Game Reviews

Willow
Jun25

Willow

Willow for NES By Michael “Beezledrop” Lester: Movies made into video games. Most of the time making a video game adaptation made out of a film usually ends with a bad game. Over time it becomes an expectation that a game made after a movie is usually a waste of money. You end up finding yourself avoiding these games at all costs just because the odds of them being any good are approximately 3,720 to 1. Sometimes however they’re movie adaptations that come around that actually turn out to be good. Willow happens to be one of those games. Willow is often over looked and it’s an under rated game in the NES library. Story: The game Willow is loosely based off of the film. You’re Willow a Nelwyn farmer who finds a baby and has to protect her from the evil queen Bavmorda. Along the way you get help from an expert Swordsman, a great Sorceress, Fairies, Brownies and other various characters along the way. The game does take a lot of liberties with the story. It adds other scenarios into the game to increase the length. It however stays true to the basic plot of the film and though it does stop to take a quick detour from the main story arch; Willows story is interesting and holds your attention well. Game Play: Willow is an over head action RPG style game, reminiscent of Zelda. You move will from screen to screen, and fight enemies as they appear using your trusty Sword, Shield and Magic items. The game play is very solid. You can jab the sword forward or swing it in front of you. If you face projectiles and certain attacks without pressing any buttons your shield deflects them.You also get different magic’s and items to help you along the way. Whenever Willow gets a new sword he swings it rather slow, because he’s not used to using the new weapon. Over time the more you use the weapon the faster he can swing. Unlike Zelda, Willow uses a leveling system, and he gets his strength by gathering experience. The only big gripe I have about this game is it does not utilize a battery pack save feature. The game uses a password system that is not only long, but it uses both upper and lower case letters which can make putting in the password very tedious. Music: The Music in Willow is probably one of its weaker points. Though it is good there are a few tunes that hit a higher pitch that can bother your ears (The Intro song and Town Music specifically). The...

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Lords of Thunder
Jun25

Lords of Thunder

Lord of Thunder for PC Engine Duo By Saibohmann: Lords of Thunder is a must play horizontally scrolling shoot-em-up or shmup. If nothing else it should be experienced solely for the infinitely excellent soundtrack, which consists of Yngwie Malmsteen style neo-classical shredding. The composer credited as “Groove King” is Satoshi Miyashita, one of the many unsung heroes of video game music composition. The version I am reviewing is its initial iteration for the PC-Engine CD. For those of you that are unfamiliar with NEC’s family of consoles the PC-Engine is what was known as the TurboGrafx-16 here in the states. It was marketed as the first 16-bit console but in fact had two 8-bit processors, which gave it a serious advantage over the NES and Master System but it couldn’t compete with true 16-bit processing such as with the SNES or Genesis. The cartridges for the console are rather interesting appearing less like a cart and more like a credit card, they were called HuCards. A year after the Turbo’s release NEC released a CD add on for the Turbo making it the first CD console. Finally a year after the CD units release NEC released a console with both units already together dubbed the Turbo Duo, or PC-Engine Duo. I could go on, but I digress. There are two ports of Lords of Thunder, one for the Sega CD (being one of the few good games for it), and a release on the Wii’s virtual console. So if you own a Wii, I highly recommend this title! In Lords of Thunder (LOT for future reference) you have your choice between 4 different Elemental Armors for your character to utilize all with pros and cons. Like most shmups you can power up your regular shot, in LOT there are 3 tiers of power for your regular shot. Wind: Decent 5-Way shot when fully powered, kind of weak. The bomb attack is a storm of lightning which easily hits all targets on screen. Water: Absolutely the most advantageous shot with two beams in front of you and two behind, you basically cover the entire screen while firing from the middle of it, because of this advantage it is weak. The bombs attack is a spherical water attack that bursts out of the player expanding off the screen. Fire: When fully powered its basically a short range flamethrower that moves up and down when you move, decently powerful. The bomb attack summons a flaming dragon that homes in on enemies on screen. Earth: Fully powered it shoots two bombs arcing out in front of you that explode into vertical columns that rush forward pretty...

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Plants vs Zombies
Jun25

Plants vs Zombies

Plants vs Zombies for PC By Valjur: First Impressions: Plants vs Zombies is a really fun, novelty, tower defense game. It’s comical and silly, and is the type of game that would be fun for just about any one. But be warned, it can get a bit addictive. It’s a fun casual game that can be entertaining for experienced gamers and beginners, and also serve as a good introduction to tower defense games. It has a nice gradual difficulty curve and shouldn’t be too difficult to play through, even for some one inexperienced with these kinds of games. While a more experienced player may be able to wizz through the story mode but still have a difficult time with a handful of the mini games and challenges. Story: The game is essentially about some zombies trying to eat your brains, and your only defense is a horde of super zombie killing plants that you grow. There is also a guy called “Crazy Dave” that you are introduced to early in the story mode who sells you bonus items from out of the back of his car. He’s a strange man to say the least… I guess he’s supposed to be some sort of comic relief character, but his antics are rather… meh… he’s just a stupid, annoying interruption. Gameplay: I’m a fan of tower defense games and when I stumbled upon this game I was pleasantly surprised at how fun it was. Instead of how in traditional defense games where the enemy travels down a linear path in which to get to your base, and you have to set up turrets along the sides of that path in order to ceace their on coming approach, instead in this game the enemy comes down either 5 or 6 rather short paths to get to you, and you have to set up turrets on every row to keep the enemy at bay. This threw me off at first, but once you get the feel for it, it’s actually quite easy to handle.  This game isn’t so much about quickly upgrading a small number of turrets as quickly as possible, as is normal practice in tower defense games, instead in Plants vs. Zombies you have to worry more about spreading your defenses out to protect all of your open lanes. Replayability: It has a pretty solid campaign mode which will take a bit of time to work through, but isn’t too hard. There are also puzzle and mini game modes which are quite fun, and serve as a more stimulating of challenge. It all has a pretty fair difficulty curve so it...

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Towns
Jun25

Towns

Towns for PC By Valjur: First Impressions: Towns is very much still in alpha testing, but it’s already defiantly a very entertaining game. I first saw the game when a friend of mine was playing an earlier alpha version of it, and it just looked like something incredibly interesting. It was part farm sim game, and part dungeon explorer with a slight Minecraft feel to it. The mix allows for there to be a sense of purpose for why you are helping these people out, besides just feeding their digital bellies and killing your free time. The more you help them, the more capable they will become at monster slaying. Story: At the time in which I’m writing this review, the game doesn’t really have a story of any kind. It’s pretty much just a strait to the point medieval/fantasy town simulator, in which you are responsible for the well being and survival of your citizens. Gameplay: Once the game begins you have two main focuses; one is to develop a functional community for your citizens that will allow them to thrive, the second is to develop weapons and to defend your people against incoming attacks from monsters. Once you have a well built town that can supply a good amount of food for your citizens, and you have a fair amount of armor and weapons stocked up, then you can actively pursue monsters in the depths of the earth. If you want to increase the population of your citizens you have to make sure you have individual living quarters for each of your people; with a bed, walls and a door. If you have enough rooms for your people, and you have a good supply of regular food and haven’t been having people die recently, then more people will migrate to your town every couple of days. The most citizens I’ve ever had at a given time was in the 60’s, which was only possible through a lot of trial and error, learning about the game mechanics, and with a fair amount of planning before I began building that town. Since the last patch the game does seem to let up a bit though. It used to be very brutal at random times and unleash sieges upon your populous that may just be too much to handle at early periods in the game. There also used to not be walking graphics for any of your people, they just slid around the map really fast. Replayability: The game is extremely addictive if you are into town/city simulation games, or if you think that you’d find enjoyment in the concept of...

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Grand Theft Auto 4
Jun21

Grand Theft Auto 4

Grand Theft Auto 4 for Playstation 3 By Valjur: First Impressions: I remember the excitement I felt when this game first came out, it was the very first game I ever got for the PS3, and it was the newest GTA game to come out since San Andreas. Back then, when I first got my copy of GTA4, it was wonderful and exciting, the game play was top notch and I was drawn in by the glorious graphical capability of my brand new PS3. Story: I have to say that the story is great, even a little touching at times, serious and dark at others, and some times it a Michael Bay wet dream. Mr. Bellic pretty much just spends the whole game looking for work and revenge. I could also go on about his annoying comic relief cousin, but by now most people already know what an annoying dummy he already is. Gameplay: Since my first play through of GTA4 in 2008, I’ve had the chance to play other sandbox games like Mercenaries 2 and Infamous, and now coming back to GTA4 feels sort of masochistic. It has this all too real feeling in a way, and that’s not necessarily the most exciting feeling for a game to offer. Falling down happens too easily and it takes way too long to get back up, and it’s impossible to climb over or on most of the things you encounter. I personally can climb a fucking chain link fence without too much problem and I’m sure if I did it a few times it wouldn’t cause me any problems at all, so why the fuck can’t Nico Bellic climb a chain link fence unless it’s a only under a certain height? Also, I know for a fact that I could get back to my feet quicker than he can, and if I were to bump up against a car it wouldn’t knock me over and cause me damage. I’m starting to get the impression that I could do a better job at everything in GTA4 than Mr. Bellic with the exception of flying a helicopter. But I am just assuming that it’s hard to do, I’ve never tried it though. I can also aim better than Mr. Bellic and move faster, even while shooting a rifle. Mr. Bellic is a damn war vet and I only have meager training and I possess no combat experience in the least. Maybe I should go all the way and try this GTA thing for myself? Because this game is making me believe that I could do quite well shooting up a city and getting away with it....

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