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Horror Obscura 2018: Dark Castle (Mega Drive/Genesis)

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In the past Horror Oscura I have explored games which are focused around horror and the use of horror in games you would not class as a horror title.  This year I wanted to go back to my childhood and re-visit one of my biggest horrors: Dark Castle on the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis in North America).

Back in my childhood I was scanning the cheapest of the used Mega Drive titles in the retailer “GAME” on the South Coast of England when I came a came across Dark Castle. This was back in the 90s, I saved up my cash long and hard to treat myself to a video game. At a young age I was drawn to dark themes and games that just weren’t well known so Dark Castle, matched that category. Looking at the box now though one may question what I was thinking. The front of the box has a gargoyle on it stuck like old Clip Art on a background of a castle entrance. Not particularly appealing. The back of the box quotes, “climb the ramparts of the Dark Castle and dethrone the Black Knight.” An interesting quote but not a lot to go on. Keep in mind in the UK the back of the box often had a very short description of the game in multiple European languages. The instruction manual also included translation for 6 European languages. Flipping the back of the box over I guess it was the screen shots that appealed. Pictures of a eyeball creatures with hands, zombies looking monsters. Back then the game cost me £12.99 (the price sticker is still on my copy to this day), some may consider that a horror to itself.

So what is this game about? Dark Castle is a 2D adventure platformer. The game is presented as single screen levels most of which you just need to reach the end to survive. Some will require you to solve some head scratching puzzles. As young Duncan your objective is pretty simple: defeat the Dark Knight. However, to do this you need to complete three quests as outlined in the instruction manual titled “Trouble,” “Fireball,” and “Shield.” Completing the latter two will give you a item that will help you in your quest, more on these later. When you begin the game you are literally presented with four doors. Two doors have a “?” the other two “BK” with a shield. BK of course stands for Black Knight. If you are brave enough you could just attempt to take on the Black Knight and finish the game super fast, this goes against what the instructions advises but it can be done. Not so easy if you choose the Hard difficulty setting though. If you go in blind in the game you just have a choose a door and hope for the best.

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Written by jamalais

October 29, 2018 at 11:00 am

Unravel Two Review

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At E3 2015 a shy developer named Martin Sahlin walked onto the Electronic Arts (EA) stage and announced his passion project Unravel, developed by Coldwood Interactive. This would be the first game to be part of the “EA Originals” program, where EA helps fund small independent game projects and allows the developer to keep all the profits (after repaying the funding and also publishing/marketing budgets). Despite how you personally feel about EA as a company this is proof that sometimes there is heart even in a big corporation like EA. While the internet would take note of the developers nerves and fragile presentation for the time it felt real and it was clear Unravel meant a lot to Sahlin. In all honesty I would struggle to talk in front of a large audience even if it was about something you loved.

Unravel was a cute, puzzle-based platformer where you play a character made out of wire and yarn. The game had beautiful music that moved me in ways that I rarely experience in games. I guess it was made even more unique and special to me because the reception for Unravel wasn’t favourable across the board. My partner loved watching me play Unravel too. I loved Unravel so much that in preparation for my wedding in 2017, I decided to make 112 Yarny dolls myself in accordance with the number of guests attending (another game inspired decorations but that’s a tale for another day). We knew a sequel was on the way, EA had reported it had been successful, and the developers were already at work on it. My partner and I would theorize what the sequel would be like, with the biggest wish on the list being the inclusion of local co-op; this seemed to be the best evolution of the series. E3 2018 rolls around, Unravel Two gets announced, and both my wife and I leaped for joy. Then we leaped a second time because it was revealed the game was available on the day of announcement and includes co-op. I was so eager to purchase the game I refreshed the Xbox One store page six times as well as switching the console on and off again twice just so I could purchase and download it. I rarely get this excited for a game on launch.

Its taken me a while to get to the actual review of Unravel Two, but I felt the above paragraph was important as it discloses how much the original game meant to me and additionally how difficult it was to write the following review.

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Written by jamalais

July 5, 2018 at 11:00 am

E3 2018: EA Play Impressions From All Games Radio (AGR)

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To open E3 the All Games Radio Network combines Fred (B-Team, GH101), Andy (42 Level One), Sworen (The B-Team Podcast), Beardy McWhiskey (Future Monkeys), and Jamalais (GH101) to discuss the EA Play press conference.  With conversations from Battlefield V to Anthem, there’s no lack of impressions on EA’s great introduction to E3 2018.


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Co-Operative Episode 2: A Way Out (aka Screen Splitters Episode One)

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For our second episode Jamalais is teaming up with his wife Me10dy and they are discussing A Way Out.  This show was also supposed to be the first episode of their new show Screen Splitters.  Developed by Hazelight Studios (Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons), you are forced to play with two people at all times.  Our duo discuss development, their feelings, the campaign, the ending, and final thoughts.

Warning: Spoilers are sprinkled in between 18:03 and 54:15.  43:50 begins a heavy spoiler dicussion about the ending.

Opening Song: No Sugar in my Coffee by Caught a Ghost (E3 2017 trailer song)

Closing Song: Farewell (Uncredited)

Both songs can be found on the A Way Out official soundtrack.


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Written by jamalais

May 28, 2018 at 11:00 am

GHX Ep. 23: Sick Trees

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This week we officially resurrect Gaming History X and kick it off talking about…almost nothing related to video games.  Trees is sick, Fred saw Tomb Raider, and no one drank on St. Paddy’s Day.  The conversation quickly turns to games as the two discuss “indie AAA” games, why Burnout Paradise Remastered totally holds up, the expulsion of loot crates from Battlefront II, and the abysmal game that is Haze.

Opening song includes a track used, with permission, from Ozzed.
Closing song is a sample from Shamroctoroc by Doctor Octoroc.


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Written by Fred Rojas

March 21, 2018 at 11:00 am

E3 2017: EA’s 2017 Press Conference Impressions

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The day has come, it’s officially E3 Press Conferences Day 1 of 3, completely focused on Electronic Arts (EA).  A panel with Fred, Heffe, Jam, and Normii get together to discuss what they saw and what they thought.  At the end they also speak of predictions going into Day 2 and Microsoft/Bethesda.


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Written by Fred Rojas

June 10, 2017 at 10:00 pm

Podcast: The Shepard Legacy (Mass Effect Trilogy)

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This week Fred and guest Matt Bradford re-visit the Mass Effect trilogy.  Although GH101 tackled this with a previous episode, it was time to go back to the well and delve a bit deeper into the mechanics, evolution, and critical opinions placed upon one of the most significant series of last generation.

The referenced Annotated Symphony of the Night can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFmpodGI3Jk 


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Written by Fred Rojas

March 22, 2017 at 11:00 am

E3 2016: All Games EA Press Conference Impressions

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Electronic Arts had its annual press conference that featured announcements on Titanfall 2, Madden ’17, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Fifa ’17, Fe (EA Originals), Star Wars titles, and finally Battlefield 1.  A team from All Games Radio consisting of Fred, Esgee, Andy, Derrick H, Yogi, and Jam got together to have heavy discussions on the announcements and the upcoming year with EA.


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Written by Fred Rojas

June 12, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Podcast: …Shepard…

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One of BioWare’s largest gaming achievements would have to be Mass Effect.  In the follow-up to Jade Empire, and after 3 years of development, the original premiered on Xbox 360 and established the closest example to Star Trek in gaming.  An entire universe was literally developed for the series and despite some stumbles here and there, the Mass Effect series is of the most notable from last generation.  Join Fred, Jam, and special guest Me10dee as they delve into the world of Commander Shepard.


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Written by Fred Rojas

January 20, 2016 at 11:00 am

Jade Empire Review

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The original Xbox was a system with some incredibly gems on it that really didn’t receive much appreciation until near the end of the consoles life cycle. The game developer Bioware were all about the Xbox with their main hit on the system being Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic then later down the road in 2005 they brought out one of the most overlooked titles from the company Jade Empire.  Jade Empire really never found its audience, even to this day. Just mentioning this title to people today brings question marks in peoples minds. I remember seeing the game in an Official Xbox Magazine and being incredibly excited by the screen shots. Then the game came out and people just sort of forgot it was there. Today the game is passed off as one of the weakest titles in Biowares back catalogue.

Jade Empire is a Western developed action role-playing game (RPG) you play as a martial arts hero that you choose at the start of the game. You can choose between 5 set character models (6 if you have the limited edition or special edition), you can choose to go with pre-selected stats or you can customize the heroes stats yourself. You unfortunately can’t customize your characters appearance which is a shame considering Bioware’s previous Star Wars title allowed you to alter your characters appearance.

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Written by jamalais

January 7, 2016 at 11:00 am

Posted in PC/Mac, Reviews, Xbox

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