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Old 06-25-2005, 03:52 PM   #1351
gearhound
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your avatar is mega sexy, icarus. damn, asian women are beautiful
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Old 06-28-2005, 08:43 AM   #1352
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She's pretty cool. I'm going to change my avatar again pretty soon.

Tomorrow, I should have up another review. E.V.O. will follow shortly thereafter.
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Old 06-28-2005, 10:49 AM   #1353
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She is meant to be beautiful!?! I thought Icarus was just joking when he used this avatar.
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Old 06-29-2005, 12:10 PM   #1354
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Alright, who wants some? ....Who's next?

WWF No Mercy - N64 - Rating 9
WWF needs no introduction, but I'll give it one anyway. The house that Vince built symbolized much of our pop culture and remained on the cutting edge of sports entertainment for a long, long time. There was the wrestling boom of the 80's when guys like Hulk Hogan, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, The Junkyard Dog, "Superfly" Snuka and many others made wrestling/sports entertainment one of the premiere pastimes for the entire family. Simply put, the World Wrestling Federation was a phenomenon unlike any other. But after Hulkamania died down, after the WWF lost most of its biggest draw power, it became almost like a live action cartoon what with guys like Doink, Yokozuna and The Undertaker juxtaposed alongside the more conventional wrestlers such as Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. The company fell out of fashion, except for with some of the younger crowd and the most die-hard fans. Soon enough, Vince McMahon, seemingly out of fresh ideas, found himself competing against Ted Turner's WCW which featured some of the WWF's biggest former superstars, and with the phenomenal success of Eric Bischoff's creation, an "independent alliance," a force known as the nWo, Vince found himself pushed into a corner. All at the same time, there had been a strong though somewhat underground wrestling movement called ECW which was driven by extreme violence, creative ideas and a hardcore fanbase. It was a haven for great new talent. In fact, many of today's top wrestlers/performers became recognized through ECW: Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, Chris Benoit, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Sabu, The Dudley Boys, Taz (now known as Tazz due to copyright restrictions), Eddy Guerrero, and too many others to mention. Vince's first order of business was to create his own nWo-inspired fraction called Degeneration X which was a huge success, especially with Shawn Michaels at the helm. Vince has never been ashamed to rip-off something successful. In order to compete with the WCW for Monday night supremacy, Vince and his "creative team" decided that it would be in the company's best interests to imitate the formula of ECW by undergoing a transformation which was more or less signified by the new title, Raw is War/WWF Attitude. With the insane popularity of Steve Austin, more risqu? material and more bloodshed, Vince's formula worked like magic -- WWF was a resounding success ....again. Both shows would often trade back and forth in the ratings, thanks in no small part to guys like Goldberg and The Rock, and there was always the alternative ECW for those of us who wanted to have the best of everything. What this meant was that wrestling fans could find entertainment in great quantities. Indeed, competition breeds quality. And so when Vince set his sights upon acquiring WCW, and then later ECW, wrestling suffered from a tremendous downward spiral in the ratings and it continues to this day. With Jeff Jarrett's family owning/controlling TNA Wrestling and pretty much ruining the company by almost always having boring ol' Jeff suck up the spotlight for himself, even though there are much more talented and entertaining individuals within the company, and with Ring of Honor's loss of prestige, what are the alternatives? Now, with HHH's political marriage to Stephanie McMahon to ensure that he always controls everything to his liking, what is now called the WWE/World Wrestling Entertainment (thanks to the World Wildlife Foundation winning a lawsuit against them) has become a tragedy, a very unwatchable product. After all, how long can people tolerate HHH always placing himself in the main event, practically handing himself the World Heavyweight Championship (a belt which has lost all of its luster), and ruining other wrestlers' careers in the process? He deserves to be fired, plain and simple.

Nevertheless, Asmik Ace/Aki and THQ/Jakks deliver a wrestling fan's dream with WWF No Mercy, the best wrestling game that I have ever played, and I've played a lot of 'em: Super Fire Pro Wrestling, Saturday Night Slam Masters, All Japan Pro Wrestling featuring Virtua.... I can honestly say that of the three former titles which THQ published--WCW/nWo World Tour, WCW/nWo Revenge and WWF Wrestlemanina 2000--No Mercy blows them away. This is your choice product; if you purchase this, you don't need any of the others. That's just all there is to it. Everything that was good about their former titles is present and better than ever before. From the sterling presentation to the ease of use and multitude of options, secrets and goodies, you'll not tire of it easily. In fact, when I picked it up I couldn't put it down. All I wanted to do was play this game and nothing else.

What seperates No Mercy from other wrestling titles? Perfect, intuitive controls with oodles of depth and subtleties, resulting in the most controllable characters in a wrestling game, all without overwhelming the player with too much stuff to keep track of. For instance, there are weak/strong grapples and within each you can perform various different moves. You can switch from a front grapple to a waist lock from behind and vise versa with a simple tap of the L-trigger, throw your opponent towards the ropes/turnbuckles ( the strength of the grapple determines whether or not they'll remain against the turnbuckle), perform reversals, submission such as the abdominal stretch, etc. ...all from within the grappling range. Adding to the variety are specialty matches such as the ladder match, survivor mode (survive for as long as you can by defeating opponent after opponent; goes up to 100 opponents -- the longer you survive, the more reward money you'll receive), guest referee (you can even choose to be the referee; yes, the entire roster is selectable!), royal rumble, ironman match, tag team, hadicap, and then there's the added bonus of being able to put opponents through tables (ECW!!! ECW!!! ECW!!!), and so much more. The shop within the Smackdown Mall allows you to purchase new weapons, moves and apparel for the Superstar Options/Wrestler Edit mode wherein you can edit/create wrestlers and save them to cart. You can also purchase and unlock wrestlers. Speaking more about the Wrestler Edit mode, it is one of the most thorough that I've ever seen with pretty much every imaginable aspect of your wrestler fully customizable. Name, nickname, height, weight, age, etc. are all editable, and you can even edit your wrestler's entrance video/music, their poses, moves, clothing.... I could go on and on. Rumble Pack support is just the icing on the cake.

You can go through the rigors of Championship mode and try for any one of the belts, including Women's and Hardcore. Everything is kept track of on a makeshift calendar with you working your way up to the #1 contender slot, winning the championship and then defending it, forming alliances and/or breaking them off, wrestling show to show, ppv to ppv, and conquering many different types of matches, until you reach the granddaddy of them all ....Wrestlemania. As you can imagine, it's very comprehensive and involved.
Even if you go into another mode such as exhibition or whatnot, you can still select which show/ppv arean you'll play in, and you can purchase others such as Armageddon in the shop. There's also a myriad of options and rules you can customize (except for in certain modes wherein they're pre-set). There are over 50 wrestlers to choose from, including unlockables, and you can use your own created wrestler(s) in any of the modes.

The presentation/graphics are a tremendous improvement over former titles, featuring bigger crowds, more detailed textures, complete wrestler entrances with the actual theme music sampled in and even those Titantron videos in reduced, grainy form. Hey, it's a definite improvement over the days when they didn't even use actual wrestler's themes (*cough!* *cough!* WCW/nWo Revenge *cough!*). The gameplay is faster and paced more like a fighting game, which is a definite plus. I'm not sure off the top of my head whether it's a 128-MEG or 256-MEG cart but I'm betting on the latter due to the astounding amount of content within. You've rarely seen your N64 look and sound this good.

If WWF No Mercy has any shortcomings, it must be the lack of voices during matches. Oh sure, you do get the typical stuff like the ref counting, grunts and so on but you don't get the actual wrestlers' voices, even when using taunts. Thankfully, the soundtrack is way better than previous titles, though WCW/nWo World Tour had a couple of nifty tunes, and it's nice to hear the actual theme songs, even if they sound like the sample frequency is at 8-bit, 22kHz, mono. I could be wrong, but it does sound weak. Understandably so since this is a cart and not a CD. The sound effects are very good for an N64 title, though some of the weapon hits could've had a little more impact to them.

You owe it to yourself to experience what is still the consummate wrestling game. Hours upon hours of fun are waiting for you. And, best of all, Triple H doesn't get to run the show! What are you WAITING FOR!? You can find it at modest price-points on eBay and elsewhere. Even if you normally don't give a damn about wrestling games, you'd be wise to acquire it. Oh hell yeah!
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Old 07-02-2005, 04:34 AM   #1355
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Yes. I agree No Mercy is a lot of fun. I remember first trying out at my friend?s house and it was a load of fun. We would play four on four with other friends at times and it was good times.

Nice review and short histroy on wrestling.
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Old 07-02-2005, 06:54 AM   #1356
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Yes, this game is just too much fun. Thanks for your comments.

I'm currently playing E.V.O. and I'm fighting against dinosaurs. It started out pretty cool with the underwater stuff but having to restart from scratch after evolving into a new creature and not being able to keep those points I've earned kinda makes it drag on. How long can you sit there killing the same enemies over and over again in order to get meat? And you start off very weak, too. I guess that's just the nature of the game, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it.
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Old 07-02-2005, 03:37 PM   #1357
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i found that irritating to icarus. i think that is what made the game so difficult, not to mention the hard as heck last boss.
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Old 07-03-2005, 05:56 AM   #1358
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Thus far the bosses have been pushovers, so I'm actually looking forward to the final encounter.
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Old 07-03-2005, 03:17 PM   #1359
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Nostaliga setting in,.. must... resist.... *runs for N64 and slams in NO Mercy* ahh, lifes good all of a sudden....
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Old 07-04-2005, 03:52 PM   #1360
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The last boss is ...incredibly hard. There's a trick you can use to keep getting your health back. Just keep buying and erasing a trivial body party like a horn.
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Old 07-05-2005, 08:47 AM   #1361
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After about midway through the game, I figured out about replenishing life via evolving/devolving. I've already beaten it but I'll save my review for tomorrow along with another game.
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Old 07-05-2005, 06:53 PM   #1362
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Still boasting

E.V.O. ~ Search for Eden - SNES - Rating 5
Every once in awhile there comes along a game which explores new territory, sometimes with good results and sometimes not so good. E.V.O. falls somewhere inbetween. Enix/Almanic are to be respected in that regard; there aren't too many companies left which take the time to consider giving gamers something which defies ordinary conventions. If you buy an action game, you expect to play an action game ...and that's usually what you get. But who thinks of giving the player the capability to evolve/devolve on the fly, even during critical moments such as boss encounters? Who thinks of stuff like life forms evolving throughout the course of several billion years, effectively allowing the player to control a wide assortment of creatures over the course of the game? That's E.V.O. in a nutshell. If this idea were presented to a developer currently active on the new consoles it would probably be brushed aside in favor of 'Doom Clone 529' or "We're trying to be Final Fantasy!" 2,818. That, and the unfortunate employee (let's just call him 'underling') would be punished for disobeying Corporate Rule #1: Never take unnecessary financial risks. That's right. Didn't you know that the amount of money invested in a game's production is proportionate to the overall quality of the finished product? Oh, and you need to have at least 250 people working on any said title. That includes directors, musicians, cameraman, gaffers, set designers, wardrobe, the whole lot. A company simply cannot expect to pour $400,000 into the production of a game and come away with a solid fun movie. Heck, I hear that they've already begun hiring stuntmen for all future puzzle games.
Yes, I know that a Rating 5 isn't particularly happening but that's only because what E.V.O. has in substance it does not adequately "replicate" in the gameplay department. In fact, had the actual gameplay been up to the standards of something such as Actraiser, we'd be looking at an entirely different rating. But.... that is not the case, and I'd rather stick to actualities for the predominant basis of my review. The only reason I bring it up is because Actraiser predates E.V.O. by a year (1991 vs 1992) and the former had far superior gameplay.

So what's the big deal with this game? You're a life form created to endure a trail of nature, "The survival of the fittest," so that you may eventually build a new era with Gaia, the third star created by the Sun, and enter into Eden with her. Your beginnings are humble as a mere fish in The World before Land, 500~450 B.C. You must survive by killing other creatures and eating their meat in order to ascertain enough E.V.O. Points to evolve in various ways, including your jaws, body size/type, tail, etc. For example, you could have a creature with the jaws of a rhinocerous and the body of a horse, if you should so desire to. Aside from the heterogamous possibilities, you can try and evolve into a specific creature. As the game progresses onward, as time continues to march forward, you are presented with different chapters throughout the world's history such as The Age of Dinosaurs and The Ice Age. You will become various creatures such as lizards, aquatic creatures (including a mermaid ...though it says you're a he, supposedly), dinosaurs, and so on. The ideas are there, but the content suffers due to the rather uneventful game mechanics. A new chapter means that you've got to sit there mindlessly killing/collecting E.V.O. Points in order to evolve because, mostly, your E.V.O. Points do not carry over when undergoing a transformation from one life form to the next. As a direct result, the frustration factor is rather high.

The graphics are bare and basic with little in the special effects department that's noteworthy. No, I take that back -- there's absolutely nothing noteworthy here, not that it makes a great deal of difference. I mean this thing could look like a billion bucks and it doesn't change the fact that the gameplay is almost as boring as watching The Chevy Chase Show. I said almost. Oooh, look! There's PARALLAX SCROLLS in the backgrounds! And I think there's a bitchin' four frames of animation per enemy! Do those programmers know how to work their SNES ★M-A-G-I-C★ or what? Capcom? Konami? WHO CARES? We've got Enix, baby!!

That aside, the game is ok if little else with ho-hum stage design and structure. Your objective is usually relegated to this: Walk across the screen. Imagine doing the same thing over and over again. Imagine doing the same thing over and over again. Imagine doing the same thing over and over again. Somehow I expected to see Ed Wood as being credited as the game's director, but that wasn't the case. (Ah, Johnny Depp! Kickass actor extraordinare! Dare I go there? No, I dare not. Must.... resist.... Temptation's too strong.) There's one dungeon later on with warp points aplenty which harbors an obscure goal somewhere but that's pretty much all the brain taxing you'll encounter, besides a couple of the later bosses' patterns. Since you can restore all of your health every time you make even the smallest transformation, you shouldn't worry too much. Even the final encounter is easily bested. The game's total length runs in at about six or seven hours. That's almost as long as a Kevin Costner movie!

And now for the most important part of any game: the music/sound effects. It's composed by Koichi Sugiyama! "Woah," you're thinking. "This soundtrack must groove deep." Unfortunately, that is not the case. Aside from the merely ok title theme, nice final area music and spiffy staff roll experience, there's a more than conspicuous paucity of listenable music. Almost every tune is short and aggravating, looping over and over in an endless assault on your eardrums. The sound effects are barely there, as if they were tacked on at the last moment in a rush to produce the game.

Overall, in the grand scheme of things, this game is like holding a guitar but not knowing how to playing it -- the dead weight in the band, the backup that's not needed. Enix can afford to have forgettable titles such as this. After all, they do have the holy grail of Japanese RPGs with Dragon Quest.

E.V.O. is known in Japan as 4.6 Okunen Monogatari, or 4.6 Billion Year Story.

You know how the old saying goes ~ "Ooooohm!"
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♪This program is brought to you by Sega...!!

OutRunners - Arcade - Rating 10

5:16PM
I fire up this bad boy and select my vehicle, opting for automatic transmission to better get the hang of things. I'm in the mood for some speed, so I chose the Speed Buster, a hot little ride that resembles a red Ferrari, because I'm feeling kinky. Pardon me. I'm just about to head into the Sega Zone?. MRS, The Mega Radio Station (Channel MEGA.9), is set on my radio dial with Jay Elwood as the on-air personailty, providing commentary and some kickass tunes. I fly through the first checkpoint unscathed. The atmosphere couldn't possibly get any more supreme than it is already. I'm hurled like a roller coaster down expansive, panoramic scenery which has an unceasing sense of distance. My brain is filled with ungoverned determination as I progress through a series of turns which leaves a zig-zag after-effect on the senses without disorienting its subjects. Things begin to get progressively more difficult as I approach my final seconds. My surroundings tell me that I'm driving through an underwater passageway. The music here is serene and skillful all the same. Alas, my time has run its course! Chance that I'm going to give it up = zero.

5:27PM
Now that I've gained some confidence, I'll select manual transmission and hope I fare better. Sega/Am2 kicks major ass, though that's to be expected. Throw all the gravel, tarmac and dirt you want at me. Throw all that lush scenery around the screen, hoping to distract me. I don't care. Just don't try to follow me because excellence is a one-way street and it doesn't look back. By this time I've taken different routes leading me to a metropolis, the Pacific Ocean and Hong Kong. I've been playing around with the radio dial, checking out what grooves Sega has to offer. I quickly take note that all of the past favorites such as ♪Passing Breeze, ♪Magical Sound Shower and ♪Last Wave are back and better than ever. A new song called ♪Adventure catches my ear in approximately 0.7 seconds, so you know I have to hit that. I run out of time in Hong Kong but that's ok. I'm just gonna have to switch it into high gear next time.

5:37PM
As I play through my third session, I take more time to appreciate Sega's craftsmanship. An overwhelming feeling of nostalgic bliss preoccupies my emotions. I remember why I became a gamer and what kept the magic alive. Titles such as this here gem are the reason I'm still a gamer. If there was never an OutRun, a Space Harrier or a Phantasy Star, I might not still be a gamer today. The graphics are similar to the original OutRun only everything has been tuned up 1,000 times for maximum joy. Sega cares about me. Games like this become a part of your life --a way of life for some. It still uses those scaling sprites to convey that hyper 3D effect you've become familiar with, only now there's more detail on everything and you've got more options, more locales to see, more speed to kill. I've lost, again, but it's only a matter of time until I best it.

6:14PM
At last, I've completed the task at hand. I've taken various routes, been subjected to an almost suffocating amount of passing forms and colors, drove through(!) the cops and made my way to the ending. Yes, I've made contact with one of the goals. I'll need some time for my brain to cool off, but I know I'll return. Many times in fact. Thank you, Sega, for making games this fun a part of my life.

~Icarus, checking out for the night. Catch you later babe.
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Old 07-05-2005, 07:44 PM   #1363
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Outrunners had some great music. Too bad the Genesis translation was lackluster.
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Old 07-07-2005, 08:51 AM   #1364
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I have yet to try the Genesis version. I really want the soundtrack to the arcade, though.
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Old 07-09-2005, 06:59 AM   #1365
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My next review will be an Xbox import called Psyvariar 2, a shooter in the same vein as many of Cave's and Treasure's score-fests.
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