Archive for the ‘Xbox’ Category
Microsoft’s big clunky box from 2001 may have been laughable at first, but whether you were aware or not it hit like a limited interest storm that holiday. From a certain shooter to the catalog of Sega and a myriad of PC ports, there’s no denying the Xbox started to bridge the gap between console and computer. Fred and Jam duke it out once again with 40 more of their favorite titles to see which 10 remain in this month’s Top 10 Xbox games.
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Many of you may know the story behind the original Halo, and for those that don’t we have this trusty podcast from a while back. It’s one thing to hear it and it’s quite another to see it. This documentary series shows off the initial MacWorld reveal of Halo in 1999 when Steve Jobs himself introduced what was to become a real-time strategy (RTS) title, the progression to a PC squad-based shooter in 2000 at E3, and the final reveal as a first person shooter on the Xbox in 2001. After seeing how it progresses we then get about half an hour of developer commentary on the various decisions made in the development process to result in the finished product you know as Halo: Combat Evolved. This video and the gameplay footage in it are owned by Microsoft and Bungie.
Of Fred’s 3 random games he has to cover this month, one was a sports game that apparently was the best hockey game on the PS2. NHL 2002, developed and published by EA, touts funny announcers, crazy gameplay mechanics, and some of the smoothest action for the generation. Fred gives it an initial go and if nothing else, exploits the unbalanced nature of the AI on both sides of the difficulty spectrum. More coverage and a review to follow, but here’s the initial 30 minutes and it ends with a Sum41 song, woo hoo game license cross-promotion!
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: Xbox, Playstation 2, PC (both the original and the just released Remastered Edition)
Released: 2005 (worldwide)
Developer: Quantic Dream
Digital Release? Yes – Available on Xbox 360 as an Xbox Original and Remastered is on Steam ($9.99 for all versions)
Price: $8.00 (disc only), $10.99 (complete), and $46.97 (new/sealed) per Price Charting (prices are for PS2 version, Xbox/PC versions a bit lower due to re-release)
Fahrenheit (aka Indigo Prophecy in America) is one of those games that attempted to create a interactive film experience. Some excepted this concept with open arms, some people frowned on it proclaiming it technically wasn’t a game. Well several years has passed since that fateful release in 2005 so lets see if Fahrenheit is still worth investing in.
Fahrenheit’s story has you following three character Lucas Kane a 9-to-5 IT worker who has a fondness for reading Shakespeare in diners, Carla Valenti a young cop who is claustrophobic and Tyler Miles, Carla’s police partner and your typical comic relief in a cop duo but he likes basketball, which is ok in my book. Essentially New York as well as the world is starting to get cold, really cold and bizarre murders are occurring round the city where normal folk are killing innocent people then themselves. I won’t spoil the story too much as it is the games strongest draw. What I will say is the game is filled with a fair few twists and turns playing out very much like a film, if it hooks you from the beginning it is very likely you will play through to the end.
This week Fred and Jam are throwing around fighters of the 90s (that aren’t Street Fighter II or Tekken, we did a show for those already). In the 1990s, the fighter genre was the most popular type of game available (like First Person Shooters today), and among those that have withstood the test of time there were plenty of others that played the field. From Mortal Kombat to Soulcalibur you had plenty of arcades (and home ports) to drink your quarters in arcades.
This week, and for the first time ever, we are using emulation to capture a Beats of Rage engine remake, Night Slashers X. This was originally a 1994 Data East arcade beat-em-up that got ported over with extra violence on the open source brawler engine, Beats of Rage. This also marks the first video in full 1080p HD! Watch for more HD videos, most of which should be in 720p or 1080p in the future.
This week Fred and Jam are discussing the misadventures of Master Chief, at least in terms of the Bungie developed ones. What started out as a Real Time Strategy (RTS) title for the Mac ended up ironically being the launch title for the Microsoft Xbox that has withstood the test of time and is to this day one of the strongest properties in gaming.
Console: Playstation 2, Xbox, Wii
Digital Release? Yes, PSN version compatible with PS3 for $9.99
Price: $24.77 (disc only), $26.88 (complete), $56.88 (sealed) per Price Charting
Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly is a sequel to the original horror PS2 hit that brings more of everything. More ghosts, more places to wander around and more pictures than a bachelors degree in photography. But is this game a picture worth hanging on your wall or maybe more suitable as a Christmas greeting card?
After surviving the mansion incident from the first game you find yourself now playing as a totally different character in a different setting. This time you play as a young girl called Mio Amakura and occasionally your messed up twin sister Mayu. After becoming lost in Minakami forest you stumble across a village. What could possibly go wrong here? Well it doesn’t take long for you to figure out that the place is haunted with the tortured souls of its dead inhabitants as well as that something weird is affecting your twin sister Mayo. The plot is completely separate from the original Project Zero title. The only main link being that you find the Camera Obscura, which is the same device in the first game, as a weapon. You use it to snap the things that go bump in the night – this time its an entire village as opposed to just a mansion. The plot of this game is rather complicated and felt quite hard to follow. Like the first game, there are several documents littered around the place providing you with some background information on what happened to the village and its inhabitants.