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Metal Gear Solid Review

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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.

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Written by Fred Rojas

August 18, 2015 at 11:00 am

Parasite Eve Review

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Parasite Eve was born from the JRPG rush that flooded onto the original Playstation in the West after the success of Final Fantasy VII.  During this time we see many new franchises that never left Japan coming over to the West as well as several franchises from the days of the 16-bit era coming over as enhanced ports on the PS1.  Square Enix, one of the top developers and publishers of JRPGs, decided to create a Western-focused action RPG that was developed by Americans working closely with some of Japan’s top talent.  The result is the survival horror and RPG hybrid Parasite Eve, that doesn’t quite capture the hearts of either fan, but is an undeniably unique title.

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Written by Fred Rojas

July 1, 2015 at 8:00 pm

Podcast: Parasite Eve Game Club

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It’s not quite a survival horror, but not quite an RPG.  It’s not quite developed in Japan but hardly a sole USA product either.  Needless to say whether you’ve played it or not, there aren’t really other games with the development history or style of Parasite Eve.  Beloved by those who played it back in the late 90s, this Squaresoft RPG with action elements that hit during the PS1 JRPG boon has its place among Square’s robust catalog.


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Written by Fred Rojas

July 1, 2015 at 11:00 am

Suikoden Review

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Suikoden has always been regarded as one of those many staple JRPGs that graced the North American Playstation with its presence after Final Fantasy VII paved the way for the genre to become mainstream in the United States.  In contrast to Square’s innovative title, Suikoden is a transplant from the late SNES days and  to a certain extent its 16-bit roots show (and not just graphically).  Couple that with developer Konami being relatively new to RPGs itself and you see why the overall game feels like a dated throwback to the days before even Final Fantasy IV or VI (II or III in the US), but despite these shortcomings there is the foundation of a much stronger title.  Oh yeah, and did I mention that the game has up to 108 playable characters?

suikoden_plotSuikoden is based off of the Chinese novel Shui Hu Zhuan (which basically translates to the same name) that tells a tale of politics, religion, revolution, and social unrest, which is somewhat common of Eastern storytelling in classic literature.  You play as a hero – named whatever you choose – that enters into the posh world of being the son of the empire’s top military officer.  It’s early in your life and no one respects you yet.  When your father travels off to the north to protect the borders, an adventure unfolds that has you not only questioning everything you know, but lands you as the rebel leader for the army opposing the empire.  There is, of course, a lot more to it than that, but for the sake of the review and your enjoyment with the game, we’ll leave it there.  From the very start you can tell that Suikoden is going to throw more characters at you than you may be used to.  Some of the earliest missions you partake on have you hot-swapping up to six characters, many of which will join your party along the way and you’ll be using in battle within moments. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

May 29, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Playstation, PS3, PSP, Reviews, Vita

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Clock Tower: The First Fear Gets Fan Translation

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A fan translation of the enhanced PS1 port of Clock Tower, known as Clock Tower: The First Fear and only released in Japan, has been released in a patch from user “arcraith” on romhacking.net.

I don’t know if you’re as big a fan of Clock Tower as I am, but unlike the 3D installments that existed on the Playstation 1 and 2 in the US my big draw is the original released on Super Famicom (SNES) and only in Japan.  What sticks out about this title is that unlike the sequels it’s a 2D point-and-click adventure that has lots of scares, intense moments, and violence.  This makes it somewhat of a successful version of what games like Phantasmagoria were hoping to accomplish.  A fan translation of that version is available if you’re interested, but there was a Playstation re-release that had enhanced graphics, new scenes, and – my personal favorite – FMV sequences added in.  Unfortunately just like its original Super Famicom release, this was the only game in the series not to make it to the west yet again (probably due to the translation/localization cost).  Thanks to a new English localization, you can easily patch an ISO to play the game localized, in English. If you missed it, the link for that is in the opening sentence of this post. Hopefully this works well on a modded console and I can enjoy this game on real hardware, otherwise I will most likely stick to my flash cart translated version on the SNES, but it’s a great game that everyone should play.  Perhaps it would make a good game club?

Source

Written by Fred Rojas

May 5, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Bust-A-Move 2 Arcade Edition Review

bam2_boxPlatform: Arcade, Playstation, Saturn, N64, Gameboy
Released: 1996-1998
Developer: Taito/Probe
Publisher: Taito/Acclaim
Digital Release? Yes, but only on the Japanese PSN (of PS1 version)
Value: $3.50-$10 (disc/cart only – all platforms), $7-$15 (complete, all but N64)/$25 (complete N64), $30-$40 (sealed)

Bust a Move 2 Arcade Edition was a popular title released on the Sony Playstation, Sega Saturn and N64. While the concentration of these systems was to move gaming into 3D, Bust a Move was a game that kept its feet firmly in the 2D realm, and it still does to this day. All versions are ports of the very popular arcade game and all versions are arguably fantastic ports, bringing that vintage arcade experience home. For this review I’ll specifically be covering the Playstation version.

bam2ae_2I have always enjoyed the Bust a Move series. I have played the majority of the entries on home consoles and arcades. The most memorable game from my younger days was Bust a Move 2. This was literally in every arcade in my area. It ran on Taito’s F3 hardware and could be found in dedicated arcade cabinets and later the Neo Geo cabinets which were becoming increasingly popular. Bust a Move 2 was one of those arcade game where I would literally watch the demo screen over and over again even after I ran out of money to sink into the cabinet. There was something rather hypnotic about watching, maybe because I have always had a fascination with arcade puzzle titles, or maybe its because I’m a utter fan boy for Taito games, especially the Bubble Bobble games of which this series is a spin off from.

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Written by jamalais

April 29, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Mini Podcast: Bust-A-Move 2

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This month we have been tasked with covering three games and Jam was the first into the gate with his Playstation 1 reflection of Bust-A-Move 2.  The follow-up to the original game, better known as Puzzle Bobble in arcades, this was one of the many instances where home console ports began to catch up with and properly port over the arcade experience.  Jam and his special guest delve into their reflections on this classic cooperative puzzle game.


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Written by jamalais

April 24, 2015 at 11:00 am

Now & Then: Mortal Kombat 3

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Mk3

Switching It Up

mk3_1A lot happened both in the talent pool of Mortal Kombat players and in the game design overall between the release of Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3 (MK3).  For starters there was a mass exodus of on screen talent due to royalty disputes, so almost no one from the original two games returned for the third release.  In addition, Boon and his team were trying to turn Mortal Kombat into a viable fighting game with things no one had ever seen before and mechanics that could compete with the massive rush of fighters in arcades.  The game was completely Americanized, with all hints of Eastern influence including symbols, locales, and the soundtrack completely absent without a trace and instead replaced by urban stages, 90s hip-hop soundtracks, and cyborgs replaced the signature ninjas.  These locations were now composed of pre-rendered 3D backgrounds and the character sprites were almost totally digitized as opposed to the digitized/hand drawn hybrid of the previous games.  Along with it came an overhaul of the controls, including combos and a “run” button to address rightful claims that defensive players ruled the previous title.  It’s all one giant 90s metaphor but that doesn’t change the fact that MK3 (and it’s update Ultimate MK3 or UMK3) stands as the moment I felt the series went into the mainstream fighter territory.  Couple this with the fact that it was on just about every console that existed at the time, still dominated arcades, and had more content than rival Street Fighter II could ever dream to do with its iterations and I see why it’s creator Ed Boon’s favorite.  Mortal Kombat 3 definitely upped the ante.

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Die Hard Trilogy Review

Die_Hard_Trilogy_CoverartPlatform: Playstation, Saturn, Arcade
Released: 1996
Developer: Probe
Publisher: Fox Interactive
Digital Release? No
Price: $3.92 (PS1)/$15.99 (Saturn) – Disc Only, $5.49 (PS1)/$24.99 (Saturn) – Complete, $14.95 (PS1)/$62.97 (Saturn) – Sealed according to Price Charting

Die Hard Trilogy was released in the early days of the Sony PlayStation and was generally well received. We were all excited for this because 3D was becoming big as developers looked to leave the 2D style of game in favour of the blocky 3D models.  Also this is Die Hard, one of the coolest film franchises ever, so why wouldn’t people want to play this? Well time has passed and the dust has now settled. Is this game really as good as we remember, or has it gone the way of the film franchise?

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Written by jamalais

April 2, 2015 at 11:00 am

Alien Trilogy Review

Alien_Trilogy_boxPlatform: Playstation, Saturn, Arcade
Released: 1996
Developer: Probe
Publisher: Acclaim
Digital Release? No
Price: $5.75 (PS1)/$11.64 (Saturn) – Disc Only, $14.47 (PS1)/$21.99 (Saturn) – complete, $74.99 (PS1)/$34.99 (Saturn) – Sealed according to Price Charting

Alien Trilogy was developed and released in 1996 as the bigger budget, larger team, and more experienced group making a full scale Doom clone alongside the presumed B-Team at Probe Software.  That other team was set to make Die Hard With a Vengeance to release alongside the film and eventually widened scope to release the Die Hard Trilogy.  Two games, each with its own take on large popular franchises in the 20th Century Fox vaults, and trying to hit it big.  Did Alien Trilogy succeed by cloning the more popular franchise and game genre?  Find out after the jump.

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Written by jamalais

April 1, 2015 at 3:23 pm

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