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Old 09-27-2005, 06:09 AM   #736
Joe Redifer
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Spikeout Battlestreet
6/10
Xbox


I guess this game is kind of rare.

Everyone wanted another Streets of Rage game, maybe even in 3D. Sega was not so sure. Ancient Corp of Japan even programmed a 3D Streets of Rage demo to show to Sega, and it was working on the Dreamcast. Sega said "No way, fools!" Instead we got nothing until now. An arcade beat-em-up called Spikeout Battlestreet emerged made by Sega themselves, and it is now on the Xbox and it is a fairly rare game. Made by the same people behind Super Monkeyball and F-Zero GX for the Gamecube, we finally get a 3D arcade style beat-em-up.


Those pink pants aren't doing my manliness much good.
I must overcompensate by beating the city to a pulp!


Graphics: 7/10
The graphics are surprisingly good. The pictures I had seen of this game online left much to be desired in just about every area. Well looking at it on my TV it's pretty cool lookin'. The textures are fairly detailed, at least for the backgrounds anyway. The characters themselves look alright, nothing insanely detailed. Everything is bright and very sharp. Progressive scan is obviously supported since this is an Xbox game, and true 16:9 is supported since this was a game made by Sega proper. No stretched HUDs or menus. If I have one beef with this game it is the way each and every single character runs. It looks exactly like they have a corn cob stuck up their ass and couldn't get it out. Pretty funny stuff. Everything moves at 60fps... I counted on my fingers and toes.


I don't have a witty comment for this lame picture.

Sound: 5/10
Certainly not too much can be considered special in this category. The cut-scenes in the story mode sound cool with well-mixed Dolby Digital 5.1. The game itself sounds kind of weak. There are surround effects here and there, but nothing outstanding. Shinji Horseshoe composed a rather bland musical track to this one. All I can remember are light drum beats and lots of repetition. The offscreen narrator which lends many intelligent and insightful comments based on your actions like "Cool", "Bingo", and "Here comes the boss" sounds like the narrator guy from Mortal Kombat, which automatically makes me not like him. There really isn't much else I can say about the sound... average.


The game politely lets you know when a boss is coming since
they really don't stand out too much from the regular enemies.


Gameplay: 6/10
Well, it's a beat-em-up translated from an arcade game. First off, don't get your hopes up for another Streets of Rage, because the control and gameplay are nowhere near as good as that. You have your basic punches, kicks, and holds, plus you have a charge attack which does lots of damage but you rarely have the time to use it because you get attacked while you are charging. You can pick things up off of the ground, but I found that it was really hard to pick things up! Every time I tried I used up a special attack (of which you can also collect) or started charging my meter. If you manage to actually pick something up, you drop it the first time you are touched by an enemy. So basically I just ignore everything on the ground. There are 4 fairly long stages each broken up into about 5 areas. If you are playing in the story mode, prepare for frustration as you only have one life. Oy! You will die many times. Yes, more than 3 or 4. But there is another game mode which offers unlimited continues, but then it doesn't let you see the story scenes. Who cares about the story, anyway? Not I. The game progresses pretty much seamlessly through each stage, stopping for several seconds to load the next area now and again. There are online modes and a LAN mode and crap like that, but who cares? Yes, it gets really repetitive just like Streets of Rage with many duplicate enemies and whatnot. I am getting bored writing this review. It ends now.


If you can pick it up, this barricade does some nice damage.

Wrap up:
Once you play through it once, there is never a reason to power up the game again. Sure you can unlock lots of characters and stuff, but who cares?
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Old 09-27-2005, 06:09 AM   #737
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Urban Reign
8/10
Playstation 2


This game is Namco's take on America.

Urban Reign is a game I would have passed by without so much as a thought due to its typical "street" style graphics and that whole attitude in it. If you had shown me a picture of the game, I'd have probably said that the game was most likely a Grand Theft Auto rip off or something along those lines. But then I heard it was a beat-em-up style game, like Streets of Rage and Spikeout. That got my attention. I'm glad I took a second look. I'll mostly be comparing this game to Spikeout which is reviewed above.


You lost a quarter in the pinball machine and now somebody must PAY!

Graphics: 9/10
Despite being ridiculously dark (brightened for the benefit of the pictures here), the graphics comes off as extremely good, especially for the PS2. Hell, they're good for ANY system, and the graphics are far better than Spikeout for the Xbox. The animation is what really sets this game apart, as everything performed looks like a real human is doing it with regard to the physics and all of that crap. Not only that, but we're given both 16:9 and 480p which is pretty rare for a PS2 game, and it all runs great. Another thing that is great is that in 16:9 mode there are no stretched HUDs or menus or anything half-assed like that. It's all true, perfect widecreen. Since it is so dark it doesn't look quite as sharp as Spikeout, but I still think that anyone in their right mind would find the graphics much more enjoyable in this game. There is also much more variety in the characters and textures.


Here Grimm rudely shoves you into the tables.

Sound: 7/10
You've got your typical voiceovers of people trying to sound tough. Surprisingly there isn't much in the way of profanity. A lot of losers won't buy this game since it doesn't have profanity or ass-raping of hookers. Sure, there are some "not suitable for children under 7" words like "ballsy", "cajones", "hell", "damn" and the like, but this game relies on gameplay instead of shock value to make it good. The music is pretty good, but doesn't seem to have much in the way of variety. There is a very Akira Yamoaka-ish sounding guitar that you hear alot, and you think your next stop will be in the town of Silent Hill, but no. Hell I'm just happy that there isn't a rap soundtrack and instead they opted for actual music!


Here Grimm apologizes for shoving you into the tables earlier.

Gameplay: 8/10
The gameplay takes a slightly different turn on the typical beat-em-up genre, and for the better I think. Instead of throwing you into a stage and having you beat your way to the end through hundreds of enemies, it puts you into what I like to call "micro missions" with just a few enemies you need to defeat in a rather small area. This can be a barroom, a parking lot, an alley, or some other nonsense like that. Beat up all the guys there and it's time for the next mission (of which there are tons and tons). You can upgrade your character's abilities between missions and you learn new moves automatically as well. The control works pretty well with your basic strike and evade, but you can also run up walls and land on multiple enemies with your feet which is REALLY cool. There are times when the control does seem a bit unresponsive and you simply have to sit there and wait until your enemy finishes beating you. Due to the micro missions the game doesn't suffer from the extreme repetition that games like Spikeout and Streets of Rage do. And unlike Spikeout it is easy to pick up and use items! The RUN button takes a bit to get used to. You would assume that you just hold it down and press the direction you want to run in and let go when you are done running. If you thought that then you would be extremely wrong just like you always are 100% of the time. So actually I'm not surprised you thought that. You always think wrong things. You really should try harder to be a better human being. Anyway the run button basically acts as an ON/OFF button. Press it once and you'll be running until you press it again to stop. Kind of quirky but easy to get used 2 if u be extremely bright like I is.


Put down the controller for now. There's nothing you can do until
your face is finished being bashed in by this guy.


Wrap up:
Urban Reign is not made by Rockstar or any of those lame companies who make all of those crime games. It is made by Japanese developer Namco, so that alone should be enough to warrant a second look. It's why I took a second look, and I'm really glad I did. Definitely the best beat-em-up of this generation.

Last edited by Joe Redifer; 09-27-2005 at 06:33 AM.
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Old 09-27-2005, 06:30 AM   #738
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Thanks for the interesting comparison, Joe.

I would have ignored Urban Reign just on the title itself. I also didn?t expect much from a 3D beat-em up game.
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Old 09-27-2005, 08:55 AM   #739
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I had heard from my bro that Spikeout for Xbox was pretty tame. He returned it the day after he bought it. Urban Reign looks jazzy, but I'm waiting for Streets of Rage 4 to reignite my interest in the beat-'em-up genre. I don't trust Capcom with the new 3D Final Fight. Hey, I wouldn't mind being proven wrong.
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Old 09-27-2005, 10:06 PM   #740
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I should like to try Urban Reign. Will you let me try it Joe Refidered?
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Old 09-27-2005, 10:54 PM   #741
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Yes, I would like to watch you get your ass whooped (though it may take awhile because the first part of the game is generally easy).
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Old 09-28-2005, 03:01 AM   #742
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You two crack me up sometimes. Good review-duo.
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Old 09-28-2005, 02:30 PM   #743
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I'll put the difficulty on normal and not easy.

Atari, I've known Joe Red WAY too long for my own good.
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Old 09-28-2005, 06:11 PM   #744
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Put it on HARD. I dare you to try and make it through all 100 missions (trying to remember if there is even a difficulty select or not. Can't remember).
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Old 09-28-2005, 07:22 PM   #745
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Shinrei Jusatsushi Taromaru (Psychic Killers)
6/10
Sega Saturn


This was made by Time Warner Interactive and is a
Japan-only game. I thought TWI was a US company.


First off I'll be referring to this game simply as "Psychic Killers" in this review. If this is something you don't think you'll be able to handle, then I suggest you invent a time machine, go back in time before you were born and suggest to your soon-to-be parents that they quickly get an abortion. Now that that's settled, this game is extremely rare. I've heard that there were less than 10,000 copies made or something like that. Regardless, it usually fetches upwards of $300 on places like eBay. Is it worth that much? Hell no. But if you are a collector (an X-TReMe collector) then you simply must have it. So what will you get for your $300+? Let's find out:


This game could have been so much better if, well, it was better.

Graphics: 8/10
This is 2D goodness. Dark goodness, that is. You will find no bright or happy colors in Psychic Killers. There are tons upon tons of layers in the scrolling, with a polygon 3D layer on top of that most of the time. There are transparencies (which many complete losers say are impossible on the Saturn) and lots of other crap like that. It really is pretty impressive to watch in motion, especially for a game back in the day. It's nowhere near as good looking as Astal, but it sure is nice. One thing that's not so great is the size of the main characters. They are smaller than some 16-bit sprites. And sometimes the screen zooms waaaay out and you are just 4 or 8 pixels high. Nonetheless it is a cool game to show off the Saturn's macabre graphics abilities, and the various demons, skeletons and ghouls in this game are drawn awesomely!


Scenes like this are awesome, with the skeleton destroying the town back there.
Can you see the player? Look on the back of the ship, on the left.


Sound: 6/10
There really isn't much to the sound. You get some stereo effects depending on what side of the screen you are on when you shoot, but the sounds themselves are really ordinary. The music all has a feudal Japan feel with some tribal overtones. It definitely gets better as the game goes on. I love the music when fighting on the rooftop near the end. But there's nothing else to talk about concerning any sounds that this game makes the Saturn produce.


For some incredibly stupid reason which I simply cannot comprehend,
you turn into a log when you die for a few seconds. A freakin' log!
I think another A-bomb just might be necessary. What the hell?


Gameplay: 6/10
The closest game this resembles in play mechanics is probably that one game. You know... it was on the Genesis. No, not that one, the other one. Yeah, that one. Thanks, I was drawing a blank. Anyway this game is perhaps even a bit more quirky than Alisia Dragoon (which I barely remember). You can't shoot unless your target is locked on to something, and it has a limited reach. There can be times when tons of enemies are on the screen and your target keeps moving to something else instead of where you want it. You can change targets by pressing either the L or the R buttons, but it is kind of a pain. You can hold down the shot button to charge up your attack, but the effect is minimal. I highly recommend button mashing your way through this game. The A button sends a shot that can convert certain enemies to your side and they help you, but it is pretty worthless I find, even when they blow up at your command. By pressing Y you do a shield attack thingy, which can deflect some attacks and it also causes damage if any enemies are right next to you. You're gonna get hit no matter what, so I rarely even bother trying to dodge enemy attacks. Still the game is pretty easy and takes less than an hour to complete. What's really cool as that the game is not divided into stages, rather it is almost completely seamless from beginning to end. It's like playing one GIANT stage. There are tons of bosses and things like that. A ranking mode opens up after you easily beat it, but who cares? Not too much in the way of replayability with this one. With 2 players simultaneously, we found it was a bit harder in the platforming areas. I recommend kicking the 2nd player in the nuts and stealing his copy of Valis III. Since most people will never have a chance to see or play this rare game, I made a 10 MB Quicktime file so you can watch a few scenes from the game seeing how it plays and moves. It lasts 1 minute and 30 whole seconds.


I love the tailed skeleton gestating inside of that... thing.

Wrap up:
Most definitely not worth $300 unless you hate having money.
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Old 09-28-2005, 11:04 PM   #746
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Redifer
With 2 players simultaneously, we found it was a bit harder in the platforming areas. I recommend kicking the 2nd player in the nuts and stealing his copy of Valis III.
The game was very enjoyable for me. I only had a chance to play 2 player since Joe was in a bad mood that day and kicked me out of his house before I could ask to play 1 player.

I told you that you could have one of my copies of Valis III. You just chose not to take it. So it will be on Ebay before long..
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Old 09-29-2005, 08:12 AM   #747
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Another awesome review. I guess that people made too much of a fuss about this game. I liked that video, especially the part where you're fighting that huge fly on the rooftops. Is that the song you mentioned? If so you must stop everything you're doing and send me that song!! Thanks babe.
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Old 09-29-2005, 04:11 PM   #748
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Redifer
Joe, sorry to bring up an old game you reviewed in your review post but i have a question.

I bought super monkey ball for my cube based on your review. Ive always been interested in it, and reading your review was the final push for me to buy it.

But i have to admit, while fun at first the enjoyment is REALLY draining from it right now. Why you ask? i beat begginers mode easy, and went on to advanced mode. I can clear every single stage up to the one in question without losing a life. But when i get to the stage in the music/night land where its a giant curvy S shape course like this

_____
|____
_____|
|_____
_____|
|_____

and each turn is angled down so your monkey wants to fall off! Ive done this stage maybe 2-3 times properly? ive gone into practice mode and dumped a few hours into it (a few hours on one stage in SMB is a LONG time). yet everytime i come to this stage a blow all my continues on it.

As of right now, im not having fun with it anymore and starting to regret my purchase. I had a blast on all the other stages, even the ones after that one. But the inability to beat Advanced mode because of one gay stage is ruining it.

Is there a trick? I think there has to be something im missing, because on other levels (like the gutair level) where you have a choice to go down all the different width strings of the guitar, i dont see how its possible to go down the thinist one.

Help me joe! for you are the monkey ball master! only you can save me from throwing this game away now!

Last edited by seraph830; 09-29-2005 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 09-29-2005, 05:51 PM   #749
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You PSP whore!
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Old 09-29-2005, 06:28 PM   #750
Joe Redifer
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I don't recall that exact stage, but I will play through Advanced Mode in a few minutes and check for that stage. I will then EDIT this post with any hints I find. The most difficult stage in the game might be stage 7 on Expert. It is a blast!

EDIT: You must be talking about Floor 15. It is definitely a stage you'd more likely find in Expert mode rather than Advanced. But it's pretty easy once you get the hang of it. First of all the game starts you out facing a certain way. Do NOT turn left and go that way!! Press UP as hard as you can (slightly up-left, actually) and aim for the center of the "S" curve. Doing it this way will give you some extra speed which makes it easier to negotiate the turns. Speed is the key. Try not to slow down too terribly much and stay towards the center (upper) part of the corners. If you find yourself at the lower edge of the platform, just let go and die. If you are not quite all the way at the bottom and are facing in the direction you need to go, you can try rocking back and forth (left and right-ish) to get some momentum going. But keeping your speed up is key, but if you happen to slow down a bit too much, don't fret as there is still a chance!

Last edited by Joe Redifer; 09-29-2005 at 07:28 PM.
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