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Old 05-20-2003, 09:21 AM   #166
Icarus4578
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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.

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Old 05-25-2003, 09:59 AM   #167
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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
For Circle of the Moon ~ http://www.gamefaqs.com/portable/gba...ame/30255.html
For Harmony of Dissonance ~ http://www.gamefaqs.com/portable/gba...ame/16887.html
For Aria of Sorrow ~ http://www.gamefaqs.com/portable/gba...ame/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.

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Old 06-01-2003, 05:31 PM   #168
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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...sershrine.html
~ http://www.rpgclassics.com/shrines/s...fillmore.shtml

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Old 06-09-2003, 05:38 PM   #169
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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/

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Old 06-16-2003, 03:47 PM   #170
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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.

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Old 06-19-2003, 02:33 PM   #171
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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.
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.

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

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Old 06-19-2003, 08:23 PM   #172
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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!
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Old 06-19-2003, 08:44 PM   #173
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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...) 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.
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Games I'm hyped for
The Last of Us Part 2, RE2 Remake, The Last Night

Current Platforms:
PC (i7-7700K, 16GB, GTX 980Ti), Wii U, PS4
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Old 06-19-2003, 11:29 PM   #174
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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.

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Old 06-23-2003, 06:03 PM   #175
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"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.... ;)

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Old 06-26-2003, 09:41 AM   #176
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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/

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Old 07-03-2003, 02:59 PM   #177
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Anyone here from Japan that can post their review of FFX-2 plz.
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Old 07-05-2003, 07:58 AM   #178
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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. 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! )

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

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Old 07-11-2003, 09:26 AM   #179
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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.

Cha-Ching!

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

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Old 07-11-2003, 10:42 AM   #180
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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.
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