Tag Archives: bionic commando

“2009 Games I’m Looking Forward To” Follow-up

At the beginning of the year I wrote about some then-forthcoming games that I was looking forward to.  Most of the games on the list have now been released.  I’ve only played a couple of the games and won’t play the others until they’re much cheaper but here’s what the critics think of them (courtesy of aggregate scorer Gamerankings.com).  As you can see, some seem to have turned out quite nicely while some appear to be disappointments.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (Rockstar)
DS: 93%

Street Fighter IV (Capcom)
Xbox 360/PlayStation 3: 93%

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost & Damned (Rockstar) *downloadable expansion*
Xbox 360: 90%

Punch-Out!! (Nintendo)
Wii: 88%

Resident Evil 5 (Capcom, Xbox 360/PlayStation 3)
Xbox 360 score: 86 (59 ratings)
PlayStation 3 score: 87 (52 ratings)

Madworld (SEGA)
Wii: 83%

Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Atari)
Xbox 360/PlayStation/PC version: 78%
Wii/PlayStation 2 version: 72%
DS version: 56%

Bionic Commando (Capcom)
Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/PC: 73%

The Lord of the Rings: Conquest (EA)
Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/PC version: 55%
DS version: 53%

Conclusion: Well, LOTR, Ghostbusters and Bionic Commando look like stinkers, especially when you consider the nerd reviewers probably gave them free points for nostalgia or fanboy reasons.  I’m most intrigued by Madworld as the scores are really love-it or hate-it, much like God Hand, created by the same development team.  The End.

it seems CAPCOM has killed BIONIC COMMANDO

So, as you probably know, Capcom decided to reboot their Bionic Commando series last year beginning with last year’s Bionic Commando Rearmed, a download game for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC that cost between $10 and $15, receiving excellent reviews and great sales.  The game was developed by GRIN, the team that was also commissioned to make the full-on next generation BC game.

I didn’t follow the previews for this game very closely but I was kind of assuming it would be good in spite of ‘updated’, dreadlock look that Radd (or whatever his name is) was given.  And then it finally came out this month and it’s not pretty.  The average score is about 7 (out of 10) which is just what it sounds like: a C-.  Who wants to play a C-? The gameplay is basically like a generic 3rd person shooter but with a claw arm.  Capcom also hurt their cause with a TERRIBLE fucking downloadable demo that ONLY lets you play multiplayer.  No platforming or swinging areas, basically just a generic multiplayer shooter map.  Jesus Christ.

Industry reports say the game has only sold 27,000 units, which is really low for a high profile game.  Sad, sad.

Xbox Live Arcade is also a hotbed of retro game sequels and remakes

I recently wrote about the Wii Ware retro sequels that appeal to me but there are even more on Xbox Live. Unlike goddamn Wii Ware, Xbox Live has DEMOS so I’ve actually played all of the games on this list that have been released. This list ONLY contains games that I have determined to be good and possibly worthwhile. This means that Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix will not be listed – it’s a good game but barely an update and probably worth $7, not $15. At the bottom of the list are some upcoming releases that interest me.

PRE-ARTICLE CLARIFICATION
On several, previous occasions I claimed that one must have a paid membership to Xbox Live to buy download games.  NOT TRUE.  A free account membership gives one access to both paid games AND demos.

RELEASED GAMES

Prince of Persia Classic
$10, Gameloft/Ubisoft

I bought the full game and it’s great.  It’s a remake (in the true sense) of the original PoP.  The story is the same, the levels are similar but everything’s been made from scratch, with very different control mechanics.  The graphics are full 3D and based on the designs from the 2003-2005 PoP games.  I really recommend this one and it’s definitely worth the $10.

Bionic Commando Rearmed
$10, GRIN/Capcom

Another one that I bought – it’s sort of a remake of the NES Bionic Commando, but the levels are (mostly) different, there are many new features, bonus areas, the bosses are really wild, and the dialogue is hilarious.  The price is nice!

Pac-Man Championship Edition
$10, Namco Bandai

This game kinda started the recent trend of taking an old-ass game, keeping the old, pixellated sprites and enveloping it in neon effects and techno music.  This game is highly recommended for fans of the old Pac-Man games.  It has the same gameplay but somewhat more complicated and with many different modes.  A worthy release but at $10 it’s definitely overpriced.

Mega Man 9
$10, Inti Creates/Capcom

Just like the Wii version (which I’ve been playing lately).  It’s just like the NES Mega Mans but with some new – but not drastic – elements.  At $10 it’s a bit overpriced but it is long and challenging.

1942 Joint Strike
$10, Backbone/Capcom

I’ve only played the demo, which is fairly long, but it seems to be pretty tight.  It has a lot more variety than the original 1942 and has great boss fight action and a chase sequence.  I might buy it someday.

Space Invaders Extreme
$10, Backbone/Taito

This is actually a conversion of a DS and PSP release from 2008.  The Xbox Live version has improved visuals that might give you a seizure.  This game shows how effectively a really old formula can become fresh.  The action is much more intense than in the original with waves appearing right after the other and crazy boss fights.  Compared to $30 for the DS version, $10 isn’t too bad.

Galaga Legions
$10, Namco Bandai

Every Galaga sequel has some twist to bring the old fans back in and this is no exception.  Now you have 2 auto turrets that you can position and reposition to your heart’s delight all over the play field.  The action is non-stop.  Another one I may get someday.

FORTHCOMING GAMES

The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition
LucasArts

Announced at E3, this game is a remake-from-scratch of the original Monkey Island.  It will have brand new graphics and full voiceover work with a complete overhaul of the command system.

Tales of Monkey Island
Telltale Games/LucasArts

On the heels of the Monkey Island remake comes a new episodic release developed by a team of former LucasArts adventure game folks.  It sounds interesting but I’m only tentatively excited mainly due to Telltale’s modus operandi: 1) they seem to be really hit or miss and 2) the game will be released in 5 installments, likely at $10 apiece.  God!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled
Ubisoft

And now we have a 3D remake of the 1991 arcade hit, originally by Konami.  Not much is known but it seems interesting.

Metal Slug 7
SNK Playmore

Wow, I’m glad I didn’t waste $30 to buy this on DS last year!  It’ll probably only be $10 from Xbox Live.  Sweet.

2009 Game Releases For Which I Have Cautious Optimism

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Rockstar – Nintendo DS

It’s a brand new entry made specifically for DS.  The runs in full 3D but the standard camera view is overhead with 360 degree movement.  It takes place in Liberty City (again) and focuses on all them crazy East Asians I hear so much about.  Supposedly, the game’s been in development for over 2 years and hopefully the result will be high quality.

Grand Theft Auto IV: Lost and the Damned

Rockstar – Xbox 360

This new installment is a downloadable expansion for GTAIV.  It uses the same environments and all that jazz but features a new story, characters, missions, etc.  It’s kind of stupid that it’s not being released for PS3 but that’s the nature of today’s insulting exclusivity contracts.

Dragon Quest IX: Protectors of the Sky

Square Enix – Nintendo DS

I haven’t really played much Dragon Quest but I can’t help being intrigued by this release.  Akira Toriyama’s art looks fun, as usual, and I like playing RPGs on the go.  Plus, by the time it comes out the game will have been announced 3 YEARS earlier.  With that kind of development time, it had better be awesome.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Atari – PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2

Why am I excited for this game?  Let me count the ways.  First, it was written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, the homies what writ the moviez.  Second, the characters are all voiced by the actors that starred in the movies.  Third, this ain’t just some game.  This is the script that was meant to be Ghostbusters III aka Ghostbusters Go To Hell.  Yeah, that’s right, the GBz go to HELL in this game.  Now, none of that has anything to do with the actual gameplay but it’s enough to make a mediocre game at least pretty enjoyable.  But if the gameplay is there then this game will be awesome.  PS – The X360 and PS3 versions will feature realistic graphics while the Wii and PS2 versions will have more cartoony visuals.

Street Fighter IV

Capcom – Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Hey, it’s the latest game in the Street Fighter series and actually looks like a new game with a really distinct art style.

Resident Evil 5

Capcom – Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Well, RE4 was a great game and this looks like more of the same in a good way.  This time, the action takes place in Africa and it has black people.  Still, even with a solid game engine, Africa, and black people, most of the people that made RE4 great have since left the company.

Bionic Commando

Capcom – Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

My optimism for this game is extremely cautious for several reasons.  First, there haven’t been very many previews of this game yet.  Second, I know very little about the developer, GRIN, although they did do a very good job with the 2D Bionic Commando Rearmed release last year.  Third, this will be the very first 3D Bionic Commando game.  Most series made the 2D to 3D transition about 10 years ago but old BC is a late bloomer.  On a final note, Mike Patton, one of my favorite singers/musicians/composers is providing the voice of the main character.  Hopefully he will use the money to make another Tomahawk album.

Lord of the Rings Conquest

EA – Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

I’m really not very fond of the LoTR films but my interest in this game stems more from the development team involved.  Pandemic Studios were the force behind the 2 Star Wars Battlefront games, which I actually liked a great deal.  If you’re not familiar, it’s basically mayhem with dozens of troops running around waging a battle.  When the guy you’re controlling is killed you just take over another dude and keep fighting until a side wins.  So the game will probably be fun even if it does have orcs and that kinda garbage.

Madworld

SEGA – Wii

Remember the RE4 guys I previously mentioned that have left Capcom?  This is their first game for SEGA and it looks like a doozy: it features visuals that look like they were ripped right out of Sin City, ridiculously bloody action, and a Running Man-style storyline.  The development team, now known as Platinum Games, made one of my favorite over-the-top PS2 games, God Hand, and I demand more of the same, God bless them.

Bionic Commando: Rearmed

this is seriously the only new game i actually have a STRONG desire to play.

Bionic Commando: Rearmed

it’s basically just a remake of the Bionic Commando for the NES (which is one of the best NES games ever made).  there are some new things added, but none of them sound like they would HURT anything. just as long as the original gameplay is still there, this game should rule.

check it:




 

the NEW junk:

  • A health bar replaces the previous system, meaning players collect health items from enemies to restore health, as opposed to gaining more hit points.
  • Players can now shoot their arm to grab barrels and throw them at enemies. The arm can also be enhanced to grab enemies and use them as human shields.
  • Weapons can now be changed during gameplay, with each weapon having stronger or weaker impact depending on the enemy. (For example, the default Revolver is effective against human enemies, but weaker against robots.)
  • Boss battles have been remade from scratch. The final boss of the original game is now a fully fledged level.
  • A co-operative mode is featured, with the enemy and boss AI changing to accommodate the extra player.
  • Hacking into the enemy network now involves navigating a three-dimensional puzzle to hack into the enemy’s communications. Extra points (or a health bonus if player has incomplete health bar) is also rewarded upon completion.
  • The game also features challenge rooms which involves using the bionic arm to get from start to finish in the fastest time possible.
  • Numerous competitive multiplayer modes are added, including ‘Don’t Touch the Floor” in which only hitting the very bottom of the level kills the player, and weapons only knock the player back.
  • Force feedback has been implemented when using the bionic arm, firing weapons, and other events
  • In-game art designed by Shinkiro 

 

and the game features the original music too, just remixed to be MOODY and shit.

 
some video:

 

and lots of other screenshots and comparisons.

 

let me come over and play.

damn. sorry i’m such a nerd.

 

scott

the “games i’ve beaten” list. for matt, mostly.

okay. matt recently made a post asking for lists of completed video games. i’ve played exactly 1,000,582 games in my lifetime, so the idea of making a complete list of every game i’ve beaten made me feel a bit FAINT. (also… i have a really bad memory for stuff like this) instead, i’ve decided to make a list of completed games IN MY COLLECTION.

let’s go!!!

NES:

the adventures of link: i only just beat this game a few months back. i remember hating it as a child. i think mostly because it wasn’t much like the legend of zelda. however, upon revisiting it in my old age, i’ve decided that this game is really really good, and i wish that nintendo would make another zelda game in this same style. it won’t happen, but i would play it if it did.

bionic commando: one of my all time favorite games. it’s just great. they’re remaking this for xbox 360. check it out/watch the trailer.

castlevania II: simon’s quest: i didn’t remember beating this one, but after seeing ryan beat last month, i feel like i actually had beat it back in the day.

contra: such a fun game. i’ve beat it quite a few times.

deja vu: i’ve beat this one a few times as well. i used to love these old adventure games.

jackal: the classic drive-around-in-a-jeep-and-shoot-things game. very few can compete.

the legend of zelda: beat this one FOREVER ago. either late 80s or early 90s. i want to pick it up again sometime soon

maniac mansion: oh boy! i think i’ve beaten this game every way possible.

metroid: i beat this game back when i was really devoted. also, i didn’t have the internet. i drew my own maps throughout the game. i may still have them laying around somewhere.

nintendo world cup: does this count? do sports games count?

shadowgate: i’ve beaten this one a few times too, but always with many years in between each conquest. the latest was just this year, and i had forgotten almost everything about it. that’s the beauty of a poor memory, i guess… it makes old things new again!

spy vs spy: this is probably more fun as a two player game, but when you’re young and only have a handful of games, you take what you can get.

super c: like contra, this game is great for picking up whenever, and it really doesn’t take much to beat it.

super mario bros. 2: this was one of the favorites as a child. and then mario 3 came out…

super mario bros. 3: probably THE BEST game ever made for the nes. i’m sure there are people who will debate this, but for me, growing up when i did, super mario bros. 3 was so fucking great that all other games pale in comparison. the guide that i got through nintendo power was read to death. i remember taking it everywhere. at the end, it was being held together with a million pieces of tape.

tmnt 2: the arcade game: this is another game that is way more fun with 2 players. playing it now bores me. jump kick, jump kick, jump kick, etc., but back when it came out, this game was the bee’s knees.

tmnt 3: the manhatten project: basically a continuation of tnmt2, but with some special moves. blah blah blah.

uninvited: another kemco/seika adventure ported from the macventure collection. not as good as deja vu or shadowgate, but still quite fun.

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some nes games i’m pretty sure i’ve beaten, or at least got very close to beating:

castlevania III: dracula’s curse: i like this game.

double dragon: i think i may have only beaten it on the sega master system, but… maybe…

mega man 2: i’m pretty sure i beat this one, as well as a couple others, but they all run together in my head.

mike tyson’s punch-out: i know i’ve GOTTEN to old iron mike, but i honestly can’t tell you if i’ve beaten him myself.

ninja gaiden: dunno. just dunno.

ninja gaiden II: i’m pretty sure i beat this…

wwf wrestlemania: i don’t even remember if there is a definitive end to this game, but if there is, i can gaurantee i’ve made it.

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SNES:

secret of evermore: i remember really enjoying this game, but at the same i time, i remember parts of it being rather time consuming and tedius. i probably will never try to beat it again, but if you have time and patience, please give it a try.

final fantasy II: this was one of those “summer vacaction games”. we didn’t have strict bedtimes during summer breaks, and by this time i had an old tv in my room, so i would stay up all night playing rpgs while a cool summer breeze blew in through the open windows. because of when i played it, i don’t remember this game having any music.

actraiser: i always liked the mixing of genres in this game. it’s a pretty quick game, so give it a shot.

super castlevania IV: this was one of the first games we had for the snes. that being said, you can imagine that i’ve beaten it quite a few times.

contra III: the alien wars: contra games are good!!!

disney’s goof troop: a very short puzzle/action game. i got this a couple years ago because it was on sale for zero bucks or something. it’s quick and easy, but it is fun. i think allison would like it at least.

donkey kong country: when it came out, this was THE GAME to have. so we got it. and i beat every aspect of it. but i never really got into the sequels. maybe i burnt myself out.

judge dredd: i liked the comics, and i found it on sale. not the best game, but it’s fun. probably wouldn’t play it too much these days.

killer instinct: another “GAME YOU NEED TO GET” when it came out. and we got it. i think i’ve played this game more than any other fighting game ever. not cuz it’s the best or anything, but cuz it was the only fighting game we had at the time.

lester the unlikely: this was a game that i’m guessing didn’t sell very well. i got it at KAY-BEE toys on sale. it’s one of those action/adventure games like prince of persia or flashback or whatever. the one thing i really liked about it was that as you progress through the game, your character turns from a weak, dorky guy into a rather fit, capable guy. the end.

ranma 1/2: hard battle: i really liked anime back in middle school/early high school. especially ranma 1/2. that’s probably the only reason i played this game so much…

shadowrun: this was another “summer vacation game”, but this one was a different year, and the tv was in the basement. i spent a lot of hot summer afternoons playing this while listening to “maximum perversion” by the mephiskapheles and hellcat records’s “give ’em the boot vol. 1”.

super bomberman: great game. it’s bomberman. so… it’s like most of the other bomberman games

super bomberman 2: another great game. etc.

super mario world: OH LORD!!! i talked about a couple other games being “THE GAME TO HAVE”, but none of them compared to this one. i’ve beaten this game quite a few times, and it’s a game that i wouldn’t mind beating again. it’s just great.

super mario all stars: meaning, the lost levels. i like it better than super mario bros., i think.

super metroid: oh wow! i love this game so much. seriously. everyone needs to play it. it’s beautiful.

street fighter II: i don’t think i necessarily beat THIS version of street fighter II. i think it was turbo or super, but regardless, i’ve beaten it with multiple fighters, etc.

tmnt IV: turtles in time: more arcade style fighting. this is a VERY short game, and one i probably won’t care about playing again, unless i’ve got an excited buddy to play with.

zombies ate my neighbors: i really like this game. but it’s another game that is more fun with 2 players. give it a shot.

the legend of zelda: a link to the past: quite possibly my all time favorite snes game. i don’t think there’s anything about this game that i DON’T like. it’s just so very good. ryan meier doesn’t know shit.

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some snes games i’m pretty sure i’ve beaten, or at least got very close to beating:

flashback: the quest for identity: i know i got pretty far, but i’m not sure i beat it. this was all during one weekend when we rented it. i haven’t played it since then.

ken griffey jr. presents major league baseball: dunno if you can “beat” this game, but i remember playing it a lot. doing the seasons and stuff. blah blah.

the legend of the mystical ninja: i really doubt that i BEAT this, but i know that we got pretty far, and i remember really enjoying it. give it a shot.

nba jam: can you beat nba jam?

super adventure island: pretty sure i beat this. it’s not a hard or long game.

starfox: i don’t think i beat this every possible way. i know i beat it at LEAST one way.

wwf royal rumble: not sure you can “beat” this game either…

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NINTENDO 64:

super mario 64: my all time favorite n64 game. fuck you if you don’t like this game.

shadowgate 64: yeah… not sure why i beat this. it’s really not worth the trouble.

_____________________________________________________________

some n64 games i’m pretty sure i’ve beaten, or at least got very close to beating:

starfox 64: who knows?

star wars: shadows of the empire: i remember playing this a lot at friends’ houses and renting it, but i can’t remember actually BEATING it.

mischeif makers: pretty sure i beat it. coulda just got distracted near the end, though.

_____________________________________________________________

SEGA GENESIS:

contra hard corps: i have only beaten this one way, and that isn’t the “complete every level” way. so i don’t know if this counts?

_____________________________________________________________

some genesis games i’m pretty sure i’ve beaten, or at least got very close to beating:

mega bomberman: i think so! it has animals you can ride!

revenge of shinobi: pretty sure. the game’s tight cuz you fight spiderman, batman, and a cross between the hulk and the terminator

_____________________________________________________________

PLAYSTATION:

bushido blade: if this game has an ending, i can gaurantee i got to it.

fear effect: i remember enjoying this game. it’s an action/adventure sorta like a resident evil or something. probably won’t bother playing it again anytime soon. and if i do, i doubt i’ll bother trying to beat it again. HOWEVER… you could play it if you want to.

rival schools: united by fate: i beat this quite a few times with different characters. does that count?

super puzzle fighter 2 turbo: this is one of my favorite playstation games. it’s also my favorite puzzle game.

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some playstation games i’m pretty sure i’ve beaten, or at least got very close to beating:

brave fencer musashi: i can’t remember the ending of this game, so that makes me think i didn’t beat it, but i know i spent a lot of time on it.

castlevania: symphony of the night: i think i beat it, but not COMPLETELY beat it. like… no inverted castle…

echo night: i don’t remember an ending.

front mission 3: i don’t remember an ending for this either. makes me think i probably didn’t end up finishing it.

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PLAYSTATION 2:

metal slug 4/5: this is one of those games where you just have to hit continue a lot. so… it’s not a really great accomplishment or anything, but i like metal slug games.

katamari damacy: natalie and i just beat this a couple weeks ago. very fun game. very addictive. also very unique. A+

 

scott

Things That Really Matter #13: Reviews

 

GAME 1: DONKEY KONG 64
SYSTEM: NINTENDO 64
DEVELOPER: RARE
PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
YEAR: 1999

DK64 is a game that immediately invites several comparisons. First off, how does it compare to Super Mario 64, released three years earlier?  Second, how does it compare to Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie, an N64 3D platformer released by Rare in 1998?  And finally, and perhaps most importantly, how does it compare to Donkey Kong Country, DK64’s prequel on the Super NES?  Unfortunately, DK64 falls short when compared to each and all of these games.

The entire Donkey Kong Country series is clearly Rare’s take on Super Mario Bros., and DK64 clearly uses a modified version of the Super Mario 64 engine.  Perhaps by ‘modified’ I really mean ‘mangled’.  For reasons I can’t fathom, almost any object that’s more than, say, 10 feet away is invisible.  Take another step toward it and *pop* there it is.  This was not an issue in SM64.  Second, the controls are very floaty.  Mario controlled perfectly and he moved quickly in his 64 game.  DK and his partners float slowly through the air when they jump.  They take a long time to land, even though most of them can’t jump anywhere near as far or high as Mario.

Banjo-Kazooie was a very creative game, with manic enemies and horrible, yet distinct humor.  Its motifs were unique but something about the feel of the game invoked memories of DK Country.  No wonder, as the DKC creative team was largely responsible for its development.  Unfortunately, DK64 was created by another team within Rare.  Oops!  It shows, too, as any consistencies between DKC and DK64 are merely forced, like the occasional mine cart race and the occasional Kremling.

So how does DK64 rate on its own merits?  When not compared to anything, DK64 can be viewed as pretty good but only in small doses.  DK64 is a ridiculous collectathon and this sort of gameplay wears away at enthusiasm and energy.  You must alternate between five different apes/monkeys.  On many occasions you will see an item but you can’t pick it up because you’re NOT THE RIGHT MONKEY.  So you have to go far away and switch to the other ape and return to that area.  This is ridiculous as most of these items have nothing to do with a unique skill related to each monkey.

The levels are huge and semi-interesting but fail to invoke the sense of wonder that SM64 accomplishes.  And exploring them is basically a chore unless you happen to be controlling Diddy Kong.  This game seems to have all the pieces available but put in the wrong place.  If you’re obsessed with 3D platformers or Mario you should check it out but only in small doses.  And only after you’ve beaten SM64, SMSunshine, SMGalaxy, Banjo-Kazooie, and even the Sony platformers. 

Grade: C+
Personal conclusion: Pretty disappointing!


GAME 2: BIONIC COMMANDO ELITE FORCES
SYSTEM: GAME BOY COLOR
DEVELOPER: NINTENDO SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION (Nintendo’s USA-based studio)
PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
YEAR: 2000

This game has a horrible glitch. It’s absolutely incredible that BCEF was put into mass production with this glitch. But it’s there in almost every copy. Basically, if you save and then continue to play the game freezes up. And your save file will never recover. What an INCREDIBLE failure of quality control. There is one practical way around this, though: play straight through without saving. Just like you have to do with the original Bionic Commando on the NES.  Now on to the game itself . . .

Played Bionic Commando on NES?  Then you know what to expect with this game.  Swing around, climb, shoot guys.  But it’s a lot better than it sounds.  The gameplay is almost exactly the same.  The setup is the same (leveling-up, bonus Commando-style levels, giving orders between levels, etc.).  The graphics are completely new, though, and are very fluid for a GBC game.  The levels and bosses are also.  Besides the graphics, though, nothing is exactly improved; slightly different, perhaps, but not really better or worse.  And there are no neutral zones!  The original had areas where you just walked around and guys said stuff like, “Do you wanna fight?”  Not here, unfortunately.  Still, the action is solid and more challenging than the NES original.  If you like hardcore, old-school games and have 5 hours to sit down and waste, do it to it.

GRADE: B+
Personal conclusion: Satisfactory


GAME: GHOSTBUSTERS II
SYSTEM: GAME BOY
DEVELOPER: HAL LABORATORIES
PUBLISHER: ACTIVISION (in the USA, HAL in Japan)
YEAR: 1990

Yo, remember that awful Ghostbusters 2 for the NES by our dear friends/enemies at Activision?  Boy, that game was the dumbz.  Well, this is DOES NOT BE THAT GAME.  This is a completely different game, created by those Japanese rascals at HAL Laboratory (creators of Kirby’s Dream Land and Super Smash Bros).  This game actually follows the plot of the movie very closely and almost all of the enemies are ghosts that are seen at some point in the film, even if only for a few seconds.  The character designs are adorable and Zelda-ish.  The action is viewed from overhead, as well. 

The gameplay is fairly original and a good attempt at creating action similar to that found in the movies.  You control two Ghostbusters at once and run around buildings, one floor at a time, zapping all the ghosts with the first dude and then trapping them with the second.  This idea gets an A for creativity but a C for implementation.  Too often the 2nd dude is just a real pain in the ass, failing to keep up, getting caught behind objects and getting jumped from behind.  Each dude has his own life bar and the 2nd dude almost always runs out of life first.  For some reason, the 2nd dude becomes awesome and invincible during boss fights, so you can basically hide behind him and fire off shots.  The game is short and sweet, without any saving or codes.  It’s all or nothing!  But achieving “all” will probably only require an hour and a half of effort.  It’s just not a terribly long game and once you figure out how everything works you probably won’t have too much difficulty. 

This is a fun game for people that like Ghostbusters or games where you go around clearing all the villains off the screen before advancing, like Bubble Bobble.  The action is generally fun but mindless.

Grade: B
Personal conclusion: Interesting


GAME: THE CON
SYSTEM: PSP
DEVELOPER: THINK & FEEL
PUBLISHER: SONY
YEAR: 2005

First off, this is, on the surface a 3D fighting game. The fighting is pretty different from most fighters, though. There’s no jumping and you don’t really have freedom to run around. This turns out to be an interesting move as the directional inputs cause your character to duck and sway in different directions. So think of it as a boxing game with kicking and grappling added to the mix.  The fighting is much more realistic than most fighters and the pace is rather slow, like a real fight.

What really makes The Con interesting are all the things that happen outside of the fights.  You have a crew of three fighters and you act as their manager between fight dates.  You schedule bouts, training sessions, hospital visits and rest days.  Before each fight you wager a certain amount of money, which is where the title comes in.  You may choose to hustle the audience by starting off a match crappily while the bets pour in against you before ramping it up and pulling off a win.  Conversely, you can bet on your opponent and let them win, as long as you do it convincingly.  Unfortunately, none of this is really necessary as I earned enough money by simply betting on myself to win without much hustling at all.  If you schedule bouts against higher-ranked teams and beat them you’ll move up through the ranks, occasionally entering into boss battles. 

Sadly, this game is far from perfect. For one thing, the final tournament is completely cheap. Due to the fact that I did not allow a boss to join my team earlier in the game, one of my fighters was forced to sit out the final match, meaning the final bout was 2 against 3. At no point was I informed that my decision could carry such ramifications. Fucking cheap and lame. Thankfully, I won, anyway, but just barely.

The graphics are way below the PSP’s standards. At its best, the PSP looks like a slightly lower resolution PS2 but this game looks more like a PS1 game but without the fuzzy resolution. And the load times. CHRIST. Everything takes forfuckingever to load. Each time you fight you’ll probably sit through 30 seconds of load time. And you fight many times. In the final tournament you fight about 20 times. If my estimate is right, that means you sit through about 10 minutes of loading during this period. And that’s just a small part of the game. I think I developed several nervous habits while I waited, including playing with my fingernails and pushing my tongue against the roof of my mouth.

So is this game worth it? Yeah, if you really like fighting games or boxing games. Otherwise, spare yourself the load times. I personally found it very addictive which did a lot to offset the load times. Even now I feel like picking it up and playing through it again with new characters but I’m sure I’d end up without hair or fingernails by the time I finished.

Grade: B-
Personal conclusion: So close yet so far away

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