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Old 08-25-2003, 10:54 AM   #256
Icarus4578
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Who's Bad?

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - Arcade - Rating 2
To think that I actually enjoyed this game back when it first came out in 1990. Wow. What was wrong with me? I was probably too disconcerted to notice how bad this game really is. I've played games on ColecoVision with more fun and undeniable ambition. What is wrong with this game? Read on.
Where to start? Let's take it from the plot. Apparently, Mr. Big is kidnapping children and trying to take control of the world. And so Michael Jackson must rescue all the children and stop Mr. Big. .......phew! What a plot. Ok, let's try the gameplay. MJ must battle through five stages virtually all designed around his music video sets such as Smooth Criminal and Thriller, defeating Mr. Big's henchmen such as the men in three-piece suits that try and shoot MJ, soldiers with bigger guns and even flame throwers, zombies, four-legged robots, and what can only be described as a 'diabolical creation': a massive robot with a rather pronounced pelvic region which it uses to try and strike MJ. Hmmm, the end credits say that Michael came up with the game concept and design. That pretty much explains everything. ;) The gameplay is done from a 3/4 perspective. MJ can use his glove to shoot blue flames, charge for a stronger attack, and use his special move, Dance Magic, which will make all the enemies/bosses on-screen dance along with MJ to a groove from one of his songs which climaxes with them being destroyed (unless it's a boss or strong foe with enough energy to withstand it). Sometimes, when he performs his Dance Magic other stuff besides enemies gets destroyed, such as windows shattering - a nice effect. There's also Michael's pet chimpanzee Bubbles which appears in certain locations. If Michael can make contact with Bubbles he'll transform into a robot version of himself capable of firing long-distance lasers and retaining his dance steps as well. As MJ progresses through the stages he'll have to rescue children who yell "Thank you Michael!" upon contact, usually giving extra points, health replenishment, and more Dance Magic. If MJ dies, he can continue right where he died. Inbetween stages are short cut-scenes done up in a comic-book style showing Mr. Big capturing children or whatever, with Michael always shouting out "NOOOO!!" Speaking of voices, you'll be hearing Michael make a lot of screams, yells and the usual stuff like "OWWW!!!"
The gameplay is unsophisticated (as expected) but also rather devoid of fun. Walking around, destroying enemies and objects eventually gets mundane and boring after a short while. Three players can play at once each with their own version of the gloved one. Thankfully, the game itself isn't long at five stages. Graphically, prepare to be underwhelmed. Even for an arcade at that point in time, Moonwalker is anything but impressable. Look at Moonwalker ~ http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?...M&game_id=8686 And now look at the original Konami TMNT Arcade which predates Moonwalker by a year (1989). Screenshot #1 ~ http://www.solidsharkey.com/tmntapt.gif Screenshot #2 ~ http://game.ncc.com.tw/arcade/single/screen/tmnt.gif Moonwalker looks as if it's done on a Genesis. In fact, the only thing about the Moonwalker arcade that probably couldn't be done faithfully on Genesis is the amount of sprites on-screen at once in certain parts without slowdown. Speaking of which, the Moonwalker game on Genesis is actually a lot better than the arcade. It's more fun, more interesting, harder, longer, etc. There is also Moonwalker on Sega Master System, but I've never played it.
The music is all bad renditions of Michael Jackson songs like Bad, Beat it, and Billie Jean. For some reason, songs like Thriller, Rock With You, etc. aren't used which I find strange because they make for better material than Smooth Criminal and the song Bad being used twice. By the way, Rod Temperton wrote most of MJ's best songs (Thriller, Off The Wall, Etc.) and the only song that Michael Jackson himself wrote that I like is Billie Jean with its infectious bass groove, smooth pacing and sensible melody/lyrics. The versions of the songs in this game fall way short, sounding like they could've been done on a cheap old Casio keyboard or something. The sound effects and voices are ok from what I heard though.
You'd be best advised to stick with the Genesis Moonwalker which is a completely different game than the arcade. I understand that Sega stood to make money off of Jackson's image and such but time has once again pulled the veil on another shoddy excuse for a game. I'd rather play with my old WWF action figures than have to sit through this game again. At least I'd have something constructive to do with my time. Even this review is a waste of space. Who's bad? Michael Jackson/Sega, and not in a good way.

This game harmed more children than it suggests.

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Old 08-30-2003, 04:06 AM   #257
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And the award doesn't go to...

Mario Golf ~ Toadstool Tour - GC - Rating 2
You're probably thinking to yourself "Wha....? A TWO!?" Yup, there's been no mistake. Nintendo/Camelot team up for double bogey with this latest installment of Mario Golf (the original being on NES). Camelot is responsible for such titles as Mario Tennis (N64/GBA), the N64 incarnation of Mario Golf, the Golden Sun series on GBA, and Hot Shots Golf series on PlayStation. Having played (and enjoyed) Hot Shots I expected a lot out of their latest foray into golf gaming. I expected too much, as it turns out.
Where to begin? The game begins with a long CG cinema showcasing the initially selectable cast of characters going at it on the golf course: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Daisy, Donkey Kong, Wario, Waluigi, Bowser, etc. I'm sorry to say this but the opening is one of the best things about this game. You can select from a myriad of modes such as Tournament, Character Matches, Ring Shot, Match Game, Mini-Golf, Club Slot, Speed Golf, etc. So there's certainly a lot of stuff to do. Problem is, most of it seems pointless; they should've put more focus into bettering the two modes which are most worthwhile (Tournament and Character Matches). Here's the deal -- the first thing you'll want to do is go into Character Matches mode with the character(s) you want to use to beat the game in Tournament Mode. Win in this mode and your character becomes a 'star version' of him/herself. What this'll do is increase your drive (shot distance) by 20-30 yards or so. This will prove to be very useful; as soon as you reach the fourth course (Blooper's Bay) the game begins to get much more difficult, and more shortcuts to holes become available for use--many of which will require you have a long enough drive to reach them--and you'll need to utilize every advantage possible to win because easy Mario Golf is not.
The gameplay is decent but hampered in ways. First off, everything you'd expect in a golf game is present: You've got a gauge for wind and distance (in yards) from hole, selectable clubs, and the usual bar at the bottom of the screen which you use to measure the strength/accuracy of your shot. There's an auto mode for beginners in which only the strength is controlled, and the manual mode in which you also control your accuracy (basically, like virtually every other gold game, including the original Mario Golf). Also added is the ability to give your ball more of a roll upon landing. For example, tap A twice to make the ball roll forwards or tap B twice for a backspin (which is useful for making the ball stay close to the location it landed in rather than straying off far). As you can imagine, this feature is indispensable for setting up perfect shots, particularly when trying to land on the green with more accuracy. You also have the option of a power shot at anytime, but you're limited to six of these. However, if you can accurately hit the ball at full strength and your accuracy is lined up just right, your ball will be on fire and the game will say "Nice Shot!", and you won't sacrifice a power shot. Of course, this isn't just a golf game; this is a Mario golf game. Therefore, expect lots of hazards and a few peculiar oddities in the course layouts borrowed from Mario titles, such as Chain-Chomps which try and eat your ball, pipes which you'll need to use to 'warp the ball' to other locations, and Piranha Plants (which also eat your ball). Every hole starts with a short cinema showing off the landscape and, thankfully, these can all be skipped. The graphics are very good and the character animation is excellent -- if Mario hits a hole-in-one he goes into a flipping seizure, climaxing with him backflipping onto his bottom. It looks a little better than Mario Sunshine (but not much).
Anyway, back to the gameplay. Your ball's full course is traced out in the air and shows you clearly where you're headed. Using the C stick, you can follow the traced trajectory and look around, and if you use the X and Y buttons you can switch camera positions. This is especially useful on the greens because you can switch to a view from the hole. BTW, the greens are 'gridded' so to speak so that you can see if the ground is level or not and plan your putt accordingly. The L/R buttons are used to adjust the ball's distance (for any club). You get the idea. This game gets insanely frustrating after the first three courses and so I don't understand how this game can be aimed at younger players since it's unlikely they'll ever beat the game. Just making it to Bowser Badlands (the final course) is an accomplishment in and of itself... let alone beat it. There were quite a few instances where I wanted to take the game out and smash it with a sledge hammer. I also think that it's bad when you have to learn through trial and error how to play certain holes right; some require obscure shortcuts, and then there's that whole pipe warping business in which you cannot always tell where the ball is going to wind up. To top it off, if you take more than a moment to set up your shot then Boos begin flying across the screen with INSULTING BANNERS DIRECTED AT YOU! As if I wasn't already PO'ed!! So.... if you want to pay $40-50 to get REALLY ANGRY then by all means buy this game!
The music is pretty spunky stuff. Nothing too special, but hey, it works. They even added the underground song from the original Super Mario Bros. which is redone and used on the greens. The voices and sound effects are all well done as expected. I'm fighting for words; there's not a lot to say about this game aurally.
What starts out as fun-filled eventually mutates into a snarling beast without mercy, so beware. This is one tough cookie! It's not that it's a challenging game that keeps it from gaining a high score, obviously. The problem for me is WHY it's so difficult (trial-and-error). I don't feel the need to play Mario Golf again--ever--because after all the stress it took to 'figure it out' the game offers little else truly worth investing time in. Gimmicks don't work. I'd like to recommend a better golf game - Kirby's Dream Course (SNES). It's more fun, creative, and venturesome than this tripe.

Wants codes and cheats?~
~ http://www.gcseeker.com/cheats/mario_golf.html
~ http://www.megagames.com/megacheats/M/gc-150.shtml
~ http://cheats.ugo.com/cheatcode.php/id/7336/

"Wanna see a far better game?" "YES PLEASE!" ~ http://www.nintendoland.com/home2.ht...eam_course.htm As for what the reviewer says at the end, he's right: KDC is an acquired taste. I'll sum it up better than him ~ if you're in the mood for quirky, unique, and challenging golf gaming, then buy KDC. If not, go away.

Here's more sites devoted to the pink blob~
~ http://www.classicgaming.com/kirby/games/dreamcourse/
~ http://www.geocities.com/jamesblinks/kirbysdc.html
~ http://ourworld-top.cs.com/mkleino/kindex2.html


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Old 08-30-2003, 04:49 AM   #258
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:yikes:

Not talking to you anymore Icarus47454

2... what has this world come to...2...
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Old 08-31-2003, 01:15 AM   #259
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Fantastic!

Metroid Fusion - GBA - Rating 8
The acquisitions of Nintendo simply cannot be undermined. When they are at their best there's nothing else parallel. Indeed, quality in general has become elusive. So when one is confronted with something as prodigious as Metroid, it is easy to lose balanced rational judgement to a form of perspicacity. First we must remember that Metroid, like all other games, is art if nothing else, and is, consequentially, not prone to the decay of time, but rather any development which would further the art form which Metroid assigns itself to. I personally feel that Metroid's resplendency exists as a result of its accessible properties which seem to dictate a persona manifest to this particular game, rather than just because each piece of its makeup (graphics, sound, control, etc.) happens to be of an elevated stature.

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever" --Keats.

Samus had been sent back to the home planet of the Metroids, SR388, to research the restructuring of the planet's ecosystem. While collecting biological samples, Samus was attacked by a life-form she had never encountered previously -- the parasitic organism known as X. Unaware of the imminent danger of her attacker, the X had infested her central nervous system, which resulted in her lapsing into a coma while on her way back to the Biological Space Labs station (B.S.L. for short). Thankfully, her ship's emergency systems automatically ejected the escape pod. Otherwise, she'd be dead, as her ship headed straight into an asteroid belt. Biologic's vessel recovered her pod and transported Samus to the Galactic Federation HQ for emergency medical treatment. During this time the X had multiplied within her, corrupting her Power Suit in the process. In the process, the organic components of her Power Suit became integrated with her body, thus rendering the Federation surgeons incapable of removing it. Large portions of her suit had to be surgically removed, dramatically altering her physical appearance. The X within her nervous system could not be removed safely. Her chance of survival was minimal at best. The surgeons proposed the use of a Metroid cell to create an Anti-X vaccine made from the last infant Metroid from SR388. They immediately administered the vaccine, which immediately destroyed the X inside her body. Samus survives, but her physical appearance has been dramatically changed. Samus would soon arrive back at B.S.L., along with the X-infested parts of her Power Suit. Samus receives a distress call from the station ~ an unexplained explosion rocked the station, and now Samus must investigate this unexplained turn of events....
The first thing you'll notice is how awesome the opening sequence is; it makes the opening to Super Metroid look tame in comparison. Samus begins her investigation on the B.S.L. where you first come into contact with your new ship's CO, a computer which gives her orders. From there, you navigate Samus around, coming to grips with the controls which are (as always) excellent. The B.S.L. station is the setting for this installment of Metroid. There's seven main locations for Samus to explore, each one filled with hidden areas, items, and enemies up the wazoo. Soon enough, Samus finds that the X parasite can clone any previous host. And so, the X clones Samus. This clone, known as SA-X, has every ability that Samus had previously, and in her current weakened state Samus is no match for SA-X. So you'll be dodging it quite a few times (it shows up periodically and wrecks havoc wherever it goes). One of the first things you'll notice is how much more painful enemy damage is, probably due to the faster pacing of this Metroid which is about half the length of Super Metroid (but still packed nonetheless). The graphics are absolutely excellent; Samus is animated to perfection, and everything is of a level of detail at least as good as Super Metroid. This Metroid focuses more heavily on forward movement rather than the time-consuming backtracking and exploring of previous installments--though that's not to say there isn't any exploring; there is. You just have to be willing to stray from the course. Samus has a few interesting gameplay additions. For one, she can now grab onto ledges and pull herself up, and (if you've recovered her Morph Ball) can pull herself up onto a ledge into a small hole in Morph Ball form wherever necessary. Also, she can now climb on certain walls and on certain ceilings. Wall jumping is also possible from the start. Of course, pretty much every ability from former Metroids (Space Jump, Charge Beam, etc.) returns. One thing I noticed is how much more useful missiles are. In previous games, you'd normally save missiles for the appropriate doors and for bosses, but in this chapter you are encouraged to use them more frequently. Indeed, many enemies can only be harmed by missiles. Speaking of which, the enemies are always being reanimated by X parasites. So when you destroy enemies, X parasties go flying around which you can now make contact with in order to restore health and missiles. It's either that, or they'll re-enter their host, and the enemy will live again. Sometimes, the parasites will combine to form a more powerful enemy (which usually requires missles to destroy). How do I feel about the emphasis on linear gameplay? Just fine, thank you, because at any time I can derail from course and explore the B.S.L. at my own leisure. Items are hidden in the familiar methods: some are hidden in walls and crevices, and some can only be obtained with a certain ability. Doors work differently here, though; you unlock them in groups according to color by finding the access computer, which is never laid out on the map. As for the bosses, there's quite a few of them, but for the most part they're rather easy to defeat. Some of them, such as the Nightmare, are truly challenging and take quite a few hits to destroy. You'll even see some familiar faces later into the game.
The music is very well done and is Metroid in every sense of the word. Although not quite as good as previous soundtracks, Fusion's soundtrack does exemplify the eerie mood of the series. In my opinion, it's a better soundtrack than the somewhat lacking Metroid Prime soundtrack which was too atmospheric and distant for me to really notice. The sound effects are all perfectly done, as expected. However, I miss that familiar little tune you'd hear whenever Samus would acquire new items....
Metroid Fusion, while short in length at about 5-6 hours, is all Metroid in heart and spirit. And that only equates to great things. Should you happen to possess a GBA(SP) then you must definitely own this game. It captures your attention from the moment Metroid 4 first comes onto the screen until the very end. Oh, if only there were more games this good more often. Most games nowadays cannot even garner the attention span of a fly.

Here's cheats and helpful tactics ~ http://www.blog5.com/archives/000212.html
http://www.cheatplanet.com/gbcheats/metroid_fusion.htm

Until next Metroid....

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Old 09-02-2003, 12:32 PM   #260
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System Analysis and Review
Sega Saturn (SS for short)
Released in November 22nd 1994(Japan)/May 10th 1995(US)/1995 (Europe)
Originally, Saturn was to launch on "Saturn Day", September 2nd 1995 in the US, but launched early in many locations.
System originally included Virtua Fighter, and then VF Remix, then VF2 and Virtua Cop, etc.

-- Overview --
The first of the Sega Saturn software was formally unveiled at a Sega press conference on February 2nd 1994 in Japan. Among the first titles to showcase the new hardware were arcade ports of Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA. Also shown: Gale Racer, which was pretty bad, Clockwork Knight, amazing (but short-lived) side-scroller for the time, and an early working version of Panzer Dragoon. Unfortunately for Sega and Nintendo, a new player had entered the console wars by the name of Sony. Their new PlayStation featured unbelievable 3D graphic prowess, a healthy batch of software, and tons of hype to back it up. In an attempt to thwart this attack, Sega announced a new arcade cabinet to be 100% compatible with the existing Saturn hardware called Titan. Sega's gameplan was evident -- they themselves would rely heavily on arcade ports by Sega AM teams and original 3D software, and hope that the 3rd parties would back them up with strong support. In order to woo developers, Sega knew their first showing would have to instill confidence in developers.
They succeeded, to an extent. Virtua Fighter was not arcade perfect, and of course neither was Daytona USA which only ran at a respectable 15-20 FPS. Meanwhile, the PlayStation had a rather incredible showing with Namco's virtually picture perfect arcade ports of Ridge Racer and Tekken, as well as a slew of other fancy third party titles. Gamers grew accustomed to Sega generally being a very sequel-friendly company, so it was a rather unorthodox move to not have a familiar series like Sonic up and running. Sega wasn't without their share of problems - namely, lack of faith. A lot of people bought the 32X with high expectations, only to be severely let down. Buying a new piece of Sega hardware was considered a risk by many people. Game magazines like GameFan, always heavily leaning towards Sega, put the 32X in the spotlight and told gamers to 'purchase with confidence' because the software was coming. This just comes to show you that blind faith doesn't come without a price. In truth, Sega is still to blame for that massive mistake. Nevertheless, after much hype, rumors, and speculation, Saturn went on sale in Japan on November 22nd with several titles ~ Virtua Fighter (included), Clockwork Knight, Mansion of Hidden Souls II, TAMA, etc., and if you don't know this by now, Virtua Fighter was the most popular arcade at the time, so Sega was putting a lot of faith in Yu Suzuki/AM2's game to sell systems (sorta like how Nintendo relied on Mario 64; difference being, Sega kept the software coming at a steady pace). The launch was a success, but Sony still had a competitive edge. Sega desperately tried to gain an early advantage in the US by releasing 30,000 units (at $399 each!) earlier than originally planned, but this wound up being another big mistake. Many of the stores that weren't included in part of the early launch on May 10th turned their backs on Sega. In particular, Kay Bee Toys. Despite difficulties, titles like Bug!, Panzer Dragoon, and Astal provided a good foundation at launch. Sony had a strong showing of their own: Philosoma, Toshinden, and Ridge Racer, among others, were the groundwork of the future, merely a glimpse into what lie in store. How did Sega respond? Virtua Fighter Remix, a graphically renovated version with texture-mapped polygons.
Meanwhile, Nintendo/Rare had released Donkey Kong Country to an anxious public, 3DO was beginning to wane (already), and Atari Jaguar was a non-factor. The ambivalence of consumers would only edge them more towards purchasing a newer, more reliable console. It was time to throw away the toys and jump into the REAL next generation. Arcade ports aside, what Sega needed was RPGs and, unfortunately, the PS was to become the king of RPGs, beginning with Arc the Lad, Beyond the Beyond, and Suikoden... only to follow up with the biggest RPG of the 32-bit generation - Final Fantasy VII. When Square had turned on Nintendo in favor of Sony, so did millions of Japanese gamers. Sony, now empowered by Square, was considered a supreme force by all the game publications; from EGM and GameFan, to Next Generation and Famitsu, Sony had made good with the gaming community and was prepared for what would become a hegemony over every other 1st party. Sadly, much of Sony's dominance came from game publications hyping the hell out of crap like Takara's Toshinden which is one of the shoddiest, least playable fighting games ever made. Just because it looked good, that was good enough to warrant high scores (as is often the case nowadays as well....). With Tekken 2, Ridge Racer Revolution, Jumping Flash! 2, Resident Evil, and much more on Sony's horizon, Sega had to show their cards. Fortunately for the diehard Sega fanbase, there was much to be excited about. Sega wasn't content being sidelined by Sony. A wave of authentic arcade ports was set to launch Saturn sales into the stratosphere. Virtua Fighter 2 was a revelation, featuring without a doubt the best 3D fighting game engine up to that point, richly detailed texture maps, and at 60fps was considered a 90% perfect port of the graphic-heavy Model 2 arcade (the most popular arcade in Japan along with Street Fighter II), and was even high-resolution! The only thing missing was the 3D backgrounds. It was so good, in fact, that Next Generation blessed it with their much coveted five star rating, and everybody else was forced to admit it: Sega got the job done. That wasn't all though. Virtua Cop and Sega Rally also came home, both virtually arcade perfect. And Panzer Dragoon 2 was a graphic tour-de-force, if little else. These, along with Street Fighter Alphas 1 and 2, proved that Sega Saturn was, in the right hands, a great system for 3D games, and definitely the best 2D system around. Here's the Catch-22: the only way anybody could compete with Sega on their system in 3D was if they knew the architecture inside-out the way Sega did. Saturn was notorious for being difficult to develop for (what with two SH2 Hitachi CPUs), so Sega began developing more user-friendly workstations for the 3rd parties, lest every other 3D game look dated in comparison. And with Namco's big guns Tekken 2, Rage Racer, and the soon to be released Soul Edge as fierce competition, Sega was truly in an irreversible predicament.
Sony was an opponent without mercy, and Nintendo's Mario 64 was set to go at E3 1996, so Sega had to come up with more impressive software and a marketing campaign to match. Enter Sonic Team/Yuji Naka's NiGHTS ~ Into Dreams, a surreal game which looked, played, and sounded unlike any other. And since Nintendo was set to revolutionize 3D gaming with its analog controller, Sega (and Sony with their attempt at a mascot - Crash Bandicoot) came out with their own. Sega further displayed their might with such titles as Virtua On, Virtua Cop 2, Fighting Vipers, Manx TT, and later, Last Bronx and Fighters Megamix. A 3D Sonic had been shown for the Saturn, but Sega apparently didn't have enough confidence in it, so it was canned. Three Sonic titles made it to the Saturn: Sonic 3D Blast, which is considered a weak effort by most gamers (including myself), Sonic R, a 3D racer featuring the Sonic cast going at it on a scant five courses, and Sonic Jam, a compilation of every previous Sonic title on Genesis with an added 3D area for Sonic to transverse (an obvious attempt to copy Mario 64). Whereas PlayStation was the undisputed 3D champion, the Saturn was effortlessly the best at 2D. SNK and Capcom were foremost in pursuing this aspect of the hardware. As a result, Saturn owners were treated to 95-100% arcade perfect ports of such games as Nightwarriors ~ Darkstalkers Revenge (which included the original if you imputted a code), X-Men vs Street Fighter, Street Fighter Alpha 1, 2, and 3, Marvel Super Heroes, Street Fighter Collection 1 and 2, King of Fighters, Fatal Fury Special, Samurai Shodown 3 and 4, etc. etc. Many of these were import titles, and so Saturn owners in the US/UK bought converters and paid top dollar in order to transform their Saturn into the king of 2D fighters. Saturn had an array of great software, such as Shining Wisdom, Legend of Oasis, Dragon Force, and of course Sega's brand of sports titles. Around the time of Final Fantasy VII came Virtua Fighter 3, the most graphically intense 3D fighter ever made. Speculation about how it would be possible for Sega to convert this arcade to home was everywhere. Everybody invented rumors about Sega releasing it with a new cartridge which would increase the power of the Saturn to near-Model 3 specifications. Alas, this never happened. However, GameArts had something up their sleeve called Grandia, which many feel to be a superior RPG to FFVII. It was later converted over to PlayStation but lacked the impressive graphics of the inferior Saturn version. Some of the most obscure 2D games were available for import on Saturn, including Keio Yugekitai, which was overlooked by Victor Musical Industries (crafters of the TurboGrafx16 classic Legendary Axe) for release in the US, due perhaps to lack of sales for the Keio shooter for Sega CD. Also, Saturn was the choice for shooters. Darius Gaiden, Galactic Attack, Radiant Silvergun, etc. were all great experiences. The Saturn, in the end, didn't defeat PlayStation in sales. However, in many people's hearts it remains their favorite of the two. Despite the lack of 3D capabilities, the Saturn has more than enough great software to deem it a timeless classic.

-- Notable Releases (Release Date: Japan/US/UK) --
Virtua Fighter 2 (? 1995/December ? 1995/? 1995) - Considered by many Sega's best arcade port for Saturn, this sequel to the original arcade powerhouse featured faster gameplay, better graphics, two new characters, and actually advanced the gameplay and strategy - as opposed to most other fighting game 'upgrades' which usually just consist of graphic refinements and more of the same. A step in the right direction.
NiGHTS ~ Into Dreams (July 5th 1996/August 31st 1996/? 1997) - Sonic Team/Yuji Naka's answer to Mario 64 turns out to be not only one of the most unique games ever made, but also one of the most replayable. This game captured my attention for two weeks straight, always trying to better my score. A great game. The first Saturn title to use the analog controller.
Sega Rally Championship (? 1995/? 1995/? 1995) - AM3's highly polished off-road racing experience featured the best graphics of any racing game up to that point. Smooth and seamless textures, 30fps, inspiring gameplay, and scarcely any pop-up... equated to the definitive home racer, easily surpassing Daytona USA which looked horrendous by that time (only about a year apart!). Even the music oozes coolness. If you owned Saturn, it's a safe bet that you owned Sega Rally. Who can forget this? ~ "Game Over Yeaaaaaah!!"
Panzer Dragoon 2 Zwei - "Zwei" is German for "two" (? 1996/April 17th 1996/? 1996) - Although Y o s h i t a k a Azuma didn't compose the soundtrack like in the original, this PD is considered a milestone title for the Sega Saturn. Team Andromeda upgraded everything in this reinforcement of the original's tried and true formula -- from the blazing 30fps action, to additions like the berserk meter and dragoon transformations, outrageous boss encounters, and even an added new feature called Pandora's Box in which you unlock a tremendous amount of features and oddities. Although the gameplay is somewhat limited, the depth, replay value, and attention to every last detail cannot be undermined. Along with Panzer Dragoon Saga (RPG), this is my favorite in the series.
Street Fighter Alpha 2 (August 9th 1996/October 6th 1996/December ? 1996) - Out of all the Saturn games, I probably played this game more than any other. Without a doubt the best home translation of Alpha 2 (easily surpassing the PS version), this game was truly a sight to behold. Never before had I been so immersed in a SF conversion, save perhaps Street Fighter II. Awesome animation, tons of options, secrets, and the best fighting game engine around... excellence achieved. Capcom is the king of Saturn 3rd parties (as well as Dreamcast), actually showing support even when others fall away.
Guardian Heroes (? 1996/April 24th 1996/? 1996) - Treasure software is marked by abnormalities in the game mechanics, such as the inclusion of features usually unaquainted with whichever genre (or guise) they're supposedly working under. This game exemplifies their ability to incorporate those features. In this case, you've got a furious beat-'em-up with tons of branching paths and storylines, RPG elements like HP, MP, and EXP, and a tremendous amount of hidden secrets, endings, and other such goodies. It all equates to an unusual, unexpected experience. Perhaps too gaudy for its own good, with boss fights that seem to last forever. However, the positives generally outweigh the negatives. A fine 2D action title.
Grandia (December 18th 1997/never released for US/UK except on PlayStation) - GameArts stunning RPG astonished first-time viewers by showing that the Saturn can, in the right hands, compare with PlayStation graphically in 3D. A long quest which spans two discs, Grandia stands as probably the most important RPG for the Saturn (in Japan). Lunar 1 and 2 were also remade for both SS/PS.
Notable Mention also goes to Castlevania ~ The Bloodletting (known as Symphony of the Night) which was a remake of the PlayStation favorite with two added areas. However, it lacked transparencies and other graphic effects

When Virtua Fighter first came out, I was immediately enthralled and convinced that this was the beginning of good things to come. Sega had many high points during the 32bit era. In many ways, it is a better system than the PlayStation (and surpasses Dreamcast in my opinion as well). Saturn was my choice for 2D gaming. Too bad that game publications had to go and ruin it by pumping up PlayStation software with glowing reviews (even for games that suck) while the Saturn got shot down just because it wasn't always as graphically impressive. You can blame Sega's failure on 32X and Sega CD, but I don't believe this to be so. It had more to do with lack of faith in the platform by the 3rd party community, due in no small part to Sony's marketing propaganda. Sega Saturn will always remain an enthusiast's choice.
The Dreamcast was originally known as Dural, FYI.

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Old 09-03-2003, 01:58 AM   #261
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phew, that was long.:yikes: Pretty good, liked the Playstation review more though.
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Old 09-03-2003, 05:15 AM   #262
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That was some good reading, though I'd never put ManxTT in a group of good games. I felt the Saturn had the best controller on the market. Two rows of three buttons. Great d-pad. Perfect.
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Old 09-03-2003, 08:19 AM   #263
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I also feel that the Saturn controller is the best. The SS was the only system where I took importing games seriously. My library of games is massive and is overall more fun to play than my massive PS library, though the PS was no less great a system. Dreamcast was a great piece of hardware, and yet developers turned their backs on it except for a few like Capcom. And yet, they had no problem developing for PS2 even though it didn't come near the initial specifications (those demo like FF8's cinema supposedly being done in real-time....). If they supported Dreamcast like they do the PS2 it would still be alive today. I just hope someday Sega returns to hardware and focuses on games rather than multimedia like Sony.
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Old 09-04-2003, 11:52 PM   #264
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icarus, you might want to paragraphed that. i refused to look at it.
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Old 09-05-2003, 01:30 AM   #265
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Off Topic: Hey Icarus, I was just watching your avatar for a little while, (I dont know why) and I noticed that her breast pops-out lol.
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Old 09-05-2003, 09:20 AM   #266
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In the meantime, check out this site. It has reviews of games for every system. It's jam-packed! Though I don't agree with some of the reviews (DKC2 got all 9's, for example) it matters not. Here it is ~ http://ryangenno.tripod.com/sub_pages/main.htm

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Old 09-06-2003, 02:33 AM   #267
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No retreat

Soul Calibur 2 - GC/X-Box/PS2 - Rating 8/8/7
Dreamcast owners were awestruck the first time they saw and felt Soul Calibur. It had the deepest fighting game engine ever created, 3D graphics and animation to die for, and some of the best characters ever to grace a fighting game. That said, it comes as little suprise that the sequel boasts those same qualities, and improves on them a bit to boot. Though the transition between SC1 and 2 isn't of the same (ahem) calibur as between Soul Edge and SC, there wasn't much more that Namco could've done to improve a game as flawless as SC. What Soul Calibur 2 is is SC refurbished, refined, and refilled, with all the right stuff repeated (and no less relevant than before).
Let me speak of the visuals - they're excellent. Though not tremendously improved over the previous SC, the graphics definitely look better. There's detail on everything you see, even the most minuscle details such as hair, engravings on weapons, and distant objects. Which version looks (and sounds) the best? Well, the X-Box version supports 720p high-definition and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, but you'll only notice this if you've got a high-definition TV, a home theater system with Dolby Digital, and all the proper cables. Aside from these technicalities, the GC version looks pretty much the same as the X-Box version. However, the PS2 version is noticeably weaker than both the GC/X-Box, as I'm sure you already know. The PS2 version has jaggies, less detailed textures, and even slowdown! At least multi-platform owners know which version to avoid....
Basically, everybody is back in action from SC except Siegfried and Rock. There are new faces like Cassandra, Raphael, and Talim, and new characters which have to be unlocked such as Assassin, Charade, and Berserker. Each system has an exclusive character as well: X-Box has Todd McFarlane's Spawn, GC has Nintendo's Link, and PS2 has Tekken/Namco's Heihachi. All three versions (unfortunately) have the new Todd McFarlane creation Necrid, A.K.A. the stupidest, most unfitting character in the game. Are not the designers at Namco good enough!? Next time, keep Todd McFarlane far faaar away from this game, as well as every other game without the name Spawn in the title. Ok? Ok. :bigsmile:
Back on track, the game plays pretty much the same as SC, which isn't a bad thing at all. The problem is that, besides the new characters, it's just that - Soul Calibur and not too much else (sorta like the difference between Street Fighter Alpha 1 and 2). SC players will notice that most of the animation for the old characters is exactly as it was before, even for most of the Exhibition Mode weapon demonstrations. Speaking of modes, the first thing you should do even before you play arcade mode is open a quest in Weapon Master mode (WMM for short) because then everytime you play through the game in any other mode it will give you gold for WMM. Speaking of modes, there's Arcade, VS, Time Attack, Survival (Standard, Death Match, and No Recovery), Team Battle, VS Team Battle, and Practice. Also, you can unlock an Extra version of each mode which will allow you to use weapons bought/earned in WMM. There's also a museum where you can unlock Art Galleries, Battle Theater, Exhibition Theater, Character Profiles, Weapon Gallery, and Demo Theater. The central mode is Weapon Master. This is where you'll find most of the hidden stuff, including weapons, costumes, backgrounds, modes, and characters. There are 10 chapters (not counting the sub-chapters and extra chapters), and in each one there are numerous types of battles for you to fight. Following one storyline, you must navigate your way through stages on the map, fighting in special matches such as having to use air or wall combos to hurt the opponent, hazards like explosives planted in the ground (so if you fall you'll go flying up in the air with additional damage), caged arenas, fighting multiple opponents in a row, dungeons, etc. When you win (and usually even when you lose) you gain money and experience. Once you've completed the story once, it starts over again--though with everything you've already completed still completed--but this time there's an added extra mission to every single stage. Also, it's in the second quest where you'll be able to access more hidden chapters on the map. Good luck finding everything in the game! Here's a bit of advice: don't just play Weapon Master mode and think you'll unlock everything from there, because you will not. And also, beating it on Extremely Hard difficulty will yield the same result as on Easy - you get 1,000 gold, considering you already have a quest open in WMM.
Aurally, it's pretty much the same as SC. That is to say, nice orchestrated pieces which are very fitting to the game's atmosphere and help drive home the urgency of dueling. I must admit, neither this nor the original SC's soundtrack can even compare to Soul Edge's, particularly on PlayStation where there are THREE EXCELLENT SOUNDTRACKS to choose from. The voice work is pretty well done, and you can select between both Japanese and English (and toggle on/off subtitles). It sounds pretty much like the original SC.
You'd be most unfortunate to not own Soul Calibur 2, the deepest fighting game alongside Virtua Fighter 4. It doesn't do too much different from its predecessor, but you know that old cliche: if it isn't broke, don't fix it. I don't mind the new additions though, and the game is simply beautiful nonetheless. At least Namco isn't a mimic of Capcom circa 1990's with the Street Fighter II conversions on SNES. Namco took their time to make a great addition to the series to whet our Soul Calibur appetites. And in my personal opinion they succeeded.

The official Soul Calibur 2 website ~ http://www.soulcalibur.com/index.php

And now, I humbly present to you....

Helpful Strategy and Combos for Xianghua
--Effective skills for winning--

My girl is Xianghua. I've used her since her introduction in Soul Calibur because of her overall potential for success in every range and situation. Her evasive skills are staggering, her deceptiveness only matched by one or two characters, and her variety of agile moves all adds up to who I feel is the best of the best.
Let's look at some of her most useful moves and how to apply them properly.

--downforward+B (Lian Hua Upper) - This fast-acting mid-range move can catch an opponent off-guard and makes for an excellent launcher which, needless to say, can efficiently set up many dangerous air combos. To make matters worse for your opponent, it's not only fast but effortless to pull off. The most effective use for this is either when you've exposed an opening (due to your opp. missing and still retracting) or as a suprise move. Watch for darters to try and bridge the gap. If they have a tendency to immediately follow up a dash with an attack, you can anticipate this and use accordingly.

--forward-forward+A (Striking Lian Hua) - This is an excellent mid-range move which you can use to immediately suprise an opponent at the beginning of a match. It knocks down the opponent on contact. When used on the CPU (any difficulty) you can almost always follow it up immediately with another. What I like to do is follow up the second with a throw such as A+G (Yuen Chuei Shaur). Right there, you've taken around 50% of your opponent's life bar! Like I said, this is an effective set for use on the CPU, but don't try this on a real opponent because it's susceptible to a Guard Impact. In order to effectively use this set of moves on the CPU on, say, Extremely Hard, the key is to either squeeze it in when an opponent misses a move or as a fast suprise move. Mix it up with other moves (in different ranges) for maximum effect.

--back-back+B (Vengeful Lian Hua) - Another mid-range attack but with special movement. One of her best moves, Xianghua jumps back before darting forward for the strike. This move is excellent for evading an opponent's attack (especially in-fighters like Taki and Talim) and immediately whacking them. This cunning move will agitate even the best fighter when used properly with a sound stategy. As well, it can become a Guard Impact to 'keep back' follow-up attackers by hitting back when the attack is (near) completed. Full command - back-back+B-back.

--A+B (Muu Jiann) hold down both buttons for a Guard Break - Though this move is a mid+mid attack which can be side-stepped easily, this is one of her most powerful moves, and it launches! Utilize this effectively when you've got your opponent up against a wall and let the air-combos fly. Be weary of repeated use; due to the stringed attack, the second hit can be Guard Impacted rather easily by good players.

--down+A+B (Yann Divide) - This low strike should only be used on downed opponents, or it can make an excellent finish up to an air combo. Due to its kinda slow execution (in contrast to most of her other moves) Xianghua is susceptible to a quick attack. However, it ducks beneath high attacks effortlessly. You can also use it as a suprise move if you're being aggressive because most players instinctively Guard Impact mid-range upon getting up so mix it with different ranged moves for maximum effect.

--Downforward+A+B (Lain Hua Cannon) - Another launcher, what makes this move tricky is the funny hesitation just before Xianghua executes it. Most people make the mistake of Guard Impacting well before the move even connects. From about mid-range, you can catch bigger opponents when they're busy oafing around, finishing up their attack animation. Be careful against aggressive, quick opponents such as Mitsurugi because all he has to do is throw out pretty much anything during the first few frames of the attack and he will probably beat you to the punch. You have to use it conservatively. Wait for an opponent to perform a stringed combo and side-step into it.

--aB (Lian Hua Twist Left) - You roll the A into the B immediately to perform this move. This move, when used immediately following others like forward-forward+A+B (Great Wall) can really mess with your opponent's game. You cannot afford to give somebody time to think about what is happening to them, lest they should find a way to work around this. So it has to be done as an 'on purpose' move to steal a little damage, and makes perfect sense to place right before a Yann Divide because it may confuse your opponent into Guard Impacting mid-range, exposing the lower area (both moves involve Xianghua lowering her stance, which is tricky to follow).

--forward-forward+A+B (Great Wall) - This is more of a keep-away move than anything else. It can be used as an embellishment after an air-combo, or it can be applied as a cadence to a wall combo.

Combos should only be done when you're able to use them effortlessly and responsively, without making a mistake. Of course, with the sheer amount of moves available and differing situations, there's a tremendous variety of combos available for use. Practice these few hard-hitting combos until they are second-nature. Then, learn how to effectively mix them into your game plan. The idea with these isn't to try and be the fanciest nor the most brutal, but ease of use and practicality. Do NOT attempt to force your opponent into any particular situation. Instead, let the situations create themselves and use accordingly.

--Combo#1--
First, catch them off-guard with Downforward+A+B (Lian Hua Cannon). This will launch your opponent. While opponent is in air, time the A swipe to hit your opponent and follow it up IMMEDIATELY with another Lian Hua Cannon. This deals about 30% damage. Once you've mastered it, it can become an effective, easy to perform staple in your inventory.
--Combo#2--
When your opponent is up against a wall, try and land A+B (Muu Jian) to knock them up into the wall. Hesitate, and just before the opponent's feet can touch the ground use B-B for her Elegant Rhythm combo. This will raise the opponent some more. IMMEDIATELY follow this up with another Muu Jian (both hits connecting) and you'll take over 50% of your opponent's life! This combo takes some work to get down pat. You may think it's difficult to set up your opponent for this, but just remember that it only takes one successful attack on your part to set the entire thing up (the Muu Jian). If that's not sufficient enough, you can use any other launcher and then use the Elegant Rhythm into Muu Jian if you'd like, though it may deal a bit less damage.
--Combo#3--
Set up an opponent to be launched with Downforward+B (Lian Hua Upper), hit B-B (Elegant Rhythm), and then hit them when down with another Lian Hua Upper (it connects on downed opponents). This does adequate damage at about 20-25% and makes a great combo for less experienced players to utilize due to its simplicity.

Xianghua is a great evasive character, as I've said. Of course, you must learn how to use her Guard Crushes properly in order to stand a chance against more experienced players. For example, hold A+K for her to perform a Hou Lee which will make her low spin towards the opponent twice and during the second spin hit B for her Lower Great Wall Punishment (a mid-range Guard Break). Also, in order to utilize her evasive moves properly you must always know what will happen as a consequence of directional movements linked into other movements, such as her Swallow Blade - hold downforward, then immediately follow into upforward+K-A (which is two high attacks). Why a move like this is effective is because Xianghua is moving rapidly during the entire sequence and then suddenly changes her course of direction. It has to be put into practice, as does everything else. Know how to use broken rhythm. That means, never keep a steady pace or pattern; be unorthodox and unpredictable, mixing up your attack ranges and sometimes even using hesitation as an effective tool of confusion. Strive for precision and effectiveness over flash. Work hard, and eventually your effort will pay off.

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Old 09-06-2003, 07:29 PM   #268
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You CAN play with Japanese voices! It is in the sound options menu. Thanks, Namco for including this.

I agree with Soul Edge/Soul Blade having the best music. I also thought it had the best intro. Then the Dreamcast had a comparable intro and it was all rendered by the system, so it was that much cooler. Soul Calibur 2 has the worst intro of the three, being FMV like Soul Edge, but not having any rhythm to the music or the action. Oh well, we don't buy the games for the intro (hopefully).

I also notice that many polygons still like to go through other polygons. A character falls face down on the floor and suddenly his/her sword or weapon goes THROUGH THE FLOOR! So do their arms, knees, and whatnot. You can see many examples of this glitch, like Mitsurugi's costume where it looks like he has a straw or a stcik in his mouth. It constantly goes THROUGH his clothes. I can't wait until polygons have solid properties.
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Old 09-06-2003, 08:39 PM   #269
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Originally posted by Joe Redifer
I also notice that many polygons still like to go through other polygons. A character falls face down on the floor and suddenly his/her sword or weapon goes THROUGH THE FLOOR! So do their arms, knees, and whatnot. You can see many examples of this glitch, like Mitsurugi's costume where it looks like he has a straw or a stcik in his mouth. It constantly goes THROUGH his clothes. I can't wait until polygons have solid properties.
what system are you playing it on?
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Old 09-06-2003, 09:38 PM   #270
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Xbox, but I have noticed this for all systems in many more games other than Soul Calibur 2. It, unfortunately, is quite common.
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