Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Halfway point

Well that last post for M was the halfway point of the alphabet and at the rate I'm going with the posts at the moment it's going to be pretty soon before I have to start thinking of where to go next with the blog. Obviously I'll be continuing with gaming related articles but whether it will be a structured thing again or not I have absolutely no idea yet.

I'd just like to take a moment to say a quick thanks to my followers and to everyone who comments on the posts, it's nice to get feedback and to interact with my readers, so thanks and here's to the rest of the alphabet.

M is for....

Mario & Yoshi

Game Boy

Another puzzle game in the vein of Tetris, woohoo, but can the combined force of Mario and Yoshi offer a challenge?

In a nutshell not really. The premise of the game is that you control Mario at the bottom of the screen who is holding plates whilst common Mario enemies drop from the top of the screen onto the plates, putting two of the same enemy together will result in them disappearing whilst catching two halves of a Yoshi egg will result in a Yoshi hatching, though for what reason I have no idea in all honesty. The enemies tend to drop two at a time and Mario can move along the bottom of the screen switching plates around to line up the enemies.

You would think that it would be fun but in all honesty I didn’t really find it to be that fun, if anything I found it to be a little bland. There are four different enemies that drop down which is fair enough but with the size of them Mario can only control four plates which doesn’t really give that much room for manoeuvre and after a while it just gets a bit boring.

Within the 15 minutes: Had reached level five.

Will I play it again? Meh, possibly but do own far better games in the genre.

Mega Man X: Command Mission


For Command Mission Capcom decided to change the traditional platform game play for Mega Man and instead produced a turn-based RPG, but does it work?

From what I played I would say yes. It’s by far no means perfect but I still found it to be quite enjoyable. The problems for me were just small niggles like random enemy battles, random as in there are no enemies around the levels, you are just walking around an empty room and suddenly the screen changes are you are fighting an enemy. I have no problem with fighting the enemies but it would be nice for a small warning. Also the rooms are rather empty with not much to do in them except for what the mission requires. One room you enter has some broken capsules which you need to look at, can you do anything else? Nope, you just look at the capsules which are marked by a flashing green symbol, talk to Zero and then leave, that’s it.

The one boss that I encountered was quite good and quite a tough fight but the rest of the enemies unfortunately were quite easy. If Capcom had ironed out the small niggles then this had the potential to be a great game unfortunately at the moment it’s just an alright game.

Within the 15 minutes: Chapter one boss.

Will I play it again? Yes.

Metropolis Street Racer


MSR was notable for introducing the ‘kudos’ system to the racing game genre, sadly they don’t get kudos from me for this game.

I’m not going to beat around the bush I found the controls to be absolutely atrocious and pretty much non responsive right from the start. The tracks have quite a few corners to go around but if you are going at any kind of fast speed you will pretty much guarantee to smack into the side of the track resulting in penalties resulting in lower kudos at the end of the race which is rather annoying as you need the kudos to unlock the next tracks. The only way to guarantee to get round the corner safely is to slow down about 3-5 seconds before getting to the corner and no I am not exaggerating with the time.

From what I played there were not actually any races against other cars it was all just drive around the track to beat the time limit which is all good and well but if it’s like that for the rest of the game it’s going to get boring rather quickly. All in all this is by far a good racing game for me.

Within the 15 minutes: Had won a car and completed three races.

Will I play it again? Doubtful.

Mission Impossible

Game Boy Colour

Mission Impossible really is quite an apt title as the game is rather stupidly and annoyingly difficult.

The aim of the first mission is to get to a stature, then enter a building and then enter another building whilst avoiding the enemy, sounds simple enough. Well it isn’t. The first thing you will notice (unless I just couldn’t see it) is that there is no map so trying to find all these things is a little difficult when every single building is almost exactly the same. The other really annoying thing is that you die with just one hit. Yes it makes it more realistic but when there are so many enemies around and when every time you die you have to start the entire mission again it can prove to be very annoying.

Despite lukewarm reviews I actually quite like the N64 version for some reason but this version just left me feeling quite annoyed and frustrated which is never good for a game.

Within the 15 minutes: First mission.

Will I play it again? It is not looking likely.

Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance


Back in the 90’s Mortal Kombat was a serious rival to Street Fighter II and a contender for the top fighting game franchise is that still the case here?

Well in this case I would say no. For me the game just felt clunky and not very enjoyable. To be honest there isn’t any particular major problem with the game it just feels a bit slow and bland compared to the likes of Soul Caliber and Dead or Alive. For this I decided to just go with the arcade mode (there is also a ‘Konquest’ mode where the player has to complete missions) and chose Scorpion as my player. One of the first things that I noticed was that your fighting style could be changed which consisted of two martial arts style and a weapon, in Scorpions case a rather nice and nifty sword. For the first four fights the AI didn’t throw up a solitary special move and it was only when I got to Sub-Zero in the fifth fight that the special moves came out.

On the plus side the different fighting styles and weapons are a nice addition and it’s good to see that 'Test Your Might' has made a comeback but overall there are far superior fighting games out there to play, unless for some reason you only own a Cube.

Within the 15 minutes: On the fifth fight.

Will I play it again? Maybe one day.

Monday, 29 November 2010

L is for....

Land of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse

Master System

Not Castle, not World but Land of Illusion starring the one and only Mickey Mouse in yet another platform game from the early 90’s.

To be fair a rather large chunk of the games from the 8-bit generation were platform games but Mickey Mouse did seem to get round a bit. In this game Mickey falls asleep reading a book of fairytales and upon waking up finds himself to be in a strange village. From there it’s the standard case of working your way through the levels to find the crystal at the end and then progress on the next level.

It’s by all means not a bad game but of what I played it didn’t seem to be a particularly good game either. You kill enemies by bouncing on their heads with your bottom or by throwing an item at them (which seem to be in short supply) and solve the occasional puzzle which does add a nice little element to the game. If you fancy a game starring Mickey Mouse then I would recommend picking up one of the other ones first.

Within the 15 minutes: Trying to complete the second level.

Will I play it again? Possibly.

Lemmings 2: The Tribes

Super Nintendo

The sequel to the popular Lemmings game in which I spent most of the time nuking the poor little fellows.

The game play for Lemmings 2 is pretty much exactly the same as the first game, you have a load of lemmings come out of the door, you get them across the puzzles and make sure that they enter the other door. Sounds simple enough but anyone who has played the first game will know that it is in fact not as simple as it sounds. I’ll be honest and admit that I was never really that good at the first game but still enjoyed trying to get the little lemmings to safety though as mentioned previously I probably spent more time nuking them.

One of the main differences from the first game is the addition of a lot more skills in this one, the original only had eight skills, this one had more than that on the first level alone. The skills included the likes of glue pourer, sand pourer, jet pack and roper. Even will all the additional skills I couldn’t work out the second level, don’t let that put you off though as it does seem to be a good game.

Within the 15 minutes: Stuck on the second level.

Will I play it again? I might give it another shot.


Sega Saturn

Take Smash TV; mix in some crazy characters created and designed with contributions from comic book writers and artists and you have loaded.

Loaded is your good old fashioned top-down shoot ‘em up with rather a lot of shooting as you face wave after wave of enemies who come pouring out of the rooms like there is no tomorrow, I was only playing on normal so heavens knows what the most difficult level is like. I lost a canny few lives but then that could also partly be because I wanted to make the most of the 15 minutes. You start of by selecting one of six characters (I went with Mamma who is actually a man in a babies outfit) due to having high armour and a Plasma gun. The gun starts off alright but as you kill more and more enemies you can collect upgrades with make for pretty cool weapons.

The first level was absolutely huge with having to find key cards to progress to the next section and finally onto the next level, despite it being a simple shoot ‘em up it looks like you may be able to get a good few hours out of the game and I would recommend doing just that.

Within the 15 minutes: Still on level one.

Will I play it again? Yep.

Lost Kingdoms II


Lost Kingdoms II is a card-based action RPG and the sequel to Lost Kingdoms which was also released for the Cube.

I went with the sequel as I’ve previously played the first one just longer then fifteen minutes and wanted to see what the second game was like. Well, from the short time that I’ve played them both they seem pretty similar, including the cards that are available. The cards contain monsters which pop out and attack enemies in various ways. The two types of cards which I got to use were ‘weapon’ and ‘independent’. Weapon when pressed releases a one strike monster which pops out, hits the enemy and goes back into the card; the card can be used three times before being discarded. The independent card releases a fully fledged monster that attacks the enemies on its own allowing for you to take on another enemy.

The only real sort of negative for me was the whole standing around waiting for the enemies to be defeated. When I unleashed an independent it took a couple of minutes to kill an enemy and after a while I just wanted to run forward to strike down the enemy myself, it’s not enough to put me off playing it again though.

Within the 15 minutes: Had completed the third mission.

Will I play it again? Yep, once I’ve finished the first one.

Lost Magic

Nintendo DS

Lost Magic is a game that utilises the DS touch screen by making the gamer draw magic spells to defeat enemies with.

The game is a real-time strategy game which on the one hand is good as some people prefer them to turn-based RPG’s (I don’t have a preference of either) but on the other hand for this game is actually rather a pain. To fight enemies you have to hold down the L button which brings up a Rune template on the bottom screen of the DS, you then have to draw the symbol of whichever magic spell you want to attack with, sounds ok so far. Well, rather annoyingly the enemies generally take more than one hit to kill meaning that as you are drawing the spell the enemy is happily standing away repeatedly hitting you. Add to this the fact that you have Mana points for the spells which runs out after about three spells (though does top itself up if you stand around) and the fact that you have a time limit on each round of enemies it can add up to a rather frustrating experience.

The game does have some nice ideas with having to draw the spells and the ability to capture enemies (which can also be done in Lost Kingdoms II) and turn them into an army which means that you can set them on one set of bad guys and take on another yourself but for some people the game may be rather annoying.

Within the 15 minutes: Had completed the training and protected the village.

Will I play it again? Yeah, was actually starting to quite getting into it.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

K is for....

Kid Chameleon


Considering the entire platform games that I have played over the years it did feel like Kid Chameleon offered a nice variety of game play.

Playing as the afore mentioned Kid Chameleon you have to make your way through numerous levels as per every and any platform game. The way you do this is to collect masks which change you into different characters which in turn give you different powers/weapons. The masks that I came across changed Kid into a Medieval Knight, a Samurai, an Alien and a Jason type character from Friday the 13th. Wearing the masks also gives you extra energy over what you have as a human.

The levels that you work through are also different each time due to generally being themed around the masks meaning that enemies and obstacles are different keeping the game fresh and the game play enjoyable.

Within the 15 minutes: Level six.

Will I play it again? Yeah, fun little game.

Killer 7


Killer7 was one of the releases from the ‘Capcom Five’ series and unfortunately didn’t sell that well, giving this a quick play it’s quite obvious as to why.

Now before you sit there thinking that this will be a negative write-up I can assure you that it’s not, I can just see why some people wouldn’t like it. The controls can definitely take some getting used to with the A button being used to move and the B button being used to turn instead of using the stick or D-Pad. If you don’t like cel-shading then you are definitely not going to like this and if you don’t like a guy in gimp suit hanging from a rope being your guide in the game then I would definitely give this game a miss.

I on the other hand don’t mind all of the above (including the guy on a rope) and thought that it seemed to be an interesting and intriguing game. Without giving anything away the ability to change your character at any point was a nice inclusion and with each character being completely different is an interesting concept.

Within the 15 minutes: Was just wandering around getting used to the controls.

Will I play it again? Yes, out of intrigue.


Master System

The concept of Klax is of a good old fashioned simple puzzle game, simple in name and difficult in nature.

The aim of the game is to line up different coloured blocks (bare with me) into three at a time either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Sounds simple enough but unlike other similar games the blocks are coming down a conveyor belt and you have to control a little device which catches the blocks and then manually drop them into the relevant space. The device can hold up to five blocks which sounds a lot but after a couple of levels the blocks start coming down fast.

It is quite a fun game and unlike other games it does give you an objective on each level like only being able to clear the blocks diagonally or only being able to progress after obtaining a certain amount of points. It’s definitely worth a quick go.

Within the 15 minutes: Was playing the fourth level.

Will I play it again? I will give it another go at some point.

Knights of the Temple: Infernal Crusade


On the surface Knights of the Temple seems to be just a standard hack and slash game, hopefully this will change the further you progress.

The premise of the game is that an evil Bishop has kidnapped a woman with divine powers and plans to open the Gateway to Hell. You play as a Templar Knight who must stop the Bishop and rescue the girl before the Bishop can fulfil his plan. Of what I played the game play pretty much consisted of running around fighting and killing evil Monks with the occasional find a key and put out a burning fire dropped into the mix.

Of the 15 minutes that I played there wasn’t much variety in the game but it seemed to have something about it that made me want to return to carry on, maybe it ill . Just a quick note for fans of rock/metal music, Dutch band Within Temptation produced the music for the game.

Within the 15 minutes: Was on the fourth section.

Will I play it again? Yeah, I’ll give it another go.

Kung Fu Kid

Master System

Kung Fu Kid is a good old fashioned simple 8-bit platform game where everything is very basic but somehow fun.

The game really is as basic as you can get. Each level only has two enemies repeated over and over again (though they do change on each level), the main character can only jump and kick but does have a special move of throwing an item by holding up and kick, every third level varies by changing the game play from running left to right to having to jump off walls up platforms and the third level boss is a frog!

Despite all of the above it is actually quite a fun and at some point’s a hard game with some of the bosses being quite quick and hard to hit. The enemies come at you at a rapid pace and it doesn’t let up at all, definitely worth a go.

Within the 15 minutes: Was on level five.

Will I play it again? It’s a possibility.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

J is for....

Jade Empire


Set in ancient China Jade Empire is an action RPG that could turn out to be rather interesting and intriguing game. You start the game by being able to select from seven characters (four male and three female) each with different characteristics which are fast, strong, balanced and magic. After character selection you quickly work your way through a tutorial, choose your weapon and then it’s onto the game.

You start off by having to visit two people in the town which gives you a chance to wander around talking to people. When talking to people you get a list of questions to ask the character, don’t worry about what order to ask in or missing out on questions because as far as I was aware you could ask all of them from your list. Depending on how you answer though can have an impact on your character and game ending. After this it’s onto a battle with quite a few enemies including ghosts which are rather easy to defeat.

During battle you have three bars which are health, focus and chi. Health is self explanatory, focus is used for weapons style and chi is used for three reasons which are to replenish your health, to charge up a powerful strike to deal large damage or to be used when casting spells. Once used the bar will run down until you replenish it from either a fountain or from orbs dropped by defeated enemies. It does add an element to battles as you decide to top up low energy or risk trying to wipe out the enemies with powerful strikes.

Within the 15 minutes: Had defended the beach.

Will I play it again? Yes at some point.

James Pond 3: Operation Starfish


Like with Alex Kidd I have fond memories of playing the first James Pond game in the series and unfortunately like Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle for some reason I just couldn’t seem to get into this third instalment.

Like my write up of Galaxy Force II I’m really struggling to think of anything really positive or negative to say about the game. I think the main problem was that I just found it to be rather boring and by halfway through the 15 minutes I was already thinking about the next game to play.

So on to the game play. Well it’s your pretty standard platform game, this one being set on the moon which results in the levels being given cheese related names such as Garden of Edam and Camembert Canyon, it’s daft but can bring a small smile to the face. Your weapons can consist of items like cheese, shoes and dynamite but beyond that there is nothing new to rave about.

Within the 15 minutes: On the third level.

Will I play it again? Maybe at some point in the future.

Jungle Strike

Game Boy

I still to this day think that Desert Strike is a fun and enjoyable game, can the sequel Jungle Strike live up to its predecessor.

In a nutshell pretty much yes. The sequel doesn’t really seem to be any different from the first game with the developers seeming to take the route of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, admittedly I didn’t get past the first level so it could be completely different later in the game but I very much doubt it in all honesty.

The game for me unfortunately had a few small niggling problems for me like the fact that I couldn’t seem to be able to pick up items or actually hit enemies and when I did they seemed to take quite a while to die. Overall it is a good game but I think I’ll most likely stick with the console version as despite loving to play on the Game Boy I feel that it is a game more suited to a TV.

Within the 15 minutes: Still on level one.

Will I play it again? Possibly but will most likely just stick with the console version.

Jurassic Park

Mega Drive

Completely different from the SNES game of the same name the Mega Drive version is a straight up platform game instead of the style of FPS.

Playing as either Dr. Grant or as a Velociraptor you have to make your way to the end of the level by killing either dinosaurs or humans depending on the character that you pick. Playing as Dr. Grant you get an array of weapons ranging from guns, darts and grenade style weapons. All do the same job of killing dinosaurs though some are kill quicker than others. Using the Raptor means that you can jump higher and have to kill humans by kicking or biting them but both objectives are the same.

The levels and game play take into account the differences between the two characters resulting in slightly different levels instead of just rehashing the levels which does make it not feel repetitive if you decide to complete the game with both characters. Whilst it doesn’t seem to be the greatest game in the world the fact that the levels are different gives it possible replay value.

Within the 15 minutes: Level one with Dr. Grant and level three with the Raptor.

Will I play it again? Maybe but possibly not.