Archive for the ‘PSP’ Category
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.
Not the most popular console among the GH101 community, but thanks to a handful of people we have a short, but delightful list of games beloved on Sony’s first portable. Be sure to give it a listen and find out what’s coming up for our July Top 10. We didn’t write out the top 10 because the podcast is so short (10 minutes) and it would spoil the fun. Go listen!
For this month, Jam and Fred are discussing the top 10 games for the Playstation Portable (PSP). Despite being an emulation and piracy machine from the moment it released, the PSP is not only an impressive piece of hardware but it also provided a library of great software. Clearly some games stand out on both our lists but what was most impressive were the rock solid titles that one of us never even knew existed. If you look at the full article you can see our top 10 without listening to the podcast.
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 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 »
Switching It Up
A 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.
Platform: Arcade, microcomputers, NES, Master System, Game Gear, SNES, Genesis/Mega Drive, Xbox/Gamecube/PS2/PSP (part of Midway Treasures)
Digital Release? Yes, it had a digital release on XBLA (360) but was delisted in Feb. 2010
These days there is a good chance any gamer is familiar with the “twin stick shooter”, a concept where you move with the left stick and shoot with the right. Back in 1982 when fantastic game designer Eugene Jarvis premiered the concept in Robotron: 2084, it was unlike anything we had ever seen. The merits of that game, and what it brought to video games, cannot be denied and if you want an idea of how Robotron played you need look no further than recent neo-retro release Rock Boshers Dx. It wasn’t until almost a decade later, in 1990’s fantastic Smash TV, that Jarvis along with a talented team at Williams created one of the most addicting arcade games from my youth. Set in the year 1999 – oh how we thought so much was going to change with the year 2000 back then – Smash TV has you and potentially one other person shooting it out in a room-to-room TV studio playing the most violent game show of all time (Running Man anyone?). It takes the building blocks of Robotron: 2084 and brings it into the nineties by giving you a second player, having you kill tons of humans instead of rescue them like in Robotron, and of course you’re doing it all for cash prizes to selfishly grow your wealth. I loved it then and I love it now.
With the ever increasing improvements to video games – top of the range PCs with graphics cards that are able to show realism that get closer and closer to the real thing – as a gamer you really start to question how games could get any better. Then comes along a game called Rock Boshers that shows us that the evolution in gaming of not necessarily going forward, but backwards.
Rock Boshers is very much a love letter to the ZX Spectrum gaming days. The game happily advertises that it pulls from a palette of just 15 colours and even mimics the music the old micro computers from the eighties was capable of. Rock Boshers is not the first game to give love to the old microcomputer, the ZX Spectrum still gets a lot of love to this day with homebrew games being regularly released (Retro Gamer magazine which is a popular read in the UK, discusses popular homebrew released every month). Rock Boshers is one of the few ZX Spectrum inspired games as far as I am aware that has made it to Steam and even the PS4 and PSVita (the latter being the version I’ve reviewed).
The PSP, the portable console that really failed to catch a audience in the west. In this article I come out and defend the poor console which seems to receive a surprising amount of hate in the gaming community. Ok, so the little analogue nub is a bit irritating and the battery life is a bit naff and there are some questionable models of the console that are just flat out awful.
A little background on my experience with the console. I avoided this system like some handheld plague mostly due to the horrific world of mouth the console received from my brother who owed the system as well as the gaming media itself. Its not hard to find some entertaining YouTube video that pokes fun at the attempts Sony made to market the system and how it was destroyed by the Nintendo DS in sales. Anyway, one fateful day I was visiting my parents and on clearing some junk from my old bedroom I came across my brothers PSP model 1000 which was so unloved it was shoved behind the radiator and just left there. Since by this stage in my life I was doing incredibly long commutes on the train on a daily basis which would take up to five hours of my day I was desperate to fill the void of boredom. iOS games at this stage were starting to be a big thing but they just didn’t do it for it. Try playing Bejeweled for 5 hours, you will have the most creepy nightmares you never thought possible, or maybe that’s just me. So I refurbished the poor PSP, gave it a new battery, brought a large memory card off ebay at a incredibly cheap price and then proceeded to load the system with PSone nostalgia. I owned a lot of games already as I owned a PS3 by this point. From there the rest is history, my train commutes suddenly flew by as I listened to podcasts and played PSP. Some time later I managed to acquire a red PSP model 3000 which is lighter and just runs better. I also started to enjoy games for the console itself as opposed to just sticking to the oldies. Despite owning a PS Vita I still find myself reaching for the console everytime I go away, have work trips or just want to play on the sofa while my partner watches something on telly. So yeah I dig the PSP.
Even with more modern handhelds now on the market like IOS and android mobiles, the 3DS and even PSVita, let’s see if I can convince you that the PSP is a console still worth adding to your retro collection.