Monthly Archives: July 2010

Some relatively recent games that I didn’t like

The Warriors (2005)
developer: Rockstar Toronto
publisher: Rockstar
system: PlayStation 2
GameRankings score: 83%

Like Manhunt and Bully, The Warriors uses the PS2-era Grand Theft Auto engine.  However, the gameplay is totally different.  Warriors is basically a linear, story-driven beat-em-up, supplemented with tedious graphitti assignments.  I didn’t hate this game but, like 90% of beat-em-ups, the fighting mechanics are too simple.  The characters are all totally unlikeable and mindless rampaging is actually difficult given the closed nature of this release.

Resident Evil 5 (2009)
developer/publisher: Capcom
system: Xbox 360
GameRankings score: 86%

This was a really big disappointment, especially since the dipshit critics gave it such a relatively strong score.  I swear that there is industry bias for and against certain series and I think Resident Evil is on the better end of that deal.  Going into this game, it appears to be a continuation/extension of the game mechanics introduced in the excellent Resident Evil 4.  Well, looks can be deceiving.  Yes, there’s an over the shoulder view but almost every other element from RE4 has been trashed.  The controls, everything from running to fighting to simply restoring your fucking health has been totally clunked up.  The old Resident Evils were clunky due to design/technology limitations.  In this game the clunkiness seems to be based on stupid, intentional decisions.

You may have heard of the controversy surrounding this game, which involves a great white hero gunning down armies of black zombies in Africa and how Capcom attempted to address this problem by adding a “black” sidekick character.  The sidekick is a complete failure.  She gets in the way, she holds you back, she’s annoying and she appears to be at most half-black, with very caucasian facial features.  This game was a real letdown.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006)
developer/publisher: Nintendo
platform: GameCube
GameRankings score: 96%

I don’t hate this game but 5.5 hours in I don’t feel like playing it any more, which in my mind is a pretty big indictment for a Zelda game.  Naturally, the critics loved it but why?  Remember the first Zelda game?  A dude gives you a sword and bam! you’re off on an adventure.  Within an hour you’ve found the first dungeon.  This fucking game spends the first couple of hours on linear fetch quests that take place entirely within some dump of a village.  You can’t enter the main overworld until you’ve found someone’s cat, found someone else’s favorite baby basket, rounded up some goats, ugh.  Everyone sits in their exact spot in the village saying their exact same thing like we’re still in the Super NES days.  Link is saddled with an annoying sidekick elf/monster/whatever thing and he sometimes turns into a wolf.

The game has a great look to it but just seems to come up very short in the category of personality.  Its predecessor, The Wind Waker, had a lot of issues but it was bursting with great personality and it looks great.

Left 4 Dead (2008)
developer: Valve
publisher: EA
system: Xbox 360
GameRankings score: 89%

I bought this game because I really liked Valve’s The Orange Box compilation for Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, and Portal.  I did not give a flying fuck about the online-only multiplayer-only Team Fortress 2Left 4 Dead looks a lot like Half-Life but it’s about as deep as Team Fortress 2.  In other words, it’s basically designed for you to go online, turn off your brain, and play through its rather short missions over and over.  I can’t think of any other game with so little content that was given such a high score by the critics.

Prince of Persia (2008)
developer: Ubisoft Montreal
publisher: Ubisoft
system: Xbox 360
GameRankings score: 80%

All of the games on this list have pretty good visuals but this game definitely takes the cake in this regard.  I love the look of this particular PoP game, much more than its PS2/GameCube/Xbox predecessors.  Unfortunately, the gameplay took some really stupid steps backwards.  There are a lot of little changes that mostly feel like they were made for the sake of changing something, anything.  In the Sands of Time trilogy games, the trigger buttons were used to dash along walls in a very reliable and tightly controlled manner.  Now, you kind of jump at a wall and hope the game understands that you want to run along the wall and not jump off of it.  The fighting has been completely retooled, completely for the worse.  The one thing that very obviously improved in each Sands of Time trilogy game was the fighting, but that’s been abandoned for a hilariously stupid, slow-motion, scripted battle mechanic.  It’s too bad the action in this game sucks because the Prince seems pretty likeable, as opposed to the sad cunt found in Warrior Within and The Two Thrones.

A software recommendation: Burgertime Deluxe


developer/publisher: Data East
platform: Game Boy
year: 1991

The Game Boy, released in 1989, was host to an interesting trend that adhered to the following formula: take an iconic score-attack arcade game from the early 1980s and flesh it out into more of a levels-based game with a beginning and an end.  Examples include Game Boy Donkey Kong (Nintendo), Q*bert for Game Boy (Jaleco), and the Game Boy release of Dig Dug (specifically, the “New Dig Dug” mode).  Data East decided to add BurgerTime to this list in 1991, nine long years after the release of the arcade original.

If you like the original arcade game or any of its high-quality ports (NES, ColecoVision, Intellivision, etc.) there’s no reason why you shouldn’t like BurgerTime Deluxe.  The basic gameplay, look, sound and feel are really all intact from the original.  There are certainly some differences but none that betray the integrity of the original.  Each level now has several doors, through which the bad guys enter the playing field.  For those unfamiliar with the concept, you play as a chef named Peter Pepper, whose job is to use gravity to assemble a bunch of gigantic burgers while avoiding some murderous foodstuffs.

As in the original, Peter has a limited amount of pepper that he can use to stun his enemies.  There are also other power-ups, like a chocolate bar that grants temporary invincibility.  The enemies are largely the same but for a few additions, including a gigantic donut that comes in useful for smashing many enemies at once.  One notable new aspect is the horrific appearance of DEAD ENDS.  Yes, there are now walkways that come to an end – hope you have some pepper or you’re screwed.

The game is divided into six worlds, each containing four levels.  You have three lives to beat a world.  If you run out of lives you continue on the world you died on, rather than going all the way back to the beginning of the game.  As the game progresses, the layouts become more and more devious.  In my playthrough, beating the sixth world required many attempts and in the end involved a fair amount of planning.

If you’re a fan of BurgerTime you should definitely check this out, as it’s the only great sequel available on either home console or handheld.

Grade: B+

Golden Veins with Waxeater, Skin of Earth, and The Seed of Something

Golden Veins July 5th 2010

Tonight!

July 5th!

At Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, Iowa!

All Ages @ 5pm!

$5!

Enough exclamation!

INFO ABOUT THE BANDS:

GOLDEN VEINS:


http://www.goldenveins.com

“Golden Veins sound like Sun Ra and Sinead O’Conner, cranked out of their minds on cough syrup and banana peel blunts, beating the stuffing out of Morrissey in a dark alley while humming La Marseilles to themselves” – Adam Senecaut

WAXEATER:

http://www.myspace.com/waxeatermusic

top five descriptors assigned to us by kids on tour:

5. guitar driven primus (?)
4. Assholes
3. a cross between modest mouse and saetia (??)
2. jangle thrash
1. brutal

Waxeater has been slipping through the trees and strangling the breeze since may 2006. zac was the hound of hell you cry, jeremy was the devil on your back and rob could never die. zac quit while watching angels cry. after a brief search james joined the band in 2007 and knuckle-cracked the bone. from then on it’s been twenty-one to win. custom made aluminum equipment became the rat, feeding on the cat. Waxeater focuses on complicated rhythms and abrasive tones to aid in conquering the worm. They use their metal necks to dig through the ditches and the blended woods of the drum kit to burn through the witches. they live and work in bloomington, indiana where they slam in the back of their dragula.

SKIN OF EARTH:

http://www.myspace.com/skinofearth

: after playing… “i dont mean to be rude, but are you guys like a band or something?”

THE SEED OF SOMETHING:

http://www.myspace.com/seedofsomething

“we don’t quite know what we’re doing but it’s still cool.”

See you there!

And if you do facebook, invite your friends to the event:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=130656793634310