Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Metal Gear (MSX) Review

leave a comment »

metal_gear_title

No, don’t be confused this is not Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation or the reboot (Twin Snakes) on the GameCube. It’s also not that Metal Gear game on the NES that everyone played in American and absolutely no one played over here in Europe (quick commentary at the end if interested). Nope, this review is for the very first Metal Gear game released for the MSX microcomputer way before the Solid days and back when Kojima and Konami were better friends. This is a game no one had played in America (until the re-release) and was slightly more popular in Europe. This game along with the MSX sequel titled Metal Gear: Solid Snake (not to be confused with the NES sequel Snake’s Revenge, which is not cannon nor Kojima developed) are both available on the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection on Xbox 360, PS3 and PS Vita. They are also available to play on Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence on PS2. For this review I will be covering the PS Vita version but after spending some time with the 360 and PS2 versions, they’re all pretty similar with very minor differences.

Metal Gear puts you in the shoes of a rookie soldier with the code name Solid Snake. Your job is to infiltrate a place called “Outer Heaven,” rescue the hostages, and destroy a new weapon that can launch nuclear missiles called Metal Gear. It’s very likely you’ll be going back to play this game after one of the other titles in the Solid series. So, you probably have some familiarity with the plot and most likely know about the twist at the end. Everything is presented in text and unlike any other game in the series the story sections of the game are short and sweet. Even though I knew exactly where the story was heading it was still interesting to see how it reached that moment.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jamalais

August 24, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in NES, PC/Mac, Reviews

Tagged with , , , , ,

Metal Gear Solid Review

leave a comment »

mgs_top

There were so many excellent games that came out on the original Playstation that certain paramount titles could pass you by.  The reasoning is actually two-fold because you may not have missed them – I was acutely aware of the presence of Metal Gear Solid when it released and even played a little of it – but it was back in a time where if a game didn’t click with you, typically you would shrug it off and move on to the myriad of other titles out there.  That was my experience when I first played Metal Gear Solid.  I remember having a heck of a time sneaking to the elevator in the beginning, even harder time getting into the vents outside Shadow Moses, and by the time I find the D.A.R.P.A. Chief only to discover most people got there in 20 minutes I was so frustrated I just quit.  It would appear I not only passed on one of the best games on one of the best consoles of all time, but that I was abandoning a series that stands quite high in my top game franchises of all time.  That’s the thing, though, when you look back on Metal Gear Solid.  It broke so much ground and basically invented the stealth mechanic (after two earlier attempts I might add) that it’s easy to appreciate it but there are a heck of a lot of caveats if you’re going to revisit it today or play it for the first time.  It has much more historical value than replay value, although I did have a smile on my face most of the time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

August 18, 2015 at 11:00 am

Extra Credit: Sega CD/Mega CD Top 10

with one comment

mcd_post

It’s that time again where Fred and Jam bring a whopping 40 games to the table to judge, debate, explain, and dissect until the elite top 10 get lined up and find out who takes home the coveted top spot.  Be sure to submit your personal list for the Community Top 10!


Download this episode (right click and save)

Written by Fred Rojas

August 17, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in podcast, Sega CD/Mega CD

Tagged with , ,

Life is Strange Episode 4 Review

leave a comment »

life_is_strange_logo

Please Note: Many reviewers out there seem to think it is appropriate to discuss the events of previous episodes of Life is Strange as if everyone who would read it damn well should have already played the previous episodes.  It has been my experience that if you have held out this long and haven’t already played this episode then you are most likely wondering how the game progresses throughout the season and will decide whether or not to buy when all episodes are out.  This is why each episodic review is spoiler free for the entire season, not just this episode.

Episode 4: Dark Room

life_is_strange_ep4_1We have arrived at episode 4, nearing the end of the season and who knows, perhaps this episode contains the major climax for the arc.  I say this without assurance because episode 3 had such an unexpected cliffhanger that I didn’t think it was possible to get me again.  I was wrong.  That being said I need to come right out and say I was a little unimpressed overall with episode 4, proving that the warning I gave in the first episode’s review may have actually come to fruition.  Whereas episodes 2 and especially three can begin to fork based off of your choices and possibly even suggest that two playthroughs is more of a recommendation rather than an option, episode 4 is forcing you down a corridor.  Granted, it’s a well calculated corridor that presents itself with the illusion of choice, but I’ve seen this trick before in The Walking Dead series from Telltale and without sounding catty, I thought Dontnod was above that.  There’s a decent amount of substance here still, with the story having easily its highest moment yet as the episode closes and again there are some strong emotional scenes that make up a very heavy episode.  One thing I do find a bit troubling is the fact that as certain plots unfold, others are left almost unmentioned, which nets a lot of catch up, wrap up, and resolution required for the fifth and final episode.  I’m just hoping that it remains as interactive as the others have been and doesn’t become the 90 minute ending of Metal Gear Solid 4.  Dontnod has yet to convince me they don’t know how to craft a story and without a doubt they know how to catch my interest, here’s hoping the ending stands as strongly as the jaw-dropping cliffhangers of previous episodes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

August 13, 2015 at 11:00 am

Street Fighter (Fighting Street) Review

leave a comment »

fighting_street_intro

One of the most common questions I have been asked in regards to fighting games is, “why is Street Fighter II a sequel?  Where is Street Fighter?”  An understandable question, especially when you consider that the original Street Fighter was released in arcades a whopping four years later, plays completely different from its sequel, and was called Fighting Street in its only US console release (on the Turbografx-CD no less).  If you’re a fan of Street Fighter II, the concept of getting to see where the series starts is tempting to say the least (and now completely possible without expensive hardware thanks to the virtual console and Capcom Collection), but you’ll soon find that Street Fighter is much more of a proof of concept rather than a fighting game that pre-dates the record setting sequel.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

August 11, 2015 at 11:00 am

Shadow of the Beast II Review

leave a comment »

Writers Notes: In an attempt to make my comeback in game reviewing I wanted to get nostalgic again and revisit the first video game review I ever wrote. But since film and game developers seem to love to remaster everything, I thought I would jump on that bandwagon and re work my old review. Enjoy and hopefully you will see more content from me soon. Today I am going to revisit the 16-bit hit Shadows of the Beast II on the Sega Mega Drive developed by Reflections Interactive and published by the late Psygnosis. I decided to return once again to this brutally challenging game and see if I still remember how to play through what is a relatively short experience (if you know what you are doing).

shadow_of_the_beast_ii_1

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jamalais

August 10, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Alpha Protocol Review

leave a comment »

alpha_protocol_header

Alpha Protocol is a game designed around choice, optimized for espionage, and works really hard at having you roleplay as the type of secret agent you want to be.  During our game club podcast, we all would refer to our handling of Agent Michael Thorton as “being in character,” which goes a long way in telling you just how immersed in the game one can get.  Before you go thinking this means you’ll feel like a true secret agent, there are many aspects of Alpha Protocol – the most notable probably being the game glitches and bugs – that will remind you time and time again that this is a game and tethered to the tropes of such.  Still, as time has gone on and the fact that we have rarely seen games quite like it, Alpha Protocol has had a lasting impression and subsequent cult following that we not so warmly embraced when it released up against the likes of powerhouses like Mass Effect 2.  It’s time to take a critical eye to this self-proclaimed “Espionage RPG” and figure out if it’s more James Bond or Maxwell Smart.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jamalais

August 6, 2015 at 11:00 am

Shenmue Review

with 5 comments

Shenmue_intro

The life simulator genre is quite popular in Japan, but it seems that every time it makes its way to America or Europe, the titles are mostly seen with contempt.  A handful of games have transcended the trip from the East to the West, but these titles have appeared more recently save for the one standout: Shenmue.  Originally planned as an AM2 title for the Saturn led by Yu Suzuki, Shenmue ended up being a near-launch Dreamcast game that was seen as an influential powerhouse for gamers of the time.  It now sits as one of those games that is only appreciated by the smaller avid fan community, but looking back at reviews almost every outlet that existed in 2000 loved it.  Although it has now been 15 years since its release – and despite the fact that until recently I had never played it – Shenmue‘s draw, attributes, and puzzling attraction are just as present now as they were the day it released.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

August 3, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in Dreamcast, Reviews

Tagged with , , ,

Retro Game Night: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (NES)

leave a comment »

This week Retro Game Night features Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom for the NES.  One of the many games that had a non-traditional arcade-to-console port, this licensed product was significant because it was an unlicensed Tengen game and then eventually became an officially licensed Mindscape game, so there are two identical versions in the wild.  Fred goofs around with it a bit to give the general gist.

Written by Fred Rojas

August 2, 2015 at 1:48 pm

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City with Fred and Jam

leave a comment »

Fred has never played Operation Raccoon City and after it was mentioned on the most recent Silent Evil Episode, he finally decided to join veteran to the game and co-host Jam for a co-op session.  This is the result.

Warning: This video contains adult language and graphic violence.  The chat language is quite offensive as well.

Written by Fred Rojas

July 26, 2015 at 11:00 am

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 277 other followers