth. But, hey the M.U.S.C.L.E. Leauge is already freaky enough.;)

Icarus4578
08-12-2003, 12:03 PM
Bury my shell at wounded knee

TMNT ~ Turtles in Time - SNES - Rating 6
This is the sequel to the original 4-player TMNT arcade game, and by the time this was released beat-'em-ups had reached their peak in popularity. Not only that, but fighting games were taking over the arcades. So Konami brought this game home along with many other stellar arcade-to-home conversions such as the mighty Sunset Riders. What beat the satisfaction, the luxury of playing your favorite arcade games at home, 80-90% intact? Takara was the king of SNK fighting game conversions, Capcom was the master of arcades (for awhile) with Street Fighter, and Konami was just Konami, which means 'just awesome', besides the fact that they never brought home the Simpsons arcade game.
Nothing was as important to me as my library of games (and library of game books/magazines :cool: ). Toys, cards, cartoons, food... all great, great things, but unnecessary. After all, who needs to eat dinner when they're fighting Golbez near the end of Final Fantasy II, searching for the 96th stage in Super Mario World, or trying to find the final piece of heart in Zelda? Nobody. I'd often stare at my library of games, thinking to myself "Hmmm, shall I take UN Squadron for another spin? Or, perhaps I should play through Bonk again. Hey! Is that Goonies II over there in the corner beneath my Boyz II Men CD?" Just kidding about the Boyz II Men CD. :D So, what does any of this have to do with Konami and TMNT? Beats me.
Konami's sequel to the original TMNT arcade is actually pretty fun and shows off just how fond Konami is of groovy shell-kicking beat-'em-up action. They also made the TMNT Tournament Fighters game for SNES (and one for the Genesis which shall remain unnamed here so as not to remind myself of Konami's sin). Turtles in Time (or TIT for short :dunno: ) plays and looks very similar to its predecessor. The Turtles, Foot Clan, and the rest are a bit bigger and more colorful than before, and the backgrounds look a bit better. You begin by selecting a Turtle (Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Raphael), and you watch April reporting the news when all of a sudden the Statue of Liberty get stolen by Super Krang! Shredder intercepts the TV signal and laughs at the Turtles. And so it's off you go!
First things first, for those of you who've played through the arcade of TIT in its entirety, you should notice all the added stuff to the SNES version, such as new bosses and even a new stage! And of course, all the added options such as difficulty, control set-up, and sound tests. So the SNES version is superior to the arcade. Take that. The SNES conversion isn't 4-player though. Play controls are what you'd expect: one button attacks, another jumps, and you can either combine the buttons to perform a special attack, or, set the controls in the options to allow for one-button specials. Each time you use a special move on the enemies it takes some of your health, and you do have a limited number of continues. Each Turtle has a unique set of attacks, but Donatello is easily the most useful because of his bow which provides him with long-ranged attacks and priority. You can grab and slam enemies, throw them into the screen, and perform a sliding attack as well. As you move through stages showing the Foot Clan and whatever else that gets in your way who's their daddy, you'll come across two types of pizzas - one which restores health, and another which apparently contains 'Turtle Power', sending you off in a frenzied special attack which lasts a few seconds. The stages are varied and cool to look at, but the enemies can become a bit repetitious after the hundreth Foot Clan soldier. There are various types of Foot Clan soldier, such as the standard Foot Clan, the archer Foot Clan, etc. and there are other enemies and hazardous obstacles. The stages begin with the standard stuff, such as on top of a building and on the streets, and about 1/3rd of the way into the game the Turtles get caught in a time warp which sends them to different locations in different time settings such as a train in the wild west, on a pirate ship, and a prehistoric area. This feature of the game just seems like an excuse for Konami to use such outrageous scenery and I don't even know why they bothered because, aside from asthetics, the stages themselves are almost always played out the same way (kill 20 Foot Clan soldiers, move forward, etc.). It wouldn't have hurt to have added some other enemies, would it? On the train, you'll come across Foot Clan riding on horses beside the train. They'll jump aboard, you'll decimate them just like every other soldier, and that's that. The most variety you get is in the hazard department. On the pirate ship, there's planks which you have to be careful not to step on because they'll swing up and whack you in the face. On top of the building on the first stage, there's huge steel balls which crash down. And in the sewers, there's spiked balls you have to avoid while riding on your hoverboard. My complaint is that, aside from the Foot Clan, the robotic dogs, and a few others, that's it. Bosses are cool, like Bebop and Rocksteady, the Rat King, Baxter, etc. and there's most of the game's funfactor.
The music is pretty good and some songs are very cool, such as some of the Technodrome songs, and the best one is the hoverboard stage near the end. The sounds are almost always top-quality, and there are voices as well though some of these seem a bit muffled, such as Shredder's laugh.
This being the fourth installment in the beat-'em-up lineage of TMNT games, I expected a bit more than a cosmetic upgrade. But nevertheless, this game remains pretty fun to go through once again. It just lacks variety and replay value. This is suprising, given the track record of Konami up to that point in time. As Kurt Russell said, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Here's screenshots ~ http://http://www.n-philes.com/php/epkepyaypvulauufyfy.php

Let's kick shell!

Drunken Savior
08-12-2003, 04:10 PM
Could you elaborate on the lack of replay value for TIT? I thought all quarter munching beat-em-ups had virtually identical replay value?

Also, aren't those pics emulation photos? I don't recall the game being that blocky.

Icarus4578
08-13-2003, 09:59 AM
I don't know where they grabbed those shots from, so I double-checked the web for better screens and found a better site, so I switched the link. As for replay value, the difference between TMNT and others is that there isn't much variety in terms of what you have to destroy (not that all the others are necessarily much better). It's mostly just Foot Clan. That was the problem with a lot of the arcade beat-'em-ups. In contrast, a game like River City Ransom decimates TMNT and the like. There's several gangs roaming around, each with its own members, and there's a lot of personality to it, as well as RPG-like structure. Furthermore, for only using two buttons, you could do a whole lot more than any other beat-'em-up that I can think of. There's books you can buy which teach new techniques, and all the weapons and stuff like garbage cans, tire wheels, etc. could be used in many ways. Even the enemies themselves could be used as a weapon! Plus, all the food you eat, clothes you wear, etc. actually affect your character's stats. That's pretty darn impressive. So you tell me ~ how come an old NES game by Technos offers so much more variety than a Konami arcade? And don't tell me it's because the arcade game has to be shorter; there's still no reason why Konami couldn't have added more enemies and such to the game. They had no problem doing it with the Simpsons arcade.

Black Ace
08-16-2003, 04:20 AM
Icarus123456789 did you reviewed Super Mario 64?

Icarus4578
08-16-2003, 04:22 AM
No, but i'm going to eventually. I'm doing a review right now, and it's gonna rock!

Icarus4578
08-16-2003, 05:33 AM
Mega-goodness!

Mega Man - NES - Rating 7
Instead of the more conventional review formula I use, I've decided to share with you one of my fondest first experiences in gaming, courtesy of Capcom. everybody knows this series by now, so I can skip the routine gameplay explanations and give this 'review' better substance.
My first game rental was none other than Mega Man. It had been out for a few months and after seeing it and reading about how well it controlled in my game magazines I just knew this would be worth it. Indeed, it certainly was. I must've read the back of the game box about 3 times before getting back home. Tremendous gaming joy awaited me for certain!
The gaming bliss that stared back at me from the TV screen was nothing short of spectacular upon first viewing. Everything was filled with a personality, a charm easily distinguishable from every other game. The ability to select the boss/stage from the outset was prodigious, and the character designs were the coolest. It played like a dream. Everything came together with the desirable purpose of provoking (and maintaining) sheer fascination. It didn't just look and play great either; the mellifluous, splendid music was in proper form, and thus everything came together to establish a new breed--or style, if you will--of game. How purposeful was Mega Man? I did something that I would only do in the most important circumstances; I stayed home from school just to play it. That's the kind of game Mega Man is. It replaced my normal life with its unerring formula for greatness and, needless to say, not many games are capable of performing such a feat. So there I was, snowbound in my house, bound in my bedroom to complete the task I had placed before myself. But something was amiss -- victory repeatedly dodged me... I couldn't beat the game! I considered myself a good gamer back then, and so when I'd lose the result was often me crying, throwing a temper tantrum out of bitter frustration. Mega Man located an inner frailty, exposed it, and proceeded to maltreat it. The result was unexpected and left me loggerheaded for quite some time. It wasn't until a month or so later when I bought the game that I conquered it. Mega Man did something special; it not only provided me with one of the best first times with a game but also cured me of feigned egocentricity. I never cried again out of frustration for my failiures again, except for in Zelda II when I made it to the last boss, figured his pattern out after I had lost almost all of my life, and got soundly defeated. I learned that it is in our mistakes that we can find most of our best accomplishments, and that defeat is self-defeating. :)
Truly a classic, Mega Man is a game you truly cherish. It has been bettered by many of its successors (and other action titles), therefore it gets a 7. But back then it was a 10 all the way.

Here's every boss from Mega Man series ~ http://www.mechanicalmaniacs.netfirms.com/sinistersix/cds.html
Excellent Mega Man site! ~ http://www.geocities.com/chuyaa/megamm1.html
"How do I defeat ____man?" Find out ~ http://www.geocities.com/rabbi-tucker/megaman/ref.html
Good site about the original Mega Man ~ http://megamanskylagoon.net/games/Gmm1.htm
An 'icons page'? Go check it out ~ http://rodimusconvoy.com/icons.htm
Within the icons page is this ~ http://rodimusconvoy.com/icon/previews/megaman.gif
Useful site ~ http://www.gamescreenshots.com/

You're beautiful! Catch you on the flip-side! :cool:

Nindalf
08-16-2003, 09:08 AM
If SM64 wont get atleast 9, im going to jump through this screen and strangle you with your mouse wire. :sing:

BTW, you reviewed any Pokemon games? Whats your take on them?

Bad1
08-16-2003, 06:39 PM
What if he has a wireless mouse, like me.;) You should really have a back-up plan.

Icarus4578
08-16-2003, 11:43 PM
Wireless mouse? Nope. Don't have one of those.

I've never reviewed any Pokemon games... and I doubt I will anytime soon. I don't like them. They are just a convenient way for Nintendo to make fast money. Call me again when they come up with something interesting.

Icarus4578
08-17-2003, 01:21 AM
It'sa me! Malio!

Super Mario 64 - N64 - Rating 6
Now here's a game that was clearly ahead of its time. Although Nintendo didn't invent the 3D platformer, they certainly did set the standard. I was but one of the millions of people who sat entranced for hours on end with this game, exploring the small but (then) wonderful worlds which Mario64 singularly offered. And I wouldn't stop until I had collected all 120 stars, seen all there is to be seen, and do everything that could be done.
Unfortunately, time hasn't been so friendly to our favorite plumber. This game strongly relies on its presentation/atmosphere to maintain much of the gamer's interest (the graphics, and exploring the environments). Therefore, as time naturally omitted the wow factor from relevance, the gameplay stood out even more because the graphics can no longer disguise any lack of ingenuity. But of course, to say Mario64's gameplay lacks ingenuity is just downright STUPID. Sadly, the plethora of exposure has helped transform what once was an incredible game into one which is benumbed; underwhelming. Fortunately I'm still capable of recognizing the fact that what this game does, it does very well. And it does quite a lot.
Mario64 is 64-MEGS of Toadstool-hopping, Koopa-bopping, star searching fun. Yeah, that's right, Bowser has put Peach's castle under his spell. Originally, Mario was on his way to her castle because she had baked him a cake (go figure), but oh no. Big Bad Bowser just had to go and ruin things so that we can play another Mario title. In order to defeat Bowser, Mario must first collect stars so that he may proceed further into the castle. Mario64 consists of 15 worlds including Big Boo's Haunt, Wet-Dry World, Cool, Cool Mountain, etc. and each one has 7 stars, and there are many others hidden around in the castle, the courtyard, the secret areas, and so forth. The object is simple enough: collect stars so that you may proceed further into Princess Peach's castle. Searching for the stars is at the heart of the gameplay. Some of them are easy to find, some of them are downright obscure and deservedly difficult to procure. Now here's the thing -- during the first several worlds the game is pretty darn fun, but I feel that the last several worlds lack the fun-factor of the previous ones because they're not half as interesting to explore. Then again, can I fault Nintendo for doing what they always do in every Mario? In this case yes because simply seeking out stars in worlds like Tick Tock Clock is rather complacent, seemingly without any real objective other than simply collecting them for the hell of it. Put simply, most of the stars in the early worlds rely on missions and searching, while the stars in the later stages are more a matter of gameplay performance and stunts. Of course, there are lots of other things to do other than collect stars (although much of what you're doing is ultimately for the purpose of collecting them). For example, in Cool, Cool Mountain there is a mother penguin looking for her baby. So you need to find and bring the baby back to her. That's just one of many objectives you must face.
Mario64 controls rather excellently. Using the analog stick, Mario can tip-toe, walk, and run. He can crouch and from that position lay down and crawl. Naturally, he can jump, double-jump, triple-jump, jump off of walls, climb, hang on ledges, pound the ground, perform a punch-punch-kick combo, slide, back-flip, lift and throw objects, and much more. And you'll need to learn how to do everything--and everything well--if you want to obtain all the stars. The camera system in Mario64, although more refined in the 3D Zelda games, is still quite good. Lakitu is Mario's personal cameraman. Using the C buttons, you can make Lakitu (the camera) zoom in and out, turn, and come all the way in for a first-person view in which you can look in any direction. You can also transform Mario into Metal Mario which you'll find many uses for, like walking on the seabed and such. And then there's the new winged cap which allows Mario to fly! That's by far my favorite feature in the game, and so naturally it is the most underdeveloped, under-utilized as well... :( You have to find cannons to fire Mario out of, and using these (or performing a triple-jump) send Mario flying, as long as he's wearing the winged cap. There are some blatantly obvious faults to this game. There's a noticeable lack of enemies, and the ones present aren't really fun to fight at all. Also, while the Bowser stages are awesome and challenging, Bowser himself is a stupid boss... a stupid boss you'll have to face three times. Sometimes, the camera can be a pain because of some wall or what-have-you obstructing Lakitu's movement. I really like that name, "Lakitu", don't you? :)
The music is typical Mario fanfare and done quite well. Koji Kondo takes advantage of a new feature ~ the ability to add/remove from the sonic palette while the music is playing. Depending on where Mario is in certain locations, a song arrangement changes. For example, in Jolly Roger Bay, the song changes when Mario enters the water by adding another layer, or track if you will. Interesting, but not used nearly enough to stand out. Anyway, the N64 doesn't really sound much different than the SNES; the sounds are more dry and lack the shine of the SNES sound chip (created by none other than Sony :P), so overall it's not really improved in my opinion. Mario's voices and all the sound effects are done just right though. "YAHOO!"
Well, that about wraps this review up. I loved it when it first was released, and still enjoy it today but to a much more limited extent. Collecting all 120 stars earns you a new message in the ending, and Yoshi will appear on top of the castle (he will give you 100 lives... like it really matters now that you've already done everything...). I did collect them all, and I'm glad I did because I don't think I want to do it again. Least, not until about a decade passes and I pull this out of the closet to relive old nostalgia.

Here's every star location (with screenshots and easy to use navigation) ~ http://www.sca.ch/mario/mariotop.htm

Nindalf
08-17-2003, 10:29 AM
*Jumps throught the screen, strangles Icarus 28216 with mouse wire and shoves the mouse sideways up his throath*

Icarus4578
08-17-2003, 11:55 AM
HAHAHAHA!!!! That's great! But listen to me, with other games far improved over Mario64 (Zelda ~ OoT for starters), and better games in general with more lasting value (Yoshi's Island for one, which I gave a perfect 10), why should I give this game super-high ratings when it doesn't offer the same rewarding experience as when I first played it? Then again, these are my ratings so of course we'll not always see eye-to-eye.

Kojiro Hyuga
08-17-2003, 12:22 PM
I consider Mario 64 the best game I've ever played: Not by nostalgia, but because of all important factors that matter in a great videogame- and we all know what that is.

And, Icarus, I don't agree of you comparing Zelda Oot To Mario. Two completely different type of games.

Keep up with those reviews, tough. Its good to read reviews with actuall "personal" input on them.

Joe Redifer
08-17-2003, 08:22 PM
Hey Icarus(insert random numbers here),

You should review the game systems themselves. Not the current ones, but the ones that are no longer supported by their companies. There are some fantastic systems out there. I'd love to see what you'd have to say about the Jaguar and 3DO. I doubt you ever used these. So you'll just have to go out and buy them.

Icarus4578
08-17-2003, 09:20 PM
Kojiro Hyuga, I compared Zelda to Mario just because I wanted to. What does it matter? They both present a living 3D world to the gamer, they both are by Nintendo on the same system, and they're both considered standards. I feel that Zelda64 (as it was originally called) is a far superior game. And that, while Mario64 may have set standards in 3D platform gaming, in comparison to everything as a whole it's nowhere near the best gaming has to offer. I've had much better experiences than Mario64, and longer lasting too. If you ask me, Super Mario World is a better game than Mario64. Then again, that's just me. If Nintendo could make a 3D Mario as enthralling as those 2D classics then I would give it a much higher rating. Think about it - Mario64's worlds are rather small, but the stages in games like Mario 3 and Yoshi's Island are massive in comparison. Although you can do more physically with Mario than in any other Mario title, that doesn't immediately make it a great game.

Joe Redifer, the only game I played on one of those systems was Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo on 3DO which I didn't really have much time with, but I remember not liking the controller. If I ever play anything through on those systems (doubtful), then I'll put up a review. But it's not looking good....

Joe Redifer
08-17-2003, 09:30 PM
Well then, you can always waste our time with reviews of:

NES (original and new model, if you've used it)
SNES (original and new model)
Virtual Boy (oooooo!)
GameBoy (all incarnations)
Nintendo 64

Sega Master System (and SMS2 if you've used it)
Game Gear
Genesis (Genesis 2 and 3, Nomad, etc)
Saturn
32X
Sega CD (along with Sega CD2 and maybe CDX)
Dreamcast

Playstation
CD-i
Amiga CD32
SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color (was there a B&W version or something)?

We all like our time wasted, so please consider it. I'd like to see reviews of the real systems, not emulators. If I were to review the Sega Master System, for instance, I'd be upset that the pause button was on the system itself and not the controller. Someone reviewing an emulator would totally miss that. Of course the games on the system, the system specs and programming and general quality would go into the review as well (like what did you think of the sound capabilities?)

Icarus4578
08-18-2003, 09:53 AM
I'm not going to review a game system, period. I don't play systems; I play games. (except, of course, for a system like Sega Master System which has a maze game built into the hardware itself. Ditto for Vectrex with its shooting game.) Systems cannot determine how good the software will be on it.

Icarus4578
08-19-2003, 12:35 PM
Golden oldie

Golden Axe - Genesis - Rating 5
Yesterday, I rummaged through my Genesis library and was delighted by some of the games I found. I fired up such gems as the tour-de-force Alisia Dragoon, partook of the deliciously charming Castle of Illusion, and my passion for RPGing was victim yet again to the enchantment of Shining in the Darkness, to name but a few. Ah, but time was not an affordable commodity, so I had to select something that I knew I could run through in a short breath. I selected the Sega classic Golden Axe.
Whenever I'd go to Dairy Queen to devour the obligatory chili-cheese dogs I would always take a few minutes time to play one of the arcades, which would change from time to time. One of my favorites was--suprise--Golden Axe. This hack n' slash side-scrolling beat-'em-up was super fun to play and challenging to boot. So naturally when it was released for home-play on the Genesis I just had to snatch my copy. I must've played through this game at least a dozen times. The objective is simple: take back the Golden Axe from Death-Adder, save the king and queen, and restore peace. Amazing story, yeah? I'm sure H.P. Lovecraft is shaking with proliferated fear wherever he may be.
But that matters not to a guy like myself because I'm gonna kick the living crap out of some medieval baddies cuz I'm LARGE AND IN CHARGE! So you select one of three different characters: a dwarf (literally a midget since his body is still all in proportion to its size, but let's disregard logic, ok?) with an axe whose powerful and has good defense, a female warrior with a sword whose agile and can hold a lot of magic but is the weakest of the three characters, and the typical male warrior wielding a sword who is well-rounded at everything. The game is set up like your standard beat-'em-up, except with magic and weapons. Each character has a health and magic meter and can perform stringed combos (of which there are two, generally speaking), special attacks, jump attacks, dash attacks (very useful), grab and throw enemies, ride atop large creatures like dragons which can spew fire at your foes but cannot fly, and some strange-looking lizard/dinosaur creature with a massive tail which you can use to whip at enemies, and then there's the magic which is individual to each character + amount allocated. As you progress through the stages you'll come across these midget thieves that you can strike and take items from, such as meat which replenishes health and the magic bottles for your magic meter. Your character has several levels of magic power and each level produces a different level of magic attack. The main warrior can use earth-based magic, the female fire, and the dwarf lightning. Store your magic up for when you need it most, usually when you're in a big mess with the enemies surrounding you and/or against bosses.
The graphics are passable for such a dated game. The colors are mostly dark and dirty, with stages varying in length, height, and geographical features such as caves, towns, mountains, castles, etc. and even on top of a large bird. You get the idea. Stages have small cut-scenes in-between showing where you currently are located, and sometimes, when you're resting by your campfire waiting for the night to pass you'll be ambushed by thieves whom'll try to steal your magic but it is far easier to get it all back and then some, so you never feel threatened. The enemies range from skeletons of assorted colors, to orcs, giants wielding large hammers, massive armored soldiers with matching swords, enemies riding on top of the beasts you can ride, and so on. Like I said, it looks good for what it is, but it's far from the best the Genesis has to offer graphically. Who cares? Not me.
The music is typical fanfare, with nothing really standing out. I don't think Sega really cared because the arcades are generally a noisy place, so attention to detail aurally wouldn't have mattered much. The sound effects are kinda lousy even for a Genesis, but that's not really important.
Golden Axe is a pretty fun game eight stages long. Though there are certainly better hack n' slash beat-'em-ups out there like Capcom's Knights of the Round, this is the original and so its place in gaming history has been reserved. There's difficulty adjustments and more possible in the options screen and I recommend playing it on the hardest difficulty so that you'll die for certain and therefore extend its longevity (it's not a long game at about 30-45 minutes). Continues are limited, so if you want it you'll have to earn it. If you've got the time, take it for another spin. I recommend it. BTW, there's also the two sequels; the direct sequel is great, but the third is a horrible game at best so steer clear of that turd. And, there's Golden Axe ~ The Duel, a one-on-one fighting game for the Saturn. I haven't played that one in awhile, but from what I recall it isn't that good.

Just for you ~ http://www.classicgaming.com/goldenaxe/Games/Home/genpics.htm

Later :cool:

gearhound1
08-19-2003, 11:20 PM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
I'm not going to review a game system, period. I don't play systems; I play games. (except, of course, for a system like Sega Master System which has a maze game built into the hardware itself. Ditto for Vectrex with its shooting game.) Systems cannot determine how good the software will be on it.

no, but you can review game systems based on their respective games:)

Joe Redifer
08-20-2003, 07:29 PM
That's what I was trying to say. Only systems that have ceased production. For example you can't review the Xbox and give it a 3/10 because an outstanding game(s) might come out for it bringing that review way up.

And yes, you do play systems. What do you think of the controllers? The sound? The graphics? The overall ability to handle the games you like to play? The amount of good games vs poor games available, the way it was handled by the company, peripherals, loading time etc. Magazines review systems (usually when they're still in production, though).

Icarus4578
08-21-2003, 10:03 AM
I'll do two system reviews to the best of my ability, but i'm going to have to use a different rating system altogether. I'll do them tommorrow or Saturday. Be warned; these won't be short reviews.

Drunken Savior
08-21-2003, 10:31 AM
Just a suggestion, you should only review systems that are "retired." Meaning, you should only review systems where more than 10 games have been released within the last year. Just a suggestion.

SpaceManSpiff
08-21-2003, 11:00 AM
Originally posted by Drunken Savior
Just a suggestion, you should only review systems that are "retired." Meaning, you should only review systems where more than 10 games have been released within the last year. Just a suggestion.

Dont you mean less than 10?

I suggest reviewing n64 and ps1. or whatever, it doesnt matter.:cool guy:

Drunken Savior
08-21-2003, 11:29 AM
Err...right. Less than 10. It's early....:)

Joe Redifer
08-21-2003, 06:23 PM
Originally posted by Icarus4578
Be warned; these won't be short reviews.
Cool! :D