Another Silent Evil, another set of games. This time it’s the reinvention of both franchises. First up is Climax’s take on the original game with Silent Hill Shattered Memories followed by the powerhouse horror action hybrid Resident Evil 4.
A title with a massive cult following, Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines was plagued with bugs thanks to rushed development. Once it was finally patched to good working order, the game didn’t seem to play nice with Win7+ operating systems until a recent final patch came along that makes the game easy to run and play. You can find that patch here if you own the game on Steam or GoG: http://www.patches-scrolls.de/patch/4647
Fred jumps in, makes a character (Nosferatu), and proceeds to play the opening missions. This is a quick look to get a feel for the game and was originally broadcast on our Twitch channel. This is to become a regular series with a different class character as Fred discovers the intricacies of this forward thinking title.
***NOTE: I know I suck at the game and I know Nosferatu is not a good starting point if you’ve never played. This was discovered after the fact but clearly hinted while we broadcast. A new series of Let’s Play videos will be coming with a new character class.***
Back by popular demand the Horror Obscura returns for another series of terror. This year, as well as discussing some horror titles you may not have heard of, I also wanted to revisit some games which are not necessarily considered horror but have horror elements portrayed in them really well. I’ve always been quite the fan of horror. When I was 5 years old one of my parents made the big mistake of allowing me to watch Stephen King’s It. Pro Parenting tip: Don’t let a 5 year old watch It they will think Tim Curry is terrifying, Home Alone 2 to me is terrifying with his inclusion (full disclosure I’m currently not a parent). Regardless of this experience I always held a kind of fascination with horror and think deep down we all sort of do. Whether its watching a scary film, playing a scary game or doing something scary like falling in love. Okay, I know this is a gaming blog not a life lesson but I feel we all sort of find horror even if its in media that doesn’t contain a monster as my first entry of the Horror Obscura 2016 will begin with.
For our premiere episode Fred and Jam are discussing The Monster Squad from TriStar Pictures in 1987. Directed by Fred Dekker and co-written by Dekker and Shane Black, the elevator pitch is five pre-teens up against five of the Universal Monsters. While it never quite caught on and lives today in cult status, The Monster Squad is a great contemporary way to get acquainted with those classic creatures from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Each episode is in two parts: one main episode on the movie and a feature-length commentary track. You can find the commentary track here.
In this first commentary, Fred gives you a feature-length rundown of The Monster Squad filled with industry info, background info, and some often overlooked moments in the film. Each episode is in two parts: one main episode on the movie and a feature-length commentary track. You can find the main episode here.
For whatever reason, the West gave up on the scrolling shooter genre back in the 90s. Sure, games came and went after the 32-bit generation, but for the most part series that had existed for decades like Gradius, Darius, and even R-Type ceased development. In Japan, however, the shooter – sometimes called shoot-em-up or the divisive shorthand of shmup – has evolved along with new franchises and coveted developers. Otaku, weeaboo (foreigners obsessed with Japanese culture), and shoot-em-up fans like myself remain aware and hungry for the new and challenging titles that come from the East. Of those modern franchises, there are few developers more notable than Cave and there are few franchises more recognizable than DoDonPachi. The name is a pun on both the literal meaning, angry leader bee, and the fact that “don” is onomatopoeia with bullet fire in Japanese. The story is somewhat irrelevant at this point, mostly because we never saw a release of any of the DoDonPachi series outside of limited release in arcades, but suffice to say it revolves around fighting various human fighters under the control of a large bee set on world domination. The “don” is fitting as well because your ship will be putting out literally hundreds of bullets every second and a sea of bright pink and blue bullet-fire will be coming back at you in retort. This sub-genre is known as danmaku (“bullet hell”), which is a fitting name given the minute-by-minute gameplay. Why does any of this matter? Because we’re finally getting a Western release of DoDonPachi DaiFakkatsu (aka Resurrection) on Steam that is part of an impressive resurgence of the genre for this region. DoDonPachi Resurrection is gorgeous, brutal, and feature packed to the point that both the veteran shooter fan and newcomers can find plenty to do and enjoy every potentially frustrating second.
There is no writer quite like H.P. Lovecraft and there’s definitely not a whole lot of games like Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth. A divisive title that is seen by some a tiresome game of pointless challenges while others revere it as the quintessential horror video game. Fred and Jam delve into the design, development, and campaign of this unique horror title.
For Fred’s triumphant return to streaming with Retro Game Night with two games you’ve (probably) never played.
First up, in honor of horror and October, is Laplace no Ma (loosely translated to Laplace’s Demon) that is a hybrid survival horror and dungeon crawling RPG. Developed by Group SNE and published by Vic Tokai on the Super Famicom, this is a unique 16-bit follow-up to the concept first started by Sweet Home. Thanks to a fan translation, it is now playable in English.
To wrap up the show, Fred takes a look at the recently unearthed prototype cart of Shadowhawk, based off the Jim Valentino comic of the same name. Originally planned to release on the SNES in the early 90s, this 2D side scrolling platformer was lost to time and lack of a publisher only to be discovered nearly two decades later. You can find this ROM here and it is playable in emulators or on actual hardware via flash cart.
What is Horror 101? Why it’s the new horror movie podcast from Fred and Jam of Gaming History 101. This show will be a separate format, topic, and feed from the traditional show, but what better way to give a sneak peek than a brief introduction on the main feed? In this first episode Fred introduces you to the format, why the show is happening, what you can expect, and a brief history on the types of horror that existed each decade until the flood gates opened in the late 70s/early 80s.
A fan translation of the Sega Saturn version of Policenauts has been released. It can be found here. There you will also find the original Playstation translation as well, but read on to discover why you may want to go with the Saturn.
We love Policenauts here at Gaming History 101. You can read a review on it, listen to a game club, and even hear a choice song from the soundtrack in one of our music episodes. This is significant because the Hideo Kojima title was never released outside of Japan and never officially translated to English. There was a fan translation of the version on the original Playstation in 2009, but it has some compatibility issues that can arise and the shooting sequences don’t support light guns, making them brutal. On the other hand, the Saturn version is a bit more of a remake than a port with better graphics and even light gun support. As of yesterday you can now get an English translation patch for the Saturn version and get to play the most definitive version of this great title.
Fred’s Take: This news is huge to me. First off, it allows me to play (and hopefully finish) the game on an actual console. I started a video capture of the PS1 version, but struggled greatly with the shooting sequences. Upon beating the highway scene at the end of Act 2, I was then confronted with a save bug that I never could figure out how to overcome. I was able to complete the game thanks to emulation, but it never felt right with a keyboard, mouse, and save states. Hopefully with the help of my chipped Saturn and trusty Virtua Cop light gun I can finally play Policenauts as intended on original hardware.