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Old 01-15-2003, 07:15 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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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). 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 ~

Last edited by Icarus4578; 04-04-2005 at 10:29 AM.
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