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Old 01-21-2003, 11:31 AM   #31
Icarus4578
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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/

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Old 01-21-2003, 08:05 PM   #32
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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.

Last edited by Icarus4578; 08-03-2004 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 01-23-2003, 09:18 AM   #33
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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 ).
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/

Last edited by Icarus4578; 03-22-2004 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 01-24-2003, 06:35 PM   #34
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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/HTM...ten_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

Last edited by Icarus4578; 03-13-2004 at 03:41 AM.
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Old 01-24-2003, 08:10 PM   #35
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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.

Last edited by Icarus4578; 08-03-2004 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 01-26-2003, 10:09 PM   #36
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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.

Last edited by Icarus4578; 03-22-2004 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 01-28-2003, 10:02 AM   #37
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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 ). 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

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Old 01-28-2003, 08:03 PM   #38
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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. 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.

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Old 01-29-2003, 08:32 AM   #39
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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.

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Old 01-30-2003, 12:31 PM   #40
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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.
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Old 01-30-2003, 09:54 PM   #41
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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

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Old 01-31-2003, 08:08 PM   #42
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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?...S&game_id=9838
--and at home on Genesis ~ http://www.shinforce.com/genesis/reviews/Strider.htm

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Old 02-02-2003, 08:53 AM   #43
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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.

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Old 02-02-2003, 06:59 PM   #44
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This is how it's done

Soul Calibur - Dreamcast - Rating 10
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!

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Old 02-03-2003, 08:34 AM   #45
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Quote:
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.
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