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The Countdown Horror Obscura – Day 6: Resident Evil Gaiden

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Day 6: Resident Evil Gaiden

Resident Evil Gaiden is very much the misunderstood step child of the Resident Evil series. Capcom likes to put it in the corner along with its other B-list Resident Evil titles like Operation Raccoon City and Mercenaries 3D and pretend they just don’t really exist. Unfortunately like a lot of Capcoms other industry mistakes some of us can’t forget the past. I for one feel Resident Evil Gaiden is a portable title that though flawed, brings a unique take on the series formula with incredibly restricted hardware.

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So stop me if you haven’t heard this one from the Resident Evil series: you play as a anti-Umbrella agent who intercepts a passenger ship on the sea and soon finds it has been overrun by monsters. Well before the series copied its own idea literally twice in Dead Aim and Revelations, Gaiden was the game that some would consider the genesis of Resident Evil’s small obsession with campaigns on a boat. The agent you play is the greatest character from the series Barry Burton. Except now you finally get to play as this beard faced hunk of manliness. I am aware he’s also recently and finally been allowed to have his own campaign in Revelations 2 but Resident Evil Gaiden was for the longest time the only way for Burton fans to get their fix of the man with the best one liners in the series history. Anyway, back to the game. Barry is basically on the ship to find Leon Kennedy but along the way he comes across a young girl who seems to be the only survivor of this horror as well as a B.O.W who has the ability to morph into human form. One of the main reasons I think Gaiden is absolutely fantastic and I wish this was an actual cannon to the Resident Evil story is because of how it ends. If you really don’t want a pinnacle part of the plot to be spoiled for you then I advise you to skip the following paragraph because I’m about to explain the ending.

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Written by jamalais

October 28, 2015 at 3:00 pm

The Countdown Horror Obscura – Day 5: Manhunt

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Day 5: Manhunt

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Manhunt is a game that I feel to this day I have to tread very carefully when I discuss it. This was one of the very few titles that was actually banned in the UK due to a very unfortunate link to a horrific news story which I will not be discussing in this article. With that short intro out the way lets get into why I’m featuring this title in the Horror Obscura.

I view Manhunt as a title in time with those gore fest films like Saw only a lot worse. Manhunt is a game that is really uncomfortable to play. For starters you don’t even play the good guy, you take control as James Earl Cash who is a pawn in a game where he is directed by a psychopath known as “The Director,” to brutally murder members of gangs and other crazy people. This game is incredibly dark and not for everyone. There are no redeeming qualities to Cash either. He is bad, he kills without remorse and even when he does meet support characters he has no interest in making friends. This is a rare video game that forces you down the dark path. If you are able to get past this you will actually be in for quite an impressive stealth title.

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Written by jamalais

October 27, 2015 at 11:00 am

The Countdown Obscura Horror – Day 4: The Immortal

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Day 4: Will Harvey presents The Immortal

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Back in the early 90s my brothers and I were playing happily on our Mega Mega Drive (Genesis) with happy jolly games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage and Road Rash. Nothing scary there, right? Then we were given this little game called The Immortal. I’m not even entirely sure how we came to acquire it, I mean it was probably purchased for one of my older brother as a gift but my theory was it had appeared in the scary abyss that was our loft in a sorta “Book Of the Dead” like discovery. I remember the cover alone of this game scaring the hell out of me. It’s a skeleton like Grim Reaper with a horrific grin on his face as he cuts up the title of the game with his scythe.

Things weren’t much better for me when attempting to boot this game up as a young lad. The first screen you are greeted to is that scary skeleton again only this time his eyes are glowing red because that’s really helping with the fear factor. Keep in mind at this stage there were no age restrictions introduced on video games so with me being the curious young lad I was, I insisted on continuing forward. What I soon realized was, I was playing as a Gandalf like wizard who is running through dungeons where literally everything wants to kill him, and it was terrifying.

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Written by jamalais

October 26, 2015 at 11:00 am

The Countdown Obscura Horror – Day 3: The Suffering

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the_suffering_boxDay 3: The Suffering

A prison, what an ideal location for horror and dread. Several games have visited this locale, the most infamous being Batman’s Arkham series and the recent Prison Simulator on PC, a game I’m surprised was not released 2 years ago. When it comes to horror Surreal Software took the prison as there main location and created something special with the 2004 release of The Suffering.

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Written by jamalais

October 25, 2015 at 11:00 am

The Countdown Obscura Horror – Day 2: Master of Darkness

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DAY 2: Master of Darkness

Master_of_Darkness_CoverartThe Sega Master System how I do love this 8 bit system. You know poor Sega never got Castlevania until the Mega Drive/Genesis so it was up developer SIMS (Soft development Innovation Multi Success) to fill that void. How this developer is still going to this day I don’t know, but I’m going to boldly state that Master of Darkenss is the best game this company developed. Other honourable mentions include the Dreamcast port of House of the Dead 2 and the best fishing game ever, Sega Bass Fishing on the Dreamcast and later the Wii.

Now before you Americans shout at me and say, “its actually called Vampire: Master of Darkness,” I will politely remind you that in Europe the “Vampire” part was removed.  Maybe because of censorship, similar to how Ninja Gaiden turned into Shadow Warrior, but this is not always clear. Vampires were scary guys in the 90s (so were ninjas for that matter). In Japan this game was In the Wake of Vampire and it also came out on Game Gear.

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Written by jamalais

October 24, 2015 at 11:00 am

The Countdown Obscura Horror – Day 1: Extermination

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Introduction

As a countdown to the that inevitable spooky day I wanted to release a series of articles showcasing horror games that deserve some attention. This will include some new, some old, some obscure and possibly even some you haven’t even thought of before.
Even though I live in the UK and Halloween is another American holiday that has sneakily invaded this region I absolutely love horror in film and especially gaming. I always felt horror in gaming is far more effective as you are usually put in a vulnerable position that you are in control of. In film its hard to do horror well as you’re of course watching other people, but that is maybe an article for discussion at a later date. So enjoy this little mini series of some horror games I feel deserve your attention.

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Day One: Extermination

I really wanted to start with a game I think many may not have heard of, and if you did your probably thinking “what, that terrible launch PS2 title?”  Yes fictitious internet nerd, that one.

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Metal Gear Solid 3: Which Version Should You Play?

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First off the original vanilla PS2 version. I really didn’t care for this game that much back in the day and I deliberately left it until last as I thought playing the four other versions would make playing this easier, nope. The original version of the game runs off a similar engine to Metal Gear Solid 2 which means your camera is super restricted. You can use the left stick to slightly pan the camera, but its pretty useless. You’ll spend most of the time playing this game in a stop start pattern. What I mean by that is if your going full stealth you’ll move forward slightly then stop, go into first person view and check the surroundings and then repeat this process every five steps. Some may argue this makes the game more difficult and stealth but in my opinion this is not fun. Every additional version of this game fixed this problem by allowing you full control of the camera so you can rotate it around and see enemies so much easier. It makes the game just that much more playable and fun with this addition alone. For that reason I say avoid the original PS2 version unless you’re a die hard fan of the game and want to see it’s roots.

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Written by jamalais

September 1, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Genre Study: The Niche Game

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I’m sick of hearing the phrase, “nothing is coming out,” in relation to video games.  That’s not true, so many games are coming out on a consistent basis that we cannot even have a single day of the week they all release.  What I feel most people mean is “there’s nothing coming out that interests me.”  That’s a much more fair appraisal.  Depending on your interests or tastes in games, this summer can either be chock full of great releases or a barren wasteland with nothing new to experience.  Personally I am enjoying Batman Arkham KnightGodzilla, looking forward to cracking the seal on Onechanbara Z2 Chaos, and of course the Mega Man Legacy Collection and Rare Replay retro efforts soon to hit.  Aside from perhaps Batman, the rest of these games fall into a specific category that has grown a lot of steam lately: niche gaming.  Niche gaming, much as the title suggests, caters to a dedicated but specific audience – not one unlike the audience here at GH101 I might add.  It’s easy to scoff at niche titles, especially when you consider that they often have frequent sequels that don’t appear to iterate much.  It’s good that these games exist because they are essential to keeping the experiences of gaming as a whole strong, not to mention they’ve been around as long as gaming has.

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Written by Fred Rojas

July 21, 2015 at 3:00 pm

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MGC 2015: Pinball’s Future is Emulation

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pinball1Depending on who you ask, perhaps pinball shouldn’t even be on this site.  It’s not a video game at all and in truth the only thing pinball even has in common to video games is that they both tended to occupy one another in arcades, bowling alleys, bars, and various other popular locations of the 70s, 80s, and 90s.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t appreciate both and thanks to some great physics engines and crafty programming games like Zen Pinball/Pinball FX and Pinball Arcade exist and do a nice job of bringing that thrill home.  But it isn’t pinball.  No friends, those of us who love pinball and played the games growing up would not consider T2 on Pinball Arcade to be the same as sitting in front of the cold steel original pinball machine with the gun handle for a launcher.  At the same time a T2 pinball machine runs you around $2,000-$3,000 and that doesn’t even factor in getting to and into your place of residence, so the relatively cheap $10 price for the table on console is a better option for most of us.  If you buy the actual pinball machine you’ll probably enjoy the game for less than six months before it needs service of some kind – assuming it was in perfect working order when you purchased it, which is almost never the case.  Even if you have a pristine new Stern pinball machine that gets professionally set up, routine maintenance and cleaning is part of the role that any pinball owner has, whether it’s handled by the owner personally or they have a professional come out for routine service.  That’s why pinball is a much larger investment than arcade machines: you have to know how to care for an afford to maintain it.  Not only that, but the machines are specific so you can’t just drop a T2′s guts into a Funhouse machine without a lot of time, effort, and basically rebuilding it.  All of these factors are why pinball emulation may be the best option for the average pinball enthusiast that’s ready to pony up that initial investment, but doesn’t want all the hassle of actually owning a pinball machine.

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Written by Fred Rojas

April 15, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Midwest Gaming Classic 2015 Recap

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MGC-BannerLogoLgThis weekend, thousands gathered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to celebrate the Midwest Gaming Classic (MGC), the Midwest’s largest retro gaming show and I was lucky enough to attend.  While the convention proper didn’t officially start until Saturday, Friday night was chock full of great activities and great people already eager to get a sneak peek at what MGC 2015 had to offer.  I hadn’t been to MGC within the last few years due to my daughter being born and me moving out of the local area, and in that short time it has grown from a Convention that took over chunks of the Sheraton to completely taking over the hotel itself.  There are perks to that, of which this article will discuss, and if you wanted to spend 48-72 surrounding yourself with games, gamers, and optional sleep, that was completely possible.  It was a blast, complete with Gaming History 101 having its own panel, and whether we are invited back or not, GH101 will be at MGC 2016.  Here’s an overview of just what the show had to offer and what you can expect where you to attend next year.

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Written by Fred Rojas

April 13, 2015 at 12:53 pm