Retro Review #6

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Hadrian, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. Hadrian

    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

    Former Staff
    Oct 12, 2004
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    Its been a long time coming but I've finally gotten round to getting this "issue" done. This time the thread is more than reviews, I've included some new sections and my fellow reviews have also written articles about a certain subject related to retro gaming.

    I had three more reviews (Warlocked GBC, Adventures of Lolo NES & Deep Duck Trouble Master System) by myself but yet again they have been lost. This is pissing me off because its happening every time!! Where the crap do they go? Anyway I just did Blake Stone at the last minute so I hope its not too bad.

    Phantasie (Commodore 64) By <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member Jesuschristmonkeyballs'}>Jesuschristmonkeyballs</a>
    Alien VS Predator by <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member p1ngpong'}>p1ngpong</a>
    Batman (NES) by <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member P1ngpong'}>P1ngpong</a>
    Batman Returns (Super Nintendo) by <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member TrolleyDave'}>TrolleyDave</a>
    SEGA Rally (Saturn) by <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member TrolleyDave'}>TrolleyDave</a>
    AfterLife (PC/Mac) by <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member CockroachMan'}>CockroachMan</a>
    Outlaws (PC) by <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member CockroachMan'}>CockroachMan</a>
    Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (PC) by <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member Hadrian'}>Hadrian</a>

    As well as the reviews we also have:

    Games That Were Never Released: Tyrannosaurus Tex (Gameboy Color) by Myself
    A rant about emulation by <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member TrolleyDave'}>TrolleyDave</a>
    The Lucasarts Legacy by <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member CockroachMan'}>CockroachMan</a>
    And a collection of some great video game cover art.

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    <b>Review By <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member Jesuschristmonkeyballs'}>Jesuschristmonkeyballs</a></b>

    <a href="" target=_blank title="Click to view full size"><img src="" height="200" alt="User posted image" /></a>

    <b>Game:</b> Phantasie <b>Format:</b> Commodore 64 <b>Genre:</b> Computer RPG
    <b>Publisher:</b> Strategic Simulations, Inc. <b>Developer</b> Strategic Simulations, Inc. <b>Year Released:</b> 1985

    Bear with me, because I haven't actually played this since maybe around 1987. 22 Years ago. When most Tempers were just a gleam in some cab-drivers eye (I jest, no angry diatribes
    please). I figured at the time that I would one day be the independent sovereign of a small Pacific island with castles and water slides. Well life has a way of kicking one squarely in the posterior and as I contemplate my utter worthlessness on the social, economic and cultural fronts I clutch my cherished memories like a fat woman with a German Chocolate cake. Ain't nobody taking this from me.

    The taint-gravy of time has long since washed away my data disk with a party strong enough to harsh on the Black Knights - the random badasses in this game. They don't say "Ni", rather they say "After you pay us all of your gold, please enjoy a wedgie* forceful enough to rend your body into two distinct pieces".

    <!--sizeo:1--><span style="font-size:8pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->*Or a "Melvin" as they used to be known. Possibly in honour of some fellow named "Melvin"<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

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    But if you chose wisely and created a balanced party and spent countless hours levelling up (see here, if I'm allowed to link to gamefaqs <a href="" target="_blank"></a> and if not, well I just did anyway) then you can fight respectably against the Black Knights and other menaces in a unique turn-based battle system. See how cute it is when a furry tribble looking thing attacks you. The animation shows them bouncing forward and then back.

    It's actually not a drab ordeal. The overworld has plenty to explore (marshes, forests, etc) and the dungeons have huge sprawling random maps. But they still include things like fighting arenas, traps and remote unlocking systems. There is even a dungeon dedicated to J.R.R. Trollkin (you can possibly guess whom this is based on)

    My paper D&D partner "Fuzzhead" and I used to navigate these screens for hours and it truly captured the spirit of early video RPG's as well as what a dork must enjoy if we are worth our COBOL programming manual.

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    Granted the game Phantasie was "Go-Bots" compared to Ultima's "Transformers" but since nobody probably know what this means, I'll shelve the bad analogies and suffice to say that I want to play this game now after writing about it. I recommend you try it for yourself and not in a patronizing sort of way, but rather a let's forget for a moment how much life sucks and immerse ourselves in some vintage mindless gaming.

    I give it a 7/10 on the "Old man who takes Cialis just not to piss on his shoes" scale of games that used to be relevant.

    Click Spoiler For Video
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    Dang, I'm sad.

    <b>Reviews By <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member p1ngpong'}>p1ngpong</a></b>

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    <b>Game:</b> Alien versus Predator <b>Format:</b> CPS-2 (Arcade) <b>Genre:</b> Scrolling beat em up
    <b>Publisher/ Developer:</b> Capcom <b>Year Released:</b> 1994

    Aliens versus Predator is a hit and miss franchise, the films are God awful, the comics great and the games either awesome or complete garbage. Before the films were made, back in the golden age of arcade gaming Capcom got the rights from 20th century Fox to make a game based on these two movie monster legends. Capcom, even in 1994 were the masters of the beat em up, and its bastard child the scrolling beat em up. They decided to stick to what they know best and make a scrolling beat em up out of the franchise, and boy what a great decision that was. Innovative and at the same time traditional, not only is Aliens versus Predator on the CPS-2 one of the best AVP games even now, its one of the best scrolling fighters to ever grace an arcade cabinet, and one of my personal favourite retro games ever.

    The plot behind the game is nothing special, a hive of Aliens mysteriously appear out of nowhere on an Earth like planet running riot and massacring every person in their path. Two humans are stuck in the middle of the outbreak. A female Linn Kurosawa and a male Major Dutch Schaefer. Even more mysteriously and out of nowhere two Predators appear, and instead of skinning Linn and Dutch alive and polishing up their skulls, they decide to give them a hand, for the hunt and honour.

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    So thats the plot behind the game in simple terms, and the stage is set for you to begin beating up some Aliens in a scrolling fashion. Gameplay wise you have three buttons, a jump, a normal attack button and a weapon button. The two humans and two Predators are all selectable as characters, with up to three players able to play at once. Linn Kurosawa is a typical female Capcom character, very fast but weak, she can jump high and bounce off enemies, and perform quick combos. Major Dutch Schaefer is a Zangief sort of character, slow and lumbering, his combos are short but powerful. If you manage to get close to an enemy and get a hold of them he will perform a grappling wrestling type move like a piledriver. Both the human characters are equipped with normal guns that fire in wide bursts. Linn has a pistol and Dutch fires out of his cyborg arm. You can only shoot a few times before you have to reload. Ammo is unlimited, but when you do have to reload you become vulnerable when you play as Linn, as she cant move for a few seconds, Dutch however can continue fighting as his weapon reloads.

    The Predator characters, imaginatively named Predator Hunter and Predator Warrior are pretty similar. They are slightly more powerful then the humans, and have a longer range of attack as they both carry spear like weapons, the Hunter seemingly having a slightly longer reach then the Warrior. Both the Predators have shoulder cannons which are quite powerful and have a slight lock on which the humans don't have. These shoulder Canons do not require reloading, but they do overheat, but while waiting for them to cool you can still move and fight.

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    An interesting gameplay element when you play as the Predators or Linn is that when you get knocked over you lose your default weapon. Linn's sword and the Predator's spears drop, and if you cant pick them up after a few seconds they vanish. This leaves you to have to fight hand to hand, with weaker combos and special moves, and in the Predators case a much shorter attack range. However there are a ton of fun weapons that you can pick up throughout the game. Things like Pulse rifles, flame throwers, knives, grenades and pipes are regularly dropped by enemies and can be found in crates and barrels. Also in typical Capcom style you can find the usual items in crates you smash, such as roasts, turkey dinners, burgers, jewels, bars of gold, cans of soda and Alien Chest burster's and facehuggers. The usual.

    Enemy wise there's huge variety here. Like I said you have the small and annoying facehuggers and chest burster's, several different types of regular sized Aliens and the big Chrysalis, Razor Claw and Royal Guard aliens. You also fight Weyland-Yutani troops, power loaders, zombified alien hosts, a mad Predator and of course the Alien Queen. These enemies regularly come at you in big waves, even during the boss fights, sometimes more then 20 enemies might be on the screen at once which makes the gameplay quite frantic and tough at times.

    There's a nice variety of seven levels to fight through in AVP, levels range from city streets, to sewers, a forest, the alien hive, a space ship and so on. For the most part they play the same, you walk to the right and fight your way through. There are however a few parts that mix things up a bit, a couple of times you fight on an elevator, there's the obligatory Capcom special stage also where you have to beat up an elevator control panel in 20 seconds for a bonus. The third stage is the most unique, this stage has you sitting on top of an APC with unlimited ammo. You have to defend the APC from attack from waves of Aliens as it speeds along on its way to the hive.

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    Graphically this game is excellent. Every sprite is well drawn and animated, each character and enemy is well imagined. The levels look great and are also well drawn with a lot of detail and distinctiveness. Sound wise there's nothing to fault, the music, although not from any of the films is good and suits the game perfectly. There's a good amount of speech here and there, but the story is told through subtitles at the bottom of the cut scenes. The sound effects are good, and everything sounds like it should, the predators roar, Aliens screech and pulse rifles and other weapons sound like they should.

    There is really nothing to fault and everything to like in AVP. Fans of the Alien and Predator series will love this as will scrolling beat em up fans. Unlike most scrolling beat em ups there's a wide variety combos and moves to pull off so the game doesn't feel too repetitive. And there's a distinct difference in the way the characters play, unlike other games in this genre where picking characters did not really make a difference in the gameplay style. The game really does still look great and has aged very well too, and it's still great fun to play. If you can get two friends to join in with you its a great way to pass an hour together, even now. Like I said this is probably one of my favourite retro games, and definitely my favourite scrolling beat em up ever. I wont give it a score, just go and play it people.

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    Click spoiler for video:

    Warning: Spoilers inside!

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    <b>Game:</b> Batman <b>Format:</b> Nintendo Entertainment System <b>Genre:</b> Side scrolling platformer
    <b>Publisher</b> Sunsoft <b>Publisher</b> Sunsoft <b>Release Date:</b> 1990

    Batman the motion picture was released in 1989, one year later the game, based on that motion picture was released on the NES. Movie-game tie-in? You ask. Almost 20 years ago? That must have sucked, you say, well you are in fact wrong on that, an E.T. this game aint. I'm going to say this now, at the start of the review, so nobody can be mistaken. This is one hell of a game, which puts almost all modern efforts at a movie-game tie-in to shame. So now, I'm going to tell you why this is so awesome.

    So listen up!

    When you first load up this game, you are greeted with a nice opening screen of Batman appearing from the shadows. Shadows and darkness being the main theme of the game. Nice but nothing special, then you press start, and are subjected to an incredibly (for the time and hardware) well done cut scene of the Batmobile driving down the city, and Batman jumping out. At this point you know the game is not a cheap cash in, and that maybe Sunsoft actually put some effort in the game. The first level starts off in the streets of Gotham, and instantly two things hit you. Firstly the graphics of the game. Smooth, detailed, very stylish and very very well done. They capture Batman, his foes, and the city perfectly. Batman moves with a purpose, the city is filled with shadows and grime, there are no glitches to be seen, and all the villains have a unique distinctive look. Secondly is the music, throughout the whole game you are subjected to 8-bit audio glory. The sound effects may be a bit basic, but the music is some of the best heard, not just on the NES, but in any game even now. I may sound like Im exaggerating here, but check out the music in the youtube clip of the game. Its some of the best ever composed, and suits the game to a T.

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    But what about the gameplay? Batman is a side scrolling beat-em-up style plattformer. And like every other aspect of the game it is very well done. Gameplay is fast and well paced, theres lots of different enemies to fight. All with their individual style of attack. Learning how enemies attack, avoiding the attacks and knowing the best way to hurt them is key to progressing. There is a huge variety of enemies to fight in the game. You fight normal goons, ninjas, robots, there are mines that chase after you, mutants, moth bosses, the variety is astounding. And like I said all are unique.

    Batman also has a varied arsenal at his disposal. His main weapons are his fists. You can deal with most of the regular enemies with just those. When you kill enough enemies you get extra ammo, and you can store up to 99 rounds. Hitting select lets you choose projectile weapons. Your first is the baterang, its range is short, and it returns to you like a boomerang and it is pretty effective against most enemies and bosses. The baterang uses 1 point of ammo, so you have plenty at your disposal. Secondly you have a rocket type gun. Each shot uses two rounds, it does a moderate amount of damage and its range spans the whole screen which is handy for dealing with distant enemies. Thirdly you get the triple Shuriken attack. This uses three ammo points, is the most powerful and spans the whole screen. Knowing when to use these weapons, and how to ration your ammo makes the difference between being able to finish a level, and getting stuck hopelessly in a level.

    However this game at its core is a platformer. One of the best skills batman has in this is the ability to wall jump. It suits him perfectly, and helps make the stages span many levels vertically. The stage design being another well implemented aspect of the game design. Like any good platformer the stages themselves can be lethal. The first level through Gotham City is pretty basic without that many dangers. All you have to worry about are enemies. But after that you have to deal with things like acid dripping on you, and of course pools of it. Electric currents that zap you if you mistime a jump. And conveyor belts that slam you into gears which make mince meat out of you. There are five levels to play through. which vary from Gotham City, sewers, a chemical plant, a power station. And the very last level sees you progressing vertically through Gotham Cathedrals bell tower in pursuit of the Joker. Without the wall jump this level just wouldn't be the same. One criticism I would have about the stages though is a couple have zero to do with the film itself. Also many of the enemies and bosses have nothing to do with the film. For example the five bosses you fight before you reach the joker are a Killer Moth, a Machine Intelligence System, The Electrocutioner, a Dual Containment Alarm, and the Firebug. I defy you to find any of these guys in the film. Well they aren't in it. But nonetheless they don't take away from the fun, and help mix the game up a lot for our entertainment.

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    Also being a NES game the difficulty level is quite high. Be prepared to die a lot, you will need all your lives and continues to make it to the end. But the difficulty is not ridiculous like in some games from this period. With enough practice you will be able to get quite far. Also dying isn't that bad, because you don't really die in the game. You explode into a bat shaped fireball. Im not joking, even when you die its awesome.

    So to sum up. Well I have made it obvious this is one hell of a great game. The graphics and art style are exceptional, so is the level design. The presentation is great, the music is amazing, and overall you cant find much wrong with the game. But the best compliment I can give to this is that, if you removed the Batman licence, and kept everything else, the game would still be a classic. Play this now!

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    Click spoiler for video!
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    <b>Reviews By <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member TrolleyDave'}>TrolleyDave</a></b>

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    <b>Game:</b> Batman Returns <b>Format:</b> Super Nintendo <b>Genre:</b> Side scrolling Beat-Em-Up
    <b>Publisher</b> Konami <b>Publisher</b> Konami <b>Release Date:</b> 1993

    I love a good beat em up, I still power up my SNES or MD for sessions on Final Fight and Streets of Rage, and of course Batman Returns. I guess you could call Batman Returns a blatant rip off of Final Fight, but then I'd hazard a guess that you hadn't actually played it!

    At first glance it looks like somebody just hacked Final Fight with Batman sprites and backgrounds, but there's alot more to Batman Returns then meets the eye. Of course it's a good old fashioned kick the shit out of everybody scrolling beat em up, but it one ups Final Fight and Streets of Rage with te amount of bone crushing moves! The usual punch, kick, knee and throw are in there. Let's face it, they've all been standard since Double Dragon. Batman Returns adds the standard repertoire (fuck knows if I've spelt that right, but bollocks, you get what I mean!) with more advanced moves once you've grabbed your opponent.

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    The usual knee in the face the throw is there, but there's more! You can choose to throw whoever you've grabbed upwards towards the background! That's right, you can smash the hell out of the backgrounds with the bad guys! Chucking him into a park bench sends out a nice beefy thud and crunch through the speakers as the bench is destroyed. Throw him into a shop window and watch and hear the glass break! My favourite is chucking them against the bus stop signs, listen to the sound of body hitting metal ring out through your speakers! Ok I know smashing up the scenery is yawn-ish today, but when this came out it really was pretty new and Konami have pulled it off really well, especially considering the game is just 8 Mbits in size!

    You can also chuck the bad guys into other bad guys, the same way you can in all other beat em ups, but you can also
    use the vertical throw to smash 2 or 3 bad guys into windows, park benches et al. It works really well! Of course Konami didn't just say "There we go, now we're a little bit different" and leave it at that, nope, they also added the ability to grab two bad guys at once! Sadly the only thing you can do when you've grabbed two baddies at once is smash there heads together in true superhero style but it's still pretty bloody satisfying! There's also the use of the batarang, which you can use to stun the baddies for a second and the "bat tube" which you can trow down like a smart bomb.

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    Of course a few of flashy moves and special weapons doesn't make for a good beat em up, nope, fast frenetic button bashing baddie beating does. So how does Batman Returns hold up in that department? Pretty bloody well! It's fast, and it's damned hard! A lot harder than Final Fight and Streets of Rage. I can see alot of modern games who are used to never seeing a "GAME OVER" screen getting fed up of it pretty quick, but for all you games who like their games challenging this is one for you.

    As a side scrolling beat em up it's pretty damn fun. There's alot of baddies to kick the shit of, some of them with some pretty mean weapons. Forget your baseball bats, iron bars and knives, these fuckers have rocket launchers, grenades and flame throwers! There's always a good amount of enemies on the screen as well, the action is definitely frantic. Maybe a litte too frantic at times, there's moments where there's a couple of clowns on bikes, guys with flame throwers and just regular guys all coming out you. You've got to make quick decisions about who is going to cause you the most problems and take them out.

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    The other thing that sets Batman Returns apart from the others in the same genre is it alternates between game styles. The odd numbers levals are in the same side scrolling beat em up vein as Final Fight, but the even numbered levels are more akin to Shinobi! And these levels can be bastard hard as well! It does differ from the standard Shinobi gameplay in that you've got a grappling hook and rope which you need to use to swing over fires, cross from building to building and other similar things. It does play very similarly to Shinobi though, although in the same way that the odd numbered levels play similar to Final Fight.

    So howabout the graphics? Personally I find them fantastic! They're dark, moody and it looks like a game based off Tim Burtons Batman immediately. The characters are all large and really well drawn, but the animation leaves a little to be desired. Don't get me wrong, they're not badly animated, they don't move around like they're skating or having a fit. It's just that there's only a few frames of animation for movement and actions. It's the one thing that Final Fight does have over this, if they'd have just add a couple more frames per animation it would have looked a hell of a lot better. You don't really notice it when you're playing the game yourself, but it's definitely noticeable when you're watching someone else play it.

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    The one thing that does deserve a mention though is the lighting in the warehouse level, it looks absolutely fantastic. It even pulls off something you rarely saw back then. When a charcter steps into a half-lighted/half-shadowed part then that's how the character was lit, it looked great and at the time was jaw dropping! Of course it's nothing now, but this was 15 years ago.

    Sound wise the game is a treat. It uses a looped sample of some of the Batman Returns music and thanks to the pure awesomeness that was the SNES sound chip it sounds perfect. The samples are crisp and clean. Then can get a bit monotonous after a while, but then pretty much any game of that era can. The sound effects for the bone crunches, slaps and bangs are also top notch and I still raise a smile at the "donnng" when a bad guy hits a bus stop sign. You've really got to hear to understand what I mean! <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=";)" border="0" alt="wink.gif" />

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    Forget that utter pile of monkey wank that was Tokyo Beat Down on the DS, grab yourself this game and play a real beat em up! Hours of mindless violence fun! Remember though, this isn't one for people who like to walkthrough their games - it's a bastard!

    GRAPHICS : 9/10
    SOUND : 9/10
    GAMEPLAY : 9/10
    OVERALL : 9/10

    Click Spoiler for video:
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    <a href="" target=_blank title="Click to view full size"><img src="" height="240" alt="User posted image" /></a>

    <b>Game:</b> SEGA Rally <b>Format:</b> Saturn <b>Genre:</b> Rally Racer
    <b>Developer:</b> AM3 <b>Publisher:</b> SEGA <b>Released:</b> 1995

    It's rare that a game keeps me coming back to it regularly after 20 years, and it's even rarer when it's a racing game that only contains 4 tracks roughly lasting between a minute and minute and half each. There's just something about the Sega Saturn version of SEGA Rally that does it though. It's now been ported to most of the modern consoles, the PS2, the PSP, the GBA and the Xbox360, yet none of these even compare to the fun and perfectness of the Sega Saturn version.

    Yes the modern versions have more tracks, yes the modern versions have far superior graphics yet whenever I feel like a game of it I fire up my trusty old Saturn over the 360 version. Don't get me wrong, the 360 version is good - it's just not as great as the Saturn version. Why is that?

    Well it all boils down to the handling. The handling on the Saturn version is perfect, I don't just mean great - I mean perfect. It's even more incredible because it's done on a digital pad. No other driving game has handling like the Saturn version of SEGA Rally. The drifting mechanics are incredible, and the steering is a joy to use. Don't get me wrong, the graphics aren't terrible, in fact for a Saturn game they're incredible.

    The textures are large, bold and solid. It flies along at a very fast and very smooth 30fps and there is very little pop-up or clipping problems. Of course it suffers from the mesh transparency effect that most Saturn games suffered from but you can forgive that considering how perfect the rest of the game plays and looks. I've never found a racing game I enjoy as much as this one, hell I'm still playing it regularly after more than 10 years.

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    From the moment you see the attract screen you can see you're in for a gaming treat. The cars are big and solid, although admittedly the cars appear to be in a lower resolution then the rest of the game. This is forgiveable though, not just because of how well the game plays but because of the size of the cars themselves, Unlike Ridge Racer or Gran Turismo the cars are large!

    There's no car damage, and I know alot of people like stuff like car damage, but this isn't a car sim this is pure arcade racing so car damage would only detract from the experience. The textures of the tracks are great though, they're high res, solid, fast and silky smooth moving, showing just what the Saturn is capable in the hands of decent programmers. Of course there's the transparency problem that I mentioned earlier but you only see this on the back window of the cars and on the dirt the cars throw up. Graphically it's a damned good port of the arcade version, not arcade perfect obviously but it's a close as it could get.

    The sound is great. Deep growling noises for the car. solid collision noises. The music for the game suits it perfectly. You also can't forget the co-driver, which SEGA Rally started the trend for. Sound wise it's arcade perfect.

    Of course all of this is meaningless compared to how much fun this bastard is to play! I've never played a racing game that I find as fun as this one. The 360 version, the PS2/PSP versions, they just don't capture it. In fact playing the 360 version just makes me want to boot up the Saturn version! I can't even begin to put into words how perfect the handling on the Saturn version is, you really do have to play it to understand. I find on alot of racing games after you come out of a drift it's awkward to straighten yourself out. Some games then to be too sensitive and you end up crashing into the sides or they're too sluggish and again you crash into the sides.

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    There's none of that in the Saturn version of Sega Rally. When you come out of your drift the controls are perfect, a little bit of steering and the car straightens out without any over/understeer. You can also just let the car straighten itself it when coming out of some bends, the car follows the track perfectly. Of course there's no denying it's arcade roots as the physics aren't entirely realistic, but arcade racers are my favourite. I couldn't care about realism, I care about driving fast! I don't want to flip over, roll 100 times or crash when I hit a corner. I want to keep going at 100 miles an hour! That's how SEGA Rally plays. The other thing I love about the Saturn version of Sega Rally is you can feel the weight of the car, and both cars have a different "weight" to them, it's something that I rarely find in other car racing games. The cars themselves feel weightless, even the 360 version suffers from this weightlessness.

    The Saturn is an often overlooked console, beaten hands down in the 32-bit console war by the PSX, but it contains some of the greatest and most enjoyable games on any console. SEGA Rally is one of those games. In the UK you can pick up a PAL Saturn for less then 20 quid and a copy of SEGA Rally for under 2 quid, if you can afford it I'd definitely recommend it as it's a game you'll find yourself coming back to alot. Even my graphics whore nephew admits that the Saturn versions handles nicer and plays better then the 360 version! In fact he's got my spare PAL Saturn with my SEGA Rally on what seems to permanent loan just because he too is now addicted to it!

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    The Saturn version of Sega Rally is most definitely in my top 20 games of all time, and is most definitely my favourite racer. If you haven't played it you're missing out on an incredible game.

    Graphics : 9
    Sound : 9
    Gameplay : 6 (would be 10 but it's only got 4 tracks)
    Overall : 9

    Click Spoiler for video:
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    Reviews by <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member CockroachMan'}>CockroachMan</a>

    Hey everyone! I'm back.. this time with 2 games from Lucas Arts that are not Point 'n' Click adventures and not about Star Wars, showing how those guys were some of the most creative developers in the 90's with pretty much any genre.

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    <b>Game:</b> AfterLife <b>Format:</b> PC/Mac <b>Genre:</b> Afterlife Management
    <b>Developer:</b> LucasArts <b>Publisher:</b> LucasArts <b>Released:</b> 1996

    Back in the 90's, City building and management games , also called God games, were pretty popular among the PC crowd, Will Wright started all with Sim City in 1989 and in 1996 the market was flooded with God games. With Theme Park, Theme Hospital, Caesar, Sim Farm and even Sim Ant there were God games covering pretty much everything! So, Lucas Arts decided to take on the genre with a more unique theme, yet unexplored: The Afterlife!

    The first thing you'll notice when you start playing AfterLife is that, unlike other games on the genre, you don't have just a simple terrain to build stuff on.. you have 2 terrains! Yep, you need to take care of Heaven AND Hell at the same time. Both planes must be ready to receive new SOULs (Stuff of Unending Life) from all the EMBOs (Ethically Mature Biological Organisms) that are living (or actually, dying) on the planet. To help you with this task, the game gives you two advisors: Jasper Wormsworth (a Demon) and Aria Goodhalo (an Angel), both give you warnings when something is going wrong and tips to help you.

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    If you ignore the extra terrain, the game doesn't look much different from Sim City, it's even simpler since you don't need to worry about electricity and water, your only resource needed in the Afterlife is infinity! You can extract infinity from rocks with your Ad Infinitum Siphons and spread it to your buildings through roads, the same roads that your SOULs use to move. Yes, Heaven and Hell have roads, and again, like Sim City, you need to create zones where your SOULs can get rewards (in Heaven) or punishments (in Hell). There are 7 zones, one for each deadly sin and his correspondent virtue (Lust/Chastity, Gluttony/Temperance, Greed/Charity, Sloth/Diligence, Wrath/Patience, Envy/Kindness and Pride/Humility), and also a generic zone for evil/good SOULs. Aside from that, you'll also need gates, or the SOULs won't be able to enter the Afterlife, and buildings where your working demons and angels can live and train to become more efficient! Like other games of the genre, you also get some special buildings when your population gets to certain nuimbers.

    One interesting thing about AfterLife is how different Heaven and Hell must be managed. You can't simply threat both the same way. For instance, SOULs in Heaven expect comfort and efficiency, so the roads in Heaven need to be efficient! On the other hand, SOULs in Hell expect to suffer, so, long inefficient roads full of traffic are a good thing in Hell!

    Your SOULs might also want to reincarnate, in that case, Karma Stations are necessary. Karma Stations are train stations that can be built in both Heaven and Hell, but also exist in a third plane where the SOULs can travel to a new life. Starting to sound complicated? Well, it gets worse.. I told you before that you manage Heaven and Hell in the game, but that's not all. There's also a planet from where all the dead people come from, and you need to keep an eye on it too!

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    You can't build stuff on the planet, but you need to know how things are going down there. How big is the population? How advanced is their technology? What sins and virtues are people committing? Which religions are being followed? All those variables will affect Heaven and Hell influx of SOULs. There are people that believe only in Hell, others only in Heaven.. some believe in reincarnation.. some not.. and they'll all be threatened in the Afterlife according to their beliefs. If you have enough money, you can use it to influence the planet's population, but that doesn't make your work much easier.

    Afterlife never takes itself seriously, the game is filled with jokes and pop culture references. The buildings, punishments and rewards are all absurd and funny, humble SOULs pass the Afterlife being recognized and rewarded with statues, the city keys and awards, while slothful SOULs pass the Afterlife working and exercising. Every building in the game has a well written text description. Talking about texts, Aria and Jasper dialogues are also pretty well written and executed by the voice actors. Disasters are also present in the game, be aware cause at any moment the birds of Paradise might attack Heaven, or Hell might freeze over!

    The buildings in the game are all very detailed, nicely done in Pixel art. Graphics are nothing special, but the art style is great. Aside from Aria and Jasper's dialogues, the only sound you'll hear in the game is the music, which plays from time to time, a small selection of new age tracks.. makes you feel like you're in a Yoga class.

    <b>Graphics 8/10
    Sound 8/10
    Gameplay 6/10
    Complexity 11/10
    Sins 7/7
    Virtues 7/7</b>

    <b>Agging 8.5/10</b>

    Till today, AfterLife doesn't look bad, the art style is very nice and if you're used to play SNES or PSX games, this game looks better than most of those. Only problem I see here related with the game's age is the difficulty, management games today are more oriented to casual gamers, and are a lot more simple and forgiving than this, if you're used to new games, you'll have a hard time here.
    Also, since this is a PC game, I must say that installing this is not easy.. it simply won't install on Windows XP! BUT, it will work perfectly if you just copy the CD content to a folder and play it from there (yep, pretty stupid).

    <b>Overall 7.5/10</b>
    Afterlife might look like a simple Sim City clone at first, but it is a lot more than that.. it's an incredibly creative game, full of great smart and funny jokes but at the same time, painfully hard and complex. If you like Sim City, and unlike me, you know how to play them, you should definitely try this, even being 13 years old, Afterlife has it's charm and might surprise you. If you have an eeePC or an old notebook that can't run new games, this could be good choice to pass your time.

    Click for video:
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

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    <b>Game:</b> Outlaws <b>Format:</b> PC <b>Genre:</b> Western FPS
    <b>Developer:</b> LucasArts <b>Publisher:</b> LucasArts <b>Released:</b> March 1997

    Westerns are famous for its gun fights and FPS games are centred around guns, the two sound like a perfect match, but for some reason no one tried to combine both until LucasArts decided to in 1997 with the game "Outlaws".

    James Anderson, a retired U.S. Marshal, lives in his old ranch with his wife and his daughter. Bob Graham, an evil rail road baron, is building a rail road that passes through Anderson's ranch, but our hero refuses to sell it, cause he likes to live there.. I guess. So, Graham hires some outlaws to persuade the old Marshal, and they do that by burning his ranch, killing his wife and kidnapping his daughter (a pretty effective method IMO), Anderson then, starts a quest for revenge.. and his daughter.. but mainly revenge.

    Yep, the story is a classic Western cliché.. and so is pretty much everything in the game! The levels are all based on Western movie scenarios: there's a train level, a mine level, a level in a canyon where you fight Indians and of course, the small city with only one street and a saloon! The levels are quite different from each other, some are more linear (like the train one, how would you have a non-linear level on a train anyway?), while others are more open and full of places to explore and secrets to be found (yeah.. remember when every FPS had secret places? Good times eh?), the city level I mentioned in special gives you a full city, full of small stores, a bank, a jail, a saloon, a barbershop and all that, and you can enter and explore every establishment in the city.

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    Outlaws was not just the first Western FPS out there (that I know of), but also one of the first FPS games to have a more cartoon, stylish visual. DOOM, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake and other FPS games had a more serious, "realistic" art style.. while Outlaws characters all have a more comic book feel, you could say this was a very early attempt to do a cell shaded game. The story is all told through some nice hand drawn animation sequences. In 1997, Quake was already out and Outlaws was one of the last FPS games still done without polygons, hence, this is one of the best looking 2D FPS games ever made, if not the best one.

    The music is classic, standard Western movie music and the enemies keep yelling for you during the levels, calling you a coward and threatening you, and that helps to keep the player immersed in the game. Enemies also try duck and hide behind stuff, something quite advanced for it's time. Controls are what you expect from a 90's FPS, you can shoot, jump, duck, open doors and use items, thought, this is the first game I can remember where you are required to RELOAD your weapon, and it's not done automatically like on today's games, might sound silly, but I found it a cool feature 12 years ago. You have 9 weapons, some of them with alternate fire, but not much variety. For some reason, three of them are shotguns, but most of the time, if you're like me, you'll try to solve everything with your old revolver, like any good cowboy would.

    A Multiplayer mode is also available, but I can't review it since I never played it.. and I doubt I'll be able to now. Fortunately, the campaign mode, with nine levels, is very solid and satisfying. And if that's not enough, Outlaws also brings a pack of extra missions, where you play as Anderson when he was still a Marshall, fighting in the Civil War and hunting for criminals.

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    <b>Graphics 9/10
    Sound 9/10
    Gameplay 10/10</b>

    <b>Agging 7/10</b>
    Today, Outlaws doesn't look as beautiful as it did in 1997, but it doesn't look bad.. this was one of the last 2D FPSs out there, so it does everything that can be done without using polygons, some stuff might look a little too pixelated, but that's about it. The main problem with Outlaws, and pretty much every FPS game from it's time.. is that it's too fast for today's standards! I seriously can't play it for too much time without getting dizzy. I also had a few problems to find the right configuration to run it in my PC, you'll need to mess a little with the game configurations and download a few patches to make things work right (you can find them at <a href="" target="_blank"></a> ). But you should be ok.. at the end I found out that most of my problems were being caused by my old scratched CD. <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/frown.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="frown.gif" />

    <b>Overall 9/10</b>
    Outlaws is one of my favorite FPS games of all times, it's a very original and unique title. Even 12 years later, there are very few Western first person shooters out there (I actually only know about this and Call of Juarez). Unfortunately, it doesn't age very well.. but if you don't mind about that, and is looking for an old school, unique FPS, it's totally worth it.

    Click for video:
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    <u><b>Reviews by myself, <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member Hadrian'}>Hadrian</a></b></u>

    <a href="" target=_blank title="Click to view full size"><img src="" height="240" alt="User posted image" /></a>

    <b>Game:</b> Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold <b>Format:</b> PC <b>Genre:</b> First Person Shooter
    <b>Publisher:</b> Apogee Software <b>Developer</b> JAM Productions <b>Year Released:</b> December 1993

    Way way back there was a time when there wasn't many first person shooters (I'm not shitting you!) this was because they weren't all that great to look at. Before Wolfenstein 3D popularised the genre they were pretty much wireframe and fairly bland looking titles that were rigid in gameplay. iD changed that by introducing Raycasting with Hovertank 3D and then iD again started a more character based first person game with Catacomb 3D which was also the first first person shooter to show your characters hand. Of course since Wolfenstein 3D hit the gaming world, many wanted to give their own take on the FPS genre.

    The publisher of Wolfenstein 3D, Apogee (back then a major player in the shareware business) having not been able to get the rights to Doom wanted to release a first person shooter of their own and assigned JAM Productions to make it using the Wolfenstein 3D engine.

    The story goes a little something like this: You are Robert Wills Stone III (aka Blake Stone, the name clearly influenced by British sci-fi show, Blake 7) and you are a member of the British Intelligence agency (which isn't based in Southend of course). He was recruited from the Navy and his first case is the investigate and stop the thread of Dr. Pyrus Goldfire who is a brilliant scientist, who is into gene splicing and all that. Goldfire likes to take alien species and splice them up and "improve" them so he can take down Earth and rule it. He also has his own organisation called STAR who guide him in his quest for evil bastardness. As Blake, you go to each of the six STAR bases to destroy there armies and ultimately stop Goldsmith from doing his evil bastardness business.

    The game was broken into six episodes (the first was shareware which was the thing for the PC in the early 90's) and each of these episodes had eleven episodes each. Nine of the episodes could be accessed like normal but two were hidden. One level could be accessed by a secret teleport on one of the levels and the other you had to have the Red Key card and find a hidden door on the ninth level. With all these levels and secrets, it really gave the game more lifespan than most FPS titles. It was also not an easy game, while not hard compared to most titles nowadays there was a challenge to be had.

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    It plays exactly like Wolfenstein, controls, interface and even the buttons are the same. The secret walls are handled the same way and so is the way you have to find keys to unlock doors that are keeping you from your goal. Ok so its pretty much a clone but it has to be noted that this title introduced some elements that have never been seen in a FPS before. the game featured objects that could be blown up to reveal items inside, somethign that has been a mainstay in first person shooters every since. In Wolfenstein and games that followed up until Blake Stone, all of the characters in the game (besides the ones your played) were out to get you and you HAD to kill them as they were relentless in getting to kill you. Blake Stone however introduced characters who could actually help you! These characters were scientists who were mostly held against their will and had to help the STAR organisation. When you approached these mostly harmless characters, they sometimes either give you an item that could help you (ammo or health) or they would provide information to help you on with your case. Now you may noticed that I said "mostly", well some of these scientists actually wanted to help STAR and so some will actually attack you! This really added to the genre and made you wary of who to approach as the only way you could tell who was hostile and who wasn't was when they talked to you. If they say You shouldn't be here" then chances are they're gonna shoot you. The game featured auto-mapping so you can know where you've been and also some of the enemies could be invisible (well you can slightly see them). These two features were said to be knicked from Doom which shipped a week later than Blake Stone but these features were well known beforehand.

    The baddies in the game were a mixture of aliens, robots and humans and some of the humans were more than just grunt guards that we sure in Wolfenstein. These guards actually hid, took cover or retreated from you and also sometimes they actually stole ammo from you! Another great thing that this game introduced was that every now and again Dr. Pyrus Goldfire would actually sometimes appear to attack you! Once you've shot him a few times, he would then transport himself back to where he came. You would later face him again on the ninth level of every episode and of course once he felt like he was gonna be defeated, he'd teleport again leaving you to face off against the real boss of that episode.

    What also sets it apart from Wolfenstein is the theme. Wolfenstein has the Nazi paraphernalia plastered all over the place, the enemies shout German at you and also the music features some very known music that was used by the Nazi party. Blake Stone however takes it image and sound from classic 70's sci-fi and it does it extremely well. The levels had special lighting effects (which most people think was first bought to the genre with Doom) and also the ceilings and floors were textured too, which helped make the game look better and less plain. The sound was great, memorable tunes and sound effects that added to the sci-fi theme. Characters were more detailed but due to the engine they weren't that better animated. Level design was very well done, some doors were one way only so you had to find another way back and also the levels were varied so that you didn't get bored looking at the same textures over and over.

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    The game at the time received some critical praise when it was released and it had quite a lot of pre-orders too but sadly a week later Doom was released and thus it didn't sell as well. We all know how much impact Doom had on the genre and of course Blake Stone couldn't compete with its looks, sound or atmosphere but saying that Blake Stone was advance in other departments such as AI. Also because of Doom people at the time shat on the game, they ignored it thinking that it was just "Wolfenstein in the Future" these people missed out on something special and are now the ones who hate on games today if they don't look realistic. Still this is a great game that is still very playable today and it should be remembered more for introducing a lot of things that games like Half Life took from it. <b>8.5</b> out of <b>10</b>

    Click to view Video:
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><u><b>Games That Never Got Released</b></u><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    <a href="" target=_blank title="Click to view full size"><img src="" height="210" alt="User posted image" /></a>

    <b>Game:</b> Tyrannosaurus Tex <b>Format:</b> Gameboy Color <b>Genre:</b> First Person Shooter
    <b>Publisher:</b> No One Sadly <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/frown.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="frown.gif" /> <b>Developer</b> Slitherine Software <b>Year Released:</b> NEVER! (Originall last due 2001)

    T-Tex was the first proper first person shooter for the Gameboy Color and was developed by UK developer, Slitherine. Slitherine Software had previously never did any games of this type or have done since. Their previous games were Strategy related games on the PC, which is a genre that they still do till this day. It was an ambitious and a fairly sought of title which never saw the light of day.

    The story goes a little like this; A spaceship crashes in the Texan desert, it has a shit ton of robots who set about repairing the spaceship. While they are there they decide to build their own little city. They also decide to build some dinosaurs based on the bones they have fount. You played the role of a cowboy called "Tyrannosaurus Tex" and you go about ridding the old West of these robots and dinos as they're killing people. The story also progressed via some nice little still cut scenes.

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    It wasn't the first FPS title to hit a Gameboy handheld, that goes to Faceball 2000, the difference was that this was much more advance and it was attempting to recreate the FPS games from the likes of iD Software. Those who have played it claim that it was essentially like Wolfenstein 3D, only that you can aim. They said that the frame rate was very solid even when there was a lot of enemies on the screen, some video footage on IGN proved this to be correct, unfortunately the video is no longer there. The also said that the controls worked very well and allowed for some good fast action shooting. Sounds like the people behind the engine really got the most from Nintendos little handheld.

    The controls were gonna be the simple up goes forward, back goes backwards, left turns left and right turns right. Select would be what you pressed to select your weapon (via a mini menu). The weapons had different effects on different enemies, for example the electric gun would short out a robot if you shot them with it but if you shot a dinosaur with it, it gets pissed off. The sound also sounded quite ambitious for a GBC game, apparently when you had headphones on you could hear enemies approaching from the left better in the left headphone and so on from the right. No wonder it took ages to finish!

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    The game had eighteen fully sized, fully 3D single player maps and it also had five deathmatch maps (it was hinted that when you completed the single player mode you would get more DM maps). Deathmatch is pretty much how you imagine it...only you can play as either a cowboy, a robot or a dinosaur!

    Sadly the game took a hell of a lot of time to finish and had a lot of delays. When the game was eventually finished, the publisher Eidos, decided that the game would cost too much to manufactor, it would have been a big cart and would have also needed to have a battery so gamers could save their progress. The Gameboy Advance had also come out and Eidos didn't think that gamers would be interested in a GBC title that didn't have a famous license so they ultimately dropped it. Slitherine did try to release a ROM of the game for free but Eidos owend the code and wouldn't let them.

    Slitherine never went back to any other type of game nor did they work on another console/handheld game up until recently when they recently did two turn based strategy games for the Nintendo DS. The problems with Eidos and seeing all of their hard work go to wasted obviously soured their experience, which is a shame as they clearly have a lot of talent among their programmers and had plans for three more fully 3D games for the GBC/GBA. Had this game come out and been an success, who knows what they could have achieved in the future.

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    Maybe one day they'll want to bring the character of T-Tex back for another shot or even eventually release the ROM of the GBC game (when Eidos loses the rights) but for now it'll be yet another great looking game lock into the vaults of cancelled games.

    P.s. Fuck you Eidos.

    <b><u>A <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member TrollyDave'}>TrollyDave</a> Rant on...Emulator Fanboys</u></b>

    This issue I'm going to rant about emulators, well not emulators really but emulator fanboys. You know the type, you ask them what retro machines they have and they start going on about how they don't need retro machines because they have emulators. This goes fucking double for you Xbox emulator fanboys, with your "all I need is a modded Xbox with all the emulators" shite.

    Well you know what, I say bollocks to you with your don't need the original console because you've got bloody emulators. You know, I don't have that much of a problem with emulators. Technically they're outstanding pieces of work but fuck me, better then the original machine? You fucking idiot fanboys, that's just not right.

    Don't get me wrong, I use MAME to play some of my old favourite arcade games and I use a couple of emulators for the consoles I don't actually own, but I know they can never replace the experience of playing on the original console/machine.

    For a fucking start the resolution is usually wrong. Screw you and your god damned filters, how the fuck do you think that looks better? The graphics were designed by grapphic artists to look good at the original consoles resolution running on a CRT screen with interlace. Changing that changes the entire fucking look of the game.

    Take Super Mario World for example. Now the SNES emulators are technically great, they give a pretty good APPROXIMATION of the experience. That's right, it's just a fucking APPROXIMATION, it's not exactly like the real thing and SMW is a shining fucking example of the difference. For a start the graphics on the real machine are miles fucking superior to any of the emulators I've seen.

    They're brighter and far more cartooney. Get yourself a real machine and fire up your emulator and have a look. On the original console there's a distinct seperation between the foreground layers and the background layers, and the backgrounds have a soft cloudy feel to them. This is evident just on the very first level that you play. Don't even get me started on the colour differences, the colours on the real SNES are much brighter and bolder and definitely have a more shiny and cartooney feel.

    I've yet to come across another machine that captures the SNES palette perfectly. The closest I've seen to getting the palette right is DreamSNES on the Dreamcast, the colours are almost perfect and it even tries to capture the soft cloudy background look in SMW, but fuck me it doesn't run at 100% and throws all the timing. And bollocks to all those people who say that 80-90% speed is good enough to play games, it's fucking not!

    There's loads of games on the SNES that show the palette differece between emulation and the real console. Sunset Riders, the Donkey Kong Country Games, Yoshi's Island, Warios Woods, Pop And Twinbee, Twinbees Rainbow Bell Adventures, Unirally, The Firemen and the list goes on and on. You can't fucking tell me that playing a game on version where the graphics don't look as good is BETTER! Bollocks is it.

    And don't give me none of your "but it's a higher resolution" shite. So fucking what? Just because it's a higher resolution doesn't make it a better experience. Just look at the fucking mess that Streets Of Rage 2 on the Xbox360 looks played in high-def with the stupid fucking filters on or off. It looks shite compared to the original Megadrive/Genesis version. It looks like somebody came in and made an oil-painting version of the original game. Anybody who played it and loved it on the Megadrive will tell you the same thing, it looks fucking terrible.

    And don't even get me started on N64 emulation, I mean fuck me. Have you seen how fucking horrible Super Mario 64 and Goldeneye look on the emulators? Get yourself a real N64 with SM64 and then do a comparison to the emulated version. It loses that very cartooney feel that it so perfectly captured on the original machine. Fuck, I'd rather play the DS version and that sucked rotting leper balls compared the N64 version. The stuff was designed to look good on a CRT display with interlacing and THAT'S where it looks best.

    Another good example of how emulation can't beat the original machine is Pinball Dreams, Pinball Illusions and Alien Breed on the Amiga (the Amiga <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wub.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":wub:" border="0" alt="wub.gif" />). WinUAE is a great emulator but again the palettes are wrong and the timing is al off when you play the Pinball Dreams/Illusions games. There's a slight lag in the flippers and the tables don't look half as pretty, bright or colourful. Alien Breed loses some of it's atmosphere because the look of the graphics changes.

    Don't get me wrong, emulation is great for people that don't have access to the original machines and can't afford or find them but it can never ever ever ever replace the original machines. If you realize that playing the emulated version can only give you a feel of how the game played and looked that's fine but you can't use them to judge just how great certain games are when played on the real machines.

    So to al you fanboys who talk about emulation being better then the original machine and encouraging people to take that route over buying the original machine and games I give you the classic British two finger salute and say shut the fuck up. Go out and get a real machine you tossers and stop talking such shite. And this goes fucking triple for all you Xbox emulation fanboys with your "all I need is an Xbox and emulators" shit. The N64 and PSX emulators run like a one-legged leper and the palette is WAY too dark to be able to emulate the SNES properly. They're good for the occasional blast or for having a try of a game but it can never and will never be better then playing it on the real machine.

    This has been a TrolleyDave Console Service announcement.

    <u><b>The LucasArts Legacy by <a href='' target=_blank title='View profile for member CockroachMan'}>CockroachMan</a></b></u>

    LucasArts was one of my favorite game developers in the 90's, they had the most funny, clever and creative games around. And while they were famous for making great gems in the Point'n Click Adventure genre, their works in other genres was also filled with creativity, like shown with Outlaws, AfterLife, Zombies Ate My Neighbors and many others.

    Somewhere in the late 90's, Point'n'Click Adventure games started to fade out and the genre eventually died.. in 1999, Star Wars Episode I came out, and the popularity of the Star Wars franchise raised up again, Lucas Arts then decided to use that opportunity to make more money by making 5 new Star Wars game for each actually good and creative game that they could make (yeah, I know.. some Star Wars games are actually good.. but you get my point).

    The last Point'n'Click Adventure game created by LucasArts came out in 2000: "Escape from Monkey Island", the 4th game in the series. A good game, but definitely the worst in the series. Sequels to Sam & Max and Full Throttle were announced in 2002, but canceled in 2004, putting the last nail in the Point'n'Click Adventures coffin. It was sad day. <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/frown.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="frown.gif" />

    <b>BUT THAT WAS NOT THE END!</b> While the people responsible for all those wonderful games are not on LucasArts anymore, they are still out there, spreading the joy!

    - <u>Bill Tiller</u>, the lead Background Artist from The Curse of Monkey Island, founded <b>Autumn Moon</b>, which released their first adventure game "<b>A Vampyre Story</b>" last year.

    - <u>Ron Gilbert</u>, creator of the SCUMM engine, responsible for classics like Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island 1 & 2, is now on <b>HotHead Games</b>, helping with the Penny Arcade games (a mix of Point'n'Click adventure and RPG, highly recommended) and working on his new game "<b>DeathSpank</b>" which is being described as "Monkey Island meets Diablo"

    - <u>Tim Schafer</u>, the mind behind Full Throttle and Grim Fandango, and some other LucasArts employees founded <b>Double Fine Productions</b>, created the acclaimed <b>Psychonauts</b> (PC/Xbox/PS2) and are now working on <b>Brutal Legend</b>.

    - The team that was working on Sam & Max 2 founded <b>TellTale games</b> in June 2004 and started making their own games. In 2005, LucasArts Sam & Max franchise license expired, and Steve Purcell passed it to TellTale. Sam & Max is now being released in episodic form, with two seasons complete, the games retain the humor and the quality from the original game. TellTale is also responsible for the Bone, Strong Bad's Cool Game 4 Attractive People and Wallace and Gromit series.

    Wisely, LucasArts put TellTale responsible for a new episodic series of Monkey Island games: "<b>Tales of Monkey Island</b>". <u>Dave Grossman</u>, co-writer of the first 2 Monkey Island games (the other 2 co-writers were Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer btw), is designing the new games, with a bunch of ex-Lucas Arts employees.. so you can rest assured about the quality of these games.

    Recently, LucasArts got a new president, which is showing interest in reviving old franchises. Well, Monkey Island is getting a remake and new games.. so, if you want more, send them a message by buying those!

    <u><b>Great Covers</b></u>

    <img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" />
    Batman: The Caped Crusader

    <img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" />
    Another World/Out of this World

    <img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" />
    Super Mario Land

    <img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" />
    Jet Set Willy

    <img src="" border="0" class="linked-image" />
    Shadow of the Beast III

    Thank you for reading, I hope it was entertaining and inciteful. Thank you for for everyone who has contributed to this thread as without them this wont exist.

    Previous editions:
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    These can all be fount on the <a href="" target="_blank">mini page.</a>
  2. wizlon

    wizlon Member

    Mar 5, 2008
    How odd, I was just saying to a mate at work that one of the only reasons to own a (PAL version) Sega Saturn was to play Sega Rally, and here it is.

    I love these Retro Review articles, keep it up....

    Oh, and TrollyDave.... RIGHT ON!!
  3. CockroachMan

    CockroachMan Scribbling around GBATemp's kitchen.

    Jan 14, 2006
    Nice reviews.. Capcom's AvP game is indeed great..

    I agree with you Mr. TrolleyDave, emulator will never be able to replicate the feeling of the original system, in special, I hate when people say they don't need a DS cause the emulator already runs everything.. that's incredibly stupid!

    But anyway, you can have a really APPROXIMATION in some cases, and thanks to emulation, we're able to know games that we would never be able to play otherwise. I, for instance, never had a PSX, but thanks to our friend ePSXE, I was able to know a bunch of PSX classics like Silent Hill and FFIX. Same goes to a bunch of japanese SNES games, Neo Geo games, etc..
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    Thanks Hadrian, I recall reading a preview of Outlaws one time and then wondering a few years later how it turned out (probably after a game of redneck rampage).

    On the other hand it looks like I am going to pick a fight with TrolleyDave. First off allow me to side with you on the matter of people out and out dismissing the actual hardware in favour of emulation, that does not fly in any way shape or form. I take issue with the implication that emulation can not reach a perfectly acceptable point.
    That over you skipped over the issue of controllers but if you will allow it I will skip that on account of the fact that my little boy frame and the friends it had definitely had no cash back when so third party controllers were all the rage.
    Onto filters, resolution I can happily ignore for the same arguments listed (not to mention bordering an image to effectively retain the same resolution* is not all that hard) but I suppose it is the rom hacker/reverse engineer within me that wonders if things can be made better than they were. Also as well as cheap controllers small cheap TVs and being in the PAL region did not help.

    *let us not start on pixel aspect ratio.

    Failing that stuff like (I know that is new but there are equivalents) and a s-video out do wonders for me although I do find it immensely ironic that I have to kick cycles over to making things "worse".

    Finally a comment that will earn me a kick in the grapes will start off with me going for the implication that you are a graphics whore the likes of which we see around here every so often. Something along the lines of I am playing these games for the game, to do so generally requires me to forgo graphics whore tendencies*.

    All this being said if I never have to see another RF switch "spider" like I did back when then life will be good.

    *it is not a concession in my mind at all to say that the 16 bit era 2d work is some of the finest around and there my point loses clout in a serious way.
  5. ZER∅

    ZER∅ Banned

    Jun 18, 2009
    United States
    right near da beach
    I prefer using original consoles too, but emulators have a few redeeming factors:

    Save States


    the Nestopia Emulator for pc has some cool filters called Hqx and Scalex that really make the NES graphics look very purdy!

    Save States


    Save States
  6. fermio100

    fermio100 Advanced Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    I agree with the fact emulators don't deliver the real experience of playing the actual machine. Let's take Mame as an example. The emulator is great, they emulate everything, the whole hardware, without carring for the speed, but it still lack the feel of the arcade. I made myself a controler made of arcade parts I bought, it got me closer to the arcade sensation, but it just doesn't feel right. It's a shame I don't have the money to buy the cabinets of the games I like, but there isn't enought money for that, so I use mame to play the games and, at least, have the feeling of the great software people made in the good old times.

    Indeed, I have an old sega saturn, from the first batches they made, with oval buttons. This machine can't be unlocked, they just didn't release the chip to enable backups to run on it and that's a pitty, becaus it'se getting hard and expensive to find original CD's for it. I use the swap trick, everything works, I can use the real hardware and have the real game experience, but have to use it scarcelly 'cause I'm afraid of breaking it.

    Yes, the good old times were... Great!!!

    This retro reviews are great, keep it coming!
  7. Rayder

    Rayder Mostly lurking lately....

    Former Staff
    Jan 14, 2007
    United States
    Oh man! I actually played Phantasie (1, 2 and 3) on the C64 back when they were new games. Yeah, I'm an old fart. The C64 was my heyday for playing RPG's. I played so many RPG's on that system that I burnt myself out on them. To this day I can't get through a whole RPG on any system without getting bored and quitting anymore. While graphics and sound have drastically improved since those great times on the C64, modern RPG's all give me that been-there-done-that feeling now. They just don't hold my interest nowadays no matter how hard I try to like them.

    I'll have to check out those Batman games, they look pretty good. Sorry TrollyDave, but I'll be running them both on emulators. [​IMG] The NES one will likely go on my DS and the SNES one will be played on the PC, but only because SNES emulation blows on the DS.

    Awesome Retro Review guys! I love the extra bits at the end. Yes, even TrollyDave's rant on emulators.
  8. jesuschristmonke

    jesuschristmonke GBAtemp Regular

    Jun 13, 2008
    United States
    The Global Economic Plantation
    I feel the same way. That old magic of RPG (and indeed most) gaming is just "meh" anymore. But what a time my friends and I had playing the old C64 and A2e Bards Tales, Pirates!, Castle Wolfenstein, Archon. The NES classics, Colecovision, Reaganomics. Wait, F$ck that last one.

    TrollyDave - Yeah but you can't save/load snapshot states on the original console, so piss on them.
  9. granville

    granville GBAtemp Goat

    Aug 24, 2007
    United States
    Orlando, Florida
    If emulators sucked so much, Nintendo and every other company that rereleases games for newer systems wouldn't use them. They don't suck and they are used both in commercially and by regular users. It's not as cool as owning the original system, but it's better than having no system at all. If there were not emulators, I would not be able to play SNES, Genesis, N64, or whatever the hell else I play now. I lack something called money and therefore lack the consoles and games I would buy with said money. I have a laptop and actually value the portability and universal ability to play all systems in one entity.

    And yes, filters can make the games look amazing if it is the right filter. Crank up the HQ4X filter on a speedy PC, hook it up to the TV, and use a classic controller adapted to the PC. You're good to go. Feels and sounds like the original system, but irons out the glaring flaws that would bug people in this graphics whore of a generation.

    (personally, I play my SNES and other system games on lower graphical settings because I am actually charmed by the oldness of it, there is a new "filter" in the 1.51 ZSNES emulator that actually downgrades the graphics to make it look like it would on an 80's/90's TV. Neat little thing it is)

    If I had the money to dedicate to a game collection, I'd get every system possible and collect games. I don't, so I am stuck with emulators.
  10. mrfatso

    mrfatso That guy!!

    Apr 17, 2008
    @Your Home,behind the sofa
    awesome, i remember going to the arcade when i was young and first thing i do is find the alien vs predator game and just keep spending my tokens on them [​IMG] and woah, thanks for the info, i didn't realise that there was a plot, all i know is to kill everything that moves [​IMG] (linn ftw [​IMG] )
  11. Hadrian

    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

    Former Staff
    Oct 12, 2004
    You people got TD wrong, he was ranting at the fanboys who claim they're better than playing the games on the original system.

  12. Takeshi

    Takeshi GBAtemp Addict

    Jun 1, 2004
    Nice reviews guys. Unfortunately I could'nt read them all because when I came back today to read the rest, the OP was totally messed up. Is this just me/my computer?! Also, the Afterlife pictures are way too big, I have to scroll sideways to see all the text.
  13. Maz7006

    Maz7006 iSEXu

    Aug 2, 2008
    Been a while we haven't had one of these, great stuff guys [​IMG]
  14. Law

    Law rip ninjacat that zarcon made me

    Aug 14, 2007

    Only people who suck at videogames need savestates [​IMG].

    I mean christ, it's as pathetic as saving in the middle of a DOOM level.
  15. WildWon


    Former Staff
    Apr 4, 2008
    United States
    8-Bit Heaven
    Hey P1ngy, for AvP, this might be noobish, or it might be something that i discovered that others haven't seen...BUT-

    Did you find the special moves? Dragon Punch and Fireball motions provide different power moves for different characters. One of em (don't remember if its Big-Mother-Fucking-Cyborg or if its Big-Mother-Fucking-Predator... i do know its not the chick [​IMG]) runs across the screen with a huge dragon-punch-style uppercut.

    Just an FYI to anyone thats enjoyed this game, and hadn't known about the moves [​IMG]
  16. Hadrian

    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

    Former Staff
    Oct 12, 2004
    People are just spoilt nowadays.
  17. ZER∅

    ZER∅ Banned

    Jun 18, 2009
    United States
    right near da beach
    I use save states instead of writing down passwords or having to play a game for nine hours straight to beat it b/c there was no save system in the original, not to cheat [​IMG], also I like to go back and replay boss battles in most games.
  18. Law

    Law rip ninjacat that zarcon made me

    Aug 14, 2007
    Passwords double as level select [​IMG].
  19. p1ngpong

    p1ngpong Anti Switch Owners

    Former Staff
    Apr 18, 2008
    DS Scene
    Yeah like I said in the review the characters all have quite a wide variety of moves and combos. Which is one thing I love about the game over other scrolling beat em ups, that would just have you walking around punching and kicking for forty minutes. The Predator Warrior has a dragon punch like special if I remember right, and the Cyborg has a run across the screen punch people move. This is definitely one arcade game with replay value, you would probably have to beat the game once with each person to see everything.

  20. geminisama

    geminisama Metsu

    Jul 17, 2008
    United States
    I remember playing AVP. [​IMG] You reviewing it made me want to snab a MAME emu...
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