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Captain Buttbeard's Gaming Corner



Currently playing
PlayStation 2: Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
Xbox: Phantom Crash; X-Men Legends
Xbox 360: Earth Defense Force 2025; Dragon Age: Origins

Secret Weapons Over Normandy (Xbox)

Developer: Totally Games

Publisher: LucasArts

Released: 2003

Genre: Action
Secret Weapons
Over Normandy
I remember this one (well more like its title) from magazines and seeing it in the stores, I always assumed it's a Battlefield like World War 2 game where you can play with experimental weapons, vehicles and planes, but nope it's a flying game lol. Normally I wouldn't have played it (especially after IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey eh) but I found out you can unlock the X-Wing and the TIE Fighter by beating the game so here I am lol. You are playing as some American dude who volunteers to be a pilot in Royal Air Force in 1940. Then he joins some special unit and fights basically all around the world, Africa, Soviet Union, the Pacific Ocean vs Japan, with the main enemy being a Nazi special unit. It's a much better experience than IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey with a nice story keeping it together. Before missions there are these mini missions called challenges you can do, they basically work the same way as normal missions: completing secondary and bonus objectives gives you upgrade points and unlocks new planes. You can upgrade the armor (slows down the plane though), speed, weapons etc. Mission objetives are pretty varied, sometimes you are on AA guns or in a bomber turret, or stealing or using prototype planes (hence the secret weapons in the title), I loved that nazi jet fighter so much lol. And you also take part in some historical battles like Midway or D-Day. It sucked it has a cliffhangerish ending, the enemy escapes in the Battle of Normandy and the narrator is like there are more secret weapons to find but I guess the sequel never happened. So after finishing the game I was excited to try out Instant Action with my unlocked Star Wars starfighters to play against bots... and it was kinda disappointing lol. They are way too fast and aren't that fun to play, it's funny how I enjoyed the campaign more despite playing through it for the starfighters. So yeah it was a nice game, and I think I'm gonna play the other WW2 flying games on the Xbox too.
2022/02/27
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (PlayStation 2)

Developer: Naughty Dog

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Released: 2001

Genre: Platform
Jak
and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
This is the other famous platformer on the PlayStation 2, and I wanted to play this series but for a different reason: from what I've heard they changed the gameplay to a Grand Theft Auto like one in the sequels and that sounded pretty cool to me, but I didn't really wanted to play this game because it's more of a true platformer. However I enjoyed Ratchet & Clank so much that I decided to give it a try. You are playing as Jak who is some elf looking dude who can't(?) speak, and with your friend Daxter (who won't shut the fuck up) you live in a world where an ancient civilization called Precursors used to live and left some tech and ruins behind (you know that's my favorite trope). They go to an island where they see these evil dudes perform some kind of ritual, then Daxter accidentally falls into some black goo that turns him into a weasel lol. According to your village wizard there is only one person who knows how to reverse his transofrmation but he lives far and the portals don't work anymore so you gotta go on foot to find him. The world is beautiful and they made it feel like a huge open world because there are no loading screens which was pretty impressive at that time, especially with the day night cycles. Your task is to collect power cells which you need to power up vehicles or machines to reach new areas, and you can find them in the world or get them after killing some enemy or from an NPC by completing some task or paying for them with Precursor orbs, which are the other collectibles. There are also these scout flies hidden and if you find them all on a level you get a power cell for it. I fucking loved the stupid poses they make when you get a power cell lmao, I was looking forward to see which one they are gonna make every time lol. There are also these Precursor energies called Eco, the black damages you, the green one is health, the blue makes you faster and powers up tech, the red makes you stronger and with the yellow you can shoot enemies. But here is the biggest problem with the game: the fucking camera. It's inverted, seriously why the fuck would anyone do that to their game? It was so fucking hard to shoot something when you need to aim manually, not to mention adjusting the camera (luckily I didn't need to do that often that's why I could tolerate it) when it got stuck in something. And the speederbike sections sometimes were frustratingly hard - well if you wanted to collect everything, which I did because it wasn't that hard to do. You only get an extra cutscene for it which makes it kinda end on a cliffhanger, I expected a lot more than that to be honest. But you know what I enjoyed playing it, it wasn't as fun as Ratchet & Clank but it was still pretty good. I'm curious to see how different the sequels are.
2022/02/12
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Xbox)

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

Released: 2003

Genre: Action-adventure, platform
Prince
of Persia: The Sands of Time
I played the original 2D game back in the late 90s or very early 2000s but it was so fucking hard for me as a kid and I had no idea where to go because everything looked the same (seriously that's my problem with every 2D game where you aren't going just one direction, how the fuck do you remember where to go?). And I played the 2008 Prince of Persia a little bit because I thought it looked cool but I couldn't make a jump and I felt lost so I stopped playing it. I was actually really excited for this game, I remember reading news about it in the magazine I bought and then reading the review and thinking this sounds so cool I want to play this so much but somehow I never did. You are playing as a Persian prince (what a suprise), who finds a dagger in a city that your father attacked. When you are going home you stop at some other ruler's palace to give a big hourglass to him as a gift, but the vizier was after this dragger and tricks you into using it. Turns out it's a magic dagger and it releases the Sands of Time which turns everyone except you, the vizier and the captured princess into a sand monster. This game is best described as an acrobatic and action focused Ico, it's clear it was the main inspiration for this game (and I also see this one inspire Assassin's Creed later). You are navigating through a giant palace with a girl too, but this game is more focused on platforming and the puzzles are mostly about figuring out where to acrobatically jump next. When you enter a new room the camera shows where you need to go and also savepoints show a vision of the future as where and what you will need to do in the next area. You run up on walls, swing, jump on pillars and stuff like that, but often you will get stuck not knowing where to go exactly, jump to the wrong place and fall down or when you run into a trap, and that's when the Dagger of Time comes in handy: you can use it to rewind time, and you can do it as long as you have some sand left. You collect those from sand clouds (which also increase the maximum amount you can carry) and from killing enemies. Combat is really acrobatic too, you jump above enemies and bounce off walls, sometimes it can be hard especially when there are a lot of them but you can also slow down time and stab enemies with the dragger to freeze them, but these require sand too. And you can't kill them with your sword, they only die after you knock them down and stab them with the dagger (that's the other way to collect sand). Farah the princess also helps you in combat with her bow (but you need to protect her too) and with the puzzles so she isn't as useless as Yorda is in Ico lol. I really loved their character development and how they fall in love, it's a shame there are no subtitles because sometimes I could barely hear them talking (or the prince narrating the story or saying that's not how it happened when you die lol, it was pretty cool). And also how the prince's appearance changes, throughout the game you lose more and more of your clothes as you get damaged and get some scars too. By the end of the game you lose the dagger so you can't rewind time, that's when platforming becomes bit challenging. I really liked the bittersweet ending, it was more emotional and impactful than Ico's cutesy ending in my opinion. And as for unlockables you get some making of videos and the very first Prince of Persia after beating the game. So it was a really good game and it was really worth the wait, honestly I'm not sure if I would have appreciated it back in the day (especially with mouse and keyboard ugh). I can't wait to play the sequels even though I remember they looked very edgy lol.
2022/02/03
Syphon Filter (PlayStation)

Developer: Eidetic

Publisher: 989 Studios

Released: 1999

Genre: Third-person shooter, stealth
Syphon Filter
So I've heard of the name and I knew it's a third person shooter but it always sounded retarded to me lol but I wanted to try it because it's one of the most famous series on the PlayStation and I like action games anyway. And I was also curious how a very early third person shooter would control. You are a special agent called Gabe Logan and with your Chinese girl partner you are after some terrorist group who wants to unleash a deadly virus called Syphon Filter. Missions take place in a city, subways, a park, a museum, military bases, a church, catacombs, so it's not the same setting all the time. Sometimes there are secret crates with weapons hidden somewhere but as long as you are looking around and climb up to higher places you can find them. Crates are important anyway, especially the ones with armor because you are gonna take a lot of hits towards the end of the game. Usually you just go around and kill enemies but there are stealth levels too and they can be really hard, not to mention boss levels which require special tactics (fuck that helicopter boss). Obviously the biggest question was how the controls are gonna be before the two analog sticks controls were a thing, and you have a button for lock-on to make your life easier, and an aiming mode too which you can use to kill enemies with one shot if you aim for their heads, and that's gonna be really important later in the game where they all start wearing armors. But that's really the problem with the game, aiming is so fucking hard especially during the heat of the battle when they are coming from all directions and it takes forever to move the crosshair to their tiny heads so you are gonna die a lot. And what sucks about the outdated controls is if you want to do something like crouch and aim out of your cover to shoot the guy you need to press like 5 fucking buttons at the same time and that was really hard for me to do, I don't know why they forced you to keep pressing a button instead of just triggering crouch with one press or something. By the way, even though I think the grapics look nice, the character heads are so weird, like they just painted eyes and mouth on them lmao. So the real challenge comes from the outdated controls mostly, but the final boss was such a bullshit, he keeps throwing grenades and you have like one second to run away after the cutscene, it took me forever to beat him. Regardless, the game was fun, it feels a bit ancient to me with how it controls lol but it's a good game and I will definitely play through the entire series.
2022/01/17
Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy (Xbox)

Developer: Eurocom

Publisher: THQ

Released: 2003

Genre: Action-adventure
Sphinx and the
Cursed Mummy
Yeah I didn't know anything about this game, a few years ago I watched a review of it on YouTube on a channel I used to watch but that's about it. It's kinda like a platformer but more action-adventure oriented and placed in an Egyptian setting. Basically you are switching between two characters, there is Sphinx in an Egyptian mythological world and a prince who will be turned into a mummy in the normal world I guess. They both have drastically different playstyles and levels, with Sphinx it's more of the action-adventure style, going to cities and doing quests, doing athletic courses and minigames, and finding stuff in dungeons, killing enemies. With the mummy the entire level is basically one giant puzzle you have to solve and you can't do combat with him, but because he is undead you can light him up on fire, electrocute him, slice him up to different controllable parts to help you solve the puzzles, it was pretty cool and I think I enjoyed some of his levels more. At the end of their levels they usually send some stuff over to the other character to help them progress which was cool. But it's a really fucking hard game, the kind that would be impossible to play without a guide. And not the combat I mean, but the puzzles, I'm too dumb for this shit so I didn't even try to think about them on my own because I just wasn't invested in it. It's a beautiful game but it just feels kind of lifeless without voice acting, you can only see text boxes. And the extra stuff you can do with Sphinx like collecting bugs are all for nothing, you don't really get anything out of them. And the camera sucked too, it gets stuck in everything. It could have been a nice game with self-contained story but of course in the last few seconds they just had to pull a cliffhanger out of nowhere lol. But to be honest it's actually a good game but I just didn't care for it at all.
2022/01/16
True Crime: Streets of LA (Xbox)

Developer: Luxoflux

Publisher: Activision

Released: 2003

Genre: Action-adventure
True Crime:
Streets of LA
I don't think I knew about this game when it came out, but it's a Grand Theft Auto clone, and the third game in the series is Sleeping Dogs which I'm still not sure if I want to play or not. It was famous for its huge open world, they accurately modeled some parts of LA which was pretty impressive at that time. But that leads to the first problem with the game, this huge open world feels empty because there is nothing to do in it. Between some missions you can drive freely and you will get calls on your radio about random crimes you can solve. Some of them are so stupid, like chasing a stolen truck with a video game shipment or a bunch of girls fighting over a guy lol. You get different points by how you solve them, good cop points for arresting them and bad cop ones for killing them (you can get this for killing civilians too, and if you kill a lot of them they start rioting LA style lol), and you also get points for badges you can use to improve one of your abilities in fighting, shooting and driving. And that's the only other thing you can do, and by that I mean drive aimlessly for hours trying to find the fucking places where you can learn new shit (only if you aren't failing the test, because that's gonna happen a few times too), because there isn't any interactive map, just a random small map and good luck remembering where those buildings are, and you can't just return to one all the time because it turns inactive after like 2 or 3 times. And to make it worse the driving sucks fucking ass, it was so awful even with all the tricks you can learn. And to make that even worse the game only autosaves after missions, so if you solve some crimes and don't want your points to disappear you have to find a garage to save, but at least they don't become inactive, but you might just have to drive through the entire city for 20 minutes to the only one you remember... The combat can be perfectly described as Dead to Rights mixed with Grand Theft Auto, and trust me that's not a good thing lol, but I fucking loved how he yells out the combo attack's name like he is in fucking Mortal Kombat or something lmao. The story is about this half Chinese guy I think who isn't really your typical cop and he likes to solve crimes on his own way, he joins a special unit to investigate crimes in Chinatown and he discoveres it's connected to the death of his cop father. The characters are voiced by famous actors, one of them is fucking Christopher Walken with his retarded voice lmao. The story completely falls apart at some point, it's like a typical dumb 80s B movie then all of a sudden you are fighing zombie demons and a fucking dragon in a lava undreground place under LA like lmao WTF. The missions are linear in a sense that you can't pick them on the map like in Grand Theft Auto, but it has different branching paths based on how you solve the mission or if you couldn't solve them the story keeps going which was pretty fucking impressive. And you can go back and play the other paths too anytime, after I beat the game and got the good ending I played the different chapters too for the neutral and bad endings and they all had different missions so it wasn't just the same shit differently. And after you complete a chapter you unlock a bonus mission where you can get new cars, weapons and finishing moves, and actually the game becomes easier by the end thanks to them. It was pretty buggy though, it crashed a couple of times and I don't even remember any Xbox game that's done that before, and there were some insane slowdowns sometimes especially when were you solving crimes with a lot of criminals. To be honest it all sounds like I didn't like this game but actually I enjoyed it enough to play the sequel at least, and then I will see about Sleeping Dogs.
2021/12/09
Ratchet & Clank (PlayStation 2)

Developer: Insomniac Games

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Released: 2002

Genre: Platformer
Ratchet & Clank
This is one of the famous platformers on the PlayStation 2 but I never really had any interest in those games before. I wanted to try one of them on this console and this was more like a third person shooter so I decided to play this one. So some evil robot factory builds a good little robot (Clank) and he escapes and crashes on this alien animal guy's planet (Ratchet). The factory belongs to Drek who is destroying planets to build a new one from them for himself. Clank manages to convince Ratchet to find Captain Quark (who is some celebrity he saw on TV and thinks he can defeat Drak lol) by offering him to fix his spaceship. Because Ratchet desperately wants to leave his planet he agrees and that's how their adventures start. I like the dynamic they have, Clank acts all good and heroic while he is mostly useless and Ratchet is only after his own interest and doesn't care about any of this shit at all (until the end) and they constantly tease each other lol. So you travel from planet to planet, collecting bolts as the currency, defeating enemies and do quests for NPCs. Some paths are tasks will only be available later so you will be coming back to earlier planets a couple times. I really liked the graphics and how the levels looked, especially the ones that look like futuristic cities, but warzones and nature planets were cool too. To travel to new planets you need to find Infobots, either by defeating a boss or getting it from an NPC after completing a task for them. I loved how everyone is an asshole, even though you helped them out you still need to pay for it lol. With the bolts you can buy new weapons and upgrade Clank, who you can use as a jetpack or a propeller and in some levels you can control him too (he can command these tiny robots to get stuff done, it was so cute lol). Some of my favorite stuff are these glasses you can wear and summon some mouse in a flying saucer who attacks enemies lmao, or a metal detector you can use to find bolts under the ground, and a useful gadget that lets you buy ammo anywhere with it. Buying more nanotech (health) upgrade is also important because normally you can only take 4 hits before you die. Sometimes you fly a jet, those parts were alright but then there are these hoverboard races too and they were a nightmare first because it was so hard to hit boost spots. The final boss fight was kinda hard too until I figured out what to do. As far as unlockables go I collected all the gold bolts, but there are things you need to do like shooting planes off the sky and shit like that and you need to figure out these things on your own because the game doesn't tell you, and I ain't gonna do all that shit just for some pics and videos. So yeah I liked this game more than I thought I would so I'm definitely gonna play the sequels and an another PlayStation 2 platformer that I wasn't sure about.
2021/12/01
Kill Switch (Xbox)

Developer: Namco USA

Publisher: Namco

Released: 2003

Genre: Third-person shooter
Kill Switch
So I didn't know this game exists until I played Gears of War, which is one of my favorite series (the first three, the rest can go fuck themselves, the story ended with the third one). I was really hyped up for that game because it was the first time I've seen a video game commercial on TV (you know the Mad World one) and Microsoft translated the game, which was practically unheard of for console games here. I still don't know why they tried so hard for such a small market, but I think translating games for a country with one of the worst English proficiency in the continent was one of the reasons why they absolutely dominated the console sales here and why brand loyalty still carries them to the top in console sales. I played the first one on PC because that's all i had at that time (I just realized this is gonna be more like a Gears of War retrospective lol), but the second came with my Xbox 360 and I loved it so much. The third game was my first XGD3 game I think, which you couldn't burn properly and that meant you can't play it if you installed it, and without it the game kept freezing like every 30 minutes or less so I had to restart it a lot lol (that was before I found out about the usb drive trick, when you can play the installed game if you start playing an mp3 file from it lol, it was patched out later so stay on an old dashboard, latest one should be 16537). Then Gears of War: Judgment wasn't really good imo, but it's worth it for the unlockable extra campaign that takes place during the third game (I wish it was part of it tho). So why did I talk about Gears of War? Because Kill Switch was the game that "invented" the cover based mechanics it used. And it really does feel like a proto Gears of War, you can even fire out of your cover without aiming too. It's not as refined though, and you need the training level to explain how it works. I'm not sure what the story was, you are some kind of super soldier who is controlled(?) by a neurolink and you keep seeing some woman in flashbacks (that will make sense later) - it was hard to tell what's happening because you only have storytelling and cutscenes between levels and your mouth never moves, there are no subtitles and the voices seemed similar but there were like two guys who talk to you on radio apparently lol). The game takes places in the Middle East, on the Caspian Sea I think and in North Korea, but it's so short seriously it was over in like 2 hours, and it's just constant action, there are no secrets or hidden things so it really doesn't have any replay value. You gotta stay in cover all the time though because you can die from just a few bullets, and enemies are smart enough to flank you and can fuck you up easily, so corridor levels are more fun than open levels (especially later with the fucking rocket launchers it gets so hard), and I loved how you roll the same way like in Gears of War lol. So yeah it was interesting to see where that gameplay came from but on its own it's kind of forgettable without the good storytelling, characters and levels.
2021/11/17
The Haunted Mansion (Xbox)

Developer: High Voltage Software

Publisher: TDK Mediactive

Released: 2003

Genre: Action-adventure, survival horror
The Haunted Mansion
Another game I've had no idea it exists, until I found it by reading an old magazine. At first I thought it's just a shitty Disney licensed game, but it looked so good on the pictures and videos so I decided to play it. And apparently it's based on the Disney ride and not the movie. Anyway you are this loser guy called Zeke who signs up to be a caretaker in a mansion, but of course it's haunted and some evil guy called Atticus Thorn imprisoned the ghosts there and they ask you to help them. You get a lantern which is your weapon and your job is to go to rooms, find the light switch then collect the souls. At first it has a kind of open world feel to it but you quickly realize rooms have soul requirements and you can only do them in a specific order. To get to the light switches you either have to solve puzzles or fight ghosts (or both). The puzzles were the best part of the game, seriously they were so good and interesting and made you truly feel like you are in a haunted place. Like going in a painting and coming out from a different one, jumping on flying books, following moving walls, going inside a toy box and moving on a ball on some blocks, playing pool like you are the ball the ghost wants to hit you on the table lol. But the combat wasn't really good, you unlock gems for your lantern and they give you new attacks, but some of the enemies were brutal, like that giant monster, or that ghoul bitch and the fucking knights and grim reapers who just rush you lol, them showing up suddenly were the scariest thing in the game. And every once in the while the antagonist shows up and you have to kill him a lot until you finally face him at the end, but honestly he was easier than some of the enemies. I also liked how bravery is your health meter and in dark you have less of it. And I found it funny how the end credits gives you cheat codes lol. Anyway it was worth playing just for the cool and clever puzzles, I was really impressed by them.
2021/11/03
Red Faction: Guerrilla (Xbox 360)

Developer: Volition

Publisher: THQ

Released: 2009

Genre: Third-person shooter
Red Faction:
Guerrilla
I had no idea there are 7th gen Red Faction games until recently. This time around it's an open world game and in third person. We are back on Mars, where the EDF (who saved us in the first game) took over the planet and became the bad guys. You are playing as Mason, who arrives to Mars to work with his brother. He quickly experiences what the EDF is really like when they kill his brother, so he joins the Red Faction to avange his brother and kick the EDF out of the planet. Of course the first thing you will notice is the insane destruction you can do. You can destroy EVERYTHING, every building, wall, tower, it's fucking awesome. The other thing is the graphics, it looks incredible, I seriously don't understand people who beg for fucking remasters. Of course it's easy to have good graphics when everything looks red lmao, some regions are more dusty or more red, one has some very simple greenish flowers and then the last one has snow. Regions have an EDF control and a Red Faction morale meter. You can decrease and increase them by completing side missions, destroying EDF properties and killing bad guys. Side missions can be rescuing rebels, stealing a vehicle and taking it back to a base in time, destroying a building with a given weapon before a time limit expires, raiding buildings with guerrillas, riding a turret on a vehicle and destroying EDF targets etc. You will get some of them with random calls, like stopping a convoy or killing a Red Faction traitor. There are a lot of these and you have to do them to lower the EDF control in the region, by the end of the game they start to get really boring and tiring. There is barely enough focus on the main missions, there is only a few of them per region and they don't feel that different from side missions, so you aren't really that invested in the story. With higher morale more rebels will join you when you fight EDF soldiers (and sometimes you need to defend them), and you gotta use hit and run tactics, especially at the beginning, because they will easily overpower and kill you. You can upgrade and buy new weapons, better shield or a cool jetpack with scraps, you collect them from destroyed buildings, or from mining ores and destroying crates. There are also these Maraduer dudes, who are like bandits but they are so fucking annoying to deal with. I liked when you are running for a while a guerrilla shows up to give you a car lol, shame the driving sucks (fuck getting stuck on everything) and the driving missions are the worst. There are some cool easter eggs too, you can find Parker from the first game or the Mars rover lmao. Oh and I liked the music a lot, it's kind of a mysterious sounding sci-fi which is always awesome. There is also an offline multiplayer mode you can play alone too called Wrecking Crew. It's basically a bunch of challenges on different maps, I tried all the different modes but I didn't really care for it, but it could be fun with someone else I guess. Anyway, I liked this one the most, especially destroying the giant fucking bridges and shit. I don't think I'm gonna play the final game though because I heard it's not that good, but never say never.
2021/10/31
Air Combat (PlayStation)

Developer: Namco

Publisher: Namco

Released: 1995

Genre: Combat flight simulation
Air Combat
Aka the first Ace Combat game, might as well just play through all of them. This is one of the earliest PlayStation games, it looks ridiculously simple with those early 3D colors where they just used simple blue for the water, or green for the ground. It didn't look interesting or good to me so I didn't waste a CD on this one, I just used that shitty emulator and sometimes the sound and the rock music bugged out and had some slowdowns. Controls were very basic too, similar to the other Ace Combat games but of course this came out before the DualShock controller, and it was a bit hard to control with the D-pad. The story is something about a radical military organization wanting to take over a country, and your mercenary group is hired to stop them. No cutscenes like in the other games, just a briefing before missions. You can buy new planes with the money you earn, but when you buy them they put these godawful simple purple and flame like red paint on your plane, it looks so fucking bad. You select missions on a map, and sometimes you can choose from different paths, you don't have to do them in order. Later you can hire a wingman before missions, they have different ranks like Rookie, Veteran, Ace (obviously the more experienced ones with the better planes cost more money), and you can set him to guard your tail or do shit on his own. They didn't seem to be useful at all, except for distracting enemies. Missions were usually easy (when you weren't fighting the controls lol), just killing a few planes or destroying ground targets, mostly around 2-4 of them at once so there aren't many enemies. Sometimes you have night missions (like that one in a city, that looked alright), and then you have plain desert or sea levels which looked simple as fuck with a bad draw distance and a lot of pop ups. Instead of time limit you have fuel limit here but I never ran out of it. It sucked the third person view was shit because it didn't show any of the information you would see in cockpit view. It felt more like just an early crappy flying game, but there are two missions where you could already see some of the trademarks of the series, like where you have to fly through a canyon (proto trench run lol) or the last mission with the fucking giant flying fortress lmao. Ace Combat 2 looks like the rest of the series so I'm looking forward to that one.
2021/10/21
Voodoo Vince (Xbox)

Developer: Beep Industries

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2003

Genre: Platformer
Voodoo Vince
There are some traditional platformers that I might want to try on the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, but I wanted the first one I complete to be an Xbox game. Actually when I softmodded my Xbox I tried to play Blinx: The Time Sweeper, but I couldn't get far thanks to the fucking inverted camera which you couldn't change (what's with these fucking Japs, it's almost always their games, that's why I can't play the fucking Otogi games too). Luckily you can change it here. The first platformer and the first game that I ever played was one of those Chip 'n Dale games (I'm pretty sure it was Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers 2) somewhere in the mid 90s. I think I got pretty far but I seriously doubt I finished it. Then there was Super Mario Bros., which you just couldn't escape in the 90s. I don't think I got further than the first two levels, it was way too hard for me as a kid and now I just can't fucking stomach 2D games. Then there was a demo I think of one of the Croc games, which was pretty cool. I think that's pretty much it, I can't remember any more right now. Anyway the other famous Xbox platformer is Voodoo Vince so that was the only choice left for me to pick lol. The game takes place in New Orleans, where two guys break into a voodoo priestess (is that what they are called?), Madam Charmaine's shop to steal her Zombie Dust, but they accidentally spill it out everywhere, and it gets on a voodoo doll who comes to life. He is Vince, whose job is to rescue his owner who was kidnapped by the thieves who took her to their boss, Kosmo who is like some childish idiot who wants to rule the world. Madam Charmaine telepathically communicates with him throughout the game, but he is pretty reluctant and doesn't care about any of this shit lmao, I love the comments he makes and how he ridicules the game sometimes. You travel through New Orleans, cemeteries, undeground tunnels, swamps, plantation houses, and at last to a carnival. Things are fucked up because of the spilled zombie dust, monsters and animals attack you everywhere. The combat is simple, you either punch them, use a spin attack or head slam them. Dead enemies give these marbles you can collect, and when the meter is full you can use voodoo power, which basically kills Vince in a funny way (like cutting him half, dropping a cow on him, a fucking mafia shotout or shitting himself to death lmao) and that kills all the nearby enemies. You can get new powers on some levels, they are either collectibles or awarded to you after boss fights. At the end of every region there is a boss battle, and interestingly you can't attack them, you have to find a way to hurt yourself 3 times to defeat them (jumping into a giant fan, getting hit by lighting etc.). You can also collect these Zombie Dust bags, and after every 100 your maximum health increases. Other thing you can find are Skull Pages, and after you collect all of them on a level a purple skull appears. To collect it you have chase the skull and you will have a few seconds to capture it when it stops, and it will give you another voodoo power slot. There are also hearts which give extra lives (if you run out of lives you just restart the level with 3 hearts). In the menu you can see how many of the collectibles are on the level (besides hearts), and at some point you unlock the All-Seeing Eye which will highlight all of these if you can't find them. They aren't really that hidden though, just sometimes in hard to reach places. You can also go back to previous levels from trolley stations if you missed something or if you want to collect more hearts. Besides the usual jumping and hovering you also need to swing a lot, and in the last few levels were really hard because of that when you are doing like 20 swings then if you die you have to start again ugh (the weird camera and controls didn't help either). The puzzles were pretty good and clever, for example at one level you need to change the time on the clocktower to open shops were you can buy stuff for the next shop and so on. There are some vehicle levels too, some of them are on rails, but there is a fucking swamp race too which was really weird lol. It sucks there aren't seem to be any unlockables, I collected everything and I got nothing extra for it, eh. But yeah it was a fun game, mostly due to the awesome New Orleans setting with the cool as fuck jazz music.
2021/10/19
MediEvil (PlayStation)

Developer: SCE Cambridge Studio

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Released: 1998

Genre: Action-adventure, hack and slash
MediEvil
Why is this the first PlayStation game that I wanted to play (well, technically it isn't, I played one of those FIFA games on my cousin's PlayStation once but that's about it)? Back in like 2005 when the PlayStation Portable came out (which is the only console left that I would love to buy, but they are so expensive) I really wanted to have one, it looked so cool especially compared to the shitty Nintendo handhelds which were always like 2 generations behind in technology with its shitty 2D games. Games on it looked almost as good as modern games, and the game that looked the coolest to me when I was browsing through all of them in the store was MediEvil: Resurrection. The Tim Burtonesque artstyle and this cool skeleton guy made it look like a game I would love. At that point I was aware of the series but I didn't know if it's a sequel or what, I think it's a remake of this game. So seeing that game all the time and wanting to play it so much is the reason why I picked MediEvil as my first PlayStation game. The story takes place in the world of Gallowmere, where an evil wizard Zarok terrorizes the kingdom, and the king's army, led by a bullshitter named Sir Daniel Fortesque who made up a bunch stories about himself, is ready to defeat him, when the first arrow fired by the enemy kills him lmao, officially though he is remembered as a hero who killed the wizard before dying. But now hundreds of years later Zarok is back, and as he creates a new undead army with magic he accidentally revives Dan too, who wants to have his revenge and redeem himself to join his friends in the afterlife in the Hall of Heroes. I really liked the graphical style of the cutscenes, I wish modern games would have this artstyle. The graphics looked fine enough, of course the draw distance is limited and sky is pretty much just blackness everywhere, but I didn't feel like it looks bad, and I'm sure that's because of artstyle too. The controls were a bit harder to get used to, for some reason it looks like the developers of that time didn't really think of using the second analog stick for anything at all, so you move the camera with the L and R buttons which gave me a lot of problems, it's inverted so it was hard enough but sometimes it didn't let me change it and I couldn't see the enemies who killed me. Running was kinda weird too because he always slipped a little bit when I stopped, but the worst was the jumping because sometimes it was hard to tell where are you gonna land and I died a lot because of that, sometimes at the very end of a level. Because of these I felt justified to use cheats on 2 or 3 levels because I just couldn't make it otherwise (especially on the ghost ship level, that one was a nightmare). Anyway you travel on a map to new levels (you can return anytime after you beat it), and more paths open as you finish them. Sometimes the goal is simply to get to the end of the level, but often times there is some kind of task you need to do to get there. Finding runes will open gates, or using heavy weapons will reveal hidden rooms or blocked routes by smashing the wall or rocks. You can use a lot of weapons, you will obtain them as you progress, swords, maces, crossbows, or even magic. You can also collect shields, but they have durability and will only last for a couple hits. You can find coins in chests too, and use them to buy ammo and buff for your weapons from gargoyles. You can also find health vials and fountains where you can recharge your health, and sometimes life bottles which give you extra lives (you can recharge these too). There is a chalice on every level you can collect, but there is a specific requirement to reveal it, mostly just killing most of the enemies on the level (for example zombies, soldiers, monsters, or the fucking scarecrows which were the worst) but sometimes you need to save civilians too or do a specific task. If you collect it you travel to the Hall of Heroes after the level, where you get a reward from one of the hero statues, it can be new weapons, coins, health, but mostly new weapons. I collected all of them and it certainly made the game easier thanks to the more powerful weapons. Every once in a while there is a boss fight, they can be tricky sometimes but they weren't that hard. The last level was interesting, because before the final boss fight your objective is to heal the good skeleton soldiers who will fight for you, and that was a bit tricky to do. After you kill Zarok a giant bird takes you back to your crypt The Lord of the Rings style, and you see the curse lift from the kingdom. You lay down and your soul joins your friends in the afterlife in the Hall of Heroes where you sing and feast till the end of time, the end. It was a wonderful game I really enjoyed playing, even though it was frustrating at some parts, mostly due to technical limitations and outdated controls. Though I wasn't even sure if I can play it normally, because around the 4th level the game gave a disc error. I thought maybe it's my burner or disc but then I found out some PAL games have a copy protection called LibCrypt that triggers in two places in the game. I found a program that burns it correctly but apparently my burner can't apply that properly, so I wasted a CD ugh. Luckily I could copy my save to my USB flash drive, then use the POPStarter emulator to play that level, copy the new save back to the memory card then continue playing lmao. The problem is MediEvil 2 has the same protection and the emulator doesn't support it, so I will need to find a way to play that game somehow. 2021/09/24
Serious Sam (Xbox)

Developer: Croteam

Publisher: Gotham Games

Released: 2002

Genre: First-person shooter
Serious Sam
This one I've heard of, I remember reading about it in a magazine and it was a pretty big deal around this part of Europe, I think one of my classmates said he's playing it and it's fun. It's the kind of mindless game where you need to shoot hordes of enemies lmao. Up until recently I thought there isn't any story or levels just a bunch of different arena like maps set in different ages where you kill endless waves of enemies until you die, and when I realized it's nothing like that I decided to play it. The Xbox version is different though, it's the combination of Serious Sam: The First Encounter and Serious Sam: The Second Encounter with some new stuff, like the scoring system which gives you lives as continues, and Sam has a cartoon like new model which they continued using in the sequels. It also has really bad screen tearing but I got used to it. The story is... well it's hard to tell lmao. Something about an evil alien army invading Earth in the future, and humanity sends its best fighter back to the past to find ancient weapons that can help, or something like that lol. It doesn't really matter anyway, the entire game is so dumb, especially how the enemies look. You got headless suicide bombers who run towards you while they are screaming, some big fat pumpkin headed guy with a chainsaw, some kind of skeleton monster that throws chains at you, a big weird alien walker with a fish head and rocket launchers or just a fucking bull lmao. And of course huge fucking bosses that look like demons. They aren't level specific, pretty much most of them show up on any location. In the first half of the game you are in ancient Egypt, then you go to Central America to the Mayan civilization, then to Babylon and then finally to Poland I guess in the Middle Ages, where the game kinda falls apart and turns into some kind of Christmas themed mod for a while lmao. The goal is almost always killing hordes of fucking enemies Earth Defense Force style, but there are usually waves of them or they appear after you pick up an item or activate a switch. You have a lot of weapons to fight them, from normal pistols, shotguns and machine guns to laser guns, rocket launchers, cannons and a fucking bomb that kills every enemy on screen lol. Sometimes there are powerups that increase your damage or make you go faster. There are a lot of secrets you can find, treasure bags and and chests which contribute to your score, secret items and rooms, and sometimes insane shit like the developers with huge brains appearing and doing some really dumb shit lmao. There are some sercret levels too which I accidentally discovered lol. It's hard to find all secrets, you can check during the level how many there are or how many enemies you can kill on the level if you want to go for 100% completion but it's pointless. Sam's Duke Nukem style one liners and some of the level info really add to the dumbness of the game, and for some reason the multiplayer characters (which I couldn't try) have a really detailed bio with more insanely dumb shit. So yeah it's just another dumb mindless fun kind of game and those are always good. I'm gonna play the sequel too at some point, I wonder if it's any different or just the same shit with better graphics and more weapons and enemies lol.
2021/09/21
SkyGunner (PlayStation 2)

Developer: PixelArts

Publisher: Atlus

Released: 2002

Genre: Air combat simulator, third-person shooter
SkyGunner
I had absolutely no idea this game exists before I found it on a list. I liked the cute cartoon artstyle, the steampunk world and that it's a really short game so I decided to play it. So the story takes place in this French steampunk world, where the 3 main characters are part of some kind of air force organization called Sky Gunners, and they are hired by the police chief to protect a new invetnion called the Eternal Engine. But there is this bad guy called Ventre, who is trying to steal it with his chicken army... lol. At first I thought it's maybe a game based on an anime because it felt like there is a lore behind the world and the characters that I'm missing, and the intro video and the drawing cutscenes looked way too good for a video game, but apparently it's not. So the 3 characters have separate campaigns, the difference is the difficulty (Femme the girl is the easy, the blonde guy Ciel is the normal, and the purple haired dude Copain is the hard difficulty) and their tasks: there are only 5 missions, 4 of them are the same for every character, but they all have different tasks (for example, on easy you are destroying fighters while on normal you are taking care of an airship). Sometimes there are optional tasks you can do but they aren't required to finish a mission, but they could be needed to unlock the 2 bonus characters (some rich guy and the police chief). Another difference between the characters is their planes, they all have different special weapons (fireworks to kill a group of fighters, or cross missiles which you can detonate by shooting them, etc.) and special moves (quick turn around, quick stop with heavy machine gun fire, spinning). If you use them too quickly in a row your engine overheats and you gotta wait a bit till it cools down. Normally you are locked on to an enemy and it plays kinda like a rail shooter, but you can switch to tail view and fly around freely, but there isn't any minimap so it's harder to navigate. When you get hit a lot a quick time event starts where you have to press all the fucking buttons as quickly as you can to regain control of your plane, this gets harder the more time it happens. There is a score system, hitting multiple targets will increase your score and there is a short amount of time where you can multiply it by destroying more enemies. There is also a chain attack where you can destroy multiple enemies by a chain reaction. In one mission you can earn a new and better engine by finishing with the most scores. Of course I could never do that, I always finished last and sometimes with negative scores lmao, because using your weapons and getting hit decreases your score. And I got hit a lot and wasted so much ammo because this game is a fucking nightmare to control. It's hard to get used to the camera always looking at your locked on target and adjusting your plane to that, but that isn't even that bad compared to the aiming, the analog stick is so ridiculously sensitive (using the D-pad instead isn't much better) that it's fucking hard to hit anything at all. Not to mention the insane slowdowns, when a lot of explosions happen the game slows down like crazy and the graphics quality drops to a pixelated mess. Finishing the campaign gives you a rank, of course I got the worst one lmao (I will never understand scores and ranks, who gives a shit about that, I play to game to have fun and that's all that matters). You unlock a photo album though where you can see the major events and your victories. Finishing it on easy was hard enough but I wanted to play it on normal too to see how different the missions are, but there isn't a lot of difference so I didn't even bothered with playing the third character (I played with rich guy bonus character though, he only had two missions, but what the fuck was going on with him, seemed like he collected the Eternal Engine in the end). It was so fucking frustrating to play and I didn't have fun at all, it's a shame that such an awesome artsytle and world was wasted on a game with a terrible gameplay.
2021/09/08
Ninety-Nine Nights (Xbox 360)

Developers: Q Entertainment, Phantagram

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2006

Genre: Hack and slash, action
Ninety-Nine Nights
This is another game I've never heard of until I was trying to find new games to play. The cover with the cute girl looked interesting and it's a similar to the Kingdom Under Fire series on the Xbox (made by the same developers) but without the strategic elements, and before I play those games it's better to experience a simple and basic version of this "kill hundreds of enemies" kind of genre. You can play different characters and they all have their own campaigns. The story of course is connected but it's hard to tell from the game, you have to read the manual to know what's going on. Basically there was a magical orb and all the races lived in peace together, then some demon guy who brought 99 days of darkness to the world was defeated and the orb broke in two pieces, to a light one which the humans and their allies use and the dark one which is for the goblins and their allies, and they've been fighting since then (or something like that lol). Still, it's really hard to tell what's happening, some campaigns end abruptly and you don't really have any idea what's going on until you finish the campaign of the priest dude at the end. There is a secret character you unlock after finishing all campaigns (it's a cute and sad story of a huge troll that's fun to play). And with one character you can choose between two missions, but doesn't matter which one you pick you need to go back and do the other one because you need to complete all missions to unlock the secret final mission of Inphyy. Most of them are kinda bland looking, but I guess that's fine because the focus is on the hundreds of enemies you see around you. There aren't that many of them, and sometimes you are playing the same mission with a different character but from a different perspective, or as some alternate outcome. Some missions are really short but most of them take a while to complete. I think people complained about the lack of checkpoints and how hard the game is but I only really found it hard at the beginning when you are a low level character. As you level up you gain new combos and slots for the items dropped by dead enemies, or you can find them on the map in chests, such as weapons, items that can increase health, defense, attack etc. and health and orb potions too. After every dead enemy you collect red orbs, and when it's full you can execute powerful special attacks during a short period of time. Enemies killed during that time drop blue orbs, and when that's full you can execute a really powerful attack that usually kills every enemy on the screen instantly. It's really satisfying when you are massacring tons of fucking enemies, especially when you are high level and you know the best combos. Some characters are more fun to play than others, but they are usually different enough from each other. Sometimes you can meet future playable characters during missions, that was pretty cool. Boss fights are the only hard part of the game imo (and also those fucking demons lol), the best tactic is not facing them directly, and just jumping and dashing around waiting for the right opportunity to strike. Some characters can select two groups of soldiers who will follow them around, you can order them to attack and defend but they are kinda useless, except for occupying some enemy forces. The final mission is really hard unless you are level 9 (which is the max level), most characters will finish their campaigns at level 6 so you gotta replay some missions a couple times to level up. Then you can defeat the final boss with the combination of the last unlocked powerful attack + a powerful item. After completing missions and campaigns you unlock concept arts, which costs points to view. You get those from finishing missions with better ranks I think. There is also something in this game that I've never seen anywhere else before: you can kill innocent goblin women and children too, which is pretty fucking hardcore in a video game. So yeah it's basic and simple but I had a lot fun playing it, but I'm not gonna play the sequel because it was made by a different developer and I've heard it's shit.
2021/08/30
Fable II (Xbox 360)

Developer: Lionhead Studios

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2008

Genre: Action role-playing
Fable II
As I said when I reviewed the first game I played this one a little bit like 11 years ago when I got my Xbox 360. It was a bit overwhelming, I didn't really know where to go and I just wasn't in a mood for a large RPG, plus I wanted to start with the first game. Interesting fact, it was localized here and the localization is really good, but after playing through the childhood I just switched to English because everything had a different name so I had no idea where to go exactly. I started a new game though, because I didn't remember much from what I've played. The story takes place hundreds of years after the first game, where there are no more heroes and magic, people think they were just legends. You are the descendant of the first game's hero, living on the streets of Bowerstone with your sister. Then during the kiddie missions you buy an old magic item that can grant you a wish, and you soon end up in the castle where the bad guy Lucien discovers your power, and kills your sister and throws you out of the window. An old gypsy woman saves you, that's when the childhood ends and as an adult you head out of the gypsy caravan to discover the world of Albion and have your revenge on Lucien. The first thing you will notice is how much bigger the world is. In the previous game you were mostly limited to following roads but here you can explore almost everything and even swim (no more of that horrible fishing minigame lol). Cities are now truly huge unlike in the first game, there are less regions but they are so much bigger too, they can be forests with ancient ruins, farmlands, mountains, evil marshlands etc., they look beautiful. Of course these huge areas aren't empty, besides the usual enemies (interestingly there aren't really any new ones, just the same bandits, ghosts, werewolves etc. like in the first game) you can find a lot of treasure chests, hidden or burried, the demon doors, silver keys and gargoyles you can shoot. And who is gonna help you to find all these things and kill enemies? That's right, the most important addition: your dog. Not only he will bark and lead you to chests when there is one near you, he will also help you to kill enemies, and you can play with him too, and he does tricks when you use one of your expressions or when NPCs pet him. And you can train him to upgrade his abilities and learn new tricks from books (that's how you learn new expressions too). He also changes just like you based on your alignment. You don't have to travel back to anywhere to learn new skills, all you have to do is to open the menu and just like in the first game you spend blue (melee attacks), yellow (ranged attacks) and red orbs (spells) and also green ones (general XP) to learn new skills. Potions also give XPs instead of buffing your stats. There are less spells but they have two functions, you can target a specific enemy or an area and they will do different things, I really liked this change. Melee and ranged combat are also different, basically both use just one button and the way you press them (like holding the button makes the attack more powerful or blocks an enemy attack) changes the attack, it may sounds very simplified but it works well. At the first half of the game I was constantly running out of money so it was hard to manage, that's why the game has jobs you can do. They are minigames where you need to hit a button at the perfect time but it can be hard, and they don't really pay well until you do a shitton of them in a row and that can take a lot of time. With the money you earn you can buy stalls and stores for a steady income, or houses you can rent out. Just like in the first game you need to own a house if you want to get married. Finding a wife works the same, you gotta flirt or give gifts until the girl falls in love with you, but in this game you can see what the NPCs like or dislike, or what's their favorite places, and you can take them there if you want, it's pretty cool. You can check if your wife likes the house you live in (if not, you can move to another, or buy new furnitures) or if she is happy with her allowance (pretty realistic huh lmao). Oh, and you can have kids. Yep. You can impregnate your wife by fucking her without a condom lmao (don't fuck whores without it though, or you will get STDs lol) and you can have a baby (I don't think you can have more than one per wife though). You can't really do much with them besides giving them a gift, but sometimes your kid will run away and you need to find him in a cave before he dies (I think girls won't run away). Your wife will leave you if she isn't happy, if you get fat or won't flirt with her and fuck her regularly lmao. Wearing attractive clothes or armors will increase her happiness and how much the NPCs like you, and you can do cool shit like pose for statues all around the world. The main story is actually really short, but there are so many sidequests and so much shit you can do in the world that it took me months to finish the game. In some ways the story is really similar to the first game, like how you go away for a long time to this "prison" and when you come back the world changes. Your actions have a bigger effect on the world, helping a guard when you are a kid turns a district to a nice neighborhood later, but if you help the bandits it will be a shithole, or before you go away again as an adult you can turn a shitty city into a nice place by investing in a project there, and you can even meet some characters later and see what happened to them. An interesting moment was when I thought Oakfield was the same village from the first game, until you pass through a fucked up marshland and you realize that's the destroyed and sunk Oakvale in the distance. It's weird but there is no real final boss fight at the end, you just hold down a button and that's it lol. And then you can choose from the 3 different endings: you can get a shitton of money (the evil ending, lame as fuck), revive your wives and children and your dog who were killed by the final boss, or revive all the people who were killed by him except your family and your dog. Obviously the only ending that makes any sense is saving our loved ones so that's what I picked, how else am I gonna have my dog and fuck my wives lmao? This lack of final boss also shows the only real problem with the game: it's just so fucking easy. First of all, there is a gold trail you see that will lead you to where you need to go so it's impossible to get lost, armors don't really give stats anymore so it doesn't really matter what you wear, fast travel is really easy you just open your map and can go to any place you've been before etc. I didn't even die once it's so easy, I even died in the first game a couple times. Despite how easy it was it's still a really fun game and I enjoyed playing it so much. I have the Game of the Year Edition which has the two DLCs, in the first one you can travel to an island where you need to change the weather but it keeps making the island worse lol, and in the second one you get these cursed items which teleports you to a snowglobe village (which actually is Oakvale), then to some ruins where you get a bunch of silly outfits, and after those you will see a vision of the future, where you are a king, and after you come back you will still have a royal outfit on (there is also a colosseum you can go to fight). This foreshadows the story of Fable III, which I don't think I'm gonna play because I've only heard bad things about it, but who knows. Before I stopped playing I bought the best places you can own (castle, mansion, huge farm, tower) and moved my families there so they can live there happily until I come back to fuck them all again lmao.
2021/07/03
Alter Echo (Xbox)

Developer: Outrage Games

Publisher: THQ

Released: 2003

Genre: Action-adventure
Alter Echo
I had no idea this game exists, I found it when I was looking through a list of games from 2003. It looked so cool and interesting in this weird alien world so I had to try it out. Apparently some new material called plast was discovered on a planet, and some people (shapers) have the power to create new things out of it with their minds or something like that, it was really confusing and didn't make much sense anyway. One of this shaper turns evil and creates a new material out of it called echoplast which gains consciousness and asks the main protagonist Nevin to help him defeat the bad guy. As I said it takes place in a weird as fuck alien world, where the whole planet is covered by this echoplast, with its weird shapes and colors, the graphics aren't that great but still it's visually impressive. Levels can be a bit samey looking, even when you are underground or inside some building, and they are usually really short, just a few minutes long but there are a lot of them and they are grouped together in different chapters. I almost dropped the game immediately when I started playing because it has an inverted camera which you can't change! Seriously fuck every single developer who does this shit, what the fuck were they thinking? I stopped playing games before because of this, the only reason I continued this one is because the game automatically locks on to enemies, so even if I can't see shit I will still hit them. Doesn't matter how much I played I couldn't adapt to it. But combat was pretty meh anyway. Nevin has a sword he can fight with and use combos but his suit can morph into 2 other forms, a huge but very slow gun form where you can shoot enemies and a frog looking thing where you can use stealth and walk on platforms on walls just like in Prey lol, this form had the best attack where you can just jump on to some enemies and hit them because they can't damage you this way. Some enemies are immune to certain forms so you have to keep switching between them and that just made everything harder, especially when these nodes covered by a shield spams them, and you can't destroy it until a certain number of enemies are killed. You get green orbs from defeating enemies and you can use those to purchase new combos or more health at the end of chapters, but I just focused on improving the attack power and the health because it's just hard to execute elaborate combos with all those enemies around you. Sometimes there is an AI ally with you and that helps a little bit. There is also this time dilation thing, which is a minigame where you need to navigate an arrow that goes faster and faster to hit enemies, but it was so hard to do. You need to do the same thing to activate switches but it's harder there because you can hit walls, I just hate shitty minigames like that. And the shitty camera and combat just makes boss fights insanely hard, I don't even know how many times I retried that one with the clones. There are some couple extras you don't even need to unlock, trailers, making of videos, the most interesting was the music one. The game has this cool I guess industrial alien sounding music, and it was nice to see how they made it, plus they gave you two tracks with visualizer you can listen to. Anyway even if the camera wasn't inverted it would have been just a mediocre game, but I guess it still looks pretty interesting visually.
2021/06/09
Zone of the Enders (PlayStation 2)

Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

Publisher: Konami

Released: 2001

Genre: Third-person shooter, hack and slash
Zone of the Enders
I didn't really know about this game until I was looking for Xbox 360 games to play, as it came out later on the system as part of an HD Collection. It didn't look that interesting to waste a DVD, but when I was going through lists of PlayStation 2 games I decided to play it, mostly because the gameplay looked like the final boss battle from Lost Planet: Extreme Condition lmao which I loved. And I was right, it's a cool mech game. It's also the first Kojima game I've played, though I'm not sure how much he actually worked on it. The manual has a lot of history of the game's world, I guess that's pretty cool but it was so much I could barely remember any details, the only thing that important is that there is a conflict between Earth and the other colonies in the Solar System. The story takes place on a space colony near Jupiter, where I guess Mars' military attacks the colony to find an advanced mech (they call them orbital frames in this game). You are playing as Leo, a kid who witnesses his friends killed by the enemy, and as he tries to escape he accidentally falls into the mech they were looking for and activates the AI called Ada. The goal is basically to fight through the colony to deliver the mech to the good guys who will transport it away. The kid really doesn't want to fight and kill people so he is constantly arguing with the AI, but by the end he is ready to sacrifice himself. The graphics are pretty good, the colony is an awesome cyberpunk looking place, and the characters have this anime styled 3D look. The music in the main menu is playing backwards and it makes it so mysterious sounding. It's not your usual mech game, the focus is more on melee combat than on your guns, so it's more like a hack and slash game. You are basically hovering and flying through a map of the colony, where you can enter an area to fight enemy mechs. The controls were a bit weird and it took some time to get used to them, but there is a nice tutorial that explains everything. Besides the combat you can collect passcodes from defeated enemies (along with health and ammo for weapons) and you can use those on computers to obtain a new program or a new weapon. There are a lot of secondary weapons you can use, like javelin, sniper, machine gun or a repair "gun", but I very rarely used them, mostly just during boss fights. There are also these porter shits you need to shot down to reveal hidden things, but this is where you notice the biggest problem of the game: the camera is just so fucking awful. It doesn't make a difference during combat because you lock on to enemies, but you can't do that with porters and it keeps moving back when you try to look to another direction, so you have to face the target which was also not easy to do in a game with fast movements, it was so frustrating. Sometimes you get these optional missions where you can travel to an area to save civilians, and you get a rating based on how many of them you saved and how much buildings you destroyed or damaged. I had a hard time saving everyone and everything lol but I got better at it by the end. I also struggled with the first boss, but the rest of them were easier - the key is to keep moving, but this also applies to normal enemies. The final boss fight had an interesting concept, basically you can't damage him as he is more powerful than you, all you have to do is to survive until the final cutscene happens. And the way they said you are not ready to face him yet implies that he is gonna be the main antagonist of the sequel. It's a short game but it was pretty much what I expected, so I'm looking forward to play the next one. 2021/05/21
Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter (Xbox)

Developer: Warthog Games

Publisher: Black Label Games

Released: 2003

Genre: First-person shooter
Mace Griffin:
Bounty Hunter
I remember seeing news and screenshots of this game in the magazine I bought and I thought wow a bounty hunting space game that sounds cool as fuck. So I always wanted to play this, it was one the first games I wanted to try when I modded my Xbox, but it couldn't fit in the stock hard drive. The story is about this wrongfully convicted soldier (voiced by Henry Rollins) who is finally free after 10 years in prison, and becomes a bounty hunter and wants revenge on the people who set him up or something. It was a bit hard to follow, there are no subtitles of course and the radio is quieter, thank god for the last cutscene though for explaining what the fuck was happening because I wasn't really sure lmao. So the unique thing about this game is how you can just enter your ship and fly out of the space station, all without a loading screen, you can even walk inside your ship (there isn't much to do there besides picking up ammo), it's pretty impressive. Shame that space combat fucking sucks, it's just waves and waves of ships you need to shot down, and the default controls were awful but you can change it in the settings. You can adjust the speed, you can even stop and hover or reverse, but it's still kinda weird to control. Luckily they are usually small parts of missions and most of the time you are on foot. The gunplay isn't the best, aiming is slow as fuck and enemies are bullet sponges. The guns are fucking cool though, and for some reason they all look really good graphically (not that the game looks ugly, but it can be a bit bland and the characters aren't the best looking). They have secondary fire too, and you can lock onto enemies, which kinda works like a slight auto aim. Also this game has the best sniper rifle I've ever seen, you can smoothly zoom in all the way through, it was so easy to use. But the trend of godawful shotguns continue in this game too, I don't know why the fuck was this happening in the early 2000s. Sometimes during heavy firefights the HUD starts moving and shaking too, it was really cool. Besides your health you have a regenerating shield (on your ship too), and you can pick up medkits and ammo from wooden crates or from some rooms. Missions start with you flying your spaceship, then either fighting your way through or just docking to space stations, asteriod colonies or giant ships. Some of the enemies are interesting, like those cultists who wear a screen on their head with a smiley face lmao, but most of them were kinda boring, and as I said they take a lot of bullets. Those fuckers hiding with their rocket launchers are the worst, you can't save manually and sometimes there is a lot happening between checkpoints. At least you have those and don't have to restart, because missions are just so fucking tideously long, like over an hour long, they just go on and on and on and the game itself is pretty long too, and not easy at all, especially when there is a timer or you have to escort or defend an NPC. It's very linear, like mostly you can only go one way, but there are things you wouldn't expect normally so sometimes it's hard to find where to go next, like where you have to do some platforming (which wasn't very good), ride in carts and shit, or jump to the water from a cliff. This kinda reminded me of Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, which I absolutely loved. And it's a bit buggy too, one time I fell out of the map lol, or enemies just didn't see or react to me. The last mission was really weird, you go through a portal to some trippy ghost alien race's ship, and those fuckers can kill you really fast, I died there the most. Honestly it's not a great game or anything, but I really appreciated it and its kinda old school (well to me at least) level design. So fuck it, I liked it.
2021/05/18
Battlefield: Bad Company (Xbox 360)

Developer: EA DICE

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Released: 2008

Genre: First-person shooter, tactical shooter
Battlefield: Bad
Company
This is the first Battlefield game I've played. I remember seeing Battlefield 2: Modern Combat in stores and I wanted to play it so badly, it looked so cool but I couldn't afford the game (I'm gonna play it at some point on Xbox though). I wasn't sure if I should play this one though, I knew it was made for consoles with a proper campaign but these kind of FPS games are always so fucking short. But it looked fun so I decided to play it. You are part of the Bad Company, a military unit where the lowest of the low are assigned to. Basically the US Army is using your unit as cannon fodder in a war with Russia. Your teammates are kinda crazy but funny too, I thought the story and the characters were a lot of fun (it sucks there aren't any subtitles, sometimes it's hard to follow the conversations, on default the sounds were really quiet too). The graphics are pretty good with a film grain to make it more cinematic looking I guess. There are only a few missions, but they are really long. You play on a huge map with a lot of objectives you need to complete and it opens up more and more of the map. They are usually about going from town to town and from building to building, killing enemies or blowing shit up. The game has awesome destruction physics, you can destroy so many buildings, trees and shit like that. You can only carry one weapon, but you also have a knife and you can pick up an extra item, that can be a drill to repair vehicles, an RPG, explosives, or my favorite a little device you can use to call artillery strikes lmao, deytroying fucking everything with it was so much fun. You also have an item to restore your health, which you can use as much as you want but it has a time limit. If you somehow still die, you teleport back to the last savepoint, but with all your progress so technically there is no penalty for dying. There are also vehicles you can use, like tanks or armored cars, boats, helicopters etc., and you can listen to the radio in them lol. Vehicle controls were a bit weird and it took some time to get used to them (especially the helicopter), but sometimes they got stuck on tiny obstacles (especially tanks) which was really annoying. Most of the time your squadmates are fighting with you, but there is a mission where you are alone and you are trying to find them. It was kinda weird how they just teleported right in the vehicle when you entered one, even if they were far away. After the first mission you find out a mercenary unit, which is famous for getting paid in gold bars, is also there. So naturally you say fuck this war, and start chasing the mercenaries to find their gold stash, and in the process you manage to invade a neutral country lmao. The gold bars are one of the collectibles, the other ones are weapons which I guess you unlock for multiplayer after you find them. It's weird that I found almost every weapon but for some reason I barely found any gold. One thing that I really didn't like was the aiming, for some reason left and right were more sensitive than up or down and there wasn't any option to change sensitivity, luckily there is a slight auto aim and that helped a bit. So yeah it was a good game and a lot of fun, but it was really short, unfortunately that became a problem during that time as these games were more about the multiplayer. 2021/04/28
Rez (PlayStation 2)

Developer: United Game Artists

Publisher: Sega

Released: 2002

Genre: Rail shooter, music
Rez
I have no idea if I knew about this game or not, but I read about it in a local magazine recently. It was reviewed twice, for some reason they gave it to the sport game dudebro who gave it 1 point, said it's a shame that something like this could come out and that it has no values. Then in the next issue this guy who wrote incredible reviews of Japanese games gave it a 9, explaining how it's an artistic game and an incredible experience. I guess I could compare the entire game to the computer level of Panzer Dragoon Orta, which probably was my favorite part of that game. I absolutely love the visuals, it has this 80s cyberspace look with some of that Y2K aesthetics, and then those digital ancient Egyptian or Babylonian buildings, it's fucking awesome. It's a pretty short game, you have 5 levels with 10 layers, each with different enemies, music and visuals. As you shoot down enemies you create the electronic music of the game and your controller vibrates to the beat, in an attempt to achieve synesthesia. It's an interesting idea, but all it could achieve was hurting my hand lol (seriously what's up with this controller, it vibrates so hard). Sometimes enemies drop these blue and red orbs you can target and pick up, blue is basically XP, when you collect enough you level up, but just one hit takes down an entire level so you gotta be fast, and the red ones are for the overdrive attack, where you auto target the enemies and just spam lasers. I love how ridiculously simple the controls are, there are only 3 buttons you can use lol, left stick for aiming, X for laser and O overdrive, that's it lmao. Every level ends with a boss fight, they are all really unique but they can be really hard. If you continue playing after completing a level you can keep all your experience, but quitting means you lose all of it and that makes the game really hard. I should talk about the story too, which really doesn't come up until the last level. There is this supercomputer with an AI which gains consciousness then shuts itself down. You are trying to hack into the system to restart it, and your avatar goes through these viruses and security systems to reach the AI. The last level is really different, instead of the ancient buildings and city like cyberspace it's all nature themed, and you are going through the phases of creation and life. After the usual layers you have to fight the previous bosses again, but it's not that hard this time - unlike the final boss where you are trying to restart the AI, it's fucking brutal. I couldn't do it but turned out failing is also an ending, knowing myself there is no way I could get the good ending so I just accepted it. Still it was an incredible visual experience, I'm really liking these artistic games the PlayStation 2 has to offer.
2021/04/26
Monster Attack (PlayStation 2)

Developer: Sandlot

Publisher: Agetec

Released: 2004

Genre: Third-person shooter
Monster Attack
Aka the first Earth Defense Force game. Earth Defense Force 2025 is the reason I started using my Xbox 360 again. I was watching videos on a gaming channel and they played that game and I loved it so much, I found out it's also on the console so I had to get a DVD. Now I'm still playing that game years later, because it's not something I would play every day for an hour, just when I'm bored and want some mindless fun, and also because I want to play with all the classes first before I feel like I'm done with it. This is the game I used to test OPL when I got my PlayStation 2, then I decided might as well just play through it cause it's only 25 missions. It's hilarious how little changed since this game though, I mean it's simple as fuck (it's part of the Simple Series after all lol) but you are still killing giant ants and UFOs (in cheap looking green and purple colors lol) and picking up armor, weapons and health (they are like JPG sprites lol), and even have some of the same weapons and sounds lmao. The music is pretty cool 50s sci fi inspired and there is also a letterbox to add to that movie feeling, but there is no radio chatter in this so it feels emptier. You got the same destruction where you can destroy any building so that's impressive, but the framerate drops and slowdowns can be so bad. There is only one class in this one (the soldier) but almost every map has vehicles you can drive too, like tanks and helicopters (which somehow don't have crosshairs so they are kinda useless). But the default controls are so fucking bad holy shit, thank god you can change it to modern controls but I just don't understand why they would use something similar to mid 90s 3D game controls as the default. The missions are very basic and simple, of course almost always your goal is to kill every enemy to complete them, and some of them were almost the same as in Earth Defense Force 2025 lmao, like when you are at the beach or in a destroyed city and killing waves of ants. I love how ridiculous the boss fights are too, you are fighting fucking Godzilla lmao, then next time there are two Godzillas, then a fucking armored mega Godzilla lol. Of course the final boss is a mothership. I swear they just keep remaking the same game with some changes and more missions. But is that a bad thing? Not for a small and fun budget game like this. Cause it's just mindless, dumb fun and a perfect timewaster, and that's all that matters. I just wish half of every mission wouldn't be about collecting pickups, cause it takes ages to run around the map. 2021/04/19
Burnout 2: Point of Impact (Xbox)

Developer: Criterion Games

Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment

Released: 2003

Genre: Racing
Burnout 2: Point
of Impact
Now this is how you make a sequel. Not only they improved everything and added more stuff, they also perfected the concept of the first game. The game starts with Offensive Driving 101, which basically the turorial you need to finish before you can do anything. Some of the new stuff you can already see in the tutorial: you earn medals now (bronze, silver, gold) and have more ways to earn boost (jumps, perfect laps without crashes). The Championship mode works a bit differently now, instead of required places you earn medals and points after every race, so in theory you don't have to win all of them, you just gotta make sure to have the most points in the end. It still looks like the first game, but they improved the graphics and there are more things happening on the map (like planes flying on the airport track). Also the race tracks feel less generic now and more unique, the first game was more European based, but this takes place on the US West Coast, with deserts, mountains, ski resorts, a huge dam and of course Californian cities. The music is a lot better, more rock themed and guitar heavy, and it gets louder and heavier when you boost. There are still no car brands just generic models, but there are a lot more of them with some cooler skins. They also have 3 stats now (acceleration, control, top speed) instead of just how difficult it is to drive them (my favorite was the Supercar, it had the most balanced stats). You unlock more cars with the Face/Off mode and a new mode called Pursuit, where you are a cop and you need to crash into the other vehicle to lower its health bar and destroy it (this one was really hard because the AI is cheating like crazy). The difference is these new modes are integrated into the Championship mode, and you unlock them by earning gold medals in all races. Once you finish these modes there you unlock them separately and you can play them on any of the tracks you finished (there is also a Time Attack mode, which I forgot to mention was in the previous game too, where you drive alone and are just trying to beat the time limit, I didn't care for it). You still race with only 3 other cars, but they improved the driving a lot. It just feels so much better and faster with more opportunities to boost, jump and drift, and it's easier to avoid crashes as you don't crash from bumping into cars. Sometimes it gets really chaotic when you chain your boosts together but it's just so much fun lol. It feels like there are less checkpoints with more time between them, and you can see how many seconds the next car is ahead or behind you when you drive through it, that was a really helpful addition. Beating the Championship mode unlocks the Custom Championship, where I guess you race with the unlocked faster cars on mostly reversed tracks against the traffic, so it should be harder (honestly I got gold medals on most of the races first try, I don't know if I have some hidden talent for these kind of games or if it's just that easy). One thing that didn't make sense to me in the first game was how you earn money for crashes when they should be avoided. This is the best change in the game, they added a new Crash mode where your goal is to cause huge crashes with multiple vehicles. They only take like a minute and you need at least a bronze medal to complete them and unlock the next couple ones. Crashes look more detailed now and it can be really fun to see a shitton of cars and buses crash into each other when you cause an accident. The multiplayer also includes this, along with the Pursuit mode. As always the Xbox version is the best with more skins and twice as many crashes you can complete. I feel like they perfected the formula introduced in the first game, the next one looks really different from what I've seen so I expect big changes there.
2021/04/14
The Saboteur (Xbox 360)

Developer: Pandemic Studios

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Released: 2009

Genre: Action-adventure
The Saboteur
The last game made by Pandemic Studios. They made my favorite game of all time (Star Wars: Battlefront) so I always liked them. I remember one of my cousin's relative told me he is playing this game and it's so cool so I installed it on PC. I don't think I played it much, I remember doing the race at the beginning and some missions but it felt so boring and uninteresting to me. I'm not sure if I would have played it now if it didn't come with my Xbox 360 when I bought it. You are playing an Irish racer called Sean, who finds himself trapped in Paris when the war breaks out after the Aryan posterboy nazi racer wins by cheating and kills your friend. You join the resistance to have revenge on him after a long as fuck prologue. This game is basically Assassin's Creed in WW2 lol, you can climb up to the top of the buildings and jump from roof to roof, or slide down. As you can guess most of the game is sabotaging and bombing stuff. You can destroy so many things, propaganda radios, sniper towers, fuel depots, tanks, zeppelins etc. and they don't respawn. You get contraband for it, and that's basically the money in this game, you can find them in crates too, or when you find postcards or the eagle tower equivalent of this game lol. You can use them to buy new weapons, ammo, cars or upgrades from the black market. You can also spawn partisans to help you fight nazis. You can only carry two guns and two explosives, you can choose from snipers, pistols, machine guns, shotguns etc., later you get some really powerful ones from the terror nazis (those fuckers are tough). The gunplay is alright, but there is not much weight to it, just like to melee combat, jumping and climbing, or driving, it felt really weird. Most of the time you need to use stealth to complete missions or to make them easier, because once the nazis are alerted they swarm you and can fuck you up easily, luckily your health regenerates. You can wear nazi uniforms so that was cool, but they can still recognize you if you go too close so most of the times you can only rely on stealth for the first half of the missions. There are perks you can unlock, they all have requirements and they either improve your stats, unlock new attacks or weapons, and cars. For example sniping was awful but unlocking a perk by sniping a few nazis reduces the recoil. It's kinda like Grand Theft Auto in a way, sometimes you have more than one mission to choose from, and there are also secondary missions. They are mostly the same as you usually sabotage something or assassinate someone, but the locations are cool so it doesn't feel always the same. You can go outside of Paris to villages, but they are supposed to be other French regions lol. And there are some side activities you can do like bird hunting, or racing. What makes this game really unique is the visuals: the world is in black and white with dark clouds and only a few colors like red (representing the nazis), blue (the partisans) and yellow for the light. It looked awesome and combined with the jazz music it gives a game a special athmosphere. As you progress through the missions and blow up something big you liberate areas (well sort of, they still have nazis) and the color returns to that place with an explosion and a clear sky, representing how hope returns, it was really cool. The final mission is basically a huge uprising in Paris, with fighting and destroyed zeppelins and vehicles everywhere, and you get ready for the ultimate battle on the top of the Eiffel Tower, but you just walk there and kill the main villian with a headshot, normally I would say it's really underwhelming but it felt satisfying here, it was very cinematic. The game was a bit short, and I guess all those things you can blow up are there to extend the gameplay but there is really not much of a reason to destroy them other than a few ones when you run out of contrabands. And the game is kinda glitchy and felt unfinished and a bit empty, and I'm pretty sure it's because Pandemic Studios closed a few months before the game was released. Seriously fuck EA for killing them. 2021/04/10

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