Archive for January, 2008


Monday, January 21st, 2008

Most of the Atari 2600 games can be summed up in one or two sentences max. Kaboom! is no exception. There’s a ‘Mad Bomber’ at the top of the screen dropping bombs and you have to catch them in your buckets of water to defuse them. Every time you miss you lose a bucket, lose them all and it’s game over.

Okay, it’s kind of lame, and I knew that when I was playing it. Still, it was kind of fun for a little while. Especially since I got it at some yard sale or other for a pittance. So I didn’t feel very ripped off.

Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

Fighting games usually have a plot, but it’s not very important. It’s just a flimsy pretext to have people beat each other up.

I would presume that this game is tangentially related to the first Street Fighter game, but I’ve never actually played it or seen it anywhere. But that relation isn’t important. All you need to know is that there is some kind of evil organization running a martial arts tournament and folks from all over the world are competing. Each character is distinctive and unique. Bear wrestler from the USSR, yoga master from India, boxer guy from Las Vegas, the two identical generic martial arts guys (one from Japan and one from the USA), and a few more.

I played this game a lot. I played it in the arcade, I played it at home, I played it against friends, I played it against strangers. Essentially I used every excuse I could think of to play this game. I don’t even know why, I was never that good at it. I just really liked it for some reason. Until Capcom started refining and rereleasing this game. Then I started fawning over them instead.

Resident Evil 4

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

I never really got into the Resident Evil thing when it first made the rounds on the original Playstation. Mostly because I didn’t have an original Playstation. I did get the remake of Resident Evil 2 for the N64, but I still haven’t opened it. Someday I will…


I did, once the remake of the first game came out, decide to try my hand at the series and found it to be pretty awesome. So when the fourth game on the series was coming to the ‘Cube, it was a no-brainer to pick it up. It stars Leon, the guy from the Resident Evil game I haven’t opened yet, on the hunt for the president’s daughter, who’s been kidnapped. Kind of a trite story, but you don’t need to worry so much about that. What you do need to worry about is the island and mansion full of zombie-like things running around trying to kill you. See, unlike the other games, the people in this game haven’t really been zombified, they’ve been… Well, I don’t think I should spoil it for you. Suffice it to say, ‘they ain’t right’.

On the GameCube, this game is gorgeous. It’s easily the best looking game on the system, hands down. It doesn’t really play like the older Resident Evil games, though. The older games had you going through some area or other, solving rather obtuse puzzles to proceed, and had the rare odd gun battle. This one has lots of gun battles and the odd (or sometimes very odd) puzzle to solve. It’s kind of interesting, since you’re not beholden to solving puzzles to slowly open up doors, you are able to explore a huge amount of game space, killing native villagers along the way.

I don’t think I can say enough good things about this game. I will say, though, that it certainly earns its ‘M’ rating. Young ‘uns need not apply… at all. But if you have the constitution for it, I’d highly recommend it.

Within Range / I’ll Get It

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a librarian? To shelve books according to the Library of Congress Classification System? Well, wonder no longer! The game simulation you’ve been waiting for is here!

I played this game for about two minutes before I gave up. I have it on good authority that classifying and arranging books can be fun, but not this time.

Give it a try here if you’re really hard up for something to do. As an added bonus, there’s another game with slightly more action to keep you occupied called I’ll Get It. Can you help patrons locate the material they need before they give up on you and leave? Do you dare take part in the digital representation of library life?

Do you?

Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

I really like the Crazy Taxi games. They let me live out my fantasy of being a cabbie in an impossibly souped-up car from the safety of my couch.

Crazy Taxi 2 was a bit disappointing. It added some new mechanics and was pretty fun, but I just didn’t really like the new map as much as the old one. This might be because I spent a lot more hours with the original game, and was more familiar with its layout. 3 follows the tradition set forth by 2 in that you have another new map and four new drivers. Otherwise, it’s identical to the second game. Pick people up, take them where they want to go, get money, repeat until obscenely rich.

What I really liked about this game is that they included the map from the original game and kept the ‘jumping’ ability and the multiple customers introduced in the second game, which for me would completely justify the purchase of this game… if I had an Xbox to play it on.

Being able to do the jumps in the first game, something you weren’t originally able to do, makes the map a load of fun. It helps if you’ve gotten familiar with the jumping from the second game, and the dashing and drifting in all the games. And since I managed to complete the ‘training challenges’ in the first two games, I certainly am. If you’re not… well… I understand that this game has ridiculously-hard skill-honing challenges too.

Mega Man – The Power Battle

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

The games in the Mega Man series are pretty good games on their own, but they’re really about one main thing: fighting other robots and using their powers as your own. Everything else? Just gravy.

So what would we have is we stripped out the adventure mode and most of the story? We’d have Mega Man – The Power Battle.

This game is set up more like a fighting game than a straight action game. It’s you, as your Mega Man protagonist of choice, in a series of battles against the robot masters of Mega Man games past. You don’t fight all of them, just selected bosses from the first seven games, and then only eight. Win and you get the boss’s special weapon. Lose… well if you lose you have to put in another quarter and continue or walk away from the cabinet in shame.

I was only able to find this game one place: in the arcade of my local Super K-Mart, and once I did, I went there every Friday night / Saturday morning for the next several weeks… until the K-Mart shut down. I didn’t hear anything else about this game for years until the Mega Man Anniversary Collection came out. I immediately snapped it up, and now am quite pleased that I don’t have to go on any more midnight lurks to get my fix.

Wario Ware: Smooth Moves

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

All of the Wario Ware games manage to be largely the same and yet wildly different at the same time. Their difference really lies in their control schemes. And with the Wii using a motion-sensing wireless controller, the possibilities opened quite wide for control options.

Yeah, you could hold it like a remote control, or like an umbrella, or a pen, or a steering wheel, or like a boxer, or numerous other things. And you have to change up these ‘forms’ as they’re called to make progress in the game. It really plays just like every other game in the series, you get a game, a vague goal, and about 5 seconds to figure out what to do and then do it. Nothing groundbreaking, but it really works here.

But! As fun as this game is (and it is a certain amount of fun) the real fun in this game is getting some folks together to play it. Watching someone play this game is easily as fun (if not more so) as playing. You can check out this video of some guy (not me) playing. Look for the money shot around 3:27, that’s when we get to see the best game on the title: Hula

So,yes, the real value of this game is making your friends look like fools playing it, while joining in, of course. Easily one of the best games to introduce the unfamiliar to the Wii and its unique controls.

Kirby’s Adventure

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Since the Wii came out with it’s… erm… ‘Revolutionary’ ability to allow you to purchase and download old games for discontinued systems I’ve taken the opportunity to check out some of the games that I missed when they originally made the rounds for one reason or another.

Kirby’s Adventure has you taking control of a pink ball-like guy with the ability to suck up and copy the special abilities of his enemies. He has to use his fantastic abilities to save Dreamland from not having any more dreams. You know, don’t worry about the story. It’s a whole lot more fun to run around the stages and try out the different abilities.

I sailed through this game pretty quickly. It wasn’t too tough… until the last boss fight. Well, boss fights. There are three final boss fights, each more final than the last. Even better is that the last couple of boss fights ramp up the difficulty so far that your controller might get broken. Unless you paid $40 for a Wii Remote. In which case I suggest you go to your local used video game store, pick up a couple of used and/or already broken controllers, and take your anger out on them.

Revenge of the ‘Gator

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

The title of this game is a bit misleading. Yeah, there are alligators in it, but it’s a pinball game. There’s no story or anything, but there is a pinball table full of alligators, which is worth… something.

So picture four pinball tables in a row, lined up so that the top of one is the bottom of the next. The further up you go, the more possibilities for points exist, but the tables are tougher to keep your balls on. Lower tables are slightly easier, but give you less points, and are slightly less desirable.

Revenge of the ‘Gator

I played this game a lot. It’s a much better game than the crappy 1985-ish NES Pinball game. Plus I could take it on the go with me. My only complaint with it is that no matter how high a score you got, there was no way to save it. As soon as you turn off the power, you lose everything. It’s a limitation of the hardware of the day, I suppose.

I didn’t really think so at the time, but this game seems to be pretty rare. I know there’s a two-player mode, but I never found anyone else that had it, or even a store that carried it. Heck, I got my copy second hand. But I’m still keeping an eye out. If I find a second copy, it’s mine. I’ve even got two Game Boys and a link cable on continuous standby. I’ll experience two-player even if I have to play both myself.

Top Skater

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

If you’re like me and couldn’t balance on a skateboard if your feet were glued to it and it was the size of a small Japanese car, then you might have given up all hope of making it at the X-Games. You then might have gone to your local arcade and tried Top Skater. Because just like playing Dance Dance Revolution isn’t really dancing and playing Guitar Hero isn’t really playing the guitar, Top Skater isn’t really like riding a skateboard, but you can pretend that it is.

Top Skater

The machine is just a giant platform with a skateboard bolted to it. A skateboard that you can move left and right or tilt forward or back. Your guy moves along the screen all on his own, and you get to steer with your horribly uneducated feet. Your goal is to go up ramps and do tricks to gain speed. You do tricks by waggling the board around while your character’s in midair. It doesn’t really matter what you do, your guy will just keep doing tricks as you wiggle the board around a bit. The only thing to be wary of is that you need to make sure your angle of entry is perpendicular to the ramp when you land. Otherwise you’re going to be eating the ramp, and losing speed.

The game was ridiculously hard to control, and sticking the landings was nigh impossible. On top of all of that, the game was eight tokens to play (roughly the equivalent of $2). And when you’re first starting out, that’s a pretty big investment for about 5 minutes’ play time. Eventually, since nobody was really playing it, the cost went down to a reasonable level, but it was still not the best investment in the room. Partially because of the extremely fat people, the kind that make dimples in the sidewalk as the waddle past, would try their hand at the game. They’d barely fit between the retaining bars, and the machine would groan in agony as they tried (and failed) to make any significant progress.

Shortly after it broke, it went away forever.