Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category
This week we are tackling quite possibly the two most popular titles of survival horror: Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill 2. Resident Evil 2 was scrapped only a few months before completion and completely redone, resulting in many of the staples that carried the franchise forward and stands as a fan favorite. Meanwhile Silent Hill 2 waited until the Playstation 2 hit the market and with one of the creepiest atmospheres of all times redefined what horror gaming could be. We openly discuss the notable aspects of both.
This week we’re covering a lot of ground in a little bit of time. Not to be outdone by the upcoming Wii U Smash Bros, Sega fans made a Genesis/Mega Drive homebrew of classic Master System characters and levels duking it out entitled Sega Master System Brawl and we check it out. Then we move on to a color enhancing hack on Streets of Rage 2 that is said to bring it closer to SNES quality (and we put the original’s gameplay in the corner for comparison). Finally we play the Famicom Disk System (FDS) title Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic! which you all probably know better as it released in the US as Super Mario Bros 2 on the NES. Like Streets of Rage, we put the original gameplay in the corner for comparison. This was played on original hardware with either original games or a flash cart for homebrew/hacks, no emulation. To keep load times quick, the video is not embedded and can instead be linked by clicking on the graphic.
This week the boys are talking all about the Gameboy Advance. Nintendo’s successor to the extremely popular Gameboy was touted by many as the SNES in your hands. Well it was a lot more than that and we’re talking all about the crazy library of games that reminded us how fond we were of the 16 bit era.
This week we are talking about Capcom’s survival horror titles in a dinosaur-infested facility, Dino Crisis and Dino Crisis 2. A testing ground for new survival horror mechanics, it’s interesting to see the decisions made in what is one of the more interesting two titles of the original Playstation’s late titles.
This week for Retro Game Night we are playing Dino Crisis 2 to wrap up the game club for June and trying out the fan service that is Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Edition Ex Plus Alpha (Dash). Click on the pics below to be taken to the videos (we do not embed videos to improve site load times).
No it’s not a typo (just an inside joke), but we are actually talking about Data East and Data West. This includes the games they developed, published, and even the pinball titles available. It may not seem it, but Data East was a limited and significant developer of the mid-late 80s and just about all of the 90s.
Also be sure to check out the ASCII RPG/roguelike Sanctuary, for free, at the following address: http://blackshellgames.itch.io/srpg
One of this week’s Retro Game Night titles kicks off the June game club with 1999’s Dino Crisis. Click on the box art above to view the video. From Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, this game was simply put as Resident Evil meets Jurassic Park, even at the admission of the game’s characters. In this video we play the first hour with commentary and get you set up for an interesting take on the survival horror genre. We are doing both the first and second game for June, so watch for the sequel coming in two weeks.
Console: Sega Genesis (Mega Drive in Europe/Japan)
Developer: Now Production
Digital Release? Yes – Wii Virtual Console (US/Japan only), also as an unlockable on the 2010 Splatterhouse on 360/PS3
Price: $35 (used, cart only), $87-$105 (used, complete), No known New pricing (all prices according to PriceCharting.com), $8 (VC), $4-10 (used 360/PS3 copies of 2010’s Splatterhouse)
Now I remember very fondly getting this game with my brothers when we were younger. My dad deliberately chose it for us because of the title since he was a fan of horror and gore. A game, whether brand new or pre-owned, in our household was rarer than a UFO sighting when we were younger so we relished in any game thrown at us. Splatterhouse 2 shared a special place in our little hearts.
The story of Splatterhouse 2 will depend on your familiarity with the first game released in arcades and the TurboGrafx-16. The basic plot is you are Rick and you have a mask which looks a lot like the Jason Voorhees hockey mask (he was the killer in the Friday the 13th series) and your job is to rescue your girlfriend, Jennifer. The mask is known as the “terror mask” or “hell mask” depending which version of the game you own. The mask gives you super powers and also sort of possess you as it talks to you during small cutscenes between levels.
Spoilers: The paragraph below spoils the plot of the original game. You may wish to skip it.
Towards the end of the first game your girlfriend turns into a horrific beast which you have to kill. However, killing the monster also kills Jennifer and you see a very sad scene where Rick holds her in his arms. This essentially leads into the second game where you are instructed by the mask to return to a separate house and rescue Jennifer from the land of the dead.
My first ever experience of the game I had no clue what was going on because the UK intro sequence was censored and just says, “go back to the house,” which seems rather hilarious since the game doesn’t censor any of the gore or graphic scenes in this game. You were not told why you were going to the house either, just shut your mouth and do it .
Graphics are pretty cool in this game. This game is able to achieve a moderate horror tone while using a wide variety of colours. Rather than being lazy and settling for shades of brown and grey, enemies come in reds, purples, and even pale colours. Even the blood varies in colour, but this is nothing compared to the amazing presentation of each end of level boss in the game. Every boss looks well thought out and pretty grotesque, suiting the horror feel of the game. Most bosses also have pretty spectacular death scenes, which is rather satisfying on finishing off a boss that is particularly tough to defeat.
The music in Splatterhouse 2 is just fantastic – though I do hold a lot of nostalgia from my childhood – and I feel still holds up even today. Level music is well suited to the horror environment, but the music you will notably remember is the boss music. It’s so epic and fired up you somewhat wish some boss fights would not end so quickly so you can listen to the soundtrack more. Sound effects are pretty satisfying too from the buzz of the chainsaw to Rick sounding like he is having an orgasm when he dies (it’s hilarious). Some enemies also make irritating shouts and screams but this only adds to the immersion of the experience and your desire to shut them up with a fist punch to the face.
Gameplay is fairly standard; Splatterhouse 2 is a platforming beat-em-up where you punch, jump, and that’s about it. You can duck and kick too and if you’re really skill full you can do a slide kick, though as a kid I found this really hard to pull off but does double damage if achieved. For some reason you can press up on the D-pad and Rick will face the wall looking like he is going for a pee, whereas actually this is probably old code from the first game when Rick could climb ladders, alas no ladders here Rick, you just look funny. Throughout the game you will also come across weapons, like the pole, which splats enemies on the wall, the boat oar that flings enemies into the horizon, and the good old shotgun which just blasts the entire top half of an enemy’s torso off. In fact even using just your fists results in enemies receiving a rather grim end, and for a game with no rating (in any country worldwide) at this stage it was impressive developers managed to get away with this level of gore.
This title is difficult but not impossible. You will probably rage quit this game on your first playthrough. On standard difficulty you have three lives and four hearts of health which are lost very easily by touching enemies or falling in traps. The game is pretty unforgiving as there are so many things that can kill you, but through practice and memorization of the levels you will find yourself eventually flying through them. If you die on the boss but still have lives left you can restart from the beginning of that battle. If you lose all lives you have unlimited continues but you have to restart the entire level from the start, and levels in this game are not short; this applies even if you’re on a boss segment. There is a password system in place, which is shown on the continue screen should you wish to continue at a later date. Once completed, though, there is not much reason to re visit the game straight away unless you want to try your luck on a harder skill setting.
Splatterhouse 2 is a very fun game for fans of horror and the 16–bit era. It certainly does its own thing and deserves a playthrough even today; however for those not fond of frustrating difficulty or gore may want to sit this out. This is a great horror classic but will probably only be remembered as a cult classic as opposed to a “hidden gem” to most gamers. Either way this title has a special place in the collection for Genesis/Mega Drive owners willing to show it some love and attention.
Final Score: 3 Out of 5 (You can see our review score policy here.)