SONY HOLIDAY PRESS EVENT 09: A casual analysis.
So then, let’s talk about the Sony holiday press event
You really don’t care about my well being do you? >. < anyways, What did you think?
Where do I begin, I loved the fact that the entire event was held in such an inconspicuous place and just felt like a modern art gallery.
I know! It looked like an empty building and right on the upper floor was the event. Like some secret organization having a meeting or something!!! Read more…
Guess what is in stores now? Singstar Queen, the newest title in the series that has been trying to fill the big shoes of Guitar Hero and Rock Band with it’s vocal-only styles. Being released for the PS3 and PS2, this game promises to bring the thunder Freddie Mercury-style. What may push this newest title and give it the edge is right there in the title: Queen.
The game features over 20 of the most popular and memorable Queen singles ever released. I personally suggest you Wayne’s World it and headbang the chorus to Bohemian Rhapsody. So I will finally be able to play a singing game where I actually know the words. This could be the beginning of a new era, where I do not suck at singing games.
Man I love Queen.
Here you go hockey and game fans, below you will find the first official teaser trailer for NHL 2K10 by 2K Sports.
With an new emphasis on casual gaming now both the hard-core and not-so-hard-core and both join in on the fun with true to life authenticity, revamped AI, online and offline multiplayer, and much more! NHL 2K10 faces off September 15 for the Wii, PS3, PS2, and Xbox 360.
Activision recently released details of its upcoming Spider-Man: Web of Shadows video game, available in retail stores Fall 2008. The game will be compatible with the Xbox 360, PSP, PS2, and PS3 gaming consoles. A version of the game for PCs will also be released.
In Web of Shadows, a deadly symbiote invasion brings devastation to New York City, setting the game in an apocalyptic vision of the city. The game allows players to have complete control over New York City’s salvation and the fate of Spider man, and also features an all new combat system that allows for three-dimensional battles that can start on the street and end up on rooftops. Gamers can also switch between the red and black Spider-Man suits, choose to ally with Marvel’s heroes or villains and decide what missions to undertake to save Manhattan from destruction.
Taking place in ancient Greece, God of War follows the story of a general in the Spartan army turned slave to the gods who is then charged to kill Aires and becomes the new god of war (this is the premise of the first title on the PS2). Wielding the awesome blades of chaos, Kratos kicks some major ass. Just like in the previous games, you battle all sorts of mythical characters including cyclopses, medusas and satyrs. There is lots of action, plenty of combos and gory kill scenes. When slaying a Minotaur, for example, you’ll use your two giant blades to nail its front paws down, then steal its giant sword to decapitate the monster with a truly vicious swipe.
Chains of Olympus is kind of like a side quest to the first game, following Kratos as he performs tasks for the gods as a slave. The story feels a bit weak however, too big for a mission in the PS2 versions, to small to be its own console sequel. It’s never really clear who the antagonist might be until late in the game, and if you haven’t played the original, there is very little character development here to separate Kratos from the other great video game heroes out there. We know he’s angry and that his daughter is dead, but it might be best if he let his actions speak instead of his words, as the few bits of dialogue in the game feel canned and rigid.
The story is not just a little boring – it’s short. Clocking in at approximately six hours, you could probably beat this game in one hardcore session. It does also feel like this game is much easier than the previous ones, I played it on normal, and found real difficulty only on the last boss (Although beating the game does unlock the incredibly tough ‘God Mode’).
The biggest feature that distinguishes Chains of Olympus from its predecessors is the Sun Shield. This item lets you not only block attacks but parry them too. A well-timed block will deflect your enemy’s weapon and allow you to sneak in an extra quick attack (like in the PS3′s God of War like Heavenly Sword). You can also use the shield to deflect projectiles back where they came from – send a flaming arrow right back to the cursed archer who fired it. Along with the blades of chaos and the sun shield, your only other weapon in the game is the Gauntlet of Zeus, a single power glove that sends your opponents flying.
Although the combat may occasionally fall flat, this game still feels quite epic, and a large part of that is due to the environments. It must be said that the graphics here are very impressive, while there are only a few levels in the game; the art direction allows them to spring to life. At one point in the game, you run across a very long bridge towards the Temple of Helios and the camera stays fixed from far away, as Kratos shrinks into the background, I caught myself staring at all the details in the space and I stopped playing for a second. It is a real moment of beauty that stuck out in the video game experience. This is not the only time that we get a sense of the scale of the levels as later in Chains, Kratos travels to Tartarus where the titans are imprisoned. The walls are jagged and massive and as you climb up a rock formation, unwinding the huge chains that surround it. Charging up all his strength, Kratos sends the chains flying away and landing with a very satisfying ‘whomp’ sound. After a while you scale higher and higher until you see a large hand made of rock opening and closing – making a fist. That’s when you realize that you are actually running on top of Atlas, and he’s angry.
Though the lighting is good in most areas, some spots on the map may be tough to get to because the camera control is sometimes weak. Often, pots and other things to smash for experience may be hidden behind corners and off screen. This problem is most apparent early on in the Temple of Helios but eventually, you know where to look because all the hallways seem to be constructed exactly the same. Keeping the level design relatively linear does solve the problem of finding all the bonus treasure chests, but this does come with the price of repetition.
In terms of controls, as there is only one analog stick for movement, they are otherwise almost the same as on the PS2, and where buttons are missing, things are kept efficient. Rather than having to cycle through and choose, you hold the R button bring up you magic, then push any of the face buttons to perform a different spell. Looking to chain together a wicked combo? Hold L and push the face buttons for some of Kratos’ deadliest attacks, pushing both bumper buttons together allows you to dodge and roll.
There are a few last things that should be discussed about this pint sized God of War. The first time you watch an FMV, you cannot skip it. This means that if you get stuck on a boss, you will have to watch the intro video over and over again. I must have watched the final cut scene about a dozen times. This can be extremely frustrating if you are on a bus or subway and need to get off. Also, this is a very dark game. I don’t just mean the content. One plot point sees the sun fall into the underworld, and Morpheus (the god of dreams) takes over as the world plummets into darkness. It becomes so hard to see that you must boost the brightness on your PSP, and if you were thinking of playing outside or somewhere with bright light then think again. Finally, there are often large gaps between save points. If you only had fifteen minutes to kill while waiting at the bus stop, it might not be enough time to advance to the next checkpoint.
There are a few side quests that can keep you busy, however, beating the game will open up the Challenges of Hades. These are simple levels with a single task, like beat twenty bad guys without getting hit once. This is about the only safe bet for God of War players on the go as they are short and usually end within a minute or two. There are a few challenges to unlock, and of course there is other bonus material like new costumes that boost attributes when you’ve beaten the game on that difficulty already, videos, and images.
God of War: Chains of Olympus certainly has its flaws. It follows the tired conventions of puzzle/adventure games that came before it. While this is Kratos as his usual angry self, the short running-time and small screen mean the combat will never be as epic as you remembered it. That being said, this is one of the finest looking games on any handheld platform right now. The presentation is unrivalled. Ready At Dawn Studios have brought the PS2 experience onto the PSP. And yes, this game does have an orgy scene.
Replay Value: 3.5/5
This week I?m going to be rambling about Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories for PSP. I?m amazed with this title I mean, the concept that you can have a game that is so in-depth yet on a handheld is mightily impressive I?d say. I was expecting that this was actually going to be just a chopped up version of one of the GTA?s for PS2, in fact, I wouldn’t have been surprised if this title was the top-down 2-D view as it was when it first came out. But no, this game has a huge environment as well as a brand new story.
You start off with Toni Cipriani, who is the same thug we met on PS2, and once again you have the choice to roam around and see how long you can survive after creating random chaos for the police or follow the missions and move up in the Italian mafia.
I don’t have any complaints for this title simply because all the same great elements that have made the series a success so far are in there: the freedom of the huge 3-D environment, the grand selection of vehicles, even the loading time is impressive, as it only does so once at the beginning. Needles to say, loading times on PSP games so far has been inconsistent. Some games boot and load up fast while others do take a while, and I am a rather patient man. The graphics obviously don?t come close to compare with what you get on a console but they are still sharp for the most part. Regardless, the gameplay is smooth for the most part and the environments are rich with detail.
I don?t feel like I can say too much about this game simply because if you?ve played any of the GTA titles it?s basically the same deal. There isn?t anything too new that?ll blow your mind with the game itself but with the exception of some new features.
For starters, it actually has a great multiplayer mode. Since it is such a huge world and you?re dealing with real players as opposed to computer A.I., it has the feel of an online adventure. You hunt down your opponent in a huge city scattered with weapons and finding your opponent takes a while sometimes, which is seldom the case for multiplayer modes.
Secondly, you have the option of importing your own music to listen to on the radio stations. To do this you need a USB cable and you need download the software, which takes no time to find. For some reason the software won?t let you just transfer MP3?s from your hard drive, the files have to come from a CD. I suppose record companies, such as I don?t know, Sony, want to make sure people by CD?s. To be honest, the music in the game is fantastic and I often look forward to the music tracks when a new GTA title hits the shelves but man-oh-man is it such a bonus to be able to pump old school DMX and cruise around in a Hummer.
If you?ve never played GTA before I?d recommend playing San Andreas first if you can. That particular title gave you the option of customizing your character and had a much more in-depth storyline. The voice acting in the PSP version is nice, but as far as the story goes, Toni just gets jerked around and that?s basically it.
If you have played GTA before and you?ve come to be a fan now, I don?t think you even need to rent this game, you?re sure to love it. Until I try Battlefront II I?m tempted to say this might very well be the best PSP title out there right now.
It was those two words that appeared on the backs of comic books when I was a kid, advertising a game that we had no idea how much we were going to fall in love with. It was a 2-D fighter and we hadn?t had a good one since Street Fighter II. It had revolutionary graphics, or at least so we thought for its time. It was a game that sparked huge debates, as it completely crossed the line of violence in so many ways that a trail of blood followed. But man, did we love it!
Veteran gamers of more than twenty years remember what it was like when this title came out. A second and third were bound to follow and we fell in love with the new fatalities and the new characters both times. Movies, an awesome theme song from the movie, action figures, cartoons ? you name it ? MK had it.
Somewhere down the line, people stopped caring about MK. Midway released MK Trilogy that had every single character, even the weird variations of the ninjas, such as ermac and rain, the red and purple sub-zeroscorpion look-alikes. It had the makings of a great title but it wasn?t well received. Since then, many MK titles have come along and although diehard fans got their fill, mostly because they are, after all, diehards, the rest of us weren?t very impressed.
Well fear no more because the developers at Midway have at long last produced a good one, enter Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, available for PS2 and Xbox. Now, I’ve heard that Mortal Kombat: Deception is the better title but I thought I?d talk about this one because it?s a completely different kind of game.
The story, in a nutshell, is that Shang Tsung after being defeated in Mortal Kombat is supposed to return to the outer realm but decides he?d be much happier taking over the earth instead. Using his shape-shifting ability to impersonate Raiden, Shang Tsung lures Liu Kang and Kung Lao into the outer realm where they are faced with a seemingly infinite amount of Tsungs?s loyal minions.
For starters, it?s not a 2-D fighter it?s actually a 3-D actionadventure. You start off with Liu Kang andor Kung Lao at your disposal. In essence, you move through the levels fighting tons of enemies MK style. Punches, kicks, throws, combos, projectiles and lots of fatalities.
Interestingly enough, when playing co-op mode, the two characters share an energy bar, which I thought was a clever idea, as it evens out the team; if one player is phenomenal at the game while the other is trying it for the first time, the health will go where it is needed.
The controls aren?t as Mortal Kombat-ish as I wish they were but they don?t take too long to get used to and once you do, the gameplay is quite fluid. The more enemies you take down, the more experience points you receive, and the more experience points you receive the more moves, which includes fatalities, you can unlock. There is also a decent 2-player fighter mode that becomes more and more appealing as you unlock characters in the main mode.
What I love most about this game is how downright old school it is. For instance, there are many levels that explore and exploit those backgrounds we became accustomed to throughout the entire MK series.
Remember that level on the bridge in which you could uppercut your opponent into the spikes when it was time for the fatality? It?s in there. And remember those silent, hovering figures, dressed in the purple cloaks from MK II? Now, they are part of the slew of enemies you have to take on. Again, the veterans will appreciate this title.
This game is all about the characters from the early MK titles such as Kano, Baraka, Goro, Sonya, Sub-Zero and Scorpion, just to name a few.
So there you have it. MK: Shaolin Monks has a very simple formula that works. It?s a title that doesn?t take too long to beat but if you can get another player in on it the game becomes an entirely new experience.
If you?ve been a long-time MK fan then this is a title you’ve been waiting for.
I?m sure that when game developers gather around the roundtable and ponder over what would make a great game they have brilliant ideas but oft times they just don?t work out; I assume this was the case with Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects.
The basic premise of the game sounds like something we dreamed of when we were kids: a 3-d action game in which you have access to the most notorious Marvel characters. I?ll admit that a game can be pretty bad sometimes and I?ll be sure to let it slide just because Spider-man makes an appearance. But no, not this time. I think I can sum up my experience of this game in one word: frustrating.
Marvel Nemesis is sort of a hybrid of a fighter and adventure I suppose. Basic levels consist of running around, maybe a little wall climbing and repetitive thumb mashing to fight enemies. Every now and then a boss level comes along that usually provides a bit more of a strategic challenge. As you make progress through the game, tons ? and I mean tons ? of new characters come along with their own specific levels. But that doesn?t matter because the game is seldom enjoyable.
For starters, the combat system is lacking plenty. You have four moves: punch, jump, block and grab. And when you use one of these with a fifth button you activate a stronger version ? thus, you have about eight basic commands at your disposal. Problems arise when you start fighting basic enemies because there?s no lock-on system. I sometimes felt like I was better off randomly running around jumping and punching with hopes that I might hit somebody every now and then. Enemies are very quick to take advantage the second you focus on one of them for too long.
Depending on the strength of your character you can throw objects and actually catch objects that enemies throw at you, but with a game full of powerhouse superhero characters who wants to just run around and throw garbage cans? I mean, we?re talking a game in which at one point or another you have access to a real Marvel powerhouse of a roster here: Daredevil, Iron Man, Magneto, Elektra, Spider-man, the Human Torch and Venom just to name a few.
Boss fights really had me cursing at the screen. Typically, the boss will dart around chaotically around and fire projectiles that are close-to-impossible to block or dodgem, or s/he will just lunge at you and absolutely maul you. Remember, because there?s no lock-on system it?s so easy to swing-and-miss. A level in which I was using Wolverine and had to fight Storm I remember was particularly awful. She would fly around, blast my character with thunderbolts and my energy bar would be axed in half! This was just plain monotonous after a while.
Graphic-wise it looked good on my X-box and I hear it looks just as good on Gamecube but PS2 owners might find themselves disappointed.
I think in the end this game is very telling of what the developer, Electronic Arts, really needs to focus on. EA has had sports games and racing games on a solid lockdown for as far back as I can remember. However, these guys have made waste of licenses that had some serious potential. In this case, they had Marvel but I?ve also seen them do some bad things with 007, Batman, The Simpsons, Harry Potter and Aliens.
So there you have it, even if you really like Marvel superheroes, I promise you this game is not fun and in fact, there are a ton of better ones out there such as X-men Legends, Ultimate Spider-man and Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.
I’ll never forget when I failed my first driver’s test. I was completely confident that I was going to pass with relative ease and for the most part I did well ? until I got onto the highway. It was rush hour and I had to navigate through the congestion of sports cars whizzing by, rustic looking vans chugging along and massive shaky eighteen-wheelers. I was instructed to make a lane change and having forgotten to check my blind spot, cut off an SUV, the driver of which honked his horn in fury. Indeed, the license officer wasn?t impressed I nearly caused an accident.
Ironically, with a game like Burnout Revenge, available for PS2 and Xbox, my bad driving habits are actually rewarded. In this action racer nearly everything that makes a person a bad driver in turn becomes the skills needed to dominate. Crashing into cars, cutting off opponents, causing huge explosions, and of course doing speeds of more than 200kmh is all part of the fun.
The main one-player mode titled World Tour consists of ten levels each of which has a variety of events. Depending on how well you fare out you can win bronze, silver, or gold and the better the rank, the more events you can unlock. The cars themselves are not from the auto industry but what with an obvious influence from super cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini they look totally awesome. Plenty of cars are unlocked as you progress through new events. Read more…
If you’ve read enough of my reviews then perhaps you have come to notice that I am more so the actionadventure gaming buff and that I seldom review sports games; in other words, I’m a nerd. But that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize a fun game with fantastic features when I see it: enter NHL 06 for PS2, Xbox and Gamecube.
Last month I purchased a PSP bundle that came with Gretzky and the very next day I had to buy a new game because the great one just didn?t cut it. I understand fully that comparing games on consoles to games on portables is like comparing apples to oranges but I feel that in this case I have to do it simply because NHL 06 triumphs in the area in which Gretzky fails ? a crucial one in this case ? gameplay.
With Gretzky handling the puck is just plain annoying – half the time when you try to recover it, you find yourself skating right around it. This makes it nearly impossible to set up some nice one-timers or crucial rebound shots. Puck handling with NHL 06 is smooth and even better, you can pick up the controller, watch for the button guide on the load up screen and you?re good to go.
In a few matches I found myself quickly moving beyond the basics and onto some of the more complicated areas, such as switching up your defensiveoffensive strategies. Toggling the strategies is done with the D-pad while player movement is controlled by the left analog. The right analog is used to activate a star player?s special shots. It sounds complicated having to worry about two analogs and a D-pad but it becomes quite fluid after a short while.
What impressed me most about this game was that it was more than just firing the puck at the net, it was also about being able to quickly switch up your defensive or offensive strategy on the fly – it becomes almost an art. For example, moving past the third line and changing your offensive strategy, so that you have two men move down with you allowing you to initiate beautiful set-ups and pass-backs would leave the goalie nice and schooled. This also works in reverse, for when your opponent begins to move into your zone you can make the quick switch to your defensive strategy so that if needed, the whole team comes to the rescue.
In general, the game is still no cakewalk. It?s almost an insult to the goalie if you bother to shoot the puck from the third blue line for instance. You really have to get the hang of the targeting system when shooting the puck as well. When you hold the button down for either a slap or wrist shot, targets appear behind the goalie. Aiming at an illogical target won?t give you the goal but deeking to the left and then aiming for the right will improve your chances.
The game has a variety of modes including full season and exhibition, as well as NHL 94! I don?t know if EA was aiming to show how far hockey games have come along but this is certainly what comes to mind when playing the more-than-a-decade-old version. I also loved being able to create a player and model his facial features to look like anyone I wanted. I chose to model a player after myself. And on top of this, when I used my doppelganger in the game the commentator referred to him by the name I entered, which was my own, ?Johnny.? How spectacular is it when charging down rink with the puck to then hear the commentator say, ?Johnny fires the shot and scores!?
So there you have it, NHL 06 is in many ways proof that we shouldn?t get too excited about the next generation of consoles just yet because there are still solid titles on the systems we have right now. Definitely pick up a copy of this one, especially if you?re looking to get an early fix of hockey now that we know we’ll soon be able to get back into the race for the cup.
This week I rented Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, available for PS2, Gamecube and Xbox. I actually played the Xbox version, which to my knowledge, boasts the smoothest graphics and it definitely shows. Hulk and his environments look fantastic; I was soon reminded of the movie that came out a few years ago. It?s a third person action-adventure in which you and the hulk use brawn not brains to win. Similar to Grand Theft Auto, you can either progress through the story or explore the environments.
The storyline here is something to the extent that the Hulk, a.k.a. Bruce Banner, and his trusted friend Doc Samson are trying to find a cure for Banner?s condition. The Hulk?s main enemies are the ones working for the military, which include plenty of characters from the comics such as Abomination, General Ross and Mercy, as well as an alter ego trying to surface in Banner?s conscious. At the end of every chapter the game makes sure to constantly recap the story and there is a solid amount of CGI cut-scenes. For the most part I found myself skipping through the recaps however, to get to the next mission or to roaming around the game environments.
You have a home base and once you progress far enough via the chapters you have two environments available: a busy metropolis (no, not the one where Superman lives) and a vast desert called the Badlands. Both environments are attractive and fun in their own ways. When I felt like running around causing random acts of destruction such as smashing buildings, throwing people into the ocean or ripping cars in half, I?d head for the city. When I felt like leaping in a huge, spacious and smooth looking environment, which again, looks just like the movie, the Badlands was the way to go.
When not following the missions and roaming, again similar to the Grand Theft Auto series, the more havoc that you create the more military authorities you attract. After causing enough damage a kind of Special Forces unit is deployed but you can neutralize them easily once you get the hang of Hulk?s controls.
Hulk isn?t invincible, he has a gamma energy bar to worry about but gamma refills are absorbed after defeating most enemies. If you collect enough energy the Hulk will enter a super mode called ?Critical Mass,? in which his moves have added damage and specials become available for use. And when I say specials I don?t mean some cute little punch or kick, I mean the Hulk will go absolutely berserk. In one special for example, the Hulk will start roaring in anger, charge up, and then slam the ground so hard that in the process cars and trucks get vacuumed in and then sent 50 feet straight up; in other words, the Hulk becomes a gamma radiation bomb himself. Ineed, these specials also take advantage of bullet-time, a GREAT touch.
Hulk?s controls and the wide variety of moves at your disposal is the area in which I believe this game truly shines. For example, as complicated as it sounds, running top-speed, then picking up a car, then locking onto a target, then even switching targets, then leaping into the air to turn around, charge your throw and then finally launch the object at let?s say an enemy mech, becomes so fluid and natural that it?s amazing.
As I said, there are a wide variety of moves, which come to think of it, might be an understatement, at your disposal. For starters, most enemies with a few exceptions by comparison, and objects can be used as weapons. These moves have to be purchased first at the cost of smash points. How smash points work is basically you smash, you get points, and you buy moves at the home base ? very simple.
Back to what I was saying, every vehicle that has a weaponry use is unique. Cars can be ripped in half in order to make metal boxing gloves to cause more damage, trucks can be flattened into shields and even thrown like boomerangs. The weapon that impressed me the most was the one that came from the long-range missile tank – after defeating these enemies, the Hulk can tear the box in which the missies are held and as if they were toy darts, launch them at enemies for one-hit K-O?s. Yeah, it?s that fun.
For the most part, anything can be thrown and anything can be destroyed, which is another factor that makes this game so fantastic. Most of the time after playing through a great game like this I can still say, ?it would have been better if,? or, ?it would have been cool if they had just thought of adding,? but this is not the case here. Mind you, I did manage to beat it on Normal in three days but there are still lots of skins and challenges to unlock. After all, every now and then I still enjoy swinging through New York in Spider-man 2 and I can easily see myself coming back to Hulk: Ultimate Destruction just to leap from building to building and create some havoc.
In my youth, tennis was a favourite pastime of mine. Anyone who’s ever tried the act of hitting the spongy fluorescent green ball knows how difficult it truly is. You need to be able to dash across the court, come to a complete stop and position yourself perfectly before you even begin to have the slightest dream of connecting with the ball. In some ways, I could see how it might interest certain mature gamers to embody some of this strategy in a tennis video game, as oftentimes the more realistic the sports game, the better.
Outlaw Tennis, which is available for Xbox and PS2, is not a realistic sports game but in a specific crucial way it sure does pretend to be one.
With Outlaw Tennis it seems to me that developers took a stab at making the gameplay realistic but it turns out to be frustrating instead. It took me too long to score my first point and hours to really get the hang of simply returning the ball. The main problem is too much emphasis is placed on positioning your character in order to return the ball, so it becomes impossible to return it in a specific direction. Even after getting the hang of it, I still found myself running to where the ball was going to land, only to find myself then running away from the ball or past it because I had apparently started to aim my return too soon or too late.
Games such as Virtua Tennis and Mario Tennis were easier on the gameplay and in response players had the full opportunity to take advantage of curving, placement, rallying and power – everything that makes tennis fun. Forget that in Outlaw Tennis because you?ll just find yourself stumbling across the court cursing at the computer triumphing over you quite unfairly.
Opportunities to win turbo seconds, in which case your character can blast back the ball and teleport across the court, come in the form of specific challenges, such as coming back form a love-forty disadvantage for example, or if you win a fight. You or the opponent can choose to instigate fights typically two times each per game.
I will give the game credit for compiling a broad variety of game modes, unlockable characterscostumes and online capabilities. And for those of you that are into the gratuitous use of sex in a video game then look no further. Female characters in this game are large breasted, scantily dressed and of great abundance; Outlaw Tennis also makes sure of their exploitation.
As progress is made through Tour mode, more levels are unlocked in the Drills mode, so that you can build up things such as your character?s stamina and power. Drills include scenarios in which the opposite court will have things such as land mines, a puzzle or even an evil robot – all demanding precise returns.
I return to my main point however, that in a madcap sports game with exploding tennis balls, 2-D fighting and more cleavage than you can shake a stick at ? no pun intended ? I don?t think it makes sense to have such difficult game play.
Have you ever stayed up late and caught one of those hardcore Japanese action anime flicks? I’m talking about the kind with eerie music, a seemingly gothic atmosphere, thought-provoking dialogue and an artistic use of death and blood. This is exactly what I was reminded of when I finally got my hands on a copy of Killer 7, available for Gamecube and PS2.
Both bloodcurdling and manga-violent, I cannot stress enough that this game is not for children. If you enjoy being absolutely terrified, Killer 7 will have your heart pulsing with its cold, dark and particularly cunning mystique. I?m willing to admit that this could be due to the simple fact that this game is in essence, a hefty dose of culture shock.
The story of the game is a reality in which world peace has been accomplished but a terrorist threat by the name of Heaven Smile seeks to disturb this. The world government in response sends Killer 7, a group of lethal assassins led by Harman Smith. Accompanying the group on the journey as a guide is a ghost named Iwazaru ? he provides hints and information on how to defeat bosses or penetrate difficult areas in the game.
Killer 7 puts you in control of seven Smiths who can be alternated will. Each alias has different weapons, specials, abilities and even a different body. In the first level for example, Coyote Smith, a large oafish man reminiscent of the show Trailer Park Boys, needs to be used in order to pick a lock while in another level Kevin Smith, a buff but sickly looking character who can turn invisible is used to sneak past lasers; this is part of the game?s strategy, figuring out who and when to use a specific assassin.
The controls are definitely awkward. You only move back and forth on a path without the use of the directional pad or joystick and see your character from a third-person angle. When approaching intersections, which appear in the form of interactive characters, save-points, objects or different rooms and hallways, mini-menus come up on the screen allowing you to choose where to go or what to do.
Enemies such as ghosts cannot be seen and need to be scanned prior to being killed. In this case, you need to toggle out of the third-person view and into first person – again, this takes some real getting accustomed to. A Joker-like laugh indicates there?s an enemy in the room and suitably intensifies the atmosphere. The brief half-second scan, which can be done repeatedly as needed, can reveal an enemy?s weak spot. As Iwazaru suggests, “go for the gold” and your enemy will explode into a thousand drops of blood.
The graphics are crisp, cartoony cell shading, which works well with the game?s style. The use of sound is undeniably harmonic with Killer 7′s tone: ghosts who appear with no eyes speak in an unrecognizable yet devil-like whisper, dead-ends and clues are accompanied by sudden jolts that make you jump out of your seat and when blowing an enemy’s head off your character will curse with satisfaction.
When enemies are defeated blood is absorbed and divided automatically into thick and thin. By using the Harman rooms, which appear frequently, thick blood can be used for levelling-up while thin allows health restoration.
I?ll give credit to Capcom that all in all Killer 7 is fun to play once you get used to the controls but I find myself more entertained by the game?s utter obscurity than its game play. I still haven?t beat it – I?ve been taking it steady because it really freaks me out – but I hear it takes about twenty hours to finish. There?s no multiplayer mode so you?ll have to crap your pants by yourself.
This week I had the pleasure of renting Fantastic Four for PS2 (also available for Gamecube and Xbox). As a comic gamer it is essential that I had to watch the movie and essential that I had to play this game.
I?ve never been to big a fan of Fantastic Four but now I can certainly say with the utmost sincerity that thanks to both the movie and this game that?s not going to change any time soon.
Fantastic Four operates an awful lot like and looks an awful lot like X-men Legends to me – not too surprising since both were made by the good people at Activision. For the most part of this action adventure game you have the whole team ? Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, the Invisible Woman, and the Thing ? at your disposal and take control of one character at a time.
Each character can punch, kick, grab, block but depending on a character?s abilities he or sue will be stronger or weaker in certain areas. The Thing can pick up heavier objects whereas Mr. Fantastic can stretch to pick up objects from a distance for example. Each character also has upgradeable combos and upgradeable cosmic attacks.
There are times in the game when a specific character must be used in order to defeat special enemies or perform certain tasks. In these circumstances, a specifically coloured ?Four? indicates whom to use and you?ll have to move your character over and either repeatedly tap a button or rotate the analog stick. Other times you?ll move your character over and press one button to just watch them execute the move. For example, I recall a level in which after moving above one of these symbols the Thing would leap in the air, grab onto a balcony and you?d have to start tapping a button to make him rip the balcony down with an enemy along with it. But imagine if could cling on to anything and tear it down, smash through any wall, pick up any object, after all, the Thing is comparable to the Hulk, he?s a big, dumb, walking, talking, ugly bulldozer of a man made of rocks.
Fantastic Four pretty much mirrors the movie in terms of level-progression and story except a few sub-plots have been plugged in with enemies from the comic books such as the Mole Man for example. Fantastic Four is also packed full with movies and there are cameos from comic book characters such as Nick Fury, who interestingly enough appears in his Ultimate form.
To cut to the chase now, I think I can summarize the Fantastic Four video game in one word ? meh. For starters, I don?t know why game developers still insist on making cut-scenes where game models are used because it looks awful. It?s always a nice touch to have most of the actors from the movie doing the voices in the game but ho-boy does it look bad when you hear a voice and see a Thing model standing there opening and closing his mouth; ironically enough, in truth, this typifies the movie in terms of acting.
The graphics in general were just fine but I imagine the game looks smoother on Gamecube.
The game doesn?t take long to fire through in order to see the ending but at least there are plenty of things to unlock such as interviews with movie?s cast and levels. The co-op mode is actually a blast but it?s only two players?I mean, shouldn?t a game titled Fantastic Four allow I don?t know?four players?
As mentioned before this game feels an awful lot like X-men Legends but that game had the feel of something that developers took their time and put in some real effort to make. With the exception of Spider-man 2 and perhaps the Punisher, with games such as the Hulk, Wolverine?s Revenge, Batman Begins, and Catwoman, it?s getting downright obvious to the point that it?s insulting that these comic book movie games are getting slapped together in an effort to make sales off the movie hype.
I definitely don?t recommend buying this game before trying it but if you like Fantastic Four you might enjoy it.